Chapter 17.1 – Protagonist: He is mine
Moses1 elbowed his companion: “Hey, you said that the City Lord summoned us to do something? What is it?”
“I don’t know,” said his companion.
“I know,” the person in front of him said mysteriously. “There is a businessman who sent news that there is a rare monster around. The City Lord wants us to capture it.”
“The whole squad was assembled to capture it. Is that spirit beast very fierce?” Moses licked his lips. His purple eyes are glittering because he loves to fight.
“We don’t know that. All we know that it is a very precious type.” Alan shrugged. He was equally excited and said: “Hopefully it won’t disappoint us – oh, the captain is here.”
The captain greeted the others then announced the City Lord’s orders.
Moses and Alan looked at each other with confusion in both their eyes.
“Did I hear it wrong? We’re going to capture a gnome?”
“I have not betrayed you – I wanted to sell this thing,” Du Ze stammered, trying to explain and holding out the box for Xiu to look at: “Believe me … okay?”
The sound of his voice echoed among the rocks and cliffs. Du Ze unblinkingly stared at Xiu, desperate entreaty written in his eyes. He knew that what he was saying now sounded phony, like something he made up to save his life. Among all the races, gnomes were the most suspicious; they are very curious and paranoid. Du Ze could only helplessly look at Xiu’s shadow, like a death row prisoner waiting for the final verdict.
Dan laughed in a mocking way and said to Xiu: “Yes, your excellency, you have misunderstood. We were talking about selling the ‘box’.”
Even though his words seemed to lend credence Du Ze’s explanation, his manner was saying: “If you believe such an inferior excuse, then you are just too stupid.”
Xiu shot a look at Dan then opened his mouth to speak to Du Ze. However, the black-haired youth opposite him interrupted: “I cannot hear.”
“My ears are bad,” said Du Ze. His heart was broken at having to admit that he had been trying to conceal his disability. All this time he had been acting silly and cute, using his social barrier to prevent the collapse of the noble, glamorous image he wanted to project. Not knowing if the other can understand, Du Ze ripped off his headphones: “This is a hearing aid, it has no energy, so I can’t hear right now.”
It was a hearing aid that could help him hear all the sounds around him, but he could not hear the answer he wanted to hear the most – even if the answer spelled out his doom.
“Do you believe me?”
For the first time, Xiu’s expression changed. His eyes still had no discernable temperature, like something inorganic. He looked at Du Ze, shook his head slowly and gently spoke a few words: “…”
When Xiu shook his head, Du Ze felt as though he had fallen into a mountain of snow2. His entire body was stiff and hopelessly frozen with despair.
Why isn’t he willing to believe in him?
Du Ze thinks foolishly, am I so untrustworthy? He had tried so hard to get closer to the protagonist and went all out to show goodwill. He thought he had a special place in the protagonist’s heart, but was it unrequited love from beginning to end? Just because of Dan’s machinations, all of his previous efforts were completely disregarded.
Even if he is a pathetic fool who never takes these things to heart, when he is injured, he will still feel pain …
Du Ze didn’t see Dan’s startled look, so when Xiu grabbed his hand, Du Ze could only blankly stare as the gnome’s small hand wrote something on his palm: Follow me.
Is this what they call going from hell to heaven in a flash? Du Ze was so excited he could hardly bear it. Xiu had indicated that he did not believe Du Ze – F**k! Why did the protagonist shake his head? QAQ! Is it fun to bully a person who can’t hear you? Very funny!
Du Ze was elated while Dan masked his surprise and frowned. The businessman looked at Xiu with a puzzled and disappointed expression on his face, saying, “Ah, I didn’t think you would be so …” The green-clothed demon paused, weighing the use of more pleasant words: “… naive, to believe in the words of a betrayer.”
Xiu watched Dan’s performance with indifference: “It doesn’t matter.”
Just as he had said to Du Ze: “It doesn’t matter.”3
It doesn’t matter to him whether or not Du Ze betrayed or deceived him. He has decided to believe in that person so nothing else matters. Even if that person tries to get him killed or tries to escape … even if that person dies, Xiu won’t ever let go.
This is the stubbornness of the gnome and the paranoia of Xiu.
Dan looked at the flaxen-haired gnome whose brightly-coloured eyes were more obstinate and crazier than anything Dan had ever seen before. The amber-eyed gnome softly said, “He is mine.”
The soft, gentle tone is like that of a spoiled brat, but there is an undertone of intense possessiveness4 that made Dan shudder in fear. Dan even gave Du Ze a sympathetic look but the latter didn’t know what was really happening: The person who remains ignorant because he can’t hear anything – perhaps he is the happiest person here.
“Oh, your excellency, I was just joking,” said Dan, patting his head with his book. “I was just kidding. This gentleman really did buy a box from me, with this piece of clothing.”
Dan clapped his hands and a garment fell from the void in his hand. With a flicker of amazement and displeasure in his eyes, Xiu recognized it as one of the clothes that Du Ze had been wearing. Dan noticed the gnome’s reaction and drew a conclusion.
“I’m sorry I offended you before. I think this mysterious bit of clothing was made by your hands. The name of the gnome race is like thunder reverberating in one’s ears. I have a presumptuous request, would your excellency tell me how to manufacture these clothes?” said Dan. His face was all smiles: “Certainly you will be satisfied with what I will pay your excellency.”
If Du Ze could hear what Dan said, he would certainly want to fly around in circles while spurting blood onto the businessman’s face. But since he couldn’t, the silly (cute) person could only watch the silent pantomime performance, not knowing what new menace the “plot god” was going to launch.
Du Ze wants to turn around and walk away with Xiu to avoid more of Dan’s schemes. Right now, all they can do is endure Dan’s malice but just wait until Xiu reaches level 100!5 Then they can discuss life and other important matters with Dan!
Before Du Ze could pull Xiu away, Xiu took the initiative himself. They started to walk away. Dan didn’t seem surprised by their reaction and said: “I have a message for you, I think you will be interested.”
“The City Lord recently advanced a rank, therefore he is looking for an appropriate new weapon,” said Dan, grinning. “When the Lord learned that a gnome appeared near Halphas City, the news made him wild with joy … The Lord is bringing a squad of warriors to greet your excellency. If you would like to trade, I can provide this service for you whenever you need it.”
Du Ze only knew that Xiu’s hand that held his tightened. Looking down at the protagonist, he found that the blood had drained from Xiu’s face. Du Ze was worried, was it his wound? To think that the seriously injured Xiu would follow him all the way here, Du Ze wasn’t sure if he should admire Xui’s determination or not.
A shadow covered them. Du Ze looked up. A figure landed on a high mountain rock, the flapping of the bat wings was like that of … a demon. Du Ze was alarmed to find, not just one, but many demons surrounding them.
The demons circled the two, their deep or shallow purple eyes glittering and staring avidly at Du Ze and Xiu. A thought flashed in all of their minds simultaneously: It really is a gnome.
Why did it turn out like this? Du Ze saw that Dan was paying his respects to a lump of fat. Looking at the lump of fat carefully, it seemed to be a member of the demon race and his status is high, making Dan act respectful… Du Ze had a terrifying thought: F*** it! Could it be the Lord of Halphas City who likes to dine on human flesh?!
System: Your enemy [Meat Mountain, Lord of the Flesh] just went online.
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- I found it weird to have a Biblical name in the story but that’s what it said in the raws. 摩西 – mo zi (Moses)
- Literally: ice cave/hole
- I have no idea why the author repeated the same line. And I thought he said that to Dan.
- 独占 – all to oneself; gain sole control; monopolize
- 刷 – Literally “brush” but in gaming it means grinding. “Until Xiu grinds his way to level 100” would be the literal translation. There is no actual leveling in that world, it’s just Du Ze’s internet/gaming slang.