½ Prince Volume 1: The Beginning of a Legend
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 4: The Necromancer and the Bard – translated by Julyflurry
In an extremely romantic European-styled garden, an angelic and devastatingly handsome elf sat beside a beautiful, rose-like girl. Together, they formed the flawless image of a fairy-tale prince and princess and the only word to describe them was “perfection”. Unfortunately, the image was marred by an ugly wolfman seated together with them. All the players nearby shook their heads, feeling as though they had ordered a bowl of za cui noodles,1 only to find out that the delicious pig’s intestines had not been cleaned properly and still contained some feces.
Putting on a charming smile, the corners of my mouth lifted up as I carefully examined the white menu in my hands. Having made up my mind, I lifted my head, ignoring the mesmerized gaze the other players were giving me as I turned to an equally enraptured waitress. In an incomparably gentle voice, I said, “Miss, a bowl of soy milk and five you tiao2 please.”
Blinking her eyes enchantingly, Lolidragon said lightly, “Prince, you really know how to ruin the mood; what’s with the soy milk and you tiao?” The players around us nodded in agreement.
“At least have some sesame cake! Miss, get me two bowls of soy milk and ten sesame cakes,” Lolidragon said.
Just then, Wolf-dàgē3 added in his bestial voice, “Little sister, also add a cup of Italian espresso, Caesar salad, and a roast…”
After finishing her soybean milk, Lolidragon wiped her mouth daintily and spoke. “Prince, I think we should hurry and find more teammates!”
“What’s the rush? We have Wolf-dàgē to heal us, so we won’t have trouble gaining experience. We can slowly gather other teammates!” I swallowed a mouthful of you tiao, slowly answering the question.
“No, experience has nothing to do with why I want more teammates.”
“Then?” I asked. Why else would we need teammates other than leveling up?
Lolidragon heaved a deep sigh. “‘The way is mine to clear and the tree is mine to cut; for you to pass through here… With. The. Hottie. You. Must. Part.’”
“Did you have to rub salt in my wounds?” That damn Lolidragon! I… I’m so pissed!
Lolidragon snickered. “Wounds are meant for rubbing salt in… Prince, the point is that we managed to scare off Fairsky this time, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be others who will try to snatch you from me. The next time, I might not be able to protect your virtue… That’s why – for your pretty little face, for your virtue, for our glorious monster-fighting honeymoon trip – we need to build up our combat strength quickly. That’s why comrades are the most important assets in our battle to protect your virtue.”
“….” I was rendered speechless. Lolidragon really knows how to scare people, I thought, But she’s usually right. Will I really be offering up my virtue to my fellow females? Could this be considered lesbianism?
Lolidragon thought carefully. “I think we should get a mage and, after that, an archer. That should complete our party.”
At this moment, Wolf-dàgē spoke. From what Lolidragon and I had gathered of Wolf-dàgē, he only opened his mouth when we were discussing something important. Therefore, he rarely spoke.
“Finding any mage is easy, but it will be difficult to find a mage that suits us. Some mages specialize in area spells good for handling a number of mobs at a time. Others prefer to focus their attacks so that they have stronger spells, but they can only take on one mob at a time this way. There are mages who choose to spam weak but fast attacks, as well as mages who prefer all-or-nothing bursts of magic. The type of elemental magic also plays an important role, so we’ll have to find a mage depending on what types of mobs you want to fight…”
Amazing! Both Lolidragon and I turned starry-eyed, staring at Wolf-dàgē in awe. It’s amazing how much theory there is behind finding a mage…
“You are amazing, Wolf-dàgē. You know so much…”
Wolf-dàgē gave us an embarrassed smile. “It’s nothing really. I wanted to be a mage before, that’s why I researched the class.”
A two–meter–tall mage? I smiled numbly at the thought.
“Then why didn’t you become one?” Lolidragon also had a slightly stunned smile, but she thought, a two–meter–tall mage was at least slightly less strange than a two–meter–tall priest…
Wolf-dàgē heaved a deep sigh. “Err…!”
“If you don’t want to talk about it, it’s okay.” Wolf-dàgē probably has his reasons… Rubbing salt on other people’s wounds was Lolidragon’s specialty, not mine – although I was also rather curious.
“It’s not really a big deal.” With a plaintive expression, Wolf-dàgē stood up and turned around to gaze at the faraway horizon, the very picture of dejection. Just what could have happened that led Wolf-dàgē to give up his dream of being a mage?
Wolf-dàgē’s expression darkened. “Actually, the reason was because… There were too many people lining up outside of the mages’ temple, so I went to the empty priests’ temple instead.”
My foot sent the skeleton warrior’s skull flying and with a spin kick, I broke the skeleton’s backbone. There was a loud “crack” as the skeleton turned into a pile of bones. Behind me, Lolidragon was busy gathering bones – I’m not joking. Since half a kilo of bone dust is worth ten silver coins, this is definitely not a laughing matter!
Before I forget to explain, the reason we’re here is because Wolf-dàgē said he wanted to see our combat technique before trying to find compatible teammates. That’s how we ended up in this eerie forest full of skeletons, using our craziest techniques to show Wolf-dàgē what we were made of.
Wolf-dàgē stared at me in disbelief. “Your taekwondo posture is incorrect. Come! Let Dàgē teach you.”
Wolf-dàgē then sent three skeletons flying in one with just one kick… Are you really a priest?
“Ahaha! I was leveling alone before, so I gained some strength… Here, come, let me buff you with Song of Battle, Fleet-footedness, and Impenetrable Wall.”
After receiving a huge boost in strength, agility, and defense, I finally understood the benefit of having a priest. As I darted through the midst of a bunch of skeletons, I was reminded of the last time Lolidragon and I were fighting low-leveled skeletons in the cave at the newbie’s village…
“Lolidragon, are you sure we can fight against skeletons?” I stared at the dark, creepy cave, feeling myself break out in goosebumps.
Just thinking about the skeleton’s white frames in the school clinic left me feeling scared… And, more importantly, skeletons didn’t drool, so what was I going to rely on to go on a rampage?
Lolidragon too, gulped nervously and said, “We…should…be able to…”
We forced ourselves to enter the cave. Lolidragon! Go and check things out up ahead… What? What do you mean, ‘no’?! Are you really a thief?
Since it couldn’t be helped, I had to light up a torch and walk ahead with Lolidragon hiding behind me. Suddenly, we heard the sound of bones grating up ahead. My face turned pale. I turned to Lolidragon, hoping to find some comfort in her presence, only to see that her face had turned green.
“Ahh….” Lolidragon suddenly let out a squeak, her forefinger shakily pointing in front of her.
I turned to discover that three white skeletons had suddenly appeared, but to my surprise I realized that I wasn’t really afraid. As I looked left and right, I kept thinking that those three skeletons looked like the sparerib soup that my brother and I had eaten yesterday. I raised my Black Dao and approached the skeletons cautiously…
I stared at Prince, who was fearlessly approaching the group of skeletons and thought, Looks like she’s becoming manlier! Not bad, not bad; a handsome face cannot have a spineless personality.
Suddenly, something white fell on my shoulder. Timidly, I peeked at my left shoulder to see what had fallen. Ahhh! A skeleton’s hand! I tried to shake it off, but it was clutching onto my shoulder tightly. I’m scared!
Scared to the limit of my endurance, I finally understood what Prince meant when he was talking about hating the taste of saliva… I’m furious, furious! I’m so furious! Stupid skeleton, don’t you know you can’t just grab onto the shoulder of a fair maiden?
I reached out, grabbed the elbow joint of the skeleton, twisted it forcefully…and found that there was only a skeleton’s arm left in my hand. Uwah! I hurriedly threw it aside, but the stupid skeleton decided to use its other hand to grab me.
I immediately repeated my earlier movement… And then I lost control. Seeing the white bones in front of me, I dismantled them the moment I reached out my hand, destroying bone after bone…
I regained consciousness after sometime, and the first thing I saw was Prince staring at me in disbelief and the ground littered with bones. The system notice stated that I had just learned a new skill: Dismantle Bones.
As the saying goes, “Saliva for Prince, skeletons for me.” – Lolidragon.
“Help… Nooooo!” A sharp, shrill scream snapped me out of my stupor. At first, I thought it was Lolidragon going wild again, but when I turned around, Lolidragon was sitting on the ground, crushing bones into bone dust with a blank look still on her face.
“Prince, the voice came from there,” Wolf-dàgē said as he pointed towards the direction of the sound.
Lolidragon, Wolf-dàgē, and I quickly ran in that direction and saw a very cute girl of the angel race, with her hair tied in two buns, covering her face as she dashed toward us, sobbing.
“Flaming Skeletons…” Wolf-dàgē’s expression became grave.
Watching the fiery skeletons pursue the pretty little girl, my expression was no less grave than his. If I get burned, it’ll really hurt!
It couldn’t be helped however, as the bun-haired girl was already rushing toward us. I could only raise my sword to ward off the mobs, reminding myself not to give in to the impulse to pull some crazy stunts. From my cooking experiences, I knew better than anyone just how painful burns could be…
“Nine-headed Dragon Strike!” Nine blades of flame shot out, rapidly striking at nine different spots on the skeletons. Ah! These Flaming Skeletons are incredible; even players and the skeleton boss from the newbie’s village couldn’t handle this technique, but for these skeletons to actually stand their ground against it…
I felt a growing sense of defeat. I retreated, drank a mana potion, and executed yet another Nine-headed Dragon Strike. Still not dead? Furious, mana potion, Nine-headed Dragon Strike, mana potion, Nine-headed Dragon Strike! I panted heavily. Such powerful skeletons! To still be alive even after so many Nine-headed Dragon Strikes…
“Prince, if you continue to use fire-based attacks against these Flaming Skeletons, then I’m afraid you’ll be fighting until Second Life closes down,” Wolf-dàgē couldn’t help but remark. His words were accompanied by the sound of Lolidragon’s snickers.
“…A mistake, a mistake!” Embarrassed, I extinguished the flames on my blade and simply used the “Ten” Strike instead. This time, the Flaming Skeletons scattered into pieces onto the ground.
<Ding! System notice: Prince has PKed Doll’s minions, Flaming Skeletons, Reputation -100>
…That’s a false accusation; when did I do that?
Wolf-dàgē’s and Lolidragon’s expressions changed from mirth to alarm and they came over to stand beside me cautiously. Shielding the bun-haired girl by standing in front of her, a bunch of questions burst from Lolidragon’s mouth. “Little girl, how many people summoned those Flaming Skeletons? How did you manage to offend them?”
The girl shyly replied, “I did not offend anyone.”
“Then why were the player Doll’s Flaming Skeletons chasing after you?” I asked suspiciously.
“They were my skeletons…”
What? Did I hear correctly? The three of us exchanged a flabbergasted look, but Lolidragon forced her voice to remain calm. “You are ‘Doll’?”
“You summoned those skeletons?”
“You are a necromancer?”
“You are of the angel race?”
“Then why were you running and even shouting for help?” I was slightly pissed.
Doll said tearfully, “Because this is my first time summoning those scary skeletons! They actually had fire, how frightening! Doll just kept on running, but those skeletons kept on chasing me, waaaaah!”
The corners of Lolidragon’s mouth twitched. “You summoned them, so of course they would follow you! Why be a necromancer if you are scared of skeletons? Besides, you’re from the angel race…”
The cowering Doll suddenly raised her head and lifted her chin. “Necromancers are not evil. Their real job is to discover the true meaning of death and unveil death’s mystery. Besides, a necromancer’s real forte is medicine; no one is more familiar with the body than a necromancer!”
“Little girl, it seems like you’ve memorized The Eye of the Soul4 quite well!” Lolidragon said coldly.
Ah, no wonder those words sounded familiar; they came from the novel The Eye of the Soul.
After Doll heard this, she stamped her feet on the ground angrily and said, “I am different from the necromancer in The Eye of the Soul! I am…ahem! Ahem!” She suddenly cleared her throat, lifted her wand, and twirled around while reciting, “For love and justice! I am the pretty necromancer, Doll! Evil, beware! In the place of the skeletons, Doll will punish you!”5
As she finished, one foot touched the ground while the other was lifted up playfully and both of her forefingers were pointing at her dimples.
Both Lolidragon and I could say nothing in response, but Wolf-dàgē asked, “Little sister, what level are you?”
While still maintaining that extremely difficult pose, Doll replied, “No one’s applauding, so I’m not saying!”
Clap, clap, clap… No choice; we had to start clapping.
“Hehe, I am level thirty! Amazing, right?” Doll said proudly as she reverted to a more normal stance.
At this point, I should mention that Wolf-dàgē is level thirty-six, one level higher than me.
“Level thirty.” Wolf-dàgē considered, then asked, “Doll, what abilities have you learned? How many skeletons can you summon?”
Doll tilted her head and with an adorable expression recited, “Slumbering skeletons of the dead in the dark and remote depths of the world, abandon your slumber and answer my call, the call of the necromancer, Doll!”
As soon as she finished chanting, the ground began to shake and many skeletal hands began to pop out of the ground like bean sprouts…
“Prince, there’s a skeleton grabbing my foot,” Lolidragon trembled.
Oh no, if Lolidragon gets touched by the skeletons, then…!
“Aaaaaah!” Lolidragon let out a piercing scream and reached out to grab the offending skeleton’s hand. She actually pulled the skeleton completely out of the ground, as though she were pulling out a radish. Then, using her Dismantle Bones ability, she tore the skeleton apart. After she finished, she moved on to tear apart another and another and another…
Lolidragon, what are you doing, harvesting? Forget it, I thought. Despite my words, I immediately began to pick up bone after bone – half a kilo of bone dust is worth ten silver coins and the last time Lolidragon went on a rampage, we gained a total of ten gold coins. Looks like this time we can eat at a restaurant!
“Prince… Player-summoned skeletons will automatically disappear, you cannot sell them.” Wolf-dàgē’s voice drifted into my ears.
Wh-wh-what?! Why can’t we sell them? I watched sorrowfully as the gold in my hands disappeared.
To one side, Doll watched as her skeletons were turned into a pile of bones. Awestruck, she exclaimed, “My idol! Could I inquire as to that big sister’s name?” she asked me, her eyes glittering with reverence.
“Lolidragon-jiějie6 is so powerful, to know every joint on the skeleton and twist it so that every bone in the skeleton’s body breaks! That lack of hesitation and methodical execution is amazing! Lolidragon-jiějie definitely has a profound understanding of the souls of the dead. I must learn from her,” Doll said, looking entranced as she watched Lolidragon dismantle the arm of a skeleton.
I watched speechlessly as Lolidragon, who apparently had a profound understanding of the souls of the dead, used her strength to dismantle bone after bone. I was a little worried, since at this rate her infamy might soon earn her a spot on the hall of shame…
“One, two…four…eight…” Wolf-dàgē began counting the number of skeletons no more slowly than Lolidragon was pulling skeletons out from the ground. “That’s a total of eight low-leveled skeletons! That’s not bad at all. How many flaming skeletons can you raise, Doll?”
Doll, who had been looking at Lolidragon with reverence, began to chant automatically, “Skeletons of the vengeful dead, cloaked in the raging flames from the depths of hell, answer my call, the call of the necromancer, Doll!”
Four flame-enveloped bean sprouts popped out off the ground. I immediately dashed toward them, ashen-faced, deeply worried that Lolidragon might—
…Looks like I’m too late. Lolidragon’s already clutching her hand and whimpering tearfully.
Before I could reach Lolidragon, however, a figure faster than me had already charged over. “Lolidragon-jiějie, are you okay?! Waaah! Doll didn’t mean for big sister to get hurt.” As she finished speaking, Doll began to cry, wailing loudly. Lolidragon stared at her in bewilderment for a moment and then looked at me.
I scratched my face. “Doll says she idolizes you, as you have a profound understanding of the souls of the dead.”
“Prince, I think we should ask Doll to become a member of our party,” said Wolf-dàgē. Seeing Lolidragon’s expression, he added, “Doll’s ability to summon the dead is quite impressive. Right now, Prince is our only warrior. No matter how strong he is, he cannot go on the offense and protect a priest and a mage at the same time, so a necromancer with a number of skeleton minions would be quite suitable for our group.”
I stared at him, incredulous. Our priest actually needs protection?
Doll began to act all cutesy. “Oh goody! I want to follow Lolidragon-jiějie.”
A chill ran down Lolidragon’s spine.
I had no opinion on the matter and thus our party – with two votes for, one against, and one abstained – gained a new member. In addition to a handsome, transgendered elf warrior, a beautiful elf thief (who always refused to scout ahead), and a two-meter-tall wolfman priest (able to send three skeletons flying with one kick) – our team now included an angel necromancer of love and justice who feared skeletons…
Truth be told, shouting “DIE!” at the skeletons one moment and fighting alongside them the next leaves me with an indescribably weird feeling. At least I’m slightly better than Lolidragon; she keeps huddling behind Wolf-dàgē’s broad back. Only when she becomes embarrassed of having leeched too many experience points does she occasionally stick her head out and throw a hidden blade…
God damn it, Lolidragon! Aim carefully before you throw! As two throwing knives whizzed by, scraping the side of my head, I was started to feel the urge to beat someone up.
Do you guys miss Meatbun? I had actually wanted to take Meatbun out for some throwing practice so that it could level up, but the moment I took Meatbun out, Doll squealed about how cute it was and snatched it away.
See! Doll is still over there playing with Meatbun, tossing it up and down… Wait a second! Why is Doll holding a bone in her hand? And why is Wolf-dàgē beside her, looking as though he is coaching her in something?
Also, why does Doll’s posture seem to suggest that she’s playing baseball?
Before I could utter a word, the baseball – Meatbun, that is – had already been sent flying with a hit from the bone.
“Right, your batting posture is pretty good,” Wolf-dàgē said approvingly.
My jaw fell open. I could only look on helplessly as my poor Meatbun was sent flying again, hooting happily as it went. It first struck the skeleton standing next to me (which had been summoned by Doll), before rebounding and hitting a second skeleton, then rebounding back to the first, then the second, the first, the second…
My head swiveled left and right continuously as I watched my innocent Meatbun bounce back and forth between the two skeletons.
<Skeleton HP -50, HP -50, HP -50>
With a “bam!” and a “bonk!”, two innocent skeletons announced their departure from the world of the living.
<Ding! System notice: Prince’s pet Meatbun has PKed Doll’s Skeletons, Reputation -200>
<Ding! Pet: Meatbun has learned a new skill – Double Kill>
I seized Meatbun as it flew back to me. I looked once at Meatbun, and then at the two-headed giant I was fighting, the corners of my mouth lifting into a cold smile.
“Meatbun, use Double Kill.” I tossed Meatbun at the mob with a savage throw, but it just bounced once before returning to my hand. That left me in deep trouble for the giant began charging at me, and I ended up having to hack the two-headed giant to death. Wolf-dàgē even had to heal me once.
Finally, I can take a look at the skill’s description…
<Double Kill: Offensive ability; Requirements: Requires a stick-like object in order to bat pet; Damage: 80>
A stick-like object! I looked everywhere, at first wanting to borrow a bone stick from Doll. After some thought, I realized the bone would only last for a little while before disappearing. Instead, I took the sheath of my sword and – with a swing – sent Meatbun flying.
“Meatbun, Double Kill.”
This time, Meatbun struck a two-headed giant with impeccable precision and destroyed half of its HP. Then I rushed forward and, using Continuous Attack, kicked the two-headed giant until it fell. The other, surrounded by Doll’s Flaming Skeletons, fell as I dealt it a final blow.
I then lent my sheath to Wolf-dàgē so he could use it as a bat. Doll stood beside Wolf-dàgē, tossing Meatbun to him so he could hit it. We waited until after Meatbun had destroyed half of the mob’s HP before the Flaming Skeletons and I finished it off.
What a perfect way to level up!
In the next few days we perfected a new method: I would use Meatbun’s Aroma Release to attract many mobs after Wolf-dàgē buffed Lolidragon up. Next, using sneak attacks, Lolidragon would get every single mob to focus its attention on her and begin running like mad around us. Doll would then toss Meatbun so Wolf-dàgē could hit Meatbun out; this way, two mobs would be lured out with their HP already reduced to half. Then, the Flaming Skeletons and I would go forth to finish them off.
By repeatedly attracting mobs, throwing the “ball”, striking out, and then killing the mobs, we managed to take down enemies ranging from the level thirty-five two-headed giants to the level forty gorgons. We all earned experience points at an insanely fast rate, having been promoted three levels each on average. Fighting in a team really is a great way to train, I thought.
But then, one day, something happened…
As always, Lolidragon had gotten the mobs to focus their attention on her. However, as she began to dash around us, we noticed there was one particularly weird-looking leopard-headed mob which was running at an astonishingly fast speed. Even with Lolidragon’s boosted agility, which was enviably high, it was still catching up with every step.
We began to worry and Wolf-dàgē attempted to hit the leopard-head mob using Meatbun. However, Meatbun’s weakness was that it could only attack within a small area, and it could not reach the leopard-head. Lolidragon kept swerving, hoping to get close enough to us, but her swerving caused the leopard-head to catch up to her while we were still out of range…
We could only watch helplessly as the leopard-headed mob raked at Lolidragon’s back, knocking her down. What was still more frightening, however, was that there were already a lot of mobs chasing after her. I hastily chucked Meatbun at the leopard-headed mob as I ran towards Lolidragon.
This time it struck spot on, causing the leopard-head to run toward me instead. But it was too late; the other mobs had already surrounded Lolidragon and I could only look helplessly at her terrified face before she was swarmed under…
A white light shot into the sky from the midst of the mobs. I was extremely upset now, since I had been unable to protect Lolidragon properly. I tried venting my frustration on the damnable leopard-headed mob, but discovered that it was… Strong! This mob is incredibly strong! It ruthlessly swiped at me twice, and I still couldn’t manage so much as a hit. Don’t tell me…
“Run Prince, that’s a boss!” Wolf-dàgē roared.
I frantically tried to back off, but run… Where can I run to?!
The pack of mobs that killed Lolidragon had already surrounded us. We stood back to back, knowing our deaths were imminent.
(Second Life did not have any scrolls of teleportation, to maintain the level of realism. There were only teleportation stations in each city that allowed players to teleport to other cities.)
Three streaks of white light shot into the sky…
Death truly couldn’t be compared with any ordinary type of discomfort. When I returned to the rebirth point in Star City – the closest city to us – I was pale-faced and suppressing the urge to throw up.
Wolf-dàgē and Doll had already logged off, but I refused to log off with them – I had to find out what happened to Lolidragon first. I looked everywhere for signs of Lolidragon, but I couldn’t find any trace of her. She probably felt so awful that she logged off first!
By then, I was feeling much better. After some thought, I decided to just walk around and wait for the others instead of logging off.
I wandered about the city, making sure to follow Lolidragon’s advice: To look like first-rate merchandise by maintaining a graceful, refined aura and wearing a mesmerizing, faint smile on my lips. Sure enough, even though the whole street was watching me, no one dared to bother me, and so I was able to roam the streets happily.
Seeing a crowd gathering on an otherwise empty street, my curiosity was piqued and I decided to take a look as well. As I approached, I could hear the most beautifully poignant music coming from the heart of the crowd. Offering nearby players a polite smile, I used the opportunity to slip effortlessly into the center of the crowd as they gazed at me, dumbstruck.
As it turned out, it was a bard – a dark-haired, purple-eyed bard of the demon race – playing a guqin.7 It was rare to see someone of his race and class, not to mention the fact that he was holding a very unusual instrument. Then I suddenly thought of my own team and winced. I really have no right to judge others! In any case, he played very well and I listened attentively to that smooth and gentle sound.
Suddenly, the music stopped. I looked questioningly at the bard, only to see him staring back at me, looking surprised. It was then that I got a clear view of his face…
He was handsome enough to give my brother a run for his money, that much was clear. However, while my brother gave others the impression of a suave swordsman, this guy came off more as an unearthly beauty.
He’s sooooooo hot! My god, I’ve finally met another man whose handsomeness can make me sigh in admiration!
He, having already recovered from his surprise, had set down his instrument and was staring at me with a gentle expression, clearly captivated. Ignoring the people around us, we gazed soulfully at one another.
Thank you for sending me this opportunity, God. It looks like I don’t have to choose between the two options of narcissism and incest after all!
The man slowly walked toward me, and he was still looking at me tenderly. A faint blush spread across my face as I shyly waited for him to approach. It was very hard to keep calm while waiting for him to walk over, however.
Finally, he stood in front of me, and in an unexpectedly bold move, he knelt down. “Fair beauty, you are truly the most exquisite person I have ever met. Your eyes are like incandescent stars, your lips would put even the loveliest rose to shame, and your skin is like the fairest snow…”
My face is red, red, red! How embarrassing! I can’t help but feel shy if you say something like that in front of so many people! But hearing it feels sooooo good!
“…An elegant air, oh! All of the elements of perfection are joined in you… No, you are perfection. The word ‘perfect’ can be used on you alone. I wonder… May I have the honor of kissing your fair, dainty hand?” He looked at me expectantly, lifting his right hand invitingly.
Ah! My face must clearly reveal that I’m intoxicated by his words. Feeling like a princess, I shyly extended my right hand to my knight. His expression was clearly one of extreme surprise and gratification. Receiving my right hand as though it were some sort of treasure, he kissed it tenderly, yet passionately. I want to remember this elegant scene forever…
“Prince, what are you doing?!” I suddenly received a PM from Lolidragon.
I replied breathlessly, “Lolidragon, I met a super hottie and he seems to have fallen for me!” My face was suffused with wonder.
How fast! Lolidragon had only just logged on and had already discovered the crowd. Before replying, she ran eagerly toward the group, only to see her husband cheating on her with another man.
“…Does he know you are a girl?”
…Wait, that’s right, I look like a man right now. Looking at the handsome bard, I felt a twinge of apprehension. Don’t tell me this guy is…? That’s not possible, right?! I wanted very much to cry…
And so, clinging to my last shred of hope, I opened my mouth and asked, “Umm, do you know that I’m a guy?” God, please please, PLEASE tell me he thought I was a girl!
The hottie stood up. He was taller than the current me who was about 175 centimeters tall – I think he’s around 180 cm tall! Using a finger to tilt my face upwards, he looked at me with a besotted gaze and said, “Of course I know. You exude such a spirited aura, how could I mistake you for a feeble little girl?” Then he hugged me abruptly. With a blissful sigh, he added, “Men are the best. With muscles as firm as these… It feels soooo much better than hugging those soft, squishy girls!”
My lips lifted into a faint smile…
In a tavern…
“Prince, you really showed him no mercy! Actually using the Nine-headed Dragon Strike on him,” Lolidragon said, laughing hard. “Your reputation will go down that way!”
I could feel my veins popping with fury. Grinding my teeth, I replied, “He should be thankful that I didn’t kill him all the way back to level one! I’m totally pissed!”
To think that I’d finally found a satisfactorily good-looking guy, only for him to actually…turn out to be a GAY! Waaaaaaah!
Right after I killed that stupid bard, Lolidragon and I had received a PM from Wolf-dàgē and Doll and we’d decided to meet inside this pub. Stupid Lolidragon told Wolf-dàgē and Doll what had happened earlier and as a result they just couldn’t stop laughing. Damn it!
In the end, Wolf-dàgē coughed twice to get Lolidragon’s and Doll’s attention, bringing them out of their seemingly never-ending laughter. “Okay, let’s give Prince a break and analyze the reasons for our deaths earlier.”
Upon hearing this, the atmosphere became heavy at once. We all paid careful attention to Wolf-dàgē’s words. “That leopard-headed monster is a medium level boss. Even if we couldn’t win, it shouldn’t have ended so horribly in our total annihilation. I think that happened because our team was missing a vital player: a ranged class. If we’d had someone capable of ranged attacks, Lolidragon wouldn’t have died in vain simply because we could not catch up to her. It also wouldn’t have resulted in us being surrounded and getting completely annihilated.”
Everyone couldn’t help but nod their heads in agreement.
“So basically, we’re missing an archer or a mage?” Lolidragon asked.
Wolf-dàgē nodded and said, “Yeah. I think it would be best to find both classes, since they both have their unique characteristics. They are equally important. Our team would be pretty much perfect if we could find an archer who could hit with high accuracy within a fairly long range, and a mage specializing in AOE8 attacks.”
“Then let’s go to the Adventurers’ Guild to recruit new members!” Lolidragon suddenly exclaimed. “Afterwards we can also register our team.”
“Good idea,” said Wolf-dàgē.
I nodded in agreement. “This way we should be able to find some normal teammates!”
My first impression of the Adventurers’ Guild was that it was big – Huge! – like a baseball field, with an open roof. It was full of people looking for teammates, receiving quests, selling goods, etc and was on the whole a very lively place, but…
Even though it was generally noisy, I was, as usual, greeted with silence wherever I went. Under everyone’s gaze, we gradually arrived at the recruiting area and lifted a sign that read: “Recruiting long term leveling archers and mages, between levels thirty and forty.”
We were pleased at everyone staring at our sign, secretly thinking it wouldn’t be long until we found a comrade.
It really was fast. After ten seconds, we looked on helplessly as a few thousand people moved toward us. The females were all shouting, “I want to join, hottie,” or “Handsome, pick me!”, while all the males were saying, “I’m coming, cutie!” or “Take me, gorgeous!”
Lolidragon, the cute and angelic Doll, and I all turned white. I was the first to hide behind Wolf-dàgē’s back. Lolidragon followed suit second, and Doll last. The current situation was pretty much like a game of “The Eagle and the Mother Hen”.9
“Line up!” Wolf-dàgē bellowed in his loud, ringing voice.
The results were excellent. After Wolf-dàgē bellowed, the once-scary mob froze for three seconds. After another ten seconds, an army – with soldiers marching ten abreast – appeared. Dàgē, it’s really a waste of talent that you aren’t a general.
We placed all our trust in Wolf-dàgē and handed our decision-making power over to him. Lolidragon, Doll, and I then took our guazi10 and beverages out and, setting up shop to one side, ate away.
After a long time…
How long? Long enough for all three of us to finish eating our guazi, buy a few more bags of them, leisurely go shopping, and then eat dinner…as well as to order take out for Wolf-dàgē. During this time I also logged off to cook, flipped through some manhua, turned on the television, and watched Naruto. Then I logged on again and started to eat Lolidragon’s newly purchased guazi…
“All right, I guess these people will do!” Wolf-dàgē said, having finally finished his selection.
We looked up, and up, and up. Finally Lolidragon said in a shaking voice, “Dàgē, we’re trying to form a party, not an army!” There are at least two or three hundred in this sea of people!
Wolf-dàgē scratched his gray fur. “It couldn’t be helped. These people all fit the qualifications; they’re all pretty good.”
I beckoned Lolidragon over and whispered in her ear. I could have done this via the personal messaging system, but it couldn’t be helped; it was human habit! “Lolidragon, I think most of these people are here for us. Why don’t we tell them about our relationship?”
I cleared my throat and said, “Everyone, we must clarify something first. This beautiful woman and I are already married. That is why…” Before I could even finish, around eighty percent of the players had already disappeared.
We could hear lots of grumbling going on below. “Why didn’t they say so sooner?! Making me wait for so long…”
“Pisses me off, such a beautiful girl is already taken!”
“Now I can’t get that hottie to be my husband…”
But the people who stayed were saying something along the lines of, “At least there’s still that cute angel girl….”
Lolidragon and I looked toward the youthful and naïve Doll. No way! So I opened my mouth again, “Everyone, this angel race girl is my little sister. Anyone who tries to get close to her had better….” Before I could finish, everyone had left.
“What are we going to do now?” I asked.
“These people… We don’t want them anyway!” said Lolidragon.
“Might as well go level up and regain those levels from before,” Wolf-dàgē responded.
Biting her index finger, Doll tilted her head with a look of confusion.
Our party began to train seriously in the barren land of the zombies. We came to this zombie-infested land specifically, in order to avoid another conclusion as disastrous as the last time. Zombies were strange mobs that moved slowly, but dealt very heavy blows. You could see Lolidragon walking around, occasionally dozing off…
All of a sudden, however, a particularly fast zombie charged toward Lolidragon. It can’t be…!
“Lolidragon, run! That’s the Zombie King!” Wolf-dàgē’s cry woke Lolidragon, who had nearly been asleep. She looked back at the Zombie King, frightened, and was not able to hold back a loud scream for help as she ran away wildly.
Damn it! I can’t let Lolidragon die again. Why did the Zombie King have to appear right when Lolidragon is furthest away from us? I can’t catch up…!
“Hang in there, Lolidragon!” I shouted as I ran.
This time, Lolidragon didn’t dare to swerve around the corner. She ran straight ahead, not allowing the Zombie King to gain on her. However, we weren’t able to catch up with her speed either.
As I watched Lolidragon run further and further away, I began to panic. We should’ve recruited an archer, no matter what!
Just when we were about to give up hope, I heard a voice behind me.
“Supersonic Soul-chasing Arrow.” The melodious and very familiar voice was accompanied by the sound of music.
A translucent arrow streaked toward the Zombie King, causing it to change paths and charge toward us.
I turned around to discover that stupid black-haired, purple-eyed demon bard. He looked at me, smiling, and said, “You’ll have to help me block it, I’m afraid. I am just a frail bard, after all.”
“And if I refuse?” I told him coldly.
There was a helpless smile on his handsome face. “Then… I shall die at your hands again. But that’s fine; let it be revenge for kissing your hand.”
Hey! I gestured to Wolf-dàgē and Doll. They nodded in understanding and took Meatbun out, getting into a striking position. I drew my sword and inched closer to the already approaching Zombie King.
No wonder it’s called a Zombie King – its agility and strength are all top class. It even has a considerable amount of HP. I’d already tried my “Nine-headed Dragon Strike” twice, but most of my attacks had been blocked because my agility was no match for the Zombie King’s.
Two of Doll’s Flaming Skeletons had already been destroyed, but I was grateful for them. If it hadn’t been for the Flaming Skeletons blocking most of the attacks, I would long since have been pounded into the ground.
Though only a mid-ranked boss, the Zombie King boss’s agility and strength all greatly exceeded mine. As for me, I’m used to finding and attacking a mob’s weak points rather than “fighting it out”, therefore I’m not fighting at my peak… I’m currently only scraping by thanks to the Flaming Skeletons and Wolf-dàgē’s healing.
Then, a beautiful voice began to sing, accompanied by the strumming of a guqin. “Sheng-ge Entrancement Technique,” sang the bard, triggering the ability.11
I noticed a huge decrease in the Zombie King’s agility as it fell under the influence of the music. I also felt the tension in my body alleviate, finally allowing me to concentrate on attacking its weak point – its neck – rather than struggle to defend myself.
Under my persistent attacks on its neck and joints, the Zombie King’s HP slowly began to decrease. Around this time, Lolidragon also came back to join the fight. With her super high agility, she helped to divert the Zombie King’s attention, making it even easier for me.
“Nine-headed Dragon Strike!” After three of Lolidragon’s Fatal Blows plus three of my Nine-headed Dragon Strikes, the Zombie King was finally pushed to its limit. It exploded into a staff, two gems, and some materials that could be used to make high level weapons or armor.
We identified the staff, discovering that it was a growing-type magical staff with light-type damage – the Light of Glory. We gave the wand to Wolf-dàgē and decided to split the rest in the city.
“Let’s go! We need to get back to leveling up,” I urged everyone, but…
“Would you be interested in joining our team?”
Noooo! Wolf-dàgē, can you not see me desperately trying to ignore him? Now you’re even inviting him to join our team!
“Were you the one who saved me? Thank you, thank you very much.” Lolidragon was desperately trying to fight back laughter.
The bard gave me a brief but passionate look. “I would very much like to join your team.”
“No way! I object!” I yelled frantically.
Wolf-dàgē cocked a brow and said, “You saw it too, Prince. He…what’s your name?” He turned to ask the bard.
The bard gave a bow and said, “My name is Guiliastes.”
“Guiliastes can not only attack from afar, but he can also use support-type magic. He would make an excellent teammate.”
“That’s right Prince, just accept him!” Lolidragon said in a falsely earnest tone.
“No, Lolidragon,” I begged. “Didn’t you say we were finding teammates to protect my virtue? How could you let a pervert in now?!”
Lolidragon giggled but immediately feigned a contemplative look. “You’re right. Then how about this: Guiliastes, you have to swear not to do anything unspeakable to Prince.”
Guiliastes revealed a horror-stricken face. “Please do not misunderstand. Guiliastes would never try to perform any profane acts on his beautiful and noble Highness.” He gazed at me warmly again. Scary! “His beautiful and noble Highness should only be looked at, not touched.”
I looked toward my last helper, Doll, with an expression of desperate pleading.
“Sure, the more the merrier!” Doll encouraged happily.
Thus, under the circumstance of four votes for and one against, we now had a new addition to our team: Guiliastes, a gay demon bard.
“Gui-whatever, I’m warning you, if you try to…do something to me, I will make you pay.” I leveled my dao at his face.
“My beloved Highness, if you cannot remember Guiliastes’ name, then please call me by my nickname,” Guiliastes told me tenderly.
“What’s your nickname? It would be so tiring to call you by your full name all the time,” Lolidragon said.
He gave Lolidragon a small smile and then turned his head to look affectionately at me. “Just call me Gui.”
[½ Prince Volume 1 Chapter 4 End]
1 Za cui noodles: An unusual noodle dish that seems to be very popular in Hong Kong and Taiwan. It often includes carrots, pig’s skin, curry fishballs, pig’s blood, and pig’s intestines, together with the noodles.
2 You tiaos: Deep-fried bread sticks. There are huge air pockets in the flour, so even though it’s deep-fried, the inside is actually quite fluffy. A popular Chinese snack or breakfast food.
3 Wolf-dàgē: The suffix is written in Chinese as “大哥”, meaning “big brother” or “elder brother”.
4 The Eye of the Soul: “亡灵之眼” (prn. wáng líng zhī yăn) is a fantasy novel published by Adventurers’ Heaven (which also published ½ Prince).
5 For love…punish you!: Reference to the Japanese manga and anime series, Sailor Moon. This is an obvious parody of the battle-cry used by Sailor Moon, the protagonist of the Sailor Moon series.
6 Lolidragon-jiějie: The suffix is written in Chinese as “姐姐”, meaning “older sister”.
7 Guqin: Written as “古琴” (prn. gŭ qín), which literally means “ancient stringed instrument”, this is a well-known type of Chinese musical instrument belonging to the zither family. It is usually associated with intelligence and grace. Fans of the ½ Prince manhua should note that the guqin actually looks quite different from how it was depicted in the manhua. The manhua version of Gui’s guqin resembles a cross between a guqin and a harp with its curved top and fairly short body, and it is played by Gui while held vertically. Actual guqins tend to have longer bodies, flat ends (that is, not curved), and are usually played while placed on a flat surface with the strings facing up (although it is possible to play them the way Gui does in the manhua). For more information on the guqin, check out Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guqin.
8 AOE: This stands for “Area of Effect”, a gamer term for attacks that deal damage within a certain area. Such attacks are usually quite devastatingly powerful and are used for crowd control, but their weakness is the long amount of time needed for casting. Examples of AOE spells include Meteor Shower, Blizzard, and Earthquake (such skills may have different names in different games).
9 “The Eagle and the Mother Hen” game: A children’s game in a number of Asian countries, with variations. The game requires three or more players, with one player as the “Eagle”, one as the “Mother Hen” and the others as the “Chicks”. The chicks line up behind the mother hen and hang onto the person in front of them while the Eagle tries to catch the chicks by touching them. Once the mother hen loses all her chicks, the game is over.
10 Guazi: Written as “瓜子” (prn. guā zĭ) in Chinese, guazi are a curious sort of snack that’s especially popular during the Chinese New Year and are actually seeds that have been salted and dried. There are many types, including sunflower seeds, watermelon seeds, wintermelon seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Each seed is encased in a hard shell (its shape would resemble a flattened almond), and you have to bite them very carefully to get the seeds to crack open without crushing the “meat” within. They are much tougher to eat than peanuts.
11 Sheng-ge Entrancement Technique: “Sheng-ge” is written as “笙歌” (prn. shēng gē). The first character, “shēng”, refers to a Chinese woodwind musical instrument made of reed. The second character, “gē”, means “song”, thus “shēng gē” refers to a song that played using a shēng. Do note that Gui isn’t actually using a shēng. For more information on the sheng, check out Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheng_(instrument).