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Chapter 3

 

December, 2013. 

 

As soon as he arrived in Korea, he decided to move into an apartment in Banpo-dong. The apartment itself is quite large and luxurious with high ceilings and the interior design with Danish style with a focus on nordic aesthetic on the decoration, everything is sleek, monochromatic and neutral in color. 

 

From the glass window of his apartment, he can see the view of the neighborhood and his eyes drifted to his school, at least it used to be. At first he was contemplating whether to go to high school but he decided against it in the end, it took more time and energy and right now he needs to focus more on his combat training and stamina to raise his stats and be in his best condition. There’s only 5 years left. Although there is some part of him that urges him to go to the nearby highschool, maybe he can see his dead best friend alive and maybe they can be friends again but he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want anyone to sacrifice for him and he knows this decision will affect the future like the butterfly effect.   

 

‘But this is for the best’ he thought to himself as he opened another pack of gummies in his pocket as he looked towards the highschool from his apartment window, he would just look at Sung Hyun from afar. Afterall, even if he befriends Sung Hyun, this Sung Hyun is not the same Sung Hyun he is familiar with. ‘He won't get hurt this way’ he added in his mind, maybe he is just making excuses. 

 

“Status”

 

『 STATUS 』

Player: Izz Putera/ Kim Hyun Ki (현기)

Age:15 (28+)

Titles: Regressor,Apicem Hominis (EX+)

Lv:1

 

Mana:1

Int:12

Strength:17

Luck:3

 

Skills:Polyglot(Passive)(SS)

Stats:0

Points:0

 

Strength and intelligence are the only two stats that he is able to improve as he gets older and works on his physical fitness. There have been no updates from the system, and he is still at level 1. If he wants to be one of the best players or a ranker in the tower, he will need to level up and enhance his stats in order to do so. The majority of the system's operations take place within the tower, particularly when you are participating in a challenge; but, it is also utilized in the day-to-day activities of the people who have lived inside the tower for generations. In addition to practicing in the tower, there are two additional ways for a person to increase their level and stats: they can either participate in a challenge or undertake a quest.

 

However, in order to complete a quest, an administrator must first offer the task to the player. It was a hazardous move for him to call X before entering the tower because it could draw unwanted attention from other administrators. At first, he planned to contact X once he had completed the tutorial and officially entered the tower as a player. However, while his current progress might be sufficient for the tutorial, it is not sufficient for him to compete with players from other worlds or rankers.

 

"As the years go by, I find that my anxiety is growing...and so is my greed," he mumbled to himself, a reflection of a tall young man with raven-black hair and deep and light brown at the tip of his hair and slightly tanned complexion can be seen munching his gummies. 

 

It took him eight long years to climb to the 99th floor of the tower, but by that time, there were hardly any players left from Earth01, and the majority of the players who had left were the ones who had decided to settle down and live in the tower. These players have given up  on returning to Earth01 by challenging the tower and have decided to settle down and continue living normally there. a setting in which it is only the strongest who survive.

 

“System, is it possible for me to contact an administrator?” The young man questioned with a groan into the air as he settled down on the white sectional sofa in his living room.

 

Ping!

『 System 』 

『In regard to the player's inquiry, meeting with an administrator is possible if the server is not busy and the administrator is available; however, if the specific administrator is unavailable or otherwise engaged, the player will be met with a random administrator. 』 

 

“So, it’s basically like a customer service helpline.” Izz rolled his eyes and said to the system as he read the screen.

 

『 System 』 

『 …(⇀‸↼‶)』

 

"Hahaha, are you sulking right now?” Izz laughed lightly, observing the system's dissatisfaction after being compared to a customer service helpline. After ceasing his laugh, he continued to ask the system, “I wanted to meet X, is it possible?”

 

『 System 』 

『 Contacting X…』 

.

.

『 Connecting to Administrator X 』 

 

Sure enough, just like when they first met, a large black portal appears, and the familiar tuxedo-clad man with an elephant head emerges from it, his tall frame towers over Izz.  Without further delay, Izz reaches out his hand for a handshake and introduces himself, “I’m Izz Putera, my Korean name is Kim Hyun Ki, but you can call me Izz.”

 

Likewise, the administrator reached out his hand and shook Izz's hand and said playfully, “ I’m X, but it seems like you already know me.”

 

“I’m sure you already know I’m a regressor by looking at my status”

 

“Don’t say it like that, I stressed upon the importance of privacy unlike other administrators,” X replied back slyly while shaking his head, if his elephant mask could wink, it probably would. X started to walk in a circle around Izz while looking up at him up and down, Izz could feel a twitch of annoyance forming on his head at X behavior. 

 

“Let me guess, you mention you regress, and you are also taking the risk of contracting before the tutorial starts…” X suddenly gasped in an overly dramatic manner before continuing, “Did we make a deal? Or are you trying…to make a deal?” He finished off his question in a singsong way.

“...Both” Izz replied in an exasperated tone, he is now sure that he has to invest in luck stats and elephants are a bad omen for him.

 

“So before I regress...” Izz started to explain the whole thing to X about the deal.

.

.

.

 

“So you wanted me give you some quest ahead of tutorial…Hmm sounds like cheating, ain’t it system?” X said while humming a melody, and a wine glass appeared in his hands while he was doing so, while seated next to Izz on the sofa. 

 

“Just think of it as a reward for keeping the promise. Do you want to see my memories or not?” Izz sighed.

 

There was silence before X nodded in agreement and said, “Now stay still, this might hurt a little bit”.  A wisp of dark purple fog started to spread from his palm before forming into a bunch of fine strands that are so thin you can only look at them when they are intertwined. Slowly the strand approaches his head, then everything is a blur.

 

‘Hurts a little bit’ is an understatement, he feels like his nose and mouth is close shut, and his ears are muffled. A series of images flashed through his head, and there is this heavy pressure at the back of his head before everything ended and he could breathe again, The pain was gone, but the nausea still lingered.

 

“Y-you!” His last trace of patience and reasoning finally breaks, and just when he thought he could lash out, X already jumps into the portal and returns to wherever he came from. Izz looked at the empty living space before walking toward his room.

 

‘At least, I could start doing a quest’ Izz thought before the sandman took him away.

.

.

.

18th January 2018, 9 days before the day of the tutorial.

 

Five years had passed since Izz made a deal with X. Along the way, he started to buy as much gold as he could since earth currency is just a piece of paper in the tower, gold is worth more than money as it is quite in demand in the tower market. Of course, the quests assigned by X were sometimes obviously created to attract his ire, however, in the end, he still managed to raise his stats and level a lot. 

 

“Status” Izz said casually.

『 STATUS 』 

Player: Izz Putera/ Kim Hyun Ki (현기)

Age:19 (28+)

Titles: Regressor,Apicem Hominis (EX+)

Lv:19

 

Mana:13

Int:27

Strength:24

Luck:15

 

Skills:Polyglot(Passive)(SS)

Stats:0

Points:350

 

Although his status right now is nothing compared to a ranker or any big player in the tower. He is betting on his performance on the day of the tutorial, the first day of the tutorial consists of several monsters; goblins, orcs, and slime. There will be a few safezone formed on several random places, it can be in a place like the subway station, a center of four way traffic, or even a public restroom. However there is a condition there is a capacity limit of how many people in the zone and as the saying goes—

 

There is nothing free in this world.

 

A certain amount of points will be deducted from the players who stay inside the safezone, if they fail to pay or if they didn’t have enough points in their system, they will be automatically transported back to outside the safezone. Being in the safe zone doesn’t necessarily mean you are actually safe, after all, humans can be a bigger monster than the actual monster itself.

 

There are no rules saying you have to gain points by hunting or killing the monster, you can also hunt other people, and if you are lucky, you might only get your points extorted from you. In the face of apocalypse, humans can be the biggest threat to humanity itself. Izz has seen it all from his past, no matter what earth or world you’re from, even if you're an otherworldly player. There is always a group of people who abandon their morals as soon as humanity or society collapses.

The most sure-fire way to remain safe is to become the predator in the game of predator and prey, offense is the best defense. Any falter, any pity and guilt will make you become a prey to some scum who will just bite you piece by piece until you become a hollow husk of what you used to be before being abandoned or betrayed. Now, his goal is to become stronger and rank the top the rankings, and reap the best rewards from the system.

 

『 System 』 

『 ∑(O_O;) 』  

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