Chapter 8 : First Step


Its 5 in the morning and…. here we are, in this confined space, constructed right beneath the surface of our abode.

This so called chamber is far too deep and incredibly vast to be simply called a regular basement, but instead, its more akin to a dungeon.

This facility was specially constructed by grandpa for the specific purpose of private training, to prevent any outsiders intervention and any unwanted eye. Not just training, but its also the place where grandpa teaches me mystic sword art, while keeping the things in shadows.

No outsider or a martial could even imagine that such an anomaly would exist beneath such a compacted residence and its not just about the outside, the entrance for the passage to this secret chamber is hidden even from inside of the house and only known by a few in the house, excluding even Emily and as for its huge size, its because of utilizing of the space beneath the dojo as well, which is joint to the back of our house above the ground.

So even if tried, anyone would find it difficult to just get to the entrance of this chamber which is carved and begins from grandpas room to such deep heights.

Though such private training chambers are not too uncommon among martials but the oddity that separates this one from the rest are these walls, thick enough that even if I try to pierce it with my sword, I doubt that my sword won even length half of its thickness but thats the case when Im assuming to pierce through it, but considering the sturdiness and resistivity of these walls, I believe that even grandpa will face a hard time in piercing through them.

However, thats not all there is to it, the actual abnormality of these walls is that they are highly infused with aether, which Ofcourse is the reason behind its insane durability but also, the aether on its external surface acts as a mask, while the aether on the internal walls acts as an isolating barrier.

In brief, the spell casted on the external part, reflects any incoming aether signal, concealing its presence from any outside source and as for the spell casted on the inside part, it absorbs every sort of attack and any leaking trace of aether from the person, making it completely isolated from outside space.

And if I talk about the facilities and equipments present here, anyone would easily admit that this training ground is on par with any professional dojo in city.

”So kai, today Im going to start your training to master the 5th technique of Mystic sword art, and this technique will be completely different and much more difficult than the four techniques that you had learnt before ” – said grandpa while standing in front of me with a prestigious and familiar wooden box in his arms.

And just after completing his words, he placed that box on the small table beside him and inserted the key in the keyhole to unlock it.

I and coco were both firmly focused on each of his actions but I could tell coco was still not completely awake by the drool lingering out of his long tongue.

But then, grandpa took out a scroll from the box and started walking in our direction.

Each technique of Mystic sword art is so complex and arduous to understand, that nobody could master it just by seeing it for a couple of times, so a brief explanation of how to master the technique and how to circulate the aether flow in body to maximize the output is briefly explained in these scrolls. I have already gone through and absorbed the four scrolls of Mystic sword art from earlier which were about the previous four techniques and now its time for the 5th one to get devoured by me….

I was excited but as well as nervous about this as the thing is, each ascending technique is far more difficult than the previous one, so theres no absolute estimation of time period it might take for one to master it.

I remember I started learning them for the first time when I was 13 and now Im almost 18 but I can only perform precisely 4 of them, but this time, I will do my best to learn it and make a it part of myself as fast as possible.

”So kai, you already know what this scroll is about…. it contains the explanation of flow of aether in a body to master the 5th technique of Mystic sword art. So first of all, I will proceed with explaining the theory part and then we will proceed with the combat and practical part ” – instructed grandpa to which I simply nodded in agreement but then as my curiosity took over me, I asked; ”Grandpa but whats the name of this technique? ”

”Oh yes, I just forgot to mention that…. ” – grandpa took a brief pause between his sentences.

”So, this 5th technique of Mystic sword art is known as WIND SPLITTER ” – said grandpa with a cool grin curling up on his face.

”Our predecessors were really flashy I guess ” – I mocked him out of nowhere with a croaked expression.

”Well sometimes the first impression is the last impression, so its logical to use such cool and heavy names boy ” – grandpa said with a disappointed laugh and maybe to change the topic he, switched his attention from me to coco in the next moment as he said….

”Coco I think I disturbed your precious nap, right? ” – said grandpa with a really scary expression which caught coco off-guard, as a layer of sweat roll down his forehead as his gaze met grandpas face.

”N-no master…. theres nothing more important to me than your command ” – said coco, with an attempt to cover up the situation.

”Is that so, then I want you to run 50 laps of this training ground under 15 minutes ” – said grandpa which fell on coco just like a huge boulder as I could see his face going blank.

But then, again moving back onto me he continued his explanation –

”So kai, In all the techniques you have learnt so far, which were precisely….

1st technique RAGING SLASHES,

2nd technique DRAGONS THRUST,

3rd technique DESTRUCTIVE WAVES and

4th technique SILENT SHADOW STEPS.

But do you know whats common in all of them? ”

I pondered this question for a while in my mind and rewinded all the basics of the techniques when I was striving hard to acquire them.

And after thinking for a while, I locked up my gaze with grandpa before answering.

”My swordsmanship? ” – which took me a while to answer.

”precisely, in all of these techniques, we were focused more on your footwork and swordsmanship as compared to your aether manipulation skills but this 5th technique is going to be quite an opportunity for you to firm your grasp over that too, as its purely centered on your aether density and how better you can manipulate it. Earlier you were circulating the aether in your whole body to enhance your physical work and a little bit of aether was infusing in your sword to make it sturdier than before, to enhance its stats but now, in this technique, you will have to infuse a large portion of aether in your sword, enough to create an additional layer of aether over it and then…. ” grandpa stopped in middle of completing the explanation.

”Well this part will be better of by showing you practically instead of explaining…. so would you lend me your sword Arsene for a moment kai ” – he said while stretching his one arm to grab my sword.

I did hand over my precious sword Arsene to him to which at first, he gently raised in front of his eyes with his arm and stared at it continuously for a while, so deeply that it felt like he was actually looking at insides of the sword but well thats to be expected as he himself was a sword lunatic since beginning.

”Arsene….I remember it was the first real sword I gifted you on your 14th birthday, right kai ! I still remember you used wooden sword back then for training and when you see other Martials using a real sword, you too deliberately wanted one, just like a child as you were back then but still, this, was one of the best swords I could find for you. And After feeling its sensation in my hand after so long, I could only admire the greatness of the work…. its a work of art in its own. Its weight distribution, sharply whetted edge and the design which go with the flow and slice through the air swiftly….. just astonishing. ” – he said while playing with the sword by randomly swinging it in his hand.

”Let me ask you a question kai…. what do you think of the pros and cons of mastering a sword as your primary weapon ” – he said while turning towards me with a gentle face.

”I think sword is one of the best weapon one can use in close range combat…. as its far more handy and easy to grasp upon as compared to other weapons and its design was precisely created for death battles. There are a lot of other weapons out there but I have no doubt that in terms of comparison of weight, which is crucial aspect of a weapon, sword will be among the top tier…. but it too has a huge disadvantage as its not quite reliable when it comes to mid and long range combat….. ” – I explained as much as I could deduce at the moment and grandpa was calmly listening to me while moving arsene in his hand continuously and after hearing my explanation he simply passed me a ”Hmm… ” with his eyes closed, like he was expecting more to come from me…. and so I continued-

”Though its not like Im completely impotent when it comes to mid and long range combat. I do have my expertise to face those kind of situations and I think this is something you know better than anyone else ” – I explained with having no clue of how he will react to this.

But it was then when a chuckle escaped his lips and he said- ”Ofcourse Im well aware of your strong and weak portions boy…. after all, its me who trained you from the beginning so how can I give you a handicap by just forging you for close range combats. But kai, despite of those techniques what if I say you can use a tremendously powerful attack for long range combat with this same sword ” – It took me a while to ponder grandpas words as the overjoyed expression and that confident grin on his face was pulling my attention.

”Really…. but hows that possible?? Does arsene possess some stretchable or elastic ability which I wasn aware of up until now? ” – I said with my voice much louder and surprised then I wanted to admit.

”Not exactly but yea…. something like that. watch me closely ”.

And in the next moment, he stood in front of a practicing dummy, in a stance, with his one arm back and another holding sword firmly in the forward direction, his feet almost at an angle of 45 degree and it was then, when the air around him, got heavier all of a sudden and a whirlwind escaped through the circle where he was standing.

The wind around him was growing so wild and heavy, that we were required to put efforts in standing still at the same position.

Both, I and coco, were completely drowned at this sight and a sudden thrill ran down me, not because of fright but due to excitement and goosebumps.

The aether pressure grandpa was releasing was really intense and unimaginable but despite this, there was no sign of stress on his face.

”Now…. watch closely Kai ” – he said while his sight fixated on the dummy in front of him.

I was absolutely clueless of the thing which was about to happen next but then my eyes widened in fright as I saw white mote particles of aether, which were shrouded around grandpa a while ago were now moving towards the sword in a dense amount and wrapping over it as a new layer.

This phenomenon continued until the whole sword was completely covered in nothing but these white aether particles. Just by looking at the sword I could feel how heavy and unstable energy it was as the pressure and aether it was emitting was on a completely different level.

This newly formed white, glowing layer of aether over the whetted edge of Arsene, really didn failed to amaze me.

And before even I could completely absorb this unordinary sight, Grandpa swung his sword in forward direction with a huge slash and the force of recoil of that single swing was enough to make us resist not to step backward, and as he slashed with the sword, the white layer over Arsene, separated from the surface and launched in forward direction, just like a slash splitting wind, and it was so fast and unstable that it somehow missed the dummy and bombarded directly with the surface of wall behind it and the shockwave after this collision, was so intense that the whole chamber crumbled for a moment with a burst. It was so powerful that even the equipments were disturbed from their original positions.

Both me and Coco had no words to describe how unreal this attack was and could just imagine what would have happened if it hasn missed its original target.

It took me a while to get pull myself together to normal and say something to grandpa but before I or grandpa could say anything coco interrupted-

”Th-This is the technique that hes gonna learn?? ” – he said it so that I couldn grasp if he was mocking me or was astonished by the technique itself.

But putting that aside, even I was completely taken over by feeling that how much powerful I would become after learning this technique.

It would fill all the gaps while facing long range combats.

And so, grandpa stepped towards us after showing us the power of Wind splitter and then he raised his arm to hand over arsene back to me. At first, my eyes were dead fixated on it, which has no damage over it even after withstanding such aggressive amount of aether but then my attention was pulled by the voice that fell on my eardrum –

”I know you must be thinking that this technique will raise your stats to a whole different level and…..its not false but let me tell you kai, it will suck out all the aether in your body in an instant. But thats the case when you will be able to perform it. You will already be drained while manipulating aether to wrap it over the surface of your sword. In battle, you will require extreme control over aether to pull off this technique kai or else if failed, not only you would miss the target but also lose the strength to continue the fight. So don use it unless the chances of victory are absolute. ”

As I was elevated in my fantasy of using wind splitter to eradicate demonic creatures, I was reminded of the aetheric force grandpa released during showing us the technique and ironically, my aether reserves were nowhere near grandpa, so I really need to be cautious with it.

”Thats all great master, but whats the use of a technique when it can even hit the target ” – said coco with an amusing smirk.

”Yea grandpa, you seemed to miss the target this once ” – I added just as a matter of fact.

At this grandpa stood silent at his position without giving us any response….. but it was then a grin curled up on his face as he replied

”Who said I missed the target? ”

I immediately turned towards the dummy which was still placed at its position, without any damage.

”what are you saying master…. let me show you ” – said coco as he moved towards the dummy. But then my gaze widened with fright as I fully analyzed the figure with my eyes.

The dummy was made up of best material and its skeleton was completely metallic, standing at its position.

And as coco raised his body to point towards the dummy to grandpa

”Coco… wait ” – I barked but it was already too late.

”See, right he….BOWW Oww Owwww ” .

And just as his limb touched the upper part of dummy, he slipped and fell on his chest and right beside him, was the upper part of the dummy, completely severed from the bulkiest spot, its tusk, like it was never attached to begin with.

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