½ Prince Volume 4: The Buskers of Infinite City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 7: Portfolio – translated by Evangeline
“First, let me introduce you to the must-have tools for making a portfolio! Number one is this creature I have here. Small, light and portable, this creature can be used both indoors and outdoors! You can even put it in a parcel, so that it’s convenient to carry around.” Lolidragon nodded toward the thing floating in midair that seemed to be a giant eyeball with bat wings, no matter how you looked at it.
Seeing that everyone was staring blankly at the eyeball/bat hybrid, Lolidragon coughed twice, to regain our attention. “I gave it a name; it’s called a Photocritter. The Photocritter’s biggest features are its ability to take photos, its memory capacity of five hundred photos, and its ability to record up to five hours of video. In addition, if you buy extra memory, you gain even more storage capacity. Another point that needs mentioning is this creature’s digital clarity, which goes up to ten megapixels. Its uses range from taking photos during vacation for souvenirs, to photographing a murder crime scene for evidence! There’s nothing it can’t be used for!” Lastly, Lolidragon added, “Right now, the Photocritter is on sale at all major pet shops! But hurry! There are only five thousand critters in the first batch!
“Next, the second tool, which Jing created, was discovered completely by accident. This is an illusion charm with a 100% quality guarantee! It can portray all kind of illusions, from historical backgrounds to ornamental decorations! It’s a real help when it comes to making portfolios!” Lolidragon said, spluttering saliva as she ranted on. She was clutching a stack of charms.
“Lolidragon, have you been watching the ETTV shopping channel too much lately?” I asked seriously.
“I wouldn’t buy anything from that channel!” she cried, but then blushed and added, “But, as you know, Chanel recently changed seasons, so I went and got a job as ETTV’s anchorwoman to earn a little something and go shopping1.”
“…” Everyone was speechless for a while.
I suddenly remembered. “After we finish the portfolio, how are we going to distribute it?”
“I’m going to take it to Second Life’s official publishing office, and get an estimate on the price. After deciding on the print volume, they will probably send it over in a couple of days.” Lolidragon said. “We are planning to sell it in the accessory store.”
What? So now my portfolio is an accessory? What use could it possibly have? Do we distract our enemies with it? I thought helplessly. Suddenly, an idea flitted through my mind. “What about a book store?”
“Open a book store? Is that a good idea?” Lolidragon said, hesitating.
“That’s not a bad idea!” Gui suddenly spoke with excitement. “After publishing books becomes a possibility, there will be lots of players trying to publish their own works, but not many can be like us and put their books on sale in the accessories shop. But, if we open a book shop and allow players to consign their books, the commission we receive would also be a good way to earn money.”
“But will there be any potential customers?” Wicked commented cautiously.
“That will depend on how good the books are. We will have to choose carefully the books to be consigned. After a while, I think some good authors will turn up. Good authors means lots of customers. Actually, most people don’t have time to read while they are awake, but they can read books using the sleeping headset! That would be useful for a lot of people!” Gui said happily.
“And since that will add another unique asset to Infinite City, there will be more people joining!” Fairsky clutched her fists in excitement.
Lolidragon shrugged. “Then let’s do a book store. Since it’s part of the construction department’s job, I’ll leave it to those two leaders to discuss amongst themselves.”
Gui nodded, eyes gleaming. He turned to Fairsky, whose eyes were also gleaming, and they started chattering about the bookstore.
“What I meant was, you can talk later, but now, let’s start making our portfolio!” Lolidragon said with a smile that made everyone’s hair stand on end. But then she said something that made the hair rise even higher. “Okay, then. Take it off.”
“Take it off? Take what off?” I asked dumbly.
Lolidragon’s eyes drifted from my face to my chest. That look… I couldn’t help but grab my collar tightly. Then, her eyes drifted even further down… I grabbed my belt tightly, thinking, Oh my God, Lolidragon, don’t fool around, or else my portfolio might turn into an adult-only sort of thing—
“Can I rest for a bit now?” I asked, still woozy. I never thought that making a portfolio would be so hard. It was a test of strength, endurance, and the ability to survive intense pain.
The Test of Strength: I had to pose in various positions of unimaginable difficulty for Lolidragon to take shots of. Sometimes I had to stay in a pose for up to half an hour. I suspected that Lolidragon was sketching my portrait instead of taking a photo.
The Test of Endurance: Under Lolidragon’s insistence that I expose the two points, I thought, Fine, and agreed reluctantly. Oh well, a guy’s two points aren’t that attractive anyway. But, under the coercion of Wicked’s “Don’t you dare or you are d-e-a-d!” look and Gui’s “Your majesty, you can’t endure such humiliation” large and teary eyes, my move to take off my clothes froze in mid-motion. Then, I watched on as Lolidragon leading Phoenix and Fairsky going against Wicked and Gui. The two gangs started to argue very loudly about whether I should expose the two points or not, forcing me to be stuck in between taking off and putting on my clothes. Really, exactly to whom do the two points belong to anyways?
Finally, I lost my temper. With a dark expression, I roared, “Shut up!”
Five of them turned to glare at me in unison. Together, they said, “You make the decision then!”
With five pairs of eyes staring at me, my anger disappeared completely. I said fearfully, “Then what about…what about going half exposed?”
“Taking off your shirt but not exposing the other point?” Lolidragon muttered, and then said unwillingly, “Fine, that settles it.”
“Never! This one here will still see it!” Wicked gestured towards Gui.
“That’s my line! Prince’s body should never be seen by you!” Gui said furiously, gritting his teeth.
“So, what do we do now?” I asked, scratching my face. This won’t work and that won’t work. Those guys are even more annoying than the girls… I thought. Shhiikkkk… Suddenly, a weird sound reached my ears. It sounded like…sticky tape? We turned around. There was Phoenix, with two pieces of sticky tape. She was looking at my chest…
Afterwards: If anyone ever says that the pain produced from taking sticky tape off an important spot is on par with that of giving birth, I will totally agree!
I turned my back on the site of that ghastly photo shoot, looking at Lolidragon with teary eyes.
“Can I rest now?” I begged.
“You can rest…” Lolidragon replied. My eyes lit up. I can finally tour Infinite City! I can’t wait to find out what delicious specialty foods my city has! I thought, excited.
“…For a brief moment. We are starting rehearsal for the concert tomorrow.”
“Rehearsal for the concert?” I repeated stupidly.
“Yep! Yu Lian is supervising because a lot of money had been spent on the concert,” Lolidragon whispered quietly into my ear.
Waaaaaaaa! This is hell! I thought, close to tears.
“Dàgê, even if we start rehearsing tomorrow and there is no time for you to come out and eat food then, you don’t have to eat like that, do you?” Yun asked. He looked helplessly at me. I hadn’t even spoken a sentence to them before starting my battle with the food.
Seeing that I gave no reaction at all, Jing also said helplessly, “Dàgê, if you want to eat something during rehearsal, just PM us and we’ll send it over.”
Hearing that, I finally set down the chicken leg in my hand, took a drink to wash the food down and said with a little embarrassment, “Thanks.”
“Slow down. No one’s trying to take the food from you.” Wicked grumbled, not too happy.
“Your Majesty, would you like another order of french fries?” Gui happily passed me a napkin to wipe my hands, and Phoenix wiped my mouth with a handkerchief, while Jing and Yun looked on enviously.
“Hey, where is Fairsky?” Yun suddenly asked, confused.
“And Sunshine?” Jing added.
“Oh, they went on a stroll.” I said, waving the subject aside. But I wonder why Kenshin didn’t go…Don’t harbor any suspicions — this guy never leaves my side, it’s just that he’s too quiet. (Even this author didn’t know how to tell everyone that he actually was still there. You can’t just always say that he’s sitting there icily with a poker face, can you?)
“Wow! That’s rare. Fairsky actually bears to leave your side.” Jing said, astonished.
“She said that she was going to check out the location of our bookstore.” I said vaguely as I couldn’t help stuffing myself with the fries Gui had just ordered for me.
“Book store? What book store?” Yun asked dumbly.
“Infinite Bookstore, the one we’re setting up soon; the first book store in Second Life,” Gui told them with sparkling eyes. Geez, no wonder he’s a professor.Start talking about books and he goes crazy, I thought as I ate the fries.
“So, where are we getting the books we’re going to sell?” Jing asked, doubtful.
“First, we will have our Infinite Band portfolio on sale. Plus, I will write a few books to sell. Then, when we become recognized, we’ll let others consign their books in our bookshop, or even solicit manuscripts, and we’ll help them publish the book. These things aren’t really hard for me.” Gui’s eyes lit up with the intelligence of 200 IQ points.
“Really? So… Um…” Yun mumbled like there was something embarrassing to ask.
I suddenly remembered. Jing and Yun like to write stories. They often chose me as their first reader for their Saddest-Story-in-the-Universe-and-History-of-Mankind tragedies. Well, truthfully, their stories aren’t bad; it’s just that the titles are so bad that one can’t even comment on them. What kind of titles, you ask? The “Saddest-Story-in-the-Universe-and-History-of-Mankind” that you just read, of course.
“Can we consign our books in your store?” Jing cried, impatient.
“Of course! Since you guys are free these few days, take this chance to write it out. I will check it over, publish it, and we should be able to put it up at the opening ceremony.” Gui was happy that there was someone here to help to write some books.
“Yes!” Jing and Yun hugged each other in excitement.
“Right, Jing, Yun, have you bought a house yet?” I suddenly remembered that they were choosing a house last time. I wonder how it’s going?
“We just bought one. It’s a really cute white cottage that even comes with a garden!” Yun said happily.
“Oh, I want to see!” I suddenly stood up. “Waiter, I’m taking away the rest of the food.”
“Sorry, I can’t stay any longer, Prince.” Gui stood as well, sighing deeply. “Yu Lian told me to get back to designing the stage for the concert. There are also the bookshop designs too, and don’t forget the books that I need to write.”
“Wow, you sure are busy.” I really don’t know how much time he spends on our class material. Ten minutes? Maybe even less…
“Your Majesty, even though I am not here in person, my heart will always be with you.” Gui, with large teary eyes, kept looking back at me, until he was kicked out by a deeply annoyed me.
“Since Gui’s not here, I have to go back to the military department. A lot of unfinished work has accumulated.” Wicked said.
So, if Gui’s here, you’d rather not care about the military department?!
“In that case, I better go back to the finance department; Yu Lian is on the verge of exploding from stress…” Phoenix blanched horribly.
“Heh heh, it’s ok, you can all go back. Whether something or nothing happens, don’t come and find me again.” I waved good-bye happily. It’s so rare! There’s actually a day when I can get away from those four and just relax. I’ve got to enjoy the peace.
“Dàgê, don’t look so happy. It makes them really sad. They all had ghost fires floating beside them when they left.” Yun was barely suppressing his laughter.
I relaxed. “If they hadn’t left soon, I’d probably have exploded. Now, let’s go and see that house of yours.”
On the way to the house, Yun suddenly said, “Dàgê, there’s a question we’ve been wanting to ask you…?” I stared at him. Yun usually just says whatever he wants. Since when did he start asking for permission?
“What is it?” I asked.
“Dàgê, do you know Feng Lan?” Jing questioned and my heart skipped a few beats.
I stopped. Why did she ask me that? Has she found out? No way! Is it that easy to tell? I thought. I used the calmest voice I could muster at that moment and said “Feng Lan? I don’t know her. Why do you ask?”
“Just as I thought…” Jing mumbled.
I sighed in relief.
“After all, saying that you know yourself sounds pretty weird. Isn’t that right, Xiao Lan?” Jing added lightly.
After my pulse stopped for an entire three seconds, then I covered my face, close to tears. I knew it, they found out. I’m finished! This is the worst scenario, to have my secret be discovered by Yun, the super broadcasting station! Once the news leaks out, just think about the fans swarming enough to fill out the Atlantic and Pacific oceans… Waaaaahhh! Where is my future?
Jing patted me on the shoulder. “It’s ok. I understand your problems, Xiao Lan. I’ve already used karate on Yun and warned him that if he told anyone your secret, my next karate moves will be used on a guy’s most vulnerable spot. So he definitely won’t leak the news.”
Whew! That was close. But how was I discovered? “How did you guys find out?” I asked. “Don’t you always call me Dàgê?”
“It was because you would not tell us your in-game-name; we had to ask your brother and he said that you are a tranny in game,” Yun put in.
BROTHER, YOU IMBECILE! Don’t force me to kill you to defend my honor! I clenched my fist and started thinking about whether adding pesticides or rat poison to dinner would be the faster method.
“So we thought, you are a tranny player and you love bishies as much as I do, but you have no interest in a famous hottie like Prince. The only reason we could think of was that you were Prince himself. Also, although your appearance in-game and in real life are extremely different, your basic features are still very similar, so we recognized you immediately.” Jing shrugged, unconcerned.
“But you know, you Feng siblings are so oblivious that it could go down in history. To think that your brother Yang Ming never realized that you were Prince, and he even knew that you were a tranny,” Yun said with a face full of admiration.
“No one could be as good at guessing as you guys are.” I mumbled.
“Well if it weren’t for the fact that we can guess well, how else could we know about your real identity? And what’s with making us call you the Dàgê here and Dàgê there?!” Jing gave me a knock on my head. Oww… Why are all the women I know so violent? And they all seemed to like hitting my head.
“I was saying that there was no one that was stupid enough to continue trusting us after so many betrayals from us. So it was you after all, Xiao Lan. No wonder you kept helping us.” Yun couldn’t help but complain. He and Jing had actually been so touched that they swore to follow Prince forever.
At this, what else can I do except rub the back of my head and laugh stupidly?
“That’s not the point; the important point is, in that romantic and thrilling love triangle, who are you going to choose? The professor or the senior?” Jing stared at me.
“Don’t ask the same questions as my mom, Jing. I don’t know!” Romantic and thrilling?! Jing, your descriptions are a bit too exaggerated. I helplessly sighed.
“What are you worrying about? Just date them both.” Yun mumbled.
“Hey! Are you a man? Why are you telling a woman to have two boyfriends?!” Jing pulled and shouted in Yun’s ear.
I asked, as if puzzled. “Didn’t we already agree that he’s not a guy?”
“Xiao Lan!” Jing suddenly grabbed me, “Let’s do an experiment.”
“Experiment?” I asked stupidly.
“Go on a date with both of them in real life!” Jing’s eyes sparkled in an extremely scary way.
[½ Prince Volume 4 Chapter 7 End]
1 This is actually a Chinese pun, 血拼. It sounds like shopping in English, however here it means to spend a lot of money while shopping. Especially at a very expensive store.