Chapter 58:

Volume 3, Chapter 5: Sword Training

Heroes of the Past

Time Period UnknownBookmark here

Ah, finally something promising, an actual combat situation. Granted, they were just sparring, but a step in the right direction.Bookmark here

“Continue fighting even if you lose your weapon. Something like this could happen!” Kyoi demonstrated, flinging her sword onto the ground.Bookmark here

En swung his sword at her. However, Kyoi already pivoted behind him, disarming the man immediately. She then locked the dual elemental hero in a neck hold. En collasped to the floor, coughing in pain.Bookmark here

“Never let your guard down, not even around allies. It would be terrible if one of your friends betrayed you,” Kyoi advised.Bookmark here

Kyoi and En stood in a traditional dojo room with polished wooden floors and white walls. This wasn’t part of the current training facility.Bookmark here

“Try channeling your elemental into the sword. Your control and output aren’t up to my standards,” Kyoi ordered, walking to the corner.Bookmark here

The back room door opened. Zhuyu walked in, sporting a buzzcut, unlike his current medium length hair. It exposed his forehead, making the shape of his face much more pronounced.Bookmark here

“Sorry I’m late, missed the first bus,” Zhuyu said, coughing into his right sleeve.Bookmark here

“Are you okay? You sound sick,” En questioned.Bookmark here

“I’m fine. I took cold medicine before leaving. It should be fine,” Zhuyu replied.Bookmark here

“I expect you here even with a fever,” Kyoi remarked, tossing Zhuyu a wooden sword.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I know. So, what are we doing today?” Zhuyu asked, taking off his coat.Bookmark here

“Work with Zhang, I want to see him charge up his weapon. Hopefully modify the strength of his swing by a multiplier of five,” Kyoi answered, taking a seat on the floor.Bookmark here

“Really? Zhang’s fine the way he is now,” Zhuyu remarked.Bookmark here

“Are you doubting my words, Long?” Kyoi asked, a smile forming on her face.Bookmark here

“Considering you are the one with magical powers, I can’t really judge. Whatever, let’s do this. You ready, Zhang?” Zhuyu asked, rolling up his pullover red hoodie sleeves.Bookmark here

“I’ll be ready soon. Let me just rest for a minute,” En replied.Bookmark here

“That’s enough. Get going already. Or you’ll both do laps,” Kyoi warned.Bookmark here

“Let’s do this then,” Zhuyu said.Bookmark here

Zhuyu and En faced each other in the middle. All of a sudden, Tess appeared. Wait, was that her? She looked the same, but her facial expression appeared…. too flat. Tess usually displayed no emotions, but here, it lacked life. Was there such a contrast between her character back then and now?Bookmark here

“Tess, start the match please,” Kyoi requested.Bookmark here

Tess nodded, raising her right hand in the air. Both combatants moved, immediately going at each other. Their blades clashed against each other, limited pauses in between each attack. En gained the upper hand, finally breaking through Zhuyu’s defenses. He continued his offense, landing a perfect vertical blow on Zhuyu’s right hand. Zhuyu grimaced, retaining control of his weapon, despite the blow.Bookmark here

“Long, keep your guard up. You’re revealing too many openings for Zhang,” Kyoi instructed.Bookmark here

Zhuyu nodded, sweat flowing down his forehead. En’s breathing grew erratic. Most of the fights I witnessed were one-sided because of the obvious difference in strength and experience between opponents. This was a refreshing battle.Bookmark here

“Man, I can’t believe we’ve managed to actually survive this long,” Zhuyu commented.Bookmark here

“Hey, no useless talking!” Kyoi shouted.Bookmark here

Zhuyu gave a small smile and the fight continued. Sparks surrounded En and his weapon glowed. When his sword struck Zhuyu’s blade, the zero vector user’s practice sword splintered. En’s sword grew brighter and this time, he succeeded in disarming Zhuyu.Bookmark here

“Pretty good, but I’m sure you know what happens next,” Zhuyu congratulated.Bookmark here

Zhuyu accelerated. He was capable of such speeds? It caught me off guard. En spun around, anticipating his friend’s next move. Zhuyu raised his fist in the air. No way. Would he actually try striking En with his bare hands? That was suicide. En sliced downward and Zhuyu met it with his right fist.Bookmark here

What the hell? En pulled his sword back and aimed for Zhuyu’s hand again. Zhuyu met En’s sword swing with another punch. A large gash appeared on Zhuyu’s knuckles, blood spilling out.Bookmark here

“Keep going. You’re almost there, Zhang,” Kyoi said.Bookmark here

Zhuyu’s injury didn’t faze Kyoi. He rolled away from En’s rapid swings, retrieving his sword.Bookmark here

“Feng, what next?” Zhuyu asked, the cuts on his knuckles fading.Bookmark here

Wait, when did….? Actually, this made sense. Tess and the others mentioned in passing Zhuyu’s zero vector ability weren’t his original powers.Bookmark here

“Strengthen your sword. It will bring out Zhang reach the goal I set for him. Of course, that’s only a suggestion. Do what you want,” Kyoi replied, giving a grin.Bookmark here

Zhuyu sighed and his sword shone with a golden light too. Zhuyu’s original powers had magical origins. Why did he subject himself to a natural world based power? The zero vector was no doubt useful, but it lacked versatility. When used against an opponent specializing in magic, they were useless.Bookmark here

“Really?” En exclaimed.Bookmark here

Zhuyu plunged his sword into the ground and lightning suddenly manifested. En appeared unconcerned, raising his weapon. The lightning struck it, increasing his sword’s brightness. En slid, avoiding Zhuyu’s next attack.Bookmark here

Sparks once again surrounded En and his sword swings increased in speed, shattering Zhuyu’s sword. The shorter man retreated, swinging his sword blade like a sickle. Waves of electricity shot out from the blade and converged, traveling straight toward Zhuyu.Bookmark here

How would he respond? Zhuyu pulled his right arm back, thrusting his palm forward at the massive mass of electricity. I expected him to absorb it, but En’s attack pushed him back. Zhuyu slammed into the wall and slumped to the ground. Wow, an unexpected result.Bookmark here

“You pass for today. Long, work on your timing. Pinpoint the flow and locate critical points for efficient dispelling. En, work on your swings. They are still sloppy,” Kyoi reported.Bookmark here

En walked over to his friend, offering him a hand. Zhuyu smiled, a very genuine one, and accepted his help. Quite an informative mind dive compared to previous ones. It provided me hope I could actually succeed. If Zhuyu and En started from nothing, then I could too.Bookmark here

“Man, really? That was way too powerful. When did you learn that?” Zhuyu asked, laughing.Bookmark here

“Eh, Feng just gave some advice and I listened,” En replied, shaking his head at Zhuyu’s comment.Bookmark here

“No way, you’re just strong. Crap, I still have homework to do when I get home. I should have finished up the last two problems,” Zhuyu remarked.Bookmark here

“At least you finished. I didn’t even start on my homework yet,” En lamented.Bookmark here

“Where’s Tess?” Zhuyu asked, looking around.Bookmark here

That was actually a pretty good question. I didn’t notice her leave. As always, she excelled at vanishing without a word.Bookmark here

“She left already. Something came up in one of the dimensions. Ichaival appears to have gotten himself into trouble. With Shigetzu busy right now, there’s not much backup,” Kyoi revealed.Bookmark here

“That’s pretty bad timing. Why did Darryl even go into a dimension alone?” Zhuyu asked.Bookmark here

“You know better than I do. Without a stable network linking the dimensions yet, Tess is the only one who can provide assistance,” Kyoi remarked.Bookmark here

“That dumbass. Zhang, let’s go home. We’re done for the day, right, Feng?” Zhuyu asked.Bookmark here

“Yes. The results were far from exemplary, but it will have to do for now,” Kyoi answered.Bookmark here

Zhuyu and En exited the room, walking towards the light rail station. I never traveled around this part of the city. As they waited for the train, the two friends discussed something anime related.Bookmark here

“Hey, it’s pretty good, right?” Zhuyu asked.Bookmark here

“It’s definitely not as funny as Daily Lives. That one was good,” En said.Bookmark here

“That’s not fair, it’s one of the best ones so far, freaking amazing. Do you remember that episode….,” Zhuyu said.Bookmark here

What was going on? I arrived for the fighting and enjoyed that. But, now this was just turning out the same as other mind dives. Let it end already!Bookmark here

MIND DIVE 4 ENDBookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.