Thumbs Up, Level Up
‘I might as well buy ready-made equipment, purchasing materials and creating the equipment myself would put too big of a dent in my wallet.
On top of that…’
Ji-Cheok thought of a much better way to earn likes.
One of the defining features of Korea was its food culture.
Food was so important that Korean people would greet each other by asking whether they had eaten their breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Better still, serving tea with a drop of even the lowest-level potion would still make people ecstatic.
For Ji-Cheok, pleasing people’s appetite seemed to be a great way to fish for attention without being too obvious.If Ji-Cheok learned how to brew potions, that would bring him instant popularity.
‘Yes, the way to people’s hearts is through their stomachs.’
After finishing this thought, Ji-Cheok started to search for alchemy skills.
[◇◆ Scrooge ’s Alchemy ◇◆ — 4,800 Likes]
[Class: Unique (Upgradable, Rank F)
Penny @Pinchers! ▶ The Alchemy of the Incarnation, Kim Scrooge’s Vision.
Ingredients are cheap and the production scale is huge!
You too can be rich! Low investment ▧ High value◆ Opportunity to spend!
A Grand Opening Discount has been applied to the cost and you will receive a
*This item is non-refundable.]
What’s going on?‘
Ji-Cheok’s entire skill shop window shone bright like an arcade game screen.
This listing seemed so familiar, like the sparkling advertisements that would get sent straight to one’s spam folder.
Ji-Cheok felt that if he clicked to purchase the item, twenty different illegal gambling sites would appear and crash his computer.
‘But… But… Scrooge! Low investment ▧ High value◆ Opportunity to spend! It looks so good…’
Ji-Cheok’s heart wanted to get the skill, but his mind was conflicted.
He didn’t really know if the skill would be effective in gaining Likes, but the alluring details sure made him feel like it would.
Whoever created this skill would definitely end up either rich due to their incredible scamming abilities, or in a hospital for the same reason.
[4,800 Likes have been used to purchase ◇◆Scrooge’s Alchemy ◇◆.]
The grand opening discount, a special limited edition gift, and the incredibly low price compelled him.
He couldn’t even get a refund if he didn’t like the skill, but… what the hell, people only had one life.
‘I’ll check this skill out later.
Now all I have left to do is find a combat skill.’
Ji-Cheok still couldn’t figure out what form of combat to choose.
Swordplay seemed to be the most popular.
Obviously, the first thing that came to mind when hearing the word ‘warrior’ was swordsmanship, with breathtaking techniques and splendidly-crafted swords.
Flashy swords stood out indeed, but was that good enough?
Ji-Cheok decided to look up some videos in the popular section of GodTube.
‘Of course, there’s a lot of sword videos.’
The next most popular was magic.
Those caught in a magic attack would be destined to die, and it was those who looked physically weaker that deceived the laws of the world.
Even if a video recorded a sorcerer creating the tiniest fireball with their magic, it would still grab everyone’s attention.
Coming in third was the fist, the primitive violence itself.
When a fist pierced through a monster’s chest, even the strictest blood&gore censorship on GodTube could do nothing to prevent the viewers’ adrenaline from skyrocketing.
However, while punching through an enemy was certainly exhilarating, getting punched in turn was much less so.
A sword or shield could parry and deflect blows with no damage to the user, but in hand-to-hand combat, there were no options other than using your forearms and shoulders to protect your face.
‘Fighting with fists looks like it would hurt a lot.’
“Yeah, we, civilized humans, need weapons to fight,” Ji-Cheok kept telling himself this so he wouldn’t feel emasculated by not choosing to fight barehanded.
‘No way I’m scared.
Humans were evolved and more sophisticated, they didn’t need to use their fists.
‘Fighting with swords is the future.
Yes, definitely swords.’
When he searched for swords videos, the results were fairly diverse.
‘The videos seem to show an equal amount of left-handed and right-handed swordplay.’
Ji-Cheok instantly thought of a skill that could not be learned by merely buying the skill books; no, this thing required a certain basic aptitude.
He threw two coins in the air and caught one in his right arm and one with his left, at the same time.
‘Come to think of it, there aren’t that many Hunters that could duel with two swords.’
Dual sword wielding: swift attacks, quick combos, double the combat power.
Of course, double the equipment costs as well, and with the annoying requirement of ambidexterity, there were few who had both the skill and the cash to follow that path.
All in all, it was still worth it for Ji-Cheok to pursue this kind of swordsmanship; from the point of view of an attention seeker, it was an opportunity to look stylish and get popular
‘…Dual swords are the future.’
He was confident that he would make twice as much money if he were to double his attacks.
[Mysterious Sword: White Night, Dark Night — 4,200 Likes]
[Class: Unique (Upgradable, Rank F)
Sword left by a nameless mortal.
White Night will be wielded by the left hand while Dark Night will be carried by the right hand.
It is characterized by fast, fine and spectacular swordsmanship, and when the skill level increases, it evolves into a new skill.
Evolved Skill — The Song of the Red Moon.]
Ji-Cheok felt like the explanation was so vivid, that he could smell the blood of those slain by this weapon.
It brought back old memories of his middle school days that he had almost forgotten.
He clicked “Buy” without even thinking twice, then he took a look at the defensive skills.
[Fleeing Shadow — 5,232 Likes]
[Class: Rare (Upgradable, Rank F)
This defense skill was created by the legendary Divine Thief.
Dodge enemy attacks quickly or use your weapons to unleash attacks quickly and spectacularly.]
He also found a suitable CC skill:
[Shadow Stealer — 7,800 Likes]
[Class: Rare (Non-Upgradable, Rank D)
Used by the legendary Divine Thief, this skill allows you to steal an enemy’s speed and defense by stepping on their shadow.
The stolen movement speed and defense can be used for 10 minutes.
Stealing an enemy’s shadow makes for a brilliant performance!]
Ji-Cheok thought that the seller of these two skills must have been the same person.
First, he noticed how the skill details and phrasings were intended to grab people’s attention.
Second, Ji-Cheok wanted to know why the seller mentioned the Divine Thief.
How come a thief had this kind of eye-catching skills, and why were they called “legendary” and “Divine” if they were a thief?
‘Eh, what’s the point in knowing about this anyways? Anything that will get me more Likes!’
Then, there were healing and blessing skills.
[Silph’s Recovery — 4,200 Likes]
[Class: Rare (Non-Upgradable, Rank E)
The lesser wind spirits of the ancient forest will quickly heal the user’s wounds.
The user will be surrounded by the verdant leaves and the calming scent of the woodlands.]
[Silph’s Blessings — 4,600 Likes]
[Class: Rare (Non-Upgradable, Rank E)
A group of spirits will bless the user.
While the blessing is active, a green light will envelop the user.
Attack power and agility will be slightly increased.]
Healing skills and buffs pertaining to the holy system were the most popular.
However, divine blessings inevitably required faith, and life was too much of a hellhole to simply go to a temple, pray to the gods, and repent.
In addition, there was a high possibility that holy skills would conflict with White Night, Dark Night and the skills in the shadow system.
‘Try your best to stand out without assistance from the gods! Gotta be the top attention whore!’ Ji-Cheok knew and accepted that he would begin his career as an attention seeker and finish it no differently.
‘Spirits! Bless me!’
This invocation sounded so cringe to Ji-Cheok, but he had to accept it, as it would make him popular with the teenagers.
It was the sad thought process of an outsider who craved attention but never got any.
‘Ugh, let’s be patient with this.’
Finally, it was time to look at movement and passive skills.
[Wind and Cloud Steps — 5,100 Likes]
[Class: Rare (Upgradable, Rank F)
A movement skill that imitates the fleeting wind and clouds — a symbol of a comfortable and simple life.
The user’s every move will be elegant and flow smoothly like water.]
[Prince Charming — 6,000 Likes]
[Class: Rare (Non-Upgradable, Rank C)
Everything that the user consumes will be contributed towards their beautification: This skill can help restore skin elasticity, remove acne, lose weight, tighten pores, and improve skin complexion and hair!
*This item is non-refundable.]
‘Prince Charming, my ass! Why on earth is it so expensive? It doesn’t heal wounds or make your swordsmanship better, and it doesn’t even make you faster so you can head for the hills when monsters appear!’
The reason was actually quite simple.
Some cosmetic products became much more expensive when they were advertised to have premium ingredients like whale oil, even if their actual quality was crappy.
Ji-Cheok was now a GodTube Influencer, and besides the challenging Hunter life, he also had to take exceptional care of his looks.
It was important to maintain his dashing appearance as it directly correlated with the number of fans he would attract, which in turn was proportional to the number of Likes.
‘Haha, it is what it is.
If I want Likes, I have to be willing to give up other things.’
Regrettably, the thing he had to give up right now was his dignity, and Ji-Cheok sighed as he heard the sound of his manly pride shattering into pieces inside his chest.
He couldn’t help it.
Idols succeed in getting to the top by wearing cute animal costume hats during fan sign events.
Even world-famous idols couldn’t say no to wearing cute animal costume hats.
That was the mindset of a professional and that was the mindset that Ji-Cheok was in.
If he wanted to get big in this industry, beauty was his answer.
“Ha ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha ha! I’m an attention whore! I crave attention! Worship me! You little punks!” he yelled out.
He grinned and laughed as if he was going mad, and stacked the skill books one by one.
It was a desperate struggle to get Likes in the hell of lookism.
* * *
Two days had passed since Ji-Cheok purchased his skill books.
He had tried to practice them one by one.
He hadn’t fully mastered them yet, but he could use them in a pinch.
Ji-Cheok prepared some instant ramen and slurped the noodles.
[You have consumed instant ramen.]
[Skin Elasticity has increased by 3.]
‘How did the System come to the conclusion that my Skin Elasticity increased by three?’
Ji-Cheok had no choice but to accept that the System’s calculation was correct.
‘Is this like how the facial creams that claim they contain nutrients and vitamins are actually placebos?”
The restaurant ajumma was a victim of this, as she had previously worked at a multi-level marketing job.
She said that there were so many skin care options — lotion, essence, first cream, night cream, all that — but in truth, sunscreen was the only thing that was effective at all.
The rest depended on having faith that the product worked.
‘If the result of this ‘Prince Charming’ skill depends on a placebo effect too…’
6,000 Likes could become nothing in one second.
However, Ji-Cheok decided to trust it because he needed passive skills related to beauty.
Ji-Cheok’s phone vibrated as he received a text message.
When he looked at the screen, he saw a message indicating a downpayment had been successfully deposited.
‘Was this supposed to happen…’
It must have been a huge amount, as it needed to be processed in three deposits.
Ji-Cheok was surprised, and just then his phone vibrated again.
It was Jung Ji-Han.
Of course, he would be calling immediately after his deposits were made.
“Hello,” Ji-Cheok said first.
— Have you checked the deposits? Ji-Han asked straight away.
‘Hello? You could have asked how are you doing? Have you eaten yet?’
Ji-Han didn’t even bother to be polite.
“Ah yes, yes! I have confirmed it, thank you! It was processed a lot faster than what I was expecting.
Thank you again,” Ji-Cheok responded.
— No problem.
If you want we can send an asset manager to oversee your finances.
It would make your life a whole lot easier, Ji-Han offered.
“As much as I am grateful… I think I’ll have to think about that offer.”
— Do you have a reason as to why…? Ji-Han sounded frustrated.
“I have to consult with my younger brother before I do anything.” Ji-Cheok could hear Ji-Han clicking his tongue in disappointment.
It was no exaggeration to say that Mu-Cheok was a thorn in Ji-Han’s side.
If Ji-Cheok didn’t have his brother helping him, he would have just signed the first contract that Ji-Han had presented.
Ji-Cheok would have lost out on many additional clauses that his brother had then put in to protect him and increase his perks.
Ji-Cheok talked a bit more with Ji-Han and then hung up the phone.
He pulled up his account balance on his internet bank app and looked at it multiple times.
His heart jumped.
‘I’m climbing up the social ladder! I’m becoming a popular Hunter!’
Ji-Cheok found it funny how this thought didn’t cross his mind because he gained more attention in the media or because he collected more Likes.
It was because his account balance was now eight billion won.
He dialed Mu-Cheok’s phone number, and his younger brother picked up after three rings.
* * *
The next day, Ji-Cheok met his brother at a nearby cafe.
“Holy cow!!! Your account balance is so high, it looks like something you would only be able to see in video games.” Mu-Cheok didn’t seem to grasp the reality of what was going on.
Ji-Cheok spoke calmly, “Let’s first buy a house.”
Mu-Cheok looked a bit taken aback and began to ponder.
“A house? Hmmm… how about you buy your equipment first, Hyung.
You can all buy the other stuff later.
By the way, what are your Hunter skills?”
It was admirable how Mu–Cheok could smoothly change the topic and get to the point.
Ji-Cheok knew that he was truly family, and there were no secrets between them.
“I don’t mind sharing, but I have a serious question I want to ask before I tell you,” Ji-Cheok proposed.
“What is it?”
“Do you really want to become a Hunter like me? You know there’s a real chance of you dying, right?”
a term used for middle-aged women
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