After Qiu Yanzhi was kicked out by He Zhou, he sat on the bare wooden plank that used to be his bed and rubbed his head.
He really didn't expect that those two sweet cocktails would be enough to send him into a drunken stupor even in the game.
Hangovers didn’t feel much better ingame either. Qiu Yanzhi still felt horrible after turning down his pain sensitivity value.
Pressing his temples, Qiu Yanzhi casually asked, "Big Yellow, is the pain sensitivity setting of your game broken or something? How come it doesn't feel as effective as it used to be."
Big Yellow shook his head with wide eyes: "Of course not, our game isn’t the problem here! It’s just that the discomfort caused by a hangover is multifaceted, so just turning down the sensitivity isn’t enough. You shouldn’t drink so much in the future. The fact that you can’t hold your beer still holds true here…”
Qiu Yanzhi felt that he’s played this game long enough. Out of consideration for his real body, which must be starving by now, he paused the game and logged off.
When Qiu Yanzhi came out, his new housekeeper was just about to leave after cooking for him.
The new housekeeper’s name was Kong Xiujie. She was a 50+ years old auntie from the countryside. Although she had trouble operating smart furniture, the food she made was always to Qiu Yanzhi's liking.
Seeing Qiu Yanzhi finally come out of the room, she greeted him. Then, as if she suddenly thought of something, she said to Qiu Yanzhi: "Mr. Qiu, there was a call for you while you were sleeping in that big metal box. I was afraid of disturbing your rest so I answered it for you."
A big metal box?
It took Qiu Yanzhi a moment to realize she was talking about the full dive pod. He didn’t correct her as he walked over to the cabinets and began rifling through them. He asked, "Who was it?"
"The caller said he was your brother. I said you were sleeping when he asked."
Qiu Yanzhi nodded, "Good. Tell him that if he calls in again in the future. Don't tell him about the steel box, just tell him I'm in bed."
Kong Xiujie dismissed sleeping in a steel box as some fetish of city folks and didn’t ask anymore of it.
Qiu Yanzhi was really fed up with Qiu Xicheng, especially the way he always pretended to be a caring older brother that advised him to go out more, study more, don't play games, and don't stay home all the time.
Qiu Yanzhi finally found what he was looking for. He handed an envelope to Kong Xiujie: "Here, your salary for this month."
"M-Mr. Qiu...it isn’t the end of the month yet." She hesitantly took it and peered inside. “...And there’s too much money in here.”
Qiu Yanzhi walked to the table and picked up the chopsticks. "I happened to overhear you on the phone yesterday. Don’t you need to pay your husband’s hospital bill soon? I decided to give you your salary in advance. Take the rest as a bonus.”
Qiu Yanzhi smiled after eating a mouthful of the food. “A bonus for how delicious your food is.”
Kong Xiujie was dumbfounded. She had two sons and a daughter, but none of her children stuck around after growing up. Her husband was in the hospital with a minor illness, but she didn’t have the money to pay the bills. She used to feel hopeless about her situation, but who would’ve thought she would run into such a good person?
She wiped away her tears and said to Qiu Yanzhi, "Thank you, Mr. Qiu. Mr. Qiu, you are such a good person."
Qiu Yanzhi was caught off guard by suddenly being labeled a good person. He shrugged. "Don't thank me because I’m not a good person. I’m uncultured and immoral. If someone fell in front of me, I wouldn’t even help them up. The only reason I’m doing this is because I want to keep eating your food.”
Kong Xiujie thought Qiu Yanzhi was just joking. She thanked him again before leaving.
Qiu Yanzhi was in the middle of his meal when his phone rang.
Qiu Yanzhi took a look at the name on the display.
It was Qiu Xicheng
He frowned, muted the call, and continued to eat.
After ringing for a while, the phone finally stopped vibrating. Then a text message was sent over.
Qiu Xicheng: Zhizhi, it's Dad's birthday next Saturday. Don't forget to come home.
Qiu Yanzhi took one look at the text message and flipped his phone over. He continued to enjoy his meal in peace.
Upon finishing, he didn’t eleven have time to stretch before the doorbell rang.
Qiu Yanzhi frowned again. He shuffled over to see who it was.
It was Fei Sihao.
He came to invite Qiu Yanzhi to go out for dinner tonight.
Qiu Yanzhi frowned and said that he had a paper to finish.
Fei Sihao seemed a little disappointed, but soon smiled gently again. "That’s okay Zhizhi. Then would you like to go on a date with me next Friday?"
Fei Sihao gently looked at Qiu Yanzhi. "Next Friday is my birthday. Spend it with me, okay?"
Qiu Yanzhi lowered his head, somewhat embarrassed, "I'm sorry, I didn't even know it was almost your birthday. Don't worry, I'll definitely be with you on your birthday! I'll have a great present prepared too!"
"I'm looking forward to it." Fei Sihao's eyes were tinged with laughter.
After saying goodbye to Qiu Yanzhi, Fei Sihao returned to his apartment and made a phone call.
Qiu Xicheng: "How did it go? Is he going out with you next Friday?"
Fei Sihao: "It was a lot easier than I thought. I told him that it was my birthday and he immediately believed me."
Qiu Xicheng: "Don't be too relaxed. You should still be careful. He hasn't been answering my calls lately. I'm afraid he's found out something."
Fei Sihao laughed: "Xicheng, you think too much of your brother. He probably has his phone on silent or something. I’ve noticed that his phone rarely rings when we go out on dates.”
Qiu Xicheng: "Have you made all the necessary preparations?"
Fei Sihao: "Qiu Xicheng you need to have more faith in me. As long as he goes out with me next Friday, there’s no chance of him getting out of bed the next day, let alone going back to celebrate your dad's birthday."
"My dad will re-divide the estate at the birthday party, so Qiu Yanzhi must not attend. The pictures, however, are a must.” Qiu Xicheng seemed to hesitate. “...Are you going to do it?”
Fei Sihao couldn't help but laugh, "How could I? Don’t you know I’m straight? No worries, I’ve found someone suitable already.”
He paused and added, "Well three someones and a photographer."
Qiu Xicheng and Fei Sihao ended their call there.
On the other end, Qiu Yanzhi also ended his recording.
Qiu Yanzhi turned off the spyware program on his phone and emotionlessly collected the chipped pen.
He laid on his bed and stared at the ceiling, feeling vaguely nauseous.
Qiu Yanzhi had always known not to have faith in a scummy piece of trash like Qiu Xicheng, but his stomach still rolled after hearing it firsthand.
And Fei Sihao was Qiu Xicheng's dog.
Qiu Yanzhi felt better after a glass of cold water.
His phone screen lit up again then. Qiu Yanzhi answered after taking a glance at the caller ID.
"Have you tried the thing yet? How is it? Any problems?"
"En. It worked pretty well.”
"Hahaha, that's good. I’ve finally helped you with something."
The person talking was Chen Lesi, a high school classmate of Qiu Yanzhi's. They weren’t close originally but they kept in contact after running into each other recently. This guy’s optimistic and friendly attitude led to a not so stable connection over the internet.
Chen Lesi was very smart, maybe even a genius. He started hacking in his teens but changed his ways later. Now he worked at a video game company that recruited him fresh out of high school.
The software that was just used to eavesdrop on Fei Sihao was given by Chen Lesi. Even the VR game that Qiu Yanzhi’s been playing was recommended by Chen Lesi after he discovered Qiu Yanzhi's sexual orientation.
Since it was Qiu Yanzhi's first time playing a VR game, he didn’t know how to download it from the official website. So Chen Lesi also gave him the installation package.
"Right. That game I recommended to you a while ago, how was it?" Chen Lesi asked.
Qiu Yanzhi: "I think it's pretty good. The environment and everything is really realistic. It really blurs the line between game and reality.
Chen Lesi laughed: "That’s what we’re hoping to do here, but to be honest this game didn’t manage to accomplish that. Our company used to have a game…”
Chen Lesi suddenly trailed off.
Qiu Yanzhi: "What about it?"
"No, nothing. By the way, which capture target did you pick? Oh wait, don’t tell me! I’m going to take a guess and say the president!"
Qiu Yanzhi was shocked, "How did you know?"
He didn’t even know why he chose He Zhou in the first place, so how did this guy guess it so quickly??
Chen Lesi laughed, "Our company's statistics show that the president is the most popular choice, then the upperclassman..."
For some reason, the fact that so many people were working on capturing He Zhou like him...didn’t sit right with Qiu Yanzhi.
Besides, what did that bastard He Zhou have other than his looks? How was he qualified to be the most popular character?? Qiu Yanzhi chose him because he was blind, but shockingly there seemed to be a lot of blind people out there.
Chen Lesi and Qiu Yanzhi chatted for a while. After he hung up, one of his colleagues came by with a mug of coffee and asked, “Well you seem happy. Who were you talking to?"
Chen Lesi picked up his own mug and joined them. "A high school classmate. He’s also playing our company's game, ‘The Lover’."
The colleague filled up his mug in the lounge. “Which capture target did he pick, the president?”
Chen Lesi nodded: "Just like 60% of the player base."
The same colleague expressed his understanding: "Makes sense. Rich, kind, sensitive, falling in love with the player at first sight...plus plenty of dog blood drama and inheritance struggles. Who wouldn’t love such a domineering president?”
Chen Lesi said, "Yeah, which is why our company is promoting President Gu Yehe so hard. People are willing to spend money on him.”
Chen Lesi seemed to have thought of something. He shook his head and laughed, "But that classmate of mine didn't really talk about Gu Yehe much. He just went on and on about how realistic the ingame environment is.”
His colleague was silent for a moment and suddenly sighed, "If we’re talking about realism, then no game can compare to the one our company developed a few years ago."
Chen Lesi also looked a bit gloomy, "I doubt that anyone even knows its name anymore aside from a few oldtimers. Our company doesn’t even let us talk about that game anymore.”
"It can’t be helped after what happened. That game was shut down permanently even before the public beta, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy and the boss almost went to jail. If that kind of thing hadn't happened..."
Chen Lesi picked up on his words, "If that didn’t happen, the game would’ve been a global sensation. People all over the world would’ve known its name, Devour...”
"Shh, don’t say its name.”
In the evening, Qiu Yanzhi went back into the game pod and started up the game.
A white logo on a black background surfaced in front of him.
Qiu Yanzhi felt that He Zhou was sick.
It was as if he was deliberately trying to piss off Qiu Yanzhi. He sent all the servants on a vacation so that Qiu Yanzhi had to cook for himself or order takeaway. He spent half the day out of the house and avoided initiating conversation with Qiu Yanzhi. When they did talk, He Zhou had nothing but sarcasm and acidic barbs for him.
Qiu Yanzhi never claimed to have a good temper. The only reason he tolerated He Zhou was out of desire for his body and face. Now that that was gone, Qiu Yanzhi found He Zhou's behaviour more and more incomprehensible.
“Ah, I'm really a big pig trotter.” Qiu Yanzhi silently cursed himself out.
"Is there really no way other than buying a Divorce Card? Why is this game so monetized?!” Qiu Yanzhi said to Big Yellow as he laid sprawled out on the bed.
Big Yellow blinked. "All your problems can be solved if you recharge. Simple, right?”
Qiu Yanzhi deliberately said, "If you guys keep this up, I'll have to stop playing."
Big Yellow became anxious. "Then what do you want to do?"
“Either make He Zhou smile at me everyday and be nice to me or let me divorce He Zhou."
Big Yellow was silent for a long while and suddenly said, "You know that the first one is flat out impossible, right?"
"What, why? He Zhou’s just an NPC."
Big Yellow was silent for a long while, then said carefully, "Why don't you save him again from a car accident or something? But there's no card this time, so you'll probably have to plan well..."
Qiu Yanzhi: "...I’m dumb so planning isn’t my thing. If I get exposed again we’ll be back where we started.”
Big Yellow smacked his forehead after remembering something. "I can give you a special offer! Only 398 gems for this card! You know that our cards usually go for tens of thousands of gems, so 398 is almost free.”
After using the free gems he had, he just needed to recharge 159 more.
Qiu Yanzhi felt like he could manage to live with that. “Fine. What card is it?"
Big Yellow said mysteriously, "This a magical card that can dissolve all grudges and hatred. It can make all the people who hate you lose interest and make all the people who love you love you even more."
...That didn’t sound half bad?
Qiu Yanzhi had his interest piqued. "Not bad, not bad. So what's the name of this card?"
Big Yellow held its head high with a solemn expression, "It’s the Terminal Disease Card! You’ll die within a month of using the card, but you’ll get to experience the true beauty of humanity during that time! Everyone will pity you, love you, and even He Zhou will be gentle with you!"
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
Big Yellow happily went on, "So do you want to top up now? You can still get a 10% discount!"
Qiu Yanzhi cruelly rejected it: "Get lost."
Big Yellow deflated: "Okay, then you'll have to divorce He Zhou."
Qiu Yanzhi: "How can we divorce without a Divorce Card?"
Big Yellow hesitated, but finally sighed and said, "Well, there is actually another way... You can get He Zhou to bring up the divorce himself."
Qiu Yanzhi was stunned, "Players can't bring up divorce, but NPCs can?"
Big Yellow: "Of course! Our game is the most advanced in the world! In this game, the only limitation is your imagination!”
Big Yellow continued, "Actually, our game also has a card that can detect how willing a NPC is to divorce. When the willingness value reaches a certain threshold, He Zhou will file for divorce. There’s a special promotion for this card right now too. After deducting all your current gems, it only costs $1 more.”
Qiu Yanzhi didn't even hesitate.
Little did he know, this first recharge would be the root of all evil.
Even if it was only a dollar.
After recharging a dollar and spending all his gems, Qiu Yanzhi got that card.
It was a black R-rank tool card.
The black card spun in the air before disappearing in a puff of smoke.
In its place was a small, delicate hourglass.
Qiu Yanzhi reached out and plucked the hourglass from the air.
Only then did he discover that this hourglass was extremely strange.
The top half of the hourglass was filled with white sand while the bottom half was filled with black sand. Nothing moved inside even when the hourglass was upright.
Big Yellow explained, "This is the NPC Divorce Willingness Value Detector. It can also float in the air to monitor the NPC's willingness value for you in real time. You don't have to worry about it being seen by the NPC."
"When all the white sand falls and turns into black sand, the NPC will choose to divorce you. See how it's currently mostly white sand? That means He Zhou’s already thinking about divorcing you, if only a little. I would put it at around 10%.”
Qiu Yanzhi picked up the hourglass and shook it. "Do I need to let all the white sand fall? That is, do I need to disgust He Zhou until he hates me with a burning passion and wants to sever ties with me immediately?"
Big Yellow: "Yep. But you can’t go OOC while doing it. If you go too far, the NPC system will collapse."
Qiu Yanzhi sighed: "Why is my life so hard."
So Qiu Yanzhi began to act out.
He complained about the absence of the servants, he questioned why He Zhou was out so late everyday, and he accused He Zhou unreasonably of having an affair. He even threatened He Zhou with withdrawing his father’s investments if He Zhou didn’t treat him better.
But no matter what he did, He Zhou remained indifferent. The hourglass did not move at all.
It was so still that Qiu Yanzhi suspected Big Yellow of giving him a dud.
That was, until one day...
Qiu Yanzhi was questioning He Zhou again about why he always ignored him. Fully immersed in his act, Qiu Yanzhi looked at He Zhou with tears in his eyes and cried out in grief, "He Zhou, I hate you!"
Just as Qiu Yanzhi was wiping his tears and marveling at his wonderful acting skills, the hourglass shifted.
Before Qiu Yanzhi could rejoice, the hourglass...actually f*cking backed up?!
Why did that happen?? Wait, wait, wait! Why did the hourglass flow backwards?! What did I just do?!
I just said, “He Zhou I hate you”, but He Zhou’s willingness value went down? He doesn’t want to divorce Laozi after hearing that?!
Qiu Yanzhi's brain suddenly connected the dots. He frantically tried to save the situation. Looking at He Zhou with red-rimmed eyes, he said shakily, "...But I love you more."
Then. The. Sand. Flowed. Down!
Qiu Yanzhi doubled his efforts, "I really don't want to leave you. I want to be with you forever."
He Zhou looked at him coldly and turned around to go back to his study.
Then. The. Sand. Flowed. Down. Faster!
Qiu Yanzhi only managed to recover once He Zhou had left and the hourglass stopped flowing.
So, in conclusion--
That son of a b*tch pervert He Zhou is deliberately trying to go against him.
The more he loved He Zhou, the more he grovelled and begged, the more he cried out things like “I would never leave you even if I died”...
The more He Zhou f*cking wanted a divorce to abandon him?!
He Gou, do you f*king hate me that much?! (1)
What have I been playing this dating simulator for over two months for then?!
For an archnemesis willing to fight with me to the death?!!
Qiu Yanzhi felt an endless sorrow at the deep malice of the game devs.
(1) - 狗 (gou) is dog. He's calling He Zhou a dog.
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