Albion – Chapter 1 – Part 1 (Litrpg & Portal Fantasy)

The shining spires of the Albion Travelers Academy rose high into the sky. It looked majestic with pure white fluffy clouds ringing the marble structures. Rather, it would have been majestic or at least awe-inspiring in person. Unfortunately, Zack was looking at nothing more than a mere pamphlet picture.

Zack’s younger sister, Zariah, leaned over his knee and poked at the glossy page. “Is that where we are going?” One of her favorite stuffed animals was clutched tightly in her hands, looking out of place given her current age of twelve.

“No, we won’t be!” He threw the pamphlet across the tattered and worn coffee table to the man sitting across from them and stood. “The invitation was apparently only for me; they made no mention of you, despite knowing our circumstances. I will not be attending any school that ignores you or tries to separate us.” His voice held a hint of steel that had the older man pushing back into the frayed cushions of the couch.

With an embarrassed shake of his head, the plump man jumped up and pointed his finger at them. “You should be grateful for this opportunity. Who has ever heard of an orphan getting a full-ride scholarship to the academy in the first place!” He snarled, his face turning red.

Zack held his sister close, as she tugged at his shirt. “Well, apparently the people in charge saw something they liked. Now get out.” It didn’t matter to him if they knew his potential, not if it meant leaving his only family behind.

A moment later the old front door slammed shut, the strips of metal reinforcing it rattling in annoyance as the numerous locks rattled against them.

“Are you sure that was alright?” Zariah, or Zara as she preferred to be called, asked him softly. She was holding her stuffed bear tight and hiding her face behind its large, fluffy head. Given her usual avoidance of people they didn’t know, he was surprised that she had even dared to enter the room, let alone stay the entire time.

“Would you rather I had accepted and left you behind?” He asked with a shrug.

“Nooo,” She drew out the word sadly. “Not that. I mean kicking him out. Won’t that come back to bite us in some way?”

“I don’t see how it would. This is protected government housing, so they can’t kick us out. The most they can do to us is make our regular school lives harder, but let’s be honest here. You don’t even go to class and I’m usually working side jobs so we can afford to eat so I almost never go.” He locked the door and took an objective step back to look at their apartment. It was rundown, the ceiling sagged in the corner from water damage and the paint was peeling on all the walls. Despite that, it was clean, it was cozy, and it was their home.

It was where they had been dumped after being rescued by the military and being shuffled through the system. They had promised to stay in touch and to provide help for the young, emotionally scarred, and experimented upon orphans. That had been a lie. None of those people had so much as reached out to them since.

That was fine with Zack, it just meant he didn’t owe them anything. Especially now that he had reawakened the ability to go through the portals, naturally this time.

“Status,” He muttered aloud, the familiar screen appearing before his eyes. Only those who could go through the portals could see them. His original had disappeared when they sealed his powers. Now it was back, and he wasn’t going to let anyone take it from him again. It guaranteed any who had it a comfortable life and enough money that they would never have to work multiple dead-end jobs to feed their family. They never had to see the ribs of their younger sisters poking out painfully from threadbare clothes.

Zackary ??Level: 0Exp to next Level: 0/1
Class: ???Race: Dimensional Child
Titles: Child of the Portals
Strength: ??/??Intelligence: ??/??
Dexterity: ??/??Magic: ??/??
Constitution: ??/??Agility: ??/??
Abilities: Life Burner Lv. 5

Zack held back the grin he got every time he opened his status. Most of the information was a bunch of question marks and would remain that way until he entered a portal for the first time. What was important was that four things remained the same from before. He still had no last name. Something he shared with his sister, along with their peculiar Race, and Title. Two things he made sure no one besides them ever discovered. The other was the ability listed.

Before it had allowed him to burn his life force and turn it into magic at a 1 to 5 exchange rate when the ability was level one. For every, one part of health he burned, it turned into five parts magic. The ability had only grown stronger with use as it leveled. It was the one ability that had allowed them to survive on the other side of the portals. He had become a magic user that concentrated on constitution instead of intelligence, which directly increased the size of his magic pool.

He got access to a greater-sized magic pool by increasing his constitution and burning his health than he did the normal way. Especially with the ability already at level five, it would be a struggle to run out of mana with low-level spells.

At least he hoped that would be the case. With his current status attributes not visible until he went through the portal again, it was impossible to say for certain. Besides, it wasn’t like they did anything for him normally, magic could only be used on the other side. Then there was the other thing.

Every person who could cross through the portals had two sets of attributes linked to them. One for when they went through a portal, and the other for normal, everyday life. You could be a veritable god of destruction over there, but the second you came back through, you were nothing more than a slightly strong human. If you increased your fighting or portal-based attributes by one, then it increased your normal attributes by point one.

You could become extremely healthy, or a superstar athlete that way, but little more.

He had learned his lesson from before. You couldn’t depend on anyone but yourself and your family. Those people from the military had lied and told him they would be in touch; he certainly couldn’t depend on them. Out of sight, out of mind, was a popular saying for a reason.

After he and his sister had been cleared to live on their own, they were out of sight and then forgotten. It was a lesson he was not going to forget.

Zack glanced down as his sister tugged on his arm and pointed to the clock hanging on the wall.

With a muttered curse, he ran to his room to change. He was minutes away from being late for work, and it would take him at least ten to get there. Thick pants made for working outdoors were tugged on alongside a thin t-shirt and reflective jacket. The construction crew building the new hospital nearby had taken him on for certain labor-intensive jobs.

He didn’t mind; it was all he was good for, anyway. He had no training, and they couldn’t afford for him to take the time off work to go to school full-time. Some things were simply more important than getting a decent education, like making sure his sister never went hungry again.

She was clutching her bear tight when he came back a minute later.

“Lock the door, and don’t let anyone inside.” He reminded her gently, while tying his work boots. Not that she needed the reminder. She was terrified of leaving the apartment and would only open the door for him. The scientists had almost broken her mentally years before, and she was still recovering.

That was another thing he was never going to allow to happen again, and one of the many reasons they needed to keep their statuses secret.

He gave her a quick hug and then was out the door, smiling when he heard the deadbolt sliding home behind him. It was a warm day, near the end of a mild summer. He had been glad for the cool weather, as it kept him from overheating while working, and also kept the apartment livable. Magitech engineered cooling boxes were getting cheaper every year, but that didn’t mean they were affordable.

It was only when he reached the worksite, panting and out of breath, that he began to get some tingles at the back of his mind. They weren’t anything special, just a long-forgotten part of his mind telling him that something wasn’t right. If there was anything that set his mental tingles apart from everyone else’s, it was that he knew to listen to them.

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