You ever had those days where you feel like you're in a dream, but you're wide-awake? A dream where your imagination takes you to a world of fantasy and make-believe, escaping the cruel problems of the real world? Well, the tale I'm about to tell you is something like that, except that it isn't a dream.
I woke up to find myself in a mysterious forest.
Wait…this isn't my bedroom! I was confused and shocked, scanning my newfound environment in a panicked manner.
I found myself laid back against a fallen tree. Without hesitation, I stood up and started walking east, or at least what I thought was east. I wandered in hopes of finding any sign of civilization. Unfortunately, all there was were more trees. I walked for almost an hour and I was starting to get scared. My breath became heavy as beads started falling from my brow. I was afraid I would be lost and that nobody might find me. Hell, I was even scared how much of a burden my disappearance would be to my parents. Suddenly, my distraught was nearly over. The sun shines through an opening up ahead.
I dashed towards it and when I made it, I saw that it led outside of the forest and right in front of me was a pasture with a single road made of cobblestone over small hills like something out of The Sound of Music.
I heard a scream close by. I turned my attention to the origin and saw a young girl being surrounded by five men. I couldn't believe something that that was happening before me. Usually, you would see something like that out of a shounen manga. Hell! They even had swords also!
They looked like they were about to hurt the girl. One of them even held a sword up to the girl's throat. I knew I shouldn't mind my own business, especially when I didn't know where the hell I was, but I just couldn't stand by and let it happen.
I had to go and try to stop them. However, I didn't have a weapon to begin with. I looked around and see if I could use anything. Luckily, I found what I needed. Reaching my hand up, I grabbed onto a dead branch that was still attached to the tree beside me. I yanked it with all my might as I heard cracking from the wood stems. With one last pull, I ripped it off of the tree's trunk, but tumbled down the hill and landing right in front of them.
While I descended to the brae, I caught a word of what they were saying. Something about a "elf" and giving up "All the valuable possessions you've got!" but then they stopped talking. Then, when everything stopped spinning, I realized the five men had turn their attention to me.
"What the hell is this?!" one of the men exclaimed irritably.
I stumbled a little while trying to regain my footing. When I managed to stand up straight, I held the branch in my hand up like a sword and kept my guard up.
I replied justly with a stern glare, "You tell me?! I don't know what I'm doing here or how I got here, but what I do know is that you ganging up a defenseless girl is wrong, and I'm here to put an end to it!"
Now that I was close, I was able to get a good look at the girl. She was about my age, either 16 or 17-years-old. She had long blonde hair, reaching almost to her waist, having blue eyes and fair peach skin. She wore a sleeveless beige dress with a loincloth covering the front and back of her torso, long fingerless gloves, and a pair of brown boots with white stockings she was even carrying a satchel over her shoulder.
Hold on! She has long ears! Is she an elf?!
That's what came to mind when I noticed her ears. That's when it all started coming back to me. How I got here, that is.
It was around Sunday, on November 26, 2016. I was in my room, surfing around the Internet, mostly looking up…ahem…"exciting" sites when suddenly a pop-up appeared. "What the hell is this?" I muttered to myself.
In the beginning, I thought it was just spyware…until I read the whole damn thing.
"Ashura: A World of Swords and Magic! Venture into a world of fantasy as you, the hero, travel through distant lands, boost levels and obtain treasures, form parties, and save the world of Ashura from the forces of evil and chaos!"
I didn't think about it much and just assumed it was an ad for a cheesy, cheap-design MMORPG game. it was a perfect way to pass the time. So, with a shrug, I clicked on the download icon but then…my computer crashed, or so I thought. Suddenly, a flash of light appeared out of my screen. I scream in agony. I felt like something was dragging me in. that's how I wound up in the middle of nowhere, now fighting strangers to rescue an elf girl!
Back at the present, I snapped out of my trip down memory lane. I was completely frozen, unable to move while I tried to process all of the information. Unfortunately, right at that moment, one of the men charged at me, swinging his sword horizontally in my direction. I ducked and swung upward, striking him right below the chin. The man went flying three feet before landing on the ground. Everyone gasped in surprise. I guess being at the top of the Kendo Club really has its moments of paying off.
"You little shit! You'll pay for hurting one of my men!" said one of the thieves in anger.
They all charged in at once, swinging their daggers and swords at me. I was able to retaliate. Clash! Bang! I swung the branch in my hand as hard as I could while doing my best to not get hacked into pieces. Three of the men were down. Only one was left. However, he was nowhere to be seen.
I spun around and was shocked to see the last thief standing right behind me, partially charred and semi-conscious. When I reached to touch him, he collapsed to the ground as he twitched like a nearly dead animal.
I turned and saw that it was the elf girl's doing, holding up her staff with the tip glowing. She looked nervous, breathing heavily while she stammered.
"I-I did it!" she exclaimed.
"I managed to summon [Lightning]!"
She lowered the staff as she congratulated herself. She ran towards me with a concern expression.
She stopped and asked worriedly, "H-hey, are you…okay?!"
The elf girl sounded shy. Sweat dripping from her brow. I didn't know how I could understand what she was saying, or how I could speak English so fluently. It was probably the reality of this world rewiring my brain to translate it' all. However, that was only my hypothesis.
I smiled. I pointed out musingly, "I should be asking you that. Those thieves ganged up on you and I was worried they'd hurt you."
She simply shook her head and stated, "They did not manage to lay a finger on me. They were just trying to intimidate me, so that I would hand over anything on my persons to them." she pretended to remain calm, but I could tell by the way she shook that she was already intimidated.
"My name is Keya Aieandora! What's yours?" Keya greeted inquisitively, trying her best to change the subject. She reached her hand out before I shook it.
"I'm Akio Yamazaki," I replied.
I asked, "What's so funny?"
Keya explained jocularly, "It's your name! I've never heard of anyone with a name like that!" she didn't mean to sound rude, but the way it came out was sort of irksome.
I couldn't help but glare annoyingly at her. My face turned red as she got close.
She continued, "In fact, I've never seen someone with black hair and hazel eyes. Traits like those are usually rare." I tried my best not to stare at her bosom.
"You're not from around these parts, are you?"
My face became blank. Did she found out I wasn't from this world?
"N-no! I'm…not from around here," I answered. My tone of voice faded shyly as I rubbed my arms.
She looked surprised. Then she said astonishingly, "Really?! If you aren't from around here, then where are you from? Are you from another continent?"
"Yes! There are about five continents, each one populated by different races," Keya said affirmatively, holding up a finger while explaining.
She continued, "We're in the continent of Gaia, northeast of Ashura. The continent is mostly populated by humans, but is also inhabited by elves, dwarves, and other races too."
I assumed Ashura was the name of the world I was taken to.
"So, which continent are you from, exactly?" she asked again. she gestured at hand and furrowed her brows. she continued, "I mean, your tacky attire seems unusual for someone from Gaia. So, you must be from one of the other four."
Unfortunately, I couldn't tell her I wasn't from this world because I doubt she'd understand that I was from another world. So, I played dumb.
"I-I don't remember where I'm from," I answered ignorantly.
Keya's eyes widened in shock, looking at me with a concerned expression, repeating,
"You don't know where you came from? Do you have amnesia?"
I didn't like lying, especially to a beautiful girl, but it was either lie or tell her the truth.
"I-I guess, so. I just woke up in the forest and…everything was a blank." I rubbed the back of my neck while I was fibbing through my teeth.
She just gave me a sympathetic stare. Placing a hand on my shoulder, she confirmed smiling, "it's okay. Maybe if you come with me on my quest, we'll find a way to get your memories back."
Arching an eyebrow, I stared at her in confusion.
I questioned curiously, "What do you mean 'quest'? Where are you going?"
"It's…a long story," she remarked dismissively. Brushing a strand of hair from her view, she demanded while running, "Come on! The next town isn't far! We can find you some new clothes while getting something to eat!"
What's wrong with what I'm wearing?
I would've been offended. However, Keya had a point. I mean, the way I was dressed…Ultraman t-shirt, sweatpants, socks, and bedroom slippers. I didn't really fit in, on this world, did I?
I chased after her without any hesitation and we kept talking the whole way down the road.
"So, tell me more about yourself, Keya?" I inquired.
She blushed slightly and remarked, "I-I've never really talked about myself to anyone before. Let's just say, I am just a normal elf mage girl on a mission. Is that alright?"
I simply nodded my head. it would make sense that she would tell me about herself since we've only met briefly. So, maybe over time, she'll be able to open up to me a bit more.
"Why is an elf mage like you wandering around by herself?" i questioned.
"You won't believe me if I told you."
"Okay, well, you see…I had…a premonition that a great evil was about to befall onto the world."
Hearing that, I couldn't help but flash a look of disbelief. It did sounded a little ludicrous. Then again, it is a typical scenario in some games where the hero meets an oracle that receives a dream of a "great evil" arriving to the world. So, I didn't want to rule out what Keya said as crazy.
She then continued, "So, I left my home and ventured out to become the best magician I can to protect my people."
"I was wondering. Where did you learn to fight like that, back there?"
I wasn't sure how to answer her question. If I told her, then she'll know I don't have amnesia.
"I learned it…um…"
"Oh, right, you don't remember anything, do you? T-that's alright! I didn't mean to sound rude!" she replied, taking back what she asked before.
I was relieved. I didn't have to tell her anything.
Finally, we made to the village. Tora was its name. Keya and I sauntered in, observing the simplistic agrarian features around us. All of the houses were made out of stone with the roofs made out of straw. The people in the village were made up mostly of humans with an elf, or dwarf, here and there.
We wandered throughout town, hoping to find a tavern to eat. Unfortunately, Keya had another idea. She grabbed my hand and forcibly dragged me into a shop with a clothes sign over the door.
"What are we doing in here?" I asked flabbergasted.
I looked around and noticed that there were racks and shelves filled with clothes of different color, shape, and size. Standing in front of one of the racks, Keya turned and smiled innocently.
"I told you, silly! When we got to the village, I was hoping to get you some new clothes to replace the rags you're wearing now!" she pointed out.
Keya returned to the rack, skimming through the wears before one could catch her eye. She picked up the set she needed and handed them to me.
"Here! Take this and go change! If you need any help, all be right here!" she demanded, hymning while giving me a wink.
Luckily, there was a changing room right next to the checkout counter. It was a relief that I didn't have to change in the middle of the room, not that they would allow me to do so, that is.
I stepped into the first changing room I saw. Closing the blinds behind me, I started changing out of my pants and shirt until I was only in my underwear. I looked into the mirror in front of me as I caressed my hands through my spikey black hair. My body was slim, yet average. Toned for a kendo student.
I looked at the clothes Keya handed me. Strangely, they appeared to be of my size, which was unnerving how she was able to guess my measures. Maybe elves have pretty good eyes for detail, or something like that.
Before I started putting them on, I heard the curtains slid open and someone asking, "how are the clothes? Are they to your…" Keya stood right in the opening, frozen in exacerbation as we glanced eye-to-eye. She stared at my chest while her face turned red. Closing the blinds, I could hear her running out of the way, shouting "sorry!" in embarrassment.
I sighed while crushing the bridge between my eyes. Then I proceeded to change my clothes. When I finished, I was now wearing a v-neck white shirt under a black trench coat with grey lining and a single shoulder blade on the right, a pair of grey trousers with a silver belt buckle, and black boots with steel spats on the front.
I stepped out and showed myself to Keya. She clasped her hands and grinned widely.
"Oh, you look amazing, Akio! With your skills and your new fashion, you look like a proper warrior of Gaia!" ironically, that's the class I always choose when playing games.
Her comment embarrassed me a little. Scratching my left cheek, I said timidly, "Umm…thanks, Keya, but can you afford this? I don't want to make you spend all your money on me."
She waved her hand nonchalant and remarked, "Don't worry about it! I have enough money to last for a long time!" the clothing i was now wearing is suppose to be expensive and hard to come by. Apparently,
After paying the owner of the store, we went to get something to eat.
"Maybe I should get a proper weapon!" she suggested happily.
"I'll stick with the branch," I deadpanned.
The girl might have a spending problem, even if it's for someone else.
30-minutes-later, Keya and I were back on the road. We were heading straight when something obstructed our view.
"Is that what I think it is?" I pointed at what looked like a sword in the middle of the road. We both dashed towards it, but halted when we noticed the sign. It read: Beware ye you glanced at the Blade of Accord for those who pluck it from the ground shall be cursed and we soon meet with death by one's own hands!
Most of it sounded it corny and wasn't that much intimidating. I don't think the person who wrote this took time to look it over.
"I 've heard about this sword! I remembered an urban legend where, when leaving the village of Tora, people would see a sword sticking out of the road and those who remove would die of unusual circumstanced." Keya recalled in acknowledgement. She added as she trembled, "I-I heard that t-the last person t-to wield the sword, d-die impaled to a tree, yet n-no one knows how!"
I shook my head as I moved forward. Keya was shocked when she saw me reaching for the sword's hilt.
"What are you doing?!" she yelled, bewildered by my action.
I grabbed the hilt and smirked, saying, "Oh please, Keya, I'm not intimidated by curses, nor do I believe in them! Somebody must've put that sign there s a joke!"
At that time, I was still using real world logic in a fantasy world, thinking that the sword-curse thing was just a joke.
Boy was I wrong for as I removed the sword from the ground, everything became silent. Just then, the forest around us turned dark while the sky became blood red. Suddenly, a chill went up my spine. Keya screamed and pointed, causing me to swirl around. Right in front of me was…me but it wasn't me. It was my shadow! This was the curse for when you pull the sword, you must challenge yourself to prove your worth or die by your own hands.
A/N: Hi everyone this is kman134 here with a new story "Ashura:A World of Swords and Magic". So, a couple of my fantasy-bawd sword and magic stories didn't come out a good, but after doing extended research in the MMORPG field, i wanted to give it another go. no more academies, no more post-apocalyptia, just good ol' cliche "real-world hero travels to sword and sorcery world, joins guilds, forms harem parties, and destined to fight greater evil".
I hope you enjoy and, please leave your reviews to tell me what you , i forgot to mention that this is a seinen story, so it will be rated M for darker, more mature reasons.