Category Archives: Bunny Girl

06 – The First Evolution

I decided on the Ghast.

The immaterial, malleable demon of dust and gases. It wouldn’t be much different from the body of wet dough I’d been using. Imps and Gremlins, with their hands and legs, would have been much better for my mind. I was sure of that.

But no. I didn’t want all my experience to count for nothing.

…well. I just wanted to say something cool there. My life was going to be shitty no matter the choice anyway, so I didn’t put all that much thought to it.

 

Following my wish, my snow-white slime body began to break do- hey, no, wait, shit. This is bad.

I could feel myself being arranged into something different, and apparently my brain didn’t like that very much. My vision whited out, I felt myself thrown into a raging whirlpool, twisting and turning in incomprehensible directions. Nausea and dizziness began to lay siege, without mercy. Head-splitting pain. An infinite number of ants swarming-

-no, no. This wasn’t real! I didn’t have a physical body at the moment. This was nothing more than a delusion cooked up by my mind! I knew that, but fucking idiot brain!

Come on, stay a… wake…


……
………

Oh boy.

It took a whole day for my evolution to finish.

I seriously thought my non-existent head was going to explode.

Well, to be more precise, the Evolution itself probably only took a few minutes, but after it was done I couldn’t move for all of a day.

I only just managed to start thinking human thoughts again an hour ago. Until then, my world was made of headaches, flashing colors in my eyes, and so much nausea that I couldn’t move a millimeter.

I still couldn’t, even now. My new body’s senses were all out of whack.

[NO NAME] [Race: Ghast] [Low Demon (Low-Rank)] 33/99

・A low demon made of dust and gases. A fragile spiritual lifeform.

[Magic Points: 90/90] 35↑
[Total Combat Power: 100/100] 40↑
[Unique Skill: Reroll]

Ghast. A low demon of dust and gases. See this “dust and gases” part? That was the problem. My senses extended to every single particles that made up my body.

What this meant was that every time the wind blew, armies of ants would start having a party on the parts of my body moved by the breeze.

Such a pain…

I’d been trying my best to ignore the whole thing, but on second thought, that might not have been the best idea. If I tried to get used to this body by ignoring the problem, that would mean discarding the advantage of using a monster avatar in the first place. Instead, I should turn the problem into a solution: make my hypersensitivity work for me rather than against me.

That was the strength of monsters, and also what separated them from humans.

…at the same time, I had the strangest feeling, as if I was slowly losing bits and pieces of my own human vulnerabilities from all the abuse my mind had suffered since I started using this monster avatar…

Was weakness not what make humans so beautiful, in the end?

 

Alright, that was enough monologuing. I got so much more powerful now; I should try to get moving as soon as possible.

That reminded me, my status showed [Low Demon (Low-Rank)]. That’s two ‘low’ in a row. How weak was the pre-evolution ball of dough, then?

I was lucky that no caterpillars or snakes came by when I was still immobile. There was a squirrel, but it ran the moment it found out I was here.

My first priority would be to learn how to use my senses. For the first time, I opened my eyes and truly looked at what was happening with my body. Immediately, a torrent of information slammed into me.

…head hurt. Too much useless information. I didn’t need to know how many blades of grass or grains of sand I was touching, or how much dust was blowing in the wind. Huh, I just realized how reliant on sight and hearing humans were, despite having five senses.

Anyway. I should try to selectively process only the relevant information. Hopefully my subconscious could handle the task for me if I practice enough. If not, well, I’d probably go insane, so I couldn’t slack off here.

Which meant I’d need to train my brain to get used to this amount of information as its new default state. Oh boy…  I wasn’t looking forward to returning to reality after this. It’s going to be a hell of a time getting used to the lack of information again.

Let’s do this bit by bit, then. This sort of training was never meant to be completed in a day or two. Meanwhile, I should try to move.

 

I supposed this body should handle the same way as the doughy one. It was the reason why I picked the Ghast, after all. I was going to facepalm so hard otherwise.

…oh? Oooh! I just floated!

I see, I see, so Ghasts could float. Well, not surprising, actually. They were made of gases. On one hand, this afforded me so many new possibilities. On the other, stomach-churning nausea, again… Blergh.

My vision hadn’t stopped turning since a while now, most likely due to my body constantly being moved by the air currents, and it’d continue to do so as long as I wasn’t being aware. So I focused my consciousness and forced my body to stay still. Finally, I could see myself.

I looked like… a 1-meter sphere of incredibly thick smoke? Not exactly outside my expectations, but why was I white again? The game reproduced my albinism in the weirdest ways. Please stop it already.

Ah, right. You know what happens when you pour water on dry ice? That.

 

I drifted forward. Hey, this worked. Felt like I was bungee jumping every time I moved, which was scary, but I could move the same way I did when I was still a slime.

I couldn’t rise too much, though – there was some kind of force pulling me down, and its strength was proportional to my distance from the ground. It was difficult to get any higher than the height of the windows of a two-story building.

So that was my vertical limits. Horizontally, I could move as fast as a person walking, or race-walking if I pushed myself. Faster than dough-me, obviously. You’d think I would go ‘Weeeee! I can fly!’, but no, my perception was much too sensitive for that. Bugs were crawling on my skin every time the winds touched me. Nothing was fun about this.

…really, could I ever get used to this?

 

For the time being, I elected to process enough information for my senses to be slightly better than a normal person’s. Particularly my sense of smell and presence detection – for those, I tried to be as aware of the unconscious goings-on as possible.

Oh, found a red caterpillar. It looked small, so probably a male. I silently drove my body of gas closer and prepared to attack… I could just attack the same way I’d been doing, right?

 

I thrusted a part of me forward. There was no impact. The tentacle of air simply covered the caterpillar and sucked it dry in a few seconds.

…holy crap.

I couldn’t believe this was the same caterpillar I used to have so much trouble with. I just won in a flash. Gruesomely, too.

[NO NAME] [Race: Ghast] [Low Demon (Low-Rank)] 30/99

・A low demon made of dust and gases. A fragile spiritual lifeform.

[Magic Points: 91/91] 1↑
[Total Combat Power: 101/101] 1↑
[Unique Skill: Reroll]

Apparently I also drained its lifeforce with that attack. Well, that was good and all, but it didn’t give me much. Could be because of my evolution. Setting the dark-reds aside for a moment, but the red ones used to give me around 7 points.

That’s it, then. I might be outgrowing this area. It’d been my plan to leave the forest once I got stronger, anyway.

…still, if I saw any, I’d hunt. Points were important, even if just one.

 

Another 10 more reds hunted after a day of journey. I’d gotten a lot more used to moving myself. Filtering information was still difficult.

This forest was huge. I’d never seen anything other than trees the whole time. I’m not actually going deeper, am I? That wasn’t to say coming across a human village wouldn’t be a problem, however.

 

Oh, I detected something. A stronger presence than most.

What was it? Where was it? I stayed on guard for a while, but saw nothing, so I decided to hover forward. There it was, behind a large tree.

Maybe I just imagined it, but I thought our eyes met. As much as I could have eyes.

It was a black caterpillar, around 60 centimeters, and twice as large as a red one.

Whoa! It just screeched and spat out fire without warning. From all the way over there, too!

[Black Caterpillar] 29/99
[Magic Points: 39/45]  [Hit Points: 60/60]
[Total Combat Power: 75]

Quite a bit more powerful than reddies. Was this the next evolution step of the dark-red? Why caterpillars? Get to butterflies already.

Wait, what are you doing spitting fire in a forest?! Damn it, I couldn’t afford to stay defensive fighting a high-power monster. All-out offense!

I circled around the big tree to strike from its back. It spat flame at me once, but I still continued. A part of me stretched out and enveloped the bug.

By the way, I did a [Reroll] to dodge the flame, but it failed. Like always.

Just as I thought, that wasn’t enough volume to do any meaningful damage. I went for broke and rushed at the black caterpillar, using my whole body to cover it. It resisted violently, trying to bite me.

…hmm? Didn’t hurt much. Just felt like a mosquito bite. Right, my gaseous Ghast body! Fire worked, but maybe I was nearly invincible to physical attacks!

I worked to absorb as much of its life as possible before the bug could hurl flame again. In the end, it was just a caterpillar. It never attempted anything other than biting. Finally, it wailed, breathing its last.

So I won because I was smarter than a caterpillar. Amazing.

[NO NAME] [Race: Ghast] [Low Demon (Low-Rank)] 28/99

・A low demon made of dust and gases. A fragile spiritual lifeform.

[Magic Points: 94/108] 17↑
[Total Combat Power: 103/119] 18↑
[Unique Skill: Reroll]

That was a lot of points. I got 10 points from the reds on my way here, so one black caterpillar was 7 points.

I could make use of these bugs. The best thing was that they didn’t have any way to hurt me besides the flame. So, blacks were relatively safe to kill and gave me a good amount of points, which meant I could settle down here for a while…

…that was before I found out that there were way too few blacks, compared to the number of reds. In hindsight, it should have been obvious. Monsters had more magic and lifeforce than normal animals. To grow stronger efficiently, monsters would have to fight one another. So the higher on the pyramid, the less of them existed.

…oh well, I’d just have to be patient and search. I also got used to handling myself a bit better now, so it was time to try to see how far away I could detect presences.

 

I rose almost to my height limit, despite the warning signals telling me to get back down now now now, spreading myself as wide as I could to let my detection sense do its work.

Normally, my range was around a basketball court. This time, I expanded my perception, only checking for magic and the general sizes of the presences themselves. The details were ignored. The more useless information I took in, the worse the stress on my brain, setting me on edge and lowering my accuracy.

Alright, focus… range at baseball field size, now… yeah, still nothing… maybe a bit further… hmm? I sensed… oh crap, this is bad, my consciousness…

I forced my body and mind back together the moment they were about to scatter and evaporate. Too close! What were the developers thinking? They didn’t even implement any sort of limits or safety checks for avatars! I’m pretty sure I was just about to become a vegetable right there if I didn’t stop in time!

…that scared the crap out of me. Let’s be more careful from now on.

 

At the same time, if I hadn’t forced myself so, I wouldn’t have found that strange presence. They were a long way away from me. The presence only had about half my magic, yet felt strangely powerful. And bizarre. They were killing what I suspected to be black caterpillars, one after another.

Might the presence be a human? If they were killing monsters, then perhaps… a beta tester?


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05 – The Choice

“Secret alpha tester No. 78. Time elapsed: 71 hours. Delirium, leading to mental collapse. As per procedure, subject will be forced to log out and moved to the collection room.”

 

Here, at the 7th research center of a certain conglomerate, 100 so-called “secret alpha tester” human subjects were undergoing an experiment within the MMORPG, “World of Yggdrasia”. Over 50 staff members were monitoring them 24/7, with ten persons each shift.

After the staff member’s announcement, the collecting process began in another facility. Subject No. 78 was thawed and released from the VR capsule. The medical staff carried the kid away in indifference.

Brian, the deputy director of this particular research center, watched the process through a monitor. He sighed and clicked a few buttons.

“So how many does this make?”

“Including No. 78, we have had 8 people logging out due to mental collapse. Another 2 died from their minds weakening.” His secretary, a gorgeous woman nearing her thirties, answered stoically.

 

The mental strain of using a different VR avatar from one’s real body first became a problem several years ago, and it had only gotten worse with the advance in VR technology. Increasing realism went hand-in-hand with an increasing number of reported mental instability.

As present, there were only three solutions.

First, was to simply lower the sensitivity of the VR system. This was not practical due to how indispensable VR had made itself in so many aspects of society, not to speak of the users’ ever-increasing demand for realism.

Second, to get used to the experience with the help of drugs and medical supervision. However, the user still needed to train for a long period of time, and success was not guaranteed. This solution also caused several other problems such as possible drug addiction and difficulty in returning to society, and thus was also impractical to implement.

Third, to minimize the differences between the user and their avatar. This was the simplest, problem-free solution, and so became the standard choice.

 

The 7th center’s focus was on exploring the effect of non-human avatar use on the human mind. For this purpose, the center had acquired orphans within the age of 10 to 15 for their still-flexible minds, and the fact that they had no relatives. These kids had had their records ‘legally’ deleted from the system. Upon the conclusion of this experiment, they would have their livelihood guaranteed for ten years and new identities made.

Monster avatars, with their unnatural powers and movement, took quite some time to make, which delayed the project. In the end, the secret alpha testers began their experiment at the same time the official beta testers joined the game. Depending on the results, this experiment could be a large step forward for the medical field.

 

“So, ten percent dropped out after just 70 hours.”

“Sir, I believe the cause might be the lack of sleep. At maximum, VR sensitivity even surpassed real life, which put so much stress on their minds that they couldn’t rest. Should we lower it?”

“That’d be putting the cart before the horse. If sensitivity is low, we might as well be using remote-controlled drones or AI tanks. As weapons, they’d be useless.

Brian snorted. He looked at the large monitor showing the mental states of the 100 test subjects, updated in real-time.

 

Dead – 2 subjects.
Logged out due to mental collapse – 8 subjects.
Delirious – 12 subjects.
Gone berserk due to loss of rationality – 11 subjects.
Mentally unstable – 37 subjects.
Light mental instability – 30 subjects.

 

“Sir, I’ve just received a report. A berserk alpha tester had made contact with a few beta testers, then defeated after a fight broke out.”

“Which one?”

“Excuse me. It was the alpha tester who started as a goblin and advanced into a hobgoblin. The beta testers who defeated them was a party of four, but they also suffered one casualty.”

“I see. As foreseen, the closer to human the avatar, the faster their evolution. So how many subjects have reached evolution?”

“Twenty-seven. Among them, one had died and four more have had a mental collapse, so currently twenty-two are still logged-in. However, over half of them are extremely unstable. Some of them are delirious, or have gone berserk.”

“Yes, increased stress due to a sudden change of form. Worst case scenario, we may need to look into injecting a few of them…”

“Six subjects have achieved evolution with only light mental instability. Furthermore, subject No. 13 have unlocked evolution while relatively stable.”

“No. 13, huh…” Brian muttered.

Answering him, the screen showed the sight of a snow-white girl, her red pupils shooting daggers at the camera. Brian remembered her. Understanding dawned on his face, and he nodded.

 

“Ahh, right. The ‘Demon Child’…”

 

* * *

[NO NAME] [Infant Demon] 47/99

・A nameless infant demon. A spiritual life-form. Extremely fragile.

[Magic Points: 17/55] 15↑
[Total Combat Power: 25/60] 15↑
[Unique Skill: Reroll]
[Evolution Available]

…evolution available? Right, the explanation did include this.

Once a monster player raised their levels enough, they can evolve into another type of monster within the same evolution tree.

Anyway, I needed more details. I focused my thoughts on the Evolution Available part, and more text appeared.

Available Evolutions from [Infant Demon] 46/99
Displaying current choices.
[Imp]
[Shadow]
[Gremlin]
[Ghast]

There were quite a few choices… I’d have to check them out one by one. My Crystal only had half its uses left, yet I still hadn’t learned the skill. Worrying was just futile, I know, but I couldn’t help myself.

[Imp] 45/99
・A tiny, hideous demon. Lives in people’s houses, and loves to play pranks.

That explanation was much too short! It didn’t even say anything about the next evolutions. So useless.

…whatever. Might as well finish off the rest.

[Shadow] 44/99
・A demon of shadows. Takes over the place of a living being’s shadow. Disturbs the mind of the possessed.
[Gremlin] 43/99
・A type of evil fairy. Possesses inventions of man, and interferes with operation.
[Ghast] 42/99
・A gaseous demon. Formed from a collection of black dust and soot. Can transform into many different shapes.

Hmmm… I guess if I wanted a typical demon, I should go the Imp path? But it’s ugly… I didn’t know how powerful they could get, but the size didn’t assure me.

I was slightly partial to the Shadow. If they could possess human shadows, then they might be able to enter human villages. Ah, but what if I turned white again after my evolution?

Gremlins also seemed to be a straightforward choice, but what exactly are ‘inventions’? Could I possess an airship and drop it? This had the potential for mass murder, but would I have to attack humans?

Ghasts were the most mysterious one. What do I do with the ability to change shapes?

 

All of them had their pros and cons. None of them seemed to be useful in a straight fight. What should I do?

Anyway, it looked like I couldn’t evolve if my magic wasn’t full so for the time being, it was time to rest. I decided to laze about in the clearing to calm myself down – all this time, this sense of disconnect had been putting my mind off-balance. Maybe I could watch the flowers.

You could say I was just escaping from reality, but, well, I’m a very experienced escapist. Really, I wish those corporation people would just lower the sensitivity already…

 

My mind wandered, until it landed on the caterpillar corpses. They were seriously cramping my style, here. Could I use them for something?

They did have those fangs that no bugs should ever have. Maybe I could rip them out and sell them in a town, somewhere? A monster selling monster materials. I’d be turning a lot of heads. Well, I had some free time, might as well try.

I approached the dark-red. Up close, the huge corpse looked a lot more grotesque than I thought.

I wasn’t really in the mood to carefully dismantle it, so I just stretched out a gooey tentacle to start pounding. It wasn’t so much dismantling as pulverizing. Which still worked – I got one out of the pair of fangs. It looked quite sturdy. Also, the other fang broke.

I didn’t want to look at this aftermath of a splatter movie, but I couldn’t close my eyes. Which might have been for the better, since otherwise I wouldn’t have noticed the twinkling object inside the corpse.

What was this thing? A gem? It was the size of a bean and colored black, which made it look more like a really nice piece of coal rather than a gem. I tried poking it, and suddenly it disappeared inside my body. Eh? What happened? Where did it go?

I searched everywhere in my body but found nothing. Instead, I noticed my depleted magic power recovering at a far faster rate.

What was that? A magic-emitting rock? Well, if it could recover my magic, then all the more convenient. I looked for stones inside the other three red caterpillar corpses too, but smashing them open revealed nothing.

Questions after questions. Did these stones only form inside strong monsters? Perhaps that was the ‘magic stone’ I was told about. Well, no matter. Thanks to the stone, I only took an hour to recover all my magic power.

Hey, dark-red. I’m not going to say I was grateful for the fight, but… it wasn’t meaningless.

[NO NAME] [Infant Demon] 41/99

・A nameless infant demon. A spiritual life-form. Extremely fragile.

[Magic Points: 55/55]
[Total Combat Power: 60/60]
[Unique Skill: Reroll]
[Evolution Available]

Indeed. It wasn’t meaningless at all. Thus, I made my decision.

Likely as not, there’d be more difficulties ahead of me no matter which path I choose. My worn-out soul might just be in tatters by the end, yet still, I didn’t want everything I had done to be meaningless.

And so, I gave form to my desire in my mind and made a wish with all my heart.


Author’s Note: Adults are scary.


Previous Chapter | Index | Next Chapter

04 – Revenge

I continued killing squirrels and snakes for quite some time… just two days, actually. Anyway, here was the results.

[NO NAME] [Infant Demon] 62/99

・A nameless infant demon. A spiritual life-form. Extremely fragile.

[Magic Points: 26/26] 13↑
[Total Combat Power: 30/30] 16↑
[Unique Skill: Reroll]

Now I could take vengeance upon the dreaded caterpillar! Probably!

Well, I needed to get strong enough to win against the caterpillars anyway. I wouldn’t be able to leave the forest otherwise.

I could use [Reroll] twice now, but its usefulness was still very much in doubt. The ability to retry after a failure sounded amazing at first, but the only success I’d had with this skill was the time I forced the caterpillar to miss its biting attack. Furthermore, when rerolling, there was still the possibility that I’d fail again. Also, the skill used the specific words “required magic power”, which probably meant that the more powerful the attack I used it on, the more magic it’s going to take. 10 magic points was just for dodging the caterpillar’s bite.

And finally, I was a spiritual life-form. My combat ability would drop like a rock if my magic went low.

…so I supposed my unique skill would have to stay unused for the time being. Perhaps it could be a trump card.

 

There were a few new discoveries.

Total Combat Power of monsters and creatures which had hit points didn’t drop when they lost magic power, but did when they lost a large amount of hit points. Such creatures normally didn’t look very powerful. Only when they entered combat and spent magic would they exert power equivalent to their Total Combat Power.

In contrast, spiritual life-forms like me didn’t have hit points, because our magic was our life force itself. Both my magic and Total Combat Power would drop upon receiving damage. In return, magic points regenerated faster over time than hit points, and I could always attack with the full power of my Total Combat Power without spending magic.

Spiritual life-forms weren’t actually that weak. Still, I couldn’t help but felt it unfair.

Also, there were still no signs I’d come any closer to learning [Identification].

 

That was my situation. For the time being, I planned on continuing to gain as much strength as I could.

Currently, for a flawless victory against the snakes, I would need to attack from ambush. I’d like to get strong enough to win without a scratch in a head-on fight, at least.

I moved through the forest, slowly enough to not get dizzy, while wondering if there was any convenient prey nearby. Then, I spotted a presence some distance away. I focused my 360-degrees-fullscreen vision upon that direction.

Ah, that’s a red caterpillar. The woods gave way to a small clearing of sunlight and flowers. There the caterpillar lay, chewing on a few petals.

[Red Caterpillar] 61/99
[Magic Points: 28/28] 3↑  [Hit Points: 37/37] 7↑
[Total Combat Power: 35] 8↑

Huh, surprisingly powerful. Wait, it had a scar on its back. Could it be the same red caterpillar that killed me the first time? It had a darker shade now, though.

I see… it killed me to level up, didn’t it?

What should I do? It was stronger than me, so I didn’t really want to fight it. Since my death, I had already regained my strength and then some. Another death penalty would hurt a ton.

Yet at the same time, I wasn’t sure if I would ever have the chance to meet the same caterpillar again, in the same forest. I still remembered very clearly the pain of having my body shaved away, bit by bit.

If possible, I wanted my revenge.

Both of us had gotten stronger since then, but I also learned how to move my body and how to fight. A straight fight wouldn’t be easy. I might be able to win with an ambush, if I do it right.

My chances weren’t zero. Its combat power was only 20% higher. A strong first hit from ambush should give me the advantage.

And finally, I was the faster one now. I could just run away if the fight turned out bad.

 

I made my decision and climbed up a nearby tree. From branch to branch I moved, approaching my target. The red caterpillar was right in the center of a flower bed, which had no trees growing, but the clearing was only 5 meters large. I should be able to reach it by jumping from a protruding branch.

Wriggling, oozing, following the branches. I’d gotten used to the way this body moves, but that nauseous feeling of disconnect was still there.

I took aim… and… now!

 

I flew from the branch. As I dropped down right on top of the red caterpillar, I stretched out a whip of dough and slammed on its back.

It shrieked and jumped in pain. Got you!

[Red Caterpillar] 60/99
[Magic Points: 28/28] [Hit Points: 27/37]
[Total Combat Power: 33] 2↓

Good, that’s thirty percent gone. Not only that, it looked like I hit it right in its old wound and ripped it open, which staggered it and somewhat reduced its combat power. At this point, we were equal in power. With my superior speed, I held the advantage, if only slightly.

I landed, splattering myself on the flower bed. It looked at me and finally realized it was under attack. The red caterpillar roared in rage, its body turning a darker shade.

 

Wait, that’s not the normal screech it usually did…

 

And then I heard the answering shrieks. Around the flower bed arrived three more red caterpillars. Really? Really?

[Red Caterpillar x 3] 57/99
[Magic Points: 20/20]  [Hit Points: 25/25]
[Total Combat Power: 22]

Were they minions? Subordinates? A harem? I once heard that in insects, the females are generally bigger, so was this a reverse harem? Damn bitch, you’ve let power gone to your head!

They were smaller and weaker than the first red – well, dark-red now – caterpillar I encountered, but still much stronger than the snakes.

The plan had failed. Time to run.

 

Four caterpillars in four directions, all coming for me. I jumped towards the one opposite the dark-red.

It screamed, raising its head like a snake and spat acid. I dodged, flying like a butterfly… if butterflies didn’t have wings and were made of soggy clay, anyway.

My tentacle smashed into its head. Oh, it hurt a bit. Did I hit its fang? Was there still acid left? Anyway, I should try to avoid attacking the face from now on.

It started to squirm and writhe, seemingly in a great amount of pain from my counterattack. Hey, squirm somewhere else, would you? You’re blocking my escape path.

Meanwhile, the other three had caught up.

 

A screech accompanied another projectile. Wait, fire? Fire, not acid?! That dark-red caterpillar just spat fire at me! Impressive range, too. The fire mercilessly burned both me and the red caterpillar. Such cruelty.

[NO NAME] 56/99
[Magic Points: 22/26]
[Total Combat Power: 26/30]

Oh man, that was a lot of points gone. I couldn’t let this hit me again. The well-cooked red caterpillar restarted its spasms. Smelled delicious.

Meanwhile, another red caterpillar had caught up to me. Seemed like the smaller red caterpillars were faster than the dark-red one.

It chomped at me. I only barely managed to turn it into a glancing blow and counterattacked.

[NO NAME] 55/99
[Magic Points: 20/26]
[Total Combat Power: 24/30]

I was going to get bogged down, at this rate. The last red caterpillar hadn’t come any closer, seemingly the careful type, while the dark-red spat fire once again. The bug I was fighting attempted another bite, caring not one whit for the approaching mass of flame. I moved, putting it between me and the projectile, and then fire covered the both of us.

[Reroll]

All the fire around me suddenly moved to light up the red caterpillar, while I was unharmed. Thank god it worked!

[NO NAME] 55/99
[Magic Points: 10/26]
[Total Combat Power: 15/30]

And there was the expected crash in magic points and combat power. The damage might have been lower if I just let the projectile hit me, true, but that was part of the plan.

The caterpillar was near-death, now. All-out attack!

These bugs did seem to be quite soft, comparatively. After hitting the doubly-cooked red caterpillar a few times, the mist was released.

[NO NAME] 54/99
[Magic Points: 16/33] 7↑
[Total Combat Power: 21/38] 8↑

That was a good boost of power. Plus, my spent magic was replenished, if only a little bit.

Seeing its fallen comrade, the dark-red caterpillar howled.

Now even the careful caterpillar was joining the fight, seemingly scared of the wife’s anger. It circled around and spat acid at me. That was pretty smart, for a caterpillar. For a moment, I wondered if it was one of the other secret alpha testers, but despite the intelligence, it wasn’t human-smart.

I moved between the two bugs and squished myself down. Both of them spat out their respective projectiles at the same time, which only whiffed right above me and went on to hit each other.

The dark-red lost itself in its howling rage and changed target to the acid-spitter. I took the chance to finish off the very first burn victim of the dark-red.

[NO NAME] 53/99
[Magic Points: 22/40] 7↑
[Total Combat Power: 28/45] 7↑

I finally came close to the strength I first had at the beginning of this battle.

The dark-red screeched, attracting my attention. It just bit the acid-spitter to death. Aww… what a waste.

[Dark-Red Caterpillar] 52/99
[Magic Points: 10/33] 5↑  [Hit Points: 24/42] 5↑
[Total Combat Power: 38] 5↑

And that one got quite a bit stronger too, but as I expected, it didn’t regain any lost life. Low magic power, too. That fire projectile attack must have been expensive.

…also, it turned out that the identified names weren’t the actual, official names. They changed according to my perception.

It still had higher combat power than me, but I’d come this far. I wouldn’t run.

I provoked it with a hop and once again it spat fire, still ruled by anger.

Now, there were no longer any obstacle to take the hit for me, so [Reroll] would surely be a lot more expensive than last time. And it was probably going to fail again anyway.

So I didn’t even try to dodge. It burned. It hurt so much I would have cried if I still had my tear ducts, but I rushed forward anyway and started a melee fight head-on.

Three minutes since the brawl began, the dark-red caterpillar suddenly weakened, its hits no longer hurting me as much. Just as I expected.

[Dark-Red Caterpillar] 51/99
[Magic Points: 1/33]  [Hit Points: 16/42]
[Total Combat Power: 38]

Zero magic points would leave it unconscious. So if it couldn’t use any magic, it wouldn’t be able to access its full strength. Just a big caterpillar, nothing more.

The scuffle went on for some time, and finally the dark-red went down. My victory was rewarded with the familiar mist.

[NO NAME] [Infant Demon] 48/99

・A nameless infant demon. A spiritual life-form. Extremely fragile.

[Magic Points: 17/55] 15↑
[Total Combat Power: 25/60] 15↑
[Unique Skill: Reroll]
[Evolution Available]

Nice, nice, I got a lot more powerful. Caterpillars no longer posed a threat… hmmm?

…evolution?


Previous Chapter | Index | Next Chapter

03 – My Rivals were Squirrels and Snakes

I sighed. My first VRMMO battle ended in disaster.

Currently, I was hiding inside a hollow tree trunk somewhere in the pitch-black forest, waiting for my magic to recover.

[NO NAME] [Infant Demon] 83/99

・A nameless infant demon. A spiritual life-form. Extremely fragile.

[Magic Points: 7/10]
[Total Combat Power: 9/11]
[Unique Skill: Reroll]

I’d heard that when players die, they lose 10% of their stats, but then why did I lose a whole half of mine? Was it just how it work for monsters? Or was it just for spiritual life-forms like me? Damn it, I had no idea.

Could it be? Could it possibly be that spiritual life-forms were incredibly weak?

At least my magic recovered over time. I had just a single magic point when I respawned. At the time, I seriously thought there was no way to progress any further.

My body shrank due to losing half my magic, which allowed me to hide within a hollow tree. What should I do now…? If I immediately died again, my character would probably be deleted, right?

The AI said my inventory would be dropped at my point of death, but this Identification Crystal still stayed with me. I wasn’t sure why. Perhaps it was because the crystal was a basic item for new players, or perhaps because I kept it inside my body. Anyway, thank god for that.

 

There had been a few discoveries while I was holing up in this tree.

My magic recovered by 1 approximately each hour. I didn’t know if this was a flat increase of 1, or if it was a 10% recovery, since my current maximum magic was exactly 10. The things I could do would be different, depending on which it was.

After using [Identification] on a few wild animals passing by my tree, I found out something. If I lost all my magic power, it’s over for me, but when normal animals’ magic points dropped to zero, they just fainted. They only died when their hit points dropped to zero.

…is this normal?

Next, when normal animals lost some magic points, their combat power still stayed the same. However, their magic points would drop bit by bit when in combat. I didn’t know whether it was because they used magic to attack, because combat itself took magic power, or because they strengthened themselves magically.

I saw a snake attacking a squirrel. When the squirrel died, the snake sucked up some kind of mist from its corpse.

I could see pretty well despite the darkness. Was it just how the game was, or was it because I was a monster?

And finally, there was a drone beetle. It approached me, thinking I was some kind of tree sap and I killed it, but I didn’t get any stronger.

 

At any rate, I needed to find a way to fight. Judging from appearances, the only things weaker than that caterpillar that I could find were the ‘snakes’, the ‘field mice’, and the ‘squirrels’.

Which meant that the caterpillar was the weakest monster in this forest. And right now, I was much weaker than it.

Just using my unique skill, [Reroll], to make the caterpillar miss already ate up around 10 of my magic power, so it wasn’t practical at the moment.

But there was one good thing that came from that mess. All that desperate running around helped me get used to this body, and the nausea was much more tolerable now.

Not much of a silver lining, really.

Anyway, my next goal was to get strong enough to kill a squirrel.

***

There should be a way to leverage my doughiness, I thought. Which resulted in my current attempt to ambush a squirrel from above a tree. I dropped and covered it with my whole body.

At first, the squirrel violently resisted. It suffocated and stopped moving after a while, and I absorbed some kind of mist from it. Hmm, I didn’t feel anything different…

[NO NAME] [Infant Demon] 82/99

・A nameless infant demon. A spiritual life-form. Extremely fragile.

[Magic Points: 10/10]
[Total Combat Power: 11/11]
[Unique Skill: Reroll]

Yup, nothing changed. And the corpse was still here. What do I do with it?

Do I eat it? How? I wasn’t going to melt it down like normal slimes. Even my own doughy body looked far tastier.

Well, I couldn’t do anything about it, so I just left it there… was this really fine, though? I only had my theoretical knowledge. It wasn’t like I’d ever played a game before.

 

Since then, I killed another two mice with the same method. Finally, something changed.

[NO NAME] 79/99
[Magic Points: 10/11] 1[Total Combat Power: 11/12] 1

Both my magic power and combat power rose by 1. It was just a single point, but it did increase. It made me happy, true, but mostly I just felt relieved.

Ah, another snake showed up, attracted by the corpse. It looked like my body had some pretty sharp senses. I managed to learn how to detect ‘presences’ now, somehow.

I swiftly and carefully snuck my way up the tree, back to my old ambush spot. The snake still hadn’t noticed me.

My handling of my body had gotten much better. I was probably as fast as that caterpillar now. Not exactly an impressive achievement, I know.

The feeling of being an indistinct mass still made me nauseous, but little by little, it had gotten better. Tolerable, now.

 

I hid myself on the tree and looked down. The 1-meter long snake slithered toward the mouse I killed – oh, wait, another snake showed up.

The two began to intimidate each other over the meal.

[Snake] 78/99
[Magic Points: 5/5]   [Hit Points: 15/15]
[Total Combat Power: 15]

Huh, snakes were weak. Still stronger than me and squirrels, though. Also, Identification Crystal, you didn’t even put any thought into naming them, did you?

They hissed.

…can you two please do this somewhere else? You’re messing up my plans here. I could just not peep and go elsewhere, but I was afraid I’d accidentally run across another snake or caterpillar in the process.

Both of them were about the same strength. Perhaps that was why none of them were willing to back off and miss out on a fresh meal. They began fighting.

Both of them twisted, turned, and generally just tried to constrict the other. The fight looked… really boring. After some time, one of them finally landed a bite on the other’s neck.

Yup, boring. It kept biting for a while, then won the fight just like that. Again, the winner absorbed the mist-like thing from the loser.

[Snake] 77/99
[Magic Points: 3/6] 1↑  [Hit Points: 8/16] 1↑
[Total Combat Power: 16] 1↑

Oh? Its stats went up a bit. Was this a ‘level up’ kind of thing, as I suspected?

The winning snake was hesitating between the mouse and its newly-killed meal… whoops, it saw me.

Fine, then. Preemptive self-defense! I jumped down from the branch and wrapped myself all around the snake. It shrieked something fierce.

Ooohh crap, it’s big. At the moment I only had enough volume to fill a bowl, so I couldn’t completely cover the snake.

It retaliated by constricting me, but failed due to my sloppy, doughy body.

And then I felt the snake suddenly heat up. Without warning, it chomped at me in a burst of newly-discovered strength. That hurt quite a bit!

[Snake] 76/99
[Magic Points: 2/6]  [Hit Points: 8/16]
[Total Combat Power: 16]

The snake’s magic power dropped. So it’s true, then, that you needed magic to strengthen yourself.

[NO NAME] 75/99
[Magic Points: 8/11]
[Total Combat Power: 10/12]

Hey, I just got my magic back up again! You damn reptile!

In my anger, I started to flail about. From my doughy body came whips to bash, to kick, to punch, and generally just throwing a tantrum right on the snake. I didn’t even know what I was doing.

The snake’s body cooled down, perhaps running out of magic. Then a few of my tentacles hit its head, but they were deflected.

…eh? Really?

The snake gave a few twitches, which stopped after I covered its head and squeezed. My body sucked in the mist from the corpse.

…I won.

[NO NAME] [Infant Demon] 74/99

・A nameless infant demon. A spiritual life-form. Extremely fragile.

[Magic Points: 8/13] 2↑
[Total Combat Power: 10/14] 2↑
[Unique Skill: Reroll]

So, I got stronger when I won and absorbed the mist. Was that mist the snake’s magic? Vitality? I guess I’ll just call it ‘life force’.

My guess – huh, it’d been a lot of guessing and hypothesizing, hadn’t it? – was that for monsters and animals that had physical bodies, their Total Combat Power enumerated the power they had only when they strengthened themselves with magic, while spiritual life-forms like me always fought with 100% of my Total Combat Power.

I had always thought spiritual life-forms to be weak, but if this hypothesis proved true, I needn’t be. Hopefully.

 

Also, please let me learn [Identification] already.


Previous Chapter | Index | Next Chapter

 

02 – The First Battle

I sighed in relief. Finally managed to get inside the game. This ‘experiment’ thing was suspicious, admittedly, but it’d still be better living conditions compared to my former orphanage.

The aura of light covering me faded. My body, formerly human, was converted into the Demon avatar I chose.

Bright, too bright! My head hurt from the 360 degrees vision I now had. I was seeing from every part of my body, instead of just my eyes. I did get the explanation, but experiencing it myself was quite intense…

The closer the simulation got to reality, the worse the feeling of disconnect became. Apparently, just a few years ago, the syndrome didn’t even exist. Not surprising considering that at the time, VR couldn’t simulate smells, and systems only used vibration to fake the sense of touch.

The corporation said they wanted to implement ‘PvP between human and monster players’, but if processing visual information alone was this bad, I’m pretty sure it’s not going to happen any time soon. Well, I mean, I guess that’s why they needed testers…

Which reminded me, they said secret alpha testers would have their sensitivity to pain and the senses turned to maximum, but I’d hoped they would use my physical data to tweak the finer details. The problem was whether they’d do it before their data gathering finished or not… I probably shouldn’t have much hope here.

So, half a year. Half a year like this, with zero rest… I guessed that was why the AI said this race wasn’t recommended. Yet still, when it asked me what I wanted to be, this was the only choice I could think of.

My vision twisted and turned, like seeing through a kaleidoscope inside a churning whirlpool. Without the ability to even close my eyes, I decided to stay still for… somewhere around an hour. Finally, the feeling abated to a level I can bear. Perhaps my brain finally managed to process all this visual information.

Urgh… I felt like puking. My head still spun from the dizziness and nausea, but I couldn’t give up here. They wouldn’t allow the secret alpha testers to give up here.

Still, the rest was worthwhile. I could finally look around. And even I, a girl who normally kept a tight lid on her emotions, was amazed by what I saw.

I’d heard that you couldn’t distinguish VR games these days from real life, but this was far beyond what I expected. A light breeze, rustling leaves, shadows and dappled sunlight dancing on the ground, the wind carrying the smell of grass, of earth, and of water. All this, I felt.

This was a forest. Around me were trees, trees, and more trees. No signs of civilization anywhere. Nothing here…

No, wait. I was a ‘monster’ right now. I had a feeling bad things would happen if I got close to a human village. If this world was as realistic as was explained to me, human and monsters were enemies.

But I had more important things to worry about. The moment I understood what was around me, finally, I also understood what I was.

…a white slime? Not the bouncy, stretchy type, but a dripping, sticky slime made of thick liquid. I looked like somebody mixed up some watery dough or oobleck, then dropped the whole thing on the ground. How does this work? Could I move? I was drawing blanks on this body’s mechanics of locomotion.

It took me a few moments to realize there was a small, coin-sized piece of crystal on the ground near me. What was this thing…?

As I imagined stretching my arms, a piece of slime flew out and wrapped around the crystal.

Aaaahh… right. Don’t think about moving. Just do it.

At the same time, it didn’t actually feel like I was moving my arms, but rather, something shot out from my shoulder. It was terribly uncomfortable.

Anyway, the crystal. What was it? This perfect sphere couldn’t have naturally formed… oh, right, virtual reality. That meant it should be some kind of item…

[Identification Crystal] - 98/99

・This crystal ball allows one to identify one’s own power and other game items.
・This is a bonus item for first-time players. One can buy a similar item in large cities, but they’re only usable 10 times.
・Looking into the crystal allows one to know the general strength of the target.

※It may be possible to learn how to identify without a crystal. Do your best!

…an identification item?

I only thought about what this thing could be, and a message appeared inside my mind. What was this number? On a whim, I used the crystal to look at a nearby tree…

[Tree] 97/99
[Magic Points: 5]

Yup, got it. The tree wasn’t a game item, so I couldn’t get any details on it. In contrast, the crystal was one, so there was plenty of information – at least, that was my standing theory. Magic points… was that the MP thing? Even trees had that? According to the extremely detailed language pack and game information pack installed in my mind, “the world was filled with mana”. This might be what it meant.

Wait, the number dropped… Was that “97/99” after the info box supposed to be the remaining uses of the Identification Crystal? It said I could buy something similar in towns, but monsters couldn’t enter towns, right?

“Possible to learn how to identify without a crystal…” I really hoped I could do that before I ran out of uses. At any rate, I still had to use it one more time. On me.

[NO NAME] [Infant Demon] 96/99

・A nameless infant demon. A spiritual life-form. Extremely fragile.

[Magic Points: 20/20]
[Total Combat Power: 21/21]
[Unique Skill: Reroll]

…so I guess I was pretty weak? The description did say “extremely fragile”, and I only had four times the magic points of a tree. I’d admit I hadn’t ever played a game before, but judging from the information jammed inside my head, wasn’t it supposed to show more details like my strength, speed, and whatnot?

Let’s see… if I remembered correctly, this game was about defeating enemies and getting stronger, right? Who is the enemy? Will they be easy enough opponents for me? Actually, how do I fight? Wait, more importantly, can I move at all?

I imagined myself moving forward… It worked, but eerghh, so nauseous…

That aside, I was curious about this Unique Skill thing. Sounded kinda cool. I started wondering about the details of the skill, and immediately some text appeared.

[Unique Skill: Reroll] 95/99

・Uses up magic power. If activated upon a failed skill check, you will reroll the result.
・The more severe the failure, the more the required magic power.
・Bonus skill. Use of this skill is limited to secret testers.

I can use this… right? It said the skill was a bonus, but I was pretty sure they were just testing to see whether using it mentally affected the user or not anyway. Also, the skill itself wasn’t exactly surprising.

I knew why I have it.

I started moving. Every time I tried to go anywhere, it felt like being pushed from a cliff while blindfolded. After a while, I realized my surroundings had gotten dark.

…half a day and I probably didn’t even move more than 3 meters.

The nausea constantly assaulting me was my brain’s interpretation of the feeling of disconnect due to my extremely inhuman body. There was nothing wrong with my body, which was currently in cold sleep. It was all in the mind… so I could only power through it.

I wondered if the other secret alpha testers had to go through the same thing. I didn’t have a chance to have a decent talk with them, and I don’t think I ever would. One hundred of us, spread all over this huge world. The possibility of us meeting was infinitesimal.

A bigger problem here was encountering the ten thousand beta testers. I couldn’t speak at the moment, so it was likely I would just be killed on the spot if I ever met one of them. I couldn’t even run.

Dying several times in a row would get your character deleted. I’m sure the corporation wouldn’t allow me to try again if that happened, and I’d lose that paid-living-expenses-for-10-years reward, too.

Maybe they’d know I’m a player if I showed them my Identification Crystal…? Anyway, I should find somewhere safe before it got dar-

I heard something.

Some distance away from me was a red… thing. It looked like a caterpillar. It reared its head, like a snake trying to intimidate, and screeched.

Was it just an insect? Or perhaps… a monster? It looked strangely powerful, probably because of the scars I saw on its back.

Crap! The red caterpillar spat something at me. Yuck!

I tried to dodge – tried being the key word. The movement itself made me want to hurl. Next came the scorching heat and pain – as much as this body could recognize pain, anyway.

But the pain wasn’t the worst thing. No, it was the disturbing sense of my body eroding bit by bit. The feeling scared me so much I accidentally used the Identification Crystal.

[NO NAME] 94/99
[Magic Points: 18/20]
[Total Combat Power: 20/21]

My magic power went down! My combat power, too!

Did spiritual life-forms have magic itself as their bodies?! And my combat power was tied to my magic?

I tried to run even as my mind was floundering in confusion, and the caterpillar gave chase. Holy hell were we slow, both of us! I oozed, it crawled. Yet it was still faster than me, even if only slightly.

Let’s see how strong it was…

[Red Caterpillar] 93/99
[Magic Points: 22/25]  [Hit Points: 30/30]
[Total Combat Power: 27]

Shit, it was stronger than me! Just as the item description said, identification really did only show the general strength.

It screamed. Again, the acid-ish projectile splashed on me. Hot, hot, hot!

[NO NAME] 92/99
[Magic Points: 16/20]
[Total Combat Power: 19/21]
[Red Caterpillar] 91/99
[Magic Points: 18/25]  [Hit Points: 30/30]
[Total Combat Power: 27]

My power dropped again, yet the caterpillar’s didn’t! This must be the difference between spiritual lifeforms and normal monsters. Also, I used the crystal way too often! It had limited uses, damn it!

Shit, it caught up! It’s biting me! Ouch, ouch! It felt like my own existence was being gouged out!

Right, my unique skill!

[Reroll]

The caterpillar tried to bite me again, but the moment its fangs were about to pierce me, they hit only air. Huh…? I got out of that attack, but was that it?

[NO NAME] 90/99
[Magic Points: 6/20]
[Total Combat Power: 12/21]

Fuck, fuck, fuck! I lost a ton of magic! This skill was way too expensive!

Oh god it’s eating me ow ow ow…

I died.

Once I ran out of magic points, my spiritual body disappeared. I was reborn later, somewhere in a forest.

My first battle was a defeat. But…

[NO NAME] 89/99
[Magic Points: 1/10] 10↓
[Total Combat Power: 5/11] 10↓

…wasn’t the death penalty only supposed to be a 10% reduction in stats?


Previous Chapter | Index | Next Chapter

 

01 – The World of Yggdrasia

Author’s Note: Here’s my new series, and it begins with a VRMMORPG setting.

The starting arc is a bit dark, but the MC will be slowly getting stronger. Become the bunny girl you were meant to be, protagonist!

She’s 11 years old yet quite worldly in some aspects, so she doesn’t really act her age.

Well then, until she gets her vengeance, let us all watch over the journey of “The White Girl”.


“Yggdrasia welcomes you!”

Virtual reality (VR), as known to the public, began its first steps with a purely visual-and-aural-only system. In time, VR soon managed to replicate all sensations, and full-dive systems became the norm. The technology quickly made itself indispensable in a multitude of industries.

Some years later, the Avatar System was born: a technology that made use of Avatar bodies – crafted from electronics, special proteins and enzymes – to allow one to do dangerous work or journey the world from the comfort of their own homes through virtual reality.

And of course, it was also the heyday for VR games. Worlds of dreams and fantasy were realized upon servers, only limited by the human imagination. People waited with bated breath for the next invention, the next leap forward.

That was when a conglomerate, hailing from a certain first-world country, joined the VRMMO scene. They began recruiting beta testers for their MMORPG from all over the planet.

Created by a corporation famed for their work in the medical and defense industry and sponsored by the government, the game instantly became famous worldwide. Three millions people applied, fighting over the ten thousand slots allowed for the beta test. So grand, so fascinating was the newly-revealed world, that people wondered if this wasn’t actually interdimensional travel instead.

Applicants were chosen based on their age, sex, character, employment, education, health, criminal history, and other factors. And for the lucky ten thousand, what awaited them was the world they’ve been salivating over: Yggdrasia. A land centered around the towering World Tree, and ninety-nine of its saplings supported the continents with a combined size equivalent to Earth.

A tuxedo-clad stuffed dog appeared. The tester needed a guide to Yggdrasia, so the AI created one. The tester showed no reaction, and the guide kept quiet in return, until it found the right words, selected out of the millions of possible answers it has been programmed with.

“My, my. Young lady, you’re quite the adorable rabbit, aren’t you?”

She said nothing.

When the Avatar System was established, the biggest problem it encountered was the disconnect between the human controller’s perception and the avatar’s.

To put it simply, the disorder was caused by the differences between the human controller’s sex, physique, bone structure, height of field of view, length of limbs, or other such major characteristics and the avatar’s own. Subtle differences in facial details and hair colors, however, weren’t a problem. Even if their avatars did have major differences, no symptoms would show as long as the users keep their operation time short. It was constant, long-term avatar use that was the trigger, and in some cases, the user would start experiencing symptoms of mental rejections.

Once symptoms showed, as long as users rested for a few days without using VR, they would experience no lasting effects. But if they continued for several days, their psyches would begin to destabilize, with some users reporting nausea and anxiety.

The first solution to this problem was to lower the avatar’s sensitivity, but the decision was reversed after the deluge of complaints coming from users who had been spoiled by the realism. The simplest solution, as decided upon by the VR industry and the medical association, was just to warn users to “use an avatar as similar to yourself as possible”.

This decision prompted the VR device makers to began incorporating full-body scanners into their product as the standard, and most VR services strongly recommended their customers to copy their appearance to use as their avatars.

Of course, the game industry was no exception. Players were allowed some leeway through changing their age setting, but in most cases, their avatars were almost carbon copies of their real bodies.

Thus, our tester, as appeared in the AI guide’s room for her initial game settings, looked the same as her scanned body in real life. If there was a real human supervising this process, they would have immediately intervene when they heard the AI call the tester “an adorable rabbit”.

According to the AI’s preliminary information, the girl in front of it was a Japanese emigrant, 11 years old. Suffered from a congenital absence of pigmentation – an albino.

She was quite a bit smaller than the average for her age. She wore a simple white dress reminiscent of hospital gowns. Her arms and legs, peeking out from the dress, were barely better than twigs. On a closer look, you could see what seemed to be bruises dotting her white skin.

True, she could be considered cute, and true, her slightly scruffy white hair and scarlet eyes set into a permanent glare did make her look like a rabbit, but if an actual human with real emotions was to see her, they wouldn’t call her “cute”. They’d say she looked “pitiful”.

The albino stayed silent, showing no signs she heard the AI. After the required time had elapsed for the program, the stuffed dog changed its pose and began the next explanation.

“Well then, miss. Allow me to explain about the world of Yggdrasia!”

At the center of Yggdrasia was a giant, towering World Tree, and from it spawned ninety-nine Saplings to bless the lands. They attracted the race of Humans, and around the Saplings, thirty-three major and sixty-six minor countries formed out of the myriads of villages, towns, cities, and metropolitans. Population of major countries started from a few millions to tens of millions citizens, or for minor countries, hundreds of thousands to a few millions.

The Humans’ civilization looked like a mix of real-life medieval and early modern age history – if we ignored the existence of Magical Tools. Much like electrical appliances, these devices utilized Mana to serve the same purposes, and they were affordable enough even for most commoners. In larger cities, people could live, if not like a king, then at least quite comfortably.

Even carriages, trains, and ships used magical engines. Despite the world being Earth-sized, transportation and travelling were relatively simple.

Yggdrasia was filled with the power of magic, or to be more precise, Mana. Most combat centered around the use of melee weapons, magic, or rarely, single-shot magically-powered muskets.

All players were Humans, but Human was not the only race. There were also Elves, Dwarves, Beastmen, Dragonkins, and many other races of Demihuman. They lived in settlements and colonies deep inside forests and mountains, far away from Human countries. Next, there were Goblinoids and Monster races such as Goblins, Orcs, Ogres and more, who opposed all Humankind.

To raise the stakes, the game featured a death penalty: lowered magic power, 10% decrease in stats, and dropping inventory items. In case the player had not set a respawn point, they would revive at a random location near their former death. If the player died again without raising their stats back, their character will be deleted.

Pain was simulated, but only by 10%. Players would still feel the shock of being hit even if they lowered their pain setting to the minimum.

Criminal activities would be punished following the laws of the local country, with jail time as one of the possible punishments. Players could fight each other, but if they were caught by law enforcement (in case it was murder and not a consensual duel) and received a long enough sentence, their accounts would be deleted.

Playing as a criminal was allowed, but if you got on the wanted list, your activities would be severely restricted.

Speed of time in-game was practically the same as real time. Considering the size of the world itself, each area of the game had its own time zone.

“Did you get all of that? Well then, miss, to our next business. Normally, this is where beta testers start creating their characters, but since you are one of the secret alpha testers, you will be choosing your race. As per your contract, once the testing period ends, you will be required to maintain confidentiality and your living expenses for the next ten years will be fully covered.” The guide AI finished its speech.

The white girl nodded just a fraction.

Secret alpha testers. One hundred orphans, gathered in secret to serve as test subjects.

Publicly, this experiment’s purpose was to “gather data in order to implement PvP between human players and monster players”. Purportedly, it examined the psyche of a user when they used an entirely non-human body, as well as the mental and physical stress of constant long-term VR use with the user’s body put into cold sleep. But there were another secret reason for this experiment.

Military use.

Alpha testers were given non-human avatars with the sensitivity set as high as the technology could allow, and forced to stay logged-in for half a year.

“Your choices for races are as follows: ‘Goblinoids’ – examples of this type would be Goblins and Kobolds. Other than that, you can choose between ‘Beast-type’, ‘Dragon-type’, ‘Plant-type’, but I would recommend…”

“…demon…” The white girl spoke for the first time.

“Excuse me?” the AI’s speech protocol started up a new dialogue, “I see. You would pick the Demon race, then? I do not recommend using a spiritual-body type of avatar, but if that is your choice… Well then, please go to the door over there. We will also begin installing the world’s common language pack on the way, so please stay calm.”

As the girl gave a slight nod and walked, the AI executed its final programmed action.

“Then I shall wish you a wonderful life in Yggdrasia! Oh, I almost forgot one last thing! Please tell me your name!” it called after the still-nameless girl, but she kept walking.

“…don’t need one,” she muttered.

Her final steps put her on a road of light leading into the world of the new VRMMORPG, Yggdrasia.


Author’s Note: The next chapter will be the start of the white girl’s life of surviving as a monster. It’s going to be written in first-person, for the most part. She didn’t say much in this chapter, but rest assured, she said a lot of things in her head :D.

See you next update.


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