Chapter 2. How to Level Up Quickly
I was a little surprised, it was a lot like a hologram.
The contents of it are… What managed to grab my attention was the red [Status] effects.
Dead, rot, paralysis, burn…
I get why burn is there, but what’s up with “cursed”?The existence of curses aside, though… I was classified as a corpse. If one was able to think despite being dead, the person might as well be alive. If this was all there was to death, the idea of life being precious became a simple joke. Death made humans sad because they would never be able to talk to those who had departed.
I looked around a bit more to try and make sense of the situation, then felt a change around me.
The white space I was in was breaking down. Something flashed in front of me, and I became dizzy. I began to feel as if I was being dragged into the bottommost part of the sea. At some point when I was resisting, I realized that the feeling had disappeared.
What was going on?
I could feel a dull pressure from the back of my head, my back, my posterior, and my arms. Was I tranquilized? Was this because I was dead? I could hear the sound of metal being scratched through my ears. My nose… I could smell blood and smoke through it. My tongue couldn’t taste anything.
I tried to open my eyes, but my eyelids refused to move. When I exerted some force, I could hear something rip. One of my eyes barely managed to open.
I can’t see…
Everything I saw was white. It was almost as if a white veil had been placed over my eyes. I could only make out some shadows in front of me. And in this white world, a beautiful light that resembled the aurora of the North shined.
The amount of things happening around me made me confused. My body wasn’t doing so well either. I suppose this feeling could be described as having wet blankets wrapped around my limbs. The feeling of having clay stuck on your bones might be a fitting description as well.
Now, what shall I do?
If I was currently lying down in a hospital, it would be good for me to wait for the nurse. After all, things could only get worse the more I tried to move. I had already come to the police to be killed. There was no point in trying to run.
Right, I suppose I’ll wait until someone comes.
After all, the current situation was quite interesting to me. Five minutes after I made my decision, I could hear several kids in the distance. They seemed to be around thirteen to eighteen, middle or high schoolers. They seemed to be from Korea, like me.
“My level’s not going up.”
“That’s because you keep hitting them when they’re about to die. Haven’t you heard what they were talking about in the orientation?”
Were they talking about a game?
“You think I’m doing this on purpose? It’s all instinct, I’m telling you, instinct.”
“This is why thieves are...”
“Watch your damn mouth!”
Three boys, and two girls. Their footsteps came to a stop near me.
“Hey, what the hell is that? Someone threw away a beggar in our base.”
“Who did this?”
The kids approached me slowly. I couldn’t see them clearly, but I could still identify them through the shadows in my eyes.
What are these kids? Were they cosplaying?
They were all wearing school clothes, but each one of them had weapons. A sword, a knife, a staff, a bow, and a cross… If this was an RPG game, they would be a warrior, a thief, a wizard, an archer, and a priest. The classic setup of a party.
The kids circled me as they talked amongst themselves.
“Ew, gross. Did someone put his face through a microwave or something?”
“It’s completely melted.”
The girls stepped away in disgust.
“Hey, old man, stand up.”
The warrior kid began to slap my cheek.
“Stand up! God damn it! How long are you planning on sleeping here for? You think this is your home or something?”
It doesn’t hurt, but I suppose there’s no need in pretending to sleep. There’s a lot I want to ask too. Let’s stand up, shall we? Hup, oh, ouch.
I fell back down on the floor.
“Ohh, so now you’re putting on a show, huh?”
I couldn’t put any strength into my arm. I couldn’t feel anything, which made it even harder to stand up. After a few tries, I managed to stand up. I looked down on the kids calmly.
The warrior kid flinched, then broke out in laughter.
“Hey! Have you guys seen his title?”
Ridiculing laughter came from all the children at the same time.
“[Humanity’s Worst Killer]? Is he a middle schooler or what? Pft.”
“Can you get a title from something you named yourself as?”
The kids all grinned as the girl with the bow laughed at me.
Hm? Worst Killer? Title?
I had a good guess in what these words meant. It was probably the status screen from that white place. If these kids could see it…I should be able to as well. The way to do it would be…
A transparent window appeared in front of the kids.
I could navigate through the windows naturally, as if I had done so for a long time.
They were all level two. As I thought, they were high schoolers, and their titles were Smelter, Steal More, Grand Cheat, Ultimate Quiver, and Restore. They were the same name as their “powers”.
Why is that?
What is “personality”, and what is “power” supposed to be...? Of course, I wasn’t asking for the actual definition of the words.
I tried opening my mouth, but no sound came out. Obviously, this was because my lungs weren’t moving at all. Would they understand sign language?
“I think he’s mute...”
“Yeah. What’s he trying to say?”
As I thought, no luck. If only I had a pen… There were no writing utensils around though.
“Eh? Hey, this guy’s dead? Look at his status.”
“Huh? You’re right? Is he a monster then?”
Ultimate Quiver aimed his bow at me the moment he heard the word “monster”. He seemed to be ready to let go at any second. He doesn’t have a quiver of any sort… where did the arrow come from? Magic? Special effects?
“He’d have attacked already if he was a beast. Seeing how he’s classified as a corpse, maybe that guy who uses necromancy revived him?”
Necromancy. A form of black magic that controlled corpses. It was an ability that often appeared in video games.
The girl lowered her bow after hearing Grand Cheat’s explanation. The arrow on the bow turned into grains of light and disappeared.
“Disappointing. I’d have killed him if he was a monster.”
Smelter grinned after hearing Steal More’s words.
“Who said you couldn’t?”
The Smelter pulled out his sword.
“So you’re supposed to be the Worst Killer or something? Let’s try fighting, shall we? I want to check out how strong I am.”
I shook my head.I understood that I was in a different world and that it was possible to see status screens like in video games. I also understood that everyone had special abilities on their hands.
I probably had one as well.
Then, what was important here would be to collect information. There was no need to start fighting immediately without knowing the other side’s ability. If there really were special abilities, the first logical thing to do would be to learn how to break it. I was slowly beginning to gain some interest in this world.
“What, are you scared?”
The Smelter translated my rejection differently. Anyone from the underground world would’ve ran away on their own after seeing my title…
“You’re a grown adult. Aren’t you embarrassed? Or maybe it’s too much for someone like you to fight little children?”
“You know he’s the strongest fighter in his city?”
...I couldn’t even laugh. I just nodded after looking at Restore’s actions. I then headed towards the exit. I had learned how to see through this white veil at this point, so I could tell generally what was around me.
“Wow, he’s ignoring me. Where do you think you’re going?”
Smelter blocked my path with a sword in his hand. The rest of the group surrounded me with their weapons in their hands as well.
What era was this supposed to be? Kids who haven’t even graduated from high school were pointing weapons towards someone… I pushed the sword away and walked forward. Smelter’s body got pushed away with it, due to our differences in size.
An annoyed laugh came out of Smelter’s mouth. They should attack about now.
The sword in Smelter’s hands began to arc towards my neck. I had expected the attack beforehand, so I dodged it easily, and turned to look at Smelter. I couldn’t see his face, but judging from the trembling shoulders, I could tell that he was quite mad. When I was shooing him away with my hand, he shouted out in rage.
Steal More extended his hands towards me with his body lowered.
Why wasn’t he using his knife...?
I dodged to the left. As I did this, Steal More’s body, which had been coming towards me from the right, disappeared, only to appear to my left. Grand Cheat showed a satisfied grin. What just…?
When Steal More’s hand touched my left leg, I fell down powerlessly. Paralysis? I couldn’t put any strength into my lefts.
“You can’t move, can you?”
Was this one of their special abilities?
“This is my power! [Endless Greed = Steal More]. I can steal anything aside from a person’s power! Money, weapon, body, looks, and even strength!”
What an idiot. Why was he going so far as to explain his abilities to me? With this, though, I learned that special abilities were referred to as “power” in this world, and also learned that my strength was what just got stolen from me. This meant that my special ability was [Gold Achieves All = Heart of Gold]. Was it an ability that allowed me to control gold? Or did the use of my ability require gold? I had no idea how to use it…
Smelter put his hand towards a statue on one side of the wall. The statue melted and out came a long chain.A Kusari-Fundo (鎖分銅). It was a chain that had weights added to it on each end.
So that was how they made their weapons? That must be why their weapons were so poorly made… I wasn’t planning on killing them before, but change of plans. Killing this kid is worth taking the risk. As I watched Smelter swing his weapon, I caught an arrow that was shot towards me from behind.
Ultimate Quiver covered her mouth in surprise.
I was planning on throwing it back at her after I grabbed it, but the arrow had turned to light particles before I could do so. So there wasn’t any other advantages to these arrows other than being able to use it infinitely? Or maybe the ability hasn’t been fully matured yet.
Now, there was two people left— Grand Cheat and Restore. Grand Cheat probably tricks you in some way and Restore should just restore injuries.
The kusari-fundo flew towards my chest. It was such an obvious attack, which I almost instinctively dodged left, but remembered what had happened with Steal More. I lifted my arms to protect my chest and head.
My left arm was hit and my balance was shaken as a result. The attack was coming straight towards my chest, but again it came from the side. This was probably the result of 『The Great Trick = Grand Cheat』. It probably had the effect of ‘changing A to B’.
“Are you a mannequin or something? At least resist. Try shaking your hand like before?”
The Smelter smiled as if he had already won.
“Hey guys, try cheering for him or something? Who knows, maybe he’ll get an erection from it?”
Restore smiled, and began to clap.
“Fight hard, you piece of shit!”