The next day, XiaoYu who had no party to grind with was back at the lowest levels of the Jiangshi Cave alone, grinding. The monsters with ranged attacks were the most troublesome. While his necklace increased his poison resistance, that didn’t mean he couldn’t get poisoned. It just lowered the unsavoury effects of being poisoned.
24 hours after increasing others’ strength came the 24 hours of magical backlash. Increasing one’s stats by 5% didn’t feel much at the moment. Naturally, decreasing them by 3% felt like nothing too.
In the evening, XiaoYu returned to Serica. After the peak dinner rush, the restaurants weren’t crowded by packs of human bodies. Perhaps it was the cheap and delicious home-cooking which made such a great impression on XiaoYu. He chose to dine at Yang Yue’s once more.
He didn’t have to sit in a remote corner anymore. This time, the server led XiaoYu to sit by the fence with a view opening up to the streets. But after a day of constantly being poisoned, he wasn’t interested in the night view at all. He ordered, then immediately sprawled down on the table to relax. No one knew him anyway. He didn’t mind being seen in such a mildly disgraceful posture.
“It really is LuckyCat.” XiaoYu raised his head and saw GloryOfTheWorld standing beside his table with a jug of alcohol.
“Hello,” XiaoYu replied.
“Do you mind if I sit?”
“You’ve joined the Heretic Demons?”
“I recall the main Heretic Demons guild’s entry requirement being Level 85.”
“Really? I joined a subsidiary guild.” XiaoYu had yet to take a close look at the guild rules. He only heard about the important ones from HereticKing on their holiday.
“What a pity. I was going to invite you to join Angel Wings’ main guild. How about it?”
“No. I’m sorry. Everyone in Heretic Demons has been great to me.” XiaoYu wasn’t used to rejecting others, so he hid his awkwardness by sipping tea.
“But why didn’t HereticKing let you enter the main guild? Aren’t you lovers?”
“Pffft-!” Right. This cup of tea’s wasted. “N-No. Yao and I are only friends.”
“That’s his name?”
“Hehe. I thought you were calling my name. Yao’s in my name too. My real name, that is.”
“Ah. What a coincidence.”
“Since you’re not lovers, does that mean I stand a chance?”
“Hah?” XiaoYu must’ve overworked himself today. His brain was on strike. Why else could he not understand what GloryOfTheWorld was saying?
“Don’t get what I mean?”
“Are you…drunk?” XiaoYu timidly asked. His eyes sneakily darting to the jug Glory had absentmindedly placed on the table.
“Hahaha…” XiaoYu’s bumbling and skittish act didn’t escape Glory’s eyes. “You’ve got a very special way of rejecting others.”
XiaoYu felt so awkward he wished he could just burrow himself under the table. The scene felt as if the one who was rejected wasn’t the guffawing GloryOfTheWorld but him.
“It’s a joke. Looks like I really am tipsy. You don’t mind chatting with a drunkard like me, do you?” GloryOfTheWorld laughed.
“Oh. Okay.” The Bai family wasn’t much for liquor. In XiaoYu’s memories, if alcohol wasn’t used for cooking, it was used for brooding and sulking. Instinctively, he thought the other might’ve encountered something troubling. ZhuGe who was always by GloryOfTheWorld’s side was missing. The other just so happened to spot him and so wandered over for a chat. What XiaoYu wasn’t able to rationalise was why do the two big Guild Leaders love to vent to him. The only difference between the two was their methods. Yao would silently hug him, and GloryOfTheWorld would chatter on about strange topics.
“Do you know HereticKing in real life?” the other man asked.
“No, just in the game,” XiaoYu replied.
“Ah. And he actually told you his name.”
“I only know one character. I don’t know his full name.”
“I see. Since we’re friends, why don’t we exchange names?”
“But I won’t be that petty as to just tell you one character. My name is Lan MinYao.” GloryOfTheWorld dripped some alcohol on the table and wrote his name out with the liquid.
“I’m Bai XiaoYu.” In a polite exchange, XiaoYu wrote his name out on the table too with tea.
“XiaoYu? It’s really such a shame you’re not in Angel Wings. It’s the same character. You can be our mascot.”
“Hehe…” He nearly accepted the title of “Lucky Charm of the Guild” last time. Now, he nearly became a guild’s mascot. Just when was he so popular?
“And we are rather bound by destiny, aren’t we? We belong to the families of colours.”
Colours…Something popped up in XiaoYu’s head which made his eyes squint with glee. He remembered a period of time in high school when his classmates loved to joke around with that punchline.
“What is it?” XiaoYu started grinning and beaming out of the blue. GloryOfTheWorld was curious just which part of his comment tickled XiaoYu’s funny bone. Even so, that smile was feeling as if it was tickling his instinct to call the other cute.
“Nothing.” That story was quite complicated. It’d take some effort to explain it all.
“To avoid getting mixed up with HereticKing, you can call me Min. Can I call you XiaoYu?”
“Well, XiaoYu, if the Heretic Demons ever treat you badly, you’re welcome to throw yourself into my embrace.”
“Heh…heh…” XiaoYu really thought the alcohol was getting to GloryOfTheWorld. The only reaction he could think of was a goofy smile.
“Mrrow!” The tiny cat that was playing dead on the table suddenly leaped up. Its gleaming eyes stared right behind the two men. The server was finally here with the food. It was about to starve to death. Of course, its beloved owner was starving too. It couldn’t bear the thought of lowering its Intimacy.
“Your kitten’s A.I. is very sophisticated.” GloryOfTheWorld had thought it strange since the last time they’d eaten together. From the moment he sat down, he’d been observing this small cat. It was actually sprawled out on the table into a kitten pancake as if it was dead tired. The pets he had seen all sat obediently by their owners’ feet. No matter how high the Intimacy levels were, the most the animals would do was perform a few simple actions according to the owner’s orders. It was impossible for them to have such high intelligence.
“Mn.” XiaoYu had never had a pet before. He had nothing to compare the little cat to. However, Glory wasn’t the first to say it had sophisticated A.I. It was highly likely it’s extremely sophisticated. Sometimes, he himself would be astonished at the tiny one’s intelligence.
“This would be very dangerous.” Glory wanted XiaoYu to understand the danger of harbouring treasures.
“I know.” He’d paid for it already.
“You can put it away in areas where there are many eyes and mouths around,” Glory suggested.
“No need. I don’t want to lock it up in the Pet Space.” XiaoYu stroked the tiny cat as he watched its cute face chow down on delicious food. How could he bear to lock it up in some unknown dimension called Pet Space?
“Ugh. You’re always saying no to me.” Glory had been rejected three times in the past few minutes. It seemed like he’s not as charming as he used to be.
“I…I didn’t mean that. I understand your kind intentions. But it is my first friend. I can’t bear to put it away.” At GloryOfTheWorld’s heavy sigh, XiaoYu rushed to explain. His hands dancing about in panic. He didn’t want an unintentional act to be harmful.
“You place so much importance on even a mere kitten. You must really cherish every one of your friends.” Even a pet can be his friend. Needless to say, someone with a large social circle like GloryOfTheWorld could never comprehend that mindset.
“Yes.” That statement hit the nail on the head. As long as the other person treated XiaoYu with even the tiniest kindness in the world, he’d treasure that friend.
“Then, I am honoured to be your friend. Ah, I wonder if there’s anyone in the world who’s had it worse than I have? I was rejected to so many times in a single day.”
“Haha. I’m joking. I’m not that small-minded.” It was the sight of XiaoYu’s indecisive and upset face that made GloryOfTheWorld realise just how interesting it can be to tease this naive little guy. It can’t be HereticKing noticed this too, right?
“Eat up. The food will get cold.” Glory knew when to hold himself back. He knew that even the gentlest of cats would bite if the teasing stepped over the boundaries.
It wasn’t convenient or polite to talk to XiaoYu as the other was eating. GloryOfTheWorld who only came to the table with liquor was bored. When he saw the tiny cat had already licked clean its portion of the food, he thought of playing with the small cat.
Unfortunately, he didn’t know of the little cat’s weakness. Be it fingers or an unknown blade of grass from his pockets, the kitten only looked at them. After a long while, it let out a burp, signifying it was not interested in GloryOfTheWorld.
“I still overestimated a pet’s intelligence,” GloryOfTheWorld mockingly thought to himself. After numerous rejections from XaioYu and failing again at getting what he wanted, he was feeling rather down.
Thankfully, he’d never seen the tiny cat’s playful side as it meowed, twined and rolled around HereticKing. If he’d seen how the little one actively be all cutesy to the other man, Glory might just puke blood.
- Yao: It’s a homonym reference. One of the characters for GloryOfTheWorld’s in-game name is pronounced “yao”. This is not the same “yao” as HereticKing’s. However, they are very similar. The only difference is in the radical. Glory’s uses the “light” radical. HereticKing uses the “sun” radical (same as XiaoYu’s “xiao”).
- Lan MinYao: Lan = blue (蓝); Min = sky/autumn sky (旻); Yao = glory/pride/shimmering (耀). It’s too bad the other characters aren’t named after colours or we’ll have a rainbow by now.
- Wings/Yu: XiaoYu’s “yu” is the same as the character for “wings”. This “yu” can also mean feather.