Mike felt a little trapped by their approach. It was clear they were attempting to manipulate him through his emotions.
The world had only gone to hell a few hours ago. It was impossible to have developed immunity to beautiful women dying or to be fine with abandoning people because they weren’t useful.
Human nature is to protect the weak.
In times of war or when survival necessitates it that nature may be ignored. The weak may be abandoned so that the strong may survive.
Everything was too new for that kind of thinking to have set in yet. And when it eventually did take hold, only sociopaths would be completely immune from the survivor’s guilt.
Looking over at where Yuki lay, pain clear on her face, Mike remembered the red liquid he’d found. His only drop item so far, it looked like a health potion from a game. With everything else having become game-like under the「System」it stood to reason that health potions might now exist for real.
Gently shrugging Jessica’s hand off his shoulder he stepped forward and knelt next to Amy.
Looking Yuki in the eye he asked, “Do you think you can swallow.”
She managed a nod.
Mike reached back and unzipped a pocket on his bag, producing the red potion. Pulling the stopper he lowered it to Yuki’s mouth and slowly let it trickle in.
Feeling Amy and a few others growing restless at his side, Mike sighed and explained, “I found this potion after I killed a zombie. It was clearly an item drop. It looks just like the health potions in the old fantasy games I used to play.”
“So you’re using her as a guinea pig?”
Far from sounding appeased, Amy’s voice had taken on a note of indignation. Before she could tear into him, something began to happen to Yuki.
She jerked upright, her eyes suddenly wide open as she grabbed the health potion from Mike’s hands and drained the rest of the contents. The potion bottle disappeared as the last of the liquid was drunk
Yuki clutched at her side in apparent pain.
Painful racking coughs shook her body.
The color draining from her face as she struggled to breath and cough at the same time, all while gripping her side and holding her blanket in a white knuckled grip.
She leaned forward and hacked up a ball of sticky dark red gunk. Several small flecks of white bone were clearly visible against the soiled black blood.
Wiping her mouth, the color came back to Yuki’s face and looking up at Mike she said, “Thank you.”
At the same time as Yuki expressed her thanks Mike heard the feminine 「System」voice again. A new screen appeared in his mind.
|Congratulations! You have successfully healed a fellow player.
Achievement: You are the 6th player to heal another player in your「System」district.
Calculating Randomized Reward…
Reward: Skill [Lesser Regeneration] + 100 Credits
Feeling the rush of warmth of a new skill, Mike opened his status to read the effects of the new skill.
| [Lesser Regeneration]
You heal at a faster rate than the average person.
Skill Rank: Common
Effect: Health recovers 50% faster.
Seeing the Skill Mastery displayed, Mike nearly whistled.
None of his previous four skills would ever evolve. They would offer the same bonus for as long as they remained in his skill list.
But Skill Mastery meant [Lesser Regeneration] was different. It would increase its star rating through being used, and when he achieved full mastery at five stars, the skill would automatically upgrade to a higher level version of itself.
There was an obvious downside to that, specific to [Lesser Regeneration]. The only way to master a skill was to use it. The only way he could “use” regeneration, was to get hurt.
In order to evolve it, Mike would have to endure untold amounts of pain. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t an impressive skill, and it was all the more so since he got it for free.
Being a good Samaritan had really paid off.
No one noticed Mike acting strangely as he messed with the「System」. They were all too busy fussing over the suddenly healthy seeming Yuki.
A thorough examination by a chubby guy who claimed to have been in the nursing program proved that Yuki’s injury had downgraded from life threatening to painful. She wasn’t completely healed, but if she bit her lip and ignored the pain she could walk or even run.
Amy, acting a bit shy and embarrassed, which Mike found unbearably cute, thanked him. She apologized for her assumptions, justifying her anger as concern for her friend’s well being. Listening to her Mike realized she thought he’d known exactly what was going to happen.
Out of guilt, he immediately assured her she was forgiven.
The truth was she’d been right, he had been using Yuki as a guinea pig. His hunch hadn’t been unjustified, but the potion could just as easily have turned out to be poison.
Mike did not share that thought with Amy as he pulled back from the huddle surrounding Yuki to find Jessica and Troy.
“I want someone to watch my back when I’m leveling up or sleeping. If that’s what you’re offering here I’m in. I don’t much like the idea of babysitting though,” he indicated the other people on the roof.
Troy smiled, nodding like he understood, “Don’t worry. We’re working out a system of our own for how to split responsibilities. It’s probably going to end up sort of feudal in the end, but basically those willing to fight and level up will do so while those who aren’t willing will do things like cook, clean, and other odd jobs in exchange for protection.”
Mike was about to comment that it sounded a lot like babysitting when Jessica added, “We are going to be looking for other survivors every chance we get. Ideally our numbers will grow considerably and we will gain a lot of fighters. But even if we don’t fighters will be split into at least two groups. If you’d rather not guard the weak then you can just be part of the group of fighters who scout things out and focus on level grinding in their spare time.”
Not entirely sold, Mike felt like he could live with their idea of the future, for the time being.
He was fairly sure he could handle going it alone, but he didn’t fancy being on his guard twenty four seven. The anxiety of constantly watching his back, never really sleeping through the night, etc. was unlikely to be much fun. Why go through it at all, when he had an offer on the table for a better life?
“I guess I’m in,” Mike said.
Author : The Steve