3 The Guardian of Gates
Taking a pause, Imhoteph continued his dialogue.
[You have been chosen to be summoned, randomly. It was not out of any great feat or whatever you have done in the past but rather pure randomness. The reason why I am intercepting you is to grant you one wish before letting them have you. Your soul is powerful, as befitting of people descending from a great power. So, I can stuff your soul with power equivalent to how much it can take. Normally, I would just give you strength far surpassing the people of the otherworld, however, that kind of method has proved to be rather inefficient for how many times now. They may have used their strength for defeating adversaries, yet I am frustrated at how they turned out in the end. Abuse of their power has led to uprising of numerous peoples and the annihilation of races and even an entire era.]
Clay imagined Imhoteph to be making a sad and frustrated face.
[What that world needs right now is someone who would lead them towards a fate, different from the past. However, know that I do not have much hope for you as well. So, you might as well just do what you wish, and I will still watch over without interfering too much. The only way I can interfere is when they try to summon who they would call "Heroes" into their world.]
All this information came to Clay as if an introduction to a background story in an online game. It's like a game. Clay thought. And the fact that Imhoteph could hear his every thought, he ignored Clay and continued his monologue as it would seem.
[To me, it is foolish, but to them it is salvation. I do not care what they think of it, and even if they do not worship me, I will remain as the Guardian of Gates and Guide to Souls, so I will not lose a wink of sleep.]
Is all this necessary? I think there's nothing I can gain by listening to this lengthy background story. Clay thought yet again, without knowing that his thoughts are being heard. He was far too excited to be transported to his destination and enjoy the otherworld adventure that he deserves.
[Now, as I have talked at length, surely you have calmed down some?] as if finding Clay's unbridled thoughts annoying, Imhoteph appears to have cut his story short.
"Oh… yes. It would seem I have. Thanks." Clay thought as his answer with the intention of answering Imhoteph. And then continued his thought, not intending this to be heard, I guess I have, since your story is boring.
Still ignoring the real thoughts inside Clay's mind. Imhoteph resumed his role in this dialogue.
[No need. Now that you have calmed down, I am now to impart to you whatever you wish for. If you wish for absolute strength that can shatter anything apart, then I can, and that would fill up your soul. If not however, you can name abilities and I will find something corresponding to it and tell you if you can handle it. Are you ready?]
"Please wait a minute! If I chose something to be my ability, then do what I'm supposed to do, will I be able to go back home after?" An important question indeed. And imhoteph answered,
[Good question. The answer is, you cannot, unless you'd have enough power to fuel the magic for it. You see, calling takes about 100 years of accumulating magic energy to use. Return spells would need even more as the mana needed to pierce the defense of dimensions would cost 500 times the normal cost compared to calling. Plus, it is still up to me to open the gates or not. Now, if you have no more questions, I will proceed to letting you choose your ability.]
Without intending to have Clay post another question Imhoteph intended to cut him off but, Clay was relentless.
"Please wait! I have another question!"
[Speak.] Imhoteph answered.
Clay made a face in his mind as if he heard Imhoteph groan, but it must be his imagination. So, he continued.
"You see, I am just a normal easy-going guy, and well, what would I be entrusted with is the fate of the world they live in right, the people who've summoned me? The question is if I decide I don't want to help them, what will happen to me?" It was a question born from a lot of reading and "fan-boying" over light novels and manga as well as anime. Those templates where the summoned chooses not to help because the king of the country is unbearable or the other. So, to him it was a very valid question, as opposed to not asking. Since he was in the in between of the summoning held captive by Imhoteph before he could go there.
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[Basically, they will surround you and make you into a slave as soon as you appear, because your power would still be bearable for them. And even if they can't make you a slave, they would convince you of your worth to them and as your ego is inflated, they will make you into a 'Hero' and you will do their bidding. However, if you refuse, then you will be arrested and made into a slave. That's how desperate they are. Either way, you will turn into a slave collar or not. I'm telling you this as a caution, since it has already happened once or twice in different worlds. If you fall into that kind of fate, you will begin to hate everyone and once you come free, and you will eventually, you will become the plague that they would wish they never summoned. So, to oppose you, they would have to summon another hero and the cycle would repeat. That's how ugly humanity is.]
With a sigh, for the first time, Imhoteph showed a semblance of emotion. Clay heard this and thought, well at least this guy cares enough. Not too much, but enough.
[I advise you to think about what ability you'd want. Here is the list I can grant you. Please have a look and think about it carefully, right now, you have the time of your life.]