Underworld Playerchapter 1: now that's what i call a “senior”

Bai Zhi had always fancied himself a genius.

He had been a creative problem-solver from his boyhood, excelling at logical reasoning and making things happen.

When his peers, still in their diapers, were running around at play, he could be found solemnly sitting on the front steps with his head tilted heavenward, contemplating the mysteries of the universe and the future.

When the other kids were playing in the mud, molding clay dolls or making paper airplanes, he had constructed, out of some wood and various tools, a makeshift AK-47 of his own.

While other children waxed poetic about being whisked away to far-off lands, he simply up and left on a trip without a word of notice.

One time in chemistry lab class, completely unprompted, Bai Zhi concocted something that nearly blew up the whole class and sent the teacher to hospital for two whole weeks. Said teacher would go on to proclaim that once Bai Zhi graduated, the next piece of news they heard about him would be delivered, if not by the paper, then by television.

Everyone knew that the papers were wont to cover notorious scandals, while the television extolled the virtues of national heroes.

And in the summer holidays, after the college entrance exams, Bai Zhi was fiddling with dangerous chemicals all alone at home when he accidentally triggered an explosion and killed himself. The sensational story of how a top high-school graduate blew himself up at home would itself blow up nationwide, getting featured both on television and in the papers.

...Thus, the words of Bai Zhi's long-suffering chemistry teacher turned out to be a prophecy.

When Bai Zhi opened his eyes, he found himself transmigrated into the body of his namesake in another world, who, as it happened, had just died suddenly.

He found a nearby mirror and scrutinized his reflection for a good while, then nodded to himself. "Hmm... bit more handsome than I used to be."

This world and the world Bai Zhi had come from shared similar histories and environments, but differed slightly in some details. The fact that the entity he now possessed shared a name with him was taken by Bai Zhi in stride, but he could not help feeling a little annoyed at how, despite sharing a name, this one had been living an utterly pathetic life.

After scanning through the memories he had inherited to find out the reason for "his" sudden demise, Bai Zhi was left seething at the wasted potential that he found. He had always been happy to watch folly and melodrama unfold, but only as a detached observer. It was a distinctly unsettling experience to be watching such things happen to himself.

Bai Zhi, seventeen years of age, orphaned at birth. A firm believer that knowledge was the key to changing his fate, he had devoted himself to his studies from a young age. By continuously winning scholarships, he paid for each step of his education until finally, by virtue of being the top scorer in all major subjects, he achieved his goal of entering the top university in Marina City, the prestigious Marina City University.

By all accounts, this other Bai Zhi's upbringing was a textbook example of someone with humble beginnings pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. If he had carried on in the same way, luck notwithstanding, he should have had decent prospects, at the very least.

But alas, once in college, on top of being a straight-A student, he realized that he had also been blessed with perfect features, which made for a potent brew that went straight to his head, and he became not only complacent, but quite dissolute.

The gossip about him that spread around the halls of MCU was neither of his academics nor his aesthetics, but instead of his many dalliances. He had dated seven girls in his freshman year alone, what a king—correction, how disgusting.

Well, dating girls can't really be said to be a character flaw—after all, it's all done by mutual consent, but one thing about "Bai Zhi" made him exceptionally repugnant. He not only stole young girls' hearts, but also stole their money...

They say the appetites of man are like a rolling stone; once set into motion, there is no stopping them.

Like a stone, "Bai Zhi" plummeted from grace at alarming speed. Being two-faced seemed to come naturally to him, and enslaved to his desire, he committed acts that would scandalize gods and men alike.

For example, he once spent ages coaxing and cajoling his second girlfriend into agreeing to spend the night together at a hotel, then when she was in the shower, he took out all the cash from her purse and, claiming he had the runs, returned to the dorms before proceeding to spend the money lavishly.

Indeed, this other Bai Zhi's interest in women was far outweighed by his love of something else—video games. The main reason he even dated women was to swindle them, by hook or by crook, for the money to buy himself various in-game perks and pay the cost of upkeep.

Video games were way more fun than women!

Yet, as terrible as this other Bai Zhi was, he did have one line he did not cross—he was a swindler and a heartbreaker, but he would never molest a woman. From this, he might have been judged quite harmless, in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately, he had become so unscrupulous that, after unceremoniously dumping his seventh girlfriend, who was even willing to work a job to pay for his daily expenses, he turned his attention to the school's most eligible bachelorette.

Not that "Bai Zhi" was lusting over her beauty; in truth, he was tired of his own philandering and wanted to settle down with a beautiful, rich and honest woman... Such was the true motivation that had driven this being, as far as Bai Zhi had discovered. This other Bai Zhi had turned mooching off others into his raison d'etre.

However, his target being the elite and well-informed campus belle, she had already caught wind of his unsavory dating history and had absolutely zero interest in him. This did not seem to faze the extremely thick-skinned "Bai Zhi", who single-mindedly pursued her at every opportunity, doing things like serenading her below her bedroom window and professing his love in public with a giant bouquet of roses. To someone like "Bai Zhi" who had long since abandoned any sense of decorum, doing such shameless things hardly posed a challenge...

...and in the end?

After yet another day of showering the campus belle with attention, "Bai Zhi" had slunk dejectedly into the nearest internet café to spend all night playing video games. When he could no longer keep going, he left the café in a flurry of yawns and returned to his room, where, owing to the fact that he had stayed up round the clock for the past few days, he fell asleep for the last time, a victim of sudden death. Thus, the life of a scumbag came to an ignoble end.

If Bai Zhi had not transmigrated into this world, perhaps there would have been a brief mention about the incident in the news a few days later, followed by a call for awareness on the need to improve the management of college students' health or some other BS.

After reviewing "Bai Zhi's" life, Bai Zhi shook his head mournfully. "This dude has no game at all, judging by the way he so desperately clung to this one girl to get her attention."

When it came to relationships, despite the fact that this Bai Zhi had had seven girlfriends while he had been single all his life, Bai Zhi concluded that he was more accomplished, and claimed a position of seniority to his namesake.

Because, in his life prior to his transmigration, there had been three girls who had been willing to give up their life for him.

A whole!! Three!! Girls!!

In grade school, a girl had said she would die for him—"If you keep bothering me, I'll take my life for real!" she said.

When he first awakened to feelings of romance, a girl had promised to wait for him even in the next life—"If you want to be my boyfriend, try the next life!" she offered.

Even when he was destitute, there had been a girl who had been willing to follow him to the bitter end—"If you don't pay up, I'm taking you down with me!" she swore.

Behold, was he not the "senior"? Was this not "experience"?

Now that's what I call a senior!