Zhanye never dreamed there's a Cheat to avoid the Life-Bound part of the Summoning Contract, as he learned how to tweak the spell from Beiyue.
He got the spell, and formed a Contract with the Snakelet that hasn't gotten that smart yet, but of strength about that of less than Kirin's which was why he can contract with it.
What a monster.
Well, contracting with it bumped up his and Kirin's cultivations, as well as it's own.
Though he now has to raise and discipline it to gain its respect. He has that onerous job now.
That, and Beiyue was being petty.
'Why not have its sibling work for you after poisoning you for days?' she would say. 'Its only fair to make it pay.'
That, and she will not allow any other candidates to become Crown Prince to succeed the Emperor if anything happens to him as she feared for the country. Thus the reason for his cultivation will be TOP SECRET. No one is to know, not even his own parents, until the time is right...the kind that 'it's time to mortify your arrogant enemy' kind.
'What a girl.' he chuckled sardonically as he lied down on his bed to retire. He now has two Spirit Beasts!
He never thought its possible to have more than one, until Beiyue happened.
'It's an Enchanter's job to open up new possibilities. What use are we and Alchemists if we can't discover anything new for progress?'
That, and she made him keep it a secret or people will flock to her when she hated everyone else.
To ensure it's a secret, she even put a Cursed Seal on him to keep it quiet! That he will feel a painful migraine just for thinking about trying to share their secret.
Time to train. He was also advised to have high-speed flow of ki in casting magic as Honglian's casting to kill Sima Guiyan was so fast, that she killed him in a blink after aiming with her hand. The speed of ki flow, casting and attack was so fast Sima Guiyan can't even think of dodging, he was dead as soon as she flicked her wrist that in her eyes, he was a mere fly to be swatted! And how to resist her pressure so he wouldn't be cowed when she tries. But for it to work, he must get stronger.
'Alright, our house is locked up and well-protected.' said Beiyue as she put powerful barriers around her home.
'Even our rooms have high-end security we can go out without worries!' Dongling chirped happily. Beiyue chuckled rather darkly.
'If they dare to try, the means of salvation are far too expensive.' she stated in an icy sneer. They had warned Concubine Fang in person NOT to go to her house while they're gone, and not to fall for lies or claims. Beiyue herself will come personally, not through letter or any other form of communication.
Upon arriving at school, the royals coming have to line up as they would be leading with the teachers.
Though Lianyi wasn't one of the winners, he was there as a Healer.
'Is everyone ready to go?' Principal Cang He called out as the students roared in cheers of excitement.
The warm-blooded cheers resonated above the Lingyang College. Numerous young men/women's hearts all trembled with excitement due to this arriving adventure!
Going out for experience, it wasn't like how the nobles would sit within the horse carriage when they go out for fun. All the summoners called for their spiritual beasts. They all rode on their own and opened the road in front of them. The students within the enchanter course and the refining alchemists were in the middle, riding the horses. In the end, were the masters of the martial arts.
The majestic line headed out form Linhua City and on the way there, numerous common people all rushed forth to see them.
The Floating Forest was a vast and boundless deep forest. It ran through the entire Mainland and deeply rooted within the center. Because magical beasts and godly beasts often appeared as well as all types of unknown dangers, this caused the problem of communicating with each individual country.
No one dared to cross through the Floating Forest by themselves on a horse and a gun. Even if there was a group of masters, it was extremely dangerous. Therefore, many people would rather revolve around the main road and spend more than ten times the time but would not cross through the Floating Forest.
Within Nanyi Country, the outside of the Floating Forest held the same amount of danger. The Misty Forest was revolved around by fogs for many years. Once they crossed through the Misty Forest, they would be able to reach the outside of the Floating Forest.
Towards the young and inexperienced masters, the Misty Forest was already dangerous enough. Often, there were mercenaries and adventurers who ventured in to search for materials and valuable ingredients . Therefore, there was a couple of roads which were comparably safe. Plus, before the Ice Spirit Bird had come here and released a powerful sense of pressure.
Floating Light, as the name suggested because inside the forest, the plants were dense and it hid the sky. For many years, no light was seen that often. Therefore, within the forest, a super low-level spiritual bug named 'floating light' appeared. Their body would emit off intense and bright lights which will give light to the dark forest.
The rank of 'floating lights' was very low . They don't have an attack attribute. However, if a group of 'floating lights' appeared, there was some danger. These spiritual bugs liked to suck blood. If someone was to be surrounded by a group of floating lights, it would be a little frightening.
This was how the Floating Forest got its name. Inside, the higher-level spiritual beasts could be seen everywhere. Just outside of it, it was very dangerous. As the legend exclaimed, every place, there was either a godly or a wicked beast that occupied their territory. No one could cross a border otherwise there will be a world-shaking battle!
Within the Misty Forest, they met some spiritual beasts that weren't high in ranks. It was mostly the red and blue bats with high attack attributes that appeared in groups that they had seen. At this time, the professors would divide the students into small groups to attack the spiritual beasts. The professors would stand to one side, watching this. They would only go to save someone when it was life-threatening.
To Beiyue's annoyance, while she didn't mind Yingye as a teammate, why is her ex-fiancee on HER team?! She shot a glare at Lianyi who mockingly whistled innocently.
Conjuring her bow, she traced arrows which she shot enough to kill a group in one blow.
'Princess can fire many arrows at once?!' Elder Nangong and the other teachers watched in amazement as she killed a group of bats by herself with a cold-blooded stare.
'Jeez, what can't you do?' Yingye sweatdropped, having handled her own share of trouble.
'...I'm a Master Archer...for I never miss.' Beiyue smirked as a large bat came. It's a pretty high-rank one! And it fell dead to her arrows.
"She killed a high-ranking bat with just an arrow!"
"Isn't that normally impossible?!"
'She's an Enchanter, there's gotta be a trick...' Lianyi mused thoughtfully. What she's done, is impossible. Yet she made the impossible possible.
She summoned a sword. Which she modified into a projectile. Bam, one-hit-wonderboom.
But her dainty, small hands to do such a feat as it wasn't an arrow she used, but a modified sword she transformed! And her bow clearly has a heavy drawing weight to make her shots feasible. But how can those skinny arms do that?!
That, was much to collective disbelief.
Not only that, Dongling and the 'monster kids' were no slouch either. Being young, they were determined to prove themselves.
'Those young War Gods are a little too excited.' said Teacher Sun as Beiyue's students were running amok on their own.
'War Gods they may be, but no experience.' said Lianyi. 'They would naturally be fired up over anything.'
It was a shame Beiyue dressed and acted so masculine, he thought with a pout. She was beautiful no doubt it should be emphasized in flattering battle dresses, not that manly outfit she has on. The patterns on her black top, sembled...a man's muscular torso for crying out loud! At least she actually owned beautiful dresses, but her battle attire is...disappointing in the charms department. Her waist cape has a knee-length wrap-around style as to not get in the way. The only accentuated feminine features she has is her beauty, her waist and her shapely legs.
Dongling and the female warriors in Beiyue's retinue also have jade-bone skins, tiny waistlines and beautiful legs. They stood out among the bunch this year.
When they finally reached the outside of the Floating Forest, they then camped there and went to rest for lunch.
This type of rule to experience had been passed down by Lingyang College for many years. Therefore, all the work needed to do such as lighting a fire, cooking, and setting up camps, were all distributed regularly amongst the people.
Well...a new tool came in handy. The Fire Stove. A magical tool sembling electric stoves back in earth, heated up by Fire Crystals within.
Setting up a kitchen was easy for the chef.
In order to prevent the students from being curious and going out to the Floating Forest by themselves, around the camps, there were a couple of professors who took turns in patrolling.
'Princess, what are you making today?'
'For now, as it's camping, nothing fancy but easy-to-cook stuff.' said Beiyue causing the maid to sweatdrop because her miss is preparing a typical home hotpot. Guess it'll be soups and stews as other stuff takes too long to be done. 'You handle the roasting of birds and lead the kids. They should master roasting and making camp food by the time camp ends.' in camping, Roast is Life. If you don't have any tools on hand, roasting will keep you fed. But if you suck at roasting, life will be hard for you till you get to town!
'Yes, miss!' and Dongling ran off to call their subordinates for a roasting job.
'Yue~ can you do this for me?' Yingye brought back some eel.
It was Beiyue who taught her that Eel CAN be eaten, just, how she made it was unknown. Beiyue admired the eels brought to her by her cousin.
'Mm, nice and fat. Not bad catch! I'll show you then you do the rest so you'll learn.'
Yingye watched how Beiyue does it.
On a wooden board, she knocked the eel out with a finger flick on the head, before making it lie on its side straight, and pierced the head with a skewer so it stays put. Then after its fins are removed, it's sliced to the side, and then deboned and gutted easily before using water magic to clean blood off.
'So this is why the eel on rice you served before looks like butterfly wings...after it's gutted and cleaned, you chop it up into bite-sized pieces!' Yingye was astonished at how easy she made it look.
'Yep, so practice on your cutting board now that you know how.' Beiyue told her, giving her the deboned eel. 'It takes a couple more eels to get used to preparation.' and weirdly enough, eel blood of this world isn't poisonous. 'And watch out for little squigglies...if you see them, carefully remove them from the eels, they're parasitic worms.' Yingye looked green at the notion.
'That's basic common sense in gutting food you know...always check for what doesn't belong or those bugs will make you pay for it horribly by wreaking havoc in your body.' Beiyue warned. 'When you're done, I'll show you how to grill it.'
'Those snakes can actually be eaten?' Lianyi asked as he had Di watch alongside Yingye.
'Yup. They can also be found in the ocean too, but its not like we'll ever go there.' Beiyue snarked. 'So let's settle for river snakes. Take note that only those species in the river or any freshwater are edible, the rest will kill you.' later, she taught Yingye and Di how to grill Eel before going back to her work.
She made enough Yosenabe and put miso in it for further nutrition and when everything is cooked thoroughly, she stirred the pot to mix ingredients evenly as well as flavors that seeped out to make a delicious soup before adding extra spices, let them dissolve and stir it again. Now, is that moron Xue Che done with the rice?
'You really like vegetables a lot!' Yingye exclaimed as her contribution was grilled eel enough to fill three bellies as Beiyue supplied the sauce out of her ring. Beiyue's was the yosenabe she made.
'Well, sweet and crunchy, and friendly for waistlines, no?'
'Can't fault that logic...'
'What soup is this? It's just vegetables and yet...' Xue Che gushed out. He's been in seven years' worth of camping trips that he's had bad cuisine due to bad cooking skills he and some random groupmates have. This was the first time he's had it good! And this fish is so fatty, but not heavy and greasy, and so fluffy and juicy! The princesses are good cooks! The soup is so deliciously savory-sweet!
'It's basic camping food, vegetable hotpot.' Beiyue sweatdropped. 'Don't tell me the older years just camp roasted every meat they saw?' Yingye and Xue Che flinched, clearly guilty of such thoughts. "Not very creative, are they...?"
In her yosenabe as they still have nightfall to go, she made it particularly heavy and energy-boosting. Mashed potatoes she rolled into firm, bite-sized balls, negi, daikon, dark leafy veggies, tofu, with seaweed, miso and spices for flavoring.
'Lucky I got grouped with good cooks this year, every other year was dreadful...can you seriously expect us to be good cooks?' Xue Che muttered as the princesses made him wash the dishes since cooking rice was too easy a job they felt he needed to do more.
'Looks like Lingyang needs Cooking Lessons.' Beiyue snorted derisively.
'No noble will take that class.' Yingye pointed out. 'Heck, I'm learning from you instead as of a few weeks ago.'
'And y'all are paying for that every year in this camping trip.' Beiyue chortled, shaking her head.
However, all is not well upon cleaning up.
At this time, no one knew what happened within the Floating Forest but suddenly a burst of earthquake-like footsteps along with many spiritual beasts' frightened howls rang.
Everyone who was originally busy all stopped their actions. They all raised their heads, looking at the endless darkness. From time to time, there were some floating lights sparkling within the deep forest.
What happened? It felt as though many spiritual beasts were rushing here! Plus, they were all at least above the tenth order!
Elder Nangong hurriedly walked out from the tent and squinted his eyes, looking: 'Did the people who went make inquiries in the front come back yet?'
'Elder, none of them is back!' A young professor anxiously replied: 'Elder, the situation doesn't seem right. Let the students leave first!'
Elder Nangong also had the intentions of doing so. This group of students was Lingyang College's recent years of elites. They couldn't afford to lose them.
He wanted to command the people when suddenly a group of people on horses hurried out from the Floating Forest. Within the group of people, there were summoners and warriors. They seemed to be a powerful squad of an army!
'Damn! Boss, there are a lot of bastards here!' A loud and rough voice rang from afar. This led the group of elites from Lingyang College to be unhappy and annoyed.
The army seemed to be calmer after they ran out of the Floating Forest. A huge ape walked over, shaking the earth while doing so. It confronted the people from Lingyang College outside of the Floating Forest.
On the huge ape's shoulders, there was an arrogant man with a long beard sitting on top. A pair of bell-like eyes swept across the students. In the end, his eyes landed on Elder Nangong.
'You guys are people from Nanyi Country?' The moment he opened his mouth, it was filled with a disdainful tone. They're just a group of small children. There are probably only a couple of masters, as it seemed like. They probably came to Nanyi Country's college to train.
The group of students looked to be a source of easy profit!
Elder Nangong walked out. Nanyi Country was a big country so naturally, it couldn't lose its face. Therefore, he cupped his fist, stating: 'We are the people of Nanyi Country's Lingyang College. Maybe I ask who your team is?'
'Humph! Ling Yang College? I never heard of this before!' That man with a long beard arrogantly replied: 'We are Dongli Country's first army — The Four Oceans Army! We crossed from the east to the Floating Forest!'
Beiyue's eyes narrowed. Dongli army. Considering what she found in her mother's things...that made her even unhappier.
Indeed, the Four Oceans Army held some reputation on the mainland. On the Mainland, it could also be considered a top-ranked army. Their leader wasn't a summoner but rather a martial arts master that legend had, entered the War God rank!
The long-bearded man who drove the ape probably isn't the leader.
What led Elder Nangong and the others to be shocked was not the Four Oceans Army's reputation but rather that the long-bearded man explained that they had crossed from the east over to the Floating Forest!
Dangers surrounded the Floating Forest and different types of spiritual beasts appeared out of nowhere. Even if they crossed over from the east, they needed to be very powerful!
There were only about thirty-something people within the army the long-bearded man led. Although each one of them was tall, muscular, and all powerful people who had experienced many battles, could they really cross the Floating Forest?
'Elder, these people don't seem to be friendly.' A young professor came over, exclaiming this in a low voice.
Elder Nangong held a gloomy face, lowly yelling: 'Don't say nonsense! As long as they don't be aggressive to us then it's fine!'
As he finished his words, Elder Nangong raised his head, smiling: 'Since your group had crossed over from the Floating Forest, can you tell us what happens within the forest?'
The sound of the spiritual beasts running closer continued and they detected danger.
'Humph! This is the rebellion of the spiritual beasts! You guys dare to barge into the Floating Forest and not knowing this? The people of Nanyi Country are so funny!'
Princess Yingye furrowed his eyebrows. She placed her hand on the sword, incomparably angry within her heart. The moment these people opened their mouths, they talked about Nanyi Country in disdain. How could she do nothing being the Princess?
'Yingye.' Beiyue held onto her hand, softly shaking her head . She lowered her voice: 'Don't rush. Later on, we will teach them a good lesson!'
Now Elder Nangong needed to lead the students and evacuate. The spiritual beasts rebellion seemed to be hard to deal with. It was not a good time to stay.
'Why did those guys follow us?!' Yingye was still peeved as the arrogant men followed them in their night camp!
'Typical boorish thinking of attack us later at night and catch us for profit. It's obvious by how they look alone.' said Beiyue as this got her cousin further angry before she looked vicious.
'Do they seriously think, they can stand up to twenty War Gods and who are they again?!' Yingye spoke coldly. 'They're just a bunch of thugs and who are they to us?'
'We're being underestimated.' Beiyue's smile, was cruel. She glanced at Dongling. 'Dongling, do you have Project 6?'
'I have a name for that now.' Dongling sweatdropped. 'But yes I have it.'
'Good. While they're eating, give it to Lianyi in powder form, he'll sneak it to their drinks with his ability.' Beiyue chuckled. 'Once that happens, we'll secretly leave on lights out. Go to him about the plan and then inform the teachers.'
'W-what're you up to?' Xue Che asked anxiously as that smile on the maid and her princess gave him goosebumps.
'Yeah, what does Project 6 do exactly?' Yingye asked her cousin who wore a wicked smile.
'What they intend to do to us, will happen to them in a matter of hours which is why we need to leave after idiots consumed everything.' said Beiyue, clearly enjoying this.
After Lianyi did as instructed, they waited until the death of night, before secretly fleeing in silence.
Five minutes away, they all heard a rumbling and later, screams.
'...it works THAT quick?!' Elder Nangong shivered.
A cruel aphrodisiac Dongling created.
It works only on men, and if put in a drink and consumed, will attract male spirit beasts within a 100m radius and go for the person with 'the nice smell'...and rape them! And they won't stop until target is dead. Because the 'nice smell' will disappear if victim is dead.
Considering what those guys intended to do to the students, tit-for-tat indeed!
It's a potent WOW if skillfully snuck into enemy camp by a skilled wind user capable of concealing themselves as they sneak this weapon in drinks. However, to avoid this being used criminally, Dongling will never sell it. Given how nobles and rivalries work or even among mercenaries during travel...yeah. Project 6 will never be sold and only Dongling can wield it if ordered to by a Royal.
However, Lianyi spared a child whom he overheard grumbling about Boss Yuan's deeds shaming the proud name of the Four Seas Army with his crimes. He knocked the kid out, put him in a cave before doing his job.
Elsewhere, the students slept and camping went as planned...but a person stumbled into their camp.
A young, black-clad BLIND boy whom Beiyue welcomed in when she stumbled into him in training. His name was Liu Che and he ended up staying with the camp during their whole training experience.
Secretly, Lianyi and Huwen Di were alarmed that Beiyue let in MOLIAN OF GLORY PALACE into their camp, unaware of who he is, but he seems to be docile with her so they were on a watch-and-see basis...while Di bathed Molian on Beiyue's instructions and she had Dongling wash the boy's clothes and shoes.
This was because he got separated from his companions. He got by through Inedia for two weeks but he was getting dangerously too malnourished and his body stretched thin from Inedia. So his time with them was eat and eat, and consuming Dongling's pills to heal his stomach lining before he gets Ulcer!
That, and she mostly hung out with him and his personal teacher when not told to do tasks by the teachers who were asked to teach him while she was gone. How to use money, how to use items in camp, how to cook, how to bathe, how to laundry...and more.
'Brother Yi, Beiyue seems to have taken a shine to that boy she took in.' she told Lianyi in amusement who forced his own composure. 'I'm happy she grew to like him.'
'Well, she likes very few people in Nanyi Country with good reason...while she's friendly to foreigners it seems.' he said. 'Liu Che is a foreigner so she's naturally nice to him by default as he gets to know and judge her character himself instead of mob mentality as she puts it without bothering to know the truth. It helps that he seems to be a gentle person.' he said. 'Princess only shows her real self to people like us who did her right during her Ruse.'
From afar, that got Xue Che grumbling, overhearing the two royals, jealous of Liu Che who has Beiyue's good side. Her attention, her sweetness and her time! That COULD have been him in his place had he been smarter! To the other campers, they were shocked Beiyue who was cold and aloof, has this side to her.
However, that wasn't the only thing Beiyue found on Liu Che and pricked him with Rulebreaker. That the tattoo on his face and the milky film on his eyes vanished, that he can see again.
'W-what happened? My world was black and what is this?' Liu Che stammered out as he was seeing things this time. He had no idea what the world looks like so he was both curious and anxious.
'You can see us now, Che.' Beiyue grinned. 'Your world isn't black anymore like the color of your robes.' that got Che stunned. 'Your blindness is the result of sorcery. Had it been natural causes not even I can help you.' she told him before frowning. 'But who on earth did?'
Che looked glum.
'I was...blind for as long as I remember.' he told her softly. 'My training had to be uniquely modified to teach me as a result. However, I became strong because I am blind.' he said. 'But I hadn't known someone blinded me on purpose!' he was upset about it.
'Jealousy is an ugly thing...maybe your parents are in rivalry with someone and that someone blinded you to sabotage your future as revenge? We don't know the truth but that is one possibility.' that got Che VERY unhappy.
'...and why must I pay for somebody else's faults?'
'People are irrational that way...that all we can do is become the best we can be and keep fighting to live.' Beiyue told him. 'To fight against bad people out to harm you. Injustices committed against you. To always do and fight for what's good and right.'
And three days to end camp...
Che found a little golden tiger. It was a divine beast, rank 4 but a baby thus has no use for a feeble untrained creature. But he figured Beiyue might like it and he wanted to give her a gift because she was so good to him.
'Oh dear! Where did you find this poor thing? He's clearly just a newborn!' Yingye gasped in dismay as Che brought the baby tiger to the princesses.
'He nearly fell into the river.' said Che before looking at Beiyue. 'Yue, want him? He's...cute, right?' he asked her, giving her the tiger. He has no idea what cute was, he just learned the term from a Teacher Sun.
Beiyue used sorcery on the sad-looking cub and saw its memories...before looking sad. 'Yue?'
'I'll take good care of him, Che.' she said softly, cuddling the baby tiger. 'This poor dear lost his mother upon being born. His time with her was short and saw her die so he's been sad and traumatized.' her words made Yingye and Che balk. 'He also hasn't eaten for days since his birth and just a few days old. He could use a new mother.' said Beiyue, cuddling the sad baby. 'You did well in giving him a chance to live. Orphans tend to have terrible lives unless luck smiles on them...and to this child, you are that very luck that smiled on him.' she praised him.
'Ah...' Che was happy that Beiyue was happy with his actions, not just his gift.
'Poor thing.' Yingye felt sorry for the cub. She got lucky with the forest as Beiyue and Lianyi helped her get a new Spirit Beast to improve her strength. She's now an 8-star Summoner, owning a Flame Hedgehog. Beiyue had a cloth strap she wore around herself to always carry the baby with her, feeding on her ki thus mostly uses archery in her battles. But when things get hairy, she conjures Rho Aias. She had to do internal casting of her spells and gave Rho Aias a new name:
Qitianhuan(seven heavenly rings).
It looks like a seven-petaled flower, but nothing gets past the flower even with the obvious gaps! And she has stored so many weapons she summons anything she wants if its a weapon. And thanks to his royal Ego-Ness, she has a huge stash of copies with unique properties as long as it's a weapon!
When camp ended, they all went home...
Trouble didn't end there, courtesy of an illusion that put everyone to sleep...and...dream?
She dreamed of her past as Emiya Shirou.
And parallel worlds of Emiya Shirou, one of which, led to him being cursed to become Archer. His only way to be freed, being an incarnation of himself in Chaldea as a Servant, when the Alien God destroyed 'the order' of humanity, killing Alaya too...at least, until Ritsuka and others restored the world but damage was done and he's free!
Thus, he's here as Huang Beiyue now. One EMIYA being free in one Parallel World freed other EMIYAs too through a Chain Reaction Process.
In a way, he was grateful to the Alien God, but he was upset as at year 2016 onwards, that meant the deaths of those he cared for. Taiga, Rin, Sakura, his other school friends...that he fought hard to bring them back as he got what he wanted. FREEDOM from his personal hell!
Though let it be known that Chaldea is ahem, also an organization of horny servants who got attracted to each other and their master Ritsuka. Everyone has a lover in there and even he slept with Ritsuka at some point. So what if he's a guy? His attraction check is Personality and Ritsuka reminded him of who he used to be. Just that, he was no twisted idiot like he. A plus in his books.
He can only smile, recalling the good old days.
In the real world?
'She's...smiling?' Che was astonished as after he slapped everyone awake, he can't bring himself to slap Beiyue who was smiling peacefully in her sleep. And he had to use a spell to smack the baby cub awake as it was thrashing and making fireballs everywhere it might burn the forest down.
'What happened to us?' Yingye croaked out, feeling her stinging cheek it was certainly gonna bruise...
'This.' Che held up a cowering Dream Weaver to the teachers' horror.
'Dream Weaver!' they were horrified.
'All of you began sleep-fighting each other so I and those guys have to slap all of you. Sorry.' said Che, pointing at Lianyi and Huwen Di. 'At least Yue's OK...'
'She's...smiling...' Dongling croaked out incredulously, rubbing her cheek because it felt its about to bruise.
'She's peaceful unlike you guys.'
The teachers were of the opinion that they should rush home as Dream Weavers are bad news. Weak they may be, but their true horror, Che, Lianyi and Di definitely knows!
'Shouldn't you wake Princess now?' Lianyi asked the Dream Weaver with a threatening smile. 'Sweet dream she may have, but your technique will make her sleep forever so wake her up...or else.'