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Jan 22nd, 2022
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  1. “Earth Magic Level 6: Sand Pupa,” said Lunaère as she raised an arm. Dirt from the garden collected over the magic circle that appeared, forming itself into a muscular statue with barely any neck.
  2. “Grah… GRAAAH!” The statue roared and raised its thick arms as it came to life.
  3. “This is a golem,” she said, turning to face me.
  4. “It’s the same as the statues that were cleaning the hut, right?”
  5. “…You saw?”
  6. Crap. I bit my tongue and Lunaère gave me an indignant look. Then I tried to bluff my way out.
  7. “J-just a little, through the crack in the door,” I lied. Just a tiny white lie. “It
  8. was just a glimpse. I’m not entirely sure what I saw, actually.”
  9. She let out a sigh of relief, and her face returned to its cool, blank expression.
  10. “I was simply putting away some items that I had out for an experiment. It wasn’t for your sake; they were just in my way.”
  11. “I completely understand!”
  12. I’d better stop blurting out things like an idiot…
  13. “Back to training. I have adjusted the golem’s strength. Even you should be able to defeat it,” said Lunaère as she pointed at its head. Level 10 was carved in its forehead. Despite the considerate label, I decided to do a Status Check anyway.
  14. Race: Golem
  15. Lv: 10
  16. HP: 34/34
  17. MP: 24/24
  18. That made me feel a lot more comfortable about her training program. Even if it was more powerful than me, its stats weren’t totally unreasonable like monsters I’d encountered earlier. Thanks to my new sword, I should be able to defeat it as long as I could get a few hits in before it clobbered me.
  19. “Earth Magic Level 4: Earth Bind.”
  20. Lunaère’s spell caused earthen ropes to erupt from a magic circle, ensnaring the golem’s arms and legs.
  21. “Aaargh!” it howled, twisting about in rage. The restraints held.
  22. “All right. Go on,” said Lunaère. She shooed me toward the bound golem.
  23. “Uh, right. Here goes nothing,” I muttered. Could it really be this easy?
  24. I hesitantly closed in and swung with a horizontal slash. The force of the impact sent the golem flying backward, shattering the hapless creature when it collided into the far side of the cavern wall.
  25. But it wasn’t the only one to feel an impact. I was unprepared for the sword’s recoil—the shock dropped me to my knees. My shoulder throbbed dully.
  26. S-so much power…
  27. This must be what Naiarotop was trying to tempt me with. This sword might not stand up against most of the monsters in Cocytus, but it sure made an impression on that training golem.
  28. As I caught my breath, I could tell I felt…different, like there was a source of heat inside my body. I used Status Check and saw my level had jumped up to 3! I didn’t get full experience from the kill because Lunaère was using magic to restrain it, but the sudden progress was exhilarating.
  29. “Master, I’ve leveled up!” I cheered, looking back in her direction. She was busy making magic circles all over the garden.
  30. “Earth Magic Level 6: Sand Pupa.” Twenty golems appeared around Lunaère, each of them with Level 10 carved in their forehead. “No time for slacking. Watch your form and try to keep your weight forward as you swing the sword.”
  31. H-how long can my shoulder hold out? I dropped my eyes to my arm, which still ached a little.
  32. But Lunaère was making these golems just for me. I couldn’t wimp out.
  33. It took almost an hour, but I managed to finish off all the golems. One by one, Lunaère bound them and I cut them down, until my Status Check confirmed I was level 10.
  34. The sword’s recoil had less of an effect on me as training continued. Gaining levels didn’t stop fatigue from building, though. After defeating the last golem, my arm was shaking so much that I dropped the sword. I bent down to pick it up and collapsed to the ground.
  35. “Are you all right? I didn’t realize you were that tired…” said Lunaère, and I thought I heard a little concern creeping into her voice. “Liches have a strong constitution, and I don’t think I accounted for that. You should tell me when you’re getting tired.”
  36. “I-I’ll try to remember that…”
  37. I was done for the day. My body and even my mind felt heavy from the exhaustion. Lunaère knelt beside me, bringing her face close to mine.
  38. “May I touch you for a moment? You can say no,” she said.
  39. “Huh? G-go ahead…” I offered, noticing how hesitant she was.
  40. She sighed in relief when I gave my permission and gulped slightly. Carefully extending her hand toward me, she tentatively stroked my arm with a slender finger like she was testing the condition of my skin.
  41. Th-that tingles…like her aura is getting under my skin.
  42. It didn’t hurt exactly, but her touch was sort of electric. I tolerated her prodding me with a fingertip, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted her whole hand to grab me. Being this close to her was also uncomfortable in other ways… Her beauty was very apparent, and I could feel a blush forming on my face. I hoped she hadn’t noticed.
  43. “S-sorry, the examination makes me feel a bit, uh, nervous …” I said, and Lunaère’s bicolored eyes locked on to mine in surprise. She pulled her hand away and shook her head.
  44. “Y-your arm is definitely stiff,” she squeaked in a high-pitched voice. “You won’t be able to continue training like this.”
  45. Well, looks like I’m done grinding levels today.
  46. It might seem like a drop in the bucket compared to the monsters in Cocytus, but I’d gained ten levels in just over an hour. Efficient progress for a hard day’s work.
  47. “Space-Time Magic Level 22: Retrograde.”
  48. Lunaère cast the spell, and the familiar magic circle appeared, bathing me in white light. As the pain dissipated and my body regenerated, I could move freely again.
  49. “Thank y—”
  50. “Earth Magic Level 6: Sand Pupa.”
  51. Twenty more golems appeared around Lunaère. Only now, they had Level 20 carved on their foreheads.
  52. “Continue.”
  53. I blinked in disbelief. My body might have been healed, but my mental fatigue still weighed me down like lead. Then I remembered what Lunaère had just said about telling her when I was exhausted. She’d seemed sincere about not knowing how hard this was for me; a high-level lich probably had no idea how mentally taxing this training program was.
  54. But she was putting so much effort into this—so much effort into…me. If I just swung my sword a few times and then gave up, who knew how long it would take for me to get to level 100? I had to try my best.
  55. “…Do you need to stop for the day?” asked Lunaère.
  56. “N-no, I’m fine! My body is healed, and I can keep going!” I replied, thinking, Sheer stubbornness will carry me through!
  57. I’d learned how to swing the sword properly, and my stats were higher—but even so, the fatigue made it difficult to put force behind my swings. The level 20 golems caused way more recoil too. By the time I’d hacked through the next round of training targets, my whole body was throbbing.
  58. But she wasn’t done with me. As the last one fell, I found myself surrounded by a fresh set of level 30 golems. I pushed through. At one point, I got careless, and a golem nearly cleaned my clock.
  59. After defeating waves of summoned enemies, I found myself lying on my back, surrounded by shards of dirt and clay. Status Check confirmed I’d made it to level 32.
  60. “You look tired. Shall we stop the training for now?” she asked.
  61. “I-I would appreciate it…”
  62. “Retrograde.”
  63. Another trip through the white light, and my body was healed, but my head was still full of fog. I really should have said something sooner.
  64. “You did well. Your sword handling really improved during the second half of the training. You seem more confident, and your body looks stronger,” said Lunaère while I healed. I might have reached my limits, but those words blew some of the fatigue away.
  65. “Thank you, Master!”
  66. “I’m…still not quite used to being called that. Whatever. You’re free to call me what you want,” she said, but I saw a blush form on her cheeks. She cleared her throat and turned away.
  67. She’s so cute. Makes me feel like I could work even harder.
  68. Not that I wasn’t ready to be done with training for the day, but I was forced to wonder if my lack of motivation back in Japan was because no one ever bothered to compliment me.
  69. I followed Lunaère back to the hut and soon found myself surrounded by a pile of magic books.
  70. “To put it simply, casting magic is the ability to channel power and change the world. Form a magic circle with your mind and then apply the necessary power. That is probably the easiest way to understand magic,” Lunaère explained as I sat on the treasure chest with a book on my lap.
  71. I thought we were done for the day… I thought with a sigh.
  72. I needed to pull myself together. Lunaère was being very generous, and I couldn’t afford to wear out my welcome. I had to get the minimum level and skills I needed as quickly as possible.
  73. “The specifics of the magic circle will vary based on the nature of your magic skill and the situation, meaning you can’t just memorize them,” she lectured. “Having said that, even I don’t completely understand everything about magic, nor can I use every school of magic at will. You can start by learning the formula patterns that make up magic circles.”
  74. I nodded, stared at the book, and hoped it would make sense.
  75. Lunaère tried to explain the contents of the magic books in plain language, adding additional information as we continued. She gave me a small pad of paper, and I rushed to scribble her words in my notes. Thanks to the Sorcerer King’s Research necklace, the magical studies seemed to lodge themselves in my brain, and I sucked in knowledge as she tutored me.
  76. “Not to brag, but I believe I may be one of the world’s best magic teachers,” said Lunaère, obvious pride bursting from behind her serious expression. Her passion about magic was evident. She had loosened up and was talking a little faster than usual. It was getting difficult to keep up with her.
  77. “Now, I will teach you the fundamental magic formulas. There’s this one, and this one, and this one…” Lunaère continued, quickly moving her hand through the air to form the corresponding magic formulas which appeared as glowing symbols.
  78. “Sorry, could you slow down?” I asked.
  79. A tiny chuckle escaped from the chest (and/or chair) mimic.
  80. Laugh it up, jerk!
  81. For three hours, the lesson continued. My head felt hot. Maybe it was caused by the Sorcerer King’s Research. I’d heard of computers overheating when they tried to do too many calculations. Had the necklace overclocked my brain?
  82. “Urgh…” I groaned, laying my head on the desk. I really needed a break.
  83. “Should I use Retrograde?” asked Lunaère. That spell turned back time to heal wounds—that made it great for fighting golems—but it didn’t really help mental fatigue.
  84. “I think I’m at my mental limit. Sorry.”
  85. “Hmm, mental limit? I have something that improves mood and something else for increased focus…” muttered Lunaère as she searched through the potions in her Dimension Pocket.
  86. Please, no. I can’t take any more. My spirit is going to break.
  87. “…Take these elixirs. They’ll make it easier to feel the different magical attributes in each spell. We’ll cover up to the fourth primary attribute today.” She’s doping me! When it comes to magic, this lich has no brakes!
  88. After the lesson finally ended, Lunaère went out to the vegetable patch to gather some ingredients for dinner. I stayed inside, slumped over the desk.
  89. “You still alive?” rumbled the chest.
  90. “Barely,” I managed. “S-status Check.”
  92. Race: Human
  93. Lv: 32
  94. HP: 154/154
  95. MP: 138/138
  96. Attack: 45 + 300
  97. Defense: 26
  98. Magic: 38 + 300
  99. Speed: 35
  100. Skills: Locklorian [Lv: 1], Status Check [Lv: 1]Fire Magic [Lv: 2/10], Water
  101. Magic [Lv: 2/10], Earth Magic [Lv: 2/10], Wind Magic [Lv: 2/10]
  102. That was a massive improvement, especially for my first day in Locklore. At this pace, I’d hit level 100 in about a week, and then I’d be able to get out of Cocytus.
  103. If I survived training…
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