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Chapter 23 - Wooden Puppet

The acolytes who had also defeated the wooden puppet also shouted in joy as they looked at their palms after the tiny light like a floating dew entered their bodies. Some of them were flexing their muscles, running around with a greater speed and didn't seem out of breath. Vico had a grin with his crossed beefy arms while watching the new acolytes enjoying their new found strength.

Emery, Julian and Chumo nodded to each other, all thinking the same thing. They all proceeded to their own circle and faced the wooden puppets.

Emery selected a sword, as well as Julian, while Chumo went for a more unconventional weapon, a bow and arrow. Emery gave the sword a few swings to get himself used to it. Surprisingly enough, the moment he slashed it was lighter than the swords he had been training with, plus, the way the sword sounded as it cut the air, it was sharper than anything he had held before. Maybe it was safe to assume the battle with the wooden puppet could injure him since it also used the same weapon, so Emery didn't select start and opted for the option standby wanting to observe his friends first.

Emery watched Chumo's fight against the wooden puppet. Chumo kept on running in a circle as he dodged each arrow the wooden puppet shot. After each dodged shot, Chumo would take the chance to grab an arrow from the quiver on his side, put it on the nock and release, hitting the invisible wall behind the wooden puppet. A lot of shots had missed between the two sides, indicative of the five arrows left from the twenty arrows Chumo had in the beginning, so he decided to be more aggressive. Chumo grabbed multiple arrows from his quiver and shot it against the wooden puppet. The wooden puppet dodged all of it, but Chumo had run straight to the wooden puppet and punched its head with the last remaining arrow he had. Soon, a tiny orb flew toward Chumo and he gave a rare smile.

Emery missed Julian's battle against the wooden puppet but based on how Julian didn't seem to have a sweat on him and breathing normally, Julian had an easy time defeating the wooden puppet. In fact, watching Julian may have been a better idea than Chumo since Emery and Julian were using the same weapon, a one handed sword. Nevertheless, Emery turned his attention to Thrax, who was shouting 'Graahh!' and 'Ahu!' in each blow with the spear.

Thrax faced the level two wooden puppet. It looked like nothing had changed at least on the appearance of the wooden puppet but the way it moved was different. It dodged Thrax's thrust and punches with much ease, even managing to cut Thrax's uniform and making him bleed. Thrax's face was getting more contorted everytime he missed, until finally, he changed his grip on his spear and turned it as if it was a javelin before throwing it with another 'Ahu!'. He dashed behind the spear and tackled down the dodging wooden puppet and bashed its face repeatedly until it was broken to pieces. A slightly larger silver orb entered Thrax's body and he punched the air. "Alright!"

A loud cheer erupted as there was another group of acolytes watching Thrax's aggressive fighting style. He stepped out of the circle and sat on the ground, not minding the crowd, instead watching the acolyte adjacent to his circle.

Emery also got glued at the acolyte next to Thrax. That acolyte had a large, well-ripped body and was using a greatsword to fight against the level two wooden puppet. Clearly he had a high battle power since the bald acolyte had an athletic body. After all, it was a measure of a person's physical strength and endurance, but when they clashed swords the wooden puppet did a maneuver, tripping the bald acolyte, and the puppet's waved its greatsword before stopping an inch before the bald acolyte's neck. He was defeated.

Vico kept his big grin while caressing his overgrown beard with his large calloused hands. "Hahaha, thought ye can defeat 'tis puppet with brute strength, did ye? Try again, soft bone! 'Tis puppet has the same battle power as ye, so ye have to be clever. Treat yer battle as if ye were in a real one!"

Same battle power… So, didn't that mean Emery would have a chance? He gazed at his sword before closing his eyes and gave it a few more swings, trying to remember… the only thing he had left of his father. Tightening his grip on the sword, he placed one foot forward before pressing the start with his other hand.


The wooden puppet started moving its limbs.


A sword, the same as Emery, appeared in the wooden puppet's hand.


It shot straight to Emery, but he was expecting it and parried the puppet's sword to the side, leaving the wooden puppet wide-open before stabbing straight into the chest! The image of the marauder appeared in Emery's mind and he suddenly mindlessly charged the impaled wooden puppet against the invisible wall while shouting and smashing it to pieces. The tiny orb appeared.

[Combat puppet level one defeated. Reward one battle power.]

Emery breathed in and breathed out, trying to steady his shaking hands. He didn't notice the tiny orb entering his body for his pounding heart was all he could feel. His father had always taught him to be calm especially when wielding the sword and try not to lose control, and soon everything was clear again. He summoned his status and indeed confirmed the increase of battle power, and another message.

[Received Swordsmanship technique lvl 1.]

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