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20 Chapter 20: Training With Sticks And Stones

    It was early in the morning and I had just woken up. The sun was still rising from the mountainous area seen just outside my window. I had been reading information about that octagonal panel and apparently, it's a skill tree only given to God Representatives. Each has a unique own geometrical figure and bonuses.

    I opened my octagonal panel, sized like a coin, it had two blades reaching out on its upper edges. It looks like somewhat of a "V" now. The other edges seemed to emit light, indicating that they are open for an upgrade. I still had two points unused but still, I had decided to save them for the worst case scenario.

    I went to the kitchen and found the old man cooking. He has become a father-figure to me. For me, he has saved my life. Apparently, a few days had passed after we had gone through the Chesprych Village.

    "Kid, eat up. We're going down the cliff."

    "H-huh? Why all of a sudden?"

    "I can't just keep you hiding in here for the rest of your life. Some time will come that you also need to protect yourself."

    I finished off eating the soup and wore my demon mask. I had my name hidden again as "Blacksmith", the apprentice blacksmith of a well-known old blacksmith.

    These past few days, he had spent his workings on my metallic right arm. He tried adding blades, hidden blades, spikes, side blades, claws, and other offensive forms yet they all failed to work. It ended up shattering each time I tried to slice monsters. We concluded into spike knuckles which stayed.

    We had gone down the cliff where a river flows just the side of it. On the end of the river was a waterfall. We stayed right next by the riverbank and settled there.

    "Kid, I'll practice your swordsmanship. See that branch? Pull it out."

    He pointed a tree right behind me. I looked back and snapped the branch.

    "What are you going to do with this?"

    "Not me. You. For now, that is your sword. You will fight with it for the rest of the week. Normally, mastering a sword takes years but let's try and make you accustomed to it by a week."

    "But I will only shatter."

    "It's not a man-made weapon nor a monster weapon. It is just a piece of stick."

    "B-"

    Smack!

    He karate chopped me again. It was his special move every time I say something that annoys him or every time I do something that troubles him.

    I cradled my head and stared at him.

    "No complaints. Leave your things and let's go."

    We went deep inside the woods and we immediately encountered a level twenty-six monster called Rivery. It was a wolf-like monster with leaves as its fur. It had a long vine for a tail and it had thorns at it.

    "Grah."

    It growled at us, accepting us as the enemy.

    It suddenly whipped its tail and spikes went flying towards us. I rolled over the other side and was able to dodge it.

    "Old man!" I looked behind and he disappeared. "H-huh?"

    I looked above the tree and he's drinking rum by the branch. "Ah! Rum by the morning tastes fantastic!"

    "Old man! Help me out here!"

    "Nope. Also, use that stick. If you use any other offensive forms, like your knuckles, I'll be sure to punish you and take away a meal for you."

    "What?"

    I had no time to complain as the Rivery sent another barrage spikes. I blocked them off with my metallic arm and rushed towards it, k used stride but suddenly I felt a smack on the back of my head. It was the old man.

    "No skills too. No complaining."

    Sigh. This is getting troublesome.

    I ran ahead and dodged its incoming attacks as I batted it with my stick. Just like he said, it didn't shatter or break. I guess my system registered this as an item.

    I looked over the Rivery and it didn't seem to take damage at all. I leaped backward as it slashed its claws before me. The grass that was sprouting on the ground was minced in seconds. Those claws were sharp!

    "Bur-"

    Smack! I felt the back of the wooden mug hit behind my head. I looked behind and the old man was watching me. This is troublesome, I couldn't use skills at all.

    I converted my attention towards the Rivery. It was there snarling at me. It was a plant-affinity and ground element. I stomped the ground and suddenly I felt an attack coming. I jumped out of the way and spikes suddenly formed out of the ground then crumbled as dirt. This Rivery is strong!

    Smack! Smack! I hit it and hit it until half an hour has passed.

    Blacksmith (Nashiki Yakiro) Exp 79

    "I-i did it."

    I looked at the old man with happiness in my heart but he didn't look impressed at all.

    "Good. Now take that other one."

    I just finished off a Rivery when another came out from the shrugs. It was troublesome indeed. But I realized that my fear had slowly disappeared and my traumatic memory didn't bother me anymore. Was it because this old man gave me hope? Saved me? Took care of me?

    I started to see him as my father.

    The last thing I knew was, it was already dark. We returned by the riverbank and arranged firewood. He ignited it with some kind of magic.

    "Let the ignite of my magic convert into power, Candlelight."

    A spark of fire shoots out of his finger, igniting the firewood. The Rivery actually had meat in it and the furry leaves were actually expensive herbs so I saved plenty of them. He butchered the meat and poked a stick on it. He cooked it by the fire and handed it to me.

    "Eat up kid."

    "Thanks. Umm, I never knew your name."

    "Oh. So you already trust me this much that you want to know my name?"

    "Yes."

    I was kind of reluctant but I need to address him properly now.

    "Arthur. Call Arthur."

    "I see. Then Sir Arthur. I will do my best to prove my worth. I will repay you with everything I have."

    "Really then? Then repay me by giving me good results. As you sleep, you will be training as well."

    "What?"

    "Yes. You will sleep in a sitting position while you balance off that rock in your head. If it falls, I'll cut off a meal to you tomorrow."

    "Eh?! That's hard!"

    "You said you would do anything to prove your worth."

    "Then I'll do it... I guess."

    I sat by the river and closed my eyes as he placed the rock above my head. It was heavy and hard to balance but I stayed completely still. A wind blew and it made the rock fell.

    "No breakfast tomorrow."

    "B-but! It was the wind!"

    "No buts!"

    He placed again the rock and went to sleep. As soon as he lied down, the rock fell off. I lost my balance.

    "No lunch too."

    "What?!"

    Geez. He would even let me live a day.

    The next day, I woke up with barely enough sleep. He really did keep his word, he didn't feed me any and made me practice the wooden stick. He made me lift and slash down about two-hundred times, like what people in kendo do when they practice their wooden swords.

    When the sun was already in the middle of the sky, he made me carry rocks until we arrived at the bottom of the waterfall.

    "I'm going to take a bath. You, you will meditate below the waterfall."

    "What? Am I training to be a good swordsman or a monk?"

    Come to think of it. It kinda seems pointless to train about swords when I couldn't even use any.

    Smack!

    Karate chopped again.

    "No complaints. Rule one. No complaining. Rule two. No skills. Rule three. Follow all rules."

    Geez. Maybe he wants me dead.

    I went down and felt the heaviness of the waterfall behind my back. It was starting to burden my shoulders but I need to prove my worth.

    By the afternoon, he made me hunt some Rivery and slept the same position by the evening. I ended up getting no breakfast the next day but at least it didn't fall twice.

    Three days had passed and I had gotten a better accustomed to my stick. Sir Arthur was pretty much impressed that only in five days, I had improved this much.

    "You have potential in you, Kid."

    A notification popped out in my vision.

    -Arthur, Blacksmith, Level 76 wants to join your party-

    "LEVEL SEVENTY-SIX?"

    My eyes couldn't believe it. He stayed humble and replied a smile to me.

    "I'll be the party master. In that way, you can gain experience the same as I do. We are going even deeper by the forest."

    "Yes, sir!"

    I was practically excited and expected much stronger enemies. By this time, I had fully lost my fear and became a bit courageous. It was all thanks to father... I mean Sir Arthur.

    Even when he didn't feed me, he let me drink water which was enough. He mended my wounds even though I had my Resiliency skill on me. This metallic arm had become my real arm. But I feel like that in the future, I wouldn't need this anymore.

    We kept on walking and defeating monsters on our way, but he didn't do anything and still made me fight them off. By the afternoon, we arrived in a small village hidden deep within the forest. It was out of reach from Chesprych and felt like it's easy here. However, I still wore my mask. They might have heard the rumors of a murderer named Yakiro.

    Apparently, the villagers came running at us.

    "What's the problem here?"

    "We need your help dear adventurers..."

    A man wearing brown clothing had a worried face painted on him. It was clear that they had some troubles.

    "Tell me."

    "Our farms kept on being destroyed and our crops and fruits are eaten by Wyverns!"

    Wyverns existed in this world. They are lower dragon-like monsters with green scales and likely to ravage fruits and vegetables. They might have set their sights at the crops in this small village. The village looked poor and I felt pity at them.

    "Ye-"

    "No."

    "Why Sir Arthur? This village needs us!"

    "This does not trouble us, Kid. We must not let ourselves caught in the trouble of the others."

    "I beg of you, Sir!" The farmer sided with me.

    "Then there must be a reward."

    "We... We are poor..."

    "Not money. But enough to compensate us for your troubles."

    "I... I will find a way..."

    "Then point at us where this trouble is coming from."

    The farmer's eyes lit up as he heard Arthur's words. He smiled widely and pointed out in the mountain. The mountain is filled with monsters and that's where the Wyvern nests.

    We stayed by the inn and decided to do it the next day. The village was poor so we paid three silver and the innkeeper burst in tears.

    This was an exiled village. Since the village was poor, Chesprych didn't bother taking the land.
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