— 2 —
I opened my eyes to the wind brushing my cheeks.
While feeling something slightly off about that fact, I glanced at the surroundings.
I was standing on a wide road. On the left was a forest, and on the right a grassy plain could be seen. It was a scenery that I vaguely recalled. At least, I clearly remembered the signpost visible nearby as well as the vegetation in the forest.
Most likely, I was near the low level area called The Forest of Beginnings on the outskirts of the first town, Ramlich.
(I was in the middle of the Capital a moment ago though…)
Exactly what had happened in that instant? Even if this game “Nekomimineko” – “New Communication Online” – is called a department store of bugs, I hadn’t yet heard of a bug being discovered that sent you randomly flying somewhere just by standing in town.
(Could it be an undiscovered bug?)
For a moment that was what I thought, but the irregularity wasn’t simply limited to a change in location.
I tried calling out, but there was no response. The call seemed to have been cut.
I faltered slightly, then decided for the moment to call Maki back.
“The menu won’t appear…?”
I realized that I could no longer use network based functionalities like calls or text. I couldn’t open the menu.
(Is this a bug? But it’s a bit…)
It was weird that I couldn’t even use the phone. That was not a feature provided by the game, but rather a common functionality supplied by the VR environment. It was not something that a bug from a game could affect.
(Then, a problem with the VR machine itself…?)
Perplexed, I reflexively tried to open the game menu.
But, that was also met with no response.
“What’s going on?”
Inadvertently muttering to myself, I caught sight of a further abnormality.
Scanning over my own getup, what I was wearing was not the equipment that I poured my heart and soul into collecting. I had on some flimsy leather armor and leather boots, and hanging from my waist was a worn leather scabbard that contained a sword as well as a small pouch.
There was no need to dig through my memories. However you look at it, these were the lowest rank equipment. I haven’t seen such frail equipment outside of the starting equipment from when you begin the game.
(Thinking about it, this place too…)
I looked over the surrounding scenery once again. I had thought this looked familiar. Of course! This was the starting location of Nekomimineko.
Though I couldn’t confirm my stats without opening the menu, I could tell that my body felt different from before. It was possible that I had been reverted back to level 1.
(My save file couldn’t have been wiped… could it?)
I immediately shook my head at my own question. It was true that with Nekomimineko it wouldn’t be strange even if such a bug would occur, and that would explain warping back to the start location with starting gear. But in the end that still would not explain why the menu screen could not be opened.
In addition, those were not the only anomalies.
I couldn’t quite explain it, but something felt off about the surrounding scenery. Like… everything I was seeing was subtly different from usual or something…
“!? Who’s there!?”
However, my thoughts were forcibly cut off. Further down the road, what sounded like someone yelling could be heard.
“Could it be…”
Thinking for a moment, I immediately remembered.
If this was right after the start of a new game, then that might be happening.
If that was the case, then I couldn’t just leave it alone. I dashed towards the direction of the voice.
My body was light. The virtual body in the game world could move much more nimbly compared to my body in real life. The difference could be felt even in the initial state at the beginning of the game.
Saying this, I “ordered” the skill name set in the system. My surroundings blurred, and I was assaulted with an intense acceleration that couldn’t be experienced in reality.
Floating for a few moments, I landed, and was faced with the after-cast stun – the short stun after a skill finishes. After the after-cast stun ended, I started moving again.
It seemed like I was able to use the Step skill. I was wondering what I would do if, like the menu screen, I couldn’t use skills anymore, but it seemed that worry was unwarranted.
Step is one of the basic skills that everyone is able to use from the very start, but its broad range of uses means it’s not just a basic skill that can be easily replaced. Though my inexplicable unease did not decrease but rather increased, knowing that I was able to use this skill offered me relief that could not be understated.
In that case, the next thing to test would be…
I tried to use the advanced movement skill that could be learned after mastering Step, but,
The test was a failure. At least, it seemed like all of my character data had been reset to its initial values.
Actually, rather than the data being reset, it might simply be the start of a new game from the very beginning.
“There it is!”
Moving onwards while confirming my body’s condition, before long I was able to see the location of the battle. The first thing I saw was a large wagon. An old-fashioned horse-drawn wagon that you would be hard pressed to find in the real world was stopped in the middle of the road.
Around the wagon were people fighting.
They numbered five. The first to catch my eye was a female wielding a sword, her back facing towards me.
Following that, the outlines of four lizardmen wielding weapons could be seen, their backs facing the wagon, positioned as if trying to surround the female.
Seeing this, I was convinced.
This was, without a doubt, the first event of the game.
The unreasonable starting event that was said to be the cause of over 90 percent of first time player deaths, the infamous “Lizardmen’s Trap” awaits!