Chapter 34 – No rest for …
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Amy looked at me in confusion. I saw her eyes go from dazed, to confused, and then her eyes focused on me and all I saw was hatred. 'Yeah, this was not going to be easy,' I thought. Since I was not sure what she remembered I tried to get her up to date. "Amy, I am unsure what you got yourself into or why you are being used to attack me but assassins are out to kill you." I stopped and pointed at the gaping bloody hole in the middle of her school uniform. The knife had allowed her breasts to be easily seen. Say what you will but evil Amy had nice breasts. I looked at them but unlike when I was a guy I did not lust after them. I was probably just too young. I started again, "If it was not for me healing you, you would be dead. We need to work together if you want to live."

I knew if we began to fight, we would be lucky that no assassins would show up to kill us both while we were distracted. I watched her look at the blood splatters around the room, then her shirt and then my right arm that was just daggling uselessly at my side. I gave her a minute for her to decide and then coughed to get her attention. "Amy, we need to get moving if you want to live. I know you may not like me, although I have no idea why, but it does not matter. Choose quickly because I am leaving." I finished my little speech and turned as if to leave.

Amy panicked and I heard her say, "Wait, wait, I will join you."

I turned back. "Are you sure? If you betray me I will… beat you to an inch of your life." I wanted to say 'Kill you myself' to sound intimidating but this damn truth curse kicked in. "We need to get moving. The last one will probably be back once he heals up. If we are going to make it I will need you to pull out the spike that is in my shoulder. I am going to trust you not to stab me in the back because if I go into a fight this injured I may die." I looked into her eyes trying to judge her intent and sighing a little I turned my back to her again.

I heard her get off the bed and walk up to me. Her small hand was placed against my shoulder and then I felt her yank out the spike. I cried out in pain and her chuckle joined my gasps as I tried to collect myself. I cast as quickly as I could and thought about punching the girl but shook my head. We needed to get moving.

I looked at Amy and saw her holding the spike in her right hand and her shirt closed with her other. I big smile was on her face like she just got the biggest gift ever. I smiled back and her smile faltered and a confused look replaced her triumphant one. I much preferred an idiot that is upfront about her hate than a smiling snake. "Let us get going." I said and opened the door.

I thought that we would have issues leaving considering that Amy's shirt was completely blood covered and ripped open, we were both holding weapons and tiny golden butterflies fluttered around my shoulder but I was completely wrong. Doctors and nurses were running about trying to stop patients that were trying to leave. I caught them arguing about how injured they were, tests that needed to be done, and then the patient saying they were perfectly fine. There were even some people arguing that the place was unsafe. Something about attacks on the building itself. So in other words, the place was in complete chaos.

There were guards everywhere and I thought of getting their help. Sadly there were dozens of people milling around for every guard so getting close enough to them would mean being surrounded by them. One assassin was problematic, if there were multiple, I doubted I could keep her alive. It was better to simply hide and wait it out. If they could not find us, they could not hurt us.

In a rush to leave, I quickly got us through the door. There were more people in groups outside just talking about what happened but I ignored that. We needed a place to hide. "Amy, can you fly?" She shook her head and said no in such a way that it conveyed I was being an idiot. I probably was since she did not fly in our duel. Fine, roof tops were out as was mingling with the harpies.

"What about that monster you had? Can we go get it?" An extra combatant would be nice even though it would limit us on where we could go, the tradeoff was worth it.

Again she shook her head and followed it by saying, "It was not mine so it does not listen to me without using a special potion."

I tried one last time, "Do you know anywhere we can hide or do you know any magic that will help us either to hide or in combat?" My voice now held doubt.

She shook her head for the third time and looked baffled that she was even being asked. I rubbed my head in frustration. Amy was freaking useless. FINE. I moved to the cafeteria while I tried to think of a better place. There would be less people gathered at this time of day and maybe we could get something to eat to tide us over. I doubted Amy was the type of person that handled hunger well. I had another place we could hide but we were not allowed to go there yet.

I pulled out an extra shirt I kept in my cloak's pocket and tossed it at Amy. She grabbed it but had to let go of her ripped shirt to do it so I got flashed once more. She shot me an angry look which I ignored. "You should put that on. Your bloody shirt will draw unwanted attention." I kept an eye out for people as she ducked behind a bush and quickly changed.

I may have made a mistake on the shirt being less distracting though. I was smaller than Amy both in body and chest so the shirt that was a little loose on me was skin tight on her. Her belly was not completely covered and her chest was outlined so well that she may as well not have worn anything. She saw me looking at her chest and her skin turn bright red. I blushed as well from being caught checking her out.

"I'm engaged. If people see me in this and misunderstand and think that I am looking for another man I will not let you off." Amy huffed with her arms crossed trying to cover her ample chest. I ignored her. She still had reddish smudges all over her belly from the blood she had wiped off earlier. Who would think she was on the hunt for a man with the stink of blood and red smears all over her?

I turned and motioned for her to follow. "We need to get food before we go into hiding. Let us just get in, get the food and I will take you to a safe place."

I had thought about where to hide but was torn on where to go. Our two best options as far as I could tell were to go get any of the teachers that remained here on break or we could hide out in a dungeon simulator. The teachers should be able to protect us but the track record of being safe while in school was rather low. Whereas the simulator locks a group into their own dungeon realm. Once we enter, the only danger would be the dungeon itself and we could leave whenever we desired to or upon death. Deaths and wounds were not real ones, they just felt real until you left.

Each had their own issues. The simulator was restricted and I did not actually have permission to use it yet. Using it would get me into trouble unless they believed that assassins were really after us. Getting the teachers involved meant we first had to get to their building which I felt would be difficult, since to me it was the obvious choice. Then we had to convince them we were not crazy and were actually in danger.

I thought about it as we made our way over to the cafeteria. I looked at the small amount of people here and felt reassured. We would be able to get in and out quickly… Or so I thought. As we walked in a group of boys turned to look at us, said something between themselves and then broke out into laughter as they began to move toward us.

"Hey pretty girls, how about we treat you to a meal?" A blonde boy with short spiky hair, probably the leader, spoke to us as if he were granting us some great privilege.

"No…" I started but was cut off by Amy who quickly jumped in, "No Problem! We would be glad to join you." Her excitement to join them equaled my frustration. This pig of a teammate was going to get us killed.

Spiky Head motioned to one of the boys who ran off to get food. His eyes never leaving Amy. Although he was not too obvious, he kept glancing more at her body than her face. Amy, for all her talk ,unfolded her arms and pushed out her chest while smiling at the kid.

"Amy, we really should get going." I said and tried to pull her along.

But she shrugged my hand off and said, "No, I am sure we have time to eat with them." Her voice had taken on a gentler tone. It held a sultry tone. I just wanted to knock her out and carry her away from this fiasco. The only thing quick about my plan of getting in and out was the rate at which it was falling apart.

While I tried to think of a way to get her to leave without causing a scene, the boys made a big production of clearing a table for us even though over half of them were already empty. Amy moved to sit at the boys' requests. I trailed behind while looking around nervously.

At least, the boy that went for the food came back fast swiftly. Once we had the food, we began to eat. A few of them tried to hit on me but most talked to Amy since she was more respectful of to their advances. I watched on like a nervous boyfriend trying to judge if anything was poisonous or if anybody was getting ready to attack. It was stressful and by the time we were ready to leave, other than a boy's hand resting on her thigh, nothing happened.

I finally got her out of there after a few goodbyes and them touching some type of crystals together that seemed to be a type phone in this world. We made our way to the dungeon simulator. It was the best choice I could think of. We could just hang out in there if we set it up in a lower level.

Placing my schools crystal on the panel, I set up the dungeon by selecting humanoid, plains and risk level one. The cave entrance that was dark lit up in a greenish hue. Ignoring Amy's complaints, I made her go toward it. As she stepped in, the greenish hue turned orange right before she vanished and I took a quick look behind me to see a man standing by the panel tapping away. The cave's light began to lighten and I rush into it before it completely went out, so much for easy mode.

I saw another man hit the man by the panel as the world faded away. When I could see again I stood at the base of a mountain with Amy sitting on a rock. What was the point of changing the settings and who was the second guy? Even if we are on a harder level the damage was not permanent.

There was movement everywhere. The clouds swirled as things flew through them, pebbles and stones could be heard clattering down from things moving on the mountain, trees rustled and twigs snapped in the forest that was a little bit away from the base of the mountain. It was a stark contrast to the open plains with a few goblins or some other low level critters.

"Amy we need to get to a saf…" I managed to get out before pain engulfed me and my vision turned blank.

I was looking at the blue sky when I could see again. I had not even seen what killed me. I quickly looked around and saw a few other kids lying on the grass of the resurrection point. It was a just a few feet away from the dungeon cave entrance. I glanced over there and saw a group of people in school security uniforms with a few more cuffed standing between them. I noticed that each of the cuffed people had a red mask hanging on their hips.

I saw two miniature crossbows sitting off to the side and put two and two together. We were to go in and then when we died and popped out disoriented, that would be the time they would kill us. It was about time the school did something. I sighed and rested my head on the ground. Amy was crying on the ground next to me. I was not sure how she died but judging off my death, it was probably quick. Why was she breaking down again?

I got up to comfort her. I took her into my arms and patted her back until she calmed down. Due to me being tinier than her it was a struggle to get my arms around to tap her back but I managed. I did this until she was sniffling in my arms. I hated to see girls crying.

I did not notice that a man had come up to us while I was comforting her. When he cleared his throat to get our attention I was so startled I let go of Amy so quickly that she almost fell onto the ground. I managed to catch her at the last second. It was such a rookie move to get distracted like that. I smiled sheepishly.

I heard him speak in a voice that negotiators use to get people to release hostages, "Are you both ok? Amy and Alice, if you could come with us while we round up the other two people looking for you and can also get your statements. Do not worry, we know where they are so you are no longer in danger."

Everything he did or said had a reassuring affect and we were soon following him. We were taken to the guards building. I was then separated from Amy and put into a room with a table while another man sat across from me.

He started the conversation by saying, "You must think poorly of our school. I would not blame you if you did. I am here to clarify what is going on and why it was allowed to happen. You were recently involved in freeing students from a dungeon. During that period something dangerous was stolen. Because of that, each person involved is being tested since in crisis's people tend to use everything they have to stay alive. It was simply convenient for us that people were sent here and that you got involved. So we let it play out while we had clairvoyants monitoring you. We are sorry but we figured the risk was worth it to keep even more people safe. It was beyond our expectations that we could not intercede fast enough to save Amy from being stabbed. Could you explain how you managed to save her?" His voice was monotone except when he was asking me how I saved her. His voice held a mixture of excitement and curiosity.

I could see greed in the guy's eyes which confused me. Was resurrection not common in this world? I just assumed it was since it was a fantasy world but thinking about it, I had not read anything about it. After months hiding out in the library, I had read quite a bit so I should have seen something. I knew I made a mistake in judgement. If it was unheard of or even rare, I may be locked up or worse until they could duplicate it. I had no misconception that in a world were might makes right I was not powerful enough to stop them from having their way.

I was at a loss. I had no idea what to tell him, so I simply said, "Everybody has secrets. This is just one of mine. I am sorry but I do not want it known."

The smile that was on his face melted away as if it was never there. "I see," his tone turned cold. To his merit, he did not push the issue. He simply moved on asking a few more questions and then let me go. I did not see Amy, from start to finish, but the timer was still counting down so I knew she was alive. I had mixed emotions about being used as bait by the school but even if I was mad what could I do? At least, I did not get into trouble for using the simulator.

I counted my blessings as I made my way back to the dorms. It was a wasted day but unless somebody killed Amy before dawn, I would get an easy quest with big rewards. I planned on sleeping early and continue to use the obstacle courses while there were not a lot of people here. I can get into the more popular ones since most of the students would not return for a few more days.

I tried to sleep as I snuggled into the covers. I could not sleep. The thought of assassins kept popping into my head every time I began to nod off.  It was not until a few hours before dawn that I finally fell asleep.

I woke up with my interface screen displaying:

Quest: Save Amy (Complete)

Rewards Given: Perception +1, Wisdom +1

What a nice way to start the day. It was already around noon, so I quickly got ready and ran out the door. I grabbed some food at the cafeteria and ignoring a few boys that happened to be there from yesterday, quickly headed out.

I picked a defensive course that was aimed at resisting physical attacks. I was feeling a bit uneasy about how quickly I died yesterday in the simulator. I watched the course modify itself after raising the level to two. I already had a benefit for level one so I would not get another one from the physical courses. It was important to go step by step. The rewards stacked but if you started at a higher level and clear it you could not go back to a lower level to get an ability. You could only get ones that were higher than the current one you had.

It was a common mistake that students would aim for the strongest first to be the toughest, quickest, or the most dangerous student in class. They ignored what the teachers said and got the highest skill they could just get the adoration of their fellow classmen. They could get one benefit for each type without a problem, even if they did mess up the order. That is what a lot of the students did. They got the highest talents from each group, ignoring that talents could stack.

I wanted to get every defensive talent I could. I mentally made a list of courses I wanted to try and get through today, I quickly eyed the course. I did not want to spend too much time on it since I wasted half the day sleeping. Wooden sticks began to swing violently after the course took its new shape. It looked like a masochist's wet dream. I could hear the swish as the wooden poles cut through the air. 'I must be nuts,' I thought and began to make my way through it.

***

I lamented my fate as I looked at the long bruises that crisscrossed my body through the eye that had not swelled shut. Two hours, five tries and most of my magical energy used up healing myself. I knew my expectations to get through so many courses were too high. Every part of me ached but I managed to make it to the end. 'Resolute' had been my reward for all the suffering. The skill allowed me to reduce all damage by ten percent after I fell below thirty percent of my total health.

I needed to rest to get my magical energy back, so I sat down to watch the few kids making their way through the courses. One of the upper classmen was jumping from the tips of poles while dodging volleys of flaming arrows. He must be trying to get an agility or foot work talent. A younger student was jumping up and down as she had just finished a sharp shooting course. I smiled at her success. It was a rarer sight than the failures. All the courses were a test of perseverance because none of them were considered easy.

I sat and watched as a few succeeded while most got pummeled. My magic recharged slowly and even if I was enjoying the day, I knew I would only get through one more course at best. Shaking my head, I gave up for the day. Instead, I made my way to the library. I had been working on learning a regeneration spell. It was a big hole in my skill set. I also figured I could do some general research on illusion, summoning and resurrection magic.

I needed to figure out which other magic I wanted and if resurrection magic even existed in this world. With that thought in mind, I ended up at a library table with books piled up like a wall in front of me. I spent hours combing through the books and by the end I could not find anything about resurrection magic. The best I found was a few myths of heroes being struck down only to come back stronger. I did not think the people in power would let me go unhindered if they knew I could bring people back to life.

The other thing I learned was it would take time to master the new magic. I would not be able to summon up a beast to devour my enemies right away. Instead if I was lucky, I might get a field mouse. The same could be said for any new magic somebody learns because the body has to adjust itself. Even so I was leaning toward summoning. Illusion magic might help me run away but I, like everybody else, I wanted to be the hero in my life's story and summoning would help me to realize that. Even if it was a little delayed.

The happiness that came from finally deciding on the magic I wanted won out over the frustration that powerful people might want me as a lab rat. I figured I could only try my best to get stronger and worrying over what might happen was simply a waste of energy.

Getting the new magic was fairly easy. It was simply a matter of going to the God or Goddess's shrine and making an offering. It did not matter too much about what you offered as long as you were sincere about it. The more precious the item offered was to you the more the Gods liked it. I have no idea why because the books did not say.

I turned in early after healing myself. In the morning I set off. I had a full day planned out. Went to the magical training room to practice 'Lesser: Regeneration'. I spent an hour practicing it. It was merely because I wanted to be able to cast without a verbal component. I left with a smile, happy that it did not take too long.

I then started to make my way to the temple for the God of Summoning; Annos. The temples were all within one gigantic building near the center of the capital. Extravagant decorations and fixtures etched in gold and gems were seen everywhere once I walked in. Priests in colored robes depicting the deity they worshiped were always in sight to help travelers find the temple they sought. After a few minutes of asking them I found myself in the temple of Annos.

It had statues of animals, beasts, and demons placed around it. Some were half formed as if they were materializing out thin air. All of them were so detailed that they looked alive. It was as if they could begin moving at any moment. A few other people were here making their offerings to the God.

There were golden platters that would hold items that people placed within them before the item atomized into little pixels and then faded away. An amber glow would then surround that person and they would then get up and leave. I watched a couple of people but other than the intensity of the glow varying nothing else happened.

Mustering up my nerve I went to the offering plate. After placing over half of all my belongings into the plate including the gold pieces, I took a step back and waited. I was nervous. I gave everything I could do without and still survive. I was unsure if there was a real god or simply a magical system that weighed your intent in the offering. No matter what, I needed it to give me enough power to survive in this world.

I heard a booming voice in my head once the pixels completely faded. "GRANTED! GOOD LUCK LOST ONE."  Then I was blinded as the amber glow surrounded me. When I could see again my head felt like somebody pushed a spike through it. I staggered out of the temple and left the others in the hall murmuring to themselves. Once I hit the city streets, I felt well enough to focus on healing whatever the hell just happened to me.

Fuck that hurt. After the pain ebbed away, I pulled up my interface to see if anything changed and noticed that my mana recharged twice as fast as before and I now had tabs separating my magic. There was now one for holy magic and one for summoning. I clicked the summoning tab and a long list of things I could summon appeared. From what I read I should only have had a couple of low-level critters to start off but looking at the names of the things I could pick from they did not sound low level.  Things like 'Flayed Ones', 'Bone Collectors', 'Basilisks', 'Thought Stealers' and so on were listed and all sounded impressive.

I could not risk casting to sate my curiosity, so I hurried to a weapons shop to purchase a decent mace and a short bow before going back to the school. The school's hand me down bow has seen better days and the mighty table leg I had been using was sacrificed to the god along with my first cloak. All-in-all it was a day without incident. No pickpocket tried to steal from me. It was probably because either I looked too poor to get anything decent or that the school uniform was good for something.

I spent most of my gold on equipment. The shopkeeper said it was enchanted for durability, so it came with a guaranty. I left with just a few gold still in my pocket. Thinking about a hand scribbled note in an alchemy book by a guy that went by MadRat, I spent the last of my gold on some seeds and pots to grow them in. His suggestion of an herb garden to help minimize alchemy costs should help a lot.

Either way I was happy nothing bad happened. Other than a creepy feeling that I was being watched, the day went well. I managed to complete the first level of the sharpshooter course after I got back and then spent the rest of the day practicing casting on multiple people at once. I was getting the hang of it and was in high spirits. My friends would be returning any day so I would not be alone for too long and then classes would start up.

With happy thoughts running about in my head I fell asleep, content.

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