Chapter 34 - The Crux
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Underworld Player Chapter 34 - The Crux

From Bai Zhi's point of view, this Newbie Run really wasn't a big deal. The main "challenges" it posed were whether the Players had keen enough observational skills and the courage to face the monster head on.

This was their reality, after all. The only thing separating Players from normal people was their access to abilities that allowed them to stand up to the supernatural entities. It wasn't a game where they could respawn indefinitely upon their death. In fact, being a Player had far-reaching consequences that meant they were exposed to even greater risks than normal humans were.

As they say, "you only live once".

Just like Wu Hua and his partner that time, even though they were obviously Players who had completed their Newbie Run, coming up against a sly and intelligent supernatural entity like the little boy who had the ability to pin their shadows down had put them in dire straits. If not for Bai Zhi's intervention, it would have been the end of the line for them.

Joining a big organization meant access to equipment and items that could lower the risk of failing the Newbie Run, but also potentially changed the course of events in unpredictable ways, as Bai Zhi and his party could attest.

If not for Mustachio's rental item, the Bamboo Doll, confounding his deductive process, Bai Zhi would have figured out the key to clearing the quest long before they reached the life-threatening last minutes of the scenario.

When dealing with a supernatural entity, running away only delayed the inevitable—the only way to win was to take it on and take it down. However, rushing in without first carefully observing the quarry was asking to be tripped up like Wu Hua and company.

Such was the lesson that the Newbie Run was intended to teach the Players, and the crux of the whole experience.

Having decided to face their adversary, the party carefully moved the mirror from the bathroom to the living room. Positioning himself firmly before it, Bai Zhi stared unflinchingly into its murky depths, and under the watchful gazes

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Translator Notes

*Smokey the Bear, an American campaign and advertising icon of the U.S. Forest Service. Most well-known for a campaign to educate the public about the dangers of unplanned human-caused wildfires. His signature slogan "Remember... Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires" was revealed in 1947 and was associated with Smokey Bear for more than five decades. The raw refers to 消防知识的形象大使 (literally fire safety character ambassador, and I chose Smokey because he's iconic).
**Pun on avant-garde, used in a general sense to refer to anything considered "unorthodox" or "radical". "Avant" is French for "front" or "forward" while "gourd" is a slang word for head.

Novel Notes

This chapter was made possible in part through the support of my Patrons, olivertwisted, Bob Oakley, KoonSquad_Doge, PikaPower, Kenny Calderon, and Radical Dragon. Thank you!

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