The Trial Game of Life

The Trial Game of Life – Chapter 3

Table of Contents | Character Guide

Chapter 3: City of Eternal Night 

When Tang Cuo’s eyes could see again, he was standing in an unfamiliar room.

The room wasn’t large, only about 10 square meters in size. It was equipped with a wooden bed, a simple fan-shaped bathroom with a glass door and a small round table with two chairs. Looking at the decoration style, the bathroom was very modern with a separated platform for wet area, but the round table and the wooden bed gave off the smell of China’s Republican era1. The room’s floor was very old, like that of an abandoned loft in a western-style house.

What a weird style.

Tang Cuo only pondered the thought for a short moment, then quickly walked to the desk because there was a colourful glass window at that side. As he opened the window and looked out, an unfamiliar city appeared before his eyes.

It was always better to be able to see with one’s own eyes. This was when Tang Cuo could really feel he had stepped into another world.

A huge black city stood eminently under the night sky.

It was called ‘black’ because all the houses and roads in this city were of a pure black colour, and the atmosphere surrounding the whole place was solemn and grim. But this description wasn’t totally accurate, because some houses still had their roofs covered in colourful glazed tiles, like pieces of gems that scattered around the city.

And the lights were bright here. There was even a faint lively sound that came from the far corners of the city. It seemed that a human figure could be seen moving under every source of light.

This city is alive.

There were both Western-looking towers and Chinese-style pavilions.

There was an old horse carriage passing through the black cobblestone street in the front, and there were rail tracks seemingly made with technology of the future floating in the air, interconnected and intertwined. With a loud clunking sound, an industrial steam engine train followed the tracks to run into the sky. As the train flew off like a black dragon, its carriages shined like little stars.

It was nighttime. There were no stars and no moon in the sky, but Tang Cuo’s vision remained clear because beside the lights on the streets, there was a huge illuminating sphere at the top of the tower in the distance.

It shined like a glowing jewel2, and there were actually more than one of them. From Tang Cuo’s observation, these stones must have been evenly distributed around the city.

Tang Cuo’s room was on the third floor. This building was located in a residential area filled with Western-style buildings that were mostly two- or three-floor tall. The cobblestone street downstairs was very long, and from time to time, a few pedestrians would pass by. They were both men and women from all walks of life dressed in a modern manner, but their styles seemed to be greatly varied.

Tattered clothes, crumpled cloaks, camouflage jackets… you name it. Tang Cuo had only seen this colourful fashion show in the newcomer area of big online games.

Is this Yong Ye City? (T/N: ‘Yong Ye’ literally means ‘Eternal Night’.)

Where are Chi Yan and the others?

After a moment, Tang Cuo turned his attention to the room again and his gaze immediately landed on the coat rack at the door. A small golden bell was hung there, which, except for its size, looked exactly the same as the one Tang Cuo saw in the white mist. 

But Tang Cuo didn’t intend to pay it any further attention. He directly grasped the door handle and pushed it down, but the door didn’t open.

“Ding —” The bell rang by itself.

“The following is a guideline for you to ensure your survival in Yong Ye City: Please open the system panel and complete the basic settings according to the current character score. The time limit is ten minutes. If in doubt, press 1; if the system fails, press 4. Survival is not easy, please cherish life.”

What the heck is this?

Tang Cuo narrowed his eyes but he totally couldn’t see any system panel. Why is this broken game so annoying? I can’t even die peacefully now. This is more troublesome than being alive. 

Thinking so, Tang Cuo wanted to head to bed first.

He impatiently searched again in the room and even pulled up his sleeves to look for any button on his arm, but found nothing.

Perhaps the trigger of this broken system was his voice.

“On.”

No response.

“Open.” (T/N: originally written in English)

Guess it doesn’t listen to English either.

“Go to hell.”

“Please use civilised words to create a beautiful Yong Ye City together.”

Tang Cuo was too lazy to curse, so he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Opening his eyes, he found a holographic display in front of him. No matter where Tang Cuo looked, the panel would display directly opposite him, seemingly following his line of sight.

As for the power button? Perhaps he needed to close his eyes for more than three seconds.

The system panel wasn’t much different from Tang Cuo’s online games. It was divided into three parts [Character], [Skills] and [Mission], which could be switched between each other. Located independently at the bottom was an Inventory Bar with ten slots, but all slots were empty. Tang Cuo wanted to reach out to touch the display, but he found that as soon as he had the idea in mind, the [Character] panel was brought up by itself.

[Character]

No. K27216: Tang Cuo

Initial character score: -8

Strength: 0

Intelligence: 0

Charm: 0

Rating: A

Life value: —

[Consider adding points, no change of mind will be allowed. Survival is not easy, please cherish life.]

Tang Cuo: “…”

What kinds of points can he add? More negative points?

Tang Cuo opened the Skills and the Mission panels to find that they were all blank. Then he turned back to the Character panel and considered those three simple and easy-to-understand characteristics. He fell into a deep thought.

Intelligence of -8 might make him mentally retarded, while Charm of -8 might turn him ugly, so Tang Cuo focused his thoughts on Strength of -8 for three seconds. If it was impossible to divide the points equally, Tang Cuo refused a median approach.

“Ding —”

“We detect that the player has completed the basic settings and will immediately generate an avatar!”

One “click” later, Tang Cuo fell down with a “crash”. The pain at the time of his death returned to him in an instant, twisting his internal organs and depriving him of any physical strength and energy. A tide-like fatigue overwhelmed him.

Sweats streamed down his temples as he stopped gasping for air. He was in no hurry to sit up, rather, he summoned the panel again and glanced at it.

[Character]

No. K27216: Tang Cuo

Current character score: 0

Strength: -8

Intelligence: 0

Charm: 0

Rating: A-

HP: 15

[Beauty brings disasters. Don’t die too fast.]

[Mission:

Stay alive.]

The mission had been updated, but it was so simple Tang Cuo felt his nerves snap. The only good news was that although the pain came back, there were no injuries. It only made him feel weak.

But there was nothing to eat and no change of clothes in the room, so to stay alive meant Tang Cuo had to get out of here.

Oh, wrong, Tang Cuo didn’t have nothing – he had a Survival Assessment Report.

After a while, the pain reduced and his physical strength recovered a bit. Tang Cuo sat up from the ground and picked up the ‘brick’ again. As this was his only property for the time being, Tang Cuo decided to take it with him, thinking he could use it as a weapon when necessary. Also, as he looked around earlier, there wasn’t even a piece of toilet paper in the toilet.

Wait, can this thing be put into the Inventory Bar?

When Tang Cuo thought about it, the assessment report disappeared from his hand. He opened the Inventory Bar again and a book icon had suddenly appeared.

He tried thinking about taking it out of the Inventory Bar with his thought, and in a blink of an eye, it came back. So —

Is it really like a game item?

Tang Cuo was thinking hard about it when suddenly, a knocking sound came from the door.

Who could it be?

He narrowed his eyes slightly, a cold glare flashed through his eyes. But the tension dwindled. And soon enough, he was stepping forward without a care to open the door.

“Hello.” The person at the door was grinning, his face plumb. He was in his 40s, with thin hair and a gentle smile. He was wearing a slightly washed blue labour work suit with a shopping basket held in his arm. Every callus on his rough palm seemed to reveal his ordinary nature.

“What do you want?” Tang Cuo maintained his cold attitude.

“Are you new here? Let me introduce myself a bit. My name is Lu Wenming and I live on this street. I want to ask if you need any help?” The middle-aged man smiled and took out a promotional pamphlet from the basket. He gave it to Tang Cuo and said: “Look, you can exchange points for currency, 1 point for 10,000 RMB. It’s very cost-effective. You don’t have anything in your room now, right? You can buy things with RMB. If you have money, you can survive.”

Tang Cuo clutched the thin piece of paper, no emotion readable from his face.

Lu Wenming was very patient and he continued to explain: “I’m not trying to trick you. There’s really no free help here as I’ll charge you a fee from it. I have no strength to fight and have no ability to do anything else, so it’s hard to live. Young people like you are different, you can earn new points in no time. And the newcomers have a protection mechanism where you only need to submit 5 points in the first month. If you exchange money with me now, it’s nothing more than paying a little extra fee to receive some guidance for newcomers.”

“Guidance?”

“You just came here so you probably don’t know? Where Yong Ye City is, how to use the points, how to do the missions, where to buy things – all these things you can also learn by yourself after a while, but doesn’t knowing them earlier help you prepare yourself better? You see, I have no intention to hide anything. Let’s get to the point and do business honestly.”

“Do you accept credit?”

“Ah?”

Lu Wenming was stunned. He had been in this business for so long yet this was the first time he heard a newcomer ask for credit. As he calmed down, he blinked his eyes, not knowing whether he should laugh or cry at Tang Cuo. Then he said: “Aiya, how can I give you credit? Yong Ye City never takes credit. After all, no one knows if the person in front of him will be gone tomorrow. I can’t accept credit. Only usury is available, but you need to pay 5 times the original amount.”

Tang Cuo: “Oh.”

Perhaps because Tang Cuo’s reaction was really different from other newcomers, Lu Wenming carefully looked at his expression and the smile on his face converged. He decided to give it one last try: “Will you consider it again?”

Tang Cuo: “I have considered it.”

“Are you going to buy my currency?”

“No, I plan to borrow it.”

The next second, before Lu Wenming even had time to react, Tang Cuo grabbed his hand and dragged him into the room, closed the door, pressed him against it and held his arms behind his back. The door only let out a soft sound as Tang Cuo deliberately withdrew his force the moment he shut it.

The basket fell to the ground and the pamphlets scattered all over. Lu Wenming wanted to shout out but his mouth was tightly covered.

“If you cooperate, you can live. If I guess it right, everyone here has died once, so if you die again, the result should be worse than death.”

“Um! Um!” Lu Wenming nodded madly.

Tang Cuo released his hand but moved it a little down. His icy-cold fingertips stayed on Lu Wenming’s neck, as if he could twist it off with just a little effort.

Lu Wenming had cold sweats all over. Which newcomer wouldn’t face so many problems when he first came here? It wasn’t like their brains stopped functioning, but they were scared out of their mind by their own death. Even the most determined person would need time to adapt and a little coaxing could trick them, but then what is with this one behind him?

Looking back at the situation just now, Lu Wenming was so angry that his heart thumped violently on his chest. He should have left Tang Cuo alone the first moment he noticed the difference. Why did he try to push his luck?

“I, I really didn’t try to trick you. The current exchange ratio of Yong Ye City is 1 point for 10,000 to 20,000 RMB. I just charge a handling fee and I also need to pay a part of it. In the end, I may not even have 1 point in my hand! Newcomers will always accept the exchange. Although 1 point for 10,000 isn’t a lot, you can bear with it for the first few days. I’m also trying to survive. Please spare me, have some pity on me…”

“RMB is useless. Points are the stronger currency.”

Lu Wenming was dumbfounded at those words, because what Tang Cuo said was an affirmative sentence. At this moment, he almost doubted if Tang Cuo was a newcomer. He could get violent like a veteran and could see through the problem so quickly. He pressed his lips tightly for a few seconds and finally stuttered an answer: “It’s not really useless… Really! Most of your daily necessities and food still need to be bought with money. The points are precious so the money is still useful. It’s just, it’s just…”

“It’s just not that useful.” Its purchasing power declined, but still better than toilet paper.

“Yes yes, that’s right.” Lu Wenming echoed Tang Cuo’s words and actively cooperated: “Anyway, you still need to use money. How about I sell to you at 20,000, the market price? I don’t even earn a dime, this is just helping a friend. No no no, 30,000! How about 30,000?”

Tang Cuo finally let him go and said: “20,000, borrow for three days.”

Lu Wenming regained his freedom and exaggeratedly wiped away his sweats. He didn’t bargain with Tang Cuo, then picked up the basket with a smile and pulled some money from it. He snuck a glance at Tang Cuo while digging the money out, and his face was brimming with a lackey smile as he handed over two stacks of money to Tang Cuo.

“Sir, do you want to count?” he said.

Tang Cuo didn’t answer as he stared at Lu Wenming, who was shivering in fear, trying to hold the money and to stop his hand from withdrawing. At this moment, Tang Cuo reached out his hand.

Lu Wenming felt a thump in his heart as he made sure his hand wasn’t pulling back, his fearful face and the desperation that had piled up inside manifesting into an ominous aura. The change of expression was instantaneous as Lu Wenming let go of the money, then withdrew a card from the stack of money in a flash and cast it at Tang Cuo with a cry.

“Take this!” 

The card spun in mid-air, but it played out like a slow motion performance in Tang Cuo’s eyes as he observed the content of the card.

A wizard’s Skill card.

Not knowing the other person’s combat style guaranteed immense danger.

Tang Cuo quickly retreated and shook his wrist at the same time to throw the two stacks of cash at the Skill card. The banknotes scattered, but they caught fire the moment they passed the Skill card.

If one banknote made one fire, two hundred banknotes would make a blaze. All the banknotes were spontaneously ignited without any wind, and in a split second, they grew even stronger. The strong heat wave had Tang Cuo, who was already backing away, almost roasted on the spot. He could even catch the smell of his hair burning.

“Dumbass!” Lu Wenming raised his middle finger at Tang Cuo with a calm face. He had never seen such a stupid way to die ― throwing random things to counter a ‘Fireball’ spell.

But this newcomer was quite a scam himself. Lu Wenming was caught off-guard definitely because of Tang Cuo’s pretty face. He was obviously evil yet he had the look of an exemplary student. F**king trickster.

After reflecting and thinking through his mistake, Lu Wenming was much more cautious this time round. He raised a hand to recall the Skill card and turned back to the entrance. He was in no mood to know how Tang Cuo got smouldered. However, the moment he grabbed the doorknob, something heavy flew over and hit the back of his head.

“Bang!” Lu Wenming’s forehead smashed on the door and almost cracked, and he rolled all over the ground in pain.

The moment its user fell to the ground, the fire disappeared, as though everything just now was a mere illusion. Tang Cuo walked over casually, picked up the ‘brick’ from the ground and smiled for the first time.

He looked at Lu Wenming: “Dumbass.”

Lu Wenming was in so much pain; his head was screaming and so was his pride. He would never expect Tang Cuo to remain unharmed after getting hit by a ‘Fireball’ attack. Is he really a newcomer? !

He looked up in horror to see the bathroom’s glass door wide open behind Tang Cuo. There was only one answer ― Tang Cuo hid in the bathroom when the fireballs blasted. But Lu Wenming had left too soon without waiting for the fires to properly burn down the whole place, so he was KO on the spot.

Having figured this out, Lu Wenming suddenly felt like a loser, and he knew he had no chance of making a comeback. In terms of intelligence and even luck, he was nowhere as good as the young man in front of him.

Tang Cuo was definitely not the generous kind, so Lu Wenming felt nothing good about what might happen to him next.

“I just want to know, why did you have doubts about me?”

“Occupational habit.”

It was impossible for Lu Wenming to know that Tang Cuo was a detective. He observed everything and had doubts about everything.

In such a city where everything looked unusual like this one, ordinary people were definitely not ordinary. Lu Wenming seemed to earnestly tell the truth about the commission, thinking it would be ‘two steps forward, one step back’. He wanted to gain Tang Cuo’s trust step by step, but he didn’t know that Tang Cuo had always been cautious with this kind of thing.

Lu Wenming also didn’t know that before Tang Cuo’s group entered Yong Ye City as newcomers, they triggered The Wheel of Fortune because of their poor performance. After that game, strictly speaking, they were no longer newcomers.

What he was even less likely to know was that Tang Cuo’s score was negative, so this business couldn’t be carried out in the first place.

Tang Cuo was not interested in explaining so much and took a look at the panel.

HP: 3

[You are one step away from death.]


The author has something to say:

The settings of Yong Ye City will be unfolded one by one in future chapters, because this is an entirely new world that involves many unfamiliar concepts. So if you see that something hasn’t been mentioned, it probably will appear later. It’ll be boring to bring everything out at once.

In simplest words, this is probably something like a ‘dark, black utopia’.

The Trial Game of Life - Chapter 2
The Trial Game of Life - Chapter 4
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someone
someone
5 months ago

Maybe I didn’t understand something… Tang Cuo has 0 points Intelligence, but he is smarter than a person who has lived in this city for a long period of time. Or do the points of character work in some other way?

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HaiRyuKi
HaiRyuKi
8 months ago

MC is def seeking death. That was also said in his assessment report thus he got a negative score. He even lessened his strength. But still is strong despite the negative 8 so that man was defeated hahahahaha I am curious how MC died. Maybe he got plotted against and was left to die on that street? Hmm…

Rucce
Rucce
1 year ago

So interesting. I love ready this genre of story and most importantly, I love MC’s character. I’m really looking forward to this 🙂

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