I stand at the mountain's peak fearlessly as dark clouds gather in the midst of rolling thunder and sporadic lightning. The Heavenly Tribulation is never an easy thing.
"Strike me if you can! I dare you! This old man is not dead yet!"
My grizzled white hair shook with the winds.
Heavenly Tribulation. They only happen because of one of the two scenarios--- either someone had a significant breakthrough in cultivation as they step closer to immortality, or it is because someone out there is trying to bend the heavenly laws that bind the cultivation world.
Well, for me, it's the latter.
The lightning hiding in the dark clouds slithers, eager to inflict pain and death. But meh…
I won't pick a fight with the dastardly Heavenly Tribulation or whatnot in any case if I didn't come prepared.
"Hahahaha! Are you blind!?" I ridicule the sky, heavens, or whatever is beyond theirs. Your puny lightning shall never reach me!
The lightning tries to strike me once more but failed. Just beside me, stuck in the ground is one of my most recent creations. It is a lightning rod.
I crafted this with my 'genius' using some wacky sciences I barely remember from my past life. Of course, I won't be able to create this if not for my tidbits of knowledge about this freaking cultivation world I found myself in --- but when credit is due, I have to claim it, right?
"What can you do now? Come on! Shower me with your fireworks, hahahahahaHAHAHAHHA!"
Lightning, then thunder then the blinding light! As a cultivator whose spiritual roots and cultivation are reduced to nil, I have nothing else to lose.
"What!? Is that all you got?"
Fu Shiꟷ is my name now. Though I am now just a frail old man with crippled cultivation and destroyed Dantian, I used to be a game designer in my past life.
It matters to me a lot that I won't be able to create games anymore. Cultivation or without, I am a game designer forever— that is what I am!
Now that I find myself whisked into this world, I feel empty. In this internet-deprived world, how the hell am I to continue my life's purpose?
All I want is for me to continue my dream—
To develop my best game yet!
So no matter what it takes, I will do anything in my power to achieve what I want. And if turning this cultivation world into a game is what it takes, then I will do it!
I will even turn this whole world into my own sandbox if I have to!
"You can't stop me! You are just another game for me to be made!"
I seat in a lotus position, closes my eyes, and meditate. Using my current life's Fu Shi's profound understanding of the Heavenly Dao, I shall create a 'system' that will cater to my needs.
Fu Shi is a wandering cultivator with a profound cultivation base. He was famously known as the Game Master, an existence at the pinnacle of Perfect Immortal.
As an unaffiliated cultivator, Fu Shi lives a free life.
Until… Fu Shi decided to play a game with the heavens.
A very dumb move even by my standards. I can't understand old Fu Shi's intentions. Whatever it is, I hope that the old man's past actions won't come back biting at me some day.
Pushing the other worrisome thoughts aside, I focus on my task at hand.
I immerse myself in Fu Shi's memories as I dance in the gaps between my and his memories.
Fu Shi led a pathetic but wonderful life... He lived as if his life was a 'game', and I meant this with a very modern perspective.
It is like, he was playing to an unhealthy degree to the point of confusing games with reality, and damn he is addicted to it. To me, it is simply insanity.
Living at the edge of life and death, seeking the thrills with a tossed coin and gambling his chances just for that sweet taste of exhilaration!
Fu Shi is a madman. No, to be more precise, he is a game addict.
But... that nonetheless. It is a fact he lived a happy life and died as a happy man. Though the old man felt some regrets on his deathbed, he was happy. It is weird but it's true!
So, all I have for Fu Shi are congratulations.
Finding myself in old Fu Shi's body is certainly an unpleasant thing. However, I have no complaints as various fantastical possibilities have opened to me. Who knows, maybe in this cultivation world, I may actually create the legendary game that I have been fantasizing about for years.
With the power of my mind, I usher the heavenly laws to move at my will.
I open my eyes, only to see the lightning tribulations are no more. The lightning rod I crafted from a rare metal essence is still intact, pulsating with scary lightning energy. I don't want to touch that. Even a small amount will disintegrate me into ash, especially in my now mortal state.
"Aaah… I am still alive, what a relief!"
My aching body tells me I am pretty much alive. Without Fu Shi's cultivation base, I am as good as any mortal. Thankfully, I was able to survive.
Fu Shi is not any ordinary mortal, he possesses a profound perspective of a cultivator, and together with my own perspective, I made a breakthrough unlike any other.
"System..." I softly whisper, seeking the one thing that would give meaning to my life once anew. And... more than that, also the one thing that shall serve as my tool to create the 'game' I desire.
Then it appears... a system interface that would make my dream into reality.
[Ping! Game Master's System ACTIVATED!]
It echoes to my ears in an electronic voice. I feel my arthritis acting as I stand unsteadily.
"Hehe... Hehehe. HAHAHAHAHA!"
Tired, but triumphant! I laugh in a hysterical manner, with my hands outstretched.
From a distance, you would see an old man manically laughing as if he lost his marbles.
Tears of joy accumulate in my eyes. Without any further ado, I focus on my difficultly earned system.
[Name: Fu Shi
It looks pathetic but all is well. This is only the beginning. It is better I study this system diligently.
I scrutinize the components appearing on my system. Name? That's pretty much understandable.
Quintessence? I wonder what that is... After some diving into the crevices of old Fu Shi's memories, I learn about what is this quintessence...
Apparently, quintessence is a miraculous energy that surpasses qi. Hmmm... I still don't know much, but I get the gist of it. Quintessence is like the perfect version of qi... simple, huh? I doubt that.
How about 'player'? As a game designer in my previous life, I have an intuition.
I walk to my cave abode without hurry.
"How should I use this quintessence? And this 'player' subcomponent, I think I know what it is..."
My imagination is running wild, but given the possibilities ahead, the potential is just too undreamed-of.
Demanding its meal, my stomach suddenly growls. Ugh... I am getting hungry. As a cultivator, there is no need to eat... But now, without any spiritual root and cultivation at all, I am just a plain mortal.
For the past few days, since becoming Fu Shi, I only ate gold-grade energy pills as a substitute for food consumption. These pills can replenish vigor, an item that every cultivator desires in their martial training, and here I am eating it like snacks. Note--- it was gold-grade! GOLD GRADE!
The fact that I am just an old man whose health is uncertain just exacerbates my problems.
That is when.
Jump. Jump. Jump.
A meaty white bunny suddenly finds its way into my cave. Its black beady eyes exude innocence and adorableness.
The bunny looks plump and full of meat. Still, I feel that the bunny is quite young. Well, it is small, as it can fit into my single palm alone.
But those legs… Ain't them meaty enough for my one meal, right?
Still, the hunger is killing me. Hmmm...
Is this luck? Well, it's food... But it is cute...
"Kyu… kyu ku!"
What kind of sound is that? Is it acting cute? Do rabbits even sound like that?
Aaaaagh! I don't care anymore, I am hungry!
What should I do?
Chasing prey with my poor physique is difficult. Hmmm...
How about my quintessence?
I recall how old Fu Shi stimulates his qi when he battles. Maybe I can do the same with quintessence.
With my index and middle fingers outstretched, I focussed my mind. Then with a wanting gaze, I send my intentions.
'I want you to be mine!'
[Ping! Used 1 quintessence. Acquired 1 player.]
Invisible energy grows from the rabbit. I can't see it with my lack of cultivation, but through my intuition, I can feel the little rabbit suddenly growing something within.
Did I just use my only quintessence to recruit this rabbit as a player?
Yes, I did.
I can't forgive myself for the stupidity I have committed. I just wasted my only quintessence!
The rabbit jumps towards me without any hesitation. It feels more amiable now, not just docile, compared to the idle curiosity it has shown when it entered my cave.
It stands by my side, acting cute and stuff... It stares at me with an imploring gaze.
Its cuteness is destructive.
So my desire for stabbing it is somewhat dampening. My gaze wanders to a chest where most of old Fu Shi's weapons were stashed. My sight lands on a spear slanted at the chest's flank, imagining what I could have done instead.
"I am very tempted in eating you." I will only need to stab the little thing, and done!
The rabbit flinches, aware of what I am saying. Hmmm... Did it suddenly gain intelligence after I gave it a quintessence?
"Get me food," I tell the rabbit, not really expecting much.
[Ping! Giving Quest... Food Gathering!]
I watch the rabbit hop away.
Maybe, it's not so bad at all.