Although He Zhou said there was nothing to worry about, Qiu Yanzhi couldn’t help but do so.
Those technicians needed to sift through the data line by line.
How could they have overlooked He Zhou, an NPC who had become bugged a long time ago?
What if they found out that there was actually a NPC living in He Zhou’s body?
What if they accidentally hurt He Zhou while cleaning up Ye Hongyuan's data from the game?
And even if the technicians didn’t do anything to He Zhou…
What about Qin He?
Ye Hongyuan already left Qin He's body, so when would Qin He wake up?
What would become of He Zhou once he does?
His data body had already been crushed by Ye Hongyuan, so where was He Zhou supposed to go after leaving Qin He's body?
Was he going to have to go back into the game?
Qiu Yanzhi couldn’t even bear continuing that line of thought. His heart ached too much just thinking about it.
His mind eventually wandered to the worst possibilities. Could what He Zhou wanted to say to him tonight be goodbye?
Qiu Yanzhi wanted to wait until evening to go to Qin He's house and hear He Zhou out as promised.
But he worked himself up so much that he couldn’t help but call Chen Lesi as the sun set to see if he could find out anything in advance.
Chen Lesi answered the phone dully, “You need something, Yanzhi?”
Qiu Yanzhi: "You sound exhausted.”
Chen Lesi sighed. "A little bit, yeah. I’ve been sitting in this chair working all day. I’m too embarrassed to take a break because of how hard that technical team from Germany’s working.”
Qiu Yanzhi frowned. "But I heard that you’ve already successfully wiped that NPC’s character data? Why are you still working?”
Chen Lesi: "Didn't President He tell you yet? He asked us to fix the game’s installation packages as well as various other bugs in-game.”
Qiu Yanzhi was taken aback.
Why did He Zhou want them to fix those things?
Does he want to return to the game?
Does he want to leave me?
Qiu Yanzhi's lips trembled. His palms were sweating.
"Yanzhi?" Chen Lesi called out to him. Upon receiving no response, he glanced at his phone and muttered, “...Did the call drop or something?”
"No, no, it didn’t.” Qiu Yanzhi’s voice was very hoarse. “W-why did he ask you guys to fix the game?”
"I don't know. Mr. He only said it was for personal use."
Qiu Yanzhi felt his heart plummet into the abyss.
He pinched himself on the palm, trying his best to steady his voice. “Chen Lesi, I wanted to ask if you found any significantly bugged NPCs while going through the game data.”
"No big bugs, just a bunch of small ones." Chen Lesi sighed, "But Mr. He said we didn’t need to bother with these character setting bugs. It’s not like one of the four protagonist characters were affected, just some supporting NPCs.”
Qiu Yanzhi was dumbfounded. "...Four protagonists?"
If he remembered correctly, shouldn't there be five protagonist capture targets?
"Didn’t we delete the CEO capture target Ye Tongfang today? That leaves four left.”
Qiu Yanzhi was stunned.
Shouldn't the CEO capture target be He Zhou?
Why was it instead Ye Tongfang?
Qiu Yanzhi's lips quivered. "Then...did you find a...NPC called He Zhou in-game?"
"He Zhou? Isn't that our boss’ name?"
Qiu Yanzhi’s heart clenched as the mystery thickened.
If Chen Lesi even found problems with the game’s supporting NPCs, how could he not have discovered a protagonist NPC called He Zhou in the game?
Or was there something he was missing here...
He took a deep breath, then said, "Have you found a capture target NPC that shares He Zhou’s features and name?”
Chen Lesi froze for a moment, then bursting into laughter. “What are you thinking, Qiu Yanzhi? How could that be? I spent the entire day today sifting through the data and I’ve never discovered a NPC like that. Besides, how could someone use a real person as a model in this game? Have you forgotten there’s explicit adult scenes in it? How could President He have allowed his likeness to become the partner of countless players?”
Qiu Yanzhi froze.
Why hadn't he thought of that?
It was Ye Hongyuan who told him He Zhou was made with Qin He’s data while occupying the man’s body.
However, why should he believe what Ye Hongyuan said?
Hasn’t Ye Hongyuan lied to him time and time again?
Someone on the other end of the line seemed to call out Chen Lesi’s name. He said to Qiu Yanzhi, “Someone wants to talk to me so I’ll hang up first, ah. Call me again later if you need something.”
Qiu Yanzhi sat dumbly on the bed once he hung up. He stared at the wall as a fire sparked to life in his heart.
If there had never been a NPC modelled after the investor of the game…
If the CEO capture target had been Ye Tongfang…
And if Ye Tongfang had taken away a player’s identity in order to become a player from an NPC capture target...
Then that player…
Qiu Yanzhi’s breathing quickened.
Countless memories seemed to replay in his mind.
"I'm not like you. I wouldn’t lie to you.”
"Yanyan, I'm different. I wouldn’t lie to you.”
“Xia Yuan, did you know that you always do something when you lie?”
"Qiu Yanzhi, did you know you lick your lips when you lie?”
“Xia Yuan, a person like you will never find love in your entire life. You don’t deserve to be loved.”
“You know something, Qiu Yanzhi? A deceitful, habitual liar like you doesn’t deserve to be loved.”
"He Zhou, how come you’re so in tune with him? You’re just like…”
"Qin He, you’re not allowed in the kitchen ever again!"
"He Zhou, you actually...really suck at cooking."
Little Trash: “I just occasionally feel that you look...good. That’s why I take pictures.”
He Zhou: “It’s just when I feel that you look...good. That’s why I take pictures.”
"By the way, I found out something strange about Qin He today. Qin He seems to have been injured three or four years ago and fell into a coma then.”
Could there really exist two people in the world who are so similar? Was this degree of coincidence really possible?
Since Ye Tongfang stole a player’s identity to become a player from a NPC capture target…
Did that mean the player who had their identity stolen became...a NPC?
Qiu Yanzhi’s heart was beating so fast it felt like it might just come flying out of his chest.
He jumped off the bed, putting on his jacket and shoes before rushing out the door.
He ran so fast that he couldn't even wait for the elevator, practically jumping down the stairs three steps at a time.
The wind blew past his cheeks like razors. A metallic sweet scent came up from his throat. He ran, with all his might, towards a long-awaited reunion.
Qiu Yanzhi came to a stop once he got out of the cab in front of He Zhou’s door.
The sun was disappearing over the edge of the tarmac, slowly elongating the shadow Qiu Yanzhi cast until it reached the front door.
Qiu Yanzhi's palms were sweating and his heart was beating lightning fast.
He took a step forward and tried to ring the doorbell, only to find the door slightly ajar.
So Qiu Yanzhi pushed the door open. He was about to walk in when he caught a glimpse of a figure in the direction of the little path leading to te back garden.
Is He Zhou there?
Qiu Yanzhi hesitated before heading down that little path.
He was two steps in when he noticed something off.
LED candles had been arranged along both side of the pathway, but they hadn’t been lit up yet.
Red and pink flower petals were scattered across the well-manicured lawn.
Even the exquisite flower stands in the corner was completely filled with red roses.
Qiu Yanzhi was taken aback. He walked over and removed a rose, bending down to take in its light fragrance.
His eyes curved into crescents, his lips taking on a tinge of humour.
You’re so cheesy, Mr. He.
Qiu Yanzhi put the rose behind his back and walked around the corner.
As expected, he saw He Zhou standing beneath a tree in the back garden with a rose in hand and his back turned.
Qiu Yanzhi hid the rose behind his back and tiptoed towards He Zhou.
When he got closer, he found that He Zhou was on the phone.
"Sir, I ordered yellow roses."
"No- Yellow. Roses. Yellow, not red… Sir, where are you from?”
"Of course there’s a problem. I’m trying to apologize to someone here.”
“If you discovered your lover not only stalked but secretly took pictures of you in high school, you would consider this a big deal, right?”
"No, no, I'm not a pervert! I…at the time I...I just couldn’t help myself. I don’t do that anymore.”
"...Okay sir, just remember it’s yellow roses. Don’t send the wrong ones again."
As soon as He Zhou hung up, he heard someone clearing their throat behind him.
His entire body stiffened before he slowly turned around and saw Qiu Yanzhi.
just hung up the phone, and heard two clear coughs coming from behind.
"Ahem, Mr. He."
"Didn't you call yourself a shameless pervert before? Why are you so insistent on denying it now?”
The sky above their heads slowly darkened to a deep, rich blue. As the sun finally set, it bathed Qiu Yanzhi in a halo of colourful flames.’
The workers tested the lights for the first time, causing all the LED candles and lights strung on tree branches to turn on.
The garden seemed to be filled with a sea of stars.
And Qiu Yanzhi stood in the midst of it all, smiling at him with eyes curved into crescents.
Main story end.
This is the end of the story. Thank you for your company.
Because of some issues in real life this book wasn’t updated regularly in the last bit. Even so, everyone was very understanding and didn’t curse me out. Thank you all very much.
Next, there will be a few little extras~
It’s over, ah… This novel was a real roller coaster of emotions. It was so funny at parts but sad at others. I too had some real life issues that led to shorter updates or subpar quality near the end. Thanks everyone for not cursing me out either haha.
Now onto the extras! We will be reverting back to a weekly schedule for the extras as some of them are quite lengthy (up to 2x)