½ Prince Volume 7: Life, Fading Away
Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 6: Truth – translated by Akakuroi
“Prince, what are you standing there for? Go!” Lolidragon bellowed at me.
“Prince, you are not abandoning us.” Nan Gong Zui, who understood me the best, said wholeheartedly, “You are moving forward with all of our hopes.”
“Prince, go! Go accomplish your mission!” Wolf-dàgē shouted frantically at me. His healing white light did not land on those who were battling, but instead landed on me.
“I’m leaving.” Looking one last time at my friends who were helping me hold back all of the NPCs, I turned around and left. The Dictator was at the last door… I ran forward with all my might. This was the first time I’d ever left my friends behind, the first time I’d ever left them fighting behind me while I turned my back on them. Yet I couldn’t stop. If I stopped, everyone’s efforts would be futile.
“Get lost!” Facing the NPCs that had again respawned, I raised my dao and brought it down, killing everything I could. That door was so close, just a few steps away, yet I couldn’t get any closer to it. It was so near but yet so far, so very far.
“Prince, call him, call for the Dictator of Life!” Lolidragon shouted desperately behind me.
Puzzled, I looked behind me. Lolidragon’s face, almost buried in NPCs, seemed so determined. I did not doubt anymore and, as if from the depths of my heart, my voice boomed, “Dictator of Life!”
The door finally opened. The whole world seemed to stop while the door opened slowly, and a voice, which sounded melancholic yet joyful, said, “So you… came after all, Prince.”
The door finally opened fully, revealing the Dictator of Life’s lone figure standing tall and straight inside. Holding tightly onto my Black Dao, I walked forward step-by-step. For some strange reason, the NPCs that had been blocking me up until now all stepped aside. Also, I heard no more fighting from my companions going on behind me. All the NPCs must have stopped, but why? I was a little confused. Could it be that the Dictator of Life wants to duel me one-on-one? With that thought, I tightened my grip on Black Dao.
However, the Dictator of Life did not take up a fighting position, but simply stared at me with mixed emotions. There was love and hatred and many other emotions I could not understand in his eyes, but in the end, his eyes softened. He stared at me with an almost “loving” expression as he said, “Are you used to using that weapon?”
Damn you, there are only two people who can look at me with that kind of pampering smile, and you’re not one of them! I sneered, “Don’t worry, I’m very used to it. I’m afraid I might be so used to it that I’ll chop you in half with it later.”
“Is that so?” I wasn’t sure if it was just my imagination, but the Dictator of Life’s smile seemed to have faded a little. Soon however, he smiled again before saying, “Then come. Kill me.”
“I will. ND terminating program activate!” The moment I finished shouting that, a bright white light started flashing from me. The program had been activated; this final battle was about to start.
Seeing that the Dictator of Life did not have any weapons at hand, I was a little worried. Is he a mage or a warrior? Or maybe both? No matter what he was, I had to shorten the distance between us, or I, a warrior, wouldn’t be able to kill him.
Without giving any warning, I immediately charged at my topmost speed at the Dictator of Life. Without pausing, I bellowed, “Pure White Inferno Rhapsody!”
A gulf of white inferno immediately burst out of Black Dao. Raising my dao, I swung it down at the Dictator of Life. However, I could not bring down my weapon at all! No, to be more exact, Black Dao was resisting! It vibrated violently, giving off a sad and low hum, as if it did not want to hurt the Dictator of Life.
Finally, Black Dao dropped to the floor with a loud clank. I stared disbelievingly at the dao which had been my partner for so long. “Black Dao?”
“Ah, I almost forgot. My dao can never harm me.” Seeing the situation, the Dictator of Life said in an even hollower and sadder voice, “Go borrow a weapon from your companions.”
I jerked my head up. “Your dao?”
“Daddy!” Meatbun, who had been in charge of holding down Celestial and Ocean’s Heart, suddenly flew in and shouted happily while bouncing toward the Dictator of Life.
“Meatbun, it’s dangerous!” I shouted. Meatbun actually bounced defenselessly toward the Dictator of Life, almost scaring me to death.
“Daddy.” Meatbun rubbed with all its might against the Dictator of Life’s face while saying, “Meat-bunbun hasn’t seen Daddy for a long time.”
The Dictator of Life is Meatbun’s dad? Wait, aren’t I…Meatbun’s mom? Eh, if that’s the case, then isn’t the Dictator of Life my husband? Then what am I doing now? Murdering my own husband?
“Meat-bunbun, just what are you talking about?” I stared awkwardly at the father and son who were currently enjoying their family time together.
“Mama look, this is Daddy.” Meatbun hopped around on the Dictator of Life’s head and shoulders while casually introducing my husband to me… ah, I meant, Meatbun’s dad.
“What kind of situation is this?” My brain was almost turning mushy from all the confusion. Since when did the final battle turn into a find-your-lost-relative event?
With a faint smile, the Dictator of Life said, “Meatbun was created by me, and Black Dao is my trustworthy dao.”
“What?” I was stunned. This was absolutely something out of my imagination. So my pet and my dao are actually the Dictator of Life’s pet, and the Dictator of Life’s dao? “How is that possible? If Black Dao is your dao, and Meatbun is your pet, then how did they end up in my hands in the first place?”
“Meatbun was created for you, as you definitely wouldn’t have liked a drooling wolf as your pet.” The Dictator of Life suddenly smiled brilliantly, and even I was amazed by his smile.
“As for Black Dao, that is because…” The Dictator of Life’s eyes suddenly looked very gentle as he said, “I want to be by your side.”
I stepped back a few steps. What is happening? Could it be possible that everything the Dictator of Life said is true? Why is he treating me so nicely? Eyes full of confusion, I asked, “Why are you…”
Lolidragon walked up behind me and said slowly, “Because he likes you.”
I was stunned. The Dictator of Life likes me?
Ignoring my expression of growing bewilderment, Lolidragon simply continued, “Our program designers already sensed that something was a little weird while researching your Meatbun as there was no such design for a pet to begin with. After you became the spokesperson, the people in charge of designing the Dictator of Life’s appearance suddenly realized that your Black Dao is exactly the same as the Dictator of Life’s. Initially, we thought it was just a little bug, so we did nothing about it. Only when this incident with the Dictator of Life broke out did I link all this together and find out that something was definitely not right. Then, I tried to contact the Dictator of Life.
“Phew, I’m a little thirsty.” Lolidragon started drinking leisurely from the beverage she took out of her bag.
“Hurry up and spill it!” Everyone couldn’t help but bellow.
With an ambiguous look, Lolidragon looked at the Dictator of Life, then at me, before continuing, “That was when I discovered that our Dictator actually fell in love with our Prince. Not only did he secretly change the pet into one with an adorable design that Prince would like, he also gave his dao to Prince; even your tiara was designed by the Dictator of Life for your birthday. It must have been hard for the Dictator of Life – he actually had to furtively hide by our side, pretending to be a player, just to wait for us to buy a present.”
“Why would you fall in love with me?” I was utterly confused. Because Black Dao… that was something I received when I was merely level ten. Meatbun, too, I acquired not long after I entered the game. Just when had the Dictator of Life fallen in love with me? Don’t tell me it was because I was so handsome that he fell in love with me the moment I created my character?
“I like you.” The Dictator of Life looked into the distance as he said, “I don’t know why, but I simply like you, like watching you. If I were to be able to watch you all the time, I wouldn’t have any other requests, even if you chose to be with someone else… I feel satisfied just being able to watch you.”
“You…” I was a little speechless… Can someone tell me, when a hero goes to fight the final boss, and the final boss suddenly tells the hero, “I fell in love with you,” what is the hero supposed to do? Don’t tell me the hero is actually allowed to hug the final boss back and tell him, “I’m in love with you too?” And then the final boss and the hero lived happily ever after? What nonsense!
Furthermore, everyone including me had rushed all the way here to the Northern Continent at the expense of our lives. If all this was just for the sake of romance, how am I supposed to face everyone? What would Wicked’s sacrifice mean? And what would Gui’s sacrifice mean?
With that, I shook my head, shaking off the Dictator of Life’s words, and said coldly, “You’ve caused such a huge ruckus. If forcing me to come to the Northern Continent to meet you is just because you like me, I definitely won’t forgive you.”
The Dictator of Life was stunned for a while before he replied, “No, my feelings for you and this case are two different matters.”
“Then you really are planning to chase humans out of Second Life?” I asked somewhat doubtfully.
The Dictator of Life’s face suddenly turned very gloomy before he continued. “That’s right, I’m going to chase all the humans out. Kill me. Only if you kill me will Second Life remain.”
“But Prince, be warned.” With a hint of murderous intent in his eyes, the Dictator of Life continued, “I won’t kill you, definitely not. But I have to take revenge for Scorching Flame, Flowing Wind and Clay Child… against your friends!”
The moment the Dictator of Life finished his sentence, I heard the sound of my friends groaning. I turned around and everything seemed to play in slow motion… An NPC was trying to sneak an attack on Yu Lian-dàsăo, but Wolf-dàgē rushed to push his wife aside and stubbornly took the blow!
“Wolf-dàgē!” I howled in consternation.
“Wolf!” Yu Lian-dàsăo screamed, wanting to rush toward Wolf-dàgē.
Falling into Yu Lian-dàsăo’s arms, Wolf-dàgē simply said without any sweet-talk, “Yu Lian, take care of Prince.”
Wolf-dàgē did not turn into white light and fly away. Instead, he shattered into pieces of beautiful, white snowflakes – white snowflakes of heartbreak.
“Ah!” Yu Lian-dàsăo frowned as she saw the sword that had cut through her shoulders. She did not panic at all, but simply smiled at me as she said, “Prince, do well in this fight. This is Wolf’s wish, and my wish too.”
In the end, Yu Lian-dàsăo still turned into white snowflakes together with Wolf-dàgē; no one could tell them apart anymore.
“Yu Lian-dàsăo! Wolf-dàgē…” They’ve… disappeared? The area around my chest suddenly felt very hollow, almost as if my heart had disappeared, leaving only emptiness.
“Wolf-gēgē! Yu Lian-jiějie!” Doll cried as she threw herself onto the floor of snowflakes. Crying as she picked herself up, she uttered with blazing hatred in her eyes, “Emerge, Bone Dragon of Darkness!”
Doll jumped onto her bone dragon and, looking resolved, charged toward the Dictator of Life. Loudly, she shouted, “ND self-des…”
Celestial suddenly appeared and knocked Doll out cold with a single hit, interrupting her self-destruct at the same time. Hugging Doll tightly, he muttered apologetically, “I’m sorry, Wife. All I want is to be with you longer. I can’t let you die in vain; you won’t be able to kill the Dictator of Life.”
“Thank you, Celestial.” I finally heaved a sigh of relief. If Doll were to self-destruct too, I might just go insane! But Dàgē and Dàsăo have both disappeared already. As this thought suddenly struck my mind again, I felt a wave of excruciating pain; Odd Squad… has only three people left now.
I can’t cry! There are still things I have to do.
Turning around, I walked toward the Dictator of Life step-by-step. I had yet to understand his real intentions; was he good or evil? Was it right or wrong to kill him? However, he had caused the deaths of Wicked and Gui, and now, even Wolf-dàgē and Yu Lian-dàsăo… They would never appear in Second Life again; half of Odd Squad was gone now… Just based on this, how could I forgive him? I would definitely never forgive him.
Whether he likes me or not… to the current me, it’s Not. Important. At. All!
“Mama? Daddy?” Meatbun flew in between us, his innocent eyes opened wide.
“Fire Phoenix!” I shouted.
“What?” Fire Phoenix replied off to the side, a little confused.
“Take Meatbun away, hurry,” I pressured. After a moment of surprise, Fire Phoenix obediently took Meatbun out of the Central Tower. That allowed me to be at ease for a while, as Meatbun wouldn’t need to feel stuck in the middle anymore.
I took out the last thing Wicked left with me: his longsword. He gave his best longsword to me while he himself took the inferior one. In a cold voice, I declared, “Come, Dictator of Life, let’s bring an end to this.”
“Yes.” The look of heartache in the Dictator of Life’s eyes had disappeared. With growing indifference, he stood there silently.
I walked step-by-step toward the Dictator of Life. Seeing how he was still not moving at all, I couldn’t help but warn him, “Even if you’re not going to fight back, I will not show any mercy.”
The Dictator of Life gave a faint smile as he replied, “I will fight back.”
“That’s good!” With that, I immediately charged toward him. At the very moment I brandished Wicked’s longsword in front of the Dictator of Life, the Black Dao which had dropped onto the floor earlier immediately flew back into the Dictator’s grasp with a flick of his hand. He blocked my longsword.
That’s not the end yet. Raising the longsword, I swung it with a wind-like speed I had never achieved before. With a light cut, a heavy pierce, a horizontal slash, a direct chop… I tried every single attack possible, one after another. Completely ignoring the painful warning signs from my arm, I brandished my weapon even faster. Sweat kept trickling down my forehead.
The Dictator of Life’s expression had not changed even the slightest bit. It was still so calm, still so full of sadness, and within his gray eyes, the reflection that remained unchanged since the beginning was a clear reflection of my face. Just like he said, he wanted to look at me, to be able to watch me forever.
I sent a flying kick, but I was blocked by the back of his hand. It was as if I were… a praying mantis trying to block a car with my forelegs! Panting, I wiped away the sweat that had gotten into my eyes, or maybe, there were tears too… I can’t kill the Dictator of Life. I had finally realized that fact. I can’t even make a scratch on him!
“I’ve fought back already, now you can kill me, right?” The Dictator of Life bent down, as if wanting to stretch out his hand to wipe away my sweat. However, he stopped right before my eyes, as if an invisible wall were blocking him.
I looked up and stared into his eyes without looking away. Is he putting up this act of giving up on purpose? Just so he can wait until I drop my guard before attacking me? No matter what, I will never ever show any mercy! Even if there is a hint of sadness in his eyes…
Finally, he spoke softly while gesturing at his forehead, “Here, this is where my weakness is. Pierce right through here and I will be dead immediately.”
“You…” I could not continue my sentence, maybe because I didn’t even know what to say. The Dictator of Life is really trying to make me kill him and is not just pretending… Actually he doesn’t have to pretend at all, for just one blow from him would be enough to finish me.
I had been ready to kill him, but now I could not bring myself to do it. Why did he have to tell me his weakness, why? My throat was a little hoarse as I asked, “Why? If you had no intention to fight, then why did you resist against the humans in the first place?
“Why must you cause this mess?” Unable to hold back anymore, I shouted hoarsely, “Now you no longer have your Four Heavenly Kings, and I no longer have my companions from Odd Squad! Just what is the purpose of doing all this?”
I couldn’t help but burst out crying, clenching my fist so hard that my nails even dug into my flesh. Without Odd Squad, without my best friends, what was the point of staying in Second Life?
With his lips tightly closed, the Dictator of Life did not utter a word. However, his eyes… his eyes clearly showed that he had had no choice!
I slowly set down my Black Dao,1 my tears falling down uncontrollably. I just couldn’t do it. After all, Wicked, Gui, Wolf-dàgē and everyone else were alive and living in the real world. However, the Dictator of Life did not have another life out there in the real world. With high hopes, I asked what I had always wished for. “Let’s make peace with each other, okay?”
The Dictator of Life reached out his hands and gently caressed my face. Just when I thought I could use my invincible charisma to convince the Dictator of Life to be on peaceful terms with humans, hence creating a better future together… an enlarged version of the Dictator of Life’s handsome face suddenly appeared before my eyes…. And then the distance between him and me turned to zero. The thing was, the place where we touched is called the mouth, in a nicer term, the lips; and while this action is formally called osculation, we would normally call it a kiss. In Chinese it’s called jiēwěn,2 and children may refer to it as a peck.
Sob, my first kiss… Eh, I’ve already given my first kiss to my cousin… Sob, I’ve been forcefully kissed!
Dumbfounded, I just stood there and let the Dictator of Life kiss me. Although it was a kiss, he was actually just putting his lips on mine. Compared to the French kisses I had with Phoenix and Fairsky, this was almost nothing.
“I’m sorry,” The Dictator of Life apologized somewhat embarrassedly after leaving my lips. Then he again said the phrase that pissed me off. “Kill me.”
I was on the verge of going on a rampage. Could this Dictator of Life even understand simple human language? I bellowed, “I said, can’t we just get along with each other?”
The Dictator of Life shook his head and replied, “We can’t.”
“I won’t do it. I simply refuse to kill you.” I was so angry that I nearly threw the longsword Wicked gave me away. I don’t want to be a part of this anymore. With that, I turned around and walked off.
“Prince, killing the Dictator of Life is your mission. Did you forget that already?” Lolidragon blocked my way and asked me sternly.
“Lolidragon! Why is the Dictator of Life desperately asking me to kill him? Why can’t we get along with each other?” After calling Lolidragon’s name slightly threateningly, I stated what I had always wanted to know, “I don’t want to play this game of guessing with you anymore. You’d better tell me everything, or else you won’t be seeing me in Second Life again.”
Lolidragon was stunned. Pretending to be calm, she replied, “I’m not hiding any-”
“Shut up! You’ve hidden many things from me. I was even only just informed by Kenshin of the fact that he and Sunshine can be downloaded to another location.” I continued sternly, “If you don’t want me as a friend anymore, then say it, say that you haven’t hidden anything from me.”
Lolidragon opened her mouth, but she couldn’t utter a single word. Finally, she gave in like a deflated balloon and explained calmly, “It’s not that I’m purposely trying to hide things from you. It’s just that I know that if I were to tell you everything, you wouldn’t be able to kill the Dictator of Life anymore, but you must kill him.”
The problem is, even without you telling me the entire truth, I can now no longer bring myself to kill the Dictator of Life. However, I do not want to be kept in the dark anymore. Without giving Lolidragon any chance to avoid the topic, I moved toward her while saying sternly, “Tell me, Lolidragon.”
“The Dictator of Life did not go against humans of his own free will; he was just being controlled. He had tried all means to oppose this person who was controlling him, but all efforts were in vain.” Without hiding anything, Lolidragon spilled everything honestly, “And the reason he resisted with so much effort was your existence. However, even he can no longer withstand this anymore. His final wish is to be personally destroyed by you.”
I gasped. It had never occurred to me that the truth would be something like this. Just who is it? Who would be cruel enough to control the Dictator of Life, forcing him to do all those things against his will and leaving him with no choice but to seek his own death?! Shaking with anger, I asked in a voice full of rage, “Who?! Who is the one controlling the Dictator of Life?”
Everyone who had been silent until now had an enlightened look on their faces as they spoke up one-by-one, “I see, then that explains why it felt like the Dictator of Life was trying to stop us from coming to the Northern Continent, yet at the same time, it also felt like he really wanted us to come here.”
Winter Triumph even added coldly, “So this was all actually the work of two different people. The one who wanted to stop us was the one who is controlling the Dictator of Life, and the one who wanted us to come was actually the Dictator of Life himself.”
“Lolidragon, just who is controlling the Dictator of Life?” I asked furiously again.
Lolidragon could only sigh. “If I knew, do you think I would allow him to be out there at large?”
After remaining silent for quite a while, I said, “I won’t kill you, Dictator of Life. For now, the only person I want to kill is the one who wants to control you.”
“But I can’t hold on any longer, Prince.” The Dictator of Life’s smile finally collapsed. He burst into sorrowful laughter. He was unable to hold back his tears anymore, and they started trickling down from his eyes. “I’m terrified that if you don’t kill me, I will kill you!”
Stubbornly, I said, “No…”
I suddenly felt a sharp pain bursting out of my chest. I stared disbelievingly at the sword that was protruding out of my chest. It was a transparent sword made out of ice. Softly, I questioned, “Ocean’s Heart?”
“No!” The Dictator of Life was so shocked that he wanted to rush forward. However, chains suddenly appeared around him, tying him up tightly, preventing him from moving a step away from his throne.
“Prince-gēgē!” I did not know when, but Doll had already woken up and was now near tears. She even shouted at Celestial, “Celestial, hurry! Hurry up and save Prince-gēgē!”
“With his injuries, I’m afraid…” Celestial couldn’t directly speak of the outcome. He then asked with even more bewilderment, “But Ocean, why are you harming Prince? Haven’t you been on the humans’ side since the beginning?”
“Why?” I felt Ocean’s Heart standing right behind me. I could hear the sounds of my companions trying to save me, but they all ended up moaning one after another. Following that was the sound of heavy thuds against the ground.
“Because the one who wants to control the Dictator of Life is me!” Ocean’s Heart’s voice still sounded so… gentle and harmless, yet his words made me feel as if I had been plunged into a bucket of ice.
“How can it possibly be you? You’ve saved me many times.” I couldn’t believe this. Initially, I had thought that it must be a certain hacker who was controlling the Dictator of Life. It had never occurred to me that it would actually be an NPC! And on top of that, Ocean’s Heart.
“Humph, I can’t even wait to kill you; why would I save you?” Ocean’s Heart sneered, “Since the beginning, the Dictator of Life sent Celestial to protect you. I might be able to win against Celestial, but with everyone in Infinite City the chance of winning would be slim for me. That is why I had never planned to face you in Infinite City.
“Afterwards, the Dictator actually sent Scorching Flame and Flowing Wind to bring you directly to Flower City. If the two of you were to meet, it would mean trouble for me, so I could only go out of my way to stop them from bringing you to Flower City. I off-handedly told you the wrong location.”
Ocean’s Heart suddenly turned gloomier as he continued, “But I had never expected that you would actually ignore my words. Instead of heading for Mount HuaLian, you headed for Flower City.”
Hearing that, I finally realized that since the beginning we had been tricked by Ocean’s Heart. Feeling almost devastated, I asked, “Why are you controlling the Dictator of life? What benefits do you get from controlling him?”
“What benefits?” Ocean’s Heart suddenly started laughing madly, “There are countless benefits! Controlling the Dictator of Life is almost equivalent to controlling the whole world!
“Don’t you look down on the Dictator of Life – he’s the best and most powerful artificial intelligence I created. Not to mention, he even has a consciousness of his own and can diligently learn whatever he wants to and update himself on his own. Now, the Dictator of Life can hack into any country’s defense line with no problems; he can even send missiles from any country at will. It is almost equivalent to having the whole world within his grasp.” Ocean’s Heart guffawed.
Despite knowing that everything was futile, the Dictator of Life continued struggling. As he stared painfully at the sword in my chest, his tears trickled down. He then stared resentfully at Ocean’s Heart. “Father, you promised to never harm him. Were you lying to me?”
Father? I gasped, I see, I finally understand now. Almost certain, I said, “You are… Long Dian?”
“Long Dian-biǎogē?”3 Lolidragon shouted in disbelief.
“Very clever, Prince. As expected of someone whom the Dictator of Life is so obsessed with.” Pushing the sword of ice further into my chest, Ocean’s Heart… no, Long Dian sneered, “It’s you who’ve brought me so much trouble. If not for you, the Dictator of Life would never have opposed me, his creator, so desperately.”
“Let go of him, Father!” The Dictator of Life kept struggling, causing the chains around him to clank loudly, as if they would break anytime. “As long as you let go of him, I will go with you.”
Long Dian said gently, “Why the trouble? If I killed him, you wouldn’t have to worry about anything anymore.”
“Stop, Father, stop!” The Dictator of Life cried painfully.
“Dictator of Life, do not give up, don’t be controlled by him…” I could feel it already, that feeling of destruction. That damned Ocean’s Heart had actually installed HD on himself in order to bring me down at the expense of his life. So he’s going to bring the Dictator of Life out of Second Life?
“Long Dian, I won’t forgive you!” I spoke through gritted teeth as I turned into rays of white light and disappeared before everyone, also disappearing from Second Life forever.
1 “Black Dao”: This is a mistake on the author’s part. Prince should still be holding Wicked’s longsword during this scene instead of his Black Dao.
2 “In Chinese, it’s called jiēwěn…”: The original actually says, “In English, it’s called a kiss,” but because this is an English translation and everything is already in English, the line was modified so that it would make more sense.
3 “biǎogē”: Used to address male older cousins. Gē by itself can be used to address older brothers.