This is the story that came to my mind.

The hero is one of us. An American in our world. Probably a teenager or young adult.

Something happens, and he is called out of our world into a land of villages. It is a real world, but it is also something like a game. He is a Level 1 Hero with stats. He gets little notifications and can see popups giving basic information about the people he meets.

He starts doing small favors for the villagers, fights animal pests, and grows in level. He unlocks achievements and new skills. He becomes more capable and faces larger and larger threats. The villagers cooperate with him and eventually he even acquires the ability to recruit them as militia and watchmen. But it bothers him that so much depends on him. Granted, he is a Hero and they are Villagers, but they aren’t just props in a game, they are real people, and it bothers him that they are so oddly unconcerned about their own safety. So willing to just leave it to him.

But one Christmas Eve he is out in the lonely moonlit snow on patrol. And he looks down from the slope he’s on, and through the firs he can see one of his villages, windows lit, the people spilling out into the streets singing and rejoicing together, the little church, post out over fires cooking good things, and he feels that it is all worth it. He feels their happiness, and he wants them just they way they are.

Achievement unlocked: love.

He ranges farther and farther, righting old wrongs, undoing ancient evils, gaining more levels, until at strange barren mountains at the end of the world he fights his final confrontation. You have won. He receives the notification that he has completed his progress as a hero and is ready to transcend to a higher plane of existence. In front of him a portal opens. He steps through.

He wakes up to find himself a young boy again under a quilt in a croft. He climbs down the ladder. His mother and father are there, young again. He checks their status. They are Villagers. He checks his. He is now listed as a Level 1 Villager.

Later that day a burger takes him aside and says that he, the burger, was a former hero too. There are many former heroes here, he tells him. They leveled up enough to be able to work on what really matters.

Achievement unlocked: happiness.

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