Qiu Yanzhi walked around in a panic, but he couldn't feel or see anything.
There was nothing but white in all directions.
Qiu Yanzhi had a sudden thought.
Am I already dead?
What was this place? Heaven? Or hell?
I have to keep calm.
This isn't heaven, let alone hell. This is a game.
Calm down, don't panic… There will definitely be a way out.
Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in...
Fuck! How am I supposed to keep my cool? What a craptastic bullshit game! How did this kind of deadly bug slip through the state mandated testing and make it to market? Who TF made this game?! Everyone at that fucking company should be thrown in jail!!
But eventually Qiu Yanzhi couldn't curse anymore. He sat on the ground, hugging his knees, looking at the endless expanse of nothingness before him. He was so very hungry.
Hungry enough that his stomach was deflated.
Hungry enough that his stomach ached.
Hungry enough that his vision started to darken and his legs felt weak.
He felt like he was about to die of hunger.
He suddenly remembered the fruit candy in his room.
At least, he thought there was one.
Then he thought, “If I hadn't come out of my room just now, then the room wouldn't have disappeared. I would’ve still been able to find the candy, right?”
But even if he found it, what colour would that candy be? What flavour? Would it be especially tasty?
Or was it raspberry?
If that fruit candy was strawberry flavoured, then it must be pink. It would taste very sweet, but not sickeningly so because it would also be slightly sour. The flavour would surely linger in his mouth long after he finished it.
He kept meticulously imagining the taste of that candy, as if it was the only thing that could keep him alive.
Eventually he started hallucinating out of hunger.
He saw an end to the white that surrounded him.
Like a dream, there were suddenly colours everywhere.
Coloured puffs of powder flew through the skies, gathering methodically at the horizon. Brown assembled to become the floor, gray the walls, and black into the handrails.
The road slowly spread out from the stairway, then into the corridor where Qiu Yanzhi was.
The scene was so shocking that he lost his voice. It was like he watched the world be born again in a sci-fi movie.
And in the middle of this world was a man. He was dressed in a dark gray suit and holding a pile of documents in his hands. With his head lowered, he walked unhurriedly towards Qiu Yanzhi.
With every step he took, the world was given life.
It was at this moment that Qiu Yanzhi realized the entire world around him was created from beneath this man's feet, inch by inch.
He Zhou looked at Qiu Yanzhi, who was collapsed on the ground staring at him with a dumb look. He frowned.
"Qiu Yanzhi," He Zhou handed over the document he was holding, "this is the divorce agreement. Take a look--"
Qiu Yanzhi, however, suddenly stood up and threw himself into He Zhou's arms. The divorce agreement went everywhere. Before he knew it, he was tightly embraced by that person.
"What are you doing?!" He Zhou scowled. He was about to push Qiu Yanzhi away when the other person suddenly started to cry.
Qiu Yanzhi was inconsolable. He couldn’t even catch his breath as large teardrops streamed down his face. They dropped down into He Zhou’s shirt, quickly soaking it through.
He Zhou had never seen Qiu Yanzhi cry like this. When he was faking, Qiu Yanzhi’s eyes contained tears that never fell. Never did he wail without pretense like this.
He Zhou wanted to push him away, but surprisingly he couldn’t. He could only allow himself to be held. His voice struggled to leave out all emotion.
"What are you crying for."
Qiu Yanzhi seemed like he was about to pour out all of his fears and frustrations, and then He Zhou heard him cry out.
I'm so hungry.
He Zhou: "......"
For some reason, when He Zhou heard this, he had the urge to pick Qiu Yanzhi up, walk to the window, and throw him outside.
He Zhou didn’t come home for three days.
Qiu Yanzhi didn’t have a single grain of rice or drink of water in that time.
So He Zhou stood aloofly in the kitchen and watched as Qiu Yanzhi frantically raided the refrigerator.
As Qiu Yanzhi finished his second carton of milk and then tore open his sixth packet of sausages, He Zhou turned around and prepared to leave.
"Y-you! Don't leave!" Qiu Yanzhi shouted in panic.
Qiu Yanzhi stood on tiptoe to look out of the window. All he could see was white. He could only eat because He Zhou was here. If He Zhou were to leave, the sausage in Qiu Yanzhi's hand would be gone, not to mention the refrigerator.
He Zhou ignored Qiu Yanzhi and turned around to walk upstairs again.
Qiu Yanzhi could only follow after him after quickly grabbing another handful of chocolates from the fridge, a can of soda and a box of cupcakes.
He Zhou frowned and ask him, "What are you always following me for?"
Qiu Yanzhi asked nervously, "Where are you going?"
He Zhou reply was clipped. "The study."
When Qiu Yanzhi had pounced on He Zhou, the divorce agreement spilled everywhere and now had many footprints on it.
He Zhou was going to the study to print a new copy.
Qiu Yanzhi was relieved when he heard that He Zhou wasn’t going too far away. He didn’t think at all about what He Zhou would be doing in the study, food was the only thing on his mind right now.
Qiu Yanzhi sat side by side with He Zhou at the desk, eating a cupcake and slurping his soda. Then he tore open the package of chocolates. His legs unconsciously began to swing under the table.
He never knew that that happiness could come from such simple things.
That was, until He Zhou placed the reprinted divorce settlement before him.
"Sign it." He Zhou said.
When Qiu Yanzhi saw the title of the document, he nearly dropped the cupcake in his hand.
"N-no! I won’t sign!" Qiu Yanzhi steeled himself and said, "I won't divorce you even if it kills me!"
"Why?" He Zhou asked.
Because I really don't want to starve to death here.
Qiu Yanzhi hadn't thought of a suitable excuse yet, so he could only look down in silence.
He Zhou flipped open the divorce agreement, his tone calm and distant. “Take a good look at the terms. Your father agreed to invest in my company if we got married. We can continue to work together or I can buy you out with shares or cash. This house and the three cars in the garage to your name…”
"I don't want it." Qiu Yanzhi pushed the divorce agreement away. He bit down on the straw on his drink and said, "I don't want a divorce."
He Zhou looked up at Qiu Yanzhi. He didn't say a word, but his eyes were rather cold.
Qiu Yanzhi looked away with a guilty conscience. He continued to bite his straw and grumbled, "Why should I divorce you?"
He Zhou sneered and said sarcastically, "Do you seriously not know why?"
Qiu Yanzhi lied without even blinking. "I don't know."
He Zhou: "Fine. Then let me ask you this, if you think I’m scummy and dumb and useless, why don't you divorce me?"
Qiu Yanzhi put down his drink: "Because I like you."
He Zhou scoffed. "So you're saying that everything I heard that day was a hallucination?!"
Qiu Yanzhi looked up at He Zhou. His eyes were very clear, with shining dark pupils. When he stared at someone this way, it was easy to create an illusion of sincerity and affection. He looked at He Zhou this way and then said slowly.
"If I didn't like you, if I didn't love you, then why would I bother marrying you?”
"If I didn't love you, then why would I risk my life to help you block the chandelier? Why would I put on such a show just to get a little bit of attention and affection from you?"
"If I didn't love you, then why would I refuse to eat or drink in the three days you’ve been gone to wait for you?”
"If I didn’t love you...then why would I lie and say that I did?"
Qiu Yanzhi paused, his voice a little hoarse.
"He Zhou, I admit that I have lied to you and schemed against you. I admit that I’m a despicable and shameless person. But you need to know that all of my despicable lies and shameless schemes were because...because I love you.”
He Zhou didn’t seem touched in the slightest.
His eyes were still cold and indifferent.
He said, "Then how do you explain what happened that day?"
Qiu Yanzhi was silent.
He looked down. His hand on the table tightened, and his eyelashes flickered uneasily.
It was a long time before he looked up again at He Zhou, as if he had made up his mind.
He looked somewhat miserable and terrified as the corners of his mouth tugged up into a not-smile.
"He Zhou, do you know about dissociative identity disorder?”
He Zhou snickered, "Do you think I'll still fall for your bullshit?"
Qiu Yanzhi's eyes closed tightly before slowly opening. His voice was slightly trembling.
He said, "Dissociative identity disorder, or DID, is when a person has multiple personas inside of them. He Zhou, if I told you that the person you saw that day wasn’t me, would you believe me?”
He Zhou stared at Qiu Yanzhi. He didn’t allow himself to show even a trace of emotion. He continued to use his indifference to shield himself. “Do you think that I should?”
Qiu Yanzhi continued, "That person's name is Xia Yuan. He doesn't believe in love at all. He doesn't love anyone, nor does he expect to be loved. He always tells me that love is stupid, and he also always thinks that my love for you is stupid. That’s why he insults and humiliates you every time he comes out.”
"The day you found out I orchestrated our marriage, I was going out of my mind after you left. I thought I was going to lose you…so Xia Yuan came out while I was vulnerable. He despises love the most, so he deliberately imitated me with exaggerated gestures to humiliate me… That’s what you saw."
He Zhou's dark eyes looked coldly at Qiu Yanzhi. He didn’t speak.