Picked up by the Protagonist of a Tormented! MC Novel - Volume 5 - Chapter 13
Translator, Editor: Kleep
TLC, Editor: Sen
The sealed abyss, where the Stone of Destiny was located. The two spinning beads, one large and one small, were precisely the "mother-child" pair of stones that made up the Stone of Destiny. The mother stone took root in Xi Wei’s heart, and gradually merged with him.
Unless Xi Wei grew depressed and attempted suicide again, he was the ruler of the continent.
Xi Wei finally opened his eyes when the fusion was complete. The emotions displayed in his eyes were profound, and depth of his state of mind could not be seen. A trace of red light flickered before everything returned to stillness.
“Zeno, you must obediently wait for me.”
Zeno’s injuries required a year and a half of treatment. In addition to the six months spent in a coma, he recuperated for a total of two years.
The superficial wounds he suffered were not all that serious, but Belle had unscrupulously extracted his essence, severely crippling his foundation, and he was basically unable to move again like normal until the third year.
Providence College issued a notice of withdrawal for Zeno, along with Xi Wei, but that was not important.
Zeno was unwilling to think about the future, and preferred to simply empty his mind of all feelings.
He was in a race against time to do as much as he could.
He had been bed-ridden for the first two years. Although he was incapable of moving about, his mentality was restored quickly. Thus, he asked Suji to resume the formerly unfinished pharmaceutical research with him. Although Zeno’s pharmaceutical knowledge was not as rich as Suji’s, his thought process was influenced by growing up on earth, allowing him to frequently make good suggestions. Suji was pleasantly surprised.
In any case, he couldn't move, so he may as well put all of his energy into those things.
Zeno no longer needed to guard against Suji. There would never be any opportunities for this mermaid to learn about the Demon of Envy and about her previous master. Belle also didn't involve Suji in her schemes, or exploit her for her own purposes, averting another tragedy from taking place.
Suji’s new pharmaceutical research proceeded very smoothly. She still possessed many precious ancient gems, as well as medical research from the last era, in addition to newly developing pharmaceutics, so the matter of opening a pharmacy chain was put on the agenda.
If that type of store could be opened, the level of influence was foreseeable, so wealth alone was not enough. It also needed to be able to preserve that power.
That issue was resolved when Zeno was able to get out of bed.
During the first year of Xi Wei’s integration with the Stone of Destiny, Zeno was in a coma for half a year, and he was basically recuperating in the second half.
In the second year, he and Suji researched many new types of medicine, which laid an important foundation for new pharmaceutical knowledge.
In the third year, they were prepared to open a pharmacy, so Zeno sought out a few individuals.
The first person was Xiao Wu. Xiao Wu was an understandable choice. She wanted to assist others, not just magicians or nobles. Conversely, she placed more importance on weak civilians. Zeno only needed to explain to her the benefits of the new medication. It also coincided with the temple's philosophy, so Xiao Wu had no reason not to agree. Zeno soon received a pledge of support from the temple, on the condition that they cooperated on the regulation of the new medications.
Zeno was not worried about that. Other pharmacists had neither Suji’s formidable knowledge reserves nor his advanced ideas. It was too difficult to keep up with their pace. They could only imitate, but could never surpass. Zeno’s shop would always be the gold standard.
The second person was the president of the Mercenary Guild, Thunder. That fatty still smiled and laughed the whole way through, but he had not yielded. Although Zeno held half of the president's token, in the end, he wasn't anyone particularly influential in the guild. Thunder was only interested in what benefits he could gain from the matter.
Zeno frowned for a long time, and finally came to a conclusion. The Mercenary Guild leadership would be passed to Xi Wei sooner or later, so lending them a hand earlier on was no big deal. So, he made a deal with Thunder.
The members of the Mercenary Guild could be found throughout the entire continent. Its influence was different from the power of the temple that was built on a religion. Members of the royal family could even join, and could even use that membership to their own advantages. It was an independent organization that was huge yet at the same time wasn't terribly restrictive. This advantages of this kind of organization were tremendous.
Thus, Zeno persuaded Thunder, “You have so many mercenaries wandering around the world every day, such great mobility, but merely wandering is a waste of resources.”
Thunder continued smiling while listening to the other's opinion. At first he was noncommittal, but gradually he became serious.
Zeno continued, “Some mercenaries are not qualified for dangerous tasks after growing old or being crippled. They can only lead life even more impoverished than ordinary people. I know the Mercenary Guild has always felt great concern for those people. They also made their contributions, and it wasn’t the Guild’s intention for them to live so miserably for the rest of their lives, right?”
Thunder conceded that what he said made sense, but the guild was not a charity and it couldn’t afford to bear the responsibility of so many peoples' livelihoods.
Zeno first pointed out the Mercenary Guild's difficulties, and then said, “I have a suggestion. In this era, long-distance teleportation magic arrays are something even civilians can afford to indulge in once in a while. Short-distance teleportation magic arrays are even less of a problem. Basically, as long as you aren't so poor that you can't even afford to eat, you can afford to use them. It's clear that the practice of transportation arrays is already very well established. Why not make good use of them?”
Thunder indicated he was interested and for Zeno to go on.
“Since transportation is not a problem, why doesn’t the Guild use the existing travel points for distribution and express deliveries?”
Distribution and express delivery were new terminology, so Thunder didn’t understand. Zeno patiently explained some of it to him. The more that Thunder heard, the brighter his eyes became, the way he was watching him made Zeno feel like he wanted to swallow him whole.
Zeno stopped speaking.
Thunder wanted him to continue, and he kept urging him to explain further. However, Zeno refused to divulge more and said, “Mr. President, if you want a concrete plan, you should also agree to my request.”
Only then did Thunder remember the reason Zeno came. After a moment of deep reflection, he finally nodded his head.
Zeno breathed a sigh of relief, and then gleefully said, “Not only do I want your promise to provide protection and raw materials for the pharmacy, but I also want one-tenth of the Mercenary Guild's new project's profits.”
Thunder revealed a smile that wasn't a smile, “Your appetite is a bit too big.”
Zeno raised his glass and drained the water in one gulp. He set down the glass with a soft clatter. Thunder's heart stuttered and he only heard Zeno softly say, “I know who your preferred successor is. I also know who holds the other half of the token. It's the person you want. As long as he returns, I will gladly offer up this half of the token with both hands.”
Although the promise to readily surrender his half of the president's token was a somewhat enticing condition, it wasn't quite enough to induce Thunder to relent.
Zeno grudgingly heaved a sigh. This old fox forced me to bring out my trump card.
Originally, his Uncle Hill had given him a mercenary guild badge. Since Uncle Hill was Princess Asil, and the 'wife' of the Mercenary Guild founder Xia Zuo, he didn’t believe that the other party would give him mere common goods.
Sure enough, after seeing it Thunder could no longer remain indifferent. Moreover, he rebuked Zeno for not taking it out earlier, almost causing a misunderstanding for no reason.
Zeno didn't expose him. If he'd brought it out early, then Thunder would certainly have paid more respect to him, but it would not have been as effective as amazing him with his plan and then bringing the badge out to awe him with.
Thunder even gave him a position as an Elder of the guild. That was keeping in line with the status accorded to the badge, and it provided a proper identity to receive a dividend in their agreement.
He had settled matters with the temple and the Mercenary Guild, so all that remained were the countries themselves.
The Violet Empire was easy to resolve. He promised to help Xia An ascend the throne, and there was only one obstacle to his appointment: he was blind. To that end, Zeno sent over a newly developed antidote.
There was no concept of poisoning in this world. Everyone actually thought it was a curse that could not even be cured with magic. Zeno had carefully inquired about Xia An’s circumstances. He grew quite certain that the other was not cursed, he had simply been poisoned. With Suji's help, and the addition of his ideas, that type of uncomplicated poison was fairly easy to dispel. Except for the fact that it took a long time to detoxify, it went rather smoothly.
As for the Miya Empire, Xi Wei’s kindness towards Evan’s sister, the Imperial Princess Jonia, hadn't been forgotten. That, along with some assistance Zeno provided to their mother to avoid calculations and assassinations, as well as a few small incentives, made the whole process smooth sailing.
Thanks to being greenlit the entire journey, by the fourth year, the pharmaceutical chain, as well as the distribution and express delivery plans were on the right track. Zeno’s reputation had also increased to unprecedented heights.
In just two short years, Zeno’s status had soared as well.
In the blink of an eye, four years had passed, and Zeno grew more and more uneasy. He knew that the stone's integration with Xi Wei would soon be complete. At that time, the tranquil façade of his life would be torn apart, and he didn't know what kind of storm he would be facing.
Zeno had no choice but to think of the benefits. In any case, this time only he 'betrayed' him. It was improbable that Xi Wei would react so extremely and bury the entire world along with himself.
Another winter had come, and Zeno’s body had not yet fully recovered. Any time he went out he needed to bundle up in layers until he resembled a big ball. He couldn’t help but sigh at himself for becoming more and more delicate as he grew up. Previously, in Ye Sa City, he was so tiny and the weather was so nasty, yet he could only wear a few old rags and endure. Now, life was clearly good, yet he was affected by this little bit of cold? How pretentious1.
Actually, it wasn't that he was being pretentious. Rather, in order to deal with Belle that year, he had completely hollowed out his foundation. It still hadn't recovered in the four years since, and he was completely reliant on the power from the ring to slowly mend him.
Therefore, he grew more and more unwilling to leave home.
Zeno was very busy every day. He had to be busy, so that when he lay down to sleep he would immediately fall asleep instead of letting his imagination run wild. Even so, he always dreamed of a pair of despairing and heart-broken eyes. Whenever he woke from that dream, he felt ice-cold from head to toe.
On the streets of Roland City, a man with tattered clothing and long, loose hair, covered in mud from top to bottom, paused his steps in front of the Mercenary Guild headquarters. He then walked around the mercenaries buzzing with activity who were sorting out the express delivery goods and entered through the main entrance of the Mercenary Guild.
He didn't fit in at all with the surrounding environment, but no one perceived his presence and blocked him from entering.
He travelled unimpeded all the way to the top floor, to Thunder's domain.
Three days later, Zeno was in the middle of studying star gathering grass. It contained an element that was protective of the eye, and was suitable for treating Xia An’s eyes.
After researching halfway, I found that the cuckoo bird feathers were gone, and asked Suji to help him find some more. Suji acquiesced, and soon after there was the sound of the door being pushed open. Zeno was a little surprised, and said, “Coming back so fast?” while he looked up at the door.
With a crash, the glass bottle containing the medicine fell to the ground, and the floor was covered with medicine that had splashed everywhere. However, Zeno felt like he had gone back to a lifetime ago. His fingers were trembling so much that he could not even form a clenched fist.
Xi Wei had returned.
He stood, not too far away, with an apathetic expression. There was no trace of the tenderness he had shown in the past.
Xi Wei’s expression was colder than the snow in winter, and Zeno heard him ask, “Do you regret it?”
Zeno froze and subconsciously shook his head.
Xi Wei tread over the glass shards as he walked in front of him. Three fingers squeezed Zeno’s chin and forced him to look up. “It’s good you don't regret it. It seems you remember what I taught you. Don’t regret the things you've done for your own sake. To reward you, I'll allow you to choose the method of your death.”
Zeno snapped out of his daze. Despite hearing such a ruthless pronouncement, there was not much panic in his heart, only the relief that the time he could be free had finally come, “Is any method okay?”
The instant he spoke of a method of death, Xi Wei's grip tightened up and Zeno's jaw became extremely painful. Zeno knit his brows and said solemnly, “Then I choose to be raped first then killed.”
The author has something to say:
_ (: з 」∠) _ Isn't the trendy way of dying to first be raped and then killed ╮ (╯_╰) ╭
Hello! I know this was delayed quite a bit. Sorry! Sen has been swamped with school since things have gone a bit sideways with the whole Covid thing. The good news is, the next chapter will be out in the next few days!
I’m going to share a little (codeword: super long) story about this novel, since it’s almost complete!
The very first danmei novel I read was ‘Hua Hua You Long’, because I had read the manga and then followed a link in the comments to the novel. Similarly, while reading ‘At the End of the Road’, a manhwa on Lezhin, I heard about a novel called ‘Kill the Lights’ that had a similar set up. Unfortunately, after both of those, I did not go further into danmei. Instead I was flailing around on wattpad trying to find good BL. If you don’t know, going into that place without some help is a bad idea. OMG the things I read.
So anyways, I used to read a lot of non-BL manhua based on Xianxia/Xanhuan novels around the same time, so I went that direction and discovered ReadNovelFull. I read quite a few, but had trouble with some since I dislike senseless Harem novels (I admit, there were a few I did like though, I am not too much of a hardliner). At that time, I had joined EXR’s website for manga, and was scanning it when I noticed the novels section.
Eventually, that led to me reading the Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation and Legendary Master’s Wife. I can’t remember which came first, but I was totally hooked. My fave genre had BL novels. Not only that, they did not lose when it came to storytelling, and were often superior (in my opinion). So, somehow I was looking for spoilers for one of those (I think), and ended up on NUF. Then, I finally realized that Novel Updates had BL novels. Even though that wasn’t long ago, there wasn’t nearly as many novels on as there are now.
So, I started devouring the spoiler threads for BL novels. While doing that, I came across a new term: MTL. I had to work my little brain hard to figure out what it meant, but once I realized it I was like, hey, I’m good at English, and pretty smart most days…I could do that probably. So, I grabbed the first novel that really caught my eye and jumped into it with nary a thought. That was, of course, PUP.
Shortly after, I added Screen Partner, because it sounded so cute and it was short and smutty. And then I added Reborn as a System (after a longer gap), because it was my fave spoiler thread novel that I kept rereading, and I loved the concept. Fast forward.
I learned that: one, PUP is very challenging to MTL compared to other novels, two, I may have taken on a little more than I could handle. Thankfully, I was able to finish SP soon due to low chapter numbers. However, life went on, and I lost a lot of sleep and health points to translating. I almost developed insomnia over it. Thankfully, I was able to get helpers on both projects to take off the pressure. But then I was pregnant with baby #3 and well, life got even busier.
I’ve never regretted doing any of these. I so enjoy the community and getting to read so many wonderful bl novels. However, I wish I could have been kinder to myself and chosen something easier. Oh well!! So, thank you for waiting. I’m sure that for readers it sometimes felt like forever, but I’m a very busy person in real life, and I learned that I really can’t afford to give up my sleep for this.
When I saw someone else taking over translating this project after I’d spent two years pouring in hours and hours of time, and setting many things in my life aside for it, I was pretty upset. Thankfully they were understanding of my desire to finish (not that I wouldn’t have) and agreed to stop.
Now that the novel is winding down (three more chapters in the main story left), I’m mostly relieved. I am ready to be done with this. There is a novel by the same author about Zeno’s Uncle Hill, but I don’t know if I’ll ever do it. Initially I had wanted to, but this author’s writing style makes MTLing very challenging, and I just don’t want to jump into a new pit. If anyone is interested I can send you the link for it wink wink. The title is something like, ‘How to Raise a Faceblind [Prosopagnosic] Gong’. I am pretty sure I added gong in there on my own. Xia Zuo may give everyone the same icy look, but the poor boy can’t tell anyone apart except for his Princess.
In the end, thank you to the readers who have stuck with me for this long, and those who’ve just joined. I hope that you enjoyed this novel. I don’t really have anything else to say, but I guess I felt like baring my heart? If anyone remembers at the end of Screen Partner that I had a little contest, I intend to done one again at the end of this novel. I’ll give the details in the last chapter of the main story.
Cheers friends, and stay healthy and happy!