Where am I? Am I even alive? Probably not… that car obviously hit me, though I feel no pain… I’m sure I am dead… or probably in a transit state… am i in limbo? Is the purgatory all these religious knuckle heads talk about?
Kyle opened his eyes, his brown pupils tiny, like pin points which gradually dilated into a watery brown. The whiteness of the room was so overwhelming that he had to squint his eyes to see.
The room was a white cube, or seemed to be one. The ceiling, the floor, all the four walls were uniform white, like the light he initially saw. He couldn’t guess how big the room was, because he wasn’t sure where it ended or if it ended at all.
As he mused over how spot free the room was and his sudden desire to dirty it, he saw that there was a white sofa. Now that he saw it, he thought it was very funny; it looked like a shapeless blob of a water filled cloud. Seated on it was a man. He had long silver hair and eyes that looked like they could shoot lasers. He wore a white cape; and a wreath of little blue and white flowers on his downy head. On his ruddy face, was a long amused smirk, as if he were mocking Kyle?
Who the he-
“Shut it,” the man cut him off.
“I didn’t say anything yet!” Kyle protested, “And who are you?
“I’m the god of this world.”
“God!” Kyle repeated with a mocking face and tone; and when the initial surprise faded, his countenance darkened. I hate you then, if you’re god, “Then you must know that we’re not in the best terms,” his lips curled up into a snarl, “god.”
“I have a question for you, Kyle,” the god just said blankly, still lain on the cloud like sofa. It looked comfortable.
“How do you-” he began but thought, of course… this man calls himself god. What kind of god would he be if he didn’t even know my name?
“Precisely,” the god said again.
“You know my thoughts?” Kyle shrieked out, “That’s wicked!”
“I have a question, Kyle. Tell me something boring; do you want to pass on to the afterlife?”
“This is not the afterlife?” he questioned back, “What the hell? This must be a prank… but the sensations… it can’t be.”
“You’re correct, this isn’t the afterlife, and you shouldn’t curse like that about one of the afterlife, it’s uncanny; this is a space in the middle of nothing. If you choose you can go to the afterlife, because you are dead.” he said; there was a kind of a summer zest in his voice, “Or, you could be reborn into another world; of course, when I say ‘reborn’ I don’t mean as a baby and then you grow up like plain ol’ boring earth. You’ll remain as you are.”
“This afterlife… what is it like?” Kyle said after a while.
“I have no idea. I’m not the god of the afterlife… I’m Kurios, the god of here,” the god said, casually, “If you wish you could choose to go to the afterlife, though. Or, to a better place: my world.”
“Your world… how is it like in the world you created? Is there fun?”
Fun! The god said with a wry smile. I am the god of fun and pleasures,” he said, stroking his hair, “The world is a battlefield: Battle Royal!”
“Battle royal huh?” Kyle thought to himself and asked, “Tell me more.”
“Yes, yes” the god said lazily, “Seraphiel behind you will explain.”
Kyle was sure there was no one else until then. Who the hell was Seraphiel and how did he appear out of nowhere?
He beheld a man with locks of icy blue hair and crystal clear light eyes. His eyes seemed to be looking into Kyle, inside of him, into his soul. He felt unduly pressured to make an impression somehow. And on top of his curly locks, was what Kyle recognized to be a white, sparkly halo.
“I’m Lord Kurios’ aide, Seraphiel,” he said with a slight bow that was neither humble nor proud, “And I shall explain to you everything about the world created by my Lord.”
Kyle nodded, still enthralled by him.
Seraphiel continued, “Not very long ago, another god, Lord Lazuli, the god of matter, created a world in the middle of space. It was created recently… in your human terms, about twenty zillion years ago. It was created way before earth and there were all sorts of civilizations and development. The people that existed there, the creatures that were placed there, and every living being, lived long ages. It was so developed that they eventually learned magic and mysteries of several realms.
And there was another god, Lord Wyne, who created your earth for his fantasy: what you mortals call dinosaurs and other ancient beasts. Lord Lazuli, who had obviously created the better world suddenly felt jealous,” he paused and frowned, “Jealousy among gods that has been a bitter poison to every being, both mortals, and even the gods themselves.
A war of worlds emerged where Lord Lazuli attacked the tiny earth with pebbles and dust and other particles which you call asteroids and meteors; it didn’t destroy your earth but destroyed the dinosaurs and other beasts. Lord Wyne dearly loved his creations that his heart was broken. In a fit of rage, Lord Wyne engaged in a fight with Lord Lazuli. Now, you must know that Lord Wyne was the god of war way before the god Ares was born. He was obviously stronger than Lord Lazuli, and killed him in the most grotesque way possible, and destroyed the world created by him. He received the due punishment for killing another god and all his powers were snatched away from him. He faded away, as the power of the gods are their lifelines. Rage, I tell you, is another poison that blinds the most respectable of men and gods.”
“Okay… so how does this have anything to do with your god and his world?” Kyle said, seeming not very patient. He wanted to get to the bottom of things.
“It has everything to do with the world created by my lord,” Seraphiel said softly, not taking any offence, “Lord Lazuli was my Lord’s father. With the disappearance of the world created by Lord Lazuli, my Lord Kurios has created another world like that world, but much better; it is larger… about hundred times the size of your planet Jupiter from your solar system. Unlike earth, the proportions of my lord’s world are quite fair– fifty five percent land, and forty five percent water. And, just like Lord Lazuli’s world, it has hundreds of civilizations in every stage, from what you mortals call ‘prehistory’ to the ‘future technology.’ There is only one law here: The Law of the Jungle.”
That same shitty law… if only I could be the carnivore here. I will stand on top of the food chain, if not what’s the point of another shitty life?
“Because it will only be unfair to the people born into the bottom of the food chain, my lord has allowed you to choose your own level into the chain,” Seraphiel continued, as if reading his thoughts, “Everyone in the world has a special ability given by my lord in order to survive. It is like a game, and indeed a game to my lord for he drives amusement from it; however, unlike the kind of games you mortals are habituated to, you have only one life, you cannot save it and log off and there is no real predestined end. It’s all up to your luck and fate.”
“I have a few questions first,” Kyle spoke up, detecting a pause in Seraphiel’s words.
Seraphiel smiled, “Go on.”
“First, how many people are there in that world?”
“People?” Seraphiel thought aloud, with a dry scoff, “All sorts of people, from various multiverses. You probably don’t know this, there is more than one universe… people, and mortals from all of the possible worlds are there.”
“That couldn’t be possible!”
“Oh, but it is. You’re a fool… to think otherwise,” he said with an eyebrow raised, “all worlds are real; I’m sure you’ve read or heard of stories about other universes or societies. Let’s take for example dystopian novels such as 1984 or Fahrenheit 451… Did you think they were all make believe stories? They were all real, from different universes; even those worlds that have never been discovered. Don’t worry, though, most of them are mortals like you, some with variations.”
“Um, tell me more about the special abilities.”
“Sure, thing.” he nodded, “The special abilities are all up to you. It can be magic, or even just skills. You can control elements or have the ability to memorize anything within a second. You can conjure weapons or steal the riches of the other players or even the indigenous tribes in that world. Everyone has a unique ability, given the fact that everyone is from a different world. You need to decide an ability that will make you survive. You can only survive by killing other players.”
“After that, what?”
“Lord Kurios didn’t decide what happens then, because the numbers of players are still a handful. He’ll see to it later.”
Kyle thought about it.
Should I take the offer? What sort of ability should I ask for? I know what I want, exactly what I need to be on the top of this ridiculous food chain… but why am I even listening to this pretty boy, with that obvious halo? And, that god; He’s probably having the time of his life, trying to woo me… is this even real? Are they even real? It probably is real. I wonder… will I be able to kill all of them. Should I kill the players to survive? Is it even considered as killing? If they’re like me, that means that they’re already dead anyway. That means, I’m not killing them, right? Even if they were real, even the law in earth says that killing in self-defense is allowed, this is basically self-defense … even with this bitterness… why do I feel so excited about this. He ran his hands over his arms, my hands can’t even stay still… the excitement will kill me at this rate. What have I to lose to join this game? My life was a joke anyway… this is nothing less of a reality. I can afford to throw away my life, it’s already worthless.
“I will participate in the game of your god, Seraphiel,” Kyle said finally with a sneaky grin.
Seraphiel smiled brightly, “That is a wise decision. I assure you that you will find what you’re looking for in the world created by my lord. Now,” he said and looked at the god who Kyle had thought was sleeping. The god nodded slightly without opening his eyes. Seraphiel conjured out a blank sheet of paper. It was a little off white compared to the brightness of the room. “This is for you, Kyle.”
“Uh- What is this for?” he looked at both the sides.
“This is where you are supposed to write your special ability or abilities,” he replied, and conjured a sky blue fountain pen, “With this stylus.”
Kyle took the pen and stood still, pondering on whether he was willing to go on with his initially conceived plan. Was he sure of it? But he had nothing more to lose.
“Be careful, Kyle,” he said, “Don’t get too greedy and place yourself right on top of the food chain it is cold and lonely up there, everyone will try to bring you down; you may give yourself as many abilities as you wish or as much strength, speed and technique as you wish, but be careful; the more abilities you have, the more restriction. If you’re too weak for your ability, the ability will take control of you and eat you. Of course, the restrictions can be lifted slowly as you grow stronger by yourself… but very often, some players get killed before awakening their real powers or abilities.”
“Can I have overpowered abilities? Something like Superman’s super strength?”
“Definitely, replied Seraphiel; though that isn’t the best choice of abilities, I reckon.”
“Worry not, you pretty boy,” Kyle said good- naturedly with a wink, and began writing. After filling the front page, he turned over the next side and continued till the end of the sheet. “Here, you may read it and do whatever restriction system you have. I can’t wait to dive into action!”
“Patience, my dear, patience,” the god said, and sat up.
Seraphiel looked at the sheet. He gave a questioning look to Kyle, who pretended to not see him. It was obvious that his long dialogue about the abilities was not heeded and rather useless as a result. He sighed and gave it to the god.
The god read the abilities and laughed merrily. “You’re pretty shameless… you want to be a god yourself!”
Kyle joined in the humor, “Something like that. And I should think that I’m not the only one who has been shameless, am I right? Mortals are like that. You can’t change us, even if you’re a god. And we can’t change, because you need to be like this to survive.”
“Your abilities shall be restricted by a whole lot, and some of them will be locked as well. I won’t decide which ones will be locked, but let’s see what your fate says. And, the restrictions will lift one at a time, when you’ve become stronger.
Your current level is zero. When you reach the world I created, you’ll be a level one player. When you reach level ten, you’ll be free of one restriction and so on, every ten levels, till all of your abilities are freed.” he said with stars dancing in his eyes, “I am anticipating a lot of amusement at your expense, Kyle. Don’t disappoint me, or I shall be very upset.”
“Don’t worry about that, Seraphiel’s god… I am a pretty clever guy; I will make sure that it is worth watching. It’ll be the best thriller you have ever watched,” he said, with a smile, “Now, let me go get them players. They’re like cattle waiting to be killed by the great Kyle!”
“Do you want to change your abilities?” Seraphiel asked one last time. He looked genuinely concerned, “Because if you do, you still have a chance to undo your abilities and create new ones, or even reduce it a little. I fear your abilities are too much for the body of a mortal. And it takes a lot of time and hard work to level up. It is a very slow process, and every ten levels may sound like a lot but is still quite early. You could die with just your abilities.”
“Nope! not ever! I have had my say. I know what I want and I’ve written it already. And do as I bid… I’m sure you didn’t stop the others from their abilities, however crazy it was.”
“They were not as crazy-” he began.
“He’s right, Seraphiel,” the god interjected seriously, “We should be fair to the young man. He will be able to handle it, or he will die trying to handle it. But chances are, his fate will be good and he will survive and the amount of adventures that can come out of it… think hard Seraphiel, it will be worth it, for my pleasure. Or, do you not want me to have that enjoyment, Seraphiel?”
“No, my lord,” Seraphiel said at once, “I shall never wish to be the obstruction between you and your amusement.”
“Or,” the god continues, narrowing his eyes. “Is it that you do not believe that I can grant this mortal all the abilities he had written down? Are you questioning my divineness and powers, Seraphiel?”
“Certainly not my lord, he said in a shaky apologetic voice. How could I even think so? You are only making me flustered, my lord,” he said, an unhidden urgency in his voice. He addressed Kyle, “So are you final with your choice? Are you sure?”
“Yes, I am. Positive.” Kyle said firmly.
The god then stood up. He was a tall and slender man, with a body which was almost snake like. He bit his forefinger, it didn’t bleed, but a liquid formed; he smiled at it and touched Kyle’s forehead with his forefinger and chanted something in a language Kyle didn’t understand.
“Lock system?” the god said eventually.
“Fixed” Seraphiel replied. He looked very serious as he waited behind his god and Kyle. His eyes were blank. No one would have known that he was against this. He valued life more than his god did. But there was no way to stop this man, this idiotic man. But who knows perhaps this idiocy may save him?
“Processing all abilities… 3 percent… 17 percent… 29 percent…” Seraphiel began counting. This can still stop. Why is my lord doing this? Why is this man still so determined to eat everyone up? I shall never understand my god, Lord Kurios or mortals… greed… I despise greed. It wasn’t envy that killed Lord Lazuli, rather greed. He wanted what was Lord Wyne’s and in the process loss his own wonderful world where I belonged and his own god ship… I truly despise humans.
“81 percent… 95 percent…” he mumbled; It’s too late, isn’t it? Here we go “98 percent… 100 percent… he quipped.”
Kyle gasped. He felt heavy all of a sudden, as if something dragged his feet to the ground. Gravity was against him.
“That’s the weight of all of your desired abilities all at once,” the god said, “That is why I have seen the need to restrict your abilities. Stay still now. Seraphiel will heal you completely before you tread into the amazing world of my creation.”
Seraphiel lifted his hands over Kyle and closed his eyes chanting something. The god watched as if watching a TV show keenly. He had always enjoyed watching his aide healing or blessing the players. It was a nice amusement: watching Seraphiel showing mercy, something he was foreign to.
Is this how he will be watching me and my survival?
“I wish Godspeed to you, health and life,” he said after a while. There was a resignation in his voice.
“Good luck, Kyle!” the god said cheerfully, “Give me a show I will not regret watching!”
Kyle felt his feet lifting slowly, but surely.
Higher, and higher he went like a weightless feather. Kyle grinned all the while in a mixture of emotions ranging from nervousness to feeling like a powerful cosmic being… cheap sky diving, eh? What was all that about… Seraphiel is too emotional.
Again, all that he could see was white. Whiteness flashed into his eyes again. He lifted his arms to cover his face, to face the warm whiteness.
Before long, he felt something hard beneath his feet. It was dry ground, in the middle of a forest.
The god took one last glance at the sheet before Seraphiel kept it away.
“Now, since you dare making yourself God… With that restriction! Show me what you capable of!”