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Alden Myro
Alden Myro
I’m a newbie writer who is still in the process of learning and unlearning.
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Alden Myro
Hello there!
Thank you for taking the time to visit my SubscribeStar page! I really appreciate it! To make your visit worth your while, allow me to explain what this project is all about.
I launched this personal endeavor as a means for my creativity and imagination to manifest into reality. I will be writing poems and serialized fiction novels about topics here and there that I find interesting. With all these, I intend to bring a wee bit of inspiration into our otherwise monotonous day-to-day routines.
Just to give you a heads up, I’m no expert in any form of writing! I have no formal training whatsoever to vouch for me. And, to be honest, I suck at it. I will simply be sharing the results of my writing experiments on a regular basis whether it be: finished or unfinished, edited or unedited.
I intend to become a better writer at some point somewhere through this entire process. And since I'm not even quite sure how to get from point A to point B yet, I'll take my cue from Brian Clark, a British playwright. When Mr. Clark was asked for his top ten tips to become a better writer, he said:

Write more.
Write even more.
Write even more than that.
Write when you don’t want to.
Write when you do.
Write when you have something to say.
Write when you don’t.
Write every day.
Keep writing.”

This whole endeavor will showcase the path of my continuous learning experience. And my goal, since then and until now, is not to become an expert. Instead, my life remains a work-in-progress mainly because of the continually evolving nature of the world around us.
Feel free to share your comments and reflections in the spirit of kindness. I aim to keep this space free from conflict and full of positivity with a miniscule dose of reality that we call “constructive criticism.”
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Let me define life the way Neil Gershenfeld defines building models: “a never-ending process of discovery and refinement, not a war to win or a destination to reach.”
This is my life's journey! I would like to share it with all of you kindred spirits, like-minded guys and gals out there. I'm fervently hoping that this lifelong endeavor I'm embarking on will, in some way or another, be entertaining or useful to you, too (as you walk through your lives in your own unique ways, through the pathways and byways only you were created to trek)
Here's our salute to life (with all its surprises, the twists and turns that make every day such a joy to wake up to

Sincerely yours,

Alden Myro

PS: I'm pretty open to constructive criticism. I am always on the lookout for ways to improve your reading experience. Please don't hesitate to bring to my attention any incorrect punctuation, grammar and word usage, misspelled words, syntax and typographical errors that you might find anywhere in my writing. After all, "the only permanent thing in the world is change" and a writer's real work begins with each rewrite. Let's help make this world of words, pardon the cliché, a better place!

PPS: Be a Dear and follow @aldenmyro on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates!

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Alden Myro
Public post

Of Truth

Disclaimer: This is a subjective take on the meaning of the word TRUTH. I have done NO research except read Francis Bacon’s essay aptly titled “Of Truth.” What you will read from this point onwards is purely my opinion. Proceed with caution and read everything that follows with a grain of salt.

TRUTH, whether we perceive it to be a mere concept, idea, or some form of knowledge, is anything we strongly believe to be TRUE.

The word TRUTH or any of its variations (just like any of the words our civilized world has coined so far) is merely a label we use to identify and describe actions, concepts, events, ideas, knowledge, people, etc. Man uses words to communicate, to get messages across, to understand, and to be understood. That way, we all find ourselves on the same page, reaching a consensus on what is what, who is who, how is how, when is when, and why is why.

How We Sense Truth

Human beings rely heavily on their senses. We normally have the tendency to believe what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. After all, our sheer presence by itself is already a fact. Our existence is undisputable.

We are alive. We are living. We exist. And we strongly believe in the premise that our actual state of being is real. Therefore, what we are experiencing through our five senses must be the TRUTH.

Just like any other animal living on Earth, we use our eyes to see, ears to hear, nose to smell, tongue to taste, and skin to touch. Our faculties are mainly there to help us understand the world we’re living in, protect us from danger, and make sense of all the chaos as we navigate the complexities of life. But despite our similarities, our superior intellect and judgment have given us a tremendous advantage. It enables us to more accurately discern and understand all the evidence we gather.

We have the power to connect all the dots to paint one big picture. We have the capacity to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. We can sift the truths from all the lies. Even a shard of evidence can make our minds go wild, allowing us to derive multiple stories from different angles or perspectives. Our only limit is the bottomless abyss we call imagination.

But what if what we saw, heard, smelled, tasted, and touched are NOT a hundred percent what they seem to be? What if everything was actually fake? And what if we deliberately made everything up to make them look real?

After all, we always have the option to distort reality. Man has always had the ability to make unreliable information appear as well-proven facts that are eventually widely accepted by the gullible general public.

Man Lies

Human beings, unlike our naïve animal counterparts, are highly capable of lying. Time and time again, history has proven that we have developed the habit of lying. We lie for a variety of reasons: personal gain, greed, power, money, trying not to hurt anyone, making ourselves feel good, etc. You name it. The list is long.

Whether lying (for whatever reason) is good or bad has always been up for debate. Morality is subjective, to begin with. Everyone grows up differently. With varied backgrounds, beliefs, ethnicities, and traditions, there will always be a conflict of perception where everyone agrees to disagree.

No matter which era we’re living in, several, if not all, people would still lie. It’s ingrained in the dark side of human nature. After all, we are complex beings, capable of making mistakes and learning from them. This whole process is what we call character development.

Truth In The Digital Age

In the digital age, where information is readily accessible, just a few clicks of a button are all it takes to manipulate any information, published or not. These newer technologies have amplified the negative consequences of the sheer act of deceit.

Fake news, deep fakes, false advertisements, scams, just to name a few, are so prevalent these days. We can find them all over the internet. Some of them are even spreading faster offline. Unless we are living under a rock, we will always face some form of media on a daily basis.

The various antics and shenanigans of the past now have their digital equivalents. News, movies, TV series, or any other form of entertainment walk a thin line between fiction and non-fiction. And an assortment of illusions constantly fills our social media feeds every day.

To some people, their self-worth and net worth are now quantified by how many followers or subscribers they have on their channels or pages. The number of views and likes on each post now determines success or failure. Of course, the higher the number, the better.

We also live in a time where the need to create a brand or an online persona, separating personal life from business, has become a necessity.

Nowadays, publicists and lobbyists are the newly crowned kings, with the best among them gifted with the Midas touch. With cancel-culture becoming the norm, some of these overlords do whatever it takes to spin every disaster coming their client’s way into gold. They diffuse potential catastrophes into manageable levels, and sometimes even completely overturn them. They have the power to paint their clients red or blue, black or white, or any shade of whatever color they prefer, just like a colorful piece of art.

New forms of oppression commonly occur every day. Bashing is rampant. Anonymity is practically non-existent. Everyone is wearing a see-through mask. Privacy is no longer a privilege. Even silence speaks volumes these days.

With the accessibility of technology, we can now feel the effects and corresponding damage caused by falsifying our truths in real-time. Some of these have dire consequences that affect our mental health. Fake news can trigger so much rage: both in people who are gullible enough to believe them and those who see through the lies. This rage can be directed to one’s own self, the kind of self-loathing that leads to suicide. Or it could be directed towards others that leads to the desire to kill.

Our false sense of security hides the fact that we are NOT really safe.

So how do we deal with all this chaos and nonsense? How do we shield ourselves from all these predatory behavior? How do we uncover the truth from all the lies?

The answer is simple. No matter what we do, there is NO fool-proof way to keep ourselves safe and sound. Wearing a bullet-proof vest all the time will NOT work when we face a nuclear bomb.

Life’s not all rosy, to begin with. Our individual journeys will always have thorny undercurrents. Whether we are following someone else’s path or creating our own, we would always have to tread lightly.

We just need to take one step at a time and see how it goes.

After all, deep down, the TRUTH is whatever we want it to be.

The Truth As Is

TRUTH is a willful acceptance of certain things. With enough reliable evidence, TRUTH is a transformation of simple notions or theories into cold hard facts. TRUTH can be proven by anybody who is willing to do it.

It wasn’t always this way, though. Centuries ago, many people believed that the world was flat; that Earth was the center of the solar system. Decades ago, many believed that blue-eyed people reigned supreme, superior to all other races; that females were second-class citizens, not allowed to vote, much less speak out of turn; that being a homosexual was a crime; that gays, lesbians, or anyone from the LGBTQ community shouldn’t have the privilege to love freely, much less marry each other; that black lives do not matter at all, and should be eternally damned as slaves. The list goes on.

Correcting such misconceptions took quite a lot of time, quite a lot of convincing, quite a lot of influencing, quite a lot of effort, manpower, evidence, and shared sacrifices. The uphill battles for tolerance and acceptance were literally paved with broken bones, blood, sweat, and tears. Although we’ve come to reshape some of these prejudices in our modern society, the war is certainly far from over.

This just proves that the journey towards finding out the TRUTH is an ever-changing process. What is true now, may NOT be true in the near future, and vice versa.

At the end of the day, it is all up to us to scrutinize these new changes and adapt to them, to live in these newer realities. Believing whether something is true or not depends on one's judgment.

We know ourselves better than anyone else. So no matter how far we go down this rabbit hole, we must stand up for ourselves and the causes we believe in. Speaking our own truth, in a way, is a liberating experience.

How about you? What is your truth?

What do you think about this essay? Do share your feedback with me in the comment section below. Also, kindly follow @aldenmyro on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates! You can also get early and exclusive access to my work on Patreon, Ko-Fi, SubscribeStar, or BuyMeACoffee.

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Alden Myro

Soul Fragment Series - Book One: Chapter 2 - A Solitary Prelude

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Alden Myro

Soul Fragment Series - Book One: Chapter 1 - A Rather Peculiar Situation

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Alden Myro
Public post

The Exiled Prince - Chapter 20: Stalemate

“When the time comes, do not act rashly. Your survival solely depends on you now. So you must consider all of your options first and proceed with our plan cautiously. Otherwise, only death awaits you.”
Sitting in an empty cafeteria within the castle’s premises, Dimitri recalled the Headmaster’s last words while holding on to an antique-looking watch the old man had just given him after their talk. He couldn’t help but ponder on his looming punishment. Afterall, the ball was already in his court. Whether he lives or dies, it’s all up to him now.
“How can I get out of this mess?” Dimitri thought ruefully, ignoring the tray of processed food on the table. At this moment, he truly felt like being thrust into a stranger’s life, facing the consequences of someone else’s mistakes while his own life was at stake.
“Escaping now is not even an option.” Dimitri sighed and placed the watch on his left wrist, realizing how small of a frog he was in this huge well he felt trapped in. “That would surely hasten my death. I would only be digging my own grave without my knowing it.”
Dimitri absentmindedly started eating at a slow pace, still thinking about all the information he had just learned. The Headmaster’s words still lingered in his thoughts while he contemplated on every shocking detail of their long conversation. But what surprised him the most was the fact that he was really powerless to do anything about it right now.
“I’ll probably die in no time if I act recklessly!” Dimitri immediately lost his appetite with the mere thought of dying, putting down his pair of chopsticks on the tray. He stood up, grabbed his food tray, and walked towards the exit, forcefully disposing his barely touched meal in the trash bin on his way out.
“This world is just too small for me to fully escape their grasp.”
Just as Dimitri entered the strangely familiar training hall, Armand who was sitting on the ground suddenly threw a small box at him. The act of catching the box immediately disrupted Dimitri’s train of thought. All his concerns vanished in an instant.
Ignoring Armand’s menacing glare, Dimitri effortlessly caught the box with one hand, his eyes scanning the new space. This training hall, he observed, was obviously smaller than the previous training hall he had been to. Various equipment and gear scattered throughout the entire hall made the space look cramped and chaotic.
Holding on to the nondescript box, Dimitri eyed Armand warily. “What’s this?”
“Just put them on.” Armand stood up and began to jump around the small platform, stretching his arms and legs from time to time. “And hurry up! We don’t have that much time.”
“Why?” Seeing Armand’s fierce demeanor, Dimitri started to unpack the lightweight box. He had already figured out what the other man wanted to do. Pulling a pouch from the box, Dimitri unhurriedly scoured through its contents. He found one pair of shorts and several rolled bandages tightly cramped within it.
“Let’s see how much you have improved this time!” Armand temporarily stopped stretching and pointed at the rack of gear on one side. “And put one of those protective suits on as well.”
“I don’t want to break your fragile bones unintentionally.”
Dimitri sighed and shook his head without bothering to look at all the gear he could use. “No, this should be fine.”
“Suit yourself!” With a smug face, Armand merely shrugged and proceeded to stretch nonchalantly. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”
“Again!” Armand demanded, breathing heavily.
“Are you sure?” Wiping the blood off his nose, Dimitri stared at the ceiling, enduring the excruciating pain all over his body. “I doubt that you can still hold on for much longer.”
Both men were lying on the ground, close to each other, completely disheveled. Their faces were covered with blood. Cuts and bruises could be seen all over their bodies. Their shorts and the bandages wrapped around their hands were all stained red.
“Aren’t we in the same boat?” Armand countered and got up slowly, still panting really hard. “I’m counting on you to fall first the next time.”
“In your dreams!” Dimitri chuckled, seeing Armand in a similar rumpled state. He then faced the ground and pushed himself up with extreme difficulty, wiping the remnants of blood from his hand on his shorts. “You couldn’t even defeat someone who could barely fight, much more so someone who had only lost his memory.”
“Says someone whose face has been beaten to a pulp!” Armand sneered, instantly shifting to a fighting stance. “Your face is mostly black and blue. I can hardly recognize you right now!”
“Look in the mirror yourself!” Dimitri smiled painfully, positioning both fists in front of his chest, his body leaning sideways, his right foot behind his left. “You’re all talk, no action!”
Both men were certainly on the brink of exhaustion, focused on defense, waiting for the other to attack. When one moved, the other reacted, moving synchronously, keeping their distance over two arms length away from each other. They knew that their fight could end mere seconds after the first strike.
It appeared as though both men were stuck in a deadly dance, keeping the same distance between them for a long time. Neither man advanced nor retreated. The situation seemed to be a stalemate.
“Come on!” Armand urged, his expression oozing with arrogance. “Hit me with all you’ve got!”
“I can sense fear from you!” Dimitri taunted. “Why? Are you afraid?”
“Isn’t it the other way around?” Armand rolled his eyes and raised a finger.
“Then, why are you not attacking?” Dimitri grinned, his tone dripping with mockery. “Afraid to be knocked out with just one kick?”
“Bite me!” Armand jeered condescendingly, his movements clearly taunting the other. “How are your legs so far? Still trembling from all that pain?”
“Why don’t you test them yourself?” Without warning, Dimitri kicked Armand squarely in the face.
Armand, however, saw through Dimitri’s intention right away. He quickly dodged the incoming kick while trying to punch Dimitri straight in the gut with his right fist.
But before any of their strikes could land on their targets, a semi-transparent barrier appeared in between them, knocking both men to the ground.
The fight instantly came to a standstill with both men lying on the ground. When Dimitri’s foot hit the barrier, he felt like he was electrocuted. Similarly, Armand also felt like he was electrocuted when his fist hit the barrier.
The electric shock sapped whatever strength they had left. It rendered them both immobile, too tired to move any further.
For a moment, the training hall became eerily quiet. Only the sound of heavy breathing could be heard. Until a familiar yet authoritative male voice broke the silence...
“Halt! You need to stop fighting right this very moment!”
With great difficulty, both men turned to the source of the sound only to see Mikhail, wearing his usual butler uniform sans the spectacles, hovering just outside the platform. 
“The Headmaster requires your presence!” Mikhail said matter-of-factly, oblivious to the significance of his words.
“The emissary has arrived!”
Author's Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 20: Stalemate? Do share your feedback with me in the comment section below. Also, kindly follow @aldenmyro on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates!
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Alden Myro
Public post

The Exiled Prince - Chapter 19: Something Peculiar

“Were you able to remember anything from your past missions at all?”
Appearing out of nowhere, Dimitri suddenly found Mikhail standing right beside him. Clasping both hands behind his back, the AI butler had already donned his usual coat and tie sans the spectacles, Dimitri observed.
“No.” Ignoring the costume change, Dimitri shook his head and stood up, rubbing his hands, uncomfortable and barely tolerating the sticky feeling of sweat drying on his clothes.
“These videos are helpful. But other than that, I don’t really recall being on any of these missions.”
Both of their equally towering figures slowly walked towards the center of the now empty training platform, their eyes on the large virtual screen that remained still floating mid-air. The semi-transparent barrier, including the pile of trash Dimitri had accumulated over several training sessions, were long gone.
“What do you mean?” Mikhail turned to Dimitri with a questioning look. The training hall had already reverted back to its original pristine form, looking exactly as it was when they first came in.
“I simply couldn’t remember being on any of those past missions.” Dimitri shrugged, folding his arms over his chest, his eyes still focused on the multiple replays displayed on the screen.
It took them at least four hours to go through each detail of all the missions he had been on in the past. The entire ordeal was quite inconvenient and time consuming, a far cry from when the mysterious system hacked his previous training programs.
“Although the videos provide conclusive evidence that it was I, myself, who carried out those missions, I still feel a sense of detachment.”
“Mm-hmm.” Mikhail raised an eyebrow, keenly observing Dimitri’s facial expression.
“I mean, the man in each video is obviously me.” Dimitri turned to Mikhail and started to explain. “I recognize my face and figure despite donning various disguises. I also get the logic behind each action. But I feel like I am watching a stranger.
“I am completely positive that guy is me.” Dimitri continued, pointing to himself on the video. “But I still feel like it wasn’t really me. You get what I mean? I’m not really sure how to explain it exactly.”
“Go on.” Mikhail listened attentively as though he were analyzing Dimitri’s every speech pattern and gesture. Without Dimitri’s knowledge, the AI butler had been secretly gathering all these seemingly inconsequential data since day one, trying to sift the truth from all the lies.
“That man is absolutely a stranger to me right now.” Dimitri sighed and rubbed his chin with one hand, eyeing the virtual screen confusedly. “That’s all there is to it.”
“In short, you still could not remember anything.” Mikhail said matter-of-factly.
Dimitri nodded, completely lost in thought.
“Mikhail, have you noticed something peculiar about my last six missions?” Dimitri broke the silence and suddenly declared with intense interest. Both of them had been staring at the virtual screen for quite some time, replaying the mission surveillance videos one by one.
“Care to explain?” Mikhail asked nonchalantly, although not at all surprised by Dimitri’s observation.
Dimitri began pointing out the differences. 
“I am quite certain that you must have noticed that most of my past missions were quick and decisive. Did you notice some sort of a pattern? They were all skillfully and efficiently completed.”
“Go on!” Mikhail urged.
“The last six missions, however, seemed more elaborate and slow.” Dimitri added, still baffled by his past actions. “My inefficiencies were glaringly obvious. It appeared as though I was deliberately trying to sabotage or expose the Council by carelessly dropping some of the evidence.”
“The last six assassinations seemed to be completed by an amateur, not a professional.”
“And why do you think that?” Mikhail turned to Dimitri, again raising an eyebrow.
“Some incriminating evidence were haphazardly left at the crime scene.” Dimitri explained. “For example, I defied the mission parameters by killing the first target on my last mission out in the open. I could have done that discreetly, away from the prying eyes of the general public.”
“The mission parameters clearly stated that both targets should appear to die due to self-inflicted injury.” Dimitri explained further. “Now I understand why I had to undergo that trial by the tribunal.”
“The Council must have been pissed with my recent actions.”
“So you think your initial punishment was justified?” Mikhail asked with a smug look.
“I didn’t say that.” Dimitri countered. “I’m just wondering about the sudden changes in my behavior during my last six missions.”
“Do you have any idea why those sudden changes may have happened?”
“It appears as though you have been telling the truth all this time.”
Dimitri heard an old male voice say as he entered the cramped office space. The small room evoked a sense of familiarity. Just like all the other parts of the castle had felt familiar to him despite the fact that he thought he was seeing it all for the first time.
“Headmaster!” Dimitri immediately stood at attention when he saw the all too familiar old man. The Headmaster, wearing what seemed to be an intricately designed white robe, sat behind the large mahogany desk.
Ivan immediately noticed Dimitri’s stiffness. He swiped all of the virtual screens hovering over his desk away then pointed towards the two chairs across his desk. “Sit.”
Dimitri nodded and hung his leather jacket on the coat rack behind the door before sitting on the chair to his left. He now donned a fresh white shirt and blue jeans, his hair still wet after his quick shower.
“You still could not remember anything even after all those training sessions, could you?” Ivan eyed Dimitri, resting both of his arms on the table, his hands clasped together. The wrinkles on his face became more apparent in close proximity.
“No, Sir!” Crossing his legs, Dimitri sat more comfortably, sensing the old man’s amicable demeanor. “My memories are still as elusive as ever. I still could not remember a thing.”
“I believe you have no choice, but to bear with this loss for the time being then.” Ivan chuckled before his expression turned serious.
“I’m afraid so.” Devoid of any expression, Dimitri agreed, knowing there wasn’t really anything he could do about it. “I guess only time can tell.”
“Do you know why I summoned you here?” Ivan asked straight away.
Dimitri simply shook his head, uncertain as to why his last training exercise had been cut short. All this time, he had been looking forward to gathering more information about the Council. But it seems he had to put that on hold for now.
“The Council has already arrived at a decision on your case.” Ivan said solemnly and paused for a brief moment. “Unfortunately, we still need to wait five more days before we can hear it.”
“An emissary from HQ is on his way here, as we speak, to deliver the verdict in person.” Ivan continued while Dimitri stayed silent. “Do you know what that means?”
Dimitri merely shrugged, unsure how to respond.
“The severity of your punishment might be unprecedented.” Without waiting for Dimitri’s reply, Ivan answered his own question with a hint of concern. “No high-ranking official from HQ has ever had to personally be here to deliver a verdict throughout the long history of our outpost. Everything had always been done electronically.”
“His mere presence could spell our doom!”
Author's Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 19: Something Peculiar? Do share your feedback with me in the comment section below. Also, kindly follow @aldenmyro on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates!
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Alden Myro
Public post

The Exiled Prince - Chapter 18: Deactivated

[Warning: Usage Restriction Due To Limited Function Mode Activation]
[System Availability Duration: Reached]
[Combat Simulation Program: Deactivated]
[Strategy and Tactics Program: Deactivated]
[Weapons Training Program: Deactivated]
[The Art Of War Program: Deactivated]
[The Art of Killing Program: Deactivated]
[Physical Fitness and Self-Care Program: Deactivated]
[Intelligence, Reconnaissance and Surveillance Program: Deactivated]
[Camouflage, Concealment, and Disguise Program: Deactivated]
[Civilian and Military-Grade Vehicle and Equipment Training Program: Deactivated]
[Advanced Survival Program: Deactivated]
[Advanced Martial Arts Program: Deactivated]
[Initializing Integration]
[Integration Successful]
“Just as I thought!” Sitting cross-legged on the floor, Dimitri sighed, seeing a number of system prompts displayed continuously on the virtual screen that only he alone could see. “There really is a time limit for using such a mysterious system.”
Observing the new virtual screen interface, Dimitri saw a few changes. Just beside the gear icon at the top right corner, an almost empty battery icon kept blinking red. This meant power was dangerously running low. “Interesting!”
A line clearly divided the virtual screen interface into two. The upper half, now labeled ‘Active/In-Progress’, still displayed the grayed out light bulb icon. Stuck at 61.90%, it said ‘Host Memory Integration’ still in-progress. The lower half, now labeled ‘Deactivated/Integrated’, showed the icons of all the training programs he had just completed.
The already integrated icons looked different from their in-progress counterparts, neither grayed out nor active. The embossed logo design of each integrated icon seemed intricate, its metallic surface etched predominantly with gold.
Dimitri tried to tap on each integrated icon, one at a time. However, each one simply didn’t budge, no matter how many times he tried. No new window or system prompt appeared either.
“Integrated?” Dimitri’s face instantly brightened, realizing the fact that he could remember everything. He vividly recalled every detail from each training program, no matter how insignificant. “So these golden icons that just got deactivated have already been integrated into my memory?”
“Does this mean that at will, I now have access to all the data from all the training programs that I have completed?”
Without delay, Dimitri stood up excitedly and executed the martial arts movements that he had learned most recently. For a few minutes, Dimitri’s grunts echoed throughout the entire hall as he performed a series of punches and kicks, switching from one style to another a little bit crudely.
“I guess sheer knowledge is not enough.” Dimitri sat back down on the floor and began to contemplate, his face dripping wet with sweat. “I still need to train a whole lot more to adequately develop muscle memory. I must be able to switch from one fighting position to the next naturally with more agility and fluidity.”
“I guess I just need to rely on the current state of my skills, for the time being.”
“I wonder when I’ll be able to use the cheat feature of that black ball again.” Dimitri thought ruefully, looking over the vast ocean on the horizon. Already accustomed to the constantly changing scenery beyond the barrier of the training platform, he started to contemplate on his future plans.
“Are you ready for your last set of training exercises?” Mikhail asked.
“Yeah.” Dimitri simply nodded. He drank all his water in one go and wiped off the sweat from his face before turning to Mikhail. He threw the empty bottle and the used towel to the already growing pile at the edge of the platform.
“You look funny each time the scenery changes, by the way!” Dimitri said in a mocking tone. The AI butler’s tiny figure appeared to be standing on a small boat floating in an endless ocean, with the sun about to set right behind him.
“I will take that as a compliment. Thank you!” Mikhail smiled proudly, hugging his coat tighter. “I have been trying to integrate as much comedic acting as I can in my interactions with you bunch of buffoons, whether verbal or non-verbal. Unfortunately, most of my brand of humor comes off as offensive or undesirable to you people.”
“Just take it down a notch, then.” Dimitri laughed, finding Mikhail’s company nearly tolerable after going through so many training exercises with him. “I’m pretty sure you can make a grumpy guy like Armand laugh soon.”
“Believe me! I am constantly trying.” Mikhail merely shrugged, rolling his eyes “He, however, appears to be such an uptight person who is so easily irritated. You and the Headmaster, on the other hand, seem more amiable.”
“Really?” Dimitri chuckled, raising an eyebrow.
“Well, at least your old self seemed so much more charming and friendly.” Mikhail blatantly lied, his pretense clearly visible to anyone. “The new you, unfortunately, is a little bit stupid, always acting and sounding cuckoo, and quite temperamental, too. In short, you are turning out to be as uptight and a party-pooper as that fool Armand, and maybe even more so.”
“I am not quite sure which one of you is moodier, grumpier, the list goes on.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment, then.” Dimitri grinned, pumping a fist. “At least, I am better than him in some way.”
“Well, you have always been better than Armand in so many ways.” Mikhail declared, trying to add fuel to the fire. “And that is why you do not see eye to eye and Armand can hardly stand being near you.”
“His pride must have been hurt all this time,” Mikhail continued, further fanning the flame. “But I am betting on the fact that your continued presence serves as a constant reminder of all his humiliating losses all throughout these years.”
“Is that why he always acts so rudely around me?” Dimitri probed.
“I am a hundred percent certain that he abhors only all of your achievements, not you as a person!” Mikhail said. “He does not really have any ill intentions towards you. In fact, he has constantly checked on your past achievements and compared them all with his.”
“Although he looks down on you more now due to your current circumstances.”
“Now that couldn’t be helped, could it?” Dimitri sighed. “I just hope that I would be able to remember everything or at least regain some of my lost memories sooner rather than later.”
“That way, I wouldn’t have to always walk on thin ice.”
“Do not fret!” Mikhail gave a thumbs up. “Based on the data I gathered specifically for your case, you have an 80% probability of regaining your memory as long as we steer you towards the right direction.”
“I should hope so.” Dimitri nodded, shifting to a more relaxed sitting position. “Because honestly, right now, I’m not even sure being an assassin is the right fit for me.”
“It is understandable that you would be having such doubts now.” Mikhail agreed, wiping the imaginary dust off his spectacles with his hankie before putting it back on.
“I mean, don’t take it the wrong way.” Dimitri explained further. “You guys have so many expectations of me. But I’m not even sure if I have the right skills, drive nor confidence to meet all of your expectations.”
“I don’t even know why I became an assassin in the first place.” Dimitri mused. “Why did I even choose to be one? Why did I bother to join the Council? I have been pondering on these questions quite a lot, lately.”
“As to why you chose to join the Council and become an assassin, you would need to personally speak with the Headmaster. Access to that information is currently restricted to his level.” Mikhail offered, his tone serious. “As for the rest of your concerns, it is a good thing that we saved this custom-built set of targeted training exercises for last.
“What do you mean?” Dimitri asked curiously.
“You will go through each recorded training and mission that you have completed in the past.” Mikhail began to explain the training mechanics. “Plus, you will be given a brief overview of each relevant piece of information about the Council that you have clearance for.”
“You have already learned all the skills required to become a professional assassin,” Mikhail continued. “The Headmaster hopes that you will finally bear some semblance of your old self when you complete all these training exercises.”
“Now is the right time to fill you in on some rather important details…”
Author's Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 18: Deactivated? Do share your feedback with me in the comment section below. Also, kindly follow @aldenmyro on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates!
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