Chapter 4 – The Protagonist (1)
Master Fourteen, do you have some kind of ability that can make people feel weak from chest tightness and shortness of breath? Ah! Even vomit blood or something?
For some people, direct threats are more efficient than rhetorical appeals. Simply because they are afraid of death—Extremely afraid of death and the pain that comes with it.
Is it that strong?
Su Xin whistled in her heart. This ability of the system sounds quite overpowered. If this was always readily available, then she would be able to threaten people with ease. Is there such a thing not at the system’s fingertips?
[But on one condition.] Fourteen slowly added, a bit belatedly.
Su Xin snorted in her heart. There truly was nothing so good in this world! Su Xin thought there would definitely be no tasty meat pie in heaven, and if there was, it would be an iron pie.
Sure enough, that iron pie was coming!
[Every use requires a deduction of one-twelfth of your life span as compensation.]
She could only get one year’s worth of time rewarded to her for completing a task, not to mention a lot of time and effort spent in a foreign world. To only use it once and easily lose one-twelfth of her lifespan, Su Xin felt that her heart was bleeding.
This is exploitation! This is the behavior of bloodsuckers! How can this be worthy of socialism? It’s an abomination of capitalism! Doesn’t your conscience hurt?!
[Not at all. My conscience doesn’t hurt. Our system doesn’t need one.]
Su Xin began to think about other methods which were more feasible and ignored the system. If she can’t cheat with this ability, then she can use her own military force. Although her physical prowess is not as good as before, or can be even said to be far inferior, her underhanded means are still there.
Although a first-rate assassin, Su Xin can’t magically alter her face or make do with a human skin mask. She also can’t use her non-existent knowledge on traditional medicine to make poison. However, it’s not her fault. Su Xin can change her external image through makeup, but there are no lipsticks, eyebrow pencils, eyeliners and other types of cosmetics back in her world in this world. The more complex stuff should be even rarer or perhaps not yet even discovered here. What can she use to change her appearance?
On the subject of poison, if she was to use this method, the recipes she knew were all made from new biological agents. She’s not a traditional Chinese medicine doctor where she can expertly concoct poison from herbs.
The only thing Su Xin is very good at are cold weapons[note]A weapon that does not use fire or explosives.[/note]. Make her wield one and it’s terribly easy to threaten a person without force.
Su Xin suddenly thought of a question. Since this was an ancient plane—specifically the ancient plane of China—would there be a thing like Jianghu[note]Jianghu is the community of martial artists in wuxia stories and, more recently, outlaw societies like the Triads.[/note]? Such as, the kind of flying seen on TV shows where they used internal forces and so on.
[ Yes, host. It indeed exists.]
Su Xin rubbed her temples with her hands.
Master Fourteen, is there another way to extend my lifespan other than completing my tasks? You see, if I use that ability just once and the bill already comes as one-twelfth of my lifespan. There should be some other way that I can earn it.. right?
The host was pitiful but still logical, Fourteen realized this and felt a bit apologetic. They like the type of hosts that are just averagely smart. There are always those who are too wise and take advantage of their loopholes for their own benefits. But the system is designed to be simple and thus, it can’t complete their complex orders, leading to miscommunication and affecting the flow of the mission.
[By triggering all kinds of side quests. If this kind of quest is really triggered, I will tell you. After all, this is a mutually beneficial thing. I won’t have to hurt you. ]
The mechanical sound of Fourteen echoed in Su Xin’s mind.
Master Fourteen, regarding the ability you gave me, you say I have to use my own vitality to use it. Can you give me a little something with it?
[What is it?]
A pill! The kind of pill that resembles a poisonous drug but is not really poisonous, otherwise, what other means can I use to threaten?
A little red pill materialized on Su Xin’s palm.
This is perfect. Thank you.
Su Xin went back to Ta Yan’s door, raised her hand and knocked.
“Who is it?” Ta Yan obviously had quite the temper at the moment and everything she said was laced with anger.
“Mama, it’s me, Xue Yao.”
The room was eerily silent. Ta Yan’s angry words remained in Su Xin’s mind.
“What’s the matter? Another excuse won’t work on me. There’s no hiding. Stop being delusional.”
“I wanted to show mama something.”
Su Xin approached slowly like a lion zeroing in on its prey. She firmly stepped on Ta Yan’s foot, making her sit straight in shock.
For a split-second Su Xin had a thought when she saw the red, small pill melt immediately upon entrance at Ta Yan’s mouth.
What the system produces is truly of superior quality.
Ta Yan was caught unexpected. She didn’t know why, but immediately she was dry heaving. Her mouth was filled with a sickeningly sweet and unctuous flavor; it made one feel dizzy with nausea from the taste.
“What did you make me eat!”
“Mama did not agree with me, so I had to resort to other means.”
Although this method was not straightforward and upright[note]In the novel an idiom was used: 光明磊落 guāng míng lěi luò – open and candid[/note], this kind of thing also doesn’t have to be justifiable. Su Xin doesn’t think she is a just person, but for her own ends she would go hook or by crook. What’s more, the pill wasn’t truly poisonous.
“Mama, the medicine I just gave you is special. I don’t think you’d want to know what it’s called, and you can forget about finding an antidote for it. Why, I do not need you to do anything huge or spend money on me! All I need is to preserve my virginity.”
“Hmph! You ingrate! Who knows what you even fed me!”
It was not known whether the effect was true or psychological, but Ta Yan felt her mouth was very uncomfortable. She felt nauseated enough to retch, but couldn’t spit it out.
This is the behavior of an ingrate indeed. Su Xin’s mouth twitched at the corners at this statement. After all, she has spent more than ten years here since she was taken in after her first caretaker died. Although her life can’t be considered good, she was treated fairly by Ta Yan. She has not received any severe treatment from her, beaten or left to starve.
Su Xin bent over Ta Yan and soothingly consoled, “Mama, I won’t hurt you. This is just a helpless move for now, no matter how despicable you think it is. When I succeed in the future, I will return to my mama and this establishment a hundredfold.”
“You think I’ll believe anything you say? Especially that? Foolish!” Although weak, Ta Yan still had the spite to berate Su Xin and she frowned at her mockingly.
Su Xin gazed steadily at Ta Yan, “Mama, in a moment’s time you will feel lightheaded. And then your chest will hurt, it will be hard to breathe. You’d want to vomit but you won’t be able to. Your body will be like lead—powerless and weak.”
Su Xin hastened the system to start the effect of the pill. Only then did the conditions Su Xin elaborated appear on Ta Yan. It gave Ta Yan a huge scare and she clutched at her chest in horror. It was the perfect intimidation.
“Mama, I will come back on that day. I hope you will cancel your plans for me and listen to my terms.“
Su Xin calmly went out and closed the door behind her as if nothing had happened. In the room, the faint smell from her body’s powder lingered.
Ta Yan got up from the floor with difficulty and sat back on her couch, unwillingly thinking for a long time.
Translator’s notes: Hello everyone! Thank you for the massive support you have shown these past few days for this novel. This was actually the chapter that made me fall in love with Su Xin’s character. We have seen a lot of main characters who are almost perfect in everything, which for me screams overpowered and unrealistic, and it becomes agonizing to read. Here, we see Su Xin just as an assassin, nothing more. She’s not even a genius. She was just a girl who was forced into this kind of life after her parents died. It’s actually kind of sad.
Back to the chapter, what are your thoughts? I love reading your comments and discussions on the novel.
And also, I’ll be quite busy starting next week so the releases might be erratic.. Sorry!
If there are errors in grammar or improvements that can be made in the translation, then by all means feel free to comment it. Do you also like to see the Chinese idioms as it is or have it simplified and understandable with the original Chinese translation in the footnote?