1. Rocks

A sea of infinite void engulfed me; I found myself wriggling, struggling to break free of the eternal darkness. I pushed myself forward, closer and closer to the edge of the dome that encapsulated my very world.

I had thought it would be hard to break. I had expected it to be a hardened shell, tempered by the eternity of its existence. I never hoped to escape from the boundless abyss— drowning in the ocean of nothingness, forever trapped to unbirth.

And yet, I broke through the surface so easily, I didn’t even realize I was finally free. Only the words that filled my head made me realize I was finally alive.



Species: [Infant Demon]

Subspecies: [Demon Larva] - Lvl. 1

General Skills:

[Identification] - Lvl. 1

[Racial Skill: Universal Language Comprehension] - Lvl. 1


[Available Stat Points: 0]

[Vitality]: 5

[Strength]: 5

[Endurance]: 5

[Wisdom]: 5

[Agility]: 5


[Available Skill Points: 0]

[Unused Skill Slot] x5


These words resounded not as a voice, but as a breadth of information that I intuitively knew: I did not have to be told that my name was Salvos— I was simply Salvos.

I lay there for what felt like an immortal moment, choosing not to move, choosing to revel in my existence. Finally, I opened my eyes, taking in the world around me.

Up above, darkling clouds blotched out the crimson sky. The red glow of the heavens itself came down mostly unimpeded; only a piece of it was covered by the eddying overcast that seemed to grow fainter through the passage of time.

I was floating atop an inky, black liquid; what I had thought to be a vast ocean proved now to be nothing more than a mere pool— a puddle that I couldn’t even sink myself into.

I flopped my way out of the sable water, hoping it wouldn’t open up and swallow my being back into nonexistence. My body finally reached the pure, white surface of solid ground, the black liquid dripping off my body almost too easily, returning to whence it came.

The mass of land was far more expansive than the tiny pool of my birth; I looked curiously at the world around me, seeing distant sinuous crests and jutting peaks that piqued my interest. What is that?

I had an inkling of an idea of what they could be: I could comprehend the rough concepts of these shapes, but their true nature evaded me. I was captivated by it. I was drawn towards this strange, new world I had found myself in.

I glanced one last time back at the void that had borne me, and saw nothing staring back at me. I no longer belonged to that world. Somehow, someway, I had squirmed my way out of it. And I would never go back.




I dragged myself through the barren landscape, stopping every so often to investigate anything that I took a fascination to. The black clouds overhead were now nothing more than a speck in the distance, but strangely enough, the place of my birth had receded and vanished altogether.

It was gone. I was not sure why it was gone. I vaguely understood that it was possible for objects to disappear but still remain in existence. However, something told me that that was not the case here.

It mattered not to me. I continued my crawl across the chalky and rocky floor. It was not the most comfortable thing I had experienced— certainly, having no senses meant such disagreeable feelings would never be felt.

This was not something I just knew. This was something I had just learned for myself.

I did not enjoy the poking sensation that came when I was crawling over these tiny rock bits that were scattered all throughout the floor. It almost made me want to return to the puddle— simply floating as time passed was an absolute bliss, unlike this.

But I remembered the overwhelming fear I had of falling back into the abyss. It was not something I wanted. I was alive now, and I treasured that. So I made do with these minor inconveniences, choosing to bear this burden that came with life, pressing forward into the unknown.


I only got a little bit further before it got too much for me.

These small objects did not exactly hurt me; they did not pierce through my skin, leaving only brief indents before falling back off onto the floor. My health did not drop from this, yet I was sick and tired of navigating through this rough terrain.

I lowered my face down to one of these rocks, investigating its features and anything else that stood out to me. Surely something about it would clue me into a way to crawl over them without hurting!

I stared at the first rock, studying its every protrusion on its uneven surface. After pondering it over, I decided this rock was useless on its own— I needed a wider array of observations before a conclusion was made— and moved on to the next.

The second rock was bigger than the first, but just as haphazardly arranged in its shape. I looked over it for another indefinite period of time before looking over the third.

I was contemplating how the third was seemingly as rugged as the first and second on one side of its surface, yet completely smooth on the other, when more words suddenly filled my head.


General Skill [Identification] Level Up!

[Identification - Lvl. 1] -> [Identification - Lvl. 2]!

Experience is awarded for the leveling of a General Skill!


I jerked, immediately losing concentration as I considered the implications of what the words meant. I had… leveled a General Skill? How did I do that? I was just trying to understand a rock—

My vision snapped back at the smooth yet rugged rock I had been eyeing. Whatever nuance that made the third rock distinct from the first and second was beyond my current understanding of the world. But of course, I had Skills I could use. Skills that were supposed to aid me in accomplishing certain tasks.

I barely parsed the use for [Identification] beforehand; its purpose was not something I truly understood. Now, however, I realized it was for identifying objects. It was to give me a better grip of things that were unknown to me.

So I focused onto the rock, my eyes never leaving the specific rock I had picked out as I activated the Skill.


The word flashed through my mind. Whether it was by choice or whether it came from using the Skill, I did not know. However, information flooded my head as finally, I could unfurl the mysteries behind this peculiar object.

[Rock - It is a rock.]

...was that it?

No, that couldn’t be. There had to be something more to it than that!

There was a secret here— there was a reason why it was not like the other two rocks I had seen. It was special. It had to be special.

But why did [Identification] not tell me what this secret was? It made no sense. I felt uneasy about my understanding of the Skill, doubts forming in my mind that it was what I thought it was. However, I had been certain I used it right.

Something had told me that [Identification]’s purpose was to identify things. It was the same thing that had told me what I was. It was the same thing that told me what I was capable of.


I trailed off. Connections were being formed in my head. An epiphany was being made. I finally understood what I had gotten wrong.

The problem is not in the Skill itself, but in the Skill’s level!

That was the only conclusion I could come to. That was why it did not tell me more information than I had already known. If I leveled the Skill, it would surely reveal the truth behind rocks!

I turned my attention to another pile of rocks to my left. These ones were significantly smaller. They were pebbles— miniscule rocks with fine features that were hard to make out without getting extremely close to it. But that was fine. I had chosen those to investigate since I knew I could learn more from them.

I had gone through two dozen of these pebbles before the words I had been anticipating came.


General Skill [Identification] Level Up!

[Identification - Lvl. 2] -> [Identification - Lvl. 3]!

Experience is awarded for the leveling of a General Skill!


Subspecies [Demon Larva] Level Up!

[Demon Larva - Lvl. 1] -> [Demon Larva - Lvl. 2]

Gained 5 Stat Points and 1 Skill Point!


I… finally did it! And I also leveled as a [Demon Larva] thanks to the experience gained from leveling [Identification]! It was a total success!

I could distribute my Stat Points and Skill Point later. For now, I focused on what was important. I glanced at the pebble closest to me and activated my [Identification]—

[Rock - It is a rock.]


That couldn’t be right. [Identification] had just hit its second level. It should be telling me more than before, not the exact same thing. Unless…

I looked at another pebble, once again using [Identification] on it.

[Rock - It is a rock.]


[Rock - It is a rock.]

No! No! No!

[Rock - It is a rock.]

Everywhere I checked— every pebble, stone, and rock I used [Identification] on— all produced the same result. It was all the same. All of them except for that third rock. The special rock.

I hadn’t checked it yet, but it had to be different. It was different. I saw it with my own eyes.

I cast my gaze back to where I had once been, but was only met by an endless sea of small pieces of rocks spread throughout the empty landscape. I couldn’t make out the rock that had me pondering over what made it different. Over what made it special.

It should be here! It has to be…

Then the realization sunk in. The bits of rock and pebbles uniformly crinkling the ground all around me were just that: rocks.

Nothing set one apart from the other. Rocks were rocks, even if there were some minute differences from one to the other. It is a rock, the words echoed in my mind.

Slowly but dejectedly, I accepted this piece of information; I had spent so much time chasing after an answer that had always been in front of me. It felt like a waste.

I crawled away from the spot I had hovered over for so long, wading through the rocks despondently. I paused.

Wait, rocks?

Yes, there were rocks all around me. Rocks that had been so meddling. Rocks that made every movement so uncomfortable.

Rocks that I didn’t even register are there anymore.

I had been moving through rocks for such an extended period of time, it was not an issue anymore. I no longer felt the pokings of the rocks on my body. It was just like the dichotomy between the cool stone surface and the strong heat radiated from all around me which I initially felt when I left my puddle, but I had gotten used to it.

I thought such an accustomance applied only to that specific circumstance. Now I understood it could apply to a wide array of things— possibly more than the two I had just experienced. So I didn't care anymore.

I happily continued my squirming through the white ground, unsure whether I should head to those small hillocks or tall mountains in the distance which my [Identification] didn’t work on for some reason, but stopped when I noticed something.

Firstly, I felt my gaze was sharper than before. It was subtle, I would not have been able to tell the difference if I didn’t spot them in the distance.

I had been musing about what I would do with my Stat Points and Skill Point. But now, all of those thoughts were gone as my attention was drawn to the bright colorful shapes moving in the otherwise desolate and plain world.

It was the others.

Just like me.

And there were a dozen of them.



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About the author


  • Current Schedule: idk lmao. Professional Zoomer. Also, I write stuff sometimes.

Bio: For business enquiries contact me via PMs or Discord at MelasD#2010

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