A thunderous explosion, followed by the entire building shaking.
The indescribable roar reverberated.
Facing that, Freyr clicked her tongue and raised her knife. As she did, she regretted not looking around for a longer weapon.
But just a bit.
'Compared to the Hydra, this monster is a mere chick.'
It was grotesque. The creature was a hulking undead with rotting flesh and eerie green bone armor. Its hair had decayed, leaving it a ghastly crimson hue. A single gleaming red eye peered at Freyr, swiveling as it locked onto her as its target.
Freyr spun her knife around and frowned, carefully analyzing the situation.
Although she made light of it, this would be a tough fight.
Her blade's reach was too short, and the monster's bone armor left few openings.
The main advantage Freyr had was that the monster's legs had been lost somewhere, perhaps falling off due to rot. As a result, it was kneeling and using its arms to maneuver.
But it was powerful. Not only that, but there was tremendous weight behind each of the monster's actions.
"I can do it."
Freyr moved her knife to her left hand and turned slightly, following her instincts.
The moment she did, a blur passed by where her head had just been. A bone spur, pierced into the wall behind Freyr, reverberating against the concrete walls.
Seeing that, Freyr smiled. "...Perhaps you aren't a weakling after all."
The monster didn't respond that time, simply staring at Freyr.
Did it realize that Freyr was a threat and no mere prey like the corpses littering the floor beside it?
Either way, the monster didn't move, simply waiting for Freyr.
She grinned and then kicked off the ground, swinging her knife.
Aqua panted as she ran after me, holding her bag of candy against her chest. "Why... do we have... to run so far...?!"
I glanced at the floating message screen in front of me and said, "Because we lose if my lovely wife gets carried away."
[Urgent mission <Survival>]
Objective: Survive the encounter with the Abomination.
It was a straightforward mission. The Abomination was meant to be a sort of impossible early game boss that the main characters had to face.
Of course, that didn't mean it was unkillable. It was just close to impossible for people with ordinary human levels of abilities.
That meant that Gale and Aqua were out, but I was fine.
After all, I was a cheat. At least in this setting.
Freyr would be fine too. Since she got the spectacularly loaded title of <Vain's Wife>, and since she had <Heaven's Veil>, I was 100% certain she had <Plot Armor> as a skill.
The problem was that we didn't.
Freyr might be able to survive a whole-ass building collapsing on her, but we sure as hell couldn't. And considering that the fight seemed to be happening either on the first floor or in the basement... I couldn't tell exactly where since the random holes in the floors were making acoustics a mess, but I could tell that it was happening in a place where too much damage could make everything fall apart.
And as if to prove my point...
...The Abomination roared and the building shook.
"Gah!" Aqua stumbled, losing her footing. Before she faceplanted though, Gale swept her up in a princess carry and jogged next to me.
Aqua blushed and said, "Y-You didn't need to do that, Gale! I can walk!"
"This is more efficient, Princess." Gale shifted Aqua a bit so that she would be comfortable and then glanced off to the side.
It looked like he got the message screen too.
Gale glanced back at me and said, "Can we do it, Sir Vain?"
I spun Wustoff around to hold it like a sword and said, "You can't, but I can. Just stick close and try not to die."
Aqua leaned over to glare at me and said, "Can't you be a bit more reassuring!?"
"Hey. It's not my fault that you guys didn't take the time to fundamentally understand how your powers work. If you did that, you wouldn't be such powerless humans right now."
[Says the man who doesn't understand the faintest bit about how his own powers work.]
That's not true. I perfectly understand how they work. I just don't know what crazy bastard thought it was a good idea to give me access to the ability to bootstrap myself up from oblivion.
[...Yes. I'd like to know that too.]
A loud *bang* echoed from nearby as a zombie burst through a closed apartment door.
Without skipping a beat, I kicked off to the side and swung my knife, tracing the glowing blue line that appeared in thin air.
A clean and satisfying sound, like a sharp knife through paper.
With that, the zombie vanished in a puff of smoke and I kicked back to the center of the hallway, scanning around for the stairs.
Beside me, I heard Aqua mutter. "Is he really just a normal human, Gale? Even for someone who was chosen to climb the tower, this is a bit crazy..."
"At the least, it explains Lady Freyr's affection, does it not?"
...I'm hitting all the cliches today, aren't I?
[Since you're apparently in the world of your own story, are you that surprised?]
Not really. But anyway...
"You are quite sturdy for an undead! But sturdiness is far from enough!"
...It sounds like Wifey's having a fun time. I don't think the building can take much more though.
Tightening my grip on my knife, I could see faint blue lines appearing all around me, lacing the walls and floors. Not only that, but blue dots started appearing too.
While it was fake... After all, I was just imitating the skill of that guy with crazy mystic eyes, it was a good indicator of the building's durability.
And that durability was quickly decreasing.
I rounded the corner of the hallway. As I did, I saw a hole in the floor where it had collapsed.
That was probably where Freyr's voice was coming from.
And while I couldn't see her at the moment, I *could* see something through the darkness.
A hulking undead monster with dirty brown hair and bone armor. Something that barely had any blue lines or dots for me to aim at.
I came to a stop a few paces away from the hole and paused to think.
Gale stopped beside me and said, "Sir Vain?"
I didn't see or sense any zombies around me. The screams had died down too, meaning that the survivors were all gone, either because they were dead, or because they left.
But either way, that didn't change our situation. We still needed to sort out this Abomination monster and then figure out how to get to the state capitol.
Fortunately, I had a plan for us to get there safely that revolved around our currently useless party members.
Unfortunately, we still needed to level grind the two... and we couldn't do that right now with this thing acting like a Reaper.
"...It shouldn't break the plot too much if I go, right?"
The Abomination roared again. And this time, the roar itself shook the building as ominous crimson light started glowing from the monster.
[Warning! The Abomination has entered an enraged state!]
Viscous crimson fluid dripped out from beneath the monster's bone armor before wrapping around the monster's body, like a coccoon. At the same time, it slammed its fists against the ground, piercing them through the floor. And when it did, they started wriggling, turning into something similar to tree roots.
But not only that, purple light started to appear around the basement floor, spawning more zombies.
[...So you were talking about breaking the plot?]
"Shut up, Alice." I sighed and then took a few steps back, switching my knife around to a reverse grip.
Aqua noticed and spoke in a hushed voice. "Vain! Are you crazy?!" She glanced at the hole in the floor and said, "That monster is-"
"Stop acting like a side character and just get ready. You're taking over after I kill this damned thing."
I cut her off and then sprinted, flipping through the air.
[Is that really necessary?]
It's to build momentum, okay?!
I ignored Alice's sarcastic voice and then focused.
Was it because the monster was still forming?
I could see a gleaming blue line that hadn't been there before.
Narrowing my eyes, I swung my knife and cursed. "This Tutorial is too damned hard! Just get out of here!"
A flash of light. An indescribable roar.
[You have defeated The Abomination in its enraged state!]
[A great achievement!]
[Many gods are astounded by your talent and insight in striking the creature at its weakest.]
[Many gods are furious at your mismatched abilities in relation to the scenario.]
[The Inviolable Morning Star laughs and sends a gift. +10 Bonus Stat Points]
[One without Equal offers to sponsor you.]
[Elusive Planner offers to sponsor you.]
[Eternity without End offers to sponsor you.]
[A God of Skill offers to sponsor you.]
[Valhalla offers to welcome you as a rising star.]
A flurry of messages appeared in front of me, but I ignored them.
Instead, I stood up and looked at Freyr. Smiling, I said, "Did I keep you waiting, Wifey?"
"Kyaaaaaaaa! Hubby! You're so cool!"
[Many gods are raging.]
[Many goddesses are cheering.]
[Many gods curse your name.]
[Many gods applaud your ability.]
[A Phantom Thief smirks and sends a gift. +10 Bonus Stat Points]
Freyr froze and then pursed her lips together, a deep blush starting to spread across her face.
...Hah. Well, I guess we're double-downing on the Korean Webtoon MC route, huh?
Name: Vain Glory
Age: 20 (Adjusted)
Race: Human (Heaven Defying)
Class: Shameless Flirt
Current Condition: Healthy
Divine Anathema - Those not only forsaken by their gods, but those who have killed their gods and constructed their own. Drastically reduces effectiveness of Divine Attacks. Minor probability of obtaining partial Divine Authority through analysis and perception. Greatly increased hostility by Divine Beings.
Man of a Thousand Faces (Can filter emotions and experience through personas)
Well-Read (Increased intelligence growth)
Self-Determined (Luck is treated as 100 for calculations)
Goddess's Beloved (You share a small portion of your Goddess's status)
The Protagnost <Temporary> (You are the focus of attention for all events in the scenario)
World Creator (Minor) - Allows construction of non-magical items through one's will
Hero Creator - Removes growth limitations on user and their allies. Rapidly accelerates growth of allies.
Strength: 34 (+32)
Agility: 41 (+32)
Vitality: 21 (+32)
Intelligence: 137 (+32)
Mana: 70 (+32)
Luck: 15  (+32)
Bonus Stat Points: -17
No One's Story - A gambit that defies the gods through sacrificing one's identity and very memory. All attempts to scry your status are denied. Removes skill requirements. Memory and visualization abilities are enhanced.
A Different Path - Direct interference with a hero's fate, granting him a new path and divergent futures. Allows reproduction of 'conceptual weapons' provided the requisite materials. Allows reproduction of 'sword skills' provided the requisite understanding.
Lesser Flames of Muspell - The flames that will harken the end in Ragnarok. A world-consuming fire that will burn even the divine. You are immune to all but absolute temperature changes. Even then, you can function normally in absolute temperature ranges. You can summon (Mana/10) square meters of flames. You can dominate all flames.
First Aid - A basic healing spell that stops bleeding and accelerates the body's natural regeneration.
Disengage - A skill that allows the user to immediately retreat from battle as well as return the user's condition to the state prior to engaging in combat. Can be used once per engagement per hostile opponent.
Loki's Blessing (Minor) - A blessing from the Trickster God, Loki. Can change and conceal one's appearance. Due to synergy with No One's Story, it is a flawless disguise, capable of fooling even Loki without intense scrutiny.
Item Box (Minor) - A skill that grants the user a small spatial pocket to store items. Time is slowed within the spatial pocket to 1/10th of the normal flow. Can hold approximately 1 cubic meter of items.
First Night: Slash (Fake) - An ability that embodies the concept of severing through striking at the inherent weaknesses within an existing object. Inflicts Strength as true damage.
Silver Tongue - A skill that aids in persuasion and manipulating the emotions of the target. Super effective against members of the opposite sex, or those interested in the user. Chance to instantly charm the opponent. (Extreme Synergy with <Well-Read> and <Man of a Thousand Faces>)
Rapport - A skill that builds rapport with the target. Passively increases general likability. Similar to <Charisma>, but the core of this skill is trust and empathy rather than admiration. With enough mastery, it is possible to create allies willing to throw their lives away for your sake. (Extreme Synergy with <Hero Creator> and <Well-Read>)