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Shift - Chapter 16 - Learning by Error

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The space between them was disappearing quickly. There was no more time for him to being asking questions, for she was not letting him have another moment. The blade of the sword had nearly reached striking distance eliminating any remaining time that he thought that he might have had. Yuki jumped out of the way rolling to the ground just in time to only have the ends of his hair clipped.

Ayumi came to a stop from her strike with her sword held down from the swing. She looked over her shoulder towards Yuki as he came to rest on one knee. Yuki stared at her trying to decipher the meaning of her sudden attack on him, but all there was present was the desire to kill. He saw only cold emotionless eyes set on him with a single purpose. “Ayumi… What’s going on? You nearly took my head off!”

She stood back up turning to face Yuki with her sword held at her side. “If you can’t control your power I will force it out until you learn.” Ayumi raised up her sword bringing the point to bear on Yuki bridging the distance.

Chapter 16 Learning by Error

Yuki could not believe what he was hearing from her then. ‘This is like in those stories. The hero is pushed to the edge to realize their power by their master. But this isn’t a story!’ He pushed himself up off his knee to stand and face Ayumi. His legs were shaking knowing that he was in danger. ‘But still the master only made it look real. She wouldn’t really hurt me. It wouldn’t help her.’ The efforts to calm his nerves down were slowly beginning to work as he stopped shaking.

Ayumi pulled her sword back entering into a charging stance. “You’ve stop shaking in fear. You need fear if you expect learn!” She charged towards Yuki swinging her sword again at him in an arc at his chest.

‘She’s not going to hit me. Just need to keep on my toes and watch her.’ Yuki managed to dodge the swing of Ayumi’s, but stumbled finding that the reach was deeper than he was expecting. He slid back on his shoes from his evaded blow staring back at Ayumi questioningly. However, he had no time to think as Ayumi was on the attack again. ‘Keep moving and I’ll be safe. She’s not going to hit me.’ Another swing from Ayumi was avoided with a thrust followed up before Yuki saw it. He fell back hearing the ripping of his clothes in his ear as he hit the ground.

Yuki winced in pain from the impact of the ground underneath the snow of Ayumi’s field. The snow had not been enough for him to be cushioned. ‘She nearly cut me with that last attack. But she didn’t.’ He felt more certain about what was happening now. However, he was not given more than a moment of rest as Ayumi came at him with even fiercer attacks making Yuki roll through the snow just to keep going. ‘The attacks are getting more accurate.’ Yuki continued to roll on the ground until he was far enough away to get back to his feet. He could confirm his suspicions from his clothes that had several more cuts left in them. While he was examining himself Ayumi did not skip a beat of her offensive taking him off guard.

The sword cut through his right sleeve and into his skin drawing up blood soaking into the cloth. Yuki yelped in pain and surprise stumbling backwards from step to step away from Ayumi. He felt how deep she had cut him with her blade. It left his entire arm feeling numb and difficult to move. His left hand clutched the wound tightly streaming more blood over his fingers unable to hold back the bleeding. Yuki looked down at his arm and back at Ayumi still in shock that she cut him so severely. ‘This isn’t how it’s supposed to go.’ He caught the glow of her blade in his eyes as she raised it up with his blood dripping from the tip staring him down. “What are you doing? You nearly took my arm off! This is going too far, Ayumi!”

“Not yet. You need to learn.”

“Learn? All you’re doing is making me bleed!”

“That’s because you aren’t afraid yet. You think I won’t hurt you because I’m supposed to be training you. You couldn’t be more wrong. I’ll do whatever it takes to make you learn and right you need to remember fear to draw out your power.” Ayumi tightly held the hilt of the sword stepping forward, a step to draw tension through the air.

“You can’t be serious! You’ll kill me!”

“If I must. This is the real world, not some story of yours. This is the fastest way for results. I can heal any injures you sustain.”

‘She’s serious!’ Yuki’s mind froze on Ayumi’s words not understanding until then how determined she was to make him use his power. It was immediately afterwards that he felt the shaking in his legs resume once more. The shaking was beyond his control as his body became re-familiarized with fear. The cold stare of death from his opponent was something that he wanted to forget, but she was forcing it on him with a feeling that his body would never forget. Yuki attempted to get his arms to move, but found them just as immobilized as his legs. ‘…I-I can’t move…’ He stared at Ayumi seeing what her next move was going to be.

Ayumi stepped forward slowly narrowing her eyes at the changes that were happening to Yuki. “That’s the feeling. Fear me and call on your power!” She was no longer holding back her strike and leapt back into the attack coming for Yuki.

Yuki could see her coming, but he could do nothing about it. He was left paralyzed by his own fear and inability to protect himself. His left hand was still clamped on his wound unwilling to let go. ‘Ayumi’s…she’s…would she?’ The sword slid across his left upper arm and shoulder cutting nearly as deep as before flowing blood from his new wound. Yuki stumbled backwards again biting his teeth against the pain. ‘She’ll kill me at this rate!’ He had found strength in his legs finally and turned away trying to get away from her as fast as he could.

The room was large enough for the two of them to give chase, but never to run away or hide. It was not that big to provide safety for Yuki. He managed to evade the next series of swings from Ayumi, but not without having his clothes cut up more. Where ever he went blood dripped from his arms into the snow field following him as he fled through the room. Yet he was running out of strength in his legs. Each of her strikes was coming closer to him and he could not keep up the pace much longer. A sign of his failing was when he tripped up his feet falling into the snow forced to roll out of the way.

He scrambled to his feet unable to use his arms and nearly fell down again in the process. ‘I can’t get hit again…’ Yuki mustered up strength in his legs to hold together long enough to get him away managing to avoid getting slashed in the back. He came to rest against the wall of the room breathing heavily from fatigue. He tried to keep his eyes up watching Ayumi, who was still not giving him rest or a chance to recover. There was not a moment for him to pause with Ayumi coming at him thrusting her sword at him, but he could not move in time taking the blade in his ribs. Yuki coughed up blood feeling the copper metallic taste in his mouth that drew up fear to his mind.

Ayumi retracted her blade and spun around connecting her leg with his shoulder dropping him to the ground. She held her weapon at her side walking towards him seeing the twisting uncontrollable fear in his eyes. ‘Still not yet…either he’s stubborn or still doesn’t think I’ll kill him somewhere deep inside…’ The snow advanced on Yuki as she came closer to him drawing the dark aura behind her. ‘…he must use it soon or this will kill him…’

Yuki rolled over in the snow unable to get up off his back feeling the fatigue in the body reaching his limit. ‘…am I going to die here? I want to save myself, but I don’t know how! Please…’ He pushed against his weakened arms pressing even more blood from them as he felt waves of pain snapping over his body. Yuki could sit up to see Ayumi still pressing on, but unable to do anything.

‘…should be soon…just a little more…’ Ayumi raised her sword up behind her letting it hide behind her back as a sheath for it materialized from the particles in the air taking hold of the sword for her. She clasped her hands together creating a spark of light that surrounded her hands drawing on sudden bits of energy in the air. The energy gathered together as her hands separated forming into an orb of blue energy. Light from the energy painted the snow and Ayumi pale blue as she manipulated it in her hands. She pulled her hands back with the sphere becoming larger than her hands. The energy reached critical mass for her and she grabbed it in her hands pulling it back to her before thrusting it forward providing the necessary momentum to reach the target, Yuki.

For Yuki, there was a mix of awe and fear at the sight of Ayumi charging up an energy attack (gathering up is more accurate). The amount of emotional brew he might have had disappeared quickly when his brain processed that it was coming after him. ‘…got to move…not enough time…’ He had barely got to his feet when the energy sphere hit him in his stomach exploding on impact. The force of the energy cut in arcs of lacerations along his clothes and skin. Blood sprayed up from the explosion coating the snow. Yuki was sent backwards from the force hitting the wood floor and sliding along its polished surface. “Ugh…I…” Yuki could not feel his body anymore. His clothes were in pieces barely hanging together by pieces of threads left with numerous rips. ‘I can’t move…Ayumi’s going to…’

Ayumi leapt into the air coming towards him drawing up the snow around him to keep him in place. She grabbed her sheathed sword from her back pulling it free preparing for her final strike. ‘This is it…’

‘This is it... she’s going to kill me now… All because I can’t use my power…’ Yuki closed his eyes recalling images of the maid, samurai and fairy that he had made without thinking. Their existence frustrated him knowing that he had the power and was using it. He was simply unable to reach it. It was there for him to use, but he did not understand it. ‘I came here to learn how to use it. I need this if I’m to protect myself and my family. I need to know! I can’t die yet!’ Yuki screamed in despair to the ceiling.

A reaction had occurred in Yuki sending out waves from his body nearly instantly changing the entire room into grass and rocks. All around Yuki’s body large rocks came around him protecting him from Ayumi’s attack leaving her to step back. ‘…finally…’ She came to a landing on the ground finding that the majority of her field was completely over taken by the raw power of Yuki. The walls of the room, even the idea of it being a room, were gone left with nothing, but a field of grass and rocks. “I guess I’ll have to find a way to strengthen the array. He’s far more powerful than a standard anti-Meso Prosecho array can restrain. I guess this is to be expected of the King’s Power.” She approached the rocks that protected Yuki from attacks and passed through them forcing her field through his own. “The lesson is over. You need to turn it off.” In the back of her mind she was calculating the wide spread affects that this could be having on the neighborhood.

Yuki was breathing heavily looking like a scared child desperate to defend himself and keep away anyone that threatened his peace. “Stay away!” His mind was actively working on its own throwing up rocks to halt Ayumi’s march to Yuki. There was panic racing through him finding that none of it was working against her. “Don’t come any closer!” She continued towards him, though it seemed to be getting harder for her to press through the layers of rocks.

Ayumi narrowed her eyes from the strain that was being put on her to forcibly enter his defenses. The barriers were unskilled, but that was made up by sheer amounts of power. ‘I need to reach him to stop this. I can’t believe how much natural talent he has. I can barely…I might need to…’ She had hit the last of the barriers and the closest to him. It was proving to be nearly impassible for her, but pressed her hand into the rock with it glowing brightly fighting her presence. ‘Even focusing all my strength around me to increase the density is barely enough.’

“Leave me alone! I don’t want to be hurt anymore!” Yuki’s mind continued to pump into his field acting as his steward to his life. He could not move his body or fight what was happening to him. The world was blank to him.

Her hand was forced out of the rock barrier leaving her unable to break through to him. She was running out of quick ideas that would not cause more problems than solve. ‘I’ve got to reach him. Break his concentration somehow. I just need a little more.’ Ayumi pressed her hands against the barrier again ready to break the rocks down when she had done enough. “Yuki! Can you hear me? Yuki!”

“Don’t come near me!”

“Yuki! …You… Yuki…” Ayumi paused seeing that she was not making any progress and at a loss. She changed her tone back to her school and public persona hoping that it might hit a cord with him. “Yuki? Are you in there? I can’t see you!”


“I tripped and hurt myself. Can you let me see you? Yuki?”

“…Ayumi? I…”

‘That’s it. There’s enough interference for me to break through.’ Ayumi forced her hands in again seeing the waves of light from the barrier flashing in protest, but no longer able to hold her back. “Yuki!” she said continued to speak to him keeping up the disruption. Her entire body put weight against the barrier feeling the struggle to keep something so large out. Every time that she would speak to him a little more of her was let free to go in. Once she had reached the other side she found Yuki unconscious on the ground speaking to her unknowingly. ‘This is going to be harder than I thought. I can’t knock out someone already unconscious.’ Ayumi went to his side keeping her softer persona speaking to him. She lifted him up into her arms letting his back rest against her body holding him tightly. “Yuki… I’m here for you. You’re safe now. You don’t need to be afraid anymore.”

The soft voice from Ayumi eased Yuki’s mind washing away the pain and wrinkles on his face. A calmed expression showed through the fog of fear in Yuki. “…Mo…ther…” The barriers came down quickly returning the room back to the original shape and the neighborhood above as well. All of the people staring in disbelieve turned their confusion away and went back to their normal lives.

Yuki had eventually woken up on the hardwood floor looking around the room no longer certain where he was or what was happening. The last thing he remembered was the fight between Ayumi and him, rather the attack by her. However, he could not see her anywhere in the room. When he looked down at himself he saw that he was no longer bleeding, though his clothes were worse for wear. He jumped up in surprise at how ragged they looked. “My clothes! They’re all torn and destroyed. How am I going to explain this to Momoko?!”

While he was panicking about his clothes Ayumi heard the noise that was being created and walked down the stairs to the underground room. The steps appeared and disappeared into the ceiling from her entrance. “You always make a racket.” She approached Yuki with her arms cross staring at him with no look in particular.

“Ayumi! My wounds are gone, but look at my shirt!”

“Yeah, I healed you up. Would you have preferred that left you to dead, but fixed your shirt?”

“Well no…but this is supposed to be a secret. What do I say to my sister?”

Ayumi looked away talking to herself. “I didn’t, because I can’t fix clothes. Sewing is not my expertise.”

“What did you say?” he said leaning in with a questioning look.

“N-Nothing.” She pulled her hands out in front presenting him with a fresh shirt that was clearly not his, but it was whole unlike his own. “Here. Take this.”

“Oh! Thanks, Ayumi!” Yuki pulled at his shirt to take it off, but found that it fell off on its own. It had been held together by merely being on him that the stress was too much for it. “Heh…Ooops…” he said laughing sheepishly at the sight. The left over pieces were quickly removed from his body and he took the new shirt in hand. He pulled it on over his head finding it to be a little tight, but it managed to fit him (a little too well actually). Yuki looked down at the red shirt with the English word “Fancy” written on it. “Umm…Ayumi?”


“Is this one of your shirts?”

“Of course, I don’t own boy’s clothing.”

Yuki tried to smile and nod not saying anything more to her about it. ‘I must look like one of the weird male pop bands. How can she wear this? It’s so tight.’

“Well it’s almost midnight. You should be getting some sleep for class tomorrow.” Ayumi started back to the center of the room calling for the stairs to slide back down for them.

“What?!” shouted Yuki panicking running over to Ayumi quickly. “Did you say midnight?” Ayumi nodded to confirm her last statement for him. “Momoko’ll kill me anyway for being late!” When the stairs were just hitting the floor Yuki sped on past Ayumi making it back up to her house. He rushed for the doorway not certain what direction that it was in looking in every hall and room. Yuki came to the living room where he saw his sister sipping tea. “Momoko, hey! Momoko?! What’re you doing here?”

Momoko politely set her tea cup back on the table before she stood up to face her brother. “What am I doing here? What’re you doing here? I come home to find that you’re still not home and Jun and Ken aren’t in bed!” She stood over him casting a heavy shadow over Yuki making him stutter profusely.

“M-Momoko I-I can explain!”

“I don’t need to hear it! I already talked to Ayumi!”

“What?! You did?” Yuki saw Ayumi walking into the living room looking as innocent and polite as she ever did. It was enough to make him fall over if he was not being yelled stiff.

“I’m sorry I didn’t call you sooner, but I couldn’t reach anyone,” Ayumi said extremely apologetically nearly coming to tears.

Yuki was about to shatter from the act that she was playing, but Momoko turned around smiling to her reassuringly. “Don’t worry about it. I’m glad to know he is safe. Though he looks in pretty good shape for being beaten up by street thugs again, apart from the…shirt…” She stared back at Yuki inspecting him, specifically the shirt that he was wearing.

“Oh, the shirt is one of mine. I’m sorry again, but it got damaged so I gave it to him. Please forgive me!”

“Don’t worry about it. Well I think my brother’s caused you enough trouble. Say good night to her.” Momoko grabbed Yuki up dragging him out of her house after he said his meek words. She pulled him back to their house and sent him upstairs after another yelling about responsibility and not fighting with punks. Yuki was not certain if he should have felt like he got away with what he did or not. He did not question the matter and went to sleep not feeling any better at controlling his powers.

The morning came for him uneventful and a little late, but nothing strange happened to him when he woke up. He left his house for school leaving behind Jun and Ken in time. He was able to relax on his way to school, but stopped when he got to the gates. “Where’s Saki? I don’t think she had practice…”

To be continued…

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  1. Leon's Avatar
    I was kinda surprised when Ayumi was so merciless during the fight, but I'm glad it ended well. A nice chapter.
  2. Andromeda's Avatar
    Ayumi could afford to be merciless as she stated. I wanted to take things further than just a usual training session, which Yuki actually lampshaded anyway. Most training is just to put said character into enough of a state to realize their power, but they would never actually do anything dangerous. However, because of the nature of their powers, Ayumi is free to be as ruthless about it as she wants without concern for lasting injuries. So long as she doesn't kill him anyway. It did end up back firing a little on her, as he proved how powerful he could be.
  3. Leon's Avatar
    Never expected her to go to such extremes but apparently it was needed. I'm curious just how much Yuki's power would evolve after this experience, and the ones to follow.
  4. Andromeda's Avatar
    Well the power he has and Ayumi works on a different level than your standard Shounen Jump. Most of it is mental energy and imagination. One cannot really do a lot to strengthen their innate power or evolve it. One can only understand how it works and make it work better for them. The strength can grow a little over time, but largely what one is born with is what one has through their entire life. Those that surpass others have learned how to improve their concentration and fold their field to make it stronger. One thing that has never been fully explained is that someone that would be a master actually has a very small field size because they have compressed their strength. They still have the same strength, but it is spread out over less area. So they appear stronger. One's worth is also based on how much they can fold their field, which is what happened with Yuki. He only folded it once, but it made his field strength twice as powerful giving him a very high level of defense.
  5. Leon's Avatar
    Wow, I really didn't know that. I figured they would have a larger field and overall just be powerful. It does make sense why the field size is small, as I've seen in later chapters that it's not a good thing when two fields interact with one another. I'll stay tuned to see how Yuki's power develops
  6. Andromeda's Avatar
    A larger field can be a sign of someone being powerful, but it is also a sign that they are unrefined as well. Yuki's massive field is impressive because of his raw power. Anyone can actually make their field the size of his, but they would have to dilute their power to much it would be meaningless in a real fight. Yuki gets away with it because the volume of his power is defaulted to such a high level. Yuki will be truly frightening against another user if he ever managed to get his field to being only a few meters in size, as no one would be able to touch him.

    However, note that in a fight against two users they have to have their fields interacting because otherwise their opponent would be out of their range. Because of the dampening of fields, melee combat is the preferred method for them. It is just the evolution of how combat changed with their powers.