TL: Edited 07/05/2017. This chapter has been gone through the first round of checks for errors.
Chapter 2 – Sophie’s world
Even though the house was old it appeared immaculate. The former owner had cleaned it very well.
Sophie raised his head to look at the half-skeleton that he pushed away earlier. A pile of broken bones sat there quietly. Brendel’s counter attack before his death resulted in the only casualty amongst the undead scouts. These skeleton scouts lacked intelligence but the necromancer controlling them did not. Defeating this skeleton probably made the necromancer investigate the area personally. This mistake could hardly be attributed to the youth’s fault because he would not know about this fact.
During this peaceful era, there were not many who knew about this.
A painting which was sliced apart laid flatly on the floor. The skeleton’s soldier’s cold sword was not far away. Sophie’s pupils dilated slightly. Madara’s troops most likely intended to attack straight after the scouts retreated as they did not even bother to pack the place up to hide their presence.
But this certainly conformed to Sophie’s memory about the War of the Black Rose.
Sophie raised his eyebrow a little. His gaze laid about the sliced painting. His eyes were not mistaken, there was a hidden layer under the painting frame’s surface.
[Wait, an oil painting? Perhaps this is the famous painting of Bucce?]
Sophie suddenly remembered a particular event in the game.
He immediately struggled over to it with strenuous effort and vigilantly kept his ears open at the same time. Sophie knew that the necromancer that killed Brendel was of the lowest level, but even then it was more then enough to kill a normal person with ease.
The low level necromancers were able to use the novice ranks of Black Magic within the game, capable of conjuring up ghouls and skeletons in the nearby cemetery. They were naturally crafty and experienced in sneak attacks. They were a big threat to people who did not understand them.
Sophie was different because he probably understood them more than they understood themselves.
He laid on the ground and tore the painting frame open. A clink rang out as a ring rolled onto the ground. At this time he could not help but take in a breath lightly. The design of the ring was all too familiar to him. It was made of silver and shaped into a looping spiral with a Holy Phoenix symbol on the center of it.
It glimmered slightly in the dark. Such a design was rarely seen in the Aouine southern region.
This was the northern Sanorso’s national emblem.
Sophie carefully rubbed the ring. This was the famous Ring of the Wind Empress, a mission reward for the ‘Bucce’s oil painting’ in the game, but it vanished when the next patch came. Ultimately the people who knew and completed this mission were close to none.
Sophie was not one of them. He only heard of this tale before. In the legend, this was a fake keepsake belonging to one of the four saint, Delutte.
[According to Brendel’s memories this belonged to his grandfather. Who exactly is that man?]
The Ring of the Wind Empress’s effect was Agility+1, and it could expend the energy within to launch a wind bullet to strike at the enemies in front. In the game it was able to absorb 1 OZ energy every ten minutes, but he did not know if there was any difference here.
He gazed at it and his heart raced for a moment, and even forgot about the dangers of his surroundings. The ring’s appearance had partially answered his guess. This world was probably the same world he was familiar with in the game.
Sophie exhaled without being able to suppress himself. His current mood were swayed from the succession of events, but his hesitation was short and he slowly put it on his forefinger. Magic rings only worked when worn on the forefinger or thumb. In the game, the region between the thumb and forefinger were called by the Talan witches as ‘The Domain of Sacred Mystery’. They believed that it was where mana was gathered in the human body, and many gestures were evolved from that starting point.
Naturally, it was just trivia that he adopted as role-playing.
He was about to test the effects of the ring, when a large crashing sound in the first floor transmitted over and made him turned his head around abruptly.
He was startled and immediately became alert. It was possible that an undead had made the noise, and even if it was not, there was the possibility where it alerted the enemies outside. He quickly threw down the painting in his hands and retreated against the wall by instinct. He made his way out to the door and carefully gazed into the living room below.
He instantly saw a suspicious figure.
It was a young girl wearing a simple leather dress who carefully entered the building. She looked around to her left and right, but despite her tense appearance she did not pay attention to what was above her. She was tightly gripping a hammer used for masonry with difficulty. She seemed to be searching for something.
He coughed. It was not loud but in this empty house it resounded a few times.
The girl was evidently startled and raised her head in alarm, her face awfully pale. In his mind, the young girl before him was considered a beauty. Her chestnut hair was bundled up in a dignified fashion, but her silky smooth forehead along with thin long eyes made her look enchanting. Her eyebrows were slightly raised; her eyes were clear but bewildered with a pointed and straight nose. One look at her let him knew she had a fiercely independent personality.
She had a special quality about her but he definitely could not view her as a lady or someone from an aristocrat’s family. She was slightly hunched over like a sneaky person with her tightly gripped hammer, while she carried a cowskin bag around her waist like a merchant.
The young girl quickly saw Sophie and relaxed instead. She let out a long breath and patted her chest, and displayed a beautiful smile: “So it’s just you Brendel, you scared me.”
“…… Miss Romaine, how did you enter my house?” Sophie felt a headache coming up when he saw her.
This person in front of him was a girl that the dead Brendel had always adored. She and her aunt lived in the opposite house, and she usually had some quaint aspirations. For example, she wanted to go out outside of Bucce to become a traveling merchant.
Sophie thought her view did not make any sense. A traveling merchant in Aouine was not a respectable job; some of the citizens in the continent grouped them together with conmen and thieves.
During King Ansen’s era, there was a period where these people collaborated together to swindle people and were greatly despised, and came to be known as ‘People who have two mouths and three hands.’
The two mouths meant they were glib and excelled in deceiving people. The three hands meant they did not kept their hands to themselves, often stealing and doing despicable things. They could be said to be one of the biggest great threat to public order. when Sophie was a newbie back in the game, eight out of ten missions available were about them.
“I climbed into the house from your kitchen window, and it’s just too small! It nearly tore my dress.” The young girl complained as she bent her waist down to fix the corners of her dress.
“Nobody gave you the permission to come in from that window!” With the inheritance of Brendel’s memory, Sophie had a certain immunity to this girl’s personality, but he could not help but grumble in his heart.
“Never mind,” He shook his head: “Just what are you doing here in the middle of the night?”
“I’m worried about you, Brendel,” Romaine answered while she looked around, her expression incredibly curious: “You did see it right, a skeleton walking about?”
[She noticed the skeleton as well?]
Sophie suddenly realized the girl’s eyes were on his chest.
“You’re injured?” The future merchant girl titled her head and blinked.
“Let me see that,” She grabbed her dress, ran up the stairs noisily, and clawed at the youth’s right hand pressing against the injury, “Come on, take your hand away, what are you covering it for, your wounds will get infected!” She grumbled, and peered at his wound.
She drew a sharp breath and raised her head: “This is such a terrible wound!”
Sophie felt the girl’s cold hand grabbing his own and his heart skipped a beat. Even though he knew this belonged to Brendel’s feelings he did not make an effort to stop it.
“Fine—, are you mad!?” The merchant girl gave him a look of reproach, then she dug into the cowskin bag hanging on her leather dress: “Just wait a little, I think I brought bandages….”
Sophie looked at her with interest.
He knew that the things in her bag were what she considered her precious treasures. Over half of them were strange objects. Seashells from the seaside, glass marbles of different colors, a bronze whistle, old coins from the ancient past, and various other items. Most of them are not worth any money, but they were rarely seen in this region.
Her biggest interest was to rummage through a pile of old stuff in a shop. Even though the two of them did not have a lot of money to speak off, she always managed to buy cheap and rare things that she loved when they combined their money together.
He held Romaine’s hand and shook his head: “Let’s go into the room and search for the bandages, it’s too dangerous out here.”
“I’m not afraid of these pile of walking bones,” She glanced up at him when she finally found a first aid box: “Do you know how to bandage yourself? I don’t know how to do it.”
Sophie opened the box, retrieved the bandages and hemostatic cotton, then paused in confusion for a while. He originally planned to find these emergency supplies, but his consciousness still treated this world like a game.
Once he applied the bandages in the game, it would automatically stop the bleeding and replenish his blood, but he suddenly realized doing it here in the real world actually required professional knowledge. He could not possibly just randomly go round his injury with the bandages a few times right?
“Brendel, do you want me to try?” She looked like she was about to lunge at him.
“Nope.” Sophie quickly rejected her. Even if he had nine lives to spare he would not waste it away.
He thought the last resort was better than Romaine’s meddling. The Virtual Reality game appeared to have based itself on the real thing, perhaps it would work in real life as well? If he simply died there, then he would just blame the gods for this crazy turn of events.
He took off his shirt and bit one end of the bandages, then wrapped the bandages from the side across the injury a few times. He was a veteran at doing this inside the game and he did not fumble here.
He carefully avoided to tie the ends too tightly and was ready to finish the last touches, but he promptly stopped.
He saw a light green number, +1, slowly floating up from his injury.
At that moment it was like a bomb had suddenly blasted in his mind and rang in his ears. He could not remember what he was doing for a moment, but he immediately regained his senses and yelled repeatedly in his mind: “Stats Window! Stats! Appear!”
He waited with a heart filled with expectations and dread, and after a second, a series of data appeared and floated on his arms, legs, joints, torso and his heart.
Strength 1.0, Agility 2.0 , Physique 0.9
Then another set of data appeared in his eyes out of nowhere:
Intelligence 1.1, Will 1.3, Perception 1.0
Overall power rating 1.0, Element (Sealed)
These set of data and lines of words were like a waterfall gushing out and poured forth onto a translucent window panel:
Brendel (Level 1 Human male NPC, Strength-type: Physical, Close combat)
XP: 1 (Commoner level 1 —-, Civilian soldier level 1)
Lifeforce (Weakened): 60% remaining (Bandaged Status, 1 Health point will be recovered every day)
Commoner [Basic knowledge (Level 1), Geography Knowledge (Level 0), Local knowledge (Level 1)]
Civilian Soldier [Military Swordsmanship (Level 1), Grappling techniques (Level 1), Tactical Theory (Level 0), Military Organization (Level 0)]
[J-Just like I thought!]
Sophie thought the feelings of a normal person who just scored five million dollars would probably react the same way like he did.
Was this a dream?
No, he knew that a person within a dream would not be unlikely to think so logically, and even fewer would even think they were in such a dream.
Then was he still in the game?
[No, the current year in the game was the 2nd era of the 44th year.]
The young man felt his mind was in a fine mess. All the strange thoughts sprang out in a rush and made him felt a little giddy. But Sophie shook his head and understood that it was reality.
[Mother Marsha, do you exist here?]
Sophie could not help but prayed in his heart to the ultimate goddess in this world for some answers.