Chapter 1:

One: Skeletal Life

Reincarnated as a Skeleton Stuck in War! (COMPLETED)

I awoke to an endless void. The world was darkness, and nothing else existed in this universe. After the passage of countless eons, I became one with the dark and accepted its eternal embrace.Bookmark here

The next thing I knew, I find myself lying on a flat surface. The starless sky greeted my sight, and I felt that something had changed in my environment. I intuitively realized that I was no longer inside that endless void. However, I couldn't quite put on my finger on what changed since then.Bookmark here

The air felt cold, as if my body froze for a long time, and silence greeted me no matter how hard I listened. As a test, I tried shifting my limbs. Thankfully, I experienced no impediment in moving my figure.Bookmark here

Questions popped inside my mind, and I couldn't answer them until I investigated my surroundings. When I belatedly overcame my lethargy, sat up, and looked around, I witnessed hundreds and thousands of marble beds, each occupied by a skeleton! I immediately checked my hands and confirmed my worst fear -- I turned into the living dead!Bookmark here

"NO!" I screamed as I shook my head and closed my eyes to avoid looking at my ghastly bones. But I suddenly discovered that I couldn't extinguish my vision because I had lost my eyelids. "Why did this happen to me?" I shouted at no one in particular. "ARGH!" I screamed with all my energy. Bookmark here

Before I knew it, something restrained me! "That's enough," a mildly annoying voice interrupted my temper tantrum. A black rubber band enveloped my body, including my mouth! No matter how hard I yelled, no sound came forth.Bookmark here

I accepted my defeat, turned toward the speaker, and witnessed a ghost! Somehow, I sensed its power and knew that I couldn't win if I fought it right now. That's assuming I could free myself first.Bookmark here

However, the interloper didn't attack. Instead, it waved a hand, and my invisible bonds immediately dissipated. "Have you calmed down, soldier?"Bookmark here

"Huh?" I blurted out with a question mark floating above my skull.Bookmark here

The ghost sighed and waved its hand again. A screen appeared with the following information:Bookmark here

"Name: AtreyuBookmark here

Race: SkeletonBookmark here

Age: 0Bookmark here

Profession: Class-G SoldierBookmark here

Affiliation: The Shadow Bones"Bookmark here

"Everything seems to be in order," the ghost remarked and dismissed the status screen. "My name is Cense, and I'm your supervisor. I see that you have a bunch of questions right now. Since you are the first newborn of this batch of recruits to awaken, I'll be generous and humor you." Cense waved his hand for me to proceed.Bookmark here

"Where am I? What am I doing here?" I asked.Bookmark here

"You have been drafted to join the Shadow Bones! Your task is to join our glorious fight against The Biting Wreckers and steadily grow in power until you evolve to a higher undead being," Cense explained. His eyes glowed red as his expression turned fanatical at the prospect of leading a new army to victory against those hateful enemies.Bookmark here

"But I'm human!" I protested.Bookmark here

My supervisor erupted in laughter. "Hehehehe! That's a good one!" The ghost couldn't maintain its form and wink in and out of view. After a minute, Cense regained his calm. "What's the last thing you remember?"Bookmark here

I thought hard to remember what happened. Initially, my mind came up blank, but a minute later, memories started flooding my brain. "I went to sleep after a day of hard work at my retail job. I awoke inside this darkness but lost consciousness. Then I arrived here," I shared.Bookmark here

Cense nodded his approval because he heard similar tales billions of times already. The supervisor didn't know which part of the multi-verse I came from, but it sounded like I came from a mortal realm instead of a divine one. Otherwise, the ghost would eject me immediately because the gods were troublesome creatures to use by the undead.Bookmark here

"You died and reincarnated," he said bluntly. "Your soul passed through the Eternal Void and landed in our world of The Grotesque Myriad, a place ruled by the undead. Your former life as a human is over, and now, you are a part of The Shadow Bones. You will fight for survival and become stronger after each battle."Bookmark here

The supervisor paused for a moment and chose his words carefully. "Since you retained your past life's memories, you possess a greater soul than your siblings here. I would be very disappointed if you lose your unlife in your first battle."Bookmark here

Someone cried out to our north. "I must go and check on your newborn sibling. You will remain in bed until an alarm sounds for you to mobilize and fight. Since you are the eldest, I will grant you some equipment. Spend your time practicing with them to ensure your survival." Cense reached his hand into a pocket dimension and pulled out a sword and shield.Bookmark here

I held them in my hand, and surprisingly, I knew how to use these items. "Thank you!"Bookmark here

"Show your gratitude by appearing on the Ladder," Cense retorted. "I must go!" He waved off my question and disappeared.Bookmark here

I took my time scrutinizing each item. Although a dark aura surrounded each, it didn't hurt me at all. Instead, I felt comfortable and enhanced as the black energy circulated inside my new body and nourished my spirit.Bookmark here

I took an experimental swing with the sword and marveled at how easily it cut through the air and whistled. Next, I banged the sword pommel against the shield and heard a slight "gon" sound. Even as a beginner, I recognized both items as special equipment that I didn't deserve to use. Bookmark here

Although I became pleased at Cense's generosity, I realized that he expected reciprocation on the battlefield in the form of high kill counts against the enemy troops. And if I fail to produce good results, the supervisor could easily confiscate my new equipment and pass them to a more worthy soldier.Bookmark here

Therefore, I spent the remaining time practicing with my sword and shield. Although I never used such equipment in my previous life, somehow, I knew what to do as I fought imaginary opponents. I read enough light novels and played enough RPGs to realize that my Soldier profession had granted proficiency in using the sword and shield.Bookmark here

Since Cense mentioned that this was an undead world, I expected to fight other skeletons. Thus, I practiced striking with the flat of my blade because sword slashes were not effective against such monsters. However, I had practiced for five hours straight and never felt tired. I began to recognize and appreciate the benefit of becoming undead -- never tiring on the battlefield.Bookmark here

During my session, I purposely ignored the stares of other skeletons sitting up on their beds and watching my practice. Bookmark here

However, one of my siblings finally approached me with a demand. "Give me your equipment!" he said in a haughty voice.Bookmark here

"Cense, our supervisor, gave them to me. If you want a set of equipment, ask him," I replied while continuing my sword swings.Bookmark here

The other skeleton became incensed. "How dare you refuse, you insolent cur! I am Renaud Claes, heir of the Claes Earldom!"Bookmark here

"No, you are not," I refuted calmly. "You reincarnated into a skeleton soldier like everyone else in this place. Instead of a human with an earl family's backing, you turned into mere cannon fodder for an endless war between undead armies. If you can't adjust to your new reality, you won't survive your first battle," I warned.Bookmark here

"Liar! If you refuse to hand them over, I'll take them from you!" Renaud suddenly charged at me!Bookmark here

I calmly tracked his movements and sidestepped him with perfect timing. Then I slapped my blade against his rear and knocked Renaud into my stone bed. *Crash*Bookmark here

Cense teleported to our location and glared at us. The ghost saw me aiming my newly acquired sword at another skeleton sprawled on my stone bed. "What's going on here?" the supervisor asked.Bookmark here

I pointed at Renaud's head, and he flinched. "This fool thinks he's still a noble, and he's demanding the sword and shield you granted me," I explained.Bookmark here

"Is that so?" the ghost turned his anger at Renaud. "I need to straighten you out." A black band wrapped around the troublemaker, and Cense pulled his captive away.Bookmark here

"What are you doing? Release me! NO!" the skeleton screamed before he disappeared from the chamber.Bookmark here

The witnesses immediately lay flat on their stone beds and pretended to sleep. Bookmark here

Once everything settled down, I resumed my sword swing while desperately trying to recall my former life as a human. I soon encountered trouble remembering events such as birthdays and graduations. I also focused on memories of happiness and sadness as a way to retain my humanity.Bookmark here

I feared that I would soon lose those precious recollections as I adapted to my harsh new life as an undead skeletal soldier and cannon fodder. However, as the hours turned into days and weeks, I lost my emotions and memories one trickle at a time until I became an emotionless warrior.Bookmark here

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