Editors: Templar, Jack Vanatis
Author’s notes: Now that I have finished writing End Online Volume 5, I will work on writing a few chapters of the CotE to get further into the story. With this chapter, you will find CotE to have similar aspects to xianxia novels as well as litRPG. There is actually one particular aspect of the xianxia novels that heavily inspired me when working on my plan for the story. It is actually something that I tried to incorporate into EO but failed to do so. I have my bets on that none of you will be able to guess what part of xianxia novels that inspired me.
Also, It is a bit long to post here, so I have updated ‘The (Originally) Weekly Update’ with news about future CotE releases.
I am temporarily not posting chapter plans for CotE on my Patreon page as they are usually much shorter than those of End Online and with little variation between the plan and what is written. I am currently working on something new to post there so I will update you when it is ready
Chapter 2: Duel
Regal Havier’s home is a residence as ordinary as they come, consisting of two bedrooms, a single kitchen, small living area and bathroom. It’s a single story structure of brick and maple wood, harvested from the trees in the agricultural sectors several floors above. Bronze architecture decorate the front of the house, much like the rest of the street.
Regal’s parents left the house furnished with the few belongings they owned. Sofa, table, two beds, and a bookshelf. The bookshelf is mostly empty, a few books stacked on it. Books in this world are a valuable commodity as they are hand written. The reason there are so few books on the bookshelf is solely due to their high prices.
Regal’s father, Vincente, was an avid lover of fiction books, reading tales about other worlds or people gifted with the blessing of good fortune. He always wanted to become like the people described in these books, but good fortune never smiled on him so he could only read about those who fortune was exceptional, even if it was only fiction..
Lying down on his bed, Regal studies the notes about the world history that he took today. The boy anticipates what is to come tomorrow. He didn’t have the chance to learn any new skills in the past seven years, but tomorrow will be the day he starts acquiring them. He may not be as excited as the rest of the students throughout the city that are currently restless in wait, but he is still excited nonetheless.
The natural light in the world fades away, but the moonlight is still caught in the silver light pipes, casting a gentle pale glow throughout the city. Several street lamps flicker on as well and provide a warm yellow light along the clay brick roads. Regal’s home is along one of these quiet streets. A warm yellow glow emanates from a window on the front of the house till late, signalling that he is up late studying what he has learnt at school.
The crackle of thunder from the horizon can be heard throughout Theore the following morning. A light mist hangs in the air as well and all the residents rejoice over the rain that should arrive tomorrow.
Regal is already preparing for the day, quickly revising yesterday’s notes once again as he prepares breakfast and lunch for the day.
Travelling to school, eager to finally learn some new skills, Regal happens across another person familiar with his status as being Soulless.
“What do ya think ya doin’ here, Soulless? Go home runt,” a man with spiky black hair and a scrawny build complains in a voice loud enough for everyone in the area to hear.
Regal attempts to silently pass him as if he didn’t hear him speak, but the man’s hand unexpectedly swings toward him and hits him on the side of his face. The hit sends Regal sprawling on the brick pavement pathway, staring up at the roof of the first floor in a daze. The hit only causes him to lose ten health points, but the burning pain on his right cheek assaults his mind.
All the Immortalis on the street turn their heads to look the other way and pretend they have seen nothing. If it was a standard child that was hit in the middle of the street, everyone would take action to restrain or even attack the assailant. They only ignore the current situation because that man had already called out and announced that the boy is a Soulless.
Steeling his mind to ignore the pain, Regal stands back up and faces the man. Rapidly going over his current options, there is no method to defeat the man while he is currently level 1, so he only gives that option a single thought. The best method available to him right now is to get past him and rush to school.
Most people will only verbally abuse a Soulless, but a select few have no qualms about raising a hand or a weapon. This is one of those latter individuals, and this man will most likely chase Regal even if he is able to slip past him.
A translucent window appears in front of Regal, which he moves his fingers across and alters his path to school, scheduling a couple of detours. At the same time, he dashes toward the spiky haired man and activates ’Foresight’, a Divine Art of his ‘Future Sight’ skill. This maximum level skill allows him to see up to ten seconds into the future.
Regal has a profound understanding of the ‘Future Sight’ skill, having focused only on developing this single skill since he was six years old. Under normal circumstances, this skill would take at least twenty years to master, but Regal’s sheer determination broke through that barrier.
Every ten levels of the ‘Future Sight’ skill gives Regal the ability to adjust the amount of time he sees into the future by ten percent. The base amount of time he can see into the future is one tenth the skills level. At the maximum level, he can adjust how far he sees into the future by 100 percent, shrinking the time seen or going as far as doubling it. This helps adjust the skill to the situation and control how much mana is used. After all, every second he looks into the future will use ten mana.
Regal adjusts the skill to use 50 mana to experience the future of the next five seconds and foresees the man’s attack. Dodging the fist too early will cause the future to change from the man’s response to Regal’s actions, and most likely cause him to be hit regardless. He waits until the last second for when the man throws the predicted punch before twisting his body and dodging past the attack.
A glimpse of shock is seen on the spiky haired man’s face before Regal quickly runs away with as much speed as he can muster. Just as he suspected, the spiky haired man shouts at Regal and chases after him.
Regal is only level 1 with a base agility of 10, so there is no possibility of him outrunning the enraged man. His only option is to follow the red guide marker on his map. This is what he prepared earlier, altering his course to school so that it travel through Market Street, the busiest street in the area.
Fortunately, Market Street is extremely close to where Regal was before, allowing him to reach the area before the man catches him. The spiky haired man is right behind him, stretching out his hand to grab Regal by the scruff of his neck before he can vanish into the crowd. Regal quickly merges with the bustling mass of people, pressing forward through it barely escaping.
The spiky haired man halts momentarily, studying the crowd to determine which direction Regal slipped away to. Regal’s height is shorter than average so it is impossible to see his head moving through the crowd.
“What are you doing, Hart Boyer? You’ve been picking fights again?” An inquisitive voice comes from behind the spiky haired man.
Hart turn around and pales slightly when he sees a man seven feet tall and wearing a shiny brass cuirass with the symbol of the city guard on the breast.
“F-forgive me, guard. It was only a min’r scuffle with a Soulless.”
“It doesn’t look like anyone was seriously hurt. But you still hit a child, regardless as to whether he is a Soulless or Immortalis. You’re coming with me. Three days in lock-up.”
The guard quickly puts a pair of adamantite handcuffs on Hart and grabs one of his arms, dragging him off toward the guards outpost he belongs to.
One of the passersby, a woman, upon noticing Regal’s predicament and pretending to turn a blind eye to the incident, had sent out an SOS to the guards in order to protect the boy. If Regal knew about this he would have immediately come back and bowed down to the woman, willing to discard all self dignity, and offer his utmost gratitude to her.
Thanks to the unknown assistance, Regal safely managed to escape Hart Boyer and arrive at school just in time for class to begin. His health points are currently still at ninety points, not recovering. His mana slowly recovers at a speed of one point every two minutes. The only way to restore the lost health is to either eat some food, which will provide a gradual temporary regeneration, or to consume a potion, which will provide an immediate recovery.
Regal doesn’t go through the school administration today, as it is only required when being assigned a classroom. The teacher arrives to the classroom moments after Regal sits at his desk and takes attendance. After ensuring everyone is currently in class, he takes out the day’s schedule.
“Everyone put away your belongings,” Julius River’s voice reflects his unmotivated mood. “Today, we will be doing a group class on Martial Skills in the gymnasium with Class 3.”
The sound of excited whispering fills the room as the students get up from their seats to follow their teacher out of the room. Regal and the three other Soulless are mixed in the middle of the crowd, silently walking and listening to the surrounding conversations.
“I heard Piora Flameheart is this year’s most promising talent. She has eleven skills and all of them are above level 10.”
“Hazel Marquis is also a surprising talent. She only has seven skills, but apparently one of her alchemy skills is over level 20!”
“That’s incredible! They are truly the queens of this school. I feel so lucky to be in their class.”
If these students knew that Regal had already mastered ‘Future Sight’, their opinion of who in the school is currently the greatest prodigy may in fact have been somewhat different. Even if they refused to admit to his talent due to his status as a Soulless, they would not be able to view Piora Flameheart and Hazel Marquis as highly as they currently do.
Ignoring the students chattering amongst themselves, Mr. River leads the students out of the main school building and into another just as large. The only difference with this building is that it is completely hollow.
Externally, the gymnasium appears to be built the same as the school building. However, once inside, a layer of adamantine inlaid with a linear formation of ‘Reading Crystals’ covers the floor, walls and ceiling. The adamantine is to allow the students to use their skills and fire weapons freely without damaging the gym, while the ‘Reading Crystals’ measure the power and skill of attacks and relay the data back to the teachers.
Once inside the gymnasium, Mr. River turns around and clears his throat to quiet the class.
“While Class 3 are still on their way, I will begin explaining today’s lesson. In our world, skills are essential regardless of your profession. They are classified into four categories: Martial, Alchemy, Crafting, and Miscellaneous. Regardless of the category however, they all level up the same. The basic idea is that skills level up the more you use them, but this isn’t entirely correct. You must have a profound understanding of the skills you use; otherwise you will get stuck at a bottleneck and be unable to progress further.”
“All skills have a hundred levels, broken down into ten tiers of ten levels, before it reaches the perfect state and is considered to have been mastered. When entering the next tier in the skill, a bottleneck must be broken through with your understanding of the skill itself. Many of you will have at least one skill level 10 or above, so you should already understand what these bottlenecks are like.”
“Excuse me, Mr. River,” One of the students, Kopis Numen, raises a hand while calling out to the teacher, “My skill, ‘Thousand Lightning Alchemy’, is currently at level 13. I’ve noticed that now that I am in the second tier of the skill, it takes longer to level up. Is there a way to speed it up?”
Mr. River lightly sighs before looking at the student and explaining, “Don’t be in a rush. All skills take a long time to master. Some of the simpler skills may only take several years if you’re talented, while the more powerful ones can take twenty years or longer. With each tier it will take more effort and a deeper understanding of that skill to raise it further until you have mastered the skill. The speed that it levels up is directly related to how well you understand the skill. Hard work can compensate for this in most cases, but how far you can level a skill is entirely up to you. There is no magical way to speed up the process.”
“Back on topic, you can select one Divine Art at the beginning of each tier. You all have at least an inherent skill you were born with, so you should understand this. Each skill has different branches of Divine Arts. Most Martial and Alchemy skill have three or four branches, while Crafting and Miscellaneous skill usually have only one or two. Each branch has eleven Divine Arts, from tier 1 to tier 10, and a single over-tier Divine Art upon mastering the skill. When mastering a skill, you have the decision on whether to follow a single branch all the way to mastering the strongest attack, or select a few skills from several branches which can allow you to select more passive Divine Arts.”
“Both options are fine. Every level in the skill will increase the power by one percent regardless of what you choose. This is the greatest benefit of leveling up your skills.”
Regal’s ‘Future Sight’ skill is one of the rare exceptions to this rule. There are only two branches within the skill, and each only has a single Divine Art. Upon starting to train in the skill he had to select one of the branches while the other would disappear. Regal chose ‘Foresight’ rather than ‘Clairvoyance’ due to its practicality. Entering a new tier every ten levels, rather than being able to choose another Divine Art, he gained the ability to adjust how far he would see into the future by up to 10 percent.
“Mr. River!” The teacher tries to ignore the voice as another student calls out with a question. “I couldn’t see beyond the next Divine Art available in the skill when I entered the next tier and could choose one. If I don’t know what lays ahead, how am I supposed to know whether I should follow a single branch all the way?”
Julius River continues his discussion as if the question was never asked, but when two more students raise the question, he is forced to answer.
“The Library of Theore has documentation of all the known skills and skill branches. Go study it there and hopefully you will come to an answer on your own. Don’t ask me anymore on what you should do, that’s for you to decide.”
“Anyway,” Mr. River says, completely ignoring any further questions from the students. “Today you will be learning and training in two martial skills. Students, when I read your name, come out front and pick up your training weapons, one of each, and 4 cases of ammunition. Anyone who doesn’t have the required skills to use them will also collect the necessary skill books.”
From his inventory, the teacher brings out a wide table and places it on the hard adamantine floor in front of the students. He then places a total of 30 handguns, 30 combat knives, 60 skill books, and 120 bullet cases down on top of the table.
The hand guns are extremely simple. They are six bullet revolvers with a short barrel, made from polished brass with a box like rubber grip. A few of the students initially mistake the gun for a toy, snickering that they wouldn’t even be able to scare off a flock of birds.
The combat knives look more sinister. Polished steel blades a foot long reflect the light murderously, raising the hairs on the backs of half the class’s necks.
Before the first student can stand up and approach the table, Class 3 enters through the gymnasium door behind a beautiful thirty year old female teacher with long blonde hair and a body that men would wage wars over. The faces of many of the boys from Class 4 turn red while the females frown at them with displeasure.
Class 3 is late in appearing at the gym because their teacher explained everything Mr. River had before leaving their classroom, answering all of her student’s questions happily before leading them to the gymnasium. She also brings out a table, grander than Julius River’s, covered with matching equipment and skill books.
The two teachers begin calling out the names of the students one by one. Everyone takes one of the guns and combat knives, but only half of the students take the skill books. These skill books are precisely the basic martial skills needed to wield the two weapons: ‘Combat Knife Proficiency’ and ‘Revolver Proficiency’.
When Regal’s name is called, he deftly moves up to the table in front of the group and collects one of everything, except for the bullet cases, which he takes four of before returning to his position in the class with his friends and sitting down cross-legged.
“So, Regal, how many skills do you already have?” One of the other Soulless, Astore Jone, asks curiously.
“I have one,” Regal responds immediately, the answer stunning the small group of Soulless.
“Well big brother will look after you, I have four!” Astore exclaims proudly, ignoring the several contemptuous gazes that are directed at him.
“I’m also your big brother, but I only have three skills,” The second Soulless male, Kilde Fen, smiles and pats Regal on the back.
Veronica Hayfare, the only female in the group looks at the other two and back at Regal, “Big sister will look after you all! I have six skills!”
“Look at the Soulless, acting like the rest of us,” a whisper too quiet for the teacher to hear or anyone to pinpoint floats over the group of four.
That whisper is full of disgust, the speaker not trying to hide their intent at all. Despite Regal and the others ignoring the comment, it is clear that their conversation has become more docile.
Regal and all the other students who took the skill books place a hand on the front cover. A semi-transparent window appears in front of them all, asking if they wish to learn the skill.
Minimum requirements to learn the skill ‘Revolver Proficiency’: ~ Level 1 ~ Str 10 ~ Dex 10 Would you like to learn ‘Revolver Proficiency'? Yes / No
Regal selects ‘Yes’ and the skill book in his hands glows brightly before fading away in particles of light. The previously empty martial skills section of his personal status now has ‘Revolver Proficiency’ under it.
Regal opens the skill and inspects the tier 1 Divine Arts to choose from. The skill has three branches extending from the center: North, East and West. The tier 1 Divine Art for the north branch is a 10 percent passive Divine Art, faster reloading. East is also a passive Divine Art, 5 percent increase to bullet penetration. The final branch, west, is an active Divine Art called ‘Curve’ that will shoot a bullet that will curve in the air. The only problem is that it is difficult to aim.
Regardless of its difficulty, Regal chooses the Divine Art from the beginning of the west branch. He can’t see what the next Divine Art is available after ‘Curve’; that will have to wait until he breaks into the second tier or he visits the library to study the skill further.
Repeating the process with the ‘Combat Knife Proficiency’ skill book, Regal acquires his second martial skill. This skill only has two branches, specializing in either attack or defence. Regal chooses the attack branch, learning a Divine Art that will increase the speed of his thrusts by 5 percent.
Finished learning the two new skills and choosing the first Divine Art from both, he then equips the weapons, making sure to inspect their item data carefully as he does so.
M3 Simple Revolver An ordinary revolver crafted from poor quality materials with average craftsmanship. Requirements: ~ Lvl 1 ~ Dex 10 ~ Str 5 Weapon Type: Revolver/Single Handed Item Grade: Training Damage: 3 – 5 Range: 40 Yards Ammunition: .38 Rounds Durability: 30/30 Abilities: None
Blunt Training Knife A combat knife made from flawed steel that may crack if too much force is applied. The balance is off and is more difficult to swing straight. Requirements: ~ Lvl 1 ~ Dex 5 ~ Str 5 Weapon Type: Combat knife/Single Handed Item Grade: Training Damage: 2 – 4 Durability: 25/25 Abilities: ~ Has a 15% chance to cause a ‘bleeding’ status
While Regal is inspecting his new skills once again, Julius River and the female teacher finish handing out all the weapons, ammunition and skill books to the students. The teachers give the students another ten minutes to finish before packing away the tables and having the students stand and form a line in the centre of the edge of the gymnasium.
As Regal is pondering what will be happening next Mr. River’s hand moves across a translucent window in front of him, and on the other side of the gymnasium a total of sixty straw targets the shape of an adult man emerge from the ground. Each one has a target circle painted on the torso, head, and each of the four limbs.
“Students, first up we will be doing some simple target practice,” Mr River explains drowsily. “There is one target per person, and you will be scored based on your accuracy. Each target circle is worth ten points, anywhere else is worth one point. Missing the target will result in being awarded no points. The person with the highest score in this test will receive an ‘M5 Ordinary Revolver’, giving you the edge over the other students when we do the interclass duels after lunch.”
“Everyone, be aware that every subsequent hit to the same target will give one less point than last time. That means the second time you hit a target, it will only be worth nine points, the third time eight points, and so on. There is no need to wait for my further words, fire when ready. Continue firing at the targets until you have used up two of your bullet cases.”
After revealing that the classes will be duelling each other, the teachers start to boast about their students and even make a few bets on who the victor will be. Many of the students are shocked that their teachers are making bets on them and then look warily at each other, afraid of whom they might be paired up against for the duels.
Upon giving the go ahead, several students are already prepared and begin firing. The room instantly becomes full with the sound of gunpowder igniting and bullets tearing through the air between the barrel and the targets. Fortunately the gym walls are engraved with a stealth alchemy that absorbs sound and prevents the gunfire from echoing.
Regal studies the revolver in his hand, repeating the process the person lined up next to him does to load six bullets in the gun and fire them at the target. Regal’s first shot completely misses the target, creating a spark on the wall where the bullet hits and disintegrates.
He was positive that when looking down the short iron sights, the gun was aiming at the center of the target. Yet the bullet missed entirely. Accuracy is defined by two factors, the shooter’s dexterity and their coordination. This practice it to increase the student’s coordination.
Regal lowers the gun briefly before raising it back up to eye level and looking down the sight. With the target silhouette dead center on the sights, he fires a second bullet. Several strands of straw fly out from the back of the right shoulder of the target, indicating where it was hit. A small number 1 is displayed above the target to show the amount of points he has acquired.
Glancing down the line of targets, the numbers above them are all greater than Regals. The greatest score is 32 points, belonging to one of the class’s recognized protégés, Piora Flameheart.
Determined to accumulate more points, Regal consistently shoots at the target with a regular rhythm. When the gun it out of bullets, he immediately loads another six rounds and continues firing. One bullet case attached to his hip contains a total of sixty .38 standard bullets.
After all 120 bullets have been fired at the target; Regal’s score is at a total of 57. This isn’t the lowest score, but it is still far below the class average of 93. Piora Flameheart, as many students predicted, acquired the largest score in both classes with a total of 332 and become the crush of many male students. The second noteworthy student, Hazel Marquis, only achieved a score of 229, but that is understandable as her strength lies in alchemy alone.
Among the four Soulless kids, Regal also scored the lowest, truly becoming the younger brother to the other three.
Mr. River announces the results of the target practice and presents the ‘M5 Ordinary Revolver’ to Piora with a pleased congratulation. Piora scored the highest in both classes, which resulted in the currently despondent beauty teaching class 3 to become several silver poorer.
The lunch bell rings and the teachers dismiss the students from the gymnasium. As they leave the classroom, the female teacher, Miss Yatta, makes a move on Mr River with her wily feminine charms in hopes that he will give the money back. Julius River, however, is an expert at ignoring people and merely turns away.
An hour later, all the students return to the gymnasium with nervous expressions. They will be duelling each other next, which involves shooting at each other. The dilemma of the students is that being shot hurts… a lot.
“Welcome back,” Miss Yatta approaches the students cheerfully while Mr. River rests off to the side with a red palm print on his left cheek and a bleeding bullet wound in right leg.
“I will be looking after you all for the duels while Mr. River over there recovers from accidentally hurting himself. Everyone, please separate into your classes. I will match everyone up by position in your class roster. We will only be using what we have learned today, so no using alchemy. Support skills are fine though.”
The students of class 4 look at Mr. River with sympathy while class 3 has the same seemingly cheerful smile as Miss Yatta. She has only been their teacher for a day and a half and already has converted all her students into her followers.
The first duel is between Piora and a male student named Serph Logan. A circular light barrier extends from the floor to the ceiling around the two students. The barrier is ninety feet in diameter and will stop any attacks from leaving the ring. Of course, it will not stop either of the contestants from exiting or being knocked out.
“You will fight until either one of you gives up. The match will also end if one of you only has ten percent health remaining; as this is only a duel it will be impossible to do any more damage. Serph, you can have the honour of requesting the duel.” Miss Yatta gives a loud cheer for the student from her class.
Serph follows his teacher’s instructions without hesitating, bringing up a list of world commands in front of him with the swipe of a hand and selecting duel. In Serph’s view, a red light emanates around Piora as the world anticipates her to be his opponent. Accepting the duel by extending her index finger back at him, the red light vanishes and a ten second countdown appears between the two of them visible to everyone.
Piora immediately strafes to the left the moment the countdown finishes, narrowly avoiding Serph’s shots from his gun. Her flaming red hair flicks from side to side as she draws her gun and returns fire while still moving. Piora’s precision falls sharply as she fires while moving, but it is still more accurate than Serph’s who is having difficulty hitting her.
Blood splatters out on the ground as Serph’s hip is shot through first. Piora’s ‘M5 Ordinary Revolver’ is much stronger than the training weapons. There is only a slight increase in bullet range, but it does 50 percent more damage. Coupled with her current skills, a single bullet of hers will do ten points of damage while her opponent only does around 5 on average.
The advantage is clear from the beginning. Serph grits his teeth through the pain and moves around faster to avoid being shot again, but he has to come to a stop whenever he wants to fire in order to have even a chance of hitting Piora. Upon receiving a couple more bullets through his body, Serph visibly staggers from the pain coursing through him.
Incapable of hitting her with his gun, Serph pulls out his combat knife and charges toward Piora with his combat knife raised as Piora’s revolver runs out of ammunition. Calmly, Piora pulls out six more bullets from one of the remaining two bullet cases on her hip and reloads her gun. By now, Serph is only eighteen feet away from her. At the cost of being shot once or twice, he should be able to reach her with the knife.
Piora’s gun suddenly glows white and Serph’s eyes go wide in shock. This is the tier 2 Divine Art from the ‘Revolver Proficiency’ north branch, ‘Rapid Fire’. At the cost of 10 stamina per bullet, the gun can be fired 50 percent faster than normal.
Serph doesn’t get a chance to retreat as he is still charging forward. Four successive bullets are fired at high speed and he only feels a great pain in his chest before falling to the ground with no strength in his body. Serph originally didn’t think he would win but also thought he could put up a decent duel. Yet he didn’t even manage to hit Piora once, and was instead utterly annihilated.
Mr River and Miss Yatta look at a translucent window in front of them which shows the results that the ‘Reading Crystals’ took from the student’s skills. Both of their faces are filled with joyous expressions that are brimming with praise for the girl. Recalling Piora’s declaration of wanting to become a great flame alchemist, Mr. River seriously considers if he should take her on as an apprentice.
The next several battles are relatively disappointing in comparison. Some people ended up breaking down in tears and crying from the pain, begging to give up. The teachers force these people to continue, saying that they must become more resilient to the pain if they want to survive in this world.
An hour of duels gone by, and Regal is finally called up into the ring of light for his duel. His opponent is a burly boy from Class 3 named Holt Grater.
“I hear ya are Soulless,” Holt says to Regal in the arena nonchalantly. “Well, no’ that it matters to me. But yer gonna lose because of it.”
Holt isn’t opinionated about the soulless. He simply treats them as anyone would a stranger. Even without feeling any enmity with Regal, deep within his brawny looking body is, in fact, a cunning mind that works constantly to achieve victory.
“Begin!” Miss Yatta calls out, a little less enthusiastic and more bored than earlier.
Holt doesn’t attack immediately, but instead steps forward diagonally before hastily jumping to the side. Regal’s gun smokes from the barrel as the bullet fired hits the ground behind where Holt was previously standing.
Holt goes to take another step forward but instead moves in a different direction than he appeared to be. This is a feint, misleading the enemy to predict your actions but instead doing something different. This is also the Soulless’s greatest weakness.
“Ya won’t be able to hit me. Ya Soulless are all tha same, incapable of producing or understandin’ misleading tactics like feints. This is why ya will lose.”
Regal is in fact completely incapable of comprehending or pulling off tactics to mislead the opponent. This is because as a Soulless, his mind is far too decisive. He never considers or reflects on an action, he simply does it.
Holt repeats his feints, avoiding all the bullets and slowly closing in on Regal. He also draws his gun, the first bullet grazing Regal’s shoulder as he strafes to avoid it. A second bullet unpredictably follows immediately after, hitting Regal in the center of the chest. Pain courses through his chest which feels like it is burning up but he suppresses it with willpower alone.
With no other option available to him, Regal activates the Divine Art ‘Foresight’. ‘Foresight will use 10 mana per second, every second he looks into the future. Restraining the skill down to 2 seconds in the future he can use the skill 5 times before running out of mana. Using the Divine Art ‘Foresight’ allows him to see the next bullet coming and even Holt’s next feint.
Having seen through his actions with ‘Foresight’, Holt’s feint suddenly becomes useless. Regal casually turns to the side and narrowly avoids the bullet he already saw coming and returns a shot. The bullet travels the fifteen feet in between the two and is a fortunate critical hit to the center of Holt’s head, expending blood and other matter from the back of his skull. Holt grabs his forehead and crouches down with tears in the corner of his eyes as his mind encounters a pain he has never before experienced. The visible injury vanishes quickly, but the pain remains.
Being a critical hit, the shot deals three times the standard damage. Many of the students quiet down and stare wide-eyed at the sudden change. The teachers who are viewing the skill readings from the reading crystals, stare at the information in utter shock with their mouths agape.
As Regal had suppressed the ‘Future Sight’ skill to see only two seconds into the future, the ‘Reading Crystals’ throughout the gymnasium record the skill used to be level 20 and transmit this to the translucent screens in front of the teachers. Regardless, in the eyes of both teachers, a student who is only fourteen and has reached, or is very near, the third tier in the ‘Future Sight’ skill, which is renowned as being an impossibly difficult skill to level, is an incredible accomplishment.
If they knew that this skill was in fact at the maximum, level 100, they would both fight tooth and nail with each other to take him out of school and teach him privately, regardless as to whether he was Soulless or not.
Regal’s duel with Holt continues to favour Regal. Regal uses ‘Foresight’ four more times, doing three critical hits and avoiding all of Holt’s advances and attacks. But this ends once he is out of mana and unable to use ‘Foresight’ any longer. As if by a stroke of good fortune, Holt doesn’t notice the change and is still completely discouraged.
“I-I give up!” Holt shouts out, immediately darting for the edge of the ring.
Regal doesn’t shoot him before he leaves the ring, but peacefully turns to leave himself. He is also somewhat relieved by his opponent’s forfeiture. Any longer and he would have been at a disadvantage and would probably lose.
The students look at Regal with different eyes once he leaves the circular ring of light. He is no longer just a Soulless to them, but someone who has proven himself to be strong and they will think twice about picking on.