“Are you done?” Mel asked, cutting into Arthur’s slow recovery.
Lying on the ground, he opened his eyes to stare at the woman who stood over him, hands on her hips. Almond eyes narrowed a little into a smile while she watched him struggle back into a sitting position.
“Done with what?”
“Either having a really good time or upgrading yourself.” Her gaze drifted down to his crotch before she continued. “If it was the first, my condolences.”
“Your . . . lack.” A glance at his staff, before she continued. “Of course, that would explain certain weapon choices.”
“Are you calling me small?” Arthur said, incensed and bouncing to his feet. “Why, I’ll point out that I’ve never had any complaints.”
“Oh, you’ve had quite a few companions then?” Mel said, teasingly. “I thought you were a Battle Fanatic.”
“I’m not! And if you know what happens when a bunch of sweaty, highly athletic individuals get together, you should remember how many condoms they send to the Olympic Villages!” he replied. Then he added, “Not that I’m a slut or anything. I mean, I like sex and all, but the count isn’t in the hundreds or anything.”
“Hundreds . . .” Mel trailed off, arching an eyebrow. “So the count is in two digits then.”
“What makes you say that?”
“If it was under, you’d have said it. Since you jumped to the next level after two, and not one, it has to be around there.”
Silence followed her pronouncement. Then she smirked and turned to walk back to her pile of belongings and untied her bedroll. “Just so you know, two digits at our age does make you a bit of a slut.”
“It’s the 21st century! No slut shaming.”
“Who’s shaming?” She grinned as she lay on a thin bedroll. “Perhaps I’m just intrigued.”
“Uh . . .” Arthur tried to work out what the heck was going on. There were enough changes in both body language and topic that he felt a little flabbergasted. He thought she was flirting with him, maybe even making a full-on overture. But also . . . not?
“Anyway, it’s your turn to watch. Don’t cultivate when you’re supposed to be on watch.” So saying, she rolled over and closed her eyes.
Staring at her back for a long moment, Arthur finally gave up on discerning what the heck was going on. Maybe she was flirting or giving him a hint that flirting was acceptable. Either way, a small empty hall—what Arthur might consider a dining area—was not the place to conduct further amorous pursuits. Not when the rest of the group was a dozen feet away.
Well, not unless you were quite adventurous. Smiling at a memory, Arthur picked up his spear and moved to the main doorway, taking a seat on the chair placed nearby. Rather than splitting up into individual rooms this time, the group had chosen to rest together.
Easier to secure, even if it lacked privacy.
A few moments later, Arthur found himself bored so he pulled up his status. No reason not to see how far he had improved and what his choice had done.
Among techniques, Sticky Energy had one of the least marketable names. It was also a deceptive name, as the technique did not create energy forms that were sticky like a certain superhero’s webs, but instead made the energy within an individual easier to manipulate.
In the end, rather than go for a general boost in efficiency, Arthur had chosen to go with making his energy easier to manipulate. It would aid the channelling of his Focused Strikes, speed up Heavenly Sage’s Mischief and Refined Energy Dart, and even improve Accelerated Healing.
He had chosen Sticky Energy precisely because it affected all of his techniques. He could see it being useful in the future as well as immediately. Before acquiring Sticky Energy, it still took him too long to form Energy Darts. So he could only use them at range.
But how much better would it be if he could unleash an Energy Dart into a monster’s mouth at point blank? Or while hopping away?
Arthur entertained several daydreams of the possibilities. Then he shook them off and practiced forming his Energy Dart instead. Better to do that than daydream on watch.
Though . . . when exactly was his watch over?