Troy cleared his throat.
Seeing he had Mike’s attention he asked, “What was your「System」reward? Mine was a [Beginner Black Magic Set] it had this staff,” he lifted his staff to draw attention to it, “this robe, and a book titled Intro to Black Magic.
I opened the book and learned a couple of level one spells. The robe and the staff both give me a little boost to my spirit too. And before you make any jokes, that fireball earlier was small on purpose, I was training control, not strength. I was trying to make the fireball move how I wanted it to move. You startled me, and it shot off in the direction I was looking. Still sorry about that by the way.”
Mike hesitated a moment. Figuring Troy had just shared his embarrassment with him he sighed. Reaching up he pulled back a corner of his beanie, revealing a porcine ear.
Troy seemed to understand.
“Ah a bloodline. Some sort of elf or something? Rajesh got one of those, I think he said it was called Normal Rank Bloodline [Common Born Dwarf]. He said the change hurt like a mother.
He’s a foot shorter and his shoulders are twice as wide, now. I think he even gained a skill. You’d have to ask him about that. I do know he got some bonus credits. Not everybody did. My reward was just the beginner set no extras.”
Mike grunted at that, not sure what he was supposed to say. He wished his bloodline hadn’t changed his appearance, even if it did slim down his waist a little, but he was glad to have it. The stat increases and being able to see in the dark were both amazing bonuses.
“Would you like to meet everyone else?’ Troy asked, interrupting Mike’s thoughts again.
Mike nodded. There wasn’t much point in seeking other survivors out if he didn’t actually meet with them once he found them.
Troy stood up and started walking toward the other side of the roof.
Mike followed him, staying a few paces behind.
The roof wasn’t big.
Turning the corner of the tool shed Mike could see a few of the others gathered around the east stairwell building.
As they approached two people separated from the crowd, a man holding a spear and a woman.
Seeing them Troy waved and picked up the pace. Meeting roughly in the middle of the roof, the three of them had a whispered conversation.
They spoke quickly and quietly. It was obvious they were trying to keep some level of secrecy.
Feeling awkward Mike didn’t eavesdrop.
A moment later the guy with the spear separated from their little huddle. Brushing past Mike with a glare, he moved to take up Troy’s former position at the west stairwell.
“This is Mike,” Troy introduced him to the pretty young brunette as he stepped closer.
“Hi Mike, I’m Jessica,” she said extending her hand.
Mike took it as he said hi back.
They proceeded to exchanged pointless small talk for a few minutes.
Increasingly Mike felt more and more awkward.
The small talk wasn’t exactly pointless nothings like it would have been if they’d been meeting the day before. Nobody mentioned the weather or sports.
It was all about the time immediately after the world ended and what everyone had done to survive it. Had Mike been part of their group for a while he might have even enjoyed the talk. As it was it felt more like they were stalling, hesitating to tell him something, to bring him into their fold.
He did learn several interesting things from their stalling. Zombies weren’t the only monsters out there. Not everyone in their group was part of the「System」. And the reason there weren’t zombie corpses on the roof was that Troy had used his magic to burn them to ash.
For all the interesting new information, it was still ultimately a pointless conversation. These were two people who’d killed zombies. Zombies who’d probably been their friends only moments before. They knew what had happened and how bad everything was out there.
Knowing that, the two of them seemed too calm, too detached from the danger. He’d have expected them to be organizing people to grind levels and secure supplies. Or at least to have people working on barricades in case the zombies made it to the roof.
They didn’t really think they were safe now did they?
Until water and power shut off, which apparently hadn’t happened yet, the roof had access to water. But that wouldn’t last forever, and there definitely wasn’t food.
At some point scavenging supplies would become a necessity.
Finally Mike’s frankness got the better of him and he spoke his mind.
Interrupting Jessica’s admission that she hadn’t received a skill, bloodline, or an item, but ten thousand credits. Credits which were useless until they found where to spend them.
Troy smirked, “Look at how impatient he is,” he said with a smile. Meeting Mike’s gaze, locking eyes, his voice took on a more serious tone, “sorry man, that was sort of a little test. Most of the people who’ve made it to the roof so far are pretty determined to hide here from this new world. We wanted to see what kind of guy you were, to get a feel for your personality. Clearly you’re not here to hide. If I’m not wrong, you should be looking for partners to clear floors and gather supplies?”
Mike grunted, acknowledging Troy’s assumption as true.
“That’s great. What would you say to joining a group of us to do just that?”
Mike shrugged, that was exactly what he’d been hoping to hear, but he didn’t answer immediately.
“Please Mike, we could use a guy like you on the team.” Jessica grinned, her cheeks dimpling. She grabbed his arm, leaning into his shoulder, squeezing his bicep between her pear sized friends, seemingly oblivious to what her actions were doing to Mike.
At a momentary loss for words he didn’t give her an answer either.
Seeing his stoic silence, not knowing he was panicking from the unexpected boob contact, she hung her head, seemingly dejected. Pulling on his shirt sleeve she said in a softer, less cutesy voice, “Come with me I want to show you something.”
Mike let her lead him by the hand, around the back corner of the eastern stairwell to a curtained off area. Pushing the curtain back on the clothes line revealed a young Asian woman laying on a pallet, sweating through a pile of blankets.
Mike vaguely recognized her as part of “the dynamic duo;” two super hot best friends, and roommates who lived in the building. Kneeling down next to her was the red headed second half of the duo.
He struggled to remember their names, the Asian girl was Yumi or Yuni or something like it and her friend was named something like Alice or Anne. Mike wasn’t exactly sure, he didn’t pay attention to things like that.
He did watch them creepily from time to time when he thought no one was looking, but he wasn’t their fanboy, or stalker or anything.
They were both ranked in the top ten of the campus beauties, after all. Mike liked to set his sights lower, into more realistic territory. Obsessing over the super hot was an easy path to forever alone..
Before the apocalypse they’d both clearly been out of his league. It was like the difference in little league and professional baseball.
Now, things might be different, he thought with a smirk.
A smirk that disappeared as soon as he consciously thought about where he was, at the sick bed of a dying woman.
“What happened to her?” Mike asked, his unconsciously voice coming out in a whisper due to the hospital like nature of the little setup.
“Remember how I said zombies weren’t the only monsters?” Jessica asked him, meeting his gaze right in the eyes. He nodded in the affirmative, “they were trying to make the stairwell on the third floor when they ran into a troll.”
The red head looked up at that moment to see the skepticism on Mike’s face and practically growled, “it’s true, it was big, grey skinned, and had a wooden club.”
“I believe you,” Mike said, reassuring her with a nod.
Trolls weren’t really that much weirder than zombies or magic.
“She got hit by his club or something?”
The redhead shook her head.
“No she’d be dead if that’s what had happened.”
Seeing the red head wasn’t going to finish the story, Jessica took it up for her, “They saw the troll hit someone with its club. That girl got splattered all over the hall. Yuki was only hit with a piece of the wall that broke off when the troll was swinging its club around. Amy and the others helped her stand up and get away.”
“It didn’t notice our group until we were right outside the stairwell door. Then it threw its club at us and started chasing us. Its club hit Sheryl and it caught Vennesa in its hands before we got through the doorway. We were lucky the damn thing was too big to follow us right away. We got the metal door closed, locked it and then ran. The door was still holding up to its hammering by the time we stepped out onto the roof.” Amy added.
Leading him a short distance away, Jessica looked up at him and asked, “Will you help us find a way to help Yuki?”
Author : The Steve