Chapter 15:

Hit That Ass


Between Jason and Windburg Ⅱ, lay a steep incline. The town sat atop a hill, evoking the image of a fortified installation. The only thing ruining that image was the wackiness of the town itself, with some buildings floating in the air, upside down sticking out of the ground, and edifices that felt like they were arranged by a civil engineer high on a cupboard full of hallucinogens.

But the acute-angled slope quickly revealed its true colours.

The incline prevented any player from running, only permitting a ridiculously slow walking animation as the character’s feet jankily traversed the hill. He could see his ankles practically dislocating with every step. Despite how painful it looked, this was a video game, and his legs were strangely perfect.

The same couldn’t be said for his speed. It reminded him of when he was a child, sneaking downstairs in the dead of the night to grab a snack from the fridge without waking anyone up.

To make matters worse, this hill was a natural barrier—any ranged class overlooking him that decided to open fire would be like shooting fish in a barrel.

“Hey Alice…the folks up there wouldn’t happen to want to kill us, would they?”

“I’ve friends there. We fought in the Horny Crusade together, remember?”

“Then…why are you still standing down there?”

“Walking up is a pain. I’ll wait till you get up a bit. Just go. I’ll watch your vids or something in the meantime.”

Her words were like a bullet to his chest, causing him to flinch out of shame. Was she still angry about the joke? He planted a seed of resolve in the hole left by the imaginary bullet, determined to get over the damn hill as fast as he could.

Thus began the jumping—a decision he’d immediately regret. Due to the surface’s harsh angle, it was like jumping mid-slope off a skateboard ramp. He immediately propelled himself backwards!

The filmmaker cursed under his breath. If it was any other game, he’d call it shitty game design. But here it served a defensive purpose, the machinations of Windburg Ⅱ’s architects of anarchy.

He looked at Alice. The girl’s eyes were gazing off into the distance, probably looking at some tab where his videos were being played.

She really thinks I’m gonna be slower than one of my shorts. Sigh.

Double jumping onto the slope, he soon discovered that walking diagonally was a tad bit faster than walking straight up. Thus the best strategy would be to walk up in a zigzag pattern, changing angles every second, resetting the character’s walk animation and squeezing out additional seconds over time.

Jason gladly took those extra seconds, because at the rate he was going, this would take minutes. This dislocated Melbourne shuffle eventually ground to a halt.

Because halfway up the hill, he was suddenly attacked.

Upon seeing his entire body glow red, he immediately lay prone, kissing the dirt and inflicting Downed on himself. No matter what, he couldn’t risk being knocked down to the bottom of the hill now!

Jason looked up, the player who attacked him wasn’t perched on top of the hill, but beside him. Judging from the skill that was used on him and the attire, his opponent was a Beastman Thief.

To start such a reckless fight in the presence of the devil—the challenger was most certainly an idiot.

“Alice!” Jason yelled, stomach still flat on the ground, “Ambush!”

She looked up at the commotion happening above, “Hey Beastman!”

“It’s Assassingh!” the lion-headed player roared back.

“Whatever! That’s my party member you’re fighting! But I’m a bit busy right now, so if you can kill him, I’ll let you take his place!”


“Heh,” the other player snickered, “Welcome to Maniavolution.”

Jason slowly got up, but he was quickly running out of patience. His partner was more occupied with watching his videos even though his life was on the line. Granted, it wasn’t, but with the disadvantageous terrain, it definitely felt like it.

“Look bro, I don’t wanna fight. I’m actually making a documentary right now, so could we sit down an—”

With a [ Blink ], his assailant struck at him with his claws. Jason guarded with his Iron Sword, not to lower damage, but to prevent his Poise from breaking and getting staggered.

“Who asked?”

Jason answered that with a sweeping cut, only to tickle the air as Assassingh deftly backflipped away.

“I’m serious bro. Telling you nicely right now—you can’t kill me. We can all stop figh—”

A spinning, drill-like lunge torpedoed towards him. The flexibility of the Iron Sword was tested as it absorbed the full brunt of that attack.

Pussy,” remarked the lion.

A vein popped in real life.

“OH IT’S ON!!”

Jason walked towards the enemy, seething in rage like a tortoise. With the terrain on his side, Assassingh manoeuvred around him with his better mobility, striking with his claws once more from a vulnerable angle.

But Jason didn’t care. All caution was thrown out the window as he met the attack with one of his own. The Thief scored the critical, while the Adventurer only landed a nick of damage.

The battle was winnable. Slow, but winnable.

As a Thief, Assassingh had to be between Lvl 11 to Lvl 30. Despite the level disadvantage, the poor DEF of the Thief meant that Jason could still harm him. And that was all that he needed.

The two traded blows—Jason lost pretty much every exchange. His strikes either missed or barely hit their target, whereas his foe already dealt an upwards of ten thousand damage.

That was when the Beastman felt something was off.

“What’s wrong, pussy?! You asked for this!! FIGHT ME!”

“How are you still alive?!”


Jason charged at the Beastman, throwing the elevation he gained on the hill so far into the bin. Startled, Assassingh dodged a bit too early, praying that his enraged opponent would also mistime his attack.

He did not mistime his attack.

Fueled by nothing but salt, the Iron Sword severed the lion’s tail, throwing him off-balance and inflicting Downed.

Assassingh scrambled to get back on his feet. Seconds felt like years as the malding Human marched towards him with the fury of a thousand suns.

“Y-You’re hacking!”

“Hey mods! You heard that?!” there were in fact, no mods, “Quick! Call the ambulance! Someone replaced the oxygen with COPIUM!”

The Iron Sword was baptised in Beastman blood, bringing Assassingh down to critical health.


A sliver of life was still intact as [ Blink ] finally went off cooldown, letting the Beastman escape the relentless slashing on his staggered body.


“You can tell your mum I’m going to be late tonight. This documentary is taking longer than I expected!”

“You think you’re the only one who knows how to hack, huh?! I’LL SHOW YOU!”

The clouds turned dark. Even the air stood still.

It was a scene Alice was all too familiar with.

“Jason! get out of there! Jump off the hill! JUMP!”

Her voice snapped him back to reality. She wasn’t joking anymore. His body leapt, ignoring the fall damage as he crashed onto the ground, hard.

“Who’s the pussy now, huh?” Assassingh yelled, “It’s obvious how crappy your cheat client is if you can take damage but not kill in one hit!”

The sky above shattered like pieces of glass, revealing another layer within. Purple, grotesque, and clearly alive, it started to take shape.

“Let me show you what a REAL godhack really looks li—”


What was once a Beastman was now a bloody mist. All trace of the player avatar was deleted—not even a crystal was left behind.

From within the bloody mist emerged a humanoid figure. Mirroring the fleshy replacement of a sky above, this creature was draped in blood, distorting all light that came around it.

Whatever this thing was, it dropped from the “sky”, deatomising Assasingh as it landed on him without a sound. It resembled a naked, genderless Human missing its epidermis. Without any facial features, its own “skin” crawled around all over its body, as if there were maggots underneath.

“This is why nobody uses godhacks, Jason. That thing is the anti-cheat system itself—Aksara Avatari.”

For a server with no rules, there was only one, golden rule—a rule that transcended gaming and applied to life itself.

Don’t get caught.

There were no mods, no policing in this server. For its entire eight-year lifespan, not a single update or patch was installed. Maniavolution’s last line of defence against the most egregious of hacks was a banhammer that took physical form.

But Aksara Avatari was neither human, NPC, nor monster.

It was the “will” of the game itself.

The entire sky warped, a harrowing reminder to every single player on the server not to trigger the anti-cheat. That fleshy, eldritch abomination served as a warning that pandemonium only reigned supreme because a higher power deemed it so.

But before Aksara Avatari ascended back to the heavens from whence it came, it hesitated.

Its eyeless head turned to face Alice, observing the devil with intense curiosity.

Just as it was about to take a step further, the subcutaneous sky pulled Aksara Avatari back into its fold, returning the world to the state it once was.