Clyde felt something during the walk with his friend. He wasn't sure how to label it—the feeling wasn't the chill of a monster, but something else. Someone who felt out of place.
He shrugged the thought to side and focused on his conversation with Harumi. That is until she brought up romance and the future.
"Do you ever think about getting married one day?" Harumi said. Her pink hair fluttered softly in the afternoon wind.
Clyde wanted to die. He remembered cringing every time his mother brought up anything about getting a wife one day. He was a freaking first-year college student!
"Maybe someday," Clyde forced out as naturally as possible. Harumi gave him a look, twinkle in her eyes, as if full of hope.
[You have unlocked the Marriage System. There are many perks here, should you tie the knot with any romantic interest. You may marry as many as possible. It is risky but sometimes the reward may be worth the risk.]
The hell it is, Clyde thought. Why did the system give him this? He had no intention of marrying anyone—and an anime girl? There was a limit of weebing one could do and get away with. He internally chuckled at the option of gaining a waifu, then promptly shoved the red flag thoughts into the abyss of his mind.
"Will you stay in the city after finishing your degree? The academy offers the best jobs for those who do."
"Maybe, maybe not," Clyde said. He wished he could tell her that he was from a different world. Telling half-truths to his first companion felt wrong.
Just then, Clyde felt a twinge of…something again. A feeling of wrongness, maybe, but not like the monsters. It housed an air of intrusiveness but technically, so did he.
That's when two people stopped in front of them, vigilance in their eyes. Eyes that knew more than the average person.
One of them was a thin young man with short brown hair and golden eyes. Besides the eyes, there was nothing remarkable about him. He looked like that adorable kid brother that older girls teased. Especially about virginity.
The beautiful green-haired young woman that stood next to him gave Clyde even more chills. He…felt the air of Mortem from her. While less intense and didn't feel as dark, she was dangerous. She wore a blue cheongsam decked with golden dragon decorations. Her hair was done in one perfect tail. Clyde analyzed them, starting with the young man.
[Warning, this person is an intruder upon the stone-viper game.]
Type: chuuni, dimensional interloper. The leaf.
Relationship: neutral. Suspicious.
Stats: Relationship isn't high enough.
Special abilities: Relationship isn't high enough.
Skills: see above, idiot-head.
Magic abilities: see above, dumb-dumb.
Secrets: see above.
[Warning! Alert! DO NOT ENGAGE THIS ENTITY! Warning, DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENTITY!]
Relationship: supreme neutrality.
Clyde halted the prompt, his eyes widening. His suspicion about that Selkie chick was spot on. He needed to try for an exit.
Clyde nodded but as his foot moved to walk around the two, the green-haired woman was already in his path. Behind her "harmless" smile lied real power. Old power.
"Can I help you?" Clyde said, trying to seem as casual as possible.
Selkie continued to smile at him a little longer before speaking.
"To think we'd come across the stone," she said softly. "So, the games really have started. And you're pretty cute." She winked.
Clyde took a lesson from Toru and gave her a blank stare.
"Not a virgin like my chuuni friend here," the girl continued.
"Who are you?" Clyde said. "You know what's going on—I need—"
She raised a hand to cut off the young man.
"It's Dark! Dark! You stupid woman," the brown-haired young man said.
Clyde's eyes widened then he burst into laughter. Harumi covered her mouth, hiding as much as her amusement as possible.
"What the hell man, Dark?" Clyde said. "Are you serious? You know, this is the last place you should be going weaboo at."
"You, this is why I tried to call him by his realm name," Selkie said.
"No offense man, but Dark? What are you, five? Let me guess, you make Shadow the hedgehog fanart in your spare time."
"You dare insult me?" Dark yelled. "My name is cool. Better than your stupid normie name."
Clyde and Harumi laughed harder.
"I'm not trying to be a dick," Clyde said. "I just want answers. Maybe you could tell me what's—"
"I'll give you something to laugh about, you fucking normie! You're beneath me. I'll be ruling this world, unleashed by the power of my right hand."
"Wow, he's got it bad," Clyde said. "Is he really from earth?"
Selkie looked as if she wanted to be anywhere that wasn't near Dark. Clyde felt kind of bad for her.
Just then, Dark aimed a hand at Clyde.
"Great power, power that is just for me, Dark Vanishing Scale!"
Clyde dove as a black bolt of energy stuck where he was standing. The people around didn't seem to notice them, just like his other daytime scuffles. Maybe the system was behind this.
[Your party has entered PVP combat!]
[Dark's defense is temporarily down from using a powerful skill.]
"Dude, what the hell?" Clyde said, but the chuuni was no longer listening.
Clyde looked at Selki, nervous, but to his surprise, she was facepalming.
"I won't interfere," she said. "Calm him down if you can."
This was not how Clyde envisioned his Sunday. He should be nestling in between Harumi's boobs. The young man shook away the thoughts. Not that Harumi was pure. Kind but definitely not shy to advancing.
Clyde aimed a hand at Dark, but Harumi forced the chuuni to dodge her electric bolts. Dark ignored her to dash toward Clyde.
Clyde put up his guard and easily blocked the punches. He returned a large smash to the chuuni's face. The anime impact hurled the brown-haired young man at least five feet away.
[Dark HP has dropped to 87%]
[Dark's passive skill activated. Pain to power!]
Clyde's eyes widened too late. All he saw was Dark's grin and the flash of red light before the painful impact spiraled him back into a rack of bicycles, knocking them all over.
[Your HP has dropped to 51%]
If he took another attack like that, he'd be dead for sure. Half of his health! Clyde felt stupid for underestimating him. He held up a hand to Harumi.
"Let it be one on one," he said. "I got this."
She harrumphed anime girl style then folded her arms.
"Men and their stupid pride."
Clyde stood upright as Dark made the next move.
"Dude, shut up," Clyde barked as he roundhouse-kicked the chuuni. "Don't yell out your attacks before using them."
Dark hit the ground hard.
[Dark's HP has dropped to 77%]
[Dark's passive skill activated. Pain to power!]
"Ah shit." The super fast beam struck him like lightning. He was surely dead—this stupid cheating move.
[Passive skill activated: Secret sword and martial arts combination. Defense! You have endured the attack.]
[Your HP has dropped to 12%]
"Look at you, pathetic. When I take over this world, I'll have them throw apples at you on sight. Every girl must point, scream and run."
Clyde shook his head.
"You really are messed up in the head."
"Pssh—you haven't seen the power of my right hand yet. The power that is dormant. You shouldn't be the stone—I'm more suited. But that's fine. Prepare to…what are you doing?"
[Activated Binder's hand.]
Blue tendrils of magic shot from Clyde's hand and wrapped around every limb of Dark's body.
[Dark is inflicted with Bind. Bind still holds!]
Dark struggled and struggled to no avail. Clyde smirked, aimed his right hand at the young man then hummed a victory tune from his favorite RPG video game.
"Let me show you the power of my right hand."
[Activated Spirit wave.]
The beam jolted from Clyde's hand mercilessly. He made sure to time a dive to the side just as the power struck Dark. His instincts didn't fail him. The red beam quickly poured from the chuuni and hit the spot Clyde abandoned.
[Dark's HP has dropped to 3%]
[Dark is inflicted with Spiritual Blight!]
"Alright, enough is enough," Selkie said with little enthusiasm as she stepped in between the two. "I declare Clyde of the Stone, winner of this duel."
[Battle completed. Victory! Reward: 10200 EXP and $200.]
[You have reached level 20! Stats increased!]
[You have received one of Dark's items and $500 of his dollars for defeating him in PVP combat.]
[You have received Loli Saga Issue #4 from Dark!]
[You have received 3 free points!]
[For repelling an intruder, one random skill has been leveled up. Spirit Slash has reached level 2! Your combat level has reached basic level 4.]
Clyde immediately pulled the book from his inventory and tossed it on the ground.
"Harumi, burn that please. That's what I received from beating him."
"No!" Dark said. "That's priceless rarity."
Selkie glared at the chuuni, shaking her head. She raised a hand. It briefly glowed with enough power to shake the bones throughout Clyde's body. A small torrent of energy leapt from that hand and hugged the book, causing it to burst into flames that nearly put the sun to shame.
"Noooo!" Dark howled.
"You…" Clyde sighed then looked at Selkie. "Can I please have a word with you? Alone."
Harumi gave him a skeptical look, but Clyde waved it away. She sighed then walked over to Dark. The chuuni blushed furiously as the pink-haired young woman healed him.
That's when time froze for everyone except Clyde, Seiki, and Dark. Mortem's voice pierced the air like a cobra's bite.
"So much nerve, my dear Selki. You will explain yourself."
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