translator: baumkuchen editors: glitterypanda, serefina
Sam’s words became prophecy. Zhou Kai really did fall sick, getting a fever, and having to be hooked up to a drip.
After all, he was already at that age, where he wasn’t a lively, robust young man anymore. He couldn’t bear the torment of both being beaten and then being out in the open air all night.
Doctor Aaron had his doubts about the injuries on Zhou Kai’s face. After all, those were clearly injuries caused from a beating, but when asked about how he got his injuries, Zhou Kai said he didn’t remember.
An excuse, thought Doctor Aaron.
He didn’t even need to think about it, it probably got too intense while playing those games of his.
So, he didn’t ask further, and even gave Shen Changqing a sympathetic look.
He had long since gotten used to this household’s trifles. Still, since he’d already signed a non-disclosure agreement and received a high salary, he just cared about doing his job and turned a blind eye to everything else, treating it all as if it were invisible.
He then went to check on how Shen Changqing’s ribs had been recovering. While he was at it, he asked, “How did Mister Zhou get hurt?”
Shen Changqing answered very honestly, “Mister Zhou didn’t come home last night. I’m also not sure.”
Doctor Aaron was stunned for a moment, then looked at Shen Changqing with even more sympathy.
After administering Zhou Kai fever-reducing and anti-inflammatory medicine in a drip, Aaron suggested, “Take a brain CT. You haven’t had a full physical examination in six months.”
Zhou Kai let out a sound of agreement, not in the least concerned.
He didn’t feel like his body had any abnormalities.
The facts showed that his body’s foundation was really very good. His injuries healed very quickly. That morning he had a fever, but by noon, he had already started sweating. By afternoon, he started remotely handling some work, and the next day, he went to the company with medicine still spread on his face.
When he entered his office, Sam, who had been talking to the secretary, was given a sudden shock.
Sam had thought he would have to rest for at least two or three days. Seeing him come back so soon and so energetically, he couldn’t help but be shocked, “Mister Zhou, don’t you have to rest for two more days?”
Zhou Kai laughed brightly, “Such a big company, it can’t do without me for even a moment.”
Sam joined him in laughter, “Yes. Without you, the company wouldn’t know how to go on.”
When Sam left Zhou Kai’s office, his expression, which had looked like it had been bathed in the spring wind, abruptly collapsed, and the palms of his clenched fists filled with cold sweat.
In the office, Zhou Kai’s face similarly turned cold.
He asked his secretary, “What was Sam here for?”
Frank, his secretary, answered truthfully, “Mister Sam came here to ask about the list of guests for the mid-year gathering in two weeks.”
This event had always been coordinated by Frank, so Sam coming to ask him this was normal.
Zhou Kai glanced at the tightly-shut door, “He didn’t ask anything else?”
As an ambitious person, what Zhou Kai was most scared of was Sam’s ambition.
If the very moment he showed signs of fatigue, Sam was already anxious to gain power and wield the top seat……
Frank said, grinning merrily, “He asked specifically if that mixed blood daughter of the deputy director of planning would be coming.”
Only then did Zhou Kai relax.
As long as Sam knew to be reasonable and didn’t interfere in matters he shouldn’t interfere in, he would naturally hand the company over to him when the time was right.
After Zhou Kai recovered, he displayed no more symptoms of sudden amnesia, so he naturally assumed that his difficult experience from that day was due to overwork and as long as he rested, everything would be fine.
However, a week later, at the venue of a brand’s autumn conference, he got into yet another not big but not small accident.
When the models began to walk out onto the runway, Sam noticed that Zhou Kai, who was seated at the guest table along with him, had his head drooping down bit by bit, looking to be not quite right.
At first, Sam thought he was displaying the same symptoms as he had at the meeting in France. He jumped up in shock, and was just about to reach out to support him when he heard him let out a soft snore.
He looked around.
The organiser of this autumn conference was a well-known international brand. All kinds of media, fashion celebrities, designers and retailers were present.
……How could Zhou Kai fall asleep under such circumstances?
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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He closed his eyes once more, as if planning on going back to sleep.
Sam tightened his grip on his arm, and his voice was a little louder, “Mister Zhou, did you not get enough rest?”
Although he really wanted to let Zhou Kai be put in an awkward position in public, if Zhou Kai’s image was damaged, it would also result in a non-negligible blow to the company’s image.
There were people staring from all around them, unconcealed surprise in their gazes.
Finally, when it was already too late, Zhou Kai realised where he was. He sat up straight and forced his eyes open, but his immense fatigue and tiredness slowly wore away at his determination.
Looking on helplessly as Zhou Kai once again lowered his head and fell asleep, Sam’s heart sank, and the fake smile was already about to fall off.
Amidst Sam’s repeated reminders, the singers’ energetic live singing, and the unceasing camera shutter sounds, Zhou Kai slept restlessly for a full half hour.
The fashion show lasted only 20 minutes from start to finish, so the moment the music stopped, Zhou Kai’s snoring lost its cover.
Sam, seated beside Zhou Kai, was unable to sit still with embarrassment. He repeatedly nodded towards the few media people who noticed Zhou Kai, his face full of apology.
Before the conference was even over, the news about Zhou Kai sleeping through an entire conference and his photos had already started circulating on the internet.
When Chi Xiaochi scrolled through the social news through the 061 router, he saw the photographs of Zhou Kai, his head lowered, his two eyes tightly shut, his mouth hanging open slightly, sleeping soundly under the magnesium lights in crystal-clear definition.
Chi Xiaochi commented, “This photo was taken really immorally. They don’t even pay this much attention to the angle or the focal length of the lens when they take photos of models.”
He then commented, “The subject is also immoral.”
As 061 watched the instigator, the most immoral one here, comment on other people’s immorality, he couldn’t help but laugh, “Everything’s been peeled, do you want to eat or not?”
Yesterday, someone had sent over a box of Thai mangosteens. Yi Song didn’t know how to open them, so he just brought over an entire plate of unpeeled mangosteens to Chi Xiaochi.
Chi Xiaochi really loved eating mangosteens, but unfortunately, he only knew how to eat them, not how to peel them.
He tried clamping them between his bedside cabinet door for half a day, before declaring it a failure.
In frustration, he threw the mangosteens on the plate, “Whomever can peel fifteen mangosteens for me, I shall marry them.”
Just as he was looking over at the mangosteen rinds and sighing, he received the results of his usage of the hypnosis card and began looking through them.
He immediately found the source of today’s portion of happiness, tossing the pain of clearly having mangosteens but not being able to eat them to the back of his mind.
Only when 061 called him did Chi Xiaochi realise the hard, dark purple mangosteen rinds had all been put into the trash bin and there was a bowl filled with tender, glistening mangosteen flesh placed on the fruit tray.
Chi Xiaochi started slightly.
061 didn’t notice anything. As Chi Xiaochi had been scrolling through the gossip with shining eyes, 061 had directly digitized the mangosteens, processed them, and placed them before Chi Xiaochi once more.
He said, “It’s actually really easy. How about I teach you?”
Hearing this, Chi Xiaochi let out a light, melancholic laugh.
……He was reminded of a person.
After the unexpected death of both of his parents, Lou Ying was sent to live with his aunt and her husband.
Unlike her highly educated older sister, Lou Ying’s aunt had no talent for studying. She sold marinade ducks in the vegetable market and his uncle worked as a streetside bicycle craftsman and a locksmith.
While probably due to a combination of good genetics and natural talent, no matter what Lou Ying studied, he would learn it immediately.
He could pick locks, repair bikes and tires, and was quite the expert at applying his knowledge. With the help of a manual, he could fix a radio or even a refrigerator. Once he read it, he could do it. Once he repaired it, it would be perfectly fine.
He even had a grand dream. He would collect scrap copper and iron from the garbage dump after school, determined to make a bicycle by himself.
As for Chi Xiaochi’s specialty, it was to follow behind him and shout 666.
Lou Ying had once asked him, “You’re always watching me fix things. Do you like machines?”
Chi Xiaochi replied straightforwardly, “I don’t like them. Just looking at a circuit board makes my brain hurt.”
Lou Ying, “Then why do you still watch. I spend the entire afternoon repairing things, it must be boring.”
Chi Xiaochi, “I just like watching.”
Lou Ying laughed, “Okay, okay, okay, keep watching then. How about I teach you?”
Chi Xiaochi said, “No thanks. Teaching this disciple would make Shifu starve to death.”
Lou Ying saw through him, “You’re just lazy and don’t want to learn.”
Chi Xiaochi thickened his skin and said, “Of course, if I wanted to learn, I could learn it immediately.”
“It’s fine if you don’t learn.” Lou Ying picked up a small screwdriver. He said gently, “After all, I’ll be here for you. In the future, if something breaks down in your house, you can just come find me.”
Many, many years later, Chi Xiaochi became an internationally famous star.
Like other celebrities, Chi Xiaochi started doing charity.
In addition to donating a large sum of money to orphanages every year, he would also give those children an additional benefit: at the end of the year, the orphans he supported could write to him and tell him what they wanted most. As long as it was reasonable, Chi Xiaochi would give them a reply and then send over the prepared gifts.
Children’s wishes were all very childish, and their unhappy childhoods also prematurely taught them restraint.
They all didn’t want anything expensive. One wanted a 24-colour set of watercolour markers, one wanted a set of Lego building blocks, the smallest set was fine, one wanted a set of Detective Conan manga, all of which was completely within Chi Xiaochi’s abilities.
Of course, there were also wishes Chi Xiaochi couldn’t fulfill. For example, there was a little girl who wrote to him saying that she wanted to marry him when she grew up.
Chi Xiaochi didn’t say anything, simply picking a signed poster of an idol drama star who was popular with millions of girls at the time and sending it back to her. As a matter of fact, he indeed successfully changed the girl’s ideal partner target.
On Chinese New Year the year Chi Xiaochi turned 25, he received such a letter of New Year’s wishes.
The sender was a little boy. In crooked handwriting, he wrote out his feelings of gratitude to Chi Xiaochi as well as his wish.
He had been abandoned by his parents when he was small and, when he was five years old, he got into a car accident and lost his hand.
This year, he was six years old.
In his childish handwriting, he wrote, “I want to become Iron Man. That way, no one will laugh at me anymore.”
With this letter in hand, Chi Xiaochi thought for a long time.
About four months later, the boy received a reply letter and a box that was more than a metre long.
He opened the box, and found a red and gold steel prosthetic limb made perfectly according to the proportions of his body. It was both strong and light and was made with protective armour plates, in a complete, real-life reconstruction of Iron Man’s arm.
After the boy put in on, he found that it actually even had arm lasers and the hollow of the palm could light up.
The boy’s tears were about to fall.
He opened up the letter. On it was Chi Xiaochi’s short reply: “Right now, you can’t yet control the power, so I just gave it the ability to light up. When you grow up and understand the true meaning of power, try it out yourself and do your best to become a true Iron Man.”
The boy grasped the letter, seeming to understand but not really understanding.
Chi Xiaochi had grown up long ago, and had learned early on that there were no heroes in the world. He could only depend on himself for everything.
In the years that Lou Ying wasn’t there, Chi Xiaochi learned everything.
He was admitted to the elite senior high school Lou Ying had attended for only one year; he became the first in his grade like how Lou Ying had; he learned how to fix things, how to make molds, how to speak Spanish. He became the man he’d longed for and looked up to when he was a youth.
But Lou Ying still existed as that undying hero he dreamed of in his mind.
Because there were inevitably things he couldn’t learn to do, like always going off-tune, sucking at games, not being able to peel mangosteens.
It’s too difficult, Lou-laoshi, there are some things that are really too difficult, can you come back, can you please come back and teach me again?
Even as the events of the past flashed through his mind, Chi Xiaochi’s expression didn’t change, and his eyes even held a smile, “Okay. When you can buy ten or twenty jin, you can teach me.”
061 pursed his lips in a smile, “You just want to eat them, don’t you.”
Chi Xiaochi was confident, speaking with justice on his side, “If I don’t eat them, it would be such a waste.”
061, “……” That’s very reasonable.
Chi Xiaochi picked up a mangosteen and fed it into his mouth. He said, either by design or by accident, “I heard you say before that you systems are separated into those that are innate and those that are acquired. Which one are you?”
061 thought for a moment, “I’m acquired.”
“Your ‘innate’ and ‘acquired’, what do they mean?”
“I, 089, and 023, were all originally like you, we were all human,” 061 said, “Just like you, we’re all contractors who’ve signed a contract with the Lord God. But the contract we signed with the Lord God is long-term. Only after completing 200 tasks can we resolve the contract and return to our original worlds. In addition, your body is currently still alive, but ours have already died. So one of the terms of our contract is that after completing all of our tasks, the Lord God is responsible for providing us a new identity.”
“Do you remember which world you came from?”
“No, I don’t remember?”
“You don’t remember?”
061 felt like it would be really difficult for him to explain how he’d been reformatted, because he also didn’t remember the whole story.
He could only say, “I got into a little accident and forgot everything.”
“Do you want to go back?”
“I want to.”
Since 061 had said that line of “how about I teach you”, an inexplicable premonition had begun to ferment in Chi Xiaochi’s mind, messing with his state of mind, making him unable to help but investigate closely layer by layer, to find that somewhat incredible answer.
“Why do you want to go back? Is being a system not good?”
“I owe someone a date.”
Chi Xiaochi’s tone became a little tricky, “You’re in a relationship?”
“Seems like it, but it also doesn’t seem like it,” 061’s face turned a little hot from the questions, “It’s just…… There’s someone waiting for me, so I have to go back.”
Chi Xiaochi’s tightly clenched fists suddenly relaxed.
……It’s not him.
061’s reaction was so obvious, even a fool could see that his feelings for that person weren’t ordinary.
But he and Lou Ying had never clarified anything between them. At that age, nobody knew what love was.
Later on, Lou Ying became a distant dream of his. He was immersed in the past. While one part of his body grew up, another part stayed stuck in the same place, bound to that person, unwilling to leave.
Later on, he wondered if this was the so-called “love”.
Even later, he thought, if this isn’t love, what could it be?
After Lou Ying’s death, Chi Xiaochi hopelessly fell in love with Lou Ying, but that person wasn’t here anymore. And even if he knew what he was thinking, he would probably just pat him on the head, and say a line of “child’s words” to placate him.
061 had someone in his heart, so the one he was waiting for and the one waiting for him, should be some other foolish person.
The author has something to say:
All of my conceit stems from my feelings of inferiority,
All of my heroic spirit stems from my innermost weakness,
All of my high-sounding words filled with my convictions are because of the doubts filling my heart.
I pretend to be heartless,
It’s actually because I loathe my own deep feelings.
I think the meaning of life lies in wandering around the four corners of the world in exile,
It’s actually just to cover up the fact that to this day I haven’t found a place that makes me want to rest my feet.
——Ma Liang 《My Confession》 (Revised edition)
sere: AAAAHHH TWO PARALLEL LINES UGGG I HATE THIS
Aka they don’t intersect but are next to each other
baum: uggh but I just love how much of how Chi Xiaochi and Lou Ying were like in the past and how they’re slowly growing closer despite themselves is in this arc <3
panda: It’s too difficult, Lou-laoshi, there are some things that are really too difficult, can you come back, can you please come back and teach me again? My heart….