No, no… You have to calm down.
Be cool, be cool, be cool.
Qiu Yanzhi resisted the urge to pounce He Zhou, instead pushing him away. Then he plunged his head back under the tap and started reciting the multiplication tables.
He Zhou frowned and pulled him out again. "Qiu Yanzhi, what's wrong with you now?"
Qiu Yanzhi had no tears left to cry. His words were interspersed with gasps. "...I...was drugged."
He Zhou: "......"
The man was quiet for two seconds.
Then he wordlessly pressed Qiu Yanzhi's head back under the tap.
Qiu Yanzhi: "......"
Life is so hard, ah.
After a moment, He Zhou asked another question, "Who drugged you?"
Qiu Yanzhi closed his eyes, concentrating on the cold water rushing down on his head.
"Liu...Liu Cheng. He spiked Zhang Yuxuan's cocktail that I accidentally drank half of..."
Wait a minute! Zhang Yuxuan!
If he really slept with Liu Cheng, Liu Cheng would never leave him alone again!
Qiu Yanzhi quickly turned to He Zhou. "Go...go to room 117. Get that door open no matter what. Don’t let, let Liu Cheng get away with it..."
He Zhou didn’t move.
Qiu Yanzhi was getter more and more anxious. "Go already, ah!"
He Zhou said, "Qiu Yanzhi, what makes you think I’ll help you at this point?"
After a brief pause, his voice came out cold and clear, "Besides, whether it's me, Zhang Yuxuan or Liu Cheng...we’re all just NPCs to you. Why do you care so much about what happens to them? Qiu Yanzhi, don’t you think as a player that you’ve gotten too immersed in this game?”
Qiu Yanzhi's words choked in his throat. It took him a while to grunt out, "I’m perfectly fine with that, thank you!"
But he stopped thinking about it after a while.
The water was indeed cold, and it did help clear up his head.
However, his scalp began to go numb after a few minutes. The cold water pouring down on his head was actually unable to quench any of the heat remaining in his body. In fact, the alternating hot and cold sensations only made his mind grow more and more muddled.
Although He Zhou said he didn't want to help Qiu Yanzhi, he didn't want to let sexual assault happen under his watch either. He turned and called Shen Xingwei, asking him to go check out the room.
He Zhou had just turned back after hanging up when he saw Qiu Yanzhi close the tap, stand up and start chuckling at him.
He Zhou: "......"
For some reason, he felt a bit flustered.
The next second, Qiu Yanzhi lunged towards him with obvious desire in his eyes.
He Zhou frowned and took a step back.
Qiu Yanzhi readied himself to pounce again.
Seeing that Qiu Yanzhi was out of control, He Zhou simply picked him in a bridal carry.
But Qiu Yanzhi continued to be restless in He Zhou’s arms. He circled the man’s neck and tried to kiss him.
He Zhou couldn't avoid it, no matter how he tilted his head.
He could only let Qiu Yanzhi make out with him expressionlessly.
The only change was his breathing picking up.
When He Zhou walked out of the bar, he paused for a moment. Then he suddenly looked down at the person he was carrying and said, "Qiu Yanzhi, should I call Ye Mingxu over for you?"
Qiu Yanzhi blinked. "Sure!"
A tremor ran through He Zhou's arms. He almost threw Qiu Yanzhi to the ground.
...How could he say that so casually.
Qiu Yanzhi frowned, seemingly thinking hard. “But I don’t remember Ye Mingxu's number. Do you have his number...?"
"Qiu Yanzhi!" He Zhou hissed through clenched teeth.
Qiu Yanzhi looked at him and suddenly blinked. Then he moved over and kissed He Zhou on the mouth. And one more time for good measure. His eyebrows arched as he giggled.
"You wanted to, to hear me say that, right..?”
He Zhou expressionlessly bit Qiu Yanzhi on the lips when he came in for another kiss, making Qiu Yanzhi cry out in pain.
He Zhou carried him to the hotel across the street and booked a suite.
Then he went straight to the bathroom.
He Zhou put Qiu Yanzhi into the bathtub and started filling it with water.
Qiu Yanzhi's mind was already a complete mess. He was quite unhappy to leave He Zhou’s embrace. Pale, slender digits reached out to grasp the corner of He Zhou’s shirt.
Qiu Yanzhi looked up at He Zhou with water dripping off his inky locks. His face was fair, but his eyes were rimmed with red. With such an expression, he called out He Zhou’s name again and again.
He Zhou's eyes darkened. His voice became uncharacteristically hoarse. "Qiu Yanzhi, let go of me."
Qiu Yanzhi, however, did not let go. He felt both cold and hot right now. With glistening eyes he cried, "He Zhou..."
He Zhou's heart trembled.
But then he quickly and ruthlessly turned down the water a few more degrees. After switching on the auto shut off function, he practically fled from the bathroom.
About half an hour passed.
When He Zhou came in again, he found that Qiu Yanzhi had fallen asleep in the tub.
He seemed very tired.
He Zhou carefully carried him out, undressed him and dried his entire body with a towel. Then he changed Qiu Yanzhi into the clean clothes he had just asked someone to send up.
Finally, the man took him over to the bed and tucked him in.
After all this, He Zhou just stared at the deeply asleep Qiu Yanzhi.
Suddenly, he reached out and gently brushed Qiu Yanzhi’s hair back. He used a thumb to softly caress Qiu Yanzhi’s cheeks, the corner of his eyes, and his forehead.
The man lowered his head, almost subconsciously intending to plant a kiss on Qiu Yanzhi's forehead.
He paused halfway through.
He Zhou pursed his lips, stood up and walked away.
When Qiu Yanzhi woke up the next day, he was very confused to find himself in a hotel room.
Then he suddenly recalled being drugged last night.
A shiver went down Qiu Yanzhi’s spine as he fully came to his senses.
Wait a minute...
Which bastard did Laozi spend yesterday night with in this luxurious hotel?!
Ah, I remember now.
That cold bath...
Oh, so there’s nothing to worry about.
Qiu Yanzhi sighed in relief and went limp on the bed again.
He tugged at the tightly buttoned shirt on him and frowned.
Who changed his clothes then?!!
Qiu Yanzhi finally recalled He Zhou's blurry face.
Nothing else was coming to him, but he faintly remembered He Zhou fishing him out of the sink, carrying him out, booking a hotel room and putting him in the bathtub.
Qiu Yanzhi also remembered how cold the water in that tub was. It made him dream that he had fallen into a hole on a frozen lake.
Qiu Yanzhi couldn’t really describe what he was feeling right now.
En, all’s well that ends well.
Thank goodness they didn’t do anything they would regret later. If he continued to get involved with He Zhou, how was he supposed to make a clean break with the man?
Qiu Yanzhi put on his shoes and walked to the bathroom to wash up, but he felt like he was forgetting something important...
Qiu Yanzhi scrambled to finish freshening up before rushing to the bar.
He only realized what an idiot he was when he got there.
The bar was closed during the day. The door was even locked.
So Qiu Yanzhi rushed to his friend’s place instead.
Liu Cheng didn’t expect this to happen.
Although Zhang Yuxuan promised to not kick Liu Cheng out when he knelt down yesterday, he might’ve only been saying that because he was drunk or taken off guard. Liu Cheng was afraid that Zhang Yuxuan would go back on his word the morning after, which was why he did what he did.
Yes, Liu Cheng drugged Zhang Yuxuan so that he could offer himself up when the time came. The worse Liu Cheng looked the next day the better. Only then would Zhang Yuxuan feel too guilty to kick him out.
But he didn't expect this to happen the next morning.
Instead of feeling guilty, Zhang Yuxuan was crying his eyes out.
He lamented that he hadn't kept his lower body in check.
He cried that he couldn't keep himself pure for his beloved senior.
...Your senior doesn't care if you’re a virgin or not.
His tears rendered Liu Cheng helpless. He could only thicken his face and comfort him. "Look at it this way, Zhang Yuxuan. I slept with your senior and you slept with me. Doesn’t that mean you slept with your senior by proxy..?"
"--Wah… Wuwuwu..." Zhang Yuxuan cried even louder.
Liu Cheng grit his teeth. He closed his eyes and said, "Zhang Yuxuan, stop fucking crying already. We didn't sleep together!"
Zhang Yuxuan's sobs abruptly stopped. With wide, teary eyes, he looked at Liu Cheng pitifully. "...What did you say?"
Liu Cheng retrieved a box of cotton pads. Then he ripped open the shirt he had just put on five minutes ago and wiped at the hickeys on his body.
The fake hickeys basically disappeared.
Zhang Yuxuan was dumbfounded.
Liu Cheng threw the cotton pad away and sat down on the edge of the bed again. “Last night, we were about to do it but we didn’t because the bar owner suddenly came over with some people and broke down the door.”
Zhang Yuxuan blushed and stammered, "But I clearly felt that I had… I saw you last night. Was it just a dream?"
Liu Cheng expressionlessly stated, "It wasn't a dream, it was my hand."
Zhang Yuxuan fiddled with the corner of the blanket. "So...then why did you lie to me and say that...we, we had sex?"
Liu Cheng: "Because I was afraid you would kick me out."
"But I promised I wouldn't already." Zhang Yuxuan turned his flushed face away. "Besides, you already...gave me a hand last night..."
Liu Cheng: "I’ve told you everything. Now can you--"
The door to the room was kicked open by Qiu Yanzhi.
"You told him everything, huh? Then why didn't you mention the drink you spiked last night?” Qiu Yanzhi questioned coldly.
"The drink he spiked?" Zhang Yuxuan looked bewildered.
Liu Cheng's expression shifted, but he still pretended to be calm. "...I have no idea what you’re talking about."
Qiu Yanzhi sneered. "Liu Cheng, don't try to play dumb. I drank half of Zhang Yuxuan’s cocktail last night."
Liu Cheng's face went pale.
...No wonder Zhang Yuxuan recovered so quickly.
The dose was split between two people...
Zhang Yuxuan looked at Liu Cheng with a face full of disbelief. "...Chengcheng, you drugged me?"
Liu Cheng's face was already half bloodless. "N-no it wasn’t me. That cocktail did have something in it, but it must’ve been someone else..."
Qiu Yanzhi: “Enough already, Liu Cheng! Are you going to keep digging a deeper hole for yourself?! Do you think trust based on lies is worth anything?! How can you use such underhanded tactics--"
"--Like you’re one to talk!"
Gritting his teeth, Liu Cheng suddenly interrupted Qiu Yanzhi and viciously spat out:
"--I’m underhanded? Don’t preach at me like you’re some sort of saint! Didn’t you resort to something as underhanded as drugs to force He Zhou to marry you?!”
Zhang Yuxuan blinked: "...Marry him? Yanyan, you're getting married?"
Qiu Yanzhi froze in place. "Liu Cheng, you..."
Liu Cheng's expression changed as what he just said caught up with him.
His lips pressed into a thin line. "...Sorry, I just had a brain fart. I need to go to the washroom.”
With that, he jumped off the bed and tried to leave.
Qiu Yanzhi grabbed his wrist and stopped him. "Liu Cheng, how do you know what…”
...How do you know what happened in the last round?
Liu Cheng suddenly shook off Qiu Yanzhi’s hand and sprinted out.
Taken aback, Qiu Yanzhi hurried to give pursuit.
Liu Cheng ran like the wind, knocking down everything he could get his hands on on his way out of the house.
The elevator doors closed just as Qiu Yanzhi made it through all the obstacles.
Qiu Yanzhi punched the doors out of frustration.
The other elevator’s still on the first floor. There’s no time to waste.
He headed for the stairs.
By the time Qiu Yanzhi ran down from the tenth floor, Liu Cheng was long gone.
Qiu Yanzhi should have known something was off from the start.
After using the Reset Card, apart from the main plotline, none of the side stories had changed.
The news everyday was exactly the same as the last round.
Even the dog of his parents’ neighbours gave birth to a litter of four mutts again.
Zhang Yuxuan’s tangled mess of a story was the only exception.
In the last round, Qiu Yanzhi only told Zhang Yuxuan what kind of person his senior really was when he was about to leave.
But this time, Zhang Yuxuan knew about his senior marrying a man the first day after Qiu Yanzhi used the Reset Card.
In the last round, Ye Hongyuan was still having an affair with Liu Cheng at the time of the wedding.
But this time, Ye Hongyuan found out Liu Cheng had slept with his wife and tried to kill him just a few days later.
Qiu Yanzhi dismissed these discrepancies as the butterfly effect when he first noticed them.
--But what butterfly effect would make Zhang Yuxuan's story look like such a tangled mess?
Turned out it wasn't the butterfly effect at all. It was all because of a bug called Liu Cheng.
Everything became so complicated because he retained the memories of those four months and made completely different choices this time around.
But there were still things that Qiu Yanzhi didn't understand.
If He Zhou became bugged because he had the most contact with Qiu Yanzhi, who went OOC in front of him...
Then what happened with Liu Cheng? Qiu Yanzhi had barely spent two hours around this minor supporting character in the last round.
Moreover, why was Liu Cheng so afraid of Qiu Yanzhi finding out that he knew? Why did he run?
What exactly did Liu Cheng know?
How many other NPCs in this world have become bugged?
Qiu Yanzhi suddenly felt an arctic chill run up his spine.
He was getting goosebumps just thinking about it.