Kiefer slowly trudged his way through the cave, following the sound of the waterfall. The cave was dark to the extent that he could barely see around him, so he placed his hands along the cavern wall and made his way.
It took him a good hour of slow walking and tracing to reach a wall of water blocking what he assumed was the entrance of the cave. Water had started to rise up along the way and at the exit, he was knee deep in the water.
Being careful not to slip on the moss covered rocks below his feet, he cautiously approached the torrent of water falling from above him. And that’s when he noticed a small gap on his left side between the rock face and the waterfall, along with a chilling breeze that kept blowing sprays of water into his face.
The entrance itself was very wide, around 3 metres high and easily 5 metres wide. The waterfall had concealed the entrance really well, if not for the eroded rock face that left a gap barely big enough for Kiefer to squeeze out.
His whole body soaking wet now, he stood next to the waterfall, taking in the surreal sight that greeted him.
A large lake that the waterfall fed into, lead into a river some 50 metres away. The bank was a stone throw’s distance away from where he was standing and the water seemed deep enough to swim in. There was a dense forest roughly 20 metres away from the lake on all sides and he could hear all sorts of creatures within the forest. However, all these had an insignificant impact on him, compared to the 2 celestial bodies floating in the starless night sky.
“Well there’s a surprise.. 2 moons. That definitely means I’m not on Earth anymore. If that’s the case, back to my first question. How the hell did I end up here? And where the hell is ‘here’?”
Kiefer started wondering as he stared long and hard into the 2 moons. One was a pale cream colour, full and round, while the other was smaller, maybe half the size and it was a azure blue crescent.
Scanning across the bank closest to him, Kiefer spotted a small animal lowering its head to take a sip of water, only to look up and stare right into his eyes.
“Rabbit? No not quite right either…” Kiefer wondered for a while, staring at the cute grey animal. It had what seemed to be a soft coat of grey mangled fur, two long ears, a long swishing tail not unlike a cat’s, and most prominently, 3 red eyes.
“Grrrr..” his stomach rumbled. As if in response to his stomach rumbling, the creature darted straight back towards the forest, as if it was afraid of becoming Kiefer’s next meal. From the bushes, Kiefer could still spot the gleam of 3 red ruby eyes staring back at him.
“Gotta get out of the water. Avoid hypothermia. Why do I have to be naked, and in the middle of the night when it’s so cold too?” Kiefer cursed internally as he dived into the water and headed towards the bank.
Completely unbeknownst to Kiefer, because of the lack of mana in his body, as well as the disturbance in the water due to his swimming being masked by the waterfall, his presence went unnoticed to the beast living at the bottom of the lake.
He got out of the lake and shook as much water off his body as he could like an ugly hairless dog and proceeded to think about his next steps. “I’m sure the cave is a lot safer than being out here, but at least there isn’t any wind out here, so I will most likely not die from cold if I could build a shelter. Next step is a shelter I guess, followed by food. But I’ll do those when there’s light. Don’t wanna attract attention by starting a fire.”
Not knowing how long the night is going to last, Kiefer proceeded to dig out a hole in the ground just big and deep enough for him to lie down without exposing any body part above ground level. The hole was dug a fair distance from the lake to avoid potential flooding.
Kiefer started working on making a makeshift bed, lining the hole with large human-sized leaves that he broke off a nearby tree in the forest. He then drank some water and lied down inside his temporary bed and shut his eyes.
*thud* … Shhssss*
*THTUD* …. *SHHHHHKKKKKKKKSSSSSSS*
“AAAARRGGGHH!! What the Eff is happening to me!!???!” Kiefer yelled, in a complete foetal position inside the hole. He had felt his body getting warmer soon after he tried to sleep, but that did not alarm him as it only felt comfortable at the beginning. He could feel a sense of throbbing inside him that he assumed was his heartbeat.
As time went on, the heat became more intense and the throbbing stronger, accompanied by a suction sound. With each throb, Kiefer felt his body set on fire. After each throb, he could feel the cold wind piercing his entire body like billions of ice cold needles striking and digging into his skin. Hot and cold, this cycle repeated for what seemed like an eternity of pain until Kiefer passed out from the pain inside his little makeshift bed. Even then, the cycle continued, modifying his body.
Kiefer had come from a world without mana, into one where mana was infused into every living and non-living thing. His body completely void of mana was like a dry sponge just thrown into a tub of water, soaking up as much as it could take.
The mana induction process was initiated by drinking water saturated with mana from the beast. While non-living things such as rocks and water and air did not retain mana well, the sheer power of the beast within the lake had saturated the water to the point where it had become almost toxic.
It had not occurred to Kiefer that the world he was in had mana; much less the fact that he would get mana poisoning from drinking water which he assumed was safe from watching the rabbit. And so he lay there, unconscious in his hole in the ground while his body adapted to the incoming surge of mana from his surroundings.