Chapter 9) I need to get stronger, or else.

Monday, September 7th, 2015

I didn’t work Mondays, so it being a holiday didn’t affect things much, but I decided to relax a bit after how busy Sunday was. First I took the dog out only to watch as the dog tried to clean the driveway of dust and twigs by rolling around on it. After getting her to stay still and bask in the sun I was able to brush off the worst of it. Taking her inside I brushed her, gave her a bath, then took a shower myself.

Ate breakfast while writing out a more detailed workout plan. Essentially I decided to do light to moderate full body workouts at first and adjust from there. Even though I wasn’t exactly weak for a 46 year old I wasn’t built anywhere near some of the heavy lifters my age at the gym. Endurance seemed to be more important though at first, so doing a lot of exercises would build endurance first and some strength.

Heading off to the gym I noticed that while testing {Sneaking} it didn’t decrease my speed at all. Leveling up {Walking} had improved how much unconscious control I had on how my feet landed that it improved everything. {Sneaking} wasn’t leveling up very fast though, likely partially due to how easy it was to walk quietly on concrete versus leaves or something more prone to create noise.

After a few minutes I was at the gym and ready to begin working out. I choose to do the upstairs weight circuit. There were two circuits that hit all major muscle groups. One downstairs with air pressure machines, one upstairs with normal weight stacks. Both were roughly equal in how they hit all major muscles and were equally weak on hitting the secondary stabilizer muscles. The upstairs machines were out of view of most of my coworkers so there would be less poking at the old guy working out by the 20 year olds.

The circuit went well at first. Estimating a correct weight setting, doing a set, then moving to the next. With no pause between sets other than setup I started to go through the circuit three times. On the second set I suddenly felt a bit tired and sore all over. The individual muscle pain hadn’t been much yet but it disappeared into the general ache.

Continuing on the muscles started hurting again as I did the sets but the tiredness and general ache stayed. It wasn’t until I reached near the end of the third set that it happened again. The individual pain in the muscles dropped and the general pain and tiredness increased.

The level of pain and tiredness wasn’t close to gaining Heat and Pain Resistance the other night but felt similar. I knew I could take more so I did another circuit and a half until I felt the feeling again.

The weird part was that even though I felt tired after each time the weight I was using was increasing.

Even though I couldn’t see it I wondered if each wave of pain and tiredness was my strength and endurance going up.

That was still impossible to judge since I could only see one stat still. But if one of my other stats than Mental Stamina hit 20 I wonder if I’d be able to see it, or maybe even all them.

Five circuits took quite a while so I left to shower at home, take the dog out and make supper before working on the next issue. It was only just before 6pm so there was still lots of time to do a few things after eating.

The next issue was preparing for the identify skill. I wasn’t too clear if there was such a thing but since it wasn’t too hard I setup a few windows with different sites about local flowers, ferns, trees and other flora.

I browsed them for a while before finding a site that let you do memory drills of how you can tell them apart. It was setup to help biology and ecology students.

Testing on how to tell chokeberry trees from apple trees when not in bloom led to the blue doom.

Due to your actions you have gained a Skill.
The skill {Memorization} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 3.1%, has been created.

It was nice to have a skill that helped my very poor memory but trying to prepare and memorize things while my body was tired and sore, and my brain was aching was impossible. I decided to take a short nap.

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

Waking up a bit after 11pm I felt a lot better. The pain and tiredness was mostly gone, and the headache was missing.

“Skills Window”

{Climbing} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 4.9%.
{Hiding} (Beginner, Active) EXP: 44.1%.
{Knife Fighting} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.0%.
{Pain Tolerance} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 38.8%.
{Memorization} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 3.1%.
{Running} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 7.7%.
{Russian} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.1%.
{Sense Bloodlust} (Intermediate, Passive) EXP: 39.3%.
{Sneaking} (Beginner, Active) EXP: 40.2%.
{Walking} (Master, Passive) EXP: 3.0%.

About the only reasonable skills to raise at night were {Running}, {Sneaking} and {Hiding}. Trying to raise {Walking} would need terrain that I could snap an ankle on at night. {Russian} and {Knife Fighting} might be useful at some point but starting a knife fight at random didn’t seem wise.

So I went for a light run around the neighborhood. Running along the sidewalk wasn’t too hard but was increasing it at a reasonable rate. I planned to try running on some grass at the park at the end to test how much that changed the rate of improvement.

But something else intervened.

I was in a bit of a zone, not paying much attention to anything but my pace when I suddenly felt a hard knife like stab from {Sense Bloodlust}. The single stab changed into a fierce pain all over the front of my body.

A block ahead was what looked like a man standing on the opposite sidewalk. I could strongly feel his hatred stabbing into me like being jabbed all over with needles.

I couldn’t quite make out what he looked like standing in the dead zone between streetlights but the build was of a fairly stocky man, roughly my height or taller. He wore dark clothes but it was impossible to tell if they were black or just something like dark blue.

It didn’t seem like anyone I knew that disliked me that much. Like a lot of people I knew a few enemies who wouldn’t mind me being run over by a bus but this person didn’t seem familiar. At the same time there was a strange feeling of familiarity or resonance.

Ignoring his build I tried to concentrate on that familiarity but the pain from leveling up {Sense Bloodlust} broke my concentration.

Through use of the skill {Sense Bloodlust} it has reached Advanced level.
{Sense Bloodlust} (Advanced, Passive) EXP: 5.1%.

The sheer amount of bloodlust had raised over 50% of the Intermediate skill in moments, something that took hours to do in {Walking}.

It was a bit hard to concentrate but I had been getting used to that level of pain. While I watched he seemed to bend down to pick up something.

With a flash of intuition I dodged behind a parked car on the street. Peeking over it I saw him wind up and throw something towards me.

Moments later car windows shattered about 50 feet ahead on the opposite side of the street. Two cars had been parked on the opposite side of the street under a light. Whatever he threw went entirely through the first car’s window and then pierced the front and back windows of the second car.

That was a terrifying level of strength even if his accuracy was on par for a five year old. From a block away he shattered 4 glass windows. I wasn’t even sure if I could throw something through one car window from a few feet away.

Activating {Hiding} I moved to the front lawn beside me and tried to move from shadow to shadow towards the person. They clearly were getting glimpses of me due to my low skill but the rocks they threw went wild hitting the houses without coming close. I was slowly closing in as the entire block woke up and lights were coming on.

We were only five blocks from the police station and maybe eight from the downtown patrols so I knew there would be a quick response as soon as someone had time to explain it to the 911 operators.

The thrower must have realized too that he wasn’t getting anywhere. By the time I reached a half block away he had turned and started running.

It was simply the weirdest running I had ever seen. It was more like watching the old moon landings than anything else I could explain with. Each running step took him four feet into the air and a good thirty feet forward.

I dropped {Hiding} and tried to chase after but it was no use. He was much faster and soon was around a corner. I was still getting stabs from {Sense Bloodlust} for a bit after I lost sight of him but shortly that faded until the pains were gone.

Not wanting to be there when the police came I started {Running} again towards the park. If I could get far enough away I could pretend I was innocently jogging or using {Hiding} disappear in the park’s shadows.

I was near the park when I first heard racing engines. Slowing to a walk I kept on going as a cop car turned onto the street I was on with its lights flashing. It slowed a bit but didn’t stop as it passed me on its way to the damaged cars and houses.

I decided to level up both {Running} and {Hiding} before bed. It was after midnight but {Hiding} was at 74.8% and {Running} at 53.7%. Actively using {Hiding} while running between cover while someone was aggressively looking had raised it fast.

I alternated with {Walking} whenever my breathing was too heavy and continued on until past 3am. My mind was working on all types of theories on who the stone thrower was, why he seemed familiar and what that strange running technique was, as I practiced the skills.

By the time I finished raising my skills, over three hours later, I had a theory.

The person had some type power of super strength and that’s why I had the feeling of familiarity or resonance from him. I didn’t know if he had any other power but it made the most sense from what I’ve seen. Most of the people showing up in the news seemed to have one power.

When I got home I tried searching the local news for anyone with super strength only to come up empty. Searching international news came up with three more people with super abilities.

First was a 25 year old runner who was able to hit a bit over 13m/s(a bit over 30mph) for 400 meters. That was faster than anyone had been clocked even for a few steps and 30% faster than the world record 100 meter sprint much less 400 meters.

Second was a firefighter who found he could control fires. His power was slowly growing and could put out fires within a few feet of himself if they weren’t burning at too high a temperature.

The third was tragic and a reminder of two things. One that everyone who had a power might not know, and secondly that those people with powers might not be friendly. The third person was a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. He had walked into a local market in Baghlan and using a suicide vest blew himself up killing 9 people and injuring over 30. But the story didn’t end there. While seemingly dazed he stood there and repeatedly exploded every minute.

Most survivors were too far away to be hurt by the smaller repeated explosions though. A shopkeeper caught it on his phone about 10 minutes after the first explosion. Shortly after taping three explosions a police team repeatedly shot the bomber until he fell dead.

The world wasn’t getting less dangerous even if people could heal others and put out fires.

I needed to become stronger if I was going to be safe. I checked my skills and stats windows one last time before falling asleep.

“Skills Window”

{Climbing} (Beginner, Passive) EXP: 4.9%.
{Hiding} (Intermediate, Active) EXP: 8.6%.
{Knife Fighting} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.0%.
{Memorization} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 3.5%.
{Pain Tolerance} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 40.1%.
{Running} (Intermediate, Passive) EXP: 5.3%.
{Russian} (Novice, Passive) EXP: 0.1%.
{Sense Bloodlust} (Advanced, Passive) EXP: 9.4%.
{Sneaking} (Beginner, Active) EXP: 40.2%.
{Walking} (Master, Passive) EXP: 5.3%.

“Stats Window”

Mental Stamina: 19/31

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