The palace arena was set up by the imperial family specifically for training. Alissanda and Geoffrey trained their swordsmanship in their youth. Now one was a magus and the other a lance-knight.
The princes seldom trained nowadays. Only the top brass of the army still came by now and again. Two fresh faces were there today, however.
Leguna ducked rapidly as Azureflash scraped the leather armor on his chest. If not for the powerful armor Haden had left him, he would have been badly wounded just now.
He didn’t hesitate, however. He flanked Lisana and swung Lighteater at her hand.
Lisana raised her sword in a parry, but noticed something a moment later and dodged instead.
Leguna returned in the small hours of the morning the previous night. Innilis was still buried in her books. He bugged her for ten minutes to go to sleep before he himself fell asleep on her bed.
Gahrona woke up fully the next morning.[Look at the gift I got you!] she shouted in his head.
[What?] Leguna asked, shooting upright, his hands searching for his sanded eyes, [Gift?] [Hah, finally awake, huh?] Gahrona humphed.[Why wouldn’t a disciple be happy about a gift from his teacher? What is it?]
Gahrona was a saint-ranked assassin. Normal things wouldn’t qualify as a gift for her. So if she said she was giving him a gift, it was something amazing[Your Lighteater of course!] [Huh?] Leguna stared at the sword that stood by his bed. It never left his side. It wasn’t just his weapon anymore, it was his teacher. But how was it a gift if he’d already had it for years?
[Remember Haden?] [Yes…] [I ate Haden’s soul and awoke an interesting ability.] [Space-aspect impetus?!] Leguna asked, hoping it was true..[Yes. I got his power. I can use space impetus now.] [But… you’re just a spirit.] [Why are you so stupid? I don’t have impetus, but don’t you?] [What do you mean?] [I know how to use space impetus, so as long as you pour your impetus into me, I can turn it into space impetus!] she labored an explanation.
[So as long as I give you aspect-less impetus, you can give it the space aspect?] [It doesn’t really matter. Don’t forget I used to be a shadow dancer as well. I know the shadow aspect far better than you do!] [Really? You’re not messing with me?] [When have I ever lied to you? I’ve engraved the method into the sword body. Just pour your impetus into it and you will be able to use Spatial Cut.] [Huh? It’s really that easy? I thought I had to rely on you every time.] [Do you want to shove me into another coma? It’s like Lighteater gained an extra enchantment. Haha, I didn’t think an assassin like me could work as an alchemist from time to time! Hahahaha!] [Spatial Cut? I wonder how strong it is.]
Leguna was practically jumping to try it out. Anyone would be pumped to try out a new enchantment. But for now, the best candidate for his training partner, Kurdak, was out of town and it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to visit so casually.
He did have other choices, like Alissanda. But it was even less appropriate to go ask him. He wracked his brain the whole morning before Innilis finally gave him a suggestion.
“Why not ask Lisana?” she’d asked, “Didn’t you say her swordsmanship was good? She’s also a swordsaint’s disciple! She should be more than a match for you.”
Leguna slapped his forehead. Of course! Why hadn’t he thought of it from the beginning?
He rushed to the palace immediately after lunch. Marolyt was standing guard outside Annelotte’s room, and Lisana was never far from him. The old man didn’t just sit around the whole day, he spent most of the time teaching his disciple.
“What’s going on here? It’s one thing for Wayerliss to bully me, but now his disciple wants to bully mine as well?”
“You got it wrong, Pops,” Leguna quickly explained.
He didn’t tell him his second teacher gave him an enchantment, of course. He only said the sword got a new ability and he wanted to test it out.
“Damn you…” the old man said, staring daggers at the boy, “Your dogshit luck is really something. Soulscarfer actually fell into your hands and evolved…”
“So you’ll let me spar with her?” Leguna pressed.
“Of course!” Marolyt said excitedly, “Let me see what little you’ve got! Lisana, show him how much stronger you’ve become!”
Marolyt was serious. He even gave his disciple Azureflash to use.
“That kid is using Soulscarfer Wellingdon’s old sword. You’re old army sword won’t even slow it down,” Marolyt smiled warmly, “Use my sword. You don’t have to beat him, just give him a good fight.”
“Don’t let your guard down just because you’re fighting a little brat. He’s damn sneaky! And he had a few tricks up those rotten sleeves of his!” Marolyt whispered.
The two fought for a long time. Leguna kept Lisana on the back foot at first, though he couldn’t beat her, but after about half an hour, Lisana got the hang of his style and started beating him back. The tide changed completely once she took out a second sword and fought him with both.
Leguna was also technically a dual wielder, but he was never taught an actual technique. He used his second sword more like an awkward shield. He struck out only with Lighteater. Marolyte, however, had been drilling his disciple on dual wielding for a while now, and her technique had become razor sharp. She made excellent use of both her swords for both offense and defense, and Leguna had nary a chance to get a hit in once she found her footing.
Leguna wasn’t useless either, however, and he eventually got a few hints about her technique and started working out ways to counter it. They were soon back to a stalemate, neither able to get a hit through the other’s defense, but neither letting the other get hits in against them either.
Lighteater was a major headache, however, especially with that strange new attack the brat used every now and again. Lisana was forced to dodge it every time she noticed the telltale hints of its activation. Blocks did nothing against it, except when she hit it just right with Azureflash.
The fight lasted just over an hour, and ended still in a stalemate. Leguna wasn’t too worried about her attacks, but the same was true for her. No matter how much he tried, he couldn’t break through her defenses and score a hit. Marolyt was right about her, in fact, he’d understated her ability. She was unbelievably talented, and Leguna was certain he would have lost if not for the careful attention he’d paid to, and what he’d learned from, Gahrona’s demonstration at Pato.
Marolyt mocked Leguna mercilessly for having to rely solely on his better weapon to hold out against his disciple. If they’d both been using weapons of equal ability, the gap in their technique would have lost the boy the fight.
The two sparred every day thereafter for the next fortnight. Even Innilis occasionally came to watch.
A disturbance interrupted their 17th match day, however. Waves of magical power roared out of Annelotte’s room for two hours before it calmed down and the doors opened.