Chapter 11:

Tenth Birthday

Battlefield Restart: Mortal God

Five years have been so long...

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.

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

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

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.

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…

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!

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.

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

That idiot!

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…

Is he trying to make me do the impossible?

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

And I was merely an entrepreneur…

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.

"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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

How could my father miss this chance?

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

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

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

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

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.

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

You're such a horrible father...!

At least ask if I'm alright or something!

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

My face had a really pained expression…

"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.

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

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

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

I-it's his tenth birthday after all!

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.

He seems to be hiding something...

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

Gaia was a world dictated by strength…

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

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

It was similar to Mother's.

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

…until someone suddenly patted his shoulder.

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

It was covered with strange circular symbols filled with magic.

"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.

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.

Her glare caused father's nonchalant expression to stiffen.

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

"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!

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?

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

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

Go, Mother! Give him a good beating!

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

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

My poker face not betraying my gloating interior.

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

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

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

"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.

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

This after seeing that no one was around.

I really AM good at 'acting mature'.

"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.

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


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

I frowned upon his words.

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

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

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?

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

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

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...

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!

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.

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

Well, let's forget about that for now.

I'm more interested in Mark's past.

"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.

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

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.

"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.

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.

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

This somehow explained so much about him...

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

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

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.

He looked in a certain direction of the training ground.

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…!

Made me feel emotions…

I hate feeling emotions… Especially sympathy.

"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.

The sun seemed harsher than usual today.

The shadow he casted on me was pitch black.

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

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

His tragedy has moved me...

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

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

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

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

"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.

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

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'.

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

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

A new world was opened up to me…