He Zhou wasn't quite sure what was going on either.
By the time he realized he was lying on a bed, he also heard the voices of some people.
However, he couldn’t make out what they were saying.
He could open his eyes occasionally, but all he could see was a blinging, all-encompassing expanse of white.
Someone seemed to be quietly calling out to him, but he quickly lost consciousness again before he could hear them.
After falling down from such a high building...
He Zhou was sure he was dead.
Well, maybe dead wasn’t the right word to describe it since he’s a NPC. It’s more like his data was erased from the game world.
And yet he was conscious for longer and longer as time went on. He gradually woke up again.
His throat was dry and hoarse, and he felt sore and weak all over like his body had been reassembled after being crushed by a car.
Some unfamiliar doctors and nurses gathered around him and asked him many questions.
He answered them one by one.
"May I know your name? How old are you?”
“He Zhou. I’m 26.”
“Who is your emergency contact? Do you know their phone number?”
"My fiance Qiu Yanzhi is my emergency contact. His number is 31576154725."
The expression of the doctor who asked became a bit strange. “...Do you have anyone else we could call in an emergency?”
He Zhou's heart sank. Then he told them the number of the head secretary.
The doctor took a deep breath before asking, “Mr. He, which country are you from?"
"I’m speaking Chinese, aren’t I? Of course I’m from China.”
"But here in China, there are no phone numbers that start with three.” The doctor paused, “And same sex marriages haven’t been legalized either.”
He Zhou froze.
The doctor asked a different question, "Do you remember where you live?"
"47 Yuling Road.” He Zhou paused. He decided to be more specific. “In Beihai Province, Longchuan City, Changming District."
The furrow between the doctor’s brows grew deeper. He turned to the nurse behind him. “Take him in for a brain CT.”
He Zhou later learned from the patient in the neighbouring bed that the province, city and district he had mentioned didn’t exist.
And that wasn’t the only thing. To his surprise, it was already March 2024.
And he had apparently been brought to the hospital a week ago after a good samaritan found him unconscious on the road.
But most alarming of all…
He Zhou couldn’t get in contact with any of the people he knew.
Every number in his memory didn’t exist.
Every place in his memory was nowhere to be found on online maps.
The world had become completely foreign to him.
At first, He Zhou thought that these drastic changes in the game world were because he was in a coma for three years after Qiu Yanzhi revived him using a card.
However, he felt like that wasn’t it.
This morning, He Zhou sat in his wheelchair and looked out the window.
He watched the bustling, endless crowds below walking to and fro.
In terms of appearances, clothes, and demeanour...there were no two people alike.
He Zhou rarely saw such dense crowds in the game world.
The very next moment, an almost inconceivable thought suddenly came to He Zhou’s mind.
He jerked in the direction of the other patient in the room and asked: “...Is there a Haichuan University around here in Haichuan City?"
"Yeah there is. It's quite close too, just three kilometers from here."
Something snapped in He Zhou. He opened his mouth and spoke in a slightly trembling voice, “...How do I get to Haichuan University?"
He Zhou remembered Qiu Yanzhi mentioning the university he went to in real life once. He was a third year master’s student at Haichuan City’s Haichuan University.
He Zhou's throat immediately dried up. His palms holding the armrests felt like they were burning.
...He had left the game and came to Qiu Yanzhi’s world.
He Zhou followed the instructions he was given and headed straight for Haichuan University.
But to his surprise, someone called out to him before he even arrived.
Qiu Yanzhi almost felt like he was still dreaming when he embraced He Zhou. Tears still streamed down his face as he let go. A bit frantic, he touched He Zhou’s face, shoulders and body as if to make sure he was real. “He, He Zhou… I-it’s really you….it’s really you…”
"...Qiu Yanzhi, you're hurt."
He Zhou's voice was a little hoarse. He reached out and dried Qiu Yanzhi’s tears before carefully dabbing at the fresh blood trickling down his forehead.
Qiu Yanzhi: "And you? Are you okay? Do you feel discomfort anywhere?”
He Zhou shook his head. "I’m fine."
Qiu Yanzhi suddenly thought of something. He crouched down and reached for He Zhou’s right leg. His speech was a bit incoherent, “Your leg...He Zhou, the healthcare here is very advanced. Maybe...maybe your leg can be treated…”
He Zhou smiled. He slowly got up while holding on to Qiu Yanzhi.
"Qiu Yanzhi, my leg is healed."
However, he had to sit down again after a few seconds. “It’s just a bit sore and weak. I’ll probably be able to walk again after some more recuperation.”
Qiu Yanzhi laughed, but soon he was crying again. He wiped away his tears and smiled. “He Zhou, I'm so happy."
He Zhou wiped at his tears and said softly, "Me too."
Qiu Yanzhi's car crashed into a flower bed. It straddled the boundary, kind of blocking one side of the road.
It wasn’t long before someone yelled for Qiu Yanzhi to move his car.
Qiu Yanzhi turned to look at He Zhou. "I’ll be right back.”
He Zhou nodded.
When Qiu Yanzhi finished pulling over and went to get He Zhou, the man was chatting with a little girl around 11 or 12 years old.
The little girl took two candies from her pocket and put them in He Zhou’s hand. She sincerely stated, “You’re so handsome, big brother. You have to get better soon!”
He Zhou looked at the candy in his hand before smiling up at the little girl. “Thank you. I'll definitely get better soon."
The little girl blushed and ran away happily.
Qiu Yanzhi leaned on the side of his car and said ambiguously, “Good to see Mr. He’s as charming in real life as you were in the game!”
...How old is this guy?? Is it really okay for him to be called big brother by such a young girl?!
He Zhou laughed and offered the two candies to Qiu Yanzhi. “Here, for you.”
Qiu Yanzhi unceremoniously snatched them away and popped both into his mouth.
Qiu Yanzhi drove back to the hospital, where he helped He Zhou back into his wheelchair. Then he took out a baseball cap and a disposable mask from his car and helped He Zhou put them on securely.
Now the only thing peeking out were a pair of eyes glittering like a sea of stars. They stared right at Qiu Yanzhi.
Qiu Yanzhi: “Cough, cough… Don’t look at me like that. It’s not that I’m afraid of you flirting with other people. It’s been really cold recently and wearing those’ll help keep you warm. Also…”
Qiu Yanzhi’s expression sobered up. He leaned over to He Zhou and lowered his voice, “Although that game was shut down three years ago, someone like one of the beta testers or programmers might still recognize you. We’ll be in big trouble if they find out you came from the game.”
With that, Qiu Yanzhi uneasily pulled He Zhou’s cap a little lower. "You can't let them see you."
He Zhou’s eyes curled up as he smiled. He reached out to take Qiu Yanzhi’s hand, saying, "Then you’ll have to hide me well."
Qiu Yanzhi nodded seriously.
After getting his head wound bandaged, Qiu Yanzhi went to pay He Zhou's medical bills and get him discharged from the hospital.
He Zhou's current injuries were stable enough for him to recuperate at home. The only reasons he remained in the hospital before was because he had no place to go and still owed medical bills.
To be honest, Qiu Yanzhi was a little worried. After all, He Zhou was someone who came out from a game. Qiu Yanzhi had felt his heartbeat and pulse. Although both were normal, he was still constantly afraid that the doctors at the hospital would notice something was off.
Fortunately, the doctor made no mention of any abnormalities in He Zhou’s body. They just implied that He Zhou might behave erratically due to experiencing a shock of some sort.
Qiu Yanzhi originally wanted to ask about He Zhou's physical state when he was brought to the hospital, but he was too afraid that the doctor would find out that He Zhou wasn’t a normal person to ask. In the end, he just inquired about how long the man’s recovery should take.
"So you suddenly appeared by the road and a good samaritan took you to the hospital?”
He Zhou nodded. Then he frowned, somewhat puzzled. "Qiu Yanzhi, how did I get out?"
Qiu Yanzhi: "...I also learned something today. Six months ago, some of the injuries I sustained in the game actually transferred over to real life. It only happened once, but that’s enough proof to show that that game world isn’t just an ordinary game world anymore. It’s somehow connected to real life in ways we don’t understand yet.”
Qiu Yanzhi’s right hand, the one held by He Zhou, was a bit cold. The man held it tightly, as if trying to impart his own warmth to him.
"After you...fell, I killed Ye Hongyuan, who turned out to be Bug #3. I don't know what happened after that, but an exit from the game suddenly appeared beside me...”
The memory of that scene made Qiu Yanzhi pause. He closed his eyes and spoke in a wavering voice, “Back then you were in...so many pieces after the fall. I wanted to take you out with me, so I...I gathered all the parts of you and carried you through that exit. Maybe that’s why you came to the real world with me. As for how sore you feel all over, that might be due to how...traumatic the fall was. Even if you revived and your data was reconstructed, there were aftereffects like that.”
"Qiu Yanzhi." He Zhou called Qiu Yanzhi's name. Then he securely interlinked their fingers. He looked up at Qiu Yanzhi, his voice warm and sincere, “I’m already out.”
Qiu Yanzhi froze for a moment before sniffling and saying with a smile, “En. You're already out."
He Zhou was already out, which meant Qiu Yanzhi didn’t need to use the money he worked so hard to save up to fix that game, much less lower himself to borrowing money from his father.
It also meant he didn’t need to find someone to modify Fei Sihao's pictures anymore.
He Zhou was right next to him. He could touch and hug the man whenever he wanted.
Just thinking about it made Qiu Yanzhi's nose sour with happiness.
Qiu Yanzhi opened the room’s door and pushed He Zhou inside. "He Zhou, what do you want to eat? I'll cook for you."
He Zhou: "You know how to cook?"
He Zhou couldn’t remember Qiu Yanzhi ever cooking for him in the game.
He even remembered back in the first round, when he first learned that Qiu Yanzhi liking him was a big fat lie, how he fired all his servants in a rage to spite Qiu Yanzhi.
At the time, Qiu Yanzhi basically lazed around in bed and ordered take out for two weeks straight.
When their relationship eased later on, he would occasionally cook for Qiu Yanzhi.
There were even times when Qiu Yanzhi complained about how bad his food tasted.
However, despite Qiu Yanzhi secretly throwing out his food and then filling his stomach with milk and hot dogs, he never cooked himself.
The most he ever did was make some instant noodles.
He Zhou: "Are you sure you know how to cook?"
Qiu Yanzhi blinked. "Yeah, a little "
He Zhou’s increasingly suspicious gaze made Qiu Yanzhi self-conscious. He muttered, “I’m just too lazy, that’s all.”
It turned out Qiu Yanzhi actually knew how to cook. He was left all alone after his mom jumped from that building. If he didn’t know how to cook, how could he feed himself?
Not to mention how Little Trash came over to his house to crash and smooch off him later on. Even though Qiu Yanzhi cursed Little Trash out everyday and told him to scram already, he always made enough for two when cooking.
Little Trash did try to help him cook once, but his skills in the kitchen were about the same level as He Zhou, if not worse.
After Little Trash burned the pot the first time he cooked, Qiu Yanzhi completely reamed him out. From then on, Qiu Yanzhi was permanently saddled with the heavy responsibility of cooking.
But the older he got, the lazier he became.
And since he always had a housekeeper or an auntie around at home, he just stopped cooking altogether.
At that moment, someone suddenly rang the doorbell.
Qiu Yanzhi turned to the display to see who it was. He opened the bedroom door and pushed He Zhou inside. He whispered, "Don't come out!"
Then he walked over to the door.
As soon as Qiu Yanzhi opened the door, he was greeted by a vivid bouquet of roses.
Fei Sihao handed the flowers to Qiu Yanzhi and said with a gentle smile, "Zhizhi, why didn't you call me to pick you up when you were discharged from the hospital yesterday?"
Qiu Yanzhi accepted the flowers. "I just thought you might be busy with work. I'm almost recovered now, I can handle leaving the hospital by myself.”
Fei Sihao sighed regretfully. “But you’re making me feel like I’m not being a very good boyfriend by acting this way.”
Qiu Yanzhi looked down and sniffed the flowers, a shallow smile on his face. “You bringing me flowers is already good enough.”
Fei Sihao looked at Qiu Yanzhi.
He suddenly felt like there was something different about Qiu Yanzhi.
He seemed happier than before. Brighter.
When he curled his eyes and smiled, he seemed genuinely happy.
...Is it because of my roses?
So Qiu Yanzhi actually likes me this much?
Fei Sihao’s feelings suddenly became complicated. “...Zhizhi, let’s go see a movie together.”
Qiu Yanzhi’s eyes seemed to curve reflexively after hearing that. However, then he quickly seemed to recall something and looked down with a somewhat difficult expression. "I’m kind of busy preparing to go back to school…maybe later?
Fei Sihao couldn't help but reach out and stroke Qiu Yanzhi's hair. "Of course."
After Fei Sihao left, Qiu Yanzhi closed the door and tried to figure out which trash can roses went into.
But as soon as he reached the trash can, the bedroom door was violently thrown open.
He Zhou stood in the doorway with a dark expression. He yanked Qiu Yanzhi into his arms and hissed down at him through gritted teeth:
"--Qiu Yanzhi, you even have a boyfriend?!"
He Zhou: So angry I got up from the wheelchair.jpg