My Exclusive Tower Guide chapter 84

My Exclusive Tower Guide

Episode 84

Joseph Claude, the youngest son of the Claude family.

His age was roughly sixteen, maybe eighteen at most, and to put it frankly, his talent in swordsmanship was unfortunately subpar.

This was by the standards of the founder of the Shadowless Phantom Sword technique, my master.

If my master were watching this scene, he would undoubtedly be firing off the word ‘trash’ like a machine gun.

Despite Joseph Claude having an excellent physique, even superior strength compared to me by current standards, the problem was his stiffness in motion.

He was a typical brute-force type, and sadly, this style had a definite ceiling.

This assessment of Joseph’s swordsmanship came after observing for merely 7 seconds.

“Who goes there?”

As expected, I was detected immediately.

With this darned game character, hiding one’s presence was nearly impossible.

Callie Claude, who was overseeing the sword practice, turned to look at me.

Stepping out from behind the tree naturally, I responded.

“I’ve come with a letter for Sir Claude.”

“A letter? Spying on us, and your attire doesn’t quite fit a messenger, does it?”

A valid observation.

Wearing an old robe in this sweltering summer heat was hardly typical attire.

“In truth, I am an apprentice wizard. By chance, I have come to deliver this letter.”

The suspicion was quickly cleared up.

After all, this letter was indeed something Claude had been eagerly awaiting.

[Quest Completed.]

[Fame has increased by 1.]

Though I was merely the bearer of the letter, Callie Claude quickly became amicable toward me.

“Well done. Traveling such a distance deserves compensation. Let me ensure you receive a reward.”

“That’s not necessary. I have only done my task. Just that…”

“Just what?”

“The swordsmanship you and your son displayed was truly impressive, may I offer my thoughts on it?”

Callie Claude laughed heartily at my query.

His pride in their swordsmanship must’ve been inflated.

“A wizard apprentice interested in swordplay… Interesting fellow. Let’s hear your thoughts.”

I began with flattery, exaggerating Joseph’s hearty movements tenfold and squeezing out every drop of positivity from his sword technique.

Their joyful countenances eased the guilt creeping up within me.

But I meant to end on a factual, forceful note.

“However, the connection between movements lacks smoothness, breaking the flow. Also, too much force is put into auxiliary movements, hindering the focus of power in crucial moments…”

“What are you suggesting?”

Their faces soured in real-time.

Disparaging swordsmanship was a skill I learned well from my master—I could do it better than anyone.

While Callie might be one thing, Joseph was on the brink of drawing his sword against me.

The boy’s expression was fiercely serious.

Imagine if he were up against someone like Kim Seyong – it would be quite a scene.

“Father! I cannot bear to listen to this man any longer! May I teach him a lesson so he cannot so insolently speak again? Grant me permission!”

Had Callie not been there, Joseph might have completely lost it over my critique of his swordplay.

Though I refrained from outright calling it trash, my combined words essentially labeled Joseph Claude’s swordsmanship as garbage.

Of course, I did exaggerate the negatives slightly.

The more agitated the young lad, the more likely I could get what I wanted.

“Be at ease. His words may have been somewhat rude, but it’s merely the criticism of a layman in terms of swordsmanship – not worth troubling your heart over.”

“But Father! This man is insulting our Claude family’s swordsmanship! I wish to prove him wrong with sword against sword!”

He was an impressive young man, despite his lacking skills.

He was playing right into the scenario I wanted.

It was time for me to step in.

“If my words have offended, I beg your forgiveness. I never intended to insult the Claude family’s swordsmanship. However, it seems the young master is disturbed by my opinions—perhaps I shall accept a lesson in swordsmanship to correct my ignorance.”

At my words, Joseph’s fists clenched, his face lighting up with spirited color.

His intent was clear, not merely to thrash me but to:

– Exact vengeance for insulting our family, I might just sever an arm!

I could hear his menacing inner voice. His pride in their family name was admirable, if not his sword skills.

“But aren’t you a wizard?” Callie Claude asked, his concern unnecessary to the end.

“While I am a wizard now, I’ve always admired swordsmanship since childhood and am acquainted with the basics of wielding a blade.”

Despite his hesitation, Joseph impatiently pressed.

“Then, let us briefly witness your swordsmanship.”

With Callie’s consent finally given, our duel was set.

* * *

Later, I learned that Joseph was actually quite a promising knight-to-be in the surrounding regions.

At seventeen, towering over 190 cm with a solid muscular build, he was reminiscent of a warrior from the times of the Three Kingdoms and had experienced battle alongside his father, Callie.

Though gifted with a blessed physique and having grown up relatively strong, unfortunately, his swordsmanship was unimpressive.

Compared to the martial world I knew, the martial arts level in this world was certainly lacking.

Joseph’s skills were such that they would be overshadowed even in an average sect.

Shwoosh!

My thrust stopped just short of Joseph’s nose.

He stiffened instantaneously, only managing to stare blankly, not comprehending what had just happened.

The Shadowless Phantom Sword technique’s feints were beyond what Joseph’s eyes could track.

“Shall we continue?”

“Do you really think you’ve won already?”

Joseph took a step back, adjusting his grip on his sword.

It was likely his final show of bravado.

Next time, I’d have to give him a real education.

“Then, let’s go again.”

“Come at me!”

I advanced on Joseph, stepping deftly into my Mumeongbo technique.

Given my low magical power and stats, my martial arts were limited, but I was still showing Joseph a whole new world.

The Cheonma Shin Gyo’s mobility and sword techniques must have seemed alien in this world.

Utilizing the superiority of my technique, I overpowered Joseph’s strength.

Cling! Clang!

Our swords collided, and the one getting pushed back was the large figure of Joseph.

“You rat!”

He stumbled backward, still refusing to acknowledge the power of my swordplay, his openings glaringly obvious.

I slipped into his territory with agility, unbalancing him completely.

Thud!

And with that, I kicked him squarely in the buttocks.

There were other choices, but for an insolent young man like him, this level of humiliation seemed appropriate—just as my master taught me.

“Aaah!”

Joseph let out a scream as my kick took him by surprise, and I quickly twisted his wrist, snatching it away.

“Aaaaah!”

Another scream ensued, and his sword dropped to the ground.

It was such an expected outcome, I barely felt anything.

“If you wish to continue, prepare to be afraid.”

“Of course!”

He was only blustering at this point.

He must feel it, too.

That there’s no answer no matter how much he tries.

But since he wishes to continue, it’s not hard to oblige.

“Stop! That’s enough!”

As Joseph reached for his sword, Callie Claude’s voice brought him to a halt.

“Father! We can’t just stop here……”

“No, that’s enough. Any more and the Claude family’s swordsmanship will look even more pitiful.”

“But… still…”

The mention of his family finally made Joseph flinch.

It was a good decision to stop us at this moment.

Continuing would only result in more disgrace, and they would gain nothing from it.

“I have seen enough of your swordplay. Though I do not know why you pretend to be a mage, your swordsmanship is genuine.”

Pretend to be a mage.

Technically, it wasn’t a lie.

My true class is that of a gladiator, and right now I’m just role-playing within this game’s universe. So I didn’t bother to correct him.

“I, too, am impressed by the young master’s swordsmanship. It is a joy to meet a youth in the Magic Empire of Callia with such passion for swordsmanship.”

“Thanks for saying so. You seem to have your own story, so I won’t ask about your identity.”

“Thank you.”

“I’d like to reward you for such an entertaining show. Is there anything you desire?”

Everything was going according to the scenario I had planned.

Now for the finishing touch.

“Actually, I have taken quite an interest in the young master.”

“Interest? What do you mean?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary. I just mean that, if well-trained, he would make for a knight worth employing—a talent not everything can pass by.”

“Oh! Then what?”

“Would it be alright if I stayed here a while to supervise the young master’s swordsmanship?”

“Absolutely! There’s no reason to refuse!”

Callie Claude was ecstatic at my proposal.

After all, the Claude family is one of the few noble houses in the Callia Empire that revered swordsmanship.

While Joseph’s expression soured beside him, the decision was Callie Claude’s to make, not his concern.

“However, before that, I have one request.”

“Name it.”

“During training, may I discipline the young master strictly, if required?”

At those words, a tremor went through Joseph’s eyes.

“Certainly. I’ve been known to be the same.”

[You have gained favor with an important NPC.]

[The likelihood of a quest occurrence has greatly increased.]

Everything was just as the guide had hinted.

Now it would be my turn to step on the lofty pride of this young sprout.

My first lesson from my master was that violence under the guise of education could be quite effective.

* * *

[Choi Jeonghyuk’s reputation has increased by 23 points.]

Messages about other players’ reputations came sporadically.

Mine was a mere 1 point, putting me dead last among the fifteen players.

Feeling a tinge of impatience—I am human, after all—I decided to focus solely on developing Joseph’s sword technique for the time being.

Thwack!

“That’s not how it’s done, Young Master.”

My wooden sword struck hard against Joseph’s shin.

Despite his size, he couldn’t withstand such precise attacks, and my young apprentice naturally fell to his knees.

“But certainly, Master…”

Joseph now called me his master.

Of course, it hadn’t started that way.

This was the result of teaching him morals before swordsmanship.

“It’s been a week, and yet you’ve still fail to grasp the essence of the swordsmanship I’ve taught you.”

My voice was stern as I chided him.

I had taught him the Maehogumbeop, a mediocre technique within the Cheonma Shin Gyo but one of miraculous caliber here.

I had one reason for teaching it: it was perfectly suited for quick learning.

“But this one week with you, Master, has brought me more progress than the last six months. To say I haven’t grasped anything would not be true; I’ve improved significantly.”

That self-satisfied look was irksome.

“Are you truly content with just this level of achievement?”

“No, Master!”

He may verbally deny it, but I could hear the voice of his heart.

My poor apprentice was intoxicated with just this much progress.

“Then describe your swordsmanship as it stands now.”

“Um… Work in progress?”

The words were barely out of his mouth before an embarrassed smile twisted his face.

“Trash.”

“Pardon?”

“Your swordsmanship is trash, Young Master. Utter trash!”

I’d always wanted to say that once—the same phrase my master used to shame me.

– To Be Continued in Episode 85 –



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