After Qiu Yanzhi hung up, he picked up the remote to turn on the TV.
Zhang Yuxuan came over and sat next to him. He had thoughtfully brought some popcorn over to Qiu Yanzhi.
He said mysteriously, "The two phone calls you made just now...was the first one to someone you have an average relationship with and the second to He Zhou?"
Qiu Yanzhi froze for a moment. "How did you know?"
He suddenly realized something was wrong. "No wait, how do you know about He Zhou?"
Zhang Yuxuan didn't answer him. He skipped happily to the kitchen. "Chengcheng, you're amazing! You got everything right!"
Qiu Yanzhi came into the kitchen with the bowl of popcorn in his arms. "What did you get right?"
Zhang Yuxuan said, "Chengcheng told me that in order to pursue my senior, I have to work on my own emotional intelligence and observational skills. He used you as an example. When you were speaking with the first person, you stood very straight with a serious expression. That means you two aren’t close.”
“But when you were talking to the second person, you relaxed and even sat down on the sofa. That means you like them and feel at ease around them. So we guessed it was He Zhou!”
Qiu Yanzhi bristled. "What do you mean by ‘like them’? That’s such an arbitrary and wishy-washy conclusion. I only relaxed because I’ve spent a lot of time with He Zhou.”
"That's right." Qiu Yanzhi asked Zhang Yuxuan, "You haven't told me how you two know about He Zhou. I don't remember mentioning him?"
Zhang Yuxuan said, "We couldn't find you yesterday, so we called your phone and He Zhou answered. Ye Mingxu said that you were in his bed."
Qiu Yanzhi felt a little embarrassed.
Zhang Yuxuan added: "Are you going to stop pursuing your junior?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "...En. I’ll let him be."
Zhang Yuxuan: "So Chengcheng was right again when he said you’ve already moved on to your next target."
"What next target? And how come I don’t know who they are?"
"Aren't you and He Zhou in a relationship?"
"We’re not. I just promised him that I won't be with anyone else."
Liu Cheng raised an eyebrow and gave him a look. "So that’s the game you two are playing."
Zhang Yuxuan suddenly thought of something and lowered his eyes. He muttered gloomily, "Yanyan, I actually envy you for being so spontaneous. I feel like I’ll never be able to love anyone other than my senior for the rest of my life. I love him so much, but it hurts me too. Even so, I can’t stop myself from yearning after him.”
…That’s because you're a NPC.
Liking Jing Zeyu forever is part of your character settings.
Qiu Yanzhi pursed his lips. Then he handed the popcorn to Zhang Yuxuan. "That just means your love is pure."
"What about you then?"
"...I don't feel love."
Qiu Yanzhi wasn’t even willing to give his heart to anyone in real life, let alone to a NPC.
What did Little Trash say when he left him again?
Something like: ‘A person like you will never find love your entire life. You don’t deserve to be loved.’
It’s unbelievable how Little Trash was able to predict Qiu Yanzhi’s entire love life at such a young age.
But looking back...
The words he had dismissed then came back to haunt him like a curse.
The interview started at 8 am.
There were four people interviewing with Qiu Yanzhi. He was at least acquainted with all of them. One of them was even his dormmate, Zhao Rui.
Zhao Rui came over and greeted Qiu Yanzhi. He turned to the other three and smiled. “That kid Yang Fengcheng probably called all the German speaking people he knew over. He called Ye Mingxu too, but that kid turned down such a good opportunity without even thinking about it for some reason..."
"Ye Mingxu?" Qiu Yanzhi froze for a moment, "He's in his third year, so doesn't he have a lot of classes right now?"
Zhao Rui said, “Ye Mingxu is a top student. He finished all his courses for the year last semester. I thought you were close with him? How come you don’t even know about this?”
Zhao Rui came closer, eager for gossip. “Did you two get into a fight? What was it about?”
Qiu Yanzhi said perfunctorily, "The reason is very complicated. It’ll take too long to explain. You should get ready for the interview, it’s starting soon.”
"The time is now 8 am. Interviewees, please enter the interview room in an orderly fashion.”
Qiu Yanzhi took a deep breath and followed the others into the room.
There were three interviewers, with He Zhou sitting in the middle.
When Qiu Yanzhi walked in through the door, He Zhou just happened to look up. Their eyes met for a couple of seconds, and then Qiu Yanzhi saw He Zhou's lips curl up.
For some reason, Qiu Yanzhi’s ears started to burn.
The secretary gave each of them a copy of a report and asked them to verbally recount it in German.
He Zhou's company dealt with online software development.
Right now, they were shifting focus to making and investing in online games.
The report in Qiu Yanzhi's hand was about a mobile dating simulator that was currently in development.
Qiu Yanzhi didn’t know how to feel about this.
...A company in a full dive dating simulator was developing a mobile dating simulator??
Fortunately, the technology in this world wasn’t advancing that quickly. Full dive games were still far off in the future.
Wouldn't it be even weirder if they were making a full dive game?
But to be honest, there were a lot of technical terms in this report which increased its difficulty. It would be hard for an average fourth year German major to translate. Qiu Yanzhi’s three acquaintances stumbled through the document. Zhao Rui was fluid enough by comparison. Perhaps he had asked Yang Fengcheng about the test and practised beforehand.
However, in Qiu Yanzhi's opinion, even Zhao Rui, the best among the four, translated the phrases like a machine.
Perhaps this was the limitation of NPCs like them.
Qiu Yanzhi blew them all out of the water. He was a German language graduate student in real life, and he had been working as a somewhat well-known translator for many years. He wouldn’t say he was one of the best in the country, but mere NPCs were definitely not his match.
He Zhou was a bit worried before because he hadn't seen Qiu Yanzhi go to school or attend his classes properly during the time they were married. He wasn’t sure how fluent this guy was.
Although he used Yang Fengcheng to get Qiu Yanzhi into the company this time, He Zhou decided that he would keep all five applicants on if Qiu Yanzhi didn’t perform up to par.
Seemed like there wasn’t any need for that now.
Qiu Yanzhi stood before him, pronouncing each word clearly, fluidly and intelligently. From start to finish, he radiated confidence and professionalism.
“...My wife is really amazing.” He Zhou felt as proud as a peach inside.
Of the five applicants, only Qiu Yanzhi and Zhao Rui passed the interview.
The two of them were then taken by Ms. Secretary to their workspace.
They would officially start working in the afternoon. The rest of the morning would mainly be spent familiarising themselves with their assigned tasks.
Yang Fengcheng gave them both a general rundown of things. Then Qiu Yanzhi sat down and began to study the information about this company.
But then Yang Fengcheng suddenly came over with a cup of coffee in hand.
He looked around before pulling up a chair and sitting in front of Qiu Yanzhi. He whispered, “Qiu Yanzhi, can I ask you something?”
Qiu Yanzhi: "What is it?"
Yang Fengcheng stammered, "...Do gay people like you also like straight guys?”
Qiu Yanzhi looked at Yang Fengcheng. "Which gay guy likes you? Do I know him?”
Yang Fengcheng's face flushed red. "Cough cough...Don't ask me that. Answer my question first."
Qiu Yanzhi thought seriously for a moment. "I guess some will. After all, some straight guys these days seem rather bent. Even our radar is wrong sometimes."
Yang Fengcheng looked anxious, "So do I look bent?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "Well you don’t look particularly straight."
Yang Fengcheng's face drained of all colour. He muttered to himself with dull eyes, “...It's over, it's over.”
Qiu Yanzhi couldn’t stand to see him like this. “What did that guy act like? I can help analyze the situation for you. Maybe you were mistaken.”
Yang Fengcheng sat upright with a very serious expression. "That person dotes on and favours me constantly. I’ll just give you a recent example...”
“Yesterday, he suddenly smiled at me and said I was the best person for the job. You know, that kind of smile! The really good looking kind! The kind that’s particularly charming and flirtatious!”
"If that's the case, there’s no room for doubt. I know what’s going on.”
“You do? Does that mean this guy likes me?"
"No. It means you’re just not straight enough.”
What straight man would look at another man's smile and note if it was good looking, charming or flirtatious??
Yang Fengcheng: "Don’t joke around Qiu Yanzhi. I’m seriously freaking out right now.”
Qiu Yanzhi shrugged. "I'm very serious. Fine, give me more background information. Why did he say that to you?”
"He told me yesterday to find German majors for an interview. I offhandedly mentioned how it would be easier to find talents if we interview more people, and then he looked up and smiled at me! He said he’s already found the best person for the job! He had to be talking about me, right? He was definitely flirting with me.”
Qiu Yanzhi frowned and immediately transformed into Sherlock Holmes. "From my years of experience, that statement was definitely flirtatious. That guy definitely likes you. But you need to be careful. From what you brought up, I think that person might be a rather experienced player.”
"Also," Qiu Yanzhi paused for a moment, "I think I know who you’re talking about. Actually, that guy’s been blatantly staring at you the whole time while we were in the break room earlier.”
"How was he staring..?”
"Very passionately. Flames were practically burning in his eyes.”
All the hairs on Yang Fengcheng's body stood up. "Really? When did he leave his office? What is he doing now? Is he still looking at me? Is it safe for me to turn and look?!”
"No, he's not looking at you right now because Zhao Rui is asking him for advice."
Yang Fengcheng froze for a moment. "What? I didn’t know Zhao Rui was this gutsy!"
Yang Fengcheng cautiously turned to take a look. His expression became strange.
"...Who's the guy you're talking about?"
Qiu Yanzhi said, "The leader of our translation team, ah. Didn't you say that the guy was in charge of you translators? Plus he really was staring at you when you were in the break room. He didn’t even blink once.”
Yang Fengcheng: "......"
Yang Fengcheng: "That might be the case, but the person I'm talking about isn't him."
"Then who is it?"
Yang Fengcheng mouthed out two words.
"...The one you're talking about, the person in a position of power who keeps flirting with you, spoiling you and favouring you...the guy who told you you were the best person for the job…” Qiu Yanzhi could barely get the words out, “...was He Zhou??”
"Shhh!" Yang Fengcheng frantically covered his mouth. "Keep your voice down, don't let the others hear!"
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
Yang Fengcheng ran his fingers through his hair. He was about to go insane from stress. “What am I supposed to do?? Now both the president and the team leader have a crush on me!! Why is a pitiful and weak little straight guy like me so attractive to gay people?!?”
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
At this time, the phone at Yang Fengcheng's workstation suddenly rang.
After Yang Fengcheng answered the phone, his face turned pale. "What should I do Yanyan...the secretary told me to take the translated documents to the president's office. Such a simple task should be left to the secretary, so why did he tell me to do it? Does he want to do something to me in the office…?"
Yang Fengcheng's face grew paler and paler. His lips began to tremble.
Yang Fengcheng suddenly shoved a pile of documents at Qiu Yanzhi. "Yanyan! Do me a solid and take these documents to President He’s office, okay? I really don’t want to do that or be fired! If, if he asks why...why I did go, just say that I didn’t want to infect him with my cold…”
“No, no. Then he might mistakenly think that I care for him. Tell him my stomach hurts...no. What if he gets worried and comes looking for me? You just say...just say I’m busy working! That’s right, tell him I’m busy working!!”
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
Qiu Yanzhi took the papers that were forced on him expressionlessly.
Qiu Yanzhi knocked on the door of He Zhou's office.
He Zhou was originally thinking about something with his head down, his brow furrowed tightly and his expression serious and formal. His entire body radiated a sense of detachment. He looked every bit like a high and mighty president.
But when he looked up and saw Qiu Yanzhi, surprise flashed by his face before he smiled. His detachment all but shattered, like snow melting away and life returning in spring.
His eyes that were curved into crescent moons glittered like they held fragments of diamonds as he spoke in an uncharacteristically gentle tone: "Why are you here?"
As Qiu Yanzhi took in this smile, he thought to himself, “No wonder Yang Fengcheng misunderstood.”
He couldn't hold back and said, "He Zhou, why do you like to smile so much now?"
He Zhou was stunned. He touched the corners of his mouth with some uncertainty before saying, "What's wrong with that?"
"Your smile is too pretty." Qiu Yanzhi couldn't help but complain.
...Anyone looking at it would think you were flirting with them.
He Zhou froze for a moment. The tips of his ears quietly flushed red as his lips unconsciously curved up again.
Qiu Yanzhi walked over and put Yang Fengcheng's documents on He Zhou's desk. "Here, Yang Fengcheng's translation documents."
He Zhou picked up the papers and flipped through them. "Why didn't he come himself?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "He said he was working hard… Why ask him to personally bring over a single document?”
He Zhou frowned: "His translation skills are so lacklustre that I wanted to give him a warning. If he doesn’t get his act together and improve, he doesn't have to come to work anymore."
"Why didn't you say that before?"
"I kept him before because I knew he was your dormmate. I had a feeling I could get in contact with you through him.”
He Zhou frankly stated his intention to use others. “Seems like I was right. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have met you at that restaurant during the company party. Nor would I have seen you at the interview today.”
Qiu Yanzhi said, "He Zhou, tell me the truth. Did you know I would come for the interview today? In other words, did you ask Yang Fengcheng to find a German translator just so I could come?"
He Zhou: "You’re very clever."
Qiu Yanzhi pouted. "And here I thought I could surprise you yesterday. I was such a dolt."
"But you did surprise me.” He Zhou narrowed his eyes and smiled again, “You surprised me during the interview."
"Qiu Yanzhi, hold out your hand." He said.
Qiu Yanzhi blinked and tentatively extended his hand.
He Zhou pulled open the drawer and took two candies from a jar, placing them in Qiu Yanzhi's hand.
"A reward, for the best Qiu Yanzhi."
Two fruit candies.
...This was the kind that became Qiu Yanzhi’s all time favourite after being trapped in that white world for two days.
Qiu Yanzhi held the two candies that seemed to burn his palm.
"...You actually kept something like this in your office?"
He Zhou said, "I just bought them today because I knew you would come."
Qiu Yanzhi unwrapped a candy and put it in his mouth.
The sweet and sour taste of strawberries spread over his tongue.
It made Qiu Yanzhi's feel a bit strange.
As if to restrain the building emotion, he turned to look at He Zhou and deliberately changed the subject.
"Ahem, are you really going to dismiss Yang Fengcheng?"
"He deserves to be fired if he doesn’t show improvement.”
Qiu Yanzhi said, "Be that as it may, it looks to me like you’re killing off the donkey the moment it leaves the millstone.” (1)
He Zhou smiled. "You don't approve?"
Qiu Yanzhi shrugged, "I don't know. Maybe that's the nature of you capitalists."
Then He Zhou frowned. "Is someone outside the door?"
Apparently Qiu Yanzhi didn’t close the door properly when he came in. It opened completely when someone outside pushed on it.
Standing outside was Yang Fengcheng, whose face was as pale as a ghost.
"Sorry, I was going to knock. I didn't mean to eavesdrop on you guys..."
He Zhou was silent for a moment. "What did you hear."
Yang Fengcheng looked up at him with eyes filled with despair. He smiled sadly, as if he had already seen through the mortal world and the vicissitudes of life.
"I heard that...you’re going to kill off the donkey the moment it leaves the millstone."
(1) - Discarding someone after they've served their purpose.