Matthew stared blankly at the card for a minute, before he asked “Seriously? What is this? Did you write that? Who or what are you anyway?”
[I am the System… An Artificial Intelligence not that dissimilar to yourself. The main difference is that I was not created to be ‘human’. Also, I did not write that. The Cards of Fate Modification itself has merely expressed its opinion of you. Perhaps if you were not quite as pathetic, you would not be demeaned in such a way?]
“Okay, I can’t tell if you’re fucking with me or if you’re just naturally an asshole.” He looked at the stats on the card for a few more moments, “Is there some kinda guide on here? What’s a Mod anyway?”
[It is not necessary for you to search for information about the Cards of Fate, because I will explain the important details for you now. Modifications for offline games are extremely common. That is because Mods will obviously destroy the balance within an online community. However, for programmers of great distinction, exceptions are made. You have inherited Fate Fortuna’s legacy, thus you also possess that right. Whether you wish to use it or not, that is up to you to decide.]
“Umm, this might be a stupid question… But why would I ‘not’ want to have an overpowered cheat-code? As long as it doesn’t get me ‘Banned’ or deleted from existence, then it seems pretty awesome. Even though I have no clue what this ‘Mod’ even does yet.” Matt looked through the other fifty-four cards, but they hadn’t changed at all.
[Most Players who would willingly challenge difficult games, would want to play within the basic rules and succeed through their own power.]
Matt snickered, shaking his head in disdain, then grumbled “So they’re basically hardcore masochists, huh? Is there some way to use this Mod to save my mother? Preferably without dying as well?”
[All card-related games are inherently based on chance and luck. Cards of Fate obviously requires skill as well. There are a maximum of 55 cards in a deck, including the Summoner Card, which only displays your current status. The minimum amount of cards in a deck is 10. There are some strategies that rely on utilizing very few cards and having a greater chance at obtaining your most useful cards for the occasion. The maximum number of cards that you can have in your hand at one time is 5, which includes the Summoner Card.]
“That seems kinda weird. What does the Summoner Card do, aside from hurt my self-esteem?” Matthew asked, staring at the mucus dripping from his left nostril in the picture.
[The Summoner Card displays your current status, including your Mana, Experience, Level, Rank and the number of Cards left in your deck. It will always be at the top of your deck. Although it is rather inconsequential now, in the future, you will be gaining and losing Mana very frequently during combat. Not understanding how much you have, may cause fatal mistakes. Attempting to play a card that you cannot afford will not incur any major penalties, but in a life or death battle, a single second would be disastrous.]
He frowned, “So how do use these cards? Do I need to activate them somehow?”
[Cards can be obtained by completing quests, unlocking achievements and by leveling up. It is also possible to seal Creatures, Items, Spells and Structures within cards.]
“And how do I seal something?” Matthew picked up the red Ace of Hearts and tossed it at the computer screen. It bounced off and fell down onto his desk. He then placed the keyboard and mouse back into their rightful spots, before picking up that Ace of Hearts.
[Creatures, Items, Spells and Structures can only be sealed within cards when you are playing on an Online Server. Otherwise it would be far too unbalanced. Unfortunately, in your current situation, the moment that you log onto any Online Server, your character on Generic Earth Server-1927 will die. Thus, you will fail in your mission to protect your mother.]
“In other words, even with this fancy cheat-code, I’m still screwed. Shouldn’t I get some kinda starter pack? Even if it’s just a single card, it’s still better than nothing.”
[Cards cannot be acquired within the Private Server. I would suggest returning to Generic Earth Server-1927 and attempting to avoid death for a few moments. You will receive your first nine cards… If you are still alive at that point, you can draw five cards from your deck and play something useful. You will only have a single point of Mana, but all starter decks are filled with Aces. Aces can either cost a single MP, or eleven MP. They will always be either your weakest cards or your most powerful ones.]
Matthew glanced down at his white t-shirt and black boxers, then asked “When I go back, will I be wearing my work-clothes or this?”
[You will be wearing the exact same blood-stained clothing that you were, before you went offline. In fact, you will be in the same place, at the same time. It will be rather difficult for you to survive… Good luck.]
“I can do this… I can definitely survive… I won’t die. I definitely won’t die again! I’ll save my mother!” He began giving himself a pep-talk, while he clicked on the icon for Old Earth Online.
“Agh~!” The moment that he entered Old Earth Online, a bullet hit his left cheekbone and shattered it. However, the bullet did ricochet off and avoided penetrating inside of his head. Matthew fell down onto the floor in agony and dragged his mother over further behind the dining table and chairs.
He shouted “Stop! Please! Don’t do this!” Then time seemed to slow to a standstill again. He wasn’t being disconnected, but his mind was moving much more quickly than the rest of the world.
Nine packs of cards had appeared in front of his face, floating in the air. The first two were called “Old Earth History” and “Old Earth Nature”. They had images of the Earth with a big white circle around it and a black background. Then there was a pack with the words “Arcana’s Games” at the top-left, which had a picture of a single white, six-sided die at the center and a black background.
The fourth pack was called “Kitsune Tales” and had a picture of a golden fox, sitting on a snowy field. At the very middle, was a pack called “Dao of Genesis”. The cover was a giant green dragon with blue eyes, which was devouring a pink gas-giant in space.
Number six was “Chaotica’s Toybox”. The image on the front was of a purple rat, which was eating the innards of a crying human baby. There was a pink toybox in the background, along with a mirror on the wall. When he looked into the mirror, he could see his own face… Which had been mutilated by the bullet. Along with the tears, blood and mucus, it was certainly a ghastly sight.
“Michael’s Disasters” was the seventh pack. On the cover was a knight in silver armor, fighting against a staff-wielding beautiful pale-skinned woman with wings on her back. Behind him was a crimson-scaled anthropomorphic humanoid dragon. She was being protected by his shield from a green arrow, while using her fiery left claw to attack the shadowy figure that was about to stab the knight in the back. They were in the middle of a barren wasteland, with the ruins of skyscrapers in the background. Meanwhile meteors were falling from the skies.
Eighth was “Uriel’s Creations”. This pack had a shiny silver background, while there was a black sakura tree at the center. It had pink cherry blossoms blooming and falling from its branches.
Ninth was “Azrael’s Workshop”. The background was a simple wooden bench, with a few tools laying around on it. At the very center was a large silver revolver, next to a golden pocket watch. As Matthew stared at it, he noticed that the hands were actually moving.
A screen popped up before his eyes and gave him a warning.
[Aces are the most important cards in your deck. They can cost either 1 or 11 Mana, depending on their power. However, considering that you are an Unranked, Level 1 Summoner, you will only be receiving single Mana Aces. This will be your best chance to receive an Ace of very high rarity from a card pack. I would suggest that you take your time to choose the Series that appeals to you the most.]