Chapter 2: Training Is Murder

Tears are flowing all over her beautiful face. She cries like never before, making me wonder just what could have happened to throw her into pain like that.

Even when they killed her brother, she didn’t shed a tear.

Its g-good that you’re finally here a-again!” she stumbles towards me and presses her face onto my stomach.
“What happened?” I ask her with a calm voice, although inside I’m not calm at all.
Since I arrived here, I keep getting sorry looks and now – literally half the village is gathered in front of our house.

“O-Our son is missing f-for already three m-months!” I can barely grasp her words.
Did I mishear something?
“What? Calm down and slowly explain me everything that happened!” I ask her.
But she doesn’t seem to hear me.
“Silver pl-please be alive, I-I know you are still out th-there!” she
sobs.

I’m sorry mister, it’s my fault.”

The young boy next to me quietly apologizes.
“You are his friend, aren’t you, what happened?” I question him hoping to find more clues.
“Well, we went out to play hide-and-seek, but then Boss, the son of a noble from town, wanted to scare your son with a bear costume inside the forest, and tricked him into going there against his will.
I’m s-so sowy! B-Because when a real bear showed up, I wanted to save him, but I didn’t have the courage to go save him alone! Pl-please forgive me!”

A familiar voice appears behind me
Don’t worry, it’s not your fault! Even I heard the scum laughing at you wanting to help me! I’ll definitely get revenge on that coward!” 

T-That’s impossible! H-How could a five year old child possibly survive in this forest for three months?

I turn around.

As our eyes meet each other, I begin to whine in joy.
As expected of my son, even a bear cannot shake him! And that with only five years! He really is my son!

My wife seems to have noticed the unexpected turn of events as well “Silver?! Wuahh! I’m so happy, I just knew you would be alive!” she exclaims still crying, as she runs towards him.

***

After that she embraces me with warmth I had missed more than anthing over the past months. As I set my eyes on Father who came back for the first time in 3 years, I see a truly satisfied face.

After the tearful, but joyful reunion, I’m telling my parents about my confrontation with the bear and how I trained in order to become strong. Strong enough to overcome my fears and leave the forest. However, I leave out everything about my new teachers, the old chest and my energy training, since my teachers ordered me to do so.

After that, Father seems to be real proud about his son getting so strong. Even though he is still suspicious about my tales, he decides to trust his son and not ask any further about it.

Being interested in weapons, I ask my Father to train me in swordsmanship. Becoming five half a year ago, he’s pretty surprised about my request. Luckily Mother also started to request from him to just stay with us for a few years.

After a while of thinking he finally accepts and tells me that he will train me in the morning and the evening for about 2 hours each.

Finally I end up with a heavy training plan. Each day in the first two hours is swordsmanship training scheduled, followed by 4 hours of magical training, 4 hours of meditation and training of chi-techniques. Afterwards follow another 2 hours swords play, and the day ends with 2 hours of muscle training.
Additional reading two hours in the head leave me only 8 hours of sleep per night. If I didn’t sleep at least 8 hours a day I would suffer heavily from fatigue and sleeplessness.

***

So far the training shows good results – except it is so exhausting I don’t even want to stand anymore.
However, it ends today on my eigth birthday, since Father suddenly decided to go on another adventure.

Up until now I was able to increase my stats to an entirely different level:

A body that was able to destroy a big rock with physical strength alone

⁃ Normal arrows would only slightly scratch me.
That is the result of the skin, flesh and bone strengthening techniques of the old man, which works by constant periodical damage through chi to inner structures stimulating the body to strengthen itself. With chi activated, iron swords or arrows can’t even scratch me.

A soulrank of the 3rd stage, the ideal condition for summoning my pet

Magical knowledge of an ultimate magician and mana of about 1000 MP (Mana Points, a unit used to measure one’s magic level)

Skills of a good swordsman

Martial arts (those arts do not necessarily involve chi or magic) on the level where I probably can beat people twice as strong and with more experience, in close combat.

I’m able to do a basic spell of each element as well as storage magic and have some concealing skills (for mana, chi, presence, auras). Even taming lower ranked monsters and animals is possible now by turning all my energy into pressuring aura. Also I can use a halfhearted shadow merging technique and illusion magic to the extent of changing the look of a coin.

I didn’t forget a single book I wanted to read.

From this, my teachers had concluded one thing: I took over all their talents!

And their bad habits…

Everything I wanted to learn or seemed interesting I can remember 100%, but things I don’t like, well, I don’t wanna talk about it. Also I seem to be talented with martial arts, cultivating and magic.
I learn fast and quickly analyze foreign situations.

I have what people regard as talent. I’m a natural genius.

Although…
In this world the beastkin are everywhere, but for some unknown reason I just can’t stop thinking about touching their fluffy ears. Curse the one who is at the fault for this.
“Damn you, Otaku!”

What did you say, Silver?” Komoru looks up.
“I asked if we want to go check out our treasures at the city.” I respond.
“Good idea, but you should not show them your gold coins. Wait for that until there’s someone strong you can trust.” Old Fionn implies.
“Old man, why shouldn’t I?” I ask a little bit irritated.
“Hohoho not all people are nice, there will be many that are going to deceive you, kill you or even set you up as a criminal; the cube is already risky enough!”

Even so, not a single big magician or technician in the whole city seems to have a single clue.
The mysterious cube seems like it’s missing a wheel, since it sucked up a faint amount of mana, but just doesn’t want to show any sign of reaction. After some hours of seeking luck, I somehow end up in a backstreet.
As I notice that I didn’t just come here by accident, I’m already in a run-down magic store.

Scary. But I can’t turn around. I’m moving forward against my will.

Err…ahem, Hello?” I address the guy behind the desk.

After some while of silence he turns around and responds”What brings you here, dear costumer? Oh I just noticed how young you are, but didn’t you come here for me to analyze your cube?”

“I’m a magician by the way.” he tells me after seeing my questioning face.
“Y-You already- I mean, how do you know?” I blurt out the question and take a step back.
“Hehe, don’t underestimate a magician, it literally covered up your whole presence.” he implies.

What? Is it even possible to read something like that from a presence?
Even my teachers don’t know about something like that.
The Old man said “I haven’t ever heard of someone reading another one’s thoughts from his presence, but it most definitely is possible to predict the opponent to a certain degree by correctly interpreting minor movements of his body.”
Whether it was just a lucky guess or some other cheap trick, the thought of someone reading your thoughts is still quite intimidating

“… Well since you already know, take that and tell me how it works. Please!”
I hand it over and stare at him.

“Actually it’s quite simple.” he says.

Yeah I already expected that, the others would’t have had problems with somethig simple

Wait what? Did he just say it’s simple?
I need him to confirm that.
“Really?
” I ask and he confirms
“Yeah, you should be fine as long as you follow my instructions.”

I start trembling with excitement.
“I’m already so excited, mysterious magician, so how does it work?” I question him.
“Haha seems like you’re still a kid, so how about a little riddle? It will activate as soon as you insert an equal amount of chi and mana. Every kid likes riddles, right?”

Surprised about his awareness of chi, and his calm and all-knowing insight, we are stunned.
But his attitude sucks! Who wants a riddle, I just wanna open it already!

After some looks on the exquisit quality of his items which don’t look like out of this world, we decide to leave. He is frightening.
After slowly turning towards the exit we breath out heavily once the door snaps.

Woahh what was that, he clearly is a dangerous individual we should avoid in the future.” I declare.
“Yeah let’s just hope he didn’t steal the money stored inside the cube!” Komoro shares his worries.
“Pfft, you just don’t wanna accept getting defeated.” Bluey comments.
“Haha, says the right one. It’s not like you claimed there will be an artificial intelligence helping us to take over the world or anything.” Komoru and I begin laughing at him.

What even is an antifishal intelligence… Why am I laughing… 

“Hohoho, the youth really is the highlight of life.” Old Fionn comments on our discussion.
“Are you joking old man, for us normal mortals we already are in the midst of life; not everyone can live a thousand years long!” Blacky complains.
“Yeah, that’s not funny at all. Don’t give the kid false hopes.” Bluey agrees.
“But that’s exactly why I said it.” Fionn argues “Do you know of the saying he is still green behind his ears?”

“Yes, we do but…” they partway accept.
“It refers to the frog that just recently came out of the well.” Old man teaches us.
Out of the well… green… a frog. What even is a frog?
“What do you mean by that?” I ask him.

“In this vast world there isn’t something that doesn’t exist; you just need an appropriate amount of strength, will and luck to experience it.
Haha, looks like you two did not even notice that you weren’t aging since coming here!”

Subsequently, both the otaku and the technician notice they really stopped aging. Also they realize that with the right materials or magic, even time won’t be a problem. After reaching certain heighs, time is probably not even worth mentioning anymore.
Suddenly something came to my mind I didn’t think too much about until now.

“Old Fionn, how did you get so old?” I ask, but he didn’t intend to answer.
He just preached “Wouldn’t it be boring to know the treasure before you open the chest?”

With that in mind we go back to prepare even more before our big adventure. But first, I need to get stronger.

Once home, we immediately try to activate the cube, but after hundreds and even more tries, we give up and decide to activate the scroll we found behind the cave instead.

After drawing some forms and symbols according to Fionn’s instructions, I connect my chi with the scroll and repeat some formula from the scroll.

Soon after, I find myself in an open space with a lot of stars, representing a potential partner each. Old man explained that the brighter and warmer the star, the more it fits to my characteristics and talents. My quest now is to find the best partner before chi runs out and sign a contract, which will connect our souls until death.

After half my chi is depleted I suddenly feel a warm front from the west. As I continue to go forward, the warmth doesn’t stop increasing, making me doubt whether I will ever reach the destination.
With only an eighth of my chi left the west suddenly begins to brighten. Continuing to swim until only a hundredths of my chi is remaining I stop at a point where there is nothing but white light, forcing me to close my eyes.

“Are you okay Silver, you seem really exhausted.” I faintly hear Old Fionn’s voice and slowly open my eyes.

And before me stands …a weird creature! We both seem to sit in a complex circle of light and I immediately start forming the contract according to the scroll’s descriptions.

Woahh no way, this is a kangaroo!” Komoru shouts out.
“Do you know this guy?” I ask surprised.
“Well, on earth kangaroos did exist on a continent. If you wanna know more just read the kangaroo chronicles, but I really hope for you he’s not an alcohol fanatic…Well isn’t he cute?”

 PAMMM!
His head (that means my head) still vibrates from the kangaroo’s way of expressing his opinion.
“Oi, tell that pet of yours to behave himself!”
PAMMM! Not wanting to get hit a third time, I take the control over my body back.
“Hahaha you seem to be somewhat intelligent, so can you tell me your name?” I try to ask my new partner
“…”
He doesn’t respond and instead intensly looks into my eyes.

“As expected, he can’t speak or understand us.” I determine.
“But then why did he hit me?” Blacky mentions.
“Everyone would do that if they come into another world and first thing they see is some weird guy drooling.”
“How dare you! But, he he, I just got a great idea befitting a hero like myself!” he proposes.

Fight me partner!”

I let out some bloodlust and go into defense. The kangaroo seems to have understood my message and jumps right at me. PAMMM! A headstrong punch vibrates through my crossed arms, forcing me to take a step back.
“Whoa as expected from my partner, such physical strength!” I roar out with excitement.
His strength rivals mine.
We keep hitting and blocking each other for some while, but the kangaroo seems to have some problems.

First of all he has high difficulty with turning around or getting pushed back because he would then lose his balance and fall over. Also he didn’t respond to magic or chi.

Seems like I’ll have to teach him some techniques soon.

An expletive from a mad person echoes through my consciousness “Damn kid, how about you listen to me for once?”
“What did you say?” I ask, a bit shocked from this loud noise.
“Now it’s the twentieth and last time me telling you to try talking English with your evil friend!” he proposes.


“Oh yeah, one of your memory-books said you speak English in Australia.
Yo friend, if you can understand me now, throw a punch at me!”
PAMMM!
“Wohoo, seems like I just took the first big step towards an invincible duo!” I scream out.

Since swordsmanship training was canceled, we decide to use the four gained hours for new training.
On top of tutoring the kangaroo all kinds of things and trying to figure out how to correctly balance chi and mana during those four hours, I now also train together with the kangaroo at all times.

***

A whole year later my newly named Kevin glows like a deeply depressed main character.
I’m just kidding, of course I didn’t call him like that…well, I thought it was a good name, but for some reason the kangaroo simply wants to be called Kangaroo.

Suddenly, a scary shadow envelops the Kangaroo.

“Woah that’s crazy, I got a new horn! I bet my idiot partner will be overwhelmed with jealousy after he sees me!”
No way!
I raise my voice “Wait – what? You can speak now? No no, that’s not the problem here, what the hell is with that attitude? I can’t remember ever teaching you that!”

The kangaroo looks irritated at first, but then begins to smirk like a thug “Huh? Always when you think loud in your head I can hear it as well. I wanted to tell you, but I took pity for you since I didn’t want you to fall into depression out of shame.”
“Hohoho that’s telepathy used by close soulpartners.” Old man explains.
“Why tell me now!?” I exasperate.
“Don’t be so rash, I just couldn’t help it!” Old man defends his evil motives, not even trying to hide his fun.
“…you…as well…Old man?!”

Kangaroo’s evolution grew a horn, darkened the skin to a dark orange and increased the height to a meter. The kangaroo can now transform his recently taught chi into a black flame which also enveloped his body during the evolution. To put it simple, he became even stronger.
But I won’t loose against him.

***

However, the even more interesting event happens a week later. After finally figuring out the correct balance between chi and mana, the cube reacts and a portal opens.
Suddenly, fog starts to cover the surroundings until you can’t see more than a meter ahead.

What are you even waiting for, jump in!” Bluey and Blacky demand, but Old Fionn, once again, tries to destroy the mood with his horror scenarios
“But what if it’s a trap and the portal closes as soon as we enter?”

With determined eyes, they reply
“If that really happens after all of our work, then it’s just fate. In order to become strong, you need luck as well, even you should know that, Old man!”
 “Hohoho then I won’t stop you, but it’s not my decision anyways, right Silver?” Old man implies.
“If you’re fine with it, then there’s no way I would cower down here!” I fiercely respond.
“Yeehaw! My lovely gold, I’m coming!”

Ignoring all the possible dangers and necessary caution we jump right into it.

In contrast to our treasure-filled expectations, an open landscape with nothing but a few trees arises beyond the portal.

First of all we explore this weird place and start to conduct all kinds of experiments.
Second of all we conclude these things: It has the same weather and day-night circle as the outside, it is a 100 qm big square and surrounded by a fog. Whenever I try to cross the fog, I just end up at the other side. It seems to be only accessible through the portal, which proved to open wherever I am, as long as I insert the right balance. A tad bit later I find out that even activating it inside the space of my inventory magic is possible.

After some more tests I decide to use it as my personal trainings space, since in there I can freely use big and loud magic which would be noticed by other people, even deep inside the forest.

After that, my training begins once again, including:
Hunting and absorbing the souls of the animals/monsters in the forest, since I started to train a technique which will allow me to absorb the soul’s strength in form of mana and chi if mastered
As well as training to fight with all kinds of weapons recently bought for a cheap price in the city’s weapons store, I still carefully develop my swordsmanship, since swords are my favorite kind of weapons nonetheless. In order to buy those, I sold a lot of materials from the monsters killed in the training to the local merchant guild.

***

Yet another year later, there are noticeable changes once again:

The realm grows as I absorb souls and grew to 500 qm already. Also, messing with nature inside my realm with magic experiments seems to have stopped the weather from corresponding with the outside.

Kangaroo evolved once again, now being bigger than myself. He also got another horn and an even darker orange skin. To prevent him from becoming a giant, he learned transformation magic, allowing him reduce his height to a dog’s.

Yay you’re sooooo cute I wanna carry you forever!” I happily confess.
“Ugh, you make me wanna vomit, fucking leave me alone or I’ll beat you down!” Kangaroo threatens me.
“Hahaha just try it, but I wonder what the guardians of this city would do after that?” I reply.
“Do you really think mere insects can scratch even a hair of mine?” he boasts with monstrous self-esteem.
“Hohoho, you should know that even ants can kill a snake with numbers!” Fionn remarks.
Hmm, can they really?
Kangaroo shoots back “Tch, no wonder this idiot is so annoying with ants like you in his head!”

My stats are now:

A body that was able to destroy huge rocks with strength alone; normal arrows or a normal iron sword swung by a commoner would not even scratch me

A soulrank of the fourth stage and a strong partner who already evolved twice

The knowledge of an ultimate magician and mana of about 3000

Skills of a good swordsman, and basic skills with many kinds of weapons

Martial arts on the level where I can beat up up to 3 people that are twice as strong as me.

Am able to do a middle spell of each element as well as storage magic and concealing techniques to a pretty high degree. I also am able to tame low ranked monsters/animals with increasing pressure to max, use a shadow merging technique and some illusion magic (e.g. able to change the look of my face).
Over the last year I decided to prioritize on some higher ranking spells of fire, electro and a weather changing spell I invented more or less myself with the help of my teachers.
My favorite free time activity though is playing with explosions, which already resulted in a high ranking spell.

Silver!” a voice disturbs the pleasant silence.
“Yawn! Arhmhmm, I wanna slee…”
“Get up now or no food for you today!” my mum proclaims.
“OAHH! I’m totally hungry and not sleepy at all!” I kind of sarcastically answer and so, she packs my ear.
“You really changed since you entered the forest, getting shrewd all of a sudden, I wonder what happened!” she looks at me with a doubtful gaze.
“No-Nothing, I’m just getting older!” I stumble.
“Haha, but that’s not why I woke you up so early.”
She seems to be in a good mood today.

“What is it mum, you look so secretive!”
The last time she looked like that was when she tried to hide my birthday cake three years ago. But no chance hiding something from me!
“You’re going into school tomorrow!” she states.

“Wait, what?” I respond, not sure whether I heard right.
“Don’t look so surprised, you already got 10 half a year ago, and a new school season is starting!”
Seems like the planned adventure will have to wait a bit longer.

“Ehh, but you could have at least told me earlier!” I argue and she replies with a sad look on her face
“Oh, that’s why you looked so shocked, you’re really mean, not caring about leaving your mum.”
“Ah-err I-I didn’t mean it like that.
Ahhh, is she doing that on purpose, what’s up with that?
Err, don’t worry mum, I – I won’t disappoint you, okay…?” I try to cheer her up.

She seems pretty happy now, did it work?
“Haha that’s my son, so grown up already” My mum cheerfully laughs “I’m sure you’ll graduate without a problem! But you should really fix your attitude; it has really gotten straight down ever since.”

Am I really that bad? Well, I mean, considering what kind of people taught me during the past few years…
It’s not that weird.

I blush while responding quietly “Ahaha… I’ll be careful…”
Her telling me I finally grew up really made my day.

Next chapter: Chapter 3: School

 

Last chapter: Chapter 1.5: Escaping The Forest