LC: Chapter 64

64. Lost…

Hei QiYao can’t log onto A.O. everyday. The next time he logged on would be Saturday when Guild Wars would be held.

As the Guild Leader, he’d promised his guildies if they took down another Prole fortress, the Heretic Demons guild would have a gathering in real life. Hence, every member of the guild had been rubbing their paws together in anticipation of the thrilling moment they’d create together today.

As usual, XiaoYu arrived early to the base at just past 5. He sat down and had dinner with the tiny cat. Meanwhile, all team leaders’ eyes were stuck to QiYao the moment he’d logged on. They then discussed defence arrangements for Prole-3 and Prole-4 along with the attack plans for the third fortress. As a result, the two had yet to speak to each other since their parting.

When the team leaders were finally willing to let QiYao go and dispersed to finish their preparations, it was already 6.30 pm. The Healer Squad was already at work. They needed to send their fellow guild members to their allocated spots before the event started.

“XiaoYu, already working?” QiYao didn’t leave Prole-3. He knew XiaoYu should have started working on his portals by now. Hence, the message was sent through a private message.

“Yes.”

“After the battle, come to Prole-3’s Crystal Room, okay? I’ve got something to tell you.” The Guild Leader of an occupied fortress could personalise entrance permissions of a fortress once the event was over. That would stay until the next Guild Wars where it’d be reset to default once more.

“Okay.”

“You can keep working, then.”

“Yes. Good luck.”

“Mn.” Because of those two words, they must not lose Prole-3 today.

While XiaoYu didn’t know what QiYao wanted to tell him, the busy XiaoYu still put his curiosity aside and focused on his portals.

“Chief, all NPC guards in Prole-3 are ready,” said Poor_Man as he stumbled and swayed into the Crystal Room.

“Mn.”

“You’re in a good mood today. Something good happen?” Poor_Man was the type to think those who didn’t gossip when there’s gossip before them were all idiots. Since there were still a few minutes before the battle started, he was going to start chatting with QiYao about anything and everything. Still, he didn’t hold any hopes for the ever-silent Chief to tell him anything.

“Lin Qiong.”

“Yes!” Poor_Man instinctively called out when he heard QiYao call him by his real name. It was very strange, though. It’s rare to hear Chief call him by that name in the game. Was Chief going to increase his salary from seeing how hard he’d been working lately?

“…” As QiYao stared down Poor_Man, he internally debated whether to tell the other man he loved XiaoYu? On one hand, they were close friends for many years. He should notify the other. On the other, QiYao knew just how much Poor_Man cared for XiaoYu. While he didn’t know what the other thought of XiaoYu, he still didn’t want his friend to step in before he could get to XiaoYu.

“Um…Chief, if you keep staring at me like that, I’ll think you’ve fallen in love with me.” Poor_Man hated silent moments the most. Rather than being stared at by QiYao, he’d much prefer to go play with Eggy in Prole-4.

“The one I like is XiaoYu.”

“I know. Didn’t you always like Xiao-Yu?”

“I mean that kind of like.”

 “Mn. Yes.”

“How do you know…?” it was QiYao’s turn to find things strange. Even he’d just realised his own intentions. Why does it feel like the entire world knows?

“What can I say? I’ve known you for so long. It’s my first time seeing you pay so much attention to a person and not just games.” When Poor_Man noticed QiYao’s confusion, he stopped joking around. “At first, I thought you liked women. I’ve never seen you get interested in men before. But then your ex-girlfriends all complain to me about how you don’t like them at all. I thought you just ignored them because you were too focused on games and work. That’s until I witnessed how you treat Xiao-Yu. Only then did I finally get why they say a women’s intuition is always right.”

Poor_Man paused and refilled his lungs. “I thought that perhaps you wouldn’t know what gender you prefer until you find someone suited for you,” he continued in a serious tone. “Perhaps you just like Xiao-Yu. Even if he was a girl, maybe you’ll still like him. But…Xiao-Yu is a very good child. This type of kid fear pain the most. QiYao, if you’re really going to like him, to love him, then never ever hurt him.”

“I know. How could I bear to?”

“That’ll do. As long as your mind is settled, as your friend, I will support you with all my might.” Poor_Man patted QiYao on the shoulder, then he was suddenly struck by a thought. In one exaggerated leap, his hand shrank back and he retreated backwards. “You’re not telling me that to warn me not to touch Xiao-Yu, right? You’re mistaken, Chief. I absolutely do not think of him that way. I can swear to the gods right now I like huge boobs.”

“Even if you like Xiao-Yu, I would choose a fair competition,” QiYao said with a slight smile. He was used to his friend’s split-second switches from serious mode to goofy. He had to admit, Poor_Man was a friend who was very worth befriending. He would always point things out and remind him of certain things during key moments.

“Heh…Heh…Chief, relax. I won’t fight with you.” While Poor_Man thought Chief’s smile was very nice, such a confident and scheming smile was usually directed to his business rivals. Then, that person would have a horrible end.

Poor_Man liked Xiao-Yu too, but his liking was based on friendship. It was vastly different to Chief’s “like”. That’s because he wouldn’t get all jealous over something minor. Hee-hee.

Time ticked by. Tonight’s Guild Wars officially started. It was three hours before QiYao’s and XiaoYu’s meeting.

Tonight’s battle opened up with I Die For Riches taking back Sakura-3. They had an easy time because the Heretic Demons didn’t send any players to defend it at all.

As concluded from the last meeting, the Heretic Demons’ main battlefield was Prole. Hence, their tactics were formed with Prole-3 as its centre. Then, they’d spread to the four other fortresses. Egg_Tart’s Suicide Squad was in charge of Prole-4’s upper left corner’s defences. The first two hours of the event was spent punching in at the other three fortresses being fought over. Only at the last hour would they aim for their true target at full force.

Except for the announcement of the Wings occupying Serica-3 halfway through the event, opening up another battlefield and causing a minor ruckus, the Heretic Demons’ plan went smoothly. Occasionally, there’d be a few I Die For Riches teams who’d come looking for trouble, but they’d be bounce back by the solid defences. The minor guilds tried their luck a few times, but when all efforts proved fruitless, they turned their attentions to other fortresses. There were moments where Prole-3 and Prole-4 had no business at all and one could hear a pin drop at the walls.

In the last hour, the main forces of each subsidiary guild would receive notice to leave for an attack on the upper right corner of Prole-5. Prole-3 and Prole-4 had weakened defences as a result, but the Squad Leaders’ orders for everyone to be on high alert in the event of a last-minute ambush were obeyed.

“Looks like today would be easy.” Guildies in Prole-4 have started talking on Public chat channels.

“Yes, but we can’t let down our guard. Healers and magicians, focus on lighting up and patrolling every corner with your skills.” There were no special missions that required XiaoYu’s unique skills today, so Egg_Tart remained in command of Prole-4. He strolled through all the stations in Prole-4, reminding the chatting guildies to stay on guard and do their jobs.

SleepEveryDay: Leader, all of our teams attacking Prole-5 have successfully passed Level 2.

WorkEveryDay: We’re getting ready to meet up with the main guild on the third level and charge through Levels 4 and 5.

The “EveryDay” siblings piped up in the Suicide Squad chat to share the progress of their guild’s teams. Only the few Egg_Tart had given permission to could use the Guild chat to distribute new information. Everyone else must use other channels at all times to prevent important messages from being drowned.

“Wow. That’s great. Perhaps our guild can get another fortress again.”

“Impossible. One for the main guild and two for the subsidiaries? We’d be chased down by the main guild then.”

“What can we do? The EveryDay bros are just too awesome.”

“True, true. Keep at it, guys!”

Guild chat channels everywhere were immediately filled with intense debates.  Everyone was fantasising seeing their guild’s name being announced by the game later on.

“Ah, an assassin!”

“Kill him!”

“He’s gone. Probably went back to Prole.”

“Did you see the guild logo?” (Within fortress walls, all players would have their guild’s logo floating above their heads.)

“It looked yellow. I didn’t get a clear look.”

“Head outside and see if there’s a crowd.”

“I did. There was no one.”

This was a minor interlude that occurred at the East Gate of Prole-4. The chatting guards suddenly found a sneaking assassin. As that assassin quickly escaped back to the capital and there were no signs outside the fortress of players gathering, no one paid much heed to it and no one reported it to their superiors.

The more peaceful it was, the duller one became. This was quickly proven accurate a few minutes later.

Red light rained down on them and a large troop of I Die For Riches players blinked into existence at Prole-4’s East Gate. The gate defences are down! Everyone, look out!

Those who died swiftly conveyed the above message the instant they respawned. At first, it was just a few tanky knights. Soon, more and more players arrived at Prole-4 and the guards were soon overwhelmed. The last thing they saw before they disappeared back to their base was a field full of I Die For Riches’ golden logo.

“Sir, do we need to head back to back you up?” messaged the EveryDay brothers to Egg_Tart. While they were now at the fourth level of Prole-5, they couldn’t help worrying at the sight of those messages about the emergency.

“…No. You keep it up at Prole-5. We can hold them.” After some consideration, Egg_Tart decided not to summon non-Prole-4 members. They didn’t have a lot of players and NPCs guarding each city. After assigning them to defending each layer of the fortress’s defences, they only had a few left to guard the City Crystal Room. Even if his own team members fell in battle, they should be able to charge through the portals, fill in the gaps left behind and hold the line.

Prole-4 was the type of city that’s easy to invade but hard to defend. There were two huge spiral staircases to the left and right of the great hall on Level 3 that went straight into the Crystal Room. This was also why the Heretic Demons started off with this as their first target.

Egg_Tart walked out of the Crystal Room. He peeked down at the hall’s situation from the spot upstairs between the two staircases. There were quite a few guild members there. This was an important line of defence. Everyone had their serious faces on. Soon, 7 or 8 Knights rushed in, followed shortly by other players. After a while, it was all a mess.

According to usual PvP rules, players would first attack healers and magicians. After exterminating the healers and the fragile glass cannons, players would then slowly grind down the others. As a result, the trained Suicide Squad focused their sights on the healers and wizards. The opponent seemed to have the same idea. The archers all aimed at the healers hiding at the back. A great battle was had at the expansive great hall.

As time went by, numbers on both sides went down bit by bit. The fragile players kept dying and leaving the battlefield. The only ones left were a few tanky but weak Knights. Then, something unexpected happened. A huge number of I Die For Riches players appeared around those Knights out of nowhere. Quite a few of them were the faces of the players who’d just fallen. They were outnumbered in all manner of ways. The Heretic Demons panicked. Egg_Tart who was observing from above was shocked. But he had no more time to think on the incident after the shock died down. He hurried back into the Crystal Room.

Egg_Tart (Guild Leader): Attention to all Heretic Demons, everyone head to the Crystal Room. I Die For Riches’s Knights might have a special ability or item that could summon teammates. Everyone, hurry back and defend! Focus your attacks on those Knights!

“You must hold on until reinforcements arrive!” Egg_Tart shouted to the guarding players. This room was smaller than the other Crystal Rooms. That’s why the main defensive post was the great hall downstairs.

However, the current situation was looking very bad for them. The players downstairs were at their limits and they didn’t know if the summons came from a skill or an item. If it was a former, then those opponents would keep coming back as long as the Knights were alive. If it were the later, then who knew just how many they have left. Either way, if the Knights kept summoning, none of the killed Heretic Demons would be able to head back in time to defend anything.

He was too cocky! Egg_Tart didn’t have time to berate himself anymore. The most important task at hand was to protect Prole-4. They cannot lose the fortress now.

The remaining few guards outside were quickly defeated. I Die For Riches split their troops in half and charged up both staircases to the Crystal Room. The Heretic Demons had never prayed for Guild Wars to end faster before, but time crawled by like a snail. All of Suicide Squad’s hearts were poised at the edge of a cliff.

“Congratulations, Guild Heretic Demons, on conquering Prole-5.”

A moment before, the guild members of the main Heretic Demons guild was celebrating conquering the third fortress. The next, came an announcement that shocked everyone.

“Congratulations, Guild I Die For Riches, on conquering Prole-4.”

Prole-4 was lost.

After they lost Prole-4, time seemed to speed up all of a sudden. No matter how fast the Heretic Demons regathered and charged back into the new battlefield, time was up. This time, the Heretic Demons still ended the event with two fortresses conquered.

“Our gathering…it’s gone.” Everyone who knew of the plan was so very disappointed.

“I’m sorry. Today was my fault.” In the special chat channel, Egg_Tart gravely apologised to the higher-ups of Heretic Demons. He didn’t know what he felt right then, but he knew he’d disappointed everyone.


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LC: Chapter 63

63. Uncorked

QiYao stopped living with his brother the year he became of age. While they were both working in their family’s business, they were in totally different fields. Thus, they rarely ever interacted at work. However, once a month, they set aside a day to call each other and discuss what was going on in their lives, professionally and personally. One could probably consider this as proof the two brothers had a good relationship.

“You’re late today, Yao,” commented QiXuan.

“Sorry, brother. I had something on in-game,” replied QiYao.

“Now that I think of it, it’s been a long time since I logged on. I heard A.O. has opened up Level 100 content now. Yes?”

“Yes.”

“Looks like it’s about time to go back and have a look. Otherwise, won’t it be a waste of my hidden Job?” That’s right. QiXuan was the aforementioned player who discovered the first hidden Job, the Paladin.

Back when he was just a Swordsman, he was so bored that, in search of excitement, he would spend day after day grinding in the Undead Cave. Who knew this would trigger a secret quest when he went in to change Jobs and be the first player in the entire server to unlock a hidden Job? The game rewarded him 1000 crystal coins and 3 stat points for opening the gates to hidden Jobs. It was shortly after the servers opened. During that time, 1000 crystals was quite a hefty sum. In an instant, he’d become famous in the game.

Naturally, after Level 99, he went for the Level 100 Quest. Hei QiXuan’s luck at quests was not as bad as his younger brother’s. His Level 100 Quest was actually Rank A. It was the dream. His quest wasn’t hard. It was just annoying. He needed to collect a long list of items within a time limit. He can’t buy them either. He needed to personally grind them out.

After estimating his free time compared to the number of quest items, QiXuan realised that he’d have to spend every single waking moment during this period grinding and grinding and grinding to even complete the list. It wasn’t worth it at all. Furthermore, he just so happened to have a major project he needed to follow up on during that time. He was too lazy to do a quest he’d deemed to be a failure. Hence, he didn’t log on much afterwards.

“Right, Yao. Have any more hidden jobs been found out after that?” asked QiXuan.

“Yes. We now know the healers’ hidden Job is the Bishop.” QiYao instantly thought of XiaoYu. He was also reminded of the dilemma he had pushed aside for the moment. A tinge of confusion laced through his spaced-out eyes.

“Looks like I’ve got to find a chance to get to know them. Are they in Heretic Demons?” QiXuan had noticed QiYao’s expression changing. He was adept at catching such micro-expressions. Because the other man had his heart written on his face all the time, making it very easy to understand what the other was feeling, QiXuan bullied him quite a bit. After QiYao grew up, he learned to face all the teasing and harassment with a blank poker face. Unfortunately for him, as the gods grow, so does the devil. The 10-plus age gap between QiXuan and QiYao wasn’t spent on nothing.

“…Yes,” replied QiYao, half-a-beat too late.

“Yao, you don’t seem all that focused today. Did something happen in-game?”

“Nothing much.”

“Got stuck on a quest?” As QiXuan kept guessing, he squinted at QiYao’s face. “Broke an equipment? Fell for someone’s scheme? Met an emotional dilemma?”

Emotional dilemma? QiYao certainly didn’t know just what he felt for XiaoYu.

Bingo! That was it. The sight of QiYao’s face spiralling deeper into confusion let QiXuan know he’d hit the jackpot. But even he was surprised. He didn’t think it would be about feelings. Could QiYao have met his “fated maiden” in the game?

He knew his younger brother’s love history extremely well. With his encouragement, QiYao was very much into games. When the other was still a boy who can’t play VR games, he’d played everything. All the popular single-player games? Done. Browser games? Done. He even spent some time in a few MMOs. Under the pressures of having a heavy homework load, skipping grades and completing his Business Management certifications, QiYao had no free time outside of studying and gaming to even talk to girls, let alone go dating. Even after he turned into an adult and could play VR games, it was the same. The only change was the heavy homework load that merely turned into a heavy workload.

That’s not to say QiYao spent all of his time playing games like a shut-in and never even dated. He did date a few times in between all that time sunk into studying, working and gaming. However, the other party had always been the one to confess first. QiYao thought the other party didn’t have any obvious flaws, so he decided to give it a try. The relationships all ended the same way too. The other party didn’t feel safe with QiYao. They couldn’t feel any love from QiYao, so they decided to break up with him.

After the same thing happened a few more times, QiYao stopped accepting confessions. He just played his games.

QiXuan knew his brother dated before, but he could also tell QiYao didn’t put in any real feelings into those relationships. That meant his younger brother had never really dated in a relationship where he was the confessor. QiXuan had a big duty before him. With a tiny bit of guilt and huge amounts of curiosity, QiXuan put on the hat of a psychologist.

“So it’s a problem about feelings? Talk to me. Let your brother help you out,” said QiXuan.

“It’s fine. I can handle it myself.”

“Are you sure? Yao, this is my first time seeing you troubled y love.”

“Love?” QiXuan’s choice of words had caught QiYao’s attention.

“What else can it be but love? Don’t tell me you’d still be troubled by friendship at this age.”

“Love, is it? But it doesn’t feel the same as before.” QiYao had never felt the urge to hug any of his ex-girlfriends forever. Even when he’d spot them being affectionate with their new boyfriends after their break-up, he wouldn’t feel frustrated or annoyed.

“What rubbish! How could you call what you had before love? Let me ask you. Were you at all upset when those girls suggested you break up?”

“No.” Not just no, it felt like a heavy weight was lifted off his shoulders.

“That’s it then. If you really loved, would you bear for her to leave you? If the one in the game right now leaves you, what will you do?” QiXuan didn’t know the person in question here was a guy.

“…Catch her and drag her back.” QiYao imagined what if XiaoYu was dragged into the Wings by Glory. First, he would absolutely beat Glory up, then reel XiaoYu back for a round of tight and fervent hugs.

“That clearly means you like her. Yes…it won’t be an exaggeration to say you love her.” QiXuan could guess just what QiYao was imagining based on that frown.

“But I should just think of him as a younger brother…” Unknowingly, QiYao’s story was slowly teased out of him by his brother. As they say, the older the ginger, the spicier.

“Tch. Would you be that possessive if it was just a brother? IF you leave me, I would never chase you down and catch you back.” QiXuan disliked this type of sibling-like relationships. That’s just an excuse for being too much of a coward to face their love. Wait…a brother!

“It’s a guy?” QiXuan shouted as he leaped out of his chair. His hands both slammed down on the desk as he leaned in close to QiYao’s face on the screen. If they weren’t in a video call, his hands would definitely be gripping hard at QiYao’s shirt.

“Ugh…” QiYao only realised his brother had made him slip up when QiXuan’s face was suddenly enlarged.

However, his brother was correct. If he thought of XiaoYu as a younger brother, he shouldn’t feel that strong possessiveness over the other man. While the Hei family’s eldest son’s way of educating a child was…unique, QiYao had to admit it. His brother taught him a lot. He admired his brother. He was very grateful to him. His brother never spoiled him, nor was he overindulged as a child. If QiYao had a younger brother, he’d definitely use the same methods his older brother had used on him. He won’t go overboard like QiXuan though =_=.

“Wow, Yao. I always thought you’re just into games. That’s why you acted so cold to those beautiful ladies and didn’t date properly. In the end, you’re just into guys. Even I was fooled,” QiXuan muttered. After getting over his shock, he’d sat back down on his comfy chair.

“I don’t like men. Perhaps…he’s special.”

“I trust your taste in people. But from the looks of it, you still haven’t confessed. Just a reminder. Be careful of others getting to him first.”

“Yes.” Now that he knew what his heart was telling him, QiYao wouldn’t hesitate anymore. He wouldn’t let anyone else snatch his XiaoYu away from him.

“Once I end this project, I really have to log on to have a look around. Just what kind of man has my little Yao so mesmerised?”

“Brother, you’re still as bad in Chinese as ever. One day, all your clients will run in fright.”

“No worries. I know five languages.”

“…”

Hei QiYao. Male. 24 years old. To this day, he still hasn’t found an effective way of dealing with his brother.


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LC: Chapter 62

62. Progress

The feast was spent in silence by the two men. On one hand, HereticKing and XiaoYu weren’t big talkers to begin with. On the other, HereticKing was still musing over the peculiar feeling he’d felt for XiaoYu.

However, there were some development to be had. HereticKing told XiaoYu his full name. There was a moment when XiaoYu thought the other was Japanese instead of Chinese. Only after some explanation did he understand that HereticKing’s surname was “Hei”, not “HeiQi” (Kurosaki). It was just pure coincidence that the first character of the other man’s first name was “Qi”.

Dinner ended quite some time before XiaoYu’s bedtime. Unfortunately, QiYao couldn’t stay with him anymore. Today just so happened to be the day he would give his big brother, Hei QiXuan, the monthly report of things in his life.

After QiYao logged off, XiaoYu was reminded of the items and gold coins in the tiny cat’s pouch. A glance at his Friends tab showed I_Am_A_Poor_Man still online. Thus, he hurriedly messaged the other to discuss the loot.

When XiaoYu opened up the Pet tab, his heart sunk, and his head dropped in depression. The small cat’s level was, written clearly in black and white, Level 80. It was 20 full levels higher than its owner. How was he meant to feel about that? Not only that, the indicator for how many gold coins the kitten required before its next level up now read “Level of Pet is capped at 20 higher than Owner. Please level up player before levelling pet.” Heh. Sure, XiaoYu was now a burden to the little one’s levelling.

The moment XiaoYu opened up the kitten’s inventory, his eyes were blinded by half-a-screen’s  worth of bright, shimmering gold coins. An item slot can hold up to 100 of the same item. A quick looked showed dozens of items slots filled to the brim with x100 gold pieces. Just how many would that be? If it were up to XiaoYu to pick them all up one by one, who knew how many years it’d take? The tiny cat’s love for money has once again expanded the limits of his mind.

“Xiao-Yu, what are you looking at? You’re getting all cross-eyed,” Poor_Man asked as he lightly patted XiaoYu who’d been spacing out in the middle of the street.

“…” This overwhelming shock was so indescribable that XiaoYu just showed the other man the tiny cat’s inventory.

“Gods! What? I thought I’d just cracked open a bank’s safe!” Poor_Man dug out a pair of shades from his bag. “See no evil! Staring at this for too long will give me the impulse to do something bad.”

“How should we split them up, Big Brother Poor?” XiaoYu asked.

“Um…Xiao-Yu, if you keep calling me that, I’ll start feeling guilty. You can just call me Lin-ge from now on.” It was the first time ever Poor_Man disliked a nickname he made up, especially when he was faced with the mountain of gold.

“Oh. Okay.” Did that mean I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s surname was Lin? XiaoYu wondered.

“What a pity. The item description said these are just gold pieces of average purity. It’s recommended to sell them directly to NPC stores.” As XiaoYu had shared his screen over, Poor_Man could read up the item descriptions himself. “I wonder how much one would fetch. Xiao-Yu, go try it out with one piece.”

“Okay.”

The two took out a single gold piece and headed over to the nearest NPC shop. After showing it to the storekeeper, they were quoted 10 gold coins + 2 gold coins. (Unique passive skill from the tiny cat’s necklace – Sell Price +20%.) Likely due to the impurities within the gold piece, it didn’t fetch a high price. However, if multiplied by the number of gold pieces collected, the sum would be a terrifying number.

After some consideration, Poor_Man decided to sell them all. They weren’t rare items anyway. A single skill from a rich salesman’s ghost would result in tens of thousands of gold pieces falling from the sky. Since they weren’t very pure, blacksmiths can’t use them to strengthen anything. At the moment, there weren’t any Professions or Jobs that could purify metals. The game developers likely thought they didn’t need it. Otherwise, no one would visit the NPC gold stores.

Once the gold pieces were all sold off, they had thousands of crystal coins. Then, with Poor_Man’s help, the rather useless items were all sold off. On a rough estimate, not only could every member of the grinding party obtain an equipment with additional stats, they could also gain many practical items and over 100 crystals. This was major harvest for a normal grinding party session.

There wasn’t much XiaoYu could help with in the intricate task of deciding which items were useful, other than selling off the ones that weren’t. Hence, he was shooed off to wait in dessert shop by Poor_Man. After a long time, Poor_Man was finally done sorting and mailed each member’s part of the loot to them. When he arrived at the dessert shop, he found the tiny cat licking up its fourth bowl of ice cream while the big cat was on his third glass of milk. The table full of empty glassware was a spectacular sight to behold.

“Luckily, you won’t get food poisoning or diarrhoea in the game. Otherwise, with how you two are eating, you’d be in the hospital,” commented Poor_Man.

“Heheh.” XiaoYu didn’t think he’d finish his third glass so quickly without noticing it. It was probably because it’s been a long time since he’d had any. He was slightly nostalgic about that dense milky taste.

“Xiao-Yu, did Chief bully you just now?” asked Poor_Man.

“Nope.”

“Huh. Really?” From the way Chief dragged XiaoYu away, Poor_Man’s imagination conjured up dozens of colourful and interesting scenarios.

“Mn. Yao even treated me to a feast.”

“…” Was this the legendary appetite that’s born from rage and sorrow? Chief, accept my bent knee!

“But…” XiaoYu tilted his head to a side. A slight frown on his face. “It felt like he was in a bad mood.”

“Well, anyone would be in a bad mood if they were being “supervised” by someone else during a boss battle. Especially if it were by their enemies, the Wings. Chief’s bad mood is understandable.” Poor_Man hadn’t forgotten they’d yet to pay back for last time they’d stabbed into Prole-3. Any time their elite team bumped into those two smiling schemers, they felt like punching the Wings.

“Then, should I apologise to everyone else and Yao?”

“Its fine. You’re free to make friends. We won’t interfere.” Poor_Man paused. “But we don’t have a good relationship with the Wings. You’d best be careful. I don’t want you dragged into our feud.”

“Okay, got it.” XiaoYu’s motto for life was to lay low.

“Meow~” The tiny cat butted XiaoYu’s hand with its head. The fourth bowl was done. More, please. Tail swish.

“Pfft~ It’s clearly a greedy little kitty, but it’d mimic a puppy just to get you to please it.” The two humans were discussing something serious a moment before. With a headbutt, it scattered the solemn air. “However, it is the reason we had such great loot today. I’ll treat you to a banana boat.” Poor_Man snapped his fingers for an NPC waiter.

“Hehe. Thank you,” said XiaoYu as he scratched the small cat under the jaw. No matter if it could understand him or not, XiaoYu still talked to it as if he was coaxing a child, “This is the last one. No more.”

******

Meanwhile, the two aforementioned schemers from the Wings were currently drinking together in a room in a certain high-class hotel in Serica.

“What do you think of XiaoYu’s pet?” asked Glory.

“Just based on speed, it’s definitely an existence as great as a hacked add-on,” replied ZhuGe.

“Mn.” Glory had gone against that boss before. The feeling of those gold pieces bashing onto his head and body was fresh in his memory. Even the agile HereticKing he observed today was hit a few times. But that kitten? It actually snaked through the rain to grab the gold pieces without getting hurt. Practical pets were rare in this game and its A.I. was very sophisticated.

“But I don’t think the Heretic Demons brought XiaoYu along to the Ruins because of this pet. Not one member of that party was an average joe.” When they bumped into XiaoYu at the desert last time, he was being heavily guarded on an unknown mission that resulted in a server-wide announcement. That made ZhuGe think XiaoYu wasn’t just an ordinary healer.

“Yes. Either way, we have to keep observing.” A low-levelled newbie didn’t require the heads of the Heretic Demons, especially HereticKing who was renowned for minding his own business, to protect and stay around him. Glory was very curious just what kind of secrets XiaoYu was hiding.

It was fortunate ZhuGe didn’t spend too long sneaking around the grinding party before. He wasn’t around for when XiaoYu used his special buffs on the Knights. Because of that, XiaoYu’s hidden Job was still a secret to players outside of the higher-ups in the Heretic Demons.

Translator’s Note:

  1. Progress: The chapter title makes no sense in English as there’s no one word translation for it. It’s basically “things develop” or “things went on” in the sense of “the travel of crossing a river” etc.
  2. Ge: Suffix for brother.
  3. Hospital: In China, it’s considered (or portrayed to be) the common to go to the hospital for anytime you’re sick, even if it’s a mild fever or stomach ache.
  4. Bent knee: The accurate translation would be, “Chief, I worship you!”


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GC: Chapter 62

62. Something Important

XueQing’s teeth clenched hard. “So he only wanted to commit suicide over something trivial?” Her palm hit her forehead. “If you hadn’t been by his side. If you hadn’t stopped him, he would now be…” A slight tremor of fear went through her.

A dark cloud hovered over JingYuan’s eyes. He clenched his fist and said, “Perhaps this was the motive of the culprit.”

“They want HanHan to die?” XueQing said in a hate-filled voice. “Who would use such a poisonous scheme? This really would be a way to kill someone without getting blood on their hands. If yesterday’s incident hadn’t attracted your suspicions, we’d be blind and dumb to what happened, if something did happen to him!” At the thought, she couldn’t help but shiver hard with chills.

“According to your descriptions, his change occurred not long after I left on my trip,” JingYuan said with a nod.

“That’s right,” she replied. “It seems like that person intentionally picked a time when you’re not around. They must fear you, or maybe they thought something would happen to HanHan before you returned. They didn’t think he’d be stronger than they thought. Not only did he not go crazy, he also didn’t have a breakdown. He only learned to treasure what he has.

“As expected, not long after your return, you found it weird and ‘that person’ is now probably panicking,” said XueQing.

“No matter what, if our theories are true, I will make ‘that person’ pay the price!” JingYuan swore.

“Should we tell my parents about this?” XueQing asked.

“At the very least, not your mother. She loves HanHan so much that he’s her life. The thought of him suffering so much would surely make her collapse,” he said.

“You’re right,” XueQing said with a nod. “We can discuss this with my elder brother and father. One more in the know means one more to help us. The thought of such an existence would make me live in fear the whole time. Who knows just when they’d make their next move? It’s best we deal with this as early as possible. I think your theory is the most reasonable explanation.”

“I also came to you for something else important,” said JingYuan.

The sight of JingYuan’s solemn face made XueQing’s heart sank once more. Please, please don’t let it be bad news too. “What is it?” she asked.

“To calm HanHan down, I lied to him.”

Her eyes went wide. “You? Lie? When did you have the balls to do that? What about?”

“I said you liked Chen TianYang.” A peculiar red brushed JingYuan’s cheeks. “Yes. You love him a lot.”

XueQing wanted to jump up and at him immediately, but her legs were still limp from the shock before. “What are you babbling about?” she shouted. “Do you think he’s a fool? How would he not see through that?”

“That’s why I came looking for you,” JingYuan sternly replied. “We must line up our alibis and not make him suspicious.”

XueQing was startled. “Why so? Why must I help you lie to my brother?”

“Of course it’s for him. Have you forgotten why he wanted to kill himself?” he shot back.

“You mean…”

“I said our marriage was only a collaboration to agitate him and TianYang. We never planned on marrying. You like TianYang, but he’d never confess. You thought a fake marriage would push him to show his affections. Meanwhile, I love HanHan and want to use this marriage to test his feelings. That’s all,” JingYuan explained.

“You really know how to twist your words,” XueQing mumbled. “But this can wipe away the guilt he’d feel. Does he believe you?”

“From the looks of it, yes,” he answered with a nod. “He said it was a rotten plan.”

“It was indeed a rotten plan,” XueQing agreed. “Just who was so ignorant as to come up with that plan?”


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GC: Chapter 61

61. Psychological Traps

JingYuan closed his eyes at XueQing’s question. Through clenched teeth, he replied, “I asked. He said since we had an engagement, he didn’t want to be a homewrecker. He shouldn’t exist.”

XueQing was stunned. Tears dripped down her cheeks. “This silly boy. This silly goose. Why should he not exist? It’s all my fault. Why did I have to get married to you out of the blue? It nearly killed HanHan,” she mumbled.

“You didn’t know this would happen either,” he replied with a hand massaging his brows, “It’s not your fault. But have you not realised there might be something wrong with him mentally? Do you think a normal human would commit suicide over something like this? And in such a decisive manner as slashing his throat?”

  XueQing’s eyes went wide. “What do you mean?” she asked. “Are you saying he’s sick?”

There’s no doubt at all about JingYuan’s feelings for her younger brother. He’d protected HanHan for so many years. Everyone could tell. She knew that there was no one else, aside from the Bai family, who’d love her brother as much as JingYuan. More than anyone else, he would never wish for anything to go wrong with her brother. The slightest hint of cursing her brother would send him into a raging frenzy. If he’s the one saying something like that, it must mean he was rather certain of it. This realisation made her heart sink.

“It’s just my guess. I don’t wish for it to be true, but this was the result of my observations over these few hours. I suspect someone’s been insinuated something and planted some psychological traps his mind,” JingYuan said.

XueQing clenched hard at the couch’s arm. “Psychological traps?” she repeated through gritted teeth.

“That’s right. Psychological traps,” JingYuan replied with cold eyes. “On the way back, he was spaced out. Ignore the fact that him being terrified of his own follower being a suspicious incident, just think about his actions last night.”

“When HanHan snapped out of it,” he continued, “he did his very best to maintain distance with me. He acted all cold and alienating. I thought he was angry at me then, so I didn’t think too much on it. Then, in his panic, he thought the liquor was water and downed half a bottle. After he got drunk, he started muttering gibberish.

“He said he was very dirty. He even said he ‘couldn’t wash himself clean’. He constantly emphasised he’d be a good boy. He begged me not to leave him, even said I was a liar. I’d leave in over a year and never to return. After I leave, people will start hitting him, insulting him. I’d ignore it all. He even said he was dead. He wouldn’t bother me anymore. He wanted us both to fly off together.

“He described his ‘death’ in detail. He said he feinted to get a policeman to shoot him,” JingYuan explained. His fingers curled into a finger gun and pointed to his heart. “Bang.”

XueQing’s body flinched at the soft “bang”. Her nails dug deep into the couch’s arms.

“I felt just like you do back then. I was so upset that in my agitation, I gripped him hard. He didn’t even dare to dodge. He only whispered that it hurt. I wanted to open up his clothes to see if I’d hurt him, but he had a major reaction,” JingYuan said.

He took a deep breath and wiped his face with a hand. Only then could he continue his tale, “He screamed. He hid under the table and said to me, ‘Please don’t do this. Kill me.’”

When XueQing heard those words that rang hard of implications, her eyes went red. She looked like a witch in a dark and threatening forest. “He once told my mother he had a nightmare,” she said after a pause. “HanHan dreamed our entire family went bankrupt and we plummeted into poverty.”

JingYuan nodded. “Combined with this behaviour, I think the most likely scenario would be someone planting something into his psychology and vaguely described a horrible ‘future’. Whatever he described should be what he saw would happen in the ‘future’. The Bai family would go bankrupt. I’d leave and go far away. He’d…die a gruesome death. From how scared he was of that Feng Qun, that person should be part of the ‘future’ and that guy was definitely not part of the good side.

“HanHan might act arrogant and bossy, but he only acts like that in his familiar surroundings. He’s all soft putty when talking to strangers. He’s truly a coward. He only ‘grew up’ after seeing those terrifying scenes from the ‘future’. He learned how to cherish what he had. Perhaps he was part of the reason for those scary scenes. That’s why he thought he ‘shouldn’t exist’,” JingYuan mused.


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GC: Chapter 60

60. So Stupid

The man who drove that car might have been one of his sister’s admirer. Because XueQing never paid attention to him, his love turned into hate. He wanted to pull her down to hell with him. An utter and complete maniac. Chen TianYang just so happened to bump into YiHan’s sister that day. They were just greeting each other when that psycho drove straight at XueQing. She had her back to it. She didn’t see it, but TianYang was standing opposite her. The car was so fast that he only had enough time to push XueQing away while he himself was hit and thrown a few feet away by it. He was even ran over by a wheel. He died on the spot. His corpse was in an awful state. On the other hand, XueQing only had a few scrapes from when she was unbalanced by the push.

Yes. From the looks of it, TianYang absolutely, definitely love YiHan’s sister a whole heaping lot. If XueQing got together with him, she wouldn’t be mistreated. That is, if he doesn’t die. He must live to a ripe old age. Only then would he bring XueQing happiness.

And it’d be such a pity for a man like that to die. TianYang would be his brother-in-law. They’re a family. He can’t let anything happen to TianYang.

However, YiHan didn’t remember just when the incident happened anymore. All he knew was that it’d happen in September next year. He can’t just make his sister stay in the house throughout the whole of September without stepping a foot outside. A lot has changed in this life, like his relationship with JingYuan. If his sister got together with TianYang, who knew if that maniac would change his mind? Even if he didn’t, if XueQing holed up through September, the guy might wait until October, right? YiHan can’t make his sister stay at home her whole life just to avoid that crazy guy.

Aaah! He really was the most stupid person on earth. He knew something would happen, but he had no way of resolving it. Why was the one reborn him? If it was the clever JingYuan, or even Chen TianYang, they would surely have a way to solve this!

Why not just tell JingYuan about this and ask for his help? He’ll surely have a way, but then how would YiHan explain why he knew so many things from the future?

Should he tell JingYuan about his rebirth? Absolutely not! He died in such a horrible and dirty way. He cannot tell JingYuan. What should he do then? YiHan can’t just let things play out without doing a single thing when it’s about his sister’s happiness!

Aah! This was so frustrating! YiHan flopped onto his other side. His body slapped against the bed. He buried his head into his pillow and bashed his hands against the bed in annoyance.

***

The moment JingYuan reached the door to XueQing’s bedroom, his hand started knocking insistently. After a while, the door opened. With her hair a mess, XueQing glared at him with dead eyes. If he didn’t have a very good explanation, she would instantly drag him off to be slaughtered.

JingYuan calmly nodded to her and slid around her into her bedroom.

XueQing closed the door and, in a menacing tone, said, “You’d best give me a good reason for this. You should know that interrupting other’s, especially a woman’s, sleep is very wicked deed.”

JingYuan walked over to the small couch in the room and sat down. “HanHan woke up. While I was asleep, he attempted suicide,” he spat out.

A cold shiver ran through XueQing. She felt like she was going to have a mental breakdown at any moment. “What did you say?” she yelled. “How is he now? Why didn’t you call for the doctor?”

“If he wasn’t fine, do you think I’d be sitting here and talking to you? I stopped him. No need to worry,” JingYuan steadily replied.

“Just what happened?” she meekly asked, confusion laced in her words. She’d calmed down, but her legs were still wobbling from that bomb of a news. She stumbled over to the couch and sat down. “Why would he want to…kill himself?”

He turned at looked at her. Slowly, word by word, he said, “You all said he’s grown up, matured. I didn’t quite understand it in the first place, but I get it now after today. When he woke up, he took advantage of my sleep to shatter a wine bottle. With a glass shard, he aimed for his veins. There was real force behind the swing. While I found out in time and held him by the wrist, he was strong enough to pull my arm along to swipe at his neck. Luckily, I used all my strength back then. There’s only a thin shallow wound. Nothing major.”

“XueQing,” he continued. “I nearly had a heart attack from it. My heart stopped beating then.”

She could tell from JingYuan’s face that he was not exaggerating. He almost had a heart attack for sure. In truth, his calm descriptions were enough to make her heart go thumping wildly. Her forehead was covered in sweat. She could imagine just how frightened JingYuan who’d witnessed it all was. She brashly rubbed at her face. “Did you not ask him why he did that?” she asked, shocked.

Translator’s Note:

Here are the chapters! Hopefully everyone’s staying safe in the annual epidemic frenzy.


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Notice

Due to the Lunar New Year festivities + moving, all translations will be pushed back to next week. Apologies for the late notice as I’d thought I’d be able to get them out. As apology, there’ll be 3 chapters (each story) being updated next week. 1 for this week, 1 for next week and 1 as an apology.

Happy holidays to anyone and everyone celebrating around this time of year (looking at you, Australia)!