There is something very important I forgot to do. It is something that is actually so important that I am practically kicking myself for not doing it.
Earlier, yesterday in the arcade, I used my [Skill Check] Destiny Card in order to check the variables around me and make sure that that old man was safe.
Of course, that old man, apparently named Old Man Jenkins, was not a threat at all it turned out, and died shortly after warning Delta and me in a way so cryptically I can hardly understand it. But if I hadn’t used that [Skill Check] card, I am convinced I would have escalated it into a duel. I highly doubt I could have earned a Destiny Point from defeating an opponent of that caliber of weakness. Even the Destiny Deck system is not that lenient.
Because of that card usage, I now have an empty slot in my hand! I have one more card I can draw, and of course because of my use of [Foresight] two days ago, I know exactly what it will be.
I’m so excited.
Now, one important question is this: which method shall I use to draw this Destiny Card? Shall I sacrifice five Destiny Points out of my current total of 52 DP? Or shall I sacrifice a randomized number of Life Points out of my current total of [12,324/15,000 LP?]
It is a tough question.
With over 12,000 LP at my disposal, I have plenty of Life Points to spare as long as enemies do not use guns against me or anything as deadly as that. However, it has become clear to me over the past few days that guns are actually quite common on Earth, or at least in this California place. Many people own them, much like any self-respecting woman or man or person would carry around a dagger for self-defense. Only, daggers can only cut and maim except with deadly precision and many strikes, while guns look to kill with a single well-aimed blow. Even a simpleton such as myself could likely kill someone with a gun.
That scares me a little bit, and makes me leery about sacrificing my Life Points quite as often as I otherwise would.
However, with 52 Destiny Points at hand, this also means I have a full TWO level-up opportunities. I cannot easily level up while in the midst of a battle, no, but as long as I survive to the end of one, I will easily be able to heal again.
Even with all that in mind... I am going to take the safe option for now: I will draw this Destiny Card with my Destiny Points, rather than risking a massive Life Points drain.
So here it goes. I open up the Destiny Deck, peer into its swirling vortex, and contribute five Destiny Points into its gaping maw.
[Total: 47 DP.]
And soon, I get my new card:
Clone: Rank 3. Make a clone for 5 minutes. Cost: 1000 LP.
Yes, there it is!
[Clone,] a brand-new card I have never used before in my life.
Of course... that 1000 LP cost is huge and ill-advisable in any circumstance that does not have extreme danger involved, but as the saying goes, with great power comes great risk. It is my responsibility to use this reward as best I can.
And I make a promise to myself, deep inside my heart, that I will only use [Clone] when there is an opportunity for a hilarious prank.
It is now written in the stone that is my very soul.
May The Goddess hear this and make sure I follow through.
Now my current Destiny Card hand looks like this:
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.
Clone: Rank 3. Make a clone for 5 minutes. Cost: 1000 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.
Even though I have this new card with great untapped potential, it is also clear to me that I am still lacking in cards with great combat potential, which has been a persistent problem plaguing me from the moment I was hit by the carriage on Mystix and was reborn here on Earth. While [Blinding Rush] will be mildly useful and perhaps extremely so if I am only facing one or two foes, it stands alone here. [Transmigrated Spirit] has a decent chance of being useful in combat, but the random chance element of it means that I still do not want to waste it unless necessary.
Still... Now that I have drawn [Clone,] the entire roster of cards I was able to see with the skill [Foresight] has finally been used up. I am now once again completely in the dark about what Destiny Cards I can get next... and that’s extremely exciting! I wonder what I’ll get next? I really hope it’s something ice-related.
Okay, so... Now, where were we?
Ah, yes, breakfast with my two best friends.
Changed out of our pajamas and each of us have taken a shower and groomed in the (somewhat cramped and confusing to operate) shower room, the three of us are ready for another day of adventuring in Paso Robles.
If... that is actually what we want to do.
From the looks on the faces of my two dear companions, I am not sure that is what we will end up doing, to be truthful.
All three of us are eating extra donut sticks along with coffee (which I am still not quite enthused by, due to its strange bitter strength in combination with being a hot drink that does not mix well in my mouth). It is the same small breakfast as yesterday, but instead of being in a nice train car, we are sitting on the unmade bed of our hotel room, since there are no tables or anything of that sort.
Of the three of us, Francis is the one who looks the most happy right now, for some reason. Whatever was his problem yesterday, he seems to have gotten past it at least in part. I am glad for that.
Delta notices, too, as she says, “Looking good today, Francis.”
“Thank you,” he replies. “I’m feeling pretty excited about today.”
“Of course,” he says. “We still have a whole day left here in Paso Robles to do whatever we want. I guess there’s still some local delicacies we can look for to have Eryk try, and maybe another nice piece of nature or something?”
“Oh, Francis, are you... sure about that?” I ask. “I was certain you weren’t going to want to stay here another day. This is actually quite surprising to me. What has changed?”
“What’s changed?” he asks. “Nothing at all. We’re on an adventure to help you get as many Destiny Points as you can possibly earn in as short a time as possible, and it’d be silly to waste that with... uh, another train trip.”
“You just don’t want to pay for an expensive hotel in the next city,” Delta says.
“Not true! Well, somewhat true, but I really think Paso Robles has a lot to offer. I... I feel like I cut our adventure short yesterday, and I’m really sorry about that. We’ll make up for it today, okay?”
“You cut nothing short,” I tell him. “Actually... We were looking to escape that situation ourselves, and we were very fortunate for you to have arrived when you did.”
“...Really? Uh, can I ask why that is?”
“Oh, probably something to do with the old guy who warned us to leave the city as quickly as possible and then died at our feet,” Delta says.
“Listen,” Delta tells Francis, “that Pablo Whatever guy is really shady. Like, besides his obsessive interest in this town. There is something else going on here, and we really don’t need to come in contact with him again.”
“I wonder...” I get up from the bed and walk out to the balcony, which overlooks the front parking lot and the bus stop.
...There he is. Standing in front of his car, waiting for us.
Pablo Rosas is there.
“We probably should not go out the front door,” I suggest.
“Wait, wait. We can still get out of this,” Francis says. “If we go out the back entrance and I get us an Uber or something to meet in exactly the right spot, he’ll never notice us. We can go wherever he want, and he’ll probably never find us because the place is too big.”
“That sounds reasonable,” Delta says. “But where the hell do you want to go?”
Francis and I look at each other, then at Delta. “Hot springs!” we shout in unison.
“Oh. I see.”
“Then we can do a little wine tasting, maybe,” Francis says.
“No way,” Delta and I say, also in unison.
“No Wine Country, please,” she says. “Trust me."
So our new plan is soon to be enacted. If we can get past Pablo Rosas, we will be in the clear to enjoy another great day on the most adventurous vacation known to man.
I merely hope that nothing goes terribly wrong. Because that would be quite unfortunate.