Serialized Science Fiction.

Strange Origins
Tom Haynes

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he wasn't sure.

He had to shake his head, the thudding was causing his head to throb. It was intended to be a distraction and not a warning. The tusks were larger now, they carved open the mist. The head lowered as the beast charged. It quickly swung up, it was trying to catch him as he lept over it.

But he didn't even try to budged. He simply braced his horse stance and swung that Iron Fist down. He caught the boar on the forehead as the tusks reached an apex. The resulting crack shook them both.

The board didn't expect a second level Martial Refiner to be this strong! His bell was rung.

As for Arthur, his fist didn't really hurt, it wasn't an Iron Fist, not even a Bronze Fist. But most importantly, it wasn't Tofu Fist. The boar staggered back, wobbling. Arthur raised the fist again, gathered his Spiritual Qi, and struck.

He hit the same spot, it was remarkably easy to aim, but this time he focused on releasing the Spiritual Qi when the fist struck the boar. He also let the rebound energy immediately push the fist back.

He expected for the energy to tunnel into the boar, instead he got an explosion. No meat chunks blew, but the boar was blinded. This time it staggered to the left.

Arthur had a bit more time, the boar must have had a concussion. He measured his fist to the spot, focused on his power, packing the Spiritual Qi down as far as he could, and tried to pound through the beast's forehead.

This time, blood splatter, brains flew out, and the beast died. The fist was stronger, but still did not manifest an elemental power. He took out his camping knife, and dug through the brain. Score, he found a beast core - level 2!

He then puked his guts out. The largest thing he ever killed was a garden snake. He knelt there, the boar's eyes trying to bore out his soul. He reached over, closing them.

He didn't need the meat and he didn't know what else to harvest from the boar. Arthur quickly wander on until he found some large rocks in a clearing.

He sat down on one of them, trying to recall the feeling of the three strikes he had dealt. The fist was useless, so he discarded it. The second, he could work with - TNT strike. He had many memories of explosions from his past. The third, he could work with it as well.

But he couldn't remember iron - he knew it was hard, but it was very difficult to imagine the other properties. However, the rocks he were sitting on were hard as well. He started imaging a strike called Stone Fist. He wanted that packed Spiritual Qi feeling to manifest as a hurling rock.

That settled it, he liked the third strike best, it had the most potential. Wait, he should be able to lift that rock he was sitting on - it only looked to be 400 lbs. He easily hefted it over his head. He didn't even try to lift with his legs.

Arthur got a feeling of rock, but he needed more. He poured Qi into this right hand and started rubbing his first left and right on the rock. With enough pressure, he started to drill his way into the stone. Soon he had bored his way halfway through. It did burn a lot of his reserves.

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