<Infinite Dendrogram> Tutorial – Chapter 0

Here’s the introductory chapter.

Author’s Comment:
This is my first contribution to Narou.
I would feel incredibly glad if everyone enjoyed reading my story.

This chapter is mainly the exposition and the tutorial scene that happens while logging in for the first time. It’s not that much of a problem if you skip it and start reading the main story from the prologue.

(=ↀωↀ=)<Some have said that this chapter (the setting explanation) was too large and thus hard to read, so please forgive me.


<Infinite Dendrogram>

□        7/15/2043


July 15, 2043.

Sixty years after the creation of a revolutionary device, one that left its mark in the entire history of gaming, a certain game was released.

<Infinite Dendrogram> was its title.

<Infinite Dendrogram>, that for some sort of reason was named with the meaning of “Infinite Tree Diagram” by its producers, was a Full Dive VRMMO (Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online) game——a term used for games where its users could plunge themselves in a virtual world and play there… it was truly the realization of a long-sought dream.

For nearly half a century, people themselves had fantasized about that immersive technology; in the 2000s, manga, anime and even video games started using stories that involved Full Dive VRMMOs. Then, around the 2010s, the world saw the announcement of something that had commonly appeared within those fictional works, one of the long-awaited dreams related to VRMMO games: a headgear that produced sounds and displayed images to enhance the feeling of immersion within games, producing a pseudo-VR. Then, starting in the 2030s, they were still few in number, but Full Dive VRMMOs encompassing all five senses finally began their release.

Due to the massive costs for the development and its high degree of difficulty, only manufacturers with great financial power and advanced technological strength were able to get involved in the production of those devices, resulting in the small quantity of new products being launched. There were even cases with companies that still tried, but couldn’t complete their products.

Either way, only a few Full Dive VRMMOs were released to the world. And yet, even those few quickly ended up being… a disappointment.

The first one of them, <NEXT WORLD>, became a laughing stock among its users on its very launch date.

Although it had been hyped as “not any different from reality,” <Next World> actually lacked in reality: the players’ five senses were continuously assaulted by an uncomfortable feeling, a result of the crude attempt at reproducing them in the virtual world. It had also been declared to boast the “next-generation graphics, in their truest sense,” but it actually was nearly identical to the CG generated by a traditional game console. In addition, advertisements had circulated around, indicating that players would be able to “immerse themselves in a different world through the dive machine.” Instead, like any ordinary game, they could only play in an environment shaped by the real world. Lastly, the producer’s biggest emphasis was on the guarantee of the game’s “safety and security design.” However, in the middle of and after their playing sessions, people would fall ill, one after the other, and get carried to the hospital.

Because of those circumstances, <Next World>, the first Full Dive VRMMO, suffered a massive hit to its sales and reputation. Then, along with the crushing defeat it received in the lawsuits moved by those who had their health damaged, the game’s development company went bankrupt. A certain reviewer used the following words to describe their impressions about <Next World>:

“They managed to create the gaming device of our dreams, but couldn’t build our dreams with it.”

Since then, several Full Dive VRMMOs were developed, but not a single one of them could be called “successful”——that is, until the launch of <Infinite Dendrogram>.

Before the game was released, the amount of information out there related to <Infinite Dendrogram> was absolutely zero. And while still unknown to the people, on its launch date, there was only an announcement conducted on the TV and internet in the whole world. In that announcement, the makers of the game presented four selling points:

First, they guaranteed a complete sense of reality within <Infinite Dendrogram>. The game would be able to perfectly reproduce all five senses. However, users would be allowed to turn the feeling of pain ON or OFF, letting them play without any worries.

Second, the game had a single server. For example, even if there were hundreds of millions of players, everyone would get to play together in the same world.

Third, it was possible to select individual kinds of graphics. From a realistic view to 3DCG or 2D animation, players would be able to decide how they would like to see the game world.

Fourth, there was a divergence between the time in the real world and in the game. Inside <Infinite Dendrogram>, time ran three times faster than reality.

Around the world, every VRMMO user who saw that announcement was taken aback.

“Is that really possible?”

“Just how much money and technological skill was needed to realize that?” they thought.

And then, there was the jeering:

If you’re going to hype it as something it isn’t, then try to at least make the advertisement appear real and believable.

Although the game’s unveiling simultaneously impacted the entire world, its contents were simply too ridiculous to be true. Consequently, including those who originally didn’t plan to touch the game, 99.9998% of the users thought the announcement was unbelievable; they simply assumed that everything was a massive lie and refused to buy it.

However, the 0.0002% left had something different in mind.

“It’s hard to believe that, but if they’re telling the truth…”

“Let’s try it.”

“I believe it.”

While thinking as such, they went to a game store and bought <Infinite Dendrogram>.

The cost for the dedicated machine was around 10,000 Japanese Yen, a price beyond any precedents; it was viewed as a reckless act done by the game’s manufacturers, but still managed to give a boost to the sales. “Well, even if they are lying, it’s just ten thousand yen,” the users rationalized before buying and playing it.

They would then understand that <Infinite Dendrogram> was the real deal.

At the degree of reality from the game, everyone was dazed. Because of the graphics, they went wild with joy. And finally, there was the utter amazement after logging out and looking at the clock.

Everything was true. That was the moment the game console of their dreams became reality.

A day after the launch date, when the world found itself in uproar over the comments and reviews done by the early adopters, the producers released a second announcement.

It was about the contents of the game.

The presenter, a man who identified himself as the development manager of <Infinite Dendrogram>, named “Lewis Carroll”, appeared on TV and the internet to say the following:

“Yesterday, we explained the main elements of the game, so today we are going to describe its system.”

“I believe that those who are already playing have noticed it, but there is a certain feature in <Infinite Dendrogram>.”

“It provides, in the true sense of the word, an infinite number of possibilities to the players, allowing them to create their unique playstyle.”

“More than the combination of over a thousand jobs and skill configurations, this feature brings the clear meaning of ‘unique’.”

“Every single player within <Infinite Dendrogram> is gifted an <Embryo>.”

“Depending on your action patterns, experience points, biorhythm and personality, your <Embryo> will evolve in an infinite number of ways.”

“It is not a case of simply ‘changing colors or parts’—including your own peculiar skills, there are limitless patterns to explore.”

“And that is exactly what is the——<Infinite Dendrogram>.”

“Indeed, <Infinite Dendrogram> offers a brand new world for everyone and a unique potential for each one of you.”

Those words were the last thing needed to turn the Full Dive VRMMO, <Infinite Dendrogram>, a great hit around the world.

◇◇◇

        Mukudori Reiji[1]
          3/16/2045


I, Mukudori Reiji, was sitting on my heels[2] right in front of the game package. I could feel, with every fiber of my body, just how nervous I was right now. Okay, I might have been exaggerating a bit, but the fact was that, after one and a half year, I was finally able to play this game, <Infinite Dendrogram>. So of course I was feeling nervous.

“Man, what a long journey it was.”

The launch date was in the summer of my second year of high school. Yeah, both the game’s announcement and release came right when I had decided to focus everything on my university entrance exams. At that time, there might have been students in the second and third years that, due to their love for games, despaired just like me. Well, I also had this same thought during my preparations for the high school entrance exams, but why is it that every interesting game always came out in the exam seasons?

Still, at long last, my situation had changed.

I passed without any problems for a university in Tokyo. Also, with my successful admission, I took the opportunity to start living alone.

Right now, at this very moment in my life, I could play to my heart’s content!

The moving had been completed yesterday, and after helping me with it, my family was already back at home. So today in the morning, immediately after the stores’ opening hours, I headed straight to a game shop and bought <Infinite Dendrogram>. Apparently, six months after the release date, there was a real shortage of the game, so people started selling it at exorbitant prices. But as one would have expected, one year and a half was enough for things to calm down and let me buy the game normally.

Incidentally, my older brother was one of the people who bought the game on day one. During those nearly two years, he pestered me through phone calls with, “Hurry up, man, let’s dendrogram alreadyyy.” I felt so bitter, jealous and…..

Anyway, those feelings were going to end today!

“…Let’s do it!”

Steeling myself, I opened the package.

Inside that box was a helmet-like game device and a manual. After taking a look at the book, I found that you apparently needed to wear the helmet and then turn its switch on. There was also a lot of information regarding the ingame visuals and clock, but the only word I could find to describe them was “awesome”.

Really, how did they manage to create such a game? When compared to the current state of the art, I had the feeling that this level of technology would have only been possible to achieve in, like, ten or twenty years.

But I couldn’t be a coward now.

Following the instructions, I placed the device on my head and, according to the recommended posture drawn in the book, laid face-up on my bed.

Then, I turned the game switch on.

In an instant, my vision darkened.

◇◇◇

“Oka~ay, welcome and nice to meet you, dear custome~er.”

When I came to my senses, instead of being in my bedroom, I found myself in some kind of room.

The interior of the place made it look like the study of a wooden, western-styled residence. And before my eyes, there was a strange cat talking to me while sitting on a rocking chair, its nice-looking seat also something made of wood, by the way.

…Wait, a cat?

“Sorry for intruding here.”

Even though I had no idea what was going on right now, I tried to at least return the greeting first.

“Yes, very go~od. I really like those who are poli~ite.”

The cat was talking in perfect Japanese.

However, for some reason, it kept stretching the end of every sentence.

“Is this something like the login screen of the game?”

“More or le~ess. This is just the entra~ance. Here, I will first have you set up a series of options and only then you will enter <Infinite Dendrogram>, you se~e. Ah, I am the Managing AI No. 13 of <Infinite Dendrogram>, Cheshi~ire. Nice to meet yo~ou.”

A Managing AI… I see, no wonder it was giving such complex answers. This kind of Artificial Intelligence had an entire supercomputer for its brains and, as its name implied, was mainly used for management operations. It was said that even a single one of those was capable of managing, with speed and perfection, the databases and networks of a small country.

Since this one was the “Managing AI No. 13,” it meant that there were, at least, another twelve AIs of the same level engaged in the management of this game.

“Pleased to meet you too.”

“Alri~ight. First, let’s decide on the view settings, oka~ay? We will run several graphics samples, so choose whichever option you li~ike.”

After the Cheshire… cat explained, the scenery around me completely changed. The area of the study grew larger, turning into some kind of European town from the Middle Ages. There were a lot of people walking around here, but their figures kept switching at a constant pace…or rather, it was how I was seeing things that was actually changing.

First, there was the usual reality view, then there was the CG and, finally, the anime view. Also, the last one didn’t look like a rendered CG animation, it actually had all the characteristics of the 2D anime you saw on TV.

“…Wait a moment, how are you doing this?”

“The images perceived by your sight eventually get processed by your brain, ri~ight? So we just use some similar method to change how you perceive thi~ings. Anyway, what will you choo~ose? Oh, by the way, you can also use an item to select a different option late~er.”

“Alright, this one.”

I decided that, until I’d gotten somewhat used to the game, it would be better to go with what I had always played. Okay, I was also curious about how it would feel to touch things in anime-style.

“Oka~ay.”

With the cat’s words, the scenery returned to the previous study.

“Your Player Name is next. What are you going to use for your ingame na~ame?”

“Ray Starling.”

This was a name I had often used in other games. Well, it was just a pun with my first name and the English meaning for my family name, “Gray Starling”.

“Confirme~ed. Next, we’re setting your appeara~ance.”

Cheshire continued and a blank mannequin appeared before me, along with a great number of screens. Inside those displays were words such as “Height”, “Weight” and “Bust Size”, with a sliding bar next to each of them—there were even screens filled with various kinds of eyes and noses.

“This is…”

“You can use the sliding bar and the parts there to define your ingame appearance—your avatar, that i~is. Ah, you can even create an animal avatar and look just like me~e.”

Was what it said to me, but…

There were way too many parts and sliding bars, so I had no idea which one I should’ve began with.

“It’s fine to consider it slo~owly. Remember that the time outside runs three times slower than he~ere. Aahh, but there were some people who spent an entire month, in Earth-time, to create their avatars… they kept logging in and logging out until the character was done…”

That was some amazing effort and concentration. I didn’t think I could ever manage do that. Moreover, if an amateur like me were to try a hand at this, with the excessively fine modeling provided here, there was no doubt that the work would end in a huge failure. This isn’t about playing a game, I’m talking about something like making a real human’s face.

If that was the case, then…

“Can I use my real appearance as the default and then manipulate it a little?”

“Of co~ourse.”

The cat lightly waved its tail.

Immediately, the mannequin became a perfect copy of myself.

“Now you can use this as the base for your avata~ar.”

“Thank you.”

After that, everything was relatively easy.

I changed the eye color, turned the hair blond, increased the height a little bit, kept the other facial features the same and even tried to change the avatar’s species.

…By the way, I wondered how my face would turn out in anime or CG style… somehow, this was worrying me. Shouldn’t I first try logging in the game with my normal appearance, acquire one of those items and then change the visual settings?

But then playing online with my real face was obviously…

“…Nah, forget it.”

Following that, it took thirty minutes for the modeling of my character to be completed.

“And… I’m done.”

“Oka~ay. Then I’ll be distributing your starter ite~ems.”

Cheshire raised its cat paw towards the ceiling and waved it. A second later, a bag appeared from nothing and fell down.

“This is Ray’s storage bag, the so-called Item Box, you se~e? Inside it, there’s a distinct dimensional space that you can use for stora~age. Incidentally, please keep in mind that only Ray’s belongings can go in the~ere. If something isn’t yours, it won’t get inside the ba~ag.”

“I see.”

While it was a really convenient bag, you couldn’t use it to commit crimes.

“We~ell, it’s a different case if you collect the items randomly dropped when performing PK[3], or steal items with the 《Theft》 skill, so don’t forget thi~is.”

“………”

What did that cat just say?

“Speaking of whi~ich. People with a high level in the 《Theft》 skill can even steal items from your 4D Pocke—I mean, Item Bo~ox. Be carefu~ul.”

How could I even begin to “be careful” of such Sci-Fi thieves that were able to mess with dimensional spaces?

“By the way, that one is for beginners, but there are various other types of ba~ags. Like, there are bags that are harder to steal from, others that are smaller, bags with large capacity and mo~ore.”

“Oh, then what is that capacity for this one?”

“Internally, it should be roughly the size of a normal classroom, I gue~ess. And, hmm, converting to Earth units, maybe it can hold about one ton in we~eight?”

“That’s quite a lot. It’s enough for me.”

“Apparently, it’s not enough for those who want to be mercha~ants. I wonder if they end up buying a new o~one.”

Then, I remembered my days as a first-year in high school; during that period, I worked part-time and got to know how a supplier’s warehouse was. So yeah, I didn’t think a single classroom’s worth of space would be enough, at all.

“Ah, since the contents of your Item Box will scatter around if it gets completely destroyed, you must pay attention to its durability, oka~ay?”

“I will.”

“Then, let’s choose your beginner’s equipment no~ow. Which one will you pick, Ra~ay?”

The Cheshire cat took a catalog from the bookshelf and showed it to me.

I could take note of various sets of armor in that book. There were Japanese and—of course—Western clothing, things such as Chinese, Indian, Arabian and South American traditional costumes—and surprisingly, even outfits from Sci-Fi movies.

“Let’s go with this.”

What I chose was a jacket and shirt combo, along with jeans and a bandana. This was vaguely similar to the main character of a certain RPG from the last century, a game that was considered a masterpiece. They might have looked a bit old-fashioned, but due to my brother’s influence I had also been playing retro games, so these clothes actually matched my tastes.

“Oka~ay. Then, choose your initial weapon he~ere.”

The animal opened a different page in the catalog.

Wooden and mock swords without a blade, knifes, bows, slings, staves and a lot more; all kinds of weapons were listed there.

“A knife then.”

It went well with the clothing.

“Oka~ay. Now that you have chosen your equipment and weapon, there we… go~o!”

I didn’t know if it was trying to get fired up or not, but with Cheshire’s yell, my whole figure was changed. My own clothes were switched with the ones I had previously selected and a knife appeared, hanging from a belt around my waist.

Wow, when I looked at the full-length mirror provided by the cat, I could say with certainty that it was going to suit my avatar really well.

“Oh, that’s right, here’s your initial mone~ey.”

It then handed me five coins. Hm, looks like they were made of silver, I guess.

“Five silver coins amounts to 5000 Lirs[4], you se~e. Incidentally, a single onigiri[5] costs about 10 lirs, oka~ay?”

If that was the case, then 1 Lir should’ve been roughly equivalent to 10 yen. So, all in all, 5000 lirs was a pretty hefty sum.

“Is it really fine to begin with such a huge amount of money?”

“Yeah, you’ll need to find some source of income before you spend all of tha~at.”

Apparently, this was the only monetary support they gave to players. I would have to carefully plan how I used this cash.

“Well then, at long last, let’s bestow your <Embryo> no~ow.”

“Oohh, it’s the rumored…”

<Embryo>.

As I’d heard, it was the biggest feature of <Infinite Dendrogram>. Bringing a literally infinite variation to the game, the <Embryo> was something unique to each player. People even said that it went beyond the scope of items and equipment; it was a feature that was treated by them as a partner. My brother, who was already a veteran in the game, once affirmed that “even if the game weren’t such a well-made VRMMO, or were just a simple MMO, with the Embryo system it would have still been a huge success.”

“There’s an explanation for the <Embryo>, you kno~ow?”

“Well, since you mentioned that, I’ll listen to it, I guess?”

It was always a good idea to hear the tutorial for a game’s characteristic system.

“Oka~ay. Every player receives an identical Embryo in the beginning, but that only goes for its 0th and initial fo~orm. Starting with the 1st form, it will suffer entirely different changes according to its owne~er.”

Yeah, that was nice. As I thought, hearing about a “unique element just for you” would get any gamer interested in it.

“They may be infinitely varied, but <Embryos> are more or less separated into categori~ies.”

“Ah, I didn’t know that.”

Because I tried avoiding “spoilers” at all costs, of course. I had the feeling that, in the past, if I learned more stuff about the game, I would have given up on my exams due to the urge to play. Even from my brother, the only information I heard was that it was “really fun.” Maybe he had also been worried about my exams, because he didn’t say anything in specific…

“Roughly speaking, the categories a~are:

The weapon, armor or tool kind, able to be equipped by players: TYPE: Arms;
The monster kind, able to guard players: TYPE: Guardna;
The vehicle kind, able to be ridden by players: TYPE: Chariot;
The building kind, able to be used as a residence by players: TYPE: Castle;
The boundary[6] kind, able to be deployed by players: TYPE: Territory.

Or something like tha~at.”

“Oho.”

I already couldn’t wait to see how my <Embryo> was going to turn out.

“By the way, other than the ones I just mentioned, there are also rare categories, evolved categories and even the “Only One” or Unique category. Getting one of these would be gre~eat.”

“So there was even something like that!…….Hm, wait a moment. If that’s the case, until their <Embryo> evolves into a rare category, what’s stopping people from remaking their characters?”

“Aa~ahh. It’s impossible to remake a character in this ga~ame.”

“Eh?”

“For example, even if someone tried to buy another device and start the game, their character and Embryo would still be the sa~ame. That’s because we keep a record of our user’s brainwave data, you se~e?”

“…………”

A record of the user’s brainwave data.

Yep, that was a little bit scary.

“Still, even if resetting a character was possible, this feature is something persona~al. So I believe the person’s Embryo would always turn out the sa~ame.”

“That’s right…”

“So~o. While we were talking, the <Embryo> bestowing process conclude~ed.”

“What?…..Whoa!?”

Before I knew it, an oval shaped gem was embedded on the back of my left hand, its surface emitting a faint glow.

“And that is the <Embryo>, alri~ight? Since it’s still in the 0th form, it will be stuck to you like that, but when the <Embryo> hatches into the 1st form, it will detach from your ha~and.”

In other words, this was like incubating an egg and waiting for it to hatch…

“Incidentally, can this break while in egg form?”

“It wo~on’t. All the damage received by a 0th Embryo will be redirected to the player, oka~ay?”

Ahh, I see. So even if a player died, their Embryo would be safe.

“However, from the 1st form onwards, it can be damaged and broken norma~ally. Even then, the Embryo will heal and restore itself after some ti~ime.”

Somehow, it looked like a living being.

“By the way, when the egg turns into its 1st form, the place where it was affixed will be tattooed with a cre~est. It is something like a proof that you are a player in this wo~orld. Otherwise, it would be impossible recognize who was a player or no~ot.”

“Ohh, really?”

Nah, but as expected, mistaking an NPC for a human would be….. possible…?

“In addition, the crest also has an effect that lets you store your <Embryo>, oka~ay? When you’re not doing anything with it, you should put it away inside your left ha~and. Whenever you’re playing, it will always be together with yo~ou. So please treat your <Embryo> with great ca~are.”

“Yeah.”

I still didn’t know how my Embryo would evolve… but ultimately, since it depended on personal matters, I guess that things were going to take care of themselves.

“Nice to meetcha, partner.”

Obviously, there was no reply from it, but I had this slight feeling that it shone a little brighter.

“Now, finally, please choose the country you want to be affiliated wi~ith.”

Cheshire unfolded a map on the study’s desk. Although it was an “aged scroll” kind of map, when it was completely unfolded, it went through a transformation.

Rising from seven different points in that chart were pillars of light, with the place’s current townscape being projected inside each one of them.

“The countries depicted in each of these pillars are the ones you can initially jo~oin. The images you are seeing right now come from their respective capital citi~ies.”

Around every pillar, written in floating words also made of light, were the names and descriptions of each nation.

With a white castle at its center, this townscape enclosed by walls looked exactly like one you would see in a western fantasy work. / The Country of Knights, 『Alter Kingdom』.

With buildings made of wood and cherry blossoms dancing and falling around them, this city had an imposing, Japanese-style castle overlooking everything. / The Country of Blades, 『Tenchi[7]』.

A series of mountains on one side, each revealing a subtle and profound[8] air around them, and a river on the city’s opposing side, its flow going on for eternity.[9] / The Country of Martial Xian[10], 『Kouga Empire[11]』.

Above, the skies shrouded in clouds of black smoke. Below, the earth occupied by a city of steel, its countless factories releasing the pollutants that closed off the sky. / The Country of Machines, 『Imperial Nation of Driphe[12]』.

A massive oasis with a bazaar lined up as close as possible to it, this place was surrounded by desert as far as the eye could see. / The Commercial Metropolitan County, 『Cardina』.

In the middle of the ocean, numerous, gigantic boats joined together to create an artificial island. / The Maritime State, 『Grand Valois[13]』.

Built at the base of the World Tree[14], deep inside a forest, this was an unexplored flower garden, a place where demi-humans such as the Elves and Fairies lived. / The Land[15] of Fairies, 『Legendaria』.

“Oohh, whoaa…”

Honestly, I wanted to go to all of them.

Tenchi sure had the atmosphere of the Azuchi-Momoyama[16] period;

Kouga sounded like it was from a Chinese fantasy setting;

Driphe seemed to have robots;

I think I could easily get into a sightseeing mood just by walking around Cardina’s bazaar;

There was this certain feeling I got from Grand Valois, about a man’s dream of heeding the sea’s call;

Deciding for Legendaria was a no-brainer.

And yet…

“The Alter Kingdom, please.”

“Oka~ay. As an aside, this is just a minor survey, but why did you choose i~it?”

“My brother is waiting for me there…”

“Ah, is that so…”

Immediately after I had bought the game, I called my older brother while still in front of the shop, and he said, “Then I’ll be waiting for you at the capital of the Alter Kingdom.”

…Yeah, since he was there, there was no other option for me.

Now that I think about it, why did someone like my brother choose that Kingdom? If I wasn’t mistaken, he was supposed to love stuff like robots, battleships, etc, so why didn’t he go to Driphe or Grand Valois?

Well, only the person himself could answer that anyway.

“Don’t feel down about it, there will be events later that’ll let you change your affiliated co~ountry.”

“Oh, thank you…”

Come on, pull yourself together.

Even though the Alter Kingdom looked like a normal-ish country, it might turn out to be pretty good in the end.

“Well then, Altea, the Royal Capital of the Alter Kingdom, awaits yo~ou. Time to fly awa~ay.”

“Ah, please wait a moment. What objective should I be aiming for in this game?”

The games I’d played since my childhood—even the online ones—always had an objective like defeating an evil god or a demon king. That was why I had to ask Cheshire if <Infinite Dendrogram> was the same…

“Anythi~ing.”

Was how it replied.

“Anything…?”

“Exactly, anythi~ing. You can be a Hero or a Demon King. You can be a king or a slave. You can be the good guy or the bad guy. You can do something or do nothing. You can stay in <Infinite Dendrogram> or leave <Infinite Dendrogram>. You are free to do anything. You can do anything here, provided it is something possible to do.”

The cat’s tone changed.

“The same goes for the <Embryo> in your hand. Starting now, there will be an infinite number of possibilities for it.”

Dropping its previous, stupid way of talking, Cheshire now seemed to be reading from a script.

“Welcome to <Infinite Dendrogram>. ‘We’ accept you with open arms.”

As soon as it said these words, the surrounding study vanished. The desk, bookshelf, even the Cheshire cat disappeared without a trace—I, myself, was floating in the sky, though.

“Eh?”

Looking below, I could recognize the figure of the world there.

I was looking down at the shape of a continent that, just a while ago, I had observed in the map.

Eventually, with my chosen country—the Alter Kingdom—as the destination, my body started heading towards the correct point in the land, as if being absorbed by it——and falling at an incredibly high speed.

And that was how I set foot in the world of <Infinite Dendrogram>.


TOC | Prologue Chapter 1 >>

TL Info:
1↑椋鳥玲二 – Mukudori Reiji. “Mukudori” (椋鳥) means a type of bird (Gray Starling for example), but can also have the meaning of “country bumpkin” or someone gullible. “Reiji” (玲二) uses the kanji for “Sound of Jewels” (玲/Rei) and “Two” (二/Ji).
2↑正座 – The “Seiza” position of sitting.
3↑PK – Player Kill, or the act of killing players (ingame of course).
4↑リル – Lir (or Ler, perhaps?)
5↑Onigiri – The famous rice ball. Should I keep the “onigiri” term or just translate it anyway as “rice ball”?
6↑結界 – The word used here is “Kekkai”, or “Borderline”, often used with the meaning of “Barrier” too.
7↑天地 – Tenchi, or “Heaven and Earth”, the “Universe”. Since it’s a country’s name, I’m keeping the “Tenchi” name.
8↑幽玄 – The word here is “Yuugen”, a concept of “mysterious beauty” or similar. You can see more about it here http://just.thinkofit.com/word-of-the-day-yugen-%E5%B9%BD%E7%8E%84/
9↑悠久 – And here is the concept of “Eternity”.
10↑武仙 – In Chinese, “武仙” (wǔ xiān) means “Martial (arts) Immortal” (thanks h0rr1bl3cpu for the heads up), used for example in the name for the Hercules Constellation (武仙座). In Japanese, it is (normally) written as “Busen” or “Arms/Military Hermit”. I’m going with the Chinese wording of “Xian” as it is at least a bit known.
11↑黄河 – “Kouga” or Yellow River. In China, it is spelled as “Huáng Hé”, the third longest river in Asia. The description of the river makes some sense then, with the Empire named after the big river that passes through it.
12↑ドライフ皇国 – The Driphe(?) Empire. “皇国” or “Koukoku” can be translated as Empire and there isn’t a clear difference between that word and “帝国” or “Teikoku” used for the Kouga Empire. However, “皇国” is commonly used to represent “The Empire (of Japan)” while “帝国” usually refers to empires such as the Macedonian. Because the author went out of his way to make that distinction, I used “Imperial Nation” instead of “Empire”.
13↑グランバロア – Grand Valois(?). Suggestions are appreciated.
14↑世界樹 – The “World Tree”, usually referred as Yggdrasil.
15↑妖精郷 – It’s something like “Elven Home Town”. The kanji “郷” can mean “Native Place”, “Hometown”, “Village” and even “District”.
16↑安土桃山時代 – The Azuchi-Momoyama period (around 1558-1600). You should’ve probably heard about Oda Nobunaga. He was active in that period.

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31 thoughts on “<Infinite Dendrogram> Tutorial – Chapter 0

  1. Pingback: <Infinite Dendrogram> Prologue – “The First Quest”, Chapter 1 | Hot Cocoa Translations

  2. Late by 7-8 hours.. I got interested because of the several updates at once on Novelupdates and the ‘Unique’ Embryo that is mentioned in the Summary.

    Also, majority of those who read this would be people who’s already subjected to Japanese Culture (Through Animes) and Gaming stuff anyway.. So you don’t really need to make a note about common gaming term like PK. It’s your translation though and if you’re the type who want to make sure everything is perfect…

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  3. The monster kind, able to guard players: TYPE: Gardener;

    “Don’t you attack my master, or I’LL GROW VEGETABLES AT YOU!!!”

    I suspect there might, maybe, possibly, be a typo in that sentence.

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    • “TYPE:ガードナー” If it’s not “Gardener” I don’t know what it is. I would have to search through the author’s comments and see if he had mentioned his reasoning for the category name, but my opinion is that the “Gardener” is a figurative for “someone who nurtures/protects”. The Gardener Embryo motif is exactly that and they usually appear to people who are timid, who fear being hit or want to be protected.

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      • So… “Caretaker” or “Cultivator” then?
        “Caretaker” has the double meaning of guarding and taking care of someone until they ‘grow up’, and “Cultivator” has the meaning of making a ‘crop’ better and stronger, with connections to those Chinese Xianxia novels’ favorite theme of spiritual and personal power improvement.
        Both are synonyms for “Gardener”.

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      • Probably mistaking Guardian for Guardner or something.
        It’s translated to Gardna on several Yugioh cards

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  4. Pingback: Infinite Dendrogram Tutorial chapter 0 – Light-Novel Division

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