CH 10


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A giant brown bear, approximately three meters tall, roared aggressively and lunged at a man.
The incredible force of the wildlife looked overwhelming as if a mountain was collapsing.
The sight of a fearsome bear would have instilled fear in any ordinary person.
Most would simply plop down on the ground with their legs turning to jelly.
Yet,  the shirtless, muscular man didn't step away.
With his feet firmly on the ground, he proceeded to make a frontal attack.



That was when something unbelievable happened.
The impact broke the bear's forepaws and ribs.
It would have been more persuasive if the bear ran into a dump truck, and not a person half its size.
As the beast tottered, the guy burst out laughing.

“Bahaha!! You bastard! My Strength is already 130 points! Besides, this is the Impenetrable Mountain skill, the Saulabi's official technique! A creature like you can't endure this attack…

Suddenly, the laughing man flopped down.
His arms dropped powerlessly to the ground; his skin cracked like a fractured turtle shell.
Thick clouds of golden smoke kept rising up from his cuts.

It was a spectacular sight, but unfortunately, blood was spurting out from his split skin.
He realized he was fatally wounded. 

“Eh? How can this be? I'm stronger than…”


However, the brown bear began to move again without giving the man a chance to stay bewildered.
Its forepaws and ribs were broken, but the bear could still attack, whereas the guy couldn’t defend himself at all.
He was able to move his fingers, but due to his fatal condition, the man couldn’t get up or lift his arm.

“What the hell! Am I already dying when I've just started to play the game?”

“Pfft, here’s another idiot.”


A crew-cut man suddenly intervened on the guy and parried the bear's forepaw by brandishing the round shield he was holding in his left hand.
Then, there was a flash of light! The fatally injured man had plopped down on the ground and was blankly staring at the bear getting stabbed on the nape.


The gold bear collapsed with a loud thud, then turned into gold ashes and disappeared. 

Standing in front of it, the crew-cut man asked, “How much EXP did you gain?”

“Eh? EXP…
Here, I gained 13 Spirits.”

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“Hmm, so that's how it works.
You earn EXP when participating in a battle, but the points aren't shared fairly; it's basically just a small amount of experience you get by literally 'participating' in combat.
Is it to prevent Kill-Steal[1]?”

What he just said was true.
The man who knocked down the bear earned only 1 Spirit.

In order to prevent disputes arising from this issue, which was about earning EXP from getting a monster, D.I.O.
adopted a system that gave all the EXPs to the initial attacker, instead of creating a complicated structure.
In other words, cutting in line or intervening in someone else's hunt or combat would give no credits and no rewards to the user.
If a player decided to help someone else with monster hunting, it must be out of goodwill.

The shirtless man asked, “Oh, so the one who attacks first will gain all the Spirits rewarded?”

“It isn't that simple.
You must fulfill a requirement,” replied the crew-cut man.

“A requirement?”

The crew-cut man explained, “The user must, at least, inflict a severe injury on the monsters.
That person will get all the Spirits.”

“That's weird… AWK!” 

The shirtless guy showed an aimless grin, but he soon stumbled as if he was dizzy.
In fact, his entire body including his limbs, chest, and waist was updated with a ‘Fatal Injury’ status. 

The crew-cut-haired man said, “Your wounds are too serious.
This place is likely to have other monsters around, so let's get out of…”

“Ha, no worries,” the shirtless man sneered.

“What? But if this takes longer…”

“Stop that bulls**t and look! HURRRR….!!”

The shirtless man raised his head and roared like a lunatic.
The air around them shook along with his cry.
Feeling a stinging sensation on his skin, the crew-cut man stared at the other guy and witnessed his wounds recovering at an amazing speed.

It only took about three minutes for the injuries to heal.
Most of them were just muscle strains or something along those lines, so taking a short rest was enough for the shirtless man to fully recover.
Still, it was incredible that he had returned to normal this fast without getting a Priest's Prayer or using Healing Magic.

The crew-cut man exclaimed, “Wow…! That was so…”

“Hold on.”

The shirtless man lifted his right hand to stop the crew-cut man from asking questions.
Then, he opened his inventory and took out two loaves of flatbread, well-done steak––he must have overcooked it by putting it into the inventory right after grilling it––and a bottle of water.
After taking them out, the shirtless man began to enjoy his food in silence.
He munched on the big portion meal and quickly finished eating.

The crew-cut man wondered, “What happened? Have you been starving?” 

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“No, I just replenished myself since I used too much Energy for healing my wounds,” replied the shirtless man.

I see.
I'm not sure because I didn't choose ‘that power,’ but what you just performed was…”

“Yeah, it's called Life Energy, and this one right now is a technique that consumes Energy to maximize the generative power,” replied the shirtless man.

Life Energy was one of the seven powers the user could choose at the beginning of D.I.O.
These seven powers were the several 'types' of Spiritual Power in the stats window.
The seven powers were Internal Arts, Magic Power, Chakra, Sacred Power, Pure Spiritual Power, Aura, and Life Energy that the shirtless man just mentioned.
As soon as the users reached Level 2, they could choose up to two of these powers or one of them and specialize it. 

The crew-cut man uttered, “That's interesting! I thought no one's really gonna choose Life Energy since most of the players admire martial arts or magic.”

“Well, it's a matter of preference.
Flying in the air and making sparks might be cool, but I don't have any internal arts within me.
Neither do I have Magic Power, Sacred Power, nor Aura.
All that remains is a powerful body and biological evolution, and that's Life Energy,” said the shirtless man.

As he stood straight, his muscular body caught the other man's eye.
His nice solid and delicately torn pec muscles, six-pack abs, and ripped obliques weren’t a short-term outcome even though this was a world inside a game.
Besides, working out like crazy wasn’t all there was to building that perfect body.
To attain that captivating result, the man would have gone through structured training programs, made efforts day and night, and have had much interest in muscle gains.

This guy must have been working out even before he joined the game.

Having the thought in his mind, the crew-cut man said, “Well, thanks for showing me that stuff.
Let me give you some advice then.
When you became Level 2, you added all 80 points into Strength, right? Since you aren't feeling tired yet, you must have added the rest of the 20 points into Stamina.”

“Eh?” The shirtless guy flinched as if the other guy had hit the nail right on his head.

The crew-cut man sighed, “When playing games, there are always people like you who go all stats.
You might be thinking that a perfect defense will work, but unfortunately, D.I.O requires HP for users to attack.”

“Requires HP to attack?” asked the shirtless man with a dumbfounded expression.

The crew-cut man explained, “Let's put it this way.
For every 3 points or 5 at the most, you must earn, at least, 1 point in HP to adjust the ratio of Strength and HP.
To give you a better understanding, could you clench your fist with all your strength?”

“Not a problem.”

The shirtless guy raised his fist immediately.
He clenched it tightly, then CRACK.


His finger bones broke.
Also, his capillaries exploded, and his skin cracked. 

The crew-cut man's eyes widened at the speechless situation.
He uttered, “Compared to your Strength, the strength of your bones, tensile strength of your muscles, and your skin elasticity are too weak.
No matter how powerful you are, if your body can't stand it, then it's over.
And that's what's happening to you right now; you’re on the brink of death by unleashing a single attack.
It also applies to Magic Power.
If you just increase Magic Power without raising Magic Resistance, you'll get swept away by your own Magic Power since you can't control it.
Do you get it?”

I see…
Geez, I should have listened carefully to the explanation before I came here.”

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The shirtless man heaved a sigh, regretting his hasty decision. 

The crew-cut man continued, “Then, should we do a 'Party?' Use your strong offense power to injure the enemies first, then step away and take a break.
I'll come forward and wrap things up after you.”

“Just like what we did right now?”

Besides, what you've been doing is like abusing yourself.
It may be good at cultivating and increasing HP since your points will skyrocket.
However, you're likely to develop serious health problems, so if you want to enjoy hunting for a while, you must go see a priest and get treatments.”

The shirtless guy was confused.
“Eh? But you said that according to D.I.O's system, I'll be gaining all the Spirits when using that method; only I can cultivate my abilities.
Isn't it just too good for me and unfair to you?”

The crew-cut man replied, “Aside from cultivating your skills, EXP doesn’t work that way.
When doing a Party, we share the EXP equally.”

“What? But that would result in users carrying[2] other players.”

“That doesn’t matter.”

The shirtless man was still hesitant.
“But from the perspective of the game operators…” 

“No, it's none of their business either.
You’re aware this is a beta-testing system, right?”

What does that have to do with this situation? But the shirtless man realized that users could only level up in D.I.O after passing the tests, and not by reaching a certain amount of Spirits.
If he didn’t get to reach the next level, then…

He asked, “I get it.
So you're saying that partnering with a high-level user and getting a huge amount of EXP is useless, right?”


That's the characteristic of the game.
Ah, but…” 

As if something crossed his mind, the shirtless man continued speaking, “This game just opened a few hours ago, but you're very knowledgeable in this field, aren’t you? Didn't we all start this at the same time?”

“Although we began at the same starting line, that doesn't mean we are at the same level.
Well, but just like you, all I did was listen to our beautiful Miss Mari explaining things to me,” replied the crew-cut man.

The man looked somehow captivated, which made the shirtless man stiffen his expression.

Hold on, I just heard something hard to ignore,” said the shirtless guy.

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“What do you mean?”

“What you just said, 'Our beautiful Miss Mari,' you aren’t talking about Mari who has snow-white hair and slim but curvy body, right?”

“That's her, Miss Mari,” The crew-cut man agreed with no hesitation. 

The shirtless man narrowed his eyes with a cold grin on his lips.
He uttered, “Haha, then we can't be friends.
Unfortunately, Mari is mine.
Give up…
Eh? Wait, how did you meet Mari? She was with me earlier.”

Gosh, what kind of crap is that…?”


The shirtless man held up his fist, fuming at the man's smirk, but the crew-cut man just reacted cool-headedly.

“Listen, Mr.
Pure at Heart.
Mari, a.k.a Marionette Hold, isn't a human; she’s an NPC.
If there are a hundred users in this game, there are also a hundred Mari.
If there are ten million users, then ten million Mari exist.
She's a guide NPC.”

* * *


The clam closed its mouth when Yongno played a trick on it by quickly putting his hand in and out from its shell.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.
You clam.

Yongno laughed mockingly at the shellfish, but he didn’t have time to just giggle since he was consuming his Internal Energy even right now.


He opened his inventory and put the clam inside.
Although it had a strong biting power, the clam was getting sucked into the compartment, having no way to resist. 

Okay! So, this is number twenty-eight!

Using Enhanced Eyesight, Yongno was going deep down into the water.
He had been thoroughly looking around the underwater cliff. 

An act of other users snatching the monster that someone else has caught in order to steal the person's item or experience points in online games ☜

An act of a high-level user accompanying a lower-level user to help the partner to level up easily ☜

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