130 Chapter 76: Joshua“s Hellish Training Camp
Coming into the training field Jayce's group had been completely naive in their thinking that Laura's training had been hard and strenuous. Laura had her guild help train them on their individual capabilities and their team work. Through her training they became a tighter nit unit that could rely on each other better in all sorts of ways. It was difficult and they often got their butts kicked by the people they went up against but over the week they had become a far better team and were improving to the point where they could hold their own against the guild members. Of course they planned to get even better, but for a week of work they felt that they had done fairly well for themselves.
Those thoughts had left their heads the moment Joshua started training them. Joshua didn't start off by kicking their butts or forcing them to learn to fight together like Laura. No Joshua went with an entirely different method and forced them to undergo an entirely new form of torture. He split up the five members and made each of them go through a specifically designed set of exercises that would benefit their roles individually.
For Jayce he was being forced to wear bands that weighed his body down while carrying a heavier shield on one arm and a weighted sword in the opposite hand then jog at a fast pace around the field. The process was excruciatingly tiring and whenever he was on the verge of passing out one of Lilly's rabbits would heal him and he was forced to continue. The plan for the whole exercise was to help him get his stamina up to an all knew level. If there was one person in the group that couldn't afford to get tired during a fight it was the tank. The moment he went down the rest of his group was sitting ducks, especially the back line. So Jayce was pushed to his limits for hours on end.
Allen was undergoing another training that was just as harsh if not even more so. Joshua wanted Allen to get use to his soul beast ability of heightening his perception in certain occurrences. Used correctly it was an amazing ability, but if he couldn't react even when seeing the attack coming then it would be useless. So Joshua was forcing him to go through the age old training of dodging. Of course this wasn't normal dodging. Allen was weighed down by the gravity weight bands to slow his body down even more while Cinder toyed with him. He was being forced to activate his ability to avoid her large legs from smashing his face in and having to endure the apparently playful spider's abuse. It forced him to push his body to the limit and learn how to react quickly which got the best out of his soul beast ability.
Marcus was blind folded and left in the middle of the forest. He wasn't allowed to take off his blind fold until Joshua was gone and he had no idea where to go. Joshua left little clues all over the forest that would lead him in the right direction as long as he figured them out, but he also left several traps around to hinder him along the way. From what Joshua could tell Marcus' main strength in the group was his scouting capabilities and his trap detection. He wanted to focus on getting him better with those types of circumstances since it was his main role. He would also help him in some martial arts techniques in the future, but he'd wait on that until he knew what would be the best style to train him in after seeing everything he could do.
Julia was obviously not very happy with her current situation either. At the moment Joshua had her sprinting around the clearing in short burst while casting spells at the same time. It was incredibly tiring and you could tell just from how heavily she was breathing. In Julia's case Joshua was trying to fix a lot of problems that he had taken notice of from her as she fought with her group. The first thing he noticed that she needed to improve on was her stamina. For the most part while fighting she tended to stand still which made her an easy target for ranged attacks if the tank didn't block them off. So he made sure to force her to run while casting spells so she could get used to it. He wanted to break her bad habits and this was the most efficient way. At the moment he couldn't really help her out all that much in the variety of spells department since he wasn't a mage himself, but he could get her to fight in a way that she wouldn't be an easy target.
The last person in the group that was currently being trained was Monika and unlike the others Joshua wasn't pushing her through some crazy exercise, instead he focused on training her mental state through meditation. Joshua noticed that although Monika was an extremely good healer that actually knew when and how to use all of her spells she had one fatal flaw that could get her and her group killed in the future if it came up at the wrong time. That flaw was nervousness that could occasionally cause her to panic in bad situations. It wasn't bad enough to the point where she would fall apart if one of her teammates got badly hurt, but her will was low so if she came across an enemy that knew how to pressure her with killing intent then that could cause her to mess up easily. Having her meditate while occasionally having to go up against Joshua's killing intent. This would slowly get here used to similar situations and in the end give her the chance to react properly.
Jayce watched as Joshua pushed all of his party members through their own form of torture. He kept jogging until he heard a loud whistle that was the signal for them all to stop what they were doing and take a break. In that moment Jayce immediately collapsed onto his butt and started sucking in air as quickly as possible. The weights on his body were scaled back so it no longer felt like he was carrying a car around. When he turned to look where Julia had been sprinting back and forth he couldn't keep himself from laughing as he saw his longtime friend passed out face first on the ground. The other person he saw come in to the clearing was Monika who didn't look physically exhausted, but judging by the look of her tired eyes she was clearly mentally exhausted.
The three of them had to wait a while before Allen and Marcus could make their way into the clearing. Allen took so long because he was so battered and bruised from taking so many hits from Cinder when he wasn't able to dodge. Marcus took so long because he had to find his way back without triggering any traps that Joshua had left for him. The traps weren't deadly or anything and were rather basic, but they were extremely well hidden. It would have defeated the purpose of the whole thing if they were easy for Marcus to find.
Now with everyone together and Julia having gotten enough time to breath and get off the ground they all started discussing how their training went. For the most part they all could tell why the training was useful, but at the same time it was far more stressful than anything else they had ever done before. It targeted exactly what they all needed most at the moment. As they were all discussing these things they saw Joshua and Lilly casually walk into view alone. Apparently they had let Cinder and Tank go do their own thing for the time being. Joshua had a bright smile on his face as he looked at their condition, but it looked more like an evil grin from their perspective if anything.
"You guys look like you're on your last legs…good, that means your training went well." Joshua said with a grin only for Lilly to hit him on the arm to get him to quit.
"Stop with the smile, you look like you're going to kill them or something." Lilly said causing Joshua to frown.
"I'm not going to kill them, just push them to their limits." Joshua said before turning his attention back towards Jayce's group before continuing. "Anyways, now that you guys have gotten the individual training done for the day it's time for team training after you all finish catching your breath. This time things will be rather simple, all five of you against me in a fight."
"Wait, I know you're strong and all but five on one…really boss." Jayce said trying to talk some sense into him.
"Oh don't worry about me, besides it will just be a spar in the end. Nobody's going to get hurt…too much." Joshua said before walking towards the middle of the clearing. "Come over when you guys are ready." Jayce looked back at the rest of his group and noticed the different looks he was getting. Marcus and Allen both seemed to shrug and stand up to stretch a bit before fighting. Monika looked absolutely terrified at the idea of going up against Joshua after having to withstand his killing intent for the past few hours. Lastly Julia had the most murderous grin on her face that Jayce had ever seen and he was sure she was eager to get even with Joshua.
It didn't take all of them all that long to be ready and march over to Joshua with all their gear set for the upcoming fight. Jayce took the lead preparing to face Joshua head on with the rest of his group ready to back him up in any way possible. That's when he noticed Joshua smile a bit after looking over their formation for a moment. He took out his scale blade, but instead of holding it in position for a fight he stuck it into the ground to prove a point. "Wait you aren't going to fight us with your weapon?" Jayce asked a bit confused. "It seems a bit unfair."
"Who cares if it's unfair, it just means that I'll get to kick his ass even more for putting me through that." Julia replied causing everyone in her group to step away from her a little bit. She was giving off some dangerous vibes.
"Oh don't worry about that, in fact you will probably wish I used my scale blade in the first place." Joshua replied before his aura shroud started to surround his body and he let out an oppressive feeling into the surroundings. It was his killing intent that was impacting everyone and making them extremely tense. Monika looked like she was having PTSD from her earlier training as Joshua focused that killing intent entirely on them. "Now shall we begin?"
In that moment Jayce quickly pulled up his shield as Joshua was about to charge passed him into the rest of his group. He used a skill to provoke Joshua towards him, but he quickly figured out it wasn't going to work. Joshua's will was too high and even if the provoking skill had worked he could just use his heroic shout to break through it. Jayce immediately switched gears as he leaped in front of Joshua's path to prevent him from getting to the back line, but right at the moment they were about to make contact Joshua suddenly smiled. Before Jayce could do anything he watched as Joshua's body disappeared. In the next moment he heard a brief cry of pain from behind and turned to see Monika knocked out in front of Joshua.
"First thing, never leave your healer open and defenseless. A smart enemy will always go for the healer first." Joshua said as the entire group looked at him wide eyed. In the next moment he was charging straight for Julia who was jumping back trying to create space as she tried to cast a spell. Jayce leaped forward to try to cut him off again, he knew whatever technique he had used last time to get past him probably was on cool down and he was definitely going to take advantage of that. Just as he got in front of him once again Joshua smiled as a blast of aura came from his left foot sending him careening in a different direction. When Jayce turned to see what happened he could only watch as Joshua dodged around Allen's spear before grabbing it and holding him in place. He then twisted in the air and kicked him straight in the face knocking him out cold.
Before Marcus could even try to help with a surprise attack from the side his arm was grabbed and he was slung over Joshua's shoulder and smashed fiercely into the ground. The impact knocked him out cold leaving only Jayce and Julia to take on this man that was looking more and more like a monster. Julia sent a large fireball soaring towards Joshua and he didn't move out of the way as it smashed right into him. Julia seemed excited that her attack hit as she started to try to take control of the flames, but then they both watched in amazement as Joshua started to run out of the flames and charge right towards them.
Jayce stepped in front of Julia to protect her as she tried to cast another spell. Sadly his opponent seemed to expect this and continued to charge in anyways. Jayce lifted has shield and created a large wall to protect them, but he could feel an oppressive feeling coming from Joshua as he planted his feet right in front of the wall. He watched as Joshua sent a punch directly toward the shield and Jayce was shocked at the force from the blow. The impact caused the ground beneath them to crack as Jayce was sent soaring away. Before he even hit the ground he heard another cry from Julia as her body crumpled to the ground.
He could feel the pain in his arm as it was broken and he turned to look as Joshua came walking towards him. It was clear they had a long way to go before they could fight on his level.