While the old man is distracted most of the guard run away. I notice his eyes lock on to a few of them, but he doesn’t do anything to stop them regardless.
“Sorry to leave so soon, but I’m still on duty,” Jorge says as he hastily follows his comrades
As the last guard leaves the old man and I are left standing there simply watching.
“Gah! The lot of them are soft. I don’t expect them to beat me, but they could have at least put up more of a fight.” He says in a harsh tone
It’s hard not to notice the disappointment in his voice as well.
“You seem to be in a rather sour mood today, or do you usually go around beating the snot out of the city guard?” I ask as I draw my sword
“Oh, I’m not that crotchety.” He says with a smile as he picks up a stick
“’I’m guessing your poor mood is linked to the Yuusha?” I ask as I awkwardly attempt to strike the stance he taught me
“You’re sharp, if not a bit slow. I told you before, straighten up your back!” He scolds as he dashes behind me in an instant to strike my spine with the stick
“Not quite what you were expecting?” I ask trying not to wince from the pain
Honestly, it’s scary how much a tap with a stick hurts when this guy does it. I wonder just how much power he is putting into it. However much it is though, it’s impressive that he is putting in just enough to make me straighten up. To have had so little contact with me and yet understand my defense enough to rein his power to the perfect amount… humans can certainly become fearsome.
“Are we going to keep talking, or can we get started already?” He asks with a knowing look
Guess I can’t delay this forever.
Without another word, I turn on my heal swinging the sword with my momentum.
The result left me questioning what happened for several seconds. My sword had been knocked out of my hand mid-swing, and I was left standing there defenseless and open. As if to insinuate this point the old man pokes me in the stomach with the stick before backing away and taking up his perfect defense pose.
“No mercy today, huh?” I ask as I walk over and pick up the sword
It’s undeniably difficult to retain an air of dignity while you are picking up a sword. As the words roll out of my mouth in the vain attempt I begin to blush from embarrassment.
“Don’t be silly, if I wasn’t showing you mercy than that sword would be shattered to bits. I have to try to work in a proper work out here or I’m not going to be able to calm down.” He responds in a serious tone
“I’ll do my best,” I say as I try out a new stance
That move just now gave me an idea. This stance should hopefully make it a bit easier to pull off. I might have to cheat a bit if I want to give him a proper fight though. I put my sword hand in front of me, and my free hand behind. If one were to look at me out of context I’m sure they would know that I planned to sprint forward.
“Haste” I say softly
After saying it I don’t move for several moments. I can feel my increased heartbeat and blood-flow fight against my still body. I have to wait though. This idea is only going to work the first time I try it.
“Well? Aren’t you gonn-” The old man begins in an increasingly irritated voice before being interrupted
Seeing him become even slightly more distracted I decide to rush forward before he has the chance to finish talking. Surely there is a second where his brain needs to switch tracks back to fighting.
“Haste” still seems to be in effect, and I close the gap in moments. The surprise becomes visible in the old man’s rapidly approaching face. However…
“Weak!” He yells inches from my face as he hits my sword to the side yet again
“That’s what I was hoping for!” I yell back as I continue my rush unabated
The true purpose of my rush was never a sword strike, but rather… a punch! I put the full force of my rush into my fist as it lands squarely in his chest.
With an explosive sound reminiscent of those from earlier he slams into the ground making a slight crater. Even a bit a smoke is rising from the place where my strike hit. I can’t tell if I feel relieved or annoyed when I notice that the shattered stick is the origin rather than the old man’s chest.
“You know it would feel more like an accomplishment if you didn’t have such an unapologetic grin on your face after I knock you to the ground,” I say in an annoyed tone as I offer my hand
“What is your name?” He asks with a continuing grin as if he hadn’t heard me
“Oh?” I ask surprised
Out of a hundred things I thought he might say after me pulling that off, that was certainly not one.
“My name is Shishou, former master of the royal guard.” He exclaims disregarding my surprise
“My name is Mano…” I answer still not totally understanding his objective
“How did you become so strong?” He asks as his grin fades and is replaced by a stoic look
“I could ask you the exact same question,” I respond dismissively trying to keep the mood light
I’m tired of making up excuses. If I’m simply to be labeled as “mysterious” then so be it. So long as I don’t gain too much fame.
“A lifetime of training brought me the strength that I wield today, and my only regret is that I don’t have another lifetime to polish that sword. That’s why I need a disciple. I don’t really care honestly where you get your power, even if it’s some magical item or curse that is going to destroy us all… power is power. Girlie… no. Mano will you become my disciple?” He ask with an air of serious to him that is hard to answer
“So… I’m your second choice after all,” I respond with a teasing smile
“That’s just how great the Yuusha’s potential is after all,” Shishou says with an even greater smile than before as he places his hand on my shoulder
“AH! MY SWORD! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO IT?!” I am startled as a voice I had not heard recently yells behind me
“Tea?!” I let out in my surprise