Perhaps it was because he did not have time to draw the second set of curtains last night, but the bright morning light spread throughout the room, piercing through the thin gauze curtains. This disturbed the sleeping Qiu Yanzhi, who frowned and nestled deeper into the blankets.
He Zhou didn’t want the light to wake him up, but he was also reluctant to get out of bed to close the curtains. In the end, he shielded Qiu Yanzhi's eyes with one of his hands, casting a shadow across Qiu Yanzhi's face with his broad palm.
Only then did Qiu Yanzhi's expression relax again.
He Zhou wanted to just stare at him for a bit at first, but his hand involuntarily moved as he watched.
He Zhou’s finger traced from Qiu Yanzhi's forehead to his eyes. His lips curved up slowly.
This little liar could probably only behave when he was drunk or asleep.
Unfortunately, this beautiful and peaceful moment did not last long.
--Because Qiu Yanzhi woke up.
Before he even opened his eyes, Qiu Yanzhi impatiently reached out and smacked the thing that had been disturbing his sleep away.
After a while, he sensed that something was wrong.
Ever so slowly, Qiu Yanzhi opened his eyes.
Then he saw a bare chest in front of him.
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
Seems like Laozi’s still dreaming.
Qiu Yanzhi closed his eyes again.
He really didn't understand.
--He was finally having a wet dream, but why did the other person there have He Zhou’s face?
‘Well, it was understandable, really. Who let He Zhou look like the man of my dreams?’ Qiu Yanzhi said to himself silently.
After making sure that he was completely awake this time, Qiu Yanzhi opened his eyes again.
He closed them again a second later.
No way, no way, no way… This has to be a dream… How can it not be a dream?!
His mainline target in this round was Ye Mingxu, how could he be in bed with He Zhou again?!
Please, please be a dream. This has to be a dream.
"Since you're already awake, don't pretend to be asleep anymore."
The man's deep voice rumbled by his ears, completely shattering the daydream Qiu Yanzhi was trying to fool himself with.
Qiu Yanzhi opened his eyes to look at He Zhou lifelessly.
But He Zhou's eyes were full of laughter. "What, you don't want to face reality?"
Qiu Yanzhi was expressionless. "Why am I here? What happened last night?"
He Zhou: "What do you think happened?"
Qiu Yanzhi took a deep breath. The familiar ache he felt in his body convinced him that last night’s dream was very much real.
He looked at He Zhou, saying through clenched teeth, "Mr. He, do you know that what you did amounts to rape?"
He Zhou pondered over that for a moment. "Are you sure?"
"Of course I'm sure!"
He Zhou asked again, "Do you have any evidence?"
"Evidence?" Qiu Yanzhi said coldly, "You and I are lying in the same bed right now, isn't that evidence enough?"
He Zhou frowned. He spoke reluctantly, "It only proves that we spent a pleasurable night together."
"Pleasurable?" Qiu Yanzhi practically burst out laughing, his words dripping with sarcasm, "Mr. He, are you sure you can bring other people pleasure with your level of skill?"
This comment was really too much.
But unexpectedly, He Zhou wasn’t annoyed at all.
He picked up his phone from the nightstand and played a recording.
Ambiguous sounds immediately filled the room.
The coaxing voice of a man intertwined with the quiet pleading of a youth.
“Do you like it when I do this?"
"...Wu, I-I like it..."
Qiu Yanzhi's face went completely red in an instant.
He violently snatched He Zhou's phone away, closing and deleting that recording at the speed of sound.
"Feel free to delete it. I have backups." He Zhou lazily drawled.
"Where's the backups? Delete them." Qiu Yanzhi said through clenched teeth while as red as a tomato.
He Zhou smiled. He closed his eyes and moved over. "Give me a kiss."
Qiu Yanzhi was skeptical. "You'll delete them if I kiss you?"
He Zhou didn't say anything, but he shifted even closer.
Qiu Yanzhi cautiously leaned over and pecked him on the lips, only for the other person to pull him into his arms and kiss him deeply for a long time.
It was quite a while before he was released.
Qiu Yanzhi gasped for air as he asked, "...Are you going to delete them?"
He Zhou: "Nope."
Qiu Yanzhi’s flush spread to his ears and neck. He pushed He Zhou away and said through clenched teeth, "He Zhou...you’re so shameless!"
He Zhou took Qiu Yanzhi into his arms again and kissed the ends of his red-rimmed eyes. He quietly laughed. “At least I’m not shameless enough to pretend I don’t know someone."
Qiu Yanzhi reached up and tried to push his chest away again.
But the arms around him were like iron.
He Zhou: "What? You confessed your love for me last night, but you’re going back on your word already?”
Qiu Yanzhi froze for a moment. "You're talking nonsense."
"I'm not." He Zhou said, "I wouldn't lie to you."
Qiu Yanzhi pursed his lips, "I don't believe that for one second. You're lying to me."
"I believe..." He Zhou wrapped his arms around Qiu Yanzhi's waist and rested his forehead against his. He quietly laughed, "I believe that you like me."
Perhaps because He Zhou was too close to Qiu Yanzhi, or his voice was too gentle and his gaze too provocative...but Qiu Yanzhi felt his heart skip a beat.
He suddenly pushed He Zhou away, reaching out for the clothes scattered all across the bed. He closed his eyes as he put them on, grumbling:
"...I do not."
When Qiu Yanzhi was half dressed, he found himself unable to ignore the red marks on his body. He grit his teeth again and said, "I'm going to take a shower."
He Zhou: "Be my guest."
Qiu Yanqi was so frustrated by He Zhou teasing him this morning that he couldn’t think straight. After getting up from the bed, he went straight to the cloakroom next to the bedroom to get clean towels and clothes.
When he returned with his things, Qiu Yanzhi saw He Zhou leaning against the door frame, looking at the things in his hand with a hard to decipher expression.
Qiu Yanzhi immediately broke out in a cold sweat.
His cover just got blown.
Never mind the towels and clothes; they were in plain sight.
But how was he supposed to explain himself going straight for the second last drawer in the third row for clean underwear?!
Now that he thought about it, something wasn’t right here. Why were all the decorations and furniture in He Zhou’s house the same as before the reset? More importantly, why were there clothes that fit Qiu Yanzhi in the house?!!
Qiu Yanzhi broke into a cold sweat. Just as he was about to play dumb until his last breath, He Zhou suddenly spoke up, "Turn left in the corridor for the bathroom. Be careful, it’s slippery in there.”
Qiu Yanzhi froze for a moment. He blinked dumbly.
Before he had time to reply, He Zhou had already turned and walked away.
Qiu Yanzhi looked down at the things in his hands.
He was somewhat confused.
Did He Zhou not notice? Or did he notice but deliberately not bring it up?
Qiu Yanzhi hoped that it was the former.
But he knew that the latter had to be the case unless He Zhou was blind.
Qiu Yanzhi’s hands clenched. He hung his head, and walked towards the bathroom.
When Qiu Yanzhi came out of the bathroom, He Zhou already had breakfast on the table.
"Qiu Yanzhi, come and eat."
Qiu Yanzhi rubbed his stomach. He really was a little hungry, so he walked over and pulled out a chair.
He carefully picked up some shredded meat with his chopsticks, debating whether it would be better to eat it straight away or to go and pour himself a glass of water first.
He Zhou gave him a look and said, "Don't worry, I didn't make this."
Qiu Yanzhi breathed a sigh of relief.
Reassured, he ate with relish while speaking like a hypocrite, “This meal looked so delicious I thought it was Mr. He's handiwork."
"Don't talk like that."
He Zhou gave him another look, saying faintly, "It makes me think you’re being sarcastic."
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
You’re surprisingly self-aware today.
He Zhou stared at Qiu Yanzhi's hair, "Why didn't you blow it dry?"
Qiu Yanzhi reached up and slicked his hair back a bit, continuing to eat as he said, "Holding up the hair dryer makes my arm sore. Why go through the effort when it’ll dry on its own?”
He Zhou put down his chopsticks and left the table.
When he came over again, he had a hair dryer in hand.
Qiu Yanzhi frowned. "Are you serious? I'm still eating here."
He Zhou said, "You can keep eating."
He Zhou plugged the hair dryer into a nearby outlet and stood behind Qiu Yanzhi, drying his hair.
Although Qiu Yanzhi felt that blow drying his hair was really troublesome and tiring, he found it enjoyable when someone else did it for him.
He Zhou's motions were gentle. He stroked Qiu Yanzhi’s hair from root to tip. That and the warmth of the hair dryer made for a very comfortable experience.
By the time Qiu Yanzhi finished his meal, He Zhou had also finished blow drying his hair.
His dried hair was now airy and soft. Qiu Yanzhi stroked some strands several times before looking up at He Zhou. "He Zhou, when you go bankrupt, you can go to a barber shop to blow dry people's hair."
He Zhou put the hairdryer away. "I'll take that as a compliment."
To be honest, He Zhou's attitude today made Qiu Yanzhi a little scared.
Qiu Yanzhi couldn't understand why He Zhou was suddenly so nice to him.
Apart from the recording incident this morning, he had been accommodating on almost everything else.
He Zhou obviously noticed his little slip up, but he didn’t expose Qiu Yanzhi’s lies. He pointed out where the bathroom was despite knowing Qiu Yanzhi knew to save him some face. He even called him for breakfast and helped him blow dry his hair.
...This is just too strange.
As the saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
He Zhou was so good to him that Qiu Yanzhi was getting goosebumps all over.
...What exactly happened last night?
While He Zhou was away, Qiu Yanzhi called out Big Yellow again.
Qiu Yanzhi: "What exactly happened last night after I got drunk?"
Big Yellow chuckled weakly, "So you still remember me?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "What?"
Big Yellow: "Do you know what you did last night after you got drunk?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "What’d I do?"
Big Yellow: "You met Meng Qikang and Shen Xingwei and called them by their names in front of He Zhou. You’ve utterly exposed yourself. I yelled at you the entire time, trying to warn you. But you ignored me like I wasn’t there. Then, when you finally heard me, you thought I was noisy and sent me flying."
Qiu Yanzhi's face went white.
"Also, Ye Mingxu called after He Zhou took your drunk ass home last night. He was the one who picked up.” Big Yellow paused, "I think you can guess what happened after that..."
Of course Qiu Yanzhi could guess.
Right now, He Zhou was doing his best to sabotage him and Ye Mingxu. He definitely said something ambiguous that could be easily misconstrued.
Big Yellow took a deep breath. “Other than that, there’s one more thing. Do you remember what I said to you last round? Our game is a game in line with the core values of socialism. It’s meant to explore the inner goodness in all of us. So our game doesn’t allow multiple capture targets at the same time, much less cheating. Under normal circumstances, players wouldn’t be able to cheat in the first place because the system would forcefully stop them. Think about it. You slept with He Zhou last night, but the system didn’t stop him. What does this mean?”
“What does it mean?"
"It means that He Zhou is a superbug."
Qiu Yanzhi was silent for a moment. "That’s old news at this point."
So what if He Zhou's a bug?
He couldn’t be fixed, destroyed or escaped from.
"Cool your jets, Qiu Yanzhi. He Zhou’s a bug, but you’re not. A notification already came from the system."
Qiu Yanzhi: "A notification from the system?"
The next second, a holographic panel appeared in front of him, showing a system notification obviously written by a machine.
Qiu Yanzhi read it from beginning to end. He got the gist of it.
-- Because he had engaged in ‘relations’ with someone other than the mainline capture target, he had been stripped of his capture privileges for Ye Mingxu.
"What does it mean to be stripped of capture privileges?"
"It means that you can no longer use any skill or plot cards on Ye Mingxu, and the system will no longer arrange special encounter plots for you. Ye Mingxu will become very difficult to raid so I suggest you give up and buy a new Reset Card."
"That's easy for you to say." Qiu Yanzhi gave Big Yellow a look. "You’re not the one paying $16,888 a pop."
"What else can you do? You’re basically dead to Ye Mingxu at this point. Now that you can’t even use any cards, the difficulty of capturing him just skyrocketed.”
Qiu Yanzhi shrugged. "I didn’t plan on spending money on him to buy a plot card anyway."
He unscrewed a bottle of mineral water. "I’ll try a bit longer. If it doesn’t work out I’ll give up.”
"Give up on what?" He Zhou's voice suddenly rang out from behind him.
Qiu Yanzhi subconsciously wanted to lie his way out, but something about He Zhou’s gaze made him not want to keep lying anymore.
He pursed his lips and said, "I’m going to go after Ye Mingxu one last time. I’ll give up if I don’t get him.”
He Zhou wasn't angry after hearing that. Instead, he smiled and ruffled Qiu Yanzhi's hair. "Are you doing some kind of math problem? You’re going to try one last time and give up if you don’t get the answer?”
"He Zhou." Qiu Yanzhi's gaze was firm. "Go and talk to my father about breaking off the engagement today."
He Zhou: "Since we both love each other, why break off the engagement?"
Qiu Yanzhi gritted her teeth, "I like Ye Mingxu."
"No, you like me." He Zhou said with a smile.
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
What was he supposed to do with this blindly confident Mr. He?
"Qiu Yanzhi, how about staying at my place?" He Zhou said.
Qiu Yanzhi shook his head. "No, I have to go back to my flat."
He Zhou said, "Then have lunch before you leave. I've already sent someone out to buy the ingredients for your favourite dish."
Qiu Yanzhi: "Okay."
After He Zhou left for his study, Qiu Yanzhi wandered around the house with nothing to do.
He found that it wasn’t just He Zhou's bedroom and cloakroom that were the same. All the furnishings in the entire house were an exact copy of what they were before he left.
Qiu Yanzhi went to what used to be his room. He opened the closet out of habit.
His shirts, sweatshirts, slacks and sportswear were neatly folded there, just like he remembered.
Qiu Yanzhi reached over and touched a jacket.
It was the one he had worn when he had left He Zhou in the last round.
...What did He Zhou feel when he bought every single piece of clothing again from memory and hang them neatly here?
Despite the entire world being reset, He Zhou stubbornly restored everything in the house to the way it once was.
Qiu Yanzhi wandered and wandered, somehow ending up in He Zhou's study.
When he pushed the door open, He Zhou was working at his desk.
He had a black collared shirt on. The first few buttons near the collar were open, and the cuffs were slightly pulled up, revealing his perfectly defined wrists.
He was using a stylus to write something on his tablet while his eyes skimmed over the computer screen. The man was frowning slightly with a stoic and serious expression.
Qiu Yanzhi couldn't help but quieten his breathing as he walked over.
He Zhou was so focused on his work that he didn't even notice him.
Qiu Yanzhi thought that it would be better to not disturb He Zhou. He was about to leave when his eyes unintentionally glanced the computer screen.
What he saw there made him come to a complete halt.
The screen showed a novel reading website with a green background.
Several tabs were open on the browser.
They were, in no particular order--
‘Transmigrated into the President's Wife in Sickness and in Health’.
‘I Ran Away After Transmigrating Into the Cannon Fodder Second Male Lead'.
And, 'After Capturing That Scum Gong, I Got Together with a Little Puppy'.
Qiu Yanzhi: “...”