Chapter 16:

The Duel

Battlefield Restart: Mortal God

A duel was different from any of the spars I had with Father or Mark. I had to hold back…Bookmark here

Wouldn't want to accidentally kill my opponent.Bookmark here

Now that would cause a commotion…Bookmark here

As I walked towards the Training Grounds, I saw many people that were normally busy with other matters in the house. The Young Miss of this Household I currently worked for was here!Bookmark here

The House Master's daughter was indeed a girl with Rank B Magical Talent alright... Looking at her pure silver hair that signified the strength of her Light Attribute, my eyes couldn't help but twitch a little. I felt my inferiority... Being born with less…Bookmark here

She truly had the looks of a 'Genius'.Bookmark here

Someone who had swordsmanship and ranged magic that far surpassed those of her own age.Bookmark here

Her talent was the strongest in the kingdom's current youngest generation of nobility. Bookmark here

Even if she couldn't compare to my parents right now, the potential she showed already indicated that she'd definitely be able to surpass them in the future. This was especially true considering her attainments in Fire Manipulation and Sword Arts.Bookmark here

She looked at me curiously. I made my way towards the temporary arena made by the servants of the Swordwick Household. All of them looked like they were looking to see a good battle... and I was determined to live up to those expectations!Bookmark here

This will definitely be a 'battle', not a true 'fight'.Bookmark here

Definitely… Gotta obey the rules…Bookmark here

I didn't really hide much of my abilities in the past five years. Bookmark here

It probably caused a debate among the servants about my ACTUAL battle prowess and abilities. Bookmark here

I was about to battle against a strong opponent like that arrogant prick, which made many unable hold back their curiosity towards what a F Rank Magical Talent of this Noble Household could do personally.Bookmark here

There were likely many of them that were actually placing their bets on who would win this match.Bookmark here

I made my way to the Arena with a confident stride despite my inward cautious nature. Bookmark here

My parents, who were walking beside the House Master, watched the battle from a seat that was prepared beforehand. They stood on each side of him, showing how much faith he had in them.Bookmark here

Only they had the right to stand next to the Swordwick Duke of the Drakeyol Kingdom.Bookmark here

They had special positions in the household…Bookmark here

The Swordwick Duke was also known as a C Rank Magical Talent just like my parents, but the overall ability of this sharp-eyed, well-built man in combat far exceeded my parents by a large margin. Even the Royal Family would be cautious around him...Bookmark here

The reason was simple: That grey-haired old Swordsman has his own unique Intrinsic Art Bookmark here

It could be used in sync with Burst Manipulation. Bookmark here

An Art renowned through the world.Bookmark here

Burst Manipulation could be said to be more of a passive ability created by the Sword God. Bookmark here

Since most humans couldn't bring out the technique's true strengths, the only way for others to increase their power was by actively creating their very own 'active' type Arts instead.Bookmark here

Burst Manipulation was the first true 'Art' to be made in human history... and after the weak Human Race saw the potential of intricate Arts, many more were created after it through experimentations.Bookmark here

Duke Swordwick's 'Infinite Swords' was one of such Arts. It was passed down through his lineage through every generation. Although I hadn't seen it myself: It is said that when he uses his Art, a large amount of swords were able to be formed.Bookmark here

And they'd all float around and obey commands.Bookmark here

Even though I already had the eighty years of memories from my past life gradually becoming clearer, I wasn't easily able to create Arts that others had never seen or heard of before. Bookmark here

Especially not of that quality…Bookmark here

No wonder my parents said that personal Arts were hard to create without a clear goal in mind!Bookmark here

Well... at least I was able to bring my strength up by a notch through mixing magic and science together. Looks like it was time to test if my abilities could be used in a real battle against opponents.Bookmark here

Both of us stood centre stage, awaiting to hear the rules of the challenge.Bookmark here

In this duel, we were each given strict orders to not use any magical equipment or defensive tools.Bookmark here

Also, we were commanded harshly to not lethally injure our opponent using any of our abilities.Bookmark here

I looked at that massive prick that was holding his wooden spear in disgust. He looked too good…Bookmark here

Why did he have to look so damn handsome…?Bookmark here

My body was currently warming up by swinging my wooden knife and wooden sword in each hand.Bookmark here

I tested different stances…Bookmark here

Of course, I knew that having two weapons didn't mean I'd be able to properly apply force to them.Bookmark here

Posture and grip were important to apply strength.Bookmark here

It was the reason most used a Forward Grip stance using a sword rather than holding it backwards.Bookmark here

In fiction, the Reverse Grip really DID look cool on the outside. However, it had two problems with it.Bookmark here

Not only did holding a weapon backwards limit flexibility, it made blocking from the front nearly impossible. Even if one managed to do so, they wouldn't be able to hold their grip on the blade.Bookmark here

The decisive factor was the thumb…Bookmark here

Grip strength usually focused towards the index finger and thumb. The closer to the top, the better.Bookmark here

The pinkie was where strength was diverted the least. It made holding blades in Reverse Grip loose.Bookmark here

The longer the blade, the higher the instability…Bookmark here

However, that didn't stop me from practicing the Reverse Grip at times. There was a reason for this:Bookmark here

The impracticability of the Reverse Grip had been proven to be solved using Emerald Reinforcement.Bookmark here

When using superhuman speed, the Reverse Grip became a practical tool for self-protection.Bookmark here

Although the front couldn't be blocked, Wind Swordsmen usually moved so fact that running directly at the enemy was foolish. Passing by from the side was better, as they would crash much less.Bookmark here

Then they could 'drag' their blade through a target.Bookmark here

It was a deadly tactic I'd probably never use… but that didn't mean that stance was useless to me.Bookmark here

Especially when handling disposable weapons…Bookmark here

The tools we were given were blunt, just in case any of us actually ended up gravely injuring each other while fighting. You could even say that they went all out regarding different safety measures.Bookmark here

The Mana Clad I wore seeped into my flesh and bones, but didn't release out of my skin into a 'flame'. The reason I did so was… because this was the only way a F Rank Magical Talent like me could cover my entire body with reinforcement. Bookmark here

I called this a type of 'Internal Reinforcement'.Bookmark here

The ones everyone else used being 'External'…Bookmark here

The only downside to this method was having less physical and magical resistance than others...Bookmark here

I didn't want to use the Secret Arts I'd been saving up yet, not because I doubted his abilities, but due to how I was waiting for him to underestimate my strength. I mean, how could a weak person earn the chance to become that little girl's butler? Bookmark here

The fact that he wielded a spear at his age gave me even more of an impression that he would be able to gain the upper hand in physical power. I had done my best to do a bit of research beforehand.Bookmark here

Apparently, that kid's father was a Spearman even more skilled than my own in using his weapon.Bookmark here

The only difference was that he lacked talent as a Mage. Though this weakness was covered by Jack's mother. She was also purely a Mage, unlike the Sword Mage my mother was certified as.Bookmark here

Just looking to where his parents stood, I felt that one of them had a strange air of sophistication.Bookmark here

His mother looked like a former 'Lady' of nobility…Bookmark here

However, what disgusted me to point of not wanting to have anything to do with him… Bookmark here

…was the fact that this prick was actually looking down on me! How dare he not take me seriously?!Bookmark here

It doesn't take a genius to understand that he was probably the most talented along his peers. Bookmark here

A savant among the younger generation of servants when it came to pure Magical Talent. Bookmark here

His disdain towards me wasn't something new…Bookmark here

I'd seen many people consider me as a weakling just because I had a F Rank Magical Talent. Bookmark here

The other kids gathered around him were always sarcastic when asking how my regular training regimen with Father was going... They didn't believe swinging my sword about had any worth.Bookmark here

Only the strength of 'Reinforcement' seemed to matter. Techniques were only a byproduct of it.Bookmark here

Now that I think about it, looking at him in disgust was a total waste of my time. Bookmark here

I should just bash his face with my sword, then be done with it. They couldn't say anything about it.Bookmark here

"Are both of you ready?" Mark said with a tense look. He was refereeing the duel from the side. Bookmark here

A Wind Specialist like him that focused his efforts into speed was usually required for duels.Bookmark here

After all, sometimes only a swift-footed individual could stop things from getting out of hand.Bookmark here

If any of us was to be in danger, he would always be ready to step in and stop us from breaking any rules. This was only natural in a fast-paced 'Duel' on this household's high standards.Bookmark here

"Ready." The giant youth stopped talking those friends his age. He cracked his neck a few times…Bookmark here

…and stepped onto the stage with an innocent, yet strongly charismatic smile. If I hadn't seen the contempt he had for me earlier, even I would have been fooled by that honest-looking expression.Bookmark here

He wore that expression like a mask…Bookmark here

"Ready." I declared, before holding both my wooden knife and sword in Reverse Grip... Bookmark here

Oops, I quickly changed them back in a hurry!Bookmark here

A look of embarrassment appeared on my face.Bookmark here

I pretended that didn't happen. Bookmark here

Yup, that was a mistake that didn't happen…Bookmark here

My body kept forgetting that I was just a Swordsman now… instead of a soldier with knives.Bookmark here

I didn't need to hide weapons that were shown to them behind my wrists. They are exposed already. Bookmark here

Ah... It looked like 'old habits die hard'...!Bookmark here

Fighting like a 'Warrior' wasn't really my style. After all, there's too many 'rules' when facing someone head-on. I'd rather be inside where I can use corridors for cover, rather that out in this field...Bookmark here

Good thing Father gave me experience in this.Bookmark here

"Then let the Duel start." Mark clapped his hands. Bookmark here

The audience were in rapped attention towards us.Bookmark here

They tried to probe both our strengths.Bookmark here

"Simon Rainglow, just give up. You can't win against absolute power I wield." The massive p- I mean, the 'innocent giant' asked in way that made him look magnanimous and kind-hearted. Bookmark here

It was as if he was the kind and gentle older brother. He was trying to advise his younger sibling to stop him from making a mistake. This was what I mean by how he was frickin' looking down on me!!!Bookmark here

This guy talked too much...!Bookmark here

My eyes couldn't help but gaze at him like he was some kind of mental patient.Bookmark here

I switched to using one of my five Affinities with my widely-known F Rank Magic Reinforcement.Bookmark here

An amethyst glow appeared under my skin and caused his words next to be swallowed back down his throat. His eyes narrow in seriousness. This kid found out that I wouldn't be that easy to deal with. Bookmark here

It wasn't easy finding someone like myself, who could utilise the Lightning Affinity at such a young age... However, having a rare Elemental Affinity Mana Clad under my belt didn't mean much.Bookmark here

My weapons were held in a 'X' pose, despite the disparity in length my knife had with my sword.Bookmark here

It didn't look all that impressive since it lacked symmetry. They knew my 'balance' would be off.Bookmark here

At least, if I hadn't already known Knife Arts…Bookmark here

I had enough time to train it over the years.Bookmark here

Looks like I was underestimated him, it seemed like he knows just how dangerous Lightning Arts were. Bookmark here

He must have also trained at a very young age to have such an impeccably strong mind and will. Bookmark here

Not that I was surprised...Bookmark here

The audience wasn't bored when we started to inch closer together while sizing each other up.Bookmark here

We kept on moving closer to one another until there was only a step left. It was bad for him…Bookmark here

A spear couldn't be used at such a distance.Bookmark here

So why did he confidently step into my range?Bookmark here

"Nepotistic bastard…" He whispered into my ear.Bookmark here

What, was that all there was to him?Bookmark here

"Pfft~" I barely held in my laugh. The saliva from my mouth touched his face, but he didn't react.Bookmark here

Instead, he seemed unusually calm…Bookmark here

"What's so funny about it?" Never mind, that face definitely had a bulging vein popping at the side.Bookmark here

"Just counting my blessing… Anyway, are you sure you want to fight me so closely?" I licked my lips.Bookmark here

Then cleaned my mouth with the back of my hand.Bookmark here

Perhaps he had a strong sixth sense, but it looked like his body stiffened when my adrenaline shot up.Bookmark here

I let him step away as he pleased.Bookmark here

There was no reason to fight too seriously. Better to see how he'd fight when using his full strength.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry for looking down on you. Let us have a good fight." He said while readying his wooden spear into a formal stance. My eyes looked at his stance in interest. What was 'Defensive' here…?Bookmark here

It looked too aggressive to be a counter stance.Bookmark here

The opal glow appeared on his released Mana..Bookmark here

It far exceeded the size the puny Amethyst Reinforcement under my skin, but his face didn't show its previous arrogance. He instead had his gaze displaying pure confidence of his abilities.Bookmark here

We didn't talk with our voices. We used our tools to exchange expressive attacks with one another. Bookmark here

Both of us charged towards each other at the same time as we readied our personal Arts and Spells.Bookmark here

A bolt of purple electricity sparked out of the transparent reinforcement glowing inside my arms.Bookmark here

I clashed with him head-on. Bookmark here

My unpredictable sword movements were quickly followed up by a swift knife thrust to his chest.Bookmark here

It tried to poke a hole into his solid defences... He altered the Earth Mana around his body to conjure an 'Earthen Armour'. This defence blocked every one of my attacks after slapped away his spear.Bookmark here

Our figures moved everywhere around the stage.Bookmark here

We clashed many times, but none of us was able to gain an upper hand in any of our short exchanges. Bookmark here

The armour he formed out of his Earth Affinity was so thick… I wondered if it was heavy or not.Bookmark here

Every one of my Lightning Mana infused attacks weren't able to pierce through deeply enough. Bookmark here

I couldn't cause any sort of significant damage to his body. He was spotless this entire time.Bookmark here

Urgh… Now this was annoying.Bookmark here

His lack of pain or fear when stabbed said it all.Bookmark here

That said, his power wasn't any better than mine…Bookmark here

…when considering how superior my experience actual life or death battles compared to his. Bookmark here

None of his strikes could even damage my clothes.Bookmark here

I hadn't even been touched once by those slow thrusts. However, something felt wrong about it.Bookmark here

His heavy wooden spear was always redirected using my sword. This happened regardless of his tactics; no matter which angle he stabbed towards me using his Earth Mana coated spear. Bookmark here

It was useless endeavour for him to think he could overpower me just because of his Magical Talent.Bookmark here

But something kept nagging at me…Bookmark here

In the small opening when I fell into thought, he struck my hand. It didn't push me back one bit.Bookmark here

However, my forearm was thrown flying back…!Bookmark here

If I hadn't conditioned it over the years to be more tough, then maybe a bone would have broken.Bookmark here

Wait… This was definitely 'that'!Bookmark here

"Ballistic Striking…" I mumbled. Now it finally made sense… He mastered a pretty useful technique.Bookmark here

It was practically a 'Finishing Move' in Martial Arts.Bookmark here

As a Systema user, there was no way I wouldn't be able to recognise 'Ballistic Striking' in the flesh.Bookmark here

Also known as the Ballistic Punch.Bookmark here

It was a physical technique required the release of redundant tension in order to properly execute.Bookmark here

Once released, the fist wasn't thrown 'through' the target. Instead, it was thrown 'into' the opponent.Bookmark here

This subtle difference allowed one to 'dump' all their weight into others. It didn't look fancy…Bookmark here

…but it could drop a grown man instantly.Bookmark here

Wasn't the demerit of this technique how much it relied on chance to actually 'unload' its weight?Bookmark here

How was he able to execute them so well…?!Bookmark here

Was that hit a coincidence? Or had he learnt a way to make his 'Ballistic Thrust' work with certainty?Bookmark here

Suddenly, my mind spun with an unfamiliar feeling.Bookmark here

Thanks to the 'Memory Recall' Lightning Art having activated my brain's synapses and neutrons, I was able to remember the many techniques I'd learned throughout my past life. Not one, but ALL of them!Bookmark here

It felt different from how I'd usually fight…Bookmark here

Normally, I'd train until the techniques I learned became a second nature. It wasn't out of diligence.Bookmark here

It was out of uncertainty…Bookmark here

I couldn't trust my memory. Even back at home and at school, I had always been ridiculed about it.Bookmark here

My memory had always been a sore spot…Bookmark here

Sometimes, I was like a bird that would forget what I'd been told after turning around and taking a step.Bookmark here

Sometimes, I would forget things that I was consciously trying really hard to recollect.Bookmark here

This made me bad at Martial Arts…Bookmark here

Battle Intuition relied on guesses based off of assumptions. They were formed via memorisation.Bookmark here

To NOT have good memory would make you easily fall for the same tricks. It wasn't a good condition.Bookmark here

That's why I worked harder than others…Bookmark here

And thankfully, my effort never betrayed me…Bookmark here

[Mastered Knowledge- Emerson Combat Systems!]Bookmark here

35 years of accumulated studies compiled by Earnest Emerson started to reappear in my head.Bookmark here

It wasn't that I studied for that long, but that the creator of these studies truly went beyond the call of duty. I remembered attending classes of an overseas mentor who taught me 'everything'.Bookmark here

Well… at least all that was practical in many Martial Arts forms. All flashy movements were removed.Bookmark here

The only things left were quick and easy movements anyone could do regardless of strength. It allowed me to master my personal strengths… even if I'd forgotten the moves I'd dabbled in. What was left was a mixture of skills.Bookmark here

Gasps of awe resounded when I changed my tactics. The wooden weapons were put away.Bookmark here

They were stuck on the belt I wore…Bookmark here

Anyway, what shocked them was what I did next.Bookmark here

Since he was thrusting slower to optimise it's destructiveness, I used that to my advantage.Bookmark here

My body instantly dashed in front of him, then my arm glowed bright red when throwing out an elbow.Bookmark here

The sound of a 'pop' resounded cleanly…Bookmark here

Both of our figures stopped.Bookmark here

"He won… that easily…?!" Mark mumbled in shock.Bookmark here

However, when the dust settled, both of us were unharmed. Jack just looked at me with wide eyes.Bookmark here

I'd made a mistake…Bookmark here

I leapt back and drew my weapons again.Bookmark here

Elbows were too lethal. If I had hit, then there was a chance I could have broken the bridge of his nose.Bookmark here

Although that wasn't much, and could be healed by the Mages on standby… It wasn't good for me.Bookmark here

This 'battle' would have became a 'fight'.Bookmark here

I decided to seal my 'Art of Eight Limbs' for now. A match like this didn't require such strong attacks.Bookmark here

It was when I thought so that Jack finally regained his composure. He looked red in the face.Bookmark here

His stance changed along with his attitude.Bookmark here

An embarrassed look appeared on his face!Bookmark here

When he charged at me, I felt my body stiffen from seeing the adrenaline rush state he was in.Bookmark here

Was what I did really that bad…?Bookmark here

His spear was like machine gun. Its afterimages stabbed towards my stomach. The increase in his physical abilities were quite outstanding. Especially with how he wasn't using the right reinforcement for increasing the speed of his physical attacks...Bookmark here

I had to keep my wooden knife close to my body.Bookmark here

My body twisted with every single one of his thrusts while parrying. Feet were taking steps back towards the edge of the arena. It looked like he was thinking of suppressing me. Then he would throw me out of the ring using everything he had!Bookmark here

Too bad his expectations were going to be disappointed. I'd already predicted this situation. Bookmark here

The Elemental Affinity of Lightning might not have had the greatest potential when it comes to long and drawn out battles, but its extreme bursts of power after a few moments were tremendous!Bookmark here

It only required time storing potential energy, then it would become the strongest of all the attributes!Bookmark here

Just when I got to the edge of the arena, I released all the excess potential energy of my Lightning Mana into a burst of power! I redirected his assault and sliced my sword onto his Earthen Armour!Bookmark here

Although I wasn't able to break through his unreasonably strong defences, the force of my attack strongly pushed him back and threw off his balance... This gave me a great opportunity!Bookmark here

So what if he was angry? Bookmark here

I already had this in the bag!Bookmark here

My tactics didn't allow him to figure out what was going on. I switched my Mana Clas to the Wind Affinity in order to get closer to him. Then I changed it again into the Fire Affinity.Bookmark here

This was in order to continue pressuring him. Bookmark here

The shocked expression on Jack's face quickly faded. He swiftly manipulated the Earth Mana covering his body.Bookmark here

The Earth Affinity had the greatest capabilities when it comes to defence. No doubt about that.Bookmark here

It was only natural that Jack didn't have trouble defending himself from my unpredictable attacks. Bookmark here

Even if he couldn't see them, I couldn't hurt him.Bookmark here

The swordsmanship I displayed may have been strong, but it wasn't enough to injure him at all.Bookmark here

This damn annoying turtle...!Bookmark here

Looking at how he was slowly regaining his footing, I frowned. Bookmark here

I didn't want to lose the momentum I'd gained from my earlier surprising attack. Others might not be able to understand, but having 'momentum' in battle was advantageous in many ways.Bookmark here

Just like how he was slowly suppressing me…Bookmark here

Becoming passive wasn't a good sign. Bookmark here

Since I wasn't that knowledgeable of the spear, my situation would worsen the longer this went on.Bookmark here

And if I 'recalled' my experiences too hard, then there was a chance I'd accidentally kill him.Bookmark here

I needed to focus… concentrate…Bookmark here

Which mastered style would be most helpful here?Bookmark here

Suddenly, I felt some inspiration. As the fear of the unknown was making my movements stiff, I focused on the techniques that I'd used to curb my paranoia. Since I was feeling scared, I weaponised fear itself. To turn self-protection into a 'counter'.Bookmark here

By combining fastest human reflex, the 'startle-flinch response', with the strongest natural human kinetic movement, also known the 'cross-extensor reflex', which stimulated the readiness potential…Bookmark here

A certain style had been born…Bookmark here

"I have a SPEAR as well. Wanna see it?" I suddenly laughed out loud. My countenance had changed.Bookmark here

Excitement was painted across my mouth…Bookmark here

…and I showed the whites of my teeth.Bookmark here

One of the martial arts I had mastered in my previous life came to mind. I moved 'into' him. Bookmark here

Our distance was ultra close. The fears carved into my heart made my body move on its own accord.Bookmark here

The core knowledge of Emerson Combat Systems was combined into it. This allowed greater variety.Bookmark here

Of course, Jack didn't have the mood or time to respond with a snide remark. Bookmark here

He shifted horizontally and swung wooden spear to slam my ribs. It kicked up the dust behind him.Bookmark here

The usual scene between an F Rank Magical Talent and a C Rank one in these circumstances…Bookmark here

…would be the weaker individual being launched out of the ring uncontrollably; Flung like a rag-doll!Bookmark here

However, that scene never came to be...!Bookmark here

By fusing the unique special qualities of Lightning Mana with a specific martial art I learnt in my previous life, I was able to respond faster than my brain could react. My fear controlled me directly!Bookmark here

This was in order to meet his overwhelming attack head-on! A large 'boom' rang out! Small cracks appeared on my wooden sword that had once again momentarily knocked his body off balance!Bookmark here

With my fist extended his way, I gave a taunt:Bookmark here

"Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response... In other words: S-P-E-A-R... This is my own 'SPEAR'! Like the pun I made?" Rather than focusing on my words, he looked at his weapon.Bookmark here

His jaw almost dropped…Bookmark here

Was it that amazing I broke through his defence?Bookmark here

It's not that I was purposefully wasting my energy for no reason, but that I was hoping he'd lose his cool.Bookmark here

Hopefully, show any kind of weakness...Bookmark here

The SPEAR System in my past life was a hybrid martial art which helped Detect, Defuse, and Defend in real life. Due to its lack of set forms, it was among the easier to master martial arts.Bookmark here

As long as your body remembered, that was fine.Bookmark here

I benefited a lot from mastering this martial art in many ways. I was now able to respond to danger at speeds faster than I myself could consciously perceive. A response to any and all situations. Bookmark here

What I was aiming for now after defending was an opportunity to 'Defuse' him once he slipped up...Bookmark here

Though it seems like my efforts were for nothing.Bookmark here

He ignored my provocations without batting an eye at my figure. It looked like he curbed his arrogance in the heat of battle... This time, he was able to regain his stability and got to get into a stance.Bookmark here

I needed to change my tactics...! Bookmark here

Instead of switching my Mana Clad's Affinity, I decided to patiently overlay my Lightning Mana on top of my Fire Mana in order to store energy. This caused two types of reinforcements to manifest.Bookmark here

One ruby, one amethyst…Bookmark here

Jack's mouth twitched at the scene of my reinforcement taking on two distinct hues.Bookmark here

He seemed to me like he was a little panicked. This time, he tried countering before trying to forcefully break my momentum. He tried standing his ground no matter what was to be thrown at him.Bookmark here

"You can use two Mana Clads!?" He spoke for the first time throughout this duel in a disbelieving tone of voice. His eyes seemed to be turning crimson as a result. He was unable to comprehend how I could possibly use two Affinities simultaneously at once.Bookmark here

"Can't you... ask that after you've stopped defending?" My breath was a little bit ragged. Bookmark here

I hadn't been conserving my stamina enough…Bookmark here

Though I was able to force a deadlock between the two us, it was really hard to block his spears.Bookmark here

I couldn't really spare some time for idle chatter with him about the technique I was using, anyway.Bookmark here

"Not happening."Bookmark here

"Then how about giving me an opening I can take advantage of? Pretty please~"Bookmark here

"And why would I do that?"Bookmark here

"Hah... It was worth a try." I spoke after deciding to take some distance. My breathing was unstable.Bookmark here

Though this was also since I had been attacking, dodging, and parrying throughout this bout.Bookmark here

Jack naturally took advantage of this.Bookmark here

Although he wasn't perfectly successful in breaking my momentum, he was still able to fight back and put himself in a position where he would be able to stop me from storing too much energy!Bookmark here

The amount of potential energy a Lightning User could store within his Lightning Mana… was dependent on the user's control over their own Mana. That's why size wasn't really important.Bookmark here

A rare Affinity that had high requirements in skill…Bookmark here

I was one of the best in the household when it came to control over Mana. It was only natural I could've stored enough energy to throw him off the arena if he gave me enough time to 'charge up'... Bookmark here

But wasn't like he'd give me that opportunity…Bookmark here

I needed a new battle of action.Bookmark here

He made the right decision when it came to his next course of action, but how could I just let him stop me from charging my Lightning Mana? Why was adding my Fire Mana not enough to beat him?Bookmark here

I swiftly changed into a more defensive sword stance, the very same one I used against my father to block his attacks. After a nice parry, I'd attack with my knife with short bursts of Lightning Mana. Bookmark here

The people looking at my swordsmanship would only see me constantly changing the Elemental Affinities within my body. This was while also keeping my Lightning Mana up at all times in order to store and release small to large bursts of power.Bookmark here

The unpredictability of my swordsmanship showed itself.Bookmark here

I was able to hold my own against Jack without having to take any steps back!Bookmark here

Jack also wasn't able to forcefully push me towards the edge of the arena again, which allowed me to relax a little as we clashed. My mind was constantly sharpening as I focused on his moves.Bookmark here

It may look like we're even on the outside, but I knew clearly that his plan was probably to exhaust my inner supply of magical power. He didn't need to parry and dodge much compared to myself.Bookmark here

Plus, the arm he hit in his initial strike still hurt…Bookmark here

There were definitely bruises under my sleeve…Bookmark here

A confident smile etched across his face. The anxiety shown towards my skills slowly had faded. Bookmark here

I don't know whether to praise his stable mind, or curse the fact that his assumptions were spot on!!!Bookmark here

Looks like it was time to get finally serious!Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.