½ Prince Volume 9: Sequel
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 3: Xiao Xiao Lan, Part Two – translated by Nausicaä
I felt as though I had suddenly been struck by lightning. I knew the name “Xiao Lan” all too well. Growing up I had often heard this nickname, because everyone called her that. She was my mom, Xiao Lan.
That figure rushed from the city gates to stand beside Wicked, and only then was I able to see his appearance. He was an elf with snow-white short hair, eyes the color of wine, and an exceedingly beautiful face. A tiara rested upon his forehead, and hanging by his waist was a black dao…The village chief was right. A guy this beautiful would certainly be chased by women endlessly.
A look filled with emotion and nostalgia appeared on that beautiful elf’s face, and he said, “Long time no see.”
“Yes.” Wicked gazed at the beautiful elf as if he would never tire of looking at him.
The two graceful and handsome elves gazed at each other, creating a romantic and beautiful scene that was enough to make any woman bleed from her nose until she died. Yet somehow, inwardly, I was very certain that the following scene would not be a romantic one.
“You big idiot!” The beautiful elf suddenly began to violently hit Wicked. Strangely, the angle and strength of the blows looked very familiar, very much like an authentic Long Ming-family-style punch.
Seeing that the elf was about to pounce at Wicked and give him the beating of his life, Undying Man hurried to hold back the elf as he coaxed, “Prince, don’t be so rash, calm down.”
“Prince?” Three surprised cries escaped from beside me, and when I turned my head to look I saw Long Ming, Elf, and Demon Thirteen all lying on the ground like me and secretly watching the proceedings.
“Let go of me, Undying Man. I WILL beat him up. This guy just goes off and disappears without a single word, and we thought that he had been kidnapped. We were worried to death, and in the end this guy just sends a letter saying he’s going to travel around the world! That really pisses me off!” As Prince spoke, his eyes actually reddened.
“Xiao Lan, I’m sorry, I only…” Wicked’s face was full of regret, yet he was unable to say anything in his own defense.
Upon seeing Wicked’s apologetic expression, Prince softened his expression, though he couldn’t refrain from nagging, “From now on you’re not allowed to leave without saying goodbye—no, even if you say it I won’t let you leave!”
A happy smile appeared on Wicked’s face as he earnestly promised, “No, I’ll never—”
“My dearest wife, where have you gone? Wait for me.” Another all-too-familiar voice came from the city gates, interrupting Wicked.
A familiar yet unfamiliar person ran out: a demon with dark hair and amethyst eyes holding a guqin in his hand. Even though the whole image was very different from my dad who wore a suit and tie to work, that face, plus that unbearably sickening way of calling someone, made me absolutely positive that this was definitely my dad, Min Gui Wen. Ahhhh!
My dad threw himself onto Prince with a flying tackle, hugging him tightly, and he even looked hostilely at Wicked. “You’re back.”
Wicked’s smile evaporated in an instant, and with an icy expression he responded, “Yes.”
“Are you married yet?” My dad narrowed his eyes dangerously, as though he were asking his own forty-year-old daughter if she had found a husband yet.
“None of your business.” Wicked’s tone became even colder.
“Of course it is.” Looking as though he was about to go berserk, my dad pointed at Wicked’s nose as he wildly scolded, “Who knows if you’re still thinking of someone else’s wife!”
“Hmph.” Wicked’s face had already turned ashen, and without another word he turned to leave.
“Argh! You two, don’t fight as soon as you see each other.” Prince hurried to pull back Wicked, but when he turned around and saw my dad looking as though he was on the verge of tears, he had no choice but to hug him to his chest. This scene looked a lot like me and Long Ming when we were kids, when we were fighting to be hugged by my mom, who then had no choice but to hug one of us in each arm.
In a tone that suggested he did not know whether to laugh or cry, Prince said, “I’m telling you guys, can’t you make peace for a bit? It’s already been ten years, and you two are still acting like children.”
However, despite not knowing what had transpired to cause such deeply-rooted hatred between Wicked and my dad, it was very obvious that ten years had not been long enough for them to make peace as they glowered at one another. But at that moment, the sound of a crowd of people drifted over from the city gates, and it looked like some ten people were walking over. From among them a wolfman’s deep voice called, “Wicked?”
“Ah, Wicked-gēgē is finally back!”
A cute angel girl delightfully threw herself on Wicked, which allowed Prince to finally let go, since he no longer had to worry about Wicked running off.
At this point, everyone began to laugh, and among the crowd there were so many handsome guys and beautiful women that I found myself drooling all over the ground to the point where I very nearly died from dehydration.
After everyone was happily reunited, they walked into Infinite City together— even the clam went in—and then the gates closed with a huge rumble, causing a gust of autumn wind to swirl through the dead leaves… Then with a crackle, several kilograms of said dead leaves fell onto the pitiful heads of the four who were beneath the trees.
I spat out two leaves as I finally came to my senses and immediately dashed to the city gates, pounding on them furiously as I desperately shouted, “Hey! Open the door, we’re still outside!”
I pounded for ten minutes, and still no one came to answer the door. From behind me came Long Ming’s quaking voice as he said, “Xiao Xiao Lan, come back quickly.”
Feeling very cross, I turned around as I said, “What do you want? Can’t you see that I’m knocking on the door?”
Immediately after I turned my head, my eyes nearly popped right out of their sockets. The several kilos of leaves that had piled up on top of our heads had actually taken flight and were fluttering in the air like butterflies…Normally this wouldn’t have been anything out of the ordinary—it was not as if I had never heard of a leaf butterfly. Yet, it was true that I had never heard of them coming together to form a chain, and then tying a person up in a most sadomasochistic style. But luckily, the one who was being subjected to this sadomasochism was not me, but the big-chested angel, aka Long Ming.
Meanwhile, Elf had been strung upside-down on the tree, and Demon Thirteen was even worse off, his body tied up in thousands if not millions of knots, and what’s more, in veritable “butterfly bows”1 to boot.
Dumbstruck, I asked, “No way… are all butterflies nowadays so dangerous?”
“Hurry up and save us!” The three of them roared in unison.
I hurriedly dashed over, and after pulling out my great dao,2 began to chop wildly. After I had finished, Long Ming fell down and scrambled to crawl back up, his entire white gown having been turned into a bikini. Elf fell from the tree with a crash, with only a piece of cloth still hanging onto his lower body. With his back facing us, Demon Thirteen bolted toward the forest in a flash, using his hands to cover up his fair and tender buttocks the whole time.
I opened my eyes wide, and Long Ming, who was using his two hands to desperately hide his “springtime blossoms,” coldly said, “Do you really have to stare like that?”
I—I am completely innocent!
“Ah! These perverted butterflies are starting to attack again!” Unable to cover both his stomach and butt, Long Ming waved his hands to drive away the butterflies as he screamed and followed in the direction Demon Thirteen had gone.
“Butterflies originally metamorphosed from caterpillars so that they can have sex,3 after all!” I said matter-of-factly, and then seeing Elf running off to join the other two, I hastily shouted, “Hey, wait for me!”
I broke into a run to give chase, but the perverted-metamorphosed butterflies were fluttering in front of me, and there were so many of them that it was like a thick wall. I could only wave my sword to drive the butterflies away as I yelled, “Long Ming? Elf? Demon? Where are you guys?”
From far away I heard their voices, yet I had no way to determine their location. I ran helter-skelter this way and that, finally stopping in order to catch my breath, but of course Long Ming and the others had long since disappeared without a trace.
Discouraged, I knelt down in a crouch. Sob sob sob, it seems like I have become a missing child? I’d heard that when you get lost, the best thing to do is to stay right where you are. Not to mention my guaranteed utter lack of a sense of direction… This inherited peerless lack of a sense of direction would only cause me to wander further and further from my destination, so I decided to crouch where I was and wait for Long Ming and the others to come rescue me.
“Sigh. To think that after all that trouble, I was so close to finding out the truth, yet I just sat there and watched as they closed the city gates right in front of me.”
I couldn’t stop sighing, and then recalled what I had seen just now. The more I thought about it, the stranger it seemed. Even though my dad was often bullied by my mom, he submitted to it quite happily. If anyone said that my dad was having an affair behind my mom’s back, I definitely would be the first non-believer.
Yet, that demon just now was clearly my dad, and I actually saw him go and hug an insanely beautiful guy? Could it be that beautiful guy was…Long Ming’s dad?
But…I furrowed my brow in thought. Why would my dad call Long Ming’s dad “my dearest wife”? Not to mention the fact that everyone had already been living together for a long time, and yet I still had not discovered anything going on between my dad and Long Ming’s dad.
More importantly, just how would they have the guts to commit adultery? Long Ming’s mom and my mom were definitely ranked among the top in the world when it came to people you should never mess with.
“Xiao Xiao Lan!”
Long Ming’s shout came over, and I hastened to answer, “I’m here! Don’t leave me behind by myself!”
I had just finished shouting when I suddenly felt my shirt collar being lifted up. With a shock, I realized that I was actually “flying” up the tree trunk, and was even nimbly leaping among the trees, although I was very certain that it definitely wasn’t that I had become Tarzan, but rather the person carrying me had Tarzan-like martial arts skills.
Just like this, with my eyes wide open, I was bewilderedly carried along until I saw Long Ming and the other two waving to me from the ground. I happily waved back, and the person carrying me gently landed in front of Long Ming. Long Ming rushed forward and pulled my cheeks hard. “Dumbass! I was so worried that you might have been eaten by the butterflies.”
I muttered vaguely, “I accidentally got lost.”
“It’s lucky that he found you, otherwise I really wouldn’t have known how to look for you in this game without PMs,” Long Ming said irritably.
He? I stood there, completely clueless, but then I immediately remembered that I had been carried here by someone. I gingerly turned my head, and someone who I would never have imagined appeared before my eyes.
I was so surprised that I couldn’t keep my mouth from hanging open. Even though the present Kenshin was outfitted very strangely, the cross-shaped scar on his face was very obvious. He was wearing a unique loose-fitting robe, at his waist hung a katana, and his whole person was emitting a very cold and distant aura. He was very different from the image I had of the Kenshin who wore an apron and cooked and vacuumed, yet that face unmistakably belonged to Kenshin.
I glanced left and right. According to my mom, if I saw “that guy”… then the person in front of me would clearly be Kenshin… I looked more closely, and I finally saw that behind and to the right of Kenshin was a guy with black hair, black clothes, a black weapon, and his entire body cloaked in black: Silver-Masked Quick Fox, the Ice Emperor Syndicate’s number one assassin. He almost never said anything, but simply stood silently within a three meter radius of Kenshin.
I still couldn’t help asking, “Are you really Kenshin?”
Kenshin nodded, and then said, “Follow me.”
“To where?” I asked with wide eyes.
“Northern Continent,” Kenshin answered simply.
“Eh?” Long Ming asked in surprise, “B-but, I thought we’re in Central Continent right now, so how are we going to get to Northern Continent?”
Before I had time to say anything, Elf and Demon Thirteen both shouted with extreme dismay, “We absolutely will not ride the clam!”
After they finished yelling, Long Ming and I also revealed distressed looks on our faces.
Kenshin did not explain anything, but only raised his head to look up at the sky, and the four of us also looked up. In the blue sky dotted with clouds there were unidentifiable flying objects zooming around. It looked quite mundane. What in the world was Kenshin looking at?
Wait, why is there a piece of cloth floating in the middle of the sky? I watched as the piece of cloth rushed toward us at high speed, even quite skillfully dodging several flying objects, projectiles such as jets, rockets and the like, until it finally arrived above us. I stared dumbly at the piece of cloth, my mouth hanging wide open; I had never in my life seen a piece of cloth that could fly before.
The piece of cloth slowly landed, and I could now see clearly that there was a beautiful man on it, with a broad smile on his face. This man looked very familiar. I furrowed my brow as I racked my brains. Do I know any Arabian people?
The dark-skinned, beautiful man jumped down from the piece of cloth, and in a few quick steps he rushed before me and exclaimed with surprise, “Wow! Little Long Ming has become Big Long Ming. You’ve grown so strong!”
Then he rushed up to Long Ming, and with another smile said, “Xiao Xiao Lan is also very beautiful! Come, give Sunshine-gēgē a hug.”
Having said this, the dark-skinned beautiful guy spread his arms wide and pulled Long Ming into a tight embrace.
“Sunshine-gēgē?” I cried out in surprise. “You’re Fairsky-jiějie’s husband, Sunshine-gēgē?”
Sunshine looked at me, and then lowered his head to look at Long Ming, who had several dark lines descending down his face, and then revealed a look of sudden realization. “I’ve made a mistake. Wow, Long Ming, you’ve become so beautiful. Xiao Xiao Lan has also become very strong.”
I was too lazy to explain how Long Ming and I had become transvestites, and instead I immediately threw myself at Sunshine-gēgē, so happy that I nearly split my mouth in two from smiling so much. In a slightly accusing tone I said, “Sunshine-gēgē, you and Fairsky-jiějie haven’t come home in so long, it’s been so boring.”
Sunshine-gēgē gave a foolish smile. “I’m really sorry. It’s because Fairsky and I ran into some trouble that we haven’t come home, but we’ll be back very soon.”
“When will you be back?” I asked with a pout, intent on getting an exact answer from Sunshine-gēgē. Otherwise, who knew when “very soon” would be? Last time, they left after attending my elementary school graduation, saying that they would be back very soon, and then what? I ended up graduating from junior high without seeing them even once.
“We will be back in a few days.” Sunshine-gēgē extended an arm to pull me in, though with his slim body it was impossible for him to hug both me and Long Ming at the same time.
Upon hearing this I finally stopped worrying. After all, Sunshine-gēgē never lied.
“Sunshine, let’s go. He is still waiting for us,” Kenshin said calmly.
Who’s waiting for us? I looked toward Sunshine-gēgē, my face full of questions, but he only gave a mysterious smile instead of answering. I couldn’t keep myself from pouting.
“I’m begging you, don’t pout with the face of a muscled bodybuilder. It’s disgusting, you know that?” Long Ming said, a repulsed expression on his face.
I threw Long Ming a nasty look and followed Sunshine-gēgē onto the piece of cloth and sat down. I beckoned at Elf and Demon Thirteen and urged them, “Hurry up!”
Incidentally, the two of them had long since changed into brand new clothes, and were no longer chest- and- buttock-baring, attractive eye candy. Sigh, such a shame!
“Can we go too?” Elf asked in surprise.
I turned my head to look at Sunshine-gēgē, and begged, “Can we bring Elf and Demon with us? Can we?”
“Of course. Xiao Xiao Lan and Long Ming’s friends are our friends as well.” Sunshine smiled cheerfully and said, “Don’t worry, this flying carpet can carry eight people.”
Elf and Demon Thirteen exchanged looks, and then excitedly stepped onto the flying carpet.
At first I was very scared as I stepped onto the soft and flimsy carpet, expecting it to fall at any given moment. But the flying carpet demonstrated its extreme flying prowess, accelerating in a straight line, around turns, and in S-curves and swiftly evading obstacles. All of us let out exultant cheers.
“This is awesome!” Long Ming could not resist shouting in delight as he raised his arms high.
The flying carpet flew all the way over and beyond the continent and out over the ocean. Even though we had crossed the ocean before, at the time we had found ourselves inside the body of a clam and hadn’t seen anything of the ocean view. Now, seas that stretched as far as the eye could see suddenly appeared before our eyes, and I was so deeply moved that I couldn’t say a word. A long time passed before I finally found my voice.
“When did Sunshine-gēgē and Kenshin start playing this game?” I asked curiously, “Why didn’t you guys ever tell us that there was such a fun game?”
Sunshine-gēgē gave a weak smile. “Do you think Second Life is really fun?’
“Second Life is more fun than all the games I’ve ever played! Why doesn’t everyone play it?” What I found even harder to understand was that I had heard before that Second Life was a forbidden game, the cruelest game that ever existed. Yet, ever since Long Ming and I had started playing it, we had never felt that way at all. The only thing was that we found the NPC’s artificial intelligence to be shockingly high, to the point where they could not be distinguished from actual humans.
“Oh.” Sunshine-gēgē revealed a distressed look. “There’s a reason for that. I still think it would be better to let ‘him’ explain everything to you guys.”
“Him?” I asked, puzzled.
Sunshine-gēgē again gave a rare mysterious smile, and pointed ahead with his finger. “We’re almost there.”
I followed Sunshine-gēgē’s finger with my eyes. The coastline of a continent had already entered our field of vision, and the flying carpet, seemingly getting excited as well, suddenly sharply accelerated, to the point where I couldn’t even open my eyes and was reduced to clinging onto the edge of the carpet for dear life.
Then, the flying carpet violently came to a stop—I even thought that I almost heard the long screeching sound of the carpet “braking”—and the carpet stopped moving.
I slowly opened my eyes. We had stopped in front a peculiar-looking palace. I exclaimed in astonishment at the grand and magnificent sight of the colossal palace—those enormous gates alone were large enough to permit the entry of three lines of dinosaurs.
Without another word, Kenshin began to walk toward the gates, and just when we thought he was about to bang his head on the two massive doors, they soundlessly swung open, revealing a wide walkway within. The ceiling seemed as high as the sky, and beside the walkway stood countless marble pillars, each one so wide it would have taken five people to completely wrap their arms around it. And yet, although this palace was unmatched in its size, there was a sense of loneliness in its empty spaciousness.
From a distance I saw that in the innermost part of the palace was a throne, and it was very clear that there was a person sitting on it.
Kenshin led the way into the palace, and we also followed closely behind him, feeling like kindergarten kids being led by the teacher on a fieldtrip to the Louvre Museum.
As we walked further in, I realized that the “him” that Sunshine-gēgē had been talking about was most likely referring to the person on the throne. I opened my eyes wide, gazing at the figure upon the throne. As we approached, the figure became clearer: long red hair, a black robe, gray eyes laden with grief, and an exotic pattern below the left eye.
“Dictator of Life!” Long Ming and I said together.
The person who appeared before us was someone Long Ming and I were extremely familiar with, whom we had seen since we were children. He was the Dictator of Life, reputed to have the highest artificial intelligence in the world, yet often failed in designing menus. However, this was still the first time I had seen the Dictator of Life actually appear before us. Everything up until this point had been mere holograms.
Having thought of this, I rushed toward the Dictator of Life in a few large strides and hugged him around the waist. I was overjoyed upon discovering that I was really holding onto the Dictator of Life, unlike when I was younger and, forgetting that the Dictator of Life was just a fake image, rushed forward to hug him, always ending up sprawled on the floor.
“Dictator of Life, did you come here to play this game too?” I raised my head from the Dictator’s chest to look up—ugh, the truth was that I was a lot taller than him, so I could only raise my head from his shoulder level, and then look back down at him.
The Dictator of Life smiled. “I have always been here.”
“Here? In Second Life?” Long Ming rushed to ask.
The Dictator of Life nodded, and Long Ming’s mouth opened, then closed, then opened, as if he had a million questions to ask, but did not know where to begin.
I could completely understand Long Ming’s feelings because while my mind was also exploding with questions at the moment, I could only utter the following in the end. “It has occurred to me that our family doesn’t seem to be a particularly normal one?”
The Dictator of Life gave a light laugh. “Actually, all the answers are in your mother’s study room.”
I opened my eyes wide. “My mother’s study room?”
“And what’s more, Long Ming already knows the truth as well.” The Dictator of Life turned toward Long Ming, smiling mildly.
Long Ming pointed to himself in shock, and the Dictator of Life quietly said, “Half Prince.”
Long Ming revealed a baffled look, and perplexedly said, “Half Prince? Isn’t that a really old novel in the study room? It’s mainly about a virtual reality game where the NPCs suddenly obtain self-awareness…”
Long Ming abruptly froze, and on his face appeared an increasingly alarmed look. In the end he dumbly exclaimed, “No way?”
“What? What’s ‘no way’? Hurry up and tell me, Long Ming!” I tugged at Long Ming with all my strength, wanting to shake him out of his daze.
“Allow me to tell you, Xiao Xiao Lan.” With a wave of his hand, the Dictator of Life caused the surrounding palace to instantly dissolve into nothingness.
In front of our eyes materialized a very familiar scene: the place where we set our characters right after we entered Second Life. With surprise I discovered a girl before us, someone I knew all too well. That was my mom, but a lot younger, looking no more than twenty years old.
And there was also another person, the NPC in charge of assisting in character choices…
“Isn’t that my mom?” Long Ming gave a startled shout, and it was only then that I really paid attention to the NPC. That appearance made it undoubtedly clear that that was Long Ming’s mom!
Then I watched wide-eyed as my mom actually became a transvestite, and an unbelievably hot one to boot. As luck would have it, he looked exactly like the super-hot tranny elf I had just seen earlier–Prince!
Prince was actually my mom!
My goodness, why did my mom do something so unbelievably stupid as to choose to become a tranny? Furthermore, I had actually unwittingly followed my mom’s footsteps and even ended up in a worse state. At least my mom was a slim, beautiful bishounen, while I was a gigantic, buff, handsome bodybuilder. If I were to also have a daughter, I imagine that “she” would be Arnold Schwarzenegger’s successor.
The scene changed, and Prince was chased all over the place like a piece of steak, and even had his tofu eaten by Lolidragon… Ugh, don’t cry, mom. I have already taken revenge for you and gotten your share of tofu back from Long Ming…
Following this, I saw Prince’s unique fighting style, and saw the origin of our family’s Meatbun (I had always wondered why none of my classmates believed me when I said my family owned a pet meatbun), and then Prince’s first declaration.
Afterwards, I saw Tian Lang-gēgē. Even though he had the appearance of a wolf, I could tell right away with one look that Ugly Wolf was Tian Lang-gēgē. Then I saw an angel necromancer, the strangest of all possible combinations of race and profession—strange, why had I not realized how much Doll-jiějie liked Sailor Moon?
Then I saw Guileastes, that homosexual demon bard. As it so happened, he was the very source of the sperm that produced me…Sobsobsob, my dad was originally a homosexual? This was indeed a huge reason for shock!
At last, I saw Yu Lian-jiějie. Yu Lian-jiějie and Tian Lang-gēgē’s romance was so moving!
The images skipped past at high speed. Odd Squad was finally officially established, next came the conflict between Odd Squad and Dark Emperor, the fierce battle that took place during the Adventurers’ Tournament, the founding of Infinite City, the inner turmoil and pain of Prince who had become liege lord, and then finally, the appearance of the Dictator of Life, and the revelation of the truth—Long Ming’s mom actually had an older brother, who was none other than the misguided Long Dian.
What shocked us the most was that Kenshin and Sunshine were not actually real human beings—especially the fact that Kenshin, who had always been by our side as our all-capable housekeeper, was actually not a human…
“Kenshin isn’t a real human?” Not daring to believe it, I looked at Kenshin, and the latter revealed a rare, flustered expression.
“Xiao Lan didn’t want to tell you two.” The Dictator of Life continued evenly, “She was worried that you wouldn’t be able to accept the truth, and was even more concerned that you would stop treating Kenshin and Sunshine as human beings.”
Just when I was about to open my mouth and respond that I would never change my attitude, Long Ming suddenly cried out in surprise, “So that means that Ice Emperor Syndicate’s Silver-Masked Quick Fox isn’t human either? Darn it, that’s so disappointing. And I thought that he was the strongest person in the world.” Long Ming gave an aching look toward Silver-Masked Quick Fox.
“There’s nothing weird about that, is there?” I also glanced toward Silver-Masked Quick Fox. “I feel like Silver-Masked Quick Fox’s level of intelligence isn’t as high as Kenshin’s. He doesn’t talk much.”
“Yup yup, and he doesn’t know how to do chores or cook—it seems like all he can do is stand beside Kenshin. Looks like his level of intelligence isn’t that high after all.” Long Ming nodded his head in agreement.
I turned to ask the Dictator of Life. “Then, Silver-Masked Quick Fox hasn’t gained self-awareness yet, right?”
Upon hearing this question, the Dictator of Life was taken aback, then a smile crept onto his face, and finally, unable to stop himself, he broke out into hearty laughter.
Confused, I turned my head toward Kenshin, and the corners of his mouth were actually turning upward! My goodness, Kenshin is smiling? This was more shocking than finding out my mom was a tranny and my dad a homosexual.
“I’m a human.” A voice cold enough to freeze water came from a place some three meters behind Kenshin.
Long Ming and I looked over to Silver-Masked Quick Fox. He had the same icy cold expression on his face, causing us to wonder if that voice just now had come from him.
“He is a human.” Kenshin briefly said with a slight smile.
Long Ming and I opened our eyes wide. Say wha–? Even though Kenshin and Silver-Masked Quick Fox were both very cold, we still felt that Kenshin’s temperature was slightly higher and closer to the body temperature of a normal human, and yet the truth was just the exact opposite?
We coughed awkwardly, not daring to chance a glance at Silver-Masked Quick Fox, and hastened to change the topic of conversation. “Don’t worry, our attitude toward Kenshin won’t change.”
I looked steadily at Kenshin and said, “Every time someone disappeared from home, Long Ming and I would always be able to count on Kenshin’s presence. To us, Kenshin is like a second dad. We definitely will not change.”
As I spoke, Long Ming also frantically nodded his head, worried that Kenshin could not see our conviction.
Kenshin turned his face away, but his ears had turned slightly pink.
As we were quietly snickering at the rare sight of Kenshin’s distressed state, Elf and Demon Thirteen suddenly came to stand in front of Long Ming and me. Elf looked as though he were desperate to say something yet could not, leaving the two of us bewildered.
“What’s up?” I asked curiously.
Elf seemed to finally gather his courage and said, “The truth is, me and Demon Thirteen…”
“We’re both NPCs,” Demon Thirteen finished.
Elf had no choice but to continue. “We’re NPCs with a hidden mission. You had to buy more than five thousand flasks of potion from the lady at the pharmacy in order for her to tell you the location of the underwater cavern. This mission could only be triggered by a player, but because no player had come to our newbie village, the village NPCs were all very worried that the two of us would be trapped inside those icicles forever.”
“I see. So that’s why they wanted Xiao Xiao Lan and me to go rescue you guys,” Long Ming said with a sudden sense of realization.
“Don’t worry. Elf, Demon, you guys will always be our comrades,” I affirmed, placing both my hands on Elf’s shoulders.
Long Ming also placed his hands on Demon’s shoulders, saying, “Right. Especially you, Demon. Xiao Xiao Lan will definitely take responsibility for your butt.”
I grabbed onto Long Ming’s ear and, ignoring his miserable howling, directly asked the Dictator of Life, “Dictator of Life, do you know what happened to Long Dian in the end? And how did my mom come to choose between Wicked and my dad?”
A look of grief came over the Dictator of Life’s face. “Later on, Father seemed to sink into a state of frenzied desperation, and actually threatened the world…”
1 “butterfly bows”: In Chinese, a bow/knot where you form two loops is generally referred to as 蝴蝶結 (húdié jié), which literally reads as “butterfly knot,” most likely because the loops resemble the wings of a butterfly. In this chapter, the characters are literally being tied up by butterflies.
3 “Butterflies originally metamorphosed from caterpillars so that they can have sex”: In Chinese, the word for “perverted” and “metamorphosed” is the same (變態, biàntài). In other words, Xiao Xiao Lan is trying to say that butterflies are the perverted versions of caterpillars.