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Chapter 4

Age 749, Wednesday, April 30, Shore to the east of Fry Pan Mountain.

They came in the dead of night.

I had stopped for the day, anchoring my boat near the shore of Fry Pan Mountain— the most ridiculous sight I’d seen so far. It was on fire, but there didn’t seem to be any fuel to feed the flames and keep it going.

A fire that required no fuel— there was no doubt; it had to be magical in nature.

Of course, I wasn’t stupid enough to go check it out. The region had some pretty bad rumors surrounding it.

Something about a great big monster that made people disappear, as well as tales of a demon sorcerer who set fire to the mountain itself.

Of course, the choice was soon taken from my hands.


Quest: “Survive the Pirate Raid” forcibly initiated

Reward: 5,000 XP
Failure Penalty: Humiliation, Degradation, possibly Death


That was the only warning I had before I heard the loud bang of a gunshot, followed by a sharp pain in my right shoulder.

-415 HP!

“Argh!” I gripped my shoulder, falling to a knee, the boat’s walls protecting me from the following hail of gunfire. It wouldn’t hold for long, I thought. I crawled to the cockpit, turning the speed lever to its maximum output of 60 kph.

I heard the dismayed cries of what I guessed to be the pirates, dismissing the quest notification.

“Disable all notifications.” I said and grabbed my backpack, eating a Nutri-Bar to increase my HP regeneration.

I wouldn’t have time to use Meditation, but that was all right.

All I was trying to do was buy myself some time. The fuel would likely last for another 10 minutes before going on empty— they must have been watching me for quite a while. Attacking me near the point of refueling was no coincidence.

This was premeditated.

With my Sailing level having reached level 46, my boat was actually going at a speed of 90 kph. Judging by their dismayed cries, I hoped it meant that they couldn’t match my boat’s speed.

I waited for what felt like the longest minute of my life, before standing up to look.

Their boat was still trying to follow mine, but it could not keep up with my enhanced speed. They were still trying to shoot at me, but considering the nature of the sea…

They missed every shot. It would take a marksman of the highest caliber to be able to stand on a wobbling platform and shoot someone else on an equally wobbling platform, dealing with the additional issues wind resistance would give.

Still, I crouched a bit lower just to be safe, Observing each and every one of the pirates.


South Sea Pirate

Walnu – Lv 7

HP: 1,500

Rep : 0/10,000 Hated

Description: Once from South City, Walnu, along with his brothers Dimsu and Fungu decided to become pirates, as they wished for an easy life, taking other people’s hard earned money.

He plans on killing you.

Battle Power: 20


South Sea Pirate

Dimsu – Lv 8

HP: 1,700

Rep: 0/10,000 Hated

Description: Once from South City, Dimsu, along with his brothers Walnu and Fungu decided to become pirates, as they wished for an easy life, taking other people’s hard earned money.

He plans on carving you up, hopes to make you scream.

Battle Power: 22


South Sea Pirate

Fungu – Lv 5

HP: 1,000

Rep: 0/10,000 Hated

Description: Once from South City, Fungu, along with his brothers Dimsu and Walnu decided to become pirates, as they wished for an easy life, taking other people’s hard earned money.

He plans on stealing your things, not caring if you live or die through the process.

Battle Power: 15


South Sea Pirate Captain

Alamond – Lv 12

HP: 2,500

Rep: 0/10,000 Neutral

Description: Raised by his father to become a pirate, Alamond has learned to appreciate the thrill of the hunt, taking great pleasure in raiding boats, capturing its occupants and stealing their valuables.

He plans on stealing your things, and possibly selling you as a slave.

Battle Power: 25


I crouched lower, making sure everything of mine was stashed into my inventory, before looking towards the shore— towards a forest that was right next to it.

“Risky.” I said out loud, before shaking my head. It was either fighting pirates on open sea, or go into the forest, ambushing these creeps and having the trees and rocks as natural defenses against their firearms.

I had five minutes left before the boat ran ashore.

I called up my Status, reading over my stats carefully.


Name: Ten
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 6 (1,200/7,000 XP)

Race: Human
Age: 14

HP: 1,016/1,388
MP: 1,203
Ki: 1,527

STR: 25 (36.25)
VIT: 30 (43.5)
AGI: 23 (33.35)
INT: 29 (37.41)
WIS: 25 (32.25)

Points: 25

Battle Power: 37.7


I’d healed up a bit, I noted before my focus shifted onto my available points. I was hoping to save these until I got to Master Roshi, but that wouldn’t matter if I was dead.

After agonizing over it for another minute, I added 20 points to my VIT and 5 points to my STR, pressing on Apply.


Name: Ten
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 6 (1,200/7,000 XP)

Race: Human
Age: 14

HP: 1,594/2,177
MP: 1,203
Ki: 2,395

STR: 30 (43.5)
VIT: 50 (72.5)
AGI: 23 (33.35)
INT: 29 (37.41)
WIS: 25 (32.25)

Points: 0

Battle Power: 49.8


Ping!

Due to having reached 50 VIT, your base HP and Ki regeneration is now 1%/min! Furthermore, you can now exercise for three hours without succumbing to [Exhaustion]!


My eyes went wide at the unexpected, but certainly most welcome change.

At 1% per minute, it’d make things a whole lot easier, especially with use of the Nutri-Bar, which increased it by another 25%. Considering my HP had almost doubled…

I belt the boat grinding against the shore below, and nodded to myself.

Hopping off the ship, I typed the combination to the side that would return it to capsule form, snagging the capsule after the telltale poof it gave out as it encapsulated the boat.

I took one last look at the sea— yep, they were fully committing to this— and made a beeline to the forest, running as fast as my legs could take me.

I could maintain this running speed for hours if I needed to, there was no way they’d be able to catch up to me.

Around twenty minutes later, the sound of automobiles in the distance dissuaded me of that arrogant notion. I hadn’t taken into account them possessing any land craft.

They were pirates, for crying out loud.

At this rate, I knew they’d catch up to me in a matter of minutes. A cursory look at my HP showed that it was 40 HP shy of full. Good enough.

No more running, I decided as I leapt as high as I could, grabbing onto the branch above me, and settling into position, using the thick foliage as camouflage.

A minute passed as the vehicles drew closer and closer, their roaring engines filling the forest with a tension so thick that it was almost palpable to my physical senses.

Still, I remained quiet even as the two cars came into view.


Ping!

A skill has been created through concealing yourself thoroughly.

Sneak (Lv 1- 0%/Active): You’re a ninja! Well, not really, but you have enough wherewithal to not prance around in the open where things can spot and kill you easily. 5% chance of staying unseen. Attacking while in this state will yield a critical strike; however, you will lose your [Concealed] buff as soon as you show yourself.

Critical strike: 50% Extra Damage to your intended target.


Subtle, huh, game?

“Disable notifications.” I muttered under my breath.

I stared as the four men followed my previous tracks, slowly making their way in my general direction.

“—slippery one, isn’t he?” One said, his tone conversational, as if he did this sort of thing every day.

“I can’t wait to try my new knives on him.” The other replied with a manic grin.

“No spoiling the merchandise before I get a look.” A third man, obviously the leader from the tone of voice he employed, sternly cut in.

He stood confidently, his blue eyes keen, inspecting his surroundings thoroughly as his armed lackeys moved around the forest, turning over leaves and rocks in futile attempts to find me while he stayed back, a machine gun at the ready.

Each lackey had a pistol, while the main threat had a machine gun. Part of their hunting strategy, perhaps?

If I escaped the three lackeys, he would be there to gun me down.

If I escaped him, the lackeys would rip through me.

Wait.

Their whole plan hinged on the notion that I would run— which, granted, I have been doing for the past half hour. But, I was not going to run anymore.

I was going to fight— to kill. These guys planned on torturing me, robbing me, enslaving me, or possibly even ending my life. If I was a woman, there was no doubt they would sample the goods, as it were.

No mercy.

I patiently waited, watching as one of the lackeys, Dimsu— the one that said he wanted to carve me up, began searching underneath my current position.

I silently dropped, both of my heels locked together, smashing into the back of the man’s neck with all of my weight, Earth’s gravity accelerating the strike much further. I felt and heard his neck snap, as well as the crushing of the flesh surrounding it.

I didn’t even bother reading the now deceased man’s HP counter, knowing nothing can survive a hit like that.

+1,600 XP!

I activated Mana Shield, before quickly rushing the nearest pirate— the level 5 Fungu— who’d screamed at the sight of his dead brother, pointing his gun at me and pulling the trigger.

The bullet missed completely, the surprise and sudden death of his brother having most likely disturbed his accuracy. Not that I cared, I thought as I snatched the man’s wrist, driving my fingers so hard into it that I drew blood and forced him to let go of his pistol.

-400 MP!

I felt an impact against my Mana Shield, but I paid it no mind, pulling back my hand and driving it into Fungu’s throat, closing my fingers and ripping his trachea out with a loud squelch, his spurting blood covering my face for a moment before I let go, watching Fungu crumple into the ground, twitching and choking on his own blood in a vain attempt to breathe.

+1,000 XP!

I had no time to realize how impactful the Tiger Style I’d learned was, as a volley of gunfire forced me to dive into the brush, crouching low in an attempt to make myself as small of a target as possible.

It had limited results.

-200 MP!

-150 MP!

-50 MP!

I was already at a third of my mana, with two more to go.

“Screw this shit, I’m out of here!” One of them cried, followed by a snarl and a loud gunshot filling the air.

“There is no room for deserters in the South Sea Pirates.” The leader snarled.

One more to go, then, I thought as I activated my newly obtained Sneak ability, slowly moving to the side during the confusion, hiding under another brush without a sound.

I watched as Alamond mercilessly emptied his magazine into the bush I was previously hiding in, the entire forest shaking with the sound of heavy gunfire for a few moments.

And then, utter silence.

“Fucking hate it when they fight back.” Alamond’s irritated voice cut through the deathly silence as he approached the bush I was hiding in previously, checking through the foliage for my corpse. “Let’s see what this stubborn shit was even protecting— it better be a fortune, cause he’s cost me three guys.”

That’s when I made my move, jumping out of the bush, swiping down at his exposed neck with hooked fingers. The strike connected, ripping his carotid artery off and causing him to bleed profusely.

I righted myself to finish him off, only to look down the barrel of a loaded sawed-off shotgun. I raised my forearms as fast as I could to protect my face, before—

Boom!

-400 MP!

-950 HP!

The shotgun blast slammed against me, tearing through what little Mana Shield I had left as well as a good chunk of my health, sending me staggering back, until I tripped on a branch and fell— narrowly dodging the second shot by a hair’s breadth.

If that had hit me… I would have been dead.

If I hadn’t put the points I needed into my VIT and STR, I wouldn’t have even survived this fight. I’d have been lying dead in a nameless forest, my body looted by some greedy pirate.

I scurried backwards, the sudden shock of fear overwhelming Gamer’s Mind for an instant. Moving behind a tree, I made to peek at the downed Alamond, who was busy trying to put pressure on his neck wound in vain.

I cast Observe on him.


South Sea Pirate Captain

Alamond – Lv 12

HP: 1,600/2,500

Effect: Bleeding Out – Lv 4: -400 HP/minute – Duration: 10 minutes

Rep: 0/40,000 Despised

Description: Raised by his father to become a pirate, Alamond has learned to appreciate the thrill of the hunt, taking great pleasure in raiding boats, capturing its occupants and stealing their valuables.

He was planning on stealing your things, maybe selling you as a slave, but now hates you beyond anything in life, due to your gravely wounding him.

Battle Power: 10 (Decreasing)


Four minutes, and he would be dead.

I called my inventory up, pulling a Nutri-Bar and consuming it quickly, maintaining my Sneak skill as I moved silently backwards, putting as much distance between me and the pirate, who had his shotgun loaded and ready for bear, expecting me to come and finish him off.

How foolish.

I kept out of his sight, reactivating my notifications and gradually moving further back, until…

+2,400 EXP!


Quest Complete

5,000 XP!


You have leveled up!


Name: Ten
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 7 (4,200/8,000 XP)

Race: Human
Age: 14

HP: 1350/2,299
MP: 25/1,303
Ki: 2,529

STR: 30 (43.8)
VIT: 50 (73)
AGI: 23 (33.58)
INT: 29 (37.41)
WIS: 25 (32.25)

Points: 5

Battle Power: 50.1


Mana Shield had pulled its weight, I thought as I checked through my notifications.


Mana Shield has gained 5 levels!

Mana Shield (Lv 20- 15%/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 45 MP/min to remain active; however, all damage taken will drain the MP bar, instead of HP.


Physical Endurance has gained 3 levels!

Physical Endurance (Lv 18- 35%/Passive) – The body’s durability increases, allowing for less damage taken. 20% Decrease in Physical Damage taken.


Through engaging in direct combat, Martial Arts has gained 1 level!

Martial Arts (Lv 16 – 75% / 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 17%.

Known Styles: Tiger Style


Sneak has gained 4 levels!

Sneak (Lv 5- 23%) – You’re a ninja! Well, not really, but you have enough wherewithal to not prance around in the open where things can spot and kill you easily. 9% chance of staying unseen. Attacking while in this state will yield a critical strike; however, you will lose your [Concealed] buff as soon as you show yourself.


“Wow.” I said, reading through and dismissing my notifications, slowly making my way back to the now downed corpses of the men who had tried to kill me.

I stared at them stonily, anger coloring my features before Gamer’s Mind asserted itself, calming me down.

The games I’ve played, the books I’ve read…

The hero always seemed to avoid trying to kill his foes, deeming it dishonorable— even going so far as to limit himself in some foolish attempt at fair play.

What was the point of fair play if you were dead, if your friends and family would not get to see you return?

This was the real world— I stared down at the bloody corpses for a long minute before walking away. At least, I tried to.

WHAT HAPPENED HERE!?” I heard a loud, booming voice cry out.

I immediately dove into the bushes, activating my Sneak skill and staying very, very still; remembering the rumors of the loud monster lurking in the surroundings of Fry Pan Mountain.

A positively humongous behemoth of a man came into view. He wore a purple breastplate over his wide pants and boots, as well as a strange feathered, horned helmet with goggles.

Face set into a perpetual snarl, he scanned the surroundings as the ground shook with each step he took.

With a casual swing of his large axe— that I doubted I could swing so easily even with my enhanced strength— he tore through the surrounding foliage, not even feeling the trees slamming into his form.

What the hell is this guy?

I cast Observe on him, my eyes widening at the information shown.


King of Fry Pan Mountain
Turtle School Student
Ox-King – Lv 32

HP : 16,000
Ki: 10,000

Rep: 0/10,000 Hated

Description: Referred to as the Emperor of Demons, the Ox-King has been killing those who trespass onto his kingdom grounds, suspecting their foul intentions and believing they are out to get his riches.

He is currently looking for you, so he can kill you for trespassing.

Battle Power: 100


There was no beating this guy, I had to escape, no matter what. This guy would tear through me with ease.

I stood no chance— especially considering my currently weakened state.


Quest: “Leave Fry Pan Mountain” forcibly initiated!

Reward: 10,000 XP, 10 levels in Sneak, ?

Failure Penalty: Swift death by Ox-King’s huge axe.


I dismissed the quest with a look of irritation as I slowly moved away from the giant, making sure not to step on any branches or dried leaves, and using the surroundings to my advantage.

I kept my pace, never releasing Sneak, in fear of the man following me.

I desperately wanted to run, but I would not tempt fate this way. Ten minutes passed, then twenty, then thirty, with the big man not having followed me.

I increased my pace ever so slightly, following along the tracks that the pirates had left in their chase of myself.

Faintly realizing that the Ox-King would eventually stumble upon these tracks, I threw caution to the wind, releasing Sneak and running as fast as I could, activating Sprint with every chance I got.

I was about to breathe a sigh of relief when I’d reached the shore, but I found my path cut off by… A girl my age?

What the hell? Why was she wearing a blue bikini— wait, no, those seemed more like armor plates. Her gloves, boots and helmet were pink. Why did the armor barely cover her body?

I was so confused.

She walked along the shoreline, her navy cape billowing in the wind as she toyed with the sharp, curved blade atop her helmet.

Re-applying Sneak, I then cast Observe.


Princess of Fry Pan Mountain
Chichi – Lv 14

HP: 2,200
Ki: 500

Rep: 0/10,000 Neutral

Description: The Princess of Fry Pan Mountain, Chichi is a kind girl, who hopes to find a man worthy of her charms, beauty and smarts. Nevertheless, be wary of angering her, as her wrath knows no equal.

She is currently guarding the pirate ship, hoping to intercept anyone who might try to escape.

Battle Power: 40


It just wasn’t my day.

I pulled my Status up and assigned all available points to my AGI stat, hoping to end the fight in one quick blow.


Name: Ten
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 7 (4,200/8,000 XP)

Race: Human
Age: 14

HP: 2,212/2,299
MP: 150/1,303
Ki: 2,529

STR: 30 (43.8)
VIT: 50 (73)
AGI: 28 (40.88)
INT: 29 (37.41)
WIS: 25 (32.25)

Points: 0

Battle Power: 52.5


I maintained Sneak for a while longer, making sure to move to the young lady’s flank, and waited for the opportune moment.

A few minutes passed, before the girl got distracted by a butterfly, staring at it as if transfixed. Activating Sprint, I felt the magical energy supercharging my leg muscles, allowing me to run at speeds beyond what a normal human might expect.

The plan was to knock her unconscious, and safely move her ashore. Of course, Chichi was anything but normal.

She spun to me instantly, releasing her curved blade from her helmet on instinct. The blade spun towards me like a buzz-saw of death.

If that thing hit me, I was toast.

Luckily, it wasn’t as fast as a bullet.

-1,500 Ki!

Ha!” A large ball of Ki burst forth from my extended palm, tearing through the bladed saw and exploding against the girl’s form, sending her slamming into the pirate ship’s wall head-first, before she fell, face down in the water.

I stopped my sprint, staring at her immobile form, casting Observe again.


Princess of Fry Pan Mountain
Chichi – Lv 14 [Unconscious][Drowning]

HP: 1,200/2,200 [-100 HP/second due to Drowning]
Ki: 500

Rep: 0/10,000 Neutral

Description: The Princess of Fry Pan Mountain, Chichi is a kind girl, who hopes to find a man worthy of her charms, beauty and smarts. Nevertheless, be wary of angering her, as her wrath knows no equal.

She is currently face down, unconscious and drowning.

Battle Power: 20


I should just leave her there— she’d tried to kill me, after all.

‘You were the one trespassing.’ My conscience replied. ‘If we let her die, that’s on us, especially when we shouldn’t have been here to begin with.’

“Fuck it.” I shook my head with a loud curse; I ran to the girl, flipping her over and dragging her to shore.

I ignored the quickly swelling bruise on the back of her head, staring at the rising and lowering of her chest— or, lack thereof, in this case.

I sighed, knowing what I had to do in that moment.

This truly wasn’t how I expected my first kiss to go. I knelt down by her side, checking to see if she was breathing at all with my ear by her mouth. I was wrong earlier, she was definitely breathing, though it was quite weak.

Placing my hands over her chest, I pressed down several times, letting go so that the chest was given room expand, before moving to press my lips against Chichi, forcibly pushing air into her lungs.

Our lips were intertwined for a long moment, before the girl’s eyes opened wide. She pushed me off, her strength sending me tumbling back into the sand as she coughed the water in her lungs out.

We both sat up, each sporting a huge blush on our faces.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING TO MY DAUGHTER!?” I felt the ground shake as the giant of a man came barreling out of the forest, axe raised up high, ready to execute me at that very moment.

This really, really was not my lucky day.

At all.

Still, I got back to my feet and assumed my stance. Pointless fight or not, I wasn’t going to let him get off easy.

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