Saga Conquest Chapter 3: Kingdom Of Urd

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On a wide plain full of golden pastures, a powerful roar caused a strong breeze that . It was as if the wind itself had screamed after being torn apart by some supernatural force, yet no one was there to witness it. No one, until that moment.

As if they had always been there, in the middle of that wide plain, there were now a little more than a thousand people. Wagons, horses, men and women on foot. For anyone who saw this contingent there would be no doubt that this was an army.

However absurd it may seem, that army had appeared out of nowhere. As if the same wind that had made that heartbreaking cry had brought them forth right there.

"This brings back old memories." –as he looked up at the wide blue sky, a singular young man mounted on a huge black steed let his thoughts escape.

White and shiny hair like platinum, cold and imperturbable eyes of silver color. Light skin like porcelain, a beautiful androgynous face, and extravagant black clothes. That individual who seemed to be the result of the union between the winter night and the moon was Raven Magnus, one of the thirteen elite players of Conquest Online.

"What kind of memories, Nii-sama?" –with great curiosity, a small, tender voice asked.

"About my first conquest..." –immersed in his memories, Raven answered without paying much attention to his environment. His mind led him to that fortunate day when Conquest Online had come into his life.

Bitterness, frustration, hatred and loneliness. Conquest Online had made all those feelings that Raven had been enduring for several years much more bearable.

'No, that doesn't matter anymore' –feeling that the past was trying to climb through his mind to torment him again, Raven shook his head and his thoughts focused again on Conquest Online.

Raven could almost hear the battle cries of his NPC Soldiers, as they climbed the walls of the first city he had conquered. The echo caused by the constant clash between the weapons and the shields, and the background music that matched the situation perfectly.

Conquest Online had been praised and criticized for its realism regarding battles. Not just a few had said things like, "If CO were devoid of its elements of magic and fantasy, it would become a battle simulator that would cause psychological problems to anyone who played it.

Despite the crudity of such assertions, the line that prevented players from receiving any psychological damage wasmuch more stopped due to the VRID 2.0's own limitations than by the game itself. In a disturbing way, if it had been possible, nobody doubted that the CO developers would have included aspects like faces of pain and screams of agony, as well as blood and brutal, visible wounds if the processing capacity of VRID 2.0 would have allowed it. CO developers were... unique people.

Still, the game already pushed the VRID 2.0 to the limit of its processing power.

"Conquest Online is the closest one can get to experiencing the worst aspect of our nature, the war" –these were the words of a veteran after trying the game. It is important to remember that such a person, ended his statement with these words: "I can only feel horror at the thought that such a vivid and atrocious experience is within the reach of our children. This is a game that should not exist."

To the disgrace of this veteran, far from serving to raise awareness, his statements only stoked the public's fervor for the game.

There were many differing opinions regarding CO, as well as many motivations for playing this game, but without doubt, one could say that Raven's motivation was unique.

In CO, Raven had found a bit of the one thing that made sense to him in human nature, war.

For Raven, if there was one thing he did not understand and that he firmly believed he would never understand, it was the reasons behind human behavior.

'In human society, you must pretend while also seeing through the lies or you will end up being devoured. I can pretend and I can see through lies, what I do not understand is the reasoning behind it.'

'Why can't I call idiots out as the fools they are?'

'Why should I smile falsely just to make others feel better?'

'Why should I thank those who strive and those who are only parasites who cling to the successes of others in the same way?'

'Empathy? Feelings? Has anything so absurd ever been useful for anything other than giving one a false sense of superiority compared to other humans?'

'Feelings are useless for progress. Medicine did not simply reach its current level by hiding behind empathy; it did so through deception and cruelty'

The desire to destroy, to take, to subjugate. War has always been the incentive for progress and not the self-satisfaction of charity'.

Then why do they look at me like that? Is it such an unforgivable taboo to refuse to live the rest of my life wearing a mask? Thinking differently than them gives them the right to deny my existence?'

'If among those petty creatures called humanity there is no one who can understand me. Then I will create a mind which does, an artificial mind'

Did even that bother them? They went so far as to get in the way of my search for an equal'.

'It is useless, it doesn't make sense. Why should I try to be like them if they don't even make the slightest effort to try to understand me?'

'I refuse to go on living among them.'

'Why can't they just leave me alone?'

Surrounded by loneliness, Raven often wondered whether his problem was his lack of understanding of those 'feelings' or was it that his mind simply could not understand something that does not exist.

'The only thing that makes sense is war. In conflict, humans show their true nature. In war there is no empathy, no love, there is only one absolute truth, the desire for victory.'

That was something that Raven had concluded after reading a seemingly infinite number of books, and led further by this conclusion, once his life was ruined by human falsehood, Raven focused on further investigating war.

That path led him to strategy and management video games, and without him noticing it, he developed a huge taste for this kind of video game.

It was simply inevitable that such an encounter would happen, an antisocial and apathetic human who unknowingly loved war, and a virtual reality video game whose essence was precisely that, war.

"This is no time for daydreaming, Raven-sama" –a firm voice charged with a faint discomfort resonated in Raven's ears.

His thoughts interrupted by those words, Raven fixed his gaze on the person to his right, whom that comment had come from.

Mounted on a beautiful white steed and wearing an ostentatious armor plated with gold ornaments, and with a beautiful blue cape waving lightly over her back, was a young woman of about seventeen years old and of unparalleled beauty.

Imposing, sapphire blue eyes overflowing with honor, long golden hair that seemed to emit its own light. White and smooth skin, a stylized face that could only be labeled with the word 'perfection'. That beauty that would make any man think of the word 'unreachable' was Nike Julius, one of the two NPC Generals Raven had chosen for the quick start.

"I-is something wrong, Raven-sama?" –with Raven's gaze fixed on her, Nike's face blushed to Raven's great surprise.

"No... It's nothing" –Raven's mind was stunned for a couple of seconds.

'Impossible' –that was the first thought that came into Raven's mind. Unlike other games in the VRID 2.0's extensive catalogue, in CO, NPCs had no facial expressions, let alone a voice. Only the game mechanics already took up most of the VRID 2.0's processing power, so there was simply no room for any detail!

"Nii-sama, stop flirting with Nike!" –a tender, angry voice erupted from Raven's left.

"W-we're not are flirting!" –with her face blushing even more than before, Nike vigorously denied the accusation.

Raven glanced to his left, where the accusation had come from.

Wearing a beautiful black dress, long white hair shining like platinum and beautiful silver possessive eyes. Skin as soft as velvet and white as snow, a cute and adorable face. A small girl that, if she were to remain immobile, could be confused with the most perfect porcelain doll worthy of being declared a heirloom of humanity.

This little one of incomparable beauty, looking no older than fourteen years of age and mounted on a beautiful black steed, was Freya Magnus, the second NPC General that Raven had chosen for his quick start.

"A-anyway, we must find a place to rest and eat." -evading the discussion with Freya, Nike's gaze turned away.

Raven, who still could not find an explanation for the strange behavior of his two NPC Generals, followed Nike's gaze. Formed in two long columns behind Raven and his two NPC Generals, were the thousand soldiers that made up the starting troops for any player of CO.

To his surprise, the thousand soldiers were not static as they should be; each of them seemed to have a life of their own. They chatted amongst themselves and waved their arms and legs caused by potential fatigue.

The word; 'Impossible' kept repeating in Raven's mind like a broken record. The strange behavior of Nike and Freya could forcibly be explained with a surprise update; however, the application of this update to each of the other NPCs was far beyond the improbable.

What was happening in front of Raven's eyes was something that completely exceeded the processing capabilities of the VRID 2.0.

"Nii-sama, although I don't like to agree with Nike, I would like to eat something and, if possible, take a bath.

Raven, who forced his mind to try and find any logical explanation for what he saw and experienced, was interrupted in his thoughts once again.

"Although I would also like to take a bath, I think that will be impossible at the moment, Freya-sama"

As Nike and Freya plunged into a new discussion, Raven became aware of another series of anomalies. He was able to feel the warmth of the sun on his skin, as well as the occasional slight caress of the wind. In the same way, he could perceive a sweet scent coming from Freya and Nike.

In front of this scenario, Raven performed a common action for any CO players, he snapped his fingers to call up the game menu. However, nothing beyond the usual sound of snapping fingers, happened.
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