Chapter 24 — The Unnamed Soldier
Your Name Is… ?!
Edited by Planetes
Jingzhe City welcomed a brand new day. Ling Xiaolu walked across the paved grounds of the castle, observing his surroundings curiously.
A patrol of soldiers walked past them. Ling Xiaolu carefully studied every single one of their faces.
“No, no, it’s not this one either…”
He could not find that soldier who had given him the task that night, and he was feeling very puzzled. When NPCs die, shouldn’t they come back to life again?
“Good morning Commander!”
The greetings of the soldiers interrupted his thoughts. This was the second time Ling Xiaolu saw the commander in the flesh. After the commander nodded back in greeting at the soldiers, he looked around him, as though searching for someone.
“Titus.” A voice that Ling Xiaolu had not heard often, but had a very deep impression of, came from the other side of the wall.
The commander turned around. Facing his newly wedded wife, he could not help but smile.
Sadia walked over. “What are you doing here?”
“I have a missing soldier, so I came out to look for him.”
As the commander spoke, he caught hold of his wife’s hand, leading her away from here.
Just as Ling Xiaolu wanted to chase after them, he stopped himself.
Ji Meng rushed over — Ling Xiaolu had to give it to him for managing to be so aggressive no matter where he was.
“Didn’t we agree that we’ll do quests together?!”
Ling Xiaolu said disdainfully, “Did you come here on a snail? You were so late, they’ve already left.”
As they argued, they walked in the direction of where the commander left, and ended up at the main hall. They did not see who they wanted to see, but saw someone who should not be appearing here.
“Bei Feng? Why are you here?” Ling Xiaolu asked curiously.
“Wherever the priestess is, that’s where I’ll be.” Bei Feng gave Ji Meng a cautious glance. “It’s not only me. The rest of the knights have also moved to Jingzhe City.”
Ji Meng was unconcerned, and he responded perfunctorily, “Oh, welcome then.”
He pulled at Ling Xiaolu, wanting to leave, only to be stopped by Bei Feng.
Ji Meng turned his head back. “What?”
“Now that the knights have moved into Jingzhe City, we will officially declare war during the battle of the clans at the end of the month.”
Ling Xiaolu was amused. “You must conquer the place where the priestess is?”
“It’s not conquering,” Bei Feng corrected him, “it’s guarding.”
“I understand what you’re saying.” Ji Meng finally understood what Bei Feng was implying. He hated for people to beat around the bush. “Yesterday, I participated in the battle because Jingzhe City is my city. As for who the leader of the city is, it has completely nothing to do with me.”
After hearing Ji Meng’s position, Bei Feng was a lot more at ease. In the battle between the clans, the presence or absence of a benefactor was very crucial to the fight.
“If you want to fight for Jingzhe City, what will happen to Papa Dou?” Ling Xiaolu asked.
“If he’s willing to settle it peacefully, we can exchange Chunfeng City for Jingzhe City.”
Ling Xiaolu recalled how heroically and with great determination Dou Kou had fought to let the priestess enter the city yesterday, and he was completely not optimistic about this suggestion.
“I’m afraid it’s likely you’ll have to prepare for a hard battle.”
“If we fail the first time, we’ll try again the second time. If we fail twice, we’ll try again for the third time. We have the determination.”
What else could Ling Xiaolu say? “Good luck, then. Right, did you see the commander just now?”
Bei Feng froze, then pointed in a direction. He watched as the two people walked off towards where he pointed. Midway, they even seemed to start arguing, and as they walked, they fought.
Bei Feng: … What a strange pair.
Ling Xiaolu and Ji Meng found the commander alone in the command post.
“Do I just hand the sabre directly to him? It’s that easy?”
“What does the quest indication say?”
Ling Xiaolu placed his palms together before pulling them apart, as though he was opening a book. “Let me take a look at the quest panel… Oh, we’re correct. It says that to hand the sabre of the unnamed soldier to the commander. Then, I just hand it to him?”
Ling Xiaolu went forward. “Hello, Commander.”
Doing his paperwork, the commander raised his head only to see a stranger. “May I ask, who are you?”
Ling Xiaolu handed over the sabre he received last night respectfully. “Before they died, someone wanted me to pass this to you.”
The commander froze. A moment later, he accepted it. With his head bowed, he continued staring at the sabre, dazed.
Ling Xiaolu turned his head around in confusion. “It’s… done?”
“Is there a notification that the quest has been completed?” Ji Meng asked.
Ling Xiaolu shook his head. “No.”
Ji Meng walked forward as well. “Do you recognise this sabre?”
The commander’s answer came very quickly. “Of course. This is my sabre. Here are my initials on the hilt.”
He turned the sabre around, showing the hilt to the two people.
“It was one of your soldiers who entrusted me to hand it to you. Do you know his name?”
The commander shook his head slowly. “Just now, what did you say? … Before they died?”
“Yes. Just a while ago, I was searching through the castle, but I did not see this person at all.”
The commander slowly drew his finger across the scabbard. Suddenly, with a twist of his wrist, the blade slid out from the scabbard, and the blade gleamed with a harsh light.
Ling Xiaolu made a sound of alarm. A chatbox had appeared in front of him, and in it was written:
《You are about to enter The Memory [The Last Wishes of the Unnamed Soldier]. Please select the participating players nearby.》
Other than Ling Xiaolu, the only nearby player was Ji Meng. Ling Xiaolu checked the box in front of his name.
《Once the mission starts, no new players will be allowed to join. Please confirm your choice.》
Their surroundings transformed, and despite the foreignness of it, something still struck them as being familiar.
“Did I become colourblind?” Ling Xiaolu looked all around him, his gaze finally falling onto Ji Meng. “Everything I see is tinted yellow, including you.”
“It’s the same when I look at you too.” Ji Meng was also looking around them. “It should be a visual effect of entering a memory.”
“Ah, I know where this place is already, I was there in the morning,” Ling Xiaolu recalled. “This is the training ground behind the castle.”
All the soldiers at the training ground were currently engaged thoroughly in practice.
Ling Xiaolu searched among the crowd, and then cried out in excitement, “I found him! There he is!”
He ran eagerly over to one of the soldiers. “So you’re here! Do you still remember me? What’s your name?”
The soldier completely did not react to the questions spilling out from Ling Xiaolu. Instead, he swung his sword that had been raised up high down towards the ground.
“Ah!” Ling Xiaolu thought that he was about to be sliced, as there was no time for him to dodge at all. However, the sword only passed through his body, as though it was nothing but air.
Ji Meng too walked over. “Don’t waste any effort calling out to him anymore, there’s no use.”
He surveyed his surroundings. No one had any special reaction to their appearance at all. “Haven’t you discovered it yet? To the people of this memory, you do not exist. They can’t see you, nor hear you.”
Ling Xiaolu was disappointed. “Is that the case? Then why did the quest send us here? Is it just for us to watch a show?”
He looked over at Ji Meng, whose existence felt very solid to him. “Then, would I not be able to touch you either? Let me try it.”
Without waiting for Ji Meng to react, he aimed straight at Ji Meng with a Deer Punch that had been passed down from his ancestors. “Kacha!”
Ji Meng: …
Ling Xiaolu gazed at his fist that had landed on Ji Meng’s chest. Awkwardly, he relaxed his hand, pretending and stroking the chest instead. “Your muscles are not too bad.”
Sneaking a look at Ji Meng, Ling Xiaolu saw that he had once again turned red from anger. He immediately gave a placating smile. “So it turns out that I can still touch you. I thought that we were both only mirages.”
It took Ji Meng some time before he decided not to fuss over such matters with an idiot.
Ling Xiaolu secretly shifted a few steps away from the danger zone. Although he could not see much of the colours, he could still surmise that it was now late autumn. The fallen leaves, that were supposed to be a dark, dry yellow in the first place, had piled up in a thick layer on the ground.
“Is there no way that we can let the people in this memory know of our existence?”
Ling Xiaolu pondered for a while, then quickly spun around in a circle.
Ji Meng frowned. “What are you doing?”
Ling Xiaolu’s action had kicked up a wind, and the wind blew through the fallen leaves, forming a small whirlwind on the ground.
“Oof!” Ling Xiaolu stopped. “I’ve tried my best already.”
The people around them were all training seriously, and only the soldier noticed the unusual whirlwind happening here. He stopped what he was doing, a puzzled expression appearing on his face.
“That soldier over there! Why are you not training properly, but standing there in a daze?”
Only then did Ling Xiaolu realise that the commander was standing there.
“Sir! Just now… Just now…” The soldier pointed at the ground, confused. “There clearly wasn’t any wind, but the leaves were being blown around.”
The commander looked at the calm and quiet area he was pointing at. “Where are the leaves being blown around?”
“Uhh… I really saw it…”
“The commander interrupted him. “Soldier, I hope that you can remember this. It’s very dangerous to lose focus on the battlefield, no matter the reason. Now, run ten rounds around the grounds.”
The soldier stood at attention. “Yes, Commander!”
Ling Xiaolu stared at the soldier running. “I feel that the commander’s a little unreasonable.”
Ji Meng shot him down. “Wasn’t it because of you?”
Ling Xiaolu glanced around. “Uhh, I think that it’s good that the commander is a little more strict…”
As he looked around, he discovered that their surroundings had changed again. This time, it was an outdoor setting in what seemed to be spring. A slight breeze blew through the air, and the grass was lush and tall, with nightingales in the air.
“Eh? The place has changed.”
It was still the same group of people from before. They were lurking in the tall grass, practicing how to ambush in the wild. With one glance, the experienced Ling Xiaolu saw the soldier.
Suddenly, a golden yellow hamster barrelled into where the soldier was hiding, nuzzling into the soldier like a headless chicken.
Shocked, the soldier carefully picked the hamster up with his hand. “Little fellow, where did you come from?”
The hamster was not afraid of humans. It rolled about excitedly in his hand, even scurrying around in circles.
The soldier could not help but smile, lightly stroking the soft fur of the hamster.
“Soldier!” The commander noticed his movements, and shouted sternly.
The soldier hurriedly put the hamster down, standing up straight. “I’m sorry, Commander!”
The commander saw that it was the same person from before. “Why is it you again? Can you not remember that it’s very dangerous to lose focus on the battlefield?”
The soldier was aware that he had made a mistake, and he apologised again. “I’m sorry, Commander!”
“Give me a hundred frog jumps!”
The soldier gave the hamster a secret wink, then turned and frog-jumped away. The hamster chased after him for a few steps, before stopping, staring blankly at his departing figure.
Ling Xiaolu spread his palms apart. “This time, I can’t be blamed. It’s all that rat’s fault.”
“It’s a hamster!” Ji Meng corrected him angrily.
“Hamster, rat, they’re all the same.” Ling Xiaolu turned around to look for it, but it had long disappeared.
“I have a feeling that this scene is about to end again.”
“Watch out!” Ji Meng lunged at him, pressing him down to the ground. A huge dragon shot past, almost right above them, and the wind it brought along blew their clothes into disarray.
Ling Xiaolu: … I knew that the scene would be changing, but can we at least change it in a way that leaves us more prepared?
“Strange.” Ji Meng stood up cautiously. “These dragons seem to be able to attack us.”
“I know, this must be the fighting monsters part. How can there be a quest without fighting monsters?”
Ji Meng tried to shoot a bolt of lightning at a flying dragon. As expected, the hp of the dragon decreased.
“You managed to guess correctly for once.”
“It wasn’t guessing!” Ling Xiaolu objected. “I clearly thought it through logically and reasonably!”
“Hurry up and go! These dragons are going to attack the village!”
With no hesitation, Ling Xiaolu followed Ji Meng, running down the hill. “Eh, I realised that these dragons look exactly like yours.”
“That’s a monster that I tamed.”
“The monsters are so pitiful. Just because they’re fat, they have to be tamed by you.”
Ji Meng glared at Ling Xiaolu as he ran. “What does it have to do with being fat?”
When the two reached the bottom of the hill, the village was already engulfed in a sea of flames.
“Oh no! We’re too late!”
From not too far away, the sounds of battle could be heard.
The two people ran towards the source of the noise. As expected, they saw the commander leading a small team, engaging in a fight for their lives with the dragons.
“There’s too few of them!” Ling Xiaolu exclaimed. With just one glance, he could see that the two sides were completely unequal in power, and there were too many injured on the side of the commander.
“It should be because they weren’t prepared, and only happened to pass by. Go, let’s go help!”
Ling Xiaolu didn’t need him to say anything. He had already taken out his claws, darting into the battle.
“It’s a battle in the air, I have no advantages at all.”
Despite the discouraging words, he still moved very quickly. Aiming at a low flying dragon, he leapt onto its back. The dragon felt a new weight on his back, and it rolled in the air, wanting to shake that thing off. Ling Xiaolu dug his claws into the dragon’s back, screaming in alarm, “Oh my god, I have a fear of heights!!!!!”
From the ground, Ji Meng shot a thunderbolt at a dragon. At the same time, he released Leilulu. Leilulu bounded into the air, aiming at a dragon flying here and there. With a stamp of its feet, then a kick, it leapt from the back of one dragon to another. Treating the battlefield like a playground, it was enjoying itself immensely.
Ling Xiaolu’s dragon had been subdued by the thunderbolt, obediently flying Ling Xiaolu against the swarm of dragons. Ling Xiaolu did not do anything else, targeting the dragon’s eyes and attacking them. Blinded, the dragon could no longer discern its direction. In a few moments, it swayed its head and fell onto the ground, causing a cloud of dust to puff up.
A dragon crashed near where the soldier was. Covered in injuries from the battle, the soldier jerked in shock. Holding onto his half-broken sabre, he looked around anxiously. However, he could not see the presence of Ji Meng and Ling Xiaolu, and so he naturally could not understand why the dragon would fall by itself.
After dealing with the trouble, Ling Xiaolu looked up, and his heart nearly stopped. “Be careful!”
With a bond of understanding, the soldier felt a sense of danger. Turning around, he saw a dragon swiftly flying towards him.
Ignoring everything else, Ji Meng lunged towards him. However, he was a second too late.
The soldier widened his eyes, looking at the commander who blocked this life-threatening blow for him in disbelief.
The commander looked down stiffly, eyeing at the claws embedded in his chest, then stiffly raised his head.
“You… Soldier… Didn’t I tell you so many times… Losing focus on the battlefield… is a very dangerous… thing to do…”
He slapped his sabre that was dyed red with blood into the soldier’s arm, falling to the ground silently.