1 Chapter 1

"Thank you." Theo thanked the cashier as he took the case from the table. The line behind him was quite large. Most of these people would leave disappointed, though. The store just didn't have the necessary number of copies.

Theo himself had come racing to the store from his part-time job. Seriously, what kind of marketing was it that you could only buy a copy of the game the day it was released. Even more confusing was why there were no digital copies and every copy of the game had to be physical.

It was something that many people wondered and even more grumbled about as they made their way towards their local electronic stores.

What greeted him outside of the store wasn't a cheerful weather in any way. The rain was coming down with such force, you would think it was trying to compensate for all the pathetic little drizzles from earlier this week.

It was times like these when he wished he had a car or any other sort of vehicle with cover. As it currently stood, he would have to cycle home in all this rain, getting positively drenched in water.

Sighing to himself, Theo hid the case in his coat and prepared himself for the ride, however small it was. After all, he lived quite close to everything. One of the upsides of renting an apartment near the center of the city.

It barely took him ten minutes to reach home, looking like a drenched dog. His home was minimally furnished, with only the needed furniture and nothing else. Such was the life of a poor college student living alone, working part-time.

After he had taken a shower and changed into some nice and clean clothes, he went to his room with the case in hand. The first thing that drew the attention of anyone who entered his room was the big white capsule-like thing in one corner of the room.

It took the same amount of space an average single bed would take. It had a sleek design, with no protrusions, aside from the handle with which you could open the capsule to get inside.

It was brand new technology developed by the same people who had made the game he had just bought. A revolutionary piece of virtual reality technology, something so far ahead of the times that it was thought impossible.

Theo walked towards the capsule with the case in hand. When he was beside the capsule, he opened it and hopped in. Closing the capsule from within, he inserted the case into the designed spot and watched as the case basically merged into the capsule. It would be impossible to notice the case if you didn't know where to look.

Mentally preparing himself, he moved into a comfortable position, strapped himself in and attached the headgear, one that was more alike to a helmet that covered his whole head, and pressed the power button.


Everything was dark for a second, before a voice welcomed him and two options popped up in front of him. A grayed out one, which was the game, and a browser icon. Theo opened the browser and a specific forum, which held some friends.

Pendrake: I just got the game, what about you guys?

Rajveer: What do you think? I was camping outside the store 2 hours before it opened, so of course I have it.

Bevan: I was lucky, I got the last one from my local electronics store.

Pendrake: I was among the last people to get it from mine. I had to convince my boss to let me leave early, and that really wasn't easy.

Rajveer: That's what you get for having a job, being jobless is a much better option.

Pendrake: Like you haven't been trying to find a job for months now.

Rajveer: None of those places realized my greatness, it's their loss.

Bevan: Are you sure they didn't just look at your pathetic resume?

Rajveer: (╯°Д°)╯︵/(.□ . \)

Bevan: You trying to flip me? I'm so fat you couldn't even lift me.

Rajveer: …

Pendrake: …

Bevan: The game just opened up, it has a timer of three minutes left, we can discuss in more depth about Rajveer's difficulty landing a job later. For now, we must game!

Theo left the forum at that, closed the browser and opened the game. What greeted him was the massive title Throne of The Abyss, the name of the game, that faded out of view a moment later. It was replaced with a timer counting from 03:00 downwards, second by second.

While waiting past the agonizing seconds that felt like hours, he once again marveled at this feat of science. The capsule basically puts you into a slumber-like state and suspends most of the body's internal activity, allowing for long sessions of uninterrupted use.

It didn't replace the need for sleep, as your brain was still active in that state. Nor did it allow for one to disregard the need for food and water, you would still need to eat, drink and sleep as you normally would. Instead, the body's need for food and water was minimal during capsule use.

The company had never revealed their secret on how they could build something so miraculous, but the internet had been filled with speculation. Anywhere you went, you would hear at least one discussion involving Nightmare. It puzzled people to no end.

Another confusing thing was as to why they had released the product into the market with so little advertising coupled with the cheap price, it almost looked like Nightmare wasn't looking to make a profit.

Of course, no one knew how the capsules were built and what was used in the manufacturing process. For all they knew, the capsules could have been cheap to manufacture. Still, no matter what angle you looked at it, it just didn't make sense from a marketing standpoint.

Most people just accepted it as the eccentric behavior of the CEO of Nightmare. It was a widely accepted fact that he was a bit of a nut job. He had blown his money on some important projects, such as the colonization attempt on mars, but he had also blown even more money on ridiculous projects such as funding a project that aimed to try and find proof of the supernatural.

The advertisement for the game had been minimal with the information concerning the gameplay mechanics, but what was revealed still generated hype and expectations as Throne of The Abyss would be the first of its kind, a VRMMORPG.

A unique world filled with a history of its own and lore to explore, but the main selling point of the game came together with the platform it was released on. Full immersion, something that had been a dream for many. That alone made almost every gamer out in the world want to buy the game.

It was the most awaited game of the decade and now he just had to wait for a few more minutes before the game was launched.

The timer only had two minutes left. Those two minutes felt like hours to him.

When the timer hit zero, a blinding light exploded in the darkness. By the time he regained his vision, he was no longer in an unending void, but was instead in some sort of colorful dimension atop a raised platform, below of which there was nothing but more color.

Sweeping his gaze across the platform, his gaze stopped and rested upon a figure. This figure didn't have a distinct form and was instead a collection of something that looked like liquid light.

"Welcome, gods' chosen. I am the instructor appointed to help you with your avatar's creation."

Before he had even had the time to start walking towards the figure, it spoke out.

"How do I start?"

The moment he asked that, the figure waved a lump of light and a number of options appeared before him.

[Choose your starting path]

[Warrior, as a warrior you combine strength, leadership, and a vast knowledge of arms and armor to wreak havoc in glorious combat. Some protect others with a shield, and some forgo the shield in favor of a larger combat proficiency.]

[Ranger, as a ranger you are a master of the environment, subtlety, patience, and stealth. You are an agile and dexterous combatant, one who utilizes daggers for close combat and bows for range]

[Cleric, as a cleric, you are a holy emissary sworn to their deity. You gain strength through the worship of your chosen god, allowing you to bless yourself or others with the light of the divine or deliver a smiting blow to the enemies of your god.]

"A path? And why only three?"

He asked after he had looked through the somewhat disappointing list of paths.

"These three are the main paths from which you start from, and you advance towards a different path through your actions."

The figure answered with a crisp voice. "Your character's default appearance is the exact same as your real-life self, but you are able to customize it however you like."

Looking past the path options, Theo saw the customization options for his character. Looking at his character now, it was indeed a spitting image of himself. A young man with short brown hair in his early twenties wearing nothing but a pair of underwear.

The customization options were indeed plentiful, but he didn't change much aside from slightly tweaking his face so he wouldn't be recognized outside the game and changing his name from Theo to Pendrake.

After he was done customizing himself, Theo directed his gaze towards the path options once more and asked the light figure a question.

"What are the requirements for advancement through the paths?"

"You'll have to find out for yourself."

"Mysterious, huh."

While wondering about his options regarding future paths, he came to a decision. Directing his gaze away from the information board and back to the path panel, Theo made his choice and finalized his character screen.


Level - 1

Path: Ranger

DEX - 5

STR - 3

INT - 2

WIS - 3

CHA - 1

CON - 1

Skills: none

Abilities: none]

"They can't kill what they can't hit." Theo thought out loud as he finished looking through his status.

"You are now ready to begin your path towards the throne. We look forward to your progress."

It started to destabilize as it spoke. The light figure from before was turning gaseous and the figure soon burst, covering the entire platform in a rainbow fog.

The dazzling light fog blinded him once more, and by the time Theo came to he was no longer on top of the light platform.

Looking around Theo first noticed the high ceiling and rows upon rows of seats, which were empty. The high walls were covered with colorful murals.

In front of the platform stood an elderly man clothed in white robes adorned with the symbol depicting a rising sun with crows inside of the sun. He had his eyes closed and his hands together, as if praying. The priest being the only other person aside from himself in the whole temple.

Theo was the only one standing on top of the platform, he thought that by now others would have finished creating their avatar. While trying to look if someone else had come here, he noticed that the platform he was standing on top of had the same image as the one on the priest's robes, just much larger.

Theo began his descent from the platform and made some noise in the process. That woke the elderly man from his prayers and with a start, he started to walk towards the stairs which were connected to the platform.

"Welcome, chosen of the gods. I have been waiting for you, the whole world has been waiting for you and your kind."

The elderly man said with fervor as he waited for Theo to descend. The game had been merciful and granted him a set of clothes, ones that looked more like rags than any clothes he was used to, but which he was thankful for. He didn't want to start his adventure buck naked.

"Who might you be?" Theo asked as he finally descended from the last steps and off the platform.

"Pardon my manners, I am Gething Hulme, a humble priest of the temple of Habul."

Gething answered as he performed a slightly theatrical bow.

"Pendrake, it's a pleasure."

"I have been appointed to introduce you to the laws and basic customs of the world." Gething said as he started to walk towards the huge door at the back of the church.

"I will give you the necessary information you need to start your journey, and I hope that you will help those who you can along your way."

As Gething pushed the doors open, what greeted him was the visage of a village. A road snaked from the temple, which was seemed to be located on a hill, down towards the village.

The priest handed Theo a large piece of parchment that had information written onto in symbols that he could not decipher, some sort of language perhaps. "Good luck out there, we expect great things from you."

And then the priest went back to the temple and closed the doors before he could even realize that he had left.

"What shitty ass game mechanic is this? Do I need to fucking learn how to read?" Exasperated at the shit the game had already pulled on him, Theo tried to open the temple doors to ask Gething some questions, but the doors wouldn't budge no matter how he strained his muscles.

Theo soon gave up and looked towards the town, maybe there he could get someone to read what was written on this piece of paper. At least the sun was just rising above the horizon, so he should have plenty of time to gather information and learn something about his current location.

Sighing and stuffing the paper into his shirt, Theo started walking along the road snaking out from the temple and towards the village.

Next chapter