Everyone was frozen in place.
The king on his throne, the soldiers in their stations, and the royal magicians on the court.
As well as the 200-year-old advisor stationed by the king.
Everyone was overwhelmed, captivated, and terrified.
Flowing golden hair was tinged with a scarlet hue at its ends.
Eyes that surveyed the surroundings were dyed the scarlet color of a blazing fire.
A pure white dress and a deep crimson overcoat hugged her unblemished, fair skin.
She was so beautiful that just the difference in the level of perfection was able to make the onlookers feel pitiful, and her perfectly proportioned body was flawless to the very end.
Peeking out of the overcoat was the proof of the member of the flugel race. Yet, she possessed large, jet black wings of taboo.
As if they were welcoming the true king of the nation, everyone hung their heads, trembling in fear.
Raising their heads was impossible. Looking forward was forbidden.
The retainers’ knees trembled against the ground as if paying their respects.
Radiating an aura of domination and surrounded by the prostrating postures of numerous people, it was truly the appearance of a king.
She wore the presence of a ruler around her, and every motion held conviction.
And in the midst of this maelstrom.
Having forced the entirety of the castle into submission without a lifting a finger, the young girl silently smiled and thought to herself.
I’m screwed, why are all these strangers bowing their heads to me? What in hell is this? A practical joke? What do they want from me? How did it come to this? Someone help!
—it was none other than the young girl herself whose mental state was in the most disorder.
Exactly how did things turn out this way?
I guess I must first explain this in order.
However, there is something I need to say before I explain.
—I’m actually a man.
An exceedingly normal, healthy man. And with that in mind, I humbly request your audience.
First of all… let’s see.
I was just playing games like any other day.
It was launched in the year 2027 and it has been six years since its release.
The game was set in the parallel world of Midgard. The original game had a straightforward melee and magic attack system and was eventually converted from an RPG into an open-world TRPG. It seems like the original was an online game as well, but I unfortunately was not in possession of the game console, so I never played it.
…well no, I did consider buying it. The Dreamstation console, I mean.
The Dreamstation was a game console manufactured around 20 years ago, so it was pretty difficult to get your hands on.
And we didn’t have a second-hand video game store in our neighborhood either.
Well, that’s how it was. Without any major twists, the game created a friendly experience for a beginner.
Players mainly used swords or magic for combat. There were monsters, elves, fairies, and a great variety of races appeared across the map.
A frequently used setting, right? Open world RPG’s are all about familiarizing yourself with a game you can enjoy for a long time after all.
At the time the game was released, I had picked it up on a whim as a high school student.
I had no particular reason to do so, nor did a friend recommend the game.
It was purely on a whim… it had somehow caught my eye by chance and it was free-to-play, so I thought I might as well give it a go.
The result—a complete addiction. I became the so called ‘fanatic’.
Anyhow, I dedicated as much time my schedule could afford, and all my free time was devoted to the game. I eventually even obtained cash shop items, for which I even picked up a simple side job I could do from home.
Why work at home?
…if I left the house I wouldn’t be able to game after all.
Even my time spent at school felt wasted.
And of course, I was a faithful member of the go-home club.
My happiness—and the happiness of the great majority of players’ was something decided by how soon we could see the login page again. As the number of game addicts increased, it seems that a law was passed to regulate the distribution of online games around ten years ago. Then, in accordance with the regulation, “X-gate Online” limited the daily playing time to ten hours. As a result, I was able to obtain the same login time as other addicts while commuting to school, and was able to maintain my status as one of the top players in the game.
I continued to nurture my in-game character.
I raised my level in numerous different classes of characters in a frantic pace. I also alternated between various (in-game) jobs on countless occasions.
One of the most appealing aspects of the game was the expansive character customization. I think there were… 8,687,500 different character customizations in total. The ability to freely combine those options allowed for an infinite variety of avatars. This further enabled your ability to foster your love for your own character.
Using this system, the character I created, Ruphas Mafal, was a young girl of the flugel race. The flugel was one of the many races in the game. It was a race capable of flight and had high-level basic abilities in exchange for being unable to learn all classes of magic. They were also nicknamed the “race of rulers” and were endowed with high charisma and the ability to tame monsters the moment they were born.
These abilities were reflected in the actual gameplay. Furthermore, the flugels had a skill that nullified attacks from opponents with a significant level difference compared your own.
Well, this skill was rendered ineffective during boss battles, though.
I trained and trained with Ruphas.
I armed her with cash shop equipment and would participate in all of the in-game special events possible.
Before long, I established a nation. This would expand the influence that my character possessed. It started off small, but it steadily grew in size.
The game also included a feature that allowed you to wage “war”.
Two countries would fight with all their might and the losing nation would be absorbed into the winner’s realm of influence.
Ruphas used this system to her heart’s content and invaded numerous nations.
Of course, though it’s called an “invasion”, both nations have to give their consent.
However, you attacked without an agreement you would just be internet trolling. In the blink of an eye, you would be shamed and hated by the entire community.
There was one more special feature in the game: the “novel system”
Made in collaboration with one of the largest online fiction novel publishers, the system allows players to compile their action into a “formal history” similar to a fiction novel.
“For this reason, I waged war.”
“We suffered through so much to fulfill this request.”
If you sent these to the official website, the accepted narrations would actually appear on the homepage and be implemented into the game.
If you paid the money, even a small accomplishment could be written as a glorious tale. As a result, there were unique backstories wherever you went in “X-gate Online”, and all players served as protagonists of the story.
In addition, if there was a major turning point in the game, the event would be recorded into “history” for free.
Known by every single player, my character, Ruphas, even became a semi-official character of the game.
She demolished all opposing forces, becoming the first ever supreme ruler who united all of mankind under one sphere of influence.
The black wings of dread—Ruphas Mafal.
Yes. At one point in time, I held influence over the entire in-game world in the palm of my hand and created an era of my own.
As one would expect, the Demon King and his followers could not be turned into followers, but other than solo players, all players became citizens of Ruphas’s nation.
This became a major event recorded in the above-mentioned novel system. Displayed alongside the demon king as the “wild last boss”, I was often told that “you should just replace the last boss” and various other comments along those lines.
However, there was a problem.
Frankly, the game was boring with a single supreme ruler.
The long awaited war functionality was rendered useless and it became extremely difficult for novice players to establish their own nations.
That’s when I started a discussion with the higher level players and planned a massive event upon player suggestions.
I even consulted a famous author on the publishing website and wrote up our own turning point of history.
The story went like this.
With her overwhelming military might, supreme ruler Ruphas invaded and unified the world.
However, a group of heroes assembled from the far corners of the world.
Grasping the chance to revolt, they naturally confronted the great evil in the name of goodwill!
Oh valiant heroes, I commend you for your great courage.
Now is the time to break free of the chains of tyranny and overthrow the throne!
—yup. I completely played the villain.
Ruphas then secretly split her territory into two different parts. And with Ruphas leading the imperial army and the heroes leading the rebel forces, a battle of incomparable scale took place.
To put it simply, I lost.
I mean, all the prominent players were on the opposing team, you know? There was no way in hell I could have won.
Nevertheless, I stood my ground until the very end.
Before I knew it, I was the only one left standing, but I continued to rampage to my heart’s desire.
Our forces consisted of eighty percent of low-level players who didn’t stand a chance as they engaged in one-on-one combat with the enemy commander.
…well, at that point in time, I only had a remaining HP of two, though.
Yup. Damage taken from a single attack.
In a preemptive strike, we were able to exhaust the opponent’s stamina and health, but they activated the skill, [Switch Places] immediately after. And then they staged their glorious victory.
They totally did that on purpose.
And in the end, on top of barraging us with overkill attacks, they even went as far to seal us into a different dimension. (By banishing an opponent into a subspace their revival time is prolonged.)
Stop it already! My health is already zero!
Well, it would have been awkward to just be defeated in silence, so before being sealed I also read some cool lines.
“Magnificent! That was magnificent, heroes! You have clearly expressed your overwhelming power! A party of your caliber might just be able to stand up to the Demon King!”
—or something. Well, yeah. I was still a teenager.
Defeated, Ruphas went into hiding and the world was freed from her rule—was how the event was portrayed in the completed story
It gained quite the reputation, receiving comments like “So I’m fine with the story ending here?”, “Nice finale”, “Hey, don’t just forget about the Demon King (LOL)!”, “Demon King? Ah, you mean the guy who’s been hiding until Ruphas-sama was done in. Uuuh, what was his name again?”, and “You guys are too cruel XDDDDD”.
Although defeated, I felt satisfied having completed a great event and gazed at the display with a wide grin.
The following day, when I tried to log in for the second time, an unfamiliar character appeared on the screen.
Her name was Alovenas, the creator of the world. Apparently, she was the goddess who was also, to put it bluntly, the representation of game administration.
She often made her appearance in tutorials and in-game event announcements. Her offensive ability, HP, and defensive power were definite numbers, but it was not something you could possibly defeat. Hell, she had 999 billion HP. Don’t screw with me. Even boss characters have a threshold of around a million HP.
That official cheat character appeared to tell me something.
“Would you like to be granted a new role?”
I thought it might be an official message from the game. Presently, Ruphas was listed beside the Demon King as one of the major boss characters of “X-gate online”. Naturally, the administrators couldn’t just leave it as it was. After being defeated in such a dramatic manner, just casually logging in as if nothing happened would be a bit too… well, you get the point. Even I thought it would have been a bit anticlimactic.
And if I just strolled back into the game, what would happen to the story? In that case, this message was a godsend.
So I replied with the “Yes” option.
I didn’t know what kind of event it was, but I’ve participated in every in-game event to this point.
That’s why regardless of what kind of role it was, I would accept the challenge head on.
Then, my vision blacked out.
And we have now arrived at the present situation.
Prostrating figures surround me.
A heavy weight on my chest and sense of loss between my legs.
My body was hugged by a dress and overcoat. Long hair framed my field of vision and a pair of wings sprout from my back.
With strangely clear eyesight, I gazed at a distant window, where the appearance of an absurdly beautiful girl was reflected.
I… turned into Ruphas?
Nonono, no waaaay.
I’m male, you know?
Ruphas is female, you know?
You’d feel more motivated if I’m playing as a cute girl rather than an old man, right? For that stupid reason, I spent a couple of hours customizing my own beautiful girl, you know?
But turning into that character is a different matter. The view is gone, goddammit!
“…hmph, I don’t quite understand the current situation… so is someone going to explain it to me?”
I knew my voice would change. That was within expectations.
But this arrogance in my tone!
Somehow, when I tried to say “Sorry, I don’t really understand the current situation. I would really appreciate it if someone would give an explanation.” the words came out of my mouth in a needlessly haughty tone.
Isn’t this the tone I used when I was roleplaying Luphas?
“What’s wrong, children of mankind? Raise your heads. How long do you plan on prostrating? Or is that your normal posture? In that case, let me apologize for my ignorance.”
What’s wrong? Please raise your heads. If you continue to maintain that posture, I won’t be able to stand it.
Or if you would pardon me for asking, is that your normal posture? In that case, I apologize for my lack of common sense—is what I tried to say.
I sound way too oppressive.
Shoot, no matter what I try to say in this tone, it’ll just end up sounding haughty again. What do I even do?
…ah, I see!
It was my [overpowering] skill!
That skill’s probably activated.
Uuuh, I’m positive you could switch it on and off… calm down already, [overpowering]!
Ugh, the pressure is unbearable…!
“…ah, I see. Pardon me, I have been careless. It would be hard to converse with this activated.”
There was no convenient (computer) window, but I somehow dealt with the problem through intuition.
As for whether my attempt was successful, the people who were prostrating before me finally raised their heads and cast their trembling gazes upon me.
“Wo—woah… This figure… No way… so you were alive…”
The gentleman dressed like a Shinto priest said with a trembling voice.
How rude. I have no recollection of having died before.
Ah, but Ruphas just died the other day, though.
“Ye—Yeah, we made an incredible miscalculation. An unforgivable… unforgivable mistake. During the summoning of a hero, we have instead undone the seal on the Supreme Ruler…”
“—hmph, I see. Seems like this man knows who I am. Then let’s have you explain the situation to me.”
It seems like this man knows who I am.
Then it would be a bit better to ask him for an explanation.
To grant him a peace of mind, I smiled and gently informed him of my harmlessness.
“Don’t be so afraid, child of man. I won’t do any harm to you and your compatriots… just relax, and start talking.”
—but there really is nothing I can do about this haughtiness, is there.
【The setting you don’t really have to remember】
- X-gate online.
The original game ran on the Dreamstation game console and was eventually converted into a TRPG and an MMO as well. It was not a VR.
Unlike all the MMORPG’s so far, it was closer to a TRPG. For instance, when changing classes, you could retain the skills of your previous class in secrecy.
In collaboration with one of the largest online publishing sites, player actions and choices were recorded as a story.
(However, in reality, whether your actions would really be written about actually just depended on how the authors felt about it. Players would submit drafts that said “this is how it all played out!” and if you were lucky, it would be picked up by an author and written as a story. There are also authors who would accept money for the service, and it was plenty possible to record your accomplishments by paying. However, not just anyone could become an author. They were properly picked out by the administration and rarely would you find a shitty story.)
While standing in a gray area between an RPG and a TRPG, the game also comprised of the elements of a novel, giving it the peculiar title of an MMONRPG (Mass Multiplayer Online Novel Role Playing Game).
This system had quite the reputation with players who were crazed over character personalization. Nevertheless, a number of players felt nothing from their actions being written as a story.
Six years after its release, the game has a total of over 8 million players internationally.
It was fundamentally free-to-play, but as you proceeded throughout the game, it would continue to pressure you to spend real money.
The game was produced by Niente Corporation.