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A note from kosnik4

This is a full Aaliyah chapter. The beginning is the same as the beginning of Ch:22 but turns into its own story. If you skipped the Ch: 22.5 you should at least go back and read the new ending.

If you want to read chapter 24 and any other chapters I release before next Thursday, my patron only requires a donation of a $1. Every donation is appreciated.  

Why am I back here again? I thought I was over these goblin dreams. Stretching my arms out, I look around the familiar goblin infested clearing.


Maybe it’s because I just raised my stats, but the realization that this is all dream comes naturally. The nightmare that’s been plaguing me for over four years, loses all of its terror with the understanding that this is all in my head.


Meeting the eyes of the goblins, as they gaze back at me, I wonder how to proceed? Over the years this dream has reappeared less and less, with it only popping up once a month here and there. This usually goes one of two ways. I either go berserk and murder all the goblins or they swarm me till I die.


But this is a lucid dream, I don’t need to do the same things over and over again. Looking at the expressionless goblins, I smile. These are my younger self fears. Fathers taken me back into the woods, and I’ve had to kill more goblins from time to time. I’m no longer helpless or inexperienced. The blank faces actually look funny when I imagine their real-life counterparts.


This is a blessing; my mind is giving me a chance to overcome my fears once and for all. Taking a deep breath, I exhale my last remaining fears and insecurities. With every breath, my mind clears, and my breath pushes the goblins back into the surrounding woods.


As the last pair of eyes disappear into the distance, I take a seat on the forest floor, enjoying a new sense of peace. Without being attacked, I can look at all the small details around me. The woods surrounding me seem to release their constrictive hold on me. Where was once a wall of dark jungle, I can now see the woods I’m familiar with. I’m no longer sitting in a place of fear, the moons overhead drive away the darkness and light up the surroundings with a beautiful silver glow.


This is the best dream I’ve ever had. I wonder if I can manipulate reality here? Picking up a leaf, I try to imagine it made out of solid gold. When nothing happens, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. People say, if you’re in a lucid dream, you can control anything around you. But no matter what I imagine, nothing changes. I can’t make myself ten feet tall, I can’t cast a world altering spell, and I can’t even increase my bust size. I was just curious what they would feel like if they were slightly larger.


With no reason to stay, I think it’s time I wake up.



Time to wake up!



“Exit!”
“End simulation!”
“Wake up!”


When the shouting fails, I turn to the oldest method in the book, pinching myself. It hurts for a second, and I’m still left standing in the clearing, and now I have an angry red mark on my arm.


This dream isn’t fun anymore. I still feel safe and secure, so nothings coming out of the woods again. If I can’t leave, maybe there’s something I need to find? Looking up at the moons, the biggest calls to me, I decide to use it as a guide and follow it through the woods.


With the forest mirroring the one around our village, I use the skills father taught me, to proceed in a straight line. Step after step, I follow my guide in the night sky. The farther I walk, the thinner the trees become and the scenery becomes something new. Instead of a forest of trees, I’m looking across a barren landscape of grey rocks and hills.


Looking up, the moon is no longer partially covered by the canopy, giving the appearance that’s grown in the sky. It still calls to me, so I continue my journey.


I know this is still a dream, but it feels like I’ve been walking for days. Without the need for food, water, or rest, I easily march into the distance.


Weaving in and out of boulders, hiking up hills, and even crawling through small caves, I’m led deeper into the dream. It feels like I’m getting closer to something important.


Walking around a large boulder, a wave of accomplishment washes over me. In front of me is the most beautiful scene I’ve come across in either life. At the foot of a cliff, I marvel at the black sea sprawling out into the distance. I marvel at the stillness of the water, not one ripple marks the surface. The light of the moon and stars reflects across the water, giving the impression of a second sky below me. Looking into the dark beyond, I watch as the two moons almost touch each other in the distance.


Wait!


Why is one moon hovering over the water, while its mirror image emerges from the sea, taking position next to it?


As one, the twin moons ascend back up the sky, only stopping when they're right above me.


Their combined light washes over me, turning my surroundings bright silver. Before the light becomes unbearable, they erupt in silver flames. No, the flames are translucent, they just look silver from the light.


I fall to my knees, when the feeling of being watched overpowers me. I can’t look away, and to my horror the twin moons blink at me. They’re no longer moons, it’s a pair of eyes!


Whose eyes are those!?


I try to take a breath, but my lungs refuse to work. The overpowering feeling from my Sense Soul skill burns throughout my chest.


I can’t tear my eyes away!


I need to move!


Move Damn It!


The pain of running into a stone wall rips my consciousness back to reality. Looking around, I’m tangled in my blanket, lying on my bedrooms stone floor.


Pulling my legs up to my chest, I try to stop shivering. I beat one nightmare, only to have a worst one come and take its place.


Why can’t I ever just wake up like a normal person?


The early rays of light through my window tell me I slept through yesterday afternoon till at least the next day.


“Can this get any worse?” No sooner than uttering those cursed words I’m proven right.


“Aaliyah? Are you awake sweety? Are you feeling better?” Still laying on the floor, I can only roll over and look at mother staring down at me. Mothers look of worry changes to one of confusion. “Aaliyah, why are you on the floor?”


I’m about to explain my tier 5 skill, when I’m reminded of my earlier conversation with my parents. They warned me I should never tell anyone about tier 5 skills even if its them. Without a decent explanation, the worst lie I can think of tumbles out of my mouth.


“I fell out of bed and decide to try laying here for a bit…” Mothers eyes narrow like she’s trying to solve a mystery inside her head. I can only maintain eye contact for a few measly seconds before I’m forced to turn away. After our staring contest abruptly finishes, mother has a look of realization.
“Aaliyah stand up for me.” Her request confuses me. “Uh ok.” Why does she want me to stand up?


I try and force my body up, only to launch my whole body four feet into the air. I land on my knees and palms of my hands, as a look of horror crosses my face. “Did I just hop like a rabbit?”


“I knew it! Del told us you were trying to distribute your status points when you collapsed. You’re not used to your new body.” I’m happy she’s not suspecting another reason for me being on the floor but this is a whole other problem.


Before I can ask mother for help, she turns to leave my room. “I’ll be back to check on you in a hour, try not to break any of your furniture.”


“Mom!” I try to turn and address her before she leaves, only to tumble over my arms and roll across my floor. I can’t believe she left me here! I still have questions! What about Del? How long have I been out? What’s for dinner…?

 



“Mom! Can I come out of my room now!” I shout through my open door. I wait for the warden to finally come and release me from jail. Listening to the approaching footsteps, I watch as mother appears in my doorway for the eighth time today.


She analyzes my room before she bends down and picks up the cast iron pot that she served my dinner in. Picking out the metal spoon from within, she holds the metal utensil up to her eye and scrutinizes the utensil. It’s easy to see the wavy pattern in the handle that shouldn’t be there. I tried straightening it back out with my bare hands, but without my proper tools, the spoon will forever look like a bad piece of modern art.


“Aaliyah, if you can’t even eat without breaking a spoon, how can I let you out into the house?” I wonder if I will ever be able to pull off that perfect mom look, the one where you can’t even argue your side of the story.


“So, you’re keeping me trapped in here how long? I didn’t break the spoon, I only bent it.” I don’t know why, but my second status distributing is much harder to control. Even meditating all day and practicing some minor exercises, I still have flashes of uncontrollable strength. The worst part is my new Dexterity. My limbs move so much smoother, I often over shoot whatever I’m trying to do. Each step I took earlier this morning felt like I was constantly using my Double step skill, making me fall on my face multiple times.


“How about I let you out, when you can walk down the hallway without tripping.” Ugg that mom smile! I can only turn my head away and reluctantly agree with her. “Ok mom.”


“It’s almost bed time, sweety. You should crawl into bed and try again tomorrow.” Bending down she kisses my forehead. I make sure not to move, in case I accidentally hurt her.


Of course, she stays behind to make sure I get tucked in safely. Or maybe she just wanted to see my impression of a caterpillar. With her covering her mouth with her hands, trying to keep her laughter barely muffled, I’d bet on the second choice.


“Good night mom, love you.” I try to show my displeasure, but it only makes mother laugh harder. “See you tomorrow, Aaliyah.” As mother leaves to clean the kitchen, I’m left alone in my bed. Surprisingly I’m more tired than usual, despite all the extra sleep I got the night before.


My body wants me to try and sleep, but every time I close my eyes, the feeling from my dream reemerges. Every time I tried to meditate in my deeper state, I would be assaulted with the feeling of being watched, even if I wasn’t looking around my soul.


I didn’t know a tier 5 skill would be this much trouble. I wonder if all tier 5 skills affect people in negative ways?


What an annoying day.

 


 

Now I’m stuck watching the sun rise.


I woke up three times last night when I was forced to face those moon eyes again. Much like the goblin dream there are multiple things that can happen. First thing I noticed was no matter which direction I walk in; I always end up at the dark sea and experience the two eyes. The second thing that bothers me is the time compression. After I fell asleep the second time last night, I tried to just stay in the clearing till morning arrived.


It was hard to tell time when its perpetual night time in my dream, but it felt like I sat for months and nothing happened, time only seemed to flow as I walked towards the dark sea. It would be cool if I could train in a situation like that, like my own hyperbolic time chamber, but I couldn’t strain myself with any physical exercise, and though I could use my magic skills there seemed to be a barrier keeping me from gaining any insights.


After waking up the third time, I decided to just wait for morning to come.


Now that the sun is up, I can continue practicing with my new body with the added benefit of a horrible night’s rest. I try to start off slowly by inching my legs around so I’m sitting on the edge of my bed.


The only thing I’ve noticed about my dreams is that my new skill is leveling after I exit the dream world.


Status Page:
LV: 58 Experience: 229,571/ 353,634
Health: 2,000/2,000
Stamina: 1,248/1250
Mana: 782/1,000
Vitality: 200
Endurance: 75
Strength: 100
Dexterity: 100
Senses: 60
Mind: 60
Magic: 100
Clarity: 75
Status Points: 21
Skills: Sense Mana (LV76), Acting (LV30), Meditation (LV76), Expel mana (LV53), Charm (LV50), Running (LV66), Cleaning (LV50), Mathematics (LV30), Writing (LV32), Mana Manipulation (LV41), Wood Carving (LV19), Drawing (LV37), Axe Skills (LV50), Inject mana (LV40), Mining (LV37), Cooking (LV29), Sewing (LV24), Chanting (LV41), Blacksmithing (LV50), Hammer Skills (LV45), Measurement (LV36), Intimidating Shout (LV26), Spear Skills (LV2), Dagger Skills (LV31), Trading (LV26), Hammer Arts (LV34), Axe Arts (LV29), Dagger Arts (LV12), Double Step (LV39), Increase price (LV7), Lower Price (LV4), Double Strike (LV21), Precise Strike (LV18), Mana Skin (LV29), Sense Soul (LV3)


The skill has jumped up two levels since the nightmares. I wish I could be happy about its quick growth but so far, I’ve only been harmed by the skill. I’ll have to take some time after I regain control over my body and analyze the skill in greater depth.


Moving slowly, like I’m practicing Tai Chi, I stand and walk to the center of my room. Focusing on my limbs, I slowly increase my speed. Maybe I only needed to rest.


“Hey Aaliyah! Want to go with your old man into the forest!?” As my door is flung open, I launch myself across my room, slamming my back against the far wall. “You’re supposed to knock dad!”


“Sorry!” Father raises his hands to cover his eyes. “I’m not naked, dad. You scared me; I think I almost broke my wall.”


Lowering one of his hands, he peeks to make sure everything is ok. Realizing I’m decent, he walks over to me and hoists me onto my feet just like when I was a baby. “Your mother told me you were having trouble with your new status but I didn’t know it was this bad.”


With his strong arms on my shoulders holding me straight, he looks around my room. “This isn’t a good place for you to practice. I know a good spot, hold on.”


“What?!!!” I have little time to question father as he scoops me up in a princess carry. I’m about to fight back when I remember about my Strength stat. My body tenses up and I try not to move a muscle fearing I might hurt dad.


Carrying me to our front door, father sets me down on the bench, and places my shoes on. After my footwear is secure, he moves to don his own work boots as mother walks out of our hallway. “Darrius, what are you doing with Aaliyah?”


Looking up at mother, father grins and explains himself. “I’m taking her outside, so she can practice. She’s too afraid that she’ll hurt someone, so I’ll help her get over her fear.”


“Be safe!” Their eyes convey so much emotion between each other. With only a few smiles and reassuring words, they trust each other and support what the other is doing.


With our shoes on, father picks me back up and grabs his axe as we leave our home.


Once outside, father carefully sets me down. “We’re going to our training spot, hold my hand.” Staring at his outstretched hand, I’m nervous to accept it. “I’ll be fine, remember I have high physical stats too.”


Carefully, I take father's hand and brace myself so we can start walking towards our training area. Everything’s fine till we reach the forest behind our house. The forest floor is uneven and I over compensate. Tightening my grip, I manage to keep myself from falling over.


“Aaaaggg!” Father starts screaming, “My hand!”


“Sorry, sorry dad! I can’t let go!” I start panicking, but no matter what I try, I can’t separate our hands.


“Aaaaggggg!.......Hah-ha, haaaahhh- haaaaa.” I freeze as dad’s screams of pain turn into his deep laughter. Feeling him squeeze my hand back, it finally dawns on me that he was faking his injury.


“That’s not funny, Dad! I thought I hurt you!” Seeing my eyes start to tear up, father stops laughing.


“I’m sorry sweety. You needed to see that you aren’t going to hurt me, I’m still stronger than you.”


The rest of the trip was uneventful, and we spent the next few hours exercising together. Dad was right about needing his help. We practiced arm wrestling, swinging his axe, and even practiced giving hugs. He was able to tell me when I was using too much strength, and assured me everything would become easier over the next couple of days.

 



“What are your plans for the rest of the day Aaliyah?” Father and I are almost to the front of our house and I made the trek without tripping once. “I think I’m going to go for a run. I want to see how fast I can go with my boosted stats.”


“Are you going to run through the forest?” Father looks a little worried about my idea. “No, I’m going to run on the path to Drey. It’s mostly flat, and I can run my hardest without getting lost. What are you going to do dad? You spent your morning helping me.”


“It was worth it. I’ll go chop some firewood close to the village. Fall is starting and it’ll be snowing soon enough.” Hoisting his axe upon his shoulder, father starts walking back towards the woods. “Dad!” Running after him, I jump into his arms and give him a 100 Strength hug. “Thanks for helping me, I love you.”


“I love you too sweety. Be safe on your run.” Parting from dad, I run inside our house and grab the dagger Del made for me years ago.


Walking to the villages entrance, I look at the path through the trees leading to Drey. The ground is covered in grasses and small weeds, but after years of merchants traveling to our village, I only have to worry about pot holes made by the wandering wildlife.


I start by walking down the path. Slowly, I increase my speed to a light run, maybe 4 miles an hour. Even before I increased my stats; this pace was as easy as walking for me. Pushing harder, I increase my speed to 25mph; this was my max with my old status.


25mph was considered around the fastest top athletes could run back on earth. Usain bolt was clocked around 24mph in a race in 2009, and now I can match that speed with minimal effort. My stamina is barely decreasing, so I think it’s time to see what I can really do.


I stop holding myself back, and I instantly shoot off into the distance. The trees are whirling past me, as my Measurement skill and Mathematics skill help me calculate my new speed.


42, 45, 46, 47mph! I feel the strain of reaching my new top speed, but I can still go faster. “Double Step!”


I jump to 54mph and hold the pace for about a minute by using Double Step as soon as its cooldown finishes. I can feel my Stamina burning at an incredible rate, so I slow down to a nice 30mph. The runners high I’m experiencing can’t be described with words.


I was moving faster than a car in a city. Right now, I’m running faster than a bicycle. Each time I push with one of my legs, my stride hits nearly nine feet.


My max speed was the same as a horse at 55 mph. Del told me it was 714 miles to reach Drey. If I maintained this speed and stopped for the night, I could make it to Drey in a day and a half, say two days factoring in breaks.


I wonder how Sandra and Richard would react if I visited them in Drey?


I decide to run for another hour before I turn back towards the village. The wind on my face intensifies as I increase my pace to 40mph so I make it home quicker.


I make it back to the village as my Stamina dips below 200. I’m about to walk home, when I notice the path to Del’s place on my left. Mother told me Del stopped by twice yesterday and she informed him I was ok, but I should probably stop by and let him hear the good news from myself.


I have to restrain myself, as I walk towards Del’s clearing. Father and Del must be constantly controlling their strength. The image of Del appearing in front of me when he was mad, replays in my head. What is his strength and dexterity to allow him to almost teleport in front of me?


I hope he isn’t beating himself up over my accident two days ago.



Or maybe he’s sleeping like a baby on his bench like nothing happened at all! The lazy stone kin is still in the same position I last saw him in.


Maybe I can use this chance to further test my new strength. Walking up to master, I take a stance and try and push him off the bench. Right before my hands make contact, his hand facing me grips the stone bench and his opposite foot falls to the ground, bracing himself before the impact.


With my hands striking Del’s side, the force travels through Del and rebounds pushing me back. Landing on my butt, I stare angrily at the smiling face of master.


“You got some kick now. I’d say about a 100 in strength?” His smug face can read me like a book.


“Yeah, I decided to spread my points out, because I use most of my skills instead of just three like you and father.”


“It doesn’t matter. You’re already a great smith and increasing your stats will only add to your skill. Even without you dumping your points into Strength, you’re still a monster.”


Rolling my eyes, I get up off of the ground and dust myself off. “You know exactly what to say to make a lady feel special.”


“Hate to spoil your moment kid, but I’ll see you as a child till you hit 50 years old. Besides, only kids knock themselves out when they distribute status points.”


“For your information, I distributed 275 points. And it wasn’t my points that knocked me out, it was my new skill that caused me problems.”


Sitting up, Del looks thoughtful for a moment. “That will do it. Sometimes people need a boost in status to unlock a skill, and unlocking a skill while your body adjusts to your new status can cause problems.” I try not to frown at Del. “Yeah, problems.”


Noticing my pained face, Master Del tries to make me feel better. “Don’t worry about it kid, once you get a handle on the skill, you’ll be happy you got it."


That depends… can a skill can harm its user? With a serious expression I ask Del. “Master, can skills be harmful to their user?”


A grave expression crosses Del’s face. “There are skills that harm the user or even can kill someone unprepared. Generally, skills cost either stamina or magic and have different cooldown times. But sometimes a person will unlock a blood skill. A blood skill permanently reduces a stat for explosive effects. You didn’t get one of those did you?”


Master Dels gaze is intense, as he searches my expression before I can even answer. “No, my new skill doesn’t sacrifice any of my stats. I’ve just been having nightmares and losing sleep.”


Masters expression softens and he looks relived. “It’s probably a mental skill, they’re rarer and harder to control, but once you get the hang of it they can be the strongest skills you’ll ever learn.”


That’s a little helpful but unless I tell him the whole problem it could take me months to figure out my Sense Soul skill. I know it’s risky to tell people about tier 5 skills, but dad showed me today sometimes you need someone to hold your hand in difficult times. And more importantly, master Del could probably answer more of my questions about high tier skills than my parents ever could.


“What about tier 5 skills, do they ever hurt their owners?”


“It takes a lot more to use a …” Master Del stops his lesson and I’m afraid his eyes are going to pop out of his head. “You unlocked a … really?!?” now he’s speaking in horrible sentences again. Did I break him?


“Yes master, I unlocked…”


“Don’t say another word!” Wow he’s on his feet now. “You should know about never discussing something this important!” Master appears almost afraid of me.


“My parents told me about tier 5 skills, but I need help and I trust you.” It looks like master’s face is trying to decide whether it should be happy or angry at me.


Taking a deep breath, master settles on a subdued happy face. “You never know what can happen in life. I’ll do my best to keep your secret, but I don’t want you to hate me if something happens.”


I make sure he sees me rolling my eyes. “Yeah, so much happens in Spotted Creek Village, I’m sure we’re in danger of spies, assassins, and angry nobles. Can you please just help me make sense of my skill?!”


“Well when you put it that way. I’ll try my best but I only know rumors from Truset.” Del takes his usual seat again, but this time leans forward and has a look of concentration.


“When I distributed my status points, I was able to sense a bunch of translucent colors spreading through my body. When I focused on their origin, I found a small flame with a sphere inside. looking at the sphere felt like I was incredibly small, with a giant being staring down at me. When I woke up, I had the tier 5 skill Sense soul. Now every time I go to sleep or deeply meditate the same feeling returns and two giant eyes stare at me, forcing me awake. What do I do?”




…..
………..


“I got nothing.” After all that silence, Del’s answer makes me want to hit him. “What do you mean nothing!?” I shout back at him.


“I told you I only know rumors of tier 5 skills and anything related to the soul is guesswork. My people believe our souls contain our true selves and everything we are or will be is contained within. I can guess you felt like you were being watched because you were looking at the purest form of yourself. Feeling that exposed would scare anyone. If you don’t look at your soul again the feeling should fade, but subjecting yourself to it could also provide benefits. Again, I’m guessing. It doesn’t sound like your skill is harming you, I can only congratulate you.”


“Why congratulate me, I can’t even use the skill properly?”


“Many spend their lives trying to obtain a tier 5 skill. It may take work, but having that skill puts you in a select group of people. You should be very proud.”


“So, you think I just need to practice?


“Yes, go practice. If you need some extra time off, its fine. I can handle any requests over the next few days.” Master lays down again and closes his eyes again, maybe master suffers from insomnia too! That could explain why he’s always trying to sleep.


“I’ll probably take tomorrow off too master, but the day after I’ll be back. I got a great idea I want to try out with the fire iron. Thanks for the help, see you soon.”


Turning around, I head home, I can at least eat dinner at the table tonight.

 



We spent all of dinner discussing my funny moments when I was adapting to my new stats. Looking back over these last two days, it was pretty funny how I couldn’t move properly. Mother thought my first hop was the funniest, while father laughed his way through the entire retelling of his broken hand joke.


When everyone was laughing, I tried to convince mother and father that I could run to Drey to see Richard and Sandra. They did not like the idea. They insisted that I would be a distraction and that I would be keeping them from returning sooner. I think they were just nervous about me leaving the village, they must think I attract trouble or something.


With so much accomplished today, I only have one more thing to take care of. Once I’m lying in bed, I enter my meditative state and try to look at my soul again.


If Master Del was right, I only need to get used to looking at the most vulnerable part of myself. Maybe if I focus on the flames, I can build up a tolerance.


This time, without focusing my mana, I search for my soul. I remember where I first saw my soul, so I focus on the center of my being. Without my mana, the small flame is almost invisible. Maybe if don’t focus anymore closer I could level my skill.


Maybe with this tier 5 skill, I can level even quicker. I could become all powerful!


It all starts with this first step.


Watching the small flame flicker, everything goes black.


Sitting up, I’m back in the goblin clearing.


So, not an all-powerful skill.


Gods Damn it!

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A note from kosnik4

Hope you enjoyed the remake. In case anyone’s wondering, the status page is cleaned up next chapter.

As always, stay safe.


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kosnik4

Bio: Just love a good story.

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