Chapter 3: Undead Swordsman

I ate about 250 grams of beef and drank a few cups of liquor, but my body still didn’t feel very warm. It was very strange.

I checked the time and noted that it was 10:30 pm, meaning that “Heavenblessed” would be starting in just one and a half hour’s time. Hundreds of millions of gaming fanatics must be staying close to their gaming equipment and waiting anxiously for the moment; the moment where they enter a whole new virtual reality and create new, immortalized legends of themselves.

I turned on the computer and saw the MSN avatar blinking rapidly. He Yi had sent a total of 47 messages while I was gone—

“Lu Chen, are you there? I’m at the hospital right now. Where are you…”

“Lu Chen, I’ve been trying to call your phone, but I couldn’t get through…”

“Lu Chen, I couldn’t find you even after I went back to the crash site. Where are you?”

“Wuuu, please don’t scare me, Lu Chen…”

“Lu Chen, what on earth happened to you? Where are you? Please… I…”

"Wuuu, Lu Chen…”

The sight of these messages shook my resolve. My hands were on the keyboard, but I had no idea what I could even type.  I've already made the decision and I had to stand by it. I couldn't contact He Yi. Even if we reunited, I was still a cripple.  And in the game? As I am right now, I'm of no help to Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls. They've been carrying a cripple like me around for years, and all they've gotten in return was Martial God Candlelight Shadow's wrath for taking me in. It would be better if she forgot about me entirely than drag a burden like me with her just to be hunted down and forced to delete account. It has always been about me. Candlelight Shadow never cared about them, he just wanted to hurt me. Maybe this time around they'll be able to enjoy the game in earnest...  

And so, I deleted my MSN account.

  ……

By now, the amount of people waiting online to join the game had reached a whopping number of seven hundred million. It was definitely an unprecedented—and for now, unbeatable—feat!

Besides that, there was a news title presented in large font on the official website of Spirit of Grief: Falling Dust, the genius of an era, suffers a massive defeat before leaving the scene with account deletion.

Over thirty thousand people left a reply to the news post. Countless more felt sorry for me.

I took another sip of the spicy liquor before smiling in relief. The best way to deal with this fucking life was a pinch of optimism. Maybe the game was the only way I knew how to deal with the suddenness of it all. I couldn't do much about my current situation, but I could indulge myself with a bit of escapism. “Heavenblessed, here I come!” 

I waited for a while until it was after 11. Then, I put on my gaming helmet.

A green flash and a retinal scan confirmed my identity. When I entered the game registration page, I noticed that the opening scene had been added to the page—

World had been ravished by war. The vibrant, scarlet color of blood was spreading. The forests were wilting, the humans’ main cities were collapsing into ruins, there were plagues everywhere, and the corpse piles were as tall as mountains. There were humans, elves, succubi, barbarians, and many other races. The stench of rot occasionally entered my nose, and the corpses stretched all the way to the horizon. A gigantic tree could be seen standing tall at the barren horizon.

It was the World Tree, the origin of all life and the protector of the natural laws.

But the World Tree started wilting, and the gods were perishing one after another. The entire Heavenblessed Continent was dyed in blood as a terrifying race slaughtered all life that entered its sight.

The images changed, and the scene switched to a battlefield in a huge valley. I was immediately stunned by the scene in front of me—

There were many armies composed of different races. Weapon clangs never stopped, and the sky was almost blotted out by the banners. The barbarian king clad in heavy armor swung his battle axe and let out a terrifying roar as his tribesmen swung their weapons toward their opponents with all their might. However, their enemies were quick and deadly, and their counterattack penetrated the warriors’ flesh like nothing. The entire place was filled with screams and the tang of blood.

Beneath a lionhead banner, the beautiful human queen pulled out her sword and shouted, “Attack!”

Countless human soldiers responded to the order, heaved their broadswords and charged bravely toward the front. The mages hiding in the dark muttered inaudible chants, their spells, huge fireballs hurling toward their enemies.

The battle was growing more and more intense. The battle cries in the valley were deafening, and the stench of blood was thick and ever-present.

The human queen grew a pair of beautiful butterfly wings and dove into the battlefield. Wherever her sword danced, countless heads of the undead flew high into the air.

However, a fog suddenly descended on the ground, transforming into a mysterious figure. A cold flash later, the human queen collapsed, and her head was held up by her killer. The fog-like undead let out a terrible, angry roar as if commanding all the races to submit to him.

The ground was dyed red. The warriors turned into cold, lifeless bodies.

In the end, only one human warrior was still standing atop a hill of corpses and cutting the terrifying creatures in half.

Drenched in blood but refusing to give up, he raised his sword and roared angrily at the undead leader. The two combatants charged each other at the same time as two Divine Armaments clashed, dominating the spotlight until it engulfed the entire world!

“Clang!”

The ring of metals didn’t die even as everything slowly faded away. Finally, a word slowly rose from the horizon—Heavenblessed!

I sucked in a deep breath after it was all over. What an impressive opening scene! It was no wonder that Heavenblessed was claimed a classic that would surpass Spirit of Grief. The promotional cinematic alone was enough to get my blood pumping!

My soul slowly flew toward the welcome shrine. A fairy danced in front of me before the melodious, synthetic voice of a woman entered my ears—

Ding~!

System Notice: Hello, valued user. You are confirmed to be a China server CGL Hall of Famer. Will you carry over your previous ID: Falling Dust?

I thought for a second before rejecting the option. Then, I entered a new ID: Broken Halberd Sinks Into Sand!

Sounds artistic and poetic, right? It reflects both the sorrow of Roberto Baggio and the heroism of Gabriel Batistuta, and it sounds cool enough to bait a cute lady or two. It truly is one of a kind!

In the previous game, after becoming one of the twenty-seven most famous players of the China server, I was gifted with this extremely precious gaming helmet.

Two years ago, I was one of the hottest and most powerful players in Spirit of Grief. But life was as unpredictable as the weather, and after a car accident damaged my brain stem, my whole life became delayed by 3 whole seconds. What this meant was that any instruction my brain sent out took 3 seconds to process before the corresponding action took place.

Could you imagine how deadly this reaction time was to my life?

The most anticipated rising star of the China region perished just like that. The genius became trash, and I became the biggest joke of China’s CGL Hall of Fame. My friends deserted me, and for a time I was at the lowest point of my life.

But one woman extended me an olive branch and pulled me out of it. It was my boss, a beautiful, strong and charismatic woman. But I let her down, and the guild lost again and again. In the end, we lost to Candlelight Shadow so badly and thoroughly that our three-thousand-strong guild was slaughtered until only five of us were left.

Our opponent was very scary.

Candlelight Shadow was proudly known as the “Martial God” in the gaming industry. He was also the number one player of the China server.

  ……

I smiled. There was no denying that I was well and truly broken in the previous game. It was true that I was a winner when I entered the CGL Hall of Fame, but the countless defeats I suffered after the car accident also marked me as a loser. It was why He Yi defined me as a “winloser”!

That was why I named myself “Broken Halberd Sinks Into Sand”. It was a reminder to myself not to fall into the same pitfall again, just like how Su Qin tied his hair to the ceiling and stabbed himself to study harder!

It was now time to confirm my race and class, also my most anticipated part of the registration process. Hmm, I want to become a cool and handsome human knight with high defense and burst. It would also help cover up my deficiency.

Heavenblessed was a full-body virtual reality game. There were ten classes to choose from: Warrior, Magic Knight, Mage, Archer, Wanderer, Tactician, Tamer, Priest, Bard and Assassin. They all had their own specialties, but there was nothing I loved more than melee-based classes. A real man should always fight close and personal on the battlefield!

A series of character models appeared in front of me. There was an armor-clad Warrior, a horse-riding Magic Knight, a staff-swinging Mage, a bow-wielding Archer, a Tactician, a Priest and so on.

The system also scanned the player’s body during the character creation process. I felt a slight pain on my head—something like a mosquito bite—and a blood sample was taken from my body.

Ding~!

System Notice: According to the scan, your heart rate is 30% lower than a normal person’s!

System Notice: According to the scan, your body temperature is 70% below the normal standard!

System Notice: According to the scan, your blood activity and viscosity is 40% below the normal standard!

System Notice: According to the scan, your brain wave activity is 20% higher than a normal person’s!

System Notice: According to the scan, your vital signs are 50% weaker than a normal person’s!

The notices kept coming, and I was shocked beyond words. What the hell was this? Was my VIP tier gaming helmet actually a counterfeit?

It was at this moment the notification bell rang again.

Ding~!

System Notice: Your physique matches the requirement to obtain a hidden warrior class, Undead Swordsman. Do you accept?

I was stupefied for two whole minutes. Then, I looked up and laughed like a madman!

“Hahaha, what unbelievable boon! To think I would obtain a secret class even before I entered the game! Undead Swordsman, a melee class with a special race? Only an idiot would reject this offer!”

I clicked accept without hesitation.

Another ding later, my game character appeared before my eyes. He was a cold, stern sword-wielding zombie clad in black armor from head to toe with a bloody war shirt!

The design was up to my satisfaction. An involuntary smile crossed my face as I said to myself, “Not bad. Now, I should get ready to enter the game!”

It was 11:57 pm, less than 3 minutes away from the official start of Heavenblessed. My heart was beating rapidly, and blood was boiling inside my body. The past rewinded itself in my head. Hmph, I will take back everything I’ve lost with my own hands!

Time continued to tick down as I waited in the welcome shrine. I’m sure countless players throughout the world are feeling the same eagerness and anticipation as I am.

Finally, the long needle of the clock hit 12. The game was now officially released!

Ding~!

System Notice: Broken Halberd Sinks Into Sand, would you like to enter the game right away?

Yes!

Light flashed before my eyes, and I entered the world of Heavenblessed. Then, a ding informed me that the first player to enter the game, namely me, was gifted a shot at the lottery. Congratulations! You’ve obtained the super Divine Armament—Sword of the Overlord!

And then I woke up. Obviously, that was a complete pipedream.

  ……

My eyes were beset by a curtain of endless fog. I heard a quiet sigh from far, far away. “Awaken, oh abandoned dead!”

Rustle rustle…

The sound of rolling soil entered my ears as I dug through the earth covering me with all my might. Finally, I burst through the ground and was immediately greeted with a waft of rot and death. If that wasn’t enough, the person in front of me shocked me even more!

I would call him a man dressed in black mage robes, but he wasn’t really a man. His face was rotten, and he was missing more than half of his flesh. The only intact organs on his body were probably the eyeballs rolling up and about in his sockets, and to call it terrifying would be an understatement to say the least. The hand he used to grip the staff was completely rotten, left with naught but white bones.

He was an undead mage!

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