I opened my eyes to find myself laying on something cold and hard. Groaning at a sudden massive pain in my head I immediately closed my eyes again and cursed this new world for being far too bright.
“Well, this was not what I was expecting…”
Groaning at the fresh new spike of pain that sound brought to life in my head I turned away from the voice. “Ugh... Ok, I’m going to need a minute here… A very quiet minute in as dark a place as possible…”
“And you are supposed to be some sort of mighty champion of a hundred worlds? This is just sad…”
As the pain grew to an almost unbearable level I reached out to a power that I knew instinctively would help and pushed it into my head. The pain screamed to a stop and suddenly I could think straight again, I also realized that I was wielding my sorcery like I had done so for my entire life. It was easy, the magic and the understanding of what to do with it to get the results I wanted were just something that I instinctively knew. It was like moving a new limb, granted it was a limb that I had never had before and only vaguely understood but that didn’t seem to matter in regards to my control over it. Alright that’s pretty damn awesome… Ok let’s see what I am working with here… I turned my senses inward, something that was also new and seemingly just as easy and natural as using my sorcery had been, and saw something amazing. I didn’t really even have words to describe it but essentially it was my body, all of my body. I could see, or at least perceive with some sense that resembled sight, everything about my internal body, and it wasn’t like I was just seeing my insides either it was more than that. It was like looking at a galaxy swirling inside a human form that was superimposed over with the traditional biological system maps I’d normally see in a textbook, and somehow I understood what everything was and how everything worked. It was human biology made easy, and at the very center of the galaxy, at the very core of my being, I could see hazy orbs that felt like my sorceries.
One orb felt like it was magic wrapped in heat and tingles, I recognized it inherently but still the word was shot into my mind as I brushed against it. Energy.
Another orb felt sturdy, earthy, and reliable. Earth.
Brushing over the orb that felt strange and infinite before touching the orb that felt like it was omnipotent and could direct and bind everything. Space. Linkage.
Then there was an orb that was brighter than the sun that felt hot and deadly. Light.
And then the final hazy orb simply felt comforting and alive, it was as if it was a living being itself. I knew that this one was my flesh magic and I brushed against it with relief that the element had formed like I had wanted before I was pulled out of the Rift. Life.
…Wait, what? This is flesh right? I brushed over the orb of elemental sorcery again. Life. Ok, um… that’s not really what I was going for but I guess it’ll work. Reaching deep into the orb I felt what the element of life had to offer, as it turned out there was a lot more there than I expected to find. It had the healing and alteration aspects I had wanted, but it also had something else in the form of some sort of limited life granting ability that I couldn’t even begin to describe. All I got from it was I could take bits of life force or soul or whatever it was that made living what it was and put it in something to give it life, how or why it worked was so far beyond me I couldn’t even begin to understand it. I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to make too many of these artificial life bestowals since there seemed to be a limit to what the element could maintain. Well fuck… Um, yeah that’ll do instead of a flesh element then… I mean granting life? That’s like a god tier power… I guess there might be enough Life stuff? Soul? Huh, what the hell even is this life granting stuff?
“Has this been enough time for the great champion to regain his barings? If not I’d be happy to wait for as long as it will take, but I doubt the village will share that same sentiment…” The feminine voice dripping in sarcasm pulled me out of my introspection and back into the real world.
Shaking my head and deciding to think more about the many applications the life element of my sorcery had later I turned to look at the owner of the less than welcoming voice. For a moment I was shocked dumb. It was like I was looking at 13 who had just decided to change her outfit and tone of voice, but then I realized the woman in front of me and the goddess who had been on my computer screen had some subtle differences between them. The woman in front of me looked more, well more real. She was beautiful but she also didn’t have the unnatural and impossible beauty 13 had, her features were harder than 13’s and her eyes were also brown and not endless pools of black. Quickly stopping myself from staring I moved into a sitting position of the plain stone alter I had been laying on. “Yes I have, and I would appreciate at least a little understanding for my situation from you.”
“You’re supposed to be some grand world traveling champion, right? Someone mom thought would be better suited to preserving her final icon and surviving through Godsfall than her own daughters? Yet you cant even seem to handle the quick trip to my world. I’m not impressed, so no champion you shall get no “understanding” from me…” The woman adjusted the shoulder of her strange black scaled armor and looked at me practically in disgust.
Well I can see we’re just going to be the bestest of friends… I tried not to let my annoyance show through on my face and took a breath to calm myself down so that I wouldn’t start arguing with this woman. From what she’d said I had put together she was 13’s daughter and as such a demigod who could probably make a newb to this world like me eat my own teeth before I could figure out how to use my sorceries in a fight. She was also probably someone I would need to work with to protect 13’s shrine so it was probably for the best that I try to establish if not a friendly relationship at least a professional one with her. “Ok look, I’ve just traveled from a world with so little magic that it strips anything in it of whatever magic or power they hold. Even your mother admitted that staying there for a week would’ve left her as less than a god, and I’ve been stuck there for two decades. So if I don’t have your understanding then fine, but I am going to need some time to manage my condition unless you want my sorceries to unravel and destroy everything around us.” There, I think that sounded believable… Plus 13 said no one besides her and some now long dead ancient gods know about the Rift and its effects anyway so she won’t question my story, I’ll just play things off like I’m really out of practice with my own magic and need to figure out how to use it again… I’ll figure out more details about who and what my identity will be in this world later on, but for now the world traveling champion with lots of experience but rusty skills identity should be enough…
The woman’s expression went through a serious of changes one of which looked like concern before she finally settled on a hard expression. “Look, I can appreciate that you must have been through a lot…” She sighed as the hard expression softened a bit. “But right now I can’t afford for you to be like…” she gestured to my whole body. “This…”
I can appreciate that I guess… This world is going through a sort of divine apocalypse, if I was sent some scrawny gamer guy who looks like he couldn’t lift more than a hundred pounds as reinforcements in that sort of situation I’d probably be pissed as hell too… Luckily… “Neither can I, as I understand it this world is quite a bit more dangerous than any of the others I’ve been to, I can’t afford to be as weak as I am now in a world like this. That’s why I’m going to use my magic to change that…”
The woman just stared at me like I had suddenly grown another head. “You’re going to make yourself stronger with magic? Like, physically stronger?”
Did she just not get what I was trying to say? Weird, I’d have thought it was obvious… “Yes, I plan to regrow some of my lost muscle mass and increase my height to what it once was…”
Again the woman just looked at me strangely. “Show me.”
Shrugging I put my tablet down on the alter beside where I sat and turned my attention inward. Alright, how to do this… I don’t need to be some muscle freak, but it would be nice to have some added musculature to give me more natural strength. I’d also like some thicker skin, and it would be good if my body was just all around more durable. Oh, and I shouldn’t forget about enhancing my legs either! There are few situations where having strong legs could be a bad thing. And… I guess that should be good for now, I can leave my messing with my organs or any other major stuff for later… After deciding what I was going to do I began to direct my life magic to enact the changes I wanted. There was an art to changing my body, I could sense what was good or bad for my body through my magic and I also inherently understood how various things worked and interacted inside my body as well. With almost unnerving ease I had replaced all the old muscles in my upper body with dense tightly chorded new muscles that while leaner were also far stronger than anything I had before. I was forced to use my magic to speed up the process, but that seemed well worth it when I saw the results forming almost immediately. When I was finally happy with my upper body and after making a few cosmetic changes to my face out of a fit of vanity I noticed that I was tired, but it wasn’t my body that was tired. My mind itself was bone weary and just felt slow, it was like I had decided to stay up for days on end and desperately needed to sleep. Unintentionally my focus slipped and I lost my grasp on my magic, as I looked dumbly at the woman in front of me I tried to remember what we had been talking about.
“You… You can actually?” She was stammering as she walked closer, putting her hand on my arm and then my chest she stepped back with a strange look on her face. “By the Nightmother… It’s real…”
“Oh… Um… Yeah…” my mouth didn’t seem to want to make words which was appropriate since my brain didn’t seem to want to come up with them. “They’re… Real… I… Made… Them…”
The woman looked at me in a mix of shock and concern when she noticed my slow speech. “Shit, you depleted way too much of your mana! Damnit! Here, drink this quickly!” She shoved something into my hand and then turned in a huff to stand by the wall. “…What? Quit looking at me and drink the damn potion already!”
She really is pretty… Even when she’s mad… …Ok, I’m really out of it… Trying to shake off the murkiness of my mind I lifted the flask I had been handed to my lips. Bottoms up… Swallowing down the horrible tasting liquid inside I felt myself begin to think more clearly, as I finished of the potion with a gag I wiped at my mouth and did my best not to throw up. Holy shit what was in that, dirty socks and raisins!? God that was horrible… Looking up I nodded my thanks at the woman, I had no idea what happened when a person ran out of magic but by how out of it I felt I doubted it was good. “Thanks for that… Um, what was your name again?”
“I’m called Shera, you’re welcome but you also owe me a potion. Those things aren’t cheap and the deeper into Godsfall it gets the scarcer they are going to get…” I noticed she seemed remarkably less hostile now than she had been before.
“Right…” I was about to reply with my name out of impulse with my name before I paused, this was a world that was supposed to be at about the medieval level of culture so names, especially last names, were important. Most times commoners and serfs didn’t have any more than one name, that was a right that was reserved for nobility. Most commoners and serfs also went without power and were treated as lowly laborers at best and slaves at worst, that was a fate I did not want for myself. Man I wish I could pull up my tablet and do some research real quick… Fuck it, I guess I needed to tackle this part of my identity soon anyway, and while I’d have liked more information first things obviously don’t always go the way I’d like… “I’m Lord Ash Drake, but you can call me Ash.” I’ll keep things to two names for now, I can always add more later on if that seems appropriate. Plus this could be my chance to get rid of my awful middle name once and for all!
Shera didn’t seem to care about my added title though, she just looked at me closely as if trying to see something that was hidden inside of me. Looking down I noticed that my t-shirt was fitting much tighter to my chest now, my shoulders were a bit broader, and I had noticeable muscle definition. I had wanted to go for the lean and dense musculature that martial artists and gymnasts strive for, and looking at my upper body I had attained that. Unfortunately it made my lower body and legs, which I hadn’t had the chance to enhance before my bout of magic depletion caused me to stop working on my body, look too thin and slightly deformed. I would need to work on my lower body, but I was almost afraid too given what had just happened.
Suddenly Shera spoke out breaking the silence. “Could you do that again?”
Looking up I saw that her face was a mask of dead seriousness. “Yes, if I wanted to and had the… Mana, I believe you called it? I suppose this world uses mana to describe the stuff that makes up magic as well…”
Shera nodded but just kept staring at me with that same serious expression on her face. “Could… Could you do that to others?”
Just like that I released what she was trying to get at. As long as I had mana I was essentially a walking healing and body improvement machine, and in any world that alone would make me valuable. In a world with little technological and medical advancements, especially a world that’s going through some sort of apocalypse that would lead to massive loss of life if not a total depopulation of the continent, I would be an essential and invaluable resource. I felt the beginnings of a smirk grow on my face before I realized that it was just as likely for someone to kidnap and torture me to try and get me to do what they want as it was for them to attempt getting on my good side. That killed the smirk dead before it even came to my lips. “Yes… I can heal practically any wound or illness, shape and mold flesh like it was soft clay, and enhance or improve a person’s body at will. Admittedly these things are easier to do to myself, but I should be able to work my magic on others with a bit of difficulty.” It’s a risk, but she is 13’s daughter and I doubt she’ll do something to turn me against their cause. Plus this gives me some serious bargaining power until I can prove my competence and value in other ways…
“I have two more potions, finish casting the magic on yourself and then follow me…” As Shera tossed me another flask something strange happened, I could see the path it would take through the air and where I would be best able to catch it. It was beyond intuition, I knew exactly how it would travel and the exact angles and vectors it would take to make contact with it.
As my hand snapped out to catch the flask I stared at in awe, it had moved exactly as I had predicted it would and suddenly my mind calculating the distance, angles, and vectors of motion of everything around me in the small wooden shrine. I could even tell the exact distance between each pew on the other side of the shrine, it was surreal. What is this? I mean it’s cool, but what the actual hell is it? I sighed as I began to direct my focus inward again while I carefully clutched the flask of potion in my hands. I guess I’ll have to look through my sorcery more carefully… I might be able to play off some of my ignorance as just being unfamiliar to this world, but that’s not a good strategy for dealing with people who I’d rather not know my origins… To do that I can’t keep having things pop up that surprise me, especially not when I’m supposed to be some experienced badass champion and it ends up involving my own abilities…
To Be Continued…