Advanced North Sword
An hour later, they were riding on their horses. Indra rose on his horse with Ondine sitting behind him and Lakshman rode on another horse with Sumara seated behind him.
While they rode on their horses, they continuously turned to look at Ondine. She was clutching her stomach and looked a little sick.
“How are you feeling, Ondine?” Indra asked after a while.
“I… I’m… okay,” Ondine muttered.
“You sure?” he said anxiously. “You don’t look so good.”
“I’ll be fine…” she said, swaying slightly as she leaned on his back.
Lakshman, riding on his horse, turned and looked at her.
“You shouldn’t have eaten so much, Ondine,” he said.
“I… don’t think this has to do with… food… master,” she replied tiredly.
“Really?” Lakshman said in surprise.
“Okay… but I wonder why you look unwell.”
“Lucky, you are an idiot,” Sumara said from behind.
“Eh?” he reacted in surprise. “Why, Miss Sumara?”
“Not only are you stupid, but you are also dense!”
“Um… I don’t get it,” he said hesitantly.
“That’s exactly why!” Sumara said crossly.
Lakshman laughed and, to their surprise, so did Ondine. She leaned on Indra’s back and laughed.
“Well… good to see you cheer up,” Indra said brightly.
“I… oh…” Ondine said, struggling to control her laughter.
Lakshman looked at them indignantly at her laughing and the others smiling.
“I don’t like this!” he said and they smiled at him.
“You’ll understand when you grow older Lucky,” Indra said.
Lakshman made an unhappy sound with his mouth.
Several minutes later, they arrived at the spot Lakshman, Ondine and Sumara visited the previous day.
“Oh, wow!” Indra exclaimed in surprise as he stared at the battle ground.
“Quite impressive, isn’t it,” Sumara said with a smile.
“You’re right! These two really tear it up,” he said as he looked around the field. “Man…! I wish I was here to watch the fight!”
“Well, too bad!” Sumara said unsympathetically. “You missed out a good opportunity by… um… attending to personal matters.”
Indra turned around and laughed while scratching the back of his head. Sumara eyed him in annoyance. She had noted this action with both him and Lakshman. Soon, she came to realise they did this when they became embarrassed.
“So then!” Indra said, trying to change the subject.
He turned to Ondine expectantly.
“Are you ready?”
“Um…” Ondine hesitated, looking nervous.
“There is no need to be nervous,” he said reassuringly. “You got to get pumped up! This is the test to advance your sword rank to Advanced!”
Indra smiled at Ondine while she could only nod.
The main aim for the battles of that day was to test Lakshman and Ondine. Impressed by the report and results from Sumara, he decided to test them. If they passed his test, they will advance from Intermediate to Advanced Sword Rank.
Before departure, he notified them of his plan. Lakshman reacted with excitement, but Ondine reacted differently. Ever since hearing about the test, she started feeling unwell.
Indra then turned to Lakshman and said “Once her test is over, you’re next. Okay Lucky?”
“That’s fine dad!” Lakshman said happily.
Lakshman was excited. This would be his first time watching his father fight against Ondine. This was also Ondine’s first time fighting against him. Indra was a Water Sword Saint and they knew this battle would not be easy.
“Alright… let’s do this!” Ondine said, finally plucking up courage and speaking firmly.
“Excellent,” Indra said, clapping his hands together. “Now, here are the rules. I don’t mind you kicking or punching me. However, trying to cause severe damage is not allowed. Okay?”
“Yes,” she replied with a nod.
“Okay. In order to win, you simply have to scratch me. Even a blow strong enough to wind me is your win! Do you understand?”
“Good!” Indra nodded and turned to face Lakshman. “Lucky, watch carefully. You might get some tips in fighting me when it’s your turn.”
“O-Okay,” Lakshman replied uncertainly.
He did not truly believe he will get such handy tips. Nodding in reply, Indra and Ondine made their way away from them. Lakshman and Sumara stayed behind to watch. After walking for a while, they parted and walked in opposite directions. Then they stopped and turned to face each other.
“I wonder who will win,” Lakshman said as he watched them take their fighting stances.
“We’ll know soon enough,” Sumara said.
Then, Indra bellowed “Ready!”
They saw Ondine nod and her stance appeared to become strong. A moment later, Indra bellowed “Fight!”
Not a second passed and Lakshman already exclaimed in surprise. The instant the command rang in the air, Ondine kicked off the ground and rushed at Indra. To their surprise, including Ondine, she suddenly found herself face to face with Indra.
Ondine quickly brought her swords forward and blocked his sword swing. Then he deflected her swords aside, but did not continue his frontal attack. To Ondine’s surprise, he jumped over her head and landed behind her.
“What?!” Lakshman exclaimed in surprise.
As he landed behind Ondine, he swung at her back. At the last moment, she brought her sword over her shoulder and blocked his sword. Then she quickly swung around and slashed out, only to swing her sword through empty air.
Indra, anticipating her movement, quickly moved away from her. Then he stopped and assessed the situation. For a few seconds, they stood and faced each other seriously. Lakshman watched them with wide eyes full of surprise and amazement.
“Dad’s… fast!” he said in awe.
“Yes… He is,” Sumara said with a nod of her head.
Then the battle continued between Indra and Ondine. They continued to fight and their swings became quicker. However, it soon became clear that Indra was faster and stronger than her. Ondine must have realised since she began to fight him cautiously.
“Why isn’t dad fighting her non-stop?” Lakshman asked with a puzzled expression on his face.
“It looks like… after years of constantly fighting at the front line, he’s learnt to fight strategically,” Sumara said.
“Fight strategically?” he asked in surprise.
“That’s right,” she said. “By anticipating the movements of your opponent and analysing their performance, he decided how best to attack them.”
“Oh wow…” he said in awe and he turned around to see Indra and Ondine fighting. “So you mean, he can see what they will do next?”
“No, he understands the situation and predicts what they might do next,” Sumara said. “On most people it works well, but with skilled fighters it becomes difficult.”
“Oh, I see,” Lakshman said, nodding in understanding.
Then they turned their attention back to the fight. Currently, Indra and Ondine were locked in a speed sword battle. With each swing, their swords clashed together. The force behind their swing caused the other person to drive back slightly.
It soon became evident that this fight would end in a stalemate. Then, they jumped away from each other. Ondine was breathing heavily as she stood holding her swords. Indra, on the other hand, stood tall and breathed easily as he held his sword at the ready.
“I don’t know how to put this, but… I feel dad is going easy on her,” Lakshman said uncertainly.
Sumara raised an eye brow at his statement and laughed.
“Indra is not going easy on her,” she said with a shake of her head. “He is simply fighting at an appropriate level suited to her.”
“Can he do that?”
“Oh yes,” Sumara said in a matter-of-fact tone. “
He is Skilled warriors are capable of decreasing their fighting skills to fight on par with others who may have skills lower than theirs.”
“That’s amazing!” he said in amazement. “How about you Miss Sumara?”
“What about me?” she asked.
“Were you also… um… fighting at an appropriate level suitable when you taught me?”
Sumara turned to look at him and he thought he saw a bit of sadness in her eyes.
“I am afraid to say, no,” she said with a shake of her head.
“Oh…” he said, slightly taken aback.
“I only started my magic training like six or seven years ago. Indra, on the other hand, began his sword training ever since he was a kid. So, he is more experienced in such matters.”
“I see,” he said and he nodded. “I understand, Miss Sumara.”
“Sorry to disappoint you if you thought I had such a skill,” she said apologetically.
“Eh? No! I’m not disappointed or anything, Miss Sumara!” he said in a fluster.
Sumara looked at him before she finally smiled.
“Well, I’m sure you and I will acquire such skill sometime in the future,” she said with a smile.
“I… Yes!” he hesitated before replying enthusiastically.
Hearing the scream, they turned just as the battle between Indra and Ondine came to a conclusion.
Ondine screamed as she fought her hardest against Indra. With mighty swings of her two swords, she deflected his sword away. Indra’s eyes widened when she finally succeeded in deflecting and holding his swords away with her left hand.
“I WIN!” she yelled and she swung her sword down and slammed it on his head.
A small shockwave took place around them. Then she collapsed on the ground, breathing heavily. Indra dropped his sword and quickly clutched the top of his head.
“Ouch!” he yelled in pain. “Damn! That was a hard impact!”
Then he looked down at Ondine and said, indignantly, “What were you thinking?! Were you trying to give me a concussion or something?!”
Suddenly, his eyes widened in surprise as he realised how exhausted she was. Smiling, he took his hands off his head and looked over to where Lakshman and Sumara stood.
“I declare Ondine as the winner!” he shouted.
Sumara clapped and Lakshman cheered happily as they walked over to them. Reaching them, Sumara moved over to talk with Indra while Lakshman couched down to speak with Ondine.
“You did it!” he said happily.
Too exhausted to speak, Ondine simply smiled at him. Then Indra and Sumara came over and they smiled.
“Congratulations, Ondine!” Indra said. “As of now, you are Advanced user of North Sword style!”
Ondine, with the support of Lakshman, finally stood up. She turned to them and said with tears streaming down her exhausted, but smiling face.