“Hahaha! You’re getting faster, but your still not gonna catch me at that rate!” Shishou mocks as he dodges for what must be the thousandth time
“Ha…ha… How can you… not be out of breath?!” I say as I pant for air
“It’s been… hours!” I almost say in a voice of near desperation
I’ve sent everything I had at him, and yet he looks just as spry as when we started. I’ve finally become good enough at moving with these things on to throw a good few decent punches, but I still can’t even come close!
“Can you really afford to be tired already? The sun has already set, that means you only have half a day left. Sure you’re improving, but at this rate, you still won’t finish in time. Push through!” Shishou says in a way that I can’t tell if it’s genuine
How can he still have so much energy? Sure I have a handicap, but shouldn’t he show some sign of fatigue by this point? I was hoping that eventually he would get tired and make some kind of mistake that I could use… but at this rate my body’s going to give out before that ever happens.
I fall to the ground, this time willingly. I swear I can feel the earth shake beneath me when I do. Just how heavy are these things?
“Giving up?” He asks in a disappointed tone
“Not likely! I already put hours of work into this, and moving in these things is no small task. If I’m going to put this much work into something then I’m not going to turn back halfway. No, I’m just resting.” I stubbornly bark back
“…I suppose there is some touch of wisdom in you. Sleep, eat, I don’t care what you do, but when you are finished with your rest you better come at me with twice the ferocity you did today.” He says as he staggers back and sits on a nearby rock
He seems to relax and finally let the fatigue set in when he does, as well a faint smile appears on his face.
“What? You were actually getting tired on me old man? I suppose I can’t ever insult your acting skills.” I joke as my body rings with pain
Man, you never really notice how hard your body has been screaming at you to slow down until you finally stop do you? I’m going to be feeling this muscle pain for weeks…
“Pfft, and what about you? If any normal man saw you moving around in those accursed contraptions he would lose himself! The very idea of those things makes some of the worst criminals go straight! Yet here you are jumping about like a newborn bird, in less than a day no less! Pwahahaha!” He begins to laugh like a drunkard
Sigh “Glad to hear that you find it so amusing.” I say as I begin to feel my eyes weigh on me
I figured as much, but the amount of magic I used is going to make sleep come quickly today. Now that I’ve laid down I don’t know how much longer I have.
“You’re a monster,” Shishou says in a greatly different tone
A cold sweat passes down my spine. I turn my head to look at Shishou only to find that he has a sullen and guilty looking expression.
Could… could he have really found out? Was this entire thing a trap?
The reality of the situation dawns on me. In moments I won’t be able to move for hours and an extremely strong human is staring down at me. Defenseless and totally restrained.
“At first I thought you were just some kid. You were so sloppy with a sword that a child could beat you… and yet you seemed so determined. You had your eyes set elsewhere, but your movements said you were having fun. I thought it would be fun to test your metal, and you showed real promise.” He continues
Doesn’t this sound like a eulogy? Tell me at the very least I’m not going to get killed by someone that monologues first.
“You aren’t just some kid though. Even though your technique is still abysmal your raw strength is growing so quickly that you can almost overpower me already. It’s frustrating. I spent my entire life sharpening my sword, only to be crushed by a mountain. In a few days, you will be my equal, in a few weeks even the world’s strongest warriors will have a tough time… in years? You grow so quickly, and yet there is so much time left for you. Once your body has adapted… our training will end. Surely there is little more that some old man well past his prime can do.” He continues in a frustrated voice
“What are you even talking about? You haven’t taught me a single thing about fighting yet. I started training with you so I could learn how to wield a sword properly. You haven’t even done your first job yet, and here you are trying to quit on me.” I try to argue through the rapidly rising heaviness of my eyelids
From what he just said I can at least be pretty sure he doesn’t intend to kill me right?… oh, who cares anymore… I’m so… tired…
“Hmph, what will I do w-“
“Ha! Ha! Hoo!”
In an instant, I feel my grogginess come to a halt. The air feels a cool crisp on my skin, and I can hear birds chirping along with an unfamiliar sound. That of a man yelling in rhythm. I open my eyes to see the morning sky and fresh dew on the grass around me. Before anything else, however, my attention focuses on the oddity in front of me.
“Oh? Awake already? You sure are an early riser, aren’t you? Most would sleep for days after doing what you did yesterday.” Shishou says between a series of punches and kicks to the air
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you training before. Seems tamer than I thought it would be. No mountains around to bench press, or waterfalls to split?” I tease
“Training? Ha! I’m warming up! Take it as a compliment. I’m not foolish to think it will be easy to hold out until you fail today. I did bring along a cake to console you though so you can look forward to that.” He teases back
Another day, and another person that didn’t try to kill me… I suppose I should get started.