Editors: Templar, Jack Vanatis,
Author’s notes: The third chapter released. Oops, fell asleep while going through the edits! Anyway, going through chapter 14 now so hold your breath.
Chapter 13 – A New Friend
Regal wakes up on his bed the morning after the practical ‘Cartography’ lesson with a dreadful pain in his head. It is the first time he has ever felt something so uncomfortable. His mind feels woozy, and moving his head causes the room to spin. It should be known that he was given twice as much alcohol as the others in his group, as he appeared to be the most dehydrated.
Awkwardly sitting up, he finds a strange phenomenon affecting his stats.
Name: Regal Havier Age: 14 Level: 1 Nxt Level: 23% Health: 81/100 Mana: 100/100 Stamina: 50/50 Class: None Str: 10(8) Dex: 10(8) Agi: 10(8) End: 10(8) Int: 10(8) Lck: 10(8) Martial Skills: Combat Knife Proficiency – Lv. 6 () Revolver Proficiency – Lv. 7 (Curve) Alchemy Skills: Flame Forge Alchemy – Lv. 7 (Radiant Flame) Ice Heart Alchemy – Lv. 8 (Ice Bullet) Vigorous Earth Alchemy – Lv. 7 (Stone Skin) Crafting Skills: Cartography – Lv. 8 (Mind Projection) Misc Skills: Future Sight - Lv.100 (Foresight) Passive Buffs: ~ +5% Attack Speed
All of his stats have been reduced by two points, making his body feel weaker than usual. Even his health has been reduced for an unknown reason. No matter how much he thinks over the problem, he can’t discern the cause of this effect.
Despite his stomach becoming horribly unsettled as he stands up, he persists at getting ready for school. Breakfast seems to make him slightly better, stimulating his health into recovering, and allowing him to move around more proficiently.
Checking the time, Regal is alarmed to see that he is already half an hour late for school. He rushes out of the house, running down the cobblestone road as fast as his reduced stats will permit.
Twenty minutes later, he arrives at school. The students from class 1, who are practicing alchemy in the school’s field, see him enter in a rush. Mr. Razor scolds the students who turn around to look, so they don’t end up paying Regal much attention.
Mr. River stares at Regal when he reaches the classroom door, exasperated. He maintains his silence while a few of the students laugh as he awkwardly wanders to his desk. Regal feels a piercing glare, and turns his head to see an infuriated Piora. She snaps her head around and ignores him the moment their eyes meet.
Not wanting to have to put in extra effort, Mr. River doesn’t question Regal being late and continues with the lesson after motioning that Regal just have a seat.
“So now that I have covered some of the main points you need to pay attention to when making maps, I will show you what a professional map looks like.”
Mr. River takes out a map parchment from his inventory that is twice the size as the ones the students were given. The parchment is slightly glossy, signifying that it is of a much greater quality as well.
He unrolls it and attaches it to the chalk board. The map that is unveiled enraptures all the students, especially Regal. It is of the area extending fifty miles from Theore in every direction. Every line, symbol, and terrain depicted is impeccable. Small characters are written next to each major landmark, which can be used to identify them. The most surprising of all however, is that the entire map is in color.
Mr. River lazes around at his desk while the students are admiring the map, eventually taking it down and telling the students to use it as a goal to aim towards.
“Remember, ‘Cartography’ is a crafting skill, meaning it is much harder to train than martial and alchemy skills. It takes a long time to master this skill, and can only be done by creating maps of many different areas and dungeons. Copying other maps also works, but the progress is only a tenth as fast, even if you have a strong comprehension of the skill.”
Regal wants to point out that his ‘Cartography’ skill level is increasing fast, monstrously so, but the pain in his head stops him from raising his hand or speaking out.
The morning class today is theory again, studying different types of mutant beasts. Regal’s mind works at a much slower pace than even when he is out of mana and he is grateful for the break that comes during the middle of the day.
Piora drags Veronica off like lightning at the start of lunch, joyful chatting with her while ignoring the shocked stares from the rest of the class. Regal is joined by Astore and Kilde as they head into the schoolyard shortly after the them.
They find Piora and Veronica sitting in a quiet spot in the yard. Regal notices that there are many more students nearby than there usually are and figures it is due to Piora’s presence.
As they walk up to the two girls, Piora turns her head toward Regal and snaps, “What do you want!?”
“W-what?” Regal stammers, completely surprised by her ferocity.
He is friends with Veronica, and the little brother according to her hierarchy, so he can’t figure out why Piora is angry. Kilde whispers beside him and clears up his confusion.
“Last night when we were all heading home, you proclaimed your love for Veronica and shortly afterwards called Piora an arrogant girl with no friends. She was quite angry at that and hit you several times before leaving. Have you forgotten?”
Regal stands as stiff as a board. He has no recollection of that happening last night, apparently some of his memories of last night are missing.
“I’m so sorry! I’m sure I didn’t mean it,” Regal doesn’t doubt Kilde’s words and immediately speaks with remorse and embarrassment, ignoring the pain in his mind as he bows his head.
Piora settles down after his apology, but she still hasn’t forgiven him. It isn’t until the three boys sit down that the rest of her anger abates and she becomes slightly depressed.
“And… it’s not like it’s not like it’s my fault I have no friends… I didn’t know what to say to anybody when school started… and they started staying away from me soon after.”
Regal, with no tact, casually says, “Well, I have heard of people admiring you from afar like a queen. That is probably why.”
“No! I don’t like it!” Tears form in the corner of her eyes and Veronica gives Regal a look that says, ‘This is your fault.’
Veronica smiles at Piora and says, “We are your friends, aren’t we? I think of you as a friend.”
Kilde and Astore claim their friendship with Piora as well, making her smile joyfully at them while nodding her head.
“I am also your friend,” Regal says, only to have Piora snap back, “Who would want a friend like you!?”
Despite everything that happened, Piora eventually forgives Regal. It is during the latter half of lunch that Piora touches a subject Regal would rather have left unspoken.”
“So Regal, why do you love Veronica?”
Covering his face with his hands in embarrassment, he refuses to answer her. Veronica has very little reaction, but does turn her face to look elsewhere momentarily. Seeing Regal’s reaction, Piora becomes confused and asks him a different question.
“You are a Soulless, aren’t you?”
“I… I am,” He reveals his face which is cherry red.
“You really don’t seem like it. You are different from everything I’ve heard about the Soulless,” Piora pushes her face closer to Regal to inspect him.
Kilde also joins the conversation, “You have indeed been different during the past few days.”
This piques Piora’s curiosity even more, causing her to continuously question Regal. He eventually talks about the soul forming incident that happened after he was revived in the Temple of Life. Everyone seems confused by it, but at least they still accept it.
Piora inspects Regal even closer than before, but is abruptly interrupted by Veronica to talk about ‘Cartography’. Regal suspects, and secretly hopes, that Veronica was jealous at how close Piora was. If she was jealous, she didn’t show it on the outside.
They eventually figure out that last night they were drunk from alcohol thanks to Piora relaying her mother’s words. Apparently if too much is drunk, it will have several effects that last into the next day, such as reduced stats and feeling unwell. They have no clue as to how or when they drank the alcohol, but it solves Regal’s questions about his current condition.
When the bell signifying the end of lunch rings, Regal notices that the number of students sitting nearby has significantly increased. He hears whispers such as, “Why is Piora sitting with the Soulless?” and the more disturbing, “I heard that Regal loves Veronica.”
Regal is standing within a private room in the training hall after school with not just Veronica, but Piora as well.
“Here, one silver coin,” Piora says regretfully, passing a single coin to Regal right after Veronica does.
Piora was going to head home by herself today, just as she has done for the past two months, and use the money to buy some snacks at a street stall in the nearby Market Street. At the end of school however, Veronica trapped her and brought her along for ‘Cartography’ practice. She even obstinately pressed Piora to pay a fee of one silver coin to Regal for teaching her.
Regal witnessed the entire thing, receiving a cute smile from Veronica that seemed to say, ‘Mission accomplished’.
He couldn’t help but think to himself at the time, ‘Big sis is scary in her own way.’
Taking out their notebooks, Regal began to go over the basic symbols used in maps. For Veronica especially – the most basic of the basic.
Feeling depressed that he even has to teach them how to draw a straight line, he persistently makes them draw the same thing over and over again until it is recognizable. He takes a look at their handwriting during the process of teaching and is relieved that while it is still messy, it is at least legible.
Veronica and Piora continue their tutelage for several hours before leaving. The improvements they make are very small in this time, but are still happy when Regal describes it as twice as good as before. Regal is not lying or overly praising them while saying this, as it is like the difference between one and two.
After they leave, Regal diligently practices his various alchemy skills. He has the most success with ‘Flame Forge Alchemy’, increasing it to level 8. He finds that if he focuses on controlling the temperature and size of the ‘Radiant Flame’ while studying the formulae, his understanding of it increases faster than before.
He doesn’t arrive home until late at night due to his excitement at increasing the training speed for ‘Flame Forge Alchemy’. When he falls asleep, he does so extremely satisfied.
Just as Regal and his friends discussed earlier at school, his reduced stats return to normal the next day.