The low temperature, combined with the damp drops on his body, transformed the experience from uncomfortable to painful in moments, prompting the man to suddenly open his eyes.
With difficulty, he moved his torso, which felt like it might break at any moment, looking around in confusion. To his surprise, he found himself in a forest on a rainy night. Raindrops fell incessantly, mixing with the mud and dried blood near him.
Noticing the blood around him, he quickly assessed his condition. His hands roamed over his torso, which, to his astonishment, felt much flatter and more toned. Overall, his body felt great.
"My hands are larger..."
The inspection continued. Although covered in mud, there was a certain shine on his chest. Upon closer inspection, he found a pendant externally made of silver with engravings resembling clouds. The man noticed it could be opened. As he did so, the pendant slowly opened to reveal two cracked crystals, one depicting a beautiful young woman and the other an energetic young man.
"Who are these people? Why can't I remember anything before waking up here? I was..."
The man's head felt like it was about to explode as he tried to remember, as if his brain were being squeezed by an invisible force, until memories began to flow towards him.
"I was reading novels, closed my eyes for a moment, and then woke up here. My name is Frank Sanz."
Slowly, the man began to provide information about himself to prevent the newly recovered memories from slipping away like mist through his fingers. He lived alone in a modest place in South America, was a fan of science fiction, fantasy, horror novels, among many other genres, attended a university while working part-time, and with the help of his parents, had managed to rent a decent apartment to stay in.
Instantly, intense pain invaded his mind as images unrelated to the life he had just narrated began to flow invasively: the sight of a beautiful young woman with golden hair smiling kindly at him, the scene of him and a young boy with hair as bright as the sun practicing fencing with a look of admiration from the boy towards him, the figure of a dark-haired man his age with a silver breastplate and flame motifs on his arms conversing calmly with him, to the vision of a beautiful woman with long dark hair walking towards him, looking down at him as a brilliant silver-stained sword was raised in the air, then lowered in his direction, and the name "Shin Hin" appearing on the crimson screen caused by his own blood, cutting off the flow of memories instantly, pulling the man out of his trance.
"T-These aren't my memories... I'm not called Shin Hin..."
Rising despite the pain in his mind, he walked in the rain towards a relatively large puddle with some diluted blood, aiming to inspect his face given the memory of the woman with dark hair. He feared having a fatal injury he couldn't feel. In the reflection of the puddle, somewhere between a clear transparent and a crimson black, he saw the vision of a young man in his twenties. Aside from the color of his hair, he looked average in his reflection. Instead of a fatal wound on his head as the man's final memory should suggest, he simply had a small scar.
"Is this person... me?"
I don't understand. Is this some kind of dream? It can't be. The cold feeling and the falling raindrops are very real from the memories I have about this guy. Clearly, he was murdered... Could it be that I reincarnated into him?
Being a fan of novels, Frank wouldn't take long to try to conclude that perhaps, strange as his situation may be, he had been thrown into a completely new world. At this idea, fear and despair invaded his heart deeply.
How is this possible? Did I end up dying in my original world? My parents won't know anything about me, and my siblings, my life...
Although he wanted to mourn the hopeless idea that his entire life was destroyed without warning, the coldness of the rain and the helplessness of not knowing where he was would make his instinct prioritize his survival. He used his vision to look for a place where the sea of trees might end so he could find some refuge from the cold. His eyes widened in terror at the scene he discovered when he moved a little.
Before him lay freshly deceased bodies of different men with silver breasts and chainmail. Some were in a deplorable state, while others had not been finished off but died from the cold rain and blood loss.
C-corpses, they're real corpses!
At that moment, another fragment of Shin's memory would be restored in his head. The scene depicted a group of men walking together, each with their respective armors and sheathed swords by their sides. They followed three men ahead of them who had dark blue-toned cloaks. He could only see their backs, but Frank was quite sure that the one in the middle was carrying a box with strange engravings, which seemed to be carefully guarded as if it were a great treasure. It would be then that a figure moved as fast as a shadow around Shin's companions, inflicting deep cuts at different parts. Some managed to draw their swords to defend themselves, blocking some cuts from the rapid figure, but this only prolonged the inevitable end. Shin would quickly turn his head to look at the three men in cloaks, only to find that they had disappeared.
They escaped while using us as a distraction...
True resentment would come to Frank for the unfortunate Shin who was left to his fate. The memory had ended, but he could deduce that the man whose body he now possessed had tried to escape through the forest but was quickly hunted down.
I don't quite understand. Who was that woman? Why were they escorting three men in cloaks? Above all, that box intrigues me; they seemed to guard it as if it were a great treasure...
Frank's speculations presented themselves in this scenario as his mind filled with confusion, fear, and bewilderment.
Pam pam pam!
The sound of approaching footsteps shattered the man's shock.