Chapter 366: Kendo Gym
It took another 15 minutes before they arrived at their destination—the Star Cloud Kendo Gym.
The kendo gym was located on the third floor of a commercial building. It was a spacious and open space with wood flooring and a large scroll on the wall facing the entrance. Along the sidewalls, countless banners were displayed extolling the “Way of the Sword” and its virtues, and included many meaningful proverbs such as: “find your true self within your sword,” and, “Be strict with yourself and exercise patience.” The dojo was steeped in traditional kendo heritage, and they sensed it from the moment they arrive.
Xiao Luo had planned to take Su Xiaobei directly to the theme park after dropping Su Canye off, but she had insisted on going up to have a look.
Before they had even found a place to sit, Su Canye immediately dashed toward an attractive girl who was sitting at the edge of the fighting area and watching a duel. Su Canye was like a busy bee picking pollen as he hovered around her doing his best to please her. He looked rather pathetic, bowing, and fawning over her, and he even offered her the imported chocolate that he discreetly kept in his pocket.
However, the girl did not seem the least interested in Su Canye and hardly gave him any attention other than returning a bow to him whenever he made one. She was undoubtedly more focused on the duel that was ongoing and literally regarded him as thin air.
In the end, Su Canye returned looking dejected, unpacked the chocolate, and ate it by himself. It was only a brief moment of silence, though, because he suddenly nudged Xiao Luo and said, “Did you see her? That girl over there… she’s my girlfriend. Isn’t she really pretty?”
“Hmm? Oh… yeah, she sure is.”
Xiao Luo nodded as he glanced across to where she was seated and said, “But she doesn’t act like she’s your girlfriend, and from what I saw, she clearly despises you. Are you sure you’re a couple?” The girl was attractive—she had delicate facial features and a fair complexion, and although she was seated, one could tell that she had a slender and well-proportioned body.
The problem with Su Canye was that he was spoilt and was constantly on an ego trip; he lived in a make-believe world, and that was something that Xiao Luo abhorred. So, when the opportunity arose, he decided not to hold back with his sarcasm. But, in reality, what he said was the truth, for, at a single glance, one could tell that this was a one-sided love affair. From the very moment they arrived, the girl did not once cast a glance at Su Canye.
Su Canye immediately frowned. Suddenly losing his appetite, he gave the remainder of the chocolate bar to Su Xiaobei, who had been looking at it longingly for a while now. He then turned to Xiao Luo and said, “Ice Face, you’ll get yourself beaten up if you talk like this, you get me? Of course, she’s my girlfriend; it’s just that she hasn’t accepted me yet. But, rest assured, she will accept my love sooner or later.” Then his expression softened, and he gushed, “Just look at how gorgeous she is—oval face, peach blossom eyes, small cherry lips, pointy nose… she makes me cry just by how beautiful she is.”
And then, he went on and on, intoxicated by his self-created fantasy.
“You’re so shallow.” Xiao Luo commented.
Su Canye waved his comment off contemptuously with the sage expression of a venerable guru and responded, “I am not going to argue with you, it’s pointless. Let me give you some advice—your state of mind needs to be elevated, my friend. Come back and converse with me on this topic when you’ve attained the same level that I have.”
It would have been more accurate to say that Xiao Luo was the one who’d rather not have the discussion, and he quickly decided to focus all his attention on the ongoing duel in the middle of the gym.
The two kendo practitioners, known in the gym as “kendōka,” wore protective training armor over their indigo kendo uniforms, which looked very much like a suit of traditional Japanese samurai armor. The protective gear consisted of four components—the “men” face shield cum shoulder guard, the “do” chest protector, “kote” mitten gloves, and “tare” groin protector. They were not wielding the “shinai,” the traditional bamboo swords used for kendo practice, but were instead using the “bokuto,” a heavy wooden sword that resembled the Japanese katana in weight and dimensions.
The two men were almost similar in height and stature, and with both kitted up in the same black kendo protective suits, it was difficult to tell them apart, and each man could only be identified by the character emblazoned on their “tare.” One of them had the character “Crane,” while his opponent had the character “Fly.”
TAK! TAK! TAK!
The two kendōkas were engaged in a fierce duel, and the wooden swords they held with both hands quivered with each clash of blades that resounded across the gym.
The man who had the character “Crane” was evidently the better exponent. He struck his opponent on his “men,” his wrists, his body armor, and even stabbed at his throat once. After each scoring strike, he’d push his opponent away, this went on for the next few rounds, and soon the LED scoreboard was showing 6-0 in his favor, in an overwhelming testament to his skill.
Every time he scored against his opponent’s body, the members of the kendo gym would cheer ecstatically and applaud loudly.
“He’s really good, isn’t he?”
Su Canye was seated next to Xiao Luo and said, “That guy is amazing. He’s already the fifth level in kendo. Aside from the kendo master, he holds the highest rank. Every time he comes, he will definitely show off his skills in front of everyone and welcomes anyone to challenge him. Many confident guys have tried to challenge him, but they all ended up just like this guy… totally buggered!”
This was so unlike Su Canye, who typically would be bragging or putting others down, but the way he gushed about this particular fighter was enough to tell Xiao Luo that this person with the character, Crane, on his “tare” was highly respected in this kendo gym.
Xiao Luo appreciated the man’s prowess for what it was, a skillful display of sword technique and concentration. But the reality was that, with his Yi Jinjing, the constitution of the King of Mercenaries, and the eighteen dragon subduing palms abilities, it could be compared to an adult watching a pair of kids sparring—while other children would worship the better fighter like a champion, an adult would merely smile appreciatively.
Su Xiaobei was munching on her chocolate and at her best behavior, standing beside Xiao Luo without making a sound as she attentively watched the sword duel in the center of the gym.
Soon after, the duel ended, and the kendōka with the character “Fly” was beaten miserably with a score of 0 to 10. His opponent pulled him up from the ground, and when he took off his “men,” his face was sullen as he despondently glared at his opponent. The audience applauded heartily and gathered enthusiastically around the winner to congratulate him. That the scene looked like a fight club did not escape Xiao Luo’s attention, and he realized that this gym wasn’t run like the traditional kendo dojo. He kept his thoughts to himself.
“Your girlfriend is on her way to hand someone a sweat towel,” Xiao Luo said, intentionally trying to stir up Su Canye’s sentiments, and convinced that someone needed to open his eyes to the truth.
Su Canye was already a step ahead of Xiao Luo, for he had certainly noticed the apple of his eye running out with the towel, and had a ready answer. “That man is her gym senior and as a junior sister, shouldn’t she be doing just that right after her senior brother has prevailed in a duel? I should do exactly the same too.”
And with that, he immediately picked up a towel and sprinted across the floor like he was in a 100-meter dash and called out, “Senior Brother, I’ve got a sweat towel for you here!”
He made sure to give his senior brother the sweat towel before anyone else. In this way, he could prevent the girl of his dreams from showing her affection to another.
“Hmm… this kid is quite cunning.”
Xiao Luo had a completely new impression of Su Canye after seeing how quickly he had come up with such a devious but effective method to allay his concern.
Su Xiaobei started tugging at the corner of Xiao Luo’s shirt and pouted her little lips as she had just finished eating her chocolate. “Wipe my mouth, please, Daddy,” she said.
Seeing the chocolate smudged all over her mouth, Xiao Luo chuckled and took out a soft tissue from his pocket, and carefully wiped her mouth clean.
“Daddy, where is uncle going to?” Su Xiaobei asked as she blinked her big eyes curiously.
“To give someone a sweat towel.”
Xiao Luo replied with a wry smile, folded the tissue, and looked around the gym, before walking toward a trash can.
“I’ll go too.”
Su Xiaobei was extremely excited to be at the gym, and seeing her uncle running off like a hare, and being the little child that she was, she promptly started hopping forward after him.
But at this moment, the man with the character “Fly” pushed the crowd aside and was stomping angrily toward the exit with an awful expression on his face. He was clearly upset at losing the duel, showing no respect to the victor, and it was a poor display of martial temperament. It was evident that this particular gym did not pay much attention to the tenets of martial arts, but rather glorified fighting skills and winning.
Su Xiaobei was happily skipping along and did not notice the angry man barging through. She accidentally cut through his path, and a powerful force bumped into her.
Before the little girl could figure out what had happened, she tumbled heavily to the floor.