When QiYao was informed XiaoYu would be grinding at the Pyramids with his brother again, he decided to go along with XiaoYu. It had been a very long time since he had seen his brother anyway, other than phone calls.
“Is Brother also a hidden job?” XiaoYu asked, recalling the unique skill, Sacrifice, he’d witnessed.
“He told you?”
“No…he used a skill.” XiaoYu thought back to yesterday. He hadn’t said anything in particular. All the other mentioned was that this skill could transfer damage between players.
“That’s the skill Sacrifice. Brother is a Paladin, the hidden job of knights.” QiYao instantly knew which skill was used from XiaoYu’s description.
After his brother became a Paladin, he also gained two more skills. They were similar to XiaoYu’s Bishop skills. One skill was for the caster themselves; one was for other players. The difference between a Paladin’s and a Bishop’s skills was in the skill for the caster. The Paladin’s skill was passive. It didn’t need to be casted. It just increased the damage dealt to Undead mobs, the player’s defence against all Undead and experience gained from the Undead. It was also why XiaoYu mistakenly thought the other’s Strength and Constitution was higher than QiYao’s.
The other skill from the Paladin class was Sacrifice. It allowed the caster to tank all damage for another player. However, to QiYao’s brother, it was quite useless. On the surface, it made it seem like he could protect other players, but when one really thought about it, it just meant he’d be like the target of a voodoo doll, a poor willing sod destined to die out of no fault of his own. That’s because this skill ignored all of the Paladin’s Defence and Agility. It mainly depended on the other player’s stats. If the other was weak, that meant the other player was more likely to be hurt and suffer more damage. The number generated would then be transferred to the Paladin’s health.
QiYao’s brother didn’t plan on training to be a tank in the first place. However, he might have to use the skill one day. So he intentionally started adding more points to his Constitution.
The game was very fair, to an extent. Even though hidden jobs were available in-game, the advantage gained wouldn’t be that overwhelming. Even XiaoYu’s Bishop skills required items to cast and were restricted to long chant times.
It was nearly noon when QiYao’s brother finally messaged XiaoYu to tell the other he was in the Pyramids. The couple who had their minds occupied by other tasks hurriedly headed for the portal.
“Looks like there’ll be one more person to help me grind today.” QiYao’s brother wasn’t shocked to see QiYao appear alongside XiaoYu. He had known the other would come along.
“Long time no see, Brother.”
“Okay. XiaoYu, you must’ve told him about everything, right? Let’s jump right into it,” QiXuan said. He skipped past all formalities, invited the other two to a party and continued slashing down Berserk Mummies.
For a while, all was silent. The only sounds heard were the sounds of mummies dying. However, the two brothers had been chatting away in a private channel.
“Brother, how did you meet XiaoYu?”
“So his name is XiaoYu.”
“Yeah. Bai XiaoYu.”
“Black and white? That’s nice.”
“Brother…don’t change the topic.”
“Relax. I didn’t hire anyone to investigate you guys.”
“I know.” While QiXuan was quite a schemer, QiYao still trusted him. After all, without his brother, QiYao wouldn’t be who he was now.
“It’s quite a coincidence. I was at the Market, thinking I should take a look at the latest prices, when I was eyed on by that little cat,” QiXuan said as he pointed to the tiny black cat circling them. He was very happy his younger brother hadn’t “abandoned his friends for a lover”. If the other really did suspect him of secretly investigating them, he would’ve failed in raising the other.
“As I thought, it’s the kitten.”
“Could it be the little one targeted you too?” QiXuan was shocked. Just how sophisticated was the cat’s A.I.? QiXuan had felt a strong gaze boring into him the moment he’d entered the building. He’d follow it to find the small cat staring at him with an open mouth. No matter where he went, those eyes followed him, completely ignoring its owner behind it who’d been talking with an NPC. He’d only teased it on a whim born from curiosity.
“Not entirely, but sort of.” More accurately, QiYao was simultaneously attracted by both the cats. Whenever he recalled how foolish the two had looked, he still had the urge to laugh. Even now, his eyes were crinkling with mirth.
“I understand now why he thinks you’re gentle. Yao, have you noticed? You look more like a normal person now.” The tiny change to QiYao’s expression didn’t escape QiXuan’s eyes. It seemed like his younger brother had fallen deep into it this time. The uncurable blank poker face was cured.
“Brother, I’ve always been a normal human.”
“Really? I’ve been afraid for nothing then. I’ve been so worried that there was something wrong with the muscles or nerves on your face.”
“=.=|||||| How did you find out about our relationship?” Time to change the topic. While the encounter was just a coincidence, there was no way his brother was that amazing. He couldn’t have realised just through observation because XiaoYu was never the kind of person to talk about it with a stranger unprompted.
“I kind of guessed it when I saw the video on the forums. I knew it to be through after talking to him.” QiXuan had wanted to read up on the recent updates on the forums. To his surprise, all he found were gossip threads about his younger brother and XiaoYu, especially about that video. In QiXuan’s mind, QiYao would never help just any healer. Combined with the memory of having talked about relationships and emotions the last time the two were on a call, QiXuan committed the healer’s looks into his memory. It just so happened that they bumped into each other as soon as QiXuan logged on.
The encounter might just be a coincidence, but QiXuan calling XiaoYu for help with a quest was definitely intentional. He just needed to sway the topic towards discussing QiYao and he could immediately tell just how much XiaoYu loved QiYao. On the call, QiXuan had told QiYao to confess as soon as possible. Based on his younger brother’s strait-laced personality, the two were probably in love with each other.
“Video?” QiYao didn’t even know about the latest development on the forums. His “followers” had never mentioned it because there were drastic consequences to teasing the Chief.
“You must’ve not been on the forums yet. He even offered up a video of the incident to protect your reputation.” The post it was uploaded in was by an anonymous account. The description said they were publicising the video so people wouldn’t be taken in by lies, the guild leader of Heretic Demons was a very responsible man with a logical mind, etc. Due to this case being one of possibly a strong player bullying a weaker player, everyone’s focus was on the popular Hei QiYao and the Heretic Demons. No one really cared who the healer was.
“I’ll go look it up.” While QiYao didn’t really know what was going on, his XiaoYu was involved. He had to take a look.
The Hei brothers were busy chattering at each other, the party chat was dead silent. Despite the awkward and strange atmosphere created, XiaoYu still did his best as the healer. He didn’t feel uneasy at all because he didn’t feel any ill-intent from QiYao’s brother.
The regulars of the Pyramids felt like their hearts were about to burst. They just fantasised stories and stories of love and hate yesterday. Now, all three of the main cast were here together and, for some reason, they were grinding together. Aah, must they direct the forums’ chatter towards a threesome? That would make them seem like they had no self-control or shame.
“Yao, XiaoYu’s not a bad kid but if you want me to acknowledge him as a future brother-in-law, I would need more time to consider it.” QiXuan might’ve spent some time with XiaoYu yesterday and his impression of the other was quite good – kind, polite, honest and even knew to be grateful – but he still needed to know a bit more, for his only little brother.
“Brother, remember not to go overboard.” While QiYao knew his brother wouldn’t be too rash, the two men he loved were clearly not on the same level in life. QiYao was also worried about unexpected outcomes.
“Don’t worry. I know my limits.” Having said that, QiXuan cut down the last monster nearby and switched to the party chat. “Can I call you XiaoYu too?”
“Huh? Sure.” XiaoYu was stunned at first at hearing a voice coming from the party chat, but he was able to respond back quickly enough.
“XiaoYu, did you know? Xiao-Yao here is quite popular.”
“Hm?” XiaoYu didn’t really get what the other meant by that.
“Ever since he was a child, there’d been plenty of girls after him. Of course, there were plenty of men.” QiXuan paused. “You’re currently dating, right? I want to know. What will you do if you encounter something like that?”
“…” Never could XiaoYu have imagined QiXuan would ask him that. To be honest, QiYao had been great to him ever since they started dating. He had never thought about such a situation.
“…” QiYao kept silence. He knew his brother had a reason why he asked that. He can’t answer it for XiaoYu.
“If Yao doesn’t give up, then no matter what happens, I’ll always be with him,” XiaoYu decisively replied after only a brief consideration. He really wasn’t one for musing about what-ifs. Who cared if there would be plenty of people who’d try and break up his relationship with QiYao? Perhaps they would go through some tough times because of it, but as long as QiYao didn’t let go, he wouldn’t either.
“Very good. Remember the determination you feel now. What the Hei family needs is a strong ‘wife’”. It’s fine to be kind, but he can’t be weak. What QiXuan despised was seeing lovers argue and cry over some trivial non-existent matter until they want to die or break up. While some might think he just didn’t understand what romance was, but such romance was much better stayed away from, in his opinion.
W-Wife? XiaoYu had never thought such a word would be used to refer to him. It’s a little strange =o=||||.
Before XiaoYu had time to blush in embarrassment, QiYao pulled XiaoYu into his embrace and lightly kissed the other on the forehead.
“I won’t let go, XiaoYu.” QiYao rarely had the chance to hear XiaoYu speak about how much he loved QiYao. But what XiaoYu had just said was enough for him. XiaoYu loved him in his own special way.
Aaaah…Suddenly, QiXuan felt like he’d just turned into a bright, shining, third-wheeling lightbulb.
Xuan: (Glance) Heehee. XiaoYu, did you know? Xiao-Yao’s first kiss was mine.
Yu: Hehe. My first kiss was given to my mother. ^-^
Yao: (Smile. Hugs XiaoYu)
Hei QiXuan VS Bai XiaoYu, Round One: Bai XiaoYu, win.