"Qiu Yanzhi, I don't seem to be afraid of car accidents anymore."
With that, He Zhou swayed on his feet and collapsed. Qiu Yanzhi quickly stepped forward and caught him, cushioning the man’s fall with his own body.
Burning hot blood splattered against Qiu Yanzhi's cheek, where it gradually congealed and cooled.
It was all Qiu Yanzhi could do to hold He Zhou in a daze. He only came back to his senses when the doctor rushed over. After working with him to move He Zhou onto a stretcher, Qiu Yanzhi watched them disappear into the operating theatre.
Logically, Qiu Yanzhi knew that nothing would happen to He Zhou.
But there was still an emptiness gnawing at his heart as he sat outside the operating theatre. He stared out the window until the sky outside darkened completely.
It was pitch black with not a star to be seen.
A frightening sight.
Not wanting to look at it anymore, Qiu Yanzhi got up and stepped on the lines of tile on the floor. Again and again, he circled the hallway, counting the steps he had taken.
When he reached 13,258 steps, the doors of the operating theatre opened again. Qiu Yanzhi looked up and hurried over to ask the doctor about He Zhou’s condition.
Qiu Yanzhi felt a bit lightheaded, possibly due to staring at the ground for so long. He pressed his temples as he walked up to the doctor. But before he could say a word, his world went dark as he fainted again.
Only now did Qiu Yanzhi remember that he still was still feverish, yet he stayed outside for two hours with a single layer on.
...I’m such an idiot.
That was Qiu Yanzhi’s last thought before he passed out.
When Qiu Yanzhi woke up once more, it was already the next morning.
He no longer felt any discomfort, perhaps because the doctors had repaired his data. But he was still left in a hospital room.
There was even an extra bed next to his.
In that bed was a man with his back to him.
The man wearing a hospital gown had his right leg in a cast that was suspended high in the air,. His right arm was also in a cast and resting rigidly on his chest. Finally, a thick layer of gauze was wrapped around his head.
Qiu Yanzhi somehow found the sight quite comical. Then he accidentally laughed out loud.
He Zhou shifted a bit, but he didn't turn to look at Qiu Yanzhi.
"He Zhou, have you ever seen that gif of a little white dog with its left leg sticking straight up in the air during a cramp? You look just like it right now.”
But He Zhou continued to ignore him.
Qiu Yanzhi didn’t feel good leaving things like this, so he coughed and asked solicitously, "He Zhou, are you alright? Did the doctor tell you when you would recover?"
He Zhou reached out and pressed the button to call a nurse over.
Qiu Yanzhi blinked and said, "Actually, you don't need to worry too much. I know because I’ve been here before. Any injuries sustained in this place heal very quickly. Even though I’m a player and you’re a NPC so you might not heal as fast, it should take less than two weeks tops.”
The nurse came in at that moment. She looked at He Zhou and asked, "Mr. He Zhou in bed number two, did you call me just now? What can I help you with?”
He Zhou bluntly stated, "I want to change rooms."
The nurse froze for a moment. "But why?"
"The person next to me is too noisy. I want to be moved to a private room."
The nurse was a bit puzzled. "Don't you two know each other? You even drove the gentleman in bed number one over. He was also the person who helped bring you to the operating room. That’s why we arranged for the two of you to share a room…”
He Zhou pursed his lips. "We don't know each other."
Qiu Yanzhi smiled at the nurse and said somewhat helplessly, "Don’t worry, we just had a fight. There’s no need to change rooms. Sorry for disturbing you."
The nurse waved her hand and said, "It's fine, it's fine. Patients can be a little unstable right after coming out of surgery. Be patient with him..."
After the nurse left, Qiu Yanzhi turned to He Zhou and laughed. "He Zhou, you don't want to see me that much?"
Even enough to change rooms?
Not to mention his offer to help Qiu Yanzhi leave the game if he promised to never come back again.
...Just how much did this person hate him now?
Due to him recklessly removing the IV needle twice, the wound on the back of Qiu Yanzhi's left hand was now red and swollen.
Qiu Yanzhi looked down and pressed on the wound in some sort of twisted bid for relief. He continued to maintain a smile on his face. "He Zhou, you can’t just decide to avoid me like that. After all, you promised to help me leave the game."
He Zhou was quiet for a moment before turning to Qiu Yanzhi and asking, "What do I need to do for you to be able to leave?"
Qiu Yanzhi smiled at him with arched eyebrows. "I doubt you can do anything right now with a broken arm and leg."
As he continued to look at Qiu Yanzhi, He Zhou suddenly felt that his smile was so very irritating and hateful. It made him want to throw a sack over the other person’s head.
Qiu Yanzhi suddenly asked another question, "He Zhou, why did you hit the tree? Was it really just to see if you would clip through?"
He Zhou gave Qiu Yanzhi a look and retorted sarcastically, "What? Did you think I was trying to kill myself because of you?”
Qiu Yanzhi pretended not to hear the mocking tone in his voice. He calmly replied, “While you were in surgery, I thought about whether I was so desperate to tell you the truth that I overlooked your feelings and how it may impact you.”
Qiu Yanzhi paused for a moment. "...If...if you find knowing that the world you live in is actually a game too bothersome, I can try and find a way to erase your memories. I don't know if it’ll work, but maybe if I try a few more cards..."
"Qiu Yanzhi." He Zhou suddenly cut him off calmly, "What do you take me for."
Qiu Yanzhi stiffened.
"Erase my memories?" He Zhou turned to stare Qiu Yanzhi down with emotionless eyes. “Am I some puppet dancing on your strings?"
It took Qiu Yanzhi a while to speak, "I just want to make you a bit happier."
He Zhou's tone was cold. "Then you should focus on finding a way to leave as soon as possible. The sooner you disappear from here, the happier I will be."
Qiu Yanzhi suspected that he was becoming more and more shameless. Even though He Zhou said something like that to him, he could still smile cheekily in response. "He Zhou, if I could really find a way to leave so easily, I would’ve left already."
He Zhou mocked him, "You haven’t made any progress after so long? What have you been doing the entire time you were stuck here?"
"Haven't I been playing house with you all along?"
He Zhou's expression immediately sank.
"But it’s not like I haven’t made any progress at all.” Qiu Yanzhi quickly interjected before He Zhou could get angry, "It’s just that this method may not work. It’s purely based on guesswork.”
He Zhou: "What method is it? Why not try it first."
Qiu Yanzhi said, "Then I’ll have to capture Ye Mingxu."
He Zhou went silent.
"Why aren’t you saying anything?" Qiu Yanzhi asked, "Didn’t you say you would help me?"
He Zhou said, "This won’t work. Try something else."
"What do you mean it won’t work?" Qiu Yanzhi raised an eyebrow.
There was a beat of silence before He Zhou looked at Qiu Yanzhi. "...Is there a difference between how you’re treating him right now and how you treated me before?"
So he’s worried about Ye Mingxu. And here I thought it was...
Qiu Yanzhi took a deep breath. He then directed a bright smile at He Zhou. "There is no difference. You’re both just NPCs to me. The only thing that’s changed is the reason I’m capturing. I captured you because of your face, and I’m capturing him because I want to go home.”
He Zhou looked up at Qiu Yanzhi. His dark eyes seemed to connect to a bottomless abyss. For some reason, Qiu Yanzhi's heart trembled at the sight.
He swallowed dryly before looking away. “...What, are you going to go back on your word already? Is that all it takes for you to not help me anymore? Or do you not mind me staying in this game forever?”
He Zhou looked down, his eyelashes casting dark gray shadows beneath his eyes. His voice was quiet and slow.
"...I'll help you."
He said that, but neither of them brought up how exactly he would help.
He Zhou turned his back to Qiu Yanzhi again, seemingly going to rest again.
Qiu Yanzhi looked quietly up at the ceiling. He applied pressure on and off to the wound on the back of his left hand.
His words just now about capturing Ye Mingxu were only said out of anger.
He hadn't seen Ye Mingxu in days, plus Ye Mingxu had seen what he was like with He Zhou. Capturing him now was almost impossible.
But most importantly, Qiu Yanzhi honestly had no interest in capturing the NPC Ye Mingxu.
Qiu Yanzhi recalled what He Zhou had said last night about him sucking as a player too.
He was right. As a player, he had to be selective and decisive when choosing which NPC to capture.
One NPC hated Qiu Yanzhi so much that he wanted him to disappear immediately, but Qiu Yanzhi insisted on shamelessly trying to make up with him.
The other NPC could potentially give Qiu Yanzhi a chance to go home after being successfully captured, but he refused to even meet up with them.
It was at this point that Qiu Yanzhi's stomach growled.
I’m so hungry.
Qiu Yanzhi rubbed his stomach.
He looked at his watch and saw that it was time for lunch.
So Qiu Yanzhi slowly climbed out of bed and asked He Zhou, "He Zhou, I'm going to buy lunch. What do you want to eat?"
"I'm not eating." He Zhou shut him down coldly.
Qiu Yanzhi sighed. He put on his jacket and headed for the door. "I'll buy you a combo too."
When Qiu Yanzhi returned with the food, He Zhou was lying on his bed in a daze.
That’s right, in a daze.
The He Zhou that Qiu Yanzhi knew was always deep in thought or busy. He was always on his tablet working on his never-ending work. He was always focused and serious.
But now he was lying in a hospital bed with a broken arm and leg, staring silently at the ceiling. He seemed completely empty inside.
Qiu Yanzhi walked over and put the meal on the cupboard next to He Zhou. "I just asked the doctor. He said you can put your leg down during meals if you put it back after.”
"No need." He Zhou's voice was as cold as frost.
Qiu Yanzhi reached out to untie the straps holding his leg. "You won't feel comfortable eating then."
He Zhou was at a clear disadvantage due to half of his limbs being incapacitated. He could only direct a deadly glare at Qiu Yanzhi.
But Qiu Yanzhi was so thick-skinned that it didn’t faze him at all.
After Qiu Yanzhi carefully helped him put his leg down, he set up the small table attachment on the bed as well. He set the meal down on it and said, “Quickly eat before it gets cold.”
He Zhou turned his head away. "Take it away. I'm not eating."
Qiu Yanzhi found He Zhou even more difficult to coax than a child. "He Zhou, being angry with me is one thing. You still have to eat."
With that, he shoved the spoon into He Zhou's hand.
He Zhou threw the spoon into the waste bin with surprising accuracy.
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
Qiu Yanzhi couldn’t help it. "He Zhou, I only brought one spoon."
He Zhou refused to relent. "I'm not hungry. Take it away."
But a second later…
He Zhou's stomach rumbled.
He Zhou: "......"
Qiu Yanzhi looked at He Zhou and suddenly laughed. "You’re going on a hunger strike just to spite me, huh? He Zhou, I didn't expect to be so important to you."
He Zhou aloofly stared Qiu Yanzhi down.
This guy was trying to provoke him.
He Zhou knew that clearly.
But when Qiu Yanzhi handed him the chopsticks, he couldn't throw them out again for some reason.
...You and your damned provocations.
He Zhou thought angrily.
But what frustrated him even more was the fact that his right arm was in a cast and he just threw away the only spoon a minute ago.
He couldn't pick up any of the food using chopsticks with his left hand.
Qiu Yanzhi took the chopsticks from him and brought a piece of chicken to his mouth.
He Zhou pursed his lips and looked at him expressionlessly.
Qiu Yanzhi: "It's about to fall. Open your mouth. Say ah..."
Burning with humiliation, He Zhou opened his mouth.