Chapter 8: I Can Only Rely on You
That night, Shi Xiaobai accompanied Riko and One-Pun to a huge villa. It was said to be a residence Riko had bought in this city. After having a simple meal, Shi Xiaobai went back to his room to sleep. During this period of time, Riko did not mention much regarding [Gaia]. She only said that she would bring him to their headquarters, Gaia Base, tomorrow.
Shi Xiaobai fell asleep soon after going to bed, but was woken up by Riko with a kick in the morning. While he was having his breakfast in a drowsy state, he saw a helicopter land in an empty spot in front of the villa.
By the time Shi Xiaobai gathered his thoughts, he realized he was sitting in the helicopter. Riko was sitting across him, but One-Pun had already disappeared.
“Where’s Uncle Baldy?” Shi Xiaobai asked as he caught sight of the white clouds amidst the blue sky outside the window before he began humming, “Puny world, shiver before This King’s feet!”
Riko rolled her eyes and snapped, “Teacher One-Pun left early because he has something going on. In a while, when we reach Gaia Base, don’t you keep saying ‘This King’. Not everyone possesses a temperament as mild as mine.”
Shi Xiaobai had his reservations regarding Riko’s remarks about her mild temperament, but he was still afraid of being violently beaten up, so he whispered, “This King..”
“What?” Riko cast a murderous look at him.
“Tch!” Shi Xiaobai imitated Riko’s tone, but immediately suffered a beating. As he covered his head, he said in a wronged manner, “Enough, enough, This Emperor will not claim to be This King in the future…Ouch!”
Moments later, Shi Xiaobai, who had finally succumbed to Riko’s authoritative power after enduring several beatings, said in a melancholy timbre, “Girl, you must be a demoness sent by the God of Darkness..”
“Hmph!” Riko waved her fist as her face brimmed with a smile. She never expected bullying Shi Xiaobai would be such a pleasant thing.
The helicopter flew all morning before it descended at noon. From the helicopter, Shi Xiaobai was able to see Gaia Base in its entirety.
High-rise steel buildings loomed like cold mountains, reflecting the sun’s blinding light. Iron-paved roads crisscrossed and differed from the silver-surfaced high-rise buildings. The roads were built with black steel, and looked like black, bottomless rivers from the sky.
“Welcome to Gaia Base—Steel City.” Riko playfully winked at him.
Shi Xiaobai sneered, “This will be the first fief This King will own in this world. Using it to be the base of Xiaobai’s Hero Squad would barely qualify…Ouch!”
Pulling back her fist, Riko began to space out as she looked at the approaching steel ground.
After disembarking the helicopter, Shi Xiaobai treaded cautiously on the steel surface. He realized that while it was sturdy and solid to the touch, it had a degree of flexibility. Furthermore, the ground was not hot as he had expected, instead, a sense of coldness seemed to linger above the ground. After bouncing and walking on the steel surface a few times, he realized it produced very little sound.
“The ground is produced from the shells of the Astral Calamity Beast, ‘Astral Steel Giant Beetles’. It possesses a hardness above ordinary metals, and its heat dissipation and noise reduction attributes are extremely good.” Riko involuntarily explained to Shi Xiaobai when she found him looking at everything with awe.
Shi Xiaobai was secretly astonished as he quietly took note of what Riko said.
As the two of them walked, they encountered a number of people who were driving past them. Many of them stopped to greet Riko with a “Miss Riko” and would also give Shi Xiaobai a complicated look before driving away.
“I am quite famous in Steel City.” Riko raised her eyebrows while glancing at Shi Xiaobai.
Shi Xiaobai sneered in response. He felt animosity as well as mockery from the looks he was given.
After walking for a long while, Riko finally stopped in her footsteps. She pointed to a tall building in front and said, “We’re here.”
Shi Xiaobai looked over and realized this building was shorter than the other buildings. However, the compound’s boundary was clearly wider. A middle-aged man dressed in a suit stood by the entrance.
“Are they here?” Riko asked the middle-aged man as she arrived at the entrance.
“They are already here. Only you and this young sir remain.” The middle-aged man responded.
Riko nodded, and took the lead to walk through the gate. Shi Xiaobai followed closely behind. After passing through the gate, he heard the middle-aged man whisper to him, “Take care.”
Shi Xiaobai was surprised as he said with a smile, “Years ago, someone told This King to take care 1, but he ended up being unable to slim down for three years. Uncle, don’t raise any unwanted flags.”
After saying that, Shi Xiaobai ignored the stunned middle-aged man and walked into the building.
Upon entering, Shi Xiaobai’s eyes were immediately attracted by a smooth and bright metallic wall. He looked up and saw huge frames lined up across the wall. There was a high-spirited face imprinted in each frame.
“These are the Rookie Kings of [Gaia] over the years.” Riko said in front of him.
“Rookie…King?” Shi Xiaobai followed half a step behind her.
“[Gaia] recruits rookies every year. After a period of training, a competition between all rookies is held. The strongest is given the title of Rookie King. The Rookie King’s photo frame is then displayed in this Rookie Museum.” Riko explained patiently.
“The strongest person amongst the rookies. A king-like figure!” Shi Xiaobai’s eyes lit up as he said with excitement, “The title of Rookie King is tailored for me, Shi Xiaobai! The first step in This King’s journey shall be you—Rookie King!”
Riko was at a loss whether to cry or to laugh, but suddenly her eyes darted around, having come up with an idea. She immediately said slyly, “Boy, I also believe that the title of Rookie King belongs to you. Work hard for I think highly of you!”
Shi Xiaobai gave her a cold stare. “Don’t do that. It’s sickening.. Ouch!”
Riko grunted while her fist was raised. She continued walking deeper into the building as Shi Xiaobai rubbed his forehead. As he slowly kept up behind her, he grumbled.
After a short moment of walking, they arrived at a metallic door that was slightly ajar. Riko stopped and took a deep breath.
“By the way, I think I haven’t told you the purpose of coming here today?” Riko suddenly said.
“So that’s it. There is a purpose behind coming here today.” Shi Xiaobai was enlightened as he raised his hands immediately in a defensive stance. He snapped, “Girl, you have finally revealed the true colors of yourself being an evil witch?”
In a rare instance, Riko did not roll her eyes but said with a sigh, “Today, I brought you here to partake in a Rookie Evaluation Test in name, but it’s actually a trap a few bitches had laid for me. Xiaobai, I’m sorry for implicating you in this trouble, but I…can only rely on you.”
Shi Xiaobai was surprised, and just as he wanted to say something, he saw Riko push the metallic door open. She had walked in.
Following that, a shrill voice immediately erupted from inside, clearly entering Shi Xiaobai’s ears.
“Oh, the weakest ‘Pontus’ in history and the trash rookie she has brought has finally arrived!”
- Take care (保重) can be literally translated to ‘conserve your weight’ ↩