I try my best to fight the darkness that loomed over the corner of my vision; I wince at the pain caused by the many deep wounds that cover my body after being brutally tortured by my captors. It was the only thing keeping me conscious.
"Fuwaaaaaaahh..." A deep sigh escapes my lips. My back was laid against the cold hard concrete wall, my knees too weak to stand. They have squeezed every piece of information out of me. The pain was too much. I probably have no use to them now.
I stare at the grey ceiling stained with nicotine tar as the single light bulb at the center flickered. How long have I been here? It has been ages since I've seen the light of day.
"Fuuuuuwaaaaaahhh..." A deeper sigh than the last escaped my lips. A warm sensation trickled down my back, and it feels like it won't be stopping soon. I guess this is how my life ends, huh?
The warmth inside my body has faded, my body shivered to keep itself warm, but alas, there wasn't enough blood to circulate heat. I try to gather my thoughts, but they're sluggish. My body felt numb, and my sight was blurring. This was the end.
So cold. The world slowly dimmed to black, and all sensation started to fade away into nothingness—a dog's death.
... ... ...
Huh? My consciousness was still intact. I felt like I was floating in the dark, incorporeal, and disconnected from the material world. Without a sense of direction nor sense of time, I drifted through the darkness.
The darkness around me slowly lit up. A calming warmth washed upon my immaterial body. It felt like I was being cradled by something. I felt drowsy, and my consciousness started fading. I guess this is the afterlife. Bliss.
... ... ...
I rouse from my eternal slumber as sound began to tickle my senses; I could hear a lady humming a tune in the distance. Curiosity got a hold of me. Closer, I urged myself to the direction of the sound. It started getting louder and louder until...it suddenly stopped? Silence.
[What have we here? A lost soul? Greetings, little one.]
Gentle, that was the word that could describe the pleasant voice that greeted my senses.
[Oh my. Thank you, little one.]
Is this the afterlife? I quickly ask who I assume is the divine being called God.
[Yes, but you are a special case. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Zirft, The God of Calamities. I occupy one of the Four Thrones of Judgement that herald the end of the world.]
A special case? God of Calamities? I wondered what those meant.
[When people from Earth die, they usually enter the reincarnation cycle where they get born back on Earth without carrying their memories from their past lives. You, on the other hand, have strayed away from Earth's Cycle and wandered into our world's cycle.]
Your world? Does that mean I'm going to be reincarnated in this world of yours?
[Correct. Unfortunately, you won't be human anymore. Your consciousness has degraded too much to synchronize with the vessel of a human. However, since you are from another world, your memories will remain intact.]
What will I become then?
[That is up to the God of Chances to decide.]
Before I could ask more, my consciousness started fading. My senses were sending mixed signals. Even without a body, it felt like my head was about to split until finally, the pain disappeared, and so did my awareness.
My consciousness flickered in and out like a broken lightbulb. A hoarse voice filled with dignity kept rousing me up.
[Mhm, too damaged. I was planning on making you a hero.]
I hear a sigh from the disembodied voice before my consciousness faded to black once more. I kept waking up a few times, and each time I could hear him say something, but after the first waking, I couldn't understand what he was saying. Was he chanting something in another language?
[...How pitiful.] The voice spoke in a somber tone.
My consciousness, once more, waned.
A searing sensation filled my whole being. I wanted to scream, but I had no voice. The pain continued on for what seemed like an eternity until...
"UAGHHH!" A painful groan escaped my mouth, "Huh? I can speak?!" I yelled thinking out loud. Surprised by the thought of having the ability to speak again, I didn't notice that the pain had already subsided. I was floating and unable to move, I could feel sensation throughout my body, but at the same time it felt like I had no body.
[Tone down, will ya?] The disembodied voice spoke in an irritated tone.
My eyes darted to the left, and I saw a floating ball of light, wait, No, Huh? The source of the voice that spoke to me was constantly changing forms. It went from a ball of light, into an eye with wings. Every time I would blink, the entity would change its form.
"W-what are you?" I asked out loud.
[How rude. The proper question is, Who am I?] The entity spoke, clearing its throat [I am the God of Chances. You're probably wondering why I constantly keep changing forms. It is because the comprehension of a mortal soul cannot truly understand a God's Essence.] The God of Chances spoke proudly.
"Where am I?" I said as my eyes darted around the area. Except for the God of Chances who was located to the left of me, all I could see or comprehend was the chaos that reigned and existed only at the edge of my vision. Every time I would focus on the pandemonium that loomed over my peripheral vision, my gaze would automatically, by some unknown force, shift to another area, specifically staring at the God of Chances.
[You are in the Divine Realm, where Gods like me reside. The God of Calamity has told you of your circumstances, correct?] The God of Chances queried.
"Yes, I am now part of this worlds reincarnation cycle, she told me so," I stated, still trying to focus on the chaos that loomed over the edge of my vision, "What will I be reincarnated into?" I asked.
[Hmm, when I appraised your soul, It was extremely worn down due to your journey crossing from Earth to Vertalum. In that state you would have been reincarnated as a fruit fly,] He chuckled before continuing, [So, I tried to fix your soul, and with high hopes I would put you into a Hero's Vessel, but...] He stopped, prompting me to ask why.
"But?" I asked.
[Well, I did fix your soul successfully, but in the process I might have reconfigured it too much...] The God of Chances spoke in a low tone, akin to a guilty child confessing.
"And, what does that mean in mortal terms?" I asked, raising my brow which I was not even sure was there.
[It means that your soul is no longer able to synchronize with a human vessel.] He said, his form which was currently a deer with angel-like wings as horns lowered its head and moved its hoof in circles, [But, you got to keep your memories as a human. You should thank me for that.] He raised his head with pride, the wings present on them spread out majestically.
"Why the hell would I be thankful for that?!" I exclaimed, furrowing my non-existent brows.
[Hey, Hey, Hey, I tried putting you in a human vessel, but that only caused you agonizing pain.] The God of Chances stated.
"That was the reason I was in so much pain a while ago?! You already knew it was impossible! You're a God!" I exclaimed again, how was this guy a God to begin with?
[Never hurts to try,] His deer form shrugged, [Anyways, this mistake gave rise to an opportunity...] He stopped again, prompting me to ask.
"And, what is that opportunity?" I asked.
[You get to reincarnate as whatever you want! A dragon? A demi-god? An Elf? So many wonderful and strong species to choose from!] The God of Chances declared with glee.
I stared at the God of Chances with doubtful eyes, His name implied something and this was too good to be true. My past life instincts were giving me red signals.
[Huh? Why aren't you excited?] The God of Chances asked, changing form once more. He was now some type of fish with iridescent scales and a white halo floated above its head.
"There's a catch isn't there?" I asked, trusting in my instincts.
His fish formed smiled, which was surprisingly unnerving, [Looks like you caught me.]
"What's the catch?" I asked again, is he going to ask me to kill people for him? Wait, no he's a God, maybe he'd want me to preach so he gains more followers? I pondered to myself.
[You must...] The God of Chances lifted his left fin and a small orb with intricate designs appeared, [Roll this 37 Billion sided die. A game of chance, no?] His fish form smiled again. I felt shivers down my non-existent spine, he should stop smiling in that form.
"How am I supposed to roll it when I can't even move? Hell, I don't even have a body." I complained.
[Imagine yourself moving towards me and grabbing the die.] The God of Chances instructed.
I closed my eyes and heeded his words, I pictured myself approaching him and taking the die from his fin. I created an imaginary body and walked towards him. I felt myself moving forward. I could feel the die's texture with my imaginary hand, it felt rough and I could feel many corners even though it looked like a sphere, weird.
I opened my eyes and the die was now floating beside me. Dammit, I still have no body.
[Now, project yourself rolling the die.] said The God of Chances, blowing bubbles with his mouth [There are 32 billion species to choose from within that die, once you roll the die. You will be born into the world.]
I closed my eyes once again and imagined myself rolling the die. As it fell down from my imaginary hand, it made a metallic sound each time it 'rolled'. It was weird seeing an orb act like a dice in front of me. It took a few moments before it slowed down and chose a side out of the 32 billion possibilities.
I opened my eyes, It was time.
[Farewell, Vaeden. You will now be reborn into the world of Vertalum. I bless you with all the luck,] The God of Chances bid goodbye, his fish form smiled once more. Just stop, [I almost forgot, I added a little gift for you as a token of apology. You'll know it instantly.] He winked.
"Wha..." Before I could ask what it was, my consciousness faded to black and the iridescent smiling fish that swam through the air disappeared from my eyes.
「You will be reborn with the following status:」
A mechanical voice? Huh? It seems like my body is being materialized currently and I'm conscious in the process. I could feel sensation slowly beginning to spread throughout my new body.
Levels? is this the gift that The God of Chances was implying? It's like one of the interfaces of the games I played when I was young, a system...
Authority: Tenth Sequence
Two digit starting status? I'm pretty strong already. Looks like I got lucky with the dice game. The God of Chance's fish form smiling suddenly appeared in my thoughts. I felt my actual body shiver.
「Skills: Bite Level 1; Flee Level 1; Blight Level 1; Stealth Level 1; Keen Senses Level 1」
Skills! Wow, Bite? I'm really not human anymore. Flee? I guess it's a skill to run a way, Blight? I have no idea. Stealth, hides me while Keen Senses probably increases my sensory perception. These skills sound fun. Am I a fox? A dire wolf? A baby dragon? No, that would be too much. Excitement fills my entire being as the last sentence of the system began to unfold.
「Species: Infant Blight Rat (Rattus)」
What kind of rotten luck do I have to roll a rat as my own species?! The die was rigged wasn't it! This is too cruel! God of Chances! Give me a reroll! I wouldn't want to live my second life as a rat!