To my inheritor,

My name is Shinka Haru, but no one from this world would know that name. When I was born, I was born with the memories of another world. It was a world at peace, but it was also a world filled with technology like you wouldn’t believe. I was granted a power when I was born, it was the power to mold ground and metal. It was an ability that should have made me stand out and change the world, but as you can see, that didn’t amount to much.

On top of my ability, I was born as the sole prince of my father. In preparation to be his heir, they spared no expense. My body was given every manner of potion and enchantment to enhance my growth, and make me into a hero of the ages. Yet, despite having the body of a god, I only had the mind of a modest middle-aged Japanese businessman.

When I was only twelve, my father perished in battle. You see, this world is not a world at peace. This is a world on the verge of destruction. The undead walk the earth, and roving bands of monsters unite to wipe out the age of man. An old god named Cronus with a hatred for humanity spent untold eons breeding up an army, and when the time came, he released his army against Mount Olympus and won. Many gods died, and the monsters of ages long passed now spread across the world like a plague.

Our country, Reliant, has been lucky. We were small, and no one cared or saw us as a threat. We were in a hard-to-reach and resource-thin area surrounded by nasty swamps and impassible mountains. Thus, we had been ignored while the majority of the world fought to survive. All we had to provide were men. Unfortunately, of every man we sent to aid the side of humanity, none ever returned. That included my father, who had visited to the edge of our territory at Hedgemon’s Pass to find out the progress of the war with his own eyes. He never intended to get involved in any fighting but the only part of him that returned was his sword.

I was forced to take the throne early, and I became the next king. The war didn’t seem to spread through Hedgemon’s Pass into our country, so I was given time. I wasted it. I was unwilling to develop things like guns and bombs. If these weapons ended up in the hands of enemies, wouldn’t that only escalate the destruction of this world? So, I concentrated on other things. I improved agriculture, allowing our sparse land to become fruitful. I educated the people, increasing their knowledge and literacy. I wasn’t a warrior. I was just a Japanese man from another world. How could I know how truly horrifying the forces of evil were?

It was only a month ago when they started coming. Scouts disappeared. Towers and bases started to lose contact. Eventually, an army of undead and pushed their way through the unforgiving swamps, penetrated Hedgemon’s Pass, and showed up on our doorstep. Even then, I felt confident we could hold out for months. I never imagined that my queen would betray me. She had been having an affair behind my back with my trusted general, and the general believed that surrender was the only option.

They conspired against me and cut a deal to open the gates under the guise they would be allowed to live. I could only watch as they executed my general, and then raped my wife to death in front of the open gates of my city. Since then, two days have passed, and the undead have wiped out over half of our population. The inner city was breached last night. The last remnants of my army exist within my castle gates. They are the last line of defense before the kingdom falls. I can hear them pounding on the doors. I can hear my people cry and scream for help. Some have escaped to the mountains. Others have decided to stand and die in this city.

As for me, I retreated into the library, looking for any chance to survive. I found that chance. I found you. It’s a reincarnation spell. No one but me, a former reincarnated, would understand the potential behind that. By sacrificing a life, another being can be brought to this world. I was a man with many talents, but I am no warrior. I thought I could win with intelligence and diplomacy. I was wrong. This is a world at war, and what this country needs is a warrior.

If the spell goes correctly, then I will be dead, and you will be in my body. I should have died a long time ago, and my death in this world is an inevitability. As for you, I do not know who you are. I summoned you with a single word. Strength. If you have the strength, then you will be granted another chance at life. You died in your old life, but now you have a chance to be born again. The odds are insurmountable, but I have to believe in the will of a strong warrior.

All I can offer you is my body. It has been enhanced with the best potions and spells. I’ve been told I had unlimited potential for strength as a warrior. It was wasted on me. I hope it isn’t wasted on you. Survive, and if you can, save these people. They are a proud people. Loyal people. Tough people. If you have the strength, they will follow. If you have the will, you will be their sovereign.

I’m sorry to have left you in such miserable circumstances. If I failed, and you do not have what it takes, then kill yourself, and nothing will have changed. You’ll still be dead, and my country will fall. However, if you’re the man I hope you will be, please honor my selfish wish, and save this country of mine from doom. Rise from the blood and ashes of this nation, and show the gods just what humanity is made of!

With best regards,

King Drake Bloodbane

Boom! A giant thud struck the door to the library, causing it to splinter and crack. Someone was trying to break in.  A massive, seven-foot hulk of a man stood there in the middle of a magic circle seemingly drawn in blood. He was shirtless and covered with rippling muscles. If anyone saw him, they would recognize him as Drake Bloodbane. However, they wouldn’t acknowledge him for being powerful. In fact, they would call him the foolish king who had failed his country and left everyone to die. Despite an impressive body built with potions and spells from birth that any warrior in the army would have dreamed for, he was known as a coward and a cuck, who spent his days building walls and reading while the world burned around him.

Even now, as the castle gates fell, he had secluded himself in his library and saw no one. As the women cried and the men fervently fought to their death, he had done nothing. Hate and disgust filled the thoughts of every human being still alive in the city. They were doing everything they could to survive, but more died every day.

A city wasn’t so easy to annihilate as some thought, and even after two days of brutal fighting, groups of resistance and families hidden in cellars still existed in pockets around the city. The undead were simply too dumb to do such strenuous searching, and the city’s mostly stone structures were immune to all but the most brutal attacks.

Blood ran down the front of Bloodbane’s chest, and although there was no wound, one would be forgiven for thinking he’d been stabbed in the heart given the amount of blood on him and the floor. A bloody dagger lying on the ground would only confirm such a belief. As for the man himself, he was looking down at a letter, written by the previous Bloodbane hastily only a few hours before.

He didn’t truly need the letter though. Although it helped, this man could access all of Bloodbane’s memories. They weren’t his own. Rather, they were like a bubble he could pull from if needed. His predecessor had been meticulous with his deeds, leaving as little to chance as possible. The letter helped him gain a grasp on things quickly without needing to shuffle through years of memories. The man standing in that room preferred to keep things simple. It was how he had lived his life up until now. His hand squeezed, crushing the letter before he casually tossed it on the floor and turn to the door was nearly half-torn from a second hit.  

The man was a slave and a gladiator named Bloodbane. He naturally noticed the surname of the king was the same name. He had taken more lives on the stage than he could count. He had lived a life covered in blood, so he felt completely comfortable being born in his new life covered in just as much blood. Then again, what human wasn’t born in this life covered in blood?

His last memory was the king ordering the guards to pelt him with arrows. Had he died in battle, that was one thing, but he had been killed because he wouldn’t throw the match. It was an unsatisfying death that left him feeling bitter and craving more.

At this moment, the door burst open, and a hulking beast stepped in. It appeared to be taller than him, and half-decayed. The gladiator had killed all manner of beast and human, but he lived in a world without magic. He had never fought an undead thing, let alone an undead troll. The identity of the creature as a troll didn’t seem to come from his mind but the memories of his former self. The knowledge of the undead troll was easily accessible because it was such a monster that had been the last one to push itself on top of his screaming queen and ultimately led to her gruesome death.

It wore no clothing except a loincloth, about nine-feet tall, with dark grey skin. It had a chunk missing out of its bicep, and another out of its abdomen, not to mention skin around half its face was gone, bearing vicious-looking teeth. Its mouth twitched when its eyes landed on him in what Bloodbane could only see as a smile.

“Little king. I have finally found you.” It opened its mouth and spoke, surprising him slightly. “I have been sent personally to send you to the grave. You hide like a little turtle, but it is time to face death.”

“Facing death is something I’m familiar with.” Bloodbane smiled, a flash of excitement filling his eyes. “I have never killed anything like you before. I wonder if you can give me a sufficient challenge.”

“Don’t get cocky!” The troll roared, immediately rushing him.

It rose a massive wooden club and then brought it down on Bloodbane’s head. He could see the power behind the beasts strike. If it hit him, his head would explode like a watermelon. However, a strike like this was just far too slow. Bloodbane dodged to the side and the club hit the floor, causing the magic circle that had brought him to this world to shatter.

“Sneaky human! Just stand there and die!” It roared.

It lifted the club again and did the same move a second time. This time, when Bloodbane dodged, it hit a bookcase causing it to exploded into paper shreds and wood splinters. He was beginning to see that this troll wasn’t terribly bright. Was it dumber because it was undead, or were all trolls dumb? A gladiator couldn’t have survived for as long as Bloodbane did without being smart as well. Bloodbane wasn’t just quick on his feet, he was also quick-witted. He might not have had the book-learnedness of his predecessor, but his mind moved quickly and efficiently, allowing him to grasp the situation and take advantage in an instant.

That’s why, as soon as he dodged the troll and it slammed the club down, he jumped back onto the club, sending his full weight down on the handle where the troll was holding onto it. He also threw out his hand, punching the troll directly into the face. As it threw the club down, he had also noticed it threw its entire body into the hit. Anyone who saw the hit wouldn’t be able to tell if Bloodbane had punched the troll, or if the troll had head bunted Bloodbane’s fist.

There was a sickening crunch, and the troll stumbled back, letting go of the club that was now under Bloodbane’s feet. The troll knocked down several more bookshelves before recovering. He had grabbed his face, and when his hands pulled away, there was blood covering them. Looking down at the blood in his hands, he let out a scream. To an undead creature, this hit didn’t hurt. Rather, he screamed because he was surprised and embarrassed. He would have never expected a measly human to hurt him, let alone disarm him.

Bloodbane was also surprised because, for a human, that hit would have killed them. This troll’s nose had been broken and his face was even uglier than before, but he was still alive, or at least, undead. The troll’s eyes fell on Bloodbane, and it shouted again as it ran at him. Bloodbane kicked up the club and caught it with his hand. Although he had never heard of baseball, he was vaguely aware from those memories that the way he held it and subsequently swung it resembled a baseball bat.

Although the club was a bit large in Bloodbane’s hands, he never held anything back. As the troll reached him, the club struck and ripped off its head. The head exploded like a melon, sending blood and viscera splattering across the books, wall, and floor. Had the old Bloodbane saw the destroyed remnants of the library he was once so proud of, he might have wept. To the current Bloodbane, he shook the blood of the club and gave a dismissive snort.

Path of the King has reached level 2.

Bloodbane froze after hearing and seeing such an announcement. This was something he wasn’t familiar with. Thankfully, his predecessor was. After briefly accessing the other man’s memories, he held out his hand.

“Status.”

Name: Drake Bloodbane

Title: King of Reliant

Powers: 2

Earthly Manipulation: Level 7

Path of the King: Level 2

This was something his predecessor identified as a game status. He had found that things like strength, agility, and other such status were not quantified, but his unique powers were. The king had only had a single power though, and that was earthly manipulation. As far as gaining new power, he didn’t believe that to be possible. He did recognize that there was a small chance that by using the spell that brought Bloodbane here, that Bloodbane might have ended up with his own power. He might have ended up with both powers, no powers, or a replacement power. The predecessor didn’t know, so he didn’t waste time discussing it in his letter.

It seemed like the best-case scenario arrived. He had kept the old king’s power and gained an additional power of his own. Path of King seemed like an odd power for a slave and gladiator to inherit.

“Path of the King.”

Path of the King: Bestow subjects with positions of power.

Level 1: Assign yourself a position of power.

Level 2: Assign three additional subjects a position of power.

Current Positions Available: Warrior, Mage, Spy, Scout, Healer

Once again, the predecessor’s memories seemed to help here. These were job classes. They didn’t exist in this world as far as the king knew, but he did remember them from his original world from a thing called RPGs. So, the Path of the King allowed Bloodbane to give his subjects jobs. It seemed that as Bloodbane leveled it, he might unlock more jobs. Since he didn’t know how powerful future jobs would be, or whether he could change a job once it had been selected, he decided to not assign himself a position of power. It would be embarrassing to subject himself to a low-level job when better ones would be available in the future. Plus, without knowing how much of a power boost it gave, he had no problem living with his current abilities, which he was confident in.

He decided to look at earthly manipulation as well.

Earthly Manipulation: Alter and shape any earthly material.

Level 1: Shape raw material.

Level 2: Deconstruct material into base components.

Level 3: Shape earth

Level 4: Shape natural metals

Level 5: Create Alloys

Level 6: Purify metal

Level 7: Condense earth

Although Bloodbane had no true experience when it came to making things, wasn’t earthly manipulation ridiculously powerful? With enough levels, you would be able to make anything you wanted. With such an ability, it was no wonder the undead army wasn’t able to destroy the city, and could only route the population. He didn’t have the wrong idea. The walls had been reinforced with condensed earth and they should have protected the city for months. It was a shame that the queen betrayed the king, and now he was only seen as a foolish coward.

Bloodbane didn’t take long to process all of this information. He could hear distant screams and the occasional explosions which shook the palace. If a troll burst through the library door, then it meant that the palace gates had already been breached and time was of the essence. Swinging the bloody club over his bare shoulder, Bloodbane walked out of the shattered doors of the library. The hallway was an external hallway, with a balcony overlooking the city on the right.

The palace sat against a broad mountain, and two long semi-arcs denoted the inner and outer walls. The city was surprisingly large, stretching out at least a mile or two. It looked like it could house millions. Now, it wouldn’t be surprising if only tens of thousands remained. The city was in pieces. Plumes of smoke rose from numerous places where there was enough wood to ignite. Weaker buildings and been leveled to the ground. Screams could still be heard from men fighting and dying, and women being raped and slaughtered. Moans and screeches from the undead filled the air. His predecessor had truly given Bloodbane nothing to work with.

A vicious smile formed on Bloodbane’s lips. Thankfully, all he needed was himself. He began to walk down the hallway, ready to go to war.