Chapter 1 – System Reboot

“The hell!? Why am I underwater?”

[System reboot] [Loading…] [I’m your ocean survival system, you are my servant] [Feed me points, and I’ll show you the secrets of survival with the aid of body upgrades]

“Oh for the love of…”

[Your first task = Locate and eat any small species of the crustacea ignatius family, juveniles are preferable… less steamy.]

This message in his head was very confusing. That aside, he, Timothy Lake, a human, didn’t have the slightest clue, regarding how he suddenly appeared underwater! It was nothing less than absurd.

He completely ignored what the system said. In fact he wasn’t even sure what the ‘system’ was, and thought that craze was creeping in. He could hear the system but not see it, which was a rather radiant hint of auditory hallucination, if not other things!

“Who the hell are you? How did I get here?” Tim exclaimed, as his panic blossomed.

[I’m your inbuilt, ocean survival system. You, Timothy, are the new owner of this newborn, stingray body.] It answered.

But, it didn’t stop there either. [As for me, I have knowledge equal to one world and beyond it, I can help any oceanic creature survive this cruel, magical environment.]

“Damn this thing has a lot to say.” Tim thought briefly and privately, as the system’s disruptive voice annoyed him shitless.

[I heard that,] It said.

“Oh so you can read my thoughts too, perfect.” Tim added, he felt embarrassed, especially since the system sounded like a lady, though her tone was computerized.

[Yes,] It followed along.

Silence stretched after that point, for a whole minute, as Tim was given a lot to think about. The system eventually broke the silence, in a way that was a bit annoying; Basically, she started spamming some information.

[Available system points = 10] [Purchase options = 1]

Tim would rather not interact with the system, but she was persuasive. Since he was almost convinced that what he was experiencing was a dream, he saw no harm in playing along for a while. Dreams must end eventually, even nightmares, and this felt like a nightmare!

He said, “Let’s hear that option out, I guess.”

There was no harm to that, as everything about this truly felt like a dream. He even tried to swim fast, as fast as he could, but that effort was dimmed by slow and pale results. Just like in other nightmares, he moved really slowly!

[Option number one, and the only option right now = A brochure, explaining the details of your new body, and species in depth.] [Price = 3 system points]

“Kind of expensive for information that is solely about ‘my’ new body.” The little stingray continued complaining, though he knew that he was becoming a bit annoying.

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He knew that he wouldn’t be here for long, so he gave in completely. There was no point in being all grumpy, he started playing nice-er.

He sighed and said, “Whatever, okay. I’m purchasing the first, and only option.”

[Purchase confirmed,] The system said.

[Loading…] [Species = Bluespotted Ribbon-tail Ray] [Family = Dasyatidae extingius] [Gender = Male] [Age = 29 days] [Length = 15 centimeters] [Width = 7 centimeters] [Weight = 0.3 kilograms]

As a closing sentence, she [Your purchase is complete, and as a result, 3 system points have been consumed. Due to this subtraction, only 7 points remain in your total sum.]

Tim ignored all that talk about points, and said. “Sounds like I’m very small.”

He expected an answer, but the system wasn’t very responsive. Instead, it continued spamming information that may only be interesting to her and her alone.

She said, [Because of your most recent purchase, three more purchase options have been unlocked.] [Option number one = Learn your current location] [Price = 14 system points]

“A geo-tagger?” Tim recalled this modern, human phrase.

Afterwards, he joked. “Yeah, fish definitely need that. Nothing like a good old GPS to get you across the Pacific Ocean.”

He started being more and more sarcastic, because he was getting nervous. Everything that was happening didn’t feel like a dream anymore, so he had to cope somehow.

The system, however, didn’t respond to such sarcasm whatsoever. She continued going on with her business, by spamming more of her information.

She said, [Option number two = View the chart of your current capabilities. This one is essential to have and memorize, therefore it’s priced cheaply, 3 system points.]

“That sounds interesting.” Tim thought, he felt intrigued. “I want to buy that one.”

[Purchase confirmed,] The system said.

It was nice to hear her respond instantly for once. Considering the circumstances, he’d love to be distracted right now rather than face the problem at hand. Somehow he was a fish, and he wasn’t quite ready to accept that.

[Loading…]

Afterwards, the system described. [Your capabilities will be listed shortly. Levels state just how strong a specific capability of yours is, with level zero being the lowest.] [Hunting, jaws, and natural camouflage = Level two] [Barb, and barb venom = Level zero] [Bodily strength, and speed = Level one] [Sight, scent and overall senses = Level one] [Intelligence of either, four forms = Low] [Mana = Pathetically low] [Magical powers = None] [Sex appeal = Level zero]

“Wow, pretty low. Looks like anything can kill me, though.” Tim pointed out, and tried to ignore the devastating fact that his ‘sex appeal’ was down to level zero.

[Everything can kill you, yes.] She confirmed.

Afterwards she said, [Your purchase is complete, and 3 system points have been consumed in exchange. Now, only 4 system points remain in your total sum.]

Tim was given a lot to think about. This world started feeling more and more real, and the salt water hinted at it so, but that wave of realization wasn’t the worst part.

If everything was real, and as it appeared, it was, then he was given the worst cards to play with. He was just a tiny, weak, stingray! He didn’t know how his soul ended up in this body, but it would be embarrassing to die in this same body, as much as it was embarrassing to own it and live in it.

In the meantime, the system didn’t care about his feelings whatsoever, and continued making her sales pitch.

She said, [Option number three = Upgrade Hunting, jaws, and natural camouflage to level three. This option is priced at 28 points.]

“Kind of expensive for a pair of jaws, don’t you think?” Tim asked.

Now he didn’t have any idea of how these points were attained, but they seemed like a lot. Part of him considered suicide, rather than to go through with everything a fish had to do on a daily, but the rest of him was curious. Sure he was also terrified, but if this world truly had magic within it, then it was worth exploring!

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The system decided to respond to his question for once. In fact, she even wanted to help him become a bit more practical.

She said, [Let me show you some statistics, free of charge. The following consists of your current state of overall health and well-being.] [Health bar = 87/100 points] [Hunger bar = 3/15] [Sleep, and stamina bar = 11/35] [Mana = 0/0]

At last, she sealed the deal off by adding. [You need to be a good hunter in order to survive. Now you can’t afford ‘purchase option number three’ for the time being, but you can still hunt. As I said before, find a crab that you can kill, you need it and you definitely need the points that it can give you in exchange, once you kill it. Good luck, Timothy Lake.]

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