Change: New World

by

Lv1Slime

*Chapter 113: Strength Assessment

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Chapter 113: Strength Assessment

One full week passed, and during an early morning, at a time when the sun barely peeked over the horizon, I woke up to the sound of a distant ding that rang out from deep within my head.

Ding!

Squinting through the haze of early morning dreariness, a soft smile appeared on my face.

 

Full Recovery!

 

You have survived and recovered from a near death experience. Your experience and struggle has been recorded as a feat beyond human limitation.

 

 

This was the first window panel. I could see that behind the first one, there were others that accompanied it, but right now, I was too excited to care. Getting up, I stretched my body. A self-satisfied groan leaked out from my throat, as the sound of firework like cracks exploded out from my joints and muscles.

Even without checking my status panel, I could tell that all the status effects that had previously plagued my body had disappeared. In its place was a level of excitement and energy that was almost impossible to replicate. It was a similar feeling to adrenaline, but instead of a short, momentary burst, it was a constant, accompanying feeling of power and strength.

Well, in retrospect, this feeling might just be because of the difference between my fully recovered self and the me plagued by status effects, but all the same, it was a satisfying moment that I could not help but relish.

It felt good to have my body back.

Trying to calm my bubbling excitement, I took in a deep breath. Even the air I inhaled felt different from before.

I laughed wryly to myself as I turned back towards the row of new window panels that dotted my vision. Looking past, the first one, I focused my attention and willed the one underneath it to the top.

New Title Acquired!

 

Survivor

 

You are as resilient as a cockroach! Surviving through life threatening situations one after another, be it strength, intelligence, or luck, you possess all the necessary qualities needed in order to survive in this harsh world.

 

Effects:

 

+10 Luck

+5 Vitality

 

New stat created: Perseverance

 

 

And odd smile appeared on my face. While receiving such a title, in the long run, would prove beneficial to me, I was feeling a bit conflicted over it. Ever since the apocalypse started, I’ve experienced numerous life or death scenarios, more than I can count, in fact. To just now get this, it felt as if all my prior experiences, all the times I’ve risked my life and barely survived through the skin of my teeth, it felt as if this System or whatever it was, it felt as if it was trivializing all of it.

On what basis did the System base its judgement upon? Was surviving not enough? Did all my past encounters prior to my battle with the Manticore, were all those occasions of stress and danger inadequate? At this moment, I recalled Hina’s words from before. Was I really playing by the rules that the System had laid down? Was it really okay to keep doing this?

I clenched my teeth, before I shook my head and sighed. Thinking about all this was pointless. Just survive. After all, I can’t possibly do anything once I’m dead, can I? That’s all I need to do, survive. Anything else is just extra baggage.

Once I regained my calm, I turned back towards the window panels. I looked at it briefly, before I brought up the third one.

 

You have broken through your limit. Even Gods and Devils find it difficult to exceed their naturally given capabilities, yet you have triumphed over your own through sheer force of will and resilience.

 

One of the criteria for [Level Break] has been reached. Out of the Ten Possible criteria, you only need to meet two more in order to perform a [Level Break].

 

 

Seeing this new window panel, I unconsciously frowned. I was seeing a new term for the first time; [Level Break]. While I had no clue what it meant, I had unknowingly met one of its criteria. While I felt a mix of unease and worried trepidation, at the same time, I felt that such a turn of events, even if they weren’t necessarily helpful right now, at the very least, it didn’t look to be something detrimental.

Whatever [Level Break] was, I had a feeling that I would encounter it sooner or later. Right now, I could do nothing, outside of chasing nine criteria I knew next to nothing about. My time and effort would be better put to use tackling the more hands on problems that I currently had.

With a sigh, I moved on to the next window panel. This was the last new notification that I received, so I came into it expecting something somewhat amazing.

Sensory Remapping + sub skill unlocked!

 

Reaction Override – Alter your perception of time. Warning: Use may cause strain to both your mind and body.

 

 

I blankly blinked once, before my already grinning lips widened even more.

Improving a skill was a lot harder than simply leveling up. Things like unlocking a new sub skill, or discovering a hidden feature required fortuitous encounters, enlightenment, and stubborn perseverance. Seeing one of my most used skills undergo a sudden change, of course I couldn’t help but get excited.

Thinking back to it, this change probably came from my fight with the Manticore. Back then, under the extreme pressure of death, I managed to do something that I never once thought possible; I slowed down my perception of time. As a result of my efforts, I managed to kill the Manticore, but in return, I suffered an immediate and long standing back lash.

In fact, along with my excessive use of [Lesser Draconic Boost], it was because of my overexertion of [Sensory Remapping] that I suffered such heavy and taxing Status effects. Back then, it wasn’t just a simple case of overexerting my body, it was something more… more important. I can’t quite explain it, but I felt that this was probably the case.

Regardless, in the end, this life or death experience and even the week and a half of recovery ended up with me reaping a few benefits.

Right now, I felt my body itch. I wanted to exert myself. I wanted to punch and kick and run and jog, I wanted to use my body, to familiarize myself with my strength. With this growing desire quickly spreading through the back of my mind like an invasive strain of weeds, I could no longer hold back.

After thinking for a while, I came up with a good idea. The best way to unload all this pent-up stress and desire was through battle. Looking around at all the sleeping heads scattered throughout the room, a small smile appeared on my face.

****

“Did you really recover, Hide?” Cher asked from beside me.

She was currently equipping her shield and adjusting her straps. Unlike during the past few days, in which she’s been dressed in rather light clothing, right now she wore a track suit and a pair of combat boots. An odd combination, but according to her, it’s what worked best.

“Yeah” I nodded. “I wouldn’t be doing this otherwise.”

She paused for a moment, her expression changing as if to say ‘that’s right, isn’t it,’ before she dusted herself off, and stood up. The only weapon she had right now was her shield. Unlike when she fought the monsters before, she had opted out of using her sword harness. Knowing what was about to happen, she had made the call to focus all on defense today.

“Then that means we’ll be heading to Kagetaka port pretty soon, right?” Off to the side, swinging around his sword as a warm up, the President lightly asked with a hint of inquiry. I could tell he didn’t really care whether or not we went, but the slight glint in Hina’s eyes upon hearing his question, did not escape my gaze.

Seeing Hina’s silent, but expectant expression, I slightly frowned. I hesitated for a moment before I shook my head, and replied, “That’s right. I guess we’ll head over there soon, but before we go, we need to check where our current abilities lie. That’s why we’ll be doing something we haven’t done in a long time; Mock battle.”

Stretching out my arms, a resounding crack echoed through the air before it was carried away by the passing wind. The President’s originally excited expression slightly faltered upon hearing it.

“That, although it sounds reasonable, fighting you upfront is kind of…” His words trailed off as he looked at me with an odd to discern expression.

Seeing such a face, Cher nodded her head sympathetically. “Yeah, Hide is scary even when he tries not to be.”

Through the corner of my eye, I could see everyone nodding their heads in agreement. This was especially true for Kido’s ex-friend, who was frantically bobbing her head up and down while her eyes glowed with rightful indignation. I coughed awkwardly, before I continued walking towards the road.

“In any case, are you guys ready? Is everyone already here?” I asked out loud as my eyes scanned the surrounding space.

Under the heat of the glaring sun, I could see a few people dejectedly nod their heads. Right now, the people participating were Hina, Cher, Cielle, the President, and Minakawa. Narise and the other girl, while throughout the week, had learned the [Basic Fireball] skills that we had available, they were still far from being combat ready. They stood to the side underneath the roof of the gas pumps, acting as today’s audience, while the usual fighters prepared themselves for the coming battle.

Looking around, I could see everyone was present, with the exception of Cielle.

I wasn’t impatient though. I waited, and after a few minutes, she walked out of the convenience store.

Seeing her, my excited expression momentarily faltered.

Cielle was different than usual. The girl who regularly dressed in heavy sweaters and long pants regardless of heat or weather, was currently quite out of character today. She wore a thin white t-shirt and pair of matching black hot pants. These pants only traveled to the upper portion of her thigh, and left a large portion of white, porcelain like skin exposed.

Despite my initial reaction, this wasn’t the most striking aspect of her. What was most striking was her hair. Cielle’s usual mess of hair was styled in a ponytail that repeatedly swung back and forth as she walked. Without the curtain of black hair blocking the view, a well-proportioned face, with clear, dark brown, almost entirely black eyes, and rose tinted lips, was revealed. Without a doubt, Cielle was someone who did not lose out to her sister in terms of both beauty and appeal.

Is she trying to distract me during the fight?

While this thought briefly entered my mind, I quickly shook it off upon seeing Cielle’s eyes focus in on me. I coughed in hopes of further dispelling any lingering thoughts, before I said, “Okay, now that everyone’s hear, let’s get started.”

After my words, everyone started walking out from underneath the shade and into the bright blazing light that lit up the outside world.

Seeing everyone position and ready themselves, I slightly dipped my head in a nod, while I casually checked my Status Window.

 

Status Window

Name

Mayo Hide

Age

17

Race

Human

Level

49

Gender

Male

Titles

Pioneer, Psychopath, Dungeon Explorer, Monster Hunter, Survivor

Health

580 (31)

Health Regen.

0.03 / Sec

Mana

(unavailable)

580 (31)

Mana Regen.

0.015 / Sec

Stamina

880 (331)

Stamina Regen.

0.055 / Sec

-

Strength

140 (31)

Agility

217 (31)

Greater Vitality

150 (36)

Dexterity

125 (31)

Intelligence

26 (31)

Wisdom

76 (31)

Leadership

0 (23)

Luck

0 (33)

Defense

50 (31)

Accuracy

20 (31)

Physical Resistance

9 (31)

Magic Resistance

7 (31)

Endurance

10 (31)

Perception

5 (31)

Insight

5 (31)

Perseverance

0(31)

-

Skills

Equip (Active)

Identification (Active)

All Heal (Active)

Dissection + (Active)

Sensory Remapping + (Active)

Searing Armor (Active)

All Purpose Crafting (Active)

Butcher (Active)

Shadow Sprint (Active)

Amphibian (Active)

Lesser Draconic Boost ++ (Active)

Ferocity (Active)

Body Maneuver (Passive)

Dagger Mastery (Passive)

Blunt Weapon Mastery (Passive)

Sword Mastery (Passive)

Current Status Effect(s)

N/A

Unallocated Points

0

 

During our escape from the neighborhood, I managed to gain two levels. And with it, along with all the points I received from killing the Manticore, I mainly increased my Strength, Agility, and Greater Vitality.

Looking at it objectively, my stats are a bit disproportionate, but that didn’t quite matter since most of the low numbers are the extra stats that I managed to acquire outside of the original stats. While it was good to increase them, in my case, they were just bonuses that would help me, and not something necessarily important for my survival.

In any case, most of my stat points were centered on Strength, Agility, Dexterity, and Greater Vitality. In short, you could say I was trying to min max my stats, but that isn’t quite the case seeing as I have some investment in both Intelligence and Wisdom. Luckily, unlike in a typical RPG, in the real world, there was no such thing as a useless stat. Even if I don’t specialize in magic, Intelligence and Wisdom still increase memory and reaction time.

Overall, due to all my accumulated titles, and all the bonus points I gained from killing Elites and Boss class monsters, my stats were greatly inflated for someone of my level. With a strength approximately 17 times greater than a normal human, if an average person could lift 100 pounds, then theoretically, with my current strength, I could lift just a little less than a ton in weight. In this respect, with my agility at 248, I could run a hundred meters in less than a second. In fact, if my math isn’t wrong, then I could run a hundred meters in under 3/4ths of a second.

My current body had long past the realm of human understanding.

I looked over at the others around me. Earlier today, I had inquired about their current levels.

Due to all the combat they experienced while I was away, most of them had broken through level 40. Only Cielle, who didn’t really participate in battle was stuck at Level 39, and Minakawa, who had a low level to begin with and just now reached Level 31, were under Level 40. Hina had the current highest level at 44, while Cher and the President, were both respectively at 41 and 43

The level gap between the others and I was quite low, but in a real battle, it was a combination of stats and skills, that decided life or death.

“Everyone ready? Cielle?” I asked, specifically pointing out Cielle, who had just recently arrived.

After a round of nods and agreements from everyone else, Cielle slightly dipped her head as she positioned herself directly opposite of me from a distance of close to forty meters.

“Then, let’s start.”

With my light words as cue, everyone around me moved into gear. Cher, the President, and Minakawa all jumped forward, quickly approaching me with their weapons raised high. In the meantime, Cielle and Hina channeled their magic and were already preparing to shoot out their spells at a moment’s notice.

Seeing everyone’s “enthusiasm”, I couldn’t help but be slightly taken aback. Although I previously stated that this mock battle would be a free-for-all, to think that they’d all unscrupulously gang up on me the moment we started…

I let out a light chuckle. Regardless of the situation, my expression remained upbeat and positive. This was what I wanted. I wanted to push myself. I wanted to see how strong I currently was.

As everyone quickly approached, I raised my own weapon up in front of me. Right now, I was only using one weapon, and it was not one of my usual weapons. The object in my hand right now was a simple hunting knife, something I scavenged from Cielle’s apartment building. It had mediocre stats, but that didn’t matter right now.

In this fight, I did not want to rely on weapons, nor on the boosts I received from [Equip]. With my own body, with no skills, nor inflated stats, I wanted to see how far I could go.

The first to arrive was the President.

His body was pulled close together, as he shot out like an arrow directly towards me. The tip of his sword was pointed directly at my chest, while a dark green flame enveloped the blade of his sword. I could tell, that this flame was from his newly learned skill, [Nether Flare].

With a slash of his sword, a wave of fire erupted out. Even without direct contact, I could feel the scolding heat scorch through the air. Seeing the malicious shade of green quickly approaching, my expression remained calm.

In the blink of an eye, my body moved. I disappeared almost instantaneously, but unlike usual, this wasn’t a result of [Shadow Sprint]. Kicking off the ground with explosive strength strong enough to slightly fracture the asphalt beneath my feet, I immediately sprinted towards the President.  My body posture was low, and it looked as if I was hugging the ground as I ran.

The scalding hot flames buzzed past my head, before I shortened the distance between the President and I in less than a fraction of a second. Seeing me approach, his eyes slightly widened, before he gritted his teeth, and swung out with his sword.

Seeing this, instead of meeting his blade, I chose to bypass it. My legs once again exploded out with explosive strength. My original speed increased once more, and I entered the President’s attack zone in a blink of an eye.

His sword was still a few inches away from me, and was still swinging forward from the side. I got up close enough where the only thing that would hit me were his flailing arms. Right now, due to my close proximity, even if he wanted to retract his blade, he couldn’t.

With precise movements, I jabbed out at the President’s sword wielding wrist with the hilt of my dagger.

The sudden impact, caused the President’s grip to loosen, and by the time his full swing had finished, his sword had flown out from his hands and soared a good twenty meters forward.

“Ah…” With wide eyes and a slightly dumb expression, the President looked at his weapon in dismay, before he turned towards me. Before he could speak, a sudden force sent him flying backward.

I had kicked the President directly in the stomach, and sent him rocketing towards Cher’s current location. Seeing the mass of human flesh rapidly approaching her, Cher’s eyes slightly narrowed. Maybe it was because of all the times I’ve used this method during our mock fights in the past, but she showed no traces of panic.

She slightly adjusted her posture in mid step, all the while she tilted her shield slightly upward. The moment the President’s body reached her, she lowered her stance, before immediately pushing up with the base of her shield.

The President hit Cher’s shield square in the center, but due to the specific way it was positioned, and because of Cher’s sudden push up, he was flung into the air, continuing his flight backwards like a stone that had been skipped through the surface of a lake.

A resounding scream of pain erupted forth from the President’s flapping lips, to which Cher responded with an insincere “Sorry!”

She turned back towards me, a smug expression plainly written on her face as she continued forward. Seeing such an expression a slight tinge of… pity rose up from my heart.

Using my maximum speed, I shot out once more, this time heading directly towards Cher. I jumped forward, my legs leading the charge while my body slightly stalled in the air directly in front of her shield.

She did not have the time to react, as I retracted my legs and kicked out. It was a blisteringly fast drop kick aimed directly at the center mass of Cher’s shield.

I heard a faint groan, before her body shot backwards like a freshly released cannon ball. She was going several times faster than the President, and soon over took him before her body tumbled and rolled across the open asphalt.

Not waiting for her to recover, I quickly stood back up and turned my attention over to Cielle and Hina. As usual, the duo was positioned far back, at least a good forty to fifty meters away from me. Unfortunately for them, with my current speed, this distance was all but negligible.

Just as I prepared to dash forward. The earth beneath my feet trembled. A bad premonition instantly sounded out in my head, before I immediately jumped to the side.  Three walls made out of earth and asphalt shot out from the ground. They formed a triangular cage around the area I had just been in.

A cold chill went up my spine, but just before I could act, my skin started to itch. At first it was a mild irritation, but soon, the itch started to fester and increase in severity. The itch quickly transformed into burning pain. It felt as if my skin had been cut open, and someone had poured salt all over them, before setting it all on fire. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, my nose, throat and lungs started to ache. It felt as if someone had taken a cheese grater and grinded it all over the insides of my body. I coughed heavily, as I struggled to crane my neck over to Cielle.

With an expressionless face, she stared at me with her ponytail fluttering across the turbulent winds and with her hands slightly raised before her.

Just like I thought…

This was a tactic that Cielle and Hina had used on me in the past during a mock training battle back in the Dungeon. Back then, tiny particles of broken up [Black Gemini] scattered through the air, and surrounded me in a painful, wide spreading attack.

While this attack was truly effective, there had been plenty of limitations to it, especially back when Cielle and Hina were first learning how to use it. The biggest limitation was probably the fact that it couldn’t be used outside of confined space, otherwise wind and other outside factors would quickly blow away the scattered [Black Gemini].

Now, apparently, the duo had gotten over this limitation. As to how, there was only one method I could think of; Hina. She had mastered wind magic to the point where she could keep the tiny particles of [Black Gemini] from being blown away. Without the earlier limitation in place, this combo attack of theirs would prove to be quite deadly.

In fact, this would have been especially true had this fight been a real one, and not mock training. If Cielle had imbued [Black Gemini] with [Acid Clad], then… just thinking about it sent shivers down my spine. Being melted from both the inside and outside was certainly no pleasant experience.

Feeling the growing irritation in my lungs and throat, I could not help but let out a low groan. I could have easily gotten over this predicament, had I just simply used [Sensory Remapping] to block out my sense of pain, but like I said previously, I did not want to do that. I wanted to fight this fight using only my physical body, and even now that goal was still clear in my heart.

Without hesitation, I grimaced through the pain, before I leaped straight into the sky. My body flew five, ten, twenty meters into the air, before I started to fall directly where Hina was standing. Within the unpolluted airspace, the irritation on my skin quickly faded, but the turmoil and aching in my lungs and throat still persisted.

I took in a giant gulp of fresh air, before I exhaled loudly. The pain lessened, but the ache did not completely disappear. Fortunately, it was down to a manageable level.

My body quickly plummeted to the ground. Hina looked up into the sky and stared directly at me. Her face twisted into a grimace, before a giant fireball grew in front of her. The fire ball was mainly orange in color, but wisps of dark green fire circled around it. They exploded out from the ever-expanding ball of flame, sending out a slew of flickering fire that quickly retreated back into the ball.

It looked like a mini sun, and the heat it emitted felt just as hot. Receiving it head on, was bound to injure me, but for some reason, I was strangely confident I could take it on.

Without hesitation, I twisted my body in midair to the point where I was now directly falling with my head pointed to the ground. Just before I entered the billowing wisps of flame, I crossed my arms in front of me, hoping they could receive the brunt of the impact.

My body was fully immersed in fire. It felt as if I was swimming in lava, and I could feel my skin physically fry and burn. It was hot, it was dangerous, and it was painful, but it was not deadly.

This was not because Hina held back, but rather because of my stats. More specifically, [Greater Vitality], which acted as a sort of catch all, for physical resilience, endurance, and health recovery. Along with my extra defense related stats, [Greater Vitality] helped mitigate most of the impact.

As a result, I came out the other side of the ball of flame with only minor, 2nd degree burns to show for it.

On the other side, I saw Hina’s eyes widen in surprise. Before she could react though, I immediately bolted forward, and tackled her to the ground. Of course, because of our difference in stats, I held back a great deal of strength, but it was still enough to incapacitate her.

She let out a low groan and writhed in pain on the ground. Without paying her any regard, I stood back up and assessed the battle field. Right now, the only two people remaining were Cielle and Minakawa. Throughout all this, Minakawa barely had time to react. Although she followed Cher and the President during their initial rush forward, she had lagged behind due to her speed, and by the time she had arrived at where I previously stood, both Cher and the President had already been incapacitated.

In the time during Cielle and Hina’s joint attack, she still could not do anything. Seeing her current expression, I could tell she was feeling a bit helpless at this point. It was unfortunate, but I couldn’t really blame her. From the start of the battle up until now, less than thirty seconds had passed. This was a high-speed mock battle that couldn’t really be called a battle.

If I may be blunt, then rather than a battle, this was more me letting out some long-accumulated stress.

Without hesitation, I pushed off with my foot, and moved towards Minakawa. She opened her mouth as if to scream, but by then it was already too late. In less than a second, I had already cut the distance between the two of us. Instead of kicking her like I had done with the President and Cher, this time, I grabbed onto her arm and shoulder. Minakawa’s expression slightly changed, and for a moment, the light of confusion glinted out from her eyes, before I lightly grunted, and threw her forward.

A scream muffled by the roaring wind echoed through the air as her body flew like a descending comet. She shot out straight towards Cielle, who had previously surrounded herself in a layer of [Black Gemini], in hopes of guarding against my coming attacks.

Unfortunately, for me to beat her, I did not even need to approach her. It seemed as if Cielle too had realized this, as her eyes widened upon seeing Minakawa’s rapidly approaching body.

Without hesitation, she tried to jump to the side, but Cielle was too slow. Minakawa’s body entered the protective layer of darkness, where her screams grew a notch louder, before she collided with Cielle. The two flew forward for a good three meters or so, before they came tumbling to a stop on the asphalt beneath.

With the battle over, I stretched out my arms and sighed in relief. Looking around, bodies were flung everywhere from a distance of dozens of meters away. In particular, was Cher, who had somehow ended up somewhere in the open field of grass and weeds. The only indicator to her presence was the low groan of pains she let out every now and then.

Comparatively, everyone else was doing just as bad. With the exception of myself, the rest of the group was sprawled somewhere on the floor, groaning and moaning in pain. Seeing their current state, I could not help but feel a tad bit sorry for them. Of course, this sort of emotion took up only a small, tiny part of my heart. The rest of me was caught up in excited jubilation.

The feeling of being able to freely move through the wind, of using my arms, legs and body to explode out in superhuman strength, it was all a very familiar and welcomed rush.

With a slight smile on my face, I quietly spoke to no one in particular, “It’s good to be back.”

 

 

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A note from Lv1Slime

Don't mind the asterisk in the title, that's for me. It makes it easier when I need to go back and check on previous chapters where I added in Hide's status window.


About the author

Lv1Slime

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Bio: Person who likes to write. In college.

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