Mob Villain In An Otome Game Volume 2 Chapter 2

New Martial Arts

“Sir Reed, watch my movements closely now!!”  

“…Guh!”  

I frantically dodged his strikes with the wooden sword, reacting to his orders and sensing his every hand, foot, gaze. But dodging his sword opened me to kicks or attempts to grapple. I’m currently training under Reubens’ instruction on the estate training grounds. He’s holding back but concentrates on attacking openings at my limit of focus. Losing concentration risks serious injury amidst the intense battling. Such was our practice, almost like real combat.  

However, moving this much obviously tires me quickly, so Reubens times things to let me rest.   

“Sir Reed, let’s take a break.”

“Haah… Haah… Tough!!”

The moment he called [break] I uncaringly flopped onto my back utterly exhausted where I stood. He watched me with a faint smile.  

“But still, as expected you’re quite impressive Sir Reed. Those movements at your age are more than enough. Just build experience and you should become able to handle most opponents I expect.”  

“You…Haah…Haah…think so…”

Just replying felt unbearable I was so beat. After all, I have to keep focused on my opponent’s movements. And lately more training accustoming me to pain has been added. W

hen smilingly told by Reubens “Lie on your back please” then getting weights suddenly dropped on my stomach after complying, I clutched my abdomen gasping, transiently overcome by the notion this was no way to treat a child! But Reubens paid that no heed as if it were completely natural training. Even so, doing it several times accustomed my body.  

Being able to move this much likely owes to the high specs and talent I have innately. Once more I’m filled with nothing but gratitude. As I thought that Reubens murmured something curious.

“Hmm, perhaps it’s about time Sir Reed could start training to magically enhance his body with mana,” Reubens murmured ponderously.  

“…!? Magically enhance my body…!?”

I bolted up from lying on my back, forgetting my earlier exhaustion as I stared at him with sparkling eyes. I hadn’t known such a thing as [magically enhancing one’s body] existed in this world. My past life memories didn’t have anything about it either, nor had I heard anything from Sandra. In fact I had tried something like it on my own before, but it hadn’t worked out. My mana didn’t mesh well with my body, uselessly leaking away in the end so I gave up temporarily. Seeing my sparkling gaze, Reubens’ expression tightened a bit but he cleared his throat giving an explanation.  

There were two main conditions for being able to magically enhance one’s body.  

1) Being able to convert mana.

2) Being able to use martial arts to a certain degree.  

I understood the mana conversion part but was unclear on the [being able to use martial arts] aspect. Did it require mastery to a certain level?

Seeing my quizzical expression Reubens smiled wryly, continuing his explanation.  

“When I say being able to ‘use’ martial arts, I mean grasping control of one’s own body movement. Unless that bodily control is thoroughly comprehended, the magical body enhancement cannot activate even wrapping mana around the body.”  

I listened keenly to Reubens’ talk. I see…so that was why it hadn’t activated properly when I tried it alone before. Back then I couldn’t move my body as intensely as now. But one thing still bothered me so I tossed a question his way.   

“But magic requires mana and visualization right? Then envisioning a stronger body I should be able to activate the enhancement…that wouldn’t work?”

“Yes. Visualizing only getting stronger is too vague failing to trigger activation. On top of that, the visualization necessary to cast magic must be sustained unconsciously at a near level to keep the body enhancement active.”  

It has to be sustained unconsciously…? Sounds highly advanced, but is doing something like that even possible? Seeing my doubtful expression he continued explaining unprompted.  

“When I say unconsciously, I refer mainly to sensation. The image and sensation of mana flowing through your whole body while it links up to bodily movement. However, thoroughly grasping your own body’s motion is essential to acquiring this. If you don’t comprehend how your own body moves, the mana won’t follow along.”  

“I see… So grasping and predicting continuous chains of motion, with mana unable to accompany the body unless those action judgments reach an unconscious level, something like that?”  

Reubens smiled and nodded deliberately at my words summing things up.  

“Indeed. Strictly put, that is likely how it feels. Though we knights are often told [feel the mana, don’t think it].”

Right, that certainly may be so. With magic you form shapes and complete visualizations to achieve silent casting. Since body enhancement uses silent invocation by default, in this case likely a certain level of bodily motion completion was also required for activation regardless of the mana supplied.  

Seeking a baseline level of physical ability means Sandra being unable to use it can’t be helped probably. She had said she was always doing research, so her physical ability was likely on the low end I figure…maybe. As I mulled it over a loud clap rang out.  

“There there, enough thinking. Let’s start special training on body enhancement. If you can manage it, within your age group you would undoubtedly have no equals Sir Reed.”  

Reubens smiled cheerfully. No equals among my age group huh… Hmph, it somewhat tickles a guy’s pride. Fine, I’ll do my best for starters.  

“Got it. So what should I do?”

“First, circulate mana through your whole body then sprint at full tilt around the training grounds indefinitely. When mana and bodily motion synchronize you shouldn’t run out of breath during normal movement. Let’s start by grasping that sensation!”  

“Just run around the grounds huh…”  

Reubens teaches me how to attain body enhancement with a wry look in the end. But summarizing what I heard, my first impression for learning body enhancement was it’d be by [natural idiocy]. However one part of his talk stood out to me, so wearing a quizzical expression I asked another question.  

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“…You said with body motion synchronized, breath wouldn’t run out, but were you already using that during my regular training with you?”  

“Oh, did you notice?”

He flashed a mischievous grin. So that was why he never ran out of breath during long practices. While over here stamina was nigh endless, I had limited amounts in comparison. Pitted against him under those conditions I stood no chance of winning from the outset. Such thoughts arose making me feel the previous desperate attempts to defeat him had actually placed me at an unfair, unreasonable disadvantage all along. At this point the defiant competitive spirit within me ignited.   

“Fufufufu…”

“S-Sir Reed…?”

I smiled sinisterly, the black aura from my mother’s side going [“Ooooh…”] as it started leaking out.   

“Once…I can use body enhancement…I will definitely defeat you Reubens…”  

Perhaps surprised by my words, he looked at me as if enjoying himself, provocatively striking a [look at me] pose meeting my gaze.  

“By all means, do so if you are able…”

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I’ll absolutely make him regret those words! So I swore internally then promptly began circulating mana through my body with that visualization to start training, immediately running laps on the grounds. At first it was no different than normal but after jogging awhile I started sensing mana permeating my whole body. My breathing eased up and no matter how much I ran I didn’t get winded, tiring much less easily. Hearing about that Reubens’ eyes rounded in surprise.  

“You’re grasping the sensation too quickly…”

“Is that so? But haven’t I practiced magic with Sandra a lot already? Maybe that also plays a role?”  

To be completely forthright, I had prioritized magic training more. When I brought that up he nodded with an “I see” look of comprehension on his face.  

“Certainly, since Sir Reed has properly received magic instruction that may speed up your body enhancement progress. I envy you that you can do both magic and martial arts.”  

Did Sandra really count as a ‘proper’ instructor I wondered dubiously hearing the term, but her guidance was adequate I felt so I’d take it as such. Though it made me curious if magic plus martial arts mastery was atypical. I asked about that as well.   

“You called it magic ‘and’ martial arts, but isn’t that the norm for the knights?”

“No. All members of the knighthood can use magic and body enhancement. However, ‘magic and martial arts mastery’ refers specifically to those with intermediate or greater ability in both.”  

Unaware such terminology existed, I gave an impressed “Ooh” reply. Magic combined with martial arts, a term unique to this mana and magic battle-oriented world huh. I internally mused sentimentally.  

“Despite your youth Sir Reed already exceeds that baseline in both magic and martial arts. None your age or even up to age ten I’d reckon could match you.”  

“Don’t you think that’s overselling it? I mean only having you as sparring partner makes it hard to gauge…”

“The very fact you can keep up with my training sans enhancement means you’re impressive. Though you’ll likely realize in due time.”  

Seeing me with that doubtful look Reubens kept smiling happily the whole time for some reason.  

“Now then, on to the next exercise. Next, please sprint at full power while sustaining that state.”  

“Got it.”

As specialized training for attaining body enhancement that day I continued foundational exercises like running and sprinting around enveloped in mana, push-ups, sit-ups, and so on. Activating the enhancement I don’t get tired at all, the training ending surprisingly fast. And from then on I sparred with Reubens under enhancement.  

From this point on with a goal of [defeating Reubens], I secretly went jogging every morning before dawn for enhancement practice and basic mana capacity building. Let it be my secret!

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