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Joe suddenly found himself standing in a white space. Nothing appeared to exist except for himself and a familiar transparent screen floating in front of him. Was this an illusion? Or had he been teleported to another location? He checked his arms and legs to find everything still there. With a sigh of relief, Joe turned his attention back to the screen in front of him.

- - - - -Divine Store- - - - -

Available Points: 87,500

Skills

Artifacts

Miscellaneous

Search

Exit

'To operate, please speak or think of the category you wish to browse. You have 1 hour to make your choices.'

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Joe's eyes went wide when he heard he only had an hour to make the most critical decision of his life. It didn't feel like nearly enough time, there was so much he needed to consider, but he focused his mind on the task. "Okay, where to start?"

He first checked the number of points he had to work with. 87,500 seemed like a decent number, but without comparing it to others, it was impossible to know. For now, he decided his first priority was a set of clothes. While the idea of shooting fireballs from his hands held a level of attraction that no 10-year-old could resist, Joe knew he needed to play things smart. A solid pair of pants, shoes, and shirt would not go amiss no matter what the future held.

Selecting the Search function, Joe tried thinking of clothes. The screen reacted to his input, pulling up and presenting numerous options for different types of clothing, from belts to full bodysuits. The selection was overwhelming. 'Okay, let's try something different.' Joe whittled down the list by searching for a decent pair of pants fit for various environments, especially the Tower. Good durability, comfortable, fits his size, and easy to keep clean!

As he hoped, the store reacted to his will. The thousands of search options soon whittled down to a few dozen. 'It worked!' he thought. Joe scanned the list, selecting one of the items with the hope of extracting more information. A picture or even some user reviews would have been invaluable. If particular online stores back on Earth could do it, why not a system by the Heavens themselves. The system, however, remained unresponsive, surely mocking him as if he was a newborn playing with a remote. Realizing his hesitancy was costing him valuable time, Joe flicked through the list until he saw something in his price range. He picked a pair of pants called Pants of the Initiate for 150 points. He wasn't sure if the price was steep or a steal, but it was around the low to the middle price range of available items.

Selecting the pants caused a box to appear. 'Please confirm your selection.' Joe selected yes. Suddenly, the air shimmered, and a pair of pants materialized in front of him. 'Whoa, is this not some kind of simulation?' Joe chuckled in amazement. The pants were greenish-brown in color, contained a decent number of pockets, and were comfortable to the touch. Nothing else seemed particularly special about them. Joe put them on. The pants were a perfect fit, just as he requested. Happy with his success, he went back to the search option, excited to buy the rest of his outfit.

Barely 10 minutes later, and approximately 1500 points poorer, Joe was fully clothed. He was especially ecstatic with the boots the system provided. Strong and durable yet light. These things would last decades back on Earth. Without a doubt, the quality of clothes was miles above anything back home. Joe had also purchased a decent quality knapsack to store all his purchases. He had searched for a spatial or inventory bag as any self-respecting gamer would. Incredibly, spatial bags had existed but were out of his price range, costing anywhere from 100,000 to 2,000,000 in price. In addition, he had purchased a bunch of necessities one would need to survive, including water, food, shelter, and support supplies. He wasn't sure if he would need it, but it would surely come in use if the store sold it. Happy with the choices, he switched back to the main menu.

"Finally, time to see what skills exist." His heart started to palpitate at the thought of wielding superhuman abilities. His objective was simple. Find a skill that would keep him alive. Fire and magic seemed great, but would those keep him safe when he was being hacked to death by monsters. Plus, weren't demons immune to fire?

'Skills,' Joe said. The screen flickered until a new menu screen popped up.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

'Please select grade of skill.'

Diamond

Platinum

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Unranked

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Joe stroked his chin while looking at the options. The Angel hadn't mentioned anything about skill grade. Logically, the diamond grade would have the best skills, while bronze would have the weakest. Joe decided to select Diamond. He wasn't sure if he would have the points for such top-tier skills, but it would help provide a baseline of what things cost. Soon the page updated, presenting a humble selection of skills.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Diamond Skills

Chosen One - 550,000,000

Will of the Gods - 470,890,000

Child of Odin - 420,600,000

Heavenly Body - 395,000,000

Divine Resurrection - 355,000,000

Nursa’s Chosen - 320,000,000

Divine Retribution - 260,300,000

Celestial Lightning - 150,700,000

Sacred Bloodline - 135,000,000

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

'WHAT THE!' Joe couldn't help but exclaim out loud. All the skills under Diamond tier were above 100 million points. How was anyone meant to earn such a veritable sum boggled his mind? Was it even possible to achieve such an amount, or were these skills placed here as a practical joke? Tempting and goading everyone to push beyond their limits for an unreachable goal. Joe quickly scrolled down, memorizing a few of the names and prices before moving on to the other grades.

Each grade contained a plethora of skills with a range of price points. Platinum skills were priced between 10 million to 100 million. Gold skills between 1 million to 10 million. Silver skills were between 100,000 to a million, and bronze included anything below 100,000 points.

All the skills in Silver and above seemed formidable in their own right. He guessed that those with silver skills and above would have the ability to fight enemies above their level. Unsurprisingly, the majority of skills were specialized for combat. It became clear that the priority of the Heavens was to train warriors to fight in their holy war. That was not to say there were no skills with a crafting component to their name, but they were few and far between.

Now he knew how much skills cost. It became painfully clear that his current budget would limit him to the bronze skill category alone. It was humbling knowledge to know he was considered at the bottom of the rung both here and on Earth.

Joe clicked his tongue before clicking on the bronze skill list. There was no time to complain. Soon, thousands of skills appeared. He began reviewing page after page of skills until he observed the timer in the corner of the screen to see he only had 30 minutes remaining.

Shaking his head, he knew he needed to think strategically. There was no way he had time to go through all the skills on the list. The number of skills in the bronze category alone contained hundreds of entries. He returned to the main menu and selected search.

'Let's see… any skill in bronze will be limited. Usually, I would prioritize attack-based skills to help me maximize my potential exp gain. However, is that the right choice here?' Joe knew this wasn't a game. There were several points he had to consider.

First, while an attack-based skill would give him an advantage, it would leave him vulnerable to attacks. The second was versatility. Who truly knew what they were about to face. He needed a way to help him survive the unknown. Finally, the sad truth was that Joe was just an average overweight guy with below-average strength and zero combat experience, apart from that one fight he got into at school with a kid named Billy Emerson when he was 15. A fight he lost, by the way. Even if he purchased an offensive skill, he would have no idea how to use it.

Deciding on a survivalist path, Joe searched for any skills containing words like resurrection, regeneration, recovery, rebirth, immortality, or life. The search produced several successful matches lifting Joe's spirits;

Diamond - [Divine Resurrection] - 355,000,000

Platinum - [Phoenix Rebirth] - 85,890,000

Platinum - [Immortal Soul] - 70,400,000

Gold - [Instant Recovery] - 4,400,000

Gold - [Second Life] - 2,200,000

Silver - [Trolls Regeneration] - 259,000

Bronze - [Augmented Recovery] - 59,000

'Hmm. The only skill I can afford would be [Augmented Recovery]. But its effects sound too limited. What good would higher recovery do if I'm being mauled or cut in half by a demon.' Joe spent another 15 minutes searching with no obvious match. He tried searching for any skills with words, including Stealth, Invisibility, and even Save Point. But all the skills were out of his price range. Joe started to feel a sense of panic forming in the pit of his stomach. With only 15 minutes left, he would need to make his choice soon. He still needed to buy a weapon and armor. He felt trepidation at the thought of having to run forward into hordes of enemies with no helpful skill or weapon. He wiped his palms on his new trousers. Already he was sweating profusely.

"There must be a way to survive." Joe refused to give up just yet, he had never been confrontational or defiant, but a feeling of strength rose up from inside him, pushing away the negative thoughts. He thought back to his now improved Will stat, realizing just how much Heaven's Blessing had transformed him thanks to the 50%+ increase in all attributes.

He returned to the skill menu. The only section he hadn't yet explored was the Unranked category. None of his searches had returned any skill classified as Unranked. He assumed it was because there were none. 'If I find nothing in 5 minutes, I'll select [Augmented Recovery] and move on,' he promised himself. The first few pages contained nothing of note. [Inspect], [Cleansing], [Water Purification], [Insect Repellant], [Sword Mastery], [Spear Mastery], [Axe Mastery], [Archery]. He could see each skill being useful in its own way. Inspect was a must-have in every game he had played. Yet he doubted he would be able to fight monsters by cleaning or inspecting them. At the very least, [Sword Mastery] offered promise. At only 5000 points, it was a must-have. Joe had neither the time nor knowledge to teach himself how to fight. Sword Mastery could be a key to help fast-track his ability so that he wouldn't be a threat to himself or others when handling a sword.

With his mind made up, Joe quickly purchased the skill, departing himself with 5000 points. As soon as he confirmed the purchase, he felt his spirit become infused with energy and knowledge crammed into his mind. The experience gave him an intense feeling of vertigo. It was as if his mind was downloading every book on sword fighting at once. Suddenly, knowledge about basic stances, techniques, sword types, and even concepts on footwork and controlling his center of gravity flooded his mind. The process was eventually completed in under a minute. His mind buzzed with ideas and techniques, things he had never known existed. All of which now felt like second nature, as if he had practiced them for years. He took a moment to orientate himself before throwing up into the space in front of him. The experience reminded him of going to Vegas with friends from college. He committed once again to never drinking tequila.

Happy that he had at least found one valuable skill, Joe took a moment to peruse the last few pages. Just as he was about to give up, located on the 88th page in between a cooking skill and a mineral locator skill, Joe saw it. A skill that could be his salvation. A way to survive the trials that were to come. A way to overcome the threat of death and leave the Tower intact. He had to re-read it to make sure, but it was real. The perfect survival skill [Respawn].

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DA_Origins

Bio: Welcome potential reader. Let me introduce myself. I am DA Origins (DAO) for short. If you saw the connection then congratulations, you are a true aficionado like myself. I’m a long time reader and lurker turned aspiring author. My dream is to create a story that pulls people in, taking them on a journey that leaves them wanting more. Come check my story out

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Comments(39)
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Alt41 ago

Most have some drawbacks if it's going to be cheap

Barok ago

I really hoped for something new in sense of weapons, and not the generic sword(which in my opinion isn't even such a good weapon) but oh well

    Lord Rune ago

    Yep a spear is all around better for a beginner especially against mindless monsters though i see a spearman dying easily to a rogue

    Hirohito ago

    Exactly. Any polearm is so superior to a sword. Especially when fighting monsters.

      Vintearis ago

      Polearms are superior but it's hard to carry around and sword with shield is even better since it allow for defense against Arrows and magic making it most versatile choice.

      obzist ago

      Even then, an axe with a shield is probably still a better choice than a sword. Especially when you're expecting to fight monsters that may have strong natural defences.

      Vintearis ago

      Hmm you are right yet swords can cut and Pierce. In chaotic environment like Tower where you don't know when you will next time ressuply, when there are traps etc sword and shield is my favourite combo due to few reasons.

      Axe is better for defense penetration due to bigger weight and weight distribution concentrated in the head of the axe yet you can only take slow swings.

      Meanwhile with shield and swords you cna make a line witn your friends and focus on quick piercing attacks thst allow for fast recovery and hiding behind the shield.

      Additionally while swords suck in comparison to other weapons they have one undeniable advantage. They are easiest to carry and allow for quick draw. Shield on the back, sword in the scabbard. You can even make a roll, have overall bigger control of acrobatics if scabbard is well placed. Axe? Yo u will have hole in your body by trying this.

      Overall I believe it most balanced setup good at any occasion. I'm quite tired right now so my logic may have a few holes but what I tried to convey is that sword and shield combo is most practical. Not the best definitely set out there but good enough for any situwiton.

      Vintearis ago

      It's because he has spent all his precious points on Respawn skill so whatever was left had to be spent on unranked skill. And since skills are kinda permanent MC has choosen most universal skill that is weapon mastery which is useful on every step of the journey.

      Otherwise there would be always this regret like if MC bought bronze skill why not go for silver etc

rexharris ago

Well the sword is one of the worst weapons for his situation, but I guess if he would make good decisions his potential would be higher.

Chabu ago

How were his potential and life achievements worth so little compared to a kid's?

I have to agree, potential not included, how the frick does an 18 year old that probably only just finished highschool have that much more in life accomplishments than a dude that finished university for what was said to be a decent course. PLUS surviving a bunch of armed robberies that each could have resulted in death.

Chawpi Tuta ago

Aww man. Kinda hoping MC using brains and skils rather try again and again like a dark soul player. Drop this story

LionHeart ago

If I was in his place I would also buy an unarmed combat mastery skill!!!

What if he loses the sword in a fight or another situation? He said he has no experience fighting...the skill would help

SuperLeno ago

This guy is a bit too pathetic honestly, it's kind of upsetting.

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