Conquest – Chapter 6: A Whole New World

The tour lasted around three hours, in which Suzuki learned three important things: the facility they were to live in was impossibly large – nearing the size of a town; the allowances they received would be largely dependent on their co-operation; and finally, no contact was allowed with the outside world without express permission.

The ‘town’ was divided into four major sectors: Residential; Research; Learning; and finally Restricted. The placing of the buildings themselves was not as strict, however, and it was common to find some residential buildings in the Research and Learning sectors and vice-versa. Only the Restricted section remained completely cut off from the rest by an exaggerated large concrete wall that shunned all visitors.

The last sector was scattered around, hence why it was not a real sector: the Recreational sector. It seemed the creators of the compound did not want its inhabitants feeling overly pressured by work, so they had included various recreational facilities. Such as a small amusement park, game stores, libraries and several others.

The most important information Suzuki had gleaned from the tour, however, was the importance of his PDA. To say it was his lifeline would not be too much of a stretch: it contained important
information, was his sole means of communication, and acted as his ID for both human personnel and security systems.

He ran over all the information in his head as he laid back on his bed, staring at the ceiling above. It was strange how the drawing he once saw as familiar and calming now filled him with a sense of dread.

Sighing, Suzuki looked at his PDA at the announcement that had been sent to everyone. The game was to start at 5 pm and it was expected that everyone be plugged into the virtual-drive by 4:55;
leaving enough time for the calibrations. The top right of the screen revealed the time to be 4:50.

It was decision-making time.

He could choose not to participate, but there was no guarantee as to what would happen to him afterwards. Also what would he be going back to? A school system he barely tolerated, scorn from his classmates, and parents who would sell him off at a moment’s notice. Heck, they already had.

He turned to the silent silver machine, waiting patiently to be used. It bore him no animosity, but similarly it held no love for him either. Its existence was simply to be used, and used, till it was old; broken; worthless. At which stage it would be tossed away and replaced with a new one – a better one ­­- forever forgotten among the layers of trash that surrounded it.

“We are not so unlike each other,” Suzuki whispered to his silent companion, but it offered no reply.

“What the hell,” Suzuki surrendered and got off his bed. He pulled his shirt off and got in. It was much cosier than he had imagined, its warm insides embracing him softly like a long lost friend.

The helmet automatically lowered onto his head, its visor blocking his vision. The Virtual-Drive slowly came to life with a soft hum and scanned his entire body, inputting his information into its memory. A light ‘ping’ next to his ear signalled the end of the scanning and a message window opened up in front of him:

 WELCOME TO F-DIVE   → ENTER FULL DIVE→ YES / NO

 

Suzuki hesitated for a second, sucked in a deep breath and chose yes, bracing himself for the sucking feeling that was sure to follow.

Despite the number of dives he’d experienced, he still could not get used to the feeling of his consciousness being strapped to the Millennium Falcon and blasting through space at light speed. In the short seconds that followed, he formed a brand new account, inputted his personal data and chose the sole file in the system’s memory: a file labelled L.N.E.exe.

The light faded out as Suzuki came to a halt, feet landing softly on the white paneled floor. Suzuki flexed his fingers, glad to finally be able to feel his body again, and scanned his surroundings.

Everything was white. The floor, the walls, the ceiling… even the strange conical machine in the centre of the room. Rings protruded from its surface, growing larger in diameter as they reached further up. And between them sat a young lady with bright blue hair.

“Come closer Mato Suzuki,” she said, motioning to him with her petite hands. She had Japanese features, but her accent was foreign. English maybe? Or American?

Suzuki approached her, devoid of hesitation. He knew her purpose already; she meant him no harm.

“Welcome to Live No Evil, Mato Suzuki,”she greeted, smiling brightly. “You are one of the millions logged on to participate in this games’ opening event.”

Opening event, huh? Suzuki thought. The creators of this game really aimed to please.

“For the next five minutes, I shall provide basic knowledge on the game to get you started, as well as a few rules.” She paused to make sure he was following. “Any questions?”

“I have none,” Suzuki replied. He felt a light breeze on his chest and looked down; he realized he was still shirtless. For some reason, he did not feel embarrassed though. The girl’s soulless tone which seemed completely faked, or programmed, might have had something to do with that.

“Then I shall proceed. Live No Evil is set in a rapidly developing world which you shall be an integral part of. Unlike most MMORPG’s, in this world, every action you take has consequences, as every living thing follows one unbreakable rule: One Life. You will be allowed several avatars which can be obtained in-game, but every avatar will be deleted once dead…”

“And the player?” he asked, his voice rising slightly with anxiety.

“They will be unharmed. However they shall be forced to create a new persona, or use an existing one if they wish to continue the game.”

Suzuki breathed a sigh of relief that was immediately replaced with a stark realization. Death! The possibility of actual death would completely change the dynamics of an MMORPG. In theory it was the least practical thing to be applied to a game as it would induce rage and quitting among several players.

On the other hand, it meant those who played regardless were die-hard players who absolutely loved the game and possesses a certain stubbornness or pride. The corners of Suzuki’s lips curled upwards without his notice.

“The residents of the lands you will be visiting also possess one life and a consciousness of their own. As a result the term ‘NPC’ is banned, and the degree of punishment is dependent on the region.”The number of skills you can learn is limited only to your imagination, so experiment as much as you can. As stated previously, your actions affect the world directly. For example, assassinating a king would throw his kingdom into chaos, killing a child would cause the parent to grieve, and clearing out a hunting zone will render the animals there extinct. It would be wise to think before you act in this game,” she said.

Suzuki trembled with excitement, but he forced himself to keep it together. He really wanted to play the game now.

“What is the time difference?” Suzuki asked.

In the previous game, time flowed a lot slower than in reality, which was the reason Razznik had been able to acquire all the skills he had. It was a great imbalance that had made the lifeless and jobless much stronger than the average player.

“Three weeks here is equivalent to a week in your world.”

“Smart.” The difference was large enough to give players ample playing time but not so much that those who ‘had a life’ were terribly disadvantaged.

“Basics cleared. You will learn the rest on your own,” she said, as a screen materialised in front of her. On the display, two armies met each other in battle. The sight of free flowing blood mixed with the anguished, lifeless eyes of the defeated made him shiver.

“The free country, Aergiae is at war with its neighbouring Empire Markoth, home of the dark elves,” explained the blue-haired woman as Suzuki watched the skirmish. “Markoth has long since been involved with the dark arts and the discovery of new machinery for war. Their search for power caused them to turn their eyes towards other countries, absorbing them into its empire. Aergiae, the last country on the continent, joined forces with rebels from the different nations to put an end to their reign. Constant battling for years has brought the two powers to this final battle for the decisive victory…”

“…Don’t tell me,” Suzuki muttered, barely able to keep the excitement bubbling up from his voice. He clenched and unclenched his left hand repetitively in anticipation.

“Yes, you and everyone logged on at this time will be participating in this war. This brings us to our next phase. There are many a number of races to pick from in this game, though you cannot change your gender. The several races have been divided into four main parts: Humans, Elves, and Beast-man. Choose whichever is to your liking.”

Suzuki looked at the options before him, scanning through the list. As the guide had said, there were several sub-races – in fact, maybe too many. If the producers were going for diversity, they had definitely got it right. The humans had almost a dozen sub-races each with their own little trivia; the elves a few, and the beast tribe, easily the most.Almost every animal known to man was present on the screen.

It was definitely hard to choose. He ruled out humans, because of Razznik . He scanned through the Elven sub-races and settled on the Dark Elves. He had always been a rebel and non-conformist. What better way to start this off than join the evil and hated side?

“Are you certain?” the guide asked.

Suzuki nodded his head in confirmation, and he smiled in amazement as his body morphed to a slightly skinnier build, his ears grew out and his hair exploded into a spiky waterfall. Even his clothing changed. Light wove across his chest, forming a blue shirt; his pants darkened to black and his shoes turned into leather boots; and finally, a dark mantle settled over his shoulders.

“Choose your weapon,” she said as an assortment of weapons appeared on the ground in front of him. There were several – too many in fact – but he settled on a sword and some daggers, which he holstered to his belt.

“The last thing I shall teach you about is your status window. Wave your hand like this,” she said, swiping downwards with her right hand.

Suzuki copied the motion and sure enough a list of options opened up. He checked the options and noticed the log out button. Years of watching movies and anime with people trapped in virtual limbo had made him wary.

His window contained several commands, including his equipment, status, skills and several more. It was set up like a traditional RPG and he was glad for its familiarity.

He closed the window and noticed that his view had changed. A life bar was placed on the top left corner of his vision with a small empty greyed out space before the green bar.

“You can change your view by using the screen command, which will revert between your current view and a normal one. Note, you will not be able to see your status and that of others while in the normal state,” said the guide.

“Ah, I see,” replied Suzuki, closing the window.

“That concludes the tutorial,” she said with a smile. “Are you satisfied with all your settings?”

“Yes,” Suzuki said. He guessed his time must be up, meaning the game should be starting some time soon.

“Any last questions?”

“Your name?” Suzuki asked, scratching the back of his head.

“M-my name?” she stammered, flustered by his request. It clearly was not one she had been expecting.

“Y-yeah,” Suzuki said, embarrassed. “It feels wrong to leave without even knowing your name.”

“I’m called Rika,” she said with a dazzling smile. “Of all the adventurers, you are the only one to ask of my name. Thank you.”

“N-no,” he stammered weakly. “I should be the one thanking you. I mean you helped me out so much.”

“It was simply my job,” she replied, but her bright smile outshone the cold words. “Have you decided on what name you shall bear in this world?”

“Hakite… er no; Kashi. Yes, Kashi,” Suzuki decided.

“Kashi? Weird name. What does it mean?”

“It takes the ka from kaku, the Japanese word for hidden, and combines it with the word shi, meaning death,” he answered.

“Do you want a family name, or do you wish to stick with just the one name?”

“I’ll stick with the one.”

“Very well. Kashi of the Dark Elves, I wish you success in your adventures.”

“See you later Rika,” Kashi said as the room slowly dissipated into mist.

“Till we meet again,” she replied, and faded away with the room.

Looking down, he saw the battle from the screen in the tutorial room playing out; the rage, agony, and pain from the soldiers forming a familiar beat that brought a wide grin to his face.

He noticed several people suspended in mid-air like him watching the battle too. Suddenly, a translucent yellow sphere encased him and crashed down to the earth. It shattered on impact but left him unscathed.

Another window popped up in front of him:

 

Citizen of Markoth

  • Eliminate everyone in your path and bring glory to the Empire

Simple. Easy. Straightforward.

Kashi took a deep breath, taking in the familiar aroma of blood, sweat and steel, scents he loved and lived for. A sickening grin on his face, he unsheathed his sword, dragging it across the earth. He took a step forward, then another. Slowly he increased his pace to a light jog, gaining pace as he got closer to the battle.

With a blood-curling yell, he sprinted right into the fray, lobbing off the head of a beast-man with the very first swing of his sword.

**********************************************************************************************************

(Authors Note : You can skip this section it basically just introducing the different races)

 

Dark Elves

Possessing skin that ranged from darker than night to pale grey, this race loved art and spent most of their time crafting masterpieces and beautifying their work. Though they lacked the magical and hunting prowess of their cousins, this never affected them. Through countless drawings they gained the ability to etch runes onto objects, increasing the objects power threefold. Against the warnings of their cousins, the high elves, they began to etch runes onto their very skin.

This action caused a deterioration of the mind, which later twisted their minds to believe that nothing was truly beauty until it was reformed by them. They soon enslaved their dwarven neighbours, who crafted magnificent weapons, armour and gears of war, that they used to begin their conquest. Thus, the dark elves’ campaign to transform the continent into one of true beauty as seen by them began. Their motto : “Restoration through Destruction.”

They are the best at making works of art, and they learn crafts much more easily than any other races. Years at war blessed the usually lean race with tough bodies.

 

High Elves

Possessing a much fairer skin than their cousins, these proud creatures believe themselves superior to every other race till date. Possessing high wisdom and a natural aptitude for magic, this clan build
their homes in the mountains, away from the rest of the world, gaining enlightenment in their mastery of the several schools of magic.They only leave their homes when matters of great import happen in the surface world. They participated in the great war against the dark elves, all but rendering their cousins
extinct without remorse. They are highly resistant to magic, but possess very low defense against physical attacks. Years in solitude has made their skinny bodies weak, making it hard to increase their strength.

 

Forest Elves

One of the most peaceful races in all of the  Rosendun continent , they prefer the calm of the trees to the noisy hustle and bustle of the city. They are quite friendly are quite welcoming to
outsiders, as long as they mind their manners. Their extended time with nature granted their mages with the unique ability to control the earth, and their warriors with keen instincts, agility and dexterity. When their cousins’ quest for power wrought destruction on several wildlife, the picked up their bows and daggers, and went to war for the first time in centuries. They are inherently blessed with high Dexterity, giving them unrivalled prowess with ranged
weapons.

 

Beast-Men:

No one knows when or where exactly the beast-men came to existence. There are as many theories of their origins as there are stars in the night sky. They all possess the inherent ability to speak to
animals, unlocked when they reach maturity. Their special skills varies depending on what species they belong to.

 

Orcs:

Made by Ferulic from the twisted essences of damned souls, they were originally creatures of pure hatred and vile contempt. They cursed the other races, rampaging and pillaging through the lands at will.
Through Aethir’s pleas, Ferulic released his hold on the creatures. Most of them still possess their initial hatred and will attack adventurers on sight. There have been claimed sightings of peaceful orcs who wished for peaceful negotiations, but without any substantial proof, it is recommended that adventurers give them a wide berth. It would be wise to note that all orcs have a high health regeneration rate. SO ensure they are dead before you leave or you will receive an axe to the back of your head for your carelessness.

Grunts:

Lowest tier of the Orc family tree, these five foot creatures usually travel in packs led by a leader grunt. They possess limited intelligence, and obey their instincts before anything else. Fast and Dangerous, these creatures swarm their enemies before beating them down with clubs. Highly resistant to physical attacks and poison. Terribly weak against
magic.

 Orkh:

These are the higher class orcs. They are usually chiefs of their respective clans and possess high intelligence.  Their word is law, and the Grunts obey them without question. Like the Grunts, they are highly resistant to physical attacks and poison. However, they are experts at crafting wooden weapons for war. They possess a higher resistance to magic than their inferior cousins.

 Orgres:

Ranging from nine feet to over twenty feet, Orgres are the big boys of the Orc family. Possessing very limited intelligence, they usually depend on Orkh’s for orders. When unleashed in battle they are beyond
deadly. Faster than their sizes suggest, many adventurers who dared challenge these beasts wound up dead before they knew what hit them.Possesses high resistance to both Magic and Physical attacks. Unlike their cousins, they are not resistant to poison.

Dwarves:

No one has heard from the Dwarven race since the war eleven years ago. They descended deep into the earth, their grief for their dead slightly above their inconsolable hatred for the Dark Elves. Their unrivalled
skills in the manipulation of metal and jewels caused them to be enslaved by the Dark Elves. They were forced to craft great weapons of war, and build monuments around the world wherever the elves conquered. They possess sturdy skin from mining in the ground for several years on end. As a result, they have high resistance to physical attacks and their own attacks are second in power only to the Orcs. They boast the ability to identify rare items quite easily, and their silver tongue make them excellent merchants. Never bet with a dwarf for you shall leave with nothing but your underpants..

Humans:

The last race created and loved the most by the goddess Aethir, they are quite…. average. There are far too many races to be penned down, but apart from a little resistance to cold or heat depending on
their homes, they are pretty much the same. They can learn basically anything they want without penalties of any kind. However, this also means they rarely master any one field of choice.A race full of diversity, you can have five humans in one room, and hear fifty different opinions on one question between the five of them. However, they are quite adventurous and were the binding force between
the different races, who till their creation lived in seclusion away from each other.


Author: LegacyTMG

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