Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
When Xiao Lin opened his eyes again, he found himself in a classroom. The size of the classroom was about the same as his high school; there were over a hundred people in here, and it was crammed.
The Central Smart Computer's unique sound rang in everyone's minds.
[The admission test begins!]
[Compulsory Mission: Escape the school within an hour! This school is being attacked by a horde of zombies. Escape the school safely, arrive at the safe area, and the mission will be completed.]
[Optional Missions: 1) Kill at least 5 zombies, or 2) Kill the Zombie King.]
[Mission Rewards: Completing the Compulsory Mission will bring 10 credits and 100 redemption points; completing Optional Mission 1 will bring extra 10 credits and 200 redemption points; completing Optional Mission 2 will bring extra 20 credits and 500 redemption points.]
[Hint: Every freshman will receive an admission gift bag and a free novice weapon.]
[Given that this is the admission test, this event will not come with punishments for failure to complete the mission.]
Xiao Lin was crammed in the corner of the classroom. He looked around him; the classroom was rundown and the grey walls were smeared with darkened bloodstains. The tables and chairs were strewn all over the floor, and there were clouds and a bright blue sky outside the broken windows. A mild breeze made everything seem real; everyone marvelled at the technology the Dawn Academy possessed.
The field outside was filled with zombies the Smart Computer mentioned. Their skin was completely decomposed, and it was impossible to tell what shape they were. They wandered around aimlessly.
The novice weapon the Smart Computer talked about appeared in everyone's hands with a ray of light. Xiao Lin held a grey wooden wand, and he received a message about the wand in his mind at the same time.
[Magic Attack Power Evaluation: F]
[A skill 'energy ball' is attached. Each use will lead to consumption of mental power.]
[Automatic acquisition of the Basic Wand Mastery skill LV1: 0/100]
Basic wand mastery?
Xiao Lin seemed like he understood something. He pointed the wand at the sky outside the window and felt a gush of unexplained energy flowing from his body. The wand's handle heated up slightly, and a white, fist-sized energy bomb emitted from the top of the wand with a whistling sound. It exploded like fireworks mid-air after flying for less than 50 meters.
[Basic Wand Mastery: 2/100]
The movie-like magic had many people rapt in wonder. Their glowing eyes were fixed on the wand in Xiao Lin's hands; they were reluctant to look away from it.
Although the novice weapons were randomly assigned — swords, bows, knives, daggers, wands, and so on — only a handful of people received a wand from the get-go.
The magic wand was obviously more attractive to everyone compared to the swords that seemed so commonplace.
Some more intelligent people began trading weapons with others. Some of them were unsatisfied with the weapon randomly assigned to them; they either despised the daggers for being too short, the swords being too bulky, or not knowing how to use bows and arrows. After trading for weapons they were satisfied with, they left the classroom one after another.
The classroom grew more spacious. Some of the people stayed back to try out their weapons; although swords and knives were considered normal, not many had used them in real life.
"The skill I got was Basic Bow Mastery."
"Mine is Basic Dagger Mastery."
"Looks like you'll automatically get whatever skill is relevant to the weapon you're assigned."
"Hey, did you guys realize? Every time you wave your weapon, the Basic Mastery skill will increase in experience points!"
"That's right! I waved it just now, and there was an increase in experience points."
Everyone eventually learnt about this, but waving weapons did not guarantee an increase in experience points. For example, those with daggers did not get an increase in experience points if they merely waved it; they had to wave it with all their might to obtain experience points.
Xiao Lin leaned against the wall in the corner. He felt a little dizzy, but this did not stop him from listening in the chatter. He felt a little confused; everyone had a 1XP increase in their basic skills every time they waved their weapons, regardless of distance from their target. However, he was the only one who gained 2XP in Basic Wand Mastery after firing the energy bomb.
Xiao Lin's eyes lit up; he finally understood how his SS Academic Genius talent worked. His learning efficiency for all abilities increased by 100%, even when he was in a passive state. This meant that the speed of his skill upgrade was twice as fast as everyone else's!
Xiao Lin released a white energy ball toward the sky, and his Basic Wand Mastery skill increased to 4/100. His hunch was right; this was the SS-level talent after all. Although it was not really powerful at the moment, it was a masterstroke in the long run.
Nevertheless, what came after the excitement was more intense dizziness. Xiao Lin's vision turned dark before he stumbled. He supported himself against the wall to stop himself from falling. He recovered after a few moments, but he felt hints of fatigue in his mind. It was as if he had overworked his brain.
"Could it be? No way… It's impossible that it's a bug after all. How could it be so easy to increase XP?" Xiao Lin looked at the magic wand in his hand. He guessed the answer to his question soon after that, and he could not help but laugh about it.
There were barely any people left in the classroom. Just as Xiao Lin had guessed; if they could increase their XP from waving their weapons around, they could just up their skill levels here before going out to complete the mission.
Truth be told, given the average person's strength and stamina, they would only be able to wave their weapons for about 20 or 30 times with all their might before their arms grew tired. It seemed like there was a rule to an XP increase; when one lacked strength, there would be no increase in XP, no matter how vigorously they waved the weapon.
The mission was limited to an hour; it was probably so to not allow people too much time increasing their skill XP. More people chose to leave the classroom beforehand to avoid exhausting themselves.
Xiao Lin took a break. After a slight recovery, he headed toward the door to observe his surroundings before realizing that Gu Xiaoyue was following him.
Gu Xiaoyue was wearing a cream-colored jacket with a white dress. She had shoulder-length hair and donned a pair of black-framed spectacles. This girl did not stand out in terms of looks, but her decency and elegance was enough to draw eyes.
Xiao Lin did not know Gu Xiaoyue, but his male instincts made him want to talk to this elegant girl. He stood up straight, turned around, and initiated conversation. "You're Gu Xiaoyue, aren't you? Is there anything I can help you with?"
Gu Xiaoyue pushed the black-framed spectacles up her nose with grace and said honestly, with her bird-like voice, "Do you want to trade weapons?"
"Trade weapons?" Xiao Lin was stunned.
Gu Xiaoyue waved the dagger in her hand with difficulty. Since she was a girl, she was not very strong. She said with a serious face, "I'm not used to this."
"Why me?" Xiao Lin was still a little confused. "I mean, there were so many people in the classroom. I don't think many of them could say no to a beautiful girl."
Gu Xiaoyue scrunched her pretty nose and said, "I only have eyes for the magic wand. The others aren't for me."
Xiao Lin nodded and replied, "Only a handful of people were assigned magic wands."
"To be exact, only 15 people were assigned magic wands," Gu Xiaoyue uttered the exact number before adding, "I've observed that you're the only one who's not suitable for this weapon among those who were assigned them, so let's trade."
Xiao Lin was a little surprised. "You realized it too?"
Gu Xiaoyue pushed her glasses again and said, "It isn't hard to analyze. Although I don't play games, I know that things like magic would lead to some kind of energy consumption, either mentally or in magic points. This is probably related to our Intelligence points discerned from our health screenings."
Xiao Lin only had 2 Intelligence points, so after releasing two energy bombs, his brain felt unusually fatigued. He did think about this possibility, but he did not expect this girl to be so observant.
Xiao Lin agreed to the deal right away; to him, a dagger was undoubtedly better than a magic wand.
[Physical Attack Power Evaluation: F-]
[Automatic acquisition of Basic Dagger Mastery LV1: 0/100]
As expected, this physical weapon did not come with the problem of energy consumption, and its attack power was at a lower grade. The magic wand's Magic Attack Power was graded F, while the dagger's attack power was graded F-.
Gu Xiaoyue did not plan on continuing the conversation after obtaining the magic wand. Satisfied, she turned around and left.
Xiao Lin felt a little regret and shook his head. When he arrived at the entrance of the academic building, there were already brave people charging towards the field with weapons in hand. The field was about the size of 1.5 football fields, and there was a ray of pale yellow light at the end of the field. That was the safe area mentioned in the mission. So long as one arrived at the light, the mission would be completed.
The zombies wandered around aimlessly on the field; they did not seem like they were heading toward the academic building. This was expected, as the newbies would not be able to complete the mission otherwise. However, the moment someone rushed out, the zombies locked their eyes on their targets before quickly shuffling toward them.
The zombies were slow; even after gaining momentum, they moved at the speed of an adult walking at a brisk pace. Nevertheless, there were about three or four hundred zombies; the first batch of people who charged out was quickly trapped. The person ahead of everyone else had his head snapped by a zombie; his body transformed into dust before disappearing into thin air.
Instructions about the admission test were clear about this; there would be no punishments for failing to complete the mission; there would be no 10-year deduction of their lifespan, and no one would really die from this. However, if one was injured by zombies, the pain would feel realistic. The screams and cries on the field were enough to terrify the group of people who were used to living in peace.
Some of the people charged forward after seeing that the zombies were focused on the first group. However, the system was not going to let that happen so easily; as they charged out, half of the zombies trapping the first group came toward them instead. Meanwhile, this put the first group under less stress, and they got closer to the safe area.
Xiao Lin's eyes twitched as he watched it unfold on the field. He gulped with all his might; he was just an otaku before this. He admitted that he was a little afraid; this mission was obviously not as easy as everyone thought it would be.
Although it sounded nice to have no punishments and to be able to come back to life, neither Qin Chuan nor the Smart Computer warned them about this situation.
The zombies' attack power was not high; unless one was unlucky enough to be grabbed by the neck and be snapped in half, other injuries the zombies caused were barely lethal. At most, they would tear a piece of meat off one's body before chewing on it.
The visual was terrifying; some of the more timid fell to the ground in fear and could not get up.
Those whose legs were injured had it worse; they could not count on anyone to save them after losing their mobility. They would be swiftly trapped by zombies, and although they knew that they were not really dying, the pain from having their bodies torn apart was excruciatingly unforgettable. Their bodies only transformed into dust and disappeared into the air after they took their last breath.
The field grew more and more chaotic, and everyone was dumbfounded by the cruel display before their eyes. Although they were wielding weapons, they lost the will to fight in the face of rotting meat, horrible smells, the pungent scent of blood, and screams for help around them. They kept their head down and ran with all their might in an attempt to arrive at the safe area before the zombies trapped them.
Xiao Lin took a deep breath and tried his best to move his gaze away from the scene on the field. He gleaned enough information from what he observed; if he continued watching, he would have lost the courage to charge forward.
There was only an hour for the mission. Xiao Lin did a silent count; he still had enough time to train himself. He had the Academic Genius talent, so it would be great if he could get his Basic Dagger Mastery skill up to LV2.
Xiao Lin understood that he was behind everyone else; his total basic attribute points were under 10. He was the worst among these people in terms of strength, intelligence, and physique. If he wanted to increase the chances of him completing the mission, training his skills was the best option.
He turned around to leave in search of an empty classroom to practice his Basic Dagger Mastery skill. Soon after that, his eyes lit up at the sight of what he was looking for. He pushed a door open and walked into a classroom.
Gu Xiaoyue turned around and stared at him silently before looking out the window toward the field. She waved the magic wand and released a white energy ball, but did not hit anything. It was impossible to hit anything anyway; Xiao Lin calculated from his first try that the energy bomb could only travel for about 50 meters.
The nearest zombie to the academic building was over 100 meters away. It made sense anyway; It was impossible for the Smart Computer to allow such a loophole and let them attack the zombies from the safety of the building.
Practicing Basic Wand Mastery was not as obvious as practicing any physical weapon. Magic points and mental power were very valuable to those with low basic attribute points. The more they wasted, the harder it would be for them to complete the mission.
However, Xiao Lin did not think that the calm girl would make any mistakes. Seeing that she did not want to converse, he ignored her and continued with his practice.
He only had two Strength points. Thankfully, the dagger he got from Gu Xiaoyue was light; if it was a heavy weapon, like a long sword, Xiao Lin might not be able to use it.
Xiao Lin tried waving the dagger lightly; his Basic Dagger Mastery XP did not change.
He then tried to wave the dagger with all his might, but it only moved a little in front of him. The XP remained the same.
Xiao Lin finally lifted the dagger over his head before slamming it forward. The blade's edge whizzed in the wind before the tip hit the ground, freeing a speck of rubble from the floor. The dagger's sharpness was unexpected.
[Basic Dagger Mastery LV1: 2/100]
"There are indeed no loopholes." Xiao Lin pursed his lips in regret before trying out straight and slanted slashing poses. He gained XP from both of them. It meant that there was no compulsory pose to wave the dagger in order to gain XP, but it had to fulfill a certain requirement and one had to go all out on strength to wave the dagger. Otherwise, the move would be deemed a failure and reap no XP.
Xiao Lin tried to standardize his moves, but since he had never learnt proper dagger-wielding, his moves were only imitated from whatever he had seen from TV and movies. That was why he failed sometimes to accurately waving the dagger; not only did he not gain XP, he also wasted his energy.
Xiao Lin began feeling soreness in his arms after a few minutes; his horrible physique was finally showing itself. He could not consistently exert strength, and the effects of his labor were greatly affected. The number of times he failed to increase his XP also grew.
After about 15 minutes, his Basic Dagger Mastery LV1 was at 90/100.
This was unsatisfactory to Xiao Lin; he only succeeded 45 times. He began regretting his otaku lifestyle and ignoring exercise. His physique was only worth 3 points at the moment; he was probably trailing behind many girls.
Xiao Lin was drenched in sweat. He could barely complete his moves; he had no choice but to take a break.
"There's no point in doing what you're doing." Gu Xiaoyue finally moved her eyes away from the windows. She pushed her black-framed glasses and analyzed him with a serious face. "I tried it out before you came. Calculating the ratio of shooting energy bombs and my recovery time, it would take about an hour to get to LV2. I think other people have the same ratio as well. That is why we were only given an hour for the mission; the academy would not give any of us a chance to take the shortcut!"
Xiao Lin exhaled; he was mildly surprised at the girl's calculative ability. Yes, based on his efficiency earlier, he would have needed about 20 to 30 minutes to get to LV2. If he did not have the Academic Genius talent, which afforded him twice the efficiency rate, he would probably need about an hour to do so as well.
Xiao Lin could not tell the girl about his Academic Genius talent. He did not want to continue on this topic, so he diverted the conversation. "Did you come to any conclusions from observing the zombies' abilities?"
Gu Xiaoyue tilted her head, hints of surprise appearing on her face. "You knew what I was doing?"
Xiao Lin giggled in his mind. When he entered the classroom to find Gu Xiaoyue looking out the window rather than practicing her skills, he knew what she was up to.
"Gamers know that it's important to come up with strategies before playing Instances. Since there are no strategies in this world, it's up to us to find our own."
"Games? Sorry, I don't play childish games." The girl was serious.
Xiao Lin coughed before changing the topic. "The zombies aren't that strong in terms of attack power. Based on the evaluation standard here, I think they're only at an F- grade. An average person could probably take about four of five strikes from a zombie, so long they don't get attacked in their vitals or legs. There was a big man who was attacked at least ten times before falling."
Seeing how intently the girl was listening, Xiao Lin continued his analysis, "The zombies are low in defense as well, so that's probably ranked F- as well. I've seen a F- grade dagger pierce through a zombie's body. Based on these points, the mission isn't really so hard, it's just that everyone is terrified."
Xiao Lin sighed with a forced smile; he was terrified as well. However, after calming down, he realized that the zombies are not unbeatable; they were just terrifying. Everyone was capable of facing zombies with the novice weapons they had; but if they lost the will to fight, they would not win at all.
Maybe the admission test was meant to help everyone get used to this environment?
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