Chapter 1: End
I guess its almost time.
Zhou Mu drew across the seemingly endless list of completed missions and muttered.
More than 200 main missions, more than 2,000 side missions, more than 1,000 hidden environments, and all the achievements had been collected... It wasnt an exaggeration to say that he had completed all the game content that the developers of the VRRPG (Virtual Reality Role Playing Game)-Doomsday Watchers-had designed.
Platinuming a game couldnt get any better.
As Zhou Mu flipped through the games records, he sighed at how much effort he had put into this game.
Man, did I spend more than 13,000 hours on this game This is a little exaggerated for a single-player game. Is there a second person in the world who has thrown more than 10,000 hours into the game
4Zhou Mu was surprised by the time he spent via the record breakdown.
Zhou Mu had always believed that he wasnt really living as a human during the ten-plus hours he toiled at his company.
If he made this the measure of choice and deducted the time he spent sleeping every day, he was akin to a person living in the sword and magical world of Doomsday Watchers than in the real world.
However, all good things had to come to an end. It was finally time to say goodbye to this world.
With this in mind, Zhou Mu, who felt his heart gradually grow heavy, waved his hand and closed the statistics interface.
It wasnt that he was tired of this game-compared to the real world where he had to face all kinds of pressure every day, he found serenity from just looking at the scenery in the games Vic Continent.
If possible, he really hoped that he could continue living this other life in-game.
However, the pressure of reality was ever-present.
Having crossed the 30-year-old threshold, Zhou Mu could already sense the invisible shackles gradually tightening: the shocking results of his physical examination, the pressure from his mortgage and car loans, the rumors in the company about retrenching older employees, and so on...
He had to sacrifice sleep to squeeze out an hour or two for gaming. Meanwhile, his body-which hadnt been in the pinkest of health for a long time-had already begun to issue constant alarms.
In the past half a year, he had fainted twice without any warning. His doctor and boss had seriously talked to him more than once.
Suffering a sudden death or being retrenched werent outcomes he wanted. After weighing the pros and cons, it was time to quit.
Zhou Mu looked up and surveyed his surroundings. At this moment, he was sitting at a huge obsidian round table in the middle of a magnificent hall that was like a pantheon in Rome.
This was the round table hall in the Twilight Fortress.
Twilight Fortress was the headquarters of the Doomsday Watchers, a salvation army that wasnt restricted by borders. It was the closest place to home for players, and it was also the first stronghold the players arrived at in the main storyline.
Before leaving completely, Zhou Mu planned on giving himself a ceremonial farewell. Choosing this place to end it all could be said to be of extraordinary significance.
It was both the beginning and the end.
Zhou Mu sat for a while longer when he heard chaotic footsteps outside. Then, the heavy adamantine door was pushed open, and the entire round table hall was divided into two by the light coming from the outside.
The 12 men and women of different races entered one after another with the light as a backdrop and sat at the round table.
Players could directly recruit 12 core NPCs to take up the Doomsday Watchers 13 Judges and, together, they would save the world with the protagonist based on the plot.
Zhou Mu swept his gaze across everyone present. Of course, not all of them were humans. There were also companions from other races. He couldnt help but recall the foolish things he had done in the past.
Back then, to achieve aperfect clear, he basically had to reload dozens of times to farm satisfactory basic stats and characteristics for the NPCs to be recruited to be his Judge.
Moreover, he would choose the perk that suited them best to have synergy between their equipment. It could be said that every Judges character build was better than what most ordinary gamers of Doomsday Watchers had.
“Presiding Judge William Kane, what gives us the pleasure of being summoned here”
Perhaps the system had determined that Zhou Mu hadnt spoken for too long, so a character in pitch-black armor and carrying a huge sword that was as thick as a door spoke.
William Kane was the name of Zhou Mus character in this save.
Zhou Mu came back to his senses and cleared his throat.
“Thats right, Blake Saba. I summoned all the Judges here today because I have something important to announce.”
As Zhou Mu spoke, he took a deep breath and spread his arms.
“Im about to leave you-forever.”
With that said, all the NPCs at the round table revealed looks of disbelief, panic, and even fear.
The production company of Doomsday Watchers assigned extremely powerful AI programs for important NPCs in the game. As long as they didnt talk about things that went beyond the games framework, their conversation and reaction were very close to that of a real person.
Of course, this was essentially just a chat program. Zhou Mu also knew that he was being silly bidding farewell to these NPCs.
“William, my friend, are you saying that you want to leave the Vic Continent and adventure elsewhere”
A scaly man with horns on his head and a thick tail on his back asked in a gruff voice.
No, Dowa King. Im not just leaving this continent, but this entire world.
With that said, there was another commotion.
“Are you saying that you plan on leaving Currere and heading to the Moon Realm to head to the domain ruled by those Void Sovereigns In that case, I ask to be part of your noble party.”
A humanoid wrapped in a cloak that constantly emitted ominous black mist asked in a singing tone.
“Im not talking about Currere or the Moon Realm. Im talking about the entire world-everything. It reaches far beyond the present, the Moon Realm, the Light Realm, or the furthest border you can imagine. Only I can walk this path. I can only take my fond memories of you, nothing more.”
An elven girl wearing light leather armor and carrying a transparent bow and arrow on her back asked, “Lord Kane, can you tell us why you have decided to leave”
“Because I have no choice. I do wish I could accompany all of you forever. But far away, some existences are graver than the Seven Calamities and the Void Sovereigns that require me to fight them.”
1The room fell silent. Every Judge seemed to be thinking hard about what Zhou Mu meant byreality.
Of course, Zhou Mu knew that it was impossible. It was just that the system had detected a conversation that went beyond the games framework; in turn, it made the NPCs act as if they were in thought. They would then immediately change the topic.
The youngest-looking youth among the 12 spoke. He wore a cloak woven from black feathers and had amber eyes that resembled those of a ferocious bird.
“Will you be returning”
“I dont know... Coles, Im not sure, but if that day really comes, I hope to see all of you again. Ill look forward to the day we reunite.”
As Zhou Mu spoke, he pressed his hands on the obsidian round table and stood up. The other 12 people in front of the round table stood up with him. He looked at his companions in a daze.
The source of this content is n/ov//el/bin[./]net'
If only this world were real...
“Then, I hereby announce the disbandment of the 13 judges. We have brought a thousand years of peace to this world by defeating the Calamities and expelling the Void Sovereign. Its high time to seek out your own happiness. This is my last order-Everyone, do as you wish!”
What an idiotic speech...
They were clearly just programs stored in the computer, and as long as he went offline, they would freeze at this moment forever. Yet, he still shamelessly said to them that he wanted them to pursue their own happiness.
The thing aboutthe day we reunite was even more impossible. He had already sold his gaming pod on an online platform. Tomorrow, he would pack it up and send it out. Reuniting was impossible.
When Zhou Mu thought of this, he bowed to everyone and silently activated the nexus on the obsidian round table.
After a brief loading interface, Zhou Mu arrived in an alternate space filled with stars.
This was his Treasure Hall.
He had too many rare items in his collection. Having a hoarder mentality, not only would he obtain things through the games progression, but he could even produce useless assets that the developers ultimately didnt put into the game through the console.
If it was only for display, the entire Twilight Fortress wouldnt be enough to hold half of his collection as a treasure hall. Therefore, he created such an alternate space through the game console that was specially used to store his vast collection. Every star in this boundless cosmos was a rare item wrapped in a spacetime bubble.
Zhou Mu looked up at the stars in the sky.
He took a deep breath and pulled up the game menu before pressing theExit Game button.
His vision instantly turned pitch-black.
A notification alert would indicate that he had successfully logged off, returning him to the real world.
Zhou Mu silently counted his breaths and waited for the chime. For some reason, his subtle and mixed feelings became extremely calm.
Yet, the offline indication chime didnt ring even minutes later.