80. Trouble on the Forums
After a long night’s chat, QiYao finally had a rough understanding of the story behind the animosity between XiaoYu and Snow. Who would’ve thought it’d be related to the scheming assassin Egg_Tart mentioned before?
If one boiled it down to the basics, it’s a series of unfortunate and unpleasant reactions born from the meeting between someone who’s used to just thinking of herself and someone who’d so introverted that he didn’t know how to explain things. Objectively none of them were in the wrong and none of them were right. It was a simple case of a clash of personalities that easily led to misunderstandings and grudges.
Most men wouldn’t think too much on what’s in the past. That’s why the two men put aside the PvP duel after a good night’s sleep. Just because they’ve put it aside, doesn’t mean everyone had, especially not the person who was outclassed and forced to leave in humiliation.
Unknown to QiYao and XiaoYu, a post on the forums was gaining popularity.
A large-scale game like AO would have countless of new posts appearing on its forums. They asked for help, for trade, to chat, to fight. If one wanted to stand out from the crowd, they would need an astonishing, eye-catching title. Like this one.
Bully of the weak, dogsbody of the strong! Who knew the Heretic Demons leader would be like this? [picture]
Gossip about famous people were topics the average player of the game preferred, especially if there were pictures. Quite a few of the readers only clicked into the topic because it had an image of the Heretic Demons Guild Leader.
Indeed, there was a picture attached to the post. In the image, QiYao had a blank face on and pointing his sharp sword at a weak female wizard with her head lowered. On the surface, it certainly did look like he was bullying a lower-levelled player.
Under the image was the post detailing how she, a low-level wizard, was scouting out the Pyramids when she accidentally hit the same monster as another healer. Some misunderstandings were born from that incident and the other player called his party member for help. To her surprise, it was the famous Guild Leader of the Heretic Demons. They forced her to apologise just because they were part of a major guild. If she didn’t apologise, they’d kill her. They were very mean and evil. She’s just a weak little wizard. She wasn’t looking for justice on how she was bullied by two men, she just wanted everyone to know the true character of these people.
Before Snow uploaded the photo, she’d erased her own nametag which would show that she was the one who attacked first. However, she left QiYao’s and XiaoYu’s nametags in the image as QiYao had decided to show their party name. The bright “(Black-White)” text clearly announced they belonged to the same party. It portrayed an image of the Heretic Demons Guild Leader threatening a wizard to apologise after a misunderstanding happened.
There’s an air of a culprit making a complaint before the victim in Snow’s post. That’s because the more she thought about it through the night, the angrier she got, the harder it was to calm down. But she can’t go against QiYao and XiaoYu head-on. None of her so-called best friends were useful. All she could do was vent out her anger on the forums.
Anyone who have spent some time on the forums would know how messy things were. There were all sorts of people on there. When a hot topic appeared, there were always those clicking in just because they were curious, just because they wanted to watch the fire burn, and just because they wanted to make sure justice was properly served. The replies started piling up until the conversation veered off into rather strange territories.
No. 1: First~ I’ll edit after reading.
No. 2: Second. Watching.
No. 3: Please give the truth. *roll around*
No. 9: Wow, who knew HereticKing would do this.
No. 10: So what if you’re from Heretic Demons?
No. 25: Is this just clickbait?
No. 26: HereticKing is so hot. He’s so handsome even when fighting!
No. 48: Is this image fake or real? Video, please!
No. 78: Sometimes, healers are just bad news.
No. 79: Healers only know to hide behind others. Hahaha!
No. 80: 78, 79, if you’ve got the balls to, then don’t beg us for help. I hate those who are biased against healers!
No. 85: Healers just love acting like fckbois.
No. 90: Scram. If you’ve got guts, post your IGN. Let the Healers Alliance hunt you down.
No. 125: Heretic Demons, come out and apologise. You think you’re all that just because you’re a big guild?
No. 131: OP, is this slander about our boss? Go home. It’s your bedtime already.
No. 132: 131, you think your leader really is a good man?
No. 133: You may know someone for years but you’ll never know who they truly are.
No. 134: 132, are you looking for a fight?
Verbal fights broke out regarding the Healers Alliance and the Heretic Demons. A cold smirk spread over Snow’s face as she read through the thread. The replies mocking and insulting the Healers Alliance and the Heretic Demons made her feel so very happy and satisfied. While some of them also directed hate at her, she ignored them. However, after she logged off for the night, the replies started swerving to another direction in a few pages.
No. 282: Why’s no one talking about the healer behind HereticKing? It doesn’t look like Mr Poor!
No. 283: It definitely isn’t him. Analysis complete!
No. 284: Does His Majesty not want the great Poor anymore? PS. The height difference is just beautiful!
No. 290: According to a little bird, that’s Heretic Demon’s Mrs Guild Leader.
No. 293: I told you HereticKing’s gay.
No. 285: Disgusting!
No. 298: 285 is the most disgusting one here.
No. 299: Bunch of ignorant women who only know to gossip.
No. 300: Requesting the healer’s information. I’m curious.
No. 311: I’ve seen them in Prole before. They looked so happy with each other!
Most of the replies after this shift then focused on gossiping about HereticKing and the new healer. Even if someone tried to bring the conversation back on topic about HereticKing’s character or tried to implicitly mock the Heretic Demons, it’d be drowned out by the gossiping replies. The more topics were introduced to the thread, the messier things became. There were those fighting with each other. There were those just there to gossip and fawn over the couple in the image. Kings of providing new information and confirming information began popping out of the woodworks. Simply put, the thread slowly began to get off-topic.
With everyone’s passionately replying, the post was “manually pinned” for the whole night. More people began to notice the post and participate in the discussions within. Heretic Demons guild members were a significant portion of them. Due to the real-life gathering they just had two days ago, anyone with eyes could tell something was going on between their Guild Leader and this young healer. A few of the higher-ups could feel their curiosity bursting out of their bodies. They had watched as their calm leader suddenly jump out of his seat halfway through the meeting and dashed out the door without a single word to them. What a thrilling story behind that mysterious act. Please, they need the truth!
When Snow woke up, she was hoping to see more and more players joining in the fight. No matter who won in the end, the insults thrown around would pacify her anger. To her astonishment, replies of that type started to peter out. Unfortunately, there was no way for her to create alternate accounts to poke the fire and start a fight all by herself. While forum usernames were different to the in-game names, the two accounts were linked when registering. She wouldn’t have taken the risk to pretend to be the feeble victim otherwise. She would’ve started up hundreds of alternate accounts to flood the forums with insults targeting the two men.
No. 3183: (OP) Healers are so arrogant. How can a major guild’s leader intentionally spoil them? I don’t know why so many people are on their side! [cry] [cry]
No. 3184: Oh, OP’s finally popped out. Should you add another line about how tired you are and how you’ve lost all faith in love?
No. 3185: Don’t be so serious to a little girl. It’s true love~
No. 3186: You must have a sense of humour. Gossip is king.
No. 3187: I support OP. Bullies should all die!
No. 3190: Pictures aren’t the truth. If OP really wants our sympathy, post the video. PS. So was OP killed in the end?
No. 3193: Video please. I really want to see the mighty HereticKing unleashed! He’s a rare “Emperor”
Snow’s reply didn’t pull the thread back on topic. Instead, people started spamming her with replies requesting for a video of the incident. How could she have one? The image was taken after everything when QiYao made her pick between apologising and dying. In the few moments she had to think, her mind went blank. It was only a tiny urge that made her take a screenshot of the moment for her revenge in the future.
As the topic went off-topic again, a new problem started to present itself. The longer the thread was, the fewer players would have the patience to scroll through the replies in search of its highlights. New posts regarding this post appeared. Posts like “Let’s gossip about the thing between HereticKing and Healer”, “Caption this. Let’s write a novel”, “Heretic Demons bullying compilation post”, “All the ways the healers acted like arrogant bastards”, and so on.
Of course, the latter examples were started by people with ill-intent. They wanted to seize the chance to stomp on the people they always disliked. Usually, nothing would come of it. Now, they had this incident as their shield. To top it all off, one of the people involved was a famous player. With the truth being unknown to the public, it was fodder for arguments. The moderators could close off replies that personally attacked the other party, but they had no power to stop the people from discussing controversial issues.
Snow, as the first poster, gradually lost any offensive powers. Even so, new threads about the topic kept it viral, especially among those who didn’t have any good intents in mind. It became a place where they could gather and let their anger loose.
The main characters of this post rarely appeared on the forums. Thus, while the world outside burned, the two men went about their day as usual.
For some reason, XiaoYu mused, the female healers’ gazes were particularly heated when looking at him. He kept looking down at himself to make sure he had the correct equipment on today.
“Well, if it isn’t Lil Lucky,” someone called.
“Ah, Chrysanthemum. Hello,” XiaoYu replied.
“Come. I’ll grind with you today. Just the two of us. Let’s head to the Berserk Mummies downstairs.”
“Oh, okay.” After a word to his party leader, XiaoYu left the party he was in to join Chrysanthemum’s.
As the two players went through the first floor, Chrysanthemum nonchalantly asked, “Lil Lucky, did you and Chief come train at the Pyramids yesterday?”
“Yes. How did you know?”
“About half of all AO players know by now.”
“Huh? What?” XiaoYu shouted.
“Did you two get into a fight with a wizard?”
“Go take a look at the forums. I’ll keep guard.” She pulled XiaoYu over to a dead-end and buffed him up.
With question marks stamped all over his mind, XiaoYu “left his body” to browse the forums. He didn’t have to search for anything at all. All of the trending topics were posts about the incident. All of them made XiaoYu very uncomfortable, be they idle gossip or insults. It’s no wonder. He had always been a very private person who liked to keep a low profile. Now that he was forced into the limelight, and pulling QiYao, the Heretic Demons and the Healers Alliance in as targets too, it would be weird if he didn’t feel uneasy at all.
“Why did this blow up?” XiaoYu asked in confusion. He merely took a rough glance at a few of those threads. Of course, Snow’s post was included in his reading. Soon, his soul was pulled back into the game.
“Because Chief and the Heretic Demons are way too popular. Someone would always use the excuse to start a fight.” After all, the rumours didn’t come from nothing. That image was very real.
“What do we do?”
“The most direct way is to ignore them. After a few days, they should stop. But…” While Chrysanthemum had pulled her friends along to pull the thread off-topic, there would still be plenty of people who loved to see the world burn. They would keep starting negative threads. They couldn’t keep their facade of “unrelated personnel” forever.
“But with the truth unknown and that wizard embellishing the whole story, the two of you, the guild and the alliance would be affected one way or another.” After all, it was easier for a lot of people to accept the first story to be published. While the source of all the discussion was just a picture, the story created was rather plausible.
“I didn’t think this would explode just because of me.” It was impossible for him to not feel guilty. XiaoYu was a very responsible man.
“Lil Lucky, I’m now asking you, seriously. Did it happen like how that wizard described?”
“We did hit the same mob, but what happened later is very different.”
“I believe you, but other people don’t know you. Ugh, if only we have something to prove your words. The worst part about this whole thing is that woman’s picture.” While the picture didn’t really prove anything, it was much more credible than a block of text.
“I’ve got a video.”
If Chrysanthemum wasn’t familiar with how slow-paced XiaoYu was, she would’ve slapped him at the back of his head. Why didn’t he say he had that?
One of the reasons XiaoYu would have a recording of the incident was because his past few PvP duels had taught him a grave lesson. Another reason was how Poor_Man and some of the other healers would chatter on at him about the ways a healer could protect themselves. They kept emphasising how important it was to have proof, to have a video of everything. With that, the Healers Alliance could publicly help him. Hence, when the two spells hit the Evil Santa Claus, XiaoYu instinctively started recording. The entire incident was recorded, from the moment the mob died to the end.
With a video on hand, everything was so much easier for Chrysanthemum. XiaoYu didn’t mind going public about it too. The default setting for recordings was the third-person point-of-view. If it wasn’t changed to the first, individual information would be kept private. XiaoYu didn’t have to worry about unintentionally exposing anything at all.
Chrysanthemum confidently assured XiaoYu she would handle the matter with a fist thump to her chest. She shamelessly begged him for the video. She had a selfish wish to be the first to witness QiYao heroically saving the cat. Luckily for her, XiaoYu had always been too lazy to create an account on the forums. He’d always been browsing as a guest. Now that he had the option to not register and verify an account just for this matter, he took it.
Never in all of Snow’s dreams would she have thought there would be a version of the incident that perfectly exposed all of her evil words and deeds. The easily swayed masses also began bombarding her with judgements. Comments like “You shrew!”, “Are you a kid?”, “How shameless of you to hide your name when you’re the one who actively attacked them!”, “Snow? Haha. This woman really overestimates herself!”, “What a loser! How can a magician not have Cough Drops?” filled her initial post. It made her so angry that she started smashing everything she could reached in her home. That was the truth though. There was no way she could argue and turn it to her favour. Furthermore, her forum account had been suspended for a day by the administrators due to spreading misinformation.
And so passed the incident, neither major nor trivial, with QiYao still ignorant to the fuss. Never could QiYao have imagined he would end up mesmerising players with the way he’d drawn his sword to protect his healer. His fanbase grew tremendously.
- Fckbois: The more accurate translation for “装逼” would be “boasting/bragging/pretending to be more just to fulfil their own superficial pride”. However, it’s the forums and the term fits. It’ll date really fast though (as if my translation would stay up for more than a decade heh).
- How tired you are and how you’ve lost all faith in love: For those who don’t understand the reference/meme, it’s the common line spoken by “lotus” characters (characters who play the innocent saint but really create problems due to their naive [supposedly naive and evil if they’re “black”] actions). Another way to translate it would be “I’m tired. I won’t love anymore”.
- Easily swayed masses: “Water army” to be literal. It’s just people who have already have their mind set on a story, either because they’ve been paid to or because they share a common goal (like being fans of a certain celebrity). A more accurate translation would be “bots” or “paid commenters” but with obvious proof that those are not what’s going on, it’s been changed. I welcome any and all suggestions. I don’t dig into comment sections enough to know the proper accurate term.