Chapter 20: How to Charge into Battle
“Elan…!” Ronel groaned in exasperation, pinching the bridge of his nose.
“I was the one to kill it,” I said as I laid flat on the ground with a smile blossoming on my face.
“You crazy bastard!”
“What the hell-”
The rest of the group approached while exclaiming with their jaws dropped or holding their heads with both hands.
They complained and pointed their finger at me, but I just laid there accelerating the regeneration on my chest to avoid bleeding to death. When I began to feel the stinging sensation of my wounds closing, I finally turned my eyes to them, my gaze flat. “Are you guys for real?” I said, rolling my eyes. “Was I not supposed to take the loot from the monster I killed?”
“Because we were fighting its minions!”
I rolled my eyes, knowing the guy was wholly right. “How many of you gave I healed without asking for anything in return, huh?” I scoffed. “How many of you would I have to heal next because of Ronel’s request.”
Ronel flinched at my words. I can read you. I chuckled inside.
“Still, you should have talked it through with us.” Ronel tried to deflect. “We probably would’ve let you keep it in account to that anyway.”
“Ha, doubt it.” I scoffed. “There are eight of you and only one of me.”
“What are you insinuating?” Laura interjected, her arms crossed and her brows furrowed.
I took a good look at her. She wore some tight-fitting sports pants and a sports top, showing off all her curves.
Taking a better look at the rest of the group, they all had new clothes, albeit dirtied by the fight. Totally unlike myself, who still wore the same dirtied and ragged clothes from the first day. Couldn’t tell if they were too vain or if I just was too sloven.
“Come on, Elan, we would never do something like that.” Ronel frowned.
“You would never do that.” I nodded. “Those ungrateful pricks, on the other hand…” I pointed at his companions.
“This little shit…!” Some of his companions rushed towards me aggressively.
“Come on, guys.” Ronel put himself between me and them. He looked at me with a mix of disappointment and irritation. “What the hell happened to you, man? You act just like Lisandro.” He shook his head and pushed his companions the other way. “Let’s go, guys.”
I clicked my tongue. “I guarantee they would’ve forced me to hand them the skill orb.” That was just the kind of people they’d always been, even at school. Never cared about trampling over others with their snide remarks before and they would surely not begin to so suddenly.
“I wouldn’t let them,” Ronel said without turning around and continued to lead his companions away.
I knew it. I knew he wouldn’t.
“Should have made him heal us at least,” Laura complained as she walked next to Ronel.
“There’s no need.” Ronel shook his head. “We’re going back anyway.”
Joining that group would’ve been a nightmare anyway. I shrugged.
I finished healing myself and consumed the boar’s ether crystal.
When I left the street, I set my objective in figuring out how to use my new skill. According to its description, the skill ‘increases the momentum and force of your body when charging’.
So I did just that and charged towards a wall, ramming my shoulder into it and bouncing back in pain.
I didn’t even feel the tingling on the right side of my chest.
I continued trying, imagining an explosion when my body impacted on something, which didn’t work either, then after a few more failed attempts and a battered shoulder, I found the right way.
As I began running, I imagined myself speeding up and that activated the tingling feeling in my chest that spread throughout all of my body in an instant. Then, as I pictured, my body began speeding up, each one of my steps taking pushing me farther than usual and faster, but my legs couldn’t keep up with that pace and I stumbled an fell on the ground, rolling and scraping my elbow and shoulder.
Shit. I pushed myself back up. I got this. I steeled myself and tried again.
After three more catastrophic falls, I finally was able to run in a straight line for more than 10 meters and headed shoulder first into a wall.
The skill worked perfectly as I felt my shoulder produce an invisible force at the point of impact, crushing the wall and my shoulder alike.
“Fuck!” I cursed with pain and happiness as I finally had a proper battle skill. Then I slapped myself when I thought of using a weapon to reduce the point of impact to increase the damage and, well, not hurt myself. The image of knights riding on horses with lances came to mind, then I looked at my broomstick thrown on the floor a few meters away.
I healed myself and tried again, this time holding the stick in one hand and resting it on my forearm like I’d seen medieval knights do on tv. I charged at a wall expecting to pierce a hole through it. Instead, all I achieved was making the front part of lance explode into a burst of splinters and the rest of it rip the skin of my hands and forearm. And as if that was not enough, I ended up slamming my whole body onto the wall as well.
“Crap.” I rubbed my face.
The stick had caused quite some damage on the wall, but nowhere near enough to compensate for the damaged caused to my hand or the potential threat of slamming into an enemy because it broke so easily.
I also thought of finding a metal bar to use as a lance, but with my grip strength I would just end up with my hands completely shredded.
The only ‘safe’ way of utilizing the skill was to find a hammer like the one I’d lost and swing it just before crashing into an enemy. That would hurt my hands and probably send the hammer flying off my grip, but the threat of slamming into an enemy would be less since my body would be aimed next to my target.
My strength should eventually be enough to withstand that force. Until then I had to find myself some gloves to protect my hands and a good blunt weapon. Maybe some clothes as well. I looked at myself. Five days of blood, sweat, and dirt accumulated on the rags I used to call clothes.
I recalled seeing some buildings that were still standing and had some broken mannequins and some pieces of cloth strewn around. That was my new objective.
As I began walking, I checked my status.
My mana increased only by 20 points.
Brian had gotten 30…
As happy as I was for getting it, I didn’t use my new skill in any fight while looking for a clothes store. Too risky at the moment.
Since we were in the midst of the millennial district, one of the most commercial areas in the city, it was not too hard to find a clothes store that hadn’t been crushed by its own weight or by a nearby building falling on it.
I dressed with some nice and new clothes and looked all over it for gloves but didn’t find any. I grabbed a backpack, put some more clothes in there and then went straight to the hardware store, avoiding a few monsters on the way.
Since all the knives were gone, I stuffed some screwdrivers and ice picks into my backpack and grabbed two broomsticks to have one to spare. Then I taped one of those ice picks to one of the broomsticks and made myself a piercing-only spear.
Maybe ice picks would work better against monsters with skin as thick as the boar leader had.
Then, armed to the teeth—not really—I continued hunting monsters until the afternoon when I returned to the plaza happy with my 114 ether and my new skill.
Tomorrow I level up. I walked with a smile towards Mr. Rivero to take back my stuff and begin training.
The piece of concrete I used to train was getting a little too light as my arm strength increased after every round of exercise, so I went out to a nearby fallen building and picked a few more of varying weights.
Then I began pushing myself to the limit, hoping to get another strength point by the end of the day.
“Look at you, what a cute halfpint.” As always, Lisandro didn’t forget to say something to me when he arrived. The asshole even walked around with a bottle of alcohol in his hand.
One of his companions whistled and laughed. “Did you dress up for one of your boyfriends?”
I looked at the five of them, all dressed in expensive jackets, shoes, and pants and adorned with gold necklaces and rings. “Which of your boyfriends bought you that?” I pointed at the guy’s neck. “He must care a lot about you.” I snorted. The idiot had set himself up and I simply couldn’t resist it. He brought that upon himself.
“Say that again?” The brainless fool puffed up his chest and approached me aggressively.
“It’s not worth it,” Lisandro grabbed his shoulder before he could get too close. “Don’t you feel pity for the little retard? He thinks he can’t amount to anything by working out a little.” Lisandro snorted.
“Is your neck good? Did you get it healed?” I looked at his neck and smiled.
Lisandro’s upper lip twitched and his expression hardened. “You think that means anything?” He pushed away the guy he was holding and moved right in front of me, looking down at me. “I can split your little skull open with a single hand, don’t forget that, halfpint.” The corner of his upper lip curled as he spoke and he grabbed the top of my head with his hand.
I had to fight the urges of punching his face and make him get his stinking mutt out of my face. I knew he was right about what he said.
“You’re just a smudge of shit and will always be a smudge of shit.” He squeezed his hand hard and then pushed my head.
He turned around and waved his hand at his minions. “Move.” He said and began walking
I glared at his back, ignoring the other unimportant assholes laughing at me. If I charged right into his back I could easily break a few bones, maybe his spine. But that would be meaningless when there were other people to heal him around.
I gritted my teeth and swallowed the indignation. I’ll get back at you fully someday. I glared at his figure in the distance.
At night karma rewarded me for enduring Lisandro’s bullshit twice.
The first reward had actually angered me, because when I saw a blue screen pop up in front of my I almost began jumping around in joy, just to see it wasn’t what I expected.
Your [Physiologic Acceleration] increased to level 3
The skill’s efficiency has increased by 30%
I threw a slap at the screen the moment I read it and got even angrier when my hand went straight through it. That’s bullshit. I pouted and frowned even though my skill had gotten more powerful.
Physiologic Acceleration: allows you to accelerate long physiologic processes to make them happen within minutes.
Acceleration decreases for highly evolved bodies.
At least my mood got better when I read the skill’s description and saw that the bonuses from leveling it up stacked. My maximum mana had also gone up by 2 points again.
That motivated me to continue working out, and, as if it was mandatory, the notification I longed for appeared late at night, way beyond the time Alan usually gathered people, which of course didn’t happen that night either.
|Your strength has increased by 1 point!|