Author's Note: This is a total Remake version after 12 years and true to its origins, with gamelit-centred settings. And I will be using first POV occasionally.
Disclaimers: Well, Ragnarok Online belongs to Gravity and Lee Myoung-Jin, the one and only.
There has been moment of the unpredictable, and unexplainable things happened in my life. Circumstances that I hardly put into words. I thought I would be spared from all these nonsensical matters. But gosh, it was not easy, you know.
It was - if I can say: extraterrestrial, supernatural, fickle, universe-transcending, dimensional distorted-like kind of thing, well whatever you'd named it. But, I would called it as 'eye-opener' moment.
As I was saying this, I woke up to such excruciating pain in my chest, literally scraping my inner flesh in a tremendous speed especially my heart. But my eyes shut tight, my body weighed heavier as if something gigantic pound right at my back. It seems the sleep is getting a little bit way off with this strange feeling pulling my legs. I surely have no idea what's going on. And then, there comes a voice ringing like a gong beside me.
"Leya! Wake up!"
"Good heavens! Leya! Wake up now!" - ok, for a moment, I wasn't sure who would called me Leya, as my birth name is Tracy. T-R-A-C-Y. I'm not Leya for god's sake. You got it all wrong, whoever it is. Wincing painfully, I forced my eyes opened.
There laid a rather familiar yet unfamiliar settings. Medieval timber houses lined orderly across the streets. People with weird costumes walking around in the bustling roads. At first, I thought I was in some sort of cosplay event. At the far side of the town, I noticed few merchant pop-up stores setup at the nearby park. Is this even real?
Wait, wait. This is strange. I mean, really strange. I shot my eyes open. Now I can finally see it clearly.
Where am I exactly!? My mouth wide-opened agape.
Welp, that's the first question - urgh... a shout, precisely; popped out of my mouth in this instant. Great, now I have attracted more unwanted attention from the crowd nearby. And I totally forgot the existence next to me the entire time. I look like a real confusing sod who seems so lost right now.
I wiped the cold sweat off my forehead, and finally taken notice of the person kneeled next to me.
"Took you so long to notice me, huh?" said she. I could see a super tiny pout escaped from her lips. The delicate feature had a medium length pink hair tied in buns, dressing in strange costume, again.
Now things gotten bit crazier as my mind trying to piece everything together. The familiar yet unfamiliar setting, remember what I have said earlier? Yes, it sounds crazy but I, Tracy - laying on the cobblestone street of Izlude, the satellite city of Prontera located just south. The fictional in-game town from the famous MMORPG, Ragnarok Online which I subscribed and played monthly.
"What happened...?" I couldn't finished my sentence. I just lost it. I could feel my strength slowly slipping away from the body. As I lost my balance again after attempting to stand, the stranger beside immediately caught me in her arms. "You fainted a while ago, Leya." she commented, escorting me to the nearby bench immediately.
"Le...ya?" I covered my face. The direct sunlight, the heat just adding more salt into the wounds. Ahhh... I hate this. I hate this feeling.
Slowly, the logics came running back to me. Yes... Now that I recalled it. Leya was my swordsman's character name in the hit MMORPG that I've been playing all this long - Ragnarok Online. I scanned through my surroundings, including the armour that I'm wearing. It fits the entire descriptions. My hair now dyed in chestnut brown, long and silky to my waistline. I am Leya, in this moment, at this time.
I certainly do not know what god-forsaken things had happened, but I am for sure, just like any sane person would do - dead shocked. Yes, dead shocked.
The girl was such a patience good samaritan. She seated herself next to me and handed a handkerchief so that I could stay composed. I guess she must've knew something before I wound up over here.
I asked politely, instead; refusing to stirred up even more strange-ier issues coming at my back. I already had enough of awkward moments today.
"What happened to me?" The young lady looked at me with sympathy. "You fainted right after the test. The Test of Courage." - ahh, the swordsman class job-changing quest.
I rubbed my temples nervously. Was the test that daunting? I mean, I am living as Leya now as we speak. It looks kind of easy back then.
"But rest assured. You just passed out. I guess it was the excessive heat these few days. Truth to be told, I too, was getting bit of impatience thanks to the heat. It is only spring now, but I wonder what happened to the weather here..." I was completely lost in the conversation. She sure was a chatterbox. But I don't mind. I mean, who would still retained their sanity after realizing that they trapped in the body, or mind of their game character anyway?
I am still uncomfortable with this strange feelings. "... And after that, I found you lying on the floor." the girl added, eyes sparkled in such hopeful glint.
"... I-uhh... Sorry? What was it again?" Told you that I was completely lost in the conversation. I couldn't followed up. "Uhh, my apologies. I mean, do you remember anything after the Test of Courage? The moment before you passed out here?"
I pursed my lips. I scratched my head, intending to recalled everything as clear as possible.
I remembered I was talking to my boyfriend in the phone, while trying to complete a rushed assignment with my Macbook in a coffee shop opposite of my college. I don't know what, but I think I was angry. Really angry over something.
I stormed out of the shop, crossing the busy street in such hurry pace, wiping my tears away; at the same time too, my mind was fuzzy, and filled with lots of upsetting thoughts.
I recalled my lips were saying things like 'Fine. Have it your way!'
... And the next thing I know, everything went black.
Then, here I am. Talking to you.
Said me, while pointing to the girl. Her expression sunk. Thinking I probably hit my head somewhere, she offered her help instead. "Hey, call me if you need help. Here, add me as friend. And if you're lost or something, click on my name and message me. I will respond as fast as possible."
As she said that, a translucent status screen pops out in front of me. Whoa, if I could explained it right now - it looks so 4K-ish. Crystal clear. Everything, the font, the colours, the resolution. It was so crisp that I start to believe my mind has been playing tricks to me eyes.
Taking chance when the girl is busy looking at her screen, I pinched my cheeks, hard. And the next thing, I shrieked, reacting to the pain.
Seriously? This game supposedly a semi 2D graphic without 4D or 5D integrated system. However, for the first time ever - I felt so real. So real in the sense of even pain can be inflicted here. And it is, indeed creepy.
"So... You get it so far?" the girl closed her screen and looked at me quizzically. I nodded, pretending I know everything. "Good!" she clasped her hand, lips curved into a smile.
I heaved a deep breath. Having bossed around right after I woke up to this strange yet not-anymore-strange world is definitely not my cup of tea. And this has been taking a toll on my sanity. I am surprised how composed I can be sometime. That explained why certain times I am just emotionless, or still; whereas people would have just lost it or have panic-stricken moment. And sometime, I have been labeled as thick by others. Whatever. It was all in the past now.
I must think of a way to get out of here. I couldn't be forever stuck in this body, right? I have a life back there. My cat still needs me, I still need to see my boyfriend and settle things up with him, I must complete my pending degree, and... to see my parents.
The girl stood up, then bid me farewell after everything's settled. I have only noticed her name was 'Sarah', in my friendlist status screen of course. Good grief. She knew who am I, and I have been such a poor sod here not knowing her name at all. Checking up on her status through the system, I sighed.
"Sarah. Level 20. Acolyte." I murmured under the breath.
Talking about Acolyte, it is no doubt that there are some priests and the related-classes would be here. Prontera is just north ahead. I stretched my arms, relieving the sore that has been aching up over my body all this time.
So, according to Sarah's descriptions by now, I was supposedly on my way to somewhere after completed my job-changing quest at the swordsman headquarter here in Izlude. But, to where? That's when the time I passed out, as Leya. And well, when 'Tracy' a.k.a me, took over the consciousness, precisely.
I could try starting from there. Having no acquaintances or friends except Sarah, I hardly land any clues about the things I should do next. But I couldn't stop here. I will get down to the very end of this so I could return to my world, or wherever logical it may seems.
I ran my fingers through my pouch. I have couple of red newbie potions with me, possibly reward for completing the quest. Some jellopy and feathers loot from Porings and Lunatic roaming free at the outside fields. A short sword, and a wooden buckler strapped to my sides.
I then opened up my profile status screen. Immediately, I cringed. 150 zeny. That cringey 3 digit number displayed at the top most right corner, as if the pain I suffered from the earlier circumstances isn't enough to knock my socks out.
I sighed heavily. I only able to afford minor things with this much, judging from the way it looks. I can't even use teleport by Kafra Services. I cursed my fate silently. So, with limited options left, I decided walking back by foot to Prontera instead.
By the time I speak, I have learned to get accustomed to the movement of my new body. I am still feeling a little bit uncomfortable, but it is manageable so far.
I slowly approached a Kafra NPC at the town centre. The fully french maid-dressed young lady in twin tails greeted me with a broad smile. I requested to open my storage, and peeking straight to the inventory, it indeed leave my heart sunk again. Nothing. There's nothing in my storage. I am a total newbie in this game. Like, straight out of the hot oven. Except that I am currently living in this body.
I took a quick glance over the next few corners of Izlude. The town is small, befitting its namesake as Satellite city of Prontera. Honestly speaking, there's nothing much attractive here. The Swordsman Headquarter situated at the north side, and the eastern south to here is the pier, which boats and ferry to Izlude Island parked. I see several new adventurers packed their bags and walked out happily from the inn, then to the pier - seemingly going for the next thrilling adventure.
As I sat with thoughts running wild in my head, I felt a sudden tinge of weird premonition about to happen. Called it a woman's intuition. I never once wrong about that.
I examined through the pier, and caught a glimpse of a strange NPC draped in black stood next to a large tree. Is this person belongs here, previously? Or have I been missing something?
Curious, I picked up my pace and approached the mysterious figure. In Ragnarok Online, there are plenty of side-quests giver as this, scattered around the world. And being an adventurous me here, I'd like to test my luck. Who knows, I'd land some good opportunities; to earn some money, rewards, exp and to find a way back to where I belong.
I didn't waste any moment, and directly faced the man or woman dressed in black. The hooded figure remained silent entire time. I waved frantically in front of him, even getting closer to his/her face till a static shock pushed me backwards. I felt my fingers burning. I pulled my hands away, fearing this mad man would go nuts again. What's wrong with Ragnarok Online people and NPC lately? I groaned.
"Fear not, my child." a deep, yet distance voice rings clearly in my head. The figure now stood firm, facing me.
"You are not of this world, yet you do not belong to the present you hold dear. You are a roaming soul, seeking a way to return." The androgynous voice speaks softly. His words stung me like poison. Angered, I shook the figure in retort - only to find out it was hollow. The drape fell off immediately. I staggered backwards. This is insane. I screamed silently from the inside and my knees gave out. Nice, just at the right time my strength went zero and I have to go through this agonizing painstaking moment.
The voice continues to ring. "We have been watching you from afar. Leya, or precisely, Tracy Park... This was the moment before you came into contact with this world."
As I enveloped in blinding light, a large projection played right at my eyes. The event I described to Sarah was perfectly accurate. I was indeed a college student, studying multimedia design and in pursuit of degree by end of next year. These memories I have, were not fabricated. They were real. Right before I awaken in Leya's body, I saw myself running out of the cafe opposite of the college in utter anger. I was upset about something but I couldn't pinpoint the reason behind. Crossing the busy streets with cars honking each other, I literally lip-synced the words I last spoke; 'Fine, have it your way!'. Until...
Until a bus ran through me.
My face mortified. The lifeless figure - the present me laid in the pool of blood. People, students from my college, workers from nearby buildings all came rushing towards the accident location. Cars and bikes stopped to maneuver the chaotic situations. Few minutes later, the eerie sirens of ambulance getting closer.
That was the time, everything went black.
"That... was me...?" I shuddered at the sight and the thought of it. The incident left a bitter taste in my mouth, and I am horrified. "... I'm dead?"
I hardly find any strength left in me to form the next words. My knees finally gave out. My mind just went blank.
The mysterious NPC stays silent. I clenched my fist so tight that I could feel my fingers would break at anytime. Oh, so you lot want to play hide and seek with me now, eh? Leaving me confused to no end.
"WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE OF SHOWING THIS TO ME!?"
I lunged back with full force, no holding back any longer. I don't know where this entity located now, but all I know that the time had stopped and they are watching me. Everything in Izlude froze. The adventurers that I saw walking out from the inn to the pier happily, the merchants, the Kafra NPC and others.
"You are the Seeker. A roaming soul. You belong nowhere. This was your final moment before came into this world."
"You were seeking a way back to the place you no longer welcomed. Your past, present and future now has rendered to nothing. But-"
"Send me back to the real world NOW!"
I had enough. They just stating the obvious. Yes, I know I am very well dead now; but more importantly, what will become of me after this? I want to know what happened next? Where am I after the black-out? What is my condition now? How do I ended up over here and how do I return to where I belong?
The entity again, paused for a brief moment.
"Your soul is in desperation. Despite the rebellious nature, you are indeed afraid. You fear of death. Your true desire lies deep down which we can tell from the inside. Suffice it to say, you do not belong to this world either."
"And we could not have your presence stirred up imbalance in Rune-Midgard."
I could feel my hands soaking in cold sweat. According to them, I am dead but not-very-dead at the same time. My soul roam in the realm of unknown, seeking ways to return. I, on the other hand, is an ephemeral entity. An existence that does not belong here. And, should not be here at all. But, right now, I am confused as hell.
I neither had a chance to return to the real world, based on these strange entities. Nor I belonged here too. I'm stuck in between. Like a aimless soul caught in the middle of nowhere, either I ascend to the heavens or afterlife to be judged of my previous deeds. Yeah, I heard that a lot, since young. My mom is one of those who practiced superstitious beliefs.
And there's some truth in their words. I do not belong to this world. My presence here, if leave it be any longer, will definitely caused imbalance. I do not know what I'm about to do, but my mind has already made up. I have mentioned earlier that I want to go back to the world I belonged, no matter what it takes. I NEED to go back. I still have plenty of things to accomplish. I would do anything to return to my present.
"Well, I'm listening..." I said with a firm voice, not wavered anymore.
"Tell me what to do in order to return to my world!"
This mysterious entity, though I am not very well-versed with them; I could sense that they have something up onto their sleeves. Yet this time, I came prepared.
Come what may, I shall face it with courage.
Chapter 1: Distortion
Chapter Footer Note: Thank you for reading it! I have been author block for so many years, thinking how to continue this story. I have in fact, altered, recreate, and even changing the concept from fanfiction to original but all of them went hiatus.
Possibly it was about the overdue pent-up feelings and emotions I felt towards the characters (and their respective owners) involved. But those were good o' memories.
I hope this time, I'd write a good story that will touch thousand hearts! Happy reading!
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