Chapter 19 – Training The Untrained

  • by lemuel moo
Reynard was nervously standing in front of the kendo club with his bamboo sword while he was trying to muster the courage to enter the door. He had been learning swordplay from Kasumi for a short period, but his fundamentals were poor, so Kasumi separated Reynard from the main training group and gave him extra attention to improve his fundamentals.
However, some of the Kasumi’s students in the dojo were also from the kendo club in Aelfsige Academy, and Reynard earned the ire of the male students since Kasumi gave him extra attention. Jacinta, who joined Kasumi’s dojo but not the kendo club, was frequently seen around Reynard during training, and it made the male students even more jealous.
Lately, the guys in the kendo club were extra harsh towards Reynard, and he could feel their hostility. It was slowly becoming unbearable for him to join their club activities.
“Reynard, why are you standing in front of the kendo club and not going in? You have quite the worried look on your face.”
“C…Clere?! Ah, yeah, I was just thinking of something. I’m going in now!”
Clere was walking by for an earlier errand and saw Reynard staring at the door. After Clere caught his attention, Reynard gingerly opened the door and entered the kendo club. At that moment, Hideki was making his way to the kendo club, and he spots Clere staring at the kendo club’s door from a distance.
“Hey Clere, what are you standing there for? Is there something you need from the kendo club?”
“Ah, nothing, I was talking to Reynard before he went in. He had this worried look on his face, and he was standing in front of the door for some time.
How’s Reynard in the kendo club?”
Hideki scratched his head and heaved a big sigh.
“…To be honest, the guys in our club don’t like him. He is perceived as weak, but they think he is using his weakness to score points with my sister and Jacinta.
I told the guys to back off from Reynard, but they do things behind my back instead.”
“I see. No wonder Reynard looked worried.
Reynard is a pretty nice guy, and I have had lunch with him a couple of times. Do you best to take care of him, Hideki!”
“I will.”
Clere and Hideki parted ways, and Clere headed towards the school exit.
Jacinta and Gale were having a conversation at the school gate, and Clere spotted them from a mile away. Gale was waiting for Clere because he was going to escort Clere home, and Jacinta was Gale’s ‘self-declared’ bodyguard who was going to escort Gale. 
It felt stupid to have a bodyguard that had a bodyguard, and for some unknown reason, Jacinta was convinced that Gale was weak. She couldn’t leave him alone ever since she heard how Gale helped Zeel and Sunny, and she frequently used that incident to nag about how he should not be a hero when he was so weak.
Gale had spoken privately to Clere that he tried to tell Jacinta he was strong, but Jacinta was having none of it. He gave up and didn’t want to tell her anything more than he should, so he requested Clere to play along.
“Raine is out shopping with Sunny so it will be Jacinta and me today. Is there anywhere you want to go before heading home?”
“I don’t have anywhere I want to go for today, but I do have a question. Jacinta, how is Reynard during your training sessions at Ms. Kasumi’s dojo?”
“Reynard? He seems fine. I usually try to help him out because he struggles with his fundamentals, but outside of that we get along pretty well!”
Ah… Jacinta is oblivious that her help is causing some problems for Reynard.
Gale then looked at Clere with the corner of his eyes, wondering why she would talk about Reynard all of a sudden.
“What’s wrong?”
Clere briefly told both of them about the struggles that Reynard was facing. Jacinta was incensed that the guys were picking on Reynard because of her proximity with him.
“Those immature bugs! That is why guys are so childish!
Don’t you agree, Gale?”
Gale was a guy, so he stared at Jacinta for a moment before she hurriedly corrected herself.
“You are an exception, Gale! I mean those guys in the kendo club!” 
“You didn’t have to correct yourself. I am indeed childish at times.
More importantly, are you having a training session with Ms. Kasumi today?”
“Ah, yes. It’s in the late afternoon after the kendo club’s activities.”
Gale turned to Clere with a cheeky face.
“Do you want to crash into their training sessions?”
Clere looked as Gale suspiciously. Just what are you up to?!
“Let’s give Kasumi a call first. It wouldn’t be nice to drop by without notice.”
Clere picked up her phone and called Kasumi. As soon as Clere greeted Kasumi on the phone, Gale lifted up his arm as though he was trying to reach the back of Clere’s neck, and Clere jumped away.
“What are you trying to do again?! Knock me out?!”
Gale gave an innocent look on his face.
“What… I’m just trying to scratch my back.”
“Next time you do the calling!”
Jacinta smiled at Gale’s playfulness and sighed.
“You just don’t learn, do you, Gale?”

The trio arrived at the gate of the Mizushima’s Residence, and they found Kasumi watering the plants nearby.
“Oh, you guys are already here! Come in!”
Kasumi was wearing her grey sports bra and bloomers, and it showed her luscious skin under the hot sun. Gale tried hard not to look at her outfit and focused instead on her face.
“It’s a pity that you decided to visit me with two beautiful girls, Gale! Next time, come alone!”
Kasumi’s house had a dojo attached to it, and they provide lockers for students to use. Jacinta thought she should dress in her gear early, so she left them to change while Kasumi led Gale and Clere to the living room to have some tea.
After all of them were cozy on the sofa with hot tea in front of them, Kasumi asked a question.
“What brings you guys here? I’m sure you aren’t here to learn how to wield a sword.”
Gale took the lead and replied Kasumi.
“We are here just to observe the sessions for fun, that’s all.”
Kasumi gave a sly grin towards Gale.
“You like Jacinta, don’t you? You came here to check out your competition! She’s really hot, and many guys want to ask her out, you know?”
“You are pretty hot yourself too, Kasumi! Perhaps I am here to check you out!”
Clere couldn’t stand how the both of them were flirting with each other, so she coughed a little to grab their attention and then explained what she saw and heard about Reynard. After hearing from Clere, Kasumi went into her contemplative mode and was deep in thought.
“I see… that’s pretty sweet of the both of you! Yeah, feel free to observe us, and you could give me feedback so that I can make our training sessions a comfortable and inclusive place!”
At that moment, Jacinta came into the living room with her kendo uniform. The uniform was a very modest outfit, but it could not hide Jacinta’s voluptuous chest. Gale tried not to let his eyes run wild and focused on her face instead.
“How do I look, Gale?”
“Beautiful! No wonder the guys were jealous of Reynard!”
Gale’s praise of Jacinta’s outfit caused a slight uneasiness in the hearts of Kasumi and Clere.
There was a katana that caught the eyes of Gale at a corner of the living room. To Gale’s eyes, the katana was glowing with an aura about it. Kasumi traced Gale’s line of sight and realized he was appraising the sword in his heart.
“That’s the [Mizu-Ichimonji]. In history, our clan and the Mizuno clan had a deep relationship with each other, and I heard from my uncle that they often gifted us with special katanas as a sign of goodwill and friendship. All these happened centuries ago, and now these swords became our family treasure.
Let me bring it out and show it to you!”
Kasumi brought the katana in front of Gale, and the latter took it and unsheathed the sword. It was nicely maintained, and the blade reflected Gale’s face while shining in front of the girls. Gale observed the hilt, and the blade, and then back at the hilt.
“Awesome sword.”
Jacinta snickered as she heard Gale’s words.
“What a wannabe you are, Gale! You act as though you know how to appraise swords.”
Kasumi interjected Jacinta’s words without thinking.
“Oh, Gale crafts his own weapons. Most of his throwing knives and swords were handmade by him.”
Gale glared at Kasumi, and the latter realized she should not have said that in front of Jacinta nor Clere. However, it was too late, and Jacinta exclaimed in response.
“What?! You are a blacksmith?! I don’t see you crafting weapons at your house!”
Clere looked at Gale with the corner of her eyes and sighed.
“Another one of your secrets, Gale? Why am I not surprised?”
Gale didn’t want anyone to know that he could craft weapons, because the tools to forge weapons were not easily found within the city. If they found out that he was creating weapons in secret recently, it would reveal that he had a secret place to do so. 
Also, it begs the question of who did he learn this skill from in the first place. Kasumi knew about it after the mission that they had together because she was curious and intrigued about him.
I’m not getting out of this one… Argh!
“I have stopped doing that for a while. I don’t have any tools to do so.”
Kasumi gave a slight grin at Gale’s obvious lie, and Clere knew better than to trust what Gale said. Jacinta was the only person who took Gale at face value.
“That’s so cool! If you can craft weapons, how about learning how to wield a sword while we are here? We could ask Ms. Kasumi to give you a teaser lesson!”
Kasumi suddenly realized Jacinta had assumed Gale could not fight! She looked at Clere for confirmation, and the latter shrugged.
“T-That won’t be nice! Kasumi is obligated to teach me as our homeroom teacher so she won’t say no, but she’s running her dojo as a business — ”
A doorbell rang at that exact moment, and Kasumi put down her teacup to open the gate.
“That must be Satori. I will go get her here.”
The arrival of Satori amused both Gale and Clere, and they posed a question to Jacinta.
“Satori?! Is she taking lessons here as well?!”
Jacinta’s face changed at the thought of Satori joining them for the afternoon.
“I heard from the other students Satori only started coming to our training sessions regularly because I enrolled in training here, and Hideki helps out the training sessions from time to time. She tries to hog Hideki whenever possible, and I will stay at my corner with Reynard.
I have also heard from the others that she has been looking for expensive cakes to share with Kasumi. They say it’s her method to score points with Hideki’s family.”
After a few moments, Satori came in with a box of cakes, and she stared at Gale, Clere, and Jacinta.
“What are you guys doing here?”
Gale was in a mischievous mood, so he blurted it out.
“To eat your expensive cake!”
“T-This cake is not for you!”
“Ahh… that’s pretty stingy. I will ask Hideki how it tastes like later.”
Both Jacinta and Clere were hiding their faces in order not to laugh out loud, and Kasumi gave a “that’s enough mischief” look on Gale.
“We will reserve some of the cake you brought for Hideki. I have brought out some cakes and sweets to share around as well. Join us, Satori!”
There was an hour left before the students start to stream in, so the quartet enjoyed the cakes and engaged in casual conversation meanwhile.
“I’ve got to get changed into my kendo uniform as I don’t want the guys to see my skin. I’ll be right back!”
Kasumi left the living room, and Satori asked Gale and Clere a question.
“Seriously though, why are you both here? Did you enroll yourselves in training with Kasumi?”
Gale plunged his fork and took a big piece of cake to his mouth before answering.
“For cakes. Is it that hard to believe we are here to have an afternoon tea with our homeroom teacher?”
Satori could not refute that statement, so she became silent.
“And why are you here for, Satori? Did you enroll yourself in Kasumi’s class?”
“I wanted to enroll here! However, I wield dual swords, and my master said that if I trained here, it might impede my growth as a fighter since the techniques are very different.”
Gale continued to dig further.
“That’s very good advice from your master, but it doesn’t explain why you are here. So why are you here?”
Satori stole a glance at Jacinta and remained quiet after that.
Gale sneaked a laugh under his breath and decided to cut some slack for Satori.
“Sharing good treats with Hideki and Kasumi is a very nice gesture of you.”
“Y-Yeah! Hideki had no time to try out cafes with me, so I decided to bring it here for them to try it out!”
At that moment, some of the students arrived at the gate. Jacinta got up to allow the students in and to prepare for the training. Clere then asked Satori a question.
“Do you know if there is a place for us to hang around so that we won’t disturb the training?”
“You are joining us for the training too?!”
“Why not since we are here?”
The trio subsequently kept the utensils and food and cleaned up the place before venturing into the dojo.
It was a big dojo, capable of housing fifty students at the same time and there was a large garden with a pond outdoors. It felt tranquil and peaceful to be in the dojo.
Students have dedicated lockers in another section of the house, and many of them grabbed their gears before coming into the dojo.
“Gale?! Clere?! What are you guys doing here?”
Reynard came from kendo class, so he was already in his uniform and had not much need of preparation. Both Gale and Clere greeted Reynard with a smile.
“We are just here to observe the training session.”
“Oh! Are you considering if you would enroll in these training as well? That will be great!”
Both Gale and Clere understood that Reynard wanted more friends who can hang out with him during these training sessions, so Clere explained apologetically.
“We just had afternoon tea with Kasumi, so since we are here, we decided to observe the training session.
Where’s Hideki?”
“He should be coming shortly. I left early, so I arrived here first.”
Upon hearing that Hideki was still on his way, Satori got up and went towards the gate to welcome him. Reynard, Gale, and Clere knew that Satori had fallen head over heels for Hideki.
“Observe me, okay? I’m willing to listen if you can help me improve my strength!”
“Reynard, don’t count on Gale to help you out. He can’t fight, and yet he likes to act like a hero.
If you need a customized weapon, go to him instead. Ms. Kasumi said he knows how to create weapons.”
Jacinta came from behind and smirked at Gale, while the latter was feeling frustrated that Jacinta was telling everyone how he can forge weapons. Clere laughed to herself because Gale was finding it difficult to keep his secrets intact.
Reynard’s eyes glistened at the thought that Gale could craft weapons.
“Really?! Could you create a sword for me?”
Jacinta’s ears perked as she was waiting to see if Gale was willing to craft weapons for his friends. Gale gave a mischievous grin before he replied.
“I only do it for bros, so tell me what you want, and I will craft it for you!”
Jacinta was not happy with Gale’s answer, and she demanded an explanation.
“Hey! What kind of gender discrimination is this?!”
“I can’t craft for every single person who asks me to do so! I might spend all my time in a workshop instead of school! Limiting it to bros saves me from a lot of hassle!”
Jacinta pouted as she crossed her hands and turned her face in another direction. It was very adorable of Jacinta and Gale’s heart softened towards her.
“…I will only do it for you if you can keep it a secret and if you can find a workshop for me to craft the weapons. How about it?”
Gale smiled and turned towards Reynard.
“That goes for you too, Reynard! Please don’t tell anyone that I can craft weapons!”
Reynard nodded emphatically. 
Hideki came into the dojo with Satori after some time. He was surprised to see Gale and Clere in the dojo, and he went forward to greet them.
“Hey Gale and Clere! It’s pretty rare that you will join us today!”
“We just had afternoon tea with your sister, so we decided to observe your training sessions for today.”
“I see.
Hey Jacinta, come over here as I want to discuss the training we are about to have today.”
Satori was not happy that Hideki singled out Jacinta for a private conversation, so she sulked and joined Gale, Clere, and Reynard. Gale knew why Satori sulked, but he had to ask.
“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. Hideki said Jacinta has a lot of talent and he has proposed for her to learn the advanced techniques early.”
Before Gale could dig any further, Clere elbowed Gale to stop teasing Satori, and the latter gripped his stomach in pain.
Kasumi entered the dojo with her uniform and gear, and every student lined up in ranks to greet Kasumi. That day’s training was two-fold, where Kasumi would teach the students a new technique and have them practice in the group for a while, then they will have a sparring session with each other using bamboo sticks to evaluate their skills so far.
There were about thirty students, and twelve of them came from the kendo club. Reynard did not stand with his club members, but instead, he stood at the corner furthest away from them at the back. Gale, Clere, and Satori had removed themselves and sat at a far corner to observe quietly.
Kasumi demonstrated the [Mizushima’s Waterfall Slash], an advanced technique where energy projectiles could be unleashed from the blade. The students had not learned how to cloak their swords with their energy and to release it, so Kasumi only taught the form and the stance of the technique.
After Kasumi demonstrated it, all the students except Reynard had to practice the form and the stance repeatedly to get the technique right. Reynard was isolated from the rest and Kasumi went over to him to coach him privately, while Hideki took the stage to train the rest of the students.
Some of the guys were sneering at Reynard, and their jealous hostility could be felt at where Clere and Gale was. At that moment, Gale had a brilliant idea, and he turned to Clere.
“I’m going to help Reynard for a moment.”
“You what?! Are you sure?!”
“It will be fine! Kasumi is just there teaching him some basic breathing techniques. I should be able to help out in that area!”
Gale quietly sneaked to where Kasumi and Reynard were, and privately suggested to Kasumi that he will help Reynard in improving his energy in her stead. Kasumi was surprised but decided to allow Gale to try.
“Could you help me get a clean towel, Kasumi?”
Kasumi didn’t know what was Gale up to, but she obediently went and fetched a clean towel for Gale.
“Reynard, I want you to bite this towel, and whatever pain you are going to face, you are not to make any sound.
I am going to make you ten times stronger or more in an instance!”
Kasumi finally realized what Gale was up to. Gale wanted to unblock all the energy channels and acupuncture points in Reynard’s body so that Reynard’s body would allow energy to flow and accumulate easily. 
It was the fastest way to make someone strong, but it required an expert as it was a dangerous procedure. A mishap could kill or permanently break one’s energy circuit, causing him to lose all possibility of ever becoming a martial artist.
Kasumi never knew how to do such a procedure, so she observed quietly while she kept both Reynard and Gale hidden from the other students from looking.
Both Reynard and Gale sat in an upright position, with Gale behind Reynard. Gale swiftly gathered his energy and started striking the acupuncture points from the crown of Reynard’s head, all the way to the tailbone of Reynard’s back with his fingers. Each jab pushed and unblocked Reynard’s acupuncture points, and it sent jolts of sharp pain into his nerves, causing him to scream into the towel silently.
Clere could see what was happening and she was horrified at what Gale was doing for Reynard! Reynard’s skin was pulled tightly because of the pain he was experiencing, and he did a pretty good job not to make any noise in the midst of the pain.
Satori could not understand what was happening to Reynard, so she asked Clere about it.
“The problem with Reynard is that his energy pool within his body was too shallow, so Kasumi had to spend extra time during training sessions to teach him how to manipulate his energy.
Gale is an expert in unblocking acupuncture points and energy channels within one’s body, which will make it easier for Reynard to cultivate his energy through breathing techniques. As Reynard had no experience in cultivating his energy before, it was especially painful for him when Gale forced his acupuncture points and energy channels to open up!”
Indeed, Gale did not spare any acupuncture point he could find. He even went for the acupuncture points on Reynard’s underarms, forearms, and palms, and Reynard could only bite as tightly as he could at the towel to endure the pain.
Gale wanted to target the acupuncture points that are situated below Reynard’s belt, but decided against it since it would attract attention if Reynard were to stand up suddenly. After which, Gale placed his palms gently behind Reynard’s back and began to transmit his energy into Reynard’s body, causing all the energy gaps to fill up and welling Reynard with power.
“Reynard, feel how the energy is flowing within your body in a circuit and practice this energy flow at your own time daily. Breathe through the acupuncture point that is located at your stomach instead of using your nose. Repeat at least three cycles per set to make sure energy runs through the acupuncture points that I have unlocked.
This is called [The Turtle Breathing Technique], which is designed to help you saturate your body with oxygen, improve vitality and lengthen your lifespan!”
Kasumi was utterly impressed with Gale’s performance, and she made a mental note to ask Gale to do the same for her after her training session. Clere saw that Gale taught Reynard the same technique that she had learned from him, and was a little upset because she wished it was a unique gift from Gale.
After enduring moments of pain, Reynard felt a soothing sensation and power flowing all over his body. He had spent days trying to improve energy, but he made little progress, and yet with Gale’s help, he had reached a level of strength which he never dreamed it was possible!
The other students were focusing on the techniques that Kasumi had taught them. Only Hideki was trying to see what was happening with Gale, Kasumi, and Reynard.
“Alright, we are almost at the time where you are going to spar. Join them later and see the fruits of your labor!”
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