Inside my room, I was holding my breath, enduring the sharp pain coursing through my body. Why was I subjecting myself to this agony?
Simple. I needed to get stronger; that was it because this pain was never enough.
I clenched my fists, feeling the tremors coursing through them. The training I had undergone yesterday had been grueling, pushing my body to its limits and beyond. But it was necessary.
Just like that, the pain reached its end as I was looking at my body below.
'There are still some scar marks here left from the past months…. I guess when I will have my money, I can grab a potion for them.'
I thought, raising my body up.
Today's training truly proved to be useful as I felt my mana control getting better with each passing moment.
It was like when you picked a new hobby; you would figure out how to do the basic things quite fast.
But you would also know that when things get more complex, you would actually need to put up a lot of effort.
Right now, that was how it was for me. Imbuing the arrows with my mana was pretty smooth since moving the mana was not that hard for me like I instinctually knew.
But that was not what mana is for; at least, it is not only enchanting a bunch of arrows or bullets; thus, I knew I needed to learn how to use my mana properly.
'But that should be enough.' I thought as I started thinking about my new trait.
It was a trait that was one of the most coveted ones in the game.
Because it enabled one to blend into the shadows, therefore, whenever you are inside a place where the lights are dimmed, you would be able to hide your presence.
With that thought, I imagined myself moving behind the shadows, and soon just as I wanted, the shadows followed my will, imbuing me with darkness.
My vision was not obscured, and I could clearly see the world around me, but at the same time, it was like I was not there as I was blended in the darkness of the world.
In fact, I had been experimenting with this trait as well, even though I knew its uses from the game. Feeling this in real life was a lot better than seeing it in the game.
'Then, this should be it for today.'
With that thought, I went to sleep since it was already 1 AM on time, and tomorrow I was going to have classes….
The sound of the alarm ringing woke me up from my sleep.
The lingering pain after the training and the mixture was still there, but it was bearable.
'5 AM, huh? This should be enough time for me to apply the change for weapons.'
Since I needed to change my weapon and I couldn't afford to have a weapon of my own with this little amount of money, I needed to get one from the academy.
'I shouldn't get a gun.'
A gun was not necessary since I didn't want to show that I was able to enchant the bullets with my mana that easily. I wanted to save this talent for hiding, and guns are relatively cheaper than artifact bows; thus, after a bunch of dungeon explorations, I could get one on my own.
'The important thing is to improve my marksmanship, then using a gun won't also be a problem.'
With that thought, I left my room.
lightsΝοvεl ƈοmThe sun had yet to rise as we were close to winter, so there weren't many students around us.
Reaching the student administration building, I saw a secretary there waiting. This world's work hours were a little different than normal.
Most of the time, jobs like student affairs or things related to hunters would start their job around 3 AM since the gates and dungeons don't care about what time of the day it is.
She nodded and said, "Sure, we can arrange that for you. Which weapon are you planning to switch to?"
"Bow," I replied.
The secretary raised an eyebrow, seeming surprised by my choice. "Oh, interesting. We don't get many students choosing to change bows from daggers, but I'm sure we can arrange it for you."
She said with a smile. What she said was correct. You wouldn't generally see a close combatant randomly changing their weapons to range one unless some special circumstances are involved.
Even though I was the last ranked student, different from the students around, she showed me respect. That was because she knew the difference between the Arcadia Hunter Academy and the standards of the outside world. Even though I was ranked last here didn't mean I was too weak when it came to hunters outside…
Well, I was weak, but I could close the gap with my awakening and skills.
I followed her instructions to the testing area. There, I was handed a basic bow and a set of arrows to demonstrate my skills. It was the same bow that I used on the training grounds.
After I trained in the testing area for a little to warm myself up, I was greeted by an instructor who would be evaluating my marksmanship skills. He was the Coordinator of the Archery Course; I knew him from the game.
'Ethan Hartman.' I thought, seeing him.
The area was a large, open field with different target ranges set up at various distances. The targets were made of sturdy materials to withstand the force of the arrows and had different shapes and sizes.
"All right, let's begin," Instructor Ethan said, gesturing for me to step onto the designated shooting line. "We'll start with the basics. Hit the five stationary targets over there."
The first part was going to be easy, as my eyes locked down on the target. Observing the distance and remembering the feeling I got yesterday, I nocked an arrow, drew the bowstring, and aimed at the first target.
With a deep breath, I released the arrow, and it hit the center of the target with a satisfying thud.
"Good shot," the instructor nodded, and I felt a surge of confidence. From his body movements alone, I could see he genuinely approved of me.
As I progressed through the stages, the difficulty increased. In the second stage, the number of targets increased to eight, and they moved from side to side. I had to adjust my aim and timing to hit them as they moved, and my [Perceptive Insight] trait helped me see their movements more clearly.
In the third stage, the targets were set at farther distances, testing my accuracy and precision. I had to account for wind direction and adjust my shots accordingly.
*SWOOSH* *SWOOSH* *SWOOSH* *THUD* *THUD* *THUD*
However, that didn't matter too much as I hit the mark once again.
As I moved on to the fourth stage, the targets were made of tougher materials, and I needed to enhance my arrows with my mana to ensure they penetrated the thick surfaces.
It was the basic skill that was necessary for an archer. To be able to imbue one's arrow with their mana and their attributes.
'At this point, I am pretty sure I can have a bow, but letting him think I have a trait related to bows would be better.' I thought as I imbued the arrow and released the string.
*SWOOSH* *SWOOSH* *SWOOSH* *THUD* *THUD*
"Nice use of your trait there," the instructor commented, noting how I imbued my arrows with my energy. Just as I expected, he assumed that was the trait that let me imbue arrows. In a way, he was not wrong, but in a way he was.
The fifth stage was the most challenging. It combined moving targets, long distances, and durable materials. I had to maintain my focus and use my mana to imbue the arrow while also constantly changing my position to have a better shooting angle.
"Ho?" I could see the exclamation of surprise coming from Instructor Ethan. It looked like he was not expecting me to progress further at this stage.
*SWOOSH* *SWOOSH* *THUD* *THUD*
But that didn't matter, as I was able to finish the stage given the limited time.
"This guy is really good…"
I could see him mumbling to himself. At this point, he already started taking notes on his tablet.
'I should have passed, but I want to keep going further.' I thought.
I took a deep breath, trying to steady my nerves as I faced the sixth stage. The targets were now even tougher, with reinforced materials that required a significant amount of force to penetrate.
My body was also aching. Since the bow I had in my hand was a recurve bow, it needed a good amount of strength to pull the string constantly, which tired me at the end.
But I still went on as I steadied my breath.
I nocked an arrow and focused my mana, channeling it into the arrow to enhance its power. Then releasing the bow, I watched it fly toward the next target.
The arrow hit the surface of the target with force, but to my dismay, it didn't penetrate deep enough. The arrow bounced off, leaving a mere scratch on the sturdy material.
Instructor Ethan's expression remained neutral. "Keep trying," he said, and I nodded. He wanted to assess the power limit of my enhancement.
I tried again and again, pouring more mana into each shot, but no matter how hard I tried, the arrows weren't enough to break through the target's defenses.
'As expected, for now, I can't seem to penetrate level 6 targets.' I thought, but I was not disappointed; after all, I had just acquired my trait, and I didn't know how to use it more efficiently, as well as my mana.
I released two more arrows, both with the same result – they bounced off the target's surface without making any significant impact.
"That's enough," Instructor Ethan finally said, stepping forward. "It seems you've reached your limit for today."
Hearing this, I lowered my now. It was true that I had already reached my limit for today, so I didn't say anything.
At this point, I could no longer contain the heavy breathing in my lungs. As a ranger, the most important things were balance and breathing, and to do that, I needed to keep my mouth shut no matter how fast my heart was beating.
Instructor Ethan approached me, a look of approval in his eyes. "Your performance was impressive, especially considering you have just started using bows. Your mana control is quite remarkable for a newbie. I just checked that you weren't able to use your mana, but it seems you have reached enlightenment."
He said, looking at his tablet. There I could see a bunch of information about me and my past records. As I have just said, Astron was unable to use his mana before; thus, he was known as the mana-less hunter amongst instructors.
I nodded to his words in response. "Yes, I just recently found out about my talents at bows and mana."
Nodding his head, he turned his gaze toward my body.
"However, even though your speed and your body movements are good, your strength and endurance are lacking. You are already looking like you are tired."
"That is true."
"Then, you should use a compound bow instead of a recurved one. Even though they are heavier than recurved bows and harder to use, they also require less strength. I am sure, with your skill, you can handle compound bows better."
'As expected, he saw right through me.' The reason why I kept going until I was tired was to show this to him. Compound bows were a lot expensive; thus academy doesn't like to give them to students normally, but my strength didn't let me use a recurved bow.
"Good decision," he said with a smile. "I'll talk to the academy, and we'll get you a proper compound bow to practice with while your weapon will also be registered as a bow. But I need to confirm one thing. Did your talent at Daggers disappear? Even though it is a rare case, there are times when one's former talent disappeared."
"No. It is still there."
SWOOSH SWOOSH SWOOSH
Grabbing my dagger from my belt, I swung it rapidly, just as before.
"Good. I will handle the necessary process. Your bow will be in your hands around noon."
"Thank you, Instructor Ethan," I said gratefully.
With that, I left the testing area, feeling a mix of exhaustion and satisfaction. My body was aching a little, but that was fine.
'Now, with this, the only thing that is left is to make money and acquire a gun.'
Just like that, I returned to my room to get ready for the class…
Hope you liked the chapter. I have been sick for two days, so I couldn't post a chapter yesterday, and I am still sick so hope the quality isn't that bad.
Give me power stones if you like my novel; I am participating in WPC, so it helps a lot.
You can check my discord if you want. You will be able to see the illustrations here and engage in a conversation with me if I am available.