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Chapter 15

Starting Over

What the heck just happened. Why am I a virus again?

You have died. Damage to your soul is 33% 7 days until damage is repaired.

Wait, what? I mean I remember seeing a mouth and teeth, so I get that something probably killed and ate me, but how did that damage my soul? I need to figure this out. Observe Soul, nothing. Observe Death, nothing. Observe Soul Damage.

Soul Damage: Due to your primary consciousness dying your soul has been damaged. Soul damage only occurs in higher order organisms. When soul damage reaches 100% a being is sent into the reincarnation cycle. The amount of soul damage done is based upon the strength of each organisms soul.

So it’s kind of a good news bad news situation. It seems that if killed I will be transferred to another of my virus bodies, but there is an actual limit in place. If I die too many times as a higher order organism it is a permanent death from this existence and back into the old reincarnation cycle. It also means that I can probably “die” as a virus as many times as I want. Luckily my “soul” seems to regenerate over time so I get these lives back eventually. It looks like 3 deaths in a week is my limit right now. Another good thing is that the information implied that I could possibly strengthen my soul and “earn more lives” in the future.

I have to learn to be more aware of my surroundings. I got confident after winning against the tree snake so easily and did not even check the pond for dangers. Obviously something lives inside of that pond that is large and scary enough to make the elemental mantis me into a snack. Now I have to start over. To play it safe I am going to stay as a virus until all of my soul damage is repaired before I try heading out again. If I remember correctly each generation is 12 hours so if I hibernate for 15 generations it should equal more than a week and then I can continue on from there. Virus Hibernate. Custom. 15 generations.

When I regain consciousness I decide that it is time to try living as a large creature once again. Now how to go about becoming an Elemental Mantis again? I guess I can just internalize my desire like I did last time, I choose to transform into an Elemental Mantis.

As soon as I think it I feel the powerful suction force start emanating from my virus body just like the first time. I can feel everything surrounding me being sucked into the black hole that is my transformation. Once again I start to feel very cramped and I stretch my new body to its maximum which causes me to emerge from my cocoon. I take a few steps forward and look back at what used to be my host. Huh, not a Blood Wolf this time. Observe.

Skin of Reptilicus trihornica commonly known as the Three Horned Lizard.

I wonder why I was transferred into that host when I died? Was it random or perhaps it was the closest. I hope it was the closest. With that thought in mind I start to look around me carefully. The trees and climate seem the same, so it was probably the closest animal that was infected with my viruses. Now how can I find my way back to my tree house and clearing? Now that I know that the pond is dangerous the rest of the area still appeals to me as a training ground. In fact, as I become stronger I can eventually challenge whatever it was that killed my last body and use it as a means to check my growth. Speaking of growth, it just dawned on me that I seem to be the same size I was before as an Elemental Mantis, but the skin of the Three Horned Lizard is definitely smaller than the Blood Wolf I came out of before. Is there no conservation of mass in this world? Maybe magic makes up for the extra needed mass? I guess it really does not matter as long as it works. I just need to get home.

I know I kept the skill direction sense. I just don’t know how to turn it on. Maybe if I concentrate on where I want to go. Ok imagine my new treehouse, next to the pond of death. Strange I feel like it is somewhere to the left. Kind of vague, but since I have nothing else to do, I might as well try and see if that was direction sense or maybe new body gas pains or something. I climb up a nearby tree and start my travels. I decide once again to train as I go. This time I not only train my melee combat against imaginary foes and leaves and twigs, but I also mix in various spike spells.

After stopping every fifteen minutes for the past two hours and retrying the feel the direction thing I have come to two conclusions. Number one, it really must be direction sense. Every time I deviate from the path and check, even after I spun myself around with my eyes closed, I keep pointing and feeling I need to go in a single direction to get back to the treehouse. My second conclusion is that I should never EVER shoot a spike spell at something closer than about 3 meters away if I do not want to get damaged myself. Ice chunks from an explosion hurt.

After two and a half more hours of “training” and direction sense I see a clearing up ahead. As I approach I verify that yes it is the pond and clearing of before. I have no real way of measuring the distance traveled, but I would have to say that it was more than 5 kilometers and less than 20 kilometers. I know that is not very precise, but I have several problems in guessing distance. First is that I have no idea how fast this body moves. I mean it seems quick, but everything is of a different scale than what I am used too. The biggest thing that messes with my estimation is the number of legs I have. With four legs as my primary means of propulsion I have no reference from my memories of being a two legged being. I know it makes me more stable, but I have no idea if it means that I can move twice as fast because I have two times the number of legs I used too or just the opposite.

I might have to do some tests in the open, like sprinting and counting, so I can try to adjust my mentality and time/distance estimates accordingly. The first thing I do when I get to the edge of the clearing is stare down at the pond for a good ten minutes or so trying to spot whatever ate me. I see nothing. I do not know if it can stay underwater, or if it has moved on in the last week I spent as a virus before coming back here. I will play it safe though and only go to the smaller streams that lead into and out of the pond to get water. There still may be things that hide in the water there, but they by default have to be smaller, because there is less room.

I work my way around the clearing, making sure to stay up in the canopy of branches and paying special attention to everything around me. I do not want to be caught unaware again. Finally, after almost 20 minutes I reach my treehouse. The wooden door I made seems to be intact and still shut. I grab some branches and throw them at the door. No sounds of anything moving inside. I cautiously open the door and proceed to explore the four rooms. Nobody and nothing. It looks like the simple door was enough to keep anything out for the last week.

That is reassuring. I think I should check my progress and then spells and then rest for the next bit. Tomorrow is soon enough to start my training. Status.

Name: Mark Stefanopolis Race: Magic Chimera Mimic Virus (Elemental Mantis form)

Level: 17

Primary Profession: Sorcerer +10% exp Secondary Profession: Not Assigned

Unassigned Stat Points: 0

Strength: 25 Agility: 25 (27) Intelligence: 15 (28)

Wisdom: 20 (22) Constitution: 15 (33) Perception: 15

MP: 2,800 out of 2800 HP: 40 out of 330

MP/Regen: 220% per hour HP/Regen: 33% per hour

Skills:

1. Observe Level 7 – 63%

2. Direction Sense Level 3 – 12%

Bonuses:

Greater Resist All +5 Con Many Bodies One Mind +10 Int

Basic Tactics + 2 Wis Photosynthesis + 3 Con

Mana Manipulation + 3 Int Adamantium Defense +10 Con

Strengthen + 0 Str Flexibility + 2 Agi

Devour + 0 Per Miasma Poison Immunity

Interesting I gained a couple of points. It seems my Mana Manipulation went up and so did my Flexibility. I guess from creating new spells and my limited training while moving. My Direction Sense is now listed also. I figure the others will be listed once I actively use them and start earning experience in them. I mean I have not tried to Burrow or use Charismatic Cuckoo’s abilities yet so it makes sense that they are not listed. Now to check on my spells. List Spells.

Memory Boost Lvl 2

Infrared Mana Sight Lvl 3

Telekinesis Lvl 1

Elemental Mana Wings Lvl 5

Blink Lvl 2

Shadow Moves Lvl 1

Switch Lvl 1

Fire Transport Lvl 1

Teleportation Lvl 1

Minor Heal Lvl 3

Majestic Flame Lvl 3

Exploding Flame Spike Lvl 2

Exploding Lightning Spike Lvl 3

Exploding Stone Spike Lvl 2

Exploding Ice Spike Lvl 2

Annihilation Spike Lvl 2

Grow Lvl 1

Plant Shaping Lvl 3

That is a much longer list than I expected. I had forgotten I had even made a couple of those. The only ones that have reached levels 2 and 3 or above are the ones I have used a lot or practiced with. I guess Exploding Lightning Spike is above the others because I actually used it in battle and conquered an enemy. Minor Heal was used to actually heal myself, so that is why it leveled so high. I used Infrared Mana Sight and Elemental Mana Wings almost every time I had down time as a virus. Plant Shaping from making the tree house and finally the Majestic Flame leveled up from just using it to cook meat? Maybe as long as it is used to do something constructive the spell earns more experience than just practicing with it. I will figure out the mechanics of it eventually.

Before I take my rest I need to actually finish the task I started before I was killed, retrieving water. I collect another one of the wood containers I made and exited the tree house. I observed the closest stream to the tree house and watched it for ten minutes. I cannot see anything dangerous from here, time to move closer. I climb down the tree and move closer to the stream. I stop every ten meters and strain my senses to the max to try and determine if there is any danger. Maybe I was affected by my last death more than I thought. This is bordering on more than just being safe.

Eventually, I get within sight of the stream. Alright I am at least 25 meters away from where it enters the pond. The stream is only about 1 to 1.5 meters wide at this point and not very deep. I cannot see anything moving in it. Just before I was about to approach I had an idea. I quickly stop and form an Exploding Lightning Spike in my hand. I aim it at the stream and let it fly. It hits and a small explosion of water forms a little geyser into the air. Sparks of electricity are visible moving across the top of the water. I watch the stream intently for 30 seconds. A little downstream of where I am at I see a few things float to the surface.

It worked, I must have electrocuted them into paralysis or death. It looks like a couple of fish, maybe a frog, and some type of salamander looking thing. Nothing else has jumped out or reacted to the lightning spike so it should be safe. I approach cautiously and fill up several containers with water and then store them in my inventory. Once I was done I retreated quickly back to my sanctuary. Once I made it back inside of the treehouse I felt safe. It may take a while to get back to my carefree attitude, but at least I did not freeze up and I actually completed my task. Time to rest, I can work on everything else tomorrow.

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About the author

tenqui

Bio: Older Science Teacher who after years of hearing, "You read so much maybe you should write a book.", decided to do just that.
Just having fun and learning how to put my ideas into a format that others can understand and enjoy.

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