Xing Ye had always remembered Lu Mingze as an especially obedient young master. That day, it was in the middle of winter. He wore a furry coat and white wool turtleneck, giving others a very cute and innocent feeling.
At that time, Xing Ye had even specially instructed the hoodlums to not beat him too hard and to absolutely not touch his face. He just wanted to scare him.
The hoodlums twisted their hands and asked Xing Ye, boss, do you really want us to beat him up? It’s hard hit such a cute child...
Lu Mingze’s development was a little slow. He was in his first year of high school but was only 160 cm. However, he had very good proportions and long legs. At that time, Xing Ye had thought, that when he grew up, he would definitely become a shockingly handsome man.
> Note that high school in China’s only three years long, making Mingze around 15-16.
Although he still hadn’t blossomed, there were already traces of it from his face. His eyes were especially pretty, almost big enough to speak.
To this day, Xing Ye still remembered when Lu Mingze fainted in the van. It had already been incredibly difficult rushing into the van and fighting them off. There was simply no way he had the energy to run off with him, so all he could do was hug Lu Mingze firmly.
Back then, he was already a tall, 20 year old man. He kept the tiny, unconscious Lu Mingze safe in his embrace, pressing him under his body as the kidnappers’ wooden sticks struck his back.
He reaped what he had sown. If he hadn’t had the hoodlums draw his bodyguards away, Lu Mingze wouldn’t have fallen into danger.
As he was being beaten, Xing Ye thought: people truly shouldn’t do bad things. Karma would always be swift.
Thankfully, the bodyguards came back in time and Xing Ye had studied martial arts before, so he knew how to protect his organs and vital areas. In the end, he had just broken a rib. In addition, the arm that was protecting Lu Mingze suffered a fracture and his nose was also broken.
That experience taught Xing Ye how important it was to make himself stronger. After everything was settled, he requested a discharged soldier to train him and Xing Shuo again. That was the reason for his strength and the absolute advantage he held in the game. It was something Lu Mingze taught him.
When the little Lu Mingze went to the hospital to visit Xing Ye, there had been a large plaster over his nose and he couldn’t really talk. Seeing this, Lu Mingze’s big eyes blinked twice and started to cry.
“Sob, it’s my fault, I shouldn't have refused to take the car because I wanted to go play. I should’ve just gone home. And now you’re hurt because of me, sob… thank you for saving me.”
Xing Ye had thought: You little fool, it was I who had your classmates tell you there was something interesting in the area, making you decide to walk so it would be easier to beat you up.
Even when he cried so much, he hadn’t forgotten to thank Xing Ye. It made Xing Ye wonder how there could be such an adorable person in this world. He was both sweet and foolish. If he were sold, he’d probably even help them count their money.
So Xing Ye raised his hand and gently rubbed the little fool’s hair, enduring the pain on his nose to speak. “As long as you’re safe.”
Right. As long as Lu Mingze was safe.
If, that day, he had really harmed such a good and honest person, Xing Ye didn’t know what kind of person he would’ve become.
He secretly pledged: from then on, no matter what difficulties he encountered, he would never cross his bottom line. He couldn’t discard his own morality just because of another person’s malice.
While Xing Ye’s head was filled with thoughts, the little fool was still bawling next to him. “Sob, your nose has to be okay! If it’s not, I’ll find you a good plastic surgeon, you can’t end up disfigured!”
He didn’t mention his rib or arm at all. In the little fool’s heart, only the face was the most important.
Right now, he was the same. Even after becoming a mirror, he still insisted on being the most beautiful mirror.
Xing Ye poked the middle finger on the mirror. The mirror was still angrily swaying back and forth. It looked like this time, he was truly mad.
Back then, in the hospital, Xing Ye had too much gauze covering his nose. Before he was discharged, Lu Mingze had already been sent abroad and they never met again. When he was protecting Lu Mingze, he had already fainted and never saw Xing Ye’s true face.
That’s why the little mirror never discovered who he was.
After reminiscing, Xing Ye felt like his intimacy points with the mirror might climb to an unimaginably high degree after this. After all, the young master back then was just too adorable.
If it was somebody else, there would be no way Xing Ye would’ve put down his guard. However, Lu Mingze was different. He saved him.
When he woke up and saw Lu Mingze in the hospital, Xing Ye’s first thought was: thank god you’re okay. Otherwise, I would never be able to forgive myself, even for a lifetime.
That experience made Xing Ye see how weak and timid he was. He realized that he should’ve faced them head on instead of shrinking backwards. Even if he lost the company, he couldn’t lose his backbone and cross his bottom line. Otherwise, he would only be the same as the people who schemed against him.
He wanted to guard against the system’s traps, but Lu Mingze wasn’t a trap. Even if he was, Xing Ye would walk in willingly.
But what to do now? They currently had an intimacy value of zero, the lowest they’ve ever had. Xing Ye was sure that his intimacy value with the mirror was growing higher and higher, but right now, the mirror’s intimacy value with him was zero.
“Hey,” Xing Ye poked the mirror, “Don’t be angry, we all have times when we make mistakes. At least in the end, I stopped in time and didn’t cause any real harm. I still remember how you look crying in front of my hospital bed.”
The mirror grew even angrier, its whole surface turning black, not even giving Xing Ye the middle finger anymore.
Xing Ye thought before smiling, “But you really are handsome. I’ve never seen anybody look so beautiful even when they’re crying.”
The mirror immediately brightened up.
“Back then, I even specially instructed the hoodlums not to touch your face. Not even a scratch was alright. Harming your face would be a loss to the world.”
The beauty-loving mirror swayed on the bed, seeming very happy.
Xing Ye continued to flatter him, “It’s a pity we haven’t seen each other in nine years. I wonder how you look grown up now. You must look even better than before, probably handsome enough to make people swoon on sight.”
Xing Ye didn’t forget to look at his phone as he spoke. He watched as their intimacy points went from zero to ten, and then to fifteen.
“Look at my nose, it ended up fine. Don’t worry, I didn’t need plastic surgery and it wasn’t disfigured.” Xing Ye picked up the mirror and showed off his nose, trying to appeal to his emotions.
Their intimacy value jumped up to 30. Was it because he was thinking about the worry he felt before?
“After this game ends, I’ll immediately investigate what happened to your body and how your parents are doing. I’ll tell you what happened next game.” Xing Ye also used news of the real world to entice the little mirror.
The mirror finally couldn’t help it anymore and with a few ‘hmphs’, he spoke. “You have to take a photo, and make sure that photo of me is beautiful. The system lets you show photos on your phone, so I wanna see.”
“Also my parents, I want to see them too.” He heard a sob in the mirror’s voice.
Xing Ye’s heart felt sour when he heard the sob.
In his mind, Lu Mingze was like a proud son of heaven who had everything since birth. He should’ve lived a life free of worries, passing every day with happiness and kindness. He shouldn’t have to suffer like this, becoming a mirror and turning into someone else’s tool.
“I’ll become a high level player.” Xing Ye suddenly said, “In every game, I’ll learn more and more about the system’s malice and that slight trace of kindness within it. I feel more and more like the system is fate itself, giving people despair while also rewarding those who don’t give up.
“You turned into an item, but your consciousness is still there. That means there’s still hope. I believe that after I become a high level player, there’ll definitely be a way for me to make you a player again and bring you back to the real world.”
“Really?” The mirror suddenly turned excited.
There should be a way, but it would definitely be difficult.
“Don’t give up. I’ll definitely bring you out with me.” Xing Ye promised, “If you can’t get out, it means there’s no way I would be able to escape the clutches of fate either. Besides, the system said the rewards for winning the final game would be very generous.”
“But…” The mirror hesitated for a moment, “The final game is what turned me into a mirror.”
Their intimacy points were already high enough to talk about this?
Xing Ye glanced at his phone-
Intimacy Points: 60. You two are close friends who can tell each other everything. Although you’re still a few steps away from becoming brothers who would give up their lives for each other, you two are close enough to say your true feelings when you’re drunk and comfort each other.
Xing Ye had let go of all his reservations. The 60 points should be because of him. Could it be that the mirror’s intimacy points were even higher than his?
It was at zero just now, and he was even mad that Xing Ye asked people to beat him up. It was a little cute how quickly his temper came and went.
The system said “close friends who could tell each other everything”, meaning he should be able to ask more questions. “Can you tell me about the final game?”
“There’s nothing really special about it. You know my luck’s always been good, so it only took me 5-6 games to become a high level player. I found the games pretty fun. I only played three games when I was a high level player before somehow being sent to the final game. I don’t know the trigger condition. I didn’t know what I wanted after beating the game. To be honest, I didn’t lack anything. Rewards didn’t really seem to matter. If possible, I’d just wish for my parents to have a healthy life.”
He really was a kind hearted mirror. Xing Ye couldn’t help but reach out and rub him, but could only feel the cold, hard surface of a mirror.
When he recalled the feeling when he rubbed the boy’s hair that day, Xing Ye suddenly felt his hand was a little empty.
The mirror continued to tell his story. “The system said the final game is different for everybody and that fate’s final opponent was myself. My final clearance game was a thousand-mirror world. I was transported to a room filled with mirrors, all reflecting my face. The system told me that there were countless rooms here that connected to the real world, but each room also contained a vice of humanity. Only by finding the right mirror, overcoming the vice, and finally, defeating myself, would I be able to leave the game world and clear the final game.
“There were doors behind the mirrors. Pushing open the wrong one meant being consigned to eternal damnation. I was very confident in my own luck, so it didn’t matter how many mirrors there were in the room, I’d always be able to pick the right one.
“I don’t know how long I pushed until the system finally told me I arrived at the last room. I would be able to leave after pushing open the last door.
“Just like the countless doors before, I picked one and pushed it open. I saw my house in the real world and happily walked through it. However, with that step, I fell down into the abyss.
“After I woke up, I became a mirror. The narrator prompted me to find a girl called Claire and become her demonic mirror, assisting her to defeat the queen.
“I had a small range of influence over the mirror, so just like that, I climbed, little by little, for god knows how long until I finally crawled out of the river. I finally managed to find the dirty-faced Claire, but then bam, who knew I’d get kicked right back into the river.”
Xing Ye: “...”
He wanted to apologize to the mirror.
But the mirror was still busy scolding Claire, “I’ve never seen such a filthy person in my life! She was so ugly that even reflecting her face on my surface made me feel disgusted. After being kicked back into the river, I had to struggle back up and crawl to Claire’s doorstep. The whole way, I was terrified somebody would see me and this mirror world would be destroyed.”
Xing Ye: “...”
“And then she made me knock on the door for such a long time!” The mirror was furious now, “I had to climb out of the river! I was dirty and cold and tired!”
Xing Ye saw their intimacy points on his phone quickly declining and knew if it dropped further, the mirror wouldn’t be able to speak anymore. He hastily interrupted, “There’s a lake in the campus. I’ll jump in and flounder around for a hour then run around the school shouting ‘Lu Mingze, I’m sorry!’”
“Nonono, I’m not that mad. That’s too embarrassing and what would happen if there was someone else in the school named Lu Mingze? Besides, these people don’t know me so there’s no point even if you shout it. Besides, you even traded a special QR code to get me from the system. Overall, you’re still pretty good.”
Their intimacy points returned to 60, finally settling Xing Ye’s worries.
He couldn’t let the mirror recall their previous experiences together. Xing Ye recalled how he stuffed the mirror between his chest, threw him in the bathtub, and the cheap inn filled with cockroaches they stayed at...
If he let Lu Mingze think of that, their intimacy points would definitely fall to the negatives.
“In the final game, you clearly saw the real world, so why’d you fall into the abyss? Was it a trap?” Xing Ye worked hard to change the topic.
The mirror’s voice suddenly turned gloomy, “No. I chose the right mirror and the world beyond the mirror was also real. However, I couldn’t leave.”
“When I fell down, I heard the system’s voice saying: you chose to be blessed by fate, which also means fate can control you as it wishes. Even if victory is right at your fingertips, fate has the power to bring you to the highest peaks and throw you to the bottom of the deepest valley.
“The moment we following fate players chose to accept fate’s blessings, we lost the right to leave the game. We are forever fate’s tools.
“Players have always treated ordinary people in the game worlds as NPCs, when in fact, following fate players are the real NPCs. We chose to walk on the wrong road from the very beginning and we can never go back.”
If the mirror had a body, it definitely would’ve been crying right now.
“When I made my decision back then, I didn’t think too much. I just thought being blessed by fate sounded pretty good. But who would’ve known that one step wrong ended up making everything wrong.”
The mirror realized he was currently in Xing Ye’s palm. He struggled to shift his body, rubbing against Xing Ye’s palm.
Just like a person using a warm hand to pat their head, comforting themselves.
Nobody could understand the mirror’s story more clearly than Xing Ye.
He used to be somebody everyone admired, a proud son of the heavens. He came from a wealthy family, grew up handsome, and was always first at everything in school.
But fate was just as the system said. At the highest point of his life, fate stripped him of everything. He lost his parents, was framed by others, got expelled from school, and his only remaining family member was being bullied because of Xing Ye’s reputation. In less than three months, Xing Ye got to know all the different faces people had and suffered all different kinds of hardships and pain.
Because of this, he never believed in fate. He swore to grasp everything in his own hands.
So when he was faced with that choice, Xing Ye didn’t hesitate to choose to oppose fate.
When fate turned on him, it was Lu Mingze who saved him.
And now, with another twist of fate, Xing Shuo died and Xing Ye met Lu Mingze again.
Xing Ye couldn’t speak when he looked at the mirror who was smaller than his own palm.
But in his heart, he told himself that this time, he had to free Lu Mingze.
Both to repay Lu Mingze’s kindness and to fight against this game.