What just happened? Aside from turning his head to look down at me, the old man hasn’t moved an inch. Judging from some of the accidental outbursts I have had in the past, even if I’m holding back I should be hitting harder than a semi-truck. Is it even possible for a normal human to deflect that much power?
“Is that it? It doesn’t seem like you’ve learned anything yet. Get up and try again!” The old man lectures
“I don’t plan to give up until I figure out what you just did.” I say plainly as I get up
Could it have been some kind of magic? That would explain why I didn’t feel anything. He didn’t do any kind of chant though… Even I feel a compulsion to say some kind of chant. Is there a form of magic that doesn’t need one? That might be worth exploring. Only one way to figure out if this is even magic though.
“Wraaah!” I let out as I strike again
Unfortunately, it ended with the same result. Even though I put more power into this one it still felt like all of a sudden my strike was completely missing it’s mark.
“You’ll never learn at this rate. It’s not the kind of thing you can learn by charging in the same way over and over again. Come at me from every angle, and don’t hold back!” The old man shouts
The atmosphere around him seems filled with energy. Somehow you can’t help but feel a little hot-blooded looking at it.
“You better not regret those words later!” I yell in return as I lunge at him from where I fell
There was a change this time though. Instead of my whole body, just my sword is deflected to the side. I can also see the old man’s stance noticeably change to meet my strike.
So it’s a technique after all? I imagine if it was magic then it wouldn’t require him to face me when it activated. Isn’t that based on too little though? I still have no clue what the boundaries of the magic in this world are… Every time I go to sleep I seem to completely break them.
I strike continuously at the old man trying to catch a glimpse of what is happening to my sword. I focus more on the speed of my strikes than the power. Whenever my sword is deflected to the side I quickly retract it to strike again, and whenever I am toss aside with it I attempt to strike from the new angle. I try to change up my strikes occasionally in the hopes of tripping the old man up to show a new side to this trick, but in the end every strike I send gets deflected
“More! More! You won’t even grasp something this simple if you don’t pick up the pace!” The old man lectures while deflecting my strikes
“Hah… hah… Simple? If you’re not using magic then I think you’re going at mach speeds.” I complain as I catch my breath for a moment
“Hm? I’m not sure I follow, but I’m using no trickery. What would you learn if I used magic to crush you while you are still so inexperienced?” The old man scoffs cockily
Seriously? Humans can become this powerful and yet they rely on the Yuusha? I fear the power he will have later if that is true. If what Gero said is true, then fighting him now would be a mistake, but I need to do something before he becomes too powerful in the future.
“Don’t become distracted! Learn some focus!” The old man yells as he lunges forward with the stick in his hand pointing it at me
My instincts tell me to dodge, and I only just manage to follow them. A cold chill goes down my spine when I hear a popping sound behind me. I look behind to see a small crater similar in size to a baseball carved out of the dirt. A bit of smoke seems to rise from it as if a small explosive just went off.
Did he really manage to do that without any kind of magic? I’ve heard of great martial artists being able to do damage with wind pressure alone, but this is ridiculous on a few too many levels. If a strike like that had hit me I think even I would take some serious damage.
“Are you trying to kill me?!” I let out in surprise as my head dashes back to look at the old man
“If that is what it takes to motivate you!” He yells in response as he draws back his hand for another blow
“Tch! In that case take this!” I yell in return as I prepare a strike of my own
I don’t know why this suddenly became so serious, but I don’t have time to defuse the situation! If I don’t do something to end this quickly then I can’t see this ending without injury.
The old man hasn’t been striking up until this point, simply facing me and somehow deflecting my blows. Since he has persistently faced me with that odd stance whenever I sent a strike his way, I can only imagine it must be necessary for whatever he is doing. In that case, him attacking me is an opening! If I strike now it might not be deflected. I won’t let this opportunity go to waste!
I lunge my sword forward with all my might not at the old man, but at the stick!
If I manage to disarm him then I might be able to end this safely.
“Aren’t we clever?” The old man suddenly asks with a smile on his face
I don’t even have time to process his question before if feels like my sword handle explodes and I’m forced to release it.
“Huh?” my surprise escapes to the surface as I fall to the ground in confusion
My sword is laying several feet away from me in perfect condition, and the old man is standing over me with his stick pointing at me.
“A fine match!” He says with a smile as he throws the stick aside
“Way to go princess!”
A barrage of cheers in familiar voices comes suddenly from the sidelines. When I turn to look I see nearly everybody from my party sitting around watching us.
When did they show up?! Did they just watch me get thrashed?!
My face can’t help but redden in embarrassment.
“I got a bit carried away towards the end, but you have shown your colors well! I will happily take you as my disciple young Yuusha!” The old man continues unaffected by the cheers
“Huh?!” I ask my confusion apparent once again
“Do you still not have your wits about you? I made sure not to do any damage to your head, but did you land on it wrong?” He asks in a way that is clearly joking
“Um… I think you’ve misunderstood something. I’m not the Yuusha.” I try to explain plainly
“Eh?” He lets out as his face freezes in surprise
It almost feels wrong to explain the misunderstanding. The smile on his face is one of such utter joy that it almost feels like I’m betraying it.
“Seriously? You’re not the Yuusha?” He asks still clearly in disbelief
“No… I do know him however. I could introduce you if you like…” I explain still feeling slightly guilty
I can’t really blame him for thinking I’m the Yuusha though. I am meant to be the existence equal to him.
Sigh “And I was all excited about the prospect of a decent disciple. Certainly the Yuusha must be greater still though… Perhaps he will even be a challenge!” The old man says with a fire in his eyes to himself
Somehow, I can only imagine him being disappointed by the actual Yuusha.