A Chapter by EdwinBozie


Author: EdwinBozie
Created: January 09, 2018 at 01:13 pm
Upload Type: Chapter, T (13+)  
Category: Fantasy | Action | Romance
Upload Stats: 89 views

L.O.T.J.L Ep 30: Labyrinth Of The Defender

EPISODE 30: LABYRINTH OF THE DEFENDER


Buern and Josec sat in the forest outside Gaeia’s city where Josec had been training. It was night time and Josec had finally decided to take a rest.


“We’ve come a really long way Josec, we really have. From high school students to Souryu’s worst enemies” Buern said.


Josec laughed.


“Yeah, roughly a year ago and I’d never have imagined our lives would have taken such a drastic turn” Josec said.


“Roughly a year ago and I’d never have imagined we’d be such close friends” Buern said.


“Yep, you always seemed so distant back in high school” Josec said.


“And I mistook your distaste for fighting as weakness. It was quite a shock to me to discover how wrong I was” Buern said with a smile.


Josec laughed.


“I always knew you were a kind person even if you acted mean all the time” Josec said.


“What do you mean by mean?” Buern suddenly glared at him.


Josec laughed nervously.


“Did I tweak a nerve there?” he asked.


Buern sighed.


“Well that is certainly understandable. Back in high school, I believed emotions were a waste of time and true strength came from hatred. That all changed after getting to know you” Buern said.


Josec smiled sheepishly. Then he suddenly assumed a serious gaze.


“Buern, you know don’t you…that if we keep journeying together…you’ll eventually have to fight him…your dad” Josec said.


“I know. Marina showed me a bit of his history. There is kindness within him Josec. He is more a prisoner of Souryu than anything else. I intend to fight him but only to free him” Buern said.


“You’re really strong. I’m not sure I’d have the strength to make that decision, if I were in your place” Josec said.


“You did it for me Josec. I still don’t know how but you freed me from Souryu. You can probably do the same for my father” Buern said with pleading eyes.


Josec stared at her, he could see she was worried about her father and it now dawned on him that she had probably been carrying that burden throughout their journey. Josec stared ahead.


“I’ll certainly try Buern but I can’t make any promises. Until we fight your dad for real, I can’t be sure there is anything I can do” Josec said with a sad expression.


In his heart he had resolved to help Innovain for Buern’s sake however he could not afford to give Buern any false hopes. The disappointment and pain she’d have to endure if her hopes were crushed would be devastating.


 


THE FOLLOWING DAY


The Masters and Students sat at table in the inn eating breakfast. Josec could feel that the Masters had focused their attention on him though he couldn’t tell why. Then Master Fencer suddenly sighed and began to speak.


“First of all Josec…” he said.


“Hmm?” Josec looked up, turning his attention from the food before him to the Masters around him.


“I’d like to say, well done on behalf of all the Masters” Master Fencer said.


Suddenly, Josec gulped and the food in his mouth got caught in his throat.


“Crap! Did they discover the secret training method I developed for myself?!” he thought as he coughed violently.


Buern handed him a glass of water.


“Here, have this” she said.


He drank the water and sighed gratefully. Master Fencer resumed what he was saying.


“I admit we underestimated Gargolem and learnt just how formidable a general of Souryu, he was. If it had not been for the shield you raised over Gaiea’s city, the entire city would have been devastated” Master Fencer said.


“Oh, that’s what you meant” Josec said with a nervous laugh.


“However you learnt an invaluable lesson, that there is no such thing as an impenetrable shield and that in high level battles, your current shield amounts to nothing” Master Fencer said.


“Yeah, Buern taught me that more than once” Josec said seriously.


“The good news is that we’ve realized that your shield has strategic value in our battles and it will be needed even more in the battles ahead of us so we’re going to train you to raise the ability of your shield” Master Fencer said.


“Yes, it would be pointless to challenge the storms without taking advantage of every means in our arsenal to diminish their potential for harm” Master Kyem said.


“So what form of training will this take?” Josec asked.


“We’ll begin by raising your stamina but we’ll not be training just your stamina. We’ll be working to raise your awareness and willpower to such an extent that you can maintain your shield even while asleep” Master Fencer said.


 


NOON…IN THE FOREST OUTSIDE GAIEA…


“As a requirement for your training, you will be fighting all six Masters” Master Fencer said as the Masters assumed their Psychorage Improv. states.


Master Fencer charged in first with tremendous speed and slashed downwards with his sword. The impact caused dust to envelope the area and for a while, it appeared he had landed a direct hit on Josec but he suddenly leapt back and stared towards the dust.


“I did not sense any resistance” he thought.


Suddenly, Josec appeared in his blind spot and threw a heavy punch charged with lightning. Master Fencer phased to the side and attempted to strike Josec in the gut with the hilt of his sword but though the hilt appeared to strike Josec, there was no resistance.


Master Fencer smiled.


“An afterimage huh? You seem to have gained some level of mastery over the legendary martial art of the Fenixes, the Killer Ghost” Master Fencer said as he stepped backwards narrowly avoiding the blow Josec was aiming at him from above.


Josec’s punch struck the ground. At the same time, Josec noticed, Master Fencer’s joki turn fiery. He stared behind Master Fencer and noticed Master Ayumi.


“I see, he used her flames to alter the affinity of his improv.” he said as he somersaulted backwards in an attempt to regain his balance however, before he could leave Fencer’s range, Fencer’s sword was almost at his throat.


He instinctively put up his shield but noticed the speed of Fencer’s sword suddenly increase dramatically. He hadn’t completely recovered his balance so his speed was reduced. Fencer’s sword smashed into his shield and shattered it.


“He amplified the speed of his blade with the flames of his joki” Josec realized.


Before he could evade the sword, a punch from the front sent him flying. He stared behind himself and noticed that he was flying towards Master Kyem. Usually, in mid-air, there’d be no way to avoid Master Kyem’s attack but because Josec had inherited the Wings Of The Phoenix, he thrust himself upwards and headed for the skies but Master Andrea was waiting for him there.


Whenever he put up his shield, the Masters would tear it down with heavy attacks and strike him, and whenever he tried to flee or evade their attacks, he wound up stumbling right into the attack of another Master.


This went on for days. The Killer Ghost alone was not enough to help him because regardless of the illusion of multiplicity he created, the Masters still landed effective hits. It was as Buern had said. True, the illusion of multiplicity could affect the sense of sight and since it was generated by movement, to an extent it could also affect the sense of hearing. However, the Masters who were more experienced in combat relied also on perceiving their opponent’s intent to attack and the movement of air generated from an attack and since Josec would need to make contact to deal any damage, by sensing the flow of air from his attack and reacting to it just at the point of impact, they could counter his attacks.


Josec was overwhelmed. However, he hadn’t began to realize it himself that he had begun to react to their attacks by putting up his shield instinctively. Due to the fact that the Masters could tear down his shield with a single strike, he had not realized it himself that he had reached a level of defensive combat so advanced that his shield had almost began to react to the Masters’ attacks at a subconscious level.


 


ROUGHLY TWO WEEKS LATER…


Josec was beginning to get frustrated with his training.


“What’s the point of all this? If this is to raise me to the level that allows me to resist your attacks, then it’s not working. It’s frustrating!” Josec suddenly burst out during one training session.


“That’s good. It’s supposed to be frustrating. So what exactly is frustrating about your training?” Master Pheisl asked him.


“Regardless of how much I attempt to evade, it’s almost as though I’m led right into the path of an oncoming attack and when I put up my shield, you shatter it instantly” Josec said.


The Masters sighed.


“That’s because you’ve been focusing your defensive abilities around the power of your shield. We already told you that there is no such thing as an impenetrable shield. Even the perfect shield has a weakness…its wielder” Master Ayumi said.


“However, there is such a thing as a frustrating shield. When we began to battle Josec, you were mainly going on the offensive. However, you lost balance midway, when was that?” Master Fencer asked.


“When I attacked you from above” Josec said.


“I’m willing to bet it was right around that time that things began to become frustrating for you” Master Fencer said.


“Yes, I lost my balance and you were preparing to counter my attack. I leapt backwards in an attempt to regain my balance but you were right onto me and hit me towards Master Kyem. You were charging from the front and Master Kyem was behind me, so I thought the only safe place was above but Master Andrea was waiting for me there and that’s pretty much how the battles have been since” Josec said.


“Yes, we used a form of defensive combat that limited the range of actions you could take and forced you to take only those actions we’d prepared to counter. A shield’s power is certainly important but what really matters is how frustrating it is to breach the shield. In a battle against time, a frustrating shield can force an opponent to flee or it could be used to force an opponent into a trap. By altering the shape and design of the shield, one could create a maze of defences. This is the greatest defensive ability of the Defender, the Labyrinth Of The Defender” Master Pheisl said.


Josec opened his eyes in awe. He had never even considered that possibility. So far, he had only focused on the power of his shield but to limit an opponent’s range of actions and force them into a trap was something he’d never imagined a shield was capable of. It added a whole new level of offensive ability to the abilities of the Defender.


 


TWO DAYS LATER


The Masters and Josec resumed their training sessions. This time, before any of the Masters’ attacks could hit, Josec raised his shield before him and created a dome around the entire area. Using his shield, he created several layers of defence so though his shields were shattered by the Masters with a single attack, by raising them almost immediately after they had been shattered, he could complicate the Masters’ movements. By utilizing his will, he continuously altered the shape of the shields creating a labyrinth within the dome and by fluctuating the shields, he could use the Killer Ghost to phase into the Masters’ range, deal attacks and retreat into several layers of defences.


True, the shields were not strong enough to completely stop the Masters’ movements but when combined with the tremendous speed of the Killer Ghost, they could hinder the Master’s movements, limit their speed thus allowing Josec to deal effective attacks, and allow Josec to attack and retreat from virtually anywhere. This frustrating shield was one of the greatest abilities of the Defender, the Labyrinth Of The Defender.



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