Chapter 1: The Farmer’s Child
“Did you hear? A horse crashed into Moore’s kid.”
“Poor child. He’s only thirteen, isn’t he? I think he’s bedridden for life.”
“That’s old news. Roy’s woken up, but something’s wrong with his head. He keeps spacing out in the yard.”
The farmers on the field whispered about the tragedy that befell a boy named Roy. A burly man behind them quietly put his hoe down and clenched his fists. He was infuriated, frustrated, but also helpless.
The man was Moore, the one the farmers were talking about, and also Roy’s father. He was just a lowly peasant like everyone else, and he had toiled on the fields for half his life. He wasn’t handsome, capable, or rich. Nobody had wanted to marry him, until his wife had come along and done so despite his flaws. He was twenty-three then.
The couple had a child when they were twenty-five. In their time and age, most people were already parents when they were sixteen. Having a child at twenty-five meant they were behind their peers. They cared about Roy tremendously, and worried he might get hurt. Because of that, he seldom worked in the fields.
Roy was a quiet one. He listened to his parents, kept to himself, and always had a sheepish smile on his face. He was a stark contrast to the wild children who stampeded the village every chance they could.
“Roy’s a good child. Such a pity…”
The thought of Roy’s condition tore into Moore’s wound further. They thought they would live a happy and peaceful life with their son forever, but alas, it was cut short. Four days ago, a woman blazed through the village on horseback, and Roy was in her way. The horse only grazed him, but that single graze took him out.
The village’s unskilled herbalist failed to find out what was wrong with Roy, and he thought the boy was done for. The next day though, as if by miracle, Roy woke up. However, he was a changed boy. His eyes were dead, and he was quiet, not answering when spoken to. All he did was stare into the sky like a person who had lost their mind.
Moore sighed. It was getting late, and he picked up his hoe before going back home. He was still worried about his son.
The villagers’ houses were primitive and ugly, made out of thatch and wood. A single gale could have blown the rickety buildings away. Kaer was a small village, housing about a hundred families.
Moore’s house was situated on the western side of the village. It was high noon when Moore came back, and the sun glared at them without any mercy. Despite that, a young child stared back into the sun, eyes unblinking, as if he were a soulless puppet. Beside him stood a plain, rough-skinned village lady who was feeding the chickens.
“Why is he staring into the sun? What if he hurts his eyes? Susie! I thought I told you to keep an eye on him. Don’t you know this is bad for him?”
Moore rushed into his yard and waded through the overgrown weed to pick up his son. He placed Roy before the front door and patted his buzz cut-trimmed hair.
A hint of tenderness blossomed on Moore’s dry, yellowed face. “Never do that again, Roy. Okay?”
Roy wouldn’t respond to anyone or anything after waking up a while ago, but when Moore called him again, something flickered within him, and his eyes started clearing up. “Huh? Dad? Luo Yi… No, Roy,” he mumbled. “Right. My name is now Roy.”
“D-Did you just talk, Roy?” Surprised, Moore huddled closer to Roy, intending to confirm he was talking. Finally, he got his answer. His son, who had been quiet for the past three days, had started to speak again. At least he didn’t turn mute.
“Come here, Susie! Leave the animals alone! Roy just talked!” Moore shouted, and Susie came a moment later, obviously in a hurry.
The couple hugged Roy, and when he called out their names, tears streamed down their faces. Roy looked at his parents, Moore and Susie, closely. They weren’t exactly good looking, but they weren’t ugly either. Their clothes were made out of hemp, and they looked worn out. Their skin was rough, and they looked gaunt from overworking. They had the feel of two innocent, welcoming villagers.
“So they’re my parents.” Tears welled up in Roy’s eyes, and something tugged at his heartstrings. He hugged his parents back.
At the same time, two different sets of memories fused within him. Before Roy, he was Luo Yi, a high school dropout in C Nation. At the same time, Roy was living in Kaer, a village in Lower Posada, the southern border of a nation called Aedirn.
Luo Yi’s parents died in a freak accident, and he quit school after their deaths. He was a shut-in who became addicted to the world of games. Once he would use up all the compensation fees, Luo Yi would kill himself. He had no parents, no car, no money, and was a game addict. That was effectively a death sentence in his original society.
On the other hand, Roy might’ve only been the child of lowly, impoverished peasants, but his parents loved him. Luo Yi longed for that kind of relationship.
“I got addicted to games just so I could fill the void in my heart. And now I have a second chance to do so. The gods are smiling on me.” Luo Yi inherited all of Roy’s feelings and memories, which made him feel close to Moore and Susie.
“What happened to you, Roy?” Susie asked. “You scared us!”
“T-The horse shocked me. All I could remember was how afraid I was. I don’t know what happened.”
“Stop with the questions!” Moore roared at his wife. “All that matters is that Roy is okay. That’s all that matters.” He patted Roy’s head lovingly.
After calming his worried parents down, Roy looked around his new abode, and a bitter smile painted on his face. The walls were uneven and rickety, the house only having a fireplace, a steel cauldron, a few tables and chairs, and two sets of beds — if anyone could call a stack of hay covered by pieces of worn out cloth a bed.
Lunch was made in a short while. A few dry, hard, disfigured loaves of bread, an egg, two dried fish, and a bowl of assorted vegetable soup were laid out before him. The food was plain enough, and there was no seasoning. Salt was a luxury in the household.
Roy thought the food was weird, but despite it, he took a bite. “Don’t complain, Roy. You didn’t get to eat organic greens like this in your past life.”
Because of his body’s instincts, Roy accepted the food’s taste not long after he took his first bite. Famished after days of not eating, his hunger prompted him to wolf down the food. A short while later, the scarce meal became scarcer.
“Slow down, son. You don’t want to choke on the food.”
The couple stared at their son with a grin. They kept piling the food in his plate, but they didn’t touch the food themselves, though they’d pop some dried fish into their mouths once in a while.
Moore and Susie left the house in the afternoon after deciding they would butcher a chicken for Roy that night. And then Roy’s expression turned serious.
Aedirn. How familiar. Roy used to play “The Witcher 3” for many hours, and the name “Aedirn” was no stranger to him. It was one of The Four Kingdoms. This was a world of witchers and monsters. Bandits, monsters, plagues, and disasters were commonplace in the world and era Roy was in. Humans struggled to stay alive, clawing at the chance to live for even a day longer.
If I have no power, I could die at any time.
According to Roy’s original memories, he was in the year 1260. If the lore was right, the talented king of Nilfgaard, the White Flame, Emhyr var Emreis, would launch the first Northern War in three years. Even though the war would start in Cintra — a faraway nation in the west of Lower Posada — the soldiers might escape to their region, and chaos would follow.
And in seven years, in 1267, the second Northern War would swing into motion, and Aedirn would not survive it.
Do I have any power? What should I do? I must at least keep Moore and Susie safe. Even though he was only thirteen, Roy didn’t have much time on his hands if he wanted to save his parents. Fortunately, he didn’t cross into this world without anything to help him. Like many otherworlders, he had his own cheat to help him on his quest.
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