My first instinct upon seeing Khyrmin point my own rapier at me was to use Martial Trance. That was always my first instinct… and it never helped. She could always tell when I did, and though she didn’t say anything I was never able to succeed when I used Martial Trance. Every time I used it she would suddenly move faster or more unpredictably. The first few days I ran myself completely out of mana before I had any success. Eventually I realized I was using Martial Trance as a clutch. It was fine to use it in combat- it would be silly not to use every available tool there. However, in training it was a different matter.
Training was about making myself better, and if training was easier… the training was less effective. Though I would have to say losing solidly while using Martial Trance taught me something as well.
Khyrmin lunged, and I did my best to copy what her movements had been. For that, I earned a slight slash along my side… and completely failed in my grab. If she’d actually been trying to kill me I would have just stepped forward into her thrust and made it even worse.
Khyrmin handed my rapier back to me, giving me another chance to watch her technique. That was one time Martial Trance was appropriate… just watching how she moved. Her hand came up to deflect the blade… something that required almost superhuman reflexes and movement, but then again… what high level adventurer wasn’t superhuman? Leaving aside the fact that many people weren’t humans to begin with… adventurers had to be better than what I expected humans could achieve to make it very far.
It took several tries but eventually I managed to perform the disarm. It wouldn’t have been possible if she wasn’t going easy on me, but this was basic training, not defeat-a-high-level-duelist-in-their-specialty training. Well, it was a bit above basic training, but the point was I learned some methods to disarm when I didn’t have a weapon myself.
Then my weapon tried to kill me again. It was still held in my hand so I unconsciously gripped tighter and stopped it when it moved erratically, but I could feel it pulling and turning the point toward me. I twisted and pulled… removing my weapon from the hand of the invisible force that held onto it. For that, I got more experience. It wasn’t very much at all, but it was something. Most importantly, it confirmed the defeat of… something.
While I said invisible, there definitely wasn’t an invisible person associated with it. I had my hand gripped on the sword and hadn’t felt anything until the sword started moving- but the hilt itself had force on it. It wasn’t like someone was grabbing the blade and twisting from there. “What are they?”
“Metal spirits,” Khyrmin answered.
With that, we left the dungeon. Khyrmin picked up her sword that was lying outside. “Can’t they leave the dungeon?”
Khyrmin shook her head.
That would explain why the dungeon was left without any real defenses. Khyrmin might be able to defeat anything in the dungeon or came out- but she couldn’t watch it every moment of every day. However, if the monsters inside couldn’t leave… then it wasn’t a dangerous dungeon that had to be dealt with.
Later that day we continued with unarmed disarming techniques for different weapons. Strictly speaking we could have done that before going to the dungeon… but after going to the dungeon it had more meaning. It was entirely possible I would need those techniques in the dungeon. Sure, if I had a weapon I could do better than unarmed… but it was possible to lose my weapon in a moment of carelessness. It was also likely that the metal spirits would be trickier and stronger deeper in the dungeon- and they might disarm me themselves. I knew weapons had to spawn in the dungeon along with the metal spirits… just like any other monsters spawning with equipment. In that case, it meant armor too… and that explained why I wasn’t allowed to wear armor into the dungeon, even just inside the entrance. I couldn’t imagine how I would fight my own armor if it was trying to kill me.
The next morning I returned to the dungeon, except it was for real. I was allowed to wear my gambeson. I was going to be down in the dungeon alone, so I needed to actually have some protection. Metal spirits weren’t going to go easy on me even if I asked nicely. Kantrilla couldn’t come with me for two reasons. First, Khyrmin said she couldn’t. That was pretty much it, but I agreed with it. Kantrilla couldn’t fight or defend herself without weapons or armor. She had become a more competent fighter recently, but unarmed was still outside of her purview. On the other hand, if she was armed that would be one more weapon we had to worry about… and it would be harder for her to hold onto a weapon. The difference between less than two hundred and around eight hundred was very significant in that regard. If Khyrmin had Kantrilla’s Strength, I doubted she would have been able to disarm me even with her level of skill.
As for the dungeon itself… it was a bit awkward to explore. I had a torch in one hand, which took some getting used to. I could have used the Light spell but I was terrible at light magic and I also needed my mana. Once I got used to holding the torch, things weren’t too bad. Defeating the metal spirits near the entrance of the dungeon was easy, whether they came with weapons of their own or tried to take over mine. For that second part, I suggested that I could go in with a wooden weapon… and was rejected.
“Don’t you want to learn?” was Khyrmin’s response.
Of course I did want to learn. That was the whole reason I was around. In that case… having a metal weapon should help in some way with being proficient in Return Weapon? Or more probably- wrestling for control with a metal spirit should help. I had almost forgotten my purpose in coming. Was I supposed to lose control on purpose and try to pull my weapon back? That seemed unlikely. The following day I was to finish covering the first floor of the dungeon. It was small, so there were only a few twists and turns… but it was still confusing with the walls that you couldn’t even really tell were there. Presumably if I kept following Khyrmin’s instructions I would keep learning. Even if I only had basic proficiency in Return Weapon now, she’d taught me a lot on just a couple weeks… even if what I was supposed to be learning wasn’t always clear at first.