A month has passed since the students awakened their magic cube powers. The students are finally starting to be able to use their most basic spells. Unlike in games, you don’t automatically start with some spells to use. It takes lots of training and meditation in order to use the power from the magic cube.
After awakening, the power of the magic cube is still tiny. If we take Lukas for example, when he awakened his fire elemental magic, his fire was barely strong enough to light a cigarette. And Lukas is more talented and experienced than most of his peers.
In order to fully make use of the magic cube power and actually be able to damage mobs, they needed to increase the size of the energy cube created by the magic cube in their consciousness. The energy cube is like their mana supply. The larger the energy cube, the greater your mana supply, which means the spells you cast are stronger, and you can cast more spells.
For normal people, boys were naturally stronger than girls, because boys have greater physical abilities. However, once they become magic cube users, girls can fight just as well as boys. The reason is, girls have a higher mental and spiritual awareness. To put it in gaming terms, boys start with a hp and str bonus while girls start with a mana and mana regen bonus. In the end, the bonuses are pretty well balanced out.
In order to increase the size of the energy cube, a beginner has to meditate. Of course, fighting actual mobs is more effective than meditation. However, other than a few special individuals like Lukas or Steve, their skills are not yet enough to defeat mobs.
Furthermore, to really effectively train their elemental magic, they need to actually cast spells. Just fighting mobs with their raw physical ability doesn’t really help that much. This is why even guys like Steve and Lukas has to meditate for the first month or so.
But the professor didn’t let them meditate peacefully. He would always get them to clean the classroom or help the professors organize their paperwork. Normally, these things are done on a rotation basis, but the professor would always come up with one reason or another to force Steve’s group into classroom duties.
It didn’t take long for the professor to see the animosity between Marcus and Steve’s group. At first, the professor also thought that Tianyu must be special. However, after searching through the Academy records, he couldn’t find Tianyu’s background. Besides, even if he did come from an important family, now that he messed up and awakened the air element, he would surely not have a future in the family.
If it was Tianyu vs Marcus, it was clear who he should support.
For some reason though, none of the four fell behind in training. After a month, they were able to use their first spell just as well as everyone else. In fact, they seem to have managed to use the spells earlier than most other students.
The professor himself felt slightly sorry for the four students. It’s a shame such talented students got on the wrong side of the Williams family. Perhaps they would have had the potential to reach the expert level… but such things would not get in the way of his own ambition.
After a month of basic meditation training, the students were granted access to the Academy training grounds. Inside, there were various pieces of equipment to help students train their accuracy, their agility, their casting speed, and so on.
Because this was an Academy in the 9th layer, it’s facilities are not that big. As a result, students have to be split into two groups. The first group would get to use the training grounds in the morning, the second group will use the training grounds in the afternoon.
Normally, the groups are split up by the students’ rank. The top students will get to use the training grounds in the morning while the other students will have to use it in the afternoon.
This was because the training grounds are freshly set up every morning, so they will be at their best. Even though the training grounds are somewhat cleaned up and fixed during lunch break, after being hit repeatedly by students in the first group, they won’t be as effective in the afternoon.
Steve’s group were all at the top of the class. However, for some reason, they were placed in the second group. The difference between using the training grounds in the morning and in the afternoon was not that big, so they didn’t complain.
Finally, the first training day arrived. Lukas was extremely excited, finally being able to test out his new fire elemental magic on the training grounds.
The first group went into the training grounds, while the second group waited outside. Some started meditating, some took the opportunity to go play around for half a day, as if it was a half-day off.
Lukas turned towards Steve.
“Hey Steve, what do you think I should train on first?”
For the past month, Lukas has learned a lot about magic cube users from Steve. He knew that Steve’s grandfather was an impressive intermediate level magic cube user, so Steve was very knowledgeable in these things.
“Well, normally I think accuracy is the most important. After all, if you can’t hit the enemy, it doesn’t matter how strong your magic cube power is. However, for you, I think training your agility is also important. You are already really quick and nimble, if you could train your agility even more, it would be very hard for mobs to hit you.”
Lukas nodded, and asked Steve a few more questions. Soon, the morning session was over. The group went to each lunch.
Tianyu wasn’t completely anti-social. He wasn’t planning to make any friends originally, but after being around Steve, Alex and Lukas for a month, he felt they weren’t bad people. If it was just eating together, Tianyu didn’t mind at all. Besides, all three of them were kind of interesting.
Before coming to the 9th layer, Tianyu didn’t think much of it, and certainly didn’t think there would be anyone worth his attention here. However, after just a month, he has already met three people that caught his attention.
Lukas, a guy who looks like he should still be in middle school. He seems completely clueless about the world, and yet he had a piece of equipment many magic cube users would dream of having. According to him, there was also an amazing craftsman in his village who could make these kinds of equipment.
Then there was Alex, a girl who awakened the light element. Although for people like Tianyu, light elemental magic wasn’t that amazing. Most of them had high end special magic cubes for their first awakening, and if they wanted to awaken the light element, they could simply buy a light elemental magic cube. However, Tianyu knew how rare it was for normal people.
Then, there was Steve. Although Steve’s awakening was nothing special, and despite the fact that he was pretty strong compared to other students, Tianyu has seen many more talented people in the Inner Circle, people who were so talented you wonder if they were really human. So to him, Steve wasn’t all that special at all.
However, what made Tianyu interested in Steve wasn’t his power, but his actions. Having heard Steve’s conversations with Lukas, Tianyu also knew that Steve had a grandfather who was an intermediate level magic cube user. Why didn’t they move to the Middle Circle? Life in the Middle Circle was much better than life in the Outer Circle, especially the 9th layer.
For the most part, there were no dangers in the Middle Circle. No mobs wandering around looking for prey. Even if a mob managed to somehow slip in from the Outer Circle, being full of intermediate level or higher magic cube users, these mobs would quickly be eliminated.
The living conditions were also considerably better in the Middle Circle, and there was a lot more variety when it came to food and entertainment. The resources provided by Middle Circle Academies were also much better than the Outer Circle Academies. Objectively speaking, no one in their right minds would choose to live in the Outer Circle over the Middle Circle.
So why did Steve’s grandfather choose to live in the Outer Circle? Tianyu didn’t understand. It’s not like he has to leave Steve behind. If a person is granted access to an inner layer, their whole family is granted access. This includes their parents, husband or wife, and all of their direct descendents.
Some young women from the outer layers would marry wealthy old men from an inner layer and serve him until his death, so that they could be granted access to the inner layer and improve their lives.
People who were particularly important in the layer are even allowed to bring in maids, butlers, cooks and other servants into the layer to work for them.
After all, if only the most powerful and wealthy people are allowed in the inner layers, who would serve them and do the mundane jobs that are required to maintain a desirable living environment.
Steve answered by posing a question of his own. Why did the strongest and most powerful humans live the furthest away from danger? Shouldn’t they be the ones protecting the weak?
It’s kind of ironic. People train so hard to get more powerful, so that they could move to an inner layer and hide behind the weak and unfortunate people of the outer layers.
Having grown up in the innermost layer of the human world, the human capital Modu, Tianyu has never experienced real danger, and the helplessness people in the Outer Circle often experience.
It’s not that Tianyu has never left Modu; he has gone into the Wilderness to train with other members of the Feng family many times when he was younger. Actually, the Wilderness was even more dangerous than the 9th layer. Even tribe leader class mobs were not uncommon there.
However, Tianyu always went with a party of elite magic cube users. Many of them were expert level or even master level magic cube users. As a result, Tianyu could always just focus on the weak servant class mobs, and leave the stronger mobs to the more experienced members of the party. If he got in trouble, they would even come and save him. He was never in any real danger.
Tianyu has never thought about these issues. The people around him never talked about the outer layers. All they cared about was their own career, and how they could obtain a higher level or a higher position within the family.
To be honest, Tianyu was not interested in all of those internal power struggles either. He himself felt that that kind of lifestyle was kind of empty. But being born as the heir of a great family, it was his responsibility to make sure his family doesn’t fall behind the other great families.
Being born in the lap of luxury is not all fun and games. It also comes with an equal amount of responsibility. However, the moment Tianyu was banished from the family, he no longer felt that responsibility. It was as if a huge weight has left his shoulders. He even felt happy being allowed to leave and live life however he wanted. Perhaps the only regret he has is that he can no longer see Yuki whenever he wanted. How is she doing now?
Anyway, now that Tianyu was free from the obligations and responsibilities of the family, he can do whatever he wants. Well, there was still one thing he needed to do before he was truly free; he has vowed to himself to find out the truth about what happened to his grandfather.
After that, he can do whatever he wants. Until recently, he has never thought about what he wanted to do other than finding out the truth about his grandfather’s death. After listening to Steve’s passionate speech, Tianyu felt that it wouldn’t be so bad helping Steve with protecting the Outer Circle.
Just as they were about to finish their meal, the professor came over.
“I have these papers that need to be filed immediately. Hurry up and finish your meals, and then go help out.”
“Professor, our afternoon training session is coming up. Can you go ask someone from the first group? They already finished their training for the day.”
Alex has been restraining herself for a while now. She had wanted to say something a lot earlier, but Steve stopped her, not wanting to cause a scene. But this was a bit too much for her to take.
“Do you really think your training is more important than anything else? Stop being so self-centered or else I will have to think about recommending the school to give you an expulsion. It is dangerous to help raise such selfish magic cube users. What could they do when they get powerful?”
Alex was speechless. Self-centered? They have been doing the work of the entire class for the whole month without complaining. There are clearly half of the class who have nothing to do for the rest of the day, yet he has to choose them? And if filing these papers was so urgent, why didn’t he get them to do it earlier, when they were free? Why now? It was clearly to prevent them from training!
“Alex, let’s just quickly do what the professor says. We can come back and train afterwards.”
Steve didn’t want to get in a conflict if it is at all avoidable. Lukas and Tianyu didn’t seem to mind that much either. As long as no one was getting hurt, Lukas was pretty easy going. And Tianyu never seems to care about anything. So Alex backed off too.
The four went to the office and filed the paperwork that the professor told them to. It took them an hour or so, but they didn’t miss too much training time.
The four of them hurried back to the training grounds.
“Oh? You guys already finished filing those papers?”
The four of them nodded.
“Good, you may leave for the day.”
“Professor, we’ve done what you told us to, shouldn’t you let us into the training grounds now?”
Even Steve couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“You are late. Everyone else is already in the training grounds focused on their training. What makes you think you’re so special that we should disrupt everyone else’s training just so you don’t miss your training? If you want to train, come on time like everyone else does next time.”
They really didn’t know what to say about this professor. Have you ever seen such a shameless instructor before?
“Professor, we have been accepted by the Academy and paid our tuition just like everyone else. We have a right to receive training just like everyone else.”
Steve still wanted to try to reason with the professor.
“I cannot disrupt all the other students just for the four of you.”
The professor looked at Steve coldly and left.
“Ha ha ha… you should’ve used your brain before messing with the Williams family. Let me give you a tip: if you want to train, you should leave the Academy now. Because you’re not going to enter the training grounds even once before graduation. Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Steve looked over. Andrew was standing over there, with his back leaning against the training ground gates, slapping his knees and laughing maniacally.
Steve turned back to look at the other three. He knew that Andrew was probably right. The professor had absolutely no intention of letting them into the training grounds. Next time, he will come up with some other excuse. What can they do? Will they really have to quit? But even if they quit, that doesn’t solve any problems…
The group was silent for a few minutes. Then, Lukas hesitantly spoke up.
“Um… guys, I have an idea I’m not sure if you guys would like to try.”
“Hmm? What is it?”
Steve was a bit surprised. After hanging out with Lukas for a month, he could tell that Lukas was not very bright. He could come up with some pretty clever and creative ideas during battle, but Steve didn’t expect him to be able to come up with ideas in times like these.
“Well, the purpose of going to the training grounds is to train, right? If so, we don’t really need the training grounds…”
“Um… well… what if we trained against real mobs instead? That would be more effective than training against dummies, right?”
“Well, that’s true, but…”
Training against real, moving monsters is definitely more effective than training against dummies. But it’s also that much more dangerous. If they just go into an unknown area without any preparation, they might be surrounded by mobs or even meet a scary warrior class mob. If that happened, then the chances of them being able to escape at their current level is very, very slim. If it wasn’t so dangerous, then everyone would train against real mobs instead of dummies in the training grounds, right?
“We are just beginner level magic cube users, and there are only four of us. If we accidentally enter a dangerous area with warrior class mobs, there’s no way we can escape. It’s just too dangerous.”
“Umm… if you guys don’t mind, I have a place in mind where we can train…”
Lukas’ voice has been uncharacteristically quiet throughout the entire conversation. It seems he was a bit embarrassed and felt bad for making such a suggestion.
“You’re trying to use us to help clear your village of mobs, right?”
Tianyu chipped in. Tianyu was extremely bright, and he understood where this was going right away when Lukas made his suggestion.
Lukas’ face immediately went red. He nodded softly.
“Well, if you guys don’t want to, I understand. But our village sends scouts out of the village to scout out the nearby areas in order to prepare for any invasions. I know the area very well. There is a place where there are not that many mobs. I’m sure the four of us can handle it.”
“Are you sure there aren’t any ambushes or warrior class mobs nearby?”
Steve was extremely cautious. After all, one mistake could cost them their lives.
“I am sure.”
Steve was still hesitant. Steve has had experience fighting real mobs before with his grandfather, he knows how dangerous they were. Even with an intermediate level magic cube user protecting him, he still had to be alert at all times.
The three of them looked at Tianyu in surprise. From his attitude earlier, it seemed like he wasn’t planning on participating. Plus, he was never one to care about other people’s businesses.
“Killing mobs and helping out Lukas’ village. It’s killing two birds with one stone, right? Why not?”
Sensing the other three’s surprise, Tianyu explained.
“Also, there’s a guy who can create magical equipment in Lukas’ village, right? We can see him while we’re there. Maybe we can ask him to give us some equipment as a reward for helping out the village.”
Oh, so that’s why he was so quick to agree… how opportunistic…
But he had a point. Not only can they help out Lukas’ village, if they could work out a deal so that the old man from the village can help them make a few pieces of equipment, that would give them a huge boost. It would really be a win-win situation.
Besides, for the village to have lasted this long, their scouts probably had very reliable information. There’s no way a village without magic cube users can survive against warrior class mobs.
In the end, Steve and Alex decided to join in too.
The four of them walked into the professor’s office. Seeing the four of them, the professor had an annoyed look on his face.
“I’m not going to let you into the training grounds. If you don’t like my teaching, then go find someone else.”
Of course, they obviously don’t have a choice; it’s not like they can just join another Academy at this time.
“Professor, if you don’t want us to use the training grounds, can we do self-study?”
The professor hesitated for a moment. Self-study? What are they going to do? As long as he doesn’t let them into the training grounds, they can’t do anything. It’s not like they can buy their own training facilities…
The professor cleared his throat.
“If you want to do self-study, I am not going to stop you. But if you don’t want to participate in school activities like every other student, then you are forfeiting your right to use the training grounds in the future.”
The professor didn’t want to have to come up with a different excuse to prevent them from using the training grounds every time. It’s best to just make it clear now.
“That’s fine, professor. It’s not like you were planning on letting us use it anyway.”
Alex really can’t stand this professor anymore. How shameless!
The professor just smirked and shooed them out of his office.
“Let’s go home today and get our things ready. Let’s meet up tomorrow morning and leave then.”
Alex, Tianyu and Lukas all nodded.
The sky was completely dark, and the streets were empty. In an abandoned alleyway, a cloaked figure hurriedly ran forward. At the end of the alleyway, another cloaked figure was waiting for him.
The cloaked man waited for the other man to catch his breath.
“Sir, after realizing that they can’t train in the training grounds, they have decided to train against real mobs outside.”
“Oh? How brave.”
“From what I heard, they will be training near the village.”
An evil smile crept across the face of the cloaked man.
“Very good. If we find what we want, the Master will be very pleased. Of course, you will be rewarded too.”
“Thank you very much, Sir!”
The younger cloaked man hesitated for a moment.
“Also, Sir, you will help me get rid of them, right?”
“Don’t worry about it. I will send them a nice warrior class skeleton as a present. They won’t be able to escape even if you attached wings to their backs.”
The two men silently laughed at the four little fools who were completely unaware that their end was approaching.