"Master Chiro, I beg you. Let me do anything else. For months I have made these plates day in and day out. I dream about these things! Show mercy, anything else, just for a day!"
"Nooo!" Toril yelled, "Two more days, I would have won." Chiro's oldest son broke down into false sobbing a few feet away. He was naturally a stern man, approaching 30, and the false cry looked very odd in him. The younger, Terance, started laughing loudly, a much more natural look on the young man who had just passed 20. Both children took after their father, being a few inches over six feet, and were built for the forge. Chiro just smirked and shook his head at his son's actions.
Terance set his tools down at his workstation and walked over to the confused boy. "There may have been a bet, or two, placed on how long it would be till you cracked on punishment detail."
"Toril there now gets to finish making plates until there's enough to complete the suit you're on." Terance said with a grin, "which would have been my fate had been my fate if you had lasted those two more days he cried about, so thank you! Follow me." Terance walked out of the forge and motioned for him to follow.
"You were betting on my sanity?" Quan said incredulously as he followed.
"No, not at all. Well, maybe a little. Mostly just when you would beg for mercy. Good job, by the way, we had to redo and up the bet a few times."
He led them clear across the house to a yard on the other side of it. Several women worked there before frames, where they used cords to connect the metal shards Quan had made. A bucket beside each frame and several buckets were wanting to take their place. At the end, they were coating it in a material that helped bind it and present a solid surface.
"Over the last few months, you made enough for us to create one hundred suits of armour. It's long, tedious work, and we are so glad you took to the task with enthusiasm. Some of these are going to the sect, but most to the army."
He continued walking and opened the door to a small building no larger than a gazebo," but this is what should really interest you." Terance stood back to reveal a full suit of armour finished in black and blues. 'Well, that's beautiful," breathed Quan.
"And yours!" Exclaimed Terance. "I will make the final size adjustments."
"Really? That's incredible. It looks amazing." Quan said again.
"It's pretty basic armour, to be honest," Terance noted. "It's good for early core users. We were able to make it more flexible and easier to wear than standard armour because it will draw on your Ki to enhance its strength so you won't lose that protection. But it doesn't have any enchantments or element affinities that better armour has."
'Still, It's solid for your level, and father decided if you were going to last this long on punishment duty, you should have a reward. I think you actually impressed him after whatever you did to make him mad."
'You don't know?" Quan looked at him in surprise.
Terance shook his head. "Nah, dad's not the type to gossip. A man's mistakes are his own, he'd say."
Quan looked back to the armour and asked thoughtfully. "Terance, armour isn't used in competitions, is it? I've never seen one of our patrols in full armour either."
"True," Terance said.
"Shit." Quan said, looking at the armour with slightly less favour.
“The three most important weapons are the spear, the sword, and the bow." Asha declared as she motioned to the walls around her. They were in what looked like an armoury to Quan instead of outside in the training yard. Weapons adorned every wall. Rhuk Khan and Zinta sauntered in behind them as they followed at their heels everywhere.
He slowly turned around the room as he walked to the center on the polished wooden floor and asked, "Is this another thing where I need to learn everything?" There were a few dozen variations he could see.
"No, it would be wise to have a basic understanding of everything here. I will try and give you that. Each core weapon has several variations, and we will find the one best suited to you and attempt to have you master your chosen type and style. Knowing the basics of those you are not proficient in is wise so that you will know what to expect when facing each weapon."
"The spear," Asha spun a simple spear in her hands and executed a series of strikes. "Is the true weapon of war. It has range, it kills and in the hands of a master controls the battlefield."
"The sword," Asha tossed the spear and drew her sword in a single motion. "Is the civilized weapon of officers and nobles. Mastering it is an art and a sign of status. In some circles, your ability to use the sword is the only thing you would be judged for, after your cultivation level.
"The bow," Asha said after sheathing her blade. "Kills and wounds more than the other two combined if utilized properly. Stupidly, many look down on it. It lacks the intimate personal touch many are looking for."
Quan considered her words. "You have conflicting goals. Survival vs challenging yourself to advance. So what will we start on?"
"An hour each every afternoon on each weapon until I am satisfied," Asha answered.
"Have you ever been satisfied?" Quan asked.
Asha grinned but didn't respond to that. Instead, she said, "Let's find you a sword. Take each down and try them until you find the one that speaks to you. "
He scanned the many swords. Far more varied than he had expected. He saw blades that, on earth, were never used in any Eastern cultures he knew of. There were Greatswords as long as himself. Short and long swords stood beside what looked like katanas. More exotic weapons and blades were spread among them all.
He tried them all while the cubs wrestled between his feet. He tried swords he could barely lift even with his cultivation. He looked at swords with hooks built in various unique ways meant to share or catch the opponent. Calvary blades he had no interest in. There was a sword so thin and flexible it could wrap around his waist until he infused it with Ki to straighten it. The light sword moved like lightning in his hands, but he couldn't imagine blocking another blade with it.
In the end, he found himself down to two choices. What looked to him like a classic longsword or the legendary katana. The longsword was slightly longer but heavier and had both edges honed to a sharp edge. While the Katana was a bit shorter at three and a half feet, with a slight curve to its single cutting edge."I can see reasons to take either. What do you recommend?" He asked his master. "I'm not sure how cultivation changes the little understanding I have of blades." Rukh Khan reached up to bat at the hilts while he considered his choices.
"Both are good choices. Between those two blades, I would ask, speed or power?" Asha questioned.
"Speed." Quan said after a moment's thought.
"There is no answer here. Time and circumstances always matter and cannot be predicted. You must have faith in your training that you will have the skill to meet whatever comes."
Quan nodded. "No, speed it's. Power shall come from my ki."
"The Katana it is. Now let's show you how to hold it.'