On the balcony of the dorm room…
Leaning against the railing, Cloud Hao was holding his mobile phone and calling home.
"How was the first day of school?"
Cloud Hao wanted to say that, but he was afraid about worrying his father. He was even more afraid that he would not be able to explain things clearly and end up getting sent to a psychiatric hospital. Hence, he let out a sigh and said, "It's fine; everything's fine."
Except that the dinner wasn't filling.
"What about your roommates? How are you guys getting along?"
"Not too bad. Apart from me, everyone is talented."
There was a moment of silence on the other end of the phone.
After a long time, his father continued, "How about your allowance? Is 800 yuan enough?"
"It's enough; it's enough. If it's not, I'll find a way. Maybe take on a part-time job or something."
"You should focus on studying. If you need money, just let me know."
Cloud Hao smiled and declined his father, "There's no need for that. I'll be fine on my own. Besides, freshman year isn't that hectic. It'll be good for me to find some work to experience the world. It's better than playing games in the dorm room."
His father went silent for a while.
"In that case, take care of yourself… Do you want to talk to your mom? She just went out for a walk. She should be back soon."
"Maybe tomorrow night; I'm too tired today. I'm going to take a shower before hitting the bed. Say hello to Mom for me. I'll hang up now."
After putting the phone in his pocket, Cloud Hao took a deep breath and slowly let it out towards the open air outside the balcony. Then, he closed his eyes and began to mull over what he felt previously.
After returning to the dorm, he was reviewing today's events. However, just when he was on the verge of latching onto something, a phone call from his father interrupted his thoughts.
Recalling how he felt at that time, he tentatively uttered inwardly, "System."
Just when he thought he was being utterly silly and opened his eyes… Lines after lines of azure light replaced the curtain of night, like AR holograms. They were projected onto his eyes, which were widened in surprise.
[Host: Cloud Hao (Soul bound, unremovable)]
[Talent: Good Luck (0)]
[Attributes: Locked. Will be unlocked after completing the novice mission]
What the hell?
This plug-in requires the novice mission to be completed before the attributes can be given?
Or could it be that I'm under probation and the so-called novice mission is a test for me?
Cloud Hao didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he saw the attributes panels unfolding in front of him. Apprehensively, he reached out his index finger and tapped on "Good Luck" in the talent column.
Almost immediately, a line of explanatory text popped out on the right side of the icon.
[Good Luck (0): If you accumulate kind deeds and turn them into virtue, perhaps something good might happen?]
Cloud Hao was speechless.
What is the difference between this explanatory sentence and nonsense?
And why is it in the tone of a question?
However, once he realized that his talent was 0 anyway, Cloud Hao didn't bother thinking too much about whether it was useful or not. He then clicked on the question mark in the upper right-hand corner of the system.
As expected, a dialog box similar to "User Notification" quickly popped up in front of him.
[Welcome to the Experts System.]
[Note: Once the system has been bound, it cannot be refunded or exchanged, nor can it be given up.]
Cloud Hao was dumbstruck.
No refunds or exchanges. That's still alright.
But you didn't freaking ask me whether I agreed or not when you did the binding!
However, he figured that if he really was presented the choice, he probably wouldn't choose to give up either. He skipped over this nonsense and continued to scroll down.
[Instructions for use: According to the user agreement, this system will give the host insight that transcends karma and allow Host to discover the "Experts" hidden in the crowd, as well as their talents and the corresponding Hidden Potential Stat.]
[If the Hidden Potential Stat is greater than 5, it means that the target's life is developing according to the current life projection, and the target has a chance of attaining "Extraordinary" or above achievements. If the Hidden Potential Stat is greater than 7, there is a chance of attaining achievements that are "Epic" or above. If the Hidden Potential Stat is greater than 10, the target has a chance of going down in history. If the Hidden Potential Stat is lower than 1, it cannot be determined. If it is a question mark, this means that there are greater variables and will require further observation.]
[The Hidden Potential Stat corresponds to one's talent, and it only represents the hidden potential in terms of probability. It is a quantitative result obtained from the analysis of a karmic tree diagram system and has nothing to do with the actual ability or current conditions of the target.]
[Most of the missions created by this system will revolve around this logic. The way to trigger these missions is directly related to the target's desire to achieve their ambition. A single goal can only trigger one mission at a time, while missions are not restricted if there are different goals. Once the mission is triggered, Host can choose to complete it. The mission's reward will be evaluated based on various dimensions, such as the target's Hidden Potential Stat, the level of difficulty, the degree of involvement of Host's karma, et cetera.]
[Once the mission fails, it will not have a direct negative impact on Host. However, the same goal will not be able to trigger the mission again for a certain period, or even forever.]
[Additionally, unlike talents, the system will customize a personalized attribute column for Host to correspond to the learning talent of a designated project, so as to help Host master more practical skills. More details will be shared after the Newbie Gift Pack has been unlocked.]
[For the user agreement, this system reserves the right of final interpretation.]
[Bear in mind that the karmic cycle has already been set in motion.]
[Helping others achieve their goals is the same as helping yourself succeed.]
So the attribute column is locked because I don't have any talent?
This system actually knows how to take care of people…
What made Cloud Hao's head hurt the most was, what happens if I fail the novice mission?
Will another mission be triggered, or will the system close its door on me forever?
To be honest, he felt that the former was more likely, but he dared not gamble on this uncertain probability.
After all, there was no benefit to winning, but if he lost the gamble, he would darn well lose more than that.
Assuming that this idiotic system was done spouting nonsense, Cloud Hao was about to shut it down. He was ready to make a plan to complete the assigned mission.
However, at this moment, another line suddenly popped out at the end of the explanatory text.
[Taking into account that this is Host's first time using the system and his lack of understanding of karma, a "Karma Card" has been specially awarded for Host to try out.]
After being stunned for a moment, Cloud Hao looked at the bottom of the attribute column. As expected, there was an additional icon labeled [Items].
[Karma Card (Single-use item): Upon activation, karma can be reversed within a short period of time, making the impossible possible. However, please note that there's a price to pay for karma, and the price to pay will be of equal value to the request. Moreover, what you ask for must abide by the karmic cycle. Karma will refuse requests that are impossible to realize or requests with a price that cannot be repaid.]
What does it mean by 'reversing karma'?
After pondering over this sentence several times, Cloud Hao fell into deep thought.
"There's a price to pay for karma… In other words, the demand made on karma will also be subjected to an equivalent retaliation?"
For example, if I make a wish to win a lottery ticket of 1 million, but I get into a car accident right after winning, I'll lose my health together with hundreds of thousands in the blink of an eye?
As for 'what you ask for must abide by the karmic cycle' and 'karma will refuse requests that are impossible to realize or requests with a price that cannot be repaid'…
It's probably a wish to win the 1 trillion lottery ticket.
Not only is the prize pool not that big, but I also can't afford to pay the price even if I vanished off the face of Earth.
Furthermore, Cloud Hao also noticed a particular detail: the item could only reverse karma within a "short period of time".
Although he wasn't sure exactly how short this "short period of time" was, it clearly couldn't be used to achieve long-term goals.
Goals that require time to achieve like 'studying hard to become a star student' or 'becoming the sales champion for two consecutive years, gain the boss's favor, and be promoted to the management level' would not be fulfilled.
On the other hand, wishes like 'getting a perfect score in a certain exam' or even 'getting a particular question correct' have a high chance of being realized… As long as the price can be paid.
But how am I supposed to pay the price for scores that have already been obtained?
Could it be getting exposed for cheating after the exam?
Or perhaps, simply arranging a car accident later to even it out?
Although he believed that he wouldn't use this item for something so lame, Cloud Hao couldn't help but overthink this insoluble problem, coming up with some ways to catch people off guard.
Using it to interfere with the karma of others…
Unfortunately, at this moment, the balcony door suddenly opened.
Seeing Cloud Hao making gestures in the sky, Liang Ziyuan, who was holding a towel in his hand, was slightly taken aback.
"…What are you doing?"
With a slightly embarrassed expression on his face, Cloud Hao coughed lightly and said, "Uh, counting the stars."
"…Are you done counting?"
"…Then, please continue."
Liang Ziyuan didn't continue making useless chit-chat. He slung the towel on his shoulders and hummed an unfamiliar tune as he walked into the bathroom.
After a while, the swooshing sound of water was heard, followed by wild and uninhibited singing.
This is the music expert?
Love it, love it… My a*s!
Is this even a song for humans?!
Had it not been for the system's reminder that the Hidden Potential Stat and the actual ability were completely unrelated, Cloud Hao seriously wondered if he was down with a heat stroke and the so-called system was just an illusion he had as he laid on the hospital bed.
In any case, he obviously couldn't stay on the balcony anymore. He didn't want the people downstairs to misunderstand that he was causing the disturbance.
Withdrawing his index finger from mid-air, Cloud Hao, who had exited from the system, silently made up his mind on one thing. He must find a place without anybody around the next time he initiated the system.
At the same time, he also decided on another matter.
He must find an opportunity to persuade Brother Liang, who was in the bathroom wailing and howling, to give up on running for class president…
Late at night, after the lights-out, dorm room 401 was quiet, but the class chat was very lively.
At first, everyone was reserved. They acted clueless and cute, addressing each other as 'boss'. Later on, when the conversation got going, the topic gradually turned frisky.
[Hey hey, which class is that tall and lean young man from? The one in the white T-shirt.]
[I don't know who you're referring to. Many people wear white T-shirts.]
[I know, I know! It's the boy who looks clean, right?]
[Are you talking about Liang Ziyuan? I think he's in our class? *Snickering emoji*]
The group chat was silent for two seconds.
As was the dorm room.
"Ziyuan, did you see the class chat? They seem to be talking about you!" Zheng Xueqian exclaimed in a soft voice while playing with his mobile phone on the bed.
Ziyuan, who had his earpiece on, turned over and chose to continue sleeping.
Zhu Kening didn't utter a word, but his message popped up in the group chat.
Worried that his bro's popularity would threaten his status in the class, he wittily changed the topic.
It was seriously a stupid move.
[(Group owner) Zhu Kening: Haha, Ziyuan is probably asleep. Let's not disturb his rest. By the way, we need to choose a class president, right? Since everybody happens to be here, we might as well talk about what everyone thinks. *Toothy grin emoji*]
Cloud Hao's face turned green when he saw the message.
What the f*ck?
Conducting an opinion poll when the opponent's popularity is booming… Can someone really be that dull?
What made him feel even worse was that with such EQ and IQ, this person's Hidden Potential Stat was higher than his.
Sure enough, just as he expected, a few messages swiftly jumped out in the group chat.
[I choose Ziyuan!]
[I-I-I-I also vote for Ziyuan!]
[Haha, looks like great minds think alike. *Giggling emoji*]
[Ziyuan should be in the group chat. Why isn't he saying something? *Blushing emoji*]
Probably trying to let a certain someone hear him, Zheng Xueqian didn't keep his volume down this time as he exclaimed gleefully, "Ziyuan, Ziyuan! Many people in the group chat are looking for you!"
Liang Ziyuan, who was lying on his side, frowned. He let out a 'tsk' before reaching out to plug his earphones in more tightly.
As always, this pal's words were as precious as gold. It was uncertain if he was really disinterested in girls, or if he was just sullen, or simply acting cool.
On the other side, no reaction came from Zhu Kening's bed.
Cloud Hao could see the light of the guy's phone, but there was no news from him in the group chat.
He vaguely sensed that something was amiss. Just as he wondered what trouble this idiot would cause, a message from someone unfamiliar suddenly appeared in the group chat.
The bio of this unknown account was unchanged and the avatar was an old-fashioned sunflower.
[One Meter of Sunshine: I vote for the group owner. I think he has the traits of a class president and a sense of responsibility towards the class. You can tell that he is cut out for this role. *Toothy grin emoji*]
Upon reading this message, Cloud Hao's face turned even greener.
What the f*ck! Did this idiot open a side account to solicit votes for himself?!
Cloud Hao was obviously not the only wise man in the group chat, as someone quickly stepped up to take the lead in exposing him.
[Xiao Tongtong: Who are you, classmate? It's the class group chat, so you should still change your bio. *Smiley face*]
[Xu Xiaoruan: That's right! Hello, newcomer! Show your photo, show your photo!]
Cloud Hao looked up and glanced at the bed opposite his.
Under the light of the mobile phone, he could see a faint sheen of sweat on Zhu Kening's forehead.
Oh boy, the voting hasn't even begun and he's already having a PR crisis.
Cloud Hao knew that if he still did not take action, this mission would probably end in a failure.
He sighed and forced himself to send his first message in the group chat.
[Cloud Hao: Sorry, it's my side account that I previously added to the group chat. I changed accounts later and kept forgetting to remove the other account. I logged in with the wrong account just now. So sorry about that. I'll remove it now.]
[Advisor: It's definitely better not to have a side account in the class group chat.]
The advisor had actually been stalking the chat.
Cloud Hao turned his face to the side and glared at Zhu Kening.
What the hell are you waiting for?
Zhu Kening's shoulders shuddered under his glare. He flashed him an embarrassed smile before withdrawing his side account at lightning speed.
After "One Meter of Sunshine" left the group, the chat soon became filled with a joyful atmosphere.
The topic changed from the boring class president election to a recent hit TV series.
Cloud Hao heaved a sigh of relief. Just when he was about to put down his phone and go to sleep, he suddenly received a private message from Zhu Kening's side account.
[One Meter of Sunshine: Ahem, thank you for just now. I'll treat you to a meal another day.]
Cloud Hao was speechless.
Everything was fine till he mentioned eating. The moment he did, Cloud Hao was infuriated.
[There's no need for the meal. Just don't cause any more trouble. I'm going to sleep.]
This guy can't get anything right and just spoils everything!
If not for the Newbie Gift Pack…
Who would be willing to help this loser run for class president?
What a bother!
The more he thought about it, the angrier he got. Cloud Hao threw his phone aside, turned over, and fell asleep.