After the Gene Extractor powered down, the rest of the procedures went by in a flash and soon, Aman was standing in the waiting room again.
He was a few genes lighter and his cash card was a few thousands heavier.
He moved his body. There was no difference. He didn’t expect there to be.
The aftermath of the Gene Extractor lasted for more than a week. The effects slowly, imperceptibly crept up on the donor.
He knew. After all, when he had his Endurance stats extracted, he hadn’t even noticed until one day, while walking the distance which hadn’t even made him breathe hard before made him wheeze.
The only way to see the change immediately was through one of the gene trinity: The Gene Analyser.
He walked over to the Gene Analyser by the corner of the waiting room and swiped his card, parting with some of his newly earned cash.
Pressing his thumb in the appropriate depression, he felt a pricking as a sterilized disposable needle drew a little blood.
Soon, the results were displayed upon the screen:
Name: Aman Batra
He sighed. His stats were shitty as always. Now they were even shittier. His agility had dropped from 7 to 4.
Oh well, he had made his peace with this turn of events before he had even stepped into the hospital.
Now it was time to buy the Soul Sensor for Preeti. Imagining her happiness at receiving the gift immediately dispersed his melancholy mood.
He remembered the fable his mother always used to tell them.
There used to be a King who always fidgeted with a plain iron ring on his finger whenever he made a decision. He was known as a wise, enlightened ruler due to most of his decisions being successful.
One day, his minister, curious about the origin of the ring, asked him if it was a magic item or the relic of some god which had blessed their kingdom with prosperity.
The King showed him the ring. On it there was an inscription: “It too will pass by.”
He told the minister that whenever he made a decision, he reviewed this lesson so he would not be swayed by the current circumstances. That was why, even in the face of victory or in the jaws of defeat, he could remain calm and decide rationally.
Aman had taken this fable to heart. This was just a temporary phase in his life. It too would pass by.
He took a shortcut through the market after leaving the hospital. His endurance stat was abysmal and he had to stop every few streets.
He cursed the fact that there was no cars or transportation allowed within the grey market.
After all, you couldn’t expect crooks and conmen to become expert town planners, now could you?
The stalls except the largest were mostly temporary in nature and therefore hastily erected wherever there was space.
Driving through this mess would require godly skills. Let alone, there were a lot of rich folks who came here.
Now if they started their one-upmanship here…
Just imagine a limo doing a two-wheel drift through the gap of two closely pitched shops.
Nope. Not happening.
After a few wheezing halts, Aman felt depressed again.
He fondly remembered the times when he had been the football captain renowned for his athleticism.
When the team had won the cup, he had been carried on their shoulders, holding the cup and the crowd cheered with a variation of his name.
“The Man, The Man, The Man.”
It was silly and quite cringey but he had never felt so accomplished before. Now, he never would again.
His footballing days were over.
Suddenly a feeble voice broke his downward spiral into self-pity.
He frowned as he looked around and found nobody nearby as the street he had taken was pretty deserted.
He frowned. Had excessive extraction caused hallucinations?
There it was. This time he was sure he had heard it. Where was it coming from?
“H-e-y! Be-h-ind yo-u d-umb ki-d, are yo-u d-e-af!?”
Startled, his head whipped around as he finally located the voice.
His eyes nearly popped out of his sockets.
There, sprawled out in the dark alley, bleeding profusely from several deep gashes, was…
… an honest to goodness Elf.