#029 – Don’t mind me, just feeling a little melancholic
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I woke up with a startled confusion as something wet hit my cheek.

“Wha…Whuh…?”

I blinked my eyes open, waving my hands around to slap away at whoever had decided to prank me by spitting on me.

Then I immediately remembered that I was still in a seemingly empty world and that if there was someone else around, then that would be a good thing, even if the first contact was them spitting at me.

But as my vision cleared, I realized that there wasn’t anyone else around. I wasn’t getting pranked by a person, but by the weather.

Another drop of water hit my face. Then another and another.

“Oh, come on…” I groaned and scrambled to get up through the haze of sleep inertia.

I grabbed my backpack, glanced around for a possible shelter from the rain, and realized that the only viable place was the damn dungeon.

Just when I finally got out…

I wasted no time in going inside again and climbing into one of the rooms through the window. The chilling feeling of entering the dungeon knocked me out of my daze and made me more alert, albeit there was still plenty of brain fog floating around my head.

After checking out the room I climbed into just to make sure no zombies had respawned, I relaxed a little, leaned over the window frame and looked back outside as the rain slowly turned from slow pitter-patter to a downpour.

I let out a quiet groan as I rubbed the tiredness out of my eyes.

“Well, at least now I know that the weather is pretty normal in this world…” I mumbled as I glanced at chat again.

FouxMoux: morning!
GeorgeDoshington: sup
uptonMIKE: good morning
uptonMIKE: I hope you don’t get a cold

“Morning, chat.” I yawned and looked at my bracelet. It showed 3:54. “...Very early morning, chat. Ugh… No wonder I feel like crap. I should just go back to sleep… But I don’t even feel like it anymore…”

Getting my mind zapped by entering the dungeon didn’t help at all.

uptonMIKE: gonna take a morning shower?

I slowly blinked.

“I usually shower in the mornings… Although I kind of forgot yesterday… I must have been really tired, huh…?”

After running and fighting so much yesterday, I was quite sweaty and even covered in soot. The final suicide move probably had a hand in that. It was a wonder how I hadn’t even noticed how dirty I was last night.

“Yeah, why not? I’ll just take one now…”

Maybe it was a little vain to be indulging in showers while I was starving in a dungeon in another world… But I needed some normalcy if I wanted to stave off insanity.

Although, it would feel weird to be showering out in the open in the middle of a random room. I was used to showering in a cubicle… or at least in a bathtub. 

Ugh, maybe this wouldn’t help to stave off insanity, after all.

I groaned to myself and stayed perched on the window frame for a few minutes, looking out into the rain. Then my eyes narrowed as I noticed something very odd. The rain stopped just outside of the dungeon’s entrance and no water seemed to be flowing inside. Like there was some kind of barrier around the dungeon preventing the rain from coming in. In fact, I could even see the water pooling at the dividing line, just outside the dungeon.

I stared at the phenomenon for a few seconds without saying anything. Then I just shook my head and walked further inside the room.

I pulled out my Ether-powered shower head and soap, got undressed, and took a quick shower in the corner of the room, while keeping the rest of my stuff on one of the random tables in the room. Once done, I pulled out my magical towel and dried myself before wringing it out on the floor.

I let out a satisfied sigh.

“I feel a bit better now, chat… And also, very much awake. I don’t think I’m going back to sleep anymore…”

I proceeded to walk over to the window, leaned on it, and stared outside into the rain once more.

FouxMoux: are you going to open the gate?

“Yeah, that’s the plan for today… But no need to rush…” I said softly.

I hadn’t really focused on it much these past few days since I had bigger problems, but… my voice sounded really nice now, didn’t it? I didn’t even have to consciously strain myself to sound better like I used to.

Granted, I still sounded like a kid. But that was because, for all intents and purposes, I was a kid. Although, since the blessing apparently aged me sixty times faster, I would probably soon find myself sounding more mature. But still, even after I finished speedrunning aging, I would still probably have a nicer voice than I’d ever had with my old body.

I frowned and pursed my lips at that thought.

Since when had I begun to think of it as my old body? Like I’d already accepted my situation? Like this was just my life now?

Was all this secretly something I liked despite the constant danger and annoying mazes? Did I even want to return back to Earth…?

No way. Of course I would still search for a way to go back… But I didn’t really need my old body for it, did I…? Yeah. As strange and inhuman as the skills were making it, I still liked this body more.

Still. The accelerated aging was such a strange thing. I barely noticed it from moment to moment, but I could sort of tell that I was a tad taller now. This was my… fifth day in this world, wasn’t it? So four days of accelerated growth. That meant somewhere around eight months worth of growth.

Huh…

FouxMoux: I wonder if the rain has ether in it
GeorgeDoshington: chillin stream today?

I hummed.

“Maybe… It would explain why plants are made out of the stuff… Eh… I’m just taking a minute, George. I felt like I’ve been in a constant rush since being tossed into this world. It’s been stressing me out, you know? I just wanna relax a bit.”

Of course, that was when my stomach decided to loudly remind me of the looming death clock.

I closed my eyes, breathed in, and let out a groan mixed with a sigh.

“No rest for the wicked… Fine, let’s peek into floor three then, chat. But this time, I’m not activating any suspicious devices. Don’t wanna lose my way out again.”

I put on my backpack again, dragged myself out of the window, and slowly walked my way to the end of the hallway where the golden gate lay.

I briefly peeked through the gate and noticed all the fast food vendors around the edges of the swimming pools.

“Oh, right! I was hoping there would be more food over there, wasn’t I?” I remembered, a small hopeful smile tugging on my lips.

I really really hoped there would be actual food. After all, the chest drops had been sort of thematic so far. A wallet from coin bosses; a shower head, a soap, and a towel from the locker room floor; a glove from a clothing weirdo…

Well, maybe I shouldn’t get my hopes up. I still didn’t quite know what would be waiting for me.

I held out my right hand and flicked the mental switch, making the sword-like key appear in my hand.

“Open–” I stood on my tiptoes – because the lock was a bit too high up – and carefully slid the key into the giant lock. “–Sesame!” I turned the key in the lock, somehow managing to guess the correct direction on my first try, and watched as the chains detached, the lock shimmered and vanished, and the gate slowly opened with a creak.

I idly put the key back into my backpack as I stepped into the new area. I shielded my eyes from the sun and looked around the water park. Pools of water, water slides, a jacuzzi over in that direction, some kind of water tunnel for kids to explore, and most importantly, food stalls at the edges of the whole area.

It made me a little nostalgic. Back when I’d been a little kid, my sister and I used to come to water parks with our parents and would play around on the slides. I would innocently ask why I couldn’t wear the same swimsuit as my sister…

Hah… Parents… So many of these memories were tainted now.

GeorgeDoshington: lol fake sky

I blinked myself out of the melancholic thoughts and glanced at chat.

“Fake sky? What do you…”

Wait.

I narrowed my eyes and stared at the bright blue cloudless sky for a moment. Then I looked at my bracelet and saw that it still showed 4:38. I slowly craned my head backwards to look through the floor one’s corridor outside of the dungeon and saw darkness and rain still beating down on the ground. I looked back forward at the bright and sunny water park in front of me and felt the warmth of the sun on my skin.

It didn’t feel fake whatsoever.

“...Right. Fake sky, chat. I’m not even surprised, to be honest,” I said with a hum.

I really wasn’t. It was just par for the course at this point. There was only so many times I could get befuddled by the nonsense this dungeon threw at me.

“Anyway! Let’s go get food!”

I turned away from what I assumed was the main part of this dungeon – the actual bodies of water – and beelined straight for the nearest little hut that looked to be selling fast food.

Naturally, as soon as I got close, the side door of the building flew open and three zombies dressed in matching uniforms and wielding kitchen knives rushed out and at me.

I barely hesitated as I breathed in and fired off three small Flame Bullets, one at each zombie. The first shot landed a clean headshot, the second hit the zombie on the shoulder, and the third burned through the zombie’s stomach, causing it to topple back.

I quickly dashed forward at the second zombie, summoned forth my key sword and lopped off its head just as it recovered from its shoulder shot.

All three then vanished into mist.

It’d taken about ten seconds in total and I hadn’t even broken a sweat. The smell of burnt flesh and the sight of a zombie having its head burned off still made me a little queasy, but overall…

“...I think I’m getting used to this, chat.”

It was a far cry from when I’d first entered this dungeon and nearly got clobbered by a few zombies. In fact, it felt almost unnatural how quickly I’d gotten decent at fighting.

Granted, I’d been in several life or death situations in the past few days, but… It still felt too quick. It was like I’d been doing this for months rather than a couple of days.

Hold on.

I quickly checked my surroundings to make sure I was in the clear and then opened the description for the Phoenix Blessing again.

The exact wording was ‘You age 60x faster’.

“Chat… Is the blessing also somehow making me get better at this sixty times faster? That’s… I don’t know, that feels wrong,” I mumbled.

After all, I still only had a few days worth of experience rather than months.

GeorgeDoshington: oh shit plot twist
FouxMoux: how would that even work?
uptonMIKE: it’s possible…

I hummed.

“Well, I’m not gonna complain about it, I guess…”

It did feel just a little disturbing… But, well, not anymore disturbing than aging faster, I guess.

Shaking these thoughts aside, I stepped forward and into the little fast food hut through the side door, still on guard. As soon as I was in, I heard a sound behind me to the side and spun around just in time to spew fire all over the zombie who had tried to sneak up on me. It stumbled back and I used the chance to slash at it with my key sword, cutting off his arm.

I then jumped back, passed the key sword to my left hand and drew my other sword from its sheath to dual wield them.

In the meantime, the zombie recovered and charged at me once more, albeit only with one arm.

I blocked its swing of the kitchen knife with the key, and then stabbed it with my other sword as I channeled fire through it.

The zombie crumpled to the ground and vanished into mist. I quickly checked the surroundings once more and relaxed once I failed to spot more zombies.

Then I looked forward and hummed to myself.

As expected, the space inside the hut was warped and it extended back beyond the door just like that one room in floor one or the first locker in floor two.

Then I looked to the side and glanced out of the window from which they would supposedly sell their fast food and saw the water park from a completely different angle than when I’d been outside… Meaning that the window and the door led to entirely different places.

“I’m starting to see a pattern here, chat…”

These non-euclidean mazes were starting to get old…

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