Chapter 146 – Exchanging Pointers (1)
While Daichi and Leo were thinking about their fights, Damien fought against Lydia in in front of their very eyes but neither of them paid attention. Their focus was solely on what they should do next.
It was Leo that spoke up first “You were really impressive.”
Daichi heard and for a brief moment thought it was sarcasm until he glanced at Leo and saw a genuine expression on his face. “I lost miserably. I’ve never been so embarrassed by anyone in my life.” He said honestly.
Leo only snickered in response but spoke with a longing look that betrayed him “You lost because you have absolutely no technique. You have incredible abilities but use them with no skill… In my eyes… It’s probably because you’ve only ever fought for survival. You fought against weaker monsters than yourselves with whatever skill you thought would be most useful in that circumstance but never against a truly strong monster. Almost definitely not against other humans.”
Daichi’s eyes narrowed as he only thought about Leo’s comments briefly “I’ve fought against strong monsters.”
Leo’s gaze didn’t change “Have you? I mean have you really…? I believe… That if you didn’t use any of those abilities, I could beat you with one hand tied behind my back.”
Daichi couldn’t tell if Leo was trying to provoke him or not, but after being embarrassed by Lydia he was more hot-headed than he normally would have been as he couldn’t stop himself from almost immediately retorting “Want to bet on that?”
“Yes. I even have the terms.” Leo said almost instantly.
Daichi’s left eye twitched as he felt as if he’d just fallen into a trap but he still felt certain that there was no way he could lose to Leo… Even as he thought it he realized he was being arrogant again… But even so he couldn’t believe he would lose to someone his age!
“What’re the terms?”
“Simple. If you win then I will tell you what your greatest weakness is. I will point it out from the perspective of a swordsman and I will even call you my senior. But… If you can’t beat me, then… You’ll have to call me Senior! You will also have to help me train in finding what element I have the best affinity with, and sensing and understanding it.”
Daichi released a huge breath of air and started laughing. That was all it took for Daichi to realize that Leo was sincerely trying to help instead of mocking him. It was clear to Daichi that there were no real detriments, only benefits ‘He really thinks he can beat me eh…?’
Daichi had been moments from losing himself in anger after he’d thought he’d been mocked. He’d been embarrassed and smacked around and had suffered more loses in one day than he thought he’d had his entire life. His emotions went from anger to relieved and even as he laughed it took him a bit to realize that perhaps he was beginning to care what others thought of him. No one regarded him in any aspect when he was growing up in town, but he’d never been looked down upon. Only today did he come to realize how important he regarded his pride and dignity.
“You mentioned I couldn’t use my abilities. What’d you mean by that?”
“Simple!” Leo hopped up off the ground from his sitting position into a poised stance and put his hand on his sword.
“You can use mana to amplify any of your muscles or body, but no elemental attacks. You can use a weapon as I’ll use my sword but that’s all. No attacking to kill either. No need for injuries after all haha” Leo spoke amicably but his poised stance and the look in his eyes gave him away. He wasn’t looking down on Daichi, but he held a deep belief in himself and his ability to win their duel.
Daichi’s eyes remained jovial as he slowly stood up as he pulled his two swords out of their sheaths.
Leo’s eyes widened almost immediately. It was the first time that Daichi had pulled his weapons out for combat and the quality of the materials and craftsmanship of the swords was noticeable immediately.
“Let’s begin!” Daichi made the first move. He was aware that this fight would be playing into Leo’s strengths but his confidence didn’t waver as he moved forward with his swords initiating the first attack.
Leo began passively receiving each sword slash and parrying each attack.
Almost every other slash, Leo created the opportunity for a counter attack but instead choose to hold himself back.
Daichi realized the extent of the difference in their swordsmanship with the first few slashes but continued anyways. He was waiting for Leo to attack, to lure him into a position where they would be forced to exchange damage but to his surprise as he continued his assault Leo wouldn’t do anything.
‘Is he trying to show me the difference in our swordsmanship?’ he thought to himself in the middle of his attacks.
Slash after sword slash, one parried after another as Leo constantly retreated in a semi circle, drawing the fight out.
The fight became a stalemate. After what felt like a long drawn out battle, sweat was dripping down their faces, but while Leo was still calmly maintaining his defensive stance. Daichi was breathing heavily. His shoulders moving up and down in an exaggerated manner as he took deeper breaths.
It took Daichi too long before he began to notice the difference in their physiques. Leo clearly had more stamina than himself, moreover due to his abilities, he could see that Leo was using less mana than himself and more efficiently at that to strengthen his muscles to both move and parry his blows.
“I admit defeat.” Daichi said as he stifled the annoyance in his heart as he sheathed his swords and plopped himself down on the ground.
Daichi was well aware that he could very well kill Leo if that was the aim, but it was clear that under the rules that Leo had set up he couldn’t win. It wasn’t just what he couldn’t do, but rather he only now realized the wording Leo had used.
‘Hah… I think I’ve lost some IQ points since I entered this damn academy! From the beginning I had to beat him, but he didn’t have to beat me!’
Leo had stated that if Daichi won he would receive benefits, otherwise if Daichi couldn’t win then Leo would win the bet…
Throughout the fight Daichi had realized how lacking his technique was, even without his elemental abilities… He should have been able to do something to Leo but instead all he saw was how clumsy his physical attacks were.
“Damn cheater…” Daichi muttered under his breath.
Leo walked over and sheathed his own weapon and stuck his tongue out “Seems you’ve realized it hehe… Sorry about that… But… I really do admire you.”
“Admire my ass! First Lydia now you! Seems everybody can embarrass me these days and do whatever they want!” Daichi complained but in his heart he was already putting these matters aside. The only person he was truly mad with was himself, every loss only pointed to how arrogant he’d become and he acknowledged it completely.
“I’m not lying Daichi. Your ability to comprehend all of these elements and utilize them so well… You’ve probably even accomplished all this without a true teacher. You’re a genius…” Leo shook his head looking away as he stared at Damien off to the side.
Damien had lost his match against Lydia over two hours ago and had long been sitting off to the side watching their match.
“I don’t have a tenth of your ability. Damn… I might not even have a 100th of your ability! It should be obvious to even you now. Your greatest weakness is your technique. Due to your genius, you’ve developed one ability after another to deal with various different situations or monsters, but against a stronger or evenly matched opponent… You can’t incorporate any of your abilities seamlessly into your fighting style because you don’t have one. You have no technique. Blindly depending on powerful abilities will never defeat a true master.”
Leo’s tone was downcast. Daichi only glanced at him before looking away. He’d long realized what Leo was saying during their match. Even if he’d killed Leo with one of his stronger abilities, it would have only been because Leo was truly weaker. Against someone like Lydia, his inability to use his abilities effectively had truly been because of his lack of fighting style. He merely used one ability after another…
Daichi thought about everything he’d learned during the day and the annoyance in his heart all but drifted away. He’d gained too much to be downcast. ‘If I can create my own fighting style… If I can develop my technique… I can increase my fighting ability multiple folds!’
Developing technique was akin to practicing repeatedly, it was hard work and effort. Compared to ability or comprehension, something that one was born with and could only help to increase the odds of understanding and reaching an epiphany, it was infinitely easier. This was something would only take but a matter of time.
Naturally Daichi’s mood lifted as he came to this conclusion. ‘I’ll do this, and once I do… If I can stand toe to toe with Lydia, then I can probably handle most of the people within the academy.’ He thought to himself as a smile played across his lips.
Having a greater understanding of his own ability and that of the students as well as one of the professors, Daichi felt confident about his future. After which he could gain access to all of the knowledge in the library… His smile only grew wider.
“A bet is a bet. I’ll teach you what I can, but I make no promises. Midday from now on.” Daichi said as he got to his feet.
“Eh? You busy in the morning or something?” Leo looked at him in confusion.
“No… But I am going to spend the mornings thinking of my own training and implementing it.” Daichi said with a slightly annoyed expression.
“If that’s the case… Show up in the morning. I will spar with you in the mornings from now on so we can work on your technique. I’ll teach you swordsmanship. Whether it’s the path you continue in the future or not, it’ll still be useful training and increase your fighting ability. Maybe then you’ll be worthy of carrying around those swords you’ve got there.” Leo said with a smile.
Daichi’s eyes slightly widened before he smiled back at Leo. Understanding the good will immediately.