Chapter 1:

Chapter 01 Meeting a Goddess

Hermit's Diary

A mysterious voice echoed through the darkness, jolting me into wakefulness. I found myself in an unfamiliar room, cast in shadow, with an imposing throne at its center. And upon that throne sat someone, or perhaps something, truly divine.

"Welcome to the afterlife, I am the goddess of lust, Lusseria. Unfortunately, you've died. It might've been short, but your life's now over."

If there was a goddess among us, it had to be her. Her presence was nothing short of captivating, and her allure surpassed any mortal's wildest dreams.

She had long, silken strands of raven-dark hair that cascaded like a midnight waterfall. Her attire, if one could even call it that, was a seductive masterpiece, revealing curves and contours that could only be the work of a divine artist. With each movement, her dress whispered secrets, leaving little to the imagination.

This enchanting woman's piercing gaze locked onto mine as I grappled with the sudden turn of events.

I was seated in a humble chair several meters away from her throne, utterly flabbergasted. The events leading to this moment were a hazy blur. I was known as a recluse, a homebody who rarely ventured beyond the confines of my own home. Society had a name for people like me, and it was "shut-in."

The last thing I remembered was the euphoria of being home, gaming to my heart's content. But now, the path leading up to this point was an impenetrable fog, my memory a blank canvas.

As I struggled to comprehend the situation, the alluring goddess introduced herself as Lusseria, the Goddess of Lust. Her physical presence was enough to render anyone breathless. Tall and statuesque, she wore her sensuous attire with an air of pride. The garment left nothing to the imagination, accentuating every curve and swell in all the right places. Her high heels clicked elegantly against the unseen floor.

With a voice that trembled with uncertainty, I finally managed to utter, "What... what happened to me?"

With a flirtatious laugh that resonated like distant chimes, the goddess, Lusseria, graced me with an answer. 

"Like I said, you died, silly. What else did you think happened? You stand before a goddess, and this divine intervention is an honor few mortals can claim."

She continued her explanation before I could gather my thoughts. 

"Fear not, for I offer you a choice. A chance to start anew, to weave the fabric of a fresh existence from the very beginning." Her gaze bore into mine, filled with a playful spark. 

"Or," she paused, punctuating her words with a flirtatious wink, "I can send you into a realm of swords and magic, just as you are, with the power to choose three things to accompany you. Be it a unique skill set, a weapon of unparalleled might, a world-shaking spell, or whatever your heart desires. And there's even more..."

Before I could voice my bewildered protests, I dared to interrupt the goddess.

 "Wait, wait, wait! This is all happening so fast, I..."

My words came to an abrupt halt as Lusseria slammed her divine fist on her throne, her countenance shifted to one of irritation. 

"Did you dare interrupt a goddess speaking?"

I stammered, her sudden shift in mood sending a shiver down my spine. Courage was never a trait I possessed; in fact, I had been the target of bullies throughout my school years, and fear had been my constant companion.

"I'm sorry," I managed to squeak, feeling my knees tremble.

 "I just wanted to know how it happened, my... my end. How I died."

Lusseria's demeanor shifted once more, back to her playful, flirtatious self. With a snap of her elegant fingers, she conjured a lavishly adorned book, its pages seemingly whispering secrets of the universe.

 She explained, "Very well, this book will allow me to witness your life until its untimely end. It will take only a few seconds."

As she touched the book, its pages began to flip rapidly, a blur of memories and moments passing before her eyes. In the blink of an eye, the tome slammed shut with an almost disgusted yelp from the goddess.

"Yeck!" Lusseria blurted. "What a pathetic life it was. All you did was play video games and complain about how unfair life was to you. Your name, Shota, sounds like that of a sports anime protagonist, wholly unsuitable for you. Your life was more like that of a Hermit crab, a Hermit should have been your name, and..."

But I couldn't contain my retort.

 "I-It's not my fault. I stayed at home because I was bullied in school, and..."

My words were met with a furious reaction. Lusseria slammed the book shut with a clenched fist, and in an instant, it disintegrated into nothingness, vanishing into thin air. Her voice boomed with anger as she scolded me, "Pathetic worm! Do you dare interrupt me again? For your punishment, you have lost your choice at reincarnation. Keep that mouth shut; speak only when asked. Or I will reincarnate you as a bug destined for spiders to feast on."

Hearing her harsh words and feeling the weight of my reality crashing down upon me, panic began to claw its way up my chest. Disregarding her warning entirely, I started to shout in sheer desperation, "No, no! This can't be real, it's impossible! I'm just dreaming, yes, that's it! A dream! You can't tell me what to do, you stupid goddess! I'm just dreaming, and I'll wake up soon, forgetting all about this. I must have dozed off while gaming; that's the only explanation!"

Lusseria vanished and reappeared right in front of me in the blink of an eye. Before I could react, the chair I had been sitting on disappeared, and I tumbled to the ground. She pressed her high heel deep into my chest, causing me to wince and cry out involuntarily. But then, with an unsettling smile, she said, "Stop squirming; you are dead, not dreaming. Do you feel the pain of me stepping on you? Hmmm?"

A sudden realization washed over me like a chilling wave. The heel was indeed digging deep into my chest, but there was no pain. I had truly departed from the realm of the living. I lowered my head in meek submission, tears welling up in my eyes. I nodded faintly, my voice reduced to a pitiful whisper. I was at her mercy.

The goddess, now calm once more, snapped her fingers, and I was back in the chair. She continued her voice firm, "You've insulted me three times now by interrupting. Not only will I withhold reincarnation from you, but I shall also obliterate your very soul. A being as useless as you should not tarnish the ground you once walked."

Before I could utter a single word, a blinding flash erupted, and another goddess appeared, interrupting our tense exchange.

Lusseria couldn't hide her annoyance as the goddess Eris appeared, interrupting her judgment. 

With a scoff, she asked, "What do you want, Eris? I am busy here, dealing with this worthless being."

Eris, calm and composed, replied, "Goddess Lusseria, you must follow the rules. This poor soul deserves a chance at a new life. You cannot destroy his soul; please spare him and reincarnate him."

Lusseria rolled her eyes, clearly irritated, but finally agreed, "Fine, I will give him one last chance. You can go now, Eris."

With that, Eris disappeared as suddenly as she had arrived. Lusseria settled back into her throne and snapped her fingers. A massive slot machine materialized before me. She explained, "This is your last chance. I will reincarnate you in a sword and magic world, but your stats will be random. You could become anything, from a pathetic worm squirming in the dirt to a mighty dragon soaring through the sky. But don't worry about the dragons; the world you're going to, have them extinct."

Terror gripped me, and I stammered, "I-I don't want to be a bug or a worm, please."

Lusseria chuckled sadistically and said, "Well, the slot machine will decide what you become."

She pulled a lever, and the slots began to spin. After a few tense moments, they came to a stop, revealing symbols I couldn't comprehend. A scroll fell out of the slot machine's mouth, sealing my fate.

Lusseria took the scroll in her delicate hands and opened it with a flick of her finger. As her eyes scanned the contents, a wicked grin formed on her lips.

"Well, this is indeed fitting for you, pathetic and worthless, hahaha!" she laughed wickedly. I couldn't help but hang my head in shame. 

"But do not worry, you are not an insect or a worm. For starters, you will not be Shota anymore; the next time you wake up, you will remember yourself as Hermit."

Her words stung, but her tone took a surprising turn. She continued, "Looking at your unlucky draw, I feel sorry for you, and I will give you a choice. For the price of your memories, I will let you spin a unique skill wheel of fortune."

Without thinking too deeply about it, I agreed. From her reaction, I knew my draw had been bad, really bad, for her to offer me help. 

"I will spin the wheel of fortune paying the price with my memories if it helps me even a bit."

Lusseria summoned the wheel, and with bated breath, I spun it. The wheel slowly came to a stop on words I couldn't understand, and the goddess chuckled, "A tiny fortune after a great misfortune. Well, I guess it's better than spinning a blank one, hahaha!"

Confusion and anxiety swirled within me. 

"What... what does it mean? It doesn't sound good. Did I just waste my memories? What happens now?"

The goddess gently placed her hand on my shoulder, offering a semblance of comfort.

 "Now, you will close your eyes. When you open them again, you will be reincarnated into a new world of magic and adventure, in your new vessel. Reborn as... well... I will not spoil you the fun of finding it out on your own. Cherish your old memories while you can because, when you wake up, you will only remember your new name and what kind of entity you are. Well, and some small, common things, maybe even dust from your previous life."

My head was swimming with questions, but Lusseria stepped back, and a magical circle materialized beneath my feet. A dazzling display of light enveloped me, and I instinctively closed my eyes.

As the blinding light subsided, I found myself engulfed in an unending darkness. I tried to open my eyes, but something felt amiss. They seemed to be glued shut. My thoughts were muddled, and the only coherent idea in my head was a single name: Hermit.

I encountered an eerie sensation while attempting to move my body. It was as though my limbs were encased in thick, sticky slime, making them unresponsive to my commands. Panic set in as I struggled, my breathing growing labored and erratic. A nauseating stench, a mixture of rotten eggs and feces, assaulted my nostrils, and faint, muffled voices reached my ears from the other side, barely audible.

Panic gripped me, and I thrashed around, my body writhing grotesquely. The stench burned my nostrils as I strained to move. With every ounce of effort I could muster, I reached out with my hand and encountered a solid, unyielding surface. I clawed at my eyes finally opening them up but I was only met with blinding darkness.

Desperation overcame me, and I began to squirm within the confines of my prison. My body moved in an unnatural, sluggish manner. My futile attempts to escape the disgusting surroundings only intensified the feeling of discomfort. Gradually, I realized that I was trapped inside a sphere or a ball, submerged in the putrid filth up to my neck. The stinking puss-like grimy slime clung to my skin like wet glue.

With every ounce of strength I could muster, I started to bang and claw at the unyielding walls. After a few strikes, I heard a faint crack and glimpsed at the tiny, dim light shining through the crack I had created.