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The Intuitive Warrior [Class Training C - B]

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Nero

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Fanalis, characterized by their crimson red hair and their proficiency in physical combat, made the most natural warriors. Nero Regis, who had won several matches in the Coliseum against rather high-profile opponents, was a warrior himself, and in his practice he yearned to grow stronger. He was naturally extremely powerful, gifted with explosive strength and speed which flowed through his veins in his DNA. However, there was no way for him to put this gift into practice if he did not have the knowledge of the skillset required to advance. He kept this goal in mind during his coliseum battles, and shifted his focus from taking out opponents with flashy moves to learning how to be a more efficient combatant. Regarding fighting he recalled something he once was told-

In order to truly claim one has mastered combat, he must be able to fight without thinking. Every action, be it a dodge, a block, a strike or a slam, must be spontaneous- it must become an instinct.

Although he had forgotten exactly who had bestowed upon him this holy information he knew it was true. His favorite gladiators, whom he worshipped as a boy, were able to fight as though they knew both their opponents and their own actions like the back of their hand. Through his own experiences, Nero was nearing that point, but he had not reached it just yet. Being able to think intuitively during combat was a skill, one he desired to acquire and call upon with ease. He experienced its use first-hand when he blinded Polliver with his own blood during his second coliseum match, a simple maneuver which led to his own victory. Even in its simplicity it netted him a win, however. In the arena, the victory is the most important aspect of the fight. Over the next few weeks, when he trained, he worked to condition his muscles and reflexes such that he would be able to draw upon this intuition.

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Nero’s back was slammed against the wall of the Coliseum arena. A large man’s fingers curled around his neck, tethering the Fanalis in place against the unmoving surface. This man was taller and more muscular than Nero, and his hair was also crimson- another Fanalis. Against regular humans, Nero would always have the combat advantage- but against Fanalis, who shared and held amplified versions of his own traits depending on the individual, that was another story, as was the case here.

The man lifted Nero from against the wall by the neck, and with a single fluid motion he turned threw the smaller Fanalis into the ring behind him. Nero’s body slammed against the ground; he felt extreme pain shoot through his vessel. He was more shocked than hurt- he had never been throttled like this in a match before. Perhaps that was because almost all of his opponents were ordinary humans, and he’d never fought a Fanalis bigger than him before. He clambered to his feet, but almost as soon as he stood his opponent had run up to meet him. The larger Fanalis threw forth a punch, which Nero dodged narrowly. Nero was not a man who was fearful of defeat, and he began to acknowledge this as the likelihood of not emerging victorious became ever greater. Even so, he would not give up until the very end. This thought rang out in his mind as he leapt to dodge a sweeping kick, but got pummeled in the face by an elbow strike almost immediately afterwards. That was another aspect of fighting which Nero needed to focus on- chaining his abilities together, to create combinations which his opponents would not be able to counter easily. As Nero fell to the arena floor and his vision began to blur from the strike to the skull, he thought of last-ditch ways to win this match. He had been undefeated up until this match, and it would be nice to maintain that status by winning. He rolled out of the way to avoid the larger fanalis’ foot as it was slammed down with the intent of crushing its target, and struggled once more to his feet. The thought of not thinking would have to carry him through the rest of this match.

In a bid to end the battle, the larger man quickly outstretched both of his arms towards Nero, aiming to pick him up and slam him downwards once more. In the last minute Nero ducked under the arms, advanced inwards towards his opponent’s body, and aimed a strong punch mustering all the strength he had left to the man’s sternum. This knocked the opponent back; Nero leapt towards him, aiming a strong kick to the same spot on his chest upon which he had administered the first connecting strike. The combined effects of the damage caused Nero’s Fanalis opponent to fall to his knees. Nero advanced further, stumbling towards the larger man, reeling from the damage he had taken earlier in the fight. He was not used to having to wait before taking advantage of openings in combat. Naturally, his speed and strength allowed him to force an opportunity to cause big damage. This time was different, and it was something Nero needed to learn how to deal with. As he delved into his thoughts once more, a mistake he should have been wary not to make, the large man recovered from the strikes, stood, and tackled Nero square in the chest like a spear. Nero fell backwards and his vision began to fade. He had lost his first match.

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A week had passed. Getting over the humiliation of losing against such a large audience as the one in the Reim Coliseum was not a hard task, but the sensation was new for Nero. His body was still sore, especially the area around which he had been struck by the large man’s tackle maneuver. He had been doing exercises to try and strengthen up once more, and he had been eating a healthy amount, but the effects from his loss were still prevalent in his body. It was a quiet morning, and a rainy one at that, when Nero decided to step outside of his residence, and get some breakfast from a cafe.

Following a long walk through the city he entered a particular eatery with a great deal on sausage sandwiches that morning. He sat at a table, ordered his food, and proceeded to wait. Even though he did not expressly recognize anybody in the establishment, he felt as though he was being watched by someone familiar. He scanned around the cafe- he saw a few people, a young couple, lots of people of varying ages, and a conspicuously old man wearing robes. He was unsure what was going on, and it felt strange. He finished eating, and left the establishment, but the feeling persisted. What was this? Was someone following him?

Someone was. He turned around, and saw a glance of the conspicuously old man wearing robes. Upon receiving attention, the old man approached Nero, and spoke to him.


Young man, is your name Nero Regis?

Yeah. Why?

I happen to be a fan of yours. Well… not a fan, per se. But I know how to appraise talent when I see it, and from your Coliseum work, you have a great deal. A young man like yourself with such power… Impeccable.

Power, huh… Nero looked down, thinking about his first big loss. A dejected expression must have crossed his face for a split second, as the old man took notice of this and piped up once more.

Why the long face, lad? You must be thinking about that loss last week. A terrible shame, that was. But I can help you grow stronger. You’ve definitely got the tools… but… can you use them?

Nero wanted to answer yes. But the truth was, the more and more he thought about it, he did not know if he could. He knew all sorts of maneuvers- dodges, parries, strikes, blocks- but he was still not exceptional when it came to putting those abilities into practice. He won battles off of his “tools-” those being his extremely advanced strength and speed-  but in order to further hone those tools there was an aspect of intuition which he lacked and needed to gain.

I suppose… not yet.

That’s what I thought… Nero. But I… can teach you, if you would just come with me.


Where?

The old man’s voice became hushed.

I run a dojo, whereupon I hand-pick students of considerable talent and skill to teach, and I am very selective in my recruiting. Consider yourself blessed by me, for I will train you to become one of the strongest warriors in the world.


Although Nero was a little bit sketched out by this old man- he figured he had nothing to lose. Who was he to pass off an opportunity to become a stronger warrior? He would be a fool to do so, and as such, he decided to follow the man’s lead.

Through some semi-awkward smalltalk, Nero found out that this man’s name was Ishiguro Kei. He did not reveal too much more information about himself, save that he came from the Kou empire, and was at one point a mercenary. He revealed that there were only four other students who lived and trained at the dojo he was head of, and each was extremely gifted in some form of physical combat- be it armed, or unarmed. The whole situation seemed somewhat odd to Nero, however. Why would this old man’s training school be kept under wraps? Since Nero had been so fervent in his desire to train and become a powerful warrior, how was it that he only just found out about this dojo? Perhaps it was due to Ishiguro’s selectivity in recruiting his talent. On top of that, maybe in order to prevent being sought out, Ishiguro remained secretive about his training facility. Many questions surfaced, but Nero forced them down as Ishiguro led him down a dark alleyway. He raised his guard- the situation had just become even more dodgy- but continued to follow the old man. Eventually they stopped at a door; a crudely-crafted wood sign adorned the wall directly above the entrance, warning passers by to “keep out.” Ishiguro opened the door and entered; Nero followed suit. Inside was a rather large but dimly lit room, about 50x50 meters, and largely empty, save for some tacky posters and calendars hung upon the wall. In the center was a Tatami mat, 30x30 meters and square. A few doors were present, leading to different places. Nero continued to eye the surroundings, before his focus was disrupted.

Close that door, boy. And come here.

Ishiguro’s voice snapped him out of his observational state. He turned to shut the door, before meeting the old man, who beckoned towards him at the center of the tatami.

This is my dojo. It is where I will train you. If you have any qualms or problems with this space, the feel free to leave.

No qualms at all, sir. It is rather… spacious.

Ishiguro seemed unsure as to whether or not Nero’s remark was sarcastic. He looked past it.

Heh. I suppose… Would you say you are ready to begin training today? Or would you rather wait…

Nero’s daily schedule generally consisted of lots of training. He figured he could easily work this in, and maybe gain more from it than usual.

I would gladly start today, Ishiguro.

Call me Sensei Ishiguro or Sensei Kei. Your pick.

Apologies, Sensei.


The old man laughed, before exiting the room through a door to the side. A few moments later, he returned, followed by a man wearing a cone hat as well as a green martial arts garb, and wielding a hooked sword.


This man’s name is Kouda. He has trained under me for many years, and will be your sparring partner. Before I begin to train you, I need to see first-hand where your skillset lies. Engage in combat with Kouda. I am sure he will provide you with a sufficient challenge.

Nero nodded; he faced Kouda, and the two took ten steps away from each other. Sensei Ishiguro took steps back, remaining on the mat, but in a position where he would be unaffected by the battle which was about to ensue.

Begin.

Immediately, Nero lunged towards Kouda, reaching the swordsman in a single bound; he aimed a strike, which was nimbly dodged. Kouda sidestepped the attack, brandishing his hook sword; Nero threw another wild strike, which was dodged- followed by a kick. Kouda intercepted the kick with the hook of his blade, and used the weapon to force Nero’s leg to the side, interrupting his balance and sending him to the floor. Desperate not to act a fool in front of his soon-to-be mentor, he rose almost as quickly as he had fallen, and charged towards Kouda again. The swordsman sidestepped once more, hooking the blade around Nero’s neck this time. Once Kouda was behind Nero, he yanked the sword backwards, which reversed the Fanalis’ momentum and threw him onto his back. Nero rose, ready to fight more, but Sensei Ishiguro called off the fight, prepared with critiques.

I believe I see the issue here. Your aggression clouds your knowledge of technique, and makes you a sloppy fighter. All you do is attack, attack, attack. That was what you did against the big guy who beat you in the ring, as well. Attacking without thinking. Strategy is just as important in a fight as offense and defense- and to employ it you need to clear your mind. There is quite some work to be done here.

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Nero had trained under Sensei Ishiguro for a number of weeks now. He had met two of the other disciples, leaving a single, enigmatic member for him to be introduced to. Once more, he found himself on the tatami mat with Kouda, the hook-sword wielder.
In the heat of the sparring match, Nero charged in towards his target once more. However, with strategy and intuition in mind, he aimed a high strike, and assuming his opponent would try to sidestep his attack once more, prepared to aim a kick in the direction which Kouda would move to avoid the initial hit. When he moved to Nero’s left to avoid his first attack, the Fanalis aimed the quick kick, which connected with Kouda’s abdomen. Nero took advantage of this opening to strike Kouda’s blade, which left its wielder’s hand and flew to the side of the mat, before taking advantage of his opponent’s shock by advancing quickly and aiming a kick at Kouda’s head- an attack which he pulled at the last second. Sensei Ishiguro, who had been watching, called the match.

Very well done, young Nero. You… are improving. Slowly. But still, improving nonetheless.

WC: 1000+


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