Chapter 15 — Drinking Bungles Things Up!
Can Ling Xiaolu once again get out of danger?
Edited by Planetes
Beimang was covered with snow all year round. As its location was rather remote, it was not as developed as other areas.
Li Zheng did not accept messages from strangers, so Ji Meng had no choice but to pay for information on the global chat again in order to obtain the location of Li Zheng’s residence.
One may well imagine that the onlookers now again had a topic to gossip about, and the least imaginative was also the one that everyone believed was the most logical — Hubby and Adonis had fought, and after Hubby had been effortlessly defeated, he now was seeking Adonis for advice.
Of course, “seeking advice” was just saying it politely. The one that more people were speculating was that he was “seeking to kill”.
If not for Li Zheng’s residence being too far away, that place would have turned into the zone where the masses wanted to go.
“Seeking to kill” Ji Meng currently had yet to even cross the gates. There was no option of barging into a private residence in this game, and if he wanted to enter, he needed to obtain permission from the residence owner.
However, Li Zheng believed that Ji Meng was Ling Xiaolu’s enemy, and was unwilling to even give him a chance to explain.
“Listen to me!” Ji Meng once again pressed the intercom of Li Zheng’s place. “I’m not here to kill him, we’ve made up already!”
“Where’s the evidence?” Li Zheng asked on the other side of the screen.
“Ask him to come! Speaking to him directly is the evidence!”
“It’s inconvenient now for him to speak.”
“It’s not convenient for him to speak?” Ji Meng sputtered. “What exactly have you done to him? Li Zheng, if you dare even touch a hair of his… Hello?! Hello?”
Li Zheng had cut off the intercom. In less than a second, Ji Meng once again pressed the bell maniacally.
With nothing else to be done, he answered, planning on giving Ji Meng his final warning. “What exactly do you…”
On the screen, Ji Meng raised a photo without a word. In it was the two people sitting on a shadow deer alone, and they did look very close.
“…” Li Zheng opened the door, allowing him in. “Come on in.”
Ji Meng rushed inside quickly, seeking Ling Xiaolu’s shadow in the room.
“Where did you hide him?”
“I didn’t hide anyone.” Li Zheng pointed at the floor. “He’s over there.”
Ji Meng looked in that direction, and discovered Ling Xiaolu sprawled on top of a huge white wolf. His arms were wound around the wolf’s neck, and he was sleeping deeply with drool trickling down his face.
“He drank the deer wine I left, and got drunk. I could only bring him back here.”
“Deer wine? Drunk? Him?” Ji Meng’s face was full of disbelief.
“I’ve asked my agent already, she said that people who are extremely sensitive to alcohol will all be like this.”
Today, Ji Meng had really met a person with a very strange constitution. “Since it’s like this, I’ll bring him back first.”
“Hold on.” Li Zheng had yet to believe him fully. “Although you have a photo together, it’s also true that I’ve personally seen you attack him. How can I confirm that you did not force him?”
“I forced him?” Ji Meng again wanted to explode, but suppressed his anger forcefully. “Then how do you want me to prove it?”
“The agent says he just needs to sleep it off. You’ve already confirmed that he’s safe, so you can leave now. When he wakes up tomorrow, I’ll send him back.”
“No,” Ji Meng objected resolutely. “I must bring him away with me today.”
“Unless I hear him agree personally.”
“This is simple.”
Ji Meng walked over to Ling Xiaolu as he called out to him, “Lu Bi, Lu Bi, wake up!”
Ling Xiaolu still remained deeply asleep. Ji Meng wanted to pat him, but the white wolf on the ground suddenly raised its head and bared its fangs at him. Ji Meng hurriedly pulled his hand back.
“Hey, Li Zheng, keep your wolf away,” Ji Meng said unhappily.
“If I keep it away, he’ll be sleeping on the ground. Aren’t you afraid that he’ll catch a cold?”
If it was someone else, Ji Meng would not believe it at all. However, Ling Xiaolu was the type to be able to catch a cold, become feverish, and even get drunk in the game. Ji Meng had seen this for himself, and so he had no choice but to believe it, and could only give in.
Fortunately, the movements of the wolf had woken up Ling Xiaolu instead. He groggily opened his eyes, and studied the person crouching in front of him blankly.
“Lu Bi, do you recognise who I am?” Ji Meng waved his hand in front of his face.
Ling Xiaolu was annoyed by that waving hand, and caught hold of it. “I do, you’re, you’re that pet maniac.”
“Pet? Pet what?” Ji Meng was baffled.
Ling Xiaolu continued mumbling some stuff, and to call it Chinese was already pushing it. Ji Meng could not understand a single word.
Losing his patience, with the hand that was in Ling Xiaolu’s grasp, he caught his wrist. “Go back with me.”
“I won’t go!” Despite being drunk, Ling Xiaolu’s objection was still very swift. “I don’t want to go with you!”
Ji Meng gritted his teeth. “Stop throwing a drunken tantrum, quick, go with me!”
“I want to be with my shifu1!”
Ji Meng looked at Li Zheng, incredulous. However, Li Zheng looked unaffected, and Ji Meng could not determine if Ling Xiaolu’s words were only drunk nonsense, or if they were true.
He could only turn back to Ling Xiaolu, “smiling” and persuading him. “Did you forget who brought you to purchase a shadow deer, and even brought you along to catch a spirit deer?”
Ling Xiaolu thought about it. “It’s you.”
“That’s right. We even took a photo, remember?”
“The photo…” Ling Xiaolu dragged out his words. “I was forced to take it by you.”
Ji Meng: ???
“When did I force you to take it? You clearly liked it a lot and even wanted me to give you a copy!”
Li Zheng finally moved. “I think it’s best that you leave.”
“No! He’s lying! I didn’t…” Ji Meng came to a sudden realisation. “He’s talking about another photo. It’s not the one I showed you, I didn’t force him… Lu Bi!”
Seeing that Li Zheng was about to kick him out of his place, Ji Meng grabbed Ling Xiaolu’s arm without any hesitation. “Explain it properly to him!”
“I don’t want to! Let me go!” Ling Xiaolu swung his arm wildly. “If you grab me again, I’m going to report you for domestic violence!”
Ji Meng paused, the expression on his face going through an obvious change due to those two words. His anger was mixed with a little pride, and in his pride were traces of restrain.
Ling Xiaolu continued, “You asshole, you even dare to hit your father…”
Ji Meng’s complicated expression froze on his face. As it darkened by the moment, he bent down and carried Ling Xiaolu. “If you still don’t want to leave I’ll really hit you!”
Ling Xiaolu refused to be carried by him, and started babbling nonsense. “I want to complain about you to the GM! Where’s the GM?”
He looked around, and found Ling Long. “Here! I, I want to report this fellow. Quick, lock his account!”
Ling Long trembled. Faced with two highly alert benefactors, he acted cute, looked blank, and spun around in mid air.
Ling Xiaolu grabbed his body roughly and shook him. “Quick, take care…”
Ji Meng grabbed the pterosaur from his hands, tossing it to one side. “You’re drunk, it’s your little pet!”
After getting thrown away, Ling Long flew back obediently, acting cute, looking blank, and spinning around in mid air.
“Impossible! It’s a GM. If you don’t believe me, bring, bring a chicken here, and scare it into revealing himself…”
“If you don’t leave now, I can only do it myself.” Standing apart from the chaos, Li Zheng opened his mouth calmly.
“Hold on! Give me another minute!” Helpless, Ji Meng had no choice but to use his ace in the hole.
He had his back facing Li Zheng, refusing to show him what was in his hand.
“Lu Bi? Can you see what this is?”
Ling Xiaolu tried his best to focus, and recognised the pet loyalty pill in Ji Meng’s hand.
He immediately grinned. “Heehee, it’s something delicious.”
“Do you want it?” Ji Meng tempted him.
Ling Xiaolu nodded his head twice firmly.
“Then tell him, what is the relationship between the two of us?”
Ji Meng gloatingly turned back to look at Li Zheng, proclaiming his victory.
“I still have a lot of them. Do you want to come home with me?”
“Mn, ok.” Ling Xiaolu nodded again. Struggling a couple of times yet failing to get up, he raised his arms towards Ji Meng, seeking help.
Cooperatively, Ji Meng stooped down and carried Ling Xiaolu up, and Ling Xiaolu even clung onto his neck. This time, Li Zheng did not stop Ji Meng.
Ling Long too flew up obediently, playing the role of a close little pet dutifully.
“Excuse us.” Ji Meng left a parting shot expressionlessly, teleporting to his home at Dongye with Ling Xiaolu and Ling Long.
The loyalty pill was only something Ji Meng had brought out to coax and deceive Ling Xiaolu, and he would definitely not have given it to him. Just like what Ling Xiaolu had said, what if he got poisoned eating pet food?
However, Ling Xiaolu refused. With the aid of his drunkenness, he groped around Ji Meng’s body, insisting on finding the pill.
“Give it to me… Hurry up and give me…”
“Stop touching me! Be a little more proper! Where are you touching?!”
In the midst of their entanglement, the two people spoke such suspicious words. If not for Ling Long personally witnessing the situation, his thoughts would definitely have drifted to some unrestrained location.
Ji Meng finally managed to catch hold of those two unruly hands. Ling Xiaolu struggled a few times, but was unable to free himself, and he again started employing verbal attacks.
“You think gold names are really something? Just because you’re a gold name, you can… randomly catch people? A gold name can… go back on their promises? Let me go, I want to… screen shot, post a status, and expose your evil deeds…
Ji Meng was just wondering if he should tie up Ling Xiaolu’s hands. Now, he was thinking about how to seal his mouth.
However, he only thought about it. Towards a drunk, unreasonable child, he could only rely on coaxing him. “Lu Bi, Little Lu Bi?”
The sound that came from Ling Xiaolu was very similar to a kitten’s mewl. “Woo…”
“Be good, and lie down on the bed, then I’ll give it to you to eat.”
Ling Xiaolu fell silent, thinking through the logic of this statement. “Really?”
Ling Xiaolu believed him, obediently lying down and keeping quiet.
Ji Meng sighed in relief. Just as he was wondering how he should deal with him, he heard Ling Xiaolu mumbling.
“I don’t want…”
The words that came after were jumbled together, and Ji Meng could not hear them clearly. He leant closer, his ear almost plastered to Ling Xiaolu’s mouth.
“What did you say that you don’t want?”
This time, Ji Meng heard clearly. Ling Xiaolu had said, “I said, I don’t want my photos to be taken by you and uploaded onto your wall in a collage. It’s embarrassing.”
Ji Meng: ?
When did he say he wanted to take photos of Ling Xiaolu and upload them on his wall in a collage?
However, when he looked back at Ling Xiaolu, Ling Xiaolu was already asleep. There was now no use for the loyalty pill that Ji Meng finally took after after questioning himself a few times.
Dealing with the mess that the drunk Ling Xiaolu created, Ji Meng felt that it was even more exhausting than full-clearing an instance ten times.
But when he saw how Ling Xiaolu was quietly asleep, his impulse to hit him again vanished into thin air.
That pale gold hair of Ling Xiaolu played a huge part. From the roots to the tips, his hair exuded an air of obedience. Secretly touching it, it felt soft, just like how Ji Meng had imagined. He could not help but stroke Ling Xiaolu’s hair a couple more times. It would be good if Ling Xiaolu could just be as harmless as he was now when he was awake. Unfortunately, an alert Ling Xiaolu was essentially one that could only stir up his anger.
What did he say just now? Taking his photos and uploading them as a collage on his wall? Ji Meng was now inspired…
After uploading them onto his wall, Ji Meng lifted his head only to get a shock. The pets he had been raising in his house had all gathered around the bed, curiously observing the two of them.
The higher ranked the pet in the game, its AI would be higher. The pets Ji Meng collected were all top-ranked, and it was alleged that their intelligence could be compared to that of a three year old child.
Whether it was true or not, Ji Meng did not know. He only knew that when these pets were mischievous, their ability to anger people was no less than that of a brat.
“You’re all not allowed to disturb him, understand?” Ji Meng quietly warned them.
They all did not react. A few took the opportunity to clamber up the bed with their short limbs, and it was unsure if they had understood.
When Ling Xiaolu woke up, he too got a shock. Around his head were one, two, three, four, five, five big heads surrounding him. They were all studying him with great interest.
Ling Xiaolu had never experienced waking up in the game before. For a moment, he thought that he had entered a monster’s cave, and was crying out in fear.
Only when he caught sight of the virtual panel in front of him did he realise that he might still be online in the game, and his cry subsided.
“Where is this place?” Ling Xiaolu had never seen this setting before, and neither had he seen these pets before either. He looked at them, there was a round and chubby squirrel, a round and chubby penguin, a round and chubby manul… They were all like round, plump balls, and even though he had never seen these pets before, this style of raising pets was a little familiar.
“Ling Long? Ling Long, are you there?”
What replied him was Ling Long’s chatbox.
Ling Long: I’m here! Quick, come and save me!
Ling Xiaolu looked around, and finally found a desperately twitching silver tail under a Gilbird’s bottom2.
Even though it was seated, this Gilbird was already taller than Ling Xiaolu, but its wings were small and tiny. Ling Xiaolu seriously questioned how it was able to fly, and for all he knew, this animal could not fly at all.
He expended all his effort, and finally managed to lift the Gilbird up from the bed a little, rescuing Ling Long who had been trapped underneath.
“I’m finally free! I was nearly squashed to death!” Ling Long turned to look at the Gilbird’s face, and hid behind Ling Xiaolu in fright. “Oh my god!”
“Where am I?” Uptil now, Ling Xiaolu was still confused. The last thing he remembered was being by the lake, but how did he wake up in a house?
“What do you think?” Ling Long poured out his grievances sorrowfully. “I bet my entire strength to give you a kick, but only slowed down your arrival at Dongye for about ten hours.”
“This is… Dongye? I’m at… Ji Meng’s place?”
Ling Long held up a pair of antithetical couplets, one in each set of claws. The first one read “Although unwilling to admit it, this is the truth”. The next one was “Even though it’s worth sympathising with, you deserve it”. In his mouth was a horizontal scroll “This game is full of surprises”.
“…” Ling Xiaolu pretended the words were too small, and he could not read them clearly. “Since I’m in Ji Meng’s place, why isn’t he here?”
Ling Long spat out the horizontal scroll. “If he’s online, would I dare to converse with you so audaciously? In my honest opinion, if there happens to be a day where I’m careless and didn’t manage to protect you, the culprit would most definitely be that mouth of yours.”
An indistinct memory appeared in Ling Xiaolu’s head. “I remember now, I was drinking some sort of water by the lake, it was exceptionally tasty.”
“That’s not water, but deer wine. A spirit deer would get drunk after drinking it, and only then are people able to get close to it. Towards human pets, the effect of the deer wine would be like a fruit wine of very low alcohol content. If I may be so bold to ask, in reality, is your alcohol tolerance very low?”
“How would I know? I’ve just turned 18.”
“So yesterday was actually your first time?”
“Wait a minute,” Ling Xiaolu held his forehead, “didn’t they say a hangover would cause a headache? Why doesn’t my head hurt a single bit?”
“Are you praising my the superb professionalism of my company’s developers?”
“Then did I do anything overboard after getting drunk?”
“What do you mean by overboard…”
“For example, any drunk, promiscui— behaviour or something.” Although he did not feel anything, since the developers could make it such that his head did not hurt, they would definitely be able to make it such than the other parts of his body did not hurt as well.
“Don’t worry, without getting your consent, no one can do anything outrageous to you.”
Ling Xiaolu sighed in relief. It was fine that it was his first time drinking, but if his first time was like that, then it would really be like that.
“In any case, I beg you. If you don’t want to expose yourself, you must never eat anything of an unknown source again!”
Ling Xiaolu no longer remembered anything but that the wine was really very delicious.
“Oh, I’ll try my best.” He glossed over it perfunctorily.
Ling Xiaolu jumped off the bed, and the five animals too followed him. It looked like he was dragging a train behind his back.
He had never seen the residence of a benefactor, and he definitely was curious. Randomly pushing a door open, he realised that this was a showroom. The interlacing of lasers formed a lattice, and in each gap, a card the size of poker cards was suspended in mid air. The lighting of the room was dim, and the edges of the cards were glowing in various colours and brightness.
“These are illustrated cards of the pets, and the brightness of the glow represents the rarity of the pet, while the colour represents the nature of the pets. Collecting these illustrated cards are the first step in catching pets. As long as you have the card, you tame the corresponding pet.”
“Can I take them out to have a look?”
“Yes you can, the items in the game will not be damaged nor dirtied, there’s no need to set up precautions for fire, theft and brats.”
Ling Xiaolu took a card, and it was a water spirit of the undead type. On the top of the card was the image of the pet, and below it was its attributes, the skills it could learn, locations where it could be caught, etc.
He lay the card flat, and a holographic projection of the pet appeared above the card. While it spun slowly, it performed all sorts of actions at the same time, and there were also sound effects.
Ling Xiaolu returned the card, and it automatically hung itself in mid air, suspended at its original position. He went into another room, and it turned out to be another showroom.
What this room stored was various sorts of mini dolls. The dolls were grouped according to the types of pets and placed tidily in the glass cabinets. It was like an exhibition.
“There’s no practical use to the dolls, and they were made just to appeal to players who wanted to collect items. The female players especially are delighted with these dolls, and the price of an extremely rare doll can be skyhigh.” Ling Long shook his head, his voice filled with the incomprehension of a straight male.
Ling Xiaolu had originally thought he himself was a hoarder. But compared to Ji Meng, he paled in comparison.
Something was tugging at Ling Xiaolu’s pants. He looked down, and it was that fat and round squirrel.
“… You’re calling out to me?”
The squirrel continued tugging.
“What’s the matter?”
The squirrel tugged him along in a certain direction, and the other pets too looked very eager.
A group of pets clustered around Ling Xiaolu, forcing him to walk forward and brought him to a cabinet. The squirrel finally let him go, and slapped the cabinet door forcefully.
“You want me to help you open this door? Can I open it? What’s inside?”
The squirrel again slapped the door a few times in response. This squirrel, despite having short arms, it was quite strong. Under his slaps, the cabinet shook and swayed, and Ling Xiaolu was worried that the cabinet would be forcefully dismantled by its violence.
Ling Xiaolu pulled lightly, and the door opened. The squirrel was the first to jump in, and the four other pets behind too swarmed in joyfully. In the cabinet, they pulled out all sorts of food, having a feast.
Ling Xiaolu: …
Excuse me, did you guys deceive me into coming over just to open the door for you to steal food?
However… those things did look rather tasty. Subconsciously, Ling Xiaolu swallowed his saliva.
Ji Meng came back online in the bedroom, and discovered that the person originally sleeping here and his pets had all disappeared. However, a rustling sound could be heard from outside the room.
Ling Long forced back his fear of Gilbird, whacking Ling Xiaolu ferociously with his tail to the point where Ling Xiaolu got irritated.
“Why are you hitting me?!”
His surroundings suddenly fell silent. Ling Xiaolu too registered that something was not right.
Ji Meng reached the entrance to the food storage room. Six food thieves that were gathered around a messy cabinet all turned to look at him, and twelve widened eyes were filled with a fear of having been caught doing something naughty.