I felt horrible. I had a headache and a slight feeling to vomit.
“Damn it… We were right, this isn’t as simple as we thought.”
After calming down, I looked around and I saw myself right beside a river at the edge of a green forest.
The trees were 20 to even 50 meters tall, with the trunk of 6 to even 10 meters in diameter. I looked with my mouth and eyes wide open for 2 minutes.
“What is this?”
While looking at my environment, I felt a familiar ‘wind’ around my hands. I started focusing on it unconsciously and felt that the more I focus, the stronger it gets.
– FHOSH –
The wind spun around me in the form of a mini-tornado with me as its target.
“Is this… mana? How come is it so much and so strong? Before I had to focus with everything I had, only to feel a little ‘wind’ which was nothing more than a thread of mana thinner than grass.”
While meditating, I had once entered a state of total selfness that made me able to feel beyond the material. In that state, I discovered this energy. From different books, I found out that is named ‘mana’; an energy from which matter is created and the mythological wizards used it for their spells and rituals.
“Now that I think about it, what kind of book was that? Damn it, I should have finished it…”
I wasn’t the type to finish a book if I already found what I needed. This was something that I really had to work on.
“If I can manage to control this mana, maybe I can recreate the abilities I had in my visions!”
Since I was a child, I started having dreams and visions of me using different kinds of magic and martial arts moves. I tried them all the time after waking up but more than the normal movements of the body and a tiredness that made me fall back to sleep, nothing happened; a fact that made me dejected most of the times.
“I don’t know why I’ve been summoned here but with such an environment I’ll be able to restart my researching to a whole new level!”
I was trembling with emotion. While I was thinking about the future, I wanted to contact Ryu as fast as possible. I needed some of his random-but-on-point opinions.
“Ah. Of course, there is no such thing as « Whisper » magic, right? But I might be able to use something like telepathy?”
I tried to focus… But it was to no avail.
After that, a strong shock kicked me out of the meditation.
“What the? I’m still not used to this dense energy field… Not like I was able to do it on Earth in the first place… Anyway, I can’t just stay here, I’m hungry. I better find something to eat.”
I was thinking about materializing food with mana but all I did was just some yellow powder that wasted most of my mental energy.
“Damn, shouldn’t have done that… now I’m even more hungry.”
I dragged my tired and starved body along the river. I was thinking of fishing something for food but just as I was preparing a wooden spear, I saw an old hut on a hill and besides that, there was a small village.
“Wait. Isn’t that really far? How on Earth can I see it so clearly?”
After being transported in this world, I found out that my senses were much stronger, being improved by the dense mana around.
“Damn, this is useful.”
I said while grinning excited for what I will discover next.
By the time I got halfway to the hut, I remembered the message I got after being transported in this world: [Keep Appearance] and [Change to Original].
“Hmm… Right now I look like myself from Earth, while [Change to Original] means that I have to change into my character Shen, right?… If I think clearly, I’ll seriously get some unwanted attention from this world, so I better try to fit in by changing my appearance.”
I hid behind some huge trees and pressed [Change to Original]. I felt another headache, but this one was harsher than before and I felt all my muscles bulging while my bones were stretching. It was not very painful but it was truly uncomfortable. Something like having all your bones and muscles rearranged and ruptured but with no pain at all. It’s scary, mainly because you can’t feel a thing.
When I started creating my character, I tried to make it look like me as much as possible. Of course, the game being a game and me not being the best designer, I failed in recreating my face and ending up with a more handsome face than my real one of course. But the body is mostly the same with the exception of the fit and athlete-like muscles under my shirt. Such a small physique was the best because the last thing I needed was some gym-addict-like body-structure that would restrict my mobility. Having this kind of leopard-like structure was more preferred by me.
“Is it finally over…?”
After the transformation was finished, by reflex I cast my hair backward, feeling like it would enter into my eyes otherwise. To my surprise, my hair was more spiky than before.
So I really transformed?
My clothes were a perfect fit on this body. I tried to make the character look like me as much as possible, with a height of 185 centimeters and a weight of 70 kilograms. I know it sounds skinny but the only things visible under the shirt were well-proportioned muscles.
Even though I did not really like the face because of the tiny nose and mouth, looking more like a girl, I was still pleased with the wolf-like eyes that gave an imposing feeling.
“Overall, not bad at all.”
I commented while looking at my reflection in the water. In real life, I was 19 years old and my character looked almost the same age, maybe a little bit younger but no harm in that. Having a body structured after this world was amazing. I felt how I had more control over the mana around, while by using only this body’s strength, I was able to break a medium tree trunk using only my fists.
“In this world, a ‘medium tree trunk’ means around 25m tall and 6m wide… This brute strength is ridiculous.”
The smallest trees around are actually the same as most of the tallest trees on Earth. I could make myself an entire house from just one normal tree.
After more analyzing the body while walking, I finally got to the old hut. Beside the hut, there was a little garden with some wooden toys and an old tree. It gave me the impression of tranquility and peace.
Just as I got closer, I heard a door opening and from the inside, I was able to see an old man with a long, white beard, a straw hat, tattered clothes under which a frail and wrinkled body was being covered. He had a peaceful appearance and a tranquil face but the most amazing thing were his eyes. I do not remember when I got this ability, but from quite a long time ago, I started to be able to read a person’s soul from their eyes with utmost accuracy. The saying ‘eyes are the window to the soul’ is not some made-up thing, it’s as true as possible and in that old man’s blue eyes I was able to read endless wisdom and life experience. I was baffled for a moment.
“Excuse me, sir!”
I walked in front of him and started to talk.
“I’m sorry to disturb you but you are the first person I encountered so far. I do not know how I got here, where I am or what kind of rules are in this world. So if there is not too much trouble, I would need help with some information, a shelter with food and water. Of course, I will work as much as I can to repay this debt. However ridiculous it sounds I truly ask for your help and assistance.”
I bowed my head then stood straight looking into his eyes, waiting for an answer. A normal old man would say that I’m crazy or some kind of an idiot but from his eyes, I was able to tell that he wasn’t a simple old man at all and beating around the bush with him won’t get me anywhere. Therefore, being blunt was the only decision I could make.
“Young man, you truly came from a far-away place, didn’t you? Your appearance, accent and manners are not of these places. I will give you food and water but my hut is too small for me, my grandson and you to live together. However, seeing you so vigorous, I can tell that making another hut for yourself won’t be a big problem, am I right?”
The old man answered with a laugh, he seemed pretty easy-going with no care for the mundane but with love for nature and humans. I bowed respectfully to the old man and thanked him.
“Those clothes are too nice to wear while working, don’t you think? Let this old man give you some of his clothes.”
I didn’t refuse so I thanked him again for the clothes and changed right after I got inside. Even though the clothes were tattered and full of patches, they were pretty comfortable. It seems that when he was younger, the old man had almost the same height as me.
“It fits you perfectly. Now, let me give you something to eat first, after that you will have to work the fields, bring water from the fountain and get that axe to cut down some small trees. After we get enough wood for fire, you’re free to build your house haha~.”
The old man laughed then continued.
“While you do all of this, I’ll go with my grandson to buy something for tomorrow’s dinner, do you like dumplings?”
I knew there are dumplings in the game and I always wanted to try some but I never expected for a chance to appear so soon.
“I’d love some! And as for what needs to be done, feel free to leave it all to me, I’ll work until I drop to repay this debt.” → Shen
“Don’t worry too much over it, I can tell what kind of person you are. You don’t need to explain to me anything, your eyes are talking more than your words.” → Old Man
Oh! Can he read people’s souls through their eyes like me? Ahaha, then I won’t need to explain anything. Good, this old man truly is something else.
I thought to myself while drinking some tea the old man gave me. While we talked some more I found out his name was Old Shu; indeed a truly cultivated person. From his summary explanation of this world, I barely found any similarities with the game.
There are three continents that I already knew of from that weird map: Vestria, Nostrung and Eihwaz. Vestria and Nostrung have an empire in the middle of them which are ruling over their own continents and there are, almost all the time, wars between them. The Empires are at war over the title of « Supreme Empire ».
There is a saying that only one empire can exist in a world, and for the complete control over the Merchant Guilds and because of that, the Merchant Guilds have no clear master and are able to make trades between the two empires through the black market. Even if one of the ruling empires wants to close the black market, the other one will support it, making it impossible to meddle in these moneymaking guilds without being bitten by the other camp.
“Or at least that’s what the empires let us see.” → Old Shu
“The wars look as if they are controlled and the winning camp is most of the times Nostrung. Every time the Nostrung gets the advantage, something weird would happen to make them retreat, giving Vestria enough room to breathe and to regroup so they would start another war. When Vestria is winning, sudden waves of demonic beasts attack them from the Eihwaz continent, making them retreat to defend their cities and people. Nostrung would start all the wars while Vestria would stay on the defensive. The war is already thousands of years old, not ending it means that someone must be behind it.” → Old Shu
I looked at Old Shu with some puzzlement.
”Why is nobody taking action?” → Shen
“Because this knowledge is covered and if someone rises, they’ll get killed.” → Old Shu
I felt how sweat was forming on my forehead.
“T-then why did you tell me about such a dangerous information…?” → Shen
“Because you asked me.” → Old Shu
“Are you serious?” → Shen
“Boahaha~ I was just kidding. It’s because I can tell you might be able to do something. Your soul is not like any I’ve seen so far.” → Old Shu
I locked gazes with the old man and I didn’t see any hints about him lying.
“Well, if you say so. Then I might really be special.” → Shen
“How arrogant Hahah! Alright, let’s continue.” → Old Shu
After our little talk, Shu continued to tell me about the third continent. The third continent named Eihwaz is a forbidden zone. From that place, monsters are being born and even demonic beings reside in the most inner parts of the continent. There are constant waves of beasts attacking the villages and contaminating them with miasma around the borders of both Vestria and Nostrung.
That means most of the dungeons I raided in the game are actually villages or places destroyed by these beasts? God… that’s sickening…
I remembered a dungeon in which a small village was fully transformed in an undead one, attacking and killing all the living beings around it, even the lost and the unaware travelers who just wanted to broaden their view over the world.
I really forgot about the tragedies happening in this world… Wait… How about Demostius!
“Excuse me, Old Shu, is there some monarch named Demostius?” → Shen
Demostius was the name of the Emperor of Vestria Empire who tried to control the demonic beasts in dominating the entire continent of Vestria. In the game, Demostius took the throne of Vestria by starting a riot against the last Emperor. In the end, « The Hero », which is any player’s character, exiled him in Eihwaz. Being a game with a story, everyone had the chance of beating him.
But how about now? Will I have to worry about this Demostius?