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Learning the Body's Language [Solo/Class Training][Body Manipulation D, and D --> C]

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Three weeks of brutal training had allowed Caelus to grow to new heights.  His body felt stronger, faster, and tougher than before.  There was also a notable increase in his fighting ability and skills with a blade.  Ban had explained that the lack of air at the summit was causing his body to process oxygen at a faster rate, which helped with growth and regeneration of damaged tissue.  Having spent so much time at her home was having a marked effect on his body's inner workings.  Along with physical prowess, his reaction time had decreased, and his vision was far sharper than before. "At this rate, your body will be ready to learn my Body Manipulation techniques in a weeks time."  Ban said, with a rather pleased smile on her face.  "In the meantime, continue to spar with Shu in the mornings.  I have new lessons for you in the evenings."

"New lessons?"  A bit of dread crept into his voice.  Ban's current teachings were already difficult for Caelus to fully grasp.  Similar to the way his father would try to explain how Rukh worked to cast spells, his brain simply wasn't accustomed to book-learning.  Like his mother, he always learned better by doing.  What's more, he had a tendency to get distracted by even the smallest things, and subsequently getting smacked in the head by Ban's cane.  He could identify several marks on the cane that matched the curvature of his cranium perfectly.

A new mark appeared on the cane, followed by a pain in his head, as Ban smacked him for daydreaming.  "If your brain was half as thick as your skull, you'd have mastered the technique on your own.  Why must Ilah curse me with incompetent students?"  She mumbled the last bit as she hobbled back inside.  This of course did exactly what Ban had expected, and fueled Caelus' fire to prove her wrong.

Another week of diligent sparring with Shu came and went like usual.  The afternoon lessons took their toll however.  Caelus was mentally exhausted, and almost unwilling to start what he was sure to be an even more thought intensive regimen.  To his surprise however, there was only a single note on his door when he woke up on the eighth day.  In Ban's perfect calligraphy it read, Today we are meditating.  Come to the courtyard.  Caelus shrugged, and put down Valkyrie. I guess a rest day is good once in a while.

He stepped into the courtyard and saw Ban kneeling in the center.  Without looking back at him, she gestured beside her for him to sit down.  Caelus took up the offered space and sat cross-legged.  Ban arched an eyebrow at this, but said nothing about it.  Instead she began to explain the exercise.  "Caelus, i trust you have been practicing your Magoi Manipulation?"  Caelus nodded.  "Good.  Today we are simply going to move Magoi throughout our bodies and focus it in different points.  Do as i say, as i say it.  And try to keep up."

Caelus nodded but looked around for a moment and asked, "Where's Shu?"

"Shu is running an errand for me in the Capital.  How odd, i thought you two to have more of a rivalry than a friendship."

Caelus blushed slightly.  "It's not like that.  I just don't want him jumping out at me while i'm distracted."

"He would have ample ability to, as you are currently distracted by his absence, are you not?  Even with a lesson in front of you?"  Ban's tone never changed, but the intent was clear.  Caelus silently apologized and sat calmly and without making noise.  "Very good.  First, let us focus Magoi in our gut."

For several hours, they sat in almost silence.  Only Ban's voice, guiding the exercise, disturbed the air.  Initially it was easy enough, but soon Caelus found himself breathing heavily and struggling to focus.  Ban allowed for short breaks, but he was instructed not to move from his spot.  It was strange, this exercise.  He moved the concentration of Magoi as an imaginary ball.  Ban had him expand and contract it, move it to each limb and hold it for several minutes, before releasing it slowly back into his body.  When the Magoi was concentrated, his limbs felt as if they were vibrating with energy.  His core felt uncomfortably warm, similar to being covered by a blanket during a summer day.  Caelus found himself sweating despite the lack of exertion.  After four hours, Caelus was instructed to stop.  "Head inside and rest.  There will be no more training for today."

Caelus lifted himself up to head inside, and stumbled.  Surprised, he checked to make sure his leg didn't fall asleep, only to find that he was sore all over his body.  He hadn't realized it at first, but he was freezing and his bones ached.  His eyes widened a bit.  I completely underestimated this training.  What the hell happened?"  He stumbled back inside and into his bed.  Despite its softness, it felt to him like he was lying on a stone slab.  A minute later, Ban walked in and put a cup to his mouth.  She nodded for him to drink and he did, letting a freshly brewed tea slip down his throat.  it was delicious, and eased his pain just a bit, allowing him to fall asleep.

The next day Caelus' pain was back, but not as strong as before.  A similar note on his door instructed him to once again come outside for meditation.  As he entered the courtyard this time he found Ban facing him on the tile ground.  She instructed him to sit in front of her, and began explaining the day's lesson.  "Today we begin proper Body Manipulation training.  I am sure you feel the pain from yesterday.  Today i will show you how to banish pain."  She extracted a book from a chest beside her that Caelus had not noticed.  Opening it, she revealed several drawings of the brain and spine, along with detailed explanations of each section.  She began to teach him of the functions of the different parts, and how with focus he could manipulate them at will.  She then extracted several other books and scrolls, each one dedicated to a different body part or section of body parts, and pointed each one out in turn.

"In your many fights with Shu, you must have noticed how his body moved in sometimes impossible ways.  This is thanks to Body Manipulation.  He can shift his body to meet his needs as he requires it.  His is the way that most practitioners use the practice.  However, in my long life i discovered ways to accomplish impossible tasks without physical deformation.  Observe."  She stood and pointed to a set of three stones several paces away.  To the first, she simply dashed over and crushed it.  "That is how most accomplish the task.  It is also how you would crush the stone as you are now, correct?"  Caelus nodded, impressed by her strength and speed.  Up until this point, he had never seen her perform any physical feats.  "A typical Body Manipulator may crush the stone like this."  He arm twitched, before shooting out far beyond any could possibly stretch, and crushed the stone without her so much as taking a step.  It returned to her in a whip-like fashion, and snapped back into place.  Caelus sat in awe with his mouth agape, and Ban smiled a bit.  "However, i have discovered yet another way to crush stones."  Ban walked slowly up to the third stone and placed her fist upon it.  She flexed, almost imperceptibly, and the stone exploded in all directions causing Caelus to shield his face with his hand.

Ban wiped the dust off of her clothes with a sweep of her arm and returned to sit with Caelus.  "Only a full-blooded Fanalis could accomplish that feat with so little movement, and only after years of training.  Perhaps an Imuchakk, if they had the patience or willingness to try.  Both possess the raw strength to do so.  For Humans like ourselves, special training measures must be taken to match their natural ability."  She took a moment to breathe and let the thought sink in.  "Now, what did you see?"

Caelus thought back.  She had flexed, but visibly nothing seemed to have changed.  Her body did not shift like before when she crushed the second stone.

*CRACK*

Ban's cane struck his head like it had so often, leaving another dent in the wood.  Caelus put his hand to his hand and exclaimed, "Ack!"  But before he could say another word Ban asked, "Caelus how is your pain?"  All at once the soreness in his bones came rushing back to his conscious mind.  The blow to his head ricocheted around his skull and caused a deep throb to set in.

"Adrenaline,"  Ban began immediately, "allows us to ignore pain.  You forgot all about your pain while i was demonstrating my stone crushing technique, and continued to ignore it even when the focus was turned back on yourself when i asked a question.  Your intensity is what kept your adrenaline pumping, and therefore kept your pain at bay."  The pink haired woman stood and offered Caelus a hand up.  "Even when i struck you again, you had to be reminded that you were in pain before you felt it again, did you not?  This is a small measure of what i have to teach you.  By the end of the day you will be able to harness your adrenal pain response at will.  Remember your intensity, and summon it up with your will."

He took her hand and stood up.  Caelus was stunned.  Ban really was a genius.  Every word she said about him was true, as if she knew him better than he knew himself.  With a mentor like this, i can't possibly fail!  His excitement rose in his chest.  "I won't let you down!"

True to his word, Caelus was able to shrug off pain by the end of the day.  And in the weeks that came after, he began to learn to shift his muscles around to give him more strength,  improve his balance, and to a small degree even slow bleeding.  He could seal his skin over a wound with concentration, even if he could not yet repair it.  And another nifty ability he learned on the fly was to use his own leg muscles like a splint when he fractured his leg training.  Ban refrained from teaching him what she considered to be the standard fare of Body Manipulation, and so Caelus did not learn to extend his limbs or the like.  Such techniques, she said, would only hinder Caelus' growth, as the Frost Mantle had done before.

Ban also insisted that Caelus continue his normal regimen of training alongside his new studies.  This would keep him sharp, and allow him to fuse the two styles together to enhance each other.  These new skills allowed him to cover his weak points, while creating specific advantages that would be difficult for an opponent to discern their source.  As all of Ban's teachings focused on manipulation of the inside of the body, they were well hidden from those he would use them against.

By the end of his second month on top of this mountain, Caelus was able to call himself proficient in Body Manipulation.  He now even incorporated some of his new techniques into his sparring sessions with Shu.  He even managed to beat him outright a few times, which of course only forced them to try even harder.  Ban had found herself one hell of a student.

Training to D Tier.
~WC: 2009/2000~


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After learning the basics, and a solid week of sparring with Shu to further ingrain them, Ban decided that it was time to step up Caelus' training.  As usual, this message came in the form of a note tacked to the inside of Caelus' door, however this time it read, Training is indoors.  This was not necessarily good news.  While it meant that his muscles could relax for a day, Caelus knew that this meant more reading and book-work.  At points during his training, Caelus had wondered whether it would be preferable to throw himself from the peak or crack open another tome.  He had chosen the tome.  But only by a small margin.  A very small margin.

Caelus stepped into the center room, and took a seat at the low table as he usually did.  He looked around, but Ban was nowhere to be seen.  On the table was a large book with old, cracked, and yellow pages.  The title was in a language he didn't understand, but he assumed this would be the book he would be taught from today.  Maybe i can get a head start if i flip through the first few pages?  He wondered, and reached for the book.  He opened it, only to find a live snake coiled and ready to spring forward.  Caelus jumped back in surprise, but the snake was just barely faster.  It latched onto his arm and sank its fangs into his flesh before he could harden it.  There was an immediate flash of pain, followed by a slow, creeping burning.

Instinctively, Caelus stopped the pain, save for the tingling sensation that let him know how far the poison had spread.  He then pulled the snake from his arm and shoved it back into the book, clasping it shut once again.  He forced himself not to panic, and figured the only way to stop the progression was to remove the venom from his system.  He thought hard about what Ban had taught him of the body's functions, and was suddenly reminded of the stomach's ability to break down most venom.  It was simply a protein after all.

With a conscious effort, he willed his blood to collect and then dump the venom into his stomach.  He focused on the tingling he felt in his arm, and could feel it move up into his shoulder before plummeting into his gut.  It only took a moment, but to Caelus this was entirely too long before he felt the relief.

Ban stepped out from behind a stack of books in the corner of the room.  She smiled.  "That was very well done.  I see you have been studying, and not just falling asleep during my lessons.  Now you just have to practice that."  Before Caelus could offer any kind of complaint or question, Ban threw another snake at Caelus from her sleeve.

This continued for two weeks.  At any time during his normal training, Ban would release a snake, insect, wasp, scorpion, or any manner of poison or acid or caustic substance towards Caelus, and force him to come up with a solution on the fly.  He was rather good at it, and once he learned to identify the threat for what it was, he was able to deal with it without breaking from training.  Ban even put a spider in his bed once, however that time he simply rolled over and killed it in his sleep.

Training Body Manipulation to C Tier.
~WC: 580/500~


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