Chapter 19: 019
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Lin Sheng shouted as he thrust the wooden stick forward repeatedly. Standing among a group of students, Lin Sheng appeared inconspicuous, but if one were to take a closer look, his moves and postures were the most authentic.
Chen Huan observed him carefully with her arms crossed, and she knitted her brows together. “He’s improving fast!” she whispered.
By her side was Xu Yi, who was sipping hot water from the mug in her hand. “It’s only been three weeks, but this kid’s a born swordsman. It looks like we’ve found a gem.”
Chen Huan shook her head and said, “Even if he’s a gem, there’s no way to send him to an official competition because we’re not a proper institution. Even coaches like us have to register for exams elsewhere. If he wants to get the certification, it would have to be at his own expense.”
“He’s just a beginner; it’s too early to talk about that.” Xu Yi smiled. “But if we can train him well, who knows, he might win some competitions and make our club famous.”
“I hope so.” Chen Huan was somewhat enthused.
Truth be told, in the world of sports, youthfulness was an asset. There were Naxi swordsmanship competitions held in Xilin, and as long as Lin Sheng could make it to the city-level championships, he would be much better off than staying in the club.
The entire swordsmanship club relied on the patronage of a few rich kids to stay afloat and cover its daily operational costs. Chen Huan and Du Xinlei’s original intention for recruiting students was to earn some money to keep their club running, and reduce expenses at the same time.
“We’re just half-baked coaches, if I may say so,” Chen Huan said. “I’ve only learned Naxi swordsmanship for two years while Du Xinlei three.”
“It’s not complicated and entirely dependent on the talent of the learners. There are just so many moves to learn, after all.” Xu Yi smiled and took another sip of hot water before she continued, “It was Chen and a few others who came up with this idea for fun. Only Du Xinlei and you have taken it so seriously. Had they been concerned about losing money, they would not have set this club up.”
“You’re probably right.” Chen Huan forced a smile, and just as she was about to speak further, it was time for the students to spar.
“Well, everyone, pay attention. The sparring session starts now. Please refrain from attacking the head and lower body. Whose body gets touched first loses.” Chen Huan clapped her hands and began to instruct everyone to put on their armor.
Drenched in sweat, Lin Sheng lowered his stick. He felt like he had just woken up in a body of water. A strange sense of familiarity had corrected his moves the entire time during practice.
“This is weird. Could it be that whatever happens in the dream affects reality?” Lin Sheng became a little nervous.
Since killing the rotten swordsman in his dream, he had not given it much thought until the practice session when he vaguely felt something amiss. His moves and agility were on another level now, as though he had practiced them many times; some of his moves were fluid while some still seemed to be rudimentary.
Lin Sheng stood transfixed with the wooden stick in his hand. He had tested a few moves earlier and found the crux of the problem.
“My basic move, the thrust, is way better than the last time.” Lin Sheng’s pupils contracted as the changes in his dream came to mind. “I acquired the memory and skills of the rotten swordsman after I killed him in the dream. Now, even reality has…”
Feeling confused, Lin Sheng paused. He was fearful but simultaneously looking forward to the supernatural phenomenon.
“If Ravel whom I have killed really exists, does it mean that there’s also a place called Blackfeather City?” Lin Sheng began to have butterflies in his stomach when he realized that his dreams were not what he initially thought them to be—only a little special. If such things could happen in his dream, did it mean that similar changes also occurred in other parts of the world?
“Is this world still the ordinary world that I’ve come to know?” Lin Sheng clenched his wooden stick a little tighter.
“Lin Sheng, Feng Xia, you two spar.” Chen Huan’s voice jolted Lin Sheng out of his thoughts.
Lin Sheng looked around. Feng Xia, who was relatively more skillful among the students, was already standing opposite him with full-body armor on and a black wooden stick in her hand. She pulled her visor down and stood in the Roof posture by raising her stick near her ear.
Lin Sheng finally snapped out of it. He quickly put on the bamboo armor and helmet, then proceeded to pull down his visor. Through the wire mesh, he could see his opponent.
The other students also began to find their sparring partners. All the students there were novices, and Lin Sheng had a second change of classmates in just a few weeks because most of them only lasted for a few lessons. Once their initial enthusiasm died down, they stopped coming.
There was no surprise to this phenomenon. Who would still want to practice swordsmanship in this era when a bullet was all it took to solve problems? Not to mention, one had to get a permit to carry a sword.
“Ready, three, two, one, go!” Chen Huan had divided the students into groups. She raised her right arm and waved.
Lin Sheng quickly lifted his stick and charged aggressively at his opponent. Feng Xia, a 183-pound girl, standing at 1.7 meters tall, the same as Lin Sheng, quickly riposted with a quick forward sweep.
However, Lin Sheng changed tactics midway. It turned out that he was only faking the strike from above, and his actual intention was to thrust his wooden stick straight at Feng Xia.
Lin Sheng’s black stick hit Feng Xia first before Feng Xia’s strike from above could hit Lin Sheng. Dropping her stick with her hand pressed on her stomach, Feng Xia squatted down and cried in pain.
Standing still with his thrusting posture frozen in place, Lin Sheng looked a little unresponsive. He had just instinctively pulled off Ravel’s famous thrust.
“It really works.” His face did not reveal much of an expression, but deep down, Lin Sheng was stunned. The thrust maneuver was so much more fearsome in actual combat than the other moves.
Feng Xia was the one who made the first move, but when the speeds on both sides were similar, the straight-line distance between the stick and the opponent became the factor that separated victory from defeat.
“One more round!” After a short break, Feng Xia got to her feet with her stick and threw herself into the same posture again.
Lin Sheng was silent for a moment, eager to know whether he had really undergone any changes. Soon, Lin Sheng hit his opponent in succession, and Feng Xia screamed in pain.
It quickly caught the attention of the other students.
The wooden stick in Feng Xia’s hand was struck off her hand. Unwilling to concede defeat, Feng Xia stubbornly went to pick her stick up again.
“That’s enough. The difference of strength between you two is too large. Let me try.” Chen Huan walked over to stop Feng Xia. “Lin Sheng has made tremendous improvement. He may only know one move, but he uses it better than anyone else.”
Feng Xia was adamant. “I just didn’t get enough rest yesterday. Otherwise, I wouldn’t—”
“It’s not your fault.” Chen Huan shook her head and interrupted Feng Xia. Holding a wooden stick up to her ear, Chen Huan stood opposite Lin Sheng.
“Your fighting style reminds me of the battlefield swordsmanship materials I saw before. The military mainly utilized the Naxi swordsmanship’s thrust move.”
“Coach, you…?” Lin Sheng was hesitant.
“We are sparring.” Chen Huan, bowing slightly with her eyes lowered, was extremely serious.
Lin Sheng stood with his mouth agape. Noticing Chen Huan’s silence, he knew that he had to take on the challenge. After all, Lin Sheng was also keen to know how good he had become after he acquired Ravel’s muscle memory.
The two stood face to face, holding their wooden sticks in the air like they were real swords.