Aggressive and Defensive
“Next up, show me how good you are with the sword!” Felix told him.
“Alright! Tetra!” Lakshman said as he called for Tetra to come to him.
At his call, she transformed into a ball of light and flew at him. As his hand made contact with the ball of light, there was a flash of light which vanished and revealed Lakshman holding onto the Phoenix Blade.
“Not here, though. I want to see how you fight under the thousand times gravity,” Felix informed him.
“Oh… I think I’ll manage… somehow,” Lakshman said and he looked at his sword.
“Don’t worry about me, master. That sort of gravity won’t affect me in any way!” Tetra told him and he sighed in relief.
They moved into the building and walked into the Gravity Chamber. It was deactivated and, as such, the gravity is at normal state.
“Gravity times thousand!” Felix said firmly.
The room began to glow brightly. Then they felt the air sudden become tense and strong. Realising the gravity has been increased for training, both of them held their swords firmly.
Lakshman felt a little pressured by the intense gravity. He had conquered, but he never wielded a sword to train in there. He stood firm and looked directly where Felix had stood on the other side of the room.
Then they heard Rumble shout “Begin!”
Both warriors charged at each other with swords at the ready. When they met in the centre, their swords clashed and they managed to push each other back. Lakshman quickly took the offensive and charged in for the attack. After that, he kept swinging his sword at Felix.
Due to the intense training, Lakshman’s have gotten faster and stronger. He managed to flow well with each swing. He managed to move around a lot quicker than before which caused the eye to think he was vanishing.
Even though he was swinging his sword strongly, Felix had not once attempted to counter. He just received the swings with his sword while wearing a smile on his face. It looked like he was lazily moving his sword to block Lakshman’s strikes.
Then, after catching another swing with his sword, Felix asked “Can you move any faster?”
Lakshman gritted his teeth and decided to test how fast his body could move under thousand times gravity. He put strength into his legs and began to move faster and faster. His swings also got faster with the tightening strength of his arms and shoulders.
As his speed increased, Felix began to move more and more. He kept having to quickly dodge and divert the sword away. He was smiling more and more as Lakshman’s speed gradually became faster and faster.
Watching from outside, Ondine muttered “Wow… Master’s so strong… I don’t think I can reach him…”
Emilia looked at her in surprise. Then she smiled and said “That’s not important, Ondine! Let’s be useful to him because that’s what counts the most!”
At her words, Ondine chuckled and said “Yes. I understand.”
At that moment, Marilia suddenly walked over and hugged the two girls from behind. While smiling at the two of them, she said “Why are you two wasting your time watching your master train? Shouldn’t you concentrate on your training?”
“Ah!” Ondine and Emilia said together as they realised.
Marilia smiled at them and called Darian over. Once he got to them, she said “Darian! Help Ondine improve her North Sword Style and I’ll help Emilia work on her magic.”
“Oh! Got it,” he told her with a nod of his head. Then, turning to Ondine, he asked “Ondine? Are you alright if I train you?”
Ondine’s eyes widened in surprise and she said “Please! I would really appreciate it!”
Nodding at her words in satisfaction, he and she walked away to a separate place to train. With a small gesture, Emilia got close to Marilia. As Emilia got closer, Marilia gave her what looked like a ring to put on their finger.
“Um… What’s this?” Emilia asked with a puzzled expression on her face.
“This is what’s called a Magic Ring and it has the effect of amplifying the power of your magic! It’s a rare item that we collected on our way to come here,” Marilia explained and she referred to the time when Sevedant had accidentally destroyed a Monster Dungeon in rescuing them.
“What?! This is rare?! Then…? Why are you giving it to me for free, this expensive item?” Emilia asked as she stared at Marilia with wide eyes.
Marilia smiled and then looked towards where Felix and Lakshman were sword fighting. Then she said “Lakshman is an all-rounder, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be able to do everything at the same time. He will need help and I noticed your keenness for magic. That’s why I want you to have it for the future.”
“B-B-But still… This is…”
“Don’t refuse and no complaint either! As the slave of the future Phoenix Titan, you shouldn’t have such an attitude, okay?”
As Marilia smiled at her warmly, Emilia smiled back and nodded. At the mention of the Phoenix Titan, she understood how far ahead Marilia was thinking. That was when Emilia decided it was her time to become useful rather than constantly rely on people around her.
“I’ll be in your care!” Emilia said and she bowed towards Marilia.
After that, they walked over to another separate room to train. It turned out that Emilia could use Water Magic Style, Earth Magic Style, Fire Magic Style and Wind Magic Style. So Marilia focused on training her to advanced her to the Sage rank and sometimes train her in other magic styles.
While everyone went their separate ways to train, Rumble and Sevedant were the only ones left. Rumble had looked back as they walked away into the distance to train. Then he turned around and noticed Sevedant looking at him.
“What is it?” Rumble asked him.
Sevedant gestured towards the disappearing shadows and asked “Won’t stop them?”
Rumble shook his head and said “It’s their choice to be useful to their master. What we can do is provide the guidance to make them become stronger!”
“I see. So we let them train their hardest and not let Lakshman know what’s happening?” Wolfenstine asked curiously.
Rumble nodded at him and said “That’s right. If we tell him, he might unnecessarily interfere. On the other hand, he might want to train them on his own, but that will slow down his training. So it’s better if he trains here with us while they train with Darian and Marilia.”
Wolfenstine wore an expression of amusement as he looked at Rumble. Feeling stared at unusually, Rumble asked “What? You think that’s a stupid idea?”
Wolfenstine shook his head and said “No. That’s a splendid idea, but… I never would’ve bagged you to come up with such a well thought-out reason.”
Rumble got angry and tried to walk towards Wolfenstine to hit him, but was stopped by Sevedant. Wolfenstine laughed and he began to walk deeper into the building.
“Where are you going?” Rumble asked him.
“I’m going to find a place I can do some experiments. I feel standing around and watching is not fun to do. But again… I’m not a monkey brained idiot!” Wolfenstine said and he laughed.
“Curse that bastard and his foul mouth! Always has to say something nasty about me!” Rumble said in annoyance after Wolfenstine disappeared.
“Got a problem? Friends? Rivals? Enemies?” Sevedant asked him.
“Friends and rivals, but he only talks like that when he feels really bored. I never liked it whenever that wolf faced begins to speak as if he’s got louse mouth!” Rumble said in an irritated voice.
“I see…” Sevedant said slowly. Then, as he turned back to watch the fight, muttered “Strange friends…”
“Hey! I heard that!” Rumble said and he looked irritated as he looked at Sevedant.
At that moment, Felix and Lakshman stopped fighting. Lakshman was breathing a little quickly, but he held his sword with a firm grip. Felix, on the other hand, was breathing easily.
Felix was impressed by Lakshman’s swordplay. Just from fighting for so long, he recognised the fact that his sword fighting style was different.
“Lakshman. You’re unconsciously relying on speed a lot during sword fights,” Felix told him.
“Eh? Is that a bad thing?” Lakshman asked while looking worried.
“No, but relying completely on speed is not having the kind of effect you want it to,” Felix said.
When Lakshman looked confused, Felix said “You are channelling energy through your sword well and your speed is something to be wary off, but I don’t think the strength your putting behind the sword is working.”
“He means that you’re not putting enough strength behind your swings,” Rumble said as he and Sevedant walked over.
Lakshman was amazed to see neither of them being affected by the thousand times gravity. Then he felt stupid for even questioning these three mighty warriors about feeling the pressure.
“So I just need to compensate for using so much speed into putting more strength into my blows?”
“Not that much. You’re relying on a lot of fast swings and speed movement. I think you’re subconsciously hoping to land a blow with speed alone. It could work on most people, but it has no effect on someone like me.”
Felix nodded and said “I’m a lot faster than you, but the way you react makes me fight cautiously. You are unpredictable and you have the advantage there. Lead your opponent into creating an opening for you with that unpredictability while, at the same time, keeping your stance firm and strong.”
When Felix finished speaking, Rumble suggested “I think Lakshman need to learn Defensive Swordplay.”
When Felix and Sevedant nodded in his direction, Lakshman looked confused and asked “Defensive Swordplay? What’s that?”
Felix breathed out and then breathed in. It seemed that he was slightly out of breath from speaking so much. Then he began explaining to Lakshman.
“Just as there are two Sword Styles, there are two types of Sword Plays. One is the Aggressive Sword Play and the other is the Defensive Sword Play. You are already strong at Aggressive Sword Play by striking first and constantly attacking the opponent nonstop. Defensive Sword Play is basically letting your opponent make the first move, take the attack and return in an instant.”
“Defensive Sword Play. Not favourable. Preferred Aggressive Sword Play,” Sevedant told him.
Rumble nodded at him and said “I agree. Most warriors prefer Aggressive Sword Play because it’s easy to incorporate. Remember that warriors are hot blooded and we like doing things aggressively.”
As Rumble grinned, Lakshman chuckled at his words. Felix also chuckled before saying “Ironically, that is also the weak point for most warriors. We just don’t like prolonged battles that require a lot of strategy and discipline. Quick, energetic and raging! That’s what’s preferred for most battled!”
Lakshman sighed at those words because he realised he was one of those hot blooded warriors.
Correctly guessing what he was thinking, Felix smiled and said “It’s not like there’s no hope at all. Let me tell you one thing… I and Sevedant and many of the warriors among the King ranked are well equipped to fight using both Aggressive Sword Play and Defensive Sword Play.”
“So that means you guys are very strong and well controlled. You wouldn’t need to swing as fast as me and tired yourself out so quickly,” Lakshman said and he sighed again.
“Which is exactly why you’re going to master the Defensive Sword Play!” Rumble told him in a firm voice.
“Eh? I will, but… I’m not exactly patient enough to wait for the opponent to make the first move. I mean… What if my opponent also prefers to use the Defensive Sword Play? What would I do in such a situation?” Lakshman asked and he looked worried at the prospect.
Felix, Sevedant and Rumble looked at each other. Then Felix and Rumble began to laugh while Sevedant shook his head before letting out a sigh.
“Training. Purpose. Mastering. Get it?” Sevedant said and Lakshman suddenly thought he was looking at him sternly.
After finishing their laughter, Felix said “Yes. I understand. That is indeed a problem that most Defensive Sword Play users will face. It’s an eventuality that you just can’t run away from.”
“Please stop pointing out the obvious and tell me what I’m supposed to do…!” Lakshman said helplessly.
“Calm down. Calm down. This is training and we’re here to train you to become strong. That also means we’ll get you to master a lot of what we will be teaching you!” Felix told him with a hand gesture to stop him.
“You might dislike most of what we will teach you, but know that it’s for your own good once you master it! As the Phoenix Titan of the future, you’ll need to be well prepared and equipped to handle any kind of problem!” Rumble told him in a firm voice.
“Which is why we’re going to make you master the Defensive Sword Play! It’s time to take off the gloves and fight using defensive methods! From now on, I forbid you from attacking! Only try to defend, otherwise you’ll be in big trouble!” Felix told him sternly.
“Okay! So I just need to defend from here on…” Lakshman said quietly and he looked at his hands.
“It might sound crazy, but you can do it! Do you think you can do it?” Felix asked him.
Lakshman looked at them and smiled. Then he said “I… I don’t know if I can do it or not, but I’m feeling the eagerness to learn it! It’s always been like this whenever I am about to learn something new!”
Felix nodded in satisfaction and said “Good! That desire to learn new things comes from your thirst to be the strongest. The Phoenix Titan always aims to be the strongest who helps and saves lives! You will eventually have to step into that role and you must be prepared! Got it?”
Lakshman nodded and he smiled energetically as he said “When do we start?”
“We’ll start soon, but you won’t be needing the sword. We’ll be doing hand-to-hand combat!” Felix announced much to Lakshman’s surprise.
“R-Really? Okay then! Tetra…” Lakshman said as he held his sword to his side.
There was a flash of light and Tetra appeared in her human form. She smiled at him and said “Good luck, master! I’ll be here to cheer you on!”
At her words, Lakshman laughed and caressed her hair affectionately. Over the few months, he noticed that he had grown taller than her. Now her head reached up to his cheeks. Then, as she smiled and walked away, Lakshman straightened up and prepared himself.
Nodding at him in satisfaction, Felix said “I think we’re ready to begin the training. Sev and Rumble! We can’t do this without you.”
At his call, Sevedant sighed and walked forward along with Rumble. Lakshman looked confused when he saw three of them standing side by side.
“Um… What are they doing here, Felix?” he asked them curiously.
At his question, Felix said “The three of us will be your opponents!”
“Eh?!” Lakshman exclaimed in shock at seeing the three of them.
Felix sighed and said “In the future, you can’t always fight only one opponent. There could be two. There could be three. If worst comes to worst, there could be well over a hundred opponents! You’ve got to be ready to handle as many opponents as you can!”
“I-Is such a thing even possible?” Lakshman asked while looking aghast at the number.
Felix nodded and said “In the past wars, the Phoenix Emperors had to fight warriors numbering well over three hundred! As the Phoenix Titan, you will have to face forces of immeasurable power! To be ready for that, you must cross this hurdle!”
Lakshman had widened his eyes at discovering the true presence of the Phoenix Emperor and the Phoenix Titan. They fought opponents that outnumber them greatly and became known as the strongest in the world. Then he realised it also applied to the Nine Pillars of Power being the nine strongest warriors in the world.
This caused his blood to boil and he suddenly smiled at them. It caused his desire to become stronger even more and he clenched his fists tightly.
“So let’s do this instead of talking!” Lakshman said in a strong voice.
Felix, Sevedant and Rumble looked at each other. Then they all wore crazy expressions on their faces. The next instant, all of them lunged at each other and the great battle with one against three began.