A note from Sergey Belsky

Hello folks. Do you like the story? And what about you?

Echo from the Gardens of Death. The Bear’s purpose. Cunning Keeper.

I stood near the stone for half an hour, and I couldn’t understand why the bear had visited this place. Perhaps the Bony Fleas were torturing it, and the beast decided to scratch itself. I seriously doubted that, though.

I wish I had dynamite to blow up that rock! I sat down on that damned rock, kept thinking, and even dozed off a little, then I almost fell, and I decided to have a rest right here. What if I get lucky this time? I rested for a short time until I felt something sharp. It was a fragment of a bone, sticking out from under the rock.

I couldn’t move the stone, even though I made a lever out of a log lying nearby.

I’d better increase my Strength. There’s no other way to cope with the quest. Although I didn’t really want to use my spare stat points, I decided not to tempt fate and increased my Strength by only one stat point at a time, trying to move the rock after each increase.

I managed to eventually move the stone only after increasing my Strength by five stat points. I saw bones and a spot of dried blood—undoubtedly belonging to a human. I hadn’t been scared of meeting animated skeletons in RPGs earlier, even if they had been performed in these excellent graphics. However, this was a usual inanimate skeleton. I froze.

I seemed to regret and those feelings belonged to the skeleton. Thanks to the game developers, I’m able now to feel the emotions of the dead! Yeah... Great. Thank you, guys!

But now it was clear why the bear was hanging around near the rock. It had found new bones for the third elk-tahr at the next level. I didn’t like the sadness and anxiety I felt. What is happening? Was the rock a kind of grave that I had disturbed and brought upon myself the wrath of the dead man? Who put the human remnants here?

“I did it,” I heard from behind and almost jumped.

The silvan stood nearby; his height was currently almost the same as mine. The fly agaric on his head still looked very funny, making me smile. Gloomy silvan covered with moss, with a bright red fly agaric, somewhat resembling an electric light bulb, resting on his head.

“Lekrat changed Inver ten times since he found peace here. I was the last person to see him alive, and I left him here.”

“You should have helped him!” I was shocked by the silvan’s calm voice as if he had killed him.

“I helped him find peace forever.” The silvan confirmed my hunch.

“Are you going to help me now in the same way?” I smiled. “You’ll use your staff?”

“Why?” The Forest Keeper was really surprised. “You are perfectly healthy and not affected by the Death Tree’s sprouts.”

“What do you mean? What is the Death Tree? Are its fruit edible?”

“You really are an amazing stranger.” The silvan smirked. “I would never have thought before that anyone in his right mind would eat the Death Tree’s fruit. It’s up to you, though. You have probably seen, while the transition into this world, that Rainea is surrounded by a dozen different smaller lands.”

What’s this silvan talking about? Nothing of the sort happened to me, or does he mean some kind of a spatial gate or portals allegedly used by the players? How does he know how the world, connected to subspaces, should look from the outside?

“There are a lot of small lands around Rainea—each powerful God creates its own area. However, some lands bordered on Rainea before the gods emerged,” the silvan explained. “One of these areas is called the Gardens of Death. This man came from there, obviously running away from the chase.

I don’t know if he took anything or whether the monsters took revenge on him for invading their domain. The residents of the lands bordering Rainea never go beyond their worlds for just nothing. He tried to tell me something, but he couldn’t. I had to help him to find peace because he constantly felt the pain, unavailable even for the Hellish Abyss’s sinners.

I managed to take the sprout and put it in Lekrat’s sphere, so it isn’t dangerous, but this sprout devoured some flesh of the man, so it won’t wither soon. The Hellish Abyss’s creatures came to our forest later. I’ve already destroyed many of their hordes, but there are still a lot of them remaining.”

Here is the quest ‘Monsters in the forest’

Description: For many years, the Hellish Abyss’s emanations poison the Areen forest and produce vile creatures destroying life around them

The Forest Keeper is very strong, but he can’t cope with them all

Help him complete such a difficult quest

Remember that not all the Hellish creatures are evil

You’ll meet the ordinary animals affected by the emanations very often

Terms: to find out the cause of emerging of the Hellish creatures in the Areen Forest

Optional: to find a way to cure the affected animals

Reward: +10000 to the Experience, + 100 gold coins, +500 to the reputation with the Forest Keeper, +100 to the reputation with Reena, the ability ‘Search for Death’, and an artifact to your choice

Class quests: unusual

Accept the quest? Yes/No?

Yes, of course! I’ll get plenty of bonuses! How will I find out the cause of the hellish creatures emerging, though? I’m not sure I’ll handle it. I need to level up. Fortunately, there seem to be no time limits.

It’s necessary to think about the cause of this phenomenon. On the one hand, it could be some kind of crystal full of special energy, its gradual dispersion causing this phenomenon.

Or it could be a spatial rift, its energy penetrating the forest. Or a particularly strong creature is making servants out of ordinary animals by manipulating them with this energy.

I could create many incredible stories due to having read plenty of good books. They provided me with truly extensive knowledge.

I wonder what’s really going on here. Hmm... I’m offered quite a lot of money. In real life, I could afford six months of non-working with this amount of money.

Who’s Reena, by the way?”

“It’s me,” a pleasant female voice sounded, but I didn’t see its owner.

“Look beneath you.”

This game kept amazing me. I expected to see anybody, but not a fox. She was somewhat larger than an ordinary beast, but in general, she was indistinguishable from many other animals.

She had red fur and a fluffy tail with white fur on the tip, nothing remarkable—except for a number of green hairs noticeably sticking out of the fur. They resembled feathers, growing like horns or a tiara.

“Who are you?” I asked.

“I’m a Forest Keeper’s assistant,” the animal replied. “I’m doing the same job as you, but to no avail. I cannot find the reason why there are so many poor creatures living in the Hellish Abyss’s conditions. Sometimes it rains acid there, and yellow clouds of poisonous sulfur fall to the ground. That world tries to kill anyone who lives in it.”

I wish you could have seen my world. I think the Hellish Abyss is far more merciful than my universe. My world is very sophisticated. It loves to torment for a long time, not allowing a victim to escape from its grip. It mocks souls, and its people treat each other badly. So, Foxy, I’d rather call my world ‘the Hellish Abyss’. My planet has acid rains and clouds of sulfur as well, by the way.

“I don’t think they’re unhappy,” I smirked. “Perhaps, many animals perceive sulfur and acid as manna from heaven. Perhaps, these chemical elements help them to get rid of parasites and maintain their fur in excellent condition. Acid might replace water for the plants of this planet.”

“Your words aren’t meaningless, Stranger,” the fox muttered.

My words must be the truth. I’m a little worried. I’d better calm down.

Your Intelligence increases by 1 stat point

Great, I’m showing off and getting smarter. If we had the same rules in real life on Earth, we would have colonized all habitable planets within a couple of hundred light-years from our planet.

“Reena will help you. If you need her help, use this,” the Forest Keeper said and handed me a whistle in the form of a fox carved from wood.

Excellent fox-call

Description: This item is used by hunters to lure foxes

It’s carved from red oak by a very skillful master, who managed to achieve the perfect sound to attract these very cunning and clever animals

Effect: +10% to the chance of luring more foxes

Item Class: magic

Strength: 100/100

“She will hear it in any part of the forest and come to you quickly,” the silvan explained. “She has been helping me for a long time, Stranger, so do take care of her.”

Note to the quest: take care of Reena and don’t let her die

Additional Reward: ???

Penalty for failure: your Reputation with the Forest Keeper will decrease by 2000 stat points

Your Reputation with the Forest Keeper will decline to the level of ‘Hostility’

That old man is cunning. Reena is neither a human nor an ordinary beast. I’m sure I’ll get along with her. However, I’ll need to find more information about her

Note: To learn more about the fox, Reena.


About the author

Sergey Belsky

  • Moscow

Bio: Sergey Belsky is a Russian author of thirteen books in the genres of Sci-ence Fiction, Fantasy and LitRPG. He is in the top 10 of several popular self-publishing sites in Russia.

He took up writing books while he was studying at the university. By profession Sergey is an engineer of navigation systems of hypersonic cruise missiles. He never considered writing as the main profession. But once im-mersed in his own fantastic world, he realized that he loved writing.

Impressed with the masterpieces of world literature, D.R.R.T. Tolkien and D.R.R. Martin, he creates a fantasy saga “The Chronicles of Arcania”, which finds response in the hearts of many readers and this interest stimulates him to write further.

He wrote his first and most successful book series “The Beetle” in the Li-tRPG genre. 5 books of the series were written during 2017. The series has firmly taken its place in the top bestsellers. The main character, who got into a virtual game with full immersion, turns into a beetle. Readers love this series for the unusual nature of the main character, for his adventures and the de-tailed underworld, consisting of many locations and dungeons. The series is finished and is now being translated into English.

In 2018, Sergey began a new LitRPG series "Class-Neutral", which also became a bestseller. Both series are similar, and at the same time completely different. The action takes place in the same world, but in another part of it. The class of the main character is extremely unique. The character is endowed with the magic of the nature and space. Now the 4th book of the series is being written.

All books of the author are interconnected, they are as the elements of a vast and detailed universe. Each book and each cycle, step by step, opens the reader this magical and wonderful world of Reyne.

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