Eclipse Hunter Volume 2: Having Friends, Having Feelings
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我(Yu Wo)
Chapter Two: A Rocky Start—translated by Trespasserby (proofread by Arcedemius; C/E edited by lucathia)
Ezart walked very slowly into the classroom. The teacher was already teaching at the podium, and the students were already wreaking havoc below. However, as soon as he came in, everyone suddenly stopped and stared as though they were frozen in place inside a freezer.
After several seconds of analysis, everyone confirmed that Ezart’s expression was the same as usual and continued to wreak havoc or teach as usual. The classroom was complete chaos, with various things that could be used in a fight lying scattered across the classroom in pieces, but Ezart’s path was particularly clear.
“Ezart, Ezart. You’re here!” Ri Xiang Ye happily waved at Ezart.
“You’re pretty fast. Were you late?” Ezart casually replied.
“Nope,” Ri Xiang Ye said delightedly.
“Really?” Ezart didn’t really believe him. If he himself had run at full speed, he would still have trouble arriving on time. But he didn’t ask further about a small matter like that.
“Oh, I want to tell you something! I met Bai Lian Xing and his three friends.”
Ezart coldly laughed. “Those are his minions. What? Did they give you a group beating?”
“Nope,” Ri Xiang Ye shook his head. “He wanted me to pass on a message.”
“Ah?” Ezart pulled a chair out and lazily sat in the chair.
“He said that during practical combat class, he’ll be waiting in the battle simulator for you to come lose,” Ri Xiang Ye clearly conveyed in full detail without changing anything in the slightest.
The combat simulator was Yelan Academy’s most famous iconic feature. The exterior wasn’t very different from that of a colossal gymnasium. Once you stepped in, you’d discover the inside had various virtual terrains, like a tropical rainforest or the ruins of a city, built as a smaller scale version of a real city.
And every person that stepped inside had one sole purpose: to protect their own life and to cut short the lives of all others. Of course, the killing was all simulated too. It wouldn’t really involve ending people’s lives. Otherwise, Yelan Academy would probably only be left with a few students.
“Hmph!” Ezart coldly laughed. Displeased, he smashed apart the desk with a single, powerful punch. The solid wood immediately fragmented into many pieces.
Ezart was very strong, so strong that the students at Yelan Academy treated him like a god of destruction. The inhuman strength permeating his entire body left people in awe. However, he unfortunately had to come across Bai Lian Xing, who was well known for his speed. Bai Lian Xing’s martial arts was passed down to him from a long-established influential family.
Although he didn’t have Ezart’s inhuman body strength, and was even so fragile that a single punch from Ezart would definitely leave him flat on the ground, his unpredictable, snake-like martial arts stances kept Ezart’s rash punches from even touching him at all.
Ezart’s strength was enormous, but it wasn’t of any use if he couldn’t land a hit!
So ever since the two of them had first crossed paths, Ezart had always suffered defeat. But originally, he hadn’t cared one way or another. Ezart’s greatest pleasure in life was battling strong people. The existence of a strong person he wasn’t able to win against only increased his desire to fight… But it just so happened that aside from his combat capabilities, Bai Lian Xing was the kind of person Ezart loathed the most.
A playboy from a rich family, arrogantly looking down upon other people. Swaggering about campus with several attendants in tow. If his ego was from his combat strength, then it would have been tolerable. But instead, what Bai Lian Xing liked to flaunt the most was his family background, that he was the son of the head of the Purple Moon Alliance, the second largest economic alliance in the world.
“Second largest economic alliance in the world” was a bit of an exaggeration. In reality, aside from the absolute dominance of the Sun Alliance, it was difficult for any of the other organizations to claim they were second. However, it was a fact that the Purple Moon Alliance was formidable.
Ezart coldly asked, “What period is today’s practical?”
Ri Xiang Ye honestly replied, “Third and fourth period.”
“Great! I’ll take a nap first so I’ll have the energy to fight that piece of trash.” Ezart was about to lean down and sleep when he realized that he had smashed his desk into a pile of splinters earlier. He just pointed at the classmate next to him and rudely said, “Hey! Hand over your desk.”
The student next to him didn’t dare to say no, and even hastily wiped the desk before carrying it to Ezart. The student set the desk down, trembling with fear, deeply afraid the desk might be placed down at the wrong angle and cause Ezart to sleep badly.
Ezart impatiently waved away the student still adjusting the desk and then immediately sprawled across it. Not even three seconds had passed before he suddenly lifted his head to send a fierce look at Ri Xiang Ye next to him and warned, “Don’t wake me up again! You hear me? Or I’ll flatten you!”
What Ri Xiang Ye loved the most was diligently attending class and then reminding other people to also take class seriously. He already had a record of repeatedly waking Ezart up from dreamland.
“Oh.” Ri Xiang Ye obediently nodded. Although he really wanted Ezart to take class seriously, after failing multiple times already and adding onto the fact that he didn’t really want to be beaten up by Ezart, he gave up on it.
After receiving a response from Ri Xiang Ye, Ezart went to sleep in satisfaction.
In contrast, Ri Xiang Ye, being a good student, was about to pull out his pencil case to start taking notes. But as he opened his backpack, he saw the toy he had just bought, his virtual lover game, sitting inside. He couldn’t help but let his attention wander to the pink, heart-shaped console…
No! I have to take class seriously. I can’t play games. Ri Xiang Ye sternly scolded himself. Then he quickly pulled out his pencil case and closed his backpack to remove the virtual lover game from view.
In 2055 was the gradual weakening of power countries held… The world was in chaos. Free-for-all combat arose…
If I ignore her, will Xiao Ai be angry?
In 2075 came the rise of economic alliances… Taking over the political power of the entire world…
Oh no. He didn’t think he had given Xiao Ai anything to eat yet. Will she starve to death?
In 2099, the Sun Alliance officially became the world’s largest economic alliance, controlling thirty percent of the world economy…
I really want to take a peek and see what Xiao Ai’s doing! Just a look should be O.K., right? Anyway, I don’t have to look at the notebook to write down any notes… So I can look and study at the same time!
He had finally come upon a so-called perfect solution, when it really was just an excuse.
Ri Xiang Ye pulled out the virtual lover game with his right hand. Of course, his left hand was still taking notes. With the assistance of the microchip in his brain, operating both his left and right hand at the same time wasn’t a problem at all for him.
He placed the virtual lover console on the desk. After he started it up, the heart projected the image of a virtual girl. She had true to life proportions but was scaled down to be about as tall as a forearm. She had pink eyes and pink hair, along with a round face. She couldn’t be called pretty, but calling her cute was perfect.
“Good morning, Ah Ye.” The virtual girl smilingly greeted Ri Xiang Ye. Of course, Ri Xiang Ye himself had entered in the name Ah Ye, wanting his lover to call him that.
Seeing the girl really had appeared again, Ri Xiang Ye replied with childlike excitement, “Good morning, Xiao Ai!”
At this moment, three buttons appeared on the heart-shaped touchscreen. A line of explanatory text appeared above the buttons: What would you like to do together with Xiao Ai? 1. Talk 2. Eat 3. Watch TV…
Ri Xiang Ye thought for a moment and chose: 1. Talk. Xiao Ai immediately spoke again. “Ah Ye, what are you doing right now?”
She really is talking with me! Ri Xiang Ye excitedly replied, “I’m in class!”
“Is being in class fun?” Out of the possible reasonable answers, Xiao Ai’s program selected one that fit the situation to respond with.
“It’s not fun,” Ri Xiang Ye honestly replied.
Truth be told, his brain’s microchip had a large volume of information recorded in it. But most of it was practical in nature, such as how to operate various vehicles from cars to space shuttles, how to distinguish between and neutralize all known poisons, and even what weak points in a human’s anatomy to strike in order to kill them instantaneously…
The huge amount of information stored on the microchip made going to class a little boring. Even if the teacher were teaching something not on the microchip, Ri Xiang Ye only had to hear it once. After it had been recorded on the microchip, he wouldn’t ever forget it.
Taking notes was due to a conclusion reached by the microchip. Taking notes was what one was supposed to do in class. Furthermore, lending classmates the notes would promote interpersonal relationships.
But so far, none of his classmates had asked to borrow notes. Ri Xiang Ye had thought of lending Ezart the notes to read before. However, Ezart had just treated him to a lot of eye rolls and even a bonus explanation of, “Nobody bothers paying attention to combat history class. The only real classes are practicals where we get to use knives and guns.”
Therefore, class so far had left Ri Xiang Ye with no idea of what the point of going to class was. Going to class seemed to just be for practice in note taking.
“If it’s no fun, why do you have to go?” In the same manner as before, Xiao Ai’s program had her reply with a perfectly puzzled expression.
“Because Gēge wants me to go to school,” Ri Xiang Ye replied matter-of-factly.
“Ah Ye has a big brother, huh…”
A student next to him shouted in amazement as though he had discovered a new land, “Hey! Take a look at that brat still playing virtual lover!”
“No way! That nerd? Doesn’t he act like he’d die if he doesn’t take class seriously?” A girl with at least five different colors in her hair giggled off to the side.
Ri Xiang Ye had also heard them. He raised his head to look at the classmates who had spoken. Based on the words “virtual lover,” they should be talking about him.
He was a bit happy. No one in the class aside from Ezart had paid any attention to him so far.
“Do you want to play together?” Ri Xiang Ye asked with extreme friendliness.
Although asking classmates to play video games together during class didn’t seem to be an appropriate action, after the past few days of class, Ri Xiang Ye had quickly realized that he shouldn’t completely follow what the microchip said to do.
In a class this chaotic, if there ever came a day when the entire class “obediently” played video games instead of fighting, randomly throwing desks and chairs, gambling with cards or dice, or openly trafficking various bladed weapons and firearms, even loudly haggling over the prices, then the teacher would be touched enough to immediately consider it a great accomplishment.
Normal ways of thinking shouldn’t be applied to the slacker class of a combat academy.
“Hahaha. Retard. Who’d want to play with a kids’ toy like that!” A male student loudly jeered.
“He even wants to play together! He’s such a kid.” The multicolor haired girl raised her scarlet-painted fingernails, feigning a mature pout.
“If it were a real girl, especially a pretty one, I wouldn’t mind playing together with you.”
After he finished speaking, several male students laughed lecherously.
“Hey! Do you not want to live anymore… That brat is under Ez… under his protection!” A student with a grim expression reminded them off to the side. Halfway through speaking, the student was even worried that mentioning Ezart’s name would wake him and hastily changed what he was about to say.
Several people immediately fell silent and peeked at where Ezart was sitting out of the corners of their eyes. They only relaxed their taut expressions once they saw that he was still sprawled out on the desk, fast asleep.
“I don’t get what he’s doing, protecting that wimpy piece of trash.”
“Isn’t it obvious? It’s because he’s hilarious.”
“You’re right! He really is a joke. What era is he from? Who even dresses like that? He looks super lame!”
After throwing insults for a while, they finally felt more at ease.
“Hey! What’ll we do if he whines to Ezart later?” One person in the group suddenly asked with worry. He even lowered his voice when he said “Ezart” so that it was barely audible.
“No way. Ezart wouldn’t listen to him.”
Although he said that, the person speaking also wasn’t entirely sure. Ezart was Yelan Academy’s god of destruction and viewed as a sort of boss. But he had never taken someone under his protection before and hadn’t accepted anyone as a follower. That he was going around with Ri Xiang Ye was already more than anyone had imagined. Who knew if Ezart would take it a step further and protect Ri Xiang Ye?
Several people grew somber. They looked at each other in distress, not knowing what to do but also not willing to continue harassing Ri Xiang Ye. After all, Ezart was right there!
Actually, Ri Xiang Ye had been confused this entire time. He didn’t really understand most of the insults. To him, words like “wimpy” and “lame” were bizarre and undecipherable based off of their literal meaning. But he was able to understand when everyone criticized the clothes he wore.
In a small voice, Ri Xiang Ye asked, “Are my clothes ugly?”
But Gēge picked these clothes for me. And Gēge was very happy with them! Gēge loves me so much that there’s no way he’d let me wear ugly clothes. Ri Xiang Ye had never doubted how much his brother loved him.
However, Ri Xiang Ye had missed a few things. His brother was a full ten years older than him. In addition to his mature personality, Ri Xiang Yan treated his little brother like a child who didn’t fully understand things yet. He wanted him to be a normal boy who didn’t stand out. This combination of factors lead to Ri Xiang Yan dressing his little brother like a bookworm, something modern youngsters hated the most.
At this point in time, the one sided conflict between Ri Xiang Ye and the group had already attracted the attention of the whole class, including the teacher. Other than the teacher worrying about things like a fatality in the class and being held liable for it, everyone else watched excitedly, delighting in someone else’s misery.
Everyone’s attention was on the few people who had mocked Ri Xiang Ye. They were waiting to see if those people would continue making fun of Ri Xiang Ye or if they would sing a different tune and flatter Ri Xiang Ye to avoid angering Ezart.
A few of them were originally planning to apologize, but with everyone watching, they couldn’t bring themselves to. Otherwise, they would be labeled with the word “wimpy” from before.
The male students looked at each other in distress, unwilling to continue picking on Ri Xiang Ye but also not wanting to be labeled as wimpy. Instead, the girl with multicolored hair declared, “Ugly as f***!”
After she finished speaking, she looked at the whole class brazenly, as though she had just undertaken a great deed requiring an immense amount of courage.
But no one had any trace of admiration on their faces. Everyone knew that while Ezart wasn’t a gentleman, he wasn’t fond of hitting women. So for the most part, his tolerance was slightly higher for female classmates than male classmates.
After receiving such a clear cut response, Ri Xiang Ye froze. Although his microchip immediately concluded that he should humbly accept his classmates’ criticism and express his willingness to change, he really felt that he shouldn’t. These classmates weren’t trying to give him helpful advice.
He fell silent for so long that even the brazen girl started becoming nervous.
In the end, Ri Xiang Ye still replied with the standard response: “I’m sorry. I will improve. Thank you for your feedback.”
Everyone froze. There’s no way a normal person would have that kind of response after being made fun of like that, right? But coming from a nerd like Ri Xiang Ye, it seemed perfectly reasonable.
Deprived of a good show, the surrounding crowd was outraged. One by one, they hurled curses at Ri Xiang Ye.
Adding the situation together with when the word was being used, Ri Xiang Ye began to understand what “wimp” meant. They probably thought he was cowardly.
“What is it? Bad mood? It’s rare for a brat like you to be this quiet.”
Ezart was pretty pleased as he walked. He hadn’t been piled with random questions, questions that made him wonder if the brat Ah Ye had crawled out from under a rock in the mountains to be missing that sort of common sense.
Mood? Ri Xiang Ye felt that there was something heavy in his heart, but didn’t really think too much about something as intangible as his mood. He was only focused on where the problem was in his interpersonal relationships. Why was it that he was unable to make friends? Why couldn’t he establish a good relationship with his classmates? Did it really have to do with his clothes?
But the clothes his brother had picked wouldn’t have any problems. His brother loved him very much and always gave him the best.
Then is there a problem with my looks? Ri Xiang Ye was puzzled. Am I really ugly?
But Gēge is always saying I’m very cute… But even if I were ugly, Gēge loves me so much that he’d still say I’m cute! After all, Gēge really does dote on me too much.
“Ezart, do you think I’m good looking?” Ri Xiang Ye asked with incomparable seriousness.
“What?” Ezart looked strangely at Ri Xiang Ye. What’s wrong with this nerd’s brain? That weird question came out of nowhere. Even stranger was that Ri Xiang Ye had asked him. Can’t he tell from the beat up clothes that I don’t care about how I look?
“In your honest opinion, am I really ugly?” Ri Xiang Ye was extremely insistent on receiving an answer.
Ezart looked him over for a moment, and scratched his face while saying, “I don’t really know what girls’ standards are nowadays. You’re a bit too skinny, but you’re not ugly. Your face looks O.K. It’s just the thick black framed glasses that look kinda strange.” He assumed that there was a high chance that this brat was asking such a strange question because he had fallen for a girl.
The glasses are strange? Ri Xiang Ye immediately took off his glasses and asked again, “What about now?”
Ezart froze. This was his first time seeing Ri Xiang Ye without his glasses on. Without the tacky black framed glasses, Ah Ye looked a lot more normal. At least he didn’t look hilariously like he was from the wrong time period.
“A lot more normal. I think you’re better off not wearing those glasses,” Ezart bluntly said.
“Really? Then I won’t wear them in the future.” Ri Xiang Ye was overjoyed. He believed he had found the problem. So the glasses didn’t suit me! Gēge picked them, but Gēge doesn’t wear glasses. So he must not be very good at picking glasses!
“Won’t wear them? What about your nearsightedness? Can you see?” Ezart casually asked.
“Mhm. I can see.” Ri Xiang Ye nodded. In actuality, he was never nearsighted. As someone who had been modified so that half his body was robotic, how could he have been left nearsighted?
“That’s good. Wait outside for me once you’re done buying lunch.”
Ezart stopped and raised his head to look at the colossal battle simulator. His eagerness to fight showed in his smile, especially because Bai Lian Xing had issued a challenge to him.
Although Ezart hated the way Bai Lian Xing acted, he did not hate his skills.
“Oh.” Ri Xiang Ye nodded.
Ezart gazed at the simulator. He excitedly murmured, “I really hope that Dark Sun guy comes too.” Once he finished speaking, he tossed his backpack into Ri Xiang Ye’s arms and then walked into the huge battle simulator.
Because of the microchip’s fundamental setting to grow stronger and protect the master, Ri Xiang Ye had entered the battle simulator before as Dark Sun so he would grow stronger by fighting strong people.
That time he had faced off against Bai Lian Xing and seen Ezart’s fighting style. Afterward, he learned from Ezart that the two of them were considered to be first and second among the school’s best fighters, aside from the people in the school’s extremely secretive Elite Combat Class, abbreviated to the Elites. Otherwise, there was no one stronger than them.
But disappointingly, Ezart had said that the students in the Elites never used the battle simulator.
Therefore, his goal to look for strong people had disappeared. Logically speaking, Ri Xiang Ye had no reason to go into the battle simulator again as Dark Sun… However, Ezart continued to talk about wanting to battle Dark Sun.
Ri Xiang Ye hesitated for a moment. Although he did kind of want to grant Ezart’s wish, he was also worried his identity would be revealed… If a skilled fighter repeatedly went into the battle simulator to fight, it would definitely attract the attention of the school. If that happened, the order for “Ri Xiang Ye” to hide his abilities would become much harder to accomplish.
A friend’s wish versus the master’s order… After some internal debate, Ri Xiang Ye raised his head to look apologetically at Ezart’s departing figure. He couldn’t risk the possibility of violating a command from the master to satisfy a friend’s wish.
Sorry, Ezart. I’ll disguise myself to directly fight with you as Dark Sun some other day, instead of fighting you in the battle simulator! Ri Xiang Ye silently said to himself.
Since he wasn’t planning to go in, then he’d head over to the cafeteria to wait. He could play with Xiao Ai while waiting to buy lunch!
After Ri Xiang Ye came up with a plan that left him happy, with a big backpack hanging off of each shoulder, he went toward the cafeteria.
Ri Xiang Ye continued to walk toward the cafeteria. His face was filled with excitement, and his steps were so light it was like he was about to float away.
“I told you to stop. Did you not hear me?”
Right, should I buy a console for Gēge on my way home so we can play together? Ri Xiang Ye seriously contemplated this issue. But Gēge’s so old now. Does he still like toys?
“Hey! Are you ignoring me on purpose?”
A furious girl’s voice carried over. At the same time, Ri Xiang Ye sensed something headed for his shoulder. He reflexively dodged and turned around while retreating, putting some distance between the object and going from having his back turned to it to facing it.
The girl in front of him was frozen where she stood with just her right hand extended, her stance completely not one trying to attack him.
The girl was extraordinarily pretty. Her black hair was cut in a neat, short style. Her friendly red eyes had widened and were very cute.
Two guys were standing next to the girl. One of them had brown hair and aquamarine eyes. The smile on his face was extremely gentle and left a good impression on people. The praise from just earlier was from him.
The other person was completely the opposite. He had pale blue hair like ice, along with eyes of the same color but just a shade darker.1 This combination of cool colors was enough for people nearby to feel that the temperature had sharply dropped. As if that weren’t enough, the expression on his face was frigid to the point that people might wonder if his face was carved out of ice.
“Eli, don’t you think those moves were pretty good?” The guy with the brilliant smile spiritedly asked his companion, as though he didn’t notice the frigid expression on his companion’s face.
The frosty man called Eli’s lips moved almost imperceptibly to say, “Not bad.”
The radiant young man exaggeratedly gasped in awe, “Wow! Eli actually said, ‘Not bad,’ so you really must be pretty good.”
“Stupid Elian! That isn’t what matters.” The girl spun around angrily. Then she said, “What matters is that he made me call him three times and ignored me!”
“That’s truly unforgivable. How could you have let our Princess Eloise call you three times?” Elian shook his head and sighed exaggeratedly.
At this moment, Ri Xiang Ye was still in the mindset of a curious child. He immediately asked, “Why do you call her princess?”
Royalty no longer existed in this world, so of course, there also wouldn’t be the title of princess, a noun that he believed only existed in the history books.
Perhaps, the lifestyle from being the children of some economic alliance bosses was about the same as those of princesses and princes of old, even tending to be slightly more luxurious… But at the very least, most people still wouldn’t be calling them things like princess or prince.
“Because Eloise is the only girl in the Elites! Of course she’s our princess,” Elian replied with extreme friendliness.
“Oh…” Ri Xiang Ye replied as though he understood when really he didn’t.
If the person he was asking were Ezart instead, he definitely would have continued to ask questions about it. Why would the only girl have to be called a princess? A princess should be the daughter of a king, right?
But over the past few days, Ri Xiang Ye had already fully understood a problem of his. To other people, it was just how things were, so asking made them suspicious of him and instead had them wondering where he was getting all these troublesome questions from. So it was better to stop while he was still ahead.
Wait a moment! Did they just say… The Elites?! Ri Xiang Ye suddenly lifted his head and blurted out, “You’re students from the Elites?”
Hearing this, Elian showed an expression of frustration, seemingly regretting his slip of the tongue. However, his actions earlier were all so exaggerated that it was hard to tell if he was actually was frustrated or if it was just another act.
“You can’t tell anyone.” Elian clasped his hands together in a pitiful, pleading way.
Ri Xiang Ye looked around them. When Elian had admitted he was an Elite Combat Class student earlier, he hadn’t spoken very quietly. Ri Xiang Ye’s shout just now wasn’t very quiet either and had attracted even more attention. A lot of people around them had stopped with expressions of either disbelief or suspicion on their faces.
It didn’t seem to matter whether or not he told anyone.
“Please!” Elian looked even more pitiful.
“Elian!” After Eloise suddenly shouted, she grabbed Elian and tossed the grown man into the air like a pillow. Then, with her hands on her hips, she shouted at the man in the air, “You’re not allowed to bully him. I saw him first!”
Elian was a bit of a sad sight as he fell out of the sky. He even landed butt first. His originally fairly handsome face was now twisted in an unsightly wail of anguish, but Eloise didn’t have the slightest bit of sympathy for his plight. She impatiently shouted, “Elian, you’re so noisy! If you don’t shut up, I’ll toss you up again!”
After receiving a clear warning, Elian could only stop using his pitiful expression. As he massaged his butt while standing back up, he muttered, “Being bullied by me is definitely better than being liked by you.”
Ri Xiang Ye looked at Eloise warily. She was actually able to throw such a tall man into the air so easily. Her strength might be comparable with Ezart’s.
But Eloise had evidently heard Elian’s mutterings, and ferociously glared at him. Elian could only hastily remind her, “O.K., O.K. Princess, finish hitting on your beloved pretty boy! If we fool around here any longer, we might not be able to finish the mission the principal gave us.”
A mission from the principal? Ri Xiang Ye tilted his head to think. He remembered Ezart saying before that the students who joined the Elites were people who were all so strong that they didn’t need combat lessons. So usually, they were completing missions from the principal. Once they completed a certain number of them, they could graduate.
“Elian, Eli, look! He’s so cute when he tilts his head to think like that!” Eloise scooted closer to Ri Xiang Ye, looking at his face infatuatedly.
“Really now. I think Eli and I are handsomer! He’s clearly still a kid.” Elian rolled his eyes, muttering grudgingly. Then again, thinking about it, if a girl who could casually throw him up into the air confessed to him… A shiver went up his spine. He decisively decided to stop talking and just silently watch someone else suffer.
“Hey, hey. Be my boyfriend?” Eloise requested extremely bluntly.
“No!” Ri Xiang Ye also declined extremely bluntly.
“Why not? Am I not pretty enough?” Eloise shouted.
Hahaha! This isn’t the first time the princess has been rejected, but it’s still the first time someone’s rejected her so flatly! Elian was off to the side wildly laughing while tugging on Eli’s arm, although Eli didn’t pay him any attention.
“I have Xiao Ai,” Ri Xiang Ye replied matter-of-factly.
Eloise was stunned. Then her shoulders slumped and she dispiritedly walked back to where Elian and Eli were, lamenting, “So he already has a girlfriend. You should have said so from the start!”
“This is my Xiao Ai.”
Ri Xiang Ye pulled out his virtual lover game from his backpack and then cheerfully introduced Xiao Ai to his new friends. Since they had exchanged more than three sentences, they were friends! That was Ri Xiang Ye’s definition of a friend.
Elian, Eloise, and even the cold Eli couldn’t help but glance at the console. Even Eli’s frigid face gained some expression—that of surprise.
“Princess, your Highness! You… You’ve actually lost to a dating sim! I-It really …” After Elian finished his exaggerated shouting, he couldn’t hold back a huge laugh. “It really is a record-breaking reason to turn someone down!”
Eloise’s face was flushed with anger. She furiously glared at Ri Xiang Ye and bellowed, “Are you trying to mess with me?!”
Since they were friends, at this point, Ri Xiang Ye’s own reminder to not ask random questions had already flown out of his mind. He immediately asked back in bewilderment, “What does ‘mess with you’ mean?”
Hearing those words, Eloise’s eyes grew wide. She was trying to tell from Ri Xiang Ye’s face if he was trolling her or if he really didn’t know… But like how Ezart had once commented to Ri Xiang Ye, his face that completely said, “I’m a dork. What can you do about it?” was f***ing idiotic to the point that it left people unable to do anything to him.
“Did this brat… Come out of a cave?” Elian had no idea that he had come to the same conclusion as Ezart.
Eloise, who was initially filled with rage and about to randomly vent her anger, really couldn’t bring herself to smack the pretty boy she liked. He was showing such a dorky expression too. How can someone so dumb be so cute!
She wanted to just run up to him and give a “big sisterly hug” to comfort this dorky pretty boy!
Ri Xiang Ye seemed to sense danger and slowly backed away…
“Oh, it looks like the princess isn’t planning on going into the battle simulator. Eli, let’s just go in on our own. Anyway, it’s not like the target is guaranteed to show up,” Elian said to his companion.
“Princess! We’re heading in on our own first, O.K.?” Elian didn’t forget to inform Eloise.
Eloise looked about ready to eat someone as she whirled around, giving Elian a huge scare. He hastily spoke, stopped, and started again, “Since you want to torment… No, comfort! Comfort the pretty boy, then the two of us will head into the simulator to find our target first. We have to complete the mission the principal gave us!”
A conflicted expression appeared on Eloise’s face when she heard those words. After having an internal struggle for a while, during which she had looked several times at Ri Xiang Ye with reluctance, she finally made up her mind. She refused, “No! I must go in!”
“I didn’t know you could be so professional?” Elian muttered.
“Rumor has it the target is a handsome man,” Eli coolly said this sentence.
So that’s why! Elian suddenly understood. So the real reason is that a pretty boy can’t beat the charms of a handsome man!
“What are you saying?! I-I heard that the target was very strong, so…” Eloise’s voice grew softer as she spoke. It looked like she couldn’t even persuade herself.
“Fine, fine.” Elian rolled his eyes. He turned his head to look at Ri Xiang Ye and ask, “Kid, what class are you from?
Although Elian didn’t know Ri Xiang Ye’s exact age, Ri Xiang Ye was so cute, still played with toys, and had a timid appearance. It was already enough for Elian to treat him like a young kid.
“Class D,” Ri Xiang Ye honestly replied.
“Thanks.” He turned his head again to look at Eloise. “Is this O.K.? You can go find your handsome man first, then go on your own to Class D and find your pretty boy.”
“Lian! I love you to pieces!” Eloise always loved to call Elian by a nickname. According to her own explanation, her name was three syllables long, so of course she also had to call Elian by a three syllable nickname. Only then would it be “fair.”2
“Yes, yes! Your Highness, Master Ice Cube, we’ll be off! If we head into the simulator any later, it’ll be time for lunch already, and the simulator will be shut off!” Elian dragged the other two off toward the simulator. He had only walked two steps when he looked back at Ri Xiang Ye to yell, “Kid, don’t forget to cheer us on from outside!”
“You’re planning to fight?” Eli finally reacted.
Elian explained as he walked, “We’ve already waited for so many days and haven’t found the target. If we fight, the target might come out to challenge us…”
After Ri Xiang Ye blankly watched the three of them walk into the simulator, a calculating and emotionless cold light surfaced in his eyes. It was the look of Dark Sun.
Three strong fighters… Especially that Elian who liked to laugh. He was the strongest!
Ri Xiang Ye thought… Or rather, “Dark Sun” thought for a while. Then he wordlessly left with rushed footsteps.
The plaza in front of the battle simulator was crammed with an unprecedented amount of people. It seemed almost all the students in the school were there, and even most of the teachers had heard the news and had come. Over ten thousand people were gathered. Moving in the slightest could mean trampling other people into a rug, or becoming the rug other people stepped on.
This was all because of one reason: the Elite Combat Class students, who had never shown up before, were participating in the battle!
The crowd went from speculating whether Ezart would beat Bai Lian Xing this time to wondering if Ezart and Bai Lian Xing could fight on equal ground with Elite Combat Class students.
Most people were still confident in them, but there were still some who were on edge. After all, rumor had it that the Elite Combat Class was really so strong they were almost superhuman… But then again, Ezart’s monstrous strength and Bai Lian Xing’s snake-like body also couldn’t be considered human.
In this noisy, packed plaza, a single person silently approached. However, even water wouldn’t have been able to seep through the crowded path leading to the battle simulator door. Everyone was waiting for the losers to come out. Then, they would rush to ask how it was like being killed by students from the Elite Combat Class.
That person observed the situation and came to the conclusion that normal means couldn’t be used to traverse this path. He crouched down, jumped the height of a person, and speedily leapt through the air toward the doorway. Naturally, the places he was pushing off of were people’s shoulders and even heads.
“Who did that?!”
“Who stepped on my head?!”
“My face! It’s ruined…”
Everyone fiercely searched for the culprit, but they could only glimpse the back of a figure in a tight-fitting red shirt and jeans that were tucked into boots. This attire was very familiar…
“T-that’s…” Someone gasped in alarm.
“Who was that? Tell me! I’ma kill him!” A person who’d been stepped on swore.
“It’s that guy who defeated Bai Lian Xing the other day…”
Defeated Bai Lian Xing? Up until now, only one person had defeated Bai Lian Xing in the battle simulator…
On his second time stepping into the battle simulator, Dark Sun didn’t come in unprepared looking like Ri Xiang Ye like last time. Instead, he was already fully dressed as Dark Sun, including a silver mirrored visor on his face. His expression was without a trace of humanity.
Appearing on the giant screen was an old man with a mischievous smile.
“Hello. I am Yelan Academy’s principal, Ah Na Yi. Young man, I welcome you to strengthen yourself in the battle simulator. Please enter your username and password.”
“Username: Dark Sun. Password: XXXX,” Dark Sun tonelessly replied.
“Now choose your equipment.”
“Two daggers, a set of throwing knives, and a pistol.” Dark Sun was being more cautious than last time. The three people from the Elite Combat Class didn’t seem to be nobodies.
The virtual equipment immediately appeared in front of Dark Sun. He quickly inserted a dagger into his boots, hung the entire set of throwing knives across his waist, and used his belt to bind the pistol to the outside of his left thigh. Last, he gripped a dagger backwards in his right hand.
“And finally, I wish you a happy battle. Hehe.” On screen, Principal Ah Na Yi had on an indulgent smile as he watched his student slowly walk into battle.
In order to preserve fairness, the battle similar had many entrances, placing students in random areas to decrease the chances of getting ambushed. The settings for the battles were also always randomly sampled. Dark Sun currently found himself in a dense tropical rainforest.
First defeat Ezart, then battle with those three! In any case, Dark Sun was ninety percent sure that the target they were speaking of was probably him.
Although he didn’t know why they were looking for him, knowing that they wouldn’t leave the battle simulator before finding him, Dark Sun was in no hurry to find the three of them.
Since he had bothered to come in, then why not find Ezart first and grant him the wish of fighting with him?
In the rainforest, Dark Sun fully utilized the lush vegetation to conceal himself. He brushed past people several times. They were completely unaware of his presence.
Dark Sun used the microchip in his brain to calculate the dimensions of the battle simulator and his position, efficiently seeking out Ezart.
Still not having found Ezart yet, he instead found a familiar person first: Eloise.
She didn’t look much different, still wearing light and comfortable clothes. The only thing was that she held a pair of massive axes in her hands. Even though the size and weight of the axes made it look like they should only be displayed in a museum exhibit and would require finding a trolley whenever they needed to be moved, Eloise was casually lifting them.
Her ease warned other people that the two axes in this woman’s hands weren’t just for show.
She was walking around alone in the rainforest. In addition, she didn’t have any intent to hide at all, even offhandedly cutting down whatever was blocking her path, from weeds to large trees. She had a faint aura of being willing to hack down any god and kill any demon that stood in her way.
“Will he really show up? We’ve been here so many times already, and this time we’re stuck in this stupid rainforest again!” As she approached, she constantly complained, as though there were a person next to her listening to her talk.
Dark Sun didn’t really think that there was no one near her. First of all, where did Elian and Eli go? Furthermore, Eloise didn’t look at all like she was talking to herself.
Dark Sun scanned Eloise’s surroundings. But he was completely unable to uncover any trace of other people, putting him even further on guard.
“Shut up!” A deep male voice warned.
Eloise’s eyes grew wide. Her face was filled with anger as she said, “Eli, don’t think that if I can’t see you, I can’t do anything to you! If you make me mad, I’ll cut down everything around me. We’ll see if you can still dodge that!”
Eli’s irritated voice once again came out from somewhere in her vicinity, “Quiet! There’s someone else here!”
This time, Eloise did shut up. She knew that based on Eli’s personality, he wouldn’t say this without good reason. She squinted her large eyes and scoured her surroundings.
Dark Sun had now confirmed that at least Eli was indeed somewhere nearby. But even with his cyborg abilities, he was still unable to locate Eli. Yet Eli had somehow found him?
He really wanted to test Eli and see if Eli could find his location. If he could, then Dark Sun needed to find the reason and make improvements to have the highest capabilities to complete his master’s orders.
So he quietly waited.
Eloise was beginning to feel a little uneasy. Normally, Eli would have already told her where the enemy was and then, she would smash the enemy to death. Yet, she received no response.
It was silent for a while longer, but Eli’s cold voice finally sounded again, “I can’t find him… Looks like we’ve really found our target.”
“Even you can’t find him?” Eloise was dumbfounded. But Eli’s a person with “that special ability!”
“Maybe there really isn’t anyone?”
“No. There’s someone. I can sense it, but it’s very weak,” Eli immediately dismissed.
Eloise muttered a few words, “Fine, fine. I know your ability is really strong.”
Can sense it, but it’s very weak? Dark Sun immediately began to try to determine how the enemy had actually discovered his presence. The enemy was clearly unable to find his location, but had also determined with certainty that there was someone present?
Perhaps it isn’t an ordinary method. Dark Sun began to understand. In that case, should he fight with them or follow his original plan to find Ezart?
“Eloise.” Eli had appeared from somewhere without anyone noticing and walked next to Eloise, saying, “Destroy this place.”
Eloise rolled her shoulders. “O.K.! It was getting too boring anyway.”
Once she finished speaking, she lifted her massive axes in both hands and began to wreck everything indiscriminately three hundred sixty degrees around her. With her terrifying destructive power, there was no difference between large trees and weeds. They were all smashed apart in a single blow.
Eli was almost smashed apart along with them more than a few times. In addition, the fact that he hadn’t been crushed wasn’t because Eloise had stopped, but rather, Eli himself had dodged away.
That being said, Dark Sun wasn’t certain if this strength was actually greater than Ezart’s. However, in regards to visual impact, between seeing a pretty girl and a ripped man display the same kind of freakishly huge strength, it was clearly a lot more shocking to watch the girl.
Leading her to battle Ezart seems like it would be a lot of fun… Dark Sun—No, it should be the hidden Ri Xiang Ye—couldn’t help but childishly think.
Eli suddenly widened his eyes, shouting, “I sensed it! Over there!”
The tacit understanding between them clearly wasn’t from just fighting together for only one or two days. Eli had only stared in a certain direction, and Eloise’s axes immediately swung down upon Dark Sun’s hiding place. Almost at the same time Eli finished speaking, the axes had already cut down the spot he had indicated.
The figure of a person leapt up from the debris of the tree leaves and trunk. Seemingly as a taunt, when he landed, he purposefully did so on top of Eloise’s ax.
“A handsome man!” Eloise greedily took in Dark Sun’s slender figure, and although his face couldn’t be seen, just those tightly-pressed lips of his lower face and his figure were enough.
“It still counts if his face can’t be seen?” Eli coolly mocked as he pulled out and shot a small flare. A beautiful firework burst in the sky.
Eloise lifted her other ax and sent it toward the aforementioned handsome man while replying, “Aiya! Guys like you wouldn’t understand. As soon as I watched the video of his battle, with those beautiful moves and that icy cold attitude, I knew that he has to be super handsome under that visor!”
Eli coldly huffed at this completely unfounded bias that wasn’t even worth paying attention to. His hands reached into his possessions and ten specially crafted darts appeared in his hands. The front of the darts were blades five centimeters long, with grooves for blood at the tip. The back of the darts were rings, just big enough for fingers to slide in.
“Hey! Hey! Ten darts? Are you aiming to kill?” Eloise stared with wide eyes. The mission they had received wasn’t to kill Dark Sun!
Eli icily retorted, “I doubt these ten darts can hold him off until Elian comes.”
Eloise blinked. She felt a bit like Eli was taking things too seriously. Dark Sun was very strong in the clip of his battle, but no matter how strong he was, he would still have a difficult time fending off her and Eli!
Although it seemed like the two of them were quarreling, Eloise’s attacks had never paused. The two massive axes constantly whistled back and forth through the air.
Dark Sun dodged easily. She couldn’t reach Bai Lian Xing’s speed. He believed that if he wanted to defeat her, it wouldn’t be a difficult matter.
Her fighting style was very similar to Ezart’s too. Instead of fighting Eloise, he might as well go battle with Ezart and grant his friend’s wish while he was at it.
The more she fought, the more uneasy Eloise became. She even repeatedly looked toward Eli.
Dark Sun’s desire to fight her was already gone. If he hadn’t been waiting for Eli, who was off to the side, to make a move, then Eloise would have already been defeated a long time ago.
But Eli still didn’t do anything.
“Eli!” Eloise finally couldn’t take it anymore and yelled, “Why aren’t you using your ability to help me?!”
Eli pursed his lips. His face was unexpectedly pale. “I can’t sense it…”
“What?” Eloise was shocked.
“I can’t tell what he’s thinking or what his next attack will be. I can’t sense anything at all.” There was a tremble in the last word Eli spoke.
Eloise turned pale with fright. “No way! Have you lost your ability? You can’t read thoughts anymore?”
“No. I know what you’re thinking. It’s only him that I can’t sense anything from.” Eli was disturbed. He began to doubt whether there was something wrong with his ability. Or… is the person before us… not human at all?
“Aside from a small number of the body’s reflexes, if it’s a conscious movement, it will definitely take some thought, no matter how short that amount of thinking is…”
This was how he and Eloise had always fought. Eloise would be on the front lines meeting the enemy head on, and he would be off to the side silently indicating what the enemy’s next move would be, even using his darts to attack the enemy on his own. For a person who could read minds, finding the enemy’s weak points and striking at them was his most fearsome ability.
“But he’s not thinking at all. It’s like all of his movements are reflexes.” Eli had to keep the alarm from his voice, “But this isn’t possible! Only animals are like that.”
Eloise was already at a loss. This kind of situation had never happened before, and it left her unsure of what to do. She already knew from the video clip of the battle how strong Dark Sun was. If Eli was unable to help her, she didn’t have any way to keep Dark Sun from leaving.
In contrast to the duo’s shock, Dark Sun was making a determination. Mind reading was a useless ability to him. Even science couldn’t reproduce that kind of special ability.
He hadn’t expected both Eloise and Eli’s abilities would be useless for him. Although he wouldn’t go so far as to say he was disappointed, Dark Sun didn’t want to continue being caught up with them.
Let’s go find Ezart! After he had decided, Dark Sun shot away like an arrow, resuming his unfinished search.
Dark Sun’s inhuman speed left Eloise with no chance to block him. She was extremely upset. Theyd searched for so many days, and finally found him with difficulty, only to have their hopes dashed.
She angrily roared at her partner, “He ran! What now?”
“I read something,” Eli replied with a completely different answer.
“What did you read?”
1 Hair and eye color: The trio’s looks have changed quite a bit since the old edition of Eclipse Hunter!
Eloise: Pink hair, red eyes
Elian: Reddish brown hair, blue eyes
Eli: Pale green hair, silver eyes
The old volume 2 artwork by Ya Sha depicts them with the old descriptions.
2 Elian’s nickname: Eloise gives an explanation in this edition and not the previous edition. Elian’s name is written as 艾爾利安 (Ài ěr lì’ān) and four syllables long, while his nickname is 艾利安(Ài lì’ān) which cuts it down to three. Eloise’s name is 愛蘿伊(Ài luó yī).