Chapter 34: Instructions
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I didn’t walk particularly fast when heading toward the training facilities. I think part of me hoped Rin would catch up.

She didn't.

I don’t want to head into the same room as before.

The Warding Room has nothing for me. I can’t read.

That’s a fact of life I’m going to have to deal with. It means I can’t learn warding, or other skills related to past knowledge.

Without my basilisk manual, I can’t continue pressing onward further into Hell Difficulty’s Zones. Not without undergoing extreme risk.

I’ll need to obtain power another way.

There’s more than one path to power.

As many paths as there are people.

Each unique, none more powerful than the rest.

This old saying of mine, isn't entirely accurate.

Some paths are quicker, easier, and, at certain points, more powerful than others… but, in the end, every path leads to the same destination.

Eventually, they all reach absolute power.

That saying was never meant to be a hopeful, though.

Each sentence is a warning to myself.

A warning to be on guard against everyone.

A warning to be careful in choosing my own path.

A warning to stop anyone from ever attaining absolute power.

Of course, when I created it, I meant other ways such as with my future career…

It has a completely different meaning now.

I should focus on finding a room.

Searching through the rooms, I found one that had various machinery and mechanical parts inside it.

This should work.

Entering the room, I closed the door behind me and simply sat there. My back against the door.

There were mechanical creations throughout the room, along with various workbenches, tools, and mechanical parts.

Was I mistaken in my choice of saving Kara?

Would it have been better to let Rin try continuously until she’d given up?

Was there another path?

Closing my eyes, I let my mind wander.

...Opened them some time later.

It doesn’t matter.

I made a choice, I refuse to regret it.

Learn from the past, live in the present, and prepare for the future.

Rin might not trust me anymore, but she shouldn’t hate me for it.

The end justifies the means… and I was successful.

I saved Kara.

Glancing down, my shirt and jacket are covered in blood.

Along with my hands.

I’m a mess.

Taking off my shirt and jacket, I lay it beside a half-completed mechanical gun.

I need a plan for the future.

Not simply this game, but afterward the third zone.

Problem is, I know of nothing that could help me become powerful in the third zone.

Once we’d reached the fifth zone, I would’ve known of heritages that could’ve helped me obtain abilities.

Additionally, since concepts and ideas seemed to have been transferred over into this universe, there would’ve been plenty of things in the first zone that could’ve help me become more powerful by granting unique abilities.

The dragon’s egg, the void flower’s petals, the oldest turtle’s shell…

Unfortunately, I didn’t know concepts had been transferred into this place back then.

Well… even if I’d known, none of those objects are ‘safe’ to retrieve. If anything they would've been far more dangerous to obtain than the basilisk’s manual.

I wasn’t strong enough to obtain them before… and, since I can’t return to the tutorial after leaving it, it’s impossible to acquire them now.

*Sigh…* What am I going to do?

POV Swap – Rin

In the storage room, Rin sat curled up into a ball and covered in old blankets scrounged up from around the room. Meanwhile Kara sat awkwardly beside her, stoking Rin’s head.

Why… Tobias?

Why was it necessary?

Why didn’t you tell me?

I would’ve listened.

Kara calmly spoke soothing words, “Relax Rin, Toby was trying his best to save me.”

Voice muffled from the blanket covering her mouth, Rin asked, “How could stabbing you possibly save you? Why didn’t he tell me if it was necessary?”

“Someone needed to stab me for the fate to be complete. Otherwise, it would’ve attempted to repeat itself infinitely.” Kara explained whilst comforting Rin. “and Toby was afraid if he’d told you, the fate wouldn’t be completed properly and he would’ve failed… and he only stabbed me after explaining the situation and obtaining my permission. He’s a good person.”

Calming down slightly from Kara’s words. Poking her head out from underneath the blanket, Rin asked, “Why did he leave then?”

Staring off into space as Kara attempted to think of an answer, Kara finally replied, “I don’t know.” Nudging Rin on the shoulder she continued, “Why don’t you go find him and ask?”

Rin shook her head and buried her head in the blanket, stating, “No, it’s fine. I’ll talk with him later.”

Kara frowned while staring at Rin, before surrendering, “…Fine, but don’t retreat back into your reclusive ball permanently. It’s good you’d made a friend you trust.”

Rin nodded her head, blanket still covering it and accepted, “Kay…”

POV Swap – Tobias

I’ll give myself ten days.

Once ten days have past, I’ll… I’ll...

Releasing a breath of air, I sat back on the floor.

I don’t have a clue.

I trust Rin enough to obtain the points to allow us to leave this game. Stanley’s probably safe enough. I can’t imagine he’s having any trouble with his luck.

I should deal with… something else.

Taking out God-hunter, I simply stared at her.

Well? Are you going to talk?

…About what?

Hearing a oddly familiar feminine voice project my mind, I rubbed my temple.

That feels extremely weird… also, it’s creepy you can hear my thoughts.

Don’t think so loudly then.

What does that even mean?

Daddy, you’re an idiot.

…Daddy? I’m not your dad.

No, wait… where did you even learn the word 'daddy'?

Memories! You must have my lost memories!

…Why would I have your memories, daddy?

You took a portion of my soul! And, again, I’m not your father.

I don’t remember doing that?

So… you don’t have any of unfamiliar memories?

Should I?

How should I know?

Hello?

After half a minute of silence, I gave up and put God-hunter away.

Wonderful. I’ve got a mind reading sentient weapon.

Who, for some reason, believes I’m her father.

POV Swap – Stanley

Stanley stood inside the cafeteria inside the hotel section of the facility. This was the area most people hung out and networked with the other players before challenges.

At this point, Stanley had interacted with everyone at least once.

The Decima Game wasn’t particularly dangerous.

At least, in comparison to the norm in Hell Difficulty and the Narrator had also been strangely quiet, only speaking up at rare intervals since arriving here.

There’s a tense atmosphere around, though.

Nobody actually trusts each other because nobody can guarantee that the first person to obtain ten points won’t leave and abandon everyone else here.

There isn’t much I can do about that, though.

Even if I manage to get everyone to promise to not leave until everyone had ten points, there’s no way to force them to keep their promise.

The most likely outcome is that once someone attains ten points, they’ll leave immediately.

Why am I even here?

Why did the Narrator want me to enter this place?

“Hello Stanley!” Two voices simultaneously spoke, disturbing Stanley’s train of thought.

Turning around he saw the twins, Lina and Laura, had spoken to him. Replying politely, Stanley asked, “Lina, Laura? Something the matter?”

The twin on the left began talking, “We were wondering…”

The other continued, “If you’d noticed something we'd found interesting in the training rooms.”

“We found it while exploring earlier today.” The leftmost twin stated.

… I have no idea how to tell them apart.

The two girls look identical. Black hair, green eyes, and young western faces.

They don’t dress differently and they have similar personalities.

Giving up identifying them for now, Stanley asked for clarity, “Interesting... how? As in, potentially escape this place interesting... or interesting like a bomb that's going to blow up in my face?”

They both looked at each other and simultaneously replied, “Holographic cat type interesting~”

POV Swap – Tobias

I’ve been attempting to build a proper gun for myself. There’s tons of spare parts around here and tools.

I'll work something out.

But…

Why doesn’t this place have any kind of instructions?

Muttering to myself, “You’d think that damn cat provide some kind of instruction manual.”

Schrödinger appeared suddenly in front of me and meowed. “There’s no need to be rude.”

Instinctively, I threw the poorly made mechanical creation in my hand at him.

What's he doing here?!

Sadly, my mechanical creation passed straight though Schrödinger’s holographic body and broke into pieces on the floor. Schrödinger ignored it and helpfully stated. “I’m more than willing to provide instruction manuals, translations, holographic opponents upon request…”

Wait, what?

That actually sounds useful… Maybe, I prematurely judged him?

Glancing at the pieces of the abomination of a gun I’d made.

That does sound extremely helpful.

Before Schrödinger continued, “Especially for someone so violent… If you hadn’t chickened out, I’m sure you would’ve succeeded in murdering that girl. You had the perfect set up.”

Nope. I was completely right, every fiber of my being still despises him.

Focus, Tobias.

Punch him later. For now, focus on growing stronger.

Speaking out between grit teeth, “Instruction manual.”

Attempting to sound ‘cute’ Schrödinger waved his tail toward me, whilst deliberately over-pronouncing his cat-like accent, “Nyow, nyow… We’re just having a discussion. Nyo need to get upset.”

Smiling slightly… Alright, I give up.

I’m punching him.

Unfortunately, my blow ended up landing on empty space as Schrödinger’s projection disappeared.

A magical mechanical engineering book appeared to replace him.

Sighing to myself, I grabbed the book.

Well… I might actually be able to make a decent gun now.

I wouldn’t count on it, though.

[Day 80 in the Engineering Room…]

Alright… Despite taking forever to learn how to both create the gun and learn the programming language to get it to fire correctly, I think I’ve done it.

Pulling the trigger…

Nothing happened.

Damn, where did I mess up?

[Day 110 in the Engineering Room…]

Okay… seems I hadn't installed the firing mechanism correctly.

I’ve replaced that with a new part… and reprogramming it to work with the new part.

This time everything’s ready!

Pulling the trigger!

BOOM

The gun exploded, bursting into millions of tiny pieces.

Coughing, I breathed in the smoke and explosive residue. Repeatedly waving away the smoke, before returning to the manual and my notes.

Why did it explode?

I’m going to have to rebuild it from scratch…

[Day 140 in the Engineering Room…]

It’s finally completely rebuilt.

I’ve triple checked everything this time. I’ve fixed multiple errors in the programming and rebuilt it out of sturdier parts.

It’ll work this time.

About to pull the trigger, I hesitated.

I should go over my math and programming… one last time.

[Day 141 in the Engineering Room…]

Everything seems correct…

All that’s left to do is test it.

Please don’t explode in my face again.

Closing my eyes, I pulled the trigger.

Hearing the dull pang of a bullet against metal, I open my eyes.

Inside the metal workbench serving as the target there was a small hole.

IT WORKED!

Finally!

Now I need to optimize the programming and prepare replacement parts.

Then I'll be ready to leave.

Leave?

Huh…

How long has it been?

Well… it’s probably been longer than 10 days. Whoops...

I’d gotten so caught up with building that I lost track of time.

It might be time to face the music…

Spoiler

...and my schedules picking back up again.

No rest for the wicked.

 

Depending on how busy this semester gets, I might have to lower the number of chapters to two per week for awhile.

Well, for now, I'll try and keep it at three...

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