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I woke up lying face first on the ground, feeling hungover.

‘Ugh, what is that taste?’

I spat black ichor into my hand.

Eldritch bits, excellent.’

My muscles ached, yet they felt… powerful. I attempted to push myself to my feet, but, instead, my hands slid into the earth.

‘Odd, it doesn’t feel like mud.’

I carefully rolled to my knees, trying not to disturb the ground. Looking around, I saw that I was at the bottom of a crater. Jagged metal and stone debris surrounded me.

What the fuck did I land on? Shit. Did I kill someone?’

I did my best to gently stand and began to search the wreckage.

There’s so much rubble. I must have leveled an entire building. This is bad. Maybe I should just run before someone blames me for this. Wait, what's that?'

About ten yards away, coming out from under a collapsed wall, was a protruding blue arm. I rushed over.

“Hello? Are you alive under there?”

No response.

This is a bad idea. Lift with the legs, right?’

I squatted down and gripped the edge of the wall. Then, I slowly applied force in my quads to raise the stone… it flew off the body and into the side of the crater, shattering into pieces.

‘What material is this?’

My confusion was short lived, overridden when I looked down and saw the squashed remains of a person: black slime oozing from open wounds and bones exposed. A little vomit entered my mouth.

‘What the fuck is that?’

It looked vaguely human, but the colors were wrong, and the skin was hard to the touch, closer to a shell than flesh. Regardless, I trembled slightly thinking that I had killed something.

‘No, it's not my fault. I didn’t ask for any of this.’

I tried to convince myself, still in shock.

Before I could spiral, I began to hear shouting.

“Kek, ter dep shoo knee kun!”

I turned and saw a group of blue skinned men moving toward me with spears at the ready.

“I don’t understand what you’re saying,” I shouted, rattled.

“Kek, ter dep shoo knee kun!” The one in front continued to shout as the group came closer. His spear was gesturing upward. I began to panic.

‘Are they telling me to put my hands up?’

Text appeared in my field of vision.

Congratulations, You have unlocked the Skill: Abyssal Language.

Abyssal Language: Skill governing the ability to read, write and speak Abyssal. Current Rank (1/10).

Skill detected, “Autodidact,” would you like to transfer 100 experience points to level Abyssal Language? Y/N.

What in the actual-’ I was only distracted for a moment before the screaming man was right in front of me.

Yes,’ I thought quickly.

Congratulations, You have reached level two in Skill: Abyssal Language. Current Rank (2/10). Would you like to transfer 500 experience to level this skill? Y/N

A pulse of electricity shot through my brain. It was a caffeine rush, straight to my cerebellum. The words being shouted began to make sense, barely. I had gotten the gist correct. The man approaching me wanted me to put my hands up.

My would-be captor did not grant me the time to respond, slamming the butt of his spear into my stomach. I braced and… nothing. The spear stopped cold at my abs. I had abs. That was new.

‘This is going to set the record for the world's shortest reincarnation… or is this a transmigration? Not important.’

My thoughts refocused as the man renewed his attack. Visibly agitated, he repositioned to thrust the spear’s point at me. My adrenaline flowed, and I forced myself to concentrate. Suddenly, the world was clearer, the man’s movement slower. I sprang forward to punch. Unfortunately, my entire body shot at the man without any regard to what I was trying to do. My fist completely missed, and, instead, my forehead slammed into his face. There was a sickening crunch. I looked up and my stomach turned as I saw his partially caved in skull flying backwards towards the other assailants.

After a moment's pause, the rest charged me. I ducked to grab the deceased’s spear. It weighed nothing.

‘Have I ever seen anyone use a spear? Um, pointy end in the bad guy.’

The one nearest to me stabbed at my chest. Again, when I concentrated, the attacker’s spear slowed, as though someone hit half speed on reality. I stepped to the side and countered. A deafening crack sounded as my spear passed through his armor, then his carapace, then his ribs, and then through all of those again as it moved out his other side. The impaled man stared in disbelief, ceasing only when he slumped dead on my weapon. The brutality of his death bought me a moment while the others paused in shock.

Congratulations, You have unlocked the Skill: Spear Mastery.

Spear Mastery: Skill governing the ability to attack, defend, and control a spear. Current Rank (1/10).

Skill detected, “Autodidact,” would you like to transfer 100 experience points to level Spear Mastery? Y/N.

“YES” I was so excited that I screamed my answer out loud. The men took a step back at what I think they assumed was a battle cry.

Congratulations, You have reached level two in Skill: Spear Mastery. Would you like to transfer 500 experience to level this skill? Y/N

I shouted yes repeatedly, overwriting text as soon as it appeared, until one message stayed in my field of view.

Congratulations, You have reached level ten in Skill: Spear Mastery. Current Rank (10/10).

Another surge of energy spread throughout my body. It permeated my memory, my muscles and my bones. I looked at the weapon in my hands. Holding it was natural. The spear belonged there, needed to be there. I extracted the head of my weapon from the corpse and twirled it around my body, forcing eye contact with my assailants. I almost felt bad for them -- almost.

I dashed forward and unleashed hell: Dodge, Parry, Strike. The tip of my spear moving too fast to be seen. A trachea severed. An artery cut. A skull crushed. And just like that, they were all dead at my feet. My heart pounded with excitement. I had never felt this good in my entire life. I was… strong.

Congratulations, you have defeated Abyssal Foot Soldiers x6. You have gained 3000 experience. Would you like to loot the bodies? Y/N

‘What, um, yes.’

The enemies’ spears disappear from the ground.

5 spears, 6 magic cores (Lessor), 6 sets of abyssal armor, and 1 key have been placed in your inventory.

My what?’

I set aside that thought as a face appeared from over the edge of the crater. A young girl in a cloak with long pointed ears eyed the scene, grinning maniacally.

‘Is that… an elf?’

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JL Vincent

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