Chapter 68: Yea-habitant of the Yea Planet
United States, Washington, Prince Virtual Competition Cafe, Room 250.
A stocky blond man lay in a virtual immersion cabin. The man wore a tight-fit t-shirt. His left arm was clearly muscular, but the right side of his body only revealed a stump where his right hand should be.
The blond man was in deep sleep when he suddenly opened his eyes.
Thomas woke up from his virtual immersion experience. Immediately, he felt intense pangs of hunger. His body was extremely stiff, and when he gently twisted his neck, it issued snapping sounds.
Looking sidewards to the clock in the immersion cabin, he could not help but reveal a wry smile.
Even though he had removed the one minute preparation time before the battle through the room settings, after more than 1000 battles—as well as spending a long time “reprimanding” the little guy—he had still spent twenty hours.
This was the first time Thomas spent twenty consecutive hours in the virtual world. His body and mind was extremely exhausted, but for some reason, he felt energy coming from his chest.
“Shi Xiaobai, this name seems like he’s from China.”
Thomas muttered to himself. He crawled out of the immersion cabin. The food on the table had already gone cold, but having starved for twenty hours, he was not picky. His left hand picked up a fork to bring a steak into his mouth as he quickly chewed on it.
After putting down the fork, he used his only left hand to pour a cup of expensive red wine. The wine tasted slightly astringent, but for some baffling reason it tasted slightly bitter.
“This bottle of red wine is worth a person’s head.”
Thomas sighed lightly.
An F Class bounty for a criminal’s head could buy such a bottle of red wine.
Those Heroes who claimed to be righteous, but were unwilling to risk their lives to fight calamity fiends or astral beasts would use their Hero salary each month to bring home the bacon. Hence the money to buy wine naturally came from exchanging the heads of those criminals.
Bounty for criminals was evil.
The eradication of evil in exchange for a few bottles of red wine, this…was very heroic.
“So the taste of red wine is bitter.”
Thomas set the glass down and suddenly pulled out his cellphone. Touching the screen a few times, he entered the Contacts page and his finger lingered over a particular name.
After hesitating for a moment, he pressed down on it.
That was a number he had not called for twenty years. He thought he would never attempt to call this number for the rest of his life.
The regular ringing tone sounded exactly like his heartbeat.
“Hello, who is this?”
A second after the call connected, a voice that sounded more mature than before, but still warm and magnetic entered his ears. Thomas’ breathing paused slightly.
“It’s me. Thomas.”
Thomas’s voice suddenly turned dry. He had used red wine to moisten his throat, yet he produced a voice that was almost hoarse.
“Ha, so it’s my junior. It’s been so long since we got in touch. Has it been twenty years?”
The voice from the other end of the call sounded surprised and happy.
“Yea, it’s been twenty years, Yaris.”
Thomas silently said in his heart that to be precise, it was twenty years, one month and seven days.
Once upon a time, he and Yaris studied in the same school.
Back then, Yaris was his senior who was mocked by other classmates because he cultivated in Crab Steps, and he was a naive lowerclassmen who followed behind Yaris.
One day, he said to Yaris, “Yaris, there will be one day I will surpass you.”
Yaris answered with a laugh, “Then I will have to run faster. If I get caught up by a junior, it will be very embarrassing!”
Thomas believed that if Yaris stubbornly carried on using Crab Steps, then it was a matter of time before he surpassed Yaris.
After graduation, they joined different Hero organizations. They began their separate lives, but their deep ties of friendship made them keep in touch. They often met and competed against each other, as they played catch up.
However, their intersecting pathways finally separated on a particular day twenty years ago, never coming together again.
That day, 25-year-old Thomas lost his right hand while helping out in a meteor storm. He lost his right hand that he was always proud of for its gun-wielding prowess.
And during that meteor shower, 27-year-old Yaris raised his Crab Steps to the “Bold New World” realm and was hailed as an astounding world-class genius.
After that day, Thomas could no longer catch up to Yaris. Very soon, he could not even see his back.
“Have you been well?”
Yaris’ light greetings pulled Thomas back from his memories. Thomas could not help but make a bitter smile. Having lost his right hand, other than using his remnant powers at the seventh level of the Psionic Soul Realm to hunt low-level bounty criminals, he could only use the virtual world’s experience to falsely satisfy his wish of having a right hand. Was such an existence…good?
“Yea, not bad.” Thomas answered softly.
The other end of the line gave a pondering reply and fell into silence.
Thomas lightly breathed out and suddenly said, “The reason why I called you is because I met a young guy…He resembles you.”
“Oh? Tell me.”
“Yea, his name is Shi Xiaobai and he comes from China. Like you, he uses Crab Steps. Heh, that ridiculous look makes me recall..recall…”
Thomas’s throat suddenly choked like there was a fish bone in it. After being at a loss for words for a few moments, he carried on, “He uses Crab Steps just like you. And he said words that you previously said. He said that he likes failure…”
“Then in Unrivaled Heroes. You should have heard of it. Yea, it’s a…Nah, it’s a boring game…I met him in that game…”
“Yea, you are right. I was a smurf that smurfed noobs for one round…Alright, I admit, I did it many times…”
“Yaris, this isn’t the main point. The main point is that this guy, he got his head blown up in one shot…Yeah, I admit that smurfing noobs is no fun, but there’s no reason for you to laugh that much, right…”
“Furthermore, the main point isn’t the single headshot, but that he did not quit the game…Why? You think he’s a fool? That’s right, he’s a fool…But, he’s not just any fool…”
Time slowly passed. Unknowingly, their conversation over the phone had lasted more than an hour.
Due to various interruptions from Yaris, Thomas went through great difficulty to finish his story of his encounter in Unrivaled Heroes. He finally summarized, “Anyway, I think he is very similar to you. Of course, this might be because ‘all funny fools in the world are equally dumb’, so it gave me this illusion.”
On the other end, Yaris fell into deep thought after hearing this unmalicious teasing.
“Yaris, I went on for so long, you should at least have some thoughts, right?”
Thomas’ tone naturally had a grumbling tone. He had spent twenty hours in virtual immersion, and he should have been mentally exhausted, but he felt strangely clear-minded and inexplicably inspired.
“Are you telling me that the young kid named Shi Xiaobai was still full of fighting spirit after failing more than a thousand times?” Yaris suddenly spoke.
“Yea!” Thomas suffused a smile.
“He got viciously reprimanded by you hundreds of times and he still carried on?” Yaris continued asking.
“Yea!” Thomas intensified his tone slightly.
“He got mislead by your scammy theories and was still able to comprehend the essence of the divine crab?” Yaris’ voice had a hint of incredulity.
“Yea…What? What do you mean scammy theories? Alright…I admit my theories might not be too realistic…but practice is the sole criterion for testing its truthfulness. Shi Xiaobai proved that I was right.” Thomas could not conceal the smiling in his voice.
“Heh heh…Was what you said about him comprehending Crab Phantom Image true?”
“Was forcing you to use Wraith Surreal Shot true?”
“That final unbridled monologue was also true?”
“Alien Thomas, is ‘Yea’ the language of your planet?”
After Thomas said that, he immediately realized something was wrong. As a cloud hung over his head, he said in a speechless manner, “Yaris, do you know how old you are now?”
Yaris chuckled and then suddenly fell into silence. Moments later, he said, “Thomas, you said that the child was quite similar to me, is that right?”
Thomas answered softly, “Yes, he reminds me of the past you.”
“You are wrong, Thomas.”
Thomas was stunned. He was wrong? So it was just wishful thinking on his part?
Yaris suddenly said, “Do you know how many times I failed when challenging our teacher?”
Thomas was stunned. He remembered that it was many, many times, but he did not know how many times Yaris failed miserably under their teacher’s hand.
“51 times! Just 51 times!”
Yaris gave the answer himself.
Just 51 times? Compared to the more than 1000 times from that guy, it seemed…
That’s not right!
“No, it’s not the same. Every time you challenged our teacher, you would end up seriously injured. As for that guy, he suffered defeat every few seconds. Furthermore, it was in a virtual world. He did not need to endure physical pain…He…”
Thomas immediately attempted to analyze the differences between the virtual reality world and the real world. He was intending to prove that a number itself could not represent the intensity of failure.
“I gave up myself! Thomas, at the 51st time. I chose to gave up!”
Yaris suddenly cut Thomas off. He said loudly, “I have always regretted my choice of giving up back then. If I carried on challenging, failing a hundred times, two hundred times. If I could have endured defeat, then I could have cultivated Crab Steps to the ‘Bold New World’ realm earlier. On that day twenty years ago, I might have been able to…protect your right hand…but I didn’t…The truth is, on the 51st failure, I chose to give up!”
“Thomas! I once said I like failure…but that isn’t true. I hate failure more than anyone else…I could persist up to the 51st failure only because…I desired success more than anyone. However, my limit was just…a mere 51 times!”
“Do you understand? Thomas, that kid is different from me. He…is clearly much stronger than me.”
“Thomas, do you hate me?”
Thomas was already choking up so much that he could not complete his words. His left hand was trembling while holding the cellphone to his ear. As he had lost his right hand, he did not have another hand to wipe the tears streaking across his cheek.
“Thomas, come visit me if you have the time. Hey, let’s make it tonight. There’s no way you can fault my wife’s cooking. I’ll get her to prepare your favorite red braised pork.”
“Heh heh, Thomas, you are really a Yea-habitant of the Yea Planet.”
Author’s Note: Author: “Give recommendation tickets“. Everyone: “Yea.”
Author: “Reward the author handsomely”. Everyone: “Yea.”
Author: “1, 2, 3, 4. Another time”. Everyone: “Yea, fuck your Yea.”