(Old) Chapter 2- A Bit of Self-Inflicted Anxiety
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Something feels... off. It's that same lost feeling from when I first went into the arcade, but... less bad. I freeze, waiting until I become more accustomed to this body.

There's a damp, hard sensation coming from my feet. It feels like moss.

However, when I look down to try and actually figure out what it is, the motion causes me to lose my balance. To make matters worse, Natt decided to spawn me on a freaking slope. So yeah. It was a rough fall.

My only saving grace was a rotted tree-trunk which I fortunately(?) crashed into, stopping me from falling all the way. As I lay there, dazed, I made a relatively rational decision and decided to wait until I get more used to this new body. 

It looks like I'm in a thick forest. Most of the ground is covered in fallen leaves and branches, as well as a few pockets of moss near patches of sunlight. 

As for myself, I'm... white. Like, really white. Pearly white. And a little bit of red. The red comes from these crimson inscriptions marking the dorsal side of my hand, running up my arm while creating points at my shoulders and converging at my chest. There's also this uncomfortable feeling on my back. I try to turn myself to see what it is, but my body still isn't really working that well. At least I can turn my head. So... Okay then. I have wings now. I'm able to barely wiggle it up and down a few inches.

After I feel I've become more used to this body, I pry myself out from the trunk and look behind me. Past my trunky savior, the slope eventually tapers to flat ground about twenty meters off. Not sure what else to do, I make my way back to where I spawned, a process made relatively easy due to the markings of scattered moss and broken branches. 

While I make my way up, I can't help but think of how, despite the sharp fall, I'm still surprisingly unscathed. There were parts where I felt something sharp pressing into my skin, yet, looking over myself, I couldn't find any lacerations. While I'm trying to figure out why I see an out-of-place leather backpack.

Inside is a small note. Scrawled in neat, lackadaisical handwriting are the following sentences. Hey, if you're reading this, that probably means you've arrived.

Great observation.

So first off, think in your head, "Status."

Hmm? Status.

A crystalline display pops up in front of me. I can still see the ground through the translucent windows, though it's slightly blurred and tinted a light blue. The four windows each list different features; the current ones, when read left to right and top to bottom, are my profile, stats, skills, and titles. My profile lists my name as Draemon and that I'm a devil- what? Okay, sure. Why not- but the rest of the values are blank.

It also gave my stats, but there isn't really any reason to list them since there isn't really anything to compare them to. For my skills, they look roughly on par for a devil's, though the "True Immortal" skill is off-putting. I guess it means I can't be killed? That sounds pretty nice. As for my titles, the only one I currently have is "Transmigrator."

Separated to the right of all the previously mentioned windows is a small exclamation point. I'm about to try to press it, but decide to finish reading the rest of the note.

A menu pops up, right? There should be a notification on the right side. Click it.

Oh, okay. Tapping that brings up a new menu saying,

Ability, "A Snippet of Time," is ready to be received. Will you acquire it?

[Yes] [No]

Oddly enough, I feel inclined not to click the ability that sounds like something a devil would offer you. Wait. Wait a minute...

Don't click it.

Something is off here.

Click it after you go inside the cave and protect yourself.

So, I really don't want to click it now. And there was a cave? I do see a rocky recess further up, though whether I would want to go inside is another story. 

Alright, that's about it. As for your backpack, don't worry about having to wear it. I set it to be your inventory so just think the word "Inventory" and it'll disappear.

Okay..? Inventory.

The backpack disintegrates into wisps, weaving through the air before returning to and being absorbed by my body. That leaves the note and questionable ability. Checking my status menu reveals that I did, in fact, get an inventory, so I toss the paper inside.

That leaves the ability. The note said to obtain it after entering the cave and protecting myself, but how would I do that? The backpack didn't come with any weapons, and it's not like I could magically conjure some sort of weapon from m- nevermind I can. Knife hands~ Though I need to test some things...

So it seems like it can also be a sword, hammer, scythe (cool), needle, basically anything I could think of. While doing so, I found that it's basically my entire body that could change shape. I'm pretty much armed to the teeth. I also tried making something more advanced, like a gun, but it didn't work out.

As for how well the weapon performs, it's sharp enough to cut through wood; even when I tested it on a tree trunk, it cut cleanly through. Experiments on the rocks show that although I can't actually cut through them, with enough force, I'm able to leave a mark. Somewhat more reassured, I climb up to the cave in case something stupid makes me fall again.

The entrance of the cave, as I imagined it would be, is dark, foreboding, and something that I want to avoid going into. And probably something other people wouldn't want to go into either. 

...

Oh.

...

Does it really have to be like this? Is there any other option?

...

So I was thinking for a bit, and basically, I have two options. I can leave and find somewhere better, or stay here and get it over with. 

If I leave, that would mean exposing myself whatever chances upon me, pretty much screwing me over if they have bad intentions. And at the same time, there's no guarantee that I would even find anyone who would be hospitable enough to protect/hide me. I think their reaction would be something like, "Okay, so you're a devil. I'm going to agree with you until your back is turned and murder you when your guard is down because I think that would make me heroic," or something like that. 

On the other hand, if I do it now, I glance towards the lightless maw and shudder, I would most likely have the ability acquired long before anyone even realizes I'm here. It's really that simple. But...

It's... dark.

...

The benefits outweigh the risks.

...

But it's dark.

...

I won't regret this.

...

But it's dark.

...

 


 

After a long, hard-fought internal struggle, I decided to at least give the cave a chance. Stepping inside, I'm bombarded with musty smells, the likes of dead vegetation and sporing mushrooms. Reflexively I close my eyes and surprisingly, the anxiety seems to ease away when I can't see. It's weird. I open my eyes to try and- it's dark. Can't see. I have to- Okay then. Eyes stay closed.

Fortunately, I can still feel my way with my hands and feet.

A long way in, a random thought strikes me. How the hell am I even going to get out of this

...

Ahh... shit. Shit. Nevermind. Just don't think about it. Just keep continuing.

Eventually, I feel myself hit a wall. Feeling around at the sides gives the impression that I'm surrounded on three sides. This should be fine then. Status. 

Although I somewhat expected it, I can't actually imagine how this would physically work. Even in this nearly lightless cave, even with my eyes completely shut, a status menu still pops up in front of me. I motion to select the notification with my arms before remembering where I exactly am. I try to choose the notification mentally, and it works, somehow.

Ability, "A Snippet of Time," is ready to be received. Will you acquire it?

[Yes] [No]

I select [Yes].

A heaving feeling comes over my eyelids, something akin to the chance of sleep after several all-nighters. I ease myself into a corner of the cave, and as the feeling envelopes me, I instinctively curl myself into a ball. Literally. I could somehow feel my body's exterior liquifying and hardening, surrounding me in the form of a solid, dense shell.

Finished shifting, I give in to the feeling.

The feeling of tiredness.

Thankfully, this one's a pleasant feeling.

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