CHAPTER 140 – Remnants of Time (Part 3)
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“M-M-Monsters!” A young man shouted as he slowly backed away from the battle, eyes filled with fear as he looked at the three persons in front of him. “RETREAT!”

“Y-Yes!” The other members of their group left.

“Aw… Are you leaving so soon?” A young man with white hair and blackish roots asked with mocking disappointment as he put his hands inside his pockets. “But we still want to play? Can’t you ask your mommy to give you more time outside?”

“It was just getting fun!” Besides him, another person, a woman with auburn hair and coffee eyes said with a sigh. “You know good it feels not being trashed around the whole fight!?”

“Ha…” The third person, a young man with black hair who was reloading his gun and keeping it in his holster sighed as he looked at the other two acting like kids. “Come on, we should go, we’ve been fighting them off since the early morning.”

“Tch. Whatever.” Olivia, who was recalling her knives said with a shrug. Thankfully for her, it was quite easy to just control all her knives to fly back to her, not having to worry about going around the battlefield picking them up. “This time they were many more than before.”

“Yeah, but they’re still weak. I’m not sure what that idiot is thinking about. Sending those mobs.” Cristopher said as he stretched. “It’s not even good for warming up.”

“He’s probably trying to measure our limits.” Hajin said as he looked around, trying to find another ‘wave’ of mobsters sent by the Djinn Asura, who has been giving orders to the rest of the members after he fused with the ghost that created this recorded world. “Either that, or he wants to see if we ever tire out.”

“So he’s not the smartest of the bunch, huh?” Olivia said with a frown.

“Yeah, you feel better?” Cristopher asked.

“Mm?” Olivia turned to him and tilted his head. “What do you mean?” Besides them, Hajin was also looking at Cristopher with a confused expression.

“Well, you know, that there’s someone more stupid than you.” Cristopher shrugged. “I thought it would make you feel better.”

“...” Hajin just sighed inwardly as he started to walk back to their camp.

“Are you serious!? We just had like our fifth fight of the day and your first great idea is to mess with me!?” Olivia shouted.

“Well, yeah, what else would I do?” Cristopher rolled his eyes as if she was asking the most stupid question in the world.

“You’re unbelievable!” She said with a huff, as she started to walk behind Hajin.

“Haha.” Cristopher chuckled and after looking around, he decided to go with them.

“That’s why you won’t find a girlfriend!” Olivia said.

“Tch. You stupid girl!” Cristopher shouted. “It’s not that I can’t, it’s that I don’t want to get one! There’s a difference!”

While they both quipped, Hajin just walked ahead, ignoring them, it’s been like this since day one, and let’s just say that after more than a couple of months, it’s not hard for him to tune their stupid discussions out.

{I’m starting to regret coming to this stupid trip…} Hajin sighed inwardly. But contrary to what he said, it’s not as if there hasn’t been a reward for tolerating those two. After all, it wasn’t a lie when they said that the concentration of mana in this place was insanely high, something that both Hajin and Olivia, and in some way, even Cristopher, appreciated.

In just a couple of months, they’ve made quite the improvement in their power, and both Olivia and Hajin had been honing their techniques under Cristopher’s tutelage.

“Well, let’s rest for a moment, and start our training.” Cristopher said as he stretched.

“We’ve been fighting for a few hours, isn’t that enough training?” Hajin said with a tired voice.

“What? That was just warming up.” Said Olivia as she also stretched.

“Yeah, be happy that I’m letting you rest.” Cristopher said, taking out his jacket. “You still need to get your reaction time better. Your close combat could also get better while using that freaking knife.”

“Ha… I’m not suited to use a freaking knife, that’s all…” Hajin muttered to himself.

“That’s bullshit. It’s a knife, not even a dagger, which, being honest, would be a better option for you. Though if you ask me, I would prefer to use a sword.” Cristopher shrugged as he dropped the jacket on top of his other stuff sitting beside them.

“By the way, are we going to spar later tonight?” Olivia asked him as she grabbed some refrigerated food.

“I guess.” Cristopher nodded. “Let’s see how good you’ve advanced with your hand-to-hand combat.” He said as he took out a bottle of beer.

“He. I’ll give you a surprise later.” She smirked, which caused Cristopher to snort.

“Hey, I’ve been training a lot with a knife later, but my main weapon is a gun, shouldn’t move to that now?” Hajin asked as he drank from a bottle of water.

“Well, if you had more experience with a knife, it would be easier for you to learn it quicker, but yeah, let’s take a rest from knives, and focus a little bit on your gunfight.” Cristopher said with a shrug.

“Do you even know how to use a gun?” Olivia asked with a scowl on his face.

“It’s a gun, even a child can use it.” Cristopher rolled his eyes as he turned to Hajin. “Lend me your gun.”

“Mm?” Hajin tilted his head, but with a shrug, he still gave him his Desert Eagle. “What are you going to do?”

“This.” Pulling out the magazine, he emptied it before setting it back into the gun. He then pointed outside of a broken window.

“You dropped the bullets, it won’t-” Olivia was about to mock him, but before she could finish, a magic-made bullet shot from the gun. “Huh?”

“You don’t really need bullets to use guns.” Cristopher shrugged, as he shot multiple bullets outside of the window. Impressively, it still sounded as if bullets were being shot. “Normally it would break a normal gun, but not with weapons like your Desert Eagle.”

“Wow…” Olivia and Hajin couldn’t help but be surprised at this. After all, it was well-known that a gun couldn’t shoot magic as bullets, which was one of the reasons why most, if not all heroes, never chose guns as their main weapon. Guns would always be outgrown by other weapons, simply because they didn’t depend on the user’s magic power. “How could you even do that!?” Olivia asked.

Cristopher clicked his tongue. “There’s a reason why I always tell you to focus on Magic Power Control. Using brute force is good and all, but if you want to get versatility and be able to do more than just throw magic power at your enemies, you need to get decent control. Which is what makes it possible for me to create the magic bullets and shot them through the gun.”

“Damn… That’s a strong motivator.” Olivia muttered as she thought of training her Magic Power Control even more than what she was doing.

“I know, right?” Cristopher chuckled. “Anyways. How many bullets do you have left?”

“I guess enough for a few weeks if it’s only for the Desert Eagle form.” Hajin said while rubbing his chin. A problem of being stranded here for far more time that he thought, it’s that his resources were getting lower. Thankfully, he wasn’t alone, and he could save some bullets during the fights, as Olivia and Cristopher took the bulk of it. “Why?”

“Well, there’s a way of training that would make you progress easily, and even help the other idiot.” Cristopher said, which made Olivia snort at him. “But well, it would also waste your bullets, so I guess we’ll just go with some katas and then some combat training with the gun instead of the knife.”

“Why would I do combat training with a gun as if I would use a knife?” Hajin asked while tilting his head.

“Because, my stupid friend, that’s what’s needed when it comes to gun-kata. It’s a mix of both close and medium-range combat.” Christopher shrugged. “And you might ask, why would you like to fight in close combat? Well, because you never know what could happen, and besides that, it will also hone your reflex and your ability to fight while surrounded by a huge crowd.”

“Right…” Hajin frowned. “Well, whatever. It’s not like we have something better to do.” He sighed.

“That’s the spirit!” Olivia laughed. “Also, what do you mean I would also be able to train?” After laughing for a little while, she turned to Cristopher to ask the question that was confusing her.

“Aww… so you knew I meant you went I called someone an idiot!” Cristopher laughed, to which Olivia snorted again. “Tch. You’re no fun.”

“I’ve just learned to ignore children’s stupidity. That’s all.” She smirked at him. “Well? How would that help me?”

“Simple.” Cristopher shrugged and stood up. “Let’s go outside.” He walked towards the exit of their hideout, while still carrying Hajin’s gun. “Also, Olivia, bring your knives.”

Once they were outside Cristopher went to a part of the abandoned city that had the least amount of cars around, and after kicking the ones that were obstructing him out of the way, he made a circle that was barely a meter in diameter with his sword, while he stood in the center of it. The other two exchanged a glance, asking each other with their eyes if they had any idea of what the circle was for.

“Well.” Cristopher called them to get their attention. He then threw his sword to the side and pointed at the circle. “This circle here is called the circle of salvation. If you step out of it, you’re dead.”

“Huh?”

“The hell do you mean?” Olivia asked him while giving him a deadpan.

“Tch. It’s just for dramatic purposes. These kids nowadays don’t know how to spice things up…” Cristopher sighed. “The idea of this circle is not to step outside of it, idiots. The training is made inside the circle.” He said as he held the gun that still had no bullets. “Now, Olivia. The trick of the training is that you will control as many knives as you can, while I’ll shoot them without moving out of this circle.”

Olivia tilted her head, but having known Cristopher’s weird training methods, she decided to follow along with his instructions and see what was this all about. And so, she moved forward and threw a few knives into the air, fixing them around Cristopher.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” Cristopher asked after a while. “Start moving them around, just as I have to try and shoot them, you need to evade my shoots.”

“Tch. Why didn’t you say that earlier!?” She shouted as she started moving the knives all around Cristopher, a task that was harder than she initially thought. Though, to be honest, she was trying with more than five knives at a time, and having to move all of them in different directions was a taxing task mentally, not just for her control.

“I thought it was obvious.” Cristopher sighed as he pointed his gun over his shoulder, and without even saying it, a low-density magic bullet shot from the Desert Eagle and impacted one of the knives, pushing it and breaking Olivia’s control over it. “But it’s my fault to expect so much from an idiot.” As he spoke he pointed to different knives and shot, not even seeing them.

“You’re the idiot!” Olivia shouted back, gritting her teeth as she tried to recover control of the fallen knives while also moving the active ones. Cristopher took his time between shoots, without ever moving out of the circle or making big movements, which is why she could regain control of her knives before all 5 were on the floor.

After a while, Olivia couldn’t help but lay down on the floor, completely tired after repeating the process.

“See? Quite a good way to train.” Cristopher told Hajin as he gave him the gun. “Now, in your case, I suppose the only problem is that Olivia isn’t capable of moving too many knives erratically and at high speed, so the difficulty it’s certainly not much.” He shrugged. 

“Ha… Yeah, I guess it would help me with whatever you’re trying to teach me, but how can I train it without enough ammunition, and without having to depend on Olivia when she’s dead tired?”

“I think that you could probably try some katas. Like, replicate movements that I teach you again and again with shadow enemies that I can help create with flares randomly appearing around you. That might work for you, not as effective, but will help you get accustomed to the movements.”

“Huh? Maybe that could work?” Hajin rubbed his chin thinking about the proposal.

“Of course it would, I’m the one suggesting it.” Cristopher snorted, and pointed at the circle. “Move your ass to the circle, remember, not even a foot outside of it, or I’ll make sure you know when you step out of line.” He smirked in a way that gave Hajin the chills.

As Hajin positioned himself on the circle, he took out his Desert Eagle, without positioning his finger on the trigger, after all, there were no bullets to shoot.

“Remember, I’ll create the flares randomly around you, instead of moving them, this way it’s more difficult to predict. But don’t worry, I’ll make sure they make themselves known every time by emitting sound. Have you heard the Rasengan forming?”

“The what?” Hajin was confused.

“Ha… you’re too much of an uncultured prick.” Cristopher shook his head with a disappointed face. “Whatever, you’ll know what I mean.”

“Whatever.” Hajin got himself in position, with his legs slightly apart, just enough to give him some balance without getting close to touching the circle. “Let’s start.”

“A second, please.” Cristopher said as he sat down, putting on his earphones and starting the music as he leaned on a wall, crossing his legs and resting his head on his arm. “Ha… perfect now. Well, time to start.” As he finished saying it, he snapped his fingers and a flare appeared in front of Hajin.

Hajin, prepared, quickly pointed the gun toward the orange sphere of fire, that disappeared the next second. The next instant, another flare formed to Hajin’s left and he, remembering how Cristopher moved during the demonstration, simply pointed to the flare, though he turned to look at the flare instead of simply pointing at it.

“Mm… We’ll have to work on your instincts as a gunslinger…” Cristopher muttered as he rubbed his chin, before snapping his fingers again. As he created more and more flares, it got harder for Hajin to aim at every flare, and after a couple of minutes, when the rate at which the flares appeared increased, he lost track of it, and eventually ended up stepping out of the line, and this caused an invisible rune to shine under his foot, and shock him immediately after.

“AH! What the fuck!?” Hajin shouted at Cristopher after falling on his butt inside the circle.

“HAHAHAHAHA” Cristopher, of course, couldn’t hold his laughter, and Olivia, who was now resting beside him while looking at Hajin training wasn’t any different. Both of them were loudly laughing at him. “Come on, I told you that you would certainly know it when you stepped out of the circle.” Cristopher, after finally laughing for a while, answered him.

“But you didn’t have to electrocute me!” Hajin, furious, shouted back at him.

“Less bitching and more training.” Cristopher said while waving his hand in front, before snapping his fingers once again and making a new flare appear, all the while Olivia kept laughing, just not so loud anymore.

“Ah fuck you!” Hajin shouted, but he still stood up and started training again, after all, he could see his perception and speed stat increasing, albeit slightly, because of the training.

“Sorry, can’t understand you under all your bitching.” Cristopher chuckled as he kept making flares appear. “By the way, don’t think that’s the only place that’s marked, there are runes all around that circle.”

“...” Hajin glared at him but didn’t answer. He would just lose his temper faster if he entertained Cristopher more, or so he thought.

“When did you create those runes?” Olivia, who finally calmed herself, asked Cristopher.

“The same moment I made the circle.” Cristopher shrugged.

“That was quick…” She frowned. “Hajin told me you took some time while inscribing the runes on his weapon.”

“It’s different.” Cristopher shook his head. “The runes on Hajin’s weapon are permanent, which makes them more complicated and delicate to inscribe. I need to directly carve them on the weapon.” He then pointed at the outer side of the circle. “Those, instead, are simple one-time use runes that will disappear once they’re used, or once a certain time runs out. I can make those with a simple thought by applying magic power, which will then turn into the rune.”

Olivia nodded. “Can you teach me?”

“To use runes?” Cristopher turned to look at her, while slowly increasing the rate of the flares appearing around Hajin. “Why?”

“They just seem really useful.” Olivia shrugged. “I mean… I certainly lack the patience to carve them, but if it’s like the ones you’re using around the circle, maybe they will help me with my fighting style.”

“Mmm…” Cristopher nodded, turning back to look at Hajin. “I see. Certainly, they would be a good way for you to increase your versatility in combat. But are you sure? It’s not something easy to learn, and you need a lot of practice to activate them at a fast rate and with just a thought. After all, at the start, you will have to still carve them, even if that means using your finger to write them on air.”

“...” Olivia thought for a moment, before nodding. “Yes, I would like to learn. But… maybe we could just focus on a couple of runes?”

Cristopher nodded at her. “Yes, that would work. But we’ll have to wait to be out of this place.”

“Why?” Olivia turned to look at him with a confused face.

“This place is too big of an opportunity for you. We need to focus as much as we can to help you increase your magic power and your control. You might use some free time between training sessions to learn the runes and how to write them, but don’t waste time training rune magic yet.”

Olivia nodded. She agreed to the idea. It wasn’t a difficult decision, after all, she noticed how much she has improved here. Her magic power has been steadily rising, and while her control has to be re-adjusted every now and then, it had also improved a lot. Certainly, changing her focus to another training would be detrimental for her, as she would lose this mine of gold called Recorded Past.

The rest of the day they spend it like this, with Cristopher helping both Olivia and Hajin to train, with the screams of an electrocuted Hajin sounding from time to time, and a dead tired Olivia falling on her back every now and then.

“Man, this is so fun!” A laughing Cristopher said as he stood inside a second circle, much to the anger of Hajin and Olivia, who couldn’t even stop glaring at him even if they wanted to, which of course, wasn’t the case.

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