Chapter 204 We’re A Team
Bai Mo gazed at Ye Ci, his thoughts hidden from her.
At that moment, Ye Ci felt fear. She remembered the rejection she received from the Fate PvP tournament organizers in her past life.
“You’re someone without a team.”
You’re someone without a team. Even after such a long time, Ye Ci could still hear the words spoken to her. She wanted to cover her ears, to block out the noise entering through her eardrums into her heart. Even if she was a reincarnator, she tried her best to correct her mistakes. But… Was she still the same person? Was she still that person who was rejected by everyone?
Even in this life, was she still an insignificant persona that was rejected by everyone?
For as long as Bai Mo could remember, he had never seen such a soft a vulnerable side of Ye Ci during his 10 years of interaction with her. He might never had the chance in the next 10 years. In the eyes of her parents, relatives and other outsiders, Ye Ci had always been an overly independent child. She has never talked much, and was never good at communicating with people. In the eyes of outsiders, she was as stoic as a stone wall.
At times, even Bai Mo himself would find Ye Ci to be cold blooded. She was always headstrong, and was never gentle. Her unyielding character was not one that was befitting of a girl. It gave off an illusion that Ye Ci was tough and would never cry. In truth, there were times when she was just so vulnerable.
Realizing the truth, Bai Mo’s gaze softened. He patted Ye Ci on the head and smile, “Just what are you thinking about? Why are you thinking of something like this?”
Yet, Ye Ci was so pig headed at times. She stared at Bai Mo with her watery eyes and grimaced, “I’ve always been like this aren’t I? I’ve always been alone. Even if I’m in Upwards Ho!, I’m just Gongzi You, and was never ‘Gongzi You of Upwards Ho!’, am I right?”
“Just what are you trying to prove?”
“What am I trying to prove?” Ye Ci was momentarily stunned. She was not able to comprehend Bai Mo’s words, “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Little Ci, everybody plays a different role in a team. With their role, everybody will experience something different. If you’re not part of Upwards Ho!, if you’re not part of our team, why is Upwards Ho!’s First Clear today so important to you?”
“You know that every First Blood and every First Clear is important to me…” Ye Ci appeared to be very desperate to prove that she was still the loner that she used to be. She glared at Bai Mo, as if he was her sworn enemy. There was a glint of violence in her eyes that was very alarming.
Bai Mo covered Ye Ci eyes with his hand and grimaced, “Don’t look at me like that. Little Ci, I am Bai Mo, I am not your enemy.” he cut Ye Ci off mid sentence, “I’m not talking about this particular First Clear. I’m talking about every single one of them.”
Ye Ci bit her lips. She was trapped in a loop created by herself that she was unable to escape.
“Little Ci, I know what you’re trying to say,” Bai Mo retracted his hand, but his smile remained gentle, “You feel that you don’t deserve to be part of the team because you only showed up when we achieve First Clear, and did not even help out with most of the dungeon clearing. You think that people only recognize you as their vice leader because of me…”
“It has always been like this, isn’t it? If I’m not Gongzi You, if I’m not a so-called “Godlike Player”, will they still remember me? I’m just a nobody!” Ye Ci’s voice had a certain sharpness to it.
“You turned a blind eye when I defeated World Bosses alone. You allowed me to go all over the place, and have never asked me to join dungeon raids. Isn’t it a sign that you do not see me as one of the guild members? Doesn’t it mean that I don’t belong to the team?”
Ye Ci raised her voice, which sliced through the jovial atmosphere. She was at the verge of driving herself mad. She refused to listen to Bai Mo’s words. She was filled with the humiliation she suffered from her past life.
“So what?” Bai Mo’s words was like water that was splashed on the raging flames in Ye Ci’s heart. He endured and defused Ye Ci’s tantrum, putting out the flames in her heart.
“So what?” Ye Ci was unable to respond to Bai Mo’s words. She stared blankly at Bai Mo, as if she had been sapped of all her energy and voice. She continued staring absentmindedly at Bai Mo, immobilized.
“Yup. So what if you’re correct?” Bai Mo continued smiling at Ye Ci.
At that moment, she was just like a little girl. A little girl who would fuss over minor matters and waste her time on insignificant problems. Bai Mo even felt that this version of Ye Ci was way cuter than the Gongzi You that appeared to be so unreachable.
Perhaps due to the rarity of such a scene, it became something very precious. Bai Mo was enjoying this moment a lot.
“Even if you’re a lone wolf, even if you barely took part in guild activities, even if you do not take part in dungeon raids, so what? Does it mean that you’re no longer a member of ‘Upwards Ho’!? Does it mean that you’re not Gongzi You? Does it mean that you’ll forever be alone?” Bai Mo cupped Ye Ci’s fase with a hand, and turned her head towards the bonfire not far away, “Look at those people! Do you think that you’re not one of them?”
“Am I?” Ye Ci chuckled coldly, “I don’t even know their names! Do I still belong to the team?”
“Even then, are you not a member of Upwards Ho!?”
“Am I even worthy?”
“Being part of the team does not mean that you have to spend all your time together with the members of your team. Teamwork and trust are the most important thing in a party.” Bai Mo let out a sigh, “I know that you’ll never accept what I say. You’re looking at yourself as an outsider. But, you can try and ask each and every one of our members. Ask them if they think that you’re part of this team.”
Ye Ci was lost for words.
“Look at these people! Timely Rain, the Icy Hand couple, Phoenix Claw, Fruit Jelly, Let Go Of That Girl, Ideal Height, Pea Cake, Carnivore, Purity….” Bai Mo listed out at least 20 names as examples, “They were all essential personnel of the guild. Do you think that they don’t see you as part of the team? Can you deny their existence? They here because of you!”
Ye Ci remained silent. It was as if she was bedazzled by the raging bonfire.
“You might think that you are not an important person in the guild because you did not take part in most of our dungeon raids. But is that true?” Bai Mo took a sip of the wine, “Little Ci, if this is what you think. Then there’s only one thing I could say. The guild is not the one who is treating you like an outsider. It is you who do not see yourself as part of the guild.”
Ye Ci bit her lips, “I don’t know.”
“I don’t understand why you’re so troubled by this. To me, this should not even be a problem. As a team, it does not mean that we should always be together. As long as you are willing to contribute to the wellbeing of the guild, you’re one of us! It doesn’t matter if you do not take part in guild activities, you’re contributing in your own way. If you insist that you’re not a part of the guild, allow me to list out your contribution to the guild.” said Bai Mo, “You’ve led us through countless First Clears, and you’ve recruited a lot of talented players into the guild. When our members were bullied, you were the one who jumped head first into battle and turned the tides. You’ve always thought of the guild’s benefits.”
Bai Mo let go of Ye Ci with a smile, “I will not list everything, but these are all things that you’ve done for the guild. I think you know your contribution to the guild better than I do, am I right?”
“But do they count as contributions to the guild?”
Bai Mo shook his head, “Why not?” and continued with a grimace, “Little Ci, did you hit your head or something? Do you really think that you’re truly part of the team only after taking part in dungeon raids? If that’s the case, do you mean that Carnivore, Cutie Lemon, and Pea Cake do not deserve to be in our guild as well? They have never joined any raids before.”
“They’re Life Players! They have different jobs to attend to.” Ye Ci was very clear about this. She was able to refute Bai Mo’s word immediately after they left his mouth.
“See? Even you know about the division of labor. You have a different job as well! You are a strong solo player. You’re the God-tier player of the Eastern Continent. It would of course be good for you to lead us in exploring dungeons. However, wouldn’t it be better if you can do something else for the guild? Little Ci, do you know that your First Bloods brought great honor to the guild? ‘Upwards Ho!’ was a new guild that had less than 2,000 members back then. Do you think we can make it as one of the top 10 guilds in the Eastern Continent?” Bai Mo snapped his fingers and continued, “Do you know that there are hundreds of small guilds and literally thousands of larger guilds in the Eastern Continent? There are 216 of those guilds who have more than 1000 members. Don’t you know what is giving us an edge over all those guilds?”
“Bai Mo, this is the first time I’ve discovered that you’re very good at consoling others.” there was a bitter taste in Ye Ci’s mouth.
“I’m merely stating the truth. If you think that I’m saying it for the sake of comforting you, then there’s nothing I can do.” Bai Mo shook his head, “Do you know what are the two hardest things in the world?”
“What are they?”
“The first one is to place somebody else’s money into your own pocket. I think this is something that you’re very good at,” Bai Mo let out a handsome smile, “The other one is to place your idea into somebody else’s brain. And I am apparently doing a very bad job at it, considering the fact that you’re still wasting your time in this senseless argument with me.”
Ye Ci was momentarily stunned by Bai Mo’s words. Then, a soft chuckle escaped her mouth. .
“What are you laughing at? If I could, I would peel your head open and replace your brain with mine. I will then clean your brain of all that nonsense!” Bai Mo took another sip of the wine, “If you still feel bad about it, I will notify you whenever we head into the dungeon. But don’t you dare complain.”
“Why?” Ye Ci has never put any real effort into dungeon raids. She was unfamiliar with the guild’s procedures.
“It’s just like having a job. You need to be online at a fixed time, but you might not necessarily be able to get off work in time. If all goes well, you might be able to get your pay and your share of the equipment quickly. But if we run into trouble, your work time will be dragged on for God knows how long.” Bai Mo told Ye Ci the truth, “I know that you’re doing quite a number of good quests. Think about it, if you follow us into the dungeons, you won’t have the time to complete those quests. You’ll be tired as hell every single day. You won’t have your own time.”
Ye Ci creased her eyebrows right after listening to Bai Mo’s words. Truth to be told, she hated to keep to the working routine. She began showing signs of doubt, “Must I do that?”
“Yup.” Bai Mo nodded, “Why do you think there’s a break once a week?”
“But… If I don’t do this…”
Bai Mo was able to anticipate Ye Ci’s next words, “That was a very stupid way of thinking. If the only way somebody could truly belong to a team is to join in on dungeon explorations, this would mean that all the guilds were made solely for dungeon exploring.” said Bai Mo, “Even if dungeon exploration has always been mainstream, the growth of a guild does not depend solely on that. A guild is like a family. There is always a breadwinner for the family. You have always been in that position. But, if you insist on not taking that task, I’ll be forced to do it. Personally, I think that you do a better job than I ever could.”
Bai Mo continued after he received no reply from Ye Ci, “Little Ci, I know you’re not someone who works well with a schedule. Things are pretty good as they are. As for your doubts about belonging, it’s bullshit!” said Bai Mo, “Why don’t we make a bet?”
“Go to a random map and start killing everybody you see. We’ll see who people will retaliate against. Will it be you, or will it be ‘Upwards Ho!?’”
Ye Ci was stunned, “Why would I do that?”
“If they only go after you, it means that you are right. You’re not the only one who do not see yourself as a part of ‘Upwards Ho!’. Even others think so too.” Bai Mo drummed his fingers against the surface of his armor, “If they retaliate against ‘Upwards Ho!’, and kill any of our members in sight, it means that they see you as part of the guild. They will punish the guild for your crime.”
With that, Bai Mo inched closer to Ye Ci with a smile on his face, “So what do you think? Do you accept the bet?”
Ye Ci looked at Bai Mo as if he was a fool, “Are you an idiot? How can we bet on something like that?”
“It’ll only bring harm to the guild!”
“So what?” Bai Mo narrowed his eyes. He looked like a ruffian who was seriously considering about doing such a thing, “I created the guild for fun anyways, so I can have fun with it anyway I like. We’ve just gotten First Clear, so why not add more to the fun?”
“There must be something wrong with you.” Ye Ci mumbled, “Doing this is just…”
“But why not?” Bai Mo stood up, pulling Ye Ci who was sitting on the ground up with him, his eyes were filled with excitement, “Let’s go! I know you’re very interested in something like this. Let’s do it together, shall we?”
“Bai Mo, you’re crazy! Don’t joke around with the guild’s reputation! Everybody has been working so hard for our guild! Your action will give ‘Upwards Ho!’ a bad name.” Ye Ci would never follow Bai Mo’s lead in such a ridiculous course of action. She slapped Bai Mo’s hand away, “You’re the leader of the guild! You should be thinking of the guild’s benefits! How could you come up with something like that?”
Bai Mo’s smile remained on his face. He let out a low chuckle when Ye Ci finished her rant, “See? Do you still think that you’re not part of the guild? Do you still feel that you don’t belong to the team?”
“W-what?” Ye Ci could feel that her level of intelligence was lower than usual on this day. Could it be the alcohol? Why can’t I understand what Bai Mo is trying to say?
“If you’ve never thought of yourself as part of ‘Upwards Ho!’, if you’ve never truly cared about the members, why would you even worry about the reputation of the guild?” Bai Mo patted Ye Ci on her head, “Little Ci, you’re just too smart for your own good sometimes.”
Ye Ci stared silently at Bai Mo. She lowered her head and chuckled after a long while, “Heh… I really am dumb sometimes.”
Bai Mo pulled her into a tight embrace, “To be honest with you, it’s okay for you to act foolishly once in a while. You’ll be more like the little girl you are this way.”
Ye Ci’s mouth twitched. Little girl…
How long has she not been called a little girl? Why does it feel so awkward to be called a little girl?
Ye Ci shoved Bai Mo aside and landed a kick on his chest. Bai Mo, who was caught off guard, fell onto the ground, “What the hell are you doing?”
Ye Ci raised an eyebrow, planted her foot on Bai Mo’s chest and leaned forward, “Bai Mo, are you asking for a beating? Did you just called me a ‘little girl’? Do you think I’m 5 years old or something?”
“No! What I meant was that… It’s quite good for you to act silly sometimes.” Bai Mo let out a sigh. A sense of helplessness washed over Bai Mo. As expected, the scene earlier on happened only once in a blue moon. It was very rare for Ye Ci to display a behavior like that.
“Hmpf!” Ye Ci landed two more kicks on Bai Mo and went offline.
Perhaps due to the counseling session with Bai Mo, Ye Ci was able to overcome her troubles. However, she was unable to log into the game for a few days. Finals were approaching, and Ye Ci was fond of the idea of passing all her subjects. She was forced to study hard.
It was such a cruel fate. She had attended university before her reincarnation, and was forced to relive her life as a university student. Not only that, Ye Ci was also troubled by the fact that she was unable to master her subjects even after her reincarnation. She still had to put a lot of effort into her studies. Why can’t I be like the main characters in your average reincarnation novel? The answer was simple: She had “returned” all her knowledge to her lecturers. If she did not work hard, she would definitely fail in her exams.
“Little Ci, how did you do in the exam?” Fang Susu was worried about Ye Ci who was wearing a wan expression when she left the exam hall, “The questions were so tough!”
“Hard? Heh! That damned old man! He told us that everything he taught is important! Do you have any idea how thick our textbook is? I can’t even finish it! Even if I could, I won’t be able to remember everything! I think I’m doomed for this semester.” Ye Ci let out a long sigh. She was probably the most unfortunate reincarnator. She might fail her exam as someone who has reincarnated!
“That might not be the case. You haven’t missed a single class. I’m sure the old man will give you some marks for your attendance.” even when Fang Susu was trying her best to console Ye Ci, she herself was not confident in her own abilities. The exam questions were very tough.
Ye Ci rolled her eyes at Fang Susu. As a reincarnator, she knew that the old man would remember each and every of the students who have decided to skip his class and exact his revenge in the final examinations. She did not dare to skip even one of his classes despite how busy she was in-game.
“I hope so.” Ye Ci was very anxious. She hoped that she could pass. Please don’t fail me! A supplementary exam was not overly costly, but it would leave an ugly mark in her certificate. Even if she was a godlike presence in game, she would definitely disappoint her parents if she failed the subject.
Is there any reincarnator out there who is suffering as much as she is?
Ye Ci was heading back home with Fang Susu at her side when her phone rang. It was a call from her parents. They urged her to go home early and told her that there would be a banquet at night. They gave instructions for her to head to the restaurant with Bai Mo while they would head to the place first with Tan Polang.
Ye Ci grit her teeth after hanging up the call. How could they forget about their daughter when they got a new son? That little brat got to ride in their car while Ye Ci and Bai Mo had to travel by bus!
Fang Susu laughed out loud when she received a complaint from Ye Ci. Fortunately for Ye Ci, Bai Mo arrived just before Fang Susu could make fun of her.
Fang Susu smiled sweetly at Ye Ci when she spotted Bai Mo from afar. She then whispered to Ye Ci, “Yo, Ye Ci, is Bai Mo a close relative of yours or is he a distant one?”
“Of course he’s my cousin!” Ye Ci was baffled by Fang Susu’s behavior, “He’s the son of my mother’s sister. Why do you ask?”
“Ah, how unfortunate.” Fang Susu let out a sigh and continued, “You know… It’s okay even if he’s a cousin of yours.”
“Just what the hell are you talking about?” Ye Ci was very confused as she listened to Fang Susu’s words, “I’ll be on my way.”
“Ah, it’s nothing. What I’m trying to say is that, even if the both of you got married, there’s a chance that your child will not be retarded. Haha!”
Ye Ci was momentarily stunned, “Oi oi.. Fang Susu, are you itching to get beaten up?” shouted Ye Ci as she began chasing Fang Susu around.
“Stop! Stop! I just thought that you are well matched with him! If he’s not a cousin, you can seriously consider having a relationship with him” Fang Susu laughed out loud. She ran towards Qin Churuo who was walking towards her, “I’ll get going. You take care!”
Ye Ci let out a sigh. They will never understand what Bai Mo meant to her. Their family bond was something that she treasured the most in her current life and even in her past life.
At this point, Bai Mo had already moved their things and gaming cabin back home. He was there to help Ye Ci with her textbooks.
“What’s with the banquet tonight?” asked Bai Mo as the boarded a taxi.
“How the hell would I know? My mom told us to go there by bus. They’ll head there with that little brat.” Ye Ci was disgruntled, “They’re going there by car! So why do we have to ride on the bus?”
“We’re adults, Little Ci. He’s just a kid.” Bai Mo knew that Ye Ci was not really angry, just somewhat sulking and cracked a joke at her, “Well, you can pretend to be a little girl, I don’t mind carrying you there!” Ye Ci rolled her eyes at Bai Mo and his nonsense.
Zuo Xiaolan, Ye Nantian and Tan Polang were already gone by the time the two arrived, leaving behind a note with an address. After a quick shower and a change of clothes, Ye Ci left home with Bai Mo.
Bai Mo was very curious about the banquet. He winked at Ye Ci as they were on the bus, “Say, Little Ci, do you think they’re setting you up on a blind date or something?”
“You must be out of your mind.” Ye Ci rolled her eyes at Bai Mo, paying him no heed.
“I’m being serious you know.”
“Then why would they bring you and Tan Polang along?” Ye Ci snorted. She was currently 19 years old, but as a reincarnator, her age was definitely way older than Bai Mo.
“To be your bodyguards perhaps?” Bai Mo was very excited. It was apparent that he had never experienced the true suffering of having a blind date, which was why he was looking forward to such an ordeal.
Ye Ci remained silent. She refused to lower her level of intelligence by discussing such a topic with Bai Mo.
When they finally arrived at the private compartment of the restaurant, Ye Ci realised that her conversation with Bai Mo was futile. She saw people who she thought she would never meet again.
The parents of the four families had already taken a seat, with their children by their sides. Ye Ci and Bai Mo were stunned as they walked into the compartment. Bai Mo, however, was quick to react, and pinched Ye Ci who was in a daze. They immediately greeted the adults and took their seats.
“Aiya! How many years has it been since I last saw Little Ci and Bai Mo? Bai Mo has grown into a handsome young man now!” Liu Chang’s mom, who was a gentle person, immediately greeted the two, and the rest of the parents joined in.
“Say, it’s been quite a few years since we’ve gathered for a meal together” Dong Yin’s father let out a hearty laugh, “We don’t even notice just how big our child has grown until we’ve seen the other children. I feel old.”
Dong Yin’s father was met with agreement from the other adults, and they resumed their previous conversation.
The warm and lively interaction between the adults were not mirrored by their children. Despite sitting in close proximity, they appeared to be preoccupied with matters of their own. Dong Yin and Yi Cang were staring at their tablet computer, Ye Ci was talking softly with Liu Chang, while Bai Mo was also having a conversation with Tan Polang.
Despite that, the atmosphere in the compartment was still harmonious.
“Who was the one who organized this banquet?” Ye Ci could not understand why somebody would organize this banquet between the four families after losing contact for so many years. She did not mind the presence of the adults, but she wanted nothing to do with Dong Yin and Yi Cang.
“It’s definitely not my parents. But I heard from my mom that Dong Yin’s parents were the one who organized this events, and Yi Cang’s parents responded in kind. My parents were quite reluctant to be here, but since your parents came, they followed along as well.” Liu Chang’s voice was very soft. Nobody else other than Ye Ci was able to hear her words. There was hostility in Liu Chang’s voice. Apparently, things were not as simple as they sound.
Ye Ci could feel Liu Chang dissatisfaction, but decided against commenting about it. After all, it was not their place to meddle the affairs of the adults.
“So what is this banquet for again?”
“They said it’s to catch up for old time’s sake, but who knows?” Liu Chang was very doubtful.
“Thank God…” as the conversation continued, the waiters has begun serving the dishes. They were all rich and exquisite. At a glance, Ye Ci could tell that the dishes would definitely not be cheap.
“I’ve brought my card along.” Ye Ci smiled at Liu Chang, “I have a bad feeling about this. Luck for us, I brought my card along. Now I feel so much better.”
“You’re not thinking of paying for the bills are you? It’s their treat…”
“This is exactly why I was having a bad feeling.” Ye Ci could not help be feel an anxiety in her heart, “I hope that I’m mistaken.”
Liu Chang was someone who knew Ye Ci well, “I brought my card along as well. If things go bad, we can split the bill” she let out a sigh.
“What? You’ve earned a lot from the sponsored dungeon clearing?” Ye Ci chuckled. She knew that Liu Chang was able to earn a considerable amount of money.
Liu Chung laughed out loud at well, “Well, at least it pays better than my part time job.”
“Ahh.. The food is served. Let us have our meal.” Dong Yin’s father spoke out, and signaled for the waiters to serve the drinks as well.
The adults began eating their meal happily.
After several rounds of drinks and food, Dong Yin’s father cleared his throat, indicating that he was about to speak.
Since the beginning of Ye Ci’s memories, Dong Yin’s father would always be the one to play the host whenever the four families had their gatherings. Unlike his daughter who was delicate and quiet, Dong Yin’s father was a strong and capable man. This was the reason behind his family’s success.
However, Ye Ci was not interested in what he was about to say. When the attendees set down their chopsticks and listened attentively to Dong Yin’s father, Ye Ci placed a piece of pork trotters into her bowl, and resumed her meal.
Under normal circumstances, such gesture was not a big deal. The adults knew that their children were not interested in their conversation, and paid Ye Ci no heed. However, things seemed to have changed. As Ye Ci begin munching on the piece of pork trotter, Yi Cang who was sitting not far away snorted, “You’ve really never eaten a free meal in your life before have you? What a country bumpkin you are.”
His voice was soft, but it was heard by quite a number of people around him. Ye Ci was momentarily stunned. Before she could react, Yi Cang’s parents immediately shot him a glare, indicating for him to be quiet.