Chapter 1
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The night was dark and quiet, with few souls passing through the dark and desolate forest. For most forests, even at night, the area would be teeming with life as animals hunted each other, foraged, and did their best to survive to the next day. However, most of the wildlife that had lived inside of these once-green fields had died or deserted this area.

One of the magically gifted would have noticed something wrong about the mana of the region, the way it rippled and distorted as if it was a healer’s patient struggling in its death throes. But even the non-gifted would be able to see the brown and decaying trees and dead wildlife, hear the eerie silence, and sense the empty feeling of an entire region laying on its deathbed.

And deep within this deserted hellscape wandered a lone girl with brown hair and green eyes, dressed in bright pink and white pajamas decorated with cartoon rabbits and swearing as she tripped over tree roots. Her name was Alice Verianna. She was from Earth, and she had absolutely no idea how she had gotten here.

The last thing she remembered was finishing her homework, eating dinner, chatting with her friends for a while on Discord, and then going to bed. When she woke up, instead of being inside her bedroom walls in the suburbs of Denver, she was in the middle of some godforsaken patch of wilderness. She had been wandering around this area for almost an hour now, and she had yet to see anything besides dead trees.

Alice stumbled over a tree root for the umpteenth time and swore. “Where the heck am I? What happened?” She asked nobody in particular, trying to distract herself from her aching shins and mounting exhaustion. Alice had never been much for the outdoors - she much preferred a jungle of concrete to an actual jungle.

“Am I dreaming?” she wondered, not for the first time in the last hour.

She pinched herself, hoping that perhaps this time she could wake up. Of course, deep down, she had already figured out this was mostly wishful thinking. Human logic tended to be turned off whenever one was asleep, which was why in a dream you could be dancing underwater while riding a unicorn and not find it the slightest bit odd. However, she was fully aware that her circumstances made no sense to her.

Logically, she had gone to sleep in her bed. In no way should the result of the action ‘going to sleep in bed’ result in ‘waking up in the middle of the forest.’ She definitely couldn’t have sleepwalked here: first of all, because she didn’t sleepwalk; and second of all because even if she somehow started sleepwalking last night there would be no way she would make it so far away from her house that she couldn’t find any trace of human civilization at all; and finally, the idea that she had somehow got out of bed, opened the door to her room and walked out, strolled out of the front door of her house, and then merrily wandered out of the city without anyone noticing and stopping her, or hitting her with a car while she walked through the streets asleep was simply absurd.

Pinching herself did nothing except hurt, and so Alice was currently pursuing the art of questioning reality and her life decisions. Truly a mystical art, it allowed her to realize that, indeed, she was still very confused, and no, she wasn’t currently ready to accept the conclusion that she had completely lost her mind. Without such high-level techniques, she likely would have gone insane somewhere around half an hour ago.

Sighing, Alice sat down on a particularly gnarled and thick tree root to catch her breath. Wandering aimlessly didn’t seem to be accomplishing much, so instead of continuing to do so, she needed to take a breath and figure out what was going on.

“All right, fact one. I went to sleep in my bed and woke up in the middle of nowhere. It’s obvious that this couldn’t have occurred naturally, or at least I can’t think of any reasonable way for it to have occurred naturally. Therefore, someone must have moved me here. That person doesn’t appear to be in the vicinity currently, but they must have either been an intruder or my parents.

"I can’t think of any possible reason for my parents to drop me off in the middle of the wilderness at all, especially on a school night, so…” Alice suddenly felt a chill surge through her body. Had she been kidnapped? She occasionally heard news about people being kidnapped from their beds and murdered by serial killers or other loons, but she had always figured the odds of that happening were about on par with winning the lottery - statistically unlikely, and not worth seriously planning around.

Alice looked around much more cautiously than before, fear making her take note of every shadow. Was there a serial killer in the darkness under the tree branch, coming towards her this very second? A moment later, she forced herself to calm her breathing, and began thinking more carefully.

Then, Alice realized that a serial killer kidnapping her didn’t make sense either. If a serial killer had abducted her, where were they? If she was about to be murdered, she figured that the person who abducted her would have at least bothered to make an appearance sometime in the last hour while she had been wandering around. Didn’t serial killers usually tie their victims up in sheds or something before killing them? Letting them wander around around aimlessly was just begging to be caught by the police. Her serial killer theory might be possible if the serial killer had very specific preferences for letting the victim flee before being killed, but it certainly wasn’t plausible.

Maybe one of her classmates was taking a prank way too far? But she couldn’t think of any of her classmates who would take a practical joke anywhere near this far - this was borderline kidnapping, after all. And how would they have gotten into her house in the first place? Her parents wouldn’t have let in one of her classmates in the middle of the night, or let an acquaintance drag her out of the house while she was still asleep.

Alice noticed that her thinking had run into a wall. No matter how she considered the situation, she couldn’t think of any logical explanation for her current situation. There was no single theory that connected all of the dots in a way that conformed to her understanding of reality. No one she knew had any motive to move her to a random patch of wilderness in the middle of nowhere, and she had no idea how someone could have accomplished the feat. She was relatively certain she wasn’t dreaming either, so she… had no idea.

I notice that I am confused. This means something I believe to be true is not actually true. She began running back through her thoughts and ideas, but she couldn’t think of any way that the current events were plausible. As of right now, she was just very confused and very lost.

Alice frowned, and then stood up and began walking again. Since she had no idea where she was, maybe if she kept walking she would bump into someone else who could help her figure out what was going on. Or at least she might reach the edge of the woods, which would help her figure out where she was. This time, she resolved to go in a straight line while looking for something to navigate towards, and kept walking. And walking. And walking.

Finally, after what felt like hours of walking and finding nothing new, Alice ran out of energy and sat down on the dirt again, dead tired, with her feet scratched up from walking around with no shoes, and still just as lost as before. And saw something completely absurd spring up in glowing letters in front of her eyes.

Through Training, you have increased an attribute!

Endurance: 46 -> 47


Alice felt a moment of total bewilderment, and then began giggling hysterically. Oh, it all made sense now! She was actually insane! First she believed that she had been dropped in the middle of a creepy, silent wilderness when that was obviously ridiculous, and now she was hearing voices in her head telling her that she was in an RPG! Or maybe she had been in a mental hospital for years, or maybe she was in a horrible car crash and she was now in a coma! The nice doctors, seeing that she had turned into a gibbering mess, had then hooked her brain into a virtual reality device from the future! Obviously!

A few minutes later, sanity finally reasserted itself and Alice managed to stop hysterically laughing. She began to reassess her actions and her situation. Even if she was in a coma, or insane, the world around her probably wouldn’t be this… stable, would it? She wasn’t familiar with any studies of coma patients, but this was… probably… not the result of her being in a coma? She also really didn’t want to believe that she was currently dying in a hospital bed.

Which left an option that seemed totally and completely absurd, and only ever appeared in novels, and that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. She was in an alternate world where the laws of reality were fundamentally different. Because that made more sense, obviously! Alice felt an overwhelming urge to kick a nearby tree stump, and began wondering if a stubbed toe would be worth venting her frustrations on mother nature.

“Endurance plus one! What the heck? That doesn’t even make sense! Even supposing alternate dimensions exist which are capable of sustaining life, how the heck would I even get there? Scientists worked for years to figure out how to build basic satellites that can investigate other stars and planets, and a lone human somehow accidentally wanders on her merry way into another planet with no aid or equipment at all? Those scientists clearly worked for nothing if going from one dimension to another is this easy! And even if I got there, why do all of the trees look just like the ones from Earth?

"World, do you even believe in biology? You clearly don’t understand it, so let me tell you that the probability of a planet evolving the exact same flora and fauna as another one is approximately a Bullshit out of 100 chance! Do you even biology, bro? And what the actual fuck is up with this ‘Endurance +1?’ Even if another world exists, are you trying to be a video game? And you speak English? And in the first place, adding a game system onto a planet isn’t just a little blatant disregard for all of the laws of physics like everything else, you’re basically just flipping off reality! Is this supposed to be an alternate dimension or something? I HAVE SO MANY ISSUES WITH THIS SITUATION THAT I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START! What, do I have some sort of status screen too, or-“

At the words ‘status screen,’ glowing blue boxes with black letters appeared in front of her face, as if this world wanted to emphasize even further that no, it did not biology bro. It did not physics either. Unlike biology and physics, this dimension did math, but that was probably it.

Name: Alice Verianna

Age: 15

Strength: 44

Perception: 101

Dexterity: 47

Intelligence: 153

Endurance: 44

Willpower: 118

Charisma: 125

Magic: 0

Primary Classes: 0/5










Secondary Classes

N/A (0)




@*#$(%& language proficiency: #$*/1&


@#($*^&% #%* $*%$(# @(*%&!)&!#$

There were glowing blue boxes with little numbers hovering in front of her. THERE WERE GLOWING BLUE BOXES WITH LITTLE NUMBERS HOVERING IN FRONT OF HER. Not only was the world apparently intent on informing her that “Endurance had increased by 1,” but now she had also turned into an RPG character! She really hoped there was no demon king or similarly contrived final boss in this world, or some sort of prophecy. If she was supposed to be the ‘chosen one’ who was more at home in her school’s science club than doing any form of physical exercise, she was going to bang her head against a tree until she suffered sufficient brain damage to lapse into a coma, thus hopefully escaping to a dream-world where at least something would make sense to her.

With a thought, her Status Screen closed.

Alice closed her eyes and focused on taking deep breaths. In, out. In, out. In… Gradually, she calmed down and relaxed. There was no way that was real, right? She was just imagining things. There was no way some sort of bizarre RPG system would just… create glowing, physics-defying letters that appeared in front of her. Right? That would violate so many laws of physics and reality as a whole that it was impossible.

That’s right, she just needed to try again, to prove that nothing would happen if she said the words of madness again, and then she could go back to questioning all of the other highly improbable but still technically possible events that had happened recently.

Alice tried to summon the status screen by thinking ‘status screen’ without saying a word out loud. Lo and behold, magically glowing letters and numbers reappeared. Her brain hurt. The words of madness were official. They had power that could shake reality and, more importantly, her sanity.

“That’s… That’s impossible! That doesn’t even make sense! RPG stat screens are built to make very simplified models of reality for the sake of entertainment in a video game, not to overshadow reality in its ability to simulate cause and effect! That doesn’t… That doesn’t even… RRRRGGGHHHHH.” Alice slammed her head into one of the dead trees nearby, trying to bash some common sense back into her brain. Sadly, it failed.

After all of the panicking, screaming, running around in circles, and tripping and falling on her face and cursing her low athletic abilities had ceased, Alice accepted that there was, in fact, some sort of RPG-game-like mechanic that governed this world. Or she had already gone bonkers and was only now realizing it. Come to think of it, it was impossible for just ‘another planet in the Milky Way’ to have this sort of totally different set of natural laws of reality. Unless it was just somehow nonfunctional on Earth, but for now she was going to assume she was somewhere the rules seemed to behave entirely differently.

Therefore, at the very least she was probably in a different dimension right now. Thus far, the laws of physics seemed to be mostly the same - gravity still seemed to be doing pretty much the same thing, and from what she could see of the sky it seemed kinda similar, although she couldn’t see it very well through the dead canopy so that could just be her misconception. The moon and stars looked… kind of similar to the night sky she was used to seeing as well.

She wished she had a piece of paper to start writing all of this down, but in lieu of that she began making mental notes.

Things I know

  1. I appear to be in a dimension different from ‘home.’ This dimension, or at least this planet within this dimension, appears to operate off of an ‘RPG’ like system
  2. The laws of physics appear to be mostly unchanged, at least the ones I can immediately observe (gravity).
  3. I can breathe, indicating oxygen exists and is readily available within the atmosphere.
  4. I am standing in what appears to be a very Earth-like forest. This indicates that, in addition to atmosphere, most other conditions should be fairly similar to Earth - even in another universe, unless something is VERY different, the laws of natural selection should still be at work, so the fact that trees independently evolved here means the environment is similar.
  5. My status screen indicates there is something called ‘magic’ in this world. More investigation needed. In fact, scratch that-more investigation needed into the entire RPG-like system in general, including presence or lack thereof of magic.

Alice nodded as she thought over her checklist. It wasn’t anything concrete, but she at least had a starting point to work with now. If she just kept double-checking reality, she might even keep her sanity in the near future! Maybe. Probably not. To be fair, she might have already lost her sanity. After all, if someone said something and reality said something else, reality was correct and you were not, and she definitely felt like reality was wrong right now. However, reality also usually didn't teleport people into other dimensions with totally different laws in the middle of the night.

She took another deep breath, trying to calm down. She still didn’t have 100% definitive proof, but she was still pretty sure she was in another dimension entirely. A different world with an entirely different history of evolution, totally different species (although the trees nearby looked an awful lot like dead trees on Earth, so perhaps she was wrong), and an RPG system possibly governing everything in the world.

Immediately following this thought, she realized something horrifying. When the Europeans landed in the New World, the New World had suffered from a myriad of diseases as a result of two different continents suddenly meeting. She couldn’t even begin to imagine how different an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT WORLD’S diseases were - or how poorly prepared her immune system was to deal with them.

She was probably going to contract this planet’s version of the black death and die within a few days or a few weeks. She had some hope that maybe, maybe the RPG system would protect her, or help her in some way? Probably not, though-when she looked more closely at her status screen, her only Skill was a giant glitch sign with the words ‘language proficiency’ embedded somewhere in the words, and the RPG system seemed to have no knowledge whatsoever of any of her other characteristics. For example, she had spent almost a year working in the computer lab after school learning how to build robots using Arduino, and was relatively proficient in most of the subjects taught by the public school system. However, none of those skills were listed in her Status Screen.

That indicated…what, that the system had no idea what to make of her? That ‘Robotics’ or ‘Computer programming’ or whatever didn’t exist here? The glitched language proficiency sign was probably English, so it recognized her ability to speak English, but not do basic math? Alice didn’t really know what to make of everything she was seeing right now, honestly. And if the System had no clue what to make of her, the odds of it knowing what to do in order to prepare her immune system for whatever variant of magical smallpox existed here were probably something like a billion to one. And that was an optimistic number.

She was so screwed.

On the bright side, there appeared to be something called Perks and Achievements in her Status Screen as well. Maybe there was a solution somewhere in the System, if she could find it in time? Maybe there was a perk that would let her access magic, and then she would somehow manage to use spells to claw her way out of the plague?

She finally got up, twitching with nerves after processing the basics of her situation. Right. So I just need to find a way to deal with whatever this world’s version of the Black Death is before I die from contracting it, figure out whether the flora/fauna of this planet is hostile/poisonous/terrifying, figure out what the heck is up with this weird ‘RPG System,’ figure out what’s up with MAGIC, and figure out how the hell I ended up on another planet/dimension. Simple goals.

Alice looked at her to-do list and felt the urge to throw something. Was this to do list even achievable? She had been here for less than two hours! Two hours! Her worldview had been shattered, half of the laws of reality had taken a vacation and then decided halfway through that vacation that they were never returning, and she had no idea if eating would be lethal! For all she knew, the air might be poisonous to her or something, and she was already on the way to her grave this very second.

But, a seed of determination sprouted in her heart in the midst of outrage and fear. If she failed to survive here, no one would be coming to save her. If any of her guesses about the nature of her new destination were true, her parents and friends from the world she was from probably had no way to contact her, or even figure out where she was.

Even if they searched every single constituent atom of the Earth, they wouldn’t find a single trace of her. Heck, maybe her home dimension ran at a different time ratio than this one - she had heard stories from Irish mythology of people who wandered into Faerie Circles for a few days and came back decades older, or returning years later and claiming only a few days had passed. Since there was obviously something supernatural going on here, maybe the old stories had some truth to them. She had no way at all of knowing right now.

Either way, counting on someone else to help her was probably pointless. And Alice wouldn’t accept dying in the middle of the wilderness with no clue why or how she had gotten there in the first place. She wanted to know, and if she managed to survive this, she could probably learn more about the nature of reality and the universe(s) than any other living person, ever. It was a thought that was tantalizing enough to tempt even the least curious human being ever - and Alice was so curious it often got her in trouble. She just needed to avoid dying first.