Chapter 9:

Mark’s Training

Battlefield Restart: Mortal God

I seemed to had completely underestimated the complexity of ACTUAL swordsmanship…

Damn my pride a reincarnated legendary soldier!

Although the wooden sword I held was customised to my needs in both height and weight, that doesn't mean it's easy to wield. I don't understand the principles of wielding an actual sword at all.

It wasn't like a soldier would ever hold a sword. It was a weapon that became obsolete decades ago.

Firearms were able to cover many ranges of combat. Knives were used in close encounters.

Some would say the shorter the length, the worse the weapons potential in direct confrontation.

It was the reason why swords were once popular.

Not only were they easy to use for killing, they also had a great enough reach to keep enemies away.

However, the battlefield had changed with the passing of eras. A swords reach became a flaw.

Most my missions had me run through tight corridors and pathways. Those times I had to be outside of cover were the most nerve-wracking. A stray bullet could have killed me at anytime.

So what was the point in actually training swordsmanship as a soldier? The only things I knew were from hobbies after retirement, and even those experiences were distant memories by now.

The only 'weapons' I've used in my past life were fighting techniques I created on the battlefield.

A plethora of guns and arms made on Earth.

The only blade I used was a combat knife, which could be taken out and attached to the muzzle of my rifle as a bayonet at any given moment. Why would swordsmanship ever matter back then?

Right now, I didn't have a physique strong enough to use those savage techniques using my fists...

…nor did I have any firearms like pistols or rifles.

I didn't want to only rely on the knife skills I learned in my previous life alone when taking on the 'Specialists' of this world. The length of a knife was too ineffective compared to a regular sword.

This wasn't because of the technical functions of a knife. It's just changing to suit the new battlefield.

In a world where literally everyone could shoot and block Arts, melee weapons had more significance.

Swords were better than knives only because it would be rare to fight in corridors in this life.

I didn't want to die without ever having the chance to even get close to my enemies. There's no way I would rely on an extremely short weapon like a combat knife. The only way to improve my overall strength was by learning Gaia's way of Magic Arts.

"Why are your habits so weird?" Mark said with narrowed eyes. He noticed my subtle mistakes.

I couldn't look straight into his sharp eyes and turned my head away. There was nothing to say.

Even though I knew that I should be learning martial arts in this life from scratch, my previous life's habits while fighting had appeared every so often. It caused simple but critical mistakes.

…Regardless of my intentions, my mind was too used to calculating a knife's length than a sword.

It was hard to adapt…

Martial arts on Earth only consisted of controlling physical strength, body weight, and posture.

Different styles had different ways of expressing themselves, but their fundamentals were similar.

That's what I learned from a Mixed Martial Artist among the comrades I had in my past life.

Even though having F Rank Magical Talent limited my output on Mana, it in turn increased my innate Mana Recovery and Mana Control. This was like having slow twitch (red) muscles fixed on the body.

Personally, I liked that similarity. After all, having super-fast twitch (white) muscles all over the body gave it too much springiness. Delicate hand movements are nonexistent if all you have is this.

Although super-fast twitch muscles meant greater explosive force and speed, they also fatigued fast.

The white colour of these muscle fibres was from a lack of oxygen getting to them. They relied more on stored up sugar glycogen (Meaning: They burned fuel stored in the body rather than being economically friendly) and can contract quickly.

I'm glad that higher Magical Talent ranked individuals tended to show similar symptoms.

Rather than having no disadvantages, higher ranked Magical Talent had to work on their control.

Comparatively, lower ranks were perfectly tuned and dexterous. It allowed greater Art variations.

I theoretically shouldn't have any problems training many 'Arts' and learning tactics of this world.

I'd already experienced many life or death situations from actual battlefields on Earth.

However, the habits ingrained into my mind when using martial arts were actually holding me back.

It was now harder to reach my true potential when it came to training certain 'magical' techniques...

It was because I kept on relying solely on my body to strike, rather than balancing it with my Mana.

Harmonising the contrasting Magic Arts of Gays and Martial Arts of Earth was extremely difficult.

I realised that getting to that point was going to be a lot harder than I had initially predicted.

This was despite being a master of five different styles of martial arts, and a 'dabbler' of others...!

The very basics of Martial Arts was to completely control one's body in order to dish out their fullest physical potential. At least, that was the foundation that was below tactics needed to actually hit them.

If you couldn't control yourself properly, how would you be able to properly apply your techniques?

That's why I practiced Sanjuro in my free time to get a better grasp of my body's muscle fibres.

Then conditioned the aspects that needed to become stronger. My forearm was used a lot.

It was the difference between 'understanding' how to fight and just thoughtlessly using techniques.

For example: A punch from a random thug on the street wouldn't be able to match the fist thrown out by a professional boxer. Besides physicality, it was the difference between what they'd learnt.

My instructor in the military once told me this:

"You can't 'apply' something you've never 'used' before, and you can't 'utilise' something you've never 'applied' before." His words stuck with me even to this day. It was the basics of learning.

It's just like how a tennis player couldn't play in a tournament even if they studied how to hit the ball and used a proper swing on their own. After all, you needed actually test that techniques beforehand.

This meant playing with more people and extending the scope of how they swung their racket. Introspection of the usage and how it could be applied to different scenarios and situations.

Only then would it become their own.

Going back on the earlier example: A boxer knew how to properly release and apply physical force through 'using' boxing techniques. They were better at using that particular tool in their arsenal.

A thug might know how to punch, and may even win against a boxer using other tools they had.

However, they'd still be below a boxer in terms of finesse of using the tool called 'boxing techniques'.

It was a difference in their experiences…

After controlling how to properly 'apply' physical force, a martial artist would then move on to making use of the forces that interact with them in a way that more beneficial to them.

Well, different styles had their own requirements to be accomplished as a master.

It wasn't about striking or grappling once a fighter walked out of the ring and into the real world.

Instead, everything was all about 'Acting Appropriately', 'Planning Ahead', and most of all…

…it was about 'Battle Instincts'.

But whether it be centrifugal force, balance, velocity, gravity, etc. Even though I ended up calling it 'controlling forces', the nature of Earth's martial arts is more realistic and grounded.

More so than the ACTUAL control of 'forces of nature' that was implemented by those of Gaia.

The foundation of Magic Arts and fighting skills was a person's Attribute. Unlike Earth's martial arts, this magical form of combat was a lot more complex than anything I had ever imagined.

Although I had constantly been told that the density of a person's reinforcement would be dependent on their concentration and willpower, I was only enlightened after firsthand experience.

I've never realised that the kind of transformations it could undergo would also be dependent on their visualisation and imagination. Meaning: It was much faster to apply than pure physical skills.

The 'Specialists' of Gaia weren't that great at using their full potential of their strong physiques...

…This was undoubtedly true without a doubt, but that didn't mean their power was inferior.

They had their own way of fighting.

To Mark, my mistakes in balancing my swings with Mana Control could be considered as normal for a child my age, but the stubborn habits of how I used to handle a blade couldn't be hidden perfectly.

Sometime I'd subconsciously attempt to hold my sword in a reverse grip and try to stab him in the gut a few times. The same I would be able to with a military grade combat knife of Emerson brand.

"Why is it I feel your using your sword like a shorter blade? A knife…? Did you train in Knife Arts like Anna? Did she ever teach you fighting techniques before?" Mark seriously questioned my actions.

I felt embarrassed now...!

Knife Arts were very different from Sword Arts on Gaia. Although they both were blades that were covered in Burst Manipulation, one would reinforce a knife differently due to its shorter length.

Sword Arts were just another way to refer to Mana Clad sword attacks. On the other hand, Knife Arts were the way of handling Mana reinforced knives through both throwing or wielding in battle.

The differences in how one handles them were so great that it would be hard for amateurs to NOT recognise them.

So, how should I reply...?

"I only copied Anna's movements after I saw her train here." I decided that lying through my teeth was the only option here. What I said was an acceptable explanation. and Mark wasn't the type to dig too deeply into small matters like this.

"...You should've already realised your own talents regarding Knife Arts... Why do you insist on using a sword instead?" Mark said while raising his brow at me. His thoughts were correct to a certain extent.

If I wanted to get stronger at a faster pace, then putting my previous life's training into learning Anna's Knife Arts was a more logical route. It'd be much easier to just upgrade my techniques.


"I don't want to rely on a weapon that wouldn't let me control the distance between me and my opponents. It'd be hard to fight certain opponents if I'm unable to stop them from getting too close to me." Mark seemed surprised at my answer.

My mind was made up to start from scratch. My habits needed to change to suit my environment.

He probably thought of praising me for my forethought, but couldn't… Mostly because it was still the time to be undergoing spartan training. It looked like he didn't want to boost my ego...

Oh how I miss the beloved rifle of my past life~!

I called her 'Rioter'…

A weapon that could easily crowd control multiple foes through its superior aim and functionality.

If only there was a way to bring my personal rifle to this magical world...! Then all would be swell~

I would have to start working on that...

Preparations are a must!

"It's a rational decision to make when you think of your talent from a Swordsman's perspective.

However, to bury your knife skills now won't make a difference. I know about your magical talent, so I can guess why you'd think having Knife Arts are useless. You wouldn't be able use Throwing Arts successively due to your low capacity of Mana.

However, think logically, do you think your future opponents won't benefit from your lack of ranged skills?

Even having an extra option when in close combat can spell the difference between victory and defeat." Mark started to lecture, and heavily advised me to not give up on trying to improve my knife skills and learning ranged Arts.

Running from my opponents isn't a good strategy.

My disadvantage in both long-range and close-combat is obvious considering my magical talent.

That's why I've decided to walk on the path of extremity instead of an all-rounder.

Close-combat had always been my forté!

No one has ever beat me in close-combat. That was why I was able to live for such a long time.

Instead of focusing on both long-ranged combat and close-combat, I've decided to pour my all efforts into one thing. Maybe later, ill be able to find a way to fill the gaps and eliminate my weakness.

I was already working on doing just that anyway.

It was a little 'personal project' of mine…

"You've misunderstood. It's not like I'm giving up on improving my skills using Knife Arts. It's just that Anna's Arts don't suit me. She relies on stealth too much." I spoke my thoughts of the matter truthfully.

"What do you mean?" Mark asked again with confusion in his eyes. I wasn't making much sense.

"Anna's Knife Arts focus on precision attacks.

It's a extremely strong Art if you have both Mana and accuracy, yet I feel it just isn't suitable for me.

I'm no good when it comes to doing accurate long-ranged attacks.

I don't intend to master throwing knives because I know my talents lay in close-combat.

It would take too long to master Throwing Arts, and it'd be better not to waste too much time to train it.

Especially when my current efficiency in close-combat itself was so low...

I know about my weaknesses. I know that even one hit from a D Rank Magical Talent using the Burst Manipulation could break my bones if I'm not careful. That scary fact was just common sense.

Therefore, my plan to overcome this weakness is to never allow any opponent to have the time to showcase their strengths. Break them down before any formula, technique, or Art can be executed.

For this, I need to be able to swiftly attack without running out of Mana. Anna's knife throwing techniques don't really suit those requirements." I further explained my thoughts with patience.

Mark analysed the pros and cons of my plan after hearing my words.

Even if he wasn't proficient in knife skills, he could roughly guess what a person with my strengths and weaknesses would be able to do in an actual fight with his vast experiences in the field of battle.

"That plan is too reckless!

Even if you WERE to become a great swordsman in the future, you wouldn't be able to keep up with a D Rank Magical Talent's continuous use of flexible Burst Manipulation. Maybe not even an E Rank…!

It's like pitting an A Rank Fire Dragon against a renowned swordsman. The swordsman may have 'skill', but a Dragon has more body mass and physical strength. Even a handful of Magic Arts can't defend against overwheming power." Mark argued against it, then looked at me deeply.

I could understand that he wanted me to learn long ranged magical attacks. The Arts I'm using were more safer than fighting far away. However... I knew what I was doing! I returned his gaze with one filled with boundless confidence my plan would work!

Anyone else in this world would be able to learn skills like knife throwing as well.

It's not something special nor is it a good way to get rid of my greatest weakness.

The only way to do so is focus on my advantages and be diligent in strengthening them.

A person with good magical talent could easily create defensive measures against magic imbued throwing knives. Without getting close, I wouldn't be able to more deeply imbue Mana into them.

That's why my current plan of action is to get close and beat them half to death before they can show their skills proper. It's a dirty tactic to others, but I'm not bothered with any of the means I use.

I shook my head at him and indicated for him to say no more, to which he just gave a helpless sigh in return. His eyes darkened for a moment before he woke himself up and stared at me intently.

A smile curved on his face...

"You have to at least learn how to use the basics of Knife Arts then." Mark stopped his persuasion.

"Okay." I agreed without hesitation.

"Here's one of the wooden training knives Anna uses to practice.

Try getting a proper 'feel' for swinging a wooden knife first." Mark got back into his serious mode and instructed. I wonder what expression this guy would make if I asked him how he came into possession of Anna's personal wooden knives.

Meh... learning is more important right now.

I'll just inform Anna about the stolen knife later~

"The difference between using a Knife Art and a Sword Art lay in where you focus your Mana when using the Burst Manipulation. A normal Sword Art puts more Mana into the edge of the blade.

Contrastingly, a normal Knife Art focuses on the hilt and user's flexible wrist. It's because the shorter length makes it easier to swing around. For now you can try to execute what I've described." Mark said while pointing at my hands.

I follow his instructions and move my Mana towards my hand. The manifested ethereal Aura that usually moved freely around my body stopped. It then started becoming more focused towards my wrist.

My energy circulation didn't stop the Mana there.

I tried to push it into the hilt of the knife.

A faint white crystalline glow surrounded the hilt of my knife. I felt it gaining more power and versatility.

Just like Mark had said.

"What's next?" I looked curiously with eager eyes.

Using the Burst Manipulation on my entire arm would thin the density of the reinforcement…

…but focusing it on my wrist made it a lot more useful. The strength of the Mana was really strong.

"A normal Burst Manipulation technique focuses on densifying your Mana rather than spreading it out.

The higher level of the Burst Manipulation, the stronger the Mana's density. Thus allowing one to gain a lot more momentum when attacking your opponents. Like this!" Mark waved the knife.

He demonstrated what he meant by showing his mastery over Burst Manipulation up close. The faint diamond-like glow of his Mana turned into an emerald green. His wrist flickered and moved swiftly. He cut the air in front of him at a flash.

"Amazing, right? This kind of high levelled Burst Manipulation can only be done by very few.

This Wind Affinity Burst Manipulation is the only basic one I can do using such a small blade.

Please don't be dejected if you aren't able to-"

Just as he was about to give a long-winded speech filled with narcissism after showing off his Burst Manipulation, he was interrupted the incredible sight happening straight before his eyes.

If the other servants training around us were to pay attention to this scene, their jaws would drop.

The glow of the Burst Manipulation on my knife was constantly changing. It shifted between a deep amethyst purple, opal brown, sapphire blue, emerald green and ruby red in quick succession.

I wonder what he meant by saying this was difficult to use? From what I'd been taught beforehand, the Light Attribute of a Gaia Human had the innate power to transform to the user's willpower, allowing it to mimic elements of different attributes.

A faint suspicion arose in my heart.

The ease I felt using Mana caused me to think of the words Enigma said before I reincarnated.

My Internal Energy wasn't merely of the Light Attribute like the others.

Instead it was of the ancient 'Sun' Attribute he gifted me... The difference between the two had never showed itself previously, but it's only as of this moment that I'd finally found the benefits of having such a special Mana Attribute:

Having high purity Mana despite its really low capacity! My control was unique in this world.

A higher Magical Talent didn't necessarily mean higher Mana Control, nor higher Mana Recovery.

It only meant that there was a lot more Mana within the body to master, which is why it took effort.

Much time was spent by children learning merely how to control their internal energy due to of this.

Which meant there was a chance I'd be able to outdo those of higher Magical Talents using my strong hidden potential. I wonder how strong I was thanks to my highest level of 'Saturation Rank'?

Though having the advantages of my Sun Attribute was nice and all. It was still suspicious…

I was still unable to figure out why Enigma didn't just give me higher Magical Talent instead...

Enigma, I once thought of you as a friend, but now I'm not quite sure anymore... What are you plotting behind my back? Why is it your words sound more suspicious by the day? I want to trust you...

I truly want to... really… I sincerely hope you don't one day betray me. That you won't abandon me.

My dear, unpredictable friend...