The sunlight pouring through the treetops fell onto my closed eyelids and stirred me awake.
Guess it worked huh? I thought, smiling.
I picked myself up and stretched, before grinning widely as I imagined what Mr. Smith must be going through right now, but I quickly put that thought out of my mind. This was my world now; no point in thinking about that other place anymore. I immediately decided to check whether my character, or rather my new body, was exactly as I had planned.
I looked at my hands, checked all my joints and did a few stretches to make sure everything worked. I also inspected the purple robes I was wearing, along with the simple leather armor underneath.
Status, I thought.
A translucent, purple screen appeared in front of me.
Let’s see, Kai Zero, sixteen years old, Male. Wow, these stats are ridiculously low. Level 5, really?
I chuckled. I would probably be pretty ordinary if I’d dropped in without my Ability.
Re:Write: the ability to rewrite anything and everything in the world. This is the biggest cheat code ever, isn’t it?
I laughed, a bit too loudly, but well, letting go of all the shit I’d been going through back on Earth was incredibly liberating. Here on ‘Erath’, I was finally free to do whatever I wanted. Although, I did regret naming the world Erath. I’d made the game when I was eleven and I’d never been good with names either, but a name like Erath was cringe-worthy, even for me.
I scrolled down the screen with a thought. The empty Skills section may have been disconcerting, but the small red button in the lower right corner reassured me. It was the debug button I’d installed as a failsafe against any bugs I couldn’t fix from within the system. I’d developed it to save time while debugging games, but decided it’d be a useful thing to have, just in case.
Now I have to make sure everything is working properly. Let’s start with these crappy stats.
I closed my eyes and focused. It wasn’t necessary because all I have to do is think about what I want to change and how I want to change it, and it would happen. But for now, I wanted to get used to my new powers. So, to help myself focus, I thought of the code like: <re:write.target.effect>
<re:write.self.change stats to max>
There was no energy ripple nor any bright, flashing lights, but I knew it’d worked as a surge of power coursed through me. I checked my status and as expected, my HP and MP were at 9999, my Attack, Defense, Speed, Vitality, and Intelligence were all at 999 and my level was also at 999. These were the highest possible stats in the game.
Good, although the ability could have given me stats higher than the maximum stats in the game, it correctly interpreted “max stats” to mean “the maximum stats possible in the game,” which was my real intention. So, it works based on my thoughts and not the words I use to express them.
This means I don’t have to be careful with my words when describing the effect, I want to apply, nor do I need to know any names or have any images in my head. I just need to be able to identify my target somehow. Even vague descriptions like “that thing that just went past me,” should be enough.
The rise in stats also seemed to have raised my sensory abilities, as I heard a faint rustle in the bushes behind me. I turned around and found a large, tusked figure crouching among the leaves.
A wild boar? A perfect test subject for my new abilities!
I picked up a rock and threw it at the boar. It went straight through its skull, smashed through several trees behind it and hit the ground with a large thud. A huge flock of birds flew away from the trees around me as the boar’s corpse fell.
I guess it worked a little too well...
I noticed that the boar’s corpse didn’t vanish like in the game, so I cleaned it up to avoid attracting other animals or monsters.
<re:write.boar corpse.erase> I thought. The boar’s corpse vanished, leaving no traces.
I’d make a very effective serial killer, I mused.
Having tested my physical strength, it was time to find the nearest human settlement.
A large map of Erath stretched before my eyes. Two large continents dominated the map, with a large, stone bridge connecting them in the middle. The map only showed the names of cities and countries along with other important locations and natural features, but more details were definitely possible. I could stalk people by observing their every move.
Good thing I’m not a pervert.
I focused on my location. I was in the northern part of the Light Kingdom on the Southern Continent. The closest human settlement was a village named Reneste, which didn’t exist in the original game. This proved that I had successfully avoided the main storyline by coming to the future, although I didn’t know how far ahead I had come.
All right, this is a useful code. I had better save it as a ‘favorite’ then.
Since my thoughts and intentions guided Re:Write, I could attach a code to a special phrase or word and think about them to trigger the effect. I called these words, ‘favorites’.
I set the Map code as a favorite and began thinking about my next move. I knew I wouldn’t stick out, since Erath is a very diverse land, but it would be nice to get a hang of my Ability first. And so, I decided to walk over to Reneste even though it would probably take a couple of days. Well, it wasn’t like I had something to do.
A scream pierced through the air.
<re:write.self.position=towards the scream> I thought, as I vanished from the clearing.
Sunlight fell on the little girl, illuminating the brutal scene in front of her.
A ground bathed in red. Flying, scarlet droplets. A crimson sword chopping through someone’s neck.
No, not someone’s neck; her father’s neck.
Her father’s decapitated corpse fell on top of another body with an arrow sticking out of its forehead. A body that had once been her mother.
Yet when the sunlight fell on the girl herself, it reflected off her unstained white dress. A shining white glare amid a sea of red. She stood there, unable to move, unable to cry. A scream had escaped her throat when they were ambushed and her mother had been sent tumbling off her horse by an arrow, but now she couldn’t even manage a whimper. The sounds of clashing weapons, exploding magic and death filled the air, but she couldn’t hear any of it.
This can’t be true. It’s just a bad dream. Daddy he- he’s joking, right? Mommy too, right? We were just talking about dinner. We’ll have steamed fish, and daddy will complain about eating nothing but fish again, and mommy will tell him to stop...to stop...to...
Sunlight reflected off the tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Now what the hell is going on here?”
A loud voice carried across the clearing and stunned everyone, causing them to stop fighting. The little girl shifted her gaze towards the voice and stared at the completely ordinary looking boy in the center of the battlefield.
Sunlight fell on his purple robes, making it shine brighter than her own white gown.
Damn, it’s a bloodbath in here. This stench makes me wanna puke, I thought, scrunching my nose. I’d caught their attention so I tried to ask what was going on, but before I could open my mouth, an arrow whistled past my ear.
“That was a warning shot. I don’t know who you are but you better leave right now. This doesn’t concern you,” said the large, bald man who had shot the arrow. “Unless you wanna fertilize the forest like those guys.” He pointed coldly towards the two corpses lying in front of the crying girl.
Right, it looks like the girl was the one who screamed. I shouldn’t have rushed over like this but that scream was impossible to ignore. It was so pitiful and agonizingly sorrowful, like someone had just had their soul shredded. But I had expected someone being attacked by monsters or something, not humans fighting each other.
The bald man was growing impatient. It’s not like the arrow hadn’t made my pulse quicken for a second but I calmed down as soon as I realized that it wouldn’t be able to hurt me at all.
I looked at the bald man. He was wearing light iron armor and held a strung crossbow aimed at my face. Scars littered his face, and his armor was scratched, and well worn.
I focused on the bald man and a pale white screen appeared over his head. His name was Odog Baner, and he was the leader of this bandit group. He was a level 15 swordsman and his stats and skills matched what would be expected of someone of his level but his equipment was pathetically weak.
Old wooden bow? Rusty armor? I never designed equipment this weak but the people of this world had gone beyond the game I designed. Of course, that also meant that bandits had appeared even though I never designed any in the game. I saved the code that allowed me to check the status of the target I focused on as ‘Observe,’ and shifted my gaze to the girl that had screamed.
Her name was Clare Skye. She was only 12 years old but already level 3, which made me very insecure about the initial level I’d had when I came to this world. She held the title of ‘Reneste Village Chief’s niece,’ which was a simple but unsurprising one to have, since one’s titles basically represented one’s public identity. I didn’t have a title yet because I didn’t have a public identity.
She was wearing a white dress that made her look like a priestess, but her crying face instantly destroyed any divine presence she had. She was just a kid after all.
“I asked first. Now tell me what the hell is going on here?” I asked, looking back at the bald bandit leader, Odog.
He scowled at my question and didn’t reply, so I looked at the crying girl, Clare.
“How about you, can you tell me what’s going on?” I asked in a gentle voice.
Her lips quivered for a moment but it seemed like she was too grief stricken to say anything, so I analyzed my surroundings myself. The whole place was stained with blood and several corpses lay on the ground. A few dead horses lay near the two corpses next to the girl. I observed the corpses and realized why the girl was screaming.
“Listen kid, get the fuck out of here now or else I’ll skewer your tiny brain,” Odog threatened, unaware of our ridiculous difference in power.
Unaware I did not like being called a kid.
Unaware I knew he had just killed a little girl’s parents right in front of her eyes.
And unaware all of this brought back painful memories.
She stared at the purple robed boy.
She wanted to tell him to leave, because it was obvious that someone that young would die here, just like her parents.
The thought made her heart ache again.
She wanted to make sure that at least the boy would survive, but her body wasn’t responding. She couldn’t even answer his question!
No! she thought. I need to do this. At least this much, please...
But just as she was about to force herself to speak, the boy looked at the corpses in front of her and a shadow fell over his eyes. Although he quickly brought his gaze towards the ground, she managed to catch a glimpse of his eyes.
Sorrow, despair, anger, helplessness; she saw those emotions in his eyes. The same ones she was feeling right now. Odog, the infamous leader of the Black Dog Bandits finally snapped and shot his crossbow at the boy.
She screamed as the arrow flew and pierced the boy’s forehead. Or rather, that was what should have happened. Instead, the arrow shattered upon touching his skin, without leaving a scratch on him.
The boy’s expression didn’t change as he continued to stare at the ground.
What! thought Odog, as his arrow shattered upon touching the boy’s forehead. Who is this crazy bastard?
He felt a cold sweat trickle down his back as he took a step back.
Even though my skills, and my special ability-
He was cut short by the sound of arrows being released and even a few magic spells being fired. A fireball hit the ground at the boy’s feet and made a cloud of dust rise around him, so they couldn’t tell whether the arrows and magic had worked.
Or rather, they could tell, but they didn’t want to believe it.
And sure enough, as the dust settled, the boy stood unharmed. But his gaze was arctic; cold enough to freeze the souls of the people who met it.
Odog’s heart fell. Why? Why did a monster like this have to come now? I was so close. The job was almost over. I could go back to Jenny. I knew I shouldn’t have joined my old bandit group. But, how else was I going to get enough money for…
He met the boy’s gaze and came to a startling conclusion. He would die here.
Yet oddly enough, he wasn’t afraid. No, he was afraid, but he also felt like he didn’t deserve to be afraid after all that he had done. Sure, he’d had a good reason for what he did. But he had done unforgivable things.
In the corner of his eye, he saw the girl crying over the dead bodies of her parents.
Yeah, I don’t deserve to be afraid. He sighed.
He met the boy’s gaze again.
I’m sorry Jenny, looks like I won’t get to see our kid after all. But I guess it’s better that they don’t have a no-good dad like me...
She observed the boy staring at the bandit who’d given up all hope of living. Inside the boy’s eyes she could almost see the bandit leader twisting into painful shapes, and being tortured to death. The intense hatred in the boy’s eyes made her shiver, but what the boy did next, astonished her. He closed his eyes.
“Who are they?” the boy asked, eyes still shut tight.
The bandit leader looked at him in a puzzled way, but when the boy opened his eyes, Odog suddenly understood something. His lips moved as he calmly whispered a few words she couldn’t hear.
The boy nodded and asked: “Any messages?”
“Tell them that I... that I’m sorry. Don’t tell them you did this. I don’t want them going after you. All though, if they do, please spare them. They had nothing to do with this,” the bandit leader replied, still donning a calm demeanor.
The boy nodded once again. She waited as the tension became almost palpable. And then it happened. But there were no explosions, no massive bursts of mana or flashing lights.
One moment Odog, the infamous leader of the Black Dog Bandits that had terrorized Reneste, was looking at the purple robed boy and having a conversation with him.
The next moment, he was gone.
And then the boy shifted his gaze at the other bandits and they began to disappear too. Her own guards had already died. The bandits had been cleaning up when the boy appeared. Soon, the entire battlefield was empty except for the blood and corpses that stained the ground. The only living things left were the boy and herself. When the boy shifted his gaze towards her, she flinched. Was she going to disappear as well?
That didn’t happen. Instead, the boy walked over to her and looked at the corpses in front of her. She ended up following his gaze. It fell on her mother’s face, arrow protruding from her forehead, and a smile forever frozen on her lips.
Her father’s decapitated head stared at her, his eyes stretched wide open.
The wall of emotions she had been holding back crashed into her.
They were too much for her; she couldn’t help but lose consciousness.
As the boy rushed over to support her, he noticed that her dress didn’t have any bloodstains or dirt on it. It still gleamed brightly in the sunlight.
- Nobody Knows Me
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