‘I can’t… breathe….’
Yongno’s body sank lifelessly under the water.
He didn’t have any strength in his hands and feet.
Even though the seawater began to seep into his mouth, Yongno didn’t notice the salty taste.
‘Is this how it feels to die…’
His consciousness was slowly slipping away, and his eyes were closing.
However, Yongno soon felt a vibration coming from the Deepsea Core that he was still holding in his left hand.
Immediately, his eyes shot open.
‘… No, I won’t die.
This is a virtual world.’
Yongno would not actually perish.
Even if he did die, it wouldn’t be true death.
So, what did he really fear?
‘I won’t die.’
Yongno quickly opened his inventory, took out a core that he’d previously removed from himself, and swallowed it.
While he was able to slightly replenish his internal energy, consuming the core did not resolve his current crisis.
Currently, Yongno was circulating his qi through Macrocosmic Orbit, and by doing so, he did not allow the foreign internal energy to interact with his core.
Having taken this precaution, Yongno had been able to minimize the damage he suffered from using foreign internal energy.
Yet, he still had to contend with the aftereffects of his now-nonfunctional core.
Since this was the case, Yongno decided that he just needed to find a different approach.
Rather than keeping his 15 years of internal energy inside the core in his mid-dantian, Yongno moved it to the Deepsea Core that he held in his left hand.
Not only did he relocate the acquired Genuine-qi that’d been developing since starting the game, but he also moved the entirety of his innate Genuine-qi as well.
Once he started circulating his qi, his body started floating upward.
Although his situation had improved, Yongno rushed to get to the surface.
He couldn’t utilize his core, and he knew that it would take at least a full day to purify his qi.
As his spiritual force was not recovering, Yongno only had a finite amount of internal energy remaining.
‘I’m cutting it too close.
This won’t be enough.’
Despite his rapid ascent, Yongno felt that his speed was insufficient.
The surface was 900 meters above, and no matter how fast he kicked his legs, he would probably only move upwards by about five meters per second.
Hence, if he continued at full pace, it would take him around three minutes to reach the surface, but he was already feeling short of breath.
While he could operate his internal energy, use hand skills, and constantly apply his water affinity attribute, he could not use his [Diving] ability, as it was a skill originating from his mid-dantian.
With his core now non-operational, his [Diving] ability had also stopped working.
‘It’s not enough!’
Yongno increased his speed.
The pace he was moving his arms and legs had already surpassed what could be considered normal for any human being.
The fastest fish, the sailfish, could swim at speeds of up to 112 kilometers per hour, and Yongno was growing even quicker than that.
“I can’t make sense of it! That kid- how is he so fast? His form is crap, and he’s not even breathing properly!”
Yongno recalled a time when a young guy had shouted out those words.
Yongno didn’t pay attention to the young man, but he remembered the older man who stood beside him.
That man had shrugged his shoulders and responded.
“It’s not that surprising.
Swimming itself is just a mechanism and a way to approach moving in the water medium.
The diving sea women of Jeju Island didn’t learn how to swim but still became expert divers.
There is a reason these people have gained such competence and mastery.”
“What is that?”
Once they comprehend the medium known as water, they’re able to develop a skill set that’s conducive to moving about in that medium.”
Yongno was moving faster.
/Your swimming ability has increased one level!/
/You have gained the title ‘Expert Swimmer!’/
/You have acquired the special ability ‘Jumping!’/
In an instant, Yongno found himself 100 meters below the surface.
Although he was now in a relatively safe spot, he did not let up.
It was as if he was overcome by intense emotions.
/Your swimming has reached the A Rank!/
/You have gained the title ‘Divine Swimmer’!/
/You have acquired the special ability ‘Booster’!/
At that moment, Yongno felt as if all the water around him was parting to let him through.
All the water in a two-meter radius around him fell under his control.
When he reached his peak speed, he was swimming at 400 kilometers per hour.
Leaving behind sizable splashes and waves, Yongno shot 30 meters above the surface of the water.
Though other aquatic species jumped from the water, they couldn’t compare to the altitude Yongno reached.
Since Yongno had turned off his Booster before breaking the surface of the water, his current height was solely from using his Jumping ability.
Yongno splashed back down onto the water.
From the height he’d just fallen from, he should have been injured or in shock, but he was perfectly fine.
“… It feels… soft?”
Of course, it didn’t make sense that water would feel like soft cotton, but to Yongno’s senses, this was exactly what he felt.
The shock he should have received from the water was instantly dispersed.
It was as if the ocean had decided to accept Yongno as part of itself.
“I’ve also broken through to the seventh level of the Golden Pill Immortal Technique.”
His rate of development seemed fraudulent.
The perfection and grandeur of the martial arts and techniques within DIO were only rivaled by how difficult it was to master them.
If it were any other user who started from scratch, it would have taken many decades to reach the fifth level of the Golden Pill Immortal Technique.
Even those who possessed the ideal environmental conditions and body types had to spend at least a month raising their levels to either Level 2 or Level 3.
A genius was no exception to this either; they would have only been able to reach Level 4 in this timeframe.
Regardless, Yongno didn’t know or care about these factors.
He just had a neutral expression on his face, as if it was perfectly natural.
“Oh, I overdid it a little and went through some adversity, so my level improved.”
“You’re lucky that you didn’t die this time around as well.”
“Well, I guess it’s just not my time yet.”
Yongno looked at Mari, who floated on the surface of the water.
Though it looked mystifying to see her sitting comfortably on top of the water, Yongno didn’t pay much attention to this as he was now able to do the same.
However, he wasn’t planning on doing so, as it would be an inefficient use of his internal energy and unproductive to any of his endeavors.
“You’ve reached the Master rank.”
“It seems that way.”
“All your abilities have reached the maximum 50-point level as well.”
“Then, you have nothing left to do here, right?”
“I… guess so.”
Yongno looked over his body’s condition.
Although he had some injuries, they weren’t severe enough for him to worry too much.
In a world like DIO, where someone could come back from the dead, his body wasn’t doing too bad.
“… When was it again?”
Though her question was out of the blue, Yongno took it in stride.
He had also been thinking about what was to come, and as he spoke, he looked up towards the sky.
So, in terms of the outside world, about four hours from now.”
“Are you going to log out?”
I still have some matters to take care of.”
Yongno closed his eyes as he mumbled a response.
No matter how skilled a swimmer someone was, they would unavoidably swallow some water by accident due to the undulations of the sea.
Yet, Yongno had recognized and comfortably immersed himself in the motions of the sea’s waves.
If he wanted, he could probably fall asleep atop the water.
“I’ll be back in 24 hours then.”
Mari gently rose from her seated position and vanished without a trace.
The sea seemed to grow quiet.
After she left, Yongno raised his left arm.
He saw the Deepsea Core that shimmered in a golden-purplish color.
“Let’s finish this and then be off.”
Yongno was gradually reaching the end of his initial level test.
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