66 Chapter 12: An Unexpected Guest and Finishing the First Part of Training
It had been an entire year since Joshua had started training with Marlow and now he was at the finish line. He had already reached level ten which was the max level allowed to train by the system without going out for exploration. Over the past couple of weeks he had just been filling out the full potential of his new level and practicing using his scale blade with Marlow. Now that he finished when he looked at his stats it looked a little something like this.
Job – N/A
Soul Beast – Fenrir
Stats (parenthesis number is the bonus stats from levels and Job)
Strength: 150 (9) = 159
Vitality: 150 (9) = 159
Dexterity: 150 (9) = 159
Intelligence: 57 (9) = 66
Wisdom: 48 (9) = 57
Will: 150 (9) = 159
Luck 100 (0) = 100
Joshua simply nodded at how far he had come over the past year of torturous training, but he was looking forward to bringing up his intelligence and Wisdom stats in his next form of training to make him more balanced. Earlier today he was finally able to put up a good fight against Marlow sense his body was clearly more use to the upgrade in stats at this point. Marlow was his usual self, charging in fiercely and using a flourish of blows to try to take control of the match from the start. In the past fights that had always worked sense Joshua wasn't use to keeping up with such speed even if his body physically could, but this time around Joshua stopped all of that nonsense with one move.
When Marlow leaned underneath what he assumed was a punch to the head and tried to get in some body blows he was instead surprised when the fist that had passed over him stopped and grabbed the back of his head. In the next instant he was pulled of balance and was met with a knee to the face that sent him scrambling back with a broken nose. Joshua simply smiled at him before moving forward and keeping up the assault. The one sided spars had changed into a tight competition that ended when the timer stopped as a draw. Although Joshua had caught up to the speed of Marlow, he still had quite a few tricks that kept Joshua from getting a blow to end the fight. He was starting to think it might have something to do with his intelligence and wisdoms stats not being able to keep up. Otherwise his tactics might be able to influence Marlow more, but for now he was just pleased with the draw.
That night Marlow had stayed over for a while in Joshua's little hut and they ate and drank together while celebrating the end of his training. From then on Marlow would leave to get back to whatever work Thoren had dragged him away from while Joshua moved on to his next stage of training with Ysildea. Before Marlow left they decided that tomorrow they would have one more spar with swords instead of just hand to hand combat. Joshua had come a long way in skill when it came to using the scale blade. Although Marlow didn't out right teach him his style he did give Joshua some examples of how the blade worked in several different situations from his experience.
After Marlow left for the night Joshua cleaned up the plates of food and got cleaned up in the small shower inside the hut. Even though the outside of it looked small and simple the inside was like a little apartment showing that it was probably a different space in the system from the area outside. When Joshua was all cleaned up and ready to read a few things before getting a good night's sleep he heard a sudden knock at the door that surprised him. Up to this point outside of Marlow no one had come to visit the hut and he was always the one to go out and meet others. With a slight look of confusion Joshua stood up and walked over to open the door and see who it was. With Violence not being allowed he didn't have to worry about someone coming to attack him so he simply just opened the door without a worry.
On the other side stood a tall woman that was only a few inches shorter than Joshua. She looked older than him with the appearance of someone in their thirties, but considering how that really had no relevance to her actual age Joshua put that thought to the back of his mind. She had long flowing red hair that was similar to Marlow's except far longer, but a resemblance between the two was the pair of horns jutting out of her forehead that kept her long hair from falling into her face. The woman was exceptionally beautiful and had a slight lazy smile on her face as she tilted her head up to look over Joshua. She wore an outfit that consisted of mostly leather armor and reminded him of something he would believe you could find on a gladiator of some kind. "Hmm, not bad. I can see why those two old fogies have taken so much interest in you." She said with a smile that showed her teeth that seemed a bit sharper than normal.
"Who exactly are you?" Joshua asked as he looked past her to see if there was anyone else with her.
"I'm Garlin, but you would probably no me better as Marlow's Grandmother." The woman replied gaining a small look of surprise from Joshua. "Now are you going to invite me in so we can talk or would you rather us just stand out here all night." Joshua begrudgingly smiled a bit at her somewhat belligerent attitude, but stepped aside and let her enter any ways. If she was Marlow's grandmother then that meant she was also the head of their entire race as well.
Joshua followed her inside and closed the door behind him. By the time he made his way to the living area he was met with the sight of the woman lazily lying on his couch with a jug of some sort of alcohol, by the smell of it, as she lazily sipped out of it. Her face grew a little red for a moment before she let out a loud satisfied sigh and set the jug on the floor next to the sofa. "So, Garlin. Any particular reason you decided to come visit?" Joshua asked as he pulled out a chair and took a seat across from his guest.
"Hm, I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about with this star new recruit that Thoren has been bragging to everyone about. You know that annoying old man only took supervision over you plant when there were a total of thirty planets and only five of us to look over them. Besides I wanted to be over this planet, it seemed like it would be so much fun." She said with all of her emotions showing on her face. From one moment she was angry the next she was excited until her face once again return to its supposed natural lazy look.
"I see, so Thoren's been slacking then huh?" Joshua asked with a smile getting a nod in return. "Sounds like him. He's already pretty much passed off most of my training to others. I've only seen him around once a month since I decided to take up his offer on training after all."
"Not surprising. He often uses his age to get out of doing work. It's been that way for thousands of years now. "Garlin said with a sigh before turning her full attention back on to Joshua. "Enough about that. I was able to watch your match with Marlow earlier and I was impressed. Although you didn't win the fact that you fought him to a draw even after his thousands of years full of experience fighting monsters and people alike was promising. It won't take you long to reach our level in my opinion, but not long for me is probably a long time in your eyes."
"It's nice to have your praise. Any advice on our duel tomorrow?"
"Meh, even though you're hand to hand combat is probably at a slightly greater level than my grandson since he focus way too much on that damn blade of his you aren't in the same league as him when it comes to wielding a scale blade. If I were you I would try to end the match as quickly as possible. A drawn out fight where he can just outclass you in skill will only end badly." She replied before taking another sip of her drink from her jug. "Besides, by now after all the times you've sparred with him you have probably noticed something that he always tends to do at the start of every fight."
Joshua nodded before responding." He always charges forward and tries to set the pace from the get go. At first I thought he was trying to get me use to the speed of fighting as my stats increased, but after the last spar I'm pretty sure that it's probably just his go to tactic for fighting."
"Well I wouldn't say it's only his go to method. It's a bit of a habit that most tank classes develop after gaining experience in the field. If any damage dealers get the attention of the boss or worse case scenario a healer is the first one to be spotted then the whole group could be knocking on deaths door. That's why tanks often charge ahead first to gain the attention of the enemy and deliver a blow that causes their opponent to be aggressive towards them even if they take notice of other people attacking them. So it's not too surprising that he's built a habit of that. I'd like to see you knock him out of it tomorrow." Garlin said with a smile before stretching out on the couch. "Now get some sleep were going to be up early in the morning for the spar if I know my grandson well enough. "
"Wait you're staying here?" Joshua asked with an incredulous look.
"Well of course. I'll crash right here on the couch now go get some sleep kid." She replied before stretching out and closing her eyes while scratching her exposed belly that the leather armor left wide open. Judging by the tight abs she had he was sure that whatever job she had definitely was one that liked to get up close and personal. Joshua sighed before getting up and heading to his bedroom to get some sleep. He wanted to be in top condition for the match tomorrow.
Early in the morning as Joshua was getting cleaned up and ready for the day he heard a knock at the door and decided to walk over to see who it was. When he past the living area and saw Garlin still stretched out on the couch snoring away in a rather awkward position with half of her body seeming to be just seconds away from falling off the edge. He sighed before continuing to head to the door and when he opened it he saw Marlow looking a bit nervous as he scratched the back of his head with an awkward smile. "Sorry I was a bit late today man, my grandmother seems to have found a way to put off her duties yesterday and that's caused a bit of a mess." Marlow said with an awkward smile.
"Oh no worries. She's here by the way…" Joshua started to say when Marlow grabbed his shoulders and started shaking him.
"She's here! I've been looking for her all night and she's here!" Marlow was yelling before a voice came from within the house as a response.
"Shut up you brat! Can't a lady wake up peacefully in the morning!" She yelled back before throwing a shoe that flew past Joshua's head and smacked Marlow right in the face. She walked up next to Joshua then shoved Marlow out the door before turning back around. "Come on let's get this last test started. If you win I'll even show you something interesting."
Joshua just shook his head a bit as he looked at the slightly crazed grin spread across the woman's face before following her outside. Soon Joshua and Marlow were standing a cross from each other as the countdown had already started for the duel to begin. Joshua new that he was at a large disadvantage here and if the two of them sparred a hundred times then he would lose ninety-nine of the matches, but he was going for that one in a hundred chance. For him to pull that off he would have to make this quick and surprising.
Just as both Joshua and Garlin expected the second the countdown ended Marlow charged forward with his massive blade at his side ready to strike. Joshua took this chance to move forward as well with his blade held up angled forward. When they both got close and Marlow started to swing his blade Joshua instantly smacked his weapon into the ground in front of him and completely blocked the solid blow by Marlow. He then used his forward momentum to sail into the air while pulling his sword out of the ground. Since Marlow was still off balance from the block Joshua twisted to get as much power behind his next strike and used one hand to smash his scale blade into Marlow's weapon sending both blades smashing into the ground below.
Now with a clear opening Joshua let go of the handle and twirled over Marlow who was attempting to pull his sword out of the ground. Before that could happen Joshua wrapped his arms up under Marlow's armpits and locked them in place with a full nelson hold before using his legs to knock Marlow off his feet and onto his knees. The shocking display only took about five seconds and brought a look of shock to both Marlow and Garlin. "Looks like we have a winner." Garlin said with a grin before walking over to the both of them. Joshua let go of his hold after he was declared victorious and helped Marlow up with a smile.
"Well I definitely wasn't expecting you to throw away your weapon that way. A bit crazy, but it ended up getting the job done." Marlow said before laughing a bit. "Luckily for you this was a match of pure close combat though. In the future people will use skills to break restraining situations like that, not to mention monsters are usually too big for that as well."
"Yeah, but that was the best way for me to even up the playing field a bit." Joshua replied.
"Alright great job kid. I guess I need to fulfill my promise then." Garlin said before she swiped in the air to create a portal from her inventory. She pulled out a large red two sided axe that was along the same size as the scale swords but had most of its weight on one end with a large handle to give the weapon a good reach. Joshua was sure the weapon was many times heavier than the sword he had been using just from the fact that the ground underneath her feat started to crack from the weight of the weapon. "This is the type of strength you should be aiming for."
In the next moment Garlin turned away from them as she swung the large axe harshly into the ground in front of her causing what looked like an earth quake to tear through the area. Ripples passed through the ground causing it to fracture and break into a large chasm in front of her. It reached all the way to the forest and kept going sending trees tumbling over off into the distance. Joshua watched in shock for a moment before he broke out into a grin. "I can't wait."