Eclipse Hunter Volume 2: Having Friends, Having Feelings
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我(Yu Wo)
Chapter Five: The Definition of Friends—translated by Trespasserby (proofread by Faren & EvlNabiki; C/E edited by lucathia)
Ri Xiang Ye walked in a hurry. He was afraid that Ezart would arrive at school earlier than him. Then, he wouldn’t make it in time to go to school with Ezart.
He walked until he was on the path that Ezart would have to pass through and looked at his watch. There was no problem. It was only seven. Normally, Ezart would only pass through this area when it was growing close to eight. He definitely hadn’t passed by here yet!
Ri Xiang Ye was exceedingly patient. He waited with his neck craned. His eyes took in every nook and cranny. Even though he knew that Ezart’s towering height and orange-red hair were conspicuous, impossible for him to overlook, he still did not dare to drop his vigilance and constantly scanned back and forth across the street.
Having waited until it was eight, Ri Xiang Ye inwardly began to grow worried. Is Ezart not coming to class today?
That’s right. Didn’t he say yesterday that he might not come? But yesterday’s match at the arena didn’t end very late. He said at the barbecue that he’d still come to class today…
“Maybe he’s so angry he doesn’t want to come to class?” Ri Xiang Ye became dejected. He didn’t know if he should continue waiting or head to class.
The combat academy started class at 8:20. If he left now, he could still walk there. If he waited for another ten minutes, he would have to fly in order to make it to class. Ri Xiang Ye couldn’t make up his mind.
Or I could wait for when Ezart comes to class to apologize to him?
As he hesitated, he didn’t notice several unfriendly students surrounding him. Only once they had encircled him did Ri Xiang Ye abruptly notice their presence.
“Can I help you with something?”
But he still wasn’t alarmed. He had already recognized that these people were his classmates.
More specifically, they were the students who had made fun of him the previous day. Of course, Ri Xiang Ye hadn’t understood most of what they were ridiculing him about and didn’t even really quite understand what the words “made fun of” meant.
“You were a d*ck yesterday, giving us the cold shoulder!” A male student’s face darkened.
Ri Xiang Ye didn’t understand at all. When had he given his classmates the cold shoulder? Every time he saw a classmate, he would diligently call out a greeting. But for the most part, they didn’t pay any attention to him.
“What? You think we wouldn’t dare lay a finger on you?” The girl with the multicolored hair snorted. “You didn’t know that we were at that barbecue place last night, too?”
“Huh? Really?” Ri Xiang Ye had a sudden realization. No wonder they said that he had given them the cold shoulder. They had been at that barbecue restaurant too, but he hadn’t recognized them. It was natural that they would be angry at him.
Ri Xiang Ye felt that he was in the wrong. He sincerely apologized, “I’m really sorry. I didn’t notice you. Next time, I will definitely greet you.”
Being apologized to, the others seemed to freeze. Then the girl screeched, “Who’d want to say hi to a piece of trash like you! Lemme tell you, we’re not scared of you. You violated the god of destruction’s taboo! We saw with our own eyes him saying he wouldn’t protect you anymore.”
The male classmate beside her also hollered along with her, “I’mma tell you that he’s always stuck to his word. If he’s not gonna protect you, then even if we pound ya to a pulp in front of him, he won’t give a damn about you!”
Ri Xiang Ye didn’t know that Ezart’s nickname was “the god of destruction,” but he was only with Ezart last night, so it was easy for him to realize that they were saying he had violated Ezart’s taboo.
He anxiously asked, “What is this taboo?”
He really wanted to know what he had done to make Ezart mad.
“Hmph!” The girl looked at him in disbelief. She was wondering if the nerd really didn’t know or if he was just faking it. But either way, they wouldn’t answer him!
Several of them looked at each other gloomily. Although they had heard Ezart himself say that he wouldn’t protect the brat, they still didn’t dare to beat him up in front of Ezart and test if Ezart would go back on his word or not. So they had cut Ri Xiang Ye off outside of school.
After they shot a couple glances at each other, they slowly boxed Ri Xiang Ye in…
“What are you doing?”
Behind him was a wall. Ri Xiang Ye instinctually didn’t like not having a way out, even though he knew the people in front of him weren’t able to pose a threat to him.
“Nothing. We just want you to come with us to a little alley to play,” one of them replied with a sinister smile.
Although Ri Xiang Ye felt it was a bit strange, he was also a bit happy. His classmates were paying attention to him and even said they would play with him. But he had to wait for Ezart right now!
“I’m sorry. Can we play another day? I’m waiting for Ezart today, and it’s almost time for class. We’ll be late.”
“F***! Do you really think you have a choice?!” An impatient classmate shouted.
“Don’t waste your time talking to him! Punch him, and drag him in!”
“I’ll start us off!” A different person raised his fist.
Ri Xiang Ye perceptively noticed a head of red-orange hedgehog hair and loudly called out in a hurry, “Ezart!”
The others turned their head to look, and sure enough, it was the academy’s god of destruction. They were so scared they instantly froze up, unable to move.
“Ezart!” Ri Xiang Ye happily walked forward a few steps.
Ezart’s eyes coolly swept over the scene. He hadn’t expected Ri Xiang Ye to be ganged up on this fast. He had at least thought it would take until after class of the first day. No wonder Ri Xiang Ye had been in such a hurry to find someone to rely on!
“Ezart, I’m sorry.” Ri Xiang Ye could finally say these words aloud. He said sincerely, “I seem to have violated your taboo. I’m sorry I don’t know what your taboo is, but I didn’t do it on purpose, so I’m apologizing. Can we still be friends?”
Ezart didn’t respond. As he walked by, he didn’t even glance at Ri Xiang Ye. It was as though there was no one there trying to talk to him.
Ezart? Ri Xiang Ye was stunned. His mind was in complete disarray. He had apologized! Why was Ezart still ignoring him?
At this moment, the students surrounding him knew from Ezart’s actions that he didn’t care in the slightest about this brat anymore. Their courage was instantly bolstered. They moved up to grab the brat by the shoulders, planning to drag him into the alley for a vicious beating.
Usually, Ri Xiang Ye absolutely hated people touching him. But at the moment, he paid no attention to the actions of the classmates around him. His eyes were only fixed on Ezart’s departing figure.
He had the feeling that if Ezart turned around at the sounds of him being beaten, then they still must be friends, maybe even better friends than before. But if he didn’t look back…
A fist slammed into Ri Xiang Ye’s stomach. He deliberately didn’t dodge or suppress his muffled groan. The cyborg Dark Sun normally wouldn’t utter a single sound, even if he were being bludgeoned to death.
His dark eyes were fixated on Ezart with hope still shining in his pitch black eyes. Would that gangster-like figure stop for his sake and turn around to run over to save his friend?
Dark Sun, a strong cyborg, was now praying that someone would come save him. Not to save him physically, but rather, to save his mind. Because he needed a friend.
Someone who would smile at him aside from his brother and An Te Qi. Otherwise, he would never, ever step into the world beyond those two people.
“Ezart!” Ri Xiang Ye seemed to be pleading, asking for Ezart not to abandon him, to drag him out by the hand.
Hearing that cry, Ezart paused, but he didn’t look back.
His footsteps never stopped.
He didn’t drag Ri Xiang Ye out by the hand. The undying hope shining in those night black eyes gradually dimmed the farther that figure went…
Ri Xiang Ye was shoved into the alley and was punched and kicked without letting up. But how could the fists falling on his body be any more painful than his father’s hatred?
Any more painful than having every bone in his body replaced with metal, the surgeries that forced his flesh to become stronger, and the recovery afterward?
Any more painful than not being able to see his brother, the only one who loved him, for seven years?
Any more painful than being abandoned by his friend… No! Were they friends?
We never were.
Ezart’s reply from last night flashed through his mind.
So that’s how it was.
He never had any friends. And now… He never would have any.
Ri Xiang Ye was flat on the floor. He used his hands to protect his head and face. It looked like he was incapable of fighting back. He was being beaten so viciously that it was like they wanted this to be his final resting place.
But behind the hands covering his face, there wasn’t a single trace of fear or pain. It could even be said that there wasn’t any humanity on his face.
Dark Sun calculated that he couldn’t let them continue hitting him. If his injuries were too noticeable, the master would be unhappy.
But he couldn’t allow Ri Xiang Ye’s abilities to be discovered. That was the master’s command.
Eliminate them all! Not only could worse injuries be avoided, no one will know of Ri Xiang Ye’s abilities!
Metal fingernails soundlessly extended out. Those people currently beating up Ri Xiang Ye did not seem to notice in the least the fate that was about to befall them…
“Stop! Are you trying to beat him to death?!”
Ezart? The inhuman mask suddenly cracked, and hope and expectation shone through. Ri Xiang Ye propped himself up with his hand, lifting his body to look at where the voice came from. Ezar…
Although he didn’t know why Ezart and Ri Xiang Ye were suddenly fighting, and it seemed to be over something serious, Ri Xiang Ye’s expression was that of someone who had been abandoned by the entire world… Is such a person really Dark Sun?
Elian quashed the random thought and took a deep breath. This had nothing to do with him! He was only here to investigate if Ri Xiang Ye was Dark Sun. He didn’t need to involve himself in anything else.
So he watched on as the boy who called him El-gē was shoved into an alley, as countless heavy blows fell ruthlessly on the frail boy’s body. It was like those people held a deep grudge against the boy. The punches and kicks never stopped, from start to end. The boy could only curl up like a shrimp on the ground, feebly using his hands to protect his head and face…
Hurry up! If you’re Dark Sun, these people are nothing. You definitely have the power to fight back.
Elian hid next to the alley, only exposing an eye to observe the violence in the alleyway. A boy’s hunched form was reflected in his eye. How long can such a frail boy last?
Could he really callously watch on as the boy who called him El-gēge was beaten to death, just to use his death to justify that he wasn’t Dark Sun?!
Could he even be called human then?
But being “inhumane” isn’t really a strange thing. Aren’t the people in front of me that kind of people?
After he sneered at the people pummeling the boy in front of him, Elian suddenly felt that if he idly stood by and did nothing, what difference was there between him and these people?
He rushed into the alley.
“Stop! Are you trying to beat him to death?!”
Several people stopped and turned around, full of fury at whatever punk was stupid enough to interrupt their beating!
“None of your damn business! Get lost if you want to live,” a person cursed with a fierce expression on his face.
“Whatever! Why not drag him over and rough him up together? Then we don’t have to fight over this scrawny brat,” another person laughingly said, as he kicked Ri Xiang Ye another time.
Seeing Ri Xiang Ye take another kick, Elian’s face darkened even more as he shouted, “You’ll pay for that!”
“Hear that? He said we’re going to pay for that. Hahaha, no way. I’m gonna die laughing!”
Several people burst into laughter, almost to the point where they were rolling on the ground hugging their stomachs.
Elian pulled out two blades… Or more accurately speaking, the hilts of two blades. These blade hilts weren’t normal wooden hilts. They were made of metal. The metal even shone with a beautiful, gentle, pale blue sheen.
Elian held these special blade hilts and assumed a simple but effective battle stance.
He didn’t move at all, but two beams of energy taking the shape of blades of light extended from the hilts. The body of the blade had a perfect, slight curve and pale, water blue light emitted from it, causing gasps of awe.
“Two energy blades… H-He’s the student from the Elites who defeated Ezart and Bai Lian Xing in the battle simulator the other day!”
Several people finally recognized him, and they cried out in a panic.
Elian laughed and said, “Bingo! You guessed right.”
A battle with a huge gap in abilities unfolded. It was painful to watch. Instead of calling it a battle, it would be more aptly called a one-sided slaughter.
After only a few exchanges, Elian had already chopped the weapons they brought out into scrap metal. He then began to let them personally taste the pain of being pummeled.
The small alley was filled with “Aiya! Don’t hit us anymore!”, “I was in the wrong. Let me leave!”, and other incessant cries for forgiveness.
After Elian used the blade hilts to knock the last standing person to the ground, he looked at the people wailing in anguish on the ground. When he determined that their injuries were now about as serious as Ah Ye’s, he finally stopped.
“I’m warning you. I’m not the only one protecting Ah Ye. There’s also Eloise, a woman whose strength doesn’t lose to Ezart’s and who loves Ah Ye so, so much. If she found out you dared to hit Ah Ye… She won’t be as kind as me, only using the hilt of my blade to hit you!”
Hearing this, several people all piteously wailed, “Please spare us!”
Elian coldly snorted. “Get out! If you’re not out of my sight in ten seconds, I’ll call Eloise and get her to continue the beating!”
As soon as he said these words, the people lying on the floor playing dead, who had looked like they were about to breathe their last breath, all jumped up and raced to beat each other out of the alleyway.
At this moment, Elian went from a using a demonic expression to turning to look at Ri Xiang Ye with worry. “Ah Ye, are you O.K.?”
Ri Xiang Ye was still sitting where he had originally been beaten up. His expression was dull. Elian saw that he was currently staring at the energy blades and thought he had been scared witless by them. Elian hastily retracted the blades and put the hilts back under his shirt.
“Are you all right, Ah Ye?” Elian crouched down, wanting to examine Ri Xiang Ye’s injuries.
Ri Xiang Ye recoiled. He clearly didn’t want Elian to look.
“Do you want me to take you to the nurse’s office?” Elian put his hand down, very concerned. It looked like Ah Ye really had been scared witless.
“Or do you want to go home?”
“No! I don’t want to go home!” Ri Xiang Ye said in alarm. He was afraid that his brother might have already returned home. He didn’t want his brother to see that he had been hurt. His brother would worry!
“O.K., O.K.! Not home.” Elian hastily tried to soothe him, “Then, I’ll take you to the nurse’s office.”
Ri Xiang Ye nodded at first, but he promptly remembered that he couldn’t let a doctor examine him. His body’s abnormalities would be uncovered immediately!
“No! I have to go to class.”
“But you’re hurt.” Elian frowned.
“It’s nothing.” Ri Xiang Ye stood up and patted the dust off his clothes. Then he straightened out his messy clothes.
Elian had been frowning at Ri Xiang Ye the entire time. He could see from the places his clothes had ripped that there were many bruises and wounds. But Ah Ye wasn’t willing to go to the nurse’s office. So what should he do?
Or should he ask Eloise to look after Ah Ye? He didn’t know how to care for a boy who’d received both physical and mental injuries…
Ri Xiang Ye picked up his backpack off to the side and also patted the dust off it. The entire time, he hadn’t uttered a word.
This strengthened Elian’s feeling that there was something off about Ah Ye. Was the shock he received too much? He began to feel frustrated. Why hadn’t he stepped in earlier to keep those people from hitting Ah Ye?
“Is everything all right, Ah Ye?” Although Elian asked this, he was already sure that there was definitely something wrong with Ah Ye.
“I’m fine. I’m going to class now. Thanks for helping me, El-gē.” Ri Xiang Ye bowed at Elian in thanks. Then, he turned around and walked toward the entrance of the alley.
Not only is something wrong, it’s pretty serious too. Elian frowned, and he lifted up his cell phone to dial Eloise. At the same time, he was worried that Ri Xiang Ye would meet with some sort of mishap, so he closely followed behind.
Ri Xiang Ye slowly walked to school and went into his classroom. He knew he was late.
However, in a classroom that was louder and more chaotic than three markets combined, no one, including the teacher at the podium and the students playing dice below, would have noticed anyone walking in. A single late student really wasn’t able to garner any attention.
Therefore, Ri Xiang Ye’s tardiness had not caught anyone’s eye. In fact, no one had even noticed that the students who had bullied Ah Ye were absent.
Because this was Class D, the legendary slacker class. As long as the tuition was handed over with no trouble, even if you didn’t attend the graduation ceremony, the school would still send you a diploma in the express mail.
Only, a diploma with a blazing huge “D” on it usually wasn’t useful for much.
Ri Xiang Ye hung his backpack neatly next to his desk and then sat down. He turned his head and saw Ezart with his red-orange hair. He was still sprawled out asleep on the desk. Ezart had still come to school to sleep during class as usual, and only practical classes could wake him up.
Ri Xiang Ye sat in his usual spot and pulled out his notebook to diligently take notes. He knew that Elian had followed him the entire way and was currently outside the window watching him, seemingly concerned.
But he didn’t plan to respond at all to Elian. He only wanted class to finish already, so he could then go home to his brother and An Te Qi-bàba.
Only they wouldn’t turn their backs on him. Only they wouldn’t leave him.
Ri Xiang Ye rapidly wrote down the teacher’s every word. But his eyes were completely dull. Writing down things that he didn’t need to write down in the first place naturally wasn’t very interesting. If things were normal, he could still talk a bit with Ezart, even though Ezart would always be feeling murderous after being woken up.
Boring. Boring… That’s right. I still have a toy I can play with.
Ri Xiang Ye searched through his bag. Sure enough, he found the pink, heart-shaped virtual lover console at the very bottom. He quickly pressed the power button.
A girl with a pink face and eyes was projected. She pouted as she complained, “Ah Ye’s the worst. Ignoring people for so long!”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to do it. Have you been waiting the whole time for me?” Ri Xiang Ye continued writing notes with his right hand, while his eyes and left hand were on Xiao Ai.
He still had Xiao Ai. Xiao Ai would always wait for him.
“Yeah!” Xiao Ai pouted cutely.
“Don’t you feel like ignoring me?”
“Of course not! Ah Ye, what do you want to do now?” Xiao Ai asked with a smile. Of course, a few options appeared on screen: Talk, Eat, Study…
Ri Xiang Ye cocked his head. He decided to start with the first option and play through each of the options once.
Elian was standing outside, frowning as he watched Ah Ye’s situation inside. He seemed to be fine. After he sat down and took notes, he started playing his virtual lover game. He seemed no different from usual.
The only thing that was different was that he and Ezart didn’t seem to be on speaking terms with each other.
“Is Ah Ye all right? Which bastard dared to hit my adorable Ah Ye?!”
Her voice preceding her arrival, Eloise was still in a distant part of the hallway when she began shouting. Her voice traveled all the way over to Elian’s ears at the other end of the hall.
Elian rolled his eyes at her. Good thing Class D was unbearably noisy. Even Eloise’s deafening voice didn’t attract any attention. What an unbelievable class!
“He’s over there playing video games. He looks like he’s fine…”
Halfway through his words, Elian was squished aside by Eloise. After Eloise had moved Elian out of the way, she immediately craned her neck at the window. Only when she saw Ah Ye sitting in his seat, perfectly fine, did she finally relax.
“Ah Ye looks O.K?” Eloise was somewhat relieved. Elian’s explanation over the phone had made it sound like Ah Ye would most definitely be hiding in a dark corner sobbing his heart out.
“He’s despondent.” It was only then that Eli slowly wandered over. The moment he spoke, his words worried both of the others.
Elian and Eloise abruptly turned their heads to stare at Eli.
Eli ignored the two people staring at him and, after “listening” for a while, continued on his own, “’Don’t turn your back on me, Ezart. Never were.’ He keeps repeating those words in his head. His attention isn’t on the game at all.”
Elian was stunned. “But he’s clearly playing the video game.”
After giving Elian the side-eye, Eli asked, “He’s playing at the same time he’s taking notes, all with a lifeless look in his eyes. He isn’t looking at anything. You consider that playing?”
Elian looked back, and it was just as Eli had said. He was speechless.
“Ah, ah, you’re right! My Ah Ye! He’s not smiling anymore! That Ezart must have bullied him!” Eloise exploded with anger, and she roared, “No! I have to get justice for Ah Ye!”
Once she finished speaking, she jumped onto the windowsill before Elian could even stop her and dramatically pointed at Ezart, who was sprawled out asleep. She shouted, “Ezart! You better come out! I’m going to punish you in Ah Ye’s place!”
As soon as the name “Ezart” was said, the entire class fell silent. They were astonished that there was actually someone who dared to challenge Yelan Academy’s god of destruction. But they turned their heads to look. Weren’t those three people the Elites who had hogged all the limelight in the battle simulator last time?
Ezart lazily lifted his head up, in a bad mood from being woken up. Coupled with the dragon tattoo on his face, he looked extremely menacing. To everyone around them, it looked like a huge battle was inevitable…
They didn’t expect Ezart to toss out the sentence, “Tomorrow in the battle simulator during seventh and eighth period practicals,” and then sprawl out again, continuing to sleep.
Eloise was furious. She was about ready to spit fire and burn the entire classroom to the ground.
Elian could only shake his head and pull Eloise, who was ready to explode, from the classroom with great effort.
However, Eli actually sent an admiring look at Ezart. He was a person who had an extremely blunt personality. There weren’t any unnecessary thoughts in his mind. The words that he spoke aloud were his exact thoughts. What a great person who is the same on the inside and the outside!
“Ah Ye!~ Jiějiě will avenge you!” Eloise shouted as she was dragged away by Elian. The unhurried Eli followed behind them leisurely.
Avenge what? Ri Xiang Ye blankly watched the three of them leave. After being frozen for a while, he decided to lower his head and continue playing with Xiao Ai.
Back at home, An Te Qi was restless for quite a while. Although he’d entered the laboratory to do his experiments, after he almost accidentally destroyed the entire lab on multiple instances, he really didn’t dare to risk the lab anymore. He couldn’t do anything but sit in the living room and look at the clock while waiting for Ri Xiang Ye.
“Sigh sigh. How is what I’m doing any different from a father worrying over his kid?” An Te Qi pushed the small spectacles on his nose further up. He complained to himself, “I clearly haven’t even tied the knot, so why am I called Bàba? I’m even worrying about my son’s friend making problems now. I really don’t know if I’ll have to help my son woo a girlfriend someday…”
“Oh, you’re back… Ah Ye!”
An Te Qi immediately leapt up and rushed to Ri Xiang Ye’s side, looking him up and down.
Great, great. Looks like nothing happened. Although he doesn’t look very energetic, at least he didn’t come back in tears.
Ri Xiang Ye just smiled and responded, “Yeah. I’m back. An Te Qi-bàba, I got hurt. Can you help me treat it?”
“Oh, O.K. I’ll help you trea… Wait a moment! You’re hurt?” An Te Qi finally realized what Ri Xiang Ye had said.
He said he’s hurt? The cyborg Dark Sun is injured?
An Te Qi was shocked for a long time. Then he hysterically shrieked, “Who injured you? Was it the modified humans who abducted Ri Xiang Yan last time? To actually hurt you, were they very strong?”
But more importantly… He swallowed his drool and anxiously asked, “Did you leave any bodies? Can I have some to do research?”
It wasn’t that he didn’t care about Ah Ye! Anyway, he was already standing there perfectly fine, which meant nothing was wrong! Since there was nothing wrong, then of course he should hurry and ask where the modified humans’ corpses were. Then before Ri Xiang Yan destroyed all traces of the bodies, he could rescue a few of them and bring them back!
Hehe. It just so happened that the cadavers downstairs had already been experimented on to the point where they were almost shreds.
Ri Xiang Ye shook his head and explained, “No, I was beaten by my classmates.”
An Te Qi’s jaw dropped. It was a long time before he was able to say, “Your… Your classmates are also modified humans?”
“Do they have superpowers? Or special abilities?” An Te Qi couldn’t believe it.
Dark Sun! The work he was the absolute proudest of. He had spent seven years modifying him into the strongest cyborg. Even if he were given the same lab, the same materials, and the same amount of time, An Te Qi couldn’t say with complete confidence that he could modify someone into an identically strong robot.
Ri Xiang Ye once again said honestly, “They don’t have any of those.”
“… They were wielding the most hi-tech weapons modified to have super, unrivaled firepower?” Only by adding those random adjectives was An Te Qi able to convince himself that this was something that could have happened.
“They used their fists and feet to hit me.”
How could this be! An Te Qi was frozen in place. His brain had crashed.
“Gēge will be back soon, right?” Ri Xiang Ye was a little worried and shook An Te Qi, urgently saying, “An Te Qi-bàba, hurry and help heal me. Otherwise, if Gēge sees…”
… It’ll be the end of the world! An Te Qi suddenly snapped back to reality. He pulled Ri Xiang Ye towards basement one in a rush.
Basement two in this house was An Te Qi’s special morgue and his lab.
Basement one was Ri Xiang Ye’s. The distance between the two floors were a full five times farther apart than they would be in a normal building.
For safety reasons, Ri Xiang Yan had insisted that the distance separating the two had to be so that “even if a nuclear explosion went off in basement two, it wouldn’t affect basement one.” However, as there was only concrete and metal between the two floors instead of other floors, these two floors could only be called basements one and two.
Just inside the large doors to the basement was a wide training ground. There was a shooting range, a single-person combat simulator, and both sides had transparent, bulletproof display windows showcasing all sorts of firearms and bladed weapons. Even a large weapons exhibition wouldn’t have such a spectacular sight.
In this place brimming with ruthlessness, there was a pure white room partitioned off with transparent glass. Inside were various hi-tech apparatus. The middle had a conspicuous pink operating table.
Ri Xiang Yan: A white operating table will remind Ah Ye of bad memories. Make it pink!
Why pink? Is blue not O.K.? An Te Qi had done his best to squash his doubts and reply with “yes.”
After Ri Xiang Ye walked into the room, he threw off his long sleeved shirt, exposing the clusters of bruises on the upper half of his body. Then he automatically lay down on the operating table.
“Why is it this serious?”
Seeing this, An Te Qi couldn’t be any more shocked. Even after fighting those nameless modified humans last time, Ah Ye hadn’t had so many injuries.
“Gēge will be able to see my arms. Treat there first.”
Ri Xiang Ye raised his arms. Because he had used his arms to protect his head and face, his pale arms were covered with bruises and injuries more severe than any other area. There was almost no place left unmarked.
An Te Qi frowned. He picked up a needle-shaped suction device with a practiced hand and pierced where the most serious bruises on Ri Xiang Ye’s arms were. The suction device dutifully extracted the blood that had flowed out when his capillaries broke. Shortly after, it released a dose of analgesic to soothe the wound.
Gradually, the bowl-sized bruises shrank. Finally, all that was left were bruises the size of a finger.
Ri Xiang Ye frowned and said, “Gēge will still notice this.”
“There’s nothing else we can do. Wounds can’t heal instantaneously,” An Te Qi said as he held the suction device with both hands and quickly treated the bruises on Ri Xiang Ye’s arms.
He shrugged as he worked and said, “Find an excuse. Say there was a bit of a problem with your hand, and I helped fix it, so it left some wounds…”
“I see. That’s an excellent excuse.”
“Sigh. No matter how good the excuse is, it’s no use. Your brother is such a bro-con that as soon as he sees the injuries all over you, there’s nothing that can stop him from going berserk.”
An Te Qi sighed. His expression was full of helplessness. The first one in the line of fire was always him. He was almost used to the feeling of having the derringer pressed against his head.
But it was a little odd. Just now, that didn’t sound like the way Ah Ye spoke! Could it have been Dark Sun, but no, it didn’t sound like…
At this moment, Ri Xiang Ye sat up from the operating table. His wide eyes were staring behind An Te Qi’s back.
A shiver crawled up An Te Qi’s spine. It’s over…
“Who did it?”
Ri Xiang Yan questioned in a frigid tone, but anyone who knew him would know that behind that frigidness was a fury blazing like hellfire.
“Gēge,” Ri Xiang Ye somewhat nervously called out.
Ri Xiang Yan dexterously pulled the derringer from his bosom and fired a shot. The bullet beautifully grazed past An Te Qi’s cheek, leaving a line of blood on his face. It was just not a shot that would render him dead.
This action was scary enough, but An Te Qi’s response was even more frightening. An Te Qi merely pushed the small spectacles up his noise with a look of resigning himself to his fate. Then he continued with the treatment he hadn’t finished and picked up the suction device to treat Ri Xiang Ye’s bruises. He didn’t care at all about the blood on his face.
“Who was it?” Ri Xiang Yan snarled.
“It was just a fight between classmates.” Without any other choice, An Te Qi said the truth, although he himself didn’t believe it.
“A fight between classmates?”
Ri Xiang Yan looked at the bruises all over his little brother. There was heartache in his ruby eyes as he said, “You still call being beaten like this just a fight between classmates? Who dared to hit Ah Ye? Was it that guy with the strange hedgehog hair?!”
“No! It wasn’t Ezart. Really! He wouldn’t hit me…”
After Ri Xiang Ye said this, he suddenly stopped because even he wasn’t sure of that fact. Would Ezart really not hit me? We aren’t friends…
Ri Xiang Yan fiercely roared, “Then who was it? If you don’t tell Gēge, I’ll get rid of that hedgehog head!”
Ri Xiang Ye began to panic. He knew that if his brother found out which classmates had beaten him, those people would never have to come to school again. He frantically waved his hands and explained, “Gēge, Ah Ye’s fine. It’s just a small injury. It’ll be fine once An Te Qi-bàba treats it.”
Ri Xiang Yan walked over. He sorrowfully caressed each of his little brother’s bruises, as though the wounds had been inflicted on himself.
I shouldn’t have done that. How could I make Gēge so sad! Ri Xiang Ye lowered his head and remorsefully said, “Gēge… Don’t be sad. Ah Ye won’t willingly let himself be beaten up again.”
When An Te Qi heard this, a strange expression emerged on his face while he administered the treatment.
Ri Xiang Yan’s face distorted. He said, extremely incredulous, “Willingly let yourself be beaten?”
Ri Xiang Ye nodded halfway and suddenly realized that saying this seemed to have made his brother even angrier? He didn’t dare to continue nodding and also didn’t dare to lie. So Ah Ye could only guiltily lower his head, not daring to look at his brother’s face.
“Ah Ye, you really won’t tell me?” Although Ri Xiang Yan was highly vexed, he was the Sun Emperor after all. He immediately cooled off and said indifferently, “Whatever! I’ll just kill your entire class and transfer you to another class tomorrow.”
“No!” Ri Xiang Yan anxiously shouted, “Gēge, don’t kill Ezart!”
Ri Xiang Yan gracefully tilted his head to think and smiled. “O.K. then. I’ll kill everyone aside from Ezart. I’ll transfer the two of you to another class tomorrow.”
Ri Xiang Ye felt this wasn’t quite right. He didn’t talk with the other students in his class, b-but he also couldn’t let innocent people be killed by his brother like that.
Gēge’s actually in such a good mood that he’s faintly smiling… It looks like he’s really planning to kill all my classmates. What should I do? Should I tell Gēge which people hit me so Gēge will only kill those classmates? So Gēge won’t kill the whole class?
That’s not O.K. either! Those classmates were already given a beating by Elian today. If they’re also killed by Gēge, t-that’s too tragic. Even though they hit me, I don’t want to see them die…
On the outside, Ri Xiang Yan looked like he didn’t care anymore about the matter of Ah Ye being beaten, but inside, he was so angry his teeth smarted. Of course he wouldn’t kill off the entire class. It would attract a storm of attention. Later, that scrutiny would fall on the sole… No, the two survivors. (Heavens knows why Ah Ye liked that hedgehog head so much!) It would place Ah Ye at an extreme disadvantage when it came to hiding his identity.
Killing them would have to wait until his little brother left the class!
As An Te Qi tended to Ah Ye’s wounds, he watched the two brothers.
One looked worried and the other was faintly smiling with an ominous glint in his eyes. Who knew what sort of a bloodbath he was planning…
He could only silently shake his head. Sigh! The naïve Ri Xiang Ye pitted against Ri Xiang Yan, whose plots ran deeper than the Grand Canyon, was like pitting a baby against a schemer!
What do I do? Without a way to stop his brother from killing his classmates, Ri Xiang Ye was so worried his eyes were growing red. He still couldn’t think of anything… Why am I so stupid?
Not only had he violated Ezart’s taboo and made him angry, he still didn’t know what Ezart’s taboo was. Then he had been given a beating by his classmates, and he still didn’t know why they had wanted to hit him. Now his brother wanted to kill his classmates, and once again, he couldn’t think of anything… Oh!
I’m such an idiot! An idiot who doesn’t understand anything… His eyes grew warm and two lines of tears streamed down from his black eyes.
“Ah Ye, you better honestly tell Gēge exactly who hit you… Ah Ye?”
Ri Xiang Ye’s head was lowered to hide his crying.
The perpetually poised Sun Emperor uncharacteristically had his mouth agape. He went into a panic. Was he supposed to wipe away the tears on Ah Ye’s face or pat his back to comfort him?
Seeing Ah Ye’s tears tumble down, Ri Xiang Yan grew furious, furious at himself.
Damn! Have I gone mad? I used my usual plotting on Ah Ye and made him cry. Didn’t I promise to always make him happy? Why have I made Ah Ye cry instead?
Ri Xiang Yan’s voice was shaking as he pleaded, “Don’t cry… Don’t cry, Ah Ye. Gēge’s wrong. Don’t cry. Don’t be sad. Don’t be unhappy!”
Even though his brother said this, Ri Xiang Ye could only shake his head while he cried because he couldn’t stop his tears. Instead, after hearing his brother apologize, more tears welled up from grievances over the past few days. He was crying so much his shoulders were shuddering.
“O.K., O.K.! Gēge won’t kill your classmates. Not a single one. They’ll all live well… Even if they’re walking on the road, get hit by a car, and are smashed into a pulp, I’ll have someone drag them back from hell!”
Ri Xiang Yan vehemently declared. If it meant Ah Ye would no longer be sad, he would drag them back from hell himself!
“R-Really?” Ri Xiang Ye sniffled as he asked Ri Xiang Yan with teary eyes.
Seeing those black eyes full of tears, could Ri Xiang Yan have even said no? He couldn’t even argue and just nodded as he promised, “Really.”
Ri Xiang Ye wiped his tears. At the moment, he felt a little embarrassed. He was already sixteen and he was still crying to his big brother. It wasn’t something he should be doing.
“B-But, Ah Ye… You have to at least let me send someone to beat up the people who hurt you, O.K.?”
Ri Xiang Yan asked with extreme eagerness. As soon as the thought that the people who had beaten Ah Ye were still going unpunished came to mind, his heart was consumed with flames of fury!
But Ri Xiang Ye shook his head and said, “You don’t have to, Gēge. El-gē already beat them up for me.”
El-gē… Who? Who dares compete with me for the title of Gēge?! Ri Xiang Yan’s face distorted.
No! I can’t be so petty… He faintly smiled and said, “El-gē. This person named El,” (He said while gnashing his teeth.) “Must treat you very well for you to call him that.”
Pfft! What a strong jealousy I sense. Hehehahaha…
Off to the side with his back facing Ri Xiang Yan, An Te Qi couldn’t hold back his shaking shoulders, and his facial features twisted under the effort of restraining his laughter. His abdominal muscles even began faintly throbbing with pain.
“Yeah. El-gē is a good person. He saved me today!”
After Ri Xiang Ye happily said this, he suddenly became gloomy. Upset, he said, “I shouldn’t have ignored him. El-gē was so worried about me and said he wanted to take me to the nurse’s office. He even followed me back to class. But I didn’t feel like talking at the time because I was sad that Ezart was ignoring me.”
“What?” Ri Xiang Yan roared, “What did that hedgehog head Ezart do? He actually made you sad?”
Ri Xiang Ye blinked in confusion. Then he realized that he had once again said something he shouldn’t have and blurted, “Ah!”
Oh, Ah Ye! I’m never going to tell you any more of my secrets. You always let slip a pile of information without knowing. An Te Qi inwardly shook his head and sighed.
“He was the one that hit you, wasn’t he? I knew it was him! I knew it!”
Ri Xiang Yan angrily paced back and forth around the laboratory. His mind was filled with eighty-eight unspeakable, R18, absolutely forbidden, excessively gory plots for revenge.
“Huh?” Ri Xiang Ye hastily clarified, “No! Gēge, Ezart didn’t hit me. The ones who hit me were some other classmates who don’t like me.”
Oh, so it’s like this. There are other students who don’t like Ah Ye? Ri Xiang Yan’s eyes narrowed dangerously.
Ah Ye, you just let slip even more information for your brother to use in his revenge plot. An Te Qi helplessly pushed his small spectacles up his nose.
“Really. But Ezart, h-he said that we weren’t friends. That’s all…” Ri Xiang Ye lowered his head, hurt showing in his eyes.
What?! You had the honor to be friends with Ah Ye, and you dared to say you and Ah Ye aren’t friends?! You even made Ah Ye sad! Ri Xiang Yan was about to blow his top. He wanted so badly to order someone at this moment to grab the hedgehog head to use every one of the tortures in his mind on him.
“Gēge! You’re absolutely not allowed to bully Ezart!” Ri Xiang Ye glared at his brother. His eyes were full of the resolution “You’re absolutely not allowed to touch Ezart, or I’ll cry for you to see.”
Damn! Ri Xiang Yan silently cursed. But on the outside, he still fawningly smiled and said, “O.K., O.K.! Gēge won’t touch him. There’s no need for you to cry.”
Is this what’s known as an Achilles’s heel?
The king at the top of the world is no match for a few tears. He’s even smiling like the madam of a brothel as he placates his little brother…
An Te Qi once again was off to the side, trying to hold back his laughter and keep his body from shaking.
As soon as Ri Xiang Ye heard this, he relaxed. After some thought, he asked, “Gēge, can I ask you a question?”
“Of course you can.” Ri Xiang Yan tenderly replied, “No matter what the question is, Gēge will give you an answer.”
“What do people have to do to become friends?” Ri Xiang Ye looked at his brother, full of hope.
Ri Xiang Yan was a commerce fiend who only had beneficial connections and no friends for ten years. His current expression was that of someone stuck in a difficult place because his little brother had asked him how to be good friends with people.
Hahaha… Off to the side, An Te Qi had been silently laughing so much he had stomach cramps.
Ri Xiang Yan vehemently glared at An Te Qi, off to the side with cramps. A plan came to mind, and he turned to his brother with a smile to say, “Oh, this is the kind of thing you should ask An Te Qi-bàba!”
An Te Qi’s silent laughter was immediately cut short.
An Te Qi was a mad scientist who had only come into intimate contact with another person usually in a postmortem state (with the exception of a few in vivo experiments) during his experiments for fifteen years. At this moment, his face was frozen because his son, who he had unexpectedly gained despite being unmarried, had asked him how to make friends. And his son’s older brother was off to the side polishing his already shiny enough derringer.
“Making friends is… Doing stuff like eating and shopping together,” An Te Qi replied with difficulty.
“I’ve eaten with Ezart before, and we even ate midnight snacks together. We also went to the toy store to buy Xiao Ai and played games together! Xiao Ai’s name and appearance were both chosen by Ezart for me. But he still said we aren’t friends…”
Ri Xiang Ye had on an expression of hurt and confusion. He hopefully looked at his older brother and papa, wishing for them to provide him an answer.
Wait a moment! Ate midnight snacks together? Ri Xiang Yan’s face twisted. Aren’t midnight snacks normally eaten in the middle of the night?
“Is that so? Hahaha… Then I’ll help look up the definition of ‘friends’ in the encyclopedia for you.” Once An Te Qi finished speaking, he fled upstairs with his tail between his legs to look it up in the encyclopedia.
As a result, Ri Xiang Ye’s gaze shifted onto his older brother. Ri Xiang Yan silently cursed An Te Qi while he suggested another way to solve the problem. “T-Then I’ll have my subordinates investigate how to make friends.”
After he finished speaking, the Sun Emperor, a majestic and powerful, important figure, also followed An Te Qi and fled with his tail between his legs. He went upstairs in a hurry to make a phone call and throw this conundrum that had baffled the leaders of two different fields to his subordinates to worry over…
Friends are people whose interpersonal relationship has already reached a certain level. Often they are not blood related but have an extremely close relationship. Friends are typically honest and loyal to each other, as well as placing each other’s considerations first.
Their personalities, tastes, interests, et cetera may be very similar. Moreover, they may frequently participate in activities together. They may also provide mutual assistance, for example, listening to each other’s worries and providing advice. With regards to most people, friends are trusted companions.
An Te Qi looked it up on Wikipedia. As soon as he finished speaking, he was reminded by Ri Xiang Ye that the microchip in his brain already had this explanation. After the explanation, Ri Xiang Ye had to stop another patricide attempt from unfolding.
Friends are for playing drinking games with and for picking up and checking out hot babes.
Soon after, Ri Xiang Yan fired a nameless, innocent subordinate.
What… exactly is a friend?
Ri Xiang Ye still didn’t understand. He had only wanted to go to school together, eat lunch together, eat midnight snacks together, and well do a bunch of things together with Ezart. Although Ezart hadn’t smiled at him at first and was always even telling him to leave, later on they had gotten along well. Hadn’t they?
As Ri Xiang Ye walked on the path to school, he thought of how the classmates who had beaten him had said he had violated Ezart’s taboo. What was that taboo?
Ri Xiang Ye suddenly stopped. He turned his head to look at the person calling him and blurted out, “El-gē?”
As soon as the words were out, the girl next to Elian immediately looked wronged. Ri Xiang Ye hastily added, “Hello, Eloise.”
Eloise broke out in a big smile. She leapt in front of Ri Xiang Ye and, like a man flirting, used both hands to cup and even rub back and forth across Ri Xiang Ye’s cheeks. She emotionally said, “Ah Ye, you’re so cute today too!”
Ri Xiang Ye helplessly smiled. The reason I look cute is because you completely destroyed my glasses!
“You’re smiling, Ah Ye.” Elian felt like letting out a sigh of relief. “That’s great. I was really worried you’d had such a shock you wouldn’t recover.”
Not expecting El-gē to still be worrying about him, Ri Xiang Ye apologized, “El-gē, I’m really sorry. I was ignoring you all of yesterday.”
Elian smiled, waving it off. “Don’t worry. I knew you weren’t feeling well.”
“Ah Ye, don’t be sad! Eloise-jiějiě will definitely help you take your anger out on that Ezart and give him a pounding!” Eloise guaranteed as she smacked her chest.
Ri Xiang Ye suddenly lifted his head. He remembered the challenge Eloise had given Ezart the previous day. He immediately became anxious. “Eloise, Ezart didn’t bully me. Only, only he doesn’t want to be friends with me. That’s all…” The more he talked, the more brokenhearted his voice became.
Elian and Eloise looked at each other and saw in each other’s eyes that they were both at a loss for ideas. If Ah Ye had been bullied by someone, that was easy to solve. Just pay them a visit and beat them up in return.
But there wasn’t a way they could force someone to be friends with Ah Ye, right?
As Ri Xiang Ye looked at the worried duo, a thought came to him. Right! El-gē, Eloise, and Eli look like they’re good friends. So I can ask El-gē what friends are and how to make friends! Ri Xiang Ye lifted his head and to look at them. He asked extremely hopefully, “El-gē, when are you considered friends with someone?”
Elian frowned. This question didn’t have a universally recognized answer he could respond with.
But Eloise actually replied straightforwardly, “Does it have to be said? It’s when you tell them everything, drag them along to do everything, find them to go drinking when you’re unhappy…” At this, Elian glared at her, warning her not to lead the kid astray. “… Find them to go eat together! Of course, if you’re unhappy you can also find me.”
“Do you have to tell them everything?” Ri Xiang Ye was hesitant. But I can’t tell Ezart anything about Dark Sun.
“Yup! You’re friends. What’s there to hide?” concluded Eloise based on her own personality of saying whatever was on her mind.
Elian frowned. Generally speaking, what Eloise had said wasn’t wrong. But he felt it wasn’t quite right?
Ri Xiang Ye distractedly thought of Eloise’s “definition of a friend.” Telling them everything, doing everything together, being able to drag them off to eat midnight snacks when he was unhappy, and if they were unhappy, they could also drag Ah Ye off to eat midnight snacks with them. This kind of “friend” seemed like… Something to hope for!
“Ah Ye? Ah Ye? Lian, is Ah Ye off in his own world?” After Eloise blinked, she exclaimed, “But his dazed look is even cuter!”
At this moment, Ri Xiang Ye lifted his head. His black eyes shone with determination!
Seeing this, Elian started to say some prayers. He hoped Eloise’s words hadn’t started something serious…