Chapter 196 A Bet (Part 2)
Purity Essence could not hold himself back after the provocation. He grit his teeth and immediately agreed, “So be it! If you lose, you’ll make an apology to me and my friends in the World Channel. If I lose, I’ll join ‘Upwards Ho!’.”
Ye Ci nodded. She did not show her disdain for having to apologize. However, Gongzi You would never do something that she had no confidence in. It would not matter after she won the bet.
Paying no heed to Purity Essence, Ye Ci began fishing leisurely, waiting for events to take their course.
Purity Essence immediately took a photo of him fishing with Gongzi You on the rock. Although Gongzi You appeared naturally relaxed in the photo, he was somewhat stiff. Logging into the forums, Purity Essence was ready to post the picture online anonymously. He was hesitant with the title of the thread. What sort of title should I use as the best proof that my faith in my friends is rightly placed?
After a long moment of hesitation, he finally decided on the most provocative title, “Speaking with absolute facts: The truth behind the relationship of Gongzi You and Purity Essence” and posted the picture on the forums. He then added a description under the picture, “With so many rumors circulating around in the forums, a picture is worth more than a thousand words! It is by pure coincidence that I’ve managed to take this picture (don’t ask where this is taken)”
After writing down the description, Purity Essence realised that he was sweating profusely, as if he had just stepped out of the sauna. He logged off the forum, not even daring to keep it on. After taking in a deep breath, Purity Essence pretended to calm himself down and resumed fishing.
From the corner of her eyes, Ye Ci could see the anxiety written all over Purity Essence’s face. Ye Ci smiled quietly to herself, sighing. She saw her old self in Purity Essence. It was always the same for humans. When they became too obsessed with something, they would tend to lose more. Ye Ci’s experiences in her previous life were the perfect example. Her obsession with fame led to her downfall, and even to the loss of her life.
However, even when exposed to the truth, one would never understand the nature of such matters. Only someone who had experienced true anguish caused by his or her failure would be able to learn from this. She could only hope that Purity Essence could learn his lesson after the pain he suffered. She hoped that he could learn that not everything is perfect in this world, and one should not dwell on the past.. If he is not able to face the challenges of the present because he can not move on, her efforts in recruiting him would be wasted. It was as if time had stopped. Ye Ci and Purity Essence seemed to be the only ones in this world, fishing without worry on the huge rock. The occasional breeze carrying the scent of the sea brought a sense of euphoria to Ye Ci. She took in a deep breath. This is such a nice day!
Purity Essence, on the other hand, was not as relaxed as Ye Ci. He was extremely nervous. He was anticipating the response from his guildmates, but was afraid at the same time. Not everyone could endure such a torment. He felt like a fish being thrown into an oven. Fear and anxiety gripped his heart.
The moment lasted for half an hour before Purity Essence finally received a message. It was a message from his guild leader, who was also his best friend, Hometown Hero, “Purity, what are you doing right now?”
Purity Essence could feel his heart in his mouth when he received the message. He even had difficulty breathing. Taking in a deep breath, he was able to calm himself down, “I’m fishing. What is it? Did something happen?”
Hometown Hero replied after a short pause, “Oh, you’re fishing? You’re quite free aren’t you? Where are you? Are you alone?”
A feeling of desolation crept into Purity Essence’s heart, “I’m near the Hidden Treasure Gulf. And no, I’m not alone.” he began to regret his decision of taking on the bet. Will I be able to avoid the pain if I did not take on the bet?
“Who else is there with you?”
“It’s an acquaintance of mine. I happened to run into him here.” Purity Essence was telling the truth. But, unbeknownst to him, the truth could only be true when the other party chose to believe in it.
“Ohh…” Hometown Hero directed the conversation somewhere else. “Purity, have you given that thing a thought?” asked Hometown Hero after a brief small talk with Purity Essence.
Purity Essence’s heart clenched. In the end, it’s all about this huh? He grimaced, “What are you talking about?”
“Ask for Gongzi You’s help in clearing the dungeon. Since you’re so close, I’m sure she wouldn’t refuse. I know that the other guilds have asked for her help in the past as well, but there’s a chance that she would refuse our request. Since you’re friends with her, help the guild out. Ask for her help.” as the guild leader, Hometown Hero was always thinking about the benefits of the guild.
“Hometown, I’ll say this again. I really am not familiar with Gongzi You. We’ve only met for the first time during the battle that day. Before that, I’m just like you! I’ve only known her through the forums and videos of her!” Purity Essence was overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness, “Besides, can’t we just clear the dungeon slowly with our own strength-”
Before Purity Essence could finish his sentence, he was cut off by Hometown Hero, “Purity, you and I have been friends for so many years. Don’t you think you’re being stingy here? I’m not asking for much, I just want you to ask Gongzi You for help in clearing the dungeon.”
“If that’s the case, why don’t we just pay her like the other guilds?” Purity Essence finally voiced out his true feelings.
“If we’re going to pay her for that, I won’t be needing your help now would I? Besides, I don’t mind if you hid your friendship with her from everybody else. But to hide it from me… I’m disappointed in you Purity.”
“I told you, I don’t know her! We’ve never been friends!”
“Without a wind, there cannot be waves.”
A sense of futility washed over Purity Essence. In the face of misbelief, any explanation offered would be in vain. At that moment, his will faltered, and he became silent.
“Why won’t you believe me?”
“Purity, we’ve been brothers for so long. I wanted to trust you. I wanted to believe your words unconditionally. Just take a look at the forums. If it’s not because of that incident in the Swamp of Sorrows, the appearance of the Dragonia, the mistake you made while taking command, and the fact that Gongzi You managed to walk out of this ordeal unscathed, I wouldn’t have known that you’re friends with her!” he let out a frustrated sigh.
“He he…” Purity Essence no longer felt the need to explain himself in the face of Hometown Hero’s accusations. He sneered, perhaps at himself, perhaps at the past; or perhaps at Hometown Hero.
“You don’t have to do that. Before the post in the forums today, I did not even believe the rumors. But what’s the the photo that had just appeared?”
“What photo?” Purity Essence asked out loud with a voice full of weariness despite knowing the answer.
“I see you did not know what happened in the forums. Alright, I’ll stop beating around the bush. Are you fishing with Gongzi You?” Hometown Hero raised his voice, adapting a more forceful tone.
Purity Essence remained silent. He knew more than anyone else about about what was in the photo. He suddenly was unable to answer Hometown Hero’s question. He was just like a coward, too afraid to face an impending misfortune. At that moment, he felt as if he was not a man. He lacked the courage a man should possess.
Alas, he was afraid. After so many years of friendship, he knew his friends well. If he conceded, wouldn’t they have a fall out? If it happened, their already crumbling friendship would end. This was something he wanted to avoid.
Hometown Hero’s tone became even more forceful when Purity Essence kept his silence, “Purity, some things cannot be solved by remaining silent. Refusing to admit such a thing does not mean that it did not happen. I don’t know just what sort of relationship you had with Gongzi You, and why you have to deny it. Don’t you know that the more you try to emphasize your innocence, the more people will doubt you? If you admitted your relationship with Gongzi You sooner, would things have gotten this far?”
Weariness washed over Purity Essence. He did not even have the strength to deal with Hometown Hero left. He was convinced that there was no going back. The reddish-golden sun was slowly setting below the horizon, dyeing everything in sight in a shade of its beautiful color. Purity Essence could still remember the joys he had with his friends when they grew up. Since when have we grown so far apart?
Perhaps Gongzi You was right. Perhaps friendship would not last long in the face of benefits. Their friendship was firm as no benefits were involved. They would not be jealous of each other. Things have changed when they thought that he was close with Gongzi You. They thought that he received a lot of benefits from Gongzi You. This thought nurtured their jealousy, and slowly wither away their rationality.
As expected, friendship must not be mixed with benefits. He was unwilling to let go of his many years of friendship. The truth however, was clear. He lost his bet with Gongzi You.
He lost to his fake friendship, to his self-deceiving brothers, and accursed benefits.
At this point, Purity Essence was truly helpless, he let out a long sigh, “Hometown, just get straight to the point. Just tell me, what do you want?”
Hometown Hero was stunned by Purity Essence’s sudden straightforwardness. However, he was able to regain his composure in a short moment, “It’s nothing much. Go get Gongzi You to help us clear the Castle Ruins. I’ve heard that ‘Upwards Ho!’ has defeated the 4th BOSS. So she’ll have no problem with helping us against the 4th BOSS. I think my request is not that hard, am I right?”
“What if I tell you that it’s impossible for me to do it?” Purity Essence sneered.
Hometown Hero pursed his lips, and disdain was written all over his face, “If you can’t do that… Purity… Is there anything left to say between us? Our small temple is not befitting of a big buddha like you.”
Purity Essence felt as if he was stabbed in the heart. The pain was so tremendous that he creased his eyebrows, “Hometown, are you telling me to leave?”
“Purity, it’s not me who wants you to leave. Your heart no longer belongs to a small guild such as ours. So… See yourself out.” unwilling to give up just yet, Hometown Hero asked once again, “I’ll ask you one last time. Will you get Gongzi You to help our guild out or not?”
“I told you! I’m not that close with her! I can’t do that!” Purity Essence was pushed to his limits.
“Leave the guild. Don’t make me kick you. If I do that, we won’t even have our last shred of friendship left.” Hometown Hero was filled with rage.
“Friendship?” the word was suddenly very ridiculous to Purity Essence, “Do we still have friendship?” with that, he called up the Guild Interface, and selected the option to leave his guild.
[ Are you sure you want to leave Drunken Melancholy? ] a system notification appeared.
Purity Essence hesitated. Fragments of memories, all those times spent with his friends flashing by in his mind. They were like photos that had been ravaged by time, slowly fading in color, darkening, then crumbling to dust.
“Hurry up, don’t make this hard for the both of us.” Hometown Hero’s words were the last straw for him. He was devastated. As the saying goes “men only weep when deeply grieved”. Purity Essence felt like weeping, but he had no tears left. It seems that I’m the only one who truly cherished our years of friendship.
With that, his hesitation disappeared. There was no longer a sense of loss. Gritting his teeth, Purity Essence left the guild that was once his haven..
It’s just a game! It’s just a game! Why have these people who were once my friends in real life become so cruel? Purity Essence laughed. Isn’t this just a game? The game, this was the thing that has destroyed his friendship in real life.
Since when had they drifted apart? It was perhaps when he moved to another city. It seems that even friendship could dull with distance and time.
[Purity Essence has left Drunken Melancholy.]
The line of small yellow words appeared in the World Channel briefly before they were swallowed by the messages in the channel, disappearing forever. Ye Ci who has been paying close attention to the World Channel however, saw the words clearly.
No matter how stubborn Purity Essence was, everything went according to Ye Ci’s plan.
Ye Ci let out a faint smile. It was a smile those who were close to her described as her most beautiful smile. She was not in a hurry to disturb Purity Essence. She was a reasonable person who would not spread salt over somebody’s bleeding wounds.
It was better for her to wait for Purity Essence to act on his own accord.
As expected, Purity Essence was quick to recover from his sorrows. He was a career gamer who did not earn a lot, but enjoyed his time with his friends. Losing his guild meant that he needed a plan for the future.
After all, his friendship and fond memories paled in comparison to the hardship he will be facing in the future.
Of course, Purity Essence remembered his bet with Gongzi You. Joining ‘Upwards Ho!’ was his best option. Firstly, his income was guaranteed as he was invited over by Gongzi You to be a commander. Secondly, since it was futile to try and clear his name, he might as well join the guild and put an end to the rumors.
With that thought in mind, Purity Essence soothed his raging emotions and looked at Gongzi You. The girl was basking in the rays of the setting sun leisurely. Bitterness surged into his heart. He was so pained that it was hard for him to even speak up.
Hiya minna-san! How's everybody today?? Jimmi is soooo happy today! I'm going to watch Avengers: Infinity War with friends later!!! Woooooooohhh!!!
By the way... Any of your here plays Fate/Grand Order? My ID is 407,426,093 Do send me a friend request and lemme know your in game name eh! (Picture of my list of servants below)
And wow! We've completed c.196 now... 4 more chapters to go until we reach the c.200 milestone!! Yay!! Give Jimmy some cheers in the chat peoples!
Don't forget we always have a teaser next page! First in the comments.... Type.... FIRST BLOOD!!!!
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