LC: Chapter 30

30. Journey West 02

“Eh? Lucky, your nametag’s grey.” It was rather dim in the cave. Plus the grey shade, the name floating above Bai XiaoYu’s head was nearly invisible. However, Below_The_Moon was an archer. An archer’s eyesight was much sharper than any other classes’.

“No way. The game thinks LuckyCat attacked Chief?”

“It must be.” However, even PvP matches between party members were considered the individual player’s problem. Otherwise, all party members will be notified that a player has been attacked by XXX of YYY party.

“So very weird. Chief, just how much HP got knocked off by LuckyCat?”

“…1 HP.”

“Tch. That means it takes over 10,000 LuckyCats to kill Chief. What thick skin,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man mumbled with a pout.

“Pffft. 30 HP to deal 1 damage. Rather effective, Lucky.” CopperPlate had run over to join the crowd after he finished stabbing the two ants hanging on his legs to death.

“Lucky’s level is too low or else it might not just be 30.”

“Ah. Chief, your ‘hero saving the dam-’, no, ‘hero saving the cat-in-distress’ move is so touching! Do your arms hurt? Want me to heal you up?” lied I_Am_A_Poor_Man without a single blink at HereticKing’s full HP bar. His only fear was for the world to be at peace. (Party members could look at an estimate of each other’s health, but not the exact numbers.)

The entire party crowded around HereticKing and XiaoYu, chitter-chattering nonstop. Except for NonMeta who never liked to speak and Chrysanthemum who was sneakily laughing and scheming by the side.

HereticKing didn’t mind it at all. LuckyCat wasn’t heavy. No one would be harmed by a few more minutes of carrying him. Now that he thought of it, losing 1 HP in exchange for LuckyCat’s butt to avoid getting up close to the ground was quite worth it. Frankly, he wasn’t willing to see LuckyCat hurt at all.

XiaoYu was still doing his best to shrink back into his cloak. All of a sudden, he paused. Something’s wrong. He’s still being carried by HereticKing. But he didn’t feel at ease speaking up about it in the public chat channel, so he silently messaged the other, “Thanks. You can put me down. And I’m sorry.”

For the game to determine the action as a PvP intent meant the impact from his fall was quite forceful. While no one’s arms could get broken in-game and the pain sensitivity was lowered, catching a human being falling from the sky should’ve put a lot of pressure on the other’s arms.

“As long as you’re okay,” the other replied.

With a sweep of HereticKing’s gaze, his guild members quietly ducked to a side. The remaining CopperPlate was also pulled aside by NonMeta. Only then did HereticKing put XiaoYu down.

‘Hee-hee. Carried for 2 minutes and 15 seconds,’ Chrysanthemum mentally giggled as she counted down according to the in-game clock.

CopperPlate led the way while I_Am_A_Poor_Man directed from the back with his compass. They didn’t really want a full-on war with the ants. It was more efficient to avoid walking into any monsters at all. They would only fight when the way ahead was blocked off by a dense pack of mobs. They’d clear the area as fast as possible to prevent the ants further off from noticing the disturbance and crowd over.

The ants in the tunnels were all mutated. They’re not the kind in reality that could only be seen with a magnifying glass. Huge ants as big as a grown man’s foot allowed the group of humans to easily spot and avoid them.

As the pack of humans journeyed on, they began discussing about their upcoming meal. Except for XiaoYu and HereticKing, every party member used a gaming bed. That meant they had to log off for their dinner, resolve any bodily needs along the way, shower, or even tidy up their homes.

“We’ll all log off at 6 pm. Everyone, finish up anything that needs done and we’ll gather here at 7.30 pm. How about it?”

“No problem.”

“Okay.”

“Uh…Can I not log off?” asked XiaoYu as he meekly raised his hand. There’s nothing he needed to do if he logged off anyway. Furthermore, his pod wasn’t one of the top models in the market. Every time he logged off, he needed to wash off the sticky nutritional fluids or he’d feel uncomfortable. (The top models would automatically wash it off for the players and dry them off. It was absolutely not a washing machine!)

“While there shouldn’t be any aggressive monsters here, what if you accidentally bumped into some bugged or mutated variants?”

“I’ll stay behind with him.” HereticKing used a gaming pod. It didn’t matter whether he logged off or not.

“Then, we’ll leave Lil Lucky to you, Chief. If all goes well, we should pass by an egg nest before 6,” said I_Am_A_Poor_Man as he scoured through the large map of the ants’ tunnels he found.

Egg-type monsters were everybody’s favourite powerless monsters. The Ant Cave had an exceptional number of them. If one discovered a nest or a storage spot, they could go on slashing forever, provided, of course, they’re careful enough to avoid patrolling or working ants. Those ants bite after all.

On one hand, this arrangement allowed XiaoYu to gain some experience when he was bored waiting. On the other hand, this mean he could avoid the Queen Ant boss. She would never act rashly in the area her kids were growing up in.

“Ah. Why won’t the heavens send me a gaming pod too?” sighed Below_The_Moon. No one believed XiaoYu was using a gaming pod in the beginning. Even after I_Am_A_Poor_Man, it still felt rather unbelievable.

“Your salary from Chief isn’t that low. Go buy one yourself.” I_Am_A_Poor_Man wanted to knock Below_The_Moon’s head too with his tome. Unfortunately, an archer was very agile and dextrous. It ended up waving into thin air.

“I’m saving up for a wife,” said Below_The_Moon as he waggled his finger. After all, a gaming pod wasn’t that reliable yet. A model like XiaoYu’s would cost ten-thousands. The top models require millions. A salary worker like him can’t just waste money like that.

Billions and trillions of ants were scattered all over the cave. Occasionally, tiny aggressive bats would fly over their heads. These bats were the special characteristics of a cave. However, the caves in the lower level areas were as weak as mosquitoes. XiaoYu could kill them with a wave of his staff or wand, let along high-level players. How else can healers kill off these non-undead monsters? The Zombie and Jiangshi Caves would never be grinding zones otherwise.

“Hey, have you noticed there are less and less ants?” spoke CopperPlate from the front, waking the crowd behind him up from their chattering frenzy.

“No way…We’re that lucky?”

“No. It’s such a huge area and there’s only one boss. How can we bump into it?”

“Isn’t it nice to exercise before a meal? The queen would only be Level 80 on this floor anyway.”

“We don’t know how long this quest would take. It’s best to conserve on supplies.”

“Ice, Hailstorm. Moon, debuff traps. CopperPlate, catch the shield. NonMeta, cover your blades with this.” As HereticKing assigned everyone their tasks, he swiftly transferred his boss encounter shield over to CopperPlate (Level Limit: 85. +11 Alloy Shield with a Lion King card slotted. Boss card, Lion King: +20% defence against bosses. -50% defence against other enemies.) then threw a bottle of poison he’d made himself over to NonMeta. “Healers, pay attention to buffs and health. Poor, retreat 30 steps with XiaoYu and make sure he’s safe.”

“XiaoYu?”

“LuckyCat.”

“Oh.” While I_Am_A_Poor_Man had questions about the name, there was a major enemy closing in on them. He’ll ask once the problem’s resolved. “Lucky, follow me. Remember. Never ever go in the area 30 steps around the queen. It has a small AoE earthquake spell.”

“Okay.” XiaoYu didn’t like how he’s always a bystander during boss encounters, but he was just way under-levelled. He will be useful once he’s at a higher level.

In a blink of an eye, a giant queen ant appeared before their eyes. It dragged its huge metres-long and over a metre-wide abdomen behind it, surrounded by hundreds of soldier ants. They rapidly crawl towards the group of humans. Don’t be mistaken by the queen’s long poop-looking abdomen. When it moved, it was as fast as a player with speed buffs.

Unfortunately, before the queen got close to the players, explosions sounded off and a series of smoke wafted up into the air. The soldier ants began to slow down. Some drifted off into the walls and banged hard into them, as if they were blind. Some even began attacking other ants. This was the first batch of debuff traps Below_The_Moon had set up just now. Slow, Darkness and Confusion. They’re only effective against small monsters and the effects don’t last for long. All they’re used for was stalling the footsteps of the ant army.

Soon enough, the scrambled ants fell back into formation and began closing in on the humans. A few loud booms rang out once more. This time, they’d stepped on the second batch of explosive traps. The soldiers right on top of them were exploded to smithereens. All other soldiers were hurt one way or another. Even the Queen Ant lost a few health points to the explosions. She gave a loud roar and stomped. The ground around her shook. What a pity for her that Below_The_Moon had long since finished setting up the last batch of traps. After a quick retreat back to the group, the tiny earthquake couldn’t reach him at all.

Traps were only effective when the monsters weren’t close to the player themselves. Once they close in, it’d be up to the player’s own skills. The game was realistic, to an extent. Traps can injure party members. Thus, the last batch were high-tier debuff traps. (They last longer.) That way, the uncontrollable explosions won’t accidentally hurt any one of them.

Once the giant ant army fell into chaos again due to the last traps, the three close-combat classes in the party – CopperPlate, NonMeta and HereticKing – rushed in and started decimating all the average mobs.

CopperPlate was a tank. While he was 16 levels below HereticKing, his heath bar was already slightly above HereticKing’s. Hence, he tanked the queen. While HereticKing was a knight too, he was an Agility knight. He can only dodge. The area they were in wasn’t that big and he was afraid the boss would be accidentally led near XiaoYu. Thus, when he was handing out tasks before the battle, he immediately handed his shield over to CopperPlate. In the rush of the moment, CopperPlate didn’t think too much about it. He equipped the shield and charged towards the queen. If he’d known the shield was worth over a thousand crystals, he’d probably hop around in giddy about it first.

With three players hacking the ants close-up and Below_The_Moon’s arrows from far off, half of the army was demolished within 10 minutes. Still, as the saying goes, a swarm of ants can bite an elephant to death. The three players who’d tanked the attention of the entire army were all hurt.

“Scram.” Ice_For_Miles, who’d been chanting the whole time, had finally finished the chant for the greatest AoE ice spell – Hailstorm. Thousands and thousands of tiny ice arrows barrage down into the area. It’s guaranteed to tear all monsters within to shreds! Use Limit: Once a day.

The three players who were still fighting all dashed away from the monsters the moment they heard Ice_For_Miles. All of a sudden, the ants lost their targets. Only a few soldier ants reacted fast enough to chomp down tight on the fleeing humans.

The torrent of arrows lasted for two minutes. All soldier ants in the area were dead. A fifth of the Queen Ant’s health was lost.

All that’s left of the big ant army were a dozen or so soldiers who’d snuck away by luck. The area around the Queen Ant was all empty. (Minions spawned by Boss monsters do not drop gold or items, just experience.) I_Am_A_Poor_Man had already settled XiaoYu into his spot and had returned to share Chrysanthemum’s burden. He also used Holy Light to carefully attract a soldier ant to his side and left it to its munching. The aim was to prevent the queen from summoning any more. They don’t have a second Hailstorm to bash another army.

NonMeta covered his katars with the poison HereticKing gave and snuck his way around the queen. As soon as he reached her back, he jumped onto that humongous abdomen and stabbed down. A dangerous dark purple crept out from the wounds. Above the Queen Ant’s head, a serious of numbers began flashing by. -20. -30. -40…

The pain made the queen instinctively tilt her head up and let out a sharp cry. She flailed her abdomen around, trying hard to flail this “flea” off her body. At the same time, a pair of her scythe-like claws slashed and sliced at the two “flies” before her eyes. But all they hit were CopperPlate’s shield and HereticKing’s shadow.

It’s not hard to defeat the Queen Ant. Her own Attack stats weren’t that insane. It’s just the number of minions around her were. Other than those, they just need to be able to bear with her earthquake attack.  She also had a cumbersome abdomen as her weak spot. They just need to aim for it the whole time and they’d quickly deplete all her HP. HereticKing’s and CopperPlate’s task was to block the attacks of the queen’s two scythes and attract her attention. NonMeta can then gouge out a few holes into her abdomen to speed up the creeping venom HereticKing made from the zombies.

“Shhhiiiik!” The queen gave a loud cry. An earthy yellow glow appeared around her body.

“Careful. She’s going to use her big earthquake attack.” I_Am_A_Poor_Man healed up the fragile Below_The_Moon and Ice_For_Miles with a wave and quickly retreated. The further away from the centre of the attack, the less damage one’d receive. All they need to do was to make sure they won’t die in one hit.

The two healers both threw a new Holy Wall at NonMeta and CopperPlate respectively. (For a certain period of time, it’d reduce a set percentage of physical and magical damage received. The reduction was determined by the spell proficiency. Cooldown Time: 5 minutes.) The two players then continued their retreat.

With the Queen Ant as the centre, the ground began rumbling and shaking. Except for XiaoYu who was standing outside her range of attack, everyone stumbled from the rolling earth and lost some health. The four players far away quickly steadied themselves, but the consequent tremors seemed to be alive and kept sucking away at their health. Fortunately, it wasn’t that damaging. The 10 to 50 HP drained away each second could be swiftly replenished by the two healers. Ice_For_Miles even backed up into XiaoYu’s healing range through coincidence. XiaoYu was throwing all his puny healing spells at Ice in an attempt to help relieve the two healers’ MP drain.

The three players who were almost on top of the centre of the earthquake were not doing as well, especially the two knights. Not only were the tremors depleting their HP, they were unable to block or dodge the queen’s two claws as they couldn’t steady themselves at all. Colourful streaks showed up one after the other on their bodies. NonMeta was still standing on top of the queen. He sunk his blades deep into the queen’s abdomen and used them to steady himself. Thus, he was much less affected by the earthquake than the two knights on the ground.

Time felt agonisingly slow in the 30 seconds of earthquake. When the earth finally calmed down once more, the healers dashed ahead to heal up the three players whose health had dropped below half by that point.

After the shocking but uneventful first earthquake, the party had a grasp on just how threatening the queen’s attacks were. As long as the queen didn’t go berserk during the last drops of her health, it’s just a matter of time before she was ground to dust.

After 30 minutes, reality proved the almighty game was on their side. The queen didn’t go berserk when her health dropped below 10%. Naturally, she gave out a woeful shriek. Dust whooshed by as she died in an explosion of drops.

“Swish!” Just as the crowd opened their eyes wide in anticipation of what strange and mystical items she’d drop, a sudden gust of wind blew above their heads. A black ball of shadow stepped on their heads and pounced on the pile of items. In an instant, everything disappeared.

Tiny! Lucky! Cat! Everyone who knew what that black ball really was grit their teeth and swallowed back the blood in their mouth as three black lines descended en masse down their foreheads.

“Um…I think I saw a golden sparkly crown,” said I_Am_A_Poor_Man as he mimed a pair of binoculars from the back.

“Not only that. There was a card,” HereticKing solemnly spat out. He was closest to the pile of drops, so he’d roughly seen what was in it.

“…” Everyone went silent.

“Aaah! Gods! Lucky, come give me a kiss! This is my first time getting a boss card drop,” shouted CopperPlate as he covered his head with his arms.

Bai XiaoYu’s face dropped into a great big 囧.

Seemed like a certain someone’s really, really lucky when they’re in a party.

Translator’s Note:

The Ragnarok Online equivalent of the Queen Ant monster is Maya. However, it’s not clear whether the monster in this chapter really is half-human as the game version is.

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GC: Chapter 23

23. Mooching a Glass of Alcohol

In the evening, after the sky turned dark, Bai XueQing was driving home with her eyes drifting sideways when she spotted someone unexpected. Mu JingYuan slowly walking on the pedestrian path. His back was as straight as ever, but it somehow gave off an aura of despondent fragility.

XueQing liked JingYuan. She came from a good family. She’s strong. She was the dream of many men. Of course, she’s got quite an ego in her, yet Mu JingYuan was the first man to make her heart skip.

Tall and handsome. While disaster struck JingYuan early in life with both his parents being lost at the same time, it did not strike him down. He rapidly gathered his wits and took over the Mu Corporation. He protected the product of his father’s sweat and blood from the circling old foxes. After years of hard work, he’s turned into a veteran of the business world. In fact, most of those old foxes had to bow before him now. That’s the best proof of his might.

JingYuan came from a good family. He’s attractive, persistent, skilled and knew to keep himself clean. Their two families had always been close, but no one ever knew if he had a lover or someone he liked. In the current society, such a man is one in a million. After being in contact with him for so long, XueQing slowly grew to like him.

She’s always been a brave one, never shirking from love or hate. She would never miss out on a good opportunity just because of that laughable concept called “face”. Since she liked him, she will fight hard for her own happiness.

JingYuan had been down spirited lately. She didn’t know why, but she seized the chance and tried her best to stay by his side at all times, as if she was a good and true friend. As expected, they became much closer.

Now that she’s seen JingYuan walking alone, dejected, she naturally had to follow along and see what’s going on.

She saw Mu JingYuan walk into a bar alone. She parked the car nearby and walked in too. Strangely enough, this bar wasn’t that noisy. She quickly spotted him sitting in a corner booth.

His jacket was slung over the chair beside him. He was only dressed in a button-up shirt. His sleeves were folded up, revealing muscular arms. He slouched on an armchair. His bony, slender fingers twined around a glass of alcohol. His eyes squinted at the mass of people around him, looking rather lost.

XueQing’s heart ached. This man had always been so strong and confident. What could possibly make such a strong man look so lost and troubled?

XueQing walked over to him. “Why are you drinking all alone, JingYuan?” she asked.

JingYuan looked up at her and hooked his lips up into a smile, “XueQing? Why are you here?”

“I happened to see you walk in, so I followed along to mooch a glass of alcohol off you.” XueQing went straight to the point.

“Does the almighty Miss Bai really need to mooch if she wanted alcohol? I probably can’t even get in line for that,” JingYuan replied with a low chuckle.

XueQing sat down on the couch beside him and ran her fingers through her long hair. “Must you tease me? Tell me. Just what has made President Mu so unhappy?” she said.

JingYuan tipped the alcohol into his throat in one gulp and poured another. “What can bother me?” he said.

XueQing picked up a glass, poured some into it, and clinker her glass with his. “We’ve known each other since we were children. Why hide it from me? I thought we were friends.”

He looked up at her and asked, “Since we’re friends, why are you digging?”

She lifted her hands up in surrender. “Okay. I won’t ask. You want to drink? I’ll drink with you.”

Translator’s Note:

Bar or not-bar: For those confused (aka anyone coming from a place with strict/sensible alcohol rules), JingYuan bought a whole bottle of liquor. Bottle-service – instead of the bartender pouring out X amount of shots for that table in the corner, you get the whole bottle to yourself with no bartender to monitor you at a ridiculous price. Most bar scenes Chinese know of revolve around bottle-service. It’s very much an American-influence thing. Drinking in Chinese culture is all about social drinking. Schmoozing, gambling, gossiping and just hanging out is what it’s mainly for. Bars in Chinese culture (Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan) mostly have stage entertainment too. Just don’t ask me how XueQing magicked up a glass from thin air. The server probably gave JingYuan 2 glasses for “just in case”.


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LC: Chapter 29

29. Journey West 01

Tlot, tlot, tlot, tlot…the sounds of a wild herd of horses rang out in the wide open desert. If one listened closely, they would discover a different sound hiding among the racket – plap, plap, plap.

That’s right. That was the sound Bai XiaoYu’s silly Peco Peco made with its big claws.

Why not ride together with someone else on their horse? It’s possible for the occasional romantic streak, but if two adults were to really go galloping through the countryside together on the horse the game provided in stores, that horse would re-enter the reincarnation cycle within the hour. Unless it was HereticKing’s wild steed which was much bulkier than the in-store horse. However, it was already rare enough that such a wild horse would recognise an owner. If anyone else tried riding it, they’d risk being kicked to death.

Therefore, no matter how hard the Peco Peco pumped its two thick legs, it’s still slightly slower than a horse. Especially the white Thousand-Li Horse owned by HereticKing. But in reality, HereticKing didn’t ride at the head of the herd. He slowed his horse down and rode beside XiaoYu.

No one opposed to or gossiped about this action at all. Bai XiaoYu was a key part of this quest. Without the egg in his bag (After the quest was accepted, it became a quest item which was account-bound.), this bunch of high-level players would be doing all of this for nothing no matter how far west they went. Thus, it was most suitable for the Level 101 player, who was the highest-level player among them, to protect XiaoYu. Along with the best protective buffs from the healers, it made XiaoYu feel like he’d turn into a certain striped rare animal that also had the character for “cat” in its name.

The seven players paid attention to keep XiaoYu in the centre of their pack the whole time. Thus, they adapted to the Peco Peco’s speed and didn’t employ the full extent of their riding abilities.

If one were to say who was the most eye-catching of the group and if the tiny cat called itself number two, no one would dare to say they were the first. It must be said I_Am_A_Poor_Man really great taste in pranks. After the pot with a dent on its bottom was clipped onto the Peco Peco’s head, the small cat fit in it nicely. The kitten seemed to really like this VIP seat. Not only did it sit up straight the entire way, it would even look around it from time to time, just like a strict inspector.

The party was rushing through the Peco Peco region right now, but that didn’t mean there weren’t any other monsters in this stretch of the desert. For example, the green snake XiaoYu met earlier when on foot. They tried their best to avoid getting close to any mobs during the whole trip because most of their mounts didn’t have any attack or defence capabilities. The moment they were attacked, the mounts would return to the owner’s Mount Inventory. A serious injury could even result in a mount’s death on the spot and being recycled by the game.

All their eyes could see were yellow sand. Occasionally, they’d spot some greenery. Cacti. Nevertheless, they’d been listening to I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s explanations on how dangerous and strange their journey west would be. The monsters’ A.I. were vastly improved. Thus, these cacti might’ve even turned into cacti spirits. They could only be standing still and pretending to be actual greenery just so they can bluff passing players.

Reality proved that their guess was correct. Upon avoiding the third cactus, that huge cactus finally couldn’t resist quivering and shooting hundreds of tiny thin spikes at them.

As the needles needed to travel quite some distance before reaching any of them, most of them fell to the ground. A small number of them were shot straight into the party. Unfortunately, all of them were blocked off by HereticKing’s shield, who had reacted just in time. While those needles wouldn’t take off too much health, no one wished to turn into a porcupine.

It can only be said that this was an exceptionally idiotic cactus who tried challenging players of much higher level than itself. Not only was no one turned into a porcupine, its stomach was shot through by an arrow. With a loud cry, it spilled its juices all over the floor and died.

“Mrrow!” The moment the tiny cat saw the shiny coins spilling out, it swooped down from its VIP seat and pounced at it with a swift and ear-piercing “Swish”. Just like someone who’d been starving for over three days and had just spotted a bowl of delicious and savoury braised pork. It wasn’t even afraid of being stomped to death by an accidental hoof.

“Tsk. Tsk. Now I really know how addicted the kit is to money,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man sighed. With a wave of his hand, he threw a speed up buff at the little cat to make it pounce faster.

Almost everyone in the party had seen just how greedy the cat was before this. Hence, they decided to just stop and wait in silence.

“This…what kind of pet is it?” Below_The_Moon’s hand shook. It was lucky there weren’t any other monsters nearby. Otherwise, the next arrow might have stabbed straight into the little cat’s butt.

“This is the almighty lucky cat. Come and pray before it,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man replied.

“Who’re you trying to fool? A lucky cat is a chubby, fluffy calico cat. Something that has white, gold and black fur.” The two of them were always arguing with each other. So Below_The_Moon didn’t trust a single word out of I_Am_A_Poor_Man’s mouth.

“Tch. You’re so outdated. Nowadays, the trend is to keep things subtle and hidden. Who said a black cat can’t be a lucky cat? Come, Lucky, show him your Pet tab.”

“Okay,” XiaoYu said.

“Eh? It really is a lucky cat. We’re almost guaranteed to get 50% more gold this time,” Below_The_Moon said. Based on previous S-rank quest rewards, this quest’s reward would be phenomenal.

“Not only that. Lucky here is a lucky charm. Each strike would guarantee a quest item. If we encounter a Boss, it might even drop a rare item. Just like the crown from before.” With how friendly and easy-going CopperPlate was, he would never stop once he found something to talk about.

囧. XiaoYu had a feeling that CopperPlate was promoting or advertising him, and it even felt somewhat like false promotion too. It was just by coincidence that quest items dropped in the two times he was with CopperPlate. As for the crown from that time, it was only an unexpected miracle.

“Eh? Really? But it’s best we don’t encounter any Bosses this time. The desert is not a map that’s great for positioning and trapping monsters in,” Below_The_Moon replied.

“Hurry up. It’s going to be 4 pm soon,” interrupted Ice_For_Miles. The tiny cat had settled back into its perch. The moment the hurricanes started, the first to be doomed would be a fragile wizard like him.

“Ye-mmmh…Pfft.” CopperPlate initially responded out of sheer habit. By the time he realised who the voice belonged to, he couldn’t help but to laugh out loud.

“Go on. Laugh. Everyone who first hear him speak do the same,” Below_The_Moon kindly said, informing CopperPlate not to force it in.

One can’t blame CopperPlate for laughing. Ice_For_Miles had an ordinary man’s face, but his voice was as sharp and delicate as the voice of a boy whose voice hadn’t started breaking yet.

“…” Ice_For_Miles turned his head away. “I’m already used to this,” his face said.

After a brief interlude, the party was back on their journey west. They did need to leave the Peco Peco region and enter the Ant zone before 4. That’s because underneath the Ant region was a gigantic network of ant caves. If they can find an entrance and enter this underground network, they can safely hide from the rampaging sands. In the upcoming two hours of hurricane season, they could continue their journey using the underground tunnels.

The Ant Cave was one of the best grinding spots for classes with AoE skills. The monsters there were more tightly packed together and most of them were passive. The only issue would be the ants were monsters with a strong sense of unity. The moment any one of them go attacked by a player, the passive ants around them would all attack that player. If a player couldn’t clear monsters faster than the ants could start gathering, then they’d be better off not committing suicide by training here.

“Huff. Huff…” The Peco Peco was sprawled out on the ground, panting with its tongue out. They’d finally found the gigantic hole that was the entrance to the Ant Cave. It was exhausted.

“Meow…” The tiny cat patted the Peco Peco’s big beak in consolation.

“Thanks for your hard work.” XiaoYu knelt down and fed the Peco Peco a few bottles of water, then he retrieved it back into his Mount Inventory. It will be really crowded in the upcoming cave. If its big feet accidentally stepped on an ant, he’d be done for. Everyone else stored their mounts too.

If one had to name another disadvantage to the Ant Cave, it’d be that the few entrances nearest to the city were rather deep. Players would need to gather their courage and jump in before entering the Cave. However, it was quite impossible for anyone to die from the drop. At most, they’d lose a few dozen HP. The worst that can happen was they might hit an ant when they land. Then, they’d be attacked unprepared. On the contrary, the exit was a smooth and gradual slope upwards. Players just need to follow the trail and they’d reach the surface. It was a pity these exits were always deep in the desert. The game was that evil. ╮(╯▽╰)╭

The tanky knight CopperPlate was the first to jump down. Even if he bumped into a few ants, he wouldn’t immediately be bitten to death. Next, they jumped down one by one from the player with the most health to the player with the least. The last to jump was XiaoYu. He stared down at the deep dark abyss. He hugged the tiny cat tight to his body and jumped down, his heart feeling like it was about to stop at any second. It’s just some health. His 600-plus HP should be enough for this drop.

But before XiaoYu received the game’s notification of health lost, he felt the rush of gravity pulling him down suddenly slow down and stop. There was no sensation of his butt being cracked wide open by the ground. It was as if he was being protected by something.

When XiaoYu opened his eyes and registered what was going on around him, his face regrettably went tomato red. The great Guild Leader was calmly holding him in a princess carry away from the ground. Injury? Fall damage? He’d have to bash away at this knight’s insane 10,000-plus HP first.

“Ah~ Chief, you’re so biased. Why didn’t you carry anyone else? We all lost 30 HP from that fall,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man said.

“You want to be carried?” HereticKing raised an eyebrow. “Go kill yourself back to Level 33 first.”

“Forget it. I’d rather die than to grind back up again,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man replied.

“Poorie, even if Chief was willing to carry you now, would you dare? Moron.” Below_The_Moon ruthlessly jumped at the chance to complain about the other.

“True. I don’t want to head into Finance to close up my account tomorrow,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man said with a wave of his hand. “Ah, Lil Lucky, you’re so lucky.”

After a round of teasing by I_Am_A_Poor_Man, XiaoYu’s face went redder. He desperately wished he could just bury himself in his cape and pretend to be nothing but air.

Translator’s Notes:

Cactus monster = Muka, rather cute and moderate-sized monsters whose cries some may find annoying (as with most monsters from Ragnarok, if you were sensitive to harsh/electronic noises).

Boss = MVP. Something I forgot to tie-in before. So, most bosses mentioned in this story would be a direct copy (or a slight variation) of their in-game counterparts.

AoE = Area of Effect

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GC: Chapter 22

22. Escaping One Last Time

With his back to the door, Bai YiHan slid down to the floor. He covered his head with his arms. He really didn’t know if his rebirth was because the gods pitied him or if it was his punishment. Hehe. It must be a punishment. They’re making him use this new life to pay for the sins in his last life, making him smile as he watched the one he loved become his brother-in-law, bless the new couple and be a good son, a good brother, while his emotions stay hidden forever.

A sudden surge of rage rose in his heart. Why? Yes, he did something wrong, but was the punishment he suffered in his last life not enough?

All the shame and pain he was forced to go through, were they not payment enough? He died in such a disgusting and messy way with not a single family member at his side. Only the corpses of those vile villains he killed himself accompanying him during his death.

His dying wish was a request for the police not to publicise his identity and bring shame to his family. He didn’t know where he’d buried. He didn’t know how many people would examine and look at his abused body. He wasn’t able to see the one he loved one last time. He wasn’t even able to die with his eyes closed!

Were all those not enough? Why? Why can’t he be free? Why can’t he forever sleep on in peace? Why must he come back and go through the pain of never having his love be accepted again?

At this moment, he really wanted to be selfish and do whatever he wanted. Everyone can just head down to hell. But he can’t. What wrongs has his family done? They loved him, indulged him. They did nothing wrong and should not be harmed.

YiHan gave a low chuckle. So be it. As the saying goes, sow the lands with evil and the fruits of it will be evil.

He’s a criminal. Dirty, disgusting and utterly rotten. He should accept the consequences of his mistake. This was his burden to bear, was it not?

Brother said he’d grown up. He’d matured. Yes. He’s grown up now. He should be responsible for his actions. If the gods thought his punishment wasn’t enough, then he should keep on living and act out the role assigned to him. He must use all he had to make the family who loved him happy. Just like the past 2 weeks since his rebirth. He did well, didn’t he?

It’s just a Mu JingYuan. Mu JingYuan never belonged to him anyway. What did he have to be upset or hurt about? He had no right to begin with.

If Mu JingYuan knew of his disgusting and twisted homosexual tendencies, would he leave without looking back? Never ever to return?

If that happened, what should his sister do? Would she live on alone for her whole life just like last time?

No. It can’t happen, Bai YiHan! Stay strong. Don’t expose yourself. Keep it in. He cannot use those disgusting feelings of his to harm JingYuan and Sis!

He raised his head. His eyes red, filled with blood. Like a trapped and desperate cub, filled with pain, but his red eyes were dry. Not a tear track to be seen.

He took a few deep breaths in panic, eventually letting out a slow exhale. He laid his head back against the door and closed his eyes in exhaustion. Let him escape one last time. Next time, he will use the most perfect smile to welcome JingYuan and bless his relationship with XueQing.


PreviousIndexNext

LC: Chapter 28

28. Big Gathering

“We’re here.”

“It’s so big!”

XiaoYu thought the oasis would just be a pond about the size of a basketball court with a few small trees growing around it. In reality, not only was the imagined pond bigger by several times, it wasn’t just surrounded by a few lonely trees. There were at least a hundred trees or bushes scattered around it. While it wasn’t as dense as a forest, it was filled with greenery.

This was one of the larger oases found to-date. The further into the desert one went, the smaller they were. However, it cannot be said for sure there weren’t any of these little spots of heaven in the deepest parts of the desert.

After finding a shady tree, the two sat down to cool themselves off.

The tiny cat could finally be free from the large cape. It stretched, jumped and frolicked to its heart’s content. But there was only so much shade under the tree. The little one was black enough as it is and it didn’t want to sunbathe, so its play area was often the space around XiaoYu’s knees and HereticKing’s lap which was just a jump away. After some rolling and squirming, it’d then climb onto HereticKing’s shoulder to pounce into XiaoYu’s lap and start begging and showed off its cuteness – water, please.

“If on the Peco Peco, head south from here for 30 minutes and you’ll be at the Pyramids.” What HereticKing meant was if XiaoYu went grinding in the Pyramids in the future, the nearest water source would be this oasis.

“Mn. Got it.” XiaoYu silently marked down the spot. Once he reached Level 60, it’d be about time for him to start camping here.

“Do you have any friends who want to join in the quest?” While HereticKing had a list of potential candidates, he didn’t forget this quest was found by LuckyCat. Out of respect, the other should have the first pick.

“Any level requirements?” At once, XiaoYu thought of CopperPlate and NonMeta. A glance at the Friends tab told him they were online.

“The higher the better.” Otherwise, his healer would suffer.

“I’ll ask.”

“CopperPlate, what’s your level?” XiaoYu asked.

“Huh? Lil Lucky? 85. What is it?” CopperPlate replied.

Since CopperPlate was Level 85, NonMeta should be about the same.

“Are Level 85 tank Knight and katar Assassin okay?” XiaoYu asked back in the normal chat channel.

“They’re good.” HereticKing didn’t think LuckyCat’s friends would have such high levels. It looked like I_Am_A_Poor_Man didn’t have to work his ass off.

“Achoo! Who’s talking about me behind my back?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man grumbled as he organised all the information found on the desert region.

“CopperPlate, are you and NonMeta free? I found an S-ranked quest in the desert,” XiaoYu messaged.

“S rank! Yes! Yes, of course!” CopperPlate was ecstatic. “Eh? You’re in the desert too?”

“I was Peco Peco hunting just now. You’re here too?”

“We’re grinding for mummy drops in the Pyramids with Chrysanthemum. Wait. Can you catch that bird alone?” CopperPlate asked.

“A friend’s helping. It’s caught,” XiaoYu replied.

“That’s good. Wait a moment. I’ll ask NonMeta,” said CopperPlate in the private chat.

“Hm-Hmph~ You found an S-rank, but you didn’t call for Chrysanthemum. Lil Lucky, I’m very angry. The consequences will be severe. Are you prepared to have your flower burst open?” A female voice creeped into XiaoYu’s ears, making him shiver in fright.

“What is it?” HereticKing who’d been paying attention to XiaoYu the whole time saw him suddenly shiver. Startled, he placed his hand on XiaoYu’s shoulder before HereticKing even realised what he’d done.

When XiaoYu felt the weight on his shoulder, his heart somehow calmed down. He turned and gave a smile telling HereticKing to not worry. “It’s fine. Perhaps a Level 98 healer lady might be joining. Is that okay?” he asked.

“Of course, it’s okay.” Now, not only was I_Am_A_Poor_Man not going to be exhausted, he’d be bored to tears. (Poor: Achoo~)

“Sorry, Chrysanthemum. I…didn’t mean to. Um…if you’re free, you’re welcome to join us,” XiaoYu messaged back.

“Hehe. That’s a good boy. I hear Lil CopperPlate said you were mount-hunting with your friend nearby?” Chrysanthemum asked.

“Mn. We’re resting at an oasis now. The one nearest to the Pyramids,” replied XiaoYu.

“Are we doing this quest now?” said she.

“We’re gathering information and helpers at the moment. Once we’re all gathered, it should be time to start,” he said.

“Oh~ Hee-hee. Is your friend a guy? A girl?” Chrysanthemum’s true motive was exposed. After all those questions, the thing she wanted to know the most about was this.

“Um…” XiaoYu was not used to Chrysanthemum’s evil laughter yet. His hair stood on ends and a chill went down his spine. “It’s HereticKing…”

“What? I’ll be there soon! Eep~” Chrysanthemum was very excited at that news.

“…” XiaoYu didn’t know what Chrysanthemum was excited for. Did they know each other? XiaoYu tilted his head and stared questioningly at HereticKing. It made HereticKing look back with a head full of question marks.

“My friends said they’ll be here soon. They were at the Pyramids,” XiaoYu said.

“Mn. That’s three. Any more?” HereticKing asked.

“None.” XiaoYu glanced at his friends list again. Shumai was not online.

“Then you don’t mind it if I bring three more, right?” They needed a wizard and an archer. Along with I_Am_A_Poor_Man, that was three.

“Mn. Is Big Brother Poor among them?” XiaoYu asked.

“Of course, he…He told you to call him that?” HereticKing will not admit that he was upset by that.

“Mn. His name is too long.” It’d also make others misunderstand if he said it out loud. (Crowd: Why is this child always saying he’s poor?)

“Really…My name is quite long too. You can call me Yao.” As HereticKing said so, he wrote the Yao character on the sands.

“Eh?” How can a name with only two words be called long?

“What? Can’t you?”

“No…” XiaoYu examined the Yao character and asked, “Is this your name?”

“Yes,” said HereticKing.

“Mn…” XiaoYu pondered with his hand on his chin. “My name is quite long too. If you don’t mind it, you can call me Yu.”

“XiaoYu? Got it.”

“Huh? How did you know my name is XiaoYu?” XiaoYu stared at HereticKing in shock before suddenly realising what the other really said. “Oh…you mean Xiao for small,” XiaoYu continued as he scratched his head.

HereticKing’s brows furrowed before relaxing in realisation. Was this buy one free one? He got the correct character by accident.

“This Xiao?” HereticKing chose to write down one of the commonly used Xiao characters and wrote the Xiao character for XiaoYu along with the Yu character.

“Mn.”

“Looks like I’m quite lucky.” HereticKing smiled. It felt like the number of times he’d smiled today was almost equal to the number of times he smiled over the past 6 months.

************

Less than 30 minutes later, they could hear hoofbeats echoing from the distance. (Horses travel faster than Peco Pecos XD)

“Lil Lucky~ Your Big Brother CopperPlate is here.” Before he could even be seen, his voice could be heard ringing out.

“My friends are here.” XiaoYu stood up and stretched. He walked out of the shade and into an open area easy to be spotted so CopperPlate could see where he was.

“I told you Lil Lucky’s a lucky charm. No one stop me. This time, I must rub off all the luck I can get.”

As soon as CopperPlate got down from his horse, he tried tackling XiaoYu with his characteristic bear hug. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as fast as other people, nor was he as strong. Before he even touched a single hair on XiaoYu, he wound up dangling by his collar. He was picked up and away to one side by NonMeta like a little corgi.

“NonMeta, you bastard! Fight me!” CopperPlate shouted.

“The way your friend greets people is quite special,” HereticKing said solemnly from behind XiaoYu.

Actually, if NonMeta hadn’t made a move then, CopperPlate wouldn’t be able to touch XiaoYu either. The almighty Guild Leader had one arm stretched out ready to pull XiaoYu to a side and dodge the hug. Thus, the useless arm now laid itself over XiaoYu’s shoulder, making the eyes of Chrysanthemum, who’s just a few feet away, twinkle.

“Heh. Hehe…” XiaoYu didn’t know why CopperPlate insisted on pouncing on him every time they met either. Could it be due to trauma from when they first met outside the Zombie Cave where CopperPlate wasn’t able to tackle XiaoYu?

With three more added to the party, XiaoYu became the one to introduce everyone to each other. After HereticKing’s true age was revealed, Chrysanthemum was still the oldest in the party. Only, it caused a tiny wound in the childish heart of the 26-years-old “old hag” Chrysanthemum.

“Hahaha!” When XiaoYu shared the quest with the others and summarised what the situation was, CopperPlate rolled on the floor laughing.

“…” NonMeta didn’t laugh, but his twitching lips betrayed the face he was trying hard not to.

As for Chrysanthemum, she just stood there with a small smile on her face. If one ignored the way her gaze constantly drifted between HereticKing and XiaoYu.

“How much longer?” The five humans and one cat returned to the shade of the tree from before. CopperPlate was the first to speak up from impatience.

“15 minutes. We’re waiting on three more,” HereticKing nonchalantly replied as he focused on scratching the tiny cat under the chin.

“Meow~” Comfy. The little cat’s large eyes squinted into a line from enjoyment. Once in a while, it’d luck HereticKing’s fingers, encouraging him to keep scratching.

“Hey, hey. Lucky, did your cat turn traitor?” CopperPlate nudged XiaoYu. Why was his pet being so affectionate with another player?

“No…I think.” XiaoYu wanted to know too. Could this be what they call imprinting?

Chrysanthemum was sitting quietly to one side, pretending to be a gentle girl. However, her two eyes betrayed her gossiping heart. ‘Mn. Amazing. If you want to catch someone, you have to catch his pet first,’ they said. As such, whenever she looked at HereticKing, her eyes were full of respect. When she looked at the little cat, there would be a hint of disdain in her gaze.

“Ah!” XiaoYu was suddenly reminded of something.

“What is it?”

“I don’t have riding equipment for my bird yet.” Would everyone have to walk with him later?

“Don’t worry. I asked them to bring a set along,” HereticKing said.

“T-Thanks.” XiaoYu ruffled his hair. HereticKing was so thorough. He felt a little bad.

15 minutes flew by and hoofbeats could be heard once more.

The people HereticKing called over was, naturally, Heretic Demons members. As such, every one of them were skilled players over Level 95. I_Am_A_Poor_Man, Level 96. Shooting_Chang’E_From_Below_The_Moon, Level 100. Ice_For_Miles, Level 97.

Except for I_Am_A_Poor_Man, the other two players’ classes could be deduced from their names alone. Majority of the monsters in the desert were fire-type. Hence, an ice wizard would be most suitable for this quest.

“Ah, the Demoness!” As soon as I_Am_A_Poor_Man saw Chrysanthemum, he instantly jumped back half a step.

“Oho. It’s been a long time, Poorie dear.” When faced with “familiar” people who would expose her for what she was, Chrysanthemum would pretend to be polite. She immediately stepped up and had a little grope.

“Gods, Lil Lucky, how have you not been gobbled up by her?” I_Am_A_Poor_Man pulled XiaoYu to a side and did a hands-on check-up. It was only when he felt two beams of death rays that he reluctantly took his demonic claws away. He then pulled out a set of Peco Peco riding equipment from his inventory.

“Thanks.”

“Tee-hee. I also bought a Peco Peco helmet. That way, your little cat would have a VIP seat,” I_Am_A_Poor_Man smirked as he brought out an equipment which looked like an old warped pot. “Place this on its head and the kitty can sit on it.”

“= =|||”

“Alright. Everyone’s here. Prepare to depart.” The almighty Guild Leader spoke up, telling everyone to go do their jobs.

And so, the three new party members joined in, understood the mission and, once they listened to XiaoYu’s explanation, collectively fell down laughing on the floor once more.

Translator’s Note:

This chapter has been locked/made private (as were some of the previous chapters) on jjwxc. If there are any discrepancies from the translation to what you know, note that this is probably the reason why (aggregators are useful for something after all).

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GC: Chapter 21

21. Changed Through Time

“Aunt, you said he matured because he was frightened by a nightmare. Did you ask him what kind of nightmare it was?” said Mu JingYuan.

“I did. He wasn’t willing to tell me at first. It’s only when I backed him into a corner did he tell me. That silly boy. He said he dreamed about our family going bankrupt. Our entire household was as poor as dirt, huddling together in a tiny apartment. He himself was also beaten up by people he offended in the past. He was scared silly. He still is a child. How could the Bai family fall so easily? That being said, even if we did, you’re here. How could you let him get beaten up?” said Ma with a hand covering her grinning mouth.

JingYuan tensed up. “Did you ask him who beat him up in his dreams?” he asked.

Ma laughed. “I told you he’s a silly child. Are you infected by him? It’s just a dream. It can’t be you want to beat that other person up over a dream, right?” she said.

“No, Aunt. Everyone says what one thinks about in the day, one will dream of at night. He dreamed about people beating him up after the family goes bankrupt. That must mean he subconsciously know that if he falls from grace, that person will show their true colours. If it’s someone who’s got a grudge against HanHan, that person is a hidden threat. It’s best to resolve it early. Otherwise, they might harm HanHan again someday when our hands are full.” JingYuan said.

Ma’s face darkened as well. “Now that you mention it, I get what you mean. I’ll ask him again later,” she said. After some thought, she smiled again. “Speaking of which, even I as his mother don’t take as great care of him as you do. HanHan really is lucky to have a friend like you. It’s a pity that brat doesn’t understand how fortunate he is. He’s always throwing temper tantrums because he knows you’ll spoil him!”

JingYuan gave a helpless smile. “You overexaggerate. As long as our precious baby can calm down, what’s wrong with spoiling him? Only, I still don’t know how I made him angry this time.”

“He’s got an explosive temper. He knows you’ll still dote on him, so he’ll just blow up at you. I’ll ask him again later. Don’t you worry,” said Ma.

“Thanks for your concern,” JingYuan thanked with a nod.

“What are you so polite for? I watched you grow up too. You’re always so mature and solemn. I can’t criticise the way you treat HanHan at all. If there’s any issues between the two of you, it must HanHan who’s being unreasonable. You’re the only one willing to indulge him,” Ma said with a smile.

“HanHan is pure and naive to the core. He’s the best. He’s worth being doted on by everyone,” JingYuan smiled.

Ma nodded with twinkling eyes.

Bai YiHan quickly ran back to his room and closed the door. He leaned on the door. His heart was about jump out of his throat. His scrambled mind would not calm down. JingYuan’s here. Was it for him? No. JingYuan should be here for his sister, right? Unfortunately, Sis had some urgent business and left for the company early. They missed each other.

It’s been over two years. To YiHan, they’ve all changed through time. He cannot face the only one man he loved, and still loved now, who was going to be his brother-in-law in the future.

To them, nothing has happened now. To him, everything from before was crystal clear in his memory. He can’t act as if nothing had happened.

He remembered JingYuan’s rejection. Remembered watching JingYuan’s back as he left the country without looking back at all. Moreover, he remembered those repulsive photos that were spread everywhere after he was set up. He even remembered, in JingYuan and his “secret base”, the gang rape that disgusted him so much he wanted to peel off a whole layer of his skin. Of course, everything was the result of his own actions. He can’t blame anyone else.

His family and JingYuan were still stuck in the past now, but he was already at the end of his trials. He was no longer that clean child they knew.


PreviousIndexNext

LC: Chapter 27

27. Search for the Oasis

“Let’s head to the oasis first.” Just standing around was a waste of water. Why not take a look at whether the oasis was still where HereticKing remembered it to be?

Players who’d been grinding in the desert all know it’s very important to know where the oasis was. It’s one way to be sure they had a steady supply of fresh water. Those who were lucky might even hunt some food.

“Okay.” XiaoYu’s eyes were already exhausted by the endless sea of yellow. It would be nice to freshen them up with the legendary desert’s oasis.

The location of the oasis closest to the city had already been charted out by other players. It’s now a secret everyone knows. It just so happened to be in the same direction as the area they were about to scout out.

Bai XiaoYu bent down to pick up the tiny cat and followed behind HereticKing towards the south-west. He’d learned not to walk around half-heartedly now. His two round eyes stared down at the ground as he walked. The tiny cat imitated its owner in staring at the floor as well. Anyone witnessing this sight might think gold and treasures would be popping out from beneath the sands.

HereticKing would occasionally look back at the two cats “hanging their hands in remorse”. While he admired how well XiaoYu was able to follow him with his head hung low, the mischievous side of him wondered – if he just stopped and turned around without notice, would XiaoYu just rush in and send himself into HereticKing’s arms?

The thought lingered in his mind, but HereticKing never acted on it. He knew LuckyCat didn’t have skin as thick as I_Am_A_Poor_Man. His face was as ripe as a tomato during the incident before. If he was teased again, he might faint from embarrassment and anger or even just stomp away and tear up a Return Scroll right then and there.

He’s got plenty of time. He’ll play with this little guy another day.

XiaoYu was oblivious to the fact he’d narrowly escaped from a “disaster”. Still, he could hide once but he can’t hide forever. He’ll be met with more “disasters”.

HereticKing always had I_Am_A_Poor_Man chattering on beside him. It felt rather strange to be walking on and on in silence. Furthermore, he didn’t have a tiny cat to play with now. Perhaps he could make the rare move to try and start a conversation.

However, HereticKing didn’t know what’s the trendy topic for boys these days. (There’s a reason why the little cat viewed him as an “uncle”.) I_Am_A_Poor_Man nattered on endlessly last time, but he never mentioned anything about LuckyCat’s interests or hobbies. LuckyCat looked like he should be around 20 years old, about the age of a university student.

“Are you studying in university?” HereticKing slowed down until he was walking beside XiaoYu. They should be walking side-by-side if they’re chatting. If they talk while one is at the front and the other behind, it’d feel like a leader questioning his subordinate.

“Um…no.” If all those events hadn’t happened, XiaoYu should be in his second year now.

“…” HereticKing didn’t think his eyes were fooled. XiaoYu’s awkward personality didn’t seem like he’s already struggling in society’s rat race. The only option left was he’s a university student. As for the miniscule chance of not being either… At the sight of XiaoYu’s dull eyes, HereticKing decided not to continue asking about this. Perhaps some unhappy memories were related.

“What kind of healer are you planning to be?” Since there’re some issues with his real-life situation, HereticKing thought they could talk about his in-game life.

“I’m thinking tank.”

“Oh…not many build tank healers.”

Other than the basic Intelligence for healers (to increase Magic Attack, Magic Defence and MP), the other stat points could be distributed as a player pleased. There were many builds for healers, like the violent build (Strength), the tank build (Vitality), Agility build (increases dodge chances, reduces cooldown and delays), speed build (upon reaching 200 in Intelligence, a new stat would be branched out – Wisdom. It increases casting speed and MP recovery speed), and even pure Intelligence builds.

 Based on the current meta for healers right now, a lot plan their builds towards the latter few. There weren’t many healers around. They’d usually train in parties and even then, it’d never be their turn to tank monsters. They do very much need their spells to be fast, so they can protect every party member, and effective, especially their healing spells.

“I grind solo.” So, to ensure he would not be smacked to death with just one blow, he needed to increase his Vitality!

“Not going to party up?”

“Too much trouble.” XiaoYu shook his head. When he saw doubt on HereticKing’s face, he lifted up the kitty in his arms. “It levels up according to the items it picks up, and it loves to pick up items. I won’t restrain it, nor would I put it away.”

“So that’s why. There’s already been trouble from it, right?” Otherwise, you wouldn’t look so helpless and crestfallen.

“Mn…”

“Don’t be upset. They think everyone’s like them. Petty and selfish. I know you definitely won’t hoard everything.” You wouldn’t have chased after me just to return that one gold coin otherwise. HereticKing ruffled XiaoYu’s hair.

“Thanks.” It felt nice to be trusted. XiaoYu brushed away the clouds in his mind and smiled, revealing two cute little canine teeth.

As if he was infected by that smile, HereticKing smiled back. It sort of felt like they were smiling knowingly at each other.

“Once you reach your second Job Change, would you be willing to join the Heretic Demons?” The minimum requirement for entering the branch guilds of Heretic Demons was over Level 50 after the second Job Change. As the big Guild Leader, he can’t break the rules. Still, he really hoped XiaoYu could be part of them.

“Yes.” A guild must be lively. Perhaps he could experience the atmosphere of a classroom again.

“Remember to notify me as soon as you successfully get through your Job Change.”

“No problem.”

“Then, I eagerly await your application.”

“Mn. But, my level would be the lowest. Hehe.”

“It’s fine. Your level would be quickly trained up. Maybe you’ll level up five times or more once this S-rank quest is done.”

“That much experience?” Why not hunt for an egg to trip over every day?

“That’s a conservative guess. Quests ranked S and above aren’t easy to find.” Of course, the Level 100 was an exception to the rule. The game would love it if everyone rolled a quest ranked S or above, so they’d lose experience from being unable to complete the quest. In reality, over 90% of players would draw an S-ranked quest the first time they attempt the Level 100 quest.

“Then we must complete it.” XiaoYu clenched his hand into a fist. He could almost see the vast amount experience waving at him.

“Meow!” The little cat stretched out a paw and waved, as if it too was set on the mission. But it was most likely seeing a pile of gold coins waving at it instead.

“Hehe.” The big and tiny cats were so in synced with each other. It looked like his future won’t be boring at all.

“There’s a snake!” XiaoYu, who’d been staring down at the ground, suddenly noticed something wriggling in the sand before him. Upon a closer look, it was a small green snake about as wide as his wrist.

“Don’t panic. It’s a passive mob. It’s fine if you don’t step on it.”

“Oh.”

XiaoYu carefully stepped around the little snake. It seemed to be able to detect when players were near it. It raised its round head and stared at XiaoYu. He somehow felt disdain coming from it. The snake then looked at HereticKing and quietly stretched back on the sand to continue its slow wriggling.

Did a snake just look down at him? =_=+

“Seems like the A.I. of the monsters around here were improved.” That meant their journey west might not be that peaceful. Thus, HereticKing started up a discussion with I_Am_A_Poor_Man via private messages again.

“Don’t be sad. Once your level is higher, we’ll come back. I guarantee it will be moving around you instead then.”

“Mn.” XiaoYu scrunched his nose and silently glared at that cowardly bully of a snake.

XiaoYu’s discreet actions did not escape HereticKing’s gaze. He was very satisfied to see LuckyCat being more relaxed around him. So much different to that respectful and formal yet detached attitude from the start.

Perhaps LuckyCat was just like some lonely little beastie (Not a typo! It’s not little bottom!). At the start, he’d treat anyone trying get close with hostility and indifference. Once they know each other more, he’d slowly let down his guard and reveal his original naive personality. He’d even throw a minor temper tantrum now and again.

HereticKing smiled. He affectionately looked at XiaoYu who kept his head down low in search of “treasures”. It’s sort of like how an older brother would look on at his pouting younger brother, yet not really.

Translator’s Note:

  1. Hide once but can’t hide forever: Twist to the Chinese saying, “One can hide on/from the first day, but they can’t hide from the fifteenth”. The reason the 15th is used is due to the lunar calendar. The first day is the new moon and the 15th is the full moon. Some interpret it as never being able to hide from justice or karma. Bad deeds are typically done during the night, so the moonlight is seen as a metaphor for justice.
  2. “Disasters”: More accurately, it’s the character used for trials and tribulations (more commonly found in cultivation stories).
  3. They think everyone’s like them. Petty and selfish: Rephrasing of a Chinese idiom (以小人之心度君子之腹). The proper translation is “assuming the noble heart with the mentality of a petty man”.
  4. Smiling knowingly at each other: Part of a meme/idiom (相视一笑). It simply translates to “Smile at each other” but there are some nuances in it that’ve been added in since the poem it first appeared in.
  5. Beastie/Bottom: There are many homonyms to “shou” (bottom/uke in Chinese). This is one pairing the author specifically pointed out.

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