Shane’s eyebrows jumped an inch upward with a sense of pleasant surprise. He didn’t expect to find a potential replacement for his claymore so soon. On top of that, after the spear materialized in his right hand, he discovered that his [Advanced Bladed Weapon Proficiency] feat was still active.
The two-and-a-half-foot-long handle was made of cherry red wood with a hard, marbled texture. Traveling up the shaft was a soft, almost see-through fabric that looked lighter than air. It was tightly coiled around the portion of the spear where the handle met the pointed mithril tip. Shane ran his finger up the tip’s sharp edge. Wow, that’s damn sharp.
Shane decided that, for now, he would retire his claymore and use the newly acquired spear. Two-handed weapons are fun, but if I stick to one-handed, I can find a wand or shield to augment my play style. Shane tried hard to focus on the current positives of his situation, hoping to re-immerse himself in the Endless Veil experience.
“Bad things happen. It’s just what happens sometimes. It is what it is,” Shane said in between forcibly large, calming breaths.
The splitting spear felt naturally light in his right hand as he gripped the rigid warped wood of its shaft. I can at least get excited by this thing’s ability to clone myself, right? Feeling for that splitting power within the spear was easy enough. Activating that power was equally natural in how his mind and body interfaced with it. The spear began to glow brightly, hiding the details of the weapon under intense yellow light.
Shane watched with fascination as that light traveled up his arm and then over the rest of his body in a brilliant flash. Outside of feeling a calming warmth from the yellow glow, nothing else felt different or abnormal. He didn’t think anything had actually happened until the light dissipated, and a literal copy of himself stood next to him. Uncertain anxiety began rising from the pit of his stomach as the clone looked to its left, at him, the original.
“Well, this is pretty wild. I’ve really been through hell and back, huh,” the clone said with a crooked smile after looking Shane up and down.
Shane didn’t bother responding; he simply couldn’t. Shane didn’t see the clone for the blatant copy that he was. What he saw was Cain Prime wearing his clothes and holding his weapon. Shane knew that was impossible, but his instinctual reaction made him feel otherwise.
You took everything from me! He thought as anger began clouding his judgment.
“I won’t let you take anything else!!” Shane roared furiously.
A half second later, Shane had already activated his [Triple Strike] attack, stabbing the Shane clone once in the torse, again in the chest, and finally in the head. The clone of himself could do nothing but wear a blank, stunned expression.
Shane’s clone had already died from the first two attacks. Its body already crumpling to the ground as the third strike’s impaling bonus blew the clone’s head outward with a burst of force and hot air. The clone’s body began dissolving into digital dust as Shane’s knees gave out from underneath him. He stayed on hands and knees, panting as his anger faded as quickly as it came.
He had to pull it together and stop freaking out; he wanted to, but when he saw clone Shane, it triggered a powerful hate that needed release. Maybe it was the fact that clone Shane was just as aware and sapient as he was that led to his breakdown. He couldn’t be sure, but upon summoning his clone again, he made a promise to himself to apologize for the gruesome assault.
Shane again continued slowly up the road with his breathing and thoughts under control. The plan was to visit the graves and snag that [Ascendant] wand in hopes it would be helpful to his build. However, as he squinted his eyes up the path away from the dungeon, he saw a small, boxy wooden building where the graves should have been.
Even more odd was the man leaning casually against it, facing Shane’s direction of arrival. As Shane got closer, he saw something was quite off about the stranger. He was taller than Shane, standing closer to seven feet tall, with a medium build, but the oddest thing was his clothing. The man wore what Shane could only surmise was a monk’s white robe and a victorian-style, black top hat.
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I'm currently writing my 2nd original story after learning from writing volume 1 of The Man Who Taught The Machine, which you can find on Amazon's Kindle Vella platform - https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B0BSFV1B1Z