The [Reincarnated] Sorceress woke up confined and confused.
Walls pressed down on its flesh from all sides, bringing back memories of when it had torn its egg to be reborn. The thought cleared the confusion and the [Survivor] shook itself, finding the experience to be new.
But not unfamiliar.
'Wasn't my evolution... suppose to last... for an entire month?' It thought, stretching its increasingly familiar body. It was as if the [Reincarnated] Sorceress was using one of its limbs after a long time. 'Why does it feel like... I just awoke... after a really good nap?'
As its groggy mind cleared, the [Survivor] recalled its last waking moments and shivered. Its body had been failing, making it sore and tired. Always. Its flesh had lacked strength and its entire body had been just so slow.
'That's no longer the case,' it thought, feeling the strength coursing through its new Vessel. Even though it had yet to break out of its cocoon, it knew it had de-aged. It was no longer old.
Its sore muscles had been replaced by new, taut ones. The failing body felt good as new, and the feeble flesh was almost bursting with energy. 'So this is what... evolution feels like.'
Although the [Reincarnated] Sorceress previously had no idea of what evolution was, it had come to know after going through its notifications.
|[Every Immortal has the ability to evolve. Evolution is the ability to change one's Vessel, when one reaches Level 100, to a more powerful one on the evolution pathways granted by one’s Species.]|
Yet, bookish knowledge was bookish knowledge. Only now, after experiencing the process for itself, could the [Survivor] appreciate it for the boon that it was.
Deciding that it had spent enough time in its cocoon, the [Reincarnated] Sorceress struggled against the walls which felt feeble under its might.
As cracks resounded and cold air rushed in, it stretched its body, enjoying the strength in its limbs. Flaring its limbs to exercise its newfound strength, it pushed and the cocoon fell apart, revealing the moth within.
The bug was a third of a mortal’s finger in size but it seemed a little unordinary. Its body was covered in soft white fur-like hairs and had two frilly, golden antennas popping out of its head. Its eyes were much the same, beady and dark, but larger while it had lost all its numerous stubs to gain six thin legs which seemed exceptionally weak.
These limbs weren't what caught the [Reincarnated] Sorceress' attention. Instead, as its two sets of translucent white wings expanded in all their glory, the [Reincarnated] Sorceress couldn't help but chitter its jaws in joy.
The act stopped it short as a thought popped in its head. 'Moths don't have mouths, do they? They drink nectar, right? Then why do I have jaws?' It shook its new head, feeling its antennas swirl in the air. 'Even snails have those horrific mouths here, why can't I have jaws. What a weird thing to get fixated on.'
As blood coursed through its wings, they expanded and the [Reincarnated] Sorceress gave them an experimental swing. With the action as natural as breathing, it moved its wings in all sorts of ways before its worries were sated. 'They don't feel alien. Neither do these antennas for that matter.'
'Why did I even worry about it,' it thought, shaking its body to dissipate any lingering lethargy. 'I never had any problems with all those stubs. I never questioned how I used them. Is it because I had died just then, so the trauma overwhelmed such minor things? Hmm...'
The [Immortal] Moth gave its wings a practice flap and felt its light body rise in the air a bit. Chittering its jaws in glee, it settled down. 'Alright, no more useless delaying. Let's see what the blue screens have to say.'
The moment the thought finished, a slew of notifications popped up.
|[Evolution complete. You have evolved into a White Furred Moth.]|
|[Evolution bonus of 15 HP has been added to your total Health Points. You have been completely healed.]|
|[Level up bonus has been increased to +2 HP per Level.]|
|[Your HP regeneration rate has been increased to [11 + Level/10]. Rounded down.]|
|[Vessel Title, [Hungry], lost.]|
|[Skill [Flight Lv.5] granted.]|
|[Skill [Night Vision Lv.1] granted.]|
|[Skill [Sense Lv.1] granted.]|
|[Level limit on Skills has been raised to Level 10. Evolve further to raise the Level Limit again.]|
|[Skill [Poison Resistance Lv.5] has levelled up to [Poison Resistance Lv.6]. Continuous damage caused by poison has been decreased by the 6 points.]|
|[Skill [Poison Resistance Lv.6] has levelled up to [Poison Resistance Lv.7]. Continuous damage caused by poison has been decreased by the 7 points.]|
|[Skill [Poison Resistance Lv.7] has levelled up to [Poison Resistance Lv.8]. Continuous damage caused by poison has been decreased by 8 points.]|
|[Poison mastered. Hallucination effect added to the venom.]|
The [Reincarnated] Sorceress jaws fell open, and despite expecting it, the white bug didn't dare to believe what it read.
Instead, with its skin tingling in anticipation, it waited with bated breath for the familiar sensations. The burning agony. The neverending pain. The primal desire to eat.
But it never came
The [Immortal] Moth gaped for a long moment before chittering its jaws in exhilaration. 'Finally! Yes, thank the Great Ghosts! [Hungry] is gone! Gone! For good!'
It even jumped in happiness, hitting its head on the low ceiling of its shelter. But it cared not. 'I finally lost it! Yes!'
It took a moment for the [Reincarnated] Sorceress to calm down enough to go through the rest of the notifications.
The new Skill [Flight] was pretty straightforward; starting at Level 5, much like [Poison Resistance], it gave the [Immortal] Moth a basic understanding of flight.
Focusing on it, the bug summoned its details.
|[Ability to ease the flight of a creature. Prerequisite: Wings. This Skill can't be used without wings.]|
'Nothing unordinary here,' it thought, its antennas twitching. 'As long as it doesn't go the same path as [Poison Resistance]...'
Dismissing the blue screen, it called out the details of [Night Vision] and [Sense] respectively.
|[The ability to see during the night.]|
|[Ability to momentarily enhance the antennas and sense the subtle scent in the surrounding. The cost of the Skill depends on the level of the Skill. Current cost: 10 Mana/min. Prerequisite: Antenna.]|
'Despite the somewhat unexpected additions, these Skills are pretty straightforward,' the [Immortal] Moth observed. 'Given their utility, I should Level them up.'
The next notification gave it a pause, reminding it of the Level limit which caused antennas to squirm in displeasure. 'What a waste of my time,' it scoffed, dismissing the rise of the Level limit to Level 10.
However, as [Poison Resistance] rose Level after Level, the [Reincarnated] Sorceress stilled, not even a single white hair on its tiny body moved.
'All that pain,' it couldn't help but think, '...it wasn't in vain.'
Breathing deeply, its body shuddered, breaking it out of its motionlessness. Yet, it didn't dare to believe what it saw. Hesitating, it finally decided to summon its Status.
Vessel: White Furred Moth
HP: 121/121 MP: -
HPR: 11/Day MPR: -
Lifespan: 240 days
[Crawl Lv.5] [Flight Lv.5] [Moulting Lv.3] [Night Vision Lv.1] [Pain Resistance Lv.4] [Poison Resistance Lv.8] [Sense Lv.1] [Survive Lv.2] [Venom Creation Lv.4]
The first thing that the newborn moth looked at in its Status was its lifespan. The trauma from being a caterpillar, that was technically immortal but had a lifespan of 90 days, was substantial.
‘240 days.’ It sighed at the three-digit number before its jaws chittered in joy. 'Even though it isn't much now, it is still a considerable increase from my previous lifespan. Couple with constant evolutions, it should increase dramatically, shouldn't it?'
'Ah, this reminds me,' the [Reincarnated] Sorceress thought, its eyes shining. 'Now that I have evolved, I should be able to access my magic, right?'
Excited, it almost hopped on its thin legs as its eyes moved to its MP.
Immediately, its golden antennas drooped and its body trembled as not a single thought formed in the bug's stunned mind. Its blank, beady eyes gazed lifelessly at the mana that was decidedly absent from its Status.
'What nonsense is this?!' It snapped, recovering before its golden antennas wiggled wildly. 'Where is my magic?! It should be there! I reached maturity, didn't I? I should have access to MY magic now! What else is it waiting for? My third death?!'
At that moment, the light in its big, beady eyes dissipated and the war raging within its mind tilted.
Its [Mortal] side in the war was the Sorceress; a life defined by magic. It had lived its life researching magic and soul. And after its death, the belief in its magic had kept it from falling to the mind-numbing starvation of [Hungry], the mind-altering effects of [Reincanated] and the threats to its life of [Survivor].
After all, its magic was the proof of its research, that it had been a [Mortal] once. It was the proof of the Sorceress' life, its very existence.
'Without magic, is a Sorceress even a Sorceress?'
As the question appeared in its mind, the submissive [Mortal] gave way to the indomitable [Immortal].
'This will not do,' it decided, focusing on the option of MP.
|[Mana Points unavailable. Your species doesn't have access to Magic.]|
'Fuck. You.' The white moth snapped. ‘I have had enough of this crippled existence.'
‘I survived in this world as a starving, aged vermin. My magic is mine. I will wait for it no longer.' Focusing its attention inwards, the [Reincarnated] Sorceress entered a meditative state. 'Souls are the source of magic. With my reincarnation, I came with my soul.'
'There is no reason why I shouldn't have my magic back.' It declared, but with this declaration, the war raged anew. The [Mortal] side, which had earlier given way in desperation, suffered the relentless assault of the merciless [Immortal].
Consequently, its mind frayed. 'If this world is not going to give me my magic back, then it will take it back myself.' Breathing slowly, it began to rid itself of all its negative emotions and thoughts.
The first to be addressed was the sorrow, the sadness and the grief which derived from its death. Mourning the loss of its previous life, its world, its research and its existence, this side sought a reason to live; any reason to live. Lost in the past, this was the [Mortal] side.
The [Immortal] Moth tried to calm this despair but the grief was just too monumental.
Moving to the second side, the White Moth addressed the frustration, the irritation and the anger deriving from being eliminated like an insect through divine punishment. Stemming from its helplessness, this side sought to live and thrive. Existing in the present, this was the [Immortal] side.
These sides, named Ego, were the fragments originating from the interaction of its soul with the instincts of the Vessels.
The [Mortal] Ego, bearing the instincts of its previous [Mortal] Vessel, had not only lived but had experienced an entire life before its death. However, this Ego should have ceased to exist with its death.
Only the meddling of the Being, the [Not One, But Innumerable], let the Ego maintain its existence still.
As the two sides clashed, the war between the [Mortal] Ego and the [Immortal] Ego once again reached a crescendo as the slaughter resumed. The Sorceress, meanwhile, breathed but breathing didn't help.
It couldn't let go.
And the two sides warred.
So, it took another breath in, only to repeat the process; unwilling to be defeated.
It continued to struggle against both the Egos with all its might.
It struggled against itself.
And the two sides continued to war, pulling it in opposite directions.
One led the Sorceress to its magic but this direction sacrificed its grief and agony. The other direction led it to its grief and sorrow but it sacrificed its magic.
'No, I can't.'
'I just can't.'
The Mortal and the Immortal Egos warred and the Sorceress' mind continued to unravel like a ball of string in free fall. The more they fought, the more its mind frayed.
With its attention focused, the [Immortal] Moth didn't notice when its body began shaking.
'It isn't working. It isn't working! It isn't working!' Stretched to the limits of its sanity, it mentally screamed. 'But I can't give up! No! Not now. Not ever!'
Its sanity ripped.
Its mind cracked.
It wasn't sure if it was even the Sorceress anymore.
The war reached its peak.
And then there was no coming back for the [Immortal] White Furred Moth.
The war had been won.
The war had been lost.
Its yearnings had ripping it apart. Bit by bit, they ripped it apart.
And by holding onto them, the [Survivor] refused to do anything about it.
But then, at that moment, it let go. 'I-I am…sorry.’
It had to.
So, the [Survivor] let go.
The Mortal Ego lost the war.
The Sorceress lost the war.
The [Immortal] Moth had let go of its sorrow, grief and loss, sacrificing its last life for its magic.
From this moment onwards, there would be no grief within the [Immortal] Moth for the death that had descended on those people. From this moment onwards, there would be no joy because of the happy moments from that past life.
The [Immortal] Ego had won the war. The [Mortal] Ego, destroyed. And She, dead.
The Sorceress was no more.
The Sorceress had left behind Her memories but those memories were incomplete, damaged by the war. They were fragments and pieces. And they would remain that way, never to be whole again.
Rather, as time would let its rot set in, the rot would wither away the fragments until nothing but dust and sand remained.
For now, however, they remained within the [Immortal] Moth's mind. But they were not its, they were Hers.
Was the [Survivor] still the same creature that had desperately longed for magic? Was it the same creature that had deigned both its memories and magic of similar importance?
This was not that creature. For that creature was dead.
This was the [Immortal] Ego, so far removed from the [Mortal] understanding, that it didn't even understand the concept of self. As a result, 'I' or 'me' or 'mine' were words and concepts that had no meaning to the [Immortal] Moth.
With names denied to [Immortals], its Vessel became its identity.
But it mattered not. Because, at that moment, the [Immortal] Moth felt a familiar warmth heading towards it.
'That's magic!' There was no mistaking it. The [Survivor] could feel the call deep within itself. 'After so long! Come. A Moth is here now. A Moth has come. Come.'
The magic drew nearer, slowly and steadily, it edged near the bug.
Lacking patience, the White Furred Moth focused on the magic and pulled, tugging the warmth towards itself.
They were close, very close. The [Immortal] moth could almost feel the warmth seeping into its flesh, embracing it as if in a hug. The White Furred Moth embraced it back-
The warmth phased through it.
'How-how could this be?!' Disbelief colouring its tone, it exclaimed before the [Immortal] Moth's cold, calculative mind churned
Instead of focusing on its magic, it focused on itself. 'A Moth needs magic. Why?' Finding it to be the root of the problem, the White Furred Moth thought things through. 'Because magic was what She researched. It's the sum of the past.' the [Survivor] silently observed.
Its observation wasn't a revelation.
But when put in the context of the war that it had just won, the puzzle pieces fell into place. 'But the past is Her, the Sorceress. As long as She exists, the war would never truly end.'
'To end this war, the Sorceress must die again.' It noted with its cold mind racing.
'But how can the dead be killed?' The [Survivor] thought, stepping out of its meditative state. 'The Sorceress is destroyed. She no longer exists. Then what should be destroyed to kill Her again? In what form does She still exist?'
'She was a [Mortal], not an [Immortal]. To escape death, She couldn't pass on to another Vessel,' it thought, shaking its body to get rid of the lingering stiffness. 'Then what do [Mortals] do when at death's door?'
The [Survivor] had no answer to the question. It was an [Immortal], a creature so fundamentally different from [Mortals] that their thoughts never aligned. Lacking any experience on the matter, it fell back on the fragmented memories dispersed throughout its psyche.
Recalling the fragments, it searched for an answer. 'What good is that?' It suddenly exclaimed, getting up. 'Death would be the outcome nonetheless! Doing so would not delay death in any manner. It's utterly pointless! Why would [Mortals] do that?!'
With its golden antennas squirming in irritation, the White Furred Moth paced in its small shelter.
'This makes no sense! How does passing on all their accumulated knowledge keeps [Mortals] alive? The bodies still die and the souls still move on. Death is still death! Immortality in Thought? What is that? Why did She consider it immortality? It makes no sense!'
Its head aching in frustration at the idiocy, the [Immortal] Moth smashed its head on the dried mud wall, breaking it.
Immediately, dim rays of light entered the shelter and the White Furred Moth shrank back, hiding away from the sudden light and cold invading its hideyhole.
As its eyes adjusted to the light, the [Survivor] noticed the soft pitter-patter echoing across its small cavern. 'It's raining again. It had rained on the day of evolution, and it rains today. Hmm...'
Stepping outside, its beady eyes took in the grey world which was awash in fresh colours. The cool wind passed through its white, fluffy fur as its sensitive antennas picked up the sweet scent of the petrichor.
The [Immortal] Moth didn't bother with anything. It sat on the branch, experiencing its first foray into the world after its evolution.
'Whatever legacy is, it doesn't have to be understood,' the [Survivor] decided. 'As long as She believed in the legacy business, it should be Her second death.'
Retreating into the shelter, the White Furred Moth once again entered the meditative state. 'Her research, no matter how middling, was her greatest accomplishment. It should be the legacy that she'd pass on in death.'
The familiar warmth once again drifted towards it but the [Survivor] didn't allow itself to be distracted. Employing the cold calculating nature of [Immortals], it kept its mind on a single track.
'A Moth denies a Sorceress this,' it unceremoniously announced to itself and suddenly its skin tingled, almost breaking its meditative state. 'With the last universe destroyed, none shall know of Her findings.'
Uneasiness, the likes of which it had never felt in its short life, assaulted the [Immortal] Moth and its breathing unnaturally hastened.
'None shall know of Her existence. None shall know of Her precious knowledge. None shall ever know of Her legacy.' Employing the indomitable will of [Immortals], it continued nonetheless 'A Sorceress will be forgotten. A Moth denies a Sorceress, the Immortality in Thought.'
With its decision made, no ceremony was needed, for it was an [Immortal]. Rituals were the domain of [Mortals].
With its pronouncement, the Sorceress was killed once again. The warmth, which seeped into its bones, found a home and settled in.
|[Magic has been unlocked.]|
Within a desolate desert, inside a dilapidated shop, on a simple chair, a youth seemingly slept.
Support "A World of Monsters"
Bio: I have been writing since 2016, however, this is my first original work which I have been planning for more than half a decade. In the riddle of who came first, chicken or the egg, it the was the World that birthed the protagonist and not the other way around. Thus, quite a few concepts in A World of Monsters have been in works for a long time. Concepts such as Eternals, Yakshas, Nagas, Wills and the Youth-That-Sleeps, they egged my soul to give them birth and I complied. However, they still await their true reveal.