As shed been trained since she was four, the first thing Mila did upon her eyesight returning was to analyze her surroundings. She was in a large stone room, perfectly circular with a roughly 50 meter radius and a five meter ceiling at the edges. The ceiling wasn perfectly flat, rising up to 7 meters at the center, and it was covered with a large sigil of a language not of earth made from orange and yellow fire, providing the rooms light.
With her new racial ability, however, Mila could understand the sigil as easily as she could understand Chinese characters or English words in the latin alphabet, and, looking around at the 316 others in the room, it made her very, very nervous.
Battle Royale, Only One Team Survives
Depending on the size of a team, almost everyone in the room was going to die for a second time and Mila realized putting all her free stats into luck had been incredibly stupid.
Without wasting any more time, she found Aalam sitting against one of the walls, glowing with a golden light from under his skin, his body, like everyone else in the room, looking no different from normal even though they were all only souls.
As she walked up to him, she realized there were only two other Chinese in the room, which was odd given her homelands population, and she quickly did a little math. In the time period the System was supposedly gathering souls, there would have been around 5 million deaths under normal circumstances. With the pandemics and the other effects of global warming, that was doubled at most, but a thermonuclear war would have made that way larger.
Even with a conservative estimate of 7 million, however, it was very unlikely there would only be 317 people as stupid as her who chose Nightmare difficulty, which meant there were more versions of this challenge than the one she was in.
As she walked up to Aalam, the golden glow from under his skin changed to green, but, when she was right in front of him and he finally noticed her, the glow changed again from green to gray.
He was looking at her with a gaze shed never seen on him before, not hate, not surprise, not even apathy. Instead it was a look of judgement, like he was weighing whether she would live or die
He knew what type of challenge this was.
”Hey, Aalam. Want to form a team? ” It was a stupid thing to say, and even stupider to say it in Mandarin, a language hed only learned so they could communicate better, even though her English had been pretty much flawless, but she was nervous and her instincts kicked in to hide their conversation from everyone else around them.
Before he could respond, however, a man walked up to them and started yelling. Like everyone in the room, he was wearing unflattering gray sweatpants and a large gray T-shirt, shoes apparently not a thing for starting tutorial clothing. Caucasian, with brown hair, brown eyes, and a beer belly, he looked to be in his mid-thirties and his accent placed him as from the United States northeast.
e that terrorist, right! The one who blew up the Capitol! ”
Mila took a quick glance at Aalam, noticed a complete lack of surprise at the mans outburst, and then turned back to the outraged man, not showing her surprise on her face. ”Sir, ” she said calmly in English, ”you do realize racial profiling is rather untoward, right? ”
The man, an American liberal from all signs, almost looked like he was slapped in the face, and, noticing the opportunity, she took her chance. ”Now, from what we were told by that puppet thing, our souls were gathered over 30 days. Were the US Capitol blown up, I gather it would be major news and I would have heard of it, so I likely died before you. What is it you think you know? ”
”There was video of him pressing a button on his phone just before the Capitol blew up. ”
”Ah. ” Mila nodded as if in understanding, the commotion having gathered a crowd, and pointed at Aalam. ”Do you know who he is? ”
”Some scientist. ” The man looked unsure.
”His name is Aalam Alvaro and he is, by standard definitions, a hero. Our world was facing three apocalypses according to the tutorial puppets—pandemics, global warming, and thermonuclear war. Were our worlds integration with magic to have not happened, the first two would have most certainly been solved, and, even after his death, it would have been almost entirely because of him.
”A multi-disciplinary scientist, hes designed new computer chips, solved quite a few of the problems blocking a neuro-electronic interface, and written computer code capable of getting around the security measures of pretty much all the worlds governments. More importantly, however, his work in material science found an efficient way to get greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere at scale and his work in gene modeling and in understanding the human proteome led to breakthrough technology completely upending traditional medicine, allowing him to take the genetic code of our worlds pandemics and find effective treatments and vaccines for all three in just a few months. ”
”Then why did he blow up the Capitol? ”
”Thats my point. He wouldn and, more importantly, couldn . ” Mila smiled in a somewhat fake manner, anyone with any social skills able to see she was thinking something bad. ”Sure, he could have almost certainly built a bomb, but he was nowhere close to having the skills to get one past Capitol security, and the only person he knew with those types of skills was his ex-girlfriend, but shed been a Chinese spy and had run away without talking to him.
”He had, however, pissed off most of the worlds governments at the time, as well as many major corporations. See, as a security measure, hed placed a piece of code in his research files which would automatically upload to the internet every file on every domain-joined computer for any domain on which his research was stored other than his own, so, if anyone stole his research, all their private data would be revealed. And, over the last year, everyone stole his research.
”It wouldn be surprising at all if someone framed him. ”
The man looked a little shaken, and those who had moved closer didn have expressions of hostility, which was good, some even nodding along, seeming aware of Aalams identity or at least some of the facts shed explained, and three people, as shed suspected, seemed to recognize her as well.
The news of something like the Capitol blowing up would have dominated 24-hour news channels all over the world for days and it was basically impossible her own identity wouldn have been revealed in the process.
The man questioning her, however, seemed less aware of the facts than some of the others. ”If you died before the Capitol exploded, how do you know all this? ”
”Im the Chinese spy ex-girlfriend. ” Mila changed her facial expression again, this time to show controlled annoyance. ”The last thing I remember from Earth is being shot to death by my own government, and now I learn the man I spent years living with died as well, likely due to something that was at least partially my fault.
”Im feeling a little guilty here and was hoping to talk to my ex before whatever dangerous thing is going to happen starts happening, but then someone started yelling at us. ”
”Ah. ” The man, who she was now sorry would soon most likely die, left, going over to talk with some others whod been listening in and Mila and Aalam were left alone again, everyone giving them a bit of space.
”What are your racial abilities and how did you allocate your stats? ” Aalam spoke in Chinese, but he still looked as if he were judging her, which made Mila extremely uncomfortable. The Aalam in her memory was a happy-go-lucky nerd and his actions so far were extremely out of character.
”I can read— ”
”The names of the abilities and their rarities only, please. ” The gray glow from Aalams skin faded and he instead started to glow blue.
”Omniglot Reader, Legendary, and Fairy Law, also Legendary. All stats 3, other than Luck. Luck 75. ”
”Hmm. ” Aalam looked a little surprised, and she was pretty sure it was pleasantly so. ”Repeat after me, but replace the names.
”I, Aalam Alvaro, pledge to make no actions I believe might lead to the death of Li Mila or her loss of future potential. ”
”I, Li Mila, pledge to make no actions I believe might lead to the death of Li Mila or her loss of future potential. ”
”I, Li Mila, pledge to make no actions I believe might lead to the death of Aalam Alvaro or his loss of future potential. ”
As soon as her words were done, a System message appeared in front of her in blue text.
You have entered into an Oath Pact with Aalam Alvaro.
If you go against the terms of the Oath Pact, your soul will be damaged.
Mila learned two things then. One, Aalam had access to a whole lot more information than she did and, two, Fairy Law was a very useful ability.
Trial Taker Aalam Alvaro has invited you to his team for the event Nightmare Royale.
Do you accept?