Chapter 80.1 – Tower of God: Gnome Ruins
The place was full of metallic colors. The city of steel was always as bright as daytime, illuminated by spheres of light both big and small. This familiar sight made Du Ze recognize the place instantly; this was the Gnome Ruins
In front of them was a circular plaza and at the center of it were iron gnome statues that activated when Xiu and Du Ze arrived. The iron gnomes suddenly came alive. They bounced up, drums sounded, and a line of text flashed above their heads, saying: “Welcome to the Homeland. This is the Gnome Ruins.”
One of the iron gnomes extended its hands as though it wanted to give something to them. Du Ze wondered why the iron gnome’s hands seemed familiar, as though he had seen them before. After that greeting, the iron gnomes stopped moving, only the welcome text still flashed above the plaza.
It wasn’t magic; it was a performance made with machinery and technology. When Xiu was trapped inside the Gate of Wisdom to learn the gnome’s language and forging techniques, Old John had lead Du Ze around to tour the city which was designed like the Kabbalah Tree of Life – the circle here was at the bottom of the Tree of Life, the “Kingdom” sephirot and the real entrance to the Gnome Ruins’ inner city. Du Ze had seen these little performances by iron gnomes that had been running for thousands of years, but there wasn’t any gnome that extended his hand as though he was giving something to the viewer. This must be one of the Tower of God’s additions.
As Rachel had said, the gnome trial is set in the Gnome Ruins. Although they have the advantage of being familiar with the environment, Du Ze could hardly feel at ease at this time. The reason was very simple: the animal behind him, that beautiful but berserk beast.
Du Ze did not know whether to worry about the people who had been left behind or whether he should instead worry about becoming a McDonald’s Happy Meal.1 Suddenly, his body sank down but Xiu, who was still biting Du Ze’s collar, raised his head. Du Ze saw that in front of them were a pair of blue lights and clanging footsteps coming from further down the street. A tall one-star mechanical puppet was walking towards them.
“Beep – lifeforms X2 discovered, analyzing race. Beep – non-gnome, analyzing faction. Beep – unrecognized faction, analysis …”
Before the mechanical puppet could finish speaking, it was ruthlessly destroyed by Xiu. All of its parts were scattered on the ground. Du Ze felt Xiu’s hot breath on his neck, like a volcano that was about to erupt.
From both sides of the street came the faint sounds of mechanical footsteps. Xiu, biting on the collar of his own silly, cute person, ran to the middle of the street then jumped up into a house’s balcony. The beast crouched down and entered the house from its balcony. They went into a gnome’s workshop. It was surprisingly spacious.
The owner of the workshop must be a pretty neat gnome since the floor was very clean, the mechanical parts were all wrapped up separately, and the finished work was neatly lined up on the walls. The smell of oil wafted lightly in the air.
The mechanical puppets on the street passed under the balcony. They seemed to be patrolling only the streets and plazas of the Gnome Ruins and did not enter the houses. After they had walked away, Xiu finally loosened his teeth’s grip on Du Ze and put him down.
Du Ze sat on the ground. The instinctive fear that was carved into his very genes made him quickly turn around to look at Xiu. The beautiful beast was very close. He stared at Du Ze and his golden irises were suffused with a mysterious luster. His pupils were big and round, reflecting Du Ze’s image. It was as though the deep, dark circles were closing in on the black-haired youth.
Xiu was gazing at Du Ze, not concealing his desire at all. It was a pure, almost instinctive desire to devour.
Du Ze was breathless and flustered as they looked at each other. He felt a suffocating fear that he had always tried to push down but was very strong at this moment – that time with the dragon, Xiu took him to a private place and he was …
Xiu lowered his head, poised to pounce. At the moment that Xiu was about to spring, his reflexes made Du Ze close his eyes.
Soft hair slid across Du Ze’s face, making his skin itch, was it the lion beast’s mane? Du Ze’s guess was proven false immediately as he was not flung down on the ground but instead fell into a very familiar embrace.
“Why are you afraid?
The deep and low voice was gloomy. His hot breath was in Du Ze’s ears. The black-haired youth was startled and looked up at the speaker. Du Ze didn’t know when Xiu had turned back into his humanoid beastkin form. Perhaps the beast had just receded from his body. Xiu’s long, scarlet hair flowed down like lava and dark red beast tattoos wreathed across his wheat-colored skin. Du Ze was in a daze as he looked at Xiu face to face. Xiu’s golden eyes still showed his beastly nature but they were very gentle.
“I said it would never happen again.”
Xiu held Du Ze in his arms tightly. Even his tail was twined around Du Ze’s waist. They were like a beast and his cub. Du Ze’s chin was on Xiu’s shoulder and there was no gap between their two bodies. Du Ze could keenly feel the other’s chest moving and that his desire was on the verge of erupting.
—— “Sorry.” The young blond in his memory smiled and whispered: “It won’t happen again.”
So Xiu really meant it. Even in his madness he carefully restrained himself, trembling with desire, making Du Ze his touchstone.
You can’t frighten him. You can’t hurt him.
That has already been carved into his brain, whether he is sane or not.
It would be difficult to describe Du Ze’s mood at this time. He was a little surprised and moved, but mostly his heart was full of bitterness. This man who was hugging him was acting like a large dog who wanted to be petted but didn’t dare to move because he was afraid his master would be angry with him.
Although the thought wasn’t appropriate, Du Ze thought that this kind of Moe Lord is somewhat pitiful and also … adorable? A silly, cute person suddenly had the impulse to reach out to pat the other person on the head.
His fingertips touched something velvety soft. By the time Du Ze came to his senses and realized what he was doing, his hand was already on Xiu’s head, touching his round lion ears.
Xiu’s ears twitched when they were touched. They felt itchy and trembled, either to avoid Du Ze’s fingers or to rub themselves against his hand. Finally, he broke down and softly rubbed his head against Du Ze’s hand.
slight spoilers below
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- So cute! I also want a cute animal-eared Xiu of my own to pet.
- I’m very glad that Xiu kept his promise even when he was in a berserk state.
- What do you guys think will happen after this?