GC: Chapter 27

27. You’re Getting Married?

After a few days, Mu JingYuan and Bai XueQing entered through the doors as a pair. There was a trace of a rare shy smile on XueQing’s face. YiHan’s heart skipped. He counted out the days. Wasn’t this when his sister and JingYuan announced their engagement in his last life?

His brain buzzed and hummed. Subconsciously, his arm clenched tight at the armrest of the sofa. The bones and veins on his hand popped into sight, deathly pale. It’s been over two years since he last came face to face with JingYuan. All he could feel now was the pounding of his heart. His ears were filled with white noise. He nearly ran away once more. It took him a tremendous force of will to control himself, stop himself from acting out of fear.

He watched as JingYuan walked over with his sister, shoulder to shoulder. The bitter pain from his heart swelled in his throat. Yet he can’t run away again. He’d made the decision, didn’t he? To be a good child.

JingYuan’s gaze bore straight into YiHan. “HanHan,” he greeted.

YiHan looked away. His sore eyes blinking hard. After a pause, he looked back at JingYuan and put on the smile he’d been using recently.

“Sis, you’re back,” he said.

He’d decided to use the most perfect smile to greet JingYuan, but he couldn’t do it. He sighed internally. He really was the most useless human ever.

JingYuan let out a sigh.

“What made the both of you come home together?” Ma asked, curious.

XueQing walked up to the sofa and ruffled the fur on her little brother’s head. Once that was done, she pulled JingYuan down to sit with her. “Where’s Father? And Big Bro?” she asked.

“You know how your father’s been planning on retiring and handing the company over to your brother? They’re holed up in his study talking about the handover of who-knows-what,” Ma replied.

“Really. Father’s still young. Why is he already thinking of retiring? He just wants to slack off and throw all his mess at Brother and me!” XueQing unhappily said.

“Ungrateful girl. In other families, fathers who aren’t willing to let go of powers will cause the younger generation to rebel and mutiny. You’re lucky. Your father wants to retire early, yet you’re not happy about it!” Ma scolded with a smile.

“How could our family be the same as others’?” XueQing said with a pout.

“Indeed. Our children are all so mature. Your father and I would frequently wake ourselves laughing over this,” Ma replied with a happy grin.

At that, a laugh burst through XueQing’s lips. “Mom, stop pulling our legs,” she said. She then took a closer look at YiHan. “What’s made you so upset today?” she asked.

“I’m not. I’m quite fine,” YiHan replied, forcing an awkward smile.

Ma shot a look at her daughter, hinting that her youngest son and JingYuan were still locked in a cold war. XueQing blinked back.

“Ma, can you ask Father and Bro to come down? JingYuan and I have something to say,” XueQing said.

YiHan’s body went stiff. Ma looked between the two of them before giving them both an understanding smile and going upstairs.

Soon, the three descended and the whole family gathered together on the sofas.

XueQing cleared her throat and said in a solemn tone, “Father. Mother. Brother. HanHan. JingYuan and I have decided to get married.”

YiHan closed his eyes and did his best to breathe calmly. What will be, will be. His fingers twitched. His eyes stared down at his two knees.

“FuRen’s brows furrowed. “You’re getting married?” he asked. His gaze then turned to JingYuan.

JingYuan nodded.

FuRen then asked his daughter, “When did you two start dating? Why did your mother and I not know this?”

“We grew up together. It naturally came to be so,” XueQing smiled.

“This is the children’s matter. We’re already outdated. Don’t ask so much. This is good. We’ve watched JingYuan grow up. We know his abilities and character. I’d worry if I hand my daughter over to someone else,” Ma interjected with a smile.

“When do you plan on getting married?” Yan asked.

“The faster the better, of course,” XueQing said.

“You’re a lady. Have some restraint. What does JingYuan want?” Ma scolded again with a hand covering the smirk on her face.


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LC: Chapter 33

33. Camping Interlude

The party immediately turned northwest. As they rode on, I_Am_A_Poor_Man pulled out the map and started scanning the area in that direction.

“Northwest…A few more hours and it won’t be soft sand dunes, but a barren desert filled with loess and rocks. Could the cave it’s referring to one of those muddy holes? There’re dozens, if not a hundred, of those. Tsk,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man remarked.

“Anyway, let’s deal with it when the time come–Watch out!” Below_The_Moon’s sharp eyes found something strange in the sands before the party. It looked like something was moving underneath it.

Everyone hurriedly reined in their horses. It was fortunate they’d all stopped for, about a metre before them, a row of tiny needles pricked up through the sand. If one didn’t look carefully at the desert floor, no one would’ve noticed them.

Swish! Below_The_Moon shot an arrow at the needles.

Chirp! Below the sands where the arrow landed, something began struggling.

“They’re tiny desert scorpions. Retrieve your mount. Protect Lucky.” Their mounts might die from scorpion venom if they were hit. None of them had a second horse.

“Tsk. The desert zones are so annoying,” CopperPlate said as he furiously stabbed and parried downwards, revealing several scorpions hiding under the sands.

“Looks like their A.I. got upgraded. They know to hide in sand dunes and ambush as a group now.”

Despite that comment, these were just tiny desert scorpions around Level 60 or so. The party need not do much to defeat them all. With the help of Below_the_Moon’s cunning eyes, all obstacles were quickly swept away.

However, no one let their mounts out instantly. Who knew just how many more scorpions would be buried deep beneath the sands? As a precaution, they’d best continue on foot.

“Seems like the map needs to be updated. There shouldn’t be such a dense population of scorpions here,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man shook the map in his hands as he said so. He, too, felt that such an abnormal danger was rather ridiculous.

“Think of it as an adventure. The desert gets cold rather quickly at night.” The Thirst bar increases at a greatly reduced rate too.

Thus, the party began discussing the problem of where to sleep for the night.

“Healers mark down a portal from here. Return to the city for the night and continue walking tomorrow morning?” This was a common tactic used during far-off grinding sessions. However, after the daily reset, every change to the portal after the initial marking would cost 1 crystal each. At most, the saved Teleport location can be changed twice in a day.

“I’ve got some bad news. The game says we’re currently on a special mission. I can’t use Teleport,” Chrysanthemum shrugged.

“…Aargh. Do we really have to camp outdoors?”

“We can log off.”

“Mn. That’s a good idea. Don’t oversleep tomorrow.”

“Camp,” HereticKing who’d not been participating in the discussion suddenly piped up.

“Oh. Roger,” came the Heretic Demons’ instant reply.

“Huh? That’s it?” CopperPlate was confused by the unanimous response.

“CopperPlate, it’s fine if you want to log off then. Our guild is used to camping together.” Before this, when they waited for some major boss or mission to start, they’d frequently camp down together. They’d even settled on a series of night guard schedules among themselves.

“It’s fine. NonMeta and I are used to camping outdoors too.” The two of them rarely ever trained with a healer.

“That’s settled then. I brought quite a few tents with me anyway,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man said with a pat at his bangle. He had a lot of random items stuffed in there.

“Will it be dangerous?” XiaoYu had never gone camping before. However, he was also afraid his question might sound childish, so he privately messaged the question to HereticKing.

“Yes. Monsters ambush. Other players too,” HereticKing replied.

“Then why camp?” XiaoYu had anticipated the above dangers would exist too. Hence, the more bewildered he was at HereticKing’s decision.

“You don’t like going offline. Is it not?” From the bits and pieces of information XiaoYu mentioned before, HereticKing hypothesised XiaoYu didn’t go to school or work. He spends the whole day inside the game. Plus, he’d noticed XiaoYu faintly frowning at the mention of logging off. Thus, even if he didn’t know why XiaoYu was escaping from reality, he didn’t want to put the other in a tough spot. Anyway, he’d been so bossy and tyrannical all along. Everyone around him was used to it.

“…I’m sorry.” XiaoYu lowered his head. He did indeed not want to go offline. Not only did he not want to leave the tiny cat, he also didn’t want to face an empty house all alone. The two days of maintenance felt like years to him. So, he’s that greedy of a person. Once he’d tasted what it’s like to have someone (a tiny cat) being by his side, he never wanted to be alone ever again.

“Don’t apologise. There’s some perks to camping.” If the others knew what they were talking about, they would all be jumping up and down. They’d shout, this was a textbook case of lying without even blinking.

“Chief, you’re bullying LuckyCat again!” I_Am_A_Poor_Man saw LuckyCat’s head droop down and HereticKing ruffling the other’s hair. His intuition told him this was all the result of some conversation going on behind his back.

“I’m not.”
Death glare.

“Ugh…” It’s no fun being a hero these days. I_Am_A_Poor_Man shirked back. Fine. LuckyCat didn’t want his protection? So be it. If the other was really stolen away by HereticKing later, he’d set off fireworks in celebration.

As anticipated, there were plenty of scorpions waiting to ambush them all along the way. But to the prepared party, it was a piece of cake. They transformed into gold and items with no effort. Their corpses were even whipped and diced by a certain fuming chef, in the name of collecting ingredients for their dinner later.

At 10 pm, they were fortunate enough to pass by a miniature oasis. Thus, the group decided to camp there. As for why it’s miniature, it only had a tiny pond about 2 metres in diameter and a small unhealthy tree.

Around four players could sleep in a single tent. Taking into consideration night shift pairings, and some negotiation, the tents were distributed like so: Chrysanthemum would have a tent all to herself as she’s the only female; Ice_For_Miles, Below_The_Moon and Poor_Man would share one; NonMeta would share another with CopperPlate; LuckyCat will squeeze in with HereticKing. Party members will take turns staying up according to their tents. When it’s time for Chrysanthemum’s shift, Ice_For_Miles will be woken up to keep guard with her.

The party had intended to not assign a shift to Chrysanthemum because she’s a girl. After some grumbling by I_Am_A_Poor_Man about how she’s scarier than a man, which resulted in Chrysanthemum pinching his cheeks sore, the party decided to just treat her the same as any other male.

XiaoYu wasn’t supposed to be assigned a shift either, but he insisted on how he can’t just be protected all the time and do nothing. So, the party threw him at HereticKing. With the Chief taking care of him, they didn’t have to worry at all.

Once the tents were all set up, the mighty chef Poor_Man dug out a whole set of cooking equipment and showed off his excellent Profession. With a few bangs and clashes, a special dish from the desert was procured – a scorpion banquet. Initially, everyone took a bite in the name of trying something new. Then, the great war over food began. They even called out for a few more scorpions to ambush them now. There wasn’t enough to even munch on.

Perhaps those cruel words scared all the scorpions off. It was quiet and peaceful the whole way through the night.

“Yaawn~” The big and tiny cats let out a yawn in unison. It was XiaoYu’s and HereticKing’s shift right now.

“Not used to staying up late?”

“Mn. Going to be early and waking up early is good for your body.” A magnificent tradition of the Bai family.

“Then go sleep.”

“No way. I can’t always make you guys take care of me.” XiaoYu perked up his mind. He had a look at the time and refreshed the buffs on the both of them. Then, he started petting the tiny cat, lulling it to sleep. There’s no need to force it to stay up late with him.

HereticKing knew that once XiaoYu was set on something, not even a herd of bulls can pull him back. Thus, he didn’t advice XiaoYu to go sleep again.

“Um…That…Thank you,” XiaoYu softly said after a long pause.

“You don’t need to apologise, nor do you need to thank me. Camping can train one’s survival skills and adaptability. There’s no loss from doing so.”

“Oh…You’re not going to ask why?”

“Everyone has something they prefer to keep private. If you won’t tell me, then I won’t ask.” HereticKing was way past the age of curiosity. “But if you’re looking for someone to open your heart to and vent out, you can look for me anytime.”

“Mn.” A stream of warmth trickled through his heart. It’d be a lie to say he wasn’t moved that someone cared so much for him.

“Purr…purr…” The tiny cat twisted and turned. Its belly rose and fall with each snore. Occasionally, it’d smack its lips, as if it was dreaming of the meal it had just now.

“They all say a pet is like its owner. Are you like this too when you’re asleep?”

“I’m not. >///<” XiaoYu had yet to realise he’s just being teased.

“Hehe…” The moon shone bright tonight. XiaoYu’s blushing face from all that teasing was crystal clear to HereticKing’s eyes. He’s in such a good mood. Night guard shifts weren’t that boring after all.

Reality proved that it’s best one didn’t push too hard to do something one wasn’t used to. In the last 10 minutes of their shift, XiaoYu was unable to resist the urge to sleep. His body tilted to a side, fast asleep.

When he realised HereticKing ended up carrying him back to the tent, it was already the next morning. Of course, what ended up happening was if an egg was cracked on his head, it’d instantly turn into a fried egg.

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GC: Chapter 26

26. Bet On A Chance

“There’s no point betting on such a thing. It won’t happen. If HanHan knew about this, he’ll never forgive me,” JingYuan said.

“Then don’t let him know. Even if he did, it’s my decision. You can’t be blamed for it. I’m a very stubborn person. I won’t turn back unless I hit a wall. I won’t give up until the very last step,” XueQing said.

“Let me think on it,” JingYuan replied as he rubbed at his aching forehead.

She reached out and grasped his wrist. “No need to think anymore. This is the best solution, is it not? If I regret it later, we can just divorce. I’m using marriage to bet on a chance you’ll love me. You can use that identity to protect your boy. We both get what we want. Everyone’s happy. Right?” she asked.

JingYuan opened his mouth, wanting to reply, but she interrupted. “I am an adult. I know what I’m doing. I won’t let myself regret anything in my life. I’m not drunk. I’m sober right now. I will be responsible for my own actions,” she said.

“Wasting your youth for a marriage in name only. Do you really think that’s the best for yourself?” he asked.

“I said, I’m just betting on a chance,” she replied.

“And I also said that’s not possible,” JingYuan said.

“How do you know it’s not possible before trying it out?” XueQing replied.

“I’ll consider it,” he said, resting his head on his hand.

She didn’t push him anymore. As she stood up, she pulled him along by the arm. “Okay. You think. I’ll send you home,” she said.

“You drank too. How could you drive me back? You walk home. I’ll find someone to drive me later.” JingYuan didn’t know if he should be laughing or be sad at the notion of a drunk person driving another drunk person.

“You ask around now. We’ll go together,” XueQing said.

Helpless, all he could do was dig out his phone. As he started dialling, he asked, “I’m a big man. Are you worried for my safety?”

“With the way you look, how could you be safe?” she replied with twitching lips.

JingYuan called his secretary Chen Hong, reported the address of the bar, hung up, and waved his phone at XueQing. This will do, right?

Only then did she nod and sit back down to wait with him.

As expected of a top-tier secretary with his high pay, Chen Hong soon arrived. He settled the bill, helped both JingYuan and XueQing get into the car, and sent them home.

Bai YiHan was standing before a window, staring at the gates. A car drove up and stopped before it. It was JingYuan’s car. JingYuan’s secretary, Chen Hong, came out of the car and supported XueQing as she did so too. She turned back and waved at the car before walking towards the house. Chen Hong stood and watched her. He only went back into the car and drive off once XueQing was inside the house.

YiHan’s lips were pinched tight. His fingers clenched so hard on the window sill that his fingertips turned white. Even if he knew they were a couple beforehand, witnessing it with his own eyes still made him hurt so badly that he couldn’t breathe.

He turned his back to the view outside and leaned against the wall. He closed his eyes. In his heart, he repeated to himself. This was how things should be. JingYuan’s happy. His sister’s happy too. He’s the one thing that shouldn’t exist the most. He’s the homewrecker. So, suck up that vile ugly face of yours. Don’t spoil things for them anymore.

But when will it all end?


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LC: Chapter 32

32. Journey West 04

Party members who logged on one after another felt as if they had been struck by lightning. They didn’t witness the two hugging. (They’d long since stopped.) What they saw was a certain almighty Guild Leader doing something that’d be extremely boring to someone with his level – poking at ants.

In actual fact, the family of three were just doing some stretches after their meal. Rather, as everyone called it, grinding.

HereticKing would taunt an ant over and let it munch on him. XiaoYu would then whack and beat at it with his wand. The tiny cat was about the same size as the ant, so it would help out too.

The surrounding ants were then attracted over and surrounded them. Regarding these unwelcome monsters, HereticKing didn’t hesitate. With a few swooshes of his sword, they’d all turn into cripples. Thus, the little cat would smack a few times here and giddily busy itself collecting money.

The onlookers all stiffly stood by the wall. As they waited for the rest of the party to log on, they stared at the duo-plus-a-kitten.

“I always thought Chief disliked carrying others,” Below_The_Moon sighed in awe.

“That’d have to depend on who the other is. But I am just satisfied to see Chief finally doing his duty as a knight,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man nodded in agreement. As he said so, he threw out a few buffs at the couple. The “Taunt” skill was an aggro-attracting treasure for helping others level. Thus, nearly every single knight in the game had been dragged out to grind with newbies at one point or another. This was a great nanny class, right after the rare healing nannies.

It took XiaoYu ten whole minutes of whacking at the stubborn ant in front of him before it keeled over. He was exhausted. It was to be expected. The level gap was too big. Comparatively, the small cat was so very happy and fulfilled from picking up tons of drops that it stuck to HereticKing like glue. It even twined around his legs and rubbed its furry head against his shiny boots.

“I think, if it wasn’t account-bound, the tiny cat might’ve ran away to your Chief.” CopperPlate was quite envious and a little jealous. It was never this affectionate to him. =3=

“Tsk-tsk. Chief’s charms don’t discriminate. Even a human-type Boss monster with the most sophisticated A.I. can’t resist, let alone this foolish little cat.”

“??” CopperPlate wasn’t there for that triple S Level 100 quest.

“Ahem. It’s nothing.” Anyone could feel the daggers HereticKing’s eyes shot out at the gossiping crowd. If they were smart, they should know not to show off the group’s dirty laundry.

“Everyone’s so early,” a sharp voice interjected. The last party member, Ice_For_Miles, finally logged on. The agreed-upon meeting time was still quite far off. Everyone was obviously eager to get the quest finished as fast as possible. At the very least, they should make some headway and not just stare at the unchanging “head west” hint.

When they emerged onto the surface once more, the sky was growing darker. However, this didn’t affect their charge west. After the incident down at the Ant Cave, they’d gained a mutual understanding of each other. The unfamiliarity from when they first partied up was gone, and a certain degree of trust and unspoken bond.

Since they were still travelling through the Ant region, they inevitably bumped into a few monsters and ants scurrying around in search of food. But, by some stroke of luck, they didn’t meet a single player at all. This was also normal. If it weren’t for exploration, questing or grinding, no one would willingly venture into this torturous place.

Still, this luck would vanish into thin air within the next few minutes. Far off in the distant, a stampede of hoofbeats could be heard. Vast amounts of dust were thrown into the air by them, causing everyone to be wary. With no other choice, the party slowed down and hoped theses were just some random passers-by.

The other group of players had actually long noticed movement coming from the party’s direction. They too slowed down. When both parties had a clear view of each other, they were all stunned. Evidently, they knew each other.

It can only be said that both parties had an eye-catching mount, different from the average brown horse. HereticKing’s big white Thousand-Li Horse stood out like a crane among chickens. The other party also had a purebred red horse which stood out. If one asked Heretic Demons guild members about any red horses they knew of, then the mount of GloryOfTheWorld, the Guild Leader of their archnemesis Wings, would instantly pop up.

“I didn’t think I’d bump into Chief Heretic in a place like this. What a coincidence.” It really was GloryOfTheWorld himself. Behind him were ten or so Wings members.

“Mn,” HereticKing greeted with a nod. He was always so nonchalant about irrelevant people. It wasn’t because the two guilds have a history. Frankly, there was nothing going on between him and Glory. There weren’t any grudges being held and neither interacted with the other much. A face-to-face interaction like this could be counted on one hand alone.

“Questing? What a strange group.” GloryOfTheWorld kept up his smile. His gaze sizing up XiaoYu who stood beside HereticKing. From his equipment and Peco Peco, he must not have reached his Second Job Change. However, he’s surrounded by several of Heretic Demons’ top members. He’s so well-protected. No matter what, it’s abnormal. Could there be something special about this little healer?

“Hehe. Even the almighty Glory himself is questing in the desert? What a great coincidence, but we’re rushing for time. Let’s get a drink together next time,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man replied back with a smile too.

“Boss, this is a great chance. Are we not PvP-ing them?” It was clear GloryOfTheWorld’s side had the advantage in numbers. The other party even had a newbie in his first Job.

“If you’ve got the time to think about PvP, why not spend it on getting your levels up?” GloryOfTheWorld actually really wanted to ask HereticKing out for a meetup one day. That is, purely just for sparring and not for any other reasons. “Anyway, they’re not all part of Heretic Demons. I’ve said before that no matter what issues there are between guilds, we cannot drag other innocent players in.” After a side glance as the now silent subordinate, the Wings party continued on with their quest too.

“But I’ve very curious. Just what strange quest did they accept? They’re actually bringing a newbie in his first Job with them,” pondered LittleZhuGe – one of the vice guild leaders of Wings – while riding on his mount with his chin in his hand.

“Great strategist, use your mystical calculations to calculate just what are they going to do?” cried a Wings member.

“Shoo. Do you think I’m a fortune teller? But since HereticKing’s so careful about protecting a newbie, then he must be key to the quest. I’m guessing it’s at least an S-rank quest.” Why else would someone personally gather highly-skilled veterans to protect a newbie? It can’t just be for some trivial F-rank quest.

LittleZhuGe’s guess was almost spot-on. Unfortunately, he didn’t know that even if XiaoYu had accepted an F-ranked quest, HereticKing would go along with XiaoYu. After all, it was the great Guild Leader himself who dragged XiaoYu out and slack off work today. If it wasn’t due to the quest’s unpredictability, HereticKing wouldn’t have risked it. The two of them would probably be strolling lazily somewhere else.

“Heh. I thought a fight would break out.” CopperPlate looked back. The Wings party was already gone from view. He patted his chest in relief. It was an open secret in the server that Wings and Heretic Demons disliked each other.

“If the ones leading the party weren’t Glory and ZhuGe, a fight might have,” answered Below_The_Moon in a serious tone.

“Why?”

“The high-ranking members of our guilds rarely ever come in contact. There’s just too much friction between the average members of our two guilds. This is unavoidable.” If the other party consisted of just the average guild members, there was a chance they’d try and kill a few guild leaders to show off. If the heads of the two guilds meet up though, it’d be difficult for a fight to break out. No one wanted to truly and utterly make an enemy of the other.

“And if a fight did break out, they’d have to be prepared for retaliation from two big guilds,” Chrysanthemum suddenly piped up with a mysterious smile.

“…Right. I forgot. You’re part of the Wolf Clan.” She’s even a member of the fierce Healers Alliance from the forums. By the way, CopperPlate and NonMeta weren’t part of any guild. They’re used to being free.

“Mn. Mn.” If XiaoYu, a new healer chick, was dragged in because of a guild’s vengeance, then she wouldn’t mind telling everyone just how cruel Wings was to an innocent little healer. That would stir up the pack of girl’s abundance of motherly love.

“The hint…” The rare few words from NonMeta sounded out.

“!!!” Everyone wasn’t shocked at the fact NonMeta spoke, but because the quest’s hint changed. From two simple words, it’s now a sentence: In a cave further off towards northwest.

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GC: Chapter 25

25. Only Him. I Love Him

Bai XueQing’s eyes went wide. She grew up beside Mu JingYuan. She had a rough understanding of JingYuan’s social circles. Before this chat, she could never have thought someone like this existed. But after his little vent, why did it sound so much like…like her little brother? But YiHan’s a boy!

She took a big gulp of alcohol to ease the shock. After a pause, she asked, “The one you’re talking about…”

JingYuan had already voiced out his thoughts. Since the glass walls separating the world from his secret were already cracked, why not just smash it to smithereens? He squinted his eyes and replied, “You’ve already guessed who it is, haven’t you?”

XueQing’s eyes widened even further. “But Lil Bro, he’s…he’s…”

“A guy. Yes, I know,” he said with another huge gulp of liquor.

“You know yet you still…You’re gay?” XueQing asked with a frown.

“No. I only like HanHan. Only him. I love him,” JingYuan frowned back.

“Does he know your feelings?” she asked.

“If he knew, the world would’ve ended long ago from his tantrums. He would’ve chased me far away. He’s not someone who’d hesitate just for my reputation,” JingYuan replied with a bitter smile.

XueQing closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “JingYuan, HanHan had a girlfriend before. Thus, he likes girls. This isn’t an easy path. If you really love him, you shouldn’t drag him under the water,” she said.

JingYuan rested his forehand on his hands and kept silent. After a long pause, when XueQing thought he didn’t plan on speaking again, he spoke in a tone that spoke of pain and suffering. “I know. I thought about that too. If he…As long as there’s hope, no matter how small, I won’t give up. But reality now shows he likes girls. I won’t…I won’t hurt him. Don’t worry. I’m just thinking. I want to stay by his side. Even if it’s just as a family friend, I want to watch over him, protect him. As long as he’s willing to stay close to me and not hate me. It’s enough. But for some unknown reason, he’s angry at me. He won’t even see me.”

XueQing lifted the liquor bottle from the table and took a deep swig. Her body slouched back against the couch. The two went silent. Then, she suddenly spoke up. “If you just want to be his family, then I have a plan.”

He opened his eyes and looked at her. “What plan?” he asked.

“Marry me,” she replied with fire in her eyes.

“Are you mad?” he yelped in shock.

“I’m not,” she said, “Marry me and you’ll be his brother-in-law. Then you can protect him for his entire life without any problems.”

“You should know that this involves biggest event of a human’s life. Not only mine, but yours too. How can you fool around with that? No matter how much I want to stay close to HanHan, I won’t have it cost you your life’s happiness,” he solemnly replied.

XueQing’s eyes bore down into JingYuan. “JingYuan, I like you. You must’ve sensed it, because you’ve been avoiding me lately. Isn’t that so? I’m that kind of person. If I like something, I’ll do my very best to fight for it. You want to protect HanHan. I want you. Our marriage will give us both what we want. Yes?” she said despondently.

“XueQing, you must understand. Your liking is just vague positive feelings for me. You are the daughter of the Bai family. You can have anyone you want. You know who my heart belongs to now. If you marry me, you’ll never be happy,” he said.

“Who knows what’ll happen in the future? We’re still young. A lifetime is a long time. Living together day after day. How do you know you will never be moved by me? If I can wait for that day, I would’ve succeeded. If that day doesn’t come or if I end up liking someone else, we’ll break up in good terms. We’ll still be friends. You would’ve stayed by HanHan’s side as family for far longer. There’d be nothing wrong for you to continue staying by his side then, right?” XueQing said.


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LC: Chapter 31

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.

“Mn.”

“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 =_=.

Translator’s Note:

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.

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GC: Chapter 24

24. What Went Wrong?

Mu JingYuan frowned. “No matter how capable you are, you are still a girl. It’s not good to drink so much. Go home. Don’t make HanHan worry,” he said.

Bai XueQing smiled and said, “Is this the first day you’ve known me? You know how much alcohol I can handle, right? You know my personality, right? I’m already here. Do you think I’d let you drink and brood alone?”

“You’re the Miss. Whatever you say,” JingYuan replied in a helpless tone.

“That’s more like it,” XueQing said.

The two made idle chatter as they drank. Slowly, things began to go hazy. XueQing was alright, but JingYuan was drowning his guts in alcohol. He was rather tipsy.

Half sprawled out on the sofa, he covered his eyes with one arm. The rare tinge of weakness leaked through his face.

XueQing blinked and asked again, “JingYuan, ever since I can remember, there’s almost nothing you can’t do. Just what made you so upset?”

JingYuan moved his arm away and blinked back at her. “Something that can’t be resolved,” he replied with a bitter smile.

“This isn’t like you. There’s nothing in this world that can’t be resolved. I want to hear just what has made you utter such an extreme statement,” XueQing said in disagreement.

He closed his eyes. Suddenly, he sat straight up. His two eyes stared straight into XueQing’s eyes. “You really want to know?” he asked.

She gave a firm nod without hesitation.

JingYuan laid back then and let out a heavy sigh. “I’ve fallen in love with someone. Someone whom I can never obtain in this life.”

XueQing’s heart sank. “With your status and intelligence, who can you not have if you really like them so?” she asked.

“You don’t get it. Emotions and love are not things that can be obtained through status and tricks. Anyway, they don’t even like me. They only think of me as his big brother. No, I don’t even know what they think of me now,” JingYuan replied with another bitter chuckle.

“If that’s the case, then why persist and make yourself suffer? Why not let go and look at others?” she asked.

JingYuan sighed again. “XueQing, you’ve never experienced true love. You wouldn’t understand. Love is not something that can be forgotten just because I say so. It’s because I can’t that I’m suffering in agony,” he said.

“If you can’t let go, then go snatch what you want,” XueQing said with a frown.

“If only it were that easy. They’re not a thing. They’re a living human being,” replied he.

“So what? Whether it’s a human or an object, they’re only yours if they’re in your hands,” she said.

“Your words really suit your personality. You’ll get it once this day arrives for you. Emotions make people weak. If you really like them, how can you bear to hurt them? To make them unhappy?” he softly laughed.

XueQing was getting impatient. “This won’t do. That won’t do. Then how?” she said.

“That’s why it’s an unsolvable problem,” JingYuan said.

He laid his arm over his eyes again. “I’ve kept watch over them for so many years, doted on them for so long. Decided to never do anything that’ll harm them. I thought, they’re still young. I’ll wait for them to grow up. But they’ve grown up and I’ve realised they don’t belong to me anymore. I’m not so foolish as to wish I can be with them. I just want to be able to keep watch over them my whole life, just as always. Only I don’t think they’d give me that chance. I really don’t know what went wrong. They won’t see me. They won’t even chat amicably with me. Just what can I do so I can stay by their side?” he sighed.

This forbidden and bleak emotion has been hiding in his heart for far too long. Like a mountain looming on top of him, he couldn’t even breathe. Now that he’d said it all out loud in a drunken haze, he felt much more comfortable.


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