28. Big Gathering
“It’s so big!”
XiaoYu thought the oasis would just be a pond about the size of a basketball court with a few small trees growing around it. In reality, not only was the imagined pond bigger by several times, it wasn’t just surrounded by a few lonely trees. There were at least a hundred trees or bushes scattered around it. While it wasn’t as dense as a forest, it was filled with greenery.
This was one of the larger oases found to-date. The further into the desert one went, the smaller they were. However, it cannot be said for sure there weren’t any of these little spots of heaven in the deepest parts of the desert.
After finding a shady tree, the two sat down to cool themselves off.
The tiny cat could finally be free from the large cape. It stretched, jumped and frolicked to its heart’s content. But there was only so much shade under the tree. The little one was black enough as it is and it didn’t want to sunbathe, so its play area was often the space around XiaoYu’s knees and HereticKing’s lap which was just a jump away. After some rolling and squirming, it’d then climb onto HereticKing’s shoulder to pounce into XiaoYu’s lap and start begging and showed off its cuteness – water, please.
“If on the Peco Peco, head south from here for 30 minutes and you’ll be at the Pyramids.” What HereticKing meant was if XiaoYu went grinding in the Pyramids in the future, the nearest water source would be this oasis.
“Mn. Got it.” XiaoYu silently marked down the spot. Once he reached Level 60, it’d be about time for him to start camping here.
“Do you have any friends who want to join in the quest?” While HereticKing had a list of potential candidates, he didn’t forget this quest was found by LuckyCat. Out of respect, the other should have the first pick.
“Any level requirements?” At once, XiaoYu thought of CopperPlate and NonMeta. A glance at the Friends tab told him they were online.
“The higher the better.” Otherwise, his healer would suffer.
“CopperPlate, what’s your level?” XiaoYu asked.
“Huh? Lil Lucky? 85. What is it?” CopperPlate replied.
Since CopperPlate was Level 85, NonMeta should be about the same.
“Are Level 85 tank Knight and katar Assassin okay?” XiaoYu asked back in the normal chat channel.
“They’re good.” HereticKing didn’t think LuckyCat’s friends would have such high levels. It looked like I_Am_A_Poor_Man didn’t have to work his ass off.
“Achoo! Who’s talking about me behind my back?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man grumbled as he organised all the information found on the desert region.
“CopperPlate, are you and NonMeta free? I found an S-ranked quest in the desert,” XiaoYu messaged.
“S rank! Yes! Yes, of course!” CopperPlate was ecstatic. “Eh? You’re in the desert too?”
“I was Peco Peco hunting just now. You’re here too?”
“We’re grinding for mummy drops in the Pyramids with Chrysanthemum. Wait. Can you catch that bird alone?” CopperPlate asked.
“A friend’s helping. It’s caught,” XiaoYu replied.
“That’s good. Wait a moment. I’ll ask NonMeta,” said CopperPlate in the private chat.
“Hm-Hmph~ You found an S-rank, but you didn’t call for Chrysanthemum. Lil Lucky, I’m very angry. The consequences will be severe. Are you prepared to have your flower burst open?” A female voice creeped into XiaoYu’s ears, making him shiver in fright.
“What is it?” HereticKing who’d been paying attention to XiaoYu the whole time saw him suddenly shiver. Startled, he placed his hand on XiaoYu’s shoulder before HereticKing even realised what he’d done.
When XiaoYu felt the weight on his shoulder, his heart somehow calmed down. He turned and gave a smile telling HereticKing to not worry. “It’s fine. Perhaps a Level 98 healer lady might be joining. Is that okay?” he asked.
“Of course, it’s okay.” Now, not only was I_Am_A_Poor_Man not going to be exhausted, he’d be bored to tears. (Poor: Achoo~)
“Sorry, Chrysanthemum. I…didn’t mean to. Um…if you’re free, you’re welcome to join us,” XiaoYu messaged back.
“Hehe. That’s a good boy. I hear Lil CopperPlate said you were mount-hunting with your friend nearby?” Chrysanthemum asked.
“Mn. We’re resting at an oasis now. The one nearest to the Pyramids,” replied XiaoYu.
“Are we doing this quest now?” said she.
“We’re gathering information and helpers at the moment. Once we’re all gathered, it should be time to start,” he said.
“Oh~ Hee-hee. Is your friend a guy? A girl?” Chrysanthemum’s true motive was exposed. After all those questions, the thing she wanted to know the most about was this.
“Um…” XiaoYu was not used to Chrysanthemum’s evil laughter yet. His hair stood on ends and a chill went down his spine. “It’s HereticKing…”
“What? I’ll be there soon! Eep~” Chrysanthemum was very excited at that news.
“…” XiaoYu didn’t know what Chrysanthemum was excited for. Did they know each other? XiaoYu tilted his head and stared questioningly at HereticKing. It made HereticKing look back with a head full of question marks.
“My friends said they’ll be here soon. They were at the Pyramids,” XiaoYu said.
“Mn. That’s three. Any more?” HereticKing asked.
“None.” XiaoYu glanced at his friends list again. Shumai was not online.
“Then you don’t mind it if I bring three more, right?” They needed a wizard and an archer. Along with I_Am_A_Poor_Man, that was three.
“Mn. Is Big Brother Poor among them?” XiaoYu asked.
“Of course, he…He told you to call him that?” HereticKing will not admit that he was upset by that.
“Mn. His name is too long.” It’d also make others misunderstand if he said it out loud. (Crowd: Why is this child always saying he’s poor?)
“Really…My name is quite long too. You can call me Yao.” As HereticKing said so, he wrote the Yao character on the sands.
“Eh?” How can a name with only two words be called long?
“What? Can’t you?”
“No…” XiaoYu examined the Yao character and asked, “Is this your name?”
“Yes,” said HereticKing.
“Mn…” XiaoYu pondered with his hand on his chin. “My name is quite long too. If you don’t mind it, you can call me Yu.”
“XiaoYu? Got it.”
“Huh? How did you know my name is XiaoYu?” XiaoYu stared at HereticKing in shock before suddenly realising what the other really said. “Oh…you mean Xiao for small,” XiaoYu continued as he scratched his head.
HereticKing’s brows furrowed before relaxing in realisation. Was this buy one free one? He got the correct character by accident.
“This Xiao?” HereticKing chose to write down one of the commonly used Xiao characters and wrote the Xiao character for XiaoYu along with the Yu character.
“Looks like I’m quite lucky.” HereticKing smiled. It felt like the number of times he’d smiled today was almost equal to the number of times he smiled over the past 6 months.
Less than 30 minutes later, they could hear hoofbeats echoing from the distance. (Horses travel faster than Peco Pecos XD)
“Lil Lucky~ Your Big Brother CopperPlate is here.” Before he could even be seen, his voice could be heard ringing out.
“My friends are here.” XiaoYu stood up and stretched. He walked out of the shade and into an open area easy to be spotted so CopperPlate could see where he was.
“I told you Lil Lucky’s a lucky charm. No one stop me. This time, I must rub off all the luck I can get.”
As soon as CopperPlate got down from his horse, he tried tackling XiaoYu with his characteristic bear hug. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as fast as other people, nor was he as strong. Before he even touched a single hair on XiaoYu, he wound up dangling by his collar. He was picked up and away to one side by NonMeta like a little corgi.
“NonMeta, you bastard! Fight me!” CopperPlate shouted.
“The way your friend greets people is quite special,” HereticKing said solemnly from behind XiaoYu.
Actually, if NonMeta hadn’t made a move then, CopperPlate wouldn’t be able to touch XiaoYu either. The almighty Guild Leader had one arm stretched out ready to pull XiaoYu to a side and dodge the hug. Thus, the useless arm now laid itself over XiaoYu’s shoulder, making the eyes of Chrysanthemum, who’s just a few feet away, twinkle.
“Heh. Hehe…” XiaoYu didn’t know why CopperPlate insisted on pouncing on him every time they met either. Could it be due to trauma from when they first met outside the Zombie Cave where CopperPlate wasn’t able to tackle XiaoYu?
With three more added to the party, XiaoYu became the one to introduce everyone to each other. After HereticKing’s true age was revealed, Chrysanthemum was still the oldest in the party. Only, it caused a tiny wound in the childish heart of the 26-years-old “old hag” Chrysanthemum.
“Hahaha!” When XiaoYu shared the quest with the others and summarised what the situation was, CopperPlate rolled on the floor laughing.
“…” NonMeta didn’t laugh, but his twitching lips betrayed the face he was trying hard not to.
As for Chrysanthemum, she just stood there with a small smile on her face. If one ignored the way her gaze constantly drifted between HereticKing and XiaoYu.
“How much longer?” The five humans and one cat returned to the shade of the tree from before. CopperPlate was the first to speak up from impatience.
“15 minutes. We’re waiting on three more,” HereticKing nonchalantly replied as he focused on scratching the tiny cat under the chin.
“Meow~” Comfy. The little cat’s large eyes squinted into a line from enjoyment. Once in a while, it’d luck HereticKing’s fingers, encouraging him to keep scratching.
“Hey, hey. Lucky, did your cat turn traitor?” CopperPlate nudged XiaoYu. Why was his pet being so affectionate with another player?
“No…I think.” XiaoYu wanted to know too. Could this be what they call imprinting?
Chrysanthemum was sitting quietly to one side, pretending to be a gentle girl. However, her two eyes betrayed her gossiping heart. ‘Mn. Amazing. If you want to catch someone, you have to catch his pet first,’ they said. As such, whenever she looked at HereticKing, her eyes were full of respect. When she looked at the little cat, there would be a hint of disdain in her gaze.
“Ah!” XiaoYu was suddenly reminded of something.
“What is it?”
“I don’t have riding equipment for my bird yet.” Would everyone have to walk with him later?
“Don’t worry. I asked them to bring a set along,” HereticKing said.
“T-Thanks.” XiaoYu ruffled his hair. HereticKing was so thorough. He felt a little bad.
15 minutes flew by and hoofbeats could be heard once more.
The people HereticKing called over was, naturally, Heretic Demons members. As such, every one of them were skilled players over Level 95. I_Am_A_Poor_Man, Level 96. Shooting_Chang’E_From_Below_The_Moon, Level 100. Ice_For_Miles, Level 97.
Except for I_Am_A_Poor_Man, the other two players’ classes could be deduced from their names alone. Majority of the monsters in the desert were fire-type. Hence, an ice wizard would be most suitable for this quest.
“Ah, the Demoness!” As soon as I_Am_A_Poor_Man saw Chrysanthemum, he instantly jumped back half a step.
“Oho. It’s been a long time, Poorie dear.” When faced with “familiar” people who would expose her for what she was, Chrysanthemum would pretend to be polite. She immediately stepped up and had a little grope.
“Gods, Lil Lucky, how have you not been gobbled up by her?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man pulled XiaoYu to a side and did a hands-on check-up. It was only when he felt two beams of death rays that he reluctantly took his demonic claws away. He then pulled out a set of Peco Peco riding equipment from his inventory.
“Tee-hee. I also bought a Peco Peco helmet. That way, your little cat would have a VIP seat,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man smirked as he brought out an equipment which looked like an old warped pot. “Place this on its head and the kitty can sit on it.”
“Alright. Everyone’s here. Prepare to depart.” The almighty Guild Leader spoke up, telling everyone to go do their jobs.
And so, the three new party members joined in, understood the mission and, once they listened to XiaoYu’s explanation, collectively fell down laughing on the floor once more.
This chapter has been locked/made private (as were some of the previous chapters) on jjwxc. If there are any discrepancies from the translation to what you know, note that this is probably the reason why (aggregators are useful for something after all).