A note from TheArcher7

Should I participate in the writathon? Probably no, I barely keep a regular schedule for updates (1 ch per week), I can't write 5 ch in 5 days!

April 1st came and went in the blink of an eye. I did a little bit of editing on the previous chapters, but no major changes.

Chapter 20 is named this way for a reason.

Word Count: 4,000

[Saturday, September 12]


One of the communicators on Earth was using a whiteboard to talk to Kim, one of the astronomers, who was stuck on the other side of the barrier.

Suddenly there was a pause. Kim scribbled something down, his motions looking like a blur, and held up his paper.

Another group of natives have appeared. Potential danger.

And that was it. Kim moved away from the STA. The other researchers moved away from their campfire.

Keeping the time dilation in mind, the communicator hastily relayed the message through his radio.

“Sir, we just received word of potential danger. Another group of natives are approaching the researchers and the communicator has moved away from the STA. Over.”

Barely one second later, the radio buzzed.

“Understood. I’ll send a team to stand by, just in case. Try to re-establish communications. Over.”

The communicator nodded to himself and coincidentally looked at his watch. The time was 5:49 in the morning.

A team of E-4 army medics came into the room with two teams of infantrymen and looked at the STA with a touch of respect.

They had been trying to break the barrier for hours using battering rams, C4 explosives, and even industrial corrosives without luck. They were prepared to stand around for a while, but that was when the unexpected happened.

Bright flashes of light were coming from beyond the barrier. Blue, green, orange, and white colors streaked through the air, but because of the time dilation, no one could tell what was happening. Then the foggy barrier disappeared and there was a moment of stupefaction.

The scene had changed so quickly since the last time the communicator saw the clearing a minute ago. There was an equal amount of fire and ice thrown about and the ground was churned up in places, like a natural disaster had just happened. And there were also people laying around; some of them bodies, and some clearly injured.

There was no time to think at that point.

“Standby team! Go!”

The standby teams of soldiers readied their guns and swiftly dove through the portal one-by-one in quick succession.

“Medics! Go!”

The trained reserves didn’t hesitate as they rushed right behind.

They found Beaumont and Fletcher, who were quickly identified as U.S. military by their uniforms. Beaumont quickly led the medics to Paul.

“We need to bring him and him,” he said while pointing at Paul’s body and then to the critically injured Vetrice.

The medics hesitated when they saw Vetrice, but they quickly got to work anyway.

Fletcher led more medics back to Kim and Donald, who also needed urgent attention.

Meanwhile, the standby soldiers spread out.

Somehow a circular stone wall had been erected perfectly around the area. There were bodies on the inside and outside.

The soldiers naturally used the wall as cover while the medics checked the bodies. To their bafflement, there were bodies impaled by giant rock spikes and one who was impaled by a giant icicle. Looking at the aftermath, they couldn’t imagine what had caused such bizarre deaths. It was too warm for icicles, and using rock spikes as weapons was too impractical.

But it wasn’t their job to speculate. They scoped around and found two injured natives who were still breathing. One was knocked out from a blunt wound to his head, but otherwise uninjured, while the other suffered from bullet wounds.

Suddenly someone shouted an order. “Everyone get out quickly! All the researchers have been rescued.”

The soldiers and medics moved back through the STA with urgency, not wanting to get stuck inside like the previous team.

Thankfully the military had the forethought to set up a medical tent. There were eight spots available, one for each of the stranded members, just in case. Three of them were quickly occupied by the two astronomers, Donald and Kim who each had a major injury, and the unfortunate Paul. Three more spots were occupied by the natives. And the remaining two spots were taken by Ross and Fletcher, who had caught a few rogue spells, but otherwise had minor injuries.

Beaumont, being the only uninjured military member, watched for two tense minutes as the STA remained open. Everyone had been cleared out, and now they were just waiting nervously for what the strange portal would do next.

At 6:00am sharp, exactly ten minutes after it opened, the STA closed, a foggy barrier appearing across its surface.

There was a collective sigh of relief from the people standing all around.

Beaumont turned to a familiar communicator, “Can you lead me to the person in charge, Private. I have a lot to report.”

“Yes, sir.”

Somebody wrote down the time and made sure the camera had caught everything.


Namile cracked open his eyes and saw that everyone was gone. The scars of battle were all that were left.

He got up and dusted off his pants.

Well, let’s start with the most pressing matter,’ he thought, then looked down at the icicle that was impaled in his chest. ‘It’s been 120 years since I got caught off guard like that. Who would have thought they would be able to scratch me?

But then again, those strangers were pretty good too. They had no cultivation base or mana affinity to their names, not a single one of them, yet they could deal such devastation with the level of their technology.

He grabbed the spike and pulled it out. Blood immediately started pouring from the wound. He shifted his balance and struck a few recovery stances. The bleeding stopped and the hole started to close at a visible rate. He winced from the mild discomfort.

There’s a reason I’ve lived this long. Dying in a dump like this is the last thing I need.

He started looking around.

He quickly put out a few brush fires before they could become raging torrents with a water technique. Then he moved to the bodies of Hunters laying around. He unhesitantly lifted the money pouches off each one.

It looks like they rescued all of the injured, including Vetrice,’ he noticed with a bored expression. ‘I’m sure he’s fine. He’s the most talented cultivator I’ve seen in generations.

As for me, I think I’ll go kill that warden who hit me with an artillery spell at point blank. Then I’ll head over to the rebellion headquarters and rally the troops.

A smile blossomed on his face in the next moment, even as he was still stepping over bodies. He just had the idea to throw a welcoming party the next time he came back.

Hmm. What kind of food should I prepare?


Back on Earth, Zachary woke up in his bed just like normal.


Actually, he woke up on the floor of his bedroom.

I knew it,’ he thought. ‘Whenever I switch worlds, I lose consciousness. And every time I wake up it’s morning. But what happens to my body when I switch from Vera back to Earth? Ugh. This is so confusing!

He took a notepad out of his inventory and made a note. He should test if it happened again.

Then he looked at his clock for the time and date. It was Saturday; he didn’t have school.

He let out a huge sigh of relief.

What should I do while I wait for tonight to come?

He turned to his game console.

I noticed it a few times before I blacked out,’ he thought, ‘but hasn’t my game console been running this whole time? I don’t remember turning it on…

Indeed, when he looked at his set-up, the indicator light was blinking and the internal fan was whirring steadily.

He was slightly curious, and since he didn’t have anything scheduled today, he had an indescribable itch that he felt hadn’t been scratched for two weeks. Although only one week had passed since he last played a “real” video game, to him it felt far longer due to the world switching. Not to mention, he had been extremely stressed with everything going on.

“I can afford to waste one or two hours, right?”

He cracked his knuckles, then his neck, then his back, all around his body was just stiff from sleeping on the floor. If he could feel pain, he would probably not be moving so quickly.

He went to his fridge, prepped himself a bowl of cereal, then came back and grabbed the TV controller, hitting the power button for the screen.

What came up was the feed coming from the game console. The game he had bought, Dungeons and Towers II, was still stuck at the introduction, and what he read shocked him to his core.

It was the narration screen of the new game he got. Apparently he had left it on all this time.


[The path to strength is long, but with time and luck, you will achieve greatness. The world is yours for the taking!]

[Vera is a planet with three moons and swirling with mystical energy under threat by powerful monsters. It is up to you to decide where your adventure takes you. You can make a name for yourself in the monster infested dungeon below the surface, a place full of danger as well as treasure, or you can ascend the towers left behind by a mysterious ancient race.]

[Extended edition: Instance dungeons added. Nightmare dungeons added. GUI extension package. Endgame content added. Postgame content added. Bonus level rewards added. Alternate tutorial script.]

[It is up to you to decide how to play. Will you survive in this glistening new world, or be devoured in turn?]

[Warning! You have not reached the save point. Do not die.]


I am so stupid,’ he thought as he re-read the screen over and over again. ‘It’s all here. Vera. Three moons?! Vera has three moons?! I didn’t even notice! If I had looked at the sky even once… no, if I had turned on my game console even once, I would have seen this.

His eyes lingered on the last line of the introduction text.

Do not die. Save point?’ He didn’t plan on dying anytime soon, but the mention of such a thing as a “save point” made him hopeful. If he could save his progress, then he wouldn’t have to worry about death. Unfortunately, this text said he hadn’t reached the save point yet, even telling him specifically to not die.

But my TV screen isn’t exactly the same as my information windows.’ He pressed a few buttons on his game controller but nothing happened. ‘Not to mention, it looks to be frozen. So I might have already reached that so-called save point.

He stopped himself and started to scratch his chin in thought. A moment later he brought a fresh piece of paper from his inventory and wrote on it.

List of things NOT to test:


It was probably best not to test this feature of the system.

His eyes returned to the TV screen and moved upwards to the words “Extended Edition.”

That’s right, I bought the extended version of the game. Maybe that’s why this is happening. But why only me?’ He briefly re-read the description.

Yep. It’s all here. Instance dungeons, nightmare dungeons, even the Endgame content that got activated prematurely when I got beat up yesterday. And that “alternate tutorial script” looks fairly suspicious. Still… I don’t don’t know what these other features are. GUI extension? Postgame content? Bonus level rewards?’ He shrugged. ‘I’ll look it up later.

He leaned back in his chair, letting out a sigh of relief.

I think I found out why these things are happening to me. Okay! First things first, turning off the game!

Zachary hit a few buttons on his controller, but nothing happened. The screen was still frozen.

Okay. Well that’s to be expected.

Then he reached up and unplugged the console from the wall.

The screen didn’t change. The console remained running even though it wasn’t connected to power!

Oh, shiitake mushrooms.’ Zachary’s eyes went wide.

He tried to eject the game disc through the manual button on the side. If he could just get the game to stop, he would stop world switching and dungeons would stop appearing on Earth.

Nothing happened.

He unfolded a pocket knife and tried to pry the tray open.

But nothing happened.

He opened the second story window and threw the console at the hard pavement below. Without a doubt, it should have broken into many tiny electronic pieces, but instead it bounced a few times and landed in the grass.

He ran downstairs, outside, and picked it up. Of course, the lights were still on and blinking, the disc still humming, and the cooling fans still pumping air. There wasn’t even a scratch on it.

[Cannot transfer to inventory]

A look of profound concern appeared on Zachary’s face, and he held it for several minutes.

What the hell kind of game did I buy?!’ he thought frantically while smashing his console on the pavement over and over again.

He used [Observation] on the console next, wondering what would turn up.

“Give me one explanation as to why my cursed game console is indestructible! I dare you!”

The information that appeared made his jaw drop.


A little while later in another household...


Saya Park woke up and groggily sat at her computer, however, the drowsiness immediately cleared up when she checked her brand new email.

She saw with delight that Zachary had finally replied to her electronic mail.

{Hey, Saya. Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you all week. I’ve been rather busy.}

She typed a reply and sent it.

{No worries! What have you been up to?}

{Well… Right now I’m doing some research on a video game that I bought. The regular version of the game has some well documented exploits, bugs, and glitches. Specifically I’m looking at a quest item dupe glitch where you can duplicate any item received from a quest. I’m also looking at an infinite stat raising exploit. Basically I have to create a potion to increase my intelligence, create a piece of equipment that also raises my intelligence, then create a better potion with the increased intelligence, then create a better piece of equipment, and so on, back and forth until I have potions and armor that can raise my intelligence by a broken amount. The only problem is it takes a bunch of resources.}

{Um. I think I get it. But doesn’t that take the fun out of the game?}

{No. No. Trust me. It’s for the good of humanity. On an unrelated note, do you happen to have a giant sledge hammer, a jackhammer, or some dynamite laying around?}

{Haha! That’s so random. Are you trying to destroy a building?}

{Something like that…}

{Well, sorry. I don’t have any of those.}

{Ok. I figured. Hey, I gotta go. It looks like Jacob is here. Talk to you later!}


She backed out of that messaging thread.

That was weird,’ she thought. ‘I wish he could’ve stayed on for longer.

Distracting herself from such lonely thoughts, she decided to surf the internet, checking up on some world news.

{Titles making headway in the gaming industry: Dungeons and Towers}

Huh. You don’t see a whole lot of world news about video games,’ she thought. ‘I wonder if Zach would know about this. He seems to play a bunch of video games.

{Russian Anger over Scandal}

Politics. Not really interested.

{Avocado oil g- }

Gross! Avocados are disgusting! Skip.

{Mysterious black orb appears in the streets of Beijing. Physicists stumped}

Now that is just clickbait.

{Best selling books: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling and more.}

Now that looks interesting.

There was a light knock on her door.

“Hey, Saya. I’m heading out for the day. The military called and said they needed me.”

Saya’s dad was gathering up his military gear, putting his patches in the proper places and ensuring his uniform was standard. Curious, she set aside the interesting article for now.

“Why do they need you, dad? You’re a reserve.”

He chuckled. “Don’t worry about it, pumpkin. I’m not even leaving town.”

“Do you know when you’ll be back, dear?” Saya’s mom asked. “Will you be home for dinner?”

“I don’t know. If anything comes up, I’ll find a line to contact you.”

He gave Saya and his mom a hug before walking out the door.

“Mom, are there any military bases in town?” Saya asked sceptically.

“Not that I know of,” Say’s mom giggled. “Maybe he’s meeting Will Smith and the others from MIB.”

Saya rolled her eyes and said in a sarcastic voice, “The fictional government agency from that movie? Yeah, right. He doesn’t have that high of clearance.”

“Hmm. Well, he is a Lieutenant, so maybe.”

“Ugh. Seriously. I’m just going to go back to what I was doing.”


A civilian car, the first one in a while, pulled up to the construction site located north of Burlington. Lieutenant Colonel Park was confused why the military would call him in, even slightly angered that they would interrupt his vacation time. His curiosity peaked when he saw the vast amount of military presence. Soldiers were moving frantically to build tents, military trucks hauled several tons of sand bags through a wardened off perimeter, and there was even an M551 Sheridan.

Lieutenant Colonel Park’s eyes narrowed and he let out a curse. “Would you look at this overreaction! Why in the blazes do they have a tank here?! Some idiot even pointed it the wrong direction.” Indeed, the tank was even aimed inside the perimeter, rather than away.

A soldier ushered him through a checkpoint and stopped his car with the other military vehicles, the baby-blue paint of his car creating a stark contrast from all the camouflage.

Jesus. Why haven’t the reporters noticed this yet?’

‘Click.’ He locked the car.

Then he marched into something akin to a command tent, saluting upon his entry.

“Lieutenant Colonel Park,” a woman with a sleep deprived look stepped forward and greeted him, “glad you could make it. I’ve heard much about your achievements in Vietnam. I wish we could have met under better circumstances. My name is Jennifer Carlure.”

He nodded. “What is going on here? Why is there such a military presence in town and why am I only now hearing about it?”

“Please, follow me.”

Despite Park’s huge form and demanding questions, Doctor Carlure didn’t even flinch. She led him into another “room” already with other people sitting at tables. When they saw him enter, they all stood up and greeted him with disciplined salutes.

“Hmm,” Lieutenant Colonel Park returned the salutes, his frown deepening.

The three other men each had a silver oak leaf pinned to their different colored uniforms. With the addition of him, the total number of these badges rose to four. They all had the same rank yet belonged to a different branch.

Ending the salute, the four of them and Doctor Carlure sat at the table.

“Welcome, Officer Park. I am a representative here on behalf of the Navy, I just got here moments before you did. Do you know what is happening?”

“Not a clue.”

The man wearing a U.S. Marines uniform spoke up. “I am the only one who has been briefed on the situation, but even I do not know the full details. Now apparently this lovely doctor has been involved from the beginning, three days ago, so she knows the most about this. Doctor, if you may.” The man gestured for her to explain the situation. “Please tell us, how exactly has the situation escalated?”

Doctor Carlure nodded. Lieutenant Colonel Park listened with increasingly rapt attention.

“Three days ago we found an anomalous object. Proceeding with the utmost caution, we started conducting tests while trying to figure out what it was. Then yesterday, the object changed.”

“Changed?” The officer from the air force said skeptically.

“Yes. It… well, it’s hard to describe. Perhaps it is better to just show you.”

She stood up and led the four men through several openings in the tent, until they found themselves walking through a building, or at least, the framework of one.

“Take a look.”

Park’s eyes widened and one of the men near him gasped.

“What is that!?”

“My God. It’s like some kind of rupture in space.”

“I thought it was a broken mirror at first.”

Carlure sighed. “We started calling it the STA, or spatial temporal anomaly, and let me tell you, it is very much what it appears to be, a portal across space and time and leading to another planet.” The men couldn’t believe their eyes even as Doctor Carlure continued to drop bombshells of information on their laps. “Last night, it opened up for a brief amount of time before closing and locking a team of our men inside. While they were there, the situation escalated. They encountered a group of human-like natives. Then this morning, just before the STA opened up again, another group of natives appeared and attacked our team, killing one of our researchers.”

Holy crap balls in a blender.

Natives? What? I’m still trying to process what I’m seeing.

“So now we have come to a crux of a decision,” Doctor Carlure continued mercilessly. “What will we do if that thing opens up again? And also… what will we do with the two natives in our custody?”

There was a pause, then the men turned to look at her all at once.


In the temporary infirmary set up at the military campsite, one of the so-called ‘natives’ of Vera woke up feeling bandages on his body.

What are these primitive mongrels doing?’ Vetrice thought while peeling away the bandages. ‘How are my wounds supposed to heal when they can’t even breath the world energy? What? They even propped me off the ground?!

He immediately, gingerly, hopped off the medical cot and sat in a lotus position.

One of the nurses saw what he was doing and rushed to stop him from moving.

“Bah! Get off me woman! Can’t you see? I’m trying to cultivate!”

She didn’t understand his words but the irritation was apparent. Instead of trying to assist him, she went to get help and inform them that somehow, despite his severe injuries, the ‘native’ had woken up.

Vetrice continued to sit on the ground, but a frown quickly appeared on his face and deepened.

“Perhaps I am in a multi storied building. I can’t feel any world energy at all!”

He got up and started to walk outside. When someone tried to stop him, he used a simple movement technique to pass by them. The nurse who tried to stop him, upon seeing his superhuman speed, ran away while crying.

Hmm. This is dirt. I am on the ground! This makes no sense! Where is all the magical energy?! It’s like this place has nothing!

Vetrice looked once more at the bandages he tried to peel off. The wounds underneath were already reopening.

I see. They are smarter than I gave them credit for. After somehow sealing off the magic in this place, the blood in my body would leak out and kill me, so they used this stopgap measure for now so I won’t die but also can’t recover my full strength! They probably don’t trust me yet.

‘Hmm. It seems my chakra hasn’t recovered much either. I won’t be able to use chi stances either. Very thorough.

‘In that case, I’ll just have to be patient and gain their trust first.’ His eyes were gleaming. ‘The magic to cross space and lock down areas with complete control… Most mages would not be able to deal with this, since they train without weapons. Imagine the domination we would have on the battlefield! This is an asset the rebellion sorely needs!

It was an unfortunately grand misconception on Vetrice’s part.

He simply couldn’t fathom a world without magic.


[End Chapter 20]

A note from TheArcher7

As always, please point out any mistakes or inconsistencies! Leave it in a comment and I'll get to it eventually. Thanks.

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About the author


Bio: Author of Dreamer/Leveler.

White male. Blue eyes, black hair.
Born 2001.
Real name is Micah Mock.
Currently Single (if you really wanted to know).
Passwords are all at least 66 characters long (good luck you hackers).
Major: Mechatronics engineering.

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