The Abyss 5.10

Alan was blinded. It was as if the light setting had been turned up to max. There was only bright white; Alan wished his implants functioned within Cyberspace as well. He shut his eyes.

Alan tried to speak, to get a sense of where the others were, but only a small whisper left his lips—the words were lost to the wind.

Alan stood still in the blinding white with no awareness of his surroundings. Minutes passed, and then the light began to dim. Alan opened his eyes.

Everyone stood on a golden white rectangle, a moving platform of light. Translucent strands of energy trailed behind.

There was an ethereal tone that hung in the air. It was like a fantasy world. No sun hung in the sky, no source for the bright light. Light was just there—embedded into the world.

Looking forwards, Alan saw that they were headed for a golden palace. It was magnificent, opulent, ethereal, Alan could think of a thousand words that described it, but each time his brain tried to fix a concrete shapea structure to the buildingit shifted.

No messages had appeared; nothing let Alan know he had switched phases. The entire messaging system was off. Paused. It was like they had changed dimensions, but that thought seemed absurd to Alan.

They were in Cyberspace, within the Game. Where else could they be?

The platform of light that carried them continued forwards. Alan felt no air, no forces pushing against him, but they were travelling forwards, covering great distances in short moments. A period of time later the platform slowed. It approached the palace gates.

“Let me speak. Do not draw attention,” Void said. He stared at the palace not with wonder or awe, but grim determination.

Alan nodded. He glanced at Lambda and Eve. Lambda’s dark skin was a stark contrast to the light all around, but Eve was an angel that fit the heaven-like aesthetic. All that was missing were a few clouds.

The party stepped off the platform onto a glossy marble surface. As Alan walked forwards he felt like he was gliding along, every step felt smooth. They approached the main gate, Void in the lead.

Two Predecessors stood as guards. They wore armor of bright light, literal knights in shining armor. Each also held a weapon of soulsteel, one a massive halberd, the other a greatsword.

Alan focused on the doorway. A massive gate, it looked solid, unbreakable. With just a glance Alan felt like even if he unleashed all his power, tried to delete the smallest part of the door, he’d barely scrape at the beginnings of the defense. These gates were designed to bar stronger powers than a single player.

A small hole appeared in the bottom of the doorway, just large enough for everyone to walk inside, single file.

Inside the light—

***

Alan woke up. He opened his status log. It said Alan entered then exited the capsule in Enigma’s quarters in the Black Rose Guild.

What happened? Alan asked.

Prometheus said we were not ready, or worthy, Lambda sent. He banished us with the wave of his hand.

I don’t remember that, Alan sent.

It may be a side effect from the dismissal, Eve sent.

Alan looked over at the capsules Phantom and Void were in. They were still active.

Enigma appeared from behind a closed door. The door blended in with the wall to such a degree that even Alan hadn’t seen it.

“Negotiations are underway, your assistance is no longer required,” Enigma said. “Please return to your quarters.”

“Wait, what happened?” Alan asked.

“Nothing that concerns a Squire,” Enigma said.

“But, I have a quest with the Archivists—”

“I will inform you when one of the capsules is available. Return to your quarters,” Enigma said.

Do it, Lambda sent.

“Okay, I’m going already,” Alan said. He walked over to the elevator that connected the Black Rose base. The doors closed automatically and took Alan back to his quarters.

Well, that was weird, Alan thought to himself.

Eve, what did Omega offer you? Lambda interjected.

Omega offered to turn me from an AI into a player, Eve said. I declined.

Wait, Omega was making you guys offers? To leave me? Alan sent.

Yes, Lambda sent. I too declined his offer.

At least, that’s what they tell me, Alan thought. He realized his AI could likely listen in on to those thoughts.

Have faith, Lambda sent. We’re still here. Grant us a bit of trust. Omega should not be capable of such a feat, though I’m of half a mind to report him to the Administrators. But that would require me giving myself up, and I don’t think times are that dire yet. 

Alan felt tired. Whatever had happened, it had drained him, but before he could fall asleep Eve reminded him to exercise. Working out in his quarter’s personal gym, Alan gained a single point in strength and endurance. It seemed like too little for an hour of sweat and labor.

Alan drifted off to sleep.

***

Alan awoke to a message from Phantom telling him to report for assignment. He proceeded to Phantom’s workshop. The disorganized clutter that had filled the workshop was gone. In its stead were orderly rows of tools and parts surrounding an operating table with one of the so-called android specialists.

Phantom closed a display screen. “Good morning, Alan. Or perhaps I should say good night.”

Alan checked the time: it was late in the evening. “Hello, Phantom. I was wondering, when might I be able to access the Exchange again. Perhaps a Revenant capsule could be installed in my chambers?”

“Maybe when you are a Knight,” Phantom said. “I was recently reminded how… new you are to the Game. You’ve barely been with the guild a few months, and the only real missions you’ve completed were a bit, let’s say, unconventional. Prove yourself capable, and then we’ll see about future visits to the Exchange. There are dangerous forces there that I should not have exposed you to.”

He’s right, Lambda sent. I can see that you still think of the Exchange as part of the Game, but remember in Cyberspace any danger you face is real. Let us develop our capabilities within Cyberspace before we venture to such places again.

I concur, Eve sent.

“Alright, I won’t visit the Exchange anytime soon. Now that I’m a Revenant, can the kill switch in my implant be  removed?” Alan asked.

“The implant will be removed when I’m sure I can really trust you, in other words, never,” Phantom said. “Never trust anyone in the Game. Take that advice to heart, Alan. Besides, you’re still clearly hiding something.”

“Clearly hiding something? What can I hide from you, you see everything!” Alan said.

“See everything?” Phantom scoffed. “I can’t see any of your in-game messages and status screens, even when you’re looking at them. Anything with a screen is blurry, and I can’t see what you’re up to in Cyberspace. I don’t even know when you acquired another AI. You’re my Squire, but I seem to be in the dark about you, your AI, and their relation to Omega! Will you let me run a full scan of this Lambda?”

I’m sorry, but I can’t allow that, Lambda sent. Such a scan might alert the Administrators, and I possess certain idiosyncrasies that might upset Phantom.

I find that slightly concerning, Alan sent.

Don’t worry, I’m right as rain, Lambda sent. Eve will back me up. We practically share a brain, or at least a storage device.

Lambda’s assistance is helpful for now, Eve sent. I agree that a scan would have negative consequences for everyone involved. I will update you if Lambda exhibits erratic or problematic behavior.

“Wait, you were supposed to see all that in-game information? Sorry, but I can’t let you scan Lambda,” Alan said, “and to tell you the truth I didn’t know anything about my AI’s relation to Omega. Apparently Omega even tried to recruit them and join his cause.”

“Well, that’s not worrying at all,” Phantom said deadpan. “You weren’t aware? I thought it was your doing.”

Phantom began pacing around the workshop. “The complications I had installing the cybernetic eye… I thought you had installed the safeguard into the Machine Lord Implant. If it wasn’t you, then never mind. That’s why I bought the data on the Abyss Labyrinth—the maps were all blurry in the recording.”

“Huh,” Alan said.

“For now, monitor the area around the Abyss Labyrinth entrance in the Undercity,” Phantom said. “I’ll send you a dossier on the factions and notable players active there. What we are concerned about are the comings and goings of anyone entering the Abyss Labyrinth as we increase activity in the area. This is a non-combat operation. You are only to watch and report. You are not to take any action without my or another superior’s permission.”

“What about my quest, the one to repair the Abyss Labyrinth and restore its power?” Alan asked.

“We aren’t willing to fix a system without discovering what we are fixing,” Phantom said. “I will be going with the next expedition with a crew of engineers to figure out exactly what we are doing by helping this ‘Warden.’

“Additionally, this endeavor requires greater man power than the Black Rose guild possesses. We generally are involved with clandestine affairs, not holding massive control points beneath all of Khersath. We are finalizing deals to either recruit other guilds into a joint venture or possibly sell the quest.”

“Wasn’t that the point of going to the Exchange?” Alan asked.

“The Archivists are making excessive demands,” Phantom said. “We are still reserving judgment on whether to trust Omega, but are leaning against it. Other groups are making moves too, which is why you are being tasked with monitoring one of the main entrances to the Abyss Labyrinth.”

A message appeared:

[New quest: Monitoring the Abyss

You have been tasked with watching the entrance to the Abyss Labyrinth in the Undercity. You are to record everyone and everything that comes in and out. You will be accompanied by one Specialist on this mission, who will forward on anything of note and relay orders from the Knights Phantom and Enigma.

Reward: 1,000 credits per day or the equivalent guild points.

Failure: Guild Penalties]

“This seems pretty simple,” Alan said.

“It is, so don’t mess up,” Phantom said. “Such a simple task does not count as one of the tasks you need to complete to reach the Knight rank within the guild. Your cover while performing surveillance will be a small time arms-dealer, we own a small property close enough to the Abyss Labyrinth’s entrance that you should have a decent view from the rooftop. The expedition may take upwards of a month, so you may be spending a while there. Details can be found in these files.” Phantom handed over a data cube to Alan.

Alan connected to the cube with his Machine Lord implant and downloaded the data. He disregarded Lambda’s complaints that they were out of room already and this required files to be shuffled around.

***

A few hours later Alan found himself on the rooftop of a small store in the Undercity, one of Enigma’s Specialists standing guard outside. The store sent a message to turn anyone without proper authorization away. As only Alan had permission, there would be no customers.

The entrance to the Abyss Labyrinth was across the street from the store, and Alan noted there were even more guards around the old building ruins. In addition to the guards that wore purple tabards with a silver crown on them, there were guards that had gold crowns. These guards tended to carry bigger guns and had more advanced power armor. Eve estimated their shields to have at least 10,000 energy.

There was a marked increase in activity surrounding the entrance, with a steady number of players entering the dungeon. A few merchant stands had popped up as well, offering various supplies and buying whatever players managed to retrieve out of the dungeon—after the guards had searched any emerging players and taken their cut.

Consulting the information provided by Phantom, Alan learned the gang members in charge of the entrance were called the Royals. The gang followed an almost feudal system, under the control of a single family rumored to possess the bloodline of a Predecessor. While direct bloodline descendants within the gang did display impressive physical strength, the Black Rose guild classified them as rank A threats. The gang’s territory encompassed roughly half the Undercity, with the guild members known to be fiercely loyal to the family.

The other major gang in the Undercity was the Crystals, but there wasn’t as much information on them. The Crystals operated on a cell-by-cell basis like a terrorist organization, thus gathering data on the gang as a whole was difficult. Each team within the Crystals seemed to operate independently, but just as often teams could appear together, demonstrating a wide network full of players of different species and abilities.

Alan scanned the Abyss Labyrinth entrance again with his enhanced vision, switching quickly between different electromagnetic spectrums, not wanting to waste too much computational energy. There wasn’t anything of interest, but he downloaded the data into one of the many data cubes provided to him by Phantom.

This is boring, Alan sent.

Now would be a good time to discuss plans for future growth, Lambda sent. You have need of training, and I know a number of skills you can train in and unlock.

And you didn’t tell me this sooner? I thought all the data you had was historical facts, Alan sent.

I needed to get a feel for things, Lambda sent. Obviously I encrypt some personal data so Eve can’t see it, and she does likewise. Let’s say meeting up with Omega stirred up my competitive spirit. We need to come up with a comprehensive plan for future development so that your abilities synchronize well. Don’t worry, Eve and I can organize the training plan, you’ll just need to follow it.

Just increasing Alan’s skills won’t be enough, Eve sent. His body and items must be upgraded as well.

Yes, I wouldn’t mind more space and faster processing power, but for now I’d recommend trying to train up major class skills, they tend to stack the best, Lambda sent. For instance, having two AI’s will let you more quickly upgrade and train Machine Lord skills. But this all depends on where you want to go, Alan. As the player you are in charge.

Well I’m obviously not going for a warrior build, Alan sent. But I don’t want to be useless in a fight, either. I like the idea of an assassin stealth hacker.

Then you should abandon the idea of being a berserker and Predecessor blood fueled drugs, Lambda sent. I’d recommend abandoning the idea anyways, because even if you managed to get Predecessor bone marrow you’d need a stronger heart to pump the blood through your body, and then that heart would need more oxygen, which would necessitate other upgrades and so on and so forth.

Lambda continued, To upgrade to the point that you were as strong as a Predecessor or only half as strong would not only be impossibly expensive, but it wouldn’t work with your current Machine Lord implants. Better to go through the withdrawal symptoms, otherwise even if you manage another dosage, even a synthetic one, you’d just go into withdrawal again. We’ll have to time it well though, can’t have you exhibiting symptoms while in the middle of an important fight.

But the Soulsteel knives… Alan thought.

The chances of recovering either are slim, Eve sent. Neither the Chief Administrator nor the Warden is likely to return the weapon they took without significant return.  

So our plan if we run into a Predecessor is try to hide? Alan asked.

Pretty much, Lambda sent. I don’t think you have realistic expectations for your place in the Game, Alan. You are a human: a new, weak, humanoid species. You aren’t expected to fight Predecessors, not alone.

Then why was I given a quest to challenge and defeat one in the tutorial? Alan asked.

To give you something to reach for, Lambda sent. To push yourself. That’s all the Game wants you to do, to push the limits again and again. But I don’t think that’s the smart move here. Sure, you might succeed this time, or the next, but each time you fail will set you disastrously far behind. How many deaths have you had since entering the Game? You’re taking too many risks, pushing the boundaries too far too fast. Slow down; focus on a few key skills and improve yourself safely.

I concur, Eve sent.

You seem to forget the only reason you’re even here, Lambda, is the gamble I made that paid off, Alan sent.

Taking risks is also the main reason you are now a wanted criminal on your homeworld, Alan, Lambda sent.

Alan paused. He looked out over the city skyline, all the players moving about. He’d witnessed half a dozen crimes occur in the past hour alone; one so brutal he’d almost intervened. Eve had stopped him—he had to follow guild orders, after all.

It just seems too slow, Alan sent. I feel the need to grow stronger now, not some time in the distant future. Without a significant power boost, I feel helpless. Every day is another day closer to when Earth’s protection wears off.

Yes, and you can’t do anything about that now, Lambda sent. Let your government worry about it, rushing towards your death will only make things worse. Forget about all the excessive, impossible quests, the world aflame. Trust me, it’ll always be there. The universe hasn’t ended yet. Right now, it’s time to safely grind, Alan. Slow and steady wins the race.

76 comments on “The Abyss 5.10

  1. Ephemerality says:

    Wheee I’m back. Long rambling follows, read at your own discretion:

    People seem to expect more updates and more information, but I’ve never been very engaged with social media. Perhaps that means I’ll lose out in terms of followers/sales/etc. but I think that it’s the product that matters, so I will continue to devote most of my energy to writing. Still, I do think that people deserve some explanation for the long hiatus so I’ll try to put into words what’s been happening.

    I probably haven’t been working as hard on The Gam3 as I should be. Writing has been an odd, wonderful journey for me. The Gam3 is the first major writing project I’ve worked on. Ever. There are plenty of pros and cons to that. The fact that’s it’s done so well is amazing, but at the same time it started out as a hobby and I’m still struggling with discipline.

    I’ve always been a pretty bad procrastinator and having complete free reign was probably a bad idea. People tend to fall into patterns, and once I lost the pattern of regularly updating everything seemed to get away from me. I need to have deadlines and stick to them, so I’m going to try to get back into that groove. Thus far I’ve been working off of inspiration and motivation, but that resulted in erratic posts.

    I appreciate the comments and concerns that have been posted (yes I read every comment). However, I’ve always been pretty insular, perhaps I’ve spent too much time online, so most of the comments just wash over me. I’ve also had some issues with depression in the past. I should be back to regular updates, but at the end of the day that’s on me. Thanks for raising concerns on business issues, but I’d appreciate it if discussion could focus on story issues.

    I’ve agreed with a number of posts and comments and have revised Earth’s Gambit to fit. (For instance hypertranslation has been reworked so Alan is essentially directly manipulating photons that form the “bits” of the Game. Also as part of Chief Administrator 170’s investigation Alan’s assets are frozen, he can’t withdraw his items from the Vault.) Thank you to everyone that’s been commenting and discussing the story, your input is helpful.

    I’ve spent a decent amount of time planning and figuring out where the story is headed. (There may be spoilers in this paragraph.) I agree with comments that this third arc was going a bit slow/confusing, I think in revisions I’ll have it basically head directly into the Exchange instead, cutting a few interactions in there. The typical shounen/fantasy hero’s journey where there’s a big bad evil, the hero trains, levels up, gets stronger, and defeats the evil then everyone lives happily ever after doesn’t appeal to me. But that seemed to be what people wanted, so I’ve been debating changing where the story was going. Still, it’s my story. I think (I hope) I know what I’m doing. We’ll see how it turns out.

    I’ve been second-guessing myself a lot; I’ve rewritten a few things but at the end of the day didn’t make that many major plot changes to Earth’s Gambit. There may be a follow-up post if I realize something that changes the story, but you can probably read the web novel without any issues. The majority of changes have been polish, and the new editor makes the book really shine. (Finding another editor was an additional delay.) For those wondering about the exact release date for the ebook, it’s next Tuesday, August 15! You can pre-order it here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074R284RB/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1502494005&sr=8-5&keywords=earth%27s+gambit The audio book should be out before the holidays, I’ll update when I have an accurate release date. A few details might be different from the web novel, but for the most part the plot follows the same path.

    I’ve also been working on other projects, but I’m probably going through the more traditional publishing route with them. I wonder which of the following sound interesting to people: a coming-of-age story focused on internet troll culture, a fantasy story where people are batteries for magic, and a fantasy VRMMO where an engineering student tries to start an industrial revolution.

    Thanks again to everyone that’s been reading, bought the book, audio-book, left a review, and are still reading after the hiatus. I wouldn’t be able to be writing without your support. Speaking of support, I think I will unpause my Patreon in September, but only if I catch up with the chapters I owe. That’s my deadline/goal for now, so expect more posts. I should be back to at least one chapter a week, but how much time I devote to The Gam3 versus other projects depends on how well Earth’s Gambit does.

    TL;DR: I’m back! Good luck, have fun,

    Ephemerality

    Liked by 2 people

    • oblivious says:

      I don’t think the shonen approach works. 1) Kind of ironic since it’s a litRPG, but the story has always been more explorative than grindy. This works well because the setting is so good. 2) Alan is a rogue, and has usually found ways to subvert problems rather than overpower them. Instead of grinding to defeat an evil in the traditional way, he explores and finds a back door. This is already a good rogue story, and you’d be making it into something else. 3) It fits the story’s theme for Alan to be unpredictable, in the same way Phantom once described AI: “you don’t know how they think!” (or something along those lines).

      The data vault was a good example of this. He was given a list of traditional requirements, then he found a way to bypass them. I think people are just frustrated because Alan has received so much advice from a variety of credible people to become less dependent on his AI, that his incompetence in certain fields has started to look willful or stupid.

      I’m surprised that book 2 hasn’t been changed much, since I was expecting Arc 3 to need significant reworking. I thought you’d even planned to rework things as you were writing them, and that’s why things seemed kinda out of order.

      Arc 5 does seem like it tries to do too much. Explores two new areas, including one that requires a lot of description. The denouement of Arc 4 kind of gets pushed into Arc 5. It’s the beginning of a new book, so it summarizes previous books. A bunch of background and revelations come out that are needed to understand the conversation with Omega. Alan’s background is fleshed out.

      The troll thing sounds unavoidably political. I generally don’t like ‘introduce modern tech to an archaic society’ stories.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous says:

      definitely the third with engineers student, which seems the most uncommon of the lot

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      HE IS BACK! PRAISE THE SUN!

      Liked by 1 person

    • naturalnuke says:

      Frankly I’ll be fine with whatever the end of this story is as long as it’s… fulfilling? Some word like that. I really do like this story, and I found this update to be quite the gem to find the spam pile that is my inbox.

      Like

    • Evan says:

      I like the idea for the people being batteries. That sounds newish and interesting. Honestly the industrial revolution thing seems kinda done and played out to me. I.e. schooled in magic. As well as many litrpg novels. Its kind of a natural extension. However the battery idea has a lot of room to grow. I would be interested to see where that goes. You have a way of always keeping me guessing so I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

      On the other point, this is your story. Write it your way. Some grind breaks are fine but if this turns into another shonen I will be disappointed. This story is novel and deep. There is still so many unanswered questions left unaddressed. Feel free to explore this world you have created in your own way. Your job isn’t to cater. You cant please everyone. Your job is to tell a story. People already like that. Keep going.

      Like

      • Cody. says:

        People battery’s sounds interesting not new tho it’s kinda matrix thing isn’t it?

        Like

      • Jay says:

        Well, in a magic setting it could actually make “sense”. As opposed to The Matrix, where it’s the stupidest thing in the whole movie.

        Like

  2. Chance says:

    Yesss we finally made it back all praise to the most high bless up

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Glad to see you’re back! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read the first book and the posts o.0 It’s just so much fun to read, and I can’t wait to see where Alan’s adventure leads him and his 2 AI’s

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m still wondering, if he gets above 1000 intelligence (approx 3 x normal human intelligence), if he will be able to split his mind 3 ways

        Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow, not expecting but glad to see you’re still alive and well.

    Like

  4. compass96 says:

    Yay, he’s back. Thanks Ephemerality for this chapter.

    Like

  5. I don’t think a typical shounen approach would be good for the story. So far the setting has been rather ambiguous in who are the good and bad guys and that made it much more thrilling. I’d rather see it stick to it grey tone and have it your story. In the end, it is your story after all.

    Like

  6. Jim says:

    WE BACK!!!!

    My vote is for the fantasy VRMMO.

    Like

  7. Allknight says:

    Great to see your back! Looking forward to reading more of you! 😀

    Like

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yay, good to see you back. Can’t wait to see more. Thanks for the chapter.

    Like

  9. NewBlood says:

    my man you’re back! Now time to read again,and by again I mean starting from the very beginning cuz I’ve forgotten most of the characters already, barely remembering who Alan is, wonder if we guys create something like a wiki for this series just to have a refresher on whose who. Thank for the chapter!

    Like

  10. Mack says:

    Oh wow, I was so ecstatic to see another chapter! I had a lot of fun reading it. I’m glad you’re back.

    I also have really enjoyed the plot directions you’ve taken in the past. Their subtleties made the story a lot more complex and mature. The problems Alan faces with his antisocial hyper focus and tendency to jump for big gains without the foundation that would protect him should he fail, are very realistic and put a refreshing twist onto what can become a cookie cutter plot development as seen in a lot of this trope. Then again, I’m probably biased since those are two of my own character flaws and I rarely, if ever, see them used in stories let alone used so well.
    This is still one of my favorite stories to read. Thank you so much for continuing with this story and putting in so much thought and effort to turn it into something complex and new.

    Like

  11. Anonymous says:

    I actually like the idea of people being used as batteries since the subject isn’t used very often.

    Like

  12. oblivious says:

    I guess it’s been retconned out that Phantom already disabled the kill-switch. I’m glad it’s been clarified what Phantom had such trouble with before. I’ve always been unclear what role exactly each implant performed in hacking. In particular, it wasn’t clear to me whether everyone forms a connection with something they look at, or if this was a property of one or both of Alan’s implants. The vagueness of Phantom’s phrasing about ‘complications’ made me wonder if this was an ability he added by integrating both implants.

    It’s not surprising that Eve would reject Omega’s proposal, but I am sort of surprised Lambda would reject the offer.

    Does this mean Prometheus didn’t get the message/key from Cerberus that Alan was to deliver?

    It’s nice that the Predecessor implant situation has been clarified, but I suspect Alan will work around it. Maybe with techno-psionics or something. The thing about Predecessor Blood fixing ‘critical damage’ and granting all those bonuses has to mean something.

    Like

  13. Anonymous says:

    I am happy the gam3 is back!!! I was starting to doubt it would be and I have never been more happy to be wrong.

    Like

  14. Raven Hunter says:

    I did not read your “ramblings” sorry, but welcome back. Thank you for your hard work.

    Like

  15. Anonymous says:

    I like the gam3 idea the best still.

    Between South park basing an entire season on trolling and a certain white house I am sick of that topic.

    I’m not sure what you’re planning with the battery idea so I can’t comment other than it sounds dark and may not be healthy for someone with depression.

    The industrialist sounds like finding the ballence between not being OP and being fun will be difficult. Also there are already a lot of friendship mangas. Of course even if I don’t like them they must make money or there wouldn’t be so many.

    In summary I hope you keep writing the gam3 it’s fun and you’re good at it. Although it seems like Alan is in worse shape than he was at the end of book one all of a sudden? I understand if you don’t want to be like every one else and I love that he didn’t just turn into god in the first couple chapters but that seems too extreem.

    I think the risks Alan takes make the gam3 THE GAM3!!! Of course if he never trains it is hard to believe that he could beet his meat let alone a predecessor so maybe BOTH is the answer.

    Thanks again for the update.

    Like

  16. diohaveto says:

    Welcomes back! 😀

    Like

  17. Novo says:

    I don’t think you have what it takes to persevere and finish writing this story so I’ve decided not to continue reading it…. don’t agree? prove me wrong =/

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s a stupid thing to write Novo… How are you even going to know if he proves you wrong if you aren’t continuing to follow the story??? Also why not just shut up and leave if you feel the way you do??

      Like

    • diohaveto says:

      What a mean spirited/troll-ish thing to say. :/

      Like

    • Evan says:

      This is obviously a psych ploy to challenge the writer. However what novo doesn’t know is the writers psychology. This sort of challenge might work for him but not for everyone. It could actually have the opposite effect. It just comes off as cruel and mean. Let the writer write and stop messing with him.

      Like

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hell’s yeah regular updates!!!

    Like

  19. Anonymous says:

    I would have liked more updates sooner to know if he was telling the truth. I will probably buy the book this time but if he tries to fool me twice I definitely won’t buy book 3.

    So here is to the benefit of the doubt.

    Like

  20. FoxyAlpha says:

    Yes you’re back again 🙂

    Like

  21. Anonymous says:

    thanks for the update !! 🙂
    is the predecessor path left off ?

    Alan could plan for a predecessor machine lord in a longer run
    for which a independent crafting/invention may be a better fit without relying on favors from the higher powers (with a risky kilswitch way).

    So the wold of Gam3 could be explored by Alan than relying on lambda’s knowledge alone
    which makes the journey & reading more wondrous than a linear “go there get that” feel.

    is the space fight and trading be include in coming chapters ?

    Like

  22. JohnyXD says:

    I love the story. But, to prevent getting frustrated, disappointed or asking for more, I will only read it after making sure you’re back for good and not in a one-chapter-per-month kind of back.
    Once that’s established, I’ll read the whole thing again.
    Hopefully any update on previous chapters will also be present on the RRL site?

    Like

  23. Vipekoi says:

    Ok i woud like to say that you should write the story like you feel like it is your story, and it is probably what will give the best results, but if you are unsure of what you want you can always make a vote, its a better way to find what the readers think, not all readers want to write coments. and to be honest i have always myself better liked a grey world, where there arent heroes or vilains but just people with different goals, it has always maked more sense to me. but if you feel writing it different is better do it.

    Like

  24. Nizen says:

    Since you changed the situation with Allen and the Chief Administrator, does he still have access to the advanced abilities of the Machine Lord? or have those been revoked as well.

    Like

  25. anon says:

    Thanks for great story so far! It has been pleasure to read it, and I hope that you keep writing it the same way you have been doing. Your story has unique feel to it, so it would be better to keep it as it is. There are enough of those stories with simple plot, I think that most readers like it as it is.

    Like

  26. kthrelegon says:

    Interesting, so Phantom says “trust no one”, and yet Alan trusts people who put killswitches in his brain. Oh well, what choice does he have at this point, really? Also, I might be wrong because it’s been such a long time, but I thought Phantom’s room disabled AI interaction? Nice to see this is back, and as always can’t wait for more.

    Like

  27. justafan says:

    thank God it’s alive
    gotta reread it again to remember some of the thing.
    I vote number 2 when human are magic battery since it’s sound like the matrix but in magical fantasy, sound awesome but kinda hope its get a direction of purpose so the story could get a good ending.

    Like

    • justafan says:

      oh yeah, thanks for keep continuing this story, and welcome back, hope your rehab on schedule could be successful.(since I can keep reading lol)

      Like

  28. PhantomDeathlight says:

    VRMMO with industrial revolution sounds like a new idea +vote.Welcome back to writing again.Gotta start reading from very beginning.

    Like

  29. Anonymous says:

    Fantasy vrmmo industry revolution sounds good but I think your getting distracted your already crap at delivering consistent updates with another book on the works everyone will just get more annoyed I do not believe writing two books at the same time would in any way be a good idea

    Like

  30. anon says:

    There is ‘release that whitch’ that’s fantasy + industrial revolution.

    I’ve never seen a good balance between tech and magic. Even in The gam3 the mc forfeits magic in favour of tech.

    Like

  31. Gauntlet-KI says:

    Don’t do industrial Revolution. And I like that your book has extra interactions, it opens up more possibilities and is more interesting. Also don’t just do the straight coming of age where he needs to level up fight a big baddy story, your twisty turn story is more interesting.I would have liked resolution at the school though.

    Like

  32. Anonymous says:

    Yay! I’m so happy you’re back and updating what is still my favorite series!

    Like

  33. Halycon says:

    Magical batteries.

    Industrial revolution in a fantasy worlds are all over the place, in fact it’s an entire sub-genre of litrpg. Think you’d do it well, I just have no interest in reading another person hamfistedly explaining steam engines and the concept of standardized parts.

    Internet troll culture is just a no. A great big no. Anything I’ve seen done there that works are pure comedies. Absurdist comedies at that. No offense, but you aren’t that good at absurdist humor. Your best funny bits have been observational.

    Like

  34. Anonymous says:

    Woop woop!!! Finally a new chapter!!!!

    Like

  35. Davethwave says:

    If you do the engineering perhaps try to crossbreed the 2 things in the vrmmo, them being tech and industry without relying on just one last, for instance a Tesla coil and battery with it being powered by lightning magic and the like or power a house with magic crystal generators since they are easy to get ahold of depending on the plot. (Monster drops or a mine to get them)

    Like

  36. kd7fds says:

    Woo hoo you are back!

    Don’t try to make Alan defeat evil directly

    Alan is a rogue and a hacker. His strong point is always going be finding a new way to approach a problem and defeating an enemy, from the backside, in a single overpowering attack.

    He is squishy. As a human, a new race in the game, he is always going to be squishier than long established races. As a human, he also will approach the game in new an unexpected ways.

    Like

  37. Cody. says:

    Great see more only thing request hear is don’t say character’s name’s so often bit frustrating as don’t believe ppl forget who’s talking so easily. Was hoping more changes made to release book,2 to online version personally as missed so much out and seemed to progressed very little and hacking didn’t like how done much. Come on pod and bone marrow lol. Thank you for update and book release 2, hope 3 faster and as good if not better then book,1.

    Like

  38. Cody. says:

    Dame it was very looking forward to him getting bone marrow and upgrading body biologically not just mechanically sigh and agree too dame slow, sigh not liking wear seems to be going, but at least finally got new chapter. Hoping not whole cyborg going root.

    Like

  39. Anonymous says:

    a quick question regarding his unlocked machine lord abilities that Alan can acquire through the chief admin. This may have changed in the published books, but in chapter 4.5 you had the chief administrator say: “Speaking of balance, I should discuss with you the unlocked Machine Lord abilities. The requirements are 50 platinum marks, level 500, and the successful completion of one gamma-ranked quest or greater. I will only grant you one.

    he can get the marks easy enough, is currently over level 500, and the Free Earth quest (class quest given by Icewolf in 2.10) was possible gamma threat level. – does that mean he meets the requirements?

    Like

  40. Anonymous says:

    I have been doing some thinking about the hacking / cyberspace. Alan Should move the buildings into the citadel. It makes perfect scene from an defensible stand point. You could Make the move cost some C to balance things out.

    Like

  41. oblivious says:

    Do you know how long until the book becomes available with other stores? I’m having trouble with Amazon.

    Like

  42. Jay says:

    !!!

    I go offline for a few days and miss an actual update! Sweet. And now I can buy the second book.

    Like

  43. Jay says:

    You seem to be going for an “Alan grows in strength until he challenges the very fabric of the system and changes the direction of the whole universe” thing, which, if you can pull it off, is definitely better than the Hero’s Journey, much as I love that sort of plot. There’s a fantasy series called “A Man of his Word” that pulls this off, that I was reminded of when you said that. Looked like it was going to be standard in that way, but then it totally wasn’t.

    Like

  44. Gauntlet-KI says:

    Have you been saving up releases so that this is going to be a weekly release or other?

    Like

    • Gauntlet-KI says:

      I really hope you don’t do the industrial revolution one.

      Like

    • Gauntlet-KI says:

      this is a sad update. i guess we are starting over again. it was a turning point, do i continue to write this amazing story, or just have turn him into a normal player. i guess he isnt even going to try to get the soul steel knives back.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Alan is not a normal player he is an machine lord. He has yet to find his true calling with in the game. Hacking is a good start but he needs to be good at non-combat as well. Like an side job he enjoys doing for the credits and C.

        There is still room for over powered character that Alan can turn into. He has to Deal with the psy problem he faces in combat. Weapon and Armour needs to be upgraded. The AI’s also need better software. A better Pod Rank A or better. Each one could turn in to epic quest or show the game hidden secrets.

        I got this felling that there will be big secrets reviled soon within one or two months game time. like secret don’t want to give it away if it come true.

        Like

  45. I have a lot to say (standby for a longer comment or more likely an email to that email address of yours at the end of the Kindle eBook for book 2). Still, one thing I want to say immediately is that you should focus on writing the third option “a fantasy VRMMO where an engineering student tries to start an industrial revolution”

    It is a tricky thing to write, but, when well written and well planned out it can be a truly awesome story trope to play around with. It is also a very rare trope (a person trying to add technology to magic or industrial revolution type manufacturing concepts to a world with fantasy or pre-industrial settings), but one that is a LOT of fun to read. Meaning it fills a niche that is currently underserved.

    I recommend you check out the following books if you need any extra inspiration: (all of them have done something in some regard along this line of thought.)

    A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain (pretty much the origin of this trope)

    Destiny’s Crucible Series by Olan Thorenson

    The Chronicle of Benjamin Knight by R. Jackson-Lawrence

    Fimbulwinter: Daniel Black Series by E. William Brown

    World of Prime by MC Planck

    The Sorcery Code by Dima Zales (A great combination of magic and modern computer code concepts)

    Off To Be The Wizard: Magic 2.0 Series by Scott Meyer (just a bonkers good time of magic, medieval realms, technology and pop culture time travely goodness)

    Plenty of others… but those are ones that really stick out for me off the top of my head.

    Well…. that was way more than I intended to write… oops.

    Like

    • Jay says:

      The Scott Meyer series is fun (as are his other books). I’ll have to take some of those other recommendations for myself 🙂 Thanks.

      Like

  46. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know what the new schedule is going to be. I don’t mind waiting for things but at the current pace this is going to take ten and a half more years. Seven books times one and a half years. I really like these books but if he starts writing something else too I will check back 20 years from now…..maybe.

    Like

  47. Ford says:

    I would enjoy a fantasy story where people are batteries for magic. But i understand it’s the fans that fuel ur ability to write but at the end of the day it is your story and u are just giving us a look into your universe. I think the story is great so far although I’m not a fan of alan’s stuff being held. His armor and knife seem to be back door’s into things he couldn’t accomplish otherwise as he is so to eliminate them from use doesn’t make much sense to me and I’m definitely not a fan of his new armor. Look forward to all that u write keep up the good work.

    Like

  48. Anonymous says:

    Bought the first book on Saturday the 2nd, finished book too earlier today the 6th, and just finished all the content you have on here so far. Needless to say I’m as hooked as well, Alan is to the Game. I only wish I had picked up the series further along, but I’m glad I can support a promising new aurthor with my purchases.

    Keep up the hard work, looking forward to new chapter releases via this website!

    Like

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