Part 2: Code Scanning
Okay! Before anything else, you need to learn how to code scan.
Easier to just show you. There has to be something around here we can...ah. Perfect. See those flowers over there?
Stand next to them and open the book.
Now hit 'em.
Just hit 'em with the book. Hard as you can. I'm looking for flower paste here.
Why? What's the point of this?
The point is do me a favour, okay? Jeez. Five minutes after I saved your ass and you're already being difficult.
And there you go! You can do that with basically anything you find. Just smack it with the book and you'll get a page on it.
Great. I've always wanted to try flower pressing.
Oh. Sorry. You look like the type.
...what's that supposed to mean?
You were about to head home, right? Let's go, then. I'm sure we can swing something to impress your royal highness.
Gettin' all sassy on me.
What do you mean I look the type?
See, when a new world is created, sometimes a few pages of the book fly out. Eventually they turn into one of these.
So this has been here since I was born?
Oh, way before that.
But I come here all the time. Why am I only seeing it now?
Because you only have the book now. Perk of being an author. One of many, by the way.
Most of these things show you how to create stuff. Weapons, armour, gubbins. You should scan it. You remember how to scan?
Yes. It wasn't exactly complicated.
You get your thing, right, the thing you want to scan, and then you hit the thing with the book.
Come on, man. Try to keep up.
It just says Iron 3, Justice 1, Fire 1.
Right. Those are the codes you use to make a Gladius.
Uh...turn to your sword's page. I'll show you.
Okay. Those things on the right there, in the grid? Those are codes. They're like attributes, I guess you'd say. If you take them out or add new ones, you can change whatever's on the page.
For example, that code on the left? That's an ILL code, and it's making your sword all rusty and crappy. Try taking it off.
Whoa. Now I'm impressed.
Aww, so soon? We've got so much more to cover!
Where are the rest of the codes, though? Is this all I get?
Hell no. You can find more by scanning things. Just watch how you organise them. You can swap them all you want, but you can only hold four at a time. The rest have to go on one of the pages.
There are, I believe, two kinds of fear. There is raw, shocking, unfathomable fear, such as you might experience when a man mutates into a monster before your eyes.
This was the other kind. Dull, knowable fear, but no less potent. Facing the minotaur triggered a hundred scintillating fantasies of pain, gore and death. Goblins? Goblins were common, and brought a clear, concrete image of a split head oozing into the dirt.
The first fear drives one to frenzy. The second merely paralyses.
Oh god. Oh god.
Don't panic. You can handle this.
He doesn't look angry. Maybe if I just go around him slowly-
Okay. Help. Rempo. Do something. Help.
Yumil. Do not freak out on me. Did you or did you not kill a minotaur just a minute ago?
I don't know how that happened! And these things are made of stone! I can't win against that!
Scan him first.
Get behind him and scan him. Don't run, don't run. Don't turn your back. If you try to run with that book and those swords, he'll catch you. Come on, buddy. You can do this. One shot. I've got you covered.
What now? What now?!
Take its code!
A "stone" code.
Remove it and the goblin became flesh? Was it that simple? Even after witnessing the change in my sword, it seemed absurd that I could alter something so fundamentally, just by touching a page.
The goblin, judging by its response, agreed. With a blink, its rocky shell vanished, leaving only skin and blubber. It stared at itself, bewildered.
There you go. Atta boy. Told you you could do it. You okay?
I think so. Yeah. When I saw it hesitate, I don't know. It's like everything just moved by itself.
What's wrong with me? That last fight was the same. I can hardly even remember what I did.
Yep. Felt like walking or breathing, right? Second nature.
But how? I've never been this good. I've had a bit of training, but...
Here's the thing. If you couldn't use swords before then you can't now. What you have there isn't "a sword", it's "the sword." That's the difference.
...I don't understand.
Okay. Try and stay with me here. The swords you're used to, the ones you aren't good with, they're just metal. Actually, not even that. They're ore that's been dug up and smelted and reshaped until it fits a concept. The concept of a sword. Without that concept, there is no sword. There's just a sharp thing.
What you have there is The Sword. It's the image that the word "sword" evokes, made real. It can be copper or iron or whatever you want it to be, but it wasn't made from those things. Even without the metal, the idea is still there, holding it together.
That idea comes with a purpose, and that purpose is to cut things. So when you kill something with those swords, it isn't because of your skill. It's just an idea coming to fruition through you. Get it?
It's magic. The book is magic and it gives you magic swords that make you the best at swording.
Well now I get it. Why didn't you just say that in the first place?
Hope springs eternal, I guess.
You can scan people too. See those guards?
Oh come on. Do I have to convince you every single time?
I am not going to brain a royal soldier with a book.
What if I told you that people don't notice being scanned?
I'd say "the other one's got bells on."
Try it. You'll see. I guarantee they won't even blink.
If you're lying to me...
I'm not. Try it.
Can I help you?
Um. Nope. Just wanted to say keep up the good work.
holy shit you fell for it
OH MY GOD I'M SORRY PLEASE DON'T ARREST ME I'M SO SORRY
I hate you.
Heh. Just want to make sure you remember. From now on, you scan everybody. Everybody. Even total strangers. Most people shake hands, you hit with book. Got me?
Fine, whatever. If you're done making today even more stressful, I'm going home.
What makes you think you'll be safe there?
It's only a cottage.
It's cosy. You live here by yourself? Where's your family?
I need to sit down for a bit. Get my bearings.
Sure. Hey, what about your family? Do they live in town?
Actually, on second thoughts, we need to talk. I'm still not sure I can handle all this. Why does it have to be me?
...right. Look, I don't mean to sound harsh, but you need to stop thinking like that. You can't take this or leave it. It has to be you because you were chosen. That's it. Sooner you accept, sooner you adapt.
What am I supposed to do, though? You're asking me to create an entire world here. I don't even know where to start.
Start here. You know this town, right? Go for a walk, take some notes. Then once you get used to it, you can travel, write about some other places.
But if I just write down what's already here, how will the new world be any different?
It doesn't have to be different. It just has to be.