Mikiko led Aria to a giant alcove in the forest, a place so bare and secluded it was perfect for training. Aria stood, open mouthed, at the serene beauty of the place.

Mikiko turned to Aria and smiled."Welcome to my personal training ground. Be grateful: you're the first person I've ever brought to this place."

Aria looked at Mikiko and smiled and bowed. "I am grateful and honored that you would train me. Thanks."

Mikiko blushed. "Gee, it really isn't that big of a deal." She then shook her head and crossed her arms. "Now, hand me your sword and we can begin."

Aria did so, and then suddenly Mikiko kicked her in the face. Aria was sent straight to the ground. "The hell was that for?!"

"Rule number one: Never let your guard down. Ever. The moment you do, someone will exploit it. Trust me... I know." Mikiko pointed to her brand mark as she said this. "Now, for the next lesson: your sword is not just a weapon, it is an extension of yourself. It is not just a tool... it is a part of you. Your weapon is your life."

Aria listened, and nodded. "My weapon... is my life."

"It may seem simple to say, but to fully understand this concept, one must train constantly. Unfortunately, we only have a week, so I need to shove months of training into you in that short amount of time." Mikiko stated, cracking her knuckles.

Aria heard the sound, and dodged out of the way just in time to avoid Mikiko's fist, which left a little crater. Aria glared at her. Mikiko smiled.

"Good, you haven't forgotten the first lesson. You're a quick learner. That will make my job a lot easier."

The End

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