The sound of metal hitting metal was heard on the deck of the cruiser in the wee hours of morning, waking Bracer from his sleep. Turning to the bed, he noticed Luigi missing. Another clang reached his ears before Bracer came to a bad conclusion.
"WEEGIE MUST BE UNDER ATTACK!"
Quickly jumping up and running out the door, Bracer saw Luigi panting while an old man smirked at him, swords in both of their hands. Bracer almost attacked the old man, but Luigi noticed him and waved.
"Morning Bracer...huff...breakfast is...hufff...on the table back there...huff..." Luigi said between gasps pointing behind the dragon.
Bracer looked confused for a moment before the word 'Breakfast' hit his ears again. Within the blink of an eye the dragon was gone and the horrified scream of the chef could be heard.
"HE'S EATING ALL OF MY WONDERFUL FOOD!"
Then the reply came.
"IT'S A VERY GOOD FOOD! BRACER LIKES ALOT!"
Luigi started chuckling, remembering Yoshi from Dinosaur Land. "They even think the same way...huff...food first...huff...rational thinking later..."
"Hahahaha! You have a good friend with you! He probably thought you were under attack when he heard us practicing." The old man said smirking.
"Yeah. Thanks again for training me Greg." Luigi said bowing to the eastern swordsmaster.
The man shook his head. "Do not worry. I have heard many tales of you from Professor E. Gadd, and Princess Toadstool as well! Besides, it is the least I can do for someone who was able to stand up to my king and scare some sense back into him. I heard the shot of Lightning was quite impressive...it would not happen to be of the Thunderhand Style would it?" Greg said as he and Luigi started another session. Luigi used a small steel shortsword that Greg had always kept with him while Gregory himself used a Katana.
"Actually yes. Me and Mario travel alot when we save the princess, and we once travelled to Oho-Oasis when we went to the Beanbean Kingdom. I had found a shrine inside the temple grounds and was taught the Thunderhand. Well...some of it. I actually had to look for special texts showing me how to control it better. It took me and Gadd MONTHS to translate some of them, but it was DEFINITELY worth it." Luigi said as he blocked an overhead sweep and countered with a thrust.
"Yes, I have read many books pertaining to the Thunderhand and the Firebrand...I have also heard that you can use a variant of the Firebrand as well...fact or fiction?" Greg asked while parry-ing Luigi's thrust and making a horizontal slice, nicking Luigi's ear. The plumber winced at the slight cut, but easily ignored it as he brought up his shortsword to block Greg's vertical overhead follow-up.
"Fact. I can mess around with the Firebrand's ability, and can actually make my fireballs float when I throw them while Mario's have a gravitational mass to them. Since mine defy gravity, have less mass and vibrate faster than Mario's, they glow green instead of red." Luigi explained as he did a leg sweep followed by a diagnal slash, both dodged by the master swordsman.
"Good! Your hand is getting better at holding onto the base of the sword and your reflexes are getting faster and faster. You're still sloppy with your attacks, but your defense is the best I've seen from a novice such as yourself."
Luigi nodded as he relaxed his body. "I've had to use hammers and other metal tools before, so I can keep my grip on my sword and take an impact without losing hold of it. I'm not a very straight-forward person, as my swordplay has already shown that much. I'm more introverted than my brother, which probably explains my defensive abilities too." Luigi said as he took deep breaths to regain control of his erratic breathing.
Greg nodded. "All right, why don't we get something to eat? You have to keep your energy levels up if you want to keep training. We still have another day until we get into the port, which will give you two days to register for the Grand Prix if you want to."
Luigi nodded before handing Greg back his sword and picking up his own sword. Luigi clicked the strap on, now feeling safer with it on. Nodding his head, Luigi began heading for the lunch table, hoping Bracer hadn't eaten all the food by now. A cold shiver suddenly shot up Luigi's back however, and he quickly turned to see Gregory already halfway into a thrust towards his head.
Luigi didn't even realize he had pulled out his sword, but he was now staring at Gregory's fierce eyes. Just below his eyes was bronze-colored steel, his sword, blocking Gregory's own blade. There was a silence that spread across the deck. Luigi's heart was all that could be heard, and it was pounding. Gregory suddenly pulled away, sheathing his sword and exhaling slowly. He looked up to Luigi, the edges of his eyes crinkling with delight.
"Well done! I was afraid you wouldn't have been able to block! Now the only thing we can do is fix up your skills a bit. However, be sure to practice even after you leave Circuit Breaker Island." He walked away cackling.
Luigi let out a breath he didn't even know he was holding and sheathed his sword. He at first thought that Gregory had tried to kill him, which he did, but not out of the desire to kill or anything. It was yet ANOTHER test. The man had been testing Luigi all morning, and while he WAS grateful for it, it was still frightening.
While he had gone to bed late the night before, Luigi still woke up early the next morning. He had found Gregory practicing his swordplay and asked if he would teach him a little. The man recognized Luigi by his hat and agreed to teach him the basics. Luigi practiced the basics from five in the morning to about quarter to eight. From eight thirty to nine they had been practicing with practice swords, and at nine they had begun actually practicing with the blades, which was when Bracer had woken up. The rest of the day went practicing even more and the same went for the next day, with Gregory making random tests throughout the day, even when Luigi was taking a bath. Boy was he glad he brought his sword with him then!
Luigi groaned as he stumbled into his room at nine that night. They would be docking at the port the next morning, and Gregory had said that his training was finished for now. However, he would have to find another sword master to finish his training. Gregory had given him a scroll to take to a man back in the Mushroom Kingdom so Luigi could finish his training. Some guy who called himself 'The Master' and ran the dojo back in Toad Town. The name sounded familiar to Luigi, but he ignored it as he knew the name would ring a bell sooner or later. Bracer was fast asleep, so Luigi went uninterupted as he quickly bathed before flopping onto his bed.
'Man that bath felt good...almost fell asleep in it.' Luigi chuckled in his mind.
Luigi smiled as he fell asleep that night, but it was not to be a dreamless one.
Luigi found himself in a very unexpected place. The tremors shaking him once more and the sky an indigo blue color, Luigi turned to see the giant once more. However, instead of charging at Luigi and swallowing him whole, the giant instead looked up to the sky and screamed.
"Wha...what?" Luigi gasped.
The monster moaned in what seemed like agony before turning around, shaking. Luigi looked past the monster to see a figure. Who it was Luigi couldn't tell, but the giant still seemed to be scared of it. His face scrunching into the most determined look he could muster at the moment, Luigi withdrew his sword, readying himself for his foe. The figure raised up his hand, showing a staff or something and brought it down in the direction of Luigi and the monster.