Odd was engulfed by darkness as soon as he disappeared from the tutorial area, he didn feel scared nor uncomfortable in this darkness, it wasn like the absence of light, it felt tranquil and comforting as if he himself was a part of it and belonged to it, and he was able to still see his own body and hands clearly.
He had nothing to do or look at except for the notification window and the gear icon. He didn know how long it would take to get out of this darkness, he didn mind being here though, it was quieter, away from that annoying angry little pixie. he decided to scroll around and see what kind of options he had. It wasn as if he knew whats coming next and he thought it would be better to be prepared for whatever comes.
since that angry pixie was so confident that we are in some kind of a virtual reality, and so far it looks like a game! I should expect things to go like a game. How is this not real though?! He looked at his hand and moved his fingers around and touched his face with them. Even though he still feels somewhat numb and his body was kind of heavy, he couldn believe this was a game at all. How could he feel so real inside a game, he even felt the pixies smoke entering his lungs as if he was choking, and the reflexive coughing shouldn be something that a computer could simulate.
He focused on the gear icon opening the window one more time and started reading what was on it. The sidebar had many options and each page these options opens should also have many options.
—stats and equipments.
—skills and masteries.
—weapons and tools.
—crafts and lifestyle activities.
—Energies and law affinities.
—settings and preferences.
He started by opening the settings section to see if he had a logout option, maybe he didn need to find someone to answer his questions, what if he just logs out and go on with his life. Knowing how realistic this game is though he might later come back and continue playing.
«settings and preferences.»
—pain and sensations modifiers. (unavailable)
—visual options. (unavailable)
—logs and history. (unavailable)
He lost the hope to just logout when he saw many things grayed out and unavailable, and the fact that there was no logout button at all.
He didn Linger on it for long, he was having a feeling that he wouldn be leaving this place any time soon, making him worried about his mother and family, and thinking about his fiance made his head hurt even more. The feeling of having so many questions without an answer or a way to check them out himself was suffocating.
While pondering this hurdle, he felt something was closing on him so fast he thought it would crash onto him any moment, it felt like imminent danger. the feeling was like being able to see, and not exactly seeing. It was like a gut feeling, or a vague image being shown to him. A second later, he discovered that he was the one moving this fast when his shell became transparent and showed the image of an entire planet getting bigger really fast.
He could describe this planet as a massive one, but what concept did he have on the size of planets. The farthest he ever went from the ground was a Ferris-wheel in the amusement park when he was young, and the experience wasn exhilarating enough for him to think about doing it again, He was never afraid of heights and it was boring for him.
However, being in space and seeing an entire planet was another thing all together. He gasped in awe at the spectacle of the massive colorful celestial body gradually occupying his entire field of vision.
Unlike earth, this planet was not divided into 7 continents, instead, countless number of land masses were distributed unevenly throughout the planet, each piece of land was a different shape and the color changed from one cluster of lands to the other, giving it a theme of an abstract painting. It was more beautiful than any thing he have ever witnessed in his life, and he was amazed even more when he entered the planets atmosphere.
The transparent shell slowed down gradually and eventually disappeared all together when he entered the atmosphere leaving him to feel the fraction of the air on his face and between his hair. The colorful horizon line reflecting the rays of sunlight off of the surface of each land gave a different color to each patch of the sky, it wouldn be noticeable from the surface of the planet, but it couldn be overlooked from where he is, it was simply too beautiful to look away.
Only when he entered the atmosphere and kept falling for over 10 minutes did he finally have an appreciation of how big this planet is. He was falling directly towards what he thought to be a small island surrounded by much bigger islands. It seemed so tiny from space that it was barely visible, like a small dot. However, after falling for 10 minutes straight this tiny island started to fill his entire field of vision, and he was still unable to see the details of the ground he was going to land on, he still had a long way to fall.
In a small village surrounded by a dense jungle that a hardened veteran traveler would find it hard to cross, a young boy was sitting on one of the giant trees on the outer layer of the village eating his meat ration and some plants that he picked up from all around the forest. The rarest kind of plants and the ones he loved the most were deep in the jungle though, but he wouldn dare enter the jungle, no one in the village entered the jungle for years, and the kingdoms trade routs were cut off every since the jungles beasts leveled up insanely.
Before the beasts abnormal leveling speed, the villages income was divided between the hunting of rare species and the herbs and plants that grows deep in the jungle. Now they only have the cattle and what little crops they manage to grow and harvest before the swarms of birds come and eat it all.
This young mans dream was once to become an adventurer. When adventurers first appeared in this world, he was fascinated by them, people who travels all over the world fighting terrifying monsters and preventing calamities. He used to ask them all kinds of questions whenever he meets an adventurer till they get bored of him or get mad. He figured out later on that the only reason they tolerated him was because they thought he would give them a new quest, which was even more amazing in his eyes that they get quest and rewards just by talking to people, he wanted to be like them.
But when his village was in need, no adventurer appeared to help them, there was no savior for them, even the ones that were regularly visiting for their special herbs and plants and rare beasts were no more. They barely survived the waves of beasts attacking them every month till now by barricading the few strong buildings they have and taking shelter in them holding their breath and hoping no beast would notice them.
After finishing his meal he laid on his back on the branch of the giant tree looking towards the sky. He thought that he saw a shooting star so he closed his eyes to make a wish and hope it would somehow come true.
A second later the sound of an impact was heard and the tree he was sitting on shook so hard he almost fell off. He climbed down and ran towards the village that was also panicking thinking that the monster wave may have come early this month. When he entered the village and nothing happened, the villages chief tried to calm everyone down telling them it could be a fight between two strong beasts, and such strong ones wouldn be interested in mere humans.
The boy had another thought about what this explosion might be. He waited for a few minutes to make sure no one would notice and then sneaked out of the village heading towards the area where the sound came from.
"His brain activity is rising steadily. This is a good sign. By the end of the day he could have a normal brain activity." Hayley explained to Mrs Emilia trying to comfort her. She knew this wasn normal, a man that was in a coma for ten years shouldn be able to recover this fast, at least a month should have passed before he starts to show these brain activities. But she wouldn make the same mistake again and show her that she was worried, she needs to act confident in front of her, especially because she was unable to locate Odd when he entered the world at all. she promised them that she would personally go in there and pick him up, but how would she do this if she can even find him.
"Thats amazing!! When can i see him?!" Emilia cried and asked for the umpteenth time. Every since she knew that he was inside the game already she haven stopped crying nor asking when she would be able to see him. Her sons condition was declining rapidly for the past year, and some reports said that some of his organs could start failing due to the decline in the brain activity and he may reach the state of no return if this continues.
This contract was their last hope to save whats left of him, she thought it would take years upon years of trial and error to succeed in connecting his consciousness to the virtual reality, getting results this fast both excited her and worried her at the same time, because when something is too good to be true, it usually is.
"Unfortunately not yet mrs Emilia. He is still unreachable, but i can assure you he is safe." Hayley had to say these words again and again to the anxious mother, so she thought to divert her mind to something else until she can solve the problem of being unable to locate the patient. "How about you login to The world and test it out so you can meet him as soon as he is ready?!" she thought this would calm her down and take her mind off the waiting, and maybe she would stop worrying about his safety if she sees the World for herself, which would allow Hayley to focus on her work to find out what happened when Odd logged in.
she have never seen nor heard of anything like spawning with the maximum level, even the developers needs to login first and then go through the process of claiming their developer status and becoming what the World calls Optimizers. This process would actually test their capabilities and resolve as if they are under judgment from the game they created, some of the main developers didn actually pass the tests and they were denied their Optimizer status, which made them nothing more then another gamer inside their own game.
They didn design nor set any laws in this virtual reality, it was entirely created and managed by the AI that they created, and that AI grew to be something non of them ever anticipated. And Hayley was one of the earlier people working on this project even though she was just an intern when it started.
"Really! Can i do that now?!"
"Yes but please note that you are going to have to play the game normally until we locate him."
"Ok! Can i start right now?!" Emilia barely contained her excitement knowing that she was going to be in the same game as her son, even though she had no idea what the game was like nor how big that virtual reality was. What ever she knew about the virtual reality technology or this game was either from Hayley herself or by watching videos of people playing the game on the internet to see what she was agreeing to put her son into.
"Of course! I have a helmet here for you, all you need to do is to wear it and follow the instructions of the AI. Its easy don worry." Hayley opened a box under her desk and took out a black and white helmet that looked just like what a jet aircraft pilot would wear on their head.
Emilia instantly wore the helmet on her head and turned it on. The screen in front of her eyes showed a change in color for a second and then the binding process started.
This binding process wasn to bind the person to the helmet, it was to identify and map out the persons body measurements and brain wave signature to the online database including their personal account and personal information. After finishing this process, a person could use any VR helmet to login to any kind of VR without ever having to repeat this process.
(Please repeat the following movements.)
The screen in front of her eyes showed a silhouette of a human figure in a T position and then touching his nose with one hand after the other repeatedly. Afterwards the figure started doing various movements from swiping its hands over its legs while in a certain position to plain old acrobatics and fitness training movements, which was extremely exhausting for a woman in her early fifties, and of course she didn succeed in mimicking all the moves, she only did what her body allowed her to do.
After completing this process of identifying body measurements and fitness level, next was the brain wave signature identification.
(Please think about the answer of the following questions.
What is the color of the sky?
How many days in the week?
What is your name?
Simple questions and mathematic calculations were shown to her one after the other and she answered them without complaining. The entire process took half an hour and then she was asked to insert her Email information or create a new Email. Afterwards she was asked to choose one of two methods to login for this session. The first was the Augmented Reality (AR), this would allow her to move around and control the virtual character with her real body, but it would limit the controls to her real fitness level and ability.
And the second and most common method was the Dive method. This was self explanatory, meaning she would be put in a dream like state induced by certain signals sent to the brain to simulate a state of impaired movement resulting in what could be called a lucid dream.
Mrs Emilia, like 90% of gamers in the world, chose the Dive method to login. The AI instructed her to be in a rested position and then say the word (log in) out loud, or change fast login method from the account settings.
She did as instructed and logged into the virtual reality for the first time in her life.
"Welcome adventurer! To The World, where everything is possible. You can make all your dreams come true in The World. You can become a strong fighter, a skilled crafter, a chef, or whatever it is that your heart desires. You can lead your own army to a magnificent battle, or create an empire of trade and commerce. You can be... what you want to be."
Instead of the tiny pixie that appeared to Odd, a floating a half meter tall white balloon person introduced The World to Emilia with cute hand gestures and body movements. This was the character that appeares in events and when someone has a problem and want to report it. It was also the main character that hosts any contest or championship in any field. This character was called Boomy, it looked like an inflated stick man figure with an emoji face.
"Im here to meet my son! Is there a way for me to find him?!" Emilia couldn help but ask, this is what she was here for after all, she wasn here to fight beasts or to chase some long lost dream, the only dream she had was to see her son well and happy.
"of course we do! This is The World! You can do anything with the right amount of effort. Is this your dream?!" the balloon man had a mischief look on his face, a cute one at that.
—quest initiated: Find your loved one.
—descriptions: optain a tracking skill to search for your target.
—hint: become an assassin.