Age 749, Friday, May 9, en route to Fry Pan Mountain
The trip back had been ridiculously quick— putting the speed of my boat to absolute shame.
I had sped through the skies, the chilly wind marvelously blowing my hair back in what I hoped to be a majestic appearance.
I discarded the thought that I most probably looked quite silly, in reality.
I watched as the hermit’s home quickly disappeared from view, reaching the archipelago in a matter of a few hours rather than the days it took for me— and I don’t even think that was the cloud’s top speed!
The thing had been so jittery and terrified of my presence that it was likely taking it slow.
My mind went over the cloud’s Observe log, the system pulling it up for me. I read through the entry once more, wondering what the hell the description meant by “its current rider feels like pure emptiness.”
Was I empty of emotion?
No, that couldn’t be. I felt things; amusement, joy, anger, sadness, guilt, exhilaration.
So, what was up with the cloud?
I sighed and tried to puzzle it out. It only let the pure of heart ride it, but how did it even decide what was pure or not?
Definitions of what “pure of heart” even meant aside— how could it even reach into my heart, in the first place?
Perhaps the same magic that allowed a cloud to fly, in the first place? And, if it was magic..
I let out an “oh” of realization. Its magic could not penetrate my Gamer’s Mind, that’s why it found nothing at all.
That’s why it was acting so jittery.
It was likely constantly sending out feeling probes towards me in an attempt to understand its rider, but it kept finding nothing, which probably created a sort of feedback loop of constantly retrying to find my heart in an obviously futile attempt.
Perhaps I should have figured out a way to disable Gamer’s Mind— then again, if the cloud deemed me unworthy to ride it…
I stared over the side; that was a pretty long drop. While I was sure that I would make it— probably— falling to my doom wasn’t exactly on my list of priorities.
Yes, I thought as the red glow of the fiery mountain came into view, the cloud rushing even further to the small town at its base; I was not using this cloud ever again.
I’d eventually buy myself a plane if I wanted to fly that fast again.
I snuck a glance at the old man behind me, wondering how the hell he was fine spinning at such high level speeds.
Just looking at him made me feel a little dizzy by association.
Probably some old martial arts trick he’ll teach me. Instantly get rid of dizziness— sounds rather grand, really.
I hopped off the cloud, sighing in relief at having rid myself of the jittery thing. Judging by the cloud’s behavior of zooming right away, I guessed the feeling was mutual.
“Ten, you’re back already!” Ox-King’s deep voice came from the only non-derelict house in the community.
The door opened, revealing the huge man, his daughter Chichi flashing me a smile from his side.
I gave a small smile back, taking in the girl’s new appearance.
She wasn’t wearing her usual bikini armor, anymore. Instead, she’d switched to a blue cheongsam, red pants, red kung-fu shoes and a red sash around her waist.
“Yes. I found the master and came back as quick as I could.” I smiled at the older man.
He’d become a bit of a mentor-figure to me over the time I’d spent with him and Chichi, though his mood swings were quite disconcerting.
“Splendid! Do you have the Bashosen, then?” The man asked excitedly, Chichi cheering in victory along with him. “I can’t wait to finally be free of the fire!”
“Ah, no. Master Roshi couldn’t find it at his home.” I said, quickly pointing to the flaming spinning turtle about to reach us in order to forestall any reply the man and his daughter had. “But, Master Roshi said he could get rid of the fire, himself.”
Ox-King opened his mouth to reply, but was interrupted by the old master hopping off the spinning turtle, looking none the worse for wear.
He landed cleanly, his knees bending only very slightly before standing up straight, looking the part of the venerable master he was.
“Master Roshi! It’s really you!” Ox-King exclaimed as the old man continued to stare silently at everyone.
…And then, he fell over.
“Master!” Ox-King rushed to his old master, fretting over his condition while Chichi made her way to me, tugging at my shirt.
“He’s going to put the fire out?” She gave me an incredulous look. “Really?”
“…” I opened my mouth, and closed it again. “Yeah, I don’t have a reply for that one. He is pretty strong, though.”
Chichi looked unconvinced as the old man slowly got back to his feet, knees wobbly. We made our way to the old master, muttering about spinning turtles and his luck.
“Here I thought you had some kind of trick to not vomiting your guts out while riding that thing.” I said, wincing a little at the graphic imagery that just popped into my head— why did I do this to myself? “But you just brute forced your way through it, huh?”
“Baby Gamera –hurk– that’s its one drawback!” Roshi covered his mouth while slowly getting himself under control once more. “And who’s this little beauty?” He fixed his gaze on Chichi.
“I’m Chichi!” She said, standing straight, her coal black eyes boring into the much older man with a challenging glare. “Ox-King’s my dad!”
“Is that so…” He stared at her for a moment longer, giggling to himself.
“Master!” Ox-King knelt before Roshi, the ground shaking as he prostrated himself. “I’m so happy you came to help me put the fire out!”
“Hmm..” Roshi’s features turned grave for a moment as he looked at his former pupil. “I’ve heard rumors about you, you big old ox! None any good or flattering! Hurting people to protect your silly treasure, resorting to even killing them— is that how you show respect to the master who taught you?”
Chichi looked rather shocked that anyone could speak to her father like that, half expecting Ox-King to rise and chop the old man in two.
What shocked her more were the words that came out of her father’s mouth.
“You’re right, master! I’m so sorry!” Ox-King bowed his head as low as it could go, sending out a few more apologies for good measure. “I was possessed by greed, and those men lost their lives because of it! I promise, once the fire is put out, I’ll throw it all away, master!”
A long incredulous silence passed, before Roshi waved the gigantic man’s words off. “That’d be an even bigger waste.. Don’t throw them away.”
“Still, I’m quite disappointed.” Roshi said, focusing his attention on the fiery mountain ahead. “You’ve been slacking off in your training, Ox.”
I gave the old man a strange look. The Ox-King had completely decimated me in our fight, and Roshi was saying he was slacking off?
Just how powerful would this training make me?
“It’s pathetic that you can’t put out a mere fire of that size by yourself…” The old man trailed off, glancing in Chichi’s direction for a moment before looking back at the fire, muttering to himself in irritation.
What was that about?
“I expect you to restore this community to what it was before, Ox.” Roshi gave a pointed glance to the Ox-King, who had gotten back up to his feet.
“Yes, Master!” He nodded emphatically.
“And, I will require payment for this.” Master Roshi added.
“Ah..” Ox-King seemed confused for a moment, before his eyes lit up in understanding. “Oh— yes of course, master. The latest editions?”
“Every month, for this year and the next.” Roshi nodded, pleased with himself for some reason, before pulling his turtle shell as well as his gi off.
He made his way to one of the broken walls, the rest of us following and watching as he attempted to climb it.
“Erm…” I moved towards the man, helping him up. “There you go.”
“Thanks, kid.” He said, adjusting his weight so he didn’t fall off.
“Can this old guy really do it?” Chichi still sounded highly skeptical.
Said old man turned to the girl in question, giving her a laugh. “Just you watch, Little Ox! Here goes!”
“Here it comes, the Master’s ‘Kamehameha’!” Ox-King boomed in excitement as the old man’s previously thin frame bulked up ridiculously, becoming of a size with the Ox-King himself.
His body shook with effort as he concentrated with a grunt.
I took a moment to cast [Observe} on the man.
Muten Roshi – Lv 50
Race – Human
Age – 319
HP : 45,000
Ki : 40,000
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 about to put out the fire.
Battle Power: 150; 225
What was up with his battle power— powers, plural?
Did the system break? I stared at the numbers for a bit.
The second number had to be the correct one. Wait, his Ki and HP had also risen by a full twenty thousand!
He’d been holding back this much power? My barely 4,000 HP and 4,800 Ki were not even close to his power.
That was what the training did? Or was it the man’s sheer experience? He was over 300 years old, after all.
The old man in question, now a mountain of muscle, extended an arm in the direction of the mountain.
A glow began to emanate from this hand, slowly encasing his entire body and causing the air around us to blow back slightly.
“It’s coming!” Ox-King said excitedly.
“What even is this!?” Chichi shouted in shock.
“It’s the master’s ultimate move!” Ox-King explained. “He uses all of the latent energy within his body, and brings it out in an explosion of power!”
“Ka…” Roshi put his hands together, pointing them towards the mountain. “Me… Ha…” He pulled them back to his side.
“Me…!” I saw it, an orb of pure white energy forming in the space between his hands. It looked like my Ki Ball, but… It was definitely different.
The air was charged with energy, I could almost feel it with my senses.
The power between his hands was contained, compressed, sending beams of light in all directions in an attempt to bleed off at least a little bit of energy.
“HA!” Roshi brought both his hands forward, palms open and facing the mountain.
I witnessed the beam exit from his hands, speeding towards the mountain before the sheer light it gave off blinded me slightly.
The whole mountain exploded in bright white light, the shockwave knocking us all back.
“Holy shit!” I swore as I rubbed at my eyes, watching the old man standing there, his fingers in the victory pose.
“Not bad, eh?” Roshi chuckled as he leapt down from the wall, walking back towards where his gi and walking stick were.
I just kept staring at Fry Pan Mountain— rather, the rubble that took its place.
“Master…” Ox-King said slowly, pointing towards the remains of his mountain and castle.
“It’s all gone!” Chichi exclaimed loudly, her eyes wide with disbelief. “The mountain and the castle!”
“Oh, dear.” Roshi laughed nervously. “I got a little over excited there! Hehe!”
“My castle…” Ox-King trailed off once again. “It’s gone…”
“Ah, sorry about that, Old Ox.” Roshi did sound genuinely apologetic. “At least the fire’s no more, right?”
A moment passed where I thought the Ox-King would get pissed off by a comment like that but, fortunately, that never happened.
“That’s right!” The Ox-King turned exuberant once more— this guy’s mood swings would’ve been disconcerting had I not had the time to get used to his antics. “Since it’ll be easy to live here again, I can just rebuild the castle, better than ever!”
“That’s the spirit.” Roshi said, before walking over to me as the Ox-King and his daughter move towards the castle, saying that they were going to try and sift through the castle rubble.
I gave the Master a sidelong glance, my focus shifting back on the mound of rubble that used to be a mountain. My gaze drifted down to my hand.
“I wouldn’t recommend trying it.” Master Roshi cut through whatever I was about to try. “You would need to be quite the adept at using your latent pow-er..?”
I smiled back at him, holding a [Ki Ball] in the palm of my hand.
“This is what I came up with when I tried to replicate your move quite a while ago.” I explained, seeing his surprised features. “But yours is different— much more powerful than mine could ever hope to be. This could barely hurt the Ox-King. I should know— I hit him in the face with one twice as strong and he shrugged it off.”
“Remarkable.” Roshi said, looking at me in what seemed to be a new light. “I know you said you survived against the Old Ox, but I thought he’d taken pity on you or something.”
“To be able to use your latent power so early in your life… Perhaps you can learn to use my Kamehameha, in time.” Roshi nodded wisely.
“You think so?” I asked excitedly.
“Indeed.” Roshi confirmed. “It’ll be a part of your training. For now, I suggest you not try to learn how to use it. It seems quite simple in theory— compression and release, but I have had many students over the ages who attempted to use the technique before they were ready.”
Judging from his tone of voice, the fate of whoever was stupid enough to try such a complicated move was better left unsaid.
“I’ll just work on this move instead, improve it somehow— maybe several balls of Ki at the same time?” I mused as Roshi and I went to where the Ox-King and Chichi were.
“I suppose it would be an effective way of practicing control.” Master Roshi nodded before we came up to the ruined castle. “Keep to that mindset, young man, and you’ll go far in your training. Oh, dear, he’s at it again. That Old Ox is just too energetic for his own good.”
A few chunks of rock my size were quickly being thrown over the walls.
“What a beast.” I noted, still impressed at the giant man’s strength.
“Heh, at least he hasn’t slacked off in his strength training.” Roshi grinned while the Ox-King began to clear his castle. A few moments later, the Ox-King came out, looking embarrassed.
“My apologies, Master!” He said with a bow, a small cardboard box in his massive hand. “I will get you the payment you require in time, but will these do for now?”
He handed the box to the old timer. Opening it up curiously, Roshi’s face went from pleasant to absolutely giddy.
“Yes, yes of course!” Roshi giggled to himself. “This will do nicely!”
Peering over his shoulder, I had to stop myself from palming my face once I laid my eyes on the box’s contents.
Dirty mags. The payment was dirty mags. The venerable old master was a total perv. I found myself chuckling, the situation growing almost too ridiculous.
“Ten!” I heard Chichi’s voice coming from one of ruined halls of the castle. “Come here!”
Shaking my head and mastering myself, I made my way over the rubble, broken furniture and ripped banners— this was a king’s castle, after all— quickly reaching the black haired girl.
“What’s up?” I asked her as she came into view.
She was struggling to lift a chunk of debris.
“Can you help me with this?” She asked nicely.
For a moment, I wondered why she didn’t ask her dad to do this— as he was the stronger man— before shrugging that particular thought of and getting to work.
It took a considerable effort, but we were able to move it against the wall, revealing what was underneath.
It was a rather huge treasure chest.
“So, this is the treasure of the Ox-King..” I noted as Chichi and I carefully carried the humongous chest out of the room. The wood felt flimsy— I supposed years of fire would have greatly messed with its structural integrity.
It was surprising the wood hadn’t caught on fire in the entire time of the mountain being on fire.
“My treasure!” Ox-King’s voice boomed from behind me as we set the chest down in the space the man had opened up. “You two found it, great job!”
“Yeah, no problem.” I waved it off, curious to see what’s in it. I stopped for a moment, noticing that Master Roshi was missing. “Wait, where’s the Master?”
“Oh, he went home.” Ox-King replied. “He said he’d already done what he came here to do, and was eager to take his payment home. He did leave you a message, though.”
Eager to take his payment home, huh? I suppressed a shudder and continued the conversation, trying to banish the image of what Roshi would be doing with those mags.
I failed miserably.
“Oh?” I replied, turning my gaze to Chichi as she tried to fiddle with the chest’s lock for a few moments before looking towards the older man. “What’s the message?”
“Oh, he said that he’d send for you when the time came. He said you’d understand what that meant.” Ox-King relayed the message, before moving towards his treasure chest.
I absorbed his words for a moment before groaning. I hope “sending for me” didn’t involve that damnable jittery cloud. I hated that thing.
Turning my attention back to the chest, I watched as the Ox-King simply shattered the lock with a grunt of force, opening the lid, revealing the contents within: a pile of gold, rubies and gems filled the chest to the brim.
A few intricate looking swords sat on top of the pile— obviously ceremonial implements rather than functional weapons.
This pile was worth more money than most people could have made in a hundred years of nonstop working! It was no wonder the big guy was so defensive when it came to his treasure.
My eyes landed on a particular looking crystal ball sitting on the side of the pile.
“What’s that thing?” I pointed to the ball in question. “I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
“Humm…” Chichi pulled the orange crystal ball out of the chest as Ox-King began to explain. “I can’t really say. It’s been in my family for a long time, you see. No one really knows the story behind it.”
“Interesting… May I?” I asked politely.
“Of course.” She smiled back, handing me the ball.
I looked over the orange ball, seeing that the seven stars within looked the same from every angle.
What a strange effect. Who made it?
I Observed it.
The 7-Star Dragonball
What the hell?
No item type, no description. Mythical class? What the hell was this thing?
Dragonball? Did that mean some poor dragon lost his…
If I didn’t have Gamer’s Body and Mind, I would likely be feeling a headache right about now.
With a shake of my head, I handed the ball back to Chichi, only for her to push it back into my hands with a smile.
“Take it.” She smiled wider at the look of shock I gave her.
“I- I can’t—” I said, trying to hand the ball back to either of them. The both of them refused.
“You looked quite taken with it, my boy!” Ox-King said, having noticed my wide eyed look of amazement earlier.
“You said this was an heirloom.” I replied. “I can’t exactly take this, sir. It belongs to your family.”
“Nonsense!” The man replied quickly, noticing Chichi’s face turning to one of sadness. “I would like for you to have it, as a reward for helping put out the fire. I wouldn’t have been able to reach my old home if it weren’t for you! Please, take it.”
I had seen Chichi’s expression change as well, and felt a little guilty over it.
“All right, if you’re sure…” I held the ball in my hand nervously. “Then I will keep it.”
You weren’t able to find the Bashosen, but you convinced Master Roshi to put out the fire for good, himself!
15,000 XP! Greatly Increased Reputation with Ox-King and Chichi!
Bonus Reward: The 7-Star Dragonball
Figure out what a Dragonball is, as well as its purpose!
Reward: 60,000 XP, ?
You have leveled up!
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 14 (100/15,000 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
“Now, how about a feast— we must celebrate!” Ox-King shouted as he closed the lid on his chest, carrying it with ease as we followed him out of the ruined castle.