½ Prince Volume 2: Reality and Fantasy
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 5: Zhuo Ling Bin and Ou Yang Mei – translated by Smerian
From the time I woke up, cooked breakfast, chased after the bus, all the way until Gui’s class ended, my mind was on only one thing: Should I sneak into the school clinic and take a peek at Wolf-dàgē or not?
Rationally speaking, it would be wiser for me not to go; after all, who knows if Wolf-dàgē will recognize me or not? However, emotionally speaking… Ohhh, I REALLY want to see what Wolf-dàgē actually looks like! There’s just no way he resembles his in-game counterpart, is there!? That’s obvious, since Wolf-dàgē isn’t a werewolf.
Uncertain about what to do, I could only start plucking flower petals… “Go look, don’t go look, go look, don’t go look, go look…”
Suddenly, a deep voice spoke from behind me. “Miss, you can’t pluck flowers here!”
“Sorry, sorry,” I apologized, bowing to the groundskeeper uncle.
I think I’ll go and take look after all! Having made up my mind, I turned around to go to the school clinic, but I suddenly thought, Shouldn’t I get some small injury first before going? Otherwise, what would my excuse for going to the clinic be? But injuries hurt and this isn’t like in the game, where I could just drink health potions to heal my injuries. A real injury will hurt for many days, plus it would also leave a scar! I don’t want to get injured… But I won’t get to see Wolf-dàgē otherwise. What should I do?
“Sis, what are you doing here?” Yang Ming suddenly appeared and gave me a slap on the back.
“AHHH! You scared me, pighead Yang Ming!” I said.
I’m in the midst of agonizing over something!
“What are you being so fierce for? Did that come?” Feng Yang gave me a knowing wink.
That? Ah, right, that! Now I’ve got an excuse.
I gently pushed the clinic’s door open and poked my head in for a look. It seems like there’s no one around?
“Is something the matter, little girl?” said a hearty voice behind me.
I turned around, startled. Is this the human edition of Wolf-dàgē? Wooow! Even though he’s not handsome, he’s very stylish in his own right. How should I put it — he’s like an authoritative, elder brother figure from an action manga, with a loud and commanding voice… Fine! I admit that my analogy is a pathetically poor one.
Wolf-dàgē looked at me as I scratched my head, then gently asked, “Female student, where are you hurt?”
I returned to my senses. “Uh, I— I have cramps…” I said. Even as I rubbed my stomach, pretending to be in pain, I continued to peek at him from the corner of my eye.
Wooow, Wolf-dàgē is really as tall in real life as he is in-game. My neck muscles are starting to feel sore from having to look so far up at him, since I’m only 165 centimeters tall.
“Oh, then quickly lie down on that bed over there. I’ll go and get you a hot water bottle now.”
I lay on the bed obediently, but my eyes continued to follow Wolf-dàgē as he moved around the room. Heehee, is my staring making Wolf-dàgē a bit embarrassed? Somehow I get the impression that his back looks very, very stiff — I never expected Wolf-dàgē to be so shy! Secretly, I was giggling inside.
Holding the hot water bottle, Doctor Li Tian Lang said as gently as possible, “Here, place this on your stomach. It’ll make you feel better.”
I accepted the hot water bottle gratefully. Wolf-dàgē really is as gentle in real life as he is in–game. “Thank you, Wolf-dàgē,” I said sincerely.
Wolf-dàgē and I both froze. My god, I really must be an idiot!
“My class’s Professor Min told everyone about you! I— I heard that you two are good buddies in-game? I’ve also watched your tournament matches before, so I actually went out of my way to catch a glimpse of you… Hahaha, I’m sorry, I’m not really having cramps,” I said, laughing weakly. God, please let Wolf-dàgē believe my story!
“Oh, so Gui told you about me!” Li Tian Lang recovered, laughing. “You gave me a shock, since usually only that fellow – Prince – calls me Wolf-dàgē. Everybody else calls me Wolf-gē, or just Wolf. What class do you play in-game? Are you in a team?”
I charged headlong into the rest of my cock-and-bull story. “Uh, I’m a mage. As for a team… Yes, but it’s not as famous as yours. Wolf-dàgē probably hasn’t heard of it!” Waah, Wolf-dàgē, I didn’t intend to deceive you!
“Oh. Do your best then!” Li Tian Lang reached out and patted me on the head and I giggled as always. “Write your name and student ID number on this patient log-sheet. Even though you were only pretending, it’s still better to fill it out.”
“Okay.” I took the sheet from him and filled in my name.
“Well, there aren’t many people around now, so you can lie here until you want to leave!” Wolf-dàgē said to me with a smile.
“Haha, I’m leaving,” I replied, getting off the bed. Yeah right, continue to lie down? I haven’t even cooked dinner yet; I’m going to be cornered and killed by three people once I get home. “Goodbye, Wolf-dàgē.”
“Good-bye.” Li Tian Lang gazed after me as I pushed the door open and left.
Li Tian Lang raised the log-sheet in his hand and carefully scrutinized it… “Feng Lan? Feng Yang Ming? Hmm…”
The door was pushed open a second time.
“Wolf-gē? Was that my student just now? Is she hurt?” Gui worriedly inquired.
“No, she came to see me. Who asked you to go around blabbing about me!” Li Tian Lang said reproachfully.
Gui was completely perplexed. “Me? Did I ever talk about you?”
Upon hearing that, Li Tian Lang pondered silently for a while before asking, “How is Feng Lan related to Feng Yang Ming?”
“They’re twins — why do you ask?” Gui asked, puzzled.
“No real reason.” However, Li Tian Lang still felt that Feng Lan and Prince’s actions were very similar. When he patted Prince’s head, Prince had also giggled in the same way. Or is this resemblance simply due to the fact that Feng Lan and Feng Yang Min are twins and twins often behave alike? “I’ll go see what Feng Yang Ming looks like some other day.”
“Hmm… But I promised Prince that I wouldn’t pry into his affairs anymore,” Gui said, sounding troubled.
“You may be right. Well, if Prince doesn’t want to tell us, then let’s forget it and let nature take its course! I won’t pry either,” said Li Tian Lang candidly.
At this time I was walking home, unaware that my identity had almost been exposed. I was just thinking about whether to cook spare rib soup or potato soup when Rose walked past me. I looked up, wondering, Should I say hello to her? But the last time we met she said that she would forget about me. I wonder if she’s still willing to be friends with me…
Wait! I glanced down as I tugged my shirt collar wider – I have breasts! I looked around me. It’s a normal residential area. I’m in the real world, so how is it that I’m seeing Rose?
I gathered my focus and looked at her again. Rose was now standing next to the bus stop sign post, waiting for the bus. This is such a weird feeling… Wait a second! The guy standing about three steps away from Rose looks reeeally familiar… Wicked? MY GOD! Worse still, it seems like I’ll be taking the same bus as them!
Ahhh, Buddha! Ahhh, God! Ahhh, Allah! I began chanting a Buddhist scripture as I formed a cross in front of myself with my arms. I beseech you all! This must be a hallucination… Or let it be a daydream! Waaaaaaah…
However, reality remained cruel as ever. I still ended up boarding the bus and standing side-by-side with the two of them… Forget it, after all, they probably won’t— No, they absolutely won’t be able to recognize me!
I stole a look at the hottie and the beauty standing next to me. Rose is indeed very beautiful and Wicked is also very handsome! The two of them really are eye candy – is it possible that they’re a couple? I secretly wondered.
Still, even after many stops, neither of them seemed to have any intention of getting off the bus. My home was at the last stop.
Crap, it can’t be anything as coincidental as them being my next-door neighbors, right? No, that’s impossible. Our next door neighbors are my mom’s older sister’s husband’s uncle and his family, aren’t they?
Besides, if there was a hottie such as Wicked among my distant relatives, my mom would have dragged me to a matchmaking session a long time ago. That way, my mom could get this piece of male eye candy married into our family1 — I mean, get me married into his family, and then have me bring him home for her to feast her eyes upon.
As I speculated wildly, Rose alighted one stop before mine. I breathed a sigh of relief. That’s one less person for me to worry about now.
Finally, the bus reached my house. I stole one last glance at Wicked’s handsome features before tearing my gaze away and stepping down from the bus…
Ehhh, someone seems to be following me!
Cold sweat poured down my neck as I turned my head back to look, only to see Wicked smiling faintly at me. Huh? Just what exactly is going on here?!
Although I was panicking inwardly, I forced myself to appear outwardly calm as I returned Wicked’s smile. I then turned, ready to flee.
“Wait,” Wicked suddenly called out to me.
I briefly considered the situation at hand. With my current height, leg length, physical strength, and stamina, I couldn’t possibly hope to outrun Wicked. Forget it then! I thought, resigning myself to my fate as I turned around to face him. “Is something the matter?”
“Xiao Lan — you are Xiao Lan, right?” Unexpectedly, there was a warm expression on Wicked’s face.
He knows me? He even knows my name? I was astounded.
“You’ve forgotten then… I’m Zhuo Ling Bin – Zhuo-gēge. Remember me?”
Zhuo-gēge? The one who used to live next door when I was a kid and eventually moved away – THAT Zhuo-gēge? I gaped at Wicked, trying to digest this mind-boggling revelation. Is this for real? Such a huge coincidence? Wicked is Zhuo-gēge?!
“Are you really Zhuo-gēge?”
“That’s right! You finally remembered. I wasn’t quite sure just now whether you were really Xiao Lan. Perfect timing, though — I was just getting worried that I’d forgotten how to get to your house.” Wicked…no, Zhuo-gēge smiled as he looked at me.
After dinner, I carried a tray of freshly brewed tea to the living room where my bro and Zhuo-gēge were merrily chatting away. According to Zhuo-gēge’s explanation, he had been at XXX University.
That’s MY university too! I couldn’t have guessed that he is actually conducting his graduate studies’ experiments at my university’s laboratories!
There, he had seen me by chance, so he had specially made the trip over to my house to see if it had really been me.
Just as I sat down quietly, I heard their conversation turn to Second Life…
“Incredible, so Yang Ming is Feng Wu Qing – does that mean that we have been in the same team all along?” Zhuo-gēge had a flabbergasted expression on his face.
Hearing that, I suddenly remembered as well. Yeah, that’s right – my brother and Zhuo-gēge are both members of Dark Emperor, aren’t they?
“So Zhuo-dàgē is Wicked-dàgē, and I didn’t even figure it out.” Astonishment was written all over my brother’s face.
What’s there to be so astonished about? You couldn’t even figure out the in-game identity of your own older twin sister, who was even born from the same womb as you were! Don’t even mention Zhuo-gēge, whom you haven’t seen in eight years, I thought scornfully.
“Then Ming Huang is Zhuo Ming Bin?” my brother suddenly exclaimed. “He’s quite different from how he used to be as a kid. He seems to have become much more bad-tempered.”
What? Ming Huang is Zhuo-dìdi?2 It can’t be true – Zhuo-dìdi used to be so cute and affectionate, always following me around and calling me “Jiějie”… How could he be that violent not-male, not-female, Ming Huang? Don’t ruin my beautiful image of Zhuo-dìdi! I cried.
Zhuo Ling Bin smiled helplessly. “That kid is in his rebellious stage!”
Zhuo-gēge then suddenly turned to me and asked, “Do you also play, Xiao Lan?”
I hesitated for a moment before answering. “Uhhh, yeah.”
“She’s even a tranny there!” My brother – who simply couldn’t resist dropping the bomb on others – had actually blurted out my secret! I glared at him relentlessly, hatred and regret overflowing in my heart.
GOD… Why did I tell my secret to the biggest loudmouth in the Feng family?!
“A tranny? That shouldn’t be possible in Second Life, right?” Zhuo-gēge looked at me in disbelief.
This prompted my brother – who had a mouth bigger than the Three Gorges – to immediately begin to recount the entire story to Zhuo-gēge. I kept my head bowed low from the beginning to the end of his narrative, hoping that Zhuo-gēge would forget what I looked like… Or forget what Prince looked like.
“So that’s how it is?” Zhuo-gēge smiled at the jittery me and said, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.”
But I’m not afraid of you exposing my secret, I’m afraid that you’ll recognize me…
Zhuo Ling Bin glanced at the clock and got to his feet, saying, “It’s getting late, I should get going. There’s still a match later tonight. I’ll see you later in Second Life, Yang Ming.” My brother gave Zhuo-gēge an OK hand signal.
“I’ll walk you to the door, Zhuo-gēge.” I walked him out conscientiously.
Zhuo-gēge halted as we reached the entrance. With a slight smile on his face, he said, “Xiao Lan, I hope that I can meet you in Second Life one day!”
“Yeah.” We’ve already met!
Hearing that, Zhuo-gēge’s smile broadened, and I suddenly felt that the smile was painful to look at. Zhuo-gēge, please don’t put any more pressure on me!
Just then, he asked, “I heard that your teacher is Gui from Odd Squad?”
“Yeah.” Why have you turned the conversation to Gui now? Do you know that it makes me nervous?
“I’m really interested in Odd Squad. Another day, I’ll go sit in on your class. Your professor will definitely be very surprised to see me.”
Yeah, that’s right! If he sees how close you are to my brother, he might think that you’re his love rival! I thought wickedly to myself, trying to imagine the situation. It promises to be pretty interesting…?
As soon as I thought of that entirely possible and very interesting scenario, I forgot all about the jeopardy my identity was in. I smiled cheerfully as I said, “Sure, sure. Just give me a heads up before coming and I’ll tell my brother to save a seat for you.”
“Oh? I’d much rather sit beside you instead,” said Wicked. Before I could react, he had already waved goodbye and left, leaving me frozen in place behind him.
Next to me, Yang Ming whistled loudly. “Looks like Zhuo-gēge is very interested in my big sis. Sis, you can take advantage of him in Second Life. Dark Emperor’s dark elf warrior, Wicked, is quite famous!”
Rely on Wicked in Second Life? I imagined the situation: Two lovey-dovey men walking hand in hand with one another. Then, to that, add another guy – Gui – watching jealously from the side… Could anyone look at such a picture with a straight face?
I shook my head impatiently, clearing it of that somewhat disgusting image. Paying no more heed to the whole mess of events and identities, I was about to return to my room and log on to train in Second Life when…
“Xiao Lan, have you guys finished chatting? Come and meet your cousin3 who has just come back from America,” said my mom with a broad smile as she beckoned me over to the living room.
“Cousin?” I asked uncomprehendingly.
“That’s right! While you guys were chatting with Ling Bin, your cousin dropped by for a visit. She’s the third daughter of my sister’s husband’s uncle who lives next door.” The smile on Mom’s face grew even more incandescent. With a face filled with questionable intentions, she pulled my brother to her and whispered, “Son, even though your cousin is older than you by two, three years, she is very beautiful. Plus, she’s a distant relative who isn’t related to you by blood, so if you have the chance…”
That brother of mine – who loves to flirt with girls – actually crudely replied, “I don’t have any interest in big sisters. I only like girls around my age.”
In any case, my brother and I still obediently went to greet our cousin. Upon walking into the living room, my brother adopted an innocent expression, wearing a smile that was specially meant for dealing with older relatives.
You fraud! I thought, even as I put on my most ladylike smile and looked at my cousin…
My brother and Rose simultaneously exclaimed out loud:
“What rose? This is your cousin Ou Yang Mei,” my dad said, looking questioningly at the two of them.
My fingers were trembling. “How can this be? Didn’t you clearly alight at an earlier bus stop just now?”
Rose… Cousin Ou Yang Mei looked at me. “Bus? Oh, I got off a stop earlier because I wanted to buy some fruits as gift. Were you also on that bus, Cousin4?”
“Forget the bus, are you really my cousin?” Yang Ming asked disbelievingly. “Aren’t you younger than me?”
“I’m twenty-three years old this year. I’m just baby-faced.” Ou Yang Mei smiled helplessly. “To think that you’re actually my cousin, Wu Qing.”
“Hold up – is anyone going to explain to the two of us parents what in the world is happening?” My dad and mom finally interjected, unable to watch silently anymore.
“It’s nothing much, just that Cousin and I were previously in the same team in Second Life,” Ou Yang Mei said with a weak smile.
“So that’s how it is…”
My dad, mom, brother, and cousin immediately started chatting cheerfully amongst themselves. I, however, just sat stiffly beside them, occasionally smiling. In my heart I was thinking, Not only have I killed my dad and mom and snatched my brother’s women as Prince, but I’ve gone so far as to dump my cousin…and I even kissed her.
Then…when Prince’s cover is blown – is that when I’ll be disowned by my family?
With those realizations, I wailed in my heart, Who is Prince? I’m not Prince…
[½ Prince Volume 2 Chapter 5 End]
1 Married into our family: Chinese society used to be (and in some ways, still is) patriarchal. Thus, when a woman gets married, she marries into her husband’s family and moves in to live with them.
2 Dìdi: This suffix means “younger brother” in Chinese, but can also refer to younger boys whom the speaker is close to.
3 Cousin: In this case, “cousin” actually means “older female cousin on the paternal side of the family” specifically.
4 Cousin: In this case, “cousin” actually means “younger female cousin on the paternal side of the family” specifically.