※Revision: Cross gate online → X-gate online
Translator’s note: ^author’s that you can just ignore
( ゜д゜)【Daily Rank: 5th Place】 ( ゜д゜ )
Video games change along with the times .
Ever since 1979, when “Space Invaders” made its first appearance in stores, video games have been constantly evolving to suit the era’s needs . Two years later, the first handheld game consoles were introduced to the market, and within three years, the Famicom (NES) was released to the public . Then, seven more years of innovation brought the Super Famicom (SNES) into existence . The Playstation emerged four years after that, and video games continued to change the lives of generations to come . While this new form of entertainment dominated the market, what continued to amaze players was the rapid evolution of graphics .
From the 8-bit NES to the 16-bit SNES . And by the time the Playstation had made its name, smooth computer graphics had become the norm . Players of that generation used to marvel at the graphics that the Playstation 2 had put on show . Nowadays, kids playing the same games would complain about the poor graphics . Just as CG technology advanced, players‘ tastes became more refined in the process .
However, this didn’t mark the end of the evolution of video games . As the industry continued to thrive, games inched closer to reality . So much that people might have mistaken the graphics for photographs and the avatars for people if they weren’t projected on a display . It’s almost as if the VRMMOs that countless of authors have dreamed of might actually appear at any moment .
Sadly, it is nothing more than a dream with our current technology .
There are far too many risk factors involved with transferring your consciousness into the world of games . Perhaps it will become a reality some day . However, “some day” isn’t something we can measure, and at the very least, it isn’t “right now . ”
—then why the hell am I shaking inside a carriage in the body of a girl? I would have created a male avatar if I had known this would happen .
“Ruphas-sama, I see it now! It’s the next town!”
“Ah, I see it too . So, sit back down already . ”
Dina, who was sitting beside me a moment ago, was now shaking me back and forth . What’s more, it didn’t help that the carriage also shuddered as it traveled . I had to suppress my urge to vomit .
By subjugating the orcs and selling off their meat, we were able to ride this carriage to Suvell with 5500 eru at hand . Of course, it goes without saying that Dina didn’t sell any HP enhancing fillets .
That aside, I’m a bit curious as to where she sold them . Since she’s able to teleport, almost anywhere is possible . Transfer magic is convenient, but it looks like she’s unable to take others along with her . Perhaps the ability is restricted to inanimate objects, or maybe she needs the consent of the other party . Well, according to Dina, the transfer fails if she has even a speck of dislike for the target .
Ah, one more thing .
After consuming the remaining four fillets, my current HP has risen to 336100 points . But, ouch, since the messy digits are really bothering me, I’ll avert my eyes for now .
“Thank you for your patronage—”
Handing the coachman the money, we stepped off the carriage and headed towards the gates of the royal capital . There, a number of soldiers stood guard, and a few were carrying out what looked like security checks . Now that I think of it, this city is under attack of one of the Twelve Heavenly Stars, huh? I’m sorry for your troubles .
“You two, stop right there!”
We froze in place . I kind of knew this would happen . My entire body is concealed by an overcoat after all . I seem suspicious no matter how you look at it .
“This is Suvell territory from here on . Can you show me your passports?”
Did he just say… passport?
Hey, this is a first for me . You didn’t need those back when this was… ah, you did . When this was a game, influence played a part in everything . In order to enter a different nation, a player needed to gain the ruler’s recognition first . If you think about it, it’s a pretty similar concept to a passport .
But unfortunately for me, I have nothing of the sort . But Dina, oh—Dina’s a lifesaver . Calmly, she reached a hand into her breast pocket and passed the gatekeeper some papers .
“Here . These are our documents . Please confirm them for yourself . ”
“Thank you . ”
Just what is this world-class secretary? She’s way too prepared .
“Hmph . So you’re a traveling merchant without citizenship of any country . Your names are Dina and Saphur, and your identification papers seem authentic as well . ”
“There’s been a lot of forgery lately, hasn’t there? Well, with you here, the only officials they’ll fool are the nearsighted . Hahaha!”
This man needs glasses .
I’ve never gone out of my way to get an ID, so that’s undoubtedly fake . And for god’s sakes, put some more thought into my alias! Saphur… isn’t that just my name written backwards!?
“Hmph, you may pass . ”
“Thank you very much . ”
Having made it out in one piece, Dina’s face split into a wide grin .
However, just when we were about to pass through the gate, a voice called out for a second time .
“Ah, wait . I still need to take a look at your face under that overcoat . I apologize, but I still have to make sure it’s not a demon or a monster under there . ”
Aaah, yeah, I thought this would happen . And because of that, I didn’t panic . Indeed, I’m an infamous figure known across the land, but my distinctive features are my sleek, black wings . In a world without photographs, the only ones that could recognize me from just my face are long-lived individuals that had seen me in person .
To break it down, if Oda Nobunaga sauntered around with modern clothing and a different hairdo, I’m sure no one would notice and shout “Hey! Isn’t that Oda Nobunaga!?” So as long the gatekeepers don’t have wings, fangs, or pointed ears, they’re obviously human . In that case, revealing my face shouldn’t pose any problems .
“Aah, I’m sorry about that… will this much be fine?”
I pulled my hood back and tried my best to smile . Just a friendly reminder, but I’m definitely not a narcissist . However, as a former man, I’m quite aware that my current appearance is that of a matchless, young beauty . A man knows best about another man’s tastes . The behavior, personality, and facial expressions that can make a man’s heart skip a beat—I know them all . Believe it or not, it’s one of the reasons why males with a female backstory might be more charming than a real girl online . And naturally, this knowledge can also be wielded as a weapon .
“Forgive her, sir gatekeeper . If she didn’t cover her face, she would be called on by simply walking through the streets . ”
“Ye—yeah… that’s certainly true . ”
“So how about letting us through? I don’t have all day to wait for your approval . ”
If I was him, I wouldn’t want to leave a bad impression on this beauty . Even if we never meet again, I’d do anything to avoid being told something like “That gatekeeper’s breath smells . I don’t want to get any closer . ” And depending on the individual, they might even shamelessly plead for forgiveness . However, in this situation, there is only one right answer for a healthy man who can read the atmosphere .
“O—of course you can! By all means, please pass through!”
Well, that’s just how it works .
I pulled my hood back on and finally crossed the border . On the opposite side of the gate, water stretched as far as the eye could see . The gate merged with a single bridge stretching across the magnificent waters, and the royal capital stood on the other end .
This country didn’t exist when I had played the game . It’s a young nation with only 200 years of history; its founder being none other than one of the seven heroes of the rebellion—the “Wisdom King”, Megrez . According to Dina, the hero still passes his days in this country despite retiring from the throne .
I thought about it as we walked .
Megrez and I began playing the game at around the same time . There were times when we fooled around together and times when we fought as a party . Even during the decisive battle, not much had changed in our relationship . We knew the fight was just an act to revive the game’s competition . It was nothing but a performance, and I just happened to be playing the villain . But when all was said and done, we were still the players who shared the joy of playing the same game .
The real question is: who exactly is the Megrez of this world? Perhaps, is he the committed gamer I knew over the internet? Or perhaps, is he a different person, completely unrelated to the person in my memories? And if that’s the case, what happened to his memories of fooling around with me?
The “Sword King”, Alioth .
The “Beast King”, Dubhe .
The “Smith King”, Mizar .
The “Adventurer King”, Phecda .
The “Wisdom King”, Megrez .
The “Heavenly King”, Merak .
And last but not least, the “Vampire Princess”, Benetnasch .
These were the players that I once partied with . Each representing one of the seven major races, they were among the highest ranked players of the game . They are also individuals I must meet at all costs . Although the first four have passed away due to their shorter life spans, the last three still remain in this world . There is something that I must find out—whether if there are others stranded in this abnormal situation… or if I’m alone in this predicament .
“So this is… the country that Megrez founded . ”
I raise my head .
Gazing at the capital, the first word that comes to mind is “water”—a city of water . A large gate decorated with intricate patterns framed the entrance to the capital, and thanks to the higher elevation, the metropolitan comes into clear view .
That said, the fact that my eyesight has become abnormally sharp also helps, and I’ve grasped a general idea of the country’s layout .
At the heart of the capital, the royal castle stands surrounded by the lake’s gentle waves . Bridges in all four directions form pathways from the castle to neighboring islands, and another bridge extends from each of the islands to the lands that make up Suvell’s borders . The five islands and the imperial castle make up the city of water . Eight bridges then weave the separate pieces of land into a single structure . The cityscape working in perfect harmony with Earth’s natural structures is quite the sight to behold—and an impressive feat of human architecture .
The lake’s reflective surface glistened in the sunlight, and the trees swayed in the wind . But there was more to Suvell than just its landscape . If you look hard enough, you’ll notice the curious orbs of light floating about the capital .
Back in the game, magical power drifting through the air was called “mana” . That’s probably it . The concentrated mana gave the area a somewhat mystical presence . It was just what you would expect from the wisdom king’s country .
“The magical country of Suvell . It’s a nation founded by an elf known as the ‘Wisdom King’, one of the seven heroes . The area is renown for its abnormal concentrations of mana and rapid advancements in magic and technology . It’s where the magicians and scholars from the far corners of the world aspire to share their ideas . However, because of the abundance of mana, flugels rarely come to pay a visit . Ruphas-sama, is your body holding up fine?”
“Nothing’s wrong . I’m not too sure about others of my kind, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s actually rather pleasant . ”
Hearing Dina’s concerns, I took a closer look at the mana around us . I feel no discomfort being around the wandering mana . Though I’ve heard about the flugels’ dislike of demonic power, I show no such symptoms . Perhaps race’s distaste for mana is completely psychological? That would explain why I, who has no personal preference, am completely alright .
“So, about our next course of actions… where would you like to go after this?”
“Naturally, to meet Megrez . I have a lot of things to ask him after all . ”
“Straight to the point, hm? However, if anywhere, Megrez is most probably resting in the castle . You don’t mean we’re going to break in from the front, do you?”
I shook my head at Dina’s words .
In addition to the oncoming invasion of a magical beast, breaking into the castle would only add to the chaos . In which case, sneaking in, or waiting for him to leave the castle are much safer options . We would be much better off by gathering information first .
“Instead, I think we should slip in quietly . We shouldn’t raise any unnecessary commotion . ”
As Dina implies, I’ll slowly familiarize myself with the capital before inching towards our goal . This country is one of the largest storehouses of knowledge on the planet, which means there will definitely be a place where I can read up on the world’s history . I know too little of the 200 years that passed without me . First, I’d like to cover up for my lack of knowledge . In that aspect, it’s fairly convenient for Aries to have chosen this city to attack .
Let’s see… looking for a library comes first .
With a clear goal in mind, I asked a passerby for directions .
【Some Useless Extra Details】
Locations in X-gate online
In the world of X-gate online, Norse mythology was widely used for location and weapon names . However, the supreme deity’s name had absolutely nothing to do with Norse, so it wasn’t the game’s sole inspiration or anything .
Then again, other than the original nations produced from the early stages of game development, player established country names varied left and right . Therefore, names from other cultures also popped up every now and then . Strange names like “Zeon”, “M78 galaxy”, and “The six paths to heaven” also came up once in a while . The Norse model was forgotten, and the game administration didn’t mind either . Rather, there’s a limit to how far you can go with Norse mythology . Usually, a game would pull names from a number of cultures . And so that’s what they did .
As a result, the game was submerged into a sea of cultures, its foundation lost in the waves .
Developer: “…Well, we still have the location names…” (trembling voice)