9 Diz

Looking around the clearing, he found his sword on the ground, covered in a thin layer of frost.

He picked it up, and the frost quickly melted after coming in contact with the heat of his hand. He quickly dried the sword with the bottom of the blanket he had been wearing, and then continued to look around for clues as to where they had gone.

Suddenly, he heard the sound of a roar to the east and began running over hastily. At this point, Zack's health had dropped by ten percent, but he was confident that the two could beat the beast now that it had been chopped at a handful of times.

Following the source of the roar, he ran past a few fallen trees, and found the ice patches becoming more numerous. Then, in the distance, he spotted another tree falling, and his comrade jumping from it to another one as it fell.

The beast was covered in ice and its movements were rugged, it seemed to be on death's doorsteps.

'One more critical hit should do the trick.'

Zack began running, and decided to try a trick from another game he had played.

Once he was close enough, he jumped up into the air. His feet hit the ground with a large thud, and he took a hefty ten points of damage, feeling intense pain within his ankles. He then used the potential energy built up from the landing in that split instance and jumped to a tree in front of him, creating a large amount of kinetic energy.

Spinning to land vertically, he created an even greater amount of potential energy, and then jumped to another tree to the north, to line himself up with the beast.

When he landed, he created a small indent in the bark, and his feet were burning from the heat of the impact, accumulating thirty points of damage.

He then angled himself just right within that split second, and jumped again, creating an enormous amount of kinetic energy in the process. He moved in an arc, and as he came in on the beast, he spun himself like a dreidel with his arms pulled in, and his sword pointing forward.

The Viper Bear was panting heavily, ready to call it quits when it then noticed a metallic glint in the corner of its vision. After turning around, it saw Zack spinning in the air like a mad man.

He was headed straight for it, and when he was about to hit the beast, he swung out the blade, slicing the it's head clean off.

He saw it happen in slow motion, as did his comrade, but time resumed as soon as the beast's head started sliding off.

Zack then looked forward and hit a boulder head first, taking a hundred points of damage and getting knocked out on the spot.

Disappeared2.5 stared in disbelief with the bow string still drawn, ready to shoot at the bear coming for him just moments ago.

Shaking his head back and forth while chuckling, he put the nocked arrow back into his quiver and jumped down.

Landing close to the corpse of the dead beast, he was quick to turn his attention to Zack and help him up. "Alright, I guess you can keep your fifty copper, Valerio."

As he walked over to Zack's unconscious body, Disappeared2.5 began conjuring a small orb of water, cooling it until it was on the verge of turning to ice.

After turning over Zack's body with a free hand, he splashed his face with the cold water.

Zack sat up abruptly while looking around before taking a deep breath. "Many thanks, I don't think I would've woken up anytime soon had it not been for that. Fuck though, my head hurts like hell now."

As he tried to get up, he stumbled forward, but his new comrade helped him up, throwing Zack's arm over his shoulder and supporting him. "I guess your spawn was pretty close by, talk about lucky." The two chuckled at that, and then Zack turned his head to the corpse.

"For future reference, don't haphazardly sling arrows, you ruined the drop quality by filling the thing with holes. It was apart of Mr. Hunt's devlog a few months ago, introducing the basics of hunting." His comrade chuckled at that, before responding.

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"Like it matters, you died and almost lost your first fifty copper. It was pure luck that you managed to spawn nearby. Here, eat some of these, should fix up your face at the very least." Taking a handful of berries out of his pouch, he handed them over to Zack, who ate them with gusto.

"Wow, they're spicy and sweet at the same time. It's not bad honestly."

After chowing down on the berries, the bruise on his forehead began returning to normal at an abnormal rate as his health began to regenerate.

After a short while, his health returned to around seventy-five percent. He was sore all over, but it was better than nothing.

"Alright, I can walk, let's check the corpse, Disappea- uh. . . You got a nickname you prefer by any chance? Calling you by your gamer tag is a pain." Zack said with the shake of his head.

Disappeared2.5 nodded, and replied with a nonchalant tone, saying "Yeah, you can call me Diz, for short."

The pair then walked over to the corpse, Zack being eager to retrieve his equipment, and Diz eager to finish the hunting objective. Checking the corpse, they each got a poor quality pelt, a lot of Viper Beast scales, four sets of six claws, and even some Viper Bear meat.

They had a short discussion over who should keep the head, but it was obvious that Zack would keep it.

"Alright, let's head back to the trail and head for the town nearby, we should be able to get these raw materials processed into worthwhile goods, even a poor quality pelt should make for something better than the equipment we spawned in with." The two then watched the corpse disappear, dissolving into shimmering white crystals.

Diz had to hold back puke at what he saw after the crystals dispersed, and Zack looked at his old body in disgust.

"Oh lord, I kind of regret not turning on the censor for gory content, that's gruesome as hell," said Zack, as Diz turned around and puked a rainbow.

The body was unrecognizable and wreaked of decay, the stomach acid of the beast having thoroughly digested some parts while others remained. The skull was slightly visible on one side while its brown eye peered through his soul on the other.

Sighing, Zack took off the sheets he wore and got naked while Diz was still faced away and puking. Walking up to the corpse, the option for retrieval appeared in his mind, and he selected it hastily.

The clothes on the corpse disappeared with a white light and reappeared on himself, and thankfully they no longer smelled like the corpse did. His shirt still had a claw mark left behind, but otherwise his equipment was fine and dandy.

In his mind, he heard the robotic voice speak again.

"Quest: Retrieval, complete. Reward will be withheld until The Basics has also been completed. Experience from defeating the Young Viper Bear will also be withheld."

Grabbing his blanket off the ground, Zack put their spoils of war on it and then wrapped it all up. The pair then got a notification.

The objective completion guage for hunting and gathering food had been completed for Diz, while Zack had only fifty percent added towards his completion gauge.

Additionally, Diz got twenty percent added to his raw material gathering gauge, while Zack got twenty five.

Having read the message, Zack slung the makeshift bag over his shoulder before turning to Diz, who still had a rainbow pouring out of his mouth.

With a sigh, Zack patted Diz on the back. "This your first Adult Only IVR game, Diz?" he didn't stop puking for a while, but afterwards, he wiped his mouth and nodded.

"Yeah, I got Conquest Carnival because my boyfriend wouldn't shut up about it. You think for someone primed for the space force, I'd be better prepared for scenes like that. . ."

". . ."

"Why are you staring at me like that, Valerio?"

"Oh uh, sorry. I figured most people waited until they were in their triple digits to serve their mandatory decade. You're really enlisting already Diz?"

He nodded in response, a wide smile on his face. "Indeed, Valerio. I've dreamt of it since my days in primary education. Much like the rest of my family, I plan on serving far longer than a decade in pursuit of knowledge. Speaking of the pursuit of knowledge though, how on Earth did you move like that?"

"I'll explain it on the way there, Diz, so let's get going and get these pelts processed for us. Besides, we spent at least fifteen minutes on the hunting part of the objective, and we still need to finish the other objectives."

After Zack remembered to pick up the Viper Bear's head, the two began walking towards the dirt path, talking about the ongoings on the forums like they had done before.

When they reached the dirt path again, Zack took the time to forage for a few berries and complete the hunt and forage objective.

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