The next morning, Ray opened his eyes to the gentle rays of the morning sun which were streaming through the window.
It wasn’t a dream after all . . . even though I was slightly hoping I’d wake up in my own room. Normally, shouldn’t there be someone like god who would come and give me a proper explanation? Or maybe at least a messenger from god. I wasn’t run over by a truck. I wasn’t playing a game either. I think it would be nice to hear the reason and cause for my sudden trip to this world . . .
After finding out that this wasn’t a dream, Ray was feeling slightly pissed off by how he still wasn’t told the reason for why he was plucked straight out of Japan. Nevertheless, Ray figured that staying in bed wouldn’t solve a single thing, and decided to change his clothes.
When Ray finished dressing, his gaze casually wandered to the side of the room. He found something there that he hadn’t noticed the night before. A mirror made of metal was hung on the wall.
He looked at the face in the mirror and saw a handsome young caucasian man with blue eyes and lustrous blonde hair being reflected.
Wow . . . I’m pretty good looking . . . handsome enough to be an actor . . .
Ray absentmindedly gazed at his own face for a while.
It doesn’t feel like my own face at all. If I pay attention to the way I speak and my behavior, there’s probably no doubt I could become quite popular . . . it’s probably impossible for me though.
He cleared his head of the thoughts and then, as he had planned last night, headed towards Ashley’s room. She had already woken up, had her armor on, and also her equipment ready. Ray confusedly asked,
“Why are you all equipped so early this morning? I thought we’re having a meeting with the mercenaries’ guild branch chief later?”
“Ah, I was just planning to do a little bit of training in the courtyard. Want to join me?”
Ray also wanted to try moving his body around some more, and furthermore, didn’t want to refuse her when she had taken the effort to invite him.
“Alright. I’ll go get my equipment ready, so go on ahead of me.”
He returned to his room and put on the armor as he had been taught by Ashley yesterday.
Although he was still somewhat bewildered in the beginning, when he began putting the armor on, his body moved naturally. His entire body was clad in armor after around ten minutes.
If it was this easy, why was I struggling so much yesterday? It feels simpler than the kendo equipment I had to put on during P.E class in middle school . . . I don’t even know how I managed to put it on just now, my body just kind of moved by itself . . .
As he neared the courtyard, the figure of Ashley swinging her sword came into view.
She didn’t seem to be practicing forms but was instead swinging her sword at imaginary enemies she had conjured up in her mind. There were various deceptive feints mixed in with her extremely powerful swings.
It looks like she’s actually in real combat . . . since there doesn’t seem to be anyone else around, maybe I should try moving my body around a bit as well . . .
Although he tried to assume a stance with the spear in his hand, he had no idea where his hand should be on the spear nor how his stance should look. Through trial and error, his hands somehow arrived at a position that he felt looked okay, and began to repeatedly perform a series of simple thrusts.
Ray felt like his thrusts were gradually increasing in sharpness. After a while, he added in some double-thrusts and scythe-like movements.
It’s as I thought, my body remembers these movements after all. It’s as if I’m playing a game I haven’t touched for years . . . even though my movements with the controller are clumsy and awkward in the beginning, I slowly remember the feelings from a long time ago. That type of type of feeling . . .
As Ashley swung her sword beside him, she felt surprised when she gave him a sidelong glance.
In the beginning, he looked like a total amateur, no, even worse than that. However, his thrusts immediately began to become sharper. Although I can’t really call him a veteran or anything based on his current skill level, he could probably be a match for the typical soldier . . .
When Ashley asked, “Ray, do you have a moment?”, Ray quickly stopped his hands and replied, “What is it?” while slightly tilting his head.
“Try switching out that spear for your sword. Since I didn’t get a chance to see you use your sword yesterday, I want to see how you’ll do with something other than a spear.
Ray nods and pulls out his sword after setting his spear on the wall.
The handle was short and seemed to be used with one hand. The so-called long sword. Its blade beautifully glittered as it reflected the light of the morning sun.
Once again clueless on how he should assume his stance, Ray tried holding the sword near the upper-half of his body. However, no matter what he tried, none of the stances looked correct.
“Ashley, what kind of stance do I need to take? Do I grip the sword like this?”
Using her own two-handed sword as an example, Ashley began to explain the fundamental stances and grips in a simple way Ray would understand.
Ray tried swinging his sword as he listened, and gradually, he improved in the same way he had with the spear. Feeling intrigued, Ashley was about to suggest that they try doing a mock battle. However, before she could ask Ray, the maid arrived and announced that breakfast had been prepared.
What bad timing . . . well, it doesn’t really matter I suppose. We’ll still have time after breakfast.
And so, the two of them headed toward the dining hall.
Once they finished breakfast, Ray and Ashley resumed their training in the courtyard.
After training for a while, although Ray didn’t know where she had found them, Ashley had two wooden swords in her hand. She tossed one of them to Ray and smiled as she asked, “Want to try a mock battle?” However, contrary to her words of invitation, the eager Ashley had already assumed a stance with her wooden sword.
Ray refused her with a bitter smile, “I’m not going to be your sparring partner, so stop looking so aggressive.” However, she stubbornly continued,
“We’re only going to hit each other lightly. Also, your memories will probably come back more quickly if your mind goes under the pressure of some actual combat. You’re unmistakably someone who’s gone through combat before, so training should be a kind of stimulus . . .”
Ray knew that even if he did as she said, those memories were probably never going to come back. However, as he looked at the figure in front of him who seemed so eager to fight, he thought it over. Regardless of those memories, considering his future from now on, sparring definitely wasn’t something pointless.