Hell can be split into three levels: Purgatory of trials, Gehenna of Ice and Abaddon of Sins. Purgatory was covered in flames and only devils could live there. On the other hand, Gehenna and Abaddon were freezing cold. If one wasn’t thoroughly prepared for the cold, even your piss would freeze before it landed on the ground.
Gehenna was the realm of the dead. While there were some ice devils living there as well, it was mostly populated by dead spirits.
Abaddon, the last of the trio, was the most mysterious of them all. Its perimeters were covered in a pitch black miasma. I had attempted to penetrate this barrier several times but I ended up getting lost. In the end, I had no choice but to retreat…
———–From <<Explorer Jorathice’s Exploratory journal>>
I did not know how long my unconscious state lasted, but by the time I woke up it was dawn. The first sight that greeted me was the tiny head of Nicole and her delicate back. Next to my bed was Roscar, seated on a wooden chair, his head resting on the table nearby.
Judging from the dim lighting outside, it should be around five to six in the morning.
My body protested as I gingerly got off the bed. Thankfully, there wasn’t any internal bleeding or fractures. It was mostly external injuries.
I guess I was saved by Nicole once more. Roscar is back too…I hope Hancock and Yalid didn’t get murdered.
Thinking about those two beaten to a pulp brought a smile to my face. However, this was merely a mask for my discomfort. I was painfully aware that it wasn’t my own strength that accomplished it. If I had the strength, taking revenge myself would definitely be more appropriate.
Just like if Auntie Anna was in trouble, Roscar would definitely kill that troublemaker. But if it was reversed, the powerless Anna would’ve ended up like me, defeated. Thankfully I didn’t end up like them, dead. Only the powerful Roscar lived, Anna, Morran and Rhona all died.
Relying on others was clearly not a long term solution. As the saying goes, the only person you can rely on is yourself.
As I thought about this, that tiny hint of satisfaction vanished.
Amidst my brooding, Roscar woke up. I guess that’s to be expected of a hunter, even the tiniest movement didn’t escape his eyes.
Underneath his shaggy mane of bed hair was a piercing pair of eyes that could scare anyone witless. However, as his gaze turned towards me, the fire in his eyes went out instantly; leaving a sense of warmth and happiness.
“Son, your old man was worried sick about you!” These words had barely left his mouth before he rushed over to give me a bear hug.
“……” His tight hug left me speechless figuratively and literally. I couldn’t breathe… “Old man, put me down.”
“No way.” He gave me a solid pat on my back once…twice…thrice… He finally stopped after 10 pats. “Your old man has already taken care of those two beasts. The next time you see them, just beat them up. If they dare to retaliate, I’ll break their legs.”
This means they aren’t dead…
This stirred up a mixed bag of feelings in me. Should I be happy or disappointed. “I was sure you would cripple the two of them.”
“That’s only because of Sarla interceding on their behalf. He is the head of security here and to some extent represents the lord after all. Some respect has to be given.”
At this moment, Nicole woke up as well. I guess this was to be expected, given the ruckus Roscar made. The first thing the loli did upon waking up was to pinch my ears. “Little Ke you shouldn’t have retaliated, you should have just let them take the money. Big Sis will make them pay for it later with interest.”
“That’s right, you should have just tolerated their slight since you are still powerless.” Roscar made his opinion clearly known with that sentence. He was in agreement with Nicole. As he put me down, he ruffled my hair and said:
“Just remember the people that bullied you, and you can take revenge on them once you have grown stronger. If you can’t wait that long, you can get us to help. If it hadn’t been for your big sis tailing you in secret, by now you would have been…” By the time he finished consoling me, my blue hair had turned into a miniature bird nest.
As they said, the situation then was truly dire, getting maimed or killed was definitely a possibility. A high one at that.
Being powerless is truly unbearable. My grand dreams of crushing my enemies and dominating the world were just that…Mere dreams of a weakling.
No matter where you were, Earth or some alternate world, reality was always cruel.
After that robbery, I desperately trained myself. However, the results were just as fruitless as before.
I guess I simply did not have the talent for Aura Perception. As for getting my magic tested once more…I didn’t hold much hopes for it. This wasn’t like an entrance exam: if you failed once, you can retake it next year after another year of hard work.
Talent was something decided at birth. If you were talented, you would always be talented. If you were talentless, even dying on the training ground was a possibility. Fairness never existed in this world…
Another two days passed by peacefully, the bulk of that time spent hacking away at my wooden dummy.
“Little Ke, Big Sis is back!” She shouted even before she got to the front door, her excitement apparent for all to see. She had just finished shopping for groceries.
“Mhm. Welcome…back…” I smiled as I laid down my sword. However, my smile quickly disappeared as I looked up.
Nicole looked as stunning as ever as she waved at me, her brilliant red hair flowing in the wind behind her. However, it wasn’t her that caught my attention this time. It was the person behind her. It was a blonde teenager, 16 to 17 years of age. He had a short clean cut head of hair that neatly framed a rugged but handsome face. He wore the typical combat uniform of a warrior school which complemented his dashing looks.
Damn it. Sares is back!?
As soon as he spotted me he walked up to me. He patted me on the shoulder as he said, “ It’s been a while Little Ke. I heard from Nicole that you’ve been pushing yourself too much recently.”
“Mhm…for about half a year already…” In the face of his passionate greeting, I forced out a weak reply.
“I heard that Yalid and Hancock bullied you. Are you alright?”
My discomfort only grew more in the face of his concern. I forced out another unnatural reply, “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“As long as you are fine. I’ll make sure to teach them a lesson the next time I see them.
“The old man has already given them a thrashing, I don’t think they’ll dare to show their faces in front of me for a while.”
“Mhm. I heard about that too. Roscar seemed to have given them a severe beating. I heard they are still lying in bed recovering.”
“Sares have you had your meal yet? If you haven’t had it yet, you should join us for dinner. There’s enough for all of us.” As she said this, she raised her grocery basket. A strange look which I had never seen before crossed her face as she said, “I seemed to have bought too much food. If you don’t help us finish it, Little Ke and I might stuff ourselves to death.”
“Ha ha, when you put it like that, I guess I have no choice but to stay.”
“Great! It’s almost time for dinner; I’ll go prepare some food…Oh right, we are having beef tonight.” Having received the answer she wanted, she ran into the kitchen with a definite spring in her step.
As Nicole skipped off, the mood turned cold instantly. I didn’t like Sares at all. He always seemed to give off that impression of falseness, but this merely stayed at the level of a conjecture; he hadn’t anything wrong yet.
From Nicole’s previous performance, it was clear as day that she liked him alot. What I didn’t know was whether that was the kind of fondness that one shows towards an idol, sibling or a lover. I guess this was the real reason why I hated him.
“I’ll continue training, please make yourself at home Sares.”
“I’ll come with you. I can teach you some of the training techniques we learnt in school.”
Sares was 16 years old this year and was the sole son of Chaik Village’s sheriff, Zarah. He had awakened his Aura Perception at 6, raised to the level of two-stars at 10 and now, he was a three-star warrior. His subclass was a swordsman and he specialised in large swords; the type that was taller than a person and extremely wide.
These swords were classified as heavy weaponry and boasted tremendous attack strength. Whether it was humans, magical beasts or golems, large swords were able to take a chunk out of them.
As a result, this subclass tended to have the main offensive role in a adventuring party and also had a secondary function as a defender. Large sword users were known for their astonishing strength. In a fight with an equivalent three-star warrior, a large sword user would have a much easier time breaking through their opponents fighter’s aura.
…I really did not like him because Nicole liked him. I know I am just being envious of his power and of his relationship with Nicole but I can’t help it. Why am I, a transmigrator, without any hack abilities, without a grandpa, without any superpowers or even any magic talent…I don’t even have Aura Perception.
As a talentless hack, my dream of a harem will forever remain a dream. If you won’t give me any special abilities, why did you have to throw me into this alternate world. You could have just let me reincarnate on Earth once more. I could have led a fruitful new life.
During dinner, the two of them had a merry time, full of laughter and joy. However, I could only sit at the side mutely; I wasn’t able to butt in at all… It truly felt like Nicole was slowly disappearing from my life. After dinner, she sent him home. Judging from the time taken, she must’ve sent him all the way to his doorstep.
That night was a sleepless one…
Sares came over again on next morning, at the break of dawn. We were in the midst of practice when he arrived. As usual, I was still unable to perceive my aura while Nicole was on the verge of breaking into three-stars. As for that guy, he was at the level of three-stars two years ago.
Ever sharp eyed, Nicole spotted him right off the bat and eagerly approached him. Her intentions were clear: get him to join our practice.
“Sares, you’ve come at the right time. I have something to ask you.”
He glanced at her momentarily before smiling. He replied: “Is it about breaking through to three-stars?”
“Yeah, I discovered that the bottleneck is starting to loosen. I wanted to ask my Dad but he’s not home so I have to bother you.”
“If that’s the case.” He maintained his signature smile and accepted her request: “I’ll just give you a simple lecture on the differences between the two levels.”
“Sure!” Nicole immediately perked up her ears, ready to listen. At her side, I was similarly ready.
Sares nodded at the two of us and continued: “As you know, one-star requires Aura Perception while two-star requires awakening one’s aura. Actually, both of these levels can be grouped together. As long as one practiced hard enough and possessed the talent to awaken Aura Perception, advancing into the two-star realm was only a matter of time. However, three-star is a different matter.”
“Three-stars required one to have a talent in radiating and wrapping aura around one’s body. This level is similar to one-star in that they both required talent. If one didn’t possess the requisite talent, no amount of hard work will ever matter.”
“That… are you sure that people without this talent…will never be able to unlock it?”
Sares’ views on talent wasn’t a new one. I had heard it multiple times before from different sources, and each time it left me battered. However, no matter how bleak things might seem, I still persevered.
“This…” He glanced at my anxious eyes and Nicole’s worried face before giving a dry cough. “Actually, this isn’t always true. I’ve heard of a miraculous treasure which can awaken the aura perception of a talentless person. After his perception is awakened, he can train his aura like a normal person. I’ve also heard of a heaven-defying treasure which can temporarily grant a person the power of a seven-star.”
“What’s that treasure!? Does it truly exist!?” At this point, Nicole sounded even more anxious than me as she grabbed his arms and pressed him for answers: “How do I get such a treasure?”
“I’ve heard of some large noble families having such a treasure but only in small amounts.”
“What’s the name of these treasures?”
“There are various kinds of treasures like this. The most common among them was called an Elemental Core. It’s extracted from the basic structure of the different elements. However, to produce such a core would at least require a six-stars…”
Six-stars! I guess Roscar can’t help me with this since he’s only a five-star warrior. Plus, treasures like these aren’t easy to obtain. Buying them would be a lot easier.
“How much does a single elemental core cost?”
“The only place you can obtain such an item is at the auction houses. Each time, it costs at least a thousand and most of the time, you couldn’t obtain one without spending at least 3000 gold coins.”
3000 gold coins! You’re better off selling me.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.