Chapter 63 Pre-war Preparations
“Block! Left! Block! Right! Down! Block again! Watch your steps! Don’t walk backwards blindly! Use your footwork! Correct! Again!”
Along with Kevin’s vigorous commands, the wooden claw hammer in his hands launched several attacks on Shaar. Same as Kevin, Shaar was wielding a similarly wooden axe, but it was made with a longer handle which was about one meter long.
Readying himself, Shaar resisted Kevin’s attacks one by one. Kevin’s attacking speed was not too fast since they were restraining their power. They already had been practising for several hours and Shaar’s black hair was drenched in sweat, sticking together like wet cloth on his forehead. Kevin was also panting for air and his bald head was covered with body oil and sweat.
They went back and forth, one attacker and one defender. The wooden weapons in their hands kept banging against each other a dozen times. Finally, Kevin took a big step while he pressed his body slightly downward and bent down to sprint as his hammer suddenly pounded on Shaar’s thigh. Immediately swinging his axe upward Kevin smashed the wooden axe in Shaar’s hand and sent it flying!
“Stop!” Kevin exhaled and signalled Shaar to pick up his axe. The bald man looked at Shaar and saw that his whole face was flushed red because of the blood generated by the exhausting exercise. Breathing for a little while he forced smile on his face and said: “Very good, this time you blocked me 27 times and I was able to hit you 3 times.”
Immediately they heard some whistling sounds. A dozen of soldiers had already gathered around them and the one who whistled the loudest was that sly Kato. Clapping his hand, he laughed:”Awesome Shaar! Nicely done!”, Immediately, Kato faced his companions next to him and smile while stretching his hand: “Give me the money! Hurry up, I don’t allow any debts!”
A group of Praetorian Guards laughed and cursed as they pulled out a bunch of copper plates and silver coins.
“Kevin, did you not eat breakfast yet! You strikes are too soft! You made me lose money again!”
“Shaar, you really aren’t fucking human! The money I lost will be put on your tab! Haha! Next time you get your stipend, you will have to invite us to a drink!”
This kind of practice had been carried out for three days.
At the end of the the previous reconnaissance mission, Shaar showed his formidable battle efficiency making Kevin admire him in his heart. Since they lived in the same tent and practiced martial arts while comparing notes, Kevin discovered that Shaar had a significant flaw: During the sparring, this guy completely relied on his monstrous strength and his superior physical qualities to bully the others. However when came to martial arts, he was simple – a complete mess!
Of course, when saying it was complete mess, it didn’t mean that Shaar’s martial arts was bad – on the contrary, his attacks were fierce particularly when he displayed his set of “Cutting firewood technique” even Kevin with his impressive strength was unable to resist it. This technique was too strange and was made of unpredictable moves. This obvious big kill and slash axe skill was transformed by Shaar into an elusive and mysteriously pattern! Even for Kevin who had reached the warrior’s strength of middle rank level-one could not block Shaar’s several axe strikes.
No matter how naïve Shaar was,he already have understood that the “Thousand Men Army Slaughter” which the old man taught him was definitely a extremely powerful axe technique.
However, compare to Shaar’s offensive tactics, his defensive ability was simply lousy to the extreme!
This couldn’t be blamed on him because when the old man was still alive he didn’t teach him martial arts techniques seriously – the set of broken Thousand Men Army Slaughter was taught to him during his daily firewood cutting, coal brick stabbing and so on. As for defence techniques, Shaar simply never practiced them until now!
When encountering enemies in the past he only relied on his monstrous physique and his swift reaction speed which he obtained from fighting against the beasts in the mountains – However this was only limited by using his instinct and reactions. He didn’t study any defence movements methodically.
Only knowing offensive skills and not knowing how to defend, he wouldn’t be able to survive long on a battlefield – Kevin still didn’t know that Shaar’s body was strengthened by Dragonblood. However, even a body that was strengthened by Dragonblood was not omnipotent and if he met an opponent with a battle ki his opponent could break through Shaar’s body defence!
Therefore, the shortage of defence skills became Shaar’s biggest flaw. When encountering ordinary enemies he could deal with them, but if he met a powerful enemy, he would find himself in great difficulties. Shaar understood that very clearly the last time when he met those Nightfall Guards if it wasn’t for the magic crystal that the old man left behind suddenly erupting, he would have been a pile of bones lying in Primal Wildfire by now.
Kevin very enthusiastically began to teach Shaar basic combat skills, especially focusing on practicing defence skill sets. When they are training; they didn’t use battle ki or their real power and only focused on exercising moves.
In the beginning, Shaar would get his weapon knocked out of his hands and his vital parts by Kevin after 2-3 moves when he didn’t use his abnormal strength. The first day, Shaar was taught a severe lesson by Kevin and his head was smashed black and blue – allowing the Praetorian Guards in the surrounding to get a good laugh when they practised because from start to finish it was one-sidedly being abused.
That night, the hillbilly didn’t sleep at all and repeated those attack patterns that Kevin used during the day as well as the thinking defensive skills he should have used in his mind. When dawn broke over the horizon, Kevin woke up and saw this fellow sitting on his bed with red eyes staring in the air.
During the practice on the second day, Shaar made a considerable progress and endured a dozen of strikes under Kevin’s fierce attacks before getting hit on his vital spot – this situation immediately attracted other Praetorian Guards who were practising and everybody suddenly rushed over competitively to acts as judges and started to bet on how long this rookie could persist under Kevin’s attacks.
Although everyone was teasing him, Shaar knew very clearly that they were meaning well when joking around. It was a kind of goodwill to ridicule someone between comrades and moreover this was a good sign: It at least represented that he was getting accepted by this group.
After coming back from the scout mission, Kevin didn’t conceal that Shaar saved his life. Furthermore, this bald man with honest and frank temper personally expressed his approval of Shaar. With Kevin, who had quite a lot of prestige among the Praetorian Guards helping Shaar he was quickly accepted by the other members. Moreover his temper was also very straightforward and such open characters were liked in the army environment.
During the second day of practice Shaar not only blocked Kevin’s complete offensive on the last round but he even hit Kevin one time during a counter-attack. Although it wasn’t on vital spot, everybody regarded this as an astonishing progressed – everyone started to realize this kid was quite amazing!
During the third day of practise, more people were attracted and later even several Guards with high martial arts skills volunteered to rotate with Kevin while taking turns to exchange blows with Shaar – Using Kato’s words to describe it was a free pass to maliciously bully the new rookie.
“You are too anxious and focus too much on your footsteps while forgetting your hand movements. You have to turn everything into an instinct. If you have to deliberately think about it, then during your movements it would unavoidably slow you down.”Kevin very seriously talked from his own experience.
“Well, Kevin, you must certainly be angry out of shame that you didn’t knock away Shaar’s weapon within a certain number of moves, hahahaha!” A tall man with the most burly stature standing next to them started to laugh.
“Sarbar, you shut up.”Kevin then taunted: “If you have the skill, you can spar with Shaar!”
“Me? I am not going to do it! I don’t have bull wrestling as a hobby.”That brawny chap touched his chin – this fellow called Sarbar was also a member of the Praetorian Guards. Before Shaar arrived he was recognized as the man with the strongest brute force among their group. However, during a night before, they carried out a fair wrestling and he almost had several broken bones because of Shaar. After that he was convinced.
In comparing strength Sarbar was no match against that monster.
Three days later, Shaar could be considered acquaintances with most of the Praetorian Guards. This of course was because of Kevin.
Although he didn’t need to use his brute force when the practice finished every day, Shaar was tired to death. The sweat covered his whole body and soaked his clothes making him resemble a fish which just came out of the water.
Seeing the hillbilly returning to the tent, Tatara started to curse in his mind: I hope he was beaten black and blue. While thinking in his mind his face quickly revealed a respectful smile and greeted: “Lord Shaar, you came back ……”
Shaar instantly threw his wooden axe towards Tatara. Although it was made of wood the giant axe almost smashed Tatara to the ground. Barely clinging on his axe he staggered with following Shaar.
“Go draw water, I need to take a bath ……Also did you feed the horses yet? Tonight is my turn to go on patrol ……Also don’t forget to wipe my armor clean.” Shaar dropped on the bed and felt as if every bone in his body was falling apart.
Tatara slowly walked outside with pleasing face but his face immediately changed to resentment when he left the tent. He grabbed a brush in the corner and ran to bring out the heavy cavalry armor. Afterwards, he cautiously cleaned the dirt of the top and careful smeared fat on the joint spot of the armor. With his whole body covered in oil and dust, the pitiful magician cursed endlessly about his unfair fate in his heart.