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The Old Life (Part 2)

Darkness drowned everything. Ameanum didn't know if he was alive as he couldn't feel anything but a vague movement. A nauseous, visceral feeling enveloped him, brushing against his stomach like a sea of salty waves. As seconds turned to minutes and then to hours, the warrior lost all sense of time.
He thought about everything that happened and led him to this point. Ameanum was tranquil as a child. So quiet that his parents occasionally forgot him at places. He easily lost interest in most ventures, sometimes in just a few hours.
Until then, even if everybody else considered him abnormal, he wasn't paying attention. His parents, after they had another child, seemed to ignore him even more. Still, he didn't care anyway, as they covered his living expenses. And then he came across a VR headset. The VR technology was around for a few years, but the VR headset he tested was a step above the rest.
Before, every other headset was just a camera you could move around. This one used your brainwaves to move your character around. Even if the system wasn't perfect then, it drew his attention more than anything else he had started. He bought one device while also researching its functions and possibilities. Even if he wasn't an expert engineer or programmer, his writing ideas at few forums drew the headset's creators' attention. They offered him a job in the marketing and testing department. And for the first time, he found something to be excited about.
He helped design the headset's functions and later the more advanced capsule system. The user could browse all files and digital documents in a 3D environment, copy them, and organize them with great freedom. For more casual users, like students, they could use it for their homework. The most common use was for gaming. ENERIAS TOWER was not the first game released in the VR environment. Still, the one with the most significant impact in the gaming community and the work Ameanum was most proud of. Even if he was primarily working in the testing department, he had many ideas that helped in its development.
There were a few changes to the final product from the one he tested, but he was more than happy to play it, finally finding what he was looking for all those years. The game opened him to a different world.
The NPCs were an essential factor. He wasn't fond of interacting with people in actual life, but in-game, maybe because of the quest system and the potential rewards, he was more open. In both cases, his name remained Ameanum, but his personality was the opposite.
The biggest thing that piqued his interest was the main quest of the game, the Tower.
The game's main goal revolved around reaching the top floor of this Tower. However, each floor's progression varied. It most commonly involved fighting monsters, and some involved solving puzzles, encountering traps, or even diplomacy with a few NPCs, fighting, etc.
The battle with the Dragon was one such event, and it was the Boss of that floor, which was the 94th. Although it wasn't known what the top floor was, some assumed that 95 or 100 would be the top. Therefore, some considered a top floor didn't exist, and the developers kept this information hidden even from Ameanum.
As he considered and remembered more things like that, a light appeared a few meters away. He couldn't tell if it was moving closer to him or he was moving closer to it. As he reached the light, his heart hammered against his ribs, his lungs full of air and his eyes heavy with exhaustion like he hadn't slept for weeks.
But he wasn't tired,  although he couldn't move. Nothing kept him in place, but he couldn't conjure the power to move a muscle.
Presently, he waited, gathering the energy he needed to sense his surroundings. Maybe because he was in a comatose-like state and his sight wasn't available for the moment, his other senses improved slightly, so he learned a few things.
He lay on a bed, but the mattress wasn't his own, either in-game or real life. Instead, it was too firm, like barely having any mattress, almost like the bed had wooden planks under it.
Also, the scent of an unknown environment irked him. Most smells were familiar, but their combination wasn't of any place he would usually be.
'This is definitely not a hospital.' [Ameanum]
He thought about where he could be, and then he noticed something. He remembered that he got banned by the system, so he shouldn't have access to it, but he could feel himself barely using it. He thought they might put him into a capsule to keep him alive if the electric shocks put him in such a terrible state as he was considering. However, his feeling was like being in the game, not just being in the capsule. He had spent a lot of time in the game and the capsule's lobby, enough to tell that they felt somewhat differently.
And after a while, he heard some footsteps. He then felt someone pulling his body up and taking out whatever clothes he was wearing, and a wet towel dragged across his body. Then, as his little bath finished, he felt clothes weigh on him.
Then he heard a young girl's voice speaking to him.
"All will go well, little brother. I know you will be awake soon, so I will keep your body clean and healthy."[Young girl]

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6 Νοε 2021

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