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Chapter 3: The Abandoned Camp

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As I shouted at the child God, My surroundings abruptly transform into one of a lush green forest, the trees creating a roof of branches, with the leaves blocking out a significant portion of the sunlight, though not enough to make it impossible to see. A rush of senses hit me, the grass under my feet enveloping my toes as fresh air invades my lungs, the distinct smell of bark arrives with it while the sound of a babbling brook chirps nearby. I instinctively scan my surroundings.

“Beautiful.” A word escapes my mouth without my consent.

The nostalgic feeling I felt from before I was abducted rushes back into me, filling me with warmth. A cool breeze floats by as I begin to walk around, observing my environment. A landscape resembling nothing I’ve ever seen, rocks with moss, fallen trees, bushes and brushes containing berries I’ve never seen before, all contained in an infinite forest surrounding me as I unconsciously begin walking to a small clearing containing a stream no wider than my height, allowing me to jump over it with only slight trouble. I take advantage of the clearing to look a little further and spot a huge snow tipped mountain in the direction the stream is coming from.

“Follow a river downstream to find people.” I think to myself, recalling a random piece of advice I’d heard from a movie I’d once seen.

I begin travelling down the stream, hoping to eventually find someone. As I walk, I consider the events I’d just experienced. That girl really had such an awful personality. No regard for others, playing with them like they’re her pets. Though she is some sort of God, I guess. People like me could be considered her pets…

As I walk along the stream, reality begins to impose itself on me.

“I really can’t go back, huh…” I mutter to myself as I think about the life I had led until now.

After graduating high school, I had no more direction in life. With my parents encouraging me to live as I pleased and do what I liked, all that was left was to find out what it is I liked. While I appreciated their encouragement and support, it did leave me somewhat… lost. Up until now, I simply worked full-time at the job I worked during my high school years as a part-timer. Listlessly working each day away, the days turned to months and the months turned to years, and before I knew it, it had been 8 years since I’d graduated and I still had no goals or desires. It had begun to wear on me.

“Maybe this won’t be such a bad thing…” I think as I walk.

But then,

I had friends, family, I had people I cared about, a cat I loved dearly, and what’s more, I’d never decided what I wanted to do with my time on Earth. What’s to happen to all those who knew me? Will they think I’ve been abducted? Died? Spirited away?

The peace of mind provided to me by the serene environment begins to crumble away as my thoughts grow more panicked.

What if… there’s no one here? What if I’m just alone on a planet simply for the amusement of this Goddess? Does she intend to watch me go crazy? The panic grows.

My pace quickens as this thought begins to shape, my breathing growing more unsteady as I walk faster and faster along the creek before breaking out into a run, then into a sprint.

“HELLO???” My panic causes me to shout as loud as I can as I run along the river, I frantically search the environment for a sign, any sign, of life. Come to think of it, I haven’t even heard or seen an animal since arriving.

I continue sprinting until I run out of breath. I slow down to a walk again as I begin to accept the possibility that I may truly be alone.

My train of thought is interrupted by the ear piercing sound of squealing.

“A pig?” I think to myself as I stop dead in my tracks.

“A pig!” I exclaim out loud as I begin running towards the squeal I heard.

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“Pigs mean people! There are people nearby!” Ignoring the leap in logic in favour of blind optimism, I run towards the sound, ignoring my exhaustion.

After running for a bit, I begin to lightly jog as I’m not sure where to continue running to, and I’m not that fit to begin with so it’s best to save my energy. As I slow down, I notice movement beyond the multitude of tree trunks. A person!

“Hyaaaa!” The person shouts, swinging what seems to be a sword down on the boar they are fighting.

shing The boar is impaled by the blade, falling over as it breathes its last breath.

Watching from behind a nearby tree, I deliberate on whether or not I should call out to this person. Upon closer inspection, it’s a girl, and it’s definitely not usually a good thing when a man finds a woman alone in the woods.

Still, I lack any other options, and she does appear to be an adult at least, plus she has a sword while all I have are the clothes on my back. Swallowing my apprehension, I appear from behind the tree.

“H-hello.”

“AHH!” She rips the sword she was still holding the handle of out of the boar and points it towards me, destroying the skin of the boar in the process.

“Ahhrughh! You made me mess up the materials! Who are you? How did you get here?” She takes a defensive position while asking me these questions, prompting me to answer carefully.

Relief with a hint of fear washes over me as this unknown girl speaks to me. She speaks English, and she has a sword… Right.

“H-hey, I don’t mean to seem suspicious. My name is Shizo, and I seem to have lost my way… Do you know where I am?” I make up a neutral sounding lie hoping she accepts it as truth.

“Empty your pockets.” She immediately demands.

After a second of being stunned I comply, flipping my empty pockets inside out.

“Alright, turn around.” The girl says as she brandishes her sword at me whilst walking in my direction.

“Please, don’t stab me…” I say as I turn around with my hands up.

The girl pats me down, looking for any hidden weapons or clues as to whether my motives are corrupt or not. After finding nothing, she begins to speak.

“At ease.”

I breathe a sigh of relief as I turn back around to face her and lower my arms.

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“Well Shizo, I don’t know how you found me, but you must be pretty unlucky. I don’t know where any villages or cities are, I got here through a magical tool made by my father that was supposed to guarantee I could live a secluded and safe life, but clearly that old man made a mistake somewhere.” She huffed as she finished her speech.

“Magic tool? So there is magic? There’s cities and villages too? This may be one of those Isekai worlds! This might be a blessing after all! I regret badmouthing that rude girl, she’s really done me a solid!” I think to myself, ignoring the thought that I may really have just died and am hallucinating all of this.

“I’m gonna be a hero! I wonder if I’m going to slay the Demon King and become the king of the kingdom! Is there a princess I’ll marry to make my queen? It’s a shame I won’t have a childhood best friend to consider but this is still good!” My thoughts run rampant as a look of excitement grows ever more obvious on my face.

“Uhmm…” The girl nervously takes a step back upon seeing this.

It’s obvious my desperation has completely swung itself the other way in the wake of this exciting development, hence my extremely optimistic thoughts. I smile slightly to myself realizing this. Cause for joy is cause for joy, after all!

“Are you… ok?” She says, tightening her defensive stance she had slightly loosened during her explanation.

ahem “Yes, I’m sorry, so you don’t know where any other people are then?” I say, while composing myself.

“I’m sorry but I do not.” The girl replied firmly.

“Alright, I’ll be on my way then.” I replied curtly, as I begin to walk back in the direction of the stream.

“W-wait, you don’t have a weapon! This forest isn’t terribly dangerous, but even being unarmed is dangerous in and of itself!” The girl shouted.

“Gotcha.” I think to myself, hearing her call out to me. Such a basic premise, ‘it’s dangerous to go alone!’. No sane person would let someone wander into dangerous woods all alone after all!

“I will escort you to a settlement, please wait for me to prepare as I do not know how long this journey will take.” The girl stated firmly.

“Was she a knight or something? She’s so diligent…” I think to myself as I turn around to face her.

“Well, if it won’t trouble you…” I say with a meek smile. I must thank my childish looking face for making me look less threatening, not that I have any ill intentions to speak of anyway…

“Alright, help me dismantle this boar and we’ll be on our way.”

“Ah- ok…” I say with slight surprise. I was not expecting to dismantle an animal, I’ve never even seen a boar before let alone cut one up… the smell isn’t very nice.

After some time, with the girl doing mostly all the work with me assisting the best I could, we had enough skin and meat to fill the rucksack she carried.

“Follow me then.”

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Walking through the forest, I begin to wonder about this girl. What kind of person was her father that he would have his daughter transported to a place where no one lived and was only survivable to those who were capable enough? Could it be that this world is in turmoil? My Demon King theory has some backing so far…

“What is it?” The girl says, noticing my pondering face as we walk through the forest.

It seems she still hasn’t let her guard down around me. It can’t be helped, she was supposed to be alone after all.

“I’m just not sure how I ended up here myself… where even is this? What continent are we on?”

“Alright, that settles it. Seems like you were caught by a ‘wipe and rinse’ trap. Pretty lucky you ended up somewhere reasonable safe, if I do say so myself.” The girl seems to relax a little upon reaching this conclusion

“A ‘wipe and rinse’ trap?” I ask

“Un. It’s a trap found in most dungeons that wipes your memory, robs you of your belongings, and sends you somewhere random in the world. Most people end up in the ocean and drown according to my father, and if they don’t end up in the ocean they end up somewhere with no people, or in the territory of the demons.Your memory will return given some time, so we’ll see who you really are when it does. Shouldn’t be more than a week. Although, your clothes are quite strange. I’m very curious as to where you hail from.”

Right, my clothes. They’re regular clothes by my standards, but seeing what she is wearing, a leather tunic with a cotton undershirt and loosely tied pants made of what looks to be a mixture of hemp and wool. My jeans, tshirt, and jacket are definitely going to stand out here. I wonder how much I could sell it all for…

As a sidenote, I am very grateful that this girl likes talking so much.

“Well, here we are. Home sweet home. For now, anyway.” The girl gestures to a crudely built log cabin hugging a cliff wall in a small clearing, the cabin is just large enough to fit a bed and a small kitchen area.

“Come on then, I’ll make you a bed with this ruined boar skin.” The irritation in her voice presented itself.

“Thanks.” I mutter sheepishly, recalling the cause of that.

“By the way, I told you my name, but you never told me yours?…” I say, as she begins to pull the boar skin out from her rucksack.

“Lucia.” She replies flatly as she begins tanning the boar’s hide.

“Lucia… I hope my name doesn’t sound too foreign to the natives of this world.” I think to myself as I watch Lucia create my bed for the night.


The morning imposed itself on me with a bright rising sun and the sound of birds chirping loudly. Sleeping outside was something I was not used to at all. As I awoke, it took about 10 seconds for me to remember where I was and remember what had happened. While 10 seconds sounds like no time at all, experiencing each second with no pretense of your environment is, as it turns out, excruciatingly stressful. Despite that stress, I quickly found myself smiling.

This is it. While I wasn’t ready to let go of my last world, this is one of the most amazing things that could happen to anyone, and I’m the one that gets to experience it. Another world, full of magic, demons, and unknown entities. I’ve even gotten the stereotypical blessings from the Goddess, granting me cheat powers and the knowledge of my past life to help me survive this world. With all that said though, the wheel’s last result still bothers me. Why couldn’t I read it, and why was that rude Goddess laughing so hard after seeing it? My stomach begins to tighten as my mind begins to make up scary scenarios for myself to experience.

slap

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I slap my cheeks and exhale loudly.

“Worrying about things that will already be is as useless as fantasizing about things that will never be!” I think to myself with a positive tone, ignoring the obvious irony.

“Oh good, you’re awake.” A voice from the treeline startles me as the girl who introduced herself as Lucia exits the forest and begins walking towards me, a bundle of sticks in her arms.

“Y-yes, thank you for the bedding.” I stammer, as while it wasn’t a particularly comfortable sleep compared to what I’m used to, it could easily have been worse without her graciousness. For that, I am truly thankful.

“Yeah, sorry you had to sleep outside. There’s hardly enough room inside for even myself. I’m not exactly an architect, so while my home is shabby, I’m still very proud of it!” She said positively.

She obviously just wanted to brag to someone about building a house, not that I blame her though. I doubt I’d fare much better.

“It’s alright, you’ve already done plenty for me. Thanks again…” I say sheepishly, unsure of how to act around someone of a different world.

“Yeah, about that.” She throws down a rucksack she pulls from beside the wood pile she had just contributed to.

“This is yours. It has some dried meat in it as well as some tanned hide. It has room for that dingy one you slept on so you can put that in there too. We’re leaving shortly, so get ready.”

So generous. While I don’t want to insult her, I have the urge to ask why she’s doing so much for me.

“I’m only doing this out of boredom, so don’t get any ideas.” She said, as if she could read my mind.

“I understand. Thank you again.” I said awkwardly. I’m getting frustrated at my passivity but for now there is nothing I can do. I lack information, after all, and she is still somewhat suspicious of me.

“Don’t mention it. Get your stuff ready, I hate waiting.” She says as she goes inside her cabin to presumably prepare for the trip.

“How long is this going to take?”

“Dunno. Could be a while.” She shouts from inside.

I could do nothing but stuff the hide I slept on into the rucksack I was provided, leaving half of it sticking out as I did a haphazard job of it.

Lucia steps out of the cabin with a rucksack of her own and glances over at me at the same time with an annoyed but slightly humoured look.

“Come on, let’s go.” She says as she passes by me.

“Wait, we should follow the river downstream, there’s a higher chance of finding people along it if we do!” I half shouted as she had already made some considerable distance.

“I guess that makes sense. Alright then.”

We head back to the stream and begin walking down it. As we walk, I can’t help but let my eyes wander around as I take in the environment. I didn’t get to travel much in my old world, but even the photos I saw don’t even hold a candle to this world. Beautiful blue skies with fluffy white clouds, trees lining the forest with a small thick brush protecting the innards of it. The stream is perfectly clear, displaying the waterbed and everything in it without any occlusion. As the wind blows softly it allows the grass to dance without burden, and I can’t help but think to myself:

“What a beautiful world.”

We walked from the beginning of the day to the end and found no one. Neither of us seemed too surprised though, as we both knew we were in “the middle of nowhere”, but the disappointment shared between us was, while unspoken, undoubtedly present. As the sun began to set, it provided a beautiful red tint over the landscape as the light levels began to peter out. With the light diminishing, we began to make our camp, with me pulling the hides out of my rucksack and her following suit. We found a suitable tree to take cover under as we made our nests for the night.

“You don’t talk a lot, do you?” Lucia suddenly spoke up.

“Ah- sorry. I’m just in awe of how beautiful this place is.” My honest thoughts came out before I could even consider what to say.

“You’re definitely not from here then. If you think this place is nice then wait till you see where I’m from.” Lucia replied as she pulled some dried meat out of her rucksack.

“I really can’t imagine it getting any more pretty than this. Why would you ever leave such a place?” I replied without thinking again.

Lucia showed a solemn look.

“I didn’t want to leave.” She quietly murmured.

“Sorry. That was a thoughtless thing to say.” Desperately trying to stay in my benefactor’s good graces, I offered an apology.

“It’s fine. That’s all in the past now. It’s best not to mull over things.” Taking a bite out of her meat as she says this, I can’t help but feel a sense of guilt.

“I’ll keep watch for a few hours. This place should be safe, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’ll wake you up for your shift.” Lucia states flatly.

“A-alright. Thank you.” Rolling over in my makeshift bed, with my back towards Lucia, I silently curse myself for being too comfortable around her. This is a foreign world, I don’t know anything about anything and that starts even with who Lucia is, yet I acted like everything was normal.

“I need to stay more on guard” I think to myself as I drift off to sleep.


Morning came once again, Lucia woke me up for my shift and slept for hers, I let her sleep a little longer as an offer of respect, but she reprimanded me for it and deducted the time I let her sleep extra out of her next rest time, which made me a little frustrated.

We packed our things and set out once again, though today’s results were immediately more fruitful. Less than an hour into our walk, we exited the forest and spotted a camp on a hill! As we walked towards it, I began to notice some peculiarities about it. The camp looked to be abandoned, with tattered red flags and small wooden shelters adorning the campground centered by a large fire pit and some shoddily crafted benches surrounding it.

“A goblin camp. It looks abandoned, we should see if we can salvage anything.” Lucia said with such certainty that there was no more doubt in my mind that this girl was an adventurer at some point.

Approaching the camp, my nose is assaulted by the smells of blood and smoke. The fire appears to have only recently burned out, and searching the area I can’t quite pinpoint where the blood smell is hailing from.

I begin helping her look around, mimicking her actions in different places. Checking inside the largest of the small wooden shelters, I find nothing except a table, some putrid smelling bloody rags, and a large area of scrap fabric, leaves, and hay that resembles a nest near the far wall of the shelter. The smell is not very inviting, so after not immediately seeing anything of interest, I leave the shelter and am greeted with the sight of Lucia backing towards me as a large gang of maybe 12 to 13 little green men close in on us from all sides.

We’re trapped.



 

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