[7 editor points have been rewarded]
A dull ache kept pounding in my skull as I walked through the corridors of the academy.
"Ahh, Amelia, that bitch," I cursed the person responsible for my current state and began massaging my forehead in an attempt to alleviate the pain. "She didn't even hold back."
-"Ahahaha! Look, it's him!"
-"Aren't the Morningstars called wolves of the west?"
-"Some wolf he is! Getting owned by an archer girl in close combat!"
-"The way he was biting her leg, he looked more like a dog than a wolf! Hahahaha!"
As I made my way from the infirmary to my next class, I overheard some of my classmates laughing and mocking me.
Well, I kind of expected it to happen anyway.
"Tsk, damn these third-rate novel extras!"
To be honest, I can't blame them. I did lose pitifully.
Still, these people who are making fun of me right now won't be able to hold their own against a main character of Amelia's caliber for more than a few seconds!
So in that aspect, I did pretty well since I lasted for more than five minutes, right?
Who am I kidding? It was bad! It was very, very bad! I think it's a cue for me to start building my strength immediately.
I mean I wouldn't have lost if I had been going all out by using my armor and Edit Pen but still….
Even if I have a divine armor that has made me nigh-invincible, that's all I have.
This was merely a spar.
However, in a real battle where I have to put my life on the line in order to survive, I would die if I had no offensive strength.
After all, you can't win if you solely play on defense. And on a battlefield, if you don't win, you die.
Putting my hand to my chin, I started thinking of ways to boost my strength.
If I remember correctly, there may be a few ways that I can use to get stronger.
Of course, it won't be an easy task.
Since I won't be stealing any cheat item unlike last time, I was going to struggle quite a bit.
What will I do, you're wondering?
I'll work hard.
How do I plan to do that?
Before I answer that, let me tell you this:
Centuries ago, when mana started flowing in this world, people found quite a lot of ways to harness its power.
The first was very simple. They used mana as a clean, unlimited energy source.
The second way was even better. They used it to bend the laws of the mortal world and achieve supernatural phenomena, calling it magic.
However, some people also discovered a third way to use mana.
Mana, in theory, was a very similar energy to 'Qi' of ancient martial arts of China.
I mean, of course there were differences between the two, but mana could also be used to strengthen one's body like 'Qi' in martial arts.
Not only that, but if paired with martial techniques, one could achieve devastating results by using mana in the same manner as 'Qi.'
Thus, the arrival of mana brought one more thing along with it— the revival of ancient Chinese martial arts.
Now although the academy itself will provide martial techniques to cadets in the future, I won't be counting on them to make me very strong.
I have my reasons.
First, the technique they will allot me will at best be a Low-grade Lvl. 2 technique.
After all, they will provide level 5— the highest level of techniques, only to their top cadets.
Second, the first arc of the novel, the 'class wars' arc, was about to start soon.
At the near end of this first arc, the duel between Lucas and Nero will happen.
It's already March 6 and the duel was supposed to happen on March 31.
And I don't think I can face Nero with some low-level weapon art. Hence, I needed strength to assure my safety in the coming days.
Of course, I will be taking every safety measure from my side to avoid the duel as much as I can.
As a wise man once said, ``A fight avoided is a fight won."
I will not needlessly beat any girl as Lucas did in the novel. I will also not be acting out like a trashy young master.
In fact, I will do everything opposite to what Lucas did in the novel!
Yes, I will become the exact opposite character of Lucas in the novel!
I will become generous, kind, cheerful, and forgiving until March 31.
However, even if I do all that, I still need to be prepared in case the duel does happen.
Only a fool would not ready himself for the worst-case scenario.
As the saying goes— a sailor is always prepared for a storm while setting sail in the ocean.
Now, in this world, there are thousands of military academies.
But only two of them are considered the best of the best— Global Academy and Ethereal Academy.
One may ask, why is that?
ƥαṇdα- ηθνε|·ƈθmAre their instructors war veterans?
Do they provide the best equipment and state-of-the-art training facilities?
Do the soldiers trained by them go on to become the finest on the battlefield?
The answer is all of the above and more.
Besides their good record and war veteran instructors, Global Academy and Ethereal Academy provide one more crucial thing.
They teach their cadets not only to fight but also to survive.
After all, as long as even one soldier is standing, the war won't be over.
Anyway, since they teach their cadets how to survive, they also provide them alternatives for after their survival.
Let me explain.
According to the law passed by the Central Government, any individual who can use mana has to serve in the United Military for a mandatory time period of 4 years.
But the majority of the people remain in the military even after serving their mandatory 4 years.
Because they are trained to become soldiers as soon as they turn 18-19 till they turn 21-22 in military academies.
And after that, they are thrown into the battlefield for the next 4 years of their life.
That's 7 years of their life gone.
In short, most people who can use mana spend their whole youth being a soldier.
They don't know how to do anything else but fight in wars and follow orders.
But top-tier military academies like Global Academy and Ethereal Academy let their cadets dream of a normal life after their mandatory service time.
They do that by making their cadets opt for an additional subject to study.
That way, after their time in the military, they can create their own careers and lead normal lives.
You can think of it as additional classes in college or something.
And the variety of these additional subjects is huge.
They range from simple cooking and baking classes to more complex ones like robotics and engineering lessons.
Anything that can help cadets build their life after their time in the military is provided here at Global Academy.
That's one of the reasons why every parent in the world wants their children to attend either of the top two academies.
However, the world is a cruel place.
To enroll in the Global Academy, one needs to either have exceptional talent or a rich family background.
Since the enrollment fees alone are worth a whopping billion credits, not everyone can afford to enroll here.
And the same goes for Ethereal Academy too.
Well that's to be expected since these academies need to maintain a pretty big fund to keep on functioning the way they function.
Ahh, that reminds me, even though Lucas is disowned by his family, the fees for his 3-year course in the Global Academy are already paid for in advance.
Not only that, but I, on paper, can still carry the family name of Morningstar.
Huh, even though from my memories I could tell Reynold wasn't really fond of his son, I think he still couldn't bring himself to cut him off completely.
Ahem, anyway, currently I was standing in front of my additional subject classroom.
In the novel, Lucas opted for robotics. He was put in the same class as Nero, the protagonist.
He once lashed off at one of his classmates there and Nero witnessed that scene.
From there, Nero's impression of Lucas worsened.
So I decided to change that.
No, I won't try to change the impression Lucas left on him.
Instead, I will completely avoid the protagonist like a scared little cat.
So I decided to change the plot once again and chose a subject Lucas could've never even thought about choosing in the novel.
I chose cooking!
I know, I know!
It's not the most exciting class, but that's precisely why I opted for it.
Since there were quite a few main characters in the novel, not all of them were deeply explored in the early chapters.
As such, I don't know what everyone took as their additional subject except for a few handfuls of them.
And that's why I decided to avoid taking any class that could bring me closer to the main cast of the novel.
So what better class to attend than cooking to avoid the named characters?!
A bland and easy class where no drama can't ever happen! In other words, it's a class for total extras and side characters!
Hah! Aren't I a genius?
Smiling thoughtlessly while appreciating my intellect, I grabbed the doorknob of the classroom door and twisted it open.
And entering the classroom, the first thing I saw was a crowd of around 120 first-year cadets filling the room.
It was a joint lesson that combined two first-year classes so there were bound to be many people present here.
However, one face among the crowd of first-year cadets stood out like a sore thumb.
Amelia Black. It seems like I won't be able to run from here now.
[9 editor points have been rewarded]