"Another trash novel finished. Guess I'll leave a 3-star rating." Victor was a regular reader of any and all reincarnation light novels on TrashNovels.com and moderated the site. "Right time for my 1000th review on this shitty website." While pondering what to write, Victor reached over to retrieve a potato chip and leaned back into his chair. There was a slight creaking sound as the chair defied his weight. "Darn chair, need to get a new one..." Victor grumbled as his hands drifted quickly over the keyboard, illuminated by his two screens and the moonlight coming through his half-open curtains as he furiously typed away.
As the connoisseur of light novels in the field of reincarnation, Victor liked to leave extensive reviews on what could be improved in an already written story. "Why are all these protagonists so dumb? Do they all think with their other head? How does he even have a harem by the second chapter?" He read out loud as he typed away.
A gentle voice whispered, "Do you think you could do better?" The voice had a mischievous tone to it. Music blared in his ears, and Victor was still busy typing his review and, therefore, was not fully paying attention.
"Of course, I could do better," Were the last words of his review instead of an answer to the question given by the mysterious voice.
"Hehe, confident, aren't we, little one? So why not give it a go?" The voice persisted, and Victor simply snorted, "Am I finally going crazy?" He checked if the song had changed on his YouTube tab, but his music was all normal. He had listened to the same lofi hip-hop beats for the last ten hours.
"If you could start over, would you?"
Victor instantly straightened his back and looked around his dark room. He grabbed a ballpoint pen on his desk and held it in a reverse grip. The room remained silent for a while, and Victor gulped. Finally, he humoured the voice and answered, "If I could leave this shitty life behind and live like these protagonists, I would have done so long ago..." The room remained pin drop silent except for the whirling of his computer fan. "I finally went crazy!" Victor slumped back in his chair and stared at his screens. He suddenly felt exhausted. Victor rubbed his eyes and stifled a yawn as he pressed submit on his one-thousandth review.
Feeling content with himself for finally finishing every reincarnation novel on the website, he lay back in his chair. "Why do I feel so tired?" he muttered while taking a sip of his energy drink. Then, he watched in shock as his hand lost all its strength and the can fell to the floor. His head rolled to the side, and he used all his effort to stay awake.
Yet, nothing could prevent his eyes from closing despite caffeine surging through his veins. Victor felt something was terribly wrong, but he had little power to stop it. For the first time in his life, he felt genuinely helpless. 'Am I having a heart attack?' He thought as he clutched his chest.
The sudden mechanical female voice and floating text furthered his feeling that something had gone terribly wrong.
"Congratulations, mortal, you have been chosen..."
And then his vision went black.
Victor floated within an unknown space for a long time.
Then something seemed to pull.
Gently at first but slowly getting stronger...
"Welcome to my realm…."
A girl appeared before him from the darkness.
Her face was blurred and distorted, but she had a feminine figure.
"I am so glad you accepted my offer!"
"Huh, what offer," Victor said, but no sound came out of his mouth.
The distorted shadow girl tilted her head in confusion. "But you said you could do better than all those before you?"
Victor thought hard. Was she referring to his review? Or perhaps she was that voice he heard before arriving here? "Wait, before me?"
"Yes, all those supposed stories you read actually happened. I am a Goddess of reincarnation and am here to send you to a new world!"
"That just makes it even more disturbing." Victor blurted out. He didn't believe this girl was a Goddess for one second, nor that all those stories he had read actually happened. "You are telling me that the Black Smith harem novel I just finished was a historical account of real events?"
The self-proclaimed Goddess sidestepped the question and continued her speech unimpeded. "Anyway, it's time to pick what to be reincarnated as!"
With a clap of her hands, a blue screen appeared before Victor.
He scrutinized the screen, and a disturbing realization washed over him. It was an actual blue screen like the ones from all those novels involving stat pages. "I am being sent to a game world?"
The shadow girl nodded.
Victor returned his sights to the screen. It was a long list of races with numbers next to them. "Ok, so first, I need to select a race. What do these points next to them mean?"
"Oh, oops, I forgot to mention you have 10 points to spend. Certain races cost more than others; the points can also be used to buy skills, so spend wisely."
[Dragon] - 10
[Vampire] - 10
[Angel] - 10
[High Human] - 8
[Human] - 5
[High Elf] - 8
[Dark Elf] - 7
[Elf] - 6
[Beastman] (Multiple options available) - 2
[Dwarf] - 6
"Can I ask questions about the world?" Victor said toward the Goddess.
The hazy figure seemed to smirk at him as if enjoying his predicament and her tone became a little venomous, "No. I already gave you thousands of stories worth of information, yet you still ask for more. Classic greedy humans. I will only answer questions involving races or skills you have never seen before. However, I will say... the world you are going to has magic, and you will start as a baby of whatever race you choose." The Goddess laughed. "Although some races start more mature than others, so choose wisely! You have ten minutes to decide, or I will choose the human race for you..."
Victor frowned as he looked over the list; after a while, he began mumbling like a crazy person. Unfortunately, he didn't have enough time to deeply consider each option, so he just summarized his thoughts on each.
"Considering all those light novels about reincarnation are real... I have an extensive database of knowledge to pull from. First on the list, Dragons. An excellent choice at first glance. Apex predators with high magic resistance, muscular bodies, and long life spans. More powerful dragons can also transform into humans and roam cities."
"But before obtaining a human form, I would have to sleep in a cave and eat animals and monsters raw. I could be killed by other dragons for entering their territory; famous adventure groups will come knocking to kill me for my scales and the title of being a dragon slayer. But by far, the biggest disadvantage is starting as a baby dragon. I would be nothing but a glorified fire-breathing lizard and would need to eat and sleep for hundreds of years before I could survive easily on my own. However, If I can't find anything better, I guess dragon would be a good choice."
Victor quickly moved on to the next on the list. "Vampires have an infinite life span, are very powerful, and look similar to humans. But with their power comes far too many drawbacks, such as weakness to silver, sunlight, holy and fire magic. Even bodies of water and locked doors may be an issue if religion is prevalent in this new world. Also, I would have to do everything at night and never be able to leave a castle or something."
"Angels. The holy magic and wings would be incredible, but I don't want to be worshipped everywhere I go and forced to hold ceremonies for the church… so nope, moving on."
"High humans and normal humans have the same issues. If you were thrown into a new world with no relatives, friends, or acquaintances. No money or form of identification. Good luck getting into any city or getting a high-paying job. Usually, in the stories, the protagonist gets around this issue by miraculously saving a noble carriage from bandits and then being invited into the city with no questions... But, wait, didn't the Goddess say they weren't stories but actually happened?" Victor cast an accusing glance at the Goddess, who patiently awaited his decision, and she gave a slight nod toward him.
"How did they always manage to find a stranded noble? They should travel with more protection, given how often it seems to happen!" The Goddess didn't react to him, so he continued his line of thought, "Also, let's be totally honest. If given a chance, why live a similar life to the one you already had? Sure I will have cheat-like abilities to make my life easier, but I always dreamed of being something greater, like a dragon that's way cooler than a dull human. Also, humans have a shorter life span than the other species on this list, if not the shortest."
"Becoming an elf seems like the most viable option here on paper. Extended life, good at magic and archery, and extremely beautiful. While also being rather similar to humans. That's until you remember they are often captured and sold as slaves in almost every story ever written, or the fact they live on nuts, berries and fruits while deep in the wild away from any type of civilization. I would go mad! Same with Beastmen. They are also often treated like shit by humans; they have short and harsh lives, so yea, that's a no."
"Dwarves... are rated at six? Now that I think about it, they are always the most technologically advanced race with advanced systems like indoor plumbing and are usually on good terms with all the other races by providing weapons and services. Not to mention their affinity with earth-based magics and smithing. Are they not also super strong, immune to poisons which causes their ridiculous alcohol tolerance, and live for hundreds of years? Huh, if not for their short stature, living in caves and dirty lifestyle, they could make an excellent choice."
Victor spent another few minutes thinking over the list, but they all had something wrong with them, and when given a choice, he always preferred to pick the best one, "I like dragons, but I was wondering if there were other options?" But unfortunately, his time was running out, so he decided to take his shot.
The Goddess sighed, "You are the first person to ask me that. Most just choose to become a Dragon or High Human. There are other options, but I never bothered to show them since they are less desirable to human reincarnators."
The previous list fazed out of existence, and a new one took its place.
[Slime] - 0
[Spider] - 0
[Goblin] - 0
[Gnome] - 0
[Wolf] - 1
[Lizard man] - 2
[Troll] - 3
[Centaur] - 4
[Mermaid] - 4
Victor's eyes scanned down the list, and he scoffed, "Nope, these are all too weak, even having 10 points left over to spend on skills can't compensate for how weak and slow these races evolve. Sure there are stories of super-strong slimes or goblins, but it took years and immense luck, even with overpowered abilities, to get strong enough to defend themselves."
Before going back and picking Dragon or High Human, Victor asked the Goddess, "Are there undead or spirit options?"
"Uh, sure there are, but why would you want to be an undead?"
Again the screen changed to reveal what Victor had been looking for.
[Skeleton] - 0
[Whisp] - 0
[Ghost] - 1
[Zombie] - 1
[Mummy] - 1
[Banshee] - 2
[Ghoul] - 2
[Living armor] -3
[Deathlock] - 4
[Dracolich] - 8
[Netherborne] - 10
Victor felt like he prefered these options; at least they were far better than becoming a spider or slime, 'Since the Goddess said I would be reborn as a baby, I was planning on becoming a Lich since there is no such thing as a baby lich, but there seem to be two better options. Why a lich? They are immortal and do not need food, water, or money. Any work I need to accomplish can be done by my raised minions. Also, in the stories I read, undead MCs always seem to overtake nations'
'A Dracolich seems to be a dragon that turned itself into a lich, similar to how a human can become a lich. I guess it would be just a giant bone dragon.'
"Goddess, what is a Netherborne? I have never heard of one before."
The Goddess seemed hesitant to answer as if that option wasn't supposed to be available, "The most powerful undead in existence."
"My better judgment tells me to go with my original plan and pick Lich, but why is Netherborne valued twice as highly as a lich, the supposed king of the undead? Even a dragon turned into a lich is cheaper than the Netherborne..."
"Can you tell me anything else about Netherbornes?" Victor pleaded with the Goddess, but she shook her shadowy head. "No. I would also prefer if you didn't pick it."
Victor ignored the Goddess's warning. If she didn't want him to pick a super overpowered race, it had to be perfect for his plans. "Do I start with any abilities?"
"Language understanding and any innate abilities to the race, for example, spiders would have a poison fang ability and elves have wind magic."
Victor stared at the options for a while before coming to a conclusion. "Ok, I pick Netherborne." Something about that unknown race called out to him as if it was his destiny all along.
"Really, you sure? You can't pick any abilities then since it cost 10 points."
"Even though I can't start with any abilities... I'm sure I can obtain some later. Also, considering there are creatures like dragons that are way stronger than liches, my life won't be 100% secure if I choose Lich, but if I am an undead at the same level as a dragon, then what could go wrong?"
"Yea, no problem. Make me a Netherborne."
"Very well then, best of luck."
Upon his final words, the world went black as his consciousness faded away for the second time today.