Ok so this came out a good bit longer than planed…. oh well…
probably edit it in the morning before starting work on D.I.
…Where am I?
That was the question that was going through my mind, strange considering I vaguely remember dying. Well at least I think I died, considering the murky greyness that seemed to be the only thing around being dead seemed pretty possible to me. Then again I guess I could just be comatose and not dead, but then that means I’ll be dying soon anyway so that doesn’t really make much of a difference.
At least if I’m comatose it’ll make a news story more interesting… Maybe they can even wake me up for a while, I could tell a heartbreaking sob-story about my life and family then pass away… But then again maybe I’m just dead and this is what death is like…
I really couldn’t tell either way, but I had a suspicion that I was actually dead. I was by no means medically inclined since I only knew some basic first aid and biology, but I was fairly sure being shot as many times as I was would kill me from blood loss if nothing else. If this is what death was like then I guessed that it wasn’t so bad, that said it would probably get unbearably boring soon enough.
Maybe that’s what hell is, unbearable boredom… Well that’s probably worse than constant torture, at least torture would be something to do… Ah well that’s a concern for later…
It was interesting to be here since there wasn’t anything other than blurry grey, it gave me nothing to do besides reflect on my life. I figured that if nothing else it would be something to pass the time, and it seemed like I would have a lot of time to pass.
I think things were fairly standard for me in the first twelve years of my life, I was a kid that grew up in a bilingual house and was raised by a loving mother and father in an upper middle class household. Germlish was my first language, but over time I learned regular old English and started to forget my German. I was a kid that liked to play pretend, draw, and read and it was clear by four that I preferred playing inside to outside. By six I had decided that I wanted to be an actor and began taking lessons to help with that dream, I threw myself into my lessons with all my being. I learned to act, to master my own body and actions, to embrace a role, to lie so well it even fooled myself, and even to play piano all because my bevy of coaches told me they were valuable skills vital for an actor. During that time I also continued my other passions and self-taught myself many art and drawing styles while reading any fiction I could get my hands on. I even managed to act in local theatres as a regular child actor at seven, school and friendship became seconds to my passions and I was understandably fairly removed from other kids my age. I lived life like that for years and it was the best time of my life, but all that changed when I turned fifteen. My mother’s Multiple Sclerosis began to get very bad very quickly, she became paralyzed from the waist down then the chest down until finally her lungs and heart just stopped working. The death of my mother hit me hard and I ended up going to a dark place and any art I ended up drawing had some dark themes, ironically my acting got better as I throw myself into roles as an escape from my own pain. It took me two years to really get over my mother’s death and how little people did to help her, by that time I had grown cold and lost faith in people almost entirely. My father had taken it hard too, but he held himself together and put up a strong front for the both of us. Our lifestyle and income dropped dramatically, but we still managed and with student loans and scholarships I was able to enroll into a four year Fine-Arts school right out of high school. I started selling any drawings and paintings I made and took up a job in a small family restaurant to support myself and help pay for my tuition, but in my second year away from home my father found out about his lung cancer. It was too advanced for conventional treatment to do much of anything so we both searched for unconventional ways to treat my father’s and eventually came across an experimental treatment using altered viruses that seemed to be exactly what we needed, the only catch was the liability waver and the price. At first my father tried to raise the money on his own and I took up the full expenses of my life and sent all the extra money I made to him, I even started selling off my personal art collection and portfolio. Then I collapsed in class one day and woke up in a hospital to the news that I had a tumor in my brain and had less than six months to live. After that everything changed, I dropped school and left my job to pursue other means of making money, I joined up with an escort service that was only one step above being an actual prostitute and started selling whatever I could for money that I put into my father’s medical funds. I did things I’m sure couldn’t be legal and practically killed a man who tried to rob me one night, all out of desperation. I was never a saint and I had few morals or ethics that I couldn’t toss aside whenever it was convenient, but there was one person that I respected above all others and I would do my damnedest to keep him alive. In my mind it was a simple math problem, I would die no matter what happened but my father had a chance at life even if it was slim. I resolved to try for that chance and make sure the man who raised me didn’t die, and that led me to going to banks for loans I knew I would never be able to pay back. And then that last bank was where I died in the hopes that my death would attract media attention and sympathy to my life and my father’s only hope.
…And now I guess I’ll never know if I succeeded, huh? I guess that’s better than knowing and having my plan be a failure, that would be much worse… Ignorance can really be bliss at times like this, I might as well assume that it worked and dad got the treatment and will live a long and happy life. That’s going to be what I decided is what actually happened, and if reality is really just what a person perceives…
I understood that my scenario for dad was ridiculous, psychology was a subject I was better than well versed in and even if my father did survive I knew it wouldn’t turn out like I decided to consider. The news of my death would destroy the man, especially with what happened with mom and how I was only at the bank in the first place for his sake. It would probably make him suicidal or would just cause him to stop fighting and wait for the cancer to kill him, that was the reason I never told him about my own condition. I understood all of that, but honestly that didn’t matter much anymore to me. I was dead or close enough to it now, what I did was good enough for my own conscience and made me feel like I did all I could. Since I hadn’t seen any other dead people here or anything else at all really I doubted I’d ever see my dad again, which meant I could delude myself all I wanted about his future after my death and it wouldn’t matter in the least to me. I could be and was utterly guilt free, and now I could get back to focusing on myself instead of my father.
Death really puts things into a new perspective… No need to consider others since I’m already dead, they’ll have to deal with their own shit without me from now on. That’s life, hope dad can deal with it… I’m almost glad I’m not alive anymore, life kinda really sucks when I think about it like that…
I was beginning to cast aside whatever was tying me to who I was in life, things like my cares for anything I had lost in life by dying. It was both a defense mechanism and a willing dismissal, if I purged my ties to life then maybe death wouldn’t be all that bad. Plus it was utterly pointless to concern myself with things now entirely separate from me, I should just concern myself with myself since I was the only thing that seemed to be here. It was simple, I was dead now so why should I let things from my life infringe on thins now in any way that I didn’t want?
I had decided that for me death would be freedom, freedom to be who I really was unbound by any pressures, expectations, or judgements. In death I could let out the parts of myself society would find ugly or wrong, and there would be absolutely no consequences. Maybe it said something that in death I was more the real Robert Davis than I ever was in life, maybe it said a lot.
Whatever, not like it matters to anyone besides me anymore anyway… I’m not bothered by it so it’s fine, I can be any sort of me I want here after all…
Suddenly something changed, I noticed a sort of screen in front of me. It was the only clear and defined thing in the sea of blurry grey that made up everything else, and it seemed to be meant for me when I read what was on it.
[ 1) I am content/satisfied/happy with the life I lived. ]
[ 2) I am discontent/unsatisfied/unhappy with the life I lived. ]
[ 3) I feel that it doesn’t matter now either way since I’m dead. ]
It was a series of choices and I felt like I could choose one of the options even when I didn’t have a body, it felt like once ii made my choice the one I chose would be selected without an issue. Since it was something to do, and seemed pretty important as this was the only thing to happen since I got to this place I decided I would answer it and answer it truthfully. No need to lie when I was already dead after all, I would only be lying to myself then.
I thought about the options for a while, but didn’t think any of them really fit with how I felt. Personally I didn’t feel like second guessing myself or my choices, I may not have been totally happy or satisfied with the way my life turned out but it was still the life I live and I wouldn’t bash it by saying I was “unsatisfied” with it. My life had its good points and it’s bad, so I decided on the only option that allowed for that.
It doesn’t matter much now anyway, I guess… Nothing from my life matters here from what I can tell…
Once I decided to go with the third option they all faded away and were replaced with a new set of options.
[ 1) I would sacrifice my memories on personal identity (Robert L. Davis) for my memories on information and experiences. ]
[ 2) I would sacrifice my memories on information and experiences for my memories on personal identity (Robert L. Davis). ]
…Wouldn’t my experiences shape my identity? How does this work? Is this like one of those amnesiac situations or would this be something else… Huh, well I guess identity really doesn’t matter much anymore, after all Robert Davis is dead or in the weirdest coma ever and will end up dying soon enough… I’ll go with option one…
A new set of options sprung up as the others faded away, and with them I felt my identity slip away. I knew what type of person I was, but things like my name, my family, and my age were just gone. That made me realize that these screens weren’t to be taken lightly and I was dealing with something I didn’t fully understand, what I did grasp was that these things should be answered seriously. They were causing changes to my soul or spirit or whatever this was and those changes felt like the permanent type that could never be fixed or restored, that scared me.
[ 1) I would like to live again with a new life. ]
[ 2) I would like to stay where I am now. ]
[ 3) I would like to move on to an appropriate afterlife. ]
I thought on those for a moment, I knew I sure as shit didn’t want to stay in this blurry grey place for all time but the other options would need some deeper consideration given the possible stakes here. Living a new life seemed like a decent deal but if that new life could come with risks, I had read plenty of stories featuring reincarnation and had seen plenty of anime on it as well so I knew it wasn’t always a good life someone got. Besides what said I wouldn’t live that new life as a cockroach or something, there were lots of faiths that featured reincarnation after death that spoke of just that as being a very real possibility. Then there was that afterlife option, that seemed to have even more possible downsides than the new life one. That word “appropriate” made me wonder if there was some sort of judgement involved and what sort of afterlives there were, if I ended up in one worse than this place I was in now than I doubt I could do much of anything besides suffer for all of time. After all I doubted someone could kill themselves to escape the afterlife, that just wouldn’t make sense in all sorts of ways.
In the end I guess reincarnation is the best bet out of all of these, hopefully living a new life won’t mean living the life of some bug…
As I made my choice new options appeared that raised my expectations for the reincarnation option immensely.
[ 1) I would rather reincarnate as something on my old world (Earth parallel 13028). ]
[ 2) I would rather reincarnate as something on a different world. ]
Flashes of books, manga, comics, anime, movies, and web-fictions I had read flashed through my mind. I had already lived on Earth, though it was interesting that it seemed to be only one version of many, and it would be interesting to see what else was out there. I already decided to live a new life why not do that on a new world as well?
With my choice of the second option I got even more options than ever before, and I could hardly believe what they were.
[ 1) Scientific world ]
[ 2) Magical world ]
[ 3) Origin world ]
[ 4) Random world ]
[ 5) Recommended world (Magical, Fixed) ]
[ 6) Dying world ]
…Recommended? Well I am leaning towards the magical world since the idea of magic actually being a thing is beyond exciting, but if the recommended world is magical too… I guess it would be best to go with whatever’s doing this’s recommendation, not like I know the differences between option two and five… I’ll go with option five…
[ 1) I have no flaws. ]
[ 2) I have flaws. ]
This was the easiest screen so far, I knew I was flawed I had plenty of flaws after all. I was selfish and self-centered, I was a liar, I committed all sorts of sins on a near daily basis, and I exceled at a few fields but was average ranging to absolutely horrible in the others. I had plenty of flaws, so this was an easy choice. I picked option two.
[ 1) I am a pure being. ]
[ 2) I am not a pure being. ]
I didn’t believe that anything was totally pure, it just seemed like an impossibility to me. And even if it wasn’t, I knew for a fact that I wasn’t a “pure being” or whatever that was. I chose option two.
[ 1) I show consideration for others as much as and at times more than I do for myself. ]
[ 2) I am selfish. ]
I picked option two.
[ 1) I feel trust in others is a value to hold dear, and would inspire such in others. ]
[ 2) I feel that loyalty is a value to hold dear, and would inspire such in others. ]
[ 3) I feel that dependent equivalent exchange is a value to hold dear, and would inspire such in others. ]
[ 4) I feel that control is a value to hold dear, and would inspire such in others. ]
Option four without a doubt… Loyalty is good to but that can wan or turn, control is a certain thing either you have it or you don’t… Trust? Yeah I don’t think so, blind trust is deadly to anyone…
[ 1) I prefer direct confrontation. ]
[ 2) I prefer indirect confrontation. ]
[ 3) I prefer flexibility in confrontation so that I may adapt. ]
I chose option three.
[ 1) I know myself, acknowledge myself, and accept myself. ]
That’s weird only one option, huh? Well then I guess option one…
[ 1) I derive pleasure in my own pain and suffering. ]
[ 2) I derive pleasure in the pain and suffering of others. ]
I chose option two.
[ 1) I am creative and imaginative. ]
[ 2) I am uncreative and grounded with fixed thinking. ]
[ 3) I am unsure and tentative. ]
I chose option one.
I began to lose myself in picking the options each new screen offered. Sometimes I felt a change in myself when I answered other times nothing at all seemed to happen, I still had no idea what I was doing this for but I had a feeling it was important for my new life.
[ 1) I believe in fate. ]
[ 2) I believe that there is no such thing as fate. ]
[ 3) I believe in fate but do not believe it is fixed. ]
[ 1) I believe in love. ]
[ 2) I doubt love exists. ]
[ 1) I long for love and/or emotional connection. ]
[ 2) I do not desire love and/or emotional connection. ]
[ 3) I am unsure. ]
Another one of those types, huh? Option three…
[ 1) I am a good person. ]
[ 2) I am not a good person. ]
[ 3) I can be both. ]
[ 1) I would kill if it furthered my goals. ]
[ 2) I wouldn’t kill if it was solely to further my goals. ]
Another killing question, huh? Option one…
[ I am good… ]
[ I am evil… ]
I stopped, this was different from all the other screens. The options weren’t numbered and they seemed heavier somehow compared to the others, I had a feeling that this might be the last screen. I had to pick this one very carefully, this seemed like one of the times that what I chose would change me.
Ok, good or evil? Well what is good? Righteousness? Selflessness? Morality and Empathy? But then what is evil? Is evil just the opposite of good? What if doing good causes evil and doing evil causes good? …Ok I can handle this, Philosophy was one of my best subjects after all… What if I operate under the assumption that good and evil aren’t tied down by perception and interpretation? That means that the concepts are unknowable, but by the mere fact that they are presented to me in this way means that they are linked and I can assume they are contrasting. Two contrasting concepts, but linked by the judgement of some higher power… Wait, maybe it they aren’t contrasting concepts… What if both good and evil are interchangeable as all that separates them actually is perception and interpretation? That would mean that it wouldn’t matter if I was good or evil since they are both the same. Good is evil to others that perceive it as such, and vice-versa… then if this is merely presented so as to confine the options to my perceptions and interpretation of good and evil…
I watched as a new option appeared under the other two with my realization.
[ I am good. ]
[ I am evil. ]
[ I understand the truth of good and evil, thus am either. ]
As I chose the bottom option there was a flash and a sensation of falling.
I fell to my hands and knees and panted trying to get air to go into my lungs like it was supposed to, and get my heart to settle down its rapid pace. I didn’t understand what just happened, I had picked one of the options on that last screen and now…
Now I have arms, legs, a heart, lungs… a BODY… I’m alive, but wait shouldn’t I be a baby or something? I at least seem to have human arms and legs so that is good, no bug reincarnation for me, but…Who am I? What am I?
With those thoughts I saw another screen appear imposed over the stone floor in my field of vision, this screen was semi-transparent and reminded me of something I had seen before in games. It was like a sort of status screen, and it answered my two questions fairly simply while bringing to mind many more.
[Race] Demon Lord [Subrace] Angelium (Fallen)
[Titles] 33rd Demon Lord
[Abilities] [Eyes of Fascination], [Mesmer’s Gift], [Ash’Raga’s Chains], [Absolution of Self], [Mastery of Tongues]
[World’s Pillar Status] Active, Awakened
[Mana Adaptation] 9
[Mental Resistance] 9
[Soul Manipulation Resistance] 9
[Mana Resistance] 3
[Curse (Negative Enchantment) Resistance] 3
[Bodily Alteration Resistance] 3
[Mana Corruption Immunity] 1
Ash’Raga? So I’m Ash’Raga… Ash’Raga the Demon Lord… Well I guess I’m not quite human after all…
As I wondered how to get rid of the screen it faded away, and I felt relieved that it seemed to respond to my will. As I stood up I felt two things on my back flex and help me rise up, and as I did I caught the glimpse of black feathers in the corner of my eye. Before I could even begin to process that I saw two robed people kneeling with their heads down in front of me and a girl with two curved ram like horns on her head.
At that moment I froze in shock, then immediately tried to get a handle on myself. I forced myself to calm and began to observe my surroundings, and as I looked around I saw that this was a massive stone room lit with glowing orbs in holders spaced out on the walls. There were countless stone and crystal coffin type things that had strange runes that I could somehow read on their fronts jutting out from the ground in a way that made them look like they were grown from the floor, and two were open. One of the open ones was behind me.
As the two robed people stood, they still kept their heads down and spoke at the same time.
“Lord Ash’Raga, Lady Mesoria, we welcome you to Gaia once more…”
Ok so that’s it….
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