Prelude of Pearls: The 3rd Prelude – What comes after Death?


Preamble

 

Well, here it is.

The big event that starts everything.


 

Prelude of Pearls: The 3rd Prelude – What comes after Death?

 

「Gah-! You bitch!」

「No! Let me go!」

 

A woman was currently being forced against the wall of an abandoned shack on the outskirts of town.

She had been a captive of these men for quite a while.

How long?

She had already lost count of the days.

Nevertheless, she was still persistently trying to struggle against the men.

 

「I still feel like going for another round so shut the fuck up, you fucking bitch!」

 

The man shoved a rolled up piece of cloth into the woman’s mouth, effectively gagging her.

 

「!?」

 

No longer able to speak, the woman simply groaned.

Day after day, she had been violated by various men countless times. She was quickly losing spirit and sanity.

Regardless, she still struggled.

Her desperation managed to kill one of her assailants. His corpse now laid on the floor behind the man who pushed the woman against the wall.

She had somehow managed to steal one of their daggers and plunge it into the man’s body.

Needless to say, the corpse’s comrade was not very amused.

Therefore, she was currently being forced to tolerate this act that many would consider inhumane.

Tears began to well up in her eyes as she winced in pain.

The man before her was clearly not taking much care in his actions.

She began to despair.

She wanted to end this pain.

She wanted to end it all.

At the very least, she wanted to end the mistake that had been incurred by her assailants. The very same mistake that was currently residing in her body right now.

Yet, all she could do was let herself be subject to their demands.

As she opened her eyes, she gazed with hollow eyes towards the man that she had slain.

 

(…?)

 

As her hollow eyes took in the scene before her, her brain had noticed something on the edge of despair.

The man that lay on the floor. Something that should have been there was now missing.

The knife.

As she realised this, a spectacle which seemed like a dark miracle had occurred before her.

 

「Gaaaaaaaa!?!?」

 

The man shrieked in pain as he held his arm.

The woman felt her tension release as she fell to the floor.

Following that, a long, cylindrical object flopped onto the floor.

 

「!@#)(!*@#)(!*@#」

 

All that flowed out of the man’s mouth was an incomprehensible garble.

His face grew distorted by pain, agony and fear.

—-it was at this moment that a shadow flickered in the moonlight.

 

「…die!」

 

A soft, cool voice resounded throughout the silent, abandoned shack before a glint of light approached the man.

 

*Stab*

 

 

 

✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫

 

 

 

Humans are actually extremely vulnerable.

Starvation, dehydration, strangulation. blood loss, disease, illness, infection, stroke, lack of oxygen, too much oxygen, cuts, blunt trauma, malnutrition, cancer, natural disasters, biological weapons, abnormal internal temperature, electrocution, burns, drowning, time-

Any of these phenomena (and much more) could transform a living human into a lifeless corpse.

With that said, however, human bodies tend to be quite sturdy.

If one were to receive a strong impact to their leg, it might break their leg.

However, the inflicted would still live.

Furthermore, modern medicine continues to develop new ways to heal injuries and cure illnesses.

With that said, injuries are not determined simply by how one is attacked.

Where one is attacked holds quite a lot of weight as well.

If your arm was grasped tightly, the arm might feel pain.

If your neck was constricted, however, a significantly more amount of pain would be felt.

It should.

After all, the neck is a vital point of the body that is necessary for breathing and passing blood into the brain. It also houses part of the spine and spinal cord.

Unlike the brain, there is little protection besides the skin and muscles located under the chin.

Even though I’m neither a surgeon nor biologist, it seemed quite obvious that the neck was a good target to aim for in order to kill a person.

 

(…‥kill, huh? I’m really gonna go through with this?)

 

My gaze moves down to my hands. My upturned, bloodless palms slightly tremble.

 

(…am I shaking because I’m excited? Or am I just scared shitless?)

 

I smirked in self-ridicule.

 

(…c’mon. I can’t afford to keep this up if I wanna kill that man. No, if I wanna survive in this world, then I need to get used to this sooner or later.)

 

I clenched my fists as I spoke inwardly.

 

*Buzz*

 

My phone vibrated softly in my trouser pocket.

Yet, in my shaken state, I didn’t even notice it as I crouched, gently placing my knapsack onto the grass.

 

(Alright. Let’s unload some excess baggage.)

 

Emptying my pockets, I grabbed my phone and earphones and shoved them into my bag. I also took off my turquoise jacket and glasses and crammed them into the sack as well.

Following this, I propped my (now full) knapsack up against the wall of the shack.

 

(…there. This should make moving around much easy.)

 

Indeed.

While making my way to the shack, my knapsack greatly hindered my movements. My jacket was also quite prone to flapping about and would only be a hindrance in close quarters combat.

My glasses had also been deemed as undesirable equipment. Unaccustomed to its weight, I decided that it would be wise for my glasses to be off of my head rather than on.

Besides, my eyesight seemed to have been significantly improved ever since coming to 【Paletia】.

As for my phone, while it was a considerably useful tool, considering the nature of what I was about to do, I wouldn’t have any time to check it and would only weigh me down.

 

(Now then, let’s start analysing the situation.)

 

I spoke inwardly as I began to [Analyse] and [Comprehend] the information I had [Observed].

 

An abandoned shack far away from the populace.

This means that no one is likely to come, nor is anyone going to come for help.

 

Night time. No source of artificial light. Moonbeams seeped into the shack.

This means that the interior is going to be very dark in certain areas. I can use the darkness to my advantage so long as I’m aware of my position.

 

A presumably dead man had a knife stuck in his chest as he lay on the floor.

As long as he isn’t alive, I should be able to use that knife.

 

A woman currently being pushed against the wall by a man.

This means that the woman will be able to see anything behind the man. While I doubt she would want to give me away, I can’t take the chance of her seeing me in case the target notices her reaction.

 

A man with a wounded arm was pushing a woman against the wall.

This means that the target will have his back towards me. That also means that his arm is vulnerable to attacks.

 

 

 

(…I need to inflict 18 points of damage to him.)

 

Unable to check my phone during my assault, I would have to simply keep damaging him until he stops moving.

 

(…but there’s also one more thing.)

 

I haven’t killed before.

It is precisely because of this fact that I was nervous.

I do not know how well I will be able to execute this ‘kill’.

Rather, I had no idea if I was even capable of killing someone.

However, it was no longer a matter of whether or not I can do this.

I simply needed to do it.

Otherwise, I can’t possibly hope to [adapt] to this world. To 【Paletia】.

I [calm] my nerves.

I did not throw away my nervousness.

I simply suppressed it.

After all, adrenaline is good for stimulating body movement.

That’s precisely why the body releases it when it perceives excitement or fear.

And so, after ensuring my body was ready, I began to make my move.

 

 

 

✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫

 

 

 

I made my way to the door of the shack.

It was slightly ajar.

How convenient.

I silently opened the door, paying careful attention to ensure that the door hinge did not creak.

Not a sound. Good.

I crouched low and entered the premises, diminishing my chances of being discovered.

I hid behind the wall, studying the room’s layout.

The corpse was lying on the ground, close to the window I had been peering through earlier.

A knife stood tall, protruding out of his chest.

It appeared to be a dagger of some sort. One that held an aura of unyielding rebellion.

It reminded me of tool that a thief or a bandit would use.

Yet, regardless of what kind of knife it was, it still possessed the ability to kill.

The punctured corpse was more than enough to support this notion.

As trickles of moonlight drew near the dead man, I had to be careful when grabbing the knife.

 

「I still feel like going for another round so shut the fuck up, you fucking bitch!」

 

I quickly glanced towards the rapist.

Both the man and his victim were preoccupied with each other.

 

(…it’s now or never!)

 

I desperately moved my body.

Silently dislodging the knife with little effort, I receded back into the darkness.

 

(-!? Shit.)

 

My body trembled with adrenaline once more.

 

(C’mon! Calm down!)

 

I scolded my body within my mind. Eventually, it seemed that my limbs decided to follow my orders as the shivers subsided.

 

(…is it really this easy to [calm] yourself down?)

 

Noticing the abnormal speed at which I was capable of sedating my nerves, I could not help but inwardly voice my doubts.

However, it didn’t take me long to quickly abandon this train of thought.

 

(…never mind that now. I’ll ponder that for another time.)

 

Indeed.

Now was not the time for thinking.

Now was the time for action.

First, I needed to get rid of the blood on this knife.

The blood-soaked handle increased the chances of the knife slipping from my grasp.

And it went without saying that it was ideal to have a good grip on a weapon of murder.

Paying attention to the sounds of procreation, I lightly flicked my knife, timing the blood splatters so that they consisted with the gushing noises that resounded throughout the shack.

To be honest, I grew slightly disturbed by my demeanour, unfazed by this illegal act.

Yet, this uncertainty quickly faded as I wiped the remainder of the blood on a nearby tablecloth.

 

(Alright, next.)

 

Judging that I had yet to be discovered, I stared at the man with narrowed eyes.

What I was aiming for was the man’s wounded right arm. All I had to do was hit that area and I would be able to kill him–or so was the thought that had entered my mind.

I swiftly moved my body, consumed by the darkness.

10 steps until I reach the target.

6 steps.

1 step.

 

(-now!)

 

Holding the knife in my left hand, I swung my right fist into the man’s wounded arm.

 

「Gaaaaaaaa!?!?」

 

The man shrieked in pain as he held his arm.

 

(-tch!)

 

I clicked my tongue as a peculiar warmth infected my fist. Seeing how this was the first time I had punched someone, this pain was a foreign sensation to me.

 

*Thud*

 

My ears heard the sound of something falling to the ground. I paid it no mind, however, as I regained my balance.

It was then that a long, cylindrical object dangled into my view.

Although my face would have cringed at the sight of such an object, I had slightly different thoughts running through my mind.

 

(This should do something!)

 

I quickly passed the knife from my left hand to my right before swinging the dagger horizontally.

 

「!@#)(!*@#)(!*@#」

 

All that flowed out of the man’s mouth was an incomprehensible garble.

His face grew distorted by pain, agony and fear.

I couldn’t really blame him.

After all, the ‘object’ that I just cut off was a vital organ necessary for human reproduction.

While I normally would have pitied him, now was not the time for unnecessary thoughts.

No. Now was the time to kill.

 

XCrossJ - First Kill

XCrossJ, in an attempt to save a certain woman, grips his dagger firmly.

「…die!」

 

I muttered as my shadow flickered in the moonlight. Lunging towards the man, I aimed for the vital area just below his chin and-

 

*Stab*

 

 

 

✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫

 

 

 

(…I really did it, huh? I really killed a man.)

 

Time stood still as I stared at the man with a knife stuck in his neck.

Was this really ok?

Do I regret doing this?

I wasn’t sure.

However, it would seem as though it was a bit presumptuous to denote the man as dead.

 

「Ga-!」

「!?」

 

The man reached his hand out, causing my eyes to widen in surprise.

 

(No way! He’s still alive!)

 

Stunned, stood in place as I expressed my disbelief.

 

(Hold on! [Calm] down, dammit! What’s his HP?)

 

Instinctively grasping at my left trouser pocket, I quickly despaired as its absence caused the alarm bells ringing in my head to increase in volume.

 

(Shit! Was I holding back unconsciously!?)

 

I cursed as I began to take action.

What did I do?

I simply removed the knife from the man’s neck.

Well, simply might not be the best way to describe the urgency of the situation.

Nevertheless, as I quickly moved away, a minimal amount of blood splattered onto my black shirt and trousers.

 

「!?」

 

A gaping hole now resided where the man’s neck used to be, rendering him unable to breathe.

Without air, the man will die of suffocation.

Although this was a cruel and painful way to kill someone, I didn’t have any other choice.

After all, I wasn’t strong enough to inflict an instantaneous killing blow.

I waited patiently as I stood above the man.

My first victim.

My first kill.

Although I was unsure how long I had waited, it seemed like an eternity before the man finally keeled over.

His hands covering his throat in a final, desperate struggle to cling onto his pitiful life, the man had unfortunately lost too much blood.

 

(…how do I say this…this feels kinda hollow.)

 

I stared at the withering life of the rotten individual before me.

……rotten? I wonder which of us is actually the worse one here.

Sure. Rape is bad.

But by the same token, murder is probably even worse.

And that was exactly what I did.

I had deprived someone of their life.

How much is a life worth?

Can one even put a price on life?

All sins are a variant of theft. This was a phrase I remember reading in a book one time in the previous world.

When you kill, you steal someone’s life. You steal their place in life, their relationships with other people, and their right to live.

 

(In which case, wouldn’t I be the worst sinner here?)

 

Wallowing in sophism, a rustling noise could be heard coming from behind me.

It was the woman.

 

 

 

✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫

 

 

 

「You ok?」

 

I involuntarily called out to the woman.

Although her hollow eyes seemed to focus on my figure, not once did she look at my face.

 

Prelude 3: Victim - Aftermath

The despondent victim.

「I…want to die.」

 

I immediately surveyed the woman’s figure.

A set of brown eyes, dead to the world.

A sickly pallor, covered up by dust and dirt.

A slender frame, seemingly frail and vulnerable.

Long, dull brown hair, soiled by lack of treatment.

And a set of bulbous blue marks inscribed on her wrists.

………marks on her wrists?

I surveyed the room. A circle of untied rope lay next to a post with freshly carved grooves.

 

(…was she confined here?)

 

I wondered as my eyes narrowed.

The marks on her wrist, the rope, and the post with grooves implied that the woman was tied up against that post. Judging from the condition of the rope and the depth of the grooves, the woman had been held captive here for quite some time.

It was likely that this was not the first time she had been taken advantage of. Countless times, she was forced to satiate the cruel desires of these men.

Perhaps she had already lost the will to live.

Perhaps she had already given in to despair.

In the face of someone who was drowning in misery, some may encourage her to live on.

I was not one of those people.

After all, who was I to tell her what to do?

I don’t even know her.

It was sheer coincidence that I ended up saving her.

I might not have even saved her at all.

Still, even I couldn’t bear to see the woman in this state any longer.

And so, I gripped the dagger in my hand as I breathed deeply.

 

「Alright, I’ll kill you then.」

 

 

 

✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫✫

 

 

 

My gaze wanders towards the aurora-filled sky. For some reason, the red wisps felt quite prominent to me.

I glance at the bridge beneath my feet. Currently, I was walking steadily towards the city in the distance.

As I once again stopped in order to rest, I brought my tablet out and lit up the screen.

What I was met with was the following dialogue:

 

Prelude 3: Notification - Murderer

 

「…so I’m a murderer now, huh?」

 

Glancing at the notification, I sat down on the asphalt, resting my back onto the bridge’s pillar.

However, before proceeding to investigate further, I put on my earphones and began to blast jazz renditions of anime songs into my ears.

 

(…man, even though I killed a man, I can still calm down with a little bit of jazz?)

 

I wasn’t sure how to feel about the fact that my body relaxed in response to the stimulus in my ears.

Nevertheless, I redirected my attention to my tablet, tapping onto the notification that had just appeared.

 

Prelude 3: Dialogue - Murderer

 

The moment I laid my eyes on this screen, a subtle realisation came over me.

Namely, the layout of the dialogue box was somewhat different from when I had last seen it.

 

(Is this what Silvia meant by my guide changing over time?)

 

I grew slightly curious whilst remembering that the previous dialogue labelled this [Murderer] thing as a trait and not a title.

 

(…well, considering the layout is quite similar to my other titles, I assume that this means my titles are now traits?)

 

Throwing out this slightly farfetched theory, I decided that I would check the validity of this later as I scanned through the details of the trait.

Needless to say, I was less than thrilled.

 

(…although I’ve gotten quite the benefits from this trait, why do I not feel happy about it?)

 

I felt my face cramp as I began to [Analyse] the data presented before me.

An increase in Attack by 10% will negate the demerit incurred by 《The Sadist》 title/trait. Thus, my overall attack should have an increase of 5%.

While this slightly remedied my current predicament of having low attack power, I was still not pleased with the fact that I had been labelled a 《Murderer》.

 

(…well, I guess I reap what I sow.)

 

As I exasperated in my mind, I began to close the dialogue boxes.

 

Prelude 3: Notification - Level Up

 

(…does that mean killing people rewards me with experience?)

 

Seeing as I had not done anything significant enough to warrant any gain in experience, this was the only conclusion that I could come up with.

 

(…somehow, I don’t really want to level up anymore if that’s the case.)

(………)

(Let’s just go with the premise of combat experience raising my level.)

 

Although I realised that I had changed my observation due to bias, I felt that I may become even more twisted if I had accepted the fact that I needed to kill in order to get stronger.

Regardless, I realised something as my eyes scanned the increase of my player parameters.

 

「Wait, my attack increased by 4, yet my D.Attack and D.Defense barely budged at all?」

 

Indeed. The stats that had increased the most were DP, Attack, Agility, and Wisdom.

However, if one were to look at my original stats, the parameters that should have increased the most are D.Attack and D.Defense.

 

(In which case, does this mean the levelling system is not as straightforward as I thought?)

 

In most games, the development of the character’s stats is often laid out by the system.

For example, a mage would be inclined to gain more intelligence, MP and magic resistance while Warriors tend to gain more Attack and Defence, as well as HP.

Following this logic, a Dominator should gain more D.Attack, D.Defence and DP. Yet, this was not the case, as indicated by the stat growth before me.

Therefore, the alternative system of levelling would be the ‘grind’ system.

Basically, any stats used would show an increased growth. For example, if I were to keep punching something with my fists, my attack stat would be trained and increase more than my defence or agility stat.

This system would seem to align more with the facts presented to me. After all, ever since I’ve come here, I’ve performed the following actions.

Observing, Comprehending, and Analysing information.

Talking/Manipulating the Silver Devil.

Running around in the darkness.

And…Killing.

As I was mostly Observing, Comprehending, and Analysing information, it would make sense as to why my Wisdom had such a disproportionate increase compared to the rest of my skills.

Talking to and Manipulating the Silver Devil would explain the reason for my DP’s increase as I increased my amount of influence over her, although subtle.

Running around in the darkness as well as using quick, swift movements in that encounter really allowed me to train my speed, thus the increase in Agility.

As for Killing…well, in order to kill, one needs to inflict a substantial amount of damage. It was probably because of my attacks that my Attack stat increased by quite a bit.

 

(If that were the case, then it’s just possible that I might be able to fix this imbalance of abilities.)

 

As I thought thus, I stared at 2 particular status fields.

HP and Defence.

These two stats were essential for my survival. Although it would be best to not receive any injuries, in the event that I was attacked, I wouldn’t last very long.

 

(So I guess I’ll need to do something about that, huh.)

 

As I thought thus, I closed the notification…yet, another dialogue box appeared before me.

 

Prelude 3: Notification - Discern

 

(Oi, oi. Just how many of these damn notifications am I gonna get, huh?)

 

As I exasperate, I carefully read the skill that I had obtained.

 

(Discern?)

 

Discern. Verb. To perceive by sight, some other sense, or by intellect.

 

(But [Discern]? How is this any different from [Observe]?)

 

I tap the skill presented before me, bringing up yet again another dialogue box.

 

Prelude 3: Dialogue - Discern

 

(…isn’t this really good?)

 

As I read over the skill description, I could not help but comment on its usefulness.

This skill was undoubtedly created by my observation of that man’s neck being a vital, defenceless area. Still, to think that it would create such a convenient skill.

 

(…I wonder what skill tree this would come under?)

 

As I thought that, I realised that I would have to view my entire status. Thus, I began to close the dialogue box…however-

 

Prelude 3: Notification - Forced Calm

 

-another notification presented itself before me.

 

「…is this game broken or what?」

 

I mutter as my mind ground to a halt.

I had already received quite an amount of benefits in this short amount of time. Yet, for some reason, I had still obtained yet another skill.

If a game had fed you with a burst of power ups after 10 minutes of playing it, one would think that the game was either on Very-Easy mode or extremely broken.

Nevertheless, as I had obtained another new skill, I tapped on the screen in order to view the details of [Forced Calm].

 

Prelude 3: Dialogue - Forced Calm

 

「…was this the reason why I was able to [calm] myself so easily?」

 

I could not help but voice out my realisation.

From memory, I had tried to [calm] myself 3 times. Every time, I was somehow able to easily [calm] myself down.

If I possessed this skill before I had initiated my assassination attempt, it would make sense as to how I was able to relax my body and make such precise movements.

However, as I looked carefully at the wording of the description, I noticed something particularly interesting.

The fact that it mentions Target as opposed to User.

This implies that I should be capable of calming down others. A skill that I may potentially need in the future.

As I make a mental note of this, I tapped the [x] once more, preparing myself for another dialogue box. However-

 

「…no more notifications?」

 

-no more dialogue boxes remained. Instead, I had been brought again to the view of my character stats.

 

Prelude 3: Domination Note - Profile Screen

Prelude 3: Domination Note - Trait Screen

Prelude 3: Domination Note - Skill Screen

 

「I see. So my Titles really did become Traits, huh? Furthermore, the layout really has completely changed compared to how it was in the Silver Lining.」

 

I noted to myself before suddenly realising-

 

「Hold on! What’s that near the bottom of the screen?」

 

As my eyes were brought to the arrow symbol near the bottom of my profile screen, I decided to tap it.

 

Prelude 3: Domination Note - Home Screen

 

What I was met with was an array of strange, yet peculiar options, all of which seemingly arranged like a menu.

 

「How did I not notice this earlier?」

 

As I wanted to kick myself due to the fact that I had not been aware of this function, my eyes were drawn to a particular item.

That is to say, the Tasks option which had a strange alert placed next to it.

Needless to say, in my curious state, I tapped the item from the list of options.

Immediately after that, I was taken to this screen.

 

Prelude 3: Domination Note - Task Screen 1

Prelude 3: Domination Note - Task Screen 2

Prelude 3: Domination Note - Task Screen 3

Prelude 3: Domination Note - Task Screen 4

The 2nd Prelude – 2 Choices XCrossJ’s List of Movements The 4th Prelude – Lucid
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Categories: Myriad of Shades | Tags: , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Prelude of Pearls: The 3rd Prelude – What comes after Death?

  1. Acedian World Sentinel, Senizal Fi Chrora Zthcwy Cce Gwhwh XIII

    This feels very nostalgic….

    Like

  2. AlbinoBlackSheep

    You put lvl 1 in the second status picture. just fyi

    Like

  3. 1/0? shouldn’t that be 1/1? the spot that says important document. also as far as tests go the only clue that u get is the hair color of your friends so that will be complicated have fun with that (unless u think u can manipulate silver devil into revealing their locations?)

    Like

    • Should be 1/0 (implies I have to give it away to complete the quest).
      As for the manipulation part, I don’t think there’s much I can squeeze out of her. -_-

      Like

      • lol a reasonable answer …wait a min are u saying the king of manipulation cant manipulation 1 brat of a goddess(fake)

        Like

      • Not sure if I’m a king but it’s a subtle art. You need to know how far you can push without tipping someone over the edge.
        Let’s just say that unlike Kiriko or the others, Silvia has a…more delicate temperament.

        Like

      • erk spelling error the second manipulation should have been manipulate

        Like

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