Edited by AlexPT
Without an alarm, Yu Yang slept till two in the afternoon.
When he woke up, he was in a daze and couldn’t tell if it was afternoon or dawn.
Yu Yang got up to take a shower, and while putting his clothes on, he recalled all that transpired in the early morning, his ears going pink. He quickly washed up and left his room to go to the training room. On his way there, Yu Yang took out his phone to order take-out, bumping into Bu Nana who was bringing his own take-out order upstairs.
“Don’t tell me you’re ordering food?” Bu Nana looked at Yu Yang’s phone, “Your food is right here. Before he left, Qi Zui asked us to order some food for you.”
Yu Yang kept his phone, “Captain went out?”
“Mm, he said he had something to settle and left,” Bu Nana was grinning, “He said to order whatever, he’ll foot the bull so I got us both abalone rice 1, two portions per person. C’mon, let’s eat, don’t be shy.”
Yu Yang took his food while Bu Nana was scrutinising him in curiosity, “Why did he specifically tell me to order food for you today? Are you ill?”
Simba, who was sitting at the side eating a burger, looked up, “Captain, you woke up late today, don’t you usually wake up around 11 at the latest?”
He Xiaoxu, who was playing with his phone at the side, looked up warily, “In the middle of the night yesterday, I heard someone’s door open and shut…… Who was it?! Admit it, don’t make me investigate.”
Yu Yang: “……”
Bu Nana smiled knowingly, “Aiya, speaking of this, the soundproofing in our dorm really is terrible. We can hear everything…… Was there someone breaking the rules last night, did he take advantage of everyone else being drunk and barged into someone else’s bedroom?”
Lao-Kai raised his free hand while still eating, awkward, “Um…… I just want to say, I am streaming.”
He Xiaoxu threw something at Lao-Kai in anger, “Are you asking to die? Why didn’t you say so earlier! Turn it off, turn it off.”
Yu Yang’s face went from red to white and he walked back to his own seat.
The few of them snuck glances at Yu Yang. Qi Zui wasn’t here and they didn’t dare to tease Yu Yang too much. They could only grasp at straws, speculating if something really happened last night.
Yu Yang opened the packaging of his take-out, saying lowly, “At three……”
Everyone looked up at him in anticipation, waiting to satisfy their need for gossip, their eyes were shining.
Yu Yang said calmly while eating, “We have a practice match. Eat quickly, like you’ve been starving.”
The room sighed in disappointment but no one dared to say more, quickly eating their own food.
Yu Yang swallowed a mouthful of food as he picked up his phone. He hesitated for a moment before sending a text to Qi Zui.
Youth: “I’m up, I ate too.”
Yu Yang went into a custom server and he began to set it up while eating, removing the red/explosion zone and such. After, he set up a password restriction and sent it into the group chat.
After getting the server ready, his phone vibrated and Yu Yang quickly picked it up.
Drunk: “There’s quite a bit to settle, I’ll have to go home and to the lawyer’s later. Might only get back late at night.”
Drink: “Do you feel like eating anything? I’ll get you food on the way back.”
Yu Yang swallowed his mouthful of rice and replied at once.
Youth: “Nothing. You stay safe.”
Drunk: “Why do you seem more distant after spending the night together?”
Yu Yang coughed, typing a reply.
Youth: “I’m not, I can’t think of what I want to eat, What time…… Are you coming back?”
Drunk: “I’m not sure, you should go to bed early. I’ll check your room out when I return. If the lights are turned on, I’ll go look for you, if not, then I’ll let you rest.”
Youth: “I…… I wanted to train extra tonight.”
Drunk: “…… What do you mean?”
Drunk: “Will you be waiting for me to come back?”
Drunk: “The lights will be turned on no matter what time I return, right?”
Yu Yang was afraid his teammates may notice and he tried his best to repress the heated flush blossoming on his face while still typing.
Youth: “Anyway…… I’m thinking of training more.”
Drunk: “Are you thinking of me?”
Drunk: “I’ll try to come back earlier, you do your thing. Just don’t lock the door, I’ll come look for you no matter what.”
Drunk: “Really. Sleep early.”
Yu Yang kept his phone with a warm feeling in his chest.
He wanted Qi Zui to come look for him at night.
Yu Yang put his phone at the side and quickly devoured his food. After, he wiped his hands with a paper napkin and got up to pour himself a huge cup of water. It was a hard rule from the ex-captain, for Yu Yang to drink at least four cups of water a day.
Yu Yang didn’t like drinking water, always saying he was too lazy to keep going to pee. It was a waste of time to him. Qi Zui could not stand these unhealthy habits of his and he set this personal rule for Yu Yang a few days ago, saying that it might be written into the official rules of the team in the future.
Yu Yang gulped down a few mouths of water as he looked at the time before informing the rest to go onto the custom server.
Half a cup of water was left at the corner of the table….. And it caused trouble two hours later.
After two rounds, there was a ten-minute break and Yu Yang took his phone to send Qi Zui a text.
Youth: “Is the meeting over?”
After two minutes, Qi Zui replied.
Drunk: “It didn’t go very smoothly as expected, we would have to discuss further.”
Yu Yang frowned slightly, typing: “Did they think your offer was too low?”
Drunk: “Not completely, I’ll tell you about it later when I get back.”
Yu Yang held tightly to his phone and thought about it for a moment before transferring all his money to Qi Zui.
After the previous incident, Qi Zui helped to take care of Yu Yang’s bank account. At first, he said he was only going to give Yu Yang ten thousand yuan a month as allowance, but the money Qi Zui sent over every month was far more than that.
Qi Zui was worried that Yu Yang would want to buy things but would be too shy to ask him for more money. Sometimes it was thirty thousand, or fifty thousand. It all snowballed and Yu Yang had quite a bit in his hands now.
But all of this was nothing when compared to the cost of buying their team, Yu Yang didn’t know how much more Qi Zui needed so he gave everything to Qi Zui, leaving nothing for himself.
Yu Yang gently let out a breath…… Buying the team was unlikely to be as easy as Qi Zui made it sound like.
Yu Yang was a little flustered and anxious, refreshing his WeChat feed multiple times after sending the money over. He ended up reading an article from a health and wellness public account.
At the side of the table, by Yu Yang’s left hand, was the half-full cup of water he had forgotten about.
At four in the afternoon, the cleaning lady came in with her little trolley, handing plates of cut fruit to the team. Yu Yang was looking at a chinese medicine public account on WeChat and its post on how to treat muscle injuries, he got the A-yi to put the fruits on the table first and she wasn’t looking careful when doing so, accidentally toppling the cup in the process.
Yu Yang looked up at once as the water in the cup splashed towards Qi Zui’s table and he got up immediately to straighten the cup but to no avail. Half a cup’s worth of water spilled all over Qi Zui’s table, dripping down the edge. His keyboard was drenched.
Yu Yang frowned and he immediately unplugged Qi Zui’s keyboard, flipping it over.
He Xiaoxu just entered the room and he was shocked at the sight, little finger up in dramatic fashion as his voice broke, “You you you you…… you drowned Qi Zui’s second wife?!”
The cleaning lady was surprised too, she didn’t know much but heard that all of their equipment were terrifyingly expensive and she apologised profusely at the situation.
Simba pulled his headphones off, completely unaware of what was going on, “What drowned? Whose second wife?”
“Qi Zui never lets anyone touch his keyboard, what is it if not his wife? Now that he has Youth, the keyboard…… naturally became his second wife, no?” He Xiaoxu said, “This….. Can this still work?”
Bu Nana was sitting at the innermost side and he did not see anything. He thought that it was He Xiaoxu who drowned Qi Zui’s keyboard and he immediately rejoiced in his misfortune, “Aiya, what should we do? Wasn’t Qi Zui using this keyboard when he retired? That photo of him kissing the keyboard even won some photography awards and you dared to ruin it, wait till Qi Zui comes back……”
The A-yi’s face turned white in shock. He Xiaoxu could not bear seeing her worry so he waved and told her to go back downstairs.
He Xiaoxu came over to look at the dripping wet keyboard awkwardly, “This…… Will it still work?”
Yu Yang thought about the text Qi Zui just sent him and his chest felt tight with nerves, “I don’t know.”
Yu Yang put the keyboard on his table and got up to get a keycap puller, wiping the keyboard before pulling every keycap out one by one, letting them dry at the side.
Yu Yang used dry napkins to slowly wipe the interior of the keyboard dry, trying his best to suck out the moisture.
He Xiaoxu was standing at the side as he spoke, “Leave it if it can’t be fixed, I’ll explain everything to Qi Zui when he comes back, he won’t actually get angry.”
Yu Yang did not say a word, still quietly wiping the keyboard, before he said in a low voice, “It’s my fault.”
“What has it got to do with you?” He Xiaoxu felt that it was a bad omen. Ever since Qi Zui retired, nothing had gone well for the team. Bad things happened one after another and now even Qi Zui’s favourite keyboard was ruined. He Xiaoxu did not feel good about it, but he also did not want the team to see his worry for fear their morale would be affected. Giving a deliberate laugh, he said to Yu Yang, “You just say a few nice things to Qi Zui and he won’t be angry at all.”
Yu Yang’s lips moved a little and he still did not talk, silently wiping the keyboard.
Yu Yang tried his best to clean the keyboard before putting the case and the keycaps at the window, letting them dry naturally.
He Xiaoxu did not understand any of this and he asked hesitantly, “Just doing this is enough?”
“We’ll try it again later after it’s dry,” Yu Yang said in a low voice, “If it works then we won’t have a problem anymore.”
He Xiaoxu nodded quickly, “You wiped it so well, it’s bound to be fine.”
After dinner that night, Yu Yang plugged the keyboard back into the power socket to try it……
There was no reaction.
What is done is done.
Yu Yang unplugged the keyboard and he continued training without saying anything.
He Xiaoxu felt like there was a rock in his chest, he knew why Yu Yang’s mood was so bad. But Bu Nana and the rest did not know that the team was about to be sold and He Xiaoxu did not dare to say too much, repressing his anger as he went to contact their sponsors.
At the Qi Residence, Qi Zui was leaning back on the couch, saying serenely, “Thank god I went pro.”
His mother took a sip of the new tea he brought, “Now you know running a business isn’t easy?”
Qi Zui smiled without saying anything.
“If you had graduated college then and worked under me to learn the ropes before going to take over some of the business……” His mother slowly said, “I’ll be behind you the whole time, would you have to suffer like this?”
Qi Zui gently flexed his right wrist, “I don’t think it’s suffering.”
“Not suffering……” His mother looked like she had heard a joke and she put down the exquisite teacup, wiping her slender fingers, “Tell me, what made you honour us with your presence, what do you need my help with?”
She continued speaking, as if talking to herself, “Not enough money? Or there’s someone you need me to bridge you to? We are mother and son, if you’re poor to the point of starving, I’ll for sure……”
“Mom,” Qi Zui interrupted her, “I really am here to bring you two the tea.”
His mother stopped for a moment.
Qi Zui looked at his mother calmly, saying, “The special-grade Wuyi Special Da Hong Pao…… Which year have I not given you this?”
His mother’s expression stiffened a little, nodding, “Yes…… You really have no other matter to discuss?”
Qi Zui shook his head, “No.”
“Mm,” His mother tried to settle her own emotions, “What about your progress with Yu Yang? Your team isn’t doing too well these days, how is he? Suffering alongside you? I heard your father say that his market value is extremely high, so many teams want him. You need to pay attention, treat him better, since he’s the only one now who still……”
“He won’t leave,” Speaking about Yu Yang made his entire expression change, he took his phone out and showed his mother the record of Yu Yang transferring money to him, “He heard that I’m facing a small obstacle with the acquisition and sent all his money to me at once.”
Qi Zui licked his lips and smiled, “Eleven and a half thousand and four hundred. He only has this and he gave me everything, this boy really……”
“Really proud of this?” His mother tried to control her emotions, saying blandly, “You have no money and your boyfriend has to bankrupt himself to help you, you still have the cheek to show off?”
Qi Zui smiled, “it’s not like I’ll really take his money, I’m just saying……”
“You’re just saying that you’ll accept what he gives you,” His mother was so angry her face went white as she tried to keep composed, “But your father and my money could just be rotting here and you won’t ever ask us for help, right?”
Qi Zui was stunned.
He didn’t want to upset his mother and he hesitated before speaking, in a placating tone, “Didn’t we agree then? If I dared to drop out of college, you and dad wouldn’t give me a cent more. I agreed then, didn’t we all have a discussion about this……”
“You call that a ‘discussion’?” His mother laughed coldly, nodding, “That’s a discussion? Would I have been able to stop you? You chose to go play games instead of staying in school, should I have praised you for making a good decision? For playing well?”
Qi Zui frowned, saying in a low voice “I didn’t say……”
“Yes, you didn’t say anything, you came back once…… And I was so upset then so I said things that hurt you, you turned around and left, never asking me for money again……” She took a deep breath, looking up at Qi Zui, “Why? Now that you’re successful, that you’ve become a big star, you want me to apologise to you? Do I have to beg you to take my money?”
She raised her head slightly, red eyes looking at Qi Zui, “Making life difficult for yourself like that, making your father and I feel bad, do you feel good now?”
Qi Zui was silent, not knowing what to say.
He chose this path, Qi Zui did not regret anything.
He had long gotten over failing to get money from his parents and getting thrown out by his mother after being mocked.
But his mother had not.
Watching Qi Zui struggle in the industry all by himself, it was a lie to say her heart did not ache.
When Qi Zui had dropped out of college, he was still underage, just a seventeen year-old boy.
It was not that she was unaware that Qi Zui was suffering, but what had been said could not be taken back that easily. She thought that Qi Zui would come back pleading eventually, by then, her anger would have subsided and she would have given him anything if he asked, but she didn’t expect……
Qi Zui climbed higher and higher till today, there were some stumbling blocks along the way but he had his own ways of solving his problems. His mother wanted to help him but there was no chance to do so anymore.
Qi Zui looked at his mother in silence, saying in a low voice after a moment, “I’m not bearing a grudge. Do I have to? Intentionally angering you both? What could I gain from that?”
Qi Zui pressed his lips together, “I’m the one who feels guilty.”
“I know you both treat me well, but you couldn’t convince me then. Past me also had no idea how to clearly let you two know how I felt,” Qi Zui looked at his mother, saying softly, “I know I let you both down, and that’s why I won’t use your money, I’m not throwing a tantrum…… I chose this path for myself, this path that had you worried about me at first, I deserve to suffer a little.”
His mother gritted her teeth and took several deep breaths before stopping the tears welling up in her eyes.
Qi Zui laughed softly, “And I know…… Me achieving all of these things without anyone’s help, you and dad are proud of me.”
His mother’s expression stiffened, lying through her teeth, “No such thing.”
Qi Zui laughed and held onto his mother’s hand, swinging it a little, “Can’t you tell the truth?”
His mother looked to the side and pressed the corners of her eyes, saying coldly, “If I could turn back time to eight years ago while knowing that you would achieve big things, I would do the same and stop you. A professional gamer is still a professional gamer. An improper occupation is still an improper occupation. Being unaccepted by society is still being unaccepted by society. No matter what you say, I won’t change my mind.”
Qi Zui laughed lightly, “What a coincidence, I won’t either.”
His mother glared at him and extracted her hand from his hold.
She quickly readjusted her emotions and a few minutes later, her expression was like nothing happened, except for the redness in the corner of her eyes.
She picked up her teacup and took another sip before saying, “Come back again…… and bring Yu Yang along.”
Qi Zui smiled and nodded.
His mother was rarely so emotional and Qi Zui was worried about her so he spent more time with her, only leaving at ten in the night.
She was leaning on the couch, rubbing the space between her brows where it was painfully throbbing. Being angry at herself and for no reason at all…… it was embarrassing.
Her phone rang, her assistant was calling.
She frowned, she hated when people contacted her outside of working hours especially so late at night.
She rejected the call and was about to go wash her face when her phone rang again. She picked it up with a cold expression, packing up the tea leaves Qi Zui brought over today carefully, and saying irritably, “What is it?”
Her hand shook when she heard what the other party was saying and half the tea leaves spilled out of their packaging.
“You……” She tried to calm herself, saying in a low voice, “Are you sure this doctor can do it?”
“He was the Boxing King’s doctor…… Thank you, I’m not sure if you know what my son’s job is, do you know about e-sports?”
“A pianist…… yes, it’s similar.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I know that he can’t possibly recover to his condition when he was seventeen, do you think I’m crazy?”
“It would be good for him to get better even if it’s just a little……”
“Money is not a problem, he has money, if he doesn’t then he’ll go borrow. He still has a property under his name, he can sell it too, no big deal.”
“What do you mean by he’s even treated national athletes? Hang on, you guys think that Qi Zui is different from them?”
“Please help me tell him this,” She took a deep breath and said in a firm tone, “My son is a proper professional e-sports athlete, he’s not lesser than any of the champion fighters or acclaimed pianists he’s treated. I don’t even know where he was when my son won international competitions overseas and had the national anthem play with our flag draped over his shoulders. It’s fine if he doesn’t know these because he’s older, just make sure he knows clearly how priceless Qi Zui’s hands are, he is not allowed to have any sort of contempt or mistakes during his treatment.”
“If he can make Qi Zui’s hands better, I’ll pay him any amount he wants.”
HOG’s base, 11PM
Yu Yang dismantled Qi Zui’s keyboard and as if he was performing surgery, he wiped it down gently and blew at it carefully.
Bu Nana tutted at the side, “Captain, I couldn’t tell that you had a skill like this.”
Yu Yang was focused on the keyboard, “I worked at an internet cafe when I was younger…… I helped the boss fix keyboards before.”
Bu Nana laughed dryly, “But so much water has gone in, maybe……”
Yu Yang did not speak, instead continued to assemble the keyboard before plugging it in.
The keyboard still did not power up.
Bu Nana went back to his seat, feeling a little embarrassed at the situation.
Yu Yang’s brows gently furrowed and he unplugged the keyboard and took it back. He did not give up, readjusting the keyboard again before plugging it back in.
With a soft chime, the lights on Qi Zui’s keyboard lit up.