Reborn: Evolving From Nothing / Reborn: Evolving From Nothing Chapter 59: Waiting
Dorian raised his hands, looking at the endless white rock that stretched off into the distance.
According to Ausra, this world here was under his control. She didn’t give him any specifics, but he had gained an innate understanding of what that meant.
He looked closely at the stone floor in front of him and mentally willed the rock to pull up.
Immediately, a small, two meter tall pillar of stone rose into the air, about as wide as an arm’s length. It shared the same plain white color as almost everything else.
‘Ooh.’ Dorian muttered as he felt the strange movement. It felt like he was controlling a tendril of energy, and that by willing that energy to move, he was able to change the landscape around him.
“Huh! Hah!” He grunted aloud as he waved his hands, causing two more pillars of stone to rise up.
He grinned, and then looked out off to his left at the empty expanse.
“RISE!” He yelled aloud, using the fullest extent of his will.
Immediately, a thousand stone pillars shot into the air, spaced evenly apart from each other. When they all rose in unison, a grating noise echoed in the air.
“Kinda cool.” Dorian leapt up atop one of the pillars.
Despite this just being his consciousness, he still maintained the same sense of balance and movement he would in a regular body. He jumped from pillar to pillar, practicing his movements.
Gravity seemed to operate here like it did on the two planets and World Bridge he traveled on, roughly at a level equivalent to Earth. He tried willing it to change, but failed. It seemed he didn’t control everything here.
“Well, I guess I can practice running and dodging while I wait.” He shrugged and stepped forward again, jumping from pillar to pillar. He might as well be productive with his time.
“Hey William!” Dorian wiped a sheen of sweat from his forehead as he spoke, settling down on the ground next to the forest of stone pillars. He then looked at his hand askance. The sweat he’d wiped had vanished.
His consciousness could get tired like his physical body, and he would feel all the same aches and the needs to rest. If he believed sweat would appear, it seemed it would actually appear here. It was quite odd.
“It’s been 6 hours now. You’re the only person here with me, so I figured I’d say hi.” Dorian continued, looking up at the large, lightly glowing red orb up in the sky.
“I seem to have gained some sort of innate sense for time passing. I know exactly how long I’ve been here, down to the minute, even if I don’t keep track.” He rubbed his chin,
“I don’t know if you can hear me up there, or if you ever will hear this. But thanks for saving my life.” He nodded his head,
“I know my words right now might not mean much, but I’ll try to do the same back.”
“Hey William! We’re on Day 2 down here. I wish I could ask Ausra how the repair process is going. It kinda sucks being left all alone down here. It must be hard for you up there.” Dorian’s voice was confident, full of cheer. He was currently standing on a small mountain of stone pillars, looking up at the red orb in the sky.
After learning he could manipulate the landscape, Dorian had spent the entire next day practicing on creating stone creations from the ground. He’d so far willed a miles wide forest of stone pillars to exist, as well as three large mountains, also made out of stone pillars.
As he looked over them, he shook his head. He’d stuck to using stone pillars to see how it would look as an artistic statement.
And it looked atrocious.
Well. He never claimed to be much of an artist.
He’d test out some other shapes later.
“Hup!” He jumped into the air, landing on a nearby pillar as he began racing through them.
“Parkour!” He jumped again, this time backflipping to a second pillar.
Unfortunately, he slipped as he tried to latch on, his leg sliding. He tumbled and fell off the side of several other stone pillars before he forced himself to stop, hugging the side of one of the larger ones.
“Oww.” He could still feel pain here, apparently. Or maybe he was only willing the pain to appear, because of his expectations? It was confusing.
“I think I’ll try some stone spheres next, maybe practice my balance dancing on them. I’ll check back in later!”
“Hey William! It’s been seven pretty dull days now. I figure Ausra must be getting close to finishing the repair process on my soul, which is exciting. For me and for you, after all.” Dorian smiled as he looked up at William’s dormant soul, relaxing on the smooth floor of the expanse.
Off to his side, hundreds of random geometric shapes could be seen, various experiments of what he could and could not do. The white rock all looked uniform, but his myriad of designs had lived the place up a little.
“We’re kinda similar in that regard now, aren’t we? Me with my damaged soul, you with your damaged body. Well, destroyed, non-existent body. Okay, not the best metaphor, my bad.” He sighed, running his hands through his hair.
“I think I’m going to take a nap.” Every twelve to sixteen hours, Dorian had discovered his consciousness needed to rest and rejuvenate, just as if he was in a regular body.
The temperature here was placid, neither warm nor cold, and while the floor looked uncomfortable, it actually felt fine.
“Hey William. We just hit one month that I’ve been stuck down here. Exactly 30 days. Having each month last exactly 30 days in the 30,000 Worlds is a pretty smart idea. Can you imagine how much of a pain it would be if the months ended randomly, like on the 28th, or 31st?” Dorian’s voice was calm and collected as he sat, his legs crossed, looking down from the platform he was on.
He’d begun practicing creating exact shapes by using his will. The sheer boredom of being stuck here, in this dull, unending world was starting to get to him. He couldn’t do anything else here, no matter how he tried. There was no way to use his Abilities, he couldn’t sense any type of energy or anything else. Everything was isolated, here in this space.
In front of him were a set of tall, oak trees, standing roughly eight to nine meters each in height. Dorian looked at them proudly. They looked almost life-like, very realistic to the eye.
He stepped up to one of them, kicking off with his legs against it and jumping to another. His movements were quick and agile, his practice over the last month showing.
“I’m sure Ausra will finish the repair process soon. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, lately, and I can’t wait to get back to the outside world. Life down here is pretty monotonous.” He sighed.
“I’ll check back in later.”
“Hey William. How are you? I’m doing okay.” Dorian’s voice sounded tired.
“It’s been three months now.”
In front of Dorian, a small forest spread out. Not one of stone pillars, but actual, life-like replicas of trees. Several hundred of them, giving the world a fairly realistic appearance, if one ignored color.
A carved river moved through this small forest, realistic depictions of rocks, ruffling waves, and currents spreading along it.
“This is really hard, William. I hate not being able to talk to anyone or anything. I didn’t realize how much I relied upon Ausra, just to have another being to talk with.” He continued speaking, his eyes distant,
“I’m okay though, don’t you fret. I’ll be getting you fixed up soon. I’m sure Ausra is almost done.”
“Hey Will.” His voice was haggard, as he spoke, looking up at the glowing, never changing red orb,
“I stopped counting the days. I think it’s bad for my mental health.”
Around Dorian, a fully fledged forest stretched for miles. Realistic down to tiny details, the forest teemed with unmoving life. Carved depictions of squirrels and deer dotted the woods, alongside other small wildlife.
In front of Dorian was a picture of a Forest Boar, a large, 2 and a half meter tall creature that looked like a bull. A pair of firm white tusks stuck out of its brutish mouth, giving it an intimidating appearance.
It was one of the creatures Dorian had encountered in the past, when he was trying to escape from Hasnorth.
“It’s too bad the Godking didn’t create subsidized mental healthcare alongside my Soul Spell Matrix.” He muttered, rubbing his hands.
“I can’t actually forget the time,” Dorian sighed,
“It’s been six months now Will.”
Dorian was quiet for a long moment.
He sat down on the ground, turning around and leaning against the leg of the large, stone image of the Forest Boar.
“I won’t lie to you Will.” He said, breathing in heavily,
“I’ve been here so long, I feel like I’ve started to forget what its like to not be here. All I see here is unending white rock, in every direction, fading into that fog. I tried walking towards the fog, but I can never seem to reach it. I just move farther from where I started.” He sighed, looking through the forest.
Past the edge of the stone woods, a large collection of stone pillars could be seen. The ones he’d formed when he first got here, crude and large. Some shaped like mountains, others dotted randomly.
“I’m okay, though, Will. I’ll tough it out. It’s hard, it’s really, really hard, but I’m not a quitter.” He put on a smile as he looked up at the red orb, glowing up above,
“I’ll check in later!” He gave the orb a thumbs up.
“…” Dorian was silent as he gazed up at William’s dormant soul, his eyes gleaming.
“Hi Will.” He spoke for the first time in several months. His voice sounded strange in his ears, echoing oddly.
“Today marks a year since Ausra left to repair my soul.” He spoke again, tasting the words as they left his mouth. He felt disconnected from them.
The small forest he’d created had transformed into a massive one. Hundreds of creatures could be seen in it, some big while some large. From Lesser Throne Demons and Ifrits to Red Salamanders and Brown Treasure Clams, a wide variety of every type of being Dorian had absorbed.
“I’m starting to lose faith, Will.” His voice was a whisper,
“It’s so hard, Will. Being here alone. I want to give up, Will.”
“It’s so hard.”
He was silent for a time.
“But if I give up, I might die.” His eyes gleamed as he looked up at the red orb.
“I know you’re depending on me. I won’t give up.”
“But it’s really hard doing this alone.”
He took a deep, ragged breath.
“But I’m okay.” He shook his head, putting on a smile,
A large forest stretched for dozens of miles. Thousands of intricately carved stone creatures flocked within the forest, some in trees or small rivers, others hiding behind stones or near boulders.
Next to this forest was a massive mountain range, filled with dozens of mountains. Some had precocious cliffs, while others long, sloping sides. Powerful beasts could be seen, standing frozen amidst the area, looking ferocious.
A man could be seen, standing in front of one of these creatures. A powerful looking creature that looked like a dinosaur, with thick, bulging legs and a mouth full of sharp teeth, standing a giant ten meters tall.
“A Grandmaster Class Green Scaled Ground Dragon.” Dorian stared at the creature as he moved his finger, willing some of the stone to fall away, perfectly capturing the image of the beast.
“You were one of the first dangerous creatures I met.” He smiled as he called up the memory of him hiding in fear as the giant dinosaur passed by. He really shouldn’t be smiling at it, but going over any of his old memories made him smile now.
He was confident that the him of now could easily trounce the beast, using his Ifrit form.
He looked away from the huge predator, towards a much smaller carving. A small, four legged creature with a collection of leaves shaped like a closed bud on its back.
“And this is a Bulbasaur.” He jumped over towards the Pokemon.
“Use Vine Whip!” He yelled out a command towards his creation, looking at it expectantly.
It didn’t move.
He smiled ruefully.
They never moved.
Or did anything, unless he willed it.
His smile faded as he looked away from the ferocious predator and the small Pokemon, both perched on the side of the mountain, and back up towards the ever-present red orb in the sky.
He was silent for a few minutes. Those minutes then faded to a dozen, and from a dozen to an hour as he stared up at the red orb.
“It’s been five years now, Will.” Dorian’s voice was quiet. He waited several more minutes before he continued,
“I wonder how much time has passed in the real world.”
Dorian turned away from the beast, looked up at the distant mountain peak.
He hunched down and then exploded upward, his legs sending him flying with what should have been an impossible amount of force.
His vast practice over the last several years had honed his will, and his control of his will. He’d realized that the only thing that limited him hear was his imagination and willpower. If he wanted to be as strong as a god, then he would become as strong as a god.
There were some things he couldn’t change. The gravity, for one. For another, he was unable to add color to this world. He also couldn’t go too high into the sky, no matter how or what he built. After about two miles, he slowly began to hit some type of mental barrier that he was unable to breach.
Still, he thought, as he sailed high into the sky, landing atop the mountain peak. His experience in commanding his physical form, and using his will, had grown quite a bit. He didn’t know if it would ever be useful if he made it back to the real world, but at least it was something.
Dorian sat down on the peak, looking over the huge, widespread forest, and the mountains off behind him and to either side.
He looked back up at the floating, still orb.
“I’m still here, Will. I’m still here.” Dorian wondered, sometimes, on his darker days, why he hadn’t gone insane. Perhaps his mind or soul had been strengthened in his new Evolved forms, making him more resilient.
Every day he stayed in here simply staying sane became harder and harder. For some reason, though, he felt as if his consciousness was growing stronger with each passing day. This careful balance made him just barely able to handle everything.
“I don’t know how, but I am.”
“I am no hero. Just a few years ago I was a normal human.”
“I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here.”
“I don’t know how much longer I can take this.”
He paused for a moment from his monologue, his fists clenching,
“But I will not give up.” He closed his eyes. A single tear fell down his face, one that quickly vanished.
“I will never give up.”
After 8 years, 221 days, 13 hours, and 47 minutes in the distorted time of his Soul Spell Matrix, an old, once-familiar voice rang out in Dorian’s head once more,
‘Soul repair complete. Waking the host from dormancy.’