At the end of the week, Aria had become much stronger than when she started, as well as more accurate with her blade. She remembered every single lesson that Mikiko had taught her, from keeping her guard up to learning the value of feinting and quick retreats in order to gain the upper hand.
Then, on the night before her fight with Musashi, Aria was confronted by Mikiko. "It's time to see just how much you have learned. Face me in combat, here and now. Do not hold back."
Aria, staring at her, smiled. "Alright. Just don't go easy on me either."
"It's a promise." Mikiko answered, charging forward and directing her first attack towards Aria's face.
All she caught was empty air, as Aria had ducked and just drew her sword, and struck Mikiko with the pommel, leaving a little bruise. Mikiko then delivered a roundhouse kick to Aria's head, knocking her to the ground, but Aria quickly recovered, getting up almost immediately upon hitting the ground. The two of them stared at each other for a moment, each getting into a ready stance. "Nice! Very good form!" Mikiko complimented.
"You're pretty good too." Aria replied, running forward and performed a diagonal strike, which Mikiko dodged without much effort... but then Aria delivered a swift kick towards the bruise she had left only moments before, and the strike landed dead on. Mikiko backed off, grabbing her side in pain. Aria took the opportunity to thrust forward with her blade, and pierced Mikiko in the right shoulder, drawing a little blood. Mikiko looked up and smiled.
"Well done. You are, without a doubt, an exceptional sword fighter, good enough to beat Musashi tomorrow." Mikiko stood up and gave Aria a thumbs up. "But believe me, if you lose, I'm gonna beat the crap out of you."
Aria nodded. "Don't worry. I won't lose this time."