In an empty white space that seemed to stretch on for as far as the eye could see, Joshua was laid out on the floor breathing evenly. All of the bruises, scars, and burns from the fight with the boss had disappeared. His broken arm no longer looked like a swollen mess that would cause most people to pass out from the pain. His hands were no longer burnt all the way down to the bone from holding on to the searing hot spear. The only signs left on him that showed that the fight had actually occurred were all of the tears and rips in his clothes from the long fight and exploding spear.
Soon his eyes started to flutter open as his hazy vision slowly came into focus. When he tried to push himself off the floor he realized his condition and was wondering if he had died in the end. Maybe the flash of white light he had seen come from the boss monster as he shattered its core was an explosion that had sent him to the afterlife. It was also possible that he was stuck in some weird dream that he had no idea of how to wake up from. Either way, he wouldn't get anywhere just standing still, so Joshua picked a direction and started walking.
He didn't know how long he had been walking as he strode forward in the same direction for what felt like hours. He wasn't getting tired in the least, ever since he had woken up he felt completely refreshed. All of his gear that he had been lugging around with him before was gone, so he felt as light as a feather as he walked through the endless expanse of white. For a moment he chuckled to himself as he thought that if this were some sort of game like Nathan was continuously relating everything to then he was probably trapped in a gamer's worst nightmare…a frozen loading screen. 'They could have at least given me something to do while stuck in this place.' Joshua thought with a smile.
Just as he was starting to wonder if he would be stuck in the white void for the rest of his existence a loud ringing sound occurred all throughout the surroundings. It was followed up with a short buzzing noise before an audible ding filled his ears.[System online…Earth citizen number 1,226,748,253 being integrated...] A sudden neutral sounding voice filled the surroundings causing Joshua to look around in surprise.
"Um, anyone there?" Joshua asked as he stood still trying to look for the source of the voice.
[Citizen Name: Joshua James Jr. Age: 22, Sex: Male, Height: Six foot Eight inches or 203.2cm, Weight: 286lbs or 129.7kg…] Joshua listened as the voice started to list off his physical descriptions and some of his more basic identifications.
Once it went silent he decided to ask another question. "Why am I here? Am I alive? Did I succeed?"
[You have survived the first phase of the risen world initiative. All survivors of the first phase shall be ranked according to their contribution. Rank will be given along with an estimation of your stats after completing the first phase. Please proceed to the stats panel up ahead.] The neutral voice once again went quiet as a set of floating steps started to appear in front of Joshua. Noticing that this was the only change in the entire room Joshua took a deep breath before stepping on to the first floating step and tested it out. When he put his full weight on it the step didn't budge an inch and he proceeded to climb further up the constantly appearing steps. After making it half way up the first five steps another step would generate in front of the furthest one he could see. As he moved along he noticed there would always be five steps ahead of him and five steps behind him at a given time. When he moved out of range of the earlier steps they would fade away into nothing.
Joshua spent the next few minutes climbing until the fantasy like stairs finally stopped generating steps and instead made a platform just ahead of him. The second he stepped onto the platform a large screen popped up in front of him before a door appeared behind it. The screen was blank for a moment before a light emitted from it and scanned Joshua's body. When it finished scanning him from head to toe a set of information appeared on it.
Joshua James Jr.
Soul Beast: Unknown
Stats (numbers in parenthesis are the species average)
Strength: 46 (10)
Vitality: 48 (10)
Dexterity: 34 (10)
Intelligence: 37 (10)
Wisdom: 28 (10)
Will: 50 (10)
Luck: 100 (1)
First Phase Rank: 1
Joshua stared at the information in front of him in surprise for a moment as several question came to mind. What did it mean by job and soul beast? Why was his luck stat so high? Joshua could somewhat put together the reasoning for his stat values. Based off his history of mixed martial arts and his aptitude for it he could see why his physical stats were the way they were. His strength and toughness were his selling point in fights. He had been learning how to take a blow sense he first started training and as he grew up he had to fight people much stronger than him. That had most likely been the reason why he had always been so hard to put down and it reflected in his vitality rating. Dexterity on the other hand was reasonable in his eyes due to the fact that he often trained for flexibility in his movements, but at his size he would never be the best at that or at least that would be the case under normal circumstances.
Intelligence and wisdom were also not too surprising. He had been studying to become a doctor for a long time and not to brag, but he considered himself fairly smart when it came to things he was interested in. Wisdom he was assuming had something to do with experience in life in some ways. He had experienced much in a short life, but definitely not enough to put him in the upper echelon of people around the world. What was surprising was that his will was the highest non luck stat on the board. Until he knew exactly how all these stats were calculated he wouldn't be able to explain it.
After a few minutes of thinking over the information he received the neutral voice once again filled the room. [Calculating Job Class…After system assessment of battle logs throughout first phase Job specified will be…Berserker] Joshua froze at the announcement. The more he heard the more it felt like he was jumping into some kind of MMO world with rather unfair balancing if he thought about his stats in comparison to the average person. Thinking about how the job berserker worked in most games he had played he didn't get the feeling that the job quite fit him. It would limit him to a specific style of combat and if one of the jobs abilities was to lose his reasoning while fighting like some games then he definitely didn't like the option. [Would you like to gain the job berserker? Yes/No]
Joshua thought about it for a moment, then with a determined look he replied. "No, I would not like the job of berserker."
[Acknowledged. Citizen Joshua James Jr. Will not take the berserker job. Because you have refused the suggested job you will have to work for another one in the future. This will be explained further after integration is completed…Now step through the door to integrate with your Soul Beast] the voice responded to his answer. The screen in front of him flickered away before the door behind it swung open into what looked like a completely dark room. Joshua took a deep breath before stepping inside.
The door lead to a long hallway with walls that echoed with each step he took forward. The door behind him vanished after he walked far enough inside causing all light to disappear. Joshua found himself walking down what seemed like an empty space for a long time. The idea of being stuck in another loading phase crossed his mind, but soon he could see what looked like a thin line of light far into the distance. He picked up his pace and rushed ahead until he came across another doorway at the end of the hall. The crack in the middle of the two sides of the door was where the source of light was coming from.
He reached out and felt two handles on each side and pulled on them to open his way inside. The room he entered was another wide open space, but in the center there was a small ball of light that seemed to hover in the air. It was the only source of light in the area so Joshua walked over to see what it was. When he got close enough the light started to dim and fade as a silhouette started to form inside of it. By the time he reached it he was able to get a clear look at what looked like a small creature that he had never seen before. It was the size of a medium sized puppy with long strands of silver fur and a long shaggy tail that slowly waived back and forth. It looked like a baby wolf to some extent, but it had a pair of horns on the top of its head and instead of four legs it had six. It had four frontal legs instead of the usual two with claws that were rather sharp even for something so young.
It was sleeping peacefully in a curled up position and when Joshua got close enough it started floating towards him. When he tried to touch the creature it simply floated through his stretched out hand and went into his chest. Joshua was shocked by how it phased inside of him near the location of his heart. He patted his chest in surprise before an odd calming sensation flooded throughout his body. He closed his eyes and it was as if he could feel the creature's emotions as it had a gentle calming effect on him.
When Joshua opened his eyes back up another door appeared in front of him and without waiting on the voice to tell him what to do he reached out and pulled the door open. He was met with another bright light and had to wait for his eyes to adjust before walking inside. Surprisingly on the other side of the door he was met with an old man sitting behind a desk looking over a screen of information in front of him. "Well come on in, we've got a lot to talk about."
Meanwhile in an unknown place far away, one woman opened her eyes after feeling a certain existence come into being. A bright smile spread across her face as she knew the meaning of this creatures return.