System Mania!

Chapter 44 Fear, Shock, Realisation
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44 Fear, Shock, Realisation

The night unfolded, draped in a tapestry of darkness that seemed to muffle the urgency and tension that daylight brought.

The survivors gathered around the flickering fire, the gentle crackling providing a semblance of comfort in their grim circumstances.

Conversations flowed as they shared their experiences and speculated about the altered world they found themselves in.

Amidst the circle of survivors, Aurora, with her keen analytical eyes, couldn't help but notice the curious phenomenon of the goblins' absence.

The creatures, relentless scavengers during the day, seemed to retreat or perhaps hide during the night.

It was an observation that sparked intrigue and a sliver of hope, maybe the night could offer a respite, a temporary refuge.

Intrigued by the patterns of this new reality, Aurora decided to conduct a discreet analysis of the levels of the survivors.

With a delicate finesse, her system abilities allowed her to measure the strength of those within an 8 level range compared to her own.

It was a subtle exploration, ensuring no one felt intruded upon.

As the conversations wove through the night air, she subtly focused her analytical gaze on Mark, Jake, and Ethan, three of the survivors who had introduced themselves earlier.

Her digital overlay displayed their levels, a testament to the intricacies of the world they were grappling with.

Mark, the unofficial leader, exhibited a level 3 strength, displaying a certain resilience and adaptability.

Jake stood at level 4, hinting at a higher degree of preparedness, perhaps born from past experiences.

Ethan, with a level 2, seemed more cautious, still adjusting to the sudden upheaval in their lives.

However, her scans were interrupted by a timid, almost inaudible, "Hey," from her side.

Turning her attention, she found Tara, the apprehensive woman, trying to convey something.

Understanding that Tara was struggling to express herself, Aurora offered her assistance.

She helped Tara stand, the firelight casting elongated shadows around them as they stepped away from the group.

Aurora, her eyes reflecting genuine concern, asked gently, "What's on your mind, Tara? You can talk to me."

Tara hesitated, her gaze shifting nervously between the ground and Aurora's comforting eyes.

It took a moment, but then she found her voice.

"I... I need to go... outside, you know."

"To use the restroom. But there's no restroom here."

Realizing the predicament, Aurora nodded empathetically.

"Of course, that's a natural thing."

"I'll accompany you outside, make sure you're safe."

Tara hesitated once more, gathering her courage, and then pointed towards Korig, who was engrossed in conversation with the others.

She whispered, "I... I'd feel safer if he accompanies me."

"He's strong."

Aurora managed a small smile, understanding Tara's concerns. "Alright, I'll let him know."

Approaching Korig, she leaned in and shared the situation in hushed tones.

Korig was surprised at first, unexpected requests like these were not part of their plan.

But he quickly assessed the situation and agreed, understanding the importance of providing comfort to Tara.

"Sure," Korig said, giving her a reassuring pat on the shoulder.

"It'll be okay. Safety first."

Aurora led Tara to Korig, ensuring the transition was as smooth as possible.

Tara's relief was palpable as Korig stood up, offering her a comforting smile.

As they made their way towards the shelter's entrance, Korig spoke gently to Tara, attempting to alleviate her fears.

"Don't worry, we'll make sure you're safe."

"It's just a short walk outside."

Aurora watched them leave, her analytical mind constantly at work.

She contemplated the dynamics at play within this group of survivors and considered the potential alliances that could be formed.

...

Aurora, her curiosity piqued, rejoined the survivors by the fire as she watched Korig and Tara venture towards the entrance and to the night outside.

The flames cast flickering shadows, adding an eerie backdrop to their conversation.

"So, how did all of you end up here in this city?" Aurora inquired, her interest evident in her gaze.

Mark, the presumed leader of the group, cleared his throat and began recounting their journey.

"We've known each other for a while, and when the objective started, we decided to stick together."

Ethan chimed in, "We were in a nearby city when it all began."

"The chaos... it was overwhelming. We had to fight our way through and ended up here."

Jake added, "We stumbled upon this shelter by chance. It was luck, to be honest."

Sarah, who had been relatively quiet, shared her story.

"We had heard rumors about a potential safe place in this city."

"So, we made our way here, hoping it was true. It was a perilous journey, but we found this place."

Aurora listened intently, nodding as they spoke.

It was a complex web of experiences and chance that had brought them all to this point.

She decided to reciprocate by revealing a bit about her own journey.

"We were on the other side of the bridge, trying to reach safety," Aurora began.

"It was a struggle, but we made it through, we fought through the challenges along the way."

She then spoke about Korig and their partnership, how they had teamed up in this altered world, facing adversity and learning to adapt.

Her words painted a vivid picture of their trials and triumphs.

As the conversation continued, Aurora suddenly realized that she had neglected to inquire about Tara's origins.

"I haven't heard much about Tara."

"How did you all find her?" she asked, trying to sound casual but unable to mask her growing concern.

Mark exchanged glances with the others, their faces revealing a sense of uncertainty.

"Tara was already here when we arrived at the shelter."

"We found her sitting in a corner, frightened and alone."

A shiver ran down Aurora's spine, a sudden realization gripping her.

It was as if the ground beneath her had shifted, revealing an unsettling truth.

She stared at the entrance through which Korig and Tara had exited, her eyes wide with dread and understanding.

They were in the heart of the city now.

They had to battle and get past dozens of goblins to reach here. But that woman, Tara, she had made it before all of them.

The same woman who was scared to go relieve herself alone. Something didn't feel right to Aurora. The shelter was meant to be their sanctuary, a refuge in this harrowing world.

But now, a creeping fear whispered that something was amiss.

The unknown was their greatest adversary, and uncertainty clouded the air like an ominous fog.

Aurora's mind raced with possibilities, her instincts urging her to act, to confront the secrets that lurked in the shadows.

She glanced at the survivors, their faces bathed in the fire's glow, unaware of the storm that brewed within her.

"Fuck"

said Aurora as the pieces fell together within her mind. "It's her"

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