Chapter 26:

1.26. Astral Space: Training

The Writer's Illustrator is Stuck in Cookie Cult (LN)

I think he left the window open on purpose. Falling from a few stories high doesn’t kill you when you’re in an astral state. That’s plain ridiculous. Bookmark here

I had no choice. The office was too confined and I would’ve actually died at that rate. It’s a mystery how the 233rd Avner’s reflexes were still built in as part of my memory. Nevertheless, I began wondering if Cain was out to kill me or if this was the training regime he set out to create.Bookmark here

“Be ready at all times for unexpected ambushes! This is a key skill in surviving!”Bookmark here

I would think otherwise. Unless you’re a fictional character, being alert at all times is straight up impossible. By ambush I assume he’s talking about stepping on a mine.Bookmark here

What’s the point of being alert at all times when it wears you down and causes you to lose focus? That’s just counter productive.Bookmark here

I ducked, held onto the pole and forcefully pulled myself into a rotation. A laser passed my most recent location. I continued running.Bookmark here

“So unfair.”
I’m only a fledgling, yet have to face a veteran angel. He’s got these flying drones attacking me from various points. Worse, he’s looking down at everything from the roof. How did he even get there?Bookmark here

Maybe I have to tackle him?Bookmark here

I ran into the school building. At the entrance, two drones were waiting. Bookmark here

Both fired at once.
By a paper thin margin, I slid past the bombardment and escaped from under. I took the stairs. Bookmark here

The straight hallway will be when I’m most vulnerable. There are students which I can use as shields, however, the compensation is that it’ll slow down my movements. I need to create some distance before I can even decide to take that route.Bookmark here

I reached the second topmost floor. Once more level and it’ll be the roof. I wasn’t sure if the door was open, I didn’t want to take the risk. I know there are other exits I can take.Bookmark here

I was about to dash out when, from the window, a drone flew in.Bookmark here

Bad idea.Bookmark here

I braked hard and ran up the stairs. Bookmark here

I’m totally cornered. This is so unfair.Bookmark here

Oh. Surprisingly, this rooftop door is open.Bookmark here

I squeezed through the opening.Bookmark here

And found myself standing in the line of fire for 4 drones. Cain standing just behind them.Bookmark here

“Good work. Combat will end for now.”Bookmark here

Combat? Wasn’t that a wild goose chase?!Bookmark here

Does this old man even know how to train someone?
“Avner, come.”
“No more right?”
Your breathing does get affected when you’re tired. It’s now a question of what exactly this astral body is breathing in. Definitely not oxygen.
“No, it’s over. You did well. I’ll increase the intensity next session.”
Really? I’m already having a hell of a time trying to not die.Bookmark here

“Today’s session was about learning to retreat, Your Holiness has done well. Now that I have gauge Your Holiness’ abilities, I’ve prepared a few tools which to aid you with.”Bookmark here

I’m piqued. Bookmark here

Cain had me follow him to a corner of the open rooftop. You could see the entire city landscape from here, it’s amazing.Bookmark here

He took out a few small jewels from his pocket. It wasn’t monochrome, surprisingly. The jewels burst into light, and turned into weapons.Bookmark here

“This is an integration,” Cain transformed his hand into the plasma cannon from, “On the other hand, the weapons you see laid out in front of Your Holiness are tools. Both serve similar functions however, once you choose an integration, it becomes part of you. When you come to that point, I advise Your Holiness to choose wisely.”Bookmark here

“I understand.”Bookmark here

“Tools are weaker versions of integrations. However, their versatility cannot be underestimated. While there are a limited number of integrations one can absorb into the body, tools can be changed whenever. I believe it’s best that Your Holiness to experiment with various tools before deciding on which to become an integration.”
The five tools were:
A mechanized blade spear with a cannon attached to the front.Bookmark here

A dual dagger, or state-of-the-art machete with a small gun integrated at the hilt.Bookmark here

A sleek sword with a mesh of networks and nodes running across the entire surface.Bookmark here

A plasma cannon with in-built drones.Bookmark here

An extendable techy rifle attached with a variable scope.Bookmark here

“Which integration did my past self choose?”Bookmark here

“Your Holiness, forgive my ignorance. I am unsure. From what I remember, it’s an unusual whip-like sword acquired from the demon realm.”Bookmark here

A whip sword.Bookmark here

“Are weapons from the angel side different from the ones from demons?”Bookmark here

“Yes. Tools created by us angels are characterized by its refined quality. A demon’s tools typically give an offensive, grim impression.”
“Then is it alright to even take a weapon from an angel?”Bookmark here

“There is no rule stating that a demon can’t use tools manufactured by angels. Some angels use tools made by the demons.”
“I see. Then I’ll be taking this.”
“No. Take all of them.”
“Yes. It is important for fledglings to be acquainted with as many weapons as possible. This is to increase the chances of finding the most compatible type.”
That makes sense.Bookmark here

“Then, thank you very much.”
“Your words are wasted on me, Your Holiness.”
I reached out for the mechanized spear. It resembled a halberd if anything.Bookmark here

The other weapons shrank back into jewels and floated in front of me. I took them and shoved it into my side pocket.Bookmark here

“Will they appear as gems in the real world?”Bookmark here

“They will appear as accessories. As an example, did you notice that I wore an earring?”Bookmark here

I didn’t, actually.Bookmark here

“It can come in many forms, some tools are troublesome to keep at hand, others blend in seamlessly. All tools you are in possession of are part of a keychain.”Bookmark here

That’s convenient. Cain really took the effort to make my life easier.Bookmark here

“Thank you. Then, Mister Cain, could I request for a spar?”Bookmark here

I kicked the butt of the spear and spun it. I pointed the tip at him.Bookmark here

“I hadn’t had a good fight in a while.”Bookmark here

I grinned.Bookmark here

===Bookmark here

The spear can shoot lasers from the tip. The method of doing so requires you to pulsate your mana into the weapon. The activation or initiation of is subconscious, so it’s hard to describe the process from when I begin charging the cannon to firing.Bookmark here

I spun my spear, marrying defense and offense into one. The plasma laser fired by the drone all around was intercepted by the either blade or shaft of the spear. If I had extra margin, I’d intercept the laser with my own. Bookmark here

Cain’s plasma cannon integration was a tricky one as it didn’t disappear completely, but split into two when bisected. Other times he would shoot out one thick stream which the spear couldn't guard against. The drones would close in at this sort of time, I had trouble fending against them and had to roll away several times.Bookmark here

I shot down another drone with the cannon.Bookmark here

Cain’s expression warped.Bookmark here

Good. I charged forward.Bookmark here

He swapped his cannon for a Gladius.Bookmark here

Drones began flickering orange, something that hadn’t happened until now.Bookmark here

He’s preparing something.Bookmark here

“My pride won’t allow my defeat.”
The iris of one of his eyes glowed orange. A string of numbers enveloped his weapon and drones.Bookmark here

I spun my spear downwards. He stepped to the side, I shifted the grip of the spear and followed him.Bookmark here

He jumped over the blade like he was skipping. Bookmark here

I swiped horizontally, he titled my spear away with his Gladius.Bookmark here

The drones began firing again. I spun my spear like how I wound a polearm.Bookmark here

I’m starting to doubt my skills.Bookmark here

How in the world I’m I so good? Cain said Avner in the 233rd life used a sword whip right?Bookmark here

More accurately, I wasn’t even using the spear as it’s supposed to. The strength of a spear is found in its ability to pierce, done in a single movement. Yet I’m making numerous revolutions with this.Bookmark here

“Crap.”Bookmark here

The orange glow accelerated basically every component of the drones.
I jumped away. Just then Cain pointed his integration at me, beginning to charge. I was at loss. Bookmark here

It was checkmate.Bookmark here

I dropped my spear.Bookmark here

“I concede.”Bookmark here

I prepared my all to dodge.Bookmark here

But the attack didn’t happen.
The drones flashed back to blue, and Cain lowered his weapon.Bookmark here

“This is beyond my expectations. I’m so glad I reached Your Holiness first before the demons,” Cain looked at me with eyes of admiration, “Your Holiness’ power is on par with those within those 1000th rank and above.”
What does that even mean? I have no idea. Cain is pretty strong himself.Bookmark here

The way he addressed me changed, his expression turned serious.Bookmark here

“Will you accept the invitation to join the side of the angels?”Bookmark here

Wasn’t that his intention to begin with? I don’t know anything so that’s the most logical option I have.Bookmark here

“If it’s alright with the angels then I suppose so.”Bookmark here

“I will reach out to my old acquaintances regarding the matter. This will be a difficult process, however, I believe your strength is imperial to rid the world of the evils.”Bookmark here

“Rid the world of evil? I only want to live a normal life.”
Hold up. I didn’t sign up for this. I’m Shin, a guy who’s in the midst of finding Novelle. I don’t need more responsibilities.Bookmark here

“Is that so?”Bookmark here

“I don’t mind joining the angel’s sides so long as I don’t get killed.”
“I will have to reconfirm the law. But, Avner, understand that I will do everything I can.”Bookmark here

He stared at me, eyes burning in determination.Bookmark here

“Please don’t join the demons.”Bookmark here

“That’ll depend.”
“Your Holiness.. no. I understand. It’s your right to decide.”Bookmark here

Cain showed a grim expression.Bookmark here

What a bummer.Bookmark here

“I don’t want to become enemies, if possible.”
“Neither would I. Shall we end our session for today?”
“Next week, same time?”Bookmark here

Cain nodded. The drones dispersed into particles of light and he took the white jewel that appeared before him.Bookmark here

“Let us exchange contacts.”
That’s right. I remember seeing how I had an empty list the first time I encountered Cain.Bookmark here

{Cain Ghron has requested for contact exchange}Bookmark here

Yes.Bookmark here

{You have added Areais Cass to your contacts}Bookmark here

I guess I can call Cain the next time I find myself in trouble? I’m not sure how it works.Bookmark here

“We shall return. Prepare yourself.”Bookmark here

Ripples spread across my vision. The sensation of a powerful torrent slammed my body. Colours returned alongside the muffled bustling of the school environment.Bookmark here

Nausea struck me, I held on to one of the tables. Bookmark here

“Are you alright?” Bookmark here

“Yeah..” Bookmark here

Cain propped me up.Bookmark here

“By the way. Mister Cain, I almost forgot to tell you this.”Bookmark here

I blinked a few times to regain focus.
“I think there’s an angel fledgling about to be born in the school.”Bookmark here

===Bookmark here

dotturndot: Woohoo. Combat nyan. Avner is OP right?! (NOPE)Bookmark here

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