[Vol. 1 pt. 1] A Dragon and a Rock
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This is something that I have been putting off for a while. As much as I have always wanted to put my story into writing, there was always one reason or another for me to put it off for some other time. Whether it was – no, I shouldn’t mention any of my distractions. Those would be spoilers.

I suppose the main reason for not having told this story sooner is not a spoiler, though.

To be honest with you, I have never been sure of how I should tell this. Should I be honest and upfront about everything? Should I only tell you what information I knew at the time, or sprinkle in knowledge during earlier scenes that I did not learn until later events? Should I be truthful about how idiotic I was and how many mistakes I made, or should I make myself sound as awesome and perfect as I would like to believe that I am? After all, there is nobody who could tell you that what you are reading is wrong… unless you talk to somebody else who was there, I guess.

I’ll make them all read this later so that they don’t expose accidentally contradict anything that I tell here.

Aside from that, I have decided to—as much as this may hurt my pride at times—give you my story in as much detail as I can remember. This means that I will be telling you all of the embarrassing, awkward details. You will get to read of my failures, my mistakes, my stupid thoughts and lack of knowledge, and you will most likely judge me very hard for all of them. Just go easy on me and remember that I was just a rock up until the beginning of my story. It’s not like a rock is going to know everything right after it gains sentience.

As for my purpose in telling this story – well, that is simple.

I want to be remembered.

Don’t we all?

There may not be many alive at the moment who don’t know who I am, but they are not immortal and neither am I. I think. I’m actually not quite sure whether I can obtain immortality or not.

Still working on that.

Anyways, my point is that because none of us are immortal (yet), I want to tell my story here so that future generations may be told of it. I want my name, my women, my accomplishments – I want my legend to be remembered.

Yes, I am a man of selfish desires. Some have even called me a narcissist. In fact… many have called me a narcissist.

Including myself.

After all, would somebody who isn’t a narcissist be telling an entire story about themselves from the moment they achieved sentience to the time that they – well, to now? Actually, now that I think about it, it may be hard to give this story an ending. It would not surprise me if something comes up and takes me away from telling this for a few months only to give me several more books’ worth of content to tell. Perhaps I will be writing this until the day I die?

Who knows.

But for now, let us begin the story. As much as I may love rambling, I would rather not lose your interest before the prologue of the story even begins!

Therefore, let us move onto the prologue.

Hmm. Maybe I should have read more since I don’t know how to smoothly transition into this next part.

Ah well.

Once upon a time (stories are supposed to start like this, right?), there was a great, fearsome dragon. This dragon’s home was a vicious, savage island off the coast of the world’s largest continent. At the center of the island was – is, the world’s largest volcano. Should I say “was” or “is” when referring to something that is still there/alive while writing in past-tense? This writing thing may be a bit more complicated than I thought. I’ll have to have that girl teach me some more later to improve my technique.

Oh. I probably shouldn’t interrupt the story with my confusion. Alright, sorry about that.

Where were we?

Right. Giant volcano in the middle of a giant island next to a giant continent. Oh, and a giant dragon called this giant volcano her giant home.

Within this volcano were many monsters, minerals, dangers, and naturally, a whole lot of lava. No, wait… it’s magma when it’s still inside. I think. You would think that I would be an expert on all things volcano-related by now.

Shit. I’m doing it again. Apologies.

And no, I’m not going to edit this out. Not a single word I ever write will be worth deleting nor changing.

Narcissist, remember?

Anyways, one such mineral inside of this volcano was a small rock. That’s right. A rock. It was not a special rock by any means. It was about the size of a human’s fist, red and orange, kind of rough around the edges, and one side of it was smooth. Exciting, right? This rock was something that any normal being would likely not even notice when walking through the volcano’s tunnels. There were thousands of similar rocks spread throughout the tunnels. But, while it may not have been anything more than an ordinary rock for the millions of years that it had it existed, it would soon become a very special rock.

That’s right. It would become me.

((This series is only officially posted to: scribblehub.com, acearriande.com, patreon.com/acearriande, and royalroad.com. If you are reading this series on any other website, please send me an email at [email protected] I will not be able to continue posting my stories for free if my series continue being uploaded without my consent to other platforms. If you have paid money for this on Amazon, email me, file a report, and request a refund as it has been stolen and illegally published.))

Before that, though, the dragon who called the volcano her home had to almost lose her life.

Like all dragons, not that I have known many, she was greedy. She loved gold, powerful relics, virgins – the whole deal. Unfortunately for her, her greed blinded her to the ambush that awaited her during one of her hunts for treasure.

The nations of man successfully trapped her and unleashed their heroes upon her. It was hard for them to damage her, but they succeeded in piercing her scales, damaging her very soul with powerful magic, and they even resorted to biological weapons to inflict diseases upon her. They figured that if they could not kill her before she broke free from the trap, then they would subject her to diseases that could slowly kill her over time.

It was the best possible plan that they could come up with for defeating her. They managed to pull it off perfectly, too.

Alas, she was able to escape before they could kill her, but not without coming dangerously close to losing her life.

And so, she returned to her volcanic home.

In the center of the volcano’s caldera was a large, rock platform surrounded by lava just barely large enough for her to curl up onto and rest. She cried and groaned from pain, occasionally roaring out about how she would someday get revenge, before eventually succumbing to sleep.

The tunnel that I was eternally sitting in was exposed to her resting spot. At the time, I was as unintelligent as any rock, so I didn’t perceive anything that was happening. I had no idea what life was, I had no idea what a dragon was, and I had no idea what existing was. I didn’t even know what was was.

Thanks to the powerful aether that escaped from the dragon’s exposed wounds, though, I was able to know what was was. Then I became conscious of existence. I still didn’t know what life or dragons were, but I became aware of more than just nothingness.

I was, in the most basic sense, alive. Probably no more alive than a blade of grass, but I was alive.

Then, over the course of absorbing the dragon’s aether for nearly a hundred years, I became smart.

Please keep in mind that when I say I became “smart,” I mean I became smart for a rock. One plus one was still too intense for me, but I knew what numbers were. Well, not really. That’s just an example of what I mean by “smart,” though. It would still be some time before I learned what numbers were.

Another couple hundred of years later and two important events happened: one, the dragon whose aether I was somehow leeching from her became encased in obsidian, stopping the flow of aether into my rocky body; and two, I evolved. Yes. Me, a simple rock in a volcano, evolved into what would be the first of my many forms.

I became a dungeon core.

Honestly, I had no idea what that meant and stayed sitting around in the tunnel for another few years.

Then, after much very simple thinking (but mostly sleeping – yes, rocks sleep), I finally decided to “interact” with that strange thing I could see in front of me.

Ah, right. Yes, I was able to see. Having absorbed so much of that dragon’s aether gave me the ability to see everything around me with perfect vision. Anyways, “in front” of me was what I can only describe as a window. It was a rectangular shape with text on it that looked something like…

Don’t judge me for my drawing skills. I swear that it was only like a window and that there wasn’t much to it.

Evolution Complete: Basic Dungeon Core (Mahogany Obsidian)

There. It looked like that.

Anyways, by “interact” with it, I mean that I focused on various parts of it. I focused my “sight” on each word, the corners, the space between the letters, the air around the mysteriously-floating window, and then I finally had the wonderful idea of focusing my attention on “Accept.”

The simple act of focusing my sight on a single, small word was the beginning of my many, many legends.

Well, technically, the dragon getting hurt was the beginning. Or… depending on how you want to look at it, the beginning of everything was the start to my legend seeing as how I wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for existence itself existing.

Let’s just put it this way: accepting my evolutionary window, which was there for several years waiting for me to accept it, was the beginning of my life as a proper dungeon core.