Chapter 2:

A Lesson In Soul Weapons

Soul Weapon

April 16th, 3184
Monday - Afternoon

After Kiyoko and I took to our seats, the other students started filing in after us. Unlike with the regular classes, Miho wasn’t able to slither his way ahead multiple levels. It’s not that it's not allowed, but he simply couldn’t keep up to even attempt the higher leveled classes. But what makes this class so different from the rest? That’s where Dr. Mundoch comes in, our teacher for this class.

Dr. Mundoch, among a select other teachers at the academy, educates the students about our Soul Weapons. These weapons, generated from the soul come in many different forms and no two are the same. At birth, doctors use a device to release the soul from the human body to potentially bring it to the physical realm. About half of the world’s population today is able to tap into the power of the soul to call upon their weapon. However, it’s not quite as simple as that.

The types of weapons the soul generates is seemingly random. I, for example, have a black-steel scythe. Some have swords, guns, daggers, rockets, and some have more abstract ‘weapons’ like instruments—I’ve seen someone use a flute as a weapon. Somehow... Alongside simply having a weapon to fight with, each person is able to tap into what appears to be raw magic. But others, despite being able to tap into their Soul Weapon, might not actually have a physical weapon, but rather they only have magic.

With one last note, Soul Weapons go even deeper with their Gears.

First Gear Soul Weapon power is simply the weapon the user has alongside their unique magic ability. Also, as the Gears progress, the overall strength, speed, and regeneration of the user increases. As stated, about 50% of people can use this.

Second Gear boosts and upgrades the weapon and magic the user has. Roughly 30% of people can access their Second Gear.

Third Gear is what all of the students at this academy are taught to aim for. This doesn’t simply upgrade your weapon and magic, but it basically makes you a walking force of destruction when you use it. Only most third years and professors can access their 3rd gear at this academy, and only about 10% of people in the world can access it.

4th Gear, used only by a select handful of individuals in the world, is also known as the Final Gear. We’ve never been taught anything about this Gear, or how to tap into it—only that it can cause great devastation or peace. It’s a power that can change the balance of the world itself.

Most world conflicts and politics are decided with soldiers that use Soul Weapons. Essentially, we students at this academy are being trained to become warriors for whatever future war we need to be in. And it’s not like we had a choice to enroll. Based on what kind of Soul Weapon the doctors assess that we have as a baby, we are chosen to enroll at a Soul training academy, like ours, or a regular one like most others.

Dr. Mundoch, wearing a labcoat that's just a little too small for his stomach, stands in front of the class, writing on the blackboard. Noticing that everyone had arrived, he turns around and introduces us to today's lecture.

“Hello all. I’m glad you could all make it once more,” Dr. Mundoch says as he gestures  with his hands as he speaks, “Today we’ll be learning about the ferocious, but potentially self-dangerous, sickle with chain Soul Weapon type.”

Each class, he runs us through weapon types and how they’re used in combat, different magic element types, and how to channel in and tap into your soul to create a deep connection with it.

“Some of the names that can come with this weapon type are,” Dr. Mundoch continues as he points to a list written on the blackboard, “Elasticity Bind. Flaming Torpedo. Luck Harbinger. Size Disruption. And Current.”

These names that the teacher listed off are the names of our Soul Weapons. Each Soul Weapon has a unique name, and thus no two are the same. Oftentimes the first and sometimes second Gears of a weapon type are relatively similar to each other, but none are exact. However, it's the third Gear that really changes things. It’s not until the user reaches their Second Gear that they find out their Weapon’s name, however. The soul weapon’s name gives an obvious allusion as to what abilities one holds. My Soul Weapon is Soul Drain. It’s dangerous.

Dr. Mundoch gets extremely thorough with his lectures, explaining every possible detail he can about the weapon or ability he’s teaching. When a student has the weapon type that he’s educating us about, he’ll oftentimes even let them demonstrate it in front of the class for a ‘live lesson’. Unfortunately, no one had that weapon type in our class so it was just a simple lecture-based period with not much happening. 

Some time had passed in the class and Dr. Mundoch is going over the history of the weapon and who had wielded it in the past.

“You see, even the great Alexander Fortitude, don’t ask me about the strange last name,” he chuckled, “over in the west wasn’t able to fully master his own weapon. Of course, he made it to his third Gear, but truly getting that deep connection with his Soul Weapon proved to be difficult. He even—”

Dr. Mundoch got interrupted by a loud bell sound, indicating that the period had ended and the class started filing out.

“Alright, alright, kids. One at a time. Be sure to review and study the weapon type for tomorrow.”

While leaving, I notice Kiyoko not far behind me, but is suddenly called to the front by Dr. Mundoch. I pause and stare, trying to hear what’s going on but can’t due to the other student’s chatter. After a brief moment, she turned around and returned to me.

“What was that about,” I ask as we leave the classroom.

“Oh,” Kiyoko looks down, “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”

Another secret? Again, it doesn’t seem like she’s interested in going into detail so I let the subject drop as we head to the arena for our final class of the day. Soul Weapon Training.

Much like the previous class, the students aren’t marked through tests and quizzes, but by an exam at the end of the school year. These two Soul Weapon classes aren’t meant for you to simply get a high mark and move on, it’s to prepare you for battle. If you’re not knowledgeable and combat ready, then you simply won’t pass. That’s where this class comes in. Kiyoko and I enter the large training ground filled with dummies, mats, practice weapons, and in the center—a giant tournament stage rests.

In this class, you’re free to train however you desire—as stated, it’s not about the mark, but your ability and knowledge by the end of the year. However, it's quite often at this academy that students challenge others to fights, and it’s extremely frequent that it happens during this class, hence the giant arena.

“So,” I look at Kiyoko, “You going to train today?”

“Hm,” Kiyoko humed as she looked down, deep in thought, “You can train on your own.”

With that, not even making eye contact, she turned and left for the bleachers. Kiyoko sat down and started daydreaming like she normally does during this class. In both this one, and the previous, she’s always been very quiet for some reason. It's extremely out of character for an honors girl like herself. It’s most likely because I don’t think she’s even able to access her first Gear—well, I haven’t seen her use it, anyway. I imagine that’s what Dr. Mundoch talked to her about, but I can’t be certain.

Shrugging that off, I head over to the nearest training dummy and call upon my weapon.

“First Gear,” I exclaim.

From out of my right hand a black-steel scythe with purple accents forms its way into existence. I give it a few swings in my hands as I warm up my muscles. It’s about half way through the school year and most other students had only first tapped into their first Gear a few months ago. I, however, have been able to access mine since middle school, but that doesn’t really give me any sort of advantage as only highschool level students are allowed to use and train their Soul Weapons.

So despite having access to my weapon for so long, I don’t have much training with it outside of this school year. Currently, I’m practicing to keep a momentum after I land attacks, keeping a constant flow. Swinging the scythe in my hands, I make my first attack, aiming for where the neck would be and slice cleanly as I bring the scythe up over my head, still swinging, as I bring it down for a vertical cut down the torso. The tip of the blade, however, gets caught on the shoulder of the dummy and the scythe gets launched out of my hands and lands a few feet in front of me.

As I walk over to retrieve my scythe, I see from across the room, two students walking in. The one, about six feet tall, had buzzed hair with a white tank top on. In his arms he held a girl with short black hair by her waist as she uncomfortably walked beside him. That is Ryuu and Tanaka, his supposed ‘girlfriend’. However, it's obvious that something isn’t right about their relationship.

Ryuu being a second year, I don’t know much about him. And despite Tanaka being a first, she’s always been a mystery to many. I only know what Ryuu’s Soul Weapon is and the fact that Tanaka is deaf. I imagine that has something to do with how they act around each other as there’s a large gap in communication.

As they walked toward one of the training posts across the room, Tanaka tripped on Ryuu’s leg and fell to the ground. Dumbfounded at what just happened, Ryuu stood over Tanaka for a moment before leaning over and started yelling at her despite her ability to hear.

From behind Ryuu, a hand grabs his shoulder trying to calm him down. Ryuu, of course, throws it off and glares at whoever just touched him. And it’s none other than second year Takashi. The student with the highest ranking of all the second year students.

Takashi, wearing advanced shinobi gear with a red scarf tucked under his armor that covers his mouth, stands in front of Ryuu like a statue. The two lock eye contact for a few moments before Takashi leans his head looks past Ryuu to Tanaka and pulls down the scarf so his mouth is visible.

“Excuse me, miss. Are you alright,” Takashi asks with a calm, monotone voice.

“Yes, she is,” Ryuu answers for her, moving back in view of Takashi, “She’s just fine. So how about you back off?”

Ryuu took a step forward and shoved Takashi—or at least he tried. Instantly, when making contact with him, Takashi appeared to phase out of existence. Ryuu, continuing forward due to he momentum, trips and nearly falls to the ground. Suddenly many eyes fell upon the three of them as Ryuu frantically scans the area to find Takashi lending a hand to Tanaka, about to help her up.

Charging at Takashi, Ryuu swings his fist for the back of his head, but once again, when contact was made, Takashi simply vanished. Even more frustrated, Ryuu stomps his foot and yells.

“Come on out, you coward! Enough of your tricks!”

Suddenly, a voice can be heard above on the second floor’s balcony.

“You really think I'd waste my time to actually come down and speak with you,” Takashi shrewdly asked with his arms crossed as he leaned on the railing.

“Well, you’re wasting your time right now anyway,” Ryuu yelled, “How about we settle this right here, right now!”

Ryuu gestured his hand to the empty arena behind him.

“She’s looking pretty lonely—how about we make some good use of her,” Ryuu posed, grinning through the side of his mouth.

Tilting his head to the side, Takashi appears to be genuinely thinking about the question.

“You know,” Takashi ponders, “I don’t normally do this. But you’re pissing me off in a special kind of way today.”

With that, he jumped and swung his legs over the railing and landed in front of Ryuu. Ryuu scanned Takashi’s body and gave a small jab to his shoulder.

“I’m the real deal,” Takashi affirmed.

Nodding his head, Ryuu puffs and marches his way to the arena. Not caring about Ryuu, Takashi looks over to Tanaka who still sits on the floor. Taking a few steps toward her, he reaches his hand out to help her up.

“I'm really sorry about all this,” Takashi says as he pulls Tanaka to her feet, “I know he’s your boyfriend after all.”

With a pause, he stares deeply into her eyes, still holding her hand before he continues.

“But I truly do hope you’re okay.”

Releasing her hand, Takashi turns away to meet Ryuu on the stage. Overhearing the situation, a referee meets them on the stage, who had approved of their match. The title of referee is given to teachers, most third years, and certain facility members whose main role is to simply be a referee. You may be able to challenge other students to fights here, but they may not get approved if the referee detects actual bloodlust. You could say that Ryuu might be a bit too bloodthirsty, but when Takashi is involved, that’s not going to be a problem. Oftentimes, to calm the viciousness in the fighters, the referee will hold the fight for the following day. However, this fight, of course, is a special case.

Both fighters step back to the opposite ends of the arena and get into their stances. Ryuu crouches down a little and readies his hands near his head in a boxing position. Meanwhile Takashi slides his left foot forward, placing his weight on his back leg. He brings his right hand up to the side of his head and makes a fist, its backside facing Ryuu, and his left hand extended out with his palm facing outward, fingers curled.

The way Takashi moved into position felt as though his hands flowed through water, making a wave. However, Ryuu’s rough style felt as though the ground would shake with any sudden movement. Two opposing forces, about to make contact.

Despite how quickly the fight had been set up, dozens of students started flooding in to watch the fight unfold. The referee, standing in the center, raises his hand above his head.

“Three! Two! One!” The referee yells as he steps back with each count, “Activate your weapons!”

With his final word, he swung his hand down as both Ryuu and Takashi yelled simultaneously.

“First Gear!”

Ryuu’s hands started to crack and split open with what appears to be lava underneath. The surrounding skin burned brown like rock, turning hot and hard to the touch. The cracks continued until it nearly reached his elbows.

Takashi remains still as a rock until, with the force of his back leg, he shoots toward Ryuu. Despite Ryuu calling this match, Takashi made the first move. Takashi’s left foot, shot out in the air, aims for Ryuu’s face. With a loud crash, Takashi’s foot smashed into Ryuu’s arms, crossed above his head that defended the powerful kick.

Throwing his foot to the side, Ryuu takes multiple swings at Takashi. Being as skilled as he is, Takashi flips and dodges them with ease until he takes his leg and swings it up to the side of Ryuu’s head, about to strike with another powerful blow. Even faster than his foot, however, Ryuu’s hand shot up to the side of his head and caught the blow with his forearm, causing yet another crash in the arena.

With a twist of his arm, Ryuu grabs the underside of Takashi’s leg and swings under it. Using the momentum, he grabs the leg with his other arm and, while under Takashi’s leg, pulls up with his immense upper body strength. Takashi is lifted from the ground and swings in the air, crashing back to the arena face first.


He vanished.

Dumfounded, Ryuu spins around to find that Takashi is back in his original stance. The crazy thing is—he didn’t move once since the fight started. Ryuu just never noticed.

“You’re telling me I was fighting a clone this whole time,” Ryuu exclaims, “You’re a real coward, you know? Top of the year my ass!”

“I was simply judging how serious you were,” Takashi responded almost instantly.

“Oh, I’m dead serious,” Ryuu spoke with a low tone.

With a nod of understanding Takashi responds, “Then you’ll understand what I’ll need to do if those are the lengths that you’ll go.”

“Bring it on, ninja boy.”

In a blink of an eye, even faster than his first attack, Takashi dashed toward Ryuu and swept his leg. As he did, a clone jumped out of Takashi’s back above Ryuu and flips so his back is to the ground with his arms extended. Takashi, while Ryuu is still in mid-air about to fall on his back, grabs his clone’s hand and together, they pull and launch Takashi high in the air. With a flip and a vanish, suddenly only one Takashi remains. Spinning from the momentum of the launch, yet just half a meter above Ryuu, he extends his fist and crashes it deep into Ryuu’s gut. With a loud boom, Ryuu smashes to the ground, cracking the arena below him as Takashi lands and rolls a few feet away on his feet.

Without a moment of hesitation as Ryuu lies unconscious on the ground, Takashi faces the referee.

“Referee,” Takashi speaks, “Who’s the winner?”

“W-well,” The referee sutters in shock, “Second year Takashi has won this bout. Congratulations on your victory.”

The crowd roars as Takashi, who doesn’t give anyone, not even Ryuu a final glance, walks off in silence. Without even giving his opponent a chance to showcase their powerset, he dominated their fight. That is the power of the strongest second year student.