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Artist: Nujabes/Idst - Song: BattleCry - Word Count: 408
Ryuzaki could tell that she was paying close attention, she obviously wanted to learn. He thought that was an admirable quality, so he was glad he'd decided to teach her. He watched her for a while, and indeed with the new grip she was much better off. He could see that it would still take her some getting used to, as she occasionally had to make readjustments, but all in all she was doing good. He continued to perform the exercises along with her, just to make sure she couldn't forget anything. She made good first attempts, and Ryuzaki was pleased that his advice was working so well. He hadn't really taught anyone much before. She continued well after he thought she would have tired, and seemed to be making good progress, so he let her continue. After a while though he could see that continuing would hurt her more than help her.
"You wait here and keep it up, I'm going to run over to the arena really fast to see if I can find something. Great work by the way, you seem to be taking everything in well."
With that Ryuzaki made his way back to the crow of people that he'd been a part of earlier and began speaking to people. He was asking if any of them had a pair of gloves that they could spar. Preferably some that weren't too large. It took him a good five minutes, but eventually Ryuzaki was able to find someone who would give him some gloves. He'd have to buy them though, as the man was leaving, and he'd never met Ryuzaki. There was no way he was going to go home and trust a stranger to return his things. Sighing, Ryuzaki handed the man a few coins, took the gloves, and made his way back to the clearing. At least the gloves were nice, and they seemed to be the right size, but he wasn't quite sure. He'd gotten them for Abalia because he didn't want her hands to start bleeding. If you trained to hard without protecting your hands in the early stages in could lead to days or even a week or more of being unable to train at all. Gloves were the solution. He hoped everything was still going well for Abalia in her training. Either way, he'd be there momentarily.
“Oh, well, thank you.” Abalia almost bowed more or less instinctively as she responded to Ryuzaki's comment, but she remembered what she was currently doing and made sure not to lose her focus or posture. Once again repositioning her hands to be exactly where Ryuzaki had instructed they be, Abalia gave his departure only the briefest of attention before returning her focus to her drilling. It would not do to have this as anything less than pure muscle memory, and so she continued on.
This was a new experience for Abalia, she had to admit. While she had always tried her best to train, she had never wanted to bother someone to teach her, and so her form had proven, well, lacking to say the very least. She had to admit that genuinely learning and, more importantly, genuinely improving felt very rewarding, even if it was physically tiring and painful. This wasn't just something she could apply to her work or her dream, this was simple self-improvement, and though he was a bit loathe to admit it, perhaps that was something she hadn't done much of in her life.
Artist: Nujabes/Idst - Song: BattleCry - Word Count: 408
As Ryuzaki covered the ground between him and the area he'd left Abalia in he whistled to himself. It was nice to be doing something useful for a change. Lately he'd felt like he was getting caught up in all kinds of simple tasks, that while important to complete, were not very impactful in the grand scheme of things. He was happy to be doing something that felt more important.
He entered the small grassy area and saw that Abalia was still keeping pace. That was good, but it was time for a short break. The girl seemed intent on her task, he didn't imagine that she'd noticed him yet.
"Alright, time for a quick break. I got you these, if you wear them when you train I think you'll find you can continue for much longer. If you don't you risk tearing your hands up, and then you won't be doing any kind of training for a good while. Best to be cautious."
He handed her the gloves, then sat and waited for her to put them on. He was wondering if he should move on to some slightly more advanced training, or just stick with improving what he'd already shown Abalia. In the end he decided that she'd learn more from moving on now, as it appeared that she wouldn't have too much of an issue besides occasionally having to reposition her hands. He was impressed by how much more capable she seemed after only this much training.
"Alright we'll rest for a moment, then we'll move on to something a little bit more complex. I'll send a simple attack your way, and you use what I've shown you in any combination you'd like to respond. It'll be an easy way to learn what works and what doesn't. Take a minute, and then let me know when you're ready to continue."
Ryuzaki let his back rest against one of the larger trees that occupied the area, and looked up at the sky. He resumed whistling the tune he'd come up with previously as he watched the clouds float by waiting for Abalia to be ready to continue. He hadn't checked the time when he left previously, but from the position of the sun in the sky there was still plenty of time left in the day.
As Ryuzaki returned, Abalia found herself too distracted by her practice to even realize he was there until he spoke, and upon hearing him she reacted only a tad poorly. Jumping slightly in surprise, she let out a rather girlish squeak that did not exactly match her appearance and nearly dropped her zanpakuto, only barely catching it just in time to keep it from hitting the ground. Flushing as she straightened out a (likely imaginary) wrinkle in her coat, Abalia sheathed her zanpakuto, cleared her throat, and took the gloves from Ryuzaki.
“Thank you kindly for these... I would not have thought to wear gloves for training, so I so appreciate the gesture a great deal.” Both out of a desire not to insult Ryuzaki, and not wishing to make herself look even more inept than she already felt, Abalia opted not to mention her own pair of white gloves currently in one of her coat pockets. She supposed if nothing else that they were likely too thin, being mostly decorative, to provide much actual protection to her hands. At the very least, that was what she told herself about the matter.
Taking a seat next to Ryuzaki, not close enough to be pushy but not so far as to seem needlessly distant, Abalia oriented herself just so in order to protect her own modesty in case anyone came by. Her boots would likely need a cleaning, too, but she pushed that out of her mind as she glanced sideways at Ryuzaki. “I feel as though all I have been doing is thanking you, so this time I will simply say 'I understand' and leave it at that.” She laughed quietly to herself at that, as surprisingly feminine as the earlier squeak, and looked up at the sky herself for just a bit. As nice as this was, and as much as her body appreciated the break, cloudwatching was not her end goal, and so before long she found herself once again standing up, patting her skirt in order to straighten it out, and getting into her ready stance, carefully placing her hands exactly where they needed to be. “I am ready to continue whenever you are.”
Artist: Nujabes/Idst - Song: BattleCry - Word Count: 302
Ryuzaki lifted the back of his head off of the tree where it had been resting, and was now gazing up at Abalia. He'd been enjoying watching the clouds but Abalia seemed to be ready to start, so he pushed himself to his feet once more and prepared to show her what he had in mind now. He moved slightly away from the tree, so that they would have plenty of room in all directions and then spoke.
"Alright, I'll come at you slightly faster than my last attack in the arena, and you retaliate. I suspect you'll be able to deal with something like this a bit more easily now. Just remember what we've been going over and use it to your advantage."
With that he made sure she was completely ready, and then edged closer to make his attack. He raised his sword above his head and brought it down towards Abalia with a downward strike. With no intervention his blade would cut in to the top of her head. Of course he wouldn't let his blade travel that far if she was unable to react though. He payed close attention to his edge alignment, as well as the speed of his strike, and the power behind it. He payed attention to his edge alignment because it was always wise to do so, and he also didn't want to set a bad example. The speed and power he paid attention to because he didn't want to throw anything at Abalia that she couldn't handle yet, as he didn't think that wouldn't motivate her as much as being successful. Of course, he couldn't really be sure of that though. In fact, for all he knew exactly the opposite was true.
Abalia listened carefully to Ryuzaki's explanation, all the while making sure she was in the proper stance. She made sure to go over everything he'd shown her in her head, not wanting to disappoint after putting him through all the trouble of teaching her this. Hands in place, a proper posture, everything was just so as his explanation finished.
Only barely caught off guard by the incoming swing, and this being mostly an instinctive fear more than anything else, Abalia got her wits about her much faster than she would have before. Quickly, or at least relatively quickly when compared to her earlier attempts in the arena, Abalia brought her sword up to block the blow, and from the way her face lit up, it was clear that she was quite proud of even this simple feat.
However, this brief moment of excitement would have most certainly been enough for an actual opponent to easily recover from the block and take advantage of the opening, and Abalia recognized this. She hurriedly composed herself and followed it up with the other motions she had drilled, redirecting Ryuzaki's blade and using that opening to make an attack of her own. Part of her felt as though she should hold back, but she doubted that, even if she were to give it her all, Ryuzaki would have much trouble defending against this.
Artist: Nujabes/Idst - Song: BattleCry - Word Count: 456
Ryuzaki noticed that she was slightly caught off guard at first, but she regained her composure soon after and seemed to have little trouble defending herself. After that, he had no idea what she intended to do. He'd left the possibilities quite open on purpose. Knowing when to do something was just as important as knowing how to do it, and that was what this part of the exercise was for. It was usually better to learn this part through actually trying it though, instruction didn't accomplish much in most cases.
As his attack was successfully blocked Ryuzaki could feel it being redirected. He didn't attempt to do anything to prevent this, wanting to see exactly where it would lead. He noticed that Abalia had done an admirable job of creating an opening for herself, and that she moved to exploit it quicker than he expected. Her posture seemed good, and she held the blade correctly. Edge alignment was very close, if slightly off. That was one of the hardest parts though, and Ryuzaki could only be sympathetic to her cause. He'd had the same trouble when he'd learned this.
Although his blade was currently in a poor position to block, due to the fact that her blade was inside of his defense, and already close to his body, all he needed to do was change his grip and move his blade so as to block from a slightly lower position. This was also not the best block, as an immense force could overpower him more easily in this position, but he thought it would suit his purposes now just fine. That was another important thing to learn. If you didn't know when something was viable then it was always a gamble. Best to figure these things out in practice or training rather than in actual combat.
He blocked her blade with a rattle and then took a step backward.She'd done well for her first try, but he wanted to see if she would be able to handle a variety of attacks.
"Alright, nice job. That was an impressive first try, but lets see how you handle something from a different angle. Again, feel free to use everything we've been over in whatever ways you can think of."
He took up a different stance this time, standing with his knees slightly bent, his center of gravity closer to the ground. This time, again slightly faster than before, he performed a horizontal swipe aimed slightly below her chest. This would be slightly harder to deal with, but he imagined that she would still be able to, and as before he would make sure to not actually injure her.
Abalia was hardly surprised that Ryuzaki was able to block her strike, and she hardly wanted to harm him, but in the back of her mind she couldn't help but feel faintly disappointed in her own abilities regardless. As he explained the next exercise, she once again got into that ever more familiar stance, and was almost visibly thrown by Ryuzaki's different one. Nevertheless, she felt ready for whatever was soon to come, and held her zanpakuto at the ready with a confidence that had certainly been absent at the beginning of this training.
As the next strike made its way toward her, Abalia did her best to react instinctively while still keeping her cool, relying on muscle memory without simply blindly reacting. The incoming strike was horizontal, seemingly around chest height, or maybe a little lower... Quickly raising her blade to the side, Abalia only narrowly managed to deflect Ryuzaki's strike, her arms trembling slightly from both the impact and a faint rush of adrenaline. It was definitely a much closer call than the first one had been, and Abalia was all too aware of that, but even so, it had been sufficient, and that was more than enough for her at present.
Almost pausing to consider what she should do next, Abalia quickly cast that notion aside and continued relying solely on what she had ingrained into herself through training, knowing full well that was the best way for her to truly learn. She found herself raising her zanpakuto at a bit of an angle, casting Ryuzaki's blade upward slightly, using this new position and the opening she had created to make a downward strike, her edge alignment and grip both now slightly out of place, but for the most part a sound counterattack, most certainly a worthwhile step in the right direction for someone as inexperienced as she.
Artist: Nujabes/Idst - Song: BattleCry - Word Count: 400
Ryuzaki monitored the response to his changed stance, and he could see that Abalia was slightly thrown off by it. He assumed she would still react quite well however. When his attack was at least adequately dealt with Ryuzaki focused less on making sure he caused no harm with it, and waited to see how Abalia would counter him. Although she'd done a slightly worse job at actually executing her movements, the ones she chose this time around were superior. He found himself with little other option, so slightly modifying two of the basic movements he'd taught her earlier Ryuzaki parried the attack, and if everything went as he expected it to Abalia would find herself disarmed. Either way, he would successfully defend himself and that was all that was really important at the moment. He took a step back, and began his instruction once more.
"Impressive. You may not have done it perfectly, but with that counter you put me in a position where I had very few options to defend myself. That should always be your second priority, the first being defending yourself, obviously. You may have also noticed, if you were paying attention to my movements, that I used some of the things I taught you earlier. They weren't exactly the same though, and that's another important aspect of combat. You have to be ready to adapt to anything at a moments notice. You have to develop confidence in your ability to change things to suit your needs. That comes after having learned all of this though."
With all of that said Ryuzaki once more raised his sword, and looked towards Abalia. He began to wonder how much energy she had left. He wasn't sure, she didn't show much visible sign of exhaustion that he could see, so he assumed that she would be fine to continue, but he figured it would be best to simply ask. He himself felt filled with energy today for some reason.
"Still feeling up to the task? We can take a break or call it a day if you'd like. I remember that endurance was a huge part of my training because at first it was the main limiter to my improvement, so I know that it can be hard to train for extended periods of time early on. So, what's the plan?"