End Online Chapter 39: Unedited version currently available on my Patreon for all those that support me there.
Planning Stage: 100%
Writing Stage: 101%
Editing Stage: 90%
Editors: Templar, Jack Vanatis, genericIntent
Author’s notes: Final chapter to be released today, and final chapter of the book. There is still the Side Story 1: Tanner’s Story, but that is only available in the book. Please do support my work: Purchase a book, or if money is a concern perhaps tell someone else about it, both are equally valued by me. ^.^
Now, for the announcement. I had originally planned on releasing a chapter a week or something similar. Even if releasing chapters to catch up, this is more than what was due. It is actually the rest of the volume to be released. I have done this for a simple reason.
Amazon have been able to automatically locate Chronicle of the Eternal and find that it is currently released for free, as seen by that last false alarm email I received. They don’t do this with End Online, perhaps because the name is too vague and related to too many things that it slips past their automatic search.
Chronicle of the Eternal will be available for Kindle Unlimited a few days into next month. If their system detects it is freely available here and this becomes and issue, which is more than likely, it will need to be removed. Should this happen, I will still be posting Volume 2 chapters here, and I will also write a brief recap of volume 1 for anyone who hasn’t read or can’t purchase Volume 1. I hope you can all understand.
Chapter 23 – Graduation
One week has passed since Regal returned to Bluemist Academy, and it is time for the students to once again delve into Theore Substructure. A quarter of the students have already reached level 10, so the procession into the dungeon is smaller than usual.
Regal’s squad, minus Piora, are among those entering the clock tower. Veronica, Astore and Kilde didn’t enter the dungeon the previous time while Regal was missing, so they haven’t reached level 10 as of yet.
Veronica has been especially close to Regal over the past week, sitting shoulder to shoulder during lunch, walking home together every day, and even meeting him at his house in the mornings to walk to the academy together. Now that they are entering the dungeon again, she is wary of what happened last time and stays even closer to him.
By the time they reach the third floor, Regal sees the flag left by another squad claiming they reached here first. A second or third squad who came after the first had scribbled profanities onto the flag, making Regal laugh quietly as he passes it.
“We’re all near level 10, let’s quickly reach it then leave to celebrate,” Regal happily says as he chooses a random path leaving the entrance room.
Regal is particularly cautious when exploring the third floor of Theore Substructure this time, paying close attention to his surroundings and staying far away from any shafts.
Half a day and nearly a hundred Serf later, Regal is the final person to reach level 10. Reaching level 10 is the first milestone for every hunter, and Regal feels relieved to finally reach it. He happily puts the three stat points from levelling up into agility, increasing his speed again.
“Where shall we go?” Veronica asks Regal, speaking softly into his ear.
“There is a nice restaurant on Market Street that I know of. Let’s go there.”
“Okay, what about Piora? She is a member of this squad too.”
“She should be waiting for us outside the dungeon.”
Just as Regal told Veronica, Piora was loitering around outside the entrance to the clock tower when Regal and the rest of the squad emerges. She complains to Regal that he is too slow in levelling as soon they exit the dungeon before happily gossiping to Veronica while they leave to celebrate.
Regal leads them to Sunny Hill Restaurant, the place he learned how to cook. There are already several customers sitting inside the shop and at the tables out front. Some are already eating, while others are talking with their comrades while waiting.
“Regal?” A curious voice sounds from the back of the shop.
“Sampson!” Regal gives the restaurant owner a broad grin as the rest of his squad enters the shop.
Sampson walks over and claps Regal on the shoulder. “I haven’t seen you in a long time. I was beginning to think you had forgotten about me. Who are all these people?”
“I will never forget you, Sampson. This is the rest of my squad: Veronica, Piora, Astore and Kilde. We came here to celebrate reaching level 10.”
“Hah, a celebration to be sure! Come, have a seat over here and I will bring you out some menus. Just for you, today’s meals are free of charge.”
Regal and his squad are surprised, especially Regal, and they give their genuine gratitude to Sampson before following him to a table near the shop window. Five menus soon follow and are placed in front of the five students.
Astore, Kilde and Veronica calmly and methodically look through the menus while Piora scrunches her eyebrows in indecision. Regal already knows every item on the menu, so has no need to look through it to decide what he wants.
After a few minutes, Sampson comes out from the rear of the store to service Regal’s group himself. He brings some empty glasses and a large bronze jug of fresh water for them as well.
Astore and Kilde both order the onion soup. Veronica chooses the same as Regal, a smokey guar meat bouillabaisse. Piora ends up reluctantly choosing a chicken paillard with fresh herbs. Sampson writes down the orders with surprising speed and returns to the rear of the shop.
“I know I am the leader of the squad at the moment,” Regal smiles at the others while talking resolutely, “and I understand that most people split up and make their own paths after graduating. I however want all of us to stay together, so I wanted to ask if you will all come along with me after graduation?”
Veronica is the first to answer, blankly stating, “I will come with you regardless of where you want to go.” Astore and Kilde also accent her words with a nod of their heads.
“Where are you planning to go?” Piora asks curiously.
“There is a place, far to the west in unmapped territory called the Forest of Dawn. I found, umm, rumors stating that it is a good place to start a community.”
“If it’s in unmapped territory, it’s not close to Theore at all. Being so far out, are you sure it is a good place to start a new community?”
“Yes. The rumor was very specific that it was. Anyway, if we’re in unmapped territory, other communities will be less likely to attack, giving us a chance to gather others to join us. It won’t be easy, but we could do it.”
Piora thinks for a while in silence, before eventually smiling and saying, “It sounds like it will be interesting. I will stay with you and explore this new area. How far is it?”
“I have no idea. I only know the general direction.”
Sampson soon returns from the kitchen and lays out the dishes on Regal’s table, filling the restaurant with an intoxicating aroma. The service is truly fast, so much so that several hunters shout questions and complaints on where their orders are and why the new group was serviced first. Sampson quells their anger with a shout of his own, causing more than one person to shrink back at the surprising ferocity in his tone.
Regal’s squad relishes the food that makes even Regal’s improved cooking taste bland. It is the difference of experience in cooking. Piora’s eyes light up at the taste and she stares intently at Regal, using her eyes to try pass the message that she expects his future cooking to become this good if she is going to continue travelling with him.
The five students finish their meals in delight and Regal spends some time answering Sampson’s curiosity on all the crafting skills he has mastered and everything else that has happened since he finished learning to cook. After that, he leads everyone out of the restaurant where they all head home in different directions, except for Veronica, who stays with Regal for the rest of the day.
During the following months leading toward the end of Regal’s final year at the academy, more and more students reach level 10 at an increasingly fast rate. The final two weeks were void of any lessons and dedicated to entering the dungeon for any students who still had not reached level 10. There were only four students who fell into that category, and they finally reach the threshold two days later.
After those two weeks in the dungeon were over, it was finally time for the fourth and final inter-academy tournament. The colosseum was packed with people, so much so that not only every seat was taken, but there wasn’t even any room left on the roof of the seating area.
Piora once again took the position of one of the participating students, while Regal played the role of supporting Piora with his equipment. Some students from other academies copied their method and have someone support them with custom equipment. Unfortunately none of those people could compare to Regal’s skill in crafting custom weapons and armor so the effect wasn’t as large.
During this final tournament, Piora gave it her everything and shone brightly like a firework in the night sky. One opponent after another was defeated by her, reaching all the way to the semi-finals before finally losing to the previous years tournament champion.
Piora ranked in fourth while Lawe was thirtieth and Hazel seventeenth. Their rankings made all of the Bluemist Academy students extremely prideful to call it their academy, some even getting accepted into outside communities with better than average conditions simply because they also attended Bluemist Academy.
Regal was the same as usual during and after the tournament as he helplessly fights off all the persistent people trying to get him and Piora to join their communities.
However, all the excitement from the tournament eventually calms down, and it comes time for the students’ graduation ceremony.
In the Bluemist Academy field, a large formation of chairs are placed with all the students and their parents seated. Any friends and other acquaintances stand behind the throng of seats to watch from the rear.
In front of all the students and parents, there is a wide stage where the teachers sit and will make their announcements to the students. Behind the stage is an intricate arched backdrop of large bronze and silver gears, making Regal stare excitedly at the exquisite craftsmanship. The eyes of several other students who aim to become craftsmen also light up one after another.
The teacher for class 1, Mr. Razor, is the first to stand up and approach the front of the stage in front of all the students.
“You have all been dedicated in your studies during the past four years. I have personally taught some of you and passed on a large amount of knowledge about this world we possess, how to live in it, and what the dangers are out there.”
“We have nothing more to pass on to you other than your own personal identity and transmission plates. They will be handed out at the end of our speeches, so make sure to register your friends’ plates with yours so you can communicate from anywhere in the world.
“Your path in this world has only just begun. Each and every one of you likely have your own aspirations. Some of you may share goals, while others may have completely different ones. All we have done is prepare you for this world, and hope that you become great hunters.”
“There is much on my mind, many things that I wish for you to have experienced before entering the greater world of Grandosa, but that is all I have to say to you for now. I will step back down and let Mr. Hanya continue with his speech.” Mr. Razor bows to the crowd and returns to his seat.
The mysterious class 2 teacher, Mr. Hanya, approaches the front where Mr. Razor was standing.
“Congratulations to all of you on graduating. You are now hunters with all the privileges included. Once you have received your identity plates, you will be entitled to register at the Hunter’s Association, open a bank account with Yggdrasyl, and even choose your own class. There is a large appendix of well-known classes at the Hunter’s Association for anyone who needs a reference.”
“I also want to talk to you about tradition. Our immortalis race has many traditions, most of which you have come to know throughout the years. Our greatest tradition however, has to do with all of you.”
“Some of your parents belong to great guilds and communities, as each of you know. The world randomly selects a parent for each and every Immortalis. Each one was given the choice as to whether they wished to adopt you into their family, or not. Most people choose to do so, as the opportunity may not present itself again for the next fifty or a hundred years.”
“The great tradition of ours is precisely this. Our race of Immortalis is one great big family. No matter where we live, how we live, or even when we are fighting amongst ourselves, we are still one race.”
“Now you are adults, and it is up to you to decide where to go next. Some of you will surely continue to live within the city where it is safe, while others will go out and learn about the world, becoming stronger in the process. You are now leaving my care, so all I can do is wish for the best for all of you.”
Mr. Hanya returns to his seat and the class 3 teacher, Miss Yatta, is the third teacher to step forth.
“You are all no longer children, but hunters ready for the world. I am Lorene Yatta, a part of Chau Guild. Now that you are all adults, perhaps we will meet again. I’m still single and looking for a husband too. But I will warn you, I’ll only marry someone from the Chau Guild. You know where to find me.”
Miss Yatta gives a flirtatious wink toward the students who are now adults before Mr. Razor quickly gets up and forces her back to her seat while chastising her for advertising her guild.
Mr. River, the class 4 teacher, is the last to get up. He lazily walks to the front of the stage and says, “Congratulations.” He then immediately turns around and walks back to his seat.
Most of the students are shocked at his lack of effort and interest, but all of the class 4 students just sigh. They have been Mr. River’s students for four years, and have been on the receiving end of his lack of motivation the entire time. They wouldn’t have been surprised if he only nodded, or had even just spoken from his seat.
Mr. Razor and Miss Yatta frown at him as they have done so many times before, but don’t say anything to him. This is because he is a part of a guild and isn’t just any normal guild member, but the guild master of the Celestial Flames Guild, a powerful guild that is situated in the upper floors of Theore. They know anything they say to Mr. River is useless, so all they can do is report it to his guild executives.
Mr. River is notorious for never doing anything, and only became a teacher from the pressure of all the executive members of his guild gathering together to force him to stop being so inert. They are also the ones who had deal with all the complaints against him.
The ceremony soon ends as the teachers, minus Mr. River, hand a silver transmission plate and a golden identity plate to each graduating student. Both plates immediately become a part of the students and are stored in a special pocket of their inventory. This way, they can’t be lost even if thrown away, as they will only reappear within the student’s inventory.
Afterwards, the teachers look on from the sidelines as the students excitably start registering all their friends with their transmission plates, creating a list of names that seems to shimmer beneath the silvery surface of the plate. Most of them test it out as well, holding their transmission plates out in front of them and speaking to each other through them, even though they are only thirty feet away from one another.
Regal is much like the other students, first registering his squad members, and then everyone else who he has friendly relations with.
Veronica has long since become the prettiest girl in the academy, her womanly charm overshadowing both that of Piora and Hazel. As such, a lot of boys approach her even though she is clinging to Regal’s arm and ask to register her as a friend. Predictably, Veronica refuses every request, only registering herself with Regal and the other squad members.
Piora is the opposite, receiving a lot of requests and not being able to refuse them. Her tomboyish attitude is completely lost as she is overwhelmed by people and becomes increasingly shy. Regal watches this scene with great amusement, but is caught by Piora who glares daggers at him.
In the midst of all the former students’ excitement, the parents stand with their children and ask about what they want to do in the future, some giving strong suggestions to them based on their past experiences.
Regal is the only exception to this, whose parents have long since entered the eternal rest. He feels a bitter pain in his chest when he sees the families getting along, but Shen Wan Xing’s notebook has given him a sense of responsibility that far outweighs that.
Veronica, Astore and Kilde’s parents are average hunters, not belonging to any guild or settlement, so they don’t have any wishes of their children other than to return home once in awhile. Veronica’s parents are especially fond of Regal, questioning him about every detail of his life with an intensity that makes him turn timid.
Piora has some trouble with her mother, who is adamant that she must join the guild she governs over as leader, before exploring the world with some of their members to help her become stronger. Piora adamantly refuses, eventually storming away in a fit of anger and returning to Regal’s side while still fuming.
Just as Regal is watching all the families interacting like a spectator that doesn’t belong, an excitable and familiar voice comes from behind him.
“Regal, that’s where you are!”
Regal turns around and raises his voice in surprise, “Aqua! And Tanner?! What are you doing here?”
Tanner is the one to respond, placing his hand on top of Aqua’s head to quiet her. “Of course we came. You are the only one without a parent, so we thought you would be lonely.”
“Umm, it’s alright. I’m not really lonely.”
“You’re a terrible liar!” Aqua bursts out, receiving a quick scolding look from her father.
Tanner quietly takes Regal away from his friends, telling them to wait momentarily while he continues to talk with Regal in private. Aqua quickly follows after them with a strange expectation in her eyes.
“Without any parents, you don’t have anywhere you particularly belong anymore. I wanted to ask you if you want to become a part of our family?”
“Your family?!” Regal is extremely shocked. The last thing he expected was for Tanner to invite him to join his family. “I mean, I’m sorry. I can’t join your family… A certain someone left me his final wishes, and I want to carry them out.”
“Hah, you don’t even know who I am yet. Is this person you’re speaking of important to you?”
“Well, I never knew him myself, but I am grateful of what he left behind. His name was Shen Wan Xing.”
Tanner listens casually while Aqua has a sly grin on her face like she knows some secret Regal doesn’t. The moment Tanner hears Regal speak the person’s name, his eyes go wide and he astonishingly says, “Uncle Shen?! You mean the human, Shen Wan Xing?!”
It is then Regal’s turn to utter in confusion and disbelief, “Uncle Shen? Yes, I mean the human, Shen Wan Xing. Do you also know of him, Tanner?”
“Regal, can I see what Uncle Shen left behind as his last words?”
“I’m… really not sure. He asked for me to not pass on the information…”
“Regal, I am Tanner Theore, the king of Grand City Theore. I am also one of the first generation Immortalis. Uncle Shen… Uncle Shen was always there with me as I was growing up, teaching me what was right and what was wrong. He was always there for me like a father, and it has been nearly two hundred years since I last saw him. Can you please show me what he left behind?”
Regal stands as still as a statue, slowly realizing the massively important figure that Tanner really is. When thinking about that, it also means that Aqua is actually a princess. The most important of all however, is an important question that starts to bother Regal.
“Umm, Tanner- My apologies! King Tanner, doesn’t that mean you have been down here for the past eighteen years? Shouldn’t you be… governing the city?”
“Just call me Tanner like you always have, or Uncle Tanner. Aqua has two older brothers and there is a whole entourage of nobles who take care of the city affairs in my absence. Now, Uncle Shen?”
“Y-yes, of course!”
Regal takes out the book Shen Wan Xing left behind and confides to him the fourth floor of Theore Substructure. King Tanner takes a hold of the book and reads through it at an extremely fast speed. He then hands the book back to Regal with a complicated look in his eyes.
King Tanner speaks quietly, as if to himself, “Uncle Shen was always smiling, but at the same time never seemed happy even once, as if there was a pain deep within him. To view himself as abandoning his humanity… I think I understand why he could never truly smile now.”
“… King Tanner?” Regal nervously asks, seeing the large man lost in thought.
“Regal, I told you, call me Uncle Tanner! Regardless, I truly thank you for finding this and showing it to me.”
“You weren’t surprised by what was inside?”
“No, I knew most of it. I, too, was charged with duties toward my people. It is more Uncle Shen’s thoughts that I didn’t know. I am in your debt for allowing me to see this, if there is anything you need in the future, feel free to tell me. Here, let’s register our transmission plates!”
King Tanner is absolutely insistent that Regal take out his transmission plate so they can register each other at that very moment. He settles down only after it is done, giving Regal an amiable smile that Regal feels is unbefitting a man of his stature.
“Regal, what do you plan to do after this? After reading Uncle Shen’s notebook, I understand you probably want to go create your own community?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Take my advice. Before you do that, go join a community outside these walls first. Learn how they operate the community, this way you will have more experience when you start one of your own. Also, take Aqua with you. I want her to experience the outside world and grow stronger, and who better to trust her to than you.”
“Oh! How could I pos-”
“Yes! I will be coming with you,” Aqua adamantly demands, cutting off Regal and not giving him a chance to question her.
King Tanner gives Regal a brief sly grin before speaking to Aqua, “I will leave you here with Regal, Aqua. My smithy is now closed, so why don’t you stay with Regal until you head out? It would likely be within a few days, or a week at the most. Regal will have to pay the yearly city tax now that he has graduated, which has coincidentally been raised to a hundred gold for his house alone. If he isn’t gone with you by then, he will be forced out of the city for not paying his tax.”
Regal is about to refuse Aqua living with him, but then he remembers that Tanner is in fact King Tanner, the highest authority within the city. In that moment of hesitation, Tanner quickly exits the academy and leaves Aqua behind with the stunned Regal.
Seeing Tanner leave, Veronica, Astore, Kilde and Piora, who don’t know that he is the king of the city, come over and ask what’s the news.
With Regal at a loss of words, Aqua speaks in his stead. She doesn’t know Regal’s friends, and speaks to them indifferently without worrying about being too blunt with her words.
“Oh, you’re Regal’s friends, aren’t you? My father invited him to join our family, talked about someone he knew a long times ago and gave him some advice. Also, it has been decided that Regal and I will be leaving Theore within a week, and that until then, I will be staying with him.”
Everyone is shocked and surprised, including Astore and Kilde who almost never show any emotion. Piora shifts her eyes between Regal, Veronica and Aqua, finishing back on Regal with a murderous look.
Veronica is the first to speak, and for someone who has never gotten angry before, voices a single word with clear hostility.
Aqua is taken aback as Veronica moves forward and grabs onto Regal’s arm, holding him tightly enough that Regal’s arm becomes painful.
“Regal?” Aqua looks heartbroken at first, but then becomes extremely stubborn. “It doesn’t matter. I will be living with Regal over the next week.”
Veronica, being a Soulless, gives Aqua no leeway or room for negotiation as she adamantly refuses her. Eventually she looks at Regal and states the only method she deems to be able to keep Aqua away from Regal.
“I will be staying with you. She can stay at a tavern.”
Veronica quickly drags Regal away from Aqua. The rest of Regal’s squad quickly follow with Aqua stubbornly chasing them. The entirety of Bluemist Academy’s graduates are still in the midst of celebration as Regal, Veronica, Kilde, Astore, Piora, and Aqua head out of the academy for the last time, heading into their lives and the future ahead of them.
The Veronica and Aqua problem isn’t resolved until later that night, with Regal exhaustedly sleeping in his own bed, Aqua sleeping in his parents previous room, and Veronica sleeping on the couch. Had Regal known the sleepless nights to come, he surely would have refused them both.
Meanwhile, on Regal’s identity plate, the class he decided on which suits him best glows within his inventory.
Name: Regal Havier Age: 17 Level: 10 Nxt Level: 0% Health: 436/436 Mana: 323/323 Stamina: 162/162 Class: Grand Crafter Str: 45 Dex: 49 Agi: 39 End: 37 Int: 29 Lck: 16