Chapter 1: The Birth of a Prince – translated by Erialis
It is the year 2100 AD. As a result of technological advancements – such as the advent of virtual reality, and the creation of sleep-based game machines – online gaming has rapidly developed over the years.
Thus, the realism of online games has increased from 50%…60%…70%…to 80%. The current market is dominated by two MMO giants –The World and Life – both of which have achieved a realism level of 85%. With over 80% of the human population making up the number of players, the first thing that anyone asks of a new acquaintance is, “Are you from The World or Life?”
However, things have begun to change. The world’s largest technology company has caused a huge stir with its revelation: after ten years of research, they have created Second Life, the latest game with a realism level of 99%.
And now the entire world waits with bated breath…
Online, in The World…
“Bro, look, what do you think this is?”
I, Feng Xiao Xiao, raised the “Blue River Goddess” wand, showing it off to my younger twin brother. Haha! With a magic power of 102, and the property of raising the power of ice-based attacks by 20%, the “Blue River Goddess” was definitely a mage’s treasure. It had taken quite a bit of effort to wheedle my husband into buying it.
“The ‘Blue River Goddess’? What the heck, Sis; doesn’t this wand cost a hundred thousand gold? Where did you get the money? Did you win the lottery or something?” Feng Wu Qing – who happened to be my real life younger brother – asked, staring at the wand in my hand.
“My husband gave it to me, obviously,” I replied smugly, still showing off.
“Another gift from my brother-in-law… It must be nice to be a woman, with equipment delivered to your doorstep automatically, and no need to work hard for it on your own,” Feng Wu Qing muttered.
“What did you say?!” My eyebrows furrowed as I focused. A bolt of ice – a mid-level spell – flew towards him.
Being a warrior, Feng Wu Qing’s magical resistance was insubstantial. His HP instantly decreased by half. Considering that the amount of pain felt in-game was only 20% of what one would feel in reality, this ice bolt would probably have been about as painful as being cut with a kitchen knife. Wait, wouldn’t that be…very painful?! I realized.
“Hey, that hurts like hell! Cut it out, will you?” Seeing that he’d lost half his health, Feng Wu Qing had no choice but to start gulping down health potions. “Bitch…”
You dare to call me a bitch? Or I should say: If you – a mere level 95 warrior – dare to mouth off at me – a level 115 mage… You must want to DIE! Enraged, I completely forgot that the person before me was my brother and cast a high-level spell, blasting him away with a blizzard. All of a sudden, I realized what I had done. Shit, Wu Qing couldn’t have died now, could he?
“Urgh…” From the sound of my brother’s pitiful groan, it must have hurt really badly… Sorry, Bro.
“Damn bitch, crazy woman, stupid Sis! Are you trying to kill me?!” Feng Wu Qing wheezed, lying on the ground in half-dead state. Seeing that he was still alive, I felt overcome with relief.
“Who told you to call me a bitch? Besides, your level and equipment are too pathetic, if you collapse after a mere bolt of ice and a blizzard. I could just step on you and you’d have the fortune of becoming the first warrior ever to be stomped to death by a mage.” Seeing that Wu Qing was still alive, I couldn’t resist mocking him further.
Lying on the ground, Feng Wu Qing seemed to have been shamed into anger, for he answered coldly. “Who wants to be as shameless as you?! Always asking guys to give you equipment or to help you level, always hiding at the back of a party, always ninja-ing the good loot… It’d be ridiculous if you were still low-level and wearing crap gear!”
Infuriated, I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks. “I… I…” feel a bit guilty…
Seeing that I was speechless, Feng Wu Qing decided to rub salt in my wound. Being so blunt, is he really my brother? “I’m not done talking yet. You women only know how to beg others to give you gear and to help you level, always picking classes that will allow you to hide and gain experience from afar.”
I stamped my foot on the ground. “Fine, why don’t we reroll and see who levels up faster?”
Feng Wu Qing sneered. “Forget it. What’s the point of rerolling? Brother-in-law will still help you and there will still be a horde of guys who would power-level you and give you equipment.”
“That’s because they want to, it’s got nothing to do with me!”
“Then just don’t accept it and train on your own!”
“But it’d be such a waste…” I said in a small voice.
“Hmph!” Feng Wu Qing looked at me coldly.
I felt my anger rise, but just when I was about to open my mouth and continue arguing with him, an extremely fast boss fire monkey suddenly appeared from behind my brother. Rushing towards us at lightning speed, it struck my brother’s head with a powerful blow. Could it be a grudge, I wondered…
<System notice: Feng Wu Qing -135HP, Feng Wu Qing HP=0, Status: Dead>
Stunned, I watched helplessly as my brother turned into a pillar of light and shot off into the sky. After dying in the game, one would always turn into a pillar of light and fly back to the rebirth point.
Oh shit, my brother died… I was in deep trouble. According to The World’s sick rules, if killed by a mob, one’s level would return to level one.He is so going to give me grief, I thought, breaking out into a cold sweat. I had clean forgotten, however, that the boss was still in front of me – except now I was a mage without a warrior for a meat-shield…
“Urgh…” I, who had never died before, tasted death for the first time. So death feels this horrible… I hurriedly removed the game helmet and began to hurl.
“You died?” I raised my head and saw my brother looking at me with an expression of incomprehension. He had rushed over from his room in order to scold me for causing him to revert to level one, but now…he was still going to scold me anyway. “You idiot! Why didn’t you use a scroll of recall when you saw me die?”
“I was too stunned to react when I saw you die!”
I looked at him miserably. How could I have known that in the few seconds that I froze up, that damn monkey boss and his monkey descendants would turn me into a pillar of light in the blink of an eye?
“My bad for getting you killed…”
“Forget it; after all, I’m not going to play The World anymore.”
“Huh? You’re not playing? Why?”
My little brother – I guess I should mention this: His name is Feng Yang Ming, and mine is Feng Lan – looked at me with an exasperated expression. “Don’t you know that Second Life is coming out?”
“Second Life?” I repeated, confused.
My brother immediately stared at me as though I was an idiot.
“Second Life is the latest virtual reality game, with a realism level of 99%. It’s said that you can even feel the wind blowing on your face and hear the soft chirp of insects, to the point where it feels like you’re in the real world.”
I frowned, my eyebrows furrowing. “Then wouldn’t it be really painful? If you get hurt…”
“Gah! You women are always scared of pain. With a realism level of 99%, who gives a damn about the pain?” That damn brother of mine looked at me with an irritatingly superior expression, and added, “Don’t worry, the pain felt has only been raised to 30%.”
I went, “Oh,” but still I couldn’t help thinking, Hmph, to think that you were crying out from the pain just now. If they’d really raised the bar to 99%, I doubt you could still say that you don’t give a damn about the pain! However, since I’d only just gotten him killed, I didn’t dare to make so much as a peep. “So you’re not playing The World anymore then?”
“Please. Everyone who’s playing The World and Life now is just waiting for Second Life to come out. Once Second Life is out, both The Worldand Life will probably just shut down!”
“Then I guess I’ll go play that too.” A realism level of 99% did sound rather attractive and since I was going to have to retrain, I might as well start over in Second Life.
“You’re going to use that ‘give me equipment and help me level’ skill again, huh.”
Now I was pissed off. “Feng. Yang. Ming. I’m warning you… This time I’m definitely not going to get anyone to help me or give me equipment, so don’t come complaining to me if you level up slower than me.”
“As if I would level up slower than you.”
We two siblings glared lightning bolts at one another.
I picked up the game cartridge, muttering darkly to myself. Stupid brother, I’m so going to out-level you and I’m going to leave you with absolutely no room to complain. I jammed the game cartridge vengefully into the game helmet and glanced at the clock. Seeing that it was time, I put the helmet on and was planning to rush straight into the game and train so fast that he couldn’t even catch up. I had forgotten, however, that I’d adjusted my clock to be five minutes earlier than the actual time, so that I would always be punctual for appointments…Why is it pitch black? Just as my head was bursting with questions, a bright light flooded in before my eyes and an extraordinary beauty appeared before me. Hmph! Not another beauty! It’s damn annoying! Don’t these game developers know that girls also play computer games? Why don’t they ever make some eye candy to welcome us girls?
“Hello, and welcome to Second Life. This is your first time playing, so please give us a moment to scan your body and record your vocal frequency. That way, you will be able to immediately enter the game once you put the game helmet on.”
I waited silently for the scanning process to complete.
“Right, now you may begin to create your character. Before you proceed, I must remind you that you will only have one chance to create a character. Once created, your race, name, and appearance cannot be changed.”
“Then I can’t recreate my character?” Aren’t they overdoing it with such strict rules?
“In order to preserve the realism of Second Life, each person may only have one account and one character, without exception.”
“Then what happens if my character dies?” Don’t tell me that I’ll never be able to play again…?
“If your character dies, you will be returned to the rebirth point. As a penalty, you will be demoted a level.”
What bizarre rules, I thought, dazed.
“Would you like to begin creating your character?”
“Oh, sure. Begin!”
“Please select a race.” The ultra-beautiful NPC had barely finished speaking when the originally empty scene was suddenly filled with tons of seemingly living characters, all posing in front of me. The races ranged from humans, elves, dark elves, dwarves, demons, holymen, beastmen (sub-species included wolves, birds, wildcats, etc) to spirits (with ten sub-categories, including tree spirits, flower spirits, etc). My eyes began to spin. Good grief, what am I to do! And why is there such a wide variety of races?
Seeing my overwhelmed expression, the gorgeous NPC kindly offered, “Pick whichever race you like first; I will explain it to you. And take your time, since you won’t get to reroll!”
I looked at the beauty gratefully; she suddenly seemed even lovelier than before…
“What are the racial characteristics for humans?”
“Humans’ racial characteristic is their all-roundedness. For example, their physique may not compare to beastmen and their agility may not compare to elves, but their agility is higher than beastmen and their physique is stronger than that of elves.”
Seeing that it was about the same as in other games, I began to fret. Since race is something that cannot be changed, I thought, what should I pick?
This time I want to be a warrior, I thought, still provoked by my brother’s words… That damn brother of mine, actually saying that I am scared of pain and only know how to hide! Just you wait and see; I’ll play a warrior.
From what I’d heard, humans and beastmen were the best for this class… “In that case, can I see what I’ll look like as a human and as a beast?” It was never good to judge a book by its cover, but a girl couldn’t help wanting to look pretty…
“Sure,” said the beauty, and two versions of “me” appeared. As expected, the human “me” was much better looking, but just as I was about to say that I wanted to play as a human, my dratted brother’s words came floating back into my head.
“Forget it, what’s the point of rerolling? Brother-in-law will still help you, and there will still be a horde of guys who would power-level you and give you equipment…”
Damn it, if I appeared before him looking all nice and pretty, he definitely wouldn’t believe that I did all the hard work myself. With that thought, I blurted out on impulse, “Could you make me more masculine?”
“You want to be a guy?” The beauty looked rather astonished and attempted to persuade me to recant my request. “You’d better think this through carefully. You won’t be able to change how you look.”
I began to waver…
“Plus girls have an easier time leveling up, with guys willing to help them and take care of them.”
Hearing that, I got even more pissed off. “I don’t care.”
“Give me a moment. I’ll need to talk this over with the higher-ups.” With that, she suddenly froze, not moving so much as a muscle.
So she’s actually a GM…Her expression was so stiff that I actually mistook her for an NPC!
After a while, the beauty moved again, and her expression was hesitant. “Although the changing of gender is usually prohibited, you are the first player ever to log on. Earlier we had decided to fulfill any request from the first player, so long as it is reasonable, as a reward. As for your request… After discussing it, we have decided that since you will be the only exception, this should not affect the game. We will approve your request.”
Just as she’d finished speaking, a handsome and noble-looking young man appeared before my eyes. Wow, how handsome! Looks like I’m much more suited to being a man than a woman…
“You can choose to beautify or uglify yourself by 30%.”
I didn’t even have to think about my answer. “Beautify by 30%.”
An incredibly stunning young man immediately appeared before my eyes. This is me? Good lord, what an unbelievably gorgeous man…Salivating even as I looked at the male version of myself, I thought, if I’m this good-looking as a human, then…
“I want to see myself as an elf.”
A slender, long-eared elf appeared before my eyes. Seeing that slender figure, together with that beautiful face with its delicate, gorgeous features…
“So handsome…” The beautiful GM and I sighed lustily at the same time.
“Hey, will you consider going for a sex-change operation? If you become a guy, I’ll definitely be your girlfriend,” the GM couldn’t resist saying.
What am I supposed to say to something like that?
“Alright, then it’s decided. It’ll be an elf!” That wasn’t me—that was the beautiful GM.
“This…” I said dazedly. “But I want to be a warrior…”
“Ha! Please, check out how handsome you are. It would practically be a sin against nature if you don’t choose to be an elf. No matter what, you must become an elf.” The beautiful GM was actually cajoling me… I could feel goosebumps all over.
Looks like she’s not thinking of me as a female anymore, I thought. But… Looking at the male version of myself standing before my eyes, it was just too gorgeous… Oh no, what if the only thing I want to do after logging in is stare at my own reflection?
“Then it’s decided. Do you want to change your hairstyle or height?” Wait just a second, are you a GM or not? You’re deciding everything for me!
“Let’s try changing it to blonde,” I said helplessly.
After two hours of arguing back and forth, we finally decided on the…appearance. The beautiful GM even managed to raise the amount of beautification to 40%, which left me wondering, is she really a GM or not? Looking at that ultra good-looking elf with a head of short, white hair, I figured that even in the game, the chance of me turning heads was still guaranteed to be 200%. Staring non-stop, my eyes turned into two hearts again. Good lord, does this count as being a narcissist?
“All done. It’s perfect,” Lolidragon said with an air of satisfaction. Lolidragon was the name of that beautiful GM… She even told me to PMher whenever I wanted.
“Please… Can we move on? I’m probably the first person in history to spend over two hours and still not have finished creating a character.”
“Then what do you want to be called? I’m warning you, you’re not allowed to use an awful-sounding name!”
… She’s actually admonishing me? I was speechless. This is bad. I’ve always used Feng Xiao Xiao as my name when playing, but it looks like I won’t be able to this time. “I guess I’ll be ‘Prince Charming’.”
Lolidragon glared at me. “Way too tasteless. Absolutely no way.”
“Then you try coming up with a name.” I rolled my eyes; just who was the one playing anyway?
“We’ll just get rid of the Charming and call you Prince! Okay, that’s it for the name.”
Seeing the word “Prince” already floating above the male “me”, I was rendered speechless yet again.
“Which continent do you want to be born in? There’s the East, West, North, South and Central continents.” Lolidragon said, beaming at me.
“Any one is fine…”
“Alright then, you’re ready to be born.” As she finished her sentence, the young man in front of me suddenly lunged towards me. As soon as we merged together, I felt myself falling…
“Hey, wait a sec! Don’t we have to distribute my skill points?” I shouted.
“You obviously haven’t visited our official website. Skill points are randomly distributed. Also, remember to PM me, you hottie! If you PM me, I’ll reward you!”
After landing at long last, I took a deep breath and instantly remembered the most urgent mission at hand – Mirror, where’s a mirror? I needed to check and see if I really was that good-looking.
“A hottie, he’s so gorgeous!” Hearing that, I turned to look, only to see a girl – with eyes that had turned into hearts – looking my way. Reflexively I looked left and right, thinking, Where? Where’s the hottie? I want to check him out too!
Just as I was peering to my left and right, however, someone suddenly grabbed my hand. Who’s this rude bugger? Doesn’t he know that it’s forbidden for somebody to grab a girl’s hand whenever he pleases? I turned, glaring daggers at whoever was looking for death… Whoops, it’s a really cute girl. My bad, I nearly mistook her for a pervert!
“Um, I’ve only just started to play this game. Could you guide me?” She fixed a hopeful gaze on me.
“I’m also a first-timer, so I’m afraid I wouldn’t be of much help.” The game has only been “live” for slightly over two hours, so how could there be anyone able to guide you? This girl’s meal-ticket-fishing skill still isn’t quite up to par. Right now, she should be leveling up; to get a good husband, you must look cute, level up, and sweet-talk like a champion, wahahaha!
(Feng Wu Qing: Believe me, all men in this world should stay away from my sis. She won’t even spit your bones out when you’re swallowed whole!)
“Then let’s go train together,” said the girl, trying to look as helpless as possible.
“I want to train together too!”
Wh-What is with this scene?! I looked at the horde of women. They all had a predatory gleam in their eyes, gazing at me as though they were hungry wolves looking at a piece of meat. At last I understood how a steak must feel – Calm down, calm down! Women will want to maintain appearances; they definitely won’t be like ravenous wolves lunging for a steak. Anyway, seeing how things are, I won’t need to look for a mirror anymore. I already know I must be very good-looking.
Taking a deep breath, I told myself, I’m a guy now (Feng Wu Qing: You’re a tranny…). I must behave like a guy, although I really don’t know how a guy would react at being looked at by a horde of women as though he were a piece of meat.
Just then, I remembered my name – Prince. Since I’m called “Prince”, I should conduct myself like a gentleman, for fear of tarnishing my name and appearance… And so, putting on my most dazzling smile and using the gentlest, warmest tone possible, I said, “My apologies, ladies, but I’ve only just begun to play as well. I was just thinking of going to cut up some of the lowest-level monsters, like slimes…”
“My god, he’s so hot!” As delighted squeals filled the air, there was a sudden movement and a girl rushed towards her steak – no, towards me – and sparked a chain reaction. Good god, when there’s dozens of girls rushing towards you! What would a guy usually do? I don’t know, but I… I want to RUN!
“He-e-elp!” I cried as I turned on my heel and ran.
Nearly an hour later, I found myself hiding in a tiny convenience shop. Terrified, I peeked carefully out the door, only to see the tiny newbie village now crowded with tons of girls searching for me. Why were there so many girls? I’d realized the answer even as I was dashing all over the village earlier: This was an elven newbie village, and girls were far more likely than guys to choose to play as an elf.
“May I ask what the customer is looking for?” A voice suddenly rang out from behind me.
I glanced back. Good god, a woman! I was scared to the point of plastering myself against the wall, yet the woman in front of me merely regarded me with curiosity, her face devoid of the faintest trace of adoration. According to what I had observed earlier, ten out of ten women would be attracted to me, so the one standing before me could only be an NPC. I breathed a sigh of relief. Looks like there’s nothing to be worried about!
I glanced at my surroundings and realized that this was in fact a pharmacy. No wonder there’s nobody in here; there’s probably nobody who would need to buy health potions yet, right? Hmm, it’s been three hours, but I still haven’t started training. My brother will probably laugh at me when I log off later… Seriously irked, I decided to get started with my training…but first, I would need to find out where to train.
“Miss, could you tell me where the best place to train is?”
Hearing that, the female NPC realized that I wasn’t a customer. Her face darkened and she answered with evident boredom, “Right outside the entrance of the elven village you’ll find man-eating slimes and green gnomes to fight. You won’t be able to handle anything tougher.”
Seeing that “don’t bother me” expression on her face, I felt the urge to turn away and just walk out, but I thought, It would be wiser not to simply step out of this shop, not with those girls prowling around outside. I had no choice but to will my face into a friendly expression and smile politely.
“Then may I ask if you know how to summon the system menu?” I wanted to look at my stats.
“Just say ‘system.’ Aren’t you able to figure out something that obvious…?”
You damn NPC, I thought, silently cursing her parents (The game designers?), but my expression didn’t waver and I continued to smile politely. “Thank you very much.” Then I said, “System,” and my basic stats immediately became visible to my left eye.
<Name: Prince | Gender: Male>
<Level: 1 | Race: Elf | Class: None | Reputation: 0 | Health: 60 | Mana: 20 | Unspent skill points: 0 | Strength: 10>
… An elf with a strength of 10? Looks like even the heavens want me to be a warrior, and a violent one at that.
<Physique: 6 | Agility: 9 | Intelligence: 6 | Willpower: 4 | Wisdom: 5 | Charisma: 10>
… My charisma sure is high, does it have anything to do with my looks? I suspect so…
<Luck: Unknown | Abilities: None>
I breathed a sigh of relief. Since the upper limit of each skill was ten, it looked like my stats were pretty good, especially for a would-be warrior.
I opened my pouch. Usually newbies were provided with some basic equipment. As expected, there was a pair of pants (defense +2) and a shirt (defense +1), as well as a small knife with an attack power of 1… It really is a small knife, with a blade no longer than fifteen centimeters.
“Hey, if you’re not buying anything then get out; you’re blocking the way in.”
Grr, what a rude NPC! I resisted the urge to swear at her ancestors. Hmph, a good woman doesn’t quarrel with an NPC. Thus, I retained my ladylike appearance – Wrong! I mean, gentlemanly appearance. With the corners of my mouth still turned up thirty degrees, I said as warmly as possible, “Thank you for your guidance.”
<System notice: Prince has learned a new ability – Thick Skin>
I nearly fell over from shock upon seeing that. What sort of strange technique was this?! I hurriedly looked at the explanation.
<Thick Skin: Ability Level 1, Charisma +5%>
I found myself wanting to faint. Forget it, I thought. I’ll just go and level up first, otherwise my brother will laugh himself to death.
I snuck along the edge of the village and, not daring to leave via the main gate, stepped over the newbie village’s fence, which was so low as to be practically nonexistent. As soon as I was free, I rushed towards the hills beyond the village.
Man-eating slimes, here I co-o-ome! The first thing I saw were dozens of man-eating slimes dotting the landscape. It’s a good thing they won’t aggro, otherwise I’d have died of shock when they came charging over, I thought. Looking at the small knife in my hand, I realized that I seemed to have absolutely no experience whatsoever with melee combat. I stealthily circled behind a slime, raised my knife, and stabbed with as much force as I could muster.
<Attack successful, Man-eating Slime HP -5>
Yaaaay! Attack successful! Oh god, I feel so touched, I really am a pro at this. It looks like I really have the potential to be a warrior! In my head I saw myself wearing a white cape, a white sacred sword in my other hand, with one foot resting atop my brother’s inert form.
Wahahaha— Ouch! Abruptly something bit my hand, causing me to cry out in pain and surprise.
<Man-eating Slime attack successful, Prince HP -3>
As the pain drove me to tears, I raised my hand and looked. God, so much saliva; it’s disgusting! You damn slime, not only did you bite me, but you even dared to drool on a pure young woman’s hand! I… I’m royally pissed off! Ignoring the knife in my hand, I raised my foot and began to stomp on it with all my might. Stomp! Stomp! Stomp, stomp, stomp!
“Who asked you to drool?! Actually daring to slobber all over my hand… You must be sick of life!” I said viciously even as I stepped on the slime again and again.
<Attack successful, Man-eating Slime HP -3>
<Critical hit successful, Man-eating Slime HP -10>
<Man-eating Slime has died, Prince’s experience has increased to 10/20, Prince has learned a new ability – Buddha’s Mountain’s Phantom Kick…>
Having yet to vent all my anger, I did not bother to look at the information on my new technique. Instead, gazing at the Man-eating slimes dotting the landscape with my knife in hand, I smiled darkly. Damn slimes, I’ll demonstrate the food preparation skills that leave even my mom awed! Man-eating slimes? Wahaha, no, in my eyes you are no longer monsters, just a pile of carrots!
I sliced and sliced and—
<Attack successful… Attack successful… Attack successful>
<Prince has reached Level 2… 3… 4… 5…>
<Prince has learned a new ability: Chop>
Shouldn’t it be “Slice”…? Hmm, well, if you exaggerate the slicing motion, I guess it does become “Chop”!
<Prince has learned a new ability: Continuous Attack>
Continuous Attack? Whoa… It’s probably because I sliced up these “vegetables” really quickly!
“Wahaha, now you know the taste of fear! We’ll see if you still dare to slobber on me!” I yelled, even as I chased after the slimes.
<Prince has learned a new ability: Terrifying Roar>
Whew, I’m bushed! Finally somewhat tired from all that slicing, I sat down on the ground. As I surveyed the desolated, slime-free hill, it suddenly struck me.
Could I possibly be…inclined towards violence? Oh well, forget it; after all I’m a guy now. (Feng Wu Qing: You’re a tranny!)
Just then, I glanced back and discovered that the ground was littered with loot and hurriedly began to pick it all up. Don’t even joke about not picking it up! All this stuff can be sold for a lovely bit of money! Looking through the loot, I saw that most of it was junk, but it was still decent for a newbie like me. I swapped my knife for one with attack power +3, put on a pair of sandals (defense +1), wrist guards (attack power +5%), a cap (defense +1), changed into a pair of long pants with +3 defense (the type that elves wear, such as Legolas in Lord of the Rings) and slipped on two rings with +1 magical resistance each.
I’d also looted over a hundred coppers. From what I heard, even the lousiest food here – mantous – cost five coppers each… These man-eating slimes sure are poor.
Sweating profusely and enjoying the cool breeze, I realized that I’d started to like the feeling of being a warrior. It feels sooo good. I also finally appreciated the good points of having a realism level of 99%, since even the sunset looked incredibly beautiful. However, a realism level of 99% had its shortcomings as well… Such as my growling stomach. I could only take the two mantous out of the newbie pack and, as I ate, I wondered if the man-eating slimes could possibly be tasty…
I activated the system menu, wanting to see just what the fruits of my labor had been.
<Name: Prince | Gender: Male>
<Level: 8 | Race: Elf | Class: None | Reputation: 0 | Health: 140 | Mana: 45 | Unspent skill points: 21 | Strength: 10 | Physique: 6 | Agility: 9 | Intelligence: 6 | Willpower: 4 | Wisdom: 5 | Charisma: 10 | Luck: Unknown | Abilities: Thick Skin – Ability Level 1, Charisma +5% / Buddha’s Mountain’s Phantom Kick – Ability Level 1, 10% chance of tripling attack power when using leg attacks (multiplier does not include weapon(s)’ attack power) / Chop – Ability Level 3, attack power +10% when using Chop / Continuous Attack – Ability Level 3, can attack continuously for up to 4 times / Terrifying Roar – Ability Level 1, reduces enemy defense by 3%>
After some thought, I assigned my skill points, and so it became…
<Name: Prince | Gender: Male>
<Level: 8 | Race: Elf | Class: None | Reputation: 0 | Health: 180 | Mana: 45 | Unspent skill points: 0 | Strength: 20 | Physique: 10 | Agility: 16 | Intelligence: 6 | Willpower: 4 | Wisdom: 5 | Charisma: 10 | Luck: Unknown>
Hehehe, I’m going to be an elf warrior with lots of strength and agility. Even though I had made up my mind not to be scared of the pain, it was still best to avoid getting hit, if possible. Two more levels until I can select my class, I thought. Looking at the newly spawned slimes, a faint smile crept onto my lips.
Before long… Hehe, I’ve reached level ten! Now that I was finally able to select my class, I felt indescribably happy; being able to select my class with my own efforts really felt great. Not bad. With such a good start, it won’t be long before I’ll be able to defeat that idiot brother of mine.
Humming a song even as I entered the newbie elven village through the main gate, I was about to ask around for information on choosing a class when I discovered that I had made a huge mistake… I’d entered the newbie village through the main gate! Oh god…! I found myself identifying with the feelings of a steak once again, seeing the dozens of starving wolves in front of me…
Escaping once more into the pharmacy, I thought sorrowfully, If the amount of time I spend being a steak could be spent on fighting mobs, I would probably be one of the top players by now…
“What are you doing?” a guy’s voice came from behind me. Since at the moment I was crouched down next to the door, peering out at the situation in the streets, I couldn’t see him.
“Heeheehee! This guy’s hilarious,” a girl’s sweet voice said… A girl? Waaah! I don’t want to turn around!
“May I ask what medicine are you looking for?” This voice belonged to that very XX NPC. Looks like I can’t hide anymore… Thus, with my head held low – almost level with the ground – I turned slowly to face the NPC. “Could you tell me where to go in order to change my class?”
“Why is it you again? This is a pharmacy, not a newbie directory.” What the hell is up with you, I thought, swearing silently in my head.Just you wait; when my level’s higher, I’ll definitely come back and kill you once, you damn NPC!
“You want to change your class?” that girl’s sweet voice rang out again. “What class are you planning on choosing? Perhaps we can help you!”
“Oh… I want to become a warrior.” With my head still lowered, I stole a glance around at the floor. Minus the NPC, there were a total of eight legs, so that would be four people, probably three guys and a girl.
“Weird person…” another guy muttered.
The girl simply smiled, seeming mildly amused. “Are you feeling shy? Why are you hanging your head so low?”
And just how was I supposed to explain? Sigh… I’d better ask where I should go to change my class, and then hurry up and flee— Err no, I mean, hurry up and change my class. “Could you tell me where I should go if I want to become a warrior, please?”
“To become a warrior, you’ll have to go to the south side of the main square and find the NPC who is carrying a sword and wearing a soldier’s uniform,” the first guy said kindly. “He’ll ask you to kill ten wolves, so you should bring along some health potions or you’ll have to rest after fighting just one wolf.”
“Thanks…” I said before hurriedly purchasing ten minor health potions from that XX NPC. Waaah! There goes my hundred coppers, I thought as I was handed my health potions and stuffed them into my pouch. I was just about to escape when one of the other players spoke up again.
“Do you know where to find the wolves?” the girl asked, sounding concerned. Without waiting for my reply, she continued, “We were just about to go train on wolves anyway; why don’t you come with us? You should go pick up the quest first. We’ll wait for you at the western side gate. Don’t take too long!”
I’m touched… She really is a good person, I thought, nodding enthusiastically. “Right.”
I walked openly to the main square, found the uniform-wearing NPC, and accepted the warrior quest… Huh? You’re asking me how I dared to walk openly to the main square? Why I wasn’t afraid of turning into a steak? Wahaha! That’s because when I went to the armorer to sell my pile of trash loot, I discovered that they actually sold masks – in particular, masquerade masks, the type that covers the upper half of your face. It even offered +1 defense! Scared of being pursued again, I had bought one without hesitation. Thank heavens! I can finally move freely now!
Walking to the western gate, I saw from afar that there were three guys and a girl waiting there, and so I hurried over. “Sorry for the wait.”
“It’s okay, let’s introduce ourselves. I’m Snow White Rose; you can just call me Rose. I’m a mage,” said Rose in an amused tone.
Composing myself, I took a good look at her… A beauty! An extraordinary beauty! I myself was something of a beauty, but even I couldn’t deny that her face was prettier, her boobs bigger, her waist slenderer, her legs longer, and her skin fairer… Waaah! I feel like growing mushrooms in a corner…
Never mind, Feng Lan; you are now a guy (Feng Wu Qing: How many times are you going to make me say it: You are a TRANNY!), so it’s meaningless to compete with a girl.
“Legolas, archer,” said the skinniest of the guys.
“I’m The Strongest Elf. You can just call me Li’l Strong.” Are you a cockroach? I thought. “I’m a warrior; warrior’s a good class!” said The Strongest Elf, his expression open and honest.
“I’m For Healing Only, a priest,” said a pretty boy in a cultured voice.
“I’m Prince, no class yet…” I replied in a small voice.
Rose looked thoughtfully at my mask. I gulped nervously under her stare. “Prince, why do you want to wear a mask?”
“A ma-mask provides extra armor, doesn’t it?” I said, pretending to be confused. Heh heh! Pretending to be naive is one of my talents…“That’s why I bought one.”
“I think he’s just trying to look cool,” said Legolas, unimpressed.
Upon hearing that, I kept my face blank and smiled vaguely. However, in my head I was thinking, I’m already cool enough as it is, why on earth would I need to try and look even cooler?
“All right, now that we’ve reached the wolves’ riverbank: Healing, buff Prince up! We’ll help him finish those ten wolves off quickly so he can go and change his class,” said Rose kindly. God, I’m so touched, waaah…! Rose, I want to be sisters with you. (Feng Wu Qing: … Turning into a woman? Again?)
As the pretty boy finished chanting a prayer verse, I felt my defense increase and said sincerely, “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. Go ahead and fight!” the pretty boy replied politely.
I locked my attention on a solitary wolf and crept closer, still facing it… Waaah! The wolf was really big and kind of scary. It had fixed its blood-red gaze on me and its lips were curled back, revealing razor-sharp fangs. But most terrifying of all, it was drooling…
I’m so screwed, I thought, my brain going numb. I’d much rather be slicing up slimes– after all, they look kind of like frozen fruits – but wolves… I’ve never even used a kitchen knife to prepare something that’s still alive, what should I do now? Aaaaah!
The wolf lunged over and with it came that mouth filled with saliva and razor-sharp teeth.
Nooooo! I spun around…and ran!
“Prince, what are you doing? Hurry and turn around and fight. Don’t worry, For Healing Only’s pretty skilled, he’ll heal you,” Rose shouted.
That’s not the problem, I yelled back in my heart, I– I don’t want— I don’t want to be bitten by that terrifying and disgusting wolf’s mouth!
“What on earth is he doing…?” questioned Legolas, his expression cold.
“That… I have no idea either!” Li’l Strong replied, clearly astonished as he watched me flee at top speed. “But his agility is pretty high, to actually let him to outrun a wolf when he’s only level ten.”
“Aaaah…” Running too fast, I carelessly tripped on a stone and fell. That damnable 99% realism level…As the thought flashed across my mind, the wolf came lunging over and viciously bit down on my left hand.
<System notice: Prince HP -30>
Owww! Waaah! So, so much saliva, it’s disgusting! Next, the wolf suddenly opened its maw and it was about to bite off my head when its drool actually… It actually dripped on my face…
Twak! It sounded like a nerve had snapped in my brain – a nerve called reason.
I’m pissed! I’m pissed! I’m REALLY pissed! Just then, I recollected that whenever my mom killed a chicken, she would always reach for the neck, and then… Heh heh heh!
“Prince, hurry up and run! If you take this attack, you’ll definitely die!” Rose and the others had turned pale and were already frantically running towards me. Unfortunately, they were simply too far away.
Without hesitation, I gripped my knife tightly and swung it from right to left with all my strength, brutally slicing through the top half of the wolf’s skull, separating its brains from its body.
<System notice: Critical hit, Wolf has died, Prince’s experience has increased to 100/2000, Prince has received quest item: Wolf Fang x1>
Trapped beneath the wolf’s body, I was thoroughly stained with the wolf’s blood… Warm blood – with its coppery smell – was flowing everywhere, staining my clothes and drying on my skin.
How terrifying! Fighting back the tears, my mind was filled with only those two words.
Question: what do you think will happen when a person is terrified to the extreme? Answer: Their reason will disappear!
I slowly got to my feet and, grasping my knife tightly, looked straight at the wolves all over the riverbank.
Don’t be scared, I thought, They’re not that different from chickens, ducks, fish or any other type of meat, so they shouldn’t be too hard for someone with my culinary experience to handle. Come on then! It’s time to start cooking… With a fierce glint in my eyes, I darted towards the closest wolf.
Just as I was wondering how to take it down, I thought of my Buddha’s Mountain’s Phantom Kick and Continuous Attack, as well as that PS13 fighting game that I had been playing with my brother recently. Combine these three things together and what do you get?
Aiming at the wolf’s throat, I remembered, kick upwards, and then kick from the side. Next, a spin kick, and finally kick it back to the ground with my heel. Odd, why did I suddenly feel kind of like Chun Li…?
<System notice: Buddha’s Mountain’s Phantom Kick execution successful>
<Continuous Attack execution successful>
<Wolf HP -30>
Still not dead? I raised my knife and, gripping it with both hands, drove it into the skull of the dying wolf.
<Wolf has died, Prince’s experience has increased to 200/2000, Prince has received quest item: Wolf Fang x1>
<Abilities: Buddha’s Mountain’s Phantom Kick ability level up – Ability Level 2, 10% chance of tripling attack power when using leg attacks (multiplier does not include weapon(s)’ attack power), attack power +20 / Continuous Attack ability level up – Ability Level 4, can attack continuously up to 5 times>
“My god, with just his leg…” Li’l Strong looked at me with astonishment again, worship evident in his eyes.
“Unbelievable…” Legolas muttered with an odd twist to his lips.
“Why does it remind me of the moves used by a particular character from a fighting game…” Pretty boy, that is, For Healing Only, said with a knowing smile.
“So cool…” murmured Rose and a chill ran down my spine even as she spoke.
All that kicking had worn me out, but just then I thought of the method I usually use to prepare fish: All I needed to do was simply slice their bellies open and all their innards would come slithering out. With that in mind, I smiled faintly and headed for the next wolf.
Just like before, I kicked upwards, lifting the wolf into the air and, with a swift upward stroke, drew an arc in the air with the knife. As I watched, the ground became stained with red and white matter, and I found myself wondering, Might wolves’ intestines be tastier than pigs’ intestines? Still wondering, I stalked towards the next wolf.
(Later, when I looked back on my combat history, I couldn’t help but be awed. Second Life, this game with its realism level of 99%, made it possible for anyone – with enough speed and precision – to finish off their opponent without spilling even a drop of their own blood. This had a huge bearing on my fighting style later on.)
By this point, Rose no longer dared to look. As a matter of fact, she’d covered her eyes after seeing me gut my first wolf. As for the others, their faces were pale as sheets as they watched me prepare the food – uh, no, I mean, kill the mobs.
(Feng Wu Qing: The moral of the lesson is, one should never, ever cross a woman, especially one who has lots of experience in the kitchen, or you might share the same fate as those unsuspecting vegetables…)
<Ding! System notice: Prince has reached level 11!>
I leveled up? So quickly? I took a look at the contents of my pouch and saw that I had already gotten ten wolf fangs. Wahaha, I can finally change class, joy! I walked back towards Rose and company cheerfully.
Whew, cooking really is a tiring chore! I’m so tired that even my steps feel sluggish. And so I shouted to Rose from afar, “Rose, I’m done with the quest.”
Rose slowly lowered her hands from her eyes. She stared, tongue-tied, at the bodies strewn everywhere, the river filled with bloody water, the floor littered with red and white matter, and the blood-soaked elf before her – me – holding a knife in his right hand and slowly walking towards them.
“Blood…Elf!” Rose half-shouted in a strangled voice.
In the days to come, when my name became famous, I would receive numerous nicknames, but only two would ever be widely-known. They were Ultra-Gorgeous Prince and… Blood Elf.
After bidding farewell to Rose and company, I ventured back to the village on my own to change my class. Once I entered the village, I rushed to find the warrior class’s NPC. “Uncle, I’ve collected ten wolf fangs already, can you change my class now?”
“That’s quick! As they say, Yangtze swells with each new wave, shore becomes the waves’ mass grave…” Seeing Uncle was about to start yet another long-winded discussion, I hurriedly headed him off.
“Yes, yes, yes, you’re right as usual, but could you first help little me change class?”
“All right, all right! Young people these days…” Mumbling non-stop, the NPC uncle took the wolf fangs from me.
All of a sudden, a white light enveloped me and I heard the system’s voice speaking.
<Ding! System notice: Prince’s class has been successfully changed to Warrior.>
I hurriedly called out, “System.”
<Name: Prince | Gender: Male>
<Level: 11 | Race: Elf | Class: Warrior | Reputation: 0 | Health: 450 | Mana: 100 | Unspent skill points: 0 | Strength: 25 | Physique: 12 | Agility: 21 | Intelligence: 6 | Willpower: 4 | Wisdom: 5 | Charisma: 10 | Luck: Unknown>
“Little fellow, as the rule goes, you get a free weapon and three free abilities!” The NPC uncle proceeded to elaborate. “For your weapon, you get to choose from daggers, dao, rapiers, broadswords, axes, etc. Fate alone will decide whether you get something good or something lousy.
“There are a total of ten abilities you can choose from. Passive skills include Continuous Attack, Increased Strength, Reinforced Defense, Litheness, and Life Extension while offensive abilities include Heavy Blow (for two-handed weapons only, will use up 20 mana), Inferno Slash (for one-handed weapons only, will use up 20 mana), Fatal Blow (for small weapons only, will use up 20 mana), Blazing Determination (will use up 80 mana, attack power +100%, lasts 20 minutes) and Impenetrable Wall (will use up 80 mana, defense +100%, lasts 20 minutes).”
“Weapon… A chopping knife?” I mused.
“Huh?” The NPC uncle looked puzzled.
“Uh, dao.” Even though I felt more comfortable with a chopping knife…for the sake of my beautiful image, I decided to forego my own preference and picked a dao instead.
“A dao-wielding elf sure is a rare sight. There you go; it’s already in your inventory.”
Hearing that, I hurriedly opened my pouch, and slowly drew out a black dao. Why did I call it a black dao? Was it because both the handle and the sheath were black? No, actually the main reason was because written there on the sheath in gold lettering were two words: Black Dao.
I thought of the swordsmen of bygone days who would, at such a moment, slowly draw out the sword and then raise the sword high. Under the light of the sun, the gleaming blade would reflect the brilliant sunlight. How cool! With that thought, I too, slowly drew the dao, but as I drew out the blade, I suddenly discovered that this dao was…unbelievably…black. Even the blade was black!
God **** it, how the hell am I supposed to reflect back the light of the sun with this? GAAAH, That totally ruined my chance to act cool, damn it! I stowed the dao away, ticked off.
“Hey, little fellow, have you decided which abilities you want?”
“Wait, wait, let me think!” I want to learn Increased Strength, Litheness, Life Extension, and Inferno Slash, but I can only pick three! What a quandary, I thought, furrowing my eyebrows. “I guess I’ll take Increased Strength, Litheness, and Inferno Slash.” After all, I hadn’t missed once when I was fighting wolves with Rose and company. With the speed that I’m taking down mobs right now, my HP ought to be sufficient for the time being.
<Ding! System notice: Prince learns 3 new abilities – Increased Strength; Ability Level 1, Strength +5% / Litheness; Ability Level 1, Agility +5% / Inferno Slash; Ability Level 1>
<System notice: Game has received external interference; requesting player confirmation to log off>
What’s going on? I wondered. I’d better log off and see what the ruckus is about.
The instant I removed the game helmet, I heard my brother roaring thunderously. “GAAAH! Sis, when on Earth are you going to start cooking? It’s already 9PM. Do you want me to starve to death!?”
I should explain here that, at the time, it was summer break. My parents had gone abroad for yet another holiday, leaving my brother and I to fend for ourselves. Also, if the question were to arise, I would much rather eat a man-eating slime than something prepared by my brother – and I’m sure he feels the same. So the chore of cooking three meals a day fell largely on me.
“Fine, I’ll go and cook noodles!”
Twenty minutes later, I sat across from my brother and, as we ate our noodles, we began discussing the game.
“Sis, I’m already level fifteen! What level are you?” You damn Yang Ming, only daring to provoke me after getting your noodles…
Reluctantly, I replied, “I’m level eleven! But I’ve been training on my own…”
He laughed. “As I said, it’s impossible for you to level up faster than me!”
“Che, if not for the fact that I’m too handsome, you wouldn’t have been able to train faster than me!”
“Huh? Too handsome? What are you talking about?” My brother looked confused.
Then, I told him the entire story…and got scolded, again. Waaah!
“Are you an idiot? You had one wish and, just like that, you used it to change your gender? Honestly, you could have wished for a godly weapon, or a godly pet, or for more skill points, but nooo, you went and used it to become a tranny!” my brother fumed, his expression both mournful and incensed.
“Hey, you should look at it this way: sooner or later someone will have a godly weapon or own a godly pet, and anyone can get more skill points so long as they level up, but there’ll never be another tranny aside from me!” I answered with a laugh.
“…Sigh, I can’t be bothered with you.” My brother’s face was still the picture of sorrow. I bet that he’s wishing that he was the one who received that wish…
“What’s your nick? I’ll PM you tomorrow when I log on.”
“Because you’ll use it to blackmail me… Like for instance, if I refuse to cook for you, you’ll probably threaten to reveal my identity as a transvestite, so on and so forth.” I know you too well, Bro.
“How did you guess– Ah, no, how could you possibly distrust your own brother so?!”
Stupid brother, putting on that sad expression, che! You might be able to deceive those naïve little girls into falling for you, but trying to trick the sister who has known you for nineteen years? Forget it!
“Fine! Forget I asked then.” Feng Yang Ming thumbed his nose at me; looked like his plan to blackmail me had failed.
“Wash the bowls once you’re done, or else you won’t get to eat breakfast tomorrow!”
“You’re going to play Second Life?”
“No, I’m going to play ‘King of Fighters 100’ on your PS13.” I’m going to properly research, so as to develop more moves and become a genuine Chun Li.
My brother stared at me in disbelief. He watched as I really took out the PS13 and started playing, muttering, “Odd… When did Sis start to like fighting games? In the past it was only because I couldn’t find anyone else to play with me, so she was forced to play as well.”
After experimenting for over two hours as “Chun Li”, I confidently returned to Second Life, planning to begin leveling up like mad. Heh heh, just you wait, you stupid brother. I’ll out-level you soon and we’ll see if you still dare to laugh at me! Time to go and cook some wolves – ah, no, kill some wolves, I mean…
However, just as I was about to pass through the western gate, I was suddenly given a solid cuff on the head and began to see stars.
<System notice: Prince has been successfully attacked by player Lolidragon, Prince HP -5>
Huh? Lolidragon… Bloody hell, the GM is assaulting people! I want to complain! Unfortunately, before I could so much as speak, Lolidragon had begun to berate me loudly.
“I told you to PM me, but nooo, you just had to forget to, finally forcing me to search all over for you – and why are you even wearing that silly mask? If not for the fact that we argued for two hours, deciding your height and hairstyle, I would never have been able to recognize you!”
I turned around to look at Lolidragon, only to see an ultra-beauty wearing the newbie outfit and looking not at all like a GM. I found myself wondering, Why do the GMs look so ordinary in this game? If they look like this, then how are we supposed to distinguish the GMs from the players?
“Lolidragon, why are you dressed like this? Aren’t you a G—” Without waiting for me to finish my sentence, Lolidragon hurriedly covered my mouth and hauled me to the nearby woods. My god, what are you trying to do!?
“Shh! Are you trying to tell the world that I’m a GM?” Lolidragon fumed.
A GM who’s afraid of being recognized as a GM? What sort of situation is this? My head was nearly bursting with questions.
“Listen up. I’m actually a hidden GM!” Lolidragon, knowing that I hadn’t so much as looked at the official website, began to explain in detail.
“A hidden GM is generally no different from a regular player, except that we have an important task: We are to report any shortcomings in the game – player complaints, bugs etc. – during the course of our gameplay. Moreover, because we’re mingling with ordinary players, we can find stuff out that’s not easily discovered by regular GMs.”
“But wouldn’t that be extremely unfair?” I protested. In that case, wouldn’t all the top players be hidden GMs?
“As if. We may be hidden GMs, but the company doesn’t offer us any special privileges, so we’re just like normal players.” Lolidragon swatted my head again.
“Oh…” I get it. That is to say, Lolidragon is no different from a normal player, hahaha. Then I won’t have to be afraid of pissing her off, heh heh heh!
“Did you have some bu