He Zhou noticed a long time ago that something was wrong with Qiu Yanzhi.
From the very beginning, Qiu Yanzhi had a strong sense of incongruity about him.
Qiu Yanzhi had deliberately planned the chandelier incident in order to get into his good graces.
Qiu Yanzhi earnestly confessed his love for He Zhou, only to flirt with a young nurse behind his back.
Qiu Yanzhi watched him leave with red-rimmed eyes, only to call a group of friends over to have hot pot.
Qiu Yanzhi disappeared for 15 days after getting angry at He Zhou. He searched the entire city from top to bottom to no avail, but that guy returned more than two weeks later, alone and wearing the same clothes he left in.
Qiu Yanzhi ran his mouth to someone else, letting He Zhou discover that their marriage had always been based on a web of lies.
Qiu Yanzhi pleaded with He Zhou to his face, but cursed him out behind his back.
However, when He Zhou grew tired of all this, when he was ready to give up and divorce Qiu Yanzhi…
That person clung to relentlessly him with a bloodless face, refusing to leave him. His eyes stared pitifully at He Zhou.
Then, Qiu Yanzhi inexplicably developed snow blindness, becoming even more dependent on him.
He made people’s hearts soften. He made them unable to abandon him.
But Qiu Yanzhi was still a cunning little liar like before, even making up a second personality to throw him off.
Then, Qiu Yanzhi spoke to the air and scattered like sand before He Zhou’s eyes.
After that, he returned to four months ago, to four months ago without Qiu Yanzhi.
Qiu Yanzhi clearly recognized him, but he pretended not to. He even put on a dress to seduce another man.
He Zhou saw Qiu Yanzhi get into a car accident right in front of him.
...Because He Zhou had shouted at him.
That scene was truly shocking. He knelt in front of Qiu Yanzhi's corpse and called his name while kissing the back of his hands, begging him to wake up. Later, he stumbled to a corner and sat there holding Qiu Yanzhi’s ashes.
It’s been a long time since He Zhou had experienced that kind of heartwrenching pain.
His entire mind was muddled then.
But then he saw Qiu Yanzhi running over to him, holding his hand and telling him that everything was just a hallucination.
He could see Qiu Yanzhi and touch Qiu Yanzhi. When he took Qiu Yanzhi's hand in his, he could even feel warmth gradually leaving the corpse.
If a hallucination could be so realistic, then what exactly was reality?
But Qiu Yanzhi was still alive.
Thus, what he saw could only have been a hallucination.
So he told Qiu Yanzhi and himself that it was all just a bad dream.
He Zhou was not a fool. He noticed how the whole world had become twisted around Qiu Yanzhi.
Yet he never understood why.
Why did Qiu Yanzhi pretend to love him in the beginning, despite not loving him?
Why did Qiu Yanzhi pretend to not recognize him later, despite remembering him?
These questions plagued him until yesterday morning.
He Zhou happened to catch his newly hired secretary secretly reading novels when she should’ve been working.
When he was about to reprimand her sternly...
He Zhou happened to glance at the name of the novel.
--Quick Transmigration: The Years I Took the System Along to Capture Scum Gongs.
He Zhou stared at this name.
Suddenly, a flash of inspiration hit him.
He Zhou researched further by reading some novels of that genre.
Finally, he had a vague grasp of what was going on.
Qiu Yanzhi was not a person from this world.
Qiu Yanzhi was once trying to capture him.
Because Qiu Yanzhi had succeeded in capturing him, he left.
Qiu Yanzhi's target now was Ye Mingxu.
Qiu Yanzhi wasn’t talking to the air, he was talking to the system.
Qiu Yanzhi likes him.
--The last point was something he only learned last night.
He Zhou sat at his computer and continued to read those novels while taking notes on his tablet. He was too focused on reading and consumed by his thoughts to notice that Qiu Yanzhi had come in some time ago.
When He Zhou finally saw Qiu Yanzhi, the other’s gaze was already glued to his computer screen.
He Zhou's heart clenched. He hurried to place the tablet screen first onto the desk and close the browser.
Alas, the browser chose that moment to become unresponsive. In his panic, He Zhou unplugged the power source.
With the power unplugged, the sounds of the computer running gradually faded away. The room became completely silent.
It was so quiet that even the sound of a pin dropping on the floor could be heard clearly.
The silence was almost suffocating.
It was He Zhou who eventually opened his mouth first.
"Qiu Yanzhi, did you see that?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "...Yep."
He Zhou was silent for a moment. He suddenly sighed.
He pulled Qiu Yanzhi over into his arms, holding his waist and saying quietly, “Qiu Yanzhi, I understand everything now.”
Qiu Yanzhi was quiet for a moment. Then he asked, "How much do you know?"
"The vast majority." He Zhou said.
"You're not from this world. Maybe you transmigrated here somehow."
"You were trying to capture me. When you succeeded, you left.”
"Your current capture target is Ye Mingxu."
"You should have a system by your side that no one else can see. You weren’t just talking to thin air.”
In a certain sense…
He Zhou basically hit all the key points, except for the fact that this world was just a game.
Big Yellow was stomping anxiously nearby.
It flapped its wings in a panic. "This is terrifying, absolutely terrifying! This NPC He Zhou actually found out so much...even I've been exposed!!"
"Qiu Yanzhi, Qiu Yanzhi, why aren't you panicking, ah? You're so calm As expected of someone who's going to do great things in the future!"
Qiu Yanzhi was panicking.
He was panicking so much that only five words in large font remained in his brain.
--Fuck, this game’s become sentient.
Big Yellow was still bouncing around. It then looked at Qiu Yanzhi with tears in its eyes. "Qiu Yanzhi! I just took a look!! There's no card that can fix this situation!! Even kryptonite is useless!!!"
Qiu Yanzhi took a deep breath and reassured himself in his mind.
As long as the system doesn't completely crash, this isn’t a big deal!
Qiu Yanzhi’s silence informed He Zhou that his speculations were correct.
He hugged the other person a little tighter, resting his jaw on his shoulder.
"Qiu Yanzhi, I don't blame you. I'm not angry and I won't interrogate you either."
"Qiu Yanzhi," He Zhou whispered, "just promise me one thing, okay?"
"...What is it?"
"Don't go capture Ye Mingxu." He Zhou paused for a moment, his voice slightly hoarse, "Don't go capture other people."
Qiu Yanzhi was quiet for a long time.
Only when He Zhou thought he wouldn’t receive a reply did Qiu Yanzhi open his mouth.
Qiu Yanzhi closed the door to his flat behind him before walking to his bedroom and flopping down on the bed.
Big Yellow’s wings fluttered rapidly as it kept twirling in front of Qiu Yanzhi's eyes in a dizzying fashion.
Worried and restless, Big Yellow was as anxious as an ant on a hot pan. "What should we do, what should we do? Use a Reset Card?? But those don’t work on He Zhou! A Troublesome Character Disappearance Card??? You won’t let me use those! Aaahhhh what other cards are there, what else can we use, ah? There aren’t any suitable cards left…”
"Also, also, Qiu Yanzhi, are you really not going to capture Ye Mingxu anymore?? Then how are you going to get out of the game?! Are you really going to spend the rest of your life here with He Zhou?!"
Qiu Yanzhi was also quite anxious a few moments ago.
But when he saw that Big Yellow was even more anxious than him, he strangely calmed down instead.
He fished out a fruit candy from the nightstand drawer, tearing off the wrapper and throwing it into his mouth.
"Big Yellow," Qiu Yanzhi suddenly said, "do you know what went through my mind when I couldn't log out the first time the system malfunctioned?"
Big Yellow: "What?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "There were no servants around then, He Zhou was gone, and you weren't there either. I was the only person in the entire house. When I realized that I couldn’t log out, I stayed by myself in my room on the second floor the whole day.”
"Then I suddenly remembered something you once told me. You said that if a player got into an accident that was serious enough inside the game, they might be forced to log out. At the time, I went to the window and thought about just jumping out."
Big Yellow interjected, "You're not still thinking about that now, are you? No way that’ll work! The last player had a car accident and just...that’s too risky!"
Qiu Yanzhi shook his head. "I didn’t jump back then because I was afraid that something would go wrong too. Why would I jump now?"
Qiu Yanzhi turned to look at Big Yellow. "But by the time I left the window at that time, I made a decision."
Big Yellow: "What decision?"
"I compared my real life and the one I have in the game." The corner of Qiu Yanzhi’s mouth twitched upwards, his tone a little self-deprecating, "When I really considered it, I realized I was better off staying in this game."
"When I opened the door to my room back then, I thought to myself, ‘Even if I can't go back, living in this game world wouldn’t be too bad’. At least, before the entire world became a void.”
Big Yellow caught what Qiu Yanzhi was implying. "Are you saying that...you don’t want to leave this game?”
"En, I’m not going to leave." Qiu Yanzhi turned his head and flashed Big Yellow a smile. "I’ve been here so long already, so who knows if my body outside is still alive or not? Maybe it’s already liquified inside the full dive pod.”
Big Yellow looked at him suspiciously. It suddenly asked, "The reason you decided to give up on capturing Ye Mingxu and leaving…it’s not because you just promised He Zhou you wouldn’t, right?”
Qiu Yanzhi froze before denying it, "How could that be?"
He paused for a moment before added with emphasis.
"How could someone as selfish as me alter my plans so drastically just because of what someone else said?"
Later in the evening, Qiu Yanzhi felt hungry. He went to knock on Zhang Yuxuan's door.
They lived across the street from each other and ate together at every meal.
Qiu Yanzhi was too lazy to cook, and Zhang Yuxuan was mediocre in the kitchen at best. Therefore, they usually ordered takeaway or went out to eat together.
However, when Qiu Yanzhi knocked on the door this time, he saw five or six plates of visually mouth-watering food on the dining table.
Qiu Yanzhi blinked and asked, "Zhang Yuxuan, did you order the chef home service from a restaurant again?"
It was at this moment that Liu Cheng poked his head out of the kitchen. He smiled with an apron on and a steel ladle in his hand. "I was the one who made all this! Mr. Qiu, why don't you sit down and have some too?"
Qiu Yanzhi really didn't expect Liu Cheng to have this level of culinary skill.
He was very satisfied with the food and kept raving about it.
Liu Cheng was a little embarrassed by the deluge of compliments. He said with a smile, "I can't live here without contributing anything, ah. But I don't have any savings and my credit cards have been frozen by my client. A little elbow grease is all I can give. Besides, I happen to like cooking and cleaning.”
Zhang Yuxuan looked at Qiu Yanzhi. He was on the verge of bursting into tears. "Yanyan, you don't even know how good a person Chengcheng is! Chengcheng washed all my dresses and hung them up neatly! Chengcheng even knows how to put on make-up! He’s so good at it! He made me look like a little fairy! It's a real shame you missed it!!"
He could use makeup to make a 193 cm tall guy like Zhang Yuxuan look like a little fairy??
Qiu Yanzhi thought about that scene. It really was a shame that he missed it.
Then the doorbell rang.
Liu Cheng had just put down his chopsticks. He was about to go get the door when Zhang Yuxuan stood up. "I'll get it, I'll get it. You sit down."
After Zhang Yuxuan opened the door, his entire body froze into a popsicle. "S-Senior!"
Qiu Yanzhi turned to inform Liu Cheng, "That's Zhang Yuxuan's..."
Before Qiu Yanzhi could finish his sentence, he noticed that Liu Cheng's seat was empty.
At the same time, the quiet sound of the second bedroom door closing could be heard.
Qiu Yanzhi frowned. He put down his chopsticks and walked over to the second bedroom.
Liu Cheng startled as he walked in.
Qiu Yanzhi asked, "Why are you hiding here?"
Liu Cheng's face was a little pale. "...That man at the door...is the senior that...Zhang Yuxuan likes?"
"Yeah, so what? What are you hiding for?" Qiu Yanzhi asked.
Wait a minute.
Qiu Yanzhi frowned.
Jing Zeyu's male spouse had a mistress.
Liu Cheng was being funded by a rich client who had a male spouse.
Liu Cheng hid in a panic after seeing Jing Zeyu.
Qiu Yanzhi's hand was trembling as he gripped the door handle.
Was this a result of moral degradation or the distortion of humanity?!
This game world is way too crazy!!
Zhang Yuxuan's palms started sweating after seeing Jing Zeyu. He stammered out a question, “S-Senior, why are you here?"
Jing Zeyu looked down. His voice was crisp and pleasant. "You accidentally left your credit card behind when we met last time."
Jing Zeyu handed over the card but also an envelope. "Here’s the medical fees you helped pay on my behalf last time."
Zhang Yuxuan didn't like how his senior drew a clear line in the sand by returning even small sums of money like this. Not one bit. But he was afraid of making things difficult for his senior if he didn’t take it, so he lowered his head and accepted it.
"I'll be going then." With that, Jing Zeyu turned and prepared to leave.
"Senior!" Zhang Yuxuan suddenly called out to him, remembering what Liu Cheng had told him last night about being brave and moving forward boldly. He stammered out an invitation, "Have you, have you eaten yet?"
Jing Zeyu: "Not yet."
Zhang Yuxuan mustered up the courage to say, "We're having a meal right now..and we've made a lot more than we can finish. Why don't you come and eat with us?"
Jing Zeyu was about to refuse, but Zhang Yuxuan's nervous and apprehensive gaze made his heart soften. He nodded, “Alright."
Zhang Yuxuan's eyes immediately lit up.
His heart was pounding with excitement and nerves, and his brain was a bit muddled too. He didn’t know what to say for a moment. In the end, he opened his mouth, “Senior, how are things with your husband right now?”
Zhang Yuxuan wanted to bite off his tongue immediately after he finished speaking.
Out of all the things he could’ve mentioned, why did he have to bring up Senior's husband?!
Jing Zeyu didn't seem too keen on continuing this line of conversation either. He looked at the plates and cutlery on the table and asked, "Were you eating with other people? Where did they go?"
Zhang Yuxuan glanced at the empty table and scratched his head. "Huh. They were just here…?"
Zhang Yuxuan looked up and shouted, "Yanyan, Chengcheng, where did you go? Come out and eat, ah!"
Liu Cheng hid behind the door of the second bedroom. His forehead was doused with sweat.
Surprisingly, Qiu Yanzhi tensed up as well.
The next moment, the door they were behind was opened by Zhang Yuxuan. "What are you guys doing hiding here?"
"...I didn't, didn't do anything." Qiu Yanzhi said.
Zhang Yuxuan had a happy and bright smile on his face. He whispered, "My senior agreed to have a meal with us! Come out, we'll eat together."
Before Qiu Yanzhi and Liu Cheng could say anything, they were pulled out by Zhang Yuxuan.
Zhang Yuxuan pulled them out of the second bedroom and coyly introduced them to his senior, "Senior, these two are my friends. This is Qiu Yanzhi and that’s Liu Cheng!"
Jing Zeyu's face immediately drained of all colour.