Translated by J.
It was the end of another enjoyable and productive day at work. After what he believed was a successful attempt at hiding their tracks in front of all of their colleagues, Ye Xi lovingly went home with his husband holding hands. Once they had finished the sumptuous home-cooked meal prepared by the housekeeper, Shen Xiulin rolled up his sleeves to wipe the table, while Ye Xi cleared off the bowls and chopsticks and soaked them in the kitchen sink like a good wife, thus completing their ‘heavy’ chores for the day.
Ye Xi let out an exaggerated sigh as he wiped his hands.
Immediately taking the hint, Shen Xiulin praised, “That was a lot of work. Good job, babe!”
He needed to seize every possible opportunity to praise his spouse.
“Thanks, that was alright.” Ye Xi waved his hand to dismiss the notion in spurious humility.
Arching his mouth into a soft arc, Shen Xiulin asked, “Where should we visit later?”
Ye Xi replied enthusiastically, “How about a day trip to a manor in Europe somewhere?”
Under normal circumstances, a trip to Europe would require a certain amount of planning and preparations. However, the tone of Ye Xi’s suggestion was no different from ‘let’s go for a stroll downstairs.’ It was even more surprising when Shen Xiulin agreed without hesitation, “Alright, we’ll leave in a moment.”
So, after getting ready for bed, the two of them changed into their pyjamas, got under the covers and entered the quest world in each other’s arms with practiced familiarity…
When they first returned to the real world six months ago after completing the bonus quests, Ye Xi was still full of trepidations and quite resistant to the idea of returning to the quest world again. So, Shen Xiulin secretly re-entered the quest world on his own by repeating the verbal passcode before bed. Not only did he successfully enter the quest world each time, he was also able to leave without any hassle. The other advantage of using the passcode was that they did not have to wait until they fell asleep. Once they had repeated the passcode a certain number of times, their consciousness would be immediately transported to the quest world, thus both entry and exit from the quest world were completely under their control.
It seemed like they were given a nifty system bonus.
Despite not being able to engage in any exchange of physical matter between the two worlds, they could achieve quite a bit from their consciousness alone.
After entering the quest world, Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin woke up in the middle of their nine-hectare bed.
That’s right, once Ye Xi had married into the Huangfu household, his four-hectare1 bed was upgraded into a nine-hectare2 bed. The level of opulence had more than doubled, making him the envy of many people indeed.
Shen Xiulin trekked to the mantle of the bed and pressed the golden bell to summon the butler.
Once the bell rang thrice, the bedroom door suddenly opened, revealing the butler. He jogged from the door to the edge of Shen Xiulin’s bed, then stood with his hands respectfully by his side, “May I have your orders, Young Master?”
Since the butler had to jog everywhere he went, his stamina was exceptionally good and did not seem out of breath even after all this running.
Shen Xiulin commanded, “Please arrange for the medieval castle I purchased in Y Nation the other day to be tidied up.”
The butler replied, “The castle has been kept in order by the attendants there, Young Master. You may visit at any time.”
Shen Xiulin nodded with satisfaction, “Prepare my helicopter. We will head there now.”
Once the butler had received his orders, he turned and jogged out of sight.
An hour later, Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin flew towards Y Nation in Young Master Huangfu’s 24K golden helicopter.
That’s right, Young Master Huangfu almost lived a god-like existence in this world. With the golden helicopter at his beck and call, he could fly to any place on Earth just by pointing his finger. Such plebeian concerns as visas, fuel and sovereign airspace were not things Young Master Huangfu had to trouble himself with.
With the lunatic powers bestowed on them by the quest world, Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin often came here for vacations since everything they could perceive felt no different to the real world. All the iconic landmarks and heritage sites from the real world had been faithfully recreated in the quest world. Apart from real countries, the quest world also contained numerous fantasy countries that did not exist in the real world. They seemed to have been created by the system’s algorithms, which utilised frameworks and styles from the original novel, superimposed with data from the real world, then the system automatically filled in the blanks where no descriptions were available.
Thus, to Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin, once they were no longer forced to complete quests, the quest world became a very interesting place to visit…
When everyone back in the real world was still having headaches over the congestion at tourist destinations and finding a quiet corner to take souvenir photographs, Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin could enjoy the same sites in the quest world with no one else around.
This was because Shen Xiulin had the power to close down tourist sites at will.
As soon as Shen Xiulin gave the order, countless bodyguards would rush in and clear the sites of other people, then surround the area like an iron fortress. An endless array of standard military aircrafts would also hover above the sites, closely monitoring all the living organisms inside apart from their Young Master and Young Mistress. Not even a tiny fly could pass through the blockade, let alone other tourists.
The miraculous thing was, not only were the tourists in this world not bothered by the disruptions caused by Mr. and Mr. Huangfu to their travel itineraries, they were actually exhilarated by it…
That’s right, once they became married in the original novel, Huangfu X and Murong X became the role model for couples in love everywhere. The entire population of this world believed that the Huangfus were the most perfect and ideal embodiment of romantic love. Despite the two of them doing nothing all day apart from dating and screwing, they were still somehow unduly adored by the public, with everyone exclaiming in unison that after seeing Young Masters Huangfu and Murong marry, they suddenly believed in love when they had no such convictions before.
The delirious tourists would race each other with their phones to get a photo of the Huangfus in person. Even if they did not manage to get a photo of the actual couple, just having a photo of their golden helicopter was enough for them to gloat to everyone they knew for the next three years.
Whenever Shen Xiulin and Ye Xi made their appearance, the tourists would elbow each other out of the way and charge at them while screaming, swooning and shaking hysterically. The Kevlar-clad bodyguards had to clear a path for the couple through flesh while holding anti-explosion shields. With countless arms from manic fans outstretched from behind the wall of bodyguards, the visual effects looked very much like a siege during the zombie apocalypse…
Ye Xi, who had never experienced such mass hysteria, held onto Shen Xiulin’s arm in horror and stuck to his side as tightly as possible.
Then screams would immediately erupt from the crowd around them, because the little master, who was as fragile as moonlight, was too adorable when he snuggled up to his husband. Certain delirious tourists would even begin to hyperventilate at this point in order to inhale more air that had touched the Huangfus. Some people even developed respiratory alkalosis3 from the hyperventilation and fell to the ground in epileptic fits.
Ye Xi, “…”
Why did the author have to write such pointless details into the novel?!
All in all, despite all these, Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin were able to visit many beautiful places in the quest world alone. Places that indeed existed in the real world, but were ravaged by over-tourism.
Their only regret was not being able to bring any photographs back to the real world with them. But the memories were enough, plus they could come back at any time.
A few hours later, their helicopter arrived at Huangfu X’s manor in Y Nation.
This Y Nation did not actually exist in the real world since it was constructed by the system as a filler for incomplete descriptions from the novel. The nation was located on the European continent in the quest world, which the system had retained in the same shape but enlarged several times in land mass; and the nation’s culture and architecture resembled a blend from several European countries.
They arrived at the manor in the bright, sunlit afternoon. Inside the estate was an enormous medieval castle, and like Shen Xiulin’s private residence, it extended into the distance for as far as the eye could see. The outer wall of the castle was built from slices of ash-grey reef rocks, and under the warm glow of the afternoon sun, its colour scheme looked just like that of a fairytale castle.
Ivy and creepers covered the castle’s walls. Dotted throughout the lush, meandering foliage were bright yellow blossoms with thick, fleshy petals. Where the breeze blew past, the wall shuddered like rolling green waves, while spiny turrets from the castle pierced through the clouds against a backdrop of the most dazzling blue sky. The whole scene was so stunningly beautiful that it almost seemed unreal.
The castle was surrounded by large pastures of farmland and dense woods. According to the butler in charge of managing the estate, there was also a magnificent swan lake at the centre of the woods.
Ye Xi had not stopped looking around from the moment he stepped off the helicopter, there was almost too much for him to take in.
Being super-wealthy sure feels great, even if it’s only in my dream! Ye Xi uttered to himself with heartfelt sincerity. When he was forced to complete quests, it was painful just thinking about how ridiculous this world was. But now, he was able to appreciate the various benefits this world presented.
As the butler led them towards the castle, Ye Xi whispered next to Shen Xiulin’s ear, “I’ve really come to love your character design.”
A faint smile appeared on Shen Xiulin’s lips as his Aura of Tyranny formed a heart-shape, while a trail of rose petals formed behind them from the petals of joy that fell from Ye Xi’s hair. It was a very sweet scene.
After the butler led them inside the castle, he provided them with a map of its interior, then explained in detail the location of each of the functional rooms in the castle.
Ye Xi, “…”
This butler is rather thoughtful. Actually, the Chief Executive’s main residence also needs a map. It would be even better if there’s a GPS system, because always getting lost in your own home sounds incredibly stupid…
The butler retreated once he brought the couple to their bedroom. After changing into more comfortable clothes, Ye Xi opened the bedroom window and looked into the distance. The altitude here was relatively high and the air was crisp and cold. Through the window, he could see undulating mountain ranges in the distance enveloped in a shroud of mist and cloud, like a beautiful traditional ink painting. There was even an adorable little red train happily speeding through the peaks like a toy train. Even from so far away, Ye Xi could almost hear the sound of its whistle being carried to his ears.
“Do you like it here?” Coming up to Ye Xi from behind, Shen Xiulin wrapped his arms around Ye Xi and gently brushed his lips across Ye Xi’s nape.
“I love it!” Ye Xi exclaimed with sparkling joy in his eyes.
Then a knock came from the door, followed by the butler and two attendants.
“Young Master and Young Mistress, we have come to light the fireplace.” The butler explained politely.
The fireplace in a medieval castle sounded like it belonged in a fairy tale, so Ye Xi conjured up the following images in his mind:
With a warm, cozy fire by their side, the happy couple sat on rocking chairs across from each other. A soft crackle came from the glowing embers in the fireplace, while the fragrance of pine wood filled their nostrils. As they held ancient tomes bound in sheepskin in their hands, cold starlight seeped through the windows from a brightly lit night sky, and the soft hooting of owls could be heard from the woods…
According to common sense, this scene should have been full of love and warmth. However, as Ye Xi’s gaze followed the butler and attendants to the two-storey-tall fireplace, an ominous feeling swelled inside him…
Sure enough, once the attendants had started a fire in the fireplace, they clicked their fingers at the door and a large black mass of attendants rushed into the room in groups. With ten people per group, they each carried a large wooden log on their shoulder, then skilfully stacked them into the fireplace in a neat pile. The flame flickered as it struggled to lick the massive logs. Gradually, it climbed up the smooth hard logs and the pile burst into a large fire in no time.
Shen Xiulin, “…”
Ye Xi, “…”
With his mouth agape, Ye Xi shuffled closer to the fireplace. The pyre of blazing logs seemed like a giant bathed in flames. Not only was there no cozy warmth, the blaze almost emanated a sense of tragic beauty and heroic splendour. Despite the room being somewhat chilly from the high altitude, it suddenly broiled as if filled with hellfire.
After examining the fireplace that seemed to be the scene of a forest fire, Ye Xi trembled and gave up the idea of warming himself next to the fireplace in a rocking chair…
Afterall, this was Young Master Huangfu’s fireplace, how could it be as miserable as the fireplace from Ye Xi’s imagination?
Watching Ye Xi’s dazed expression, Shen Xiulin broke into a smile.
Ye Xi turned to glare at him with a dour look.
“What do you want to do today, babe?” Shen Xiulin cleared his throat. Quickly wiping the smile off his face, he turned back into his usual serious, composed self. He tapped the map given to them by the butler, “Shall we go hunting? The map shows there’s a large hunting ground to the south of the castle.”
At that, the butler, who quietly waited at their side, interrupted, “That’s an excellent suggestion, Young Master. The hunting ground is stocked and ready, it is at your disposal at any time.”
Hunting sounds so high-class! I have no idea how to hunt, but it should be fun to watch! Ye Xi thought to himself. He recalled that Shen Xiulin sometimes practiced archery at an archery range back in the real world and should be able to fully flaunt his skill. Also, since the prey in this world were not real, he did not feel guilty about killing them.
So, Ye Xi exclaimed enthusiastically, “Sounds great, let’s go hunting!”
“Yes sir, please follow me.” The butler led the way and introduced the hunting facilities as they walked, “The hunting ground is currently stocked with animals including wild ducks, hares, deer, Bengal tigers, African gorillas, Alaskan grizzly bears, Komodo dragons and Amazonian pythons. If you prefer other types of game, Young Master, I can arrange for them to be captured from their native lands.”
Ye Xi’s enthusiasm suddenly faded, “…”
My dear butler, the list went off the rails after the deer! We only wanted to shoot some wild ducks and such!
Meanwhile, Shen Xiulin calmly replied, “That’s not necessary. These animals are sufficient.”
So, under the protection of an army of bodyguards, Shen Xiulin and Ye Xi arrived at the hunting ground.
Various weapons were placed in front of them in a long row, including a rocket launcher, gatling gun, mortar launcher and sniper rifle…there was even an impressive-looking tank parked on the grass.
The butler looked expectantly at Shen Xiulin, “Please choose your weapon, Young Master.”
With an impassive face, Shen Xiulin picked up the bow and quiver at the far end of the row of weapons.
Looking slightly surprised, the butler replied with reverence, “Of course! Even the least lethal weapon is more than enough for the Young Master to kill all the prey. Wise choice, sir!”
An endless applause came from the bodyguards and attendants around them in agreement.
Ye Xi, “…”
You’re all reading too much into this. Our Chief Executive doesn’t actually know how to use any of the other weapons, alright?
Between the applause, the butler asked respectfully, “What kind of game would you like us to release, Young Master?”
Shen Xiulin calmly replied, “Wild ducks and hares.”
The butler was puzzled for a moment, then replied with confidence in his voice, “The Young Master must be worried that more ferocious beasts would frighten the Young Mistress.”
The bodyguards and attendants immediately sang praises of Huangfu X and Murong X’s earth-shattering love for each other.
Ye Xi watched them with a twitch in the corner of his mouth, “…”
Oh please, our Chief Executive is also afraid of such things as Amazonian pythons, alright?
“The Young Master has given orders to release wild ducks and hares!” After the butler gave the order, a gloomy, dark mass suddenly swept through the distant horizon and pushed towards them at record speed. With noisy quacking drowning all other sounds, Ye Xi saw tens of thousands of wild ducks and hares hurtling toward them in a great stampede, sweeping through everything in their path like a pitch-black, all-encompassing flood.
It was very fortunate that they did not ask for any ferocious beasts to be released, otherwise the scene would have been awfully terrifying.
During this chaos, Shen Xiulin calmly drew his bow and released an arrow without even lifting his eyes, it seemed as if he was just shooting at random. However, as the sound of his arrow pierced through the air, a wild duck fell from the sky and dropped firmly onto the ground.
Since the ducks were flying so close together, one could shoot them down with his eyes closed without any real need to aim…
The bodyguards and attendants broke into a frenzy of applause once more, praising their young master’s incredulous archery skills.
Our Young Master doesn’t even need to open his eyes to hit his target!
It was clear that the original Young Master Huangfu from the novel was praised into an idiot by the people around him…
Once they had successfully hunted three hares and two ducks, they ended the hunt.
One of the hares was actually caught by Ye Xi. Since the place was teeming with hares, all he had to do was bend down and pull one up by the ears. However, for the little master who was ‘as fragile as moonlight’, this was probably one of the most daunting experiences he ever had in his life.
Praise exploded from the body guards and the attendants around him, saying things like ‘no wonder Little Master Murong is such a good match for our Young Master. Catching a bunny with his bare hands! Wow!’
Ye Xi, who normally had pretty thick skin, blushed from their praise.
The focus for a vacation at the manor were, of course, experiences they could not have back in the city. So, after the hunt had ended, Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin went to the farm for some close encounters with nature, such as milking cows and feeding baby alpacas. Then they picked many different types of berries from the orchard and even rode horses on the race course. After that, Shen Xiulin dismissed all of the bodyguards and attendants and strolled hand-in-hand with Ye Xi into the mysterious, shadowy woods while they looked for the legendary swan lake.
Giant trees stretched up from either side of the leafy path. Covered in a layer of crisscrossing moss and fallen leaves, the path was slightly slippery from the dampness in the air. Ye Xi took off his shoes and carried them in his left hand, while he held onto Shen Xiulin with his right hand, then cheerfully stepped onto the coarse stone pavement with his bare feet.
Since the Young Mistress was afraid of insects, the attendants combed every inch of the manor each day for them, and regardless of caterpillars or bugs, did not let a single one get away. This was the reason for the woods being extra quiet. There was only the sound of leaves rustling in the wind and not a single insect chirp could be heard.
The air in the woods was exceptionally fresh and filled with the earthy fragrance of lush vegetation. Ye Xi inhaled deeply to take in all the fresh air, then beckoned to Shen Xiulin, “Quick, take some deep breaths to clear your lungs.”
Without a word, Shen Xiulin blinked as he slowly turned to face him.
After several exaggerated breaths, Ye Xi exclaimed in the mysterious tone of a cult leader, “I feel like my body has been cleansed of all the smog and poison, like I can live an extra ten years!”
Shen Xiulin chuckled as he reminded the little idiot, “Did you forget that we only exist as brainwaves here?”
Ye Xi calmly denied, “Of course not. I was only kidding.”
The truth was he did indeed forget just now, because everything he experienced here felt as real as they did in the real world. If one was not careful, one might just accidentally forget that they only existed in this world telepathically.
“However,” Shen Xiulin reached out and pinched Ye Xi’s cheek, “if we did spend ten years in this place, it would be the same as living an extra ten years in the real world.”
As a matter of fact, since the original novel did not mention that anyone would get sick, age or die, they could stay here for another five hundred years without any issue. Thus according to the system’s usual logic, none of the characters in this world would get old or die.
So, it seemed like Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin got the best end of an incredible deal.
It was not clear how the author would have felt about this…
After following the leafy path for a while, a clear, sapphire lake appeared before them; lush green shrubs circled the lake. Dotted amongst the shrubs, were bright red dogwood berries and pure-white wild lilies the colour of unmelted snow; while honeysuckle and sage covered the lake shore like a serene carpet woven from delicate green threads.
As they turned their gaze towards the water, they saw pairs of white swans, and the occasional pair of black swans, gracefully gliding across the surface of the lake. The swans crossed their long elegant necks into a heart-shape, emanating an air of romance.
Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin sat down on a large rock by the edge of the lake, talking and occasionally kissing well into the afternoon.
Meanwhile, a wild duck from the hunting grounds landed in the lake. It looked around blankly at the pairs of nuzzling swans, then to the shameless humans before it, and reflected on the bleak and lonely life of a duck…
Once Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin had enough of strolling by the lake shore between the woods, they sauntered back to the castle holding hands. In the kitchen, more than a whole legion of chefs were busy preparing dinner for the Young Master and Young Mistress. 24K golden pots and pans continuously became deformed and melted on the 1000+°C natural gas stove, which were then quickly replaced by new golden pots and pans. It was extravagant to the extreme.
Ye Xi, who came to the kitchen on a whim, “…”
So that’s how Young Master Huangfu’s meals are made! How much gold do they have to melt for a single meal? On the other hand, if there are such people as the Prince of Kingdom X in this world, maybe gold isn’t so precious afterall…
A short while later, the chefs had prepared a sumptuous dinner, which were then laid out on a 200m-long4 dining table. The table also contained jams and fruit pies from the berries Ye Xi had picked, as well as grilled meat from the wild hares and ducks that Shen Xiulin had shot. The meat was grilled until the skin was crispy and golden, with glossy juices flowing down the side from the gentle poke of a fork. A thick marinade, mixed with oil and juice from the meat, collected at the bottom of the snowy white plate, while the attendants deboned and carved the meat into slices before placing them in front of Shen Xiulin.
As usual, a large plate of miserable flower petals were placed in front of Ye Xi.
“Alright, you are all dismissed.” Shen Xiulin waved his hand and the attendants retreated until only Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin remained in the almost borderless dining hall.
At that, Ye Xi pushed his plate of petals aside as Shen Xiulin pushed his plate of meat towards Ye Xi. Their actions were well-rehearsed and synchronised.
Then Ye Xi began to stuff his face with a vengeance.
The wild hares they personally ‘hunted’ were particularly delicious, while the fruit pies made from their hand-picked berries were extra sweet, and the ice cream made from the milk they collected were extra refreshing.
That’s right, Ye Xi was eating without reservation in the quest world…What sacrilege!
This was possible because Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin had made a discovery after a few trips to the quest world, which was: no matter what state they were in when they left the quest world, when they returned, they would wake up with full health in the middle of Huangfu X’s nine-hectare bed without fail. This meant that once Ye Xi had eaten a meal against his character design, as long as he could exit the world in time, he would be exempt from the consequences…
Running away after eating was so exciting!
After their meal, Ye Xi and Shen Xiulin sat in the rocking chairs next to the fireplace, where the fire has been reduced from a forest fire into a normal flame. They passed a pleasant evening drinking an ’82 red wine made from grapes picked from their own vineyard at the manor.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, a large dinosaur and a small dinosaur happily cuddled together on their bed. With a speed that was both extremely slow and exceedingly fast, the slender second hand on the clock moved forward with a gentle tick.
- ~10 acres
- ~22 acres
- ~660 feet