Chapter 10

First Training Sessions

Thursday, September 20th 2063

After his class on Thursday, Tatsu Jin used his GLASS to reserve the Training Grounds’ twelfth room. With that out of the way, he needed to prepare himself for his first training session with Yumi. This time, after changing into more battle-ready attire, he let his shortsword rest inside his vault. Even though he had specifically asked that she should come with her gear, the metal reinforcement he was wearing on his arms was enough to keep him safe from her deadly blade. This was a small part of what he wanted to teach her: that fighters should not rely too much on their weapon. 

 

After taking care of this little task, he was already on his way to room number twelve, which he reserved for a good part of the afternoon. Once again, this training space was particularly fitting for the occasion as it featured a tatami mat. He thought that a swordswoman like Yumi would probably feel at home in that kind of environment, and therefore perform better. 

 

He sat down in one of the many seats that surrounded the tatami area and started thinking.

(So… she is the adopted daughter of a famous blade wielder. I was the witness of her prowess with a blade. Therefore, I will probably have nothing to teach her in the art of fighting. I never saw her use magic though, which is a huge problem. I can’t effectively prepare against what I don’t know.

 

Still, I am sure that I’ll be able to teach her a few things related to magic casting anyway. Regarding her attitude, she is very straightforward. That can be an asset or a disadvantage depending on who she is fighting. Also, I will need to reform her mind a little. Yumi was probably raised under the impression that a fair fight exists. Crushing that thought is my priority right now.)

Fifteen minutes before their meeting, the transfer student made his final preparations. He started by casting Advanced-Class Magic spells to enhance his physical abilities. Among these magic spells were Extreme Speed Magic, Reflex Enhancing Magic, Falcon’s Vision Magic, Ether Sensing Magic, Herculean Strength Magic, and Magnus Stamina Magic. 

 

He also added one Master-Class spell named Deep Recognition Magic, which allowed him to see through the enemies’ pattern of attacks and predict their future blows. 

As Tatsu Jin was completely locked out of Offensive Magic, it was the only way to ensure his dominant position over his teammate. He needed to do this if he wanted to appear as someone trustworthy to be teaching both Yumi and Mia. They needed to understand that there were many things that he could teach them. 

 

Considering the amount of Ether in his body, he would have been able to keep these magic spells up for a very long time. However, he made it so that each spell would dissipate after the other during the training session. 

(Not letting an enemy recast their Support Magic spells is also part of the art of battle. I hope that she will figure out that she can win if she stalls.)

It didn’t take long for the swordswoman to open the room door. Yumi harbored a serious and focused gaze, as if she was already fighting. Her traditional Japanese kimono, combined with her tied hair, gave her the aura of a determined fighter. Without saying anything, she positioned herself at one side of the tatami mat.

 

She took a fighting stance by putting all of her body weight on her back foot. The last thing the swordswoman did was grip her sheathed katana’s hilt with her right hand. Yumi’s breathing was controlled and she focused on her objective, winning against the one that defeated her last time. Without a word, the transfer student also took place in the fighting area and adopted a basic stance with his hands in the air, protecting his head.

 

Without a word, they understood each other. For about thirty seconds, the fighters stood there, eyeing each other. Even though they tried multiple times to feint, neither took the bait. They both wanted the other to make the first move.

 

Tatsu Jin was not going to make the first play in any case, so Yumi decided to take the opportunity.

 

Shifting the momentum from her back foot to her whole body, she charged in his direction and drew her sword in a lightning-fast motion. The horizontal blow clashed with one of Tatsu Jin’s reinforced gloves, the two metals sparking. Because one of her ace moves was blocked so easily, Yumi was surprised for a split second. Still, it was enough for Jin to make a tactical retreat.

 

They were in a stalemate once again, but not for long. She didn’t want to give him time to think, so Yumi went on the offensive once more. With a combination of fast thrusts and diagonals blows, she was now focused on outperforming him with all her might. Even though these blows were hard to dodge, she still had underestimated her foe.

 

Without changing his support foot, the transfer student rotated his body to dodge all that Yumi had in store for him. He even smiled at her in the process for two reasons. First, his Deep Recognition Magic was really useful in such a situation.

 

Also, Tatsu Jin did it purposely to break her morale. Seeing an opponent block a few blows was one thing, but completely dodging every move with ease while still having the time to taunt was another. He wanted her to lose her cool, to make her angry. With her mastery over the sword, it was the only tactic that could create openings and breaches in her defense.

 

So, after opening his guard and waving his right hand, he shot her a glance full of challenge.

 

For now, Yumi had the high ground. Her blows were precise, compact, fast, and supposedly difficult to dodge. As long as she kept her movements fluid, what looks like a death dance would be hard to counter. Knowing the situation, Yumi kept her cool and shook off his taunting. Still, the swordswoman decided to let him breathe a second since she was deciding on what move to use next.

 

Seeing Yumi deep in thought, Tatsu Jin decided to use this window of opportunity and rushed in front of her. Fighting a swordswoman head-on was complete suicide without a plan. His years of experience on the battlefields took over his mind. Just before making contact, he faked a rush to her left to bait a sword blow that would be easy to dodge.

 

Overwhelmed and surprised, her lack of real battle experience forced her to take the bait. Yumi fell for his feint and went for a heavy downward strike at Tatsu Jin’s right.

 

The transfer student’s feint opened Yumi’s defense perfectly. After going past her blade, he positioned his right leg behind her body and had enough time to look in her eyes before dealing the decisive blow. He pushed her violently on the chest with his right hand while keeping his right leg steady. Losing all support in the legs, she fell over the transfer student’s leg and onto the floor. Her hands even lost grip of her sword while falling. 

 

Tatsu Jin won the first round by using Yumi’s lack of real-life fighting experience against her. Somehow, he was still disappointed by the outcome of the battle. 

(She didn’t use any magic again. Why?)

Before he was able to think about it, Yumi was already up and ready to go at it again. However, there was a glimpse of desperation in her eyes. She also seemed lost, and getting answers was her only way to make light on what just happened. 

      How are you so strong and so fast? You also seem to have battle experience; I can feel it.

      For both the physical and technical aspects, you outmatch me hard.

      Stop joking… you just played with me… what are you really capable of?

      AGAIN.

With a radiant and confident smile, he challenged her to a second round.

 

Being beaten once today had a terrible effect on her state of mind. In addition, she had been tossed to the ground, which represented one of the most humiliating things that can happen to a swordsman. Furthermore, it was the second time she had lost to the same student in her promotion. She even thought that, in her opponent’s eyes, she didn’t deserve to have magic cast against her. After all, she didn’t see him cast any magic at all this time.

 

In her eyes, he had just beaten her without even using magic. That alone was more than enough for Yumi to lose her composure. Out of frustration, she let out a terrible battle cry before running straight to face him.

 

Fueled with anger, her blows became more powerful, but unfortunately for her, also more predictable. Her beautiful, gracious, and calm sword dance became a wave of wrath. It made Tatsu Jin’s life a lot easier as she was now full of openings.

 

Like the first round, Tatsu Jin waited for an opportunity to counter-attack. So, he kept on dodging and blocking a few of her blows. His Deep Recognition Magic warned him that a very telephoned downward swing was about to come. Following that prediction, the transfer student placed himself for the finishing blow.

 

When Yumi was in the middle of her powerful swing, she knew that she had made a mistake. Still, it was too late to change the course of her movement. Tatsu Jin’s left foot made a quarter of a circle in her direction and swung his body to dodge Yumi’s final blow.

 

In that position, all he had to was shift the power of his right foot to his left and rotate his hip to deal a fully powered hook to her head.

 

She was sent flying through the tatami mat because of the force that resulted from Jin’s magically enhanced blow. It was also strong enough to make her lose consciousness. However, she didn’t stay in that state for long as her opponent got closer to her body and started casting some Healing Magic. After a short amount of time, it was like both fights never happened. Yumi regained her vitality but still kept a face betraying her disappointment.

 

She was the one breaking the silence. 

       What am I missing? It’s absurd for you to be this strong. I practiced all my life and I’m nowhere near your level and we are from the same generation.

      Your ego is preventing you from getting stronger.

      What nonsense are you spouting?

      Also, you need to stop waging fair fights.

      What does that even mean? 

Yumi thought that she would never be more puzzled in her whole life. To her, nothing he said made sense. So, the beaten swordswoman was waiting for his response.

       I never said I would fight fairly. Because no one would fight fairly in the real world. The world of magicians that you just entered is the most ruthless I have ever seen. From what I just witnessed; you would not last a minute on any battlefield.

      And you would?

      Yes. Do you want answers to your questions?

      Yes.

      Where are you, at that exact minute?

      At the… Elite Magic… Academy…

Suddenly, everything made sense to her. From the beginning, Tatsu Jin’s abilities had been a complete mystery to her. She had been obsessed with finding out what training he went through to be able to harness such physical power. Yumi now understood how far she was from the truth.

 

She lied down on the tatami mat, relaxed, and let out a laugh mixed with a smile. Many of her insecurities had just disappeared. 

      You buffed yourself using magic. And as I didn’t see you, I guess you made some preparations beforehand.

       Congratulations. Learn from this, and always expect the worst from your opponent. If this was a real fight, you would be dead by now.

      How many buffing spells did you use to make yourself this strong?

      Five, plus more or less a few Advanced-Magic spells.

      Damn. 

But after thinking about the bigger picture, Yumi still needed her curiosity to be satisfied. 

      What is the real reason for throwing away your Saturday matches?

       I am focusing all my energy on winning the winter and spring tournaments. I have no interest whatsoever in the individual rankings. With that in mind, why would I waste my resources and trump cards on something of no value to me?

Even though his answer remained the same as before, she believed him this time. Still, after putting on a pouting face, she taunted him. 

      So, that means I’m still the best martial artist.

      Yes, but you need to be taught a lesson about this.

      How so?

      Why didn’t you use any magic during our fight?

Her expression changed slightly. Yumi already knew where her teammate was leading her. She also knew she deserved that lesson. 

       I thought it was a fair fight between two martial artists.

       Yumi, listen to me…

A fight is a fight.

By enrolling here, you forfeited your right to be a martial artist.

Right now, you are a magician.

So, act like it.

     Do you know how hard is it to leave behind something that was carved inside of you?

The transfer student didn’t want the conversation to go that way. So, he changed his strategy. 

      Let go of your martial artist’s ego and traditions. With just the right amount of magic mixed into your moves, you could be unstoppable. 

Tatsu Jin knew he had won the argument when he saw her radiant smile and eyes light up. Sometimes, he forgot that all these magicians are just slightly older than teenagers. He used that atmosphere to put the order in stone once again. 

      However, that ego has to go. Right now, you are a learning magician that just happens to be extremely talented with a blade, IN THAT ORDER. Got it?

      Yes. What are we doing now? We still have an hour and a half left.

      I will train you on how to combine magic with your moves.

They both spent the rest of the session experimenting with her magic. Yumi really wasn’t too gifted in most magic, but Fire Magic spells seemed to be working quite fine for her. One fact surprised her teacher in particular as she really found inventive ways to add these spells to her techniques. Tatsu Jin was a harsh teacher, but he still complimented her once after around an hour of training.

 

They spent the remainder of their time fighting against each other. On their last round, Yumi ended up downing Tatsu Jin by using a Flame Wave Magic spell to hide from his sight. Still, he didn’t tell her that all his support spells weren’t functioning anymore. 

 

After complimenting Yumi again for the efforts she had shown, he gave her a few exercises to do on her own and saw her off. The transfer student also promised to go see her match on Saturday. 

(She is a piece of work, but she’ll do wonders in the end… no doubt. It’s been a while since I had such an entertaining afternoon without risking my life.)

Even though it wasn’t really in his nature, Tatsu Jin was sincerely smiling. He was used to harboring a cheeky smile, but this one was different. He wasn’t expecting to enjoy that little event so much.  

Separator

Friday, September 21st 2063

After Yumi on Thursday, it was time for Mia the day after. The really aggressive and straightforward strategy that he adopted with the swordswoman wasn’t going to work on Mia. Her problems were clearly psychological. So, he needed to be careful and go about approaching the matter very delicately.

 

Tatsu Jin was already in the twelfth room of the Training Grounds half an hour before their meeting to get his thoughts in order. 

(So… what attracted me in her file was the psychological evaluation. It’s almost laughable… the ninth-most powerful first-year student is insecure. Many would kill to only have half of her magic talent, and she still doesn’t believe in herself.

 

What she showed me on Sunday was also laughable at best. She panicked so hard that she missed the activation of her spell.

 

Clearly, she needs positive reinforcement… a whole cargo of it.)

Because he didn’t know if he was going to fight, he still did a round of warmups while waiting for Mia.

 

When Mia showed up, she directly went up on the tatami and unlocked the case that she was carrying. She was also wearing the same light armor as a few days back.

 

With her compound bow in hand, Mia looked at him for a brief moment before escaping the staring contest. The bow wielder was calming her breathing when the transfer student took her by surprise. 

      This isn’t going to be necessary. Just sit for now, we need to talk, Mia. 

Mia started to panic again. The young woman had been imagining for days that he would be kicking her off the team because of her previous blunder. Still, she complied and sat in front of him in a cross-legged position. Mia waited for him to lead the conversation, still afraid of what she thought was coming. 

         What happened last time?

         I… panicked.

         Why?

Tatsu Jin was completely calm. He didn’t want to look like he was judging her, so he let her explain herself. 

      I didn’t want… to let Yumi down. But at the same time, there was… a voice in my head saying that I would fail her. I was so  focused on keeping… the voice away that… I missed the casting of my spell.

      Why are you so insecure?

       Because I’m in Class A, around people that expect nothing but perfection from me, and I’m also supposed to be the hope of my family… and…

      And?

      I’m not good enough and no one trusts me.

      I heard that you released a really powerful Medium-Class Lightning Arrow Magic.

      That’s exactly what I am talking about! It took me nine attempts to get that spell to work!

She went from intimidated to angry in a matter of seconds. He thought that she had probably been praised over and over for that spell that only reminded her of her failure. Still, Tatsu Jin decided to keep digging. 

       Because I have… shallow foundations. I never learned how to deal with Basic-Class Magic spells because I was considered a genius, which I am obviously not. My parents always thought that their little princess didn’t deserve to learn such spells, only fit for low-class magicians.

Tatsu Jin didn’t say anything for a second. Not because he was listening, but because he did not know what to say. The absurdity of the situation caught him off guard. 

(Mia has no idea how exceptional she is… how talented she is. Even me, I had to grind my way up from Basic-Class Magic spells.)

Still, once again he had to verify her claim. 

      Are you saying that you are capable of releasing Medium-Class Magic spells without any experience of casting Basic-Class spells?

      Yes… once in a while. But how am I supposed to fight with such inconsistent bullshit?

      You don’t realize what you did, do you?

      What?

It was her turn to be at a loss for words.

       I’m sure there is not a single student, including me, that could have done what you did. Logically, you shouldn’t be able to bypass a level of magic at all, more so the most important one. Being able to launch Medium-Class Magic in your current state is a miracle that is completely unheard of. Heck, even the Master of All Magic couldn’t probably do what you did.

Mia still did not know what to say, as she found his argument hard to believe. But something else entered her mind. 

      Wait… you believe me?

       Shouldn’t I?

       No, you should… but when I tried to explain my situation to several people, they all thought I was either joking or boasting. No one believed me.

       I do. 

After all, from the Master of All Magic’s point of view, her claim was also supported by hard facts and evidence. He didn’t trust her story as much as he trusted cold hard facts.

 

She started crying. For the longest time, no one had ever taken her seriously. So, finding someone that relieved her from this situation was emotionally challenging for her. Mia finally found someone that she would be able to share her insecurities with.

 

Tatsu Jin waited for Mia to be in the right state to talk again before continuing. 

       I will be in charge of your magic training. With your talent, you are expected to master Basic-Class spells over the course of a few weeks. We will regularly train to check your progress, but most of the work you can do alone. Ether meditation is key, so don’t even think about missing a day. Understood?

      Yes.

After this conversation, Mia’s new teacher introduced her to the basics of magic casting.

 

To successfully cast a spell, one had to completely master the visualization process of the physical phenomena. A magician is using the Ether stored in his body to give life to what he is imagining. However, it is also limited to the law of physics.

 

Tatsu Jin taught her the easiest Basic-Class spells he knew one after the other. As he expected, she cleared them at an insanely fast pace. Even though he saw a bit of himself in her, she had a different kind of talent than he had. While the Master of All Magic was a fast learner, she, on the other hand, was just naturally gifted with magic visualization.

 

Another interesting fact that attracted his attention was that all spells even remotely close to electricity worked on her first try. She indeed had an incredible affinity with Lightning Magic.

 

The reason why first-year students often focused on learning magic spells related to an element was their simplicity. During their second and third years, these students would finally start to experiment with spells based on a multitude of different concepts.

 

Every time Mia managed to cast a Basic-Spell successfully, her teacher praised her skills. Positive reinforcement being a long-term plan, he still needed to start somewhere. He taught her spells that would be useful for her profile, like Jumping Magic and Heavy Focus Magic.

 

His goal was to create an efficient sniper, capable of having his back. Their session came to an end but before parting, he still gave her some homework to do for next week. 

       I want you to be able to cast every spell that we just practiced under heavy stress and without thinking. This is what is required if you want to use them in battle. You haven’t practiced enough, so don’t try using these spells on your match tomorrow unless you are absolutely confident. Got it?

      Understood Jin, thank you. Do you promise to come to my match tomorrow?

      Yumi managed to get a promise out of me, so I’ll be there to watch you, too. 

They parted ways before the transfer student was able to see her blush. He didn’t waste a single second and teleported to Apartment 808 to rest.

He jumped on his bed and started wondering.

(These girls are something else. One has tremendous but untamed power while the other simply refused to put magic over martial arts. However, should they work hard, our team could be unstoppable in the near future. Letting myself get carried straight to the Arcane Magic sure sounds nice.)

Even though he wasn’t planning on fighting the next day, he still had two new promises to keep, so he set up his alarm before going to sleep.

Separator

Saturday, September 22nd 2063

He knew what was going to happen. He thought that the Elite Magic Academy would have stopped considering his multiple surrenders during his fights. Obviously, he was wrong.

 

Actually, it was because of his behavior that he was scheduled there. His matches were heavily followed since he had many detractors.

 

After taking care of his morning ritual, he jogged in the direction of the arena facilities. He wasn’t wearing battle-ready gear, only his regular uniform. In that state, no one would be able to guess that he had a match scheduled that day.

 

He was the first match programmed, so it didn’t take long for his name to make its way through the official announcements. As usual, he made it through the fighter’s tunnel and walked slowly to take place on the official ring. He didn’t even take a glance at his opponent and faced the area where the officials were talking. When the countdown of the fight reached zero, he did what he had to do. 

         I surrender. 

Right now, only his back was facing his supposed enemy. He tried to go back to the tunnel as soon as possible but couldn’t avoid what was coming.

 

And he knew it.

 

The whole stadium went nuts once again. The crowd was badmouthing him for being a coward and a student unworthy of this academy. A few students, though the most expressive ones, also shouted that he was a traitor for betraying the academy’s expectations. Tatsu Jin also had to dodge a few items coming down his way before disappearing from the audience’s line of vision.

 

In truth, he didn’t mind what happened as he had more serious matters to attend to, like keeping two promises.

 

Mia’s fight was scheduled before Yumi’s, so he rushed to the Delta Stadium, where her fight would be taking place. He was lucky enough to find her a few seconds before she entered the ring. 

       Mia, I forbid you from using that Medium-Class magic. It doesn’t matter if you lose, I just want you to have a real taste of what a battle looks like. 

She agreed and went her way to fight her opponent.

 

Despite using Jumping Magic, Heavy Focus Magic and her aluminum arrows, she couldn’t prevent her opponent from closing the distance. At that range, it was just impossible for her to win. Still, Mia managed to dodge a few blows before falling to a Fire Fist Magic spell.

 

Still, Tatsu Jin was pretty satisfied. His so-called student was already using magic that she just learned in a fight. He prevented the medical staff from taking care of her and healed Mia himself when no one else was looking. Just a simple nod was enough for them to understand each other. They needed to hurry if they were going to witness Yumi’s fight.

 

They arrived early at the Beta Stadium and joined the other students in the designated seating area. After thinking about it, Mia felt a bit hurt since Yumi did not require any special rules like she did, but kept that thought to herself. They discussed many things related to magic, but the transfer student avoided every personal question.

 

After twenty minutes, the fight was finally about to start as the contestants entered the fighting area. Yumi was wearing her traditional outfit and seemed completely focused on her fight. Her opponent was dual-wielding enchanted axes and wearing heavy armor. What was special about this contest was that Yumi was facing a second-year student, though a lower-ranked one.

 

They both took a fighting stance and waited for the horn that would signal the beginning of the fight.

 

When the horn reverberated through the Beta Stadium, none of the fighters made a move. The second-year student had analyzed the video footage of her previous fights, so he was under the impression that she would not be using any magic at all.

 

However, he was wrong. He didn’t take into account what would be happening.

 

Yumi cast two Medium-Class Support Magic spells to improve her speed and strength before unleashing three Fire Wave Magic spells at her opponent. These three diagonal long-range fire magic spells with the form of a boomerang flew at him rapidly. He was surprised that when he dodged them, the second-year student did not realize that she was already out of his sight.

 

Before the student could understand what happened, he received three well-placed strikes from her katana. They were placed at strategic angles that his armor was not covering. She had used the same tactic she employed against Tatsu Jin in order to take care of her opponent. Yumi had used Magic as a distraction and as a way to enhance her already very powerful physical abilities.

 

All students that witnessed the fight applauded her feat of power, including Tatsu Jin and Mia. The latter was also deeply moved by her grace and decided that she would be her objective to reach from now on. Mia wanted to be applauded like this at least once.

 

In the ring, Yumi glanced at the crowd, trying to find Jin. When she did, they both shared a smile that meant a thousand words.

 

After their fights, all three members of the team were resting at a cafeteria eating ice cream. Both Yumi and Mia received praises, especially the swordswoman, that had performed well over his expectations. Even though he felt obligated to point out the few mistakes that they made, he was still really satisfied with the outcome of these events.

 

He spent some time with them, casually walking around the academy, before going back to Apartment 808. 

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