000 Prologue
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Welcome dear friends, to the Virtual Reality Full Immersion System called Bookworld Online!

This is your chance to live the lives of your favorite characters from your favorite stories. Not only can you complete the stories as they exist and live the actual life the character lived, you can also diverge from the known canon of information and forge a new path for your favorite character to follow.

I know this sounds too good to be true, and in some respects it is. You will only be given choices during key moments and not on a constant basis, since our computers can only handle so many requests at one time. Some scenes and actions are done by default in order to keep the narrative going... however... if you diverge too far from the normal story lines or choose an original story based on the characters and their lives, then the process can become even more exciting for you, the player.

So, will you relive what you know and only change a single moment or will you branch out on your own and see what our team of writers can come up with for you to experience?

It is all up to you!

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I sat there and read the popup again and wondered what the gaming company thought they were doing when they thought giving me the intro popup again was a bright idea. I looked at the choices available since my last search and passed most of the more popular things and found something I had read years ago. I was a little surprised that they would have such an obscure story available.

The thought of playing through it tickled my fancy, since it was one of my old favorites. Just like with the last story I played, The Rogue Necromancer, they had branching stories based on the book and had options for continuing the main story or for taking a side road into new territory.

Those options caught my fancy the last time, so this time I wanted to see how close to the original they could make it and still give me options to choose from. I had finished reading the story a long time ago and I still went back occasionally, just so I could imagine where I wanted it to go. With this virtual reality option, perhaps I could finally get my chance to show the original author how things should have gone, assuming they were even given access to this version.

I was still fully loaded into my full immersion VR harness, my nutrition injectors were still set for the appropriate times for meals while I was inside the VR world, and after I checked the time that had passed, it had only been an hour for each day I had been playing, not counting the interludes. I had only been immersed for a day! What a great vacation this was turning out to be!

I inquired about the time compression ratio again and received the same answer. It was different for each book. Depending on the content and if you chose a branch story line or not, a whole book could be lived through in only an hour or it could take up to a full day, like my last story had been. If there was a series, it could take a week or more, depending on if you played them all through at once or not.

I still didn't intend to take breaks or anything, because I wanted to take full advantage of the full immersion. I didn't want to break the story up, either. When I started something, I wanted to do it all without having to wait or worry about trying to pick it back up after leaving for a while. I flipped through the choices I had with the story and narrowed myself down to taking a quick run through the book and passed on the side adventure.

“I read the book and I want to play through it.” I said and chose the main story. It asked me if I really wanted to play what they called the normal content. “I wanted to skip the info dump, too.” I said and chose yes... then I was shocked when I was given a choice to play it as a woman or as a man. “What... how...” I shook my head and reached for the woman option... then smiled. “You know what? I've tried a character gender swap before. I'm sticking with the normal content as much as possible.”

I chose a man for the main character and everything went black.

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You have chosen the main story of the little known book, Marsh Man. Your gender choice is (MALE) and all characters and interactions have been maintained to fit this narrative. The relationships are still the same. Grudges are still held, friendships and acquaintances are still the same, as is the life choices made by the male character.

Do you wish to read the Character Blurb for your adventure?

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Yes.” I said, just so I could see what kind of changes they had to make to make it playable, even though I actually wanted to skip this part.

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Your name is David Drake and you are a 10 year old slave to the Marsh Hag. You were bought from your parents when you were only a small child at two years old. You don't really remember your old family at all. That's a good thing, since you would hate them on sight for selling you to her.

All you've known for your whole life is pain.

Endless pain and borderline torture are your daily bread and butter. You don't enjoy it and actively try to flee when the Hag approaches you with that gleam in her eyes. You know exactly what she wants to do to you when she gets in her moods. You are usually quickly healed and receive a lot of training and experience as her unofficial apprentice.

It's unofficial because she would never pay to have you registered as an actual apprentice. To everyone else, you are just the boy she took pity on and brought into her home. What they don't know is that you are much more than that. So much more.

You are her food.

She uses you as her own personal buffet and she indulges herself quite often. You even have the permanent scars to prove it. You assume you know why she likes to consume you as much as she can, and you couldn't be farther from the truth. You will discover the real reason soon enough.

You have learned many things from her, mostly without her knowing, since you have been helping more and more with her spell work the last few years and her potion making. The only parts you can't do are the magic condensing rituals that her potions require and the mana infusions that a lot of her other creations need.

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Do you wish to initiate the Main Storyline with these parameters?

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Hold on, it has the same main character name as the last story I played through? Really? I thought. Other than that, it actually is pretty close to what I remember. “Let's do it.”

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Preparing the scenario. Initiating characterization. Loading stats and abilities. Adding personal character update. Basic physical responses adjusted for new story. Personality blocks in place.

From this moment on and until the end of the story, you are David Drake. Please play responsibly.

Waiting... waiting... done.

Playing Bonus Content movie...

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