In the streets of South-West Kruxol, Crucis walked into a humble, thatched-roof building named [Kruxol Sword Training]. A few players were training in the corners, practicing their swing in slow-motion, rehearsing footwork or attacking training dummies. Since Kruxol had been downgraded, its trainers could not help players to develop a skill as much as before. Crucis wasn't concerned, however. He was here because learning the basic light sword skills through this training would be much faster than learning it through killing many rats with the one light sword skill he knew, a basic [Slash]. However, having gained more basic skills, he would be able to attack more powerful enemies and develop his skills. Since he wanted to conceal his draugr weaponry from prying eyes, he drew the [Silver Wasp Sword] for training.

The light sword trainer here was named [Hinode Hiroto]. He introduced the weapon to Crucis, saying, "The light sword is very different from the dagger. The dagger is a more anarchic weapon, the user often applies moves in whatever way he sees fit. The light sword, however, relies on passive skills that lead to stance and a strong centre. You might not be used to passive weapon skills. Here, try to strike this dummy, then use the passive skill [Centred Sword] to return your sword to a centralised position instead of it careering out to the side. This is important, or you will be vulnerable and cannot strike easily."

Crucis walked up the dummy, and used the basic [Slash] skill to deliver a deft horizontal cut. He then felt his sword swivel as he lightly rotated his wrist to return the sword to a centred position. Due to his high Agility, this occurred in almost one seamless movement.

"Very good," said Hiroto. "However, along with the use of slashing attacks, you may also find thrusting skills familiar from dagger techniques. Practice the [Lunge] on this dummy, it is a fast, thrusting attack. Make sure to note carefully how far you can attack the target from while hitting a firm blow, do not attack from too far away."

Crucis used the new [Lunge] skill on the dummy, and in a quick movement he felt the point of his blade crash into the dummy. As he stepped back, his sword snapped back into a more vertical position.

"In a swordfight, your opponent can attack as much as you," continued Hiroto, "You have attacks now, but this leaves you open to attack at the same time. So you should obstruct your opponent's line of attack. The [Oppose] passive skill allows you to do this. It can be activated or deactivated at any time, but it is recommended for most fights. To test out a swordfight, use a light sword to defeat the boss in the room to your left. He is named [Miya], and he is a tough opponent."

Crucis passed into the leftwards room, and saw a large, muscular man wielding an epee, the boss named [Miya]. Since this room was sealed off from the rest of the training area, Crucis decided that he could withdraw his [Black Cursed Draugr Light Sword]. The slightly ungainly boss slowly approached him with stuttering steps, then raised his sword slowly. Crucis used [Dodge Step] as the boss' attack came down, and stepped backwards easily. Using a very fast combination of [Agile Step] and [Lunge], he approached the boss and stabbed right below the ribcage. Crucis' powerful weapon easily cut into this early boss, and the boss was reduced to 40% HP. Crucis saw the boss preparing a strike by raising his blade to Crucis' left, so Crucis activated the [Oppose] skill and then used a [Slash] that flickered along his left side and obstructed the boss' strike before striking the boss down to 10% HP. Due to the impact of the blade, the boss went flying backwards and fell to the ground. Bounding forwards, Crucis used another [Slash] at the grounded boss, causing a deep gash and killing the boss.

Crucis' weapon had made that fight much easier than it was supposed to be. He reached level 43 from killing this boss.

Walking out, he was greeted by the trainer. "Congratulations," said Hiroto, "you have slain Miya in under a minute. The average time was five minutes. As a reward, your [Centred Sword] and [Oppose] passive skills have both been upgraded to level 3. I'm sure that you found them both very helpful during the boss battle, where they are the key to defeating Miya."

Crucis wasn't so sure.

Soon, Hiroto continued his speech, "When fighting with swords, deception is also important. You can use a sword as a threat, but attack with hands and feet. The more potent the threat, the more likely that the opponent will have to respond to the feint, so feigning a hard strike at a vital region is a powerful method. Use the [Feint] skill to aim heavy blows towards the dummy's head and neck region, then kick it or slash its legs instead."

Crucis raised his sword above his head with both hands, as if to unleash a hard overhead strike on the dummy, and then abandoned the strike to instead kick at the dummy below the ribcage.

"Well done," said Hiroto, "You may also practice the [Overhead Slash] and [Parry] moves now. To parry effectively, use the stronger part of your sword, near the hilt. Catch the opponent's sword with the edge of your blade, in order to prevent it from sliding downwards. Be careful when trying to parry a strong heavy sword strike using a light sword, it can be done but may be difficult to keep up. However, you will receive several Agility-based passive skills from training light swords, and you can use these to your advantage instead. To increase your skill points in the weapon, try to fight the next boss, [Sensei]. He is powerful, so students should fight him in a group."

Hiroto had Crucis wait while the trainer wandered the room, and eventually found two other trainees to undertake the quest alongside Crucis.

"Hello, I'm Ceres, what are your names?" said Crucis cordially to these two players.

"I'm GemsBond," said one, "I was trying to train with heavy swords, since I decided on the Knight sub-class. I'm only level 25, so don't blame me if I screw up." He laughed.

The remaining player, a scruffy orange-haired level 40 Mage, introduced themselves as DigdugMan.

"You're studying swords as a Mage? Are you a geomancer?" asked Crucis.

"Yeah, I am, also I have a few Traits that increase weapon damage. Some geomancer spells involve using earthen weapons, and sword skills can be useful there," said DigdugMan.

"OK. Try to use your geomancy to enhance the sword, especially since your magic is probably more developed than sword skills."

"Isn't that cheating?" laughed DigdugMan, "Yeah, sure."

Crucis smiled.

The team walked into a room in the corner of the building, where they were confronted by a boss named [Sensei]. "You do not know the Way!" snapped the boss.

Crucis was still using the [Silver Wasp Sword], since he had company. He allowed GemsBond to walk up to the boss first, and studied its pattern.

The boss first swung slowly from the warrior's left, and GemsBond met this with an awkward [Parry] that deflected the blow enough for it to miss. The boss then made to strike from the left again, and GemsBond prepared to parry again.

"It looks like a feint," called out Crucis.

Given this boss' name and dialogue, Crucis guessed that the appearance of repeating the strike was meant to be deceptive. This boss was clearly not going to just be a simple opponent who repeated the same action until the end of the fight.

GemsBond heard Crucis, and quickly adjuated by raising his shield as soon as the boss' weapon changed angles and begun to strike from the right. The strike clattered against the shield, and GemsBond used this opening to launch an [Overhead Slash] that reduced the boss' HP by 4%. The boss, however, grabbed GemsBond's hand after the strike, and held it firmly. Striking it with a [Punishment Slash], a loose slash across the palm, the boss left the player in quite some pain. Struggling to hold onto his sword, the Knight used [Shield Bash] to strike the boss with a shield, allowing him to withdraw his hand from the boss' fierce grip. The boss began an overhead slash, but it turned out to be a feint, as the boss instead attacked GemsBond's injured hand.

"Ow, can barely fight with my hand like this," complained GemsBond.

The boss then used [Sensei is Displeased], holding out his palm towards GemsBond in an unblockable move that sent the warrior falling backwards. The Knight was already on just 65% HP.

"Be careful with that, I think he will use it once you fight him for long enough" said Crucis.

The boss began to prepare for a charge at GemsBond as soon as the warrior rose, but was interrupted by Crucis, who used [Stealth Cloak] to approach the boss and delivered a [Forceful Kick] from behind while the boss was still focused on GemsBond. Crucis used a [Dodge Step] to avoid the sweeping motion of the boss' sword along the ground, and the boss slowly stood up. Crucis used [Feint] and acted as if he would use an overhead strike on the boss as it rose, but as the boss rolled to the side Crucis followed him with a [Slash] along the ground, striking the boss' feet and causing it to fall again. Crucis stepped closer to the boss, anticipating another sweep of the boss' sword near the ground, and used [Agile Step] as soon as he saw the boss' sword move, stepping over the boss and safely away from the sword strike. He used a [Lunge] on the grounded boss, reducing Sensei to 82% HP. This boss was quite resilient.

He was surprised when Sensei leaned over and began another strike, but leapt away as soon as he noticed Sensei's sword hand approaching him. However, this strike was a feint, and Sensei instead rolled to his feet after driving Crucis back.

As the boss approached Crucis again, Crucis was guessing that the boss would repeat their earlier pattern and raise their sword to Crucis' left. As soon as the boss' sword rose in this direction, Crucis activated [Oppose] and then used a forceful, slightly wide [Slash] across the left side, blocking Sensei's angle of attack and nullifying the boss' strike. His blow made Sensei stagger slightly back, but the boss returned with his arm once more raised to Crucis' left. Crucis guessed that it was a feint, and used [Parry] to deflect the strike from the right, before striking with a [Lunge] of his own between the boss' left throat and shoulder. Since [Oppose] was still activated, Crucis' sword angled in from his right to restrict the boss' options for a counterattack.

Crucis' angle made it difficult for the boss to grab his arm, so the boss instead aimed a [Shoulder Barge] at him and charged shoulder-first towards the direction that Crucis had attacked from. Crucis drew his arm back and dodge-rolled to his left, avoiding the attack.

The boss prepared a hard slash towards Crucis' right side, but Crucis recalled that the boss had used a feint at around this point in the pattern, and used [Dodge Step] to create distance, backing away using his superior Agility. The boss eventually tried a heavy lunge, but could not reach the Assassin. Crucis thought about why the boss had used a different kind of feint at this point in the pattern, using a slash instead of the overhead cut that was used against GemsBond, and realised that it was probably based on the last damaging sword move that his target had used on him. Slowing down, Crucis prepared to respond as the boss walked towards him again, but Sensei used [Sensei is Displeased] once more to push Crucis away, and Crucis fell firmly to the floor. He had 90% of his HP remaining.

Both of Crucis' partners now approached the boss, but Sensei used [Discipline] by smacking his sword on the ground in front of GemsBond, causing an unavoidable attack where the warrior fell hard against the floor, his HP reduced now to 45%. Sensei was seemingly insisting on fighting each player one-on-one.

DigdugMan was prepared for the boss' initial strike to his left, and used [Parry] to deflect this off the edge of his own sword near the base. He then used [Clay Enchantment], using some clay in his inventory to strengthen his own sword. This granted 300% power to first strike with the weapon if it was used by the Mage, to make up for the Mage's typically low STR. A few players had tried Mage builds with heightened Strength and posted mixed results on the forums. As the boss drew back his sword for a feint, DigdugMan used a hard [Overhead Slash], which sent the boss reeling backwards due to the enchantment. This was followed by a [Slash] to the boss' chest, which Sensei shrugged off quickly. As the boss approached again, feigning a slash, DigdugMan raised his sword again to parry, only to be caught out by a powerful [Heart Lunge] that struck him below the chest and reduced his HP to 70%. This caused DigdugMan to collapse to the ground, screaming, until he was pushed firmly away with [Sensei is Displeased].

While this boss was generally not as painful as others, since it was a part of training, nonetheless the [Heart Lunge] was a dangerous move and DigdugMan looked very reluctant to continue the fight. Crucis had seen that, after his final feint in the pattern, the boss tends to either target weak points or strike a dangerous lunge. This attack was hence seemingly not pre-defined by the pattern, but based on which attack would exploit the player's weakness. Crucis found it interesting that NPC move patterns sometimes included a part which could actually represent multiple different moves, depending on a calculation. It was like how a variable could represent different numbers.

As GemsBond lumbered reluctantly back up to the boss, he saw it raise its sword towards his left side and parried. However, his sword hand was badly injured, and the contact with Sensei's sword was enough to send it spiralling to the ground. GemsBond hence gave a [Punch] to the chest before diving to try and reclaim his sword. However, the boss was quickly upon him, and as he picked up his sword and turned to the boss he felt a sharp sting to his right side. Now at 20% HP, he desperately aimed at the boss with a [Lunge], and the boss staggered back at the fierce blow. Sensei was now at 58% HP, but was a stubborn boss who was proving difficult to take down. Crucis expected GemsBond to die before the fight was over, but figured it would be useful if he held out slightly longer.

As Sensei approached the Knight and raised his sword to feign an overhead strike, Crucis said, "It's a feint, don't get hit this time. He probably aims for your right hand, use Oppose and strike from the right."

The Knight followed Crucis' advice, anticipating Sensei's strike towards his hand and using his own strike to obstruct this. He hit Sensei with a [Slash], firmly, then used a [Hilt Blow] to attack further. After a few seconds, Sensei sent him away with [Sensei is Displeased]. Sensei was now down to 49% HP, but GemsBond was down to 15%. As Crucis stepped up to fight, he told DigdugMan to heal the Knight.


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