Storm’s Breath by J.R. Ford

Storm's Breath

Storm’s Breath by J.R. Ford (Nullifier #1)
English | 2020 | Fantasy | ePUB | 2.7 MB

Someone who didn’t know Pavel might mistake his heroic bravery for a death wish, and there’s no better place for either than the world’s first fully immersive game. Sure enough, the competitors are intimidating, and the monsters terrifying — though neither more so than blossoming friendships with two determined swordswomen. Spurred by pure-hearted altruism alone, Pavel joins their quest to find the Storm’s Breath: an artifact that bestows magic powers — and real-world riches — upon the first player to find it. And with a ruthless mage on their heels, he’ll find plenty of opportunities for bravery.

Waking up in a new reality was rough. The nausea was as bad as I’d been warned — don’t know why I’d expected different. I opened my eyes, caught a swirling vision of tavern, and rested my head in my hands. My thoughts lagged.

Okay. I was sitting at a table. Solid earth beneath my feet. I was wearing clothes, which was good, but there was the bulge of an unfamiliar hand in my pocket, which was less good.

I tried to rise, but vertigo put me on the ground with a thud. The impact jarred my vision from a whirlpool to a lazy river.

I was in the stereotypical fantasy bar/tavern/inn. Others groaned, struggling with the transition. Everything seemed so real, including the guy looming over me, a snarl on his lips.

“Whoa, whoa,” I said, before he drove a foot into my ribs. Cold pain shocked me into wakefulness.

Me scrabbling at his legs toppled him. I leapt up, only to collapse across his stomach. Coins clinked as they fell from my pocket.

He squirmed under my weight. He didn’t look like a weakling, so he must’ve been feeling the transition as bad as I was.

I smashed my fist on his nose. It crunched, blood spurted, and he squealed. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

I pushed off his face and staggered to my feet, a mistake. A kick to my ankles sent me falling. I took my opportunity to grab a fistful of my coins. He took his to punch me in the cheek.

The blow stunned me while he got up and stumbled backward, right into some brave soul trying to take her first steps. She shrieked as they tumbled to a heap on the floor.

I looked around. There were perhaps thirty of us in total, each in a different state of incapacitation, all either beating on someone or getting beat on. A veritable barfight out of an old Western, only no one seemed to know what they were doing any more than I did.

My nemesis lumbered toward me. I dodged away from a tackle; he got a face full of table, and someone got a face full of me. They shoved me back into the fray, where one of my flailing fists slammed into the pickpocket’s head. My hand throbbed, but he dropped. Worth it. At the top of my vision, glowing blue text appeared: “Win your first fight: +1.”

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