It’s finally time to actually begin training and I think I’ve been dreading this since my teachers seem to all be very adept in causing pain. Maybe I’ll go check on Quincy before I head off to my death since for the past few days he’s done nothing, but cram himself in his room reading books all day. I’ve heard that he ordered a crap ton of books from the library to be taken to his room and I have seen some of the hallways in the lower levels of the castle just stacked to the ceiling with books. I’ve also overheard some of the servants complaining about how hard it is to navigate the lower areas of the castle. I think that counts as an abuse of hero authority, but the lords don’t seem to care so I guess they’re okay with this.
I walk up to his room to knock, but I don’t hear any response from the other side. Should I barge in on him or would I walk into a really awkward sexual situation. Nah, Quincy ain’t the kinda guy to pull that kind of stuff. He’s even more awkward than I am. I choose to open the door and I attempt not to get crushed by all the books that collapsed as a result.
“Hey, Quincy, what’s up. Whoa, why are there so many books in here? Are you even alive in here?” I gasped.
There’s literally a sea of books in here and it’s hard to walk around.
“Hey, Will. I am alive, for your information. Isn’t this great? I would have never been allowed to hoard this many books back home,” Quincy yells.
I can’t even see where he is in this room, I think hoarding is an understatement.
“Yeah, sure, but don’t you think this is going a bit overboard? I don’t think anyone could possibly read this many books, even you,” I answer.
"You underestimate my power, Will. I will, and I can read them all,” he exclaims.
“Well, at least you haven’t died from reading any forbidden books, yet,” I sigh.
Calculating the volume and the area of the room, and accounting for the average size of each book I’d say there’s at least 1767 books in the room--probably more though. Wait, why was I able to make those calculations and in under a second too. It probably is a side effect of reading the Void Apocrypha. At least I have the brainpower of a supercomputer now. This would have allowed me to pass Calculus with ease.
I take a look at some of the books here and I can feel magical energy being exuded from quite a few of them. If any of these are anything like the Void Apocrypha then that’s bad news.
“Hey I hope you’re aware that some of these books are extremely dangerous. You could die or accidentally summon Satan or something like that,” I joked.
“Don’t worry, it’s going to be fine. If anyone can handle reading forbidden books, it’s me.” Quincy claims.
I don’t know where he gets that confidence from, but if he’s going to get us home I have to have faith in him.
I take a look at some of the books lying around I spotted a few peculiar ones. How to Tame and Ride Dragons, Crash Course in Dreden Cuisine Using Chimeras, Compendium of Mythical Creatures, How to Perform Sexual Transformations. Maybe I’ll steal that last one, could do all sorts of evil things with that. I end up spotting a book with a rather interesting title. A Collection of Interesting and Erotic Stories, by Vasavir. Hmm, why is this one part of the forbidden series of books? Oh right, Lord Borin, I can definitely see why he would order this one to be placed in the forbidden section. There’s definitely gotta be more copies around so his efforts are probably in vain. It was a best seller after all. I bet Quincy probably hasn’t read this one yet, but it interests me so I’ll snag it. Maybe there’s something around here that can assist me in using air elemental spells. “Hey, Quincy, you don’t mind if I take a few books relating to elemental spells, right? I think it would help me in combat, if I don’t die from them first.” I ask him.
“Yeah, sure, help yourself. I was told my aptitude doesn’t lie with using magic so those books aren’t too helpful to me,” he responds from an unknown location.
I see one of the books that has the title Air Apocrypha on it and I assume it must have the same effect as the Void Apocrypha. I open it up and my brain is assaulted with information about using wind based attacks. I see one advanced level spell called tornado that allows the user to create a tornado to attack their enemies. Seems pretty useful, but it says I need to take advantage of the magical energy in the environment in order to use it otherwise it would consume massive amounts of energy from my aura. I still don’t know how to do that yet. I should get Remi to teach me how to do that later since she did something similar with the Death Mantis we fought. As I’m thinking about this, it seems my concentration breaks and all of a sudden wind starts coming out of the book rapidly. It feels like a tornado just came out of the book as I start to levitate with the book in my hands and I end up flying around the room. The mini tornado starts to suck up a bunch of the books in the room and now its a book tornado or a booknado? I suppose hurricane would be more accurate if we’re talking about an ocean of books, but a bookicane sounds lame. It seems the mini tornado also sucked up Quincy as I see him flying around the room with a book in his hands.
“Oh, Hi Will,” Quincy says as he hasn’t noticed that we’re flying yet since his face is buried in a book.
“Hi Quincy, also look around you,” I respond.
Quincy does as I say and his face turns to shock.
“WHAT’S GOING ON, WHY ARE WE FLYING?!” he screams.
Unsurprised by this turn of events I shout back,
“Like I said earlier some of these books can be dangerous, so take this as a warning before you read one of the forbidden books. OW.”
I think I just hit my head on the ceiling and I drop the book that has all of the wind coming out of it. The book falls to the floor and closes finally ending the booknado. Also since the booknado just stopped Quincy and I also fall to the floor into the sea of books.
“Ughh, why are books so painful. Books suck,” I groaned trying to get to the surface on the sea of books.
“Nah, books are great, they just don’t like you. By the way, do you just bring chaos with you wherever you go? I’ve heard some people call you the portal menace,” Quincy accuses.
“Honestly, it’s not my fault I think I’m just really unlucky,” I reply. I attempt to clear away all of the books blocking the door since the book tornado sent them everywhere. “Hey Quincy, I hope you didn’t forget, but our training starts today, I’ll meet you at North Point later if you manage to make it out of your man cave,” I announced.
“Ah really, but I don’t want to train. I just want to be a hermit and read books,” he replies with a sad tone of voice.
“Whether you decide to go train or not, it’s up to you, but don’t blame me if someone tries to drag you to the training grounds.” I barely managed to exit the room, but some books end up leaking out the door into the hallway.
Oh well, not my problem, it’s the servants.
Ok it’s time to suck up my fears and head to Vasavir’s workshop. I end up entering a rather secluded part of the castle. I wonder why this place feels so cold and devoid of energy, I can’t even see any of the usual servants I see cleaning the place. I remembered it was like this on the night I met Nazuko as well, but it was so dark I didn’t really notice. I end up entering the workshop, but I don’t see the stupid old man here. I guess I’ll just wait until he comes back. I pull out the book of erotic stories I stole from Quincy earlier and attempt to entertain myself. Whoa, this story seems kinda crazy. So long ago when the emperor was younger and unmarried the man was actually a player and had many intimate relations with many women. Vasavir trolled the hell out of him as he turned himself into a seductive woman to meet the emperor. When the emperor found out he was so enraged that he was the one who started all the assasination attempts on Vasavir.
“Mmmmh, I remember that one. The emperor was so mad and paranoid he didn’t sleep with a woman for months. Good times indeed,” Vasavir says as he pops out of nowhere overlooking my shoulder.
“AHH, don’t people tell you not to pop out of nowhere like that. Even at my age I think jumpscares are unhealthy,” I swore.
I close the book and set it aside turning my attention to focus on the wizard.
“Alright, young hero, are you ready to begin your magic training? How much of the Void Apocrypha have you read so far?” Vasavir prods.
“Umm I think around 50 minutes of it,” I replied.
Vasavir rubs his nose and states,
“In that case, you might be ready to undergo some of the training necessary to fix your portal problem. From what you’ve read you should be able to open a portal by now.”
Finally some progress towards mastering this power and ridding myself on this dumb nickname. “Okay, try opening up a portal between here and the hallway outside the workshop,” Vasavir commands.
Alright I calculate the spatial coordinates in my head and manage to open a portal right inside the workshop.
“Ohoh, very good now let’s say if you got the destination right. Step inside the portal if you please.”
“Wait I have to go in there? What if I messed up, where would it take me?”
Vasavir readies a cup of tea and pours a small amount into the portal. He seems to notice something is afoot, but doesn’t really give anything away.
“Hmm, I see, well there should be no problem and I can take this chance to teach you a thing or two that your lacking,” he informed.
I take a deep breath to ready myself and step through the portal.
This is a familiar sight, but I think I really am about to die this time. The height at which I’m falling is the same height I fell from when I first came to this world. Which happens to be about 2 miles in the sky and I’m right over the castle this time so there’s no falling in water this time. Nothing will go wrong my *ss. Why does this shi*t always happen to me?
“Would you like a cup of tea Will?” Vasavir states nonchalantly as were both falling out of the sky now.
“Yes please, WAIT, NO! THIS ISN’T THE TIME FOR THAT! DO SOMETHING TO SAVE US YOU STUPID OLD MAN!” I yelled as he’s just sipping his tea in freefall.
How the heck is that even staying in the cup at this rate?
“Yes, yes, but before that have you noticed?” Vasavir asks.
“HAVE I NOTICED WHAT?!” I shout.
“Your problem with using portals lies with you manipulating the y-axis of the spatial plane. You get the proper destination, but the height at which you arrive at is largely skewed.”
Huh I guess he’s right, but that doesn’t really help our situation at the moment.
“Ok, Ok I get it, just save us already,” I command.
Contently Vasavir materializes something that looks like a plank of pure magical energy and stands on top of it. He proceeds to grab me out of the air and we float down to the castle courtyard.
“Oh god I never want to do that again,” I say as I’m sprawled out all over the ground as if I were trying to hug the ground.
“Pretty impressive, if I must say so myself. To be a beginner and your range is already around 2 miles if you’re not using any markers,” Vasavir complimented.
“Yes, if you make a certain symbol between two places where you want to set up portals you can create portals much easier. Although, for your training, we will be making them all free-handed,” Vasavir notes.
Why didn’t he teach me that first? That would have calmed my anxiety a little bit.
For about the next 2-3 hours I attempted to create portals with the correct spatial coordinates and I’m getting somewhat closer to the ground each time. Vasavir tells me once I can create portals with the correct height then my subconscious influence of the other portals should get corrected as well. I decide it’s time to try heading through one of the portals to North Point since it’s time to train there as well. My training with Armstrong doesn’t happen until tomorrow so I guess North Point’s the plan for now. I leap through and I realize I’m not falling from as large of a drop this time. Still kinda high, even though it’s not perfect its progress right. I land on my butt and wipe off all the dust that’s on my clothes.
I end up walking to the field to be greeted by Lilith, who seems happy to begin beating me with a wood sword again for the next few hours.
“Hi, Wll, are you ready to begin training today, I think we’ve come a long way since we started a week ago,” she says joyfully.
I’m definitely not ready to get filled with bruises again, but at least Lilith is nice to spend time with. More so, since her training is way more brutal than anything Vasavir has thrown at me so far, hopefully Armstrong’s training isn’t as painful, but it probably will still hurt a lot. I swear for the last 6 days from 7 in the morning to 8 at night we’ve been doing drills and training as hard as I can. The girl even follows me to all my meals to make sure I’m eating right.
“No, but I’m happy to see you at least. I-I mean I’m happy to see that you’re in a good mood,” I say awkwardly.
Lilith, luckily, doesn’t dig in to what I meant by that comment, but I think she understands since she smirks. Stupid me, don’t give away the fact that you like spending time with her even though all you’ve done together is training and getting whacked with a piece of wood. Am I just a masochist or something? Maybe I’ve taken a small amount of brain damage or I’ve gone crazy from the fatigue.
Our basic training consisted of practicing all the correct stances, practicing proper footwork, how to position your blade, creating openings in your opponent, and how to defend yourself from your opponents attacks, etc. My strength has increased quite a bit and I’m not dropping my sword everytime I parry a strike. I’ve gotten pretty good at defending myself, but I can’t seem to land any hits on Lilith yet. My offense needs a lot of work. But yet, something feels different today, like I feel like something is about to emerge and is just on the tip of my tongue.
It’s late in the afternoon and we’ve been training for the past 6 hours. I think I’m reaching my breaking point, but my mind has been really clear and I’ve had this strange sense of focus this entire day. For some strange reason, I feel like I really want to pick up a second sword. I pick up a smaller wood sword in my left hand and the clear, focused feeling I’m having--intensifies. It’s like electricity is flowing through my body and I feel a prickling sensation in my hands. Lilith notices my odd behavior and prepares to whack me in the head to get my attention. My body moves without me thinking and I raise my left sword to block incoming strike behind my head. Lilith gets startled by me suddenly parrying her strike.
"Whoa! I see you still have some strength left. Why are you using two swords? Do you really think that’ll help you when we’re supposed to practicing the basics. I haven’t taught you a thing about dual wielding you know,” Lilith says.
“I know, but I just have this really strong feeling like there’s so much power flowing through me right now. I can’t really explain this feeling all too well, but I want you to fight me right now and give me everything you’ve got,” I say while evoking a sense of power.
“Why--oh, I see what’s happening. Finally, I was wondering when this would happen. Alright, then show me this power of yours, HERO!” Lilith yells as she begins to charge at me with her sword upraised.
I charge at Lilith with both swords ready to strike. My body is instinctively reacting to her strikes. My mind feels empty as if I’m reaching towards nothingness itself. I feel as if I weigh nothing and all the fatigue from training just vanishes. I know she’s not going full force against me, but I can keep up with her for the first time since we started training. I barely notice the purple aura erupting from my body as Lilith and I exchange blows. It’s the same color as my portals. My body’s movement feels much faster than usual and everything feels like it’s flowing, almost like water. I’m using the smaller sword in my hand to parry and the longer one in my right hand to strike. It seems that my unconventional fighting style has gotten Lilith a bit dazed as she is attacking less than usual.
“I didn’t think his change would be so drastic,” she mutters under breath.
I take a moment to analyze Lilith with the power of the ring:
Swordsman -> Paladin
Aura & Magic:
Balanced Aptitude for Both
I notice a few new things that have popped up since the last time I used this ring. It must be due to killing the Death Mantis. I can actually read the message for Aura, and the magic indicator is new. Her luck is God Like? Well, that’s not fair, in contrast—my luck sucks. I can view her war class, but I don’t know what the label next to swordsman means. What is a Paladin? Is it a deeper version of swordsman? Either way, I throw away all unnecessary thoughts and focus on my opponent. The only thing that matters in this moment is to win. Predict her attacks, seize my survival 3 seconds into the future, let my attacks become pure instinct and carve my way to victory.
I’ve analyzed the basic fighting style Lilith is using against me. There’s a small opening in her right side that I can take advantage of. She swings her sword in a horizontal motion and I duck under it and move to her right. I attempt to end this now as I throw the sword in my left hand away and place both hands on my longer blade. I use both hands to strike as hard as I can, but Lilith attempts to counter me. Both of our wood blades clash, but Lilith’s breaks under the pressure of my blow. I follow through with the strike and my sword hits her right side knocking her down. After taking a step back and realizing what I just did I celebrate. “Finally! After all this time I’ve landed my first blow on you,” I say as I attempt to catch my breath. Now that I’ve won I notice the electric feeling I’ve had throughout this fight vanishes and I start to feel really sleepy. The last thing I see before losing consciousness is the sun setting and Lilith coming to my aide.
As I begin to wake up, I can feel my head resting on something very soft. I open my eyes and I can see that I’m resting on what seems to be Lilith’s thighs. Holy crap, I’m actually receiving a lap pillow. That’s it, I have officially found best girl. It seems we’re back in my room at the castle. In the corner of my eye I spot Nazuko sitting on a couch across from us giving a thumbs up. Was she the one who managed to get this turn of events to occur? If she was, then I might have to reward her later. I try to close my eyes so that Lilith doesn’t notice I’m awake so I can make this last longer, but all of a sudden I hear the door open and see Quincy about to enter.