½ Prince Volume 1: The Beginning of a Legend
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 2: Legend, Begin – translated by Erialis
“Hey, Lolidragon, what’s your class?” I asked as I removed her hands from my butt for the umpteenth time. “Mage? Priest?”
Lolidragon cackled. Or perhaps she’s a witch!
“How could I possibly pick such dull jobs? I chose the class with the brightest future in the game!”
That piqued my curiosity. “Which is…?”
Covering her mouth with the back of her hand, she cackled again, “Wohohohohohooo! Do I even need to say it? I’m obviously… A thief!”
“True, that seems to have quite a “bright” future,1 but we only have a warrior and a thief in our party. That’s hardly ideal.”
“Relax! Just wait and I’ll teach you the real way to fight – no sweat, blood, or money required,” she replied confidently.
The trip to the Wolves’ Riverbank was supposed to take only fifteen minutes, but in the end it took the two of us an hour to get there. Obviously, Lolidragon was the reason for the delay. Under the pretext that no one else was around, she forced me to take off my mask and her eyes immediately turned into two hearts.
Lolidragon handed me a mirror after she had looked her fill, and I ended up staring at myself with heart-shaped eyes, just like her.
Waaah! Why?! Why?! Why am I so incredibly good-looking? My god!
In my entire life, I have only seen two guys so hot that I couldn’t help but sigh over them. The first was that little brother of mine (even I have to admit that he really is very good-looking, even if his personality is the worst). The second was myself.
Oh god, don’t tell me I can only choose between incest and narcissism?! Sighing, I returned the mirror to Lolidragon. Off to training we go!
Just as I was about to walk over to the nearest wolf and vent my feelings of frustration, however, Lolidragon stopped me with a shout. “Stay there and watch how I deal with the wolf! Observe.” She took out a dagger and approached her prey.
“Second Life is truly a realistic game; the damage dealt varies depending on which part of the mob you attack. That’s why we should find a mob’s weak points before attacking,” she explained as she moved.
That was old news to me. After all, it was just like preparing poultry, fish, or meat. For chickens, you had to slit their throats; for fish, you had to slit their bellies…just as I’d demonstrated while fighting wolves earlier.
As one might expect from a thief, Lolidragon snuck noiselessly up behind the wolf without attracting its notice. With a powerful slash, she cut through one of the wolf’s hind legs.
<Wolf HP -30>
The wolf instantly spun around and attempted to land a bite, but there was no way it could possibly hurt the agile – and prepared – thief. With the greatest of ease, she ran in circles around it. The wolf, in turn, could not catch up with a maimed leg, and Lolidragon would periodically turn about and slash at it. After taking about five or six of her attacks, the wolf announced that it was going to stop playing, and finally left for heaven.
<Lolidragon has killed Wolf, Lolidragon’s experience has increased to XXX/XXXX, Prince’s experience has increased to XXX/XXXX>
“Whew, what do you think? I didn’t spill a single drop of blood!” She raised her chin and said proudly, “You can tell a pro player from a mile way. When you meet one, you should watch and learn!”
I scratched my face and drew my Black Dao. Giving the closest wolf an upward kick, I followed up with a swing of my blade from below. I’d forgotten to check what Black Dao’s attack power was, but it was definitely higher than that of the knife I had been using earlier, judging by the way it severed that poor wolf in two. Rest in peace!
“Y-you kicked…” Lolidragon stared at the scene, speechless and thoroughly stunned. What on earth is this fighting style? she wondered. This is insane… To think that I had never even considered this kind of approach…!
Feeling extremely eager, I stalked over to the next wolf. It looks like I can finally try out those moves I researched in Street Fighter!
I launched the wolf into the air with a kick, followed by a second kick upwards. Then, aligning my fist with my body, I punched out at the wolf above me (and only just stopped short of going “Rising Dragon Fist!”).2 Still airborne, I kicked the wolf back to the earth.
“…” Lolidragon watched, still speechless.
However, when I attempted Chun Li’s most famous move – head down, legs up and extended, twirling in the air like a human helicopter – I discovered that it defied the laws of human physiology and was purely for show. I was rewarded with a sprained waist, a bump on my head, and a bite from the wolf.
Waaah, saliva! Everyone should know by now that when I encountered saliva, I would…go berserk!
You damn wolf, actually drooling to the point of coating my hand with your slobber! You’re dead meat, aaaaah! Kick, Swaying Sword Style, Nine Swords of Du Gu, Toast to the Eight, Quick Sword Technique, Head Slam, “Ten” Strike, Shoulder Throw, Women’s Self-Defense!3
“Holy…! Prince, what sort of insane fighting style is this?” Lolidragon demanded, unable to continue watching in silence. She couldn’t tell whether she was playing an MMORPG or a fighting game anymore… Or whether the moves she witnessed were from a Jin Yong novel4 or a comic.
I paused, feeling somewhat confused. “I can’t fight like this?”
GRRR! To actually steal a bite from me while I was distracted, you damn wolf! I continued on my rampage.
She trembled fiercely. “It’s not…against the rules,” she croaked. But for somebody to actually be able to play like this on an MMO, and a totally clueless warrior, at that…
“Or could it be because he’s clueless?” Lolidragon mused as understanding dawned upon her. It’s precisely because he isn’t familiar with conventional methods of gameplay that Prince’s actions are unique. His behavior doesn’t conform to convention at all. He has no limits or restrictions. Rather, he has endless potential and innovation. This is the true way to play a game with a realism level of 99%!
Watching as I wreaked havoc on the wolves, Lolidragon smiled helplessly.
“He really is a clueless pro player.”
I could vaguely hear Lolidragon saying something. I chopped one last time at a wolf and turned around to ask her if she had said something like “a clueless killer”, only to see…
“Lolidragon, RUN! Behind—” Before I could finish speaking, a wolf three times larger than normal with pure white fur suddenly charged towards her from behind, savagely biting down on her shoulder.
<Wolf King has successfully attacked Lolidragon, Lolidragon HP -150, 100/250>
“Urgh…” Struggling to ignore the acute pain in her shoulder, Lolidragon dashed towards me.
Shielding her with my body, I held my dao at the ready as I faced the Wolf King. What beautiful white fur it has… Looks like I’ll be able to get a white cape after all!
As I daydreamed, the Wolf King suddenly lunged for me. It’s fast! I barely managed to block, and immediately retreated several steps. Once again, it came lunging in and I decided to use a spin-kick. Unsurprisingly, however, its physical resistance was considerable. Though I’d put all my strength into that kick, the Wolf King merely staggered two steps to the left. It immediately moved in for another attack. Unable to react in time, I could only watch as its jaws clamped down on my left hand.
<Prince HP -80, 320/450>
“Owww…” I raised my dao and slashed at its stomach. Dear god, its hide sure is thick; I barely managed to nick it!
<Wolf King HP -30>
Hearing the system notice, I nearly fainted. Only thirty health? Just one bite from it cost me eighty health, plus the Wolf King’s health is probably as much as mine… We’re screwed! I thought, silently crying in my mind.
“Prince, good luck! If it gets too tough, come up here.” Hearing this, I glanced back. Wah! Lolidragon, you sure are fast, getting to safety by climbing a tree in the blink of an eye…
I had no option but to force myself to calm down. I imagined myself as Chun Li – with her low hit points and weak attack power – facing off against the insanely overpowered Iori Yagami,5 controlled by my brother. Ungh, this is bad! I don’t think I’ve ever won under those conditions in King of Fighters… In any case, the basic principle is to avoid a head-on fight.
Argh, the wolf is coming this way again! Damn it, I thought, kicking upwards. Too heavy to be lifted into the air at all, the Wolf King was barely knocked over…
<Wolf King HP -15>
Summoning forth the last ounce of my strength, I raised my blade and stabbed down at its belly. Stab, stab, stab! Damn it, I can’t pierce through its hide!
<Wolf King HP -50>
Waaah! The Wolf King swiped at me. Nooo, don’t scar my face… Waaah!
<Prince HP -100, 220/450>
“Prince, you’d better get over here,” Lolidragon advised, her face turning pale.
I sprinted towards the tree that she was perched in. However, my speed was somehow lower than the Wolf King’s, so I was raked twice by its claws.
<Prince HP -80, HP -80, 60/450>
I’m going to be dead in no time, I thought, If I try to climb the tree, I won’t be able to avoid getting mauled…
Up in the tree, Lolidragon watched the scene below with mounting panic. Suddenly, a phrase flashed through her mind: No limits or restrictions…
Lolidragon took instant action. Hooking her legs on the tree branch, she hung upside down from the tree and stretched both hands down.
“Prince, trapeze!” Prince will definitely get it, she thought.
Seeing the situation, I made use my momentum and leapt, grabbing her arms. I swung forward in an arc and managed to get up into the tree. Seeing the Wolf King clawing away at the tree trunk beneath, I thought, It’s a good thing I’ve seen a circus act before.
Whew! I’m dead beat. I panted furiously. Nearby, Lolidragon held a hand to her chest as she gasped for breath, her nerves similarly frayed. We turned and stared at each other.
“Hahahaha…hehehe,” we began to laugh.
“Hurry up and drink your health potions. We still have to come up with a plan to kill this damnable Wolf King,” said Lolidragon.
“Mm.” It’s a good thing I still have those ten health potions from before, I thought, gulping down one potion after another.
In the end it took five health potions to fully restore my health. Touching my face, I was relieved to find that the wound had vanished. Thank goodness, but now I only have five health potions left. How troublesome.
“This wolf’s hide is just too thick; I can’t penetrate it at all. Plus, it was heavy, so there was no way to kick it into the air,” I grumbled. How are we supposed to fight it?
“It can’t be helped, since our levels are too low,” Lolidragon replied, her eyebrows furrowing thoughtfully. I have no idea how to kill this boss Wolf King, but with bosses being a rare encounter, it seems a pity to run away without fighting it… “We’ll have to look for a weak point. It must have one. So long as we attack its weak spot we should still be able to deal quite a lot of damage, even if our attack power isn’t high enough to kill it.”
Could this wolf, with a hide so tough it could be made of steel, actually have a weakness? I wondered. Then, I suddenly recalled a saying I’d often read in wuxia6 novels: No matter how hard you train, you can’t train your eyes to become like steel!
“Eyes,” I croaked out.
Lolidragon nodded. After swiftly coming up with a plan in her head, she removed a length of rope from her pouch. “Prince, have you ever watched a Western cowboy film?”
Lolidragon smiled confidently. “Then there’s no problem. We’re just swapping the horse for a wolf, so you should be able to handle it.”
“…You sure have a lot of confidence in me,” I replied. I know I’m terrified… My life is at stake here, and you want me to lasso a Wolf King as though it is nothing more than a horse! As I spoke, I made a lasso from the rope. It’s a good thing I used to be a Girl Scout or I wouldn’t even be able to tie a live knot.
“Once you’ve lassoed it, climb the tree and tie the rope to the tree, so the dumb wolf won’t be able to move freely. After that, the show’s all ours, heh heh heh…”
Am I seeing things? Why does Lolidragon’s smile suddenly look so…sadistic? Hallucination! I must be hallucinating!
Take a deep breath. Breathe out, breathe in again, breathe out… Okay! Focusing my gaze on the Wolf King’s back, I leapt down from tree and landed squarely on top of it. I wrapped my arms tightly about its furry neck even as the Wolf King – who seemed extremely alarmed – began to buck, thinking to throw me off.
The wolf’s movements nearly dislodged me from its back on several occasions. As if that’s going to happen! I thought. Falling off will definitely mean death… You damn Wolf King, I’ll show you just how tenacious a woman can be!
Lolidragon’s face was pale as death as she watched the scene below from her perch in the tree. I, too, had gone pale… But that had more to do with the fact that the wolf’s movements were making me rather wolf-sick.
Despite the mayhem, I eventually managed to loop the rope about the Wolf King’s neck. I was clawed a few times in the attempt, but the injuries cost me an insubstantial thirty or forty health. Once it was properly collared, I quickly dismounted from the horse – ah, no, the wolf – and ran as fast as I could with the Wolf King hot on my heels.
Once again, Lolidragon and I performed a trapeze act. I then jumped off the tree with the rope in hand. Summoning all my remaining strength, I jerked on the rope and basically hung the wolf from the tree.
Leaping from the tree with a cry, Lolidragon used the ability that only small weapons had–
“Fatal Blow.” The attack struck the Wolf King’s left eye spot on.
<Critical hit successful, Wolf King HP -300>
The Wolf King roared in pain. Even though using the tree branch for leverage had saved me a lot of energy, I was about to lose my hold on the rope. Lolidragon immediately used Fatal Blow again. However, this time the blow went wide. Failing to stab the Wolf King’s right eye, it merely struck its forehead.
<Wolf King HP -100>
At that moment the rope, having frayed quite a bit from the friction, finally snapped. As soon as it was free, the Wolf King leapt towards its nemesis – Lolidragon – and bit down ferociously. Trapped beneath the Wolf King’s body, she could not escape.
<Lolidragon HP -150, 100/250>
I dashed towards the Wolf King’s back. The Fatal Blow that Lolidragon had just executed reminded me of my own ability: Inferno Slash.
“Inferno Slash!” The moment I called out the ability, flame sprung up along the length of my blade and I swung Black Dao down in vengeance. Knowing that the Wolf King wouldn’t die so easily, I reversed the motion and executed another Inferno Slash, then another, and another until the fifth and final attack exhausted all my mana.
<System notice: Prince has killed Wolf King, Prince has reached level 12, Prince’s, experience has increased to XXX/XXXX, / Lolidragon has reached level X, Lolidragon’s experience has increased to XXX/XXXX>
<Prince has learned a new ability: Consecutive Inferno Slashes / Ability: Continuous Attack ability level up – Ability Level 5, can attack continuously up to 6 times>
<Weapon: Black Dao level up – Weapon Level 2, attack power +15>
I kicked the Wolf King’s corpse aside. Upon seeing that Lolidragon was still okay – aside from looking rather flattened – I breathed a sigh of relief. Good thing she didn’t die.
Lolidragon continued to lie on the ground. However, even though her face was dripping with sweat, she was grinning. I smiled back and laid down next to her, but Lolidragon gave me a kick.
“Aren’t you going to hurry and take a look at the loot?”
“Oh.” I lazily sat up and glanced about. Scattered around us was an egg, a pair of shoes, and a small pile of silvers.
Just then, Lolidragon cried out, startling me.
“What’s wrong?” Did the Wolf King come back to life? No way!
“Your weapon leveled up?” Lolidragon could see my system notices as we were in a group.
I looked at Black Dao’s stats.
<Black Dao: Weapon Level 2, attack power +15>.
“Yeah. Second Life really is strange, if even the weapons can level up.”
I received a whack on the head for that comment. As I saw stars for a second time, Lolidragon roared, “Only weapons of the growing type will level up!”
“Oh…” Well pardon me for not having read up on the official site! It’s not like you didn’t know about that… If you keep hitting my head, I’ll become an idiot!
Hearing me mumbling to myself, Lolidragon rolled her eyes. “Do you know how valuable growing-type weapons are? They are similar to godly weapons! Just think: If your sword could continually level up and increase in attack power, what would the advantages be?”
Wahhh! Wouldn’t that mean that I’d never have to upgrade my weapon? And that, just by training, my weapon would also level up and become increasingly strong? By this point, my eyes had begun to shine. I had come to realize just how much money I would be saving in the long run.
Seeing the glimmer in my eyes, Lolidragon knew that I’d understood. Heh! Lucky! I thought, feeling indescribably joyful.
Aside from the pair of shoes and the money, there was the egg, and neither Lolidragon nor I could wait to find out what pet would hatch from it. We decided to return to the village first so that we could identify the shoes and7 find a pet shop where we could hatch the egg. Once Lolidragon and I had combined our efforts to skin the Wolf King – I haven’t forgotten my cape, hehehe! – we happily returned to the village.
The instant we reached the village gates, I realized that I’d made a massive error. The first time I made this mistake was due to ignorance, the second time is due to IDIOCY. Waaah! I am a huge idiot! To actually fail to wear a mask and even enter the village by the front gate…
I shifted my stance, ready to begin sprinting, but Lolidragon – who was standing next to me – grabbed my arm with a vise-like grip and practically nestled herself in my arms.
“Hub-by,” Lolidragon cooed in a cloyingly sweet voice, leaving my hair standing on end. “Didn’t you just say, that I’m your mo-o-st beloved, mo-o-st beautiful wife?”
As she spoke, she directed a challenging gaze at all the fellow women surrounding her. Those who met her stare shrank back involuntarily; none were willing to take up the gauntlet as their looks could not compare with hers.
Admittedly, Lolidragon really was an extremely rare ultra-beauty… Huh? You want me to describe her? It’s just the usual, with a face more mature and lovely than mine, boobs bigger than mine (and as far as I can tell, bigger than Rose’s), a waist slimmer than mine, legs longer than mine, skin fairer than mine… That type! Waaah! Once again, my self-esteem received a huge blow.
Just as I was thinking all that nonsense, Lolidragon elbowed me. Ouch! I hurriedly replied, “Yes! Of course! You are my most beloved, most beautiful wife.”
The moment the words left my mouth, dozens of poisonous glances were shot at Lolidragon. She didn’t seem the least bit perturbed, however. As a matter of fact, she seemed rather happy! *Sweat*
Although I had pretty much been coerced into acknowledging Lolidragon as my wife, this deception did have quite a few merits. After all, there weren’t many women with the courage to battle an ultra-beauty like Lolidragon over a man. Thus, the dozens of wolves that barred our path slowly slunk away and we were able to saunter safely through the village at our leisure.
After we reached the NPC that provided identification services, I reluctantly parted with five silvers so that we could finally see the shoes’ stats. They turned out to be a pair of boots with defense +8 and agility +10, which were exactly what Lolidragon needed as an agility-oriented thief.
We had to pay again at the pet shop, so I forked over another two silvers. Damn, that’s the last of the money we got from fighting the Wolf King.
Although I really, really wanted to own a pet, no matter how I looked at it, Lolidragon – with her relatively low defense – needed a pet much more than I did. Thus, fighting back the longing in my heart, I generously offered, “Lolidragon, this pet’s all yours! I’ll wait for the next one.”
“I don’t need it, I already have the boots.”
How rare for Lolidragon to be so modest… But, for the sake of our party’s overall combat strength, I still felt that she should have the pet. “Your defense is low, so having a pet will greatly boost your combat potential.”
“Don’t need it…”
“You don’t have to be so polite!”
“I told you I don’t need it!” Lolidragon suddenly bellowed at me fiercely, giving me a fright. I stared at her, astonished and uncertain as to how to react. Just then, Lolidragon suddenly seemed to cool off, and said weakly, “I can’t raise pets!”
Eh? I don’t get it!
“I’ve kept many pets before! But… Not one has had a happy ending.”
And so she began to share with me her history of raising pets…
“I had a puppy before. Two days after I bought it, it disappeared while I was taking it for a walk…and never came back. After that, I had a turtle, but I carelessly knocked the tank over…and it fell from the fifth floor balcony to the ground floor. Next, I kept a fighting fish…”
That should have been fine, right? I’ve had a fighting fish before; they’re very easy to take care of!
“Only after it died did I find out that you have to change the water in the tank…”
I was speechless.
“And in the end, I kept a cactus…”
“You’re not serious… Even the cactus died?” It can’t be… right?
Lolidragon said naively, “How was I to know that the cactus needed watering? I thought it didn’t need water, so it shriveled up and died! After that, I vowed that, no matter what, I would never keep a pet again…”
That truly is a disastrous history…
After three seconds of silence in memory of the innocent pets, I decided not to pursue the matter further. I bit my finger – ouch! – and let a drop of blood drip onto the surface of the egg.
<Ding! Egg successfully hatched>
At that, the shell broke. All the while, Lolidragon and I watched with wide-eyed curiosity, wanting to see just what would hatch from it.
Surprise! Surprise! And still more surprising, because it was simply unbelievable…
“Wha– What on earth…” I was at a loss for words, because this pet just defied imagination. Even if a sacred beast – such as a kirin, a phoenix or even a dragon – had hatched, I would have been a lot less shocked. I grabbed Lolidragon tightly with one hand and looked at her beseechingly, wanting to confirm that she was seeing the same thing I was.
Lolidragon’s face was the picture of bewilderment and her mouth hung slack in a most unbecoming manner. After a long while, she finally shook off her stupor a little. “Prince, could this be… No matter how I look at it, this seems to be…a bun?”
My expression became serious. “No, look more closely: This thing’s shape and size all suggest a hidden goodness. With that soft, smooth exterior, that satisfyingly round body, plus that aroma that would make people unable to stop drooling… I don’t think it’s just a bun. To be precise, it absolutely must be… A MEAT bun!”
“What?!” Lolidragon was shocked…and then cuffed me on the head. “Who gives a damn if it is a meat bun or a vegetable bun! The important thing is, why did our egg actually hatch into a meat bun?”
Sigh! I rubbed my head and protested, “If a hidden GM like you doesn’t know a thing about it, then how the hell would I know?”
“It could be a problem with the script…” Mulling it over, Lolidragon thought, If that’s really the case, then I’ll have to hurry and report it to the higher-ups, in order to prevent other players’ pets from hatching into weird stuff.
Growl! As I caught a whiff of the meat bun’s fragrance, I felt a sudden pang of hunger. I swallowed a mouthful of saliva as I stared at it. All of a sudden, the meat bun moved! That movement resembled…the shifting of someone’s butt – if a meat bun even had a butt.
“Lolidragon! The meat bun moved.”
“What?!” She immediately crouched down next to me and the two of us stared at the meat bun together.
The meat bun was actually…actually turning around (So a meat bun actually has a front and back?) and was hopping as it turned. Next, a pair of large, watery blue eyes, like those you might see in a cartoon, was revealed to us.
“A meat bun with eyes…” I was somewhat at a loss as to what to do.
As befitting a hidden GM who had some experience with this kind of thing, Lolidragon spoke calmly. “Prince, check its stats.”
I reached out and picked up that delicious-smelling meat bun, while fighting back the impulse to eat it…
<Ding! System notice: Please give your pet a name>
…We’ll call it Meatbun then! After all, is there a more fitting name?
<Pet owner: Prince | Pet name: Meatbun | Level: 1 | Health: 30 | Mana: 20 | Unspent skill points: 0 | Strength: 3 | Physique: 5 | Agility: 10>
(Unbelievable, the meat bun’s faster than me?)
<Intelligence: 6 | Willpower: 7 | Wisdom: 10>
(A meat bun is smarter than me? Gaaah!)
<Abilities: Dog Beating Technique – Ability Level 1, offensive ability, will use up 10 mana / Aroma Release – Ability Level 1, can attract mobs, will use up 30 mana, lasts 20 minutes, range is 10 meters>8
“How is it? Is it really a pet?” Lolidragon asked, curious.
“Yeah… Looks like it.”
“…Whoever the game designer is, he sure has a sense of humor,” said Lolidragon with an expressionless face, but her lips were drawn into a tight line.
“It doesn’t matter; at least…it’s pretty cute!” At this, the meat bun in my hands began to rub itself against my palm. It was even emitting a soft purring sound, as though it was a child seeking affection. How cute! …Although it does feel a bit weird to have a meat bun wanting my affection.
“Does it have an offensive ability?”
“Yeah.” Dog Beating Technique…
“In that case, let’s test it out on a few man-eating slimes when we leave.”
Before we left the village, Lolidragon used her level 8 Tailoring ability – a profession-type ability – to craft a hat and a shirt. She had refused to help me make a cape – waaah! – saying, “Your fighting style is so wild. With such exaggerated movements, wearing a cape would only hinder you!”
As we walked up the grassy slope with all the man-eating slimes, I surveyed the surrounding slimes and felt a strong sense of nostalgia…
“Prince, give it a shot!” Lolidragon said, gazing at Meatbun.
“Right!” I turned and looked at the meat bun sitting on my shoulder. “Meatbun… Dog Beating Technique.”
It didn’t move.
…Not specific enough? I tried again. “Meatbun, use your Dog Beating Technique on the man-eating slime over there.”
Still no movement… I’m pissed, I’m pissed – I’M SO PISSED! Don’t tell me that this pet has no other use except to look cute? It’s my first pet, for heaven’s sake!
Grrr! Picking Meatbun up, I hurled it at the slime. “Go and duel the man-eating slime! Don’t even think about coming back if you lose!”
“What are you getting so angry with a meat bun for?” Lolidragon asked, her shoulders shaking with repressed laughter.
Just then, the meat bun that I’d hurled struck the slime and actually made a loud “bonk” sound, giving me a shock. I quickly looked at Meatbun, deeply worried that my first pet might just be eaten by a man-eating slime and disappear.
<System notice: Dog Beating Technique successfully executed by Meatbun, Man-eating Slime HP -10>
Somebody once said, if you use a meat bun to hit a dog, you will never see the meat bun again…9 However, this rule did not seem to apply to my Meatbun – after it hit the man-eating slime, it wheeled three times in the air and came flying back into my hand. It even made a “whee – whee” sound, as if it was cheering and having a lot of fun.
The still-living slime came rushing over, thinking to attack me. However, I threw Meatbun at it again on reflex – even as I shouted, “Meatbun… Dog, beat!”
<System notice: Dog Beating Technique successfully executed by Meatbun, Man-eating Slime HP -10, Man-eating slime has died, Meatbun has reached level 2, Prince’s experience has increased to XXX/XXXX>
Just like that, Meatbun – the pet that would later be known as the strongest pet in Second Life – and I defeated our first monster together. I stood there with a bewildered expression while Lolidragon hooted with laughter, pounding the ground with her fists.
We then headed back to the Wolves’ Riverbank and resumed fighting wolves. I continued to employ my kick-and-belly-slit method. Occasionally, I also hurled Meatbun, so as to ensure that it wouldn’t be under-leveled due to a lack of experience.
In addition, Lolidragon told me that I had motivated her (I motivated her? When? I find that very suspicious…) and that she had decided to learn from me, so I was to teach her lots of moves from King of Fighters.
We stayed in the vicinity of the Wolves’ Riverbank for some time in the following days, slaying tons of wolves and leveling up quite a bit. We used the same method to kill the poor Wolf King five or six times, before moving on to fighting bears.
At this point I must mention that, after a few uses, Meatbun’s Aroma Release ability – which I’d originally thought was useless – leveled up. The area of effect greatly increased to a radius of 150 meters. By using it, we managed to lure the Wolf King and bears out; we would never have been able to find them otherwise. Also, with a wisdom of 10, Meatbun was able to learn new skills with great ease… Although I suspected that the real reason was not its wisdom, but rather the fact that Lolidragon and I did too many bizarre things with it.
Take, for instance, the other day. Lolidragon wanted to try out her recently acquired, but already level ten, ability “Poisons” – which allowed her to make many types of poisons – so she coated Meatbun with a poison and fed it to a wolf. The wolf was duly poisoned to death and my Meatbun learned a new ability: Poisonous Meatbun. After that, it continued to learn many new abilities by accident… Sigh! Meatbun, you really are a rare and precious pet.
There came a day when Lolidragon and I were taking a breather on a cliff, worn out from fighting mobs. Lolidragon lay on the ground while I stood in the face of a strong gust of wind, looking down on the landscape. At that moment, there was a sudden, overpowering feeling in my heart – an overwhelming urge to sing.
“Lolidragon… I want to sing!”
“Go ahead then!” she replied lazily.
“This ain’t a song for the broken-hearted / A silent prayer for the faith-departed / I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd / You’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out aloud / It’s my life / It’s now or never / I ain’t gonna live forever / I just want to live while I’m alive (It’s my life) / My heart is like an open highway / Like Frankie said I did it my way / I just wanna live while I’m alive / It’s my life”
[Lyrics by Bon Jovi – “It’s My Life”]10
I ran my fingers through my wind-tousled hair.
“Perhaps it’s not really for as inane a reason as proving my brother wrong that I decided to become a guy.”
“Then, what’s the real reason?”
“Maybe the real reason is that I just don’t want to hide behind anyone, not anymore.
“I want to kill monsters to my heart’s content, using all kinds of crazy methods and moves, without anyone calling me a violent woman.
“I want to swear and cuss while killing and whenever I’m pissed or annoyed, without anyone saying that it isn’t ladylike.
“I want to be able to laugh after hearing an off-color joke, maybe even add my own retort. I don’t want to be forced to pretend I don’t get it, just to prove how pure and innocent I am, but I don’t want to be called a vulgar woman either.”
I finished my impromptu speech, but Lolidragon did not say anything as I lay down silently and joined her in staring up at the boundless sky.
After a long while had passed…
“Prince.” Lolidragon rolled over and propped herself up as she looked at me.
“Let’s create our own legend!”
“The Legend of Prince! Second Life’s greatest player, Prince!” Lolidragon said with a brilliant gleam in her eyes. “We’re not going to take pride in being the wives of the best players; we’re going to take pride in being the best players.”
Create a legend! I mused.
After a moment, I turned to look at Lolidragon and we shared a smile.
It’s my life.
[½ Prince Volume 1 Chapter 2 End]
1 Brightest future/“bright” future: This was originally meant to be a pun. What Lolidragon says is actually, “有前途” (yŏu qián tú), meaning “has a bright future”, while Prince replies with, “有钱途” (yŏu qián tú), meaning “a lucrative future”, which sounds identical to the earlier phrase. The first “qián” is the Chinese character for “front” or “forward”, while the latter “qián” is the character for “money”.
2 Rising Dragon Fist: This is read as “shōryū-ken” in Japanese (and written as “昇龍拳” in Japanese kanji and “升龙拳” in simplified Chinese) and is a really famous move belonging to Ryu from the fighting game series, Street Fighter. The move is a one-hit blow that can only be executed successfully if the enemy is airborne.
3 Swaying Sword… Self-Defense: The techniques that Prince is using are a mix of famous techniques from Chinese novels, fighting game moves, normal moves and nonsense. Swaying Sword Style, “荡剑式” (prn. dàng jiàn shì) and Nine Swords of Du Gu “独孤九剑” (prn. dú gū jĭu jiàn) are both from Jin Yong’s The Laughing, Proud Wanderer, or “笑傲江湖” (prn. xiào ào jiāng hú). Toast to the Eight is a move belonging to Iori Yagami from King of Fighters. “Ten” Strike, “十字斩” (prn. shí zì zhăn) seems to be from another game as well (note that the character for “ten” in Chinese is written like a cross, hence the name). Quick Sword Technique, “拔刀术” (prn. bò dāo sù) refers to the fairly common move of quickly unsheathing one’s blade and, with a single stroke, destroying the enemy. The rest are fairly self-explanatory.
4 Jin Yong novel: Jin Yong is the author behind some of the most famous martial arts (or wuxia) novels of the past century, including The Legend of the Condor Heroes “射雕英雄传” (prn. shè diāo yīng xióng zhuàn), The Return of the Condor Heroes “神雕侠侣” (prn. shén diāo xiá lǚ) and The Laughing, Proud Wanderer “笑傲江湖” (prn. xiào ào jiāng hú).
5 Iori Yagami: A character from King of Fighters. He seems to be a pretty powerful character in the game, with the power to manipulate fire and a sadistic personality.
6 Wuxia: Written as “武侠” (wŭ xiá) in Chinese, the term literally means “martial arts hero”. A wuxia novel, such as The Return of the Condor Heroes, often has a myriad of characters who are all masters of martial arts or notables in the pugilistic world and each would usually have a specially name set (or sets) of skills (refer to footnote 3 for some examples).
7 To identify: Rare objects in Second Life, such as the shoes picked up by Prince and Lolidragon here, have their stats hidden and must be “identified” by the relevant NPC before players can see the item’s details. Games that have similar systems are Ragnarok Online and Guildwars, in which players have to use a magnifying glass and an identification kit respectively to check the stats for rare items.
8 Meter: 1 meter = 100 centimeters = 3.28 feet.
9 If you use a meat bun to hit a dog, you will never see the meat bun again: The original saying in Chinese is “肉包子打狗，有去无回” (prn. ròu bāo zĭ dă gŏu, yŏu qù wú huí). The underlying meaning is that such an action will definitely result in failure.
10 It’s My Life: Song by Bon Jovi.