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Chapter 2

Age 749, Friday, April 11


Ping!

Due to pushing your body to its absolute limits, your VIT and AGI have increased by 1!


I smiled and dismissed the window, continuing with my training routine

It had been a bit over a month since I’d started my grinding fest. I had a basic schedule in place. One day, I would alternate between running and meditation; the next day, I would alternate between my strength training and meditation.

This allowed me to focus on one activity at a time.

During the daytime, I would attend school, and gain a single point of INT for attending the classes that day. I would further gain INT points, as well as some WIS for when I would do homework.

Though, I realized that the more points I gained, the more days it took to get extra gains.

Literature class also turned out to be a hidden boon, as I learned that a book ended up giving me a point in INT.

So, I spent the nights going through all of the books I currently owned.

I took a deep breath, settling down in my backyard. Raising my VIT and AGI simultaneously was a good way to train. It saved up on time, and helped me maximize my stats that much quicker.

It’d taken three whole weeks for me to figure the method out, my AGI having stayed at a measly 2 the whole time.

At least, until I figured out that I could run around the neighborhood, jumping off rocks, using things as springboards, balance myself on ledges— that sort of thing.

I called up my Status window and read through its contents:


Name: Ten
Occupation: The Gamer

Level: 4 (1,800/5,000 XP)
Race: Human
Age: 14

HP: 772
MP: 771
Ki: 772

STR: 17 (23.97)
VIT: 22 (31.02)
AGI: 10 (14.1)
INT: 25 (31.25)
WIS: 19 (23.75)

Points: 15

Battle Power: 23


My AGI gains weren’t all that impressive, but the rest of my stats have seen incredible leaps. I’d also learned that the high HP/MP/Ki numbers didn’t really amount to much. While the Sprint skill only used a small amount of Ki at first— I’d leveled it enough that it increased my movement speed by 40% instead of 30%, but it now required 500 Ki to use.

I’d also developed more skills over the course of the month, as well.

Skills such as the following:


Ki Ball (Lv 10 – 74%/Active): Since time immemorial, living creatures have learned to harness their life energy and bring it to the surface. The Ki Ball is the most basic of techniques. It has a base cost of 500 Ki, and deals 500 damage. Further damage will require more Ki, at the same ratio of cost. Note that the Ki Ball will become larger and slower the more Ki you inject into it.

Mana Shield (Lv 15- 35%/Active): A wizard’s bread and butter. A shield made out of a wizard’s mana, covers the outline of his body. This skill costs 50 MP/min to remain active; however, all damage taken will drain the MP bar, instead of HP.


Another skill I’d ended up leveling was my Observe skill. I’d gotten it to about level 19, due to constantly observing things left and right. The skill now showed me other people’s stats, as well as descriptions on them.

I also learned various miscellaneous skills which didn’t contribute to fighting in any way— such as Cooking, Cleaning, etc.

It was a very odd existence, I thought as I relaxed on the patio, having finished the week of classes. School had become laughably easy, due to my increased stats. Hell, even phys ed was a joke, at this point.

I’d tried to hide my abilities, at first. But, after dealing with the coach’s comments about my lack of stamina for the umpteenth time, I said fuck it and ran at full speed for 5 minutes in the next class, easily outstripping any of my peers— who were understandably equally confused and amazed.

The look on the coach’s face had been worth it, though.

His behavior afterwards, however, was something I was neither expecting nor welcoming. He’d wanted to draft me into various teams and whatnot. I’ll be honest, that shit’s kind of boring to me. Throwing a ball in a hoop? Kicking a ball into a rectangle?

That sort of thing tends to lose its luster after you receive a quest to save the universe.

I sighed, checking my watch— 6:25 PM. Normally, I’d be at the local dojo, pestering the owner Kai or the students for spars, but the older man had said he didn’t really have anything more he could teach me.

I pulled up my skill window, and stared at the skill I’d acquired from learning under him.


Martial Arts (Lv 15 – 0% / Passive): Many ages ago, the first people watched animals in nature, marveling at their different methods of catching prey; the ferociousness of the tiger, the patience of the mantis, and so on. Naturally, they began to emulate their movements and taught others to follow these same movements. Passively increases STR, VIT and AGI by 16%.

Known Styles: Tiger Style


The Tiger style was the owner’s personal style, focused on quick, decisive strikes. It was all about speed and power. Grappling moves were few and far between, though I did learn how to effectively hold someone down. There was no point to knocking someone down if you couldn’t keep them that way.

At any rate, the skill had been stuck at level 15 for the past week, not increasing at all. That was about the same time that Kai had told me that he’d ran out of things to teach me, before suggesting I seek out a master called Roshi.

I’d heard of the man; he was a legendary martial artist, a World Martial Arts Champion. The man who’d invented a technique called the Kamehameha— some sort of explosion of power that he’d developed.

My attempts to replicate it had me create the Ki Ball, instead.

I heard the front door open, and sighed. I knew where the old master lived— or, at the very least, I had a good approximation of where he was. An island to the southeast of Fry Pan Mountain, the legendary mountain that was always on fire.

See, I really wanted to go there, but…

How would I break this to my mother?

Sorry, mom; I can’t go to school anymore. I have to go on an adventure by myself to find some super old hermit living alone in the middle of nowhere. Bye!

I snorted at the thought.

“Ten!” I heard her call out. “Could you come in here for a second?”

Frowning, I made my way back indoors. I found my mother in the living room, sitting on the couch, drinking tea with my martial arts teacher, Kai.

Giving them a look of surprise, I gave a formal bow to my teacher. “Teacher, I wasn’t aware you’d be here today.”

Kai smiled, waving my words off.

“I’m not your teacher anymore, kid.” He said good-naturedly. “In fact, that’s why I’m here today.”

My mom frowned slightly. “Not his teacher? Has Ten done something wrong?”

“Oh, no!” Kai laughed. “Nothing of the sort. I meant that I no longer had anything left to teach the boy.”

“Oh?” Her frown deepened. “I rather thought that martial arts were something that took an age to learn.”

“True, for the most part.” Kai nodded in agreement. “However, some, like Kai here, are gifted with the ability to learn things quickly. I must say, it has been a delight to teach you.”

“Thank you, Teach… I mean, Kai.” I corrected myself, taking a seat on the third couch.

“That still doesn’t answer why you’ve come to our home, Mr Kai.” My mother gave the man a smile. “Not that I mind the company, of course.”

She then muttered something under her breath, blushing slightly. It all seemed to go over my former teacher’s head. Wow, my mom liked this dude, and he didn’t even notice?


Quest Alert

Help mom seduce your former martial arts teacher!

Reward: 5,000 XP, 200 Rep with Mom
Failure Penalty: Your mom grounds you for life.

Accept / Deny


I couldn’t press Deny fast enough.

No way in hell.

I was not playing matchmaker.

Especially not for my own mother!

“Ah, well, I was hoping to talk to you about that.” Kai said, not having noticed the woman’s blush at all. “I wish to send him to the Muten Roshi. I have never anyone with such raw skill. I’ve taught him all I could, but the only person that can bring out his full potential is the legendary Master himself.”

My heart leapt in my throat, before Gamer’s Mind asserted itself and returned me to a calm state. I had not expected this turn of events.

“Absolutely not!” My mother denied instantly.

“Mom…” I muttered, but she didn’t seem to hear me.

“He’s only 14! I won’t send him out into the world, unsupervised!” She continued.

“Mom.” My voice raised slightly, but she still didn’t hear me.

“I refuse. He’s all I have lef-“

“MOM!” I yelled, finally getting her attention. She gave me a shocked look.

I supposed it wasn’t surprising; I’d never yelled at her before.

“I have to go.” I said simply.

She gave me an angry look. “Listen here, Ten. It’s not safe out there—”

Her breath caught in her throat when I manifested a [Ki Ball] in front of the two.

“That’s..!” Kai looked amazed at the ball of energy floating over my hand. He looked at me. “How long have you been able to do this?”

“A while.” I gave a noncommittal answer, before turning to my mother, re-absorbing the ball of ki. “I need to understand why I got this power, mom. You noticed it too, didn’t you? My sudden change.”

A moment of silence passed, before she threw herself onto me.

“I didn’t think it would be anything like this!” She babbled. “I just thought you were finally coming out of your shell!”

“And, I am, mom.” I smiled at her, hugging her back. “It’s just that I came out much faster than I thought I would.”

Another moment passed. And then—

“I’ll see myself out.” Kai stood up, giving me a nod. “My apologies for upsetting you, Miss Jean.”

My mom didn’t even acknowledge that he’d said a word, gripping me tighter as we heard the front door open and close.

“I don’t want to lose you, too.” She whispered. “Ten.”

“You won’t lose me.” I smiled, rubbing at her back. “If anything, meeting this Master Roshi fellow will probably make me stronger than anything. That man’s a legend for a reason, isn’t he?”

She gripped me even tighter.

“All right.” She pulled back, a determined look on her face. “I’ll let you go. But, only if you can prove to me that you won’t slack off on your studies!”


Quest Alert

Show mom that your INT score isn’t just for show.

Reward: 2,000 XP, 500 Rep with mom.
Failure Penalty: You will not train with Roshi until much later, which may lead to a higher chance of the destruction of the universe.

Accept / Deny


Was there even a choice? I pressed accept.

“I’ll take my year’s— actually, I’ll take this and the next year’s final tests, mom. I’ve studied very far ahead.” I gave her a confident smile.

She gave me an incredulous look, which then turned to curiosity. The rest of the night was spent with me completing test after test. Mathematics, chemistry, literature, physics, geography, many others.

I ended up acing every test she managed to find online, seeing the quest completion window pop up.


Quest Complete!

2,000 XP! 500 Rep with mom!


After the final test, my mom gave me a look of awe.

“I’d known you were doing well in class—” She said as we settled down in the kitchen. “But to be so far ahead! I’m so proud of you Ten!”

I blushed slightly as she hugged me tightly. “Thanks, mom.”

She pulled back, a conflicted look on her face.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” She said, biting down on her lip worriedly. “You’re still so young, what if something bad happens and there’s no one to help?”

I didn’t reply, not really knowing how to deal with something like this.

She looked down. “I don’t want to lose you— then I’d be all alone.”

I felt my throat constrict, before Gamer’s Mind asserted itself and nullified the feeling causing it. Ever since dad died, she’d become exceedingly protective of me.

I looked at my mother and observed her.


Loving Mom
Jean – Lv 7
Rep: 7,300/20,000 Exalted

The most important person in your life. She brought you into this world, and took care of you, no matter how you acted. She loves you more than anything, having had a miscarriage with her first child. She is currently feeling distressed.


Oh, crap. I didn’t even know my mom tried to have a kid before me and failed. She must feel so bad, right now.

I pulled her into another hug.

“I’m sorry, mom.” I said sincerely. “I know it’s sudden, but…”

If the universe was destroyed, then I’d lose you; I wanted to say.

“…This is something I have to do.” I said, instead. She wouldn’t have believed me, otherwise.

A long moment passed, before she pulled away once more, giving me a watery smile.

“You’re just like your father, you know.” She said, reaching for a tissue but not quite getting there. I grabbed the box and moved it closer to her.

“What do you mean, mom?” I asked as she wiped the tears away.

“He always liked to wander, to explore the world.” She said, eyes slightly unfocused like she was in another place entirely. “Remember his boat? I think the capsule’s still in the attic.”

A flash of standing on a motorboat, watching the sunset with mom and dad came to mind.

“Yeah, I remember.” I smiled. “He let me drive it around once.”

“Yeah.” She giggled. “You were so cute, wearing a captain’s hat and ordering us around.”

I shrugged, a slight blush on my cheeks. We sat there in a comfortable silence, my mom glancing at me, while I stared at nothing in particular.

She nodded.

“All right.” She said. “I’ll let you go.”

I turned, a grin forming on my face.

“But!” She raised her finger and waved it at me threateningly. “You’ll have to take tests at the school so that you don’t fail your year.”


Quest Alert

Pass your year finals.

Reward: 2,000 XP, 500 Rep with mom
Failure Penalty: You will not train with Roshi until much later, which may lead to a higher chance of the destruction of the universe.

Accept / Deny


I nodded, having expected as much. “Yes, mom.”

Though, why did I get same-y quests? I supposed it didn’t matter. If I completed this quest, I’d hit level 5.

“Good.” She yawned. “I’ll get everything set up. We’ll worry about what you’ll need for the trip to the Muten Roshi afterwards. For now, I think you and I should turn in for the night— it’s almost two in the morning!”

“Okay, mom.” I replied, not really understanding how she could set up my exams with the school, but shrugging regardless. Maybe they let you test out early, if you had the aptitude. “Thanks.”

“Anything for you.” She smiled back. “Now go brush your teeth, dear.”

“Yes, mom.” I said automatically, already moving towards to the bathroom.


Age 749, Thursday, April 24

It’d been almost two weeks since I had the conversation with my mom. She’d gotten my exams set up a few days later; I guessed she had some pull with the principal— old friends, or some such.

I’d aced every single one, earning me enough experience to level. The principal had been flabbergasted by my performance, asking me how far along the curriculum I was. He’d ended up convincing me to take the remaining tests the school had to offer— and I’d done well on them all.

The look of excitement on the principal’s face was overshadowed by the look incredulous outrage that came when I told him I was going on a trip to meet a martial artist.

“Wasting his life”, he’d muttered under his breath, not knowing I could hear him.

I supposed, from an outside perspective, that my decisions made absolutely no sense. If they’d known that the destruction of the universe was coming, then they’d be doing the same thing I was.


Ping!

Due to constant weightlifting, your STR has increased by 1!


I smiled at the notification and kept going. I had about ten more minutes before I had to stop, due to the [Exhaustion] de-buff I would incur.

My mom would be here in twenty minutes with my dad’s old ship capsule, as well as supplies. I would’ve been ready a week ago, but we’d learned that the old motorboat needed quite a bit of touching up, as dad hadn’t fixed it in quite a while and we’d never even bothered to use it ever since his passing.

I felt the effects of [Exhaustion] hit me, and sat down, pulling up my Status window with a thought.


Name: Ten
Occupation: The Gamer

Level: 5 (1,200/6,000 XP)
Race: Human
Age: 14

HP: 1,288
MP: 1,103
Ki: 1,288

STR: 25 (36.25)
VIT: 30 (43.5)
AGI: 18 (26.1)
INT: 29 (37.41)
WIS: 25 (32.25)

Points: 20

Battle Power: 35.3


My passive bonuses really were ridiculous. I pulled my Skills window and checked the two skills in question:


Meditation (Lv 20 – 0% / 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 195%. Actively increases Ki regeneration by 29%. Passively increases STR, AGI, VIT, INT and WIS by 29%.


Martial Arts (Lv 15 – 0% / Passive): Many ages ago, the first people watched animals in nature, marveling at their different methods of catching prey; the ferociousness of the tiger, the patience of the mantis, and so on. Naturally, they began to emulate their movements and taught others to follow these same movements. Passively increases STR, VIT and AGI by 16%.

Known Styles: Tiger Style


As it were, these two skills were no longer increasing in level, but their benefits were already so ridiculous that it wouldn’t matter as long as I kept acquiring stat points.

I had twenty points to spare, but I figured I’d keep them saved up until I’d met with the Master Roshi. He would likely know how best to distribute them.

I heard the telltale sound of the front door opening, and began to change into a fresh set of clothes, making sure to double check that my backpack was filled with all of the essential capsules, containing basically anything I would need on a sailing trip.

Capsules really were amazing technology, I thought with a smile.

The smile soon faded as a new window popped in front of me.


Ping!

You are about to embark on your Quest.

Objective: Find the legendary martial artist, Muten Roshi.

Reward: 10,000 XP
Failure Penalty: You won’t be able to train under the Master, which could eventually lead to the destruction of the Earth and the universe itself.


I frowned; there wasn’t even an option to accept or deny this quest. I supposed it made sense— I was already set to search for this guy, anyway. Denying wasn’t an option.

I ran my hand through my hair before standing in front of the mirror, placing the backpack on the ground and checking myself over, pulling up my inventory to read each equipped item’s description.


Dark Gray, Long Sleeved Shirt

Class: Chest
Rarity: Common
Description: A dark gray shirt your mother bought from the supermarket. Does not offer any defensive bonuses.


Navy Blue Cargo Pants

Class: Legs
Rarity: Common
Description: A pair of pants your mother bought from the supermarket. They do not offer any defensive bonuses, thought the many pockets are useful for storing various things.


All-Terrain Shoes

Class: Feet
Rarity: Grand
Description: A pair of shoes your mother bought from the supermarket. 10% Increase in stability on any terrain. 5% Increase to running speed.


Nodding to myself, I shouldered my backpack before dismissing all of my windows. I thought of putting it in the inventory, but then my mother would have more questions to ask.

It was best to keep things simple, for now.

I stared around my room, only just realizing that I wouldn’t see this place for a long, long time. This room had been my haven for most of my life; when I realized I wouldn’t be able to make friends, I withdrew into myself and just tried to have fun alone.

I stared down at the various gaming consoles, smiling slightly.

“Ten, are you ready to go?” My mom’s voice tore through the comfortable silence, bringing me back to reality.

“Yes, coming!” I shouted back, moving to exit. I paused, giving my room one last, long look, before turning off the lights and leaving.

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