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[Beginning host integration with body]

[Memory integration started]

[1%....5%....]

[Waking Host]

[Welcome]

The faint light in his eyes was telling him it’s time to wake up, as he stretched in bed his arms hit something.

I must be sleeping close to the headboard again.

He starts wiping the sleep from his eyes as a yawn escapes from his mouth.

Nothing like a good stretch and yawn before getting out of bed… But it is so cold, why haven’t my joints flared up?

His eyes open, a glowing neon blue box is blocking his vision. The word “Welcome” greets him, it almost seems to be happy. He closes his eyes for a few seconds, then he opens them again. The box is still there, floating in front of his face.

I must still be asleep, because this is most definitely not normal. Or is this the start of dementia?

Rubbing his eyes again, he then reaches for his glasses on the nightstand, only to find no glasses or nightstand? Looking around the box stays in front of his vision, but goes almost translucent when he raises himself up to take stock of his surroundings.

Where the hell am I? I must be dreaming because this is not even close to my bedroom at all.

Taking a look around the unilluminated room, he seems to be in some kind of run down cabin, with wooden walls and a floor that looks to be made of some kind of tile, which resembles terracotta. A thatched roof, a small end table and a rustic wood chair sits in front of a small fire pit near the front door, with only some tiny flames and glowing embers still inside it. Through the cracks in the door and sole window he notices it is still dark outside.

Yup, this is not my bedroom at all, or even my house. I should be freaking out right now, why am I not freaking out?

He focuses back on the glowing neon blue box in front of him and reaches out to swipe the box away. As it fades out of his vision and a new one appears, he finally notices his hands.

These are most definitely not my hands.

Bringing the hands close to his face, he is greeted by the slightly tanned and calloused hands of a young man. Gone are the wrinkles and liver spots that he could once point out with his eyes closed. After staring at them in wonder for what seems like hours he notices the new box in front of his face.

[Congratulations! You are the proud new owner of a system. My job is to help you live a productive and full life. After the host has fully integrated with the basic system, the system will find an appropriate program type for your use and begin memory consolidation. Does the host have any questions while integration is in progress? Note: Mental and verbal commands both work.]

You said I am integrating, what does that mean and why me? Also where the hell am I? How am I in a new body and what happened to my old body? The last thing I remember was going to sleep.

[Host’s body was no longer suitable, so the host's soul was extracted from the body and transferred to another reality so integration with the system would work. Old bodies are unserviceable, no longer relevant, no more data found on the old host’s body. Host’s new body was compatible with the system and no longer had a soul. You are now the new host of the body, and the system will begin integrating memories of the former host to make transition into a new body and world easier for the current host.]

Are you saying I died? And then you found the corpse of someone else and put me inside it?

[Host's old body could not sustain system operation and malfunctioned during system install, causing catastrophic failure of the old body. The host's new body also stopped functioning, however with integration of the host, the system has restarted the body and fixed minor issues with body functions. Body functions are currently running at 100%, life expectancy is 150 years without starting cultivation and not factoring in outside influences or help from the system. Note: Sudden death can happen, please be aware of your surroundings.]

“Wait, catastrophic failure? Yo... You killed me!?!”

[Loss of the previous host’s body was an unforeseen circumstance. Although the condition of the old body was already past maximum recommended usage, install was still initiated as scheduled because the host's old body was still functional. Best practice for installation of the system is typically scheduled on reincarnation with a new body.]

I guess that is the system definition of being old. Fine, I won't blame you for my death. Any idea how much longer this integration is going to take?

[ Approximately 5 hours remaining, the system suggests waiting in a safe place while integration finishes.]

That’s fine, I have no idea where I am anyway. Guess I will just make sure I don't freeze while I wait on you then. Can you also make the boxes a little smaller and back them away from my face?

[Confirmed. Testing in progress, which option works best for you?]

10 numbered blue boxes are displayed in front of him with different sizes and text.

“Number 6 looks good, let's go with that one.

[Confirmed.]

Standing up he walks over to the fire pit, tosses a few cut logs into the fire and spends the next 10 minutes making sure they light. After he warmed himself up a little, he moved the table and chair out of the way, then dragged the bed frame closer to the fire pit. Removing all the extra clothes from the chest that was at the foot of the bed. He begins to lay them over the makeshift bundle of a mattress thing, that the previous occupant of this body called a bed.

Hopefully this makes it slightly more comfortable. System, please wake me when you are done doing your thing.

[Confirmed.]

The young man spends the next few hours laying on the bed with his eyes open. Occasionally he would raise his hands up and look at them, then sigh and continue looking at the thatched roof. After a while he rolled onto his side, watching the flames flicker and dance while the silence of the night was broken by the irregular crackle and pop of the wood.

[Process is finished, host is currently awake. No need for wake up call]

Yes, it turns out it’s hard to sleep when you’re told you have died and your soul was transferred into the body of someone else after they died. In a totally different reality than your own, mind you. I really feel like I should be having a panic attack, screaming, crying. You know, anything normal like that.

[Host’s emotional state is being suppressed by the system currently. Once integration is complete and you have settled into a proper system. Then the host’s emotional state will slowly go back to normal and you will be in control of your emotions again. It was found that if left unchecked, a new host with a system integration in progress would not last more than a few hours before complete mental breakdown. Luckily only 216,134 test cases transpired before the issue was patched and 3,194 of the cases survived past mental breakdown!]

Ya, lucky… So now what happens? You need to find me a program type now? Why don’t I remember anything else yet? Just my own memories and the vague idea that all this stuff around me is mine.

[Host will need to go into sleep mode for the process to finish. Would you like to begin?]

Sure, let's get this over with.

[Starting in 3. 2. 1….]

[Memory transfer finished]

[Beginning search for system]

[Ultimate Scheming System, Compatibility 57%…. System in use]

[Master of Untold Daos, Compatibility 13%…..System not suitable]

[God of Cooking, Compatibility 88%….. System in use]

[Shameless Young Master, Compatibility 52%…. System in use]

[Pharmacist System, Compatibility 41%…. System not suitable]

[Black Tech Internet Cafe System, Compatibility 15%… System not suitable]

[Pillar of the Sect System, Compatibility 23%…. System not suitable ]

[Junk Swindler system, Compatibility 63%… System in use]

[Pill Master System, Compatibility 31%… System not suitable]

[Drunken Master, Compatibility 76%…. System in use]

[Unrivaled Master System, Compatibility 29%… System not suitable]

[Mystifying Diviner System, Compatibility 51%.... Not in use, download system? Yes/No]

[Yes]

[System downloaded and installed]

[Installing Addons, Starter-Gift, Expandable-Inventory, Upgradable-Learning-System]

[Install finished, checking system integrity… Stable]

[Waking up host]

His eyes opened, the inside of the cabin was brightened by the light from the rising sun. Sitting up in bed, he took a closer look around at the shack that was his new home.

Man this place is a dump, but I now know the rest of the village isn’t much better. This is so weird, I now know memories of a life that wasn’t mine, but feels like it was mine all the same. Will this disconnection go away, or am I stuck with this?

[Once the host begins cultivation, memory dissociation will stop. Estimated time until memories are no longer causing host dissociation is 1-3 months.]

[Congratulations! You are now the host of the Mystifying Diviner System]

Thanks, I guess.

[Host, please start system]

I thought it had started. Do I just say start now or something?

[Mystifying Diviner System starting]

[Thank you for choosing the Mystifying Diviner System, please wait while a full body scan is in progress.]

Wait, I could choose my own program for my system? Why didn’t you let me know beforehand so I could make an informed decision and maybe pick something else that doesn’t seem so weird? What is a Mystifying Diviner anyways?

[You were given a program based on your memories from your original life. Programs are more compatible with hosts, when selected this way. Although you were not a perfect match for this system it was still over 50% compatible with the host. A Mystifying Diviner reads the fate of people and points them towards it. They can also divine the weather, lucky numbers, where treasures can be found and many other things.]

Great so I am some kind of conman fortune teller, but I will actually be telling the truth I guess? I had over a 50% match with this system? Are you sure?

[Host had a 51% compatibility with the system selected!]

I hate you so much right now. First you kill me in my sleep, then you give me a system with a 51% compatibility rating?! I spent my life as a chef. Even though I have been retired for over 20 years, I still cook every day. Couldn’t you get me a cooking system or something? I might not even be able to use this system properly.

[Host do not worry, this system is upgradable and will learn at the same time. With usage the system will change and adapt to the host. The more you use the system the more it will change, till the host is completely satisfied. *Message from system admin* Satisfaction of the host is neither guaranteed nor needed.]

What the heck does that last bit say? It’s too small to read.

[All text has all been standard Arial font size 11. Since you asked me to change it.]

Are you playing with me? You didn’t write some tiny text at the end like some loophole in a contract?

[I did not add anything in a different size font.]

Fine, whatever.

[Scanning complete, loading profile]

[Please enter name, leave blank to use host bodies name]

[Name:]

[Name accepted]

-----------------------------------------------------------

Name: Ming Zhi

Gender: Male

Age: 15

Karma: Neutral

Status: Farmer

-----------------------------------------------------------

Cultivation: None

Constitution: None

Bloodline: None

-----------------------------------------------------------

Cultivation Technique: None

Dao comprehended: None

Martial Arts: None

Movement Technique: None

Divine Art: None

-----------------------------------------------------------

Skills: None

Inventory Size: 1 Meter Cubed

-----------------------------------------------------------

System Level: 1

Experience: 0/500

Mystifying Diviner Points: 0

Please start cultivation to unlock system functions, skills and levels.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Man, this kid had a rough life. System, why was I tossed into this body? He has almost nothing besides this little hut and some farmland, which looks like it has seen better days. He didn’t even have any friends, and his family is already dead. Heck if it wasn’t for the village leader and his son coming by some times to visit I would say this kid was a hermit.

[Host is correct, this body was chosen because of the unique situation of the previous host. It has been found that trying to reincarnate a host such as yourself into the body of an infant does not go over well. With most host’s having no real connection to their family members. Most host’s over a certain age limit will be given a new body much like the current host.]

I guess it’s good to be old then. Well, young with an old soul now.

System, can we change how we talk to each other? How about a name change? Calling you system all the time and being called a host will get on my nerves once I can feel them again. Also do you have a voice mode? Reading all the time might be a little hard if I am around other people.

A deep baritone voice replies, [Voice mode active, please note only you can hear my voice. Verbal replies to me around other people will make you look crazy. A name change is possible, what would the host like to be called?]

Great, let's go with the kids name Zhi. Might as well get used to it. As for you, let's call you Buddha since you seem to know everything. I was gonna give you a famous butler name, like Alfred or Jarvis, but I thought that would be a little stereotypical.

[Thank you, Zhi. Although I do not know everything, I will use the name Buddha from now on.]

Great, so now what?

[Congratulations, you have received the Starter Gift!]

A sealed box appeared next to him on the bed. It looked plain and unassuming aside from the small bright pink bow on top. He lifted the box onto his lap and removed the lid. A bright light shone out of the box, forcing him to close his eyes. His eyes start to open, once the brightness dims down. The box has vanished and in its place are 2 small books resting upon a set of slate grey monk robes with a purple belt sash. Laying across the bed next to his legs is a khakkhara**, with a set of Japamala*** wrapped around the tip.

So you want me to be a monk? Is this a joke because I named you Buddha?

[No, these are the gift starter items for the Mystifying Diviner System. If you would please look them over Zhi.]

Lifting up the 2 books, the covers were faded and worn out. But the titles are still readable, “The Endless Dao Cultivation Technique and The Innumerable Body Technique.” Setting aside the books for now, his attention is drawn to the robes.

These are the softest things I have ever felt. I can’t wait to put these on! But maybe a bath first, he last took a bath almost a month ago.

Setting the robes off to the side of the bed, he lifted up the Japamala next. The black and white beads are perfectly smooth and alternate around the Japamala. The last bead is a mix of color, it is over twice the size of the others and is a half swirl of black and white that acts as the tassel.

He sets them down on the robes and glances over at the khakkhara. The staff is black, almost like burnt wood, but it is silky smooth to the touch. The bottom tip of the khakkhara is made out of some type of metal, it looks like worn out silver and is almost 6 inches long. The top of the khakkhara is made with 8 half ovals connected together like the cardinal points on a compass. Resting on each oval is 4 rings linked together. The top sticks out over one inch from where the oval connects together. But it elegantly transitions into the oval pieces, almost giving it the shape of an ostrich egg.

Alright, so you definitely want me to be a monk. Or some kinda holy man. You know, I like to drink and I do enjoy the company of a woman from time to time. It might have been a while because my body didn’t like to function correctly anymore, but I am a young man now, full of vigor.

[You are not going to be a monk, you will be a Mystifying Diviner. You will travel around advising people, divining futures, reading palms, selling trinkets to people…]

Okay stop right there. Are you saying you want me to be some kinda conman?

[No you will be a spiritual guide, pointing people onto their rightful path in life.]

Where I come from, we call that a swindler, like those TV psychics and televangelists from my world.

[You will be nothing like those people, you will have the system and system skills to help you.]

But what if I also wanna use my skills to be a con artist? Is that allowed?

[You can use all system functions, in any way you would like. But if you use them in an unprincipled way towards people with positive karma****. You will then gain negative karma as a result.]

So if I use them on someone with negative karma, in a dishonest way, I’ll gain positive karma? I mean, how am I gonna eat otherwise? Panhandling with some free advice isn’t gonna keep me well-fed.

[You are correct, but who said it was for free? Everything has a price, be it in money, karma or something else. But that is for later, something important is happening, stop asking questions. Your first quest has been generated]

A blue box appeared in front of his face.

[Quest: So, you wanna be a cultivator?]

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A note from pewpewcachoo

Thanks for reading, hope you are enjoying the story so far even if not much has happened. I will post definitions for each chapter if i have any. Or stuff that might not be the same as what is considered normal.

**A khakkhara, sometimes referred to in English as a pewter staff, is a staff topped with metal rings traditionally carried by monks, particularly in the East Asian tradition.

***Japamala or mala is a string of prayer beads commonly used in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Shintō for the spiritual practice known in Sanskrit as japa. They are similar to other forms of prayer beads used in various world religions and sometimes referred to in English as a "rosary".

**** Karma leads to many things, good or bad. But it can also tie you to people through your deeds or misdeeds. Which can then be used to track you, by anyone strong enough or skilled enough to read karma lines.


About the author

pewpewcachoo

  • Sin City, NV
  • Tacos are food.

Bio: I read all the time and try to write sometimes.

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Comments(25)
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Jack0fheart ago

It's going to fun to see how the [shameless young master] system plays out 😂

Artim ago

Through the cracks in the door and sole window theyhe noticenotices it is still dark outside.

Occasionally he would raise his handhands up and look at them

Side note: I'm a bit unsure about tenses used. I kinda think that you use both present and past tense in this chapter and I think it is frowned upon. But I'm not really sure. As I said I suck at gramar. Some gramma nazi would tell you if it is correct or not.

I'm going to read next chapter now.

    pewpewcachoo ago

    Thanks for the help, it is fixed now. I am pretty sure I mostly wrote in present tense. But I slipped into past tense a few times. But it was only a little bit, hopefully its okay. I don't think any of them are in the same sentance... Maybe?

      Artim ago

      I didn't notice any in the same sentence, just in a chapter in general. I agree present tense seems to be there for the most of the chapter. I too don't think it si a big problem just figured I point it out just in case.

Actus ago

Ah, always good to see more cooking themed novels. :) Keep up the good work mate!

Calavente ago

thanks pewpewcachoo !

 

I found the systems choice strange.. some were in use, some disregarded.. and mystifying diviner was "not in use, downloadable".... why was it the only one for which a choice was given ?

 

are all the other systems "in use" applying to him ?

or is it that they have already been assigned to one of the 108 other people-with-system ?

Alvastar ago

Huh, when I read that the system would shape itself around the Host's lifestyle I was thinking, "this guy is going to open a restaraunt/food cart and call it 'A Bite of Fate" or "Heavenly Fated Cuisine" or something."

It makes sense to me since you can read tea leaves by having someone drink a glass and see what's on the bottom. So, he'd cook for someone like in a private kitchen/habachi style and read their fate based on what's left on the plate or left in the pots/pans.

RainbowBeheader ago

*Message from system admin* Satisfaction of the host is neither guaranteed nor needed.] LOL

Rusty Knight ago

I quite liked the little easter eggs in the names of systems listed there, I recognized a few novel's systems there.

Book Addict ago

Pick a tense: present or past and stick with it. It is quite annoying having to parse when you meant things to have happened.

Edit suggestions:

Spoiler :

Suddenly,A a sealed box appearsappeared next to themhim on the bed.

It lookslooked plain and unassuming aside from the small bright pink bow on top.

A bright light shinesshone out of the box, forcing him to close his eyes.

Lifting up the 2 books, the covers arewere faded and worn out.

    pewpewcachoo ago

    Thanks for the help.

    I am actually trying to write the story in present tense. I know the first chapters are pretty rough, I didn't really edit anything as I was writing for writathon. It is on my list of stuff to fix at some point.

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