Taking a deep breath, Mike stood with a grunt.
Feeling sticky, he headed to the bathroom and turned he blue ringed knob on the sink. Splashing cold water on his face and down the front of his shirt he sighed with pleasure. Grabbing a towel, he distracted noted was Jeff’s, from the towel rack, he wiped himself down.
Looking into the mirror to check for any bits of zombie he might have missed, Mike froze.
The face looking back at him was wrong.
It was a bit wider, a touch too square and just a bit too flat. Its lower canines were sticking up above its upper lip by just a fraction of an inch, and its ears were stiff and pointed, perpendicular to its head, like small pig-ears.
Reaching up, still in shock, Mike touched his jaw.
The hand in the mirror wasn’t right either. It was half again the size his hand should have been. Holding it out in front of him, alongside his left hand, he couldn’t deny they were bigger. The nails were thicker and tougher looking too. Noticing all the little details he couldn’t help admitting his pajama pants felt considerably tighter than they had when he put them on.
Pulling out on the elastic band of his flannel pajama bottoms, he reached down and checked their contents as well.
Everything was definitely a little bigger.
Mike didn’t know if he was happy or mortified. On the one hand, he’d always wished he was a little thicker, a little taller, that his hands weren’t so small. That he was intimidating not just fat.
But didn’t he just look like a monster now? His ears were inhuman looking, and, small as they might be, he had tusks. He should be able to pass them off as large canines, but what if they grew longer?
If he wasn’t insane, if everything was really happening just like the information in his head said, and there were other “players,” wouldn’t they attack something that looked like he did now?
Mike didn’t panic. But years of gaming subconsciously kicked in as he wondered what his [Status] was exactly that he looked so different. A new screen appeared in his thoughts.
|Name: Mike Tanner – Race: Half Orc
Occupation: None – Level: 1
Purse: 1010 Credits
STR: 1.4 / QUI: 0.8 / BOD: 1.3 / SPI: 1.1 [AP: 0.2]Skills: [Brute Strength] [Sturdy] [Dark Vision] [Slow Witted]
Before he even noticed the section for his race read [Half Orc], Mike was raising Quickness to 1.0, with the attribute points from leveling up. A side effect of being addicted to role playing games since he was ten and found an old box of his dad’s DnD stuff.
With the rise in Quickness, Mike felt a noticeable lightness to his step.
Groaning, he had to admit, the evidence was stockpiling that he wasn’t crazy.
Playing with his status Mike reviewed everything, briefly matching it against the information he’d received on becoming a player, and the basic gaming knowledge he acquired over the years.
First he touched his [Purse].
He knew credits could be made physical at any time by reciting [Purse] in his mind the same way he did [Status], but for convenience sake were kept digital.
Withdrawing a single credit, he saw they looked like a small golden coin with a square hole in the center, about the size of a dime, only twice as thick. Putting it back was as easy as reversing the process.
Credits could be earned several ways, the most obvious was by killing monsters. For every monster killed, credits would be directly deposited to his [Purse].
Other ways to earn credits included meeting predetermined conditions set by the 「System」known as achievements, completing 「System」quests, and selling 「System」items to registered vendors, or “vending machines,” the portable store fronts spread throughout town.
Satisfied Mike moved on to attributes, by touching the small [+] next to each attribute, he could review exactly what each stat was for exactly.
STR, or Strength, represented the physical force he could muster. It determined things like how much he could carry and how hard he could hit.
QUI, or Quickness, represented his his speed and fine motor skills, as well as his agility.
BOD, or Body, represented his health, stamina, pain tolerance and his resistance to poisons and the elements. In a game setting it would equate to both his health bar and his stamina bar as well as his “saves.” When considering that everything was happening in reality, and there were no colored bars above people’s heads, Body became more like a numerical representation of his willpower.
SPI, or Spirit, represented his intelligence, wisdom, and mana. Making it his “magic” stat so to speak. Again, with reality lacking colored bars, when he eventually learned magic, Mike knew he’d have to be careful not to over exert himself and pass out.
That left his four skills. All four were granted by his Half Orc bloodline, and as such were technically referred to as racial skills. Mike touched them, to learn each one’s specific function.
[Brute Strength] and [Sturdy] were simple. On account of being a big, strong Half Orc, they granted Mike, +0.1 to STR, and BOD respectively each time he leveled up.
[Dark Vision] was even simpler, it did exactly what it implied it did, allowed him to see in the dark.
[Slow Witted] was a bit more complicated. As a negative skill, it was meant to balance the good side of being Half Orc. A bronze rank bloodline wasn’t really ranked high enough not to have a drawback. The skill required him to use twice the attribute points to achieve the same increase in Spirit, he would in any other stat.
As a person who preferred to play front line warriors and the like, Mike wasn’t really bothered by the idea of a slower Spirit growth. It wasn’t like the skill forbid him from using magic or anything truly serious. Besides, if he found a skill that gave him extra spirit or something later on, he could cancel it out anyway.
Considering the upsides, Mike was much happier with his new appearance, than he had been.
He’d gained about tree inches in height and if he had to guess, maybe a hundred pounds of muscle. He looked considerably fitter, bulkier and more intimidating when compared to the fluffy sort of look, using gaming to pay the bills, had given him.
Aside from his ears he still looked, more or less, like an average guy.
He’d never had a shot at being a male model anyway.
Confident he knew what was what, with the 「System」Mike decided it was time to see exactly how bad things were outside the apartment.
Stepping over Jeff’s body, Mike found his tightest fitting clothes and his loosest, and layered them, hoping to throw the zombies off a bit with the disparity. He added a black beanie to cover his ears, hoping to make it less noticeable that he was no longer “human.”.
Then searching through the front closet for a weapon he found Jeff’s golf clubs and an old wooden bat.
Seeing a scenario where he lost his weapon becoming a real possibility Mike took the golf bag and put it on like a semi-horizontal backpack.
Hefting the bat in his right hand he made his way to the front door.
Pressing his ear against the thick wooden plane, Mike listened. The noises were faint, nothing was going on right outside the door, but there were definitely people in the halls.
Smiling mischievously Mike felt the, all too familiar, desire to grind his level coming on.
Author : The Steve