The empty Skills panel stood in stark contrast to the Attributes panel, but that was to be expected—Bai Zhi was a new Player, so had not acquired any skills.

The Inventory panel showed two items: the [ Shadowland Pass ] and the [ Shadowland Perpetual Deed ].
For the time being, Bai Zhi did not consider these a priority..

He was not sure just what kind of place Shadowland was, but it was certainly a dangerous one.
Since he only had the abilities of a Level 1 Player, trying to enter Shadowland would spell certain doom.

Shadowland was a place worth exploring at some point, but now was not the time.

Bai Zhi spent some time experimenting with his Inventory.
He found that the Inventory had 30 spaces of storage and could hold items from the real world.
Most items could fit, but oversized things, like a whole bed, would not.
Living things were not allowed in the Inventory, and try as he might, it would not accept something even as small as an ant.

”If I can ’t make it as a Player, I could use this to fake it as a magician… ” Bai Zhi said thoughtfully as he loaded and unloaded the Inventory with various items.

The [ Marketplace ] and [ Auction ] panels were greyed out, and Bai Zhi could not use them.
According to the system, the Marketplace would only become available to Players after they reached Level 2, while the Auction was unlocked by reaching Level 5.
It was quite a humanistic design.

The last panel was [ Quests ], and it was empty except for a line showing a countdown of 3 days.
Presumably, that referred to the remaining time on his New Player Immunity, whatever that meant.

”Three days… ” Bai Zhi narrowed his eyes at the countdown timer.

According to that secret forum on the Dark Web, becoming a Player was not necessarily a good thing.
Although it did come with the opportunity to achieve exceptional feats, it also meant having to risk one ’s life.

There was no such thing as a free lunch, so the system could not be expected to give Players the perks for free.

At irregular intervals, each Player would receive a mandatory quest assigned by the system.
The quest objectives could vary widely, and completing the quest earned the Player rewards as well as experience points.
There was no way to avoid getting the quests, so the Players had no choice but to complete them.

The first mandatory quest that every Player received was supposedly a freebie, the kind of quest that could be cleared just by using careful observation.
Hence, the Players often referred to this quest as the Newbie Run.

Even then, Newbie Runs came in different flavors.
Some could be completed alone, while others required teamwork, but they were all unique, so it was impossible to clear them by following in the footsteps of experienced Players.

The system generally assigned quests based on each Player ’s abilities, so mandatory quests were not supposed to lead Players to their death.
Nevertheless, there were still a considerable number of Players that lost their lives every day in the course of trying to complete the mandatory quests.

The forum discouraged Players from playing as a lone wolf because the mandatory quests can be difficult.
Joining a large team would allow me to easily survive the early stages when I ’m lacking in skills and equipment…

Bai Zhi mulled his options over in his mind as he drummed his fingers on the table.

I could join the official organizations in each country created for that purpose, but there are also countless smaller guilds organized by Players—there are pros and cons to each.

In fact, he had already weighed the pros and cons.
He knew that with his free-spirited attitude, he would never fit comfortably into any organization.
He hated restrictions, but if he was going to go it alone, he would need to figure many things out from scratch.

…Perhaps he could establish his own guild in the future?

The sight of the two items in his Inventory gave Bai Zhi some ideas.


”Excuse me, young lady, may we ask you a few questions? ”

Wu Hua sat himself at a table and flashed a smile at the young woman sitting opposite him.

”May I know what you know about this student called Bai Zhi? ”

”Wh— Uh, Who— You ’re with the proper authorities, right? ” Lin XiaoYi was visibly excited, sensing that she was on the verge of uncovering the mysterious truth just beneath the veil of reality.

Wu Hua nodded, after a barely perceptible pause.
”Indeed, you could say so.
I ’ve read your statement about that supernatural entity.
Since you experienced it firsthand, you now know of these things, but please don ’t go telling anyone. ”

He smiled at the girl.
”We wouldn ’t want to cause a panic. ”

So you guys are specially trained to deal with those weird monsters? Are there many of you? Those urban legends circulating online but keep getting deleted, are they all true? ”

”About that, yes.
Some of them are true.
Not an overwhelming number, but not insignificant either.
The rest are copypasta, fabricated purely for attention. ”

Wu Hua answered her questions with considerable patience.

After getting the unconscious students to the hospital and wrapping up the necessary administrative tasks, Wu Hua had turned his attention to investigating Bai Zhi.
He was awestruck upon learning of Bai Zhi ’s legendary feat of dating seven different girls in three months.
As someone who had been single all his life, Wu Hua could not help also feeling slightly resentful and envious.

Thus, he asked Lin XiaoYi, ”So, what do you know about Bai Zhi? It seems that he used to pursue you quite wildly? ”

That ’s true, but the only reason he pursued me was to ward off the thing that was threatening me… ” She flopped across the table, affecting a weak, pitiful voice.

”He may be something like you guys, but unlike you who operate openly, he ’s been quietly protecting the students in this school for the past three months! He ’s a hero who protects the light while staying in the shadows! ”

As she finished, Lin XiaoYi raised her head, revealing eyes that burned with a fervent light.

”Three months ago… ” Wu Hua trembled with shock as he registered what she said, his mind blank except for two words— ”OG Player ”.

To be an OG Player not only meant someone was among the highest leveled Players in the world, but also meant that they had survived everything the game had thrown at them since the very beginning.
Thus, OG Players were quite a big deal.

As we suspected, he ’s someone we should look up to! Perhaps if we hadn ’t interfered and made a mess of things, he would have handily dispatched that entity on the rooftop…

As he recalled how he and his team had nearly been wiped out by the little boy, Wu Hua felt quite shaken.

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