translator: baumkuchen editors: serefina, glitterypanda
Cheng Jian had given his parents a head’s up in advance, so Chi Xiaochi wasn’t met with an interrogation after returning home.
He shut off his phone, and locked himself in his room with his Xbox to play Aircraft Wars.
As far as he knew, Cheng Jian had the habit of playing games with Cheng Yuan.
This young Mister President only played Aircraft Wars, so almost all the game files from Aircraft Wars in the game console had been left by the two brothers.
If Cheng Jian had any free time, there was an 80% chance he would come find him to exchange pointers to help him relieve some stress.
Even though there was the excuse of his mood affecting his playing, the sheer level of Chi Xiaochi’s ineptitude was clearly far beyond the scope of emotional influence.
After playing for about an hour, Chi Xiaochi’s score was still hovering at about the fiftieth place. He couldn’t even squeeze into the rankings. His vision flashed with the spark-spitting special effects of the little planes exploding.
He threw down the controller and complained to 061, “My eyes hurt.”
061 thought for a moment, then pulled up his audio library.
Soon, an articulate female voice sounded by Chi Xiaochi’s ears, “For the Revolutionary Party, to protect your eyesight and prevent myopia, eye health exercises, begin.”
Chi Xiaochi, “......” Sir, please give me a break.
061 said, “I know you want to assimilate into Cheng Yuan’s life as soon as possible, but you don’t have to work so hard.”
Chi Xiaochi remained unresigned, “When I was younger I was awesome at games.”
061, “......Fine fine fine, awesome it is.”
Chi Xiaochi then said, “This controller is too old.”
061, “En, it’s a little old. From the scanned factory information, it’s already two years old.” 𝙞n𝐧𝚛e𝚊𝑑. 𝗰o𝐦
061 was accommodating to the point where not only did he make a path for Chi Xiaochi out of the embarrassing situation, but also personally brought and rolled out a red carpet for him.
But with him being like this, Chi Xiaochi felt like there was no point in continuing.
He dispiritedly slumped back onto the floor, “Fine, I suck.”
061 gently said, “You can still do some eye health exercises.”
Chi Xiaochi, “......”
Under the system’s guidance, Chi Xiaochi performed a set of eye exercises, then practised gaming a while longer, before obediently coming downstairs when it was just about time for dinner.
His parents were already waiting for him downstairs.
He stood on the stairs facing his mother, who was sitting at the table, and called, “Mom.” Then he turned towards his father, “Dad.”
Cheng Yuan looked perfectly fine, as if he hadn’t cried, but his eyes were bloodshot from a lack of sleep, looking incredibly tired, dazed, and unable to focus.
His mother’s eyes stung with tears, and she looked away.
Cheng Yuan’s father pointed at the chair he usually sat in, “......Sit.”
At this moment, Auntie Chen carried out a pot of piping hot sliced fish from the kitchen covered with plump bean sprouts and crisp pickled mustard greens. The fish slices were shiny, soaking in the boiling-hot soup, its meat delicate and tender, the fresh soup golden yellow.
Cheng Yuan’s eyes lit up. He rushed down the stairs and swiftly took the offered pot from her. Right after he settled the fish onto the table, he took a spoonful and shoved it into his mouth, burning his mouth and making him huff frantically.
Cheng Jian strode out of the kitchen, “No one’s going to take it from you! How many years has it been since you last ate meat, huh?”
Their mother once again felt distressed for him, “It’s alright, don’t worry. Sit down and eat slowly.”
The fish had been cooked to perfection, practically melting in his mouth.
Cheng Yuan smacked his lips, incredibly satisfied, “In the future, wherever I go, I’ll bring Auntie Chen with me.”
Auntie Chen laughed, “Okay, after Xiao Yuan grows up, wherever Xiao Yuan goes, Auntie Chen will follow.”
These words weren’t false.
Not long after Cheng Yuan committed suicide, Auntie Chen, who’d worked as a nanny in the Cheng household for more than twenty years and had watched Cheng Yuan grow up, had a heart attack and went with him.
At death’s door, her mind was no longer clear but her mouth kept repeating, “I’m going to go join Xiao Yuan. I’ll make some Sichuan fish for him. He hasn’t had it for years now.”
Cheng Yuan rolled up the sleeves of his cotton pajamas, “Auntie Chen made fish for me, so I’ll return the favour. I’ll also prepare two dishes for Auntie Chen.”
Auntie Chen hurried to stop him, “Aiyo young master! You’re so impulsive! The other dishes will be ready in a minute, so sit down. If you get the smell of cooking fumes on your body, you’ll have to go wash them off!”
Cheng Yuan turned around to plead for assistance, “Ge.”
The moment Cheng Jian thought of Cheng Yuan’s cooking skills, his mouth actually started watering.
Ever since that time Cheng Yuan brought him a meal, when he went back to eating the food from the cafeteria afterwards, he often felt like it tasted weird.
He waved a hand, “Go. There’s still some chicken and a bit of matsutake in the kitchen, do as you like.”
With Cheng Jian’s order, Cheng Yuan immediately snatched Auntie Chen’s apron.
Auntie Chen was a little worried, “Don’t burn the pot, okay?”
Ten minutes later, Cheng Yuan brought his dishes out to the table.
He’d stir-fried, then simmered the chicken with chillies till they were fragrant, golden-yellow, and tender, ladled them into a deep-bottomed pan, then poured the remaining boiling water on top; he’d roasted the matsutake with butter until they were overflowing with fresh juices, cut them into slices, then arranged them beautifully into an umbrella shape. When being eaten, they felt plump and fleshy, like meat. With the addition of some stir-fried Indian lettuce, they made a lively arrangement on the table.
Seeing this, both his mother and Auntie Chen were stunned.
Cheng Yuan wiped his hands off on his apron, then said to his father, “Dad, try some.”
Since taking over Cheng Yuan’s body, Chi Xiaochi had never once made a meal for Yang Baihua.
Firstly, everyone had different styles of cooking, so the taste of their dishes would definitely be different. Once Yang Baihua were to notice that the taste of his meals were different from before, it would be hard for him to not become suspicious.
Secondly, Chi Xiaochi was only willing to cook for those who deserved it.
The entire family sat in front of a table full of piping hot dishes. Cheng Jian and their father were discussing a recent company account. Their mother was asking, concerned, about what had happened during Cheng Yuan’s interview, and Auntie Chen kept picking out vegetables for Cheng Yuan, fearing that he wouldn’t eat his fill.
Everyone’s faces became somewhat blurred in the steam from the home-cooked vegetables, but they still felt unusually warm.
By the time they were done with their meal, there was almost no food left on the table. Cheng Jian even dipped his steamed buns into the leftover soup before eating them, still wanting to continue the dinner.
After dinner, Auntie Chen chased Chi Xiaochi, who tried in vain to continue washing the dishes, back upstairs to his room.
A moment after he returned to his room and picked his controller back up, Cheng Jian knocked on his door.
Cheng Jian originally wasn’t here to play a game with him, but seeing the game starting screen on the TV that Chi Xiaochi hadn’t managed to close in time, he inevitably felt the urge to play and suggested, “Let’s play a round.”
Chi Xiaochi, “Okay.”
Chi Xiaochi looked as steady as an old dog on the surface, but on the inside he was in utter panic.
Inwardly, he lamented to 061, “......It’s over.”
061 said, “Don’t worry.”
Chi Xiaochi didn’t pay any heed to 061’s reassurances and started to quietly think up some excuses.
......The breakup made me sad and depressed, and my broken heart made me terminally handicapped.
As the two people settled down in front of the TV, Chi Xiaochi suddenly heard 061 say, “Don’t be scared, it’s me.”
Chi Xiaochi, “?”
Soon, a warm and dry feeling covered Chi Xiaochi’s hands as if they were being held by another pair of hands, but he couldn’t see anything there with his naked eyes.
Chi Xiaochi trembled, almost dropping his controller.
The owner of that pair of hands was an expert at placating others, and he lightly pinched the area between Chi Xiaochi’s thumb and index finger, placing those slightly trembling hands in his. His voice was as gentle as water, “It’s alright, leave it to me.”
When 061 said “leave it to me”, he meant “completely leave it to me”.
Chi Xiaochi didn’t need to move at all, he just had to hold onto the controller. A pair of nonexistent but slender and soft hands held his, controlling them for him.
That pair of hands were shockingly fast. Chi Xiaochi felt almost as if his hands were emitting a destruction beam under his lead, and the little plane 061 was controlling quickly weaved through the rain of bullets, precisely killing every single enemy.
Eventually, those enemies and their aircrafts gradually turned into dense patches of colour, and the lights of the explosions in Chi Xiaochi’s eyes blurred into beautiful, multicoloured pools of oil paints.
Chi Xiaochi’s expression looked normal, but his palms had started to become cold and sweaty. His hands that were held by 061 felt as if they’d exploded into a nest of ants, and were both itchy and uncomfortable.
At the end of the match, Chi Xiaochi easily broke a new record.
He turned to smile at Cheng Jian, “Ge, you’ve gotten rusty.”
Cheng Jian was a very competitive person. Just as he was going to ask for a rematch to make a comeback, he turned and saw Cheng Yuan’s forehead beaded with sweat and paused, stunned, for a moment. He reached out a hand and touched it to his forehead, “What’s wrong?”
Chi Xiaochi dodged backwards and whispered, “I might have eaten a bit too much. My stomach feels uncomfortable.”
Cheng Jian immediately forgot about playing, “See, you’re so weak. I’ll get you some medicine.”
Chi Xiaochi said, “It’s nothing, don’t make mom worried. I’ll be fine after a bit of rest.”
Cheng Jian still wasn’t reassured. He helped him to the bed and immediately turned and left the room, saying he would get some digestive tablets.
When he believed that Cheng Jian had reached downstairs, Chi Xiaochi got up, rushed into the toilet, and started puking violently.
061’s tone changed, “Mister Chi......?”
Chi Xiaochi couldn’t free his mouth to answer him. He vomited till his face turned pale. His stomach was like a glove that had been turned inside-out, overturning seas and rivers, and twitching spasmodically with each wave of pain.
When he could finally catch his breath, the first thing Chi Xiaochi said was to express his regrets, “......It’s rare for me to get the chance to eat like that, but now I’ve vomited it all up.”
061 was a little at a loss as to what to do.
Truthfully, he didn’t need to use his hands to help Chi Xiaochi play.
As long as he invaded the gaming system with a virus, even if Chi Xiaochi used his toes to play, he could give Chi Xiaochi a million points.
But he’d wanted to test something.
The facts showed that he was right, that Chi Xiaochi was touch-averse, but 061 hadn’t thought it’d be this serious.
No wonder Chi Xiaochi had been like Sun Erniang of Cross Slope, drugging Yang Baihua without the slightest provocation, even at the expense of goodwill points.
After he was finished vomiting, Chi Xiaochi rinsed out his mouth with water, leaning against the sink as he recovered.
061 apologised, “Sorry.”
Chi Xiaochi wiped his mouth, “It’s alright, I saw that there was still some glutinous rice flour and rice wine. After everyone else goes to sleep, I’ll make myself some supper, tangyuan in fermented rice wine.”
Despite knowing that Chi Xiaochi wasn’t feeling well, hearing this, 061 still couldn’t quite hold back a smile, “I wasn’t asking about that. ......What happened for you to become like this?”
They just touched hands, but he vomited until his stomach spasmed. It clearly was a psychological issue.
Chi Xiaochi glossed over it, “It’s an old problem.”
061 asked, “When walking in runways and shooting movies, isn’t it hard to avoid coming into contact with others?” What’s more, there were usually scenes like kissing scenes and bed scenes.
Chi Xiaochi said, “It’s no problem, I can usually hold it in until scene changes.”
Chi Xiaochi was even quite proud of himself, “I’ve vomited so much that I’ve gotten used to it.”
061 asked him, “How did that happen?”
Chi Xiaochi looked up at Cheng Yuan in the mirror. His eyes were misted over with a thin layer of tears, making people feel sorry for him, but Chi Xiaochi’s utterly indifferent expression really diluted the effect of this pitiful loveliness.
He walked out of the bathroom. Because he couldn’t find any cigarettes, he just dug out a box of pocky and held a stick in his mouth, “Other than reading to me, Liuliu-laoshi is even responsible for psychological counselling.”
......That meant he wasn’t willing to talk.
061 sighed, “Sorry. In the future I’ll try my best to pick worlds where the host isn’t that close to the target.”
Chi Xiaochi gave him some heartfelt praise, “Liuliu, you’re so cute.”
061, “......” Fine fine fine, I’m cute, so be it.
In order to comfort Chi Xiaochi, 061 said, “I saved the live footage of the game we played just now.”
Chi Xiaochi immediately perked up and rubbed his hands together, “Quick quick, send it to me.”
061 thought, if you send it to Cheng Jian and get beat up, it has nothing to do with me. He then obediently sent the recording to Chi Xiaochi’s phone and a duplicate to the quantum computer terminal.
Chi Xiaochi turned on his phone.
He ignored the more than ninety messages and thirty phone calls from Yang Baihua, and in the midst of the annoying, constantly beeping notifications, downloaded the recording.
He watched it happily, “That’s one small step for me, but one giant leap for the noobkind.”
He continued, “When I return to my original world, make a copy of this recording for me.”
061, “Hmm? What for?”
Chi Xiaochi said, “When I go to clean Lou-ge’s grave, I’ll burn this video onto a CD for him to see that with Liuliu-laoshi’s guidance, my hands are no longer handicapped.”
061 couldn’t help but laugh.
Chi Xiaochi was a very strange man. He was rational beyond compare, meticulously planning out his every move when dealing with his tasks, but occasionally he displayed a stubborn childishness.
061 cherished this stubbornness.
Chi Xiaochi might be the very first person in the hundred worlds he had been through who was likely to return to his original world.
Just like that, Chi Xiaochi stayed at home, eating, drinking, and occasionally interacting with his fans on Weibo. He would send short videos of his daily compositions, and of him playing instruments and singing.
Before, Cheng Yuan never showed his face on his Weibo. In Chi Xiaochi’s words, this was simply as much of a waste as sitting on a goldmine while gnawing on Chinese cornbread.
He posted a video of himself playing the guitar, and the next day he got up to find that he had gained two thousand more followers, and this number was still growing.
“!!! Mother! How can this blogger be this cute!”
“Please marry me! Or please crossdress!”
“......What’s upstairs’ sexual orientation?”
“I used to think @ChengYuan depended on his talent to eat, and now you’re telling me he could actually depend on his face? [doge face] [goodbye]”
Chi Xiaochi picked out a few comments to respond to, then continued to periodically upload his daily compositions.
But ever since he first showed his face, there was a large queue of all kinds of people asking for photos on his Weibo.
Chi Xiaochi said to 061, “You see, a lot of people like to say that appearances don’t matter, that once you’ve seen a beautiful face, you’ve seen them all, and it’s the soul inside that matters. But without a good-looking appearance, who would be willing to waste their time to understand their unique soul.”
061 thought that these words were a little unreasonable.
In the beginning, when he first took on Chi Xiaochi, he also didn’t know what he looked like, but still found him quite interesting, enough for him to go find 023 to look up more information on him.
But seeing Chi Xiaochi’s steadily growing follower count, 061 felt like his words lacked any persuasiveness, and simply remained quiet.
One day, when Chi Xiaochi came downstairs to grab some fruit, he heard Cheng Yuan’s mother in the living room excitedly chatting with her old friends on the phone, “They broke up, they broke up, they really broke up. That young man surnamed Yang, I always knew he wasn’t good enough for our Xiao Yuan. ......It’s not that I look down on poor people, isn’t Old Cheng’s dad still farming fish? But the idiom “the families are well-matched in terms of social status” exists for a reason, Xiao Yuan and Yang Baihua aren’t even from the same world, so why should they insist on staying together?”
Chi Xiaochi smiled.
He quietly returned to his room, not disturbing Cheng Yuan’s mother from her “wanting to cover the entire world in flowers” happiness.
But Yang Baihua didn’t want to break up with Cheng Yuan.
After so many years, his feelings were already deep-rooted. They couldn’t just be dismissed so easily.
Yang Baihua noticed that no matter what he tried, he couldn’t get contact Cheng Yuan and could only stalk Cheng Yuan’s Weibo. Whenever Cheng Yuan made a new post, he would always secretly give it a like and send out a constant barrage of messages asking him how he was and if he’d calmed down yet.
Without Cheng Yuan’s cooking, without his meticulous care, and without the piano music and singing that would randomly start up around the house from time to time, Yang Baihua suddenly found that his days didn’t feel right anymore. Whenever he drifted off during work, there was often a little Cheng Yuan who would jump out to stir up trouble, making it impossible for him to focus. He started making lots of mistakes during work and was even pulled out by his supervisor for a round of scolding.
In the beginning, Yang Baihua still had confidence in himself.
This was just one of Cheng Yuan’s temporary fits. He loved him so much, so he definitely would come back.
However, a week passed, and then half a month.
After toughing it out for more than 20 days, Yang Baihua finally couldn’t take it anymore.
How come he still hadn’t come back?
Could it be that he was being trapped by his family? He couldn’t come out?
sere: thanks for waiting sorry a week passed for us too ^-^” hopefully you guys could still take it. also look forward to the next chapter because it’s 15/10 <333
baum: thanks for your patience! we’re back to the three times a week schedule again, don’t worry~ also let’s welcome our new editor, GlitteryPanda <3
also, thanks to MiccieT and Somebody for the ko-fis!
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