[One to your shoulder, heart and between your eyes. Half a beat later right ankle. Simple right?]
[What happens if you can't dodge it? Um... It's alright. Everyone's like that the first time.]
I switched through the TV channels with empty eyes.
Comedy shows were boring, and the dramas were ever so predictable.
Music shows were absolutely trash.
I was in desperate need of some sort of stimuli.
A normal day, boring and stupid.
This has been going on for 2 years.
I've quit my career as a professional gamer 2 years ago and have since set up a convenience store with my savings.
It was challenging at first with so many things to manage, but I got used to it fast. And once I got used to it, I left it all to my part time employees and holed myself at home.
Who cares if the part timers rip some money off me.
Life was boring.
I should't have quit my pro gaming career.
I was the best when it came to video games.
There may be arguments, but at my greatest height I was called the best.
However, with the passing of time I was eventually deposed of that title. Unable to deal with my loss, I decided to retire a short time after.
Rather than live on as a loser, I had decided to quit gaming completely.
I've always been extremely competitive.
From hide and seek to a local soccer match, once I started to play, I had to win.
Then one day, I played a fighting video game for the first time in front of a local stationary store.
How angry was I, after being completely destroyed by a 6th grader.
That's when I was absorbed into gaming.
Until my retirement 2 years ago, gaming was my life.
What would it be like if I stayed as an ex-best gamer?
That life wouldn't have been as bad as this.
My life right now is unbearably empty and boring.
Well, what could I do. What's done is done.
I sigh as I raise a glass of soju. The glass was empty.
I try to look for another bottle in the black plastic bag as I keep muttering shit.
Ah, have I drink them all already...
At that moment, an emergency broadcast was being played on the TV.
[... Just 30 minutes ago, multiple sinkholes such as these have suddenly appeared throughout the world. The government is currently investigating the cause to the sinkholes.... It has been advised not to approach near these sinkholes. This is NBS news update...]
It was a strange news update. But I was facing an even peculiar situation at that moment.
Floated words appeared in front of my eyes.
[Congratulations, you have been invited to the Tutorial World. Lee Ho Jae.]
Tutorial? Is it the tutorial, where they show you the basics of the game?
Am I wasted to the point of seeing hallucination, or have I gone insane.
[Will you enter the Tutorial World?]
I quickly began to contemplate whether this is an opportunity for me or not.
I had no regrets about my life. If anyone could give me a new life, I'd welcome it with both arms open.
It's something that would happen in an anime or a novel, but I am seeing that possibility right in front of me.
Can I lead the life I want in the new world? Where I'm the protagonist again?
An answered creeped out of my dry throat. Is this ok as an answer?
The message changed after my reply.
[Please select the difficulty. The dangers of the stage increase with difficulty, along with its rewards and your growth.]
There were 4 options.
Easy, Normal, Hard, Hell.
There was no need for me to think.
I, Lee Ho Jae.
Have never missed out on a game, and have never been called bad in any of them.
I am confident that I can be at least above average in terms of sports, and I was filled with talent for games. A so called genius.
And so I chose Hell difficulty.
And then proceeded to lose my consciousness.
A rough shake woke me up.
‘Hey, are you awake? You’ve slept for long enough, get up.’
An intimidating looking man was shaking me to get up.
‘Are you coming to your senses? Are you ok?’
I forced my tired eyes open to look at my surroundings. I saw 3 people including the man who woke me up. All of them, people that I’ve never seen before.
‘Fuck… who, who are you!’
I shouted as I stumbled backwards.
This wasn’t my room.
The floor and walls were lined with clean-cut stone that seemed like marble.
It was a desolate indoor space with no furniture.
‘Where… where am I?’
As I opened my eyes, I was in a strange place with unfamiliar people.
‘This is the 1st floor waiting room.’
‘1st floor waiting room? What do…’
‘Hey, calm down. Let’s have a chat. Did you not see those messages?’
The man who shook me spoke with a calm tone. His face was like a rugged bear, but his voice was like a ballad singer.
‘You know, the messages regarding something about a tutorial.’
At that moment I remembered what happened before I lost my consciousness.
Is this it? Is this like teleportation? Did I enter the game world?
My head was full of questions.
‘I saw it. I was drunk, everything was so hectic. Did all of you see the message and did it all lead you to come here?’
My voice was surprisingly calm and clear. Before I lost consciousness, I swear I was drunk to the absolute limit.
The man passively replied, and the man and woman behind him nodded in agreement.
‘I wanted to know if you knew anything about this whole situation, hence why I woke you up. You probably got dragged here without knowing anything like us. Anyway, it's only us here so shouldn't we help each other?’
Not a bad idea. Having allies is definitely better than being alone.
But only if I could trust these people.
‘Would you happen to have any leads about this entire situation?’
‘Well, come to think of it, before the messages started popping up, there was an emergency news report.’
The whole group of people paid their full attention to me as I said this.
Not only just the man I spoke to, the man and woman behind him approached me.
‘It said a large sink-hole had appeared across the whole world out of nowhere.’
‘Are you saying we ended up in here because of the sink-hole that appeared?!’
The ugly man at the back raised his voice.
He looked like a gangster.
‘Fucking, do you think that even makes any sense, you retard?’
Mm. The gangster could be right. Maybe he was also a little too anxious about this whole situation, it was quite a touchy response.
‘I just told you what I remembered.’
Luckily, it seemed the ganster didn’t want to dig into me anymore. At least he isn’t completely braindead.
I shook my head a little. Something’s a little…
‘What is it?’
‘No… just. Before I lost consciousness I was completely drunk, I feel as though I’m just a little too normal.’
‘Ahh. It must be because of that thing. Apparently, if you enter this area your whole body gets healed. It must be it.’
‘What?? The body heals by itself?’
‘Yes. A message saying that appeared just before you woke up.’
I feel as though I missed out on something important.
‘I’m sorry but can you tell me the details of that message?’
‘Firstly, I will tell you about the very first message that appeared.’
The man who looked like a bear was surprisingly nice. I wonder, how old was he?
The man first told me about beginner weapons. As soon as I heard that from the man, in my field of vision a little message appeared which instructed me to choose a starting weapon.
As I focused on the message, everything went black.
The next moment, I was in an area with countless amounts of weapons which spanned around my surroundings.
It wasn’t the stone chamber I was in before. The people had also disappeared.
What kind of balance was this…
Lets calm down. If I thought of this as a game, there was nothing weird happening at all.
I calmed myself and looked around.
There were various different kinds of weapons around me.
A spear, sword, bow, iron mace, that… mmm.. thing. There were also weapons that I couldn’t figure out how to use as well.
Is that even a weapon? It just looked like a plain hammer.
The bow came with a quiver and a bunch of arrows. It must of been given as a set item.
As you play a game, there are times where you had to make a decision.
The decision could affect me greatly in the future that is to come, so I had to chose with discretion.
Mmm… A moment of deep thought had come.
Now, what should I choose?