phaseCore

by

Aftefyn

Chapter 4: A Random Encounter

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Chapter 4: A Random Encounter

The roads have to eventually lead to something, right?

Trembling under the wind, I ran and ran and ran and ran. In my hand was a rock I found on the beach - it probably wouldn't help too much against whatever came after me, but I wasn't going to just die in someone's maw without shoving it in their face.

The slight red tint was still present even during the eclipse. I had no clue whether the morning was close or not, and I couldn't count on it.

If there was any advantage to being out in the open, it's that I could more or less anticipate anything willing to attack me from a fair distance, as my eyes adjusted. The forest wasn't any close when I noticed something moving in the darkness to my left.

I leaped to the side with all the force I could muster, barely avoiding what looked like a cat the size of a chair. Its yellow eyes glowed in the dark, and it emitted a deep purr.

The rock in my hand felt slippery with all the sweat. Running was not an option, the beast was likely faster than me.

Frankly, I didn't have many options. I had to play the leaping game with the cat, waiting for the opening.

The staring contest came to an end with the monster springing at me, aiming for my right side this time. Its paw scratched at my ribcage, leaving three deep cuts. I hissed.

The perspective of either dying by cat or by bleeding out freed me of cautiousness paralysis in a sense. I launched towards the cat myself and plunged the stone in its eye. Paying no attention to the screech the cat made or the mad swinging of its paws and seeing nothing but the shine of its one remaining eye, I plummeted the cats head over and over and over and over and over again until it finally stopped moving and then some more.

Breathing heavily, I stood up. A familiar hum filled my head.

Do monsters have Gimmicks too?

I let myself close my eyes for a second, fully aware I need to keep moving.

The red was brighter this time, and it filled all the space there was behind my eyelids:

Level UP!

I didn't feel any more powerful, to be sure. There were no attributes to distribute or skills to upgrade in sight, but I've noticed I don't feel as lightheaded as one might have expected after losing so much blood.

Opening my eyes and expecting my right side, I saw the wounds quickly sewing themselves together. Tracing the place where the wounds have been with a finger, I could barely feel any scars left.

I smelled a familiar scent of ammonia.

"What the fuck happened here," I heard a woman's voice behind my back.

I jumped and turned around, with a stone in hand, fully committed to blow the brains out of anyone daring to get too close.

"Holy shit. Did you really need to beat her head to a pulp?"

I wasn't going to fall for the same trick the third time and lower my guard, or what I pretended to be a guard. The armored silhouette I was able to make out in the dark had a sword tucked on her belt, the stone wasn't going to do shit.

"You don't seem to be hurt, but still, is everything alright?" she asked.

"Do I look alright? And who the fuck are you?"

"Captain Elle, Sreda City-State Protection Core. Earlier this night we got an intruder alert for the Weeping Shore and I was sent to investigate. In truth, you were supposed to be picked up by the evening equisol, but," she shrugged, "too many problems and not enough procs. Sorry for that. Intruder alert report was late, though, and someone's head is going off for that, we've been trying to come down on phaser hijacking for years."

"Any proof of any of that? And how the hell helping a clueless person not to become a monster's snack is not a priority?"

"The shore is safe even at night," she shrugged again, "something about water storing the leyflow, so the magic stays relatively strong without the sun. For proof, I guess I have a Sreda insignia on my armor, but that's easy to fake, and you wouldn't know it anyway. You'll have to believe me on that one."

To be fair, she was more forthcoming than either a thug or Lyn, and I wasn't really in position to argue on it too hard, especially since my choice was between believing her or wandering back to the shore hoping I don't meet yet another murdercat or worse.

Also, I kind of needed her help. The rock I crushed the head of the illusionist with was going to disappear in a day, and with it I will unroll too, once again in a capture.

"If it makes you feel better, I could've apprehended you if I wanted to in any case, so me being nice should give you a clue," she said, "and also, I brought some clothes."

"Better wait with that," I said.

"I'm sorry?"

"You said you were here to investigate the intruders. I can help you with that, in fact, I think only I can help you with that at the moment. Fancy a forest hike?"

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About the author

Aftefyn

Bio: I write things. I also read things.

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