Chapter 17 ) “Kill with a borrowed sword”

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

A bit after 7 AM a massive headache woke me from a deep sleep. I was rolling around clutching my head and trying to read the window that popped up as soon as my eyes opened. The pain from my arm was already only a dull ache spread over my body so it was healing well.

Due to your actions you have gained a Resistance.
Psi Resistance has reached 1%.

As soon as that faded the next popped up.

You have unlocked two types of Resistances.
All Resistances are now shown on the Resistance Window.

Obviously the first step in figuring out what the hell happened was saying:

“Resistances Window”

Mental
Fear N/A
Forced Mental States N/A
Insanity N/A
Sleep N/A
Physical
Cold N/A
Electrical N/A
Heat 12
Light N/A
Pain 32%
Special
KI N/A
Magic N/A
Psi 1%

Nothing in those windows really explained just why I got the Psi resistance though. As I got used to yet another headache I noticed the dog staring at me in the barely lit room. Making eye contact with her was usually a mistake since it got her worked up.

This time it was a mistake in a different way. Images of her peeing outside by the no-parking sign flooded in one after another. Occasionally I’d be standing beside her holding treats in the image, other images had me following along like a good owner as she started marking the lawns all the way down the block.

… It occurred to me that I should have thought exactly what it meant when it said 1 pet was part of the Explorer class.

“Pet Window”, “Pet Character Window”

Name Nilla aka Vanilla Poo Level 0
HP 30/30 MP 10/10
Physical Energy 50/50 Mental Energy 10/10
Psi 2/10 KI 20/20
HP Regen 0.03/min MP Regen 0.01/min
PE Regen 0.05/min ME Regen 0.07/min
Psi Regen 0.01/min KI Regen 0.02/min
Title
Agility 4/4 Hand-Eye 2/2
Intelligence 1/1 Luck 8/8
Mental Stamina 7/7 Physical Stamina 5/5
Strength 2/2 Vitality 3/3
Wisdom 1/1 Willpower 9/9
Charisma 10/10
Titles available:
Owner of Food Slave

There were too many things to comment on but I couldn’t resist blurting out one.

“OI! Why the fuck do you have Charisma and I don’t?”

I’d never used OI before but it felt strangely appropriate for the dog’s weird stats. The Intelligence of 1 and Willpower of 9 explained too many things to count but her having a stat I didn’t was kind of depressing. I needed to find a way to unlock it sometime, maybe wearing something other than white T-shirts and brown pants every single day might help.

The next two questions were obvious.

“Pet Powers Window”

RPG Growth
Projective Telepathy – Mammals

She had the exact same skills as me, which explained how she was sending me images. I started play fighting her with one hand since she hadn’t actually stopped doing that.

“Pet Skills Window”

{Acting} (Novice, Passive) EXP 0.5%
{Climbing} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 4.6%.
{Dodging} (Novice, Active) EXP: 1.7%.
{Hiding} (Novice, Active) EXP: 3.2%.
{Identification} (Novice, Active) EXP: 0.1%.
{Jumping} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 73.3%.
{Knife Fighting} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.1%.
{Mapping} (Novice, Active) EXP: 0.1%
{Memorization} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.2%.
{Pain Tolerance} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 1.3%.
{Running} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 3.9%.
{Sense Bloodlust} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.3%.
{Sneaking} (Novice, Active) EXP: 9.6%.
{Swimming} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.1%.
{Unarmed Throws} (Novice, Active) EXP: 0.1%.
{Walking} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 89.5%.

It was interesting that she had all my skills, and even skills like Unarmed Throws and Knife Fighting were copied over at 0.1% instead of 0.0%. My Unarmed Throws was 0.0%, so how could she have a higher one? That was a more than a bit confusing.

I took her out and let her pee before heading back to bed. I wasn’t that tired anymore but I had felt strangely unsettled ever since I’d absorbed the new power. I preferred to get a few more hours of rest before getting ready for work, in the hopes the new power would feel more natural. And I felt lazy after 16 days of weirdness.

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

Woke up around 11 AM and started the morning routine. The dog followed me around all excited but didn’t send any new messages. I didn’t use the Telepathy either, just voice commands, but overall I was feeling a bit better than earlier.

Every day seemed to bring new questions, new windows, and new experiences to the point I was ignoring most of what was happening in the world because I didn’t have time. I did browse a bit of news from a few sites but it was pure chaos. Fights between power users were escalating, groups were forming defense pacts, others were being supported/protected by their governments, and there were even charges of governmental and commercial spying using powers.

New businesses were opening up like Teleportation Delivery, and Earth Golem Construction Services. There were questionable ones offering talking to dead relatives and new strange porn sites.

I decided to take a mental break from it all until work was done for the day. It had reached the point where even my dog was affected by these powers.

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

When I was finished my second shift at 1 AM and leaving work I was much calmer and ready to deal with things. I found my power to be fascinating even if the constant pain was annoying it was easily the coolest thing that ever happened to my inner child.

My left arm felt healed almost entirely. Two full days and a bit was the equivalent of over 30 days of healing thanks to the {Regeneration} ability. By Thursday it would be more than 8 weeks and I could easily remove the cast.

I had 14 hours until the quest ended and I wasn’t tired after sleeping so long the night before so I decided to do a spiral search around my house before bed.

Starting my search with a light jog I went northwest towards where I had met the construction worker the other day. Passing through the bar and downtown business area didn’t I didn’t feel any Resonance but I did feel some drunken bloodlust.

At the construction site there was nothing much new. A bit more pavement was ripped up at one end and a pile of concrete sewer sections had been added but that was it. Heading to the east I jogged past the stores I had bought junk food the first night. Things had changed a lot since then.

That first night I only had the {Walking} skill, everything was confusing and extremely painful which made it impossible to concentrate. My Mental Stamina must have been somewhere around 10 or 11 back then since it crushed my mind back then. Now it was close to 6 times that… but gaining a new power had still knocked me off my feet.

I turned south a bit past where I bought my Frosted Cinnamon roll that night.

A block later I felt it. The massive bloodlust from the construction worker. Having felt it several times now it felt as individualized as a fingerprint, I was sure I would never mistake it for someone else’s.

The good thing was that my {Sense Bloodlust} skill let me sense him at least 2-3 times the range he could sense me. The direction was south southeast, so I stopped heading south and went east a block. My night vision was poor in my left eye but as I stood there staring south on the new street I finally spotted someone standing mostly still. It was them occasionally pacing back and forth that helped me spot him.

He was about twice the range of the Resonance away from me. And I decided to try something I’d thought briefly about when circling the mall the other day.

If I could somehow create a skill that let me feel Resonance at a longer range than normal I could spot other power users before they could track me. Seeing the Psi stat made me realize that I’d had a psychic power from near the start, after all how else could I sense bloodlust from people I couldn’t see? My skills weren’t limited to just controlling my body better or mental constructs of maps.

I activated my {Sneaking} and {Hiding} skills and slowly moved closer. I stopped about 100 feet outside the Resonance range limit and sat in the shadow of a car.

I’d created {Sense Bloodlust} without trying, or perhaps it would be better to say it was created without my effort. So this was my first time trying to reach out or feel things beyond my default range deliberately.

A few minutes of trying later I still had no feeling of Resonance but I did pick up another bloodlust beyond the construction worker. It wasn’t that it had been hidden, more that it was someone talking normally behind someone shouting. It also didn’t feel particularly directed at me, more at everything in general. It was just barely in my range which meant it was just beyond Resonance range past my target.

That gave me a weird sense of not being the only stalker there. I felt a bit like I was being paranoid but still my first thought was maybe my target was already being tracked by the 4th power user. The one who likely burned his house down the other week. I couldn’t see anyone standing on the street at my extreme sensing range. But it was entirely possible that I just missed them in the dark. There were 2 parked cars there so it was also possible that the fire starter was tailing him with a car.

All those thoughts weren’t really helping pick up Resonance so after acknowledging each idea I pushed it away and tried to get calm. Since reaching out hadn’t worked I tried instead to imagine Resonance as a giant splash in the middle of a pond and I was sitting at the edge feeling the diminishing waves with my hand in the pool.

Due to your actions you have gained a Skill.
The skill {Increase Mental Sensing} (Novice, Active) EXP: 0.2%, has been created.
You have gained 1 Intelligence.
You have gained 1 Mental Stamina.

“Help Increase Mental Sensing”

{Increase Mental Sensing}
Novice – User’s mind falls into a mental state that detects mental phenomena at a 5% longer range, must be stationary.
Beginner – User’s mind falls into a mental state that detects mental phenomena at a 10% longer range, can move slowly.

I’d gained the skill I needed, but I wasn’t sure what to do next. For some reason he was staying in place and the other person seemed to be staying, presumably watching him.

It wasn’t until I started trying to think of his motivation that I realized he was almost exactly at the point where he attacked me the first time. Maybe he thought I jog through that area regularly at night and had been trying to ambush me?

What was funny was I only lived a few blocks away to the west. If he had went even a half mile that way he might have felt the Resonance at some point or another.

I really didn’t want to fight either of them hand to hand. Even if I was now stronger than the average 46 year old guy I still wasn’t super strong or had fighting abilities. But letting the two of them accidentally find my house would be a disaster.

After thinking about it a bit and watching him pace the answer was obvious. The construction worker was confusing me with the fire starter. If he found that person he’d definitely start a fight. If they fought then I was better off no matter how it ended. The fire starter seemed angry at the world so I doubted he was planning on being my new best friend.

The only question was how to arrange it. If I run past the construction dude he’ll attack. If I circle 180 degrees and come up behind the fire dude he’ll likely reverse past me and away, attack, or try and go on a cross street while the construction worker noticed nothing.

I decided to come in at an angle. I’d head east and then approach my target from the east while heading south when possible. If I was lucky the construction worker would head south to cut me off instead of directly east where I had just been. The fire starter was over a block south of my target so he wouldn’t feel me until he’d already seen the construction worker running full tilt at him.

It only took a few minutes to get to the starting point.

A few seconds of deep breaths to calm my nerves and pump up my oxygen levels and I was on my way. Just before I expected to reach Resonance range I switched to the best speed I could run at. Cutting across a lawn I felt the target to my west. It was impossible to pinpoint him but I didn’t think he had moved.

I started south down a street parallel to him at full tilt. Happily no one was outside walking but I did pass one car driving where the driver gave me a funny look.

Less than 10 seconds later I felt the 2nd Resonance and had to assume he felt me. I could feel the construction worker to my northwest, it seemed he’d decided to cut me off. But by then he was closer to the other guy than me. The only question was would the fire starter run or fight. In my theory he’d been stalking the construction worker for a while, so he was cautious. But the dude was also angry as hell, I could feel the bloodlust pouring off him.

I kept running south, passing the point where the fire starter was directly west of me. The first sound of grinding metal and breaking glass echoed across width of the block. I knew it was impossible but I had a mental image of a car being tossed at the fire starter.

The first explosion boomed out just a few heartbeats later. I could have turned west and come up right behind them but I said ‘screw that’ to myself and kept going for another block south, then turned.

It was a solid minute or after the start of the fight before I got to a viewing spot south of them. By that time I could see flames rising from a dozen different spots, cars, front lawns, even hydro poles. The two of them were tossing things back and forth. One was tossing what looked like basketball fireballs while the other had demolished cars along the street and driveways to toss doors, hoods and even a couple engines.

I slowly backed up. The scale of destruction was beyond anything I’d seen outside of movies.

Both them were too absorbed it seemed to notice the first sirens. We were only four blocks from the police station and the fire station that served the downtown. Maybe the sounds of the explosions had messed with their hearing.

I kept backing away. Within minutes the first two police cars had boxed them in. Cutting across a section of the bike path I used it to stay off the streets and take a long loop around to my house. Just before I made it home a window opened twice with only a short pause between openings.

Your quest ‘Capture Your Enemies’ was successfully completed.
You have gained +1 to all basic stats.
You have gained 500 EXP.
Your quest ‘Capture Your Enemies’ was successfully completed.
You have gained +1 to all basic stats.
You have gained 500 EXP.

I’d done my bad deed of the day, or helped the police catch two dangerous criminals. One or maybe both of those things. I’d hit level 1 with another window but I ignored that. I was feeling a bit guilty about what I had done and wasn’t in the mood to celebrate leveling up.

I took out the dog, ate a snack, then headed to bed. Even if I didn’t work on skills much today I felt like I’d accomplished something. And I felt a tiny bit safer. I had no desire to die anytime soon.

Using my new power for the first time I told the dog to sleep when she started making a pillow/blanket fortress, checked my skills for the first time in a bit, and went to sleep.

{Acting} (Novice, Passive) EXP 43.1%
{Climbing} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 7.9%.
{Dodging} (Novice, Active) EXP: 8.8%.
{Hiding} (Advanced, Active) EXP: 14.4%.
{Identification} (Novice, Active) EXP: 6.9%.
{Increase Mental Sensing} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 3.5%
{Jumping} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 4.7%.
{Knife Fighting} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 2.7%.
{Mapping} (Intermediate, Active) EXP: 35.1%.
{Memorization} (Intermediate, Passive) EXP: 58.5%.
{Pain Tolerance} (Master, Passive) EXP: 23.2%.
{Running} (Advanced, Passive) EXP: 78.0%.
{Sense Bloodlust} (Master, Passive) EXP: 41.9%.
{Sneaking} (Advanced, Active) EXP: 29.4%.
{Swimming} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 3.2%.
{Unarmed Throws} (Novice, Active) EXP: 0.0%.
{Walking} (Master, Passive) EXP: 24.3%.

Last Chapter
Index
Next Chapter