Chapter 7: At the Range

Chapter 7: At the Range

The moment I stood up from the floor I was attacked by a vicious hunger. Its been happening for the past week now ever since I began performing mana lustrating before bed.

“Augh, it feels like I burnt a hole through my stomach.” My hands were shaking and unsteady.

“Order breakfast and a lot it please, Eurval.”

{Right away, master.}

Every time it feels like it’s the worst hunger in my life to the point where I was anxious for food wondering if I would starve to death, constantly checking the camera feed above the door waiting for the robot to come.

Huh.. so this is my last breath… Is it my time? But I still haven’t completed my bowstring…

I was on my last breaths as I hunched over the front door waiting.

[Master, I know there’s nobody here to see this, but you’re embarrassing me.]

“ITS HERE!” I pounced and practically ripped open the robot to retrieve the tray of food the moment it rolled by my door before it could even ring the doorbell.

Wasting no time I put the tray on the floor inside and started to spoon the oatmeal into me barely taking the time to chew. The savory and sweet smells only serving to increase my voracity.

I felt like a savage as I made a mess shoveling food into my mouth. After finishing a bowl of oatmeal I took a breath and wiped some it off from around my mouth. The hunger wasn’t gone, but at least I could think straight now. I picked up the tray and went to go finish the food into the living room.

Seated, I turned on the tv and continued to gorge myself. A news channel reported from the school as guilds from across the Kingdom of Scales where spending an unprecedented amount in recruiting cadets from Laurent Academy.

Many were even offering high ranking lifetime memberships and tens of millions of scales if a cadet won the MMG and offered the orb use to them. Others offering high ranking cadets to personally teach them with their top mages and if they wanted to be gifted with their best combat arts to try and win the MMG’s and give them the orb.

“So that’s what all those people where.” I had seen flyers everywhere and people with name tags filling the hallways scouting for talent.

With me being last they just gave a glance at me with their AI, saw my rank, and looked past.

I wasn’t really interested in that right now anyway. Is what I said to console myself.

I put the tray into the sink. My stomach was packed with food. Bacon, eggs, toast, hash, pancakes, ham it all flew into me. I have never eaten this much in my life in a single meal yet I could feel my stomach quickly breaking it down.

Leaving the kitchen I went right into my room. I could feel I was on the cusp of creating the two spells to use the bow.

“Soon my beautiful..” I brushed my hand over the bow that was leaned against the wall beside my desk. I really did enjoy touching and glancing at it. Its workmanship was really something special.

I closed my eyes and begun envisioning the bowstring spell I had been working on.

Fail. The moment I brought the magic circle out with new changes it flickered then dissipated. Failed again. I tried to add more isolating sigils — it only served to stop the flickering.

Fail. Fail. Fail. Nope even worse! Fail. Fail. Maybe I’m not summoning the mana correctly? Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. One more time. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail.

FUCK. I adjusted my magic circle another couple of times, nothing. My mana body was half drained even with the extra recovery. I was so close which is why it was all the more frustrating.

Of course, I could just use Laurent’s freely available bow-arts that contain the necessary spells to use my bow, but what was the point? If I couldn’t solve this then it would mean I would never get far in becoming a mage on my own. While the bow-arts available were decent I wanted something made by me even if it was inferior.

“Why can’t I summon a damn bowstring and arrows!” I wanted to punch a wall but settled on the soft bed instead.

I can feel my mana faintly forming a bowstring on my bow, but it just keeps fizzling out at the last second. How vexing, it’s like its taunting me.

“Just let me summon you already!”

Oh no. Oh no no no. Summon.

“Ah…summon…” I felt my head hit the hard wooden desk, but this pain was nothing compared to my revelation!

I wanted to cry.

Everything about my spell was correct — kinda. I still had some adjustments to do now, but I wasn’t summoning a bowstring and arrows! I was summoning mana to the give the attributes of a bowstring and arrows!

It finally clicked. I felt the pain in my stomach unknot. For weeks! No months! I’ve been working on this and it finally paid off.

My thought process from Earth had me wrongly trying to summon a physical bowstring and arrows. I had been imaging the ones I used on my bow from Earth.

I picked up my bow. What I needed to do finally made sense. As if all my failures were a joke two strings of white and red easily appeared intertwining to make a violet bowstring connecting the ends of the bow.

“I did it. So simple. Easy.”

I took a breath. My hands were shaking in excitement, but I still had one more equally important thing. I quickly made a similar adjustment to the magic circle.

A glass-like arrow of wind essence appeared on in my other hand.

“I FUCKING DID IT!” My heart was pumping in happiness.

[Congratulations master! Although it is the first step in creating a bow-art, it really is amazing! In only a month too!] It made me happy to hear Eurvel elated too. Who doesn’t like to share moments of happiness?

“LETS, ahem, let’s go test it out at the combat gym.” I tried to contain my energy. I stayed in my athletic gear and put on my training shoes then left for the gym. Still, I was unable to stop the extra hop in my step.

Eurvel guided me to the gym for the first years. It hadn’t known it was right across from the cafeteria. I could see the delivery robots I was familiar with zooming in and out.

I passed the cafeteria taking a quick glance from afar it just looked like a giant high-end restaurant, but the hundreds of tables said otherwise of course.

“Hey! Hey!” A girl suddenly ran up to me from the cafeteria. It was a familiar face — it’s the girl I had run into on the day of orientation by the academy’s entrance, Alexa.

“Lucid right?”

“Yeah?” I was a bit on guard.

My worst fear at the moment was someone finding out I came from another world creating a situation out of my control. Someone like Runter or the group of four could hold out and run, but me right now I would be at their mercy.

“I just wanted to properly apologize for my brother’s rudeness the other day. He’s just a muscle head and was excited about being admitted. Ah what am I saying! I know it’s no excuse, but Sorry!” She gave a bow. I was so confused at the suddenness, but I accepted her apology it seemed sincere, honestly, I had already forgotten about the incident.

“Don’t worry about it, I was at fault for standing in the doorway with my luggage.” I hurriedly answered, I honestly don’t care right now! I just want to shoot my bow.

I gave a bow and stepped to the side towards the gym.

“Eh? It didn’t work?” I heard her mumble something else, but it didn’t matter!

The automatic door to the gym opened up. It was packed with students all intently focused. Some fighting combat dummies, others moving targets in a field, or even fighting each other in ring filling the gigantic gym with loud bangs and roars from the various magics and students with monstrous strength.

[I reserved that field over there master.] A green arrow jumped up and down to booth in the shooting range.

“Isn’t that last?” voices started to sprout here and there as I made my way.

“Oh is it? I haven’t seen him come once I thought he had given up haha. Say what you want about my skill, but at least I’m not last.”

“Shh, he’s coming.”

“Oops.” The two laughed as the pretended to feign embarrassment.

These people aren’t even trying to be subtle. As long as they aren’t bothering me, ignoring them would be easy.

[Those idiots. What do you want me to set the target settings master?]

Set it to 50 meters, please.

The levitating target from far in the distance flew closer, stopping once it hit 50m floating in front of me.

{Distance:50m Elevation:1.5m} Eurvel’s overlay suddenly displayed information on my target.

I didn’t know you could do this, do you function off my sight or can you see yourself?

[Your sight right now, but if master wishes so I could connect to other equipment and use it to supplement.]

Like a drone? Do they even exist here? It can’t be too hard to hire someone to make if they don’t right, this world seems more advanced than mine.

I strung my bow with my personal spell and created a dozen crystalline arrows floating beside me. Having practiced it for so long I could cast these two spells without even thinking.

I wonder If I’m still any good.

“What the hell why does last have a custom spell? I haven’t seen the violet string in the bow-arts catalog. I heard he was poor.” The bowman who had been laughing with his friend made a hardened expression.

“It’s just the first part of a bow-art to be a bowman who cares? Probably couldn’t even afford the rest.” The other scoffed and continued shooting.

You know I can hear your right?

I took my stance, relaxed my grip, and nocked an arrow. The glowing violet bowstring’s brushed my lip, I hadn’t noticed before but the bowstring was warm to the touch.

Aiming with my left. I let go. Swish. The arrow cleanly flew on a straight path.

A strong gust hit past me fluttering my uniform and hair following the arrow. I could feel my cheeks sore from holding the grin. It was part of the features I had added to my arrows.

I guess I am a little rusty.

Even though it missed the target it succeed in destroying the target board slapped apart if the tornado-like winds. The broken target board stayed on the floor and was quickly replaced by another floating in the same spot.

“Did he just miss the target at 50 meters! How is it even possible? He’s going make the academy look like a joke.

“Seriously? His arrow spells in his bow-art seem pretty decent too. He doesn’t deserve something so strong. His aim is shit and his arrows are slow. I should have it probably bump be 200 ranks.” Two cadets sharing the booth next to me chatted.

“Still look think he spent all his money on a custom bow art he couldn’t afford a grown weapon ahaha what an idiot, he’s going to be so behind others in duels.”

I shrugged off their comments. It’s not like I wasn’t used to snickering.

Shouldn’t you be more worried about yourself?

I was confident in my abilities to learn. It was only a matter of time that I would catch up was what my pride told me.

I nocked my arrow again and shot. Whoosh. Then another, and another.

[A little too much to the left master.]

I nodded. I was getting into a groove.

This is fun! Like when Kevin and I would destroy styrofoam cups with his bb gun.

Boom! A nice hole appeared this time inside the smaller inner target was hit, a little off center, but I was getting close.

More importantly was the destructive power. I didn’t notice since I missed the first arrow, but this one pierced a clean fist-sized hole through the target. Crazier was the ‘gust’ following the powerful vortex came after and blew the target outward into pieces!

I knew somewhat of its effects since I created it, but I had only incorporated the piercing and vacuum into the spell loosely how it would be interpreted was based on a users subconscious and conscious will.

[I believe it’s because master made the spell it’s in perfect sync and brings out the most.]

Eurval was probably right. It followed what I had learned so far said.

So cool! Again! My mind quickly switched back. I wanted to shoot more!

Watching the pieces of target fly high into the air then carried by the winds far into the field after was mesmerizing.

Let’s see how good my spell is. The more mana I can compress than required into the spell the better, though there was also the limit of how much mana I could compress naturally.

I wonder which wall I would hit first?

I bit my lip in excitement and overfilled mana into the magic circle for the arrow.

Now release. A thunderous roar swept past me as the arrow blew apart the whole target hitting it like a wrecking ball. The vortex following ground the remaining bits into dust coating the ground with a fine layer of white.

So cool. I wanted to try fire too, but I was a bit scared.

Maybe just a tiny one?

A single smoldering arrow appeared in my hand. It wasn’t hot at all to the touch, at least for me, I could see the air wavering above it.

Quickly I nocked the flame arrow and release. Completely silent.

The flame arrow cut through the air leaving an orange streak behind it. I could already tell it was moving much slower than the wind one.

BOOM! The loud explosion took me by surprise. Burning pieces of the target fluttered to the ground.

Its explosive force was already much larger than wind arrow with compressed mana without needing it.

This is too fun. I already had another arrow nocked without even thinking.

Ahh, this reminds me when I went to Kevin’s house and we used his sisters hairspray to make a little flamethrower.

She got so incredibly angry chasing us with the broom in her hand all around the house.

I chuckled at the memory.

[Who is Kevin master?]

Just a good friend.

[Master has friends? Did they not make it to the academy?]

I couldn’t help but chuckle. I guess it would be surprising as all of my time is composed of training, studying, watching Heroes of History, and eating.

Nope, they’re just at a different school. I retook my stance.

Release. Boom! Release. Boom! Release. Boom!

My mind was hypnotized watched the arrows streak through the air and destroy the target. I stayed in the trance, focused on the bow and the target.

[Umm, master it’s lunch time~]

Time flew by, I had just got a bit of my form back too. Hitting the center or close to it was getting really easy.

I looked around. Most of the cadets had left too. There was less than a quarter here compared to when I started.

I’ll go have lunch in an hour it’s probably packed anyways. Eurvel can you set it to 150m.

[Ooo master is serious now.]

The target in front of me floated backward stopping at exactly 150m. If Olympic strength is easily surpassed in this world then accuracy should be too?

I had already seen other archers hit the 500m target at the far end of the range dead center with their arrows.

“Can this even be called a bowstring?”

I was curious I recast my violet string bow with the strength needed to shoot an arrow fast enough break the sound barrier. It was rock solid — I couldn’t tug it in the least.

I tried to use all my strength to pull it, but only managed to vibrate it a little, while none of the first years could shoot an arrow at the speed of sound I was sure a bowman at Mrs. Eddy’s level could.

I recast it to something easier, though I was sure it was still much stronger than any bowstring available on Earth. The daily body training had my strength probably at insane levels by Earth’s standards.

The targets began to pile up underneath the 150-meter mark. Each one showing a little progress as the shots neared the center.

I had removed most of the magic from each arrow. I wanted to just focus on accuracy causing the wind essence arrows to only punch finger sized holes.

I think I should stop here. The final wind arrow blew a hole at the center of the target.

I could hit the center half the time and near it the other half. I was content with this progress as any more advancements had slowed down significantly.

Let’s go get lunch now I’ll eat at the cafeteria.

[I’ll reserve a table master.]

Not only did my progress above 150m slowed, but I could feel my mana at a quarter. One of the first things I had read was complete mana depletion could damage my mana body along giving a month-long headache horrible enough to wish for death.

How many arrows did I shoot?

[Master shot 232 arrows.]

I could probably double that tomorrow. Towards the end, though I realized it was faster to create the arrows on the fly than reach to the bunch I had already made.

I made way through the gym to get to the cafeteria with a relaxed grin. My excitement I had coming in was fully sated leaving me satisfied.

Dozens of various scents hit me as I entered the cafeteria for the first time. I had only caught a glimpse of the tables, but now I could see where the food came from.

So it’s a buffet style if you eat here. I was surprised I figured it would be a sit down with waiters considering how elegant the entire cafeteria was.

I picked up an empty plate and got in line to get foods various trays of steaming hot foods.

I sat down at my reserved table with my plate of food.

Nice window seat choice.

[Hehe no problem master.]

The view was spectacular from my seat paired with the beautifully set table besides it really was like some high-end restaurant.

Entranced by all the wonderful smells coming off the foods I ended up plating a lot various dishes in curiosity especially the extremely foreign-looking ones.

I ate quickly, nothing was particularly eye-opening even the black vegetable that had the appearance of a burnt orange tasted normal in a sense. It tasted different, yeah sure, but in a sense that if I tried it blindfolded I would immediately think “yup this is a vegetable.”

“He’s eating by himself? Isn’t that kinda sad?” The group of cadets chatted at the table beside me.

Does everyone assume that because I was mute that I’m deaf too?

It seemed being dead last at something gave me the fame on par with being first. Even in this world, people take comfort in watching those worse off.

Every single dish was delicious I half expected the disappointment of buffet food, but each one was great. I ate slowly really savoring the experience I think I’m going to start eating here from now on. The live piano, the clear sky, and the wonderfully classy aesthetic made me want to come again.

The other reason why I ate so slow was to fill up my mana. I could really feel the difference between having the cadet clothes on and off. I could feel I was around 70% full. Maybe in another half-hour, I would be back to full.

An hour seemed fast, but in a battle, I would never be granted the respite long enough to recharge back anything worth mentioning.

I gulped the last of the soda and picked up my plates of food taking them to the drop off area and head for the exit.

Now that my mana was full my destination was the tole forest!

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