My opponents glance at the warrior who seems to be their leader with concern. I can tell that they are also beginning to feel the potent, but physically harmless, effects of “The Inverse Ninja Law”, or “INL” they just work a little harder than he does to not seem weak in front of the number of students who turn to watch us in the wake of their leaders collapse.
I smirk at them, and motion for them to come at me. I tower over them as far as raw height goes and I am also far wider than either of the two who manage to stay on their feet. It is impressive that they have the discipline to withstand the debilitating effects of the perk I have.
The INL is a handy perk that passively weakens enemies who team up to try and fight me. It is loosely based on something called “The Rule Of Cool” and while there’s a lot of… “Meta” stuff about it that I don’t understand it’s obviously really handy. It at least weakens any advantages enemies would otherwise get for teaming up against me!
It works by weakening any crowds of enemies I face by an amount determined by how many of them there are when they group up to face me. This time there are only three enemies but that’s more than there are of me and so they feel the effects of a small amount of INL.
I leap forward, aiming at the member of the three-man-circus on the left of the trio. As I move I feel the potent powers I possess beginning to come into effect, even as my eyes fill with bloodlust.
At the very same time that I am here, physically present, I am somewhat absent-mindedly exploring the mental mini-map that I possess. The powerful mini-map is a highly informative device and by exploring it I can gain a powerful understanding of the world around me.
One of the secrets my system-granted-tool reveals is known, very possibly, only to me. As I mentally mess with the mini-map I quickly discover that several influential members of the government of District 1 are at the academy today. They appear in a nearby room that I know to be a security room thanks to one of my perks granting me perfect recall which is retroactively active.
I know precisely why they are here. They are here to watch the students since the reaping is just a few weeks away. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other people watching the students in other schools, so as to weigh us against each other and determine who to send to the Capitol. All this means is that I’ve got to impress the politicians and leaders watching today. No big deal.
The distance that separates my opponents and I is a small one. It is perhaps twenty feet. I am fast, so fast in fact that the naked eye of a mundane person cannot track me, and so I fall upon my targeted enemy almost the very same instant that I begin to move.
I cross the gap that separates me from my enemy with ease. It feels as though all I have to do is will myself there and I am there. As I move I send my fist forth, since I have a body that is made for devastating unarmed strikes.
My movements and my actual strike are all buffed by the fun perks I possess. During class today I idly explored my menus and my system and every chance I had to buff my unarmed strikes, such as through making choices through perks that allowed me to select a fighting style to master, I selected unarmed strikes. In many ways I am more dangerous with my fists than I would be with a weapon!
My fists rocket towards my enemy’s stomach before he even fully realizes I have appeared in front of him. In my mind’s eye he is moving at a glacial pace while I myself move with frightening speed. It only takes my fists the blink of an eye to rocket into the young man’s chest, and when they slam into him I feel my blow send a wave of force through his tiny body.
The warrior, who is only fifteen years old, is lifted off of his feet by the force of my blow. During this time I keep a simple smile on my face, one which only widens as I feel the tremendous amounts of experience I am earning at the moment.
At the very same time I see a notification in the corner of my mind’s eye informing me of just how much damage I had dealt to my enemy. It is not a small number, and seeing it makes me laugh internally.
[Alert: You have dealt 98 damage.]
This is the amount of damage I deal while holding back!
“Come on, fight a little harder than that.” I utter, a wide smile on my face as the student I have hit begins to spit out blood while slowly rising into the air from the impact of the blow to his stomach.
The blood he spits out is a delicious-looking shade of scarlet. It fills the air between us with the intoxicating scent of rust, and I have to work to not react to it. My entire body reacts to the eerie scent, from my heart beginning to hammer in my chest, to my eyes widening, to my teeth momentarily becoming sharper and more carnivorous. I feel the potent effects of my vampirism for the first time, and I am quietly grateful I opted to prepare for this while I was in class.
I am a “Vampire”, among other things. Or rather… I WILL be a vampire, when I manage to leave this place. That is already having an impact on me in rather annoying ways as it is what is making the blood the student spat out so astounding to me. The liquid looks delicious, though I know quite firmly what will happen if I am not careful and I give into the small part of me that wants to lunge forward at the student.
My story will end before it begins if I can’t even get into the 74th Hunger Games. I need to be careful not to get caught here.
I know a little about “Vampires” thanks to the system which has been steadily informing me as to what all I will become upon the moment I leave this place. Several of the powerful “Generic” jumps I have been frontloaded with promise me powerful “Alt-forms” with which I know I’ll be able to get up to lots of mischief, and violence, in whatever world I go to next.
I can feel his organs reacting to my blow. I can feel his heart hammering in his chest, and his brain working to numb him to the pain that he is feeling. My blow was by no means fatal but that was primarily because I didn’t want it to be. I was not out here to kill these kids, only to test myself against actual enemies.
As far as the raw force behind my blows goes, to be fair to my foe, my hits hit with the force of a small train. Even with just Panem perks I am a peak human being, but I have multiple active perks which buff me far beyond that. One of my perks alone allows me to deal three times the damage I’d otherwise deal with my fists and other unarmed blows, which for a peak human is an absurd amount of damage.
One of my other enemies, the boy to the right of the leader, roars at me and raises his club. He lunges and swings the thing at my chest! I make no effort to dodge, knowing it’d be more intimidating for me to sit there and tank the blow.
The club, and its wielder, move painfully slowly. I have a sort of quasi-supernatural quickness that is perfect for things like this but I also have a flair for the dramatic that I suspect was a quiet gift of Ghriza’s for me. I keep my focus on the warrior who I am defeating while his friend hurls himself at me, and even when the student closes the gap between us I allow my eyes to stay glued to my first victim.
The club sails towards my chest even as the blood that my enemy spat out flies in the air between my enemy and I. I try my hardest not to glance at it, but it is a challenge. It smells delicious and is rousing to me on a level that is almost worrying, though I know that this is solely due to my nature as a soon-to-be-vampire. Some of my supernatural senses are attuned to blood so I will always be able to identify it with ease and it stands out to me on a comical level.
The blood of other students, regardless of the source, also calls to me but its distance makes it easier to ignore. I also have sharp willpower which makes it even easier for me to resist any sort of supernatural temptation.
When the wooden club of my enemy manages to snake its way past my attacker’s fellow warrior and crashes into my chest I remain unmoved and unbothered. The club hits me and immediately shatters on my tough skin, exploding into a flurry of splinters rather than move or meaningfully injure me. As the thing shatters my foe’s eyes widen in fear and I turn to him with a look of mild amusement on my face.
I ignore a notification I just received informing me that I have just taken a fraction of a point of damage. The damage I take isn’t zero, but I possess a weak healing factor that immediately heals the damage I had just sustained. My first foe falls to the floor, defeated, while I turn to more fully face my new enemy.
I tower over this student as well, and while he is still dumbfounded from the fact that his blow was less than useless against me I consider how to best defeat him. I gaze at the man and activate “Observe”, which levels up when I use it.
Each time I level up “Observe” it gets a little bit stronger. With each level up I learn a bit more whenever I use it, and now I can now see someone’s health and their stamina. My eyes flicker towards my first enemy and I activate “Observe” just to determine his health. He is still conscious and is at twelve hit points out of one hundred and ten. He is in a lot of pain and is now on the floor, quietly groaning.
My eyes dart back to facing my new opponent and I smirk at him. He takes a single, slow step backward and I can almost smell his fear. I hear his heart pounding in his chest, even as his companion, the student who seems to be the leader of his group, shakily rises off of the ground and looks at me.
My defeat of their ally and my tanking of the one warrior’s hit is enough to make them lose any excitement they may have previously felt about fighting me. That, coupled with the intensity of the look I am giving them fills them with fear.
I smirk at my foes and tense my muscles. This causes my arms to shift subtly and show off my impressive strength. I don’t do this for my fellow students. I don’t even do it for my enemies. I do it for one specific audience, one that is currently situated behind a desk and is quietly watching the fight from the safety of a computer monitor. That audience is the one audience that matters, here and now.
While I say I don’t do it for the fans… I can feel the heated gazes I am eliciting from my classmates. Women, and some men, are all gazing at me, watching me with hunger, or perhaps thirsty, eyes. I can feel their excitement as readily as I can feel the fear that causes my enemies to hesitate. Their excitement feels good to me, though in a way not as good as the fear my enemies feel.
Something about the fear my foes feel makes them stand out to me. Their emotion, perhaps the actual feelings or perhaps the raw intensity of their feelings allows me to focus on them with ease even in a sea of other emotions.
I keep my gaze firmly locked on my foes, my eyes never darting elsewhere, as I ball up my fists and encourage my enemies to continue their assault.
Anything either of them does rewards me with experience. Whether it’s actual experience in combat or the strange sort of “experience” that seems to fuel my skills and character level use to level up.
I am growing every second I spend locked in combat with the two warriors and their defeated friend. I feel different perks stirring to life within me as I stand here, and the knowledge that combat stirs such growth within me makes me excited to fight. Whether I am fighting these random students, in the 74th Hunger Games, or in other words, I will surely come to love fighting and growing.
“Stop being cowards… Fight me!” I roar as I continue to watch my enemies. I feel the knowledge that my perks instill in me bubbling to the surface even as I move my fingertips into position to launch a devastating barrage of tiger-based strikes against the two enemies.
My cowardly foes hesitate and try to step back away from me, only for me to begin to cackle as I casually barrage the foe closest to me with a series of light, but fast, tiger-claw strikes. The young man begins to swing his fists at me in self-defense and I tank the blows as readily as I endured the strike from the wooden staff.
My attacks, empowered by perks like “DPS”, and “Lethal Claws”, smack him around all while he tries to nimbly dodge them. I don’t make it easy for him, but I allow him a small measure of success by opting to not channel my blows past his pitiful attempts at blocking and redirecting my hits.
“That’s it! Now you’re being a little entertaining!” I say, maliciously, as each of my blows saps the figure of his energy and leaves him a bit more vulnerable to my attacks than he was before.