Chapter 24:

Welcome to Maniavolution [ VOL 1 END ]


The Lore Master was a most peculiar class.

Horrible stat distribution. Underwhelming choices of endgame equipment. Its only silver lining was its gimmick of copying another player or monster’s ability. But there was a limit.

A Lore Master could only copy four abilities and store them in his Compendium. As he evolved, so too did the limit. A Sage could store six, while the final evolution, Seneschal, could store eight. But if he wanted to copy a new ability, one of the existing ones in the Compendium had to be forgotten.

In terms of utility, the LM was unparalleled. But there were two major weaknesses.

First, it was unable to copy passive skills. Meaning that it simply couldn’t replicate the effectiveness of many feared abilities.

Secondly, it was extremely weak at low levels. While the Lore Master could copy the abilities of endgame classes, not many would choose to do so. Should the MP cost go beyond the LM’s current MP pool, HP would be consumed instead. This meant that back in the day, many LM mains would accidentally kill themselves from using abilities that were too costly.

Thus, Jason couldn’t be more thankful for his glitch. All five of him, to be exact.

Both his and the Jounin’s [ Shadow Clones ] were locked in fierce combat.

“Alice!” Jason called out.


Practically reading each other’s minds, Alice immediately unleashed her skill against the Orc in front of her.

[ Void Edge ]

It didn’t do much damage compared to her other skills. After all, [ Void Edge ] dealt damage based on a percentage of the enemy’s HP. But for Jason…

[ Compendio: Void Edge ]

All of the five Jasons swung an imaginary scythe, causing the Jounin’s [ Shadow Clones ] to disintegrate!


The ninja couldn’t have described the situation more accurately. [ Shadow Clones ] essentially quintupled whatever output of the user, but had significantly less HP.

Jason has multiplied himself without any drawbacks.

“Dang! Jason you’re broken AF!” Virginia exclaimed, “Hey copy this!”

The Bishop’s carefree demeanour had melted away, yelling, “Screw this! Run! Run!”

Like an echo, Jason repeated Virginia’s chant word for word:

“Oh Xentilia, make my rage yours. Let the world quake beneath our wrath!”

[ Czarnobóg ]

[ Compendio: Czarnobóg ]

At that moment, the sun turned black. The equivalent of a solar flare completely distorted the surrounding area. First, a burst of blinding darkness wiped out all colour from existence, followed by several more.

Virginia’s spell was one of the strongest spells in the game. Jason could only imitate a fraction of its power, but with five of him casting the same spell, the total damage skyrocketed to absurd levels.

By the time colour had returned to the surroundings, all life had been obliterated within Jason’s vision. Grass, stones, even the topsoil itself were vaporised, leaving a sea of darkness all around. Above it floated four crystals.

A full party wipe.

“Holy shit. We won! We actually won!” proclaimed Virginia.

As the duration of [ Shadow Clones ] hit zero, four of the Jasons vanished. The one that remained stood in disbelief. He knew that going down the Lore Master route would be effective, but not this effective.

It was the [ Shadow Clones ]. Of all the abilities he could copy, he copied the most broken one for his class. [ Grand Heal ], [ Void Edge ] and now, [ Czarnobóg ]—everything he did became much more potent. He was far from the depressing meat shield that he once was.

At Lvl 11, he could actually hurt maxed-out players. And he didn’t even have his class’s weapon, a tome, equipped.

If he was to reach Lvl 100, then…

He shook his head, trying his best to stop the power from getting to it. Instead, he focused on the opportunity created by this victory.

With his entire party speechless, he finally had the chance he had been waiting for. Ignoring the inky ocean in front of him, he rushed to Alice’s side.

And pulled her into a tight embrace.


Like a dog wagging its tail, Alice’s wings began flapping excitedly. Her mind was going blank. Her favourite person in the world just hugged her!

“Don’t ever do that again,” Jason warned.

“D-Do whaft?” her voice was muffled by his chest.

“Not being yourself. I don’t want you acting like that ever again.”


She started to feel warm inside. At first, she was worried that Jason had rejected her. She sealed her emotions away, because if she so much as looked at him, she felt like she’d break down.

Who would’ve thought that acting that way turned out to be the push he needed?

Pulling back, he raised his concern, “You’re not hurt, are you?”

“Not physically, no. But the mental torture you put me through after you left me hanging…that still stings,” she rubbed the area right above her heart mockingly.


He was starting to miss her playful jabs.

“You brought that on yourself.”

“Nuh-uh. That’s what you get for playing with a girl’s feelings.”

“Now you’re just gaslighting me.”

“So? Whatchu gonna do about that, huh?”

Jason sighed.

This girl…the only thing she knows is teasing. Man, you asked for it.

“Nothing,” he smiled.

“Good. Now you know how it feels to have your feelings played. So now that we’re even, we can all—”

She couldn’t find the next word to say. Well, she did, but she couldn’t say it.

Not with his lips against hers.

Time froze for Alice. At that moment, she didn’t feel like the Devil of Maniavolution anymore. She felt like a woman. A woman who just had a wish she didn’t know granted. N-No fair…

She didn’t expect that at all. Never mind. Maybe it was better that way.

While her thoughts ran in all directions trying to make sense of the situation, Jason’s mind was clear.

It’s just a game.

He had been so worried about Alice’s situation, he didn’t stop to consider his own feelings. Like Virginia said, maybe he was the one who was complicating things.

He had no right to determine how Alice lived her life. Who was he to dictate what was best for her, or the person in the real world?

All he cared for was right in front of him. Her mischievous antics, her sense of adventure, even her sadistic side—he had grown to love every bit of her.

Was it wrong to fall in love inside a video game?


But at the moment, he’d be happy to be wrong for the rest of his life.

As they eased out of the kiss, their eyes gently opened. Both sides were completely lost in each other’s gaze.

“I-I didn’t say stop…” whispered Alice.

They were about to go for another one, only to finally notice Virginia’s creepy expression right beside them.



Who squealed and who swore—that’s for you, the reader to decide.

“Mmm,” the Elf moaned, “I think I wet myself a little.”

“Gross! Go away V!”

Jason started to cough violently, his hand balled into a fist right in front of his mouth as he wheezed.

“I’m touched that I was able to bring the both of you together! That me, someone whose love always evades her grasp, was finally able to bless this chaotic server with true love.”

“If you don’t shut up I’ll kill you for real this time.”

“Oh! Woe is me!”

Alice was about to summon Pareidolia, when Jason held her back, arms scooping her up from underneath her armpits.

“H-Hey! Let me go!”

In a way, Virginia really did help. He wasn’t sure what they said in their girl talk, but she did drill some sense into him. If it weren’t for her, maybe the two of them wouldn’t have their moment together.

In any case, all three of them were happy. Happy that the party had gotten back the spunk they were missing.

There was still a long road ahead. Many more dangers lurked in the shadows and in real life.

But for now, the Elf had achieved her goal of being the matchmaker, prancing gleefully as she was chased by a murder-obsessed devil. Holding her hand was a worried filmmaker, suddenly doubting the kind of story he would tell.

For the land they were stepping on was literally covered in darkness. Darkness of their own doing.

But like the little gamers deep down in their hearts, they revelled in the chaos, causing mischief and enjoying every bit of schadenfreude they brought along the way.

In the end, it was indeed, just a game.

But this game was able to bring two broken people together. One, who had her entire life broken. The other, who was broken in a gameplay sense. Two players from different parts of the world and different walks of life, brought together through the unholy, buggy cesspit that was called…



*Author’s note

Hey everyone! Harmonica here! Boy, it’s been a complete rollercoaster for me to write this. Hope it feels the same way for you, the reader, too!

A week or so ago, I had rushed the original ending of the story (it was originally intended to end at Chapter 20). Life, and all the damn responsibilities and drama were getting to me, which made me feel like if I didn’t end my story there, then I was bound to come up with an even worse ending. I was tired, burnt out, and spent. I wanted to wipe my hands off of this novel clean and move on.

So I want to take this opportunity to thank Walker, someone who’s been following my story from the very beginning. As the first (and I believe, only) reader of the initial Chapter 19, the comment Walker left on the chapter (which you could still check out yourself) was the one that made me reconsider how I wanted to end this. So I pepped myself up, slapped my cheeks together (face and ass), and went back to square 20. And boy, I couldn’t be more glad for doing so.

The Maniavolution you see today is my love letter to isekai RPGs. I’ve watched practically every single one out there, some not to completion (sorry SAO!) and have spent years of my life gaming. I really wanted to create a story that conveyed why I love gaming so goddamn much, and as someone who can’t stay away from a good ol’ power couple (Go read The Consequence of Saving the World), this category felt like a dream come true to me.

So yeah, a billion arigathanks for following my story to the conclusion of volume 1. There are still so many things I want to explore! Jason’s intrusion detection system still hasn’t been activated (heh), Hatano’s fate is still uncertain, and good lord, that monstrosity that is Alice Thanatos will definitely return! Well, I wish you all the best in whatever you do till that day comes. Then, I’ll wish you again, hehe.