Episode 36 : Upskilling (1)
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Chapter 182 :

Episode 36 : Upskilling (1) 

Rustling~

After the afternoon arrived, Raiden and Behemoth had brought back everybody from the forest, letting them rest a little when they came back to the ice ship.

Panting profusely, Alaine was sitting on a rock while catching her breath. "I never ran that fast before. Haaa! Huff..!"

Louis, sitting beside Alaine, looked like he could faint from all the panting. "And I never ran that fast to chase a lady."

"Aww shucks, thank you, Louis. Anyways, I'm so so so tired! Urghh..!!"

"Did the kids have fun?"

Along with his question, Alaine shifted her glance at the Mya, Noel, and Noelle who were covering Crystal's body under the sand, only leaving her head up.

"Yeah, you don't even need to ask to know that those guys did great.. Aah! Why am I so unlucky? I wanna have fun too!"

"You ran so much, Alaine. We didn't get to explore a whole lot except following after you." Louis responded, still panting and wiping away his sweat.

"Well, I can't just kill those hippos, that would be animal abuse!"

"We killed an alligator."

"It would have been squished by those hippos anyways!"

"Good grief.."

Clap! Clap!

The sound of hands clapping together caught the attention of everyone as their gazes soon landed on Raiden.

Then, Raiden thrillingly informed everybody. "Alright, everyone! Time for lunch!" 

"Yessssss, food!!" Alaine drooled with a starving look.

Fluttering~

A large blanket that was made by Mirai, had been laid onto the beach's floor to make it easier for everyone to eat comfortably as well as not have sand in their dishes.

While everybody gathered onto the blanket, food was served to them by the helping hands of Mya, Noelle and Noel.

The full course of meals were going from left and right, almost leaving no space for another dish to be placed again.

Thanks to the sea animals that they had come across early on in the morning, they were definitely going to enjoy their meals to the fullest.

"Bon appetit!" Alaine said before starting munching on the grilled whale meat.

Raiden, who looked proud of Alaine, gave her a thumb up in the back. ‘Look at my disciple devouring the meat! I'm so proud!’

Later on, as if staring at the whale meat strangely wasn't enough, Louis posed a question. "Is it okay to eat whale meat? I heard that they were bad for your health?"

Swallowing the food he ate in one go, Raiden chugged down a cup of water before telling Louis. 

"It's safe to eat as much as you want! But if there's something wrong with your health, Mimi will always help you!" 

"Oi, Rai! I didn't agree to that." Mirai pouted.

"But you will." 

"Hmph!"

In any case, once Louis got the confirmation he needed, he began to eat with everyone as well, biting onto the shark meat as he savoured it in every bite.

The juices rushing down his throat enchanted his taste buds as he kept going for more, shocking Alaine who was eating fast but not as swift as Raiden.

"Whoa! Is it that delicious!? Let me try!" 

Mya mentioned. "Sister Alaine, you got something on your lip!"

"Let me get that for you, Alaine." Louis said.

"Ah, thank you two!"

Among the jubilant atmosphere, clone JoonChul and clone HwanGi were sitting beside each other next to the seaside, pretending to be having a conversation to fool the others.

Despite it being a pretend conversation, it was more on the side of a practice conversation between themselves.

"So.. You must feel great after stabbing me, right?" Clone JoonChul started, talking to the other clone.

Then, clone HwanGi replied. "What kind of person do you think I am, JoonChul-ssi!? I have no reasons to be proud of hurting you."

"But you must have felt something right? Isn't it your first time hurting me to the point of having me put in a coma?"

"I.. I am deeply sorry for that.."

Clone JoonChul rested his hand onto his embarrassed face. "That's enough. Frostina, did I impersonate him well?" 

Frostina, who was walking up behind these two clones, was already aware of the conversation they were having by unintentionally eavesdropping.

By then, she stood quietly as she looked back and forth from clone JoonChul to clone HwanGi, giving herself time to think.

Frostina thought. ‘How displeasing to see my liege pretended to be a fool like that human.’

With the real HwanGi gone, it was necessary to have a clone HwanGi to replace the original, or else conflicts and interruptions might as well ruin the guild.

And Frostina knew that, but she still couldn't accept that her liege must put himself in HwanGi's shoes and had to act perfectly like that fool.

"You did it excellently, my liege. Although I dislike the idea, there's no other choice."

"I'm glad you understand, Frostina."

"It's shocking how much you understood him, my liege. Usually, you wouldn't pay any mind to insignificant humans."

"For you to talk this much brings a smile to my face." Clone JoonChul changed the subject and grinned.

Hearing her liege say that also brought a grin on Frostina's face when she blushed, turning around to hide it from him.

Rustling..

It took a bit of time for clone JoonChul to come up with an easy answer for Frostina's question.

But he got it eventually. "That fool resembled 'her', no.. It's more accurate to say he is 'her'. Their personalities are the same. From heroic, protective to sacrificial behaviors, they are one in the same coin."

"For my liege to say that, I could somewhat see a resemblance between the two." Frostina nodded.

A few seconds later, Clone HwanGi mentioned. "You should finish your meal, JoonChul-ssi. Don't you have an announcement to make to everyone soon about the tutors for their training?" 

"I'm not 'me', and we can't starve." 

Whoosh~

‘Clones don't starve or get thirsty. The only downside is that they disappear if they receive limited damage. I must put that thought in mind if I want to protect my liege from being discovered.’ Frostina thought as she watched the clones.

‘However, how can I explain this? Seeing my liege speak to himself is quite.. new.’ 

For one's information, the clone HwanGi is still JoonChul, but with the appearance of HwanGi.

Thus, it may seem like two different people are having a conversation, but it's mostly just JoonChul talking to himself.

A bit confusing and embarrassing for JoonChul..

More so than that, Frostina and the rest of her comrades didn't like how it looked when they watched their leader speaking to himself.

‘Odd, indeed.’ Frostina nodded slightly to herself.

———

When a couple minutes had passed, ‘The Rebels’ Guild had finished eating their meals and helped tidy up the place.

As they were removing the blanket away, clone JoonChul finally began with his announcement. "Now that you all are done, it's time to start our training section."

"Aww.. I really wanted to rest a little bit more." Alaine grumbled.

Clone JoonChul sneered at Alaine. "You won't get to rest. Ever." 

"Oh no.. I'm so dead after this."

"Anyhow, I'll be assigning you all a tutor to assist you with training. So make sure to follow their instructions if you want to get stronger. I highly recommend for you all to be 10 times stronger than you are now."

"Isn't that too much? Holy cow, 10 times? Are you joking, JoonChul?"

"Do I look like I'm joking?"

"Yeah, you never do. But 10 times, seriously? Won't it be a burden to the kids?"

"I'll not go easy on them. They're players now, and they must prioritize their future with the strength they will gain today."

"Alright, alright. I'm not going against that. I know I'll end up like Louis again. And no way, I would want that!"

From what Alaine said, she seemed to know about JoonChul using the skill, 'Bodyjack' on Louis to get him to go into the forest. 

..It was natural for her to notice that at a glance because that skill is hers after all.

But Louis doesn't know that..

"What? What do you mean by that, Alaine? Did something really happen to me or what?" Louis asked as he was completely confused by why Alaine mentioned him.

"Ahem." Clone HwanGi coughed. "We should start doing our best from today onward."

Unbeknownst of a clone, Alaine exclaimed with determination. "Well said, HwanGi! I'm all in on getting buffed up! Even if it meant dying in exhaustion later! Ha!"

Worried, Louis advised. "Don't joke around like that, Alaine." 

Clap!!

Getting everyone's attention back, clone JoonChul continued where he left off.

"Now, now. Let's start with who is tutoring who. Raiden is Alaine's tutor, Mya will be in Mirai's care, Crystal is with Behemoth, Noel and Noelle are under Frostina's guidance."

"Yes, my master!" Blissful and excited, Alaine gave Raiden a double high five.

Mya, walking over to Mirai, smiled in a gleeful manner. "Aunt Mirai, I'm looking forward to being your student."

"Eek..! Why, father?! Oh no.. Oh no.." Noel looked frightened by Frostina's cold glance, suddenly reminded of their encounter. "Urgh, fine! I'll do my best!"

As her response, Noelle gave a confident smile to Frostina.

"How will I be able to communicate with you? Cat language isn't something I can speak.." Crystal was puzzled, surveying and hopping around Behemoth which bothered him.

"Meow! You're my student now, be glad for that!" Behemoth meowed which Crystal wouldn't understand.

While everyone was discussing with their tutors, there were two left who hadn't been assigned with a tutor. 

..Those were Louis and clone HwanGi.

And seeing how there's only one man who is considered to be the captain of the overpowered Raiden, Frostina, Mirai and Behemoth, was left..

It only meant one thing.

At that point, Louis muttered with clenched fists as he silently glared at clone JoonChul. "Great, I'll get to give him at least a little beating for putting the children in this horrible training." 

When Louis was looking at clone JoonChul with his enraged gaze, the latter shifted his gaze Louis' way which caught the former off guard.

‘What is it? Did he notice my glare?’ Louis gulped before he thought.

To his surprise, Louis was unaware that JoonChul would form a mischievous smirk on his villainous face which further the agitation Louis felt from that.

‘So that's what you want, huh?’ Infatuated to a boiling point, Louis ground his teeth before purposely glaring at JoonChul.

Clone JoonChul stood there, tanking the cute little glare of a human like Louis. ‘How amusing. You're still mad over me being cruel to the children?’

As if Louis could understand what JoonChul was thinking. ‘That's right! I'm angry because of you! No matter how smart and logical you are, you're just putting kids to a death sentence!’

‘Moron. If only you take a closer look at Mya, Noel and Noelle, you would understand that you overestimated your ability in protecting them.’

Judging by how the atmosphere between those two were unfavourable, clone HwanGi stood in between them and walked over to Louis to help settle him down a bit.

"Louis, it's not good to be angry at this moment. You'll make the kids worry about you." Clone HwanGi stated, surpassing himself from smirking like clone JoonChul did.

‘It's hard not to laugh.’ Clone JoonChul chuckled quietly to himself, watching clone HwanGi and Louis together.

‘Louis doesn't even know he's talking to me. Pfft, this is going to be fun trolling him with clone HwanGi.’

At that moment, Louis remained furious toward JoonChul before he calmed down a bit, gazing at clone HwanGi. "Aren't you a little bit concerned about the kids?"

"I trust JoonChul-ssi. He wouldn't put his own kids in danger, would he? And we have a healer on our side, so Louis, don't worry yourself too much."

"..I'll keep that in mind, I guess. But if something goes wrong, I'll give that guy a punch into the face."

"Let's not resort to violence, shall we?"

‘Or else, I'll kill you instead.’ Clone JoonChul snickered before sighing. 

‘If only I hadn't promised HwanGi that I would take care of his friends, then maybe I would have left this imbecile of an overprotective boy on this island alone.’

‘At least, Alaine and Mya had their uses, being a disciple to my comrade and hosting a creature inside her amulet.’

‘But Louis is just plain useless. Skills wise are also too little, cleverness is through bedrock when it comes to children.’

‘Nothing is special about Louis at all.’

Clone JoonChul, having his time pondering, already had an idea cooked up inside his head. ‘I should fix his mindset of protecting children by getting beaten by a child himself.’

‘Wouldn't it be fun?’ He mused as he laid eyes on Mya who was conversing with Mirai. ‘Indeed, it would be fun to watch.’

Zap!

Catching the people's attention with a strike of lightning, Raiden exclaimed with a big smile as if he couldn't wait any longer to train his disciple. 

"It's time to start training, everybody! I hope you all do well and fully listen to your tutors!"

"Alright! I'm readyyyy!!" Alaine uttered with exasperation.

"From this afternoon onward, we'll be having weapon training for everyone to get used to their weapon and its effect."

"Heck yeah! Let's go and do it~! Gah, I wanna fight so bad~!" Alaine was too thrilled as you can see.

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