Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Volume 1 - Chapter 6 - Killing two birds with one stone

Formulas are limited to physical, mental and abstract forms. So the source always has to go through the user. In theory, we can probably make an ultimate skill if we can somehow make the spell reactionary and control it instead.

To be honest, I was scared, scared and excited the day after getting splashed with his [Water Beads]. I couldn't sleep that night and woke up to figure out the formulas. I spent many sleepless nights trying to decipher the formulas, especially since there is no information whatsoever on "Second Phantasia" related sites or even on the internet at large. Then one day, Kun said he figured how to make new skills. His method was very simple, he just divided them into large chunks and just moved them around. So in short, he's treating the formula like an algebra equation and just throw in known values into the working parts. I guess this is what they call unable to see the forest for the trees.

In his explanation, the [Source] section determines the amount of mana used from the caster, then you have the [Conversion] sequence to convert the Light mana source into the desired state. Lastly, the [Action] sequence to determine how the converted mana should act. A normal spell consist of [Source] + [Conversion] + [Action] = [Effect].

The more complex the [Conversion] and [Action], the more mana you'd need, thus requiring a larger [Source]. The larger the [Source], the more mana you'd need to move, thus needing even more mana, inflating the [Source] even more. My «Chorus Strike» used that fundamental rule to boost its attack power. It consists of two formulas, the first one uses a considerable amount of mana to deconstruct incoming modified mana into Light mana. The second one can be any formula that requires a large quantity of mana since it will be using the pre-constructed Light mana produced from the first one. This way, I can convert incoming attacks into a bigger attack of my own at a fraction of the cost. I already thought it was ingenious, but then... «Starrise»!!

Instead of going for more power, he went for efficiency! The first version of «Stardust» he showed me was a continuous attack using «Light Spear» and «Homing Bullets» as basis. He used the [Source] and [Conversion] part of «Light Spear» and then repeated the [Action] part of «Homing Bullets» tens of times while reducing the radius. The result was a continuous speck of lights that chases you and blind you on every impact. Since it's low cost and long duration, a more powerful second [Spell] can be used to finish off the opponent while they are blinded.

I thought that was what he was going to do when he used it during our spar, but no... it went completely beyond my expectation! I thought he intended to bombard me with many specks of light in one decisive volley when he summoned that cloud of lights. Who would have thought that it was a delayed spell? I was ecstatic, I got to see something new that others have never seen before! I spent even more sleepless trying to figure how he did it, I tried rewriting numerous formulas to imitate its effect, but I couldn't do it! I eventually gave up and wrung it out of Kun.

It seems Kun used two formulas of his own. The first «Stardust» was to produce a mana source for the second formula, the only purpose was to condensed Light mana into grains to be placed around. Since it's only condensation, the amount of mana required for [Conversion] is low since it remains in the Light mana state. The [Action] part of the formula was simply "stick to whatever object it hits", the grains of Light mana remained on my staff when he was using his sword to follow it to strike at me. The second formula merely told the grains to "decompress" as he put it and turns it into a blinding flash of light. The side effect of that is that it creates a "mana vacuum" as it also draws in surrounding mana to decompress the condensed Light mana. Apparently he wanted to add a third formula to make use of the uncompressed Light mana, but he said his head couldn't handle it so he decided to use a physical attack instead. "There's always another mountain taller than the one you see" kept ringing in my head for a while.

I'm now desperately trying to think up of a new ways to use mana. There's probably only the four of us aside from the developers that knows of this method of using mana. And only two of us are really pushing the envelope in term of using it, I really can't wait to see something new again!

"...bel! Isabel!"

"Huh?" I lift my my arm off the large table and roll toward the source of the voice without lifting my head off of it. "What is it? My break isn't over yet... is it?" I bring my arm back up onto the table to check my watch. Seeing that I still have half an hour, I drop my arm down again, looking at my two colleagues that are standing in front of me. They have been getting lovey-dovey lately, it's against company policies to have romantic relationships on the base, but what can you expect when you have people stuck here for months at a time? I even heard the chief mechanic has been stuck here for 2 years straight. It's already amazing that people are willing to return to Marigold base no matter how good the pay is. I mean, who would want to live underground all year round in the middle of Antarctica?

"We heard you play Second Phantasia, so we wanted to ask you if it's worth it to have some consoles installed in the rec room."

Oh right, this petite, chestnut-haired, middle aged woman is part of the psychological welfare management team.

"To be honest, we are pretty interested in it as well." The bespectacled, beanpole of a man chimes in. I think he's younger than her by quite a few years, but I've seen stranger things, one has to account for taste as well.

Oh! Maybe... yes... this is doable!

"You know what, why don't you two come on down and try it. George! Hey! George!" I wave down my co-worker/subordinate. "I will be giving psych a hand on something, com me if anything important come up, you are in charge for now." The burly blond man in a white lab coat turns around, flicks and points his two index fingers at me before returning to work.

I drag my head off the table and stands up. "Alright, follow me." I lead them to my private room with a smile on my face.

* * * * *

"Get up you maggots! You think the enemy will wait while you rest on your lily ass?!"
A lean, muscular, middle aged man covered in scars shouts at the figures in camo fatigues. Kun is at the head of the group, breathing rhythmically while the other figures are either sitting down or laying flat on their back, catching their breaths.

"Gui and I caught some snacks, give us a bit."


Kun turns his back toward the man, revealing several rabbits dangling upside down from a rope on his back along with a knapsack of vegetations. The man beams and lifts his brows for a moment and nods his head toward one of the few buildings in the area.

Kun and Gui head toward the makeshift outdoor kitchen that the group of trainees built. "Alright you maggots, you heard him! There will be snacks! Whoever fails the next set won't receive any!" A chorus of groans answer in reply as the figures force themselves into a standing position.

They had been following Kun through some tough terrains until just a moment ago. During their trek, the gray fox and Kun would occasionally dash off into god know where and come back with a rabbit. Every so often, the young man would grab seemingly random plants and either start chewing on them or throw it into his pack, the gray fox does the same thing with plants and insects.

By the time they got back, the group was completely ragged while the young man leading them was just slightly winded. The group looked at him in disbelief when he just walked away and started working as if it was the most natural thing, with the dangling rabbits trying to escape the ropes every now and then.

"50 more pushups!" Their instructor bark orders after orders, before all of them finished their set, he already started barking other orders. "50 squats! On the double!" The tantalizing scent of roasting meat slowly drifts toward the group, a few starts gulping unconsciously in response. "Focus! 10 suicide dash, GO! The last one won't get anything!"


After an ear deafening shout, all the figures got a sudden burst of energy as they run back and forth between two lines, diving to touch the line on the last dash.

Walking up to the last man that's still on the ground, the instructor starts barking. "You! Nothing! Stick with your rations!" Walking back a bit to address the rest of the group. "And no sharing! If you want extra food, either catch it yourself or don't come in last like this maggot here!"

"Sir yes sir!"


The group slowly makes their way to the makeshift kitchen with large fallen logs as chairs and tables.

"Everyone go grab a ration and then line up, and I mean everyone." Kun points toward the small stack of military rations before heading back behind the makeshift blinds for the kitchen. He rips entire roasted rabbits apart and starts seasoning them when he enters. The group did as told and lined up obediently right outside. Kun grabs some greens from a stack of washed vegetable and plants he had prepared previously, using them to grab a piece of the prepared meat and hands it to each individual who heads toward the logs after receiving their share.

The last individual, the man who had come last in the training, arrived last with a sullen look. Kun points towards the man, opening his mouth wide open and points at his own head. The man scrunches his forehead, but open his mouth, Kun quickly grab a small piece of meat along with some greens and tosses it into the man's mouth. He then put his index finger on his lips and move his eyeballs toward the instructor that's slowly making his way over before giving the man a wink. The man immediately starts chewing the tidbit of food before swallowing. Kun gives him a nod toward the exit and say in a clear voice, "sorry buddy, nothing for those that end up last."

This is a ruse devised by Kun when his uncle was complaining about the lack of motivation among the trainees two years or so back. Humans are very simple beings, especially when they are tired. Nothing seasons food better than hard physical labour, so Kun used this to make a carrot and stick system.

On the first day of training, he would cook some food that he'd catch during the trek, he would prepare them as the group goes through their training. The smell would make their instincts go into overdrive and they would put out their maximum effort, especially when there's the penalty of the person being last receiving nothing. For the record, military rations are bland and doesn't do much to satisfy hunger. The eventual loser will receive a bite to taste it, it looks as if Kun is acting in goodwill, but it's really a cruel tease. If the loser never got a taste of the reward, how would they know what they are missing? When the next mealtime comes around, they will work their ass off to avoid being last again. After going through this for 2-3 weeks, any normal persons would become a well oiled training machine. By the way, this token of "goodwill" only applies on the first day.

*baku baku*

Gui walks into kitchen after giving himself a shake outside.

"Alright, let's go eat." Kun bring out two whole rabbits, which lays on top of a mound greens and fruits on a large plate. He set it on a log in front of his uncle, with Gui sitting himself right next to them.

The three of them start digging in, that's until the usual chatter among the trainee become deathly silent. This is the second part of Kun's plan.

*grr grr*

Gui licks his lips after finishing a piece of roasted rabbit before growling at the men and women staring at them, baring his fangs. Their instructor stops eating, giving a them a death stare. "You maggots! Even the fox is looking down at you! If you want more food, either find your own or help them hunt! Gui here is generous enough to share his food with you!" Gui starts nuzzling the middle aged man, as if agreeing, then start eating again.

Most of trainees look down in shame and resume eating their bland rations, they had long since finished the greens and meat. Some even had tears in their eyes. This might seem tough and excessive, but it is to motivate them to learn about hunting and foraging. War is still fought with swords and shields, with arrows and siege engines providing long range support. Logistics are unreliable at the best of times, let alone during a drawn out battle. Soldiers need to be able to survive on their own if they ever become cut off, so self-sustenance is extremely vital.

The revival of humanity has been met with numerous stumbling blocks. By the late 21st century, fossil fuels and other resources have been completely used up save a few isolated pockets. Following the apocalyptic Aurora events, even radioactive materials have pretty much ceased to exist. As such, humanity had to rely on their own power, that of beasts and nature for energy. The Aurora events have left a deep scar in the minds of humanity, each time an Aurora appears, any and all volatile material will ignite, causing indiscriminate destruction. During the Age of Recovery, a certain nation in Africa tried to reinvent gunpowder for military use. An incidental passing Aurora caused the nation to be filled with craters. There were other nations that tried as well, whom met similar fates. After a while, no other nations bothered to research guns and explosives.

As such, even in modern times, wars are still fought with humanity's own hands and ingenuity. As technology reached the point where ancient relics can be accessed once more, renewable energy and electronic technology grew by leaps and bounds. There were attempts to utilize more complex weapons recorded in the relics, but none were able to reconstruct them due to missing key resources. This leaves the world in a curious situation of an advanced race fighting wars in a primitive way.

This unique technological shift caused the focus of any war to lean toward capable soldiers instead of technology. With the assistance of his dead father's war buddy, Kun has turned his isolated piece of land at the eastern tip of the Jervis Inlet into a top notch training facility.

"So Hank, what do you think of the plan?"

"If what you said is true, we could be running this all year round. With the winter portion as 'Mental Training'".

"Also, I'm thinking of bringing 'them' along."

The scar-covered man raise one of his brows. "You are serious?"

"Yes, I really think it will work out, there might be some problems, but if we are really going to expand, we will need some help. Especially from those with experience, we can't hope to handle all of it ourselves, right?"

The trainees are cleaning up after themselves before heading into the shades. There's a period of rest before the next training session begins. Hank shifts his eyes left, then right, then left again, as though he's arguing with himself inside his head.

"We can always fire them if they prove useless, but I think they deserve a chance."

A wide smile slowly spreads on Hank's face, grabbing Kun's shoulders with his slightly greasy hands, "You really are your father's son."

*pero pero*

Gui, not wanting to be left out, starts licking Kun's face.

"Them" is referring to the veterans that had returned permanently wounded from the previous wars. Kun remembers his dad would always bring his fellow troops to this very site for a summer retreat each year. The group had shrunk over the years, eventually even his dad was gone. But there are quite a few remaining ones that are alive, if you can call it that. Although the country provides living allowance for these veterans, they are often unemployed. Few would hire them, especially if they are missing limbs or have facial disfigurement. There's always those remembrance holidays, but those are just token gestures to placate the masses, doing nothing to help those who suffered in the war for the sake of the country.

With a feeling of helplessness, this had often ended up with the veterans either addicted to one thing or another, some even committed suicide, others saw their families fall into poverty or they end up completely shattered. The country doesn't really care since it would be saving them on expenditure, if there weren't any backlashes, it isn't unthinkable for the country to euthanize them "for the greater good of society".

"Alright, alright, let's finish up, you still have to wring those guys dry."

Kun bashfully uses a readily available excuse to escape Hank's praise.

* * * * *

Sender: Bell
Subject: Another source of income for the academy

Well kiddos, I am thinking about using the Academy as a resorts of sorts. We can probably get some cash out of it and use it to purchase gold, tell me what you guys think. I will try to log in the next week or the week after, XOXO

* * * * *

Sender: Kun
Subject: About that plan I mentioned before

Guys, I had discussed with my partner, I'm thinking of expanding my training facility into "Second Phantasia". I know it's an untested idea, but I think this can really work. I know I didn't really share this, but I lease out my small piece of land to train soldiers, been doing that for a little over two years. So we will never be short of students, even if it's a slightly different kind. Don't worry, they won't cause trouble, or more like, they don't dare to cause trouble. See you guys soon.


  1. The Queens Reach? I had to google this by the way, since before this I had no idea that there was an inlet named Jervis.

    1. You aren't the only one, I had to ask the original author what ジャービス海峡 means, since I couldn't find it on google. I didn't believe it was Jervis Inlet until I got a screencap of the atlas.

    2. Does that mean either Otori or -- is possibly a Canuck?
      Kun seems like a Métis.

  2. Thanks for the chapter!
    Yay!~ More insights about the other two characters, now I know more about the circumstances/situations of this worlds settings/background info.


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