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Chapter 1

Age 749, Monday, March 10

I learned something interesting. Spending a day in school increased my INT by 1.

“Status.” I said, sitting in the backyard that afternoon.


Name: Ten
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 1 (800/2000 XP)

Race: Human
Age: 14

HP: 103/103
MP: 127/127
Ki: 103/103

STR: 2
VIT: 3
AGI: 2
INT: 9
WIS: 6

Points: 0

Battle Power: 2.3


I nodded.

The status increase had also raised my MP, as well. The number looked big but, having no actual information on the matter, there was no way to tell. Maybe a spell cost 500— I simply had no idea.

I did, however, realize that I could likely raise any of my stats through exercises. Strength training would likely raise my STR.

For my VIT stat, I figured I just needed to run a whole lot. I wasn’t too sure about my agility and wisdom, though. I pulled up the stat description on each, and read through them carefully.


AGI: Your agility. This stat will determine how fast you move, how balanced you are, and how fast your reaction speeds are.

WIS: Your wisdom; all the smarts in the world don’t matter if you don’t know where, and how to apply them. Related to magic defense and MP regen/sec.


I read through the descriptions carefully.

“Okay, so AGI is all about movement speed, balance and reaction speed.” I mused, scratching at my cheek. “How would I raise my reaction speed, though? Maybe take up a sport? Baseball would need a decent reaction speed to hit the ball with a bat— bah, who am I kidding, I doubt I’d get on the team, none of the other kids even notice me.”

Strange, I always used to be sad about not being acknowledged by others, but I barely felt it odd.

Still, that idea was a bit of a jumping point. I shrugged off the odd feeling and went back to thinking.

“Something to increase my reaction speed.” I repeated. “Maybe an obstacle course— yeah, that would do it. Running over tires, climbing stuff, using the environment to move better.”


Ping!

For figuring out how to increase your AGI stat, you receive 1 WIS.


I stared at the window.

“I guess that solves how to get higher AGI and WIS, I suppose.” I dismissed the window with a shake of my head. Looking at the status screen, I saw my MP had jumped to 132.

I took a deep breath.

“Focus.” I said to myself. “I figured out how to raise stats. This is an RPG, so I’ll likely have an inventory and list of my skills.”

Two windows opened as I said “inventory” and “skills”.

“Maybe a window for options so that it doesn’t activate any time I say any of these words in day-to-day life?” My eye twitched as the options window also opened.

I focused on the Options window first— best get that out of the way, so I wouldn’t deal with any distractions:


Interface

Notifications


“A small list,” I noted. Then again, the typical list of options in an RPG would have been Video/Audio/Controls related. Since this is real life, it made sense that you couldn’t change any of that.

I pressed my finger over “Interface”, which opened up a new window:


Current Mode: Voice Commands

Other Modes: Thought Commands


I pressed the only other mode, before dismissing the window and checking out the Notifications section.


Notifications currently appear directly in front of you as soon as any event occurs.

Other Modes: Thought Notifications, Suppress All Notifications, Redirect Notifications To The Notifications Window.

Opacity: 100%

Size: 100%

Position: Center


Hm. I didn’t need my notifications to be thought triggered as I was very comfortable with MMORPGs and juggling the many menus that appeared. I did, however, change the Opacity to 50%, turning the windows translucent, but not so much that I could no longer read the menus.

I also changed the position to the bottom right, as I was used to notifications popping up there.

If I needed to edit the options once more, then I would do so. For now, this would suffice, I thought as I dismissed the options window, before focusing back on my two remaining windows.

Inventory and Skills. I looked over the inventory first. It looked like your typical MMORPG inventory. Rows of empty boxes, a Zeni counter, and an equipment section above it all, with an accurate full body representation of myself.

I picked up a pebble at my feet and tried to push it in. There was some resistance, so I pushed a little harder. I watched as the pebble disappeared from my finger, reappearing in the inventory slot I was trying to push it into. I pressed my index over it, seeing a new window open.


Pebble

Class: Item
Rarity: Common


So there were item classes and rarities as well.

My mind drooled at the possibilities that an inventory could provide me. I would have to test it out, later.

I pulled the pebble out of the inventory, before throwing it carelessly to the side, dismissing the inventory window as I did so. I focused on the Skills window.


Gamer’s Body (Lv Max/Passive): Grants a body that allows for the user to live in the real world like a game. Sleeping in a bed restores HP, MP and all status effects.

Gamer’s Mind (Lv Max/Passive): Allows the user to calmly and logically think things through. Allows peaceful state of mind. Immunity to psychological effects.

Dishwashing (Lv 3 – 80%/Passive): The act of cleaning your dishes. You can get the job done, but are actually pretty slow at it. 4% Increase in dishwashing speed.

Observe (Lv 1 – 0%/Active): Through continuous observation, a skill to observe objects, situations, and persons was generated allowing the user to quickly gather information. The higher the skill, the greater the data obtained.


I stared.

“I can sleep anything off.” I said in total astonishment, before rereading the first passage. “Live in the real world like a game? What does that even mean?”

I pondered that strange statement, before getting an idea. I went back inside, grabbed a knife and made my way back out, away from my mother’s notice.

Holding the knife against the palm of my hand, I hesitated. Maybe this wasn’t the best of ideas… No, I had to know for sure.

I gulped and ran the knife over my palm, wincing at the jolt of pain, though the pain did not last long.

A window appeared as I cut my hand.

-5 HP!

I waved the window away and stared at the glowing red wound. There was no blood— just red particles flying outside of it. I stared at it for a minute, before it suddenly lost a sixth of its size.

“Was that.. my HP Regen?” I thought and called up my Status window with a thought.


Name: Ten
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 1 (800/2000 XP)

Race: Human
Age: 14

HP: 99/103
MP: 132/132
Ki: 103/103

STR: 2
VIT: 3
AGI: 2
INT: 9
WIS: 7

Points: 0

Battle Power: 2.3


Frowning, I pressed my finger over the HP stat. A very small window opened up at the side of the HP stat.

HPR: 0.5% of max HP per minute. Current HPR: 0.515 HP/min

I frowned again, running the math through my head. A loss of 5 HP would take around 10 minutes to heal. How odd, I thought. Still, that confirmed my previous thoughts on Gamer’s Body. My body was no longer able to bleed. Was I even human anymore? Why was I not freaking out about all of this?

My eyes settled on Gamer’s Mind, and I had my answer.

“Allows peaceful state of mind.” I reread the entry. That answered that. I felt like part of me should be appalled at the situation, but every time those emotions tried to rise, I felt them dissipate into nothing— likely this passive skill at work. I supposed it wasn’t all that important; hell, it could be an advantage, all things considered.

I was less likely to panic in situations, now. It’s not like it was a massive change from my usual state of mind, was it?

Nodding to myself, I studied the skill list window again, skipping over the stupid Dishwashing skill and reading the Observe skill. That looked quite useful as well. I stared down at the knife and thought “Observe.”


Kitchen Knife

Class: Tool/Weapon
Rarity: Common
Description: Your everyday kitchen knife, mainly used to cut foods such as meat or vegetables.


I stared at the description for a few seconds before dismissing it and messing around with the knife, slashing and jabbing the air with it. I didn’t expect to see a new window open up with a loud ping— which made me fall on my ass.


Ping!

A skill has been created through a continuous movement!
Knife Mastery (Lv 1 – 0%/Passive) : Allows the user to freely handle knives. 5% Increase in attack damage with knives.


Another two windows had also opened up. The first one said:

-10 HP!

The other said:


Through being subjected to damage multiple times, you’ve gained a new skill!
Physical Endurance (Lv 1 – 0%/Passive) : The body’s durability increases, allowing for less damage taken. 3% Decrease in Physical Damage taken.


“This game, I swear…” I sighed and got back up, dusting myself off. At least, making them translucent had greatly helped.

I stopped for a moment, really considering all that had recently happened. Why did I get this skill?

What was the point, in this modern world? Was it simply coincidence that I received such power? Or was there something else going on?


Quest Alert
Find out why you received the power of The Gamer!

Reward: 5,000,000 XP
Failure penalty: Death. Possible destruction of the universe.

Accept / Deny


I stared at the window, feeling an initial wave of shock which my Gamer’s Mind suppressed quickly.

“Possible destruction of the universe?” I re-read the quest. “How can I press Deny? Doing so would mean my death, and everyone else’s.”

I pressed the Accept button before running my hand through my hair.

“Whoever gave me this power, likely wants me to become a powerful fighter.” I mused. “Powerful enough to stop the destruction of the universe.”


Ping!

For coming to a logical conclusion, you receive +1 WIS!


I dismissed the notification, my mind still on the quest I’d taken. This was serious, I had to deal with this situation as if I was playing a game on hardcore mode- a game mode where, if you die, you lose your character altogether.

On that same vein, if my HP reached 0, I would die.

I had to focus on becoming strong and smart. To increase my WIS and INT, all I had to do- for now anyway- was go to school, solve puzzles and the like. For my STR, VIT and AGI, on the other hand…

“Well, mom has a few old weights from when she used to do fitness stuff…” I smiled, going back inside to grab the aforementioned items, setting them on the patio. I also made sure to wear different clothes, more suited to working out. I’d observed the items in question, but the only one of use had been my sneakers.


Basic Sneakers

Class: Feet
Rarity; Common
Description: A basic pair of sneakers, you bought these two months ago and have only used them in your P.E. class. 5% Increase to running speed.


Interesting effect, I thought as I read the description and stood in the yard.

“All right.” I punched my open palm lightly. “Time to start!”

There was a flash from a nearby window. I turned to see my mom holding a camera, grinning.

“Mom, what the hell?” I asked in bewilderment.

“Language!” She scolded, never losing her smile. “I’m just so happy my boy wants to work out, now! Don’t strain yourself too hard, it can really hamper your growth.”

I sighed at my mother’s giddiness and nodded as she went back inside. “I won’t. Thanks, mom.”

Though, I doubted my body’s growth could be hampered. Gamer’s Body sort of negated that entirely.

Without fanfare, I began to run. At first, I kept a slow and sedate pace, the sort of pace I’d use during physical education, as I always got tired very quickly. I made one lap, two, three, four, five, six, seven…

I’d have been totally dead by the fifth or sixth lap, before; now, I just kept going, not even feeling any strain on my body. I wasn’t even breathing hard, or sweating for that matter.

By the time the fifteenth lap rolled around, I was still running at the same pace I’d started with. Frowning, I increased the pace to an almost sprint. Another four laps went by and I was still feeling no strain whatsoever. By the twentieth lap, I got a new notification.


Ping!

For running without stopping, you receive +1 VIT!


I smiled at the stat notification, my mind distracted by the progress. I picked up the pace, going in a full on sprint, determined to get the most out of this.

Twenty five laps later, I got another +1 increase in VIT, as well as the following notification:


Ping!

Two skills have been created through a continuous movement!

Running (Lv 1 – 0% / Passive): Your race has evolved to run on two legs, and it does it very well! 5% increase to movement speed.

Sprint (Lv 1- 0% / Active): Not fast enough? Activate this skill and gain a 30% increase in movement speed for 1 min. Cost: 20 Ki. Cooldown: 20 min.


I stared in surprise at the skills, before invoking Sprint, watching as I gained a considerable increase in speed. I smiled and just kept running for the next twenty minutes, watching as my VIT went up by another 4.

Suddenly, my arms and legs seized up and I fell to the ground face-first, several notifications entering my notice.

-15 HP!


Your Physical Endurance skill has levelled up!

Physical Endurance (Lv 2 – 75%/Passive) : The body’s durability increases, allowing for less damage taken. 4% Decrease in Physical Damage taken.


You are now under the [Exhausted] debuff. Time remaining: 30 min.

[Exhausted]: Unable to do anything more strenuous than walking.


“So, my body itself doesn’t get tired, but I have a limit of about… an hour of exercise until I have to rest for 30 minutes?” I mused, thinking about it. “Annoying- but then again, before this even started, I wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes at the pace I was keeping.”

And, for about an hour’s work, my VIT had gone from 3 to 9. I stood back up, my body going through the ingrained motions of stretching my muscles after a run. I didn’t really feel an effect, though. Gamer’s Body had likely removed any need for that sort of thing. I bent at the waist, my hands easily reaching my feet.

I could have never done that, before. I moved to sit at the patio, dusting off my dirty shirt and just staring at the sky, hoping to wait until my buff finally disappeared. Partway through, I got an idea- I would do my homework or try to raise my WIS while being unable to move.

Or, maybe I could learn how to meditate. It always seemed to greatly increase a character’s regeneration in the RPGs I’ve played.


Ping!

For creatively thinking of two solutions to the problem at hand, you receive +2 to WIS!


I snorted at the notification, and assumed what I thought was a meditative pose. It likely wouldn’t be too hard to learn meditation, as Gamer’s Mind seemed to always keep me in a calm state of mind. All I had to do was focus on my breathing.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Achieve a state of nothing. How do I do that? All the games had it as an already existing passive-

Focus.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Focus on myself. My energies, I can see them.

I heard a ping, likely the game signifying my acquiring of a new skill, but I barely paid attention to it. I knew what it probably was about, but I could check it out later. For now, I was studying how my energies were working.

There were two pools of energy, one bigger than the other. I assumed the big one was my MP while the smaller one was my Ki.

I tried a trick I’d seen in an old game I’d played, focusing on my Ki pool as I breathed in and out.

Breathe in, compress the ki within me.

Breathe out, expand the ki within me.

Breathe in, compress the ki within me.

Breathe out, expand the ki within me.

Ping!

Breathe in, compress the ki within me.

Breathe out, expand the ki within me.

I heard the ping but ignored it, continuing to focus on my breathing and my Ki. I don’t know how long I kept at it, but I also began to do the same for my magic pool, hearing another ping when I did that, as well as several others after that. Eventually, I came back to myself, seeing a large list of notifications to my bottom right.

I checked my watch, noting that I’d been meditating for over an hour, well beyond what I had intended to do.

I began to read through my notifications:


Through constant inaction and suppression of outermost thoughts, you have acquired a new skill!

Meditation (Lv 1 – 0% / Active, Passive) : Many wizards have learned how to meditate, as a strong mind makes for more powerful spells. It purifies magic and allows the user to freely use their power. Actively increases MP regeneration by 100%. Passively increases INT and WIS by 10%.


Through the use of breathing exercises and focus on your Ki, your Meditation skill has evolved!

Meditation (Lv 1 – 55% / Active, Passive): Both wizards and martial artists have learned how to harness the power of meditation to improve their bodies as well as their minds. It purifies magic and Ki and allows the user to more freely use his power. Actively increases MP regeneration by 100%. Actively increases Ki regeneration by 10%. Passively increases STR, AGI, VIT, INT and WIS by 10%.


Meditation has levelled up!


Meditation has levelled up!


Meditation has levelled up!


Meditation has levelled up!


Meditation has levelled up!


Meditation (Lv 6 – 22% / Active, Passive): Both wizards and martial artists have learned how to harness the power of meditation to improve their bodies as well as their minds. It purifies magic and Ki and allows the user to more freely use his power. Actively increases MP regeneration by 125%. Actively increases Ki regeneration by 15%. Passively increases STR, AGI, VIT, INT and WIS by 15%.


Holy. Shit.

A straight percentage increase. It would be small at the beginning, but ridiculous at the later stages.

For making a correct deduction, you receive +1 to WIS!

I dismissed all of the notifications, before checking my status once again.


Name: Ten
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 1 (800/2000 XP)

Race: Human
Age: 14

HP: 112
MP: 165
Ki: 112

STR: 2 (2.3)
VIT: 9 (10.35)
AGI: 2 (2.3)
INT: 9 (10.35)
WIS: 11 (12.65)

Points: 0

Battle Power: 4.9


I stared. I’d barely done any training, and my HP, MP and Ki had already seen gains— not to mention my battle power. I remembered the mathematical formulas I’d read the day before, realizing that my HP, Ki and MP were calculated through my enhanced stats, not the base ones.


Ping!

For logically thinking things through and getting your mathematics correct, you receive +1 to INT and +1 to WIS!


With a smile, I began to work with the weights, find the hardest thing I could lift and just mindlessly lifting that for as many times as I could, ignoring the pings as I kept going with my training. Twenty minutes later, I felt as if I wasn’t really exerting myself anymore.

Naturally, I grabbed something heavier and went to work on that. I kept this up until my hour was done, and I was afflicted with the [Exhaustion] debuff, before sitting down and initiating my [Meditate] skill, focusing on my breathing for the next hour, continuing to ignore the pings.

When that hour was over, I stood back up and read through the notifications. I’d gained 8 STR from the weights, and my Meditation skill had gone up by another four levels. I noted that I got one less level for the same time of training I’d put in before.

It made sense, though. Grinding a skill had major increases at the beginning, but it would slowly taper off and it would be more and more difficult to gain any further increases.

I nodded to myself, and read through my [Meditate] skill once more.


Meditation (Lv 10 – 15% / Active, Passive): Both wizards and martial artists have learned how to harness the power of meditation to improve their bodies as well as their minds. It purifies magic and Ki and allows the user to more freely use his power. Actively increases MP regeneration by 145%. Actively increases Ki regeneration by 19%. Passively increases STR, AGI, VIT, INT and WIS by 19%.


I pulled up my status menu again, expecting my HP and Ki to have skyrocketed thanks to my STR training, as STR was the main stat of both stats.


Name: Ten
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 1 (800/2000 XP)

Race: Human
Age: 14

HP: 164
MP: 185
Ki: 164

STR: 10 (11.9)
VIT: 9 (10.71)
AGI: 2 (2.38)
INT: 10 (11.9)
WIS: 12 (14.28)

Points: 0

Battle Power: 8.3


I looked at my increased stats with a satisfied smile. My battle power had gone up to 8.3 in a few hours’ worth of working out. Now, all I had to do was devise a viable set up to increase my AGI.

I moved to begin setting up a small obstacle course- at least, I tried to.

“Ten, get me some spaghetti noodles from the shop!” Mom’s voice came from the house.


Quest Alert

Buy groceries for mom, so she can cook you a badass dinner!

Time Limit: 1 hour
Reward: 200 XP, 50 Rep with Mom
Failure: -50 Rep with Mom, Incessant Nagging

Accept / Deny


I sighed.

“Yes, mom!”

I’d work on my AGI later.

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