A Royal Road Fan Fiction
By: Halosty
Chapter 26

Mortimer spent the day thinking about how he would kill the next ghost, and about Master Valarao’s training. Of course, he should have been thinking about school and the finals he had in a little over a week, but he wasn’t. All he had to do was not flub all his finals and he would be fine. He’d even applied for a school now, the same one Angela was planning to go to. Obviously this had nothing to do with him spying on overhearing a conversation between Angela and Solara about going there. It was a good school.

The first problem, that of the ghost, was dependent a lot on how strong the zombies actually were. He had been very surprised when the showed up, so he hadn’t really put up much struggle. Mortimer assumed they would be individually weak since so many had shown up. He could probably deal with them if he handled it properly.

In terms of Master Valarao’s training, he just had to treat it like he now treated ghosts. Obviously, he would have to use magic to complete it. No, that wasn’t actually the solution, but he would have to try something and hope it worked. Of course, it could also be a path to actual failure. He was pretty confident he was right though.


Mortimer got home, and started to take care of the problems in the most reasonable order. First, he had to spar with Angela, one more time. He had to go all out this time. Not that he had been holding back before, but if he didn’t give this time all of his effort, his plan could never work.

Mortimer actually did fairly well. He was fast enough to get inside Angela’s guard sometimes, but she still always managed to get a hit on him. His footwork couldn’t make a difference in her reach. On the ninth match, however, Mortimer managed to get a point. He managed a roll under her guard, and got a strike on her midsection. Not terribly good, but enough for a point. When he tried it again, even with different timing, she easily caught him. It appeared he really couldn’t win.

After the sparring session, Mortimer went to talk to Master Valarao. “I can’t win with the current rules.”

“Oh? You can’t win? Giving up?”

“I can’t win with the current rules, so if I have to continue with them, I have no choice but to give up.”

“You know, I can’t have a student who will just give up. Are you sure?” Master Valarao looked disappointed.

“Yes, I give up unless the rules will change.”

“Well then, you are no longer my student,” Master Valarao said. “You think you could win with different rules?”

“Maybe not… but without rules, I probably could.”

Master Valarao smiled, “Interesting… I have an offer for you kid. There is something else I can teach you, but you can’t back out if you agree. Also, if you accept, you can’t spar with your cousin ever again.”

“Would I be able to win?”

“I guess that depends on how you define winning. You’d never win in a tournament, except against people who weren’t very good. However… by the simplest definition of winning, it would actually be up to you. However, nothing would stop you from winning if you were good enough.”

“Then, I want to learn it.”

“Great. You’re sure? It will hurt, especially if you do poorly.”

“Yes. I want to learn it.”

“Good. Then first, you can’t spar with anyone. Ever. It won’t go well. This doesn’t mean I forbid you from fighting, just that you can’t ever have a friendly match again. Also… we can’t train here. We’ll have to do it in virtual reality… for safety. I’ll upload the data for the simulation to your console.”


Inside the simulation was basically Royal Road. If Royal Road consisted of one room and just two people. Perhaps it was better to say, it was a very realistic sparring simulation.

“Now then Mortimer, in here we are in exactly the same physical shape, so the only difference between us will be our training. Now, prepare to defend yourself. I’ll show you some things.”

Each of them picked up a sharp dagger. There was no need for training daggers here, since they would not die. Although… that was not entirely accurate.

Mortimer quickly learned why Master Valarao said it would hurt. In the simulation, he could actually cut Mortimer. If it didn’t kill him, it was a cut across his wrist to disable him, and then he was dead. Of course, that wasn’t the only weapon he had at his disposal. His left hand was unoccupied, and was just as deadly as the hand with a dagger.

First, they went over some ways to beat someone with superior reach. Catching the blade (not recommended). Slashing at their wrist, or catching it with your other hand was a good option. If they were a bit slower, you could move in and kick their ankle or knee, usually with enough force to break it. There were also some other methods.

Of course, none of these would be allowed in a tournament. Permanent bodily injuries were very frowned upon, as well as the “rules” of combat.

Fortunately??? for Mortimer, the injuries weren’t permanent here. Of course, that didn’t stop them from feeling very real, as well as “killing” him. He would wake up a few seconds later, since there was no need for a penalty in this space.

Mortimer learned, or at least witnessed, a whole new style of fighting. What he had learned before was still applicable, but it was much more effective with the new techniques. Mortimer didn’t do too badly, he even managed a cut on Master Valarao’s shirt once. Of course, the shirt was loose, and thus it was really just a miss. Plus, there was the very real feeling counterattack that he felt for a brief moment before blacking out again.

Mortimer spent a very long, exhausting time in training, and he had only learned a very small amount. However, the eight hours he had experienced were only two hours in the real world. It could have been more, but four times speed was the current safe limit for time acceleration in Virtual Reality.

Just before exiting the simulation, Master Valarao told him, “We’re also going to have to work on some basic training outside of this simulation. Can’t have you getting soft.”


Quietus was glad that he couldn’t feel the muscles on his real body. He almost wanted his real body to die so the pain would go away, but he knew that wasn’t a reasonable escape. Instead, he did the next best thing. Royal Road would ignore that muscle pain while he was playing. Although it would alert players of any injuries their real body had, and monitor their health to some point, muscular problems were ignored unless it was caused by poor positioning in the capsule.

Inside Royal Road, Quietus woke up in the morgue. For some reason, he felt a lot more comfortable there than in the church. He didn’t have any particular feelings against religion, so he wasn’t sure why that was.

Quietus waved goodbye to Alva, who just looked at him and shook his head. “Crazy foreigners.”

Before heading back into the dungeon, he went out and gathered herbs for health, stamina and mana potions. He also got some herbs for poisons, but they would likely be useless in the Moaning Mines. His herb gathering and Alchemy levels were nearing intermediate, but they would have to wait for more training.

In the Moaning Mines, Quietus took care of any traps that had reset on his route. Then, he encountered either no ghosts at all, or groups of five. This gave him some practice for fighting the zombies… at least theoretically. He assumed the zombies would have more vulnerable points and… not float. At least he could make the ghosts solid.

It didn’t take many groups of enemies before he found the room containing The Lonely Doctor. Quietus started the battle off with a soul bind. However, this time when the rumbling happened, he prepared for what he thought the tactic would be. He picked what he thought was the right timing, and used his Backslide skill. Then, he was outside of a ring of zombies, some of them still crawling up out of the ground.

The zombies then took a defensive formation around The Lonely Doctor. Quietus assumed that if he had any ranged capabilities that would harm them, they would have different tactics. Quietus tested out their formation with a series of quick attacks on one zombie.

Critical Hit!

As he had suspected, they had most of the same weak points as normal humans. They were also weak. He killed the zombie in that location, but the others were rushing at him so he had to quickly retreat again. The zombies went back to their places once he got about halfway across the room, and another zombie came out of the ground and took the place of the one who had been defeated.

Quietus tried a new tactic. He might as well use what he had theoretically learned. He was pretty sure, based on his past experiences, that it would work.

Quietus went in and slashed at the zombie’s hands and feet. Since he was just testing, he quickly retreated again, although he took a hit because he wasn’t focusing on his defense. The zombie didn’t seem to be much worse off for having injured limbs. The next time, Quietus attacked the elbows. He just hoped that zombies were at least partly powered by their bodies, and not just magic. As he observed his handiwork, he thought he was right. The zombies arms hung limply from the elbow down.

As he went in for the next zombie, they started approaching him earlier. He had to use his Backslide ability after a Snakebite for just one attack. He took some time to recover mana, but the group as a whole started to move towards him if he stayed outside of their range for long.

Quietus drank a mana potion, and set to work. He slashed at anything he could to disable the zombies without killing them, using Snakebite to speed up his attacks. He took some hits because the zombies were congregating more together, but he had a few potions to help with that. Then, there were only a bunch of zombies who couldn’t stand up or properly attack. They still moved better than most things could have in their situation, but The Lonely Doctor was open for attack. He looked rather confused at the state of his zombies, and apparently could not summon more.

For the last part of the fight, Quietus just avoided zombies flapping their limbs at his legs, and occasionally biting, while fighting The Lonely Doctor, who wasn’t really that strong of a ghost on his own. Then, he got the final blow, and The Lonely Doctor shrieked and died. The zombies all fell… more limp.

The Lonely Doctor has been bound!

You have learned:
Use this ability on a corpse to create a zombie. Its life is fleeting, but it will be restored to a better state for the duration of the spell. Can only be used on relatively weak monsters.
Mana cost: 50
Duration: 300 seconds
Maximum Number of Zombies: 3

As it died, a group of ten ghosts entered the room. Quietus quickly ran around and chugged most of his remaining potions, except some mana potions. These ghosts were starting to come in unmanageable groups. Quietus decided it was a good time to test his new spell, after he soul bound the ghosts. He didn’t want slow, stupid, vulnerable zombies if they couldn’t hit the enemy.

Quietus reanimated some of the zombies who were on the ground. He hoped they would be useful. The three zombies were quickly swarmed by five ghosts, but in the time it took them to kill the zombies, who had regained the ability to walk and actually attack, he managed to kill one of the other group. He drank another mana potion, and repeated the process.

Just as he ran out of bodies to use, since the zombies who were actually slain crumbled to dust and Quietus didn’t know where to get more, there were only six ghosts left. Surely a challenge, but Quietus was up for it.

Even a few minutes later, when he was standing alone with himself and his 10% hit points, he believed he was up for it. He’d won. Of course, the ghosts were all lower level than him, and he was out of potions, but that didn’t matter. Now he just had to find the last named ghost in this dungeon.

End Chapter 26

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About the author


Bio: I write things. Some of those things are on my website:, though they are also elsewhere. Like here.

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