In the depth of the forest.
Here, I was at the center of the serenity, meditating in the lotus position.
Meditation brings oneself to tranquility and integrates one with nature. Training to sense the surrounding life is the foundation of the Shijima style.
Legs crossed, bottom on the ground, in a meditative state. In this position, I can be one with nature.
Reaching out toward the lush grass, soon, I was able to feel its life energy.
My immature body was flowing with the torrents of life, gently mingling with nature’s magic, making it into a large, calm river.
Summing up the result of meditation since infancy, my magical power had already exceeded my past life. Honestly, the elves’ affinity with magic is frightening.
♦ ♦ ♦
By the time I could move around──at the age of five, I went out to the forest surrounding the village and finally started to train my body.
It was complicated but despite having the form of a mere child, I was already over a hundred years old. It was no use to be worried about that fact, and thus I came to accept living as a child….still, since there were things a child should not be able to do, I chose to mask my activities whenever I was allowed to go outside.
All I did was training in the meditative state every day. Naturally, in the last four years, I had yet to use ki, thus during that time, I grew incredibly impatient.
But that ends today!
From this point on, I would be able to train to my heart’s content!
To fulfill the mistake of Slava Weser, today marks the beginning of Slava Marshall’s life!
I reverted to my old self and gave into the fear of losing precious time for a few brief moments, nearly ten times as much as when I was a human.
But when I thought about reaching the top when I have enough strength and, as a master, I felt delighted. Such joy, even from my past life ── I had yet to feel such delightfulness within myself.
Tsk! While I was having those thoughts, the feeling of nature’s magic left my body abruptly.
Time isn’t a concern, but it was best not to get overly excited.
「…Shit, my mind was slightly disrupted.」
I looked at the green light as it leaves my body, I muttered.
For the spiritual power to scatter away while in the middle of meditation, tsk since when was I so careless. But this sense of immaturity, strangely enough, makes me feel comfortable.
By slowly circulating nature’s mana inside my body, I can absorb the mana into my existing Od. That was ultimately the goal when meditating. When done correctly, one will absolutely be able to increase their power.
The soul is what carries the mana, but the one energy I prefer over any other is the colorless Od. It is pure and the process of gathering it also brings no harm to the environment. Besides, the true nature of this training was to pursue and achieve Zen with this body, however, this mind of mine is that of a geezer, I can’t believe I got this overly excited. I think that was enough of that for the day, after all, my mind had already calmed down.
…No, even saying that I’m a geezer, I am currently a boy at the age of five.
Anyway, it was what it was. Let the training begin so I can move as I desire.
At any rate, it seems that I will only be able to meditate properly inside the house, now that my wish to be outside of the village was satisfied, I started moving toward my next goal.
If it’s here, as long as I don’t do anything flashy, no one will notice a thing. Thus, I will be able to train with all my energy.
It is best to restrain my mind from getting excited, no…rather, I’ll put even more enthusiasm into it, and thus, I began to concentrate.
Taking the magical power out from my body, nothing but the sky was in front of my eyes, I then imagined the shape of a man.
Then, in front of my eyes appeared a human-shaped figure just like myself.
….Strictly speaking, that figure resembled me in my past life.
It was made using magic and possesses no face, it doesn’t have any clothes nor does it resemble a human perfectly, but it can firmly be touched.
In addition, I was able to move that figure with my mind.
So… Since I had no equal partner to train with at the given time and it didn’t look like anyone possessing some skill was lining up──I was the only one with real martial art knowledge, so I guess I’ll have train against myself.
Needless to say, to sum it all up, training against my former self was the only option. There was no meaning if I didn’t surpass my past self.
However, that form is one that I spent several decades together with, there was some sense of attachment──it’s not all that strange──nevertheless holding back is a not an option.
Within the Shijima style, this was called mirage shadow dance. I dance with the silhouette, that is exactly what I was going to do.
In my past life, I was not able to move freely during the last three years before my death, and combining it with this life, it has been roughly eight years since I could freely move. With an opponent I knew everything about in front of me, I felt my passion for martial arts burst into flames.
「Here I go…」
The separated body of me did not talk back, I showed a slightly aggressive smile which I felt suitable for my age.
I bent my right arm and positioned it slightly in front of my face.
My left arm I stretched out to the front and kept it around waist height.
I have both of my palms open, this stance excel in defending against almost any technique.
I had decades of experience, and this is a basic stance of the Shijima style.
Then, I divided and used magic to create a separate body, the amount of magic I have left inside my body is just about half.
The same style, the same stance, we both have the same capabilities and therefore the same speed, so I decided to close the distance and maintaining the same stance──before long, as if the fuses connecting to the explosives had burnt out, both of us start to play.
The distance between me and my partner shortened in an instant──inside the forest, the sound of a violent blow echoed.
While avoiding the fist packed with enough power to pierce through an iron plate in the form of a punch, I took advantage of the force and redirected it at my shadow. However, I was not the only one to do so; my shadow start moving as well. All of my movements were read, so I rebuilt my stance and threw the shadow into the air.
The shadow regained its balance, and when it was about to land lightly on the ground, I moved in. Accelerating through the wind, this time around I fully grasped it, this was the shadow I had created with the image of what I imagined myself to have been in my prime──to see what the difference in ability would be, I allowed one blow to reach my body.
….Fumu, I see. Since this body is still immature, the strength in my body is lacking.
But, it can make sharp movements and its flexible maneuverability compensates for the lack of power.
I regained my stance after having taken the hard blow and gotten blown off, I then closed in hard against the shadow. Naturally, the figure that I was pulling the strings of approached me. The action of my shadow is most troubling as it aimed a kick at my torso.
But with my short build, I slipped my way just between the kicking leg and the ground. Using footwork and taking advantage of a small body, I simply wanted to try it but the result was better than I had expected.
The shadow’s leg remained in a swinging motion, and it was appropriate to call it an opening. I used the palm of my hand and struck in the opening and one can say that it was a fatal strike.
This strike drives magic power into the palm thus making it『Strong』it is a basic technique in the Shijima style. From the small body of a child, a fierce sound resounded in the forest, and the shadow was sent flying parallel to the ground.
….Ahh, there it is. The sound of fighting, the smell of the brawl.
It’s been so long since my last fight, an intense aura wrapped around me. A break just isn’t sufficient anymore.
The fist which I drove into that body, it felt really good!
My beaten up body, the sensation of aching and being in pain!
Gripping my finger and seeing my opponent in front of me, this is indeed the feeling from eight years ago.
I get the feeling of ecstasy despite being in pain, I suddenly get an illusion of awaking masochism as a fetish.
….No, it’s different. Without a doubt I am a martial artist, it is outrageous to say that I am a masochist, if anything I would say that I’m more of a sadist.
Anyway, if I was to forget the proper way of training, regaining what I lost would take me a great many years.
Beat and beaten, kicked and kicking, thrown and throwing.
Moreover, our abilities are exactly the same, this fight will take forever to finish.
After all, this is I fighting myself, I would continue to train here for now until I feel the presence of some villagers then I’ll stop──
「I’m home. Tosan, Kasan.」
「Ah! Welcome back Slava──what happened to your clothes?」
I went home, offered my greetings and was greeted back, but father shouted in surprise after seeing my dirty clothes.
Taking a look at my clothes, I saw that my clothes were torn here and there and certainly, I’m covered in mud.
…..They were wrecked. I had only taken care of the wounds on my body and healed them perfectly using magic, but I had completely forgotten about my clothing.
I’m so thoughtless for my age…..No, strictly speaking I am five today. But the sum of my actual age is 106, still it can’t be helped since today I was especially high spirited.
But I’m truly in deep trouble. How should I defend myself.
「Are you hurt!? Did you fall off somewhere!? You are not in pain anywhere!?」
Father, Aram Marshall, with his disheveled golden hair, quickly ran over to me.
In the elves’ society, men having long hair isn’t uncommon. And so it can easily get disheveled.
His youthful and slender body line is elegant, his long hair mysteriously suits him very well──let’s stop, I need to face this current situation.
「Yeah, uh, I fell somewhere.
I’m sorry, the clothes are all dirty…..I got them all dirty.」
I’m still unfamiliar with speaking in a boyish manner. My words were stammering.
….Although I’m slowly getting more accustomed to it, there is nothing more I can do but to bear with it.
After I said that, father’s face looked extremely painful and deep with concern.
Seeing that father had complete trust in my words, my heart sank and it pains me.
「I’m not injured. I’m not hurt anywhere either. But my clothes, they were tattered…. just a little.」
「Ohh, Slava!! Thank goodness…Papa is glad you’re safe. The clothes aren’t anywhere near as important as you are, they can be replaced. You are our one and only treasure, did anything dangerous happen to you?」
Father hugged me tightly and it felt almost as if I was in some sort of play. …This situation, I’m still not used to it. I felt a little shy, a little embarrassed, but it’s very warm.
The ways the elves go about expressing their feelings in their culture, there are times when I feel that they are somewhat exaggerated. I can understand that these are their true feelings since I’ve live in this society for five years, but in spite of that, I still feel a little crept out truthfully.
「…I’m very sorry. I’ll be more careful next time.」
I murmured my repentance, and father stopped hugging me, took his arms off and placed them onto my shoulders.
──Looking at Father, he looked like he’s in his twenties but that is incorrect, his real age might be in the hundreds. In fact, he might even exceed my actual age.
Looking straight forward, Father’s gaze and mine cross each other. My thoughts of regret might have been transmitted, and father let out a small smile.
Comparing a human lifespan to an elfs’, the speed of which one grows is very different. The appearance isn’t the only problem, it is also the mind as well.
For an elf, living a hundred years in human standards is only around twenty years. That is true for the appearance and so I think that their mind should be aging around the same speed as well.
…..Now that I possess this body, how envious humans must be.
The father I know remained unchanged these past few years. Nevertheless, as time passes, I continue to grow older and older inside.
「Alright Slava, as long as you understand everything is fine.
This time Papa will let it slide. But the next time you do something dangerous like this again, Papa will get very angry. Do you understand?」
「…Yes, I understand. I’ll be more careful next time.」
After the talk and we reached a mutual understanding, I disappeared into the back of the living room.
It was a little late but the gentle voice of my strict mother reached my ears.
…Oh no, despite calling out to me gently, this is going to be a little more troublesome than it sounds.
「Slava~? Did Mama not kindly ask you to please not do anything dangerous~?」
Coming out from the back of the living room, is my mother Malta Marshall who looks as worried as she is angry.
The next time when I go out to train, I’ll try not to trouble my parents too much.
While I had to sit and listen to my parent’s sermon after the incident, I secretly vowed to myself.