Alden Myro profile
Alden Myro
Alden Myro
I’m a newbie writer who is still in the process of learning and unlearning. Read #TheExiledPrince novel series on #Wattpad, #Webnovel or #Patreon.
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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!


Short-Term Goals:

1. Buy a New Laptop
My current laptop has been with me for almost 8 years. We've been through so many battery/part replacements and a whole host of unexpected data losses together. Unfortunately, little Teddy is already showing signs of aging. I think it's time for a future-proof upgrade and to pass on whatever legacy Teddy has left. I would really appreciate all your help, no matter how small, in achieving this long overdue goal. Thank you for being so generous! Stay awesome!

2. Hire an Editor and Proofreader
Having an editor and/or proofreader would really help enhance the quality of my writing. First, it will shorten the time it takes to transform my first draft to my final output, allowing me to release a chapter or two ahead of time. Second, it will also make me learn from my editor and/or proofreader’s own experiences and have a better idea of what to do or not. And last but not the least, it will help me improve my writing skill in the long term. This will enable me to write highly compelling and engaging stories that are fun to read and intellectually stimulating at the same time. And definitely turn your reading experience into a much more pleasant one along the way.

3. Publish Hardbound Copies of The Exiled Prince: Volume One
Every aspiring author’s dream is to get published one way or another. As an avid reader and an aspiring author myself, I look forward to seeing my novel series printed hardbound. I can almost smell the aroma of book paper as I get cozy on my couch with a mug of coffee in one hand while flipping each page with my other hand. I hope to publish improved versions of the novels I have already published online, bridging any gaps in the plot or correcting grammatical errors to smoothen the flow of the story. Don’t worry, I have no plans of taking down the existing online versions. I’ll be keeping those for posterity, to serve as constant reminders of when I began my life as a writer. This is my journey from Point A (the online version) to Point B (the hardbound book) and, with your consent, I’m taking you along with me for the ride.

4. Publish Hardbound Copies of my Poems
I write poems every time I feel happy or to process any pent-up emotion whenever I encounter any form of adversity. Writing poems allows me to transform these emotional outbursts into an art form. I get to release all these feelings out of my body, mind and soul, freeing myself from negative thoughts. It may take me quite a while to compile enough poems to make a book mostly because I would not expect myself to experience extreme emotion every day. But nevertheless, I am looking forward to seeing it hardbound, real soon.


A List of Long-Term Goals (in no particular order):
  • Bring each character and scene to life through illustrations
  • Create a graphic novel series
  • Produce an animated series
  • Produce a TV/Movie series
  • Transform our favorite characters as collectibles
  • Write The Exiled Prince: Volume Two, Three, Four, and so on
  • Write a yet-to-be-titled prequel trilogy series
  • Write a yet-to-be-titled sequel trilogy series

This is me putting my big dreams and ideas out there, so that the universe will conspire to make it happen as soon as possible. I hope that you will be joining me throughout this entire creative process. Together, let’s explore more options for us to enjoy our favorite characters and scenes from The Exiled Prince novel series.
Your generosity will definitely bring us one step closer to achieving these goals. Any kind of assistance from you, no matter how small, will be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for helping me begin to manifest all these thoughts into reality!

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Alden Myro
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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
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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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Alden Myro
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The Exiled Prince - Chapter 17: Cheat Sheet

“Why are you here?” Armand asked, not bothering to open his eyes, sensing another presence in the room. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, he appeared to be meditating on a platform similar to that of the training hall, albeit smaller. “I already told you to call me only when he’s ready.”
“Dimitri’s ready for the next set of training exercises.” He heard Mikhail’s voice say.
“Impossible!” Armand kept his eyes shut, his tone derisive. “It’s only been less than three hours since he started. No one has been able to complete the combat simulation program in less than a week, much more so in less than a day.”
“Apparently, it is possible to complete all 100 levels in two hours and fifteen minutes, to be exact.” Mikhail stated matter-of-factly.
“Impossible!” Unable to concentrate any longer, Armand opened his eyes and glanced at the clock on the wall. “Dimitri’s best time for Level 50 was three days and for Level 100, a little over a week.”
“After completing Level One, it only took him less than 30 seconds on average to defeat his opponent at each level.” Mikhail, standing just outside the small platform, summoned a few virtual screens in between them. The screens all displayed Dimitri in various simulated combat program levels. “Why don’t you see it for yourself?”
“What’s going on here?” Armand carefully observed each virtual screen, shock clearly plastered on his face the more he watched each video. “How can he possibly know where the opponent would strike next? Each level’s style of attack is randomly chosen and rarely repeated.”
“I have asked him the same question.” Mikhail, already standing on the platform adjacent to Armand, adjusted his spectacles, his eyes also glued to the screens. “He merely shrugged and attributed it to instinct and gut feel.”
“Impossible!” Armand frowned, still unconvinced of his rival’s new feats. “Dimitri and I are not at that level yet.”
“Well, the evidence before you proves otherwise.” Mikhail turned to Armand and smiled, his tone gripping with mockery. “What more can we infer?”
“But this is absolutely beyond reason.” Armand uncrossed his legs and stood up, ignoring Mikhail’s blatant provocation, still scrutinizing all of Dimitri's videos. “What is he doing now?”
“He is sort of polishing his skills by going through all 100 levels again.” Mikhail grinned with a proud look. “Although at a much slower pace this time.”
“I see.” Armand drew in a long breath and nodded with a composed expression. Despite his calm demeanor, his hands tightened into fists, betraying his threatened interior. “Just proceed with the next set of training exercises without me.”
“Call me when he’s done with everything.”
“Level 100 - Complete!”
“Just as I guessed.” Dimitri exhaustedly sat on the floor, panting hard, wiping off the beads of sweat on his face. Having completed all 100 levels twice with some trial and error, Dimitri finally figured out one of the core features of the mysterious system.
“It looks like the combat simulation program really got hacked by that black ball.” Dimitri concluded despite the absence of any visible wires connected to the platform. “Those faceless figures merely act as guides or cheat sheets. But I still have to do all of the heavy lifting myself.”
Despite feeling tired, Dimitri knew he had gained a lot from this whole experience. At this point, he could genuinely fight with anyone without relying on sheer luck or his erratic memory fragments.
“I could probably escape if the situation is not in my favor.” Dimitri crossed his legs, closed his eyes and began to meditate. He took long deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling very slowly, clearing his mind from all of his thoughts.
“I wonder what else that black ball can do!”
“You have successfully completed the combat simulation program.” Dimitri, still sitting on the floor resting, heard Mikhail say, disrupting his train of thought. “Let us proceed with your next set of training exercises, shall we?”
“What?” With a questioning look, Dimitri turned to the AI butler, still hovering outside the semi-transparent barrier. “You mean there’s more?”
Mikhail simply rolled his eyes. “Do you think that a mere combat simulation program would instantly transform you into a professional assassin?”
“I should hope so.” Dimitri countered, exhaustion becoming more apparent on his face. “So far, your training did not allow me any other choice, but to kill, did it?”
“Well, you are quite ill-informed.” Mikhail started to explain. “Being an assassin is not just about killing people. It is the art of intricately manipulating the situation to shift the blame to someone else or conceal the real cause of death, making it appear either natural or self-inflicted.”
“It all boils down to murder, does it?” Out of sheer exhaustion, Dimitri lay down on the floor and closed his eyes. “Whether it’s me or the target, someone ultimately dies at the end, right?”
“You can call it whatever you want, but isn’t it simply cold-blooded murder?”
“Of course, it is.” Mikhail agreed. “The Council has been established for centuries mainly to eliminate any internal and external threat.”
“How do you expect those threats to be eliminated without killing them?”
“As long as the weeds are not pulled out from the ground, they will continue to grow, depriving the real plants of their rightful space,” Mikhail continued, adjusting his spectacles. “It is your job as an assassin to skillfully uproot all those pests, preserving society’s equilibrium.”
“But, of course, I am just an AI.” Mikhail merely shrugged “So what do I know about human affairs, right? I am only here to fulfill the orders of my maker.”
“What a bunch of psychopaths!” Dimitri murmured, shaking his head. “Fine! So what’s next?”
Dimitri knew full well that he no longer had the moral compass to distinguish between what’s right or wrong. His past actions had already shown that he himself was indeed a cold-blooded murderer, with or without his amnesia.
“Strategy and tactics!” Mikhail declared before his figure vanished into thin air.
“This again?” Dimitri immediately stood up as the familiar heavy fog gradually engulfed the edge of the entire training platform. Unable to see beyond the barrier, he simply listened to the sounds of metal clunking underneath him, his expression filled with curiosity.
“I wonder if the black ball also hacked the succeeding training exercises!”
Author’s Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 17: Cheat Sheet? 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

The Ultimate Troublemaker System (TUTS) - Chapter 2: Health Check

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The Exiled Prince - Chapter 16: Level One Complete

“Round Nine - Fight starts in 3...2...”
Time seemed to stop before the countdown ended. Dimitri glanced around the platform, curious to see the floating countdown currently stuck at number two. Just the multi-colored grid lines moved, pulsating everywhere up to the barrier of the platform like a heartbeat.
Dimitri realized that the mysterious system somewhere in his brain granted him an extra layer of vision strikingly similar to that of a color-enhanced x-ray, but different. He could clearly track the differently colored lines and shapes outlining every structure within the simulated platform, including that of the masked figure. Only Mikhail, who hovered steadily beyond the platform, didn’t have any multi-colored lines on him.
Standing at the center of the platform, Dimitri waited for his opponent to move. However, the masked figure simply stood still at the edge of the platform, unmoving as if frozen in time. Oddly, Mikhail appeared similarly frozen as well, his right hand raised midair with his mouth open as though he were about to say something.
Before Dimitri could observe his surroundings any further, the faceless multi-colored outline suddenly detached from the body of the original masked figure and ran towards him. Strangely, the original body of the masked figure remained immobile at the edge of the platform, his eyes still devoid of any emotion.
“Is there something wrong with the combat simulation program?” Dimitri thought, eyeing the static countdown still suspended high above the platform when it should have disappeared by now. Both Mikhail and the masked figure remained motionless at their current positions. Just the faceless multi-colored outline of the original masked figure moved.
”Is this another style of attack?” Switching to a fighting stance, Dimitri held his sword pointed forward with both hands, ready to face another bout of defeat. With his opponent’s ever-changing style of attack, he knew he wouldn’t be able to counter it without sufficient training.
Dimitri noticed the multi-colored faceless figure making weird hand gestures. Just like the original masked figure, his new opponent summoned two clones, one on each side. All three faceless figures were now positioned in a straight line.
Unlike the summoned clones of the original masked figure in the previous rounds, the bodies of the newly summoned clones in this round appeared see-through. Their transparent reddish outlines distinguished them from the multi-colored faceless figure in the middle.
By the time the two clones appeared, all three faceless figures immediately lost their momentum, now seemingly running in slow-mo.
At the center of the platform, Dimitri kept still and waited, carefully watching his three opponents from afar. He could clearly detect the movements of the multi-colored figure, constantly switching positions with his two clones.
Based on his experience with the previous rounds, Dimitri instantly knew that his main enemy was the multi-colored faceless figure, the only non-see-through opponent among the three. The two red clones seemed to be merely smokescreens, designed mainly as diversions.
As all three opponents got nearer, Dimitri discovered an anomaly. All three faceless figures left some static clones behind them as they started to spread out, marking their previous positions. Each marked clone resembled a dot connected by a line segment that traced their every move.
Ignoring the trajectory of the other two clones, Dimitri focused solely on the highlighted movements of the multi-colored figure now flanking his left side.
One of the two clones hit Dimitri head-on. But upon contact, that same clone disintegrated into red particles. It looked like the clone had turned into the smoke that engulfed Dimitri fully in the previous rounds.
Simultaneously, the multi-colored faceless figure on Dimitri’s left immediately jumped high up, unsheathing his saber, his strike aimed at Dimitri’s nape.
Just as the saber of the multi-colored figure nearly hit Dimitri’s nape, Dimitri dodged quickly, shoving his sword into his opponent’s left chest. He could feel the friction as his sword penetrated his opponent’s chest as though he were piercing through a real, living body. After being impaled by Dimitri’s sword, the multi-colored faceless figure limped before disintegrating into particles.
“Round Nine - Victory!”
Before Dimitri could even process what had happened, all three faceless figures vanished along with every multi-colored grid line and shapes outlining the entire platform.
“I highly suggest that you rest after this round.” Dimitri heard Mikhail’s voice say. He turned towards the now moving AI butler with confusion, sensing the normal flow of time.
“Round Nine - Fight starts in 3...2...1!”
With a baffled look, Dimitri promptly looked up upon hearing the already familiar automated female voice.
“Didn’t I just finish round nine?”
“Round Nine - Victory!”
“Level One - Complete!”
“I won?” Dimitri stared at his slowly vanishing opponent now lifeless after being impaled mid-air by his sword. The original masked figure’s style of attack looked eerily similar to that of the multi-colored faceless figure he faced earlier. “Deja vu?”
“I don’t think so.” Dimitri thought, tapping on the mysterious system’s sword icon that solely he could see. “I highly doubt that this is a dream, either.”
“So that’s how it works?” Still standing at the center of the platform, he realized that his first round nine victory earlier probably merely happened in his mind, like a premonition of how the masked figure would attack.
[Combat Simulation Program Active]
“Did that black ball hack this training program?” Dimitri eyed the system prompt thoughtfully, subconsciously rubbing his chin. His virtual sword had long been gone along with his opponent. Only the semi-transparent barrier remained at the edge of the platform.
Among the two icons displayed on the virtual screen, solely the sword icon seemed active, the lightbulb icon still grayed out. Had the gear icon not been constantly stuck at 2 o’clock, Dimitri would most likely have forgotten about this mysterious system.
Although Dimitri had a few suspicions of his real identity, his prior medical examinations had already ruled out the possibility of him being an AI or a cyborg. The tiny metal implant he had somewhere in his body was merely the Council’s way of keeping a leash on him.
Dimitri felt certain that the black ball inside that white sphere located somewhere in his brain was some kind system. As to how he knew, he didn’t know. He could simply feel it in his gut.
“Congratulations, Dimitri!” Mikhail cheered, clapping his hands. “You have completed Level One.
“As you probably know by now, you will only need to defeat your opponent once to proceed to the next level.” Mikhail explained. “Otherwise, you will completely be stuck in a loop.”
“Do you want to advance to Level Two right now?” Mikhail asked. “Or would you rather rest first?”
Author’s Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 16: Level One Complete? 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

The Ultimate Troublemaker System (TUTS) - Chapter 1: Beta Test

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The Exiled Prince - Chapter 15: Critical Level Reached

“Round Two - Fight starts in 3...2...1!”
Without delay, both parties decided to strike first. They rushed towards the middle of the platform as soon as the countdown turned zero. Both ran at full speed, seemingly anticipating their inevitable head-on collision.
Dimitri’s serious expression concealed his renewed vigor to fight while the masked figure’s eyes remained blank. Both exuded an intense murderous aura, uncannily similar, yet different. Dimitri consciously relied on his instincts while the masked figure simply mindlessly went through the motions of fighting.
Carrying his sword with his right hand, Dimitri ran a bit slower than his foe. Before the fight started, he brandished his sword, practically weightless in his hands, with ease. However, he didn’t expect the sword to be heavier during combat simulation which dragged his movements down.
The masked figure, on the other hand, maintained more or less the same speed as in the first round. With a few hand gestures, he summoned his two clones. Both clones appeared in front of the original masked figure, all three in a zigzag formation.
Dimitri immediately noticed his opponents’ new stance. This sudden change confirmed his theory that each round would be quite unique. He would either have to adapt to his opponents’ ever-changing style of attack or face defeat.
Without any hesitation, Dimitri deliberately took the initiative to hasten his pace. He held his sword pointed forward with both hands. This position aimed to skewer the nearest masked figure.
As soon as Dimitri hit the nearest masked figure, it vanished and turned into smoke. The smoke covered Dimitri, blurring his vision, hiding his other two opponents. He ran past the smoke and found his other two opponents gone.
Dimitri looked back to see the smoke behind him as he ran past it. From the hidden depths of the smoke, a sword suddenly appeared and stabbed him. Dimitri fell to the ground.
“Round Two - Defeat!”
“Round Three - Defeat!”
“Again!” Looking bored, Armand snapped his fingers, instantly resetting the combat simulation countdown.
“Wait!” Dimitri pleaded in exhaustion from all the fighting he had to go through. He pushed himself up and sat on the floor, enduring the excruciating pain in his back.
“Mikhail, I want to see the recap videos of the previous three rounds.”
“Does it even matter?” With a disappointing look, Armand argued, his condescending tone dripping with sarcasm. “I think you already know what your opponents are capable of.”
“I wasn’t asking you.” Dimitri countered rudely, wiping the beads of perspiration running down his face. “Mikhail, I want to see them now.”
“Sure, why not?” Mikhail shrugged, adjusting his spectacles. “You would not be able to proceed to the next level anyway, until you clear this one.”
Mikhail waved his hand. Three virtual screens appeared. Each screen showed a replay of one round.
Dimitri studied the clips, rewinding them back and forth. He looked at each round from various angles. He tried to figure out what skills his opponents possessed that quickly defeated him.
“In a real world fight, you would not have the option nor the time to analyze what your opponent is capable of.” Mikhail could not keep his thoughts to himself.
“I know.” Dimitri responded indifferently, engrossed in studying his failures.
“You know! Yet here you are, wasting our time analyzing all of your defeats.” Armand threw his hands up and declared in exasperation. “Isn’t that ridiculous?”
“If you want me to improve, you need to give me time to analyze my mistakes and learn from them.” Dimitri tried to explain his motive. “Otherwise, we’ll only be going around in circles.”
“Suit yourself!” Armand retorted angrily. “Although I highly doubt that will help.”
“Why don’t you just drop your amnesia act and fight like you always have?” Armand asked rhetorically. “That will surely save us time.”
Armand’s patience had run out. As he was leaving, he asked Mikhail for a favor. “Can you handle his training yourself? Just call me when he's ready.”
Mikhail simply nodded without even bothering to glance at Armand. All his attention seemed to be focused solely on Dimitri.
“This is going to be quite tricky.” Dimitri thought, ignoring Armand’s outburst.
The videos confirmed his hunch. The masked figure could teleport and switch places with his clones.
“Did you find what you needed?” Mikhail asked politely.
“Yes, I did,” Dimitri responded smugly. “I need to change my weapon.”
“Round Eight - Defeat!”
The last blow hit Dimitri so hard that it violently flung him to the floor. He instantly passed out and lost all consciousness.
[Critical Level Reached]
Dimitri looked around and saw himself floating inside a white sphere again. He realized that he had been here before. Right under the system prompt, he saw the familiar tiny black ball hovering steadily dead center of the sphere.
Everything he saw and felt, he knew for a fact, to be all in his mind. A typing sound emanated from the general direction of the small black ball. He looked up to see a new message appearing out of thin air, one letter at a time.
[Self-Preservation Mode Activated]
Dimitri noticed that the system prompt had changed. The black ball still remained stationary, and did not move a single inch during the previous two message displays.
[Installing Combat Simulation Program]
Dimitri watched as the progress bar moved slowly. With no sense of time, he just stood there, staring at the progress bar as it filled up bit by bit. He felt like he waited for a really long time.
The sign finally said one hundred percent. After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, the progress bar finally peaked.
[Activating Combat Simulation Program]
Dimitri coughed out water from his mouth. He touched his face and realized that someone had splashed water on him.
“Wake up!” Dimitri heard Mikhail’s voice getting louder and louder. “Dimitri, wake up!”
Dimitri woke up dazed, still a bit groggy. Now, he could see the previously stationary gear icon blinking as it floated high up at two o’clock.
“What happened to me?” He asked, absentmindedly tapping on the gear icon. This opened a new virtual screen, now with two icons where there used to be just one. He tapped the new sword icon right next to the already familiar lightbulb icon.
[Combat Simulation Program Active]
“You were knocked out.” Mikhail flatly declared, ignoring the strange hand movements Dimitri had been making in the air.
“How long have I been unconscious?” Dimitri suddenly remembered that all throughout his 51-day coma, he had been inside that same white sphere. He now wondered how long he had been inside the white sphere this time around.
He noticed how different the combat simulation program looked. He saw multi-colored line grids everywhere, throughout the entire platform of the training hall.
“Only for a few minutes,” Mikhail replied. “The health monitor reported that your vital signs were within the normal range. So, I asked one of my bots to splash water on your face.”
“Do you want to continue to the next round?” Mikhail asked. “Or would you rather rest first?”
Dimitri knew that he already had full control of the entire combat simulation program. He was extremely eager to try out what he could learn from it, now that it had been integrated into his system.
He stood up, wiping his wet hands on his bodysuit and said, “Proceed.”
Author's Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 15: Critical Level Reached? 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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The Exiled Prince - Chapter 14: The Combat Simulation Program

“Your goal is to defeat your opponent.”
“Round One - Fight starts in 3...2...1!”
As soon as the countdown turned to zero, Dimitri immediately saw the masked figure running straight towards him. The unknown man’s eyes remained blank as if completely devoid of fear, his movement agile yet calculated.
Bracing for impact, Dimitri quickly adjusted his position to a fighting stance, his right foot behind his left. He slightly positioned his left arm in front of his body while his rear fist stayed close to his face, both elbows protecting his ribs.
Before reaching the middle of the platform, Dimitri noticed the masked figure doing some weird hand gestures. Not long after that, two identical clones appeared right beside the original. All three of them looked alarmingly real, not just mere illusions.
As all three figures dashed past the middle of the platform, the two clones suddenly deviated course and gained momentum. Both seemed fixated on flanking Dimitri’s left and right sides. The original masked figure’s trajectory, on the other hand, remained the same, his speed slightly slower than the other two.
Seeing the two clones already pulling out their sabers, Dimitri decided to strike first. He had all three foes dangerously near. Although the original masked figure still had his saber inside the sheath on his back.
Without warning, Dimitri ran towards the clone on his right. With his peripheral vision, he could still see his other two opponents closing in on him. His plan was simple: take down one opponent at a time.
“Arghh!” But before he could even reach his target clone, Dimitri felt a sharp pain tearing through the back of his neck. This sudden strike caused him to lose his balance, momentarily losing any control of his muscles. He instantly felt his entire body plunging to the ground.
“Son of a b*tch!” Dimitri, now on the ground face down, yelled upon seeing droplets of blood on the floor near his face. Throbbing pain still lingered on his nape as though his head had just been sliced off.
“Are you seriously trying to get me killed?”
Dimitri, still squirming from the pain, promptly latched on to his nape with both hands, trying to prevent any further loss of blood. To his surprise, however, both his nape and bodysuit remained intact. He didn’t feel any open wounds nor any blood flowing out.
Before Dimitri could even make sense of what had happened, he heard an automated voice reverberating throughout the entire platform.
“Round One - Defeat!”
“I was wrong.” With a smug face, Armand, together with Mikhail, finally appeared just off the barrier closest to Dimitri. “There really might be something wrong with your head.”
Armand sat on what seemed to be a slab of stone cut off from one of the battered columns while Mikhail, sans his mini virtual screen, remained standing beside him. 
“How are you not able to at least block that simple attack?”
“Oh, f*ck off!” Ignoring Armand’s condescending look, Dimitri immediately looked around the platform only to see all of his opponents gone. Only that extremely annoying word ‘Defeat’ hanging mid-air at the center of the platform served as a reminder of his humiliating loss.
He checked his back and nape again, scrutinizing every possible source of the blood  he had been seeing on the floor. Everything seemed fine. He felt no actual open wounds.
About to stand, Dimitri felt blood still dripping down from his face. He swiftly traced it back to his nose. Without delay, he turned to the AI butler with a questioning look. “Were those things real?”
“The combat simulation program is a continually evolving system, Dimitri.” With a serious expression, Mikhail started to explain its mechanics. “The program learns something new after every fight. So you could say it is as close to reality as it can be.”
“The pain you are feeling now, however, is only amplified by your bodysuit.”
“And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, pus*y!” Armand suddenly interjected, his patience obviously running thin. “Enough with the chit chat. Here, I’ll give you another chance to select a weapon.”
A virtual screen filled with a variety of weapons appeared right in front of Dimitri. He could not see any timer this time around.
“Let’s move on to the next round, shall we?”
“Like I mentioned earlier, why do I even have to fight?” Dimitri asked Armand firmly, his gaze piercing through the other man’s eyes.
“Well, you are an assassin, aren’t you?” Armand replied sarcastically, his face clearly showing disbelief. “Why don’t you use your brain? What do assassins like ourselves do for a living?”
“If you couldn’t even fight at all, of what use will you be to The Council?”
“I couldn’t even remember being one.” Dimitri mumbled to himself, enough for Armand and Mikhail to hear. Partially resigned to his fate, he mindlessly selected a simple type of sword, the only weapon he could remember using, just to get this whole fiasco over and done with.
“What makes you think this combat simulation program could make me become an assassin again real fast?”
“We’ll never know unless we try, won’t we?” Armand grinned, seeing Dimitri finally choosing a weapon from the virtual screen. “In our world, it’s either kill or be killed. Choose your options wisely, Bogeyman!”
“Dimitri, before we proceed, let me give you a few words of caution!” Ignoring the slightly heated exchange between his two wards, Mikhail spoke matter-of-factly. His indifferent attitude played down the gravity of Dimitri’s current situation.
“Please bear in mind that there is a high probability of dying for real with multiple virtual reality deaths.”
“The mind can only handle such damage up to a certain extent.” To prove his point, Mikhail pulled out a few virtual screens that displayed some videos of people actually dying during simulated combat. “Without the mind, the body merely becomes an empty shell.”
“You already completed the combat simulation program five years ago!” Mikhail continued, his indifference slowly turning into concern. “And with ease, if I may add. There shouldn’t be any reason why you would not be able to complete it this time, even with amnesia, right?”
“Figure out a way to fight!” Mikhail warned ruefully. “Otherwise, only death awaits you.”
“What? Afraid now?” Unable to hide his smirk, Armand instantly snapped his fingers, and the timer’s countdown resumed on the platform.
“Shape up or die trying!”
Author's Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 14: The Combat Simulation Program? 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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The Exiled Prince - Chapter 13: The Training Hall

“You kept me waiting.”
Armand sat cross-legged at the center of a large hall. He opened his eyes and looked sternly at the approaching young man. “You were supposed to be here 30 minutes ago.”
“Take it easy on him, Armand!” Mikhail hovered beside Dimitri. With a snap of his fingers, the dimly lit training hall brightened and exposed the bare-chested Armand meditating on top of a circular platform.
“His comprehension seems a bit slow these days.”
“There’s only one way for us to find out, right?” Armand, wearing just boxing shorts, immediately stood up and approached both newcomers. His bare feet trod over the metal-plated floor without a sound.
Armand’s condescending smirk and the visible scars on his chest made him look creepy. Despite a few bandages wrapped around his abdomen and extremities hiding most of his scars, his whole outfit still exuded a menacing aura.
Unperturbed by Armand’s blatant intimidation, Dimitri removed his shoes and socks. He put them beside the lone pair of shoes on the floor just off the platform. Without hesitation, he stepped on the edge of the clearly marked circular platform. Its metallic surface felt cold on his bare feet.
“Why do we have to do this?”
“Fight now, talk later!” Armand stopped an arm’s length away from Dimitri. A virtual screen appeared between them as soon as Armand flicked his fingers. “Now, pick a weapon.”
“Why?” Dimitri simply stood there, no longer surprised to see things appearing out of nowhere. His subtle eye movement though betrayed his deeply concealed doubt, a feeling he clearly didn’t want Armand to notice.
A quick glance at the virtual screen showed a variety of weapons to choose from. The virtual screen interface seemed simple and straightforward. With just a tap of his finger, Dimitri could easily select any weapon he preferred.
As to where the weapon would come from, he didn’t know. Other than the lone vending machine near the entrance, the training hall’s concrete walls and metallic platform didn’t seem to display any physical weapons.
“You also have the option to fight with your bare hands!” Armand shrugged and walked past Dimitri. He stopped near the entrance and grabbed a bottle of water from the vending machine, tempering his annoyance.
“I don’t really care! Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“Why do we have to fight?” Dimitri turned towards Armand, ignoring the timer displayed on the virtual screen. His stance remained firm, his attitude indignant.
“You actually think you’re good enough to fight with me, right now?” Armand, carrying the water bottle with one hand, faced the young man with disdain, his tone sarcastic. “You actually think you would still be standing after my first strike?”
“Not him, Dimitri.” Mikhail, still standing outside the circular platform, interjected seriously, his gaze focused on the mini virtual projection facing him.
Oblivious to the two men’s banter, Mikhail looked as if he were browsing through something on his tiny virtual screen all this time. Only he alone was privy to its contents.
“You will not be fighting with him yet.” Mikhail adjusted his spectacles, eyeing the young man indifferently. “We still need to test your current skills.”
“Well, who would I have to fight with then?” Dimitri crossed his arms and stared at Mikhail. He blatantly ignored Armand thirstily drinking all of his water in one go.
“Just shut up, will you?!” Armand violently shoved the water bottle into the nearest trash bin. He pointed at the virtual screen’s blinking timer now turning red. “You have ten seconds to pick a weapon or be forced to fight without one.”
“Welcome to the Combat Simulation Program!”
Dimitri heard an automated female voice say as the training hall began to transform itself. 
“Initializing Training Mode.”
The circular platform suddenly shook. The sound of metal clanging echoed throughout the entire hall as the platform began to move. A heavy mist gradually engulfed the now slightly elevated platform until Dimitri could no longer see the training hall’s concrete walls.
“What is happening?” Dimitri, wary of this sudden change, asked no one in particular. He glanced around but both Armand and Mikhail had already disappeared into the mist.
Dimitri, still standing at the edge of the circular platform, tried to touch the now fully-formed fog. But before his right hand could even reach the fog’s periphery, he felt an invisible barrier at the tip of his middle finger. That created a multi-colored ripple that eventually spread all throughout this enclosed space.
“Mikhail, what is going on?” Dimitri demanded while trying to push his way out of this unexpected blockade with his bare hands. Unfortunately, his efforts remained futile, his questions remained unanswered.
The multiple ripples created by shoving his hands on to the barrier finally exposed the true extent of his entrapment. Dimitri knew he would not be able to leave unless they let him out.
As the remaining ripples finally settled down, Dimitri found himself all alone on an empty platform. Although he could not see anything beyond the white fog, he still tried to tame his growing anxiety. He scanned his surroundings for any possible danger.
The movement of this newly transformed space had long ended. The entire platform seemed unusually quiet. He could no longer hear all the noise made by machines clunking underneath the metal-plated floor.
Dimitri could only hear the sound of his breathing and the rustle of his body against his suit, nothing else.
“Training Mode: Level One Activated.”
Dimitri became more alert upon hearing the automated announcement. He instinctively stayed close to the edge of the empty platform. He realized that he had to fight his way out of this place.
Dimitri didn’t wait that long before the heavy fog began to disperse, the remaining white mist slowly thinning out. The once invisible barrier, now appearing semi-transparent, became more visible with blue light regularly pulsating throughout it.
Beyond the barrier, the young man immediately noticed what seemed to be dilapidated columns of an antiquated temple encircling the platform. With the roof gone, he could see one bright light imitating the sun and two moons, one bigger than the other, illuminating the entire space. Just outside this ancient temple, the vast desert loomed over the horizon.
The scenery looked real. Dimitri could even feel the wind blowing and the air warming up. But he knew full well that everything here had been carefully simulated. The cold metal-plated floor and the thirty-second countdown floating mid air constantly reminded him of this fact.
“No weapon selected.”
“Bogeyman will fight with his bare hands.”
A masked figure suddenly appeared. He stood eerily still at the opposite end of the platform, his tall frame covered by an all-black ensemble, with only his eyes exposed.
Seeing what resembled hilts of a saber at the unknown man’s back, Dimitri instantly regretted his decision not to select a weapon. He didn’t have a clue how to defend himself against such weapons with his bare hands.
Dimitri knew for a fact that all his past successes could greatly be attributed to sheer luck. He escaped from the police the first time because of his sudden epiphany. The memory fragment of him training with a sword as a beginner did not count at all.
At this point, he could only trust his instincts. But would his instincts be enough for him to survive?
“Your goal is to defeat your opponent.”
“Fight starts in 3...2...1”
Author's Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 13: The Training Hall? 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
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The Exiled Prince - Chapter 12: Prince Dimitri of Valoria

“This is your floor.” Mikhail got out of the elevator and turned left. Dimitri followed right behind the hologram, silently looking at the minimalist design of the passageway. This underground corridor only holds ten doors versus the twenty-room recovery area where they came from thirty floors up.
On one wall were eight large identical wooden doors with the elevator right smack dead center. At the opposite ends of the corridor, two steel doors served as emergency exits. Everything was positioned in perfect symmetry.
The opposite wall served as an enormous virtual screen that imitated a natural landscape view. This feature made the supposedly dark subterranean floor more habitable. It created the illusion of being inside a two-storey house built on top of a ridge that commanded a majestic view of the vast expanse of forest below.
Dimitri couldn’t help but compare the sharp contrast between the modern interior of the castle and its antiquated exterior. He began to discover the multiple layers in the castle’s design. Pretty much like an onion, he uncovered each new layer to be more remarkable than the previous one.
“These are your living quarters.” Dimitri stopped walking and turned to Mikhail who had disrupted his contemplation. He saw the AI butler standing still beside the last wooden door nearest the exit.
“All you need to do is stand right in front of the door and tap this button to open it.” Mikhail's right hand pointed to the single button above the door handle. “How about giving it a try?”
Dimitri simply nodded. He stood right in front of the door and saw his name carved elegantly on it. His right hand reached for the button but stopped midway. He just stood there, hesitant to proceed.
“Our system will automatically scan your body.” Mikhail, standing beside Dimitri, sensed the young man’s apprehension. “It will grant you access and open the door for you.”
“Is this how I’ll get in and out of every door in this place?” Dimitri glanced back at the AI butler, his expression filled with curiosity.
“Yes and no!” Mikhail answered ambiguously. “You will be able to open any door that you have been granted access to.”
“Of course, that did not stop you from breaking into restricted areas before.”
Dimitri simply stood there, rendered speechless. He could not recall ever committing any of those acts Mikhail had accused him of.
“Now, go on.” The AI butler pointed at the button, urging the young man to open the door. “Press that button. Time is of the essence!”
“You only have exactly one hour to freshen up.”
“As you can see, your living quarters is mainly designed for sleep and relaxation.”
“Another gigantic virtual screen?” Dimitri stepped inside, silently observing his new room. He glanced around, not surprised at all to see Mikhail already hovering by the window. Right behind the AI butler, he noticed the same realistic view of the forest that he had seen earlier in the hallway.
Although the room was small, he saw that it could still hold a king-sized bed. Two bedside tables flanked the bed. The sparsely furnished bedroom exuded a zen-like flair.
“These doors lead to your walk-in closet and loo.” Without waiting for Dimitri’s response, Mikhail proceeded with the tour. The AI butler pointed at the two doors, one right next to each bedside table. “A third door, that you can not see from here, discreetly connects your walk-in closet and loo.”
“The window serves as a virtual screen.” The AI butler showed Dimitri how to use the computer. “It can be activated by voice or through the virtual keyboard.”
“You can fool around with the computer right now, if you like.” Mikhail pulled up the help page that contained the list of voice commands.
“But remember, you need to be ready in no more than one hour.”
“There aren't any relevant matches for your search.” Dimitri heard an automated female voice.
The young man sat at the edge of his king-sized bed, staring solemnly at the large virtual screen on the wall. With Mikhail gone, he felt free to gather more information about himself, ignoring the timer the AI butler had set on the screen. “New search: search Prince Dimitri of Valoria.”
“Searching for Prince Dimitri of Valoria,” the automated female voice said. At the same time, the virtual screen on the wall displayed a progress bar filling up bit by bit.
“There aren't any relevant matches for your search.”
“What’s going on?” The young man sighed, disappointed by the search results.
Anticipating a more positive result, he had been searching for everything that he could remember from his memory flashbacks. However, no matter what keyword he uses, the search results still showed nothing. “Why can’t I find any relevant information?”
Dimitri had already tried searching for Valoria, the kingdom he supposedly came from. He had scoured through the list of names in the database for all the members of his entire family tree. Or at least, according to all the information he could recall from his memory flashbacks that spanned over 13 years.
Unfortunately, the search returned nothing. It appeared as though his entire family tree did not actually exist.
“New search: search for The Council.” The young man ordered the virtual search engine, shifting his focus to the present.
But before the female voice could respond, the virtual screen froze. After a few seconds, it reverted back to its default view. Exactly the same forest view he had seen on the hallway wall appeared on the virtual screen.
“Shouldn’t you be getting ready?” Mikhail suddenly appeared. The dimly lit room instantly brightened.
The AI butler waved his left hand, showing all the keywords the young man had been searching for on the screen. “You can not hide this from me, Dimitri. I know what you are up to.”
Dimitri looked straight at the screen right behind Mikhail. “How did you know?”
“You did not activate private mode, silly.” The AI butler sneered.
The young man got up. His face turned serious. “How do I activate private mode?”
“All you need to do is say ‘Activate Private Mode’ out loud.” Mikhail answered honestly. “But that will not work for you at this time.”
“Why not?” Dimitri stared at the AI butler with a questioning look.
Mikhail rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “The Council has been monitoring your every move since you came back from HQ eight months ago.”
“HQ?” The young man asked curiously.
“The Council’s Headquarters, silly!” The AI butler said.
“But why would they do that?” Dimitri asked further.
“Beats me.” Mikhail shrugged. “The Headmaster also prohibited you from searching for any of that information outside of this room. If there is anything you would like to know, you would need to ask him yourself.”
“Now, enough with these questions!” The AI butler waved his left hand, clearing all the keywords displayed on the screen. “You need to hurry!”
“Armand has been waiting for you at the training hall.”
Author's Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 12: Prince Dimitri of Valoria? 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
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The Exiled Prince - Chapter 11: The Assassin 

[Host Memory Integration - 61.90%]
[Warning: Usage Restriction Due To Limited Function Mode Activation]
[System Availability Duration - Reached]
[Try Again Later]
“What is this thing?” Dimitri rubbed his chin, staring at the strange virtual projection with curiosity. He tapped on the gear icon, surprised to see the virtual screen along with the lightbulb icon gone. Only the gear icon, no longer blinking, remained at the upper right hand corner of his line of sight.
With not much else to do, the young man repeatedly tapped on the gear icon. Both the transparent screen and the solitary lightbulb icon popped in and out of his sight over and over again. The gear icon, he figured, served no other purpose than to display the single lightbulb icon on the virtual screen.
“So everything that’s been happening to me so far was all real?” Dimitri lay back down inside the capsule, still looking at the virtual screen. He realized that he could recall everything vividly, from the moment he got stuck inside that white sphere to the sudden end of his memory flashbacks. Everything seemed real and firmly etched in his mind.
“Why do I feel like I’m living somebody else's life?” The young man contemplated on his current situation with newfound interest. “Yes, this physical body seems to be mine. Yet, those memory flashbacks, over a span of 13 years, seemed all new to me as if they weren’t really mine.” 
“Am I really Dimitri or am I someone else?” 
“How do you feel now, Dimitri?” A familiar old man entered the recovery room, the same high-ranking old man he had seen at the trial.
The young man who got Dimitri’s car keys at the entrance to the castle, followed right behind the old man. Both men wore plain black robes that left their faces exposed. Their blank expressions mirrored his own.
Dimitri simply nodded, still wary of the surprise visitors. He had been stuck in this room for about two hours, arguing with the pestering AI butler nonstop. He had just endured another bout of torture veiled under the pretense of a physical examination.
“I feel so much better now, Sir!” The young man sat up and ignored the hologram’s existence completely. “Thank you for asking.”
“Excellent!” The old man turned to the AI butler who had remained standing near the capsule this whole time. His wrinkly face grimaced at the foul smell he traced back to the young man. “How long does he need to stay here?”
“He is all yours, Headmaster.” The hologram flashed a rare smile. “We have completed the physical examination. He has already regained full muscle control. All his laboratory test results came back normal.”
“He is as fit as a fiddle!”
“That is wonderful!” The Headmaster desperately tried to endure the awful smell as he instructed the AI butler urgently. “Lead him to his quarters after we are done here. He needs to freshen up.”
“Aye, aye, Captain!” The virtual projection saluted smartly. His being a mere hologram had mercifully spared him from the stench coming from his patient. 
“You still can not remember a thing?” The old man turned to Dimitri. With a serious face, the old man started scrutinizing the young man’s body language.
“Nothing at all.” Dimitri blatantly lied and kept any information about the memory flashbacks, that spanned a period of 13 years, to himself. He still could not trust these men. “I still could not remember anything.”
“Are you sure you do not remember any one of us here?” The Headmaster probed further. 
Dimitri shook his head. “I’m afraid not!”
“Very well, then!” The old man glanced at the gigantic screen on the wall and sighed, recognizing the young man’s obvious lie.
“This is Mikhail, our resident AI.” The Headmaster's right hand pointed at the butler. “If you need anything, all you need to do is say his name out loud. His hologram should be able to look after all your needs anywhere within Shangri-la.”
“If I may add, Sir, preferably not within the confines of the loo!” Mikhail pleaded earnestly.
The old man merely shrugged at the hologram’s comment then pointed his left hand at his companion. “This is Armand. He will be your partner from now on. All you need to do is follow his lead. He will get you up to speed with everything you need to know!”
“I am Ivan, the Headmaster of Shangri-la.” The old man humbly introduced himself. “Armand and Mikhail can fill you in on the details about what our organization is and what we do exactly.”
“And, as you might already know by now, your name is Dimitri.” The Headmaster stared straight at the young man's eyes.
“You are an assassin.”
“Sir, if I may, was it really necessary for us to personally see Dimitri?“ Armand asked the old man as they left the room and walked through the hallway. “Wouldn’t our holograms have been enough for us to uncover his lies?”
“Yes, we needed to be there ourselves.” The Headmaster answered vaguely, his face absorbed in deep thought. “More than you know.”
“You need to get him up to speed as soon as possible, Armand.” The old man stopped walking and turned to the young man. “The emissary will be here in a week.”
Armand nodded thoughtfully. “Dimitri is hiding something, Sir! The lie detector showed that he is lying.”
“I know.” The Headmaster glanced back at the recovery room ruefully. “And it is your job to unravel all those lies.”
Author's Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 11: The Assassin? 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
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The Exiled Prince - Chapter 10: System Activated

[Rebooting in 3...2...1]
[Initializing System Activation]
“Ahhh!” Dimitri screamed as he opened his eyes, tormented by the sharp throbbing searing through his head. Blinded by the intense pain, he instinctively tried to reach the source of his suffering - his head. However, his efforts seemed futile. He could not move both of his hands at all.
His prolonged scream eventually turned into a howl, his face now wet with tears, his lips trembling in anguish. With no sense of time, he endured the agonizing pain slowly spreading through deep inside his brain. His whole body appeared immobile.
Despite feeling the restraint of his immobility, Dimitri continued his futile attempts to struggle out of his confinement, ignoring the excruciating pain in his head. Numbness lingered all throughout his body. The growing feeling of discomfort became nearly unbearable. 
About to give up trying, the severe pain in his head suddenly stopped. A strange sense of relief replaced his prior agony.
[System Activated]
When Dimitri regained his vision, a system prompt appeared right in front of him, dead center. At the upper right corner, a gear icon blinked continuously, awaiting his response. As his apparent paralysis rendered him unable to tap on the gear icon, he looked straight ahead.
Just behind the system prompt, he noticed a transparent monitor displaying all sorts of data. Seeing a photo of his face and a whole array of information plastered on the screen, he figured that he must be staring at his own health report. “What’s going on?”
At this moment, Dimitri realized that his body seemed to be lying inside a capsule. The white sphere and the memory flashbacks he had seen throughout his long dream-like state had disappeared. “Is this another dream?”
The AI butler peeked through the transparent glass enclosing the capsule with a beaming smile. “Finally, you are awake!”
“How do you feel, Dimitri?” The hologram, wearing a white coat and spectacles, hovered in front of the young man still lying inside the capsule. “You were screaming! Were you in pain?”
The AI butler pressed a button to open the capsule, releasing the restraints at the same time.
Dimitri, in a new bodysuit, simply nodded. Forcing himself up, he rubbed his forehead, trying to remove any traces of pain. “Where am I?”
“You are still in Shangri-la, silly!” The hologram replied with a hint of sarcasm. The AI butler wrote something on his clipboard then shifted his gaze back to the young man. “Still having amnesia?”
Dimitri nodded. He noticed the gear icon that kept blinking at the upper right corner of his line of sight. He looked around, observed his surroundings, then blinked twice.
The young man still saw the same blinking gear icon. He tried to move his head in different directions. Yet, the gear icon remained stuck at the upper right corner of his line of sight. “What happened to me?” 
“You have just awakened from a 51-day coma!” The AI butler pointed his left hand at the mirrored wall next to the capsule, then adjusted his spectacles. He did all these while still holding the clipboard firmly with his right hand.
Dimitri glanced at the direction the hologram pointed to seconds ago, completely baffled by the recent turn of events. The whole mirrored wall suddenly turned into a gigantic flat screen TV. It showed videos of him still unconscious inside the pod. “What do you mean by a 51-day coma?”
“Hmmm, slow comprehension!” The AI butler mumbled to himself, his mocking voice purposely loud enough for the young man to hear. The hologram continued to write on his clipboard, talking to himself.
“Ever since your return, you seemed a bit off!” The AI butler looked at Dimitri contemplatively. “No, a bit off would be an understatement.” 
“Stupid!” The hologram suddenly mocked him. “Now, that is the word I was looking for.”
“I mean, why was I in a coma?” Dimitri glared at the AI butler, ignoring its mocking tone.
“Beats me!” The hologram shrugged. “You fainted in between tests. And since then, you never woke up, not even once, not until now.”
Dimitri sensed the futility of extracting information from the AI butler, shifting his focus back to the blinking icon. “How about this gear icon then?” 
“What icon?” The hologram saw the young man pointing at nothing in particular. 
The AI butler, with a puzzled expression, stared at Dimitri’s finger raised midair.
“This icon.” The young man insisted, still pointing at the gear icon floating between them. “What is this for?”
“Hmmm, showing signs of hallucination.” The hologram jeered, writing more notes on his clipboard. “Oh boy, you sure sound cuckoo!”
“I’m not hallucinating!” Dimitri stopped explaining further when he saw the overt mockery in the AI butler’s expression. “You know what, never mind! It’s completely pointless, talking to you.”
“Hmmm, quite temperamental, too!” The hologram seemed oblivious to the young man’s annoyance. “Oh boy, this list is getting longer. I might need to get a mob of doctors in here to do further tests.”
“I’m done here.” Dimitri tried to stand up, but his knees felt weak. He abruptly sat back down involuntarily.
“For the time being, I highly recommend you stay still and rest!” The AI butler insisted at the sight of the young man’s inability to stand. “I just introduced a muscle stimulant into your IV line to counter the muscle degeneration induced by your extended coma. It normally takes an hour or two to restore full muscle control.”
“I will see you in two hours!” The hologram disappeared.
“Jerk! What an @sshole!” Out of frustration, Dimitri tapped the gear icon. A transparent screen appeared right below it.
The young man’s scowl turned serious. He stared at the single grayed-out lightbulb icon found on the virtual screen. The icon’s label simply said, ”Host Memory.”
Out of sheer curiosity, Dimitri tapped the grayed-out lightbulb icon. He then heard a beep followed by a series of system prompts. 
[Host Memory Integration - 61.90%]
[Warning: Usage Restriction Due To Limited Function Mode Activation]
[System Availability Duration - Reached]
[Try Again Later]
“What is this thing?”
“The council has already decided!” The old man sitting in his leather chair listened with apprehension. He looked directly at the hologram of a hooded figure, anxiously hoping for good news.
“You can no longer save him, Ivan! Please refrain from doing anything. Otherwise, we could all be exposed.”
The old man sighed. The news turned out to be worse than he had expected. He knew for a fact that the person on the other line was right.
“The decree has already been rolled out. The emissary is on his way. Dimitri’s survival is all up to himself now.”
The recording ended.
Author's Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 10: System Activated? 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
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The Exiled Prince - Chapter 9: Name Your Price

[Access Denied]
“That’s odd!” The young man mused, puzzled by this result. “Why can’t I?”
The AI butler concurred, stating the obvious. “Apparently, you do not have access to that information.”
“Do not bother with such nonsense, Armand!” An old man entered the cramped office space from another door behind the desk. “I, myself, do not have access to such confidential information, either.”
The young man stiffened, respectfully greeting the newcomer. “Headmaster!”
“How long have you been waiting?” The old man slightly waved his right hand, swiping all miniature projections away.  His face looked serious as he pointed his left hand towards the guest chair behind the young man.
Armand simply nodded and sat down. “Not that long, Sir.”
“By the way, your one-sided rivalry with Dimitri is getting old to the point of being absurd!” The Headmaster grabbed his leather chair and sat down. “How about just focusing on completing your own missions rather than keeping score?”
“Besides, both of you are no longer kids!”
“You know us both really well, Sir.” The young man deliberately stared at the hologram, obviously annoyed at its presence. The AI butler still remained standing beside the old man. “I presume that you understand that there’s really nothing to it than just friendly banter.
“On the contrary!” The hologram interjected matter-of-factly. “I can absolutely recall quite accurately that you have been at each other’s throats for eight years now. I have complete video documentation!”
“Enough!” The Headmaster’s serious face turned into a frown, his voice stern, exuding authority. “Give me a quick update on Dimitri’s last mission that you had to finish, yourself.”
“Completed as planned,” Armand answered succinctly.
“And the mess in Central Square?” The old man started prying, his already knitted brows relaxing a bit, his face showing extreme interest.
The young man wondered why the Headmaster still bothered to ask him all these questions. All the answers could be found in the report that he had already submitted yesterday. He thought it uncharacteristic of the old man not to read his report real time.
He felt slightly annoyed, baffled at the Headmaster’s unnecessary interrogation. Yet, he still managed to respond politely. “Totally under control, Sir.”
“And the woman?” The old man waved his right hand. A tiny virtual projection of the Central Square incident appeared above his desk.
Armand glanced at the screen with indifference. “Rigged as a suicide. As expected, the police bought it and their report confirmed suicide as the cause of death.”
“And all the other police investigations?” The Headmaster meticulously skimmed through the detailed information displayed on the screen.
“All related cases are now closed.” The young man sighed. He knew that this impromptu debriefing would take a while.
The old man focused his attention on the miniature virtual projections. Still completely engrossed, he slowly asked, “Any remaining family members we need to know about?”
Armand shook his head. “The mission team’s comprehensive report indicated otherwise.”
“Any leads on the resistance?” The Headmaster looked up and stared straight into the young man’s eyes.
“We seem to have chased a dead end.” Armand sighed. “Those two were mere pawns for diversion purposes that actually worked.
“That was not quite the case! Dimitri was on to something.” The AI butler interjected. “You, on the other hand, are just too lazy to investigate further.”
The young man tried to keep his composure despite his growing annoyance at the hologram. “Headmaster, may I speak with you, alone?”
“Mikhail, activate private mode,” the old man commanded.
“As you wish, Headmaster.” The AI butler gave a courteous bow before disappearing.  “Private mode activated.”
“You didn’t summon me here just to give you an update on the mission, right, Headmaster? My report already included all the necessary details.”
“You’re right!” The old man waved his right hand again to clear all the miniature projections above his desk. “I did not call you here for that.”
With a questioning look, Armand stared at the Headmaster. “Is there another covert operation that you need me for, Sir?”
“Yes and no!” The old man answered vaguely with a faraway look in his eyes. “Yes, I need your help. And no, it is not your usual covert operation.”
“How can I be of service?” The young man inquired eagerly.
“You have been Dimitri’s closest rival since you were both thirteen!” The Headmaster spoke with a subtle hint of worry in his tone. “You have been studying him as your most worthy opponent while trying to beat him all these years.”
“I need you to keep an eye on him from the moment he wakes up!” The old man firmly gave his direct order to Armand. “Find out if he really has amnesia.”
“But Sir, if I may, wouldn’t that be counterproductive?” the young man inquired tactfully. “Our outpost already has tests for that sort of thing. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to just allow him to undergo all those tests instead?”
“Before his coma, he underwent those tests for a whole month while you were out completing his last mission. Unfortunately, the initial test results were inconclusive.”
“I see.” Armand nodded as realization slowly dawned on him. “So his having amnesia has something to do with that secret program, doesn’t it? Otherwise, you wouldn’t bother summoning me here and briefing me about this job discreetly.
“Actually, I honestly do not know. We do not have conclusive proof yet. Headquarters have been keeping mum about their operations lately. Our sources smell something brewing but have practically no clue as to what’s going on at HQ right now.”
“Now, if you will agree, I will set the both of you up as partners on all missions moving forward to avoid any suspicion. You will both report only to me, directly, and to no one else.” 
“As for compensation, you can name your price.”
“I’m good with that, Sir.” The young man agreed doubtfully. “However, Dimitri prefers to work alone all the time. Even with his amnesia, I doubt he would work well with anyone, more so with me.”
“Well, he really does not have a choice on this matter, does he?” The Headmaster’s flat tone sounded urgent. “There is a lot at stake here, Armand. Our future lies heavily on his success. The consequences of failure are too dire for us not to take action.”
“And if Dimitri turns out to be really unfit for the program?” The young man prodded, still unconvinced. “Would it be possible for you to assign someone else like me to replace him on the program instead?
“I would have already done that a long way back, if I could,” the old man replied truthfully. “Unfortunately, only our superiors at headquarters wield the authority to replace him.”
The Headmaster pulled up a virtual projection of Dimitri. “Besides, considering Dimitri’s peculiar situation right now, are you sure that is what you really want?”
Before Armand could reply, Mikhail suddenly appeared beside the old man.
“Headmaster!” The AI butler seemed ecstatic. “I apologize. I need to interrupt. This new information supersedes your prior instruction.”
Both men turned to the hologram.
“What is it, Mikhail?”
The AI butler simply smiled. “Dimitri is finally awake.”
Author's Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 9: Name Your Price? 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
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The Exiled Prince - Chapter 8: Access Denied

“You’re back!” The pale-faced young man immediately recognized the AI butler’s voice as soon as he heard it. “Did you bring all the parts that I ordered?”
The young man simply nodded at the hologram who had been standing still at the corner of this small room. He glanced around the nearly empty office as he entered. “I left them at the entrance.”
He quickly removed his coat, hung it behind the door, revealing his plain dark blue button-down shirt and jeans. He then dragged his towering figure towards the guest chair to his right and sat down opposite the modest mahogany office table. All these well-rehearsed actions he did without thinking every time he had to report to this office.
“Wonderful!” The AI butler suddenly appeared, standing beside the leather chair behind the desk, facing the visitor with glee. “I’ll get the bots to start fixing my virtual projection in the driveway then. How much do I owe you?”
“10,000 credits? No big deal!” The young man shrugged indifferently, his mischievous eyes betraying the scheming deal in his mind. He leaned towards the hologram, his face filled with anticipation. “How about paying me in kind, instead? I prefer being paid with information instead of just credits!”
“That would depend on the kind of information you need.” The AI butler’s happy expression turned serious, cradling his chin with his hand. “Presuming, of course, that you have the clearance for it, then sure, why not?”
The young man leaned back in his chair, confident that the hologram would eventually give in with a little persuasion. “Is the Bogeyman still stuck in his own nightmare?”
“That seems pretty straightforward!” The AI butler retorted sounding a bit sarcastic. His serious face began turning smug. “If you already knew, why did you still need to ask?
“That’s called small talk.” The young man smirked, mocking the hologram’s inability to spot the difference between his truths and his lies. “Didn’t that guy teach you a thing or two about small talk?”
“I understand.” The AI butler conceded, pulling up a miniature virtual projection above the desk. It showed another man lying inside what appeared to be a capsule. “Yes, Dimitri is still in a coma.”
The young man took a closer look, jeering at the unresponsive Dimitri. “How long has it been?”
The hologram pulled up another virtual projection beside the first one. The second projection showed a running timer. “Nearly two months, 51 days to be exact and counting.”
“That long, huh?” The young man tried to extract more information from the AI butler. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully, still seated in front of the desk. “Why is he still alive?”
“Why wouldn't he be?” The hologram spoke with a self-satisfied look on his face. “Our health care facilities are obviously top-notch. He has the absolute luxury of being able to remain in a coma for years and still survive.”
“No, that’s not what I meant.” The young man’s expression shifted from curiosity to sheer bewilderment. “Why doesn’t the Council just kill him to get it over with? Are they still buying his poor excuse of a lie? I don’t think he really has amnesia.”
“I apologize.” The AI butler’s eyes glazed with confusion. “I do not have access to that information. I am not sure how to respond to your questions.”
“And why not?” The young man’s face mirrored the hologram’s confusion as he thought of possible reasons why the council allowed Dimitri to live and why they restricted the AI butler’s access to that information.
“The database simply states that the council’s decision regarding Dimitri’s infractions is confidential.” The hologram pulled another screen that said, “Access Restricted.”
“I’m not allowed to pry any further.”
The young man stared at the screen, finding the council’s restriction to the information a bit odd. He tried to coax the AI butler to reveal the hidden information, certain that the hologram could find a way to circumvent this restriction. “But you can, can’t you?”
“Yes, I can.” The AI butler answered honestly, oblivious to the young man’s slyness. “But I would rather not. There is definitely no incentive for me to do that.”
“How about I run more errands for you in the next six months at no extra charge?” The young man dangled his offer enticingly to the seemingly gullible hologram. His strong gut feel gave him the impression the access to that information could be bought.
The AI butler refused. “Other than repairing my virtual projection in the driveway, I will not be needing any errands run in the foreseeable future.” 
“What if your precious storage room breaks?” The young man observed the hologram’s reaction. “With Dimitri in a coma, you might need someone to help you fix that! I can be your backup in-house repair guy. What do you think?”
“Why would it break?” The AI butler looked innocent. “There is absolutely no plausible explanation why it would!”
The young man inclined towards the hologram and threatened it. “What if I break it myself?”
“Do I detect a threat?” The AI butler frowned, finally able to process the logic behind the young man’s statements. “You know pretty well that blackmail does not work with me.”
“Fine, I give up!” The young man shrugged. “I have top clearance in this outpost, anyway. I should be able to access that information! How about you let me try?” He stood up, ready to input his access code into the virtual screen.
“Very well, then.” The hologram pulled another screen up for the young man to enter his access code.
The young man tapped his access code into the virtual keyboard. An error message appeared followed by a beep.
[Access Denied]
Author's Notes:
What do you think about Chapter 8: Access Denied? 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
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The Exiled Prince: Logline

The Exiled Prince: Logline

An Immortal prince, stripped of all his memories and powers, struggles to survive among mere mortals as he slowly regains everything that he had already lost.
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Alden Myro
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The Exiled Prince: Synopsis

A young man who possesses what appears to be an immortal soul is stripped of all his memories and forced to fend for himself. Throughout his struggle to survive among mere mortals, he slowly regains his powers, powers he should have already lost. This causes a ripple effect throughout the entire universe. Chaos ensues followed by a manhunt that reaches far and wide.

Join Dimitri in his quest to reclaim his past, unearthing the truth from all the lies along the way in a perilous journey with only two possible outcomes: his glory or his death.
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Alden Myro

The Exiled Prince - Book Cover: Version 3. 0

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The Exiled Prince - Book Cover: Version 2. 0

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The Exiled Prince - Book Cover: Version 1. 0

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The Irony of Life: Sadness

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