“Just me? Nobody else?” asked Chen Mo.
“Yes! The requester said so. Man, I didn’t think you’d be a Master in disguise. No wonder you didn’t accept Glacier Group’s commission!”
Fatty Tian had no idea how powerful Chen Mo was in the game – he only knew that his company had offered to introduce more famous and powerful professional players to the requestor in order to keep them interested but the requester had rejected all of them, insisting on Chen Mo for the job. If Chen Mo did not accept, the offer would be withdrawn immediately.
Chen Mo muttered to himself under his breath after hearing Fatty Tian’s words. The commission was weird – it was as if the requester knew what he had done last night in the game. If not, why must it be him, then?
Last night he had been masked all the time in-game. Players who have learnt “Investigate” would be able to use it on him and see his game ID even though he had his face covered but the skill could only be learnt in the Three Main Cities.
Chen Mo did not find it strange that someone had found out his game ID. If he could get the ‘Capture’ skill in the beginner village, it was no surprise that others could get the ‘Investigate’ skill too.
The problem was that this person probably knew him in real life since his face hadn’t been revealed in-game.
Of course, he couldn’t discount the possibility that the game company had leaked his personal details.
Other players may not know about him but every action he took had been recorded by the game company. It would be easy to find him that way.
Chen Mo had seen many cases where company staff sold information for extra money. It was possible someone had sold his information to the requester and that was how he was found.
Money makes the world go around. Judging from the sum of money the requester put up, this was the most likely scenario.
“Brother Chen, you won’t reject it, will you?” Chen Mo’s silence made Fatty Tian anxious.
“Sure, I’ll accept. Why not? I get a USD$100,000 deposit if I accept, right?” Chen Mo responded right away.
Worm Co.’s policy was that once the deposit had been made, it cannot be refunded no matter if the job was a failure or not. Since the requester knew his identity already it was no use trying to be secretive. Might as well take the money and see how the job went. He didn’t believe that he could be forced into doing any task he didn’t want to anyway.
Furthermore, he was just a Level 10 small fry. Though he had a full set of excellent equipment, the edge it gave him would only last him till Level 20 at most. He hadn’t made any great progress in the game and was probably not that much better than the average player. That was why he found it strange how this requester thought so highly of him.
“Hahaha, Brother Chen, that’s great! USD$100, 000 is yours once you agree. However, the requester also has a condition – the first task you do shall be for free.” Fatty Tian was overjoyed at Chen Mo’s acceptance.
“What’s the first request?” asked Chen Mo. There was no such thing as a free lunch after all. On the other hand, he had no reason to reject either the USD$100, 000 commission or the in-game commission.
“Which main city are you in, Brother Chen? You need to go to Shadow City and the requester will let you know about the first task.”
The Three Main Cities were rather far apart and at this stage in the game it was impossible for Level 10+ players to move from one city to another. Fatty Tian’s words implied that if Chen Mo had gone to another city, he would have to commit suicide and get to Shadow City.
Chen Mo was still in the beginner village so it was not a problem to get to Shadow City but he still had to wait about two days more.
With that thought in mind, Chen Mo said, “Old Tian, I need at least three days to get to Shadow City. Get your people in touch with the requester. If he can’t wait, I won’t be able to do it.”
If he were willing, Chen Mo could let go of the BOSS minion and get to Shadow City in one day. Logically speaking, a BOSS minion was not worth USD$100, 000 especially since pets caught before the second character class upgrade cannot level up. The BOSS minion was strong but it was just a Level 10 BOSS. Most people would give up on Fatso for USD$100, 000.
Chen Mo was not going to give up on Fatso. He wanted to know what sort of attitude the requester had as he was uncomfortable not knowing anything about the requester.
“No problem! Don’t worry, Brother Chen. The requester gave enough time.”
Fatty Tian’s words made Chen Mo’s plan to find out more go up in smoke.
He persisted and asked Fatty Tian more questions about the requester but what he knew was limited. Chen Mo got nothing and they both hung up.
After hanging up, Chen Mo opened the messages.
“Come back to school this afternoon. Before 4pm.”
“Get your ass to school before 4 or deal with the consequences yourself.”
He had two messages – the first from their form teacher, Su Yue Hong and the other rude one from the class monitor Li Yun.
Both messages were similar – looks like something happened at school.
Come to think of it, he hadn’t been to school in almost a month. Time to show his face.
He dillydallied till it was almost 3, then braved the afternoon heat and took the tram to Nan Hua University.
He walked into Year 3 Class 2’s Computer Systems classroom and was surprised to see that it was empty of students except for the class monitor, Li Yun.
Holy crap. The entire world changed in the month he’d been away.
“You’re finally here, huh? The School of Computer Systems has been shut down. These are the transfer papers the school has specially prepared for Computer Systems students, valid till 5pm. After that, you’ll have to go through regular application and transfer procedures. Everyone else has filed the papers. You’re the only one left.”
Li Yun was dressed in a white shirt and black suit. His scholarly face was full of gloating as he tossed a document at Chen Mo.
“By 5pm?” Chen Mo frowned.
He flipped through the papers. These transfer papers were simple enough to fill but there still were multiple procedures involved and he definitely couldn’t finish it in a few hours.
“What – not happy? You only have yourself to blame for not coming to class. I’m being very kind in informing you right now!” said Li Yun snidely.
Chen Mo looked coolly at Li Yun. He knew he hated him.
Why? Simply because Chen Mo was better than him.
In their first year, Li Yun volunteered to be class president. He was also way ahead of others in computer things and was quite well known in the School of Computer Systems.
During those days, Chen Mo did not skip school for a month like he did now. He buried his head in books, studied hard for a year and in that one year he taught himself the material for all three years of university.
So, from the second year onwards, when Chen Mo had more or less learnt all there was to learn, he barely showed up for classes that were not attendance-compulsory.
In Year 2, Computer Systems students were eligible to take part in the highly-regarded annual Computing Competition and every class had to have at least two participants. Of course, Li Yun signed up for the competition and, to everyone’s surprise, the form teacher Su Yue Hong pushed Chen Mo very hard to take part too.
Once the results were out, everyone was shocked. Chen Mo placed third!
Getting into the top three as a second-year student was a feat that very few had accomplished in the history of Nan Hua University.
The highly-regarded Li Yun, on the other hand, placed tenth.
The students in Chen Mo’s class begun to notice things about him. They discovered that this quiet classmate had a hidden side to him. He did not attend classes but scored very well in all his examinations. Problems others could not figure out were solved easily by him – problems that Li Yun could not solve.
Li Yun, who had always been head and shoulders above the rest, was suddenly toppled from his perch. His lofty position and rank had been stripped from him.
Chen Mo rarely came to school but when he did, he could feel the animosity and jealousy in Li Yun’s gaze. He was surprised Li Yun did not take the opportunity now to exact revenge.
Though he was not a regular attendee, Chen Mo had friends and he entrusted two of his classmates to inform him of any important happenings in school.
Mobile phones in this day and age made it easy for people to send messages or make quick calls but these two classmates had not informed him of the transfers.
Chen Mo could see a trace of smugness in Li Yun’s gaze and guessed that he probably had something to do with it. Ultimately, Chen Mo himself was to blame for his month-long absence and not staying on top of things.
“Okay. I’ll settle the transfer myself.” Chen Mo nodded, gathered the transfer papers and turned to go.
Behind Chen Mo’s back, Li Yun’s smug expression morphed into rage.
He had spent so much effort to see Chen Mo’s face when he fell into despair and hysterics when given the bad news… But this bastard! This bastard was the same as when he had placed third in the competition – he didn’t give a damn!
“Pretend, then! Keep pretending! I’ll rip your hypocrite mask off one day!”
Alone in the empty classroom, Li Yun punched the table in fury.
He had lost too much of what should have been his because of this bastard!