|Case 05: Mersé|
|Title||"A Woman's Happiness"|
|Canon?||No, alternate universe.|
"A Woman's Happiness" is Mersé Dascaros's section in Monster Girl Encyclopedia Stories: Fallen Brides. The book tales stories about the pasts of each of the corrupted heroines of Lescatie who were introduced in Monster Girl Encyclopedia World Guide I: Fallen Maidens..
"You're stepping in too far, Elt."
Elt — one of my men — and I were sparring on the training ground. Its high walls made it look somewhat like an arena.
My halberd parried and blocked Elt's thrusts. He moved just a little too far forward every time he stepped in.
I swung my halberd down, aiming for Elt's right leg. Adjusting my strength to his, of course.
Just before the halberd struck, Elt quickly drew back his leg. He must have judged that he wouldn't be fast enough to block with his spear. It was his best option. But... he was already in check.
Suddenly pulling his leg back threw him off balance. The opening was fatal.
I shifted to a reverse grip and thrust the butt end of my halberd at his unprotected throat, stopping just short.
"...I, I yield..." Elt declared, lowering his spear. He sounded short of breath.
"Are you ever going to fix that bad habit?"
When thrusting with a spear, stepping in is vital. It's best to step powerfully, but you can't let your gait be too wide. It creates a bigger opening, and you'll get the overextended leg swept out from under you. The key is to always put your weight, and force, into the strike smoothly and quickly.
"I try, but as soon as I forget to focus on it... I end up doing it again before I know it."
I'm sure Elt knew that as well as I did, but bad habits don't change just because you're aware of them. He was capable of suppressing the habit and moving properly when he had room to pay attention to it. That's the sort of person he was.
Of course, when he was sparring with me, or in actual combat, he wouldn't have that room to think.
"It looks like you really will just have to force your body to adapt."
It was the natural conclusion. He would repeat the correct movements until his body could make them without thinking.
"I guess that is what it comes down to..." Elt answered. He looked exhausted. He must have become painfully aware that even once you know the trick, there are no real shortcuts to mastering it.
"You've just got to do it; I did too.
"Now, let's call it here for today... and go for drinks! My treat, of course," I announced, stabbing my halberd into the ground and leaning my weight on it.
This was independent training outside of normal hours. I didn't force him, but as a general rule, Elt kept going until I stopped.
"Thank you very much for the offer, Mercè... But please, just let me take... a quick breather..." Elt answered. He walked over to the wall of the training ground and sat down, leaning against it.
He's gotten a lot tougher than he was as a new recruit... but he still has room for improvement. Still, working this late shows he's got more guts than most of the others.
"Guess I've got no choice... I'll go get changed first and wait for you."
He worked hard today; he's earned a quick break. Besides, he always nags me about changing in front of him. I've told him not to worry about it — I've told him not to treat me like a woman — but it seems like he just can't help it.
I walked off, leaving Elt sitting on the ground behind me.
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