Interlude 1: Ways of the World – Part 1​
439 2 5
X
Reading Options
Font Size
A- 15px A+
Width
Reset
X
Table of Contents
Loading... please wait.

[Author’s Notes: WARRING, INFO DUMP AHEAD. The Following Interlude is Mark going through the system Tutorial and some World building. While you can skip it and not miss any real Story, I highly recommend reading it so that other information makes more scenes later on. I am not totally sure I want to keep with this format of chunks of Information given like this at one time, or spread out sparsely as time goes on. Please leave your Feedback! ]
________________________________________________________________________________________________

Interlude 1: Ways of the World - Part 1

Mark poked around the remains of the dead fire in front of him, trying to find a few still living embers he could use to relight the fire pit and start breakfast. He gave a tired sigh after a moment of fruitless poking, before standing and stretching out his arms. Looking around for anything that he could use to start a fire with, Mark’s eyes landed on the small figure of Tsutsuji as she huddled in a ball not far from where Merry slept. She had stopped sobbing a while ago but she has refused to answer him, or even lift her head, since.

Mark smirked as a lightbulb went off in his head. He looked down at the tiny Guide and spoke in a questioning manner,

“Hey, Bug. That Crazy Guy mentioned ‘Magic’ right? Do you know how to use it? Light the fire and we’ll get started on Breakfast”.

Tsutsuji looked up at Mark’s words her face red as she yelled out in a high voice,

“I am not a Bug! And you will be respectful when you speak of Master! Refer to him as Lord, or Lord Elaos! Besides that, of course, I know magic…”

She gave a humph as she turned her eyes away and lifted her nose, answering again in a mocking voice,

“…..and who do you think I am? I am not your servant!”

Mark gave a light chuckle and shrugged his shoulders as if he did not care, and said

“Well fine then. Tell me how to do it and I’ll do it myself”

Tsutsuji looked up at Mark for a moment before bursting into laughter,

“Hahahahaha, and how are you going to do that? You don’t even have the Fire Magic skill!”

Mark simply looked down at the tiny girl and lifted an eyebrow, before asking,

“Skill?”

Tsutsuji went silent, then suddenly burst into an even greater fit of laughter than before, holding her stomach as she rolled along the cave floor.

“Bwahahahhm You do- You don’t even know what a S-Skill is?! Hahahhaha, I can’t st-. Help. Dying. Bwahahahahha”

Mark could feel his head start to ache as his mouth would not stop twitching. He gave a sudden flick of his wrist, as a thin metallic object flashed in the light, slamming into the ground next to the tiny girl. Tsutsuji bumped into the object as she was rolling around, then with cold sweat on her face, she looked up at the form of her Naginata embedded deeply into the hard stone floor. Mark spoke out in the next moment using a cold, annoyed voice.

“And whose fault is that little Ms. Guide? You forget I am not from around here, so how about you start doing your Job?”

Tsutsuji instantly quieted and scrambled into a sitting position, her face flushed with embarrassment and fear. She avoided eye contact with Mark as she looked at the embedded Naginata, then spoke in a low trembling voice.

“Y-ya, let’s do that. I-initiating Guided tutorial system, WS-t001: Basics.”

As Tsutsuji spoke, a familiar Window popped into existence in Mark’s eyes,
_____________
│EXAMINE
│--------------------
│STATUS
│--------------------
│INVENTORY
│---------------------
│INDEX
│---------------------

Tsutsuji gestured to the screen in an attempted professional manner.

“This is the ‘Main Menu’ of the System. While not all functions are available at the moment, the Four you see are the ‘default’ settings. In the basic lesson, we will go over the function of each. First, we will start with the ‘Examine’ function. Examine is a function that System Users can use to pull up information stored in the ‘Collective Index’, the data storage space of the Sigils and Magi. The Collective Index is the total sum of all the data collected by the Sigils over the eons, and the Examine function lets you tap into a small part of that information.
Now, give it a try. Simply focus on a target and select Examine in your mind”.

Mark followed the instructions and focused on a small rock nearby. As he did so, a small window popped into existence near it.

--------------------------------------------------
Small Shale Rock
Description
: A common mineral found near rivers and streams. Processed Shale is one of the major exports of the Greater Southern Planes.
Market Price: 1w/oz
--------------------------------------------------

Mark stared at the little window in interest and started to examine other objects around him.

--------------------------------------------------
Star Moss
Description
: A bright yellow moss that can be found growing in dark environments that have access to star and moonlight, such as cave entrances or Tree hollows. On nights of a new moon, Star Moss will glow brightly. Some theorize that this light is used to attract flying insects, which it traps with a sticky substance. It then uses this prey to supplement the lost Moonlight.
Market Price: 10w/oz
--------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------
Rockhound Merchant Bag
Description
: High-Quality leather backpack made from Rockhound leather. It’s strong, elastic and durable nature makes it one of the best on the Market, able to store and transport nearly anything.
Market Price: 10,000w
--------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~<Status>~~~~~~~~~~~
Name: Guide No.77239 <Tsutsuji>
Race: Magi Spirit <Guide>
Birthplace: Grandeur
Age: NO!
Bio: “I am not a Bug!”
--------------------------------------------------
Mark could not help but raise an eyebrow at the last one. Tsutsuji looked up at Mark and stuck her tongue out before answering his unasked question,

“As you can see, even other people are not exempt from Examine’s power. However, the information that is available for viewing is limited to what that person is consciously willing to divulge. Keep in mind, however, while only System Users are able to directly use the Examine function there ARE Items that can mimic its effects in the world, such as the famous ‘Mirror of Truth’. Some skills may be able to gather more information, but the people who use such a method are rarely ‘pleasant’. As well as this, information that is no longer available, for whatever reason, will not be able to be brought up. If there is no record of an event or the Item has never been recorded by a Sigil then examine will be of no use past basic information.

While we are on the topic try using Examine on yourself. Alternately, you can select the ‘status’ option in the main menu.”

Mark followed the instructions and attempted to focus on himself before using Examine. He furrowed his brow as he looked at the large screen that popped into existence.

┌~~~~~~~~~~<Status>~~~~~~~~~~~
Name: Mark Floyd
Race: Human
Age: 30
Active Sigil: Survivor

Sigil Level: 2
HP: 312/350 (Status: slight internal injuries, sleep deprivation).
MP: 30/50

STR: 15
END
: 40 (30 + 10)
WILL: 10
DEX: 22 (20 +2)

ACTIVE SKILLS: [Survivor’s Will (lvl 2)]

PASSIVE SKILLS: [Healing Factor (lvl 2)] – [Military Survival (lvl 10 ~MAX~)] – [Kajukenbo (2nd degree)] – [MCMAP (1st degree)] – [Footwork (lvl 4)] – [Thrown Weapons (lvl 6)] – [Long Weapons (lvl 6)] – [Swordmenship (lvl 1)]

UNIQUE SKILLS: [Ember] – [From the Ashes]
-----------------------------------------------------------------

As Mark stared at the Window in shock, Tsutsuji continued on with her explanation.

“The screen that you see is your personal ‘Status’. In essence, it is a digital representation of your body created from the information gathered by your Sigil. The numbers you see are simply benchmarks by the way. They are only used as rough outline about a person’s physical condition. Assuming that you beat someone, simply because you have higher Stats, is a good way to get yourself kill.

Your Sigil level is an important number to pay attention to. Not only does the Sigil level indicate how well you have adapted to its use, but the level of ‘Authorization’ you have when giving commands to the Magi. Thus the higher your level, the more varied and more powerful the Skills you will have access to. By the way, the average level for a normal adult male your age is 6-8, with most Soldiers pressing level 10. It’s safe to say that you quite lacking, hehehehe.

As well as increase the skills you have available, Sigils will help to supplement the body by boosting related parameters. Someone who’s Sigil is based on production may find an increase to their DEX or someone with a combat Sigil may find their STR or WILL be increased. This effect will strengthen as the Sigil’s level increases.

Next, comes skills. You can see that they are broken down into 3 sections. First is the Active skills. Active skills are ‘Programs’ installed into your Sigil that allows you to perform actions that would normally be far above the limitations of reality. These include Magic, ‘Qi’ abilities or special Functions of your Sigil. Keep in mind that in order to activate an Active skill you have both the ‘knowledge’ and the ‘energy’. If you have the energy but not the ‘knowledge’, then the energy used will greatly increase and power will greatly decrease. If you have the ‘knowledge’ but not the energy, you will burn your life force to make up the deficit.

Passive skills are a bit different. They take two forms. Trained and Mutation. Trained skills are skills that you acquire through your own hard work. Once your effort is recognized by your Sigil, you will acquire the corresponding passive skill. The benefit of this skill is that the Sigil will assist you during related activities, automatically correcting your small mistakes and nuances as your proficiency increases.

Mutations, on the other hand, are different. Mutations are the result of your Internal Magi changing your body on a fundamental level as the result of some form of stimuli. Mutations mostly come from your Sigil itself; as your Sigil’s level grows it will automatically trigger these mutations to better adapt your body to the new found power. Examples of this is someone with a Warrior Sigil whose muscles become denser and compact, allowing for strength far exceeding the limits of a human. Or an Archer Sigil changing someone’s eyes to be able to see miles away. Though rare, Mutations can also come from outside stimuli, such as a Treasures or Inheritance.

Lastly, we have unique skills. These are a skill that is encoded into your very Soul. Not everyone has a unique skill, and no two unique skills are the same. Most people are born with their unique skill, however, some can be passed down to an Inheritor, either through will or blood, and others can be granted by a higher power. But no matter their source, every unique skill is mysterious and powerful. “

Mark had sat through the entire Lecture in silent contemplation, staring at the open screen. Tsutsuji lifted her nose up with a boastful smile as if to say ‘praise my brilliant knowledge’, but after a moment of silence looked at Mark with puffed up cheeks,

“Well?!”

Ignoring the little Guide’s outburst, Mark spoke in a low voice,

“Most of it I can make out, but there are a few things I do not know about. What is [Survivor’s Will]? And the unique skills are too vague, I can’t make them out….”

Tsutsuji simply looked at Mark in shock, as If questioning if he was serious, before speaking,

“What are you talking about? Didn’t we just go over how to use Examine? Just focus on the skill and select the command. Good grief, maybe you ARE sleep deprived.”

Mark raised his brow in wonder at the simple answer. Maybe this System was more useful than he had first given it credit. Mark turned his focus back to the Status window, ignoring the tiny girl’s complaints as he focused on a few elements and used Examine.

--------------------------------------------------
Survivor’s Will
Skill Type
: Active, Sigil
Cost: Variable
Description: the basic Active skill of the Survivor Sigil allows the user to quickly, but only temporally adapt their body to a great degree, in order to overcome an obstacle. A Host who finds themselves underwater may grow Gills. Or if they are surrounded by Fire, their skill will harden and thicken to become fireproof.
Survivor’s Will is not foolproof, however; the longer and more complex the change to the user’s body, the more energy will be consumed. Lower level Hosts may even find that they are not able to adapt quick enough, or that their Change is not adequate. Hosts are advised to use Survivor’s Will sparingly and with great discretion, or the dangers could far outweigh the benefits.
--------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------
Healing Factor
Skill Type
: Passive, Sigil Mutation
Description: Your body’s ability to heal and react to damage has greatly increased thanks to the influence of the Survivor Sigil. Even if you were to lose a limb, it will grow back given enough time and energy. However, the RATE at which recovery takes place is based on your Sigil level.
Level Effect: Level 2 – Host is able to recover from small lacerations and minor blunt force trauma in a few hours. Heavy and internal damage will take 1-3 days to recover. Lost Limbs will regrow in a Month.
--------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------
Ember
Skill Type
: Unique Skill, Blessing
Description:??? ??? ??????? ????? ????
“The Ember does not choose to light the Flames. It is its Nature”.
--------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------
From the Ashes
Skill Type
: Unique Skill, Passive Mutation
Description: The blood of the Survivor courses through your veins. When injuries heal, your body will grow stronger in proportion to the severity. Your body will automatically adapt over time to hostile environments and Stimuli.
“What doesn’t kill you, only makes you Stronger”.
Current Adaptations:
- Microbial resistance (lvl 1): Your body has become resistant to the microbes of another world. Slightly increases resistance to infection and contamination.
- Rough Living (lvl 4): Your rough life style has made you able to sleep and recover nearly anywhere. The earth is your bed and the sky your blanket
- Presence Detection (lvl 2): Your senses have been slightly sharpened, allow you to detect the presence of others from a short distance away.
- Chemical Resistance (lvl 5 [MAX]): Someone has tinkered with your body in a way that it will automatically expel any harmful substance.
“Just in case – a Friend”
--------------------------------------------------

Mark could not help but feel a little giddy as he looked at the information provided. The Healing Factor had been mentioned by the stranger, the man Tsutsuji named Elaos. While Survivor’s Will was….interesting, the Skill “Ember” was still a mystery, though he could roughly guess where it came from. From the Ashes, however, drew his attention the most. Not only was the effect insane, it seemed to be broken down into several sub-skills. He did not have anything to compare it to, so he was not sure if this was the norm for a Unique Skill, but Mark could see why Tsutsuji had called them “mysterious and powerful”.

Tsutsuji herself had gone into shock when she’d seen the description and had yet to have the presence of mind to close her gaping mouth. Mark took advantage of her silence and asked,

“So what now?"

Tsutsuji was silent for a moment, before closing her mouth and shaking her head, then spoke in a slightly less enthusiastic voice,

“The next Option is the Inventory. Like the others, simply select it from the Menu, or bring it to mind.”

Mark gave a simple nod then opened the Option. His Status Window closed, only to be replaced by a nostalgic Character Screen from the only RPG he’d played when he was a kid. The bulk of the Window was taken up by a 3D panning image of himself. To either side of the image were several “slots”, marked by obvious symbols. To the left, a helm, chest, legs, gloves, and boots. To the right, 2 rings, a necklace, and 2 earrings. At the bottom was 3 slots, one marked with a Sword, one with a Shield, and box with a swirl in it.

It was a Classic setup you could find in any cookie cutter RPG in the past 20 years, and Mark was slightly annoyed by this fact. He was not quite sure what he was expecting, but he had the urge to yell at someone “do your job properly!” Other than then the gloves and helm, the left side slots were occupied by his current clothes, and the Weapon slot showed the old rusty sword, Legend. Everything else was empty.

The lower half of the Screen was grayed out, and when Mark focused on it, a cold mechanical voice sounded in his Head,

NO SPATIAL STONES DETECTED, INVENTORY MANAGEMENT IS CURRENTLY DISABLED

Tsutsuji spoke again as if to answer the voice,

“In order to use all of the functions of the Inventory, you need to carry a ‘Spatial Stone’. Think of them as an item box in web novels, or a Bag in an RPG. They are not rare in this world, and many people will choose to make them into items and jewelry, or even sow them into clothes. However, they are far more expensive than other methods, so most people will just bring a good bag or chest to carry their belongings.”

Mark chose to ignore why she knew those terms, and instead looked down at the little girl

“Ok, fine. Where do I get a Spatial Stone?”
“You buy them”
“…….”
“………..”
“……………”
“………..*sweat*”

A few moments later, a small round pitch black marble fell from the under Tsutsuji’s shell as Mark dangled her helplessly by the feet. Mark reached down and picked up the marble and looked at it carefully. It was a strange thing, blacker than black. It almost reminded Mark of a black hole, sucking in all the light around it. Tsutsuji looked up at Mark with filled eyes and cried out in indignation,

“Thief! Tyrant! Bandit! Who taught you to steal from sweet little girls!?”

Tsutsuji gave a shriek as Mark suddenly let go of her feet and she fell head first towards the ground, only just managing to extend her wings and right herself before hitting, before collapsing on the ground with a frustrated scream.

The Character screen’s bottom half lit up as Mark held onto the spatial stone. The bottom screen appeared to be an open chest when several items laying inside. He found that he could sort and shift these items around by moving them with his finger. In all, the Stone seemed to contain several bundles of herbs, a full camping set, and a brown Leather Armor set similar to Tsutsuji’s, minus the plating. Mark played around with it for a bit, before attempting to drag the leather gloves up to the Glove slots, only to find that he could not move them past the top of the Chest. He furrowed his brow in frustration, before turning back to Tsutsuji and asking.

“Hey. How do I remove the items?”

Tsutsuji in response, simply lay where she was and gave a humph before turning her head away,

“I have nothing to say to someone who steals from children!”
“Really? Was it yours? I’m sure you would have made great use out of a male armor, 100 times your size. Yes?”

Tsutsuji feel cold sweat on the back of her neck at Mark’s response, but not losing a beat, she sat up and spoke slightly faster than normal,

“I don’t know what you are talking about. Anyway, equipment can be equipped by focuses on the item and saying ‘Equip’. You can remove them and equip them directly, but the Inventory system will make automatic size and build adjustments when using it. It’s also faster. Don’t worry about other people seeing it, there is a type of Equipment magic that is fairly popular, so as long as you do not open your mouth, people will not find it so strange.
As for removing items, simply ‘pull’ the item from the window, and it will be extracted from the spatial stone. Same for putting items in, just touch them to the screen and they will be automatically stored.”

Mark nodded in understanding and organized the item box. Focusing on the armor, Mark quickly equipped each piece. He was slightly surprised when the dim light covered his body and his old dirty clothes were replaced by a snug set of rugged leather armor. Just as Tsutsuji said, the System had automatically adjusted the armor to fit him perfectly; he could not find a single place that was ill fitted or uncomfortable, he even felt he’d be able to sleep in he needed to.

He next tried taking out several of the supplies stored in the inventory. Mark played around with this for a while, before storing everything back, as well as the money purse, some Star Moss scrapings and a few odd and ends found around the cave.

As he was finishing up, Mark’s attention was drawn to movement across the cave. He watched as Alex gave a yawn and stretched himself out, slowly pushing himself up and standing in the morning light. Alex began to slowly put away his bedding, still dreary eyed when he caught sight of Mark. Alex froze instantly, his mouth gaping wide at Mark’s appearance. Specifically, he was looking at Mark’s new armor.

Tsutsuji, seeing the young man awake for the first time, opened her shell and quickly flew over to Mark, landing on his shoulder. Her eye’s glaring suspiciously at Alex, she bent down and whispered into Mark’s ear,

“Hey, who’s that?”
“Alex”
“Alex?”
“Alex”

After the banter, Tsutsuji stood straight and crossed her arms, nodding to herself as if confirming something. Alex, on the other hand, still stood in shock at the two, his eyes darting back and forth between Mark and the tiny girl on his shoulder. His mouth was opened wide as strange grunting sounds came out, like he was struggling to say something, but could not put it to words, and his hand rose trembling, pointing at the two. Alex’s eyes suddenly rolled to the back of his head and he collapsed to the ground.

Mark could only give a deep sigh as he held his shaking head. Tsutsuji on the other hand fell to her back and burst into rolling laughter.

5