A note from Zogarth

Intermission 2/4 coming over the next two weeks (second one today)

There will be one more tomorrow.

Next weekend, Intermission 4 will come (a 2-parter).

Laying on his bed, the old man opened his eyes ever so slightly. An action that clearly required a lot of energy from him, as he closed them once more soon after. He was still alive, but he knew that he would soon join his wife.

The passage of time had no mercy as it continued its march. His wrinkles were only getting deeper, and his old bones weaker by the day. It had been months since he had left his bed, and any action was hard now. But such is death.

Throughout his life, he had never believed that he would one day die in a bed. He had lived an exciting life and had few regrets if any at all.

Opening his eyes once more, he stared at the flowers at his bedside. A slight smile creeping to his lips as he remembered his wonderful great-grandchild that had come with them earlier that day… or was it yesterday? He didn’t remember. His memory wasn’t what it used to be.

107 years. That is how long the man had lived. Two world wars, one where he fought for his country until the two bombs fell. A war where they had been on the wrong side of history. Yet he didn’t regret fighting, for he had done so for honor back then. It was what his family expected, even if he had been an already aging man back then.

Afterward, he rose to be the head of the family, sired five great children, and grew the company several times. He had built upon a legacy of centuries, and standing on the shoulders of giants, he had earned his place. The next generation was ready, and his name would be remembered.

He was Noboru Miyamoto, head of the Noboru family, chairman of the Noboru Group, as well as so many other titles he had been given throughout the years. He had done as his ancestors hoped, and he had excelled. He had done all for his family and had very few vanities for himself. He did have one, however.

On the wall hung an old Japanese sword. One inherited in the family all the way back to when Shoguns still ruled the land. Their family had once been known as honorable warriors, and while his family had now mostly shied away from the arts of combat, he had chosen to honor that tradition.

He had reached the highest honors in kendo, won national championships, and in his youth hailed as one of the greatest geniuses ever. His father hadn’t approved for a long time as he preferred for his son to learn valuable business skills instead, but due to his excellent results, he still brought honor to his family, so it was allowed.

Now it was only his vanity. Not that he had been able to pick up a sword for more than a year. But before that, he practiced every chance he got. He hadn’t been in the professional sphere for more than half a century, but before a few years ago, he hadn’t missed a single day of training. It was his own personal way of meditating.

Miyamoto was a proud man. He was proud of all he had done, all he had accomplished. He blinked or believed he did so, but he must have fallen asleep for a moment. Before him, he saw his family. All of them.

Tens of people had gathered in the room - the doctor standing at his side. Most of the women with tears in their eyes, while the men stoically held back their grief. Tears would flow only when alone. Miyamoto heard the doctor say some things, and despite him not quite hearing what he said, he knew what it was. His time had come.

Smiling, he tried to lift his feeble hand but failed as he had no strength left. But it was okay. Looking them in the eyes, especially his grandson, a middle-aged man of strong stature especially. His successor. They all understood his sentiment.

I leave it all to you.

Closing his eyes for what should have been the last time, he heard a loud ‘ding.’ A sound that appeared not to be a sound, but instead, it rang out within his very mind. And then it all turned white.

The old man found himself standing in a completely white room. Standing. On his two legs that hadn’t been able to carry his weight for nearly a year, and not without a cane for a decade. Yet now he stood steadily. His body was no longer numb from medicine. He was alive.

Is this the realm of reincarnation? he asked himself. An answer that was soon found as he saw a weird humanoid creature that began explaining his circumstances. Explaining the multiverse, levels, and all kinds of concepts Miyamoto could most easily compare to those concepts in the phone-games he saw his great-grandchildren play around with.

And that was how Noboru Miyamoto entered the system on the day he should have died. That day was more than two months ago, as the tutorial was now very soon over.

In the pouring rain stood a single man wearing a dark-blue robe as he swung his sword, clashing with another before him - a man not of flesh and bone, but stone and soil. Yet he moved like a man and swung his halberd with agility and great finesse.

But the warrior in blue moved with even more grace as he dodged, his footwork impeccable, and every swing of his sword carrying deadly intent. The rain appeared to move as he did, dancing with his steps, marveling at his skill and demeanor.

The warrior of stone was stronger, faster, but the one in blue was more skilled. It was an even fight, with skills being exchanged left and right.

Around them stood many other fighters, now only staring at the duel. On one side, men of stone, on the other, humans. A commander of the Terracotta Army facing off against a new initiate to the system.

The fight had been going on for only a few minutes, and they both knew there were only mere minutes left of the tutorial as a whole. Yet neither showed any impatience as they fought, both knowing that a single misstep would mean defeat and death.

On the humans’ side stood a gathering of people in similar robes to the warrior in blue. They all had nervous looks on their faces yet didn’t dare to step forward. Their patriarch had chosen this duel, and they would respect it.

Clashing with their weapons, both warriors fell back as the timer now reached only a minute. Both looked at each other, the eyes of stone meeting the eyes of the human across from it. Their next clash would be the last, and the one to determine the victor. Neither willing to let the battle end as a tie.

The Terracotta commander got down in a stance as energy swirled around him, and the air crackled. As if a tempest kicked up around him, power swirled chaotically. On the other side, the warrior in blue bent his knees as he prepared his blade, his face serene.

Miyamoto, the warrior in blue, smiled slightly to himself as he prepared his attack. The rain upon his skin, soothing his soul as he saw his opponent grow stronger with every passing moment. A direct clash would be unwise, but his honor didn’t allow him to dodge.

His face was still wrinkled and old, his limbs thin and his hair white. He looked like a man with one foot in the grave, but his demeanor and straight back told otherwise. He was filled with life and power, more than ever before despite his decrepit appearance.

Looking at the rain, he felt inspired once more, far from the first time during these last few months. He had always believed the world to be more than what was, for things to exist that man was never meant to touch upon. But after the system, he was no longer a man, and those laws were now his to reach towards.

Pouring his enlightenment into his blade and his actions, he sprung forth, his opponent doing the same. He didn’t move according to a plan but simply followed the way of the rain.

They clashed, but no explosion or shockwave was felt as the observers expected. Instead, it all just silently ended as the blade slid through the air, calm as the light drizzle around them. It didn’t stop when it hit the halberd but kept cutting as it passed through the Commander like he too was only made of water.

The Commander fell now in two, the warrior in blue smiling and sheathed his sword as he looked towards the sky. His last sight was the rain as he heard the kill’s notifications.

*You have slain [Terracotta Army Commander – lvl 99] – Bonus experience earned for killing an enemy above your level. 1.000.000 TP earned*

As the fourth and strongest Army Commander fell, only the General remained. He stood on the other side and nodded in recognition towards the warrior in blue. As a D-grade, he would be able to end the warrior instantly if he stepped in. But it was not time. He would prefer to face the warrior back on the planet known as Earth.

The tutorial ended, as Miyamoto found himself in the white room once more.

After all the calculations, he had ended up with barely 1 billion points, a big contributor to that being his Legendary Prodigy title. A title the old man found a bit… unfitting with his age. But perhaps due to his many titles or his solo-killing of the strongest Commander, he was awarded a title.

[True Standout of the 93rd Universe] - As the curtains fall, some prove themselves True Standouts. You have shown yourself to be a very promising new initiate of your universe. But beware, for the road is long, and even the talented can fall due to a single misstep. +15 all stats, +10% all stats.

With that, the tutorial ended, and he and his family would return to Earth. Reunite with the clan, and work to reunite their country. Establish themselves as the most powerful faction of the new world.

With their patriarch - the Sword Saint - at the helm, they would prove themselves supreme.

A note from Zogarth

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