Chapter 25) Preview

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Pain, and barking, woke me at a bit after 8 AM.

Normally I was groggy in the mornings but the pain had me on my feet and throwing on clothes in just a few seconds.

{Mapping} showed two marked resonances to the northwest heading my way. One on each side of my block, but still about 2 blocks away roughly, they weren’t quite coordinated with each other though. One car was a bit ahead, perhaps because that road had only stop signs while the other had street lights.

I threw the pack I’d prepared into my inventory space, opened the door and dashed for the back yard.

I could have tried to break past the front of either car but with only a few seconds of thought I was worried I’d be spotted in broad daylight even with {Hiding} helping me look for ways to avoid their line of sight.

Instead there was an easier plan. Provided they didn’t stop and coordinate, one would pass by much sooner than the other. If I jumped into someone’s back yard on the opposite side from them, then switched when the other car came, I should be fine. My {Decrease Mental Presence} was roughly half the width of a block so I didn’t need to dodge too much.

The pain from {Sense Bloodlust} was fairly annoying though. It seemed to partly ignore my pain resistance and tolerance, or perhaps the pain was stacking with so many of them at once.

Nilla had followed me out and didn’t seem to be feeling any pain from her skills for whatever reason. She alternated barking at one car, facing the other, barking at it, then doing a sprint around me and starting over. It made me wonder if her intelligence had really gone up.

About a minute after, the first car was passing to the east of my block. I hopped into my neighbors yard on the opposite side after a quick scan with the {Hiding} skill. No one seemed to be looking but their backyard was far more bare than mine so I felt exposed. No deck to hide under, and their garage on the far side ran right to the back of the yard so I couldn’t hide behind it even if I did have time.

After it passed by I hopped the fence back into my yard and dashed to the other side. With my present speed and skills I only needed a few seconds to cross a 30 foot yard and jumping a 4 foot fence was barely harder than stepping off a road onto the curb.

It had been less than 2 minutes since I woke up and I’d already dodged 2 cars of enemies. If my {Decrease Mental Presence} was a level higher or even just reduced the range about 20% more then I could have just stayed in my house. I barely needed to move at this level. Unless they were perfectly coordinated it was impossible for them to find me.

However since it happened so fast I didn’t have any shoes on and barely had time to put on pants and shirt.

The first thing though wasn’t to go get dressed or round up Nilla. I started sorting through the Resonances from the vehicles, something I didn’t have a chance to do earlier.

Firebringer was there. I had hoped last night would put him out of commission but they either healed him somehow or dragged him along anyway. There were 5 others between the two vehicles. I tried to feel if Light Mind from last night was one of them but he wasn’t with them.

The main question that came to mind after I calmed down a bit was, why were they in my area first thing in the morning. I’d worried a bit last night about what images might have been above my head, but clearly my exact address wasn’t one of them.

Either it was random that they were searching the area first, or Firebringer saw a downtown landmark from one of the images.

There was basically only two images I worried might have been there. My home address and work location. It’s possible my house was pictured but Firebringer couldn’t clearly see or remember it, but work was the only large gym downtown, and there’s no way if he saw their sign he wouldn’t recognize the chain of gyms.

While I was pondering all that I felt them come back into my range. Opening the map I could see them coming back but on a path two blocks over from me. They were clearly running a search pattern.

Something really bothered me about that search pattern but I couldn’t pin it down.

In the meantime I needed to train somewhere safe until the hockey game tonight. The woods that I had used a couple times seemed safe. So the next question was what to train.

“Help Skills Window”

{Acting} (Novice, Passive) EXP 60.3%
{Climbing} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 18.7%.
{Decrease Mental Presence} (Grandmaster, Passive) EXP: 1.9%
{Dodging} (Novice, Active) EXP: 39.2%.
{Hiding} (Advanced, Active) EXP: 77.5%.
{Identification} (Novice, Active) EXP: 7.8%.
{Increase Mental Sensing} (Advanced, Passive) EXP: 7.6%
{Jumping} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 61.8%.
{Knife Fighting} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 2.7%.
{Mapping} (Advanced, Active) EXP: 9.3%.
{Memorization} (Advanced, Passive) EXP: 0.7%.
{Pain Tolerance} (Master, Passive) EXP: 74.1%.
{Running} (Master, Passive) EXP: 3.7%.
{Sense Bloodlust} (Master, Passive) EXP: 65.4%.
{Sneaking} (Advanced, Active) EXP: 53.5%.
{Swimming} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 76.3%.
{Throwing} (Master, Active) EXP: 2.8%
{Unarmed Throws} (Novice, Active) EXP: 0.0%.
{Walking} (Master, Passive) EXP: 38.8%.
{Will Crafting} (Beginner, Active) EXP: 7.2%.

There were no obvious easy level ups but one of the three Novice skills had prospects at least. Now that I had learned how to create skills through imagination I wanted to try evolving {Identification} into something a bit more useful.

At the moment it wasn’t entirely a useless skill but the skill could only match things in my memory, and as my {Memorization} skill increased I was already remembering and matching things anyway so the skill was going to be useless sooner or later.

I needed a skill that could do things like explain an enemies power or tell me something I didn’t already know. The trouble was trying to imagine that.

I went back inside and got properly dressed, let Nilla out to pee, and grabbed some granola bars, before letting her back in and heading towards the woods.

(To be continued)

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  1. Chapter 25 preview – Wayne McDonald, Author

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