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It's been a week since I got my capsule and it's been busy for me. On one hand, I wanted to get all my work-projects done so I could jump into Road to Purgatory with both feet, on another hand I wanted to perfect the capsule home-space, on a third hand I wanted to watch the flame war a large part of the vocal gaming community had devolved into and on a forth hand, I wanted to read everything Pantheon Entertainement had put out on Road to Purgatory. Sadly, I only have two hands so something had to give, or so I thought. Alleviation came in the form of time travel. Sounds ridiculous, doens't it? Well, calling it time travel would be a bit over the top but after my first time in the capsule, I asked Pica about it and learned that every human had a different "mind-speed" and without our body to limit the mind, amazing things could happen. The game itself would run at a standard 2x rate, every human should be able to cope with it, those who didn't, well tough luck, you would be slow...

But that was only the standard rate, the home-space had no such restriction but was set to a maximum of 2x on factory settings. After setting it to floating, the whole thing went wild. I worked for multiple days inside the capsule, molding the Idols like I wanted and I built the wings of my temple into a training hall so I could get translate my outside Wing Chun-Training to my virtual body, a library, complete with desktop computer that would simulate my outside machine and tons of shelves holding my ebook collection. The third area became a living space with a huge couch, wall screen and popcorn. Yes, you could eat inside but obviously it would not keep you fed and eating too much before getting into the capsule was a bad idea for obvious reasons. Nobody wanted to get the literal crap scared out of them. Last but not least, a meditation space, open to the virtual moon and the sweeping, icy gales of my mountaintop. The magic of virtual reality allowed me to create a relaxing incense smell that would not get blown away by the eternal wind. Somehow the feeling of the chilling wind without getting truly cold was incredibly relaxing.

When I was done, I felt a bit strange, my mind was telling me I had just spent three or four days without food or drink but I felt fine, a bit thirsty yes, but not dehydrated to the point of danger. So I asked Pica how long I'd been in here and at work. The answer shocked me quite a bit, I had spent 4 days of virtual time with the floating time dilatation going from 8x when I was relaxed to a whopping 16x for short periods of time when I was intensely focused on something. Those four days capsule-time were just a bit more than nine hours in the real world.

After a short potty break, I made myself dinner and turned on my personal comedy channel, GNN, to watch the flamewar Tobiuno had kicked off last week. What surprised me was that I apparently had legions of ardent fans, now don't get me wrong, the support was cool but be realistic: I had never made a public appearance, when streaming I used an avatar and I was never featured in commercials or endorsements. I think I had given three interviews over the course of an 12 year career, never touching on personal stuff and so on. Hell quite a few people claimed I was a guy cause in the beginning, before everyone got used to “Titania” the schoolfriends who started with me called me “Sam”.

Now, time for honesty, I had never made public appearances because I greatly dislike my looks. Mom, may her soul have found nirvana, was the one I inherited my looks from. In another culture and time, my mother would have been a great beauty, small, slender with lustrous hair flowing like silk. In our current culture, she looked like an eight grader wearing adult clothing. Jiang Ying Yue, as she was called prior to marriage, never topped 5' or a hundred pounds and only after pregnancy did she grow breasts that deserved that description. Me, well, as I said, I inherited her looks, I stopped growing at 4'8 which would make me rather short in let's say Indonesia, but in the west? Let's just not go there...

The two positive remarkable physical features I have are silky black hair that I have grown out, down to my butt and jade green eyes that seem to almost glow due to the contrast of very fair skin and their almost insane colour.

But back to my supporters, they were whipping themselves into a fervour, nobody had any real information but me quitting was attributed to pretty much anything from aliens to international espionage. On the other side, the Acrasia fans and Hailstorm-Loyalists were defending their idols with a holy conviction, those who spoke against them were buried under an avalanche of trolling.

It was glorious, I just had to make myself some popcorn, watching the GNN-Panelists trying to stay somewhat civilised while the message boards they were reporting about tore themselves apart.

 

I didn't want to get completely stiff so I did some forms, then I connected my desktop-system with the capsule and went back in.

 

“Pica, there should be a linked desktop-system, can you detect and access it?” I asked into thin air. “Certainly, I can do that, Jade” said the silver apparition that winked into being beside me. A computer, just like my normal system materialized next to me, complete with a little floating screen to move, rotate and configure it. I placed it into my library. Now, I could work for two hours of real time and knock out twelve to sixteen hours of work.

 

Work, for me, was going over tons of financial data, looking for irregularities, tracing them and finding red flags and tying those to persons. To most, it's about as interesting as watching paint dry, but I relished in looking for patterns in the chaos and there were always patterns in the chaos of reality. Most people would call me insane for it. Well, most people would be right if you call everyone with an irregular psychology 'insane'. My special brand of insanity is a mix of obsessive compulsive disorder and autism. I have an irrational need to go about my day in certain ways or I get antsy but by now, at the age of twenty-eight, I'm able to control it. Interestingly, the rational and highly precise movements inherent to some martial art forms and the meditation exercises helped a lot to control both my mind and body in the chaos of society. But it also allows me to recognise patterns a lot easier and organize patterns and information in ways “normal” people cannot. So I don't consider myself 'challenged' I consider myself superior, sadly few people can relate to me and I quite often have problems to relate to the feelings of others.

 

So yes, my wonky brain is great for an forensic accountant like me and that had made me into one of the best in the field, companies hire me to find out if someone is cheating them, judges hire me to check out the 'facts' put before them by arguing parties, spouses hire me to find out if their partner funnel money to a mistress, I've done it all and I've nailed them hard.

My personal favourite case was a divorce court and I'd been hired by the judge so I was looking in both parties. Now, I'll be honest, both of them were in school with me, she was the former Queen-Bee, he was the former Top-Jock and both had been horrible bullies. Yes, I'd relished the fact that I was able to go through their finances and I had used a fine, fine toothed comb.

During my testimony in court, I told the Judge that I had also given my findings to the appropriate investigative agencies. As he asked me why, I went over the multiple financial crimes both of them had committed and I felt it my duty to report it as I was hired by the court itself. Afterwards, the judge told me he'd never had such a good laugh, one divorcee screwing the other over, yes that he had seen. Both divorcees getting screwed? That was new to him. From that day on, I was the one he got when he wanted another opinion and the rumours about his bulldog have made his divorce-court very, very polite as no one wants to question too hard on financial matters and have me go through their records.

 

For companies, I mostly work on commission, taking a percentage of recovered funds, making out like a bandit. And they say crime doesn't pay, it pays me like you wouldn't believe.

 

After working a couple of hours in accelerated time, I sent the final report to my clients. Then I wanted to start studying the released material about the game. “Pica, can you show me the lore-material Pantheon has released for Road to Purgatory?” I asked the empty air. “Yes, Jade, I can do that.” With that a small book materialized in front of me. Then Pica continued “Sadly, there is not that much of it. Most of it, the players will need to discover for themselves.”

 

Well. That's disappointing, maybe 20 pages, mainly telling me that some kind of cataclysm had fractured the world a couple of centuries ago. The world had fractured and the various races had settled down on different continents and seamonsters made travel without watermages to hide the ships a challenging proposition. Fleets were completely out, no watermage would be able to hide one and fighting against the seamonsters was like pouring blood into shark-infested water, triggering a feeding frenzy. That made interracial wars pretty much impossible but intraracial wars were rather common, with border raids, sponsored banditry and similar practices common. That gave rise to the adventurer-profession, basically small-scale mercenaries, united by the powerful guilds that kept themselves independent from any one kingdom and worked together across oceans. So, seven continents, the standard fantasy races, elves, human, dwarves, orcs but also demons, celestials and beastman. In addition, ever since the cataclysm beings from other realms materialised, giving the indigenous beings a hard time. So spawning and respawning monsters have a place, lore-wise. Now dungeons? Ah, yes, at some places, reality is unstable and brave adventurers can delve into the unknown to search for treasure. And the ruins of ancients are still there as well, some have been looted but a lot of them are still intact, protected by ancient magics, traps and the simple fact that they are in inaccessible places.

 

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Tsaimath

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