~ Ephemeral Dream ~
What do you think... of the concept of death?
Is it an unexplained phenomenon, a truth you wish to find out? A never-ending depth that promises no future for the fallen ones? Or the sweet embrace that triggers the hidden desires of all mankind?
Miracles do not exist.
Growing up as a clueless kid, I always believe that our souls will be given their deserved peace in death. I am a Magus. A pure atheist. I do not believe in god, the devil, a flying spaghetti monster, or any higher beings, but I knew of the fact that souls exist, and that they deteriorate when forcefully contained.
Yes, perhaps they simply wish to go home? To somewhere far away. The Afterlife, Heaven, Hell, the Netherworld, Nirvana, Elysium, Valhalla, wherever they are, the deceased souls must have definitely went somewhere.
I was wrong.
Death, is in a way, the end of our journey as all are equal in the long-awaited eternal silence. However, the souls of the deceased won't find any salvation. In this cruel universe of ours, all deaths are meant to return to the Origin, have their histories and personalities wiped.
A fresh start, meaning that, all beings will start from a clean slate.
How can I accept this fact? How can I prevent it? How can I save someone from this inevitable fate? This powerlessness... it is so agonizing that it is beyond anything I have experienced. Why was I so late? Why can't I realize her desperate pleas earlier? Why are you smiling-
"...Hey, why do you cry?"
I am an extremely emotional person. The sympathy I felt when I invoked the spell that must have been torturous for the living catalyst, an innocent puppy. The sentiments I felt when I discarded the first Mystic Code I was gifted due to its old age. The empathy I felt when I understood the requirement of failures before success.
And, the despair I felt when my dearest died.
...The world that we know of is vast and beautiful.
We push for exciting adventures. We sought for mysterious encounters. We long for unexplained curiosity. To mankind, such a vast world is far too bright for us to fully see through.
We do not deserve it.
Spring four seasons, the heat of the hot summer, the hollowed autumn, the silent winter. The boundless ocean, the endless mountains, the breezy grass plains. To explore the unknown, many have sacrificed themselves and yet we remained ignorant of this ever-changing world.
This story began with the birth of a tiny life.
This story... began with the death of a tiny life.
The morning dew reflected the sun's brilliance. Such a dazzling world... was crumbling to its ruin. The scenery brought into existence by a lone man. The creatures from myths that was never sighted in the modern era. They are all slowly fading away.
The color of water. The tinted white wall. The castle that was covered in snow. Those memories, they keep coming back to me no matter how hard I tried to forget them.
This game... this life. It is one that I will never understand. Yes, this is the beginning of a story. Yes, this is the end of a tragedy. The calamity has passed. The aftermath has been settled.
So, can you see me? I am here, I will always be here, because-
Searching... A new Candidate has been found.
Analyzing... completed. All requirements are met.
New Candidate has been determined as a 2nd Rank entity-
Candidate's soul is collapsing... retrieving backup information.
Assistance system has been activated. Repairing Candidate's soul...
Candidate's soul has been restored. Due to the backlash, the Candidate has been demoted to Fifth Rank.
Connection has been established... an oath shall be swore at this moment.
...What? Where am I?
Question: Do you wish to save her?
I am standing on... a lake? I can clearly see the water's ripples, but I am not sinking. The sky... it's endless. It reminds me of the happy times during childhood. An infinite future, an infinite potential, a life of ignorance.
Question: Do you wish to save your loved one?
You- No, shouldn't I be dead? The irreversible collapse of my soul. The innocent young girl who had a devilish smile... None of my spells were working on her... Hah, to be connected to the Root means to have access to information on every known abilities. Then, coming up with a counter must be a simple task that can be done in an instant.
Ah, that's right, the breakdown of my Reality Marble-
Question: Do you wish for a chance at True Resurrection?
...What is this? A deal with the devil? True Resurrection does not exist. Whether its the revival of the dead, the recreation of a soul, the evocation of one's spirits into an object, they cannot truly bring someone back to life.
Answer: I am Cardinal, the one who contracts new Candidates. You can also refer me to as System.
A contract? Like Alaya's contract to become a Counter Guardian? Do you think of me as a fool?
...Hahaha, yes, I am an idiot.
So, what are you offering?
Offer: The complete resurrection of your loved one.
Price: The actualization and proof of the unattainable goal, the First Rank.
...The unattainable goal? Something someone has never reached before? What do you expect of me? I may have been a mage who stood at the peak, but do you know the amount of efforts I have to put into it?
True Magic? Magecraft from the Age of Gods? What a joke.
I am not talented. I am just an ordinary man. No special talents nor great magical potential. I was not blessed by the heavens with a superior mind. I simply had the foreknowledge of future events.
I used the vilest methods that is too cruel for the evils. I did self-tortures and experimentation that a human should never experience. The blood, the sweat, the tears I have shed. The unforgettable screams, the unknown horrors, the true facade of humanity I have seen, they were-
...What am I even hesitating for? It does not matter. No matter the price, I will achieve it. I do not care whether you're the devil or god himself. As long as what you said is true... I will accept it. After all... I am too weak to save her alone.
The new Candidate has accepted the offer.
Welcome, Candidate #10330423, to Edelweiss, the realm of infinite possibilities!
~ Ephemeral Dream ~
Candidate: Fenric von Leiqritus
Rank: Fifth Rank
In Edelweiss, the strength of the Candidates can be split into 3 main components: Stats, Skills, and Equipment. These three components have been quantified so that the Candidates can grasp their current strength.
Of the three, Stats refer to the basic capabilities of the individual. STR determines a person's musculature and body strength. This attribute is very important for close combatants. The strength attribute would affect one's base damage when using close combat weapons, and it also affected one's melee accuracy.
VIT represents a person's health and endurance. Any increase in physique would improve a person's fortitude, the ability to resist poison or disease, and their overall balance and concentration. Therefore, it is very important for all professions.
AGI determines a person's body synchronization, flexibility, reflexes, and balance. It is extremely vital for those warriors who wore light or medium armor, and for anyone who wishes to become a good archer.
INT determines a person's talent in the mystical and is linked to the possibility and extent of usage of all miraculous powers. It also made it easier for Candidates to cast spells, as well as increased the power of their spells. 1 INT roughly equals to a Magic Circuit with the output of 10 units of prana.
An ordinary twenty-year-old human would possess an average of 1.0 in every stat, with the exception of INT.
"...So everything has been reset?" All the efforts, all the training, the results were all gone. However- "It does not matter. I still have the knowledge on how to use Magecraft. But I'd need at least 10 INT to even start using the more advanced stuff without tiring myself to death..."
"In any case, what am I supposed to do here?" Fenric scanned the space around him and asked.
Answer: Your task is to simply become stronger, stronger than anyone else. You will be sent to complete missions in various worlds, and with each mission accomplished, you will receive the designated rewards in return.
What is this? A game?
Answer: It is similar. Now, new Candidates are given 1 Attribute point and 1000 Exchange points. Please use them right now as you will be entering the first world in thirty minutes.
"Well then." Nodding slightly, Fenric immediately put his free point into VIT, raising it to 2.
Sure, putting them all into INT will help him in the evocation of Magecraft, but having 2 times the INT of an average adult won't help that much at the beginning. He will probably be in constant danger, and becoming a glass cannon is the last thing he wants to do.
Yes, he needs the power from STR, the mobility, flexibility, and dexterity from AGI. However, he values the endurance and stamina from VIT the most.
2 times the VIT of an adult may not seem to be much compared to the inhuman feasts of the fantastical creatures, but it adds up when the skills he has amassed over the course of his life are included. After all, what's the point of struggling when you can't even swing your sword? And more importantly, most of the time spent are not in life and death situations, but in traveling rough terrains.
"What to buy..." He pulled up Edelweiss' shop window. There were many things in the stores, but most of them, especially the valuable ones, exceeds the price of 1000 Exchange points.
Not being able to do much, he first bought a blank non-deteriorating instant magic charm for 100 points. It's a waste, but he needed to confirm something. "Let's see..." He experimented with his Magecraft, and discovered that he could barely maintain and engrave a low level Rune onto the paper.
"How horrible." Fenric frowned and finished carving a fireball spell onto the charm. No, it is not a fireball, but a pseudo miniature fireball that took up all of his prana. It is an incredibly inefficient spell that can only be used as a distraction at best since both its fuel consumption and generated heat level are at the lowest possible degrees.
If used, it will probably only singe someone's hair, but it'll definitely annoy the hell out of them. Quite a good item when used to aggro an enemy. Quite an useless item considering the manufacture cost.
Yes, he realized that he didn't have any Magic Circuits. His access to Sorcery has also all been denied- No, they are gone. To start using highly-lethal offensive Magecraft in combat... he'll need 10 INT, no, preferably 20 INT, which is equivalent to 200 units of prana.
How pathetic he is now. He had infinite magic power. No, even if you exclude Heaven's Feel, he still had 330 units of prana during his life as a Magus and that is slightly above average. And look at him now, 10 INT, 100 units of prana, seemed to be a luxury that he could never reach.
In any case, he can still use spells, but his meager prana quantity will be used up very quickly. The crafting of magical items and Mystic Codes is even worse since they take up more magical energy and takes even more during their activation.
Thankfully, Formalcraft can solve the minor problems such as the creation of a simple detection Bounded Field. As for the major ones... he can only wait till he raises his INT.
"..." Time steadily ticked by as Fenric browsed the wares available in Cardinal's Store. There were many useful things, but there weren't, say, legendary holy swords like Excalibur. The Equipment that are being sold are ordinary metal weapons, everyday items, and other miscellaneous products.
He contemplated whether to buy a weapon. A gun was great, but the ammunition consumption deterred him from purchasing it. A farmer with a spear can kill a trained soldier. As technology advances, a farmer with a musket can kill a veteran knight. Nowadays, a child can kill a martial arts genius by simply pulling the trigger of a gun.
A bow on the other hand, was better. He knows how to use them on the level of a Heroic Spirit, and he can also make arrows himself, nevertheless, his physical capabilities cannot support the force behind those powerful shots and the arrows will just bounce off metal armor.
Then, there are the close-range weapons. Knives, daggers, swords, spears, axes, maces, war hammers, and halberds made from different materials such as wood, stone, copper, bronze, iron, steel, etc. Frankly, the better ones are expensive, and he was not sure if they were worth it.
In the end, he decided to approach it in a wait and see style. He's not going to just buy a sword or a bow. He's not superhuman anymore. What if the world he's chosen for is in the modern era? Should he participate in a gun fight with a wooden club? What about a gun? Should he bring a 21st century firearms into a futuristic Sci-Fi world?
He can't even afford anything beyond a .22 pistol.
"Oh well." Seeing that things are not working out, he decided to just procure a weapon on site. What? You can kill a human with a pen, and a tree branch to the back of someone's head is lethal in every sense.
Concerning the ability to murder, he does not fall behind any serial killers or great generals in a war. Yes, if everything still doesn't work out, you just have to kill it with fire or hit it until it dies. It always work one way or another!
Spending the remaining 900 points, he bought two health potions, food, water, and a bag to put them in.
Newbie's Lesser Health Recovery Potion (Small): When drank, the user's minor injuries are regenerated at an accelerated pace for the next 10 seconds. 300 Exchange points.
Newbie's Greater Health Recovery Potion (Small): When drank, the user's major injuries are regenerated at an accelerated pace for the next 10 seconds. 500 Exchange points.
Energy Compression Cookies (3 Day): When eaten, the user's hunger is filled. 3 day's portion. 30 Exchange points.
Water Bottle (Small): Container filled with water. It can be filled with 500 milliliters of water that will be purified over time. 50 Exchange points.
Waist bag: A tiny yet durable bag made out of fabrics. 20 Exchange points.
The potions are for emergency situations. One can never predict what will happen in an unknown place and it is better to be safe than sorry. The same goes for food and water. They are genuine lifesavers.
Although he has access to an inventory, he still bought the waist bag because the amount that he can store is limited and it is not wise to fill it with useless things.
Inventory: 2 slots, unstackable, cannot exceed the size of 1 cube meter per slot, impossible to be stolen, 2 slots are gained per rank up.
Just like what the System says, Edelweiss' inventory is the absolute space to store items. Even for entities on the level of a First Rank, it is impossible to steal anything that is it in. It is an ultimate storage that should only be deposited with the most valued items.
Only things that are acknowledged or considered to be owned by the Candidate can be stored in it, so you can't just steal merchandise from someone's shop and put it into your inventory.
Additionally, anything that isn't whole will be counted separated. For example, a sword that has been broken into three parts, blade, guard, hilt, is determined to be three different objects.
The same way applies to the Skills section as well.
Skills: 2 slots, skills won't be deleted but their levels will be lost when removed, 2 slots are gained per rank up.
Unfortunately, you can't abuses the System by purchasing a massive amount of Skills. On the bright side, any Skills can removed at any time and be replaced with new and better ones.
Skills are divided into five levels based on a Candidate's ranking. Fifth-ranked Candidates could only have their Skills remain at the bottom level while a Third-ranked Candidate can level it up twice to level 3, which triples the skill's potency.
The Skills of Edelweiss are meant to be an element that gives its Candidates a single massive boost in power, nonetheless, the primary way to become more powerful is to learn it from the world that they are going to.
Weapon techniques, magic, divine power, psychic power, mystical bloodlines, unusual armaments, they could all be found in a mission world or bought, sold, and exchanged at the Edelweiss auction house.
Announcement: Thirty minutes have passed.
"Uh? Already?" Fenric looked up to the bright sky. The world twisted and the boundless blue slowly dimmed. The sight steadily changed as an ethereal aurora descended onto the now dark sky. Green, blue, red, orange, purple, a full spectrum could be seen.
It was truly a touching scenery, one that won't be seen again in a lifetime.
"Mission World: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash"
"Mission Difficulty: Fifth Rank"
"Number of Candidates: 1"
"Number of Main Tasks: 3"
"Task 1: Eliminate 10 Goblins, individual reward added will be based on the additional kill count."
"Task 2: Eliminate the Kobold's Leader Death Spot, additional reward will be based on the number of participants."
"Task 3: Earn 10 Gold, additional reward will be based on the amount of currencies gained."
"Failure penalty: 1000 Exchange points will be deducted for the failure of each main task."
"Completion Reward: Based on the final evaluation."
The first chapter is here!
I have decided to make this a standalone from Limitless Eternity. There will probably be minor changes made after I post this chapter since I have not yet finalize the details of the system.
Fate/Zero, Fate/stay night, Tsukihime, and Kara no Kyoukai will definitely be in this story since I am very familiar with the Nasuverse. As for Fate/Prototype, Fate/Prototype: Fragments of Sky Silver, Fate/hollow ataraxia, Fate/strange fake, and Fate/Grand Order... those will be put on the shelf for now~
Oh! Expect Overlord as well. I'd recommend everyone to read the Light Novel because it's 1000% better than the anime. It has a fascinating world building on par with the Nasuverse, and I always wanted to see it from the perspective of a SI~