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Chapter 4 - Legends Never Die.



"Warren, Merire, clean the rest up, I'm almost dead." Merlin shouted out to his companions as he limped back towards the ruin, chanting the command, "Open inventory."

A large game window appeared before Merlin, containing a grid with almost every cell of the grid being marked with the icon of some form of item, alongside the number that represented the amount of that particular item was stored. It appeared that Merlin was quite the hoarder.

Operating the search bar, Merlin quickly searched the term 'potion', cells that contained relevant items became highlighted while others dimmed. Merlin reached his hand within the inventory window, and as if he had put his hand in a portal, it vanished, only to return with an ornate large glass vial in hand. Merlin swiped his hand through the side of the inventory window, causing it to fade away.

Ripping the cork out of the glass vial, Merlin chugged it's contents as if his life depended on it, his companions passed him by with their weapons drawn, prepared to clean up the rest of the attackers. Just as he found a large shattered pillar to sit behind, Merlin began feeling dizzy, and his breathing became haggard, it felt like he was trying to inhale fumes. The now empty glass vial fell out of his hand, shattering against the overgrown stone brick floor.

A large red alert box appeared in Merlin's view, his view was unobstructed, but the box was still clearly visible, it contained the following message.

┌───────────────────

[Error! Safe Operations Code 554!]

An error has occurred that interferes with the safe operations guidelines, you will be forcibly ejected from the system, and an error log has been generated.

User Arthur Holmes, you will receive a call within 4 hours from our staff, please do not operate this unit until you have spoken with a specialist.

└───────────────────

A deafening boom that sounded like thunder could be heard, the scenery around Merlin suddenly vanished, only to be replaced with a bright white environment Merlin was familiar with, it was the white room that every person visited when they launched a VR capsule, the virtual hub. Merlin's vision was slowly fading to black, and he felt a jolt in his body, a stimulating jolt that signalled to the user that they were no longer operating the VR capsule, and to wake those up who fell asleep while connected.

Still not entirely conscious yet, but still in the process of returning to consciousness, Merlin felt it was too silent in the capsule, the only thing that he could hear was his heart beating, but he could feel something was wrong, his eyes and throat felt itchy, his lungs felt like they were on fire.

After fully coming into consciousness he realised that he could smell burnt plastic, and he had a piercing headache, his ears were ringing, his eyes were watering and he was coughing violently. Merlin began frantically trying to force his way out of the capsule, pushing against it, kicking it, attempting to punch the window. As he was banging on the capsule door, he heard a man's voice, which startled him because he lives alone.

His mind was not in the best state at that moment, but he couldn't help but get the feeling of déjà vu.


"Ge—h'mm out of th—r naow!" The sounds of unintelligible muffled shouting could be heard, followed by the sounds of clanking and banging, and then finally the sound of creaking metal as the capsule door swung open.

When the capsule finally opened, Merlin's vision was completely blurred due to his watery eyes and the bright white light that stung due to his current case of light sensitivity, however he could still faintly make out four figures standing around him. Two of them leaned in and lifted him out of the capsule, resting him gently on the floor, a safe distance away from the device.

Merlin's eyes had started to adjust to the bright light, although his vision was still blurred, he could now make out more shapes, and within his peripheral vision, he saw what looked to be two more people running towards his direction.

'This is strangely familiar...' Merlin thought to himself, still unable to shake the feeling of déjà vu.

When the two figures made their way over to his location, he felt pressure being applied to his wrist, then his neck and finally his chest. A woman voice could be heard amidst the ringing in Merlin's ears, "Vitals are elevated, but he's breathing, lets get him on oxygen before we move him."

Merlin found himself lifted up on a chair and given an oxygen mask. While still in a state of delirium and still having slight issues with his vision, he took the time to observe his surroundings, it was familiar but there was absolutely no chance he'd ever think this was his room, no matter how delirious he may be.

The walls were painted an industrial white with cobalt blue lines outlining the skirting board, where the wall and floor meet, as well as around every door frame, most likely for visibility reasons, as the floors were a white vinyl material, a similar shade to the walls, giving off a clean and medical environment.

The woman who had previously checked his vitals approached him, kneeling down in front of him and resting a hand on his face, before speaking in a gentle voice, "Hey, Art, how are you feeling, can you talk?"

It had been a long while since Merlin was last called that, the only person who did died in a car accident 12 years ago, and the only people he spoke to since called him Merlin or very rarely his real name. The sudden surge of sad memories, along with his delirious state caused him to mutter a name, "Anna?"

"Oh, so you can hear me, that's good. What's the matter buddy, cant see?" The woman who seemed to respond to the name Anna lifted Merlin's face and pulled out a pen light, quickly shining the torch in Merlin's eyes, to which he gave a wince as a response. "Ah, light sensitivity huh? Don't worry, it'll return to normal soon."

Merlin felt his face redden and tears started forming in his eyes, not sure if he was experiencing a dream, or some kind of hallucination, but the person in front of him felt familiar, as if his deceased sister was suddenly in front of him, taking a chance he wrapped his arms around the woman in front of him, burying his face into her shoulder.

"It must have been scary, huh? I told you those capsules were dangerous." The woman began consoling him, gently rubbing his back and continuing to talk in a soft voice, breaking away from the hug, the woman playfully flicked Merlin on the forehead, "You told me that you were all grown up, but you're still a little crybaby."

Merlin went to rub his forehead, still confused as to what was going on, but then he noticed his hand. It was smaller than he expected, it lacked any of the wrinkles he obtained from age, or even the faded tattoo he had come to regret in his later years.


Thoughts started racing within his mind, with each thought spiralling further and further into insanity, Was he reliving his past memories as his brain died? Was this a realistic dream? Did he suddenly get warped back in time? Did his memories get sent to a parallel universe?

He was forcibly snapped out of his thoughts due to a man yelling angrily. Merlin looked behind his sister to see the four people who were originally with him when he was dragged out of the capsule. There were three men wearing lab coats, being yelled at by a well-dressed business man. Merlin struggled to hear the details, but he did pick out a couple insults, it seemed the man was rather foul-mouthed, and suddenly the feeling of déjà vu struck him once more.

Merlin couldn't help but be startled as the business man slapped a clipboard out of another man's hands, followed by more yelling and more insults, sending what Merlin could only assume to be a researcher or some kind of scientist into a panicked state. Merlin couldn't help but mumble the words, "He's kinda angry, huh?"

"Don't worry Art, father isn't angry at you. You know how overprotective he gets." His mumble elicited a giggle from the woman, followed by another bomb. 'Oh, that man is my father, I haven't talked to him in 12 years, I almost forgot how angry he got.' Merlin couldn't help but sigh, feeling sorry for the researcher.

"Anna, is Arthur safe?" Merlin's-- no, Arthur's father shouted out towards Anna, Arthur's sister.

"Why don't we walk over there, are you feeling up for it?", Anna turned towards Arthur, standing up and giving her hand as support.

Arthur felt relieved after finally getting confirmation about his sister's identity, he grabbed the small oxygen tank and took her hand, following along as she lead him towards their father.

"Arthur, are you alright?" His father asked him, the anger in his voice had almost subsided, it sounded as though he was extremely worried instead. "I've called for Doctor Hudson, he'll give you a check-up as soon as he's here."

"Y-Yeah, I'm fine. What happened?" Feeling a little awkward talking to his father once more after all this time, he could help but feel guilty, even though it seems the future Arthur had experienced has not yet come to pass.

One of the scientists had stepped forward and began explaining that the system overloaded due to a sudden surge in power caused by another energy based experiment on another floor within the laboratory, and that such a surge should not have happened based on measurements and calculations provided by that team. The scientist then finished off by turning to Arthur and asking him a question. "Regardless of the incident, how did you like the demo of New Genesis?"

And then Arthur remembered where he was, and what he was doing before the incident, this was the first test demo of New Genesis, and Arthur was one of the first testers, well before they started recruiting beta testers. After playing the game for 30 years, Arthur had a couple gripes that he would have liked fixed, or features added, and all of a sudden he was given the opportunity to change them early. A notice from the other medical officer who came with Anna signalled that Dr. Hudson had arrived and expected to see Arthur immediately.

With the time limit given to him, Arthur turned to the researchers and just listed off his biggest issues he could think of before walking off. "Give the option to use commands and skills by thinking of them or being able to teach the system to use that ability with a recorded gesture. Oh, and individual notification windows for each time you take and deal damage is annoying, just add overhead damage numbers like other games or a single window or give the option to change it."

Leaving the researchers with a dumbfounded look on their faces, Arthur walked off with the medical staff.

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