“Your level of martial arts is higher than expected, Jane. It’s a miracle that you reached this level in such a short amount of time.” Coach Michael told me with a serious expression after our spar ended.
“… Is that bad?” I asked.
The coach shook his head.
“Not exactly bad, however, it’s not ideal either.”
“I don’t know why your martial arts advanced so much. Most likely, though, it’s due to your awakening. You said that you awakened two skills, right? My guess is that you didn’t awaken two skills, but three. However, the third skill is not as noticeable as the other two, so you didn’t notice it. Nevertheless, the effects of this skill show once you practice martial arts.”
I fell silent deep in my thoughts.
I know that the coach’s guess is wrong, however, my progress in martial arts is bound to create doubts. If I can explain it this way, then it will save me a lot of trouble.
Aware of that, I decided to agree with the coach's explanation.
“… I see. It could be that.” I said.
The coach nodded with a small smile.
“You sure are lucky. Awakening three skills is very rare. Very few Awakened manage to obtain one skill in their lives, but you got three right after you awakened. That is very lucky. But in the long term, it could be harmful to your growth.”
I was startled.
“Because it could make you too reliant on your skills. I advise you to use your skills as little as possible, at least until your foundations are firm. As your coach, I think that is the best for your development.”
I thought for a moment before nodding.
“… I understand. I’ll think about it.”
“Good. You can go now. Your friends are waiting for you.”
When I left the dojo, only my little sister was waiting for me. The others had already left.
We were not in a hurry to go back home, so instead of taking a cab, we decided to walk. Anyway, our home was not that far.
In the way, I could not help but think about the words of the coach.
Should I not use my skills that much?
Just then, I heard the demon snort.
[That is bullshit.]
[Don’t listen to that idiot. He doesn’t know what he is talking about.]
I was stunned.
An idiot? Coach Michael is someone very knowledgeable when it comes to fighting techniques and skills.
Although Coach Michael doesn’t look that strong, in truth, he was a well-known genius a few years ago. He was a prodigy that achieved Tier 6 before turning twenty and was about to become one of the few Tier 7 awakened in humanity.
Unfortunately, he was injured during a battle against a very powerful monster. As result, his mana core was crippled, making it impossible for him to wield mana.
Regardless of that, though, coach Michael is undoubtedly a genius. His words are not something I can discard just because the demon thinks he is an idiot.
[Genius?] The demon sneered. [Do you even know what a genius is, boy? That man is not even close to being worthy of that word. He is not much better than an average person.]
I smiled wryly at the demon words.
Someone like him is not much better than an average person?
Then, how much of a monster must someone be to be considered a genious?
The demon snorted.
[I have seen many people in my long life, and some of them could truly be considered geniuses. These people were true monsters, boy. Able to break through the limits as though they did not exist, or wield the laws so easily that the thousands of years of effort of an Immortal seemed like a lie. The talent of the most monstrous ones was so terrifying that our kind called them ‘Children of the Laws’.]
Children of the laws?
‘What is that?’ I asked in my mind with a confused expression.
[Timerkeepers, Electromancers, Warpers, Graviters, Soulflayers, Seers... Children of the laws are people born with an amazing talent over an aspect of the laws. To them, wielding the laws is so easy as breathing. Only people like that are worthy of being called geniuses.]
I fell silent for a moment before shaking my head.
Perhaps the demon is right, but it doesn’t mean Coach Michael is not a genius too.
It’s simply a matter of perspective. For someone like the demon, Coach Michael’s talent is insignificant, but to the people of this world, his talent is worthy of admiration.
[How stubborn.] The demon sighed. [Okay, let’s say that someone like him can be considered talented. Even so, he is not worthy of your admiration. Someone that gave up after a setback doesn’t deserve to be praised.]
I was startled.
What is the demon talking about?
Could it be about the fact that Coach Michael can no longer use mana?
[Yes.] The demon nodded. [Even if that man was once a genius, now he is nothing but a failure that gave up after he failed. You can’t find the determination and desire to advance in his eyes, but just resignation after having lost his abilities.]
I furrowed my brows.
Are you not being too harsh? It’s not as though he gave up without trying. I heard that he tried everything to recover his abilities, but nothing succeeded. Should he have continued trying even after it was hopeless?
[Yes, he should.] The demon affirmed, and his blood-red eyes in my mind stared at me fixedly.
[Remember it, boy. Giving up means that you are a failure. As long as you don’t give up, there is still hope. I know of some people in much worse circumstances who persevered regardless of how hopeless everything seemed. In the end, they found the miracle they needed, turning their fate around.]
I put on a thoughtful expression.
Never give up, huh.
‘I’ll keep that in mind.’ I told the demon.
[Good.] The demon nodded. [Returning to the topic, you don’t need to worry about what that man said. Power is there to be used. Stopping yourself from using your abilities to avoid becoming over-reliant on them is foolish. Instead, you should use your strength without fear and make it completely yours. That way, it will be there when you need it.]
I thought for a moment before nodding.
Although I don’t think coach Michael is wrong, the demon is not wrong either.
However, I like the demon’s words more.
If that power is mine, why should I stop myself from using it?
[It’s great that you think like that.] The demon smirked.
Just then, my little sister pulled my hand.
“Brother? Is everything alright?”
“Huh? I think so…?”
“Really? You seemed to be thinking about something really complicated.” Ley looked at me suspiciously. “Do you want to tell me about it?”
I looked at the black eyes of my little sister and smiled. Then, I patted her head of auburn hair with a chuckle.
“It’s nothing. I was just thinking about the spars of earlier.”
“is it so?” My sister stared at me and narrowed her eyes. For an instant, her eyes glowed slightly, but they soon returned to normal. “… I guess you are not lying, huh. Although you weren’t saying the whole truth.”
[… Hou… How interesting.] I heard the demon’s surprised voice in my mind, but I did not pay him attention. Instead, I stared at my sister with a strained look.
“… Did you have to use your skills on me?”
My sister pouted.
“It’s just that lately it looks like my brother is keeping a secret from me.”
I stiffened briefly, before forcing out a smile.
“… You must be imagining things.”
Ley’s black eyes glowed again, and she pouted.
“You are lying.”
My smile stiffened.
“… Please stop using your skills on me, okay?” I said with a helpless look.
My sister puffed out her cheeks in displeasure.
“… Could it be… Are you thinking about a girl?”
“What? Of course not.”
“… True.” Ley looked at me and sighed in relief. “Okay, I won’t insist then. Although I’m a bit sad that you are hiding something from me.”
I smiled bitterly without replying.
I can’t tell you that I have a demon inside my head, can I?
However, my sister’s skill sure is terrifying, huh.
Now that I think about it, if I’m not careful, she could end discovering about the demon.
[… Yes, you should be careful of her. People with abilities related to the soul are rare and dangerous. Fortunately, she is not very strong now, so it won’t be a problem unless you lower your guard.]
… Yeah, I will be careful.
[More important, boy. I have good news for you.]
Huh? What happened?
[Just now, I found a place where you can put the lessons in your dreams into practice. It’s the perfect place to get battle experience.]
‘Really?’ I was surprised. ‘Where is it?’
[Just here.] The demon chuckled. [Three days later, one of the phenomena that you call ‘dungeon’ will happen in this place.]