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  To be fair, I always knew he was an idiot.  Well, it would be more accurate to say that I knew he was the kind of guy who was an idiot around girls.  Honestly, I found it kind of sweet in an awkward sort of way, which is part of the reason I have ended up here.

 

  Lying on the concrete looking up at the night sky, light pollution having washed away the stars, and rather dispassionately noticing that I was feeling cold as my blood pooled under me.

 

  My boyfriend - we had definitely been dating long enough for me to call him that - was holding a scruffy looking man at gunpoint while talking into his phone.  Well, that makes it sound like my boyfriend shot me or something, but I think I can be excused if I am not able to properly communicate at the moment.  I can’t even speak right now, and my thoughts are wandering and hard to focus.

  It had been a nice night.  A movie date was a bit of a cliche, but one you have to put up with if you date a guy who honestly owns and watched the christmas special.  Obviously, he was going to go see the new movies, that was just a given.

  Actually, having a mugger accoust us on our way back to his car was a cliche as well.  I was surprised that my boyfriend actually had the guts to attack a man with a gun.  I suppose that he was the kind of guy who really wanted to live up to the cliches.

  Reality, however, is never so kind.  As my boyfriend tackled the man and wrestled him for the gun and I went for my phone, all it took was an accidental - at least, I would like to think so, I doubt even most muggers want to be killers - shot and here I was.

  I could hear the sirens now.  My boyfriend’s face entered my view of the sky and I could see his mouth moving, but I couldn’t understand the words.  He looked so worried, I really felt bad about it.  Maybe I could force myself to speak a few words.

 

  “Daniel, if you blame yourself for this, I will fucking come back to haunt you.”

 

  Not the most elegant of last words, but it wasn’t like I was going to be around to regret it.  The world was already fading away…

 

***

 

  I hadn’t expected to wake up, but I found myself looking up at a white ceiling.  It still felt like I was on concrete.  Well, not actually, whatever I was on was as hard as concrete, but it was smooth where concrete was rough.  These thoughts went through my head as I got up on instinct and looked around to see a bare white room that was very definitely not a hospital room.

  Before I even had a moment to catch my bearings, a screen like box appeared in front of me, causing me to jump in fright!

 

  “[Welcome Cadence Lee, and congratulations on completing your first life!]”

 

  So this was…  The afterlife?  Admittedly, as an atheist, I had not expected an afterlife at all, but an empty room would make for a pretty crappy eternity.  Perhaps, I had gone to hell and this is my punishment.

  Or, more likely, this was a final fever dream as my brain was deprived of oxygen.  I would have thought my dying brain would have come up with something more fantastic, but on the other hand, it was dying.  I should cut it some slack, at least it had come up with more text for me to read.

 

  “[Congratulations, you have been chosen to become an Incarnator!  Please, step up to the podium and have your life be measured!]"

 

  Well, the room had been empty.  I suppose I can only blame my possibly dying mind for the inconsistency in my hallucinations.  Now there was a black marble podium near the far wall.

    I swung my legs down and got down from the marble slab I had been lying on.  Getting up and looking around, yeah a boring white room and a black podium.  I wasn’t really comfortable being naked, but at least I could look down and see my skin was smooth and not punctured by a bullet.

  Approaching the podium, I see that there is a handprint outlined in silver on the top.  Taking the que, I put my hand on top and the room brightened as more screens began to pop up.

 

  “[Calculating your Life Accomplishments…]

  You survived nineteen years!  For surviving nineteen years you have earned nineteen points!

  You took part in being professionally educated in new subjects!  For going through thirteen years of professional education, you have earned six points!

  You learned multiple languages!  For becoming fluent in two languages and conversant in one, you have earned three points!

  You were socially active!  For having a combined total of friends and acquaintances between one hundred and two hundred people, you have earned one point!

  Your point total is: Twenty six points!

  Your grade for this life is: F

  For obtaining a grade of F, you gain no bonuses.

  For obtaining a grade of F, you have received a Strike!

  If you obtain three Strikes, you will no longer be reincarnated!

  You have Beginner’s Protection; one Strike removed!

  Your Beginner’s Protection will last: three more lives”

 

  Well fuck you too!  I think my life was fine while I had it, and in fairness it was cut a little short.  I would have thought my self-esteem was good enough for me not to hallucinate my own failure, but I also can’t really imagine that something like this would actually be the afterlife.  Well, I suppose it is just as likely as any other afterlife I have heard about.

 

  “[Congratulations Incarnator!  You have earned multiple Achievements!]

  For dying for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “First Run” and earned five points!  You have unlocked the Incarnator Menu!

  For dying a violent death for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Bloody Restart” and earned two points!  You have unlocked the Defense tab in the Store!

  For dying a violent death despite an earnest attempt to save your life by a loved one for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Sacrifice in Vain” and earned five points!  You have unlocked the Relationship tab in the Store!”

 

  ...That is honestly unsettling.  We had never said that we loved each other.  We were friends before we dated, but I had no idea his feelings were that strong.  My own feelings for him?  I can’t say if I loved him, but even if it killed me, he had risked his life for mine.  That is at least worth considering it, but I don’t think I can do that right now…

 

  “For learning basic math for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “It Adds Up” and earned one point!  You have unlocked the Intelligence tab in the Store!

  For learning algebra for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Letters Can Be Numbers Too” and earned two points!

  For learning geometry for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “The World Is Made Of Shapes” and earned two points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning trigonometry for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “How Far Away Is That” and earned two points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning calculus for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Area Of A Curve” and earned three points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning a great deal of math, you have earned the Achievement “Polymath” and earned five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning a language for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Speak Up” and earned one point!  You have unlocked the Communications tab!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning more than two languages, you have earned the Achievement “Polyglot” and earned five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence and Communication tabs!

  For becoming professionally educated in the art of writing itself for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Literacy” and earned two points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For writing more than thirty essays for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Minor Essayist” and earned one point!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For writing more than twenty poems for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Minor Poet” and earned one point!  You have unlocked the Arts tab!

  For reading a book for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “First Book” and earned one point!  You have unlocked Additional options in the Intelligence tab!”

 

  Holy fuck this is a long list.  Are any of these things even worth mentioning?  Honestly, I barely passed calculus.  Saying I “learned” it might be a bit of an exaggeration, because without my notes or a search engine I might as well give up.  I suppose since this is my first life, I would get a lot of first time Achievements?  Makes sense, I guess, as much as this probable hallucination can anyway.

 

  “For reading ten books for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Minor Reader” and earned two points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence and Arts tabs!

  For reading fifty books for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Reader” and earned three points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence and Arts tab!

  For reading one hundred books for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Great Reader” and earned five points!

  For reading two hundred books for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Avid Reader” and earned five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence and Arts tabs!

  For reading five hundred books for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Bookworm” and earned ten points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence and Arts tabs!”

 

  Jesus, I get it!  I read a lot of books!

 

  “For owning at least fifty books for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Minor Librarian” and earned four points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence and Arts tabs!”

 

  I owned a lot more than that, do they not count because they are E-books?  What is with the discrimination!?

 

  “For learning the basics of biology for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Look It’s Alive” and earned five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning advanced concepts in biology for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “That Is Alive Too” and earned ten points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning the basics of physics for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Force” and earned five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning advanced concepts in physics for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Applied Force” and earned ten points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning about the basics of health science for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “How To Keep Breathing” and earned five points!  You have unlocked the Vitals tab!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning about the basics of chemistry for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Acid Burns” and earned five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning about the basics of environmental sciences for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Minor Environmentalist” and earned five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning about the basics of economic science for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Small Money” and earned five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For learning about the basics of governance for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Politics” and earned five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence and Communications tabs!

  For qualifying for and participating in a large athletic tournament for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Athlete” and earned two points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Vitals tab!”

 

  I suppose that last one was for track and field?  We only made it to the state level though, I wouldn’t exactly call that large.  How is…  Who or whatever is in charge of this deciding what is what?  What counts as the basics of biology versus advanced biological concepts?  I only took a single biology class and it wasn't even Advanced Placement, who is this…  System?  Comparing my life to?

 

  “For having an income in the top fifty percent of your planet, you have earned the Achievement “Earner Global” and earned five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For having an income in the top seventy five percent of your planet, you have earned the Achievement “Big Earner Global” and earned ten points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For having an income in the top ten percent of your planet, you have earned the Achievement “Massive Earner Global” and earned fifteen points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!

  For having an income in the top five percent of your planet, you have earned the Achievement “Elite Earner Global” and earned twenty five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Intelligence tab!”

 

  Oh…  Wow, that is sad.  I mean, sure, I went to work for my uncle’s company - which is how I had a job that gave me a yearly income a few thousand below thirty grand when I was still in college - but it is depressing that ninety five percent of the world’s population makes less than I do.

  With all the protests against the top one percent, I suppose it is easy to forget that I was very fortunate to be born where I was.  When you start looking at it globally, I lived in nearly extravagant wealth.  But I had only thought of myself as being a few years ahead of my classmates because of family connections.

  Thanks brain and/or god like entity controlling this hallucination or place, getting shot hadn’t ruined my night enough, reminding me of the depressing sinkhole that is income inequality really helped me finish grinding away any last vestige of happiness.

  “For having more than fifty friends and acquaintances for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Lesser Conversationalist” and earned two points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Communications tab!

  For having more than one hundred friends and acquaintances for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Conversationalist” and earned five points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Communications tab!

  For having a romantic relationship for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “First Romance” and earned one point!  You have unlocked additional options in the Communications tab!

  For performing oral sex for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Tongue Magic” and earned one point!  You have unlocked additional options in the Communications tab!”

 

  I- That isn’t- Well fuck you, you fucking peeping podium!  I am a goddamn adult and you aren’t my dad, and I wouldn’t have listened to him give me crap about this either!  The relationship wasn’t exactly love - from my side yet, at least - but it was going well enough and I didn’t feel bad about making that decision!

 

  “For dying as a virgin in a romantic relationship after performing a sexual act, you have earned the Achievement “Returned Unopened” and earned one point!  You have unlocked additional options in the Communications tab!”

 

  I am going to break this fucking podium to pieces…

 

  “For having many devices and machines that do not use magic, you have earned the Achievement “Technophile” and earned three points!  You have unlocked additional options in the Communications tab!

  For dying, without ever using magic or interacting with mana, for the first time, you have earned the Achievement “Manaless” and earned five points!  You have unlocked the Magic tab!

 

  “[Calculating Achievement total…]

  Your points earned from Achievements is: one hundred ninety seven points!

 

  Recalculating your Life Accomplishments…

  Your point total is: two hundred twenty three points!

  Your grade for this life is: D

  For obtaining a grade of D, you have earned a bonus fifty points!

 

  [Would you like to access the Incarnator Menu now?]”

 

  “I don’t know what the fuck is going on…  Sure, you bastard magic podium, show me this ‘Incarnator Menu.’”

 

 

 

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vladerag

Bio: Hello! I am Vladerag the author of several stories here on Royal Road! I hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading, and I hope you check out some of my stories!

You can find them here! https://royalroadl.com/profile/76129/fictions

And if you are interested in supporting me, you can do so here as well! https://www.patreon.com/vladerag

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