Gradually Rey felt himself better and cheered up. He almost didn’t want to drink, let alone eating. And after a short run, he even felt himself refreshed instead of being tired
‘It seems that a Kuring’s body is able to move much faster than I do. That’s why I don’t feel myself tired at all,’ the Kuring’s nose breathed in the smell of a bark, greenery, and something sweet. The whole forest was filled with this completely unique fragrance, which was giving a mixed impression. On the one hand, recently, he almost died because of cold and hunger, but on the other, he didn’t want to leave this place. Especially given the fact that this strange bird, with the pairs of wings over there, could give him a precious opportunity to fly. Having checked two nests already, he really hoped that this one won’t be empty.
In the Kuring’s eyes the bird looked like a blue spot, and right now, this blue spot, as Rey initially hoped, had finally flown away, probably, to find some food for its offspring. Even though he could see the nest from afar, he couldn’t see if there was anything inside it. The home of the feathered inhabitants of the local fauna had turned out to be empty twice already, so Rey could only depend on his luck.
Making sure that the bird had flown away, Rey moved to the nest using the already planned route. It was hard to say that finding the nestling gave much joy to Rey. And that was not because of the scale of efforts and result. He just had to kill the not fully grown feathered little bird now...
‘The longer I hesitate, the harder it’ll be to do it. I can just change my mind, after all...’ pushing the nest with the all strength of a Kuring’s body, Rey, after some time, managed to break a few branches. And that was enough for the complicated construction to collapse almost instantly. The small nestling, probably, didn’t even understand what had happened. He did all the way to the distant land without making a single sound.
Rey with a disgusting feeling realized that the first conscious murder in his life had happened in the game. He was thinking about the moral side of this matter, while he was briskly going down. And the closer the land was, the easier it became.
‘It isn’t real. Yeah, and I won’t live much longer than this nestling,’ the already insignificant feeling of guilt finally disappeared at the sight of the small gray haze, which had already left the baby bird's body.
Without hesitation, Rey took a Human form and grabbed the thing, which developers called the “soul”. He had no idea how long it’ll exist, and he didn’t want to experiment this now.
Like it was earlier with the Kuring, in a few moments, the nestling’s soul passed from his palm to the middle of his chest. Rey opened Status to make sure about the success of his first hunt, if it could be called like that.
[Master of Souls, 1 level]
[Multifaced, 1 level] (Heavenly Tildas, Human, Kuring)
‘I wonder who gives names to these animals. I’d like to find it out, but I doubt that I have time for this…’ Rey sighed melancholically. Despite the fact that he had long ago accepted his unenviable fate, he still wanted to prolong these new and unusual feelings. And he didn’t care that most of these feelings were quite unpleasant. ‘Well. At least, I can think about it later and in the sky.’
Having chosen a more open place, Rey focused on the new soul and almost immediately fell to the ground. However, he fell in the form of the small bird.
Since he had some experience in the mastering of unusual body mobility, Rey didn’t hurry at all. He didn’t manage to stand up on his feet, but, luckily, he didn’t get hurt from the falling of a low height. Turning his head from side to side, firstly, Rey noticed that a Tildas’ vision was much better. Even colors had become brighter for him. The sight of his own brightly blue feathers, the color of which reminded the spring blue sky, made his eyes pockmarked, but Rey got used to this pretty quickly.
However, he didn’t manage to stand stable on his feet so quickly. A Tildas’ body had very shifted center of gravity, and it took him some time to find out the secret of the bird’s body. But a few minutes of persistent experimentations were enough to bear fruit. The extra pair of wings stopped pulling back him with a dead weight, and Rey finally made the first step in his new guise.
However, his triumph didn’t last long.
‘Here come the problems. It seems that having wings and being able to fly are slightly different things,’ Rey realized, when he tried to move the wings for the very first time. He couldn’t move both of them at the same time. Every careless movement inevitably resulted a fall. ‘Hmm, there is also a tail. And it won’t work, if I try to forget about it, like I did with a Kuring...’
Oddly enough, Rey didn’t despair. The problem of the careful control of several limbs at the same time was familiar to him in some way. After all, if he didn’t know this, he wouldn’t be able to do his job. So he already knew a little trick.
‘There is no need to control each wing. The main thing is to learn the basic movements. And I even know who can help me with this,’ turning back into a Kuring, he hurriedly rushed to the same tree where was the nest.
Climbing the tree, Rey noticed that his front paws were troubling him a little. And the reason of that was almost obvious to him.
‘My wounds are transferred. That’s why even in the form of a Kuring my back and paws hurt a little. Probably, I scratched myself, when I was climbing trees naked. And the situation with a Tildas is even worse. The bones of birds are quite fragile. Apparently, these few falls didn’t pass without a trace,’ Rey guessed about this already long ago, so he wasn’t upset. He just took a note that in the form of a bird he needs to be more careful. Moreover, to start flying he must be completely confident in himself.
Rey was only worried about would this confident have time to appear. He didn’t have much time left...
Having reached the place where the nest was, Rey suddenly realized that it’d be better for him to move to another tree: the parent of the recently-hatched baby bird would clearly not be in a good mood, when it would notice the disappearance of its child.
‘And it’s better to find a bigger branch. I can’t really see anything in the form of a Kuring,’ having decided a clear plan of action, Rey cheered up a bit and, taking another leaf with his claw, started looking for a branch suitable for observation.
Rey climbed a high tree, which was near the nest, and patiently waited for the returning of the grown bird. Back then, he was watching at the nest to find the nestling, but right now, he was going to draw all his attention to the technique of a bird’s movements.
In anticipation he didn’t notice how almost an hour had passed before a Tildas appeared in his field of vision. Even though the bird was still only approaching to the tree, it immediately noticed that something was wrong and hurried up. Rey saw only how smoothly the flaps of the bird’s wings were: the front pair of wings smoothly moved to the rear, to make a turn the bird tilted its whole body to the side, and for the landing it straightened its body almost to the vertical position. The general principle of flight was already known to Rey from the real world, but now, having directly seen the moves of the four-winged bird in the air, he had understood all the unclear movements for him in moments.
After waiting a little more and watching how the Tildas took off, Rey once again surfed through everything he saw in his memory and was slightly surprised. He had a feeling like he was watching a recorded video; he remembered everything so clearly that he could even say how many flaps the bird did during the whole time he was looking at it.
‘Is this also the game function?’ shaking his head, Rey chased away the useless thoughts. He went down to the ground and took the form of a Tildas. Currently, he wanted to try to move in the same manner like the bird.
Everything turned out unexpectedly easy, Rey couldn’t help but feel himself encouraged. Now, when he knew exactly how he needed to tilt his body and hold his wings, walking and even slow running weren’t difficult for him. However, it was like that only until he had to move his wings. Rey knew perfectly well that it was impossible to learn such a complex thing as flying in a moment. Fortunately, even though the time was flowing through his fingers, he had enough patience.
Fascinated, Rey didn’t notice at all that the Tildas, which had recently lost its offspring, was flying nearby him for all this time. Having released a pitiful scream, the bird’s eyes fell on its strange kindred. The unknown kindred didn’t react to the screams and oddly waved with wings.
Without thinking, the Tildas identified the strange kindred responsible for the death of its child and entered a suicidal flight.
If it were not for a shrill scream, Rey wouldn’t notice this. But now, he raised his head up and noticed the blue bird falling on him from the above. And just to think about it, this attack could succeed, because Rey was also in the form of a bird.
And the solution to the problem was on the surface.
Rey even felt himself like he was a hunter, when he let the bird approach him.
‘Just a little more...’ after waiting for a moment, Rey focused on a Human soul within himself.
The tiny Tildas body crushed into the guy’s leg powerlessly. He didn’t even feel pain. Just before the strike, the stunned bird had decided to retreat. However, the bird merely didn’t have time...
Having looked closer, Rey became convinced that the Tildas was dead. After all, it was hard to believe that in a broken little body could still be a life... And the gray haze that emerged from the remains only confirmed this.
‘I wonder what will happen if I take and this one too? I already have a Tildas soul.’
It wasn’t hard to satisfy his curiosity, and in a second, the soul was soaked in Rey’s hand. He waited for a while, but Status and his own feelings were saying that nothing changed.
‘Well, fine,’ Rey wasn’t very upset. He just felt himself a little uncomfortable before the feathered. The nestling first, now its parent...
But he didn’t blame himself for a long. In just a few steps, Rey stopped in a surprise.
‘I feel like… it became easier to walk... and thirst has retrieved a little,’ in fact, there could be only one reason for this: the absorbed soul.
Rey was supposed to get tired even more, because he was trying to get used to a Tildas body for some time, but, surprisingly, Rey felt himself even a little better now. He still felt thirst, but it quite strongly weakened.
‘So, souls which I have already are converted into energy when absorbed?’ Rey was very pleased with the quite logical conclusion. Although he was sure that he could easily live the rest of the day in a Kuring’s body, it was surely more pleasant to live it without discomfort.
Having returned to the field, Rey turned back into a Tildas. Another change also turned out to be quite imperceptible. Right now, his body felt a little different. And no, it didn’t become easier to control different parts of it, but the Tildas seemed to had grown a bit.
Rey sighed bitterly in his own head, ‘Such an amazing skill. It is a pity that I don’t have much time left to understand it better...’
The sun was already setting. A motionless blue bird was standing on an upper branch of a high tree. And it had been staying there for quite a long time already.
‘I can do it. If you don’t try, you’ll definitely fail,’ he repeated this to himself several dozen times already, however, he didn’t move yet.
Rey wasted some time to find this, proper, tree. It looked high even comparing it to the other forest giants. This tree would give him an extra second to get used to fly in the air.
But every time he looked down, Rey recalled the Tildas broken body, which he had seen earlier. And, ironically, he recalled this pretty clearly, in all colors and with all completely unnecessary details. There was clearly something wrong with his memory.
However, most of all Rey was afraid that he will need to endure the pain after death.
‘Damn, I hope that I won’t screw up,’ sighing, Rey spread his wings. He could do it quite easily now. A few hours of training hadn’t passed for nothing.
A second of hesitation, a swing, and now he was already in the air.
Earlier, Rey tried to take off from the ground, but he didn’t succeed in this. It seems that in the movements of the bird was some special aspect which he didn’t manage to notice.
Rey tried to stay calm, so that he could react to any wrong body movement in time. Currently, he was slowly waving with his wings. With the short pushes he managed to rise few meters above the top of the tree. Once again, he recalled the image of the bird from his memories. Rey tilted his body a little and, having gained good speed, returned to his quiet flight with one smooth flap of wings.
The joy overwhelmed his mind, but Rey tried to remain focused. And only when he became confident in his control of both increasing and decreasing speed, Rey let himself to just spread his wings to the sides. He soared in the sky. He only needed to correct the position of his body which from time to time was beginning falling down. As about the rest, Rey’s mind, which was clearly unprepared for such quirks of a human consciousness, was completely captivated by the feeling of free flight.
All his hearing was filled with the whistle of the wind. The whistling silenced the rustling of leaves, chased away any thoughts from his head both bad and good. The wind sounded unexpectedly lightly and charmingly. This sound wasn’t much like music, but for some reason the whistle reminded exactly this.
The sun was setting somewhere in the distance. And the sun could be called the only one landmark, since nothing more remarkable could be seen there. Everywhere around was only an endless ocean of trees. Moreover, the end of this ocean couldn’t be seen even from the height of almost hundreds of meters. Rey recalled his own joke about the fact that there were only trees in this world, and the Tildas lively squawked.
‘Anyway, this means nothing for me,’ the eyes of the bird stared at the sun that had lost its brightness, preparing for the rest. The end of the second day, that Rey spent in this world, was incoming. ‘I think I must have another day… No… a doctor said that excessive loads on a nervous system worsen the condition. And there must be a lot of these loads in a capsule... I wonder will I hold out until the morning?’
He managed to come to his senses only after it became completely dark. Fatigue began giving a whining feeling in his wings. Realizing that it was time to go down to the ground, Rey got a little upset. He didn’t sleep during the last night, and he was going to do the same thing tonight. Obviously, he really didn’t want to spend his remaining time sleeping.
‘But still, it’s better to do a break. If I become even more tired, the landing can end quite badly,’ right now, Rey was worried the most about the landing. He didn’t manage to train it for the obvious reasons.
But Rey didn’t intend to do the landing in a bird’s form. He understood his capabilities quite well, and it was obvious that he won’t be able to land successfully on the first try. Fortunately, Rey could just hang in the air as low as possible and turn into a Kuring. An agile little animal could easily cling to branches. And if he manages to find more open space, it will be even better for him. He didn’t need to demonstrate the wonders of acrobatics; a dense grass will pick up a Kuring’s body as well as a pillow.
Ray made a simple turn, gradually slowing down. It’s a pity, but darkness, which descended on the forest, greatly limited his vision in the form of a Tildas, and it became impossible to find an open place for landing.
He was getting closer and closer to trees. It seemed like darkness turned upper branches of trees into formidable black bayonets. And one of those “bayonets” Rey choose as the landing place.
There were only few meters from a tree, when a gust of the gentle wind came from nowhere. However, this gentle gust of the wind was enough to move the little bird in wrong side. The whole his body moved to the one side. If Rey was a real bird, he would know that in such a situation you shouldn’t hurry, but a nervous flap with all the wings at the same time only made everything worse.
The earth and the sky swapped places with each other, and the wind blew again, having decided to betray the guy completely. Before Rey's eyes were rapidly changing the view of branches, blurred sky, and approaching ground.
And then, there was a strike, and everything darkened.
The feeling of fear was instantly changed by the flash of agony, however, only for a moment. His consciousness burned, as if it had been hit by a super-heated poker, and the pain immediately retreated. It disappeared without a trace, as if the pain never existed.
And then, everything happened once again. Rey, just like after his previous death, tried to breath in the cool night air and to turn his head around, but his muscles didn’t obey to him. His body felt completely squeezed and drained. Any attempt to move was followed by unpleasant tingling, so Rey was merely laying and breathing loudly without making any moves.
Even though the pain was very transient this time, it didn’t prevent his head from buzzing. In some way this could be considered as a remaining to be careful next time. Although Rey was mentally prepared for the fact that his first flight could end like this, but for what... All his auto-suggestion completely crumbled at the moment when Rey realized that he was about to crush into the ground.
Not immediately Rey recognized the familiar field, where he appeared in this world for the very first time. After all, he hadn’t seen this field in night time yet, but the small swamp was still there. His one foot even was in it. Strange, but even though it was night, the water wasn’t cold at all.
‘It’s worth to try not to die again. Fortunately, I won’t need to endure this for a long…’ although the pain had weakened, it didn’t mean that he wanted to experience this again. Finally, Rey felt his legs and sat down on the fresh grass.
He wondered for a few seconds why for the first time the pain lasted longer. Most likely that was because of the fact that, back then, he himself jumped from a tree. Or, maybe, the pain will disappear completely after some time?
‘Well,’ Rey shrugged, ‘whatever. This pain shouldn’t have been here initially, and there is no point in guessing how everything is arranged in this game.’
He didn’t hurry to get up on his feet. His body still hurt. After all, not so much time passed since his rebirth, so he could wait some more time. Without hesitation, Rey stretched out on the grass. Surprisingly, the grass turned out to be unexpectedly warm. Just like the water in the swamp.
‘Is somewhere here some kind of thermal source? Hmm, anyway, it doesn’t really matter,’ having lain back and relaxed, Rey looked at the dark velvet of the night sky.
The sky was filled with bright stars. And these stars were brighter than stars in his previous world. They were illuminating the night quite good. On the one hand, there wasn’t enough light to freely walk around the forest, on the other, it wasn’t completely dark. The moon hid behind trees, so he couldn’t see it from this field.
‘I wonder what other players are doing right now? There must be a lot of people in this game… Probably, starting cities are filled with chaos,’ such a thought came to his mind. And afterwards, this thought transformed to another one. Rey imagined other players in this place. Maybe, there was someone else in this forest. However, it was unlikely that he will meet someone here, even if there were thousands of people, the forest was just too big. Moreover, he won’t be able to find someone with his remaining time.
Unpleasant thoughts appeared in his head by themselves, and to dismiss them Rey closed his eyes.
[Master of Souls, 1 level]
[Multifaced, 1 level] (Heavenly Tildas, Human)
Status didn’t surprise him much, but there was also nothing pleasant.
‘Seems like I lose souls instead of specializations in case of death,’ Rey nodded to himself, but only more question had appeared in his head. Is it possible for him to get specializations at all? And if yes, will they also disappear after death? And what will happen if a Human soul disappears?
Fatigue gradually retreated, and he even didn’t notice how he fell asleep. The warm grass slightly heated him, and for some reason there weren’t any signs of the wind.
After few minutes, he plunged into a deep, very deep sleep.