Chapter 2:

1 – A world like TLO

Okane o Subete Sekai e Chikara

A world like TLO

The irritating and warm morning sunlight pouring directly on my face forced my awkward awakening.Bookmark here

Looking around me, I see a plain and many trees, green as far as the eye can see. Looking down, in front of my eyes, a strange cloth with ocher colors and embroidery in carmine and gold is what I wear. Maybe I am not particularly disturbed or nervous at the moment, despite waking up in an unknown place wearing unknown clothes, but that's because I find it familiar. I have certainly seen it before, the act of digging through my memories keeps my sanity for now.Bookmark here

Even with the shiny sun in the sky, the air is fresh and humid, that is one of the factors that leads me to think its morning. Besides that, last time I was awake it was at night, around 3 or 4 am. I really don't remember well, time has been meaningless to me these last months. That night I was immersed in TLO (True Life Online), like every night in the last year... and day.Bookmark here

Don't think of me as an obsessive of videogames, you would be wrong. TLO is the first and only game I obsessed with in my life since Carmen Sandiego (a detective game I played as a child). I am actually a businessman, you could think of me as a seller or dealer. I worked in a relatively big company while climbing to the top, I reached an important and very well paid position, as it should be. I really was a rising star, until an incident that changed my life.Bookmark here

Roughly fifteen months ago I lost my much desired job and I was relegated to minor labors that wouldn't take me anywhere. Due to legal reasons, the company couldn't fire me or cut my salary, which until then had always come on the rise, since I am someone ambitious and a hard worker... Or I was. But it was clear that since then I had become a nuisance.Bookmark here

When keep rising in the company became impossible, I fell in depression, since I knew I couldn't work nor earn so much money anywhere else. In a blink of an eye, my ambitions faced an obstacle that I could not overcome. While depressed, I saw a commercial that captured my attention immediately, it announced the opening of a new server for a game that was apparently gaining popularity.Bookmark here

Why that commercial caught my attention even though I was no videogame lover myself?Bookmark here

It's because one of the characters in the game that appeared in the commercial looked just like me. He wore ocher clothes with red and gold embroidery and had an emblem with coins, apparently a merchant class of the game. But beyond the clothing and of course, the differences that anyone can point out between a computerized image and reality, it was me.Bookmark here

It's out of the question that I hurried to get the game and sign in to that server. As a matter of course, i took the path of the merchant, not just because I myself was one, but because otherwise I could not be calm, since beside that one time, I never saw that commercial again, nor found it on internet. In hindsight, I would lie if I said that at no time I thought it was a hallucination, but now...Bookmark here

"That's the character I saw in that commercial", it's what I can't get out of my head. Now that I'm seeing my own reflection in the stream that was nearby to where I awakened. Since the beginning the character was identical to me, I just needed to dress the same to look like it, which means that these clothes I am wearing are... Those of the final rank of the merchant class.Bookmark here

Last night, after many long hardships, I finally reached the requirements to upgrade my TLO's character to the highest rank of profession of the merchant class. So far, no matter what I did, neither my character nor any other looked like the one in that commercial. The only thing I could think of, is that it was the highest rank of profession. Well, it isn't weird for commercials to expose the final forms of each class.Bookmark here

Taking into account that TLO is a pretty sadistic game, only the vicious will play for long enough to reach even the intermediate rank of any class, is no surprise that even after a year of the server opening, no one have reached the highest rank of the unpopular merchant class.Bookmark here

Why sadistic?Bookmark here

At the start of the game, everybody have a character of the class called <<Rookie>>, without talents and child's like stats. The only enemy they can defeat at level 1 is the weakest in the game, and it gives only 1 experience point, and the next weakest, that gives 2 points, is proportionally stronger and hard to beat, that's twice. To that we must add that to level up to level 2 Rookie you need a thousand experience points...Bookmark here

Considering a super weak character, which needs an atrocity to buildup, those simply curious leave the game almost immediately, few are the casual players to attain the level 10 Rookie, necessary to move forward the <<Adventurer>> class.Bookmark here

The Adventurer is slightly stronger than the Rookie. If I had to make an analogy, its equivalent to a normal teenager, and I'm serious, the character isn't stronger than a high school student. The benefit of advance to adventurer is that its possible to learn weaker versions of the class's skills of the ranked classes, helping when it's time to choose one. Of course, at that point you're nothing more than addicted to the game.Bookmark here

If I have to guess, I'm embodying my character from TLO. A friend in the game which proclaimed itself otaku, talked to me about novels and tv series where this was a thing.Bookmark here

Based on what I know until now, this isn't a virtual world, that technology is far from been as realist as life itself, so I guess this is reality, another world most likely.Bookmark here

How I know it's another world?Bookmark here

Well if you ask me...Bookmark here

Pick your favorite:Bookmark here

The people I has been seeing while hiding myself in the foliage wear clothes severely out of time, pull carts, and wield swords and bows.Bookmark here

Every now and then, I catch a glimpse of animals like your typical bunny, deer and sheep, only these have unnatural colors and marks on their bodies.Bookmark here

And my favorite. As soon I focus on myself, like the time I stared at my clothes upon waking, something like this appears in my mind:Bookmark here

<<Argent Makoto – Human 1>>Bookmark here

Job: MARKET MASTER  Lv 1Bookmark here

-VP: 23/25          -Resistance: 2          -Defense: 1Bookmark here

-MP: 5/8              -Knowledge-: 78     -Intellect: 295Bookmark here

-Energy: 14/20   -Strength: 2             -Mind: 3Bookmark here

-Agility: 3             -Talent: 1                  -Spirit: 2Bookmark here

Items: ▼             Equipament: ▼      Skills▼Bookmark here

Titles▼                Money: 00Bookmark here

....................Bookmark here

"WHAT THE HELL!?"Bookmark here

Fuck, for a moment I lost my composure when I looked again… uf.Bookmark here

Well, basically, I have stats and class, so I must assume that this world has a system like that of the game, although mine are lower than normal with the exception of Knowledge and Intellect. Even if they reseted for some reason, they are too low even for a Rookie, which has all stats set at 10 from level 1 to begin with.Bookmark here

TLO had a parallel level system. The character and the Job were independent…Bookmark here

I didn’t embody a character, I myself became one?Bookmark here

So my true self is weaker than a Rookie from the game?Bookmark here

I’m not even going to think what the fuck are <Intellect> and <Talent>. Those weren’t in TLO, what are those… I mean, by their names I figure out what they are, but “Talent: 1″… I better stop depressing myself.Bookmark here

If this is reality, I need to figure out a way to survive. If my stats are lower than a kid’s, there’s no way I can last long by myself in the open. For now I must seek refuge, so I will follow the path were people were walking across so far. Of course, leaving a safe distance between them and me. I don’t trust strangers, especially in a strange world.Bookmark here

After walking for roughly an hour ( I can’t tell exactly, I don’t have a watch), finally I get to see a town.Bookmark here

Wooden and stone houses, with unpainted walls, irregular surfaces and tile roofs.Bookmark here

The road seems to be stone and earth, barely better than the path I came by.Bookmark here

This is definitely like the middle ages, I find it hard to believe that in the modern era are settlements like this on Earth …Bookmark here

As I approached, a man clad in leather wielding a sword, set his gaze on me.Bookmark here

He is located next to a wooden tower of about 6 meters, in which is another man, that carries an bow and is watching every move I make.Bookmark here

Naturally, i didn’t attempt to enter the town somewhere else, the bowman in the tower would have probably recognized me as someone suspicious or hostile, act normal is for the best. Right now what worries me most is…Bookmark here

“Stop right there, identify yourself”.Bookmark here

Oh! I understood perfectly what he said. Apparently language will not be a problem, although the movements of his mouth and the words he said don’t match…Bookmark here

Automatic translation?Bookmark here

Now that I think about it, the merchant have an advanced skill which allow communication with other intelligent races for trade in the game.Bookmark here

It’s because of that skill?Bookmark here

I think it was a function of << Borderless trade>>, a skill I get in the merchant ANER rank.Bookmark here

Since the ranked class ranks are PAIS->EFEBO->ANER->GERON.Bookmark here

ANER was just before this last upgrade, is no surprise if is pretty powerful.Bookmark here

“Pardon me, I am a traveler who hoped to rest in this town”.Bookmark here

“Very well, I will check your status, give me your hand”.Bookmark here

Check my status with my hand, really?Bookmark here

I better do as he says, though I don’t know the meaning.Bookmark here

After i did it, the man kept looking my way, fuck starts to make me nervous… There’s nothing suspicious about me, really!Bookmark here

“Argent Makoto, human, merchant… ARGENT MAKOTO!?”.Bookmark here

GAH! The guard is startled and starts to sweat while looking at me with eyes wide open, apparently his shout made the tower archer startle a little too.Bookmark here

“Aaaa fa-family name, you have a family name… AN ARISTOI!”Bookmark here

What the fuck? Now that I think, my real name is besides my character’s name from TLO…Bookmark here

He takes it as my last name? Is it weird to have a last name?Bookmark here

“Sorry for my lack of decorum, nobody told us that a noble would come”.Bookmark here

Ah, no, I’m not a noble. First of all, I have to prevent this from becoming an incident.Bookmark here

“Ahem, There is no notice because I am incognito, you know, I don’t want to get attention, I’m just traveling”.Bookmark here

“Mmm, understood. I’m not sure about the noble’s affairs, but…”Bookmark here

“It is my wish for nobody to know that I am here. Will you go against the wishes of a noble?”Bookmark here

“Of course not, if it’s your wish, I won’t touch the subject anymore. Now, if you excuse me, the entrance fee is 100 Ja”.Bookmark here

Eh? Ja? Ha? Do you want me to laugh a hundred times?Bookmark here

Of course not, obviously is the local currency. What a problem, I don’t carry any money, and if I did, it wouldn’t be <Ja>.Bookmark here

What the fuck is Ja? The currency in TLO was “G” for Gold.Bookmark here

Isn’t a noble exempt from paying things like the toll?Bookmark here

What kind of non-classist world is this?Bookmark here

Fuck, now he is looking at me in anticipation, I can’t say I don’t have money.Bookmark here

A poor noble? Impossible.Bookmark here

For now I will pretend that I’m looking in my pockets… eh? What’s this?Bookmark here

There’s something in the hand i put in my pocket, but I’m sure there was nothing in my pockets, it feels metallic and its shape…Bookmark here

“Here”.Bookmark here

“100 Ja, I confirm that I have received them, please enjoy your stay in Galia”.Bookmark here

The guard took the coins in my hands and let me in. For a moment he tried to bow but stopped, he remembered that I said I didn’t want to get attention.Bookmark here

So far I managed to overcome the first obstacle, now… From where come those coins?Bookmark here

Even my status showed zero money, better to check it.Bookmark here

<Money: 00>Bookmark here

Yep, zeros. But just now I had money, even in the local currency.Bookmark here

I wonder… If I focus in a certain amount… It worked! I Have 10 coins in my hand.Bookmark here

This makes no sense, unless…Bookmark here

If I think about it, at the start, in TLO you obtained a random amount of money from 100 to 500 G, and if you spent it all, it showed “0 G”.Bookmark here

There was never something like double zero, that means, maybe those aren’t zeros, but something that didn’t exist in the game system, the incredible and astounding symbol thats beyond mortal aspirations, but is still everyone’s dream, the infinity symbol!Bookmark here

Which means that the money I have isn’t zero, is infinite, limitless… calm, calm down, I can’t get attention, I have control myself…Bookmark here

Screw that! I will buy the fucking world!Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.