Revolve - Chapter 1
A terrible thunderstorm descended on Dacstarial that night. The disaster of this scale hadn’t yet been seen by a current generation. The wind with its sharp blades was tearing everything on its way, and clouds were glowing with the most unusual colors, which didn’t fit a usual thunderstorm at all.
Dressed in a blue cape, a girl was running in pouring rain. The fragile figure was resisting to every gust of wind with obvious difficulty. And only a translucent protective spell-barrier was allowing her to stand on her own two feet. The same barriers were surrounding each and every building of the city. It couldn’t be otherwise; after all, this city was the capital of magic...
The big hood, which she was holding with her both hands, was almost useless in such a bad weather, but Ellaila never took it off. Unless she was before an Overlord... The foolish thought distracted her, and the gust of wind because of that managed to get through her barrier and mess up her ash-colored hair, and she immediately regained her mind’s clarity.
She was hurrying to the Overlord’s Tower, which was located right in the city center. Having raisen her head up for a second, Ellaila noticed the translucent dome-shaped barrier made of blue energy appearing at the top of the tower and descending onto the huge city, protecting it from the wrath of nature. She reverently stopped for a moment and started moving even faster. Under the barrier the power of nature almost completely disappeared, and the feeling that next gust of wind would take you off the ground also disappeared.
Having reached almost the very top of the tower, Ellaila cautiously opened the huge golden door, the entrance to the Overlord's private chambers. Although, there was no one inside the large room, the girl still was unwillingly feeling where was the strongest creature of Dacstarial. She walked a little deeper in the room and came up to the open balcony, on the edge of which was standing the ordinary old man dressed in a gray cloak.
But he was far from being a simple old man. Dacstarial had been created already long after his birth, and he himself on his own will became the keeper of that city. For thousands of years, the Overlord had been remaining as a symbol of the inviolability of the greatest nation; he had been defending the country and ruling over it. The girl came closer and noticed that the old man’s eyes were shining with bright blue light, his hands were drawing patterns unknown to her, and his gaze was focused on the protective barrier, which was still increasing and covering more and more lands.
After hesitating for a moment, the young lady deeply bowed to the creature in front of her and said, “Grandfather, excuse me for distracting you from such a complicated spell.”
Even though this old man was her relative, the respect carved deeply in her heart didn’t allow her to treat him like an ordinary old man.
“Ellie, you shouldn’t bow to me,” the old man said, while he was still casting the spell, “moreover, how can be the thing that allowed me to see my beloved granddaughter be difficult?”
The old man’s soft voice seemed to the girl like a warm spring breeze. He was talking only with her in such manner. That was truly a little flattering.
“Grandfather, I would not dare to distract you on ordinary days,” with the same respect continued the young lady. “However, this situation is just too strange, if it were not the father’s order, I would never have dared to disturb you.”
Hearing the words of his granddaughter, the old man became slightly sad. And the already deep wrinkles on his face turned into the real furrows. At that moment, he recalled how much effort he had to make to convince her to call him grandfather instead of such an annoying title.
Overlord’s gaze became concentrated, and Ellaila involuntarily stepped back from the wave of energy, which ejected from the body of the old man. The barrier brightly flared and then stopped increasing, having fully stabilized. Unfortunately, the young lady’s eyes couldn’t see how far the barrier stretches. The casted spell was so large and powerful.
A strike of lightning crashed powerlessly against the newly-set barrier, causing the girl to look up and freeze in shock.
The silence lasted for several minutes and was interrupted by Ellaila's question.
“Grandfather, father does not know the reason of this cataclysm, he says that he does not remember any case like this one. I was sent to ask for an advice...”
“Your father is right; nothing similar has happened in his lifespan,” Overlord turned to the one who he was calling granddaughter. “But I can assure you that neither the cause nor the result of this storm has anything to do with us, even though only we were hit by it.”
“Then what should we do?”
“Nothing...” another strike of lightning interrupted the old man, “I can only guess what this can presage. But even if I’m right, we won’t be able to do anything with this.”
“I understand, grandfather,” Ellaila respectfully bowed her head, this way hiding her eyes, which were eloquently hinting that she understood only quite a bit.
“And... and…” she hesitated for a moment and continued, “What name would you give to this thunderstorm?”
“You shouldn't name it,” the old man replied without hesitation. “It is simply a residual sign of the incoming changes that will take place in our world.”
“Today is the Fateful Night, Ellaila. The night when the heavens themselves are blazing...”
The girl, following the example of the Overlord, looked at the sky. After spending a few seconds in thoughts, she said goodbye and left.
It seemed that the consciousness went out just for a moment and then immediately returned. The body was still enveloped in some thick liquid. The only difference that it was slightly colder.
‘Am I still in a capsule?’ the first thought that came to the guy’s head seemed quite logical, but when feelings returned to him, it became clear that it wasn’t this case.
He attempted to move one of his hands, and, surprisingly, everything was easy; the liquid wasn’t too thick. The guy tried to open his eyes, however, after that, he immediately closed them back. Light was too bright!
Only after a minute of torment, the overly sensitive eyes finally managed to get used to bright light. The first thing he saw were branches of trees, through which was piercing midday sunlight.
‘Where am I?’ trying to sit down, the guy realized that he was lying on the edge of the small swamp. He slowly got up and noticed that there were no clothes on his body. ‘Why am I not on a ship?’
According to the announcement that was posted on the game site, the first connected players had to get into the new world in a special way, like explorers who arrived across an ocean. The holograms, which were literally everywhere, hinted at this. However, the surrounding forest didn’t seem like a medieval ship at all.
‘But I'm not even in a city. Something is wrong...’ having looked around, the guy realized that there weren’t any people, beside him. He was completely alone in the small forest field, which was surrounded by usual trees; they just were a little bit higher. ‘Well, maybe I shouldn’t hurry; maybe it’s some kind of surprise.’
The first of the available mental commands worked without any problems and a strange feeling appeared in his head. Like a whole room in the air. The room was small and sweet, but for some reason it was completely empty.
‘Well, firstly, where can I find clothes?’ it seemed like the strange surprise from the developers. He was in the middle of the forest, without food, water, and weapons. ‘Maybe a city is somewhere very close?’
Even though he wanted to rush to nearby trees and look behind them, the guy still decided to check the rest game functions.
A small, almost transparent window appeared before his eyes. The status menu was made as simple as possible, but it still was giving some information about character. There was: name, race with its features, names and levels of current professions and specializations. The game didn’t have a strict level system; characters gradually was becoming stronger, while exploring the game world and developing in a chosen direction. Right now, in Status, as expected, there were only a few lines, but even them were enough to shock the guy.
[Master of Souls, 1 level]
[Multifaced, 1 level]
‘Huh?’ his reaction was understandable, because at the beginning of the game all players had to have human race with the same features: Immortality and Accelerated Development. Immortality is common to all players, and Accelerated Development is the feature that allows you to learn faster. ‘This must be a glitch. I just need to ask.’
Having mentally uttered the last of the available keywords, the guy sat on grass and patiently waited for at least one minute.
‘I hope they will fix it soon,’ the guy frowned. It was unpleasant to realize that because of someone's mistake, he had to waste his precious time.
The connection must be interrupted from outside. A player could only send request to end a dive game session, and after some time, he had to be carefully disconnected from a dive device. However…
Five minutes already passed, and the guy was still sitting, leaning on a tree.
‘Probably, only I’m facing with this glitch, that’s why I have to wait that long,’ his next though also looked pretty plausible, but a seed of doubt had already begun to sprout. How could an error occur in the game that had been developing for several decades? The developers wouldn't let that happen. Another ten minutes passed, and the guy was still sitting on the same spot and looking around with empty eyes.
‘It seems that I’m just too unlucky,’ all this time he was thinking about what had happened. His head was filled with the various thoughts and among them was one right idea, which he mentally grasped immediately. ‘Obviously, I had to be different in something from other players. And I even know what it is...’
‘The damn disease got me even in this world.’
The guy wasn’t angry; he passed these stages a few months ago, when he found out that he was sick. And now, he simply tried to accept the fact that he’d have to spend his last days not in a company of other players, exploring the new lands filled with fantastic adventures, but somewhere deep in the forest without clothes and food.
And, as usual, the decision didn’t take much time. The guy got up, having decided to check if there is any city nearby.
‘Even the displayed name isn’t full!? Rey, right?’ after a moment of thinking how simple that name sounds, the guy easily accepted another whim of the fate. ‘Not so bad, if you think about it. Although I barely need to remember it, two or three more days and it’ll become useless for me.’
He looked at his new body for a moment, and sincerely regretted that he will be able to enjoy this very few days. By the way, there wasn’t a single trace of the muddy water from the swamp on his skin. That felt strange, but not as strange as appearing in the middle of the forest.
Having made couple steps, Rey stopped. He suddenly realized one thing.
After all, he could just die.
At the very beginning, a player has nothing other than clothes, and Rey simply didn’t have time to develop his initial specializations or professions, so death in the game shouldn’t be something special, at least at its very start. After death, a player will reborn in his starting city; as a penalty a player will just be feeling himself exhausted.
Right now, Rey was only worried about the opportunity to quickly get into a city, or at least get out of the forest.
But he didn’t hurry with that decision, Rey walked a hundred meters to each side of the forest field, however, he didn’t manage to see the end of the forest. Of course, he could just chose a random direction and go there, but who knows how big this forest is?
‘If a city is really close, then it mustn’t be hard to find it, but I don’t see any landmarks here,’ Rey was thinking about this, while he was climbing a tree to look around.
Until now he had never climbed a tree, that’s why he was doing this rather awkwardly. Luckily, the new body had nice muscles, which was the very envy of his real, weak body.
The new body allowed him to climb the tree without problems. When he reached the height of around ten meters, he looked down and involuntary tightened his grip. A bark of the tree was hurting his feet. The height seemed tremendously large! Because of that Rey didn’t even notice that pain was too strong for a player’s pain limit.
‘Damn, so scary!’ in a moment, the hesitation retreated and he continued climbing. He decide to not look down again to check how high he climbed. Rey wasn’t that far from the top of the tree already, he could even see a big part of the forest.
Everywhere was an infinity sea of green leaves.
He even didn’t curse or sigh; only his frightened eyes sank down. This tree and every tree around this one were strange; they didn’t have small branches at all. Rey hardly managed to see the ground somewhere far away under him.
His knees trembled, but his strong grip prevented him from falling down. At least for now...
Rey didn’t want to think, if he was doing everything right or wrong. Anyway, it was just a game and death here was usual thing.
As if the tree was created for climbing, Rey without problems got down a little bit and stopped at the height of twenty meters.
‘I can do it! Anyway, I won’t feel strong pain. This is just a game! A stupidly realistic game, but still a game...’ cheering up himself, Rey leaned forward for a little only to immediately grasp the tree branch again.
“Hehe,” he laughed with confusion, “it’s not that simple.”
Staying in the same position for another half a minute, the guy realized that for the first time in a long period he couldn’t make a decision. However, he didn’t have much time left...
“Okay. Everything will be fine,” having deeply sighed, Rey closed his eyes and jumped from the tree.
He was falling headfirst to be sure that he will die fast. Probably, because of the closed eyes, a couple of seconds seemed like an eternity for him.
The guy was right, he died instantly; his spine was broke and his skull was smashed into a pieces. However, something was wrong. The pain didn’t disappear at all! Moreover, he continued feeling it even after death...
Rey had no time to realize what happened. Darkness was everywhere, and, despite that he didn’t feel his own body, he was enduring the pain coming from everywhere. And the pain was significantly increasing! A second ago, he who used to live with constant migraines wouldn’t even frown, but after another moment, the pain became so strong that he wanted to scream! And the pain was becoming only stronger! Another moment passed, and the hellish agony started torturing not even his body, which didn’t exist right now, but his consciousness floating in arms of the darkness! He wanted to scream, to shout aloud only to stop this pain.
‘Where is the fucking limiter!?’ the feeling of pain in the game mustn’t surpass a certain limit, but right now, Rey couldn’t even think properly. He couldn’t even compare this pain with something! He couldn’t imagine a pain stronger than this! The migraines, caused by taking medicines, seemed to him so gentle and pleasant right now that he would give everything only to get them back instead of this unbearable pain.
However, a dozen seconds had passed and everything ended, like a knife cut off the pain from him. The pain disappeared without a trace; he felt his body now.
Rey started breathing greedily. His heart was beating so hard that he heard ringing in his ears. His fingers were grasping piles of grass and dirt. The guy came back to senses only when he felt a soft tingling on his back. Afterwards, he realized that the torment had ended; he made more than ten deep breathes to calm down.
Opening his eyes, Rey saw the familiar landscape. The forest field and the swamp, near which he was lying, this time, he didn’t even try to get up. Near him, on the grass, was huge stain of blood.
“Why is this happening to me?” Rey winced and closed his eyes for a moment.
He went into the game to take a break from the real world, but the pain found him even there. The feeling of helplessness coupled with extreme fatigue were so suppressing that he even didn’t want to move a finger.
Rey was silently looking up and thinking about what he did to deserve this?
And, probably, any other person would lay with those thoughts much more than one hour, but this guy had already spent more than one day doing this. He was pretty familiar with the injustice of the world, that’s why he wasn’t going indulge in this anguish.
At this moment, his thoughts were replaced by bitterness and at the same time surprise because of how many efforts the developers made to create this game. In the real world Rey couldn’t fully enjoy a whole spectrum of feelings and senses which were overwhelming him in this more bright new world. The bitterness was caused only by the fact that his whole body was feeling like a piece of drained flesh. And this feeling was also very realistic. Every muscle, every vein of his body were aching.
Even though he didn’t want, he still needed to lie for some time to recover. Rey uttered the log out command several times more, but nothing happened as before. Having finally accepted the incomprehensible fate, he tried to get up. His arms and legs were like made of wooden, but he still could stand on feet more or less stable.
‘I don’t want to spend my last days just waiting for death. Unless I jump down from the tree, it shouldn’t be painful at least,’ having chosen the direction, Rey looked at the sun and moved to the west. As far as he remembered, the colonization of the new world was supposed to begin at the west coast. He had no choice but to hope that he wasn’t too far from there. First steps were difficult, but gradually formal mobility returned to his body.
In fact, the situation wasn’t that awful; Rey was walking through the picturesque forest. He couldn’t stop enjoying the level of realistics, which had helped to get rid of hard thoughts. The feeling of soft grass under feet and fresh air were fabulous. It was pleasant to breathe delicious fresh air; the sun, which was penetrating through branches of trees, was warming the skin.
‘Perhaps, I overreacted; this place isn’t as bad as I initially thought,’ Rey was walking in the forest for almost an hour, but the monotonous environment didn’t bother him at all. The guy was filled with the enthusiasm, which came from nowhere.
His own nudity suddenly almost completely stopped embarrassing him. He was happily smiling, sometimes he jumped, and sometimes he fell to the ground, like a child rolling on a grass carpet. Looking at him now, it was impossible to say that this guy recently was desperate so much that he jumped down from the tree. It was hard to say whether it was a psychological self-suggestion or he truly was so glad walking in the new unknown world. Or maybe it was because the migraine finally disappeared.
Time passed, and Rey still hadn’t met a single creature on his way. However, he was faced with another problem: thirst. At first, it was just a slight dryness in his mouth, but after a couple of kilometers, the desire to drink became insurmountable. The guy didn’t find a single source of water along the whole way, and since he had nothing with him, he could nothing to do but only go ahead.
Soon the day was replaced by the evening.
Now hunger was added to thirst, completely depriving the guy of such a short joy from staying in this world. Moreover, Rey also was already deadly tired. Needless to say that on the way he didn’t even come across a bush with berries; there were only trees in the forest.
‘Maybe there are only trees in this world?’ thinking of such nonsenses, Rey tried to distract himself from the realization of his own inability to do anything. Hunger and thirst gradually began giving pain in his stomach. Because of this even extremely good detailing of the world he ceased to like. The guy was already absolutely exhausted, and now, he was just sitting under a small tree, trying to take a breath.
Rey was planning to continue the journey at night, but he noticed that he was also getting cold. The sun had gone off, and, given that he was without any clothes, it became damn cold....
Like any other citizen of a megapolis, he wasn’t adapted to survival in a forest at all. Rey understood that he needed to do something, but he had no idea what exactly to do. He clearly knew only that he will die again soon, if he won’t do anything. He wasn’t ready to once again feel that pain, the only thoughts about this made him tremble even now. He didn’t want to experience that again very much...
It seemed that it couldn’t be worse, but having looked in front, Rey seriously thought about whether he was a slave trader or a serial killer in his previous life? There wasn’t any other reason for the fate to do those things to him.
In seventy meters ahead, under the bright moonlight was walking a dim shadow. Due to the fact that the night was pretty bright, the guy managed to see the unexpected guest before he was noticed. However, he still couldn’t count this as luck.
At the withers the beast was taller than an adult. Two meters in height, maybe even more, and four meters in length. Huge muscular body and sharp claws were saying that the animal was carnivorous. The beast reminded a lion, but it looked much more dangerous. The fur covering the body mostly was brown and closer to the head with hefty mouth it was almost white. Snout of the beast was more elongated comparing to a lion’s, but it had no tail, and the front of the beast’s body was slightly more massive.
The beast still hadn’t notice Rey. Only because of that the guy was still alive. That was an obvious fact that he won’t be able to deal with this beast.
Rey had already decided his next moves. Having glanced at the beast, he rushed to the nearest tree without thinking.
There were several big branches in the lower part of the tree, so it wasn’t difficult to climb the tree quickly. At the height of five meters Rey felt an unnatural chill at his back. He decide to not check the reason of the chill, and his tired hands started moving even more active.
Having finally reached a big branch, Rey looked down. The beast was already standing under the tree and watching with interest at unfamiliar creature, who dared to enter its territory.
‘So that's why I hadn’t met a single animal on the way, it ate all of them,’ Rey was looking at the strange monster, who stepped back a few meters and jumped up to the trunk of the tree. Beast’s claws easily pierced through the bark, and the creature seemingly managed to hang on the tree, but, in less than a second, the beast started moving down with a loud crackle of the tearing bark.
Having sighed, Rey continued climbing higher; for some reason he didn’t feel himself safe at that height.
His climbing was interrupted with strong vibrations once again. Looking down for the second time, Rey noticed that the beast was slowly but persistently climbing up too. Rey’s heart unwillingly missed one beat and then started beating with double speed, like it was saying to him that it’s time to hurry up.
When Rey reached the height of almost fifteen meters, he heard a crunch coming from somewhere below. The crunch was followed by a loud thud.
Rey with a hope looked down: the beast could get hurt, or it could even die from falling from such a height. However, the beast, which had already managed to get up after falling, was still staring at him. It seemed neither the leaves nor the night weren’t a problem for the beast’s eyes at all. Rey was instinctively feeling gaze of the animal. But, right now, the guy was beyond the reach of the animal, because the beast’s weight didn’t allow climbing so high: some branches simply couldn’t withstand the massive beast.
However, the overall situation was the same. Even though the beast couldn't do anything, Rey himself could do nothing too.
Rey sat on the thick branch and looked at the hunter, who was patiently waiting for its victim. The animal didn’t even try to pretend that it had gone, from which it could be understand that it was too stupid for this or too clever and knew that it’s prey couldn’t go anywhere from here. Seeing that after the fall, the beast didn’t even touch the tree, the guy easily made a conclusion that the second option was more viable.
Thirst, hunger, cold, fear... All those feelings had been tormenting Rey for several hours already, but gradually he regained mind calmness.
‘I even feel a little bit sorry for him. Most likely that I will die from a fall and my body will disappear, anyway.’
‘What if I respawn somewhere nearby? Do I have to become a toy of this creature?’ even though his thoughts were dark, they pushed Rey to a curious question. ‘I wonder how strong do you need to be to defeat that strong monster? Thinking about it, it’s clearly not the creature with which an unprepared player can handle. It could even massacre a small village. But, probably, some players were specially prepared before entering the game.’
Rey was right: not everyone could afford to spend several days in a row in a new world. But hired people were ready to do it with pleasure.
But the most important thing that Rey had understood was that he needs to become stronger. Whispering and repeating these words to himself, he firmly established this idea in his head.
And, perhaps, this one whisper was one of the most important threads, which had already begun to weave into an invisible huge web of someone else's plan.