Editors: Templar, Jack Vanatis,
Author’s notes: The first chapter of CotE to be released. The next three will be released periodically within the next 1 – 3 hours. I’m still waiting on dinner to be delivered, but there is just the final edits to be done.
Changes made to past chapters:
~ Lv. 1 Medicinal Herb is now just become just Medicinal Herb. There is no level attached to it and is just Quality: Bad
Chapter 11 – Results
The following day, Regal arrives to school as usual. He sees Frederick sneering at him while walking through the front gates, but decides to ignore him. However, dark emotions swirl within his thoughts as Regal mentally labels Frederick as an enemy, and plans to have his revenge when he is stronger.
The next familiar face he runs into is Veronica, who intercepts him while in the hallway outside of class.
“Regal, I’m sorry,” she bows her head slightly.
“Sorry? For what?”
“You died. It is my fault-”
“N-no, it’s not your fault at all,” Regal cuts her off in a hurry.
“A squad captain is responsible for all the other members, this is a fact. You are my little brother, yet I failed in my duty for you.” For an instant Regal thinks he sees a hint of regret and sadness in her eyes.
Regal steps forward and hugs Veronica, wrapping his arm around her tightly and confidently says, “There are no problems!”
Veronica doesn’t move, allowing Regal to hug her. The scent of her freshly washed hair enters his nose, causing his mind to waver with intoxication while admiring to himself, ‘She smells so nice.’
“I smell nice?” Veronica asks confused, stepping back and out of Regal’s embrace.
Regal, realizing he subconsciously said the words aloud, is even more embarrassed than before and his entire face turns red. A few other students in the hall notice the scene, but don’t pay it any mind, as the two are well-known as Soulless.
“Ah, umm, never mind! Class will be starting shortly, so let’s hurry up”
“If you say so. Let’s hurry then.”
The two quickly enter the classroom and find their seats just before the bell on top of the school rings. Most of the students are moving around the class, talking with their friends since the teacher has not arrived yet. As usual, the teacher, Mr. River, casually enters the classroom ten minutes late with the attitude that he is right on time. He stands in front of the class, and doesn’t forget his usual sigh before speaking.
“Alright, now your first experience of a dungeon, and inadvertently the outside world, has concluded. I don’t particularly want to go into too much detail of that this morning, so we will keep it simple. First, there should be at least five or six of you that experienced the pain of death. You have all experienced the most painful thing in this world, and next time you will be more careful to avoid it.”
There are actually eleven people from Class 4 who died within the dungeon, but Mr. River’s estimation is based off the number of students who still have a lifeless look in their eyes, their minds still scarred from the pain as their mental fortitude was lacking. They will recover eventually, but it could take anywhere between weeks and years to do so.
“Just so you know, we can’t reserve the dungeon whenever suits us, but you will be entering it once every month or two for training. You only have three and a half years to get to level 10 at least, so you better get used to dungeon running.”
“All the Squad Captains in this class, come to the front of the class with your squad’s rat ears. You also need to give me a list of all members who were in your squad so the points can be distributed equally among you.”
Six students rise from their desks, including Veronica and Frederick, before moving to the front of the class to hand the rat ears to Mr. River and report their squad.
After the six are finished, Mr. River places the rat ears into a bag for each squad and labels them before taking them into his personal inventory.
“Good, now we can get started with class. I hope you can all finish quickly so you can have self-study time.”
One particular student at the front of the class, Tristran, raises his hand to ask a question, but the teacher cuts him off with, “No questions. Bother the others teachers during lunch if it must be answered.”
“Now today’s lesson is focused on two aspects. After lunch, you will study various mutant beasts, monsters, and other enemies you will find not just in the Theore Substructure, but outside these city walls. Right now we are going to be studying maps.”
“I will hand out the ‘Cartography’ crafting skill for anyone who doesn’t have it, which should be most of you.”
“Everyone has a personal map that you can use to navigate anywhere, on any floor, within the Grand Cities. You are used to this because you have always had it. I hate to tell you the bad news, but this only works inside the Grand Cities. Your personal map is completely useless outside these walls, or inside any of our dungeons.”
“Outside these walls, maps made with the ‘Cartography’ skill are required. You can purchase or make your own as you venture.”
“The Theore Substructure changes its layout everyday at midnight, making maps useless the next day. Making the same map more than once will also result in less skill growth, so Theore Substructure is a valuable resource for practicing map making. Take advantage of this – or don’t, I don’t really care either way.”
“Everyone, come up to my desk in the usual order. Those who don’t have the ‘Cartography’ skill will take one skill book, while you all will pick up a bottle of ink, a feather quill, and ten sheets of map parchment. Tomorrow, we will have an excursion outside the city to practice ‘Cartography’,” Mr. River finishes his speech with a deep frown, considering the guiding of the students outside the city to be too much of a hassle.
While patiently waiting his turn to get the skill book, Regal secretly worries that he will leave them outside the city, but he keeps those thoughts to himself.
Half an hour passes before everyone finishes collecting the new skill book, ink, quill, and map parchments. Studying the items first before placing them in his inventory, Regal is inherently curious about them.
The ink is a dark blue, almost black color, while the quill they are to use is a low quality feather from a standard Death Crow. The map parchments are thick, square parchments two feet wide and made with a slightly yellow leather texture. They are difficult to fold, but rolling them up isn’t too much of a problem.
Placing his hand on the skill book last, a familiar translucent screen appears before him.
Minimum requirements to learn the skill ‘Cartography’: ~ Level 1 ~ Dex 9 ~ Int 9 Would you like to learn ‘Cartography'? Yes / No
After selecting ‘Yes’, the skill book disappears and the new skill appears within Regal’s crafting skills. There is no need to select a Tier 1 Divine Art, as there is only one skill path. The Divine Art ‘Mind Projection’ is automatically selected. This Divine Art is classified as a passive type, even if it is closer to an active type. ‘Mind Projection’ helps the user in recreating the images they create within their minds when drawing maps. While focusing on the parchment, a faint ghostly image resembling the image in the mind is projected onto it. The image isn’t defined enough to allow tracing, but it is still better than without.
Mr. River spends the rest of the morning discussing the standard symbols and visual representations of different landscapes, objects, and locations. There are also several different types of maps, such as physical maps that hunters use when navigating the outside world, locale maps that focus on a specific area, dungeon or outside community, and topographical ones that the military favor.
The students practice the basics of each type of map within their notebooks to get used to it. Most of their drawings are covered in abstract lines, hardly resembling the maps that they are supposed to be.
His drawings are still incomparable to a map sold by hunters, but each symbol, landscape, and path is distinct.
Surprisingly, Regal finds he has a strong aptitude for drawing maps. In fact, his maps are better than even the most outstanding students. Perhaps it is due to the quality of his maps, but his ‘Cartography’ skill reaches level 2 by the time the bell rings for lunch.
The excitement of creating maps is still fresh within the students, so they use their notebooks to create a locale map of the school. Regal also takes part in this practice, with Veronica, Kilde and Astore following his example. It is the first time the four Soulless have interacted with the other students of their own accord.
Regal completes a third of the map of the school during lunch, and while the quality still needs a lot of improvement, it is usable.
After returning to the classroom, Mr. River is already waiting with the results of everyone’s dungeon hunt. Regal is extremely nervous, hoping he isn’t at the bottom of the class as he died half way through.
“I will now give you your results. Starting from the bottom, ranked thirty and last in the class with four points: Gertrude Tanner.”
As Mr. River announces the results, he also writes them down on the chalkboard at the front of the class for everyone to look over. Regal breathes out a sigh of relief at learning he is not last. His pride has grown over the past day, and he realizes that he wants to rise to the top of the class.
Rank 29, 4 points – Quaz Rimuris Rank 28, 4 points – Fia Cubmore Rank 27, 6 points – Derik Parst … Rank 19, 12 points – Regal Havier Rank 18, 12 points – Astore Jone Rank 17, 12 points – Kilde Fen Rank 16, 12 points – Veronica Heyfare … Rank 4, 31 points – Sare Yuler Rank 3, 31 points – Min Triss Rank 2, 31 points – Hazel Marquis Rank 1, 49 points – Piora Flameheart
“And a big congratulations to Piora for being the first student here to reach level 2,” Mr. River unenthusiastically claps while announcing her results to the class. “It’s rare for a student to reach level 2 on their first dungeon experience. All the teachers were quite excited and surprised when they found this out… What a headache.”
“Excuse me, Mr. River,” Sare Yuler places his hand up and speaks abruptly, “how did you rank people when they have the same number of points?”
Sare, Min, and Hazel formed a three person squad when entering the Theore Substructure yesterday. Sare willingly admits to being weaker than Hazel, who was the squad captain, but not to Min, who is currently ranked higher than her on the results.
Everyone within the same squad received an equal share of their points, so there are a lot of students currently sharing similar thoughts, Regal included.
Mr. River doesn’t want to answer the question, but he can tell there is more than one student thinking the same thing, and sighs before answering.
“Rankings within the squad are decided on two factors. First, the squad captain is automatically ranked first within the squad as they are in a higher position. All other positions are decided based on how many of the enemies each member killed. Using a certain skill, it is possible to read the name of who dealt the final blow and for this.”
“Wanting to be stronger than another squad member is fine, but being lower on this ranking does not mean you are weaker.”
Most of the students seem satisfied with his answer, but several are still discontent.
After the discussions about the students rankings quiet down, Mr. River continues with the afternoon lesson. He teaches the class about some of the basic mutated beasts and monsters that exist. Mutant rats are the first to be discussed, including their various attack patterns, and body signals given prior to attacking.
The existence of variation beast is also taught. These are the beasts like the shadow rat, boulder rat, and flame rat. All mutant beasts and monsters have variations like this, and they are always either stronger or more intelligent than the original.
The second and third enemies discussed are the ones on the second floor of Theore Substructure: the Frostbite Wolf and the Serf, a goblin-like demi-human species that have an extremely low intelligence.
Regal takes notes on each and every enemy Mr. River teaches the class about in a separate notebook. His thoughts are to make a compendium of mutant beasts and monster that can be used as a reference for tactics when fighting them. Right now, it only contains a dozen different enemies, but it will only continue to grow the more he adds to it. He keeps these thoughts to himself, hiding his ambitions under the cover of being a Soulless to avoid unnecessary attention.