Chapter 4) Grinding pain. No, wait! I meant skills!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

Waking was painful since I remembered the fiasco the night before too swiftly.

“Skills Window”

{Russian} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.1%.
{Sense Bloodlust} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 92.9%.
{Walking} (Intermediate, Passive) EXP: 2.4%.

Looking at the skills I realized I had dodged a bullet. If {Sense Bloodlust} had leveled up first I might have passed out at work. And the walk home might have resulted in me being in a coma at the side of the road when I hit Intermediate in {Walking} instead of just passing out briefly.

Even though on Monday I’d thought up the idea of checking some of the how-to books at the library today I decided not to do it. I had wondered if some of the books might grant skills without trying to figure out how to gain new ones. I still wasn’t sure exactly why I had gained the skills so far. Gaining EXP in them afterwards seemed obvious at least.

Why did I have a skill in Russian? I browsed a few Japanese songs that day on YouTube and know some Japanese but didn’t get a skill. Why did I gain Sense Bloodlust when I barely even noticed the husband was there and didn’t notice him glaring at all? And how the hell did I get {Walking} in the first place.

I’d been wondering about the last point all along but having literally no clue on that one meant I had no starting point.

What I was sure of was that I didn’t want to drain my Mental Stamina, whatever that was, entirely a fourth day in a row.

I really, really didn’t want a title like ‘Now 5% more Masochistic’ or whatever it would be.

So I got up and went through my 1pm morning routine and then left the house with my trusty sun defying sunglasses around 2pm. I headed for a walk into the bushy area a few blocks away. The layout of the city could be described as a deformed Y and from downtown there was some undeveloped land only a few blocks due to the rocks, swampy areas, and old railway land making other directions easier to develop.

My thought was that harder terrain should be faster in leveling up the one skill that seemed simple. Controlled leveling gave one benefit in that I knew when the pain would come. A second benefit would be if I could properly judge how hard the hit to my Mental Stamina is compared to new skills. I had guessed it to be one half or a third.

If one level up is half a new skill then I could maybe take three level up’s with just a few minutes passed out. If it was a third of the pain of a new skill then maybe four level up’s. If going from different levels were exactly the same, and the same in all skills. So far I had only gone from Novice to Beginner to Intermediate in one skill. I hadn’t reached Beginner in the other two skills yet.

A lot of if’s. It would be a lot easier if I could see things like stats.

I got a bit of a surprise crossing at the lights a few blocks from the bush. I got a brief stab of {Sense Bloodlust} from the guy waiting to turn through where I was walking even though I was going at a fast pace.

Reaching the far side I quietly checked and {Sense Bloodlust} had reached 96.2% from 92.9%. Walking had only reached 3.1% from 2.4%. {Walking} was leveling a lot slower than it had the previous day. The most likely answer was I was right and that higher levels needed stronger stimulus. The worst case was that each level needed more XP equivalent per level.

The bush wasn’t going to level {Sense Bloodlust} obviously since it’s pretty empty other than occasional kids playing. However the driver had given me an idea. I still had three streets to cross and one of them was very busy with no lights.

After two blocks I almost reached the busy street. A hundred feet or so before the intersection I started faking a slow limp. I had no idea if it was believable but I’d hurt my right ankle and leg enough times to think it was somewhat realistic.

I waited for the right gap in the traffic and made my way slowly across. I didn’t want the cars to stop for me, just slow when they saw me a bit ahead.

Mini doom hammer came down before I was halfway across even though I didn’t block anyone. If it counted I paid in pain for their half second delay in speeding around.

Through use of the skill {Sense Bloodlust} it has reached Beginner level.
{Sense Bloodlust} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 21.5%.

Really? Roughly 25% just for crossing the intersection slowly a 1/4 block away? Some damn angry drivers out there.

Trying to compare the pain was still hard to do. I knew they taught rating pain for some chronic pain sufferers but it wasn’t anything I’d tried before. I’d never tried to rate a kick to the crotch versus a twisted ankle for example.

All that said, I hoped the level up was around a third or less. That would mean that if all the levels were equal I could level up three times safely, and with a bit of rest, perhaps a fourth.

Another block later I reached the rocks that fronted the lightly wooded area. I then began quickly walking from one granite section to the next as I picked the most awkward path through it I possibly could.

The only wild card would be if I gain a new skill like hiking. I was fairly sure that I wouldn’t because the definition of hiking has walking in it but I couldn’t be sure. I thought hiking would just demand a high skill in {Walking}.

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

Two hours of wandering over rocks, between trees, under branches and through ferns had left me tired and my head aching. {Walking} had reached Advanced 9.4%, which was apparently the next step after Intermediate. That left one more potential level up before I should rest to be safe. One benefit was I felt much more sure-footed immediately after reaching Advanced.

Following the train tracks that led out of the bush away from where I entered was a good example of it. Normally I’d either slightly hop from crosstie to crosstie or mix up my steps in the loose rock base between them. It was fairly awkward if I didn’t place my feet properly. But with Advanced {Walking} my feet placed themselves smoothly and my pace was faster. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t do before, just less effort, and no need to pay attention.

Which led me to a new theory. That maybe I was leveling {Walking} so fast because it was catching up fast to my theoretical best movement. Keeping watch for trains I decided to test that.

I thought I could walk the rail with a bit of patience before the skill. I hadn’t done it since I was much younger but it was easily doable if I went a bit slow. So I hopped up on the rail, and only looking ahead, started walking a decent pace.

I didn’t slip or fall.

That cinched it for me. The skill let me repeatedly do, at a decent pace, what I could previously do only briefly. So if I could walk a tightrope, with no wind, for two feet then a skill would let me repeat that for a few dozen feet with no problems.

The other thing I noticed was that using skills seems to put a strain on my mind and entire body. Even though my legs should be the sore point I felt a bit sore all over. And while I thought I should have somewhat recovered from the two blows of level up pain, I hadn’t.

So my new theory was that using skills slowly used up some of the Mental Stamina the window last night mentioned. I wasn’t really sure though since I couldn’t see it. Maybe it just didn’t regenerate without rest.

The soreness all over though might be something like a Physical Stamina stat distributing the tiredness evenly.

Reaching where the tracks crossed the highway I switched to following the highway to a nearby intersection. It was only a block from where I originally got {Walking}. The intersection was one of the busiest spots in the city. The highway cut across the road leading to the Mall and Walmart. It had dedicated turn signals it so with that extra step it was slow to cycle around to people who just barely missed the previous light.

Sitting down on the sidewalk nearby, I stared at the luckless drivers waiting for their light. I didn’t make eye contact since I had sunglasses on but a few drivers noticed me looking in their general direction. I quickly started collecting {Sense Bloodlust} EXP from various people. Even though I wasn’t directly staring down anyone it still gave them an outlet for their road rage.

After less than 30 minutes I gained the window I wanted and the pain as a punishment for trolling.

Through use of the skill {Sense Bloodlust} it has reached Intermediate level.
{Sense Bloodlust} (Intermediate, Passive) EXP: 19.7%.

That was enough for the afternoon. It was almost supper and I was near my limit in pain tolerance. Another skill up or a new skill and I’d would have been face down on the sidewalk. So I headed home.

At home, I made supper, took the dog for a short walk, then started to try and judge how napping restored the Mental Stamina. Two to three hours of cumulative sleep seemed to restore one level up. I thought longer uninterrupted sleep would give better results but since I couldn’t fall asleep on command it was impossible to judge.

I finished the night browsing the public library’s online listing of books trying to figure out what to try reading on Thursday. If things turn out anything like all the books I’ve read over the years then learning certain skills would give a lot of benefits.

A last check before bed, “Skills Window”.

{Russian} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.1%.
{Sense Bloodlust} (Intermediate, Passive) EXP: 21.2%.
{Walking} (Advanced, Passive) EXP: 17.8%.

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