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8% A New Beginning in a Mana Apocalypse / Chapter 7: Chapter 7 - A Brief Reprieve

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Chapter 7: Chapter 7 - A Brief Reprieve

Rebecca recovered quickly and my dizziness passed, but the exhaustion lingered. Arnold appeared by my side and with his and Megan's help I went inside and collapsed onto a chair facing the television.

Despite my exhaustion I knew we needed to make a plan. I couldn't get the feeling out of my head that things were about to get worse.

Marshal, Rebecca, and Emily came with us into the house. Thankfully the living room was spacious. Arnold brought in extra chairs from the dining room so everyone had somewhere to sit. To my great surprise Megan plopped down on the arm of the recliner she and Arnold had dropped me into.

Seeing me stare at her in surprise she raised an eyebrow in question at me.

"Not used to you sticking so close to me." I told her.

Megan shrugged, "Self preservation." she replied.

"Huh?" I asked uncertainty.

"I don't have any powers, so I need to stick close to someone who does." Megan explained.

I wanted to point out that her brother had powers but she beat me to it.

"Michael has some, but he already has two girls, the Ritners will concentrate on Emily, and I don't know Jessica well enough to want to trust her with my life." she explained.

"Aren't you being a bit pessimistic?" Courtney asked with a sneer. "It seems pretty safe here."

"I am only alive right now because Daryl awakened abilities." Megan replied.

Courtney frowned at her obviously wanting to argue but Michael stopped her. "Check out the news." he called out drawing everyone's attention to the television.

"Many of the beings that have been attacking in the Pheonix Arizona region have been put down. While the national guard have just begun to arrive at the scene to restore order, the credit for the timely resolution goes to the hard working and brave men and women in blue, and the SWAT teams which assisted in putting down the red beings who gave the police officers so much difficulty. At this moment there are only reports of two unresolved conflicts. Manpower from the previous sights is being shifted to help resolve the remaining conflicts." a hot blonde woman in a red dress explained on the screen.

"While no other conflicts have been reported within the United States, word is coming in that similar incidents have happened in other countries, so far we can confirm conflicts with similar beings in Canada, Brazil, Peru, Japan, Australia, France, Russia, Egypt, and China. While the conflicts in several of those countries has not been contained to the same degree as here in Arizona, authorities of those countries are assuring that each incident will be resolved quickly." the reporter continued.

"Has there been any talk linking the appearance of these beings to the energy wave that we experienced this morning?" A handsome man with slick black hair in a gray suit asked on the screen.

The pretty reporter shook her head. "As of yet no information regarding the energy wave that was experienced world wide at 7:14 am local time, however authorities have reassured that it is being investigated especially for any link to the appearance of these beings." the blonde reporter replied.

With everything wrapping up the news moved on to other subjects. Nothing was said about people gaining powers or speculation of new appearances of the beings.

I glanced at the clock and noticed it wasn't even eight thirty yet, for just over an hour, the news team already had a lot of information and more would probably come once investigations started.

"So that's it?" Courtney asked.

I shook my head.

"You think there will be more?" Courtney asked surprised.

"Of course there will be. No one has covered the awakened, and who knows how many of those beings went unreported." Arnold told her for me.

Courtney frowned. "How could they go unreported?" she asked.

"If no one survives their appearance long enough to call, or the lines are all busy." Arnold pointed out.

That was a morbid thought but true nonetheless. If I hadn't awakened abilities, Megan, Emily, and I might have fallen into that same category when Marshal mutated. Thinking of that made me shiver.

"So now what?" Rebecca asked worriedly.

Looking over at her I resolved to try my best to awaken my body ability. Rebecca had been a bit, well alright, really plump, now she looked like she had been going to the gym with her husband all her life. If it could work even half as well on me I would be ecstatic.

"Prepare." Michael said. "For those with abilities we practice so we can learn to use them better, for those without grab what you can in case we need to leave. Also a store run would be a good idea. Since everything was resolved so quickly it shouldn't be too chaotic."

I wasn't a fan of Michael taking the lead, but I agreed with him so I didn't object.

"Rebecca and Jessica probably need to get some new clothes." Karen pointed out.

"Me too." Michael chimed in then pulled at the collar of his shirt. "My muscle mass increased." he explained.

Marshal nodded, "Me too."

Quickly a trip to the stores was organized. Megan convinced me to give her money to buy me some clothes for when my body ability was awakened while convincing me to stay home since I had the most abilities to try and learn. I had to wonder if she would remember to buy clothes for me.

I wanted to go with them, but my exhaustion hadn't let up. A few minutes later and I was alone in the house. I had a pessimistic moment shortly after as I wondered if any of them were going to come back. I shook my head to clear the foolish thought. I was the only one who could stop a mutation, with so many unawakened in the group there was no way they would take off without me. Especially not Marshal and Rebecca.

I turned of the television so it didn't distract me then pulled a couple of energy bars and a drink out of my space to munch on as I tried to think about my abilities. One bite into the energy bar and I was suddenly ravenous. I stuffed myself like the fat guy I was and had devoured three bars and drained a can before I felt better. As soon as my hunger was quelled I felt my exhaustion dissipate. No idea if it was because I was starving after using so much energy to heal Rebecca, or the artificial energy of the bars and drink, but I felt good again and ready to figure out what I needed to do.

I turned my attention to my inner space which hadn't changed. After a lot of thought, reasoning, and let's face it some vanity, I decided to use the loose mana to awaken my body ability. No idea if I had enough, but there was only one way to find out.

By concentrating on the loose mana I was able to draw it towards the translucent image of the body builder. Once again I 'felt' how to push the mana into the ability and awaken it. It wasn't hard, kind of like dumping water into a bucket until it was full. That was where I ran into a problem. Once all the mana had been used, I came up short. Not by much, but that little bit was enough to keep me from being able to awaken the ability. I thought about leaving it as it was until I somehow got ahold of more mana, but a bad feeling came over me. After experiencing a similar bad feeling when I wanted to use the fire and space energy together I couldn't ignore it.

With the information I received at the very start of all of this I knew I could draw in the loose mana in the atmosphere around me. I hadn't tried that yet due to time, and because it felt to thin too be of use. Now I didn't seem to have a choice if I wanted to finish awakening my ability.

I concentrated on the mana floating around me in an attempt to draw it into my inner space. It worked easily enough but I was only able to draw in a tiny wisp of mana from the atmosphere. With a sigh and a prayer I could finish this before the others returned I kept at it. I wanted to try other techniques, like forming a whirlpool to draw the mana in, but nothing affected the mana just my surroundings. Resolved to spending the time concentrating on drawing the mana to me wisp by wisp I concentrated hard.

At ten thirty I finally succeeded in topping off my body ability. The moment the last wisp of mana landed into the ability it glowed then an orb formed around the image as it became corporeal, a single bright spot glowing in the figure's chest. Then came the pain!

I've read all kinds of books, cultivation and magic, some warned about the pain that would come with the remodeling of your body. No matter how much they emphasized the painfulness of the process it didn't prepare me for how much it hurt. Shouldn't someone have warned me? My bones grinded, my skin retracted, fat burned, while impurities oozed out of my body through my pores, my muscles swelled and shifted. I screamed like a five year old girl who's monster dog destroyed her favorite doll and best friend. If given the choice again I would remain a tubby fatass for the rest of my life. Even if Karen, Courtney, Megan, and Jessica all promised to become my private sex toys as long as I awakened my body ability for them I would have chosen to stay a fatass.

The pain had receded long before I was mentally able to recover from that sudden onslaught of mind numbing pain. As I pulled myself together I glanced at the clock to see how long that torture had lasted. Given the amount of pain and how awful it was it had to have lasted for two hours at the least. Maybe longer.

The clock said it was ten thirty nine. I frowned, had it been an entire day? Where was everyone?

I had to pull my phone out to realize the truth. It had only been nine minutes.

I couldn't believe it, but the proof was in my hand.

With a sigh I stood up and looked down at myself. I was thin. My shirt hung off me loosely while my pants fell down with nothing to hold onto. I pulled up my pants then headed for the bathroom, I wanted a better look, besides I think I still had some shampoo in my hair from earlier.


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