translator: baumkuchen editors: serefina, glitterypanda
The fish weren’t very hard to catch. These fish rarely saw people and had raised themselves to be plump beyond compare. Each and every one of them was simple and dull-minded. Chi Xiaochi caught a medium-sized one, then turned to Blue and said, “Knife.”
A sharp, short knife popped out of the weapon storage on its arm.
Chi Xiaochi took it. “Give me another longer one.”
Blue, acting in accordance to his words, pulled out a combat knife. Holding it by the blade, it passed the knife to Chi Xiaochi.
Chi Xiaochi skillfully sliced open the belly of the fish with the short knife, scooped out its innards, and scraped off its scales. Then, after washing his hands in the lake, he skewered the fish with the combat knife and set it up above the flames.
In the previous world, Chi Xiaochi had bought out half of everything in the storeroom. This also included a few daily necessities.
He first marinated fennel seeds in white wine for a while, then grinded them up and mixed them with salt, cumin and pepper, smearing the mixture across the surface of the fresh fish cooking above the flames.
As the fish oil sizzled, Chi Xiaochi got up and went to the nearby forest to pick up a few chestnut-like nuts. After confirming with 061 that they weren’t poisonous, he washed them and threw them into the fire.
Not long after that, a cooked chestnut with a burst-open shell popped out of the flames, exposing its light brown, scorching hot flesh.
Chi Xiaochi really enjoyed this silent time as he gathered firewood and cooked food. So did 061.
Only when picking up the chestnuts did he finally speak, his voice neither too soft nor too loud, for fear of waking up the exhausted Ji Zuoshan.
He said, “Liu-laoshi, it seems like it’s been a long time since we’ve been alone together now.”
061 smiled. He also followed him in suppressing his voice. “Seems like it.”
Chi Xiaochi glanced over. “Oh, I forgot, there’s still Blue.”
Blue was off on the other side, flipping the fish to prevent the fish meat from burning, as if very interested in the suddenly-appearing sauce.
Chi Xiaochi stared at the dancing flames. He asked casually, “Liu-laoshi, I forgot, but how could you have forgotten too?”
061 coughed lightly. “Don’t forget, I used to be human too. Forgetting things is normal.”
Chi Xiaochi said, “I keep feeling like Blue is too intelligent. Say, can it hear us speaking?”
061, “……Do you want to say something to it?”
Chi Xiaochi pondered this seriously for a moment. “Blue, I want to sleep with you.”
061, “……Can you say something more serious.”
Chi Xiaochi, “I’m being very serious. I’ll have you know, stuff like machines are more sensitive to emotions than humans. Like the things I used before……”
Following that, before the fish was fully cooked, their perfectly fine conversation topic turned into a sex toy appreciation assembly.
061’s ears were burning. “Oh, you.”
Chi Xiaochi clapped his hands together. “Right, back when Elder Sun caught me in the act while on break from filming, he used this exact tone.”
For some unknown reason, 061 didn’t really want to widen the age gap between Chi Xiaochi and himself. He explained, “I’m still young.”
Chi Xiaochi asked him, “How long have you been working as a system?”
061 didn’t state it very clearly, “In total, probably a bit longer than ten years.”
“When did you pass on?”
061 said, “Probably in my teens.” He didn’t remember the reason or any specifics any more.
Chi Xiaochi was actually very understanding. “It’s good that you’ve forgot.”
The fish was done. He tore open the slightly burnt fish skin. The white, fatty, jade-like meat was steaming hot. With just a touch of his hand, his fingers were burned by the steam, making him hiss with pain.
061 immediately shelved all of his wandering thoughts and moved Blue to take his hand, pulled him over to the lake, and submerged his reddened hand in the cool lake water.
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.
Dflcu tfiv ys atf kglra ilxf atlr, Jtl Wljbmtl revvfcis ofia j ilaaif ecerfv ab la.
Dief kjr ilxf Gbcu Mfltbcu, wjxlcu tlw atlcx bo j mfgajlc rbwfbcf ktb tjv qjrrfv. Lf vlvc’a ajix jr wemt, yea jikjsr wjcjufv fnfgsatlcu obg tlw klatbea j rbecv.
Chi Xiaochi felt like there was something wrong with his brain. He could see flowers even when looking at a machine.
Lf rjlv, “Ktf olrt lr ublcu ab yegc.”
Blue said gently, “……There’s no rush.”
It wasn’t like Chi Xiaochi didn’t find it strange.
Other than not being able to find someone like Lou Ying in the second world, in the first, third and current world, he kept seeing Lou Ying, or rather, people who reminded him of Lou Ying.
He remembered that 061 had said in the first world that as he went deeper into the task worlds, the worlds that Chi Xiaochi went to would gradually lose their similarity to his original world. If he wanted to meet a living Lou Ying again, it would get harder and harder.
……So, why was it that he would coincidentally meet each world’s “Lou Ying” in most of the worlds?
Thinking of this, Chi Xiaochi had a vague answer in his heart.
Only after confirming that his hand wasn’t going to blister did he sit back down by the fire. As he used the small knife that had been washed clean to cut open the fresh, tender, roasted fish meat, he asked:
“Liu-laoshi, did the two hosts you brought along before, both not return to their original worlds?”
When those two were brought up, 061 sighed slightly. “En.”
061 said, “The ninth host was a junior high school teacher. He chose to stay in a world where the original host was a university lecturer, because he fell in love with one of his students during his task.”
061 then said, “The tenth host was an ordinary, low-ranked civil servant. He chose to stay in an ancient world where the original host was an emperor. ……I don’t think I need to explain the reason.”
Chi Xiaochi raised his eyebrows.
Sure enough, as he thought, it was the people or human relationships in those specific worlds that made those hosts want to stay,
……Then it wasn’t hard to explain Lou-ge’s appearance.
Chi Xiaochi asked him, “After all their tasks were done, did you ever go to visit them?”
061 shook his head. “Once the contract between me and the host ends, I can no longer sense the host’s specific location.”
Actually, the tenth host was still very easy to find, but since ending his contract with him, 061 had met Chi Xiaochi and once bound, he hadn’t left since.
In just those two days of separation, his insides had already started itching unbearably.
But 061 very quickly noticed that as Chi Xiaochi looked at the sky, he let out a long sigh, a calm look on his face.
Every time such an expression appeared on Chi Xiaochi’s face, 061’s heart would sink uncontrollably.
When he’d analysed that the original host might still be living within their body, when he’d discussed the Lord God’s scheme of choosing mission targets, he’d had this same expression.
He asked, a little uneasy, “What’s wrong?”
Chi Xiaochi had indeed thought of something disturbing.
Question 1. Hosts used suicide to escape from the world. If what they’d killed was the original host’s body, then when they went back to the world they wanted to go to, whose body did they use, and whose identity?
Question 2. If what they’d killed was the original host’s soul, and their body was still there, after they went back, how could a junior high school teacher take on the duty of a university lecturer? How could an ordinary civil servant be a good emperor?
However, he said, “Nothing.”
He liked tonight’s atmosphere.
Just for tonight, he didn’t want to have other matters disturb this rare peace.
He looked up at the sky, his hands clasped behind his back. “Look, there are stars.”
Tonight’s atmosphere was truly not bad. The smell of the merry bonfire and the roasting chestnuts turned the night air sweet. As Chi Xiaochi ate fish and drank the leftover white wine and Blue patrolled the woods to prevent any wild creatures from harming its master, he talked to 061 about a lot of things that had happened when filming in the past.
As they talked more and more, Chi Xiaochi took another sip of wine. While tipsy and in a good mood from the wine, he candidly confessed what was on his mind, “Do you know, Liu-laoshi, several times, I thought that you were Dong Feihong…… that you were Lou-ge.”
061 was still absorbed in the last joke. Hearing this, he almost choked on air.
Chi Xiaochi said, “That time…… That time when Lou Sifan found someone to beat up Dong Ge, and He Changsheng and I were about to run back, you kept trying to stop me, but when we were really about to run back, uncle rushed over. Say, how could such a coincidence exist?
“And when I was eating a butter tart in Canada, he was also able to find me very quickly, as if he knew where I was all the time.
“When Dong Ge was still alive, he didn’t have a single memory relating to this uncle, but in the end, when we came, this uncle appeared.”
Hearing this, 061 broke out in cold sweat.
Chi Xiaochi’s eyes, slightly damp from intoxication, blinked. “Was Dong Feihong you, Liu-laoshi?”
Before 061 could figure out how to answer, he heard his voice answer, unhesitating, “No.”
He was stunned for a moment, before realising what had happened.
……It was the secrecy system’s shielding function.
This was one of the terms in the contract he’d signed with the Lord God. He couldn’t reveal his false identities to Chi Xiaochi.
But he hadn’t thought that the Lord God had actually counted his identity as “Dong Feihong” within the bounds of confidential information.
Chi Xiaochi paused. “……No?”
He muttered in a low voice, “……If only you were.”
061 knew that he should be changing the topic now, but he couldn’t help but ask further, “Then why did you think that Dong Feihong was Lou Ying?”
Chi Xiaochi had drank himself a little dizzy. He leant against a nearby tree, and murmured, “……Intuition.”
061 didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
What kind of reason was that.
He asked, “Then when you realised something was wrong, why didn’t you say anything?”
In his impression of him, Chi Xiaochi wasn’t the type to push everything to the bottom of his mind.
“In the past, I…… Two and a half years before I was hit by the chandelier, I was tricked by someone once.” Chi Xiaochi made a “shh” gesture, and his voice was soft from the alcohol. “……I got tricked really terribly.”
061 knew that he’d drunk too much. His voice turned gentle, like he was coaxing a child. “You’re so smart, who could trick you?”
“A bastard,” Chi Xiaochi said decisively.
061 asked, “He tricked money from you?”
Chi Xiaochi drew out his tone. “He tricked feelings from me—— I’ve never told anyone about this, it’s embarrassing.”
061 said in a gentle tone, “You’re making me very interested. How did he trick you?”
Chi Xiaochi propped his head against the tree. He said in a small voice, “Someone pretended to be my fan on the internet, and began sending me private messages every day. Afterwards, he told me he was Lou Ying, and asked me to meet him. I waited at the appointed place for a really long time, waiting until 3am in the morning, waiting until that restaurant was about to close, but he still didn’t come.”
061’s heart hurt slightly for him. “You even believed that?”
“……Being tricked once was enough,” Chi Xiaochi said softly, “I won’t trick myself again.”
Chi Xiaochi had drank good wine bought from the storehouse. The intoxication came quickly and left quickly. When Blue wiped his face with a clean cloth that had been dipped in the lake, he gradually woke up.
He asked, “What time is it?”
Blue said, “It’s 10pm.”
Chi Xiaochi’s tone wasn’t actually all that despondent. He did a lazy stretch, and was comfortably helped up by Blue. “I hadn’t thought that I’d be eliminated on the first day.”
Every day, before 24:00, they all had to find the required items and place them into the nearest monitoring point. Only then would they be able to get new transmitters from the supervising officers, and receive the next day’s new task.
If they didn’t manage to collect the items, or didn’t manage to deliver them to the monitoring point on time, that meant that they would be eliminated.
It was currently already 22:00. The closest monitoring point was 15 kilometres away. Unless he could find a piece of Naman metal in an hour, he wouldn’t be able to complete today’s task.
Knowing that he was basically already destined to be eliminated, Chi Xiaochi was very calm. “The heavens aren’t caring, there’s nothing I can do.”
Rather than pilot Blue, he and Blue walked out of the forest side by side.
And when he reached a clearing, he could see even more of the boundless starry sky. Comets surged across the stars in a torrent, just like a waterfall.
Walking under this beautiful scenery, Chi Xiaochi simply couldn’t look away.
061 asked him, “You like stars so much?”
Chi Xiaochi hadn’t seen such a bright Milky Way and sea of stars before. He took a deep breath. “En.”
061 said, “If you want, I can pluck a star down from the sky for you.”
Chi Xiaochi was amused, “Liu-laoshi, don’t fuss.”
061 said, “Laoshi will do his utmost to satisfy his student’s requests.”
Hearing the solemnity in 061’s tone, Chi Xiaochi’s heart suddenly skipped a beat for no reason.
061 said gently, “Sorry, since we took a rest just now, I’ve been running an analysis. It’s really taken some time.”
Chi Xiaochi, “……What do you mean?”
“Us systems’ ability, is to move objects in parallel and change their physical forms under the prerequisite of maintaining constancy and equivalence. Just like how in the first world, I could turn a cup and tea into data……”
As he spoke, 061 looked up at the sky as well. “From what the data shows, the closest asteroid from here is rich in Naman metal. In about fifteen minutes, a piece of stardust from it containing Naman metal will fall in the desert about three kilometres away from here.”
……This was something Lou Ying couldn’t do, but he could.
Thinking about it like this, a smile appeared in 061’s voice, “……This is the star I’m giving you. Thank you for your company tonight.”
The author has something to say:
Liu-laoshi’s class on how to flirt with men has started!
Liu-laoshi: Students, if your lover says they want a star, what do you do?
【The honest duo】
He Changsheng: Bring him to the outskirts to see them.
Dong Ge: Bring him to the planetarium to see them.
【The romantic rich second generation singer】
Cheng Yuan: Get my gege to buy a plane ticket to take me to the NamibRand Nature Reserve~
Cheng Jian: ……Hmph.
【The adaptable puppy slave】
Shen Changqing: As long as there’s Help there, the best stars can be anywhere~
【The man closest to the stars】
Ji Zuoshan: You guys are all wrong. That time Mister Chi said he wanted a star, Liu-laoshi simply gave him one.
sere: boi this chap!!!! THEY WERE SO CLOSE!!! also i love the author’s note~~