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Mittwoch, Unär 13, CR 204 - 14:12 nachmittags - Dreifacher Vollmond, Anessa’s perspective

 

A boot into my back pulls me away from the oddly German local clock in my vision. Having a clock ticking away is something I haven’t acclimated to. It seems I missed the question the elder asked me, and once our gazes meet, he repeats himself.

 

“So, what are you two weaklings doing roaming around our old town, hm?” The elder asks, he taps the closed fan in his hand against his knee as he looks down on us.

 

Yuna and I are both bound around the wrists and ankles which are then tied to each other. She’s a bit cross with me, and hasn’t said more than a few words since we arrived.

 

Yuna speaks before I have a chance to.


Yuna’s perspective

 

Hot pain lances through my head as I wake up. My instincts scream at me that something is wrong. The last thing I remember is Anessa losing to Gibalter in Maaka Institute’s friendly tournament. The ground around me is pure white and broken into hexagonal sections. Without warning a box appears in front of me.

 

Prepare yourself: Entry into the [System] requires you to be tested to determine your start level and stats.

 

A [Sensory Implant] has been injected into your soul to ease transition.

 

What are level and stats?

 

A creature clad in a black film rises from the ground. A glance at it shows a window which reads ‘Goblin, Lv. 1’. The film falls away and it readies itself.

 

It’s armed, and advances on me ready to strike. A flash later and its headless corpse falls to the ground. Two different sections of the ground darken as I shake the blood off my hand.

 

This might be fun.

 

An hour later and the bodies of the ten ogres around me fall away like the film that covered the first Goblin.

 

The ground darkens into a lava red color. A hand climbs out of the latest darkened hexagon to reveal a ‘Troll, Lv 25’. Trolls are abominations. They never seem to want to die.

 

A mistake on the final ten trolls bisects me and another message appears after my body is stitched back together by the [System]:

Be warned, your death during the testing phase is a one time reversal. There are no second chances given by the [System].

 

Continuing transfer into [Hel] super cluster.

Expected difficulty: [Paralytic Nightmare]

 

Base stats determined, think [Status] for more information.

 

For completing the test with valor you will receive a bonus upon your arrival.

 

I blink and I’m standing on top of a cliff with complicated rune patterns covering it. Anessa is standing in front of me. Her hands cover her chest and she seems to be at a loss for words.

 

“We should change,” I say and hand her the bonus the [System] gave me. Our outfits were in tatters before we entered the [System].

 

Anessa takes two new sets of clothing out of her storage ring and hands me my set.

 

“What’s going on? Before we arrived here I was attacked by monsters and it mentioned [Status],” Anessa asks.

 

The shirt Anessa gave me is a bit tight, but it’ll do. “I don’t know, let’s take a moment to understand the changes before we do anything else.”

 

We look over our stats and wonder if we can see each other’s. Unsure whether it will work or not we hold one another’s hands. The [System] responds to our wish and I see a screen:

You have achieved a [Union] with Anessa.

 

In my stats I see a new option named [Unions]. I think of it and I’m presented with Anessa’s stats.

 

“How did we get here?” I ask.

 

Anessa looks over the forest from the cliff we’re standing on. The runes beneath us were glowing when we arrived, but the light in them is fading. Is this what brought us here?

 

“The sovereign of light almost killed me. You and Yalinda were controlled by him. A lot of things happened and we got caught in a planar shift, Yalinda wasn’t in the circle,” Anessa says. She looks down, “I’m a fool, you know?

 

“I had four years to become as strong as I could and I blew it. Jonathan and all of my friends died because I was too afraid to tell them the truth or too lazy to become strong enough to protect them.”

 

Her words give me pause and I say flatly, “you’re right.

“Only you can change that,” I remark and walk into the forest behind the cliff.

 

The forest is quiet. There is a clear and clean path you can run through. Its used. My instincts tell me we’re being watched. After looking all around myself a few times, I guess it’s my imagination.

 

Anessa follows me without so much as a peep. Perhaps what I said was a bit too blunt. She does need to grow up though. Every day I trained at least twice as long as she did and she knows it.

 

Two hours pass along the well-beaten footpath and we come to a partial clearing. It looks to be a village, or what’s left of it. The forest has all but reclaimed this space. Vines and moss cover toppled stone buildings. The well in what I would call the town square has collapsed in on itself.

 

A shiver goes down my spine and I take Anessa’s hand and pull her to me. She is about to protest as I take up my position in front of her and take a battle stance.

 

Something powerful is moving toward us, I just don’t know what it is yet. Moments pass and my instincts are telling me to hide. My deeper instincts are telling me that hiding would do no good.

 

I take advantage of the [Union] and send Anessa a message, “Don’t move, something deadly is coming. We should be okay as long as we aren’t stupid.”

 

What looks like a simple red wolf stalks out of the forest into the clearing. It moves with purpose and stealth. I haven’t heard a thing, so I’m not sure what told me it was coming.

 

A heartbeat later and its face is next to mine. Its paws are on my shoulders and its rancid breath blows in my face as it sniffs me. Before I can make a move it’s on Anessa smelling her. She lets out a squeal of fright which the beast ignores.

 

Once it has our scents it walks away from us. Its head lifts toward where it entered the forgotten town. A second later and it’s gone as quietly as it came.

 

That was close, this world works differently than where we’re from. When it stared me in the face, I caught a glimpse of its level: 503. It’s over 480 levels above us.


Anessa’s perspective.

 

Yuna finishes her story, “Then I fell unconscious because one of your people knocked us out somehow. I awoke as they took the hood off my head.

 

“We’re no threat to you,” Yuna says.

 

“Hm, you may be right about not being a threat. What concerns me right now is this [Union]. The great [System] only allows unions between those who can reproduce. Girls can’t reproduce with one another.” The Elder looks between us, “Which of you has boy bits?”

 

“Neither of us,” I say. Is a [Union] more than I thought? Don’t tell me I married Yuna. I’m not ready for that! I am of age in the Redwood Kingdom, but…

 

Someone points a knife to my chin and forces me to keep eye contact with the elder.

 

“I’m serious, we do have an art though,” I continue. It’s difficult to not focus on the knife. “Even if we’re both girls, it won’t matter.”

 

The elder unfurls the fan and waves it in front of him a few times then closes it with his other hand.

“What’s an art, do you mean a [Skill]?”

 

The person holding the knife to my chin moves it in a hair so it touches my neck.

 

These guys aren’t playing around. Are girl-girl pairs met with such contempt here?

 

My focus turns to my [Status] and I find the section on [Skills]:

Name

Type

Rarity

Level

Beholder of Truth [+]

Passive

Unique

《Max》

Blacksmith

Active

Common

Novice Lv. 1

Dancer of Death

Passive

Unique

Unique Level 10 of 200

Enchanting

Active

Rare

Intermediate Lv. 3

Engraving

Active

Common

Intermediate Lv. 2

False Fire Minotaur

Active

Uncommon

Novice Lv. 1

He

Active

Legendary

Novice Lv. 0

Ice Shard

Active

Common

Novice Lv. 4

Nature’s Messenger

Active

Rare

Novice Lv. 1

Penmanship

Active

Common

Master Lv. 1

Skillcraft

Active

Epic

Journeyman 《Max》

System Hidden

Passive

-

《Max》

“It’s a Legendary skill that’s… Common where we are from,” I admit. Here’s hoping the elder accepts this answer, a small trickle of blood down my neck makes me nervous.

 

The elder smirks, “Prove it.”

 

Yuna intercedes, “If you want to watch someone prove the [Skill], find two girls who are willing to allow it. I can use the [Skill] of [He] on one of them.” She leans forward and the knife on her neck digs in, “We, however, will not be putting on a show.”

 

A thick line of blood runs down the knife against Yuna’s neck. Why is she being so aggressive against this man?

The elder smacks his fan against his hand twice and closes his hand around the top.

 

“Alright, cut them loose,” The elder says, “I am Elder Arnold of the [Under Town Laubwechselnd]. No one eats or sleeps here for free. We’ll expect you to help out where you can, or pay for lodging yourself. It’s not often we have a [Visitor] from [Elsewhere]. Most are much stronger, though.” He waves his hand at us and a cool breeze surrounds us.

Elder Arnold uses [Healing Wind]. You recover 17 HP. You lose the [Light Bleeding] status effect.

 

As Elder Arnold says his name, the bubble above his head shifts from yellow to green and the text changes from ‘Human Lv. 220’ to ‘Elder Arnold Lv. 220’. Strange world.

 

“What are your names?” The elder asks.

 

“I am Anessa and she is Yuna,” I say, which elicits a glare from Yuna. What did I do to her? I need to find out what her deal is.

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Allen Clark Copeland, Jr.

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