½ Prince Volume 6: The Great NPC Revolt
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 5: Special Training! – translated by zoNa
The self-aware NPCs indeed created a huge uproar, but the players’ reactions far surpassed our expectations. After the Second Life Company had announced the truth about the situation, the originally irritated players calmed down. Learning that the Overlords of the five continents wanted to work together to attack the Northern Continent and beat the Dictator of Life, few were afraid and many volunteered to join the war against the NPCs.
“Do these people have nothing better to do?” I stood majestically on the balcony of the castle, looking down at the square of Infinite City which was filled almost to the bursting point with volunteer soldiers. I was really bothered. I had thought that many would worry about losing their characters and would refuse to join this war, so why did this turn out to be quite the opposite?
“This is actually very understandable,” Wicked said. “Second Life has millions of players. Taking into account the annihilated players from the Northern Continent, there would still be ¾ of the total player population left. This war is related to Second Life’s survival, and the scale of this particular event is inconceivable. To all of them, the chance of being able to participate in such an event is close to zero.”
“Moreover, without a character, one can retrain. Without Second Life, it will be the end of everything,” Nan Gong Zui added. “Thus, everyone will participate actively in this war.”
There will be no shortage of manpower then. “How goes the construction of the ships?” I posed another question.
“Surprisingly easy,” White Bird replied, also coming over to stand beside me. “We just put up an advertisement regarding the construction of the ships and hundreds of people responded to it immediately. Applicants were either hull designers or shipbuilders.”
“The most troubling thing now is that we have to build even more ships to be able to handle this increase in soldiers.” White Bird looked as though she was suffering from a headache. “Do we need to cut down the number of soldiers?”
“No matter how many people we have, it will still not be enough,” came Wu Qing’s emotionless voice.
The four of us turned our heads simultaneously, only to see that my normally cool and handsome brother was actually…sporting an afro. And even more so, a burnt afro. His scholarly robes were in shreds, and his face was streaked with soot.
“How come I didn’t know about this latest fashion trend?” I asked my brother with a straight face.
“Fashion, my ass!” Wu Qing yelled at me. When he was done yelling, he said fearfully, “Lolidragon, Sunshine, Fairsky, and I took the flying carpet to the Northern Continent to check out the situation.”
“And the outcome?” I asked nervously. It couldn’t be that the number of NPCs has increased again?
Wu Qing said with a pale face, “We had a dangerous and thrilling adventure while escaping.”
“Flying dragons. Lots of fire-spewing flying dragons,” Lolidragon stepped out from behind Wu Qing with a blackened and miserable face, sporting that same afro.
“Angels, there were angels too. We were almost pierced to death by thousands of arrows shot by the angels.” Wu Qing’s face twisted with remembered agony.
“It was fortunate that the carpet was fast enough and could even barrel-roll and fly up and down rapidly, or else I’m afraid we wouldn’t have made it back,” Fairsky said as she stepped out from behind Lolidragon with a tear-stained face. “However, we suffered terribly from flying-carpet sickness…”
I tried to calm my heart down when I couldn’t spot Sunshine. “Where’s Sunshine?” I asked hurriedly.
“Mending the carpet!” the three replied as one.
The person worst off should be Sunshine…and yet he still has to mend the carpet. What a good and virtuous man.
“Prince, we have to change tactics,” Lolidragon said as her pale face grew serious. I would never have thought that I would ever have the honor of seeing Lolidragon as a serious businesswoman in my life.
“How should we change them?” I sweated. Did we even develop any strategies?
“Looking at the situation, if we were to try to directly confront the NPC army, defeat it, and then beat the Dictator of Life, the odds of success would be practically zero!” Lolidragon shouted hysterically.
“This is so scary. The odds would be close to zero?” I clenched my fists agitatedly and shouted too.
Wicked suddenly clapped his hand on my shoulder, “Prince… Do you know what odds are?”
I bit my finger. “I’m confused!”
Lolidragon hit me on the head, then continued on. “An even more troublesome problem is that the NPCs could spawn endlessly while the number of players would decrease one by one every time a player dies.”
“So?” I frowned.
“So, we wouldn’t be able to win this war!” Lolidragon’s face darkened again suddenly.
Everyone, including me, became gloomy. If there is no chance of winning, what’s the point of going to war? But then…what would happen to Kenshin and Sunshine?
“There’s no need to win!” Gui shouted suddenly.
“What do you mean?” Lolidragon looked at Gui intently, hoping he could provide another useful idea, like what he did with the ND suggestion.
“Split our forces into smaller groups.” Gui took out a map of Second Life and pasted it onto the wall. Then, he took out a long pen and pointed to the Northern region. “Let’s assume the Dictator of Life is situated at Northern Flower’s Flower City. As you can all see, Flower City is situated in the south-east region, along the coast. If we send squads of our soldiers to enter it by sea from the east, south, and west regions, and then allow a small group of men to infiltrate Flower City from the south-east area, this will greatly increase our chances of confronting the Dictator of Life face to face.”
“Thus, it is compulsory to have the army invade the Northern Continent. This is because we have to direct the Dictator of Life’s attention elsewhere. Our army need not win. Just holding back the huge NPC army, so that we can strike at the Dictator of Life, would be enough,” Gui finished off seriously, keeping his long pen out and pointed at the map.
“Gui! I really love you to death!” Lolidragon suddenly hugged Gui. Despite his desperate attempts, she fiercely and forcefully planted kisses on his cheeks. When she was done, I was not sure if I was just seeing things, but I think Lolidragon glanced triumphantly at my brother, who had nearly ruptured a blood vessel.
“Let’s start then!” Lolidragon made a fist and shouted passionately.
“What are we starting on?” I asked stupidly.
Lolidragon’s face enlarged like that of a close-up zoom in a movie and exclaimed sonorously, “Special Training!”
She led us through the castle to a door that was glowing noticeably, and I turned to Lolidragon with a questioning look.
“I told the programmers to change Infinite Rhapsody, where you had your first concert, into a training ground. This is to improve all of your levels and abilities in leaps and bounds. From now on, those who want to enter the Execution Squad will have to enter this special training ground. They won’t be allowed to leave until it’s time to carry out their mission.” Lolidragon raved.
I raised my hand apprehensively, “May…may I ask a question? What’s the Execution Squad?”
“It’s a special squad that will concentrate on killing the Dictator of Life. The name has been shortened to Execution Squad. By the way, this squad can use the team channel too!” Lolidragon explained coyly.
“Can’t our levels simply be increased?” Gui sulked.
“No can do. Originally when the game was first designed, something was done so that this way of cheating in the game could never happen. ” Lolidragon said regrettably.
“Normally I would greatly commend the gaming company for being able to be so fair, but this design is really making matters worse!” Wicked rubbed his forehead to ease his headache.
“Having a high level with no accompanying strength is useless,” I said. “One who has a high agility but who sorely lacks the quick reflexes necessary would be useless!” I breathed deeply and said firmly, “By relying on our own strengths, we will then be able to defeat the Dictator of Life!”
“Surprisingly, you have started to talk like a human being once more. That being the case, you shall be the first one to go in!” Lolidragon yelled seriously. After her outburst, I saw the image of the bottom of her shoe expanding in slow motion, ending in a close-up on my face that kicked me through the rainbow door.
That stupid Lolidragon, how dare she kick me with her stinky foot! I struggled into a sitting position and saw a worried Gui kneeling in front of me, poised to help me up. Just as I went to grab his hand, a huge shadow appeared before us. Alarm bells rang increasingly in my head. After raising my head slowly, I pointed my trembling finger toward it.
“What’s wrong, Prince?” Gui asked in a trembling voice and turned to look back, following my finger.
“Tyrannosaurusss!” I shrieked while Gui stared in shock.
The thing was incomparably huge in size, and sported an enormous head and two pathetically small front limbs. If this is not a Tyrannosaurus Rex, then I’m surely not a female!
“Prince!” Gui disappeared into the huge Tyrannosaurus’ mouth with a shriek.
“Gui, Gui…has been eaten!” I screamed.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex which had just eaten Gui looked as if it was still starving. It actually drooled while scrutinizing me. Then, a huge disgusting mouth came rushing toward me…
“Help!” I used two hands to keep away the open Tyrannosaurus’s mouth while yelling desperately.
“Prince!” Wicked and the others had also entered by this time, and were staring dumbfounded at me, frantically struggling inside the Tyrannosaurus Rex’s mouth.
A faint voice reached my ears. I turned and looked into the deep recess of the Tyrannosaurus’s throat and called suspiciously, “Gui?”
Perhaps Gui is still alive? I peered nervously into the dark throat. At that moment, I heard another of Gui’s quiet exclamations. Damn! I released my grip and stopped holding the mouth of the Tyrannosaurus open. Then, I followed the tongue and slid into its throat. Struggling, I pushed away the disgusting, congested, meaty passageway covered with mucus, moving further down in search of Gui.
A leg? A single leg appeared in front of me. I tugged hard and used my left hand to pull a half suffocated Gui into my arms. My right hand drew out the Black Dao, “Damn Tyrannosaurus! How dare you harm my friend right in front of me!”
“Pure White Inferno Rhapsody!” I cleaved open the Tyrannosaurus’s throat and escaped from its opened chest. I happened to landed in front of the crowd who were confronting the Tyrannosaurus Rex. I was hugging Gui with my left hand and my right was still holding up the Black Dao. Behind me, the ripped open Tyrannosaurus slowly collapsed to the ground with a monstrously loud thud!
“Holy crap, this scene is awesomely cool!” Neurotic and DanDan looked at me excitedly.
“Why are you people here?” I asked suspiciously, looking at the Overlords of the three Continents.
“Oh, Lolidragon told us about the Execution Squad. She wanted us to let our deputies handle the military stuff so that we could enter the Execution Squad to eliminate the Dictator of Life,” Neurotic explained.
“Oh! Then be careful; there are Tyrannosauruses…” That said, I toppled over.
“Prince!” everyone exclaimed.
I heard the tragic news when I awoke. Incredulous, I cried, “We have to be at the Tyrannosaurus haunt for a whole week?!”
“Yes. Don’t be such a baby. I have to be here too,” Lolidragon snapped.
“There are Tyrannosauruses here, and Gui and I just got gobbled up!” I yelled, a little in chagrin. I really do not want to experience trying to survive in between those meaty walls again.
“Who cares about Tyrannosauruses; look behind you,” Lolidragon said nonchalantly, pressing her lips together.
Hearing this, I immediately turned and saw a… A… What is this thing called? To put it shortly, the bird that stood behind me had wings, a pointy beak, and very sharp talons.
“There are even Pterodactyls here!” Lolidragon shrugged.
“Aiya… I’m not finished with you yet, Lolidragon!” I, who was lifted into the air by the Pterodactyl, could only see that cursed Lolidragon getting smaller and smaller in size. In the end, I could not even see her anymore, and was left trembling in the air looking down upon the earth…
“Where’s Prince?” Nan Gong Zui asked Lolidragon, who came strolling back to the temporary camp.
“Taken away by a Pterodactyl.”
“What about Gui?”
“Carried away by a female Triceratops.”
“He and Feng Wu Qing were constricted by eight huge serpents.”
Nan Gong Zui was silent for a while. “What about the rest of our people?”
Lolidragon pointed to a tower of dung which was almost the height of a human being. “In just a short while they will appear at the revival point. Don’t worry, when people die here, their levels won’t drop. This is the most our company can do in overlooking the rules.”
“Lolidragon!” I fumed as I stepped out from the revival point, preparing to rush straight to Lolidragon to take my revenge. I was able to finish off that Pterodactyl, but since I was hundreds of meters high in the air, all I could do was become a pile of mashed meat alongside the Pterodactyl when we crashed back down to earth.
Don’t even compare it to bungee jumping; I was immediately killed by falling from such a high altitude!
I quickly stopped in my tracks, my nose just three centimeters away from Lolidragon’s open palm.
“What are you doing?” I looked past her palm and protested.
“Look!” Lolidragon then mysteriously took out a photograph.
The long fiery-red hair with a matching devilish pair of wings on his back first drew my attention. Deep and brooding eyes gave a sense of stoicism. The magical marking above his left eye further enhanced his enigmatic demeanor. Moreover, his long black cloak fit his demeanor perfectly.
So gorgeous! I let out a deep breath, “So gorgeous, is this a new idol? I’m positive he will be extremely popular.”
“It’s the Dictator of Life,” Lolidragon snapped, rolling her eyes. “This was the original design. I specially went to get this to prevent the Execution Squad from not even knowing what the person they’re trying to kill looks like.”
I see… Well, of course Second Life’s final Boss has to look presentable. If it was too ugly, I’m afraid when it first showed up the female players would use their slippers and rotten eggs to drive it back to wherever it came from.
However, this is just too handsome. I snatched the photograph and desperately gulped down my saliva.
“Listen!” Lolidragon placed her hand behind her ear, striking a listening pose.
Listen? Listen to what? Do you think that we are going to cross some road now and you want me to stop, look, and listen?! Just then I heard a strange hissing sound from behind me and slowly turned to look. A long, twisting, multi-coiled thing appeared before me. “What the hell is this?”
“Yamata no Orochi.1 It’s a famous Japanese mythical beast. It is immensely huge and has eight heads. It is very formidable. Even Wicked and Feng Wu Qing failed to defeat it when they fought it together,” Lolidragon warned.
“I see… I guess falling to my death was a good thing after all.” I raised my head and looked at Wicked and Wu Qing, who were trapped in the coils of the snake’s body. That cracking noise of breaking bones sounds very painful indeed.
“However, I cannot easily forgive those who dare harm my friends.” I drew out the Black Dao and leapt onto the body of the snake, running up the torso with great speed. I ducked to escape some of the snake heads that struck at me with mouths agape, jumping here and there on the intertwined coils. Slowly, I shortened the distance between Wicked, Feng Wu Qing, and me.
“Wicked, Wu Qing, I’m here to save you guys—” After I roared enthusiastically…I was swallowed in one gulp by a swift snake head.
“You weren’t even close,” Lolidragon shook her head.
I crawled out from the revival point once more, and the other Overlords—Neurotic, Winter Triumph, and Undying Man—appeared along with me. I looked at them and gestured toward that arrogant Orochi. “Let’s eliminate it together?”
“No problem!” They flashed me okay signs.
Four shadows swiftly darted up to the giant snake, each avoiding the interlacing heads and advancing toward the ensnared Wu Qing and Wicked. I spared no time with seeing how the others were doing, focusing only on getting to the trapped duo.
“Prince, on your right!” I heard Neurotic’s sudden warning and promptly jumped to another part of the snake’s body. After I had avoided that collision with the snake head and was about to thank him, I saw another snake head planning to attack Neurotic. Instantly, I roared, “Behind you!”
However, it was too late and Neurotic was devoured in one gulp. I impulsively went forward to save him and did not notice that the snake head coming up the rear had already caught up to me…
After being shrouded in darkness, Neurotic and I came out from the revival point together. Both of us felt indignant and were planning to have another go at the Orochi…
Lolidragon came walking up, and said imperiously, “What was that? That fight was a joke.”
“What did you say Lolidragon?” I snapped back furiously. Lolidragon was just standing idly by, enjoying the cool breeze, and yet she dares to say that our fight was a joke.
“Your fighting style from before left me very astonished, and your unrestrained ideas often taught me other ways of playing this game. Yet, you’re now acting like a fool who thinks himself very strong, and keeps charging forward to his death.”
Lolidragon’s words pierced my heart like needles, but I found that I could not say a single word in reply. Her words gave me no room for any response. Since when did that start happening…where I would just rush forward to fight on my own? Without Doll’s skeletons fighting alongside me, without Yu Lian-dàsăo’s fireballs that were so accurate it was as if they were shot using a guidance system, without Gui’s semi-transparent arrows that always assisted me in the nick of time, without Wolf-dàgē’s warm healing light...
“Prince, you’ve never let me down before. I trust that you will not let me down this time around either, right?” Lolidragon clapped me on the shoulder and looked at me searchingly.
…And without Lolidragon popping up from underground to eliminate the enemy with a swipe of her knife. I looked at Lolidragon as the profundity of her message slowly dawned on me.
“Lolidragon, I will never disappoint my friends,” I said softly. “Where is the rest of Odd Squad?”
“Outside, handling military matters,” Lolidragon answered.
“I want to train together with them,” I said firmly.
I interrupted Lolidragon. “I’m sorry, Lolidragon. Please allow me to be selfish this time around, alright? Since the beginning, I believed that I would always fight alongside everyone in Odd Squad. For this war, I want to work hard with everyone in Odd Squad once more. ”
“Prince…” Lolidragon held my shoulder lightly and replied sharply, “You’re always very willful, it’s not just this time round.”
“I’m not willful…” Am I? I have always listened obediently!
“No? Who was the one who ran to the Eastern Continent for a stroll? And who was the one who ran away from home?” Lolidragon unleashed her skill of exposing scars once more.
Yet again, I was unable to argue with her. I could only puff out my cheeks in anger and ignore Lolidragon’s wicked mouth.
“I will be going out first,” Lolidragon said suddenly.
“Are you running away?” I blurted out in surprise.
Due to the bad choice of words, I received multiple resounding chops to the head. It was so painful that I could only hold my head and weep…
“I’m only going to get the other Odd Squad members.” Lolidragon walked off without looking back.
Lolidragon is being unexpectedly indirect. I began to laugh out loud, eagerly waiting for my Odd Squad teammates to come. Together, we shall fight and defeat all our enemies.
“Please, is anyone coming to save us?!” Wu Qing’s dying voice floated faintly over from the far off snake’s tail.
“Alright, let’s restart the rescue operation!” I yelled energetically. Turning my head, I saw all members of Odd Squad present. Doll was busily directing the skeletons into formation, Gui was doing a sound check on his Qin, Yu Lian-dàsăo was juggling a few small fireballs, and Wolf-dàgē was holding his Staff of Glory, trying out healing spells… Although I’m not sure why he kept swinging the staff around.
“Everyone’s ready, right?” I looked confidently at everyone in Odd Squad. Is it even possible for Odd Squad to have any problems?
“No!” the group chorused. I almost fell down when I heard that.
“It has been far too long since we last trained; I’m not sure if we can still coordinate well,” Yu Lian-dàsăo said, slightly worriedly.
“What’s there to coordinate? From the beginning our only job was to protect a certain person who goes on rampages,” Lolidragon said as she stared at me.
“Yes, as always, let’s support Prince!” Wolf-dàgē said.
“Don’t we need some kind of strategy?” In the past, didn’t Wolf-dàgē always talk about some kind of tactics first?
“Who cares about tactics? If no one comes to save me now, I will just commit suicide!” Wu Qing’s furious roar came floating from the far end of the snake’s tail. However, it was very faint, and was thus automatically ignored by all.
Wolf-dàgē thought deeply for a while. “In this case, let’s invite the other three Overlords to join us. We will fight take it as though Odd Squad has three more warriors and a summoner. Prince, you often fought alongside the skeletons, so coordinating with other warriors shouldn’t be a problem, right?”
I tilted my head and thought for a while, “How could I possibly know everyone’s fighting styles? I only know Neurotic wields a claymore. ”
“Men must use swords of course!” Undying Man drew out his sword in an imposing manner. Held aloft, the sword caught the sunlight and radiated. Looking on, it felt so heroic… If you don’t look at that pair of gooey eyes, anyway. Ohh, just why can’t my Dao reflect any sunlight?
“My weapon is a little bit special,” Winter Triumph said while reaching both hands into the deep pockets at his sides. When he withdrew his hands, long metal claws were attached to the backs of his hands. Each hand had three claws that glittered coldly, and even I swallowed a few times when I saw them.
“My weapon is a rapier, did you know that?” a voice suddenly spoke behind me. I turned, and saw… My little brother, Feng Wu Qing? How is this possible? Isn’t he with Wicked, being squeezed by the Orochi’s coils? Eh? Even Wicked is standing beside Wu Qing wearing an exasperated expression?
“Why are you guys back? We were just going to rescue you!”
When Wu Qing heard this, he immediately grabbed my neck and started to shake it vigorously. “Rescue, my ass! We endured for an hour without anyone coming to save us. Did you think that the snake wouldn’t eat us?”
“Everyone else was also eaten by that snake. It wasn’t just you guys alone!” I managed to gasp out.
“In any case, let’s all fight together!” Lolidragon said. “If we can’t defeat the snake, don’t even think about defeating the Dictator of Life!”
“YES!” everyone roared as one.
“Warriors split into groups of two,” Wolf-dàgē’s voice rang like a large bell. “Work in pairs and observe the situation around you; this will prevent you from leaving blind spots open that the Orochi could take advantage of.”
“Wicked, you and Feng Wu Qing were originally from the same squad. Thus, the rapport between the two of you is good. You and Feng Wu Qing will be paired together.” When Wolf-dàgē was done, Wicked glanced at me hesitantly, but bore everyone’s interest in mind, and went to stand beside Wu Qing moodily.
“Prince, you’re the dexterous type. When paired with strong and steady Neurotic, you guys could help correct each other’s weaknesses.” When I heard Wolf-dàgē say this, I jogged over to Neurotic’s side. Neurotic then wrapped an arm around my shoulders in a friendly manner.
“Winter Triumph, your weapons are sharp claws. With this type of weapon, I guess you also belong to the dexterous type, right?” Wolf-dàgē asked and Winter Triumph nodded in affirmation. Wolf-dàgē then went on to finish the pairing up, “Then you pair up with Undying Man. Undying Man should be the strong and steady type.”
With the pairings done, the pairs went on to discuss fighting strategies. “Prince, where do you think would be best for us to attack from?” Neurotic asked me.
At Neurotic’s enquiry, I looked at the massive coiled snake and also did not know where and when to attack first. Suddenly a light bulb lit up in my mind. In Second Life, almost every monster has a weakness. Attacking their weakness is definitely the key to defeating the monsters. What could this snake’s weakness be?
“What’s a snake’s weakness?” I hollered.
“Weakness?” Neurotic didn’t answer in time and Undying Man shouted, “Oh yes, snakes have a seventh inch.2 If we can find the seventh inch of the snake, we can easily defeat it.”
“The seventh inch! That’s it!” I yelled. Yes, yes, I finally remember. Dad once cooked snake soup for Mum to nourish her skin.
I remembered one time when my family went on a camping trip and Mom was very startled by the sudden appearance of a snake. Just as she went to turn to her husband’s embrace to weep, she found Dad was unexpectedly already hiding up a tree. In the end, Dad, Mom, and my little brother were screaming and hugging the tree like a family of Koalas.
At last I, who was forced by the whole family to go collect water, finally returned. Because I was busy looking at the trio who were screaming up in the tree, I unintentionally stepped on the goodhearted snake which had been helping me punish this vicious family. To make matters worse, I had stepped on that deadly place. Afterwards, as Dad was skinning the snake for the snake soup, he told me that was a snake’s weakness—the seventh inch of the snake.
“Ahahaha, Yamata no Orochi you’re dead meat! You dared to eat me. Just you wait, I will skin you and nibble on your flesh!” I gave the Orochi as ghastly smile, as though I were a serial killer who had spotted his prey. “Neurotic, we must attack the seventh inch of the snake with all our might. I’ll take charge of finding the position of the snake’s seventh inch. You cover my back first, and when I find the correct position, I will let you, who has more strength, take over. We’ll definitely kill this damn snake.” I stared at Neurotic with glittering eyes.
Neurotic looked at me and hesitated for a while before answering. “I can finally see your brilliance,” he said.
“What did you say?” I asked with a drop of sweat running down the back of my head.
“Nothing, we’ll do just what you said! Let’s hurry; the other teams have already started their attacks,” Neurotic said while laughing heartily.
I turned quickly and saw that the other teams were already running to and fro across the snake, obviously looking for the seventh inch. I quickly ran forward, shouting, “Hurry, hurry, we can’t let the others get to it first!”
I leapt onto the snake and Neurotic followed me closely. I looked back anxiously. After all, the rapport between me and Neurotic was not that great yet, and I still felt a bit apprehensive. However, Neurotic faithfully covered my back. He diligently drove back the snake heads that struck from behind and from the sides, and was never more than ten meters behind me.
After a while I completely trusted that Neurotic would cover my back. I concentrated on pushing back the oncoming snake heads, desperately searching for the seventh inch of the snake. My feet trampled everywhere, trying to detect the snake’s weak spot.
I stepped somewhere abnormally soft on the snake, and the snake gave a sudden, violent tremble. I grinned. Found it! Immediately I bellowed, “Neurotic, here!”
Neurotic instantly rushed over to look at the place I had indicated, and confidently flashed me an OK sign. I nodded and said to him, “You concentrate on destroying the seventh inch; I will cover your back.”
After giving a loud war cry, Neurotic jumped up with both hands holding the Ultima Sword and buried it hilt deep into the seventh inch of the snake. The snake trashed about violently, and all the snake heads furiously surged toward us. Looking at the snake heads coming from all directions, I could only hold up the Black Dao and start capering about, hoping that I would be able to counter all the attacks aimed at Neurotic.
Trying to ward off all these snake heads…is a very difficult task, since there are eight heads in all! I only have 2 hands and a sword! It didn’t take long before I was out of breath, and Neurotic kept being interrupted by the attacking snake heads I couldn’t intercept, so he was unable to destroy the seventh inch.
“Be careful!” A shout reached me. I turned and saw as Undying Man rushed forth to deflect a snake head with a disgusting gaping maw.
“Thank you.” I looked gratefully at UndyingMan.He’s actually quite a good person!
“No problem,” Undying Man said, acting cool. However, this was paired up with those Shoujo manga eyes… Yuck!
“Undying Man, you go help Neurotic destroy the seventh inch. Leave the rest to us!” Wicked also jumped over from another part of the snake to provide assistance, and Wu Qing, of course, had already begun battling the snake.
The six of us warriors fought with such strong teamwork, it was like we had trained in the same squad from the very beginning. Winter Triumph, with his shocking leaping ability, as if he never touched the ground for more than a second, was the worst nightmare for the snake heads with those sharp claws of his. Moreover, his claws would always rip at the lens of the snake’s eyes, making clear transparent mucus spray everywhere.
Feng Wu Qing’s rapier was next to useless up against the snake’s tough body. Thus, he could only desperately cut the snake… No, cut the tongue. In full, it should be he cut the snake’s tongue.3 When the snake heads showed their tongues while hissing, that was when they had the worst luck.
Wicked and I were the most valuable ones there. We frantically protected Neurotic and Undying Man, who were desperately attacking the seventh inch of the snake. Vigilantly, we counterattacked the oncoming snake heads that were aimed at those two.
“Heya!” With Neurotic and Undying Man’s loud yell, a geyser of blood spurted out. The snake’s tremendous quaking sent us flying in all directions. I desperately held on to one of the tails that was thrashing about as if electrocuted, until finally it twitched with one last spasm and the tail came crashing down. Luckily, despite being shaken till my brains were addled, I was able to preserve my life by pure reflexes and was not crushed by it.
Just then, Lolidragon suddenly jumped up and down, yelling desperately. However, her voice was just too faint, and I had to concentrate on reading her lips. She seemed to be saying, “Hurry back! Meteor Shower!”
Meteor Shower? I looked at Yu Lian-dàsăo who was standing to the side, concentrating on chanting a spell, and then up at the sky, where dark clouds were quickly gathering. My God, the blaze of the first meteor has already appeared. I hastily got up and ran desperately. I don’t want to die because of my teammate’s spell right after surviving almost getting eaten by the snake or crushed by the snake’s tail!
At last, with a slide, I escaped outside the Meteor Shower’s kill zone before it started the bombardment. I patted my chest fearfully, “Sc-scared me to death.”
“Couldn’t you guys release the spell later? It was enough that you wanted to kill me, but there were others present too!” I complained furiously. The snake’s already dead, is there any reason to do this?
“This is to train your spontaneity!” Lolidragon said, adhering to her accursed personality.
“Really? I thought you wanted to kill a particular someone, and thus told me to release Meteor Shower?” Yu Lian-dàsăo said as she smiled sweetly, looking at someone—my little brother Feng Wu Qing. So, the others and I were innocently caught in the middle of the love-hate relationship between those two enemies?
Lolidragon, ignoring the daggers sent by my little brother, said in that confounding way of hers, “Excellent! Yamata no Orochi is just the first stage. Following this, there is the Mythical Kirin that makes Wrath of the Nine Heavens look like common magic, a storm beast that makes tornados, a real phoenix that can shoot volleys of deadly flame, and…many, many more. Good luck everyone!”
As we listened on our faces turned more and more morose. Our future seems to be looking very bleak, you say? No, I suspect that we have no future at all…
“Prince, do you plan to let Sunshine and Kenshin go with us to the Northern Continent?” Lolidragon suddenly asked one day, when I, with an ashen face and a half cooked body, had just finished fighting with some unknown beast.
I almost didn’t need to think and gave the reply by pure reflex. “I’m not planning to let them go,” I said.
Lolidragon pinched her nose and waved her hands at me disgustedly. ”Just answer me from far away. Don’t come close to me with that burnt face. It stinks!”
“Who do you think made me stay here, to turn into a human barbeque again and again?” I answered with my veins popping.
“You don’t plan to let them go? They are very strong, with strong fighting capabilities,” Lolidragon said sensibly.
“You already know about this. If they were to die, wouldn’t it be problematical?” I said matter-of-factly.
“Why don’t you ask them?” Lolidragon questioned. “Find out if they’re willing to go.”
I glared at Lolidragon. It can’t be that she would make a scene and threaten to kill herself, just to force them to go? Just when I thought about this, Lolidragon’s eyes told me: Am I that kind of person?
“If you promise me that you won’t force them to go, then I’ll help you call them here.” I said stubbornly.
“Alright, I swear on my reputation…” As Lolidragon began, I looked disbelievingly and scornfully at her. Reputation? To Lolidragon, her reputation couldn’t be compared to even a pocket of a Chanel handbag.
After receiving my distrustful glare, Lolidragon then remorsefully changed her words, “If I dare to force them…then I shall never again be able to buy a Chanel purse!”
Seeing Lolidragon’s painful face, I nodded my head in satisfaction. This time, Lolidragon wouldn’t dare to force them. I confidently PM-ed Kenshin and Sunshine, and while waiting for them to arrive chatted leisurely with Lolidragon. “How’s the situation regarding Gui’s suggestion of the ND?”
“It has been developed, but there’s this one flaw that could not be removed.” Lolidragon answered while frowning. “The original program present in HD makes it so that when an NPC kills a player, not only will the player disappear but so will the NPC. This is also present in the ND.”
Hearing this, I stood up in shock, “You mean that the player who kills the Dictator of Life will die along with him?”
At Lolidragon’s nod, my heart became confused and frantic. I had originally wanted to kill the Dictator of Life myself. Now the price of killing the Dictator of Life is that I will also vanish? Will Prince vanish forever then?
“Don’t worry. We won’t install it in you. The company will send someone along with us,” Lolidragon consoled me, not knowing that these words made my heart sink even deeper.
After giving it much thought, I finally made my decision. “Lolidragon, install ND in me!”
“What?” Lolidragon was stunned. “Are you crazy? Didn’t you hear me just now, the character will vanish. It will vanish, do you hear?”
“I understand.” I also don’t want to disappear. However, I really want to do this, “But, I really want to kill the Dictator of Life myself.”
“Why? Isn’t it fine if someone from the company kills him?” Lolidragon asked confusedly.
“Lolidragon, what kind of attitude do you think the person sent from your company will have when he battles the Dictator of Life?” I asked gravely.
“I don’t understand you,” Lolidragon hesitated.
“Because I have been with Sunshine and Kenshin for so long, I do not regard them as NPCs. Thus, I’m also unable to regard the Dictator of Life as a common NPC.”
I took in a deep breath, “Therefore, I would hold the mentality of killing another player when I go to kill the Dictator of Life. This is very different from someone from your company, who would bring along the mentality of eliminating a virus.”
Lolidragon brooded for quite a while, and then said forcefully, “But your character will disappear. That means that Prince will disappear forever.”
“True, I don’t want to disappear. But the Dictator of Life also doesn’t want to disappear,” I said a little dejectedly.
“Prince, I will give you three more days to decide. After three days, tell me whether you really want to install the ND program in your character’s body.” After giving me the deadline, Lolidragon added, “Prince, I hope you will change your decision before the three days are up.”
Despite knowing that Lolidragon said this for my own good, I knew I would never regret my decision.
“Prince, you were looking for us?” Sunshine came through the door with Kenshin silently following behind… Why did Cold Fox come too? It seems that Cold Fox sticks to Kenshin as much as Celestial sticks to Doll.
“Let me ask you guys… You probably don’t want to go to the Northern Continent, right?’ I asked carefully.
Sunshine frowned, “I want to go. I want to fight alongside Fairsky!”
I was stunned. I was expecting that at most it would be Kenshin who wanted to go, but it was actually Sunshine who wanted to. I hurriedly said, “Sunshine you can’t go. If something were to happen to you, Fairsky would cry herself to death.”
“But I don’t want to stay in the Central Continent and stupidly wait for you all to come back,” Sunshine shouted. “I want to fight alongside all of you. At least then I would have tried, and would have a clear conscience for Fairsky and myself.”
I was dumbfounded. Since when was Sunshine so fierce? He has become more and more human-like.
“Love really makes one become more mature.” Lolidragon shook her head, and then patted my shoulder. “I think you would not be able to stop Sunshine.”
I was speechless. I anxiously turned to Kenshin and asked, “What about you, Kenshin? Don’t tell me that you want to go too?”
Kenshin was silent for a while, and then said, “I want to go.”
My mouth dropped open. What’s happening? Are they implying that they don’t want to live? Or that they think they have a second life in the real world, like me?
“Alright, things will be as decided then. Kenshin, Sunshine, you guys come with me. I have something else to tell you.” Lolidragon indicated for them to follow her. I saw that gesture, and went forward too.
“Don’t come, Prince. I only want to talk to these two.” Lolidragon stopped me.
This made me suspicious. It could not be that Lolidragon still wanted to do something bad to them, right?
“Don’t worry; I swear that I won’t harm them. It’s just that this matter is for them alone to know,” Lolidragon explained. However, how could I possibly back off? I couldn’t afford to risk it. Lolidragon spread out her hands and glared at me. “Why not let them decide if they want to follow me by themselves then.”
Sunshine looked at the frustrated Lolidragon and the stubborn me, and decided to placate me. “Prince, I believe Lolidragon wouldn’t harm us. Just let us go with her for a bit, alright?”
After hearing this, I could only stand gloomily with Cold Fox and send the trio off.
At that point, I suddenly remembered something. What were Cold Fox’s thoughts about Kenshin, after following him for so long, and then finding out he was actually an NPC? I could not help but ask, “Cold Fox, did you already know that Kenshin was an NPC?”
“Yes,” came Cold Fox’s concise reply.
“And you don’t mind?” It couldn’t be that this fella was so indifferent that he didn’t mind knowing the truth, even after being around someone who was in fact not human?
“I didn’t really mind, I only had a few questions.”
“What questions?” I asked curiously.
“Whether it’s possible to change his gender to female, and then sell him to me?” Cold Fox asked. A moment later he added, “If that’s possible, could you make him stronger, too?”
“This way, I need not look for a sparring partner and a girlfriend separately.” The way Cold Fox put it seemed as if it was far too troublesome to have a girlfriend and a sparring partner be two different people.
I must keep this in mind, and remember to tell Kenshin about this later. I have to warn him to stay away from Cold Fox. If not, then one day…Cold Fox may resent the fact that changing Kenshin to a female is too troublesome, and may just… Then, that would be a terrible situation!
1 “Yamata no Orochi”: (八岐の大蛇, lit. “8-branched giant snake”) or Orochi, translated as the Eight-ForkedSerpent in English, is a legendary 8-headed and 8-tailedd Japanese dragon that was slain by the Shinto storm-god Susanoo.
2 “…snakes have a seventh inch.”: According to Chinese belief, if you want to kill a snake you have to hit the seventh inch. That is, seven inches from the snake’s head. However, there are snakes of differing sizes, and some snakes are not even seven inches long, so this way of measuring is sometimes wrong. The seventh inch of the snake indicates where the snake’s heart is located, which is near the snake’s stomach. Therefore, by hitting the seventh inch of the snake, where the snake’s heart is, the snake will most definitely die. ”
3 “Cut the snake… No, cut the tongue.” In full, it should be he cut the snake’s tongue”: This is supposed to be a pun. “割蛇…不，是割舌，全名是割蛇舌” (gē shé…bù, shì gē shé, quán míng shì gē shé shé). The Chinese pronunciation of snake is shé. Likewise, the pronunciation for tongue is the same, shé.