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Through Cunning No Longer [Secondary Specialization Training | Solo]

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Amaya

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"When your castles of sand crumble into the ocean, will you stand by that which you held in splendor, or will you fade like the beautiful lie you lived in?"
934/2000
~

As far as things went, this had probably been the closest Amaya had ever come to something that could be deemed treasonous. Of course, her status as a commoner meant her actions were virtually invisible in different nations, as was her opinion of the system in it's entirety. If anything, however, that only fueled her disdain for the idea of fate. The systemic nature of her family's expectations was nothing but a glorified prison, and if they chose to leave her behind, then they had forfeited their right to shove her into their unrealistic and disgusting cage. Still, she refused to trust in the supposed hospitality of Reim. She had brought everything, from her plethora of throwing knives, to the bladed scarf that adorned her armor, and everything remained hidden, tucked into unseen folds and pockets that lined the inside of her cloak. The soft fog of her breath clouded the air before her as she stepped into the pre-dawn chill, departing from the sanctuary of the inn. The wrinkled sheet of parchment in her hands contained a name, a teacher of sorts, although his connection with the military was undeniable. A former soldier and an ex-gladiator would be especially hard to convince, but she needed the information and she needed to improve. Her weakness was crippling, and if she could overcome it, she would do so, regardless of the risk.

Amaya wasn't sure what served as the starker contrast to the dim silence of the morning, the bright lights streaming from the doors and windows, or the obnoxious sounds of armor and weaponry clanging together. It was no surprise this building was given a rather wide birth by the rest of the facilities. That, and the fact that it also had to accommodate several sand pits for what Amaya could only assume was sparring. She would wait, she decided. It was still rather early, and the more people she was required to deal with, the more effort she would have to exert to gain what she wanted. Her patience was rewarded rather swiftly, as the men inside began to file into the pits to wrestle, practice sword play, and just spar. She counted only 8, which seemed like a rather small number, but in fairness, the building was nowhere near the size of a martial school. She stepped from her perch on the stairs that lead down towards the school, her body utterly silent as she approached the door. With a gentle rap, she waited patiently until the door was suddenly thrust open before her, a rather irate looking old man standing already with a mug of ale in his hand. "Whaddaya wa- huh? A woman? Did they send someone for me already? Shit I haven't even gotten through my first ale. Tell that slime bag at the brothel that I'll ha-"

Amaya cut him off, her words blunt. "I'm here to ask for instruction, but I can see by your habits around alcohol that I've come to the wrong place. I'll take my search for Master Ardus elsewhere." She turns, moving only a step from the door before his hand clasped her shoulder. "Now listen here, you little shit. I may be old, and I may like my booze, but you'll be damned if I'm going to let some scumball from Kou insult my livelihood, even if she is a small woman. Why don't you turn around and face me like a man, and let me see for myself if you're any bit the big shot you act like?" She turns, her expression utterly neutral, as she delivers her words. "I have no time to waste on semantics and pleasantries. If you're going to insult a woman who is effectively committing treason to improve herself, I think we're both very clear on your opinions. I came here because I despise what my country is doing, and I despise their relegation of my life to that of a trophy. I can find someone else if you're unwilling." She meets the man's stare head on, with equal ferocity and determination. "You just gonna stand there, lady, or are you gonna give me your name and come inside?" She nods, watching his frame move back into the chair. "Amaya. My name is Amaya."

The old man stared at her, a swig from his cup leaving his face soggy from the ale as he sizes her up. "You're rather on the small side, aren't you." His scarred fingers tugged at his beard as he sat in consideration. "Alright, I've got an idea." He puts his mug down, standing from the chair as he pushes to the window. He motions out the window for someone to come over before turning back to the woman. "We're going to have a contest. If you can learn and adapt well enough, I'll teach you. If not, you can go back on your search for someone else." He takes another swig of his alcohol. "All you'll have to do is force my student to have his shoulder touch the ground. That's it." He chuckles. "No weapons, no tricks, and you have until sunset, got it?" Amaya nodded, before taking her cloak off. The heave garment, laden with hidden throwing daggers clattered onto the table, her scarf soon following. "Armor too, girlie." She huffs, ditching the protective metal. Stripped down to a shirt, her wrappings, and a bare form of pants, she stared back at the man. "So the entire point is just for me to make a singular shoulder touch the dirt?" He nodded, "You got it, Now get to it."
MADE BY ★MEULK OF GS - EDITS BY ANGELO OF SAO-RPG


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Amaya

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"When your castles of sand crumble into the ocean, will you stand by that which you held in splendor, or will you fade like the beautiful lie you lived in?"
2000+/2000
~

Leonus had an odd feeling about today, although he was never one to judge the way the fates moved their pieces. He was rather content to move forward and earn a living for his family. The scarred, thin fingers pushed through the sticky, dirt laden hair, sweat dripping off his face as he knelt before the trough. A cup and a few seconds later, and his hair had been soaked with water, the dirt rinsing down off of him as he let the morning chill dry the tangled mess. Sometimes it would be easier to just shave it, but he was proud of the brilliant crimson hair he had been born with, and no measure of grime would rob him of his heritage. His gaze wandered back to the arena, his eyes narrowing as the others sparred on. The sound of metal colliding against metal was a sound he had come to bear a deep-seated hatred for. It was that sound that had killed many of his friends, and that sound that had driven him and his family from their home in a small town. The sound of clanging metal had burned his fields to ash, and Leonus would not forget them so easily. Another dousing of the freezing water, and he pulled his mind from the unpleasant memories. Training wasn't going to wait for him to move on, and neither was money. He needed to push forward and get enough money to buy another farm. His family deserved that at the very least.

The hand wave from Ardus signaled that his presence was required, and the man quickly doused his head with another dose of water before drying off with the inside of his shirt. The old man was rough, but he cared about his students. Leonus was curious as to why he was being called inside so early, after all, he'd only had a singular wrestling match. Was his form incorrect? Was he risking his own injury? He scrutinized his movements on the way to the door, only for his mind to lock in a stunned silence. Of all the things, a woman was the last thing he expected to be called in for. A quick glance at the table, the craftsmanship of the armor, was all he needed. His blood began to boil, the presence of a filthy Kou nearly upsetting his demeanor.

"Leonus," Ardus' words broke the silence, "this woman has come to study with us, and I decided that it would only be fair if we administered some form of entrance examination." His eyes met with the old man, a knowing gaze shared between the two before the elder resumed speaking. "The challenge, as is traditional, is to force your opponent's shoulder to the ground. She has until sundown, and I think you'd make a fine opponent." The elder pushes Amaya from the room, "I'm going to talk to him in private. Get ready, kid." When the woman had left, Ardus turned to face Leonus. "I'm going to say this once. Crush her, but don't kill her. You understand? The fool views herself as a traitor for seeking our aide. If she held half the spine of a Reiman, there would be no decision to be made."

Leonus shook his head. "I don't like it. She's still from Kou, and I can't bring myself to agree with the lack of a threat she is." He gestures to the table, "Look at the weaponry, the hidden vials of poison. She could be planning to kill us all whi-"

"She would have tried already," the old man cut Leonus off. "She's not stupid. She's just gutless. There is no honor in the way she kills, only safety, and efficiency. I want you to teach her what it means to fight something you have no hope of beating." His eyes narrow, cold and rigid. "She will flee, just like every other armed coward who stepped through these doors."



Amaya sighed, rinsing her hands in the basin before drying them in her pockets. The glare the red-haired man had given her, so full of rage and sorrow. This was not going to be a fight she could win. A sigh floated down from her lips, condensing in the air before her. She didn't need to win, only to trip him. A slammed door later, and the man was standing next to her, rather irate looking. He simply muttered "He wants me to try and avoid killing you. I make no promises," and then he was gone, off to the dirt arenas to wait for her.



Amaya had never been hit like that in her life until this past week. Getting off her back seemed impossible, and the simple act of breathing elicited a sharp hiss of pain as her broken ribs were forced out of position by her lungs. She rolled onto her left side with a groan, picking herself up as the clapping of the gathered crowd slowly drew to a close. The crotchety old fart had given her a weak long extension because she was, as he put it, "frail beyond measure." She hocked up whatever fluid was slipping down her throat, spitting the viscous mixture of blood and mucus into the sand. Her hair was plastered every-which way from blood, sweat and dirt, and she certainly hadn't made any progress. Well, she'd certainly gotten much better at taking blows. The first day she had been removed from the remainder of her attempts after the man's first hit. She spat another clod of blood before wiping the red liquid from over her eyes. If this was what chasing her dream required, then so be it. She would rather fall here than return to the shallow impression of an arranged marriage. She abandoned her home for a reason, and she wasn't about to relinquish herself now.

The man before her disappeared with a thick cloud of dust. He would be behind her, striking at her free arm. Her legs were already exempt from his onslaught, and her torso had already been broken today. He would move for the arm that she could still use. She pushed her body back, flipping her torso so that her deadened shoulder took the brunt of the impact of his punch. The pain bit into her once again, and she fought back a scream as her body began to whip the other direction. Using her own momentum, she wrapped her good arm around his jab, whipping her body into the ground and rolling him across her back. The dust washed over them both as a gasp erupted from the crowd, clearing into an abrupt cheer as Leonus held his shoulders aloft by extending his elbows behind his back.

Amaya swore openly, her temper getting the better of her as she collapsed onto the sand. The old man simply stood above her, rapping her face with a walking stick. "You're trying to pin him with your head, you blind fool. You close yourself off to your instincts when you fight." He whistled for the healer, who came quickly to attend to her broken bones. "Stop fighting only here," He jabs her forehead, "and fight from here too." He raps his staff against her heart, an action that brought another hiss of pain from the woman. "Tomorrow is your last chance, you fool. If you can't do it tomorrow, then you're gone."
MADE BY ★MEULK OF GS - EDITS BY ANGELO OF SAO-RPG


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Amaya

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"When your castles of sand crumble into the ocean, will you stand by that which you held in splendor, or will you fade like the beautiful lie you lived in?"
I wanted this thread to capture both the idea of her learning the parry (redirecting the blows) and also a fundamental difference in fighting that Amaya had never before experienced.

The stench of the morning drifted through the stinging nostrils of the assassin as she pulled herself from the litany of bandages and splints she had been placed in overnight. The magician wasn’t lying about the curative potency of magic, certainly. If anything, the past week had made her an intense believer that magic could solve problems far beyond that of human capability. However, the miracle curative had done nothing for the dull throb and ache that persisted in her bones. For that, only the stench of poison and anesthetic would dull the nerves. She had to be careful, however. A numb body was simply a liability given her current situation, and another liability was the last thing she wanted. She let her mind wane from focus as she reflexively dug several herbs out of her satchel, grinding together a paste that she diluted to dull the bitterness. A grimace later and the pungent mixture was spreading across her body, the gentle numb dulling the ache that had been left behind.

Seven days she had suffered without her weapons, and without her poisons. If anything, failure at this point would only prove that she had been a fool to pursue this course. She swung her legs from the rough cot, ripping her worn tunic from the post of the bed. The morning was still cold as she slipped out to the dirt circles, shifting between her stances without weapons. The ritual was almost comforting to her, but the daunting task ahead of her was far from forgettable. The red-haired man had broken more bones in the past week than she’d broken in the past year, although she wasn’t sure if that was truly an accomplishment. The old fart hadn’t been a particular help either, mumbling nonsense about fighting with your heart instead of your head. Instinct could get you killed, if it was wrong. She shook her head. It wasn’t a replacement for cold logic, and she’d be a fool if the old man convinced her otherwise.



The temperature difference between the chilly pre-dawn of morning, and the brutal heat of noon was rather obnoxious. It would be one thing if it was just the sweat she had to deal with, but the sand and grime that had begun to plaster itself to her skin was another issue entirely. It was almost uncomfortable enough to distract her from the coming blow, but a tidy tuck let the incoming fist skate past her shoulder, her body rolling into a brute shove to force some distance. The drunken old shit was right about her being frail. Her small stature meant she wouldn’t be able to down her opponent with any form of normal means. She’d either have to trick him, which was impossible without her poisons, or down him with his own momentum.

“You’re not using your heart!” Ardus’ voice bellowed from the sidelines. “I’ve told you for seven damn days and I’m getting sick of this shit already.”  She rolled her body with another punch, tossing the man a filthy glare before watching Leonus land lightly on his feet. This was slowly turning into the same story as the other six days. She would lose the war of attrition, and he would break her bones yet again. She puffed a lock of hair from her face before readying herself for the next approach. The worst that could happen at this point was the day simply ending sooner, and if that was the case, why not humor the old coot? She shut herself off from logic, letting instinct guide her movement. She felt nothing change. She still responded in turn, ducking and dodging his movements, although it felt much more passive this time, almost as though it were automatic. But it was slow. She would never win this way, but if it was what the old coot wanted, she’d give it a shot. She spent another hour simply dodging his strikes, waiting for another bout of yelling from the old man. Instead, she simply saw him shake his head and tug his ears.

Why? She had done what he had said. She had relied on instinct, not logic. Wasn’t that what the old man wanted? She pushed in quickly, sweeping a leg from under Leonus before dropping an elbow into his chest to accelerate the fall. It wasn’t enough, yet again, and instead, she found herself being pulled over him, her back falling flat against the sand as he scored yet another victory against her.

“If one cannot triumph, it is because he is trying to do the job of two.” She shook her head. She was supposed to fight with both, not isolate herself. That was what the old man had been telling her. Balance is the key to growth, not isolation. Her legs swept up from the ground, pulling the rest of the woman along with them. She shook the sweat from her face before nodding to Leonus, signaling she was ready to resume. He leapt in with another strike, opening his hand at the last second and changing his maneuver to latch on to her wrist. She spun her own hand quickly to grip his as he pulled her backwards. She held the connection tight, rolling his arm around her body and sweeping his anchored leg out from beneath him, still holding on to the momentum. Then she let herself fall, the combined force of the spin and momentum landing her on top of Leonus with enough force to drive his shoulder into the dirt. She rolled away, springing back into a crouch as the momentum petered out, a smirk on her face. Ardus simply stood from his seat on the edge of the pit, remarking. “We train at sunrise. I expect you here, got it?”

MADE BY ★MEULK OF GS - EDITS BY ANGELO OF SAO-RPG


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