Chapter 1: Greetings to Long Dian – translated by Evangeline
The people who had been sitting obediently in the car all came crowding over to the window closest to me. Even though general traffic safety rules did say that sticking one’s head or hands out of a car is prohibited, that rule was clearly only taught to children, and wasn’t shown to the insolent adults and youngsters in this car. All of them were just short of sticking their legs out the car.
“Hi, everyone!” Since this was our first meeting, I was curious to guess who was who. Eh? That super classy, cute girl looks a lot like Doll. Hmm? Could that woman being embraced by my school’s doctor Wolf-dàgē be Yu Lian-dàsăo? Wolf-dàgē is so lucky. She looks like she will be a great wife and mother… Strange, who’s the boy with the baby face?
“Ah, we’re going to crash!” Yang Ming suddenly jerked the steering wheel around with both hands, narrowly missing a car by an inch. After the vehicle recovered its balance, he screamed in a voice that shook with fear, “Bastard! Can’t you keep your eyes on the road?”
I couldn’t help but turn around and ask my brother, who was in the seat behind me, “Yang Ming, who is that baby-faced boy?”
“How should I know!” Yang Ming answered without daring to take his eyes off of the oncoming traffic.
I turned back to face the front. Could he be Ming Huang? But, I remember that Ming Bin doesn’t look like this? Maybe boys’ appearances also change completely when they grow up?
“Prince, turn left and we’re there!” shouted Lolidragon as she hung out of the window.
“Got it!” Hearing that, I immediately turned the steering wheel 180 degrees to the left and took a big whirl. An old rickety building came into view, with the surrounding weeds that grew thick as a thicket, and the building didn’t even have a front door, as though no one had lived there for years.
“Crap!” I frowned. “There wouldn’t be any rats in there, right?”
Bang! Yang Ming staggered out of the car and collapsed on the filthy grass, skewed. He “roared” faintly at me, barely able to catch his breath, “You should already be glad if there are no gigantic spiders in there. How could there be no rats!”
“Someone’s here!” I suddenly spied a silhouette emerging slowly from the darkness of the building, with an alarmingly huge shadow behind it…
“Prince, put on this equipment!” Lolidragon decelerated from 250km/h to 0km/h in one moment and parked her car masterfully. She then dumped a pile of equipment on me and explained, “Helmet, light defensive armor set, power gloves, bouncing boots, ray gun, light sword…”
I stared at the pile of powerful weapons that should only be seen in movies. Is it possible that the Second Life Corporation is secretly a weapons manufacturing company as well? However, it was true that I felt much safer with the weapons, and with the help of Lolidragon, I was geared up to the last inch like a terrorist within minutes.
“I think I will take the light sword.” I have never used guns before, so I would probably end up shooting myself in the foot and making a joke out of myself.
“Prince… is that you?” Gui stumbled over in a hurry, his eyes filled with emotion… The reason for his stumbling was the same reason Yang Ming was sprawled out next to the road: carsickness!
“It’s me!” I lowered my voice and answered, but I was a bit lost at what to do. I had just remembered that everyone still didn’t know that I was a girl! How am I going to explain?
Just as Gui and I locked eyes, Lolidragon cried out in alarm, “Prince, that shadow is walking towards us!”
What! I immediately snapped to attention and grabbed the light sword tightly, and then conveniently trampled on my brother. He had already wriggled into his gear, but was still continuing to play dead.
“Everyone be careful!” I shouted in a deep voice. Strange, when did I get so used to speaking in Prince’s tone and inflection?
“Prince, you seem…” a haughty high school student who was clearly wearing his school uniform under his gear said with cold arrogance, “a bit short, hmm?”
Ouch! Short? I am at least 163 cm, okay? That’s not short for a girl, right? Damn it, I want to grow a couple more centimeters too! In a rage, I couldn’t stop myself from retorting sarcastically, “This little bro here, you seem…a little young? Why don’t you go back to your high school, attend the morning assembly, and sing the national anthem, hmm?”
“Anyway, who are you?” Yang Ming asked in surprise.
“Cold Fox!” Cold Fox answered succinctly.
Cold Fox is a high school student… Right, who is that baby-faced boy? I hurriedly looked at everyone who was coming out of the car in succession and shouted, “Hey! Baby face, who are you? Not a spy from Long Dian, right?”
The baby-faced boy made an expression that I was very familiar with, similar to… Zui being exasperated at my reckless actions.
“Nan. Gong. Zui?” I was surprised out of my wits. This is Nan Gong Zui? God, how could the big-brother-like Nan Gong Zui with his decisive commanding be a cute little boy?
Zui gave me an incomparably cute smile and nodded.
“Prince, if you don’t stop gaping, you’re going to get chopped in two by the enemy!” Lolidragon quipped coldly.
I snapped around, facing the anonymous silhouette that was almost at the doorway. I calmed myself. Right, now is not the time to be “visiting the in-laws.” First we have to ferret out Long Dian and save the Dictator of Life. Moreover, Kenshin and Sunshine are still in Second Life, their situation yet unknown!
I twirled my blade… Hm? It feels just like being in the game! I continued, executing a few slashes and kicks. I can actually do a 180 degree kicking slash? Could I really do that? I am currently in the real world, right?
“Hehe, awesome gear, right?” Lolidragon slipped on a face of extreme satisfaction, “Even though you can’t do any special techniques like the ones in the game, you can still achieve all kinds of regular attacks!”
“I see!” So it will be fine if I just fight the way I do in Second Life. I leveled my sword, pointed it toward the silhouette, and challenged lazily, “Whoever you are, come on out. I don’t have the time to be in a standoff here with you.”
At the same time, everyone came over and stood either behind me or beside me… exactly like in the game!
The silhouette also strolled out. It was definitely over two meters tall, with a bulky figure to which even Wolf-dàgē couldn’t even compare. The most important fact was…
“A robot?” I gaped, astonished.
Lolidragon was strangely calm. She calmly explained, “Careful, Prince. Robots designed by Long Dian-biǎogē are definitely not to be trifled with.”
“Got it.” I will just pretend that it’s an NPC in the form of a robot. I walked out slowly with my sword raised.
A shadow flashed in front of me, the familiar figure making me call out, “Zhuo-gēgē?”
“Xiao Lan, don’t go over there! This is not a game!” Zhuo-gēgē’s voiced was laced with worry and determination.
“I have to go. Zhuo-gēgē, you can stay by my side and help me, but don’t try to stop me.” I know that Zhuo-gēgē is worried, but how can I back down?
“But Xiao Lan, you…” Zhuo-gēgē turned and began to lecture me sternly.
“Look out!” I shoved Zhuo-gēgē aside and met the charging robot. It didn’t have any weapons, but its steel fists and iron strength was the most formidable offensive. I could feel the pressure even with Lolidragon’s power gloves on.
However, I wasn’t planning on going head to head with it; I was, after all, an agility-type warrior! With a flick of the light sword in my hand, I sliced at the robot’s head. Although the robot immediately raised its hands and blocked my light sword, stopping my blade was not enough. I ruthlessly kicked at the robot’s right leg with my own right leg. The moment it staggered, I sliced off its head with my sword.
Dead as a post! Elated, I turned and made the victory sign at everyone.
“Prince! Look out!” Lolidragon shrieked, her eyes focused on something behind me.
Before I could even react, Zhuo-gēgē had already tackled me, sending us flying to the side. I finally saw that the headless robot kept on attacking, as if it didn’t care about its decapitated head at all.
As the robot continued to charge at the two of us, beams of light suddenly flew at the robot’s knee. After a few sizzles, the robot crumbled to the ground. I turned and saw Nan Gong Zui assuming a 100% proper gun-firing posture with a serious expression, looking very handsome… sans the baby face.
“Give me back my Sunshine!” A girl with high pigtails screamed as she let loose her ray gun against the robot. Even though the rays were bouncing everywhere, the technique of shooting everything in sight, comrades included, was comparable to Meatbun’s Aroma Release.
A frenzy of rays and screaming followed as both humans and robot alike dove for shelter. The rays scorched big smouldering holes in the grass, on the walls, on the trees, and even on my mom’s precious hover bike. Eek, my mom’s going to kill me.
“Girls that have just lost their boyfriends are truly frightening.” Yang Ming patted his chest, face pale as he looked at the disastrous aftermath all around.
“So she’s Fairsky.” Hearing Sunshine’s name, I was absolutely certain that she was Fairsky.
With glistening eyes, Fairsky charged at me, grabbed my shoulders, shook me as if her life depended on it, and yelled, “Prince, go save Sunshine, quickly!”
“Stop shaking me, my goggles are almost about to fall off!” Nausea started to take effect. God, are all women with romantic crises this violently strong? I had not even finished speaking when my poor goggles flew off my face and kissed the dirt with a thump.
“Ah! My goggles!” I wailed. Those are my mom’s. If anything happens to them then she would skin me alive!
“Who cares about goggles, my Sunshine is more important…” Fairsky’s voice grew softer and softer until she stopped altogether and stared at me, dumbfounded.
“What’s wrong? Fairsky?” I waved my hand in front of Fairsky’s face, but she kept on staring at me with her mouth agape…
Suddenly, she made her move! With lightning speed she peeled off my light armor deftly and tore off my cute windbreaker with one breath… If I hadn’t sensed that something was wrong and tightly grabbed my last article of clothing, Fairsky would have probably torn off my little t-shirt too. I gaped at her and said in surprise, “Fairsky, even though Sunshine’s not here, you don’t have to be that eager, do you? Everyone’s still here!”
Fairsky stared at my chest in shock… Crap, did Sunshine’s absence totally change Fairsky’s temperament and even her inclinations?
“Y-You…you are a girl?” Fairsky stuttered and finally yelled.
I stared. What, everyone… hasn’t figured that out yet? Impossible! Do I look like that much like a boy? Even if my chest is a little on the small side… a petite figure can also be appealing, right?
“Stupid old sis, explain already!” Yang Ming hurriedly and agitatedly reminded me as he glanced at the crowd that had already fallen into a stupefied state.
“Huh?” I turned around stupidly to look at Yang Ming. Explain what?
“Student Feng Lan, it really is…” Wolf-dàgē forced a chuckle and scratched his head, his face full of knowing.
“Wolf? Is she really Prince? But… she’s a girl.” Yu Lian-dàsăo stared at me in disbelief, but after mumbling to herself, she fell silent without saying anything else, a look of sudden realization coming over her face.
“Your majesty, Gui missed you.” A person lunged at me. The open arms, the impossible feat of lunging parallel to the ground, and the disgusting name of “your majesty”…
“Gui, I’ve told you a hundred times, don’t call me your majesty!” I dispatched Gui with a flying kick, and then I went stomp stomp stomp!
“It really is Prince!” Everyone yelled.
“Prince…” Gui hugged my legs like usual, but not with eyes full of grievance and desire. It was as if he was burying his head into my legs, refusing to raise his head to look at me.
“Gui?” I asked, baffled.
Gui slowly raised his head but was not like his usual silly and smiling self. His eyes were conflicted and serious. He kept on gazing at me in such a way, his eyes penetrating into the depths of my eyes, and said softly, “Student Feng Lan… you’re skipping class?”
“Oh… Professor Min Gui Wen, you’re not teaching class?” I replied calmly.
Gui forced a laugh and shook his head, muttering to himself as if in disbelief, “So you were right by my side the entire time. It turns out I saw you every day. In fact…”
Standing up, Gui raised his arms as if to embrace me, but before I could even punch him as a warning, he retracted his hands. Breathing deeply, he muttered, “No, I can’t, I can’t, I’m your teacher.”
I giggled, unable to believe it. Who would have thought Gui would be scared of hugging me because he’s my teacher? How amusing! I couldn’t help but challenge his limits, edging closer until I was only a few centimeters away. I asked, “Oh, are you sure you don’t want to hug me?”
Gui actually blushed? And turned away, not daring to look at me?! This is not like Gui at all. For some odd reason, I felt unsatisfied, so I started to make jabs at him, “Who cares about protocol? Nowadays, there’s no one who prohibits teacher-student relationships anyway! I can’t believe how wimpy you are!”
“Or is it…” I suddenly remembered something. I don’t look like Prince anymore. Is that the reason? I bit my lower lip. Does Gui still like me more as a guy? Even though he said that he didn’t care what I looked like, I still had to admit that Prince’s 40% beautified looks was much more glamorous than my own, which could merely be called comely.
Use your head, I chided myself, He loves the handsome and incomparable “Prince,” not the plain and ordinary “Feng Lan!”
“Prince…” Gui called out hesitantly.
“Don’t call me Prince!” I yelled back, discontent. For some odd reason, hearing Gui call me Prince like always sent a bolt of extraordinary resentment through me.
“Xiao Lan! Look out!” Zhuo-gēgē fired near me, the ray whizzing by within twenty centimeters of me. A clear clanking sound signaled that it had found its mark.
“Long Dian-biǎogē?” Lolidragon looked up at the building in disbelief.
Everyone looked in the direction of Lolidragon’s gaze. A silhouette had appeared in the third story window, bearing a familiar face – it was the Dictator of Life’s appearance! The handsome face was the same as the one in the game, but it was somewhat haggard, and his hair wasn’t the signature fiery red, but an even stranger color — white. It wasn’t the same sparkling hue as Prince’s white hair, but rather a more sickly hue with some gray. Combined with his pallid complexion, it looked as if he were tired and sick of this world.
But… how is that possible? The Dictator of Life only exists in the game, so why is he in the real world?
“Long time no see, Shui Han.” The person stared at Lolidragon with a faint smile.
“Lolidragon, could he be the Dictator of Life?” I asked in shock.
“He’s Long Dian, not the Dictator of Life.” Lolidragon’s eyes sparkled with tears, and she asked out of concern, “Long Dian-biǎogē, how come your black hair has turned white?”
Long Dian smiled and touched his white tresses, “Can’t help it. There are too many stressing affairs so my hair turned white before I even realized it.”
“Biǎogē, I don’t know what has happened, but please, stop going down the wrong path!” urged Lolidragon relentlessly until even her voice cracked. Lolidragon, who had never shown even a sign of weakness before anyone, sobbed, “Dian… please, don’t hurt everyone anymore.”
However, Long Dian chuckled and then laughed. Soon, his laughter turned into wild guffaws, “Don’t hurt anyone? Hahahahaha! Then who is to stop fate from hurting me?!
“Who is going to stop fate from toying with me… cough, cough…” Long Dian’s handsome face suddenly contorted. He clenched his fists until they turned white, and he howled at the heavens in pain… but then he suddenly looked as if he couldn’t breathe and his face turned as pale as a sheet. This was followed by a painful cacophony of coughing.
“Dian?” Lolidragon cried out in concern.
Long Dian didn’t answer and kept on coughing. Like in the most clichéd soap opera shown on television, he coughed up a puddle of blood.What kind of situation is this? Why can’t any of the final bosses live up to their reputations? The previous final boss confessed to me, and this one coughed up blood even before we started fighting?
“Dian, what’s wrong?” Lolidragon’s tears were running freely by now.
“Nothing, don’t worry.” Long Dian smiled and reassured Lolidragon softly.
“What ‘don’t worry’?!” Lolidragon swiped at her tears and growled, “First you started to act strange and worked on Second Life as if your life depended on it… and then you did that experiment that killed a bunch of people, and after that you went and created mayhem and havoc in Second Life, and now you’re coughing up blood?! You haven’t told me anything, not even an explanation, and you expect me to not worry? You are going too far, Long Dian!”
“Shui Han, I…” Long Dian looked taken aback. Crap, I mistook him for the Dictator of Life for a second there.
However, Long Dian’s expression vanished and was instantly replaced by a look of utter coldness. He said frostily, “You have nothing to do with my business and none of my actions involves any of you anymore, Long Shui Han. I advise you not to try to stop me, because I will not show mercy next time.”
Lolidragon stared for a long time, dumbfounded. She blinked again and again, trying to force back her welling tears; her fists were clenched so tightly that her skin was turning red…
“Who cares about you! I don’t need your mercy. You better be careful. I swear I will catch you and take you back to Dad!” Lolidragon yelled with her cracking voice.
Long Dian smirked and turned from the window to leave. Another shadow detached itself from the background. A cold, mechanical voice threatened, “Leave, or die.”
“Humph, we are not leaving.” I laughed coldly, “As for killing us, go ahead and try.”
Bang! The shadow briskly leaped from the window and landed on the ground, his movements incomparably nimble… I didn’t know if my eyes were playing tricks on me or not, but his feet seemed to sink into the ground a couple of centimeters. Was he that strong? Could it be that he broke his legs before we even started fighting?
Obviously, my thoughts of having our work done for us didn’t work! He stood up without a scratch, and we soon saw the reason: it was because he was an “it!” It was another robot. However, its appearance when compared with the previous one was more suave and stylish. If robots also had a sense of aesthetics, this one must be considered pretty handsome among robots!
Dispatch him, and then go grab Long Dian! Lolidragon seemed to have reached the same conclusion as I had, because before I could even raise my light sword, Lolidragon had already let loose countless lines of rays with her ray gun.
Lolidragon was definitely cut out to be a terrorist as well. I scratched my face, ready to see holes opening in the arm of an innocent passerby robot, but the robot disappeared in a flash. Where did it go? I gripped my light sword. Is this one completely different from the last one?
“Lolidragon, watch out!” I spied a figure out of the corner of my eye hurling toward Lolidragon. Unable to do anything else in time, I could only block in front of her with my own body, straining to stop the attack with my light sword.
Bang! The light sword and power gloves actually cracked, and the huge pressure bore me into the ground. I couldn’t even raise my arms… That hit almost took my dear little life! The previous robot could not at all compare to this robot’s strength.
Even worse, I could only watch as the robot sent Lolidragon flying with a punch and swiped at me with a karate chop… Will I be singing my swan song at the tender age of twenty? The heavens must truly be envious of fair and youthful maidens…
“Stop!” a voice rang out, accompanied by gunshots, forcing the robot to step back and stop its karate chop. I looked around and saw that it was the baby-faced boy… no, Nan Gong Zui, who had saved me.
I struggled to lift my body. Damn, I can’t even crawl up. My chest feels… If I borrowed a phrase from martial art novels, this would be called having my blood and qi surge? I was just short of spitting blood out to signify my severe injuries, but I was in enough pain to turn pale. Pain definitely feels different in real life, unlike being in the game!
I could only lay there, half-sitting, and watch everyone risk their lives fighting that incredibly strong robot… The tall and strapping Wolf-dàgē wielded a light sword and stubbornly started fighting with the robot. He carefully avoided my earlier mistake of fighting within close range of the robot while effectively preventing the robot from attacking others. Meanwhile, Nan Gong Zui and Zhuo-gēgē were practically superb experts with their guns. With the rays from their seamless cooperation, the robot’s moves soon became evidently labored.
Even though I was worried about Wolf-dàgē’s safety, at the same time, I also worried about how there was a large chance that I could die from Fairsky’s crazy, stray shots before the robot got to me!
“Prince-gē… uh, are you alright?” A cute and sweet looking girl with a dignified air suddenly rushed over and carefully helped me up.
“Doll?” If she had called me Prince-gēgē, then she was definitely Doll! I never thought that Doll would be such a beautiful and elegant-looking girl. Unlike her “innocent” personality in the game, the real Doll truly did have the presence of a princess.
At this time, I also noticed the man and woman standing next to Doll. The man wore gold-rimmed glasses and bore a gentle smile, but even though he looked as if he wouldn’t hurt a fly, I could tell that there was something more to him. That gentle smile of his was a great weapon to lower an enemy’s defense, and his gold-rimmed glasses spoke of books and knowledge, giving him a favorable impression of being well-read. His neat clothing was also a guise that couldn’t be missed for lowering an enemy’s defenses… In conclusion, this guy looked exactly like Winter Triumph, so he was definitely a horrifying and ruthless character.
As for the woman, I blurted out without thinking, “Yu Lian-dàsăo!”
Just like in the game, Yu Lian-dàsăo rubbed my head, and smiled gently. “Really, Prince is Prince after all. No matter if it’s in the game or not, you’re always making a scene.”
Hearing that, I grinned stupidly like usual. Yu Lian-dàsăo is truly so gentle!
“Ah! You dare to attack my future husband?! You must have a death wish!” Yu Lian-dàsăo heaved her heavy machine gun and after a hailstorm of rat-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat, a new row of smoking holes appeared in the ground. Even the robot stared wordlessly at the two new punctures in its arm.
“Prince, look up!” Gui yelled desperately.
I followed Gui’s instructions and looked up. An aircraft appeared before our eyes and started to slowly descend to the top of the building.Come to help Long Dian make his getaway?
“No! Dian is getting away!” Lolidragon shouted in worry. However, the robot before us was too strong, and we were seemingly unable to even handle him, let alone rush up to the rooftop to stop Long Dian from getting away.
“Everyone, get out of the way immediately!” Doll, who normally had an air of elegance, suddenly shouted out.
We all knew that Doll was normally very cute, but she was equally known for being terrible as well as for being cute. Thus, when everyone heard her shout, we all took ten steps away. Even I got dragged away by Yu Lian-dàsăo and Winter Triumph by about a dozen meters.
Doll did a very simple action: her right hand reached into her pocket, she grabbed some unidentified object, made a throwing motion, and the object got thrown… landing about ten steps away from the robot.
“God, Doll, don’t ever become a pitcher! You’d definitely be out of a job!” Everyone wailed.
Boom! With a blinding flash, the unknown object suddenly gave off much heat, the fervent flames almost roasting me until I dripped a layer of oil. After I finally recovered from being blinded, I saw what looked like a deep and blackened meteor crater. Even more terrifying, the edge of the crater was only about a meter away from my feet…
Don’t even mention the robot — not even a scrap of it was left behind.
Everyone’s faces turned pale, no, everyone looked like they had stepped in shit, as they stared at Doll. Yet she looked with interest at the crater and gasped, “Wow, it is really powerful!”
“P-princess, that fire grenade cost a couple hundred-thousand dollars…” Winter Triumph’s voice shook with immeasurable grief as he stared at the hundred-thousand dollar crater.
A couple hundre- thousand dollars? Was that bomb made of gold? I said calmly, “So the robot was actually flattened by cash.”
“Ah!” Lolidragon’s scream caught everyone’s attention as she rushed into the building.
“Too late!” Wolf-dàgē said in a low voice.
I looked up at the top of the building and saw that the aircraft was leaving. No one was in the cockpit, but Long Dian sat leisurely in the backseat, even acknowledging us with a nod. His faint smile was truly very infuriating to me.
“No one is piloting, yet the aircraft is moving.” Zhuo-gēgē frowned and guessed while mumbling, “Could the Dictator of Life be piloting that aircraft? Does that mean the Dictator’s core is in that aircraft? No, if he were placed in the aircraft, that’s not safe enough. It could get shot down.”
“Shoot it down!” I snapped abruptly, and hurriedly asked Doll, “Doll, do you have something like a cannon that we can use to shoot down Long Dian?”
“Yes, but…” Doll hesitated somewhat, and then she asked with extreme skepticism, “If we shoot him down, Long Dian would definitely die! Prince-gēgē… Are we really going to use that?”
He’ll die? I felt as if lightning had struck me. Right, what was I thinking? This is not Second Life, this is the real world where people could truly die. I actually said that I was going to shoot Long Dian down. I shook my head. No, we definitely can’t use cannons!
“Dian!” shrieked Lolidragon, who had suddenly appeared on the rooftop. We could hear her wheezing even from the ground and realized that she had never run so quickly in her life.
“Dian, I’m begging you, don’t do anything stupid!!” She screamed desperately, the high-pitched sound rattling even the surrounding glass.
Long Dian stared at Lolidragon, his infuriating smile disappearing. His hand caressed the glass… Maybe all he really wanted to do then was touch Lolidragon’s face.
“Shui Han, I have already genuinely completed Second Life. Think of it as a…” Long Dian’s expression changed back into a faint smile, “final parting gift to you.”
“Parting gift?” Lolidragon’s voice sounded as though it was shaking.
“Maybe boys’ appearances also change completely when they grow up”: This is a twist on the usual Chinese saying (女大十八變) about how girls’ change greatly (usually becoming a lot more gorgeous) when they grow up, so much that they are hard to recognize.
“visiting the in-laws”: This is a phrase used to describe the families of the bride and groom visiting each other for the first time after marriage.