Nighttime… besides a quiet lakeside.
A young girl slinked along the lakeside under the cover of darkness and carefully squatted down. She lightly stuck her finger in sending forth ripples along the otherwise pristine lake as it penetrated the watery threshold.
The lake wasn’t a very massive lake and neither was it a very safe. Lifting her head, she saw the wildlife stirring across the lake. However, she wasn’t afraid; she knew her limits well and they were definitely within them.
10 days ago, she encountered a strange event while performing a survey of this area. The ground suddenly shook. However, it wasn’t a very violent tremor. It was the kind which would only dislodge a few tiles from your rooftop. What made this event strange was what followed after: the lake started surging after the tremors and before long it spat out a naked teenage boy.
What’s a tsunami?
However, other than spitting out a teenage boy, the lake remained as unyielding as ever. Outside of this teenager, she gleamed nothing from the lake. At this rate, questioning the boy was the only way to get any information.
Just as she was reminiscing, the sound of grass being crushed echoed from her hack.
It was a person wearing a similar outfit to hers walking down the grassy path to the lake. If what she wore was an everyday outfit, what that visitor wore was a formal version of it.
No, it was an even grander attire; it resembled the attire of an archbishop.
This visitor’s features were completely masked by the hooded robes, even his height wasn’t discernible.
Poppy: …Why have you come?
??: Relax, no one followed me.
??: Poppy, you seem to have adopted a puppy?
Poppy: What’s the problem with that? It doesn’t have rabies nor does it bite.
??: Is that so? So how’s your first experience living with a puppy?
Poppy: It’s dreamy.
??: You…Somehow I feel the face of a lovestruck girl would suit that sentence more than yours.
Poppy: Well sue me, my looks and disposition are all hereditary.
??: That’s a pretty troublesome inheritance.
Poppy: Don’t tell me you’ve come all the way here to chat with me?
??: Of course not. I’ve come here to remind you.
??: Yes. [Divine Hall] is preparing to dispatch some inspectors to this area.
Poppy: They discovered my location?
??: No. The reason they dispatched investigators is because of the tremors ten days ago.
??: However, if you remain here, it’s highly likely they will find you.
Poppy: How long till the inspectors arrive?
??: They plan to head out tomorrow and should take a maximum of 10 days to get here.
Poppy: Alright, I understand…
The visitor’s words heralded the end of her peaceful life here.
??: If you wish to move, bringing that puppy along is not a wise move.
Poppy: I know, but he is very important. I need to make some arrangements.
??: What makes that puppy so special?
Poppy: I think he possesses an enormous amount of wish points.
??: Enormous? As much as a hero’s?
Poppy: My intuition tells me it can only be more not less than a hero’s. A lot more.
The visitor remained silent for a long while as if he was trying to determine if Poppy was joking or being serious.
??: Where did you find this mad dog?
Poppy: Right here.
She turned around and stared at the serene lake surface.
??: No wonder the Divine Hall dispatched their investigators.
??: The thing they are looking for is probably right in front of us.
The fifth day after waking up…
My body was finally on the road to recovery. According to Miss Poppy’s rehabilitation plan, I should be able to walk around outside after having lunch. So that’s one thing off my worry list.
During the past few days, Poppy lectured me on the basic knowledge of this world.
First was astronomy:
This world possessed a sun as well. It was the largest star in the system just like ours but it had one major difference: half of it was covered in icy cold darkness while the other half was a blazing hot.
As this two-faced sun rotated, the world changed from darkness to light and from light to darkness.
It’s name “the sun” came from the wishes of men to one day expunge the darkness, creating a perpetual day cycle.
The brightest point of day was during the afternoon and the darkest at midnight. However, this only lasted a moment.
Within the 24 hours of a day, people would normally rest from 7 in night till 5 at dawn. This was done to accommodate the sun’s rotation.
Not really a drastic change from my original world. Early to bed and early to rise and all that jazz.
However, the sun was a fickle mistress; the length of day and night swapped durations every 400 days. This meant that years were counted on a 400 days basis while each season had 100 days in it. Furthermore, there was no concept of months of weeks.
Wait…Doesn’t that mean that Old lady Poppy’s ’26 years old’ just became 29? One more addition to the secrets list…
As the ‘sun’ rotated, it would shed some fragments which hung in the night sky. These were stars of this world.
From time to time, stars would fall to the ground and be collected as useful rock materials.
Wouldn’t that mean the sun was made of stone? Looks like there’s a big difference in terms of astronomy between our two worlds.
Next came geography:
This world was assumed to be flat and unmoving; a huge departure from our world’s common knowledge.
Mankind’s exploration had covered a distance of over 10,000 km during which they proved that the ground did not move. The difference between the highest and lowest point was only a measly kilometer.
This world was mostly made up of dry land with less 30% of the surface made up of water.
No wonder Poppy gave me a strange look when I said ‘sea’. Their largest body of water was only restricted to the size of a lake.
Mankind had also performed some explorations underground however these only made it to a depth of 10 km. After which they were unable to proceed no matter what they tried. The temperature was unbearably cold and the hardness of the earth had reached a point where their tools were no longer effective.
There was a legend about the world beneath that depth. It was said that the earth could be penetrated and this would lead to another world. One which lived in eternal darkness; the kingdom of the dead.
However since the dawn of human civilization, this had never been proven so it was most likely a fairy tale.
The life forms and landscapes resembled a primeval world but there were a number of unique life forms as well.
However, these unique life forms did not adhere to the classical western fantasy tropes: there were no dragons or goblins etc. But there were slime-like creatures with completely different characteristics.
Thank god it wasn’t a Cthulhu mythos setting.
Then came the humanities:
The development of human civilization largely mirrored my previous world’s. However, there were some differences as well.
In some aspects, this world’s civilization and technology came close to a 20th century standard while in others, they remained at a 17th century standard.
The culture and technology level varied widely across each country and region as well.
I guess this is to be expected when one added wish points into the mix of human civilization.
Some countries had a slave system and even followed a medieval system. There were even societies that embraced mutations. Naturally, there were democratic societies as well.
The concept of science was widespread in this world, and fantasy systems like magic did not originally exist. However, one must not forget the existence of the systemic wishes.
It looks like even granting fantastical wishes like “an ability to cast magic” were possible for the God of Wishes.
However, there weren’t many such cases in the history of mankind. After all the people who wanted to make such wishes were extremely rare.
Humans mostly made wishes in accordance with the development of technology and the needs of society. There were also humans who made wishes with their own interests in mind.
As a qualified all-rounder nerd, digesting this plethora of information was only a matter of time. What’s more I had my original world’s developmental history as a reference point.
Our final lesson involved the most important portion of the humanities.
Thinking about my promised field trip after this lesson, I turned on my serious mode.
Poppy: The majority of the human kingdoms develop in a concentric fashion with a single focal point.
Poppy: This focal point is occupied by a country-spanning religious kingdom. It is the sacred ground of all the devotees of Westrealm.
Poppy: This place is known as the ‘Divine Hall’ , the supposed birthplace of Westrealm. It is the only place known to man where you can increase your wish points.
Di Qi Ju: So you can attain wish points later in life as well.
Poppy: It’s not as easy as you think. Whether or not you can succeed depends on God’s will
Poppy: The residents of the human kingdoms can only perform one sacred rite per year. Each sacred rite lasts a minimum of three days and a maximum of ten.
Poppy: Only people with high morals and piety stand a chance at gaining more wish points.
Poppy: The Divine Hall is made up of three rings. You only need the Divine Hall’s permission to enter the outer ring to perform the sacred rite.
Di Qi Ju: So even regular people can increase their wish points?
Poppy: Normally, most laborers can’t afford to perform the sacred rite on a yearly basis. Plus, if you aren’t pious, God won’t bless you with wish points anyway.
Poppy: The highest blessing recorded from performing the sacred rite in the outer ring was three points. In most cases, one would thank the heavens if even one point was gained.
…Looks like gaining wish points is a pretty tall task.
Piety is the last word you would associate with an atheist like me. Expecting me to change this behavior is nearly impossible.
Which means I have to be extra careful with using my wish points from now on.
But…did my eyesight go temporarily bad that day; or were there simply too many stars to count…I still had no idea.
I’ll have to investigate this matter thoroughly the next time I make a wish.
Poppy: As for the mid and inner ring, most people won’t come into contact with them so I won’t elaborate on them.
Poppy: The Divine Hall has been set as the origin of the world. As such, most units of measure and coordinates use the Divine Hall as their basis.
Poppy: Travel is really convenient for devotees.
Poppy: The area we are in now is part of the borderlands of a country called “Faith”. Naturally, this country follows the Westrealm religion.
Poppy: It’s an area set up 10 years ago during Faith’s exploration into the wilds. The villagers are all people who accepted the country’s solicitation to live here.
Poppy: Today’s field trip will involve scenes that one would not normally see in developed areas.
Di Qi Ju: Oh…then can we go now?
Poppy: Sure, now that all that is out of the way, we can leave.
Poppy held onto my hands and slowly supported me up.
Based on this sensation, my condition should be a lot better than when the disaster first struck.
As I finally stood up for the first time in this world, a thought ran through my mind: Even in a world like this, I should be able to survive, right?
However my momentous first step into the world was abruptly interrupted.
Poppy: What’s the matter? Are you scared?
Di Qi Ju: No…
Di Qi Ju: It just feels awkward wearing your undergarments.
Poppy: There’s no way I would keep a set of clothing for boys handy!
Poppy: That’s enough! You’ve already changed lingerie thrice! I’ve never seen such a picky boy!
Di Qi Ju: The nerve of you! You are reason why I have to wear such a thing!
Poppy: That’s because you came into this world with only your birthday suit on!!