"I don't know!"
Amarante prayed as the court wizards shouted at each other across the circle. The Summoning was not going well.
Why? Was it not the Inath's darkest hour, as hordes of the dead assailed the borders of human lands? The legends said that-
She never got to wonder any further. With a brilliant flash of discharging magic, everyone in the summoning room was knocked flat.
"Are you all right, my queen?" Etani rolled off Amarante and helped her up.
Amarante nodded her thanks, "what happened to the ritual?"
On the Summoning point, a circular stone dais that was the focus of all their efforts, lay a strangely dressed young man.
"It worked!" "By the gods, it worked!"
Whispers ran around the room. Queen Amarante stared at Inath's saviour, the Hero in their legends.
None of them realized just how much the ritual had misfired.
Cato struggled to open his eyes. It felt like his entire body was on fire.
There was a vague sense of green above him. Shifting and rustling. Wait, that was a forest.
Leaves and trunks came into focus as Cato groaned and pushed himself up. How did he get here? He was just reading a book in his room when... when what? He didn't remember anything after that.
Kidnapping? Hallucination? Dream? He frowned as his mind threw up ever crazier explanations. The air was sharp and fresh with the smell of wood. The wood and leaves under him covered a layer of harder ground. Too real to be a dream.
Did Cato hit his head somewhere? He had heard of people like that, who suddenly became unable to talk.
Gripped with a sudden fear, he said aloud, "Testing, testing, can I talk? "
Nope, still talking. Hm.
With a sigh, Cato got onto his feet, holding on to a nearby tree.
The sun above was bright but only parts of it made it through the leafy canopy. The forest floor was covered with sparse undergrowth, with ferns and bushes everywhere.
If it wasn't for the strange plants, Cato would have thought it was a normal forest.
One of the nearby bushes had what looked like pearly white droplets hanging on the end of its leaves. That was unlike anything he had ever seen before. And the fungus-like growths on some of the trees were winking on and off with a soft glow. In fact, now that he looked around, most of everything in the forest was glowing faintly.
That was... very strange. Bioluminescence? No, that was way too weak to be visible in broad daylight.
Cato put aside wandering thoughts. He was stuck in the middle of nowhere. No phone, no water, no food. Only a pen. There were better things to worry about than glowing fungi as long as he didn't touch or eat them.
There was no one to answer how he got here and where this was. Luckily it seemed he wasn't injured but he had better find a way back to civilization quickly.
He picked a downhill direction at random and started making his way over the broken uneven ground.
Morey sipped the fruity soup and nodded at the Queen. The sweet flavour in his mouth was quite welcome after the endless shocks. Especially since nothing in this world appeared to be normal.
"So you mean to say you summoned me in order for me to save your world. You're saying I'm a Hero mentioned in your legends?"
The queen nodded, together with the other three wizards listening in.
Morey frowned, "Are you sure?"
"I mean, I don't feel like a Hero. I never held a gun or a sword in my entire life. I have never killed anything other than annoying insects. I'm not anything special! "
"But, but," Amarante sputtered, "but we summoned you! The legends said that in Inath's darkest hour, a Hero will come to save us! "
Uhuh. That sounded suspiciously vague. Maybe this world had their own Nostradamus. And maybe they were right, he had seen magic from the wizards themselves. Or maybe she was just lying. For what though?
Still, Morey couldn't believe he was a Hero like something out of a fantasy game.
"Please, we are begging you, help us. Monsters roam the land and the zombie army strikes at our border. We are losing towns and villages year after year. There is no other hope left," the queen bowed her head.
Ah.. Morey rubbed his head, feeling uncomfortable. Perhaps there was more to this than he had heard. "I can't promise anything, but for now, I will listen to what you have to say. "
"You have to find the Sword of Legend and with that you can turn the tide. "
Nope, he shouldn't have expected anything better.
Cato walked and walked and walked. His throat was starting to dry and the sun was beginning to set but the forest seemed to just continue onwards without end.
The incline began to get steeper after another hour or so then the forest ended abruptly at a steep edge. That would be a good point to see where he was going.
The view of the valley was expansive. The side of the mountain he was on rolled downwards in thick forest until it abruptly gave way to meadows and what looked like crop fields. The crops weren't anything like he recognized however, there wasn't any cereal-like crop that was red in colour Cato knew of. There was a village down there, the houses clustered together behind a low wooden fence. A thin stream of smoke from the central fire and small figures moving around indicated that it was occupied.
Wood houses and a single dirt road leading out of the valley. He really was in the middle of nowhere. But maybe they could tell him the nearest city was.
Then Cato looked up and got the third shock today.
Hanging in the sky was a blood-red orb. Taking up almost a sixth of the sky, Cato could just about make out some cloud-like things on it. What the heck was that?! The moon was not supposed to be red!
The small observations since he woke up suddenly began to coalesce into an idea. It wasn't one he liked or wanted to believe but it made sense. Weird mushrooms, the twisty trees that didn't look like wood, the strange not-quite-rabbit that he spotted some time ago. That red moon. Especially the moon.
He wasn't on Earth.