Chapter 1: Thunderstorm
The rain clouds forming in the sky grew thicker and thicker, finally darkening the entire horizon. Even though it was only six in the afternoon, it was as dark as midnight when you looked around. A streak of white light flashed across the sky, and seconds later came the rolling boom.
“The weather report didn't mention any rainfall. Just like that, there's a thunderstorm? Forgetting my umbrella at home means that I’ll have to rush home, even if it means that I’ll get wet in the rain." Contemplating his own thoughts was a young working-class salesman. He left the toy store and looked up at the sky, then hurried in the direction of his house.
Today was his son Dong Dong’s fourth birthday. His birthday present was a toy airplane, and hopefully, Dong Dong would like it.
Again, another bright flash lit up the sky. At the same time, you could hear the thunder as it struck from the sky. Luckily, the San Xing Corporation, which was nearby, had a lightning rod that stood at the top of the ten story building. The lightning rod diverted lightning strikes, preventing harm to the nearby sidewalks and pedestrians.
Accompanying the thunder were large droplets of rain. Shortly after the rainfall began, the streets began to flood.
The man wearing the suit looked up at the lightning rod and the dark sky in the background, and he had an ominous feeling from deep within. He couldn’t help but think that the lightning was too powerful; if it wasn’t for the lightning rod, he would’ve been burnt alive.
The San Xing Corporation had a large square building, which had a humongous advertisement billboard. On the top were three bright characters written in red that spelled “The Trembling World”, and since it was drenched in rain, it looked like blood was dripping down the billboard. What a horrific scene. The man in the suit stared at the scene for a little while. This game used a new technology that utilized an Induction Sensor Headgear, and the game would be released in 3 days. This guy was a hardcore fan and had already purchased the headgear.
The guy in the suit lived in the Lucky Garden district, which was right outside of the district that he was in. If it hadn’t been raining so hard, then running would get him home soon. Looking up at the sky, if he decided to wait for the rain to pass, it would take at least an hour and a half before it stopped raining. Normally, he wouldn’t mind waiting, but today was his son Dong Dong’s forth birthday.
The guy in the suit decided quickly, as he mustered his strength and charged through the rain.
The clouds in the sky kept rolling in formation, and gradually the amount of raindrops increased. Soon after, puddles were formed and people on the streets without umbrellas also sped up their movements.
While he was jogging and following others, there was an ominous feeling that he couldn’t shake off.
The violent rainstorm continuously poured down rainwater, and the rain was unable to seep into the ground fast enough, causing large puddles to form. The weird part was that these puddles were red, and as the water got denser, the bright red color stood out as if it was fresh blood.
At the same time, the strange, yet, familiar smell of iron floated in from his surroundings. It was the scent of blood.
The guy in the suit touched his own face, and on his hand were droplets of blood from the rain. Unable to produce a sound, he was horrified, and his face lost all color.
[TN: the guy in the suit doesn’t have a name but will be used later]
Three days later.
Today was [The Trembling World]’s server start day.
Liu Gan felt nervous, but at the same time, he was excited. Ever since he had received prosthetic limbs, he had played less games since the limbs were not very convenient. The San Xing Corporation had been able to develop the first ever Induction Sensor Headgear to operate [The Trembling World] online game, which would allow him to experience the game’s full capabilities.
Outside of the villa rang a loud echo of thunder, and Liu Gan glanced out his window and noticed that rain was still pouring down. For the last three days it had rained nonstop. He had lived alone in a mountain villa for nearly a month now, and every week, twice a week, his housemaid Auntie Zhao would come up the mountain in order to clean up the house and provide him with three to four days’ worth of food. Besides Auntie Zhao, Liu Gan hadn’t been in contact with anyone else for over a month now.
[TN: Formality-wise, many Chinese call older females auntie even if they are not blood related.]
The last time Auntie Zhao came to his house was three days ago, and according to her schedule, she would be coming today. But since it was already noon, it was safe to assume that she wasn’t on her way up the mountain. Since it had been raining nonstop for three days, it was hard to say if there had been any landslides. Liu Gan suspected that if it kept raining, Auntie Zhao wouldn’t be able to deliver any food up the mountain.
Fortunately, there was still a day’s worth of food left in the fridge. It had been raining for three days straight, so the rain should stop by tomorrow, right? At least this was what Liu Gan was hoping for..
[The Trembling World]’s server was about to open in a minute. Liu Gan put on San Xing Corporation’s latest technology, the Induction Sensor Headgear, anticipating what it would be like to enter the game until the very last second.
Finally, the game allowed him to log in, and Liu Gan inserted his ID into his sensor headgear. After a moment, the game interface started appearing in his visual field.
It was a full screen of blood-red rain, with a city street full of wandering zombies. In his room there were six surround sound system speakers that produced the zombies’ moaning sounds. Liu Gan loved thes type of zombie games, and the sounds caused his hair to tingle. He chose his role and starting weapon.
He was not sure whether it was that the game map was too large, or that too many people loaded onto the server that caused the server to lag. The loading screen displayed the words “Loading In”, however, it was stuck on that screen.
Liu Gan became very frustrated. The San Xing Corporation was a large company with the best servers in the gaming industry. Since it was the best, then why was there such a long loading time? Liu Gan wanted to enter the zombie world and start his killing spree, but he was still stuck on the loading screen, which didn’t give any reaction.
Should I try restarting the computer? Liu Gan waited for a little longer, and he finally couldn’t resist extending his prosthetic arm toward the computer’s power button.
The computer gave no reaction.
He pressed the button again, still no reaction….
Suddenly, outside of the window, was the sound of loud thunder. A thick lightning bolt struck down towards the satellite receiver on the viewing tower next to his villa. The tower started producing sparks.
At the same time, a bright white screen appeared in front of Liu Gan’s eyes, blinding him for a second. Followed by a soft whisper into his ear from a female voice….
“Welcome to The Trembling World!”