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Things did not go exceedingly poorly, as I had suspected earlier.

That is very not-good.

The prototype Sorting Scepters were rife with errors in the early stages, but by this stage in the research and development cycle, they basically work exactly as they do on Mystix. The interface is all different, and there appears to be no hint of [Demigod] just yet, but those kinks themselves may be worked out soon.

I, of course, am not allowed to even touch the Sorting Scepters. Even though they do not know about my secret A-Rank sealed class, I think they suspect just enough about my true powers to understand that allowing me to change or modify my class could have devastating consequences for them.

Most of my work has been, as it is right now, to train and guide the test subjects, the U.S. Army soldiers who have volunteered to accept the systems into their lives.

I am part drill instructor, part benevolent teacher, and wholly an unwilling prisoner, stuck in the drab, window-free facility for over a year already.

The group I am training at the moment are all women who have selected the [Summoner] class. They are all Rank D, and unable to adequately balance the Destiny Point gain with drawing new Destiny Cards. Their skills are powerful, but they seem to find it unwieldy. If not for the fact that video games are an easy source of Destiny Points, several of them would surely have perished by now.

Luckily, the Destiny Cards themselves are a way to draw new Destiny Points to them, and the dings are very frequent. The main Class Action of a [Summoner] is, of course, to summon new creatures and artifacts and spirits, as well as to defeat their foes in battle like most other classes. It allows for a great many benefits, which is why so many have chosen it.

“I’ve got it,” one woman says. She casts a barrier around a different soldier, then only a second later a beam of magic shoots out from her hands. It hits the other soldier and she is transformed into a four-legged pig.

“Um.”

“She’s... going to turn back, isn’t she?” the woman asks.

“What skill did you use?” I ask.

“Um, [Polymorph.] ‘Transform target into a defenseless animal. 200 LP,’ it says.”

“...I don’t suppose anyone has a [De-Transition] skill on them, do they?”

...

After the pig is dragged out of the training room, I assist with another woman, one who is an excellent pupil. Were she not essentially my foe, I would appreciate her tenacity and wish to bring her under my wing, or even have her join my team. Alas, she is a soldier for the very same government that imprisons me, and shows no signs of desire to defect.

“I just drew [Transmigrated Spirit,]” the woman says.

“Excellent. A standard but highly useful [Summoner] skill,” I say. “Now use it and show off what you have got inside of you.”

“Alright, here it goes,” she says.

The spell goes off!

Ding! But not for me; it’s the soldier’s.

“...What the hell is this?” the devil asks with a pitchy, masculine voice. “Where am I?”

The voice is oddly familiar...

“What is your name?” the soldier asks.

“Uh, Matt,” the spirit says. “I’m so confused... How did I get here again?”

“Matt!” I exclaim! “I summoned you just one year ago, and you’re already back to death. What in the world happened?”

He recognizes me and groans. “Oh, it’s you again... I was reborn on some weird fantasy world,” he says. “It had a bunch of huge walking cities and some kaiju and big wars all the time.”

I gasp. “The world I was supposed to reincarnate on! Wow! How did you fare?”

The spirit of Matt bows his little head down. “On the first day, I got captured by a group of gorgons in a raid. They kept me prisoner for the next year, and then, uh, well, they sacrificed me to the kaiju. I tied running away, but... Now I’m here, I guess.”

Matt has not grown whatsoever. His karmic destiny is not very high, indeed.

“Sir?” the soldier asks me. “Doesn’t this [Transmigrated Spirit] skill only last five minutes?”

“Indeed it does. The clock is ticking, and Matt will soon again be reincarnated on a new world. Though, hopefully this time without his memories intact. Why again did you preserve them so well?”

“I have no idea,” he says. “I think some glitch or something must have happened.”

“That does not sound particularly good...”

Alas, there is nothing I can do to save the poor young man. He disappears into a puff of smoke a few minutes later, and I continue the rest of my training for today with the [Summoners.]

I am endlessly frustrated. This entire endeavor does nothing for me but keep me in bondage even further.

After all this time, I have not leveled up more than three times. That’s right, Rank B, Level 14, several months after the Sorting Scepter program began.

They have not allowed me to even have one spare moment for my own advancement. For all C-Rank and B-Rank volunteers, I am forced to constantly draw cards and trade with them so they can bolster their own skills and practice. B-Rank’s Card Discount ability means that the government wants their soldiers to aquaint themselves with as many cards of their class as possible... And my [Demigod] cards pull from every single other class, so I always have something for someone, unfortunately.

I am extremely bitter. And I am still extremely alone.

At night, as I lay in bed and bask in the complete darkness of everything around me, I attempt with all my heart to break past the psychic barriers in the facility. Just to get some faint message out to Francis, wherever he might be.

Our [Empathetic Link] is strong and seemingly never ending. But when there is no one to answer on the other end, there is no point in its existence. I call out with all the effort I can muster, just messages of solace and of appreciation for my once-dear friend.

But on this night, I hear something.

{Stop. You’re so annoying. Just leave me alone.}

I hear a message in actual words.

For the first time in an entire year... I’m not alone.

He may have rebuffed me, but I am still happier than I have been in a very long time.

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About the author

Thedude3445

Bio: I like to watch movies.

Avatar art by Mikayla Buan. https://twitter.com/mikayla_buan

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