LC: Chapter 69

69. Failed Attempt

Warning: Mild graphic/gore description. Avoid if you have an overactive imagination.

XiaoYu woke up at 6. Last night, he only had time for a rushed shower before he collapsed into his bed. He had yet to take a good look at his house’s condition. He planned to wake up early to buy some food online – he was going to have to cook for the next few days – before tidying up the place.

While XiaoYu was buzzing around like a busy bee in his little home, QiYao was on a video call with Lin Qiong in his home.

“The estimated number of attending members this gathering is over a thousand, Chief. We’ll have to book out a field.” It was the first time Qiong disliked just how many people were in the guild, especially the kind that liked to party and gossip. Totalling up the number of people attending took up half the night. He had to go with minimal sleep again.

“Okay. You have full control over this.”

“Is Xiao-Yu coming?”

“No,” QiYao replied, shaking his head. He felt a little helpless.

“Can’t get the reason out of him?” When Qiong later found out Chief had gone after XiaoYu, he didn’t moan as much about having the job thrown at him again. The last time they tested the waters, they knew he can’t leave his house. They didn’t know why, so he thought that it’d be okay as long as Chief dealt with it personally. He didn’t expect it to not work too.

“I didn’t want to push him into a corner. I do plan on going to his place today. Perhaps I can find out why.”

“You’re amazing, Chief. You know his address already?”

“Yes.”

“I want to go too…”

“Hm?”

“Tee-hee. Just joking. I don’t want to be a third-wheel.” Qiong was the best at reading his boss’s emotions. A single hum with a slight upward tone meant QiYao was asking him, “Are you sure you want to go?”. With how smart Qiong was, of course he quickly backtracked.

“Let me know once you’ve planned out the gathering,” QiYao said as he glanced at the time. It was about time he should be getting ready to leave. He still had to buy some snacks as a visiting gift. He can’t just arrive empty-handed.

“Okay. It’ll probably be in the next two days. I’ll go contact the venue first. You must persuade Xiao-Yu to come, Chief.”

*****

As Hei QiYao was solemnly selecting a cake at the bakery, XiaoYu was spacing out on the couch. He was finally done cleaning up the house. Thank goodness for modern technology. Even after a month of staying online didn’t result in a layer of dust so thick one could draw on. With various high-tech cleaning equipment, XiaoYu’s home was soon squeaky clean.

However, humans always liked to assume and brood when there’s nothing to do. XiaoYu leaned back on the couch. He stared up at the bright white ceiling and imagined what would happen when QiYao arrived at his house later that day.

Would QiYao look different to his avatar? Would he be curious as to why XiaoYu can’t leave his home? Would he be disappointed at how average and useless XiaoYu was?

The more XiaoYu thought about it, the more depressed he became. He flung his head in a shake, attempting to throw out his pessimistic thoughts. He couldn’t help but feel annoyed and exhausted at how weak he was. How nice it would be if he could just walk out the door and not be terrified of the cars speeding by.

Just how long has it been since he last left the house? It seemed to be over six months ago. Back then, he couldn’t even take one step after seeing a car. He just sat on the ground, petrified, until a kind stranger helped him back.

At that thought, an idea popped into XiaoYu’s head. They said time was the best anaesthesia. It has been a long time since the accident. Would his phobia of cars be better now?

He really wanted to give it a try. Yes, he’ll try it out. Rather than wallow in his self-pity like a spiteful old wife, why not try going out? He’s a man too, not some helpless damsel.

The hand curled around the door handle hesitated. He gathered his strength, took a deep breath and slowly opened the front door to his home. The walk down the stairs felt unusually long and tortuous. However, he steadily walked, step by step, towards the outside world.

The final obstacle between XiaoYu and the world was the metal gate downstairs. He just needed to key in the pin code to leave. He entered a string of numbers he knew as well as the back of his hand. A beep and the gate swung open by itself, revealing the world beyond his house.

It was very peaceful outside. This was the inside of a guarded residential area. There weren’t many people walking about at this time either. XiaoYu tried taking a step out. No problems. His legs didn’t turn into jelly.

As XiaoYu tried to walk down the three steps going from his door to the pavement, a black smart car drove past his eyes. XiaoYu felt like he had been struck by lightning. He couldn’t move at all.

He stood there for over a minute. In that one minute, the scene he’d witnessed over a year ago flashed before his eyes. To celebrate XiaoYu’s admission to University of C, the entire family planned a trip out to buy a gaming bed. The light turned green. XiaoYu impatiently rushed across. He turned around, about to wave for his parents to hurry up, and, from the corner of his eye, saw a black car suddenly swirl out of control. The two adults were sent flying. The car’s navigation software couldn’t react to the incident in time. It kept going. Hitting the bodies again and again. Crashing into them time after time. XiaoYu could only stood there in shock and watch. It only took a few seconds. When everything ended, his parents’ corpses were shredded and strewn all over the street.

 When the memory faded away from his mind, XiaoYu couldn’t take another step onto the street. His legs collapsed under him and he fell to his knees. His hands pressed down hard at his quivering legs. He bit down at his lips. He still can’t do it. When faced with a car, especially a black car, he can’t take a single step anywhere. He can’t even stay standing.

But XiaoYu still tried. He tried to stand up because QiYao was going to be here soon. He didn’t want the other man to see him in such a horrid state. However, no matter how hard he tried, his legs refused to obey him. They felt like they didn’t belong to him. He can’t push any strength through them. He tried to climb up and fell, and up and down, and up and down. He kept going at it until XiaoYu finally gave up struggling with a big bang at the floor with his fist. His useless legs weren’t going to recover anytime soon. All he could do was pray that QiYao would be late. Just a few more minutes late.


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GC: Chapter 67

67. Pleasure Working With You

TianYang was so thrilled that his heart felt like it was going through a seizure! The first man XueQing thought of when encountering a time in need was him! What did this mean? It must mean she very  much approved of him! This was undoubtedly a major chance for him. As long as he was smart enough to make full use of it, getting closer to his goddess would be more than just a daydream! It’d be a historic leap in his relationship with XueQing!

He supressed the fluttering eagerness within him and “calmly” said, “Of course I can help you out. You don’t need to do anything in return. Our families are friends and you’ve always been the most admirable woman I’ve known. I’ll do my best to help you with anything you’d need. It’d also be an honour to pretend to be your boyfriend.”

Finally, a smile graced XueQing’s face.

“Then, I’ll be relying on you. Thank you so much for your help. I left the house in a rush today and didn’t have time to make the sufficient preparations. I’ll draft up a contract as soon as I get back. It’ll be sent to you along with the overall plan. It’d be a pleasure working with you,” she said as she stood up and held out a fair, slender hand.

Ah, she still wanted to draft up a contract. She really was treating this like it’s just business. TianYang was a little disappointed. However, he soon pulled himself together. It was already great that she’d come to him first. If she had gone to someone else for help…

Damn it! He really would be banging his head on the wall!

That train of thought made everything seemed okay. He’ll show everyone how capable he was. He’ll use this chance to properly get close to XueQing and show her the best side of him. He’ll let her know he was someone she could place her trust in, someone she could entrust her married life to! He’s the one in this whole wide world who loved her the most!

That’s it. Cheer up, TianYang! You can do it!

While the entire motivational speech seemed to take a long time, it was actually done in the blink of an eye in real time. TianYang shook XueQing’s hand.

“I’m very much honoured to be so trusted by you, XueQing. It’ll be a pleasure working with you,” he replied with the most perfect smile he could muster.

Their hands parted in cordial formality. He didn’t try to hold on any longer. He was afraid the slightest hint of impropriety would make her dislike him. After letting go, he clenched his hand in a fist behind his back. An attempt to make the presence and scent XueQing left behind last longer, just like he always did.

It’s fine, TianYang. Once you’re her boyfriend, even if it’s just a pretend boyfriend, you’ll have plenty more chances to interact with her!

There were thousands of horses galloping through his mind. He looked calm on the outside, acting precisely like a proper gentleman would. He walked out behind XueQing and opened her car door for her. He only entered his car after watching her car leave his sight. In the driver’s seat, his hands curled up in excitement. Today was to be an important moment in his life. Everything was about to change. He can do it!

XueQing felt much more relaxed after ticking this agenda off her list of to-dos. When she arrived home, she immediately wrote up a draft of the contract and sent it to TianYang. The other replied fast. She was very satisfied with how prudent the man was being.

She soon busied herself writing up a plan for their relationship. When should TianYang show up, how he should show up, how her “affections” would be “shifted” logically and appear entirely natural and not out of the blue.

Chen TianYang was an important member of this operation. If he were to perform his part well, she must let him in on some of the reasons. Thankfully, JingYuan said this man was reliable. She also trusted in his character. With this non-disclosure agreement signed, he’s one of her trusted friends now.


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LC: Chapter 68

68. I Want to See You

This week’s Guild Wars was mainly focused on the last fortress to be conquered – Serica-3. This was the only fortress left which hadn’t been conquered before. The other 19 fortresses all belonged to one guild or another by now.

It didn’t mean the monster guards were hard to defeat. Instead, it’s because of the fortress’s complicated landscape. There were even traps around every corner. Everyone hated it.

However, none of this concerned the Heretic Demons. Their target for the day was conquering a third city. It didn’t matter if it was a 1, 2 or 4, as long as they fulfil the requirement for a real-life gathering. Once that was done, they’ll go bother the I Die For Riches guild. Either way one worded things, the Heretic Demons had locked their sights on this rich, money-hungry guild.

Today, XiaoYu felt like more people was going through his portals than before. Most of them were female players. He didn’t know that because he got distracted and stared at the pretty ladies, but those women, those girls, their burning gazes boring into him were hard to ignore.

This was all the fault of the leading couple being so into themselves that they’ve ignored just how eye-catching they were. Hand in hand, they’d roamed all over Prole and its nearby towns. Any observant guild member would find it hard to miss them. Then, they heard through the gossip vine that this suspected “wife” of their leader was actually one of the “airport” pilots from a subsidiary guild. How can they not take this one opportunity to sneak a few peeks at him?

Of course, not all of these gawkers were part of the special fu—group. Some were stared at XiaoYu with envy and jealousy. They called themselves the “guards” of QiYao. Players of all sorts walked through his portals, men and women alike. Wave after wave, the curious and analysing glances made XiaoYu wonder if there was something strange stuck on his face.

In spite of everything, no one actively stepped up to gossip and ask him anything. It was event time. If they were caught slacking, they’d be punished. The Heretic Demons didn’t have any extremist members who were that unruly. They’d have been kicked out way earlier.

Ignoring all these trivial changes, there were a few major outcomes to this Guild Wars.

One, the Wolf Clan finally took down Serica-3. Based on the rewards announced, it was actually on the same difficulty as Prole-3. This made everyone cry out at how unfair this prankster of a game was. What fortress would have traps set all over the place from the start?

Two, due to all fortresses being conquered, a long server maintenance was announced. As most players were currently in the midst of battle, the server would only be down for 4 days from Sunday 6 a.m. to Thursday 6 a.m. All players were asked to finish up their business tonight and log off before then.

Three, the subsidiary guild Egg_Tart was in charge of, Suicide Squad, was able to snatch back Prole-4 with the help of the second subsidiary guild of the Heretic Demons, the Heretic Demons Guards. They were able to hold onto their newly acquired fortress to the last second. Now that they had the help of another subsidiary guild, the tanky Knights from I Die For Riches guild were all slaughtered before they even had a chance to use their special items. Along with Prole-3 and Prole-5, they now had three fortresses. That meant…they’ll be having a real-life gathering!

Not a single Heretic Demons guild member cared about some server maintenance announcement. They were all huddled together and chattering nonstop about their upcoming meet-up. The server would be down for quite a while this time. It left just enough time for their real-life event. Hence, everyone rambled on as they waited for the higher-ups to make the final decision.

XiaoYu looked around at the crowd drunk with joy. All of a sudden, he felt as if he didn’t quite fit in. Truly, no matter what the meet-up in real life would be like, it all had nothing to do with him. While he wanted to meet those he fought alongside in the game, especially Big Brother Lin and QiYao who had been so nice to him from the start, he didn’t forget his circumstances. He was unable to walk out of his front door.

When XiaoYu thought about how he’d missed out on seeing QiYao in person, a stabbing pain pierced through his heart. Perhaps his life had been a little too carefree and comfortable lately. It made him forget this was just a game. QiYao didn’t understand just how much of a powerless coward XiaoYu was in reality. If their relationship continued on, it’d only made XiaoYu sink further into this trap. In the end, he might be hurt the worst.

Maybe XiaoYu could use these four days to think about just what he should do about this.

XiaoYu went back to Prole alone. He emptied out his bag and repacked it. After feeding the tiny cat, he messaged QiYao. He planned on telling the other he’d log off first. As server maintenance would start early in the morning, he didn’t want to be kicked offline in the middle of his sleep.

“Yao, are you busy?”

“Is there something you need, XiaoYu?” There certainly was a rowdy group crowded around QiYao, but his precious baby was more important than them.

“No. I just want to tell you I’m logging off to sleep.”

“Mn.” The server was going to be down very early tomorrow morning. It’d be bad if the process of getting kicked out of the game led to corrupted data. “Wait. Where are you now?”

“West Storage of Prole.”

“Wait a while for me. I’ll be there soon.” QiYao recalled something important. Thus, he placed Poor_Man in charge of the entire gathering while he left the meeting early.

As QiYao walked closer to the aforementioned Storage, he found a bored XiaoYu kicking tiny pebbles around. He pulled up the map. They were very near that little alley. And so, QiYao led XiaoYu along the streets towards their little alleyway. Thankfully, there were no bored players playing cards today. It was very peaceful.

“What is it, Yao?” XiaoYu might be used to being curled into an embrace the moment they were alone, but XiaoYu was still feeling confused on how he should do about his relationship with the other man. He just wanted to log off as soon as possible to consider what was going on in his life.

QiYao had always been a keen observer to XiaoYu’s emotions. The moment he heard XiaoYu speak in a slightly glum and distracted tone, he knew something was wrong. With XiaoYu before his eyes now, it was clear as day something was wrong. The mildly upset expression on the younger man’s face confirmed his suspicions. Who said only women had a sharp intuition? Men were just as hawk-eyed if they were attentive enough.

“Can you tell me your mobile or house phone number?”

“Huh? Why?”

“The server will be down tomorrow. I won’t be able to tell you when and where the gathering will be.”

“It’s fine. I can’t attend.” XiaoYu lowered his face. He didn’t dare look at QiYao’s face right now. XiaoYu’s hands curled into loose fists against QiYao’s chest where they had been trapped against.

“XiaoYu, I really want to see you. Don’t you want to see me?”

“I do…but I’m sorry. I can’t leave my house.” His fists were now clenched tight and quivering ever so slightly. He really wanted to meet QiYao in real life, but he didn’t have the courage to step out of his apartment. He was still terrified of the cars outside.

“…” The man could feel the pain XiaoYu was in. He held the shivering body closer to him. He really wanted to know why, but he can’t just force XiaoYu to tell him. He believed there was something painful his XiaoYu was suffering from. He gently patted XiaoYu on the back in an attempt to calm the little guy down. He wasn’t in a rush because he had another way to go about this. He didn’t want XiaoYu to keep escaping from reality.

XiaoYu, who had been burying his head in QiYao’s embrace like an ostrich, didn’t know if QiYao’s sudden silence was out of disappointment or something else. He really didn’t want the other man to hate him, but he didn’t know what to do.

“I’m so very sorry.”

“It’s fine. It’s okay to miss out on the meet-up.” QiYao tilted XiaoYu’s head up until their eyes met. “If you can’t walk out, then let me walk in. Okay?”

“W-Walk in…?”

“Yes. Tell me your address and I’ll come to you.” He paused. “XiaoYu, I really want to see you.”

“…” XiaoYu could tell just how much the man really wanted to meet him in person from that sincere gaze. How could he not want to meet QiYao in person too? He didn’t know if QiYao would be disappointed at how he truly was in real life, a voice deep in his heart kept chanting: I want to meet him. I want to see him.

XiaoYu pulled up the Mail tab. He wrote his address in a letter and handed it to QiYao. The other man could tell from the silent actions that XiaoYu was saying yes. He tenderly slid the paper into his pocket. How wonderful. He was one step closer to his XiaoYu now.

“I want to meet up with you tomorrow.” If it was possible, QiYao would’ve flown all the way over to XiaoYu that very night. However, he knew XiaoYu wasn’t used to staying up late. Even if they were in the same city, it’d take around an hour to get to the other man’s place and it was already near midnight. It was better to let XiaoYu rest first, then go to him tomorrow.

“Okay, but my house is a little messy.” It’d been over a month since XiaoYu had logged off. Frankly, he’d almost forgotten what his house looked like. He didn’t know if the clothes, books and magazines scattered throughout the place had been put away or not.

“Hehe. It’s fine.” QiYao landed a gentle peck of XiaoYu’s lips. “How about tomorrow afternoon?”

“Okay. Ah, I’ll give you my phone number.” Afraid that QiYao would find it hard to get to his place, XiaoYu scribbled a series of numbers on a paper before handing it over. It was the number of his house’s landline. Because XiaoYu was always at home, he rarely ever needed a phone. Therefore, he’d cancelled the auto-debit link between his bank account and his mobile. His number would’ve been deactivated soon after.

“What do I do, XiaoYu? I can’t wait for tomorrow to arrive.”

“Me too.” No matter what the outcome was, even if QiYao would be utterly disappointed by him tomorrow, XiaoYu at least wanted to have met the other man once.

Translator’s Note:

“Wife”: More accurately, “sis” or “ane”. Anyone who’s into those “gangster” shows will know what I mean here.


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GC: Chapter 66

66. Gap in Love

YiHan didn’t understand why Aunt Yang wanted him to taste this specific dish. However, he took a bite without hesitation.

“It’s delicious,” he praised. “Your lamb ribs taste the best.”

Aunt Yang’s eyes crinkled with joy. Her day felt complete. “That’s good,” she commented before drifting back to the kitchen. Of course, what she was saying internally was different: Of course, it’s the best to my Little Master! I’ve been working in this family for so many years. I don’t know about anyone else, but I know your tastes the best. I’ve done the most research on it! No matter what you want to eat, I can uphold the standard! Bwakaka.

***

It was teatime. At the cafe, pairs and trios relaxed and sipped their coffee as they enjoyed their romantic, carefree time. In one of its lavishly designed private rooms, a young man and woman sat, face to face. A solemn air about them.

Chen TianYang was panicking. He was alone with the girl he admired in an enclosed space. The air was stifling. It was hard to breathe. Still, he persisted. On the outside, he looked very calm.

XueQing stared at the man. After a moment of silence, she opened up, “Mr Chen, what do you think of me?”

TianYang felt his heart skip. It was thumping wildly, yet it was a little disappointed. He already pushed past the formal boundaries on his own accord to call her XueQing, yet she was still calling him Mr Chen. That’s the difference between one who’s in love and one who’s not.

He really couldn’t help but be down from it, but he was used to it. It was already a pleasant surprise to be able to be alone with XueQing. She was even the one who called him out this time.

“XueQing, you are the most beautiful and capable woman I know,” TianYang replied without hesitation. “No one else can compare.” When the last word left his lifts, he instantly regretted it and started berating himself. How can he say that? He sounded like a fanatic. It sounded so very fake. Oh, TianYang, where have your skills from the negotiating table gone? This was a rare chance. You can’t mess it up!

XueQing nodded. Sternly, she said, “Mr Chen, let’s not beat about the bush. I asked you out today because I would like your help with something. Of course, you have the right to refuse to help me in anything.”

“Please, ask away. I’ll do my best as long as I can help,” he said. When he saw how serious she was taking this, he stopped his thoughts from derailing further and put on a serious face too. Did the Bai family encounter some difficulty? Or did she know he’d secretly taken care of Feng Qun?

“It’s…Because of some reasons, I need someone to pretend to be my boyfriend for a while. It must be a secret and it needs to look real. We even have to fool our parents and relatives. Of course, I won’t make you help for free. Even if this fails, as long as you do your best, I’ll do anything for you. Of course, only if I can. What do you think?” she asked.

TianYang was shocked. Never would he imagine this going that way! He wasn’t prepared at all!

“Why ask me?” he asked in a daze.

XueQing crossed her fingers and placed her hands on the table. “I just told you. This must be a secret. We can’t even tell our family and friends. If I want it to look real, he must be a suitable man in all aspects. Even though my family’s not one of the big families in this city, we are somewhat rich. There aren’t a lot of men who can make Bai XueQing fall in love. You were the first man that came to my mind. I trust in your character and morals. I believe you. Even if you say no today, you won’t tell anyone else about this.”

Translator’s Note:

Gap in love/difference between…one who’s not: This is meant to be a little pun/smart language with double meaning. It translates to “the difference between one who cares and one who doesn’t”, but there’s two ways to go about it. The “care” could mean love, actual concern or just whether someone paid attention to what they’re doing at all.


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LC: Chapter 67

67. Trivial Matters

The two humans and kitten were comfortably sleeping while Poor_Man stumbled out of Egg_Tart’s home with two dark circles under his eyes. He just knew this brat with a big tendency for tunnel vision would be majorly affected by this incident. Egg_Tart actually told him he wanted to quit his role as a subsidiary Guild Leader. He was so pissed he immediately logged off. He rushed over to Egg_Tart’s home in real life and started banging on his door.

After a long, long night of counselling, Egg_Tart finally stopped trying to run away. He decided to review all that happened and present it before the meeting that’ll happen in a few days. It would be QiYao’s decision whether to sack him or not.

Poor_Man wondered how things were going between Chief and Xiao-Yu. Still, that was a problem for a version of him that wasn’t dead tired and in need of immediate sleep. If he’d known how long this journey would be, he wouldn’t have tried to be gallant and insist on sleeping in his own home. It wouldn’t be his first time staying over at Eggy’s place. Ugh.

Life went on as usual. Nothing was really changed by QiYao’s and XiaoYu’s new relationship status as a couple. XiaoYu stayed on in his guild, partying up and grinding as per normal.

During the day, the two would do their own thing. After dinner, they’d commit the common silly act all couples would do – roam aimlessly. Hand in hand, they would walk through the streets of various cities. Browsing roadside stalls, discussing about the value of items and equipment materials. Even though QiYao didn’t quite understand the equipment healers needed, he had a fabulous almighty assistant in Poor_Man. A simple message can resolve any issues being debated upon.

Therefore, XiaoYu soon had a brand-new set of gear. Decked out from head to toe, he was one of the top healers in his level band now. Of course, these were all bought with his own gold. True, QiYao really wanted to pay for them. However, QiYao knew just how much XiaoYu disliked it. He’d witnessed it first-hand already. So, QiYao just let XiaoYu did as he pleased. Still, he would be slightly upset about it. He’d then drag XiaoYu into a deserted alley for a fervent session of hugs and kisses. XiaoYu really found it strange. Why would QiYao keep wanting to kiss him whenever he bought something?

About kisses, something must be said. XiaoYu was a little kid new to love. He didn’t know what this French kissing thing was. Every time QiYao kissed him, he’d pursed his lips tight. Hence, these two were still at the first “pecking” stage. The other man didn’t want to rush XiaoYu either. He wanted to wait until XiaoYu got used to the affectionate gestures between lovers before slowly delving deeper.

If there was something that XiaoYu had definitely gotten used to, it’d be sleeping together. Ever since that Saturday, they’d sleep in the same bed every night. In just a few days, he could already seek out the most comfortable position in QiYao’s embrace and instantly fall asleep. Occasionally, the other man would tease him about it, making XiaoYu hide his flushing face under the blanket. QiYao would let out a laugh and pulled him out and into his embrace once more.

Days went by in gentle warmth. Soon, it was weekend again. Every restaurant, tea shop, cafe and food stall were packed to the brim. When XiaoYu saw how many shops hung out their “full” signs, his mood would dip. They reminded him of his long-forgotten Profession, which was still non-existent. Perhaps the chef was back from his hometown now. Thus, XiaoYu decided to head over to Serica.

Since XiaoYu started grinding in the Pyramids, he never really stopped by Serica for long anymore. There were quite a few bad memories associate with it, after all.

The moment XiaoYu stepped out of a portal in Serica, he received a message from QiYao.

“XiaoYu, where are you now?”

“The south portal in Serica.”

“Wait for me. I’ll be there soon.”

“Okay.”

QiYao had gone for a war meeting about tomorrow’s battle. He was also given the report on how Prole-4 was lost. After the initial investigations, they found out that strange summoning skill was a type of item. It only allowed party leaders to summon their members to them. It was created by a secret Profession, the Seals Master. As for what was needed to create one, no one knew for sure. As it can’t be found on the Market and the I Die For Riches guild didn’t use it en masse,  so it should be a rare item.

Fortunately for the Heretic Demons, Prole-3’s surroundings made it easy to defend and hard to invade. It’d be hard to take over Prole-3 with just a party trick. Rather smart of this guild. They picked the easiest target, Prole-4. As long as the main guild’s guards paid more attention and their troops had substitutes, it wasn’t a big issue. As for Egg_Tart’s punishment, QiYao didn’t say much. He merely mentioned the conditions for a real-life gathering still held, shifting everyone’s attention to tomorrow’s battle instead.

In a flash, QiYao’s figure could be seen walking out of the blinding light of the teleportation portal.

“Meeting’s over?” XiaoYu asked.

“Yes. XiaoYu, why are you here in Serica?” Because Serica was the Wings’ main battlefield, QiYao rarely ever came here. After all, it’d attract a lot of attention if the rival Guild Leader was seen strutting about their territory.

“I wanted to see if I could apply to be a chef.”

“I’ll go with you. Have you had dinner?”

“No.”

“Then, let’s head to Sakura for dinner afterwards. I heard there’s a festival this weekend.”

“Okay,” XiaoYu replied. He immediately thought of Takoyaki. The tiny cat would surely love them. And so, he eagerly pulled QiYao along by the hand towards Yang’s. He wanted to resolve this matter fast.

When XiaoYu made the first move to pull QiYao along by his hand, his lips opened in a slight smile. It seemed like the past few days of being together were a success. He gently swapped their fingers around until they crossed and clasped around each other, letting XiaoYu lead them to wherever he wanted to.

Perhaps QiYao’s looks were too unique. Perhaps the Wings had a really good information network. Either way, when the two reached Yang’s Restaurant, they reached a dead end once more. When they dejectedly walked out of the restaurant, they “coincidentally” bumped into GloryOfTheWorld who appeared to be passing by on the way to his dinner.

“What a coincidence to see Heretic and XiaoYu here,” Glory remarked.

“Ah. Hello,” XiaoYu said.

As for QiYao, he merely nodded in agreement. He knew full well this was no chance encounter. He just didn’t think information would be passed on in such a short time. The Wings really did have a good information network.

“Are you two here to dine? Why don’t I show you around the best dishes of Serica? My treat,” Glory said.

“Thanks, but I’m just here to change Professions.” XiaoYu’s mind was set on his little cat’s Takoyaki balls.

“Hehe. As always, you love to say no to me. Do you really hate having me as your friend that much?” Glory asked.

“N-No. It’s just…” XiaoYu was never good at explanations. Glory’s tone also made him feel self-conscious.

“We’ve made plans already,” QiYao said, stepping up to help XiaoYu out of his awkwardness.

“I see. I won’t keep you two from your date then,” Glory replied with a long glance at their entwined fingers.

“Excuse us.” QiYao pulled XiaoYu forward and past Glory.

“So you really are lovers…” In the brief moment as the two brushed shoulders with Glory, XiaoYu heard the other’s voice. It sounded like a mumble to Glory himself, yet it also seemed to be for XiaoYu’s ears.

Those words made XiaoYu recall the last time he encountered GloryOfTheWorld in Serica. Back then, the other thought he and QiYao were a couple too. Glory even said a few strange statements he didn’t quite get. He remembered denying it back then because this relationship with QiYao was recent development. Would Glory think he was trying to bluff back then? Should he explain it to Glory?

While XiaoYu was occupied with the celestial fight going on in his mind, he was pulled into a tiny alcove by QiYao.

“What is it? What did Glory say to you?” QiYao asked as he pulled the other into an embrace. While he didn’t hear what Glory mumbled, his instincts told him XiaoYu’s spacing out had to do with that fellow. Any man would be jealous if the person they’re on a date with was thinking about another man, let alone someone as possessive as QiYao.

“Mn…There might have been a tiny misunderstanding.” XiaoYu never even realised he’d never lied to or dismissed a question from QiYao. It was that deep trust and dependency that made him give QiYao a chance. From the very beginning, Glory was denied.

“What misunderstanding?”

“It’s…” XiaoYu briefly explained what happened during his last encounter. “Could it be he thinks I lied to him?”

“There’s a chance, but you don’t have to go and explain things to him just because.”

“Why?”

“Because people who trust you would believe you without any further explanation. If they don’t trust you, the more you explain, the more they’ll think you’re lying.”

“Mn.” XiaoYu nodded. That sounded logical.

“If he had any questions, just answer them when he asks you directly. I don’t like his method of circling and weaving around the topic.”

“Yes. Me too.” Every time XiaoYu talked to Glory, it was an exhausting experience. It always felt like every word that came out of Glory’s mouth had some implied meaning trying to drag some secret out of him. It made him uncomfortable. That’s why XiaoYu would never want to talk to Glory about his personal thoughts. There was no need to actively explain himself either. After all, they didn’t know each other well.

“But, XiaoYu, if anything happens, you must come to me right away. If I’m not around, you can seek help from Poor_Man, Below_The_Moon and the others. Do not ever face trouble alone. Got it?” QiYao said as he tilted XiaoYu’s head up. If possible, QiYao never want XiaoYu interacting with Glory at all in the future. Still, he may be very possessive, but he would never overstep his boundaries when it came to XiaoYu’s personal life. He knew XiaoYu was someone who could think for himself. XiaoYu wasn’t just a mindless thing.

“Mn. I know.” Being respected and loved was something very heart-warming. It made XiaoYu instinctively tighten his arms around QiYao. What should he do? He’s beginning to like QiYao more and more.

After a few days, the tiny cat had gotten used to the couple’s spontaneous affectionate gestures. It now merely sat quietly to a side with its head tilted at them. Just when will you guys bring me somewhere with yummy food? >w<

Translator’s Note:

1. Festival: The proper term would be a temple celebration/fair. Changed to festival as the proper term would sound awkward.

2. Takoyaki: Microsoft Word and the internet seems to think takoyaki requires capitalisation. I feel like that’s an outdated thinking. What’s your opinion on that?


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GC: Chapter 65

65. Urgent

XueQing continued chatting with YiHan as if nothing was wrong. Soon, Aunt Yang knocked on the door and told them lunch was ready. The three then headed down for their meal.

The Bai parents were already seated when the three reached the dining room. At the sight of their youngest son in a good mood, their hearts lightened. They’d yet to see YiHan in person since the whole mess yesterday. They were so uneasy. Now that they finally saw him, the weight on their shoulders were lifted. Only…

Ma instantly spotted the bandages on her little son’s neck and hand. She burst into worry once more.

“HanHan, what happened to your hand and neck?” she asked in a whisper. “Are you hurt? Aunt Yang! Aunt Yang! Is Dr Chen still here? HanHan, show them to me. How are the wounds? You were just in your own room. How did you get hurt?”

She tenderly pulled YiHan over to her. Her hands hovered over the bandages. She wanted to check his injuries, yet she didn’t dare to. She looked up at the more reliable JingYuan with a questioning glance.

JingYuan: “…” Crap. He totally forgot about that! How should he explain this?

XueQing: “…” Shoot. We’re doomed. We haven’t talked about an excuse yet!

“Aah, why is the Little Master hurt too? Is it serious? Dr Chen’s left already. What do we do now?” gasped Aunt Yang who popped into the room out of nowhere.

As expected, Ma’s attention immediately switched to her.

“What happened?” Ma asked. “You knew, Aunt Yang?”

In a flash, Aunt Yang found the first-aid kit. As she looked through it for the appropriate items, she answered, “The Little Master accidentally smashed a bottle before. Mr Mu even came down for a broom and dustpan. Why is he hurt still?”

“Ah, yes. He was so reckless,” JingYuan hurriedly answered as if the question was meant for him. “When I came down for the broom, he went and picked the glass shards up from the floor. He got a cut in his hand because of that. Aunt Yang, you can stop looking. HanHan’s room has a first-aid kit. I’ve already helped him clean it up.”

Ma believed it. It certainly was something her naughty little boy would do. But…“Then, what’s with his neck?”

JingYuan could feel a drop of cold sweat sliding down the back of his head and to his neck.

“He got that from when the bottle smashed. It only scraped his skin, but JingYuan didn’t realise back then. He was so worried that he insisted on wrapping it up at once. The sight of it is just so scary,” XueQing replied in a brilliant move.

Ma let out a sigh of relief. She then said to her daughter, “Of course a wound needs to be wrapped up. JingYuan did nothing wrong. You’re just as careless as ever. So unladylike. Thank goodness we have JingYuan! Who else would dare to marry you?”

YiHan felt pain pierce through his heart. He pursed his lips and silently sat down at the table. XueQing could feel her heart drumming in fear. Oh great mother, for your beloved little son’s life, please stop talking.

No way. This had to be resolved fast and soon. Tomorrow…no! This afternoon, she’ll go to TianYang and asked him to sign the contract with her immediately! The faster she “shifted her affections”, the better!

JingYuan walked over to the chair next to YiHan and sat down. Under the tablecloth, he placed his hand on YiHan’s thigh. The heat of his palm radiated through the thin fabric. YiHan’s fingers on the table curled inwards. His long eyelashes lowered. The tips of his ears silently flushed red.

XueQing had been sneakily keeping an eye on her brother’s face. When she witnessed YiHan’s change, she couldn’t help but internally gave JingYuan a big thumbs-up. He really was the best at this. Look at those red ears. There’s no way YiHan’s mind could think about anything else now. How had she never realised the peculiarity of their relationship?

If she knew beforehand there was something weird between them, she’d never have interfered. Great. Now, she’s the villain of this whole story. She nearly turned into the great big baddie who split the lovebirds apart. She nearly hurt her own younger brother.

Oh, my adorable little brother, I’m so sorry!

She was sure, once more, this whole switching affections thing was. Extremely. Urgent!

When Aunt Yang placed the food down on the table, she specifically placed the plate of lamb ribs right in front of YiHan.

“Little Master, this was a little rushed today. The marinate might not have really seeped it. Have a taste. What do you think?” she lovingly said.


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LC: Chapter 66

66. Sweet as Honey

Every time XiaoYu and QiYao hugged, the final ending would be XiaoYu abandoning the other man to meet with the Sandman. When QiYao felt the hand clutching at his cape drop, he knew XiaoYu had drifted off to sleep again. He felt slightly dejected at that. Were his hugs lullabies?

Was this a sign of something wrong with XiaoYu mentally? Sure, he fell asleep the past few times too, but that was before their relationship changed. They had just confirmed they were dating, and he immediately fell asleep once more without a single care. Was this a type of seduction? Wasn’t XiaoYu afraid of being swallowed whole by QiYao? Fine, yes. In the game, it’s impossible to do so without going through marriage first.

QiYao was about to lift XiaoYu up in a carry when his lowered gaze saw the tiny cat clinging tight on the big cat pants. It too was sleeping soundly. He was rendered completely speechless. Just how many more big surprises did these two cats have in store for him?

Once more, QiYao carried the two cats back to the hotel. Unlike last time, QiYao didn’t leave gap as wide as the Milky Way between them on the bed. He held XiaoYu close in his arms. The dreaming XiaoYu snuggled in, as if to find a comfortable spot. His hands grabbed at the shirt on QiYao’s chest.

Staring down at the blissfully sleeping XiaoYu, a smile slow spread across QiYao face and he gently kissed the other on the forehead. Goodnight, my XiaoYu.

All of a sudden, he recalled the fumbling act XiaoYu performed the last time he woke up. The smile turned into a grin. He was quite eager to see just how the other would react when he woke up the next morning. With that evil little thought in mind, QiYao drifted off to sleep.

****

It was a good night’s sleep. XiaoYu felt as if he was laying on a large fluffy cloud of feathers. It was so warm and comfy that he snuggled in more. Strangely enough, he could hear the rhythmic thumping of a heartbeat. Ba-thump. Ba-thump. Strong and steady.

Curious, XiaoYu languidly turned his focus from his dreams and opened his eyes. Initially, he had to squint from the sudden sunlight. His hand raised to block it. Once his eyes got used to the light, he started looking about. What was he sleeping on last night?

If only he hadn’t been curious. What he saw petrified him.

This was clearly a man’s chest. No wonder it’s warm and had a heartbeat. XiaoYu knew whose chest this was without even looking up at the man’s face. From the current position, he must have been clinging onto QiYao like an octopus last night. Just look at the man’s shirt. The entire front was all wrinkled and creased up from XiaoYu’s grasp. While their lower bodies were hiding beneath a blanket, XiaoYu could feel one of his legs thrown across the other.

Embarrassed, XiaoYu gently withdrew the leg in question. Then, he gradually inched backwards in an attempt to leave QiYao’s embrace. The entire process was done in tiny cautious, deliberate steps so as to not wake the man up. However, one of QiYao’s arms was wrapped around him. If XiaoYu didn’t use force, there was no way he’d get out of this pose soon.

The whole time, XiaoYu never lifted his head. He just looked down at the tangled limbs. In truth, when he first woke up and instinctively snugged into his comfortable “pillow”, QiYao woke up. Afterwards, he silently watched as the little guy in his arms went still before attempting a stealthy escape. Yet, XiaoYu never dared to use any force to pry QiYao’s arm away. QiYao’s face grew wider and wider. Finally, he found it in his heart to be kind and not pretend he was sleeping.

“Attempting an escape as soon as you wake up, XiaoYu?”

XiaoYu whose mind was twisting into a knot from thinking of a safe way to move the other man’s arm away suddenly heard a teasing voice ring out from above him. He went stock-still, like he had been cursed with a petrification spell. QiYao seized the chance to pull XiaoYu back into his embrace.

“Did I wake you up?” XiaoYu cautiously asked.

“Yes. I was going to sleep a while longer,” came the reply.

“I’m sorry. I’ll get up right now. You can keep sleeping,” as he said so, XiaoYu tried pushing himself up and off the bed.

But the next instant saw a whirlwind pass before XiaoYu’s eyes. The next thing he knew, he had actually switched positions with QiYao. Now, the other man was on top of him. His whole body was pressed into the mattress by the man’s body. What a tantalising position.

“XiaoYu, don’t move. You know men are the worst at resisting temptations in the morning, especially when it’s the one they like.”

XiaoYu’s face instantly flushed red at that. He didn’t dare shirk or squirm anymore. He just laid there unmoving.

“Pffft.” At the sight of such a cute reaction from XiaoYu, QiYao couldn’t hold back his laughter anymore.

“I’m just teasing you, silly billy. Before marriage in the game, nothing can be done. Even if we could…” QiYao paused. He looked down at XiaoYu with an unusual warmth. “If you say no, I won’t force you. Okay?”

“Mn,” XiaoYu replied, nodding. He believed in QiYao.

But it would be a disservice to QiYao himself if he didn’t do anything while they’re in this perfect situation. Hence, his lips kissed XiaoYu on the forehead as a morning kiss. When XiaoYu didn’t seem repulsed by it, he gradually shifted down and to the other’s lips. It was just a simple peck. QiYao didn’t delve deeper. He knew going overboard would scare this shy guy away. He could already feel faint quivering from the man under him.

“I didn’t lie,” XiaoYu said out of the blue. They had just ended their shallow kiss and QiYao was pulling back from the other.

“Huh?” QiYao was confused.

“You said…if I lie, you’ll…” kiss me. XiaoYu’s voice went softer and softer until the words disappeared. He wasn’t used to being so direct.

“Haha! You really are a silly little thing.” QiYao, who now understood what was being referenced, tapped XiaoYu on the nose. “I kissed you because I like you. Understand?”

“Oh.”

“Do you hate it?”

“No.” XiaoYu shook his head. He was only a little nervous. QiYao had always been kind and gentle to him. No matter what, he could never despise QiYao when he’s like this.

“That’s good. That’s a good sign. It says we’ll have a successful relationship, so don’t run away.”

“Mn.” It wasn’t only QiYao’s hugs that were magical. His voice was too. It made XiaoYu want to just follow along with what the other said.

“Let’s sleep a while longer. Look at your tiny cat. It’s still snoring,” QiYao said. XiaoYu followed the man’s finger to the tiny tuff of black fur peeking out from a bundle of blankets next to the bed. It moved up and down to its own rhythm. They were so loud, yet they didn’t wake it up at all. It was still sound asleep.

“Oh.” XiaoYu glanced at the time. It was just six o’clock. They did have time to take a nap, but XiaoYu didn’t dare move from where he was on the bed right now. His two wide eyes merely stared back at QiYao. Blink. Another blink.

“Hehe. XiaoYu, if you keep looking at me like that, I’ll be unable to hold myself back.” XiaoYu’s innocent and pitiful gaze was devastatingly cute up-close. To avoid actually biting into the little white rabbit, QiYao had to lay back down beside the other.

“Sleep,” QiYao said, pulling the other back into his arms.

At first, XiaoYu was worried he’d be too nervous to sleep. Who knew being nervous was the easiest way to tire one out? Especially since QiYao’s hand was gently patting him on the back at a consistent tempo. Slowly, his muscles relaxed and his mind was clouded with sleep.

Sunday, early morning. In a high-class hotel room in the capital of Asgard Online, the family of black (Hei) and white (Bai) was happily sleeping in.

Translator’s Note:

Sweet as honey: The original text “甜蜜蜜 (Tian Mi Mi)” is likely a reference to the famous 1979 song by Teresa Teng. There was also a movie using the song as a title and as the theme song called “Comrades: Almost a Love Story”.


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