Qiu Yanzhi asked, "He Zhou, did you send something else?"
He Zhou said in his deep voice: "Open the door."
Qiu Yanzhi froze for a moment before he hung up and opened the door. He blinked at the person standing outside. “Why...are you here?”
He Zhou stepped inside and closed the door behind him. Then he patted Qiu Yanzhi on the forehead. "To see you."
Qiu Yanzhi suddenly reached over and hugged He Zhou, burying his head into his chest. His nose felt sour for some reason.
"When did you come here?" Qiu Yanzhi asked hoarsely.
He Zhou supported the back of Qiu Yanzhi’s head with his hand. He warmly said, “When you said you weren't feeling well."
Qiu Yanzhi nuzzled He Zhou's chest.
"Did you take some medicine?" He Zhou asked.
"Yeah." Qiu Yanzhi grumbled with a frown, "It was so bitter.”
He Zhou took out a fruit candy from his pocket. He removed the wrapper and placed the candy in Qiu Yanzhi’s mouth. Then, he lowered his head and lightly kissed him on the lips. “Not bitter anymore, right?"
Qiu Yanzhi wrapped his arms around He Zhou’s neck as he closed his eyes and went in for another kiss. The sweet and sour taste of strawberry diffused across his lips, tongue, and every other part of his body.
"He Zhou, I like you so much." Qiu Yanzhi whispered.
The warm breath blowing on his face made He Zhou’s heart tremble. The hot blood running through his body seemed to still for an instant before rushing forward with renewed vigour. A hot sensation seemed to flood every part of his body, leaving him shaking with anticipation.
He Zhou pulled Qiu Yanzhi into his arms and began to kiss him again. Qiu Yanzhi was supposed to be the feverish one, but He Zhou could feel his entire body heating up so much that...he almost forgot the person in his arms was sick. Still, he could only calm down after planting countless kisses on Qiu Yanzhi’s lips.
Qiu Yanzhi laid in bed, leaning against He Zhou as he flipped through those pictures.
Perhaps because He Zhou was beside him, but he wasn’t as scared when looking at these pictures. However, he was still a little sick to his stomach.
He Zhou reached over and took the photos from Qiu Yanzhi’s hand, placing them back in the storage box which he then put away. He held Qiu Yanzhi's hand and said, "It's been taken care of already. No one will secretly take pictures of you anymore."
Qiu Yanzhi made a sound of acknowledgement as he played with He Zhou’s fingers. He said sullenly, “I should have known he had looked into us after he showed up at the amusement park and later outright identified you… But I never expected him to grow more disgusting each time I look.”
Qiu Yanzhi paused for a moment, looking a little gloomy. "...He wasn’t anything like this before."
He Zhou recalled the other two albums he saw at Qin He's house and sold out his former love rival immediately: “People change. I saw another album he made that included all your high school ID photos, group pictures amongst other things. He may indeed like you a lot, but this is already a clear invasion of your privacy.”
He Zhou suddenly thought of something that made him frown as he continued, “What’s more, I heard his little sister say that he’s been sneaking over to your school to spy on you since high school.”
Qiu Yanzhi was slightly taken aback. "...He was spying on me?"
He Zhou nodded. "Yes. Not only that, he’s also secretly taken pictures of you.”
He Zhou took out his phone from the pocket of his shirt and pulled up a photo with absolute conviction. “See? He took pictures of you in high school. This means his perversion was already beginning to show at that point. It’s no wonder he grew up to be such a creep.”
Qiu Yanzhi was stunned looking at that photo. “...So he really was...a little perverted as a child, ah.”
"Yes, that’s right. He’s a shameless pervert. You can’t trust people like this. You’re lucky you weren’t together with him back then.” He Zhou emphatically stated.
But Qiu Yanzhi suddenly looked up at He Zhou and asked, "Then why did you take a picture of the picture he secretly took of me?”
He Zhou: "......"
The sight of He Zhou becoming flustered made Qiu Yanzhi suddenly want to tease him. He blinked and asked, “Mr. He, since you have so many pictures of me on your phone, doesn’t that make you somewhat perverted as well?”
He Zhou looked away. "I...I'm your boyfriend."
Qiu Yanzhi's voice was puzzled: "So secretly taking pictures isn’t perverted if a boyfriend takes them?”
He Zhou asked sheepishly, "...I-is it?"
Qiu Yanzhi let out a long sigh and said helplessly, "Forget it. So what if my boyfriend is a pervert. It’s my fault for falling in love with him."
He Zhou's ears reddened again. He leaned over and started viciously kissing again.
Time flew by after that.
The clock tower of the nearby high school soon struck twelve.
Qiu Yanzhi yawned, some moisture gathering at the corners of his eyes. He tugged on He Zhou’s shirt and said, “He Zhou, why don’t you just sleep here today."
He Zhou shook his head and got out of bed. “No. What if Qin He comes back in the middle of the night?"
Qiu Yanzhi impatiently grit his teeth. “Then when will you be able to leave Qin He’s body?”
“I don’t know.”
“If you never manage to do it, doesn’t that mean we’ll never be able to sleep together again?”
He Zhou was silent for a beat. “Qiu Yanzhi, I’m afraid that he’ll return in the middle of the night and hurt you.”
Qiu Yanzhi sighed. "I know, I know… Forget it. You should also hurry home and rest.”
"En." He Zhou suddenly remembered something after putting on his jacket. "By the way, I found out something strange about Qin He today.”
"What is it?"
"Qin He seems to have been injured three or four years ago and fell into a coma then. He’s also got amnesia right now.”
Qiu Yanzhi froze for a moment. "Amnesia? He didn’t strike me as a person with amnesia."
"He still remembers some things according to his sister. General things about you. But most of the details came from her.”
"A coma...three or four years ago..." Qiu Yanzhi murmured. Something suddenly occurred to him. His head jerked up in He Zhou’s direction. “Then do you know why he fell into a coma?”
He Zhou shook his head, "Not yet."
"Can you find out?" Qiu Yanzhi’s brows were deeply furrowed. “Qin He originally told me that he and a friend invested in Devour Dream three or four years ago. Then something happened in-game that made the other investor fall into a coma and die after six months.”
He Zhou froze: "So did he say what happened to him…?”
"No." Qiu Yanzhi shook his head. "He’s never revealed that he also fell into a coma back then."
He Zhou's heart suddenly twinged with unease. His hands were sweating as he took out his phone and dialed He Xiaoqing's number.
He Xiaoqing seemed to be sleeping before she got his call. Her voice was still very drowsy, “Ge, why are you calling me so late, ah. I’m so sleepy…”
He Zhou didn’t have time to skirt around the topic. He got straight to the point, “Xiaoqing, do you remember why I fell into a coma and was hospitalized?”
"Ge, didn’t you ask me this already when you just woke up…?”
"I can’t remember right now." He Zhou said, "You know how faulty my memory can be.”
He Xiaoqing sighed. She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes. “It’s because of some garbage game, ah… At the time you playtested the game because you were going to invest in it and ended up in a coma…”
He Zhou’s throat was as dry as the Sahara desert. “Then...was there another investor as well…?”
“What are you talking about, Ge? Haven’t you been the only investor of that game from the beginning? You were also the only one unlucky enough to be playtesting back then when the accident occured…”
The phone was on speaker, so Qiu Yanzhi clearly heard everything. He paled.
After He Zhou hung up, Qiu Yanzhi turned to look at him. "...Qin He lied to me. There was never any investor friend involved in the accident. Qin He himself was the one involved.”
...Qin He was the player who had an accident three years ago.
He was the player Qiu Yanzhi thought had died in the game and then had his physical control device seized by Ye Hongyuan.
But why would Qin He lie to him?
Qiu Yanzhi glanced at the storage box in the corner.
His mind, however, flashed back to that room filled with hidden cameras.
Qin He had purposely conjured up another investor and pushed everything that happened to him onto them.
It bore a striking resemblance to how the NPC Ye Hongyuan claimed that what happened to the player happened to him and lied that he was a player too.
He Zhou pursed his lips, his dark irises staring straight into Qiu Yanzhi’s. “Qiu Yanzhi, if Ye Hongyuan was able to take away your player identity and escape from the game back then, how would he come to the real world?"
Qiu Yanzhi opened his mouth, his hand unconsciously gripping the remaining sheets. “...Probably...using my body.”
He Zhou closed his eyes for a long time before opening them and stating in a subdued voice, “He Xiaoqing said that Qin He didn’t even recognize her or his grandpa when he woke up, but he vaguely remembered you."
--He didn't ‘remember’ Qiu Yanzhi at all. He knew who Qiu Yanzhi was.
Ye Hongyuan didn't die.
He came out of the game...
...Using Qin He's body.