Bryan opened his eyes after what felt like just a few moments had passed. He sat up from the hard wood floor and rubbed his head. Everything seemed relatively normal. He was still in Charlie’s bed room, surrounded by the unconscious figures of Aaron, Ashley, Christina, Jessie, and Kyle.
If that could be considered normal.
He made sure everyone in the room was still breathing and took a few quiet steps out into the living room. Some of the guys had already started stirring, and everyone seemed to have some headache-like discomfort.
“Hey, you alright?” Bryan walked over to Charlie and shook him slightly.
“Huh?” Charlie always seemed to ask that when someone woke him up, “what happened?”
“Your guess is as good as mine,” Bryan helped him to his feet while everyone else was becoming fully awake.
Before anyone could really do anything, everybody was already asking each other “what happened?” But no one knew the answer.
A pleasant-sounding voice sounded in everyone’s ears. It was soft and tranquil; most were instantly sure it was a woman speaking.
“I just want to make sure, but I’m not the only one who heard that right?” Vu asked.
One by one people voiced their affirmation. Everybody had heard it.
“Ah good, I’m not going crazy yet then,” Vu quipped.
[Welcome, newcomers, to Aphospea, a world of freedom unbound.]
Casey, Corey, Jerry, Nik, Vu, and Zhao all seem interested in what’s going on for their own various reasons, while Charlie simply went back on his phone—likely expecting someone to explain it to him later. Of course, Bryan was interested too, but walked back into Charlie’s bedroom to check on the others first. Much like everyone in the living room, no one was sure what was going on, but Aaron and Kyle were listening relatively attentively to the strange voice’s words.
[The world you now find yourselves in is very different from the world you have come from. Here, your options are limitless. Survive, acquire skills and abilities, and grow strong and influential!]
Anyone who’s read certain online novels or watched certain anime would instantly find that kind of a line familiar. With varying amounts of anxiety mixed with excitement, those who were interested could hardly wait to hear what was next. For others, it was much more anxiety than excitement.
[Your options are limitless! Survive, acquire skills and abilities, grow strong and influential! The Crest emblazoned on the back of your non-dominant hand will help you monitor your progress.]
All at once, everyone noticed it. A decorative but tribal looking tattoo had inexplicably appeared on the back of their hands. The lines were black; some were wavy while others were jagged, but they all came together to form a wicked set of wings. It was impressive—a little over the top—but if it did everything all the guys were imagining it did, it was likely that no one would really care.
[Simply touch the Crest, or think Status Window to display the Crest’s most basic feature. As you discover new things and features, messages like the one you are hearing now will give you a basic understanding as to not leave you completely clueless.]
What happened next was to be completely expected. Everyone’s interest was piqued when they heard “status window”; its implications were many and far reaching. Whether it was by touching the Crest or thinking the command, everyone wanted to see their Status Windows. Bryan was so excited that the split second it took for the window to appear felt like an eternity.
It was exactly what he was expecting it to be. It hovered just an inch above the back of his hand, and would continuously turn so that no matter how he looked at it or what position his arm was in, he could see the information easily. The window itself was semi-transparent and rectangular, with little greyed out tabs near the top edge. Only the first—and current—tab wasn’t greyed out, the Status tab.
<Name: Bryan Chan> <Age: 21> <Race: Human> <Sex: Male>
<Level: 1> <Class: Newcomer>
<HP: 100/100> <MP: 0/0>
<Passive Skills: Gamer’s Mind, and Gamer’s Body>
As far as the stats went, 10 was probably the average. Bryan knew he was somewhat lacking in strength, but seeing a numeric representation of his strength as a 10 really cheered him up. He could understand having 0 Magic, but honestly hoped that the Luck stat was somehow different from the others—otherwise, 5 would be an abysmal number.
Everyone started comparing stats. After some discussion, the group figured that 10 was most likely actually the average for everything except Magic and Luck. Everyone had 0 Magic; while most members of the group had around 5 Luck. Corey and Jessie were a little luckier, and had 6 Luck.
Then there was Jerry. With 9 Luck.
There was some speculation that the Luck stat went on a scale from 1-10 and just went back and forth depending on fortuitous or un-fortuitous encounters, but there would currently be no way to tell. Everyone had to stifle their jealousy to start discussing the actual situation and what to do about it. The most surprising thing was probably that no one was freaking out or panicking. Did it have something to do with the Passive Skills? Everyone had them.
Unfortunately, tapping on the skill names in the Status Window didn’t display a skill description, so figuring out what the two passives did would probably have to wait until they unlocked a Skill Menu or something.
Nik and some of the guys decided to take a look outside while everyone else took inventory of the food and other necessities in the house. If they were all really brought to a different world, no one was sure how the house was brought with them, but everyone needed to have some kind of idea about what they had to work with, where they were, and what was around them.
The outside reconnaissance took just a few minutes; we were surrounded on three sides by forest, and behind us was a forested mountain—with a cave. That would take some exploring at some point. Inside the house on the other hand, there was 2 crates of water, enough food to last everyone about one or two meals, and enough blankets and pillows to go around. Thankfully that gave everyone a day’s worth of time to adjust and discuss. Everyone gathered back together in the living room.
“Alright, so it looks like its late afternoon outside,” Nik announced, sharing the details about the setting sun and amazing scenery before finally continuing, “what’s the plan?”
Everyone dropped into a contemplative silence. Bryan was the first to speak up, “hey Vu, Kyle, and Casey, you guys are fast and used to running, can you take advantage of the time we have before night time to scout a little further out around us?” It would be good to know more about our surroundings than just ‘forests and forested mountains’.
“Oh yeah sure, no problem,” Vu nodded, “let’s go guys.” He motioned to the other two and made his way to the door.
“Be careful,” Bryan added.
Vu just brought his hand up to head level and waved with the back of his hand before exiting the house.
“I can get started on some dinner preparations,” Nik offered.
“I’ll help too,” Brandon chimed in.
That honestly, didn’t sound like a bad idea. Some food would definitely help calm the nerves and anxieties. Everyone offered up their agreement to the prospect of food, so the two chefs made their way into the kitchen to work. Then they immediately turned around and announced: “The stove doesn’t work. No fire. No cooking.”
Bryan sighed and turned to Charlie, “hey Charlie, can you help me decide on sleeping arrangements since it’s your house? I’ll go get us some firewood or something. We can start a fire outside and cook there.”
Charlie looked up from his phone and looked around at the people in the room. “Simple. There’s 4 girls, so they can go 2 to a room—since I’m sure they won’t want to be sleeping in the same room as any of you—and I get my bedroom cause it’s my room. Easy,” he then turned his attention back to his phone.
Bryan shrugged and looked around the room for agreement. All the guys shrugged and all the girls nodded. That took care of sleeping arrangements relatively simply. “Zhao, Corey, Jerry, go divide up the extra blankets and stuff while I’m out gathering firewood,” Bryan decided that there was no sense in wasting time. The three that were called upon filed into the hallway where the cabinets and drawers were. Bryan made his way towards the front door, but stopped next to Ashley for a brief moment.
“You okay?” He asked her.
“Yeah,” she answered as if to say ‘why wouldn’t I be?’
“That’s good,” Bryan smiled and continued on his task.
“Actually, I’ll come with you. Will be easier that way,” Nik announced and followed Bryan out.
After 15 minutes of sorting, and a few good debates and arguments about who should get what, everyone who wouldn’t be sleeping in a bed got their own blanket and a pillow. The girls would have the stuff already on the beds, and Charlie had his own sheets. There was definitely more relief than surprise at the fact that Charlie actually had enough spare blankets for everyone.
In the meantime, Bryan and Nik managed to pick up every stick they could find just outside the house. There were even some rocks for making a fire pit thrown into the mix. The two of them set about erecting their cooking fire, and thanks to Nik’s relative expertise, were finished in no time at all. Bryan headed back inside to tell Brandon to join Nik, and then took a seat as close as he felt he could sit next to Ashley. He relaxed a little while watching the cooking duo ferry food from the kitchen to the cooking fire.
The scouting group returned shortly after and headed inside to claim their own sheets. Kyle went back to sit with Jessie and Casey started arguing with Corey over wanting his seat back. Vu on the other hand walked over to Bryan to essentially give a report.
Vu summarized, “well there really isn’t much other than forest in our immediate area. There are a lot of these little rabbits with single long horns coming out from their foreheads, and a pretty large lake off to our right.”
“At least there was water and a potential source of food then. Though actually catching a rabbit may prove incredibly difficult…” Bryan sighed and remembered his attempt at catching a rabbit when he first started college.
“I also found some decently sized branches we could use as makeshift clubs or something. I brought them back just in case,” Vu smirked.
Bryan raised an eyebrow. Vu would be the one to think of something like that. The two of them stepped back out of the house to take a look at the branches Vu had brought, and then began to discuss what they could do with them.
Time passed relatively quickly as everyone delved into their own conversations about their current situation. The interesting prospects. The potential dangers and worries. The allure of adventure and magic. The thoughts about home.
Then it was time to eat.ns188.8.131.52da2