translator: baumkuchen editors: glitterypanda, serefina
061 wrapped his arms around Chi Xiaochi’s shoulders. His long legs seemed to randomly form a circle, encircling Chi Xiaochi into his territory.
Chi Xiaochi didn’t have any negative reaction and naturally nestled into Blue’s embrace, which was warm from having turned on its constant temperature system, making it feel very comfortable.
061’s heart was full of warmth. He secretly rubbed his chin against Chi Xiaochi’s hair, thinking, so hugging actually feels like this.
Chi Xiaochi was of course also able to feel Blue’s little movements. He said to 061, “Blue’s this intelligent?”
061 carefully concealed the smile in his voice. “I made a few modifications.”
Chi Xiaochi thought, no wonder.
Then he and Blue watched other people’s fights together.
Ji Zuoshan studied while one person and one machine watched the ruckus, the division of labor apparent.
Ji Zuoshan had been unable to attend the summer training that had occurred back when Ji Zuoshan was still alive because Zhan Yanchao disdained school life as being boring and suffocating and thus had taken the chance to take Ji Zuoshan with him to go camping and hiking.
He was also naturally a person with little ambition, so when he saw his name appear on the list of people attending the summer training, Chi Xiaochi was still a little stunned.
However, he soon dismissed it, signing his name on the confirmation form that was being circulated. He then passed the list to Rosie while he himself pulled out a box of Pocky and sent the crunchy biscuits covered in a vanilla flavoured coating into his mouth as he added on to his notes for his classes. It could be considered him replenishing his energy for the real combat mecha training later.
As his gaze was focused on the paper, each bite was slow but very regular, biting every stick of Pocky into ten uniform pieces.
He had long discovered that the way Chi Xiaochi ate things was very difficult to explain in a few words.
……Even though it could definitely be called pleasing to the eyes, as people kept watching, it always gave them the feeling of being unable to bear looking at it directly.
Chi Xiaochi’s manner of eating had already attracted many people’s attention.
As the youth bit into the biscuits one by one, his cool temperament was exactly the same as Ji Zuoshan’s in the past, but just that it was a little more difficult to get close.
Even if he had expelled Zhan Yanchao from his world, just leaving himself alone within, he was very happy and content. It had to be said, this appearance of his was particularly alluring. They clearly couldn’t find any problems with it, but it aroused a stir in people’s hearts.
Ji Zuoshan was a little uneasy. “Mister Chi, they’re still watching me.”
Chi Xiaochi, a stick of Pocky pinched between his fingertips like it was a cigarette, didn’t even raise his head. “What does such a small number of people matter? In the future, there’ll be even more people watching you. You should try to get used to it as soon as possible while you’re still with me.”
Even though his habit of holding a cigarette between his fingers had remained, Chi Xiaochi had long since almost completely stopped smoking.
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 this news broke out, that person had expected that this would cause a round of discussion, but hadn’t expected that other than one or two of Chi Xiaochi’s die-hard anti-fans, the rest of the comments were utterly confused:
“Is he just smoking?”
“Could he be taking drugs?”
It wasn’t strange that everyone had this reaction. At that time, Chi Xiaochi had just acted in two consecutive movies that involved drugs, acting in one as a punk teenager suffering from AIDS, where he changed from someone pretending to be world-weary to someone truly struggling for survival; and acting in the other as a little lackey who peddled drugs, as an undercover agent who could be pulled out to be sacrificed at any moment, struggling in the drug base for the sake of his family.
Chi Xiaochi had acted those two characters so well that they were too deeply rooted in people’s hearts. Once, when walking on the streets, he’d even been pulled aside by an auntie, who told Chi Xiaochi to keep away from drugs and to treasure his life.
The marketing account didn’t manage to kick up a fuss, but was rather hung up and given a round of mocking.
And Chi Xiaochi soon also expressed his own opinions.
He asked an honest question under the Weibo in which the marketing account had criticised him, “Then what else should I do in a bar, drink baby milkshakes?”
The marketing account thickened his skin and shot back, “Do you know how bad an effect you’re having on society? You’re making youths think that smoking is cool.”
Chi Xiaochi sent him a picture of an X-ray of the lungs of a lung cancer patient. “Oh, you actually just wanted to make an anti-smoking ad. Then why didn’t you use this?”
While the marketing account was left speechless, Chi Xiaochi followed with another reply, “Lighting another cig as I say this.”
The marketing account, “……”
That marketing account angrily issued another Weibo to announce that he had never seen such an arrogant star who knew he was in the wrong but wasn’t willing to change.
When Chi Xiaochi tried to reply, full of joy and expectations, he found that he had been blocked.
He still wanted to use a side account, but in the end was dragged off by Lucas, saying, you still have an announcement to make, stop playing around.
In the first world, 061 had once asked him, “When did you start smoking?”
Chi Xiaochi thought for a moment. “Probably in senior high.”
061, “You started smoking so early? Who did you learn it from?”
“I learned it by myself,” Chi Xiaochi said, “I had something weighing on me. Cigarettes were cheaper than alcohol.”
Thinking of the past, then looking at the current Chi Xiaochi with a Pocky stick between his fingers, 061 felt a little gratified.
Although Chi Xiaochi was very good at finding his own fun, in comparison, the current Chi Xiaochi was still happier.
Soon, the summer vacation arrived. There were still six or seven days left before summer training on “The Scar”, so Chi XIaochi took Ji Zuoshan’s siblings out mountain climbing, swimming, playing these few days away.
He was also someone with an income now.
Ever since she found out about the abnormal strength of his spiritual power, Rosie’s interest in his body was much higher than her interest in his soul. Her gaze towards him would always be filled with incomparable zeal, and she had brought up her wish for him to cooperate with her by participating in a few experiments more than once, assuring him that it would in no way involve testing on his body, she would at worst draw blood from him.
Chi Xiaochi asked, “Can I refuse?”
Rosie said, “My love and my interest, you can only refuse one.”
Chi Xiaochi let out a slight sigh. “Alright then, I choose to receive your love.”
Afterwards, she forced Chi Xiaochi into choosing the latter with a considerable salary.
With the sum of money Chi Xiaochi had obtained through his tactic of loosening the reins only to grasp them better, Chi Xiaochi’s younger siblings, dressed in new clothes, sat in a good restaurant on the night before he was to go off for summer training.
Chi Xiaochi specially selected a private room, then, following Ji Zuoshan’s instructions, ordered a lot of meat dishes.
He asked, “Not even a bit of vegetables?”
Ji Zuoshan, “Not even a bit of vegetables.”
For children growing up in the poor districts, the most common food they saw was the food distributed by the government. A tiny piece of compressed food could be placed in a big pot and be boiled into a full pot of toothpaste-like food paste. It looked rich in content, but in reality, there wasn’t even a hint of meat. It could only just barely satisfy the most basic feelings of hunger.
Simei and the rest didn’t have any money to buy snacks, so in order to taste a bit of sweetness, they would eat cold medicine like sweet beans, popping them in their mouths and carefully sucking away the outer layer of sugar coating.
In the past, Zhan Yanchao had bought them a house to settle down in, but he hadn’t paid particular attention to their everyday food and drink and other such things. And as a human sacrifice, Ji Zuoshan didn’t have any salary to spend, and his food and clothes were from the Zhan family. Ji Zuoshan didn’t have the right to move them without permission, so he could only bring them some food he’d saved during the half-day vacation he had to visit family every month.
Because he was apprehensive of his identity, he hadn’t dared to ask for too much from Zhan Yanchao.
Fortunately, Chi Xiaochi had never been the type to have apprehensions about anything.
Everyone he cared about had to live well.
The four children with skinny arms and legs stared at the table full of meat. Not a single one of dared to move. Each and every one of them clutched at the corners of their clothes, feeling as if the plates placed before them had nothing to do with them.
Simei, who was the closest to Ji Zuoshan, asked timidly, “Erge, can we eat this? Can we really eat this?”
Chi Xiaochi placed a piece of red braised beef in her bowl, then pulled off a chicken leg from a braised chicken, cooked to the point that its meat would slide off its bones with a touch, and placed it in xiaodi’s plate.
He said, “Eat.”
His younger siblings had long since gone dizzy from the amazing smells. Every one of them took this to be a dream and simply let go of all restraint, digging in with big bites. His youngest brother was the last to move his chopsticks, but ate the most happily. He couldn’t even bear to take too many bites of the meat dripping with fragrant oil and gravy, simply swallowing it down, letting out puppy-like whines from his throat.
Ji Zuoshan whispered to Chi Xiaochi, “Mister Chi, can you give Xiao Si a chicken wing?”
Chi Xiaochi didn’t ask any questions, simply helping him twist off a chicken wing and placing it on her plate.
During the period right after his parents’ death, during the day, Ji Zuoshan would go out and try to sell himself off, and at night, he would bring back all the food and bedding related items he could find and settle his four younger siblings who could only find shelter in a wet alley.
The threat of death made people go crazy. With no adults in the Ji family, their original home had been occupied by several disease-ridden strangers who had then driven them out. As they huddled together in a dark, cold corner, they suspected that the virus might already have started to spread in their bodies.
His not-yet-sensible xiaodi and wudi cried, saying that they were hungry, saying that their stomachs were burning, crying to the point that Ji Zuoshan wanted to cut off his own arm and roast it so that they could have a good meal.
However, in this eventful autumn, food was scarce. Even if he really did cut off his own arm, in the end it would also be snatched away by other people.
Sanmei hugged wudi, while simei hugged xiaodi, both of them coaxing the other, but they all stared plaintively at Ji Zuoshan.
Ji Zuoshan tucked the old newspaper tightly around them, making the five of them huddle even closer together. He said, “Just bear with it for a while, when gege becomes the strongest Alpha in the future, I’ll treat you all to meat.”
Wudi stopped crying. As he sniffled, he said in a small voice, “Then, then, I don’t want to eat even a bit of vegetables. I don’t want to eat grass, I don’t want to eat locust tree leaves.”
Ji Zuoshan’s eyes heated up. “Alright, gege will fill a table full of meat for you all, and cook a big pot of white rice. The white rice, when soaked in oil, will be bright and shiny. There’ll also be a chicken, and a fish. I’ve heard that there’s some fish which don’t have any long bones, just a long, straight, spine. You hold it by the tail and push off the delicate meat along the spine, then soak it in soup with mushrooms and tofu. It’s very salty, very delicious.”
Simei’s thoughts wandered far away from her. “Then erge, I want a chicken wing.”
Saliva filled sanmei’s mouth. “I want to eat that fish.”
Ji Zuoshan smiled and nodded, then asked wudi and xiaodi, “What do you guys want to eat?”
Slowly, his younger siblings’ voices became lower, softer. The successive sounds of soft snoring surrounded Ji Zuoshan, a little sweet, and filled with hope.
Simei was the last to sleep.
In her sleepy daze, the little girl pressed her feverish face against Ji Zuoshan’s arm, and said in a tiny voice, “Erge, I know that you’re lying to Xiao Wu and Xiao Liu.”
Ji Zuoshan stiffened.
Simei reached out and adjusted the newspaper covering xiaodi. “But I won’t tell them. Erge, you’ve worked too hard, you’re too tired, my heart hurts for you.”
After the five-year-old finished speaking, she dozed off in a daze, leaving the eight-year-old Ji Zuoshan, gritting his teeth and holding back his tears.
Curled up in the little alley, Ji Zuoshan didn’t dare sleep, deathly afraid that a passer-by would see his siblings, get an idea, and steal one of them to sell. If that happened, he would definitely go crazy.
Ji Zuoshan leaned against the wall, trembling all over. His lips opened and closed, but he could only say one thing:
I’m sorry, it’s erge who let you down, it’s erge who can’t do anything.
That night, Ji Zuoshan gained an aspiration. After he grew up, he would give his younger siblings a life where they could eat meat every day.
In his last life, after becoming Zhan Yanchao’s Omega, he’d realised this wish.
But that painful lesson taught him that people couldn’t entrust their wishes to anyone else.