Chapter 19 — What Do You Want to Do?!
Edited by Planetes
To make Ji Meng into Muddle-headed Ji only needed a few words, but to make Muddle-headed Ji back into Ji Meng needed twenty deep breaths, two hundred beats of a rapidly pounding heart, as well as a long series of psychological activities.1
Ji Meng did not know what had happened before he arrived, but when he saw Ling Xiaolu’s (imagined) pretty, weeping face, it was enough for him to condemn the two benefactors for bullying him when he was not around.
“What did the two of you do to him?!” The aura that had surrounded him when he arrived returned. Cutting his sharp gaze between Li Zheng and Dou Kou, he looked just like an aggressive rooster.2
Dou Kou sneered, “I wanted to do something, but someone is not going along with the rules of the game. What should I do about it?”
“What do you want to do?” Ji Meng’s anger increased by 200% after Dou Kou’s words. “Tell me, what do you want to do? Huh? What exactly do you want to do?”
Ling Xiaolu: … I can never look at “what do you want to do” properly ever again.
Dou Kou gnashed his teeth. “Does Crown Prince Ji still not know what I want to do?”
“It’s because I don’t know what you want to do, that’s why I asked what you want to do!” Ji Meng roared.
“You’re putting on a pretty good show,” Dou Kou snorted. He jerked his chin at Li Zheng. “Ask him, does he know what I want to do?”
There was no change in Li Zheng’s expression. “How would I know what you want to do?”
“Enough!” Ling Xiaolu could not take this anymore. “What exactly do all of you want to do? If there’s nothing you want to do, can you stop repetitively asking what you want to do?!”
Dou Kou looked at Li Zheng suspiciously, then turned to look at Ji Meng. Both their acting had been flawless, and for the first time, he doubted his own conjecture.
No, things were definitely not that simple! He again carefully studied Ling Xiaolu. That righteous indignation really made Ling Xiaolu seem that he did not understand what was going on.
A lifetime’s worth of Dou Kou’s intelligence was used right at this moment. After he mused over all sorts of possibilities, he finally understood!
These two people, although they secretly knew the truth, they were pretending to not know anything. As such, the kiddo would mistakenly think that these benefactors were getting close to him without any motives, and they would be able to gain the kiddo’s trust through deception!
With a gaze filled with assumed clarity, Dou Kou looked at the two people.
Just look at this Li Zheng, futilely using their master-student relationship to kidnap the kiddo!
This Ji Meng was even worse, trying to use his looks to seduce the kiddo!
These two people, with their riches and their looks, yet to achieve their aims, they even resorted to underhand means, how despicable! How shameless!
“Ji Meng, Ji Meng,” Dou Kou shook his head as he spat. “I had thought that you were only a dog with special authority, but you’re actually also a scheming dog!”
Ji Meng: ?
“And you.” Dou Kou shot an icy look at Li Zheng. “You’re a scheming… beauty!”
Everyone else: …
The two of them knew how to act, did they think Dou Kou did not?
“Since you like to act so much, I’ll continue acting with you all the way. Let’s see who will be this game’s best—”
Dou Kou tossed his head.
Although the Ri-Dou-Culing You clan did not understand what their clan leader wanted to do exactly, after receiving the instruction, they immediately performed a much practised retreat. In less than a minute, they all disappeared.
Only three people were left. Ling Xiaolu secretly hid behind Ji Meng, afraid that he would again be caught by Li Zheng and asked to go farm.
Li Zheng probably felt that leaving him behind was useless. With what could nearly be called a “pleasant and kind” countenance, he told Ling Xiaolu, “You can go to your friend’s place to play, but remember to come back when it’s time for harvest.”
Ling Xiaolu: “… Yes, shifu.”
“Shifu?” Ji Meng exploded again. “You really took him as your shifu?”
“Let’s hurry up and leave.” Ling Xiaolu pulled at him desperately. He was afraid that to prove that Ling Xiaolu had really takne Li Zheng as his master, Li Zheng would invite Ji Meng to watch the video.
Ji Meng was unwillingly dragged away by Ling Xiaolu. “You really don’t know what they want to do? Why do they sound even weirder and odder than the other?”
Ling Xiaolu wanted to take this opportunity to test out what Ji Meng was thinking. Taking the risk, he gave an ambiguous answer. “I’m not sure. I heard them mention something about a benefactor’s announcement. I’m not a benefactor, how would I know anything about this?”
“There was an announcement for benefactors this morning.” Ji Meng was unhappy that an innocent party had been dragged into this. “But it had nothing to do with you.”
Ling Xiaolu froze, then asked despite knowing it, “What was it about?”
Ji Meng was too lazy to explain, and showed him the announcement directly.
“Oh god.” Ling Xiaolu’s acting was good enough to fill seats. “Don’t tell me… don’t tell me they think that I’m this person?”
Ji Meng laughed. “How could it be you?”
Ling Xiaolu carefully probed, “How are you this certain… Do you not suspect me at all?”
Ji Meng glared at him. “When I met you for the first time in the forest, there was still a signal on the pet radar, proving that the pink name was online. If that was you, are you able to split yourself into two?”
Ling Xiaolu: “…”
Ji Meng saw Ling Xiaolu staring blankly at him. “What’s wrong? Am I wrong?”
“You’re completely correct!” Ling Xiaolu caught Ji Meng’s arm in excitement. “What’s logic? What’s reasoning? What a careful observation, it’s completely justified! You’re really too clever, and I have to apologise for having called you stupid before!”
Ji Meng experienced both “sudden pride” and “gradually vanishing pride”. “When did you call me stupid?”
“Uh, this is not important!”
What was important was that this benefactor’s announcement by Xinshan, somehow or another, managed to banish Ji Meng’s suspicions of him! From today on, his identity was — now — fixed!
Dongye was forever in spring, and endless greenery spread as far as they could see.
Ling Xiaolu inhaled deeply — Was this the smell of Dongye? No, it was the smell of freedom!
However, Ji Meng still had to jeer at him. “Don’t you feel warm?”
“Aiyah!” Only then did Ling Xiaolu realise that he had worn Li Zheng’s fur cloak here. Taking it off, he packed it away nicely. “It’s my shifu’s cloak, I’ll return it to him next time.”
Ji Meng was a little angry. Not only was he angry that Ling Xiaolu was wearing Li Zheng’s cloak, he was even more angry that Ling Xiaolu was quite adorable looking so fluffy.
“Right,” Ling Xiaolu asked, “do you have an empty plot in your garden? I’ve brought some unknown seeds with me, can I plant them here?”
Ji Meng shot him a look, implying that he was talking too much, and that was there even a need to ask something so simple?
Ji Meng’s backyard was even bigger, but unlike how Li Zheng’s courtyard had everything, it was basically empty.
If this was real life, Ling Xiaolu suspected that this piece of land would long have been over crawling with weeds due to Ji Meng’s negligence. How would it be so neat and tidy like it was now?
“Why didn’t you do anything with this?” After gaining practical experience in the morning, Ling Xiaolu was very familiar with gardening and farming. “You should at least have a water feature or something. My shifu has a little hot spring, and it’s so pretty in the winter scenery.”
“Can’t be bothered,” Ji Meng answered without hesitation.
… I admire your directness and your candidness!
Ling Xiaolu: ?
“And here means…?”
“You don’t understand that? You’ll be in charge of the garden!” Ji Meng was nonchalant. “Just decorate however you like. In any case, I can’t be bothered to do it.”
Hey! Why do all these people keep treating me like free labour!
The pets Ji Meng reared all came running over to beg for food. Ji Meng discovered that he was unable to provide much help with regards to gardening, and so turned back into the house to feed his pets.
Ling Xiaolu took this opportunity to ask Ling Long, “Is there any huge events coming up in the game? The sort that a lot of people would participate.”
Ling Long thought about it. “You’re in luck. The day after tomorrow is when Commander Titus of Jingzhe City would fetch his bride, Priestess Sadia of Chunfen City. No other events in a year could probably compare to the size of this one, and almost all the players will come and participate in the wedding celebration.”
“The commander and the priestess… Are they both NPCs? The NPCs in your game can even get married?” Ling Xiaolu did not understand.
Ling Long spoke with pride, “Every main NPC in our game has their own storyline, and their plots will progress accordingly with time. For example, this wedding, Sadia is the most popular NPC in Chunfen City, but after this wedding, the players can only go to Jingzhe City to admire her beauty.”
“Then, for such a large-scale activity, how would people normally celebrate it?”
“Big clans would host a party that can only be paid with cash points in their city and invite everyone. When players eat the food there, they will receive all sorts of buffs. The party is also a chance for the big clans to flaunt their wealth. The maximum number of tables allowed at a party is 600, but this limit is very high, and people often are unable to hit this limit.”
“This game is really a money pit. What else?”
“There’s also lots of entertainment like riddles, shows, and battle competitions. After all, you know this as well, there’s a lot of freedom to do many things in our game. Nearly everything you can imagine can all be done.”
Ling Xiaolu seemed deep in thought. “So it’s like this… I got it.”
When Ji Meng finished feeding his pets, he returned to his courtyard and saw Ling Xiaolu standing there with his head bowed, as though deep in thoughts.
It was a rare sight to see Ling Xiaolu quietly thinking like this, but it was an image that Ji Meng would never forget.
What was strange that the hazy images that he could not remember when he went offline — Lu Bi smiling slyly yet adorably; Lu Bi jabbing at him whenever he had an opportunity; Lu Bi feigning a pitiful and cowardly look after being exposed — when he came back online, the lively, sharp images all appeared in his mind in an instant, as though they had never faded.
Now, that lively image was standing in the middle of the yard, so focused that one could not bear to disturb him. Ji Meng quietly stopped a distance away, watching him. Standing there in his own world, Ji Meng was also curious about what was inside that world of his.
Ling Xiaolu walked out from his own world. Turning his head, he saw Ji Meng looking at him, seeming a little out of it.
He grinned, his eyes curving up into crescents.
“I’ve learnt a new skill, do you want to see it?”
Without waiting for Ji Meng to answer, he raised his index finger, placing it lightly on his lips. It was a shushing gesture.
After completing this action, Ling Xiaolu disappeared. Ji Meng searched around, but there was no trace of him.
“Lu Bi! Lu…”
Hunched over, Ling Xiaolu tiptoed behind Ji Meng. Holding two fingers out on both hands, he formed “antlers” on his head, then aimed at Ji Meng’s back and ran head first, shouting: “Lu! Jabs! Ji!3”
“Ah!” Ji Meng got a shock. Turning his head, he saw Ling Xiaolu who had leapt back half a metre away. Because of the successful sneak attack, Ling Xiaolu was delightedly pointing at him and laughing.
Having fallen for the trick, a vein pulsed in Ji Meng’s forehead. He gritted, “Lu. Bi.”
“Uh oh.” Ling Xiaolu stopped laughing. Realising that he seemed to have infuriated Ji Meng, and that the situation was not in his favour, he prepared himself and slipped away.
“Running away?” Ji Meng chased after him immediately. “Stop there!”
“Hahahaha no way!” While running, Ling Xiaolu turned back to annoy him some more. “Come, try catching me! … Aiyah!”
Ling Xiaolu’s sudden scream shocked Ji Meng into standing still.
His face full of anger, Ling Xiaolu pointed at Ji Meng’s feet. “You’ve stepped on my plant!”
Ji Meng slowly looked down, guiltily lifting his foot up. Sure enough, there was a young shoot lying completely flat under his foot.
“You!” Ling Xiaolu roared, “Return me a seed!”
After a moment of hesitation, Ji Meng chose to run away. Ling Xiaolu chased after him angrily. “Ji Meng! Don’t you dare run! Stop there!”
Ling Long, forced to follow Ling Xiaolu, flying here and there, had nothing to live for at this moment.
— Why, as an adult GM with a proper job, did he have to accompany these primary school kids and play this sort of “come chase me, and when you catch me, I’ll let you… be chased by me” game? He really wanted to shout, “Heavens! Please let me do something an adult should do, alright? Ahh!!!”