½ Prince Volume 4: The Buskers of Infinite City
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 4: The Most Important Matter in Meatbun’s Life – translated by Spence
“Roll call! Prince, check. Gui, check. Wicked, check. Fairsky, check. Phoenix, check. Kenshin, check. Sunshine, check,” Lolidragon muttered to herself as she confirmed everyone’s attendance. “Seeing as we’re all here, I shall begin. Today is the day we start the busking tour and, after much deliberation, it has been decided that we will start the tour from Star City, then on to Moon City and finally, Sun City.”
A slight quizzical look spread across my face. Much deliberation? Throwing dice is considered deliberation? Ok, maybe if we count the fact that we took forever to choose the color of the dice.
“First, you guys will perform publicly at the town square of each city once, then at different bars a few times, and then once more at the plaza. An important reminder: after each performance remember to say that you guys are from Infinite City and that there will be a concert in Infinite City in about a month. Understand?” Lolidragon said with a stern expression.
Everyone nodded their head wearily, since we had already heard this hundreds of times. Our band’s main goal right now was to build Infinite City’s fame and get a big fan base, and also to earn money.
“Alright, Infinite Band, depart!” Lolidragon shouted enthusiastically. With our blood boiling with excitement as well, we shouted, “HERE WE GO!”
“Oh yeah, as a side note, Yu Lian said there aren’t enough funds, so she asked you guys to cover your travel and living expenses by killing mobs,” Lolidragon added casually.
Ah…no wonder Yu Lian-dàsăo took all my money yesterday. I turned and looked at the others, all of whom were wearing a grave expression. Oh lord, looks like we were all robbed yesterday.
“We’ll have to kill mobs for money I guess…” I said somberly. You’ve gotta be joking! We need to transverse the entire continent in a month, and perform in all three cities? You want me to run for president or something? Even a presidential candidate gets a jeep!
“We can use my flying carpet,” Sunshine suggested with a faint smile.
I turned my head sharply in Sunshine’s direction and gazed at him, touched by his offer. Rescuing him was indeed a great idea. “It’s settled then, we will ride on the carpet,” I said happily.
“It’s lucky that we still have roasted meat to eat.” A sigh of relief escaped my mouth as I wolfed down the delicious pile of roasted meat in my hand. Above me Meatbun was riding atop of Fire Phoenix, having the time of their lives in the air.
“Yeah,” Gui sighed, “after I wrestled some lodging money from Lolidragon, I completely forgot about food expenses. Fortunately, we have Fire Phoenix and Meatbun here, so we don’t have to go hungry.”
Fairsky and Phoenix, now slaves to the great taste of the roasted meat, lost all their lady-like composure as they wolfed down the food, eating almost as fast as me. As for Kenshin and Sunshine, Sunshine kept bombarding the ever silent Kenshin with questions as the two of them ate together.
“Where are we going to stay tonight?” Wicked casually asked.
“In the park?” I suggested. “That way we can use the money to buy food.”
“Prince, you shouldn’t be going through this…” Gui said with a pained and tender look, then suggested, “Actually, we should sleep in the town square; that way we can wake up tomorrow and sing right off the bat.”
I nodded. “You’re right.”
“What?! Sleep in the town square?” Fairsky and Phoenix both spluttered out incredulously after they anxiously swallowed their roasted meat.
“Why not? It’s just a bit of sleeping time before you log off and after you log on.” I shrugged, not caring about their disbelief.
“NO!” Fairsky shouted with a blazing red face. “What kind of joke is this? We can’t do that, even if it’s only for a little while. A girl’s sleeping form should NEVER be seen by strangers!”
Even Phoenix, who rarely agreed with Fairsky, was nodding furiously.
“Let’s stay in an inn then; girls should not carelessly let others see them while they sleep,” Wicked said while glancing at me with a meaningful look. Oh yeah, I’m one of the girls too, huh… I almost forgot. I rubbed the back of my head with a foolish smile on my face.
“Then we shall rent three rooms. Fairsky will share a room with Phoenix, Sunshine will share the room with Kenshin, and Wicked and Gui will take the last room…” I tilted my head in thought. What about me? I don’t think I can share a room with Phoenix and Fairsky, right? After all, I’m a full-blown male in game with a XX! What if the two of them decided to use force with me? …What should I do?
Yet, I can’t possibly sleep in the same room as Gui and Wicked, since I’m still technically a girl…must have…restraint… (The definition of restraint: Even though I want it very much in my heart, on the surface I must still pretend that I don’t want to do it…if only Zhuo-gēge didn’t know who I was, how great would that be! I could stare at two super attractive guys…while they sleep…I can’t help but want to drool as I imagine the scene.)
So annoying! This is the first time that I have found my tranny identity to be annoying. “I’ll sleep with Sunshine and Kenshin then.” Finally, I made my decision. It should be alright, since both of them aren’t really “human” anyway, and they are pretty good looking too.
Upon hearing that, both Gui and Wicked turned to look at me expressionlessly. Then, Gui started to show sadness, disappointment, self pity, and other such emotions across his face while Wicked squinted his eyes dangerously and fire started to sprout from his irises…
I began sweating furiously, and so I said, “Fine, I’ll sleep by myself.”
Upon arriving at the inn, I said goodbye to everyone in a plaintive voice and headed toward my room, planning on retreating into a corner.
“Prince,” Gui suddenly called out, dashing towards me. He summoned Fire Phoenix before continuing. “Here, take Fire Phoenix. Then, if you get hungry, you can have some roasted meat to eat.”
“Gui…” Touched, I gave him a look of gratitude, happily took the food supply, and walked to my room.
Once in my room, I hastily took out Meatbun, wanting to get some food in me before I logged off. “Meatbun, spit out some meat.”
“Okay Mommy!” Meatbun happily spat out a pile of meat. Fire Phoenix, knowing the drill, instantly breathed a flame out and grilled the meat to perfection. I happily wolfed down the food while observing the two pets playing at the side. They seemed to be getting along really well.
“Fire Phoenix, Meat-bunbun wants to ride on your back!” Meatbun said while earnestly rubbing Fire Phoenix’s leg with its head in a cajoling manner.
Fire Phoenix haughtily raised its head at first, then it glanced at Meatbun’s wide and innocent eyes, and sighed, (I swear to god, I really saw it sigh!) “What am I going to do with you? …Get on.”
Meatbun cheered as Fire Phoenix hoisted it onto their back with its beak.
“Fiery fly fly!” Meatbun started to shout again, and Fire Phoenix’s eyes was filled with a helpless expression as it flew in a circle around the room with Meatbun on its back.
My mouth was slightly ajar. Is this normal interaction between pets? Pets with AI are really something. Even their emotions seem so real. The helpless expression in Fire Phoenix’s eyes is exactly the same as my expression every time I have a conversation with Meatbun… I closed my mouth and continued chewing my roasted meat.
Meatbun continued cheering non-stop while saying, “Fiery is the bestest! Meat-bunbun wants to fly with you forever!”
“Really?” Fire Phoenix’s flame seems to get a little hotter. …Kind of like…blushing? What an absurd idea…
“Yeah! Meat-bunbun’s favoritest one is Fiery!” Meatbun shouted out, “Just like Mommy!”
I proudly nodded, Good Meatbun, you didn’t forget your good ol’ mom.
“Then Meatbun, would you…like to marry me?” Fire Phoenix asked slowly.
…My eyes widened with shock, and my delicious barbeque fell out of my now O shaped mouth.
“What is ‘marry’?” Meatbun asked, blinking its big, innocent eyes.
Fire Phoenix said solemnly, “I’m not too sure myself. I only know that if we get married, we can always stay together.”
Meatbun started to jump around wildly on Fire Phoenix’s back, “Okay! Meat-bunbun wants to be with you forever! Marry, marry!”
I closed my mouth, picked up the fallen meat, and stuffed it back in my mouth and continued chewing. What is this? Did a bird just propose to a meat bun? What’s worse, that particular meat bun is my daughter! This…this…is more ridiculous than a science fiction novel and scarier than a horror story!
Lolidragon’s words came back to me. I think she said that two pets can have children? What kind of messed up children would they have?! Meatbun stuffed with Phoenix meat…? That…is actually the best scenario… I mean, what if they gave birth to a Phoenix with a Meat bun for a head…ugh, I think I’m about to faint.
When I was still imagining how a phoenix with meat bun head would look like, Meatbun and Fire Phoenix had already approached me and Meatbun was happily squealing at me, “Mommy! Meat-bunbun is gonna marry Fire Phoenix!”
I was totally stumped. What should I say? Do I congratulate them? Jumping up, I grabbed the two pets, kicked open my door, and stomped towards Gui and Wicked’s room.
“Gui! Your son seduced my daughter!” I roared as I kicked their door down as well.
After I made my entrance, I looked at the two people in the room, rubbed my eyes and looked again. Then my jaw dropped. This wasn’t my imagination; I was really seeing Gui on top of Wicked. To be more specific, both of them were on the ground tangled together, and Gui, who was on top of Wicked, looked up at me, obviously shocked as well.
“Uh… Sorry to disturb you guys. I’m so sorry.” After a moment, I rubbed the back of my head, slightly embarrassed, and closed the door.
“Prince, Your Highness! Wait! This is a misunderstanding!” Gui’s desperate cries rang out from behind the door.
Then, with a cry, Gui crashed through the door. I dodged nimbly and watched as Gui landed in a heap beside me. I looked back into the room and saw Wicked standing straight as a pole, with a vein popping out of his forehead and his right foot out. Clearly, the culprit responsible for Gui’s sudden flight out of the room had to be Wicked.
I glanced at Gui, who was now dazed from the fall, then at the furious Wicked, and I asked stupidly, “Are you guys playing SM?”
“NO WAY!” Wicked said through clenched teeth.
“Then why did you kick Gui out? Weren’t both of you…?” I paused there and coughed; it is something that should not come out of a lady’s mouth.
“NO!” Gui and Wicked shouted at the same time.
“He suddenly jumped on me!” Wicked said while shooting daggers at Gui with his eyes.
“Oh Gui, aren’t you a bit too rough?” I asked with a shake of my head.
Gui’s blood drained from his face and he hastily tried to explain. “That was an accident, I didn’t mean to…!”
I interrupted, “Oh, so you couldn’t stop yourself?” I nodded in understanding. Well after all, Wicked is a hottie as well. Of course Gui couldn’t resist the temptation, so he jumped Wicked…
“…I just heard your cry all of a sudden, so I tripped and accidently fell on Wicked! That is all!” Gui finished his sentence. Then when he heard what I had said, his face went blank.
“Prince!” Wicked’s passive face had suddenly changed. “Your left hand…!”
My left hand? I looked down. My poor left hand had been holding onto Fire Phoenix the whole time and now the smell of freshly roasted meat was wafting from it.
After everyone had been drawn over by my scream, they all stared at me with bewildered eyes. Hence, I was forced to explain why I had kicked Gui and Wicked’s door open while Ice Phoenix tended to my mutilated left hand with red potions.
“In summary, Meatbun and Fire Phoenix are getting married,” I finished.
Upon hearing the news, their reactions all mirrored my own—mouths and eyes wide with disbelief.
“I know that pets are able to get married…but I’ve never heard of such a ridiculous pairing.” Fairsky said while giving weird looks to the nuzzling love bird and meat bun.
“Master, I am going to marry Meatbun,” Fire Phoenix told Gui in an almost commanding tone.
“Oh…” replied a bemused Gui who didn’t look like a master in the least. Then he frowned. “But how do you get married?”
“No idea,” Fire Phoenix said nonchalantly.
“Do you really want to marry my Meatbun?” Seeing Fire Phoenix so void of responsibility, I immediately thought with some anger, I don’t want to marry my cute little Meatbun to this, this haughty chicken! What if it takes advantage of my Meatbun? What if it cheats on my Meatbun?
Fire Phoenix nodded seriously. “I really like Meatbun.”
I attempted to stare Fire Phoenix down, but it didn’t back down. Instead, it raised its wing in a protective position around Meatbun. At last, I sighed and thought, It looks like Fire Phoenix sincerely likes Meatbun. I shook my head. In this day and age, not only can you not keep a grown-up daughter from marrying, you can’t even keep a daughter that is a meat bun from marrying… But thinking on the bright side, at least from now on this couple can specialize in making me barbeque anytime I want.
With the heavy heart of one about to be parted with their only child, I said, “Then it’s settled, let me consult my game guide and check how pets get married.”
“Game guide?” Phoenix asked suspiciously. “Second Life has gaming guides?”
I shrugged, “I don’t know about others’, but mine is called Lolidragon.”
Opening the PM channel, I briefly told Lolidragon what happened. As usual, she laughed until she almost died before answering me. “Pet marriages are simple, as long as the pets themselves agree. Then, just have the one of the masters express the wish to be wedded and when the other agrees, the ceremony is complete.”
“Gui, do you agree for your pet Fire Phoenix to take my Meatbun as its bride?” I asked as soon as Lolidragon finished.
Gui, under the fiery gaze of Fire Phoenix, said without hesitation, “Yes, I agree.”
<System Notice: Ceremony failed.>
Gui and I were both stunned. Failed? I asked Lolidragon again, and I even told Lolidragon verbatim our phrase usage.
“That’s strange, there’s nothing wrong. Are you sure they want to get married?” Lolidragon asked in confusion.
“Of course; they are the ones who suggested it in the first place.”
Lolidragon was silent for a moment. Finally she said hesitantly, “Prince…ask Fire Phoenix and Meatbun about their genders… I just remembered that Phoenixes come in pairs—they can be both male and female. Seeing as Fire Phoenix is a “Fire Phoenix”1, then…”
“Fire Phoenix… are you …female…?” I asked with a blank face.
“I’ve always been female,” Fire Phoenix said angrily.
Black lines dropped from my face. What the hell is this? It’s enough that I met a bunch of gays around, now even pets are doing it? What has this world come to? With this revelation, my head began to ache horribly. “You’re female and Meatbun is female, so how can two girls get married?”
“What are you talking about? Meatbun is male,” Fire Phoenix retorted in an annoyed tone.
Everyone’s widened eyes immediately turned towards Meatbun. Meatbun…is male?
Don’t tell me…the reason for the failure before… I said hesitantly, “Gui, do you agree to let my pet Meatbun take your pet, Fire Phoenix, as its bride?”
Gui paused, and then answered, “I agree.”
<System Notice: Ceremony successful. Meatbun is now married to Fire Phoenix.>
…What the hell?
[½ Prince Volume 4 Chapter 4 End]
1 Fire Phoenix: Since phoenixes are called “凤凰”, they say that “凤” refers to males, “凰” refers to females, and the two words together refer to phoenixes in general. Here Fire Phoenix is addressed as “火凰”.