Curled up on a patch of grass, Kaltyr yawned. Not yet opening her eyes, she stretched her arms and legs, causing her body to tremble for a second before returning to her previous sleeping position. However, as soon as she had her arm snuggly beneath her head again, a ladybug landed on her nose, irritating her just enough to swipe at it.
Kaltyr lifted her body, no longer capable of sleep, and tried to rub away the pain from accidentally poking her own eye when she meant to shoo away the insect. Eventually, the pain faded some, and she finally lifted her eyelids.
Moments passed as Kaltyr’s blank expression slowly morphed into one of terror. Her heart began beating faster and her breaths came much quicker. Sitting with her legs folded beneath her, Kaltyr moved a hand to her chest for comfort and attempted to take control of herself.
“Wh-what happened? Where am I?” She managed to choke out in-between breaths.
Her breathing still labored, Kaltyr raised her head again to inspect her surroundings. She sat atop a patch of grass roughly twenty meters in diameter, enormous trees standing tall beyond that, so dense that the only other thing she could make out was the crimson red sky directly above her.
The sky…is red?
Kaltyr’s breathing found order again after she turned to stare up at the blood-red sky, confusion and awe chaotically whirling about in her mind. For whatever reason, the color of the sky did not sit well with her. She couldn’t be sure, but she felt an impression within her that said the sky should not be a hue like that.
She shook her head. The color of the sky wasn’t important, as far as she could tell, because there were more pressing matters at hand. Kaltyr adjusted her posture so that she no longer restricted the blood flow in her legs, crossing them in front of her.
“Firstly, I…uh, I need to…”
Kaltyr verbalized her thoughts so as to encourage herself.
“I need to remember. I need to remember what happened.”
Fear still coursed through the girl from not understanding why or where she was. After awakening, all she could recall was her name—Kaltyr. She also recognized most of what she saw, like how the sky is the sky, the grass is grass, she was breathing air, her dark hair was long, she wore black cargo pants with a similar shirt and jacket, her eye still hurt from poking herself, and huge trees surrounded her.
Recognizing objects and flora didn’t seem to be a problem for her, yet she still couldn’t remember…anything! Where was she?! How did she get there?! Who was she?! Why did her hand instinctively move to her right pocket in search of a rectangular object?!
Her stomach briefly fluttered as her hand wrapped around an object in her pocket.
Is this book what I expected to find? But, it seems a bit too…thick?
The girl found herself looking at a small, leather-bound book. Her gut told her that it wasn’t what she expected to find, but since the feeling was so vague, she chose to ignore it. After all, books carry information, and information was what Kaltyr sorely needed.
Fumbling with the possible source of answers, Kaltyr took a second to calm her shaky hands before finally reading the title.
“The System Wishes You Good F****** Luck.”
In big, sparkling, golden letters, the title of the book already seemed to have given up on Kaltyr, irritating her, but not enough to stop her from opening to the first page.
Welcome to the world of Manic!
Don’t bother asking about how you got here or what your life was like before coming here—none of that matters anymore (nor will your questions be answered)! The only thing that matters now is why you are here. Ah, but don’t worry; I won’t force you into figuring that out, ha ha.
You, Kaltyr, were tasked with a mission. It’s very difficult, but there are no consequences to failing it.
Though, I won’t tell you how to complete it 😊
1) Survive! That’s right, just live. The mission will end when you’re dead! Simple, isn’t it?
2) Do stuff! Although you won’t be punished if you live a boring life, you definitely want to get stronger, smarter, and do entertaining things! Do you get my drift? For your sake, I hope you do!
3) That’s all! I only made this part because I like three! And exclamation marks!
Unsure of what to make of the first page, Kaltyr moved her eyes to the second, hoping for clearer answers. After all, it didn’t inform her of anything clearly practical for her needs, which apparently only involved “surviving”.
Basics of the Magic System
Don’t be too shocked, Kaltyr, but this world called Manic has magic! Yes; magic! Your gut might tell you that this is impossible, but don’t listen to it. Magic is impossible in your world, but not mine. And it just so happens that you’re in my world! Yippee!
However, I’m (not) sorry to say that this you will have to figure out on your own…for the most part. Because I’ll only give you some limited information:
1) You’ll only begin to feel it after reading this book through the end, but all around you is magical essence. It lies in just about everything and complex living things can absorb it into their bodies to process into mana—also known as magic power and whatever else people want to call it. You, too, will be able to absorb and refine magical essence into mana to use magic.
2) Magical essence is absorbed into and refined within the soul, which you’ll eventually find within yourself. When you finish processing it into mana you can then move it through your meridians—channels for internal energy that work similarly to your blood vessels—and out from your body, if you wish to do so.
3) There are countless places you can make your mana exit your meridians from and countless ways you can channel mana. It’s really complicated, so you’ll have to learn from experience.
“M-magic?!” Kaltyr exclaimed. Her hairs stood on end and blood gathered in her face and ears to the point where she felt her heartbeat in her head.
“Magic…I think I know what it is, but I can’t define it.”
It was when a breeze brushed by that Kaltyr noticed beads of sweat had begun forming on her forehead.
“Okay, okay, I need to calm down. So far, all I know is that I need to survive and that after I finish reading this, uh, guidebook, I’ll be able to use magic…” The girl took a moment to look over the page again. “What?! With no knowledge on how to use it effectively?! There’s gotta be more useful stuff in here…”
Taking a slow, deep breath in, Kaltyr turned to the third page.
Basics of Levels
I suppose I could put this under Basics of the Magic System, but I like lists of three!
So, you may have wondered about how you can get stronger. If you haven’t…well, you need to know this stuff if you want to live.
1) Levels determine how strong things are (among other things, but you’ll figure it out). Unless you killed a lot of beasts before reading this, you’re level 0. Kill beasts of a similar or higher level to gain experience(XP), which will raise your combative level. (If) When you do, your ability to store mana will increase some, and you’ll gain stat points. There are only two stats, so I think you can figure out how those work 😜
2) I specified “combative” level because skills have levels too! For example, if you manage to prepare something edible to consume enough times, you might level up your cooking skill. Though, if you learn the complicated stuff quickly, your level will increase faster. Again, it’s really simple, so I don’t have to tell you anything beyond this.
3) Oh, look! Another list of three!
“Yes! Something like that! Very important information!”
A smile unconsciously formed on Kaltyr’s face as adrenaline caused her to become jittery with excitement.
“It’s just like a-” Suddenly, the smile reverted to a neutral expression as the girl realized what she was saying. “Like a game? Why did I think that? This is serious! This damned book even said I might die! This is not a game!”
Kaltyr huffed with anger that she didn’t know how to release. After massaging her forehead in frustration, she returned her attention to the guidebook, turning to page four.
“Whatever. What else does this thing say?”
Other Important Things
On this page you will find everything else I think you should know before going off on your grand adventure.
1) To view your Status Profile, just will it to appear.
2) The clearing you awoke within is the only safe place in Manic…but only for a few days 😁 Ha ha, I won’t give you the specific number so as to motivate you to get things done and become self-sufficient. But, for now, take advantage of it to sleep well at night. If you’re reading this soon after awakening, then you have a long time until nightfall.
3) Unless you already searched through and emptied all your pockets, you will find some helpful survival tools in them with minimal instructions on their uses. However, you can’t rely on them for long, because some are consumables while others will just disappear after some time! Again, I’m not telling you how long so as to motivate you 😄
4) (Damn it! Longer than three ☹) This guidebook is indestructible, only you can edit it, and it allows you to infinitely add pages to write on with your thoughts. You can also destroy the pages you added.
That concludes the guidebook. Good luck and have fun! This is your story!
Priorities in order, Kaltyr quickly shut the guidebook and stuffed it back into her pocket before reaching into her left-side pocket with high expectations. In it, her hand encountered an intricately carved bar of cold metal, which she immediately pulled out.
“YES!” She hollered, relieving some of her anxiety and tension. The intricate bar of metal she found in her left pocket was exactly the tool she most wanted—a foldable knife! The girl hurried to open it, a little fearful that if she didn’t soon verify what it was, it would turn out to be something different.
“Oh, thank God!” She exclaimed, hugging the blade to her chest. Although nothing immediately came to mind, she knew that it had a multitude of significant uses for survival in the wilderness. Then, a second later, she frowned slightly. “Thank ‘God’? Why did I say that?”
Annoyed at having been reminded of her lack of memories, Kaltyr shook her insignificant thoughts away. “It doesn’t matter that I don’t remember anything, and feeling sad or frightened of it won’t change the fact that it’s up to me to figure out how to live in this world of…” She checked the guidebook. “This world called Manic.”
Without warning, just as Kaltyr moved to close and put away the pocketknife, she was struck with a wave of fuzziness. It wasn’t painful or nauseating, but it was debilitating, interrupting her thoughts and mobility. Before she knew it…
Feeling almost inebriated, the girl dropped her knife and cradled her left pointer finger, which she cut when the impairing wave first hit. She tried examining the little wound, but her vision was unreliable, as the world came into and out of focus while simultaneously swaying in all directions.
Kaltyr eventually found herself unable to sit upright and fell to the ground, her back on the grass as her vision swam and the world swayed. Only then did fear sprout within her again as she panicked, no idea of what happened or what to do. Could it have been poison? An illness? Was she under attack? Might her symptoms have been the product of a malicious magic spell she only recently discovered could maybe exist?!
Tears formed in Kaltyr’s eyes as her inability to move persisted. She lied helplessly on the ground for longer than she thought a day could have been—what she took as a sign that her sense of time also suffered—and even cried out for help at times when she thought she saw or heard a threat approach. But, of course, no assistance came her way.
At some point, Kaltyr found her senses again. The tears and snot had uncomfortably dried on her face, and her exposed skin hurt a little from what she assumed was a sunburn, but she had control of her body again.
The girl shot up from where she previously lied, ignored the pain from her aching joints, and scanned the environment. If she was correct about her hypothesis of being attacked—which didn’t make sense because the guidebook told her the clearing was safe—then there would surely be enemies, or evidence of them, around her.
“Nothing…” Kaltyr mumbled under her breath, “…nothing but the sky changing colors?”
Besides the heavens above her being a bright orange rather than a blood red, Kaltyr noticed no changes in her surroundings. She’d expected to see the figures of possible enemies watching her between the trees, but there was really nothing different from when she first awoke.
“Besides the sky, but I doubt that it could be important.”
She sat back down with a groan and helplessly grabbed at the nearby grass like a child, uprooting some of the innocent plants and throwing them away from herself in frustration. She felt as though she were being played with by unknown beings for entertainment…something she thought the guidebook kind of hinted at.
Remembering the book of information with a silly title, Kaltyr took it from her pocket and opened it again, hoping to find something she missed last time.
“No; it’s still only four pages long.”
The girl skimmed through the guidebook but it didn’t contain anything she didn’t already read. It had many pages, but only the first four had any writing on them. Kaltyr resolved to refresh her memory of the free knowledge when…
Kaltyr’s eyes opened wide as she noticed something flickering in the right corner of her vision that she had seemed to miss before. She turned to get a better look at it, but nothing was there.
“I f****** swear, there was a flashing light over there!”
The girl’s throat grew dry as she spun around a few times, confirming that nothing but tall trees, shrubbery, grass, flowers, and some mushrooms were in the vicinity. When she still didn’t find anything, she sat as still as could be, with the only sounds coming from the wind rustling leaves and her own heartbeat. Then, she noticed the light in the corner of her eye again, and her back crawled with fear.
It was only when she focused her attention on the light rather than her surroundings when Kaltyr figured it out.
You have obtained the skill: Magic Sense