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KINGSGUARD: Chapters 11 & 12

Discussion in 'Writer's Corner' started by Marco Polo, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. Marco Polo

    running with the wind
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    Since I was so late with Chapter 11, and since it's the holiday season and I have a little time off to do this, I thought I'd go with a double release.

    The Academy arc is reaching its conclusion, I have one more thing planned and then we'll finally be off to the Kingsguard! I wonder which characters will be joining us there...

    Anyways, enjoy these two chapters of Kingsguard! Chapter 12 will be in the next post

    *
    KINGSGUARD

    Chapter 11: Challenge

    July 4th, 2252. 8:24am. Owl King’s Academy – Training Facility, Second Floor.

    Chirch ducked under Rose’s leg, evading her high kick. As she straightened up, Rose came at her with full force. However, she was equal to each of her swings, parrying from all directions. Spotting a rare opening in Rose’s guard, she jabbed her blade forwards, prompting Rose to jump back. As Chirch readied herself to go on the offensive, she noticed Rose stumble a little; an unusual sight. Taking advantage of the opportunity, she moved in, sweeping Rose’s legs from underneath her. As Rose hit the floor with a thud, Chirch stood over her, a slightly angered expression on her face.

    “Are you even taking me seriously?” Chirch quipped, “You’ve been sluggish all morning.”

    Rose, a little surprised at Chirch’s sudden outburst, simply looked back, stunned. “I...”

    “If you keep this up, it won’t be Niklaus that you have to worry about any more…”

    Rose, afraid to make eye contact, simply looked at the ground, silent. Gritting her teeth, she cursed loudly, punching the floor. Her voice wavered, as she choked back tears of frustration.

    “Shit! I was so close… I thought I had him… I thought I’d redeemed myself after that embarrassing loss. But that attack… What the hell was that? I let my guard down and it cost me…”

    As Rose rued over her loss, Chirch stepped back for a moment. She hadn’t realised just how affected Rose was by it; all she’d said after the fight yesterday was “I’ll be fine. I’ll see you tomorrow morning as usual.” Chirch began to think of what to say, but she was drawing a blank. She hadn’t often been in situations like this, and didn’t know how to offer encouragement. Offering her hand out to Rose, she hoped she’d come up with something in the next few moments. Rose took Chirch’s hand, and used it to pull herself back up to her feet. As the pair looked each other in the eyes, Chirch smiled, almost reflexively.

    “We’ll get him next time. You were really close, I could feel it.”

    Moved by Chirch’s words of support, Rose’s eyes began to fill with tears that she once again had to hold back. Wiping her eyes, she began to smile.

    “Mm, yes, we will. Now let’s get back to training.”

    Rose and Chirch began to spar once again, Rose’s movements slowly regaining their normal sharpness and fluidity.

    On the other side of the training room window, a figure watched on as the pair continued to train. Observing them for a further few minutes, he decided he’d seen all that he needed, and turned to leave. As he headed for the exit, he mumbled to himself.

    “… Interesting.”

    *​

    1:45pm. Owl King’s Academy – Main Library. Marko and Grinnington are having 1-to-1 appointments with various Academy students.

    “Oh ho ho! A cute attempt, I must say!” Grinnington chuckled, poking away at a student’s creation, “But if you’re really serious about impressing me, you’ll have to stop with the kindergarten stuff. Maybe next year?”

    Demoralised and a little upset, the student took his project and walked off. Grinnington simply shrugged, wondering why they ran off so suddenly. Taking a sip of his coffee, he called out to the line:

    “Who’s next?”

    As a handful of students, intimidated by his treatment of one of their peers, walked off, a red-haired teen strode forward, extreme confidence in his stride. Pulling the chair out and turning 180 degrees, he sat in front of Grinnington, his arms resting on the back of the chair. A little taken aback, Grinnington almost forgot to initiate conversation.

    “… Oh, yeah. Good afternoon. I’m Arthur Grinnington. Though I guess you knew that. What might you be here for? Want me to examine one of your projects? Do you have any questions about engineering at the Kingsguard?”

    The teen simply smirked, and placed a handgun on the table. Tilting his head, he signalled Grinnington to look at it. Picking up the gun, Grinnington examined it carefully.

    “Hmm, this is probably the most impressive craftsmanship I’ve seen all day… In fact, I’d say you’re better than some of the dullards I work with.” Placing the gun back on the table, Grinnington took out a utility tool, and began to dismantle the gun, in order to fully examine it. As he examined the individual parts, a glowing blue core caught his eye. Shocked, he looked up at the teen, and asked:

    “Where did you get your hands on something like this? Even I haven’t been able to source one of these.”

    The teen smirked, running his hand through his hair. “Let’s just say… I know a guy.”

    Grinnington smirked back, leaning back in his chair. “Heh.. You’re acting pretty mysterious for some school brat. What’s your name, kid?”

    The teen pulled out a utility tool of his own, and quickly put his gun back together. Standing up, he turned the chair back for the next person, and began to leave the room. As he walked off, he turned his head over his shoulder, and addressed Grinnington.

    “…Judge.”

    As Judge walked out of the library, Grinnington smirked.

    “Judge, huh…”

    *​

    2.15pm. Main Library – Marko’s desk.

    “Thank you, Captain Marko!” a student beamed, as he exited the library. Marko’s meetings had been somewhat hit-and-miss; some students seemed to be too nervous to speak, which resulted in a few minutes of awkward silence. Some, however, managed to pull a little conversation and insight from the Elite soldier, be it training advice or just general information seeking. Satisfied with the now empty queue, Marko took a sip from his drink, and pulled out his phone and began to play a game. A few minutes and several levels later, Marko’s bliss was interrupted.

    “Excuse me. Captain Marko?”

    A little miffed that his quiet time was over, Marko paused his game to address the student. “Yes?”

    The student pulled up a chair, and sat face-to-face with him, looking the captain straight in the eye.

    “My name is Zak Niklaus. I’m a fourth-year student here at the Academy, and am the top ranked prospect entering the soldier division next year.”

    Marko placed his phone back in his pocket, and took another sip from his drink. “Great.”

    Niklaus, determined to get through to the captain, continued to speak. “I am looking to test my strength against a member of the Kingsguard, and wish to challenge you to a sparring match.”

    The entire room suddenly fell silent. Grinnington, curious, looked over to Marko to observe his reaction. Marko, however, responded calmly, despite an obviously irked expression on his face.

    “And what reason would I have to accept this challenge?” he asked, hoping this question would be enough to get Niklaus to relent.

    “Throughout my time in the Academy, I have never suffered a loss, and have only once had to use a portion of my true strength in battle. I would like a chance to fight with someone at a level higher than that of the Academy students.”

    After a few seconds of silence, Marko responded, a hint of contempt in his voice. “… Fine. I’ll have a match with you.”

    Niklaus’ expression lit up. “Thank you so much, Captain!”

    Marko, however, did not look so pleased. “Three days’ time. 3:30pm, in the Colosseum. We’ll make a show of it.”

    Niklaus thanked Marko once more, and strode out of the library. Behind him, the people in Grinnington’s queue, and those who were just in the library to study, began to talk, and a loud buzz filled the air. Students pulled out their phones to tell their friends. Zak Niklaus will be fighting Captain Marko of the Kingsguard. The library descended into chaos. So much so, that the librarian had to close down Marko and Grinnington’s Q&A session, and close the library for the day.

    Minutes after the departure of both the students and the recruiters, Tsubaki Sheikah reached the door of the library, only to find it closed. Sighing, she shook her head, and headed back to her dorm room.

    “I guess I’ll have to try again tomorrow… Marko.”

    END
    Character(s) Debuted:

    @Judgement as Judge, who "knows a guy"
     
  2. Marco Polo

    running with the wind
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    #2 Marco Polo, Dec 21, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
    KINGSGUARD

    Chapter 12: Warning
    July 7th, 2252. 3:25pm. Owl King’s Academy - Colosseum.

    Chirch, Rose and Fourth took their seats in the third row of the stands, behind Eve, XO and Tsubaki. Tapping Eve on the shoulder, Chirch greeted the group. The group began to converse, discussing the fight that was about to happen.

    “You know, I’ve been here all this time and never once seen Zak in battle…” XO pondered, his mouth full of hotdog.

    “Really? Well… I guess if I were to describe his fighting style in one word, it’d be “fast””, Chirch informed, thinking back to the fight she had witnessed earlier this week, “I could only just keep up with him and Rose.”

    “Niklaus aside, I wonder what Captain Marko’s fighting style is like, with him supposedly being the Kingsguard’s strongest and all,” Fourth mused, his mind clearly focused on the upcoming battle.

    “Well, I guess you’re all about to find out for yourself! Oh ho ho!”

    The group turned to see a familiar face stood behind them.

    “Commander Grinnington!” Eve exclaimed, “What are you doing here?”

    “Oh ho ho ho! Unfortunately, there’s no VIP seating for someone as important as I, so I thought I’d come ringside to see it for myself!” Grinnington announced, in a tone even more grandiose than usual.

    “Commander, how would you describe Captain Marko’s fighting style?” Rose asked, curious.

    Grinnington hesitated for what seemed like a very long moment. His thoughts suddenly scrambled, as he attempted to come up with something that made it sound like he knew what he was talking about. Stuttering, he scrambled for a response: “W-well… They’re about to fight now! You’ll be able to see one of the Kingsguard’s finest in battle now! Of course, he can’t even compare to my-”

    Grinnington’s ramblings were cut off by a stoic Tsubaki.

    “He’s… the real deal, no doubt about it.”

    As Tsubaki spoke, the group’s heads turned collectively towards her.

    “You’ve seen Captain Marko fight?” Chirch gasped, suddenly very curious.

    “… I suppose you could say that, yes,” Tsubaki replied, her eyes turned straight ahead. The group fell silent for a moment, an unexpected tension in the air. This tension, however, was broken by Director Stickman’s voice coming through the PA system.

    “Ladies, gentlemen, students. Welcome to this rather unexpected finale to the Academy’s recruitment week. And boy, do we have a treat in store for you today! The Academy’s top prospect, Zak Niklaus, will be facing off against none other than Captain Marko of the Kingsguard Elite! Now, please welcome the fighters to the ring!”

    The audience’s attention turned to the fighting stage. Niklaus entered first, in his full battle attire. His katana hung from his left side, sheathed. He stood in the centre of the ring, eyes focused on the entrance he had just walked out from. The Director then introduced him.

    “The first fighter out is Zak Niklaus! The top ranked graduate for the class of 2252, he turned down early entry last year, instead favouring another year here at the Academy! Whilst this surprised many, he has made excellent use of this past year, becoming a once-in-a-generation talent!”

    As the Director’s announcement finished, the crowd roared. Moments later, Marko entered the arena, looking surprisingly casual. Wearing a white shirt and black ankle-length trousers, his black jacket draped over his shoulders, he walked into the ring, paying no heed to the crowd around him. He stopped roughly ten feet away from Niklaus. He took the katana that he had been holding, and stuck it into the ground, then hanging his jacket on the handle. Once he was ready, he began to look around at the crowd, his expression contorting into one of anger when he saw Grinnington standing by the railings of the front row.

    “Our second fighter this afternoon is arguably the Academy’s greatest product in recent years. A graduate in the class of 2244, he became the first and only student to graduate from the Academy in just his first year! However, joining the Kingsguard at the mere age of 15 did not faze him whatsoever, and by the age of 20 he had established himself as the Kingsguard’s very strongest! This reputation earned him a promotion to the Owl King’s Elite Guard in January of this year! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Kingsguard’s very own, Captain Marko!

    An equally loud roar greeted Marko’s announcement.

    “H-he graduated after a year?!” Chirch exclaimed, shocked that anyone her age could ever manage such a feat.

    “It’s infuriating, right?” Grinnington grumbled, “I thought I would be the one to get all the attention for being the first engineer to be recruited in their third year, but then him of all people stole my thunder! How inconsiderate!”

    Chirch and co. simply looked at each other and shrugged, clearly not buying into Grinnington’s Marko-based conspiracy, and simply waited to watch the fight ahead.

    *​

    “So you won’t be drawing your blade against me, Captain?” Niklaus asked.

    “… Don’t need to.” Marko answered, his tone so indifferent that his words barely felt condescending; more like fact.

    “Well, it looks like I’ll have to force you into a corner so you’ll have no other choice,” Niklaus smirked.

    The pair stared each other down, Niklaus’ tall, muscular frame towering over Marko’s much shorter, leaner one. As the anticipation in the crowd reached fever pitch, Director Stickman decided it was about time for the fight to begin.

    “Are both fighters ready?”

    Both fighters nodded to the Director.

    “Well then. The rules are mostly the same as usual, except you are allowed to strike your opponent with a weapon, even if they are unarmed. And with that, the fight will begin at the sound of the bell!”

    Moments later, the bell rang, and the crowd once again roared loudly. Upon hearing the bell, Niklaus moved immediately to attack. Charging in at a speed comparable to the one he used towards the end of his fight with Rose, he moved behind Marko in an instant, aiming his blade towards his neck in a stabbing motion. Marko simply tilted his head to the side, not turning to face his opponent. Niklaus continued to dart around the arena at speeds that the crowd could barely keep up with, swinging at Marko from all directions. Marko, however, remained in his same spot, ducking and leaning away from each swing. After several failed attempts at landing a blow, Niklaus stopped, positioning himself in a similar place to where he was before the bell rang.

    “Hmm, you’re fast,” he smirked, “But can you keep up with this speed?”

    With those words, Niklaus swung his blade horizontally through the air.

    “Gravity Blade.”

    As Niklaus’ projectile headed towards the still unmoving Captain, he proceeded to dart towards him, faster than before. As the gravity blade approached Marko, he simply firmed up his stance a little, and took the blow head-on, the only consequence being his hair being slightly wind-swept. Before he could comment, Niklaus charged at him from his left-hand side, less than a second after he had eaten Niklaus’ attack. At full speed and strength, Niklaus swung repeatedly at Marko, who continued to evade him, his expression surprisingly bored as he did so.

    *​

    “He just… stood there?!” Rose exclaimed, a little annoyed that the attack that felled her in one blow was brushed off so easily.

    “It’s like he isn’t even trying yet either,” XO added, “Niklaus is really going all-out, yet Captain Marko is still there with his hands in his pockets, almost begging him to try and land a hit.”

    “… It’s frustrating, isn’t it?” Grinnington grimaced, as he continued to lean on the rail, “He’s making the child look even more of a child, by playing this silly game of tag with him. He does every time, the bastard…”

    “Every time?” Chirch asked.

    Grinnington nodded. “Well, in matches like these anyway. Not that he spars like this a lot any more. He usually just gets all moody and tells you to piss off if you challenge him now. Not that I blame him.”

    “What do you mean by that?” Chirch asked inquisitively.

    “Well, entering an army full of adults at that age put a target on his back, and countless soldiers would challenge him, almost like they didn’t believe he should be there. I’m sure you can guess how that turned out.” Grinnington answered.

    “Hmm,” Chirch mused, “Then why would he take a challenge like this?”

    “… Beats me,” Grinnington responded nonchalantly, “But I guess he must have a reason to do this, especially when he hates it so much.”

    *​

    Niklaus’ movements became even faster, to the point where half the audience were unable to keep track of him. A layer of dust filled the air up to the fighters’ ankles, as Niklaus continued to attack Marko. Focusing his offensive from the front, Niklaus searched desperately for an opening. But against an opponent who wasn’t even guarding, all he could do was hope that he’d get lucky, and Marko would lose his footing. Continuing to try catch up with Marko’s movements, he eventually gave up, throwing a powerful, horizontal swing at Marko, forcing separation.

    “…I guess I have no choice now,” Niklaus thought to himself, “I have to use that. Even though it’s not perfected, I have no other option.” Looking over at Marko, he smirked once more, feigning confidence.

    “It seems not even my full speed is enough to touch you.” Niklaus announced.

    Marko sighed in response.

    “But I have one last trick up my sleeve, one that’ll surely make you pick up that blade of yours.”

    “Gravity Steps.”

    Niklaus leapt into the air. Before he could begin to fall to the ground, he made a stepping motion in mid-air, that propelled him higher. The crowd gasped, surprised that such a technique was possible outside of video games and superhero stories. As Niklaus walked through the air, Marko remained still, watching his every move. Suddenly, Niklaus disappeared from view. The audience gasped, but before they could turn to the person next to them, Niklaus re-appeared above the back of Marko’s head. Almost instantaneously, he cocked back his arm, ready to swing, moving down towards Marko.

    “Let’s see how you like thi-”

    Before Niklaus could finish his battle cry, he was met with a swift elbow to his gut. All the momentum he had built up had been cancelled. As Marko lowered his elbow, Niklaus fell to the floor, doubled over in pain. Looking back at the young fighter, Marko walked over to where he had left his katana. Taking his jacket from the handle, he walked over to the announcer’s table, jacket in hand. As he walked, he spoke to Niklaus.

    “You’re still a student, right? Pay attention. Class is in session.”

    Niklaus, after coughing up a few droplets of blood, looked towards Marko. What did he mean?

    Placing his jacket on the table, Marko walked back to the centre of the arena, removing the katana from the ground. Holding it in his right hand, he approached a still kneeling Niklaus, pointing the blade at him so its tip was inches from his nose.

    “Lesson one. Speed isn’t everything. I’ve been hit by guys slower than you. You can't hit me because you're too predictable. Your brain needs to catch up with your body.”

    Lowering his blade, Marko continued to instruct Niklaus. "Stand up."

    Niklaus stood up, still feeling the brunt of the blow he had just taken.

    “You may have gotten away with things just by being fast up until now, but the moment you meet someone that can keep up with you, or that’s faster than you, you begin to struggle, since up until now you’ve dealt with your problems by moving faster. Am I wrong?”

    Niklaus, stunned, simply stood in silence.

    “I saw your fight with that girl the other day. She didn’t realise it, but she had you figured out, even though you were faster than her. She managed to learn your attack pattern without even realising it,” Marko continued, turning his blade to the crowd, pointing towards Rose. “In terms of technique, she is superior to you by quite a distance. Which brings me on to my second lesson.”

    Marko then went on the offensive for the first time in the fight. Moving towards Niklaus at a speed equal to his, he began to attack with his blade, aiming for Niklaus’ chest. Niklaus just about managed to parry his blow. Marko launched a series of blows, which Niklaus again parried. Just as Niklaus thought he was getting the hang of Marko’s attack rhythm, he was met with a knee to the stomach, and then a kick to the side that sent him flying a few feet. This time coughing up a handful of blood, Niklaus remained hunched over on the ground, winded, as Marko continued his teachings.

    “Lesson two. Form is essential. Because you’ve been so reliant on speed, your actual swordsmanship is poor, and your guard is easy to break. I’ve just done it in a matter of seconds. There’s no point in all these flashy techniques you have if you don’t even have a solid base to build off of.”

    Marko then walked over to Niklaus, who was on his hands and knees, trying to get his breath back. Squatting in front of him, he tilted Niklaus’ chin towards him. Niklaus simply looked at him, almost afraid of what would happen next. Looking Niklaus dead in the eye, he continued to speak, his expression suddenly much angrier than it had been throughout the duration of the fight.

    “Third and final lesson. This habit of holding back that you’ve got going on needs to go. If you hold back on the battlefield, you die. Especially when you’re lacking in the basics as much as this.” Letting go of Niklaus’ face, and standing up, he then began to address the crowd.

    “This goes for all of you planning to join us. The job you’re getting yourself into is life-or-death, every time you step out into battle. If you go in there giving anything less than your all, you won’t be getting out. Don’t forget that.”

    Walking over to the announcers table, Marko picked up his jacket, and turned to Director Stickman.

    “Let’s call it a draw,” he said. Looking down at the katana in his hand, he continued. “Thanks for letting me borrow this. I’ll make sure it gets put back in the right storeroom.”

    Draping his jacket over his shoulder, Marko walked out of the arena, the crowd sitting in a stunned silence.

    *​

    3:50pm. Outside the Colosseum.

    Chirch and Rose exited the arena, both stunned at what they’d just seen. Neither could quite put into words anything that they’d just seen. As they walked out, a familiar voice shouted out from behind them.

    “You two. Rose and Chirch, right?”

    The pair turned around to face the source of the voice.

    “… Captain Marko?” Rose exclaimed, surprised that he was still in the area.

    “Come with me. There’s something I’d like to discuss with the two of you.”


    END
     
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  3. Glaze D. Bacon

    OH! MY! GOD!
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    Thank Eneru I have winter break so that I can read this.
     
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  4. Deathbloke

    I am the storm
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    Marko was pretty awesome in ch. 12! Not so much for his strength, but more for his preferring education to Niklaus over utter crush.
    Can't wait to finish the arc^^
     
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  5. Chaudfontaine

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    that cliffhanger tho

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Grin

    Breadcrumbs
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    Double chapter was great, wasn't left starving this time. Now for the usual commentary...

    Is this the state of KG engineeriiiiiing?!

    OK I'm starting to be curious about this

    fighting skills! Because Grinnington is secretly the strongest!

    I guess that turned out to be that he does care and doesn't want reckless kids to stay that way

    Promotion awaits...!
     
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  7. Judgement

    Onii-chan of OPF
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    Hype, curious to see how this is gonna progress. :>
     
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  8. Marco Polo

    running with the wind
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    It'll take you the whole of winter break to read this?

    Glad you enjoyed the "fight"
    Hopefully the end of the arc has some good moments in too...

    Kingsguard is announcing a 2-year hiatus

    Grinnington has very high standards

    Good, because someone has to be

    Bingo.

    The next and final stage of this arc should hold a few surprises... We might even be getting backstory tied to a major recent incident in the Kingsguard as well...
     
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  9. Glaze D. Bacon

    OH! MY! GOD!
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    Pppppppppppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaapppppppppppppppppppssssssssssssssss?
     
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  10. Chaudfontaine

    Chaudius Caesar
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    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Marco Polo

    running with the wind
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    Chapter 13 PV:

    There’s one last test that all graduates have to go through before they join; one that’s kept a secret right until the start of a student’s fourth year. Show up to the place mentioned in the document at the time and date you’ve been assigned. They’ll tell you more about it there.
     
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  12. Deathbloke

    I am the storm
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    Everyone is partying and Maruko writes Chapter 13 :P
    I love you man^^

    Nice one, looking forward to finding out what that test is...
     
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  13. ZakNik

    Legendary God of Speed
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    OH i Didint read this after all...chapter is good but guy who isnt defeated to dont have tehnique with swordplay....hmm hmm hmm editor choice I guess. But I like Captain Marco coolness and badass figure. Elbow remind me of One punch man whe saitama punches that sonic guy with his hand into balls...funny :D
     
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  14. Marco Polo

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    It's not that he doesn't have technique, it's that he's focused his training around getting faster and on his gravity techniques, and has neglected to train up his basic skills. His speed is usually enough to win him a fight with any academy student, but if he comes up against anyone who can keep up with him (which is rare) he has a hard time, since he lacks variation in his basic attack patterns. Normally, that wouldn't be an issue, you can just change, but at the speed he's going at he just kind of has to follow his reflexes, or instincts if you prefer that word. If he were to fight with more variation, he'd take a decent hit in speed since he'd have to consciously think about what he's doing.

    What Niklaus has in speed and powerful finishers, he lacks in fundamentals and basic battle intelligence. By being that much stronger than his peers, his flaws weren't exposed until he fought someone stronger than him. This seemed like the best way to balance him, and as the series goes on and the powercreep intensifies, this weakness will most likely disappear.
     
  15. ZakNik

    Legendary God of Speed
    Haoshoku Haki
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    I hope I will have enough money someday to make this anime :D
     
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  16. 10thMember

    GRIN'S OWNER
    Haoshoku Haki
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    CH12 comments:

    Dang, Zak! What a brave soul!
    Tsubakiii!!! Use Captain! Captain! How dare you say his name without honorifics?! D:
    Judgement tho... Hit me up with your blue stuff! :smirk:

    CH13 comments:
    The captain is dazzling as always.
    Don't mess up, Rose and Chirch!

    Serves you right, Zak! Bleeeh! :P
     
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  17. Dreamer

    Wandering Wondering Mind
    Kenbunshoku Haki Member
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    I wonder what game Marko was playing in the chapter 11.

    The fight of the chapter 12 was impressive. At the same time you revealed some new sides of Marko's personality. Very cool chapter :).
     
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  18. Marco Polo

    running with the wind
    Super Moderator YouTube Team
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    Glad you're enjoying things! We'll have a catch up once you get to the end of Chapter 15 with which parts you enjoyed/didn't enjoy etc
     

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