ARTT Chapter 8

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Chapter 8 — The Crisis Is Resolved!
Losing, isn’t scary. But having a crowd watching you, it’s embarrassing!


Edited by Planetes

 

Ling Xiaolu gulped, nervous. “D-drunken Stupor On The Execution Ground.”

Ling Long had a strong impulse to facepalm, but it did not dare, highly afraid of exposing themselves.

“… Drunken Stupor On The Execution Ground?”

“Yes! It’s this one!”

“I’ve never seen a newbie learning this sort of skills straight away.”

“Then congratulations, you’ve seen it now.”

“Hmm?”

“No, I’m saying… I didn’t know what skills to learn, so I picked one randomly. Who would have thought that this skill could only be used to escape! If I wanted to relearn something else, I would have to spend more money, what a scam!”

Ling Xiaolu insisted vehemously, but there was no change in Li Zheng’s appearance. Ling Xiaolu did not know if he believed him or not.

“Why did you run?”

“You saw it for yourself too. That person kept chasing after me, wanting to fight me. I won’t be able to beat him, so I could only run.”

“You’re a newbie, why was he chasing after you?”

Ling Xiaolu could not come up with a response. “Why are you asking me? You should ask him!”

Li Zheng remained silent. Ling Xiaolu was on tenterhooks, afraid that he would come to a realisation.

“Umm…” He carefully pointed at his foot. “Can you help me remove this? It’s been a while already, and my foot is starting to go numb.”

Li Zheng slowly raised his hand up. Ling Xiaolu thought that a person like this who looked as though he walked out from a xianxia novel would definitely have set a very refined gesture for his skills as well. As such, his eyes were glued to him.

However, Li Zheng did not remove the tracking seed, but reached for the back of Ling Xiaolu’s neck, pressing lightly down on that suspicious place he felt just now.

The temperature of Li Zheng’s fingertip was clearly quite low, but the pressure made Ling Xiaolu break out in cold sweat.

Due to the previous touch, the collar had been triggered into vanishing temporarily. Ling Xiaolu now could only pray that the fifteen minutes were not up yet.

Li Zheng did not manage to feel anything, and his eyes darkened ambiguously.

When Li Zheng’s finger left the back of his neck, Ling Xiaolu secretly heaved a breath of relief.

“Now, can you…”

Before he could finish his sentence, Li Zheng, who had pulled his hand away, now grabbed onto his left wrist. Raising it up swiftly, the gaming peripheral bracelet which had already been prepared was revealed.

“…”

This person was so cautious it was scary!

“Uhh, I just bought it, is there a problem with it? Although it’s not as good as yours, it’s cheaper.” Ling Xiaolu spoke the truth, but it was also extraneous.

Seeing that Ling Xiaolu was not the person he was looking for, Li Zheng released his hand, a little disappointed.

“I got the wrong person.”

“I-it’s, it’s fine.”

A small movement of Li Zheng’s fingers, and the tracking seed that was clinging onto Ling Xiaolu’s foot quickly fell off, sinking into the ground. It then reappeared again by popping up next to Li Zheng’s feet. Ling Xiaolu looked down at it. It was a sunflower-look alike plant that had about seven or eight thorny tendrils. Right at that moment, it was swaying its tendrils, dancing along. Ling Xiaolu did not know if it was intelligent, or something inbuilt in it, but it suddenly raised its head and blew a raspberry at Ling Xiaolu with a very long tongue!

… This completely doesn’t match your Adonis aura!

Li Zheng took his radar out and discovered the signal had already disappeared. At the same time, Ling Xiaolu too received a private message in text from Ling Long.

Ling Long: Good news! The technological department has suddenly solved this issue. The pet radar will now completely be unable to keep track of you!

Seems like Xinshan is still quite efficient, Ling Xiaolu thought optimistically. Maybe the code monkeys would work overtime, and the collar on his neck could be removed!

“I’ve taken up your time.”

Ling Xiaolu was in a good mood. “No, no. To be able to have such a close interaction with my idol is an honour!”

Li Zheng was used to hearing such things, and naturally did not think too deeply about it. With a swing of his sleeves, he vanished along with his pet in front of Ling Xiaolu.

“The crisis is resolved!”

Ling Xiaolu who had escaped from the tiger’s den turned around gleefully, only to freeze as though he had just been struck by lightning.

The nation’s husband, no, the tyrannical crown prince Ji Meng had his mouth in his usual shape, and was walking towards him very aggressively.

Ling Long wanted to shout for help. “You celebrated too early.”

The cool down of the dig skill had just ended. Ling Xiaolu wanted to go back to his old tricks. “I’m…”

Ji Meng extended his right arm, his hand looking like a claw, with lightning crackling around him. “Try turning another somersault. I’ll strike you into ashes!”

Ling Xiaolu forced “going” back into his throat. He was really baffled. “As a benefactor, don’t you feel it’s very shameful to keep harassing a cute little newbie like me?”

“To have a noob like you escaping three times in a row for me is more shameful.” Ji Meng strode over and was right in front of Ling Xiaolu in no time. Ling Xiaolu would have much difficulties running away now.

“Call me a newbie, newbie,” Ling Xiaolu corrected him, resigned. “If not, you can also call me a beginner. At least respect me a little.”

Ji Meng was now at a distance where he could immediately grab the back of Ling Xiaolu’s collar if he were to do a somersault. “Say it now.”

“What should I say?”

“…” Ji Meng too was stunned. “I don’t know! Say it!”

“…”

I’m afraid this person isn’t smart!

“I disconnected urgently the first time was because… I was sick, and uncomfortable. So I went offline to buy some medicine.” Ling Xiaolu started spinning lies.

Ji Meng snorted heavily, scaring away all the excuses Ling Xiaolu was about to come up with.

“What about the second time? Why did you run when you saw me?”

“The second time, the second time it was because… I learnt a new skill, and I wanted to test if it was easy to use!”

“You went to the Pet-X to learn skills?”

Ling Xiaolu regretted it so much that he desperately wanted to cut his tongue off. “I learnt the skill before going to Pet-X to see if there were any pets to buy. Who would have thought that I’ll see you immediately after coming out. Say, do you think there’s a sort of fate between us?”

This time, Ji Meng snorted a little less loudly.

Ling Xiaolu saw that he was slowly starting to accept his excuses, and so he was even more confident in his lies. “The third time is even simpler. You were running towards me waving a great big sword. Whoever who sees this would instinctively run away.”

“If you didn’t run, why would I have to chase after you?”

“If you didn’t chase after me, why would I have to run?”

Their conversation ended in a stalemate.

“You’re really not hiding anything from me?” After a long moment, Ji Meng asked, unwilling to give up.

“As a newbie, what is there for me to hide from you?”

“Then, what about Li Zheng? Why was he all over you?”

“What all over me… Take note of your language! I just wanted to look at the show, but I didn’t think that I would coincidentally end up on the same pillar as him. My idol is very kind hearted. Although he doesn’t know me, seeing you, a benefactor, bullying a newbie, he naturally rescued me from the demon’s claws.”

Maybe because he recalled his tragic loss just now, Ji Meng’s face was quite ugly.

Ling Xiaolu was very good at reading expressions. “But don’t be upset. After all, in comparison with him, you’re also a newbie, it’s not embarrassing at all for you to lose to him. Oh, despite the fact that it happened in front of many people, as well as being broadcasted live. Wow, maybe everyone online had even seen it!”

Ji Meng’s face darkened further. “Is this you consoling me?”

“I just want to tell you, losing, isn’t scary. But having a crowd watching you, it’s embarrassing.”

“Do you want to die…”

“See, see! You’re resorting to violence again! How can I not run when I see you?!”

Caught between feeling that hitting Ling Xiaolu would bring him no honour, but wanting to resolve the grievance within him, Ji Meng hesitated. At this moment, he heard a shout behind him. “They’re there!”

Ling Xiaolu knew that his movements had been discovered, and had wanted to use the crowd as a distraction to get away from Ji Meng. Sticking his head out beyond Ji Meng, he was shocked by the huge crowd.

It was still Ji Meng who had experience handling these sort of situations. A sharp whistle pierced Ling Xiaolu’s ears, then he was caught and dragged up by the back of his collar and placed on something unknown. That thing flapped its wings a couple of times, swiftly rising up to the sky. It even uttered a long and loud cry, the pressure causing the crowd pursuing relentlessly to fall onto the ground.

This was the first time Ling Xiaolu was flying. He felt the huge thing under him twisting about, swaying violently. Wind whistled past his ears, and he was deadly afraid that any movement from him would cause him to fall to his death. He shut his eyes tightly. Not caring about what it was in front of him, he just wrapped his arms tightly around it and hugged it close.

In this manner, they flew for some distance — of course, to Ling Xiaolu, it was a very, very long distance. The giant beast finally landed, and Ji Meng turned his head to look at Ling Xiaolu who dared not make even a single movement. There was a very clear improvement in his mood.

“Have you hugged enough yet?”

Ling Xiaolu secretly opened one eye. Looking at his surroundings, he confirmed that he was no longer up in the skies. Only then did he released that the thing he was hugging tightly was Ji Meng’s waist, and he hurriedly let go.

Ji Meng snorted a laugh. Once again, like carrying a small chick, he lifted Ling Xiaolu down from their ride. When Ling Xiaolu was back on the ground, his legs were like jelly, and he nearly fell down.

Seeing how white his face was, Ji Meng felt that he was not feigning it. “You’re afraid of heights? Have you not sat on an airship before?”

“Your family’s airship is open-aired?” Ling Xiaolu rebutted.

“Not bad, you still have the strength to argue.”

Ling Xiaolu was very scared that he would say something like “since you still have the strength to argue, then let’s take another ride”. He immediately behaved sensibly and kept quiet.

When he finally calmed down, he then had the energy to carefully study Ji Meng’s flying ride. This was a huge flying dragon who also had a huge belly. It was truly a mystery how this beast managed to fly with such a big belly. Still, just as he wanted to distance himself from this person and this dragon, when he surveyed his surroundings, he released that Ji Meng had brought him to somewhere he was not familiar with.

Other than a thick, sturdy, towering tree behind him, all Ling Xiaolu could see was an endless stretch of grass. On the grass were several fierce-looking beasts.

“You better be careful. These are all red beasts, and they love attacking newbies like you on sight.” Ling Xiaolu had insisted on being addressed as a newbie, and so, Ji Meng had wickedly lay extra emphasis on the word this time.

Ling Xiaolu had already noticed it without him having to say anything. Some of the beasts that were closest to them were already staring at him ever since he landed. It was highly likely that the moment he stepped out of the safe zone, they could catch him for “training”. Who knew, maybe the beasts in the game had levelling requirements as well?

Ling Xiaolu unconsciously retreated, his back pressed against the tree. “W-why did you bring me to a place like this?”

Ji Meng snorted again. Ling Xiaolu was about to start suspecting that his previous reincarnation was a pig spirit, and this pig spirit happened to have a fat dragon as well. Right at that moment, that dragon too snorted, black smoke curling from its nose. The pig spirit’s attention was immediately drawn to his beloved pet. He retrieved some food from his bag and fed it, neglecting Ling Xiaolu to one side.

The fat dragon flew away after eating. Then the “pikachu” that Ling Xiaolu saw just now, the one that had been beaten to tears by Li Zheng’s snake, popped out from nowhere. With a face of anticipation, it was tugging at Ji Meng’s trousers. Ling Xiaolu could vaguely see a correlation. This rich person’s ideal standard for pets is to make them round and fat!

“You’re hungry too?” When speaking to his pets, Ji Meng’s voice could not be anymore gentle. “I’ll feed you right now.”

Ling Xiaolu watched as this person sat down right where he was, summoning a sack. That fat little ball of “weapon” (?) grabbed onto the edges of the sack, burying its head into the sack and rummaging through it. After finding what it wanted, it pulled out the food with its short little hands, shoving it into its mouth. Its round cheeks now turned even rounder, and it was chewing loudly, with food residue flying everywhere. Just coarse table manners made Ling Xiaolu unable to watch it, but the owner Ji Meng was watching it lovingly and kindly. On his face was a strange maternal smile.

Cough cough!

Ling Xiaolu coughed to remind Mama Ji that there was still someone next to him, but Ji Meng misunderstood. “You’re hungry too?”

“I…” Ling Xiaolu wanted to ask him to send him back to the county, but who would have thought that Ji Meng would hand him some food.

“You want this?”

“…”

Who would turn away free food? Copying Ji Meng, Ling Xiaolu sat down cross-legged on the ground as well, accepting the food in spite. What Ji Meng gave him was a food that looked like meat pie. It was covered with a golden pastry layer, and when Ling Xiaolu bit into it, it tasted like cheese. The meat filling was like beef, and was a little spicy. It even steamed into the air as Ling Xiaolu ate it.

“Is this really virtual reality food?” Ling Xiaolu was astonished. “The taste is very natural, and it doesn’t feel artificial at all. Even the freshest beef is only so-so. Also, the pastry is so flaky, it feels like it just came out of the oven.”

“Of course. There’s a lot of good things to eat here, you won’t be able to finish them even if you ate for seven days and seven nights.” Ji Meng’s response was laced with pride for “his own family kitchen”.

“Do you have more?” Ling Xiaolu licked the corner of his lips, yearning for more. His appetite had been whetted by Ji Meng. Ji Meng was pinching a round, pink pill at the moment, teasing his beloved pet that was sprawled across his left knee. Suddenly, he felt a sudden weight on the other side. Turning his head, he was shocked by Ling Xiaolu’s looming face.

Ling Xiaolu’s eyes were fixed between his fingers. Ji Meng looked at him uncertainly, then looked at the pill in his hand, then looked at him, and looked at the pill, confirming that Ling Xiaolu was staring at this thing.

Ling Xiaolu had a face full of anticipation. He pointed at the pill, then pointed at himself.

With much difficult, Ji Meng held it up a little. “You want to… eat this?”

Ling Xiaolu immediately nodded his head forcefully. “Can I?”

Ji Meng looked disturbed, his hand slowly extending. “You can… yeah you can…”

When Ling Xiaolu heard that he could, he eagerly leaned over and took it into his mouth. He even ended up with Ji Meng’s fingers inside his mouth, and Ji Meng’s expression abruptly turned strange.

“Mmmmm…” Ling Xiaolu closed his eyes, raised his head, and revealed an intoxicated expression. What sort of rare delicacy was this? It had already exceeded the joy food could usually bring, and the faint fragrance of cherry blossoms carried with it a sweetness that spread through his entire body. His body felt light, as though it was floating, and could merge with the clouds. Ling Xiaolu could not help but breathe deeply, immersed in the blissful satisfaction.

Ji Meng was still zoned out, staring it his empty fingers. When Ling Xiaolu had taken the pill from his fingers, he even licked his finger tips.

“Ah, yummy—” After some time, Ling Xiaolu sighed earnestly. He buried his head in Ji Meng’s right knee, unable to resist nuzzling his face into it. Twisting and turning, he rubbed his cheeks against Ji Meng, rolling about.

“It’s too delicious, how could there be something as delicious as this?” Ling Xiaolu finally calmed down a little, his eyes rounding. “What exactly is this?”

Ji Meng looked down at him, his expression complicated. “This is… a pill to increase a pet’s loyalty…”

Ling Xiaolu sobered up in an instant. He discovered that he was lying on Ji Meng’s leg, and swiftly scrambled up. Only then did he realise how bad a faux pas he had made. Panicked, he shouted incoherently at Ji Meng. “Pet… You.. Why didn’t you mention earlier that it was pet food?!”

“Because you looked like you really wanted to eat it…”

“But you can’t just randomly feed it to me! You can reject me! What if I’m poisoned— Ah!”

Ling Xiaolu who had been chattering suddenly had sparks of electricity travel near his feet, and he jumped back in alarm. Despite doing so, he still got shocked, and he could feel an imaginary pain.

Looking down, Ji Meng’s beloved pet was staring at him in enmity. Its cheeks were puffing out, and it seemed angry.

Ji Meng hurriedly kept his trouble making pet, explaining a little awkwardly. “You snatched its treat, so it’s a little angry.”

“…” Ling Xiaolu was silent for a moment, then he suddenly crouched down, hugging his head and crying out loud.

His crying was fake, but his grievances were real. “How am I so unlucky? The first day I come online I ended up getting chased and hit by you. Then, I was treated like a monkey in front of so many people. You brought me to a place like this, and tricked me into eating pet food, and even your pet bullied me. I just wanted to quietly play a game only, who did I offend, who did I upset? Wahhhhh…”

Of course, the biggest grievance was the collar, but he could not say a word about it. Ling Xiaolu got more upset the more he thought about it, and his fake crying now had traces of real feelings.

This was the first time Ji Meng had seen a boy cry so quickly. He was also a little panicked. Every complaint Ling Xiaolu listed seemed to be reasonable, and he was unable to object to any of them. He too could not put his pride aside and apologise, and could only fiercely ask, “So what do you want to do about it?”

Ling Xiaolu was now silent. He wiped his eyes in pretense and raised his chin. “Send me back to the county.”

“No.”

“…”

Ji Meng did not know why he rejected him without any hesitation. “Choose something else.”

“…” After a pause, Ling Xiaolu said, “Then I want to smack the buttocks of your Pikachu.”

“It’s not Pikachu, it’s Leilulu.” Ji Meng again summoned his pet, but he was a little hesitant. With its short little limbs, Leilulu hugged Ji Meng’s wrist tightly, and its big, round eyes were welling up with tears. However, not a single drop fell. Secretly glancing at it, Ling Xiaolu nearly swore. It was only an AI, did it have to be so good at acting?!

“You can’t do that too.” Ji Meng performed a gesture before keeping his pet. “Choose something else.”

If not for the fact that Ling Xiaolu could not beat him, he would have hit him long ago. The thing he was the angriest about was not that Ji Meng was biased, but that before he kept his pet, he even took a photo! Ling Xiaolu was someone who had done the newbie tasks, he recognised that gesture! What sort of person was this?!

“Forget it, I’ll walk there myself.” Just as Ling Xiaolu took a step, the red beasts nearby all looked towards him, and he shrank back.

Ji Meng stood up, dusting the dirt off himself. A whistle, and his black fat, flying dragon returned, flapping its wings, exhaling hot air.

As usual, he reached out to grab the back of Ling Xiaolu’s collar. Ling Xiaolu pulled away, and he grabbed empty air. Ji Meng’s hand hovered there for some time, and finally changed direction, wrapping around Ling Xiaolu’s waist. Hugging him, he carried him up the back of the dragon. Of course, he still remembered that this fellow had a fear of heights, and so, he reminded him with good intentions, but in a rude manner, “Hold tight.”

Ji Meng realised his words were unnecessary. Ever since Ling Xiaolu left the ground, his arms had been wrapped tightly around Ji Meng’s waist, refusing to let go. Ji Meng stroked the neck of his dragon a couple of times, and the arms around his waist tightened even further.

Ji Meng looked back. The fellow who had been trying all ways and means to avoid him was now plastered to his back, and looking as though he wished he could bury himself even further.

He hesitated for a moment before leaning over to the dragon’s ear and quietly instructing it. The huge dragon lifted his head, plumes of smoke exiting its nostrils, then ran towards the northwest direction with heavy footsteps. Clouds of dust were raised behind it. This sort of flying steeds was not designed to run on the ground, and the ratio of its body to its legs were seriously disproportionate. Its stout and short limbs supported its gigantic body, and the dragon trembled as it ran, looking very comical. The ground shook under its claws, and the beasts in the area did not have time to react before they were slammed far away.

 

【Local】Wangzai: My coordinates are at the Zuka Plains. Did anyone feel the earthquake?

【Local】Nongnong: I’m collecting herbs in the area. The tremors are strong. It feels like a magnitude 3 earthquake.

【Local】Ah Nian: This game is so realistic? It even has earthquakes?

【Local】Liangliang: The case is solved. It’s not an earthquake. Crown Prince Ji Meng has just ran past. [Photo]

【Local】Sanshuiqing: What? My hubby? Where? Do you have a video?

【Local】Yudun: I saw them just now too. Here, for you. [Video]

【Local】Muqing: The dragon isn’t flying but running on the ground. Is this a new way for rich people to play?

【Local】Shuangshuang: Hold on, zoom in. Isn’t there someone behind Ji Meng?


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0 thoughts on “ARTT Chapter 8

      1. It’s meant to be! Hence the title, The Race to (Be) The TOP. Though it kinda gets more obvious later into the story.

  1. By novel logic the ML should be the one best at the game, but this one is actually funnier… Guess he will be friendzoned?

  2. So that video of Ji Meng would be captioned that he’s letting some newbie grab his waist while making his pet dragon run?

  3. When Li Zheng was first mentioned, I immediately thought he was the ML.

    But when Ji Meng showed up, I changed boats lmao. Also the author mentioned that both MC and ML are young so there are some dialogues which sounds immature. That seems like a warning but I was pretty sure the author was pertaining to Ji Meng on that one though? He fits that high school image and with MC they look like a bantering couple…

    while Li Zheng is the cold and aloof mature type, but appearance and skill wise, he has the edge. He fits the image of the typical Great God in the game who are bound to shelter and protect MC. But I feel if it’s Ji Meng, it’ll be refreshing that he wasn’t the strongest just like any other OP ML.

    the struggles of too many potential MLs (⇀‸↼‶)

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