This is longer than I thought………
Man… I thought this will be just a short chapter……
A bit of warning from the author: WARNING! HORRIBLE GRAMMAR IMMINENT!
G1. Kiyomi in Wonderland
If there is a group of people who can be said to have a truly blessed life, then she was one of those people.
Born in an affluent and influential family, with a loving mother, a gentle father, a caring brother, and close-knit relatives, she never felt cold or hunger or abuse ever since she graced the Earth. The Fates and Goddess of Luck also smiled at her, as she was bestowed a beauty that could make the flowers shied and a voice that could make the songbirds ashamed. She was loved by her family, cherished by her friend, treasured by people around her. She lacked nothing and her future was as bright as the sun.
It was all changed when she was 14. On a certain rare misty day, the bus she rode with her school’s choir team was involved in giant vehicle pile-up crash at the now infamous Nijibashi Bridge. Her teammates escape with light degree of injuries but she was, for the first time in her life, unlucky.
When she awoken 3 weeks later, under the watchful care of her family, she found with horror, that her body was paralyzed from her waist down and she couldn’t feel her leg anymore. Her family was alarmed by this and summoned the best doctors from the whole country. But the verdict from the doctors only confound their greatest fear: the complete severance of her spinal cord due to severe thoracolumbar fracture made the nerve to her waist and leg had stopped functioning. Even with all the advancement of neurology and neuroscience of modern world, there was nothing that doctors could do about this. Even neural stem cell regeneration wouldn’t be able to restore her spinal cord function to its original state. However, she was someone who was raised as a Pollyanna and her family was very supportive in her rehabilitation. It didn’t mean that she doubted the doctor’s conclusion, but she just couldn’t believe it. It can be said at that time, she was underestimating how hard her condition will be for her.
Months passed and even with intense physiotherapy and numerous sessions of painful spinal cord stem cell therapy, her condition hardly improved. She couldn’t walk or move on her own, even a simple act of sitting on the bed was a daunting task. Her waist and legs felt weird for her as she couldn’t sense anything from them. Even if she stab it and made it bleed, no sense of the pain of whatsoever came from it. It was as if, it was a dead meat hanging on her body. Furthermore, she lost any control on her bladder and anus, the urine and the feces came out on their own, so she must wear a diaper. She thought that she was just like a baby as her survival depended on the people around her. Even so, a smile always plastered over her face, her optimism masked the huge uncertainties, doubt, and fear inside of her heart.
Even after so much time had passed, her family still didn’t give up on the possibility that she could be healed, caringly looking after her need, taking her out for a stroll in a wheelchair, helped her changing the diapers, bathing, dressing, and accompanying her as much as they can. She was grateful for this, but deep down in her heart, she questioned herself: Am I not a burden for them? Her father cut down his time in the company, her mother stopped singing, her brother stopped attending cram school. Everyone sacrifice their time for her, yet what she can do for them? Nothing. She could only make a fake smile so they wouldn’t be more worried about her. In the corner of her heart, there always a shadow fear of being abandoned due to her disability if she burden them too much. After all, what’s the point of a broken tool? The sense of helplessness slowly encroached over her heart.
Even when her friends welcomed her back to school and her school made various accommodations for her, she felt alienated. She could hardly participate in any of her friends after school activity. After all, it’s hard to take someone in the wheelchair for hanging out and she still needs to attend her physiotherapy, which also cause her to quit the choir club. Even if her friend didn’t say it out loud, she always suspects that her friends secretly are tired of taking care of her. This burdened down her psyche. She smiled and showed a cheery disposition to everyone, but this only an act, a desperate plea for someone to not abandoning her.
This continued for a year, then another... She couldn’t see the ending.
She had given up to be healed, attending physiotherapy session in her home just to make her family happy. Her family also seems to have accepted her condition and long resumed their old lifestyle. She understood that it wasn’t because they don’t care about her anymore, but because in any case, life must go on. She mustn’t burden them more than this, so she didn’t make any fuss. However, the shadow in the corner of her heart kept bigger. She doubted that anyone would care for her if not because of her family wealth and position, that no one would truly love her. After all, who will want a girl who can’t even change her diaper by herself? The worst thing about her condition is that people saw her disability before they saw her as a person. The fear of the future, the fear of being abandoned, the fear of being not loved began to make her smile façade crumble.
Her only solace was her solo recital in the park and the VR-headset that was provided by her personal physiotherapist. Since except for going to school, hospital and family vacation, she hardly could go outside on her own, the physiotherapist thought that she might be bored cooped in the mansion all day. So the physiotherapist thought she could have a recreation using the VR-headset that enables her to move in a simulated reality projected by the realistic stereoscopic screen inside the headset. After all, mens sana in corpore sano.
At first, it was only a simple edutainment programs that recorded real or simulated first person moving through historical places, famous landmarks, fantastic scenes, and fictional planets. Then simple exploration game where she could manipulate the character movement through a simple controller. Eventually, she ended up in virtual novels, where various scenes happened in front of her and she could make some choice for her character about how the story progress, especially of otome genre, where she became the heroine.
The headset became a strange mirror where she could escape to another world. A world, where she can do more than what “the her” in the real world can do. A pillar of support that slowed down her crumbling heart. Her Wonderland. Her escape.
She might be still smiling in the school and to her family, but deep down she had already given up finding happiness in the real world.
When she was about graduated from middle school, one of the newly recruited maids in her mansion introduced her to Rage Against Heaven Online, a famous FPVMMORPG with millions active players from the entire world. Since she hardly ever played an MMO game before, she was fascinated by the idea of playing with other people. The gameplay is also relatively easy, so even someone newbie in RPG like her could play. Guided by her maid, she made a game registration, paid the service fee, and adjusted the settings, and finally, she entered the character creation window.
When prompted to give a name to her character, she chose the name: Melbiena. A sad made-up portmanteau word from ‘Male’ and ‘Bene’. She made a light chuckle when she confirmed the name.
She left her race, subrace and appearance selection to RNG Goddess and ended up as a Female Alfar of Alpenheim Clan, with metallic blue hair, green jade-like eyes and flawless marble white skin. The face looks like a certain famous European actress. So not a bad choice she thought.
Then a window showing list of initial jobs. Since she was new to RPG, the maid said she just need to chose the job that suit her preference.
【Summoner – Magic Class – Mixed Type】
【Job Description : Since time immemorial, Spirits lived on the planes which was different yet the same with the mortals, influencing the natural world where they reside. They are not deities with unlimited power, however, and many Spirits also served as Deities’ messenger and subordinates.
With the advent of the False Gods that corrupted many worlds, the Spirits, who was also imperiled by the Evil power, decided that they will lend help to the Goddess’ Offsprings. Those who obtained their favor and could summon the Spirits' temporary manifestation in the material plane was known as “Summoners”.
Advantage: Summoners fight by summoning Spirits, which are strong and have various elements and method of attack. Summoners are versatile, able to change their method of battle in short notice. Close connection to Spirits Realm increase Soul and Mana.
Disadvantage: Summoning Spirits weaken the physical body of Summoners, Summoned Spirits consumed large amount of Mana. Non-Contract Summoned Spirits only can be summoned for limited amount per day. Summoner must contact the Spirits before able to summon them.
Stats Growth Correction: 《Body》 ⇩⇩, 《Soul》⇧⇧
Requirement: Mastered a Tier 1 Magic Class Job | Player with Alfar-Alpenheim Racial Trait could take this job as starting class.】
So summoner is someone who made others battle for her? Isn’t that just like her current condition? Depending on other people. She decided that her job will be this.
After finishing the tutorials and thrown into the large world of 『All Creation』, her maid asked her to join the maid’s guild.
Guild in the game is a group of players that joined into a single organization for the sake of socializing, raiding together, or just for role playing. Usually, the member of the guild will have some kind of similarity. In RAHO there were Guilds based on the PC’s races, subraces, or jobs; Guilds based on player nationality, region or other real world links; and Guild that had random member without hardly any similarity other than desire to do join the guild, basically a Hobby Guild.
Her maid’s guild: Neuschwanensee was a Hobby Guild. A guild which member came from all over the world and had almost no similar point in race nor jobs, and quite a lenient Guild structure. Since the Guild hardly ever participate in Guild War, it was a bottom ranked guild, however, it didn’t matter as it was just Hobby Guild that was only established because the guild Leader, Guild Master (that is really his in-game name) wanted to create a perfect replica of a typical Medieval German city (Bavarian to be exact). Because of this, Neuschwanensee attracted various irregular players who didn’t have any interest in “beating the game” or “becoming the strongest” and just casually playing to enjoy the game.
It was after she joined the guild that she informed by the others that the job 【Summoner】 was considered by most players as Trash-tier Job because of what they deemed as shitty mechanic and because Summoners are as weak as slime. In other words, she had unknowingly disabled herself. In battle, she found herself hardly useful, her summons were weak and time limited, she couldn’t do physical attack and her magic attack was mostly harmless. She hated this.
When she realized about this, she asked the other guild members about whether she should reset her character and what job should she take. However, then the Vice-Guild Leader joined the chat. His first words:
“That is where you are wrong. Summoner is not a job for a solo player. It’s a job for a team player. It can be considered as a disability, but all that means is that you only have to take a slightly different path than the others. If you have questions about Summoners, feel free to ask me.”
This was her first meeting with Vice-Guild Leader, Yusis, a rare unorthodox player who took all three production classes and even made one of the production class as his main class. Although such setup was relatively more common in the early phase of the game, at this point of the game, it was considered as a disadvantageous, because he would weaker than a full melee or magic player. But in his own words:
“A blacksmith isn’t supposed to be in a fight anyway.”
And so, he didn’t really care whether he was weak or strong in a fight. It was just a matter of perception, as long as he can do just one thing well, he would be needed and is an important person for others. He is a Smith/Alchemist/Artificier, so what important was whether he could smith, concoct potion, and enchant.
Summoner isn’t weak, he said. People just don’t know how to effectively live as one. He knew some strong Summoners, so Yusis taught her what she should do based on his summoners friend experience.
Rather than trying to cover her weak Body stat, she should take jobs that would increase her Soul and Charisma stats instead, rather than worrying about performing a physical attack or attack magic by herself, she should focus on increasing her summon effectiveness. After all, a summoner shouldn’t be fighting directly after all. Rather than focusing on what her job isn’t designed for, she should focus on what her Job does best.
She should take a 『Scholar』 job, to take advantage of it non-instantaneous magic casting time benefit reduction. Alfenheim-racial exclusive job, 『Oracle』, has high synergistic skill with 『Summoner』 job, so she should take it too as it would increase her summon power. As she dislikes beast or monster-type summon, Yusis advised her to contract the Season Fairies for her Low-Tier summon. When alone Season Fairies were weak but summoned together, their battle effectiveness increased. Since each fairy represents one element and is a ‘switch-able summon’, she could quickly switch one fairy for another with minimum mana penalty and accordingly took advantage of enemy’s element weakness. Even though Yusis was a higher ranked players than her, if he had the time, he would take her to a hunt and taught her how to fight as a Summoner. Yusis also gave her free equipment and enchant them for free when he took her for a hunt.
When she asked him why, he said that he was only want to farm monster drops, since if he kills weaker monster he would hardly get any item drop, partying with her was a suitable alternative. He not exclusively done this for her, as he had partied with many newbies before. So it was just for his own convenience. For her, this was alright. She was happy that she was needed and could be useful for others. Also, she believed that even if he said those words, he was actually a really good and kind person in heart. After all, Yusis listened to her silly stories and told her various funny and intriguing in return. Even if he didn’t play, as soon as she call him with in-game message, he would immediately log-on if he read the notification. Also, the “item drop” part was mostly a lie, as he rarely took anything from her. It was as if, Yusis is deliberately spoiling her.
And not only Yusis, but the other people in the guild. Guild Master who oftentimes distribute cash items for free to the newbies, MayDoeSueKey who are famous for her long detailed NPC background rant and her fiction that was posted in the game forum, Unapietra who always partying with newbies and help them in their quests, Stella who always act cutesy and love showy magics, Iusticia the cool, calm, solo player who famous for soloing dragons and instance bosses but oftentimes teach the newbies how to do boss battles, and many others. As her strength grew and she gets used in Summoner game style, she was ‘needed’ by others. She wasn’t just someone who ‘depend’ on others anymore, but had become someone that the others could ‘depend’ too.
She also enjoyed talking with other members about many things. The others came from many countries and many backgrounds, so they have many interesting stories to share. After hearing their stories, she realized it was wrong for her to just limited herself to her own world. This was just a lame excuse, but there were many who weren’t as fortunate for her, so she shouldn’t think that she was the most unfortunate person in the whole world.
It was just like Yusis said, she wasn’t a solo player, but a team player, she shouldn’t trying to be able to do everything and anything by herself. It was just a matter of perception, as long as she can do just one thing well, she would be needed and is important for others. Her condition might be considered as a disability, but all that means is that she only have to take a slightly different path than the others. In game and also in life.
After this, she became more cheerful. Rather than worrying about the things that she couldn’t do anymore, shouldn’t she look forwards for the thing that she still could do?
She could still sing, so she joined her high-school choir club who received her warmly.
She couldn’t walk anymore, but she could still use her electric wheelchair and ordered her driver to go anywhere she want, right? Her movement was indeed limited, but it doesn’t mean that the whole world is closed for her.
It was a shame that she didn’t fully independent on bathing or changing diapers (after all, she hardly could bend her back on her own to sit), but advancement in prosthetics and neuroscience might change this one day. Until then, she should prevent her muscle from atrophied and so she diligently participate in the physiotherapy.
She could not do much in housework, but she learned and practiced sewing, embroidery, and knitting. The looks of her father, mother, and brother when they received her handmade sweater was as if it was the best gift they ever received.
She wasn’t that depressed anymore. After all, she was only playing the world in Hard difficulty, not at Impossible difficulty.
Her smile transformed from being a mere imitation into a true smile.
And at the end, of the day, there will be always her Wonderland, where she casted away the deficient shell of her real life persona and turned into her ideal self, where there were people who waited for her and look up on her; her other self.
Even so, there is still an uncertainty inside her heart… The fear of being unloved. Then, rather than waiting for love to approach her, shouldn’t she pursue love herself? After all, isn’t the wise men say that chance and love wait for no one.
Thus the fateful day on the Bridge arrived, adding yet another reason for her to look for at her Wonderland. A fake fleeting virtual ‘love’……
ஐ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ஐ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ஐ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ஐ
One day, June 3rd, she awakened in a room that was unlike her room, sitting on a chair. The unknown room was decorated by various oil portraits of people in medieval garbs. Then she recognized that there were windows and text on her field of view that was almost identical to RAHO. Strange… Her hand didn’t hold any controller and she didn’t feel any headgear on her head. She could manipulate the menu like normal, but the Log Out function is missing. She was panicked for a moment, before she remembered there was an otome game with a similar premise like her current situation. Perhaps she was transported to another world that was similar to a game.
Now that she calmed down a bit. She looked at herself, she wore something like long sleeved kimono. This must be her equipment. The silk kimono felt nice, so no problem in this. Then She looked around the room, trying to connect the dots about her current predicament. From the style of the carpets, tapestries, and the paintings, she realized that she was in 『Royal Gallery』, a customized room inside Neuschwanensee Castle, her guilds. The paintings were the head portraits of the whole former and current members of Neuschwanensee and some other paintings that mimicked famous painting, all was drawn by Mikaila, one of the oldest guild member. She drawn it using oil paints on canvas in real life, scan it and then uploaded it to this room. Beside the large sized painting of a Guild Master holding Neuschwanensee flag mimicking “Liberty Leading the People” was the painting of she and Yusis stood together in their “wedding garments” in a style mimicking “Arnolfini Portrait”, of course, without the bulging belly, RAHO game avatars couldn’t have children after all. This was Mikaila’s gift for their wedding back in the game. Seeing these paintings, she didn’t have any doubt that she was really in a world similar to a game.
Before this fact really registered into her brain, she noticed something even bigger. She could feel EVERYTHING from her waist down. It was so alien since she had forgotten what “waist”, “thigh”, “shin”, and “leg” feels like. She could hardly move her feet, but when he finally made her feet made a step and she felt the ground feel ran through her sole, it was as if the Three Gorges Dam had been breached, bringing 42 billion tons of water rushing out and wipe out a third of China from the map.
She was so excited, that she didn’t stop when a maid looking person called out to her, when the Knights-looking people tried to stop her, she went from one corridor to another, to the roof, to the bridge, to the gardens, where she finally feel tired and lied down under a tree for a rest. She couldn’t stop giggling, her spirits was so high it might have long surpassed the height of Mons Olympus and entered the Low Orbit. Then she realized the situation she was in and her mood underwent a reentry.
What had happened? What about her family? What should she do? What happen to her now? Numerous questions were mobbing her mind. The feeling of unease, fear and sad began to overwhelm her newfound happiness. Then she remembered the paintings. Her eyes suddenly brightened. While half-praying, please, please, let this be true, she opened the Friend window. Many names were colored gray, but under the Guild Members name, his name was shown in white. He really is here!
It was as if a thousand bells ringing, a thousand lamp shining, all of her unease, fear and sadness were washed up and replaced by the feeling of hopes and expectations. Even in this strange unknown Wonderland, she wasn’t alone. People started to gather around her, but she didn’t care. There was something more important she needs to do. Then she called out to him, his voice sounds calm, reassuring and kind, just like what she had always thought. When he responded to her jokes and said that he would came for her, her heart began to throb fast from the excitement.
“How he looks like? What kind of person will he be? Of course, he will be nice and kind, you silly. What will he think when he sees me? I don’t wear a makeup! My hair is messy from the wind! Am I look nice?”
Asking the nearby maids to groom her before sending them away, she lay in waiting, while her head was in chaos as if she was going to meet her marriage partner in an omiai. Perhaps this was what her friend means by the “First Date Worries”?
Then, when a black-haired young man who looks not that much older than she appeared, she recognized him immediately. After all, who else he could be?
He is not someone faraway behind the screen anymore, but he is right beside her.
Perhaps… in this tangible and immanent Wonderland, the virtual can finally became real?
If there is a group of people who can be said to have a truly blessed life, then she is one of those people. She really does.
I only want to create a side story to show what the players did before they came to Neuewelt.
Somehow it turned out to be long.
I think I will get criticized for the content of this piece…
Now back to the main story! I do the Florea side story afterwards……