Rebirth Online World

Creating, Telling, Sharing Dreams

Player 47

Chapter 003 - Player 47


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Player 47

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Frey Alcott

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No more text seemed to burn on the first page, other than his name and "Player 47". Probably that's his ID as a player. He turned to the next page. Sure enough, it was empty. He waited for a minute, two minutes. Nothing seemed to happen. He flipped again. Waited. Nothing. He repeated the routine until he was well half into the book, in which he caught glimpse of a page that had something in it. It was a drawing--a sketch of the arm guard that laid in his starting chest.

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The silver arm guard was long as to cover the whole span of his forearm. Its steel was a half inch thick, and looked like it could stop a bullet or two, but is totally useless since it only covers his forearm. At the center of its span protruded a clean-cut blue gem the shape of a rhombus square, and was about 2 inches long by 1 inch wide. He looked deeper into the gem, and saw a galaxy of green dust swirling inside.

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At the front end of the arm guard was a thin wide slit, which for all he knew might be a big SD card slot, or a place you can swipe your credit card through. Jokes aside, he was curious what the slit was for. Maybe something will come out of it. He didn't know. In the first place, this whole affair was occult from the very beginning--no sense trying to make sense of it. He looked at the book again. No change on the sketch. He flipped to the next page, and three question marks burned in the middle of the new page.

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"Isn't this book so useful..." he sighed and closed the book, put it in his jeans' pocket, and went back to scrutinizing the arm guard. It was a little too large for his arm. The arm guard was, he discovered, large enough for his hand to pass through its ends without a problem. It was an arm guard, but it felt more like a hoola hoop for his thin arm. He didn't know how something as faulty as the thing could be so useful. Was he supposed to fling it at enemies? Stupid. He'd die before he gets caught doing something so silly. The thing was useless as a tool, and looked more ornamental. 

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Well, the blue gem at the heart of it looked beautiful enough to pass as valuable. He touched the gem. It lit brilliant green, the color of the dust trapped inside the blue gem. He should have expected it to be touch-activated from the chest, but Frey Alcott was as ever a logical man. The steel of the arm guard melted into thick, mercurial liquid. The melted steel did not drip down to the ground, as the law of gravity might suggest, and seemed to have life on its own, clinging to his skin like a leech would to its host. The steel was scorching hot to the touch, and he could only wriggle in pain as the arm guard fitted as it pleased on his skin from the elbow down.

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He screamed and trashed around, with the crunching sound of dead leaves accompanying his every footfall and chirps of disturb birds with every swing of his arm, which he thought was gonna fall off from cauterization. It was not long till he lost energy and succumbed to the pain and fatigue.

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---

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When he came about, it was already night. The forest that had been dim during the day was ever darker during the night. Starlight filtered by the forestial roof of tree leaves gave barely enough luminance for him to see his surroundings. What happened? He remembered. His right arm was fine. He could still feel it as a part of his body, and could still fold and unfold his fingers. He sat up, took a look at the arm guard wrapped on his arm, and tried to pull it off, at first gently. It didn't budge. He pulled on it again, with a much stronger force and still no luck. He next felt around the arm guard's steel body to perhaps find a lock or the like, but its surface was totally smooth. 

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It was almost embarrassing as it was ironic that he thought the arm guard was too large earlier. Now it's stuck on his arm. Hell, with how hot it was earlier, the steel might've even burned itself into his skin. He yanked on the arm guard for the last time, before giving up entirely. He glanced around. Not that he could see much in the dark. All he could see were outlines of shrubs, and the towering shadows of trees in the distance. 

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He was starting to worry for himself. Was it really okay for him to be in the middle of a dark forest this time of day, in a world where wild animals were the least threatening things you might find lunging out at you? He hadn't forgotten what Victorina said. The world was home to monsters and deities. The damned woman might be the reason he's in this world, in this game, but it was in his best interest to listen to her words. Basic law of probability showed that there was a high chance of there being a bloodthirsty beast just waiting to pounce at him from behind the shrubs. 

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But what was he supposed to do next? He's in the middle of a forest, in the middle of God knows where, with not a map nor even a compass to start with. 

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Not to mention food. Yes, he's dead, but he doubted this "borrowed body" he's in now can live with just air for sustenance. Should've asked Victorina that one. He had just rested and wasn't yet hungry, but figured if he was going to survive this game, he'll need the proper nutrients. Actually, he'll need them sooner than later.

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For now he decided to consult his booklet. The blue gem in his arm guard glowed mild amidst the shadows. He used the glow of it to make of what's written in the booklet. He flipped through the pages until he landed on the page where the arm guard's sketch was drawn. Nothing changed much, except that there were now three question marks above the sketch, which was not there the last time he checked. The next page displayed three big question marks, as before. He flipped to the next page, and was surprised to see that something was actually written on it.

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Goblin Hound

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Only those two words were written on the top of the page. What was it, some kind of monster? Frey wouldn't know, but it sounded dangerous. If it was a monster, why was it the only one written? He turned to another page, but nothing was written on it. A sense of foreboding made him want to dig a hole in the ground and hide in it until morning, but then the ground might eat him alive. You'll never know. Common laws on Earth can't be applied here.

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For now he stood up, shook his legs awake. The first to-do on his list was finding shelter. A cave would be nice, decreases the chance of him getting eaten alive by whatever monsters lurk in the forest. One of them might be this "Goblin Hound" written on the booklet. He walked aimlessly but in a straight line, the glow of his arm guard the only guide preventing him from crashing into a tree. Finally he was finding some use for the thing, though it was a bit more trivial than he'd wanted and expected. He needed more than a lantern. He needed something to defend himself with.

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Just as he thought that, a nearby shrub rustled. Frey stopped in his tracks, pointed his arm guard at the shrub. The shrub was three feet tall, with green berries peppering its leafy exterior. The shrub shook again. Frey took a few steps back. He didn't really know any fighting technique, nor did he have any weapon to fend off what was behind the bushes. Well, if worse came to worst, he could punch. 

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He could also run, which might wake up whatever creatures were sleeping in the dark. Yeah, not an option. He took on an impromptu crouching stance, and waited for the monster to come out.

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It did, but it wasn't a monster. Well, not by his standards, anyway. What shot out of the shrub was a furry pink animal the size of a bunny. It had looped horns like a ram on the two sides of its head, and it had blue marble eyes that shone as they reflected the green glow of Frey's arm guard.

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Cute, he thought. Until the shrub grew teeth and ate the critter whole. No, he realized.

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It wasn't the shrub. It was something inside it.

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What slowly came out of the green, still chewing the furry pink animal was a dog as large as a tiger. Its eyes were bloodshot. Its mouth held three rows of shark-like teeth, and two large front incisors that dripped with the critter's blood. He had the strangest feeling that the beast was the one called a "Goblin Hound".

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The beast jumped on him, making him lose his balance and stance. He fell on his behind down to the forest floor, and without even a chance to move, the hound was on top of him. It bit down, with the intention of swallowing his head whole, and would've succeeded if he hadn't put his left arm between his face and the monster's attack. However, it came with a cost. Sharp pain shot from his arm to his head as the hound gnawed on his left arm.

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"Shit, shit, shit!" his skin was being torn to shreds. In a reflex he used his free arm, the one equipped with the arm guard, to punch the monster's jaw. There was a metallic clink. At almost the same time his fist collided with the beast's jaw, a metal tip protruded out of its head, covered with dark-red blood. The gnawing on his left arm seized. The hound went lifeless, suspended over him by the silver blade that pierced it. The blade, he realized, came out of the arm guard--from the thin slit on its front. The blue gem of the arm guard glowed bright green, as if to proclaim its blade had won.

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"Not so useless anymore, are you?" he chuckled. The blade retracted back into the arm guard with a shing as the blue gem's light extinguished. The dead weight of the monster fell to the side, away from him. 

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He was alive. He looked straight above, at the starry night sky past the tree leaves. He was alive. He almost forgot his mangled arm, when his vision began to waver. He raised his left arm. Blood poured non-stop from the many holes drilled into his skin by the teeth of the monster.

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He was alive, but for how long will he be? Who cares. He was too tired to think of anything. Too tired to think of tomorrow. Too tired to even lift his eyelids.

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