Chapter 3: Skill Tree
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Zheng Ren presumed Chief Surgeon Liu was explaining the ‘open and close surgery’ to the patient’s family members.
Chief Surgeon Liu’s expression darkened immediately upon noticing Zheng Ren. He then excused himself from the group and yelled at Zheng Ren, “Why did you come out first? Why didn’t you help them with the patient transfer?”
“Chief Surgeon Liu, the surgery is finished,” said Zheng Ren.
Chief Surgeon Liu was exasperated at Zheng Ren adding fuel to the fire by reminding them all about the failed surgery. Did this brat not see that he was explaining the situation to the patient’s family members?
Before Chief Surgeon Liu could reprimand the junior doctor for his insubordination, Zheng Ren added, “The tumor was resected and I assumed that the outcome was good. I’ll take the specimen if the family members are interested in looking at it.”
The elderly man and young lady stared at each other in shock.
Professor Moriyu had come out of the operating theater and delivered the bad news about the failed surgery to them just now. He also explained that the adhesions between the tumor and abdominal aorta were too severe for proper resection and thus, it had become an open and close surgery.
The patient’s postoperative life expectancy was approximately… three months.
The family members could not argue with Professor Moriyu but, unfortunately, Chief Surgeon Liu would have to feel their wrath in the man’s place.
The patient and his family members had inquired repeatedly if this condition was treatable with surgery prior to the surgery, and they were given a promise after numerous investigations.
Thus, Chief Surgeon Liu had to take the fall in the end.
However… the surgery ended up in failure, right? Why did the junior doctor say that the surgery was completed?
The exasperated Chief Surgeon Liu roared, “Who did it? You must be daydreaming!”
“Me…” Zheng Ren hesitated for a while, but after recalling that there were witnesses in the operating theater, he answered firmly, “Chief Surgeon Liu, I did it. The tumor tissue is inside the operating theater. Shall I take it out for the family members?”
The stunned chief surgeon—Liu Tianxing—stared at Zheng Ren in disbelief.
After that, he gritted his teeth and rushed into the operating theater.
“May I have your last name please?” asked the beautiful lady.
“My surname is Zheng,” replied Zheng Ren with a yawn. Performing a surgery under the prime experience consumed too much energy and he could not bear the exhaustion any longer.
“Doctor Zheng, thank you for the trouble,” the patient’s family members expressed their gratitude to the young doctor in a less sincere way.
Who would believe him anyway?
Zheng Ren was too tired to explain himself, so he merely smiled in response.
The elderly man stepped forward and smiled. “Doctor Zheng, I’m Mr. Bu’s butler. His family members aren’t in the right state of mind due to troublesome family issues today, so we’ll pay you a visit next time. This is my name card. You can call me anywhere, anytime if and when you encounter any difficulty in Sea City.”
That sounded like a boast, but perhaps that family actually possessed that sort of power.
Zheng Ren would normally stay for a chat but he was exhausted today, so he accepted the name card perfunctorily and put it into his pocket before taking a cab back to his home for a deep sleep.
Even though property prices in Sea City were not as high as in Imperial Capital or Sorcery Capital, Sea City was still a provincial capital with the houses completely beyond Zheng Ren’s means. He would be unable to purchase a house with his current salary even if he saved up his entire life.
He was an orphan who grew up in an orphanage since childhood. After passing his university’s entrance examination, he managed to survive five years of university life by working part time and carefully securing annual first-class scholarships. Five years of effort paid off as he finally obtained a bachelor’s degree certificate and a graduation certificate.
However, his life in an ivory tower ended immediately. Financial constraints compelled him to give up on postgraduate studies despite examination exemptions and start working in Sea City General Hospital.
There was a limit to his salary bonus no matter how much effort he put in his work. Left with no choice, he rented a house together with random tenants at a nearby location.
The last of Zheng Ren’s energy was depleted when he finally returned to his room, which was just a few square meters wide.
However, he had no desire to fall asleep as curiosity gnawed constantly at him. His eyes closed in unflinching concentration as his mind started wandering into an unknown space.
The scenery changed to a whole new world with green hills, turquoise water, and refreshing air.
Zheng Ren started investigating his surroundings. He was standing in a valley with a thatched cottage before him and a crouching white fox statue in front of the main entrance.
The fox statue was so realistic, especially with its fur carved in such fine detail, that he would not have been surprised if the statue came alive in the next second.
There was a small pond—with water so crystal clear that he could appreciate how smooth the rocks beneath it were—between Zheng Ren and the thatched cottage.
Was this a dream? Zheng Ren was dazed and confused.
“Welcome to the System. Please receive the novice mission reward,” said the female robotic voice in a flat tone.
Zheng Ren tried to listen more attentively, but it was impossible to locate the source of the voice, which seemed to be coming from the surrounding.
There was a quantum fluctuation in the space in front of Zheng Ren as soon as the sentence ended. Then, a quaint wooden box miraculously appeared before his eyes.
This was the mission reward? Zheng Ren picked up the box and weighed it in his hands.
The box was light and seemed to be made out of ordinary wood. Zheng Ren waited for some time but the robotic voice gave no further instruction.
Perhaps the System wanted him to receive the mission reward first. Thus, Zheng Ren inhaled deeply and solemnly opened the wooden box.
There was a flash in his eyes before the robotic sound was heard again.
“Talent network unlocked. Five skill points and an energy elixir obtained from novice mission reward.”
A flash of bright light flew out of his hands like a meteor and landed on a nearby meadow.
There, a translucent screen was hovering before him with words written on it.
[General Surgery: 325 skill points.]
Was this a skill tree? Zheng Ren took a closer look and noticed an explanation of ranking systems on the side.
[Novice: 0-100 skill points.
[Trainee: 101-300 skill points.
[Graduate: 301-1000 skill points.
[Expert: 1001-5000 skill points.]
There were more ranks—Master, Grandmaster, Legend, and Prime—down the list but were highlighted in grey, presumably due to the lack of skill points to unlock those achievements.
Zheng Ren started analyzing in his mind. Novice rank was equivalent to a resident doctor who had just started his work, and the Trainee rank was analogous to an attending doctor. His skill points in general surgery had surpassed the Trainee rank’s prerequisite and placed him at the Graduate rank, which should be corresponding to the level of a deputy chief doctor.
Zheng Ren was well aware that his skill was not up to the standard yet, but he figured that this may have something to do with the surgery he performed just now.
The higher ranks such as Master, Grandmaster and Legend piqued Zheng Ren’s curiosity. If the prime experience was representative of the Prime rank, perhaps Professor Ichiro Moriyu’s skill was somewhere in between Grandmaster or Legend rank, or possibly the beginning of the Legend rank.
Zheng Ren was thunderstruck by this realization.
The world-class professor had not even reached the Prime rank yet, which meant that the System was rather strict in its ranking system requirement.
If he could reach that level… A fire ignited within Zheng Ren’s heart.
However, even after five years of hellish studies, he had merely accumulated 325 skill points which were still far from the Expert rank, let alone the Grandmaster or even the Prime ranks.
He had the highest rank—Graduate—in General Surgery among all the other subjects in the System, but only a Novice rank in Radiology, Internal Medicine, Physical Examination and so on, and worse, barely any skill points in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Zheng Ren figured it was better to focus all of his attention on General Surgery. Thus, using his mind, he sent all five skill points from the novice mission reward into the General Surgery skill.
The sparkling numbers confirmed that there were currently 330 skill points in General Surgery.
Zheng Ren investigated his surroundings once more and tried to move further into this mysterious world. Soon, he discovered that the range of activity permitted for a Graduate rank was merely a hundred square meters, with an invisible forcefield separating this area from the rest of the environment.
Moreover, he had not heard the emotionless, robotic female voice again.
“System, is there any mission for me?” asked Zheng Ren.
No response followed. There was an eerie silence in this mysterious world and Zheng Ren seemed to hear his own words echo and bounce back at him.
That was peculiar. This sort of System would normally distribute missions so that the host could become more powerful, right? Every web fiction of the same genre offered similar plot contrivances, but why did his System differ from them?
Well, at least there was fresh air in this world. Zheng Ren started calming his own emotions and took a deep breath, which nearly gave him oxygen intoxication.
Zheng Ren joked that perhaps he was so used to breathing polluted air and his respiratory system required time to acclimatize to fresh air with normal oxygen saturation.
Exhaustion soon overwhelmed him as he realized there was no exciting plot waiting for him.
The prime experience may be the cause of his energy and attention depletion. Should he test the effect of the energy elixir in that case?
The thought vanished as soon as it emerged in Zheng Ren’s mind.
It would be too extravagant and a complete waste of resources. It was better to recover his energy and mind by hibernating.
He willed his mind to summon his spiritual self back to reality, and with his brain constantly thinking about his peculiar situation, he fell into a deep sleep in no time.