Chapter 43 – Winning is such a Headache
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With my hood up, I mixed into the crowds that were dispersing since most of the events were over. Only a few, that had higher numbers of participants, were still going on. I had to rush over to the cafeteria before they closed to grab something to eat. I had been snacking on things I had stuffed into my cloak all day but it was not very filling. As I tried to get through the crowd as fast as I could, I bumped into a dark haired teen with a crooked nose. His hands grasped my shoulders to stabilize me and he said, “You should watch were you are going.” Even though his words were harsh, he did not sound or look upset. I smiled, apologized and continued to make my way out of the crowd.

***

A group of teens waved over a dark haired teen as soon as he broke free of the crowd. They had been waiting in the shadows of the colosseum. Another in their group left to trail behind Alice, doing his best to act natural.

“Did you get it?” Lucas asked.

“Of course I got it.” The dark haired teen put on a hurt look before breaking out into a smile and then like a magic trick his empty hand held a necklace with a charm.

“Let me take a look.” The others in the group huddled around Lucas as he took the pendant and began to read. It only had about two sentences so it did not take long. Lucas’s face had gone ghost white by the time he finished and in a rushed voice he turned to the dark haired teen and said, “Quick Neal, put it back. Make sure she is wearing it.” With that he shoved the necklace back into Neal’s hand before giving him a light push to get him moving.

The others looked at the pendant, then Lucas. They were baffled by his reaction. All the pendant said was ‘In your darkest hour the light can lead you back’ so his reaction was a bit over the top. Although perplexed Neal had already taken out his communication crystal and was tapping out a light coded message as he began to move in the direction he last saw Alice.

***

I was so hungry that I was not satisfied until I finish the second tray of food. ‘This day was oddly satisfying,’ I thought as I slowly went to Bella’s room cradling my newly formed food baby belly. I might have eaten too much. The campus still had people moving around because of the events from the day. Small groups were talking excitedly, while some were making hand gestures as if casting or as if they had imaginary weapons in their hands. In other words, kids just being kids.

I enjoyed my walk simply watching them frolic about when a teen ran into me. He seemed to be rushing to the cafeteria like I did. I glanced up to see the same hooked nosed teen that I bumped into before. “Ah, I am so sorry. I guess it is my fault this time. I was trying to get food before they closed. I am so, so sorry please forgive me.” He sounded truly upset. His hand outstretched to help me off the ground. Shaking my head, I grabbed his hand and used it to help myself up.

“It is ok,” I said with a smile. I glowed golden as I cast a light heal on myself and after approval I cast one on him. “No harm done,” I finished after I completed my casting. After another couple more apologies he hurriedly ran away to get food and I moved off to the dorms. I dusted myself off as I walked away. I found myself being assaulted by three teenage girls as soon as I walked into Bella’s room. I was grabbed, and hugged excitedly all the while their screams assailed my ears.

With three girls hugging onto me and screaming my name, I soon found myself getting caught up in the moment. The multiple adrenaline rushes I experienced throughout the day had made me exhausted and once my belly was full I was ready for bed… or I was until they pounced on me. Their screams of “You were so fantastic!” “I cannot believe they used ‘Zitler’. He was such a scourge” “Only you and two others managed to rescue the girl!” and so on rang out in the small, stony room. As they calmed themselves down they finally began to ask questions instead of making statements. Amy was the first to ask, “Why did they censor your fight?” she paused and then asked, “You did not do anything naughty like Frank and Garry did, did you?” I guess they were the boys that stopped at the nymphs. I had heard, in the cafeteria that one of them was complaining that he had dropped the orb halfway through and died.

“NO!” I denied quickly and then wondered if they censored the lake nymphs groping me. The thought of so many people watching me being taken advantage of caused me to blush. Bella clicked her tongue and gave me a ‘sure you didn’t’ look that made me want to argue my innocence but I knew the more I argued the more they would not believe me so I gave up.

We made a little bedding fort and all piled in. I spent the next couple of hours answering simpler questions like “Were you scared?”, “What parts were harder?” “Why did you bounce your fighter off the door?” They mostly were just poking fun at me. Until I finally began to ask my own questions. While Zitler was mentioned in the history books, it was just a brief outline. They had more information and, after facing off against him, I was curious about him.

They filled in the gaps I had quickly enough. It seemed Zitler was a soul summoner. It is a rare sub-category that few summoners could master. He did it in his teens which spoke of his skill. He could take souls of people and force them into summoned creatures. It gives the creatures some of the person’s memories and personalities but not the freedom to resist the caster. In theory it made them smarter at the cost of killing people. He had thousands of them at the pinnacle of his dungeon. But forgot to guard against betrayal and was killed when they used their intelligence to scheme against him. His own lust causing his downfall.

This did bring up an interesting question, ‘Can people control dungeons?’ It was never mentioned in any books and if it was possible the people in power probably hid that type of information. Albeit, they hid it poorly since they showed a guy that lived in a dungeon. True they did not show him controlling it but it did raise questions. Everything in the books depicted dungeons in a bad way but were they all that way? All I really knew was that they grew in strength and spread like a disease unless the cores were destroyed. I dismissed this train of thought since I did not want to be a dungeon master anyway and thinking about it was simply a waste of time that could be spent sleeping.

The only other question I really had was why in a school of thousands, were there such a small amount of people signed up for the main dungeon quest? I expected hundreds to sign up, not a mere two dozen. The answer shocked me. While I knew that there were two types of magic casters in this world; the dungeon adventures whose magic got enhanced when they go in and those that had magic but were unable to go in. I now knew that those that could go into the dungeons were less than one percent. Even in the school where the more powerful mages gathered, the percent only got to around two to three percent in any given year. So while there were more people that signed up for other events, mostly for fun and bragging rights, those that could actually win the tournament were only those that went into the dungeon event or signed up for a lot of the secondary events.

We ended up talking into the night about which events they had to do tomorrow or what they did today until I finally told them between yawns that I had to compete tomorrow.

***

I woke up to a splitting headache in the morning. Information about first aid that I did not know beforehand kept appearing in my thoughts as if I was watching a month long movie marathon in a minute. It took me a while to even focus enough to notice the notification showing that I won first in the healing competition. The top prize of 500 XP, plus one to wisdom, and my first aid skills increasing to journeyman level were displayed on it. So all that information was a ‘reward’ that left me grasping my head in pain.

I click that window closed and a new one popped up. It proclaimed in golden font that was never used before, “Congratulations Alice, I Relavios God of Wisdom, Knowledge and Insight gift you a boon for reaching level 20 in your wisdom. Whichever you choose will grew in strength with your stat so choose wisely.” There were only about a half a dozen that caught my eye.

I think I dreamt about that - You will get glimpse of things to come in your dreams. May require some interpretation.

Common Sense – What everybody thinks they have but few do.

Perfect Recall – Anything you see can be recalled with perfect clarity.

True Sight – Reveals things that are hidden

Puzzle Master – Get more helpful clues to help solve puzzles and riddles

Possible Futures – Get visions of things that may occur around you. Because they are possible futures your actions or inactions might cause changes.

I thought about the pros and cons of each option. The “I think I dreamt about that” and ‘Possible Futures’ seemed very similar. The only thing I could think of was that one might be what is happening at the moment while the dream one might be further into the future. Each offers a benefit of allowing me the ability to preplan my actions while the negative would be me misinterpreting the visions or acting in haste to stop something but causing a domino effect leading to something much worse.

Puzzle Master’ would allow me to get through dungeon puzzles easier but the fact that higher wisdom kind of already did that and the fact that it was a very niche like skill made it low on my list of skills to get. It was even lower than ‘Common Sense’ but not by much.

The ones I thought were the best choices were ‘Perfect Recall’ and ‘True Sight’. They both seemed to be what I needed. With perfect recall I could have a library of knowledge at my fingertips while true sight would allow me to detect traps, hidden foes, and so on. I wanted both of them. At first I could not think of any negatives for either of them but then thought about it some more since without any I knew I would procrastinate in choosing. It took a while but I finally thought of one for perfect recall. It did not specify books which meant I could end up reliving some pretty horrible events with perfect clarity that no time would dull.

I thought of the accident that took my parents lives. Some parts were fuzzy some were clear. I could remember my mother reaching out to me but not much else. Did I want to relive that in clearer detail? No, I would remember them as the perfect parents. Ones that gave their love to me. That was enough. I did not want to remember their pain or horrible moments. Maybe I was overthinking it but what if these powers increased to include sound, taste, or pain someday? If so I could easily “Relive” my past as if it was today and get lost in my memories. I could not think of any negative for true sight? Was I overthinking the negative aspects of the others too much or was I missing something about true sight. I needed to choose something and with a little trepidation on if I was making the right decision I chose ‘True Sight’.

The window closed right after I selected and another window popped up instantly showing me that I gained a level. I quickly opened my character sheet and saw that I now had forty points that I could use to increase my stats. I used twenty without even thinking about it to increase my charisma. My body began to feel a little weird but I was distracted as another window congratulating me for reaching twenty in charisma appeared. This time there were two gods, well a God and a Goddess to be precise. They were twins from the lore I had read. The God Kazdis was known for his lechery while the goddess Iaris was known for being regal and for empowering others so much that they tended to become leaders within the world.

Looking over the list I could see which God gave the boon.

Show me some skin - Increased natural armor with the less you wear. Sexiness matters

The makings of a queen - Increased Charisma stat when you wear more formal attire or go to formal events

All Natural - Increased Charisma whenever you have no cosmetics or illusions applied

Pheromones - increases sexual appeal to anybody within a certain range

Eye of the beholder  - Become the perfect woman for the man that likes you most

Defend thy honor - Your charisma will double, are you strong enough?

Natural Born Leader - Your majestic air will inspire others while in battle, small chance of breaking enchantments

Right away I crossed off three of them. ‘Eye of the Beholder’ because it simply made you a doll for another's pleasure. ‘Defend thy Honor’ would make me powerful magically but I already was having issues with my looks and people. I have not even hit my growth spurt which would start soon. I could only imagine the horror I would face if my charisma doubled. I simply lacked the strength to not become somebody’s plaything. So that was out as well. ‘Pheromones’ had no off switch. It reminded me of our dance instructor, Peach, and her exasperation at all the people always ogling her. Which I did not want to deal with on top of having a high charisma.

The boon ‘Show me some skin’ I will admit I hesitated on. The extra protection seemed awfully nice but my body was only thirteen going on fourteen. How sexy could I really be and did I want that type of attention? Thinking of old lechers looking at me made me firmly move onto the next option.

The last three All Natural, The Makings of a Queen, and Natural Born Leader all seemed nice in their own way. I decided on All Natural for three simple reasons. I did not know how to do makeup, did not want to learn and, let’s face it, if I ever manage to get to a dungeon I would have little chance to apply makeup. I did not think I would ever go to a fancy party or be able to afford fancy enough armor to get the Makings of a Queen to actually work. So while I liked the Natural Born Leader, I was too new to this world for it to be useful right away. I did not know enough to be giving orders. I also was a tiny little girl at the moment and wasn’t confident that people would even listen until I grew a little. So… All Natural it was.

As it closed I could see my character sheet now had plus three next to charisma indicating that a boost was in effect. I felt weird as I crawled out of the girly pile I found myself in. My head ached, my chest felt tight and I was super groggy. I half-heartily grabbed my morning supplies and made my way out of the room. I was going to shower to wake up and brush my teeth. Amy gave a questioning, “Alice?” as I was walking out of the room and I gave a quick reply about going to freshen up and that I would be right back, before stumbling out of the room. My center of balance seemed a little weird but I shrugged it off as I moved down the hall.

It was not until about half way through the shower I noticed a couple of things on my chest that were not there, at least not noticeably, before this morning. I had run my soapy hands across them as per normal only to notice that the little cherries I had before I went to sleep had turned into melons … damn it. I did not sign up for bigger boobs. A nice B-cup on my tiny frame would have been fine and this did not feel like a B. When making the character I thought of all the girls complaining about back pain due to size and then about them being in the way while fighting so I specifically designed myself with a modest size. Now I was not so sure my design still held true. I quickly ended my shower to see how bad it really was.

I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom. The nobles had real mirrors and not the polished metals that commoners used so I could see that I was not too bad off but it was too early. My growth spirt was not due to hit until my fourteenth birthday which was a few months off still. But now I was a few inches taller. What if my growth spirt made them continue to grow?

My breasts were already bigger than I selected. It was not by too much considering my new height and, from a guy’s point of view, seemed to be perfect for my new body size. This allowed me to calm down a bit and once I was calm enough to take my eyes off my front, I noticed that was not the only area that changed. I was a lot curvier. It was like I hit puberty all in one night. Even my stomach was more toned. I looked more mature. Instead of looking thirteen I now looked closer to fifteen to sixteen. I did not mind since I now looked closer to my mental age of eighteen. 

I had to go back to the room with the towel wrapped around my middle. My shirt I was wearing now left my stomach exposed due to my breasts and my pants were a bit too tight to fasten. I had a long night shirt that I wore but was reluctant to put it back on since I slept in it.

The girls were up by the time I got back into the room. Amy was the first to notice my changes as I walked in. I think she noticed before I left because she seemed to be waiting for me. I saw her look of confusion, then shock and I watched her playfully pinch Lilly who happened to be next to her. Lilly gave a yelp before turning around to find out why she was attacked for no reason. Only for her to stop, stare at me, and then pinch Amy … probably in retaliation but she claimed she was testing to see if she was still asleep.

I heard Lilly mumble, “Am I still dreaming? Where the heck did her boobs come from?” as she glanced down at hers. “It has to be illusion magic.”

Their playful antics cause Bella to notice what was going on and, long story short, I had to explain that I leveled and my charisma stat went up. Lilly asked me what it was at. Normally it is a faux pa to ask such a question but the changes were too big. I admitted that it hit twenty. I oddly trusted Amy now so I said it even while she was there. They were my friends and I did not think I could hide it anyway. That level twenty threshold was no joke if it could simply alter your body this much. It is not like I could lie and say it is illusion magic or padding. This led to more and more questions. I cooked up breakfast while we talked and found out that while my level was low, my stats were higher than normal. If they were telling the truth, I was about double their stats even though they were around my level.

My headache was finally going away by the time I finished breakfast. I had tried using healing magic and while the ache in my chest went away it did nothing for my head. It probably had something to do with me processing the data or so I told myself. Either way I was happier than I had been for the last week. The fact that I leveled, got rewards and nobody tried to kill me after the events just put a smile on my face.

Bella, being my friend that had the largest assets among us, let me borrow a shirt and gave me a brief explanation on how chest wraps worked after breakfast. My new mother had given me a brief explanation on them but without much to wrap at that time I tended to not use them. Now that they popped out of nowhere I found myself struggling to get them to be supported correctly. I borrowed a long skirt from Amy who’s waist was more my size. There was no chance my armor was going to fit without some alterations. Luckily, all the fighting was yesterday. Today was cooking and enchanting. I had procrastinated for too long on if I should reveal it or not and didn’t sign up for summoning. Now it was too late or I would have also had to go there today as well. By the time we all finished getting dressed and eating, I had to rush off pulling Lilly behind me for our cooking competition.

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