Chapter 11:

Tenth Birthday

Battlefield Restart: Mortal God

Five years have been so long... Bookmark here

It's was so hard to keep up with the regular beatings of love I was given through my father's 'training', but at least I was able to sharpen my sword skills and improve myself because of it.Bookmark here

It's too bad that I could only bring out a sort of 'Soft' Style using the skills I currently had. Bookmark here

Meaning: I was mostly parrying rather than using the strength of my body to contend with himBookmark here

The personal style of swordsmanship I created over time leaned more towards redirecting incoming force. It focused on using the 'stage' rather than directly fighting in close-combat.Bookmark here

My father probably thought that defending against him using the my make-shift Burst Techniques was easy, but he was wrong! Very… very wrong? Damn the poker face I had! My habits were too strong…Bookmark here

I didn't know how he was unable to figure out that his physical strength was also a factor I can't just ignore... The difference in our physiques and size wasn't something I could overcome merely by increasing my mastery over Burst Manipulation!Bookmark here

My father's was a grown man. He had skills that were sharpened over the course of actual battle and difficult challenges in life, causing his body to be more robust. He was covered in muscles. Bookmark here

How could a ten-year-old hope to stand against him with his overwhelming physical prowess?Bookmark here

That idiot!Bookmark here

I understood the fact that he was suppressing his reinforcement to a low level, but such small differences still affected one's overall battle prowess! You couldn't just look at their Mana…Bookmark here

Is he trying to make me do the impossible? Bookmark here

Or is it that he seriously can't understand the differences in both our physiques? Bookmark here

Well, at least five years didn't go down the drain…Bookmark here

My proficiency in redirecting oncoming physical forces had improved by leaps and bounds! Bookmark here

I slowly felt the synergy between my Martial Arts and Magic Arts improving over the years.Bookmark here

The fighting techniques I created under such pressure was one that used my wooden knife as an inner layer of my defence. Then my sword would be used as the outer layer that lessened impacts. Bookmark here

An attack would be slowed down by my outer layer layer before fully stopping before my inner layer.Bookmark here

Which was when I'd retaliate in my comfort zone.Bookmark here

This kind of passive fighting style was perhaps the worst in terms of theory, but it worked well enough.Bookmark here

After all, I had my own way of making it work…Bookmark here

Every time my father swung down his wooden sword, my own sword would whittle its impact down after interception, then… I'd use the wooden knife in my other hand weaken, halt or parry the attack's remaining physical power. Bookmark here

My entire body would shift and throw off the physical force, or direct it through my entire body.Bookmark here

That way it wouldn't focus on a single area…Bookmark here

And that wasn't all: The different changes my Elemental Bursts exhibited in the midst of battle had helped me create a unpredictable factor in my personal fighting style. I'd finally adapted myself.Bookmark here

By using the innate transformational properties of my innate Light Attribute (or Sun Attribute in this case), the same physical movements could have different effects. Leading to more options.Bookmark here

For example, using Wind Mana could increase my speed and capacity for quick strikes in succession.Bookmark here

On top of that, switching to Earth Mana could increase my heaviness in the midst of battle.Bookmark here

If I was able to use a Lightning Mana, then I'd be able to temporarily increase all my physical abilities in explosive bursts. It used it like a turbo meter in driving video games. Only at the right times.Bookmark here

It's a pity that it was something that couldn't be used for too long without draining Mana like water. Bookmark here

I guess only a person with high Magical Talent would be so wasteful! They were like millionaires.Bookmark here

And I was merely an entrepreneur…Bookmark here

Plus… Even if I could transform my reinforcements to imitate attributes outside of the ones I already had an affinity to, the amount of Mana it would take to sustain them would be significant for me.Bookmark here

"Can we stop this now? My defence has become airtight over the years." I spoke proudly to Father, who was still swinging his large sword relentlessly from all directions. I gave a prideful smirk.Bookmark here

"It's only airtight for those only using Burst Manipulation to augment your strength. Bookmark here

Once others started using their power to manipulate the elements around you, there would be trouble. Do you want to know why?" My father asked mysteriously. I couldn't figure out that smile.Bookmark here

He stopped attacking and gestured his hand towards the ground just behind my ankles.Bookmark here

A brown beam of light extended from his hand, before sinking into the floor beneath my feet.Bookmark here

The ground under my feet had become a lot softer as a result, causing me to suddenly sink into the soil beneath me. My balance was thrown out of order and my unique 'rhythm' was disrupted.Bookmark here

How could my father miss this chance? Bookmark here

With just a single movement, his sword was swiftly placed in front of my torso. Bookmark here

I couldn't even fight back against him after losing my ability to redirect physical force. Bookmark here

My young self had to once again swallow a beatdown. My eyes giving him a wronged look.Bookmark here

"We'll stop training for today. From now on I'm going to have important business in the capital. Bookmark here

I won't be able to watch over your training while I'm gone. You can go ask Mark or Anna if you want to spar with someone for the time being." My father informed after fixing the ground and with his Mana. Bookmark here

Not even caring about how savagely he'd beaten me up...Bookmark here

You're such a horrible father...! Bookmark here

At least ask if I'm alright or something!Bookmark here

Since I was laying on my back, I sat up slowly.Bookmark here

My face had a really pained expression…Bookmark here

"You're not going to give him a reward for going through with your spartan training regimen?" My mother appeared from behind me quickly grabbed my father's shoulder before he could leave. Bookmark here

A smile that didn't reach her eyes curved onto her face. Bookmark here

My thoughts were exactly the same as mother's so I didn't interfere. That, and I held a grudge...!Bookmark here

"O-of course I have a reward for our little boy! Bookmark here

I-it's his tenth birthday after all! Bookmark here

H-he has reached the age of nurturing this year, so I can't be stingy to him, can I? I would be a really bad father I didn't give him a present today!" My father stuttered in cold sweat. A suspicious look appeared in my eyes as I heard his nervous voice.Bookmark here

He seems to be hiding something...Bookmark here

Unlike on Earth, people of Gaia only celebrated the tenth and fifteenth birthday of their children with great seriousness. Bookmark here

Every other day of my birth didn't matter...Bookmark here

The reason was due to those days being known as the start of certain periods of a person's growth. Bookmark here

The tenth birthday is known as the 'Age of Nurturing' due to the tradition of parents passing down their Arts and Spells to their children. On the other hand, the fifteenth was that of adulthood.Bookmark here

A person's childhood is all the years before they became ten. Bookmark here

After they reach that age, most parents would choose to pass down their magical spells and martial art. It was in order to grow their kids into Warriors, or just pass them down for self-defence.Bookmark here

Of course, many parents passed their techniques down to children before their tenth birthday.Bookmark here

However, they wouldn't have done it as seriously until their child reached the 'Age of Nurturing'.Bookmark here

Gaia was a world dictated by strength…Bookmark here

It was natural parents wanted their own children to be as strong as they could possibly become.Bookmark here

"And what present did you prepare for my birthday today?" I said with a suspicious smile on my face.Bookmark here

It was similar to Mother's.Bookmark here

Father seemed to be close to making an excuse to leave . He was about to escape her grasp…Bookmark here

…until someone suddenly patted his shoulder. Bookmark here

Mark, who signalled my father with his eyes, took out a luxurious-looking glove in front of me.Bookmark here

It was covered with strange circular symbols filled with magic.Bookmark here

"Your father left your gift with me. He was meaning to give it you to you himself after returning." Mark said with a refreshing tone. A thankful look appeared in my father's eyes.Bookmark here

He straightened his back proudly, but although Mother was kind of naive, she wouldn't have been able to survive as a mercenary if she didn't have keen eyes. Bookmark here

Her glare caused father's nonchalant expression to stiffen. Bookmark here

He tried to escape quietly, but Mother hunted him down with a bright smile.Bookmark here

"We'll both leave for now~! Mark, can you explain your gift's use while we're gone? Thank you~!" My mother said 'happily', then chased down my dear father. That idiot was already making a break for it!Bookmark here

Just how serious is not giving a present on my birthday anyway? Well, Mother did remind Father to buy a gift for me two days ago... Umm... Maybe he forgot about it due to his busy work schedule?Bookmark here

'I'll definitely buy something for you tomorrow!' Was what my father said yesterday... Bookmark here

Actually, he shouldn't make promises he couldn't keep!Bookmark here

Go, Mother! Give him a good beating!Bookmark here

"Your father truly is busy these days." Mark shook his head. His eyes then shifted to my face.Bookmark here

He looked at the 'thoughtful' expression on my face. Bookmark here

My poker face not betraying my gloating interior. Bookmark here

Like always, he was acting like a nonchalant prince of our kingdom without a hint of shame.Bookmark here

"Doing what?" I asked in response, but didn't expect that great of an answer. Bookmark here

Mark was just being father's wingman out of respect for being his old friend.Bookmark here

"Protecting the Duke from outside dangers, of course. Things haven't been going well recently with a certain group of people..." Mark said with sharp glint in his eyes. Bookmark here

He looked around the training ground for a moment before gazing into my mature-looking eyes deeply.Bookmark here

This after seeing that no one was around. Bookmark here

I really AM good at 'acting mature'.Bookmark here

"There are dangers in the world beside the Blood Nation... Sometimes the hearts of people can be more dangerous than even the most vicious monsters... Please be sure to keep that in mind in future." Mark continued a helpless sigh. Bookmark here

His tone seemed different than it was moments ago... Bookmark here

Huh? Bookmark here

His eyes now seemed to have some depth despite how he was still smiling like always...Bookmark here

I frowned upon his words. Bookmark here

He didn't look like he was saying this to me. Bookmark here

It looked more like he was reminding himself so that he wouldn't forget.Bookmark here

Now that I think about it, I may have forgotten such a simple reality due to the amount of time I spent living peacefully with my new family. Had my near inhuman instincts dulled over these years?Bookmark here

I needed to find a way to fight someone who WASN'T my father to figure that out. Bookmark here

A parent would always hold back on their children no matter how they tried to act like they're going all out. Bookmark here

Well, there was no reason for me to look for a fight right now. My lack of real combat experience shouldn't matter much for now. All I needed to remember was to be cautious around others...Bookmark here

As for the Blood Nation, even I knew that those so-called 'Barbarians' wouldn't attack for at least another century. They may have had strange magic and weapons, but our unfathomable number of warriors would be able to overpower them!Bookmark here

The only thing that worried me were the elite forces I'd read about. It was common knowledge that 'Elites' of the Blood Nation were so strong to the point that most Arts didn't work on them. Bookmark here

Even anti-magic attacks used by Lightning Specialists weren't that effective against them...Bookmark here

Well, let's forget about that for now. Bookmark here

I'm more interested in Mark's past.Bookmark here

"What happened to you in the past anyway? This present you're giving me doesn't seem to be common, and it gives off the feeling of an antique in a way." I said while looking at the mystical-looking glove he gifted.Bookmark here

"Can't you be more childish and say something like: 'A present? Wow, what does it do~?' Bookmark here

Though, if you had done that, I'd have just laughed at you." Mark was as 'funny' as ever. He wore the weird glove on himself. The size of the strange glove adjusted to his hand magically. The circular patterns on it faded until it looked ordinary.Bookmark here

"Mark Greenlock, that was my name before my Household had fallen. It mostly had to do with the conflicts between the Mercenary Guild and Drakeyol Kingdom. Bookmark here

My family was slaughtered by assassins seemingly because they were a major power within the kingdom. One that was second to the Swordwick Dukedom." Mark's eyes filled with reminisce.Bookmark here

I didn't interrupt him nor did I have anything say in response to his shocking background! Bookmark here

This somehow explained so much about him...Bookmark here

"If I had been stronger, maybe I could have saved my parents from their fates of burning with the Greenlock Household. Bookmark here

Perhaps I could have even fought off those mere assassins instead of running away. Bookmark here

There's not one day I don't look at this glove and remorse... regretting my weakness at the time. This is the only thing I had left after my family's downfall." Mark continued without much thought.Bookmark here

He looked in a certain direction of the training ground.Bookmark here

I could feel that in his eyes laid a certain memory of his childhood which he rarely spoke of. Maybe he was looking towards the direction of his former home? My eyes turned cloudy after hearing his tragic past. Damn, I hated sob stories like this…!Bookmark here

Made me feel emotions… Bookmark here

I hate feeling emotions… Especially sympathy.Bookmark here

"Then why are you just giving this to me? It's precious to you, so why give it away instead of holding onto it?" I said, looking at his lonely silhouette. Bookmark here

The sun seemed harsher than usual today.Bookmark here

The shadow he casted on me was pitch black. Bookmark here

I couldn't clearly see his eyes, nor could I comprehend what he was thinking.Bookmark here

I had never known he had such a life before becoming a butler of the Swordwick Household. Bookmark here

His tragedy has moved me... Bookmark here

Why was he always laughing and joking around with me even after bottling up such a past? Bookmark here

I really just... couldn't understand him...Bookmark here

"Let's just call it a gamble." The atmosphere around him changed as he flicked my head. Bookmark here

I furrowed my brows and glared at him, but he nonchalantly smiled in response.Bookmark here

"When I look at you, what I see is a boy who accepted his father's unreasonable training in order to hone his skills. Even if his talent is below others, he worked hard to become someone that could fight for those he wants to protect.Bookmark here

You are a lot more determined than I was at your age... Why don't I help you out? Bookmark here

Your magical talent is too low to wield an ordinary Enchanted Sword that uses Mana to sharpen its edge, but my family's heirloom is a little different than the 'ordinary'. Bookmark here

It will at least help you overcome your weakness of having no ranged techniques to speak of."Bookmark here

He then decided to show me the glove's applications by injecting his Mana into it.Bookmark here

A new world was opened up to me…Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.