[Solo-Thread] Meeting the Father

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[Solo-Thread] Meeting the Father

Post by CorenKeitaro on Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:25 pm

"I'll be honest; when I thought about the magical world, I didn't think of limousines."
I looked around the car, my eyes committing to memory as much as it could. There were a surprisingly large number of objects in the room that would make decent makeshift weapons.
"In most countries, you'd be right," Hillary responded. "But America always was a country of innovation and ease. We're always making inventions that make things easier for us; why not use them?"
I thought about it for a moment, before conceding the point.
"Champagne?"
"I'm underage."
"...So?"
I sighed.
"Why is someone as important as the family heiress here for me?" I asked, shifting subjects. "I would imagine it would've been rather easy to just send anyone; it's a rather big risk to send you with only one bodyguard into an unknown area against an unknown enemy with the home-field advantage. What if I'd been hostile?"
Hillary scoffed.
"You wouldn't be able to touch me with Kyle; plus, I had two bodyguards. Steven is driving."
"And Kyle is in the front seat, meaning you're alone in here with me."
I sighed again.
"Seriously, I could kill you right now and blow a hole in the back of the car and be out of here in seconds. Why are you so relaxed?"
She grimaced as she grabbed a glass. I shot her a disapproving look, but she just shrugged it off.
"You don't look like a killer. You're not saying I'm wrong to trust you; you're saying that it's a poor choice given certain variables. Fact is, though, that you wouldn't kill me. You lived in the normal world, not the Abyss."
"That's... Correct. I wouldn't kill you, but injuring you would be easy enough."
"And yet you're telling me this instead of actually doing it. Yes, you can kill me. Yes, you could injure me and escape. But you won't, because you understand what is going on, and because you want information on the Abyss as much as we want to know who you are."
I resisted the urge to flinch as she hit the nail right on the head.
"Am I that transparent?"
"It's what I would do. Especially given that my family knows where you live."
I couldn't help it.
I already knew that, but my blood still felt like it froze over.
"That's quite the statement. It makes me a very skittish man. I'm rather protective of my family, y'know."
"And I of mine. We aren't too unlike each other, and I think that's why we get along so well."
I quirked up an eyebrow.
"You just gave a veiled threat to my family, and we're getting along well?"
She laughed softly.
"You explained how easy it would be for you to kill me and escape if you wanted to; I think that makes us even, don't you?"
I opened my mouth to respond, but didn't have the words.
Instead, I laughed.
"You're right. We are pretty similar, aren't we?"
She nodded.
Her eyes shifted slightly in the direction of the bottle before making eye contact again. Catching what she was saying, I shook my head again.
"I tried once," I explained. "It stopped the pain. I didn't like it."
For a single moment, her hand paused as she raised her glass to her lips, but she recovered admirably and lowered it.
"I see. That's unfortunate; it's rather good."
I chuckled.
"I was always more of a water person, myself. Don't let me stop you, though."
Her eyes lingered on the glass for a moment, but she decided to put it down in a small slot.
"...Most people would want the pain to go away, you know."
"I'm not 'most people'; I never have been. 'Sides, booze is expensive; if I started drinking to kill the pain, I'd be out of money real fast. I'm far too frugal to burn cash like that. Plus... It's grounding, y'know?" I shrugged, looking at my hand. "Pain helps keep your head out of the clouds. Gives you clarity, as long as it isn't too much. A bit of an ache in your joints, some sore muscles; keeps ya sane."
Chuckling, I looked up, making eye contact.
Steel.
I couldn't keep myself from flinching when I saw it.
Her eyes were so... Serious. They were firm, and almost angry.
She must've caught my flinch, because they softened after a moment.
"My apologies. The way you spoke reminded me of someone."
Her voice was chilly.
The car was silent for a moment; I breathed deeply through my nose as I leaned back, looking out the window as we drove into the residential area.
"...That made this very awkward, didn't it?" I asked, smiling softly.
"It certainly did," she replied. "Perhaps we could speak of something else, then? Over the last week, you've been making Illusion Barriers quite often. Perhaps you could say why?"
I exhaled through my nose.
"Training, mostly. Y'never know when you'll find yourself in danger; I thought I was when I first saw you and your walking titan."
She cracked a smile.
"Yes, Kyle can be a little intimidating at first glance, but he's really sweet when you get to know him. He's very protective of me, and has been my guardian since I was three years old."
I turned to look at her, a bit surprised.
"He couldn't have been more than 16 back then."
"He actually was 16," she replied. "From what I heard from the staff, he was rather oafish at times, but always meant well. Not too different from now, actually."
I chuckled.
"Sounds like a good man."
She nodded.
Suddenly, I felt a minuscule shift in the air, and something appeared in front of me.
Warning: Now entering the Kensington Family Grounds. You can not refuse entry due to circumstances of entry.
Due to not being a member of the Kensington Family, all Stats go down 10%.

I frowned.
I looked up from it to Hillary.
"You could've told me that we were driving into an Illusion Barrier."
For a moment she looked surprised, but it quickly gave way to a smile.
"Honestly, I didn't think you'd notice."
"The Barrier is rejecting me, making me weaker. Being blind, deaf and dumb wouldn't keep me from feeling it."
Her smile disappeared.
"That's..." Her jaw shifted. "Most people can feel themselves getting weaker, but this is your first time in a hostile Illusion Barrier, if what you said is true. Most people need years of practice to feel it reject them; even those with affinities only rarely feel it without warning."
She leaned forward, looking serious again.
"You... Are a very interesting person."
"For some reason, that hardly feels like a compliment," I deadpanned.
With a bit of a *whoosh* sound, the window separating the back of the limo from the driver slid open.
"Ms. Kensington, we've arrived home."
"Thank you Kyle, but Mr. Loy already informed me of such. He seems to have some form of detection ability."
"I see."
The window slid back shut as I could feel the limo begin to slow down. The faint sound of a garage door could be heard as we pulled in.
"I thought it would take longer," I commented. "I thought you'd be situated in the state capitol, not some podunk town off the way."
Hillary laughed.
"Small towns are much easier to manage from; besides, don't you live here as well? Calling it a 'podunk town', it would seem you have a distaste for it."
"I love my podunk town, but that doesn't change what it is," I clarified. "And with a population of, what, barely over 7K? Yeah. We're podunk."
She laughed again, shaking her head.
The car came to a complete stop just before the side doors opened.
"Ma'am," one of the aides said, offering his hand to Hillary. "Your father wishes to see you and your guest."
She took the hand and glided smoothly out of the car. "Tell him I'll be there shortly," she replied.
I got out of the other side. The aide didn't offer to help, which seems rude given that I'm a guest, but significantly less rude when you think of me more as a possible criminal being detained.
"Those clothes are hardly suitable for a meeting with Father," Hillary said calmly. "If you like-"
"This shirt was a gift," I said, cutting her off. "Gurren Lagann decal, Christmas 2014. It stays."
She frowned.
"Presentation is important for meeting with those with a good deal of political clout."
"As polite as you've been, I haven't forgotten that I am a prisoner of Family until such time as I can prove my ignorance. I appreciate the offer, but if I'm going to be brought forward to be judged by someone I don't know, I'll do it in my own pants, thank you."
For a moment, I could see her almost crack a smile at that, but she suppressed it quickly. It would show a great lack of decorum to do so in front of the staff, after all.
"If that is your choice, then follow me. We'll meet with him now."
She turned around and began to walk, but as she did I managed to catch that fraction of a smile playing across her face.
I heard someone take up a position behind me as Kyle stepped in front of me. Steven is probably taking the flank, with Kyle protecting Hillary from the prisoner while she takes point.
These two are professionals; no doubt about it.
It took us a little over two minutes of walking (left, right, left, forward two junctions, right, door on the left) to reach the room she was leading me to.
Opening it, Hillary announced her presence.
"Hello, Father."
"Hello, Hillary. Any complications?"
"None. I've brought him in; he's behind me now."
With that, we walked into the room.
Hillary walked up to the well-crafted mahogany desk and turned around to face me, Kyle taking a position behind me and to the right, and Steven behind and to the left.
The door was shut by an aide from outside, and I got my first look at the Head of House Kensington.
He was clearly a built man and at full height was probably just over six foot. He looked a bit tan and seemed to be in his late 40s. He was cleanly shaven and had a small scar along his jaw, though I don't recognize what could've given him such a jagged mark. His eyes were an ocean green and piercing, and the suit he was wearing was obviously custom-tailored and worth more than a few thousand bucks.
"You're the one who has been practicing on our family's grounds?"
His voice was firm and deep, filled with intent. It was very intimidating.
I am not an easily intimidated man. Unless you have a lotus seed pod.
"Yes, I am. I apologize for any offense my actions may have caused; I didn't know that the grounds were owned, as I only recently came into my ability and have had no one to explain anything about the 'Abyss' to me."
"A Late-Bloomer?" He scoffed. "I've heard three others try and say the same thing; that they didn't know that this land was owned. All of them were lying, so why should I believe you?"
"I have no Earthly idea, sir," I replied honestly. "I'm rather confused by this state of affairs, as I hadn't even known of the Abyss until Ms. Kensington," I nodded to Hillary, "told me of it. I seem to have given great offense through my ignorance."
Unlike Hillary, this man didn't seem to give anything away as he stared at me; no muscle twitches, no roaming eyes, nothing.
"...The offense is only so if you took those actions knowing what you were doing," he said after a moment. "I can't tell if you're lying about this, but I cannot let you go merely because I can not disprove it immediately."
I nodded. "Of course. Is there anything I can do to prove my ignorance in this matter, or to assist in the determination thereof?"
"...I will offer you the same terms I offered the three liars," he said calmly. "To clear yourself of all charges, you need do only one thing."
I said nothing.
"We may be more advanced than most families, but there are still certain rites being used," he continued. "Rather than proving that you are telling the truth, you must do us a favor of equal measure to the insult."
I frowned.
"You called the previous three liars. How do you know that, if this test doesn't prove the truth?"
"When they heard the parameters of the 'favor', they chose to admit to lying."
My jaw tightened.
"I'll admit, that does freak me out a little. What are these 'parameters'?"
He chuckled.
"Simple. We value strength above all us; strength of the body, strength of the mind. You must prove that you have strength in all forms through combat rites."
I was silent for a moment.
"...Huh. That doesn't sound too difficult. What's the part I'm missing?"
"The combat rites are against me."
"...Y'know, it's my humble Observe-ation that those people who admitted to lying may have made a rather smart choice."
There, I dropped the word Observe!

Christopher Kensington:
Name: Christopher Kensington
Gender: Male
Job: Head of the Kensington Family
Title: Man of Steel

Level: 74
Age: 56
Race: Human
STR: 63
VIT: 81
AGI: 58
INT: 67
WIS: 71
LUCK: 10

"Would I have to beat you in a fight?" I asked, reading his stats out of the corner of my eye.
He was silent for a moment, before erupting into barking laughter.
"You? Beat ME!?"
He kept laughing for a few moments before shaking his head with a grin.
"You'd have to survive," he explained. "Prove that you can last in a fight with me, and I'll let you go. If you can't, then I get to kill you. The alternative is, of course, admitting to your lie and indentured servitude to the Family until such time as you work off the debt created by your actions."
I closed my eyes, thinking.
"...Y'know, the smarter choice would be to lie right now. To say that I knew what I was doing and become a glorified man-slave."
I sighed, opening my eyes and standing straight.
"But I'm a stubborn and prideful man, and I won't lie. I had no idea that I offended you, and I will fight you to prove my ignorance if that's what will show it. Even if it means the chance of death and a guaranteed beating."
From the look on Hillary's face, I don't think she expected me to choose that.
I also think that if she had been drinking, she would be choking.
"So be it. We'll do it in three hours time; I have a meeting in twenty minutes and I doubt we'll wrap it up on time." He seemed either impressed or entertained at the fact that I accepted his challenge. "If you are not at peak performance, Steven will show you to our healers."
"I'm fine."
"He has a condition."
My eyes shot to Hillary.
"He didn't say what it was on the ride here, but a symptom appears to be constant pain."
"It's more of an ache. I sublaxate my joints every so often; it didn't stop me from training, it won't stop me from fighting."
Mr. Kensington's smile disappeared for a moment.
"I don't enjoy fighting anyone already injured. I can't promise that whatever condition you have may be cured, but see the healers. They may be able to lessen the symptoms."
He stood up from his chair, adjusting his tie.
"You have balls, though. Challenging me with a medical condition... Not smart, but very brave."
With that, he started walking towards the door.
Side-stepping smoothly, I let him pass me, my face forward as he did.
After a moment, we were ushered out of the office and Hillary turned to me.
Hew jaw was set, the muscles in her hands tight but forced open, the ones around her eyes noticeably tensed and her nostrils flared.
Oh, she was not happy.
"You should've taken the offer," she said through gritted teeth. "You're going to die, now."
"And you can think that as much as you want," I said calmly. "But I am very, very hard to kill. I must have a Bag of Holding for a rear-end, because the amount of stuff I pull from my ass is impressive, and I promise that I will survive."
"You don't know what you're getting yourself into."
"But I did get myself into it through my own actions and choices. I will accept all consequences of my actions, for I choose this path of my free will... Even if it was a stupid choice."
Her hands tightened into fists before she whirled around, striding down the hallway in anger. Kyle followed, both of them disappearing behind a corner after a moment.
"The healers are this way," I heard from just behind me.
Turning, I got my first look at Steven.
"Observe," I breathed out softly, running my hand up from my face to my hair to mask the lip movements.

Steven James:
Name: Steven James
Gender: Male
Job: Assassin for the Kensington Family
Title: Silent But Deadly

Level: 28
Age: 27
Race: Human
STR: 25
VIT: 27
AGI: 67
INT: 47
WIS: 43
LUCK: 10

Now THAT'S some Agility!
Steven was around 5'3" and had the body of real gymnast. He was wearing a tailored suit, but it was obvious from his movements that it was made precisely for the purpose of not inhibiting his range of motion. His movements were strong and controlled, as if every single motion was pre-planned and part of some greater purpose.
His hair was short-cut and a deep bluish-black; probably dyed, but I don't know about magical hair colors.
"This way."
With that, he turned smoothly and began to walk.
I quickly picked up after him, and after only a minute's walk, we reached a room which he opened.
"Non-emergency," he called before stepping in and opening the door wide for me.
Stepping in, I made sure to keep him in the corner of my vision as I looked over the room.
It was a rather sterile-looking white everywhere which felt vaguely like I was struck in the eyes when I looked around, and at the far end of the room was a man in his twenties holding what looked to be a small Soul Stone.
"What's the problem?" he asked, looking right at me.
"Chronic pain from osteoarthritis due to a hereditary gene mutation which compromises the creation of collagen."
The doctor frowned.
"If it's hereditary, then I can't fix it. I can restore things to before they were damaged, but if that's the case, it's always been damaged."
"Minor damage to muscles, joints and bones from intensive physical actions taken with a highly elastic body?"
He chuckled, spinning the Soul Stone in his hand and walking forward.
"Now, that I can fix in seconds. Hold still."
I took a deep breath and stood up straight, looking forward as he began to run the Soul Stone over certain joints.
"...I can't say I ever learned anything like healing," I said as he examined my arm. "How does that work?"
"That's a long, long story," he said, the stone glowing in his hand. A quick glance showed that it seemed to be smaller than at the start. "Basically, you just use your energy to speed up and enhance natural healing and to fight against foreign bodies of natural or artificial origin."
"Sounds pretty simple, but that's 'prolly where the 'long, long' part kicks in, huh?"
"Damn right."
He pulled away, the Soul Stone now gone.
"You should be fine now. Try stretching," he said.
I stretched my arms and legs a bit, surprised when I didn't feel even a twinge of pain as I pulled my arm behind my head. The doctor seemed worried for a moment, but I shifted back quickly.
I tried going to shift my back and still felt that bit of pain, followed by relief as numerous *pop*s rang out.
The doctor frowned.
"I'll get another-"
"No," I said softly, standing. "This is good. I have trouble thinking thanks to that gene mutation, and the pain keeps me grounded. Without it, I'll make stupid choices and get myself killed."
He sighed.
"Alright, alright. But at least let me check it; I'm a doctor, I can't just let it go without that much."
I shrugged, turning around.
Placing his hand on my back, he let out a bit of energy that felt warm.
"...I see."
I turned around.
"You realize, of course, that if you keep up such a rigorous lifestyle without healing, you won't be able to walk in ten years?"
I laughed. "The other doctors put it at fifteen; I guess training is really burning me out quick."
"And you're sure you won't accept healing?"
"Will you get rid of the pain?"
He pursed his lips.
"Sorry, and thanks."
I turned to the door and looked at Steven.
"Is there a place I can sit quietly and think?"
He nodded.
"This way."
And with that, we left the room.

I was sitting in Lotus on the floor of a guest room, thinking.
"The first step to solving any problem is to decompose the problem."
The problem is simple and decomposed enough. I'm fighting someone three times and half again my Level, and I need to not get crushed.
"If it is an opponent you can not match in real life, beat them in your imagination. If you cannot beat them yourself, imagine something you can beat them with."
Something I can beat him with...? Tricks, cunning; in that regard, I might be able to win. He beats me in all Stats, but what about something not covered in Stats? Intelligence is memory retention; Wisdom is applied thinking.
Wisdom and Cunning go hand-in-hand, but they aren't the same.
With great cunning, wise men may be felled by those with tongues of silver.
I just need to out-smart him.
The problem has been found, and the weapon has been chosen.
I have a few hours, so I could work on some of my Skills, or...
I closed my eyed.
Strengthening my current Skills won't do much; I won't get enough Levels in anything to be worth it. I need something else.
I need a new Skill, something that can help. Something I can apply.
I tightened my eyes, focusing hard.
It was crunch-time; I needed to come up with something.
...
After a moment, I unclenched my fists and relaxed my eyes.
Now isn't the time for that.
Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth...
...Wait.
My eyes snapped open.
"Breathing..."
I slowly took a deep breath, beginning to circulate my energy through my body.
Quickly getting a feel for it, I tried pulling some into my lungs and exhaling.
I felt my MP drain a bit and heard a prompt appear, but ignored it.
My eyes were shut but relaxed as I reversed the process, breathing in the energy of the air around me.
The energy was... Wrong, somehow. It didn't feel right, like it didn't belong.
"In through the nose, out through the mouth..."
I gathered the impure energy in my lungs and focused on separating the impurities from the energy of the air.
Slowly, I exhaled, pushing out the feeling of Wrongness and feeling the energy fill my core, restoring the small amount I'd exhaled as another prompt appeared, but I wasn't done.
I focused on the feeling of it, the feeling of drawing in energy, and tried circulating the new energy through my body, filling my joints, my organs, my bones, and every muscle fiber I had.
[BEEP]
Now, I was done.
I locked onto that feeling and kept practicing it while I opened my eyes, my lips slightly parted to exhale from them as I drew it in through my nose.
"A Skill has been discovered through a Special Action! The Skill to breathe out your mana for various effects, Mana Breath: Can use to transplant MP into another person or can be used with an Elemental Affinity for a breath attack. Power varies based on MP Cost as determined by Gamer."
"A Skill has been discovered through a Special Action! The Skill to take in and purify the energy of the world around you, Breathing Purification Technique: Passively increases Stats (sans LUCK) by 10%, Additional +30% to STR and AGI when Active, additional 20 MP Regen every minute when Active."
"A Skill has been discovered through a Special Action! The ability to use purified energy to strengthen the body, Self-Reinforcement: When Active, increases Stats (sans LUCK) by 30%, increase HP Regen by 10%"
I looked over all of the Stat bonuses I got and nodded.
This would be good, but not enough. They were just Stat boosts.
I held my hand up to my face, focusing.
Closing my eyes, I visualized my hand and the flow of energy to it.
It was like staring at wires in a machine, all leading back to the same power source and supplying energy to the various parts.
No, bad analogy. I suck with machines.
Water; water is good.
Water flowing through the body, giving me strength, following the lines of veins and arteries all throughout the body.
This water, this energy is my life; my very soul.
But humans aren't water; not at heart. We are passionate, we are strong, and we burn bright and strong before we're snuffed by time.
The soul, the source of energy must be Flame.
Suddenly, it felt like something clicked.
The thin lines of energy coursing through my body felt like they expanded, and as I heard the two [BEEP]s of the prompts, I knew it.
I had my trump card.

"I expected you to run."
I chuckled, looking at the Head of the House of Kensington.
"You severely overestimate my intelligence, sir."
He let out a barking laugh, shaking his head.
He pulled his suit jacket off and unbuttoned his dress shirt and handing it to an aide.
"Don't want to dirty it," he explained.
"At the price that thing has to be?" I chuckled. "I'd sooner lose a hand than dirty that thing."
I looked at the area around me for a moment.
A dirt arena where the penalty for non-Family members was removed.
Surrounding the arena was a small fence, past which were the assembled members of the Family, come to watch the fool who'd take the challenge of their Head.
And of course, Hillary was there, watching with her arms crossed over her chest and her jaw tight. Still annoyed, of course.
I focused back on Head Kensington as I slipped into stance, muttering countless Skill titles under my breath.
A basic boxer's stance, leading with the left foot and my hands near my chin, ready to block if need be.
My breathing was clear, my mind was empty. There was only this moment, and the next one.
There was no fancy call; no yell of 'Fight!' from a referee in a checkered shirt.
In the first moment, the fight was ready to start.
And in the next, I was moving fast, my mind screaming as my body tried to keep up with what I could barely see.
With all of the buffs, all of the bonuses, and my MP burning away in the corner, I could do it.
He had an AGI score of 58.
Me? In Adrenaline Rush, with every Skill I had dropping my MP like a boulder...
Mine was pushing 90.
His STR was 63.
Mine was over 70.
I could fight for the next ten seconds, and then I would burn out completely, dropping to no MP.
Ten seconds to do what I could, to cripple him enough that he couldn't kill me when I burn out.
As my left hand dropped to my side, I took aim at his chest and readied it.
I wasn't just going to do nothing, though. Not going to burn out and wait.
I wanted to win.
I opened my mouth to say it, but my body was already finished with the motions by the time my lips separated.
A single strike.
20 STR, +115% (Prana Stream), +40% (Breath. Pure. Tech. Active), +30% (Self-Reinforcement).
That's 20+(185% of 20) = 20+37 = 57.
But I had one more Skill.
Burning Soul Overdrive; if my Soul is Flame, then I will burn bright.
For ten seconds, I get infinite MP and +100% in all Stats, but when time runs out, MP Regen is turned off for 24 hours.
I had 77 STR when I swung.
He tried to dodge, but my AGI had the same bonuses, and +10% from E.D.S.
25+(195% of 25) = 25+48 = 73. Then, with +100%, that makes it a whopping 88, just a little under 90.
And as I struck, I felt it.
Martial Arts Mastery: DMG +110%
First and Final Strike: DMG +720%
A guaranteed Critical doubling DMG.
The damage is equal to about 930% of normal DMG.
And then doubled.
For people who don't feel like doing the math, that's the damage of a 77 STR bare-hand attack eighteen times over.
I moved to strike, and it hit.
There was the sound of something shattering.
The fight was over in a single instant...
And I had lost.

Solo Thread Gains (Total Word Count 4943)
Gained Skill - Mana Breath (500 Words)
Gained Skill - Breathing Purification Technique (1000 Words)
Gained Skill - Self-Reinforcement (2000 Words)
Gained Skill - Burning Soul Overdrive (3000 Words)
Skill Level Ups
Prana Stream LVL23 >>> LVL24
Martial Arts Mastery LVL22 >>> LVL23
First and Final Strike LVL1 >>> LVL2
Breathing Purification Technique LVL1 >>> LVL3
Self-Reinforcement LVL1 >>> LVL2

CorenKeitaro
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Posts : 14
Join date : 2015-03-22
Age : 19
Location : Stayton, OR

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