Chapter 102 – Third Wheel

7-9 minutes 07.02.2023

“The Wanderer is in an even more problematic situation.
The class might have the strongest offense, but it lacks any support skills whatsoever.
You can only act like a reckless fool using that class, and you're going to have a lot of trouble in situations that require more than just raw power,” Zhao Yu said before pausing for a moment.

“But!!” Suddenly changing gears, Zhao Yu pointed at the Bard on the screen and solemnly said, “The Bard might rank third when it comes to offense, but the class's healing capabilities rank second out of all classes.
It might not be as good as a specialized healer, but it is adept at solo and team play.”

Eventually, Yin Zhao-an settled on the Bard class after much marketing from Zhao Yu.

After the class selection came the character modeling.
During this phase, the left side of the screen displayed a sample of the character, while the right side showed a list of options and sliders.
Before Yin Zhao-an could start adjusting her character's appearance, though, she needed to select her character's gender.

Unsure of which to choose, Yin Zhao-an turned to Zhao Yu, who was currently completing a storyline quest by himself, and asked, “Will gender have an impact on gameplay?”

Zhao Yu looked up from his screen and pondered for a moment.
Then, he answered, “Not really, but you are more likely to get harassed if you choose a female character.
It's especially so if you don't have a Fated Partner.”

After a slight pause, Zhao Yu quickly added, “Anyway, it's up to you.
As far as I can tell, more players are playing male characters than female characters in this game.
At least, my character is still single until now.”

Yin Zhao-an hesitated for a moment when she heard Zhao Yu's explanation.
Then, she softly asked, “What's a Fated Partner?”

“It's basically your lover in this game.
If you have a lover in this game, you can even activate bonus quests for couples.”

“Oh.” Yin Zhao-an briefly glanced toward the balcony when she heard Zhao Yu's explanation.
Then, she chose to make a male character without hesitation.
She had no desire to get harassed by other players.
She was going to be a rebellious lone wolf!

After deciding on her character's gender, Yin Zhao-an chose a tall and slim model as her character's template and began tweaking his facial features.
After she moved the sliders around for around five minutes, a complete character hovered in the middle of the screen.

When Zhao Yu came over to take a look, he couldn't help but be amazed by Yin Zhao-an's creation and subconsciously said, “If you were going to base your character off your own looks, you might as well have chosen to make a female character.
That way, you can help fill my Fated Partner slot.”

As soon as Zhao Yu finished speaking, he instantly felt a change in the surrounding atmosphere.
Then, he couldn't help but shudder when he saw the icy look worn by the person in front of him…

“I'm sorry, Brother Zhao! I'm sorry!”

Zhao Yu hurriedly apologized and retreated to his place while laughing apologetically.

Yin Zhao-an gave Zhao Yu a look of exasperation before returning her attention to her laptop.
Setting aside what Zhao Yu said at the end, it was true that she had modeled her character after herself.
Apart from the gender, her character resembled herself a lot, his eyes slightly raised at the ends, his mouth naturally upturned at the corners, and his lips looking pink and thin.

The last step Yin Zhao-an needed to complete before entering the game was to name her character.
After hesitating for a moment, she settled on “Yuyi Chang'an(郁倚长安).”[1]

When Zhao Yu heard the familiar in-game BGM coming from Yin Zhao-an's laptop, he opened up his friends' list and said, “Brother Zhao, give me your ID.
I'll add you.”

In response, Yin Zhao-an indifferently the four characters making up her character's ID.

As Zhao Yu was about to key in the ID, his hands suddenly froze, and his eyes glowed as he smelled the scent of gossip, asking, “Brother Zhao, is it the 'Yu' and 'An' I am thinking of?” 4887

However, Zhao Yu quickly shut his mouth when he received a cold stare from Yin Zhao-an.
Then, he quickly typed Yin Zhao-an's ID in the search bar and found a familiar face.
The face of the character shown on the screen resembled Yin Zhao-an's face a lot.
Only, the male character on screen had a sharper look and long brown hair that was spread across his back.
The character wore a baggy white robe that fluttered with the wind and carried an icy-blue zither on his back.

When Zhao Yu sent his friend request and saw it getting approved, he promptly invited Yin Zhao-an to a party and passed the party leader's position to her.

“Okay, my character's on follow,” Zhao Yu said after setting his character to follow Yin Zhao-an's character automatically.
“Do you see the quest window on the right of your screen?”

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It was near evening when Tang Yu woke up, the afterglow of the setting sun pouring on her body.
When a cool breeze blew by, she couldn't help but shudder.

After tugging at the blanket that had slid down to her knees, Tang Yu picked up the book that had fallen to the floor and glanced inside the bedroom.
Even now, the two people in the room were still mashing away at their mice and keyboards.

After letting out a sigh filled with complicated emotions, Tang Yu got up and entered the room.
Then, she went to the bedside and turned on the lights, causing the two people immersed in their game to snap back to their senses.

Of the two, Zhao Yu's reaction was milder.
He simply looked at the time and exclaimed, “It's so late already?!”

Yin Zhao-an, on the other hand, had a more intense reaction.
As soon as the lights came on, she reflexively closed her laptop as if she were a child caught playing on the computer without permission.
Even though she was never one to be afraid of her parents, she somehow felt that she needed to act in such a manner.

Meanwhile, Tang Yu couldn't help but be taken aback by Yin Zhao-an's reaction.
After all, she hadn't even said anything yet.

However, Tang Yu didn't comment on the reaction, as it was a good thing that Yin Zhao-an had closed her laptop.
Instead, she moved closer to Yin Zhao-an and carefully observed the latter's face, bad memories surfacing in her mind when she saw the latter's bloodshot eyes.

Yin Zhao-an felt an inexplicable sense of guilt when Tang Yu looked at her, and she couldn't help but look away, not daring to look Tang Yu in the eye.

Zhao Yu was originally going to say goodbye before taking his leave, but he wisely chose to keep quiet when he saw the atmosphere surrounding the two girls.
He felt very much like a third wheel at this moment, so he quickly packed his laptop and fled the room.

When Zhao Yu arrived downstairs, he happened across the young nanny, who had just finished setting the dining table for dinner.
Recalling the situation upstairs, he reminded the other party, “Don't go upstairs for now.
They're busy.”

After saying so, Zhao Yu quickly slipped out of the house.

TL Notes:

[1]Yuyi Chang'an(郁倚长安): I don't really know what this means.
It's probably some kind of play on words using an idiom, but I can't find the original.
But if taken literally, the name probably means “Yu relies on An forever.”

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