Editors: Templar, Jack Vanatis, genericIntent
Author’s notes: Second (maybe one more) chapter release of Chronicle of the Eternal before Volume 1 is released. I’m hoping to be able to work out a rough word count for the book, which should be able to give me an idea of how many pages it will be.
Chapter 16 – Mastery
Regal and the rest of his squad easily pass through the first floor of Theore Substructure. Any rats they come across are taken care of with high efficiency. They have improved their combat skill and teamwork considerably since fighting the Frostbite Wolves and the Mutant Rats have become less intimidating. Regal feels like they have gotten slower too, but that is only something he sees from his new perspective.
They come across two other squads while following Regal’s map toward the exit, but they are equally exhausted and intend no violence against the Soulless so their encounters are peaceful ones.
By the time Regal leads his squad out of the dungeon, it is already late at night and the city is covered with darkness. Only the copper street lamps and light shining out of windows illuminate the cobblestone streets. The faint sound of a saxophone and joyous laughter can be heard from a tavern a few streets away as hunters drink late in the night and shout tales of their latest ventures.
‘I’ll be a part of that one day,’ Regal muses to himself, a faint smile forming in the corner of his mouth as he listens to the distant music and takes a large breath of the cool refreshing night air.
Piora is the first to say farewell, heading off toward her house. Kilde and Astore follow shortly after and leave Veronica and Regal alone.
“S-so do you want to-“
“I will be going too then, lil bro. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Regal begins talking in a fluster at the same time as Veronica starts speaking. His cheeks tinge red in embarrassment from speaking at the same time as her. He had wanted to know if she wanted to walk back together as they live in the same direction from the dungeon. Only half saying his thoughts, he is at a loss as to how to follow up.
Veronica gives Regal a faint smile, the expression disappearing as fast as it appeared, before walking off toward her home. As Regal’s home is in the same direction, he walks beside her down the street in silence.
“Do you live in the same direction?” Veronica breaks the silence after ten minutes.
“I didn’t know. We should walk back together next time we come to the dungeon.”
“Yes, I would like that.”
Regal smiles happily after she asked him exactly what he wanted to ask her. He was distraught, wondering how he should ask her, but her casually bringing up the subject soothed his anxiety. He feels a warmth in his chest and subconsciously moves slightly closer to Veronica as if to share it.
They share small talk as they walk home together. On more than one occasion, Veronica notices Regal staring at her hand swaying at her side. She asks him each time if there is something on her hand, looking at it herself in the process. Regal walks in uncomfortable silence while staring at the ground every time she brings it up, unable to express his innermost thoughts.
The two separate when they near Veronica’s home. Regal’s house is still half an hour’s walk, so he continues along in silence.
When he eventually reaches his house, the entire street is silent and not a single light can be seen from the windows. He quietly enters the house and warily makes his way to his bed, making sure he doesn’t trip on any furniture along the way.
Regal awakens with the early morning light filling his room and feeling refreshed. He doesn’t take long to prepare for the day and leave for school. Compared to last night, with only distant laughter and music being heard over the rooftops, Theore’s first floor is once again bustling with life.
All the students of Regal’s school arrive early to boast about their exploits from the trip into the dungeon last night. It is similar to the hunters at the taverns last night, except there is no alcohol or boisterous laughter.
“Regal, you’ve arrived. You were in the dungeon late last night, what is your score?” A male student from another squad Regal met last night when leaving the dungeon approaches him and curiously asks.
Regal doesn’t know his name, and awkwardly answers, “Oh, sorry, I haven’t counted them up yet, and I can’t remember all their levels either. But our squad has 134 ears.”
“That’s not bad, we got a total of 161 though, so it looks like we did a little better,” The student laughs gently, patting Regal on the back before walking off.
Rather than waiting out front, Regal excitably enters into the school building to hand the trophy ears over to Mr. River as soon as possible. He isn’t surprised that the teacher hasn’t arrived yet. The squad captains from class 4 have already been here to do the same as him, but handed them to Miss Yatta in place of Mr. River. Following their example, Regal also hands his squad’s trophy ears to Miss Yatta, who will pass them on to Mr. River when he gets here.
The morning classes are nothing out of the ordinary, but Mr. River informs them that the afternoon classes are going to be martial duels with class 1. After lunch, the results from everyone entering the dungeon also return. The people at the lower end of the scale didn’t change much in score, but the top few have improved greatly compared to last month.
Rank 29, 8 points – Quaz Rimuris Rank 28, 8 points – Fia Cubmore Rank 27, 10 points – Jill Rivera … Rank 8, 63 points – Veronica Heyfare Rank 7, 63 points – Kilde Fen Rank 6, 63 points – Astore Jone Rank 5, 63 points – Piora Flameheart Rank 4, 63 points – Regal Havier Rank 3, 64 points – Min Triss Rank 2, 64 points – Sare Yuler Rank 1, 64 points – Hazel Marquis
“Why is Regal the squad captain and not Veronica?” Some of the students quietly speak amongst themselves when they notice Regal’s name is at the front of his squad.
Not even noticing the whispers, Regal feels dejected that he is only a single point behind being first, but that is mostly because his squad were hunting Frostbite Wolves. In the amount of time it took to find and kill a single level 4 wolf, they could have killed three or four level 2 Mutant Rats.
Just as Regal was feeling down, Mr. River brings the class to silence with a light cough before addressing them in a lazy tone. “Regal Havier’s squad: Congratulations on entering the second floor and killing Frostbite Wolves.”
Noticing our massive difference in scores and even the teacher’s praise toward the entire squad, several of the students from the class lean toward Piora, who they credit the massive boost in the squad’s points to. Many students invite her to join their squad next time. Whether it is a verbal message or a folded up note that is passed across the classroom, Piora blatantly rejects them and even starts to get angry after the third offer.
Mr. River ignores the commotion between the students as if it has nothing to do with him. He waves over a few of the quieter students and starts leading them to the gym. The noisy students quickly notice this and also follow them out.
Regal’s status in the class has escalated greatly since the beginning of the year. Most of the other students are friendly with him and don’t seem to be concerned that he is a Soulless. His strength has also been increasing with the passive Divine Arts he has been accumulating and that has made up for the lower martial and alchemy skills difference when compared to other students. When added with his Divine Art ‘Foresight’, there aren’t many students who can defeat him in a duel.
Regal’s weekend practice of ‘Forging – Beginner’ changes a great deal week after week. When his skill reached level 30, he could no longer train it by refining beginner ores and had to start creating other items. It is also the level where he learned the Tier 4 Divine Art ‘Beginner Guncraft’, allowing him to create and repair basic guns. The knowledge for two basic designs and various components were implanted into his mind from the skill, and Tanner, the owner of Atelier Gun & Bullet, offered guidance to further improve on those designs.
A basic revolver uses two bronze ingots and a single iron ingot. Six cogs and a single spring have to be carefully installed behind the bullet cylinder, which is how it operates. The barrel is short and provides poor accuracy, but Tanner shows Regal how this can be slightly modified to improve accuracy while keeping it the same gun. Each part of the gun can be modified when casting each piece. From changing the material used to making physical alterations, changes in the damage, accuracy, durability and other aspects can be altered.
Regal’s first revolver comes out as a failure, the parts not going together properly and then the gun not even working.
Broken Basic Hand Revolver An simple revolver crafted from basic materials. The craftsmanship is so poor the weapon does not work. The slightest jolt will cause the weapon to fall apart. Requirements: ~ Lvl 1 ~ Dex 2 ~ Str 2 Weapon Type: Revolver/Single Handed Item Grade: Broken Damage: 0 – 0 Range: 0 Yards Ammunition: .38 Rounds Durability: 1/1 Abilities: None
Regal’s third attempt finally creates a basic revolver of Ordinary rarity that works properly. It is immediately discarded as its damage and range are inferior to the training weapons the school provides. He continually creates revolvers under Tanner’s guidance, consistently improving his skill.
Weapons can be melted down to reclaim some of their raw materials, but only a small amount of the base material can be obtained. Regal has to melt down eight revolvers to get enough material to get the two bronze and one iron back.
The second weapon design is that of a basic rifle. This weapon uses four bronze, two iron, and one copper ingot to create all the parts. A larger copper cog is the central part of the gun’s mechanism. Eleven gears, three coils, and an iron piston are all connected in a method that allows the bullets to be fired with more force. Regal makes six attempts to create one before finally succeeding.
Basic Bolt Rifle A simple rifle crafted from basic materials. The craftsmanship is inferior so the weapon range and damage are decreased. Requirements: ~ Lvl 5 ~ Dex 12 ~ Str 11 Weapon Type: Single Rifle - Two Handed Item Grade: Ordinary Damage: 11 – 14 Range: 90 Yards Ammunition: .45 Rounds Durability: 35/35 Abilities: None
The damage is much higher than a revolver and the range is incomparable, but each bullet must be loaded individually and the user’s movement is slowed by equipping a heavier weapon. The minimum level requirement for just this basic inferior rifle is level 5, so nobody in his squad, let alone his class, can currently use it either.
Regal realizes he can also make armor and melee weapons just by training the forging skill high enough, but their quality would be so poor that Tanner advises Regal not to waste his time until he masters ‘Forging – Beginner’ so that the skill can add a significant bonus to his created items and then the items will be more useful. Tanner also says that if Regal wants to create equipment for himself or his squad, he has to use his own materials to craft them, his shop isn’t a charity.
Three months after Regal was appointed the captain of his squad, he successfully masters ‘Forging – Beginner’. Regal continues to further his study in the library and learns several ways to make different revolvers and rifles, but many require higher tier materials than he can use.
He gains multiple passive Divine Arts increasing his health, stamina, and various stats along with the Tier 8 ‘Precision Forging’, a Divine Art that improves the crafting of small items, especially gun components. The over-tier Divine Art ‘Repair Aura’ is incredibly useful, even if its use is restricted. ‘Repair Aura’ has no cost to use but can only be used once a day, instantly repairing fifty percent of a single equipped item’s durability without the need of tools.
Tanner lets out a boastful laughter and claps him on the back when he informs the smith of mastering the skill, “You did it, my boy. You have mastered the basic skill so fast, and taken in all my teachings! I have nothing left to teach you.”
“Can I still work here?” Regal asks while worrying about the loss of income if Tanner rejects him.
“Course not, your apprenticeship is over now that you have mastered the basic skills.”
Regal feels his heart drop in his chest and silently wishes that he hadn’t told Tanner that he mastered ‘Forging – Beginner’.
At this moment, Aqua, who had been eavesdropping, enters the back of the workshop and looks at her father sternly, “Why would you say that, father? He is such a good worker and you want to kick him out?”
“Aqua, don’t be like that. It is for his own good.” Tanner pauses briefly as Aqua harrumphs and glares at him. “I’m going to introduce him to your old cooking teacher, so it’s fine, isn’t it?”
Aqua looks at her doting father before glumly murmuring, “But I want him to stay here.”
Regal, completely cut out of the conversation, looks at the two and wonders what Tanner means by a cooking teacher.
“I can’t teach him anymore and he can’t help me with his current skill level. He can still come back and use the forge whenever he wants.”
Aqua tries to refute her father more, but her efforts are pointless. She eventually turns to Regal and before leaving the workshop, stubbornly states, “You better come see me often! I will never forgive you if you don’t.”
Regal and Aqua’s have become much closer while he has been working at the shop. She brought him lunch every weekend, and after eating together they would just chat about whatever came up until her father would enter and make her let Regal get back to work.
Aqua has become infatuated with Regal to the point that she has been dropping obvious hints about it. Regal is highly intelligent and noticed long before she started leaning toward him, but he doesn’t see her the same way he does Veronica, so is unable to return her feelings.
Regal’s feelings for Veronica have become more and more clear to him and he gets overly nervous when speaking to her. He has tried to ask her on a date three times in the past months, but has failed to ask her every time.
Tanner interrupts Regal’s thoughts as Aqua exits the forge. “Boy, I have something for you. A gift to commend your mastering basic forging so quickly.” Tanner opens his inventory and removes a few items, placing them on the workbench.
Regal stares at the items wide-eyed. There are three glossy skill books seemingly out of place with the dirty table. Hesitating at first, Regal picks up the skill books and inspects them.
Mining Minimum requirements to learn this skill: ~ Level 5 ~ Str 15 ~ Dex 12 Cannot currently learn ‘Mining'.
Steel Hands Minimum requirements to learn this skill: ~ Level 10 ~ Str 25 ~ Dex 15 Cannot currently learn ‘Steel Hands'.
Forging/Intermediate Minimum requirements to learn this skill: ~ Level 20 ~ ‘Forging/Beginner’ lv. 100 ~ Str 30 ~ End 20 ~ Dex 20 Cannot currently learn ‘Forging - Intermediate'.
Regal is only level 4, but isn’t far from leveling up. His squad has been spending most of their time on the second level of Theore Substructure each time they descend, so their experience is steadily rising.
“Hurry up, put them away and follow me.” Tanner begins to grow impatient as Regal blankly stares at the skill books.
In a fluster, Regal puts the skill books into his inventory and tails Tanner out of the shop. Market Street is bustling with activity, but Tanner’s large body clears a path that Regal can easily follow. Tanner walks down the street for fifteen minutes before turning off into a side street where a few smaller shops are located.
They enter a small restaurant that has an advertisement for breakfast, lunch and dinner out front. It is called the Sunny Hill Restaurant, a place that appears to be full of life, but not full of customers.
A squad of four hunters sits at one of the tables, while three more stragglers sit at the polished mahogany bench in the shop window where the natural light is the brightest. It is still morning so the faint smell of eggs, grilled bread, and bacon linger in the air along with a rosemary fragrance.
An elegant waiter, a tawny man with straggly brown hair tied behind his head and holding a tray of drinking glasses, gives a slight bow toward Tanner from beyond the shop’s counter at the rear of the store. Tanner frowns at this action, but doesn’t comment on it, instead silently leads Regal to the back of the store and through a door into a considerably large kitchen for the shops size, where a handful of chefs are working.
The man from behind the counter also arrives at the rear of the store, addressing Tanner respectably, “Tanner, is this the kid you were talking about?”
“Indeed, the one who will master ‘Cooking – Beginner’ faster than you did.”
Vivid blue eyes focus on Regal as if to study him.
“I don’t think so. Fast, perhaps, but I mastered that skill in ten months – an unprecedented record that nobody has been able to come close to.”
“The world is vast, Sampson.”
The two men talk quickly about various affairs before Tanner eventually turns to Regal and says, “Regal, this is Sampson Hendrick, he will be your cooking teacher. Come to his restaurant every weekend just as you did my forge.”
Sampson inclines his head in agreement. “Tanner has already spoken to me about you. I will provide all materials for your training and pay the weekly wage as long as you are here every Saturday and Sunday on time, and not a minute late. These terms are incomparable to that which is offered a standard apprentice.”
“You will also help with serving customers in the store, I’m going to be getting my money’s worth at least. Do you agree to work here in exchange for me taking you on as an apprentice?”
Tanner gives Regal a nudge with his elbow that nearly knocks him over.
“Ah, yes! I would like to work here, definitely! When would you like me to start?”
“Good, you start right now, wear these and learn this.”
Sampson opens his inventory and takes out a gaudy white chef’s uniform with polished brass buttons and a skill book. Regal takes them and follows the chef’s orders. His image is immediately transformed into that of a flashy young chef as he equips the clothing. Next he inspects the skill book.
Cooking - Beginner Minimum requirements to learn this skill: ~ Level 1 ~ Dex 10 ~ End 8 ~ Int 8 Would you like to learn ‘Cooking - Beginner'? Yes / No
Learning the skill, Regal’s crafting skill list grows by one. Just like ‘Forging – Beginner’, there is only a single skill path, so the first Divine Art is automatically learned. The Tier 1 Divine Art is called ‘Aroma Sense’, a Divine Art that passively increases his sense of smell, allowing him to discern different ingredients by smell.
As soon as Regal’s new ability starts working, his nostrils flare and he becomes nauseous from the large quantity of aromas circulating the kitchen. By the time the dizziness fades, Tanner has already left and Sampson is looking on with approval at how quickly he recovered.
“Not bad, but still not as impressive as Tanner would have me believe. Come, I will teach you the basics of cooking and all the tools required.”
Sampson begins to lead Regal through the kitchen, taking his time to introduce each piece of equipment and what it is for.
“There are four basic pans, six pots, and various ovens used for cooking. These don’t have a single purpose. When you are cooking, you need to choose the best sized one to accomplish the job and save yourself unnecessary effort. Choosing the wrong one also causes the flavor and any temporary stat boost from the food to diminish. Nobody understands why this happens, but it does.”
“Over here there are different tools, a mortar and pestle for grinding herbs, wooden tool to use with the pots so you don’t damage them, mallet for tenderizing meat, rolling pin for creating pastry.”
Sampson’s explanations carry on for most of the morning. Many of the tools only have a single specialized purpose, but Regal scrutinizes each and every one with careful detail to ensure he remembers them.
“Now that I have shown you everything, you will spend today practicing basic food preparation.” Sampson retrieves several large sacks of potatoes and a small knife. “Spend today peeling all these potatoes. I want them done by the time the store is ready to close late tonight.”
Regal’s hopes of cooking grand meals is instantly crushed. He looks at the potatoes, depressed, trying to not imagine the terrifying number of the fist-sized brown vegetables in front of him.
Emptying his mind of stray thoughts, he equips the small knife and picks up the nearest potato. There is no motivation in his body, so all his actions are fuelled by his persistence.
With a knife in one hand and a potato in the other, Regal clumsily cuts into the potato and takes off a small sliver of skin. He repeats this process for five minutes until all the skin has been removed. Thanks to his heightened sense of smell, the scent of fresh potato threatens to overwhelm him, but he doesn’t take a break and forcefully represses the smell while picking up the next potato.
He repeats this process until late at night, peeling one potato after another. He didn’t finish the task by closing time, but was still sent home with a single silver coin for his work anyway. After Regal left the restaurant, Sampson inspects how well he did and upon seeing that there is only half a sack of unpeeled potatoes left, he is pleasantly surprised. The head chef had never expected him to finish the task, and was only testing him to see how well he did.
“He wasn’t moving very fast, but that diligence is truly remarkable,” Sampson says to himself while smiling at the peeled vegetables.
What Sampson doesn’t know, however, is that even though Regal has only been peeling potatoes for half of a day, his ‘Cooking – Beginner’ skill has reached level 6 already. It is a frightening talent that would make even him, a master chef, green with envy.
The following day, Regal returns to school, arriving just before class. To his surprise, all the students are congregated in the school field. The teachers have rounded up all the students and brought them together for an announcement that Regal arrives just in time for.
Regal silently slips into the crowd and finds Veronica, Kilde, Astore and Piora. He moves next to them like a ghost and is already there before they notice his presence. Regal missed the earlier section of the speech, but fortunately arrives just in time for the main announcement.
“Students, as you should all be aware, the interschool tournament is coming soon, and we have to pick three students to represent us,” Mr. Razor says loudly so everyone in the crowd can clearly hear.
“Naturally, we have chosen the strongest and most gifted among you for this role. This is not up for debate, and is the result of the countless duels you have had among one another.”
“Class 4, Hazel Marquis.”
“Class 1. Lawe Haven.”
“Class 4, Regal Havier.”
“You three will represent our academy in the up and coming tournament. I hope you can bring many victories for our school, but remember that the competition is fierce. The three students I named – stay behind. The rest of you – off to your classrooms.”