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Very strange.

[13,800/15,000 LP.]

Very, very strange.

In fact, the strangeness of this is nearly parallel to the amount of strangeness in my dream last night.

For a series of several hours, I was whisked away on some epic journey I knew not the nature of, and in the process learned a great many things about the world of Mystix, and about Miss M in particular.

And in the process...

My Life points have diminished greatly since I leveled up last night.

It’s concerning to me that my dreams could have affected me in such a powerful way, since normally sleep is the main reprieve from LP drain that someone with a system can utilize. And because of my adventures last night... I no longer have that option, it seems.

I pray to The Goddess that this isn’t something that becomes a regular occurence.

I feel a hand on my shoulder.

“You good, buddy?”

I look up to see Francis’s face beaming down at me. The sun above partially obscures his face, but his smile still pours down at me. He is a true friend, someone who will stick by me at any cost. And the look on his face fills my uncertain heart with a dose of good old fashioned hope.

“Yes, I am quite good, thanks to my dear friends,” I say. “My friends who are taking me on the adventure of a lifetime.”

One day after my adventure across time and space as a ghost... I embark on yet another adventure across space, if not also across time.

Francis and Delta are kind, kind people. Despite knowing me for just a few days now, they are beginning with me the kind of trip that can change a life. However, I do not think I will tell them about my time as a ghost on Mystix. Without further knowledge of exactly what is going on every time I sleep, I don’t believe it is prudent to explain all of that to them.

For now, I will treat it as something of a private matter. Miss M and all.

As of this moment, we are sitting in the outdoor platform to Amtrak station known as Jack London Square Station. It is the main station in all of the San Fransisco area, according to Francis. He appears to be a very big fan of this place, by the way he speaks of it, and as much as I don’t understand what a train really is, I am happy that he is happy.

“The Coast Starlight is one of the most scenic lines in the entire country, you know,” he has often told me. “We’re going to see the sights of beautiful California and you’re going to love it. Also get Destiny Points.”

His enthusiasm is something I would never want to discourage, not in my entire life.

I still do not think an adventure focused on exploration so much instead of combat is the optimal way to level me up, but I do think that it is going to be a lot of fun.

Speaking of Destiny Points...

I gained one last night.

In my dreams, as a ghost living on another world, I gained a Destiny Point.

Right there on my HUD it tells me I have 42 Destiny Points, one more than last night. I’m utterly flabbergasted by this fact. If I could only ascertain the mechanics of how something like this could even occur, surely I could master all of reality. I would ascend my [Adventurer] class and probably do something nonsensical like take multiple classes at once and level each of them up.

I have actually heard of something like that before, with people using some soul gem-related cheating to install the Destiny Deck system twice on the same person. So one person, by themself, could be both a [Chef] and a [Butler,] or a [Warrior] and a [Supreme.] However, anyone who has ever done that has faced a compunding and dire situation—the system, when installed twice, will take double the Life Points away from you. If you are F-Rank in two separate classes, then your base 5,000 LP will be a mere 2,500 in effect, since you will be losing two Life Points for every minute alive, and double the damage from every blow.

It is these sorts of things that make the Destiny Deck system so inflexible, so impossible to take true advantage of. It was seemingly designed to allow for the maximum available tampering, but any tampering will lead to instant consequences.

At least... on Mystix, that is.

Here on Earth, a place where violence is looked down on, a place where clocks keep the time exact no matter where you go, a place completely undiscovered by any [Adventurer] except for myself... It is almost TOO perfect a location for someone like me, someone who wished to advance faster in his own class than he was progressing in the long-explored, long-settled areas of Mystix along with his team members.

Oh, Team Fanghook... I can’t believe it split up.

And I can’t believe Miss M would seriously take me across YEARS of time just because she didn’t want me to accidentally wake up during her journey. What a complete jerk she is! At least... I think so. It was very hard for me to figure out what she was going through. Though that was mostly because she kept poofing me into her damn inventory anytime I wanted to ask her any real questions.

Delta and Francis sit down on the same bench as me, Francis on my right and Delta in my left. I attempt to shift my place in order to give Francis space, but I end up elbowing Delta in her side.

She barks, “Watch it, Eryk.”

“I apologize. I wasn’t paying enough attention.”

“You do seem kinda out of it this morning,” Francis says. “Wanna talk about it?”

“Oh, there’s nothing wrong with me,” I lie. “I am merely looking over all my stats and Destiny Cards because I am trying to strategize and such. Do you wish to hear it all again?”

“Uh, sure,” he says.

“Okay, then, first I shall divulge to you each of my current Destiny Cards in my hand:

Skill Check: Rank 1. Examine the variables around you. (There is a small chance that your next action will go exceedingly well or exceedingly poorly.) Cost: 50 LP.

Blinding Rush: Rank 1. Doubles speed and agility. Cost: 215 LP.

Skill Check: Rank 1. Examine the variables around you. (There is a small chance that your next action will go exceedingly well or exceedingly poorly.) Cost: 50 LP.

Inventory Slot: Rank 4. Store an item here to retrieve for future use. Current item: Satchel (Size: Extra Large).

Inventory Slot: Rank 4. Store an item here to retrieve for future use. Current item: Pistol.

Inventory Slot: Rank 4. Store an item here to retrieve for future use. Current item: Bow and arrow.

Transmigrated Spirit: Rank 3. Summon an otherworldly spirit to assist for five minutes. Cost: 444 LP.

“Aw, wait, you don’t have that [Super Hearing] card anymore?” Francis asks.

“I had to discard it right before I leveled up so that I could draw the second-to-last card that my use of [Foresight] yesterday showed to me.”

“...Can I get a non-nerd explanation of any of this?” Delta asks. “Also, you’re really keeping.... a giant backpack in your inventory?”

“I really must open the contents of that bag soon,” I say. “Remind me while we are on the train to reveal its contents to you. I figure that some of it may be magical in nature and help our journey considerably.”

“You don’t know what’s inside?”

I shake my head. “I was supposed to sell the entire bag to merchants and sellers, but I died before I could get the chance. Inside are the contents of the final mission I embarked on with Team Fanghook.”

The former Team Fanghook, who are no longer together...

I am so “bummed out” about that, as Francis may say.

“You should use [Skill Check] right now and tell us all the cool variables you see,” Francis says. “It sounds like the best cheat mode in Royals of Foreign Lands, where there’s a pop-up on the HUD for every single item around you. It takes a ton of CPU to run that without huge slowdown though.”

“You’re such a nerd,” Delta says. “I can’t stand that shit.”

“I can stand it,” I say. “I don’t understand it, but it heartens me to hear about it. I believe I say that often, but I mean it. Truly, I do.”

“Aw, thanks Eryk,” he replies. “Unlike Delta, you are actually a cool person who doesn’t suck.”

Delta jabs me in the side.

“Ouch! I was not the person who insulted you, you know!”

“I know, but you definitely deserve it.”

“That is perhaps true.”

“So you have lots of cool cards,” Francis says, “but which one is your favorite?”

“Besides the inventory cards? My favorite must be [Transmigrated Spirit,]” I tell them. “You can summon a spirit to assist you in life, and usually combat. However, the spirit is randomized to an extent, and it can be difficult to predict what will happen. A lot like destiny itself, if you ask me. I feel that the card is a good symbol for how adaptation towards circumstances and taking advantage of every aspect of one’s life is fundamentally the most important thing towards becoming a hero.”

“That’s... really nice reasoning,” Delta admits.

“Aside from cards, though, here is my current stat list:

Strength

20 (+4)

Speed

5

Agility

6 (+1)

Wisdom

5

Defense

12 (+1)

Charm

21

Viscosity

2

Deftness

16

Charisma

6 (+2)

Manners

18

Power

49 (+3)

Sturdiness

0

“Wow, you have a whole lot of strength and power!” Francis exclaims. “Did you min-max it?”

“I have no idea what you mean,” I say as usual.

“Um...” Francis tries to figure out how to explain it to someone as silly and dumb as me. “It’s like you decide to have the best stats in one extremely specific way, at the expense of having the worst stats ever. In your case, you have super high [Strength] and [Power,] but your [Speed] and [Sturdiness] are pretty bad. Even though you’re pretty fast, I always thought...”

“Ah, no,” I say. “We cannot choose our destinies, so our stats are random, based on some obfuscated stat growth systems deep within our souls. Those that have tried to figure out exactly how we are set to grow has died or gone mad in the process.”

“Geez,” Francis says.

“What the hell is [Viscosity,] even?” Delta asks.

Before I can explain, though, the train pulls up. It is a beautiful creature of a vehicle, long and inviting and I am very pleased to see it here.

We enter the train, find our assigned car, and set down our bags in the assigned area.

Today’s new Amtrak Adventure... begins!

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A note from Thedude3445

Japan Rail is far and away the best inter-city transportation I've been on, but Amtrak is legitimately super great besides the time delays. And guess why the delays are so common? Because Amtrak trains have to share rail with freight! American readers, know that our government tries to intentionally sabotage our public train system and has since the 70s, but know that in spite of that, it's still pretty cool anyway.


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About the author

Thedude3445

Bio: I like to watch movies.

Avatar art by Mikayla Buan https://twitter.com/mikayla_buan

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