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:
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