Nero's first thought upon waking was that he'd been abducted and possibly thrown into a padded room. While struggling to rise to his feet he realized, his arms were noodles and his muscles were plastic. Ok, that was one for his padded room theory, he could be drugged. He'd never felt that frail, a light breeze could shatter him. Nero's hands grappled with the ground searching for some answer. The ground was hot to the touch with grooves etched into the ground. A blast of scalding heat forced him to pull back his hand.
The room stank of sulfur. The longer he stayed her the more his memories of the night before crept in. He felt at his throat. There wasn't any pain. He didn't feel a scar or the massive gap that should have been there. Only a sticky mess was left for proof of his sin. He must be in hell. Nero tried to open his eyes but was blinded by a blue light. So, he kept his eyes shut. Not that he was in a hurry to see the fire a brimstone to match the sulfur smell.
It was time to check stock. He found his knife, smartphone, and wireless earphones. Nero blinked his eyes rapidly while forcing them open to hasten his adjustment to the harsh light. The pain was intense but eventually everything became clear. Just below him was a five-pointed star. It was the source of the harsh light that blinded him. Out of his pocket he pulled free a letter he found on his fridge the morning before. He didn't read it there wasn't a need not here.
There was something he had to know. He opened his knife and saw it was streaked with blood. She left him with the papers. She quit her job. He was living in his truck. There was only one way out. He didn't cry for himself. He wouldn't give them that. Nero closed the knife that had taken three lives.
This must have been the afterlife. He was here to be sentenced. Well he wasn't going to his hearing on his knees. That was easier said than done.
He wasn't a geriatric, but his body thought he was. Getting up was still a struggle. Either the gravity was higher, or his bones had been replaced with cookie dough. Those were the explanations he preferred when standing to his feet felt like squatting 600 pounds. Maybe it was another side effect of slashing his own throat.
He looked to the side to see a girl struggling on her pentagram with a rope burn around her neck. It slowly faded before his eyes going from a horrible purple, to yellow, and finally back to normal skin. She opened her mouth and sucked in a whimpering breath.
"Are you alright?" Nero turned his eye to see someone step off their pentagram and help the girl up.
"Why are you just standing there? She needed help." Nero noticed the man wore a soaking wet military uniform. He couldn't help but wonder why the man chose drowning of all the ways to go. Was it so he could change his mind? Well what did it matter he was here too.
"My name is Nero and I cut my own throat. What your name and how did you off yourself?" The girl gasped and the guy in the uniform glared with growing anger. Then he saw dried blood. Nero watched for the moment when it clicked with glee.
"My name is Sara Lee, I hung myself." She said with a gravelly voice. The man glared down at his shoes. Nero noticed some bits of gravel and cement on the man's shoes.
"Jack Stone, I drowned." Jack said. More people started to wake up. Some had cut wrists slowly closing, others had shattered bodies that took much longer. There were piles of ash that didn't move.
Sliding doors opened revealing a floating man dressed in robes. A book hovered beside him. No cross or religious item adorned the man's body. Only a blue pentagram dangled from a staff clutched in his hand. A trimmed beard adorned his chin and his hair was combed back. The man observed them, and Nero observed the man. This man was most likely the one who summoned them.
"Some of you are too broken to recover in time." The man grumbled. He waved his hand and the ashes blew in the wind. The glowing pentagrams under the worst of the suicide victims winked out.
Jack ran from his left. He crossed the distance of three people.
"Be paralyzed." Jack froze and plowed into another person. "Now stand." Jack was made to get back up to his feet. His foundation was sand. His body protested and the strain bulged his eyes. When his face turned red Nero knew Jack wasn't breathing.
"What is thy bidding master?" Nero yelled. It was a gamble but then again, he loved to gamble. He was crazy enough to marry in the current year.
The man in charge more than likely a wizard turned to him. "Obedience, well it's a start. Jack Stone breathe and be healed. I'd rather not waste a trained soldier." A few of the women moved off their platforms to hide behind the largest guys in the room.
"You've died and no longer belong to your world. I own your lives now." Everyone but the wizard stumbled backwards and fell. The building was moving. "When we reach our destination, you will enter the dungeon Sithia and eliminate the abnormality. If you succeed, then I'll grant you a year of freedom before your next assignment." First, there was no way he would give them any reward. Nero understood that from the start. The question was why them? Healing a bunch of suicide victims couldn't be cost effective.
He had no idea how or why they were brought here. There were more questions than answers. He'd have to wait until they arrived at their location. Then there was the question of the dungeon. Anywhere this guy sent them must be dangerous. There was no way they weren't going to die in droves.
"Those of you who passed with your smartphones will enjoy an upgrade that even wizards of great houses would be jealous of. There are some things that come with you even in death." The wizard chuckled at his own joke.
Nero pulled out his phone and watched it float off his palm. Lines of data traveled over the screen and a new apps appeared. Skill book, attributes, and Equipment flashed upon his screen then it scanned him before running data.
Nero Invictus lvl1
HP 10.2 MP 10.1
ATK 3.1 DEF 3.1
SATK 1.01 SDEF 1.01
SPD 1.01 ACC 1.01
Life Taker I lvl1: +1VIT x Knife lvl – Increase the level of Life Taker by dealing killing blows to enemies who have damaged you first. Effect1: Death Link – ATK = VIT x Knife lvl. Effect2: Life Drink – Recover health from damage inflicted on enemies.
Death Clothes I lvl1: + 1VIT x clothing lvl – Increase the level of Death Clothes by spilling your blood. Can wear armor over clothes. Effect: Blood Shield – DEF = VIT x Clothing lvl.
Description – A pair of stretchy jeans, heavy black boots, a blood-spattered white t-shirt, a bloody handkerchief covering the face, and a long red Chinese style cape he'd ordered on wish.
Constitution 1 – +1% DEF x CON +0.1 CON for every CON related skill acquired and their level. Once 100CON is reached something interesting will happen.
VITALITY 2 – +1% HP x VIT +0.1 VIT for every VIT related skill acquired and their level. Once 100VIT is reached something interesting will happen.
STRENGTH 1 – +1% ATK x STR +0.1 STR for every STR related skill acquired and their level. Once 100STR is reached something interesting will happen.
DEXTERITY 1 – +1% ACC x DEX +0.1 DEX for every DEX related skill acquired and their level. Once 100DEX is reached something interesting will happen.
Agility 1 – +1% SPD x AGL +0.1 AGL for every AGL related skill acquired and their level. Once 100AGL is reached something interesting will happen.
Magic 1 – +1% MP x MAG +0.1 MAG for every MAG related skill acquired and their level. Once 100MAG is reached something interesting will happen.
Intelligence 1 – +1% SATK x INT +0.1 INT for every INT related skill acquired and their level. Once 100INT is reached something interesting will happen.
Wisdom 1 – +1% SDEF x WIS +0.1 WIS for every WIS related skill acquired and their level. Once 100WIS is reached something interesting will happen.
Luck 1 – +1% FORTUNE x LUK +0.1 LUK for every LUK related skill acquired and their level. Once 100LUK is reached something interesting will happen. Luck 1 – +1% FORTUNE x LUK +0.1% FORTUNE for every LUK related skill acquired and their level. Once 100LUK is reached something interesting will happen.
Skill Dice to choose 1 attribute 1D100
Stat Dice to 2D6
Of all the choices he could make he decided that vitality was the way to go. It was the easiest way to higher defense, and it made sense. Nero tapped the skill dice and a choice for every attribute appeared. He chose vitality.
Vitality Attribute Dice Roll
Skill awarded: Regeneration
Regeneration I lvl1 – Passively heal from light to medium wounds at the cost of EXHAUSTION.
Something red slipped over his skin and he felt the fillings in his mouth heat up painfully. He shook a little before it ended.
"Hey, are you really going to follow everything that freak says." Nero looked over to see a preacher holding a cross in his hand.
"I guess this isn't the afterlife you wanted either." Nero said. He tapped his skill dice and felt two six-sided dice and watched them roll on the screen.
"He could be the devil trying to lead us astray." The preacher said. "I'm Reverend Julius of the evangelists church of Christ."
"Nero, atheist, murderer, and I'm going to follow the rules. I didn't see you jumping to defend Jack while he was paralyzed. What's wrong too scared of the devil to act?" Nero asked.
"I see you've been led astray. If you welcome Jesus in your heart he will forgive you." Nero didn't know if god or devils had anything to do with it. He did know that the reverend killed himself just like the rest of them. Where was his god when he struggled with the decision?
"I think this is all just a drug fueled delusion. None of you are real your all part of my imagination." A lanky guy said behind them.
"What your name and how did you die?" Nero asked.
"My name is Francis Montgomery and didn't you hear me I'm not dead." Nero thought the guy would probably die first. Some of the people stopped what they were doing on their phones. He marked them as dead too. It was difficult to decide whether it was better to coax them into living or let them die.
"What are you doing? This is very real. If you don't take advantage of what resources, you have you'll all die." Jack yelled.
Sara Lee hung behind Jack reading over the stats with a pensive look on her face.
Stat Dice Roll: 4, 5 = 9
Nero slammed four points into vitality, three in agility, and two in strength.
It wasn't long after he placed his stats that everyone stumbled forward. They had arrived at their destination.