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Eight hours came and went before Elizabeth woke up, completely refreshed after getting that much-needed sleep. It was about to time for her to eat again, so she cooked her self another simple meal, a Bacon Omelet. After she was done cooking, she reviewed the gains of her meditation through a check in her Status while she ate.

[*Inner Strength 54/54 → 198/198

*Cooking Level 1) 3/10 → 4/10]

The Bacon Omelet was god-damn satisfying, but perhaps because its preparation was much simpler than the Chicken Fried Rice of the day prior, she didn’t gain as much experience. There was also the more-than-likely probability that gaining experience would become more difficult as she progressed through the levels of a skill.

Regardless of the reason, Elizabeth wasn’t too bummed down. She knew there would be many chances going forward to improve her skill, but now the priority was increasing the capacity of her Inner Strength as well as leveling up. She almost felt inclined to go straight back to meditation, but given that she had a deadline to complete, she decided against that decision in favor of trying out the Inner Strength Conversion for Stat development.

It wouldn’t do her much justice to cultivate an absurd amount of Inner Strength only find out her Inner Strength Conversion produced meager changes to her stats at the final moments.

At the moment, because she had invested her Stat Points in only Speed and Intelligence when creating her character, she only needed to train the remaining Stats; the ones that were trainable, anyways… She needed at least 12 points in every stat as well as 100 units of Inner Strength to officially become level one. Thus, for this little test of the Inner Strength Conversion Skill, Elizabeth decided to go for a run.

She couldn’t believe it at the moment, as the concept of exercising failed to register in her game-oriented mind. But for the sake of not angering the gods that had cursed her, she put away her recently galvanized depression and left the house once again. The clothes she had purchased from Ducci were both “fashionable” and durable, given that she had purposefully opted to pick athletic wear.

However, not a minute after she started testing the conversion rate of Inner Strength to Endurance, Elizabeth had to stop. She had forgotten to buy shoes as the side quest only requested for her to buy clothes, and had only noticed at this very moment that her current shoes would not do for the “long distance running” she had planned to do.

Her previous shoes had not bothered her, as she hadn’t really been running with them previously, but now, the uncomfortable and sluggish feeling couldn’t be more obvious to her. Elizabeth struggled against her intuition to just forget about leaving the house and picking up shoes from the shopping plaza. But upon recalling the description of the her second sidequest, she felt it would be better for her in the long run to just get used to interacting with the outside world. If she didn't truly believe failing her missions would lead to death, or worse... she certainly wouldn't have entertained the thought.

At least, that was the excuse she made up to justify her decision. In any case, right now it was still rather early in the morning as the sun had yet to rise. It would be best for her to leave now to avoid going to the store later on in the day, when more human traffic appeared. So once again, Elizabeth walked the two miles required to reach the shopping plaza and quickly purchased a couple sets of shoes.

This time, the experience was much less stressful for her as there had indeed been less people crowding around the mall at this pre-dawn time period. It was made even less annoying as Elizabeth wasn’t assaulted by the unforgiving rays of the brutal summer sun. Rather, a gentle morning breeze further calmed down any frustrations she might have spurred by leaving the safety of her domain once more.

When she arrived back home with her shoes, she had already put on a pair since she left from the store, so all she had to do now was store the remaining pairs in her wardrobe before taking off to test the Inner Strength Conversion Skill. Elizabeth lived in a nice neighborhood where there were large stretches of sidewalks with very little intersections, so she hadn’t the need to go to a gym for effective long distance running. She just picked direction and started running to a moderate pace.

As she entered a steady rhythm of running, an invisible film of pearly white energy seemed to glow on the surface area of her skin. With this barrier's initiation, every minute of running afterward led to a prompt of Inner Strength being exhausted.

Strangely, Elizabeth barely felt any discomfort even after minutes came and went along her jog. Even as the prompts from the status functions came, along with the sensation of Inner Strength vanishing from within her, no exhaustion seemed to creep up on Elizabeth which baffled her, considering she never exercised before.

It left her heavily disturbed to find that after half an hour, she had yet to start feeling tired even after jogging for 3 miles. She was concerned that she would grow tired while being far away from home. Thus, she reluctantly had to put her test to a halt and return to her house. If she didn’t manage to increase her Endurance by one point by the time she returned home this effort might have been in vain.

Unfortunately, even when she made it back home, while she hadn’t yet grown tired from jogging six miles, she hadn’t increased her Endurance Stat. There was good news though, when Elizabeth checked her Status.

[Endurance + 0.6

Inner Strength 198/198 → 138/198]

Apparently, every minute of endurance training would yield an increase to her Endurance Stat by 0.01 point at the cost of 1 Inner Strength Unit. So with a quick calculation, at her current rate of training, she would need 140 more minutes of Endurance training to get the Stat requirement for leveling up. It was good to know that her running was not for nothing, as Elizabeth just chalked up the status functions not reporting her advancements because she had not increased her stat by a whole number.

Elizabeth reviewed the results of this little test and concluded that while it was all well and good on its own, it wasn't exactly the most efficient method. If she continued like this, she would need to find different exercises to train up her different stats, one at a time. Instead of rigorously targeting one stat at a time, she felt it would be better to do complex training to increase several stats at once. And there was no form of training more efficient she could think of than to spar with another person…

It would take every ounce of tolerance in her body to accept following through with contacting the people from Atid’s Dojo. But if there was anything Elizabeth hated more than social interactions, it was purposefully being inefficient. This stemmed from her incessant devotion to 100%-ing RPG’s before she underwent her transformation, where being inefficient would stop her from quickly completely her games and being the best. From her point of view, there was more satisfying than completing a game with the highest, most absurdly overpowered, god-tier level character.

So, she took out the business card Jane had given her from her wallet, and proceeded to look up where this Atid’s Dojo was located.

Depression… unbearable depression hit Elizabeth like a 40-ton semi, as she saw the address and confirmed its location to be an ungodly ten miles away. Well, it seems like today all she would be doing is running, so she decided to make the most of out it.

She decided to meditate again, but instead of cultivating Inner Strength she would just be promoting the recovery of her current capacity. As a result, she didn’t need to return to her bed and find a comfortable place to empty her mind. Instead, Elizabeth could sit on the floor and just loosely focus on meditative mantras. Following through with her plans, Elizabeth found her wasted Inner Strength return to her in mere minutes.

With everything back to peak working order, Elizabeth once again left her house to face the outside world. This time, in pursuit of not wasting time, she didn’t assume a moderate jogging pace while traveling to Atid’s Dojo. Rather, she pushed her legs to their very limits, rising to a ridiculous 20 mph peak. As a result, her Inner Strength was consumed twice as fast as before, effectively training both her Speed and Endurance — she was consuming 2 Inner Strength per minute, to increase both Speed and Endurance by 0.01, again, per minute.

Of course, Elizabeth wasn’t exactly a car, so she had to stop several times throughout her journey to Atid’s Dojo. But, it was still impressive to have reached it in just over 45 minutes. Throughout this run, because her training was more intense, she finally started getting tired and her body was at last acting normally.

Still, the meager amount of sweat and exhaustion running this intensely generated, was cause for concern; at least that would have been a case for a regular person. It was pretty ridiculous as Elizabeth had passed by a couple casual cyclists on her journey to the dojo, all the while generated endless amounts of shock…

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About the author

Vermillion Yormsky

  • United States

Bio: Just another run-of-the-mill bowl of sentient vanilla ice-cream.

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