½ Prince Volume 4: The Buskers of Infinite City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 6: Second Life’s Spokesperson – translated by Anglestagium
“Xiao Lan, I can overlook the fact you’ve become a tranny. I can even overlook the fact that you have become so handsome. But after all that, you actually went and became a singer…”
Early in the morning, I was roused unceremoniously from my sleep by my mom. I blearily watched my parents as they sprayed out a mouthful of saliva as they ranted on, inwardly thinking it was lucky that I had been awoken by mom, otherwise I don’t know if I could have kept my underwear from those fangirls…
Finally, my mother really couldn’t stand my dazed, uncomprehending look anymore. Yanking my ear, she bellowed, “Do you know that the entire world is searching for the Blood Elf Prince?!”
“What?” I was instantly shocked out of my stupor. The entire world? “Mom, you mean the entire Second Life, right?”
“Not just Second Life, but the real world is also looking for you!” Dad said, dropping the bomb on me and clearly relishing in it.
“Why is the real world looking for me?” I asked, perplexed.
Mom massaged her forehead, as if she had a headache. “Don’t you realize that your singing is amazing? Many talent agencies, modeling companies and even Second Life’s corporation are looking for you to be their spokesperson.”
My mouth dropped open. “Second Life’s corporation? How could that be? Don’t they know that I’m a tranny?”
“How would I know?” Mom retorted crossly. “I only know that they’ve posted screenshots of you on the home page of Second Life’s official site. I’ve even printed them out.”
I snatched the pictures from my Mom’s hand. The first picture was a shot of me using my dao to chop down an unknown person, the second was a close-up of my kiss with Phoenix and Fairsky, and the third was the Infinite Band’s performance at the plaza. Every picture had a sensational caption, such as ‘The crème de la crème of Second Life – the Blood Elf Prince’, ‘Do you want to be like Prince, constantly surrounded by girls?’, ‘Have you dreamed of becoming world-famous like Prince?’, and ‘There’s nothing you can’t do, only things you never thought of doing. A world that’s 99% realistic – Second Life awaits you!’
My hands trembled as I looked through the stack of Prince pictures. What happened? I thought. How did things turn out like this? Surely you realized that, with these screenshots posted on the home page of the world’s most popular online game, Second Life, the exposure is even N times higher than the nude photos of female celebrities!
I yelled in desperation, “What, what should I do?”
My parents looked at me with solemn faces and said, “First, go and cook breakfast.”
“Mom, Dad, that’s hardly the point here!” A vein popped on my head. I can’t rely on them after all…
But under the fierce gaze of my parents and my stupid brother, I was nevertheless forced to make breakfast before I went to university. I chewed on my egg on toast as I rode the bus to school and, to my surprise, I discovered that there was a group of news reporters’ vans outside the university. What exactly is happening? I wondered. My mind was full of questions as I entered the grounds and stepped into the classroom.
My brother, Feng Yang Ming, who was walking next to me, gave a small whistle as he saw the crowd of reporters surrounding Professor Min Gui Wen. With a gloating tone, he said, “This time, the professor is in trouble.”
“Excuse me, why did you decide to form a band within Second Life?” asked a male reporter who was pointing a microphone at Professor Min Gui Wen.
“Sorry, I’m starting my class now, so please leave before I call security,” Professor Min Gui Wen responded frankly.
“So handsome…” said a nameless female reporter, with two hearts in her eyes.
The male reporter unrelentingly asked another question, “Do you know the whereabouts of Prince right now?”
“No comment!” Professor Min Gui Wen answered icily, his expression darkening.
At last, the security guard uncle rushed over and chased out the crowd of reporters. I sat dazedly on my seat, watching Professor Min Gui Wen, who was obviously having a headache, while listening to the gossip king Gu Yun Fei giving the class a report on how the whole situation had unfolded.
“Ever since our Infinite City’s Infinite Band began their concert tour, they have become extremely popular, and a lot of people followed them from Star City all the way to Moon and Sun Cities to watch their performance!” Yun had a very proud expression, and he even turned towards Professor Min Gui Wen and called, “Isn’t that right, Professor?”
Professor Min Gui Wen revealed a pained expression. “Yes, we were chased until we almost went crazy.”
“I never expected that Prince would really be so handsome,” said a female student, firmly holding onto the pile of photos I saw this morning.
“I heard that a lot of talent agencies are looking for Dàgē,” Jing mentioned worriedly.
Yun also scratched the side of his ear. “Dàgē really can hide; even Professor was found the next day, but there hasn’t been any news about Dàgē at all.
“What a pity. If Prince appeared, it would definitely cause a sensation,” another female student said disappointedly.
Cause a sensation? If I, the only tranny of Second Life’s, were to appear, the sensation caused would probably be as great as the one surrounding Second Life’s release onto the market! I thought helplessly on the side.
“That’s for sure; Prince is so handsome, and he sings so well. If he were to become a singer, he would be incredibly popular with the whole world!” said another female student who was so enchanted that she was buried within the pictures.
“That’s right; I went on Second Life’s official site and downloaded Prince’s songs. There’s It’s My Life and Dreams Want to Fly.” A person held up the CDs.
There— there are even songs you can download? I was going to faint.
“Gui! Come out for a minute.” Zhuo-gēge’s voice came in from the doorway. I looked up in surprise at his unpleasant expression… and the group of reporters behind him.
“No matter what, I am a professor, you should have some manners,” Gui exasperatedly grumbled. He instructed us to self-study for a while, before walking out.
Zhuo-gēge met my gaze for a moment *SHIVER* and then stood at the classroom entrance and said to the reporters, “The professor and I do not know of Prince’s whereabouts, nor of anything related to the issue of Second Life’s spokesperson. For all matters, please wait until after things have settled down, then Infinite City will release a statement.”
“In regards to Infinite City’s concert, it will continue as planned,” Gui added.
The group of reporters continued to ask questions incessantly. After a long while, seeing that Zhuo-gēge and Gui weren’t going to say anything else, they all hurried off in swarms saying, “Hurry, go back and write the report, otherwise we won’t make the evening papers.”
After all the reporters had finally left, Gui concernedly asked Zhuo-gēge, “How is Prince’s situation?”
“He hasn’t been found out yet,” Zhuo-gēge replied without changing expression. “Although, I think he should be careful and make sure that he doesn’t tell anybody about his real identity, otherwise things will become problematic.”
The last sentence was obviously directed at me.
After I finished class as if I was sitting on a needled carpet, I virtually ran home, pulled on the game headset, opened the PM channel, and promptly started wailing out Lolidragon’s name. “Lolidragon, what the heck is this Second Life’s spokesperson thing all about?!”
Lolidragon’s helpless voice came back, “I’m sorry, that was the corporation higher-ups’ decision. I couldn’t do anything.”
“What do you mean ‘you couldn’t do anything’?” I demanded. “You know I’m a tranny, I simply can’t be the Second Life spokesperson!”
“Of course you can, you’re just going to be a virtual spokesperson.”
“Virtual spokesperson?” What on earth is that? I thought, knitting my eyebrows together.
“The only thing you can’t do is appear in real life. Everything else, like photos, advertisements, or even songs, they’re not a problem. That’s why the higher-ups decided to let you be an online and TV spokesperson,” explained Lolidragon. “You have no need to reveal your true identity.”
“But, but…” I tried to fight against it.
“This will also create a lot of benefits for Infinite City and Infinite Band,” said Lolidragon excitedly. “Even if it’s just for the point of building Infinite City’s reputation, there are already many benefits. Did you know that even though Infinite City isn’t open yet, there are already tons of people waiting outside of the city? Not to mention the people who want to join the Infinite City’s army! There are so many that we need a strict selection process now.”
“But…” I still wanted to protest.
“There’s another point as well. The photo album we talked about before had difficulties in implementation, and distributing books and CDs in Second Life used to be an impossible thing. However, because of you, the corporation now has specially developed these new functions. You should know how big of a help this is to Infinite City’s economy, right?” Lolidragon’s final words were just about to shatter my still-protesting heart.
“There’s also spokesperson compensation; just give me your bank details and the money will be transferred to you,” Lolidragon added her final attack.
“I am very pleased to be Second Life’s spokesperson. Please teach me well, Lolidragon,” I said without any hesitation.
Money! Wonderful, I can finally solve the difficult situation I’m facing due to my parents’ still not earning money. Tonight we’ll all eat Snowflake beef1 hotpot to celebrate! I thought, all smiles. There’s beef to eat. The feeling of being a spokesperson isn’t bad at all!
While I was still rejoicing about having beef hotpot to eat, four shadows suddenly appeared. They were the people who had gone offline at the same time same place as me last night—the members of the Infinite Band. Surrounding me with ill expressions on their faces, they yelled in unison, “Prince! What exactly is going on with this spokesperson thing?”
“Uh…” I could only repeat exactly what Lolidragon had just said to me.
“…In short, I have, without reason, become Second Life’s official spokesperson,” I sighed. I really am too ignorant; I didn’t know that playing a game could cause problems. See, now Second Life has explained away my ignorance as to the real way to play a 99% realistic fantasy game, I thought dizzily.
After listening to my explanation, the members of the Infinite Band all looked at me exasperatedly.
They stayed like that for a while. I, wanting to break the serious silence, had no choice but to put on a happy, smiling expression and say, “We still have to hold a concert in Sun City, is everybody ready?”
“Can we say no?” everybody asked me, pale-faced.
My face also fell. “I also want to say no, but today we have to finish this concert, and then hurry back to Infinite City, because Lolidragon says we have to make a photo album…”
“What? Photo album?” Wicked and Gui’s expressions both changed, especially Wicked’s, whose expression was freezing.
“Yes, photo album.” I helplessly shrugged my shoulders. “Don’t think that I’m the only one who has to make it; all of the Infinite Band members have to.”
“But Prince, it’s only your photos that will go on the official website, so don’t! Why do you have to be the official spokesperson? There’ll be even more love rivals!” Fairsky shouted willfully.
“Ay…” Phoenix sighed, distressed.
“Don’t be the spokesperson, Prince.” Fairsky anxiously gripped my arm.
“I can’t, I’ve already told Second Life’s corporation that I’ve agreed…” More importantly, I’ve already taken half the money and ate the hotpot; what else can I do?
“Don’t!” Fairsky looked at me with angry eyes.
“I can’t, I have to.” I couldn’t release my arm from Fairsky’s grasp, so I could only drag her to the flying carpet with me. “Let’s go everyone, and finish up the last concert of this tour.”
“I forbid you to be a spokesperson, otherwise I won’t perform anymore!” In a moment of desperation, Fairsky actually threatened me.
This is annoying me to death, I thought as two veins appeared, crossing my forehead. Being chased by countless female wolves, having to be the spokesperson, having to hold concerts, and even having to make a photo album… More importantly, I can’t allow anyone to find out my real identity, especially with Jing and Yun continuously interrogating me at school for my current whereabouts in game… The recent events have had me annoyed and vexed and I still have to deal with Fairsky’s willfulness. I don’t have that much time!
“Stop being annoying. I will definitely be the spokesperson, whether or not you want to perform is up to you!” I angrily rebuked her.
“You, you…” Tears welled up in Fairsky’s eyes, but she stubbornly didn’t allow them to fall.
Looking on, half of my heart softened, instantly regretting yelling at Fairsky for no reason. Even if I’m in a bad mood, I can’t take it all out on Fairsky. I was just about to open my mouth and apologize when…
Her head hanging, Fairsky’s tears finally fell. She wiped them on her sleeve, then turned around and ran off…
“Fairsky!” I gave a start and shouted, but she didn’t stop.
“It’s way past the scheduled time for the concert,” Wicked said, frowning.
“But what about Fairsky?” I anxiously watched as Fairsky turned into some alley.
“I’ll go and find her,” said Sunshine. “Kenshin and I have been walking around this area a lot lately, and we’re familiar with the roads.
I worriedly pondered it for a minute. “Ok, Sunshine, you go find Fairsky. Kenshin, you should stay with us; you still have to watch over Phoenix later.”
“Ok,” replied both Kenshin and Sunshine.
I looked towards the direction Fairsky had run off one last time, filled with boundless self-reproach, hoping that I hadn’t committed an irreversible mistake.
It felt quite strange performing with one person missing. Even though I sang the best I could, I had a perturbed feeling on my mind, hoping that Sunshine would find Fairsky quickly and also that she wasn’t truly angry with me.
It was only when we had finished the concert and spotted Fairsky’s silhouette on the flying carpet Sunshine had brought to rescue us that I let go of the burden on my heart.
“Fairsky, I’m sorry, it was only because I was in a troubled mood that I yelled at you. Please forgive me!” Hands together, I apologized towards Fairsky.
“Hmph!” Fairsky pouted and turned away.
I helplessly scratched my face. “Later we have to take photos, Fairsky, do you want to take them? Unless… You want to leave the band?”
Hearing that, Fairsky turned back and shouted, “I’m not leaving! I want to take them.”
Seeing Fairsky’s pouting face, I couldn’t help but chuckle, and then used a coaxing tone and said, “Ok, ok, we’ll take them together.”
“Your Highness, we have arrived at Infinite City.” Gui pointed down excitedly from the flying carpet.
“Wonderful, we’ve finally arrived home.” I happily looked at our home, Infinite City.
Home really does have a familiar feeling. Look! Lolidragon is over there shouting and waving at us. I thought, cheerfully and vigorously waving back at Lolidragon.
Lolidragon’s broken voice came to us. “Prince, be careful! We’re testing a new barrier, don’t come close…”
“Eh?” We were still wondering what Lolidragon meant when…
Lolidragon watched as the people on the flying carpet were each flattened against the barrier, and then slowly slid down the round-shaped shield, as if they were small birds hitting a glass window. She could only mutter to herself, “Too late.”
“The Giant Egg Shield, like its name suggests, is shaped like a giant eggshell, and can firmly protect whatever you wish to protect. The area it covers continues to expand as I level, and right now it covers about one fifth of Infinite City. If I don’t drink mana potions, I can only hold it for about 10 minutes, but if I have an infinite amount of mana potions to use, then I can hold it for at least two hours. It’ll definitely be of a very, very big help in protecting the city.”
After saying this, Yun embarrassedly scratched the back of his head. “Except I never thought that its first experimental target would be you guys, Dàgē.”
“Next time, explain what your Egg Shield thingy does before I break my nose, okay?” I replied with an unpleasant expression.
“It’s a Giant Egg Shield,” Yun corrected.
“Dàgē, I’ve invented new Illusionary Fu,” Jing hurriedly took out a pile of fu to show me, as if she was presenting a precious treasure.
I asked curiously, “Illusionary Fu? What do they do?”
Jing coughed a few times and began to explain, “Illusionary Fu are able to create illusions, as indicated by their name. To use them, firstly, when the exorcist is making the fu, they insert various illusions into it. Then, when you use the fu, whichever illusion was inserted at the time will appear in the area. For example, if I werethinking of a desert at the time, then when I used that fu, the image of a desert would appear. Even though the creations are only untouchable illusions, these fu will definitely be a great help in confusing enemies.”
“Oh? That seems interesting, let me try.” I enthusiastically took one to play with. As I reached out my hand and threw out the fu, everybody craned their necks, waiting to see the result.
“Everybody seems so carefree. Don’t any of you have things to do?” Yu Lian-dàsăo’s voice suddenly came from behind, in that exceptionally gentle tone scared me so much that goose-bumps appeared all over my skin.
“T-there’s things to do, I will go and do them right now.” I turned around and the first thing that entered my sight could only be Yu Lian-dàsăo’s deathly scary shadow smile.
“Then aren’t you going to quickly go and do it?” Yu Lian-dàsăo spoke again, smiling.
“Y-Yes…” I looked left and right, wishing that there would instantly be a job I could do…
Jing coughed again. “Er, Dàgē, that is…”
“Don’t disturb me; I’m looking for something that I can do.” Oh, over there seems busy, I think I’ll just go over there and help to move the timbers. Seeing Yu Lian-dàsăo’s smile, I picked up my feet and ran to join the ranks of the timber-movers.
“Dàgē…” Jing looked exasperatedly at me, as I enthusiastically moved the lumber.
“Prince, what are you doing?” Lolidragon, who had just rushed over, looked over with surprise at the timber-shifting me.
I put down the timber with an embarrassed expression. “Er, Yu Lian-dàsăo told me to look for a job to do.”
“Yu Lian?” Lolidragon’s face was one of complete confusion. “Isn’t she in the Finance Department office? Just now when I came out, I saw her still in there.”
“How could it be? Isn’t Dàsăo right th—…” I pointed to where Yu Lian-dàsăo was a moment ago, only to find that she was no longer there. I was completely confused. What on earth happened?
Jing smiled helplessly. “Dàgē, that was the illusion which came out of the Illusionary Fu. Just as I was inserting an illusion into that fu, Yu Lian-dàsăo was going around supervising peoples’ work, so…”
“So you accidentally inserted that image in, and I coincidentally happened to take it?” The corner of my mouth was twitching. That’s not any ordinary luck.
Jing smiled at me apologetically.
“Forget it, forget it. Really, I almost got scared to death by you two clowns,” I said as I patted my chest in relief, still shaken from before.
“Dàgē is so easily scared, I fear that later he really will be scared to death,” said Jing, smiling radiantly.
I gulped, thinking, That sentence seems to hold some sort of hidden message? And it’s not a very pleasant hidden message either! “What do you mean?”
“Military. Parade. Ceremony!” Lolidragon said, voice resonating.
“Huh?” I was still confused about what a Military Parade Ceremony was, even though Lolidragon had already impatiently dragged me away.
After Lolidragon had pulled me into the room, she pulled a set of shining, light-weight silver armor out of her inventory bag, which looked as if it was meant for me.
“Why do I have to go to a military parade?” I asked, terrified, limbs shaking. Is there some sort of mistake? Me, a girl who doesn’t even need to join the army, actually has to go to a military parade?
“Because everybody wants to see what kind of personality the liege lord has.” Lolidragon replied casually as she helped me put on the light-weight, silver armor.
“Isn’t it just this personality?” I said, laughing bitterly.
Lolidragon shook her head. “I have to warn you first: if you bring your normal nonsense personality to the military parade, I promise that the military department will be the first to kill you.
“Oh, the Finance Department and the City Planning Department won’t let you get away either,” she added, distracted. “Now that you’ve become the spokesperson, your majestic manner has recruited a lot of soldiers for us, so the Military Department is extremely pleased. Moreover, there is a huge crowd of tourists waiting outside the gates and there are so many people waiting in line to buy houses in Infinite City that there are duels for them. The Financial and City Planning Departments have been able to heave a huge sigh of relief!”
“Also, you, the spokesperson is very important to Second Life, so if you dare ruin your image at the ceremony, then the amount of people trying to kill you would fill the Pacific Ocean.”
I made a face and said, “True, and if I were to announce my status as a tranny, then the Atlantic Ocean might as well be filled too.”
“Ok, ok, don’t be so depressed. It’s only putting on the attitude of the Blood Elf, going on stage and saying a few words. After that there’s nothing else,” Lolidragon said, patting my back after she had finished fastening up my armor.
“But I’ll get nervous.” Crestfallen, I thought, Listening to Lolidragon just then, there’s bound to be five thousand soldiers. Five thousand! Where on earth did they all come from? I only became spokesperson a few days ago right? Ay, thinking about five thousand pairs, that is, ten thousand eyes looking at me, how can I not be nervous?
Lolidragon laughed loudly a few times. “Calm down, calm down, you think I still don’t understand you? As soon as you get on stage you automatically turn into the fearless Blood Elf.”
“Really?” I asked, depressed.
“Really. Now go!” Lolidragon pushed me forcefully.
It’s not necessary to push me that hard. I grumbled quietly, looking towards the corridor leading to the practice grounds. Usually, you could just casually take a few steps and already be at the end, but today, the corridor seemed like an abnormally difficult, long and dark corridor. And while my footsteps were normally quick and light, now even lifting my feet seemed strenuous.
“Let’s go.” Lolidragon patted my shoulder.
“Prince, how come you’re still here? Everybody’s waiting for you.” Wolf-dàgē came over with his familiar ugly smile.
“Prince-gēge, you came back! Doll missed you!” Doll threw herself at me, giving me a big hug.
I returned the hug, smiling. “You aren’t afraid that I’ll steal your food?”
Doll poked her tongue out cutely.
“Prince, that armor really suits you!” Gui’s eyes were filled with infatuation, and I gave him a whack on the head.
“Hurry and go, Prince.” Yu Lian-dàsăo was still smiling, a smile filled with encouragement.
“Yes, let’s go.” I gave a relaxed smile, brisk footsteps steadily moving towards the dazzling light at the end of the corridor, with my fellow team members from Odd Squad following behind.
As soon as I walked out of the corridor, the overpowering sunlight was so bright that I could hardly open my eyes. I rested the back of my hand on my forehead to shade my eyes until they got used to the light, before putting my hand back down and looking out amongst the people. Rose and Broken Sword were smiling radiantly at me, Legolas still had a cold demeanor, Li’l Strong was carrying his large battleaxe, and For Healing Only remained, out of all the priests I’d seen, the priest who looked most like a priest.
I walked smilingly past Rose Team, after them were the members of Dark Emperor. Ming Huang’s arrogance seemed like he still required more discipline, Feng Wu Qing with his irritatingly fake charming air, and Wicked had his usual icy expression, only his eyes showed his concern and anxiousness.
Nan Gong Zui, along with Ice Phoenix, White Bird, Kong Kong and the rest of the Righteous Blades, looked down proudly at the other soldiers as if they were showing off a treasure. At the same time, they were also nervously watching for any signs of dissatisfaction from me.
At this point, I finally saw the large practice ground clearly, which was currently packed with people, and directly in front of me was a podium. It was very obvious—I had to go on the stage, and then use the manner of the Blood Prince and my status as Infinite City’s liege lord to greet everyone.
In an exceptionally calm mood, I slowly stepped up the stairs step by step to the podium. Under everyone’s expectant gazes, I stood there with a smile that was calm and steady.
“I am Infinite City’s liege lord, also known as the Blood Elf, Prince.” Straight to the point, I identified my status.
“It really isn’t anything extraordinary; it is just my position in Infinite City. Just like how you are the city’s soldiers and protectors, I am the liege lord. To me, whether you are a soldier in the army, or a lord in a castle, we are all a part of Infinite City. In other words, we are all Infinite City, and Infinite City represents us. Together, let us expand Infinite City infinitely, and create an everlasting presence within Second Life,” I finished, sonorous and forceful.
Under the glowing, adoring gazes of those beneath the stage, I majestically left the stage, while the military department took over and began to arrange the soldiers into groups, and explain the military operations and training exercises etc. In short, all this had nothing to do with me, and I couldn’t understand military organization anyway. I walked off the podium, saw Lolidragon fiercely waving at me, and I had no choice but to follow her…
“I didn’t think that someone like you up on stage, can actually talk like a human,” Lolidragon whispered in a low voice in front of me.
“Hey! What kind of attitude is that? I speak like a normal human easily!” I rebutted, rolling my eyes.
“Oh really? ‘I’m hungry’ also counts as speaking like a human?” Lolidragon asked.
Slightly guilty, I said, “Humans can also get hungry… In any case, where are you taking me?”
“Making. Photo. Album!” Another three sonorous and forceful words.
[½ Prince Volume 4 Chapter 6 End]
1 Snowflake beef: A type of high grade beef wherein the marbling of intramuscular fat that looks like snowflakes, hence the name.