Get The Way Ahead on Amazon!

Volume 1

Volume 2

What do you do when you don't fit in?

Edwin never really felt many connections to other people, but as a physics student, that was fine. He didn't really need it, anyway. He was content to peel back the mysteries of the universe... not that there were many left to find. Modern-day research was just too well-established, too well-trodden for any single enthusiast to make any significant headway.

But that doesn't apply to other worlds. Not ones where magic and Skills run rampant, where well-defined roles and Classes dominate much of society with little room for novel experimentation from its residents. That kind of world would be perfect for an overeager, newly-minted Alchemist to make his mark.

Things are never that easy, though.

The Way Ahead is a very slice-of-life story following the story of someone trying to find his place in a world that doesn't know what to do with him. Expect lots of science, lots of alchemy, a few sarcastic quips by the System, and lots of exploration involving the world, self-discovery, and above all, science.

After all, further research is always required.

Updates Wednesdays.


Congratulations! For writing a story during the month of November, you have unlocked the Royal Road Writathon Participant path!

  • Overall Score
  • Style Score
  • Story Score
  • Grammar Score
  • Character Score
  • Total Views :
  • 3,491,632
  • Average Views :
  • 19,398
  • Followers :
  • 5,103
  • Favorites :
  • 1,221
  • Ratings :
  • 1,619
  • Pages :
  • 1,813
Go to Table of Contents
Fiction breaking rules? Report


Word Count (15)
250 Review Upvotes
2nd Anniversary
Royal Writathon October 2021 winner
Fledgling Reviewer (III)
Royal Writathon April 2021 winner
Top List #200
Faith in the Internet
Table of Contents
180 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1: Today’s Forecast Includes a Miniscule Chance of Planeswalkers ago
Chapter 2: Decidedly Sarcastic Skills ago
Chapter 3: Revelations of Varying Fortune ago
Chapter 4: An Unstoppable Force Meets a Movable Object ago
Chapter 5: Identifying Identify ago
Chapter 6: Sparks Flying ago
Chapter 7: Firmly Outside Normal ago
Chapter 8: A Stormy Disposition ago
Chapter 9: A Chilly Reception ago
Chapter 10: Let it Burn, Let it Burn, Let it Burn ago
Chapter 11: Roadside Assessment ago
Chapter 12: A "Talk" With "Friends" ago
Chapter 13: Pretentious Neighbors ago
Chapter 14: There Are Worse Internships ago
Chapter 15: End of the Lime ago
Chapter 16: Shedding some Limelight ago
Chapter 17: The Time of our Limes ago
Chapter 18: The Left of Bare Arms ago
Chapter 19: Stupid Cheating Skills ago
Chapter 20: Out With a Bang ago
Chapter 21: Assume the Physicist Ignores Air Resistance ago
Chapter 22: Just Follow the Black Stone Road ago
Chapter 23: Foreign Exchange ago
Chapter 24: Birds of a Feather ago
Chapter 25: Settling Into the Roost ago
Interlude: And Awoke a Star of Stone and Flame ago
Chapter 26: Chitter Chatter ago
Bonus Chapter: The System Explained ago
Chapter 27: All That Glitters is Silver ago
Chapter 28: A Long Day's Knight ago
Chapter 29: A Discussion with a "Friend"(?) ago
Chapter 30: Managerial Clockwork ago
Chapter 31: Seeing is Disbelieving ago
Chapter 32: Protagonist Syndrome ago
Chapter 33: Packing Up ago
Chapter 34: What Lies Ahead ago
Chapter 35: Starstruck ago
Chapter 36: Clubbing All Night ago
Chapter 37: A Towering Ego ago
Chapter 38: An Unexpected Chat ago
Chapter 39: The Career of a Lifetime ago
Chapter 40: Pointed Questions ago
Chapter 41: Not Quite the Answer to Life ago
Chapter 42: Hitting the Bars ago
Chapter 43: Sticking Around ago
Chapter 44: The Aftermath: Now Addition-Free! ago
Chapter 45: With a Nice Little Bow ago
Chapter 46: By the Buy ago
Chapter 47: Into the Unknown ago
Chapter 48: An Axe to Grind (With) ago
Chapter 49: Branching Paths ago
Chapter 50: Feyday ago
Chapter 51: Starting Hand ago
Chapter 52: Faeted Introductions ago
Chapter 53: Unusually Helpful ago
Chapter 54: No Place I'd Lather Be ago
Chapter 55: Contractual Obligations ago
Chapter 56: The Scientific Method ago
Chapter 57: Reconvene and Reassess ago
Chapter 58: Starting From Scraps ago
Chapter 59: Fire Rocks! ago
Chapter 60: Last-Minute Tuning ago
Chapter 61: Putting Down Roots ago
Chapter 62: Skillful Applications ago
Chapter 63: Assume a Spherical Path in a Vacuum ago
Chapter 64: High-pH Training ago
Chapter 65: Running Into Trouble ago
Chapter 66: All in the Execution ago
Chapter 67: Book = e^X ago
Chapter 68: Nice and Slow ago
Chapter 69: City Troubles ago
Chapter 70: Social Niceties ago
Chapter 71a: Back to the Grind ago
Chapter 71b: Back to the Grind ago
Chapter 72a: Training Wills ago
Chapter 72b: Training Wills ago
Chapter 73a: A Blast From the Past ago
Chapter 73b: A Blast From the Past ago
Chapter 74a: The Wheel Turns Ever Onward ago
Chapter 74b: The Wheel Turns Ever Onward ago
Chapter 75a: Two Paths Diverged In The Verdant ago
Chapter 75b: Two Paths Diverged In The Verdant ago
Chapter 75c: Two Paths Diverged In The Verdant ago
Chapter 76a: A Classy Ascension ago
Chapter 76b: A Classy Ascension ago
Chapter 76c: A Classy Ascension ago
Chapter 77a: Taking Things to the Next Level ago
Chapter 77b: Taking Things to the Next Level ago
Chapter 78a: Settling Off ago
Chapter 78b: Settling Off ago
Chapter 79a: Study Skills ago
Chapter 79b: Study Skills ago
Chapter 80a: Meet and Greet ago
Chapter 80b: Meet and Great ago
Chapter 81a: Speaking With the Manager ago
Chapter 81b: Meeting the Manager ago
Chapter 82a: Daily Dallying ago
Chapter 82b: Daily Dallying ago
Chapter 83a: Focus is Key ago
Chapter 83b: Focus is Key ago
Chapter 84a: Recipe for Success ago
Chapter 84b: Recipe for Success ago
Chapter 85a: The Even One Out ago
Chapter 85b: The Even One Out ago
Chapter 86a: Burning Questions ago
Chapter 86b: Burning Questions ago
Chapter 87a: Clearly Magical ago
Chapter 87b: Clearly Magical ago
Chapter 88a: Cell Attributes ago
Chapter 88b: Cell Attributes ago
Chapter 89a: Closed-Dish Cultivation ago
Chapter 89b: Closed-Dish Cultivation ago
Chapter 90a: Local Cultures ago
Chapter 90b: Local Cultures ago
Chapter 91a: Eightfold Strategy ago
Chapter 91b: Eightfold Strategy ago
Chapter 92a: Petty Concerns ago
Chapter 92b: Petty Concerns ago
Chapter 93a: On Tracks ago
Chapter 93b: On Tracks ago
Chapter 94a: Proper Attribution ago
Chapter 94b: Proper Attribution ago
Chapter 95a: Moonlie ago
Chapter 95b: Moonlie ago
Chapter 96a: Where There's Smoke ago
Chapter 96b: Where There's Smoke ago
Chapter 97a: Injecting Levity ago
Chapter 97b: Injecting Levity ago
Chapter 98a: Tablet Monitor ago
Chapter 98b: Tablet Monitor ago
Chapter 99a: Looking Up ago
Chapter 99b: Looking Up ago
Chapter 100a: Fight or Flight ago
Chapter 100b: Fight or Flight ago
Chapter 101a: Sights to See ago
Chapter 101b: Sights to See ago
Chapter 102a: Booming Business ago
Chapter 102b: Booming Business ago
Chapter 103a: Mindblowing Revelations ago
Chapter 103b: Mindblowing Revelations ago
Chapter 104a: Fire, Water, Sky ago
Chapter 104b: Fire, Water, Sky ago
Chapter 105a: Evolving Awareness ago
Chapter 105b: Evolving Awareness ago
Chapter 106a: Derailed ago
Chapter 106b: Derailed ago
Chapter 107a: Unafrayed ago
Chapter 107b: Unafrayed ago
Chapter 108a: Snowledge is Power ago
Chapter 108b: Snowledge is Power ago
Schedule Update ago
Side Story: The Silver Legion ago
Chapter 109: Heating Up ago
Chapter 110: Out of the Way ago
Chapter 111: A Day Off the Town ago
Chapter 112: Rillah' Interestin' ago
Chapter 113: Alloying Insight ago
Chapter 114: A Mana on a Mission ago
Chapter 115: Conversensational ago
Volume 1 Cover Reveal! ago
Chapter 116: A Rapid Giveaway ago
Chapter 117: Cutting it Short ago
The Way Ahead Volume 1 is Now on Amazon! ago
Chapter 118: Pizza Cutter Personality ago
Chapter 119: Splitting Edge ago
Chapter 120: Growing from Rocks ago
Chapter 121: Something is Ahand ago
Chapter 122: Blood is Thicker ago
Chapter 123: The Right Ingredient ago
Chapter 124: A Sense of Wounder ago
Chapter 125: Bad Blood ago
Chapter 126: Red the Earth ago
Chapter 127: Black the Heart ago
Volume 2 Cover Reveal! ago
Chapter 128: Fertile Grounds ago
Chapter 129: The Way Ahead ago
Edwin's Final Status ago
Epilogue ago
Afterward ago
Side Story: Of Skill and Ink + Volume 2 on sale! ago

Leave a review

Sort by:

There are both good and bad traits to this story that I would like to discuss here.

First and foremost, a summary: The good traits are that the system is unique, the characters are distinct, the dialogue is thought and emotion-evoking, the plot is interesting, and the novel is enjoyable to read (at its core).

However, the core issue I have with this novel is related to its length and formatting. The length of the novel compared to the density of events occurring in-universe is far too imbalanced. Typically, we will have one thing happen, such as the main character becoming hungry, but we the reader have to go through at least three to eight paragraphs describing this one change.

It is not described as "He became hungry after walking for two days without food." or "Hours of strenuous hiking over mountains and fighting monsters made him starving." but paragraphs after paragraphs describing how he became hungry, what it feels like to be hungry, his thoughts on how he feels now that he's hungry, how harrowing it was to become hungry, what he could do to not be hungry, and then at least three separate theories on how not to starve to death. To which he will catch himself for rambling, only to continue rambling as he manages to find some strange food and not starve to death. It is as though we are reading a real-time stream of consciousness from this person than a story. We see almost every damn thought and idea. 

Now I am ironically rambling on this topic, but my point still stands. Almost 30% of every chapter can be removed and it will not impact clarity whatsoever. And onto formatting, these huge paragraphs of verbal diarrhea make it incredibly difficult to read. Usually you can only see about two or three paragraphs on your screen at once simply because they are so large. Each sentence is stretched as though the author is a high school student trying to get 600 words for his essay. And the sentence structure is often so convoluted that each sentence is layered with meanings to the point that clarity is sharply decreased and your ability as a reader to... well... read the sentence also is impacted. 

Besides this, there aren't many problems. It is a good story besides the convolution, and if you enjoy reading the insane formatting, this is probably heaven for you. 

P.S. Don't even get me started on how truly and utterly unintelligent the mc is (basically Sheldon Cooper.), not to mention the senseless laws of this super nation. 


The story is somewhat interesting, and I like the genre. And it's reasonably well crafted.

But the MC is an idiot, and at this point I'm not sure he's not one of the most Evil people in the story. And the world is a mess. Do all the nobility have skills like Break Will? Just all dwarven nobility? 

If the various governments around are totalitarian regimes, with stronger control of their citizens than the worst dystopian fiction, I'm not sure the alchemist harvesting ingredients from human bodies isn't a brave freedom fighter.

Whatever.  I give up. Good luck.


I really enjoyed the first half of the story.  But after a while the MC's self-esteem issues and terrible social interactions just got on my nerves. And then he makes a lot of choices with his paths and skills that really bothered me. They might lead to something cool later down the road but they really ruined the story for me NOW.


So many paths... but what do they do? No one knows! Even if you think you do random stuff happens. Meh. Also, I agree that the main character is an idiot, and the storyline doesn't flow logically from the character profile. I feel like the author didn't really think out the magic system he's using and is forcing things to keep writing. 


Tough to swallow

Reviewed at: Afterward

It starts of interesting, promising a fairly unique take on a litrpg system, and a main character with a well developed personality.

Unfortunately that personality is hard to read. The MC is anti-social, and can be quite naive at times, even stupid. This isn't a case of gripping tight to the idiot ball, its all in character and makes sense for the MC, but it can still be painful to read. You will have to be willing to accept the MC for who he is if you are to get enjoyment from the story.

The story itself starts rough. Well, it starts fine, then it enters a short slave arc. Then some minor stuff, before the point where I think the majority of readers will drop the story, the bandit arc. I'd recommend skipping the chapters from where he leaves the friendly adventurer, to until he wanders into the forest outside Vinstead. 

If you get past this arc, the story really picks up, and becomes the story that was promised. An investigation of a new, interesting system with an non combat focused MC. Here his personality gets to be shown without being detrimental to the story itself. His social troubles becomes something the reader can empathise with now that he's not screwing himself over by jumping to conclusions at every opportunity.

I've decided to rate overall as if the bandit arc didn't exist, except in the story rating.

Turtle Wars

I have been following this story for more than 3 months now, 73 odd chapters. I really gave it a long thought on how to give a proper review without hurting the author. As I wrote the review in my mind, my rants became longer and longer till I decided it would be better not to put it down physically in this review form.

Instead I will borrow two quotes from my favourite author PG Wodehouse to express my feelings succinctly. 

On what I feel after following this novel for so long expecting something to happen:

"...experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoy's Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day's work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city's reservoir, he turns to the cupboards, only to find the vodka bottle empty"

And generally how this story progresses:

"This Vladimir Brusiloff to whom I have referred was the famous Russian novelist. . . . Vladimir specialized in gray studies of hopeless misery, where nothing happened till page three hundred and eighty, when the moujik decided to commit suicide. . . ."


This story isn't about the setup mentioned in the synopsis. Oh, that is a part of the story but only a small part. When it is present, it is usually about how willfully ignorant the MC is being. Despite being proven wrong significantly more often than not, the MC never let go of the idea that the scientific knowledge he has from Earth is the only correct path. This may change in subsequent chapters that I haven't read but the attitude shown by the MC where science is concerned is the exact wrong attitude to have. He epitomizes the worst characteristics among scientists.

In addition to the MC chaffing my hide, I was not a fan of the story being different than the synopsis. It isn't bad, but what I read was really just another magic academy story from a different perspective. Not my cup of tea.


What started out great has slowly drifted into what feels like filler content. There's no need for constant action, but there's something wrong when you have paragraphs on paragraphs of introspection and unnecessary detail. Another reviewer mentioned that it had gotten to the point where one could skip paragraphs and miss out on nothing, it seems to have progressed to the point where entire chapters can be dodged with little to no loss of story content.


interesting concept, unacceptable protagonist

Reviewed at: Chapter 24: Birds of a Feather

This was read up to chapter 24 until it become too much to read.

For a setting with such high potential, it is incredibly disappointing how stupidly naive and trusting the MC is when dealing with people. While his first interaction can be excused as a lack of knowledge, the fact that he does it again with the second group of people he meets marks him as irredeemable and utterly lacking as a main character and person in general in comparison to how this story could have gone. 

Basically, it is a case of a typical all INT and no WIS build, as in all knowledge and no common sense. Sadly, I do not think it is something could be remedied given the character and motivation of the Main Character, who seems want further interaction with the people and society of this world, vs experimenting in secret and alone to understand the physical and magical rules of this world in uninterrupted peace and quiet. 

Even the plan of choice to escape was disappointing since he used alchemical means to get out physically when he has the Realm Traveler path instead to fill out and potentially gain a teleportation skill, which could’ve been a way to even return to earth.


I really really want to love this story. I love the concept and I think the world and magic system is super interesting. However the MC completely ruins the entire story.

I understand he has intentional flaws, the main one being his social awkwardness, but this does not make it any less infuriating when he just decides he's never going to listen to anything that's going on around him. This just creates pointless drama and fake problems because he "realized they were talking and he wasn't listening to anything they were saying" over and over and over again

It's like one of those TV shows where the characters are jwust intentionally not communicating to create problems for the show to deal with. Completely pointless and just frustrating. Unfortunately going to be dropping this, which is a shame because I was absolutely devouring it up to this point.