Age 749, Tuesday, May 6, Out at Sea, East of Fry Pan Mountain
There it was, the archipelago. I smiled as I lowered my binoculars and sat in the boat’s driver seat, calling up my inventory and pulling a bar of chocolate Chichi had given me a few days before.
Taking a bite and sighing in contentment, my mind wandered to the girl in question: she’d been quite strange, but oddly pleasant.
Though, it was pretty obvious that the Ox-King was orchestrating situations so that she and I spent time together, which frankly irked me to no end.
Still, I quite liked the attention she was giving me, my own experience at school with girls having been a total disappointment.
Other kids my age had already begun to pair up and go on dates and such.
Not me, though. No girl ever seemed interested in me. It wasn’t for lack of trying, either. I was simply too unremarkable, and weird.
All people saw when they looked at me was a gamer geek who sucked at sports and didn’t know how to talk to people.
They thought I was pathetic, I knew because loose lips tended to flap often when I was in earshot.
I remembered a particular event- one of my worst memories, in fact.
I had finally plucked enough courage to ask the girl I liked out to a dance.
She’d laughed in my face, her friends joining her. I could still perfectly remember that cruel laughter.
It was one of the worst days my life, I recalled, my mood sobering slightly as I stared off in the distance, though the chocolate gradually lightened things.
Then, a few months later, I’d gained my Gamer powers and raised my stats through training.
After I’d shown off during gym practice, those same girls thought they could actually approach me. They even had the audacity to ask me out.
Likely, they expected me to say yes outright; I was the quiet, socially awkward geek, so why would I ever deny the request of a beautiful girl?
I had taken great pleasure in totally ignoring them, recalling a conversation I’d had with an older man in one of the many MMORPGs I’ve played in the past.
“Just grit your teeth through it,” He’d said. “Eventually you’ll find someone who’ll appreciate you for who you are, not what you look like, or how popular you are. Ignore any who don’t.”
Back then, I thought the guy was just consoling me, but he’d been right on the money.
Speaking of of someone who appreciated me; Chichi, over the past week I spent at the Ox-King’s house, had grown quite attached to me.
Calling up my quest list, I read through the latest one I’d received.
Will You Be My Princess?
You’ve caught the eye of the Princess of Fry Pan Mountain! Could she be the one? Woo her and find out!
There was no reward for either success or failure, but it had activated a few days into my stay with the Ox-King and his daughter.
I suspected my quickly rising Rep score with her was the trigger. I dismissed the window, taking another bite of the chocolate with a sigh.
“She actually really likes me.” I said out loud. “Her Rep score, the quest, the way she behaves around me; she likes me.”
It wasn’t even the shallow sort of liking, either. I would have understood if she’d simply had a crush, considering I saved her life through CPR.
That wasn’t the case.
She’d offered to spar with me, eager to test my skills, and also struck up conversation with me about books and art.
She was a surprisingly very learned girl, especially considering she lived out in the middle of nowhere at the base of a mountain that was on fire all year long.
However, I thought the best part about her was that there was never any pressure.
I knew she liked me, but she never pushed me to do anything, even though I could tell she desperately wanted to. A few surreptitious Observes told me that much.
Still, we were too young to do anything more than just hang out, and I didn’t have the nerve to initiate any contact more intimate than a pat on the shoulder.
The final day of my stay had been pretty hard on her, too.
She looked like she was going to cry as I said my goodbyes to the Ox-King, promising I’d retrieve the Bashosen to douse the flames on his mountain.
So, I did the only thing I thought would cheer her up.
I’d given her a hug, and a kiss on the cheek.
The smile and blush that blossomed on her face afterwards were the most radiant things I’d ever laid eyes on.
I had simply stared at her for a few moments before mirroring her blush and hopping onto my boat, launching the craft at top speed.
I smiled slightly as I came back to reality, turning the boat just enough to avoid one of the islands, blushing again at the thought of Chichi.
Then, my smile turned into a frown as I laid my eyes on another quest.
Find out why you received the power of The Gamer!
Reward: 5,000,000 XP
Failure penalty: Death. Possible destruction of the universe.
My frown deepened as I called my Status screen forth as well as my Skills.
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 9 (3,600/10,000 XP)
STR: 38 (57.38)
VIT: 55 (83.05)
AGI: 33 (49.83)
INT: 29 (37.41)
WIS: 30 (38.7)
Battle Power: 63.4
Martial Arts (Lv 21 – 55% / 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 22%.
Known Styles: Tiger Style
Physical Endurance (Lv 25- 21%/Passive) – The body’s durability increases, allowing for less damage taken. 27% Decrease in Physical Damage taken.
Sneak (Lv 15- 52%) – 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. 19% chance of staying unnoticed. Attacking while in this state will yield a critical strike; however, you will lose your [Concealed] buff as soon as you show yourself.
Mana Shield (Lv 25- 25%/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 40 MP/min to remain active; however, all damage taken will drain the MP bar, instead of HP.
Ki Ball (Lv 20 – 14%/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 400 Ki, and deals 600 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.
Ki Concussion (Lv 6 – 22%/Active): Through force of will, your Ki Ball explodes, sending out a wave of concussive force! Cost: 200 Ki. Damage: 450.
Ki User (Lv 11 – 0%/Passive): Ki is like a muscle, the more you exert it, the more powerful it becomes! 20% Increase in your Ki pool.
I’d made a lot of progress.
My [Martial Arts] skill was actually increasing, Chichi was quite near my level as a fighter, and Ox-King was well above it, so sparring against them actually forced me to refine my technique.
Any time I went against the Ox-King, I also gained levels in [Physical Endurance], as well as points VIT and STR.
Fighting Chichi raised my AGI stat, and our in depth discussions on the many books we’ve read managed to raise my WIS by 5 points!
The only thing that hadn’t risen in level had been my [Meditation]. No matter how long I practiced it, it seemed stuck— and I had no idea why.
With a sigh, I wondered if I was progressing at a fast enough pace.
Ox-King had said that I had already surpassed the level he was at when he was my age, before fondly reminiscing on the old days he had with the master and his best friend Son Gohan, who was currently out living in the mountains— East District or something.
Still, how would I be able to stop the destruction of the universe with my current power?
Judging by how far I’d gone in less than two months, what would I be like in a year? Two? Twenty?
My quest had no time limit— who knew when it would occur? I shook these thoughts off, focusing my attention on leveling my [Observe] skill on the animals I had spotted in the archipelago earlier.
Putting my binoculars back on, I seeked out the easiest animals first, birds- casting [Observe] every so often.
Archaeopteryx – Lv 4
Description: An odd mix of dinosaur and bird, this particular breed possesses both characteristics of the two races in question; those being scales, and feathers.
This archaeopteryx is currently looking for food.
Battle Power: 10
Day-Bat – Lv 8
Description: A strange breed of bat which evolved to hunt during the day. It has lost its ability to use sonar, developing keen eye-sight instead.
This day-bat currently plans to kill one of the archaeopteryx it has its eyes on.
Battle Power: 20
Giant Dragonfly – Lv 13
Description: A powerful species of dragonfly found either in this location, or in the Western Hemisphere of Earth. A deadly species, it swoops down on its prey, ripping their heads off with its serrated mandibles.
This giant dragonfly is currently hovering over the forest, searching for its next meal, likely a juvenile dinosaur.
Battle Power: 45
Observe has gained a level!
Observe (Lv 26-0%/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. Observe will show your target’s HP/MP/Ki, their level, age, race, as well as their battle power.
“That… Doesn’t really look like much of a change.” I stated. What use did I have of knowing a thing’s race or age? It was obvious through basic observation.
Giving a mental shrug, I resumed my onslaught of observation, wondering how much longer this trip was going to take.
Age 749, Friday, May 9, Out at Sea, East of the Archipelago
The answer was three days.
Though, if it weren’t for the storm, it might’ve been two days, instead. I had been forced to stay at the Archipelago for a while.
I learned a valuable lesson, there.
Killing things actually gave me experience.
I hadn’t noticed it at first, as my notifications had been disabled for a while, but while I was checking on my HP after a particularly nasty fight against one of the native T-Rex’es, a blue monstrosity, I was surprised to have gained a level up.
I remembered wondering whether or not the men I’d killed counted, before nixing that idea posthaste. People were not experience points, end of story.
Animals, on the other hand…
I racked up another two levels, making sure to kill anything that attacked me, rather than actively hunt things down.
It wouldn’t do to destroy an entire habitat just for the sake of gaining experience, would it?
Another benefit was that I received further points to my STR, AGI and VIT.
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 12 (2,100/13,000 XP)
STR: 42 (63.42)
VIT: 58 (87.58)
AGI: 37 (55.87)
INT: 29 (37.41)
WIS: 30 (38.7)
Battle Power: 68.9
I had attempted to simply use my brute strength, as well as my skill in the martial arts to take down the monsters, only needing to use my Ki against the larger dinosaurs, but it didn’t seem to increase the levels much.
Still, I now had twenty five points to spare.
I held off on using them— Ox-King had stated that his training under Roshi had involved a good deal of enhancements to his strength.
Speaking of the elusive Master, I had finally found his island. It was purely by chance; I had actually almost missed it, had I not been using my binoculars.
There it was.
“How the hell could I have missed that?” I wondered incredulously. Set on a small island— and I do mean small— it was a two-story house.
Its walls were painted a bright pink, with its roof painted red. On the front of the upper story, the words “KAME HOUSE” were displayed quite prominently in red.
As if to complete the look that screamed “summer vacation home”, a chaise longue sat unoccupied next to one of the three palm trees on the beach.
I Observed the house.
The Old Hermit’s Home
Description: The residence of the ever elusive Master Roshi, known to the world as the strongest there ever was.
“So, this is it…” I said to myself as I turned the boat to the island’s direction. “Half a month of sailing and searching. I’ve finally found it.”
I approached the island slowly, carefully.
I didn’t want to spook the old man. If he was as strong as the Ox-King said he was, then I didn’t want to provoke him in any way.
As the ship reached the shore, I heard a creaking sound come from the front of the house as I dropped the anchor into the water.
I stepped down the ladder and waded my way through the shallow water, getting my feet wet as the front door opened, revealing a bald, old man with a thick beard and fu manchu, dressed up in a hawaiian shirt/shorts combo and wearing sunglasses, as well as a turtle shell on his back.
His appearance was so shocking that I just waved away whatever window had opened up at that moment.
This was the legendary master? After seeing the Ox-King, I had assumed his master was an equally impressive fellow.
This guy, he just looked frail.
Muten Roshi – Lv 50
Race – Human
Age – 319
HP : 25,000
Ki : 20,000
Rep : 0/10,000 Neutral
Description: Muten Roshi, better known as Master Roshi, the Turtle Hermit, the Strongest Man, the God of Martial Arts, is the Master of the Turtle School of Martial Arts.
He is currently wondering what you’re doing here. He hopes you’re not some money grubbing salesman.
Battle Power: 150, ?
What. The. Fuck.
“319.” I muttered to myself incredulously.
Was this for real? This guy was over three centuries old!? How was he still alive?
What was up with his battle power? Damn, but he was strong. Did the question mark mean he could get even stronger?
I watched as he made his way to me. There was no fanfare, no shows of power. The guy just straight up walked to me at the pace I’d expect for an old man.
Completely unremarkable. I couldn’t sense a hint of the power lurking within.
If I hadn’t Observed him, I would have assumed that he was some old senile geezer spending the last days of his life on a remote island.
We stood like that for a few moments, until he broke the silence.
“It’s not every day that I get a visitor.” The man said almost jovially, giving me a wave.
I smiled slightly. “Hello, sir. My name’s Ten, I’m from South City.”
“South City, eh?” Roshi said, tilting his head to me, the sun reflecting off his glasses for a moment, forcing me to shield my eyes slightly. “That’s a long way off, especially on an old boat like that. What brings you here, Ten of South City?”
I paused for a moment, feeling a bit nervous.
“Um, well…” I hedged. “There’s two reasons.”
Roshi hummed in response, gesturing for me to continue.
“Well, one of the reasons is that the Ox-King sent me here to retrieve something called the Bashosen.” I started, but was interrupted by the old man’s scowl.
“Sent you here?” He pointed out, tone hostile. “You said you were from South City.”
“Last I heard, my former student was out rampaging and slaughtering people who were trying to steal his kingdom’s treasure!”
“It’s a long story.” I tried to explain, but was cut off once more.
“I have time.” He said, looking completely unfazed.
I supposed I didn’t blame him. The Ox-King did kill a lot of people, after all— probably indiscriminately, too.
The only reason I’d survived was due to my training and Gamer power.
With a sigh, I began to explain the tale, of how I’d left South City in search of further training, was attacked by pirates and forced to land on Ox-King’s land.
I told him how I was forced to defend myself by killing the pirates, and was then forced to fight against the Ox-King, who’d almost killed me.
“Ah, I see.” The old timer moved towards his front porch, taking a seat and pulling out a pipe— where he got it from, I had no idea. “It’s rather impressive that you were able to survive a fight against my former pupil, especially considering his raw strength. You say you are also seeking me out for further training?”
I nodded emphatically.
“Yes, sir.” I confirmed. “I have reached a point where I’m no longer improving all that much. Ox-King said that your training would benefit me greatly.”
“And so it would.” Roshi replied with a nod. “I will get the Bashosen for you.”
I smiled. “Thank you, si-“
“-But I won’t train you.” He finished, cutting me off.
I opened my mouth, but my words stuck in my throat. A surge of incredulous anger burst forth within me, before it was totally suppressed by [Gamer’s Mind].
“…May I ask why?” I managed to say after a long moment of contemplative silence.
Roshi seemed to straighten up at my question, his mouth curving into what seemed to be a satisfied expression— though, I wasn’t sure since I couldn’t see his eyes.
“It will take a few months to make the necessary arrangements to start a training regimen.” Master Roshi explained. “This island isn’t meant for training in— especially not the sort I have planned.”
That sounded like a good reason. I gave a nod and a short bow.
“Thank you for the opportunity.” I said earnestly, trying not to let the relief show.
“Heh.” Roshi chuckled, before standing back up and making his way inside. “Now, let’s see. Oh, come in— Ten, you said your name was?”
“Yes.” I confirmed, kicking off my shoes and stepping inside his home, taking a moment to call up the window I’d dismissed earlier.
You have found the old martial arts Master Roshi!
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 12 (12,100/13,000 XP)
STR: 42 (63.42)
VIT: 58 (87.58)
AGI: 37 (55.87)
INT: 29 (37.41)
WIS: 30 (38.7)
Battle Power: 68.9
“The Bashosen, eh?” The old timer said as he opened the closet and began rummaging through it.
I watched him for a few moments, before taking a seat on the nearby couch.
“Where is it…” I heard him mutter as he began to pull out cardboard boxes filled with junk, sifting through them with no luck. “I can’t find it!”
Uh oh. That didn’t sound good.
A few more minutes passed as the old master practically turned his house inside out, with no luck.
With a loud and displeased huff, he sat on the couch next to mine.
“If Turtle was here, he could probably tell me.” He said after a few moments of rest. “Shame..”
I winced. Chichi was going to be so disappointed with me. Ox-King, too.
“I see..” I said, trying not to sound disappointed. “Does that mean you won’t be able to help put out the fire?”
“Ah, no, far from it.” He waved me off. “There is still a way. I’ll just have to go to the fire mountain and put those flames out, myself!”
“Put them out, yourself?” I sounded a bit incredulous, before mastering myself. “Forgive me, sir, if I sound a little skeptical.”
“Ha!” He flexed his unimpressive looking bicep. “There’s nothing Master Roshi can’t do!”
“Now shoo!” He said, nudging me to go outside. “I’ll be out in a few minutes.”
And so there I was, twenty minutes later, squatting on the beach, drawing circles in the sand with my index.
The front door opened once more. Roshi came out, this time wearing an orange gi and carrying a gnarled walking stick.
“All right, let’s go!” He said exuberantly.
I wondered how long his exuberance would last, as the boat trip would be a few days— and that’s if we were lucky enough to not have to deal with a storm.
I supposed it didn’t matter, I thought with a sigh.
“It might get a little cramped, sir.” I cautioned the much older man. “It’s a bit of a long ride, too.”
“Oh, don’t you worry, my boy.” He said jovially. “I can get us a much better ride! Come to me, Nimbus! Baby Gamera!” He shouted at the sky.
I stood there for a long moment wondering if this guy had lost his mind.
Then, a fluffy yellow cloud as well as a spinning turtle shell came into view from the distance, flying toward us at high speeds, leaving behind a trail of yellow and flame respectively.
“What.. are these?”
“Just a few things I’ve picked up over the years.” The man said as the cloud drew toward us, hovering in front of the old master for a few moments, right before the turtle landed, poking its head out.
“At your service.” The fanged turtle said by way of greeting, glancing at me curiously.
“I need to take an express spin over to Fry Pan Mountain.” Roshi said calmly.
“Sure.” The turtle replied.
Roshi turned to me. “That settles that. Now, you get on the Flying Nimbus.”
“Are you sure?” I said uncertainly. “I mean, it’s a cloud, I’ll just fall through, won’t I?”
“It is possible.” The man confirmed, his features turning grave for a moment. “You must be pure of heart to ride this cloud. It’s picky that way.”
“Pure of heart?” I repeated, gaining a nod from the man.
I shook my head. “I don’t think I’m able to ride it, then.”
“How so?” He queried.
“Well, I’ve killed people..” I said as if that explained everything.
“Only in self defense, you said.” Roshi pointed out, eyebrow raised. “And, from what you’ve told me, you gave those men ample chance to leave you alone.”
“Does that even count?” I asked, sounding unconvinced. “They still lost their lives because I fought back.”
“There is nothing impure when defending your own life, son.” Master Roshi said seriously, patting my shoulder. “Go on, try to sit on it.”
I gulped and approached the cloud, climbing on top of it without falling through. I stared down in surprise, having felt the essence of the cloud once I’d touched it.
If I had to put it in words, the cloud felt uneasy. Why?
“You see?” The old man said, grinning. “I knew you could sit on it.”
I gave a weak nod, not truly agreeing with the man. I could ride it, but I don’t think it had anything to do with purity of heart.
“Could you take me to Fry Pan Mountain, Nimbus?” I asked as gently as I could manage, hoping I wouldn’t spook the fragile feeling cloud.
Nimbus shuddered and bobbed down once, before zooming off into the distance, Roshi and his spinning Baby Gamera following us in hot pursuit— no pun intended.
I Observed the cloud beneath me.
Item Rarity: Legendary
Description: A piece of the large Nimbus cloud circling the Earth. It only allows those who are pure of heart to ride it. It currently feels uneasy, borderline frightened, as its current rider feels like pure emptiness.
Yep. I would certainly not be riding this cloud again.