"Something strong. Feels like I've just awoken from a thousand-year slumber... or that I've been sitting here for two months!"
In which Bungles discovers just how drastically the world has changed in his absence.
The barkeep nods and sets the mug down on the table.
"Two months, actually." The barkeep turns to leave but you stop him.
"Hold on. How long has it been? I passed out in my starship
not long after that robot destroyed my village
." The barkeep looks at you in surprise.
"Destroyed your village? Why, that must have been the village of Nuro!" The bartender sets down a small glass bottle on the table and begins to fill your mug from it. "The entire planet was destroyed by a robot just over two months ago."
You give the old barkeep a look of shock. "The whole world?" you exclaim. "But I read an entry from the robot's journal that said he was defeated by a Zaren Commander!"
The barkeep nods as he wipes the bar down. "Yeah, Commander Hans was out on a patrol in his cruiser when he ran across a robot attacking a small village. He managed to defeat it and land his cruiser, but the robot had done so much damage that the planet was past saving."
"But... but we're on that planet, right?"
The barkeep nods. "This planet is actually the Zaren home world, Zaren. The robot that attacked the planet didn't just destroy a village, it destroyed a CITY of fifteen million people."
You are shocked speechless.
Deciding not to question the complexities of cause and effect, you pay for your drink and leave the bar. Stepping outside, you survey the destroyed world.
The planet is now a mass of craters with some metal towers protruding from them.
The sky is red from the fires that destroyed the planet, and traces of smoke clouds the air. You take a deep breath of the thick, humid air. This is a dead world.
You glance back to the tavern. "Not completely dead," you mutter.
You've walked several miles across the craters when you notice something a mile away on the horizon. It looks like... a city?
You set off towards it, curious if this could be some sort of trick of the light or maybe your mind playing tricks on you.
Climbing over a small hill, you find not one but two immense cities sitting on the other side. One is somewhat smaller than Nuro but it looks like it contains some industry: smoke and flames jet out of tall brick chimneys while machines work on various tasks.
The other city
is much larger than the first and sports incredible towers reaching towards the sky. These aren't made of bricks, though, they're solid purple! Through some unknown material, the towers are able to support themselves without the need for supporting columns.
You approach them and upon finding another traveler, ask them the names of the twin cities.
They tell you the smaller one, which sprawls across several miles of land with a large industrial complex outside its main limits, is the city of Nuro. The larger one with the purple towers is called Corlin. You thank them and continue on your way, eager to explore these two incredible cities.
"It looks like my village was rebuilt into a massive city," you muse.
You walk along, taking in the sights. As you approach a crossroads, a man steps out in front of you. "Hey, there! Where are you from?"
You answer him truthfully.
"No way! You're the one who destroyed the robot?" His eyes widen in surprise.
"Well, obviously not completely," you reply, "since the world was destroyed. From what I've read, it sounds like one Commander Hans truly defeated it."
You've since learned the timeline. The robot appeared three thousand years ago, yet it only now destroyed the world. You've found proof that Hans was responsible, though he didn't do it alone.
"So many shocking revelations!" you exclaim.
"The robot was once a man, who was transported to another dimension after it traveled through a black hole. He returned as an unfeeling killing machine, and now the Zarenites took advantage of his thirst for blood. Now that he's dead, I'm free to explore!"
You ask where to find a map of this destroyed world.
They tell you to follow this road for a mile, then turn right at the large solar panel. Then, continue for three miles and you'll reach your destination.
You follow their directions and arrive
at a small building. They're mostly just repair shops, but there's also an administration office. You approach the office and read the sign that says "Maps For Sale."
You open the door and are surprised by what you see. The room is painted a cheery yellow with little clouds painted on the ceiling. The shelves are filled with toys and games. Most surprising of all, the counter is staffed by a real, genuine robot.
You step forward, catching the machine's attention. "Hello!" it says in a cheerful tone.
You cautiously approach the robot and inspect its appearance:
it's a simple, cylindrical body with only two arms, two legs, a head and a nozzle for a mouth. It's painted red and yellow, the colors of the Plenipotentiary Dominion. The machine certainly isn't threatening.
"Hello," you respond cautiously.
"Excuse me," you say after a couple minutes, "I'd like to buy a map."
"Certainly," the robot replies, "for how many?"
"One should do."
The robot reaches under the counter and produces one of their maps. It's very simple: a plain sheet of paper with printing on it. "That'll be ten shillings," the robot says.
You check your sack of coins
and find you have only five.
"I have five shillings," you tell the robot.
"That's fine," the machine replies. "The rest is call."
You have no idea what the robot is talking about, but you hand over the coins anyway.
Map in hand, you step outside and inspect it.
You're surprised to find it's a simple, interactive map. A voice begins to speak as you hold the map: "You are here." You look and see a small red dot where you are currently located. You look at the roads and can see their names: Highway Nine, Island Road, Planton Trail. "Highway Nine connects the towns of Nuro, Quala, Dawnville and Azarath. Island Road runs along the coastline of a large island. Quala Road leads to the bustling town of Quala. Planton Trail runs through a peaceful forest."
You wonder where you should go first on your adventure.
You could go to Quala, Azarath or Dawnville. You could also explore the island with the coastline or head into the forest on the Platton Trail. The choice is yours!