Chapter 5 – Just in time

Tim squeezed within the reef and its many contents, in search for easy points. He swam around for three hours, quite carefully, but hadn’t managed to find as many creatures as he hoped to find.

He just found a few more marble shrimps, and half of them had been in his den. They seemingly were the most abundant creatures in a fifty-meter radius, but their numbers weren’t infinite. He only killed twelve of them, but avoided eating most of them, because he didn’t want to exhaust himself too quickly with their negative side-effects.

Tim avoided utter exhaustion as long as he could, but yet again, swimming around slowly and carefully for three hours straight, wasn’t easy at all. He got tired, and used his last bit of energy to swim back to his den. Then, he fell asleep.

It was a good idea to relax for a while. Tim wasn’t hungry, and his health went up by six points too, because of the few shrimp he ate. For that matter he could sleep peacefully.

He went to sleep while hearing a brief notification, from the system’s side. [Your health bar now is 75/100 – Good job!]

“Wow, I woke up and there ain’t no shark trying to kiss my face.” Tim joked.

He tried to move around afterwards, but he had slept like a rock, potentially for six hours, so it wasn’t easy for him to move. Even as a fish, he had to stretch first!

He took a peek of the surroundings, and noticed that mother nature had blessed him. A bunch of marble shrimp had crawled into his home, so quite literally, there were a few easy points in front of him which he could reap. Tim felt a bit hungry too, so this was a very good scene to wake up to.

Six of them had crawled in his large den, and within a couple of minutes, he bit all of their heads off, and then ate them. His sharp little plate-shaped jaws were quite efficient for the job!

Throughout that murder spree, he even jokingly yelled. “You’re in my land, hehe!”

Moments later, the system announced. [You successfully killed and ate six marble shrimp, and now, you accumulated 18 system points.] [Health bar = 87/100 points,] She added.

“Nice, I feel a lot better too. Need me more shrimps though, I still need like six points to buy that hunting thing.” He expressed.

Only allowed on

The system was quick to correct him, she said. [You need 10 points, not 6.]

Tim wasn’t the best at math, that was obvious. As a stingray, it was astounding that he recognized numbers to begin with. Anyway, although he wasn’t smart enough to do mathematics, he was smart enough to ask good questions.

He asked, “Why can’t I buy anything else, though? Like tail venom and stuff like that.”

The system was prepared for questions like this, so she broke the topic down slowly. There were a few aspects to cover.

Firstly, she said. [You’ll upgrade your tail eventually, amongst hundreds of other powers and attributes that are also available. However, it’s best to take things slow, and buy the simple stuff first, before you move on to anything dangerous and advanced.]

Furthermore, she added. [For survival, your options are bracketed to what your current bodyform and size needs, you’ll only get a few purchase options at a time. Specifically, this will keep you from making irresponsible purchases. I took the privilege to organize every available option for you, based on your overall weaknesses and strengths.]

“That’s good,” Tim nodded his flat head along, and added. “I wouldn’t trust myself either.”

The system didn’t comment on that. She maintained a standard line of professionalism, and focused on more important things.

Just moments later, she announced. [You’ve made progress, Timothy. For that matter, based on your current overall state, you can proceed with a task, task number two, to be exact.]

Then she explained, [Your official, second task is to locate and kill a bubonic sea urchin. Upon completion, you will receive twenty system points as a reward.]

In all seriousness, he asked. “Bubonic, huh? Does this mean that the urchin has boobs?”

The system was stumped by that question. For a second, in her infinite wisdom, she couldn’t figure out if the other was joking or not.

Eventually though, she answered. [No, it’s called bubonic, because a stab from its spiky spines can make you gravely ill.]

“Oh,” He mumbled, “I’ll avoid its booby spines then, hopefully.”

For a second he wanted to avoid this task altogether, but a reward of twenty points sounded great! Number-wise, he’d have to kill twenty shrimps to get that same amount, and surely, he’d rather not waste hours hunting for shrimp. This would even be a good opportunity to buy that upgrade, and even have points to spare afterwards!

He found a string of enthusiasm just so he could follow this task, and then recalled. “I saw plenty of urchins while I was looking at that flashy map of yours, system. They were in the sand out there, out of the reef… so let’s hope I can find the right urchin, before that stupid shark finds me instead.”

Moments later, he squeezed through a tunnel, and poked his head out of those red, bushy sea plants. With his limited vision, he wanted to check if the perimeter was safe. He found himself being all the more careful recently!

There weren’t any dangers to speak of, so he left the reef, and used the flames on the tip of his fins to swim quickly. Tim felt as if he was a fighter jet, because he didn’t have to move his fins much in order to travel quickly, it was very fun!

He swam twenty meters away from the reef in seconds, and right then, he saw a carcass on the sandy sea-floor. It was an eel, and its body was almost split in half, so the scene was gross and pretty graphic! Tim however, was feeling opportunistic, so he quickly took a bite off of the eel.

To his utter surprise, the system then announced. [You just killed a thunderous moray eel, and as a reward, you received 40 system points! In total, you’ve accumulated 58 system points, which are to your full disposal.]

Tim freaked out, and quite joyfully, he asked. “What the hell? But, it was already dead!”

The system ignored his questions for a moment, and instead, she said. [There are 20 volts of thunderous electricity stored in your barb, and you can use half of that amount in a single second. You can either use that amount sparingly, or continue to eat the eel carcass in order to accumulate more voltages.]

Tim felt like the luckiest stingray in the world right now, but also, he had so many questions. Plenty!

At first, he insisted. “So I accidentally killed this eel… and got all those points? Please answer me, system, don’t play with me.”

Finally, she expanded on that question. [I’m not ‘playing’ with you. It looks like the shark had bitten the moray eel badly yesterday, but it didn’t exactly kill it. The eel used its voltages of power to stay alive, but it had exhausted most of its powers already. You’re lucky, because in any other setting, you would’ve been fried dead.]

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“Now that’s luck,” He celebrated.

Tim could buy that big upgrade now as well, which was phenomenally advantageous, but chose to push the upgrade away for later. He was out here with a goal to find an urchin, and he intended to complete that goal.

However, to protect himself from the potential dangers, he took a few more bites off of the dead eel, and accumulated a total of fifty points of voltage on his tail’s pointed barb. Tim would love to figure out just how dangerous this ‘thunderous voltage’ was, so for once, he hoped to get attacked by a shark. For once, he felt powerful, rather than helpless!

— New chapter is coming soon —
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