62 Part 2

“Hmm. Why so suddenly?”

“A lot happened.”

Haruki gave her an evasive answer.

Haruki’s new skill, Weakness Exploit, is a great advantage.

With it, he could turn a battle around even if his skill levels are low.

But if he were to go on like this, he feared he would end up depending on Weakness Exploit.

If he did, there may be a time when he’s faced by an opponent so strong that Weakness Exploit alone won’t be enough to defeat it.

Haruki felt that he would end up being stuck if he didn’t try to improve his other skills.

Changing something takes time.

If the change takes place when the timing is bad, you may end up dying in the dungeon before you can turn a battle around.

It might be all over before you’re able to even begin to prepare your next steps.

In that case, he should take this chance now.

Right now, after having taken care of the Monster Parade at Chikaho, was the perfect opportunity to do this.

The path ahead may close itself if he was too comfortable with his current results. So before that could happen, Haruki wanted to learn what he could.

“There are some training halls, but will they do you any good? You’re using a short sword after all…”

“I don’t mind that. Please tell me where they are.”

Akane tells him about the location of the training halls.

A little far away from K-Town.

A single day of training there seemed to get him completely tired for the rest of the day.

If he trained for a day, that would be time he would not have available to go hunting.

Taking that into account, training doesn’t sound like much of a good idea.

Perhaps it would be a better idea to continue being self-taught as he has been so far…?

He needed to stop and think this carefully.

These two ideas were conflicting in his head.

“Are you going to the training hall, Karaboshi?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, I see…”

Karen seemed disappointed as Haruki nodded.

He had just recently returned from the Monster Parade and now he was probably going to continue to go do stuff on his own.

That thought might have been what troubled Karen.

“Even if you go to the training hall, you wouldn’t… Ah, no, nevermind.”

“W-What is it, Karen? You can tell me, you know?”

But no.

There was a pressure emanating from Haruki’s body, urging her not to say anything unnecessary.

Should she say anything?

Would she cry if she did?

“Well, at the training hall, you can watch and learn even when you’re not doing any actual work yourself!”

“… Oh, that’s right!”

Karen’s words had suddenly brought about a good idea to Haruki’s mind.

* * * * * * * *

Haruki turned on his computer as soon as he got back home.

He played all of the videos he found by searching on the web one after the other.

Karen was really something.

The same was true back with the potatoes.

It always gave Haruki some sort of revelation.

Rubbing his hands together as he continued to hold Karen in high regard, Haruki concentrated on the videos.

All of the videos he searched for were related to swordplay.

Practice session footage uploaded by every traditional school of martial arts in Japan.

He was set on carving them into his head.

How to move his muscles. The movement of the sword. The footwork.

Several components that worked together in perfect harmony.

Haruki can now understand them because he has accumulated a lot of battle experience and has his Imitation skills.

All of it was a very well-thought, coordinated, and polished effort just for battle.

Of course, Haruki had seen several videos back when he decided to become an adventurer.

But at that time, his fundamental level was too low to understand the moves shown in those videos.

And he didn’t have his Imitation skills back then, either.

He couldn’t replicate the moves he saw.

But things are different now.

Having increased his level and learned Imitation skills, he was now able to understand these expert moves and make them his own.

Haruki inspected the moves in every one of those videos.

He observed, imagined, practiced, corrected, and practiced them again.

Haruki adapted his movements to those of the experts shown in the videos.

By doing that, he could quickly understand where he had been at fault all this time.

To begin with, Haruki was putting too much strength to his grip.

This limited his sword’s movements.

He only needed to grab the handle firmly at the moment of impact.

Any other time, he had to hold it a bit loose.

Instead of pressing it hard between his thumb and index fingers, he needed to hold it softly like a piece of cloth.

Guess, imitate, and practice.

At first, he felt as if his short sword would slip out of his hand and be sent flying.

However, after practicing his swinging ten times, he started to understand the correct amount of strength he needed to put into his grip.

(I see… acceleration goes up by increasing the blade’s range of movement, huh?)

It seemed like a small difference.

Just a single, tiny difference.

But it brought about a big change.

Understanding the correct way to hold his sword had clearly increased its speed.

Even the sound it made as it cut through the air had changed.

The next thing he learned was how to swing his blade with all of his might.

So far, Haruki guessed he had been improving the way he attacked at full force, although little by little.

But that was still not enough.

All of the swords used by the masters in those practice videos had very fluid movements.

They had flow, rhythm, breath, and a life of their own.

It was just like with that Werewolf from the stampede from before.

The lines they drew as they were being swung were beautiful.

Going against this flow would cause the wielder to use more strength than necessary, and that would disrupt the flow.

That’s the trick.

If you follow this flow, you will not use any unnecessary strength.

–It’s simply beautiful.

Just looking at the lively movements of the people performing those moves in the videos is enough to get Haruki’s heart racing.

He was trembling with emotion and getting goosebumps all over.

Haruki soon set out to imitate those moves.

However…

“Nuooh!?”

Even though he had stepped on it lightly, the floor made a cracking sound.

It seemed he was still putting too much strength to his moves.

The flustered Haruki stomped on the ground as if he was throwing a tantrum.

(What are you doing?)

There was a sound like rustling leaves behind him.

“…”

Haruki was confused.

He was expressionless as he stared at Rhea, who was sitting in the corner of the room.

Rhea was usually kept in a room specially dedicated to her, which received the most amount of sunlight.

Haruki had left Rhea there today as well.

“What are you doing here?”

Rhea rustled her leaves once again.

Then, she demonstrated how she managed to get into the room.

“Ooh!”

Using her bottom leaves, which were long enough that they could touch the ground, she lifted the planter and moved as if walking.

So it was possible for her to move about like that.

Haruki was somewhat impressed by Rhea’s growth.

But that was it.

He was still a bit annoyed.

“Don’t come into my room without my permission.”

“*shakes*”

Rhea shook her body as if saying “Come on, let me be here.”

“What, were you feeling lonely?”

When Haruki made fun of her as he approached her, Rhea slapped him with his leaves.

That looked quite painful.

When he gently caressed those leaves, they seemed to have lost some of their strength.

As a matter of fact, she must have a lot of free time staying inside that room all by herself.

The sun sets at night.

After the sun is gone, plants don’t have much else to do other than sleep.

After Haruki stroked Rhea’s leaves some more, she shook her body as if she didn’t like it.

But when he stopped doing it, Rhea seemed to be looking at Haruki with a sad face.

Was she a plant, or a cat?

Still, Haruki hadn’t gotten involved with Rhea very much lately.

They were always going to the dungeon together, but he rarely brushed her leaves or spoke at all at home.

Was he being a bit too coldhearted with her?

Haruki gave it a little thought.

For a while, Haruki played with Rhea’s leaves until she had enough.

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