Chapter 17 — Life Is Like A Play!
It all depends on your acting ability!
Edited by Planetes
“T-tu’er1…” Ling Xiaolu repeated it robotically.
“You’re wrong,” Li Zheng corrected him. “You should call me Shifu.”
Ling Xiaolu had yet to recover from the panic brought about by the “King Kong”, and was immediately thrown into an even deeper level of fright.
— When did Li Zheng become his shifu? Could it be that in this game, shifus were also assigned to everyone by the system?
The “King Kong”’s surprise attack had scared away nearly all the players at the scene. However, these people had not fled to a far-off distance, but remained nearby, hiding and watching to see how things would progress.
Where Ling Xiaolu stood was naturally close enough to hear these people murmuring among themselves.
“Is there something wrong with my vision? I think I saw Li Zheng?”
“Not only is there something wrong with my vision, there’s something wrong with my hearing too. I think I heard Li Zheng called him Tu’er?”
“But did all of you see that just now? Just now, Li Zheng had only used one finger and stopped that huge gorilla. This can’t be an issue with my vision, right?”
“Wuwuwu, Adonis, I can’t believe this is real. I should be screaming, but I lost my voice, wuwuwu.”
“Admit it, ever since the “King Kong” appeared, there had been a spell cast on all of us!”
“It’s fake.” It was not clear if Li Zheng was speaking to the audience, or he was lecturing Ling Xiaolu on the spot.
Ling Xiaolu had yet to get into a student’s mentality, and he was confused. “What’s fake?”
“The gorilla.” Li Zheng signalled the thing behind his back with his eyes. “It’s only an ordinary gorilla with a growth spell casted on it.”
Just as he finished speaking, a bang sounded from the “King Kong” who had fallen into the pile of debris, and it reverted to how it was originally. Although it could be said that it was a size bigger than Leilulu, it could be said to have a rather standard body.
Ling Xiaolu: … I took you as the invincible, infallible King Kong, but it turns out you’re only a fatty!
Li Zheng turned around, and his line of sight fell onto a roof a distance away. Reflexively, Ling Xiaolu too followed his line of sight. He remembered that just now, the gorilla had leapt down from that roof.
There was a dark figure on a roof that disappeared in a flash.
How naive! That person is actually deluded enough to think that he can escape from Li Zheng?!
A toss of Li Zheng’s sleeve, and with no surprise, something could be heard falling to the ground, accompanied by a scream.
Ling Xiaolu realised that he himself was still seated foolishly on the ground, looking rather unbecoming, and so he hurriedly took the opportunity to stand up.
“Have you offended anyone?” Li Zheng asked without looking back.
Ling Xiaolu held his fingers out to count, and made an awkward discovery that he did not have enough fingers to list them.
He swore he was only a baby who had only been playing this game for a day!
Fortunately, this time, there was not much suspense about the sneak attacker. His Ri-DOU-Culing You emblem exposed his motivation very clearly.
Tied up by Li Zheng’s plant, he desperately dropped Dou Kou’s name to inflate his sense of worth.
“Our clan leader said it. This person, we have to kill him every time we see him, until, until…”
“Until what?” Li Zheng asked.
“Until… the snail arrives.”
“The snail?” Li Zheng frowned. “What’s that?”
“…” Ling Xiaolu wiped at the sweat drops forming on his forehead. “It’s a long story.”
He had originally thought that after putting a bounty on him, Dou Kou would be appeased. Who would have thought that he would be so “conscientious” towards a newbie like him?
“Do you want this person dealt with?”
It took Ling Xiaolu a moment before he registered that Li Zheng was seeking his opinion. Shaking his head, Ling Xiaolu responded, “Since it was instigated by Papa Dou, then it’s more logical that we should deal with Papa himself directly.”
“However,” His tone changed, and his thumb jabbed sideways, “if their mental trauma isn’t compensated, that’s not very nice, isn’t it?”
The ones that had been murdered by the meteor rain spell were all in their ghost forms, spectating. When they heard Ling Xiaolu seeking justice on their behalf, they all raised their cards, cheering him on.
Lu Bi! Fighting!
Fight Papa Dou til the end!
I have faith in you!
“Since that’s the case,” Li Zheng instructed the owner of the fake King Kong, “go back and tell Dou Kou that Lu Bi is my disciple. If he comes and makes trouble for him again, I’ll accompany him until the end.”
Ling Xiaolu: … It’s a conspiracy! For the national Adonis to suddenly protect me like this, there must be some great conspiracy afloat!
That man gulped nervously. “T-the clan leader will definitely not believe it! Y-you’re Li Zheng, you’ve never accepted a disciple before!”
Li Zheng drew a finger gently in the air, and lit up the label assigned by the system, “Lu Bi’s Shifu”. It appeared under his name, and the three little words were also in gold.
“If he doesn’t believe it, then show him a screenshot.”
“…Oh, oh.” Trembling with fear, the other person flashed the command for taking screenshots. At the same time, the hundred-strong crowd hiding in the dark too simultaneously did the same action.
The only one standing there dumbfounded and motionless was Ling Xiaolu. Only a moment ago was he consoling himself that Li Zheng was only putting on a show, lying to others about being his shifu. Now, it seemed that it had actually been long decided and acknowledged?
Li Zheng, “Let’s go.”
Ling Xiaolu: ??
Where were they going?
There was no time for him to ask questions. A hurricane obliterated his vision, and when he opened his eyes again, the scenery had changed.
The current setting was just like Li Zheng himself, suffused with a sense of “ethereal” that caused a common man to come to a halt. Ling Xiaolu cautiously followed behind Li Zheng, not daring to take large steps as he was afraid of shattering the tiles at his feet.
Ling Xiaolu had only just opened his mouth, and Li Zheng came to a stop. Turning around, he did not speak, but the words “I’m allowing you to reconsider that” could be read off his face.
“…” Ling Xiaolu tested, “… Adonis?”
The expression on Li Zheng’s face did not change.
Only then did Li Zheng respond.
“May I ask, this master-disciple relationship of ours… when did we establish this fate between us?”
“You’ve forgotten it?” Li Zheng asked in reply.
Ling Xiaolu’s eyes bugged out. Did he really have a part to play in this matter?
Li Zheng summarised the incident last night for him. “After you got drunk yesterday, you kept pulling at me, wanting me to accept you as my disciple. If I didn’t agree, you wouldn’t let go. Do you not remember any of this?”
“Yesterday… After getting drunk, was I not with Ji Meng the entire time?” Ling Xiaolu was in a complete daze from this information.
“It’s fine if you forgot.”
A holographic screen appeared in front of Ling Xiaolu.
“I’ll help you recall what happened.”
Ling Xiaolu watched himself appear on the screen, and the background was where he currently was. Unlike how cautious he currently was, the him on the screen was tugging at Li Zheng’s sleeve with impunity, and he was slurring as he demanded Li Zheng to accept him as his disciple.
“Shifu… Shifu… If you don’t teach me how to fly on a sword, I won’t let go…”
(Ling Xiaolu: …)
The scene changed to Ling Xiaolu who was going through the ceremony of acknowledging his shifu. “I’m serving tea to Shifu… I only need to serve tea to complete this task? Do I need to kowtow2 as well?”
In the next scene, Ling Xiaolu was seated on the ground. He poured out all the coins in his inventory, counting them as he spoke.
“I have one, two, three… many many coins! Is it enough to modify my face to be as good looking as Shifu?”
“I want to become the world’s best looking master-disciple team with Shifu!”
“Shifu, let me tell you, actually, I’m…” The drunk Ling Xiaolu laughed. What was he? The ultimate saviour of the world? Or… the human pet Shifu had been looking for?
Fortunately, the scene quickly changed. This time, Ling Xiaolu was chasing after a huge white wolf running all over the place.
“What a pretty Samoyed! Samoyed, don’t run away!”
With complicated emotions running through him, Ling Xiaolu finished watching this series of montages. He remembered how he was grateful that Ji Meng had not recorded anything, but who would have known that here they were, waiting for him!
As they said, was it a blessing or a curse? If it was a curse, there was no way of avoiding it!
The angle changed, and Li Zheng’s face appeared on the screen, seemingly observing the state of the Ling Xiaolu that was currently not within the lens of the camera.
“Lu Bi,” He called out quietly.
Ling Xiaolu heard himself answering Li Zheng away from the camera.
“Let me ask you…”
Li Zheng seemed to recall the existence of the recording pet. He stared straight into the lens, lifted a hand, and the recording switched off.
Ling Xiaolu: ???
Then? What came next? What exactly did Li Zheng ask? And what answer did he himself give? Why did he record the whole thing and still leave the audience in suspense???
“Do you remember it now?” Li Zheng had always had an aura of frostiness around him, and his every word was as though they had been submerged in a cold lake a thousand feet deep before fishing them out. Each word pierced into the listener’s ear like a frozen pick.
Ling Xiaolu stammered, “I-I was drunk, and my words… cannot be trusted.”
“Oh? So you saying that I was good looking cannot be trusted as well?”
“That… A drunk mind speaks a sober heart, this sentence isn’t completely illogical…”
“So exactly what’s true, and what’s not?”
“It’s… half true… and half false… half wishful, half asleep, half awake, and half bosom friend3,” Ling Xiaolu was about to start crying. “Shifu, life is like a play, why take things so seriously?”
Ling Long: He’s laying a trap for you! Don’t fall for it!
A lightbulb lit over Ling Xiaolu’s head. Oh yes! He still had an eyewitness, if something had happened, Ling Long would have definitely told him about it right from the start!
Who would have expected that this Li Zheng had clothes that were purer than snow, only to have such a dark, twisted mind!
Ling Long: There’s been a little mishap, I’m currently figuring out the situation! Steady yourself first!
With Ling Long’s sedation, Ling Xiaolu was a lot less harried.
“Ever since I was five years old, and slept for three days and nights after eating an alcohol-filled chocolate, I knew that I should never drink even a drop of liquor in this lifetime. I never thought that I would be so careless in this game.” Ling Xiaolu was extremely regretful. “I know that my actions have been horrid, and I’ve disturbed both Shifu and your Samoyed. I must apologise to the both of you! I’m sorry! I was wrong!”
Li Zheng: …
Things had developed differently from how he had thought they would go.
Ling Xiaolu continued solemnly, “How do we break off this master-disciple relationship? I’ll cut all ties with Shifu right now, I won’t bring Shifu any trouble!”
“You very much want to break off the master-disciple relationship?”
“Of…” Ling Xiaolu’s senses suddenly came on alert. Asking Ji Meng to go away that time had resulted in him refusing to leave. Would Li Zheng also refuse to cut all ties with him? Did all these benefactors have some sort of rebellious nature?
“… course not,” Ling Xiaolu swiftly corrected his words. “You’re my Adonis, my idol, to be able to be your disciple, it’s my honour! However, you don’t actually want to accept me, it’s me who shamelessly clung onto you, and you had no choice but to accept it. I’m too embarrassed to call you Shifu anymore.”
Ling Xiaolu sounded very earnest and sincere, nearly moving himself to tears. Right at this moment, Ling Long returned.
Ling Long: I’m back! I’ll tell you everything, you just watch. Pay attention to the movement of your eyes, don’t ever let him notice that you’re chatting privately with someone else!
Ling Long: It’s like this, the first time you came online, there was an announcement sent to the benefactors. However, no pink names appeared, and the company received a number of complaints from the benefactors!
Ling Long: You’re also aware that the benefactors are our important backers, and some also have business dealings with our company, so we cannot afford to offend them. As such, the customer relation manager sent out another announcement, admitting that there was a new account who had successfully put on the collar. However, the player had only wanted to test it out, and had no intentions of playing the game with the collar.
Ling Long: As for the announcement that was originally sent out, it was because the new player was not familiar with the game client. They accidentally performed a gesture that logged them into the game. However, they quickly went offline and chose to play the game through an ordinary account. This is the personal choice of the player, and the company has no rights to intervene, and we also cannot reveal the information of the player. So, the newest information the benefactors have is — they know that there’s the existence of someone who can wear the collar, but they’re currently only an ordinary player now.
Ling Long: This is the most reasonable explanation the company can come up with. Although you’re still suspicious, but there’s many new players who decided to take up the game during their break, and hence you won’t be as strongly suspected as before. Li Zheng must have seen the announcement, and so he decided to probe you out. As long as you don’t expose yourself, he won’t be able to get any evidence!
Ling Xiaolu was enlightened. No wonder Li Zheng had that sort of attitude towards him! It turned out that he suspected him of being that player who successfully put on the collar! Thinking carefully about it, that news was 99% believable, if not for how the collar could not be removed, this could have actually happened yesterday.
This explanation was even more convincing than the truth. Who would think that there would be someone so unlucky as to not be able to remove the collar?
Li Zheng heard Ling Xiaolu’s “sincere confessions”, and fell into a moment of silence. “Alright.”
On the surface, Ling Xiaolu looked disappointed, but he was bursting with joy within. If Li Zheng agreed to break off their relationship, it meant that he no longer suspected him.
“Since you don’t want to cut off our ties, then we’ll maintain the status quo.”
Ling Xiaolu: ?????
No, what happened to the script of <My Rebellious Benefactor>? Where’s that perfect script I wrote? They both are clearly wearing the same type of rings, but why can’t their characters be the same?
Chang Huanxi made an acute discovery that Ji Meng had been mumbling to himself more than once today. He was extremely curious, and leant closer, eavesdropping. What he heard was Ji Meng repeating over and over again, “I’ll like to… quests… together…”
Chang Huanxi: …
“I never thought that you’d be so diligent. Seems like this person isn’t just like anyone else.”
Ji Meng snorted lightly, the quiet sound laden with implications ranging from “it’s so-so”, “other than knowing how to make others angry, he doesn’t know anything else”, “I’m only practising casually”, etc.
“Ah, tell me.” Chang Huanxi nudged him excitedly. “What sort of person are they? A boy or a girl? Are they extremely good looking?”
Ji Meng pursed his lips scornfully. “They’re only so-so.”
“What’s so-so then?”
Ji Meng’s words cut off abruptly, and a lost expression appeared on his face.
He pressed his left hand against his forehead, covering half his face. His knitted brows that could barely be made out revealed his trouble in recalling his memories.
Chang Huanxi did not know what was happening, and was urging him. “Quick, tell me.”
Ji Meng put his hand down, turning towards Chang Huanxi with a baffled look. His voice was filled with confusion.
“I cannot remember how he looks like anymore.”