Daily Disposable Persona - Chapter 1
Dawn was about to break.
A narrow band of white along the eastern horizon gradually brightened, hauling a city hidden in darkness into the light. It was like someone had rubbed a wisp of hazy white sand in the sky, cold and bright.
Under the gloomy sky, the Huangpu River was still brightly lit.
Dujiakou on the river was China’s leading financial center. Every second it birthed unimaginable wealth. Its lights were brilliant, glowing golden red in the distance, sleeplessly standing guard throughout the night.
Today’s weather wasn’t very good. It looked like rain.
The security guard in front of the Jiangzhou Financial Building had a black umbrella in his hand. He dutifully waited at the doors to serve those who came to work but didn’t have an umbrella.
This early in the morning, all of Dujiakou was still silent.
An hour later, countless financial elites from all over Jiangzhou would arrive here by car or subway to begin their hectic, busy day.
After a few minutes passed it began to rain.
Hazy drizzle fell from the sky like countless ethereal threads.
Through the curtain of rain, the security guard saw a man approaching, covered in a cloak of darkness.
He quickly trotted over to hold the black umbrella over the head of the visitor.
The young man nodded politely and smoothly offered thanks.
He was born with a handsome and lazy appearance, slender and long-boned. He wore a white shirt, black school uniform pants, and a dark blue marigold school badge on his chest.
Because it had just rained, his black hair was a little damp. Transparent beads of water clung to his hair like pearls embellishing fine silk.
Today was a work day. A student in a school uniform clearly didn’t belong at the door of a major financial office building.
However, this building was famous for celebrities, and the children of a certain boss often came to visit. Not to mention, the school logo on the boy’s uniform belonged to Qingyang High School. This was a famous aristocratic school in Jiangzhou. Even if you had money, you couldn’t necessarily get in. You had to have some kind of background.
The security guard was about to speak, but the boy lowered his head slightly and gave him a glance.
There was nothing different about the glance itself, except for a faint chaotic stream of light flashing in his eyes.
The security guard fell into a trance. His face suddenly relaxed.
For a while he was silent. Still holding the umbrella, he walked to the office building, opened the entrance with his own access card, then stood aside like a wooden man, a faithful, loyal guard.
The young man brushed past him. He turned his head and walked into the elevator hall with a snap of his fingers.
At the moment the elevator door closed, the security guard returned to himself. He froze, looked at the umbrella in his hand, and showed a puzzled expression.
“Strange… Did I just go out? “
The raindrops on the black umbrella slowly dripped down, plopping on the ground. That was his only answer.
Zong Yan stood in the center of the elevator.
He casually pressed the button for the top floor, and the elevator slowly began to ascend the elevator shaft. The empty interior reverberated with the cheerful sound of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major, pleasant but subdued.
This was the Jiangzhou Financial Building. The skyscraper was nearly six hundred meters high, with 119 floors in total. The entire building was clad in streamlined glass, full of futuristic beauty.
It was six in the morning.
Zong Yan had less than two hours to finish his task, no matter how big or small.
Even worse, today was the last day of Qingyang High School’s final exams.
If he couldn’t get to the classroom before 8:30 AM, Zong Yan would be recorded as having abandoned the exam.
If he withdrew from the exam for no reason, he’d be invited to the teaching director’s office for tea, where he’d receive a serious lecture and denunciation.
Qingyang High School was known as a prestigious school, and its attitude toward academics was quite strict. Zong Yan usually only made small mistakes, which meant being summoned to the teacher’s podium to review. He’d never committed such a big infraction before.
Zong Yan sighed, felt around in the school bag he was carrying, and took out a handwritten manuscript covered in black.
Once exposed to the air, the manuscript gave off an unspeakable stench, which was especially effective in the narrow elevator.
The teenager wrinkled his nose in disgust, and his black eyes darkened. He quickly flipped through the pages and fixed his eyes on a specific passage.
The book was relatively new. The main text was handwritten in Arabic with pen, interspersed with some Greek, Latin, and ancient Gaelic. It was a thick sheaf of paper, quite weighty in the hand.
It belonged to a translation commission he received two days ago. The client paid five times the normal deposit and told him to translate the text as soon as possible.
When it came to translation, Zong Yan was an old hand.
Zong Yan had a secret—he could pull various ability cards out of the void.
There were many types of cards, including ordinary ability cards and superpower cards. There were even daily disposable persona cards that would give you a tense and exciting magical transformation scene anytime and anywhere. Unfortunately, daily disposable persona cards charged by the hour.
No matter how bitterly he regretted it, he hadn’t managed to draw many superpower persona cards over the years. But he had a basket full of ordinary ability cards.
Like a speed reading ability card, a basic wilderness survival ability card, and a hassle-free English communication ability card.
Especially the language proficiency cards. It wasn’t just English or languages like Spanish and German, but also relatively rare languages like Latin and Hebrew. Last year he pulled out an ancient Egyptian language card.
When it came to the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt or the cuneiform script of ancient Sumer, Zong Yan could read them without any obstacles. He could personally travel to the pyramids of Egypt and have a dialogue with the dead.
For Zong Yan at his current stage, language ability cards were indeed the most practical type.
Because he could use these abilities to take translation jobs, and pay the rent, water, electricity, and gas with the money he earned. It was just enough to support himself.
But Zong Yan never thought he’d get in trouble just by taking a job as a translator.
Zong Yan was used to reciting silently to himself when translating texts. When he got the manuscript, he did the same as usual without much thought. As a result, when he finished reading the text to himself and was about to transcribe it to another book, he glanced back at the codex and saw that a paragraph had suddenly gone missing.
At the same time, there was a note in the manuscript written in scrawled English. It said: Do not open this notebook, or those things will return to the world.
It was all very strange. As strange as his ability.
Because in all these years, the only person Zong Yan had seen who didn’t conform to the universal laws of physics was Zong Yan himself. He’d never observed anything else unusual. This was the first time.
It was by no means an ordinary manuscript.
Zong Yan already had some vague conjectures in his mind.
Something out there, using this manuscript as a medium, had been summoned from the void and descended on this peaceful world.
According to the notebook, that thing was called a “star vampire”.
In the dark, this anomaly seemed to touch a commandment hidden deep in Zong Yan’s soul.
A certain chaotic fragment, mixed with disordered and uncanny impulses from somewhere even more unknown, rushed out of this inexplicable unnamable place, following his blood. The rampage washed through the young man’s muscles, flowing through his entire body, until it was filled with an unhappy emotion commonly called displeasure.
A voice from long ago resounded, coming from the furthest recesses of the universe. It penetrated the boundless, star-studded dimensions of space, where a chant echoed through a vast and majestic palace.
He stared at the blank line on the page and shoved it into his book bag with the back of his hand.
Zong Yan had to find the thing that was summoned and send it back where it belonged.
He had a kind of intuition—the thing that was conjured up was here.
“Ding! You have arrived at Floor 118.”
The cold announcement sounded inside the elevator. Zong Yan took a deep breath and stepped outside.
If Dujiakou was the premier financial center of Jiangzhou, then the tall, three-spired skyscrapers of Dujiakou were its greatest landmarks.
Among them, the financial building was the most well-known. Most of the tenants here were large multinational corporations. Undoubtedly, working here was a symbol of ability and status.
Even in the early hours of the morning, the windows on many floors were still lit up. Because of the time difference and their busy work schedule, financial elites worked overtime day and night. All their clients were senior executives from Fortune 500 companies or heavyweight tycoons. They couldn’t slack off in the slightest.
The top floor of the financial tower had a sightseeing platform. Because of the rain, it wasn’t especially bright. The air was still.
Zong Yan glanced at the location of the cameras, and his fingers moved silently.
The teen in the school uniform easily crossed the ticket gate of the sightseeing hall. In an instant, he flashed to a dead spot of the monitoring equipment one second before the ability ended.
Zong Yan’s luck wasn’t very good. All the superpower cards he got were E-class.
For example, he could summon a little cluster of not-very-smart crimson flames to save the cost of fuel when he didn’t have much money. In winter, he could use the flames to warm his hands. However, because of its occasional sluggishness in response to its master’s commands, if Zong Yan wasn’t careful he might set himself on fire.
For example, he could conjure up a piece of ice that didn’t melt very fast, so that in the sweltering summer weather Zong Yan wouldn’t die of heat exhaustion within the four walls of the family apartment.
For example, he could call out a small half-bottle of water, which was crystal clear, absolutely pure and pollution free, and sweeter than a mountain spring.
For example, he could summon leaping starlight to his fingertips and use it to read books at night. It was good for both looking cool and saving money on electricity.
For example, he could pause time for a few seconds locally, like the incident just now.
It was one thing to use these abilities to improve his life, but if he was going to use them to fight against the thing summoned from the black leather codex… it was obviously impractical.
The last remnants of night in the distance had almost disappeared. People might come up here at any moment.
Zong Yan looked at the gradually increasing numbers on the elevator display board behind him. Without any warning his slender fingers sank into the void and pulled a thin card from the brilliant gap in space.
The boy on the card was suspended in air, dressed in a white, short-sleeved, Greek-style tunic, with strips of cloth wrapped around his feet. Long platinum hair was scattered on his shoulders. His eyes were as clear as emeralds, like a spirit of the forest.
The clothing and temperament were totally different, but the face was still Zong Yan’s.
This was the highest level persona card in Zong Yan’s possession. Despite the many restrictions, it was his trump card.
A-class daily disposable persona—Child of the Wind.
The name “Child of the Wind” was bestowed on it by Zong Yan himself. Its main ability was to control the wind and give himself the ability to fly through the air. For details, please refer to Peter Pan.
This card wasn’t drawn randomly by Zong Yan. He synthesized it with a B-rank wind-type persona card and a D-rank speed-enhancement persona card. The success rate of synthesis was only about 5%, but the blind cat managed to find a dead mouse.
In theory, the A-rank Child of the Wind could be upgraded to S-class through synthesis, but Zong Yan hesitated to do so because each persona card could only be obtained once.
After all, this was his only A card. If the operation wasn’t successful, it might turn into a waste card. It was better not to take the chance.
“Hee hee hee hee hee—”
A cold, disgusting laugh emerged from the distant void. Crimson light loomed in the air. If you gazed at it closely, you could see scarlet blood dripping from a gap in reality, and scraps of conglutinated broken flesh.
It was suspended outside the financial building. He was vaguely able to see those crimson tentacles dancing in the rain, like a creature from the end of days.
The more it rained, the more the sound of the laughter was muffled, and the bloodstains were washed away, leaving nothing behind.
The perpetrator was extremely skilled. It couldn’t be called “human” or “beast”. It was something more difficult to put into words, some kind of inexpressible “monster”.
Obviously, this thing had eaten, because a dried-up corpse was hanging on a glass support bracket outside the tower, tottering with the rain and whistling wind.
If it wasn’t discovered, maybe it would become one of the countless strange stories of Jiangzhou.
Zong Yan’s face went cold. Without hesitating, he crushed the Child of the Wind in his hand. The shattered card turned into millions of fragments which disappeared into his body.
【Daily disposable persona card “Child of the Wind” requires SAN value = 35. Current SAN value = 40. Activation successful.】
【Attention. This persona can be maintained for roughly 3.5 hours】
All right, the pay per minute billing had begun.
After the dazzling light disappeared, he triggered the safety bolt on the window and effortlessly jumped from the inner ledge to the glass bracket outside.
It was nearly six hundred meters above the ground, and this was the tallest building in all of Jiangzhou. Standing here, you could easily take in the entire city. Just a glance down was enough to dazzle the mind.
Zong Yan held the invisible wind blade tightly in his hand and flew out without looking back.
The cold steel and iron of the city swept under his feet. Countless unseen winds obeyed his commands, gently stretching out their hands to force away the rain that would have soaked him.
The young man with long platinum blond hair flew through the thick curtain of rain. Wherever he went, the raindrops avoided him.
It was clear he was about to face an indescribable creature, but Zong Yan had no fear.
There were many side effects of daily disposable cards, one of which was that it affected the user’s personality. Now, for example, Zong Yan could feel himself surging with fearlessness, arrogance, and courage.
He had used this card countless times, flying high in Jiangzhou after nightfall. Soaring over the yellow surface of the Huangpu River, crossing above the crowded Bund, jumping into the clouds, free-falling from a height of ten thousand meters.
His soul emerged from the body of a boy sitting in a classroom looking up at the sky, launching towards a vault of freedom in the heavens.
He commanded the stars, anchoring them, and crowned himself king of the wind.
“Get back where you belong, star vampire.”
The Child of the Wind spoke to himself, and the wind blade in his hand stabbed at the void without mercy, roaring in the pounding rain a declaration of war.
The author has something to say:
Here I am, sailing the stars, and anchoring them, and crowning myself king of the winds. — Adonis, “King of the Winds”
Zong Yan: Guardian Sweetheart1, transform! Image transformation! Go!
Very chuunibyou2, no terror, no despair. It’s a high-magic world and the investigators tear apart the extraterrestrial species by hand
The internal settings are completely different from COC3. They’re basically my private settings
If the little cuties came for a tone of despair and terror, let Ya apologize first. This article probably doesn’t express that kind of nameless horror. The essence of Cthulhu is hopelessness and the unknown. This story doesn’t have that. It’s basically a hot-blooded chuunibyou who’s full of hope to save the world. After all, chuunibyou people are all about running around and punching ancient gods.
The main story has a slight group pet4 direction
Started a new story! It’s a new journey. Thank you for your support! YaYa loves you!
Finally, thank you for sending mines and nutrient solution5 to this story before it opened =3=
Welcome! I’m happy to share this story with you guys in English!
Because of all the various stuff involved in getting a new project added, I plan to skip posting tomorrow. After that I should be able to update daily (with occasional breaks).
Thanks for reading!
– Confectioner aka Gao Dian Shi (糕点师)
daily disposable – 日抛 – daily disposable, single use, single serving, one use per day
persona – 人设 – character setting, character type
high magic – 高武 – gāo wǔ – Alternatively: high martial arts, but this isn’t a martial arts story.
“King of the Winds” is a poem by Adonis. The translation to English used here is by Kamal Abu-deeb
Transliterated names, titles, and places—new in this chapter:
Zong Yan – 宗衍 – Zōng Yǎn – Our MC
Glossary of world terms—new in this chapter:
star vampire – 星之精 – AKA “Shambler from the Stars”. It might not be the type of vampire you’re thinking of Σ(°Д°υ)
It was red and dripping; an immensity of pulsing, moving jelly; a scarlet blob with myriad tentacular trunks that waved and waved. There were suckers on the tips of the appendages, and these were opening and closing with a ghoulish lust…. The thing was bloated and obscene; a headless, faceless, eyeless bulk with the ravenous maw and titanic talons of a star-born monster. The human blood on which it had fed revealed the hitherto invisible outlines of the feaster.
—Robert Bloch, “The Shambler from the Stars” (source)
- Guardian Sweetheart, transform! – 守护甜心，变身！ – This is directly from Shugo Chara!, the magical girl series. I didn’t try too hard to translate the rest.
- chuunibyou – “middle school second year syndrome”, “eighth-grader syndrome”. This Japanese slang term describes early teens who have grandiose delusions, desperately want to stand out, and have convinced themselves they have hidden knowledge of secret powers (Wikipedia). The Mandarin version is “中二病” “zhōng èr bìng”, “middle two disease”, or “zhōng èr” for short. The Japanese term has an English Wikipedia entry and an Urban Dictionary entry, so I used it instead of keeping the Chinese. I prefer to keep the original term where possible, but it doesn’t lead to a definition when googled, and I thought it would cause more confusion.
- COC – Call of Cthulhu, an RPG based on the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft
- group pet – 团宠 – the most beloved person on a team. This term originated from idol groups where sometimes all the members dote on one particularly adorable teammate.
- mines and nutrient solution – On JJWXC, readers can send support to an author through mines (monetary donations) or nutrient solution (reader points that increase a story’s ranking)