Chapter 0:

The World Around Me

I am but a Cloud, Floating from Place to Place


That was the first thing I saw, well…perceived, outside of the never-ending darkness. Then came yellow and red, shining from a luminous circle called the sun. It slowly sank across the ever-expansive sky, turning its light blue into a soothing violet.

Underneath, a sea of grass danced under the wind moving me along; the light made some of the grass sparkle while others were obscured in shadow. In the center of it all was a single tree. Its tall, brown trunk held numerous branches, each with its own set of dark green leaves, shaking as the wind passed by.

A “person” slept peacefully in the shadow of the tree; a slight disturbance of the grass showed the direction where they came from. Their clothing blended in well with the trunk, only noticeable by the minute movements of the person's chest as it rose and fell. Although their back was slouched against the tree’s rough surface, the person’s hand wrapped around a curved metal blade as if ready to strike at a moment’s notice.

Looking back on that scene, there was only one word to describe what I saw…


Of course, I didn’t know what a tree or grass was back then. I didn’t understand how I could see, let alone think. All I could do was observe and learn. It was a spark of excitement in an otherwise dull void, and I wanted to experience more.

So, I traveled over the entire world, taking in whatever it had to offer. One place had a sea that set ablaze almost anything it touched. Another place warped the very concepts of space as different biomes like tundras and rainforests coexisted next to each other. There was even a forest that turned into a desert as the sand raining down from the sky built up over billions of years.

I also saw more creatures, some of whom looked like people while others remained in their beastial form. Those “people” were my main source of knowledge, both right and wrong. They spoke with words, each conveying what they could see. If there wasn’t a word that existed, other words would be used to describe the thing.

Most of the people lived stationary lives, smiling as they repeated their monotonous tasks. Some of them, however, adventured into the unknown, exploring and slaying other beasts to survive and protect those who remained still. Watching from afar, each path seemed to have its own charm.

But regardless of what path they took, every person manipulated the mana within themselves. One person used mana to wield a sword. Another conjured a fireball, using it to set a beast ablaze. Those with stationary lives used mana to walk or clean, though it was difficult to tell without being able to see the mana itself.

Mana was actually how I could perceive the world around me; however, I still had no idea how I could do so in the first place. I wasn’t going to complain though. It taught me how to interact with this world, even if most of it was through trial and error.

And now, after existing in this world for who knows how long, I had plenty of stories to tell, but there was no way I could communicate, at least in my current form. I did not have a mouth, so no one would hear me. My body was nebulous, so I could not write. However, maybe, just maybe, if the weather aligned just right, someone might be able to feel the stories, drifting along the mana as it rained onto the ground below.

After all, I am but a cloud, floating from place to place.

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