Chapter 6

Chapter 6

New Game.


I used to play video games when I was younger. Simple things usually. Single player games, magic and fantasy elements. I enjoyed them, I knew my fair share of goob-lore, but... I think I've been thrown in a bit too deep.

I've heard of a [New Game Plus] but this is something else.

A [New Game Minus]

Advanced and skilled players only. Starting over again, but highly disadvantaged. A more difficult play through.

That kind of vibe.

But... y'know, that's really not such a great option for someone who didn't even make it to middle-aged in his last life.

Much as I liked games, I'm not going to claim I was really very good at them, and life was more or less in a similar boat.

Hiss...

So... what? This is hard mode?

Make it more difficult, take away arms and legs. Take everything away and make them a snake, and put them in a cave filled with things that might eat them.

That sounds super fair to me.

Really, this is great.

Just great.

NO! This is freaking rigged! This game is rigged! This is bullshi-

Hissssss!

[CHOOSE STARTING ABILITY]

 

The words are still there, hanging on clearly here in my mind's eye.

They're not a projection exactly, but a hallucination maybe? A haunting that sort of follows no matter where I want to look.

[CHOOSE STARTING ABILITY]

 

Oppressive and demanding.

So... this is a game?

No... it doesn't seem much like a game, I feel very much alive and serpent-like.

This is real, I think.

Real life: The toughest game of all.

Maybe I've cracked under the pressure and I'm having one of those DMT experiences I read about online.

It's not like I've ever claimed to be the toughest when it came to mental fortitude. I couldn't even put up with cold showers.

Death is probably a lot worse than a cold shower.

[CHOOSE STARTING ABILITY]

 

Geez. It's aggressive.

It's like a microwave that beeps until someone opens it.

[CHOOSE STARTING ABILITY]

 

Irritating and unrelenting.

I wonder what I'm supposed to do, exactly? Touch the image with my tail? Reach out with my mind? No... that's not working.

So my tail then? It's not like I have any hands-

[UNLOCKABLE BRANCHES:]

[Venom]
[Consumption]
[Massive]
[Magic essence]

Oh. It worked. Who would have thought it?

Hissssssss...

Not me. This is all rather bizarre, but I suppose this is something to be grateful for. It's a chance. They sound like useful abilities: Things that keep a tiny little snake like myself from getting eaten by giant centipedes or whatever else is hiding in the cave.

Still...

[Venom]
[Consumption]
[Massive]
[Magic essence]

Well, there are some interesting choices here. But I can't be exactly certain I'm doing, or exactly what they mean. A more detailed description would be nice.

Hissssss...ssss?

Hmm. Nope, Nothing. It was worth a shot, at the very least. Doesn't hurt to ask. Using the forces of deductive reasoning will have to compensate for ignorance at the moment.

[Venom]

Well... That's probably poison of some kind. Snakes have poison sometimes, makes perfect sense. Human-side is helpful here.

[Consumption]

Hmm... either some disease, or maybe something to do with eating things. Not entirely sure.

[Massive]

Makes me bigger? Maybe... Maybe... Would it kill to have some details be included? I mean, this could mean anything.

[Magic essence]

Well.

Hissssss...

Well, well, well... Magic. No matter how long I stare at this, that word isn't changed. It clearly is reading Magic.

Giving off a very RPG style vibe all of a sudden.

It's got that horribly difficult and unpleasant [Praise the sun] kind of vibe, but still a vibe.

The sensation of a rope thrown to a drowning serpent, surrounded by hungry-hungry predators.

Options, options, options... as if I even really have a choice.

[Magic essence: Selected]
Mana unlocked.
[No Spells unlocked.]
No spells available
[Ten Skill points to allocate]

Hissss... Point based? Really? Is that number a lot, or a little? I need some answers here, the suspense is killing me.

[Available Skills]
  • [Basic Heal: Level I] Cost: 5 points
Unlocks future Healing magics.
  • [Flame element: Level I] Cost: 5 points
Unlocks future Flame magics.
  • [Earth element: Level I] Cost: 5 points
Unlocks future Earth magics.
  • [Water element: Level I] Cost: 5 points
Unlocks future Water magics.
  • [Knowledge element: Level I] Cost: 100 Points
Unlocks future Knowledge magics.

Hisssss... So, one of these things is not like the others. For now, as I certain do not have enough to buy it, I'll pretend that last option isn't there. If I remember anything about games, that option is either super useful, or it's a trap. Like something an evil developer might put in place to screw over first-time players.

That sort of thing.

If I only start with ten points, that last option seems insanely expensive. I'm leaning towards a trap. First a giant centipede, and now a trap.

Not falling for it.

Even if I had the points to fall for it, I'm not falling for it. That's the kind of thing that gets a poor little snake killed before it can grow old and die peacefully of old age and over-eating.

[Healing] and [Flame] selected.

[Spells unlocked:]

 

[Fire breath]
[Fireball]
[Weak Heal]

Well, this is interesting.

Speaking of eating, I'm hungry.