First Tensei: The City of Murdrum
Please Enter Your Name: Enman Kyouya
"Service has ended prematurely for today due to incidents on the track. This train will be returning to the station shortly."
I woke up groggily as the voice on the train faded away. Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I stood up and took a quick glance around. The setting sun directed it's final rays into the station and onto the train itself. There was no one left on the train and no one on the platform. Quickly getting off the train, the doors closed not a second longer after I passed through them and the train quickly began to make it's way out of the station. I slowly made my way towards the station's exit.
The station dropped me off in the middle of a square. Here people bustled around, the first ones I have seen since entering the station. There were people moving from store to store and down the streets, finishing their shopping and returning home for the day. And then there were the people gathered around the fountain with puzzled and frustrated looks, no doubt annoyed with the train's sudden last stop. I joined them, taking a seat on the rim of the fountain and checked my phone. There was little to no information on the train's sudden stop and no plans or idea on when it would be fixed. With the day waning I could overhear talks of looking for a hotel nearby. I turned back to my phone and continued to dig for information on the train schedule. But before long I felt my eyes get heavy and I drifted back to sleep.
I woke up on the ground. A thin blue ran underneath me and underneath it was smooth, cool stone. And all around me were racks and racks of weapons. Spears, swords, shields, axes, maces, lances. Quickly getting up, I quickly took stock of my surroundings which consisted of rows and rows of weapons in a wide room. Following the rug, I could see the moon through the opening of a grand balcony, peaking through tall pillars to bathe the room in a blue light. In front of the balcony stood a desk, adorned with papers and pens, untouched and unmarked.
"Oh. I didn't expect any visitors this early."
From the rows of weapons, a gnarled and short old man walked up to the desk and turned to me.
"Welcome. My name is Igor and this is the Velvet Room. In the days to come, you may find yourself in a position where you will require our services. However, only those who have formed a special contract may enter here. You may be here now because that sort of fate lies in your future. But without a contract, I'm afraid there is little else I can offer you. Soon, you will wake up and be faced with a strange fate. But you will not have to face it alone. Look deep inside yourself and you will find the person that has been waiting for you. The name that is etched deep into your heart. I look forward to meeting this person and in return I will introduce to you my assistant. But that is all til the next time we meet."
I woke up again, lying on the fountain's rim. Night had fallen and the moon hung in the sky. Nobody was left in the square and the shops had closed for the night. Getting up I made my way down the street and into the city of Murdrum.
The city felt eerie. A place meant to service a great amount of busy people now left with no one as they all retired for the night. Following the streetlights I made my way through the empty streets and into a shopping district, decorated with closed shops. The streets split off in varying directions and without any sense of where to go I made my own way down a random street. There weren't even any cars left parked on the side of the road, much less any that would run down the lanes. The more empty the city felt, the heavier the air felt. And yet there was an energy in the city. Not in the air but below. As if below ground ran something. Something that cared not for what happened on the surface. Mysterious and enigmatic.
I stopped as the streetlight above me began to flicker. And behind me I heard a low rumble. Spinning around, I watched as a black mass of...something emerged from the ground itself, shaping and manifesting itself in twisted and wretched shapes until something resembling a mask poked out of it's inky depth and seemed to stare directly at me. I stumbled back as the monster let out a screech and pulled the rest of it's body out of the ground. My body told me to turn and run but I was too scared to take my eyes off the grotesque amorphous thing. Stuck between the two desires, my feet tripped and I fell onto the ground as the slime pulled itself closer with thin human arms.
"No you don't!"
A small girl with a blue cap appeared out of nowhere to smack the monster with a bat, slamming it against a wall.
"Refuse of the Holy Grail, you will not take the life of an innocent while I am here!"
The monster moaned as it directed it's many arms to grab the girl.
"Go!" The girl cried as she swatted the monster's arms away with her bat, "Forget everything that you saw here today!"
I quickly stood up, unsure of what to do. My body eventually pulled me around and I began to run off.
"Ah! Wait! No-not now you piece of garbage! Not that way!"
I ran faster and faster until my lungs began to burn. Stopping to catch my breath, I kept a careful eye out for anymore strange monsters. My escape had brought me to an open park that showed no signs of life. The light of the park promised me a bit of safety so I made my way in. Finding safety in the familiarity of the children's playground, I sat down on a bench and tried to regain my composure.
"True Name release, on standby."
"The evil dragon will fall and the world will now reach the twilight."
Hearing voices further into the park, I got up and walked towards them. Standing atop the roof of a playground was a girl dressed as a ninja and an armored man with a large sword, both of them standing against each other.
"Wind gather...Kashin Code Activate!"
The armored man stopped as he raised his sword and noticed me, a look of horror dawning on his face. His reaction drew the attention of the ninja girl as she turned around and took notice of me as well.
"No! Run!" The man called.
The woman suddenly disappeared as the man jumped off of the playground and ran towards me.
"Humans must be eliminated."
The voice of the woman came from behind me as I felt her arm wrap around my neck and choke me.
"Curse your own fate for bringing you here."
From the corner of my eye, I saw something glint in the moonlight.
The man's sword flew through the air and clashed against the woman's blade, forcing her back. Grabbing the sword again and pushing me back, the man stood against the girl once more.
After hearing those words once tonight, I began to run off again, pushing my fatigue to the side.
"Why do you protect that human? It is our duty to keep our existence a secret."
"I will not allow you to harm innocent people!"
"Is that so? Archer. The human."
I ran out of the park and turned down the street, unsure of where to go next. In the distance, I saw the glint of something and my body immediately stopped. The ground suddenly exploded in front of me, throwing me back. Panic tore at me as I quickly got up and ran into the road. The ground continued to explode behind me, as I did my best to weave in and out, trying to make myself a more difficult target. One explosion. Two explosions. Three, four, five. The ground below me creaked and rumbled as I suddenly had a terrible feeling. The ground in front of me exploded again and the ground finally gave way completely.
I fell into a pool of rushing water, the rapids moving faster than I could keep myself up. Tired and confused, I let the water carry me away, too tired to resist as my mind drifted away.
I woke up again to the sound of trickling water. Pushing myself up once more the ground had a thin film of moving water. Standing back up and looking around, I recognized the structure of sewer tunnels around me. I seemed to have been deposited into an intersection, where the water slowed down and split off. In the middle of the intersection was a raised platform, above the water and sitting on that platform was what seemed to be a large cup that seemed to be overflowing with water. The cup drew my attention like nothing else. Everything else faded away, my fatigue, the events of today, my surroundings. I found myself walking towards the cup and staring at it's golden sheen. Water ran down it's length and mixed in with the sewer waters, going down every tunnel. Entranced, I reached out and touched it. Immediately, there was a burning shock as I made contact with the thing. Something that coursed through my body and burned away at me from the inside out until it reached my brain and I thought it was beginning to fry. I cried out in pain, my scream echoing around me and down the tunnel, as I once again collapsed onto the ground.
"What is this?"
Two voices seemed to enter my mind as I laid there, comatose.
"How did a human get here?!"
"He's soaked. Perhaps the rapids carried him here?"
"Impossible, that is a one in a million chance of happening."
"But the possibility isn't zero."
"Tch. Thankfully it seems that the grail fried him."
"No, he's still alive though I don't know if he'll ever recover."
"Regardless, we can't let anyone find out about this location. Take him away and kill him. I'll relocate the Holy Grail."
I felt somebody pull at my shirt and drag me away. As I was dragged away questions drifted though my semi-conscious mind. What was that? What was going on? What happened to me? Why did this happen?
"I'm sure you have a lot of questions." I heard my abductor say as I was leaned against the wall, "But I'm afraid you won't ever get the answers."
"...I'm sorry. May the Divine Buddha have mercy on you...and me."
Was I going to die here?
I heard the jingling of brass as something was raised into the air.
"Please rest peacefully."
No...I didn't...want to die. At the very least...I wanted to struggle a bit. To be strong enough to try and find out what was going on. No matter what it was...even if the truth would drive me mad...I want...to fight.
"What's going on?!"
The ground below me began to glow.
"I am thy Servant. Thou art my Master. From the sea of souls I have been summoned."
"A summoning?! Here?!"
I felt somebody grab my shirt and pull me into the water once more, running away into the waves.
I woke up again on dry ground. Opening my eyes, the moon was still high in the sky and the tops of buildings told me that I had escaped the sewer.
At my side was a young blond girl in a blue dress. Her eyes seemed empty, devoid of passion or life.
"You are my Master now." The girl said, "I am Berserker. My true name is-"
"Ah! There you are!"
Pushing my aching body up once more I turned to see the girl with the bat from earlier run up to me.
"You're safe! Thank goodness. And...you're a Master?!" The girl cried, surprised, "Why didn't you tell me?! But wait...you weren't a Master before! What happened in the short time I was gone?!"
→Who are you?
What's going on?
"That's what I want to know! Just what is going-" The girl stopped as the sound of a familiar screeching came from around the corner.
"It caught up already?!" The girl yelped, "Aaaahhh! We have to run!"
The gelatinous monster peaked from around the corner with it's mask-like face and locked onto us as targets.
"Dammit, if I had more magic I could defeat a Shadow like you easily!" The girl cried, "For now we have to run!"
I stood up and faced the Shadow.
"Wait, what are you doing?"
The monster dragged it's body towards me. As it made itself taller and taller as if to make itself scarier or to try and swallow me up. I remained steadfast as I stared down the monster and spoke up.
The girl in a blue dress from earlier ran up and stabbed a knife into the body of the monster.
"This is the enemy?" Berserker asked.
The monster screeched as it began to wrap itself around Berserker, trying to consume her. In a few short slashes, the body of the monster exploded into bits as Berserker cut apart it's body from the inside. The bits of the creature's body continued to move though as each piece picked itself up and pulled out their own masks from their body.
"T-That shadow's comprised of multiple smaller shadows!" The girl with the bat called.
Berserker slashed away at any Shadows that came close but even as he knife struck away at the horde of monsters, they would simply reform and begin to pile together into bigger and stronger monsters.
"This isn't working!" The girl with the bat moaned, "Don't you have anything else? A Mystic Code or something?"
I felt my eyes suddenly sharpen and words appear in my vision. Stats and skills began to cross my sight until I spotted his weakness.
"Agi." I raised my arm and fire wrapped around my hand, shooting off and smashing into the body of one of the Shadows, melting the creature away.
"Fire!" The girl with the bat cried triumphantly, "Their weakness is fire!"
Berserker made one last slash at the Shadows before jumping back and holding out her knife towards me.
I sent my flames into her knife until it glowed red hot. The knife itself began to burn Berserker's hand but she didn't react as she lunged forward once more and slashed away at each of the Shadows once more, killing each of them until we were finally alone once more.
"Nice...Nice going, Master!" The girl with the bat cried, smacking me on the back.
"You're a fresh new Master but you commanded that situation like a pro!" The girl with a bat grinned, "So what's your name?"
"Okay. And this is your Servant?" The girl turned towards the girl with the blue dress, "You said she was a Berserker? No wonder. Nobody else would be able to shrug off wield a burning 1000 Degree knife without flinching like that! So what's her name?"
I turned to Berserker but she seemed to look back at me, as if for confirmation.
→What's your name?
"...Berserker. True Name...Alice. Alice Pleasance Liddel."