I follow Aalverg and Friedrick.
We walk in a long, narrow corridor, furnished with rich tapestry and statues that resemble marble.
Sunlight shines from large windows embedded in the left wall.
Outside, I can see a big garden surrounded by sturdy ramparts.
<<So…is this a castle?>> I ask.
<<Indeed-answers Aalverg- this is the Royal Castle of Wevry Kingdom>>
A real castle,huh…now that I think about it, they did mention a king.
I continue to ask them several questions while walking behind them, taking glances at the marvelous works of art exposed in the corridor.
I learn that the castle is located in Oceir City, the capital town of Wevry Kingdom.
Built on the side of a small mountain ridge, Wevry Mountains, it is a typical medieval town, encompassed by rampart walls.
I take a mental note to tour around the small city.
<<Well, boy. Step inside. We prepared fresh clothes and a bath, make yourself presentable>>.
Aalverg stops before a small wooden door and beckons me to enter. As I look to my clothes, I realize they are in tatters.
The two men part from me, instructing to wait inside the room until they send someone to fetch me. I bid them farewell with a smile, and I enter the room.
It is a small, windowless room warmed by a small fireplace, while wall mounted torches illuminate the surrounding.
Inside, a wooden tub filled with steaming water lies on the crude stone that composes the floor. A small chair is set near the tub, and clothes are laid upon the chair.
Mounted to the wall, I find a small bronze mirror .
The reflection is very different from my world’s mirrors, it seems more opaque and less detailed.
However, it serves its purpose. I remain dumbfounded when I look at my reflection.
My clothes are in tatters, full of dust and dark stains of dried blood.
They still have wheel-marks from the lethal accident that led to my death.
The most shocking part is my appearance. I recognize my face, black hair and brown eyes that stare back at me. But…somehow I look younger.
My teenager face is looking back at me with a surprised expression. My cherished beard is gone. Well, it looks like I become young again. Somehow.
I undress myself and enter the lukewarm water inside the tub.
There is a small piece of rough soap, so it seems that this world has at least some kind of hygiene notions. Although this is a Royal castle, so I probably shouldn’t expect that commoners have this kind of luxury.
After bathing, I put on the new clothes. A plain looking pair of pants and a blue, long sleeved shirt. Of course, they look straight from medieval ages.
Someone knocks on the wooden door.
<<I’m coming>> I answer, approaching the door.
A brown haired woman opens the door, bowing her head slightly to greet me. A maid servant, it seems.
She’s 40 years old, according to the info displayed. Selbina is her name, and she is the chief made of this castle’s hall. It looks like there are also “normal jobs” beside RPG looking ones like “Hero”.
Selbina tells me to follow her, and I comply. Two armed guards are stationed outside the door. They are cautions about me.
We proceed in silence, the two armed men still escorting us. Their level is high, 32 and 35, their job Crown Soldiers. Well, straight back to fantasy things.
Together, we walk along a wide corridor, adorned with splendid armors and weapons resting on wooden stands. Some of them show reflection of strange colors.
<<What are those?>> I ask.
<<Those are national treasures, weapons of heroes past>> answers Selbina in a polite, albeit cold tone. The two man remain silent. Still, I follow them, fascinated by the peerless manufacture of these instrument of war.
At the end of the corridor, we proceed to an open circular room basked in daylight. The stone wall here is crude, void of decorations. Friedrick is waiting there, with two women and a huge, muscular man with…tiger ears?
His race is Tiger-folk, a human sub-species. The Tiger-folk look at me, his arms crossed on his chest and a smug expression on his lips.
<<Tch. So this is the “unknown”, huh?>> he says while raising his eyebrow. Now that I am closer, I can see that his eyes are really tiger-like, with a narrow, slit pupil and an intense yellow color.
His name is Sahj, level 56 and “Guardian” job. Several skills and abilities are listed, while the most notable title is “Hero’s Follower”.
The two girls also have the same title, although their level is lower. One of them is called Vera, a lvl 49 healer, and Juni, a lvl 44 Fire Magician.
They are normal human, and…they are gorgeous.
Vera’s blond hair sways as she smiles at me, her slender figure concealed by priest-like fluttering robes.
The Fire Magician has a voluptuous body, with generous patches of skin showing from her dark, long dress. Her curly black hair reaches her shoulders, and her beautiful blue eyes made my heart flutter when our eyes met.
I smile to them, forcing myself to maintain eye contact instead of looking at the magician’ s huge chest.
I fail, miserably.
Perhaps she notices , as her smile becomes somewhat…naughty.
The Hero claps his hands and formally introduces them to me, explaining my situation the best he can.
<<Hmpf, he looks wimpy>> says Sahj, leaving the room.
<<Oh, don’t mind him…he’s a really good guy when you get to know him better>> says Vera while gesturing with her hand.
<<Oh don’t’ worry>>I reply while laughing.
<<Well…we are still missing a person>> says Fredrick.
<<Oh, that child is always late>> says Juni.
Loud steps are resounding in the corridor ahead, and two small figures are running towards us. One of them trips, and lands on her face right in front of Friedrick.
<<Are you ok, Princess?>> says Friedrick while lifting the girl from the floor. Somehow I have the impression of roses blooming behind them…
The Princess’ s face is flustered for a moment, but she quickly recovers her composure. Meanwhile the other person running after her reaches us. He is a teenager…oh wait, I guess we have the same age in this world…
His status identifies him as a Hero’s Follower, named Cirtus…and he’s a Prince of this kingdom.
I stand still for a moment, then I bow with a clumsy gesture. Well, I don’t exactly know medieval court etiquette.
<<Prince and Princess of the Wevry Kingdom, I…salute you>> I say with a stuttering voice…it seems my shyness came back with my teenager body. What a shame.
<<Although I cannot formally introduce myself, as I don’t know my name>>.
They seem perplexed, especially the young prince.
<<Ohi, you can see it?>> he asks, while being wary.
<<Yes…>> I realize that his title should be a concealed one…way to go, diplomatic incident awaits me.
<<Oh, so it is true>>.
Princess’s voice sounds like an angel. I lift my head and look at her. She is the true embodiment of pure beauty. Her name is Caere, and she is…the Hero’s Beloved? Well, good one Friedrick! Or so I think, with a slight feeling of envy.
The Hero takes a step forward…maybe he realized that I am staring too much at the princess…I hope this situation does not devolve in a stupid setting like a honor fight against the Hero.
I am relieved when he proceeds to inform his companion about my situation, For a moment, I saw myself cleaved by the sword he carries.
<<So, my Hero, you want me to use my Blessing on him, right?>> asks Caere.
<<Yes, even my Holy Sight could not discern anything about him. Maybe your help can give us some more information, before we bring him to the King>>.
<<Friedrick…you know that my Blessing can be…dangerous on people>> says Caere. She turns towards me.
<<Are you ok with that?>> she asks with a worried look in her eyes…ahh…Princess…I feel myself falling for you.
I nod with a smile.
<<Well…I will start now>> she says. Her clumsy appearance before is now completely gone.
She starts chanting, her eyes closed and her hands in a praying gesture. White light wisps are flowing from her figure and dancing around her head.
A light halo is forming around her face, and now she looks like a proper angel.
She opens her eyes, now completely white and brimming with light.
<<Goddess’s sight>> she mutters.
I feel a burning sensation, and my head hurts. A lot. Blood starts running from my nose.
Still the Hero beckons me to endure.
Caere ‘s voice now resounds in the air, brimming with force.
<<Reveal what is hidden!>> she commands.
I feel something breaking, and I am flung on the other side of the room. The princess collapses, while Friedrick rushes to her side to aid her.
The shout from Hero’s followers echoes in the castle.
<<I am fine…I am fine…please, check him>> she mutters to her companions.
I slowly rise to my feet, still hurting all over myself. What happened?
<<Incredible…stronger that Goddess’s sight…>> the Hero whispers to himself.
<<I…I’ve never seen something like this-says the Princess- I managed to see, his level,stats and abilities…but when I tried to reveal his name, something…broke>>.
Her cute face looks flustered.
Although, I feel that something is different now. I look at my hands, and it is there. Before I could not see my own status, no matter how hard I tried. However, now it appears before me…and it is…
**: Unknown effect
**: Conceal All/ Reveal All/Unknown/Unknown
NAME: Reshak (concealed)
<<Hey! Are you ok? You have been looking at your hands for two minutes straight…>> asks Cirtus while patting my shoulder.
<<Huh? Ah, yes, sorry…I was…distracted>> I reply with a shaky voice.
<<Is there something wrong?>>
<<No…Yes…I don’t know really. It’s just…before I was unable to see my status, and now I can>>.
Everyone seems puzzled by my remark.
<<Only…Heroes can see their status outside of Level-up>> mutters Juni.
<<But…he does not possess “Hero” title. Otherwise I would have known>> replies Friedrick.
<<How can you be sure-retorts the Princess, her voice stuttering- even…even my Blessing could not see>>.
<<That’s exactly the point, Caere. Heroes cannot conceal their title. It is meant as a beacon of hope, or so the God who sent me here said>>.
The Princess seems a bit reassured by Friedrick’s reply.
<<That aside…your status concealment should be some kind of rare, powerful Blessing. Maybe Caere’ s power had some kind of effect on you, letting you have some degree of control over the Blessing>> he asks while coming towards me.
<<That…that might be the case>>.
He put his hand on my shoulder, as to encourage me.
<<So…did you see your name?>> he asks.
<<Yes…my name is listed as Reshak. Although…I still can’t remember my name before all this. My real name>>. I shake my head while saying so.
Their reaction is different from what I had expected. The Hero’s grip on my shoulder strengthens, and I see a glint of fear in his eyes. The others are looking at me with gaping mouths.
<<Can you repeat?>> asks the Hero with a worried look on his face.
<<I don’t remember my real name>> I reply.
<<No, not that-he interrupts-your name. Your new name. Say it again…please>>.
A sour expression now tints Friedrick’s face. Everyone averts his gaze, while Princess Caera whispers something with a worried look towards me.
<<Listen…listen very well-says the Hero while pointing his finger towards me- If you want to live, never, ever mention that name again. Especially with officers or nobles.>>
<<What? Why? >>I retort…don’t tell me that it is some sort of prophecy thing.
Princess Caera takes a deep breath.
<<It is said in a sacred prophecy…Reshak from a broken circle will end this kingdom. Of course, this is the short summary-version…but you get the sense>>.
Well…apparently this is some kind of prophecy crap. I laugh inside my head at this absurd development. So…I die, get transported in another world, a f’in fantasy-RPG magic land, where my name pops up in the foretold downfall of the kingdom.
Please, spare me this crap!
<<So…you understand. Keep your name a secret, use an alias, please. People should not be able to see your real name, but keep in mind that someone might have skills or Blessing able to discern truth and lies, so they might know that your name is fake>> says the Prince in a low voice.
I take a deep breath to calm me down. Still…a prophecy. It seems so dumb. I will need to think about a new name, for public use.
<<Well…you will also need papers, as you formally don’t exist in this world. This is troublesome>>
Vera’s voice is kind, like she’s speaking to a troubled child. Her words make me think a bit more about my situation.
I don’t exist in this world. No identity, so to speak. No family, friends, place to live. I cannot expect to stay in this royal palace, of course.
And I do not possess money, or anything, for the matter. I did not fully think about this, not until now, still in awe about the sudden turn of events…I went from dead to dead broke in a new world. Lucky me.
<<Now now…we will think about this later. The most pressing matter is meeting His Highness>>
Cirtus claps his hands, claiming the group’s attention.
<<His Highness?>> I ask, timid.
<<Yes, the King himself. By now High Priest Aalverg must have reported the matter about your unexpected summon here. He will surely demand to see you, soon. So, beware to not slip your real name to him. Ever. Your life depends upon this>> replied Cirtus with a serious expression.
<<It should be fine if only the King is there…if the Minister is also present, it will be troublesome.>> continued Vera.
I look at her with a puzzled expression.
<<You see…that man has a really, really nasty Blessing. It hurts people who lie to him>> she said.
Great. The person that I would like to see the most in this kind of setting.
<<So…I need to tell a lie, but I cannot lie.>> I say while I shake my head between my hands. I want to scream from frustration.
As we speak about what to do, a small boy with elegant clothes comes running towards us. He clears his throat to gain our attention, and he speaks in a loud voice:
<<By Order of His Majesty Ulver Tertius, the Hero and his new attendant will be summoned to His Majesty’s presence, and must abide immediately>>.
The small page bows towards the Hero. I suppose that the “new attendant” must be me. A strange way to define me, although it sounds better than “that guy mysteriously summoned here”.
I steel my breath and proceed to follow the royal page along Friedrick. Tension still lingers in my mind, and I sincerely hope to avoid encountering this Minister they spoke about.
Meanwhile the Hero gives me a small lecture about etiquette and manners in a meeting with the king. From his words, it seems that this King Ulver is a strong, arrogant ruler, tied to tradition and appearance.
He strongly despise commoners, although his rule is decent. He does not oppress the population.
<<Not too much, anyway>> says Friedrick with a bitter smile.
<<The most important thing about him is that he is deeply religious. He has blind faith on the Church’s doctrine, and unfortunately for you, my friend, the prophecy IS part of the Church’s doctrine. So…he will probably execute you on the spot if he knows your name>>.
Friedrick’s tone became hushed and serious.
<<Of course, he already knows that you’ve been summoned here and that the Circle has been broken…so if that name pops up in this scenario…he will act.>>
Friedrick’s words gave me chills. I might really lose my head. Two deaths in this short amount of time might be a bit too much for my taste.
<<I will keep that in mind>>.
We enter a small room, where High Priest Aalverg stands beside a bearded man seated in a crude wooden throne.
The man gives off a strong aura, his gaze is piercing me, making me tremble. He is the King of this country, Ulver Tertius.
A bunch of other titles and information pops up on my view. One catches my attention: “The Merciless”. I gulp my saliva.
Aalverg whispers something in his ears, and the King nods with a heavy expression on his face. He stands up, and orders the page to leave.
The doors are closed behind us, and I bow to the King’s presence. Friedrick bows beside me.
<<Do not get up until he says so>> he whispers to me.
I can hear Uver’s heavy footsteps while he comes closer to us. Slow, heavy footsteps that echo in the small room. Now he stands right in front of me. My breathing is heavy.
<<So, you are the “summoned mystery”>> he says, in a harsh, deep voice.
<<Stand up, the King commands so>>.
Slowly, I raise myself.
<<State your name, boy>> he beckons.
<<Yes, your Majesty. My name is…>>
My words choke inside my throat, and a deep, sharp pain creeps inside my mind. I fall to the floor, writhing in agony.
<<Now, now…trying to lie to the King, are we?>> a sinister voice, followed by a high pitched laughter comes from the shadows.
<<Damn…the Minister’s here>> Friedrick mutters while clenching his fist.
A man clad in a red robe comes forward from the shadows behind the throne.
He is pale, with long, almost white hair reaching to his back. In his slender hands he holds a metal wand, taller than himself.
I am at loss for words. Trembling, I look again at his figure, while panic seizes me. Before I thought that being found out was the worst case scenario, but what I see now is far beyond the worst expectations.
Again, I look the information shown by my Blessing, about the man that stands beside the king.
His level is unbelievably high. A huge list of skills and abilities with sinister sounding names. And his title, marked as concealed, however clear and in plain view for me.