Underworld Playerchapter 3: the woman was too stunned to speak

As soon as he realized this world was not as simple as it seemed, Bai Zhi started to feel increasingly restless.

It was all right to come across a Scuttle Crab, since they were neutral mobs in the game that never attacked the player, but if it had been some other monster instead, things might have turned out very differently. In the worst case, the little street might quickly have been turned into a gruesome scene of gore and mayhem. Considering all the uncanny reports he had just read, Bai Zhi was taking no chances.

Better safe than sorry, as they said. He certainly had no intention of ending up on the news a second time, mere days after he had been granted a miraculous second chance at life, by way of being the hapless victim in another of the city's urban legends.

Bai Zhi sat on the chair and brooded, pondering his next move for minutes on end. The next thing he did was to take the video game account—one that his other self had invested untold sums of money into—and list it for sale at a moderate sum, based on the average market price. Then, he collected his wallet and bank card and headed out.

After another half-hour, Bai Zhi could be seen hurriedly shuffling back to his rental apartment, laden with an assortment of purchases.

Thanks to the widespread adoption and development of the internet, practically anything could be found online, from the most useless trivia to the instructions for building a nuclear bomb.

Being the sort of person who made things happen rather than wait for them to transpire, upon grasping how dangerous this world could be, the exceptional genius Bai Zhi, whose last great achievement was blowing himself to pieces, wasted no time getting up to his old tricks. Using simple materials that were easily obtained, he fashioned about a dozen makeshift explosives and fiery traps, right there in the kitchen of his rental apartment.

If not for his severely limited funds, he would even have purchased a full-body set of protective clothing for himself. Dying had a way of making people cling to life that much more, after all. As for weapons, buying firearms was obviously out of the question. Even making a homemade firearm would land him in jail, if the authorities ever found out. However, there was one thing that could be bought online that was more terrifying than a gun.

Yep, a chainsaw.

"With this baby ripping and roaring in your hands, not even ten burly men could put a scratch on you! A tool that promises to be as deadly as it is threatening, the chainsaw is the safeguard of choice for every household! All this for a low, low price, only a couple hundred bucks including shipping..."

With the lessons of his past life fresh in his mind, Bai Zhi was much more careful when putting together the makeshift explosives this time around. After all, he was crafting these to save his own life, not just blow a hole in some wall.

By his reckoning, by using the explosives to blast nails, steel balls and other shrapnel in all directions, he could cause enough damage to take down a Scuttle Crab, though where that last crab had gone was anybody's guess...

Once he had carefully placed the deadly contraptions where they belonged, Bai Zhi glanced at the time and was surprised to realize it was already noon. Quickly grabbing the first textbook that he found on the table, he headed to campus.

Missing the morning class was no big deal, but he had practical classes in the afternoon, which was an opportunity to pick up some "free" chemicals from the university labs. He had even invested in some glassware for just this purpose. But first, he headed to the cafeteria.

Since he had left the apartment a little late, by the time Bai Zhi arrived at the cafeteria, it was already teeming with fellow students. His recent shopping spree had left him very little to spend on food, so he simply added some plain vegetables to his plate and squeezed through the crowd to find a seat.

"Let's get out of here, Wennie."

Lin XiaoYi slammed her chopsticks down, a dour expression on her face. She had barely started on her meal but had lost her appetite after spotting a certain figure with a tray in his hands heading directly toward her.

"Ugh! Just my rotten luck to bump into that guy here, of all places. I'll be damned if I let him make me the center of attention in this massive crowd."

The petite girl sitting opposite Lin XiaoYi threw a look over her shoulder, and it became clear who her friend was referring to. As the person in question drew ever closer, a pained look crossed her face as she realized her dilemma.

"Uh... Wh-what about our lunch? Surely he wouldn't dare... not in front of so many people!"

Lin XiaoYi's response was firm and swift. "Please, you know very well how shameless that guy is. I have no intention of letting him trap me! Leave it, I'll treat you to something even better later!"

Ever since the notorious scumbag had set his sights on courting her, nothing seemed to go according to plan for Lin XiaoYi. She had expressed her rejection in more ways than one and in no uncertain terms, yet her dogged pursuer had skin that was thicker than she could imagine, and kept up his attention relentlessly.

Lin XiaoYi just knew that in a moment, that guy would feign surprise at bumping into her unexpectedly, then launch enthusiastically into some topic of conversation or other. She did not deny that he had a pretty face, but it would take more than that to impress her.

She firmly resolved that as soon as he stopped next to her, she would immediately get up and leave. She was determined not to humor him, not even for a second. It was not polite of her, of course, but what about him? That scumbag had put her on the spot in public many times before, so this was just returning the gesture in kind... Yes, that's right, this was only fair!

The pest was almost upon her now. Ignoring her companion, who was at the moment furiously wolfing down her chicken, Lin XiaoYi rose and took a stride toward the exit in one smooth motion, placing herself perfectly... shoulder to shoulder with the very person she was trying to avoid.

She stared awkwardly, too stunned to even speak.

"Hmm? Hello there, miss. Would you be vacating this seat, by any chance?"

Lin XiaoYi's sudden movements drew the attention of Bai Zhi, who was clearly hunting for an open seat in the packed cafeteria, neck craned and tray in hand. His eyes had lit up upon spotting an opportunity to secure the vacant seat.

"...I'm— I mean, yes."

Disoriented by having her expectations completely subverted, Lin XiaoYi could only manage a stiff nod. The detestable guy before her opened his mouth and she very clearly heard him reply, in tones of utter delight,

"Wonderful! I was worried I would never find a seat... Here, your tray. Thanks very much!"

After conscientiously lifting Lin XiaoYi's hastily-abandoned tray of food and placing it into her hands, the guy promptly turned away from her and plopped into the seat she had just vacated, leaving her staring blankly at the back of his head.

As she stood there dumbly with the tray in her hands, watching the person now seated and chowing down heartily, Lin XiaoYi was struck by the inexplicable feeling that she had been made the fool.


At that precise moment, Xia Wen swallowed the final bite of chicken on her plate and lifted her head glumly, only to be thunderstruck to find that she was sharing the table with someone completely different, while her friend, who had wanted her to leave the cafeteria together a moment ago, was now standing behind the guy, holding her tray and looking forlorn.

Xia Wen was so utterly confused she did not know where to look.