Year 991 of the Holy Calendar.
Yufilia Continent, Beltram Kingdom.
In one corner of the Capital’s slums, with his chest full of agony, a boy was lying on the ground.
Even after opening his eyes, the anguish he was feeling could not be extinguished nor could he distract himself from it. Knowing so, the boy still strongly gripped his chest.
Before he noticed, his body was already drenched in sweat.
His whole body felt hot.
It felt as if his flesh was on fire.
Suddenly, like a miracle, the torment subsided and slowly, warmth spread throughout his body.
(What was that…?)
The boy did not understand what just happened, only that the unpleasant feelings were slowly dissipating.
When he regained his composure, he took a look at his surroundings.
It was a gloomy and dirty alley lined by crude wooden houses.
Unpleasant odours drifted into his nose. He frowned at the foul air but thanks to the stench, his head cleared up a bit.
As for what happened during his sleep, he had no memory of.
At that moment, the boy realised he had slept on the ground.
Dirty clothes hung on his body. He felt the need to do something about his clothes but thought they could last a bit longer.
Lifting up his face, a vast clear blue sky was reflected in his eyes.
(What was that uncomfortable feeling and why am I lying down on a road?)
Having just awoken, he still could not think clearly despite having no memory of drinking sake.
He noticed the surrounding houses seemed unusual before realising their architecture differed greatly from the Japanese wooden style houses he was accustomed to.
Feeling uncomfortable, the boy lost himself in thought.
Moreover his body was not in the best condition. Maybe it was due to being exposed to the cold weather from sleeping on the road. His joints also ached.
Trying to raise his body again, he noticed the greatest disaster. Screams were rising in the boy’s head.
What entered his view was the body of a young child.
I’m supposed to be a college student.
No, I’m supposed to be an orphan.
(What’s the meaning of this?)
The boy was confused at his overlapping memory.
Thinking slowly about the problem, the boy directed his gaze towards his own hands and feet.
It was not the healthy skin of a person living in a wealthy country like Japan.
On top of that, his skin was dry and body was frail as a result of malnutrition as well as being covered in dirt.
The boy tried rearranging his thoughts; there were no memories of him taking a bath there.
He unintentionally performed a tsukkomi on himself after witnessing his dirty self.
The clothes he wore were made from worn down rags.
Of course, he did not own a pair of shoes either.
However, he still felt grateful that he at least had something to wear.
He was unsure what his facial features were like but from his long bangs, he discovered the slightly dirty hair was black in colour.
His limbs were in a similar state to his worn out clothes but his mind was not in chaos.
Cooling down his thoughts, he tried to assess his situation.
The boy’s name was Rio, it was also Amakawa Haruto.
Looking at his memories, he determined that he was 7 years old in the current world, as well as a 20 year old Japanese man.
A wave of dizziness hit him due to excessive hunger. After confirming his situation, he sat on the ground and began to think.
He, as Amakawa Haruto still had recollections of his memories before he died.
He also had memories of Rio’s everyday life until now.
He did not know the reason why he was unconscious on roadside just a while ago but for the time being, it was not important.
Possessing the knowledge of Amakawa Haruto along with obtaining Rio’s memories, he concluded that at the moment, he was not on Earth.
Rio1 was an orphaned child without education, but he knew the name of the country where he resided.
Judging from the level of civilization and taking into account the circumstances as well as other factors made him arrive at the conclusion that this country was not located on the Earth Amakawa Haruto knew.
Possibly, he was reincarnated.
(But it’s really hard to believe… no, perhaps there’s still some chance that this is a dream?)
But when Rio thought harder about the situation, the possibly of it being a dream was greatly lowered.
His mind was far too clear for it to be a dream.
Calming himself, he tried but failed to find any irregularities about himself.
At most, it was an influenza-like symptom that caused his joints to ache. This was reality and he had already assured himself that.
Rio never heard of this country’s existence before on Earth. The things such as Kings and nobles, things like countless numbers of vagrant orphans becoming slaves, the absence of electricity and any products of science. In addition, monsters existed in this world.
This was not a dream neither was it on Earth.
Currently, Rio was in the slums district of the Beltram Kingdom’s capital.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that his condition was at the lowest and if things continued as such, he would not survive for long.
It seemed that is was due to luck that Rio was able to survive until now.
Only the most fortunate orphans were able to live in orphanages. As for the ones living in the slums, it was a never-ending struggle for survival; scavenging for scraps of food and pick-pocketing.
If his luck was good, he would be able to buy some cheap hard bread with the insignificant amount of money he looted. It was no surprise that he was suffering from malnutrition.
That was what Rio did every day to survive.
In such a condition, to be honest, it would not be strange if he dropped dead on the streets.
For the time being, he needed to secure some food but thoughts about his current situation still lingered.
It was common sense for weak orphans to form groups, however due to Rio’s unusual black hair he was ostracized by orphan groups.
As a result, it was exceedingly difficult for him to cooperate with other orphans. One way or another, he managed to survive until now by himself.
(Now I need to find work and settle in but…)
It was difficult to find a workplace where they would employ an orphan.
It was convenient for people to treat orphans as if they never existed.
Even if he was able to find one by chance, it would be hard labour with low wages.
In that case, Rio wondered if he had any advantages in this world. The skills he carried over may prove to be useful.
Most of the skills he possessed were ones he developed in his previous life.
He could perform mathematical calculations meaning he had a big advantage. Fortunately, this country was already using the decimal system.
Other skills that seemed useful were martial arts, cooking, and miscellaneous everyday life skills.
He had already engraved into his head how to use all those skills.
But currently, he lacked social status so it was challenging for him to make full use of his skills.
Either way, right now there was nothing in this place that could solve his problems.
Feeling the need to ease his hunger, Rio began looking around the city.
And then, Rio noticed another change that occurred ever since his memories awakened.
He noticed that a faint light was being emitted from people’s bodies.
At first he thought it was just an illusion but it did not disappear even after he tried refocusing his eyes.
The amount of light emitted differed from person to person with the majority only emitting a small amount.
He already ran into hundreds of people since his memory awakened so he was confident that his ability to measure the amount of emitted light was fairly accurate.
Suddenly, Rio noticed his own body was emitting a similar light.
The amount was many times greater than that of other people.
No, it was best to say that his knowledge on this matter was still too limited.
Looking at other people, there was no way the light emission would be infinite.
Just like vapour rising from boiling water and dissolving into the air, that light was also coming out of Rio’s body.
Moreover, the amount of light emitted started slowly increasing.
At the same time, he became more and more sensitive to that light.
It was as if he could feel his surroundings through his five senses.
Through his own eyes, he could see anything in the world that came in contact with the light as if they were his own eyes. He was able to grasp one of the properties of the mysterious light.
He could infinitely stretch his senses allowing him to perceive things beyond any normal person can.
(I have an unpleasant feeling the light’s only function is to enhance my perception…)
Stretching his senses granted a feeling similar to his spirit parting his body. With the sudden increase in perception, a question appeared in his mind.
Was he the only one who could see the light?
Because the amount of light emitted from his body was clearly abnormal, Rio understood that being different may expose him to danger.
Anyhow, he needed to find a secluded place away from people. Rio immediately left the main street and entered a back alley and sat himself on the cold ground.
The amount of light emitting from his body continued to increase but there were no changes to his physical condition.
There was no need to be impatient.
He thought so with a serene mind.
Rio started meditating, his mind achieving perfect unity of body and mind2.
He did not expect the martial arts he learned from his grandfather would become useful in such a way.
While still being aware of the hustle and bustle on the streets, a significant amount of time passed. Who knew how long he had been meditating for? His mind was already beyond its limit.
Having achieved unity of the mind, Rio felt an overflowing amount of energy pulsating throughout his body.
The power filling his body was as thick as blood.
The true nature of that light was magic.
The magical power gushing out from his body could not be perceived by the naked eye.
Therefore Rio instinctively understood that a powerful sense of imagination was required to control the magical power.
It still felt surreal to him.
Feeling confident about his speculation, Rio slowly and cautiously began decreasing the amount of magical energy overflowing from his body.
It had a similar feeling to erasing one’s presence.
Not entirely the same but similarities were noticed.
Understanding the concept, Rio immediately gained control over his magical powers.
Now, all of his magical powers were sealed within his body without a single speck flowing out.
The feeling could not be expressed solely with words but somehow he got the gist of it.
A slight smile emerged on Rio’s face.
But a question still lingered in his mind.
What was that light?
Currently the only changes he felt were a sharpening of his senses.
And most people only released a small amount of magical powers from their bodies.
Rio questioned whether there were any other uses for it.
Quantity verses quality meant that he still had to carefully think about the appropriate conditions for its use.
For the time being, he suppressed the questions that kept popping into his head and tried absorbing back all his magical power surrounding him.
With that, he verified a number of things. He understood that his magical power could slowly move in accordance with his imagination and gather in one place.
However he still did not know where to store it all.
His knowledge was still too limited.
After making sure there were no people around, Rio released his magical powers over his body for examination.
Suddenly, in a flash, he felt power coursing through his body.
It felt like a body strengthening skill.
Judging from the various changes he observed in his body, he concluded it was a form of body strengthening3
(…my body feels light.)
He felt as if his insides were brimming with power.
Rio tried to test his newfound powers with a simple jump. In spite of possessing the body of a child, the height he reached was equal to that of the average professional basketball player’s.
It was by pure chance he discovered the body reinforcement skill. While he only vaguely understood the concept before, he could now clearly imagine the body reinforcement skill.
By removing his brain’s limiter, he would be able to gain even greater body enchanting abilities by imagining his body clad with magical power.
As expected, it seemed that it was a good idea.
Rio imagined body reinforcement while walking.
He was performing some light movements to confirm its effects.
The results were movements deemed impossible for a boy in such bad shape.
(This, it seems continuous usage of body reinforcement is possible…)
However to do so, he was required to expend even more magical power than normal.
Suddenly his body started screaming.
It was apparent that any further usage would incur damage to his body.
His flesh could not keep up with his body reinforcement technique.
An idea emerged in Rio’s head. In that case, he would try and reinforce individual parts of his body. He imagined reinforcing his flesh’s endurance4 and focused on his muscle fibres and bones.
The burden on his body greatly lessened.
It seemed that this was also correct.
For the time being, Rio was satisfied with the results of his experiment.
But no matter how strong his ability or body reinforcement was, it could do nothing to supress his intense hunger. His stomach growled in confirmation.
Although his experiments were interesting, he was unable to continue unless he could secure food.
Looking up at the sky, it was already dusk.
Night would soon fall.
Truthfully, he had neither money nor a method to procure food through decent means.
In the worst case, he was prepared to go without food for the day. But at the very least, he wanted to have some sort of goal.
For the time being and the sake of his life, he needed to look around for hints at earning money. Rio left the back alley.
Walking unsteadily in the market, a large building suddenly came into view.
He could not read what was written on the signboard but understood the building belonged to the Adventurers’ Guild.
He could earn money by becoming an adventurer.
But Rio immediately brushed off the idea because he was still underage.
One of the rules of the Adventurers’ Guild was that they would only employ those who were of 12 years or older.
Rio once overheard other orphans talking about adventurers along with information about the age limit.
The manual labour limit was also 12 years old in Japan but in this world, many places did not have an age limit.
Because working children could also serve as war potential, many were used for manual labour.
However in the case of adventurers, there numerous cases where adventurers could not gain achievements due to the age limit.
Rio still considered it.
Speaking of adventurers, their work was somewhat vague. Rio imagined they risked their lives in exchange for acquiring raw materials and selling them.
In that case, there were no rules preventing him from collecting materials and selling them himself.
Only that the customers were not the Adventurers’ Guild.
Possibly some merchant.
Rio decided to investigate items that would likely be bought by merchants.
He immediately put his idea to action and headed towards the marketplace according to the map of the capital in his mind.
“Oi brat! What’re you looking at? Get out of my sight!”
However when Rio was browsing the commodities in the marketplace, the sharp eyes of a shopkeeper noticed him and threateningly yelled at him.
Shopkeepers were wary against orphans as they usually attempted to steal items from the market. Orphans were poorly treated in the marketplace.
Since some orphans possessed small amounts of money, they were not instantly kicked out but shopkeepers would keep a keen eye on them in case of theft.
An orphan that only browsed market items would indeed be suspicious.
Thanks to that, Rio could not even freely browse the market.
At the current rate, he had no other choice than to find another way to earn money.
As he currently had no food on him, he could only scavenge for scraps of food.
Rio was urged to find himself anything edible to fill his stomach but as Amakawa Haruto, he harboured resistance against the idea.
Rio decided to make full use of his ancient martial arts skills he developed in his previous life.
He erased his presence and blended in with his surroundings.
Because Rio’s existence faded in an instant, the shopkeeper who was only half-heartedly keeping an eye on him stopped looking out for him.
With his presence erased, Rio could look over the commodities displayed at the store.
What to sell? Where to sell?
Rio leisurely walked while wondering about that.
This skill gave him the opportunity to safely pilfer items with little risk.
But he chose not to do so.
His morals as Amakawa Haruto, an upstanding Japanese citizen prevented him.
Rio just walked amidst the stores understanding he could not touch the various commodities on display.
He was especially interested in the medicinal herbs, plants, and vegetables.
As politely as he could, he asked the store’s salesperson about the goods.
While the salesperson was wary of Rio, he answered all the questions presented to him once he was stubbornly pressed by Rio.
Various plants were successfully cultivated on farmlands surrounding the capital but some could only grow in the wild.
For such plants, they needed to be grown outside of the capital’s boundaries.
When required, adventurers were usually employed to harvest them.
Some adventurers would buy the plants they harvested with money from their own pockets.
However for a child like Rio to try and harvest these plants alone would be tantamount to suicide.
The salesperson could only give Rio a sympathetic look along with some advice.
Accepting the salesperson’s advice, Rio could only show a bitter smile and thanked him.
It was certainly a dangerous endeavour but it was still better than sitting on a hungry stomach.
He could perform body and flesh reinforcement.
There was also the ancient martial arts from his previous life so he could stand his ground in battle.
In any case, he had no other choices but to go.
But the day was almost over.
Before the end of the day, he needed to find something to supress his hunger so he abandoned the thought for the time being.
Without searching for food scraps in garbage dumps as he usually would, Rio headed back towards his home in the slums.
To distract himself from the hunger, he recalled the various shocking events that transpired that day.
The first event was the awakening of his previous life’s memories.
Recollections of Amakawa Haruto and him taking over as the main personality, but Rio’s memories and consciousness also remained resulting in the two personalities fusing into one.
Both sides became the main personality, both fused perfectly with no complications.
He as Amakawa Haruto perfectly accepted Rio.
And Rio, the orphaned child, also accepted Amakawa Haruto.
In his previous life, Amakawa Haruto’s purpose in life was to find the whereabouts of his childhood friend.
Apart from that goal, given his current situation, he had no other.
For the time being, he had no other choice than to live as Rio.
Rio also had something he must do in this world.
In the beginning, Rio did not live in slums in poverty.
His father and mother were adventurers.
The two formed a duo and travelled to a foreign nation together.
When Rio’s mother became pregnant with Rio, she took a temporary retirement.
Naturally, his father became the sole bread winner for the family.
Until that time, the two always completed quests together.
Then Rio’s father made a blunder during a quest with another adventurer.
And as a result died.
With the death of her husband, Rio’s mother raised Rio all by herself.
Using money saved from their time as adventurers, she was somehow able to safely raise Rio.
But that only continued until Rio turned 5.
Rio’s mother was a gorgeous woman overflowing with an alluring atmosphere.
She already had a child but was still young enough for the surrounding men to send lustful gazes at her.
Taking Rio hostage, a man acquainted with her during her adventuring days raped and killed her.
Rio witnessed his kind mother being raped in front of him.
At that time, he made sure to engrave the name and features of that man into his soul.
Rio did not give up on life. Even if he was forced to scavenge for scraps of food to survive, he swore to someday exact revenge.
The desire silently burned in his heart even to this day.
But on the other hand, Amakawa Haruto felt uneasy about revenge.
Suddenly the memory of that horrifying day replayed in his head.
Rio mourned with a frown.
He shook his head clearing the thought and hastened his pace.
1. From this point on, the boy with Rio’s and Haruto’s personalities will be referred to as Rio
2. Otherwise known as perfect Zen state in Wuxia novel
3. 身体能力が強化 → Enhancement of Physical Ability
4. 肉体の強度を強化 → Flesh Reinforcement