31. Journey West 03
The tiny cat looked like a general who’d won the war. Chest puffed up, it strutted elegantly through the petrified crowd towards its owner. However, just as it passed by I_Am_A_Poor_Man, it was picked up by the back of its neck.
“You greedy cat. How dare you step on your dear old Grandpa Poor. Are you itching for a beating?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man said with a scowl.
“Meow~ Mreeow~” The little cat had just collected lots of money. It’s so happy that it didn’t care if its paws were dangling high off the ground. Thus, a certain someone’s attempt at playing the villain failed miserably.
“Tsk. I really don’t know what to do with you.” I_Am_A_Poor_Man pouted and threw the small cat into XiaoYu’s arms.
“Ah… I’m sorry. The little one couldn’t pick anything up the whole day, so it couldn’t hold back at all,” XiaoYu apologised to the party as he ruffled his hair meekly. He actually knew that no matter how much the tiny cat had picked up over the day, it’d never change its behaviour. Unless its dimensional pocket was stuffed to the brim.
“No, no. It’s fine.” The crowd hurriedly waved their hands in denial. Why argue with a kitten over something so trivial? =_=
“The drops…” After some consideration, XiaoYu jogged over to HereticKing and opened up the tiny cat’s inventory, prepared to dump everything out.
“Leave it. We’ll split the loot once the quest is over. I trust you,” said HereticKing as he seized the chance to ruffle XiaoYu’s hair himself.
“Yes. Since the cat has its own inventory, we won’t need to worry about dropping anything if we accidentally die.” NonMeta had already dragged CopperPlate into a corner to reflect on his problematic kissing impulse. But CopperPlate never forgot to protect XiaoYu, even amidst his endless struggling. After all, CopperPlate personally witnessed the time XiaoYu was nearly mobbed over equipment drops.
“You jinx!” Chrysanthemum gave CopperPlate a hard bop to the head. “Who was the one who mentioned encountering a region’s boss? Then, we really did encounter one. Now, you want to curse us all to die?”
“But we got great loot. I…” CopperPlate murmured miserably. How would he know a throwaway line would become true? Unfortunately, under the death glares of everyone else, he lost the courage to go on and swallowed the latter half of his sentence deep into his gut.
“Alright. Everyone’s fine. It’s okay. We’ll split the loot once we get back safely. I really do believe in CopperPlate’s words now. LuckyCat really is a lucky cat. Tsk-tsk. The next time I plan on grinding for anything, I will definitely drag you along,” said Below_The_Moon as he returned his bow back to its holder, looking as if he’d just completed a great deed.
“It’ll be 6 soon. Shouldn’t we be getting off?” A sharp voice piped up from the back. Ice_For_Miles was extremely sensitive to the flow of time. All because of his punctuality in real life.
“Looks like we won’t be able to make it to the Egg zone. Why don’t we stop here? The respawn time for the queen is 12 hours. This place is very safe now.” I_Am_A_Poor_Man looked up the area around where they were. Once everyone came back online, the hurricanes would have stopped long ago. They can then find an exit up and out. It was faster travelling on mounts than going through the tunnels.
“Wait!” As soon as CopperPlate spoke up, everyone’s eyes bore right into his body. Their eyes asked, just what does this jinx want to say now? “I just want to know what stats the Ant Queen card has. I’d be too curious to eat dinner otherwise…”
The eyes then shifted to XiaoYu, only they weren’t fierce and blazing anymore. They were shimmering with anticipation. It must be said that CopperPlate’s words were exactly what they were all thinking deep down. The game developers never revealed the stats of anything. They expect the players to seek out everything themselves, especially the stats of rare items. Anyone with a brain would never be so foolish as to show off on the forums either.
XiaoYu expanded the card’s description and shared the resulting tab to the party.
In the middle of the card was a picture of the Ant Queen. She’s portrayed to be waving her giant scythes around, directing the worker ants around her. Just like a bossy landowner. Below the image was a line of tiny, tiny text; Ant Queen Card – +50% defence against Earth attacks. 5% chance of countering. Type: Clothing.
“…” The crowd went silent once more.
“Luckily I’m not an Earth wizard,” Ice_For_Miles’s sharp voice piped up once more.
It can only be said that no matter who received the card, they’d be bullying Earth-type monsters from then on. And during PvP, any and all Earth wizards will have to avoid them at all costs. If it was just the +50% defence, it’d be fine. The enemy can still use buffs to increase their damage. It’s the following line that would be troublesome. While there’s only a small chance, it’s 100% damage once triggered. There’s a very high chance for fragile wizards to die by the counter-attack. They’d have committed suicide in a rather painful manner.
Their curiosity satisfied, the crowd began logging off. Left behind, XiaoYu and HereticKing went about looking for a clean spot to sit and deal with the in-game Hunger levels.
I_Am_A_Poor_Man dawdled until the crowd all disappeared. Then, he dragged XiaoYu over to a corner by an arm around the neck.
“Hey. Why does Chief call you Xiao-Yu?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s curiosity wasn’t fully satisfied yet.
“Oh. It’s because I call him Yao, so he calls me Yu.” The “xiao” was probably because he was younger. (The “Xiao” in his name is not the character for small!)
“What?” In his shock, I_Am_A_Poor_Man lost control of his voice. The exclamation attracted two beams of deathly glares towards his direction. HereticKing had been rather upset from the moment I_Am_A_Poor_Man dragged XiaoYu away for a private chat. HereticKing placed the blame for his behaviour onto him treating XiaoYu as if XiaoYu was his little brother. Of course, he’d be unhappy if his brother got hooked and carried around.
“Chief told you his name?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man asked in a soft-once-more tone.
“Lil Lucky, you’ve got to hold on. Don’t go helping the Big Bad Wolf when you’ve been stolen away by him.” I_Am_A_Poor_Man and HereticKing had been best friends for years in real life. Naturally, he knew HereticKing should be straight. However, according to research, over 90% of humans have fluid sexualities. It’s only the straight side of them that gets subconsciously projected. (Nonsensical research conjured up by the author.) XiaoYu was such an honest good young man. If Chief really wanted to steal him away, it’d be a piece of cake. Thus, I_Am_A_Poor_Man was only half-joking in his teasing.
“???” Naturally, XiaoYu couldn’t comprehend I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s playboy ways at all.
“Um…” I_Am_A_Poor_Man could almost see the question marks floating all around XiaoYu’s head. He sighed. It’s so rare for there such a pure bunny to exist in this world these days. Hence, he sounded quite defeated in his reply, “I’m off.”
“Okay. Bye-bye.” XiaoYu and the tiny cat both waved their hand (and paw) and watched as I_Am_A_Poor_Man vanished where he stood.
“What did he talk to you about?” HereticKing didn’t mean to ask at first, but when he saw the two sneaking glances at him during their chat, it was obvious they were talking about him.
“I don’t really get it either.” XiaoYu was very confused. It should be normal for friends to share their real names. What’s with the Big Bad Wolf and the helping? It’s so weird.
“…” From XiaoYu’s expression, HereticKing was certain the other wasn’t just pretending. His mood instantly brightened. He knew all along that I_Am_A_Poor_Man was an evil schemer. It’s a pity XiaoYu wasn’t the same kind of person as I_Am_A_Poor_Man was. So even if the other passed on his evil ways to XiaoYu, he most likely won’t get it and would never do anything bad.
They spread their cloaks out on the ground and sat down. Side by side, they began savouring the food from their Inventory.
“…You’re only eating carrots?” They ate during the wait in the oasis too. HereticKing watched as XiaoYu munch on carrots only while the tiny cat nibbled on I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s specialty grilled fish and dried fish snacks.
“It’s cheap and it reduces quite a lot of Hunger.” Crunch. XiaoYu took a bite of the carrot in his hand. At that time, he’d use all of his money every day. So, what he ate and what he slept in were the most economical results of repeated comparison and deep research. While he had money now, it’s just a virtual number. XiaoYu wasn’t that fussy anyway. Saving up and earning more money was priority.
“…” HereticKing stared as XiaoYu chowed down on his carrots, worth 10 coppers each, as if they were the most delicious food in the world. He felt rather speechless. “Did Poor dock your pay?”
“No. He gave me a lot.” XiaoYu didn’t ask the other pilots what they were paid, but 100 crystals were a sizable sum to him. “I just couldn’t bear to use any of them. In the future, updating my equipment and what-not would be costly too and…I want to transfer some of my crystals out. I don’t have a lot in my savings…”
The more XiaoYu explained, the softer his voice went. It’d be a lie to say he didn’t feel embarrassed by his finances at all. Most of the people who are shut-ins could earn money through their writing or drawing. Unfortunately, he wasn’t talented in that aspect. All he’d ever excelled in was studying. But he’s not that qualified now. Even if he wanted to work from home, no company would want him. Thus, he who hid in his home all day long can only live on like a weevil. Slowly exhausting the wealth his parents left for him.
When I_Am_A_Poor_Man talked about how hard it was in his office and how he was being squeezed of all energy and motivation, XiaoYu was a little envious. At least he could walk about in public to work and interact with others. He could only be stuck in a space smaller than 100 sqm day after day.
HereticKing reached out and gently pulled XiaoYu over into an embrace. He didn’t like watching the one who always gave him joy look so hurt and sad. He could roughly guess just how depressing XiaoYu’s real life was. That’s why he wanted to boost himself up using Asgard Online.
“Don’t be so down. You are a lucky cat. You’ll beckon loads and loads of money in the future.” HereticKing patted XiaoYu on the back, all the while thinking of how to change the mood. His eyes then spotted the tiny cat by their feet. As it munched on its fished, it tilted its head at its owner, curious as to why he’s so upset.
“Worse comes to worst, you can make TinyLuckyCat chow down on carrots along with you. It looks like it should go on a diet.” As it ate, its throat and belly bulged. It looked just like a fur ball.
“Hehe. It is a little overweight.” XiaoYu who carried it around all day long felt the same. Hence, with his head still leaning on HereticKing’s shoulder, light chuckles began drifting from his mouth. “But I can’t bear to make it suffer. It’s always been beside me.”
“Meow~” The tiny cat rubbed itself on XiaoYu’s leg and looked innocently at HereticKing as it did so. It didn’t want to eat those rock-hard carrots at all.
“Then give your little owner 50% more gold drops every time,” HereticKing said as he stretched out a finger to poke at the little cat’s head.
“Meow!” Yes, sir!
From afar, it looked like a happy little family’s picnic. Of course, one would have to ignore the hordes of ants crawling all over the place, ruining the atmosphere =_=.
Xiao-Yu: In an attempt to differentiate “Bai XiaoYu the name” from “Lil Yu the nickname”, all untranslated prefixes/suffixes will be linked to the noun via hyphens. E.g. Ah-Yu, Xiao-Yu, Yu-Ge. Prefixes/Suffixes may also be untranslated when relevant to character interaction, e.g. Xiao-Yu and the wonderful world of homonyms.