Chapter 3 – Self-esteem
Translated by Oxy | Edited by Neverfire7
“Mission: Kill the Water Hyacinths. [Coordinates]
During a bird migratory season, an alien species of Water Hyacinths were introduced into the lake. Due to the lack of natural predators, the plants are overpopulating the lake, causing large amounts of fish and other aquatic life to die, due to the lack of oxygen, destroying the lake’s ecosystem. Please kill the Water Hyacinths!
Reward: 20 Balance Points.”
“Mission: Root out the cause of poisoning in a river’s creek. [Coordinates]
Malicious travellers polluted the creek with poisonous substances, poisoning the water, causing animals who drink it to die one after another, destroying the creek’s ecosystem. Please solve it quickly!
Reward: 10 Balance Points.”
“Mission: Hunt down the Spirit Wolf King. [Coordinates]
A Wolf King inadvertently has awoken its potential to cultivate. It absorbed the world’s spiritual force, and transformed into a Spirit Beast, turning berserk. It is now massacring various living creatures for its own amusement, destroying the forest ecology. Please put an end to the Spirit Wolf King!
Reward: 150 Balance Points.”
“Hahaha! Luckily this world’s ecosystem is intact. It can’t even be compared to my previous world!” Bai Xiao excitedly said, pacing back and forth.
Why was Bai Xiao excited? It was actually because of the change in the number of rewarded balance points. In his previous, crumbling world, the system could only reward just one percent of the points he was getting now. He had often desperately struggled to complete a mission, yet was only rewarded with a single balance point. For the sake of achieving his goal to transmigrate to another world, which needed ten-odd thousand balance points, only he knew how much suffering he went through. But now, even getting rid of the source of poisoning in a river’s creek, a relatively simple mission, would net him 10 balance points. Now, Bai Xiao could feel that the good times were just getting started!
However, there was something that needed to be said in regards to this matter. Like the status stats, the balance points were also rounded to the nearest whole number. But there was no change of colour to represent the decimal points. It meant that a point was precisely just a point. For example, if Bai Xiao were to need a toothpick, he’d need to exchange one balance point for it. If he needed a pack of toothpicks instead, it would still cost one balance point. Even an entire box of toothpicks would still cost one balance point. Only for larger quantities would two balance points be required. In other words, if one balance point is worth a thousand toothpicks, and you only exchange it for a single toothpick, the remainder would just disappear.
This was very unfair, as far as Bai Xiao was concerned, but that’s just how the system is. Love was useless! There were also some advantages for Bai Xiao, and those were precisely the rewards!
The rewarded balance points, even if it was less than a point, would still be treated as one point, by the system, instead of not being counted at all. Back in Bai Xiao’s previous world, even if the rewards were just one one-hundredth of the original, it would still be one point, no matter how small the original amount was, and not some fraction of a point!
“Bai Xiao, it’s time to return. There are still classes later!”
An aged voice brought Bai Xiao back from his musings. He turned his head and saw a rather ugly old man, with a walking stick, slowly limping towards him.
“Yes, Great-granddad!” Bai Xiao replied cutely, while taking a quick glance at the rising sun. Even though he had spent half of his life polishing a sophisticated appearance, acting like a child was still a piece of cake for him.
Great-grandfather calmly looked at Bai Xiao and nodded with satisfaction. He held out his wrinkle-covered, black left hand, and Bai Xiao cutely held onto it. All of his actions were completely natural, casting the image of a loving pair of a grandfather and his grandson.
“Let’s go, it’s time to go home.”
“Alright, Great-grandad!” A glimmer of warmth flashed in his eyes.
Great-grandfather was the person who raised him up, and was also his most intimate relative!
The lengthy mountain trail they were on was narrow and rugged, so they could only walk slowly. But they were still able to return back to the village before class started.
Great-grandfather beamed at the little boy standing outside their house. Looking at how Bai Xiao seemed to be afraid to leave him, Great-grandfather felt amused.
“Go! I will cook some roast lamb for you tonight.” Great-grandfather let go of Bai Xiao’s hand and lightly patted his back, encouraging him to leave.
“En! I’m looking forward to it!” Bai Xiao laughingly said, as he left the house.
A boy saw Bai Xiao leaving his house, and very excitedly trotted towards him, with a face full of smiles.
“Don’t make such a fuss! Come, let’s go to school together!” Bai Xiao jokingly scolded, grabbed the boy’s hand, and they walked towards the east of the village.
The boy, Bai Conan, was the same age as Bai Xiao. He was Bai Xiao’s playmate, and they shared a tight brotherhood. Bai Xiao did not break off the relationship he had with this little imp. Since he went through all this work to become young again, he had decided to embrace the mentality of a child as well. However, no matter how hard he tried to act as a child, the feelings he had for Bai Conan could not be the same as before. Now, Bai Xiao treated him as his little brother.
Conan! This name… Bai Xiao wanted to laugh. Although there was nothing to laugh at before, now that he regained his memories, it became quite funny. (TN: Reference to Detective Conan.)
The school was huge, and it gave off a flourishing aura as well. From this, one could see how much the Bai people valued education. The school separated the students into different grades. Bai Xiao was in the Junior Grade.
“Oh my! Isn’t this the great child prodigy? You are obviously smart enough already, yet still so hardworking, how do you expect us to keep up?” This immature-sounding string of words came from the Tyrant of the Junior Grade, Bai Kai. In the teachers’ eyes, he was one of the hardest students to deal with.
That child prodigy was naturally our main protagonist, Bai Xiao. After all, he had the soul of an adult person. Even if his memories were sealed, his learning capabilities were still incomparable to children his age.
Bai Xiao pulled Conan aside. He then saw those bunch of hooligans acting like big shot gangsters, trying to intimidate everyone around them.
Bai Xiao shook his head and ignored these idiots. When he was in high school, he saw his fair share of delinquents, looking to cause trouble, trying to act like the gangsters they had read about in comics.
This bunch of wannabes were very immature yet, unexpectedly, the class seemed to have bought their act. Even the eyes of the famous detective next to him… *cough* Conan, were gleaming as well. Bai Xiao could not stand it anymore. Alas, Generation gaps…
“You! Bai… Conan, come over here and massage my leg. I’ve been very busy lately and my leg is a little bit sore.” Bai Kai initially wanted to call out Bai Xiao’s name, but after considering Bai Xiao’s towering height, along with his title of being the school’s top prodigy, he did not dare to do so. He could only switch his target to the one next to Bai Xiao, Conan, in order to find a way out of this embarrassing situation.
“This…” Conan felt some hesitation. Even though he totally bought Bai Kai’s act, he was unwilling. Why? Because a tiny shred of self-esteem hidden in his heart faintly reminded himself that this was wrong, and that he must not go through with it!
“Hm?” Bai Kai saw Conan hesitating, nasally sounding a groan.
Conan’s eyes flashed with a trace of panic. The Tyrant of the Junior Grade was famed for his fighting prowess, causing fear to penetrate into his very being. This fear led to him being unable to go against Bai Kai’s orders. Feeling helpless, he hastily ran towards Bai Kai and was prepared kneel down to massage his leg. Observing Conan’s actions, Bai Kai flashed an arrogant smile, and snorted haughtily.
But, just when Conan was about to kneel down, a person suddenly appeared in front of him, standing between Conan and Bai Kai.
“Bai Xiao…” Conan muttered, looking at the figure of Bai Xiao’s back standing before him.
“Bai Xiao, what is the meaning of this? Do you want to die?” Bai Kai furiously pushed his subordinates aside, and shouted at Bai Xiao. Originally, he wanted to give Bai Xiao face and not let him massage his leg. Yet, not only was he ungrateful, Bai Xiao even prevented Conan from massaging his leg! Did Bai Xiao think that he did not have a temper?
Bai Xiao glanced at the inexplicably flustered Bai Kai, then he turned around to look at Bai Conan. He said, “Conan, matters like these are not for you to do, you are not just some lowly servant!”
“There are some things that one must never do. Once you do them, your morals will start to degenerate, causing you to start compromising and making excuses for your actions, leading to a downward spiral to depravity. Once you do it for the first time, it will leave scars in your heart. Next time you encounter a similar situation, you’d feel that since you’ve already done it the before, it’d be nothing if you did it again. The second time would lead to a third, then a fourth… Over time, you would get used to being cowardly, making it a habit. Your life would subsequently lose all meaning.” Bai Xiao did not care whether Conan understood or not, he simply spoke what he wanted to speak, and left it at that.
Conan looked at the somewhat unfamiliar Bai Xiao, feeling somewhat shocked. He was still tender in age, so how could he understand all these words? He only felt that Bai Xiao was right and that he must not back down and cower!
Conan then started to sob uncontrollably, baffling Bai Xiao. The reason why children cry is very simple. Other than displaying discomfort, they don’t know of any other ways to express themselves. Tired? Cry! Pain? Cry! Sad? Cry! Worried? Cry! Guilty? Cry! Moved? Cry! Bored? Cry as well!! …
“There, there.” Bai Xiao patted Conan’s head somewhat helplessly, but he knew that Conan was not being consoled that much, if at all. That’s because children are unreasonable creatures. If a child’s crying, the more you try to console the child, the fiercer the child will cry. Why is that? Ah! Who knows…
“You son of a bitch!” The ignored Bai Kai was provoked, angrily cursing. There were some kids in Bai Kai’s gang that felt somewhat uncomfortable after being ignored as well.
Bai Xiao turned his head, only to see a Bai Kai looking like he was ready for a fight. Little children willing to die, just to save face! Bai Xiao found this situation to be quite laughable.
“Are you challenging me to a fight?” Bai Xiao asked. He did not mind giving these children, who thought gang fights were fun, a lesson.
Bai Xiao was very confident in his strength and fighting skills. He did not believe he was no match for this little delinquent.
Hm? Bullying children? Are you kidding me? He was also a child now, too!
“Please don’t fight, guys. Don’t fight!” A few girls that were watching from the side, noticing that something serious was about to happen, tried to calm them down. Some of them ran out to find a teacher as well.
Pity, the girls did not know that any mediation on their part, was not even the slightest bit useful. Rather, it would even stir the boys up even more.
The situation was at a deadlock. Bai Xiao did not want to make the first move, whereas Bai Kai’s gang were waiting for Bai Kai to make a move, however, Bai Kai was motionless. Why was he motionless? He did not dare to move first…
Finally, this farce of a ‘battle’ ended when the teacher entered the classroom.