“Eh… Well I wish could say that any of this makes any sense. This is the second time I’ve checked my stats only to find ridiculous numbers. Except now it’s not just the values but the stats themselves. What’s with the titles?” Daichi wondered as he looked at a different window yet again. The status window that had been such a constant in his life was now as ridiculous as anything else that happened in the last few hours.
“Why can’t I check them? Since when do I have an attribute and I have an inheritance? Does it even mean what it meant yesterday at all?” The more he looked the more questions popped into his mind. “Eh… Best to put it aside. I’ll ask the others their opinions and get some information out them. This situation might turn out very beneficial after all.” finally coming to a decision he stopped being so preoccupied with information he didn’t have any answers for.
Looking over at the rubble he could see a beautiful blonde walk past the collapsed ceiling wall while dusting herself off. She seemed familiar too. Right behind her was a guy grinning ridiculously wide.
He had round eyes and well a well-formed chin with a full beard and whiskers which were hiding his age. Making him seem older than he likely was and a head full of short red hair. All that combined to give him what should have been a fierce look. Instead his expression and hunched over shoulders made him seem rather jovial and easy going instead.
However as Daichi met his gaze and saw his brown eyes staring back at him as calm as the sea, he suddenly seemed like an entirely different person.
“I should be careful not to underestimate him, or the two girls.” Daichi vaguely thought after taking a look into Kaden’s eyes.
“You scared the living daylights out of me! Are you sure you’re okay??” Hannah involuntarily stepped closer to Kaden wanting to make sure he wasn’t just trying to act tough in front of Ava or Daichi. Her voice was filled with concern and despite all the tears she had already shed in these past few hours. She was clearly still adorable in her own way even now.
“Yeah I’m fine, I’m fine. Even my hp is at 100. So what should we do now?” Kaden asked while glancing at all three of them inadvertently allowing his gaze to linger on Ava just a second longer than the others.
“We… Can we talk about this somewhere first?” Hannah’s voice hesitated. Even though she was trying to focus on one thing at a time, she couldn’t help but acknowledge that all around her, were what used to be her friends in the ground and on the walls leaving her feeling eerie.
“Yes, let’s continue this in the hallway outside here. I just took a look and it’s… Cleaner.” Ava tossed her hair behind her back with her hand and led the way seemingly indifferently but clearly uncomfortable for the same reasons as Hannah.
“Let’s all go” Daichi followed last and when they all entered what could now barely pass as a hallway, but with no ceilings. He leaned against a wall and stared at everybody hoping someone would bring up their statuses so he could get a better idea at what is going on.
“So is no one going to talk? Dude, what happened to you? How come you’re okay and have you seen anyone else?” Kaden spoke up clearly noticing the awkward silence that was starting to settle between the four of them.
“I was alone. I was fine, I was walking towards the library and then nothing and then suddenly I was back here. Near the school. Everything was empty and all I could see what looked like a ancient city scape. Everything outside that I saw looks like the school. Everything looks destroyed and broken down, cracked and aged. Aside from the blood every so often… It all looks destroyed.” Daichi said each sentence stoically and without much emphasis on anything in particular not wanting to sour the mood for them.
“Any people…?” Kaden looked at Daichi optimistically.
“None that I could see.. but I just woke up a few minutes before I heard the red head and then I started running this way.” Daichi pointed towards Hannah.
“Fuck man. What the hell happened?” Kaden slammed his fist on the fall out of frustration, knitting his eyebrows and expressing the concern that had been welling up since all of this started.
“I don’t know. My status is different now. Did you see the announcement?” Daichi commented hoping for something useful.
“I saw the announcement. Then I passed out. Then when I woke up Kaden was on top of me and you know the rest” Ava started twirling a stand of hair with one of her fingers like a nervous habit betraying her look of indifference.
“Ours are different too. Except I don’t understand any of these new stats at all, and when I focus on them I don’t get any additional information, what’s going on?” Kaden calmed down enough to ask hoping that maybe Daichi has some answers on this front.
“Uhm… I think maybe.. If it’s the same for everyone else… Maybe the level requirement is higher? I mean before at level 1 you can see your status and focus on a general idea of what everything means. Maybe now that the stats are different and that announcement stated that things would be different. Maybe this is also one of those differences.” Hannah pointed out
“What… That, I mean that might make sense.” Daichi looked at her for the first time with a glance of actual interest causing Hannah to blush and look away
“What should we do now? Should we look for more survivors?” (Kaden)
“I think… I think we aren’t in a position to help anybody. Not only do we not have supplies to feed us or weapons to protect ourselves with, but we don’t even know what we’ll have to worry about.” After pausing to let these words sink in… Daichi decided to follow up with even more honesty.
In a solemn tone Daichi began to tell everyone his thoughts. “The reality is… Even if there is a few survivors… We don’t know whether they’ll be friendly or not. My dad once told me, that in the old days people used to kill other people, not out of anger or disagreement but simply to gain levels. Apparently similar to slaying monsters, if you kill someone else you gain a peace of their essence and that is how the levels increase and stats level up. Of course that last bit is only a theory of his and one he told me not to share with anybody, but I feel like the circumstances call for honesty on all our parts. Our attributes and stats have changed. If that’s the same for everyone then some people may have gotten skills or awakened an ability, we won’t know even whether we’re in danger now, but I suspect that with these changes it’s not just monsters or beasts that we’re going to have to worry about.”
Daichi looked at each one of them individually and tried to gauge their reactions, “The red head looks like she’s trying to hold back her fear but she’s still shivering. Kaden looks to be doing better, he’s looking contemplative and didn’t immediately say something idiotic. Ava looks… Calm. Strange. I can’t tell what she’s thinking, she’s not making a single expression that I can read. It’s unnerving.”
“I think, we should look around together not making any noise. We should get a food feel for our surroundings and see how they’ve changed. Once we make sure there isn’t any immediate danger, then we should start scavenging for supplies, we should look for anything useful that we can use as a weapon, bonus if we can find some actual weapons as well as enough food that we can carry. If while we’re doing this, we happen to come across a survivor… We can decide as a group what to do about them. Fair?”
Daichi was thinking “I can tell if I don’t pacify Hannah, Kaden will probably agree with her and this mishap group will fall apart right here. I’m so glad I bothered to read a few books on diplomacy in my free time. So much of what I thought was useless knowledge might end up proving otherwise at this rate. I can’t help but grin at that.”
Hannah looked at Daichi and calmed down a bit. “That’s reasonable. If something happened to any of them and it were my fault again, I don’t know if I can take it. Somehow that calm smile looks super reassuring, Daichi is so amazing for being able to keep it together like this!”
Ava looked around acknowledging how the situation was going to play out based on everyone’s reactions to these words. It was a sound plan. No need to disagree.
Kaden let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been keeping in for so long. “Is this relief? *sigh* Maybe this guy isn’t as shifty as I thought? He’s not wrong though… I hope Ava can agree to this, if she does, it’s definitely our best bet.”
“What are we going to do once we’ve gathered the things we need?” Ava asked.
“That depends on whether we find any danger around and whether there are any survivors or not…” Daichi said in a low tone as he pondered the options available.
“Either way… I think once we get what we need, we need to leave. We can’t stay in this city. I have a lot more mana now and even though I don’t know how to use it… Even I can sense how much mana is in the air… The mana in the world feels like it’s a thousand times stronger than before… I can almost feel it like a liquid if I try to focus on it and I don’t even have mage training… If all of you can feel it as well then this means we might have monsters to deal with. Mana creates the ability for monsters to spawn and if that starts happening, we’ll be in a lot of trouble” Daichi wasn’t even finished with his sentence before he realized how concerned everyone looked.
Based on that he immediately realized it wasn’t just him. Everyone could feel how thick the mana was in the air. Feeling a bit sour at realizing was is likely right he spout out the words “We need to hurry”.
“No! Dude, it’s dark out, even with the extra moonlight, which by the way, what the hell? We should go wandering around at this hour, even before this there were already lesser wolves in the forest around here. Considering what’s happened they might be drawn here, we should try to sleep here for now and move in the morning” Kaden pointed out, while making a face at Daichi
It took him a second to realize how out of it Hannah looked. “Ah…. They need time to process.. Plus he’s right, this might not be safe… Waiting might not be either, but I guess if this is what everyone wants” he thought, then spoke out “Yeah good idea. Let’s sleep it off and wait until day-break.”
They huddled around, luckily it is the middle of the Summer, with the weather not being an issue they can just sleep on the floor against the wall. Uncomfortable but the best of a bad situation.
So they tried to sleep, with no one really succeeding. Ava was pensive, Kaden uncomfortable, Hannah bereaved and Daichi on guard.