translator: baumkuchen editors: glitterypanda, serefina
He Changsheng accepted the manga and flipped it open.
The story was very simple. The beginning was about a child who had just entered a sports school, practicing figure skating, and was met with schoolyard bullying in the toilet. The child overcame his difficulties, developing and advancing step by step, and finally reached the peak.
It wasn’t so much a manga with a plot as a collection of hand-drawn pictures.
There were very few lines of dialogue in it, mostly recording simple stories, drops of everyday life, recording Dong Ge’s graceful figure in the dance studio, as well as how he fell down again and again, and how he got up again and again.
On the front page of the manga was written an unsigned, undated message: “To the person who deserves this book.”
As He Changsheng flipped through the manga, his face filled with admiration.
Dong Ge’s expression was also rather gentle, with even a small, touched smile forming at the corners of his mouth.
Not long after, Dong Feihong’s plane was preparing for take-off.
The air stewardess walked down the aisle, reminding passengers one by one to fasten their seatbelts.
Upon walking to a certain row, the air stewardess saw that there was an empty window seat. Thinking that the person sitting there had gone to the toilet, she politely asked the passenger in the seat next to it, “May I ask if this is your partner’s seat?”
The passenger shook his head. “I’m alone on a business trip. This seat is empty, there’s no one sitting here.”
The air stewardess was a little confused. She looked down and checked her manual counter to find that there was indeed no one sitting there.
……But she clearly remembered that the cabin was filled.
Just in case, she found the head flight attendant and informed her about this matter.
The head flight attendant checked the passenger list, and gave a definite answer, “Yes, there’s no one in that seat.”
The moment Lou Sifan woke up, the system sent out a notification that the regret level was full and the host could exit this world.
Since Dong Feihong had already gone abroad, Chi Xiaochi also needed to pick a suitable time to leave.
Three days later, the figure skating team boarded the plane to Finland.
According to how they were arranged, Dong Ge should be sitting with Liang Xiao and He Changsheng should be sitting with Fang Xiaoyan. Who knew that once they boarded the plane, Fang Xiaoyan would immediately snatch He Changsheng’s plane ticket and swap it with Liang Xiao’s.
He Changsheng, “……En?”
Fang Xiaoyan was as bold as she always was. “En what en. We’re swapping. Xiao, let’s sit together.”
The corners of Liang Xiao’s mouth were raised. “Alright.”
He Changsheng held his ticket which had been swapped in seconds, looked at it, then looked at the Dong Ge who had already sat down and was scrolling through his phone. His cheeks were slightly red.
He put his little carry-on bag next to Dong Ge and coughed once.
Dong Ge turned and looked at him.
He Changsheng said, “I’ll sit here.”
Dong Ge, “Sit.”
Like he was placing a sign that read “there isn’t 320 liang buried here” to hide his stash of money, He Changsheng said, “……Xiaoyan made me sit here.”
Dong Ge looked him in the eye. “Then do you want me to switch with Liang Xiao too?”
He Changsheng immediately said, “You can’t.”
After that, his entire person didn’t feel too good. He stood up quickly with a red face. “I’m going to the bathroom.”
Dong Ge, “En.”
He Changsheng walked a few steps, then turned back and requested, “Don’t swap.”
Dong Ge smiled slightly. “Alright. I’ll listen to qianbei, I won’t swap.”
After watching He Changsheng leave, Dong Ge lowered his head once more, finishing up the message he had been typing and sending it. “Uncle, I’ve gotten on the plane, I’m about to turn my phone off.”
Dong Feihong’s text came back very quickly. “Safe travels.”
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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After the plane took off and left the country, Fang Xiaoyan, who was on her way back from the bathroom, passed by the two people, Dong and He, and snuck a peek.
After all, since the two had returned to the provincial team after New Year’s, the air about them hadn’t been quite right, what with all the constantly bursting spring flowers.
Who knew that with her glance, she would be taken aback. She grabbed He Changsheng, who was currently reading a sports magazine, by the shoulder. “What’s wrong with Dong Ge?”
After getting onto the plane, Dong Ge had asked for a blanket, saying he was sleepy. He Changsheng hadn’t thought anything of it either. After sneaking looks at Dong Ge’s sleeping face for a while, he’d begun to flip through the books he had brought.
With Fang Xiaoyan’s remark, He Changsheng looked at Dong Ge, and found to his shock that Dong Ge’s cheeks were red, breathing very ragged, and the hand left outside the blanket trembling with fever.
He panicked. “Dong Ge?! Dong Ge!!”
He gripped Dong Ge’s palm tightly, calling his name.
……As long as he was together with Dong Ge, He Changsheng had never forgotten to put on gloves.
Hearing this, Dong Ge’s eyelids twitched slightly. He forced his eyes open just a crack.
The silhouette of the person before him was completely blurry, but even in the midst of a high fever, Dong Ge could vaguely recognise who it was.
Exhausting all the strength in his body, he pinched He Changsheng’s warm, soft fingers. “……Qianbei, don’t be afraid.”
At that time, the Chi Xiaochi who had left his body had already re-entered that snow-white rest area.
This time, he took the initiative to raise the topic, “I want to find a place to rest for a little while.”
This was very normal.
When all was said and done, Chi Xiaochi had spent a total of 7 full years in the third world. Even though he had changed to a high-grade time compression card in the later stages, according to the normal time flow, almost a full year had passed.
This could be considered the longest world 061 had experienced. What’s more, Chi Xiaochi was human. For him to come out of the role of “Dong Ge” would take even more time.
He asked, “How long do you want to rest for?”
Chi Xiaochi said, “Three days should be enough.”
061 frowned. “Isn’t that too short?”
Chi Xiaochi had the same response as always, “I’m in a hurry to get back, no?”
He had heard this line many times, but hearing it this time, 061 felt an inexplicable sullenness.
In order to distract himself, he asked Chi Xiaochi, “Where do you want to go to rest?”
Chi Xiaochi gave him an address specific down to the house number and added, “……In the world I came from.”
Because the destination was too specific, 061 took a while to retrieve and locate the place.
All the places one could be transferred to from the rest area were projections of real worlds.
When the host entered the world, their system would modify their appearance, making it so they wouldn’t have to worry about any people familiar with the host bumping into them and subsequently causing a series of troubles.
However, the building before them was empty and quiet, seemingly uninhabited. It seemed that there was no need for 061 to perform any corrections to Chi Xiaochi’s appearance.
Before Chi Xiaochi stepped out of the space, he spoke: “You should go now.”
He still remembered 061 having said before that when a host was resting, their system would separate from the host. Because in non-task worlds, the system’s abilities would be greatly limited, weakened to the extreme.
061 said, “Just in case, I still modified your appearance and also put a bit of cash inside your pocket. If you want to go out and play, feel free.”
Chi Xiaochi touched his pocket.
Inside was an ATM card, its PIN number written on its back.
Chi Xiaochi, “How much?”
061, “Three hundred thousand.”
Chi Xiaochi expressed his admiration for what 061 considered to be “a bit”: “Wow.”
061 didn’t quite dare to face the intense unwillingness welling up in his heart. “……Or maybe I should go with you after all.”
Chi Xiaochi winked, a bit of a flirtatious air that tickled at one’s soul about him. “What, can’t bear to part with me ah.”
061 adjusted his emotions. “……Nevermind, you can go now.”
Chi Xiaochi prepared to enter the space, but then retracted his foot once again. “Yi, how do I get back?”
061 said, “If there’s anything, call for me in your mind. When you call for me, is when I’ll send you back.”
After getting everything in order, Chi Xiaochi entered his world.
061 closed his eyes.
In the next second, his form, clad in a white shirt and black pants, stood once more in the Lord God’s space.
Surrounding him were busy systems bustling around back and forth, but 061 felt like his heart was empty with a whole host of things he wanted to say to someone, but that someone wasn’t by his side.
At that very moment, 089 walked by, seeming like he was currently in a conversation with someone.
At the first sight of that face, 061 unexpectedly felt a hint of instinctual anger.
But as soon as 089 opened his mouth, 061 was pulled out from those inexplicable emotions. “Fuck that host no. 897!”
After that concluding sentence, he walked up to 061 with big strides. He spoke, still a little angry, “You’re back?”
061 asked, “What’s wrong?”
089 was so angry his face turned white. As soon as he opened his mouth, out came, “Host no. 897, that stupid fuck……”
061 sighed, both patient and amused, “Don’t get too emotional, be careful of getting reported.”
089, “Host no. 897, that stupid fuck. He had too good a time in his sixth world, and now he’s refusing to come back.”
061, “He fell in love with the mission target?”
To 061, this was already a common occurrence. When the systems occasionally met up to roast and marvel at their hosts, this reason for complaint was always at the top of the list.
089 said, “……He fell in love with someone who has nothing to do with the task. In the beginning, it was just a way to slack off, but now he’s already entirely stopped caring about the mission target.”
To deal with these kinds of situations, the systems also had countermeasures in place.
061 asked, “Then you’re going to forcibly extract him?”
“Forcible extraction” was a term often used in interactions between systems, but after Chi Xiaochi had brought up the possibility of the original host still being within the body, 061 felt a little disgusted every time he said it.
Forcible extraction referred to when systems received a higher level of authorization from the Lord God to be able to control the host to commit suicide, then extract the host’s consciousness.
In the past, 061 thought of this as a form of punishment.
……But why did they have to use “controlling the host to commit suicide” as a punishment? Wouldn’t directly extracting them and exacting punishment on the host’s spirit be enough?
Yet, 089 said, “If we don’t forcibly extract them, what else can we do? Should we just let him stay in that world and indulge in his romance until the end of time?”
061 didn’t say anything else.
He thought of Chi Xiaochi, and the abnormal attitude Chi Xiaochi had held towards “Dong Feihong”.
……What if he wanted to stay in that world.
At that time, he would also stay behind with him……
061 was shocked by his own thought, but immediately afterwards, he smiled with relief.
—— Xiaochi was the host with the most staunch conviction he’d ever had, he would never waver.
However, he couldn’t at all explain clearly where the discomfort and conflict in his heart at that moment stemmed from.
At that same time.
Chi Xiaochi, all alone, held a broom in his hands, sweeping the entire empty set of tube-shaped apartments.
Throughout the whole building, there was only the sound of his footsteps and the sound of sweeping.
The bamboo broom made contact with the floor, sweeping out a line of dust along the floor.
Chi Xiaochi’s expression was incredibly serious, as if he was doing something extremely important.
Since many years ago, this set of tube-shaped apartments had become Chi Xiaochi’s property.
All the inhabitants had moved away, leaving behind only Chi Xiaochi, so whichever room he wanted to live in was up to Chi Xiaochi.
After sweeping the entire building in silence, he went back to the first floor, got out the key from below the flowerpot on the barred windowsill, opened up the room Lou Ying used to live in, and walked inside.
It had been summer when he got into that accident (with the chandelier). Now, it was in the depths of winter, and the room was freezing cold.
Fortunately, the electricity bills were regularly deducted from his bank account, so the building still had electricity.
He turned on the air conditioning and the television. As he skipped through several channels, he found that the movie channel was actually playing 《The Matrix》.
Chi Xiaochi wrapped himself up in a blanket and watched this film which he had seen countless times once more.
In 《The Matrix》, the protagonist accidentally found that he was living in a virtual world.
In the virtual world, his life was happy and stable, while in the real world, his life wasn’t easy, with his clothing, food, housing and transportation not much different from that of a pig’s.
In the real world, there was a branch of rebels, hiding in the depths of the earth and fighting against the main AI.
They didn’t want to return to that false world of their dreams, but would rather remain in the cruel reality.
At one point, someone gave the protagonist a blue pill and a red pill.
That person told him, if he took the blue pill, he would forget everything he’d seen in the real world, he would wake up in bed as usual, and go about his life as usual.
If he took the red pill, the protagonist wouldn’t get anything. The only thing he would get was the truth, nothing more.
In the movie, the protagonist chose to take the red pill.
Chi Xiaochi stared intently at the screen, remembering how he’d felt the first time he’d watched this movie.
He’d asked Lou Ying, “Lou-ge, if there’s a thing that looks real, and feels real, why can’t it be real?”
And to this question, even Lou Ying couldn’t give him an answer.
In a similar vein, Dong Feihong looked so much like Lou-ge, his personality was also like Lou-ge’s, everything was so similar, so why couldn’t he be real?
“Mr Anderson……” Chi Xiaochi curled up in the warm blankets, reciting the lines of the movie in a soft voice, “……Why?”
Many years later, Chi Xiaochi finally found the answer he hadn’t been able to all those years ago.
……Because none of it was real.
No matter how good Dong Feihong was, he wasn’t his Lou-ge.
If it was to a world without Lou Ying, no matter where it was, he wouldn’t go.
The author has something to say:
Tomorrow’s update with have the little beauties’ confession on ice w
sere: this chapter is sad :’( sad CXC but next (half) chapter had me shrIEKING ASDJFNKAS
panda: (For the original owners who are made to commit suicide, for CXC who will always stay true to his Lou ge, Dong Ge and He Changsheng who finally found each other and fell in love in their 2nd life) 3 different kinds of 😭😭😭
baum: this is the chapter that lead to me sobbing to myself alone in my room at 1am in the morning lmao
At that very moment, 089 walked by, as if he was currently in a conversation with someone.
At the first sight of that face, 061 unexpectedly felt a hint of instinctual anger.
061 is hilarious hahahaha