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A Day of Loss

Age 749, October 15, Afternoon, Snowy Wilderness North of Central City

Mark (Hercule)

His steps compacted the snow beneath his feet even further than it had already been. Mark narrowed his eyes and ran through the motions again, arms and legs flying at speeds he never thought he’d be capable of— but it still wasn’t enough for him.

More. He thought, pushing his body as far as it could go.

Flares of pain erupted in his arms, back and legs, but Mark blocked it all out and powered on through, carrying on with his training while running on the only feeling he could bear.

Anger.

Mark was angry. He’d always thought that, when push came to shove, he’d be the one to come out on top and save the day.

He had been stupid, and had suffered the penalty for being so reckless and naive. The horrid image of his old Master’s bullet riddled, brutalized corpse appeared at the forefront of his mind again. 

Master Palm… 

He stopped. A wave of sadness nearly overtook him, but Mark gritted his teeth and submerged himself deeper into his anger, drawing from its energy like a starving man seeing a meal for the first time in days.

I’m stronger than this. Mark told himself again and again. I have to be stronger— the strongest man: Hercule.

He resumed his kata, intent on getting at least a few more hours’ worth of training before taking his next meal.

He assumed a ready stance, ignoring the discomfort he felt from the frigid air licking at his skin. And then he began to punch and kick at the air again. He kept at it for the better part of half an hour, practicing his moves just the way Master Palm had taught him, not too long ago.

“Impressive dedication to honing your technique, boy.” A voice came from his right.

Mark froze mid-punch before swiveling so fast it would’ve snapped any normal man’s neck.

Looking around with wide eyes, he tried to pinpoint the voice’s location.

It didn’t take long.

So much… pink. Mark thought in bewilderment.

Standing atop a thick, snow covered tree branch, stood a man of average height, looking to be in his mid-to-late-forties, with small, beady eyes, a pointed nose, a small thin mustache and black hair tied into a braided ponytail. The pink chang pao that he wore had the word “KILL” emblazoned at the front.

This guy’s haircut looks stupid. The thought came to him, unbidden, but Mark did not voice it, instead addressing the visitor.

“Are you lost?” Mark asked and pointed behind him in the general direction of Central City. “Central’s that way. You might want to watch out for the snow lions, though. There’s a den somewhere nearby.”

Mark suppressed a grimace. Those hadn’t been fun to fight, but they’d given him a lesson in dealing with groups, all the same.

Always watch your back and sides, don’t let anything sneak up on you. Mark thought, regarding the man. Though this one did it, all the same. Who is he?

The pink-clad man before him seemed amused by this.

“It would take much to get me lost, little one.” He said, smirking as he leapt off of the tree branch and landed with nary a sound.

In fact, Mark could’ve sworn that the stranger’s descent had even slowed down to nothing, the moment before his feet touched the snow.

How did he do that?

“What are you doing out here, boy?” The man asked. “Are you lost?”

Mark gathered his wits and shook his head. “No. I’m training.”

“Training.” The man repeated, smoothing out his mustache with deliberate slowness. “You can practice forms anywhere, child. What drives you to come to such hard lands?”

What’s this guy’s deal? Mark thought to himself. Barely known him for half a minute and he’s asking me for my life’s story.

“You seem awfully interested in what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.” Mark said. “Why’s that, Mr. …?”

“Is it a sin for a martial artist to be curious about another’s reason for fighting?” The man was amused again. “And the name’s Tao Pai Pai.”

Mark’s eyes widened in recognition, and he took a step back without realizing it.

“Ah, so you’ve heard my name before.” Tao seemed pleased with Mark’s reaction.

“You’re the assassin for hire— the hitman.” Mark said, giving the man’s face a closer look. “Yes, I’ve seen one of your posters before.”

No wonder his stupid looking face and hair were so familiar. Mark thought. This guy’s the real deal. Charges an arm and a leg for his hits. I’m so glad I didn’t say anything about his face.

“You’ve no idea how much it pleases me to know that word of my work has traveled far and wide, to people of all ages and walks of life.” Tao said, though he did not smile. “My services are always available— for the right price, of course.”

Mark laughed despite the fear he felt at the sight of this man. “I’m afraid I can’t afford a bus fare right now, let alone a hit on anyone.”

“Is that so…” the older man said, placing his hands behind his back. He seemed to have expected such an answer.

“Besides.” Mark added, gesturing at himself. “I will do it myself, once I’m strong enough.”

“Indeed…?” Tao said, stopping to stare at the boy. “I assume this is your reason for your mountain practice, then?”

“And if it is?” Mark said, voice raised for a moment. “Will you lecture me on the sanctity of… Oh, right. Assassin. Nevermind.”

Tao gave a humph. “And who is it you are looking to kill?”

Mark opened his mouth before closing it, scrunching his eyes shut as his mind relived that horrible day in a matter of moments.

“Every single soldier in the Red Ribbon Army.” Mark said, opening his eyes again and looking at his visitor with a burning gaze. “I’m going to kill every last one.”

That seemed to please the man. “Ambitious, aren’t we?”

Mark did not reply, for he did not know what to say.

“What makes you think you’ve got what it takes to defeat them?” Tao continued, looking down at the boy as he approached him.

Mark’s nostrils flared in response at the snub. “I’ve trained hard— reached levels I only could’ve dreamed of in the past. I know I can do it. I have to.”

“Is that so?” Tao said, dropping into a stance. He gave the boy a smirk. “Show it to me, then— this strength of yours in which you hold great confidence.”

Mark stared at the man with wide eyes. “You want to spar with me?”

“Ha!” Tao exclaimed, shaking his head with amusement. “The impetuousness of children… You are not worthy to spar with me. I am merely passing the time for amusement and gauging a fighter.”

Mark’s eyes blazed with fury.

“That’s it, boy.” Tao smirked and beckoned him over again. “Come.”

That was all the invitation the teen needed. Mark dashed forward, crossing the distance between the two in an instant. He sent a kick to the man’s legs, which was dodged with a quick hop. Mark continued to try and strike at his feet, but Tao’s deft footwork made him hit nothing but air.

“Your speed is impressive for a child.” His opponent said, leaping back and regarding the boy with interest. “But do you have the strength to carry you further, I wonder?”

“Stand still and find out!” Mark rushed him again, driving his right fist towards the man’s solar plexus, infusing it with every shred of Ki he had available to him.

“Very well.” Tao made no move to dodge.

It was like striking steel with his bare hands. Mark suppressed a cringe as his punch connected, sending lances of pain through his right arm.

The blow sent the pink-clad man skidding back a few feet in the snow. “Impressive indeed, boy! That may actually bruise, later. However…”

Tao faded from view, and Mark moved to counter with a wild roundhouse kick, but he found himself falling forward instead, a sharp pain making itself known in his solar plexus. His face struck the snow with a crunch.

“While you have great potential, you are a hundred years too early to be challenging the likes of me.”

Mark tried to get his arms and legs to respond, but found that he couldn’t.

“Give it a bit of time.” His opponent said, kneeling beside Mark to move his face out of the snow so he could breathe. “You’ll be on your feet in a… Minute?”

Tao glanced down at his chang pao and patted the snow off of the side. “So your retaliatory strike did find its target, after all. A lucky shot, but perhaps not…?”

Mark gasped as his air flow returned and he pushed himself up into a kneeling position with a pained groan.

“Tell me, boy.” Tao said, getting back to his feet and looking down at his opponent. “Where did you learn to fight?”

Mark coughed once before speaking. “Palm Karate Dojo— in Central City.”

Tao blinked, recognizing the name. “Ah, the place which was recently attacked by the Red Ribbon Army. I have visited there, once or twice in the past.”

Mark only nodded in reply. He’d never seen the man there; not once. Then again, he hadn’t been at that dojo for that long time. For all he knew, these visits could have taken place decades ago.

“And this is where you also learned to manipulate your life energy?” Tao said, though he didn’t wait for an answer. “An impressive showing. A shame the Red Ribbon did away with your master. I have a bone of my own to pick with them.”

Mark ignored the callousness of the man’s response to look up at him in surprise. “You do?”

Tao could already see the gears turning in the kid’s mind. “Yes, they decided to not pay me for my services— with my career’s twentieth anniversary coming up, I can’t let that sort of snub remain unchallenged. My reputation would be ruined, otherwise.”

“You’re on your way to a base right now!” Mark blurted out, eyes wide with realization before wincing as the pain in his midsection made him regret his choice.

Perhaps, with Tao as an ally, they’d be able to annihilate the Red Ribbon Army.

“No.”

That stopped him flat. “No?”

“No.” Tao confirmed, a put upon look on his face. “I’ve already confronted them. Loathe as I am to say it, I did not succeed.”

A long moment of silence passed as Mark absorbed that comment.

“Although I have left them with a few… let’s call them parting gifts.” Tao smirked, bringing the boy back to reality.

“But you…” Mark said, swallowing. “But you defeated me with ease.”

“Indeed, I have.” Tao said, face serious. “Do you still feel ready to take them on, boy?”

Mark stared at him for another moment, not knowing how to react to the information he was just given. If this man couldn’t touch them, then who can?

Tao glared at him. “I can see the gears turning in your mind, child. Do not confuse my momentary defeat with surrender. I will cross paths with them again, and when I do, they will regret ever opposing me.”

He turned away, a clear sign that he was about to leave. “Now, I believe my curiosity has been sated. You’d best hope you never cross paths with me again, for it may not be out of curiosity, next time.”

Mark got up and took a firm step forward, ignoring the agony in his neck. “Wait!”

The pink-clad man stopped, turning his head slightly. “I’m listening.”

“Take me with you.”

The man humphed and turned to regard Mark properly. “Why should I?”

“You said it, yourself.” Mark argued. “You said I have potential.”

“What of it?” Tao waved the boy’s words away. “I’ve seen many men and women squander what little talent they’ve had. Potential is just that— potential; unrealized, unrefined and requiring discipline, practice and hard work.”

“I won’t be one of them.” Mark said, and Tao could tell that the boy before him was speaking from the depths of his soul. “Fighting is all I know— it’s all I’ve ever known. And we have a common enemy.”

Tao gave a nod. “You are right about that, at least; we do have a common enemy.”

Silence filled the clearing once again, but Mark kept his mouth shut. He knew that, if he said anything further, this man would either kill him or worse— leave him alone.

“Very well.” Tao said, gesturing for him to follow. “Come along.”

Mark nodded and did as he was bid, moving to walk alongside the taller man. “Yes, erm… Master Tao?”

“That will do.” Tao nodded, sending him a sidelong glance. “What’s your name, child?”

Mark. “It’s Hercule, sir.”

Hercule, eh?” Tao smirked and gave a humph of approval. “Wise of you to hide your true name.”

How did he—

“Your body language makes this all too easy for someone like me.” Tao said. “It’s just as well; it wouldn’t do for the Red Ribbon to know who you truly are.”

“Yes.”

“it’s a strong name— Hercule; a name with a long history. Will you live up to it? Only time will tell.”

Mark gulped. He had a feeling that he had just signed up for a long trip to Hell.

Wherever you are, Ten. Mark thought. Stay safe.

ooo

Age 749, October 15, Same Time, Lake East of Korin’s Tower

Ten

I stared into the water, immersed in the sounds of nature. I heard the fire from behind me crackling, the ever present sound of leaves rustling in the soft, cool breeze and sighed.

If only life could be this serene forever. I thought, smiling for a moment before looking up at the tower in the distance. It was tall, reaching up into the clouds and piercing through them with ease.

I shook my head. I had expected it to be a thin structure with a small, spiraling staircase on the inside— but no. It was beginning to look like I would have to climb it from the outside, like I would with a mountain.

“Ten.” Chichi’s voice came from my right. “You coming?”

I nodded, not really paying attention to her. “Yeah. Be right there.”

She gave an impatient huff, not at all convinced by my answer. “Oh please, don’t space out on me again.”

Blinking, I snorted and finally looked her way.

She seems annoyed. I thought, watching her fiddle with her blue cheongsam with red trimmings. She always messes with her clothes when she’s agitated.

“Fine, fine.” I pretended to sound annoyed at the interruption, but her excitement was too infectious for it to be anywhere near convincing. I got up, dusted myself off and joined her.

We stood off at the beach, staring each other down.

“Do we really have to do it here?” I asked, looking around at my nemeses with no small amount of annoyance. They swirled and buzzed about the air, acting like they owned the place.

“What’s wrong with this place?”

I shuddered. “It’s just the bugs; I don’t like ‘em. Never have.”

Chichi grinned and laughed, her previous agitation forgotten in the wake of her amusement.

“What?” I said, annoyed. “I’m serious!”

“The mighty Ten, defeater of the Red Ribbon, is scared of a few mosquitoes!” Chichi shook her head and wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. “Oh come on. Don’t be a baby.”

I sent her a mock glare before assuming a fighting stance. “Are we fighting, or what?”

Chichi smirked and got into her stance as well. “I’m ready when you are.”

I nodded, reaching into my stat sheet and disabling my stat enhancing passives. “Ready.”

Chichi pointed her palm at me and cried out. “Ha!

A ball of Ki flew to me, and I leapt to the right, shielding my face as the ground exploded, sending dirt and stone everywhere.

Chichi tried to use the explosion as a distraction to rush me, but I had cottoned on too quickly, meeting her halfway with a flurry of blows that would incapacitate and perhaps kill any normal person.

I pushed her punch to the side, driving my fingers towards her neck. Chichi moved to her right, taking the hit on her shoulder with a wince and sending a roundhouse punch into my ribs, making me stumble with a flash of pain.

-1,000 HP!

Chichi capitalized on this, grasping my right shoulder and sending her right knee into the same spot she’d struck before.

-3,000 HP!

Her knee came up again for seconds, but I blocked the strike with one hand while lashing up with an elbow at the underside of her chin, sending her stumbling back until she fell onto her butt, a dazed look upon her face.

If she wants to be vicious, then so will I. I thought, taking in a deep breath and letting her recover. “Done?”

Chichi spat some blood out of her mouth and sent me a grin, getting on her feet in seconds. “Not yet.”

I smiled back, meeting her black eyes with my blue. Chichi came at me with a roundhouse kick, this time. I crouched underneath it and raised my arm just as she snapped her foot back the way it came.

-750 HP!

Her leg collided with my forearm, jarring the bone and bruising the flesh, but I ignored the pain and grasped her calf.

Chichi struggled to get it free, but I held onto her flesh with everything I had. “Force it too much, and you’ll get hurt, you know. Besides, are you sure you want to make yourself vulnerable to counterattack, like this?”

I looked at her shaking butt as she struggled, before giving a smirk. “Then again, the view isn’t so bad…”

Instead of surrendering, Chichi only scoffed. “Very funny, but I’ve already won, Ten.”

She used my grip to swing her other leg up, but I raised the one in my grasp in an attempt to mess her counterattack up. Chichi grinned, and I knew she’d caught me in her trap.

She spun back the other way, the kinetic energy she’d accumulated making her as fast as a bullet. I felt the Ki charging into her heel as she broke the spin and drove her free leg straight up, into the underside of my chin. 

[Mana Shield]!!!

-7,500 HP!

-7,000 MP!

My world turned into a haze of pain and disorientation as the momentum of the strike lifted my body ten feet into the air, before sending me back down like a sack of potatoes.

I stayed that way for a second, attempting to understand what the heck had just happened, before getting to my feet with some difficulty, expecting Chichi to already be rushing to capitalize on the devastating blow she’d landed.

But Chichi got out of her stance, looking a mix of satisfied and worried. “I think that’s enough for me. That was a pretty hard hit you took.”

“Yeah.” I said, shaking my head and sitting back down on the sand, my [Mana Shield] disappearing with a thought. “Those legs of yours are from Hell. Or is it Heaven?”

I rubbed my jaw in the hopes of making the pain go away faster— I needn’t have bothered, of course. [Gamer’s Body] would eventually make it fade into nothing, just as it did with everything else.

“I’m wiped out.” Chichi said as she sagged in exhaustion, her breaths short and quick. “Your Gamer ability is broken, did anyone tell you that? Any other fighter would be down for the count after that.”

I laughed, before taking a seat beside her and pulling out two bottles of water, holding one out for her. “You have, a few times at least. Damn good kick, by the way. Shaved off a chunk of my health and magic.”

The girl snorted and took the offered beverage. “Glad I did somethin’.” 

I frowned and linked my powers with hers, invoking [Insight]



Princess of Fry Pan Mountain
Chichi – Lv 32
Race – Human
Age – 14

HP: 15,000/23,000
Ki: 10,000/28,000

Rep: 10,000/100,000 Loved

Description: The Princess of Fry Pan Mountain, Chichi is a kind, blossoming young woman who believes she found a man worthy of her charms and wit.

Nevertheless, be wary of angering her, as her wrath knows no equal.

She is currently upset with her lackluster performance against the love of her life.

Battle Power: 168


Lackluster performance? I blinked in confusion.

“You’ve gotten much stronger, Chichi.” I said with all the honesty I could muster. “And in such a short amount of time, too.”

“Doesn’t feel like it.”

I smiled and pecked her cheek. “Now, who’s being a big baby?”

I moved to give her another, but she turned her head away with a pout. “Not me.”

“Of course not, princess.” I whispered into her ear, watching her shiver and turn beet red.

“IthinkweshouldgetgoingtoKorinsdontyou?” The girl said in a rush before bolting to her tent to hide.

I smiled, both in amusement and a certain excitement. I remembered the days when she would endlessly tease me with something or the other.

How quickly the tables have turned. I thought with a shake of my head before sobering as my eyes landed on the tower. It won’t be long now.

A few hours of trekking along the border of the lake and then through the forest ahead, and we would reach the base of the tall structure.

I went about gathering my things together before putting them in their appropriate capsules.

Soon, Chichi and I stood in front of the campfire, getting that last bit of heat in.

“Ready?” I asked.

“Yes.” Chichi said before dragging her boots over the sand, dousing the flames with one, fluid move.

And with that, we were off.

“What do you think we’ll find there?” Chichi put her hands behind her head as she tilted herself back to see how far the tower went. “Does it even have a top?”

“It should, but I don’t know.” I said. “Presumably, we’ll meet this Korin fellow when we finish the climb.”

“The Master didn’t tell you anything about him?” Chichi said, sending me an intrigued look.

“He was pretty tight lipped about it all.” I said. “Just that I had to get to the tower and climb it, and that I would find answers for the next step there.”

“It’s not like him to be so cryptic.” Chichi mused, before smiling. “But it should at least be a good training opportunity. Climbing a thing like that— it takes stamina.”

I nodded in agreement before we both went quiet, content to enjoy each other’s company in relative silence, with the only sounds being the soft coursing of the lake water and the refreshing breeze running over our bodies.

Our surroundings shifted from grasslands to forest as we entered the forest proper.

In the distance, I spotted a deer trotting in brush, with a fawn doing its best to keep up. I watched them appreciatively for as long as I could before the thickets concealed them once again.

“Hungry?” Chichi said, getting my attention. She gestured in the direction of the deer. “I saw you looking at them.”

I shook my head, feeling both a sense of horror and amusement at her suggestion. “Goodness, no! They were just cute, that’s all.”

Chichi tilted her head at me, as if she wasn’t sure what to make of me. “Sometimes you say some really strange things, Ten.”

I dipped my head a bit, acknowledging her statement. “I suppose I do. I’ve always been a little weird like that.”

She stared at me for a second longer before frowning and looking ahead.

What was that about? I opened my mouth to say something but thought better of it. Best to let these things lie.

We continued our trip, trudging through the forest in silence until we reached the base of the tower.

It stood in a small clearing, I realized as we exited the treeline once again.

“We made it.” Chichi said from beside me, before pointing at the tent beside it. “Looks like someone’s living here.”

I looked around the area, noting the presence of various tools and workstations which seemed to have had quite a bit of use over a long period of time. “And for a long time.”

Before we could theorize on who it could be, the tent flap opened to reveal a tall, dark skinned man with a long ponytail.

This guy’s built like a tank! I thought, eyes widening as I saw the level next to his name.

Bora – Lv 25

“Halt, outsiders.” Bora said, holding a hand out as he clenched his fist. “That’s far enough. You tread on the sacred land of Korin. What business have you, here?”

I swallowed and thought of what to say.

“I need to meet with Korin.” I said in reply.

His eyes widened at the casual name-drop. “You wish… to see the legendary Hermit who lives at the very top of this tower?”

I nodded. “Yes.”

“For what purpose?” Bora pressed, keeping his deep voice neutral.

I frowned at the man, hesitating. How do you tell someone that you need to seek out something above the tower, and that this something could be, well… God?

Seconds passed, and the suspicion returned in Bora’s eyes. He stepped forward, his muscles tightening in preparation for violence. “We’ve had many visitors, as of late. All were foul and ill intentioned. Perhaps you are another one of their ilk.”

I took a step back, not wanting to fight this man. “I am not looking to fight you.”

“Neither am I.” Chichi said. “We’re just here to climb the tower. That’s all.”

He eyed us again, trying to suss out the lies in our words. In the meantime, I linked my power with his and invoked [Insight].



Guardian of the Sacred Land of Korin
Bora – Lv 25
Race – Human
Age – 32

HP: 2,500/22,000 [Physical Exhaustion]
Ki: 5,000 [Locked]

Rep: 0/10,000 Neutral

Description: Just as his father, grandfather and ancestors had done before him, Bora has dedicated his life to guarding the Sacred Land of Korin.

As a result, he has endured much suffering from this, but he remains resolute, no matter what his chances of winning are.

He is currently wary of you, as his last fight left him on the brink of death for many days.

Battle Power: [40], 90


Impressive. I thought. To think that people like this are just out here, in the middle of nowhere, just living their lives.

With a battle power like that, this man could have been using his strength and physique to earn money, either by fighting, weight lifting, or even just modeling. Instead, he was here, guarding some obscure area in the middle of the wilderness.

But, his health and debuffs… I frowned at the low number, wondering just how he was still standing. “You… How are you still standing? With the beating you’ve taken.”

Bora’s eyes widened for a moment, before hardening with resolute purpose. “It matters not. If I must, I shall fight.”

Shit. I thought, realizing he’d drawn the wrong conclusions from what I’d said.

“What happened to you?” I tried again and took a step forward, but the man dashed towards me with determination in his eyes.

“Ten!” Chichi cried out in surprise. Bora closed the gap, his meaty fist descending onto me with a rage I had only seen on one man’s face before— Blue’s.

It was the anger of a man who’d lost everything.

I stood in place and caught Bora’s wrist, holding his hand in place. He tried to hit me with the other hand, but I stopped that one, as well. The man, now wide eyed, struggled with all of his might, but I held on, making sure my grip didn’t hurt him.

Enough.” I said, frustration coloring my tone. “I’m not here to fight you, damn it!”

During the struggle, Bora’s black eyes met my anguished blue; he stopped in an instant. “You…”

I let go of his wrists and watched the man take a step back.

“You are not with them.” He said, blinking as he slowly relaxed his guard.

“We’re not with anyone!” I said. “We just came for the climb.”

The man made to answer, but was overcome with a bout of dizziness. He swayed in place, almost falling, if it weren’t for Chichi helping to keep him up.

“Here.” She said, keeping her voice soft. “Lean on me, sir.”

He can barely stand… I thought, feeling a surge of pity for the big man.

“My thanks…” He said as she led him to the remains of a campfire.

“When’s the last time you ate, mister?” Chichi said.

Bora didn’t answer for a long moment. “I do not know. Many days— not since I lost my boy.”

“Your son?” She said, a note of alarm entering her voice before she steeled her expression. “Tell us what happened.”

And so he did. “I could not stop them. I believed them to be mere men, ruled by their greed and lust for power, but they were worse than that. They were monsters. They took my boy and said that he would make an excellent subject— for what purpose, I do not know.”

I swallowed. This was starting to sound really familiar. “These men…”

I took one of the rocks from the unused campfire and began to draw the Red Ribbon Army symbol on the earth. “Did they have a symbol on their arms that looked like this, but red?”

His eyes widened, and he nodded. “Yes. Do you know of them?”

I exhaled through my nose and placed the rock back where I found it. “Unfortunately. They’re the Red Ribbon Army— a large group of mercenaries, criminals and soldiers looking to take over the world. They’ve killed many people, and worse.”

I let the man absorb the comment as I considered what to do.

I can’t very well leave him to his devices. I thought. If he tries to go after them, he’ll get annihilated. 

Maybe, if they never had encountered me, the Red Ribbon would have never gotten strong enough to stand up to him, but as it was…

I glanced at the tower before pulling out the quests I was already on.


Twenty Questions— Well, More Like One

You learned what the Dragonballs are capable of accomplishing when you gather all seven, and you’ve asked the Dragon about your powers.

In his wisdom, he bade you to seek out his creator, far above Korin’s Tower.


Find out why you received the power of The Gamer!

Reward: 5,000,000 XP, ?, ?, ?

Failure penalty: Death. Possible destruction of the Universe.


The failure result was clear, but I shook my head.

“We can’t try to save humanity without holding onto what makes us human.” I muttered, too low for Chichi or Bora to hear.

“Ten…?” Chichi said, looking at me.

I nodded back, before I pulled out a stack of NutriBars and quite a few bottles of water.

“You…” Bora looked at the feat with shock. “Out of thin air?”

I nodded, gesturing at the food piled up next to him. “It doesn’t taste like much, but you won’t need to cook these and they’ll provide you with all the nutrients your body will need to heal over time. Do you know of any place nearby that has medicine? We can go and get you some.”

He stared at me for a moment and shook his head. “Nothing that I don’t have here.”

I swallowed the urge to sigh. “It’ll have to do, then.”

I turned to my girlfriend. “Chichi, it looks like the trip to Korin’s Tower will have to be delayed by a bit. I want you to—”

“Oh, you’d better not say that you want me to stay here.” Chichi said, stomping towards me with a fierce look upon her face. “I’m coming with you, and that’s final.”

I shook my head, amused despite the situation. “I was going to say that I wanted you to get ready for the worst fight of your life.”

“Oh.” Chichi said, blushing as the embarrassment hit her. “Well, all right, then.”


Ping!


You’ve created a quest through your decision to help Bora!


Rescue Upa!

The dastardly Red Ribbon have kidnapped Bora’s son, Upa. For what reason, he does not know. You have chosen to help the man rescue his adorable little boy before it’s too late!

Reward: 80,000 XP, ?, ?

Failure: Upa’s death, Massive loss of REP with Bora and Chichi.


I stared at the quest log with a sneer. I was doing this because it was the right thing, not because of any rewards.

Wasn’t I?


Name: Ten
Occupation: The Gamer
Level: 37 (36,500/38,000 XP)

Race: Human
Age: 14

HP: 50,945
MP: 54,081
Ki: 68,665

STR: 145 ; [290]
VIT: 140 ; [280]
AGI: 192 ; [384]
INT: 136 ; [197]
WIS: 132 ; [191]

Points: 20

Battle Power: 159, [318]

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