One day when I opened my eyes, I was in an unfamiliar place.
It was a spacious room with gray walls and vertical windows. The place resembled an old European church.
Until this moment, I thought that I was still dreaming of playing a fantasy game.
Although it was an online game, the friends I invited and started playing with no longer matched me in terms of levels, so it became awkward.
In addition, I lacked time given my job, so I could no longer log in.
As such, I naturally lost contact and drifted away from those friends who weren't coworkers.
Afterward, I learned that a new story had been added.
I had looked up walkthroughs, but I still didn't touch the game.
I mean, I didn't want to be told "You still haven't cleared that dungeon yet?" and "If you don't have OO, it'll be troublesome when we go together to the dungeon."
I felt such bitter feelings in that dream I saw.
I was perplexed at these words my dream self had said.
After all, my name was Yura, and I had been living in a small village in the Arendal Kingdom. I was 20 years old and lived together with my grandmother, running a notions store.
My grandmother had recently passed away, and I just held her funeral at the church's graveyard.
Not only was I completely alone now, but I was also reserved and still single. As I wondered what I should do now in front of my grandmother's grave, I let out a sigh…then, I had a gap in my memories.
For some reason, I felt that those memories didn't belong to me, and I was confused.
But, there was one thing I clearly understood.
"I was abducted, wasn't I?"
The clothes I was wearing were completely different. It was changed into an outfit that looked unfinished. And based on my memories of Yura's life in the Arendal Kingdom, she didn't live in such a large building.
At that moment, several people entered the room.
Most of them had blond or brown hair. Their skin was white and their faces chiseled.
They looked like foreigners to me. Although I might have been the strange one, that feeling remained.
"Oh, the experiment was a success!"
"I thought we had failed when her appearance changed…"
"Did crossing the two together as a last-ditch effort work?"
The men wearing black clothes shuffled towards me.
"State your name."
I thought that I would be killed if I didn't respond, so I answered their question honestly.
They didn't give my statement any acknowledgment as they suddenly grabbed my arm and touched my back.
My head was poked, and my back was felt. I reflexively froze at this discomfort.
What, what?! What was happening?
"Humph. Her scared expression is all good, but…"
When my body had stiffened, I heard these outrageous words.
It was that young, blond man again. This slightly pompous man said such disturbing words as he faintly chuckled. This terribly frightened me.
The man pressed a light-green stone, the size of a hand, into my forehead.
"What's this? She's not responding."
He looked at the stone and glared at me with scary eyes.
The words he shouted were incomprehensible to me, and he pressed the stone into my forehead again.
"Just as we thought. She's another failure."
"A failure, huh."
I didn't know what was happening, but I appeared to have betrayed their expectations.
Would they release me? When I thought this,
"Dispose of her."
Did he say to dispose of me?! Eh? Was I being thrown away?
When the fear settled in, I was already wrapped in a blanket and tied with rope.
Then, I was carried away like baggage and taken out of the room.
But, the blanket did not completely cover my face; I could see what was happening around me.
There was a mirror in the corner of the room.
The moment we passed by it, I saw my own face and was assaulted by earthshaking unease at my appearance wrapped inside the blanket.
My hair, loose and disheveled, was an unfamiliar citrus-yellow color. And most of all, my eyes were redder than they were in my memories—the color was close to that of black tea.
What was this…?
In my confused state, I was carried through a dark, stone hallway and taken outside.
I was concerned about my new appearance, but the fact that I was being discarded took precedent.
As I trembled there, this happened.
A thunderous roar echoed.
The person carrying me appeared to have been surprised as he looked back at the building.
Screaming, he ran. A piece of debris larger than my head fell right nearby.
The loud thud caused me to scream as well.
Because of that, the person appeared to have finally realized that he was still carrying me.
"Dammit, you're weighing me down!"
He threw me down right then, and I thought I stopped breathing when my back smacked the ground.
I didn't know what that blow would have done to me if I wasn't wrapped in the blanket.
My back and arms that made contact with the ground ached.
It hurt, but I also wanted to escape. I would hate to die here while I still didn't understand what was going on.
I made my way, rolling around.
The motion caused the portion covering my face to be removed. Thanks to that, I was able to get a good sense of my surroundings.
The three-storied, stone building appeared to have been damaged, leading to its destruction.
The perpetrator was…a large creature, resembling a lizard with wings.
"A flying lizard…?"
A flying lizard looked like a dragon, a typical means of transportation for knights.
Even Yura, a country girl raised in a remote area, was aware of this.
The flying lizard used its feet to grip the stones of the building. If the building wasn't made of stone, it would have been instantaneously crushed.
Every time the lizard used its feet, it caused stones to fall onto the ground.
Occasionally, yellow and blue light would flicker at the lizard's feet.
Someone was attacking it with magic. At the same time I thought that, I grew excited. It was a magic battle! It was my first time seeing one!
What was happening with me?
I had always been reserved, so I would absolutely never scream or panic like this.
Eventually, several people rushed out from a nearby door.
It was those men wearing long, black clothes.
It appeared that those three were being chased by someone inside and had escaped to the outside.