Chapter 1: A New Chance |
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"Yomite Hissha, welcome to the afterlife. Unfortunately, your story has come to an end, as you've... died. It might've been short, but your life's now over. You've died at an age of 25 in an elevator accident."
Someone suddenly spoke to him.
"Elevator accidents are pretty rare, but they do still happen. The company you were working for didn't have a repair check in years, so it was bound to happen, eventually."
Yomite wasn't even able to register what was happening. He had no sense of reality and felt like he was floating inside of a dream. Everything was fuzzy and confusing. The best way to describe it would be as if you were drunk and close to throwing up, but at the same time, felt completely at ease.
Out of nowhere, he found himself in this pure white room, feeling nothing but calmness and a sense of relief as if the weight of his sins from the past twenty-five years fell on the ground from his shoulders.
Well, in reality, it was his body that disappeared, that's why he felt so light. All that was left, was his soul, the remnant of his being.
He could still see and feel though, which was convenient.
The sudden turn of events still confused him. Why was he here? Will he go to hell or heaven after his death? Is purgatory real? Trying to ignore the scary thoughts, he glanced around the spatial astral place he was in.
The ceiling was made of what resembled a galaxy of some kind, it definitely wasn't the Milky Way. He didn't know why, he just got the feeling it wasn't. The galaxy was covered with white fluffy clouds and he had to admit it looked incredibly cool.
In the wide white room was an office desk and a red throne, covered with ruby stones. The one who announced that his life was over sat on the said throne.
He looked at the young woman who was sitting on the majestic throne and noticed she held something in her hands. It was a book. From the book's cover, it appeared to be a fantasy novel. One of Yomite's many favorite genres.
It was hard to ignore her appearance. If there was a goddess, she had to be it.
She had long, silky smooth black hair.
She seemed to be a teenager, but as it was a divine entity, her age probably couldn't be measured.
Her chest was flat, but flat boobs deserve some loving as well.
Her beauty was beyond the idols shown on television; she had a glamour that surpassed humans. He had dated quite a few women in his life, yet none were even close to her in looks.
"I'm just an astral being. I have no gender, so you don't need to be excited." The woman spoke as if she was able to read his thoughts.
"...I see..." Yomite tried to compose himself, but the sole thought that she could probably read his mind was unsettling.
The beauty blinked her eyes, which were the same black color as her hair, and stared at him as he tried to figure out what was going on.
Mysteriously calm, he asked the beauty before him:
"...May I ask you something?"
The beauty nodded in response to his question.
"Please, go ahead." While not breaking the line of sight with the book she was reading.
'She said she has no gender...but let's refer to this being as a 'she' for now, so that it won't be that confusing.'
Yomite thought. He opened his mouth and asked,
"What you said just now...that I've died...is that true? I only faintly remember it, but it feels as if those memories weren't even mine..."
"I have no reason to lie. You did in fact, die. It was quite the spectacle. All of your insides were splattered. Just try to think about it. Sometimes it takes a bit of time for the soul to regain its memories after the death." She flipped to another page of her book and continued reading.
Yomite put his hands on his head, but they slipped through, catching nothing. Left with nothing but the soul, he delved deeper into his memories and thought about what happened a few moments ago...
He was a reviewer in a publishing company. The area of his expertise was books and novels. Some fanfics too, but that rarely happened, as it was almost impossible to see fanfic outshine an original story. But there were instances of few fanfics getting contracts, although they had to be good enough.
He was about to bring his boss a new outlet of original stories that arrived from new promising authors like Mad Snail and Xin Feng. He could feel their potential in his bones. While their novels were about overpowered protagonists, he felt like they had potential as the balance between comedy, fight scenes, and overall accomplishment of those characters was perfect. Moreover, there were many fans of genres like Overpowered protagonist, harem, comedy, and weak to strong. Face-slapping was really popular too.
After everything was said and done, he successfully signed a contract with them and was happy to deliver the news to his boss, but during an elevator ride, something happened to the engine, and the elevator car malfunctioned. It fell from floor eight directly to floor one, instantly crushing him inside. The building had been cited for an elevator problem in May, and the employees said the elevators had previously malfunctioned, yet no one bothered to do anything about it.
He was quite unfortunate, as the odds of being killed by an elevator are about 1 in 10 million, according to insurance companies. You're more likely to be killed by a bear. And it's nearly ten times more likely you'll die in your bathtub.
Yet the poor man died the way he did.
"Yomite Hissha, your job was to review...books, is that correct?"
Yomite absentmindedly nodded and replied, "That's right. I've been doing it for over ten years at this point."
"Magnificent! Could I ask you for a favor? Would you hear out the ending of my story and give me some professional feedback? I would greatly appreciate it."
The "woman's" innocent gaze pierced into him, and he couldn't help but agree.
"... It's fine, I guess. I don't mind. It's not like I have anything else to do after dying anyway..."
"Great! That's the spirit!" The woman was overjoyed.
There was something in it for him as well. Maybe if it was good and he gave her a good review, she would send him to heaven instead of hell. That would be nice.
"That's great! Well then-" She got comfortable in her seat and began. The aura around her immediately changed from a kid fooling around to something akin to a serious teacher.
Yomite couldn't help but appreciate the sight. He found it really charming when someone dedicated their attention to reading a book without regard for what other people think.
The young "goddess" sat on her crimson throne, toying with the ends of her black hair while holding the book. Her skin was as white as pearls, and despite having no gender, it was hard to believe that the being in front of him wasn't actually a woman.
The color of the book she was holding was cyan, emitting some kind of divine light with her every touch.
Her slender fingers slid across the book frame, as she gently turned the page.
"---A boy and a girl, stood amidst the atmosphere, under an unfamiliar sky. They were a pair of traveling twins, passing through countless worlds during their journey. Descending upon a continent named Teyvat, they planned on moving away, but the scenery left them captivated. Out of all the worlds they have seen, none were this beautiful..."
"But as if on purpose, the scenery soon changed into that of blazing hell, as they saw the world turn into turmoil. A cataclysm was raging across the land, turning the beautiful scenery into a scene of carnage. Afraid they will get caught up in all of this, the twins wanted to quickly leave the world, but unfortunately for them, an unknown god crossed paths with them and confronted them. She took away one of the twins, filling his mind with nightmares and corrupting him, successfully turning him into her puppet while she killed the other one. The world was ending, every resident dying, every insect suffering, every animal awaited its end in anguish. The end."
The goddess closed the book in her hands and gazed at the person standing in front of her.
"A sad but satisfying end, wasn't it?"
"...Well...what to say...as a premise this would have piqued my interest as it shows plenty of potential, but to call that an ending would be an insult..."
The goddess narrowed her eyes and smiled, "Is that so? Please elaborate."
"Well...first of all, you didn't let me immerse myself into the story. I barely know these characters, and you already ended it by killing them off? Who does that!? Why should I care if some random character from some random novel dies? I have no emotional attachment towards those people or that particular book at all."
"Moreover, the ending was shit. There was no mention of an epic fight that could have taken place or the aftermath of things or anything! Just 'The End' isn't enough to explain who those twins were, who the unknown god was, what their purpose was, why they traveled the worlds, literally nothing! There is so much space for improvement it's making me go insane!"
The man was outraged and experienced in reviewing as he was doing it for years. He didn't hold his tongue despite being in front of a godlike entity that could end him with a simple thought.
"I see...So you are saying that in order for you to feel the flow of the story, the soul of the story itself has to be better interpreted, explained, and has to have a proper ending?"
"Exactly! I mean, what you were reading wasn't even an ending. It felt more like a description or synopsis! It was too short to be one anyway...And the ending wasn't satisfying at all! It was as if I was reading Domestic no Kanojo all over again! It doesn't have to be a happy ending. It can be tragic, but at least give it some depth and explanations! That's all I am asking for!"
The goddess smirked at his remarks, "Thank you very much for the feedback...I can work with that. In that case, I will use you."
"Huh? What was that?"
"If it's you...then maybe going there would be better for you instead of going to Gridania..."
"Excuse me, what are you exactly murmuring under your breath, Goddess-sama? Gridania? Did I hear you correctly?"
"Oh, nothing, in any case, don't call me a goddess, I'm not one anymore. I'm just a remnant of a fallen entity." She gracefully reopened the book on the last page. She shuffled around her pockets and pulled out an eraser.
She then placed the eraser on the paper, and the moment she did, the text on the page was magically erased, as if none of that ever happened.
"Then...What about this..."
She giggled, full of excitement.
"The unknown god took away one of the twins and didn't manage to kill the second one due to the fallen entity's intervention, sealing her away into a deep slumber, and once she awoke, the world has changed. The flames of war raged no longer, and nothing was left that looked familiar. Now, the story is just beginning, the journey to find her brother and to defeat the unknown god. The story inside of Teyvat."
She jumped down from her throne and walked towards Yomite while holding the book.
"How's that sound? The ending was altered."
Yomite thought for a while before replying, "Well, it was definitely handled better than before, although I would need to read the entire thing, and until then, I can't give you a good review. So far, it was only average at best, maybe less than an average fantasy novel."
The goddess gave him a blank stare, "You truly are...interesting. Not afraid of the consequences of your actions at all...Humans sure are free spirits."
"I sure am afraid of stuff. I was just a poor victim of you think about it. If they fixed the elevator, then I would be still reviewing books. I am still afraid of pain, and I am nowhere near immune to it. However, now that I have experienced death, I feel calmer than ever before. Maybe it's because I no longer need to crush or dictate someone's life when it comes to writing. I am free. You know, maybe it was better to die in that elevator, rather than to get attacked by someone one day because I canceled the publication of their novel." Yomite's soul quivered and he fell silent.
"Your intestines and bones were crushed inside of the falling elevator. What a beautiful and gory way to go out..."The goddess giggled.
"...That's really morbid and not nice...But forget it...It's probably impossible for me to understand an entity like you...So...what now...do I get to go to heaven or hell? I am probably guessing hell since I've been quite rude..." He sighed. This was one of his problems. He was too honest and upfront, especially when it came to something he loved. Maybe if he laughed and told her that her story was amazing, he would be going to heaven, but now, hell was guaranteed for him.
'Yomite...you are such an idiot!' He cursed himself in his mind.
The woman pondered over his words like a scholar.
"...I shall take that as a compliment. And no, you don't need to worry. There is no heaven nor hell. Humans that die are usually traveling as souls in the orbit till the end of time. Which is kind of boring if you ask me. I would rather read a good book, wouldn't you agree? However, the most interesting bunch of individuals gets to experience what's it like to be transported to a random world of my choosing. For my own entertainment, of course."
"Transported to a... world?" Yomite was confused but soon enough, his face lightened up. 'Is this what I think it is!? The fantasy novel turning into an isekai!?'
"Yes, just like I've said. If I find them worthy enough to entertain me, they get a chance for a new life. This is our first meeting, Yomite Hissha. My name's Sia. I'm a fallen being of creation that guides people to the afterlife. Now, putting aside my interest in entertainment, you now have two options."
Seeing that Yomite was paying attention, she smiled and continued, "The first option for you is to let go of all of your regrets, memories, and everything to enter the soul stream and wander around for eternity doing nothing. The second option is to get your soul into a new body and be 'Reborn' as a new person with all of your memories intact. You would begin a new life. A new story. With a new body, of course, as your old one, was pretty much obliterated."
Yomite immediately chose the second option.
There was no point in losing everything when there was an option to have a new life. What kind of idiot would chose that? It was an exciting opportunity. He also felt like he experienced quite a short life and still wanted to do so many things. He believed he made the right choice and pressed the matter. "I choose the second option. What do I do now?"
"You are quite the impatient man, aren't you? Well then."
She waved her hand, and a beam of light entered his soul. Yomite was startled and thought it might hurt as it directly penetrated his ghost-like body, but it was just warm and didn't harm him in any way.
"W-What was that?"
She winked at him and smiled, "Oh, just a small gift from me. The world I'm sending you to seems a bit dangerous, and it's only natural for me to give you something in return for your professional review. Also, I dislike weak protagonists."
"You will be a new protagonist of the story. Only you decide how the story will continue to progress. Whether the main heroine dies or manages to find her sibling, you will play a huge role in that so bear it in mind. You've received three abilities from me. The Tempus of The Story, The Tempus of The Heart, and The Tempus of The Particles."
"The Tempus of The Story lets you choose the optimal way to progress the story and dialogues, and once activated, you cannot disable it and have to choose one of the options provided. There is always one good option, one fine option, and one that is very bad and usually leads to a disaster scenario. So do be cautious when using it."
"The Tempus of The Heart lets you peek into the desires of any person or even an animal. You will see what they like and dislike, it even has a relationship meter of how the targets feel about you. It can also give you a small portion of the target's information like name, age, race, and so on. Definitely use this to your advantage if you wish to learn about someone. It might also work on some of the special items."
"The Tempus of The Particles is an offensive ability that will help you overcome most enemies. It's quite hard to maintain, but you should get a gist of it after a few tries. The ability summons a cube of particles, that can erase the nearby structures or enemies from existence, so be sure to keep it in check and not to use it around other people. It takes a bit for you to charge it before you can use it."
"The last thing I am going to mention is related to magic as we are running out of time. All of the spells, abilities, and magic are projected through a thing called Vision. Vision is usually an amulet and is a gift from gods. Now, just so you know, I don't have the right to give away a Vision to you, so I am just giving you a bunch of abilities instead. You will be awarded a Tattoo of The Fallens from me, which will be acting as a catalyst for your abilities, but people may find it suspicious if you use The Tempus of The Particles without Vision, so bear it in mind."
Yomite nodded. Although he had numerous questions, he felt like trying it out himself instead of listening to a tutorial guide. Who likes to read through a tutorial? It's like reading through the terms of services. Nobody does that. It's more fun to explore stuff on your own. He knew it might come back to bite him in the ass later, but he didn't care. He already listened enough to her explanation anyway. Time to enjoy his isekai life.
After she was finished, she put the book she was holding on top of his ghost-like shoulder and asked him, "Are you ready, for your adventure?"
"Yes." Yomite nodded without hesitation.
"Then, without any more delay, I welcome you, to the world of Teyvat." With a quick motion, she swung the book through his soul, making him disappear.
"Before you enter, a new body will be reconstructed for you. It will be randomly generated." Was the last thing Yomite heard before the light in front of him faded away.
The shining clouds in the background slowly began to spread around the galaxy ceiling. They spread everywhere like a rug with no end. Encircling a certain planet.
"Show me the genre. Show me the choices you make. Show me what you consider to be... an interesting story worthy of a 5-star review."