1 Prologue

Here, the story begins.

Karl has always been a very regular guy, not too successful in life and still stuck in college at 28 years old. He was neither especially intelligent nor good looking, but life was good in its own right and he did not lack anything specific.

He lived alone in a tiny apartment and ate a little more junk food than could be considered healthy, but his lifestyle was cheap and allowed him to get by on the allowance from his parents. Also, he just could not bring himself to move, it was just too convenient with a supermarket next door and the subway around the corner.

Today, he was out with his friends at McDovalds. They were a ragtag group of good for nothings with little more in common than their love for fast food, but they stuck together over the years and enjoyed their free time quite a bit.

Time always seemed to pass a lot quicker while laughing and making fun of all their stupid lecturers as well as despairing together over the newest worksheet which they would have to finish till the end of the week.

Karl was just about to chew a delicious chicken nugget when his friend Peter nudged him with an elbow while laughing and he accidentally swallowed it whole. The nugget got stuck in his throat.

He wheezed and fought for air for a while, but the crispy exterior of the thing held it fixed in place, it just would not budge.

Without his friends even noticing, his body was increasingly growing sluggish as his brain was continuously deprived of oxygen. His vision turned blurry, the joyful voices of his friends grew fainter until they disappeared in the distance. Soon he passed out.

When he came back to his senses he stood on a white cloud and an endless sky stretched towards all sides as far as he could see.

'Oh, I must have gone to heaven' he thought, 'what a shame, but whatever'.

The only thing weirdly out of place was a funny guy standing a few paces away from him. He wore a loose-fitting business attire and looked more like a punk trying to act like a businessman than anything else with his ominous tattoos. 

"Oh, hey there. It sucks, I know, but hear me out. You died."

Off to a strong start. Karl had already figured as much and was not very surprised. It was not what he had planned for the weekend, but life played out in mysterious ways and heaven did not sound too bad either — at least he would not have to bother with his exams anymore.

"But don't worry, I have a proposal for you!" the man said all of a sudden, rousing Karl's interest, if only a bit.

"Sure, you could go on dying and have your soul pass on to wherever you were going... or, we could make a deal." he offered.

"Sorry, but... who exactly are you again?" Karl could not take it any longer and took the initiative to ask.

"Oh, don't worry about that, I'm just a random passerby," the man tried to change the topic.

"You would not happen to be a devil, right? Because I have no interest in selling my soul." Karl stated firmly. He enjoyed life during the good times, but he was not too desperate to make a comeback for it. The scenery looked pretty decent so far and he did not intend to sell eternal bliss for a shortlived pleasure. "Geez, no! Do I look like that to you? I'm a God, you know." The man said, sounding a bit disgusted at the word "devil".

"You're God? Really? It's just that... I always imagined God differently." Karl was quite shocked by the revelation, but it was not too far fetched to have an encounter with God after passing on. Just that he had expected more fashion sense from god himself. Also, he was still quite skeptical.

"Yes, yes. I can prove it, just wait a second." The man hurriedly scrambled through some of the pockets in his mantle and finally pulled out a small identity card. He stretched out his arm and handed it to Karl.

It read: 

Name: Thandoril

Junior God Level 34

Power: 2.6 billion

Faith: 300

Karl was shocked, was this a joke? It really said that the man in front of him was a god, there was even a small photograph of him on the card. But it did look totally fake, more like a status card from a cheap game. Also, what was junior god supposed to mean and what was this about a level? Why would a god even need an identity card in the first place? "Convinced?" the man asked as he took back his card from Karl's hands.

"Well. It does look kind of fishy I guess, can't you perform like one of these flashy miracles or something?" Karl complained.

"I guess that is possible. Wait a second." This time "Thandoril" pulled up his sleeves and rubbed his hands together, then he literally began shooting thunderstrikes from his hands and made the clouds around him darken and swirl about. It was an impressive display, Karl had to admit.

"So, can we talk now?" said the man after the cluster of lightning diffused into the surroundings and silence returned.

"I guess. What's that about a deal you mentioned?" Karl asked as he had grown a little curious. This guy looked a bit fishy but he did seem legit enough — he even had an identity card.

"Oh, glad you asked. It's simple, really. I just want to propose a small exchange to you." The man put on his best selling-smile.

"An exchange? What could I give to a god like you? I don't even have anything left, I'm dead, remember?" Karl blurted out. He was very surprised by what he heard and was growing skeptical again.

"No, not at all. You still have something of value left, your body. You may be unable to use it anymore, but it still belongs to you and it is pretty fresh I must say. In exchange I would offer... let's see... How about my own?" The man tried to smile sympathetically again and rubbed his hands together.

"Your own? Your body? So what, you're asking me to become a god?" stammered Karl. He could not believe his ears.

"Oh, yes. So to speak. You can live on as a god and I will take over your body." the weird man said.

"Why? Like, why would you even do that? That does strike me as a pretty bad deal for you," Karl reasoned, trying to understand why a god would propose something like this to him. Who in their right mind would give up their godhood just like that in order to become human?

"Ah, you know. The usual. Playing God becomes quite boring after a few eons. You can have it if you want. My power, my followers," Thandoril said and spread open his hands as if to represent the gates of the world opening in front of Karl.

"So, how about it? Do we have a deal?"

"Yes. Yes! Absolutely yes!" Karl exclaimed. He did not even need to think about it. Screw heaven, he was going to become God himself. He could not wait for the shocked expression on his mom's face when she heard about it.

'Guess I didn't end up as a useless college dropout after all, huh, mom?' he thought while grinning like an idiot.

"Good, good! I knew you would make the right choice," Thandoril said and smiled from ear to ear.

"I wish you all the best of luck then, you will need it."

Before he could throw back all of the leftover questions he still held and what these last words meant, Karl's vision grew dark once more and he lost consciousness again.

***

When Karl woke up, he was alone.

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The sky was also no longer blue or white, it was black. Infinite nothingness stretching to all sides.

He looked down on himself and did not notice any changes. He still looked the same as always — he even wore the same worn-out jogging pants he died in. But he did not feel the same. He felt strong and powerful, an unknown energy roiling inside his body. It felt good.

"Oh, right. I died, didn't I?"

He soon remembered. But did that really happen? It seemed more like a dream now, when he thought back on the shady conversation he had with "God" back then.

But if it was just a dream, where was he now? He looked around, trying to find anything that could be used as a reference to identify his current whereabouts.

The only thing in his field of vision was a small glowing orb, slowly traversing along an elliptical trajectory. Everywhere else, just blackness.

He approached the glowing sphere a bit more and found it to be glowing as brightly as a powerful lightbulb while being around the size of a football. On closer inspection, he could also see a smaller orb which the glowing one seemed to circle around. It was mostly blue-green with many red and yellow patches strewn all over it. There seemed to be white foam floating over its surface, forming and dissolving in weird patterns. It looked almost like... Earth!

This small orb that was also about the size of a football looked remarkably similar to his former home planet. Sure, the colors were a bit off, but it looked really planetary nonetheless.

Then could the glowing sphere slowly tracing around it be... the sun? Or rather, a sun, since this did not seem to be the earth he knew. Shocked he stumbled backward and fell onto his buttocks, landing on nothing in particular.

"I did not really become a God, did I? My girlfriend was right, I should have stopped smoking that shit years ago. This must be a really sophisticated prank! I am probably just sitting in a planetarium somewhere freaking out over some models, right?!"

He seemed to have lost it and started screaming and talking to himself. He could comprehend dying — it was simple enough, but what the heck was going on here?

When Karl started to become more clear-headed he realized that this was not a prank though and also probably not a dream. Everything looked way to detailed and "alive". Also, there were no strings to be found and he was kinda just floating in endless space...

When he did finally wrap his head around being a god he felt exhilarated. This was even better than he thought! Screw his old life, no one would cry for him anyway (and not only because a random god just took off in his body), he was a God now!

He remembered the shiny identity card that his predecessor had shown him and tried searching for it in his pockets, wondering if he had left it for him too. But he found nothing.

Then he just tried random voice commands, like any reasonable person would.

"System!"

Nothing happened.

"Boot up! Open sesame! Status!"

[Status Card generated. 1 Faith deducted for initiation. Setting generation cost to 100]

That seemed to do the trick, finally!

Without further ado, a shiny card materialized in his hands and marked the first instance of him witnessing his own godly power. Karl instantly took a very detailed look at it.

Name: Karl

Junior God lvl 34

Power: 2.3 billion

Faith: 199

He soon emitted weird sounds of manic laughter, too happy to believe this actually happened. It actually worked! Son of a bitch, he was a god now! He even had a shiny, new identity card to prove it! It seemed to be called a status card?

While Karl was still obsessing over his newly gained status card and his new identity as an omnipotent God of... someplace, he saw a bright, glaring light on the edge of his vision.

He looked up, just in time to witness a majestic mushroom cloud blooming on his recent acquisition, Planet X.

"The fuck?!"

He was so dumbstruck that he even dropped his status card and blankly stared at the scene playing out in front of him wide-mouthed.

Soon another blossomed and another, always followed by another one shortly after and on almost opposite parts of the globe. Before he had any time to react to the situation the crescendo followed and the whole sphere of a planet erupted in glowing clouds of destruction.

Before long Karl was left standing in front of a red, barren rock. Alone.

What had just happened? What was being played here? Thoughts flashed through his head unceasingly and a weird feeling rose from his gut. He felt really drained and heavy, almost like a bad hangover after a weekend of college parties.

He stretched down to pick up the status card he had dropped previously and fell from all heavens when he took a look at it.

Name: Karl

Minor God lvl 1

Power: 0

Faith: 199

Level 1?! 0 Power?! What had happened to his uncountable followers and his mighty, godly powers?!

He had been scammed after all.

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