Chapter 23: New Enemies

It took me a while to muster the courage to stand up and begin moving around, but when I did, the first thing I did was flip the dining table in the house and use it to block the door. Then I pushed a couch against it and for good measure, I threw a few chairs on top of the couch to add to the weight.

Then I pushed a shelve to each window to both sides of the door, covering the house in complete darkness but assuring me no monster would enter the house. Not without making a huge ruckus and alerting me at least.

Then I began exploring the house, entering all the rooms.

There where only three rooms in the house, one of them a bathroom and the other just a children's room.

It was In the third room where I began finding the good stuff.

It did not sit well with me picking all that jewelry I found in a little chest, but it was of no use the owners anymore. If the world had ended stuff like precious metals and gems would be the only with some sort of value. Still, when I found a stack of 100$ bills stashed under the mattress I picked it up anyway…

Looking further I found a pair of nice biker gloves with a hard material reinforcing the knuckles. I put them on, happy to finally have protection for my hands but the damn things were too big for my hands. Those were clearly an adult man’s. Still, I held onto them just in case. The last small treasure I found in there was a bat hidden within the clothes in the closet.

I swung it around, feeling its weight and struck the ground with it. A metal bat. I thought after hearing the muted clanking sound it made upon impact. There was no other sports gear apart from a pair of thick dumbbells laying around the room, so I had to guess the past owner of that stuff was a thug that liked his bikes, his arm muscles and breaking legs with that bat—the common type. A family picture of three people on the wall above the bed more or less confirmed that thought. The man on that picture had a face that intimidated even while smiling.

I left the room, not doing anything about the window in that room. The door should be enough protection.

I headed straight to the kitchen and found just what I expected—a bunch of very sharp kitchen knives.

I also checked the fridge just out of curiosity and found a really bad stench of rotten food, but surprisingly, it was only some vegetables and meat that had gone bad. Some fruits still looked edible if a little old.

My greatest find in there was a pair of water pitchers almost full. With the hurry I had forgotten to take any drinks with me and my only water source among the stuff I brought was a few cans of soup. The shelves in the kitchen were also filled with more food. Except for water, I had enough to last for at least a week if I trained every day at the same pace as always and probably a month if I just hid in there. I still had to head out to find more water eventually, though.

With everything finally accounted for, I finally sat down to rest and to do it in style, I went through the trouble of dragging one of the beds to the living room. I had to do it very slowly to not make any loud noise but it was worth all the trouble.

When I laid on the bed for the first time in more than a week it was as if it wrapped around my body and sucked away all the fatigue in an instant.

I closed my eyes for a few seconds and before I knew it, I was jumping out from bed, startled by some screams and noises outside.

How long did I sleep? I rubbed my eyes and then my sight landed on a system message in front of me.

New Quest: [Claim back your home I]
  • Quest Rank: 3
  • Objective: Drive away the monsters occupying the spawn.
  • Reward: 2 evolution points

Like hell I would try to. I scoffed at the surprisingly easy to read message. The blue screen didn’t emit any light, but it was still perfectly visible in the darkness.

I heard more noises outside and approached one of the windows and peeked out from the gaps between the shelf and the window.

The gap was pretty small and my eyes only saw shadows briefly run past the house most of the time, but new types of monster stopped within my sight from time to time, sniffing around or fighting with each other. I never saw a human, but human screams also echoed through the streets. Screams of pain and fear.

As the night grew colder and darker the human sounds vanished but monsters growling, screeching and roaring still were the predominant background sound along with a weird cracking that sounded all around me from time to time.

I drifted to sleep several times but every time I would be woken by a new noise coming too close to the house. By the time the sun rose the monsters were still at it, although less fiercely. Still, I did not dare to go out until I was sure I would not encounter a giant lizard fighting mauling a humanoid rat or a wolf the size of a lion chasing down a bunch of boars.

So while waiting for things to settle I went to the main bedroom and grabbed those dumbbells I’d seen. Even when each marked 20kg, they didn’t feel that heavy when I tried them out. Or I was too strong.

My face broke into a smile. I was stronger than an adult. An adult thug at that.

Since I couldn’t train properly with them, I turned my gaze to the king-sized bed. Just lifting the edge put some strain on my arms, but not enough. So I put the two dumbbells on the head of the bed and lifted it from there.

Hours passed, the sun perched itself on its highest point in the sky, but every twenty minutes I heard monsters passing close to the house, tearing each other apart. The same remained true through the day and by the time evening was upon the city again I had already abandoned the thought of going out. Instead, I doubled down on the training and late that evening finally got my next strength point along with the pain that accompanied it.

Your strength has increased by 1 point!

Name: Elan Marte Level: 3
Class: None Core: Copper
Ether: [1/200]
Mana Points: 41/44
Strength: 8
Fortitude: 4
Agility: 9
Dexterity: 3
Spirit: 0
—Skills [2/5]—
Physiologic Acceleration Lv. 3 [9%]
Boar’s Charge Lv. 1 [26%]
—Quests [4/5]—
Break the barrier Rank 3★
Goblin hunt III Rank 1
Black Goldhorn Hunt Rank 2★
Claim back your home I Rank 3

Just 2 more strength points and I would break into the two digits realm as well, but I didn’t know if I could manage that even with a week’s time. It had taken me almost 2 days of training to increase my strength to 8. It was hard to see myself gaining 2 more strength points before the week ended.

I sat down and sighed. It was beginning to become really boring to just train all day…

In just a week I had done the same amount of training a normal person would in a year or even more. Each round of regeneration was like waiting one or two days for my body to recover before continuing and I had probably done close to two hundred of those rounds. At least I got ripped really quickly. My body was solid as a rock and I’d gained some bulk, just not as much as my strength would suggest.

I laid down in a puddle of my own sweat, wondering if I should continue or call it a day. Before I’d kept going only with the hope of gaining the strength point, but with how far away the next increase was, it made for quite the unmotivating goal.

Luckily for me, the choice was made for me by the almost empty pitcher of water on a table nearby. The last bit of water I had.

I really can’t continue until I find more. I got up and walked briskly towards the water and drank a little.

And so, with the occasional fight breaking out close to the house and even some pounding on the door or the walls, I waited for the day to end and went to sleep.

The next day things finally settle down a little. I heard some fighting during the sunset, but it had been at least two hours since then and there was no sign of any more monsters screwing around.

I mustered all my courage and grabbed my new bat and my spear, packed my backpack with a few knives, screwdrivers and ice picks, and moved the bookshelf from one of the windows and went out from there.

If before there was a little overgrown grass sticking out from the cracks on the pavement caused by the trees popping up, then now I was in a mini jungle. Everywhere I looked were trees, flowers, and vines coiling around buildings. That was what that weird cracking sound was. From the new trees and vegetation growing and breaking through the pavement.

I was really lucky no tree popped out from the house I was in. It sill got completely wrapped by vines, though.

All that overgrown grass and shrubs made it really difficult to properly watch my surroundings.

And just as I was thinking about that, a snake’s thick and long body shot towards me from within the shrubbery.

I tilted my body sideways and barely managed to avoid its plunge. Then I dropped my both my spear and the bat and my right-hand shot towards it like a claw to pull it towards me before it could escape. Fuck. My hand got cut by something when I caught its body and it was beginning to slip from my bloodied hand when It shot back at me from that position. I barely managed to catch its head before it bit me right on the neck, getting my left hand cut in the process.

“Shit.” I pushed its head to the ground, making the cuts deeper and struggled to open one of the pockets of my backpack to take out a knife.

The snake began wrapping itself around my torso, cutting my clothes to shreds with its sharp body and trying to crush my bones. It had begun to take effect on me when my hand finally landed on an ice pick. This’ll do. I rammed it into the snake’s head and pulled it out again and again until its crushing force diminished enough for me to get off its grasp.

I threw the snake to the ground and quickly took a knife from my backpack and began to cut its head off.

“What the fuck!” Its head was barely attached to the rest of its body but it still tried to coil around me.

I wiped my brow as I stared at the headless snake still moving around, even after its ether crystal had dropped.

Then a system message stole all my attention.

New Quest: [Bladed Snake Hunt
  • Quest Rank: 1
  • Objective: Kill 10 Bladed Snakes
  • Progress: 0/10
  • Reward: 20 Ether

A note from kleimore

Well, it's nice that for most Elan comes across exactly as he should. Just a brat in a shitty situation. It's also good to know that the characters at least feel like real people. even if a little shallow. 

Thanks for reading!

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