"Did you try to kill each other?" Bruce asked when he noticed Khan and Martha's state. , "It's just training," Khan replied while inspecting the two boys. "What about you? Did you even try to perform the moves?" , A faint laugh escaped Martha's mouth at that comment. Luke and Bruce had a few spots on their uniforms, but they were perfectly fine otherwise. , "These are only basic techniques," Luke snorted. "It's almost pointless to learn them since our future martial arts will most likely ask us to modify our habits." , "He is right," Bruce added. "Our families have already purchased martial arts suitable for our physique, and I bet that Martha also has something similar. Learning these low-level moves is quite pointless." , Khan turned toward Martha, and the latter nodded while revealing a helpless expression. , "My situation is a bit different," Martha explained. "My family has a few martial arts, but they don't really suit my height. I plan to change it here." , "Height?" Khan asked. , "I learnt how to use hammers!" Martha released a helpless sigh. "Both men and women in my family are usually tall and burly, so those weapons are fine for them. However, I need to match it with a martial art that has exceptional footwork to use it properly." , Martha was shorter than Khan. She was among the shortest in the special class. Hammers usually didn't have a good range, so her height could be an issue in a battle. , 'I see,' Khan commented in his mind. 'She is preparing her body for the new martial art.' , "Where can I get one of those?" Khan asked. "I've never seen a martial art. I don't even know what it should look like." , "Martial arts usually are a series of moves that culminate into special techniques," Martha explained while the group began to leave the building. "The Global Army will provide you with a low-level one for free once your attunement with mana reaches the intended level." , "I suggest you avoid them," Luke quickly contradicted Martha. "You will only develop bad habits. It's better to start directly with a high-level martial art. You won't have to force your body to forget most of your training in that way." , "How can I even put my hands on high-level martial arts?" Khan asked. , "There are a few ways," Martha explained. "You can purchase them from the army through Credits or merits, find masters willing to take you under their wing, or-." , "Or you can ask me," Luke interrupted Martha. "My family has a large collection of martial arts. You should come to Ylaco with me when the semester ends. I'm sure I can find something suitable. You can even ask me for a loan and go in specialized shops otherwise." , Martha pretended not to see that interaction, and Bruce also let his gaze wander through his surroundings. Khan didn't miss their behavior, but he still pretended to be completely overwhelmed with gratefulness. , "That would be so great!" Khan exclaimed while wearing one of his brightest smiles. "I'll definitely rely on you then. Don't you dare to go back on your words." , Khan and Luke laughed after that exchange of words. They both felt satisfied with that interaction. , Luke ended up believing that Khan was already in his pocket, while the latter managed to keep that door open without establishing any deal. , "I'll return to my flat now," Luke announced. "We have a long day tomorrow, and I'm sure that Professor Norwell's lessons will only get harsher." , "I'll come with you," Bruce replied. "My flat is in the same direction anyway." , Khan maintained his smile and waved his hand as his friends turned, but Luke seemed to recall something at the last second. , "You should both visit the medical bay," Luke said. "Our bodies might be resilient, but it's better to deal with your bruises before tomorrow's physical lesson." , Luke and Bruce left after that reminder, and Martha and Khan waited for them to disappear around a corner before exchanging a glance. The duo ended up exploding into a laugh, but they still decided to follow that advice. , Martha and Khan chitchatted during the walk to the medical bay. It was already quite late, so they tried to hurry. Luckily for them, they found many free nurses inside the building, and they quickly applied a few cold lotions on their bruises. , Khan didn't get the chance to visit Doctor Ian Parket. He had a few questions about the attunement with mana, but he gave up on the matter after learning that the man had already left. , Martha waited for Khan outside of the medical bay, which slightly surprised him. He didn't expect her to refuse the chance to hit the bed sooner. , "You didn't have to wait for me," Khan laughed. "It's already nine pm. You can't go to the canteen anymore now." , "Only you would think about your stomach at this hour," Martha snorted. , "I don't need to," Khan replied while wearing a proud expression. "I already have a stash of food in my room." , "You are helpless!" Martha shouted, but she ended up exploding into a laugh in front of Khan's funny expression. , 'I have enough time to eat, meditate, and sleep,' Khan thought while looking in the direction of his dormitory. , Thinking about his bed worsened Khan's mood. His day had been fantastic, but his reoccurring nightmare would inevitably ruin it. , Martha noticed the sharp change in Khan's expression. The event left her sightly dumbfounded, especially since they were both laughing and joking just a second ago. , "How much of you is an act?" Martha said, but she quickly covered her mouth and tried to justify her words. "I didn't mean to do that. That had to remain in my head." , "What do you mean?" Khan snapped back to reality and revealed a fake smile. "I'm always myself." , Martha and Khan had yet to have a deep conversation. They had known each other for a mere week, and they had interacted for less than a day. Their friendship had barely begun. , "I'm too blunt at times," Martha tried to dodge that topic. "You don't have to think too much about my words." , "You are my sparring partner," Khan laughed. "I think I need to know a bit to trust you." , Martha frowned. Khan had basically said that he didn't trust her. She stopped caring about the politeness of her words at that point and began to speak her mind. , "You have two faces," Martha explained. "You often are the simple boy from the Slums who can't take anything seriously. Yet, you turn into a completely different guy whenever we talk about mana or aliens." , "I'm just curious," Khan laughed while trying to lie his way out of that topic. "You all know so much, and that's even normal for you. How can I not pay attention when you disclose some of your knowledge?" , Martha's eyes sharpened. She inspected Khan, paying special attention to his gestures. She couldn't find anything off in his behavior, but her instincts told her that something was off. , "I've been your sparring partner," Martha announced. "I have seen how you handle pain. You don't run away from it. You coldly accept it when it's necessary." , "Isn't that normal?" Khan laughed again. , "What did you even experience in the Slums?" Martha sighed. "I hope you'll trust me enough to tell me one day." , Khan wished to say something, but Martha raised her hand while shaking her head. She didn't want more lies. The girl even began to walk in the direction of her dormitory without caring if Khan was following her. , 'Women are so sharp,' Khan sighed in his mind as he watched Martha's figure disappearing in the distance. 'I should just tell her about the Second Impact. That might keep her satisfied for a while.' , Martha was right, and Khan knew that. Part of him had broken after spending every night of the last eleven years dreaming about the worst day of his life. , His determination to learn how to use mana came from his desperation. Khan wanted to put an end to those dreams, but he was out of options. He had to meet the minimum requirements for the missions in the foreign planets and search for the remaining Nak. , That alien species was also incredibly strong, so Khan needed the power to hunt them. Working hard to obtain it seemed completely normal in his mind since his sanity was on the line. , 'I'll try to find the right chance to reveal my Tainted status,' Khan decided in his mind. , Khan didn't feel any shame about his Tainted status, but he preferred to avoid disclosing that news. The recruits were different from the citizens of the Slums, but they would still treat him differently after learning about his role in the Second Impact. , 'I guess I only want to feel normal,' Khan laughed in his mind. 'A normal sixteen years old boy who has survived the attack of a Nak and dreams about it every night.' , Khan ended up revealing a weak smile while starting to walk toward his dormitory. He didn't even know how to explain his nightmares to his peers. His mind went to war every night, and he always lost.

Tap the screen to use advanced tools Tip: You can use left and right keyboard keys to browse between chapters.

You'll Also Like