Chapter 4
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Dale (POV)

"I... I finally cleared all five stages!"

Dale heavily panted as sweat dripped from his face, chin, and neck. His tracksuit is covered in sweat stains, and a pungent smell fills the air around his body. The strain inflicted on his body was enough to cause his body to twitch involuntarily.

Dale collapses on a bean bag and lets out a tired laugh. He had completed the first five requirements of the Egg Fertilization. It had taken a week and a half after he had moved to the bunker in Alaska with Rebecca, Masha, and the twins to complete them one by one.

"God! The smell!" Rebecca said as she entered the underground gym.

She rushes over to a control panel on the wall and plays around with the controls to boost the ventilation. Then she grabs a deodorant from her gym sack and sprays the air around her until she is satisfied. But when she looks over toward Dale, she brings up the deodorant can and aims it at him.

"Stop it! It stings!" Dale yelled as he used his hands to shield his face.

"This is not your open-air rooftop gym! So stop stinking up the place like you own it."

"Sorry, I got carried away and overdid it today. I finally cleared the five fitness goals of the App."

"Oh, Congrats."

Rebecca replied with a look of pity on her face.

"What's up with that? I have been working my butt off to complete them."

"Sorry, but Mash and I cleared the first five tasks three days ago, so it's sad that you took so long."

Rebecca then poked Dale's blubber on his stomach and pulled his cheeks.

Dale was taken aback by that revelation.

"Already? But you guys started working out after we got here."

"Don't blame us for being more fit than you."

Fat jokes never bothered Dale before when he was cut off from the world, but now that he was forced to live with other people, it has slowly become a sensitive topic. He massaged his fat cheeks after slapping away Rebecca's hand.

"So, what're the other five conditions?"

"Mash and I got different conditions after we answered some questions from the APP."

"Questions? Like what?"

"The first Question was Mind over Body or Body over Mind. The APP gave me meditation goals for choosing the Mind option, whereas Mash got Martial Art goals because he chose the body. Seeing that you struggled with the first five, I suggest you pick Mind over the body. Otherwise, you won't be able to complete the conditions before F-Day."

"F-Day?"

"Day of the Fluff. That is what the Monster APP community is calling the deadline."

Dale was surprised that there was an online community dedicated to App, but something she said caught his attention.

"Hold on! We don't have any internet or phone signals down here. So how are you communicating with the world outside?"

"Oh, the Monster APP has an internal communication feature that lets you send recorded video messages to specific people or anyone to see."

"Even from down here?"

"I don't know how it works, but it does support the theory that the APP's creator might not be a troll."

"Can we contact anyone with it? Like the President?"

"Unless he clears the first five conditions, it won't connect. It unlocks hidden features based on clearing certain conditions."

"Has anyone managed to clear all ten and hatch their egg?"

"Many people from the Eurasian Federation seem to be on the verge of doing that. I guess yoga, martial arts, and memorization of this kind of stuff is easier for them since it's part of their culture."

"Memorization?"

"You will find out after you answer its questions. If you don't mind, I need to get on with my workout."

Dale nods at her before he walks out of the gym and returns to his assigned room built for minimal comforts within the bunker. He sits on his bed and pulls out his phone.

"Lina, Display status of Egg fertilization in the Monster APP."

The familiar Monster App logo projection appears above his phone. Dale used the air touch feature to click the button at the center of the home page. A monster Egg with five lines circling around the lower half appears in front of Dale. Each line appeared when he cleared a stage.

[Egg - Unfertilized

To fertilize the egg, the User must complete the following stages in any order. Stages 6-10 will unlock if you clear stages 1-5.

Stage 1 - Walk/Run 5 Kilometers daily (5/5)

Stage 2 - 50 consecutive Push-ups daily (5/5)

Stage 3 - 50 consecutive Surya Namaskar/Greet the sun Yoga daily (5/5)

Stage 4 - 50 consecutive squats daily (5/5)

Stage 5 - 50 consecutive Leg Lifts daily (5/5)

Stage 6 - Locked => Unlocked

Stage 7 - Locked => Unlocked

Stage 8 - Locked => Unlocked

Stage 9 - Locked => Unlocked

Stage 10 - Locked => Unlocked

[Message from the Monster App]

[To access Stage 6-10, the User must answer the following questions. Do note that the answers will shape the creature's development inside the egg and affect the requirements of the last five stages. Does the User understand?]

"I understand. Ask away!"

[Question One: Mind over Body or Body over Mind]

"Mind over Body."

[Question Two: Sun, Moon, Sky, Sea, or Mountain]

"Sun."

[Question Three: Mana, Intelligence, or Dexterity]

"Mana"

[Question Four: Bird, Beast, Reptile, Amphibian, Insect, or Dinosaur]

"Bird"

[Question Five: Metal, Ice, Poison, Lightning, Wood]

"Metal"

[All answers have been recorded. In addition, stages 6-10 have been updated]

Egg - Unfertilized

To fertilize the egg, the User must complete the following stages in any order. Stages 6-10 will unlock if you clear stages 1-5.

Stage 1 - Walk/Run 5 Kilometers daily (5/5)

Stage 2 - 50 consecutive Push-ups daily (5/5)

Stage 3 - 50 consecutive Surya Namaskar/Greet the sun Yoga daily (5/5)

Stage 4 - 50 consecutive squats daily (5/5)

Stage 5 - 50 consecutive Leg Lifts daily (5/5)

Stage 6 - Master 10 Yoga exercises (0/10)

Stage 7 - Memorize 10 Mythologies about the Sun (0/10)

Stage 8 - Meditate continuously for three hours (0/10)

Stage 9 - Memorize the details of 10 species of Birds (0/10)

Stage 10 - Memorize the properties of Metal (0/1)]

"Interesting…"

[What made User Dale choose these options?]

"I followed Rebecca's advice for the first answer. After that, I chose the rest according to what was mentioned first."

[That doesn't sound like a great idea, the end product might cause the User to regret it later on]

"There isn't anyone who hatched their eggs yet, so who can be sure what is useful or not for the war. Anyways there might be a reset button if people make a bad choice. All monster games have something like that."

[Why did User Dale bring up the war?]

"I think the whole 'Apocalypse' prophecy by the Monster App must be linked to the war that is about to begin between the great powers."

[Is this an assumption?]

"It could be a coincidence, but it's weird how hardly anyone is paying any attention to the Monster APP on the mainstream media. Especially the fact about its internal communication system."

[It would only be helpful if every other form of communication is inoperable]

"True… anyways, I will clear the memorization stuff first. Shame there is no internet connection down here."

[You will find everything in the Library App, it has a sizeable pre-installed collection of free-to-read books on general knowledge]

"Oh… are there books about the stuff I need to learn?"

[I have compiled them for you]

"Then let's get started. Readout loud the one about Birds first since I am craving roast duck for dinner."

Selvaria (POV)

Selvaria stares in wonder as an Orca slowly swims over her head. The visitors to Sea World cheer inside the reinforced glass tunnel as the rest of the pod follows after their Matriarch. There were around thirty-five of them in total. A female tour guide led the mass of visitors through the tunnel. She lectured about these creatures as they swam close to the tunnel to inspect the humans inside.

"... went extinct after the last world war. A few of the older members of the pod were cloned from genetic material recovered from the Marine Life Gene Bank that managed to survive the fallout. Most of the younger ones are their offspring, but a few new clones have been added to the pod to prevent inbreeding."

The pod of Orcas plays around in the aquarium filled with rich marine life of all kinds of fish, turtles, and crustaceans. They do not hunt the other creatures inside the aquarium, even though they could easily fit into their diet. Instead, a crane drops a massive net of fish and squid eaten by the pod in a few minutes from above the water's surface.

Mason, standing right behind Selvaria, raised his hand in the hair to ask a question.

"How come they don't eat the other animals inside the aquarium?"

"That is because they, like all the other intelligent animals we have here in Sea World, have been genetically modified both physically and mentally. One of the modifications implemented into their genes deters them from hunting animals that have received the same modifications."

"You made these modifications?"

"We here at SeaWorld received all our clones from Exo-Gene. They are a company located within the nation of ORB in the region that was formerly known as Japan. They are the leading pioneers in gene editing and controlled mutations."

Before Mason could ask another question, Selvaria stepped on his right foot. Then, when the tour guide didn't hear another question, she proceeded with the tour.

"Admiral, what was that for?" Mason bent over to massage his foot.

"Quit calling me Admiral! Anyways, why were you asking dumb questions? I already told you everything about the Exo-Gene."

"Sorry, I was trying to fit into my role as an ignorant tourist. It looks weird if we don't ask questions since we aren't local."

"Local?"

"I mean, we are wearing anime cosplay outfits, and we obviously look like foreigners to these people."

Mason has a black heavy armored Knight outfit, while Selvaria wears a luxurious lolita outfit. How they ended up in these clothes is a weird story. While their drop pod was falling to Earth, it was somehow detected by the Union's air force, who sent their planes to investigate. High Command's clone used the nanomachines in Selvaria's body to take over the drop pod's autopilot and steered it towards the wilderness after activating stealth.

Once the coast was clear, Selvaria and Mason realized if they summoned a hovercar into the forest, it might draw unnecessary attention, so with the AI's directions, they trekked through the dense forest until they reached the nearest town. Luckily for them, it had a few hundred people taking a lunch stop before heading to an Anime Convention in the city. The two were offered a ride if they joined the army of cosplay artists and fans.

Though it was a significant detour, Selvaria enjoyed the experience to the point that she almost forgot her appointment. Before the end of the day, Exo-Gene contacted to arrange a meeting with their representative. Seaworld was picked because it was located in the city's bay area and fell under the influence of their company.

Since there wasn't much time before the meeting, they had to rush to SeaWorld in their cosplay outfits. Nevertheless, Selvaria and Mason managed to get into the last batch of visitors before the place closed up. The extended tour through the park was necessary as the underwater tunnel was the exchange site.

While they argued about discretion, a person in an Orca costume approached them from behind.

"Icarus?" A male voice asked from within the costume.

"Daedalus!" Selvaria replied before turning around to greet the mascot. This was the code she was chosen by Exo-Gene to verify her identity. It was also the name of her base in Vector, which made it easy to remember.

"What's up with the cosplay outfits?" The Exo-Gene Representative asked.

"Anime Convention... Why are you wearing that ridiculous thing?" Selvaria countered.

The Orca Mascot shook his big Dolphine head.

"Basically, Exo-Gene can't legally operate in the Union, but because you insisted that you had business here, we had no choice but to go through all this trouble to make it happen."

The Orca costume is partially unzipped slowly, and eight Bunnies emerge. They hop towards Selvaria, who kneels down to pet and inspect them one by one. Selvaria could sense there was a high level of intelligence in their eyes. She pulls a few carrots from her bag and offers them to munch on.

They take the time to break the carrot into smaller pieces and then distribute it amongst themselves. Once they all had their fill, they made a slight bow towards Selvaria and used their long ears to make some kind of salute.

Impressed by their behavior, Selvaria issued several commands to test how well they understood her and performed each task.

"You ordered only eight?" Mason asked as he kneeled to pet them.

"I would have ordered more, but there are other animals that I plan to bring back to Vector."

This surprised the representative from Exo-Gene.

"Pardon, but I do not recall any other animals on the deal."

"Aren't all the animals here in Sea World genetically enhanced like these Bunnies?"

"Wait… you want to take them too?" Mason asked in surprise.

"That was not part of the deal! We created these Bunnies specifically for the heat blade tech you gave us. You cannot just add more animals as you please!"

"I will send ORB the blueprints for a Gen 1 Combat Mech if they let me have my pick from this place."

"A Combat Mech? Are you willing to give that to us?"

"I am serious."

"Give me a sec… I need to contact HQ."

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