Chapter 64.1 Love for Sale
Lin Zhaohe realized something was wrong, so he hurriedly looked in the mirror. In the mirror, he saw clearly that a pair of white, furry ears had appeared on top of his head. It seemed like he could even control them, twisting and moving them around.
“Why do I still have dog ears??” Lin Zhaohe rushed out and wondered if it was the side effect of the potion.
“Seems like it,” Mr. Li also examined Lin Zhaohe’s ears and said, “So now we have a problem. Do you need to buy four earphones?”
Lin Zhaohe: “……” Your thinking is always so strange.
The Witch Convention would start in a few days. During this time, they needed to solve a problem that arose from a seemingly casual reminder from Alfarr.
“Oh, by the way, you need a witch as a leader to enter the Witch Convention,” Alfarr said casually while organizing his alchemy room after being freed.
“A witch leader?” Lin Zhaohe asked, “Where can we find a witch?”
Alfarr: “Why do we need to find other witches?” He looked at the four of them.
Being stared at, all four of them felt uneasy.
As expected, Alfarr calmly said something scary, “We can just find someone from within and turn them into a witch.”
“Turn into a witch?” Lin Zhaohe thought he misheard and confirmed, “Turn us into witches?”
“Yes,” Alfarr said strangely, seeing their shocked expressions, “This potion sells well. People who want to attend the gathering will come to buy a bottle… Didn’t I mention it before?”
Everyone replied together, “You didn’t mention it.”
“Well, I’m mentioning it now,” Alfarr added nonchalantly.
The atmosphere suddenly quieted down, and the four of them started to assess each other, their eyes filled with suspicion and doubt.
Zhuang Lao was the first to back out, saying he couldn’t become a witch, and he challenged anyone who disagreed. Lin Zhaohe explained that he had just transformed back from being a dog, and his weak body couldn’t handle any more changes. Besides, he was Zhuang Lao’s employee, and his boss would never allow such a thing to happen to his unfortunate employee.
As a result, only Mr. Li and Lin Yan remained in the final round. Their eyes met. Mr. Li spoke first. “Lin Yan, you know, I’ve had a difficult life.”
Lin Yan: “?”
Mr. Li: “I grew up without parents, with a 70-year-old mother above me and a three-year-old child below me. Life is uncertain, and I can’t truly enjoy my meals.” This guy was completely contradicting himself, making up excuses and rambling nonsense.
Lin Yan had normal intelligence and could see through Mr. Li’s attempt to gain sympathy. But looking at Mr. Li’s teary eyes, Lin Yan was unexpectedly moved.
“How do we change back after becoming witches?” Lin Yan’s question brought relief to everyone. The tears in Mr. Li’s eyes instantly vanished, replaced by a cunning smile.
“The potion is a one-time thing. After about two weeks, you’ll change back on your own,” Alfarr said.
Only then did Lin Yan feel reassured and agree to sacrifice his body for the team.
Lin Yan took the potion from Alfarr and quickly drank it with satisfaction.
With a puff of white smoke rising, a slender and petite young girl appeared before everyone. Even when Lin Yan was a boy, he wasn’t tall, and now as a girl, he looked even more delicate. Standing next to the two-meter-tall Mr. Li, he resembled a human doll.
Mr. Li touched his head with his hand and exclaimed, “Why are you so tiny?”
Lin Yan, wearing loose-fitting clothes, looked up at Mr. Li. His voice was soft and sweet, and the scar on his face was gone. He looked like an adorable girl as he said, “Don’t touch my head!”
Mr. Li: “It’s just a gentle touch, nothing will fall off.”
Lin Yan: “Are you asking for a fight?” Without hesitation, he threw a punch at Mr. Li. Though his fist was small, it landed solidly on Mr. Li’s chest. The impact made Mr. Li grunt in pain, and he questioned, “Lin Yan, have you gone mad? Why so violent?”
Lin Yan rolled his eyes at him and ignored his comment. “Do you have any well-fitting clothes? How can I be a witch in this outfit?”
The sudden change in Lin Yan’s character astonished everyone. Mr. Li touched the spot where Lin Yan had punched him and hoarsely asked, “Alfarr, what’s the deal with this potion?”
“Oh? Didn’t I tell you? Drinking the potion causes a slight change in personality…”
The three of them frowned upon hearing this. Mr. Li rolled up his sleeves, ready to confront Alfarr, berating him for not finishing his words. He emphasized the dangers of quacks in the medical field. With Lin Yan transformed like this, who could he bully? He couldn’t beat Zhuang Lao, and he wouldn’t dare touch Lin Zhaohe. The only one left was the good-tempered Lin Yan, who had become like this. It seemed he had become the lowest creature in the food chain.
Alfarr awkwardly laughed and said, “Well, you’ll just have to try harder and endure for another half a month.” This infuriated Mr. Li.
Lin Yan went out on his own and returned wearing a well-fitting outfit, a typical alchemical style. He wore a short leather jacket, leather pants, tall boots, and a leather cap. The ensemble perfectly blended with the dark style of the underground continent.
He somehow acquired a pipe and held it in his mouth. Lin Yan exuded a rebellious aura, a stark contrast to his previous innocent appearance. Mr. Li hesitated several times, struggling to find the right words. Finally, Lin Yan impatiently said, “If you have something to say, spit it out already.”
Mr. Li whispered, “Can I still put my head on your body, then?”
Lin Yan: “Huh?”
Lin Zhaohe burst into laughter, his furry ears standing tall on his head, swaying as he enjoyed the spectacle.
With a few days remaining until the Witch Convention began, they all stayed in the Alchemy Village during this time. They learned more about witches from Alfarr.
From Alfarr, they discovered that the witches attending the convention didn’t originate from a single work. They came from various different works but were all bestowed with the title of witch. This fusion area seemed particularly fond of such works, where alchemy and magic thrived in the rich soil, allowing wild growth.
This chaotic land had become the favorite stage for the witches, devoid of laws, rules, and even sunlight.
“Many people come to the Witch Convention each time, and some even descend from the surface specifically for it,” Alfarr mentioned while drinking at Sofia’s tavern. He continued, “The item used on you must have been brought from there. When you reach the market, you can ask around. You still retain the aura of a witch, so if they recognize it, they will surely be able to tell.”
Lin Zhaohe took a big gulp of beer. It had been a long time since he had tasted this liquid after transforming into a dog. Finally indulging in its satisfaction, he asked, “What do the witches trade?”
Alfarr: “Usually, they engage in barter or use hard currency.”
Lin Zhaohe: “What kind of currency?”
“Love,” Alfarr said with a smile. “Love is an essential ingredient for the magic potion.”
“Love? What kind of love?” Lin Yan took a big sip of his drink.
“Any kind of love will do. Love for family, friendship, or romantic love. As long as it’s love for something opposite, it can be used,” Alfarr explained. “Love is a rare commodity. The stronger the love, the more precious items it can exchange for. Like the magic that turned Lin Zhaohe into a little dog, it must have required a considerable amount of love in exchange.”
Upon hearing this, Lin Zhaohe thought to himself, wondering if that rotten Lin Yan still had any love left. If there were things in the world they cared about, they wouldn’t have resorted to such extreme actions.
Lin Yan slammed his glass on the table and scoffed. “Love, what’s the point of love? Love for someone becomes a weakness. When the time comes, I’ll sell off all my love and become a heartless and ruthless monster.”
Mr. Li sat behind Lin Yan and quietly rested their chin on Lin Yan’s head. “Aren’t you engaging in the business of love then?”
Lin Yan: “Get your heavy head off mine. It feels like it’s about to crush me.”
Mr. Li felt wronged and said, “You used to let me do it before.”
Lin Yan: “That’s because I had a good temper back then!”
Lin Zhaohe, who had grown accustomed to being a dog, felt a bit uncomfortable suddenly turning back into a human. Being slightly intoxicated from the alcohol, he still felt like a little dog and attempted to rest his chin on the table, but Zhuang Lao stopped him.
“What’s wrong?” Lin Zhaohe asked Zhuang Lao, feeling bewildered.
“Rest your chin on my shoulder,” Zhuang Lao said, patting his head. It was a familiar touch, though not as good as being a dog, it still had that soft and furry feel.
Lin Zhaohe obediently followed the instructions and rested his chin on Zhuang Lao’s shoulder, just like he used to do when he was a little dog.
Zhuang Lao let him be and sat upright, not moving a muscle, until the sound of even breathing could be heard beside him.
Mr. Li watched Zhuang Lao carrying the sleeping Lin Zhaohe and felt even more sour. He remarked how he also wanted to be hugged and carried high up.
If it were the old Lin Yan, he might have said a few comforting words to Mr. Li. But with the current Lin Yan, whose temper was explosive, he gave Mr. Li a disdainful look and didn’t hesitate to roll his eyes, saying he should consider his own weight before shamelessly resting on someone else and then walked away, puffing on his pipe.
Left alone in the wind, Mr. Li felt disheveled and even regretted bullying Lin Yan and turning him into a witch. Who knew the female version of Lin Yan would have such a fiery temperament?
After spending a few days in the Alchemy Village, they were approaching the day of the midsummer sun. Armed with the map drawn by Alfarr, the four of them boarded the snail carriage and set off once again.
Lin Zhaohe, still getting used to being human again, reflexively wanted to snuggle up to Zhuang Lao. Zhuang Lao indulged his actions, allowing Lin Zhaohe to lean against him. By the time Lin Zhaohe realized something was off about his behavior, he was already nestled in Zhuang Lao’s embrace, munching on the nuts given by Mr. Li. Behind him was Zhuang Lao’s chest, and with a slight lift of his head, he could see Zhuang Lao’s elegantly sculpted chin.
Lin Zhaohe became aware of his inappropriate actions and softly called out, “Boss?”
Zhuang Lao lowered his head and asked, “Hmm?”
“Nothing,” Lin Zhaohe finally decided not to ask anything, quietly shrinking his neck. Zhuang Lao remained oblivious to his discomfort and gently wiped away the crumbs of nuts from the corner of his mouth with a flick of his finger.
Oh well, since the boss doesn’t mind, Lin Zhaohe thought happily, considering it a small advantage gained.
While Lin Zhaohe and Zhuang Lao got along harmoniously, Mr. Li wasn’t as fortunate. The transformed witch Lin Yan had a very low tolerance for him. Whenever the two of them got too close, Lin Yan would demand Mr. Li to keep his distance.
Mr. Li’s good days were completely over. He was forced to shrink into a corner, feeling pitiful like a large pet abandoned by its owner. Lin Yan paid no attention to his plight and studied the route on Alfarr’s map. “Looks like we’re almost there. Let’s prepare to disembark.”
“Alright,” Zhuang Lao agreed.
If you enjoy this novel, support the Translator ginevre on her ko-fi account :))