1 Chapter One

It is said that the world is always changing, but we are unable to see the changes. That was definitely true before the tower fell. The year was 2022, and the world was recovering from a pandemic no one remembers the name of. Lost in the history books somewhere with the names of the people who died to it. However, just as the world was beginning to recover and people were getting back to their regular lives, the tower fell. As you might expect, the tower was a huge structure that took up most of Africa. Its height rose beyond the heavens, completely leaving our world.

After they realized they couldn't enter, countries started bombing the tower immediately. The world's chaos didn't cease for a month after that. But even with all of earth's weapons, not a single scratch could be placed on the outside of the tower. After a month of fruitless efforts, in every major city, a screen similar to what you might see in an exciting video game appeared. All it had was a countdown timer. It started at 10 days and began its count immediately. Everyone in the world was in a state of panic, every news outlet kept an eye on them trying to see if any of them seemed different from the others.

The only thing humanity discovered in those ten days was that each of them had their language printed below the screen. Based on what professionals told the news during that time, they guessed that the language had been selected based on the average language-speaking count in the area of the screen. So in New York, the language was English but in Tokyo the language was Japanese. After that, just like any other timer, this one had to run its course eventually. Most people expected the end of the world, others a plague, but nobody expected to see the face of God. Or one of the gods to be precise.

In front of everyone, there was this pure white entity that began to speak simultaneously in each of the respected languages from each of the screens. "Citizens of earth, your world has been selected to endure the Tower of Chaos. As you may have already noticed, a giant tower now takes up 21 percent of your landmass and is presently inaccessible. But after this announcement, this will change. One billion earthlings will be chosen by the gods as their avatars, and only these avatars will be allowed to enter the tower. If an avatar dies, a new avatar will be selected; if every single human dies before the tower is conquered then the game is over; if the tower is conquered in the next 50 years then humanity can survive. If not then everyone will die. That being said, I wish you all the best of luck, let the game begin!"

Then, just like that, every screen disappeared from the skies, and in its stead, one billion personalized screens appeared in front of what humanity will call its players. Those chosen by the gods were given cheat-like abilities to aid them in their quest to conquer the tower that now loomed ahead of us. That was five years ago; I was not selected as a player. For the past five years, I have worked a part-time job to pay my bills. However, God did not tell us that there would be dungeon breaks. A chance that monsters would appear outside the tower if the floors were not regularly cleared.

When they appeared, it happened so quickly. They stormed my town like a fire, eating anyone unfortunate enough to get caught in their path. When I saw them ravaging the streets, I hid under the rubble of a nearby building and tried to keep my voice low and out of sight. I know I was a coward but I didn't want my name on a list of casualties, and to be forgotten. I thought that if I could survive then everything would turn out fine.

Until the players arrived and slew the monsters, I had no idea what my cowardice had cost me. My parents lay on top of my sister torn in two, their blood dripping across the ruins of our house. The shock was too much for me to handle, without warning I fell unconscious hitting the ground right in front of my unconscious sister.

--- Five Years Later ---

"The bonus I got this month should cover your hospital bills, so when you awaken we can go out and get some chicken from that place you used to love," Kim said to his sister who lay unconscious in her hospital bed.

"I don't know if it's still open after all these years but we can find out."

Then just like that, Kim Young rose from the chair in front of his sister's hospital bed, paid this month's hospital bill, and walked out.

This has been his life for the past five years. Working over 60 hours a week just to scrape by and then do it all again, if only he had been selected as a player ... none of this would have happened.

This was a thought that often passed through his head. This was the thought that he chose to hold onto, so he didn't have to face his cowardice. Kim heard a faint sound behind him as he walked to his apartment, a one-bedroom, one-bath space. It sounded like a fly buzzing around at first but as he slowly got closer not paying attention to anything going on around him and only a few feet in front of him. Then suddenly the sound turned into a full-blown siren, right inside his apartment a dungeon break had begun. Once Kim finally realized what was happening a look of terror fell on his face, a nightmare he never wanted to relive was now sitting in front of him. Then just as these thoughts passed through his mind a Cravion, a crab-like monster fell from the window of a nearby building right in front of him. Snapping its blood-covered claws looking directly into Kim's brown eyes.

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