|Author: Firehead||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Shurim||English Source: Shurim’s 3am Translations|
|Editor(s): Excalibur & Shrumi|
Video games change along with the times.
Ever since 1979, when “Space Invaders” made its first appearance in stores, video games have been constantly evolving to suit the era’s needs. Two years later, the first handheld game consoles were introduced to the market, and within three years, the Famicom (NES) was released to the public. Then, seven more years of innovation brought the Super Famicom (SNES) into existence. The Playstation emerged four years after that, and video games continued to change the lives of generations to come. While this new form of entertainment dominated the market, what continued to amaze players was the rapid evolution of graphics.
From the 8-bit NES to the 16-bit SNES. And by the time the Playstation had made its name, smooth computer graphics had become the norm. Players of that generation used to marvel at the graphics that the Playstation 2 had put on show. Nowadays, kids playing the same games would complain about the poor graphics. Just as CG technology advanced, players‘ tastes became more refined in the process.
However, this didn’t mark the end of the evolution of video games. As the industry continued to thrive, games inched closer to reality. So much that people might have mistaken the graphics for photographs and the avatars for people if they weren’t projected on a display. It’s almost as if the VRMMOs that countless of authors have dreamed of might actually appear at any moment.
Sadly, it is nothing more than a dream with our current technology.
There are far too many risk factors involved with transferring your consciousness into the world of games. Perhaps it will become a reality some day. However, “some day” isn’t something we can measure, and at the very least, it isn’t “right now.”
—then why the hell am I shaking inside a carriage in the body of a girl? I would have created a male avatar if I had known this would happen.
“Ruphas-sama, I see it now! It’s the next town!”
“Ah, I see it too. So, sit back down already.”
Dina, who was sitting beside me a moment ago, was now shaking me back and forth. What’s more, it didn’t help that the carriage also shuddered as it traveled. I had to suppress my urge to vomit.
By subjugating the orcs and selling off their meat, we were able to ride this carriage to Suvell with 5500 eru at hand. Of course, it goes without saying that Dina didn’t sell any HP enhancing fillets.
That aside, I’m a bit curious as to where she sold them. Since she’s able to teleport, almost anywhere is possible. Transfer magic is convenient, but it looks like she’s unable to take others along with her. Perhaps the ability is restricted to inanimate objects, or maybe she needs the consent of the other party. Well, according to Dina, the transfer fails if she has even a speck of dislike for the target.
Ah, one more thing.
After consuming the remaining four fillets, my current HP has risen to 336100 points. But, ouch, since the messy digits are really bothering me, I’ll avert my eyes for now.
“Thank you for your patronage—”
Handing the coachman the money, we stepped off the carriage and headed towards the gates of the royal capital. There, a number of soldiers stood guard, and a few were carrying out what looked like security checks. Now that I think of it, this city is under attack of one of the Twelve Heavenly Stars, huh? I’m sorry for your troubles.
“You two, stop right there!”
We froze in place. I kind of knew this would happen. My entire body is concealed by an overcoat after all. I seem suspicious no matter how you look at it.
“This is Suvell territory from here on. Can you show me your passports?”
Did he just say… passport?
Hey, this is a first for me. You didn’t need those back when this was… ah, you did. When this was a game, influence played a part in everything. In order to enter a different nation, a player needed to gain the ruler’s recognition first. If you think about it, it’s a pretty similar concept to a passport.
But unfortunately for me, I have nothing of the sort. But Dina, oh—Dina’s a lifesaver. Calmly, she reached a hand into her breast pocket and passed the gatekeeper some papers.
“Here. These are our documents. Please confirm them for yourself.”
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Just what is this world-class secretary? She’s way too prepared.
“Hmph. So you’re a traveling merchant without citizenship of any country. Your names are Dina and Saphur, and your identification papers seem authentic as well.”
“There’s been a lot of forgery lately, hasn’t there? Well, with you here, the only officials they’ll fool are the nearsighted. Hahaha!”
This man needs glasses.
I’ve never gone out of my way to get an ID, so that’s undoubtedly fake. And for god’s sakes, put some more thought into my alias! Saphur… isn’t that just my name written backwards!?
“Hmph, you may pass.”
“Thank you very much.”
Having made it out in one piece, Dina’s face split into a wide grin.
However, just when we were about to pass through the gate, a voice called out for a second time.
“Ah, wait. I still need to take a look at your face under that overcoat. I apologize, but I still have to make sure it’s not a demon or a monster under there.”
I thought this would happen. And because of that, I didn’t panic. Indeed, I’m an infamous figure known across the land, but my distinctive features are my sleek, black wings. In a world without photographs, the only ones that could recognize me from just my face are long-lived individuals that had seen me in person.
To break it down, if Oda Nobunaga sauntered around with modern clothing and a different hairdo, I’m sure no one would notice and shout “Hey! Isn’t that Oda Nobunaga!?” So as long the gatekeepers don’t have wings, fangs, or pointed ears, they’re obviously human. In that case, revealing my face shouldn’t pose any problems.
“I’m sorry about that… will this much be fine?”
I pulled my hood back and tried my best to smile. Just a friendly reminder, but I’m definitely not a narcissist. However, as a former man, I’m quite aware that my current appearance is that of a matchless, young beauty. A man knows best about another man’s tastes. The behavior, personality, and facial expressions that can make a man’s heart skip a beat—I know them all. Believe it or not, it’s one of the reasons why catfishers are extremely attractive. And naturally, this knowledge can also be wielded as a weapon.
“Forgive her, sir gatekeeper. If she didn’t cover her face, she would be called on by simply walking through the streets.”
“Ye—yeah… that’s certainly true.”
“So how about letting us through? I don’t have all day to wait for your approval.”
If I was him, I wouldn’t want to leave a bad impression on this beauty. Even if we never meet again, I’d do anything to avoid being told something like “That gatekeeper’s breath smells. I don’t want to get any closer.” And depending on the individual, they might even shamelessly plead for forgiveness. However, in this situation, there is only one right answer for a healthy man who can read the atmosphere.
“O—of course you can! By all means, please pass through!”
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Well, that’s just how it works. I pulled my hood back on and finally crossed the border. On the opposite side of the gate, water stretched as far as the eye could see. The gate merged with a single bridge stretching across the magnificent waters, and the royal capital stood on the other end.
This country didn’t exist when I had played the game. It’s a young nation with only 200 years of history; its founder being none other than one of the seven heroes of the rebellion—the “Wisdom King”, Megrez. According to Dina, the hero still passes his days in this country despite retiring from the throne.
I thought about it as we walked.
Megrez and I began playing the game at around the same time. There were times when we fooled around together and times when we fought as a party. Even during the decisive battle, not much had changed in our relationship. We knew the fight was just an act to revive the game’s competition. It was nothing but a performance, and I just happened to be playing the villain. But when all was said and done, we were still the players who shared the joy of playing the same game.
The real question is: who exactly is the Megrez of this world? Perhaps, is he the committed gamer I knew over the internet? Or perhaps, is he a different person, completely unrelated to the person in my memories? And if that’s the case, what happened to his memories of fooling around with me?
The “Sword King”, Alioth.
The “Beast King”, Dubhe.
The “Smith King”, Mizar.
The “Adventurer King”, Phecda.
The “Wisdom King”, Megrez.
The “Heavenly King”, Merak.
And last but not least, the “Vampire Princess”, Benetnasch.
These were the players that I once partied with. Each representing one of the seven major races, they were among the highest ranked players of the game. They are also individuals I must meet at all costs. Although the first four have passed away due to their shorter life spans, the last three still remain in this world. There is something that I must find out—whether if there are others stranded in this abnormal situation… or if I’m alone in this predicament.
“So this is… the country that Megrez founded.”
I raise my head.
Gazing at the capital, the first word that comes to mind is “water”—a city of water. A large gate decorated with intricate patterns framed the entrance to the capital, and thanks to the higher elevation, the metropolitan comes into clear view.
That said, the fact that my eyesight has become abnormally sharp also helps, and I’ve grasped a general idea of the country’s layout.
At the heart of the capital, the royal castle stands surrounded by the lake’s gentle waves. Bridges in all four directions form pathways from the castle to neighboring islands, and another bridge extends from each of the islands to the lands that make up Suvell’s borders. The five islands and the imperial castle make up the city of water. Eight bridges then weave the separate pieces of land into a single structure. The cityscape working in perfect harmony with Earth’s natural structures is quite the sight to behold—and an impressive feat of human architecture.
The lake’s reflective surface glistened in the sunlight, and the trees swayed in the wind. But there was more to Suvell than just its landscape. If you look hard enough, you’ll notice the curious orbs of light floating about the capital.
Back in the game, magical power drifting through the air was called “mana”. That’s probably it. The concentrated mana gave the area a somewhat mystical presence. It was just what you would expect from the wisdom king’s country.
“The magical country of Suvell. It’s a nation founded by an elf known as the ‘Wisdom King’, one of the seven heroes. The area is renown for its abnormal concentrations of mana and rapid advancements in magic and technology. It’s where the magicians and scholars from the far corners of the world aspire to share their ideas. However, because of the abundance of mana, flugels rarely come to pay a visit. Ruphas-sama, is your body holding up fine?”
“Nothing’s wrong. I’m not too sure about others of my kind, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s actually rather pleasant.”
Hearing Dina’s concerns, I took a closer look at the mana around us. I feel no discomfort being around the wandering mana. Though I’ve heard about the flugels’ dislike of demonic power, I show no such symptoms. Perhaps race’s distaste for mana is completely psychological? That would explain why I, who has no personal preference, am completely alright.
“So, about our next course of actions… where would you like to go after this?”
“Naturally, to meet Megrez. I have a lot of things to ask him after all.”
“Straight to the point, hm? However, if anywhere, Megrez is most probably resting in the castle. You don’t mean we’re going to break in from the front, do you?”
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I shook my head at Dina’s words.
In addition to the oncoming invasion of a magical beast, breaking into the castle would only add to the chaos. In which case, sneaking in, or waiting for him to leave the castle are much safer options. We would be much better off by gathering information first.
“Instead, I think we should slip in quietly. We shouldn’t raise any unnecessary commotion.”
As Dina implies, I’ll slowly familiarize myself with the capital before inching towards our goal. This country is one of the largest storehouses of knowledge on the planet, which means there will definitely be a place where I can read up on the world’s history. I know too little of the 200 years that passed without me. First, I’d like to cover up for my lack of knowledge. In that aspect, it’s fairly convenient for Aries to have chosen this city to attack.
Let’s see… looking for a library comes first.
With a clear goal in mind, I asked a passerby for directions.
【Some Useless Extra Details】
- Locations in X-gate online
In the world of X-gate online, Norse mythology was widely used for location and weapon names. However, the supreme deity’s name had absolutely nothing to do with Norse, so it wasn’t the game’s sole inspiration or anything.
Then again, other than the original nations produced from the early stages of game development, player established country names varied left and right. Therefore, names from other cultures also popped up every now and then. Strange names like “Zeon”, “M78 galaxy”, and “The six paths to heaven” also came up once in a while. The Norse model was forgotten, and the game administration didn’t mind either. Rather, there’s a limit to how far you can go with Norse mythology. Usually, a game would pull names from a number of cultures. And so that’s what they did.
As a result, the game was submerged into a sea of cultures, its foundation lost in the waves.
Developer: “…Well, we still have the location names…” (trembling voice)