Underworld Playerchapter 21: what do you know about it?

"Well? What do we do now?"

Xu Qiang was lying on the sofa with his feet up on the coffee table, and he addressed the question to Wu Hua as he walked in.

"We have experienced personnel assigned to take care of the students and the PR messaging, but my guess is that the official story will say the students were knocked out due to a gas leak in the labs."

Wu Hua lit a cigarette with a practiced motion and blew a cloud of smoke.

"I'll take care of the report for this incident. Regarding the fact that there was another player inside the school, I think we should keep that info to ourselves for now. We'd have to explain how we nearly got wiped out, if not for that guy showing up."

Xu Qiang shrugged. "Sure, I don't mind, since that means I get a bigger reward. I'm just a few coins short of being able to afford that thing."

He continued, "Y'know, I'm not sure about that Wang Xuan. He's getting ready for his Newbie Run in a few days, right? Imagine if he gets himself killed and loses all the equipment loaned him by the Organization!"


"Alright, alright, I'm just saying." Xu Qiang gave a wry smile as he slowly raised his arms above his head.

"Without good equipment and skills, new Players can't expected to clear the Newbie Run easily. Sure, they all say that all it takes is careful observation, but you and I both know that the success rate is a measly 40%. You sure Wang Xuan is up to it? Even with the Organization's equipment, I think he'll barely make it."

"We've done all we can, the rest is up to him." Wu Hua took a long drag, a pensive expression on his face. "I'd advise you to stop with such talk in the future. He's still a teammate, at the end of the day"

"Tch..." Shot down once again, Xu Qiang leaned back lazily into the comfort of the sofa.

"Okay okay okay. I'm sure he'll be fine... if he meets a really strong Player during the Newbie Run and gets ride on their coattails the whole way..."

Wu Hua said nothing.

They had omitted any mention of the mysterious Player from their reports for their own convenience, but the Player had saved their lives, after all. Thus, before ending the assignment and leaving the school, Wu Hua paid a special courtesy call to that Player's apartment.

"Hmm? You're here! Please, take a seat." As if entirely unsurprised by Wu Hua's arrival, Bai Zhi let him in and waved vaguely at the sofa.

...He lives in such austere conditions! Wu Hua remarked to himself, as he sat on the sofa. What he went on to say was unremarkable, being the usual sentiments.

First he expressed gratitude to Bai Zhi for saving his life, then offered his friendship and continuing support, and finally, Wu Hua laid an unmarked bank card on the table.

"... so we are most grateful that you saved our lives, good sir. Here is a prepaid card* with 1 million yuan, a simple token of my gratitude. Please accept it, sir."

Bai Zhi sipped his tea in silence as he looked at the card on the table.

To people who became Players, the value of money changed drastically. On the forums, there were many posts offering exorbitant amounts of money for game currency, or coins. The price of one coin could go as high as a thousand yuan, so a million yuan was worth only about a thousand coins. However, the supply of coins on the market was perpetually in a state of shortage, so many of these offers went unclaimed.

Bai Zhi was sure that the two items in his Inventory would easily fetch tens of billions of yuan at auction—if only they weren't Untradeable.

Come to think of it, a million yuan for saving someone's life wasn't much of a reward...

At first, he had thought that Wu Hua was there to recruit him to the Organization. He had even prepared a whole speech to reject the offer politely. However, everything Wu Hua had said and done since entering his apartment had been wholly unexpected. Just what was going on?

When did this dude get it into his head that I'm a boss of some sort?

Lin XiaoYi froze in the doorway to her dorm room as she felt the sudden urge to sneeze. "Achoo!"

"What's the matter? You got the chills?"

Xia Wen put a concerned hand on her friend's forehead.

"Girl, I was just getting some meds and I heard that something big happened at the school! Even the police were involved, and they called for ambulances! I heard it was some kind of leak at the chemistry lab. Oh yeah, and I also saw your beloved Bai Zhi strolling into one of the shops."

"You saw Bai Zhi where?"

Upon hearing that last bit, Lin XiaoYi's eyes flashed and she grabbed Xia Wen's hand mid-fuss.

"Hey! You've really changed, bish! You're asking about that when you didn't even ask me why I was getting meds!" Xia Wen exclaimed, offended.

"You've really lost it! What's so good about that Bai Zhi fella? His classmates are going to the hospital in an ambulance but he just waltzes back to his apartment like it's none of his business, how could someone so heartless deserve yours, my dear?!

"What do you know about it? There are more things in heaven and earth than you could even dream! Seeing is believing, hearsay is deceiving, you know. Don't let the rumors and gossip confound your own sharp mind."

Lin XiaoYi scoffed softy as she released Xia Wen's hand, then went over to her wardrobe, humming as she began picking out an outfit.

"I'll save the details for another time, but what I told you before was the truth, even if you don't believe it..."

"Hey, are you changing?? Where are you going?"

Xia Wen panicked and planted herself in between Lin XiaoYi and the wardrobe, as she imagined the worst.

"Obviously, I've decided to ask Bai Zhi out!"

Lin XiaoYi raised a determined fist to the sky. "There's no holding back in love and hate! I'm taking initiative like I always do, and I swear Bai Zhi will be mine! We're destined to be together!"

Xia Wen fell back on the bed and gave an exasperated grimace. "You've… completely lost it. I seriously think you should see a therapist, or better yet, get a complete psychological assessment done at one of the major hospitals! I'm worried for you."

"Hmm? What are you worried about?" the campus belle asked absently as she held up a white dress to her body.

"Don't you know the stories?"

Xia Wen held up a finger and said sanctimoniously, "The main character tries to pursue the campus belle in vain, but one day, by some strange coincidence, he masters the power of hypnosis! Then he hypnotizes the girl and makes her fall madly in love, then they go off to some secluded corner and do… things, and then the girl gets on top and he asks her to... you know!!!"

Before Xia Wen could say any more, a pile of clothes landed directly on her head.

*Prepaid cards are widely used in China, and are essentially cash in a convenient form. Unlike debit and credit cards, they are not linked to any particular bank account, but they are also a form of "bank card".