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Dreaming Big: A Gamer Lite World Hopping Reincarnation Isekai (Original Fiction)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by AppleGrowth, Jul 24, 2023.

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  1. AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Cover Art:

    [​IMG]
    Synopsis:

    As someone whose life barely had any ups or downs, an Isekai rebirth with magic and miracles was Daniel’s chance at something truly epic.


    So why the heck did Isekai’ed by a demonic cult instead of a normal visit by Truck-kun?!


    With no ROBs, Jump-chan or benevolent Goddesses in sight, it was up to Daniel himself to find a way back home.


    Don’t Isekai protagonists usually die without regrets? Why is it that before my adventure even started I got a quest to go home!?




    ヾ(^∇^) Hey there author here! This is the first story I’ve written that actually made it to the internet, so don’t pull your punches when you inevitably find yourself critiquing my work. Still, don’t be too mean or I’ll cry!

    That said, this is supposed to be a take on a kind of Jump-chain, World-hopping adventure with original settings. Now I could have taken the traditional route and had an omnipotent being of some kind do pretty much all the hard work just to watch the protagonist’s journey and entertain themselves but… NAH! (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻┻

    The MC here only has a gamer-lite power inherent to his soul, that he isn’t even sure has been given to him by someone else or is the work of a previous reincarnation of himself! The system itself will only have [Skills] in the beginning, [Stats] will be there but only after the MC finds a way to add them himself. Many of the traditional game-like features will be added similarly!

    Don’t worry about the entire story being set in an urban environment, there will be plenty of magic and high fantasy stuff down the line.

    Despite having a general outline for how the story is going to flow, I will be whipping out my D100 dice from time to time to keep myself entertained and hopefully adding twists that no one will see coming (even me (; ° ロ°))!

    *This is crossposted from Royal Road. Check it out there if you can!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2023
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 1 – Atypical Situation:
    AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

    Joined:
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    Chapter 1 - Atypical Situation

    POV – Unknown:

    As a firm believer in the Multiverse theory, I believe that Impossibility is an Impossibility. Any phenomena I or anyone else can conjure up through human imagination can happen, will happen, has happened, is happening and…well you get the point.

    Anything is possible, what looks like it isn’t, is simply a matter of limited perspective.

    Which is why, despite my current circumstances I wasn’t surprised, not even a little bit…is what I’d like to say. No, I should be feeling surprised! Heck, I kinda was! Only, something was stopping the surprise from overwhelming me. No, that wasn’t quite right, it was like despite feeling it, I wasn’t capable of being overly surprised in my current state. Well, that along with the fear, confusion, apprehension, dread, and the usual cocktail of emotions a normal person should be overwhelmed with when they find themselves deprived of all their usual senses.

    I found this situation familiar despite never experiencing anything quite so exciting before. I should have had an idea of what was going on, but my mind was slow beyond compare and I couldn’t finish the thought.

    For some reason, I felt like should have been trapped in a void where everything was numb, but I wasn’t. Almost anticipating and expecting an unfamiliar voice to greet me for reasons I couldn’t understand, I waited, yet no one came. Like a lifeline, I held onto the new alien sensations I could feel.

    That might have been more literal than I expected since something immediately stood out. I felt like I was reaching into my soul for something personal, a fundamental part of me only now remembered. Like moving my hand through mud, then water, then air, I pulled and – Oh.

    [Gamer’s Soul]

    Allows the creation of Skills. Skills will be ingrained in the soul. ???
    Looking at that, there was a lot I should have felt, and thoughts I should have had, yet my mind was still so limited. No, not looking, I still couldn’t see anything, it was a new ‘sight’ of its own, I –

    No! My thoughts kept slipping in every direction. I needed to truly think, so I turned to the only stable thing in the scope of my awareness. I focused; with everything I had, I truly thought, and with a soft chime everything snapped into focus.

    [Gamer’s Soul]

    Allows the creation of Skills. Skills will be ingrained in the soul.

    Mind is located within the Soul, unbound by physical limitations. ???
    Mentally panting, I felt tired despite the lack of a physical body. “Haah - haah- This isn’t what I expected to wake up to. This isn’t a prank or a delusion…this is really happening.”

    I was tempted to feel disbelief but couldn’t. This was my soul, and I couldn’t deny what it was telling me. So, before I could even try to identify where I was or what my priorities were, I followed the purpose of my very being and once again I focused.

    Empty mind: Identify emotions. Acknowledge emotions. Process without thought. Repeat…

    ~Ping~

    [Meditation] Skill Learned!

    [Meditation] has gained a level!

    [Meditation] has gained a level!

    [Meditation] has gained a level!

    [Meditation] has gained a level!


    Whew–.” Minutes later, I left my meditative state and began to think about what happened before all this.

    “I died. I’m sure I died, even if I don’t really remember how.”

    Though I said these words, there was no weight to them. No reason to feel anything despite their implications. My entire life was so mundane, so normal, that even its conclusion wasn’t worth any attention, even my own. But that really wasn’t important. No, what was important was what I was ‘seeing’ now. What this meant was –

    “Isekai! It has to be! This is what I’ve been waiting for my entire life! Ooooh Weeee! Finally, I’ve escaped from that shitty place! I can live through a real-life fantasy! So, what’s it going to be?! Summoned as a hero to defeat the demon king?! Reborn as a noble in a world of magic and politics?! Transmigrated into the body of a dying cultivator?! Reincarnated, as a monster in a world of beasts and evolutions?! Starting life as a Dungeon Core and conquering the world?!”

    Still riding my emotional high, I started ‘looking’ around as I voiced my questions. But as I continued to struggle and was answered by the same silence that pervaded my surroundings, I started feeling a sinking feeling in my gut despite seemingly not having one now.

    “Hey! Who summoned me or revived me or whatever?! Can someone please explain what’s going on, because this really isn’t funny OK?” At this point, I was really hoping for a ‘Ha! Got you!’ or a ‘Surprise!’, I would’ve even accepted a ‘Shut da fuq up!’, but hope was a fickle thing.
    It was sometime later that I’d accepted that regardless of what was going on I was going to be left alone with my thoughts.

    Immediately, my mind spun, recalling more instances of fiction to try and get an answer to the silence, and more importantly to the fact that apart from feeling the ever-present system that was my soul, nothing new was happening.

    “…OK, so no gods, goddesses, mysterious ROBs, eldritch entities, bored dead apostles, or intelligent quest systems. Right.” I was left alone, feeling only my soul for comfort.

    Despite my many guesses, the last one was something I was sure was not going to happen. My system cheat - if it could even be called one - wasn’t connected to some higher entity, drip-feeding me quests while snarking at me. It was my ability, or rather it was simply what I was, I could feel it. Naturally, I didn’t really know everything my soul could do, just like until I learned biology I had no idea how my own body worked. But I wasn’t thinking about that!

    “Am I in some kind of soul transit? Do I have to show my visa?” I was focusing on trying to feel something else, anything other than the only thing I could feel in this limbo, just in case I missed anything, despite knowing that there was nothing else.

    Deciding to do something else, I turned back to [Meditation] and – “Woah! So, that’s what it means to be ‘ingrained’ in my soul huh?”

    Abruptly stopping my impromptu [Meditation] session, I stopped to think about my power. Of course, I’d noticed my Skill, its creation was completely intentional.

    “So, focusing on creating Skills was something I could tell was needed instinctively, and I can see why. By ingraining a Skill, I make sure that I will never forget it. But it goes beyond that! It's almost like I have muscle memory for the soul! There’s no delay in activating Skills and making use of what I’ve Ingrained! I can always reproduce what I’ve done before! Hehe he, even someone with photographic or eidetic memory can’t be compared to me!” I was getting a better idea of how my power worked and sufficed to say I was feeling a little good about myself.

    “OK, I’ve ignored it long enough let's face the facts. I’m probably in the process of being born. Despite my excitement at a new fantasy life (!), I still don’t want to think about just where in the process I am right now…after all, I’m pretty sure even fetuses have underdeveloped, but still functioning brains.”

    Even after thinking through different Isekai and reincarnation tropes and cliches, I couldn’t for the (re)life of me figure out a way to predict what was going to happen next.

    “In fact, this whole situation is throwing me off the loop with how unpredicta– Oh no. No, no, no, no, no! It can’t be that right?! It was just a stray thought I had once! No way it doomed me to this situation!” I finally had an explanation for my situation, even if it was just an unlikely theory, once I started the train of thought, my mind latched onto it.

    Unlike the average literary enthusiast, I was a veteran fiction enjoyer. So, back when system and game-lit novels were truly gaining in popularity on every popular website, and LitRPG was a term getting thrown around a lot more, every day was practically a reading buffet for me. Once, I’d devoured the trending and most popular works, I’d decided it wasn’t enough and like a hungry shark I went looking for more in the depths of every site possible.

    Eventually, I ended up oversaturated with these types of novels. I was starting to pick out cliches, finding faults with the systems and complaining about the stories. In the end, I started growing jaded to game-like powers themselves, or pointing out how things were too easy for the protagonists with everything being spoon-fed to them, everything working out as plot armour protected them with the excuse of everything going as Fate foretold. It had gotten so bad that whenever I skimmed over the first chapter of a fic, I looked for the trademark bold speech of some kind of higher power and immediately clicked off the page. In my mind, I had already sorted these fics as ones where the MC was a slave to an omnipotent being or followed the whims of a trash system.

    “I’m not like that anymore! I learned my lesson! I’ve started to enjoy all kinds of fiction now! I make sure to always mix it up with different genres and types to keep myself engaged! I understand that wish fulfilment OP system stories have an important place in the community! But more importantly, they have a place here and now! So please don’t punish me for something so small!”

    One might wonder why I was freaking out when I was just starting to feel smug about my brand-new superpower. It was because I had just started paying attention to something I had been subconsciously avoiding thinking about until now. I didn’t have screens I needed to touch or commands I needed to voice out. My system was something I controlled like any other limb – no it possibly felt more natural than even them – which is why when trying to pull on my new senses to find anything other than what I had already ‘seen’ resulted in nothing new, panic began to set in.

    “Menu! Quests! Settings! List! Inventory!” Again and again, I tried and came up with nothing new.

    “Where’re my Stats, where’s my EXP?! No, I have to be optimistic, there’s still more to [Gamer’s Soul] I can feel it! But until then this is all I have.”

    I needed reassurance after the string of failures, so without much reason, I did one of the few things that I could do. I didn’t have to say it but considering my frustration I decided to be fancy. “Skills.”

    ~{Skills}~

    [Meditation] {Active} (Lv. 6): The ancient art of meditation, used to cultivate focus, and observe the flow of thoughts and emotions without judgement.

    <>
    Despite myself, a giddy feeling rose in my metaphorical chest. “So, what if I don’t have many of the game-like features in my reach, I’ll just succeed without them! Or better yet I’ll add them myself!”

    I knew that regardless of what the future had in store for me, I had to be patient if I wanted answers. But I wasn’t just going to sit there, content with what I had, never taking the initiative to do something. I had enough of that in my last life. So, with a lot more confidence than before I began putting my thoughts in order and prepared [Gamer’s Soul] to focus.

    “I can probably sit around like this for months and years and never go insane or have my mentality deteriorate. It might not work like the mental immunity skills that I read about in fics, however [Gamer’s Soul] did indeed remove the physical limitations of my mind. But I’m not going to do that! To hell with waiting for whatever reincarnation process to finish just to feel the wind on my face and the feel of my five limbs!”

    I knew what I had to do. Countless media had depictions of the wonderful Mind skill, from anime, manga, and light novels to Korean Web novels, even Sherlock Holmes and Hannibal Lecter had their own versions.

    The so-called [Mind Palace], [Mindscape], memory journey and…well it had many names, names which I couldn’t actually remember. It was supposed to be a real ability, something that anyone could do. It would allow me to at least imagine myself with a real body. In my last life, it was something I had attempted to learn…for about one afternoon, with barely any real interest beyond the cool factor. Now, both my motivations and ability were different, and I was determined to succeed.

    This wouldn’t be easy, but few things in life ever are. And so, I began to focus, but before I could totally sink myself into it, in a burst of inspiration I simultaneously activated [Meditation] to help with the creation of the new Skill.

    [Meditation] has gained a level!

    [Meditation] has gained a level!


    I must have spent a good hour before concluding that this bullheaded, stubborn way of doing things wasn’t going to work out any time soon. I needed to walk before I ran, so I shifted my focus.

    Run through multiplication tables. Division. Addition, Subtraction. Commit to memory. Recall random multiplications. Train [Memorisation] skill.


    ~Ping~

    [Memorisation] Skill Learned!

    [Memorisation] has gained a level!

    [Memorisation] has gained a level!




    ~Ping~

    [Mathematics] Skill Learned!

    [Mathematics] has gained a level!

    [Mathematics] has gained a level!


    Recall important moments in life. Commit to memory. Recall random moments and random details within the memories. Activate and deactivate [Memorisation] to recall details.

    This continued for a while, with my thoughts switching between different ideas to lay the foundation for the [Mind Palace] Skill until eventually, I hit what could be called a milestone for my purpose but inadvertently, partially solved the goal.

    ~Ping~

    [Replay Recall] Skill Learned!

    ~{Skills}~

    [Meditation] {Active} (Lv. 13): The ancient art of meditation, used to cultivate focus, and observe the flow of thoughts and emotions without judgement.

    [Memorisation] *{Active} *{Passive} (Lv. 5): Ability to store and recall information accurately
    and efficiently. *(Only information stored {Actively} while using the skill can be recalled {Passively} with it)


    [Mathematics] {Passive} (Lv. 4): Analyze and solve problems using logical reasoning and precise calculations. Aids in understanding structures, patterns, and relationships.

    [Replay Recall] {Active} (Lv. 1): Recall instances from your life in vivid detail.

    <>
    Immediately, I activated [Replay Recall] and [Memorisation] at the same time. In hindsight, I should have been more careful. Maybe cleared my mind with [Meditation], and thought of happy memories, instead, I subconsciously used the Skill on the one memory I should’ve remembered right after finding myself here. Looking back, even if my own death didn’t interest me, it should have stuck out as weird that I couldn’t remember it, unnatural even. But I guess I could blame this on my excitement in the end.

    Ironically it was the decade’s first case of excitement in a town of boring, peaceful mundanity that killed me in the end.

    [Replay Recall] Skill Activated!



    The orange glow of the sunset washes over us as we walk back home. Something about the colour always manages to unfocus my gaze and just take in the surroundings.

    The trees with leaves that are orange, red and every shade in between were almost glowing. The subtle intensity of sunlight left a pleasant warmth that I could feel under my uniform. Combined with the gentle breeze washing over us, I would say this was one of the best, most scenic walks in my life.

    I was undoubtedly in a good mood. I guess it helps that I was in pleasant company.

    “…Truly magical.” My head held high, quite literally at around a 30-degree angle, I continued to amble in the direction of the long blonde hair glowing orange at the edge of my vision.

    “— Hey, hey! Are you listening?! It’s gonna be the first night of summer break, we have to do something special! We can go to Uncle Chen’s for that moon festival thing? Or we could—Hey Dan, pay attention!” Excited amber eyes quickly turned irritated.

    The truth is, I was listening, just not in the way she expected. Her voice was just another pleasant detail in the atmosphere that was lulling me to sit down and take a nap in the middle of the road.

    I could’ve said that of course, if I was lucky I might’ve even gotten to observe one limited edition facial expression she had: I called it the pout-flush. It came with red cheeks and jutted lips.

    Instead, I pulled a Kakashi. “Hmmm? Did you say something?”

    Eyebrows twitching, she stopped her backward walk completely, instead taking a threatening step forward. “It seems like someone’s in desperate need of a kick in the balls, wouldn’t you say? Hmm?”

    With a sudden spin, I abandoned my listless walk. My left hand found its way into my pocket with the shoulder bent backwards, while my right hand and leg shot forward to complete the sacred stance. My fingers curled inward, and my index finger pointed at her, with a sudden stiffness and stoic masculinity radiating my form, I assumed my favoured JoJo pose. “Do it. Do it and see how I’ll get your mom to arrest you for violence…and sexual assault.”

    “Y-you…” Red in the face with anger and embarrassment, I left her at the side of the road as I walked past her.

    “Besides, it's not summer it’s fall break right now you dunderhead.” Skillfully, I steered the conversation out of what could have become an awkward moment.

    With a burst of speed, she caught up to my side, irritation bleeding off and leaving her face as she found a new topic to sink her teeth into. “Well, duh! I knew that! I was just testing to see if you were listening to me. I deserve that much for waiting back with you in school for so long! It's not like you had to sit and complete all your homework before you left school!”

    “I don’t care if it's called homework, at the end of the day it’s part of schoolwork and should stay in school. Far, far away from my cosy room. Also, why are you saying that as if you didn’t do the same thing as me?!” Then again, despite being my idea she finished her homework a lot faster than me…even if she pretended to take around the same time.

    Ann was the resident genius. The kind that wasn’t meant for this small town. While her smarts were indeed quite enviable, being the only child of the town's first female sheriff wasn’t worth any envy at all. Top it off with the fact that Michelle Anderson was a single mother, well…it meant that she had a lot to prove when it came to her work.

    What this ultimately meant for Ann Anderson was that she had a lot of free time, a mischievous streak a mile-wide, an adventurous nature and a distinct lack of any ambition beyond the town of Stowe. That and an absentee parent who pretty much left her with my family most of the time.

    “Hmm, well I guess I don’t mind if we binge on some anime the whole night.” Yes - I nodded to show my agreement -that was acceptable, and a lot less tiring than anything else she could cook up.

    “Also, what was that you said? ‘Truly magical’? Well, I understand if you were mesmerized by my beauty, but I think you were talking about the sunset right? Well, it's not all that magical you know~. It's just that as the sun sets, more of its rays get scattered by stuff in the atmosphere so the shorter wavelengths of light like blue and green get dispersed, only leaving the longer wavelengths, in this case, orange~.”

    More scientific trivia than I needed…Let me remain ignorant and enjoy the fruits of the Earth dammit!

    Wait, what’s with the smug expression? Ah! Ruined the sunset for me and now this! This was the outcome she’d wanted all along! Hmph! I'll let you have this one evil woman. We were both dead tired anyway, we would end up falling asleep long before we reached midway through the second episode of the anime marathon.

    But, I was a petty person, so I opened my mouth to try and irritate her further—

    Teeee~ Teeee~ Teeee~ Teeee~ Teeee~ Teeee~

    Both our phones sounded off at the same time. It didn’t indicate an incoming call, so I couldn’t quite place what it was. Ann, on the other hand, had an expression of distress almost as soon as she heard it and that was enough for me to whip out my phone with an urgency I didn’t feel until I actually saw what it was showing.

    An Amber Alert, in a town where almost everyone knew each other, wasn’t a common occurrence or something to be taken lightly. A child was missing. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than this happening today.


    EMERGENCY ALERT / ALERTE D’URGENCE

    AMBER ALERT, SUSPECTS: CCTV SPOTTED FOUR(4) INDIVIDUALS IN BLACK CLOAKS, ON FOOT, LAST SEEN HEADING INTO GAMEL FOREST TRAIL, FIVE(5) STUDENTS FROM STOWE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WERE KIDNAPPED FROM AN EXTRACURRICULAR CLUBROOM, WEARING STOWE ELEMENTARY UNIFORM, AGES 11 – 13.
    RESIDENTS ARE ADVISED TO STAY IN THEIR HOMES, ARM THEMSELVES AND DEFEND THEMSELVES IF ANY SUSPECTS ATTEMPT TO FORCE THEIR WAY IN.

    THE SHERRIF’S DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN DEPLOYED, IF YOU SPOT THE SUSPECTS OR THE VICTIMS CALL US AT (701) 823-4012 IMMEDIATELY.
    I just had to jinx myself huh? This wasn’t just a case of a missing kid. “’ Black cloaks ’? Did they get taken by some kind of cult?”

    “Dan, this was just across the street from us! I saw them when you were doing your homework! What should we do?!” Wait what?!

    “You saw suspicious people in black cloaks and didn’t think to tell me?! Wait, did you see the kids too?”

    Our high school was just across the street from Stowe Elementary School. It hadn’t been long since we left, the fact that we were so close to dangerous people filled me with dread. Frantically, I started looking around to make sure they weren’t nearby, with Ann doing the same.

    “I thought they were from the drama club or something! How was I supposed to know something like this would happen?! Nothing ever happens in this town!” Well, she wasn’t wrong…

    Click~

    “Let's get out of here, we need to—What the hell is that?! Where’d you get that from?!” Ann started looking for something in her backpack immediately after we finished looking around, I didn’t know what she was looking for, but I didn’t expect a gun!

    The determined expression on her face switched to a deadpan. “My mother’s a cop Dan.”

    “Your mother, the sheriff, told you to bring a gun to school?!” I was going to have to reevaluate my opinion of Michelle.

    “What? No! I meant that she has a bunch of guns lying around at home! I brought this one to fool around with in the forest in case we didn’t get to binge anime at home!”

    What the hell is wrong with you woman?!

    She glares at me almost as if— “ Ah, I said that out loud.”

    With an irritated expression, she hands me the gun.

    “We don’t have time for this Dan! Let's go save the kids!”

    How many double takes do you want me to do today?!

    I could tell she wasn’t going to back down easily, still, I tried to be reasonable. “Look even if we somehow end up helping, your mom’s gonna kill us right after.”

    “Who cares what she wants! Mom’s probably at Uncle Chen’s, that’s on the other side of town, she’ll take too long. And are you really going to leave those kids alone?” She was right, I was avoiding thinking about them. The fact of the matter was that we definitely knew those kids, this place was too small for it not to be the case. I just didn’t want to put Ann in danger because I knew she would insist on coming with me.

    “And don’t even think about leaving without me, I’m faster than you are anyways.”

    Gritting my teeth, I agreed. “Fine, but if we’re doing this you have to stay behind me. Show me where you saw them go.” I left no room for arguments, and she acquiesced.

    Soon, we left the road and took a detour through the trees. I inspected the gun Ann gave me. I couldn’t really tell what its name was, I was simply never interested in guns beyond being able to shoot straight, but it was a kind of revolver.

    There was a reason she gave the gun to me and didn’t use it herself; I was simply a really good shot. But that didn’t really help my nerves in this case. My heart was beating so fast I was worried I’d have a heart attack. Ann gave me a gun but was I really supposed to shoot another human being? Or was I simply going to threaten them? I wanted to ask her, but a quick look at her face told me that she was probably thinking of something, I knew better than to interrupt her train of thought.

    So, I ran, and Ann followed. This went on for a while until she stopped me. “There, I see some tracks!” I couldn’t but I trusted her too much to argue, instead I asked her for a plan.

    “What do we do when we find them?”

    She looked at me, as if searching my face for something, then after taking a deep breath, she spoke. “If the kids are safe, we can try to take one of the kidnappers hostage and tell them to surrender, if they don’t have any guns of their own we can simply demand surrender from the get-go. If…If they hurt the kids, then we shoot first and ask questions later.”

    “I—I don’t know if I can do that, Ann. I’ve never kille—” I felt one of her hands grasp mine. Huh, I was shaking.

    “You big dummy, I’d never ask you to do that! You can shoot one of them in the leg! They’ll probably be too scared to do anything after that!”
    Phew—Right, right. You’re right, I can do that.” That was a lot easier to stomach. A lot of my confidence came rushing back, I felt like I could actually do this.

    Before I could start walking in the direction Ann said the trail went, she stopped me. “Hey, would you really have kille—I mean uhh, defeated them if I asked you to?”

    “I don’t know what I would do if I had time to think. But otherwise, I probably would yeah.” I wasn’t really thinking when I answered her question, which is why I didn’t really react when she used game terminology to talk about killing the kidnappers.

    Her lips twitched upwards, and when she spoke next her voice was filled with a resolve I hadn’t ever felt from her before.
    If life was a game, then for Ann the difficulty setting was perpetually set to easy. This was why even when she came up with crazy ideas that took way too much effort to set up just to have fun, it always felt half-assed.

    “Daniel, when we get back, and I do mean when, not if, I have to tell you something that I’ve been putting off for too long.”
    Before I could speak she cut me off. “And I knooow~ there’s the cliché about promising to talk about important things before doing something dangerous, but we’ll be too distracted if I tell you now. So, chop chop! Let’s-a-go!”

    When she spoke of saving the kids, she was dead serious, yet I couldn’t help but feel like to her this was something she thought would be harder to do. So, I simply kept it in mind and once again swore that I would keep both of us safe even if I had to shoot some people in the leg to do so.

    <>
    As we trudged on in silence, the forest got darker, but we still had enough light to see the trail, that even I could spot now. It was like the kidnappers had only thought to reduce their tracks for a little while like they didn’t expect anyone to follow them.

    Maybe switching off your phone is an essential part of kidnapping, otherwise, these guys would have seen the alert and know that they weren’t being nearly discrete enough when they decided to snatch kids from a school with multiple CCTV cameras.


    “Dan, I think I have a rough idea of where they must have stopped. From the trails, I can tell they’ve been slowing down, but more importantly they’ve been getting sloppier. We should circle around that hill with the tree where we tried to build a treehouse for the 4th time. We need to know more about the kidnappers, a vantage point is a must.” Ann was confident in her skills, and she sounded as much.

    If she can tell all that from just this much, I can see the benefits of going out hunting more with her and dad instead of just sitting at camp waiting for them.

    It was at this point that she looked a little unsure. “The alert said that there were 4 of them, but I can only spot 3 trails. And this is after I searched really hard. Either they split up, or one of them is good enough not to leave any trails whatsoever. A person like that is bound to be dangerous. So, if you spot someone who looks like they’re walking with a lot of confidence, or if it feels like they’re gliding along the forest, then don’t hesitate and shoot them in the leg before they can try anything.”

    That said we made our way to the hill with the ancient-looking beech tree. Instead of stopping by the hill and looking over Ann dragged me over to the tree and then we helped each other climb up onto its branches.

    When we finally reached as high as we could without exposing ourselves, Ann dusted her hands off then went to hold one hand up to her mouth, then stopped and looked at them.

    “Hey Dan, can you open your mouth really quick?” Normally I’d always be on high alert for pranks, but right now I was too high-strung to question her decisions, so I did as she said.

    Too quick to react she stuck one of her fingers in my mouth and rubbed it around until it was wet. Then she held it up in the air as I was spitting the dust she left in my mouth.

    I was ready to raise my voice when she wrapped a hand around my mouth. “I’m feeling the wind. If that elusive guy is a ranger or something then I don’t really know what he’s capable of. But I know that being downwind of animals isn’t a good idea, hopefully, his sense of smell isn’t that great, but just to be cautious I’ll check the wind. Also, make sure to either whisper or not talk at all from this point on. I’ll look first, and then you can check, we need to keep our visibility at a minimum. The position of the sun isn’t giving us any advantages, but it’s the same for them.”

    Ann stuck her head out and I could instantly feel her tense. We were incredibly close, practically glued together but I wasn’t going to let my hormones be the end of us, so I ignored my reactions. This was especially easy when my brain caught up and supplied me with the only reason she would tense up in this situation.

    That means they’re here. My grip on the revolver tightened, I had long since cocked it, simply keeping my finger off the trigger, and making sure that no stray branch or bush got close to it. I didn’t want the click of the revolver to give us away.

    When Ann stepped back and turned to face me again her face was pale. Her voice was barely above a whisper, but she spoke quickly and concisely. “4 OPFOR in total. 3 old dudes, unathletic and maybe in their 50s. Focus on the tallest one first, he’s the one who left no tracks.”

    Then she stepped forward wrapped me in a tight hug and whispered into my ears. “I’m sorry Daniel, but we can’t aim for the legs. We have some time by the looks of it, but we need to end this quickly. I messaged Tony a while ago, he should be here with Mom soon, but apparently, they followed some false trails that we never noticed and it's going to take even longer to get here. The nerdy kids from the Magic Research Club are there, they’re gagged and tied up. One of the kids is down, I can’t tell from here, but it looks bad. These guys are bad news, some kind of crazy cultists. I—I don’t want you to think about it for now, OK? Just think of it like a game. Like it's me and you on Modern Warfare 2. I promise I’ll make up for it later all right?”

    At first, I tensed because of the hug, but I froze further when the implications of what she said hit me. I didn’t know how I would feel after this, but I knew Ann would be there for me. So, I didn’t think about it. I didn’t think about how one of the kids from our elementary school was probably dead. I didn’t think about how the kidnappers were apparently crazy cultists. I didn’t think about how I was going to kill someone in cold blood. Instead, I focused and opened myself up to something I didn’t know I could do until then.

    ~Ping~
    If someone unfamiliar with us was listening in they would have been confused with the confidence Ann had in my chances of successfully taking down someone who could be a skilled combatant as long as I caught them by surprise.

    The real reason why I never went hunting with Dad and Ann was because, when I did they didn’t actually get to make any shots before I’d already taken down the game. The same went for FPS games. I was good enough to top the leaderboards most of the time. My aim was unnaturally good, and it showed.

    Assume proper stance: My feet were shoulder-width apart, and my body was slightly crouched. My right hand tightened on the grip, with my left supporting it.

    Identify targets: My eyes scanned the clearing below. I saw 3 robed men standing in a circle drawing something with red liquid on the stone floor. One of the 3 looked more important than the others. They were in a hurry, with the important one urging the other two on. They were conversing quietly, but I was sure they were speaking in a language I couldn’t recognize. The 4th was a tall lithe man who walked in a way that made it hard to spot him if you took your eyes off him. He had a bow, and possibly other concealed weapons under his cloak. First the tall one, then the important old one, then the other two. Targets decided I moved on.

    Align sights: I brought up the revolver and aimed down its sights. I made sure the front sight was between the rear sights. Then I focused on the front sight.

    Control breathing: I took a deep breath, and prepared to hold my breath halfway through when I would breathe out.

    Squeeze Trigger: Using the pad of my index finger, I started applying gentle pressure at an optimal speed.

    The dangerous one had walked over to another one of the kids. It was little Liz. Elizabeth had been posting videos of silly little ‘magic’ rituals and potions she made with her friends online. They’d been getting quite a fair number of views. I guess they got the wrong kind of attention if some kind of cult watched their videos and possibly got offended by them, maybe?

    Bending down, he tried to reach for her, completely ignoring Liz’s muffled panicked cries. The moment he took the position I was waiting for; I took the shot.

    *~Bang~* 5 rounds left.

    Amazingly, I realized that the man had moved right before I took the shot. If someone else were in my position they would have possibly been in trouble. After all, who knew what he was capable of? He looked like he spent his entire life in the woods. Walking with a preternatural grace, making no sounds whatsoever, he was almost definitely faster and stronger than both I and Ann combined. Given the chance, he would disappear into the trees and kill us without notice.

    Alas, this world would never see his skills. I was already expecting the worst, which is why I made sure to compensate for the event that one of the others would warn him after spotting me. And so, instead of the bullet shredding through his chest at a deadly angle, it found its way into his spine, right below where the neck begins. The man dropped over Liz, like a puppet with its strings cut, creating the perfect meat shield for her, and ensuring she wouldn’t see anything more traumatic. Aside from being pinned under the corpse of her would-be killer. Nice going, Dan.


    *~Bang~* 4 rounds left. *~Bang~* 3 rounds left. *~Bang~* 2 rounds left.

    Of course, the surprise didn’t stop me from following through with my plan, adjusting my aim, and taking a shot at the rich-looking cultist as soon as the recoil from my shot was under control. It didn’t stop me when the bullet intended for him hit a force field that glowed briefly and outlined his form. It didn’t stop me from moving on as planned and gunning down the other two cultists as they startled and fell on their asses.
    No, what stopped me was that when I turned back to the important cultist, I saw him point a glowing necklace of some kind in my direction. What surprised me was how a beanbag-sized fireball materialized in front of it and was promptly shot in my direction with a yell of, “Granar!”

    *~Bang~* 1 round left.

    I took another shot, and I hoped to hit the necklace right on the glowing gemstone I noticed before turning around to grab Ann and jump off the tree. Only, I noticed that she had already slipped off and was discreetly moving over to where the kids were kept tied.

    Our eyes locked and I knew what I had to do. Distract the possibly crazy cultist wizard or the possibly crazy cultist with insanely advanced technology, while Ann takes the kids away, then lose his fat ass in the woods.


    Right as I touched the ground and rolled to lose momentum, I noticed the tree behind me explode in a shower of flames. I mean, it has to be advanced tech, right?! I mean he totally didn’t look at my gun like it was an alien looking to probe him! Was this guy really a wizard?!

    The possibility that Magic was real, was almost enough to distract me from the life-and-death situation. After all, this was something that I’d always wanted. However, I managed to rein in my excitement and focus on the current issue.

    I needed to take him down, but he had a forcefield or Magic shield of unknown capabilities. Normally pretty much any problem could be solved with an application of enough bullets, but I only had one shot, I had to make count.

    Coming around the side of the hill, I mentally reviewed what I knew of the forcefield. It had created a glowing outline around his body, but it wasn’t a tight fit. There was plenty of space in the middle, which meant that pressing the gun to his body and taking a shot might work. But trying to close the distance would not be easy.

    When I finally saw what had happened in the time between me jumping off the tree and running downhill, I couldn't even say I was surprised. The previous shot I had taken had paid off. The bullet had hit the necklace, but instead of destroying it, it had knocked it off the wizard’s hand. Ann had somehow managed to free the kids and still had time to steal the Magic necklace, she was now running away with them while trying to figure out how to use it against the Wizard.

    “Granar! Granar! C'mon you piece of shit, work!” While that was a good guess, I was pretty sure he was just swearing at us, and it wasn’t some chant used to activate the Magic item.

    The Wizard, on the other hand, was struggling with his robes, possibly trying to look for another Magic item. Well, I wasn’t going to give him a chance.

    I picked up a thick fallen branch and sprinted faster than I had ever before. Halfway to him, the wizard heard me running up to him. He had already retrieved a handful of gaudy gem-encrusted rings, putting some on his fingers and dropping the rest on the ground.

    With an angry sneer, he pointed his hand at me, the ring on his index finger glowed blue, materializing a blue bolt of magic which he then promptly flung at me.

    Filled with fear, I threw the branch at him, hoping that it would be enough to either throw off his aim or intercept the Magic bolt. Instead, the bolt simply destroyed the branch and impacted my left shoulder.

    I screamed as I felt the worst pain I’d felt in my life since the time a coyote had bitten my leg. But instead of falling, I simply stumbled and ran up to the crazy wizard kicking him in the chest as hard as I could, using the momentum to jump back as far as I could and taking cover behind a tree.

    The forcefield around him materialized and saved him from any damage but that didn’t stop him from falling backwards.

    Feeling the pain in my shoulder I resisted the urge to look down at it. I couldn’t feel my arm and was afraid I wouldn’t like what I would see. Instead, the pain brought the realization that the tree likely wouldn’t stop one of those bolts from hitting me.

    Just as I was about to start running away, my attention was taken away by a bright orange light that manifested some distance away from me. It was coming from the direction Ann had run in.

    “RUN AWAY DANIEL! I’M GONNA BLAST THIS CRAZY BASTARD BACK TO HIS ANCESTORS!”

    By now the last rays of the sun had already abandoned us, with the full moon shining down on the forest.

    There, in the distance, Ann stood with the magic necklace held high above her head. A massive fireball the size of a tank was floating above her illuminating the entire section of the woods. Her face was a mask of concentration, with rivers of sweat running down her brow and with a wordless shout she unleashed it in the Wizard’s direction.

    Distantly, I noted that the orange glow lighting up her hair made this scene quite like the one earlier today. Huh, can't deny that her smiling face was nice, but I like this one too.

    Her warning though welcome was unneeded. The moment I recognized the light I had already started running.

    The wizard had completely forgotten about me, perhaps due to my inability to bypass his protections. From the beginning, his face had only ever shown anger and momentary panic. Now, after seeing Ann use his own Magic item to greater effect than himself, all that was left on his face was terror and disbelief.

    Ann’s words had snapped him out of his daze, hurriedly he slammed his palm onto the forest floor. His face said that he didn’t truly know what he was doing, it was an act borne of desperation. No, it's not some random place, that’s where the centre of the magic ritual is!

    Instantly, the clearing began to glow an eerie red, with blood-red symbols drawn all over the floor indicating a perimeter of the ritual circle. It was with a sudden feeling of dread that I bounced off an invisible barrier that trapped me with the wizard.

    Prone to the dirt I watched as the fireball disappeared into the invisible barrier, almost as if the barrier had sucked it into its walls. The blood-red symbols were now glowing brighter, pulsing, and flashing like a heartbeat.

    Ann’s face showed despair and the Wizard was hysterically laughing at his success and survival. Taunting Ann in a language we couldn’t understand. Truly he could say that he had claimed the last laugh. Fortunately for me, in this case, I was being quite literal.

    *~Bang~* 0 rounds left.

    With a hole in his head, the last crazy cultist fell dead to the ground. At the same time, the flashing of the blood-red symbols stopped, slowly glowing dimmer.

    While the Wizard was celebrating his victory, I had snuck up behind his back and fired the revolver at his head at a point-blank distance. His forcefield was unable to protect him from such a close threat.

    Dropping the revolver to the floor, I stumbled in Ann’s direction, with my heart pounding in my ears. In a detached manner, I observed that the reason I couldn’t feel my arm anymore was because half my shoulder had burnt off leaving my arm hanging off it. Man, adrenaline can do wonderful things if I was able to ignore this. This is probably gonna hurt like crazy in a little bit, huh?

    “Dan! Hey, talk to me, please! I need to know you’re OK!” Ann was banging her hands on the barrier, which I noted still hadn’t come down. Liz was standing next to her wringing her hand and looking around nervously, tears falling down her face. Guess the other kids ran off to find Ann’s mom.

    “H-Hey there, Ann. I’m doing fine. Say, Liz when exactly is t-this barrier coming down? Now that Magic is real, I’m going to be taking you a lot more seriously.” I slumped down on a log by the barrier, too tired and injured to stay standing.

    “Umm, I-Its not a barrier? At least it's not just a barrier. The dark wizards said they were going to sacrifice our souls to pay for passage b-back to their world…” She can understand them?

    “Wait, you can speak their language? Also, what’s this about not being just a barrier!?” Ugh, don’t scare the kid now Ann.

    “W-Well, I-I think it's because I summoned them? So, I couldn't understand their language, b-but I could somehow understand what they meant!” While still nervous, scared and most probably traumatized, the talk of Magic still managed to bring back some confidence to the 13-year-old. Adjusting her glasses, the brown-haired girl rambled on with wild hand movements.

    “Summoned?! So, they weren’t from some secret organization coming to silence you for revealing magic on the internet?” Well, it made sense. Magic probably couldn’t be hidden in today’s technologically advanced society.

    “N-NO! We accidentally summoned them! I think they were running away from someone, so they took a risk and entered a rift or void or something! My summoning circle must have intercepted them somehow? I don’t think they could teleport because they wanted to enter their own world from some other point, that’s what this ritual circle is for!”

    “You said they wanted to sacrifice your souls?! Is Daniel going to be OK?!” At this point Ann had taken hold of the girl's shoulders and was shaking her.

    “Y-Yes! He’ll be fine! T-They were going to kill us so that the ritual would capture our souls. T-That’s why they took all of us. O-One soul for one trip. A-Also, they k-killed Sam, *Sob* s-so they could u-use his blood for t-the circle…” As she spoke her shoulders sunk low and she started sobbing quietly, reminding both Ann and me that despite running headfirst into this situation we couldn’t save all the kids.

    Liz continued to speak. “B-but now that you k-killed the bad wizard, his soul was probably f-fed to the circle. I d-don’t know how to stop the ritual…A-also, u-umm the l-last wizard, d-didn’t know any real magic besides using m-magic items, from w-what I heard the o-other two complaining about, I think he was a n-noble’s lazy son?”

    At that, both Ann and I started. Looking down I noticed that the symbols were glowing with an increasing intensity. From the back of the forest, I noticed the sounds of police sirens. Michelle, you really need to work on your timing.

    I imagine Ann heard them as well, but she completely ignored them. Looking at me, her face was cycling through different emotions.
    Thinking about my situation, I let out a sudden laugh. I always wanted an Isekai experience. To escape the mundane world. Learn Magic, go on adventures, explore ancient ruins, go dungeon diving, and save the day.

    Hahaha, I-I never thought this was how my Isekai adventure would begin. I never even got to meet Truck-kun. Hey, Ann, I guess I won that bet, huh? Listen, Ann, I don’t know how I’ll do it, or how long it’ll take but—”

    “No.” What?

    “…” It was the same expression. The one I’d seen on her face when she said she had something she’d tell me after we went back home from this ordeal.

    “I don’t want to hear it! You don’t get to make some speech where you get in the last word! You don’t get to make me wait for you while I’m left behind worrying for you!” I wanted to say something. To tell her that I would be back, that she didn’t have to worry about me. But I couldn’t, not when I was looking at her face, but I couldn’t turn away from her, not now.

    “This is how it's going to go. You’re going to find a safe place for yourself, and I’m going to find you. No matter how long it takes or how far you go, I’ll find you.” All I could do was stare into the eyes whose gaze had pinned me down. Dad did say I could never win against her, even if I defeated her. I never truly understood that…until maybe today.

    “Well, at least we agree we’ll see each other again, even if we don’t agree on how we do it.”

    “Did you really think you could go to another world alone? You’re not going to get rid of me that easily Daniel Walker.”

    At that, I simply snorted. “How are we going to find each other?”

    She simply deadpanned at me. “How do we normally find each other in open-world games? Besides, this is gonna be a sandbox with complete freedom, we can use any of the options.” All right, I guess that was dumb of me.

    The light from the symbols was reaching blinding levels now. Liz had run off towards the sirens. I could see Ann’s mother walking through the clearing with her gun in hand. Instead of worrying about anything else I refocused on Ann.

    “Hey, do you remember that thing we used to get our DnD characters to say when we used the Plane Shift spell in the campaigns?” I asked with a hopeful expression.

    Ann giggled. “Well, it is pretty appropriate in this situation. Then let's say it as one!”

    We balled our fists and let our knuckles meet on either side of the Barrier.

    “ ”May the Great Adventure never end!” ”

    With that, the red light completely engulfed my vision, and everything went dark.





    [Replay Recall] has gained a level!

    [Replay Recall] has gained a level!

    [Replay Recall] Skill Deactivated!

    ~Ping~

    [Firearms Mastery] Skill Relearned!

    [Firearms Mastery] has gained a level!

    [Firearms Mastery] has gained a level!

    [Firearms Mastery] has gained a level!



    ~{Skills}~

    [Meditation] {Active} (Lv. 13): The ancient art of meditation, used to cultivate focus, and observe the flow of thoughts and emotions without judgement.

    [Memorisation] *{Active} *{Passive} (Lv. 5): Ability to store and recall information accurately and efficiently. *(Only information stored {Actively} while using the skill can be recalled {Passively} with it)

    [Mathematics] {Passive} (Lv. 4): Analyze and solve problems using logical reasoning and precise calculations. Aids in understanding structures, patterns, and relationships.

    [Replay Recall] {Active} (Lv. 4): Recall instances from your life in vivid detail.

    [Firearms Mastery] {Passive} (Lv. 34): Skill in wielding firearms ranging from pistols and shotguns to rifles and heavy weaponry.

    <>
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2023
    Candyturtle, Ronmr, William and 46 others like this.
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter 1.5 - Those Left Behind
    AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Chapter 1.5 - Those Left Behind

    POV – Ann:

    I watched as the blinding red light finally died down, showing an empty space where just a moment ago he was there. A perfectly spherical cut had been taken with him at the centre, a part of the ground and half of the log he had been resting on were missing. The rest of the clearing had been left untouched.

    The smile on my face was gone. The realization that he was truly gone, had finally set in. Gone to an unfamiliar place, with no one to help him. Without me. Come back. Come back. Come back. Come back. Please come back.

    My ears were ringing, everything was blurry, my body felt numb, I was nauseous, I…When did I get into the car?

    “—don’t care Tony! Get Mathews to take pictures of the crime scene! And if he can’t do it I’m gonna grab that amateur photographer that just moved into town and have him do it instead! Is. That. Understood?!” I could hear Mom whispering harshly into her phone.

    “Hey Mom…Did I black out or something?” Wow, what a way to start a conversation, you go Ann!

    “Ann! You finally came to! Now tell me what happened! Why do I have 4 dead kidnappers, one dead kid and a single missing teenager?!”
    She didn’t know how she was supposed to explain everything that happened. Would she even believe me?

    No! I can’t think like that! I have to pull myself together! If I ever want to get him back then I can’t afford to wallow in self-misery.

    “Urgh! Sorry for raising my voice…I’m not mad at you. OK, maybe I'm a little angry, but I just want your version of the events. I—I talked to the kid, uhh Elizabeth, right? Yeah her. I don’t want to believe her, but I did see your boyfriend vanish in front of my eyes so I’m trying to keep an open mind ha-ha!”

    Normally I’d deny it or change the topic but there were things I had to do, and I didn’t have time for Mom’s humour.

    “Look, Mom, it's true all right! Whatever she said it's true! Evil cult Wizards dropped into our dimension and abducted the kids to use them as sacrifices to go back! We don’t have time for this. I need to get to Daniel. Please tell me you picked up all the stuff those bastards dropped; I’m going to need it to find him!” I needed to experiment with those Magic items.

    “Woah there, sweetie you know that’s all evidence, right? I can’t just hand it over to you—”

    “Mom you can’t give that stuff away. If the government finds out about this they’ll never give me a chance to find him! Also, I actually ended up using one of those magic items. Do you really think they’ll leave us alone?!”

    “…” The silence meant she was considering it. She didn’t want all this attention on her town. And I know you like Dan…no matter how much you make fun of him to hide it.

    “All right, look, you show me proof of this magic mumbo jumbo and I’ll consider it, all right?” With that, she took a sharp turn and started driving back into the forest. Yes!

    “Take us to Gamel River. It’ll be safer there!”

    <>
    “Well, I’ll be damned…” Mom watched me fire the 3rd fireball straight into the water.

    I concentrated on the energy within me. The Magic necklace – or an amulet I guess? – did almost all of the work for me. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t help it along.

    The energy I felt within was almost definitely Mana or some other kind of spiritual power. It felt like an endless well of energy. Every time I used the amulet to cast the Fireball, I found it easier to amplify the spell, packing more of my Mana into it.

    The first time I used my Mana was something I don’t think I could ever forget. I remember launching the Fireball at the Noble Cultist, completely prepared to kill him. Before I’d told Dan to shoot the kidnappers, I’d always made sure to use the word ‘we’ when talking about killing them, and I meant it. It didn’t matter that he was the one who pulled the trigger. I was just as responsible as him.

    I can feel guilty about killing scum after I’ve reached Daniel again.

    Focusing back on the task at hand, I was tempted to yell out ‘Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique!’ but that would just go over Mom’s head and make her give me a weird stare.

    Dan would understand. He’d be there to laugh with me. He might even make the Fugaku face and tell me how Uchiha must not show emotions! The thought made me giggle, fortunately, Mom was too enraptured by the flames to see it.

    The smile that was blooming on my face withered almost instantly. Once again I was reminded of how alone I felt without him.

    “So, you get it right? I need any of the trinkets that hold Magic within them. I also need any books that they had. Those cultists should definitely have the way to make the passageway to the other world! We can even use the circle they made.”

    “Well, all right. It shouldn’t be a big deal—”

    “Actually, Sherrif Anderson, we’d prefer it if you didn’t hand evidence from an interdimensional crime over to a 16-year-old.”

    “WHO—?” Startled, I aimed the amulet behind us and noticed Mom pull out her gun and do the same.

    A brown-haired woman in a suit was standing behind us with her hand behind her back. With a placid smile on her face, she waited patiently for us to calm down.

    Before I could even begin to question her, she spoke. “I’m former Targeting Officer Jones from the CIA. I’ve been instructed to offer an internship position to one Ann Anderson with the US government. The specific department name is either classified, not created yet or I simply haven't been told, this job was on quite short notice.”

    “Why ‘former’?” I couldn’t stop myself from questioning.

    “I’ve been ‘promoted’ to the department that deals with events like…well events like when 4 interdimensional fugitives commit crimes on US soil, and when teenage girls manage to shoot fireballs with their minds.”

    “Why didn’t show up sooner?! If it's your job then Dan shouldn’t have been the one who had to stop them!”

    With a small frown on her face, she spoke. “ I’m sorry we weren’t able to arrive on time. The scanners were able to pick up on the anomaly, but triangulating the correct location, and then sending our drones to confirm it takes time. We can’t risk sending in people without at least that much.”

    Drones! They were probably watching everything that happened.

    Before I could talk further Mom stepped in. “ So, what do you want with my daughter.” I realized she hadn’t put away her gun. Then again, I have my own Mana channelling even now.

    “Like I said earlier, a government-sponsored internship. You see we have a vested interest in figuring out a method of interdimensional travel. As one of the few people capable of harnessing the newly discovered energy, we can provide all the resources your daughter needs to help us find a solution. Seeing as we have the same goal I would like to think you would find this offer quite lucrative. Finding a missing US citizen is a noble goal after all.”

    So, that’s why they need me. I thought that using magic with these tools was quite easy, but it might not be the same for everyone else.

    “So, you’ll help me find Daniel? And all you want is the same thing, to reach the other world?” I wasn’t a fool, if the government was willing to help then the chances of me succeeding went up a lot. More importantly, the manpower and time saved meant that taking her offer was a no-brainer.

    “Calm down kiddo, you don’t make these kinds of decisions in a hurry. Say, Officer Jones, was it? You wouldn’t happen to have any identification, would you? A Mother worries you se—”

    As Mom continued speaking with Officer Jones I took the time to run through my thoughts. Going over multiple scenarios in my head I could only reach one conclusion.

    I had to take the offer. This was just like the race to the moon: ‘The Space Race’ during the Cold War. The US fought Russia fiercely for something that only showed a possibility of being useful. Interdimensional travel on the other hand? This was in a whole other ballpark.
    Thinking back on it, even if I was able to kill the cultists, that was something I did in the heat of the moment. Would I really be able to kill more people while experimenting with ways to reach Daniel? Because I knew I would have to, at least until I figured out how to remove the sacrificial portion of the ritual circle the cultists used to reach here. No, if I do that I won’t deserve to meet him again.

    The government would have ways to get death row inmates or people who might volunteer to do it for us. Regardless, it wouldn’t be me who had to dirty my hands to achieve my goal.

    Besides, I thought, looking back at the woman who had snuck up on me and Mom without either of us noticing. Standing there with an innocent expression on her face, peacefully conversing with Mom. If I don’t work with or for them, in their eyes I would be working against them.


    These people aren’t interested in getting Daniel back. As long as I make my position in their ‘department’ unshakable and utterly irreplaceable, they will work to satisfy me.

    Feeling the comfortable thrumming of my Mana, I realized I also had another option. If that doesn’t work all I have to do is learn enough magic to become too strong for them to do anything to me.


    My resolve was found. I started walking back to my car and waved for Mom to follow after me, interrupting their conversation.
    Jones raised an eyebrow at me. “So, what exactly is your decision, Miss Anderson.”

    “You already know you’re my best chance at finding Daniel. Besides it would be highly impractical of me to try doing so on my own. You can send someone to find me at the Walker family home, I need to talk to Dan’s parents…and take a hot shower.”

    Jones smiled brightly at that. “Very well. Personally, I believe you made the right decision. The team will be glad to have you.”

    “Yeah, yeah whatever. C'mon, Mom let's go back. We have a lot to talk about.”

    <>

    POV – Jones:
    I watched as our latest recruit walked back to her car sedately. All previous signs of anxiety and nervousness had vanished from her frame. Truly a remarkable young woman.


    Preparing to vacate the area myself, I called into my radio, relaying the needed information to my operator.

    “This is Echo 3-1, catch successful over.”

    “Sierra 2-4, copy. Good work, over.”

    Unable to help myself I voiced the question that had been on my mind since the brief I received before approaching the Anderson mother-daughter duo.

    “How exactly did you find so much information on her on such short notice? This isn’t exactly a populated area, and she hasn’t done anything worth noticing yet, she’s just a kid. So much raw data, and you had an entire psych profile on her, even if it is incomplete. Is there some classified info that someone didn’t bother to tell me about?”

    My operator chuckled. “Not at all. The simple fact is that child geniuses are always going to be people of interest. In today’s society, it's always the smart cookies that can singlehandedly bring about change in society. The talent of intelligence is too valuable to overlook. Even if we don’t act on the information, countries like China are always on the lookout for these types. To them, kidnapping a single child and relocating them to a ‘better’ country is a good thing. Even if they end up not achieving much, it’s all an investment in the end. A single success will make up for all the failures.”

    That…made a lot of sense.

    “Truth be told before we even noticed the dimensional anomaly, a team from another department was already en route to your position. The town of Stowe only has around 1,000 people living in it. The moment our system registered the words ‘Stowe’ and ‘Kidnap’ the department that handles the monitoring of the ‘Human Resources’ of the country had already dispatched a team to ensure it wasn’t another country causing trouble on US soil.”

    Huh, but still the girl didn’t have the achievements necessary to justify this much research into her. “She’s a brave girl who fought off some kidnappers, but I didn’t see any of her so-called ‘child genius’ exploits. It was Daniel Walker that dispatched the magic aliens.”

    “Hahaha, and you probably never will. She hacked into all systems that had info on them and deleted it at some point. Not only does the girl have intelligence she’s also paranoid and jaded.”

    What? “Did she hack into our systems too?”

    “Who knows? You’ll be working with her in the future, get acquainted with her. We already know what she wants. Her interests are tied directly to us. But that's only for a little while. She’s already tasted her first blood today and she doesn’t look discouraged. Stick close to her and update her profile at all times. Once she finds her boy, she’s an unknown element. Make sure she’s interested in being on our side even after she’s got the boy back. If not that, then Control wants us the make sure she goes back to the quiet life she seems to prefer. For now, she’s a hyper-intelligent 16-year-old, but if she keeps making progress with those Magical Artefacts or learns to do similar things without their aid, then she’s going to be a lot harder to handle.”

    “The job description was severely lacking…”

    “Well, I'm sure you’ll do fine. We have a new local base set up next to the residence of one Chen Lee. I hear he’s got some festivities going on. 13-year-old Samuel Baker’s death is going to hit the town hard, but businesses need to run through hell and high water, it helps that his diner is probably where many of the mourning families are going to gather. Try introducing yourself to the townsfolk and integrate. Anyway, I’ve got to go eat dinner, I’m on call if you need me, over and out.

    ~Teeee~

    Tilting my head up to look at the full moon, I couldn’t help but sigh. “This is going to be a lot of work…”
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2023
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  4. readsalot

    readsalot I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Very interesting, Watched. ;)
    looking forward to the next chapter :D
     
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  5. AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Chapter 2 will be up in approximately 12-16 hours!
    ( ^ω^)
     
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  6. MarcusDeGabriel

    MarcusDeGabriel Experienced.

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    This seems interesting, I don’t care overly much for having multiple POV’s, but it works nicely for the setup. It’ll be interesting to see what worlds he travels to going forward and I hope he doesn’t try to learn EVERYTHING, it’s just too many “skills”.
     
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  7. AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Yeah don't worry about learning too many skills. There's a narrative reason for him not to! You'll spot it in the next chapter! (◕‿◕)
     
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  8. Threadmarks: Chapter 2 - Waking Up
    AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Chapter 2 - Waking Up

    Pre-chapter Note:

    Heya! |ʘ‿ʘ)╯

    Chapter 2 will follow Dan again, but its got a little twist!

    Anyways enjoy and meet me again in the post-author notes on why this happened!




    POV – Daniel:

    I woke up to a stone ceiling. The air was stagnant, filled with a stuffy old smell like no one had opened the windows for a while. There was also a hint of something coppery in the air.

    I couldn't remember what I was doing last. My head was spinning, and I felt like I'd just been through the worst roller coaster ride of my life. Considering that Stowe didn't have a single amusement park and that I'd never truly left the town to visit one, that wasn't saying much, but it was the spirit of the argument that mattered.

    Pressing my palms to my sides, I pushed off the ground and sat up, looking around blearily. I noticed that I was sleeping on a rectangular piece of stone.

    As I was absent-mindedly dusting my hands off, something caught my vision, and I froze.

    A few feet away, lying on the floor with a small mound of dirt and one-half of a perfectly cut log, was a body. If it was just a random body even if I assumed it was a dead body and not just someone who was unconscious I would still probably not have been as surprised to see it as this one. After all, anyone would go dead-still if they saw their own freakin' body!

    I looked down at my hands, finally noticing how small they were. Panicked, I ran over to the body and reached into its back pocket, pulling out my phone, I didn't bother unlocking it, but the facial recognition failing gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach. Instead, I clicked on the camera icon, switched to the front camera, and waited with bated breath.

    What the selfie camera showed me was both familiar and not. The face I saw was young, maybe 10 years old? I was never good at approximating ages. Instead, I focused on the defining features of the face, the hair was mostly black, but like an infestation of a particularly bad case of fungus, a wave of blonde hair could be seen if one looked closely.

    My skin was pale. The cheeks were round and perfect for pinching with just the right amount of baby fat. Between the cheeks was a small and delicate-looking nose. A small beauty mark could be seen right under the right eye, but it seemed to be almost fading away.

    Looking over the rest of the body, I found that nothing quite looked like my own original body. It was like someone took a child and slightly mashed my own features over them.

    But there was one feature that remained unchanged. Bringing the camera closer to my face, I stared into my eyes. Deep, dark ethereal purple. They were the only components of mine I considered truly unique about me.

    It's said that the eyes are a window to the soul. Considering what I know about my soul, it doesn't feel all that weird anymore.

    It was at the thought of my soul that I recalled everything that had just happened.

    Looking over at my body, I realized that the fat noble must have messed up the ritual circle somehow. Seeing my own dead body was a surreal experience. Just to be sure I checked its pulse and made sure that it was truly dead. Only once I was satisfied did I start observing my surroundings properly.

    I was in a stone room of some sort. There were crystals lighting up the room until it was just moderately lit. A ritual circle had been etched into the floor of the room. The Passive effects of [Memorisation] kicked in and reminded me that while the symbols were of the same colour, the actual style was completely different. Something to remember. Why would it be so different?

    It was a moment later that I realized the body I currently inhabited must have been some sort of sacrifice. The child was probably kept here so that they could use his soul right after they arrived. Of course, without their full story, any speculation was meaningless.

    Somehow, after inhabiting this new body, it was changing to reflect my own appearance. I didn't know if this was just going to be a slow gradual process, or if the changes had already stopped.

    One after the other the implications of what happened hit me. I killed 4 people, then I possessed a 10-year-old's body. I left my parents alone. I left Ann alone.

    Sitting down next to my corpse, I let the familiar feeling of [Meditation] wash over me. I sat there thinking about all that happened, processing it. I don't know how long I must have spent like that, but it was a significantly calmer self that emerged from my thoughts.

    I don't regret killing those people.

    Thinking back, Ann did use the word 'we' when she talked about shooting them. While did indeed pull the trigger, it was the two of us that were responsible. Not just for killing the cultists but also for saving the kids.

    The new body…wasn't something I could do anything about. But for my own peace of mind, I'm going to assume that the kid was dead before I came here and took over.

    As for the part where I'd left everything I had behind…I wasn't going to despair about something that could be fixed. The fact that I was capable of reaching here meant that I could go back as well. Pretty much every Isekai protagonist gives up on ever returning home, to me that didn't make sense.

    It barely took me a couple of minutes and a single teleportation to reach here. A flight to Mexico would feel longer and further away.

    Ann was strong, she was the one who gave me the strength to smile even as the ritual was taking me away. She would be fine; she would also reassure Mom and Dad. So instead of dwelling on useless things, I should move on and try to find a way home.

    "But if I ever want to go home. I need to survive. This is real life for me. I can't just rush out into this world and hope that everything will go well. There are literally so many things that can kill a 10-year-old. And that's just in a mundane world, this one almost definitely has Magical things on top of that!"

    Mauled by an animal. Killed by bandits. Poisoned by unknown vegetation. Tripping and falling on my head…The list was endless. Time itself could be against me.

    There could be common things that I would have no knowledge of. Things that even children might know. Moreover, there's the fact that the cultists were the only people I can safely say had access to interdimensional movement. Even if it was a hail mary for them, things not of this world could be considered taboo if they were associated with the cult., and I was an Otherworlder.

    I had to take my lessons from all the Worm fanfiction I'd read. Information was both my greatest enemy and my greatest ally. Even if this world wasn't being monitored by Eldritch Space Gods, it might still have people capable of Divination magic which is basically Information Gathering Magic. Seers and other people capable of seeing the future, even Clairvoyants who could be monitoring the planet for anomalies were things I had to plan for.

    I had to make a promise to myself here and now. "I will do my best to minimize any harm that comes to this realm in my time here." Hopefully, that will be enough to stave off the cliches about Otherworlders bringing about destruction to the world they are in. Also, if anyone was listening in then they'll hopefully leave me alone.

    Well, if there really are people out there who are powerful enough to become aware of me right after I came into the world they would have probably shown up by now.


    "Know yourself, know the enemy and you have a decent chance at winning the war." I think that's how the quote went?

    What do I know about my own capabilities? : I am capable of learning things at an advanced rate through the creation of Skills. However, I could feel myself getting 'tired' when I was creating skills. This ability should be used carefully, the consequences of Spiritual Exhaustion are unknown and need to be tested only in a safe environment with supervision by an individual who has knowledge of the subject and can provide aid in an emergency.

    [Memorisation] can be used to quickly learn things in place of creating new skills. This skill might also result in Spiritual Exhaustion to a lesser extent and should be used sparingly.

    As far as I can tell, I am a unique existence. My status as an Otherwolder and the nature of my Soul's Gamer Powers must be kept secret to avoid danger.


    What do I know about the enemy? : The enemy, in this case, the foreign environment and unfamiliar situation. I know this world has the concept of nobles from the events back on Earth. Expecting a medieval noble system of society is a fair assumption and must be given priority in future theories made with little to no information.

    The morals of this world may be divergent from my own but should be close enough to be comfortable. The cultists were on the run, probably from the authorities there to catch them. This could be a religious body or the state government in other words the royal family.

    I also have to acknowledge that I don't know nearly enough about anything here.


    How do I win the battle? : First I have to identify what victory even is for me. In this case, the goal of the War is to go home, but the goal of the first battle is to survive.

    To survive immediately I need Water, Food and Shelter. Long-term survival needs information. My best chance at fulfilling both is to use my newfound youth to pose as a lost child suffering from amnesia. A simple self-inflicted head wound to the skin of the forehead should suffice.

    I have to make my way to any kind of civilization and integrate myself with the local population. I should prioritize smaller settlements with tight-knit communities instead of bigger cities.

    Orphanages might accept a clueless 10-year-old, but if it is a medieval society trying to find a simple job with a sympathetic individual might also work.


    Deactivating [Meditation] I checked in on the skill.



    [Meditation] has gained a level!

    [Meditation] has gained a level!



    ~{Skills}~

    [Meditation] {Active} (Lv. 18): The ancient art of meditation, used to cultivate focus, and observe the flow of thoughts and emotions without judgement.



    <>
    "I still haven't felt any of my inner energies. Maybe I'll have better luck when it's at level 20? Or is it because I wasn't really looking for them specifically yet? Well, at least it does help a lot when it comes to clearing my head and helping me think."

    Looking over myself, I realized I was wearing very simple peasant clothes made of coarse material. For some reason, I couldn't really think of them as Western Medieval in style, rather they looked a little Asian instead. But peasants probably didn't have a lot of choices so I guess shouldn't look too deeply into it. "Why the heck don't they have pockets? Could I get rich if I introduce them here?"

    Stepping over to my former body I stripped it of its shirt to use as a makeshift bag. Next, I made my way over to the pile of dirt and half the log that made its way here with me. I placed as many stones and pebbles and as much dirt as I could into my new bag and kept it aside.

    Going over to the log, I checked it for any loose pieces and tore them off. Going back to the bag, I wrapped it close and made sure to leave the sticks to poke out of it so that they could be easily removed.

    Finally prepared, I lifted the sack and swung it over my shoulder. That is until I immediately noticed my problem when I started swaying with it.

    "I can't afford to lose my balance, right after I identified tripping as one of the ways most likely to kill me dammit!"

    Putting away the bag, I sat down in [Meditation] and pulled my focus onto two things: [Gamer's Soul] and my new body.

    From there I started making slight movements all along the body while keeping my focus. Comparing the instructions my mind was giving the body to the actual movements I made. This continued for a while until—

    ~Ping~

    [Body Control] Skill Learned!

    ~{Skills}~



    [Body Control] {Passive} (Lv. 1): Ability to master and manipulate physical movements with precision, grace, and finesse. The Skill encompasses physical feats such as agility, balance, and coordination. Apart from performing athletic and acrobatic manoeuvres, social abilities like controlling reactions and body language are also included. The skill also shows proficiency in piloting new bodies or adapting to changes made to existing ones.

    <>
    I grinned. "This was better than expected! Of course, it's still level 1, so I have to work on it, but even without stats, the basic human body is capable of doing crazy things. With this skill, I'll eventually be able to perform all kinds of stunts!"

    Picking up my bag I started walking around the room in circles. Then I experimented with running, jumping and other basic movements.

    [Body Control] has gained a Level!
    Around 15 mins in I stopped. "Only one. Ugh, this one is going to be hard to level, huh? Well for now I can just continue on normally, the skill will get better as I get used to moving in this new body."

    Eventually, with this, I would completely master normal movements, to the point where tripping or stumbling would be impossible for me if I didn't do it on purpose. I already knew that Skills could Synergize with one another, so using [Body Control] with some Martial arts skills or other physical skills will probably work nicely.

    I walked over to the only exit I found while walking around the room: a set of stone steps leading up.

    Games had taught me to look for hidden exits and loot. They had also taught me that not checking for traps was a supremely stupid thing to do, which was why I made sure to prod everything even remotely suspicious with the sticks I'd taken from the log.

    "*Huff-huff* Man these stairs were not made for children. With all the cardio I did back in my old body this trash stamina is going to get old fast."

    Crouched over the last step, I observed the hallway that led to a cave entrance. I could see the light of day clearly, but apart from making out the sounds of birds chirping and the winds blowing I couldn't make anything else out.

    The innocence of the hallway was what made it suspicious. "Really, just a sacrificial altar so easily accessible by anyone? This has to be trapped!"

    Setting my makeshift bag down I untied it and got to work testing the entire hallway for traps, throwing dirt, stones and sticks at every stone brick I could see.

    10 minutes in I was starting to feel desperate. I knew it in my guts, this place was trapped, but if it wasn't activated by a pressure plate then I wasn't going to be able to test it. But if I stay here too long I'll starve to death! It doesn't matter if humans can survive for long without food, any reduction in my already trashy physical ability will increase my chances of death!

    "I have to risk it…I have no choice." Before I could doubt myself or talk myself into stopping I picked up my bag, shouldered it and ran as fast as I could straight through the hallway and into the forest beyond.



    [Gamer's Soul] has Negated [???] {Unknown Mental Influence}

    [Gamer's Soul] has Negated [???] {Unknown Mental Influence}


    I could feel something, brushing against my mind, trying to break through to it, but utterly incapable of doing so.

    "Woah! That feels all tingly and weird!" Most of my nervousness vanished when I realized that rather than a trap, there was probably some kind of Magical Ward placed here so no one would be able to find it in the first place.

    Looking back, I could clearly see the entrance of the cave, however, if I focused I could also see what the illusion was meant to show. In my Mind's Eye, I could see a natural-looking layer of rock covering up the entrance to the cave.

    "Ha-ha! This is great! I don't have to worry about Mind Control anymore!" That was one of my biggest worries. Not overt Mind Control, but subtle applications of Mental Magic that I might not even know about until it was too late. [Gamer's Soul] was proving to be quite a powerful ability.

    "Hmm? Maybe I can use this as a secret base? But I need to make sure that no one else knows about this place. If it was prepared by the cultists beforehand then it's probably something no one knows about. But if the cultists told their friends about it, then they should have arrived here by now." I would have to consider it a viable option for now.

    "Now where the heck am I supposed to go?" All around me, I could see extremely tall, lush trees, with paradoxically short and sparse grass and bush presence. The only thing heavily abundant on the forest floor was a dense layer of compacted fallen leaves from the trees.

    I need to get to a vantage point, to make sure I don't miss anything obvious. One of the first things that came to mind when travelling in an unknown forest, was that it could be very easy for me to miss a sign of civilization close to me and end up waking in a completely wrong direction.

    "Looks like I have to climb a tree and see how it goes huh?" Picking the tallest tree, I could find I climbed onto a boulder near it to gain access to its branches.

    Already slightly tired, I looked up to see just how far I had to climb and couldn't help but lament my fate. "*Haah-haah* This is insane I'm going to die of exhaustion long before anything else! Let's hope I don't take too long." At the very least this will probably level up my [Body Control] Skill.

    -<>-

    [Body Control] has gained a Level!
    From the highest point of the tree that I could reach, I looked down into the vast forest. As far as I could see, the forest was endless. There were hills that obfuscated my sight in some directions, but apart from that, my eyes literally couldn't see anything other than the green trees.

    That is until I looked closer and clearly spotted a road, that looked fairly well-used. Well, calling it a road was deceptive. It was just a line in the forest, where there was no grass, very few fallen leaves and no big rocks at all. A typical rural pathway.

    Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath. Stowe had its own share of greenery, but something about this place just made it feel so much more in tune with nature. It was refreshing.

    Unbidden, my lips twitched upwards, and a wide smile bloomed on my face. "This really is an Isekai adventure huh? Even with all the possible danger I can't help but get excited. I haven't even gotten to use any Magic but standing here, looking around this new world, I can only feel positive! Ann might not be here but knowing that she's safe is enough for me. With Magic, anything should be possible! I don't have to make getting back home my end goal! Living a good life, enjoying my journey, and experiencing the Great Adventure, that is the ultimate goal!"

    Moving across the branches to get a better look at the road, I saw something that made the wide smile on my face stretch even wider.

    3 people were moving through the forest road at a pace that I couldn't quite tell was slow or fast. A tall muscular man in his 30s and a young man (boy?) at around 15 were walking on either side of an older man with long white hair.

    Looking closer I could see that the clothes that they wore were distinctly Asian. The clothes were rugged and well-worn but did not seem dirty. The people themselves could also use the same description. They gave off the feeling of strength. Even the old man with white hair walked with a vigour that was impossible to see in old people, his frame still filled with muscles.

    As I was observing them, I realized that what I was doing was too blatant, but I thought of that way too late.

    While the muscular man and the young one didn't seem to notice me at all, the old man's eyes snapped in my direction almost instantly after I entered his line of sight despite the distance between us and the fact that I wasn't making any noise or moving much at all.

    Though I was surprised, it didn't seem like I had much to be worried about. Possibly because he'd seen the wide, wonder-filled emotions that I still had on my face; the old man had returned the smile with one of his own.

    I have to go down there and talk to them. It didn't take long to come to that decision. They weren't bandits and I didn't have any reason to suspect them.

    Besides, they seem fast and strong enough to catch me if they want to, it's better to leave a good first impression on the first inhabitants of the new world that I'll meet peacefully.

    Just as I was about to make my way down the tree to meet them, I noticed that the smile on the old man's face had frozen, instead, it quickly melted into one of awe, fear and respect. But he wasn't looking in my direction anymore, in fact, he was looking straight down at the ground.

    He along with both the boy and the man next to him were bowing at almost 90 degrees in a direction beyond me.

    Looking back, high up in the sky I could see a red blur. It was only with further inspection and focus that I could tell that it was a woman with flowing black hair and red clothes of some kind. She stood on a sword, looking into a scroll and surveying the land around her, like a tourist looking for the right location. Even then her actions radiated a kind of smoothness that made her feel supernatural. Even without truly being able to make out her features I could tell without a hint of doubt that the woman was beautiful. Despite knowing that I was protected against mental influences by [Gamer's Soul] I couldn't help but wonder if she affected me somehow.

    Startled out of my thoughts I realized that I myself was not bowing, but before I could even move the woman looked in a certain direction, nodded to herself and then in a burst of speed her sword carried her away. Not once did she look in our direction, despite probably knowing we were there all along.

    A Cultivator?! What the hell! Was this a Cultivation world?!

    Quickly focusing on [Memorisation] I tried to go through all the information I'd recorded with the Skill.

    "The cultists were definitely from a Western Fantasy setting! Even that unknown language they spoke sounded vaguely European. The clothes they wore under their cloaks confirmed these facts!"

    Could it be?

    Checking back on both my own clothes and the ones the 3 men on the road wore, and the men themselves, I realized they definitely looked Asian.

    I realized now why the ritual circle back in the cave looked so different. Even if it was meant to do the same thing as what the cultists intended, it had clearly been made by someone else. Only a powerful cultivator could so casually create an illusion ward – or is it an Array in this world – and leave a body for their use in a cave.

    Powerful cultivators were known to have souls that could possess bodies after their deaths. I think it was called Nascent Soul?

    The Body in the cave could have been kept in stasis for who knows how long just as a spare meat puppet to pilot for a while.

    If the lady was a Cultivator, then the 3 men below definitely aren't. Even if they seem to be supernaturally strong themselves in this world they're Mortals, they're reaction said as much. They have to be Martial Artists, with the capital M and A. Warriors who don't use the Qi of Heaven and Earth.

    This almost definitely wasn't the world the cultists came from. The fat cultist had messed with the ritual. My own soul was abnormal. There were many factors that might have caused it but in the end, I was still Isekai'ed to a world beyond my expectations.

    "Getting back home probably isn't going to be as easy as I thought. But I'm not going to let that ruin my good mood! Come what may, I'll achieve all my goals and my Dreams! No matter how long it takes. But first! Let's talk to the locals!"



    ~{Skills}~

    [Meditation] {Active} (Lv. 18): The ancient art of meditation, used to cultivate focus, and observe the flow of thoughts and emotions without judgement.

    [Memorisation] *{Active} *{Passive} (Lv. 7): Ability to store and recall information accurately and efficiently. *(Only information stored {Actively} while using the skill can be recalled {Passively} with it)

    [Mathematics] {Passive} (Lv. 4): Analyze and solve problems using logical reasoning and precise calculations. Aids in understanding structures, patterns, and relationships.

    [Replay Recall] {Active} (Lv. 4): Recall instances from your life in vivid detail.

    [Firearms Mastery] {Passive} (Lv. 34): Skill in wielding firearms ranging from pistols and shotguns to rifles and heavy weaponry.

    [Body Control] {Passive} (Lv. 3): Ability to master and manipulate physical movements with precision, grace, and finesse. The Skill encompasses physical feats such as agility, balance, and coordination. Apart from performing athletic and acrobatic manoeuvres, social abilities like controlling reactions and body language are also included. The skill also shows proficiency in piloting new bodies or adapting to changes made to existing ones.

    <>




    Post-chapter Notes:
    BAM! Xinxia World!
    w( °o°)w

    See for those who read the synopsis and still remembered what I'd said, they should know that my 100D dice plays a big role in how I write this story. As I was writing the world hop I rolled the dice and it landed on a 76! (⊙.☉)

    Basically that was supposed to decide the difficulty of the world! I couldn't realistically make the cult boyz' world that high level, so Daniel finds himself in another world entirely!

    Of coarse while I do love my clichés Daniel isn't going to be joining a sect and start cultivating immediately, in fact he's not going to be doing that any time soon! That will happen if or when he decides to come to this world again after leaving!

    Dan the Man's first adventure in this world is going to involve Martial Artists only!

    As for why he wouldn't start cultivating and join a sect immediately? Even though its the most logical thing to do? Well! you'll see in the next chapter!

    FAREWELL APPLE ENJOYERS!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2023
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  9. readsalot

    readsalot I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    damn the plot twist, :eek:
    well this is going to be difficult for the MC, he has to deal with Young Masters, face slapping and a whole lot of BS…poor guy ;)
     
  10. AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Not quite! While there will indeed be young masters they will be of the Martial variety, the Martial Arts society is obviously going to be separate from the Cultivators.

    Cultivators are quite literally trying to become Gods while Martial Artists are people who only ever try to achieve the pinnacle of their techniques without access to the Qi of Heaven and Earth. Arrogance comes easily to Cultivators, but a Martial Artist who remains arrogant in the world of Cultivators isn't going to live long!

    The only way Daniel is going to interact with Cultivators before becoming one himself is if I roll my Dice and end up getting either a 0-5 (Bad Cultivator Encounter) or a 95-100 (Good Cultivator Encounter).

    Then again...I didn't expect to roll such a high number for the first world so who knows! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    Maybe Daniel will become a cultivator on his first time in this world?
     
  11. MarcusDeGabriel

    MarcusDeGabriel Experienced.

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    Even if he doesn’t become a Cultivator, if he can manage to e evolve his [Body Control] skill into a [Body Supremacy] one he’d be much better off going forward, being able to hvave such in-depth control of your own body has a lot of upsides and even if he leans towards the magic/psychic path more, a good body is always useful.
     
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  12. xThomas3

    xThomas3 Now a Sonic fan

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    is it because chinese novels have xianxia protagonist cliches that are basically incompatible with normal people? that cultivation is usually written to take thousands of years, minimum, unless you have some one of a kind talent, and he wants to get home in a reasonable amount of time?
     
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  13. AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Hmm well I’ll put it this way. As far as Daniel is concerned, he doesn’t know a direct path Home but he knows he has be strong enough to take it.

    Cultivators are strong. So trying to Cultivate is something he will obviously want to do. However, will he really be able to cultivate in the traditional way? Will he be able to join a Sect? That’s the real question.
     
  14. AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Next Chapter should be up later today!
     
  15. Threadmarks: Chapter 3 - Path of Strength
    AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Chapter 3 - Path of Strength

    Pre-chapter notes:

    GAAAAH!! ┻━┻︵ \(°□°)/ ︵ ┻━┻

    Finally! I've finished writing this chapter!

    Honestly, a lot happened in this chapter but we still haven't reached the REALLY juicy bits! Like Bite into a Water Balloon levels of Juicy! ¬‿¬

    Still I had a lot of fun writing this chapter! Especially working on the new characters. Actually? That's probably what took so much out of me!

    Well enough about me!

    ENJOY THE CHAPPY!





    Chapter 3 – Path of Strength

    POV – Daniel:

    The 3 martial artists had taken to setting up camp by the road. They were clearly waiting for me to get down from the tree.

    It was while climbing down from the tree that I thought about how two times in succession I had been too lost in my own thoughts. Something like that would really get me in trouble.

    If these people had been bandits or other low lives then they could have killed me. If the cultivator took offense to me not bowing then she could have possibly sniped me with some Qi technique.

    Then again it's not like thinking less is an option, I can't change my habits so easily.

    "Instead of thinking less, why don't I make it so I can think more in the same amount of time?"

    Sitting down on one of the bigger branches with my back against the trunk of the tree, I activated [Meditation] and closed my eyes, trying to think through the multiplication table as fast as I could, I focused with [Gamer's Soul]

    …,2x4,2x5,…,4x7,4x8,…,7x2,...,7x4,…,9x6,9x7,…,12x8,12x9,…



    [Meditation] has gained a Level!

    [Mathematics] has gained a Level!

    ~Ping~

    [Thought Acceleration] Skill Learned!

    [Thought Acceleration] has gained a Level!

    ~{Skills}~



    [Thought Acceleration] {Active} (Lv. 2): Process information, analyze situations, and make decisions at an accelerated rate. Slows down your perception of time.

    <>

    Activating the new Skill, I realized that while I was indeed thinking faster, I couldn't quite tell how much faster. Well, it'll level up as I keep using it.

    "Still, I can't overuse it since it seems to cause the same spiritual exhaustion when creating Skills, although a lot less. Hopefully training it and raising its level will make it cheaper and more effective."



    The Sun had already been close to setting when I saw the flying cultivator. By the time I was down the tree, the Sky had turned a comfortable orange, dyeing the world in the same colours.

    "*Yawn* Experiencing two different sunsets in a matter of hours feels weird."

    Clapping my hand on my cheeks, I prepared myself to talk to the martial artists. Initially, the plan had been to lie to the locals, acting as if I had amnesia. But that didn't seem right. The 3 people I saw on the road radiated honesty, as if they lived their lives completely openly, with nothing to hide, it made it feel like their hearts were pure in whatever they pursued. It made me want to do the same. Besides, even if that old man isn't a Cultivator, an old Martial Artist who lives with honesty could probably easily spot my inexperienced lying.

    But just because I wouldn't lie didn't mean I would reveal all my secrets. If this was indeed a Xinxia world then the people here should already know that curiosity is dangerous. Cultivators are people who live for countless years. People who are that old are bound to have many secrets. And it was these people who have always been on top of this world, its guiding hands and those that every Mortal looks up to.

    I may not be a cultivator, but as long as I didn't lie, I would like to think that they would respect my privacy.

    As for whether people would think that I was an old monster possessing the body of a child? No one would think that. I may be mentally 16 years old, but I am self-aware enough to know that I haven't experienced nearly enough in life to give off a feeling of maturity, much less having an ethereal aura like that of the Red-clothed Cultivator. At most, people would think that I was a little mature for a 10-year-old. My best bet was that they thought that I was a runaway noble of some kind who knew nothing of the world.

    Around the campfire that they had set up, the elder martial artist was stirring a pot of stew while the 30-year-old one was tending to the flames. The 15-year-old on the other hand was practicing swings with a wooden sword a little way away from the fire.

    As I got close, nervously wringing my hands through my clothes, the white-haired elder martial artist looked towards me and smiled a patient smile.

    "Come child, you are welcome to share a meal with us. I am known as Xing Chun, but you may call me Elder Xing." Elder Xing then gestured to the naturally stern-faced man tending to the fire and to the boy who had now stopped practising with his sword and ran up to us with a wide smile on his face.

    "This here is my son Xing Wen, and that young man is Li Xuanlong. We hail from the Chen Village."

    Using all the self-control I had, and mostly through [Body Control] I resisted the urge to have a whole-body twitch when I heard Li Xuanlong's name. I was able to react since I had been running [Thought Acceleration] as soon as the conversation started, despite its low level and effectiveness I wasn't going to hold back.

    What the hell is that protagonist-like name?! I haven't even been in this world for a few hours, did I already meet the person destined to slap an endless army of young masters?!

    If Elder Xing and the others noticed my gaze linger on Li Xuanlong's palms they didn't mention it, instead, they were patiently waiting for somethi—Crap I have to introduce myself! I even picked out a proper Xinxia-like nickname!

    "A—ah! My na—I mean, I am Daniel Walker, b-but you can call me Dan. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance!" Stumbling over my words, I overplayed it and ended up performing the typical martial salute I'd read about in countless novels. With my arms held in front of me and my right fist to my left hand's open palm, I bowed slightly.

    Xing Wen's eyebrows lifted in surprise and Li Xuanlong's mouth opened in wonderment, while Elder Xing simply stroked his white beard in amusement. Then as one all 3 of them performed the same Salute to me. Why did they seem surprised, is this not common knowledge?

    A little overwhelmed at the sudden reciprocity I simply shifted about awkwardly until they left the Salute, which thankfully for my dignity wasn't long.

    "Hmm? Then Dan, what is it that you are doing so deep in the woods all on your own? I don't think there are any other villages nearby."

    "Well…I don't really know where I am. I'm lost…and well it's a long story." I said while rubbing the back of my head.

    "Ha-ha, well we have time if you wish to speak. Come, come take a bowl of stew!" Elder Xing handed me a bowl of stew and gestured for everyone to sit on the logs they'd set up earlier.

    With a bowl of delicious-smelling food in my grasp, I finally realized just how hungry I truly was. It was only with [Body Control] that I barely managed not to scarf down the offered meal.

    Despite eating in silence, the atmosphere around the fire was warm and comfortable. While I didn't know what they thought of me, my own first impressions of the people in this world turned out to be quite pleasant. It was a refreshing change of pace since the encounter with the cultists. Well, I guess it helps that they aren't cultivators. Perhaps the Mortals in this world are simply better people?

    Li Xuanlong, while not eating at a rude pace still managed to eat his food a little faster than me. I could see him almost vibrating in place, glancing over at me every so often.

    Once I was done eating my own share, I was immediately beset by his questions. "Hey hey, junior brother are you really a Martial Artist at such a young age? You don't look that strong but are you one of those hidden monsters the old man was talking about?! Wha—*Thwack*" It was only a slap to the back of the head from Xing Wen that Li Xuanlong stopped talking, instead making an aggrieved expression and lightly touching the back of his head with a cry of, "Uncle Weeennn!"

    "If you must give in to your curiosity…at least wait for him to answer your first question." Xing Wen simply looked exasperated, as if he didn't expect Li Xuanlong to do something like this anymore, despite seemingly being used to his antics.

    What's with those questions?! Regardless I'll stick to the plan, tell them the truth selectively and hope that they can come up with a nice story for themselves! Until then divert, divert!

    "Uhhh, I'm from the village – or town I guess? – of Stowe. We were attacked by some demon worshippers. They…they kidnapped some children and wanted to sacrifice them. I defeated them while a friend of mine took the children to safety."

    By now Li Xuanlong was staring at me, completely enraptured by my tale, while the Xing Wen was looking at me with respect. Elder Xing simply listened to me speak patiently and quietly, all the while stroking his beard. Seeing him do that is strangely relaxing, should I try growing one in the future and try it? Hmm, I remember Ann not being able to decide whether she wanted me to have one or not.

    "I'd thought that once I'd defeated them everything was over, but before the last demon worshipper was defeated he activated some strange glowing red symbols on the ground that blinded me and made me lose consciousness. When I finally woke up I found myself in this unfamiliar forest. That's why I climbed the tree. Nothing I see is familiar at all. Even that flying lady…I've never seen or heard of someone flying like that before. It was almost like those fairy tales I've read about Cultivators, but those are simply bedtime stories or fictional entertainment."

    While Xing Wen and Li Xuanlong wanted to speak, Elder Xing stopped them with a wave of his hand and spoke out himself. "Hmmm, as I thought. Tell me Little Dan do you know what the Salute you performed earlier means?" Huh? Isn't that like a common greeting in Xinxia?

    "Uhh, it's a greeting I read about in some stories. You seem like the people in those stories, so I did it without thinking."

    Elder Xing simply nodded while the other two simply looked surprised. "Truth be told, what you performed is a Martial Salute. It is a sign that you are someone who pursues the Martial path, someone who holds power but chooses to stay their hand and greet another Martial Warrior in peace."

    "Oh! Then I sincerely apologize. While I did defeat the demon worshippers I cannot say that it was my Martial prowess that allowed me to do so. It was through hiding, deceit, and an absurd amount of luck that I got the opportunity to save the people of my town." As I was in the process of bowing to show my sincerity I was stopped by a hand on my shoulder, somehow the aged Elder had come that close to me in the blink of an eye.

    "While you may not have started on the Martial Path, you were willing to risk your life to save those precious to you, regardless of how you saved them. Other Martial practitioners may not show the respect you are due. However, it was for the protection of others that the Martial Arts were first created. I do not regret returning your salute." Elder Xing smiled at me.

    After returning to his seat, he continued. "The glowing symbols you spoke of that transported you so far away from home are most likely the Array Arts. As for the flying Master you saw in the sky, she truly was a Cultivator. I do not know what your stories told you, but here Cultivation and its practitioners are very real. While there are cases where Mortals can go their whole lives without ever seeing a Cultivator…to believe that Cultivators are simply part of a fictitious story…Hmm, either you are from a land where the levels Qi of Heaven and Earth are extremely low or one that completely lacks it." While I had mostly accepted that I was in a Cultivation world, to hear it from another's mouth truly settled the fact into my mind. Which is why the surprise and wonder on my face weren't completely false.

    "Perhaps this too is fate." Looking up into the sky, Elder Xing spoke once again, but with a much more thoughtful expression. Nobody present thought to interrupt him, the way he spoke was simply that captivating. "We left our village to travel to Dixia City. For the first time in 100 years, the Great Brother and Sister sects are performing a recruitment test for new disciples together. Little Xuanlong will be participating in the test. Of course, while the sects always recruit yearly, it is always Martial Artists working as Servants at the sects that come to collect new disciples. This time, the Mudan Infernal Sect and its sister sect Lanhua Abyssal Sect shall be sending powerful Cultivators to collect disciples themselves. With the chance to chance to catch the attention of these great Cultivators and perhaps becoming an Inner Disciple directly, many will flock to this occasion. " What the hell kind of Chuuni names are those?! No, no I have to focus! [Memorisation]!

    Elder Xing's deep gaze caught my eyes, unable to look away, I focused on him. "There is no direct path to your home that I know of. In all my years I haven't heard of a land where no Cultivator has tread for so long that they have become legends. However, despite this, your path is clear. Walk the path of strength, of power, and the rest will follow."

    His gaze then turned somewhat melancholic, remembering something far in the past. "…Not everyone is destined to become a cultivator. The Heavens can be cruel. The Spiritual Roots of a person are said to determine the Innate Talent of a person, even their progress and quality of their future achievements."

    Letting go of his melancholy, Elder Xing focused back on me, his face a mask of seriousness. "Come with us to Dixia city, Little Dan. Try your luck at the test. If the Heavens see fit to aid you in your quest, then you will be accepted into the Mudan Infernal Sect. However, you must make a promise to me. Never let go of your resolve. Anyone who isn't blind can see that your eyes are special, and I don't just speak of their colour. While I may not know what they are, as long as you do not give up I believe you will do great things." Saying his piece, he went back to jovially stroking his beard while smiling at me and the look I had gained in my eyes and the fire that burned in them.

    Elder Xing's words had struck a deep chord in me. While I was indeed resolved to do anything to go home, it was true that I was a little aimless at the moment. Seek strength and the rest will follow, huh? That's something I can get behind! Whether it's Magic or Qi, Science or the Supernatural, it's through power that I can take the reigns of my own destiny!

    If I was powerful then I would never have had to be lucky when it came to the encounter with the cultists! I wouldn't have had to hide and run away! I could have saved Sam and made sure that Ann would never have to risk her life to save mine!

    It was at this point that Li Xuanlong finally cut in, completely unable to stop himself. "Ha-ha-ha Junior Brother, you must join me! We'll both destroy the stupid test and become Inner Disciples immediately! NO! We'll become Elders! Then all the beauties from the Lanhua Abyssal Sect will chase after us! HAHAHA—*Thwack* Ack-! Uncle Weeennn! Stop hitting me in front of Junior Brothe—*Thwack*" This guy…he's completely suicidal! If you want to die to those crazy strong jade beauties and their boyfriends then don't drag me with you!

    Elder Xing laughed. "Ho-ho-ho! You too have big Dreams Little Li Xuanlong! Never forget them! Hahaha!"

    "Father! Please don't encourage him! …How can the big brother of Li Mingxia be like this? If not for yourself then at least act with dignity for your virtuous little sister!" Ah, crap. This guy has a sister too! And she's 'virtuous! Please don't actually be the protagonist of this world! I'll die of stress! If she turns out to have some sort of Pheonix physique I'll really start crying!



    After chatting some more about inane things last night, I went to sleep in a simple sleeping bag that Uncle Wen gave me. Turns out he's not actually as serious as he looks. In fact, he's quite a chill person.

    The morning Sun signalled the beginning of a new day, but to me, it show much more.

    "Little Dan, like anything new one must start small. Why don't you join Little Li in his morning routine? If you do well and still have the energy, then this old man can teach you some of his moves." At that, both Uncle Wen and Li Xuanlong looked at Elder Xing in surprise. Huh?! Was it a secret technique or something?!

    "All right! I'll do it!"

    "That's the spirit Junior Brother! Let's goooooo!"





    [Body Control] has gained a Level!

    [Body Control] has gained a Level!

    Lying half dead on the floor, I expected myself to complain and whine, maybe give up halfway, but it seemed I had been underestimating myself. Perhaps it was due to the countless novels, manga and movies I had seen, I just couldn't complain about the hard work that went into training for strength.

    "Ho-ho your tenacity is something that is rarely seen for someone so young! Looking at you work hard even brings life back to my old bones! And your learning speed is truly bizarre! You barely make any mistakes when shown the correct way to move. Stand up and follow me. This old man will help you through the starting stages of his Martial Art."

    Getting up and following after Elder Xing, I almost collapsed but I made sure to tap into [Body Control] as much as possible and forced myself after him.

    "This old man's Art is called Liu Shui Bo Shu, the Water Flow Tree Toppling Art! Now follow my movements correctly! You seem to have great talent in controlling your body so you shouldn't have a problem with this! Flexibility doesn't seem to be a problem for you either, so this Art is perfect for you!"

    With that, he began making movements that I made sure to activate [Memorisation] and [Thought Acceleration] for, then followed his instruction as best as I could using [Body Control]. Still, I found myself at the receiving end of a stick Elder Xing had picked up, striking me – mostly making noise rather than pain – he corrected my movements.

    As I absorbed his teaching, I was getting increasingly tired both physically and spiritually with the use of my Skills. However, I powered through it and made sure to focus with every fibre of my being. I don't know how long my training went but eventually—



    [Body Control] has gained a Level!

    [Body Control] has gained a Level!

    ~Ping~

    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] Skill Learned!

    ~{Skill}~



    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] *(Beginner) {Passive} (Lv. 1): The Water Flow Tree Toppling Art is a Martial Art that allows the user to have unnatural control over the body, but more importantly gives control over the Kinetic Forces themselves. Whether it is Redirecting, Amplifying or Dampening all of them fall under its purview. Like all True Martial Arts, it uses not the Qi of Heaven and Earth but the Ki or Prana of the body. *(The Beginner stages prepare the user to find and access their Ki/Prana, only at higher stages can the true essence of the Art be used.)

    <>
    Reading the skill description, I resisted the urge to fall unconscious and hit the ground.

    I knew that Elder Xing wasn't a normal person, even by a Martial Artist's standard, but this Martial that he was teaching me was looking to be insanely overpowered.

    It may not be much against a High-level cultivator, since they can do things like shooting energy beams, spitting fireballs, and maybe even kill Mortals with Spiritual Pressure alone, however, against fellow Martial Artists who only use Physical Force, this Art will probably dominate all of them at a higher level. Even lower-level Cultivators who only have vastly stronger bodies with the use of Qi can be defeated instantly by using their own strength against them!

    "E-Elder. I can't go on any longer!" Please let me rest, you scary old man!

    "Hmmm, I expected you to fall unconscious long ago…Your willpower is truly monstrous. How is this kid learning so quickly…could he be a once-in-10,000-year genius…Ah! You can rest, you can rest! Go sleep! I will have Little Li carry you until you wake up as part of his training!" Although Elder Xing was looking at me at first, he began mumbling to himself as his gaze unfocused, though eventually he let me stop.

    Falling onto my sleeping bag, I absentmindedly activated [Meditation], [Memorisation] and [Replay Recall], before going to sleep. I focused slightly on my memories with Ann, hoping to Dream of the times we'd hang out, having fun playing games and roaming around town aimlessly.

    In the end, I dreamed of playing Modded Minecraft with Ann on a lazy summer afternoon, with [Memorisation] I was sure to remember it even when I eventually woke up.





    Eventually, days passed as we travelled on the path, with Elder Xing instructing me on his Martial Art. While he may have wanted to hide it at first, Elder Xing couldn't stop the happiness he felt at my learning speed. Every day, I progressed further in [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art], absorbing his teaching at an impossible rate.

    The truth was that while the Skills learned with [Gamer's Soul] did indeed make it so I progressed quicker, the true power of Skills, was the ability to learn the correct moves and not forget them. With more complex Skill manoeuvres needing a higher Skill Level. With Elder Xing teaching me directly, he could point out any flaws in my technique, and show me the correct way to perform them. Elder Xing had quickly come to realise that my true prowess was in learning from others and had spared no effort when teaching me.

    Of course, while most of my time spent on the road had been spent training my body and the technique of [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art], I had also taken the time to train my other skills. Needless to say, these days have been extremely productive, especially with a new Skill that will help me immensely.

    ~{Skills}~

    [Meditation] {Active} (Lv. 18 -> 27): The ancient art of meditation, used to cultivate focus, and observe the flow of thoughts and emotions without judgement.

    [Memorisation] *{Active} *{Passive} (Lv. 7 -> 35): Ability to store and recall information accurately and efficiently. *(Only information stored {Actively} while using the skill can be recalled {Passively} with it)

    [Mathematics] {Passive} (Lv. 4 -> 6): Analyze and solve problems using logical reasoning and precise calculations. Aids in understanding structures, patterns, and relationships.

    [Replay Recall] {Active} (Lv. 4 -> 7): Recall instances from your life in vivid detail.

    [Firearms Mastery] {Passive} (Lv. 34): Skill in wielding firearms ranging from pistols and shotguns to rifles and heavy weaponry.

    [Body Control] {Passive} (Lv. 3 -> 23): Ability to master and manipulate physical movements with precision, grace, and finesse. The Skill encompasses physical feats such as agility, balance, and coordination. Apart from performing athletic and acrobatic manoeuvres, social abilities like controlling reactions and body language are also included. The skill also shows proficiency in piloting new bodies or adapting to changes made to existing ones.

    [Thought Acceleration] {Active} (Lv. 2 -> 14): Process information, analyze situations, and make decisions at an accelerated rate. Slows down your perception of time.

    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] *(Beginner) {Passive} (Lv. 1 -> 43): The Water Flow Tree Toppling Art is a Martial Art that allows the user to have unnatural control over the body, but more importantly gives control over the Kinetic Forces themselves. Whether it is Redirecting, Amplifying or Dampening, all of them fall under its purview. Like all True Martial Arts, it uses not the Qi of Heaven and Earth but the Ki or Prana of the body. *(The Beginner stages prepare the user to find and access their Ki/Prana, only at higher stages can the true essence of the Art be used.)

    [Wilderness Survival] {Passive} (Lv. 1 -> 12): Adapt, Endure and Thrive in natural or remote environments.

    [Supernatural Energy Sense] {Active} {Passive} (Lv. 1 -> 3): Sense and become aware of the supernatural or extraordinary energies around you, whether they are magical, psychic, cosmic or other mystical elements, none shall escape your notice. (Sensed Energies: Aether, Mana, Qi, Ki/Prana)

    <>

    [Gamer's Soul]

    Allows the creation of Skills. Skills will be ingrained in the soul.

    Mind is located within the Soul, unbound by physical limitations.

    Soul is compatible with all Energy, continuously produces Aether. ???

    <>

    ~{Energy}~

    {Aether}: [100/100]

    {Mana}: [?/?]

    {Qi}: [?/?]

    {Ki/Prana}: [?/?]

    <>

    I was left with more questions than I had started with. What exactly was Aether? How could I sense Mana in this world? How the hell do I get my Prana to move already?!

    [Meditation] has gained a Level!

    "—unior Brother! Junior Brother wake up! Junior Brotheeerrr ~! We're going to reach Dixia City by the end of the day! You can't keep sleeping all the time!" Shut the fu

    Deep breaths. Take Deep breaths and don't smack the idiot. "It's called [Meditation]. You know if you're going to be a cultivator this is something you're going to have to do for years on end right? So, stop bothering me. Shoo! Shoo!" I had tried to ignore his idiocy and him since the beginning, thinking of limiting my interactions with the possible protagonist, but his personality made it impossible to not interact with him.

    "Patience Little Li, we'll reach in due time. Besides, the actual test for joining the sect will be going on for the entire month, so we have no real reason to rush. Also, Little Dan you too must be patient, your progress in learning the forms and movements for [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] might be impossibly fast, but when it comes to unlocking your Prana there is no shortcut. You must simply trust in the Art and when the time is right, you will break through the barrier and unlock your Prana. Besides, unlocking your Ki through the use of [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] is no easy feat! This old man's Martial Art is one the greatest there is in the Mortal Arts."

    Stop being so damn reasonable! To unlock the Ki/Prana of the body, knowledge of a Martial Art was needed. It was only when a Martial Art could be used by someone to unlock their Ki/Prana that the Martial Art in question was acknowledged as a True Martial Art.

    Letting go of my [Meditation] I jumped off Li Xuanlong's back and joined the others in jogging – really, we were running at this point – along the road.

    Taking a moment to assess my body's condition I couldn't help but be surprised by how far I'd progressed with just in just a couple of days. On earth, a normal 10-year-old would never even be capable of following the exercises Elder Xing had made us do, much less actually benefit from them in such a short time. Perhaps it's the passive effects of the Qi of heaven and earth?

    I was snapped out of my thoughts when Li Xuanlong began outright sprinting forward, shouting at the top of his voice. "Junior Brother! Uncle! Old man! We're here! HAHAHA! We finally reached!"

    In the distance, beyond the last cover of trees we could see, stood the tall walls of a city that looked like it came straight out of Attack of Titan. And yet, further above the walls, buildings that were even taller than the walls could be seen.

    My own face rivalled the wonder and excitement that was evident on Li Xuanlong's face. Looking at us Elder Xing and Uncle Wen smiled amusedly, yet I could see traces of awe on their own faces.

    Now that we were close enough, we could see Cultivators flying on weapons and tools. Chariots and other vehicles were riding on the wind as if they were on the ground, while an almost endless sea of people were gathered outside the walls of the city.

    "Teacher, how come we didn't see anyone until the city came into view?"

    "Hmm? Oh, that. Naturally, it is because we took a forgotten forest path that people rarely use." What?

    It was then I saw actual roads made of some smooth stone, where carriages and other animal-driven transports were. There were also countless stalls along the length of the road, with food, other essentials and all sorts of things being sold. More importantly, however, I saw toll booths where guards were taking money from travellers as they passed by them.

    The people were all wearing well-made clothes with different styles, and looked quite healthy, in fact, there were no signs of poverty at all. Compared to our own clothes, what looked like villagers selling corn and other vegetables in small stalls looked like wealthy merchants. Huh? What the hell am I seeing?

    While travelling with Teacher and the others I had built up many expectations of this world. Naively, I thought that this world was extremely backwards. All the preconceptions I had were completely destroyed.

    "T-Teacher…Are you saying that we lived like Bear Grylls for so many days…because you didn't want to pay the toll!"

    "Of course! One of the virtues promoted by the [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] is to be humble and in control of yourself! I do not know who this Bear Grylls is, but he sounds like a Great and Virtuous individual! You must strive to follow his example! Besides, this old man has finally saved up his money for the Big Fortune Pavilion's Rock Gambling event! How could I possibly allow those evil tax collectors to take my money in the guise of a toll? Ho-ho-ho!" Saying his piece, Elder Xing practically skipped forward at high speeds, instantaneously catching up to Li Xuanlong and then leaving us all in the dust.

    Falling to the ground in despair, all the stress from interacting with Li Xuanlong and dealing with his nonsense had finally reached a peak.

    Quietly, Uncle Wen stood me up and urged me to continue running after the two idiots.

    "Uncle—Uncle Wen. C-Could it be that you were the only sane person I met until now…"

    "Junior Dan, why do you think I was forc—*Cough* I mean, I decided to come with these two? It's not like I have any business in a big city like this. Regardless, let's catch up to the two of them before they cause any trouble. We shouldn't let them wander far away."

    Well, I shouldn't complain too much. Teacher taught me his prized Martial Art. Uncle Wen showed me how to survive in the wild. Senior Brothe

    "Why the hell am I calling him senior brother?! That useless guy didn't do shit apart from annoying me for days on end!" Running as fast as I could after my travel companions, I made a resolution in my heart.

    I'm ditching that guy as soon as I get the chance!





    ~{Skills}~


    [Meditation] {Active} (Lv. 27 -> 28): The ancient art of meditation, used to cultivate focus, and observe the flow of thoughts and emotions without judgement.


    [Memorisation] *{Active} *{Passive} (Lv. 35): Ability to store and recall information accurately and efficiently. *(Only information stored {Actively} while using the skill can be recalled {Passively} with it)


    [Mathematics] {Passive} (Lv. 6): Analyze and solve problems using logical reasoning and precise calculations. Aids in understanding structures, patterns, and relationships.


    [Replay Recall] {Active} (Lv. 7): Recall instances from your life in vivid detail.


    [Firearms Mastery] {Passive} (Lv. 34): Skill in wielding firearms ranging from pistols and shotguns to rifles and heavy weaponry.


    [Body Control] {Passive} (Lv. 23): Ability to master and manipulate physical movements with precision, grace, and finesse. The Skill encompasses physical feats such as agility, balance, and coordination. Apart from performing athletic and acrobatic manoeuvres, social abilities like controlling reactions and body language are also included. The skill also shows proficiency in piloting new bodies or adapting to changes made to existing ones.


    [Thought Acceleration] {Active} (Lv. 14): Process information, analyze situations, and make decisions at an accelerated rate. Slows down your perception of time.


    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] *(Beginner) {Passive} (Lv. 43): The Water Flow Tree Toppling Art is a Martial Art that allows the user to have unnatural control over the body, but more importantly gives control over the Kinetic Forces themselves. Whether it is Redirecting, Amplifying or Dampening, all of them fall under its purview. Like all True Martial Arts, it uses not the Qi of Heaven and Earth but the Ki or Prana of the body. *(The Beginner stages prepare the user to find and access their Ki/Prana, only at higher stages can the true essence of the Art be used.)


    [Wilderness Survival] {Passive} (Lv. 12): Adapt, Endure and Thrive in natural or remote environments.


    [Supernatural Energy Sense] {Active} {Passive} (Lv. 3): Sense and become aware of the supernatural or extraordinary energies around you, whether they are magical, psychic, cosmic or other mystical elements, none shall escape your notice. (Sensed Energies: Aether, Mana, Qi, Ki/Prana)


    <>






    Post-chapter notes:
    THATS RIGHT! WE BE HEADIN' TO DA CITY! \(°O°)/

    Honestly, I really undersold my own enjoyment when writing this chapter! ( ◕ω◕✿ )

    Writing the new characters was a treat!

    Honestly when I started writing about the worlds inhabitants I wasn't really thinking about their economics situation (which is ironic considering how long I studied economics...)! But then I started thinking.

    This World is supposed to be HUUUGE (Like a single continent is bigger than earth, and there are an unknown number of them)! There's so much land, that natural resources are so easily available! Moreover the population isn't that high! Pair that with a Mystical Energy whose simple presence improves everything, well...

    Needless to say, the Mortals live their lives contentedly. That's why despite having thousands and thousands of years of history, technology doesn't improve here, there's simply no need when Mortals can simply beg a Cultivator to come and fix their problem!

    Also, I'm sure some people noticed the inspiration I've taken for Dan's new Martial Art! That's right its inspired by the Ryusui Gansai Ken from OPM! Only the [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] is supposed to be a lot more versatile, and doesn't just redirect the force taken from the enemy, but takes complete control of Kinetic Forces at higher levels!

    Anyways, enough of that! Imma head back to the Apple Tree.

    SO LONG! SEE YOU IN THE NEXT CHAPTER!
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2023
    Candyturtle, William, TIO and 36 others like this.
  16. readsalot

    readsalot I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Nice, and that Martial Art, any chance it was inspired by Bangs - Water Stream Rock Smashing Fist? ;)

    Great chapter :D
     
  17. MarcusDeGabriel

    MarcusDeGabriel Experienced.

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    This made me think out [Memory Partition] before [Thought Acceleration] :V

    [​IMG]

    Ahh so THIS worlds version of Water Stream Rock Smashing Fist, a very good choice for a supernatural martial art.
     
  18. AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    That's right! And thnx for reading!
     
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  19. AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Yup! I loved the concept of that martial art so [Liu Shui Bo Shu] is going to be heavily inspired by it! But obviously it won't be exactly the same! The most obvious difference is that Elder Xing can't go around defeating high level Cultivators. However, as long as the person who faces him is using Kinetic Energy/Force he is basically unstoppable!

    Of coarse that doesn't matter all that much in the Cultivation world where spiritual forces dominate the world, but who knows how far our Danny boy can take the 'weak' (at least to cultivators) Martial Art in the future. ¬‿¬
     
  20. AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Okay so, I'm probably not going to put up another chapter for Sunday. I need a break or else I'll just write trash. I'll probably have the new chapter out on Monday!

    Also, will probably start the sect selection test next chapter, so look forward to it.
     
    SouthfisherCloud likes this.
  21. Threadmarks: Chapter 4 - Dixia City
    AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Pre-chapter Notes:

    I genuinely don't knw how to feel about this chapter. (~_~[​IMG]

    This one contains the first fight scene I have ever written, so I'm expecting criticism.

    Like I really need to know if what I'm doing is good enough.



    Chapter 4 – Dixia City

    POV – Daniel:

    I'd been to New York once; I'd even crossed the border and visited the Canadian city of Toronto on one particularly long trip. We never stayed long; the trips were mostly made on Ann's insistence. Back then I'd not been particularly enthused, only finding joy and excitement in her company, after all what could a big city have that Stowe didn't?

    "She would love this place…" It was ironic. I never enjoyed exploring new places back on Earth, preferring to stay in my little town, believing that I knew about everything there was to know about all places on Earth.

    Feelings and emotions were funny things. Yet I couldn't deny the feeling in my chest when I approached the City of Dixia. It was a wanderlust that I'd only ever seen in Ann. I'd never think I would associate the same feelings with me.

    But somehow that was wrong. This feeling was familiar to me, the passive effects of [Memorisation] said as much, it was just that I'd never felt it while exploring any real place on Earth. No, it was something I'd felt when playing games. Open world games, that allowed the character to go anywhere, I'd always take that as a challenge to explore everything. Just recently, the Dream I'd had when using [Replay Recall] on the first night I'd slept in this world was one where I'd had the intense desire to explore the blocky Minecraft world, with multiple unknown additions that would make the journey more interesting.

    The walls of Dixia, built so tall and stretched to somewhere I could not currently see, were by no means of normal make. Faint markings and engravings could clearly be seen up close. They were innumerable. The amount of work that went into creating them was mind boggling. Even as a simple artistic effect they were masterpieces, but I knew better. The walls was covered in the Runic script of Arrays. So packed with Energy that even me with my Level 3 [Supernatural Energy Sense] so sense them clearly, like a beacon of light in the night.



    [Supernatural Energy Sense] has gained a Level!

    [Supernatural Energy Sense] has gained a Level!

    [Supernatural Energy Sense] has gained a Level!

    [Supernatural Energy Sense] has gained a Level!

    [Supernatural Energy Sense] has gained a Level!


    I hadn't realized that at some point I had closed my eyes and simply stopped in place, halting the line to one of the many, many human-sized entrances to the city.

    Naturally, as is human nature I was gently reminded of this fact with a shove to the back in the form of countless bodies pressing against me. "Move it, kid! Stop fakin' sleepin' in the middle of the road, ya hear!"

    Sending a (probably cute) glare behind me, I used my newfound agility and dexterity from a nicely levelled [Body Control] and half-performed one of the movements of [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art]. While I couldn't use any Ki to perform any of the cool things the Art affords, the stances and movements were still pretty good when using them to slip between opponents with minimal movements and efficient stamina usage.

    [Body Control] has gained a Level!

    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] has gained a Level!

    The fact that my first opponent outside of training was simply a crowded street was slightly disappointing, but reassuring in that Li Xuanlong might not have a stupid protagonist aura that attracts trouble in populated places like this.

    "So, so! Old man, tell me where we're going first! Are we buying some mystical treasures?! Or could visiting some mysterious old friend of yours that will lead us to a mysterious old place!" It had been about 30 minutes of standing in line to get into Dixia. 29 of those minutes had been spent listening to Li Xuanlong rambling on like the useless motormouth that he was.

    Tsk! At least he could have been a cute girl, then I could have tolerated his bullshit. My eardrums hurt dammit!

    "Why don't you keep quiet little brat! Am I not mysterious and old enough for you?! Come explore the treasures at the back of my hand! *Thwack* " Even the usually jovial and calm Elder Xing had lost his patience with Li Xuanlong. But pain or even injuries caused by Prana-enhanced slaps didn't seem to deter Li Xuanlong for long.

    "Senior Brother, please calm down and wait for a little while! See, we're almost there!" As much as I hated to call him that, it was a fact that he was my Senior when it came to learning the [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art], even if he himself had yet to activate his Prana. Plus, I'd given it a lot of thought in the past few days. Calling him Senior Brother would save me a lot of trouble in scenarios where we might meet some Young Masters.

    See, what would happen if Li Xuanlong continued to call me his Junior Brother, but I 'disrespected' him by not calling him 'appropriately'? A young master would laugh and make comments about how even his junior brother did not respect him and inevitably started a fight. As for why a young master would do it, well he was probably looking for an excuse to do it, I will never actually understand the motivations of those unholy hell-spawns. So, what I was doing wasn't preventing a fight, no, I was simply trying to keep myself out of his inevitable fights with young masters.

    Of course, that wasn't something I was sure about. Li Xuanlong was actually not that prideful, in fact, it felt like every time he spoke about his 'grand ambitions' it was simply him psyching himself up. Regardless, I would be holding my breath, I'd prepare as best as I could and hope that Elder Xing would solve the trouble.




    Entry Fee

    Adult (15 & above): 10 Daiyu
    Child (14 & below): 1 Daiyu

    "Tsk, tsk! Look at this brat! Just letting you in is costing me so much money! Why can't you be more like Little Dan, look how much money he's saving me! My newest student is so good, but the old one is getting more and more like trash." What kind of logic is that?! It's not my talents and behaviour you like?! Even Li Xuanlong is speechless, just how much do you love money?!



    "Say, Teacher why didn't we just not say anything and pay 1 Daiyu for Senior brother? He could pass for a 14-year-old right? Even if it is a bit of a stretch."

    "Hmm? Well Little Dan, we could have. But I do not wish to test the Formations lining the gates. Who knows if it scans for the age of the people entering." Woah, Formations can do all sorts of things huh?

    Once inside the city, the bustling streets were a sight to see, with people of ages walking about. Many of them were Mortals, yet the amazing fact was that a good number of them were cultivators as well.



    [Supernatural Energy Sense] has gained a Level!

    [Supernatural Energy Sense] has gained a Level!

    [Supernatural Energy Sense] has gained a Level!


    There were groups of cultivators, where the colour schemes of their clothing were quite similar to each other. I had initially thought that the cultivators from Mudan and Lanhua sect all wore the same colours, however after seeing many groups with different colours it became apparent that there might be subdivisions within the sects themselves that warrant a different colour clothing scheme.

    Naturally, there were also many individual cultivators, and groups of two or three that were clearly only here to look for opportunities. These types were easy to spot since they simply did not look as affluent as the sect cultivators. Elder Xing had explained that these were Rogue cultivators.

    In Xianxia novels, rogue cultivators were somewhat of a rarity from what I could remember. It came as a surprise that there were many more Rogue Cultivators than one belonging to a sect. Apparently, they were almost always affiliated with some or the other Mercenary Organizations or Guilds formed by Merchants or other Rogue Cultivators.

    The main streets of the city boasted many elaborately built, ancient-styled buildings that lined them, while the smaller streets had increasingly less beautiful buildings as we went deeper.

    "Eh! Old man, why are we walking into these small alleyways anyway? Shouldn't we be going to the bigger shops if we want to buy something? Also, when are we going to the Sect Selection Test?!"

    "Hmph! Just shut up and follow me! I'll buy you and your Junior Brother some good stuff! I'll even get a discount!"

    Taking a certain set of stone steps that lead downwards, Elder Xing led us to an extremely isolated shop that had no visible signs or other advertising, the only evidence of it being open being the chaotic smells and aromas that spread out from within.

    "Hey, Old Jin! It's your best friend Chun! I've come to collect my favours this time, you better not charge me anything!"

    From behind the counter in the shop, an almost bald head shot up and homed in on Elder Xing. Face red, the shop owner took a deep breath and bellowed out. "YOU OLD COOT! YOU are the one who owes me favours! Why the hell would I give you anything for free?! Pay your debt or else let's see how you protect yourself with that fancy Martial Art of yours against my new poisons!"

    "Ho-ho-ho! Calm down, Calm down! I'll pay, of course I'll pay! My cute students have been learning my Martial Art but haven't unlocked their Prana yet. I need some Feiyu Herbs so that they can progress faster. Just give me a small discount, I need to save money in case I need to buy something for the Sect Selection Test. If all goes well, I can take you out for drinks later and you can drain the rest of my savings!"

    "Hmph! Aren't they going to be cultivators if they get accepted? Why will they need your stinky old Art? Better to try and use your savings to try and get some information on the tests. Besides, Feiyu Herb doesn't always work, you know this, you might end up reducing their chance of unlocking their Prana if it fails." Though he said this, Jin did not truly look like he meant it. After all, his friend Xing Chun had never taught his Martial Art to anyone. As one of the few people who knew the true nature of his Art, he was already imagining what it would be like if a cultivator would use it, with their vastly stronger bodies. He was looking at me and Li Xuanlong like a particularly interesting pair of pill or potion ingredients had walked into his shop.

    It was only after thoroughly examining us, that he left for the back of his shop, leaving me and my Senior brother shifting nervously.

    "Teacher…this guy looks like bad news. Can't we find some other poor shop? Me and Senior Brother can put on an act of getting injured and try and get a discount! I swear to you even if I'm not a good actor, I'll become one if you give me some time to practice!"

    "Ha-ha, it's fine, he's just trying to scare you! Besides, Old Jin is an old comrade of mine. Most of the stuff he grows may not be useful to or worth the attention of a cultivator but for us Martial Artists he's the best person to go to."

    When Old Jin came back he still didn't have anything with him, instead, he spoke. "Follow me, I set up a room in the back. They can absorb the Feiyu there."

    After leading us into a large room whose centre had a couple of burning leaves, Old Jin left us there without saying a word, going back to watch his shop.

    "All right, you two, sit down to mediate and try to remember everything you have learnt about [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art]. Try to embody the state you reach when you completely lose yourself in the spars we've had. Then in around 15 minutes, I want the two of you to leave meditation and begin a spar. Don't think about anything else other than the Art and how you would use it! I know that Little Dan has already somehow sensed his Prana, so I am optimistic about you, but you shouldn't get discouraged if it doesn't work today. This is just this old man's selfish desire to have his students become True Martial Artists before becoming Cultivators. Besides, the youngest person I know of unlocking their Prana was 21 years old, failing in this should not upset you. After you become cultivators you might find this old man's tricks useless! Ha-ha-ha!"

    Despite saying this I couldn't help but feel like this was extremely important to Elder Xing. Teacher had said that he never taught anyone his Art before. Back then when he told me to become powerful, he talked about how the Heavens are cruel…I know that he wanted to cultivate himself, but probably because of his spiritual roots he couldn't do so. If either I or Li Xuanlong are able to unlock our Prana today, then the [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] will have a place in the cultivation world!

    And did indeed have to be today. If one of us couldn't do it today then it would never happen in the future, when all of our time would be taken up by cultivating.

    Perhaps sensing that this was something he couldn't fool around with, even Li Xuanlong quietly sat down and began meditating with me.



    After levelling [Memorisation] as much as I did, it was becoming easier to remember the memorized content. Of course, because of the nature of Skills, I never truly forgot how to perform the [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] at my level. However, using [Memorisation] on top of that made recalling everything much easier. If I didn't have a fight after this I might have even used [Replay Recall].

    As the minutes passed by, I became increasingly aware that the smoke from the Feiyu Herb was doing something to my Prana. But with my low level [Supernatural Energy Sense] I couldn't quite tell what other than it being in a more agitated state.



    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] has gained a Level!

    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] has gained a Level!


    I focused on the spars I had with Li Xuanlong. While it pained me to admit it, as I was now it was impossible for me to defeat him while using [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] alone. His body was simply older, more trained, and more powerful than mine, while also having more reach and stamina. My only advantage was agility and superior control over my body. If it was simply a matter of skill then the question would become complicated.

    Since he had been practising the Art for a long time, he was very familiar with it, however, while he made human errors, through Skills I never forgot any of my achievements in the Art in the slightest.

    However, I won't lose this time! All I have to do is last long enough to level up my Art to Level 50! My instincts are telling me that this has to be it!

    ~{Skills}~



    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] *(Beginner) {Passive} (Lv. 47): The Water Flow Tree Toppling Art is a Martial Art that allows the user to have unnatural control over the body, but more importantly gives control over the Kinetic Forces themselves. Whether it is Redirecting, Amplifying or Dampening, all of them fall under its purview. Like all True Martial Arts, it uses not the Qi of Heaven and Earth but the Ki or Prana of the body. *(The Beginner stages prepare the user to find and access their Ki/Prana, only at higher stages can the true essence of the Art be used.)



    <>

    "BEGIN!" Elder Xing's voice rang out in the room, and I snapped my eyes open.

    Before I could formulate a proper plan, I had already rushed my opponent, halfway there I started activating [Thought Acceleration], almost like I was slowly pushing the pedal to the accelerator of a car, only in this case instead of going faster, for me the world slowed down.

    I had never been this aggressive before, always trying to be on the defensive to learn more of the Art and hence level it more, not caring about whether I defeated my opponent. Only now I realized I was going about it the wrong way. All Martial Arts were created with the idea of ultimately winning the fight, even defensive Martial Arts had the same goal.

    How could I go beyond the 'beginner' stage without even truly engaging my opponent with the goal of victory?

    It was funny. I was mocking my first 'fight' against an opponent, being a crowded street where I used the Art to move past them. However, I did end up levelling the skill there, more so than some of my exchanges with Li Xuanlong.

    The [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] was incredibly versatile, which is why my previous behaviour still allowed me to last against my opponent for a while. However, in the same line of thinking it rewarded my current mindset much more.

    Taken off guard by the sudden change in behaviour, Li Xuanlong was not completely prepared for the feinted palm thrust that transformed into a spinning back kick to the face.

    Sticking close, I used my momentum and punched my fist into his side, but he had already prepared and rolled with the force.

    "Oof!"

    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] has gained a Level!

    Now prepared, Li Xuanlong tried to use his reach to his advantage but again I simply stayed close.

    A rapid exchange of fists were blocked or dodged from either side, more of the latter from me and more of the former for him.

    I can't fall into previous habits!

    Pushing [Thought Acceleration] even further, I analyzed his next strike and noticed the slightest shift from his feet. A feint into a kick, you cheeky bastard!

    Before he could even begin to pull back his feint I had stepped into strike, intercepting it with my chest, barely taking any damage from the fake strike, instead using all the force from it to steady my own legs throwing him off balance as he prepared to throw his kick.

    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] has gained a Level!

    Stepping on one of his legs and stomping on it as hard as I could, I kicked my other leg out onto the same leg and pushed off. Missing his retaliatory strike by an inch I spun into the air and came down with a right-legged axe kick he could not simply dodge.

    Blocking with both his hands tried to push me sideways to make me tumble, but I had already read his move with my slowed-down perception of time.

    Despite falling sideways, I didn't panic, instead thinking ahead of ways to use my landing to make an offensive.

    Spinning sideways through the air, I landed on one foot, parallel to the floor with my back almost touching the ground.

    Li Xuanlong was already upon me, striking with his fist, hoping to throw me to the ground.

    Hastily rising, I intercepted his forearm with my own. His blow was heavy to my 10-year-old self. Luckily, our art had plenty of ways to take strikes and turn them into our own attacks.

    Another fist, blocked. My kick to his side dodged. A follow-up spin kick found its way to his raised forearm, using it as leverage, a third kick striking his face for the second time in the fight.

    "Ugh!"

    Instead of falling, or stumbling back, he powered through it, my strike unable to deal enough damage with my lacking strength.

    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] has gained a Level!

    With [Thought Acceleration] I could see the next strike coming. A punch sent straight to my head meant to knock me out and end the fight.

    I had plenty of time to come to terms with the fact that I would not be able to dodge, yet my mind was elsewhere. The moment my third kick connected to his face I felt it.

    The force that I could always sense flowing through my physical body yet could not control. It erupted into a flurry of movement. Cycling through my body at insane speeds.

    I focused and for an instant allowed [Supernatural Energy Sense] to completely overtake my attention.

    If I had to describe the sensation of my Prana, it would be that it felt extremely yellow. The weirdness of the sensation, however, did not stop me from thinking of what to do with it.

    The [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] had already taught me what I had to do. I just had to trust that it would work as intended despite it only ever being theory before this.

    Instead of grabbing and trying to go against the flow of the newly awakened Prana, I pushed its cycle with my own efforts, steering it in the right direction. Making sure to spread the Prana to my head I created I bridge between them and connected it straight down to my leg.

    When Li Xuanlong's fist came to my head I could tell that he had put his entire weight into the strike, mentally I couldn't stop grinning.

    The punch hit me straight in the side of the head and I felt a sensation I never felt before. The force of the strike barely moved my head, instead, I felt the force travel through my head and into my Prana cycle, powering it to move even faster.

    Letting my head fall back with the movement of the punch, I focused all the extra force Li Xuanlong granted me as well as the power of my own Prana, I kicked my leg straight up sending it ramming into the Jaw of my opponent with a boom.

    Throwing my hands back to touch the floor and flip backwards to my feet, I watched as my most powerful kick sent Li Xuanlong flying backwards, skidding off the floor and lying limp on it.

    "HOOOLY FRIKKIN CRAAP! THAT WAS AWESOME!!"



    ~{Skills}~

    [Meditation] {Active} (Lv. 29): The ancient art of meditation, used to cultivate focus, and observe the flow of thoughts and emotions without judgement.

    [Memorisation] *{Active} *{Passive} (Lv. 35 -> 36): Ability to store and recall information accurately and efficiently. *(Only information stored {Actively} while using the skill can be recalled {Passively} with it)

    [Mathematics] {Passive} (Lv. 6 -> 8): Analyze and solve problems using logical reasoning and precise calculations. Aids in understanding structures, patterns, and relationships.

    [Replay Recall] {Active} (Lv. 7): Recall instances from your life in vivid detail.

    [Firearms Mastery] {Passive} (Lv. 34): Skill in wielding firearms ranging from pistols and shotguns to rifles and heavy weaponry.

    [Body Control] {Passive} (Lv. 23 -> 27): Ability to master and manipulate physical movements with precision, grace, and finesse. The Skill encompasses physical feats such as agility, balance, and coordination. Apart from performing athletic and acrobatic manoeuvres, social abilities like controlling reactions and body language are also included. The skill also shows proficiency in piloting new bodies or adapting to changes made to existing ones.

    [Thought Acceleration] {Active} (Lv. 14 -> 17): Process information, analyze situations, and make decisions at an accelerated rate. Slows down your perception of time.

    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] {Passive} (Lv. 1): The Water Flow Tree Toppling Art is a Martial Art that allows the user to have unnatural control over the body, but more importantly gives control over the Kinetic Forces themselves. Whether it is Redirecting, Amplifying or Dampening, all of them fall under its purview. Like all True Martial Arts, it uses not the Qi of Heaven and Earth but the Ki or Prana of the body.

    [Wilderness Survival] {Passive} (Lv. 12): Adapt, Endure and Thrive in natural or remote environments.

    [Supernatural Energy Sense] {Active} {Passive} (Lv. 15): Sense and become aware of the supernatural or extraordinary energies around you, whether they are magical, psychic, cosmic or other mystical elements, none shall escape your notice. (Sensed Energies: Aether, Mana, Qi, Ki/Prana)

    <>



    Post-chapter Notes:
    I'm sorry if I wrote trash this chapter, but I'm way too tired after work today.


    Yeah I'll look forward to your comments when I wake, up.

    Will probably edit the chapter after.

    Fight scene will probs need work. I just didn't feel satisfied with this chapter yet.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2023
    Candyturtle, William, TIO and 43 others like this.
  22. Gold adorned man

    Gold adorned man Getting sticky.

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    Seems good for a behinner fight scene.

    You dont need any flashy wording or descriptions in a fightscene at the start of the story anyway unless it is a big or plot significant battle.


    Our MC is just beginning his journey and since this is first person pov story it is expected descriptions would be low in number.


    Some authors falls into a thinking that 'more descriptions the better'. It isnt true at all, somethings are just supposed to be expressed simply and bluntly.
     
    iks, raveniod, WebNovelDaoist and 4 others like this.
  23. MarcusDeGabriel

    MarcusDeGabriel Experienced.

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    I don’t know why it’s Lv.1, unless it a typo OR it“reset” becuase he’s awakened his Prana.

    Interesting, this sorta reminds me of Ki from Dragon Ball Z and how they get stronger by increasing their OWN power, rather that taking something else’s (Qi of Heaven and Earth) and leaching it into your own body.
     
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  24. krieg-89252891

    krieg-89252891 Getting out there.

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    it is because it evolved at level 50 and removed the beginner tag as a result
     
  25. Domar7431

    Domar7431 Not too sore, are you?

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    Rouge means red, I think you mean Rogue
     
  26. iks

    iks Getting out there.

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    and
     
  27. Threadmarks: Chapter 5 - Roaming the Streets
    AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Pre-chapter Note:

    HAHAHA! I'm back! My fever has finally gone away completely despite taking me out for a week straight!

    I'm still feeling kinda weak...BUT! I'm more than capable of writing again!




    Chapter 5 – Roaming the Streets
    In a world absolutely filled with different forms of beauty and expressions, few images capture people's hearts as irresistibly as a cute girl pouting. There was just something magical about it.

    Dan distinctly remembered thinking about trying to get Ann to pout before getting Isekai'ed. The fact that she resisted his attempts and that he might not get to see one again for a while, meant that he might have had a lingering craving to see it again.

    Which is why the sight before me was a little unbearable…

    "Senior Brother…please stop this. I can understand you getting angry, shouting at me, asking for a rematch or any number of things along those lines…but just refusing to talk to me while sulking and p-pouting isn't going to do anything! So please just stop it!" Feelings of disgust and horror that expression invoked were not particularly strong, but that remains to be seen. We can't keep walking like this, people will get the wrong idea!

    It had already been a day since Daniel had unlocked his Prana. He didn't really have a chance to play around with it since just using it once left him feeling like he had somehow bruised his entire body despite the soreness being limited to the mystical life energy itself.

    The duo were now walking around the city with some pocket money given to us by Uncle Wen and Elder Xing. They had told the two of us to explore while they dealt with some business.

    Li Xuanlong hadn't spoken to Dan since his defeat in the spars, where he had somehow miraculously defeated him without ever taking a single true strike despite never winning any of their spars until then. Sure, the strikes that he was forced to block with his arms and legs technically did do a lot of damage to Dan's body because of the disparity of strength, but since he didn't lose my balance, they didn't matter until after the fight when he had to tend to all the bruises.

    Well, it wasn't right to say that he hadn't spoken to me at all…

    Occasionally Li Xuanlong would forget that he was ignoring Dan, and go back to his easily excitable self, so he didn't mind waiting until he forgot about the matter entirely, since his Senior Brother only seemed embarrassed by the fact that he had been knocked unconscious for a couple hours by his Junior.

    Dan and his companion were still mesmerized by the sights of the city, even a full day after arriving there. Of course, despite being a magical city it was still very much a city with all of its problems.

    "HEY! Someone catch that thief! Whoever gets my things back to me will be rewarded generously!"

    From a distance, the two of them could see a portly man shaking in rage and pointing in another direction. They could not however see the thief the man was speaking of. So fast, I couldn't even catch a glimpse of the thief! Could the criminals be Martial Artists or even Cultivators? This world is indeed scary, thank God we're small fry, no one that powerful will bother us.

    "Senior Brother please hold onto the purse tightly. I didn't think there would be thieves acting so boldly in the middle of the city. I'm sure that with your strength no thief will stand a chance of stealing our money!" Hehe, I'll get him to be cautious and add some butter to my words, I'll keep this up until he forgets about his grievances.

    "Hmph! You don't have to worry about me Junior Brother. You should take more care of your own body. If someone sees your unique appearance then they might snatch you first." Well, you're not wrong…but do you have to say it like that?!

    It had been a while since Dan had possessed his current body. He often forgot that to others he looked like a little boy following his big brother around. By now his hair had completely turned blonde with the small mole completely disappearing. His purple eyes, on the other hand, held a faint glow to them that wasn't noticeable for the most part.

    Most of the people here had hair colours that ranged from black and brown. Some had reddish brown hair but for the most part, there were no blonde-headed people there. It meant that people always took a moment to stare at the 10-year-old boy as they were passing by. It was probably only the fact that this world had magical Qi shenanigans that were the reason people here weren't as surprised and interested in his different appearance.

    Ugh, why can't you forget that you're angry faster? I need to look for a better distraction. Huh? Isn't that Teacher? Elder Xing was indeed within Dan's line of sight. He seemed to be having the time of his life, shouting out loud while jumping around.

    "Senior brother! Look Teacher seems to be doing something interesting. Why don't we go join him?"

    "Fine, fine! But don't think I don't know what you're doing! It won't work!" Hah! You already forgot that you weren't supposed to talk to me! It sure as hell is working just like I used to do when Ann was mad at me!

    As they approached the front of a large shop where Elder Xing was playing about, the two got a clearer picture of what was going on.

    "Ha-ha-ha! It's been too long since we last met. Tell me No-beard, when was the last time I took your money? Ahh~ spending your money always feels great! After this, I'll make sure to buy my disciples everything they need with it!"

    Elder Xing was taunting another elderly man with white hair. The difference was that unlike Elder Xing he had no beard and wore much more traditional and old-fashioned clothes. His smooth chin and cheeks actually made it hard to tell if he was actually as old as his hair indicated, however, his clothing somehow made it clear that he was indeed someone from Elder Xing's generation.

    The other old man was actually taking Elder Xing's taunts rather well and simply stood there with a pleasant smile on his face while keeping his hands joined within his long sleeves.

    "When are you going to stop with your childish taunts? You've been using No-beard long enough that it's become stale. Also, I recall that it was I who won the last time. Xing Chun you should consider changing that rotten personality of yours, at least for the sake of your students."

    "Bah! Enough of this Zhu Haowen! Quickly pick your rock and open it! Your voice really never fails to irritate this old man!"

    Quietly chuckling Old Zhu went back to calmly looking over several of the rocks that had been arrayed across the floor in front of the shop that Dan and Li Xuanlong could now clearly see was a gambling house that allowed customers to try their luck while picking old stones and hoping to come across treasure in them.

    "Old man there you are! I thought you said that you were going to look for information on the test for joining the sect? Also didn't you say you didn't have any money left, how come you started gambling—" That was as far as Li Xuanlong got into his questioning as Elder Xing had already clamped his palm onto his face and gave him a severe look that made him shut up.

    "Your Uncle Wen is looking into some other sources. Also how come you doubt this old man so much? Everything I'm doing is for you two! Just wait until I beat this old Zhu and then we'll get all the information we need!"




    "Hmmm. Little Dan, it seems like the heavens are conspiring against this old man once again. Get your Senior brother ready. I will once again go against heaven and defy my fate once more."

    Huh? What's that supposed to mean? For the past 10 minutes, Elder Xing had an uncharacteristically serious expression on his face while staring at the myriad of rocks laid out in front of him.

    "Teacher, what exactly do you mean? Do you have some secret technique that will let you see the inside of the rocks and win, even though it seems like your friend seems to be getting all the better rocks?"

    Dan looked at his teacher who looked back at him as if he was a little slow in the head. "Little Dan…just get Li Xuanlong here he will understand."

    After relaying his teacher's words to the other student, Dan walked back to Elder Xing with Li Xuanlong, who already seemed to understand exactly what was happening.

    "All right, Little Li you already know what's going on so make sure your junior brother follows our lead when defying fate!" Saying so Elder Xing seemed to take a deep breath while waving his hands at his students.

    "Got it, old man! Let's go Junior brother!" Li Xuanlong suddenly grabbed Dan by the shoulder and about turned walking into the crowd and trying to disappear into it. From behind we could see that Elder Xing was making more noise, seemingly attracting attention to himself.

    Looking back, Dan could see Elder Xing suddenly pointing in one direction while shouting at the top of his voice in surprise. "Look at that! What is that!"

    His acting skills were so amazing that even when he looked in the direction his teacher was pointing. By the time Dan looked back, he realized that Elder Xing had disappeared without paying for anything leaving a raging shop owner and a friend who seemed to know that this was going to happen going by his amused expression.

    Naturally, as soon as Dan realized what was happening he increased his pace and even used a little Ki in his movements and disappeared into the crowd with Li Xuanlong.




    Li Xuanlong was acting exceptionally calm for someone who had just run away from the scene of a crime he saw his own teacher committing. It clearly showed that this was not the first time something like this had happened.

    Dan, who was now power walking with his comparatively tiny legs clearly understood this by looking at his Senior brother's face. Damn, I have to be careful when walking around with these two, who knows what kind of trouble I'll get into if I'm not careful!

    "Senior Brother? Have you and Teacher ever been caught when you do things like this? And if so what do you do then?"

    "Hm? We've never been caught before. Well, I've been caught…but the old man always grabs me and runs away before I get beaten u—I mean before I get a chance to beat up whoever caught me. Anyway, let's go get some nice snacks with the money we've got! I remember the old man talking about a nice shop selling some tasty moon cakes over ther—"

    Li Xuanlong in his fervour started speeding up and running along the street but didn't pay attention as he bumped into someone. He ended up getting knocked over while the person in question dropped the food they had in their hands onto the floor.

    "Oh. Sorry about that! I was a little too excited. Let me hel—"

    "Y—You! How dare you! You dropped my food! Pay for it! Pay for it right this instance and get me another one!"

    No way! Is it a young master already?! Should I run away and let Senior Brother deal with the problem? As Dan was contemplating running away in his hurry he hadn't even observed who his fellow disciple had walked into. Even his fellow disciple had momentarily panicked when he heard the voice and was already ready to hightail it out of there, after all his junior brother had Prana and could obviously take care of himself!



    "Ho! Are you going to continue ignoring this young master? Is there no end to your impudence?! Xuelin! Hand me my weapon so I teach this cretin a lesson!"

    What the duo thought was a rich young master turned out to simply be a delusional young man dressed in rags. He was accompanied by a slightly short chubby girl with a face that Dan couldn't decide was simply extremely neutral or expressing boredom to the point that even doing that seemed like too much work to her. Both of them had extremely red hair with green eyes, to the point where they might qualify as anime characters. One thing, however, was certain, they were indeed siblings.

    Despite her expression, the chubby girl called Xuelin handed the 'young master' a wooden stick in a manner that once again didn't display what exactly she thought of this situation.

    What nobody here knew was that the girl was doing everything she could not to stare at them intently and simply defaulted to letting her brother deal with the new arrivals.

    In the end, Dan and Li Xuanlong could only look on with bland expressions on their faces as a 'young master' with his 'great weapon' faced off against them with a serious expression.

    "If you're looking for a fight you'll get one! I don't like to beat up beggars in front of their little sisters, so I'll give you a chance to run away now. After that don't blame me for what happens!"

    "Now, now senior brother let's not fight like uncivilized people. Why don't the two of you arm wrestle instead? The loser has to buy moon cakes for the winner."

    "Ha-Ha well said, junior brother! Go ahead and show him how strong the disciples of Xing Chun are!" Why the hell are you bringing me into your fight?!

    Li Xuanlong only gave Dan a look. You're the one who has his Ki unlocked, just beat him up quickly and get us free cake!




    "Before we begin, allow me to introduce ourselves. I am Dan and this here is my Senior Brother Li Xuanlong. We are both disciples of Elder Xing Chun and study to become Martial Artists under him. We've come to Dixia City to join a sect that will accept us and become Cultivators."

    They arrived at a secluded place with a table from a restaurant that had yet to open. Immediately Dan bulldozed his way into the conversation before the delusional boy they had bumped into could get any momentum into his rantings. His polite behaviour meant that it was hard for the delusional 'young master' to continue acting as he was.

    "O—Oh. Um. I mean, I am known as Gao Xiangxi. Also known as Great Red of Fire Owl Mountain! This is my little sister and maid, Gao Xuelin! Now come let's get this over quickly so you can buy me those moon cakes you talked about!"

    The girl known as Xuelin simply bowed politely and spoke to Dan. "Please don't mind the way my brother speaks. In truth, he's quite lonely and wants many friends. Please consider becoming his friends since you are all here to become cultivators, he's a very nice person with a good heart."

    "Xu-Xuelin! What are you saying?! I don't need friends!" With a red face, Xiangxi whispered harshly to his sister, but she simply smiled calmly, as if tolerating a child who didn't know any better.

    "Say Brother Dan, you and Brother Xuanlong don't seem to be related. How did you meet each other?"

    "Ah well, we only met recently after I became taken as a disciple for Elder Xing."

    "Ho? Is that so? You also seem quite mature. If I may ask where were you bor —"

    The more Dan talked with her, the more he realized that she gave a feeling of talking to a mature woman instead of what he clearly saw as a 13 or 14-year-old girl. More importantly, she didn't seem like she was talking to a 10-year-old boy, instead holding a proper conversation with him. However, his own situation as being in a fantasy world meant that he didn't find something like mature children odd, simply taking it as a quirk of this world. On the other hand, his Senior Brother already had his head in the clouds and wasn't listening in to what was happening at all. Even if he was it was debatable whether he would be able to spot something like this.

    "Xuelin you can talk with him later! First, let me show my strength and defeat them!"

    "Fine, fine! Please treat my brother well, I'll cheer for both of you to do your best."

    Sitting on opposite sides of a table, both the opponents grabbed each other's hands.

    While Dan did not have a lot of time to experiment with his Prana, he did know how to use it in theory and had indeed used it to amplify a single strike. So, it should not be too hard for him to use it in such a basic manner and defeat a single person in a match of arm wrestling.

    Li Xuanlong had the same thoughts, which is why he decided to let him be the one who would face off against this opponent. Say what you will about him, he had learnt early on that judging people by appearances and first impressions was a bad idea after spending so much time with Elder Xing and meeting many of his old acquaintances, which is why he was never needlessly arrogant.

    Dan on the other hand was still revelling in his victory against Li Xuanlong and did not think someone like Gao Xiangxi would be too much trouble.

    "Let's have a fun match then brother Xiangxi." He smiled at his opponent.

    "Hmph! A child like you will be no opponent to this young master. Prepare yourself for your defeat!"

    "Say that after you defeat my junior brother. Anyway, start at the count of 3. 1, 2,3~!"

    Immediately Dan could feel an immense strength coming from Xiangxi's hand. While the boy himself wore torn clothes and did not seem very strong, it quickly became apparent that some of his arrogance had come from somewhere.

    After almost getting defeated in a single surge of strength, Dan focused on using his Prana to augment the strength of his hands and other muscles that supported putting pressure through his hands.

    He knew very well how simply exerting extra force through his Prana was done. Of course, while he was not very efficient with it, this basic action was not beyond him. However, the essence of [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] was in using the opponent's strength and adding it to your own. Dan was already familiar with using bursts of force taken from an opponent's strikes and then using that force with his own attacks, but he had yet to use the Martial Art in something like an Arm-Wrestling match where he had to deal with force that was constantly being emitted by his opponent.

    This guy must have a special physique or something! His arms are like noodles with no muscles at all, but his strength is monstrous! Senior Brother might have been able to defeat him in a fight but in a pure contest of strength, Li Xuanlong would definitely lose against this Gao Xiangxi!

    Circulating his Prana through his hand in an almost whirlpool-like pattern, Dan slowly started to siphon the force that was constantly being emitted by his opponent. He had to match his opponent's force with the rate of his Prana circulation so that he didn't use more than necessary. This new manner of using the [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] required him to constantly take his opponent's strength while also using it to boost his own strength at the same time from the same area in his body.




    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] has gained a Level!


    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] has gained a Level!


    [Body Control] has gained a Level!



    As he took the force from his Gao Xiangxi, it became easier for Dan to hold his opponent in a deadlock, and it showed, since a lot of the strain that had become visible on his face disappeared. The mostly expressionless Gao Xuelin also showed a surprised expression on her face. While to most it might seem that the cause of this was because it looked like Dan was getting stronger as the match went on, she was instead surprised because she didn't believe a child like Dan would last even this long against her silly older brother.

    Once Dan was once again in a comfortable position for his arm and had pushed his arm's position back to the middle, he steadily tried to add the force that was being taken from the same place. This was indeed harder than it looked and wasn't something Dan would have the confidence in doing if he wasn't sitting down and had no other distractions.

    Gao Xiangxi was now visibly gritting his teeth while trying to use all of his strength to push the brat that had challenged him back down. However, no matter how much he increased his strength he couldn't push the child's hand back down. What is this?! Even if he's training to be a Martial Artist he shouldn't be strong enough to go against my physique! Also don't Martial Artists need to do fancy moves to do anything special?

    The truth was that he did not believe that his opponent who looked like a little boy, had any control over his Prana. Also, in the past, he had overwhelmed the strength of a Martial Artist in a scuffle despite them using their Prana against him. Of course, he had no way of knowing someone like him who used his great physical strength had no chance against a practitioner of [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art].

    Slowly, Dan started pushing Gao Xiangxi's arm down. He had figured out the pattern in which he could circulate his Prana to both take his opponent's force and then use it against them in the same place. It wasn't something that he thought he would be capable of in an actual fight without wasting a lot of Prana to find the perfect amount to use while also maintaining concentration on other aspects of the fight, however, he found that Arm Wrestling would be a wonderful way to practice such a thing in the future.

    Thinking so he decided that he would end the match now that he had found the sweet spot for using his Prana for the match. It helped that his opponent wasn't changing the amount of strength he used and was quite consistent, allowing him to use his Prana efficiently. Slowly he started applying more and more of the stolen force from his opponent to push back until the back of Gao Xiangxi's hand touched onto the table.




    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] has gained a Level!


    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] has gained a Level!



    "H-how are you doing this?! This Young master's strength is something no one can compare to! My Heavenly Bull physique cannot be defeated by some random ankle-biter with weird eyes!"

    "A-ah! Forgive my brother for his words, our family simply has a bloodline that gives us great physical strength and we don't have anything like those rumoured great cultivation physiques. However, it is indeed true that my brother has inherited our family's blood quite strongly and has much greater physical strength than any mortal, including Martial Artists who can use Ki. How exactly did you defeat him so easily?"

    "Ha-ha-ha! Of course, you can see that my junior brother is a great talent! It doesn't matter if your brother is a little strong, Dan can use Prana and knows the greatest Martial Art in the world, his defeat was never something in question!" Whew, thank Great Protector Xi! I'm glad I let Junior Brother go instead of me, this guy is really as strong as a bull, saying that he has a bull's physique isn't wrong! Thankfully I followed the old man's teachings and let someone else test him instead of me!

    "Impudence! This great young master will never lose once again! I was simply caught by surprise!"

    "Ah! It was a good match! Your strength is indeed something to witness, I was almost defeated by you right at the beginning. Regardless of what we bet since Senior brother dropped the food you were eating we can buy you a moon cake with the pocket money our Teacher gave us…"

    While Li Xuanlong continued to taunt their new acquaintance, Dan tried to placate his opponent, they walked together towards the Moon Cake shop all of them anticipating the treats to come even as they bickered amongst themselves. Regardless of their differences, the allure of sugar was enough to set them aside for all of them.

    Of course, it was while walking along that the three boys had completely forgotten the exceptionally mature girl who walked silently with them. She started at them with a contemplative expression, while her thoughts were running a mile a minute. Despite the myriad of emotions, she was feeling she kept everything else off her face, only allowing her curiosity to show. After all she knew the kind of threats this world had, it was better to get into a habit of never showing weakness.

    "I'm glad that big brother is making friends…BUT WHO THE HELL IS DAN! There was no one like this in the story of Cultivation Immortal Online! I knew my existence would create a butterfly effect, but I didn't think that my knowledge of future events would go to trash before we even got into the damn sect! Curse my misfortune! Fuck!"



    ~{Skills}~


    [Meditation] {Active} (Lv. 29): The ancient art of meditation, used to cultivate focus, and observe the flow of thoughts and emotions without judgement.


    [Memorisation] *{Active} *{Passive} (Lv. 36 -> 37): Ability to store and recall information accurately and efficiently. *(Only information stored {Actively} while using the skill can be recalled {Passively} with it)


    [Mathematics] {Passive} (Lv. 8): Analyze and solve problems using logical reasoning and precise calculations. Aids in understanding structures, patterns, and relationships.


    [Replay Recall] {Active} (Lv. 7): Recall instances from your life in vivid detail.


    [Firearms Mastery] {Passive} (Lv. 34): Skill in wielding firearms ranging from pistols and shotguns to rifles and heavy weaponry.


    [Body Control] {Passive} (Lv. 27 -> 28): Ability to master and manipulate physical movements with precision, grace, and finesse. The Skill encompasses physical feats such as agility, balance, and coordination. Apart from performing athletic and acrobatic manoeuvres, social abilities like controlling reactions and body language are also included. The skill also shows proficiency in piloting new bodies or adapting to changes made to existing ones.


    [Thought Acceleration] {Active} (Lv. 17 -> 18): Process information, analyze situations, and make decisions at an accelerated rate. Slows down your perception of time.


    [Liu Shui Bo Shu Art] {Passive} (Lv. 1 -> 5): The Water Flow Tree Toppling Art is a Martial Art that allows the user to have unnatural control over the body, but more importantly gives control over the Kinetic Forces themselves. Whether it is Redirecting, Amplifying or Dampening, all of them fall under its purview. Like all True Martial Arts, it uses not the Qi of Heaven and Earth but the Ki or Prana of the body.


    [Wilderness Survival] {Passive} (Lv. 12): Adapt, Endure and Thrive in natural or remote environments.


    [Supernatural Energy Sense] {Active} {Passive} (Lv. 15 -> 18): Sense and become aware of the supernatural or extraordinary energies around you, whether they are magical, psychic, cosmic or other mystical elements, none shall escape your notice. (Sensed Energies: Aether, Mana, Qi, Ki/Prana)


    <>



    Post-chapter note:

    YUP! That's right its not a fun Xinxia story if there's aren't reincarnators and other whacky things happening elsewhere!

    I have so many things planned for this world that no one will see coming lol!

    Xuelin in this case is someone from one of the myriad Alternate Earths. That means she isn't from the same Earth as our boy Dan. From her perspective she died and got a second chance to live in a game world! Of coarse she isn't a very optimistic person as can be seen, she like all people has her own problems and has become a very cautious person because of all the scary things she knows about the future of the game's campaign. Also she doesn't have any system or special power or at least she doesn't know of any boons apart from her family's strength bloodline in the past 13 years of her new life.

    Dan has no clue that the world he is in is based on a popular game. Or is it that the game is based on this world? Heh it's the chicken or egg theory there!
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2023
  28. MarcusDeGabriel

    MarcusDeGabriel Experienced.

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    The brother and sister remind me of Kamui and Kagura from Gintama, especially with the strength being a bloodline thinG. The only difference is that these ones are much more childlike personality :D

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  29. AppleGrowth

    AppleGrowth The story to the name is best left unsaid.

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    Ye but the girl isn't a beauty (yet). No cultivation and a pretty sedentary lifestyle means that she's pretty normal looking and quite chubby since she wasn't allowed to do a lot of exercise and mostly just sat at home.

    Even now she is only supposed to accompany her brother here, but she's doesn't really give a shit about what her family wants. She's gonna participate in the test and become a cultivator regardless of their wishes.

    The gag here is that she used to be a pretty supermodel in her last life but actually got the shorter end of the stick in this one. Of coarse she isn't that bummed out since cultivation can fix that, but for a teenager being fat and simple looking isn't something that instills a lot of confidence which makes it odd when she holds herself with the confidence of a supermodel...
     
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  30. Ethan Eldritch

    Ethan Eldritch Multi-Dimensional Eldritch Tree

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    can't wait for more!
     
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