The Chronicles Of New Havens Book 2 Chapter 226
Far away from where those two were, in the middle of the Zino Kingdom, a similar situation played out as two people stood staring at each other in a vast forest. But it was not exactly the same. The girl sprinted forward with her halberd and slashed down. Her blow was ruthless and precise though crude. It spoke of the overwhelming instinctual sense of the owner. A normal soldier might have been petrified from her viciousness, but her opponent did not even blink. With a slight sidestep, the halberd harmlessly passed him. Slicing through the afterimage, her opponent was that sharp and fast. It was almost magical! It required a frightening level of confidence and awareness to do, but the girl did not pause. She immediately continued the relentless assault.
The girl pulled back her halberd, and using the spear at the end, she released a fierce flurry of blows. Each were poised to kill! In a flash, over a dozen strikes were made toward her opponent. However, the man smirked. A subtle but powerful aura began emanating from his body. Perception Realm! Unleashing the full power of a Perception Realm martial artist, the man weaved in and out of the attacks perfectly while remaining at the same dangerous distance. Reminiscent of a dance, it seemed almost too easy. Despite remaining on the defensive, the girl could not land a single hit! Everything happened blindingly quickly as the man closed in with a step. He unsheathed a dagger, drenched in killing intent!
"Alright, that's your loss," the man laughed lightheartedly.
As the girl looked down, she finally realized what he meant. His dagger was a hair away from piercing her heart. Although she tried her hardest, the mock duel lasted less than three seconds. It was an embarrassing performance, causing her to blush in awkwardness. Shirley pulled back her halberd, relaxed her muscles, and coughed.
"Well, if you won like that, then I won't argue, but did it help at all?" The point of the duel was to test her combat standards. If she lost that fast, was there a point?
Inari, one of the grim reapers of Firecast, maintained a smile. "No, I learned a lot."
He fell into deep thought as he reflected over the duel. To be honest, he was pretty surprised because this was the first time he saw her fight. Shirley might not have any techniques or skills to speak of, and she was swinging around her halberd like a brute, but there was a subtle pattern or flow to it. She could adapt and change her style on the fly, becoming fast and light or slow and heavy in an instant. And the most shocking thing was her capacity for learning! In every fight, she continuously revealed her ingenuity and cunning which allowed her to triumph over opponents far stronger. Otherwise, how could she hold her ground against the likes of the Third Hand? Was this subconscious? Inari could not tell. However, one thing was abundantly clear. She had a frightening instinctual awareness for combat!
I wonder Inari thought mischievously.
Just then, an object flew from his sleeves at high speed, aiming straight for Shirley's head. It was so fast that it was practically a blur and invisible. At this close range, there was no way for someone to react! And yet, Shirley reacted almost instantly to Inari's subtle movements. Her body jerked as her head moved rolled to one side. The projectile narrowly grazed her cheeks and crashed into the tree behind her. Thankfully, it was nothing lethal like that. If it was a throwing knife wielded seriously by Inari, then Shirley would have died a hundred times over. That said, the fact that she managed to dodge in time caused Inari's eyes to shine. Her potential was unbelievable!
Facing her furious gaze, the man raised his hands in deference. "My bad, my bad. I shouldn't have tried to sneak attack you."
"Hmph!" the girl pouted.
"Alright, where should I start? I can tell you haven't been formally trained in any martial arts or weapons. You're relying purely on your instincts and combat sense to fight. I can't tell if you're lucky, stupid, or both. It's a miracle that you survived so long like this."
"It's not like I wanted to," Shirley turned gloomy. Her numerous defeats were enough to sour her mood. However, this made her determination all the stronger. She would go from the protected to the protector!
"I like the look in your eyes. Good. I was wondering if your body wasn't fully healed yet, but since you're acting like this, I can be confident in starting your training."
"What will I be learning? Secret martial techniques? One-hit kill moves? A thousand different weapon styles?" she shouted excitedly like a child.
That was true. How should he teach her? Honestly, he was not too sure. Her current fighting style worked because of its spontaneity and ferocity. It was her biggest advantage. By learning a specific style and conforming to new standards, it was effectively taking away her advantages. Of course, a style was critical in combat. Understanding how to react, defend, evade, or attack with pre-determined and practiced moves removed a lot of risk. It allowed one to focus on their opponents, rather than pondering on their next moves. In the heat of battle, the importance of this could not be underestimated, especially in intense battles with countless combatants, complex terrain, and powerful foes It would lead to a fatal mistake. The fight with Emperor Lianghu was a fluke. Faced with a true Perception Realm, she would definitely lose!
Well Either way, her foundations are too shaky. Shall we start by fixing that? Inari thought. Learning combat styles and techniques was pointless if she was missing the basics. Although he might not know of Martial Energy like the Sword King, he was still a Perception Realm Master assassin! He stood amongst the strongest humans in the world! The foresight he possessed could not be ignored.
Fundamental Realm was named precisely because it was the foundational stage for every martial artist. It trained the body, pushing it towards the absolute limits. Strength, speed, dexterity, stamina, and perception It was no exaggeration to call Fundamental Realm Masters as pinnacle existences, standing heads above all others. The Second Hand and Third Hand were mostly Fundamental Realm Masters or Half-Perception Realms and they were already deemed a horrifying force, one of the five backbones behind the Whispering Shadow. Reaching the point of a Fundamental Realm Master was not something that anyone could achieve! It represented the final goal of martial artists.
And then there was the stage above that, Perception Realm. If reaching the pinnacle of Fundamental Realm required a steady resolve and plentiful effort, then the Perception Realm took it a step further. It required a tremendous level of effort, skill, talent, and enlightenment to break through that final barrier and ascend. Any Perception Realm was seen as transcendental existences for a reason! Sir Winstin, Sir Sebastian, Lady Valentina, Cardinal Hui and the Four Cardinals, Captain Julian and Vice-captain Julie, Captain Murvin and Vice-captain Uldat Each of them etched their name in history as peerless legends, becoming the most powerful humans in the world! Their might reigned supreme!
Of course, above that was the mythical stage of Instinct Realm. Currently, there was an estimated of over a thousand Perception Realms in the Alzar Kingdom, but not a single Instinct Realm. Knowledge of the Sword King ascending to that level remained a secret. Therefore, as far as the Alzar Kingdom knew, the last Instinct Realm martial artist died well over a century ago. Without disciples or a legacy, people started to think that the Instinct Realm was a myth. Even Inari believed it. He, along with many others, thought that the Perception Realm was it. There was no going beyond! After the Lannisail explosion and the heavenly phenomenon in Firecast though, his opinions finally began changing.
From what Inari judged, Shirley was roughly in-between Fundamental Realm Adept and Expert, leaning closer to Expert. She would need to cross Expert, then Master and Half-Perception, before taking the final enormous leap into the Perception Realm. Not everyone could make that last step! However, there was a silver lining. Shirley talked about her heightened hearing in her last fight, which she suspected was a sign of Perception Realm. But how could a person awaken Perception Realm qualities while remaining in Fundamental Realm? It did not make sense. At least, that was what she thought. To someone like Inari though, he instantly realized what it was.
Potential. In dire situations of life and death, the body is capable of exerting over a hundred percent of the latent hidden potential inside to survive. There were countless examples of this already. Elizabeth with dual wielding a sword and spell, Benedict with Sword Intent, and even Freon with his Bloodline Ability It gave a glimpse of Shirley's unbelievable affinity with Perception Realm! Of course, her heightened hearing could not be used freely. The only way that would be possible is if Shirley had truly achieved Perception Realm!
Shirley watched Inari's thoughtful expression and then said, "Did you figure out what I'll be learning now?"
"I did," Inari grinned. "We'll first start by pushing you towards the Fundamental Realm Master level. I'll teach you a few martial techniques along the way, but your focus will be physical training."
Inari nodded. "Since you're fully healed Your goal is to survive in the wilderness for entire month."
"Survival training?" Shirley asked incredulously. "How is that going to strengthen my body?"
"Facing the weather and environment, scavenging for food, hunting animals, and building shelter Everything is a highly intensive task that will put your mind and body to the test. Unfortunately, that won't be enough. If a little survival training is all one would need to reach the Master level, then the world would be swarming with them. Therefore, this wont be any ordinary wilderness. I'll be taking you to the Mordrigan Peaks."
The Mordrigan Peaks of the Poderick Region was the tallest mountain range in the Zino Kingdom and the most treacherous. Famous for being an extremely dangerous area, most merchants and citizens avoided this area like the plague. With the combination of unpredictable weather and predatory beasts, even the military did not dare to tread too deeply here. Thus, the peaks remained as one of the unpopulated and unexplored areas in the kingdom. And Shirley instinctively flinched at the name. She heard many stories from this place as far as her hometown. It became the center of dozens of rumors and horror stories like ghosts, specters, demons, and monsters. Surprisingly, she was one to believe in those stories, so the Mordrigan Peaks inspired dread in her!
"You you're not afraid, are you?" Inari was amused at the girl covering like a child.
"No! Of course, not! Why would I be afraid of a few ghosts?" she put on a brave face.
"I see. Then let's start heading over there now. I think we can get there by the end of the day if we hurry," he teased.
"Do we have to rush?" Shirley turned pale. The thought of the Mordrigan Peaks at night elevated her fear to another level.
"The sooner the better," Inari seriously said.
He was not joking around. Although he would love to take it slowly and build up her foundation over many years, his gut instincts were saying that there was no time to spare. Every second counted! Furthermore, it was not as dangerous as Shirley believed. Inari saw many things in his long life and consequently would not be fazed by these tall tales of ghosts or spirits. There was simply no chance that they existed. And on the off chance that danger crept up, Inari would be present to stop it. Of course, he would only be watching from behind the scenes and intervene if Shirley were one step from death. This was the bare minimum to be called training.
Ignoring her distress, he said, "You wanted to be trained, right? If you want to gain strength, then this is the fastest way. There's no better place than the Mordrigan Peaks. We can arrange another training if you-"
"I just have to stay on that stinking mountain range for a month, right?" She took a deep breath, slapped her cheeks red, and she summoned her courage. "Then let's hurry up and get this over with! I'll show you how easy it is!"
Inari grinned widely. "Excellent! That's what I wanted to hear!"