Apocalypse Now – Chapter 5

David tapped into his stored energy, feeling for the first time what it was like to be a superhuman.

It must be said, the ability David has to Store/Release Energy is extremely unique. Using a somewhat metaphysical process, unlimited amounts of energy can be stored in the cells of his body, turning himself into a sort of large battery. All of this energy would usually come from two different sources. The first would be when David leeches his own energy, storing strength when he isn’t using it. The second would be eating food or nutrients. However, thanks to David’s unique ability as a Life Orb Master, a third way is now possible. When David breaks a Life Orb, whether by dying or through his own will, a huge, full 24 hours worth of power swarms into his energy storage.

At the present moment, David had 26 hours of energy stored in his body, and he was viciously prepared to use all of it.

0.00 seconds later

David delved into his power and began absorbing his stored energy. Rapidly, he noticed two things happen at once.

First, a blue window popped up in the corner of his eyesight.

Stored Energy Remaining: 26 hours
Energy Usage Rate: 1 Hour/Minute – Level D transformation

David wasn’t quite sure what a “Level D transformation” was, but he felt it couldn’t be bad, not with how his body was changing.

Secondly, he felt his body’s strength rapidly increase. He felt enormous power in his fists, as if he could punch a mountain to pieces. His eyesight increased  a huge amount as well, allowing him to discern detail from far away and perceive things that moved quickly. He felt as if the entire world around him had slowed down, as his perception of time slowed as well, or perhaps his speed just increased to such an extent that time seemed to slow. David wasn’t sure, as his power didn’t really give him much information when he won it. The green haired punk's previously fast attacks had slowed down to a much more reasonable speed.

It must be said that there are certain limits that a regular human body cannot exceed. For instance, it is a known fact that it takes 0.13 seconds for the human brain to register and engage a response to an action. If the speed of one’s attack hit before 0.13 seconds had passed, it was the same as if a person left themselves completely open, waiting to be killed.

For David to have found a way to increase his perception of time, however slight, was extremely valuable, especially in this new age of super powered humans.

2.31 seconds later

The green haired punk had enough of David’s grandstanding and decided to attack. He couldn’t explain or understand how David and Shin were still alive, but he refused to believe that he could lose. His new strength as that of a Beginner Level Ki Cultivator gave him a great deal of confidence in his strength.

The green haired assailant jumped forward, energy condensing around his body. He led his attack with a powerful kick, cultivation energy covering his leg as it shot forward. The air slightly rippled with its passing, so powerful was the strength inherent in it.

2.37 seconds later

David watched, as if in slow motion, as the punk rushed towards him. The energy surrounding the green haired attacker had slowly formed into a greyish, coal like haze, surrounding him. The punk’s leg flew through the air at David sweeping towards his head.

2.39 seconds later

David ducked under the kick, dodging the attacking by mere centimeters. He then launched his own fist, slamming it into the chest of the green haired punk before him.

2.45 seconds later

Unfortunately for the green haired punk, David did not know what level his true strength lay at. The green haired cultivator was thrown backwards, his chest caving in as he crashed into the mansion's wall. Immediately, he smashed completely through it, obliterating the wood and stone in the way, flying off into the lawn. His chest had caved in, blood spattering everywhere. Before he even landed on the ground, he had already died, the hateful glint in his eyes rapidly fading.

The green haired punk's comrades stood around, staring in shock. The events of the past few seconds had happened extremely quickly, and they had not yet had time to process them.

They looked at David in fear, fleeing from him out the front door. David watched as they left, a somber tone covering his face. Shin, on the other hand, looked ecstatic.

“Fuck yeeeeah! That was awesome!” Shin danced around, happy to be alive.

“I thought I was dead, bro. Thank God for your power.” Shin touched his chest, remembering the green haired punk smash in his chest.

David nodded, checking out his own body. David noticed the blue window in the corner of his eye flash once and disappear, the remaining message stating:

Stored Energy Remaining: 25.9 hours
Energy Usage Rate: 0 Hour/minute – No transformation

David tried to click on it to get more information but when he moved to touch the screen, it disappeared. He shrugged, figuring he would look it up later. A soft glow started shining from outside, in the front lawn.

David and Shin looked up, eyes alert for trouble. After nothing happened for a few minutes, the duo walked outside. It was the green haired punk’s body. For some reason, it was glowing a soft blue. David walked up and poked it with his toe. Abruptly, a blue screen popped in to the air.

Accept information on power, “Beginner Ki Cultivator”?
Y/N

David looked at it in surprise for a moment before quickly clicking yes. Immediately, knowledge began to flow into his mind.

Cultivation, in the modern human world, was something that had never been seen as possible. It was a fantasy of light novels and other stories of that genre. However, with the new System put in place by the mysterious, mechanical voice, the ability to become a Ki Cultivator had become possible.

Ki Cultivators were able to store “Ki” or energy in their body, forming a “Core”. This “Core” of energy was something that would start at the most basic level, which was that of the Coal Core, and move on to stronger and stronger levels as the cultivator advanced. The energy cultivators used to build up their Core came from either their bodies or from natural resources that could aid them. When one has a suitably powerful Core, the next level of Core would form over it, greatly strengthening the user.

So, a rough understanding from David’s viewpoint was that Cultivators formed a Core of replenishable energy in their body, and could draw from this energy whenever they want to make themselves stronger or use unique techniques. The more advanced one’s Core was, the more strength they could use.

The cultivator before David was at the most basic level of the cultivation system, and was a Coal Core practitioner. While the green haired punk was very strong compared to human standards, his strength could not be compared to David’s when he was using his stored energy. One could tell a cultivator's strength by the hue of their aura. That was the reason the green haired punk had given off a coal colored haze around his body.

David also learned of the various levels of cultivation. For some odd reason, cultivators were ranked by the levels of various metals:

Coal – Lowest
Copper
Iron
Steel
Silver
Gold
Black Gold – Highest (known)
Unknown…

David found that he couldn’t find any information above the Black Gold level in martial users, though he knew it existed.

David went over this knowledge, gradually growing used to it. In this newfound, dangerous world, he was sure there must be hundreds of thousands of users of these techniques; it would be wise to know how it worked.

As David finished reviewing the new knowledge in his head, the realization that he had just killed a person slowly began to dawn on him. It didn’t matter that the attacker had been trying to kill him. He had KILLED someone, David thought, his eyes watering. A sudden wave of nausea struck him and he turned to the left, throwing up. He clutched his heart, slowly calming down.

David shook his head, clearing his mind. He would deal with the consequences of his actions later, he decided. For now, he needed to focus on surviving, and looking for his parents.

Shin had watched David’s eyes go out of focus as he attained new knowledge. Bored, he walked back inside, looking around for supplies. A few minutes later he came out just as David had finished assimilating the knowledge he had been gifted, and recovered from his bout of nausea.

Shin said,

“I found us some usable groceries. This place has a lot of bread and other stuff here.” Shin gestured at a black garbage bag he was holding. He had filled it with food and water, courtesy of May’s family’s pantry. It was packed nearly to the brim, too, weighing several dozen pounds. A box of Lucky Charms could be seen poking out the top.

Next to Shin, on the ground, was a small tent that he had found while looking around the house. It was a 4-person tent with a camo coloring.

David saw the tent and food, nodding at Shin gratefully. He looked around again, noting the peaceful surroundings.

“You know, this place might not be too bad a spot to liv-“

As if to refute David before he even finished speaking, a massive explosion rippled through the air obliterating a huge space of land perhaps a mile south of them. David and Shin stared back in awe, looking at the massive collusion of flame and destruction.

Shin turned around, grabbing David, and yelled,

“I VOTE WE FUCKING LEAVE LET'S GO!”

Their surroundings blurred, motes of light whizzing past as David and Shin warped through the world, returning back to their original campgrounds outside the lake.

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