I woke up early the next morning and went out for a run to get more familiar with the different parts of the campus. Then I took a long hot shower and made breakfast before I put on the academy's uniform, picked up my bow and quiver, and left the dorm. My body was still hurting from yesterday's practice, but I didn't have the luxury to take it easy because of something silly like a bit of pain. Before I went to sleep yesterday, I'd looked around the academy forums on my smartwatch and found several training guides that I was planning on following to help maximize my growth. My goal right now was to increase my body’s attributes as quickly as possible and get another Talent. If I’m going to make it at this place, I had to show that I was capable. Considering that my physical aspects would take some time to catch up with the other students, my only choice was to excel through my archery skills right now.
The shooting range was a long, rectangular building about ten minutes away from the dorms. When I got there, I could already see other students entering the building. The inside of the building was split up into traditional archery ranges and several training rooms. I hadn't entered any of the training rooms yesterday, so I was a bit curious as to how they looked inside. I focused my vision and peered through the walls into the training rooms. There were several different types of obstacles that covered the floor, and students stood in the middle of the room, shooting arrows at small insect-like creatures that skittered around the floor. I recognized the students in two of the rooms. One was the blond girl from the day before, who was currently firing away arrow after arrow at the small critters with high speed, and the other one was a tall boy with bright red hair. He was the student from my class who could infuse his arrows with magic, and it looked like that was what he was doing now too, as every other arrow he shot was followed by a small explosion. Wasn’t that just a waste of arrows? I don’t think the school will pay for it if the students destroy their equipment.
I shook my head and stopped focusing my vision as I walked over to the more traditional practice ranges. I don't think I was at the point where I could hit moving targets that small just yet.
I started my practice immediately. These targets were convenient because when I ran out of arrows, all I had to do was press a button, and the target would come to me, allowing me to gather all of the arrows again. If you missed your target, you might have a hard time getting the arrow back if other students are shooting nearby, but I doubt many people at this school had that problem. I didn’t, at least. I was only shooting from thirty meters away at the moment. I might not be a master with the bow, but I wasn’t that bad. Hitting the target, I could at least do that with a good amount of certainty.
I stayed at the shooting range until lunch; then I headed back to the dorm to get some food. I was planning to get back to practicing after that before heading to the gym for a short pass during the evening when my wrist suddenly let out a high beep.
I looked down at my smartwatch in surprise. Someone had messaged me.
Student ID: 9483172, Jean Bradford
-Hello, my name is Jean. We’re in the same class. I’m gathering the people from our class to meet in the evening and wanted to invite you too. Are you interested?
I read the message over. This guy... He seemed a bit too friendly for my tastes. I'd grown used to strangers being hostile to each other, or at the very least wary of each other, so I felt uncomfortable when he was so friendly. The only people that acted like that back in my world were devils.
Monsters in human disguise. But those bastards didn’t appear until after the first citadel had arrived, so being paranoid about them was unnecessary.
I guess that, for regular students, this might be considered ordinary behavior. But I still chose to decline his invite.
-No, thank you, I’m busy.
I didn’t have the luxury of wasting any time making friends right now. I had to focus my all into growing stronger.
His reply came soon afterward.
-Okay, I understand. Good luck with your training!
I left my dorm and walked towards the shooting range again.
The first four days passed by quickly, and I was currently eating breakfast after running during the morning. My body was aching everywhere. The training regime I’d started following was pretty extreme, but it was worth it.
“Hope, show me my stats.”
[Magic Force: 0.44]
[Talent: The Watching Eye]
From just four days of training, most of my attributes had already increased by 0.05 or 0.06. Before I got here, they only increased by about 0.03 from one week's training. The difference was unmistakable.
“How come I’m growing so much faster now? It can’t only have to do with my new training methods, right?” I asked the wall of text in front of me.
[The Lemorth Academy of Monster Subjugation is built on top of a natural gathering of mana flows]
[A small part of that mana escapes and diffuses into the academy grounds, increasing an individuals’ growth]
[The Authority of Hope helps Kim Hooper’s growth be above that of an ordinary human. The increased flow of mana in the environment allows the Authority to increase Kim Hooper’s growth further]
“So, this island is basically built on a natural mana well, and the exposure to mana helps me grow faster?”
“Will I always keep growing this quickly?”
[Unlikely. Kim Hooper’s growth will abate as Kim Hooper grows stronger]
“Right, I guessed so. But still, with this, I might have a decent chance of catching up to the others in half a year or so.”
The tips of my mouth moved upwards to form a smile as I thought about the potential future. I wouldn’t be weak anymore and could finally fight back against those damn monsters and any people that tried to hurt me. It was the stuff I could only dream about a month ago. My body was growing faster than I could ever have imagined, and my archery skills were improving faster than I could have hoped. I’d already passed the point I was at before. Having good eyesight helped a lot. I was still far away from being as skilled as the other students, but if I could keep growing like this and get a Talent that improved my archery, then it felt like, at the very least, I would be able to rival that red-haired guy from my class. Although aiming for that blond girl might be a bit too much for the moment.
Thinking about that, I finished my breakfast and left the dorm. It was time for class 1’s first lesson.