Chapter 3 The First Night
[Master you haven’t set up your up your key code? Or even have a phone for these kinds of things what the heck!]
I stood in front of my assigned dorm door unsure how to enter.
“What do I do?”
[Just think of a keycode and I’ll set it up for you.]
I used my birthday from Earth after checking this body didn’t have the same one.
[Eh, are you okay in the head, master? That isn’t your birthday and there aren’t that many days in a month. The year isn’t even possible either…]
“So, now how do I open the door?” I didn’t fully put my trust into this computer yet and didn’t want to reveal too much.
A virtual keypad appeared on the door allowing me to press in my code with the numbers randomizing in order after every press. I heard the lock click and the door opened.
“What the hell? This is nice.”
I looked around as I entered and took off my shoes. I expected something like the tiny studio I was planning to move in.
“All this is free too?”
Just from a glace at the furniture, kitchen, and even the paint looked high quality.
[Yup master, as long as you don’t fail any classes this basic dorm for students rank 10,000 and up.]
I gave a quick glance around the apartment it had a full kitchen, a living room with a view of the city, a bedroom, a bathroom, and even a spare room with nothing in it.
This, this was too good for me. I flopped onto the bed.
“A huge bed for me… I didn’t know sheets could be this soft.”
“But not fail any classes…” I mumbled hugging a pillow, will that even be possible for me the first year?
I prided myself in my ability to study so I couldn’t say I would never pass, but the first year on a curriculum I knew nothing about? Even that seemed arduous to me.
What about combat? One of the parts during orientation spoke about how combat now how had greater weight on ranking.
Do I even have any talent for that? I frowned. I had done some basic research about this world and apparently, strength was absolute.
“Still, I have to win the Magic and Martial Games or least gain the strength to adventure out on my own.”
Kevin and my classmates might be in serious danger in this world.
Truthfully I was only mostly worried about Kevin, but I knew it would leave a sour taste to know were all looking for me while I did nothing to look for them.
How I could I help right now though? I wasn’t sure.
“I’m sure I’m poor, I’m an orphan, again, and generally powerless right now.”
I took a pause when the weight began to fall on me.
I’ll…I’ll think about it when I get there.
[Master, I’ve finished integrating with the school I can order delivery from the cafeteria and don’t be shy It’s free.]
I placed those thoughts at the back of my head — I could only take small steps at a time. They must really want the cadets to focus on training and it’s free too. I was already planning on portioning my sandwich.
“Are you connected to a bank in my name? Can you tell me how much money I have?” I asked as I crossed my finger hoping a giant pile of money was left behind for me untouched in a vault somewhere.
[Of course! Let’s see there was a deposit of 2,320.32 scales earlier today. So master now has 2,320.32 scales. It is the stipend for equipment you might need to buy, but you could buy used and spend the rest on whatever you wish~]
[Oh, someone is coming to the door master.]
I got up from the bed and went to answer the door. Is there a camera outside that it is connected to? How convenient.
“Hello? I have luggage for Lucid.” A muffled voice sounded through the door.
Answering the name Lucid would take some time to get used to.
“Hi, yes that’s me.”
After a quick look at my face, the young man in a uniform slightly different to the cadet one handed me my backpack and suitcase. He gave a bow before leaving then seemingly summoned a different suitcase from thin air.
I stood with the door open wondering how, but came up with no explanation other than ‘its magic’ and went back in.
I wonder what’s inside? Curious, I rolled the suitcase into the living room and opened it up.
There was only another two uniform sets, a pair of boots, gym shorts, and a pair of running shoes.
Other than clothes there was a set of books and a couple of notebooks. The overlay told me they were all books I would need for my classes — quite expensive too.
“At least I won’t have to buy them myself.” I moved the textbooks off to the side.
Still not a single personal item? Even on Earth, I knew I was quite unsentimental, but I had SOME things like my father’s multi-tool.
No pictures, nothing. I can see why I, Lucid, was nicknamed robot…
No, wait. Excited I picked up a notebook.
This might be my personal diary.
The writing was neat as if it was printed, but the language was unknown to me it appeared like a cross between Arabic and Chinese.
“What language is this?”
[That is Scality, master. It’s your native language… Are you sure you’re okay? Misremembering your birthday, but now you can’t read?]
“Can you translate it into English?”
[English? That bizarre language that’s in your head? Even your own writing master? I was translating things earlier because your thoughts searched out for it. I thought it had something to do with the magic practice since you started speaking it all of a sudden.]
“It’s bizarre?” I smiled.
“Just consider English my native tongue now. Besides, how were you able to understand it? Understanding another language instantly now that’s bizarre.”
[Hmph, you underestimate the power of your trusty AI and its superiority over some so crude as the translate language enchantment, having access to your thoughts makes it easy so it was almost instant the moment I was turned on. More importantly master, my health status warnings are saying your showing symptoms of severe head trauma I recommend you visit a doctor.]
Maybe, I mused to myself as I picked up the other uniform from the suitcase. I read the overlay’s description.
[Laurent Academy 1st Year Cadet Uniform]
[Skills: Translate language
Lesser magic field affliction reduction
Lesser physical damage reduction
Enhanced mana regeneration when worn within Laurent Academy]
So that’s how I understood what people were saying, but since it wasn’t connected to my brain it couldn’t affect the menu.
If it wasn’t for the nice materials and quality build this uniform looks like a costume. It was so gaudy with its epaulets Actually, let me go see how it looks. I jumped off my feet and went into the bathroom to use the mirror.
What a strange feeling looking at my reflection gave me.
“So this is my face now…” I had already assumed so when I had seen my pale hands and the white hair that clung to my clothes.
“Does this mean I actually died or am I really just crazy like the AI says?” I thought about it for the moment, but the memories, my memories, where too real. All I could say was I felt like I was me, Henry, inside this body.
I stayed in a daze as I tore off my clothes and continued to prod and pull at everything in front of the mirror.
“How is it possible to be this pale! The only other color on me was my silver pupils!”
So white! Everything my hair, my eyebrows, my skin, even my fucking pubes where white as snow too. Throw some red and green on me and I could be any damn lawn around Christmas!
The urge to pee had finally snapped me out of the awed trance at the paleness. I stood over the toilet and realized how strange grabbing and looking at this persons, I mean my own dick was now.
This will take time…
I looked into the mirror one last time. There is nothing I can do about it now right? Besides, I feel like me so what does it matter? It’s just as if I got plastic surgery and skin whitening treatment, kinda.
[Master are you okay? You’ve been in the bathroom for almost an hour just touching yourself…]
“Don’t say it like that! Wait don’t look at me in the bathroom you pervert.” There was nothing I could do in this was my situation I had to accept it as soon as possible and try to move on.
[Master… are you sure your okay?]
The AI’s tone was serious this time. Still, I couldn’t tell whether the voice in my head was male or female. I guess my attempt to cover my shaken mind was seen right through, it could read my mind after all.
I looked in the mirror and gave a serious nod then left the bathroom. Noe and Mrs. Donar might be experiencing the same or even worse. It’s not so bad everything works so I can’t complain.
I turned on the television in the living room. I wasn’t particularly interested in any of the shows playing I just wanted to have noise to distract my thoughts.
“Welcome to the ‘Heroes of History’ channel. Where we follow the strongest of heroes.”
I knew powerful monsters roamed this world, but after seeing various clips on television I was a bit shocked at their destructive powers.
The small montage of its different shows showed me hoards wiping out cities, giant sea monsters tearing down bridges, thousands winged beasts swooping down and abducting people. All of this was common in the world apparently.
The show “Zero Today Heroes Tomorrow” started. Seeing It followed a group of “Heroes” it caught my interest.
I guess even in this world the best way to understand the current culture is through the consumption of media. Not that it was a bad thing, it was rather interesting.
“This show is awesome,” I called out as I leaned forward.
Everything was like Saturday morning cartoons, but if it had a blockbuster budget. Like watching a superhero movie. Even the name of the group being followed, ‘Radiance’, was hero like as they rode giant griffons. The camera seemed to be in first-person that switched between each hero’s point of views.
I guess everyone does have an AI.
“None of this is special effects, right? All of that is real?”
[Of course master, but Radiance is in a world class guild and their party is in the top 1000.]
So like a famous idol group? Seeing how they were mercilessly followed whenever they entered a town.
[A bit, oh master foods here~]
I had completely forgotten I had ordered food when I got sucked into the show. I wonder what the AI ordered to eat? I opened the door.
“Hell..o?” There was no one.
I started to close the door thinking one this AI’s quirks was to prank, but once I glanced down I saw a small robot.
Labels on it told me to opened the box at the top. It even had two small compartments one with hot drinks and the other with cold drinks. I followed the instructions undoing the latches. A savory smell hit my nose once I opened it. Isn’t this just fried chicken with a side of fries. I popped a fry in my mouth.
Salty, crunchy, and soft on the inside. Yup, exactly the same.
I was happy the food in this world seemed similar as I still hadn’t tasted any of the foods from the train..
“No coffee?” I looked at the choices of drinks a little saddened.
I brought the plate to the living room, I was used to eating in front of a screen. I would usually eat in front of the computer I built while I studied or watched shows on it. My uncle worked long hours, my aunt was usually out shopping, and Alice always ate a friends house.
As I sat down to eat another show begun.
“Watch this party’s lives change after a gut-wrenching moment inside THE DUNGEON OF DOOM! Two-part special” The tv blared at me.
I was completely drawn into the story. Each member had a strong personality, but they worked well together smoothing each other out. Finally, the end of the first episode ended in their victory after they held nothing back on the final floor of the “Glacier Prison Dungeon” killing a giant yeti-like beast.
“Just like that, they went from rags to riches.” The television even showed infographics on the profitability of their conquest. They went from negative 113,000 scales in debt to fund the trip to making over 100 million.
“Don’t go anywhere as we watch Six for Six enter THE DUNGEON OF DOOM!”
The second part began. My heart was clenched for them as they entered the final floor of The Dungeon of Doom!
Jumping on steps made of air, swords expanding multiple meters, flying, fireballs, ice storms, earthquakes, skeleton summons. Everything was thrown at the dungeon’s keeper. Even with their upgraded weapons and equipment, they were on the backfoot.
Will I be able to do that too? Flying through the air dropping giant fireballs made me a bit excited.
“We were too confident…” Was the last thing I heard as the screen went white.
The show continued as it interviewed each individual member after their failure. Luckily no one died, but in the concluding interview the leader lost his leg and was blinded by a vicious curse — at the moment they didn’t have the funds to heal it.
“It’s been called the unbeatable dungeon for a reason.” The leader laughed bandaged up from head to toe in the hospital bed.
“I’m just glad I was able to get my party out alive. I think we were the first to leave alive after failing so we succeeded in that!”
I laid stretched out watching the white fan above me slowly spinning once the show ended. I was rooting for them the whole time, but now I was left empty. At least I learned a bit about how the world functioned, even if it was at a surface level.
The show grounded how cruel this world would be for me for those who are weak and alone.
I laid in silence.
“Hey, can I name you?” I asked in a somber tone.
[Ehhh, sure, but what’s with this all of a sudden master?]
“I don’t know, I’ve been getting your help today a lot so I feel bad just calling you out without a name. Plus I treated you kinda coldly like a machine.”
[Well don’t feel bad, it’s only cause I’m programmed to help! I have no choice. I am a machine in a way anyways.]
I gave a bitter smile hearing that. That’s true, but aren’t you formed from my own brain?
I continued to pry feeling curious.
“So, how real of an AI are you, you seemed really worried about me earlier in the bathroom how ‘real’ was that?”
[Hmm I would say… it feels real to me. I was truly worried about your mental health. I still am though.]
“…Thanks.” I didn’t expect that answer. Hearing that made me a bit happy. I flipped again to my side facing the television as another episode was starting.
“Does that means you have emotions, right?”
[Yes, but probably not the same way you feel them.]
[It’s not weird…]
“Oh yeah, can you read all of my thoughts? I had been wondering since earlier.”
[The subconscious is quite good at filtering what it wants to be heard or not master, so you don’t need to worry. It’s kind of a pain since I only want to help you and more information would only benefit~]
“I don’t know about that.”
“It’s not weird…”
I rolled off the sofa and pulled the stack of notebooks onto the coffee table pushing the plate of food to the side. There was no point in avoiding the learning that was to come. Throw in wanting to avoid homelessness as a powerless person was a good motivator.
But the biggest reason powering me? I wanted to see if I could actually use magic too!
“What would the minimum be to pass each class starting from knowing absolutely nothing?” I prayed the AI could fulfill my giant request.
It should be possible, right? It figured out an entire language in an instant.
[Master… if you lose your perfect grades what else would you have? Let me see.]
I gave a bashful grin hearing that, whoever was in this body was a genius, but only studied or calculated things when told to otherwise I would just sit there like a robot.
The AI begin to compile a list course requirements flashing and moving massive amounts of text from various books compiling them into one for me. So much so that it began to obscure my vision.
I shrunk the space the AI was working on to the corner of my vision as I continued to watch the same channel.
It must have been quite a bit of work as it took almost a half an hour to complete.
This time the episode was on another party named Heartlocked, they ended up all almost dying, but succeeding. Apparently, they’re all quite famous now after they made breakthroughs in their combat power during their episode.
I looked at the final page count of the virtual document in front of me. It was an ominous stack projected on the coffee table. It was about letter sized and densely packed I flipped it open to the last page using my thoughts.
“3234 pages…” I could hear the printer in the bedroom roaring away.
By the time I arrived there was a neatly bound 3234 letter-sized-paged book sitting on the exit tray. It was warm to the touch and smelled familiar to the toner of my world.
“STUFF MASTER SHOULD KNOW! 1st Edition”
[Master I should warn you I cannot help you actually cast spells. Spells and grimoire building are unique things cultivated in the mana body and soul.]
Mana body? What’s that. My guess was I would have to use this book as a base and implement magic casting on my own.
How would I implement it and cast spell coming from a world where magic doesn’t exist?
I pulled back the desk chair and sat down, how much I could complete in the week before courses begin?
I gave the book a pained filled glare.
“Kevin, Noe, and Ester along with the others might be counting on me.” Filling my resolve I flipped open to the first page beginning the self-study.
“Magic is the usage of mana, an ethereal pervasive substance, processed and stored through one’s soul and mana body then expelled to bring about phenomena into the world…”
It doesn’t seem so bad, besides, I was happy to have something throw myself into.
I continued to read.
I was surprised by how well a machine could piece together information. The subjects on magic were interesting too, of course, even shocking at times. Magic was broken down much like math was at different grade levels.
I had always guessed it would be something much more abstract, but it seemed to be both technical and creative process. Fascinated the days went by as I delve deep into learning.
A week passed. I really wanted to do magic and after watching how-to videos on the video sharing site MageHub I knew it had to be possible for me too seeing all the videos I watched used large colorful text and cute animals to teach.
I would study most of the day taking small breaks visiting the beautiful park on the ground floor even taking my meals there sometimes.
It was lonely though, being a cadet at such a prestigious school caused normal people to avoid me outside and being last in rank meant that the other cadets avoided me as well.
I could only sigh.
Maybe I should join a club?
For the most part, I was I motivated to at some point use actual magic and luckily today was the day. I was a bit excited to cast one a spell even if it was one used to teach children.
“…To cast the Affinity Summon spell, start with envisioning the basic outer spell circle, inside of it at the center create another smaller circle about half the radius with a summoning star inside of it, and then outside the circle with a star, but inside the outer circle write the word for essence.
Once you complete this a mana path will be complete and you will feel a pull within you do not restrict that pull as it is mana being drawn out. Finally look at the location you want to cast the spell and allow the pull to flow there. Due to the simplicity of the spell, there is no chant. Chanting will be covered in later portions of this book.”
Pull what kind of pull will I be pulled forward? I closed my eyes and begun picturing the spell.
“Two circles meaning to continue without stopping… then a star meaning to bring forth… and essence in English, er, will it be fine with English?” The spell was completed in my head.
“O-oh” I felt something! Like a tugging inside my head. I opened my eyes excitedly and quickly focused on the space above my notebook.
“HOLY SHIT!” My magic circle appeared in front of me above it a tiny orb of a blue glitter manifesting above my notebook.
Surprised by it working I lost concentration and it dispersed into nothing. I continued reading the book.
“Because you did not specify any intent with the spell you will only see your own mana come into existence and stay in existence for as long as you can keep concentration. This mana is yours and the substance that brings the change you want to the world. Be it explosions, beasts, thunder, anything you wish to create can exist so long as you have the talent to create the spell and the mana necessary.”
This is amazing.
I had about 32 more weeks of this to go of this dense material, but I didn’t mind at all now, in fact, I was excited. I now knew it wasn’t impossible for me after seeing my efforts show results I was ecstatic.
This first section had felt familiar like being taught the order of operations when I was younger. This was especially so for the simple magic circle it had broken down and explaining the order of which each portion would execute. Outer rings first, then the center, and finally the inner rings also if needed isolating sigils in between each.
Of course, the spell was extremely simple and didn’t do much or anything. In the future as the designs become more intricate and complicated if my understanding of the basics isn’t nailed down I could trip up under pressure and fail to cast a spell — beginners losing their lives when failing to cast a defensive spell under attack was a common story from what I read.
“It feels easy since this is what is taught to 8-year-olds…” I sighed, but who cares I can actually use magic!
I wanted to keep going. The work really had helped me keep my thoughts and stress in check this first week in a new world, but I saw the clock it was close to 4am and I had my first classes starting in five hours. I folded the corner of the page and reluctantly put the book away.
“Do you have alarm functions?”
[Of course master what time would you like to wake?]
“Let’s try 8 am.”
Since I didn’t know how long it would take me to reach class I should try and arrive early then adjust from there.
On the first day I had stared at the used toothbrush that had come in the suitcase unsure, but now it didn’t matter I just wanted to brush and go to sleep. After brushing I went for the light switches in each room.
[I can do that master, go to sleep~]
I couldn’t help it the habit was ingrained since as far I could remember.
I laid down as all the apartment lights slowly dimmed before shutting off. My mind wandered tired, but still curious about magic.
“Magic…needs three things a soul, a spell, and mana…”
I recalled a sentence that stood out to me. I wondered which the AI doesn’t have?
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