"F*ck." Li Ming spat out flatly in frustration. He had sat through his classes, impatient to get home to start his practice sessions. As soon as the school bell rang, he ran home before even consulting with Ken.
Although it wasn't his main objective, he also treated his obligated practice sessions for the Osaka Phoenixes as an escape from dealing with Ken. Despite constant explanations and attempts to set things straight, Ken still believed that Li Ming was up to no good with Kikyo this morning, and would continue to harass him.
Having finally escaped from the clutches of Ken as well as the mundane classes, Li Ming immediately rushed home to begin his first training session. However, to his surprise Coach Kimi had sent him a message regarding what he was to practice.
In order to change his build into a more control type of a build, Li Ming changed out his [Crimson Bullets], which used to give an deal by 2% of the opponent's health as damage, which would be increased to 8% if the strike was not blocked or parried.
Instead he took the Monk's ability, [Tremor Shot]. [Tremor Shot] would shoot out a wave, which if it hits an enemy, would deal some damage before marking them with [True Sight] and changing [Tremor Shot] to [Calm Blink] for five seconds. Enemies marked with [True Sight] can be seen no matter what, even if stealthed or blocked by another object.
But what Li Ming took the ability for was [Calm Blink]. By activating [Calm Blink], the target marked by [True Sight] would be ensnared for 1 second, and Li Ming would be able to teleport anywhere within 2 meters of the ensnared enemy. Li Ming intended to use this ability to prevent whoever he planned on diving from escaping or suddenly trying to rush to a teammate for backup. Despite ensnaring an enemy did not prevent the enemy from attacking back, Li Ming would choose to use his brand new Phoenix Breath to suppress the enemy's potential retaliation.
However, at this moment, Li Ming was faced with a difficult task now. Coach Kimi had given him an assignment which reminded him of something that Li Ming disliked quite a bit. His assignment was reminiscent of schoolwork, or rather, homework that would be assigned from a school. He was tasked with writing a report to submit alongside video footage of him in a match. The report was to be analytic and had to include what he learned from the practice that he had conducted on that day.
Now, doing this once or twice wouldn't be bad, but Li Ming would be expected to do this every day. And that was obviously outside of Li Ming's expectations. He had assumed that 'practice' would be something like fulfilling a certain quota of matches, maybe even scrim against a specific class, or try to solo carry the new Battle Royale game mode.
However, he was now tasked with additional homework, in addition to his homework from school. Not only that, he was still prescribed a quota for matches that he would have to play. He was assigned to play 20 1v1 matches, on top of 5 team matches.
The team matches are to be played solo only, meaning that he would have to join a random party to complete this task. On top of all of this, he would have to have this submitted before 2AM. With dread in his heart, Li Ming went ahead and queued up for his first match of the night.
"Yawwn~" Li Ming stretched while leaning back. Stealing a quick glance at the digital clock, he saw that it was now 1:33 in the morning. Li Ming had just finished writing his report and submitted it to Coach Kimi through email.
However, he felt extremely unsatisfied. Unlike when he first practiced the Spellblade build back that the convention center during the tryouts and finals week, Li Ming felt like he had hit a wall. Naturally, he had won most of the matches he had played today, with the only match he had lost being one of the 5v5 team matches he played with a random team.
Although he was able to win most of the battles, he had lost the overall match because he had gotten held up trying to deal with a Paladin Knight for too long. Despite eventually overpowering the Paladin Knight, he had taken too long, and his team had been overrun during that time. One could say that he had won the battle, but lost the war.
Frustrated with the sudden lack of improvement, Li Ming headed to the nearest convenience store or 24-hour family restaurant to grab food before he would go to sleep. He still had spear practice again tomorrow with the old man. Li Ming grabbed his earbuds and attached it to his phone. He had downloaded some replays of his matches to watch while he ate.
Li Ming brought his wallet, which for the first time in his life, was empty in terms of cash, but was still worth more than it ever had been. After receiving his first payment, Li Ming finally had disposable income. In fact, this was the most amount of money he has ever had in his bank account. Thinking about that, Li Ming's steps felt lighter as he made his way to the nearest family restaurant.
"Hello! Welcome to Sugoku Chugoku, party of one today?" the waitress greeted him.
"Yes, please." Li Ming responded.
"Right this way then." She led him to an empty table.
He sat down and received a menu from her.
"Anything you'd like to drink?"
"I'll have water, thank you."
Li Ming took a look at the menu and was assaulted by a variety foods and combos and specialty items. However, Li Ming dove straight in to get the item he came here for: the Omurice with a tomato curry sauce. There was a myriad of add ons that he could choose from. Without a second of hesitation, Li Ming picked up the order form and filled out the following
+1 Omurice with Tomato Curry sauce (¥1200) ($10.91)
+ Hamburger Steak (¥600) ($5.46)
+ Miso Soup (With Clams) (¥600) ($5.46)
+ Tempura Combo (side) (¥350) ($3.18)
+ Fried Bread (side) (¥150) ($1.36)
Total: ¥2,900 (~$26.37)
In the past, Li Ming was never able to make this decision without thinking about how it would affect him later down the line. If he didn't get enough hours from the convenience store, he might not be able to afford to eat another decent meal, which would relegate him to eating cup noodles for the next few days if he did make a decision like this. But now, with his newfound wealth, Li Ming intended to use the food to deal with his frustration.
After the waitress came by and collected his order form, Li Ming took his phone out to start reviewing his matches that he had played. First he started with his 1v1 matches.
He won the first match in 2 minutes and 43 seconds against a pure Samurai build.
He won his second match in 5 minutes and 22 seconds against a Dark Knight.
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He won his third match in 50 seconds against an assassin.
He won his fourth match, his fifth match, his sixth match, and on and on and on. Li Ming from watching these matches, Li Ming couldn't seem to garner any type of information other than his dominance in these fights.
Next was his 5v5 matches. He was able to destroy the enemy base in just 12 minutes in his first match, scoring over 20 kills in the process. He his second game ended in 15 minutes. The third game was won in under 10 minutes, with Li Ming dying zero times and scoring over 20 kills yet again. The fourth game was won in just 9 minutes, but the enemies were quite scared, so Li Ming wasn't able to score very many kills.
The fifth game, the game he lost, was the one Li Ming wanted to rewatch the most. The game ended up going on for about twenty five minutes. Out of those twenty five minutes, Li Ming was in combat against the enemy's Paladin knight for over 12 minutes. Li Ming had spent over half the game just trying to deal with on of the enemies.
Despite killing the Paladin Knight a couple times, Li Ming was unable to push forward, as his team was losing the 4v4, and would often die before Li Ming could arrive. The Paladin Knight would always stall Li Ming for just long enough for his own team to gain the upper hand.
And in those 25 minutes, despite Li Ming having 9 kills and only one death, the enemy team was able to break into their base and claim victory.
It was obvious to Li Ming what happened here. He had lost sight of the bigger picture in that game, and got caught up by the Paladin Knight for too long. Despite this, he couldn't figure out a specific way for him to win that game, even now.
Li Ming was still hard at thought as his food arrived.
"Well looks like you're deep in thought. Make sure you eat up before the food gets cold okay?" The waitress commented, "If you're having too hard of a time, just remember to take it slow and take one step at a time, okay? Life always finds a way."
Although Li Ming had always known about the high suicide rates of teens in the world, he never expected that someone would assume that he himself was under such a mind set. But what the waitress said had also struck a chord within Li Ming.
It was the core basis of every martial art. Improving one step at a time. Before one could learn something difficult, one would have to learn the foundation. Back when he did Kendo as a child, he had also tried his best in swinging his sword in the basic kendo stance while imagining himself striking an imaginary head. He would do that for hours on end.
When he started learning the spear from the old man for his Live Action Role Playing events, he would also learn the basic forms of the spear and spend countless hours just spinning the spear and getting a good grip on the spear.
Everything started with the basics before he could move forward to the next stage. By trying to just ram his head against a wall while expecting to improve, it was naturally only a matter of time until he had run up against a wall he couldn't just brute force through.
Having realized this Li Ming started to formulate his plan to improve. Naturally, when one first started to learn a new class, they would first look for a guide. This would either come in the form of a close friend or an online guide. Naturally, as Li Ming's Spellblade was a brand new class, there would be no guide for this type of class.
So the next step was to form a pseudo guide of sorts. He would need to play as much as possible to extrapolate information to analyze, and then from there, he would be able to obtain far much more knowledge on how to play.
'Hang on...' Li Ming thought to himself, 'Isn't that basically what Coach Kimi was trying to make me do?
Indeed, writing a report after finishing a day of practice matches to analyze your play and what you learned. Isn't that essentially documenting his Spellblade?
'So it wasn't busy work after all...' Li Ming thought as he started eating his Omurice.
For some reason, the Omurice tasted a little saltier today compared to usual.
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