Leveling Up Is Better Than Reality Chptah 4...
But I've always felt this story had a lot of potential thus I've mustered the courage to try again, for no other reason than to satisfy my curiosity as to whether i can actually make a good story.
The changes to the story won't be noticeable at first, but as it goes on it will soon become apparent.
I've been tempering my dao heart in a hyperbolic time chamber, so come at meh
Thus, chapter 1....
Chapter 1: At Least It’s More Interesting
On the surface Jo Remy seemed like a reserved introvert, but it would be more fitting to call him a hopeless idealist. After high school, Jo enrolled into college and moved into a place payed for by his parents. Little did his parents know that only after a few weeks of school, Jo voluntarily withdrew from all his classes. He didn’t agree with how fast everything was moving as if the world would end if students didn’t get a degree. As he rushed to do his assignments he wondered, is this stress necessary to learn? Won’t a calm mind better facilitate learning?
He also didn’t agree with argumentative essays. As he wrote down his opinion he wondered, is this not just repeating my research in different words? So what if it proves my understanding; does that not only require a mind? Even more so, he didn’t agree with class presentations. As he nervously spoke in front of the class he wondered, what’s the point in presenting knowledge I just learned? Won’t the confidence to speak publicly naturally come with confidence in one’s knowledge?
As such, Jo dropped his classes unable to shake the feeling that there was something wrong with the system. Though he didn’t give up on learning. His dream was to become a game designer; programming, character design, or as a simple storyteller. He didn't really care, as long as he was part of creating something he could be proud of. And he thus, as he was still technically enrolled in the school, used the resources available to students and took several books from the school library, planning out his own curriculum along the way. He learned when he had the energy and played games to relax his mind, not hindered in any way by time restrictions.
Unfortunately this leisurely and, according to Jo, the most ideal learning method didn’t last more than a couple months as Jo’s parents discovered what their son was doing. They angrily lectured their son on the phone and stopped paying for his expenses. In Jo’s confusion as his parents didn’t instruct him to come home or force him to go back to classes, Jo assumed they had abandoned him.
Also unfortunate; at this point, Jo had spent an unnatural amount of time away from the daily interactions with other people that most people go through. As such, he was quite detached from reality and accepted this interaction as any great philosopher would; with an immense amount of thought. So much so that it was as if he was digging a massive hole within his mind, in which to bury himself in. As anyone who knows what it is to overthink something knows, this severely inhibited his life.
In his depression, Jo’s desire to learn receded and he simply continued to play games all day, hoping to forget his situation and escape reality. Eventually he ran out of money to pay for food, but in Jo’s stubbornness he refused to resign to society and get a job, and continued to play games.
As he played, tormented by hunger and his refusal to sleep, perhaps his mind broke as he eventually forgot all else. Under the stress of his current situation his mind refused to work for fear of feeling pain and to Jo, all there was, was the game; there was no hunger or sleep deprivation or abandoning parents. He played, and played, and played.
To a psychiatrist, Jo was undoubtedly ill, but maybe, just maybe, his soul simply didn’t belong on Earth. Maybe the society he belonged to adhered to different norms that allowed him to thrive. Unfortunately that place wasn’t here.
And so, eventually, Jo died as he played that game. It was a sad and pitiful death, but maybe it was a suitable death, and maybe, a death filled with hope, as unbeknownst to Jo, he would be reborn.
“Hmm? Why isn’t he crying?” A man dressed in furs asked as he looked at the newborn baby in his hands and its sleeping eyes. “Hey, wake up! What a lazy child.” The man called out, slightly shaking the baby.
“Hmm…” The baby involuntarily called out as it opened its eyes. Da fuck? Jo thought. What’s going on? He wondered as he looked at the fur dressed man.
“Is something wrong?” A woman called out from a bed. “Give him to me. Let me see my son.”
Son? Have I been reborn? Jo wondered, his eyes widening in shock.
“Hmm… His stats seem alright and he doesn’t have any disabilities. He should be fine.” The woman said, relieved. “From now on, little one, your name will be Zellin. Zellin Arathea.” She said with a smile.
Stats? Zellin? Da fuck am I?
As a baby, Jo could do nothing as he lied in his mother’s arms, and was forced to resign to the life of a baby.
Time passed by. As a baby, Jo, or Zellin, was practically helpless. The boredom was hell in itself and he couldn’t stop himself from shitting himself. It was horrible. Although most babies cried because they needed something, Jo cried because of the all-encompassing boredom that was his life and the futility of his true needs as a gamer. The comfort he received from mindlessly playing games was nowhere to be found.
Fuck, Zellin thought. If only there was a game for me to play.
Eventually, he got use to the name Zellin. He actually thought it was kind of cool. His name kind of sounded like a mage class name he would play in an RPG.
The first time he got a chance, Zellin snuck away from his mom and explored the house. He ended up finding a little study with many books and ended up picking one out.
Hmm? Basic Gameplay? God, I hope this place has D&D. Zellin thought as he read the book. Luckily, it seemed to be in English. As he read the book he couldn’t help but think the game seemed pretty cool. But as he read some of the instructions on the book, his playful mind couldn’t help but try some out. So he tapped the book twice and suddenly an item information screen popped up.
Name: Basic Gameplay
An introduction to the basic gameplay of the world.
Da fuck!? This shit’s actually real!? Zellin thought, his eyes widening as he panted slightly.
“There you are.” Zellin’s mom, Recca, called out as she came into the room. “Come back to the living room. I still have some sewing to do.” She said as she picked up Zellin.
Back in the living room Zellin suddenly made a decision. He’s going to talk. He’s known it was possible for some time now, but he hasn’t acted on it, as he was afraid of the awkwardness there would be in such a young child speaking fluent English to his parents. And he definitely didn’t want to act the baby, because that would just be annoying.
“Momma.” Zellin said, testing the waters.
Recca suddenly gasped and tears started to flow from her eyes as she picked up Zellin. “You called me Momma. Oh my, my baby’s a genius! He can speak just after 3 months from being born! Your intelligence stat must be quite high. Maybe in the future you can become a grand mage!” Recca called out excitedly.
“Momma can you tell me about the world?” Zellin asked with the straight face of a 3 month year-old baby.
“AHHH!” Recca called out in fear, accidentally dropping Zellin on her lap. “Oh my god! Zellin, you can actually speak? Are you demon disguised as my baby?” She asked with shock and fear.
“No, momma. It’s just that… I’m actually a genius.” The baby said with a slightly shy look on his face. Hopefully she buys it, Zellin thought optimistically.
Is this…? Recca thought as she picked Zellin up again, lifting him in the air. “Really? My baby’s such a genius. Then what’s one plus one?” She asked, playfully taunting her child. If it is, then… She thought.
“Of course it’s two.” Zellin replied.
“Oh my,” Recca couldn’t help but exclaim as her eyes widened. It must be.
“Mom, can you tell me more about the world?” Zellin asked again.
Recca looked at her extremely precocious child, and let out a wide grin. “Of course, honey. Ask me whatever you’d like.” She said with a hint of amusement.
So, in this way, Zellin learned about the world, finding out he really was in some sort of live RPG.
Hey, at least this world is more interesting, he thought.
From then on, after finding out about their son’s maturity, Zellin’s mom allowed him to read in the study and would sometimes bring her to the library to read.
And in this way nearly 10 years passed, as Zellin learned various things about the world.
Eventually, a special day came. On Zellin’s 10th birthday, he would get his first experience points.
As Zellin watched his father, Zol, approach him in their backyard with a caged rabbit, he didn’t know whether to be excited or horrified. Zellin had never killed an animal before. Though he wanted the experience points, he was really reluctant to kill.
His father took out the little bunny rabbit and tied it to a rope which he attached to a wooden peg that he pierced into the ground. The harmless bunny rabbit looked around, not knowing what to think, making Zellin’s brows furrow.
“Isn’t there any other way to get experience points?” Zellin asked, hoping for a way out of the situation.
“Stop being a baby. Aren’t you a genius? Here, take this.” Zol said, handing a dagger to his son. “You know what to do.” As Zellin was already able to speak to his parents at 3 months old, they had long treated him as an intelligent human being.
Zellin took the weighty dagger hesitantly, silent for a while before a look of determination appeared on his face. I can’t back down from this. For my dream of being a super mage I must push forward! He thought resolutely. Zellin approached the cute bunny rabbit and quickly ended its life.
As the bunny died, remorse filled Zellin’s face, then confusion. After the bunny collapsed its body shattered into white light which disappeared into the air and a silvery energy entered Zellin’s body. Left behind by the bunny rabbit was a copper and a piece of rabbit leg; already skinned.
Zellin raised his hand and a book appeared with the words Character Info on it. He opened it up and under where it said Level 0, there was a space that said he had one% experience. Zellin grinned slightly. It’s a start, he thought.
Zol suddenly laughed out loud. “Quick and decisive. That’s my boy!” Zol said, rubbing Zellin’s head with pride. “Soon, I’ll have to take you out hunting.”
From that day forward Zellin’s father continued to bring many low-leveled animals for Zellin to kill, and eventually, Zellin gained 100% experience and became level 1. His Dexterity and Agility stats even rose slightly, without putting stat points into it. Zellin decided to put his 5 stat points into Intelligence and Wisdom.
After Zellin became Level 1, his parents’ decided to buy him a basic skill book. Since Zellin was kind of lazy, he wanted to choose the Summoner class when he reached level 5. In this way, he wouldn’t have to do anything when battling and just send an endless wave of monsters out. That would be best, Zellin thought, nodding his head in approval.
As such, Zellin asked for the basic Summoner skill, Contract. It would allow a Summoner to set up a contract with a beast. Though, it was a weak Summoner skill and would usually be used with either baby beasts or beasts one had a high compatibility with.
After getting the skill, Zellin suddenly regretted the decision because there he had nothing to contract with. But one day, Zol brought home a Level 1 Wolf Cub and set it in front of Zellin. As he was afraid the wolf would immediately ravage his son, he watched and waited, wondering how his son would conquer this beast.
Zellin looked at the wolf cub and a big grin grew on his face. He fearlessly went up to the wolf cub and let it smell his hand before scratching it behind the ear. The wolf cub then started to rub his head against Zellin’s hand. It wasn’t long before they were happily playing, rolling on the ground as sounds of laughter resounded out. Fortunately, this wolf was quite tame for a wild beast.
Zellin didn’t contract the cub right away, though. Every day, he would play with the cub, and every day he would be the one to feed it. After building enough of the cub’s trust he finally contracted it, while the cub didn’t resist at all.
It wasn’t long before this pair went out to hunt level 1 beasts under Zol’s supervision.
As a Summoner, it naturally takes much longer to level up, as Zellin and his monsters share experience. So it wasn’t until a year later that Zellin and his wolf cub, Bear, reached level 2. As for Leggy, he also rose to Level 2, thanks to the experience allocator option available to all ‘characters’ in this world who are able to open a menu.
It was also at this time that Zol approached Zellin and told him, “Little Genius, it’s time for you to go to school.”
“Ah? School? Why do I need to go to school?” Zellin asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Of course, it’s to learn basic battle and survival skills. Skill books are expensive to make so many basic skills are simply taught. Don’t whine, come along.” Zol said in a no nonsense manner before walking out of the house. Zellin frowned and reluctantly left with his father along with Bear.
Zellin lived in the small town of Florn. In Florn, there was only one school, the Immortal Huntsman Academy. It was mainly a school for hunters, like Zellin’s dad, but they taught other skills too. This was where they were going.
Zol simply dropped Zellin off at the gate, giving him a badge with a bow and arrow on it before patting his shoulders and saying, “Good luck.” With that he began to walk away.
“Wait!” Zellin called out anxiously, catching up to his dad. Zellin wasn’t too fond of school, or anything of the sort. If it was possible, he’d prefer all his choices to be made with some true independence, without the limits of needs or thoughts of survival. In other words, he really wished he got into heaven after his previous life.
“What do I say? What do I do?” Zellin asked his dad ironically after he caught up. If he was truly independent, Zellin would have no need to ask.
Zellin, or Jo, had died in his previous life because he simply couldn’t handle the stress of day to day life, and the challenges that it brought. Though this was pathetic to the point of making you not want to even make fun of the situation, lest you aggravate the situation, this was the case for Jo. Most people push through this stress, suck it up and keep going, but Jo was among those who desperately desired release, and as such, he died for that release.
And as Zellin had not truly died that day, these years of childhood were the aftermath of a severe psychotic break. That being the case, in a sense, his personality truly fit the child’s body that he now inhabited.
“What are you, a kid? Just talk to the guard.” Zol said frankly. He wasn’t used to teaching his child to doing anything and had just assumed Zellin knew what to do. I guess he’s still new to this world… Zol thought to himself as he began to empathize with Zellin.
Zol rubbed Zellin’s head and leaned in. “Hey,” he began. “Don’t think about it so much. Life is all about walking forward. Of course it’s scary, but you can’t let that hold you back. Listen kid, life is a shit show, but it’s only by walking through all that foul-smelling shit, can you truly find happiness in this life.” Zol lectured as he stared into Zellin’s uncertain eyes. “All you can ask yourself is, do I want to lie in this shit forever, or do I want to step forward into that shit and find happiness?”
Zellin’s eyes grew serious as he thought about it, then a smile suddenly appeared on his face. “I’m going to do it!” Zellin exclaimed. “I’m going to step in shit!”
As the guard heard this from a distance, he couldn’t help but shake his head at Zellin’s dad. “With a father like you… that child is doomed.”
Nervously, Zellin approached one of the guards at the gate and simply stood there for a while. The guard looked down at him and his beasts and raised an eyebrow. Zellin didn’t know what to say at first, but eventually he spoke up. “I’m here to attend the school.” He said nervously.
“You’re badge?” The guard asked.
“Yes, here.” Zellin replied, flashing the school badge to the guard.
“Follow me,” the guard instructed, leading him through the gate and into the school courtyard. The guard lead him into a building behind the main building and across a large field, to a door inside before saying, “Go in and wait.”
Zellin went in and saw that it seemed to be a lecture hall. It could probably fit about a hundred students but at the moment there was only about 40-50 people inside; most of the kids looked to be his age. Zellin sat on an empty seat in front, in the corner, and allowed Bear to lay down in front of him.
Off to the side was a little boy who couldn’t help but be curious about Zellin’s pets and went to sit next beside Zellin. “Hey, are you a Summoner?” The boy asked.
Zellin looked at the boy. Seems friendly enough, Zellin thought. Since he has never really interacted with the people of this world other than his parents, he was curious whether they were any different from Earthlings. “No, not yet. I’m only Level 2, but I have the Contract skill.”
“Wow! You’re already Level 2 with a pet! You must be pretty hard working. My parents are farmers, so after learning the Preserve skill they allowed me to butcher some our livestock. But still, I’ve only recently turned Level 2.” The boy said.
The Preserve skill was a skill to keep animals from dissipating after they died so you can harvest their fur and meat, turning them into items that can be stored.
“I’m Zellin.” Zellin said, lifting his hand towards the boy.
“I’m Reyal,” the boy replied, shaking Zellin’s hand. “Looks like we’ll be classmates from now on.”
“What class do you want to be when you turn Level 5?” Zellin asked, curious.
“Me? I want to be a powerful mage! Then people will respect me.” Reyal replied.
Zellin nodded his head in approval. “Good choice!” He replied. “I, too, want to be a powerful mage.”
Reyal laughed. “Good, good. In the future we should adventure together and conquer the land with our powerful magic! Hahaha!”
Zellin laughed too and agreed. “We’ll be the Emperor Mage Brothers and we’ll rule all that we set our eyes on!” Zellin replied with a laugh.
“Who’s going to rule?” Came a voice from behind them. “You twerps? Mages are the most cowardly of classes. Only a warrior can truly rule the land!”
Zellin and Reyal turned their heads and saw a scrawny kid with worn clothes and an arrogant look about him. “Who are you?” They asked.
“I’m Liu and in the future I’m going to be a powerful warrior!” The scrawny kid replied.
Zellin and Reyal looked to each other before bursting out laughing. “Hahaha! A scrawny kid like you? Fat chance! Your Strength stat is probably zero!” Reyal mocked.
Liu’s face instantly turned red as he fumed with rage. Indeed, his Strength stat was quite low for someone aspiring to be a warrior, thus he was quite embarrassed. “What do you know!? Your Intelligence stat must be -100! You wouldn’t recognize a powerful warrior even after being beat half to death!” Liu retorted.
Reyal’s face instantly reddened. Indeed, his Intelligence stat was quite low for someone aspiring to be a mage, thus he was quite embarrassed. As Zellin, this clever kid, saw all this, he instantly burst out into laughter. “You two are quite alike.” He said.
“Quiet, everyone, quiet.” Called out a middle-aged man as he walked into the classroom. “Everyone, welcome to the Introductory Survival Class of the Immortal Huntsman Academy.”