Chapter 14) Maybe I can resist eating 12 donuts in 30 minutes now.

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

I slept in until 1 PM, almost 10 hours of good solid sleep. I would have slept more but the dog deciding to lay down across my throat messed that up. On the plus side I felt a lot more relaxed and refreshed from sleeping in, after I stopped choking.

First things were first, took the dog out, made breakfast, caught up on some web novels, gained my first headache of the day so I could start it properly.

Through use of the skill {English} it has reached Beginner level.
{English} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 2.7%.
You have gained 0.5 Wisdom.
You have gained 1 Mental Stamina.
You have gained 5 EXP.

The last line of that window helped answer part of the question on where the 1975 EXP came from. A new skill was 50 EXP and leveling up one was 5 EXP. Since I had 1980 EXP now all I needed was to level up 4 skills or gain one new one.

As far as grinding stats go though it seemed far more productive to gain new skills and grind them up to Intermediate where the growth slowed. In terms of survival getting skills to Grandmaster seemed the most important but the help on both Master level skills showed Grandmaster needing 20 Willpower to use the full effect. And finally in terms of fighting I needed to level up some combat skills.

A week before I’d thought that Stealth > Evasion > Escape > Fighting > Talking. Now that I’d learned a bit more about how my power works I really needed to rethink the basics.

I grabbed my notes and looked through them.

{Sneaking} and {Hiding} were both Advanced and steadily improving. I hadn’t found any kind of {Camouflage} or {Cover} skill, but I hadn’t really tried either. {Hiding} seemed fairly powerful at picking spots where I couldn’t be seen. The idea of {Camouflage} seemed to be that you might be seen but you wouldn’t be recognized as human because you broke up the shape of your body. {Hiding} would tell me to hide behind a bush where I couldn’t be seen, but {Camouflage} would put me in the bush where I could see them but they wouldn’t realize I was there.

In my head it flip-flopped back and forth between being a skill or an ability. Or it could be both, the skill of recognizing and applying camouflage to myself, and the ability to change my skin to match the surroundings.

Unfortunately I still had no real clue how to gain abilities. {Regeneration} wasn’t anything I had planned.

Which left the option of going across town and picking up some camouflage sticks or clothing and finding a good spot to test it against passerby’s eyes. It was worth testing if I could find the time.

I’d gained some of the Evasion skills like {Running}, {Jumping}, and {Climbing}. They were far from maxed out but they had saved my ass on Thursday.

I had absolutely no Escape skills or abilities. Unless dislocating or smashing my wrists to get out of straightjackets/handcuffs counted. Since in theory I’d heal fast if {Regeneration} kept leveling.

For fighting skills I had gained 3 but it wasn’t easy to level them. {Dodging} might be possible if I joined the dodge ball league in town but that only ran a couple months in the winter. About the only combat in town was bar fights and at a fairly large number of martial arts clubs.

Beating drunks up, or worse yet losing to drunks, wasn’t an option.

The trouble with joining a dojo was that it would make me stand out way too much. Considering how fast skills go I’d go from clumsy to half-decent in a single day. I’d still be no threat to experienced members but it would be noticeable. If I could get the first couple levels done then it wouldn’t be a problem. Intermediate and above are slower and I could pretend I was shaking off some rust in my skills for a bit.

The only thing I could think of was going on Craigslist or similar sites and paying for practice partners. If I trained only once or twice with any particular person they shouldn’t be too suspicious. The only question is how many hits I’d get in a city of 50k. How many skilled teachers or practice partners were posting ads? Or would check regularly for people who posted ads wanting help? It was worth a shot to search and post and ad later.

The last section of my survival notes was Talking. I’d picked up {Acting} and several languages. {Persuasion}, {Bribery}, and {Threaten} were other potential skills I’d thought of from games. {Persuasion} seemed the most likely to not get me slapped or punched if I tried them on coworkers so I picked that for my short list.

So I made a new, updated list. In the first section was three points. To try and gain a {Persuasion} skill. Try and find a training partner for combat skills. And consider going to buy some camouflage stuff.

The second section was thoughts on creating and grinding skills just to get stats. I started trying to list things I could do that wouldn’t take long to create, wouldn’t cost much, and would be easy to practice for a couple levels.

Obviously languages was the simplest. There were multiple books at the library that qualified to gain the skills from. And thousands of language lessons on YouTube to watch. I also had collected audio lessons for French and Japanese over the years that could help. All that would get me some Intelligence, Wisdom and Mental Stamina.

Unfortunately it wouldn’t help much with someone trying to punt my nuts up through my skull.

For physical stats I needed physical skills. I could grind the ones I had but one obvious one came to mind, {Biking}. I could get that in a few minutes likely and there was the paved Paceway plus tons of mountain bike trails around the city.

I tried thinking of a few more physical skills but mainly sports came to mind. That didn’t feel helpful at first, I mean I knew running around an Ultimate Frisbee field would increase {Running} but not as much as running trails.

Until I realized that there’s likely {Kicking}, {Throwing} skills. And those I could do anywhere. Hell I couldn’t really do {Unarmed Throwing} without someone, but I could try {Unarmed Strikes} on some mats if I stood them against a wall at work. In theory I could likely do something similar with a knife at home. By hanging a plastic bag from a ceiling fan I could use it as a target even if I didn’t plan to carry a knife around it would be nice to get a level or two in it for stats.

The final section of the notes I made was a list of skills to raise as soon as possible. {Acting}, {English}, {French}, {Identification}, {Russian} were all skills I should be able to level one or two ranks at home. Though I’d likely need some type of script for {Acting}. I should be able to find a few monologue scripts somewhere, Shakespeare’s works if need be. I’d never thought I’d be standing in front of a mirror seriously saying “To be or not to be”.

There was still a lot of unknowns but after a few hours I’d thought through enough ideas to fill my days for weeks.

I needed to prepare before construction dude came back, or house burner found me.

It was almost 3pm, the libraries closing time, by the time I’d sorted all that out on paper. I still hadn’t absorbed the {Japanese} skill but I ran to the library, dropped off the English and French books, and picked up the first 5 language books I could find since it was almost closed.

I brought back books that reacted to my hand on Arabic, Dutch, German, Mandarin, and Spanish. There were books on Hindi, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, and a few others but I couldn’t grab too many at once.

When I got home I absorbed the book from yesterday.

Due to your actions you have gained a Skill.
The skill {Japanese} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.0%, has been created.
You have gained 1 Intelligence.
You have gained 1 Mental Stamina.
You have gained 50 EXP.

As soon as that faded I got the second expected window.

You have reached Level 2.
The languages window has been unlocked.

I stared at that second line until it faded. It seemed to confirm something I’d felt in the back of my mind.

My power was adapting to my ideas on how it worked. There were likely limits at the start when it was weak but if I concentrated on Languages it would make a new window for it. I couldn’t be sure still but the timing was suspicious.

“Languages window”

{English} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 46.8%.
{French} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.0%.
{Japanese} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.0%.
{Russian} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.1%.

English was already leveling just from writing my notes and rereading them it seemed. I had a couple hours before to setup my phone with audio lessons to listen to at work. But before that.

“Character Window”

Class None
Level 2
EXP 2030
Next Level EXP 4000
Title
Agility 16/16
Hand-Eye 9/9
Intelligence 26/27
Luck 6/6
Mental Stamina 27/47
Physical Stamina 24/24
Strength 21/21
Vitality 19/19
Wisdom 19/19.5
Titles available
Slightly Masochistic, Not So Slightly Masochistic, Moderately Masochistic

The jump in required EXP for the next level was somewhat expected but still annoying. It would take a while to reach level 3.

27 Mental Stamina was more than enough to level each skill a couple times so it was mostly dependent how long I needed to listen to the audio files to level up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I finished my shift around 11pm there was one surprise and a few level up’s.

The surprise was that when the first skill leveled up, {English} hitting Intermediate, I got a 2nd window.

You have reached 20 Willpower.
A bonus of +1 has been applied to your Wisdom.
You can now see an advanced stat.

The Advanced stat window only showed Willpower.

Willpower 19.75/20

{Sneaking} and {Hiding} both got a bit of EXP while {English} had reached Intermediate just from talking with coworkers. {French} and {Russian} hit Beginner before the shift was over. For a cost of 9 temporary Mental Stamina I gained a permanent 1.5 Wisdom, 3 Mental Stamina, and 15xp.

Another mild surprise was that when I gained two 0.5 increases, 1 point total, in Wisdom I gained another 0.25 in Willpower.

From what I could tell I needed to learn around 100 core words to reach Beginner in a language. While audio files were nice since I could do other things they were also limiting since I could have read them much faster and used {Memorization} to get Beginner in minutes likely.

The gym was still too crowded for me to want to try and gain {Kicking}. I really wanted to avoid anyone seeing me practice. The less others knew, the less rumors might spread. Work had a lot of gossip. I knew because I was horrible myself!

I filled a plastic bag with a couple dozen other bags, marked an X on the side with electrical tape and hung it from a ceiling fan. The goal was to try and hit the X as often and fast as possible. I didn’t want to hit too hard and break the fan. Accuracy and timing were the goals, strength would go up as my body improved.

After a few strikes with a dull kitchen knife I checked my skills window and saw {Knife Fighting} was going up. The dog was lying on the bed staring at its crazy owner as I kept stabbing the inoffensive plastic bag.

My right arm was starting to tire out fairly fast but I couldn’t hold anything with the left. I was already getting spikes of pain the broken bone just from swinging my body around.

40 sweaty minutes later I got the window and the headache upgrade.

Through use of the skill {Knife Fighting} it has reached Beginner level.
{Knife Fighting} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 2.7%.
You have gained 0.5 Wisdom.
You have gained 1 Hand-Eye.
You have gained 1 Mental Stamina.
You have gained 5 EXP.

I was pretty exhausted physical and mentally by that point but decided to do one last thing and go to sleep a bit early.

I quickly took the dog out, made a snack, and sat down at the computer to re-watch Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun with subtitles. I already knew some Japanese so it was easy for the skill to gain EXP fast.

Through use of the skill {Japanese} it has reached Beginner level.
{Japanese} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 4.9%.
You have gained 0.5 Wisdom.
You have gained 1 Mental Stamina.
You have gained 0.25 Willpower.
You have gained 5 EXP.

After watching the first three episodes I was already more than halfway to Intermediate but I called it there and decided to go to bed.

I’d gotten into the habit of checking a few basic windows before bed but I decided to check a bit more.

“Character Window”

Class None
Level 2
EXP 2050
Next Level EXP 4000
Title
Agility 16/16
Hand-Eye 9/10
Intelligence 26/27
Luck 6/6
Mental Stamina 12/51
Physical Stamina 24/24
Strength 21/21
Vitality 19/19
Wisdom 19/22.5
Titles available
Slightly Masochistic, Not So Slightly Masochistic, Moderately Masochistic

“Skills Window”

{Acting} (Novice, Passive) EXP 41.5%
{Climbing} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 7.9%.
{Dodging} (Novice, Active) EXP: 8.8%.
{Hiding} (Advanced, Active) EXP: 9.1%.
{Identification} (Novice, Active) EXP: 5.2%.
{Jumping} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 4.5%.
{Knife Fighting} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 2.7%.
{Memorization} (Intermediate, Passive) EXP: 48.2%.
{Pain Tolerance} (Advanced, Passive) EXP: 21.5%.
{Running} (Advanced, Passive) EXP: 12.5%.
{Sense Bloodlust} (Master, Passive) EXP: 4.3%.
{Sneaking} (Advanced, Active) EXP: 26.1%.
{Swimming} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 3.2%.
{Unarmed Throws} (Novice, Active) EXP: 0.0%.
{Walking} (Master, Passive) EXP: 13.3%.

“Languages Window”

{English} (Intermediate, Passive) EXP: 13.5%.
{French} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 9.2%.
{Japanese} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 71.8%.
{Russian} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 6.4%.

“Advanced stats Window.”

Willpower 19.75/20.5

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