1 Chapter 1 - The Invite

In the courtyard of a small Japanese-style family home, a young man wearing a simple black hakama and a white sash around his waist swung a wooden kendo sword over and over at an even tempo. Exhaustion-laden breaths escaped his lips with each swing, decorating the cool evening air with puffs of steam-like air. A cool breeze carrying the scent of blooming spring flowers ruffled his short and somewhat spiky black hair. His dark purple eyes focused outward with a similar intensity to that of an artist tuning out the world to paint a masterpiece. Beads of sweat trickled down his forehead, neck, and slightly exposed chest.

One thousand swings later, the young man lowered the practice blade to his side. He then closed his eyes and counted out sixty seconds while calming his breath. At the sixty-first second, he raised his sword again and slid his bare front foot forward along the grass. Mid-step, his arms moved fluidly, pulling the blade along simple paths. A noticeable sharpness and briskness within each swing made it look like a dance with lady death herself. The blade blurred and whistled through the air over and over as he advanced step by step.

A few minutes later, he reached the opposite end of the courtyard. Turning around with slightly trembling arms, he lowered his sword and stared at the empty yard. Then, raising his eyes, he looked toward the setting sun. A few silent moments passed. Eventually, he sighed and ran a sweaty hand through his damp hair.

"How peaceful," he mumbled to himself in a melancholic tone. His shadow struck a lonely figure in the empty courtyard.

Shaking his head, he walked over to the porch of his home and slid open the thin door leading to the main hallway. After slipping his feet into some indoor slippers, he ambled down the main hallway and casually observed the paintings of the last five generations of his ancestors until reaching a door leading to another hallway, which he followed until reaching an old-fashioned paneled wood sliding door. Sliding the door open, warm air drifted out, relaxing his weary soul. He closed the door behind him after entering, removed his clothing, and tossed it into a basket full of dirty clothes. Then, he removed the slippers and showered before dropping his body into the private outdoor hot spring owned by his family. He soaked in the warm bath with arms spread out and resting on the edge of the decorative carved stone edge. His lips curled up into a contented smile, and his eyes closed as the warmth seeped into his sore muscles and bones.

Half an hour later, he left the bath wearing a loose-fitting robe and walked upstairs to his bedroom. The simple bedroom contained only a full-size bed neatly made with simple black quilts, a simple wooden nightstand and dresser, a wooden desk with a computer and some books on top, and some bookshelves next to some closet doors. Few decorations adorned the room aside from three picture frames and a small bonsai tree sitting on the desk.

Stopping by the desk, he picked up his phone and checked for any missed alerts. As soon as he saw the screen, it bricked, but then flashed and displayed a notification in front of an intricate magic-circle design.

{Do you seek adventure?}

{Join the multiverse chat group?}

{Y / N}

The young man blinked a few times. Then, he rubbed his eyes and pinched his arm to make sure he was lucid. Finally, his expression softened with a rueful smile.

"Maybe this life wasn't as simple as I thought."

* * *

Calm waves lapped against the boards of a small sailing vessel floating upon a grand expanse of bright blue sea. The sails flapped gently along with the breeze, pulling the small crew's ship toward their next adventure. Near the bow of the ship, a young man with short green hair tied down by a black bandana snored loudly with hands folded beneath his skull. A snot bubble floated from one of his nostrils. Three sheathed swords rested on the deck within arm's reach.

Amidst the man's peaceful nap, a small portion of space no bigger than a human head warped, cracked, and split open above him like some sort of window into the abyss. Strangely enough, the void within could only be seen from below and was invisible from any other angle.


The snot bubble below the man's nostril suddenly popped, and one of his eyes cracked open slightly. Then, his eyes widened, and his mouth gaped just in time for a small metal tablet to fall from the void into his mouth. On instinct, he spit out the tablet, rolled away, and drew one of his swords toward the small space anomaly.

To the man's surprise, the anomaly quickly closed, leaving behind the small tablet. After waiting for a few moments, he raised a brow and stepped over to investigate the item that had appeared. He tapped it with his blade, but nothing happened. Not even a scratch remained on the item's surface.

Unable to restrain his curiosity, the man picked up the tablet with his free hand and inspected it closely. It was only the size of his hand and felt as light as a bird's feather. When he flipped it over, the surface suddenly lit up with some colorful images. Since he didn't feel any danger, the man read what showed up on the smooth surface. His eyes turned serious upon reading a question on the screen, but the second question made him raise a brow.

"What's a chat group?" The man wondered aloud.

* * *

Deep within a forested region, a man wearing a dark blue hooded robe stood over the corpse of a salamander-like creature that was five times his own height in length. He observed the target of his quest before cutting it open to look for the missing artifact the beast had consumed.

While the man dissected the monster's stomach, two women approached from different directions. One of them had long pink hair, and the other had long black hair. Both of them had athletic builds and wore somewhat revealing combat dresses that exposed much of their generous cleavage.

Despite the revealing clothes, the man ignored their attractive figures and barely looked their way before asking, "Did you finish already?"

The pink-haired woman skipped over with a grin and answered, "Yeah! It was easy!"

The black-haired woman nodded in agreement and said, "I'm surprised you didn't leave anything for us."

The hooded man shrugged and continued his work. Some of the blood splattered toward the pink-haired woman, but she side-stepped away from the splatter in an instant. She remained silent and let him work, though.

Suddenly, the man stopped his movements and tilted his head as though puzzled by something.

"Something wrong?" The black-haired woman asked.

"There is another artifact here besides the orb. It looks like a small tablet."

"Oh? Let's see it."

The man pulled out the two artifacts, one in each hand. One was a rusty-looking orb, the artifact they had been searching for. The other was a small rectangular tablet that looked like a piece of glass with an obsidian border. He immediately conjured a small water spell to wash them off.

When the man looked at the tablet again, it flashed and displayed a magic circle far more complicated than any he had ever seen along with a few words. He raised a brow after reading them.

"Did you notice something?" The black-haired woman asked him, prompting the pink-haired woman to also look at him with expectation.

"You don't see it?" The man asked them.

"The tablet? Is there something inside it?"

"...Is there something only you can see?"

Handing the orb over to the black-haired woman, the man focused all his attention on the tablet and frowned. Then, he mumbled, "Whether it's a boon or something dangerous, I'll need to find out."

He pressed the Y without hesitation after reading what was written on the screen.

* * *

Within a small and barely furnished living room, a woman with blue hair tied up in a side-bun sat down to drink some tea in peace and quiet. Her brow wrinkled slightly as though deep in thought. Suddenly, a small space rift opened above the table, prompting her to flicker away to the other side of the room. Her eyes glared at the newly formed space anomaly until a small rectangular tablet dropped onto the table with a hard clunk.

A few silent seconds passed, and the spatial anomaly closed again, leaving behind zero traces. The woman then stared at the object that had interrupted her peace and quiet. To avoid danger, she observed it from a distance at first. Only when she decided with certainty that there were no tags, traps, or poisons involved did she approach and inspect the object more closely.

When she arrived next to the small table again, the object lit up with a gentle light. She didn't sense danger but still flickered away and pressed her hands together into a hand seal. Nothing happened afterward.

Frowning, the woman walked over again and looked at the object. She read the words on it and proceeded to stare at it in silence for a long time.

* * *

Walking along the sidewalk at night, a girl with short brown hair grumbled to herself and swore to beat the crap out of a certain bedhead idiot later. She kicked every pebble in her path, and small sparks buzzed around her from time to time. The few pedestrians still out and about so late in the evening avoided her like the plague.

Suddenly, her phone buzzed, and she grabbed it with her brow creased out of annoyance.

"If it's her again, I'm going to-"

Her words halted mid-sentence when she saw the magic circle on her phone. Without hesitation, she tossed the phone into the air. Electricity sparked and crackled around her. Raising her arm upward, she aimed at the phone and pulled back her finger in preparation to flick a coin toward it.

People in the vicinity fled or gaped at her with wide eyes and slack jaws as a beam of lighting fired into the sky.

Ignoring the people around her, the girl stomped onward and grumbled, "Just you wait, unknown magician. Messing with my phone like that… Whoever you are, you're dead meat when I find you."

While stomping away, something hard slammed onto the back of her skull with enough force to knock her over. Consciousness flickering briefly, she stumbled and faceplanted into a nearby flower pot, shattering it and spreading dirt everywhere. Quickly coming to, veins bulged on her forehead. She forced herself up to look for the assailant, her face a mixture of fuming red skin and dark clumps of dirt.

To her ire, after turning around and looking in every possible direction, she saw nobody nearby. However, her eyes eventually landed on a phone sitting on the pavement nearby. She blinked a few times as though trying to process the fact that it looked exactly like the phone she just fired into the sky earlier.

Whether due to curiosity or pure anger, the girl swiped the phone off the ground and looked at the screen. The magic circle was still there, but this time, she actually read what was on the screen to see if she could figure anything out. Upon reading it, her anger fizzled out to an extent. She placed her free hand on her hip and stared at the phone with furrowed brows.

"Interdimensional chat group? And what's with this question?"

Before she could think about it more, she heard a familiar alert echo from nearby streets and alleys as multiple robots charged toward her from multiple directions announcing annoying things about unauthorized use of abilities.


With that, she tucked her phone away and fled, accidentally hitting the Y button in the process.

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