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No future without a past (Gamer fic)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Alien-Kun, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. Index: Chapter 1

    Alien-Kun I shall sing the song of my people. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Oct 9, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Hello all, Alien-Kun here. The first three chapters of this fic are already written, I'll be posting them every couple of days or so. After that, well... your guess is as good as mine.

    As my eyes blearily opened, I realized something was very wrong. A beeping sound came from my left, and I felt extremely weak. I tried to turn my neck to the sides, and found it almost impossible. Slowly, my head rolled to one side, aided more from gravity than my own strength.

    When my eyesight cleared up somewhat, I caught sight of cream-colored walls and a heart monitor. It looked rather haphazardly put together, but a heart monitor nonetheless.

    "Where is this? ...A hospital, maybe? But why am I here? Why do I feel so weak?"

    Somehow I wasn't panicking. At the time, I attributed it to whatever medicine had been injected in me while I was unconscious. While I tried moving my neck again to look at the other side, and failed at it, a ding similar to a small bell caught my attention.

    In front of my eyes, a small azure screen manifested itself.

    [Due to continuous strain, your STR increased by 1!]

    I blinked a few times, trying to clear my sight. The screen remained for a few seconds, before vanishing on its own.

    "What did that mean? STR? Where did that screen come from, for that matter?"

    Nothing appeared to answer my questions. Still, I could feel a small difference. I felt somewhat stronger, and this time I was able to turn my head around with some effort. On my other side, was a normal bedside table and a door at the end of the room.

    "Alright, maybe it isn't a hospital. I assume somebody put me here, though, so they'll have to come back at some point. Let's see what I have for now: I don't know how I got here, or much else for that matter, so I guess I have amnesia. And I feel very weak, so I've probably been out of it for a long while."

    I let out a sigh. "Just great," I muttered wearily. I couldn't muster the strength to speak aloud just yet, and my throat felt dry. I really wanted something to drink.

    [Through a detailed analysis of the situation, the skill 'Analyze' was created!]

    [Analyze: LV 1 (0%)
    -If you know yourself and your enemy, you shall win every battle.
    -User gains knowledge on the target. Can analyze targets of level equal or less than 10+User's LV+Skill's LV
    -5 MP cost
    -Passively increase INT and WIS by 0,5%]

    Just as I was done reading the last screen in confusion, I heard a door opening from my left. I directed my gaze towards the origin of the sound, finding a figure moving towards my bed. She looked young, maybe in her late teens or early twenties. Blonde hair peeked out of her hood, and she sported a rather curious ensemble: beyond the hood, she also wore khaki pants and a multicolored top that left her midriff exposed. One arm was covered with leather strips, and on the other she wore a heavy glove.

    She stepped closer, and set a bowl on the bedside table. As she was closer, she finally paid attention to my face. She recoiled a bit when she caught my gaze.

    "Oh! You're awake. Sorry, I didn't notice before. How are you feeling?"

    Well… she seemed nice enough.

    "Thirsty. And weak. Who are you?"

    She stared at me with those big violet eyes of hers. "I'm Sky. I can go get you something to drink, if you want."

    "That would be nice."

    She gave me a small smile, and left. Just before she left, a random thought passed through my brain.

    "Can I analyze her?"

    Just as the thought finished, a new screen appeared in front of me.

    [Name: Sky
    Title: Warbird trainer
    LV: 16
    HP: 110/110
    MP: 150/150 (dormant)

    STR: 11
    VIT: 13
    DEX: 15
    INT: 15
    WIS: 16
    LUK: 9

    Thoughts about you: You're a stranger, but decent enough.
    Emotions: Worry]

    The door closed, and I turned my attention to the previous screens. This time I wanted them to stay, and they did.

    "Let's see… I made a skill, I guess. And using it rose the percentage. I suppose if I use it enough it might do something?"

    I proceeded to use Analyze on the heart monitor and the plate. Moving my head back and forth gave me an extra point.

    [Due to your repeated struggles, your VIT increased by 1!]

    An idea popped up in my mind, and I used Analyze on the screen itself.

    [System notice
    Rank: ?
    -An automatic notice part of the Gamer system. Notifies the user of various things.
    -Notifies a stat increase: VIT]

    [Skill: Analyze leveled up!]

    Now the skill said that it was level 2, and the bonus to INT and WIS increased to 1%. Realizing the possibilities opened to me, I tried to Analyze those acronyms: VIT, INT, WIS.

    [One of the stats that make up the Gamer System.
    -VIT: Signifies the user's stamina, and increases HP regeneration. Total score visible on the Status screen.]

    [One of the stats that make up the Gamer System.
    -INT: Signifies the user's memory, learning speed, and increases maximum MP. Total score visible on the Status screen.]

    [One of the stats that make up the Gamer System.
    -WIS: Signifies the user's decision-making, and increases MP regeneration. Total score visible on the Status screen.]

    "It all points over to this 'status screen' thing… Maybe it responds to my thoughts like the analyze skill?"

    I tried to open some sort of screen, concentrating on its name. After a moment, it opened.

    [Name: ?
    Title: The Gamer
    LV: 6 (0%)
    HP: 10/10 (+1/min)
    MP: 130/130 (+12/min)

    STR: 2
    VIT: 2
    DEX: 1
    INT: 13 (+1%) [13]
    WIS: 12 (+1%) [12]
    LUK: 1

    Points: 0]

    I quickly proceeded to use Analyze on everything I didn't know. To sum up: my name was whatever I called myself, the title was related to my accomplishments, and could give me bonuses. My LV was an approximation of my capabilities, and would increase as I gained EXP. I wasn't sure how to get it, but I could deal with it when I got there. HP was related to my STR, and represented how much damage I could take before death. The +1 every minute was how many HP I could recover. MP was… my magical power?

    Well, considering the things that were happening to me, I could buy that. The +12, again, was my recovery rate. STR was my physical power, and governed how much HP I had. DEX was my reflexes and speed. Made sense for it to be 1.

    LUK was a weird one, since it governed, literally, my luck. How did that work? I had no idea, and the screens weren't helpful in that.

    At the very least, I got an extra level in Analyze for it.

    Oh, I almost forgot about the 'Points'. Apparently, I could spend them to increase my other 'stats'. I'd get them by leveling up.

    I still had so many questions that the 'system' couldn't or wouldn't answer. "Just who am I? How did I get this 'system' in the first place? How long have I been here? Where is here?"

    As those questions piled up, a new screen appeared in front of me.

    [New quest: Story of my life
    Objective 1: Find out your name
    Objective 2: Find out how long you've been unconscious and why
    Objective 3: Find out your location

    Reward: Some answers, 'Total Amnesia' flaw reduced, +100 EXP]

    It had been a few minutes since Sky had left, which was confusing considering it shouldn't have been too time-consuming to get a glass of water. When the door opened, I understood why she'd taken so long.

    Alongside Sky entered an older man. I couldn't tell his age, maybe in his sixties? The long white beard was confusing. He didn't seem to be in bad shape.

    [Name: Mimic
    Title: Relic hunter, Inventor
    LV: 17
    HP: 140/140
    MP: 180/180 (dormant)

    STR: 14
    VIT: 14
    DEX: 13
    INT: 18
    WIS: 19
    LUK: 7

    Thoughts about you: You're full of questions, and he wants to find some answers.
    Emotions: Curiosity, Worry]

    He was definitely dangerous… well, everything seemed dangerous to me at the moment. I could barely move.

    Sky kneeled next to me, presenting a glass of water. "Can you try to sit up?"

    Even though I still felt very weak, I tried nonetheless. I could barely lift my head, but it was enough for Sky to slip her free hand under my head and lift it up. I slowly drank the water, quenching my thirst.

    When I was done, I gave Sky a small smile. "Thanks," I said with a little more strength than before.

    In the meantime, Mimic had settled himself on a chair in front of my bed.

    "I'm sorry to bother you just after you woke up, young man, but I have some questions for you," he said.

    I nodded lightly. "Go ahead, it's fine."

    "Very well then," he brought his hands up, touching his fingertips together. "I suppose my first question would be 'what is your name'?"

    I pursed my lips. "I wish I could answer. Wasn't there anything on me when you found me?"

    Mimic snapped his fingers. "Right! There was something! I didn't go through it though, just put it away. It should be in that drawer."

    Since I wasn't capable of moving just yet, Sky opened the drawer for me. Inside, was a black wallet. After my 'go ahead', Sky opened it, and started pulling out everything inside. There wasn't much: some money, a picture, and two cards.

    One card didn't seem particularly useful, it looked like a credit card to me, so we put it back. The other one was a 'driver's license', as was written on it, and claimed my name was Trevor Karlson.

    "Well… my name's Trevor. Pleased to meet you both."

    Sky and Mimic gave an amused smile at that.

    "Pleased to make your acquaintance, young man! I am Mimic, relic hunter and inventor, at your service!" After a few chuckles, he returned to normalcy. "I see that you're having some memory issues. I'm sorry to hear that. You can stay here for the time being."

    I thanked Mimic for his hospitality, and he quietly left the room. Now alone with Sky, she wasted no time in force-feeding me the fish stew she'd brought with her in the first place.

    Between a spoon of stew and the other, I managed to ask a couple of questions. Apparently I was found at the edge of Scuttle Town a week ago, unconscious, and was brought to Mimic's workshop/home as he is the person with the most medical knowledge in town… that was a little concerning, to be honest. The town didn't have a hospital? Apparently not.

    After lunch was over, I chatted with Sky some more. About the town, herself, Mimic… whatever came up, really. Well, for the most part she spoke and I listened.

    Sky had to excuse herself after a while, as she had a job to get back to. The system made itself known again.

    [Quest complete: Story of my life

    Reward: +100 EXP, flaw reduction]

    [Flaw 'Total amnesia' reduced to 'Severe amnesia']

    Left alone, I didn't have much else to do. Having seen already that moving around would increase my stats, I tried sitting up time and time again. After more attempts than I care to admit, I had enough power to stay upright.

    "This will get annoying very fast. Why am I so weak? I understand that my stats are incredibly low, but there must be a reason for it!"

    [New quest: For honor
    Objective 1: Reach 25 STR
    Objective 2: Reach 25 VIT
    Objective 3: Reach 25 DEX
    Hidden objective: ?

    Reward: +250 EXP, removal of flaw 'Weakened'
    Hidden reward: +500 EXP]

    "Alright, I'll take it. That flaw was probably the reason for it."

    I still didn't have either the balance or the strength to stand up, so instead I kept doing sit-ups until I collapsed, and then did some more. By the time I grew sick of it I'd reached 5 STR, 4 VIT and 3 DEX.

    Moving around at that point was significantly easier, but I wasn't yet in the condition to walk. Thus, I was left without much else to do.

    "Maybe I can come up with some skills?" I pondered. From what I knew, my skills would be made thanks to actions, so I couldn't do very much. I did remember one thing that could be done without moving: meditation. "How was it supposed to work again? Clear my mind and concentrate on the rhythm of my breathing, right? Well, something like that. Might as well try."

    Slowly, my mind lost focus on the outside, and the only things remaining were me and my breathing. It was a relaxing experience, not worrying about anything. In my silence, I could hear a few cracks every now and then, similar to rocks shattering. They were extremely low, barely even audible, but they were present. It wasn't confusing, though: it was soothing. Like a voice, deep within, singing for me.

    I wasn't aware of how long I'd been unconscious, but when I opened my eyes again this had appeared:

    [Through the stillness of your mind, the skill 'Meditate' was created!]

    [Meditate leveled up! *8]

    [Meditate: LV 9 (71%)
    -The way to the truth is within.
    -Increases HP and MP regen by 45%
    -Passively increase WIS by 4,5%]

    "Wow," I muttered "I've been out of it for a while." I rested my hands under my head, and took a peek out of the window. "It's getting late, too. Might as well get a bit more exercise in before anyone arrives."

    With that, I took to doing sit-ups again. They were getting easier to do, but my muscles still gave out easily. From what I could tell, the system was also helping my recovery, as my muscles still didn't feel sore even after so much exercise. One more reason to appreciate it.

    The sound of steps reached the door, and I dropped back down on the bed. Mimic came in, a plate in his hands.

    "Dinnertime already?"

    "Yep. I'm assuming you slept the day away?"

    I shrugged. "Something like that."

    He shuckled a bit. "Yes, you do need to get back your strength, but not moving around isn't going to do you any favours. Do you want to try eating in your own this time?"

    With a nod, I sat up and picked up the plate. It was slow going, and my hands trembled way more than should've been normal by the time I was halfway done, but I managed. I also managed to get two DEX points for it, which made it all the more worth the effort.

    As I ate, Mimic and I engaged in some idle chatter.

    "So, you called yourself both an inventor and a relic hunter. What do those entail?"

    He perked up a tad hearing my interest. "Well, my life's mission is to explore the world, unearthing ancient secrets and to use those secrets to make everyone's lives easier through it! That is the spirit of a relic hunter!"

    "So…" I drawled, "you dig up these 'relics', and then come up with inventions to mimic them?"

    Mimic' s face stayed blank. "I don't know whether to laugh at the pun, or to be offended."

    I shrugged again. "Just laugh, my man. Life's too short to take issue with this stuff. Enjoy yourself."

    "I suppose." He sighed, covering his face with a hand. "I'm getting too old for this."

    "Say-" I chuckled "-say, Mimic. You don't think I could get something like a book up here? It gets kinda boring to do nothing, you know."

    The old man adopted a thinking pose. "Well, most of the books I have couldn't exactly be called a 'light read', but I don't see the harm in it."

    When he came back, he was clutching a tome heavy enough to kill someone with. In that moment, I realized that he had made a pun.

    "Heh. That one was funny. But I'm not admitting that ever."

    He placed the tome on the bedside table, and bid me a good night.

    I eyed the book carefully. First things first, I gave it an analysis.

    [Mimic's physics tome
    -(10+STR) Blunt damage
    -Written by the relic hunter and inventor Mimic, this tome details all his discoveries on physics gained through experimentation and study. It's heavy enough to kill someone.]

    "First, called it. Second, am I even capable of lifting this?"

    My arms quaked under the heft of the book, but I managed to lift it for a few seconds. Just enough to plop it into my lap… and get hurt.

    [-15 HP]

    I wheezed in pain for a few seconds, before it all seemingly returned to normal. Somehow, I wasn't in pain anymore. Did… did the system take care of that? That was amazing! Though I didn't want to try and get my HP to 0. Ever.

    [Throw withstanding a blunt-force attack, the skill 'Blunt resistance' was created!]

    [Blunt resistance: LV 1 (75%)
    -Face impassive, will unshaken.
    -Passively lowers blunt damage taken by 1%
    -Passively increases VIT by 0,5%]

    I blinked. Then I did it again.

    "That's a thing?! I could become invulnerable if it were to reach level 100! Well, invulnerable to blunt force. But there must be something similar for piercing and cutting damage, right?"

    Just then, I was starting to scratch the surface of the potential that the system had given me. I could become nigh-unkillable! But was that what I wanted?

    "Do I have any reason to actually get into fights? I mean, self-defense is all fine and dandy, but I'm not really planning to look for fights. What do I need the power for?"

    The more I tried to think about it, I realized that I had no real need for it. Nothing was threatening me, and I had no goal as of yet.

    [New quest: Give me a reason
    Objective: Find a reason to fight

    Reward: ?]

    "Why does it sound ominous? I have a bad feeling about this." I sighed lightly. "I suppose I'll do as the other quest said for now. After that… maybe I'll keep raising some skills? If anything, it'll give me something to do."

    For the time being, I tried to keep what happened in the last minute out of my mind. Instead, I focused on the tome in my lap. I had a candle, I had a book, it was time to study.

    [Through delving in the mechanics of the world, the skill 'Physics' was created!]

    [Physics: LV 1 (0%)
    -The world is a machine. Time to hijack it!
    -User's understanding of the discipline: 1%
    -Passively increases INT by 0,5%]

    [Physics leveled up! *14]

    [Due to your focused studying, your INT increased by 1! *4]

    [Analyze leveled up! *7]

    It had been a very fruitful night. Most often than not I needed to analyze the concepts I came across to have a more understandable explanation, but after I reached level 10 in physics, things started to make a lot more sense. There were still many things that I couldn't get, but it was great progress nonetheless!

    I hadn't even registered being tired, even after the sun rose again. At that point, though, I was sick of reading, so I put the tome away and tried to stand up. My first steps were shaky, but I got used to walking again in a minute or so.

    ...Well, my 'walking' would be better described as stumbling around, keeping a hand on the wall to stay steady. It did the job, though, and I found myself out of the room very soon. In front of me was another door, while on my left and right the corridor continued, finishing into a dead end with another door, and with a flight of stairs going down, respectively.

    As i had no idea what would be in the rooms, nor did I want to disturb my host that early in the morning, I took the stairs down. My careful stumbling brought me downstairs, into a new room that was about triple the size of the one I'd been in until then. Several small contraptions dotted the shelves of the room, with unfinished machinery lying around, and books and charts and papers thrown all over.

    I wasted no time in Analysing that disaster, finding Mimic the direct responsible for that. His lab, or workshop, most likely.

    On the far end of the room was a way outside, but I preferred for the moment to not leave and avoid giving the old man a heart attack. Instead, I directed myself to another room to the side. This one brought me into a small kitchen.

    "Alright, time for breakfast. I can't exactly remember how to cook, but it's probably one of that stuff that comes to you like riding a bike."

    "It's not like a bike! It's not like a goddamn bike!" I coughed out through the horrible smell of burnt batter. The whole process had been a complete failure, like none ever before: the pancakes were carbonized on the outside and raw on the inside, and the remaining batter itself was extremely sticky.

    I opened the window to air out the place, and shoved the burnt pancake as far down into the trash can as it would go. It must've done a good amount of noise, as Mimic came barreling down the stairs.

    "Wha- Wher- Who- Where's the fire?!" He yelled in a panic, just a second before he caught sight of me.

    "Er… hi?" I grinned nervously.

    He stared at me.

    I stared back.

    He groaned. "You're not allowed inside the kitchen unsupervised. Ever. For as long as you live here."

    I looked away, grimacing. "That's fair. I'm sorry."

    "Just- Just get out, please. If you're feeling up to it, go take a walk or something. I'll try to salvage this." As he said it, he physically forced me out.

    When the door closed behind me, I let out a sigh.

    "Just great. Second day of consciousness, and I mess it up. Good job, Trevor."

    Trying to keep the disaster out of my mind, I wandered the neighbourhood. On the way, I Analyzed every building, person, and bug I could notice. Might as well be productive.

    "Everything seems pretty… arabic? I think? It's not bad. The people seem nice enough, too."

    The light sea breeze coming from south added to the feel of the port town. Without much better to do, I wandered around until I found myself at the docks. There, I sat on the side of the boardwalk.

    My legs hung just above the water, with the occasional wave tickling my feet. I had no shoes on, but it didn't seem like anybody had cared. Or at least, they hadn't bothered mentioning it. The sun shone in the sky, a few clouds lazily passing by. It was a fantastic day.

    But if so, why was I feeling so empty?

    "I'm sure that just a simple mess-up like the one before shouldn't have dampened my mood so much. So what is this?... Maybe I'm just not used to relaxing. All my waking time until now has been one thing after the other, and the only time I could've considered relaxing was my meditation. Should I just try that again?"

    Seeing no harm in it, I retreated within the depths of my mind once more.

    A chair. Symbols scribbled everywhere. I'm on the chair. Cold. The symbols are moving. Why are they crawlingonmeGETTHEMOFFGETTHEMOFFITHURTSITHURTSITHURTSMAKEITSTOP!

    make it stop.

    too late.


    I jolted back to consciousness. Hunched back, heaving breath. Nails digging into the wood.

    "What… was… that?" I thought, taking all I had to not scream. "It was horrifying! Just who, or what did that? Was it a memory?"

    [Warning: Gamer's Mind had been temporarily bypassed. Breach corrected.]

    Just then, I felt my mind settle down. I was still worried and creeped out, but I could think straight again.

    "So I was right. Whatever this 'gamer's mind' is, it's definitely part of the system. And that is what has kept me from panicking until now." I shook my head. "That's not important. Let's see what else is here. Maybe it'll make some sense."

    [Meditate has leveled up!]

    [A trait has been partially recovered due to past experience: 'Soul tether (minor)']

    [Soul tether (minor)
    -A link between your innermost self and another being
    -The tether is connected to ?, who created it when ? after a ? of which you were the catalyst.
    -Allows ? to ? and ? you.]

    I glared at the last screen. Whatever was behind all those question marks would spell trouble for me, that much was certain. Questions upon questions piled on top of me, and I wasn't sure whether I wanted to know them.

    "...Nothing? No quest to find out what this is? Thank you. I really want to stay as far away from this as I can."

    I had been stuck glaring at the screen in deep thought for so long that I hadn't noticed someone had snuck up on me until they'd poked me.

    "Huh, wha?" I muttered intelligently as I jumped to the left.

    "What's got you so jumpy today?" Asked Sky with a snicker.

    I rolled my eyes. "Real funny, Sky. Totally appreciate it." I ran my hand through my hair, contemplating what to tell her. "It's just… I'm wondering whether it's worth it to remember about before or not."

    Her smile turned into a small frown, and she sat down next to me. "What makes you say that?"

    I grimaced. "Should I? Do I tell her? I mean, she took care of me. I'm pretty sure I could trust her. Wait, I know."

    It was quite the invasion of privacy, but I told myself it was for a good reason. I stole a glance at Sky, trying to ignore her worried eyes as I pulled up her screen again. My eyes quickly scrolled down the end of the screen.

    [Thoughts about you: you can be trusted. Not quite as a friend yet, but maybe soon.
    Emotions: worry, confusion]

    If she wanted to trust me, then it was only fair that I did the same in return. I told her everything I'd seen, as best as I could. Every single excruciating detail I could remember, I confided to her.

    I'd said my piece without really looking back at Sky, so I was very surprised when I felt her slap me upside the head. It actually hurt enough for my Blunt resistance to level up. I turned to her, confused.

    "That's incredibly stupid and irresponsible," she began, her frown deepening. "You yourself said that you have no idea what that actually was. It could very well be something that can come back to bite you sooner or later. It would be best to know what it was beforehand, so that you can prepare for it. And even if that wasn't a thing, you would seriously be fine with forgetting everything and everyone you'd ever known, just because of one memory?"

    After her little tirade, we both sat in silence for a minute.

    "You really don't hold your punches, do you?" I asked mirthlessly.


    "All that you said. It's true. But even then, I'm worried that it could be way bigger than me. Or that it could come back to 'bite me' exactly because I started digging!" I turned to Sky, staring at her straight in the eyes. "Can you really blame me for being afraid?"

    She sighed a bit, and shook her head. "No. I can't. But I can blame you for giving up before even starting." She then got up, and walked off.

    I watched her go, and when she was out of my sight I turned back to the sea.

    "Before even starting, huh?"

    ...maybe that was what did it for me. Or maybe I wasn't as scared as I thought I was. Nonetheless, I knew. I wanted to find out. I had to. And for that…

    "...I'll have to fight, won't I?"

    [Quest complete: Give me a reason

    Reward: System functions expanded]
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
    Rakan, Simonbob, wtungsten and 19 others like this.
  2. Manperor_32

    Manperor_32 I can and will eat you

    Jul 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Looking good so far keep it up. I haven’t seen a decent gamer fic in a while so good luck
  3. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

    Jan 10, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Throw = toss = propel and object by imparting force

    the word you want here is through
  4. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

    Jan 10, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Her reaction does not make sense. She is acting as if she knows what actually happened rather than what he said. What he said does not indicate he was meditating, or looking into some danger, or that it was not just some bad memory. She acts as if he told her exactly what happened instead of the words he actually said

    I mean, to a lesser extent it also makes little sense because he had no way of knowing that meditating will show him something scary. But that can be excused as her being insane. unlike the first issue which is her having information she shouldn't because the MC was super vague instead of actually telling her what happened
  5. Alien-Kun

    Alien-Kun I shall sing the song of my people. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Oct 9, 2020
    Likes Received:

    I have nothing to say, nope. I'm bound to make mistakes. Those were just two of many, I suppose. And again: the first 3 chapters are pre-written. I'm not going back to redo them.
    mrttao likes this.
  6. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

    Jan 10, 2015
    Likes Received:
    could probably just replace "I… I saw something. I think it was a bunch of memories, as fragmented as they were. Nothing very conclusive, but I think something bad happened before I arrived here. I don't think I want to know what it is."

    with "I told her what just happened". that way you do not have to repeat the whole story and yet still convey that MC did tell her what happened rather than the vague words he is currently using
  7. Jorin

    Jorin Mostly A Lurker

    Feb 22, 2017
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  8. Index: Chapter 2

    Alien-Kun I shall sing the song of my people. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Oct 9, 2020
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    [System functions expanded!
    -Added: affinity
    -Added: inventory
    -Added: BGM]

    [Playing: Scuttle town (Pirate's Curse) - Jake Kaufman]

    I blinked. The music was actually very funky! Just the right mix of oriental and techno.

    I had an inkling of an idea about what the inventory would be about, but the affinity was a mystery.

    "Let's try, I suppose? Affinity."

    -Fire: null
    -Air: null
    -Water: null
    -Earth: minimal
    -Light: null
    -Dark: null]

    I didn't understand much about the screen, so I had to pull out my trusty Analyze. Nothing came out of it. So, I tapped an entry at random.

    [Affinity upgrade quest: Water (1)
    Objective: Meditate for 5 hours surrounded by water]

    I wasn't entirely sure what it would do for me, but it was… something. I took note to try that at some point. For now, it was better that I returned. I wasn't sure how long it had been since I left, but it might've been an hour or so.

    I knocked before opening the door. Inside was Mimic, and he was talking to somebody. The first thing that stuck out about the person was the gigantic ponytail of purple hair. The second were the pointed ears, and lastly the revealing outfit.

    To be fair, I had no reason to be judging her clothes, considering that I had no other clothes than the ones on me. Moving on, I had the sudden impulse to Analyze her like everyone and everything new I'd seen until then.

    [Name: Shantae
    Title: Half-genie hero
    LV: 16
    HP: 150/150
    MP: 130/130

    STR: 12
    VIT: 15
    DEX: 18
    INT: 13
    WIS: 12
    LUK: 10

    Thoughts about you: You exist.
    Emotions: Surprise]

    "What's a genie?" Was my first thought.

    "Are they all so cute?" Was the second.

    When I saw Shantae's face heat up, I had a third thought.

    "Did I say that out loud?"

    Both her and Mimic nodded. She hid her face with her hands, while Mimic had an amused grin.

    "Now now, I'm sure you're a respectable young man, Trevor, but you might want to wait a bit before flirting with my niece," commented Mimic with barely-hidden mirth.

    If possible, Shantae's face became even more red. "You- I- UNCLE!" She screeched.

    Seeing her lose her cool like that was too funny to keep a straight face at, and both Mimic and I guffawed loudly.

    I was the first to return to a relatively normal state. "Er, sorry. Didn't mean to embarrass you like that, it just slipped out."

    Shantae took a deep breath, trying to calm herself down as well. Beyond a light blush still there, she looked alright. "It's fine. That's one way to introduce yourself, I guess."

    "Right… anyway-" I offered my hand "-I'm Trevor. Some poor sod that your uncle took pity on."

    "Well, I'm Shantae." She grinned. "Scuttle Town's guardian genie! ...well, ex-genie," she finished with a grimace. "Long story."

    My brow furrowed a bit. "You're telling me that you were a genie, and now aren't anymore? That… doesn't make much sense to me. Then again, it could make perfect sense and I'm just ignorant. I'm not really clear on what a genie is in the first place."


    "Oh!" Mimic piped up. "That's what I forgot to mention! Trevor here-" he slid over to me "-is suffering from amnesia. It's surprising that he forgot what genies are, but it's not uncommon for amnesiacs to forget some pieces of common knowledge."

    My opinion of Mimic rose from an eight to a nine just then. He'd just given me a fantastic alibi for any dumb faux pas I'd end up in… for a while, at least.

    "Oh, I see… sorry about that. I didn't know." She seemed actually remorseful, probably thinking I took offense to her reaction.

    I waved away her worries. "Ah, it's fine. I'm still working on it."

    "Anyways!" Interrupted Mimic "I remember you telling me that you had some work to do, didn't you Shantae?"

    Immediately, her eyes grew to the size of saucers. "You're right! I need to run!" She rushed out, apologizing for not being able to stay any longer.

    As soon as the door closed, Mimic turned to me, his visage turned into a stony mask.

    "We need to talk."

    [Playing: Apropos - Mittsies]

    I quietly took a seat at the table, and he sat across from me.

    "Sooo… is this about this morning?"

    "No. It's about now. Specifically, how you knew that Shantae was part genie, even though I know I didn't tell you, and that you yourself claimed to not know what they are."

    I smacked my lips lightly. "Should've seen that one coming." With a sigh, I tried to parse my Analyze skill in a way that wouldn't make me seem insane.

    "Well… ever since I woke up, I've had a voice of sorts feeding me information about people and things around me. It's not very detailed, but it's there. I can turn it on and off at will, but I can't decide what it tells me."

    I saw Mimic's eyes narrowing behind his thick glasses. "And do tell, what does this 'voice' tell you?"

    "For a person, it tells me their name, a very short description about them -a few words at most-, if they're hurt, if they can be a threat to me, and…" I hesitated, debating whether to tell him the last two bits or not.

    "And?" He pressed.

    I chose to tell it only partially. "And whether I can trust them or not."

    "Is that so? That's a very useful ability, all things considered. About this 'description', can you give me an example?"

    I scratched my neck a bit. "Well, it's less of a description and more of a title. I only have three actual examples here: Sky is called a 'warbird trainer', for you it says both 'relic hunter' and 'inventor', while Shantae… 'half-genie hero'."

    Mimic's glare lessened somewhat during my explanation. "I see." He crossed his hands. "They're nothing that a person somewhat familiar with us wouldn't know. It doesn't seem dangerous, but I'd ask that you keep your findings to yourself when you use that ability… er, do you have a name for it?"

    His reaction made me recoil a bit. "Wait, you're not mad? Also, 'when'? Not 'if'?"

    He shook his head. "I'm trying to be impartial here. From what you told me, this power doesn't seem to be malicious. At most, what it tells you is what you could find out if you were to speak to somebody for a few minutes. Thus, I see no real reason to be angry. Sure, you may have hidden a couple of details, but everything you told me is true from what I can tell."

    My face must've been quite the spectacle, as I was certain my eyes bugged out at his casual display of insight. "But- wha- I… You know what? I'll take it."

    "Glad to hear that. I’ve been raising Shantae since she was a kid, do you really think I wouldn't know how to spot lies?"

    "Right…" I said with a nervous smile. "Say, how about we move on from this discussion?"

    And so we did. After I ate my share of the pancakes, which had unfortunately gone cold by then, Mimic tried to make me tell him if I had any more weird abilities. While I admitted to having some more, I refrained from telling him any details, stating that I wanted to "figure them out myself" before sharing.

    He accepted it, though made it clear that he expected me to share at some point.

    Now, was it smart of me to tell him? Maybe not. But then again, it would've probably been worse if I had kept quiet. I considered it a decent outcome, all in all. I had to make sure that I'd be more discreet in the future.

    [Due to your repeated struggles, your VIT increased by 1!]

    I was panting, dead tired, but inside I smiled. I'd finally hit 10 in all physical stats!

    After the discussion with Mimic, I decided to try and train myself a bit. He wasn't really on board with it, but we agreed to keep it light. A bit of jogging, followed by some meditation to help me recover, went a long way.

    I sat down on a nearby stone, admiring the beach I'd been running through. Sure, I hadn't gone very far, but I felt happy that I was able to get that much done.

    Meditate had gained three levels from constant use, and I'd actually tripped a few times, gaining a couple of levels in Blunt resistance. Not much, but it was appreciated.

    Mimic had stayed to observe me for a while, but had left sometime after the first hour. Not really responsible maybe, but it showed that he trusted me enough to let me do my own thing. That, or he was busy.

    Now, while my stats were around the average range from what I'd seen, I felt still weak. It was probably because of the flaw I was afflicted with, but I still hated the feeling. I could easily be folded in two if anyone felt like it, and that on its own drove me up the wall!

    I needed to concentrate on something, anything else. I then remembered the quest I'd gained from the Affinity screen.

    Seeing as there was only me on the beach, I proceeded to take off my clothes, except for my underwear, and head into the water. I sat down facing the sea, legs crossed and waves lapping at my chest.

    With a breath, I began meditating.

    Shantae gave a weary sigh as she approached the lighthouse, which was coincidentally also her house. Mayor Scuttlebutt had been working her to the bone lately. She still didn't know why he felt the need to have her buy chocolate for him. But still she did, since she didn't want to get fired once again.

    Stuck as she was in her thoughts, she almost didn't notice the familiar figure down on the beach. Considering that she didn't know that many people with curly black hair and unhealthily pale skin, she recognized the man sitting in the water as Trevor.

    Wondering why exactly he was sitting in the water, naked to boot, she approached him. He either didn't notice her or just ignored her, as he didn't turn around.

    Now that she was a bit closer, she could pick up on a few more details: he was holding his back very straight, and was breathing regularly. Could it be some sort of calming exercise for him?

    It made sense, at least to her. He was amnesiac, and definitely not native of Scuttle Town, so he had all the reasons to be stressed. Though, she did wonder why he was doing it in the water. Maybe he just liked it that way.

    After she'd sat there for a few minutes watching, Shantae got a bit impatient. Instead of waiting for him to take notice of her, she took off her shoes, pulled her pants up and stepped in the water.

    "Trevor?" She asked. "Hello? Are you there?"

    When he didn't answer, she started shaking him. That got him to attention.

    "Whoa, what, whose… Oh. Hi, Shantae."

    "Hello to you too. Mind if I ask you what you're doing?"

    He shook his head. "Not at all. I'm meditating."

    "Ok… why?"

    "It's nice. Not much more to it."

    "I see…" she fidgeted. "You see, I was wondering because it actually looked pretty relaxing, and-"

    "Want me to show you how?" He interrupted.

    Shantae deflated a bit. "Yes, please. Normally I'd relax by dancing, but I really don't have the energy for it right now."

    He chuckled a bit. "Yeah, sure. Let's just get a bit closer to the land, though. I doubt you're up for submerged meditation."

    After they got situated, her cross-legged on the sand, and he cross-legged in the water, he started to explain.

    "Alright, so. I'm no expert, just to make this clear right now. I'll just tell you how I do it." Seeing Shantae nod, he continued. "Well then. First things first, you need to be comfortable. You don't need to take that pose every time."

    Shantae shifted a bit.

    "Ok. Now, you need to close your eyes and take deep, controlled breaths. Concentrate on the rhythm of your breathing, and nothing else. Let it lull you into a sense of peace." He kept speaking, his voice getting lower. "Don't be worried about staying fully conscious. There is only you, and nothing else."

    When he saw Shantae follow his instructions, he slowly retreated until he was back in deeper water, and continued meditating.

    By the time I came out of my meditation, I saw Shantae had already left. Probably off to do 'guardian genie' stuff.

    On one hand, I had about two hours left before the quest would be considered complete - it had a counter - but it was getting close to noon.

    "Eeeh… I don't feel like getting into the water again… might as well get it over with…"

    Back to meditation I went.


    Mimic believed himself a patient man.

    He'd raised Shantae single-handedly, he was used to having his patience tested.

    And yet.

    "Where is that guy? Did he get lost? Or does he just not care?" He growled to himself, exasperated. "Ah, whatever! He will be back at some point."

    Instead of waiting more, he just enjoyed his lunch in peace.

    Stupid amnesiac kid.

    [Meditate leveled up!]

    [Affinity upgrade quest complete: Water (1)
    -Reward: Water affinity increases by one rank]

    -Fire: null
    -Air: null
    -Water: minimal
    -Earth: minimal
    -Light: null
    -Dark: null]

    "Well, that did… something? I don't feel any different." Saying that I was unimpressed would be superfluous. "Is it possible that this dumb game doesn't have a help section?"

    A screen appeared.

    [Ask your question: _ ]

    I could see my knuckles turning white from the pressure in my fists.

    "Is this funny? Do you find this funny, weird inhuman being who's doing this to me?!"

    The screen, of course, didn't answer.

    After a deep breath, I muttered out my question. "What are affinities used for?"

    [Affinity: the attunement one's soul possesses towards a certain element. Infusing mana with affinity allows one to influence a certain element. For example, using water affinity one may manipulate water. Affinities can be temporarily combined, though that is an advanced technique.]

    "How do I use mana?"

    [Mana: The life-force of most living beings. Most are not able to harness it, but through some types of exercise one may get in touch with it. A classical method would be meditation.

    Note: skill 'Mana control' is gained at 'Meditate' level 20]

    I fell back, letting my top half float above the water. "Whoa, that was actually useful. Can't believe I didn't try that earlier… Well! All the more reason for me to keep meditating later!"

    I jumped up, and walked back onto the beach. As I was dripping, I couldn't put on my clothes. Instead, I placed them in my inventory and started jogging along the beach, waiting to dry myself.

    After returning, and getting chewed out by Mimic for staying out for so long, I returned to 'my' room. There, I was faced with a choice: continue my stat training, meditate so I could try to learn magic, or keep studying physics. The last point might've been weird, but I actually liked physics.

    I needed a schedule.

    "Ok… how about this: in the morning I train physically, in the afternoon I study, and in the night I meditate/study magic? Well, maybe not magic. I might cause noises. Magic in the afternoons, alternated with studying."

    With my course settled, I braced for an intense study session.

    [Physics leveled up! *3]

    [Due to your focused studying, your INT increased by 1!]

    A knock on my door interrupted me.

    The door opened, and Sky hesitantly let herself in.


    I arched my brow at her. "Can I help you?"

    "I…" She took a deep breath. "I wanted to talk to you about this morning."

    I wordlessly slid to the side, so that she may sit next to me on the bed. Once she did, she started again.

    "Look, the things I said this morning weren't the best I could have." She gave me a sideways glance. "I'm not taking them back, but… I'm sorry. I went too far with that, and I should've worded it better. I shouldn't have hit you, I shouldn't have yelled… you get my point. I exaggerated."

    I snorted. "That so? Well then, let me say my own piece." I sat up a bit straighter. "Your words, while harsh, were exactly what I needed. I was too stuck in my own mind, in my 'what-ifs', and that hit? It helped me get out of my idiocy. I'm not really a fan of that treatment, but it was exactly what I needed, so thank you Sky. Thank you for exaggerating."

    We both stared into each other's eyes for a while, as if magnetized by each other.

    She cracked first.

    "Pfft- that was so corny!"

    "Oh, like yours wasn't! 'The things I said weren't the best I could have'! Did you repeat that to your mirror or something?"

    "Yes," she said in a dignified, snooty tone. "I did. You should be flattered to have me spend my time practicing to apologize to the likes of you, plebian!" She finished by tilting her head up, eyes closed and arms crossed.

    I got quickly off the bed, and kneeled down. "Thou hast mine deepest apologies, o queen! However shalt thou punish thy humble servant?"

    "Thou shalt aid thy queen during her royal grocery run. That is thy sentence, effective immediately!"

    We held position for all of three seconds, before cracking up like hyenas.

    Once I was able to breathe again I straightened up, wiping a few tears off of my face. "Hoo boy, that was great. I should goof off more, this was the most fun I can remember!"

    Sky tried to recover her breath, still sitting on the bed. "Heh, yeah. It was pretty fun… Wait." She looked up at me. "Did you just-"

    "Pun? Yes. That's something I do."

    Sky groaned, though she was still chucking a bit. "You and Shantae will get along just fine, I can already tell."

    "Eh, we've been civil to each other at the very least. Now, weren't there some groceries to buy?"

    Immediately, Sky shot up to her feet. "Right! I almost forgot. Come on, let's go."

    I followed her, ready to 'serve my sentence'.

    I wasn't sure how I ended up saddled with carrying the bags, though I wasn't exactly complaining: it was a decent STR and VIT training. I still needed to find a way to reliably train DEX: most of the increases from it were seemingly random. LUK was something I needed to do something about too. Couldn't keep it at 1 forever-

    "Hey Trevor, could you stop spacing out so often?"

    -right. Dragging bags, I almost forgot.

    "Until now all I've done is be your pack mule. Let me find some respite in the recesses of my mind, please."

    "Hehe, nope!" She said with a smug grin. "This is your punishment, forgot? I need you to be aware through it all!"

    I groaned, but said nothing else and dutifully trudged along. At least she was aware of my current state, and made sure I wouldn't get too tired. Maybe she was trying to help me get stronger?

    Well, boredom-fueled thoughts aside, I was a bit glad that I was brought along, mainly because of a chance encounter that happened just as we were almost done.

    "Alright, now we just need to pick up some bird seeds and we can-"

    "Hey, Sky!"

    We both turned towards the new voice. It was a dude, seemingly the same age as Sky. Looked just a tad shorter than I, with a blue mop of hair held by a bandanna. He looked rather bony, too. In all honesty, it looked like he needed to train more than I did.

    [Name: Bolo
    Title: Knuckleheaded wannabe hero
    LV: 12
    HP: 140/140
    MP: 100/100 (dormant)

    STR: 14
    VIT: 15
    DEX: 12
    INT: 10
    WIS: 6
    LUK: 3

    Thoughts about you: Barely aware of your existence.
    Emotions: Elation, Excitement]

    "Oh, hi Bolo. What's up?"

    "Sky, remember that move I've been working on for a while now? The 'Pike ball vortex'? I managed to perfect it!" He gushed, evidently proud of his work.

    "...Congrats. I'm actually surprised that it was even physically possible," Sky answered in a blank tone.

    Bolo didn't seem to notice, as he kept rambling. "Just you wait, with this new move in my arsenal Shantae will have to admit that I'm fit for being a hero! She'll finally let me accompany her on an adventure, too! I'm sure of it!"

    "I'm happy for you, Bolo."

    She didn't sound like it. Sounded bored, more than anything.

    "Well, I'm off now! I need to show off my new move! Bye!"

    And he left. Didn't even acknowledge that I was right next to him. So rude.

    Sky must've been thinking the same thing, as she turned to me. "Well, now you've met Bolo. He's got a one-track mind, but he's a good friend, I promise."

    I shrugged as well as I could with all the bags in my hands. "No big deal. I can appreciate his drive, if anything."

    As we started walking again, I had a question.

    "Say… from what I understood, this Bolo fella wants to work with Shantae? Is there a story behind that?"

    Sky sighed a bit. "It's a bit of a long story, but I'll try to keep it short. Bolo, Shantae and I have been friends since we were children. Once Shantae started working as our guardian genie she's had several run-ins with a certain pirate, who keeps trying to conquer Sequin Land. Bolo always wanted to be a hero, and seeing Shantae do what he couldn't made him a bit jealous.

    "Shantae's last adventure ended with her losing her magic, so now she's had to learn how to fight as a human. Somehow, Bolo convinced himself that if he were to show Shantae how strong he is, she'd let him accompany her on her adventures."

    I blinked. "That was way more backstory than I'd expected. Well, I’m not going to say no to it."

    No more words were exchanged, though I had come up with an idea: if Bolo had been training, that meant he could fight. Hopefully I could get him to show me the basics, enough to get a combat skill that I could then work on at my leisure.

    By the time we were done and I'd been proclaimed a free man again, the sky had started to darken.

    I opted to jog until I'd reached Mimic's workshop, and let myself inside. There, Mimic was working on one of his contraptions. He didn't pay me much mind, just a half-hearted 'hello' as he returned to work.

    Preferring to not bother him, I went to my room and sat cross-legged on my bed. I promised myself that I'd reach Meditate level 20 within tomorrow, no matter what.

    [Meditate leveled up! *4]

    [Through a deep connection to the inner self, the skill 'Mana control' was created!]

    [Mana control: LV 1 (0%)
    -The first step towards mastery of magic.
    -User's control over their mana: 1%
    -User's magic damage increases by 0,5%]

    I finally did it! A few hours before sunrise, I'd gained that fantastic skill! Sure, it wasn't much at the moment, but it would be fantastic later on.

    For the moment, I allowed myself to try that new skill. Mana, the energy deep within me, was a strange feeling. It flowed like water, yet when I tried to make it move it sprung back like rubber. Maybe it was due to my low control. I kept going, trying my best to pull out the mana inside me.

    It was very slow going at first, but after several hours of work I'd hit a point where I could comfortably move the mana inside me. Which was good, considering that it was finally morning.

    I'd fallen into a calm routine for the following few days: go downstairs, have breakfast, head to the beach to train my stats, return, have lunch, help out Mimic around his workshop a bit, either study physics or practice magic, and meditate the night away.

    I had several more flashbacks during my meditation, but never were they connected to that first one. It was a bit frustrating, to be honest.

    There were several instances where Shantae had come down to the beach to meditate alongside me, or when Sky had barged into my room to drag me around Scuttle town and socialize a bit. I'd even met Bolo a few more times, but we didn't talk much.

    That idyllic period came to a crash just as one morning the sound of gunshots echoed around Scuttle town. Though, to get there we need to go a bit earlier.

    [Due to your repeated struggles, your VIT increased by 1!]

    [Quest complete: For honor
    Hidden objective complete! (Reach 25 in any other stat)

    Reward: +250 EXP, removal of flaw 'Weakened'
    Hidden reward: +500 EXP]

    [You leveled up! *3]

    [Name: Trevor Karlson
    Title: The Gamer
    LV: 9 (25,9%)
    HP: 250/250 (+26/min)
    MP: 320/320 (+19/min)

    STR: 25
    VIT: 25 (+4%) [26]
    DEX: 25
    INT: 26 (+25%) [32]
    WIS: 14 (+38,5%) [19]
    LUK: 1

    Points: 15]

    I was suddenly very glad that I'd decided to study physics, as it had increased my INT just enough for me to get the hidden reward.

    The two WIS points came from me working my mana to create a few spells, both affinity-less and with affinity.

    [Reinforcement: LV 13 (87%)
    -A spell to enhance the user's body.
    -Element: none
    -50 MP/minute cost
    -Increases STR, VIT and DEX by 13%]

    [Mana shot: LV 6 (18%)
    -A blast of concentrated mana.
    -Element: none
    -Max range: 10 meters.
    -10 MP cost
    -INT+10+(3) damage]

    [Stalagmite: LV 11 (90%)
    -A spell to create a spike of stone from the ground.
    -Element: earth
    -25 MP cost
    -INT+15+(5) damage]

    [Water spout: LV 10 (41%)
    -A spell made to spew a jet of water.
    -Element: water
    -10 MP/Litre cost]

    While I had only two damaging spells, the others were useful in their own way too. Water spout didn't generate water from nothing: rather, it directed water towards my target. It was definitely a good distraction, though having to bring water with me everywhere could be a bit of an issue.

    Creating those spells allowed me to increase my affinity from minimal to low. I couldn't feel much of a difference, but it was something.

    Those thoughts aside, my body felt much better than it had before, to the point where I believed I might just be able to overpower most people. Though, without any skill in physical combat that was a bit of a moot point.

    "Thoughts for another time," I thought as I trudged back to Mimic's. In the meantime I kept Reinforcement active to get it closer to leveling up.

    I wished I could keep it active the whole time, but after roughly ten minutes I'd always run dry of mana.

    "Maybe I should try training my WIS next? Could be very useful, what with all the bonuses it gets. Just a few points could make all the difference, really. Though…" I eyed my LUK score. "How will I fix that? Maybe I just need to… get lucky? Would flipping a coin help?"

    Without anything to lose, I pulled out a coin from my inventory (the wallet and the money were registered in different slots) and proceeded to flip it.

    "Heads," I muttered. Looking at the coin, it was actually heads.

    [Due to an accurate prediction of an uncertain event, your LUK increased by 1!]

    Reading the screen I grinned like a loon. While I didn't know exactly what LUK would influence, it was certainly better to increase it than to keep it at 1 forever. Considering that the average I'd seen was between 5 and 10 points, I decided to make it reach 10 as soon as possible.

    On the way I kept flipping my coin, and gained another point in LUK for my troubles. When I walked inside I saw absolute chaos… more so than usual.

    "Get back here!" Came Mimic's voice from the back. I hurried there, curious about the cause of the disaster.

    There, I found Mimic running around, trying to catch a small black being. It was a bit too fast to make out most of it, but it had big yellow eyes and wore some red clothes.

    [Name: N/A
    Title: Tinkerbat
    LV: 11
    HP: 74/80
    MP: 110/110 (dormant)

    STR: 8
    VIT: 13
    DEX: 16
    INT: 11
    WIS: 9
    LUK: -2

    Thoughts about you: You're another nuisance
    Emotions: Annoyance, Anxiety]

    I was left a tad bewildered by the negative LUK score, but when the small thing tried to weave through my legs to get out I had enough presence of mind to grab ahold of it, and throw it back inside.

    I may have exaggerated with my strength, as it flew all the way into the wall, and slumped on the ground unconscious. It was still alive though, so I considered it a win.

    [Nonlethal takedown: +75 EXP]

    As happy as I was to get some extra EXP, I still wanted some answers.

    "Mimic… what is that thing?"

    "That is a tinkerbat. These things are always trouble, since if there's one there tend to be more around. And when there's many of them around, their boss isn't far behind." He finished with an aggravated sigh.

    "So, what do we do about this one?"

    Mimic stroked his beard thoughtfully. "Well, to be honest I have several questions about these creatures myself… I know. Pick it up and follow me, please."

    He moved away, and so I followed with the tinkerbat slung over my shoulder. We stopped in front of the machine I'd seen the old man working on for several days now. It was some sort of pedestal with a glass dome on top, which I could see now was removable.

    Mimic motioned for me to place the tinkerbat under the dome and I did so, mindful to not jostle the being around too much. I'd probably given it a concussion already, might as well avoid giving it permanent brain damage.

    I stepped back when the job was done, and observed the dome come down on the tinkerbat, closing it off from the outside world.

    "Er… how is it going to breathe in there?" I asked, just a little worried.

    "Don't worry, there's a ventilation system," muttered Mimic as he fiddled with some buttons and levers.

    "Ok, but what even is this? I still don't know."

    He froze for a split-second. "Right. I hadn't told anyone yet. Can you keep a secret?"

    I nodded slowly, my gaze flickering between the machine and Mimic himself.

    "Well… you remember how Shantae said she lost her magic?"

    Another nod.

    "I believe otherwise. In my opinion, her magic was reduced to some sort of 'dormant' state, and this machine was supposed to help her 'wake up' her magic."

    I wordlessly Analyzed the machine.

    [Arcane resonator
    Rank: Unique
    This machine can tap into the atmosphere's ambient mana, and use it to stimulate the mana of a living being placed inside it, causing its magic core to activate.
    Chance of failure: 75%]

    I relayed the information to Mimic, especially the 'chance of failure' part.

    "Is that so… well, at least there is a chance. I will just need to work on it some more, until it is certain."

    Neither of us exchanged words anymore, with him being focused on securing the resonator to prevent the tinkerbat from leaving, while I was pondering how to increase his chances of the machine working.

    "Maybe the game knows? Help. How can a person activate their mana?"

    [Awakening a magic core: this is a difficult process to do on your own, though having someone with an active core around can severely speed up the process. The safest procedure would be to coax a person's mana out through another's touch. This can take anywhere from hours to weeks. A faster way is to flood a person's body with mana, though this presents a high risk of injury.]

    My brow furrowed. "In other words, the safest way would be for me to help her, huh? Yeah, how am I supposed to do that though? Should I even do that?" I shook my head. "Too many questions together. I should just take things as they go."

    Mimic seemed to have things handled, and I wasn't feeling particularly hungry. Thus, I went on to kill some time.

    I wandered aimlessly through the market, observing the wares around with mild interest. As I had no gems on me, there was no way I could buy anything anyway… I really needed a job or something. It was starting to become a hassle depending on Mimic for most stuff.

    I mentally dismissed another skill level-up notification, though a new one appeared, and it caught my eye.

    ['Analyze' can now view active status effects!]

    It wasn't much of a difference, allowing me to see how a couple of people had colds and how one dude was hung over, but it was still nice. I wondered what I would be able to see at higher levels.

    All that everyone else would see, though, was a bored guy walking down the street and flipping a coin.

    I was at the beach, skipping stones over the waves of the ocean. Or at least, that's what it looked like. I was actually placing some of my mana in the stones, trying to use my earth affinity to move the stones at a distance. It was slow going.

    I did manage to make them sturdier somehow, so there was that at least.

    "Come on, concentrate… full of mana. There, now affinity… and now, throw." I threw the pebble in my hand, trying to hold a connection to it. For all my concentration, though, the link broke as soon as it went a few meters away from me.


    I most certainly didn't jump and scream like a kid. I did not!

    Ahem, after I calmed down from my… perfectly reasonable reaction to being spooked, I recognized Shantae.

    "Ah, hi. Can I help you?"

    She gave a noncommittal shrug. "Just wondering what you were up to. Of all things I've seen you do, skipping stones is a new one."

    There, I was in a bit of a conundrum. "Should I tell her about my magic? I mean, she might be more open to me helping her with her core if I showed her this. On the other hand, she might get suspicious that I hid it from her. Or maybe, she'd accept it as a show of trust. I do need actual friends. Sky's nice and all, but I can't really rely on her 24/7, and Mimic is more of an ally than anything."

    My decision made, I pointed at the water. "Watch this," I said, as I forced the water to spray upward as if from a hose.

    I cut off the spray after a few seconds.

    Turning back, I found Shantae shifting from looking at me to looking at the water, eyes wide open in amazement.

    "That- you- but… how?"

    "Magic. It comes naturally to me." I stared into the horizon, unwilling to risk looking at her. I'll admit I was a bit afraid of her response.

    "Are you a half-genie too?"

    I hadn't expected that question.

    "No. At least, as far as I know."

    "Then how?" She asked, this time more vehemently.

    "From what I gathered, everyone could." I shoved my hands in my pockets, huffing. "It's not easy, though. I can sort of 'sense' the magic in someone, if I concentrate on them. Most are, for lack of a better term, locked away. I managed to unlock mine at one point. In theory, I could help others unlock their own. In practice?" I gave her a sideways glance. "It's a lengthy process."

    She hadn't moved an inch, but was giving me a flat look. "You're telling me that between when you woke up from your comatose state, and now, you've learned how to do magic and theoretically how to help others learn it, too?"

    "... that does sound insane out loud."

    Shantae glared at me expectantly. "And?"

    "Nothing. It sounds insane, but that's how it is." I turned, fully facing her. "Shantae. Had I wanted to cause harm, I would have done so. I am capable of that. Yet, I didn't. I want answers just as badly as you: where did I come from? How can I use magic? The simple truth is that I don't know."

    "And the complex truth?"

    I groaned a bit, holding my head. "Alright, here's what I know: someone or something found me, and threw me here for some reason. I think that it is the reason why I can use magic. Most of that is, admittedly, conjecture, but it's all I have."

    Shantae broke our staring contest, massaging her temples. "You know what? I'll give you a chance. As long as you don't cause trouble, I'll try to believe you. But-" she jabbed a finger at my face "-on one condition. Stop hiding stuff. You're not helping your case."

    Neither of us said anything for a bit.

    "You still didn't answer my question, though. Why were you skipping stones like that?"

    "Earth magic exercises."

    She left not long after, leaving me alone. I sat on a rock, thinking about what happened.

    "I suppose it could've been worse. She didn't seem angry. Oh, I should've Analyzed her before she left. I keep forgetting I can do it. Not much to be done, I suppose. I can't, say, barge in her house to get a look at her and then leave. That'd be dumb."

    I buried my head in my hands. "Ah, who am I kidding? I was a dumbass! Why'd I have to go and tell her all of that? 'I need a friend'?" I got up and kicked the rock, obtaining only some pain. "Fuck that and fuck THIS ROCK!"

    I kicked the rock again and again, then punched it, and somehow I found a branch, and proceeded to smack the rock with it. The branch snapped immediately.

    The cracking sound returned me to reality.

    [Through the weaponization of your fury, the skill 'Rage' was created!]
    [Through crude, basic strikes, the skill 'Brawling' was created!]
    [Through brutal swings, the skill 'Bash' was created!]

    [Rage leveled up! *3]
    [Brawling leveled up! *2]
    [Blunt resistance leveled up! *3]

    I didn't even bother reading the skill descriptions. I already had an idea of what they did.

    Seeing as I wasn't really feeling like training anymore, I just left.

    That night, I couldn't bring myself to read for some reason. The only thing I could think about was how I'd just… flipped. It was the first time I could remember it happening to me, and to be honest… it scared me.

    I'd been relatively calm until that point. Being so utterly furious was something new for me. And like any human, I was afraid of what was new. What would have happened if I'd let myself lose it while Shantae was still there? Would I have attacked her? I had no idea. And that thought scared me. In those few minutes I saw red, couldn't even tell what I was doing anymore.

    I wondered if I should just forgo ever using that skill again. I realized it may be useless. After all, it didn't seem like I needed to activate it the first time; it just happened. So what if it would happen again? No, that wasn't the way. I needed to learn to control it.

    [Due to your deep introspection, your WIS has grown by 2!]

    [New quest - Animal inside
    Objective 1: Reach 'Rage' LV 50
    Objective 2: Reach 50 INT and WIS

    Reward: +1.500 EXP, new title]

    I grinned a bit at the notifications. At least, it seemed like the game agreed.

    Still, I couldn't allow myself to use that skill willy-nilly: there was still the chance that I'd hurt someone. Thus, I needed to either use it when there were only hostiles or just nobody around.

    A flash of memory hit me just then.

    "Just what is so dangerous out of town?" I asked, setting down the bag of bird seeds.

    "Monsters, for the most part. They're not too strong individually, but if you get swarmed there's a good chance of death," answered Sky as she crossed off the seeds from the list.

    I could go outside of town, of course!

    Sure, I'd need to be careful, but it was still viable.

    I slowly made my way outside, thankfully having learned to avoid the creaky floorboards. The tinkerbat was asleep too, so I didn't have to worry about it.

    Scuttle town at night was quite the sight. Though there were no artificial lights, the moon and stars gave me enough visibility to navigate without an issue. While I walked, I was reminded of an affinity I'd gained, yet did nothing with: dark.

    The affinity required me to meditate in total darkness, which wasn't difficult to achieve. At the time I'd gained it I didn't think much about it, but now I could see how it might be an issue to have such magic with me. That was also part of the reason why I'd concentrated on water and earth before.

    I shook my head. I'd been doing that a lot lately. "I really need to stop thinking at some point. Overthinking everything is doing nothing more than stressing me out, anyway."

    Approaching the town's gates, not much more than a glorified hole in a 10 ft wall, I was met with a worrisome sight. There was no one guarding the exit. Sure, it was easier for me, but so it would be for anyone without good intentions.

    "Then again, is there usually anyone guarding the exit? Maybe that's just the norm. Who knows. Whatever, I came here for a reason."

    As I crouched in a patch of flowers, I took stock of my first true enemy. It didn't look like much, just a moving scarecrow.

    [Name: N/A
    Title: Scarecrow
    LV: 6
    HP: 80/80
    MP: none

    STR: 8
    VIT: 10
    DEX: 9
    INT: 3
    WIS: 4
    LUK: 1

    Thoughts about you: none
    Emotions: Murderous]

    As it was very weak and alone, I didn't bother planning much: as soon as it wasn't looking in my direction I jumped at it and used Bash straight to its head. It went down, but my hand hurt from it too. I proceeded to quickly end it with two stomps to the head.

    [Lethal takedown: +45 EXP]

    [Brawling leveled up!]
    [Bash leveled up!]

    I checked Bash in confusion, and saw that a percentage of the damage inflicted would return to the weapon used. In that case, my hand. It did make me wonder if I could use that to increase both my Bash and Blunt resistance at once.

    At any rate, I continued to look for targets, surprisingly finding only more scarecrows. Even small groups weren't that hard to deal with: two Mana shots could kill one of the slow imbeciles, so it was nothing more than target practice. I almost forgot to train Rage with how much fun I was having!


    It was sunrise when I came to. All around me were remnants of scarecrows, and my body ached something fierce.

    [You leveled up! *5]

    [Rage leveled up! *4]
    [Brawling leveled up! *6]
    [Bash leveled up! *7]
    [Mana shot leveled up! *3]

    [Due to your repeated struggles, VIT increased by 1! *3]
    [Due to your continuous effort, STR increased by 1! *2]
    [Due to the straining of your limits, DEX increased by 1! *4]

    “Ugh… This might have been an awful idea…” I muttered as I tried to sit up.

    A quick look to my status showed that I’d gone absolutely wild last night, to the point of having only a bit over a tenth of my HP left. It rose slowly every minute, but I was still very worried. What if in my unhinged state I hadn’t realized that I could have died if I kept pushing?

    Slowly trudging towards Scuttle Town, I pondered on what I could do to prevent something like that from happening. “Maybe I could restrain my body with some stone? That is, if I get good enough with that magic first. Maybe I should work on increasing my magic affinities too…”

    I was so stuck in my own musings that I’d barely noticed something was very wrong with Scuttle Town when I got close enough to it. Though, when the ground started to shake under my feet I snapped back to focus.

    The entrance to the town had been destroyed, probably blasted open. Tracks covered the ground, making it almost impossible to tell the exact number of people that passed through, but I did notice that there were several deeper indents. Vehicles of some sort? I hadn’t seen yet anything more than carts, but I had no real idea of the level of technology available to the world at large.

    The ground shook again, this time accompanied by a deafening blast. Smaller blasts rang out from several other locations, and people started to stream out of town in a panic. I considered discretion the way to go in this scenario, and hoisted myself over a semi-collapsed section of the wall while no one was paying attention in my direction. From there, all that was left was to find just what was going on.

    If you like my works, why not drop a coin?
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
    Rakan, Simonbob, wtungsten and 16 others like this.
  9. Oxymoron

    Oxymoron Too lazy to do more

    Feb 5, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Good shit
    First I think
    Alien-Kun likes this.
  10. Oxymoron

    Oxymoron Too lazy to do more

    Feb 5, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Also the.shantae start is a curve ball
    I didn't see that one coming
    Well done
    Alien-Kun likes this.
  11. Alien-Kun

    Alien-Kun I shall sing the song of my people. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Oct 9, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Not first, but thanks nonetheless. Yeah, not many people write about Shantae. It's a decent low-power world, and since that a lot of the lore contradicts itself from game to game, I can just choose to stick to the canon for one of the games instead of cross-referencing, and can sprinkle a lot of headcanon in this.
    Czlyydwr Llrngwl and moontheir4 like this.
  12. Index: Chapter 3

    Alien-Kun I shall sing the song of my people. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Oct 9, 2020
    Likes Received:
    [New Quest: Insurgent

    Objective 1: Defeat at least 15 invaders (0/15)
    Objective 2: Help Shantae defeat ?
    Hidden objective 1: ?
    Hidden objective 2: ?
    Hidden objective 3: ?

    Reward: +1.500 EXP, Flaw: “Severe Amnesia” reduced, random skill
    Hidden reward 1: +500 EXP
    Hidden reward 2: +500 EXP
    Hidden reward 3: +750 EXP]

    [Playing: We love burning town (Pirate’s Curse) - Jake Kaufman]

    The town was in absolute chaos, and it was the fault of some people wearing blue uniforms, raccoon-styled hats, and wielding some kind of rifle with a bayonet. While I wasn’t sure about where I’d learned to recognize rifles, I was certain that those were no classical guns. The main reason for that being that instead of bullets they shot what seemed to be light-based projectiles. Not quite lasers, but not quite physical either. They did hurt, though, as I’d realized after being hit by a stray shot.

    One thing that came out of it was a Fire resistance skill.

    “Guess they’re more plasma than anything. Ouch,” I thought as I felt my calf burn for a moment. I needed to be careful.

    As I rounded a corner, I spotted a small group of the invaders forcing some civilians to march in front of them, directing them towards what I believed to be the center of the town. I wasn’t going to stand for that.

    I couldn’t use my more deadly abilities, but Mana shots were a viable source of concussive damage. And I could also try to Bash their faces in if they got too close. Reinforcement could be useful in a pinch, but I preferred to not use it unless it was really necessary: it ate through mana like crazy.

    Readying a Mana shot, I lined up my hand with one of the soldiers holding the rear, and let the spell fly. The skill had a relatively short range, but it was enough. The bolt hit dead-on in the back of his neck, knocking him unconscious and making him destabilize a few others by slamming into them. I took advantage of that, sending a few more potshots out there.

    I had really miscalculated the sheer power of my magic, as just those weak blasts seemed to do more damage than my punches while Bashing! And they cost way less, to boot.

    While the soldiers that were still conscious tried to collect themselves enough to strike back, I ran in and proceeded to systematically punch their temples. It was… disturbingly easy to knock them all unconscious. But at least they were still alive.

    [Nonlethal takedown *6: +540 EXP]

    [You leveled up!]

    I left the unconscious soldiers there for the moment, and turned to the civilians.

    “Can one of you explain what exactly is going on?” I ground out.

    One rather burly sailor came up to me. “These ‘ere are Ammonian soldiers, lad. Pro’lly some hare-brained scheme from Ammo Baron to conquer Sequin Land or sumthin’.” The man frowned, his bushy eyebrows furrowing together. “Tell you what, yer good ‘nuff to take ‘em down. I’ll help these people get out. You go on an’ try to give these scallywags a good wallop for us, aye?”

    I rolled my shoulders, a cocky grin on my face. “You people stay safe. I’ll deal with this.”

    The people made to leave, but in a flash of intuition I stopped some of the people who seemed more capable, and handed them some of the rifles. I kept the last two for myself, due to a peculiarity I’d noticed about the weapons.

    [Ammonian rifle
    Rank: Uncommon

    A standard-issue rifle for the Ammonian army. Shoots magical bullets that deal fire damage.
    -Durability: 74/75
    -20% extra accuracy
    -Bayonet: 20+STR+1d4 piercing damage
    -Shot: 15+DEX+2d6 fire damage
    -Ammo: 14/20 (+5/min recharge)]

    Yes, the weapons recharged by themselves. It was probably the best thing I’d ever heard. I was confused as to what ‘1d4’ and ‘2d6’ meant, though. “Eh, I’ll probably find out soon.”

    With one rifle in the inventory, and another in my hands, I rushed through the town to help more people. Considering that the group from before seemed to be rounding up people in the town’s center, that was where I was headed. On the way, I picked off a few stragglers with the rifle.

    [Marksman: LV 2 (15%)
    -Guns don’t kill people. You can, though.
    -Increases firearm accuracy by 2%
    -Passively increases DEX by 1%]

    They weren’t dead of course, but they wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while.

    I came upon the market in my mad dash, and encountered a group of soldiers, about a dozen, trying and failing to apprehend someone. The rattle of a chain and ‘manly’ grunts told me exactly who it was.

    Due to the density of people I couldn’t risk shooting, as I might injure Bolo. Thus, my only choice was going melee. I had most of my MP still, so I could take a few minutes of Reinforcement without a problem. Buffed up, I picked up a length of wood from a collapsed stall, Strengthened it, and Bashed it on the first soldier to get in range.

    I missed the head, but his shoulder was definitely broken. So was the wood, but it was still long enough to be used. Clutching it, I kept wailing on whoever got close enough. Roughly half of the soldiers had come after me, with two taking potshots at me while the others tried to smack me with the butt of their rifles.

    After taking down a few more soldiers the stick had shattered, and I was stuck using my hands. One of them overextended. I grabbed his arm, and pulled him closer. His forehead met my elbow, and he went stumbling back in pain.

    Two tried to hit me at the same time. I crouched, punched one in the groin and kicked the other in the knee. Both went down.

    One was left, but the other two shot at me. Without thinking, I grabbed the enemy and held him between me and the bullets. I threw him towards the shooters. They moved out of the way, and I took one of my rifles from the Inventory. One was shot in the leg.

    I walked towards the last one, who’d stumbled over something and fallen down while I was dealing with the other one. Without skipping a beat, I snap-kicked the side of his head, and he went down for good.

    Over to Bolo, he seemed to be finishing up too. The reduced load must’ve helped, as I was seeing him weaving between his enemies easily, smacking them aside with his flail.

    ...I wasn’t sure how he wasn’t killing them, but it was better like that anyway. No reason to ask.

    At the end, his flail was spinning so fast that in some moments it looked like he was holding three at the same time. With a spin he threw the last enemies away from himself, falling into a cool finishing pose.

    I let him have a small applause, as I felt he deserved it after that demonstration.

    “Thanks for the help there. I would’ve been fine anyway, but I appreciate it.” He straightened himself, and acknowledged my presence.

    I shrugged at his words, and let the topic lie. “Any ideas where anyone else would be? And isn’t it kinda Shantae’s job to deal with this?”

    His gaze went serious at that. “Don’t know exactly. I saw Shantae head over to deal with Ammo Baron personally, but I got separated from Sky a few minutes ago.”

    “It’s a start.” I started jogging away. “Let’s see if she needs help. The faster this is over with, the better.”

    He agreed, and followed me.

    We kept our eyes peeled for any hint of purple around, with me ignoring the notifications that had popped up from the previous fight.

    In our advance we got decked by an UFG -For the uninformed, that is an Unidentified Flying Genie- who threw both of us to the ground. I shook my head to clear out the confusion, and recognized Shantae sprawled on us. She had a massive bruise on her side, and several scrapes all over. Her pants were ripped in a few spots, and blood flowed from her shoulder.

    She was an absolute mess, but at least she was conscious.

    I carefully lifted her up, letting her hold onto me for stability. Bolo held her up from her other side, allowing me some range of motion. The ground underneath us started shaking, forcing my mind into overdrive to come up with a plan.



    “We should get Shantae to a medic or something. Ideas?”

    He looked around, seemingly recognizing whatever it is that he was looking for. “We’re close to the bathouse. If we can get her there we’re golden.”

    Unfortunately for us, the rumbling was becoming stronger, accompanied by the sound of… a motor of some sort?

    “What even is this noise?” I wondered.

    “That… is Ammo Baron,” Shantae ground out painfully. A quick analysis showed that some of her ribs were broken.

    As it didn’t seem like we had much time, I looked over to Bolo again. “I’ll trust your judgement on this. Get her there and patch her up, I’ll keep him busy.”

    He seemed displeased at the suggestion, but made no argument against it, probably understanding the gravity of the situation. “We’ll be back as soon as possible, try to hold out.”

    The two of them left, Bolo acting as a crutch for Shantae to lean on as she limped away.

    [Time until help arrives: 00:02:00]

    “Two minutes. I can do that.”

    I took a look at my HP and MP, taking stock of my situation. MP was almost full, HP at roughly three quarters. Not optimal, but it was as good as it would get at that point. It’s not like I needed to defeat him, just stall for time.

    As the metal contraption turned the corner, I took stock of my opponent. It was a tank of some sort, but taller and with gun barrels coming out from all directions. On the front was a metallic section reminding me of some teeth, probably used to ram into things. Most of the external plating was covered in scratches and dents, but none of them seemed to have done any significant damage.

    The hatch on top swung open, and a very buff man with only one eye popped out. He wore the same uniform as the 'ammonian' soldiers, though it was much more decorated.

    "Hello there, citizen!" He yelled down at me. "Sorry, but I don't have time to be meeting fans right now! But tell you what, if you can point me in the direction of that pesky dancer girl I'll let you have an autograph later!"

    I let him talk, and Analyzed both him and his tank.

    [Name: Ammo Baron
    Title: Failed Warlord
    LV: 15
    HP: 190/190
    MP: 120/120 (Dormant)

    STR: 19
    VIT: 22
    DEX: 15
    INT: 12
    WIS: 7
    LUK: 0

    Thoughts about you: You're probably one of his fans. Why else would you be in his path?
    Emotions: Frustration, Light Elation, Pride

    Status effects: N/A]

    [Ammonian destroyer
    Rank: Unique

    Ammo Baron's personal assault vehicle. No kill like overkill, right?
    -Durability: 1530/1700
    -Main Cannon: 40+3d8 blunt damage
    -Side cannons: 20+2d6 blunt damage
    -Charge: 35+2d10 blunt damage]

    The best idea I had to deal with the tank (no way I'd use its actual name) was to hit it hard and fast. As it stood my best bet was to use magic and ranged attacks, so with a thought I used some of the stat points I'd been saving up until then.

    [DEX: 29 +6 = 35 (+5,75%) [37]
    INT: 26 +4 = 30 (+25,5%) [38]
    WIS: 17 +3 = 20 (+40,5%) [28]]

    And with that, I forced a Stalagmite to erupt underneath the tank, trying to hit a less-defended part.

    The vehicle was flung back by the spear of stone that had come out of the ground, though it didn't topple. A small message to the side of my vision informed me of a critical hit.

    While Ammo Baron was still reorienting himself, I let loose a few Mana Blasts, trying to incapacitate at least a few of the extra cannons. Three shots hit, while the last two went wide as I was forced to dodge a cannonball from the main cannon.

    From there, I had to go on the defensive. While I was fast, he was also fast at aiming. Thus, I was forced to keep dodging, without the chance to line up a shot. The amount of cannons shooting at me every moment also helped keep me on my toes.

    I jumped away, and the ground where I stood just a moment before burst into pieces. "I can't keep this up. It's been what, twenty seconds? If this keeps going he'll hit me. I need to be faster. I can use the rifles to attack."

    With an attack plan in place, I activated Reinforcement. With my DEX bumped up to 44, I was able to dodge Ammo Baron's shots with much more ease. Also, since I only needed to keep up the spell for two minutes, I had about 180 MP remaining that I could play with.

    Whenever I stopped, I picked up a fist-sized stone. I had an idea. Once I'd picked up enough stones I took one in my hand, and tried to use Mana Blast while throwing the stone. My Earth affinity kicked in instinctually, and the spell melded into the stone.

    The result was a brownish glow surrounding the stone as it flew, much faster than I should've been able to throw it. When it impacted one of the side cannons, the barrel was bent severely.

    "Nooo! My auxiliary cannon! Oh, now you're gonna get it, brat!" He yelled, and tried to ram the tank into me.

    I rolled out of the way, but landed right in front of one of the functioning cannons.

    Let me tell you, that shit hurt.

    I was sent flying back into a wall, and Ammo Baron didn't hesitate to turn the cannon around and shoot me with the main cannon. As I was stuck and dazed, I had no way to get out of the way. The blast was strong enough to make me go all the way through the wall, and out of the other side of the building.

    While he drove around the building I had the time to get back on my feet, and hide away. A glance at my counter showed that one minute had gone by already. I reveled in the feeling of my body being restored - if only a bit - for only a moment. It wasn't the time to lower my guard.

    When I saw Ammo Baron coming around, I readied my rifle. I'd only get one shot, so I had to make it count. Mana flowed out of my fingertips, converging into the barrel of the rifle. It was heating up uncomfortably in my hands, probably because of the increased power of the bullet.

    The idea was: if Mana Blast could increase the power behind a simple stone, what would it do to a rifle's shot?

    The answer: a deafening blast, a warped and unusable barrel, and a blinding white comet barreling towards Ammo Baron. The shot went low, and instead of him it hit the tank.

    It was a critical hit, which was nice, but it still wasn't that much damage.

    At that point the machine’s plating was starting to be shredded by the constant hammering, but it still was operable. The main gun zeroed onto me, and the smaller cannons to the sides unloaded a rain of lead to my sides, causing the building to collapse. I was forced to come out, and found myself staring down the barrel of the main cannon.

    “You’ve proved yourself a slippery little scamp, kid. I’ll give you that,” he seethed “and I would’ve liked having you as an addition to the troops, but I’M ABSOLUTELY DONE WITH YOU NOW!”

    Due to the rubble around me, I had no way to get out of the way of the subsequent cannonball. The lead sphere carried all the way back into the remains of the building, forcing me to smash through more detritus. My mind barely registered anything except the absolute, blinding pain emerging from my chest and back. Even then, an alarm blared into my head, forcing me into as much focus as I could spare.

    [WARNING: HP at less than 15%! User’s body inflicted with “Severely wounded” Flaw! Seek healing immediately!]

    [Severely wounded
    -Your body has been damaged well beyond functionality
    -50% less STR, VIT, DEX
    -Pain will not be numbed anymore
    -Damage will not be instantly healed anymore]

    [To remove “Severely wounded” Flaw, HP must reach above 50% within 24 hours, or it will turn into “Fatally wounded”]

    “Well, isn’t that a joy to see.” I took a look at the timer again. “Gotta buy thirty-five more seconds. Think Trevor, think!”

    I definitely wasn’t going to use my body anymore, and even then Reinforcement had broken as soon as I got hit. I had around 200 MP left to use, so I might as well buy as much time as I could with them.

    My mana seeped into the ground, and I forced stalagmite after stalagmite to form, effectively trapping the tank. Whenever Ammo Baron tried to turn, a new spear of stone would appear underneath him, jostling the vehicle and forcing him to abandon the maneuver. I was stuck in place, so I had to make sure he wouldn’t be aiming for me again. Another shot would be my death, no questions asked.

    That way I managed to buy a lot of time, and with what MP I had left I forced as much water from my inventory (I had several liters of seawater in it) straight into the main cannon’s barrel, hopefully clogging it up.

    [Time until help arrives: 00:00:00]

    Out of seemingly nowhere, a barrel was thrown straight at Ammo Baron’s face, dazing him. Shantae and Bolo arrived, the first whipping at the baron with her hair, and the other smashing the remaining cannons with his flail.

    Seeing as they were doing a lot of damage, I allowed myself a painful sigh. “I did it. They’ve got this now. Now, let’s see about healing up.” And so, I slipped into a trance, allowing my Meditation to restore my body.

    Bolo inwardly cursed at himself. He should’ve been faster! He could’ve done it in his stead! But noooo, he just had to go and trust Trevor, if he remembered his name correctly! There were many things he should’ve done differently, but he didn’t realize his mistake until he’d seen the poor guy at the end of a trench he had definitely dug out with his own back!

    He couldn’t help him now, though, busy as he was helping Shantae in dealing with Ammo Baron. He had to admit that Trevor had done a lot of damage, though. Half of the damages he couldn’t even realize how he’d managed, though! Like the water in the main cannon: how did it get there? The closest water source was the bathhouse, for crying out loud! Sure, Bolo could admit to not being exactly bright, but there was no way he could’ve shoved so much water in there without just up and throwing the whole thing into the sea!

    And that was barely the tip of the iceberg! The side had a hole as big as his fist punched through it, and he was pretty sure that hitting metal would be more liable to break one’s hand than anything. Then there were several more dents, but he could somehow rationalize those as the Ammonian rifle he’d seen him lug around.

    Still, they managed. The damage Trevor had dealt, along with his and Shantae’s combined work had destroyed Ammo Baron’s machine! And with that, hopefully, he’d give up and run off to wherever it was that he hid away usually.

    Or at least, that’s what he expected.

    Instead, he had to watch as the Royal Guards appeared, got Shantae fired from her job as Guardian Genie for assaulting the supposed new mayor of Scuttle Town, and now she was being forced to go to court! All for trying to defend the town in the first place!

    “Don’t worry Shantae, I’ll head to the palace to sort this out. Just promise me you’ll stay out of trouble!” Admonished Mimic. “Oh, and for that matter- wait. Does anyone know where Trevor ended up?”


    Bolo quickly ran where Trevor had collapsed, followed closely by Shantae, Mimic, and Sky. When they reached the rubble, though, they were in for a surprise.

    Trevor was looking much better, even though he did seem like he’d passed out. Probably it was the pain. Still, he wasn’t bleeding anymore, and all of his bones looked like they were back in place!

    The four of them worked together to lift the cannonball pinning Trevor down. As soon as they put it away, Mimic ran over to check on him. After a moment he let out a relieved sigh.

    “He’s just unconscious. He’ll be fine.”

    Everyone slumped in relief.

    Bolo had agreed to keep an eye on him while he was out of it, mainly because he felt responsible for the whole mess.

    I jerked back into consciousness thanks to a series of annoying and loud pings. I’d probably fallen asleep during my meditation. Once I opened my eyes, I was bombarded with a series of notifications.

    [Boss encounter survived! +700 EXP]

    [Blunt Resistance leveled up! *3]

    [Mana Control leveled up! *4]

    [Reinforcement leveled up!]

    [Mana Shot leveled up!]

    [Stalagmite leveled up! *5]

    [Water Spout leveled up!]

    [Marksman leveled up!]

    [Through a lucky fluke, the skill “Stone Shot” was created!]

    [Stone Shot: LV 1 (50%)
    -A spell to magically empower the impact and speed of a thrown rock.
    -Element: Earth
    -15 MP cost
    -DEX+(INT/2)+(half lv) damage]

    [Through desperation and a hunch, the skill “Enhanced Shot” was created!]

    [Enhanced shot: LV 1 (50%]
    -A spell to increase the power behind a firearm's bullet.
    -Element: none
    30 MP
    -Weapon's damage +INT+lv
    -99% of damage dealt is returned to your weapon]

    [Quest complete: Insurgent
    Objective 1: Defeat at least 15 invaders (16/15)
    Objective 2: Help Shantae defeat Ammo Baron (OK)
    Hidden objective 1: Help Sky (X)
    Hidden objective 2: Help Bolo (OK)
    Hidden objective 3: Defeat Ammo Baron alone (X)

    Reward: +1.500 EXP, Flaw: “Severe Amnesia” reduced, random skill
    Hidden reward 1: X
    Hidden reward 2: +500 EXP
    Hidden reward 3: X]

    [You leveled up! *3]

    [Flaw: “Severe Amnesia” reduced to “High Amnesia”]

    [Rolling for new skill…]

    [Multi-Hit: LV 1 (0%)
    -One punch doesn’t always do the trick. What about two?
    -1% chance to treat a melee attack as two separate hits
    -Passively increases STR by 0,5%]

    My eyes almost bugged out at reading the skill I got. It was powerful beyond belief! Admittedly, it was going to be very difficult to level it up in the beginning, what with the 1% activation chance, but with some luck I’d be able to make it reach unbelievable power.

    After a moment I metally slapped myself. There were more important things to deal with!

    “I know that the others won, what with the quest being complete, but what’s the status of the city? Did anyone get hurt? I need to go check.” I got up, and realized where I was.

    “I’m back in my room? How? Wait…” My brow furrowed. “It’s probable that the others found me while I was recovering, or unconscious, and brought me here. I got worked up over nothing.”

    With a shake of my head, I forced myself to calm down. The danger was over, there was nothing more to fear. Thus, I made my way downstairs.

    [Playing: Risky Boots - Jake Kaufman]

    The tune that started playing right then put me on edge. There was something very wrong going on.

    I peeked into the main room of the workshop.

    “I… I didn’t know! But I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation!” Said Shantae… while sitting in a bathtub. At least the sheer quantity of bubbles censored anything unsightly.

    “I know the reason!” Yelled at her another woman. This one was even more confusing, to be honest. Her skin was an extremely unhealthy shade of lilac, had blood-red eyes, and wore an outfit that wouldn’t be too out of place in a red-light district. “You wanted revenge for that incident with the Genie Lamp,” she harrumphed. “Just look at my poor defenseless Tinkerbat! He’s terrified!”

    I gave a look at the small bugger. He seemed perfectly calm, if a little bored.

    “Looks fine to me.” Shantae wasn’t amused.

    “This is your last chance!” The woman screeched, her hands twitching as if looking for a neck to strangle. “Tell me where they are! I want my men!” She jabbed her pointer finger into Shantae’s forehead. “I want my weapons!” Another jab. “And I want them NOW!” She finished, holding onto the edge of the tub. She looked about ready to kill someone right then and there.

    [Name: Risky Boots
    Title: Self-appointed Queen of the Seven Seas
    LV: 17
    HP: 200/200
    MP: 160/160

    STR: 20
    VIT: 17
    DEX: 22
    INT: 16
    WIS: 10
    LUK: 0

    Thoughts about you: Doesn’t know you, but she’s angry enough to maim you on sight.
    Emotions: Pure and unbridled FURY!

    Status effects:
    -Pirate Master’s Curse [Unactivated] (After activation, slowly reduces physical stats over the course of a few months, followed by death.)]

    While the status effect on her was rather worrying, there were two other things that caught my attention: the fact that two of her stats were above 20, and that her MP was ACTIVE! She was quite literally the first person that I met who had an active mana core! That already bumped up her danger level severely in my opinion.

    I had to play it smart.

    Right then, a noise drew my attention. A wave of purple/black smoke poured out of the arcane resonator’s ventilation system, and enveloped the Tinkerbat. It was disfigured under our eyes, turning into a toothy monstrosity as big as a person.

    “A cacklebat!” I barely heard Risky Boots say, over the beast’s screech.

    “A What?”

    Just as the lilac woman was about to say something else, the sound of cracking glass caught our attention.

    The cacklebat burst out of the glass dome, spraying shards everywhere. I was hoping that the pirate lady (I assumed) would deal with it, but my hopes were dashed when I heard her state that she was unarmed.

    “Ah, figures.” I muttered as I stepped into the room proper. “Of course I can’t even wake up properly, and then THIS happens!”

    Just like that, I wasn't playing it smart anymore.

    “Trevor! You’re-”

    “Yes, I’m fine, thanks,” I interrupted Shantae. “Forgive me for a moment, gotta take care of a little pest.”

    The cacklebat lunged at me, beating at the air with its deformed arms/wings, practically salivating at the idea to take a bite out of me. It didn’t get too far with its plan, as I punched it square in the jaw with Reinforcement and Bash. It flew back, its jaw hanging loosely.

    A small grin formed on my face. While the fight with Ammo Baron reminded me that I was very much mortal, I was glad to also remember that all my work had very palpable effects. Namely, I was strong enough to make a hundred-something-pounds monster go flying back with a punch. It felt very good.

    The beast must’ve kept a bit of its mind, as it realized that charging headfirst wasn’t going to work. Instead, it started to fly around, probably thinking that if it stayed out of reach it would’ve been fine.


    My inventory was stacked with rocks from the fight against Ammo Baron, so all I had to do was throw one at the deformed bat. It wheezed as the rock impacted its soft abdomen, and plummeted to the ground. Without even bothering to wait for it to get up, I walked up to it and snapped its neck with a carefully-aimed stomp.

    Normally I’d have had a few more qualms about killing it, but for one: I was pissed. And for two: it was not much more than an animal. It was a mercy kill at that point, really.

    When I turned back to the two spectators, I was met with a pair of dumbfounded faces. I held their gaze, my face betraying no emotion save for the slowly rising eyebrow.

    “...What? Something on my face?”

    “No, nothing. There’s no issue whatsoever.” Risky Boots was the one who spoke first. “Except for the fact that you beat a cacklebat barehanded! Just who are you supposed to be, anyway?!”

    I shrugged. “Just some guy. I live here, so… I don’t want wild animals inside, y’know?” Outside it seemed that I just didn’t care, but inside I was struggling to contain my laughter. It was just too funny to make people exasperated.

    “I…” She took a deep breath, massaging the bridge of her nose. “Sure, fine. That is understandable. ANYWAYS!” The woman yelled, throwing her arms up as if to physically drop the subject. “Here," she threw something into Shantae's hands "you can keep it."

    A sizzling sound turned my attention to the cacklebat's corpse. Its flesh had started to disintegrate, leaving behind the same purple/black miasma from before.

    [Condensed airborne mana: Dark
    Affinity level: High
    If inhaled, inflicts "Corrupted" status effect]

    "I ain't touching that crap, no sir." I looked over to the two ladies, hoping for an explanation. "How do we get rid of this?"

    Risky Boots, who seemed the most knowledgeable about the subject between the duo, pointed over to the item she'd given to Shanate, which was revealed to be a lamp. "Use that to contain it." With that, she turned to leave.

    Shantae had tried to convince Risky Boots to explain just what was going on, but she refused, claiming that she had "bigger things to worry about".

    Containing the miasma wasn't difficult: it was just a matter of pointing the lamp at it and stroking it from the point towards the back, which Shantae did as soon as she got decent. I had to run over to her house and grab her a change of clothes, but that isn't the issue.

    The actual issue was that now Shantae wanted to run over and get answers from Risky Boots. What was it with that girl and running headfirst into danger?!

    Still, without Mimic around, someone had to keep an eye on her. Might as well do it myself. Earn some brownie points and all that.

    If you like my works, why not drop a coin?
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
    Rakan, Simonbob, wtungsten and 16 others like this.
  13. Oxymoron

    Oxymoron Too lazy to do more

    Feb 5, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Chippo has read his
    He approves
  14. Froggo

    Froggo Making the rounds.

    Jun 22, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Mesa likey alien kun
  15. Xcell

    Xcell Getting some practice in, huh?

    Dec 7, 2019
    Likes Received:
    This is great stuff here.
  16. Czlyydwr Llrngwl

    Czlyydwr Llrngwl "Sell ya a door Learn gull" Czly/Celly for short.

    Jan 10, 2015
    Likes Received:
    First, I want to say that I really liked how the MC found explanations for the Gamer system by using Analyse on the popups organically, rather than using a Help option as such or worse yet a note signed "ROB" smugly outlining the situation - there are worse things than chatty ROBs, but not many nor by much.

    Oh, poor MC-kun! To see your adventure so tragically cut short! Having just 10hp, as listed a few paragraphs before, it's truly a pitiful existence!

    I can only assume one of those was an error ;)

    Also, "Through," not "Throw."

    Hell yeah! Could it be, I'm finally going to get the long-wished-for sciencey, crafting-based Gamer?

    On to the second chapter!

    D'oh. Well, it's fine... probably...

    I can't comment on setting it in the Shantae world or the handling of its characters, since literally everything I know about it other than what you've shown is that it's a video game series starring a cute redhead. The characters as shown are believable and interesting, however.

    And, #3

    Ammonian? Are you taking the piss?

    ... Ammo Baron. Whose troops use self-recharging energy weapons, rather than something that uses physical ammunition. Assuming that's from canon, I'd have to say it's the original creator who was taking the piss in that case.

    It's a good thing MC has genre conventions on his side, because most of those "nonlethal takedowns" would be at best severe crippling injuries and anything involving strikes to the head more likely to result in serious brain damage or death. Not taking off any hypothetical points for that -- as I say it's a common genre convention -- just saying. Don't try this at home, kids.

    MC-kun got quite a thumpin' from Ammo Baron. Pity he didn't find Sky during the fight first, with another (Probably?) combat effective person (or if she's not a fighter, having her help Shantae while he and Bolo fought) he might at least have stayed in good enough condition to be conscious for the whole encounter. Winning it on his own was probably never in the cards, at least unless he'd used the meditation time to GRIND MOAR instead.

    Overall, this looks like a fun story, please continue.
  17. Alien-Kun

    Alien-Kun I shall sing the song of my people. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Oct 9, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Let me say first off that reviews like these are a moment of personal celebration for me, and as such I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't try to answer as thoroughly as I can. So, taking it from the top.

    The idea with analyzing the popups themselves was something I came up with on a whim, really. I did intend to have a 'help' function of sorts, but it is not omniscient. Nor impartial. It will withold information, if not outright refuse to answer a lot of times. For now Trevor has been in luck to not have triggered any of the 'forbidden' questions - and they're a lot.

    The part with the 10 HP was not a mistake. Let me explain the HP formula really quickly: STR*10. That's it. Most people would use VIT, but I went with STR since that makes a more beefy person, while VIT is your actual health, thus your HP recovery rate. Now, the "Weakened" flaw halved Trevor's HP so while he should've had 20 HP, he had 10. Between then and the debacle with the book, he had increased his STR by a few points, simply by working out a bit. That gave him some extra HP that was just enough to not get killed by the book. So, no error there.

    Sciency things will be a part of this just as much as magic. For now Trevor has had a better chance to train magic, but he'll get around to tinkering with machinery soon-ish. I enjoy the idea of magitech (magic and technology working together and covering each other's weak points), so that might be Trevor's endgame.

    I can understand not knowing much about the Shantae series, as it is rather niche, especially in the fanfiction department. Though, even after playing through all of the games, I'm unsure of which redhead you may have mentioned. There's literally two, and neither is a very important character... Still, I am glad that you're enjoying my portrayal of the characters so far.

    Ammo Baron and his army... well, in-game the name of his army is never mentioned, and the wiki wasn't much help on that either. For what I do know, is that the name Ammo is because of his militaristic mindset, while the other barons... Eh, I'll wait to spoil things. We'll meet one more next chapter, who will be less of a pain but more of a headache in the long run. As a side note, I hadn't realized the implications of the name as I wrote it, my mind too concentrated on the 'Ammo' part. Speaking of, it is never specified if the weapons use physical bullets or not. What I do know is that they look like glowing multicolored pellets, and that Shantae once used a pistol with a similar function. As she never reloaded it through that whole game, I assumed that it was some magic propriety of those weapons and applied it here.

    The takedowns... let's chalk that up to 'game logic' and leave it at that.

    The boss fight was meant from the very start to be unwinnable. I knew it, Trevor knew it, Ammo Baron knew it, my keyboard knew it. In the game, the battle is much easier but I decided to sprinkle in just a tad bit of real logic in this whole mess. How would one girl, used to having magic and not having it anymore, destroy a literal tank? She couldn't. But a guy with supernatural skills - as meagre as they were - would be able to weaken in considerably. Enough for two others to capitalize on it and win.

    And Sky? She was helping people evacuate during all that. In the 4th game there's a DLC where you can play as her, but she can't do much actual combat. She's more of a parkour character, and you should switch to Bolo for the combat sections... or to another character that I won't mention because she'll appear later on.

    As a final note, I want to thank you for spending some of your time to read this story I'm throwing together, and for reviewing it in detail like this. I hope to have answered enough of your questions like this, and I'll see you when the next chapter is out... soon, I hope.
    Czlyydwr Llrngwl and The Dude like this.
  18. The Dude

    The Dude Verified Not Jeff Bridges

    Jul 14, 2019
    Likes Received:
    Always a joy to see another person that ascribes to the idea that sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from technology.

    The wonders of Thaumotechnic Engineering are hard to beat, even with something as simple as a rune of fire and a rune of ice creating a perpetual Stirling engine.
    Manperor_32 likes this.
  19. Czlyydwr Llrngwl

    Czlyydwr Llrngwl "Sell ya a door Learn gull" Czly/Celly for short.

    Jan 10, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Apparently I knew even less than I thought, and had gotten Shantae herself (whose 'do is purple, yes) mixed up with some similarly dressed fanart for an unrelated character. As for the games themselves, platformers are decidedly not my genre (never were even before persistent numb-thumb mandated that I only play turn-based games that won't require fast and furious button mashing) so even really well known ones are largely opaque to me - I don't think I could even name any besides Mario and Rayman, and I'm not sure about Rayman.

    Anyway, I'm glad you found the multi-part comments useful; I do try to give more than a bland "It's good" when I can think of something meaningful that hasn't already been said.
  20. Alien-Kun

    Alien-Kun I shall sing the song of my people. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Oct 9, 2020
    Likes Received:
    I think I know which fanart you're talking about. There's been one circling around with Phyrra from RWBY in Shantae's costume and vice versa. That might be it. Also, you're right about Rayman. It is a platformer series, and a dang good one too.
    The Dude likes this.
  21. Index: Chapter 4

    Alien-Kun I shall sing the song of my people. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Oct 9, 2020
    Likes Received:
    “Ok, I know that this morning I told myself that I had nothing better to do, but it didn’t mean I wanted to take a trek in some sewers!” I grumbled as we lowered ourselves down into the aforementioned sewers.

    Shantae gave me a half-lidded stare. “This really isn’t my idea of a fun time either, you know.”

    I scoffed, the sound slightly hidden by the impact of my feet on the tunnel’s floor. “Point taken. Now, let’s see about those ‘flesh pops’-” I scratched my head a bit, looking around. “-though I wonder why they would be here in the first place.” I began pacing around. "Like, do people throw them down- OH GOD WHAT IS THAT?!" I screamed, as a meter-long worm crawled towards us.

    Shantae wordlessly whipped her hair at the worm, killing it in one blow. The genie walked ahead, flashing me a smug grin. I chose to ignore that and move on.

    [Your teammate caused a lethal takedown! +5 EXP]

    "...Right. This is a thing now."

    A while before…

    It didn't take long for us to catch up to Risky Boots, and let me tell you: the ensuing discussion was a headache and a half. At one point I'd stopped even listening, just getting the main gist of it: some guy named 'Pirate Master' was coming back from the dead (somehow) and he was the reason she'd lost her weapons and crew. And of course, since Shantae didn't want to let Sequin Land be in danger (the idealistic airhead), she agreed to help the pirate lady.

    "And guess who's the dumb sonuvabitch who decided to keep an eye on her? Me, of course!" I groused as we trekked through Scuttle Town. My displeasure must've been visible, as she stopped when she caught sight of me.

    "Are you alright, Trevor? You don't have to come too, you know. You could stay here in Scuttle Town instead and defend it in my place! I'm sure that you'd do a great job!"

    My frown melted into a deadpan stare. "...No. I'm coming along. You almost got yourself killed… and so did I." I grimaced a bit at that memory. "Together we have a better chance to see this through."

    “And I have nothing better to do,” I thought to myself.

    She blinked for a moment, surprised at my - admittedly blunt - rebuttal. "Then… what's the issue?"

    "That woman, Risky. She's playing you like a fiddle. All she had to do to convince you to do stuff for her was lay a few breadcrumbs."

    Her concerned frown shifted into a calm smile. "I knew that already."

    It was my turn now to blink.

    "I'm glad you're watching out for me, but I've dealt with her enough to notice when she does this. I'm going along with it though, since I don't really have a reason to say no."

    I dropped the argument there. Still, I was a bit surprised. “I guess that that WIS isn’t just for show, huh?”

    [New quest: Preparing for adventure
    Objective: Obtain a map of the Forbidden Isles and give it to Risky Boots

    Reward: +1.000 EXP, permanent teammate: Shantae, increased HP for teammate]

    [Note: Shantae has been designated as your temporary teammate]

    I slid the notifications away. None of it struck me as too odd… except for maybe the increased HP. “Maybe it was the system’s way of scaling her up so that she can keep up with me?”

    Before leaving the town, Shantae forced us to make a small detour. We weaved through the streets, ending up in a zone I was relatively familiar with. After one last turn, I realized where Shantae had led us.

    “...Why exactly are we going to Sky’s place right now?”

    “Well, we need a naval map…”

    I cocked an eyebrow. “And Sky has it?”

    “...no. We’ll need to go to the palace’s royal library for that. But I don’t have a library card because of… reasons.”

    Well, that wasn’t suspicious at all. Still, I dropped the argument; it was of no importance to me anyways.

    Shantae opened the door with a bit too much vehemence, making it slam into the wall. The sudden noise spooked Sky, who was in the process of placing an egg inside one of the cubicles on the walls. She fumbled with the egg, yelping as it escaped her grasp.

    Instinctively, I dived to catch the egg. Thankfully she was up on a ladder, so that fraction of a second more that it took the egg to reach the ground, was enough for me to catch it.

    We all took a collective sigh of relief.

    I carefully stood up, and handed the egg over to Sky. She gave me a grateful smile and then froze for a moment.

    “Wait, Trevor? Shantae? What are you two doing here? You-” she pointed to me “-should be in bed, and you-” she pointed to Shantae “-should be stuck at home.”

    “Uuuhhh…” Went Shantae, seemingly having blue-screened.

    “Yeah, I don’t know about the ‘stuck at home’ part, but I wanted to go check out the Palace’s library. Dunno where Mimic is gone at, and I don’t think it’s right to take his books without permission, so I asked Shantae and she told me that you had a library card… I wanted to ask how I can get one.” I spun a lie out of my ass as fast as I could, trying to make it believable.

    Sky climbed the ladder again to place the egg in its rightful place. “Well, I can’t accompany you: I just have too many things to do today. But it’s easy, you just need to ask the librarian about getting one. He might start going on tangents, but just remind him what you want and he’ll get you sorted out.” After placing the egg safely in its little cubicle, she turned to Shantae. “Still doesn’t explain why you’re outside. Did you forget you’re under house arrest?”

    The half-genie looked away, embarrassed. “Yeah… but it’s just so boring! I wanted to go get myself a book, so I was hoping that you could let me borrow your card, but then I ran into Trevor and decided to have him tag along!”

    Sky didn’t seem to be buying it, so I stepped in again. “And to be fair, I don’t know the way to the palace. It only makes sense that we go together.”

    She sighed in defeat. “Sure. At the very least, I know you can keep each other in check. But-” she locked her eyes on Shantae “-don’t think I forgot what happened last time I let you borrow my card.”

    “You know I tend to nibble on things when I’m nervous. I already apologized!”

    “And you!” Sky pointed to me. “You’ve got quite the gall to be walking around like nothing happened! I don’t get how you didn’t have any broken bones, but it doesn’t change the fact that you should still be resting!”

    I raised my hands to keep some space between us. “Hey, hey, what’s with the hostility? I’m telling you that I’m fine. I recovered.”

    After a small but intense stare-off, Sky relented and pulled out a small card from her pocket. Just before Shantae could snatch it from her, Sky handed it to me.

    I blinked in confusion. “Wait, wha-”

    “If I see even one bite mark on it when you get back, you’re both in for it. Now go on, shoo. I’m a busy woman.”

    Exchanging a confused look with Shantae, we both quickly said our goodbyes and left the building. Just before I left, though, I made sure to sneak an Analyze on Sky.

    [Thoughts about you: You almost died saving her best friend. She owes you a lot.]

    A small grin appeared on my face as I read that. While it felt a bit like cheating, I felt like I deserved the trust she was putting in me after all I’d done.

    [Through a timely intervention, the skill “Bullshitting” was created!]

    [Bullshitting leveled up!]

    [Bullshitting: LV 2 (0%)
    -The not-so-noble art of sprinkling lies and half-truths in what you say, to make people believe what you want.
    -Chance of success equal to (INT+LUK+Skill LV)-(Target’s WIS)]

    That made my grin slip a bit. I didn’t really enjoy lying… but then again, it was probably going to be useful. “Why didn’t I get this skill earlier? I’ve been bullshitting for a while… ok, not really. The only other time was with Mimic. And I guess withholding information isn’t exactly lying…”

    I shook my head. “Who cares. Whether I like the skill or not it’s irrelevant. It’s there, and it’s an asset I have now. I don’t have to use it unless I need it.”

    With that little debacle dealt with, we headed out to the palace.

    “W-Where did all these scarecrows come from?!” Shantae whisper-yelled, pointing over at the crowd in our way.

    I was confused about it too. Hadn’t I decimated them the night before? As I looked closer, I found a few familiar signs: one had a part of its head punched inwards, another had its arm torn off, and so on.

    “So they return to life after a while, huh… Well, here goes nothing.”

    I channeled mana into the ground, and a path of stalagmites emerged out of the ground. It took nearly all of my mana just to do that. Just as the stone was starting to retract, I jumped out of cover, heading for the opening. Shantae followed along just a second after.

    We barreled through the group of scarecrows, leaving them quickly in the dust. I was surprised to see that Shantae could keep up with me so easily; experience, maybe? Or did she have something like a ‘running’ or ‘parkour’ skill?

    I shook it off: there was no point in puzzling about it. That was just what it was. No more, no less.

    After a minute or so, when we were sure that the scarecrows hadn’t chased us, we slowed down. Shantae was the first to talk.

    “You really need to warn me before doing this stuff, you know. You can’t just shoot off on your own like that, if we’re supposed to work together.”

    I cringed slightly. “...My bad.”

    Shantae huffed, rubbing her brow with her index and thumb. “Just- just try to remember that.”

    Most of the other monsters we encountered were either handily defeated, or avoided altogether. I even got a new level out of it. I’d also taken to holding a stick always with me, Strengthening it the whole time, as I had enough MPR to keep it up indefinitely. Doing that for the whole trip granted me several levels in that spell.

    It took us about an hour to navigate the forest -thankfully Shantae seemed familiar with it- and we found ourselves in sight of a rather sizable… castle? Palace? Yeah, palace was a better word.

    It was one big palace.

    And along the road to the palace, we spotted Bolo. He seemed to be attempting to placate some… wait, were those zombie children?

    I nudged Shantae. “Are those children… undead?”

    “Uh-uh. I’ve seen zombies before, but not children.”

    I glanced towards Bolo again. “...Should we step in?”

    With a shrug that seemed more directed at herself than me, Shantae headed off to talk to Bolo. Leaving her to that, I instead chose to take a closer look at the palace.

    On the way, I stumbled upon an older man, perhaps in his late fifties or sixties, looking dejectedly at a drain on the road. Confused, I stepped closer.

    “Are you alright, sir?” I asked.

    The man looked up at me and straightened his hat. “Ah, don’t mind me young man. I’m rather flummoxed at the moment, as I just dropped something very important down that drain.” He then took a moment to fix his bowtie. “You see, I’m a traveling brochure salesman.”

    “I see…” I blinked. “Seems like an interesting profession.”

    He scoffed lightly. “Not as much as you would think. I just spend my days in front of the palace, selling brochures left and right. And it just so happens that I dropped my last vacation brochure down that drain!”

    “I’m sorry to hear that, sir… I will just leave you be, in that case.” I left, not allowing a chance for further discussion. I had better things to do than listen to a random old man rave on about how he doesn’t enjoy his life.

    After a moment I met up again with Shantae, who was heading pointedly towards… a gigantic red octopus. On land.

    “Nope, Not questioning it.”

    Once more, Shantae seemed to be familiar with this character. Thus, I saved myself the headache and left her to do the talking… had I defaulted to the role of a sidekick that easily?

    “Squid Baron? I haven’t seen you in a while. What’s the matter?”

    “I mean, we don’t have that much teamwork in a fight, so it’s not a case of Batman and Robin. So not a sidekick, maybe a follower of some kind?”

    “Oh, you know. Post Boss Syndrome. Now that you’ve embarked on a new adventure, I feel like I’m destined to become some kind of filler boss.”

    “I mean… followers don’t tend to fight alongside you. A party member maybe? Are we going to get more?”

    “I’m not sure I follow.”

    “You know, I was a major enemy last time, but this time… I just feel like we’re going to have to fight again- wait a moment. YOU HAVE A SIDEKICK?!”

    The shrill screech forced me to pay attention again, just in time to see the giant squid staring down at me.

    “What’s next? Are we changing genre, too?! Did this become an RPG all of a sudden?! Is that-" The squid kept raving in a while more about things and stuff. What I managed to piece together was that he believed the world to be a game of some kind…

    ...which wasn't entirely wrong, at least for me. So was he like me, or was he insane and it was all a big coincidence? I didn't know, didn't want to know, and wasn't going to find out.

    I grabbed a hold of the oversized calamari, and dragged it close to my face. “Look buddy,” I began. “I’ve been awake for not even four hours today, and I’ve already had to punch an oversized bat to death, lie to a friend, get through a horde of scarecrows, and then traverse a forest filled with whatever else. I’m not in the mood. I’m tired. I’m hungry. I’m functioning only thanks to an ungodly amount of rage. So do me a favour and shut the fuck up.”

    The squid seemed to shrink into itself the more I spoke.

    “Sorry,” it whispered, and scampered off as soon as I let go.

    [Through the imposition of your will over another’s, the skill “Intimidation” was created!]

    [Intimidation: LV 1 (50%)
    -Sometimes you just can’t see eye to eye with someone. There’s various ways to make them come around.
    -Chance of success equal to (LUK+Relevant Stat+Skill LV)-(Target’s WIS)]

    Shantae and I stood quietly for a moment. She was the first one to break the silence.

    “That… was a bit harsh. Are you ok?”

    I shrugged. “I’m not hungry. So,” I quickly changed the discussion “what did Bolo have to say?”

    “Well…” she tentatively started “...the zombie children aren’t planning to leave him alone unless they get to eat some flesh, and Bolo told me that there should be some flesh pops in the sewers, so… I guess that’s our next stop.”

    A beat passed.


    “I said-”

    “I heard what you said. Just- ah, forget it.”

    Back to our scheduled fanfiction.

    After the scare with the first gigantic worm, it wasn’t too difficult to start attacking them too. Admittedly, I really didn’t want to touch them, so I just used the water surrounding us to make a water-based Mana shot, aptly called Aqua shot. The only difference was a higher range and slightly increased damage. Not that it mattered much when I could one-shot those things easily.

    Traversing the damp tunnels was an experience that I’d rather not recount… also because there isn’t much to talk about. We walked around a bit - with me providing light with an underpowered Mana shot - neither really saying much, we found the flesh pops, and left. No reason to stay there.

    We approached Bolo, who was still trying to fend off the zombie children. I pulled out of my pocket three flesh pops - which looked like normal lollipops but tasted like raw meat - and whistled to grab the zombies’ attention.

    “Hey kids, want a flesh pop?”

    They all seemingly forgot about Bolo, and ran towards me. I jerked my hand out of their range before they could take any of the pops.

    “Now, before I give you any. You promise to leave my friend alone?”

    The three zombies whispered amongst themselves for a few moments; three quick nods gave me the ‘go ahead’. I let them take the lollipops, and watched as they scampered off.

    Bolo slumped down with a sigh of relief. Then stiffened up as he looked at me.

    “Uh… is something wrong?” I asked.

    “Nothing!” He quickly replied. “Nothing at all! Just ah… didn’t expect to see you out and about so early! You got knocked out just this morning!”

    I blinked. “This morning?” I looked up at the sky. It was, in fact, afternoon. “Huh… I thought for sure that it was at least yesterday…”

    Bolo whispered something, but when I turned around I only saw him looking anywhere other than me, with Shantae apparently minding her own business.

    “So… I owe you an apology, I guess…” he began, wringing his hands. “I said I was gonna keep an eye while you recovered, but well… here I am. Not where I said I’d be.”

    My only answer was a deadpan look.

    “I know, I’m sorry! But I had this job at the palace lined up since a week ago, I couldn’t just cancel it at the last moment…”

    I sighed, disappointed. “What the fuck, Bolo.”

    He winced, but before he could keep apologizing, I continued. “I would’ve been fine. There was no need for anyone to do anything after getting me in bed. Don’t apologize, blockhead.”

    The duo in front of me seemed baffled at my words, so much so that neither could muster a word. I looked between the two of them, confused.

    “What? Does it really sound that weird?”

    Bolo was the first to recover, surprisingly enough. “No, no, it’s not weird just… unexpected? I didn’t think you’d react like this.”

    I shrugged. “I’m a man of many faces. And I mean, I really have no reason to be angry about you having to choose your work above me. I don’t have that much of an ego.”

    We shared a short laugh, before he pulled out a key from his pocket. “Hey, Shantae told me you wanted to check out the royal library. Mind giving the guards this key for me? Some idiot probably lost it.”

    I stared at the key. There were bite marks all over, and- was that drool?

    “...where did you find this, exactly?”

    “In my mouth,” he answered, his grin not wavering one bit. He couldn’t have been serious.

    “Oh shit he’s serious.”

    Pretending to pull out of my own pocket a tissue, I wrapped it around the key. “Alright…” I said, trying to hide my grimace.

    “Well then,” he patted my shoulder. “I’ll get going. Thanks for the help guys! I’ll see you in Scuttle Town!” And with that, he left.

    We entered the palace, handing over the key to the guard closest to the gate. From what the guard said, they hadn’t been able to open it, as someone had come in to replace the lock but in the process the lock ended up upside down, inside out, and backwards in every possible way. I couldn’t even begin to wrap my head around it.

    Moving on from the non-euclidean lock, we navigated the palace for a few short minutes, reaching the royal library. There, we met a short old man. The librarian, most likely.

    “Oh, visitors!” He exclaimed joyfully. “Come here, let me get a good look at you!”

    We approached him.

    “Hmm… you’re a new face,” he muttered, looking at me. “But I remember you! The relic hunter’s daughter, right?”

    “Well, I mean… he’s my uncle,” replied Shantae.

    The old man gave a short laugh. “Can’t fool these old eyes! Oh, you used to come here so often,” he lamented. “What happened? And who’s this lad? Your boyfriend?”

    Shantae’s mouth refused to make any sound other than embarrassed sputters, forcing me to pick up the conversation. “No, sir. We’re not a couple. By the way, a friend told me I should speak to you about getting a library card for myself. Could you help with that?” I moved the discussion away from ‘us’.

    “Ho-ho!” He positively lit up. “I’m so glad to hear that the younger generation is still interested in some good old knowledge! You have no idea how many times I’ve had to hear ‘Books are boring’, or ‘I have better things to do’! It’s infuriating-”

    “Sir, the card?” I interrupted him.

    “-and then I… Oh, right.” He went over to a filing cabinet, and started rifling through some papers there.

    I nudged Shantae while that was going on, and whispered to her. “You go look for that map in the meantime.”

    With a quick nod, Shantae disappeared between the shelves.

    “Alright young’un, I just need you to fill out this form here.”

    “Ok, that should do it.”

    I was about to get the old man’s attention, when I saw Shantae returning, clutching some paper in her hand that I assumed was the map. I quickly had her pass it to me, and I shoved it in my inventory. I ignored her bewildered look, waving it off as ‘magic’... which wasn’t even a lie.

    It was a quick affair after that for me to get my card, and picking out several books I would find useful. Engineering, metallurgy, and on a whim I also took a book on botany. I had earth magic, so I might’ve been able to develop some plant and metal-based spells.

    I also picked up some random novel to keep up Shantae’s story… though I was still confused at why she was supposed to be under house arrest.

    Still, I went back to check out those books, when I found Shantae talking with the old man about something. I stood back to overhear.

    “...scissors… jigsaw… goat mouth…” The old man recoiled. “What!? They mean to cut off that long, winsome hair?”

    Shantae grimaced and nodded quietly. Taking it as an answer, the librarian continued.

    “No, that will never do. Why don’t I just-” he went to the cabinet, and shoved the document he was holding all the way inside, hidden under a pile of other documents. “-file this away until the Sultana returns.” He turned to look at Shantae again. “I’d give you a knowing wink, but my eyelids no longer work.”

    I struggled to hold my laughter after that last quip, while Shantae thanked the old man. I was absolutely going to ask what was up with that after. For the moment, though, I waited a few seconds before showing myself.

    “Alright, I’ve got all the books I needed.”

    The librarian wrote down all the books I took, and then sent us on our way.

    When we were finally out of sight from everybody else, I shoved all the books in my inventory. And this time, Shantae didn’t just ignore it.

    “Alright, how are you doing that? And don’t say ‘magic’, I want a real answer.”

    I huffed. “Fine, fine. It’s a supernatural phenomenon that occurs according to my will.”


    “It’s magic.”

    Her only answer was a long, suffering sigh.

    I did chuckle a bit at her reaction, not going to lie. “I mean… I can’t tell you how this works specifically, but I could teach you some other kinds of magic.”

    She blinked. “Really?”

    “Yep. Why not?” I shrugged. “Might take a while, but it would be useful.”

    With a smile, she gave me a firm nod.

    “Well? What took you two so long?” Risky Boots yelled.

    Shantae went to speak, but this time I wasn’t going to sit down and take that attitude.

    “We went to get you your stupid map, that’s what! And what did you do in the meantime? Sat on your ass, doing fuck-all, from what I can see. So how about you lay off the shitty attitude you’ve got there, ey?” I walked straight to her, stopping only with a couple of inches between our eyes.

    “Wha- how dare you?!”

    “How dare I? You’ve got no right to say that, you ungrateful bitch! We’ve been running around to help you, least you could do is show some fucking respect!”

    Shantae got between us before we could start tearing into each other.

    “Alright, that’s enough! Sequin land is in danger, so we need to work together on this! That means, stop arguing!”

    A moment passed. I stepped back, and took a deep breath. Then, I pulled out the map from my inventory - pretending to fish it out from behind myself - and lobbed it at Risky’s head.

    “There’s your map.”

    We still glared at each other, when Shantae tried to divert the conversation. “So… can we help?”

    Ricky clicked her tongue. “Only if you do what I say, when I say it. Pirate Master is my enemy to deal with, not yours.”

    Shantae snapped into a salute. “Aye-aye, captain! ...I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

    “...Me neither,” Risky mused. “Still, after this we’re going on our separate ways- what are you still here for?!” She yelled, realizing I was still there.

    “I’m coming with. Though it was obvious.” Once again, I had to stop myself from cracking up: she looked downright offended when I said that.

    “Absolutely not! I can barely bear the thought of having this half-genie brat on my ship, let alone you as well! And why would I even need you, anyways? You’re just some random imbecile!”

    “...A random imbecile strong enough to bend iron,” I bluffed. I might’ve been able to do so if I used every single buff I had, but I wasn’t very fond of that idea. “Also,” I continued, “This ‘Pirate Master’ fella isn’t only your problem, no matter how you spin it. He’s a problem for all of Sequin Land, and I’m one of the idiots who lives in it!”

    Clutching the map, Risky turned away from us and walked back up on her ship. “Be here at sunrise, or I’m leaving you behind!”

    I shrugged and left, no reason to stay anymore.

    As I walked away, a notification greeted me.

    [Rage leveled up!]

    “...shit, I didn’t feel it activate.”

    I had one night before leaving. It was time for some heavy training.

    FIrstly, I molded some rock to attach itself to my wrists, ankles, and torso, gaining the Shape Earth spell. Then, with the increased weight I proceeded to practice my Brawling and Bash on some rocks on the beach, increasing my Blunt resistance, Reinforcement, and new Slash resistance alongside the aforementioned skills.

    After several hours’ worth of that, along with a lot of breaks to Meditate, I moved on to my books. Counting my boosts, my INT was 38, allowing me to understand things much faster than back when I’d started learning physics. It wasn’t enough to learn who knows how much, but it was definitely faster.

    With only a couple of hours left in the night, I created the Shadow bind spell, training with it for a while, until I was sure that nothing short of a monster would be able to rip through it. And lastly, I worked on my LUK, as it severely needed an upgrade.

    At the first light of dawn, I took a deep breath. I wasn’t all-powerful. But I was stronger. And that would have to be enough.

    [Name: Trevor Karlson
    Title: The Gamer
    LV: 19 (4.2%)
    HP: 350/350 (+38/min)
    MP: 460/460 (+29/min)

    STR: 31 (+12.75%) [35]
    VIT: 33 (+15%) [38]
    DEX: 35 (+8.75%) [38]
    INT: 33 (+40%) [46]
    WIS: 20 (+43.5%) [29]
    LUK: 17

    Stat points: 57]

    I grimaced, looking at the WIS stat. The stat with the highest bonus, and yet it was my second-lowest. I had no real idea of how to increase it…

    With a sigh, I dumped ten points into it. My head felt as if it was on fire for a few minutes, neurons re-aligning and new connections being made.

    Finally, it stopped. And I felt good. Great, even.

    Now, I was ready.
  22. Extras: Character sheet

    Alien-Kun I shall sing the song of my people. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Oct 9, 2020
    Likes Received:
    Name: Trevor Karlson
    Title: The Gamer
    LV: 21 (39.46%)
    HP: 370/370 (+44/min)
    MP: 520/520 (+43/min)

    STR: 33 (+12.75%) [37]
    VIT: 34 (+28.5%) [44]
    DEX: 35 (+13.25%) [40]
    INT: 36 (+45.5%) [52]
    WIS: 30 (+44%) [43]
    LUK: 21

    Stat points: 57

    Enhanced shot: LV 1
    -A spell to increase the power behind a firearm's bullet.
    -Element: none
    -30 MP cost
    -Weapon's damage +INT+Skill LV
    -99% of damage dealt is returned to your weapon

    Mage hand: LV 32
    -An ethereal hand made of mana.
    -Cost: 5 MP/sec/hand
    -Hand has STR and DEX equal to: INT+Skill LV
    -Can create an extra hand every 10 levels in this skill
    -Current maximum hands: 4

    Mana shot: LV 12
    -A blast of concentrated mana.
    -Element: none
    -Max range: 10 meters.
    -10 MP cost
    -INT+10+(half lv) damage

    Reinforcement: LV 30
    -A spell to enhance the user's body.
    -Element: none
    -50 MP/minute cost
    -Increases STR, VIT and DEX by 30%

    Scattershot: LV 5
    -Resistance to physical damage? A thing of the past.
    -Element: none
    -10 MP/hit
    -Your punches deal piercing damage equal to STR+(INT/2)+Skill LV
    Aqua shot: LV 4
    -A concentrated ball of water is thrown at the enemy.
    -Element: water
    -Max range: 15 meters
    -15 MP cost
    -INT+15+(half lv) damage

    Shape water: LV 18
    -A spell made to bend the water to the user's will.
    -Water moved is 18% stronger
    Shape earth: LV 3
    -A spell made to bend the ground to the user's will.
    -Earth moved is 3% stronger

    Stalagmite: LV 17
    -A spell to create a spike of stone from the ground.
    -Element: earth
    -25 MP cost
    -INT+15+(half lv) damage

    Stone shot: LV 1
    -A spell to magically empower the impact and speed of a thrown rock.
    -Element: Earth
    -15 MP cost
    -DEX+(INT/2)+(half lv) damage

    Strengthen: LV 13
    -A spell made to increase an item's structural integrity.
    -Element: earth
    -20 MP/minute cost
    -Increases an item's durability by 26%
    Shadow bind: LV 8
    -A spell made to restrain a target through their own shadow.
    -STR needed to escape: (Skill LV/2)+INT
    Bash: LV 22
    -Heavy hit, full force
    -Increases damage dealt by 50%
    -39% of damage dealt is returned to your weapon
    -35 MP cost

    Brawling: LV 23
    -Unrefined moves, but you can kick ass anyway.
    -Increases STR and DEX by 5.75%

    Improvised combat: LV 3
    -Anything can be a weapon if you’re smart about it!
    -Increase damage dealt with improvised weapons by 3%
    -Passively increases WIS, STR and DEX by 1.5%

    Marksman: LV 6
    -Guns don’t kill people. You can, though.
    -Increases firearm accuracy by 6%
    -Passively increases DEX by 3%

    Multi-Hit: LV 11
    -One punch doesn’t always do the trick. What about two?
    -11% chance to treat one melee attack as two separate hits
    -Passively increases STR by 5,5%
    Botany: LV 8
    -Nature is a staple of the world. Knowing it is the first step.
    -User's understanding of the discipline: 8%
    -Passively increases INT by 4%

    Engineering: LV 20
    -The bridge between knowing how something works, and making it work.
    -User's understanding of the discipline: 20%
    -Passively increases INT by 10%

    Mana control: LV 34
    -The first step towards mastery of magic.
    -User's control over their mana: 34%
    -User's magic damage increases by 17%

    Metallurgy: LV 11
    -The process of extracting and refining metal from ore. Mix and Match, the metal is clay between your hands.
    -Can only create Common items
    -User's understanding of the discipline: 11%
    -Passively increases INT by 5.5%

    Physics: LV 31
    -The world is a machine. Time to hijack it!
    -User's understanding of the discipline: 31%
    -Passively increases INT by 15.5%
    Blunt Resistance: LV 24
    -Face impassive, will unshaken.
    -Passively lowers blunt damage taken by 24%
    -Passively increases VIT by 12%

    Fire resistance: LV 2
    -Through the fire and the flames we carry on.
    -Passively lowers fire damage taken by 2%
    -Passively increases VIT by 1%

    Poison resistance: LV 27
    -Yes, alcohol counts too.
    -Passively lowers effects of poisons by 27%
    -Passively increases VIT by 13.5%

    Slash resistance: LV 4
    -Say no to slashing. Your enemy can't legally slash you without your consent.
    -Passively lowers slashing damage taken by 4%
    -Passively increases VIT by 2%
    Analyze: LV 21
    -If you know yourself and your enemy, you shall win every battle.
    -User gains knowledge on the target. Can analyze targets of level equal or less than 10+User's LV+Skill's LV
    -User can see status effects
    -5 MP cost
    -Increases INT and WIS by 10.5%

    Bullshitting: LV 2
    -The not-so-noble art of sprinkling lies and half-truths in what you say, to make people believe what you want.
    -Chance of success equal to (INT+LUK+Skill LV)-(Target’s WIS)

    Intimidation: LV 1
    -Sometimes you just can’t see eye to eye with someone. There’s various ways to make them come around.
    -Chance of success equal to (LUK+Relevant Stat+Skill LV)-(Target’s WIS)

    Meditate: LV 64
    -The way to the truth is within.
    -Increases HP and MP regen by 320%
    -Passively increase WIS by 32%

    Rage: LV 9
    -Channel your fury to a destructive end.
    -Increases STR, VIT and DEX by 9% when active
    -Lowers INT and WIS by 4.5% when active

    Sneak: LV 3
    -Shut your mouth and watch where you're going.
    -Passively lowers noise you create by 3%
    -Passively increases DEX by 3%

    Fire: Null
    Air: Null
    Water: Low
    Earth: Low
    Light: Null
    Dark: Minimal
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
  23. Index: Chapter 5

    Alien-Kun I shall sing the song of my people. AAAAAAAAAAAAAA

    Oct 9, 2020
    Likes Received:
    [New quest: No more pirates
    Objective 1: Kill the Pirate Master
    Objective 2: End all other pirates in Sequin Land
    Hidden objective 1: ?
    Hidden objective 2, option 1: ?
    Hidden objective 2, option 2: ?

    Reward: +50.000 XP, new title, True Cleanse
    Bonus reward 1: +25.000 XP, ?
    Bonus reward 2: +40.000 XP, title change, new Trait]

    [Warning: some objectives can present themselves as options rather than a clear-cut objective. Those options tend to always fall on completely opposite sides, therefore it is suggested to not attempt the completion of both.]

    That… was a thing. That I was seeing. By all means, I wasn’t a fan of Risky – or the concept of being a pirate in general – but ending all of them… Nevermind the fact that the quest appeared out of nowhere in the first place.

    “Pretty tall order, innit? And what’s ‘end’ supposed to mean? Eh, guess I could give them a chance to get a better life.” I paused. “Hold the phone there. Why am I even planning for this? By the looks of all that XP, along with whatever this ‘True Cleanse’ is, that’s one helluva high-level quest. I should just concentrate on the here and now.”

    And as I concentrated back on the present, I realized why I had retreated into my thoughts earlier: there wasn’t a thing for me to do. Seriously. Risky Boots – whom I shall refer to as RB henceforth because I’m lazy – was perfectly able to ‘drive’, or whatever the term was, a ship on her own. No extra help required.

    I’d tried to real a bit more about Engineering – something I had begun to enjoy greatly – and got a couple more levels in it, but even that got stale after a while. Sure, maybe some magical practice could’ve been nice, but I didn’t feel like revealing all my cards to RB just yet. I’d just play the ‘really strong bastard’ act.

    Whenever my rage didn’t get the best of me and actually turned me into a really strong bastard.

    Well, maybe some meditation could help. At least I could keep leveling that and Reinforcement.

    I sat down with my back against the railing.

    I can’t see. No, I can see the ceiling and the floor. But I can’t see it. It sees me. It is here. It touches me.

    Mind. Burn. Peace. Pain. Joy. Screams. Music.

    Dlairgkht fhierlle pperoepyle kcnohwleadogse eevenrtyrtohipnyg



    I physically recoiled in shock at the vision. It had been a few days since I’d last had one, and I’d thought that I wasn’t going to see anything more from… whatever than incident was. And yet, I’d just had one. Possibly worse than the first one, but I wasn’t in the best mental state to compare them.

    I took a few deep breaths to calm myself again.

    [Trait updated!]
    [Soul tether (low)
    A link between your innermost self and another being
    - The tether is connected to ?, who created it when it touched your mind and soul after a ? of which you were the catalyst.
    - Allows ? to ? and ? you.]

    ‘Touched my mind and soul’ sounded about right. That one single moment felt like an eternity, where I’d experienced everything at once: from the highest joys to the worst suffering, in that one moment everything that could be was. And I was there, feeling all that was.

    I… whatever it was… I really didn’t want to see it again…

    “I’m fine. I’m fine now. I just need to do something else. Anything.”

    I tried to read up on engineering more, but I just couldn’t concentrate. Maybe… maybe making a new skill would work. But what?

    I spotted a random length of rope just lying around close to me. I was on a ship… in the ocean…fish… I was going to make a net with the rope. Maybe I’d be able to catch some fish while at it, too.

    No one said anything as I picked up the rope and methodically tied it over and over again, cutting it with a knife… that I may or may not have borrowed from Mimic… Anyways, I let my hands work on their own after a certain point, enjoying the repetitive work. At one point Shantae planted herself next to me and watched me work, probably bored out of her mind just as I was.

    It took several hours of work, but I managed to make a serviceable net.

    [Crafting: LV 3 (38%)
    -The noble art of mashing things together to make another thing.
    -Quality of created item dependent on INT, DEX, and skill level]

    I hoisted the net over my shoulder, and headed to the back of the ship. RB gave me a puzzled look but opted to say nothing, and I responded in kind while throwing the net overboard. I held onto the rope at the end of the net as it dragged behind us, and settled for waiting…

    Though, no one was really looking at me…

    While I did have a ‘Water Spout’ spell, I didn’t have anything to freely manipulate water like ‘Shape Earth’. Therefore, I set onto creating such a spell and working on it.

    [‘Shape Water’ has been created]
    [‘Water Spout’ has been assimilated by ‘Shape Water’]
    [‘Shape Water’ leveled up *7]
    [STR +1]
    [‘Reinforcement’ leveled up]
    [‘Shape Water’ leveled up *3]
    [‘Reinforcement’ leveled up]
    [VIT +1]
    [‘Shape Water’ leveled up *5]
    [‘Reinforcement’ leveled up]
    [STR +1]

    Some fiddling with the System revealed a ‘notification log’ option, and to be honest? I preferred that over having the dang things pop up in front of me and distracting me every time.
    I *did* gather quite the number of fishes through the net, though instead of simply hauling them up on the ship – and having them stink up the place – I stuck them in the inventory with the net, then pulled out the net again and pretended to have let the fish go instead.

    RB looked even more puzzled than before.

    “Why… what was even the point of that?”

    I shrugged. “None really. Wanted to see if the net worked. It does. If you ever decide to take up fishing as a job say the word.”

    The only answer I got was a twitching eyelid on her part, and the very distinct sound of teeth grinding against each other.


    The sea was almost indistinguishable from the sky, the black waves rising with the heavy wind and melting into the cloudy night sky, battering at the sides of the ship. Unsure whether a storm was brewing, RB had decided to lower the anchor for a while and settle down for the night.

    Both her and Shantae were asleep at that point, so I was able to sneak by them rather quickly – even earning myself a skill for it. Why only now? I had no idea. Maybe it was the fact that I was specifically concentrating on doing it.

    Nonetheless. Better late than never.

    The waves weren’t tall enough to flood the deck, so I was free to sit there and meditate while trying to multitask and level more skills at once. The waves got deflected, air affinity was being developed, body was being reinforced, my net was being strengthened, and mana control rose as a byproduct of that absolute mess.

    It lasted for a bit less than an hour, then things went tits up.

    The ship lurched up, the crashing of the waves covered by the sound of something leaving the water.

    Something big.

    Tentacles sprouted out of the sea, and wrapped around the ship. They looked like pale columns, promising only pain.

    [Name: Serewai
    Title: Toxin Kraken
    LV: 51
    HP: 2.700/2.700
    MP: 130/130 (locked)
    STR: 54
    VIT: 34
    DEX: 22
    INT: 13
    WIS: 69
    LUK: 69
    Thoughts about you: Doesn’t know you, but didn’t appreciate being woken up.
    Emotions: Annoyed and groggy.]

    My mind glanced over the information, taking in the important things. “Poison, strong, tired. Lots of health for some reason. Be quick, don’t get touched, think later.” And with that, I shot off.

    As I didn’t know where exactly the poison glans would be located on a kraken – though I suspected it was near the suction cups – I opted to keep my distance and shoot. My remaining rifle finally got some use as I whipped it out and dealt out burning-hot pain on the kraken’s tentacles.

    Unfortunately, I’d neglected to work on my marksmanship, as more than half of my shots missed or were dodged. Still, those that did hit dealt some significant damage, one of the attacks even dealing a ‘Critical hit’.

    The rifle finished its bullets, and I returned it to the inventory. I coated my hands in mana – a trick I came up with that day – and dashed to the closest tentacle. I jumped up, and Bashed as I fell. Part of the mana left my hand and burst into the tentacle like shrapnel. My hand stung, but I pushed through it and continued punching.

    One of the tentacles swung at me, and I barely had the time to dodge under it.

    That was when Shantae and RB made themselves known.

    “What in the blazes have you done?!” Screeched the pirate banshee.

    “Currently keeping-” I ducked under another swing “-keeping the ship from being demolished!” I blasted one of the tentacles with a Mana Shot.

    The kraken seemed to have had enough of us, as all the visible tentacles began to constrict around the ship. The sound of wood snapping arose from all around us.

    I turned back to the two. “You two try to hold back the tentacles! I’ll try to force it away from us!” I yelled, and without waiting for a response I shot off into the sea.

    Mana Shot at the ready to shed some light, I swam down. I could barely see where the tentacles met the body, so I aimed for it and let loose however many blasts I could spare. A roar shook the water around me, and I barely had time to realize what was going on before I saw a tentacle barreling towards me. I tried to push myself out of the way with Shape Water, but I got nicked anyways. I went spinning away, my left arm numb under the searing pain coursing through it.

    My chest burned from the lack of air. I couldn’t move, every small movement bringing waves of agony. In the corner of my eye I could see my HP ticking away very quickly.

    Was that it? It couldn’t be, right? I could still push myself out of the water with magic, right?

    [MP: 13/470]

    Definitely not enough. I had to move.

    But my body was not moving in the slightest, the pain and the lack of oxygen addling my mind. A pair of glowing yellow eyes peered down at me from the darkness. Then, a set of explosions came from the surface and something whizzed by me, headed towards the kraken. It gave a low warble in what I assumed to be anger, and it finally disentangled itself from the ship.

    “That’s it… I’m still fucked though. I suppose there’s not much I can do about it now…” Just to satisfy my curiosity, I Analyzed the kraken again.

    Thoughts about you: You might’ve been fun to play with.
    Emotions: Annoyance, pain, mild regret.

    As I allowed my body and mind to drift, sinking into unconsciousness, I barely registered the flash of purple above me.

    Waking up from unconsciousness was becoming and being greeted by pain was starting to be an unpleasant constant in my life. I found myself back in my cabin on the ship, somehow. How had I survived?

    As there was no one around me, I hoped that the notification log had some clues.

    [Quest added: “Terrors of the deep”]
    [‘Marksman’ leveled up *3]
    [‘Scattershot’ leveled up *5]
    [Status inflicted: “Heavy neurotoxin”]
    [‘Poison resistance’ has been created]
    [Boss encounter survived: +1.600 EXP]
    [HP low! Seek healing!]
    [‘Poison resistance’ leveled up *17]
    [Flaw inflicted: “Crippled limb”]
    [“Heavy neurotoxin” flaw changed to “Neurotoxin remnants”]

    [Quest complete: Terrors of the deep
    Objective: Survive the kraken’s attack (OK)
    Hidden objective: Kill the kraken (X)
    Reward: +3.000 EXP, random skill
    Hidden reward: X]

    [You leveled up *2]
    [‘Poison resistance’ leveled up *6]
    [“Neurotoxin remnants” status changed to “Neurotoxin aftereffects”]
    [“Crippled limb” flaw changed to “Lost limb”]

    I sighed after going through the log. Apparently the kraken’s arrival had triggered a quest that I hadn’t seen, and it proved to be my savior as the level ups gave me the extra health needed for the “poison resistance” skill to become strong enough to help me survive…

    I’d gotten way too close to death again.

    Why was I so calm about it? I’d almost died! Again to boot! I should’ve been panicking, or crying in joy, or something!

    “But that wouldn’t help, would it?” I thought suddenly. That was right. It happened, and I couldn’t change the past. All I could do was stop getting gung-ho about hiding myself, and actually train like my life depended on it. Not like hiding was going to help: Shantae knew, and now RB saw what I could do, or at least a part of it. So long as I didn’t reveal everything, I would be fine.

    A blinking exclamation mark in the upper left corner of my vision grabbed my attention. Once I paid attention to it it disappeared, a window taking its place.

    [Congratulation on reaching level 20! Affinity fusions are now available.
    You will now obtain a new Affinity Slot every 10 levels (you get one now). Choose two affinities of Mediocre tier or above, their combination will appear in the new slot.]

    Well that opened some interesting avenues. Water was probably the easiest one to grind at the moment, then when we would reach land I would go for Earth. After that… I’d see when I got there. I also needed to work on my body and LUK. I needed to increase my LUK a lot, in fact.

    While I was stuck in my planning, I didn’t register the door opening. What I did register was the finger poking my cheek.

    “Trevoooor, anyone home?” Singsonged the half-genie.

    I slowly blinked. “No one is currently available. Leave a message after the beep.” A pause. “Beep.”

    Shantae stifled a laugh. “Well if you’re up for cracking jokes you should be feeling much better now.” Her laughter left just as quickly as it arrived. “But we seriously need to talk.”

    A deeper sigh left me. This wasn’t going to be good. “Alright,” I began. “I’m listening.”

    “You almost got killed.”

    “Yeah,” I conceded.



    “Because you threw yourself into danger without a solid plan.”

    “I suppose so. But I did survive in the end.”

    “Only because I dived down to get you out! What if you were alone?!”

    “Then I would’ve run. Or died. Fifty-fifty chance. But we’re alive, no?” I sat up. “And I know that I can avoid something like this from happening again. I can be strong enough.” I went to grab Shantae’s shoulders…

    I froze.

    Why did I only lift one arm?

    I looked down to my left arm… or where it was supposed to be. The only thing left was my shoulder and a small, heavily bandaged stump.

    “What… where’s my arm?” I whispered, my breathing growing heavier the more I looked at what remained of my arm.

    “Well I, uh... We- you got poisoned, and it- you- it was bleeding, and- and black, and it looked painful, and-”

    “And it was going to kill you if we didn’t remove it.”

    Somewhere in the back of my mind I registered that someone else had entered the room, but I paid no mind to it. My gaze remained transfixed on where my arm was supposed to be.

    I’d lost my arm… I got so careless that it cost me my arm… Didn’t the log say something about a ‘crippled limb’? Heh, I had it coming for me…

    Shantae was trying her best to comfort Trevor, though she really didn’t expect him to grab his stump and start chuckling. Chuckles that grew into full-blown laughing. She had no idea what to do, or what was going on, even. Though, she was pretty sure that this was not normal.

    Without any better options, and with Risky having already left the room when Trevor started laughing, she had to resort to the only thing she could do. So she hugged him. Within a couple of seconds, the laughter turned into sobs.

    She felt his arm wrap around her back, holding her tighter than she’d expected out of someone who’d just woken up from comatose state. She settled in for a long wait.

    -[The morning after…]-
    I woke up. My eyes ached for some reason. I attempted to rub my eyes, but… why couldn’t I…

    “Oh. I wasn’t dreaming.”

    I remained lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling. No laughter, no tears, no… nothing. At least now I could think clearly, though I did wonder why. I wasn’t emotionally drained as far as I could tell, this… it was as if I were looking at a mildly interesting film just because there was nothing better on TV. But why…

    [User’s emotional status has reached critical levels. Emotional suppression in effect. Current emotional capacity: 10%]
    [‘Rage’ skill temporarily locked]


    At most I could only feel a bit of annoyance. Made sense if the system had locked up my emotions.

    But maybe it wasn’t all that bad? I could make it work. Low emotions would mean that I’d spend less time worrying and more time actually trying to grow stronger. I’d been taking it too easy. And even if I did show my magic, so what? I was already strong enough to break every single bone in RB’s body. I’d been stupid and afraid. The faster I became strong, the faster I’d have nothing to worry about.

    It was so simple. And the first step to be strong, well… was allies. Shantae was already on my side, so all I needed to do was to make her a force to be reckoned with. And since I could teach her magic, that wouldn’t be an issue.

    I marched out of the room, headed directly for the deck. As expected, both women were there.

    Now, it was only a matter of convincing Shantae to let me teach her my style of magic.

    “Alright, now just try to concentrate. I’ll try to speed up the process a bit with my own magic. Tell me when you can feel it.”

    While Shantae was meditating, I carefully pushed some of my mana into her, slowly increasing the amount as seconds passed without an answer.

    “I think I’ve got it now,” she whispered.

    I retracted my mana, allowing her to try feeling out her own. It took several attempts, but after a good while Shantae managed to produce a soft golden glow around herself. With some trial and error, we found out that her affinities were fire and air.

    “You’re doing great. Now, the key to flinging magic around is practice. I suggest practicing with air for now, though.” We both grinned, albeit mine might’ve looked a bit forced. “When we get back to land, we can work on your fire magic.”

    I then let the girl do her own thing while I observed.

    It had been… easy. So easy, to convince her. She was probably pitying my current situation, and doing her best to ‘cheer me up’. Not that I particularly minded. I’d had time to think over what happened, and I could see that the fault was mine for putting myself in that situation in the first place.

    Now, magic was going to be probably my strongest suit until I got a new arm – and I would, even if I had to build it myself – so I needed both a way to deal with my arm loss in the short term, and to make it always viable. Which meant, well…

    [Mage hand: LV 1 (0%)
    -An ethereal hand made of mana.
    -Cost: 5 MP/sec/hand
    -Hand has STR and DEX equal to: INT+Skill LV
    -Can create an extra hand every 10 levels in this skill
    -Current maximum hands: 1]

    The hand I could create had a bit less DEX than my normal hand, but that would be fixed soon. For the moment, I decided to study up on engineering while using the mage hand to hold up the book.

    The effort of using that spell for everything made it increase in level far faster than anything I’d seen before, skyrocketing up to level 32 by the time we finally reached our destination. An island full of vegetation was on the horizon, the first stop on our travels.

    It's shorter than the other chapters? Yeah. It's been a long time? Absolutely. I've been concentrating on school for a while, I have exams really soon... life happens. Let's move on.
  24. Epitome of Eccentricity

    Epitome of Eccentricity Failed GM

    Apr 24, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Personally, I think the arm thing is stupid.
    Shivam Singh likes this.
  25. zagan

    zagan I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Jul 6, 2015
    Likes Received:
    I'm a little confused by the fact that both Shantea and the character himself are blaming the character for attacking the Kraken. But the Kraken was attacking the boat, what was he supposed to do ? The stupid thing might be going into the water against an aquatic predator but even that can be understandable because the Kraken was trying the crush the boat at this point.
    Still it was a nice chapter and I can't wait for the next one.