XiaoYu had never thought he’d be hated as much as he was by that swordsman. While his clumsy social skills meant he didn’t have many friends, his gentle and persistent personality along with his cute kitten-like face meant no matter how much his classmates ignored him no one would bully him.
However, today showed him there was someone in the world who hated him so much they wanted to kill him every time they met just because of a rejection. Even the tiny cat was a target. Is this what they called the ugly face of humanity? If they can’t have it, they’ll destroy it?
The air suddenly felt cold. A If a player wasn’t in a special zone, they weren’t meant to feel any noticeable temperature changes in the air. Still, XiaoYu felt a numbing chill spreading from within his body out to his skin. He closed off all chat channels. He hugged his knees tight against his chest. He won’t cry because he was killed, but he needed some time to calm his emotions.
“…meow.” The small cat paced round its depressed owner. It knew he had lost a lot of blood when protecting it just now. It looked so painful, likely even more than when it had hit its head against the table. But it didn’t know what it can do to help.
“…In conclusion, Prole-3 should be the hardest to conquer but the easiest to defend among all the number three fortresses. Sakura-3 will probably fall during the next battle.” The players from Heretic Demons had yet to leave the room they booked for loot splitting. They still had the room for a while longer. Just enough for them to chat and have a mini-meeting.
“Also, we have our usual meeting tomorrow afternoon, Chief. I’ll be at your place around ten tomorrow morning. Is that okay?” asked I_Am_A_Poor_Man.
“Mn,” HereticKing grunted in reply.
“Yosh.” I_Am_A_Poor_Man stood up and stretched. “I wonder what Lil Lucky’s Level now. I have a few beginner recipes for him that I forgot about just now.”
As he said so, he pulled up his Friends tab and looked for XiaoYu’s icon.
“Ah. What a shame. One more level and he could go for his Job Change quest too.” Upon noticing the tiny 49 showing beside XiaoYu’s icon, I_Am_A_Poor_Man sighed with pity.
“Impossible!” HereticKing exclaimed.
“Why would I lie to you?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man replied.
“How can it be…?” It was near impossible for someone to die during the first two Job Change quests. All that’s required was time, especially since healers were a naturally weak class. Thus, their Job Change quests were simpler than any other class’s. How could XiaoYu have lost a level?
“What’s going on, Chief?” HereticKing’s reaction felt rather strange to I_Am_A_Poor_Man. His gut was telling him there might be some issues with LuckyCat’s current Level.
“I just reminded him to do his Job Change quest an hour ago,” came the reply.
“… You’re saying Lil Lucky has died once in the past hour? How is that possible?” As a healer himself, I_Am_A_Poor_Man knew for a fact the second Job Change quest was not a difficult quest. That meant…
“He was killed by another player?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man voiced out his guess.
“Chief, look at the guild chat,” Below_The_Moon who had been sitting quietly to the side suddenly piped up. When the meeting concluded, he had reopened the muted Guild Chat channel and started reading through the previous messages. He was thinking of finding a few bored guildies to help him collect materials for his traps.
Terminator: Rawr. Does anyone have the Cursed Abyss marked in their Teleport? Help me out at the capital’s North Gate.
ProfessionalNanny: 10 crystals each.
Terminator: Aah, we’re all in the same guild. Don’t be a vampire.
TeenyTinyWhisper: Speaking of healers, I saw a little Acolyte at the capital just now. He was covered with blood and gashes. He looked so pitiful.
ShootYourAs: PvP? Who’s that cruel guy?
Just_Singing: No way. Who’s suicidal enough to kill a healer? Aren’t they afraid of the Alliance?
Trainman: It’s probably a newbie who stumbled into the wrong zone and was xxx by a high-level monster.
Thundering: I saw him too. His back was dripping with blood. Why didn’t he heal himself?
TeenyTinyWhisper: I think it’s another player. Those wounds are clearly from a sword.
ProfessionalNanny: That’s a sympathy point in my books. Hey, person who uses a sword, 30 crystals to Cursed Abyss.
Terminator: Hey! I’m not the one who killed him!
HereticKing: Where is that healer now?
Terminator: Hi, Chief!
Trainman: Hi, Chief!
Tiramisu: Blub. Greetings, Chief!
HereticKing: Stop! Whisper, Thunder, where is that Acolyte now?
TeenyTinyWhisper: I saw him at the Old Cathedral.
Thundering: I was near the vegetable stalls when I saw him walking west. But that was a long time ago. He’s probably somewhere else now.
“Haste!” HereticKing commanded.
I_Am_A_Poor_Man reflexively threw a Haste spell out upon hearing the command. All he saw afterwards was a shadow dashing out the door.
“It can’t really be LuckyCat, right?” Below_The_Moon questioned.
“Moon, let’s go look for him too. I’ve got a really bad feeling.” Shockingly, I_Am_A_Poor_Man didn’t pick a fight with Below_The_Moon. He tried messaging LuckyCat but was informed by the game that the other had closed off his communications. This had never happened before.
HereticKing pulled up the map of Prole. Amidst the myriad of locations marked, he pinpointed the locations of the Old Cathedral and the vegetable stalls. Then, according to the possible revival points, he quickly drew up a rough estimate of where XiaoYu could be then. It was somewhat far from where HereticKing was standing right then. If mounts weren’t banned in the city, he would’ve summoned his horse as soon as he left the doors.
XiaoYu had closed off all communications. This was something HereticKing tested out the moment Poor_Man said XiaoYu was Level 49. Be it in text messages or via voice mail, the game rejected them all. This was absolutely not the norm.
Before this, HereticKing’s mind insisted XiaoYu was not some weak little girl. He had some strange stubbornness inside. If HereticKing waltzed over and did everything for him, he’d feel bad. However, HereticKing was starting to regret not going on the quest with him. How HereticKing wished for a Friendship skill that could teleport him straight to XiaoYu. Then, he wouldn’t have to buzz around the streets and alleyways like a headless fly.
Upon another close look at the area he marked down, HereticKing suddenly felt a sense of familiarity with one of the alleys marked. It was a narrow and quiet little alleyway. Few people realise this was a shortcut which led straight to the Guild Mission Board. It was also where he first met the two lucky cats.
While he couldn’t be sure if XiaoYu was at that spot, HereticKing still felt as if he needed to go take a look first. If he really can’t find XiaoYu, only then will he use the power of the massive guild he led.
When HereticKing spotted that familiar tiny shadow in the distance, his heart slowed down its racing by half. But when he got closer and saw the sword gashes decorating XiaoYu, his heart felt as if it was being strangled. It hurt. The game had washed away the blood, but HereticKing could imagine just how bloody XiaoYu was.
“Meow! Mrrow!” When the tiny cat spotted the familiar Mister from before, it immediately ran over and clawed at HereticKing’s trousers, frantically pulling him over to its owner.
HereticKing bent down and petted the small cat’s head to signal he had received the kitten’s message. He softly walked over to XiaoYu and knelt down before the other. He gave the other a light pat on the head.
XiaoYu slowly raised his head. Then, he slowly buried his head back into his arms. After a pause, a solemn and low whisper reached HereticKing’s ears. “I’m fine,” XiaoYu said.
“I know.” Thank goodness. He wasn’t crying. HereticKing knew just how stubborn XiaoYu was deep inside.
He sat down beside XiaoYu and pulled XiaoYu’s tremoring body into his arms. He didn’t say anything, just gently patted XiaoYu on the back, as if he was slowly transferring strength back to the quivering XiaoYu.
“I’m…really okay. I just need some time.”
“I know. I just want to be with you.”
“Ah. Thank…” you. XiaoYu didn’t continue his sentence. He was afraid if he said any more, all the sorrow and tears would burst out of his body. He wasn’t one who liked complaining and venting.
Thus, the two sat there quietly side by side. Oh, plus the tiny cat which was still leaning against XiaoYu’s feet.
“Let’s go. I think I know who did it,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man said. Below_The_Moon and he merely stood some distance away and observed the two men and the kitten.
“Do you need help?” Below_The_Moon might only have known XiaoYu for a day, but he was just like Poor_Man. He really did like this honest and emotionally-stilted child.
“Help me look into a swordsman. He might be a knight now. The name’s BattleOverlord.” Poor_Man clenched his fists. If his memory served him right…
“Okay,” Below_The_Moon replied.
“Poor, you mentioned a swordsman who bullied XiaoYu before,” HereticKing messaged.
“Yes, Chief. I’m investigating him now,” Poor_Man replied.
“Let me know as soon as you get anything,” HereticKing replied.
“Yes,” Poor_Man said.
HereticKing closed his messages and continued to quietly comfort XiaoYu. He knew any and all words were useless right now. What XiaoYu really needed was just someone to be by his side.
Headless fly: Headless chicken + fly (because they buzz and wander in little circles).