Chapter 3: “command” is not Recognized as an Internal or External Command, Operable Program, or Batch File.
A painfully bright light erupted from the ground.
No, maybe I should say the ground was engulfed in the light. From the inside out.
I suddenly felt like I was sinking, or maybe rising, or maybe I was falling. Or maybe I was being catapulted upwards. The sensation was severe and muddled. But there was one thing I was sure of:
I feel sick.
With a sharp crack I suddenly feel gravity taking control again and almost fall over. It’s not that I landed. More like my feet suddenly realized they were standing on the ground.
It’s silent here. No BG music and no nearly-imperceptible humming from the VR. I take a deep breath and listen to the sounds of the wind blowing through the tall grass with my eyes closed.
Taking another breath with my eyes closed, I can feel the expansion of my chest and the rush of air as I breathe in. This … is virtual reality right? I don’t remember feeling these sensations in the character avatar before. And the wind …
I can feel the wind on my skin, and I feel like I’m getting goosebumps from the light breeze.
When I open my eyes I see before me:
A sea of long, undulating grass that waves as the wind ripples through.
Above me the branches of a regal old tree stretches towards the sky. It’s seriously big. I wouldn’t have been surprised if a sacred rope had been tied around the trunk, that’s the feeling the tree gave me. Taking it all in I’m struck with how real it all looks. Has VR come so far already?
I try to compare how my skin looks from when I was still in the character creation mode to how it looks now, but … nonono, this is clearly different. The translucency of my skin and the veins that show through like in ‘real’ were definitely not there before. And the goosebumps … no matter how I think about it, it’s weird for them to include that kind of detail, right?
I have the feeling that something was just about to happen but the game menu doesn’t open like it should. The command should be simply “menu”. I’d read the core command list earlier and I’m certain I haven’t remembered wrong.
“【FRIEND CHAT: CONNECT】- [‘Masa’]. ”
『ERROR: TARGET IS NOT LOCATED IN THIS ZONE』
… Huh? What’s the use of Friend Chat if you have to be in the same area as the person? But while I’m thinking that,
『ERROR: TARGET REGISTRATION PENDING』
With these two errors, I am totally lost. Masaki’s character, “Masa” is on my list, so what does it mean by “Registration Pending”? It seems I will have to track Masaki down manually. It’s really kind of annoying.
?! There is clearly a different feeling when I try to trigger the GM CALL function. It almost feels like it’s not even trying to work. Try harder, VR!
Maybe nothing’s working because I hadn’t finished my character creation yet.
Hang on. Now that I think about it, I DIDN’T finish my character creation did I? I definitely haven’t selected a character class or given my character a name yet, so why would I have entered the game? No, calm down. I have to think.
1) The game malfunctioned and sent my default character into the world before I created it.
— … Is that even possible? I don’t know anything about netgame programming, or regular programming, but I feel like my default character would have just been deleted and I’d have to restart from scratch if an error occurred.
2) The event server uses new technology to make VR the closest to ‘real’ than any other game before it.
— No, that’d be a waste of resources to go and use completely different stuff than the original servers, right? Or could the event be a way of testing everything out?
3) Masaki and I were in the VR store near the station.
— This is clearly not the VR store near the station. I don’t remember having left. Moreover, I’m not sure WHERE this would be.
Then what is happening to me right now?
There are four options:
1) This is VR.
2) This is a dream.
3) This is ‘spirited away’.
4) This is reality.
I don’t know enough to decide which one is true. To say this is VR feels wrong but I can’t really confirm if the wrong feeling is from errors or because this isn’t VR. A dream then? But I can feel everything so vividly. No, there are times when you think you can feel pain in a dream, right? This might be the same. If I have been spirited away … would that be the same as this being reality? But if either or both are true, then farewell my common sense.
So all the possibilities could be true maybe. -_-;
Well, first things first. If this is VR, did I finish my character creation?
Ooh, finally something worked!
[OTHERWORLDER]: [PASSIVE: (Secret Trait) (Resilient Body) (Magic Enrichment) (Otherworldly Knowledge) (Accelerated Learning) (Keen Instincts) (Translate)] [SKILLS: (Inventory) (Friend Chat) (Status) (AnalyzeIV)]
… This looks nothing like the Status Screen I remember seeing in the guide. For starters, where are my Stats and HP bar? And isn’t that MP way too high there?! The ‘Traits’ thing is strange and different as well. I don’t like the looks of being an ‘Otherworlder’.
The interface of the Status Screen is also different from the one I remember. It seems to be made up of something shimmering, but I hesitate to say it’s made up of lights. When I look closer the words seem to dance, as if “words” weren’t actually their true form.
I squint to try to see what they really are but they only jitter and tremble as if shifting from form to form. My head starts to hurt and I give up. When I stop trying to really look at them, they simply look like words again.
There’s no class listed but I don’t know if that’s because I don’t have a class or if it’s simply not included.
I’ve used “Friend Chat” (with error) and “Status” already, so I try to check the other two skills I … have?
Something does pop up when I say “【INVENTORY】” but because it’s empty I can’t tell if items are organized in slots like a game, listed like a menu, or just left as a jumbled mess. I also don’t know how much I can store in it.
Oh! I take off my jacket and store it in the Inventory. It looks like it does in a game, with an icon stored in an Inventory slot. When I look at the icon “[COMMONER’S JACKET]” pops up over it like a title. I don’t even get Beginner’s Equipment because I didn’t finish Character Creation, huh?
This realization doesn’t exactly sit well with me, but what can I do? I move on to the last skill.
It does nothing if I’m not looking specifically at something. I manage to make the skill activate while I happen to be looking at the tree.
NAME: SPIRIT TREE
REATTEMPTING TYPE CLASSIFICATION: 75% similarity to “Magic Source”][60% similarity to “Magical Artifact”
ANALYSIS: Subject is channeling Ancient Magic of unknown type and radiating mana from an unknown process of magic conversion (Query: process – more information needed. Accuracy of analysis compromised from lack of information).
RARITY: Unconfirmed Legendary: Mythical
LORE: A mythical tree made of magic power that is rumored to be a well that draws from the magic power of the planet. Also rumored to be a birthplace of spirits.
It doesn’t seem to know everything, but it tells me enough to understand that this tree is something fantastic. I wonder… since this is Analyze IV, can I increase it? How much?
Too bad I can’t Analyze my Analyze Skill. Or actually, too bad I can’t “look at” my current situation and use Analyze!
I wrack my brain a bit longer but since I don’t have enough information to figure out my situation I give up and sit down, leaning on the tree’s trunk to enjoy the feel of basking in the shade of the tree. The situation is certainly troubling but there’s no point in panicking, right? If I don’t have the information I’ll have to go find it. But first, I will take the time to calm myself in the zen-feel of this rare scenery, surrounded by tall grass.
Fwaah… when I wake up the pleasant feeling from before is gone.
Ah? I suppose I’d fallen asleep then.
Though I had been leaning on the Spirit Tree when I’d dozed off, I’ve woken curled up on the ground on a grassy hill. Both the tree and the sea of tall grass are nowhere to be seen.
The scenery is more dirt and rock colored than the lush green-ness from before.
I wonder where I am.
Without much hope I say “Map”, but as I suspected the map function doesn’t activate. Another strike against this being the VRMMO.
Time to get up and start walking to find civilization. There’s hope in this act. Many roads wind through the grassy, hilly, and somewhat rocky terrain, and from the rocky outcropping near me I can see that many of the roads begin to join up near here. It’s a good sign that there’s probably someplace with people nearby. Maybe a town.
Though I say “nearby” … If I can’t see it from a moderately elevated place like these rocks it may take at least a week to reach the spot.
Let’s review. I have no items, meaning I have no food or water. Also no weapons and no armor. My skills are “Inventory”, “Friend Chat”, “Status”, and “Analyze”.
It seems I’m at a disadvantage if I have to make the classic choice between “Fight/Item/Run”, huh?
Why not? The closer I get to where the roads lead to the better the chance I’ll have to meet people traveling there.
So thinking I check my bearings again and take off at a speed that startles me. My sure-footedness as I surge across the uneven ground startles me even more as I cut cross-country towards the dusty-brown roads.
Out of the sheer joy of free running I purposefully choose spots that allow me to kick off and leap about. I’m delighted when I succeed in pulling off a flawless somersault for the first time in my life. There is no way I’m this nimble in real, but I’m beginning to think I’d like to start urban free-running when I return home.