Editors: Templar, Jack Vanatis,
Author’s notes: There is more CotE coming.
– Chapter length from her onwards will vary between 2,000 and 4,000 words. (so far they have all been about 4,000 words)
– Size/distance measurements have been changed from yards to feet. Except gun and alchemy range. Some internet searches showed me that bullet range is usually measured in yards. I consider alchemy skill to be the same range measurement and bullet range.
– Size of Grand City Theore changed. Was 30 miles wide, and 47 floors tall at 100 yards each. Big proportionate change to 20 miles wide, and 47 floors tall at 3,000 feet each. These proportions fits in my imagination better for the city/tower that seems to pierce the heavens.
– A party of players is no longer called a “party”. This has been changed to “squad”, which suits my gun, steam and alchemy theme better.
There is no chapter plan for this chapter on my Patreon at the moment. There will be a single release on what changed between planned and written for all chapters posted today later. Editing, sleeping, and writing to do first.
Chapter 5 – Theft
Without school to attend or any other duties, Regal spends the entire weekend practicing his alchemy and martial skills at the Training Hall. The communal training center is much busier during the weekend as other students from Regal’s, and other nearby schools also stop by to practice from time to time. Many of them seeRegal, but no one knows who he is and none take the initiative to approach him.
In his solitude, Regal diligently creates ‘Ice Bullets’, casts ‘Stone Skin’ thenstarts to practice his marksmanship and knife skills. He even begins to get used to using ‘Curve’, managing to hit the target two times out of ten while standing sixty feet away.
His comprehension of his skills takes its first step forward during this time. It appears in the corner of his mind, in the form of a small spark that could vanish at any moment. Despite finally starting to comprehend the two skills, his speed of understanding is only half that of the other students who lack talent in these alchemical skills.
When Monday arrives, school begins again for another week. The order of lessons is similar to the previous week, and while revisiting some of the knowledge previously taught, new information is constantly added in.
Regal studiously takes down notes, ignoring the yawns of a couple of students bored with theory.
Lunch is as lively as ever, as most students are recklessly casting their skills in the yard and some of the braver ones even duelling one another. Regal’s lunch is different compared to last week’s: two slices of barley bread and a small amount of curry leftover from last night.
Regal places his lunch down on the ground and takes a few steps back. His fire based divine art is too hot to directly cook food, but by casting a short distance away from the lunch box it heats up the food to an appropriate temperature. Veronica, Kilde and Astore stare at this process intently and despite it not being direct cooking, decide if they are all in a squad together; Regal will be responsible for food.
After school, students are picked up by their parents and head home in different directions. Regal makes his own way home, deciding what to make for dinner tonight while walking.
Finally arriving at his house, he abruptly stops before the front door when he sees it slightly ajar. Anguish washes through his body and he feels a sense of loss while pushing open the door to view inside. He hasn’t felt this way since his parents left him to seek eternal peace at the Temple of Death.
Every piece of furniture has been flipped over and is in complete disarray. Loose objects are strewn across the floor as if they had been thrown around. All the precious books that were once on the bookshelf are missing.
Feeling a bad premonition, Regal hurries to his room where his money is hidden beneath his bed’s mattress.
The bed has been lifted to its side and is currently resting against the wall. Of course, all his money is gone. If he had kept the money on him, even if he was mugged and killed, the most he would lose is half of it.
As a Soulless, Regal’s emotions follow a very logical routine and it is difficult to sway them. His expression remains neutral, but despite this, torment causes his heart to palpitate with a stabbing pain.
Regal stands like a statue, staring at where the money used to be hiding. The chatter between several people walking down Regal’s street echoes through the silent household.
Organizing his emotions, Regal leaves his house and rushes toward the nearest guard post. He had learned today at school that crimes leave behind evidence, which certain people with the appropriate search skills can analyse. The city guards all have these skills and should be able to trace the break in back to the culprit, hopefully returning his books and much needed money as well.
Living in the southern side of Theore’s first floor, the nearest guard post to Regal’s home is the Southern Guard Post, which is in charge of a quarter of the first floor. The building has a fortified wall of steel and black iron surrounding it to defend against any revolts or the monster invasion that occurs once every century.
Two guards wearing brass cuirasses over short sleeved, black military uniforms stand guard outside the entrance to the guard post. They casually carry iron rifles made from bluestone but don’t raise them as Regal’s small stature doesn’t cause them to feel any concern.
Regal explains his situation to the guards out front, one of which takes him inside the post and to someone that can help him.
“So, you’re saying that you got home from school and your house was robbed?” a man one rank above a guard, a captain, asks Regal in a straightforward tone. He is an exceedingly handsome man with an outstanding stature, has clear blue eyes, blond hair, and holds an important position with the city guard. This person likely has many women swooning over him in the hopes of catching his affection.
“Yes, sir. The front door was slightly open when I got home and everything has been thrown around. My father’s books and all my money appear to have been stolen.”
“And what about your father? Your mother? Why have you come here instead of them?”
“They both went to seek the eternal rest seven years ago.”
“What? Seven years? You would have only been… no, wait, are you a Soulless?”
“I am, sir.”
The guard captain lets out a sigh, then shakes his head gently while seeming to speak to himself, “That makes sense then.”
“What makes sense, sir?”
“You don’t know? I’m surprised they never told you. It’s not just the Soulless that… actually, they must have had their reasons so I won’t mention it. Back on topic, your house was broken into and a thief stole some valuable belongings. What is your address? We will head there immediately to inspect for traces.”
“Thank you, sir. My address is 34 Cloudfire Lane, Floor 1.”
“Very well, let’s go then.”
The guard captain inputs the address into a translucent map and stands up once he confirms the location of Regal’s home.
Regal is surprised that the guard captain himself is coming. He had expected the captain simply to assign a guard to attend to the matter after hearing him out. The guards who are posted at the front gate are evidently also surprised to see their captain leave the post and attend to the matter.
“Don’t mention this to the superiors, else you will regret it,” the handsome captain warns the guards with a cold smile as he passes by them.
The guards’ faces start sweating as they salute their captain with wavering smiles.
Regal and the guard captain walk down the street side by side and attract the attention of many Immortalis nearby. The men look at the two of the curiously, wondering if they are related. The women stare at the guard captain alone, wondering if he is currently looking for a wife.
The guard captain’s military uniform is the same as the guards, with the exception of a single gold stripe sewn onto the sleeve of his shirt. The brass cuirass is slightly different as well. It has what seems like a skirt extending from the bottom made out of thin vertical plates of reinforced brass overlapping one another.
The trip to Regal’s house takes half an hour to walk as they aren’t too far from the guard post. The captain tells Regal to wait outside and enters the house first, inspecting the aftermath of the break in. He determines that it is indeed a break in exactly as Regal described and begins his investigation.
There are several methods for tracking an intruder. The first, which the captain does, is use a miscellaneous skill that inspects footprints and is capable of detecting a single one out of hundreds.
Unfortunately for Regal, the intruder had some stealth skills which wiped away all traces of footprints. The captain suspects it was done with a Divine Art of the martial skill ‘Ten Shadow Steps Technique’, but there are other skills that he has no knowledge of and could be used for a similar effect.
The second method is to examine for any hand prints left by the intruder, but the only recent hand prints around the house are that of a child’s. Searching for a lingering scent, any waste left by the culprit, all methods fail to identify a person here other than Regal.
Knowing Regal is a Soulless and with nothing to gain from reporting the break in other than the return of his goods, the guard captain knows Regal isn’t lying and attempts one final method to search for the intruder.
The final method is the Tier 4 Divine Art ‘Residual Aura’, of his inherent skill ‘Ethereal Eye’. This divine art is the only method that bears fruit, revealing the aura of a level 1 Regal and also an unknown level 64 man.
There is no method to track the aura and find the real body, but he can store the aura information and immediately recognize him if he comes across him later. With his work concluded, he leaves the house to let the boy know about the situation.
“Regal, I have good news and bad news,” the captain says solemnly.
“Please give them to me.”
“Okay, the good news is that I have detected the aura of the culprit.”
“And the bad news?”
“I cannot track the culprit based on his aura. He had some stealth skills so all other traces have been completely erased. He is quite skilled so I don’t understand why he would rob your house.”
“I understand. Could he have been paid to do it?”
“Interesting, you’re quite a bright individual. That is indeed a likely situation. Unfortunately there isn’t any more information to go on, so it is only speculation.”
“Thank you for your help, sir.”
Regal becomes depressed and downcast as the only chance to get his money back has vanished, unless the guard captain can find one person in about five hundred thousand.
The guard captain looks down at Regal with a troubled expression that would make any women who witnessed it to become completely love struck.
“Please, call me by my name, Justice. Ironic, isn’t it? Being a member of the city guard and being called Justice? Have a laugh and smile.”
Regal doesn’t smile, but looks at the guard captain and says bluntly, “I don’t understand what you mean by ironic. I do think your name suits you though.”
Justice, often jokingly called Captain Justice by his peers, doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry at Regal’s reply.
“Right, a Soulless… humour isn’t exactly your strong point. Anyway, you currently have no money. I’m sorry I couldn’t find the thief, especially considering all your money was stolen. Take these two silver here. It isn’t much, but it should help you get by for now. The only way to become stronger is to rise above every trial this world throws at you. Even if you fail, keep persevering and you will succeed.”
“I understand. Thank you, Captain Justice.”
“Please, just call me Justice.”
“That would be disrespectful, Captain Justice.”
“I couldn’t pos-”
“I’m begging you, please just call me Justice.”
“I couldn’t possibly cal-”
“Fine! All right, fine. Could you just refer to me as Sir like you were earlier?”
Justice is caught off guard and in a position where he doesn’t know how to respond. The guard captain ends up leaving Regal at his house and walks down the street, back toward the guard post.