Chapter 35: Knights, Ordinary Class, and Supra Class
Jines did not say anything else; she tended to his new wounds and told Thales to rest. Before she left his room, she also promised that she would let his life 'return to normal' by tomorrow.
But when nighttime arrived, Thales' sleep was restless—the things he had experienced during the past few days were just too bizarre.
The terrors in Red Street Market, Mindis Hall's sensational secrets, and his strive for survival in Vine Manor, had all made him extremely exhausted after thinking too much.
Worse still, even after Thales had reached this point, he still could not get used to the soft mattress beneath him. It was as if his ability to fall asleep in his past life right when his head hit the pillow had vanished without a trace.
'Ah…' Thales rolled his eyes.
After tossing and turning a million times over, he got up from bed as usual, then went to his 'designated' corner before he curled up his body and laid down.
'As expected, hard surfaces suit me more.' Thales licked his lips.
Two days ago, he had been worried about the survival of the five child beggars in the Abandoned Houses and was plotting his grand escape.
After that, his life had been filled with drastic changes, and he was like a duckweed without roots being blown by a violent gust of wind. He struggled in this world that was filled with evil and misfortune, and he had used every method he had at his disposal for his own survival.
'I just want to live well.
'But with this status…' Thales looked at the wall above the fireplace. In the dim inner chamber, he could vaguely see the pattern of a huge star in the shape of a nonagon.
'Things such as "living well" and "being a free person",' Thales sighed deeply and thought, 'are probably wild dreams.'
Not to mention…
Thales absent-mindedly raised his right hand. Under the moonlight, he looked at the bandaged abrasion there.
'What actually was…' Thales recalled the moment he released Ralf from the shackles and the surge of explosion and light that appeared right afterward. 'What was that energy?'
Then there was the loli vampire. When Thales recalled her mummified looks and the two, almost invisible, round holes on his neck, he felt a surge of fear.
And now, Thales was sure that his past-life memories that often flashed inside his mind without reason were not just fragments. What sort of memories were able to support him to the point where he could suddenly exude superhuman strength and determination at the most dangerous moments, anyway?
Although it had been five years since he came to this place, Thales realized in disappointment that his uncertainty and lack of understanding regarding this world did not diminish but instead gradually piled up.
Someone still woke up him by screaming into his ears while he was still on his bed and covered by his blankets. When he was sleeping, someone had returned him there.
But today's atmosphere was significantly different.
First of all, it was Jines who woke him up instead. She patiently explained to the flustered Thales the steps in putting on noble clothing. Next, his breakfast had also been changed to delicious cake and milk instead of bread and beef. The guards in the hall were walking back and forth busily, carrying inside item after item that had obviously just been transported here today.
Gilbert appeared with a stern face and told Thales that his personally tailored classes would begin from nine in the morning and until nine at night.
This made Thales truly feel that his daily life had completely changed. And although it was only the first class in the morning, the content was something he had never been exposed to before.
After breakfast, Thales was led by Jines to a cleared, empty plot filled with soft sand in the backyard of Mindis hall. Gilbert Caso was holding his exquisite staff and standing among a huge array of weapon racks, dummies for sword practice, archery targets, sandbags, horse-hitching posts, and a young foal.
He spoke to him solemnly, "After the incidents that happened these past few days, having gone through deep contemplation and after making careful choices, Young Sir Thales, we believe that you are in urgent need of basic training for fighting and self-defense skills. And as a child who will be growing up alongside Lord Mahn, you should, naturally, be well-versed with horsemanship and basic swordsmanship skills. Do not worry. We, especially Lady Jines, guarantee that the training will not affect your existing wounds."
Thales let out a deep breath, then to his surprise, he saw Jines taking a step towards him. She spoke coldly.
"Do not be surprised, child, the morning is the best time to train your body. As Constellation's future heir, you must, of course, have a body that can bear this heavy responsibility—and I will make sure of this."
Thales stared at the curvy Jines, who stood under the sun wearing the elegant attire of a female official. He looked at the empty space around him and scratched his head.
"Why isn't Yodel the one teaching me? He looks formidable." The boy recalled the secret protector who moved about the town area with swift movements.
"Do you expect a supreme class elite, who are hard to come by in the entire kingdom, to teach a newbie about the most basic things?" Gilbert, who stood nearby, put his hands behind his back and continued, "And, please believe me when I say that Yodel's tactics do not suit your status and traits."
Thales nodded his head, not fully understanding what Gilbert had just said. "What is a supreme class?"
At this, Jines clapped her hands, walked towards the middle of the field and gestured with her finger for Thales to come over.
"Gilbert will explain all this theoretical knowledge to you during the training. Now, attack me with all your might! I want to appraise your existing basics."
Thales watched, stupefied, as Jines put her hands behind her back and stood still in the middle of the field, and he continued staring until Jines opened her mouth to urge him again.
'Alright, practice and level up. Isn't this what the older generation loved the most?' Thales finally took a breath. He decided not to take out his dagger after some contemplation.
The next moment, with street-fighting skills that would pass for a child beggar, Thales lunged towards Jines.
Without even moving her supporting foot, Jines easily tripped Thales—who had lunged with too much energy.
Gilbert slowly began his explanation. "Martial arts is the oldest and most long-standing skill in human history. Human history is one built where they continuously waged war against other races and amongst themselves.
"Thousands of years ago, in the process of fighting for the right to survive in this world, human beings gradually categorized the skills and patterns involved in using weapons or fighting bare-handed."
Thales was tripped for a second time, tumbling onto the practice ground with his face dusty and dirty.
"Compared to other races, the human physical constitution falls way behind, and thus, they utilized these crafts and skills to win against the strong even if the humans were weaker, to fight against many even if the humans were few, and to wrestle those who are bigger in size compared to the humans.
"After a long time, some of the fighters who have mastered superb skills through such battles awakened powers within themselves that far exceeded human imagination.
"Instead of merely 'struggling' and 'resisting', these powers granted human beings other choices in the world. Different powers came with different advantages, such as outstanding speed, nimble reaction, superb observation, and extraordinary strength. There are too many to count."
This time, Thales nimbly dodged Jines' leg, which was trying to trip him again, and cleverly grasped her thigh-high boots. However, he was immediately kicked down again by Jines' cunning use of her strength.
"By relying on these powers, these group of superior human beings rode on warhorses, led skilled fighters, and embarked on a journey towards the dangerous world.
"These were the earliest batch of knights…" Gilbert heaved a deep sigh and watched Thales, who was in a pathetic and disheveled state, fall onto the floor for the fourth time. He continued, "and those powers that they have awakened are collectively known as 'superpowers'.
"Today, after the Battle of Eradication, the humans, especially swordsmen, like to refer to those powers as 'Powers of Eradication'.
"Due to the emergence of 'superpowers', the world established classifications of such abilities for the first time. For those who are agile in using fighting techniques and are refined fighters, we commonly label them as 'ordinary class'.
"The elites who have mastered superpowers or other such abilities, and are capable of going into extreme detail when it comes to their control over their bodies and spotting the finest detail while observing things, and who are highly proficient when it came to fighting and battling have already surpassed the domain of ordinary human beings. This is why," having said that, Gilbert's eyes sparkled brilliantly as he finished his sentence, "we call them 'supra class'."
Jines raised her left hand to stop Thales, who was unwilling to stop and wanted to continue lunging forward. She then pushed him onto the sandy surface.
"Quick-witted and good at dodging, knows how to use the greatest amount of strength possible, it's just that his body has not matured yet. I already know what to teach him." Jines exhaled, turned and took two sets of wooden swords and shields from the weapons rack. She threw the smaller set towards Thales, who was all over the place while trying to grab it.
'It's so heavy.'
Thales laboriously straightened the shield and imitated Jines in using the leather straps behind the wooden shield to bind and secure it to his left hand. However, he immediately realized that the posture put a huge burden on one side of his shoulders and arms.
Thales held the wooden sword with his right hand. 'My goodness, compared to JC's dagger, this wooden sword might as well be those water vats in the Abandoned Houses!'
"Tilt your body with your left leg forward and right leg behind! Place your weight between both of your legs and adjust it accordingly towards the back when defending or receiving impact. When attacking, tip your weight forward.
"Raise your shield and point it directly towards your enemy! Center all your defenses towards your chest on the shield - don't block your eyes!" Jines' tone suddenly became cold and stern. "No matter what, always raise the shield in your left hand up high! There are only two situations where you can put it down. When you are dead, or when the enemy dies!"
Thales strenuously raised his left arm. Soon afterward, it began aching.
"Whip your right arm around and treat the sword as if it is your second forearm. Use the weight of your shield and the first-half of your body, then wave it as though you are using a whip!"
Thales—who was so tired that he was panting—raised the sword in his right hand shakily. He swayed it left and right with great effort while Gilbert's words resounded beside his ears.
"Aha! It's the Northland Military Swords Style—the sword style that has a long history." At this moment, Count Caso's words were full of reminiscence and reverence.
"In the bard's poems, this sword style is the ordinary people's final weapon; the knight's body of fortitude, the Northland's barrier of ice and snow, and the orc's nemesis in the battlefields."
His following sentence made Thales widen his eyes.
"Of course, it was also the sword style where superpowers originated from."