Eclipse Hunter Volume 2: Having Friends, Having Feelings
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我(Yu Wo)
Chapter Three: The Child and the Demon—translated by Trespasserby (proofread by Arcedemius & Elisa; C/E edited by lucathia)
Ri Xiang Ye speedily walked into the school cafeteria. He was just thinking of rushing to line up to buy lunch when…
“Stupid brat. Over here!”
Ri Xiang Ye turned to look. Ezart was already lazily munching on bread. As usual, his surroundings were free of people. It was clear that Ezart had already realized that Ri Xiang Ye hadn’t come to the cafeteria first, so he’d helped Ri Xiang Ye grab two large plates of food.
Oh no! Ri Xiang Ye anxiously walked over and sat across from Ezart.
“What the hell were you doing!” As expected, he was yelled at as soon as he sat down. “I told you to come buy lunch first and you came even later than I did!”
Although Ezart was cursing at him, the expression on his face clearly wasn’t one of real anger. Ri Xiang Ye even had the impression that Ezart was in a good mood.
Ri Xiang Ye was puzzled. He had definitely heard other people say that Ezart and Bai Lian Xing had gone up against Elian from the Elites and had even lost two against one. In the end, both of them had been killed and eliminated by Elian.
This was why Dark Sun had been unable to find Ezart in the battle simulator that entire time. Finally, the timer for the game had run out, and he had no choice but to hurriedly change into student clothes and run to the cafeteria.
“You seem really happy?” Ri Xiang Ye gingerly asked.
“Of course!” Ezart slapped the table forcefully. There was an overjoyed smile on his face. “You won’t believe who I met in there! A student from the Elites!”
“Was he powerful?” Those words were actually spoken by Dark Sun, but the excessively thick glasses obscured his merciless eyes.
Ezart burst into loud laughter. “Powerful? Lemme tell you, I can only say one thing. Strong! Extremely strong!”
A strong fighter! Dark Sun couldn’t help but want to duel Elian. But then he also remembered that Eli and Eloise were also supposed to be strong fighters, but their abilities weren’t of any use to him. He couldn’t help but frown and ask, “What is Elian’s fighting style like?”
“Since when have you been so interested in battles, brat?” Although Ezart was asking, he was in such a good mood after his battle that he didn’t give it any further thought. He even felt that he wanted to tell everyone all about how amazing Elian was. “He wields blades, dual blades. He waves them so fast it’s like the blades form a net around him. Even that brat Bai Lian Xing couldn’t find any gaps.”
Dark Sun nodded and understood that he would need to enter the battle simulator again. Even though he knew this could easily go against the command for keeping his abilities hidden, he had no choice but to do so for the sake of growing stronger. It was the reason he had put his glasses back on.
Although the glasses had been deemed “ugly,” they were very effective at hiding his identity. In order to follow his master’s command, he couldn’t care less if they were ugly or not.
“Ah Ye, eat up! Today’s my treat!”
Ezart straightforwardly patted Ri Xiang Ye on the back. It looked like he was really in too good of a mood. He went so far as to say he was treating Ri Xiang Re despite Ri Xiang Ye’s terrifying appetite and his own state of impoverishment.
Ri Xiang Ye only said, “Oh,” and then began to battle with the two large plates of food.
Meanwhile, Ezart hummed a tune while munching on his bread.
At that moment, three unexpected people stepped into the school cafeteria. Even more, they were looking left and right like they were searching for someone.
While they were looking around, the students in the area also recognized the three people. They were the ones who had just been in the battle simulator fighting against Ezart, Bai Lian Xing, and Dark Sun: Elian, Eloise, and Eli.
The cafeteria fell silent. The students seemed to have fallen victim to a paralyzing technique, each of them frozen in place. There were even some who had stopped in the middle of eating noodles, a bowl in their hands and noodles dangling from their mouths. Their heads were raised as they stared dazedly at the three people.
It wasn’t long before the three of them found who they were looking for. They nimbly walked over to what was evidently their target—the cafeteria was so crowded yet this single table was almost empty and only seated two people, making it a clear target—and that was Ezart and Ri Xiang Ye’s table.
Elian looked at Ezart with a smile and said, “Hello.”
Ezart was actually even happier than Elian. He shouted, “It’s you! Fighting you was the best!”
“Agreed. It’s a pity you and Bai Lian Xing aren’t students of the Elites.” As usual, Elian had on an exaggeratedly regretful expression.
Ezart’s eyebrows went up. He was about to make plans to battle with Elian again, but a rude girl’s voice cut him off.
“You’re Ezart?” Eloise asked without a trace of politeness.
Ezart straightforwardly replied, “That’s me.”
“Do you know Dark Sun?” This time it was Eli speaking. He normally wouldn’t casually open his mouth to speak, but right now he was very anxious to confirm if the name he had read was from Dark Sun.
“Dark Sun?” Ezart had no idea of what was going on. He offhandedly replied, “I’ve only seen him once in the battle simulator. That punk Bai Lian Xing was the one who actually got to fight him.”
“You really have only seen him once?” A trace of disbelief flitted across Elian’s face. Then his expression shifted to one of pure innocence as he said, “But he clearly told me that he was best buds with you! And if I needed to find him, I should come look for you.”
Hearing this, Ri Xiang Ye lifted his head. His black eyes were cold behind the lenses. He obviously knew that he had never met Elian as Dark Sun, to say nothing of whether or not he had told Elian how to find him.
“The heck?” Ezart’s head was in a fog. He frowned as he said, “I’ve never said a word to that guy. How could we know each other?”
“Eh? Really?” Elian glanced at Eli out of the corner of his eye while his mouth moved in an apology to Ezart, “Maybe we found the wrong person or heard the wrong name… This sucks! Now we don’t know where to go find Dark Sun.”
Elian’s actions and Eli’s look of frustration hadn’t escaped Ri Xiang Ye’s notice. He knew Eli could read minds, so he was being especially careful not to have his mind read. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to keep the secret that Ri Xiang Ye was actually Dark Sun hidden.
“Huh? Haven’t I seen you before?”
At this moment, Eloise noticed the nerd off to the side. Such a stereotypical-looking student was really hard to miss. If they hadn’t been so focused on Ezart in order to complete their mission, it wouldn’t have taken this long for them to notice him.
But I only just met Eloise earlier and she already can’t recognize me? Are these black frame glasses really that ugly…? Ri Xiang Ye hesitated for a moment. Should I admit that I’m the person she blocked earlier in the plaza? Or continue eating and pretend I don’t know?
But actually, although the black frame glasses really had an awful effect on his looks, it wasn’t so bad that it would cause someone he had just met to be unable to recognize him. What really prevented Eloise from recognizing him was that Ri Xiang Ye’s mouth was completely stuffed with food, which distorted the shape of his face. When paired together with the “points subtracting” black frame glasses, it led to Eloise being unable to recognize him.
Therefore, once Ah Ye had swallowed the food in his mouth with a gulp, Eloise immediately shrieked and then grabbed Ri Xiang Ye’s black frame glasses, threw them to the ground and—like a cockroach deserving death ten thousand times over—forcefully smashed them again and again. She didn’t even forget to flip them over several times with the tip of her foot.
It should be remembered that Eloise is a character that could wildly wave around gigantic axes that looked like they belonged in a museum exhibit. Under her extreme hatred and formidable destructive power, even the floor tiles had been cracked, to say nothing of the glasses. In the end, what had just been a perfectly good pair of glasses was turned into dust, their original shape was unable to be made out.
“M-My glasses…” Ri Xiang Ye blankly watched his perfectly good glasses get smashed into smithereens, and then grinded into the floor, finally leaving nothing behind.
Everyone dazedly looked at the “glasses killing murderer,” not understanding what deep seated grudge this girl held against the pair of glasses, causing her to enact the sort of evil scheme where only dust remained.
Eloise didn’t care at all about the attention from everyone. She fiercely said to Ri Xiang Ye, “You’re not allowed to wear those incredibly ugly glasses anymore!”
“Aiya, it’s the kid from the plaza.” It was at this moment that Elian finally recognized Ri Xiang Ye.
Ri Xiang Ye was frozen. He didn’t know how to respond. He obviously didn’t have to listen to Eloise, and he wasn’t afraid of her inhuman strength. But at the moment, he distinctly sensed that telling her no would be an unwise move.
After hesitating a moment, Ri Xiang Ye replied, “Oh.” In this situation where he had no idea what to do, he responded with an ambiguous answer.
“You can’t just say ‘Oh.’ You have to swear you won’t wear glasses again.” Eloise wasn’t willing to let him off the hook.
“About that… But my nearsightedness…” Unable to trick her, Ri Xiang Ye could only try to convince her to give up.
“So what if you’re nearsighted! There’s contact lenses! If not, I’ll even pay for you to get an eye operation to fix it!”
Eloise seemed to be the embodiment of a rakshasa. Her expression was so scary Ri Xiang Ye wanted to cry. Her voice went up over an octave as she screeched, “Anyway, you just CAAAAN’T! WEAAAAR! GLAAAAASSES!”
S-So scary! Ri Xiang Ye was about ready to cry. Gēge…
“Dearie me. Why are your eyes red? But you’re even cuter this way!”
Suddenly, the rakshasa turned into the big sister from next door. She gently held her arms out as she thought to give a “big sisterly hug.” Then with a “gentle” voice, she comforted Ri Xiang Ye, who was shivering in her bosom, “Don’t worry. Big sis will protect you!”
Ri Xiang Ye was tightly gripped by Eloise. He wanted to break free but didn’t dare to. Although Eloise was exceedingly gentle at the moment, it was her rakshasa-like face earlier that had scared him so much he was about to cry.
The flip between the rakshasa and the gentle big sis made it even more terrifying. With tears swimming in his eyes, Ri Xiang Ye could only look at Ezart for help…
It was a pity that Ezart clearly had no interest in acting out “saving a ‘damsel’ in distress.” With an extreme lack of chivalry, he turned his head away and continued to munch on his bread.
Elian was off to the side laughing so much that he was grasping onto Eli’s shoulder to keep from falling to the ground and rolling about.
“Let me tell you, Eloise, before you go around hugging people, you have to at least ask their name first!” Through his laughter, Elian teased, “Otherwise when people ask you what the pretty boy you ‘forcefully hugged’ was called, you’ll have no clue! Won’t that be embarrassing?”
“What do you mean ‘forcefully hugged?!’ Where do you see me forcing him?” Eloise replied self-righteously, “This is mutual! Mutual!”
“You must be blind… Can’t you see he’s about to cry? Is that what you call mutual?” Elian muttered.
“What did you say?” Eloise pointedly asked.
“I said, hehe, what’s your name, kid?” Elian hastily turned his head to ask Ri Xiang Ye smilingly, trying to distract Eloise.
“An Xiang Ye,” Ri Xiang Ye timidly replied with his fake name.
“Oh. Ah Ye, huh? That’s not a bad name.”
Smiling, Elian rubbed Ri Xiang Ye’s head, already treating him like a little brother.
Ri Xiang Ye suddenly looked up at Elian, unexpectedly overflowing with joy. Elian called me Ah Ye! And Elian just called me that on his own without me telling him.
“You’re like my gēge!” Ri Xiang Ye couldn’t help saying emotionally.
“Hm. I’m like your gēge?” Elian replied with some astonishment. What a coincidence. Ah Ye just happens to have a brother that’s like me?
“Yeah!” Ri Xiang Ye nodded his head vigorously.
“Dìdi! Come, give Gēge a hug.” Elian had on an exaggeratedly mushy expression. He pulled Ri Xiang Ye into his embrace. Then he sent a look at Eloise, using his eyes to smugly say, Look! This is what “mutual” is!
Eloise was about to explode. But when she saw how happy Ri Xiang Ye was, she couldn’t force him to not hug Elian. She could only grudgingly say, “It’s only because you just happen to look like Ah Ye’s big brother.”
But actually, Elian and Ri Xiang Yan were completely different, from their looks to their personalities. It was just that Ri Xiang Ye had the odd trait of treating any male life form that smiled at him like his brother. This was because he simple-mindedly believed anyone who smiled at him was like his brother.
“Great! I’ve gained a little brother to dote on in the future!” Elian looked at Ri Xiang Ye emotionally, asking, “Can I come visit you often, Ah Ye?”
“O.K., El-gē. You definitely have to come visit me.” Ri Xiang Ye was delighted. Not only did he have another Gēge who would smile at him, but he also had Eloise and Eli as friends.
Hearing the words “El-gē,” Elian’s smile seemed to freeze a little. But he immediately rubbed Ri Xiang Ye’s head again indulgently, saying, “No problem. I’ll definitely come find you.”
“You have to, El-gē.” Ri Xiang Ye happily smiled.
After leaving the school cafeteria, Elian, Eloise, and Eli were abnormally silent as they walked to the deepest part of the school.
Their destination was a place most students couldn’t go into—the principal’s exclusive building. It was also the Elites’ “classroom,” even though the Elites had never done something like “go to class.”
Eloise suddenly called Elian out. In an instant, the three of them all stopped. Elian turned his head to look back, his face completely expressionless, unlike his usual smiling face.
She reproachfully said, “If you just wanted to get closer to Ezart, there was no need to take advantage of Ah Ye, right?”
Elian shook his head and said, “I had another reason. Did none of you notice? Dark Sun has silver hair. An Xiang Ye’s the same. Even their builds are almost identical.”
“You suspect Ah Ye’s Dark Sun?” Eloise was extremely shocked.
Elian didn’t respond to her, instead turning to his other companion to ask, “Eli, did you manage to read anything?”
“I only read a few fragments. None of them had anything to do with Dark Sun,” Eli straightforwardly said.
He knew that in reality, Eli’s mind reading ability didn’t allow him to know everything. People’s thoughts were extremely complicated, usually with layers of thoughts on top of and intertwining with each other, and Eli could only catch a few of the most important fragments of thought.
In battle, enemies were usually focused on the battle at hand and wouldn’t be thinking of trivial matters. As a result, thoughts during battle were the easiest to read. But if it were an ordinary chat, Eli would only be able to read some fragments, and these fragments were not always useful.
“What did you read?” Elian sensibly asked.
This wasn’t the first time he had used Eli’s mind reading ability to complete a mission. Although Eli hadn’t read any pertinent information, Elian knew those seemingly useless pieces of information often would yield unexpectedly useful tidbits after thinking them over.
“Glasses, ugly, master, game, order, and such phrases. When you started speaking with him, there were some that had to do with you. ” Eli hesitated for a moment, not entirely certain as he said, “Elian, liar, smile, Ah Ye, and Gēge.”
“He thought I was a liar?” Elian warily asked.
Eli shook his head. “I’m not sure. There could have been another person’s name in between I didn’t read. There is a chance he wasn’t directing it at you. When he called you El-gē, he really was very happy.”
Hearing those words, Elian’s face stiffened. But he immediately reverted back to his solemn expression.
“No way!” At this moment, Eloise loudly interjected, “Ah Ye’s not Dark Sun. Lian, you must have made a mistake. The two of them are completely different. Ah Ye’s so naïve and cute, and Dark Sun is, is so scary!”
Elian really changed expressions this time. He had on a sneer as he looked at Eloise and said, “Eloise, after working together with me for so long, don’t you know how many two-faced people there are in this world? Even if your cute Ah Ye-dìdi turned into a demon, it wouldn’t be anything strange.”
“It would be strange to me.”
Eloise still couldn’t find a retort, but Eli insipidly spoke up.
“Although I can’t always use my mind reading ability to read useful information, when it comes to determining a person’s nature, it’s very simple.”
Eli’s gaze shifted over to Elian’s face. “Your thoughts are very fast. There’s also a large number of thoughts and complex layers upon layers crossing. People like that are usually more reserved and are skilled schemers.”
Elian froze, but didn’t deny it.
“An Xiang Ye happens to be the opposite. His thoughts are very slow and there’s a lot fewer of them compared to the average person. Furthermore, all his thoughts seem to be in a straight line.”
“What does that mean? What kind of person is Ah Ye?” Eloise was anxious, fearing that Ah Ye’s cute naivety was really fake.
Eli was silent for a while before he opened his mouth to say, “A little kid. I’ve only read those kinds of thoughts from little kids.”
Hearing this, Eloise was smug. She gave Elian a look of “I told you so.”
But Elian was indifferent to Eloise’s taunt. He only asked again, “Have you ever come to the wrong conclusion before?”
Eli glanced at Elian, explaining, “I’ve read false information before, but I’ve never been wrong in reading someone’s ‘thinking pattern’…“ He thought for a moment and added an amendment. “Never truly been wrong.”
“Never ‘truly’ been wrong?” Elian stressed.
“Dissociative identity disorder. I read a person like that before.” Eli explained with indifference, “It should be said that I first read one of the personalities and concluded that he was a simpleminded, straightforward person, but when I turned around, he gave me a knife in the back. At that moment, his thinking pattern had completely changed… I only found out later that he had two personalities.”
“Then could An Xiang Ye be like that?” Elian hesitated for a while before asking. He knew that people with split personalities shouldn’t be that common. Ah Ye also seemed to be very normal, not like someone with two personalities.
“Elian, are you not going to be satisfied unless you can frame Ah Ye?” Eloise exploded, “Didn’t you hear how happy he was calling you El-gē?!”
Elian’s face hardened, and he growled, “So what? Eloise, don’t forget that this is a mission the principal gave us! Bring Dark Sun to see him! If we fail, we’ll have three times as many graduation missions.”
“That…” Hearing those words, Eloise also couldn’t stay angry.
Eli didn’t pay any attention to the argument between his companions. He only finished his explanation, “Until I read another personality, I have no way to confirm if An Xiang Ye has a second personality or not. But based on my previous experience, there is a good chance he has that condition.”
Eloise and Elian both turned their heads toward Eli in shock. Even Elian hadn’t put much hope into the split personality theory.
“For his age, he’s too innocent. It’s very abnormal.” Eli added one last explanation, “The person with split personality I met before was like that. One personality was more kindhearted than most, and the other was extremely vicious.”
Hearing this, Eloise started panicking, and Elian was even more certain that An Xiang Ye definitely had something to do with Dark Sun. They couldn’t let this lead vanish!
“Bye bye, Ezart. See you tomorrow morning!”
Ri Xiang Ye happily waved goodbye to his classmate.
Because the way back home was mostly the same for the two of them, they often walked home together… But truthfully, the two of them had traveled on the same path several times already, just that at the beginning Ezart was walking in front and Ri Xiang Ye was following behind him… In the end, it had turned into them walking home together without them realizing.
Ezart seemed to have remembered something as he said, “Tomorrow? Oh, head to school first on your own tomorrow. I might not go.”
“Huh? Why?” Ri Xiang Ye’s happy expression disappeared in an instant.
“I have something I need to do tonight. Dunno if I’ll go tomorrow,” Ezart shrugged and candidly explained.
Ri Xiang Ye wanted so say something further, “But…”
“Students should go to class every day?” Ezart rolled his eyes and irritably said, “Whatever you’re going to say, I’d already know even if I used my biceps to think about it!”
“Then you should go to class…” Ri Xiang Ye’s voice grew softer and softer as he spoke.
“Don’t have time for that! I have to earn money. Do you think I’m rich like you, able to drop over twenty thousand yuan on a toy?” Ezart disapprovingly scoffed.
Ri Xiang Ye blankly asked, “You’re going to work?”
“I guess you could say that. I’m going to go fight in the underground arena.” Ezart looked at the time. “I can’t keep talking to you. If I’m late, the money the boss deducts is going to be on your head.”
Once he finished speaking, Ezart turned around to leave, only waving backwards in passing as a way of saying “see you.”
“Ah… Bye bye, Ezart!” Seeing this, Ri Xiang Ye also hurriedly said goodbye.
Ezart didn’t even turn his head back to look as he left.
Ri Xiang Ye only started walking toward his own home once he couldn’t see Ezart’s figure anymore. At the same time, he thought, What is an underground arena? “Fightin’” the underground arena… Oh. Is ‘the Underground Arena’ a person and Ezart’s going to fight him?
Then should I go help Ezart fight him?
He thought as he walked. Before he realized it, he was already at his doorstep.
Ri Xiang Ye pulled out the key that hung around his neck. After he opened the door, he saw that the entire house was dark, but he didn’t think anything of it.
He knew his older brother was still at work at this time. And An Te Qi-bàba… He was originally supposed to pick him up after school, but would always lose track of time while he was doing his experiments, and would then stand him up.
Every time An Te Qi-bàba ditched him, his brother would get close to exploding, waving his gun threateningly. Several times after Ri Xiang Ye came home, he had to hastily keep his older brother from killing his papa. After this happened a few times, Ri Xiang Ye just simply told his brother that he would be walking home together with a classmate and wouldn’t need his papa to come pick him up.
This finally put the daily “patricide” incidents to rest.
Ri Xiang Ye turned the living room lights on, and there was an immediate flood of light. The decorations displayed in the living room weren’t complicated. The walls were light green and the sofa set was a deep green. There was also a long, clear, glass short table as well as two large bookcases. The bookcases were filled with various storybooks. The storybooks were obviously for Ri Xiang Ye to read.
The house was designed floor by floor. The first floor had the living room and kitchen, and the second floor had the bedrooms.
Ri Xiang Ye went up to the second floor. There were three doors in the corridor. He went to the middle one, pushed the door open and walked in naturally. This was his room.
With a flick of the light, the room brightened, and now the inside of the room was finally revealed.
A large and comfortable bed was in the center of the room. In addition to the pillows and blanket on the bed, there were also many fluffy plushies. The headboard had several books arranged on it. It looked like a little kid’s room.
But one side had a large workbench covered with things that would never be found in a child’s room.
Several disassembled guns, more than ten boxes of bullets of different sizes, various types of throwing knives, what looked to be an unfinished bomb, an entire set of dismantling tools in good condition, and the highest quality diamond-tipped cutting tools…
The entire room seemed at odds with itself. One side was an innocent child’s bedroom brimming with toys, while the other side was filled with things that would be found in the room of an evil, mad murderer or a demon of destruction.
When Ri Xiang Ye entered the room, he first put his backpack on the chair. After some thought, he opened the backpack. Arranged inside were notebooks, a pencil case, and other things for school. There was also an object that looked like a lunchbox. He picked up the lunchbox, and when he opened it up, there was a collection of candies.
After Ri Xiang Ye took out a few and tossed them into his mouth, he turned a star-shaped candy among them. The lunchbox made a small click and a rectangular hole opened in the side. He put his hand into the hole, then pulled out a silver visor and a lump of something black and rubbery.
RI Xiang Ye easily unfolded the black lump of rubber. Unexpectedly, the rubber thing, which wasn’t very large, was a pair of boots.
Then, Ri Xiang Ye took off his uniform, revealing the clothes he was wearing underneath: a red, skintight shirt and tightfitting jeans.
This was Dark Sun’s standard attire!
Ri Xiang Ye contemplated whether he should first take a shower or read the storybooks… But when his eyes accidentally landed on the unfinished guns on the table, the innocent look in Ri Xiang Ye’s eyes vanished and the childlike expression on his face just earlier as he had thought of reading storybooks also faded away… I’ll finish the guns first!
In the end, Dark Sun sat down, burying himself in his firearms modification work.
It wasn’t long before a beeping noise came from the front of his workbench. Dark Sun lifted his head. He knew it was the sound of the telephone, and offhandedly pressed the answer button.
A square screen suddenly appeared on the flat wall in front of the table. As soon as the screen flicked on, a man’s face appeared. He had lustrous, golden hair and beautiful, ruby-like eyes. He was so handsome that people would find themselves unable to tear their eyes away from his face filled with contempt for the entire world.
This man who should have been looking disdainfully at the world with his smile had softened his expression for the moment. He mushily said, “Ah Ye…”
Hearing that name, the cyborg Dark Sun’s face began to show emotion and a smile. Finally, it was the darling Ri Xiang Ye that happily shouted, “Gēge!”
Indeed, the golden haired man on the screen was the older brother Ri Xiang Ye had been mentioning all day: Ri Xiang Yan.
“Ah Ye, you’re so cute today like always!”
As soon as he heard the word “Gēge,” Ri Xiang Yan’s air of arrogance toward everything transformed on his face into an incongruous expression. It was an extremely infatuated expression, as though the sound of “Gēge” could even melt the sun.
Ri Xiang Ye had on a silly smile. “Gēge, are you coming home?”
“Yes! Yes! I’ll be home right away. Just wait there for me…”
“Sun Emperor, you called home to pass on the news that you must work overtime today and cannot return home,” a formal-sounding voice reminded off-screen.
Ri Xiang Yan’s face abruptly froze. Then he grandly waved and ordered, “Bill, cancel my work!”
“My name is Kyle.” After Kyle futilely made a correction out of habit, there was a series of rapid typing sounds and he then reported flatly.
“You have not held a meeting with the heads of the alliances for a month now. You have amassed two hundred thirty-six documents and one thousand two hundred fifty-five calls urging for the meeting. Twenty-six tabloid magazines are speculating whether or not the Sun Emperor died of his injuries in the incident. Five newspapers are beginning to revisit the odds that you survived the incident. In a few more days, I’m afraid what will be appearing is something along the lines of that you have been long dead and the current survivor is actually a body double.”
After listening to this stream of words, Ri Xiang Yan’s face went as rigid as a corpse’s. He knew that this meeting was vital, but as soon as he saw his little brother’s cute face over the phone, he felt that there was nothing more important than that adorable smile!
“Gēge has to go to a meeting? And can’t come home?” Ri Xiang Ye was a little disappointed.
Ri Xiang Yan underwent a great internal struggle for a while. Then there was a “THUD” as Kyle tossed a mountain of documents in front of his boss.
The corner of Ri Xiang Yan’s mouth twitched for some time, but he relented, “Yeah. I have to go t-to a meeting.” Sob sob sob. I want to go home and see Dìdi…
“Oh, then do your best, Gēge!” Ri Xiang Ye nodded as he said this. He was a bit crestfallen, but after thinking about it, he could see his brother tomorrow anyway and wasn’t so disappointed anymore.
“O.K.” Ri Xiang Yan was so moved by the support that he wished he could leap into the telephone and properly hug his cute Ah Ye.
“Do your best too, Kyle-gēge!”
Ri Xiang Ye shouted into the phone while beaming. The sound of someone falling over next to Ri Xiang Yan came over the phone. They then muttered to themselves, “Someone actually said my name correctly.” This was followed by Ri Xiang Yan glaring to the side, and a hastily revised reply, “Mhm. I’ll do my best, too.
“Ah Ye, remember to tell An Te Qi to take you out to eat. And if you think of anywhere you want to go, tell him to take you. Remember to have him take you to school tomorrow… No, wait. You now go to school with your classmate. Then remember to tell him to buy you breakfast. Oh, oh. Also don’t forget to have him help you wash your clothes, wake you up tomorrow morning for school, put handkerchiefs and tissues into your backpack…”
Ri Xiang Yan nagged like a worried mother, even instructing An Te Qi, who wasn’t even there, to do a bunch of things.
“Mhm. I’ll tell An Te Qi-bàba!” Ri Xiang Ye conscientiously nodded.
“Sun Emperor, it’s time to start the meeting.”
“Fine!” Ri Xiang Yan resentfully roared to the side at Kyle. Then he turned back to the telephone screen and with incomparable gentleness said, “Ah Ye, Gēge loves you very, very much!”
“Ah Ye also loves you very, very much, Gēge,” Ri Xiang Ye replied back extremely happily.
“Sob sob sob. Ah Ye said he loves me. I’m so touched…”
“Sun Emperor! Time to go to the meeting!”
“No! I’m going home to see Ah Ye…”
In the end, it was Ri Xiang Ye who happily waved and then just simply ended the call. The screen finally went back to being pitch black.
Once the telephone screen went black and Ri Xiang Ye’s adorable smile had vanished from sight, on the other end of the line, Ri Xiang Yan’s good older brother persona immediately disappeared as well. No one other than his little brother would receive his compassion.
His handsome face was only left with a cold expression, and his voice was icy. “Bill, is everyone who’s supposed to be at the meeting present?”
“Aside from the people on leave, everyone is present.” Kyle also immediately returned to his demeanor of a professional secretary, and used the computer to effortlessly find out who had arrived at the conference room.
“On leave?” The Sun Emperor’s voice suddenly grew colder.
“There are at least ten people who are on leave this time. It is a bit unusual,” was Kyle’s easily understood report. “I surmise it has to do with the headquarters exploding the other day as well as the fact that you have not issued any large scale orders in a month.”
“Oh?” The corners of Ri Xiang Yan’s mouth were hooked in a smile. “Are they doubting my authority? Interesting.”
“The reason is probably that your methods have been more lax recently,” Kyle admitted.
“Lax?” Ri Xiang Yan lightly rubbed his chin with his finger, lifting his head up in comprehension with a smile as beautiful as a fallen angel’s. “All of my compassion has already been given to Ah Ye. Anyone else shouldn’t even hope of getting the dregs.”
This period of weakness… Was only a façade.
After a huge incident, first feign injuries and then strike with the ferocity of a tiger upon those who dared to defy him. And so, in the future, no matter what situation arose, no subordinate would easily dare to rebel due to suspecting it could be a test.
“I don’t want to see those ten people in the future,” Ri Xiang Yan serenely commanded.
Having heard this, Kyle merely typed the simple word “eliminate” into a list of names, thus deciding the fates of those ten people.
“Start the meeting.”
Ri Xiang Yan. Sun Emperor. The leader of the Sun Alliance, currently the strongest global power. A man known as the Sun King, issued a decree like a monarch.
Having received instructions from his older brother, Ri Xiang Ye abandoned the half-finished firearm he was holding and stood up to go find An Te Qi. Although Ri Xiang Ye hadn’t seen him since he had arrived home, Ri Xiang Ye knew well where to go find him.
After he walked out from the bedroom, Ri Xiang Ye jumped directly from the second floor to the living room below to save himself the trouble. He sat on the armchair in the sofa set, put both hands on the armrests, and said, “Basement two.” The armchair immediately descended. When the armchair had completely sunk beneath the floor, another identical armchair rose up again. Only, this one of course didn’t have any trace of Ri Xiang Ye.
The armchair Ri Xiang Ye was sitting on descended several stories before stopping.
He got up from the armchair. In front of him was an extremely thick metal door, and behind the door was a basement Ri Xiang Yan had specially constructed. It was extremely durable so that even if there were an explosion inside, it wouldn’t affect the house above in the slightest.
The reason why this place was so durable was that this was An Te Qi’s laboratory. His experiments typically had no relation to the word “safety” at all.
Ri Xiang Ye politely pressed the intercom by the doorway. Based on past experience, no one would respond, so he just opened the door himself and went in.
As soon as the door was open, the heavy smell of formaldehyde assailed his nostrils. With another look, he immediately understood why there was such a strong smell of preservative. In the laboratory, three operating tables each had badly mutilated, incomplete bodies.
Aside from the cadavers on the operating tables, other places were similarly too horrifying to look at. Tables were filled with bubbling, unknown liquids. Glass cabinets were full of jars of human organs. There were some organs that even a cyborg like Ri Xiang Ye couldn’t identify.
This sort of environment could cause a person who saw it to regurgitate everything they had eaten over the past week… But there was a person who was actually capable of staying up for many days straight in this place that assaulted both sight and smell. Only once one of the people from above suspected that another corpse was about to be added to the laboratory would they come down to drag him back up.
“An Te Qi-bàba.”
Ri Xiang Ye didn’t pay attention to the terrifying scene in the laboratory. Instead, he gazed at a person who looked as ghastly as a corpse, but who Ri Xiang Ye concluded was probably still alive because he was still standing and holding a surgical scalpel, dissecting things at an amazing speed.
At this moment, the standing “living corpse” slowly raised his head. His eyes were completely bloodshot. Because he was wearing a surgical mask, it was impossible to see his expression.
“Gēge said to have you take me out to eat, take me out to play, buy me breakfast to eat tomorrow morning, help me wash my clothes without forgetting, wake me up tomorrow morning for school, and put handkerchiefs and tissues in my backpack!“
Ri Xiang Ye finished rattling off all the things his brother had told An Te Qi to do.
After hearing this long string of words, the “living corpse” froze for a long time. Then without the slightest response, he slowly lowered his head and the scalpel in his hand began moving again, as though the instructions just earlier had completely gone in one ear and out the other.
Ri Xiang Ye was already very used to this sort of lack of response. He just continued to ask without prompting, “An Te Qi-bàba, do you want to take me out to eat?”
“Then I’ll go buy dinner and bring some to you in a bit.”
Still no response.
Ri Xiang Ye automatically took down several dirty surgical gowns hanging on the clothes rack. Then he was seemingly talking to himself as he said, “I’ll be taking your clothes to wash. I’ll knock Bàba out tomorrow morning so you can sleep, and help you change into clean clothes while I’m at it. I’ll also be leaving some bread for your lunch, so don’t forget to eat it.”
Just as before, there was no response.
“See you later, An Te Qi-bàba,” Ri Xiang Ye loudly called out before leaving.
The “living corpse” finally seemed to hear the two words “see you.” As though he hadn’t spoken in several hundred years, he managed to produce a raspy-sounding noise akin to “see ya.”
After the sturdy metal door shut again, isolating the stench, rotting corpses, and a person more like a living corpse, Ri Xiang Ye went back to his room. He picked up his visor and a black backpack, heading out to buy dinner looking like Dark Sun.
Although his brother didn’t like him going out as Dark Sun, every time he went out with Ri Xiang Ye’s innocent, guileless, childlike appearance, he would attract the notice of unsavory youngsters or gun-carrying muggers almost without exception.
In addition, to follow the order of not exposing Ri Xiang Ye’s combat capabilities, he could only silently let the unsavory youngsters punch him a few times and have his things taken.
After this happened several times, Ri Xiang Ye learned his lesson. As long as he had to go out alone, he had to go out looking like Dark Sun.
At the same time, whenever he looked like Dark Sun, Ri Xiang Ye would use the secret passage in the house. The exit to the secret passage was an abandoned factory on an adjacent street. The location was fairly hidden, so almost no one would spot him exiting from there.
Not too long later, Ri Xiang Ye was walking in a bustling, flourishing nightlife district. Although he had gone out looking like Dark Sun, he hadn’t switched to a cold personality and was still in an innocent frame of mind. So everything novel in his surroundings was enough to attract his interest and get him to stop in his tracks to watch for a while.
As he walked, he wondered if he should randomly find a restaurant that looked special to visit. Finally, he was pacing back and forth between two restaurants, undecided. He didn’t know which one was better.
“Come! The underground arena is having three matches today! It’s guaranteed to be exciting!”
Underground arena? Didn’t Ezart say that before? Ri Xiang Ye sharply turned his head to look at the person shouting.
Several youngsters had their faces and bodies painted with various patterns. They were calling out loudly with smiles while randomly tossing out flyers, causing passersby to sidestep them with irritation. Of course, some interested people walked up to ask about who would be fighting in the arena tonight and such.
“You definitely don’t want to miss it! The biggest event tonight is the spiky-haired, very strong newcomer, King of Might, challenging the champion of the underground arena. It’s guaranteed to be exciting!”
While the youngsters were publicizing with extravagant embellishments, Ri Xiang Ye walked over, picking a flyer up off the ground. He carefully looked at the advertisement on it. The words written there were unsurprisingly exaggerated headlines.
“It’ll be nothing less than the bloodiest and most brutal battle in history: The Underground Arena’s King of the Ring VS. The King of Might! King versus King! Who will be the ultimate winner?” and such. They naturally didn’t forget to put the address at the end.
The underground arena is actually a place to battle?
Ri Xiang Ye was somewhat surprised. So Ezart wasn’t satisfied just fighting in the battle simulator during the daytime and wants to battle more at night?
Will there be strong people there? Dark Sun’s way of thinking faintly drifted into his mind.
No! Ri Xiang Ye immediately shook his head forcefully. I still have to bring dinner back for An Te Qi-bàba.
He instantly made up his mind. Buy dinner, then head home!
“The battle tonight of king versus king is evenly matched! It won’t be strange even if someone dies!” The advertising people called out in a strange tone of voice.
Although hearing of a person being beaten to death sounded frightening, he was certain that almost anyone who went to watch the underground arena wanted to watch someone die.
Just as expected, the people asking had fearful expressions but their eyes showed they were looking forward to it.
Someone dying… Hearing this, Ri Xiang Ye stopped in his tracks and looked back down at the flyer, a sudden thought flashing across his mind. Is the King of Might on the flyer Ezart?
If it really is Ezart, with his strength, he won’t be beaten to death, right?
Ri Xiang Ye stopped in front of the doorway to a restaurant. He raised his head to look at the restaurant and then looked back down to carefully examine the flyer. He wasn’t sure what to do.
“Hey! Are you going to eat or not? If you’re not, quit blocking the path!” The server in charge of receiving guests at the restaurant door finally lost his patience and roared at Ri Xiang Ye.
RI Xiang Ye had no response whatsoever. The furious server had already found a coworker, and walked up to drag off this stupid little brat. Right as he had just walked up to Ri Xiang Ye…
“Three special combo sushi to go.” Ri Xiang Ye calmly said.
At the same time, a platinum level Sun credit card, from the Sun Bank which was the largest bank in the world, appeared in his hands.
The server’s swinging fist snapped down by his leg in an instant. Becoming extremely deferential, the server’s tone couldn’t be more humble as he bowed and said, “… Right away, sir. Please wait a moment.”
Anyway, An Te Qi-bàba doesn’t care if he eats dinner on time or not. So I’ll just buy three portions of dinner, give one to Ezart, and then go home to give An Te Qi-bàba his dinner.
This was the plan Ri Xiang Ye decided on.