5 A Superman Dream
after running around the village, jiang fei was finally done with the quests. from the beginning, jiang fei had been walking about with a full set of the weakest tier equipment. the quests had rewarded with him a few better alternatives. while hunting, he had managed to procure a pair of gray grade lower pants. even so, it barely helped -- it better served a trash can. at that moment, jiang fei had already managed to equip a full set of white tier equipment. it was still weak, but it was significantly better than a full set of gray tier equipment.
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when he returned to the village to submit the quest, he was level 4. by the time he completed all the quests available, he had gained enough experience points to reach level 6. however… it did not seem like he would be "graduating" from the beginner's village anytime soon.
"ding! attention, players. the server will shut down in 30 minutes. please prepare yourself before the allotted time. today's session is about to come to an end!"
dawn break was brilliant in a way that its servers only ran for 8 hours a day. that was a full 24 hours of gameplay while players still got a full 8 hours of sleep! it did not disrupt one's daily lifestyle, allowing one to function normally while enjoying this virtual heaven in their uninterrupted sleep! a new lifestyle!
"time for me to return to the village and log out."
jiang fei started his journey back to the beginner's village. along the way, he opened his inventory window and started organizing his items.
"hmm… so let's throw these to the ring as leveling fodder (tl note: items to be sacrificed). it has to be food, or else it would not work. random etc items would be gone and still won't contribute to the ring's level. i should sell them to npcs."
he organized the items, one at a time, scrutinizing each of them. one particularly item caught his attention. a bottle containing clear, red liquid.
"hey hey… there's a red potion here. i don't think i would be using them, anytime soon. monsters in the beginner's village are just too weak. best put them in the blue slots. don't want the ring gulping them down!"
"ding! attention players. the server will shut down in 30 seconds. please make proper preparations before the server disconnects! today's session is about to come to an end!"
as jiang fei was just finished tidying his inventory and tossing trash at the npc, the system called out again.
after the same white light flashed by, jiang fei found himself lying flat on his bed. everything had returned to normal.
"was i dreaming, or was i really playing the game?"
jiang fei scratched his head as he asked himself the same question when he had first entered the game. he lifted his hands up and gazed upon the silvery metal around his finger.
a faint, white light flashed from the ring.
jiang fei bolted upright, fully alert.
"it is a dream! it has to be!"
baffled by what just happened, jiang fei could not think of any other explanation. when the light flashed, he had clearly felt the contents of the ring's inventory! it felt just like he had in the game!
jiang fei reached to his thighs hesitantly.
"this better work!" cried jiang fei as he pinched himself hard.
it worked. he was not dreaming. definitely not dreaming. the pain was hell on earth. wait, why would he even subject himself to such pain? why the heck did he apply that much force...
"sh*t! damn! this is real! this is real!"
he could only accept the reality that had been shoved right in his face. the ring was with him, and he knew that the ring's inventory was real! the only difference here was how the game had separated it into two -- red and blue. in reality, he could only access the 18 blue slots. one of those slots contained the small red potion.
"ah fei? what's wrong?"
a concerned voice rang from outside jiang fei's room. it was his mother.
"nothing, mom! it's just a bad dream." jiang fei gave a lousy excuse after screaming and bicycle kicking the air in pain. it must have sounded like any mother's worst fears.
"if you say so. it's time for you to get out of bed! hurry up and eat your breakfast."
his mother switched to strict nagging asian mom mode as soon as she knew that was nothing going on with jiang fei.
"yeah yeah…" jiang fei replied nonchalantly. as a high school student, it was rough morning after rough morning. with the game, everyone in the game would be up at 6am sharp with a full night's sleep! oversleeping would be a thing of the past!
jiang fei got up of his bed, more curious about the ring than ever. he had felt the ring's in-game functions, in this real world! would its contents manifest themselves in reality as well?
as he reached this hypothesis, jiang fei concentrated on the ring and focused on the little red potion in the inventory. it may merely be a common health points potion, but what would it look like in the real world?
"come out!" jiang fei cried, hoping for the best. he was so nervous that his heart could have jumped right out of his mouth! if he could take it out, he would no longer be an average high school student! what if he could take out some god-like equipment from the game and wield them in the real world? he would be stronger than that crappy superman who couldn't even tell inside from out when donning his underpants!
a faint blue light flashed, and jiang fei felt the sensation of a cold glass in his hand.
"i did it! it actually appeared!" excited, jiang fei reached for his thigh and pinched himself again!
"brother glider?! what's wrong!"
"nothing mom! i stubbed my toe!"
"ah fei! you're in high school now! why are you still so careless?"
"won't happen again!"
this time, his screams were so loud that his mother had shouted back at him with equal intensity. surprisingly, she bought his plausible but lazy excuse without much fuss.
"i'm invincible! invincible!" jiang fei screamed into his pillow.
"right! right! i guess that i should place this back…" jiang fei tried to summon the inventory window out, but failed. things were not as simple as it was before. the ring's inventory was not as easy to use in reality. items could only be moved between the game's inventory. that and withdrawal from the ring's inventory in the real world. there was no way for jiang fei to deposit the item back without the game's inventory!
"crap… might as well put it in this bag first." jiang fei gave up almost immediately. since the potion could almost fit in a palm; like a small female perfume, he then placed it in his bag.
after a quick breakfast, jiang fei got dressed and went to school.
"brother fei! oh man, you've missed out on the game! dawn break is so realistic! it's too real! man… i can't even tell the difference between the real world and the game!"
"i'm not done! after playing for the entire night, i woke up feeling refreshed! i won't have to worried about being late ever again!"
jiang fei's best friend, zhao feng immediately sauntered up to him and bragged about the game when jiang fei entered the classroom.
"it's a shame that your dad won't allow you to play the game. imagine both of us playing together… we could be dominating the entire server! dude! i reached level 6 yesterday! i'm going to pump all my energy to play tonight and leave beginner's village as soon as possible..." zhao feng's rambling continued, on without showing any signs of stopping.
"haha. is that right…" jiang fei laughed as he listened to his friend.
even though zhao feng was his best friend, he hesitated telling him about the mystery ring. that guy was infamous for his loud mouth. there was no secret he could hold, no tales he would not tell. if he knew about the ring, the whole world would soon know about it. jiang fei knew of its power. he knew what would happen if others got to know about the ring. he might not be able to protect it on his own. he could not afford to let any living soul know about it.
the rest of the day, his body sat in class, while his mind continued drifting around the ring. he was extremely excited. after a single night, that ring had already produced a red potion from a video game! that was just one night. just how much change could the ring bring to his life?
"brother fei, i think you should persuade your dad again when you're back home. our families are practically the same… financially, i don't see any reason why your dad would not agree. anyhow, it's all on you now!"
zhao feng was still rambling on about the game long after the school bells rang.