StrossVonVaron · Fantasy
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5 Chs

Chapter 1. | An Uncomfortable Awakening

Alex was spending his night like any other on his computer as he listened to music and read manga that had updated even taking sometime to leave comments on some pages and laugh at others reactions to a chapter release often seeing people commenting with amusing images and messages that demanded the next chapter in a joking way of course, this was his escape from reality as he lived each day waiting for his end and often joking about it despite not having the will to carry through with it.

{Alex} "Oh… it's that time"

The light of dawn peaked through the curtains and Alex turned off his monitors leaving his computer running as he had always while heading off to his bed, he climbed onto his bed and pulled the thin sheet over and wore his headset while he hugged a pillow allowing the music to carry him off into his one reward in life or so he believed, his dreams.

He would never wake up and never know the grief of his family and friends ever again, his body seemed to function but Alex himself seemed to have entered a coma like state with no real explanation, never waking and in a way achieving one of his own wishes but this wasn't the end for Alex.


Just as I thought I had fallen into my dreams I had awoken only to find myself standing upon a white bridge that stretched endlessly into the horizon surrounded by a sea of dark clouds and yet I felt strangely comforted, even as I turned to look the other way, I found even this side led beyond my line of sight, even leaning a little over the stone railing of the bridge I only saw a sea of dark clouds below and began to wonder if this was truly a dream or something else as I felt strangely calm.

The high pitch scream of some teenage girl shocked me as I turned to find three misty white humanoid beings now standing beside me and I stepped back into the stone railing reflexively, it appeared to have come from the one furthest of me near the stone railings on the opposite side of the bridge, it was the one beside her or so I assumed that spoke in an elderly voice about heaven's reward and religious sounding lines I couldn't comprehend.

The one beside me doesn't even turn to the elderly white humanoid telling him that this was clearly a hero summoning in a child's voice probably no more than 12 years old but I had little time to determine what was going on here as my eyes meet a misty black humanoid being that stood in front of the four of us and my grip on the bridge railing failed me as I fell arse first upon the tiles strangely feeling no pain but witnessing the truth of my own body as my misty white legs and arms were clear for me to see having somehow gone unnoticed when I had checked over the bridge railing.

I'm about to shout out "what is going on" but my anxiety of this unknown situations forces me to remain quiet and see what awaited me as I climbed back to my feet, I now catch the conversation between the boy and elder as the old man adamantly claims the black humanoid to be gods judge while the boy declares him to be a god summoning us to save the world, I feel the cringe of the boy's statement reach my very bones.

{Boy} "Alright old man let's see who's right. You there! You've summoned us to save the world, right?"

The boy turns toward the white shadow beside him not showing any signs of confusion as the old man also doesn't seem alarmed, I can only conclude they had already seen what they looked like prior to my arrival unlike the only female of us who seem to be crouching and speaking to herself.

The black humanoid simply responds with "not quite…" but I tense up as the comforting aura of this place is thrown off balance by the deeply unsettling voice of this black humanoid, it could only be described as a over a hundred people speaking in unison from the voice of small boys to elderly women and yet I couldn't reach breaking point at such a disturbing sound.

{Guide} "Wayward souls from beyond the Fray may call this one Guide. As my duty dictates, I shall present thou with the choice of rebirth at the price of thine memories or thou may choose to answer the summons of a god retaining thine memories…"

I wanted to be more disturbed by its voice as it spoke to the four of us but my mind quickly returned to calm so I just focused on the situation at hand not daring to speak up first due to my anxiety that battled this calming place only for the sole female voice amongst us to stand up as she nervously stepped forward, my mind unpacking the fact we were just wayward souls.

{Girl} "Can… can I return back to my… world?"

{guide} "This… cannot be… done…"

I see the shoulders of the girl drop with a light sound of sobbing as she struggled to maintain her sorrow likely under the same effect as myself being forcefully calmed down by this location, even I felt a pang of loss no longer being able to access my computer or delete my private files, I couldn't even hope this was a dream since a part of me seem to want this reminding me of my conflicting nature.

{boy} "well… it looks like we're both wrong, old man! Anyway, um Guide? Will the god give us some sort of power or… will you?"

I'd like to say I imagined the boy rubbing his hands together like some sketchy merchant but the misty white form of the boy really did do that only seeming a touch nervous, the elder beside him shaking his head disapprovingly but what followed was the twisting of the guides face despite the lack of any features forming a faint smile in mere seconds.

{Guide} "Indeed I can wayward soul if thou wish to answer a god summon but! thou must be reasonable in thine request less I feel disinclined toward such a demand so be humble in thine request for an ability or form thou wish to take for this cycle"

I'm still held back by my inner thoughts but I feel a sense of joy having longed to escape to a fantasy world in my long nights reading manga and novels, my feelings of joy are short lived as fear my uncertain future and this the comforting aura pulls me back to calm while the other three to make their requests with the boy cutting off the elder.

{boy} "I want the power to command shadows!"

This wouldn't have been so bad if he hadn't grasp toward the skies in a cringy way but fortunately my mind calmed and the smiling Guide nodded in approval turning toward the Elder who I guessed to be at least in his 80's, I wait to hear what he has to say but the Guide merely nodded again and turned toward the girl.

{Girl} "I… um… I think… I'd like to be… an elf?"

She paused constantly being both timid and uncertain of what she wanted from what I could guess until she settled for an Elf, I'm not sure how to feel about this as I devote my shitty mental capacity to thinking about what I want in this new life going on one tangent on if I even had a brain in this current state only to find I had sunken too deeply into my own thoughts with the Guide quietly waiting for my response and the three other Wayward souls looking at me to see what I'll request but this place didn't allow me to feel put under pressure by their gazes.

{Alex} "I've thought about it and I believe I want something that can allow me to avoid death"

As I finish my request, I see the Guide's face twist from only a smile into fury as it scowled at me hatefully with even more definition to its disturbing face that torn open to reveal what looked to be pointed teeth grinding against each other, I had clearly pissed this thing off but I couldn't wrap my head around it thinking my request reasonable.

{Guide} "You dare! No… there is a way… to accommodate your request"

Its horrifying expression quickly faded away as it gave me an unsettling toothy smile while its face slowly stitched itself back together to conceal its teeth, I try to choose something else but the Guide ignores me now turning to look at all of us and begins to give us a speech as an unsettling feeling struggles in my chest against the calming aura, I can only bitterly smile to myself hoping that whatever happened wasn't too terrible already regretting my choices and the suspected suffering that might await..

{Guide} "You will be answering the summon of the god Triton, whether you choose to support his mortal followers or not is your choice to make… I wish thee fortune in thine journey and a long life rich in experiences.

The guide turns to me with its disturbing smile once more causing me to begin scanning my surroundings for any trouble that could be coming but nothing seems to change with the exception of the boy calling out cringy lines such as "Your Dark master commands you to arise Shadows!" while the elder laughs next to him clearly amused at this and the girl scans her surroundings with clear uncertainty and yet nothing.

I look back at the guide about to ask what was going on but it my vision was blocked by white bricks as a very sharp pitch scream I was none to proud and didn't think possible escaped me in unison with the cries of my three new wayward companions, if I had eyes they would be widen in complete horror and my absent lungs would have been screamed bare in terror, the section of the bridge we had been standing on having simply fallen as if whatever bound the white brickwork together had vanished, several pieces coming awfully too close for my likely causing me to flail harder in the air shifting enough to catch a glimpse of the now swirling vortex of dark clouds below the four of us before it quickly consumed me.

『System Authorization [E]... Departing the Bridge of Souls, Arrival in the world of ❖ ❖ ❖ 』

As the vortex of dark clouds consumes all light from my vision, I see an illuminated message appear in the corner of my eye that seem to inform me of the previous location but strange markings masked the destination world that quickly fades as light returned to my sight revealing a damp and dark chamber with a few wall mounted candles and eight people dressed in very worn out blue robes crouching in a praying pose around us and several knight looking men scattered around the room, the most imposing was the blue robed elder with two knights in shining blue armour, despite having a more worn out robe than the others he had more jewels and religious looking decorations that made me seem more important likely the head of these robed people.

『Divine Discord Triggered』

A small prompt appears in my sight leaving me a little confused but what disturbed me was the way colour seem to fade away from my surroundings even as I turned to see the three, I presumed to be my wayward companions, a boy no older than 12 who continued to shout out odd lines in a clear attempt to use his power of shadow he should have received, the next was a man who looked in his early 20's giving off a warm smile who was undoubtedly the elder I had heard who must have asked for youth of something, the last of course being the girl who still looked 15 years old with short leaf green hair that extended down to her lower back having two pointed ears that appeared to be covered in fine green fur that noticeably twitched with her timid reaction to our surroundings.

I felt a mix of joy at having the chance to be sent to a new world like many of the novels and manga I had read not so long ago but my anxiety of the unknown protested such thoughts bringing me back down to a similarly timid nature as the girl, the only silver lining was that I wasn't forcefully brought to a calm state of mind like that previous location that seemed to be called the Bridge of Souls.

『Failed to block ❖ ❖ ❖ 』

Another message appears suddenly before the fading colours around us instantly snapped to black and white surroundings and two sets of eyes burn into my back, even as I turn around and find nothing I can image two uncaring eyes burning holes into myself and my three wayward companions, this all happened for but fifteen seconds and then as if nothing had ever happened the presence vanished and colour rapidly returned with the sound of holy chanting reaching my ear and causing me more discomfort as more Divine Discord prompts appeared in the corner of my vision until I began to start thinking they should just go away, these prompts no longer showing with only the discomfort remaining, this discomfort was washed away by relief from those invisible eyes vanishing.

{Unknown Blue Robe} "Praise the great god Triton, our prayers are answers!"

{Unknown Blue Robe} "Even in our darkest moment Triton still stands with us!"

{Unknown Blue Robe} "You honour us heroes!"

Several of the blue robed man hold something similar to rosary beads and weird wave shaped iconography as they seem to rejoice at our arrival praising their god and yet I only discomfort no longer seeing the prompt for it but I push this feeling to the back of my mind, we were answering the gods summon and yet we didn't even get to meet him.

It is clear their all priests now as I take a better look but their excited chatter dies down with a simple raised palm of the leader looking figure, while the aura around him makes me feel uncomfortable his warm smile allowed me to ignore it, the priests all bowing to him and filing out of the chamber through the single entrance behind their leader and his two knight like escorts.

Now we could hear the sound of the sea, dripping water, burning candles and the footsteps of the priests leaving as their leader waited patiently for them all to depart while the knights positioned all around the room remained like statues or maybe they were but I couldn't tell, after two minutes I could no longer see them and took sometime to admire what looked like a blue magic circle the four of us were standing within until the leader priest coughed to draw all our attention only failing to pull shadow away from his cringy lines as his shadow seem to tremble or maybe that was just the lighting from in the room.

{Cassian} "In the name of our Great God and his champion the King I High Priest Cassian of the kingdom welcome you heroes! feel free to call me Cassian"

The elderly man who looks to be in his early fifties with sun tanned skin welcomes us as he bows but I take notice of the scars over the exposed parts of his body such as his neck and his hands that held a large book with a wave carved onto its face, I ignore my discomfort and quietly observe waiting for one of the other three to introduce themselves first as my anxiety and caution advise and my mind wonders what life could have led to so many deep scars.

{Giles} "Oh this old man hmmm… no I suppose this young man goes by the name Giles and that youngster beside me… I believe he called himself Shadow"

If I still had a keyboard in front of my I would be pressing F to doubt repetitively, the boy had clearly made up the name but this was probably a chance for a new start and so I cast aside my old name in my mind settling for something not so cringy but interesting, Arc would do just find for my taste but while I was pondering, I see a creepy expression upon Giles that surprises me but as I do a double take I find him still giving a warm smile toward Cassian with his short wavy blonde hair that didn't go past his neck.

『❖ ❖ ❖ 』

These prompts didn't seem to annoy me as much as I thought they would, It was these symbols that blocked information that left me feeling unhappy but I assume this one was probably nothing important or so I tell myself even as my inner thoughts whisper uncertainty and suspicion, I didn't hate my own anxiety, in a way I enjoyed my own despair but it had grown out of control in my formerly life so I promised myself here to not let it hold me back.

Cassian turned to the girl who looked around her surroundings nervously, stuttering and stumbled with her words but Cassian politely waited with his warm smile that seem to soothe and give her courage enough to speak, "great" I though seeing that half of my new party were just brats but this was leagues better than playing online games with children that cursed you out with their squeaky voice I told myself as both seem to not have such an issue, I just hoped I wouldn't have to babysit, I didn't hate kids, I just didn't like having to be around them being a recluse that disdain any real-world interactions I didn't have to do, why those I spoke with thought me to be funny or a nice guy was something I just couldn't understand.

{Terra} "I'm… um… I'm Terra… Terra Lewis!"

At first, I thought she had come up with some name but it seemed her parents must have had an interesting naming sense as her last name seemed pretty normal for a western name if I thought so, I of course would discard my own name, but from my observations it seemed my wayward companions weren't from the same part of my own world, if they were from the same world at all, was I the first Aussie to cross over, no that would be too ignorant an assumption I thought only to find Cassian now looking upon me.

{Arc} I'm ahem, I'm Arc"

『Name Set, Arc 』

Seeing this last prompt must have meant this system or maybe the world had recognised my new name while Cassian merely nodded with a warm smile, I was getting some nice grandpa vibes from him but his scars must have been from a harsh life or maybe he wasn't so nice as my inner thoughts whispered more dark nothings to fuel my anxiety.

{Cassian} "It is my pleasure to meet you Heroes Giles, Shadow, Terra and Arc, although I have much, I wish to say I must hold my tongue until we meet with his majesty King Triton… oh before we do go the ruler of our faith and nation has always cast aside their own name as the first representative of the great god, our kingdom also sharing this name, but I believe I've kept you in this dreary place for much too long, yes?"

Giles, Terra and I nod our heads in agreement but Shadow just laughs manically behind us causing all of us to turn to him and find a baby bird that looked to be made of black mist struggling to flap, the cringy brat had really been given the power of shadows where as I likely received something not so pleasant that I was unaware, my train of thought is cut off as shadow starts shouting about how all shadows will soon bow before the Dark Hero Shadow which of course sounded as weird as it did cringy and yet he seemed shameless.

Cassian seemed more interested in shadows creation than his weird lines as he handed his book to one of the blue knights and walked over to shadow asking if he could touch it with shadow agreeing in his own way allowing Cassian to "witness his terrible power", I almost bit my tongue but Cassian didn't even miss a beat poking and prodding through its body that seemed to be tangible and intangible even poking it with a glowing finger that caused more more discomfort for me, It seemed to be some sort of holy or divine power with the way it shone but all I felt was rejection toward it maybe because I had become some sort of demon or devil, my wandering mind brought back to reality when Cassian clapped his hands once gesturing for us to follow with his warm smile as he walked out the single exit two Blue knights at either side of him.

We make our way out of what I assume to be some sort of cellar like chamber deep below a castle which takes some time making me realise how massive this structure must be with the number of prisoner cells we pass and what might be an Armory eventually passing through a hall with rooms that all seem to lead into sleeping quarters for the knights here, I also noticed that all the knights here were similar to those in our summoning room unlike the two escorts of Cassian wearing armour reminiscent to knights of my old worlds medieval Era, many having only pieces as they were likely off duty, eventually after what might have been half an hour we reach what I thought to be the castles ground floor decorated modestly with red carpets, paintings of the seas and even a statue of a life like a tidal wave one priest was quietly praying to.

{Giles} "High Priest Cassian, I am deeply interested in the mighty god Triton that called us forth, as a former priest of my old world I hope to find a god I can devote myself to"

I feel uncomfortable hearing this conversation but remain quiet noticing Terra peaking looks at each of us in the meantime and shadow appeared to be petting his baby shadow bird with a smug expression, Cassian of course paused in his tracks surprised at what Giles had to say but then quickly smiling as he agreed and began speaking of the Triton being the only god worthy of devotion.

The speech went on for another fifteen minutes as we walked even slower toward our destination with Cassian speaking of how the Great God of the Oceans and seas, Triton had stood at the pinnacle of their former world before the cataclysm and even in his weakened state, he tore open a rift so the people of his world could live on here in the Arrina continent including those who didn't believe in him, even I began to feel respect toward this god and yet my body protested with discomfort.

My thoughts on other worlds would be disrupted by the different types of knight along the way and here at the giant doors of our destination four more stood in worn out silver armour very similar to the knights of my old worlds medieval Era with the exception of their right arms being completely exposed say for a blue cape that covered the upper portion of that arm, what truly stood out were the scars and blue tattoos of ocean creatures that covered their exposed right arms.

{Cassian} "Kings Guard Carden, I have brought the heroes for an audience with his majesty"

Cassian spoke to one that seemed no different from the rest nodding his head as he listened before shaking his head and telling Cassian they should be ready in ten minutes, only now did I consider that I could understand these people from another world that likely spoke some language I had never heard of and they too could understand me, this might be some sort of perk of ours or a skill to ease our arrival I justify quietly waiting behind Cassian while Shadow tries to get into a brawl with two Kingsguard for mocking his bird, needless to say they just stood there and laughed as shadow and his bird flailed pointlessly at them before Giles dragged him back, they didn't seem to take it too far and nodded toward Giles and Shadow having taken no damage whatsoever.

Finally, it was time as all four of the so-called Kings Guard pulled the giant doors open toward us with the sound of chatter inside reaching us and quickly dying down as many heads turned to face us, three of the Kings Guard stood in front of the doors while the one Cassian spoke to announced our arrival.

{Carden} "Announcing the arrival of his holiness High Priest Cassian and the four heroes"

Before we can even enter the room the sound of hushed voices grew in volume and intensity causing me to instinctively take two steps back but the brat Shadow yanks me arm forward as we follow Cassian into what should be the Throne Room or maybe it was called a Royal Chamber, it was surely the most decorated despite the modesty of the castle I had seen so far with statues of warriors and priests lining the side walls and several paintings of the ocean.

The massive chamber had a long blue carpet that travelled to a flight of stairs with a round platform at the top with the figure sitting upon the throne concealed behind two spears with flags tied to them, the carpet leading up having a King's guard every two arm's length of the carpet on both sides standing like statues with their flag spears raised and forming a barrier between us and what looked to be nobles or maybe merchants of a medieval era more so than fantasy.

The nobles as I had decided had quickly quieten down to hushed whispers after the roar of the man sitting upon the throne at the end of this path, bright sunlight shining in through the ocean themed stained glass window that took up virtually all of the wall behind the throne with the distant sound of the oceans now quieter at this elevation, I remain quiet on this lengthy walk to the throne noticing two nobles standing on our right side of the carpet at the bottom of the stairs, one a balding man with short hair greyed from age and a cold and uncaring expression as he merely glanced at each of us and continued reading a document in his hand, his noble attired having several pieces of armour and his presence making me think he was some sort of military man in his 60's.

Beside him in stark contrast was a man in his 30's with short wavy brown hair dressed the most extravagantly with many rings and jewels decorating him not to mention the wine filled chalice he sipped from as he watched us while speaking with the old noble beside him.

As we reached the stairs to the platform above the Kings guard at the top of the stairs commanded us to Halt and Cassian nodded and turned toward the two important looking nobles while we waited to likely make idle chatter..

{Cassian} "Duke Godric, Duke Alban, Triton's blessings. How have the two of you been?"

Cassian calls the more military looking one Godric and the other Alban both being Dukes it seemed, the stern voice of Duke Godric speaks about his concerns for the wavering frontline I hadn't heard of yet but due to my lack of understanding most of the conversation went over my head and i tuned out as I now barely paid it any attention.

{Alban} "Oh Old Cassian wishes to speak to me? Why not allow me to praise Triton at your temple?"

Cassian bitterly smiles and shakes his head toward Duke Alban.

{Cassian} "I would appreciate it if the young Duke wouldn't profane the priestess of our great god and thus, I must regretfully decline"

Alban looks sour at this and slips between the wall of Kingsguard to mingle amongst the other nobles as many noble ladies block him from my sight flocking to see him, most however still give us glances and speak in hushed voices, I lower my head feeling even more anxious of being in a place with so many people.

『Racial Discord Triggered 』

I only have enough time to read another prompt that suddenly appeared before I feel my heart being squeezed painfully while my body begins to feel like its burning and tensing up from a sharp pain that I even let a small yelp out causing the three and Cassian to look at me, I embarrassingly wave to let them know I'm fine as my back now feels slick with sweat, this unknown pain had vanished as quickly as it had came leaving no indication beside the prompt that seem to not be related to holy powers at all, I try to calm my breathing and mind as we continue to wait patiently.

Terra keep peaking looks my way but I ignore the brat as I try to peak through the gaps of the two Kings Guard blocking our way to see several people standing in front of the king, their voices calm and seemingly muffled such that I could only just make them out now that no one was talking close by us.

{Stubby man in brown checker business suit} "Aye cannot help ya, my hands are tied, the federation will ave nothing ta do with these monsters and their so-called demon lord"

{Elf man in silver silken robe} "As much as I hate to agree with this short brute the elvish will also stay their hand, of course you can accept my previous offer and we will of course handle it"

{rabbit eared man in purple business suit} "We of the Yu'vi empire… wish to help… but unfortunately we cannot directly assist you, we would compromise and offer you a war chest of coin as a show of our… friendship"

The appearance of these three confirmed this was indeed a fantasy world I had envisioned as I managed to see them while absorbing more information on this new and strange world with the first appearing to be a dwarf or something close to that, the second being close to generic elves with sharp facial features and furless ears unlike Terra, the last however looked like a demi-human race from fantasy stories being part rabbit or a similar species from my observation.

{King} "Silence! We will continue this discussion, another time"

『Resisted Aura 』

The voice echoed throughout the whole throne room giving of a commanding authority and a hint of pressure pushed down upon me, my prompt letting me know it was an actual thing while the three figures didn't seem phased and walked to the left edge of the platform, the King's Guard in front of us raising their flag spears giving us clear line of sight while they now remained like all the others as statues at the edge of the blue carpet.

As we follow Cassian up the stairs toward the centre of the round platform I get a better look of the three that had spoken previously with the Elf Man wearing very thin fabric robes and several bands and jewels, a stark contrast to the Dwarf at his side who looked like an overly muscular short guy stuffed into an brown checker business suit with a top hat and monocle to boot, he was deck out in all types of jewels with everyone of his fingers having a ring giving me a toothy grin unlike the elf who had turned his nose up at the sight of me and began focusing on Terra.

The last but not least was the Rabbit Man who looked like your average human dressed in a purple suit if not for the black ears sprouting from his head and black hair with a fluffy black tail now concealed from this angle, he looked at me with half closed eyes and I felt a chill even though he gave me a friendly smile, something about him just didn't sit well with me but I didn't get any prompts to guide me.

I am the last in our group to follow Cassian's led and fall to one knee in front of the king who looks like to be in his late fifties wearing similar but more decorated armour that had no signs of wear and tear but also had the exposed right arm showing tattoos of the ocean and sea life, his old silver crown was essentially a band with worn out blue gems ending up skyward facing points, his dark grey hair flowing through the gaps between each spike of his crown and just reaching the top of his neck.

{Cassian} "I greet the champion of the great ocean, your majesty Triton!"