Chapter 5 — Rise To The Challenge!
Ji Meng’s true identity…!
Edited by Planetes
Thirty minutes late, Ling Xiaolu sneaked back online like a thief. He looked around him cautiously, and only heaved a breath of relief after confirming there was no one there.
“You were offline for so long, did you go and relieve yourself? The power of the overwhelmer cannot be underestimated!”
Ling Long appeared from some corner, giving him a fright.
“Are you trying to scare me to death?!”
“Relax, Ji Meng has been long gone.”
“Hmph, I haven’t settled my debts with you yet.” Ling Xiaolu clearly had plans about torturing it.
“Debts?” Ling Long pressed its claws to its chest in exaggeration. “If not for my timely kick, you might be in Dongye right now.”
“Dongye? Where is that?”
“It’s the location of the benefactor’s mansion whom you just met.”
Ling Xiaolu cast it a side-eye glance. “You seem to know it very clearly.”
“Benefactors are distinguished customers of our company. Every customer service agent is requested to be familiar with their general information,” Ling Long answered smoothly.
“Really? Then what about Li Zheng?”
“He lives in Beimang where few people go, and rarely comes down the mountain.”
“Very good, then I’ll just head towards the southwest direction as far away from them as possible.”
Ling Long pressed its claw against its head. “There’s about a hundred benefactors in the game, and they’re located all over the continent. Almost everyone has their own area of influence. Also, they all have unlimited teleportation abilities, and they can instantly teleport to anywhere they like. In my opinion, running away blindly like this will not be effective.”
Ling Xiaolu sagged for a few minutes, before turning around and heading back to Yuanting County.
“Where are you going?”
Ling Long bounded after him.
“Since I won’t be able to run anywhere, I just won’t run. The most dangerous place is the safest place. There’s so many people in Yuanting County, it would likely be difficult to find me amongst all these green names, right?”
Ling Long was enlightened. “You’re really too clever!”
“Tell me exactly how do you go about playing this game. If things like this happen again, I don’t want to be so passive anymore.”
“How ambitious!” Ling Long clenched its claw, “I like to follow such lofty players like you!”
“Let’s not mention anything else first. Is there a public chat channel in this game?”
“Of course! We have many channels, both public and private. There’s also region channels, and channels categorised according to their uses. Just pinch your earlobe lightly and say the name of the channel you’ll like to join, and the chat window will appear. If it’s a private locked channel, after saying the channel name you’ll need to say the password, or be invited before you can join the channel. By calling a person’s username, you can start a private chat with them. By the way, if you need to call out to me at any time, you can also use this method.”
Ling Xiaolu pinched his right earlobe. “Ling Long.”
A mini-card appeared in midair in front of him, it was a chat window.
Ling Long: Can you see it? Next time when you’re in a situation where it’s not convenient to speak, you can use this.
Ling Long: You only need to silently think about the content you’ll like to send, and the system would automatically pick it up.
Lu Bi: Sure, you universally unmatched golden dragon spirit.
Ling Long: … You’ve sent what you secretly thought.
Lu Bi: Oh, I’m not very good at this yet. Sorry, lizard.
Ling Long: … (maintaining a professional smile)
Ling Xiaolu drew his finger in the air, swiping away Ling Long’s chat window and giving a new command.
“Region Channel – Jingzhe City.”
System: You’ve joined the local region channel.
Another chat window sprung up. It happened to be very busy in the Jingzhe City channel, and messages flew across the screen.
【Local】Chu Huan: Who was the one who said the benefactors were gathering at Yuanting County? Where are they?
【Local】Bai Qi: They should be where the pink names are.
【Local】Little Teddy Qiuqiu: I’ve been searching for so long but I didn’t see any pink or gold names, they’re all red or green.
【Local】Shoujo Man: You don’t have the human combat pet radar, how would you even be able to find them.
【Local】Ni Ya: But I heard there were many coming, someone should have seen them, right?
【Local】Leaves Around The Clock: I saw one! He’s at the entrance of the forest outside the county!
【Local】Ruan Qi: Who is it who is it?! Send a screenshot!
【Local】Leaves Around The Clock: [Screenshot]
【Local】Qiao You: It’s Daddy Kou!
【Local】Wei Zhengzhi: I’m not chatting anymore, I’m going to find my daddy. Daddy, wait for me!
Ling Xiaolu exited the forest to see a benefactor named Dou Kou surrounded by a crowd. That benefactor could barely even move.
Ling Xiaolu took a deep breath and walked past the gold name person openly. The legendary Daddy Kou was getting tired of dealing with the increasing number of sycophants, and completely did not realise that he had brushed shoulders with his prey just like that.
Only when he left the other person’s line of sight did Ling Xiaolu sigh in relief. Only the heavens knew how frightened he was of being recognised.
It seemed like this method was very effective. As long as there were many people around as a shield, he would not have to be afraid of getting exposed.
Ling Long flew obediently next to him, pretending to be a quiet pretty wind pterosaur. It would periodically perform a system action, displaying the most common skill used by a non-combative pet — acting cute.
He had passed the first stage. For the second stage, he would need to arm himself.
“Where can I go to learn skills?”
“Spirit School, commonly known as Pet-X. Over there, you can learn most of the skills available. Other rarer skills would need to be learnt through skill books, and there are various ways you can obtain the books.”
“Pet-X? Your game even specially designed a mating centre for the pets?” Ling Xiaolu asked contemptuously.
“What are you thinking about?” Ling Long was even more contemptuous. “It’s the pet market exchange. Long ago when there was no shops owned by players, everyone all sold and bought pets at Spirit School. Up till now, the nickname yet to be changed, and some casual players still like to perform their trades there. Instead, it’s rare for people to call Spirit School by its official name.”
Fine, that place was called Pet-X. Ling Xiaolu found the building with the biggest shop front in the county, and as expected, many casual players were hawking their wares with their pets there, with people bargaining as well. Ling Xiaolu did not have a pet with him, and his entrance drew the eyes of many sellers.
“A freshly caught young mammoth, it’s a rare pet. You can teach it to carry you!”
“Come look at my mantis pet, it’s attack skill is top-tier. It’s a must-have in combat!”
“Here’s a black sheep that’s the most suitable for new players, selling it at a bargain!”
Ling Xiaolu ignored them, walking straight inside where the pet trainers were. There were seven NPCs there, and the names above their heads were all different.
“There’s 8 classes of pets in the game, and they are bugs, plants, beasts, undead, metal, spirits and dragons, as well as the player-controlled humans. Every class has different types, and each type has 7 pets of various attributes. For example, the flying type under the dragon class has the wind-attribute Wind Pterosaur, the water-attribute Ice Dragon, the fire-attribute Blazing Dragon etc.. The seven attributes varies in effectiveness against each other, and so choosing a pet of a certain attribute during a PK has to be considered carefully.”
“You say there’s 8 classes of pets, but there’s only 7 NPC trainers here.”
“Because there’s no trainer for human pets. Player-controlled pets have no specific skills, but they can learn all skills from the other 7 classes, and this point alone is enough to defy the laws of nature. Think about it, the bug pets have high attack skills, plant pets are good at healing, but you can do it all yourself!”
“But there’s still a limit to the skills I can learn, right?”
“That’s right, pets have a fixed number of skill points, so choosing what skills to learn is also something that has to be considered carefully. However, if you’re dissatisfied with your skills, you can reset them any time. You’ll only need to pay the resetting fee.”
Ling Xiaolu enquired after the beast trainer closest to him, and a thick wuxia secret manual descended from the sky. Players could look through it, and a skill was listed on every page. However, Ling Xiaolu did not understand why the name of these skills were in grey.
“I can’t learn any of these skills?”
“You have to see if you can satisfy the criteria listed after each skill. Usually, a skill would require you to fulfil two obligations, skill points and money. For exclusive skills, there’s also requirements for the types of pets.
Ling Xiaolu flipped to a page randomly:
— Earthquake [Max Grade]
— Skill Points: 240 points / Money: 200000 spirit coins / Exclusive to: Mammoth types
— Skill Effect: Will cause violent tremors to shake the ground, interrupting the actions of all targets in the area.
— Cooldown: 5 minutes
“Oh? This is a very powerful PVP area of effect skill. The number of skill points required is also very high. Learning this skill means that you will need to give up on many other skills, you’ll need to consider this very carefully.”
“I don’t have enough skill points, nor do I have any money. How do I obtain skill points?”
“You can complete quests, accept missions, but the fastest method is by eating.”
“Pat your waist, this is the shortcut gesture to opening your inventory.”
Ling Xiaolu followed the instructions and opened his inventory. A newbie’s inventory was very small, there were only twenty-four slots in it.
“We’ve gifted you with two skill pills. Each pill will increase your skill points by 25 points, and they’re enough for you to learn some single attack skills. When you want to increase your skill points in the future, you’ll have to rely on your own strength.”
Ling Xiaolu retrieved a pill from the inventory and placed it in his mouth. He had thought that there would not be any taste to the items in the game, but who would have thought that this skill tablet melted in the mouth, and after swallowing it down, a faint osmanthus flavour lingered on his tongue.
“It’s yummy!” He revelled in the taste.
“It tastes pretty good, right? Our technical department has spent a lot of effort on simulating the sensory feelings. All the energy potions, medication and food all have their unique taste and mouthfeel. There are even many foodies who play this game just to eat. The most important thing is, no matter what you eat, you’ll never have to worry about putting on weight!”
“… You guys really know how to sell your game,” Ling Xiaolu praised sincerely.
With an increase in his skill points, together with the start-up funds provided by the system, some of the basic skills in the book finally lit up.
He studied the skill manuals of the seven trainers successively, and chose two —
— Ice Arrow [Grade 1]: A spirit-class attack spell, causing slight damage to a single target, and will also reduce the target’s speed. Requires 15 skill points, and can be raised up to 10 levels.
— Dig [Max Grade]: A plant-class counterattack spell, removing the speed reducing debuff on self, and borrowing the power of the earth to escape from battle. Requires 35 skill points.
Watching him, Ling Long was speechless. One made the enemy unable to get close to him, the other allowed him to run away quickly. It completely fitted the behaviour of a pet who did not want to be a pet.
Ling Xiaolu obtained two skill books. Placing the books between his hands, he clapped them together. The books turned into light and gradually vanished, and at the same time, he received two system notifications.
【System】You have mastered the new skills [Ice Arrow] and [Dig], please check the skills panel for more information.
【System】You have earned an achievement: Mastering 1 skill. You have gained 5 achievement points.
“What’s the shortcut for the skills panel?”
“You need to draw a seal like this.”
Ling Long demonstrated it to him with its four-fingered claw. As its shape was different, and it was tiny as well, Ling Xiaolu was unable to see it clearly. Ling Long had to pull out a diagram for newbies and showed it to him.
The gesture to summon the skills panel was pretty cool. The thumb and the first two fingers would be straight, and the last two fingers bent. Putting it together, it looked like a gesture a ninja would make.
The skills panel was arranged according to the seven pet classes. Currently only the spirit class and the plant class had icons below it.
“The skills in the game can be activated with an action or a word, or you can combine both together as well. You can create the requirements for activating each skill yourself. The activation is very interesting. For example, you can use a spellcasting action for the ice arrow, or just say “pew pew pew” to activate it. You can also do the spellcasting action as you shout “pew pew pew”, and this combination method is more commonly seen.”
“…” Ling Xiaolu said, “But the third method sounds the most chuuni.”
“This is because there are many skills in the game. There’s the physical attacks, magic attacks, and the support skills. Many players like to classify them like this, for example, chopping your hand down + a ‘heh’ activates a whirlwind, chopping your hand down + a ‘hah’ activates flames, chopping your hand down + a roar activates a series of basic attacks; or a spellcasting gesture + a ‘dot’ activates an ice arrow, a spellcasting gesture + a ‘line’ activates an ice dragon, and a spellcasting gesture + a “wave” activates an ice rain. Like this, it’ll be much easier to remember them.”
“Isn’t it easier if I just use the names of the skills to activate them?”
“I would strongly suggest that you don’t do that. If not, during a PK, your opponent only has to listen to you and know what’s your next move. Hence, please try to make the activation a bit more abstract.” Ling Long could not help saying, “Actually, as a GM, I’ve seen too many extremely creative players. There’s a player who chanted a verse of the Heart Sutra to activate a skill, and there are even players who know martial arts who would activate their skills with a martial arts movement. Their activations are very smooth and marvelous. If you have a chance, you must go take a look.”
“You can even do it like that? Then let me think…”
Ling Xiaolu set the activation methods for the two skills he just learnt. Pointing two fingers together with a “don’t come over” would activate the ice arrow, and doing a backwards somersault on the spot with a “I’m going” would activate dig.
Ling Long was a little worried. “A backwards somersault, isn’t that a little too difficult?”
Ling Xiaolu had grown up learning breakdancing and parkour. For him, actions like this were only small tricks. He tested the skills on the spot, and each time he activated a skill, a new icon would refresh in the centre of the virtual interface. Accompanying it was also cool lighting and powerful sound effects, and Ling Xiaolu looked as though a martial arts expert had taken over his body.
“Impressive, impressive!” Ling Long was starry-eyed, “I really couldn’t tell that you’re actually an expert. I’m filled with anticipation about your future.”
After learning the two skills, Ling Xiaolu was now completely broke.
“Is there any way to earn money?”
“For newbies, if you want to earn money, you have to work hard and accept missions. When each mission is completed, you’ll be able to get money for it. You can also sell the items you collect when you’re doing the mission to the player-owned shops. You can save quite a bit of money by accumulating it this way.”
“Then is there any way of earning money faster?”
“That’s even easier. You just have to go outside now and look for a place with the most people, then shout ‘I’m a human pet’. Then you’ll be able to get a lot of money instantly, and you wouldn’t have to do anything, just play the game however you like.”
Ling Xiaolu: 凸=_=凸
The region chat that Ling Xiaolu had minimised to its smallest size flashed. He opened it, and realised that someone had sent an announcement in it. Such announcements required a sum of money, and the more channels the announcement was sent to, the bigger the fee.
【Local】【Announcement】Dou Kou: A 5 million coins reward when you provide me the coordinates of a pink name in a private message. If the information is incorrect, there’ll be no reward and you’ll be blacklisted.
Ling Xiaolu hastily opened his inventory and counted twice, confirming that all his assets added up to less than 500 coins.
“Quick, look! I’m actually worth 5 million!”
Ling Long was very disdainful about it. “What is 5 million? Just wait and see.”
As expected, a new announcement appeared very quickly below that one.
【Local】【Announcement】Ji Meng: 10 million for coordinates, 20 million if you can give me the username.
Twenty million! Holy fuck!
Ling Xiaolu was about to scream.
“This Papa’s username is very familiar!”
Ling Long, … What happened to your ambition?
“No, everyone’s used to calling the one above Papa Kou, and the one below, most people would call him Hubby.” Ling Long was afraid he would address them wrongly, so it kindly gave him an explanation.
To no surprise, the passionate players had already set an example and shown it to Ling Xiaolu.
【Local】Hei Zai: Hubby is aggressive!
【Local】Ink Feathers: Hubby you’re awesome!
【Local】Baa Baa: Changing your support over so quickly, be careful that your father would disown you.
【Local】Ink Feather: So what? With a husband, I don’t want my father anymore!
【Local】Ah Miao: You even dare to flirt with the Ji fellow, aren’t you afraid that your account would be locked?
【Local】Rare Rice: Newbie here begging for an explanation, don’t tell me it’s the Ji I’m thinking about?
【Local】DDVP: The one above said something vulgar →_→1
【Local】Rare Rice: … *faint*, that’s not what I meant!”
Ling Xiaolu was greatly enlightened. “No wonder everyone calls him hubby and not daddy. Papa Ji really sounds too awful.”2
Ling Long, … I really want to laugh but I cannot behave presumptuously.
“But they said that the account would be locked, what’s wrong with this surname?”
“Do you really not know, or are you pretending?”
“Isn’t this just his username?”
“No, no, it’s his real name.”
Using his real name in a game, this fellow is really too simple-minded.
“I really don’t know, why don’t you give me a lesson?”
“Have you heard of the president of Xinshan?”
“I don’t know him.”
“… Don’t tell me Ji Meng is your crown prince?”
“No, he’s the president’s nephew. However, as President Ji does not have any son, many people in the game still refers to Ji Meng as Crown Prince Ji.” Ling Long added in a quiet voice, “This is a secret nickname, don’t ever say it to his face.”
Ling Xiaolu, “…”
Ling Xiaolu gained an understanding of this relationship. “So just now when he said his ring was given to him by his uncle, it was actually given by your boss? Why didn’t you mention such an important information just now?”
“The surname Ji is quite rare. I thought that most people would realise it. At least, people who play this game would have heard about it before.”
“Then I’m really sorry. In the past, I’ve been buried in my studies, and have never paid attention to the matter of the surname of Xinshan’s president.”
“It’s fine. At least now you’ve even had such a close interaction with the Ji family, right?”
“Can I choose not to interact?” Ling Xiaolu asked. “Then just now, the customer service girl even lied to him. You guys even dare to deceive the president’s nephew.”
“Our company puts the interests of the customers above everything. All players are equal, and no biasness exists.”
“So his money isn’t given to him by the programmers?”
“Tampering with data would violate the contract of the game. Even the president’s own daughter is not allowed to do so. All his ingame currency is gained through proper channels.”
“But the money to buy the ingame currency is obtained from the players.”
“You’re correct. But players spend the money willingly, and he also gained the money properly, there’s no ground for blame here.”
“Will he go to the technical department and try to dig for information?” Ling Xiaolu was still very worried.
“If he was going to dig for information, he would have done it long ago. There wouldn’t be a need to look for the GM to report a bug. You don’t have to worry about this, he’s not the only family member of the higher ups playing this game. Everyone is very self-aware and observes the regulations, if not, the players would have long revolted.”
“That’s good.” Ling Xiaolu walked out, about to study that mission Ling Long was talking about.
Exiting the door of Pet-X, he saw Ji Meng in front of him. Ji Meng seemed to noticed him at the same time.
Ji Meng immediately headed towards Ling Xiaolu upon seeing him. Ling Xiaolu panicked, and pointed at him with two fingers.
“Don’t come over!”
An ice arrow shot out, and below Ji Meng appeared a frozen effect, slowing him down.
Ji Meng completely did not expect that someone would dare attack him directly. He looked down and was furious, “You dare slow my speed?”
Why would Ling Xiaolu even care about what he was saying? And so, Ling Xiaolu did a backflip on the spot.
Ji Meng watched him vanish right in front of his eyes, leaving only a skill visual effect of a cloud of dust behind him.
The effect of a grade one ice arrow only lasted for one and a half seconds. Ji Meng rushed over and looked around, but failed to catch even a glimpse of Ling Xiaolu’s shadow.
This was already the second time that Ling Xiaolu had ran away right in front of him. In a rage, Ji Meng pulled out the greatsword on his back and swung it heavily, raising his own cloud of dust.
“Damn you! Just wait and see!”
Author’s note: Both the top and bottom are children about to enter university, and so their speech and behaviour tend to be more immature. This is the youngest main CP (and the most chuuni one) that I’ve ever written.
I’m looking for help! In about a month, I’ll be increasing the rate of updates for one of my monthly-updated novels. Which one would you like to have updated weekly?