Chapter 1 Train Ride

Chapter 1 Train Ride

What happened? I opened my eyes.

In front of me wasn’t the backrest of the bus chair, but a pair of empty seats facing towards me and a small white table.

What?

My eyes darted around the unfamiliar place. The sleek white cabin the black leather chairs.

Where the hell was I?

I looked out the window to see snaking cabins connected together.

I was on a train?

I looked down to my clothes. My jacket and pants where gone replaced with a black military uniform.

Kevin? Noe? Ester? I felt my heart beat faster where were they?

Is this how I’m lead to the afterlife? My heart sunk.

Fuck.

It would be a lie to say I wasn’t angry at unfairness. I was so close to being finally free from my cousin, this damned school, and leeching off my aunt and uncle’s kindness.

I had already put my deposit down for a tiny college apartment, I had even bought my own rice cooker.

I still vengeful if Alice is alive maybe I’ll end up haunting her and the school for a bit now. My poor aunt, she’ll probably be destroyed hearing about Alice’s death though.

I hated Alice, I think, but I didn’t want her dead. For the most part.

There was no need to pinch or slap myself. It was an instinctual feeling that everything in front of me was real no matter how bizarre it felt.

I took a deep breath.

Maybe I should try and figure out where I am. Maybe this isn’t death I can’t be sure.

Passing through the middle of two hills far in the distance through the window a could make out an unfamiliar dense city lin. Besides, a giant forest.

Alright, maybe this wasn’t the afterlife after all!

The fast-moving train quickly brought me close enough I could make out two massive towers at the center of the city. Both easily surpassed well above a mile and were connected by walkways throughout various floors even shared a domed platform at the center.

I sunk into the train seat then closed my eyes getting my thoughts organized. I’ve never seen this place in my life nor this train or this landscape.

Should I ask other passengers where I am? I nodded to myself.

“Would you like lunch, sir?”

“Huh!” I practicing jumped on my chair at the sudden voice.

A young woman pushing a food cart was equally startled by my reaction. She bowed her head.

“My apologies did I wake you?”

“Eh, oh no.”

“Sorry, I don’t have any money.” I stood up and bowed back she really did look frightened by me.

After feeling up the many pockets in the uniform for a wallet I found nothing.

The attendant seemed flustered when I looked up everyone in this train compartment seemed to be looking over. Did my voice crack why is everyone looking?

“P-please customer doesn’t mind me sit, the food is free for cadets that go Laurent Academy in uniform. Please feel free to choose what you like.” She waved with her hands for me to sit and handed me a menu.

“Is that guy crazy? Bowing while being a cadet at Laurent I’ve never seen it.” Various voices whispered around me.

Realizing I was standing out I quickly sat back down. It would probably be best to not stand out in such an unfamiliar location.

Why what’s up with the uniform?

Seeing the attendant standing there I looked at the menu she had given me. There wasn’t a thing I could understand on it. What language even is this?

“Customer? Are you okay?” The attendant gave me a worried face as tried to study the menu.

“Sorry. I’ll have this sandwich and that drink.” I handed the menu back to the attendant pointing at one of the few pictures on it. I was purposely vague since I couldn’t be sure, but it looked like a turkey sandwich and a soda.

She nodded giving me a pleasant smile and handed me a bottle it already looked fizzy so I’m sure it was cola then proceed to pull out a packaged sandwich with a bag of potato chips.

She left with a light bow, leaving to look after others.

I had no appetite right now, but I didn’t want to seem panicked on the outside.

Ah, I should have asked her where this was going. I looked to see, but she was already gone.

“Whatever, I’ll just ask passengers.” I left the food on the table and stood up.

There were many people of similar age with the same uniform, but others of the same age had distinctly different uniforms also. I choose to go to the ones with the same type.

Maybe it denotes who is going to heaven or hell? Who knows at this point. Honestly, I didn’t really believe there was an afterlife until now.

“Hi.” The four sitting with the same uniform stopped mid-conversation to look at me. In the group of four, there were two girls in the aisle seats facing each other and two guys in the window seats.

“Do you need something?” A wave of cold came suddenly hit me as if a ghost had passed through me.

How can a glare be powerful enough to affect me physically! Was my thought, I was literally shivering.

Well, there’s no point in stopping now I just need some quick answers.

“Yeah, sorry to bother, but do you know where this train is headed?”

The girl’s mouth slightly opened at the question giving me a look of disbelief.

“This, this guy’s crazy… he’s, he’s at rank 11342 and casually spoke those four.”

“Wait he looks familiar… isn’t that robot?”

Eh? I overhead whisper from the groups behind me. I’m at 11342 of what? Robot?

“The fuck do we look like you personal helpers?” The bulky guy sitting by the black haired girl barked.

I was a little stunned by the sudden hostility. Aren’t we fellow students?

The other girl finally spoke.

“Mei, don’t you remember? He went to our preparatory school.”

So the black haired girl was Mei, she tilted her head and shrugged. The freezing temperature seemingly disappearing.

“So friend what did you need again?” The blonde haired girl gave a soft smile as she turned to me. The way her emerald eyes glittered so brightly gave me the creeps even more so paired with the overly pleasant attitude clearly contrasting her hostile friends.

“Huh? Since when do you know robo-?” The guy next to her was about to speak but stopped when she sent him a deathly glare.

This green-eyed girl is definitely the most dangerous one.

“I just wanted to know where this train was heading and do you know where Laurent Academy is?”

Her smile cracked a little hearing my question, I could see her interest instantly disappear.

I did wonder if maybe they have been suddenly placed here too, maybe everyone on this train was heading to the next life and don’t want to be reminded they died. I could understand that.

“Err..” Her pupils lit up with tiny white squares displaying tiny lines. I could faintly make out text.

“Lucid right?” The lines disappeared returning her green eyes.

“We are headed to Laurent Academy of Magic and Martial Arts, and these are our uniforms we were given to were for the second part of orientation later today.” She answered in a matter of fact way. The warm tone gone replaced with complete disinterest.

Academy of magic… her obvious disinterest told me she didn’t care enough to lie so I returned her a smile and nodded.

Please don’t kill me. Was the thought that filled my head.

“I see, thanks. I was just making sure.”

Magic? Was I sent into another world?

“Oh, you really do know him, Abbey?” Mei’s voice was warm as she spoke towards Abbey.

“Eh, no. I was just kidding about that. I just thought maybe he would say something interesting. I had heard there were rumors that he had never uttered a word and was mute. I guess they were wrong. I was just a little curious.”

Abbey responded as she waved for a different train attendant to bring her another coke.

“You’ve always curious about the weirdest things. Even when we were small.” The guy next to Abbey shook his head.

“EH! Really! You’ve known each other that long? Alan do you have pictures you two together I want to see.” Mei’s eyes lit up.

They all seemed to have forgotten my presence so I quietly walked away back to my seat.

How did she do that again? Or was it magic? I shut my eyes and imagined the two squares like computer monitors the girl Abbey had.

Oh! Something lit up.

I opened my eyes to see text floating in the area above the small table.

{Hello, we have detected it is your first time powering on let’s get you ready with some questions.}

{Would you like to use pervasive mode? (Enables augmented information all the time) Y/N}

I nodded my head. The “Y” glowed and the question disappeared.

Just like that?

{Please select level of detail of pervasive information. __%}

I reached out to the slider that appeared in front of me. The familiar towers from outside were rendered on the small table used as an example.100% was giant walls of text while 0% was just the name of the towers. 20% was fine it contained about a 3 sentence summary.

{Pervasive information set at 20%}

{Please select opacity level of pervasive information. __%}

I tried 100% at first, but it blocked out way too much of my vision I slowly went down to 10%. I thought back to 40% looking best.

The slider seemed to have read my thoughts and raised it back to 40%.

{Opacity set at 40%}

{Please select the level of freedom for the AI. __%}

Can control the slider up and down with my thoughts? I strained my mind to move the slider.

{AI freedom set at 100%}

Wait what?

“Oh shit! What the hell!” I cursed under my breath at the searing pain at the back of my head. Did piss off those four enough they struck me in the head with a pole? Was my first thought. I clutched my head tightly, but after looking at my hands I saw no blood.

{Hello master!}

The pain disappeared and after looking at my hands I saw no blood. What was that? Did this thing get installed in my head? I could very clearly feel something back inside there. I hope this thing is more than the ‘assistant’ on my phone I had on Earth otherwise I’m pretty sure I just lost a big portion of my brain.

I quickly turned my head out of the window to test it out using the city in the distance. A text box floating above the city appeared keeping in sync to face me.

{Laurent City}

{Population: 5.2 Million}

{Major Export: Biomedical related magic tools, Magic Alloys and Materials}

{Significant Companies: Hope Research Corporation, Duo Alloys and Heavy Machinery, Kirkja Pharmaceutical, and Kyunter Equipment}

{Population Demographic: 62.3% UNSA, 20.5% SEOF, 8.2% NAE, 6.1% ETU, 2.9% Others}

{Average Yearly Income: 83,539 sc}

This is amazing! I think this was called augmented reality. I focused my eyes and my thoughts on two towers.

{Laurent Academy}

{Student Body: 49,532 (As of N.F. 309)}

{Laurent Academy is a magic and martial arts school founded in N.F 79 currently ranked 7th among the world and 1st among the United Northern Scale Allegiance based on their overall scores in human combat, monster combat, and magic engineering. With the addition of its twin building the student body is expected to double within the next four years. }

An extra text box popped up.

{Currently you are enrolled as a cadet Lucid Gracile specializing in Engineering, your current rank is 11342 out of 11342. Rank 0 is cadet Runter Hope. Congratulations on making it, master.}

The last line… I shook the thought. I’m actually last.

Expand on Runter, please?

I wondered if it would work.

{Runter Hope}

{Race: Human}

{Stage: Noble Apostle}

{Age: 17}

{Height: 1.92 m}

{Born in Laurent he is the 3rd son of King ranked mage Aubrey Hope and King ranked swordsman Joseph Hope.}

{He specializes as a magic swordsman of Hope’s Grace. A swordart developed by both his parents. He attended Hope’s Duo Preparatory School for the Gifted.}

{Combat Data: STR: ~6400, AGI: ~5900, MGI: ~5400, Mana Cap.: ~12000 AM (All stats have been estimated from public battles)}

The AI seemed to have understood immediately.

I looked at the picture included in the summary he had long wavy green hair and wore a gold circlet on his head keeping his hair parted to one side.

Princely and grand especially with the circlet was my impression.

If that’s rank 0 what’s my combat data at rank 11342? I was curious to compare.

{Analyzing master’s private data}

{Lucid Gracile}

{Race: Human}

{Stage: Apostle}

{Age: 16}

{Height: 1.81 m}

{Master was born in Obsense City, raised in an orphanage since birth for children with disabilities due to being mute. At age 5 during a state physical health check your high mana capacity was discovered you were placed in a state-run magic school then recommended to Newfork Preparatory school for the Gifted due to high written test scores.}

{No specialization}

{Combat Data: STR 950, AGI:780, MGI: 0(Master has never cast a spell), Mana Cap: 4420.5 AM (As of 8/31/310)}

{Master lost all admission matches to enter Laurent Academy. The deciding factor for your admission was perfect test scores and larger than average mana capacity combined with being on an engineering-focused path. I recommend master to begin the minimal strength, agility, and magic training!}

Such a huge gap between the first rank and last. More importantly, magic really does exists?

Hey, how do I cast a fireball? I asked hopeful for an easy answer.

{It is common knowledge that artificial constructs cannot understand the intuitive nature of magic casting.}

I sighed, of course, it wouldn’t be that easy. My thoughts wandered as the initial excitement wore off and came to accept I was not in another world.

Isn’t this a little too cruel? What the hell, even in this world I had no parents alive.

I can just picture my parents in this world were probably as carefree as the ones from Earth.

Mommy… who doesn’t want to call for one at a time like this?You know I think I remember reading something about dogs, curious as they are, are shy to explore an unfamiliar place unless their owner is with them.

“Welcome to Laurent City. We will be arriving at Laurent Academy Station in 3 minutes. Passengers, please check for luggage before your departure. Have a great day!”

There was no point in worrying now there is nothing I could do to go back to Earth.

Once I entered whatever academy I was apparently a student of I would have to try to see if other students were transported here and try to find if a way back is possible. Luckily it seemed as if the academy was a boarding school of sorts so I was assuming I wasn’t homeless.

The train came to a stop and the doors opened letting the sunshine into the carriage. I got up from my seat last and begun to walk towards the exit with a plan in mind.

“Sir! Sir!” I felt a voice directed at me.

“Sir is this your luggage case!” I turned around it was the attendant from earlier. In her hand, she rolled a black hard shell luggage case with a black backpack on top of it.

I could see both were tagged with the name Lucid Gracile, it must have been in the luggage storage.

There was no way I would have know!

“Ahem, thank you.”

I stopped myself from bowing, but I gave a nod to the friendly attendant then turned around and started to leave again.

“S-sir your food.”

I froze in place and turned around the attendant caught up to me handing me my unopened sandwich, soda, and potato chips.

The attendant smiled as I mumbled thanks again placing them into the backpack and set off.


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Flower
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