The name of the battlefield was ‘Utopia.’ There was an arena on the mountain peak overlooking the clouds.
An opponent, whose entire body was covered by a black silhouette, collapsed with a scream. A man was staring down at his opponent, then checked the message that came up in front of his eyes.
[You have won.]
[You have received 500 points.]
[You are being returned to the waiting room.]
After being moved to the waiting room that looked like a locker room, the man lightly clicked his tongue. He found that it was harder to get points than he had thought.
"I'm the best at my level, but... no one bets a lot."
His name is Ryu. He was a man of great confidence in PVPs. He had been more excited when he fought with people than when he caught monsters even when he was on the 1st floor. People were worried that he might become a fiend, but fortunately, he wasn’t interested in that at all.
"Ah, why are those over level 70 so lacking in spirit?"
The system matched you up with those who weren’t significantly different from you in level. Since his level was 79, his opponent would always be 3 levels higher or lower than him. The guy he had just destroyed was level 81. Still, he only got 500 points from the fight, so he would obviously get even fewer points from opponents with lower levels.
[You have been matched with a new opponent.]
"Hmm, I hope I get a proper pushover this time."
Ryu earnestly prayed and touched the confirmation button. Then, a brief profile of the other person came up.
Record: 0 Games 0 Wins 0 Losses 0 Draws
Betting: 10,000 points
Ryu's butt was subconsciously lifting off the bench he was sitting on. This was a big fish. No, this was not a big fish, but a sperm whale.
"At level 76... he’s betting 10,000 points?”
It was an opportunity that he definitely couldn’t miss. But since the conditions were so good, doubts arose in his mind.
"Is this some kind of trap?"
Ryu thought for a while then shook his head. The matching was governed by a fair system. In other words, it meant that Player intervention wasn’t allowed.
‘Rather... It's highly likely that the other person doesn’t know anything.’
He heard that there were sometimes such people. They were those who didn’t use the matching system until they reached a high level and were using it for the first time. They usually thought they were strong because they had been hunting day and night and leveling up by killing monsters. In a word, they were the most coveted prey for Ryu, who was confident in PVP.
[Will you accept the match?]
Ryu pondered for a moment. 10,000 PP were Ryu's entire fortune from the last three weeks he was stuck in the matching system. At his level, most of his opponents only bet 50 or 70 PP.
'If I lose this time... It's immediate bankruptcy.’
Fear swarmed in, but Ryu thought of the opposite scenario.
‘If I win, my points will be over 20,000...!’
A new announcement appeared a while ago—Reiji, the 2nd floor Administrator, said she would open up her store once more.
It had been five years since Ryu came up to the 2nd floor, and he had visited the Administrator’s store several times during those years. Every time, he saw a lot of items that made his eyes spin and made him drool. But all he could buy were mediocre items.
'Because I didn't have enough points.’
Useful items there were being sold for at least 10,000 points. If he won this match, he could even purchase a Rare-grade item.
‘It's not just that...’
If you were strong, you could also challenge higher-level Players through the challenge system. He heard that winning against them would give him higher points.
After a long period of consideration, Ryu made a decision.
‘Let's do it!’
He pressed the ‘Accept’ button. This was because he thought he would regret it if he missed this opportunity.
[You have accepted the match.]
[The name of the battlefield is the ‘Han River.’]
The world changed. In an instant, Ryu found himself standing on the shores of the Han River.
'The Han River... Luck is with me in this important match.’
Ryu grinned when the battlefield he was most confident in was selected. He looked at the summoned opponent before his eyes. There was a black silhouette, which meant the opponent was using the Unknown system.
‘Well, it's a must to hide who you are right now...’
Then, the countdown of 10 seconds began before Ryu's eyes. In the meantime, the opponent tried clenching his hands foolishly and even tried jumping around.
‘Kukuku, that's cute. Such cute actions.’
Ryu made a bitter smile. When he first tried out the matching system, he was exactly like that at level 35—that was already five years ago.
[3… 2… 1…]
The moment the number in front of him became zero and the word "start" came up, Ryu made a dash for his standing still opponent.
‘It's going to hurt a little, but you won't die…’
On this battlefield, no matter how deadly the wound you suffered, it wouldn’t kill you thanks to the system’s protection. Of course, if a Player died of a chronic disease such as heart disease, that was a different story.
A dagger popped out of Ryu’s sleeve. He relaxed his grip as much as he could and swung it as fast as he could.
‘The matching system is the same as an actual match. In the end, the one who moves for victory first wins.'
It was easy for those who had the upper hand in the first confrontation to win. Since it was a gathering of Players with similar levels, it would quickly become obvious who was more skilled the moment they clashed.
‘Of course, my skills are higher than yours.’
Ryu's dagger quickly split into sixteen. It was the effect of his skill, ‘Splitting Sword (B).’
'It may seem like an illusion at first glance, but...’
Surprisingly, all 16 blades were real objects that could penetrate the opponent. In addition…
‘On the Han River map, I can use one of my skills, the Blessing of Water (C).’
This was why he thought he was lucky. All his stats would increase by 10 when he was nearby water.
The water from the Han River wrapped itself around him.
Ryu’s faster-than-usual dagger easily occupied the opponent from six directions. Now, the opponent could only run away behind them to retreat.
‘Huhu, but this battlefield is not somewhere you can go anywhere you can see.’
This was the biggest difference between beginners and experts. The experts would know that there were areas on the battlefield that were being blocked by an unknown power. It was information that you wouldn’t know if you hadn't experienced the battlefield several times at the least. If you could move anywhere in sight, the battle would likely never end, since if you were at a disadvantage, you could just keep on running.
'Well, he might have heard this from someone, but...’
If he knew that information, he probably wouldn't have done something so crazy like betting 10,000 PP from the first match.
'Hmm? But since earlier...’
Ryu frowned. His opponent was avoiding the swords better than he had expected. He was doing it quite easily but by a narrow margin.
Sadly, that fluke was about to end. His opponent's back struck a transparent wall.
"Oh, what's that?"
The other person uttered in a surprised and flustered voice.
‘Haha, he’s trapped!’
The Han River map had a transparent wall where the convenience store was, so you couldn’t go further in that direction. As if the opponent found the transparent wall interesting, he turned his head and was tapping on the transparent wall.
‘I’ll enjoy taking your points!’
Ryu's sword became a notch faster. Like a person that had just stumbled upon a lot of money, a natural smile formed on his mouth. But at that moment, the other person slightly turned his head to the front.
'Huh? He made eye contact...’
It was the first time the opponent had looked him directly in the eye since the battle began.
And at that moment, Ryu’s head turned sideways. His legs gave way and his body fell forward. The world shook, then he saw the concrete and the apartments in Seoul, the water of the Han River, and the night sky up above.
[You have lost.]
[10,000 PP will be deducted.]
Ryu could read the message accurately even amidst his blurry vision. He moved to the waiting room, spitting out curses.
"What… was that… damned... bullshit?!"
He definitely had luck on his side! He even got his favorite battlefield—the Han River Map! Ryu revealed a look of grievance.
"Wow, what a jackpot!" Seo Jun-Ho said in awe.
"It is raining money," agreed the Frost Queen.
After returning to the waiting room, Seo Jun-Ho and the Frost Queen were amazed.
"I just threw a fist and got 10,000 PP."
"Why did I spend all that effort to edit videos...?”
They both expressed their own feelings after the first match. In fact, Seo Jun-Ho didn't think it would be like this either.
"My luck was so good."
He hadn’t expected it to be nighttime at the battlefield. Thanks to that, Hunter's Night (A) effect was activated, increasing all stats by 10% and the sensitivity of his senses.
"Well, you probably would not have lost even without the night with your ability."
"You give me a lot of praise these days."
"Huh? Why are you bringing that up here all of a sudden?" The confused Frost Queen tilted her head. "But at this rate, would it not be possible to collect 200,000 points before the store opens?"
"Hmm… It might be possible."
It would be possible if he didn’t get unlucky and get matched with a Player like Kim Woo-Joong. Of course, that was unlikely to happen. Seo Jun-Ho had a vague feeling about it when he saw the person he was matched with this time.
"It seems like Players with similar levels are matched together." Seo Jun-Ho pointed out.
"Well, if that wasn’t the case, there would be no reason why it would be so crowded,” the Frost Queen casually replied.
One side of the matching bulletin board showed the number of people currently using the system.
"There are 270,000 people... It's even increasing as we speak.”
"The announcement seems to have served as a catalyst."
People who wanted to collect PPs before the Administrator’s store opened were flocking over here like moths.
"In short, it's a God of Skill game."
"So, have you gotten the hang of it?"
It was only one match, but Seo Jun-Ho had already figured out most of the system.
"The battlefield is random and you also can’t go anywhere that’s within sight."
Seo Jun-Ho was also slightly surprised when the transparent wall struck his back.
"And we can also use the surrounding terrain..."
Since the water from the Han River could be used, there must be some other things they could interact with on the other battlefields.
"Hoh, you have seen through the same things as myself."
"If it’s just this, it’s nothing much.”
Seo Jun-Ho's gaze turned to one side. He looked at the red button next to the match button.
It was a system that allowed you to challenge opponents with levels higher than yourself. If you defeated an opponent that was 5 levels higher, you would get 1.1 times more points. If you defeated an opponent that was 10 levels higher, you would get 1.2 times the points as a bonus.
"It seems you can only challenge someone 5 levels above you in the beginning."
"You have a lot of time. Let's take our time and go through this slowly."
Before starting the match, Seo Jun-Ho raised the betting amount to the maximum. Currently, the maximum number of PP he could bet was 15,000. If he won, he would earn 16,500 PP.
"Let's properly hit the jackpot."
This method cannot be used forever anyway. Time would let everyone know of his existence, and then no one would fight him anymore.
[You have been matched with a new opponent.]
A new sucker came up with his eyes blinded by the prospect of earning 15,000 PP.
1. Referring to game matches where one side is overwhelmingly dominant over the other. ☜