"You gotta be kidding me," the redhead said, slipping into the cutest accent Ian had ever heard.
"What's it like? I know the names are always really literal, I reckon it has something to do with, I dunno, nuclear physics or something?"
"It's not like I have had time to analyze it or anything," Ian chuckled, greatly amused by her reaction. "Apparently I can make the hearts of my enemies explode in a ball of fire."
"That's flashy." The nurse smiled. "Your arm still looks pretty bad, tho."
Ian took a look at his wounds. He did not agree, even though moving his fingers still felt a bit funny. It was much better now, and he had obviously received the best possible care.
"I will live," he said.
"So…doesn't the part about stars mean you will eventually be able to, I dunno, make stars or something?"
"Hold on, I have to check something from my system," Ian said.
"Show me my special skill," he thought, forcing himself to keep his mouth shut as he formed the command in his mind.
[IF YOU WANT TO SEE POWER UP POINTS NEEDED TO LEVEL UP SHOOTING STAR, USE COMMAND: LEVEL UP SHOOTING STAR]
"Level up Shooting Star!"
[UNABLE TO LEVEL UP SHOOTING STAR. POWER UP POINTS NEEDED: 10]
That did not sound too bad.
"How can I get power up points?"
[TO GAIN POWER UP POINTS COMPLETE QUESTS]
"Show me my active quests."
[ACTIVE QUESTS: SEARCH RUNNING]
[1 ACTIVE QUEST FOUND]
[QUEST NAME: FILTIGER MASSACRE]
[QUEST OBJECTIVE: SLAY 5 FILTIGERS WITH ANY TECHNIQUE]
[QUEST REWARD: 10 POWER UP POINTS, 10 EXPERIENCE POINTS]
"You're using your system, aren't you?" the nurse asked him.
At any other given time, Ian would have been overjoyed to have someone so pretty showering him with attention. The redhead had to be in her early twenties. She had that fun energy of a woman who was starting to enjoy her life, but had not yet cemented her personality. Her long hair was in a braided bun and what little could be seen of her personal clothes under her nurse uniform, she seemed gothic and therefore automatically cool.
Now, though, Ian had access to something that would eventually win him the hearts of all women within a thousand miles.
He had to concentrate on the task at hand.
"I'm a little hungry. Could you get me something from the cafeteria?" Ian said. This was a lie. His medications were making him so nauseous that he could hardly even think about keeping anything in his stomach. No, he merely wanted the lady to leave him alone for a moment so that he could get some information to impress her with.
"Sure thing, Ian!" the nurse chirped. "My name is Lilac, and you are free to call for me at any moment. I would like to look at your arm later, if you won't mind."
Then Lilac left.
"How do I use the skill Shooting Star?" Ian asked his system inside his head.
[TO USE SHOOTING STAR, USE COMMAND: SHOOTING STAR SHOOT ENEMY NAME HERE]
[WHEN USING COMMAND MAKE SURE TARGET IS WITHIN YOUR VIEW]
Ian looked around. Whether it was good or bad luck, he didn't see any suitable target. He was in such a careless state of mind that he would have probably tried to blow up his old bullies, lacking any suitable krobinnuti targets. There was no one else in the hospital room. This, though, was a good thing. He had been considered important enough to get a separate room.
He thought about money and he realized he had nothing to pay his medical bills with. If he had not been so heavily medicated, he would have been anxious.
"System, can you check my balance for me?"
[BALANCE: 10 EARTH COINS]
The exact same amount he had received from his mother earlier. He sighed. With only enough to buy a small sandwich, he would have to get himself deep in debt to fix his arm completely.
"System, can you call my mother?"
Systems were supposedly able to connect to every chip inside him, helping with commands that had been much harder before. He had been swiping the air in front of him to transfer money. He had been clicking and tapping and it was all so tedious, even though it was funny that he thought so. Swiping two times in the right direction was much easier than killing a whole damn krobinnuti.
[CALLING CONTACT: MOTHER]
He tried to calm himself before he would have a panic attack. It was never a good thing to call his mom, then ask for money, and then reveal that he had been in a life-threatening situation.
The call connected, and the worried face of a woman in her late thirties appeared into Ian's view.
"I'm alive, I am so sorry, I'm all right," he said, speaking rapidly to get all the important information out in a short, digestible burst.
"Your arm. What happened?"
Ian suppressed a victorious grin. With his new medication that he hopefully would be able to quit soon, it was harder than he had expected to be meek and apologetic.
"I fought a krobinnuti and won," he said, and the pride spilled over from him, like coffee in a cup that he had once filled to the brim without stopping, even as the cup had been full. Everything on the table had been wet, even some important paperwork that his father had left there.
Ian realized that he was being moderately delirious.
His mother was talking to him, and the parts he could actually concentrate on were all about chastising him for being so foolishly brave, but something told him that his mother placed more emphasis on the part about courage.
Courage. He had been brave.
"Really, there has been no such incident, as you know, they have kept the captured specimen alive."
Ian was surprised. His father worked a menial job in the interdimensional species research center, but there had never been any news of a captured krobinnuti. In fact, Ian's father had claimed that the beast in question had been killed.
His mother seemed to realize she had said something that had been too much. She had revealed classified information in her eagerness to support her son, who was now basically a grown man.
"I…you did not hear that from me," his mother said.