Polymath Redux Annex
Chapter 3 – At another world’s beginning
“Ugh, shit…” his consciousness returned. Those were the first words uttered by ‘Mordred’. His lungs grasped out for air. Sated, but the oxygen that rushed down his throat resulted in a series of violent coughs. Light-headed and disorderly; just the attempt at a straight thought was a gargantuan task for his current state. “What happened…?” his memories were like a celluloid film if it was all cut up and thrown about in a jumbled mess.
Minutes and hours couldn’t properly be distinguished. As Mordred tried to open his eyes it was a drug-induced frenzy of bright hallucinations that assaulted him. The colours of the world flooded into a brilliant technicoloured dance to eventually fall into place. They were blurred shapes for now but the overall gist of his environ could be understood.
As he ‘saw’ the world, an odd ‘truth’ questioned his mind. ‘Light? Why?’ there was a clear sense of light before him. That should not have been the case because his room should have been blocked by the blinds.
A chilling sensation of nervousness ran down his back. Without his vision having properly recovered there was an ever-present anxiety of his predicament. “Tch, why do my eyes hurt so much anyway?” he questioned. He thought that perhaps the years of a hermit-like lifestyle may have changed his sensitivity to light crossed his mind. Eventually, as his sight adjusted to reality, the true canvas painting that was the world before him was revealed. “Huh?” a small gasp of confusion and disbelief. His mind fell into chaos but his body was frozen.
A vast, almost infinite landscape of greenery, as though a marvellous and malignant force of nature painted over reality. A sea of trees. Almost impossible to see in real life, perhaps not even in a cinematic interpretation, yet such fantasied were laid bare before him. Luscious forest beset his sight, however the oddest part of the experience was his altitude. He found that his height was much greater than those trees. Many hundred times greater.
A gentle breeze brushed past his body to cool him down. It reverted his prior frozen state. Above were clouds, but they were also on his general eye-level, right, he was trapped upon a tall mountainous area. “No… what? Huh?”
How convenient it would all have been to write off this experience as a realistic hallucination or dream. “Yes,” he nodded, “all a dream,” and the moment he closed his eyes it would be back in his room by the time he opened it again. Yet, he understood deep inside that it wasn’t. The mountainous gale force that rushed past his body, the smell of cold air, the sensation that crawled up his skin, they were all as ‘real’ as anything else. “This… is the most realistic dream?” he shook his head.
“Ah… I’m exhausted, mentally… but not physically, why? I don’t get it, I get none of this goddammit!” the strange thing was that even at such a high altitude he didn’t feel particularly sick or out of breath. Everything seemed normal. Not only that but with only a few light breaths he quickly regained his composure. He had never been this rational-minded, it was almost a curse that denied him from escaping into insanity.
He sighed. He edged closer to the face of the cliff to peer down. “Maybe I can climb… no,” it was a vertical precipice for thousands of meters. Nothing but harsh gales and jagged edges to keep him company. “… What now? Should I stay for a rescue plane or something?”
Mordred shook his head. His brows furrowed as his expression soured from all this traumatic experience. However, there was one thing that strangely popped into his mind that could semi-answer something. ‘Welcome to Aria’. “Tch, why am I remembering it that now? I should first think about how to get down from here.” Mordred considered himself to be rather competent for problem solving, but he couldn’t really come up with any practical methods of getting down from this current position.
“Perhaps I really should wait for a rescue helicopter,” the thought returned. He gazed around more but nothing. A vast landscape of trees and mountains with no signs of civilization was all that existed in every direction. There was a greater chance that he’d die of starvation than if a rescue helicopter would arrive. If that was the case, then it would be preferable to start climbing down when he had the stamina to do so.
If this was anyway reminiscent of his online game, then all he needed to do was jump down. However, if he tried that now, he’d die. This was ‘real’. ‘This isn’t a game,’ he told himself. Precisely because this was ‘real’ and because he had ‘everything’ to lose, an unknown burst of resolve surged through his body. This unfair death game gave him no other options. He had to climb or mark a suitable place on this plateau to serve as his grave.
Mordred shook his head and slapped his face a couple of times. He resolved himself for the death climb down Murder Mountain. Yet as he prepared himself, a bestial screech shaking the heavens above echoed through the mountain-scape. The very blue skies trembled as if to suggest that they were about to collapse. “That didn’t sound good,” he shifted his head back and forth as he latched onto the side of the cliff face.
Something came to his view. Far off in the horizon, it could be seen, surfing the skies with its large, blood-coloured wings. Too far to make out any other details, although Mordred had a very solid inkling as to what this could be. “That… no, it couldn’t be, right? Shit, is this still really not a dream?!” but his complaints were cut short as a massive ball of inferno spewed forth of the dragon’s mouth and flew towards his direction. Upon the slightest graze, it had completely melted a large chunk of the mountain above him. More than that, it was the heat. The heat felt as though it would almost sear off his face, “Shit…! It’s real!”