Read Curse and Cantrip | GameLit | Lit RPG

by Christopher Ford

01 Zavyyn discovers a new world

Wake up little one!

What? What is this voice in my head? Shut up, you’re making me sick, I want to sleep.

No can do, there’s things to be done, and you’re the one to do them. Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey.

Could you sound less cheerful? I feel hungover. What happened last… Wait, I can’t remember anything about last night. Or any night.

Now you’re getting it! A gold star for the best boy. You died, kiddo, truck-sama did his job making street pizza and I am here to summon you to a new world of magic and whimsy!

That sounds improbable.

Open your eyes and check for yourself.

I crack my eyes and regret it immensely. A harsh, white light suffuses everything around me; it reminds me of an overcast day requiring sunglasses. A curious figure of twisted geometric shapes floats in front of me, makes an odd gesture, and paralysis sets in on my mental tongue.

I am the god of this world, and I netted you from your world because you looked interesting. Somehow your karmic information got mixed up with a game character’s and ruined your memory. Nothing to do with me. And this game was one of those massively multiplayer online games and max level, in a progression guild, some other stuff I don’t really care about. You’re too powerful. Congratulations! You’re ascending from your old class and starting over as a newbie in this new world to be fair to everyone else. To make up for taking away most of your abilities, you get an Analyze skill. And probably a language skill, I wasn’t really paying attention. I’ve got a video of you turning into a city block of road rash on repeat, and it is hilariously distracting. Have fun, and don’t let the aether hit you where I split you!

At that, everything goes dark.​

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02 Zavyyn’s first proper biome is a swamp

I open my eyes once more. This time, instead of a painful glow, I am in gloomy daylight. Trees tower around me, gnarled and knobby, with their roots prancing above fetid water, while mosquitoes whine. As I focus on one tree, a small glow appears. Focusing further on the glow cause a window to appear in front of the tree.  Just like a user interface in the video games. Cypress Tree: -A typical swamp tree. I guess this is the Inspect skill. I lift my hand and see that I am extraordinarily hairy.  The glow appears on my hand, and I see a new window. Zavyyn Matrisyan Level: 0 Ascended Wizard Race: Gnome Gender: Male Health: 5 Mana: 5 Skills: Mana Manipulation, Basic Magic: Cantrip Equipment: Decrepit Wand, Old Dagger, Faded Robes, Rotting Sandals Titles: Dimensional Traveler, God-Slayer, Crafting Prodigy, King of the Arena, Insatiable Drunkard, Fairy Ambassador, Eldritch Assassin Those are some seriously scary titles! But what is up with my health and mana? This is not okay, and how am I only level zero? Shouldn't it start at one? That shitty god has some explaining to do. Don't just watch me die on repeat, help me survive in the new world! As I stare at my depressing level, a glow appears in the text. Focusing on that, I can see an XP bar. XP: -1,000,000/1,000 I can hear the god’s laughter in my head as I howl in rage. That bastard! I swear I will pay him back no matter what. But I move on and inspect my race. Gnome: A race of fairy-kin. They excel in magic and engineering. That is a boring description and I hate it. On to those titles! Dimensional Traveler: One who has seen the myriad planes of existence. Provides a bonus to dimensional magics. That one might be useful eventually, but right now I don't have those magics. Time to move on to the title I feel I am particularly suited to at the moment. God-Slayer: One who has slain gods, landing the killing blow on an untold number of divinities. All abilities increased when fighting divine opponents. Yes! Fear me,...

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03 Zavyyn’s first combat

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter!I haven't been making any noise; I don't think it's heading for me. The crashing sounds like bushes and things, so I will probably be safe if I climb a tree? That cypress has a low branch. I nimbly climb, much more smoothly than I anticipate. With this height, I can see through the surrounding branches that the thing coming towards me is... Oh, dear. It looks like a cross between an alligator and a rhinoceros. It doesn't seem to be particularly agitated; it's just casually destroying the environment by walking forward. Milord Analyze, do your thing! Ancient Swamp Drake King Level: ?? Dragon (Hybrid) HP: ?? MP: ?? Skills: ?? Titles: Apex Predator, Absolute Terror Well, this can't be good. I have to hope it doesn't notice me, as I do not think my cantrip is up to this particular challenge. Except, oh no, our eyes just met and it's charging my tree. WHAM! Okay, I will start with trying to pinch carotids. WHAM! Not good, so now I should try to buy some time by filling its eyes with irritating chemicals, like degreasing agents. Ouch, that roar really hurt my ears, but it isn't ramming the tree anymore. I'm keeping those carotids shut, but I don't know enough about its anatomy to be sure there aren't extra arteries leading to the brain. A dragon is supposed to have stupidly high vitality, right? Let's begin filling its brain case with neurotoxin. I hear a tinkling fanfare, and see a window pop up, declaring I have mastered the ‘Multicast’ skill. Sweet, I don't care right now, go away, you stupid window blocking my view of the angry dragon. He's slowly blinking and seems woozy as I keep pressure up on his carotids and continue to pour neurotoxin into him. Good thing I paid attention in my biochemistry and entomology courses! Wait, I took those classes? As my head reels while I try to seize on this train of thought, the dragon below snorts and falls down. Did I do it? I should...

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04 Zavyyn discovers a person

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter!The leaf got blown around by some wind, and I just kept going in the original direction. Good night, sweet leaf, and may a flight of fish sing thee to thy rest. I have been walking for a while, and haven't seen too many other beasties so far, making me think this was the heart of that giant dragon's territory. Just my luck. Also, I think I have only a couple more hours of sunlight left, and still no shelter. Hopefully my game stats don't come from one of those where zombies attack at night. Well, I can climb trees and zombies probably can't, so maybe I will be okay if that is the case. I think I hear whistling? It doesn't sound like bird song; I think there is a person making actual music! Maybe with their mouth, maybe with an instrument, I don't care right now, I just hope they aren't hostile. Would it be chauvinistic of me to hope it's a pretty lady, too? I hurry my steps towards the whistling, and finally notice a big floppy hat holding a fishing pole. Maybe there's somebody under that hat? I see a rainbow fringe around the base of that hat, this is looking promising. As I raise my hand to call out to this Mysterious Whistler (TM), I notice dangerous heads snaking through the water. More dragons? They do not have the big nose horn, and really they look like alligators, but alligators are pretty scary all on their own. I must save this Mysterious Whistler (TM)! I guess closing their carotids would be the best bet? Oh they did not like that. That is some serious thrashing. And the whistling stopped? Now you are just Mysterious, and no longer (TM). Well, the thrashing stopped too, time to announce myself to this person. “Haha, suffer the wrath of my mighty cantrip, foul swamp denizens! Um, I did that, you know. To save you. From those things. You're welcome.” I probably should come up with better savior greetings, and maybe work on my delivery. I sound more awkward than a...

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05 Zavyyn discovers an error in his status

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter!Looking down at the murky water, I barely make out a face that looks simian. Moso says I am a troll, and I kind of look like a small ape. I guess apes are trolls here? I must be sure to break the mold by not leaving nasty comments on message boards. At least, I would rather think about that than consider my odds with the ladies, since I doubt many women are aroused by a chimpanzee. Maybe I can learn some shape-changing magic down the line and become a more socially and romantically acceptable form? “So were you always a troll, or did you get cursed or something?” Thank you Moso for giving me a hope! A curse, obviously, that shitty god cursed me and my original form is a gnome. I don't know why my status window didn't say anything about it, but with divine hacks anything is possible. “Maybe? My memory prior to landing in this swamp is somewhat muddled. I am not entirely sure what happened before I showed up here.” I might want to hold back on letting people know I killed a dragon, since I don't know how they might respond to that. Dragons are important, and folks who kill them tend to also be important. And I should check on the rights of a person about being an ape or troll. Are monster tamers going to come after me? “Bummer. Well, if you need a place to crash, my grove isn't too far. You can get dinner and regroup your thoughts. If you got some bad magic on you, we need to figure out your best route to some wizards who might be able to help analyze your curse.” Moso, you are my paragon of hope and I love you for keeping me positive. “There's a kingdom to the north that embraces the idea that all races are welcome and equal, you might have some luck there. I've heard they have a big magical university and a huge library. You should get out of this area, though. The Sidhe would enslave you in a heartbeat. Well, they would try.” Sidhe? That has a weird sound, and then my...

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06 Zavyyn practices the culinary arts

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter!“I didn't realize you could keep pigs in a swamp.” That is a lot of swine. Their skin looks kind of shiny, like they are well oiled. “You just got to pay attention to your drainage and embankments. Daddy taught me a lot of that.” Moso gives a wistful smile; oh no, I feel the waterworks coming on! “And you cleared enough land for some fields?” It looks like he has several dozen acres penned in by this enormous bamboo thicket. How is he keeping animals out? How is he working all this? “Yeah, I grow enough for me and some people I know.” That wistful smile again! I can't pry, that is not something for me to inquire about. But stop with the wistful smiles, please, Moso. “Well, what can I help out with to earn my keep for the night?” Repay favor with favor, that's my motto. “Pull out several pounds of drake meat, I'll teach you how to make a few different kinds of sausages.” What followed was a hellish three-hour course under Culinary Instructor Moso, who kept me at making sausages, working the crank on a grinder, seasoning, mixing and shoving them into a casing of intestines. Finally, he said “And now we can relax while they smoke.” “We're done? Wahoo!” Sweet, sweet respite. “Yup, just need to flip them in an hour and a half and keep on like that till dawn.” Wait wait wait, when do we sleep? Isn't this bad? “We'll take turns getting up and flipping it so we can get some decent naps. For now, we can have some leftover rice and gumbo I have in my fridge.” Fridge? Could it be that this world has modern appliances? “And then to bed?” It's been An Official Big Day™, and I am tired. I mean, I am still getting skill ups in multi-casting! How many skill ups does casting a few octillion spells at once get a guy? “Nah, we're playing cards and drinking through the first couple flips.” The Culinary Instructor's hellish mask grew only more frightening. “You got any money?” How...

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07 Zavyyn discovers he enjoys sleeping

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter!I never want to be woken up like this again. Moso has me torn between remaining asleep and attending to the biology of my body. Such a choice remands the heavenly countenance of my bedchamber to a more pernicious lot, that of Purgatory, with Heavenly Bliss something one can only contemplate. “Get out of bed already, man! You've been in there long enough for the dead to get back up! This food is getting cold.” Moso, I swear I needed that blanket more than anything. Reality will come tumbling down if I am not given that blanket back this instant! “What's breakfast?” is what actually comes out of my mouth. “Grits and grillades.” Grillades? Isn't that a Cajun dish? But Moso definitely sounds more like a hippie than a Cajun... Well, whatever, he'll tell me about himself if he wants to later. The breakfast is amazing, and Moso leads me to a barrel of hot water for me to bathe. This place, despite being some magic hippie's bamboo pavilion, has a surprisingly modern feel to it. If he told me there was a television somewhere, I would believe it. The barrel is a large metal drum, and his water pump is metal, and clean. If this is so nice, why is it outside? Does he keep it clean by leaving it outside? The house is situated in a large tree full of dark pink flowers, and I understand that plumbing up a living tree might be difficult. With a look at my skills tab search field, I immediately find Arboreal Architecture, along with knowledge of a flexible super-metal that can change shape with the tree as it grows. Oh, it has been a minute in the tub, I should probably finish up. Moso is busy messing with fishing gear when I get to his porch. “We need to get you a map from the village. The mayor has a couple of atlases, and we might be able to help them with a certain problem that would get him to give us one.” That really updated my journal. But I feel like the kind who messes around...

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08 Zavyyn discovers more interface windows

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! This boat ride is boring. Moso has to pay attention to the scenery so he told me at the beginning he would start any conversations we needed to have. Did I annoy him by being a chatterbox? I can't tell. But we have a couple hours on the boat to get to the village. Occasionally we pass another swamp dwelling set up on a particularly large hill rising out of the swamp. A few times we see other boats, but we all zip past without talking or slowing. This boat is going very fast. Where do they get these motors? Maybe this world is not as fantasy as I thought? With nothing else to do, I begin messing with the settings windows again. There are all sorts of annoying tricks I have to deal with, like text being partially invisible, distorted, and all sorts of other stupid things. But I finally make my way into a menu for toggling UI elements. Elements, huh I guess that's one way to describe each separate window. Wait. Map? I toggle that on and see a map screen scrolling rapidly as we navigate through the swamp. Well, this is handy. I scroll out a little further until I see the village it seems like we are heading towards. Going back to the elements window, I also find a quest log window, which told me my current objective is traveling to a river, an auction window, which let me know I had no items for sale and that there were no buyers or sellers online, and a pet window. Pet window? I open it up and am aghast at the numbers of pets I have. There are dozens of cat breeds, dog breeds, small wild animals, small magical animals, small insects, clockwork animals, tiny dragons, is that a human child? Why do I have a child as a pet? That child is a squire? Is this slavery? This window is a terrible thing. This faerie dragon looks especially cute, though, with iridescent butterfly wings, and a sassy smirk. Oh, and what about the baby skunk, it looks like it came from a children's cartoon....

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09 Zavyyn goes fast

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! I manage to find a few useful recipes before we arrive. There are some cooking recipes that seemed basic and functional, and, surprisingly, I can make a ton of different guns and explosives. Hopefully they don't immediately get outclassed by this world's technology. There was also a section on clockwork and spring-loaded traps that looked fairly useful, and, finally, I found a section on alchemy and potions. I don't have materials for any of these recipes yet, but I might be able to find either the exact ingredients or substitutes. It never hurts to be prepared. Anyway, we are now at the village. Moso is taking us the long way around so we meet as few people as possible. In fact, I haven't seen anyone yet. Moso said most people are out working their farms, fishing, or hunting. If they're all out and about, why do we have to be so careful? “Some of the people who live here think I should be killed. They'd think the same about you, so we gotta be careful,” he says when I ask. I am okay with not seeing people who want to kill me. “So why did you bother protecting this village if the people here want to kill you?” He's far enough out there I doubt anybody would even notice him if he kept to himself. “Not everybody here wants me dead. Besides, I need a place to restock supplies, and the swamp is home.” I guess this makes sense. But having to protect people who want you dead, that seems like something that would leave a bitter taste. Moso is a tragic hero and deserves a ballad in his honor! Or maybe just a situation where people do not want him dead. “This is the place. You stay just inside the gate where nobody can see you, and I'll go in.” Huh, if it is that bad maybe I should have stayed in the boat? Or is Moso worried someone would see me in the boat? “I can hide in the hedge if you think it would help.” I'm trying to sound casual with this offer. I'm just an ape, I guess...

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10 Zavyyn discovers a plantation

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter!I am by myself again. Moso was pretty cool; he taught me about making sausages and smoking meat. I was hoping he would stick with me longer, but he has a home and some sort of community, I guess. I got some food, in these lightweight faux ceramic containers. The tech level is weird. People are dressed in leather armor and carrying bows, but an outboard motor? Yeah, sure. These containers remind me of plastic storage containers. If I start seeing resealable plastic bags and cars, I will give up on these crafting windows. Anyway, this swamp has turned more into a forest. It is all pine trees, and they're not especially tall. I think that means it's pretty young, since pine trees grow fast. So either there is some serious logging going on around here, or they had a wildfire in the last few years. This is actually a fairly pleasant hike, with the occasional small woodland critter fleeing before my might. I have been walking for a couple hours now, and my legs are starting to feel it. Well, my cantrips can make matter, I wonder if I can make it vanish, too? I imagine the lactic acid my muscles have produced vanishing and see if I can start banishing it from my body. Ah that feels better. I should probably still take a break, but it sure is nice to take the break and not be focused on how sore I am. I am definitely enjoying this magic business. I should see what other weird uses for cantrips are possible. Maybe I can make myself some equipment or something. Well, that's enough time considering what kind of simple equipment I can make, time to bounce on this clearing. See you, annoying blue jay! Bye, Mister Armadillo! I will forever remember you as a rock rat! I wonder if I can practice making glucose and glycogen in my muscles as I walk, and extra oxygen. Ah I feel perkier, kind of squirmy. I should try to lower the amount of glucose, and also try to keep glycogen replenishing...

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11 Zavyyn gets an itch

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! It itches. So bad. What happened? As I begin tearing at my tattered robe, trying to figure out what is going, I realize my legs are covered in tiny red ants. They're hard to see in the gloom, and all I can think to do in response is create water, lots of water. And I want it to be light, it needs to stay floating, attached to my legs. It still burns, but not as bad. I'm wearing pants made out of water. I could already make people drown, but this has various applications. Yeah, distracting myself from the pain by thinking about other things is working, even if what I am thinking about is being influenced by the pain. What can I do to make this raid easier on myself? Well, first I will ambush them while hidden. But eventually they will figure out where I am, more than likely. Moso said they have divination magic, after all. What do I do when they are directly attacking me? It's night, this place is rural, it is darker than a black hole’s bedtime. How about if I make an incredibly bright light behind me, so I am a blinding silhouette. Even if they have torches or flashlights, shining them on me won't matter much since I'll have a blinding light behind me. That may also help with people trying to attack me from the rear, but I should probably try to keep trees to my back anyway. I can also make myself weigh less to try and lessen the amount of noise I make sneaking around. That should help with getting into position for an ambush. What I really need is some way to distinguish the slaves from the slavers though. Some of the slaves were green, some of them were dark brown, some were jet black and some were dark blue. There were also a few slaves who looked especially strange, like little scaly dog and rat hybrids. The slavers were pinkish elves, so I assume they are all Sidhe, but maybe some of them were swamp elves. I probably should have inspected the guys I killed before,...

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12 Zavyyn discovers an insect

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! This has been pretty easy so far. I started messing with layering my eyes with a thin membrane of energy that lets me see magic. I'm not sure how it works, but apparently my cantrips do not care about me understanding, just my intentions. After getting to the point where I could see my gravity magic, I figured it was good enough to see who was enchanted. It has worked perfectly so far. I've freed a lot of slaves from their mental domination, killed a lot of people I disagree with ideologically vis-a-vis property rights, and found my tactics were working fairly well. I just imagined cutting the little magic lines I saw connecting slaves to wherever they led, and they were fine. All that is left now is the main plantation house. The freed slaves who have friends and family inside are following me, everyone else is evacuating into the woods or scavenging for food and equipment. Supposedly there's some haven to the north, and I am happily also heading north, so now I have lots of traveling companions. More surprising, none of them had anything to say about me being a troll. The slaves I have rescued are all one of three races: kobolds, orcs, and dark elves. I never thought I would see a kobold and imagine them as being adorable, but they are. They are kind of like scaled puppies. The orcs are big and green, and the dark elves have pastel hair colors. Hopefully they are okay with me traveling with them as we haven't discussed it yet. Incidentally, the bites from the fire ants are all gone. Not sure what happened there. I definitely need to research that later. No itches, no redness, nothing. Am I the kind of troll that regenerates? “If you guys will kill the baddies, I'll pin everybody for you first. Is there anything special in the house I need to be careful with? Maybe a master arch-mage?” The freed slaves have armed themselves with sickles, scythes, axes of various kinds,...

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13 Zav meets up with some people

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! I still feel sick from what I did. I can’t get that image out of my head. Tuck can tell I am bothered, but I am too bothered to address the fact that he is noticed. He keeps looking at me, his nose and whiskers twitching. His tiny nose. That little nose. Tyu watches me impassively and doesn’t say anything, just helps me when I stumble. My eyes burning, I croak out that we need to meet everyone else. They are slowly making their way north, although Jondahar told me to expect some groups will splinter off. Most have either children or elderly relatives. Children. I stop to throw up. Tuck watches. I think he’s showing empathy, or sympathy or something along those lines. I throw up again for good measure. The vomit is mostly bile, thick and yellow. Haha, I am like an acid-spitting dinosaur! “We need to hurry.” Tuck’s words are quiet but firm. We do need to go, to catch up. I know Tuck had a wife and children. The emotions I am feeling are just products of biochemistry, right? Complicated enzymes, hormones, whatever, doing a dance in my body. I can just teleport out some of the glucocorticoids and be fine right? Wait, what’s a glucocorticoid? Oh. I can see a small chemistry diagram, a latticework of vertices and lines, and there it is. I know that it contributes to me feeling excessively stressed, and that continually being stressed is bad for me. I can just turn the glucocorticoids into something else. I can make this feeling go away. Instead, I push myself off the ground, stand up, and walk briskly. “Let’s go. I’m fine.” Tuck can see I am not fine but says nothing and follows. Eventually, we see everyone a short way through the brush, following a meandering game trail. Jondahar says something to everyone else, causing a few of them to pause. It looks like everyone who has stopped is a man. I guess they are the guys who are in charge? “We took care of things back there. The...

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14 Zavyyn wakes up

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! It’s not white anymore, it’s dark. I can feel a swaying. This is soothing, and nothing is pounding my head. In fact, there is no soreness, no pain, just the rocking, and a little bit of noise. “You awake?” Jondahar’s deep voice not only rumbles in my ears, but also all along on the front of my torso. Opening an eye, I see his shoulder slightly shifting as the underbrush moves past, my cheek on his back. “I’m alive,” I croak out. Jondahar takes me off his back and gives me a canteen. “We’re heading to the river. If we can get to it and go upstream, we should be able to get away from the plantations around here and escape.” Jondahar’s tone is low and fast. “Is there a problem with that?” Tell me the bad things early so I can mentally prepare for the oncoming awfulness, please. “We don’t have a boat and getting one may be difficult.” Jondahar is well-spoken for being a hulking green guy. I guess that is why they put him in charge of things. “We could probably build something?” We’re in a forest, and plenty of the men are carrying various tools as weapons. “Anything we can build fast enough isn’t going to hold up if we come across Sidhe patrols. They see escaped slaves, and they’ll try to drown us all so they can display us at the slave markets as a warning to anybody thinking to escape.” You know, I didn’t even think twice when I drowned those guys before. Maybe I should think twice before I use violence as a problem-solving tool? Or, I could be paying attention to the immediate problem Jondahar has brought to my attention instead of my philosophical worldview. “Let’s build whatever is possible when we get there, and I will see what I can do with magic to improve it.” Maybe I can help the building? Or do something after? I really don’t know. Trying to focus on this problem is hard, as horrible images and sensations fill my brain. This has been a rough patch since my memory...

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15 Zavyyn decides he isn’t a morning person

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! Waking up is awful. An orc lady shakes my shoulder and tells me something, but I cannot move. I see everything around me, but beyond the orc lady, who was quite pretty, entities with triangular faces and huge eyes stare down at me, unblinking and emotionless. Their long limbs stretch into needles. They swell up into enormity and the limbs dip down, straight into me. I feel a violation as the needles go into my spine through my posterior, and then I feel a sharp shock and my view tumbles around. “Are you better? Your screaming was disturbing everyone else.” I see Jondahar’s face, his brows pulled up and the ends of his mouth pulled down. Ah ha, I think he is worried about me! I am grateful for this level of concern. It’s probably the most concern I have gotten yet. “I’m sorry I had to slap you, but it seems to have worked.” Wait, he slapped me? What about my gratitude? “It’s fine. I’m okay. I just had a nightmare. With my eyes open. If a slap is it all it takes to make that go away, it’s fine.” I feel the ache now. This elicits a hearty chuckle from Jondahar. Actually, it is more like a low-pitched giggle. That laugh is not what I expected from a guy who has more in common with a castle than me when it comes to size. “Well, you’ve woken up now, so come eat some breakfast. Most everyone else has eaten already, but my wife was worried you wouldn’t eat, and I decided to wait for you as well. A meal is better when eaten with others, after all.” Is it? I did not know that. The giant bug guy, Tyu, wants to eat with us as well. I figured he would drink fluids like a mosquito for some reason, but he’s actually a fairly normal and fastidious eater. He even has a white linen napkin tucked into a collarbone-like armor plate. Your color is poor. You should start with a glass of water to improve your circulation and jump start digestive processes. Well, there’s that weird bug brain...

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16 Zavyyn expertly pilots a marvelous flying skiff

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! We’ve already gone through all the poles. As we moved along the river, we kept running into Sidhe merchant vessels that are heavily armed. I guess when most of your trade revolves around slaves, staying armed is normal. While my main tactic, to ascend when we get attacked and just wait them out, does in fact work, now we are waiting for a vessel to leave and we have no more poles. While we wait for the Sidhe to leave, I turn system notifications back on for a second, and I still get an unending stream of skill ups. Mixed in are skills besides Multicasting, like Spellsmithing, Gravity Magic, Cantrip Specialization: Molded Carpentry, and several others. While I scroll through a log of system announcements, an idea occurs. The poles are large and easy to spot. Maybe I can come up with something smaller? I can conjure things with my cantrip, but I haven’t tried anything especially exotic. Time to try something a little more difficult. First, I need something to write with. I could start by making a lump of graphite, but I think there is a small area with all our cooking stuff under the gazebo. Sure enough, there is some firewood. And here’s a stick about the right size. I char the end of the stick, and now I have a writing utensil. With that stick, I doodle on the deck. Some of the kids notice that I am drawing and make a ruckus, so I quickly make them all charred sticks of their own. The parents smile at me some, which is good, and the fact that the kids are approaching is good. I wonder how much of their willingness to approach me has more to do with a lack of familiarity with trolls and the boredom of small spaces. Anyway, that is not worth thinking about right now. Staring at my doodle, I keep smashing shapes together until I have what I want. It looks like a series of hexagons in a tight bundle, but this 2-D representation is just to help me with setting up the 3-D model...

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17 Zavyyn has a random encounter in the wilderness

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! The forest shrinks to overgrown meadows, and, in the distance, we can see the orderly checkerboard pattern of farmlands. The first big clearing we come across, however, has a unique sight. A large rock structure with an opening carved out in the shape of a fanged mouth and holes for beady eyes gives off a sinister, serpentine glare towards the farmlands. And in the clearing surrounding it are a group of odd beings rooting through grass that comes up to their waists, finding small animals and killing them. Where the grass is shorter, a large tarp laid out has a glowing circular pattern on it. Whenever one of the weird beings kills something, the thing they kill sparkles for a moment, and then the being throws a sparkling pebble at the tarp, where it flashes before vanishing. Several of the beings down there are startled by our appearance, pointing and yelling. One that appears fancier than the rest pulls out a cone, lifts it to their head, and a voice echoes around us. “Unidentified craft, you are in violation of the sovereign airspace of Diversity. Land and identify yourselves or we will take immediate action.” I do not like the sound of immediate action. I lower our skiff and move it towards the most open area where the tarp is located. Again, that voice echoes around us. “Move further back. Everyone on board, raise your hands above your head. Failure to comply with instructions will be met with force.” I am liking this less and less, but I comply with the instructions. The weird beings are mostly out of the tall grass at this point, and several of them are pointing something at us. Their posture makes me think of the words rifle and shoot. The beings themselves look like they are made of polished stone. A glowing light covers the front of their heads like an oversized visor, or maybe a blast-shield. In those, a face can be seen, a different humanoid face for each being....

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18 Zavyyn is entangled with a legal system

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! I have found the ultimate in fortifications. A stout metal door, full of bars and locks and magical barriers. Heavy, thick walls, floor and ceilings made of reinforced concrete and enchanted against all sorts of impacts and magic. I am safe from the world! Except really it is the other way around. I was told I am a player and informed that if anything happened at all while they transported me to this prison, they would put me to death on the spot. I don’t know what they mean by player, but I will assume it does not mean I am popular with the ladies. They told me to enjoy my time in the shoe, and I didn’t know what they meant. Then I found out it isn’t something you wear on your feet, but an acronym. SHU: Solitary Housing Unit. I’ve been here a few hours so far and I have this great roommate. The light buzzes and I tell you what, that buzz is all my companionship in the world. Sometimes the light blinks off for a moment and the buzz goes away and I feel like I am dead, but outside of that, this place is a party. Maybe I can eat soon? I hope they feed me. Maybe a player is a gambler with unpaid debts, and I am in serious trouble over losing at poker. Maybe a player is a murdering sack of garbage who deserves to die. I’m keeping it positive in here! I still have everything in my inventory, and I can still cast cantrips. Everything is supposed to be magic proof, but apparently my cantrips do not care and do what I want anyway. This is proof for my cantrips not being magic. I guess I could break out, but that seems like a really bad idea. After all, if I don’t obey the law they’ll consider that an act of war. I am not entirely sure what that means, but I kind of stand out, and it’s a bad idea to get branded as a war criminal when everyone can pick me out just by seeing my face. I can play with my UI. Maybe having this UI is what makes me a player? I was brought here in magic...

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19 Zavyyn meets someone new

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! The sudden darkness made me feel slightly dead, so I feel about on my body. Yup, all the furry bits are still attached. This concrete bunk has a thin pad which I guess I can use as a blanket or a mattress, but not both. No pillow. I guess I can craft some stuff in the dark. The crafting windows are eerie with how they illuminate themselves but not my surroundings. As I go through crafting recipes, I find one section that might be suitable. Extraplanar tailoring sounds right up my alley. My crafting inventory is full of things, just absolutely cluttered with all manner of oddities. I wind up making a phoenix down pillow and dreamcotton blanket. After some consideration, I take out a Fenrir wolf fur and roughly bundle that into a mattress. This bed is okay. As I snuggle into the bedding and feel the physical tension drain, though not the mental, I hear some singing, or maybe some pure tones. It is wispy, ethereal, definitely a tenor. Am I about to be haunted by the ghost of a musical? An iridescent shimmer of blue, purple, and turquoise comes from the far wall. From this shimmer emerges a being of majestic stature! Just kidding, it’s a kind of short dude in a bathrobe smoking a cigarette. There’s a coffee mug in his hand and I think I smell strong liquor. This guy is about as wide as he is tall, and his body contours suggest extreme muscles. “What’s up, man. Which shard you been grinding?” He flicks his cigarette, and the ashes almost gets to my pillow before it glows and vanishes. Did my pillow do that? I guess I don’t need to wash it that often if it self-cleans! This guy has a mohawk in two braids, with tattoos everywhere. The tattoos all look like weird letters and numbers and are slowly changing shape as I watch. “Um. Hello? Just here, I think. I have been slaying dragons and stuff.” I should hide my ignorance but still answer with the truth. I feel like I will be bad...

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20 Zavyyn passes time in a tiny bubble

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! Later that night, I receive a message from Rhynn, saying “Make sure you hide all your shit before morning or if you hear anybody at your door. They like to confiscate stuff. Good luck with the research!” I am slightly unhappy as thus far my research screen has only allowed me to research skills related to fecalmancy. Instead of storing my poop in my inventory, I now have a separate pocket dimension for waste. I can do terrifying things to people. I can flood colons, causing them to rupture by briefly opening my pocket dimension inside them, I can track people based off of their colonic key scent, whatever that is, I can send people into my pocket dimension to drown in my poop, and apparently I can breed tapeworms inside my pocket dimension into enormous monsters. Every time I try to research in another magical field, it tells me I must finish all fecalmancy topics before unlocking another research subject. Apparently, this restriction is due to my level being low. Since I can’t raise my level in this cell, my only other option is to master fecalmancy. I will be the fecalmancer supreme! I will be a terrifying sight on the battlefield, with monstrous tapeworms and floods of poop and probably infectious disease. Yup, I just finished learning the monster tapeworm spells, and am now on controlling infectious bacteria concentrations in feces. Maybe I can eventually learn some spells for controlling microbiomes and magically help people with gut pain. Nope, after infectious bacteria is forming diverticula, little pockets that can show up in the lining of intestines. Hey, my research speed is getting faster at least, so I guess my research skill is increasing? I could turn my skill-up announcements back on, but I am probably still skilling up that Multi-casting skill. Fuck that thing, it is the worst. Oh, and I am learning how to do a whole host of horrifying things to...

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21 Zavyyn imbibes alcohol

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! “We’re getting drunk tonight. And eating some delectable treats!” After the whiskey comes a smorgasbord of fancy finger foods. They’re all delicious, and after stuffing my face for a minute and asking for water to wash them down with before starting on the whiskey, I ask Rhynn what kind of magic I should research to get access to the Spirit World. “That’s a good question. There are lots of magic systems that can let you travel between from this world to the spirit world. My muscle magic lets me travel by vibrating my muscles at different frequencies, allowing me to do all sorts of stupid shit because magic is broke as hell. In fact, any player who doesn’t have some form of magic is either stupid or is min-maxing some cockamamie nonsense. I’ll try to get you up to speed on some of the more common builds. If you can find the BB window, you can research some of the builds there, but the ones posted there are just the tip of the iceberg.” “What’s a BB?” My brain is processing that term as ball bearing, and I doubt there is a window dedicated to ball bearings. I would be happy to be wrong in this case, though. I do remember builds from the memories I have about video games, for some reason. “Bulletin Board. A place for people to post anonymously as a way of getting revenge against min-max builds that ganked them. If everyone knows your tricks already, it’s hard to get the drop on folks.” That sounds awful. Rhynn describes it like it has little to do with him, though. “Has anybody posted your build on there?” “People post what they have managed to find out. I recommend holding back as much as possible if you have to fight a player.” “Going back to the Spirit World question, what kind of magic do you recommend for going there?” We got a little off topic there, but I still need to tap into the wisdom of spirits! “The kind of magic you use can affect how you interact with the...

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22 Zavyyn goes to court

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! I barely get everything loaded back in my inventory before the door is open. The golems’ faces beam light through the darkness. The lights sting my eyes. “Get up. You’re due for a hearing.” Hearing? But I haven’t met with a lawyer. In fact, outside of getting probed for pathology, I haven’t seen anybody official at all. Periodically a meal tray gets pushed through a small slot under the door. I don’t think they did that every day. I guess they expect players to have their own food and water. “Good morning and thank you.” I bounce off the bunk and try to appear positive and chipper. The faces sneer at me. I bet if I was sullen those sneers would be even bigger, so it is my win! I’ve got to find things to be positive about in this situation, right? “Shut up and submit yourself to binding.” They proceed to fit me with a straitjacket, gag me, and finally blindfold me. Jokes on them, I can still hear! Oh, they put on earmuffs. Well, the joke is still on them, I can meditate. And now I am thinking about horrible things and crying about it, but I don’t care, I am still meditating! I am not stuck in these bindings; I am moving forward at the manly rate of one second per second into the future! My future. The earmuffs come off, and the blindfold is replaced by a weird visor. Everything is bleached of color as I see a monochrome courtroom. I hear a sharp bang, and a loud voice is calling the hearing to order. This is my arraignment. I am being charged with smuggling illegal aliens into the nation, I am also accused of illegally entering the country, and the possibility of being a player is an intensifier for the crimes. I try to pay attention, but I still feel like I am meditating while the words of the trial wash over me. My mind is detached from my body and floats in cosmic sea foam, quavering with universal fluctuations. Idly I wonder if Rhynn slipped me something in that...

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23 Zavyyn visits a boxing gym

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! “I bet you stayed awake for that!” Gadlihob shakes my hand, and then pulls out a handkerchief to wipe his hand clean. Podlihob greets me somewhat morosely, and Rhynn wraps me up in a bear hug. “You’re a free man! Or ape. Whatever.” Rhynn smells just as one would imagine, like a bar full of whiskey and cigarettes. The odor cuts through my dumpster reek and is a nice reprieve from the stink. “You too?” We were just hanging out a few hours ago in prison, getting drunk, right? “Oh, I actually was never imprisoned at the same time as you. I just like to visit the SHUs when players get thrown in there, see if it is anybody I want to gloat over. If I had told you I wasn’t a prisoner, though, you might have wanted to escape. And if you want to actually be a member of this society, escaping from prison is a terrible way to go about it.” Rhynn pulls out a flask and hands it to me. I drain the entire thing and pocket the flask. “I keep that now. That’s what you get for lying to me.” I laugh despite the situation. “Okay, let’s keep the public drinking to a minimum outside the courthouse.” Gadlihob is justified in admonishing us here, I suppose. “We need to get you to an immigration office, but it might be in your best interest to get a shower and some better clothes.” “You look like a troll who ate a wizard and put on his dirtiest pajamas,” Podlihob supplies. Hey, maybe that clown mask isn’t just for show! Rhynn laughs loudly at Podlihob’s quip. “I like this hob, he’s okay by me.” Rhynn tosses Podlihob a gold coin. As Podlihob opens his mouth, disgust splayed across his face, Rhynn pulls out another gold coin, tears off the foil and eats the revealed chocolate. Podlihob’s mouth snaps shut, then twists into a grin. I think they just became friends! I need to watch Rhynn do this some more, he’s awesome at it! “A shower and new outfit sounds awesome. I have more clothes, but when I try...

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24 Zavyyn visits a nocturnal tailor

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! “What the fuck was that?” Gadlihob hisses at me while Rhynn sets up some sort of flying vehicle. “You didn’t tell me you could make gigantic diamonds fall out of your ass.” “I just used my cantrip, like I told you before. I can conjure stuff.” I was honest with him before, I swear! “Wizards conjuring diamonds worth more than this city block is not normal. If you have the urge to do anything like that, I recommend running it by your fucking lawyer. Also, I was handling your case pro bono, but I think you can afford to pay me, so we’re coming up with an invoice of billable hours by the end of the week.” Gadlihob seems somewhat perturbed. “You just painted a giant fucking target on your back, and now criminal organizations are going to be gunning for the goose that lays the golden eggs, except you’re a troll that shits diamonds.” “He does have a player on his side,” Rhynn puts in. “I’ll take care of the furball.” “Except plenty of these groups also have players, so you’re going to be engaging in PVP in the city. Fuck, you’re going to have hide out in the battleground if this gets bad so you fuckers don’t destroy the city, fuck.” “Isn’t the battleground where players fight each other?” I’m not sure I want to be involved with that. “Yes, and if you’re going to immigrate here you have to stay in your area of residence for six months. This is a big monkey wrench in immigrating. Of course, player battles destroying the city is another big monkey wrench, because nobody can reside in a fucking crater.” Gadlihob has a potty-mouth all of a sudden. “Calm down. I got this.” Podlihob speaks up for the first time in a while. “If anybody comes after him, I’ll educate them about clowns.” We pile into Rhynn’s vehicle, a hovering silver car. “It’s not that big a deal. I can protect Zav in the city just fine without destroying anything. I am actually a little famous for PVP.” Rhynn, despite...

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25 Zavyyn tries out sleeping on a couch

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! The next morning, I wake up to an amazing smell in the air. Poking my head up from the couch, I see Rhynn in his kitchen, poking at a frying pan. I stretch my jaw, getting the tightness out from sleeping on one side. One large yawn and stretch later, and Rhynn speaks to me. “Coffee’s done. Bacon should be ready soon. If you can wait I’ll do omelets. If you can’t wait, I’ll make more bacon and still do omelets. There are some ingredients prepped in the fridge. Pick out what you want on your omelet. I’m making mine like a baked potato.” Rhynn is really quiet as he cooks, like he’ll wake up the food or something. I walk into the kitchen and blankly scan the area, back and forth. Rhynn steps away from the stove, hands me a mug, and turns me towards the coffee pot. “Thanks. Good morning.” I’m taking in everything around me in lieu of being fully awake, I think. “Good morning. There’s a couple of creamers by the coffee pot, but they’re all really sweet. There’s milk in the fridge, you might be better off with that.” There’s a jug of milk, along with several containers of ingredients chopped up: Mushrooms, onions, celery, and I think one of those is meat in a marinade. As I add my milk, I hear a door. Podlihob exits the guest room, dressed and rubbing his eyes. “Yo. What kind of coffee is that?” “Medium roast. I like the darker roasts but need that caffeine.” Rhynn’s tone is slightly apologetic. The coffee is silky on my tongue, like unsweetened chocolate. This is good stuff. After groggily sipping on coffee for a bit, we are treated to Rhynn’s omelets. They are fabulous. “Furries suck at washing dishes because the damn fur gets everywhere, and the dishwater messes with their skin.” Podlihob washes the dishes quickly and efficiently, quickly getting a drying rack loaded. As we finish our second cups of coffee, Podlihob’s pocket chirps. “That’s Gad. We should start heading to the...

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26 Zavyyn goes to a kobold restaurant

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! The restaurant is small, which isn’t surprising since kobolds are tiny. Rhynn isn’t especially tall, but he looms like a giant in here. Both Podlihob and I, who are shorter than Rhynn, still seem unreasonably large for this place. The kobolds act like this isn’t a problem at all and seat us at a table. The light is dim, and a small candle on the table barely illuminates our faces and the table. A waitress brings us menus and asks us what we want to drink. Rhynn immediately orders us all waters and beers, along with an appetizer of stuffed mushrooms and tomatoes. I stare at the menu in confusion for a minute. “Kobold food relies on a lot of mushrooms, meat, and dairy. Their usual vegetables are onions and potatoes. If you haven’t had much kobold food before, get a baked shred-loaf.” Rhynn speaks authoritatively, which makes sense if he’s a chef. “What’s a shred-loaf?” I am intrigued by the name. “They shred a bunch of ingredients with their claws and mix it into some ground meat and bake it, then cover it in a sauce. It’s basically a meat loaf, but their seasonings and the sauces are different enough to make it unique. It’s a basic dish, and most people are okay with it. Usually comes with a potato side. This place does some good green onion croquettes.” Music starts to play from somewhere around the ceiling. We’re probably their first customers of the day if they don’t serve breakfast. The music is high pitched wind and string instruments playing lingering melodies, punctuated by percussion. “Why are the instruments so high-pitched?” I ask. “Kobolds are small. So are most of their instruments.” Podlihob goes back to scanning the menu. The waitress comes back with the appetizer and to take our orders. After we place our orders, Rhynn raises his beer. “To new friends,” he declares. Podlihob and I also raise our glasses and say it as well, and we all take a long drink. “So...

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27 Zavyyn does physical activities

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! With full bellies we head to some gym Rhynn knows while passing around one of those earthy cigarettes. Rhynn said he’s going to test our combat abilities there and come up with a training regimen based on how we do. I’m a little anxious, since I’m not sure I can fight without murder. I guess restraint is not in my vocabulary of actions. The gym is huge, with a very full parking lot. Rhynn just makes his vehicle disappear as usual, so we pile out at the curb and then walk in. I hear a roaring cheer and look at Rhynn quizzically. “This is one of the main arenas. They also have decent training rooms. The manager and I go way back, so he’ll be excited if I tell him I’m thinking of competing, and he’ll definitely let us check out a room.” Rhynn walks up to a reception desk with a hostess and nobody else. The ticket desk, meanwhile, has about thirty people waiting in line. Some of those people I have a hard time recognizing as people, but they’re patiently waiting in line and nobody is saying anything, so they have to be people, right? Some of those people in line are giving me the stink-eye, so to make it clear I am a person, I decide to talk with Podlihob. “Do you have any advice on how to hold back? I’m not sure how to fight without killing people.” We will get to the heart of my current anxiety, so you can cure it with joyous laughter Mister Clown! “We’re players. You should be trying to kill us so we can just respawn. I’m pretty sure the doorways for the arena work as temporary bind points to respawn at, and I bet the training rooms are the same. Or maybe it’s the locker room. Whatever. You should be okay to go wild, though.” “But we’re not sure if I’m a player, right? Isn’t that bad?” His answer really is not reassuring me. I have been researching dimensional magics since last night, so I have some escape spells lined up, but if I take a lethal attack unaware I could just...

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28 Zavyyn is

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! The whiteness of the room hurts my eyes when I finally open them. I try to talk, but all I can do is open and shut my mouth. I try to move my hand, and instead one side of my face twitches. “You might be invulnerable to damage, but you can still be flummoxed by status effects. Good to know.” Somebody is smoking near me and says those words. I do not know what that means. Wait! I think I remember that person. I try to say hello. “Hyurp?” The words won’t come out the way I want. “Oh shit. Are you okay? It’s me, Rhynn! You’re Zavyyn. Do you remember that fellow over there?” This guy is quite striking, visually. A mohawk with braids, I bet he could go on a kid’s lunchbox. I try to follow where he is pointing, but it feels like I am looking a million miles away and very close to myself at the same time. I vomit. Mister Mohawk rolls me over roughly. I cough as some of the vomit is caught in my throat. Mister Mohawk pounds me on the back, and I gag until something is dislodged from my throat. I am on my hands and knees now, and I feel like I should stand up. I try but fall back down. Why won’t my legs and hands work? “What’s wrong with him?” That’s a new voice, a pleasant tenor! Sing a song for me, Mister Tenor! Oh, I remember something about music, let’s sing a song! My voice is wrong. It sounds bad. Maybe there was some other way for me to listen to music? “I think he’s got a concussion. He already had memory issues, hopefully this didn’t make it worse. Fuck, I should have considered that.” Don’t beat yourself up, Mister Mohawk, whatever is wrong can’t be that bad! “He needs some decent combat headgear. Shit, if he’s in Twilight we shouldn’t be allowing him into combat at all.” My vision and brain experience some lightning surges. Hey, I’m screaming. I wonder when that started? I see a computer, I know that computer, I remember that computer. I see a room, it’s so cold, so...

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29 Zavyyn has a busy day

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! I wake up and notice the room is mostly empty. It’s just me on a couch and nothing else. I go to the kitchen, and it’s empty too. What the fuck? I open the fridge; it is empty too. That’s a bit much for burglars, right? “You’re awake, good. We’re moving into a bigger apartment. You don’t need to couch-surf, and Podlihob is going to move in with us instead of just using a guest room.” Rhynn stands in the open door to the apartment. “Sounds awesome. Is there breakfast?” My stomach is an empty hole. I don’t think I ate dinner last night. “Yeah, we have it in the new apartment. Let me grab the couch.” He walks up to the couch and it vanishes. Inventories are super handy! We go up a couple of floors and enter another apartment. This one is enormous! It’s like a house. “This place is a little bit of an upgrade, isn’t it?” I ask Rhynn. “It’s the penthouse. We have the roof, too.” Rhynn grins. “Nothing but the best for me and my boys.” “Sounds expensive.” A penthouse is a big deal, right? “It’s not. I own the building, and the previous tenants moved out about a month ago.” Rhynn owns an apartment building and a restaurant? My man is loaded. “There’s bagels and coffee in the kitchen. I’m going to mess with the living room to see how I want the furniture arranged.” In the kitchen, I see a long kitchen island with a box on it labeled BAGELFEST. In the corner by a large window is a round table with a few chairs. A little stand is covered in coffee mugs next to a coffee pot. I make my coffee and grab a bagel from the box. I sit at the table and stare out the window at the city and the traffic flying past. I am on my second bagel, trying to remember what happened yesterday. I think we went to train. And we were training for… The arena! That’s right, I remember we ate at a kobold restaurant, and then we went to train so we can fight in the arena. And when we went to train… I took a...

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30 Zavyyn does not care for insect monsters

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! We’ve reached a safe area inside the dungeon and are currently enjoying a meal Rhynn brought. He said this is brined pork medallions in a brandy crème sauce with sun-dried tomatoes. It is pretty tasty. Rhynn also had a bottle of wine, which he said was light on tannins for a red. When I taste it, I can suddenly spit out facts about the grape used and where it was grown. I wonder if that’s from a title or a skill? Our dungeon clearing has been going well. We’ve received large quantities of money, which is tiny gems from the monsters. My friend explained to me that these items are used as the energy source for all the magical technology in this nation and is the de facto currency because everything is traded against the value of these little gems. Coins made out of precious metals are viewed only as materials for manufacture, antiques, or foreign currency, while precious gems can be used as base to turn small magic gems into much larger ones, making the gems more valuable. Which is why the diamond I made before was inconceivable. For gear, I’ve received a pair of boots that provide me with faster cast times. My cantrips all cast instantly, so it’s not that useful, but maybe the spells I have been researching can benefit from them. Not the fecalmancy though. Those spells are banned forever! Well, I still store my waste, and if I need to heal someone with it, I guess I will. But I am not a poop-flinging ape. I am not reinforcing that stereotype. I also got a ring that can summon a bubble of air around my head when I go into an airless environment. I could do this with cantrips, but this ring is a lot easier to use. I thought it was a snake biting its own tail, the ouroboros, but Rhynn corrected me saying it was an eel, and when I looked closer it really was an eel. I decided to call it the Eeloboros ring and was told I am terrible at names. My experience deficit has shrunk...

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31 Zavyyn learns about the importance of curtains

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! After the dungeon, we go shopping at a store catering to players. I had made the equivalent of several months of income in a day and buy another wand so I could use two wands at once for double the magic and thrashing wires. As I look around for something else to buy, Rhynn found a magical headgear that protects against concussion and recommended it to me. I think I look silly in it, like I’m trying to pretend I am an athlete or something, but Rhynn was insistent I needed it. After that, we go to a furniture store. I buy a bed, which Rhynn and Podlihob both say is tiny, but I think is huge, a rug with red and blue triangles in a repeating pattern, a little bookshelf that could double as a nightstand for my bed, a desk and an armchair. All of this furniture is intended for children. I guess it is a good thing I am child sized. I decided to splurge and bought a tiny ottoman for my armchair that can also fit under the desk. The next stop was an interior design fabric shop. Or maybe it should be a seamstress shop? Several women quickly made for me bed sheets, pillowcases, and a pillow. When I tried to say that was all I needed, they demanded I approximate measurements for them to make curtains. I guess I need curtains. Rhynn and Podlihob did not mention curtains to me. Perhaps the seamstresses make a lot of money off curtains? They also looked at my rug to see what color the curtains should be. They all complimented my color sense; they’re probably buttering me up for extra business! I got my eyes on you, ladies who smell nice! They made curtains quickly, and then we had to buy a curtain rod kit. Finally, we arrived here at home, and I am just now putting the finishing touches on my room. I still need a wardrobe, but that isn’t a big deal until I have a wardrobe! A set of clothes I mean. That was a bad joke and now I am sad at myself instead of feeling triumphant in this...

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32 Zavyyn enjoys a time skip | Modern Fantasy Book Chapter

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! The next few weeks go by in a pleasant blur. We alternate between training for the arena and dungeon runs. Every four days, we take one day off, which is the norm for this society. I go to my patriotization classes, get a medical exam, and stay on top of my immigration schedule. The agent is surprised when I declare I am an arena fighter and dungeon runner, but after she sees my bank account, she accepts it as self-employment. The doctor I see is a kobold after several elf and orc doctors tell me to go to a veterinarian instead. Doctor Wainsbury is the cutest little kobold guy ever, even though his voice is gravelly. He declares I am in excellent health and recommends a special shampoo to help me with not getting fleas in dungeons. I didn’t need to go to the vet at all. I have received the clothes that tailor made. They’re very nice, and the robes in particular give me better magical bonuses. I can even activate a mirror image effect a few times a day with it, and the robe feels good to wear. No pinching or chafing at all. My bookshelf is getting filled. I like to read in the evening while Podlihob watches sports and Rhynn cooks dinner. I am reading books about the history of this nation and about how rune magic works. Sometimes I help Rhynn with the meal preparation, and Podlihob and I usually tag-team the dishes after we eat; he washes, and I dry. Now that we’ve settled into our routine, we don’t drink much booze. “No athlete has time for alcohol-induced dehydration.” Podlihob says he learned acrobatics and gymnastics as a kid to honor his biological parents, who were performers in a circus. His adopted parent, the elf hunter, trained him in those fields in the forests far to the northwest from here. His mask was his father’s performing mask and is a valuable memento, which is why he is always has it on. We do smoke a lot of those earthy cigarettes, though. I was...

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33 Zavyyn celebrates

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! “We’re going to my restaurant,” Rhynn announces as he drives us away from the arena. We haven’t been there at all. In fact, Rhynn rarely mentions it. “Drinks are on me. Let’s get stinko, boys.” Podlihob and I both express gratitude, and I then ask “What kind of food does your place serve? We haven’t had dinner, after all.” “Fusion cuisine. I made the original menu, but the current chef has departed pretty far from it. A lot of it is food meant to be paired with drinks. Especially beer and cider. The bar has the biggest selection of taps in the nation. Maybe the world. I think we’re floating somewhere around eight hundred? I bet the least popular tap lines have crust and filth all in them. We’re ordering those first, and if they’re nasty, I’m taking away my draft tech team’s bonus for the month.” Rhynn monologues at us in his usual idiomatic fashion. He’s good at taking charge of conversations. “Snacks to go with beer? I’m starting with those green bean things, then.” Eddie mommy? It was something like that. “I figured you would want something like that. Pretty sure we have most of the stuff from an izakaya available. I know you like those raw fish dishes. We do a pretty good pork cutlet ramen, as well. If you’re going for those dishes, I think you need a dry rice beer. It’s ideal as a light palate cleanser to go with all that salty food.” “What kind of fruit ciders do you have on tap? Any specialty apples?” Podlihob interjects. “Those things change out so often I can’t even tell you what’s available right now. There’s a nice red pear cider I remember, they probably kept that because I liked it. There was also a pretty good drink with lemon cider and blueberry whiskey, what was it called? Wet Willy? Something like that. I could go for one of those.” “You never talk about the place. Why not?” I’m curious. “I don’t think about it that much. I get money from it and just look...

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34 Zavyyn goes to the market

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! Podlihob and I are washing dishes after breakfast when Rhynn declares we’re taking it easy in the morning and going to a dungeon in the afternoon. He’s decided my teleportation skills mean we do not have to worry about the travel time back home, so we are taking it easy early and doing a dungeon that changes based on time of day. Podlihob settles in with watching a morning sports news show, hoping there is a mention of our match from last night, and scrolling through social media apps for any mention of his win. Rhynn and I decide we will go grocery shopping. I have not gone to the market to shop for food, but Rhynn tells me that if I am to get better at cooking, I need to be able to judge raw ingredients. We head to the market. It’s early enough in the morning to be slightly chilly. Watching my breath steam, I get into the car. “This is a large farmer’s market we’re going to. Try not to get separated from me, as the place can feel a bit like a maze. After we’re done, we’ll check out my favorite liquor store, and then head back home for lunch.” I’m a little excited. It feels like Rhynn is letting me peek into his world of cooking mastery. Also, I get to sit in the front seat. Usually Podlihob takes that seat and I am in the back. I get to see out the front of the car instead of looking out the side window. This whole trip feels special. “We’ll start with fruits and vegetables, then move onto the eggs, and finish with meat. I’m still good on baking supplies, so most of what we need is leafy greens, tomatoes, eggs, and whatever good deals on meat we can find. Keep your eyes open for especially good-looking chard, and any tiny tomatoes you see. My pepper plant is popping and we can make salsa and chili with little tomatoes.” I lean forward to watch our descent into a parking spot. We walk up to the first stall to look at the leafy greens, when the person tending the stall...

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35 Zavyyn enjoys a new dungeon

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! After lunch in the apartment, we head to the special dungeon. The tree, according to Rhynn, is split into three areas. There is an exterior area going up the outside into the branches with avian monsters. There is an interior area with gigantic termites and wood ants going up into the trunk. And if we go down inside the trunk, there is an area of elementals and abominations that dwell in the dark. Rhynn says the exterior area has special monsters that appear around sunset and dawn when the birds change from one type to another. During the day they look like colorful tropical birds, and at night they become all black. At sunset and sunrise, they briefly become birds of a special type, who drop feathers that can be used to craft items with special properties. Our goal is to get those feathers. Since we have some time before sunset, we decide to try a quick clear of the interior depths. There are rare items that sell for a bundle from down there that none of us need, but we appreciate large sums of money. I discover down there that my wands do not work well on the elementals. It turns them into pieces and those pieces join back together. When I charge the wire with energy, it does slightly better, but still does not kill them. I try making the wires vibrate as I wield them, and a high-pitched hum resonates through the musty cave. This adds to the damage I do, but it still is not enough to destroy the elementals. Rhynn and Podlihob watch me struggle with one earth elemental that keeps reforming, giving suggestions along the way. “It’s an earth elemental, so think about how it sustains itself. Maybe try attacking it in a way that deals with that.” Rhynn smokes a cigarette while watching me. The elemental’s wounds vanish as the ground from the cave gives it dirt to reconstitute its body. I use gravity magic to make it weightless, and then use a Razor Hole spell to cut off the...

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36 Zavyyn performs in an arena battle

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! “What are we doing with all these feathers?” I ask at breakfast. “These feathers can be used to make magic mantles. With these, we can sprout wings and fly.” Rhynn has cooked steak and eggs this morning, with sourdough toast. “I figured the mantles would also make us look more like a team in the arena.” “Oh, that’s neat. Who can make the mantles?” A feathered mantle sounds exotic. Will we be accused of cultural appropriation by an indigenous tribe? Too bad, I will bomb them with poop using my flying mantle! “That night goblin tailor who made your clothes. We’ll drop them off on the way to the arena.” While saying that, Rhynn’s phone chirps. “Speak of the devil. We’ve got another match set up.” “Who are we fighting?” Podlihob inquires, pausing his assault on a steak, juice dribbling down his chin. He had been watching sports highlights while we ate at the table, but our arena matches are a big deal to him. “Sponsored arena team. Alba got us a decent challenge. This team is sponsored by a sports drink.” Rhynn tears into a steak, savoring the flavor. “Which drink? I’ll research the team. And when’s the match?” Podlihob quickly scarfs down the rest of his breakfast, eager to get to the research. “Light Tincture? Never heard of it. The match is tomorrow night.” Rhynn sounds unconcerned. That name sounds stupid to me. I bet their logo is made out of light bulbs or something. “Got it. I’ll be back after a while.” Podlihob grabs another cup of coffee and heads to his bedroom. “Let’s call today a rest day then. I’ll drop off the feathers and tell him to make it a rush job for tomorrow. Did you want to come with me?” Rhynn pushes his plate back and cleans his mouth with a napkin. “I need to study for the next patriotization exam. There’s a lot to memorize.” I have a hard time memorizing it all. I found a notes window I could open, and I’ve been copying the information I need into...

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37 Zavyyn goes to a haunted house

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! Alba has been gushing at us about our match for about ten minutes. We have all changed into our regular clothes, and Rhynn is ignoring him by staring at his phone. Podlihob has pulled out a ball and is idly bouncing it off the floor and a locker before catching it. This is dumb, I’ll be the rude guy who says something. “Hey, I’m going to let you finish, I just need to know where the toilet is in here and you can go back to talking. To those guys. Who aren’t paying attention at all.” It’s hard to not laugh in Alba’s face when the expression changes that much, but I persevere. “Yeah if you need to talk to us every match, we’ll get an agent, and you can talk to them. We’re not looking for endorsements, so I didn’t think we needed an agent, but I really don’t care about the money from this. I’m doing this for these guys, not myself, and definitely not for you or the arena, Alba.” Rhynn tells it like it is! I’ll follow suit. “I don’t even need to use the toilet, I just wanted you to stop talking. You’re not talking right now, and it’s pretty awesome.” He kept telling us how great our future with the arena will be. Those are the words of somebody who is lying if they repeat it that much. “I’ll um just let you guys know when your first tournament match is, then, shall I.” Oh, we’re done with qualifiers? I missed that tidbit in the torrent of hype. “We should have the brackets finished by the end of the week.” “Thanks, bye.” We march out of the locker room, while Alba looks only a little bit like a high school kid who just got shot down by the most popular student in class. He’s not our boss and not our agent, and he very obviously needs us at the arena more than the other way around. We ignore the reporters asking for post-match interviews and conferences. When we are finally driving away, Rhynn talks. “Let’s take it easy tonight, boys. Just two qualifying matches means we’re...

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38 Zavyyn gets upset

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! To my surprise, the stairs going up don’t include any traps or jump scares. When we get to the top of the stairs, there is a desolate hallway. Despite how awful the hallway looks, there are several doors all shut fast. One would figure that if this place was so ramshackle, the doors would be hanging off their hinges. “Don’t worry, I got this.” I fling the first door open and let loose a spray of goo before I can even register what is in there. “Well done. You conquered the linen closet.” They’re both laughing at me. I deserve that one. “What’s in the next door?” I guess I can learn from my faux pas here. “Bathroom. It’s a nightmare.” Is Rhynn fucking with me? No, he looks super serious. Once again, I throw open the door and spray without looking. “Eat hot wiz jizz!” I see a little bit of smoke disappear in the air when I finally look. We all high five. We move on from the bathroom to a bedroom. This is the master bedroom, I think. A mattress with rotting bedsheets greets us after we open the door, along with ruined dressers. Goo everywhere, and especially under the bed! “Don’t forget the closet in the corner,” Rhynn tells me as we watch smoke trail up from under the bed. I spray the closet door, and then have Podlihob push the doors open with his spear. Oh no. Two bodies sway in the closet, hanging from the ceiling. Scary dead bodies! I goop them up and watch them dissolve. “Were those going to attack us?” Those faces were horrible, twisted in pain, with eyes bugging out. It appeared they had asphyxiated instead of having their necks broken. “Yeah, the parents force people who disturb them to relive their death. I’m glad we didn’t have to deal with that because I only like to change my underwear so many times in a day.” Podlihob offers this explanation with a wry smile. The next room is a linen closet. We open the door and a swarm of roaches come out. I goop them but they...

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39 Zavyyn has alone time

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! I wake up in bed, sunlight streaming through the window full onto my face. It feels good to wake up in my bed in this manner. I can’t remember how yesterday ended, but that’s not a big deal, right? To have fuzzy memories of just one night? We probably drank or a lot or smoked something funny. I stretch and decide I want a shower. I then find a note on my door. We’re out making sure the meeting goes well. There’s coffee and pastries in the kitchen. Take it easy today. – Rhynn A lazy day! I enjoy a long bath, put on a clear set of pajamas, read while eating and sipping coffee, and then, most impressively, I get to pick what is on the television. The dominance of sports channels is over! Today we shall explore the breadth of content available. My verdict is television sucks. Channel after channel seems to be droning through advertisements with brief snippets of content. I could make a drinking game for people based on taking a drink every time the television tells you to do something if I wanted people to drink themselves to death. Fortunately, I am none so nefarious. I finally find a television station that is just music. There are no ads, but the music isn’t great. I will suffer through it and go back to reading. Currently, I am enjoying a ripping book about the disbursement of international food aid interfering in local agrarian economies. The gist of it is that it interferes with local farmers, who stop farming, and then stop clearing monsters in their fields. If the monsters are not cleared in a timely manner, they grow in power, which can result in monsters way too powerful for the average citizen. These in turn establish competing societies of creatures which may view the citizens of the nation as food and result in the destruction of villages, towns, cities, and, in the worst case, the entire nation. I’m not sure why I find books like this interesting. Rhynn says he...

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40 Zavyyn is visited by a villainous deity

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! My eyes register the white world, despite my eyes still being closed. Hey, this is the place with that shitty god! I haven’t thought about it in a while. He’s a jerk, right? Your life amuses me. You hide and hide and hide, and you’re not doing anything meaningful. I enjoy your fear. But there isn’t enough. It’s time to escalate things. You’re going to suffer, and I am going to record it for future entertainment. This guy sounds like the cheesiest villain. Maybe he needs some wine with his villain act? Joke all you want now, but soon you rue your very existence. I will use you to ruin your friends. You will know that the fault of their downfall is you. You will wish you had never existed! Wow, this guy has problems. Why does he even dislike me? I bet he doesn’t have any friends. The lines he spouts off are more like a two-bit villain than anyone significant. You’re just roadkill. I will make you suffer to the last. The white light dims to grey, then black, and I feel the presence of that douche recede.

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41 Zavyyn has an accident

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! I don’t remember falling asleep, but that seems to be what I do when I go to that white world. I guess I’ve been asleep for a while. My eyes are still closed, but I can tell I’m awake because one of my sinuses feels slightly plugged, and that’s definitely not something I notice when I’m asleep. Sleeping feels so good, I don’t want to open my eyes. I really want to go back to sleep, but I can hear something. Is that voices? I don’t recognize them. “…nothing to worry about. The sleep spell gets reapplied on its own…” That doesn’t sound good. Maybe I should pretend to be asleep? I’m starting to notice this place smells wrong, and there’s ambient noise that also sounds wrong. It feels like I am in a bed of furs, and that definitely is not the couch in our apartment or my bed. “…even if he woke up, there’s nowhere to go. All the monsters here use a ton of status effects, and dimensional magic is sealed off, so he’s right screwed.” That voice is kind of deep but carries over the ambient noise. There’s a whining, nasally voice I can hear, but their voice doesn’t carry the same way and is lost in the background. Speaking of which, that background noise is unpleasant. I think I can hear screams, crying, and metal scraping across metal. Time for me to draw conclusions using my superior wizardly intellect! I have been kidnapped. The perpetrators are possibly connected with that darned god in the white world. They think for some reason I am weak to status effects and are using a sleep spell to keep me imprisoned in a dungeon full of monsters who use said status effects while keeping the place under a teleportation block. I’m not sure why these people are going along with the plans of that god, but I will make them regret doing so! Aha hahahaha. Oh, I was probably supposed to shriek out with that laughter rather than just think the syllables in a bored voice to actually parody that...

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42 Zavyyn explores a labyrinth

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! This place is a giant maze, and I am super lost. Also, I’m still naked. I did leave a special present on one of the guards back there, though, and they had some napkins handy, so I am doing okay around my nethers at least. It was dark, so I made a little light to float by me. But this maze! There are areas with walls of prison bars, and skeletal archers and mages past them. There are open areas full of zombies and ghouls. Sometimes, intangible undead attack me through the walls, the floor, and the ceiling. Those are mostly made out of rusted sheets of metal welded together. Something about the way they are joined does not inspire confidence. Sometimes, instead of sheet metal for walls, there’s metal grates, but I’m not interested enough to look through the grates. I have this idea about using ATP as holy magic and it seems to be working. Haha! I thrust at you with wizardly life magic, foul labyrinth denizens! I try making some ATP in my hand and eating it. Made me feel better! I also fill my mouth with water and swallow. I can stay in this maze forever! Well, I only have a few more napkins tied around my arm, so eventually, a special kind of desperation will set in. I must get out of here before that happens, no matter what. My determination is grimly set; I move into yet another room. Most of the big rooms only have one entrance and exit, and I have confirmed that after I go through a room, it stays the way it was. I think this an instanced dungeon. I’m not in a party though, so I am not sure how they got me in here. Now I know why my cell earlier had some skeletons, though. I manage to get a wand from a skeletal mage, and once I clean all the goo off, I find it works great. It doesn’t really have any outstanding abilities, but it has a diamond tip and I have some fun shooting lasers from it. I name the wand Cat Toy and am ashamed, but nobody is around so who cares?...

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43 Zavyyn wants new clothes

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! There are sparkles from me killing this boss, and a drop item! Hooray! It is… It looks like a clear raincoat. Yes, it is a ghostly overcoat and that is why it is transparent. I guess I will put it on to keep myself clean. I look like a pervert, though. Naked in a transparent coat, officer, that’s the pervert troll over there! He’ll probably throw poo at us while he jerks it! Yeah, that seems the most likely response to my outfit. Life can be kind of tough when you’re naked and kidnapped in a labyrinth dungeon full of the undead. I shouldn’t be so down though; I’m sure other people have it worse. Just because I can’t come up with an example of somebody having it worse off the top of my head doesn’t mean those examples don’t exist! This coat provides bonus defense against attacks made by intangible or ethereal undead. Hooray, that’s topical to this dungeon; I’m so excited about being dressed like a degenerate. There’s a big door on the other side of this room. Walking on the grate is a little scary, since it wobbles and bounces some, but I guess it will be okay? I reduce my weight a lot just as a precaution because the bouncing makes me feel queasy. As I cross the room, the grate falls away. Too bad, I was ready to fly anyway! I only drop a few feet while the grate disappears into the darkness. I float over to the door. It is fun jumping off of lightly compressed air. It feels like I am skipping around on springs! The door is fake. Great. It’s just a metal sculpture attached to the wall. Now that I am close enough, I can see the wall behind. This leaves me with just a few options. I can go down, but I don’t really like that plan, because the room is designed to force me to go down there. I bet there is more nasty stuff down there to deal with. I really want that to be my last resort. I can backtrack, but I don’t really like that idea either. This is a boss room, so I feel...

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44 Zavyyn is annoyed with the maze

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! It’s weird floating above the tunnel like this. I can see incorporeal undead, wraiths and ghosts and whatnot. They notice me as well, and try to attack, but they can’t get as far up as me. They hit some sort of invisible barrier and angrily chitter at me. I have broken the dungeon’s limits and they are super jealous they cannot get to my level. Cry harder, your ghost tears are delicious! When the susurrus gets annoying, I liberally spray them with my hot wizard goo, and I get blasted with ghost steam. It has an odor I really can’t describe. It’s bad but also sweet. Like a fart full of perfume? I try to not breathe it in, because it is gross, and I worry what it may do to me. How high up can I go? I bounce up and up to see if I can get a better view. There are multiple levels, giant elevators with enormous chains, pits full of spikes and monsters, and all sorts of weird machines. I see one area that is full of giant boulders. It makes me think of pinball machines for some reason. I am in a relatively high section, I think, but I am not sure where the exit is. Is it up or down? If I assume boss rooms are larger and towards the back, then I need to head away from the bigger rooms. But there is also the trend to have gatekeeping bosses in games, too, right? So maybe I need to go near a boss room on one edge? I’m trying to ponder this as I go and the stupid ghost things are getting annoying again. Time for another shot of vitamin WIZARD! I think I need to pause and mess with my almighty user interface. Surely one of these windows will save me from the predicament of my limited supply of napkins and clothing. Oh yeah! There’s a map window! I should probably look at that. I forgot about that. I can’t believe I forgot about a window as useful as that. I sure do have egg on my face, except the egg is tears and my face is still my face. The tears are actually from relief. Really....

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45 Zavyyn is accosted by a sewer monster

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! I am itchy around my nethers. I’ve finally run out of suitable wipes and am having a sad day inside this pipe. Did I fall asleep for a second? Something was upsetting me. I think it had something to do with my friends. What did they do? Your memories are fading faster and faster. You probably don’t remember me. A voice in my mind? There’s a glowing praying mantis about the size of a cat hooked onto the grate and staring at me. “I think I would remember glowing telepathic bugs.” This is just a projection. Normally I do not glow and am quite a bit larger than the form you see. “Sorry, I’ve met a lot of people since I came to this city.” You met me before you came to the city. I’m not sure what to say. I want to talk to about the things that happened before I arrived in this city, but I can’t remember. Everything is too fuzzy and fragmented to properly recall. “I can’t remember it too well. I’ve been living in this city for a, um, really long time. I think.” It’s been less than a season. I’ve enjoyed observing this city. I recognized your arena teammates coming in here and decided to follow them in and found you here. This is quite the hiding hole. The bug doesn’t seem too worried about correcting me. If it’s right, what is going on? I don’t think I should be losing memories. Your memory loss began shortly after we met. Directly after our meeting, you were traumatized by your own actions. I was there and can show you my memories of what happened. “Who are you?” My name is Tyu. I was the doctor of a plantation you attacked. I decided to assist you in the escape as my studies of neurology and endocrinology had plateaued. “And you can show me this memory?” I can show you my view. Tyu pushes its body against the grate and melts through it, like a gelatin reforming after passing through. An appendage from the middle of its body pushes out towards me with a glowing finger pointing...

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46 Zavyyn is reminded about a previous event

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! I can see. I have never seen anything like this before. Is that ultraviolet? I didn’t think there was much at night, but there is enough to texture everything with an iridescent purple shimmer. Hearing is strange as well. Everything feels weird. Oh yeah. I’m reliving a memory about me as seen from a bug person’s point of view. That’s a new experience. The gas is all gone. We should have no issues checking the house. I can feel it. A claw stuck inside the house somehow can detect the composition of the atmosphere inside. It’s kind of like tasting the oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide and just knowing if that flavor is good or not. Insects are strange. “I knew this was a good idea!” What horrible voice was that? Oh, that’s me. I sound weird! I also look strange. There’s a tiny scaly dog-man here as well. I am immediately struck by the thought he is adorable. He has a couple of garden spades in his hands, which I think is also cute until I realize they are caked in drying, darkening blood. “Let’s go make sure they’re all dead.” For some reason, I feel like this is an immensely bad idea. I want to say that, but I can’t talk, can’t move. I’m stuck here, witnessing everything from this point of view. The bedrooms are all upstairs. We go in. This walking business feels funny, what with Tyu being so much taller than me and also being a praying mantis. On the plus side, I don’t feel any itching, which is a nice change of pace from being a person covered in fur. A large staircase dominates the middle of the foyer. We go straight up the stairs, with Tyu in the lead. I want to see what I am doing, but Tyu isn’t facing that way. This is inconvenient. We check several rooms and find a lot of dead elves. Oh, Tyu just called them Sidhe. Okay, I guess that is what they are. I’m not sure what the big deal is. Just some dead people in their beds. This last room to check is the nursery....

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47 Zavyyn talks to a therapist

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! I am back in a disgusting sewer pipe, with only gelatin Tyu and my self-loathing for company. I vomit bile, because that seems to be the thing to do after finally getting reconnected to my physical body. I recommend meditation. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. I think I have a meditation skill. I can use that and see if it makes me feel better. I feel a gooey impact on my forehead. Do not rely on a skill. You must be the one to meditate, not the system. “There’s a difference?” This is news to me. Yes, and using a skill in this instance will not help you if you are reminded of this situation again. You must be the one to face the gravity of your actions, not the system. I take several deep breaths and close my eyes. I see dead bodies. I take a breath. I consider myself fit for suicide. I take a breath. I imagine being killed and think I deserve it. I take a breath. I take a breath. I finally fall into a rhythm of breathing and focus only on the breathing. There are a few more jolts of guilt and despair, but on the whole I think this is going well. Now that you have calmed yourself, let us discuss what you learned from watching that memory. “I was trying to kill some people for doing bad things, and I killed all their kids as well, so I’m a big piece of shit.” That’s the truth of the matter, right? From a certain point of view, yes. However, you killed a family which had for generations tortured and abused slaves for their profits and pleasure. In fact, most of the slaves you freed would have told you to kill the children, but for the few who acted as nursemaids and nannies. “I find murdering kids objectionable regardless of how they may have felt. I’m having a hard time getting past that.” Then learn from your mistake. Do something to help children. Atone for your crime. Your action was horrible but refusing to improve yourself regarding your mistakes is even...

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48 Zavyyn goes to a social event

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! Your bouncing is remarkable. Just because you enjoy aerobic exercise, however, is no reason to neglect anaerobic training as both provide benefits. “I’ll try to remember that.” I make myself slightly heavier to see if that makes the bouncing any more difficult and bounce much higher than normal. That was different. How do you control that? “I just have the idea and kind of figure out the math. The numbers happen on their own, I guess? There I messed with my weight, then had to compensate on the density of the air, which was why the hissing was louder, and… “ Interesting. Your brain must be well trained in math. However, you brain shows it was made within the last year. As though someone made a brand-new old brain, as you have all the connections but none of them show any regular wear and tear, instead just the accretions of plaque, as though they wanted you to be made helpless via dementia. “The shitty god.” It had to be him. Perhaps. Certainly, your tale suggested him as an adversary. I agree that you should interview your friends about some things. I would like to hear more about the motives of the one who was called the Warden. Meeting someone with such a title in a prison is suspect. I’m sure you’ve other things you’d like to ask them. “Absolutely. There’s a few things I think could be explained better.” Why are there players? What does it mean if I am one? Why do I have god-like powers? Why is any of this happening? You’re still naked under the raincoat. “Oh yeah.” I make underwear on one bounce, pants on the next, and so on until I am fully dressed in clothes that approximate what Boniface had made for me. None of them are magical, though. I could have included some, though. Why didn’t I make clothes earlier? It seems the extreme forgetfulness I was under also impacted my ability to problem solve. Are there any other preparations you feel you need to make? “I should...

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49 Zavyyn enjoys conversations by listening

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! “Thank goodness you’re safe, we were coming to rescue you.” Rhynn sounds a bit flustered. It’s kind of hard to see their expressions from up here, but I think I should ask my questions from up here in case there is combat. This pipe will be easy to retreat into if things go poorly. “Thank you for the help. I had a few questions about some things if you don’t mind.” “You sure this is a good place for that? This place has an hour timer for respawns, so the longer we spend in here, the more bullshit we’ll have to kill on the way out.” “You know about my goop, I can clear this place like how I one-shot Flushy the Goldfish there earlier.” They were going to win before I intervened, but they were a little slow since only one person was attacking the fish. “Fair point. What is it you wanted to ask?” None of them have changed their posture, so I will characterize this as a tense moment. “Did you notice me having any memory issues recently? Seems like I was.” “Yes, and we’ve been trying to help you with it using all the magic and all the items we could buy or find. Are you still having a problem with your memory?” “No, my memory issues have been fixed, and at least my last few months of memory have been restored. Still nothing before coming into this world. So if I was a player, what does memory loss mean? Just lay it on me.” I think that’s respectful, right? I just want to know what is going on, Warden Taconight. “Players who get dementia can become undying monsters who have to be sealed. Shards that aren’t solo usually ban forget and amnesia status effects so dementia can be recognized more quickly. I know for a fact that this one bans it. You shouldn’t have any of your memory issues if you’re a player unless you have dementia. You’re not a random spawn from a dungeon, you might be a named NPC, but you have enough in common with players I think you’re a player. Your thread on a...

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50 Zavyyn takes a more active role in conversations

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! Podlihob and Alba both look a little beaten up, but otherwise everyone is okay. “Well, that wasn’t the Nihilist Imperative. They use berserkers and suicide bombers as pawns. Not Frankensteined kaiju.” Rhynn shakes his head. “I talked to somebody named Kushpok who said they were responsible for the kidnapping because they wanted to talk to me.” Kushpok looked super spooky but did not seem like they were trying to kill me. “Kushpok? Okay. That’s actually okay. Kushpok’s really a reformist, not a nihilist, we’re fine then. Okay. Yeah. He might throw some spoilers at you but that isn’t too big a deal. We may not need to investigate in here anymore if that is what it is.” Rhynn stopped and looked at me. “I will leave it up to you if we should continue a sweep in here or go ahead and get out of here. I’m fine either way.” “I wanted to finish our conversation actually. What is the system? What are players? What the fuck is actually going on?” “That’s the other reason memory status effects are banned, because nobody really wants to talk about that shit. Which question do you want me to start with?” Rhynn has the look of a man who has just found a tax bill he was previously unaware of. “Not sure that it matters, you’re pretty much asking the same thing with all those questions.” Rhynn lights another cigarette and pulls out a flask. “Fucking inventory locks, and all my good smoke is in my inventory. So, the system is a place for players to play. Time works differently here, so a day here is a millisecond back in our reality. We could have better dilation, but then we would have less space for shards and players. If you’re a player, you should have a body outside the system. We’re trying to get some answers about that, but because of the time dilation we have to wait a while to hear about that from an admin who isn’t in the system.” Rhynn pauses for to take a swig from his flask....

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51 Zavyyn completes a quest

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! The light hurts my eyes. There’s not much down here, but what little there is still stings of fresh ultraviolet. This area has some twisted girders sticking out of the concrete like a grove of trees writhing in pain. I see a pack of thugs sizing us up and open a gate to my bedroom. We enter my bedroom, and once all are inside, I banish the gate with a snap of my fingers. I’m an imperious lad. “I’m hitting the bathroom and we can talk in the living room when I’m done.” I open the door telekinetically, and everyone else goes to the living room while I head to the bathroom. This shower is a blessing. Having access to my normal toilet facilities is wonderful as well. After a quick shower, I get in the tub to soak. I need to decide what questions are important at this point. What kind of simulations are being run to save the world, and what are they saving the world from? How are people not going crazy living a zillion lifetimes as players? If I’m not a player, what is my lifespan? How does this shard work if it’s a game? Can I still play whatever game there is if I am not a player? Why do you worry about whether you are a player or not? I don’t have an answer for Tyu, who has otherwise been quiet since we left the sewer dungeon. I instead ask him if we need to keep him hidden. Your friends are enormously powerful and have not been honest with you in your view. I recommend keeping something hidden from them. Whatever you feel would best serve you. You need to be sure you have an environment you feel safe in, so I recommend taking actions towards the security of your living arrangements. I also recommend maintaining socialization, so I do not necessarily recommend leaving this place. I should study more about this place and my system windows. I sit in silence and let my mind drift. I see the dead children I killed. I killed them. Were they real? They’re dead now. Am I real? I...

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52 Zavyyn engages in character building

Play the song while reading! Comment about what you though in the comments below the chapter! Rhynn and Podlihob are sitting in the living when I come into it. Alba has left, I guess. “Meeting me in the prison cell was planned. What about you, Podlihob? Was meeting you in the courthouse planned as well?” I want these sorts of things in the open. “I got the most votes to help you, since I was the only VR-tuber with access to a lawyer non-player who could assist, and there aren’t many lawyer players.” Let’s just get direct. “Are you guys actually my friends? Can I trust you?” “Dude, I’m your friend. I may fuck things up, but I am your friend. I’m also somebody who takes care of this place. You know what I mean?” Rhynn looks away from me, like he is trying to hold back the waterworks. “I think you’re cool as hell. I am not an admin and can take a break from vlogging if you want. I just want to see where your ride takes you.” Podlihob nods at me. “I just opened a portal in the bathroom and murdered the shitty god and got a ton of messages about how sparkly my accomplishment was. What is important out of that?” They both blink and look through system windows. “Yeah, the shard bulletin boards are all blowing up over your main quest win. Anyone scanning global notifications saw your achievement. Uh, the first important thing to decide on is what your second class is going to be. There’s going to be people who are pissed they missed out on a god raid and try to get you to trigger the fight again so they can get divine loot. Nobody was expecting your main quest to end that quickly.” Rhynn shakes his head and takes a pull off a flask. “I think sequence breaking is awesome. I’ll reincarnate and go through a newbie build with you. We can figure out some sort of duo build and have fun while we find out what is going on with you. We’ve got nothing but time, right?” Podlihob grins a little broadly for my liking, but maybe that is just my mood. When Podlihob says ‘figure out who...

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Start from the begining:

01 Zavyyn discovers a new world

Wake up little one!

What? What is this voice in my head? Shut up, you’re making me sick, I want to sleep.

No can do, there’s things to be done, and you’re the one to do them. Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey.

Could you sound less cheerful? I feel hungover. What happened last… Wait, I can’t remember anything about last night. Or any night.

Now you’re getting it! A gold star for the best boy. You died, kiddo, truck-sama did his job making street pizza and I am here to summon you to a new world of magic and whimsy!

That sounds improbable.

Open your eyes and check for yourself.

I crack my eyes and regret it immensely. A harsh, white light suffuses everything around me; it reminds me of an overcast day requiring sunglasses. A curious figure of twisted geometric shapes floats in front of me, makes an odd gesture, and paralysis sets in on my mental tongue.

I am the god of this world, and I netted you from your world because you looked interesting. Somehow your karmic information got mixed up with a game character’s and ruined your memory. Nothing to do with me. And this game was one of those massively multiplayer online games and max level, in a progression guild, some other stuff I don’t really care about. You’re too powerful. Congratulations! You’re ascending from your old class and starting over as a newbie in this new world to be fair to everyone else. To make up for taking away most of your abilities, you get an Analyze skill. And probably a language skill, I wasn’t really paying attention. I’ve got a video of you turning into a city block of road rash on repeat, and it is hilariously distracting. Have fun, and don’t let the aether hit you where I split you!

At that, everything goes dark.​

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