I was making zombie sounds as my fingers beat the keyboard, working EXACTLY as per the specs.
How many all-nighters will it be with today?
This is way past the level of a so-called death march.
I, still clearly remember when the guy from the cubicle over jumped onto the tracks.
Maybe that’ll be me tomorrow, maybe even today… thoughts like that buzz through my head every so often.
Shit man, and here I thought modern society had laws against slavery.
If this isn’t corporate slavery, I don’t know what is.
Then that time when we had a moment of silence for the guy that killed himself, the company president was still spouting bullshit like how we had to avoid such cases of unpaid overtime. But these fuckwits can’t even say that overtime is the issue here! Dissolve this company already! And find me a new job first!
How the hell did I even end up here… I’m beyond spent.
My name is Kogure Yukihisa.
I’m 26 and have been a working adult more than 4 years now. I’m an SE who’s found himself working in a ‘black’ company.
No well, I realize the industry’s got a lot of those.
But seriously, every single interview I got during college, every single one was these slave driving hellholes.
And just when I thought I’d gotten a good offer thanks to a friend, that place ended up not much better.
Fuck this world and all its shitty jobs!
Fuck the clients who think it’s OK to change the specs right before the deadline; fuck the bosses who throw all the work at us fresh recruits; and fuck the part-timers who seem to get paid more than us actual employees. They should all just die!
If you’re gonna order us to make it again, pay double dammit! Absolute fuckwits!
How much more of a soulless bastard can you get!
With murder seething through me, I smash the enter key, pushing the final changes.
Pretty much collapsed on my desk after that.
Around me, there are a lot of others still engaged in their respective death marches.
That’s their work and none of my concern.
Though yeah, looks like one other guy on my team was similarly done and similarly collapsed on his own desk.
“It’s over-- ugh...”
“About-- time-- ...”
Our voices were weak.
I lightly raised my head to check the time.
Ugh… 5 AM already. Guess I can forget going home.
Work hours start at 8, and our glorious company is kind enough to dock your pay for every minute of tardiness.
I know they got our next project lined up already. Just thinking about it, I lose all fucks to give.
The next deadline is right around the corner.
The schedule is too fucking tight already--!
My mind and body are so trashed, I keep thinking about how I’ll just break soon and will have to go into retirement.
I need to get out of this place. I’m gonna die at this rate.
Guess I should be happy to at least have 3 hours.
I grabbed the sleeping bag from under my desk and laid down in it.
3 hours of sleep is better than none.
I’ll have wait until lunch to change clothes with the spares in my work bag. Then get to the laundromat too and… I finally have some time after three days now, so I think I’ll hit the public bath place nearby.
That reminds me… When WAS the last time I went home?
And so, using these scarce few remaining hours… I fell to sleep as a warrior on the battlefield of clicks, keystrokes and zombie noises.
Ahh, sweet bliss of sleep, I could stay like this forever.
“Found you! Wretched dragon!”
“… What an increasingly obstinate lot”
The foolish army of man cried out to me as I soared the skies.
Destroying such creatures would be child’s play. However, such actions do not interest me.
As they have not neared I, who soars far above, I do not think it necessary to bother.
But it appears these men do indeed plan to reach me somehow.
A magical barrier has hindered my flight.
… Killing them, would do no good, but I ought to give them a fright as I remove this hindrance.
Goodness, men are always such annoyances.
What do they hope to gain in my defeat?
I cease my wings and descend before one who looks to be their leader.
I begin the chant for combat magic.
I add a further magic circle. This one would be a protective magic so that I do not incur any deaths.
… It is a bothersome way to battle.
Yet, I must not allow their deaths.
Though I find it bothersome, man is a truly tenacious creature.
Say I incur deaths here, it may bring about a war between me and all of mankind.
Even I would find it laborious to combat such numbers.
Greater combat magic, Fires of Megiddo, I shall roast their armored with my flames.
My flames struck many soldiers.
I detected the scent of burned flesh.
My controlled fires struck only to the ones in armor, thus barely avoiding any deaths.
“Damn you, dragon!”
It was the leader.
Donned in pure white armor and wielding a sword that held powers fit for a hero, she cut my magic asunder. However, seeing the damage dealt to the men behind, the hero cried out in a rage.
They attack me and now act the victim… It appears this lot is not to be reasoned with.
They would no doubt claim it their own justice.
I too am alive and would prefer to stay as such.
Do they simply not understand that, these men?
Regardless, I desire to leave this place quickly. I have much to do.
If my threats do not perturb them, I need simply cast Heavenly Thunder at the mages who maintain the barrier.
Do not test my patience!
“Too bad, dragon. You lost the very moment you were caught in this barrier! I will! End you!”
The hero brandished her sword at me.
To cut the hide of a dragon such as I, one needs a sword of a champion. Even swords made with hides of other dragons cannot cut me.
However, the hero before me does not carry such a sword, and a champion’s sword is one that by itself chooses the dragon it must kill.
And I am quite certain I am not such a dragon.
I need not even defend.
I shall receive the hero’s sword as it comes.
The real hindrance are the mages in the rear. I shall focus on charging mana for Heavenly Thunder.
The sword struck my hide and sparks danced.
“Fell for it!”
The hero’s sword broke apart, and from inside, emerged a glimmering crystal.
Blast it –– This ritual spell will kill both at no cost.
“This is the end! Dragon!”
I release my mana to contest the effects of the ritual.
… Crazy dream. I figure I was really spent if I’m dreaming weird stuff like this.
It landed me smack dab in the middle of an action fantasy.
I like it. Beats those awful nightmares about debugging by miles.
Also, you lose your sense of time when you’re dreaming.
If it’s one of those dreams that let you get a week’s worth of experience in them, I’ll be completely refreshed by the time I wake up.
Well… I’m getting the dragon’s POV so it doesn’t look too good right now I guess?
Kinda wanna pretend the humans are my bosses and fuck them up though?
The ritual spell sheared through my defensive spell and encroached upon my body.
“Do not underestimate mankind, beast! This is where you die!”
I unleash my power to the very limits.
And as though reacting to that power, lines of crimson sear into the land in my surroundings.
“W-what in the –– !?”
Hm…? What’s up now?
I feel this floating sensation, like, somehow getting heavier.
It’s that feeling you get on a roller coaster.
My eyes… The dragon’s eyes are surrounded by light and… After flying up so high I thought we’d make it into space, it released red lights as it dropped like a meteor.
“D-damn you! Dragon! You won’t escape! No matter how far you run, I swear I’ll never let you get away –– ”
Was the final shout I heard, right before everything faded to white.
And there… I passed out…
Glub… glub glub….
I hear something strange.
But it somehow feels really nice.
Yeah, this feels great, it’s just like dipping in a hot spring.
Oh, I just heard a splash of water.
“Are you alright!?”
Mm… Don’t feel fully awake yet.
It’s less being half asleep and more being dead tired. Also, it feels like someone’s pulling on me.
Who? And more importantly, why?
Lemme sleep more~… What, did they get some intern to shake me awake cause I’m sleeping under the desk?
I can totally imagine something like that happening.
Fuck off, let me sleep more.
“You’ll be ok! Cough!”
I heard as I was splashed out of the bath like environment.
“Hello!? Can you hear me!?”
“Nn… Lemme sleep...”
Nope. Ain’t gonna make me! It feels hard to move so, I choose to not!
With the power of determination, I went back to sleep.
And the voice got progressively quieter.
Guess this is some time later?
I open my eyes with that crusty feeling you get as you wake up.
“Ah~… Had a good sleep?”
Looking around, I saw an unfamiliar girl looking at me.
She was holding… one of those mortar things you use to grind herbs. She was making something in it.
“You really woke up. It’s good it was nothing serious”
I was getting increasingly nervous seeing this worried looking girl.
I mean look, wasn’t I napping under my desk at work?
And my clothes, I was still in the same office clothes.
Anyway, I should look around a bit.
I was in a swampy area that looked mostly purple in color. There was an open fire crackling and all the trees bent in creepy shapes. The sky looked like it was covered in a haze.
It was a bizarre deep-in-the-mountains like scene.
Oh, I know. This must be some kind of campsite right?
I’m either dreaming, or it could be someone’s idea of a prank?
Anyway, I should ask this girl here for more information.
“I’m making some antidote for you. But I’m glad you regained consciousness nonetheless”
… Hm? Donno why, but isn’t this girl’s way of talking kind of strange?
It’s like, I can understand what she’s saying, but the sounds are all different?
What I mean is, the words I’m hearing aren’t Japanese.
“Um, pardon the strange question but… Where is this?”
Don’t think that was Japanese I was speaking either…? Am I just imagining it?
“… Are you perhaps having trouble remembering?”
The girl said, worried.
How should I explain my situation?
Give it to her straight? Is this really part of an elaborate prank?
Maybe I’m still in dreamland?
I’ve heard that pinching yourself inside a dream just feels like pinching yourself and you can’t actually tell with that.
Tell the truth, I can speak from experience about the pinching thing.
“Well, I admit I’m a bit confused at all this honestly...”
“I suppose that’s natural. You’d fallen in the poison swamp after all… Plus, the miasma in the air must be having an effect, so I’d be surprised if you weren’t”
Oh, maybe she means one of those places that let off toxic steam?
We still had those in Japan?
Holy shit, maybe, maybe the shitty company didn’t want to pay me anymore and resorted to dumping me here?
But too bad, they were sloppy in their cover-up.
Their plans must be all ruined now that I was found by this pretty girl...
Hm? This girl, kind of doesn’t look Japanese?
Her eyes aren’t black at all… purple-ish blue I guess?
Wait no, more importantly, her clothes don’t look Japanese either.
It’s like… Well, it’s not quite a western gown, but it’s cute and frilly. She also has a scarf around her head so all in all, pretty stylish.
Yeah… I could see it as some high-level cosplay for sure.
Age-wise… high schooler maybe? Damn, a female high school cosplayer.
Very nice. She looks good in it too.
Also, looks like she carries a large basket accessory; it’s put down on the side right now.
As I kept quietly observing, the girl went ‘Oh’. She smiled and put a hand on her chest.
“I believe we have yet to be introduced. My name is Arleaf. I am a doctor”
So she’s Arleaf-san.
She somehow doesn’t seem quite human.
“I am Kogure, Yukihisa...”
Feels like my last name went and became something else.
Well, Kogray… huh. Sounds fantasy enough.
Still feels weird though.
“Please call me Yukihisa, Arleaf-san”
“Yukihissan it is then. Are you feeling well? I’ll be done with the antidote in just a moment so please take it”
As we spoke, Arleaf-san ground some herb like things in her mortar and then dissolved the mixture in a bottle of water before handing it to me.
So I’m… supposed to drink this? Looks bitter as hell.
“It’s a simple but effective compound. Go ahead”
I’ve been kinda going with the flow here, but I feel fine really.
In fact, I feel great after all that sleep.
No wait, I could still be in one of those post-death-march highs despite having slept and woken up.
Anyway, so Arleaf-san gave me this mystery potion here.
Basic Antidote – Quality: Average
A medicine with anti-poison effects. Can counteract light poisoning.
Wait, what’s up with this indicator and message!?
The what even!?
“Quickly now! Drink before it settles into poison”
This is poison!? Waitwaitwait! I know I’m into gaming, but I didn’t think it’s to the point of getting delusional!
Regardless, with the push from Arleaf-san, I gulped down the basic antidote.
Tastes minty I guess? Guess the taste doesn’t match the appearance.
“Now that you’ve got that in your system, I believe you should be fine. The symptoms should alleviate soon”
“I, uh, thank you”
I can feel how she’s genuinely worried about me, but something feels a bit off.
Her name doesn’t sound Japanese at all; She could just be from an isolated village or something, but regardless, I can easily see she’s trying to help me out of good will.
“Um… well then, Yukihissan was it? I’m sorry I can’t provide better treatment right now, but it’s a risk staying in this place. I suggest we relocate to somewhere safe”
“Ah, of course”
“I’ll accompany you to the nearest village”
“Thank you, I appreciate all the help”
“Not at all, we need to look out for one another in times like this after all. Here, it’s this way. Let’s not take any risks and burn some miasma ward as well”
Following behind Arleaf-san, I made my way out of the mystery swamp.
She’s guiding me while burning something. It smells good.
After 30 minutes or so on the wild mountain path, we arrived at a village-ish place.
Looks… Calming? … Yeah not really.
The atmosphere is really quiet and feels dead.
“You should be fine from here on. Next is… Yukihissan, are you carrying money?”
“Uh, more or less”
I have some notes in my wallet.
And there’s always debit if that’s not enough. Should be fine if I find an ATM.
“Alright… looks good then. I suggest going to the town hall if you have any problems. Well then, I shall be off...”
“Well, I’m sure this is all a bit new, but I myself must return to work soon so...”
Oh yeah, sure she guided me all the way here since she found me collapsed in the mountains, but Arleaf-san should have been busy too.
I wanted to chat more since she’s so pretty and all, but guess that’s over.
“Again, thank you very much for all your help. I’ll surely repay you”
“Oh no, don’t worry about it”
“No, I insist. I’ll come by to thank you, so do you mind me asking for your address?”
“If you insist then. Well… I’m working as a doctor at this village of Niswa. My house is over there”
Arleaf-san pointed to a western style house at the far end of the village.
Wow, it’s got a chimney and everything.
“Well then, I have work to do so...”
Arleaf-san said as she went back the way we came.
Who knew. Guess you can find people of her heritage in Japan too. Wonder what prefecture this Niswa village is in?
I waved Arleaf-san goodbye till she was out of sight, then made my way into the village.
Thinking I’d finally reached some human civilization, I hesitated calling out to any villagers.
Yeah, it’s definitely those ears man.
Some of them got dog ears on their head.
Is that cosplay too? How come these grown men are doing dog ear cosplay?
I’d get it if it was like some counter cliché, but this is doesn’t look like a cosplay event venue to begin with.
And they don’t look too healthy either, kinda don’t wanna involve myself in there.
If I were to take in all the weird stuff I’ve been seeing and hearing, I’d say I’m still in some bizarre dream.
… I AM in a dream aren’t I?
It’s like… this could just be a long dream, but I can’t feel that fluffy feeling you get in dreams at all.
Can you really feel the air of places you’ve never been to in a dream? You can’t right?
Not to mention people on the streets have an assortment of animal ears and tails attached to them.
There’s even that mysterious feeling when I was talking with Arleaf-san. Our conversation sounded nothing like Japanese but I could understand it anyway.
Seriously, WHAT is happening?
I was deep in thought when,
“Oi. Do you hear me?”
A voice called out from inside my head and I started looking around restlessly.
But I couldn’t see who was talking, or rather, no one’s even looking at me.
“So my voice has reached at last. Quite troublesome with all those fine adjustments”
Can’t blame a guy for panicking where there’s suddenly voices in his head.
Seriously, what’s going on with me? Dream? This is a dream, right?
“Calm yourself. Your standing out will spell trouble for the both of us. You are not too fond or dying are you not?”
What the? How am I expected to not panic in this situation?
Still, going looney on the spot will only trouble the villagers.
And, it doesn’t look like the voice is trying to do something bad to me, so I’ll listen for now.
“Good. First, I must inform you of the circumstances in which you and I find ourselves”
Just great, now the voice in my head’s gonna explain stuff.
“Your surprise is natural. But best we do this to avoid certain doom no?”
Doom eh? Exaggerating much?
“It is by no means exaggeration”
–– !? He can read my mind!?
“Umu, I can indeed. Perhaps the connection too sensitive?”
What the hell are you!?
So I’ve started hearing things after all those all-nighters. Another victim, driven to insanity, by the infamous ‘black’ company.
“I say, calm yourself! This is becoming tedious… Fumu, I’ve now seen what it is you think of… Not to worry, that is not the case”
Shit man… I’m still hearing things.
Don’t tell me it’s the type that’ll guide me into misfortune the more I listen, it won’t right?
“Will you not calm down! I would have preferred we converse more privately, but I shall compromise and provide you the essentials here and now”
Just as the voice said it, something uncannily similar to a video game status screen popped up in front of me.
Kogure Yukihisa – Poison Earth – Level 1
Skills: Spirit Link – Absorb Poison (Weak) – Poison Release
Don’t tell me the medicine Arleaf-san made me drink is causing hallucinations!?
“It seems you are misunderstanding. What you see is one of the truths of this world. It helps to understand oneself as it manifests one’s power as numbers”
“Seriously game-like if you ask me”
“So you see it as recreation… As I would figure from one of another world”
“Indeed, even I can see that you are an otherworldly being. Perhaps I ought to begin my explanation from there”
I make my way towards a corner of a park that extends out to many streets while I take care not to stand out. Like this, I have a way to escape if I need to.
I need to get a grasp on what’s going on.
“You appear to be handling this better than I expected”
“Yeah, what’s this truth thing? What’s happening to me? I can assume you’re real and not me being crazy right?”
“While questions are welcomed, would you not rather ask more important ones? … Very well, I suppose I shall answer since you would have to know sooner or later”
And after a pause, the voice began answering.
“First, as I have said just now, it is a truth of this world, for yourself, it manifests as a video game status menu”
Come on, that doesn’t explain shit.
“I admit, even I cannot say much else. If I must explain it otherwise… Yes, I recall having once heard from an… acquaintance of mine that other worlds may not know the ability to visualize one’s power in such a manner. So if you ask for a basis to this phenomenon, I could similarly ask… why must we breathe the air to live? This is the same. It is simply law in this world”
You’ll die if can’t breathe… something like that I guess.
I’m not fully convinced but let’s take it as it is. Now’s not the time to argue semantics.
“The next two questions lead to the same answer. You are of another world and have been forcefully summoned here by a wicked magic enacted by the men of this world. They’ve summoned you as a sacrifice so that I may be subdued. They’ve summoned you as my vessel.”
Sacrifice? Subdue? Vessel?
“This magic is known as Forced Possession Summoning. It is a cowardly magic to oust the strong, as it requires no effort, not even a hero, cowardly and unfair. That barbaric country is truly troublesome”
The voice let out a sigh of frustration, or so I heard.
“It is a ritual those weak men can use to kill opponents who are vastly superior. Once the magic is cast, it uses the target’s own mana to invoke the summoning. This all results in linking said target with a being summoned of another world”
So otherworld summoning?
… I remember seeing lots of that kind a while back.
Those ones where they’re summoned as a hero to pilot giant robots, mechs being another popular genre at the time.
No wait… this one’s more like the stuff you see in web novels nowadays right?
Unfortunately, a corporate slave like me had no time getting into those. Though I did happen to see stuff like ‘over *** million page views!’ pasted on a few covers in bookstores.
… But I digress.
Let’s see, it places a magic on a powerful foe, and uses that foe’s own power… or mana apparently, to forcefully activate a spell.
That being a summoning spell… One that grabs someone from another world…
I feel like I’m parroting the same things, but this is so I can get it straight.
So this spell, it was cast on the someone behind the voice, and the one being summoned was… me right?
“I suggest hearing the rest before thinking more on it. Now then, the one that is summoned would then have the target of the spell residing inside them. Next, it is a simple matter to kill the being, weak as a baby bird, that emerges from the summoning… They do that, and the one sealed inside dies as well. It is this sort of magic. Other than Forced Possession Summoning, the ritual is also known as Proxy Killing”
Proxy killing…. Sounds similar to a proxy war.
But simpler, I think.
When larger powers would go to war, they instead use smaller powers that are already at war, taking sides and providing support. When one of the smaller powers wins, the larger power behind it would gain something or other.
The large power’s goal would be to minimize their losses.
In my case… The guy behind the voice would be the large power, and I’m the small power he’ll be backing… Difference is, unlike in a proxy war, the big guy will die if the small one does.
Well, from the enemy’s perspective, this method would make their losses pretty much zero.
Basically, they’re trying to kill their enemy after forcefully weakening them with a sacrifice and killing both. Yeah, fuck that.
“Umu… It is good that you catch on quick. It appears you have a firm grasp of what I have been explaining”
“Pretty much… So. Who were you before you got magicked inside me?”
I suddenly remembered the dream I had before waking up here.
The dream where I had the vastly superior, the dragon’s, point of view. Where the fight ended with the enemy casting some magic on the dragon.
“Oh? Would I be correct to assume you had been summoned just as I cast my own magic? That does seem strange. Perhaps it is a side-effect of the phenomenon caused by the forced possession summoning”
“… Wait, don’t tell me you’re”
“Umu. I couldn’t have let them kill me then and there after all. I utilized all my mana, all my knowledge, to fight it and somehow managed to escape… And this would be the result. I am what mankind calls a dragon. My acquaintances knew me as Veno Yveval”
Seriously? My dream was about when this dragon got sealing magic cast on it!?
My head hurts.
This all doesn’t feel real at all… But this means I’m not really in a dream.
Sure I wanted to get the hell out of that black company, but that doesn’t mean I wanted to be summoned to another world.
Rather than me, shouldn’t they get some school going teenager to do stuff like this?
“Anyway… Don’t suppose you can kindly undo this magic can you?”
“Would have already done so If I could. I have unfortunately depleted the vast majority of my mana stores in my attempt to escape you see. Not to mention, this sealing magic has been draining any mana I recover for its own maintenance”
Let out something weird there.
Well, I guess that’s obvious now that I think about it. He would’ve done it already, having not only means that he can’t.
“In addition, my body has been stowed away in an alternate space and I cannot reach it very easily. It is quite the predicament”
How about talking it out with them…?
“To them, I am a powerful dragon and you are an alien individual of another world whose single life is all it would take to defeat such a dragon. Do you really believe they would be open for polite discourse?”
Telling people who intentionally brought about the situation to stop because it’s bugging you has a chance of getting an affirmative response equal to zero.
“And let us not forget, that lot will go to any ends to end me. We must proceed with haste. Gather as much strength as we can and travel far away from here”
“The hell did you do to make them this vengeful?”
“I have not a clue. Men are greedy and foolish. Are they not creatures who would employ any means if it is to satisfy their avarice? No doubt they would want to kill me simply to collect my scales, my bones, my blood, if only to further empower themselves”
I don’t know how the dragons are looked at in this world, but these bastards went and took a random corporate slave like me and dumped me in their war bullshit.
Just how unfair can my life get?
“It is what it is. Will you not cooperate with me so that we may together escape our doom?”
“Can’t really say no there bud. Spare me from dying here”
“Well… I suppose so. I too realize my proposal was not quite a choice. Yet, had I not resisted in that battlefield, would you have not been long dead?”
Kuh… he has a point.
After getting summoned as a sacrifice, him managing to escape was the best silver lining I could hope for.
“Isn’t there any way to fix this mess?”
If we can’t ask the ones responsible, we only have ourselves to turn to.
“Sadly, I too am not so familiar with this spell you see. I would need to somehow analyze, and reverse it”
“But I can’t have you turning on me when that happens now can we?”
For example, say Veno recovers his mana, and releases the forced possession summoning by destroying me from the inside… or something like that?
As I was coming up with the thought, I suddenly felt this raging heat in my head.
It feels like heat, but somehow different.
Guess he got angry at that?
“How rude! I will not have you think so petty or vile of me! We find ourselves not as adversaries or nemeses, but as collaborators and compatriots. Were I do commit such an action, I would be no different from those humans, a savage, an animal!”
“What’s with all the long words?”
Donno, just retorted there.
“Hm? That is simply the work of Solomon’s Ring, my translation skill. What you hear is simply the corresponding words of your world”
Ah, so it’s the good old translation magic. Convenient as always.
Still, Solomon eh… Nah, must be a translation.
Kinda curious what this magic is basing the reference on. Hope it’s not my own delusions.
“And it is thanks to this skill that you can parley in the tongue of the people of this world”
… I see, so me understanding Arleaf-san’s not-Japanese was thanks to Veno’s magic.
I repeat, Convenient as always.
“Back to the subject at hand. Even if there were a method to release the seal that happens to involve your destruction, it would greatly injure my pride to enact such a method. A proud dragon such as I simply will not engage in such folly. I would rather remain in this state for eternity”
Yeah no, kinda don’t want you living in my head for eternity.
Plus, even if we stay like this, I’m only human, so my eternity would pass in the blink of an eye for a dragon.
“What are you implying? Due to your link with me, we know not if you even have a lifespan no? It is a thing to find out”
… Living a life of hundreds of years with Veno in my head?
They say immortality is a goal of all mankind, but I don’t really want to live forever as a fugitive.
Let’s leave the chance of this guy betraying me aside for now; not the time.
“So what now?”
“Indeed what. While our pursuers have yet to reach us, you are to familiarize yourself with this world, sharpen your fangs, become strong. You must learn to protect yourself. After which, we must find a way to remove the effects of this forced possession summoning plaguing us”
How about you not tell me to do the impossible?
Also, I seriously feel this, you talking with my thoughts, a massive breach of privacy by the way.
“I shall try to give you that as I can. But currently, we are in a situation of life or death, the fate awaiting us depends entirely on how you perform. Thus, I shall counsel you when I must”
“Got it. So, here’s to getting out of this alive. My name’s Kogure Yukihisa”
“Umu, you said you preferred Yukihisa. Best regards from myself as well. As my fate and yours are now entwined”
Damn… If you asked me to choose between getting crippled by harsh corporate life and getting sacrificed in another world to kill a dragon, I honestly don’t know which is worse.
Anyway, now I just need to survive this game-like world.
And so began my fugitive life with Veno in another world.
I randomly walked around the village while asking what I need to know.
It’s not that he’s some help menu, but I guess asking Veno about those laws and truths of this world is a good place to start.
I’m glad I can at least talk to someone about this.
Life at the company was fast paced. They’d suddenly give us work with no briefing, and demand us do it at impossible speeds.
If it wasn’t the endless repetitive work, it was getting talked down from the boss, or having useless meetings that never solved shit. It was like customer service where the customer is always disappointed.
And then there was talking with the clients… That sure was rough.
They would never know why the client was angry and just get someone like me to take responsibility and apologize.
There were also those times they made me grovel on the floor for striking the deal in high stakes meetings.
I kept telling myself that it was nothing compared to grueling SE work, but now that I’m thinking back, the social aspects sucked just as much.
“Seems men too have arduous times… ”
Veno seems to be looking at my memories without permission and commenting sympathetically. Yeah no, you’re one of those arduous times too.
… Got distracted again.
Right now I need info.
Not knowing things will lead me to a disadvantage, and create more problems down the line.
You can’t expect to get anything just apologizing to someone without even knowing why they’re mad.
… I remember that one time, they stopped yelling at me after a while, maybe cause they calmed down after letting the anger out… And later on, we actually found the guy responsible and sorted that mess.
Anyway, to survive in this world, I can’t just walk up to anyone and ask them stuff.
I’ll stand out way too much.
No wait, aren’t I already standing out too much?
I’m still in my office clothes. And it’s not at all similar to what these villagers have on.
But then, I don’t really see any of them staring at me.
Even Arleaf-san didn’t look to be paying much attention to my appearance either.
“Simply my opinion, but perhaps they just think you are dressed lightly. These ‘office clothes’ are quite dirty after all”
Ah~… Makes sense now.
Arleaf-san did say something about how I was floating in the swamp.
My clothes are somewhat dry now, but there’s a bit of discomfort.
I’d prefer a change of clothes, but that’ll come later.
I need to get up to speed on the common sense in these parts. It’s life or death after all.
“Enough of the preface. What do you wish to ask?”
Right… First, I want to see that status screen you showed me before.
“Oh, that. You can very well view that by yourself. You need simply focus on the desire to see your condition”
I’ll try it out.
And wouldn’t you know it, it popped up in front of me just like last time.
Really is like a video game.
Well, that’s… only if there are status menus back on Earth too and it’s only that humans don’t know how to use it.
Maybe it’s made so that it’s really hard to gather up the so-called experience points on Earth, and so status menus remain an unearthed treasure… Yeah, I’ll stop deluding myself now.
… I, think I’m just trying to avoid reality right now.
I realize that I’m panicking on the inside.
I’ll just look at it now.
So much like a game, totally sucks the realism out of the situation… Gotta wonder how this thing is set up.
“That may as well be the mystery of all time. The status menus have existed since time immemorial, it has been giving all living creatures of this world comprehension of themselves”
I’ll stop worrying about the hows for now. It is what it is, and knowing HOW it is won’t help me stay alive any longer.
“These recreations… video games as you say, do pique my interest. Ooh… the various games in your memories look amusing indeed. Might I engage in them in your mind? I believe I can reconstruct them”
C’mon man, don’t start gaming in my head now!
I kinda get the feeling of Veno picking out games from a shelf in my head and tapping away at a controller.
ANYWAY. As a once avid gamer myself, I really get status menus and stuff.
But knowing it and needing to use it in real life isn’t the same at all.
What am I supposed to do anyway? Become some D&D style adventurer?
I’m clearly not built for deadly combat.
I’ll remind you again what I did.
I worked, as an SE. That’s Systems Engineer. Forget fighting, I didn’t even get proper exercise.
Well, there’s still the option to work part-time. Do some odd jobs here and there while I’m on the run and look into how to dispel the possession magic in between. Fighting isn’t all there is.
“That form of occupation does indeed exist, this part-timing… for earning quick money, they call those who work as such, adventurers”
Veno replied to my thoughts.
This world is fantasy without a doubt. Obviously, it’s got adventurers.
And the existence of this job means that this world isn’t necessarily very technologically advanced.
Regardless, let’s see exactly how strong I’m supposed to be.
Kogure Yukihisa – Poison Earth – Level 1
Skills: Spirit Link – Absorb Poison (Weak) – Poison Release
This, and there’s more stuff listed under… But all those numbers are sad single digits.
“Level 1 eh… And your attribute values are quite low to boot. Are humans creatures that stay so weak even in adulthood? … Mayhaps I too, as a child, was once of such weak nature”
You don’t remember?
“Then let me ask… Do you remember all things from before you were self-aware? It is too far in the past and so the memories are fragmented”
Hmm… Yeah, guess I can relate to that.
I can’t remember stuff from before kindergarten too well either.
“I do not believe you fit for any real adventuring with those numbers. Your level is too low for proper self-defense. We must go hunt at once”
Hunt… in a fantasy world that means monsters. It should be referring to those and wild animals.
So I beat monsters and my level goes up?
“Umu. The concept of experience points that you know of is a reality in this world. Man and monster both have something called essence residing inside them. Upon their death, this essence is transferred to the cause of their demise. And upon collecting a certain sum of this essence, your level and strength both increase. It very much is survival of the fittest”
Sounds simple enough.
So next… This thing right here.
What’s this Poison Earth supposed to mean?
“This is the concept of ‘job’ that grant men strength. With it, they can manifest their true strengths”
What about dragons?
“Man and monster differ in that sense”
Hmm…. I have a feeling this ‘job’ will become a pretty important factor in my life from now on.
They come up a lot in video gamest after all.
Translator here. I'm not interested in doing this anymore so it's on hiatus until someone takes over. No need to contact me about it.