Qi Zui had just gotten to the office when he got called to go back by Mrs. Qi.
Mr. Qi, who was out at a work meeting, was also called back home at the last minute.
By the time Qi Zui stepped out of the Qi house, it was already one in the morning. He did not delay any further and immediately drove his way back to the base.
At the HOG base, He Xiaoxu was circling Yu Yang, tsking in amazement: “Not bad, Youth, you seem to know how to do everything, even fixing keyboards. Impressive…”
There were a few red marks on the tip of Yu Yang’s index finger from holding the little screwdriver. He wiped down Qi Zui’s entire keyboard again before putting it back into place, using the tissue to wipe at his desk while he was at it. “This isn’t too hard……I can fix headphones too. If any of you break your headphones someday, you can give it to me.”
Bu Nana looked at Yu Yang with envy, “That’s so nice, I didn’t know you had this skill. One day when our team goes under, you won’t go hungry.”
He Xiaoxu had felt pretty defeated when he looked at Qi Zui’s broken keyboard earlier, but now that it had been fixed, his mood had also lifted. Hearing this, he did not even bother looking up: “Why don’t you think about what you’ll do too? If you don’t know how to fix computers, why don’t you go out on the street and help people put on their screen protectors?”
“Heck no.” Bu Nana frowned: “It’s still esports related if you go into fixing second-hand computers, but putting on screen protectors is very un-esports.”
“I’d probably go back to school.” Lao Kai stretched, sighing, “I’m technically still taking semesters off, if the team goes under I’ll go back to class.”
Simba raised his hand: “I’m also still on a leave of absence too!”
“Ugh no, you guys go ahead and return to school, don’t take me with you.” To this day, Bu Nana hadn’t even figured out exactly how many subjects they taught at school. He scratched at the goosebumps that came up on his arm, “If I wasn’t ranked dead last in every semester to begin with, why would I be driven onto the esports path?”
He Xiaoxu looked at the fatso with contempt, then said slowly, “I….I’d probably go be a waiter at the nightclub? The fortune teller said that I’d be sponsored by a rich person one day, this is my fate, there’s no avoiding it……”
Bu Nana was dumbfounded: “It can’t be, you’ve all gotten your Plan Bs ready? What about coach?”
Lai Hua had been busy with the youth trainees around the clock, and this was the first thing he heard when he walked in. It touched a nerve immediately, and he said coldly: “I’ll write couplets and sell them on the street.”
“That is also so un-esports…..” Bu Nana looked at Lai Hua with disdain, “But at least it counts as a livelihood….what about me? Wherever will I go, when the team parts ways?”
Yu Yang had given Qi Zui’s desk a thorough cleaning, and with the keyboard fixed, he was also in a pretty good mood. Hearing the conversation, the corners of his lips curved up slightly, “Why don’t you try and make it in the internet cafes with me? If you help the little grade school kids with their games, you can earn your food allowance.”
Lao Kai chimed in supportively: “Yeah, kids these days have lots of spending money.”
“But the thing is, do grade school kids watch league competitions? Would they know who we are?” Bu Nana was a little self-conscious and wheeled his computer chair closer to Yu Yang, “For this kind of gig, how do you market yourself usually……”
“I’m Youth.” Yu Yang went back to his own seat, saying, “Give me three yuan and I’ll teach you how to play PUBG.”
Bu Nana’s eyes lit up: “That really works?”
Yu Yang nodded: “That really works. There are always some people who watch competitions or streams, or if anything else, you can play a round in front of them. Get one of those pedestrian noob matches, that’s enough for you to show off in. Once the grade school kids are shook by your kills, they’ll open their wallets.”
“That’s solid.” Bu Nana started to count on his fingers, “One hour is three yuan, two hours is nine yuan, three hours will be thirteen yuan, if you work for twelve hours a day, then…..”
Yu Yang looked at Bu Nana, at a loss for words. He wanted to correct him but did not even know where to start.
Lao Kai shook his head, tsking, “You never know what someone has been through, huh. Ge, when you said you had no choice but to drop out of school, I believe it now. If people like you stayed in school….you would be a torment to your teachers.”
Yu Yang looked at Bu Nana with pity. He had personal experience and knew more about the industry than Bu Nana, so he added: “Internet cafes usually have events going on, like if you place first in something, the boss would give you free drinks and five yuan’s worth of internet fees. If you sell the drink, and then let the little grade school kids buy the internet fee off you, then you can earn in total….”
“Shut up, all of you!!!” Lai Hua’s liver was starting to hurt from all his fuming. He could not hold it in any longer and rolled up his newspaper to hit both Yu Yang and Bu Nana on the back, “Do either of you have any motivation left? You are all people who have gotten prizes at international events! And you’re going to swindle little grade school students out of their money? Have you any pride? If you’re going to keep yapping nonsense then go down and help me train the youth trainees!”
“Aiya, these are just jokes.” He Xiaoxu was done laughing and came over to support Lai Hua rather insincerely, “Don’t you all know that Coach Lai is overworked these days? And you’re all chit-chatting here instead of helping out, especially you, Youth, are you going to trash talk now that Qi Zui is not here? Come on now, training time.”
Yu Yang smiled down at the floor. He also didn’t know what exactly it was, but ever since Qi Zui’s keyboard was fixed, he had been feeling inexplicably relaxed. Yu Yang put his headphones back on and continued with training.
At 1 am in the morning, Lai Hua’s crabbiness was at an all-time high, picking bones with everyone without discrimination. He still had to go downstairs to do debriefs for the youth trainees; in order to be one and done, he shooed all the Team One members back to their dorms so that they could wake up early the next day for practice matches.
Qi Zui hadn’t come back yet, so Yu Yang didn’t want to head back, but was also too shy to say so; he finally headed back to the dorms after some hesitation.
After entering the room, Yu Yang turned on all the lights — Qi Zui had said earlier that he’d come in if Yu Yang’s lights were still on.
Yu Yang took a shower, changed into a different set of clothes, then opened his laptop to start reviewing the youth trainees’ training videos for debriefs.
At 2 am, there were footsteps in the hallway. Yu Yang put his clothes on properly and pushed his door open to see….Lai Hua on his way to pick up his laptop.
Lai Hua frowned: “What are you doing still up? Haven’t I told all of you to not go on your phone after we finish training for the night? Remember?”
Yu Yang nodded. He closed the door.
Yu Yang continued with his review.
At 2:30 am, Qi Zui finally arrived at the base.
The youth trainees had just finished for the night. Qi Zui ran right into Lai Hua on his way in; Lai Hua gave him one look and said, expression grumpy: “Someone’s left a light for you, get up there already, and get out of there quickly once you’ve said hi so he can sleep already.”
The corners of Qi Zui’s lips lifted up; he patted Li Hua’s shoulder and took his steps up the stairs.
On the third floor, Yu Yang had left his dorm room completely unlocked and unfastened; Qi Zui was able to open the door with the slightest push.
Yu Yang was sitting in bed, watching match replays. Once he saw Qi Zui, he quickly closed up his laptop.
Without waiting for Qi Zui to say anything, Yu Yang started hesitantly, “There’s something I have to tell you…..”
Qi Zui sat on Yu Yang’s bed with him, taking the computer from Yu Yang’s lap and putting it aside. He nodded: “Go on.”
Yu Yang told Qi Zui about how they got water onto his keyboard.
“It’s all my fault for not being careful…..” Yu Yang took the blame onto himself, “He Xiaoxu said….he said you don’t let anyone touch your keyboard. I…..”
“I thought it was something much more serious.” Qi Zui smiled, “If it’s broken, it’s broken.”
“It’s not broken.” Yu Yang said quickly, “I took it apart after, and then cleaned the whole thing with Q-tips. It was working again afterwards, though of course….. it wouldn’t be the same as it was before. But I did test it, and it still works fine, I…..”
Qi Zui’s eyes lit up, looking at Yu Yang steadily. He checked again: “It’s fixed?”
Yu Yang nodded.
Qi Zui took a deep breath. For the first time since birth, he was starting to believe in superstitions.
He suddenly felt that the doctor that Mrs. Qi found in the States might actually have a way to fix his hand.
For the past year of seeing doctors, he had believed in a prognosis again and again, and had gotten disappointed each time. He had already let things go by now, but Yu Yang was different…Qi Zui knew just how much Yu Yang valued him.
Qi Zui hesitated for a moment and decided to keep the news from Yu Yang about it for another few days.
He’d hold off, at least until he could know for himself, before telling Yu Yang; Qi Zui had had enough of getting tests done over and over again for nothing to come out of them, so he couldn’t bear for Yu Yang to go through the same thing.
Yu Yang didn’t know what Qi Zui was mulling over, and seeing that he hadn’t spoken for a while, he assumed that Qi Zui was still worrying about his keyboard. Yu Yang said softly, “It’s usable now, but since it’s been broken nonetheless, I…..I was originally planning to buy you a new one….”
Something stirred within Qi Zui. He probed on purpose: “How come you didn’t?”
Yu Yang lowered his head.
Yu Yang’s voice was even fainter, “I don’t….don’t have any money left.”
Out of all the allowances that Qi Zui had given him, Yu Yang had transferred all of it to him in the afternoon.
Now, Yu Yang did not have any money on his hands.
Qi Zui felt warmed from the inside, but still made a point of asking, “So are you going to get takeout tomorrow or not?”
“I am.” Yu Yang pursed his lips and said quietly, “I’ll come ask you for money…..”
Qi Zui’s appetite for being mean reached its peak, “And what if I don’t give it to you? Or what if I try to negotiate some exchange of service?”
Yu Yang didn’t understand and looked up at Qi Zui: “What kind of exchange?”
“You only get a meal allowance if you give me a kiss.” The corners of Qi Zui’s lips lifted slightly, “If you give me some tongue of your own accord, I’ll give you some add-ons, if you’re good and let me French kiss then I’ll throw in money for juice…..If you’re hungry enough, you’d probably agree.”
Yu Yang started blushing immediately.
Qi Zui could not bear to bully him further and lowered his head to place a quick kiss on Yu Yang’s forehead. He took out his phone and was just about to transfer two hundred thousand yuan before hovering over the “Confirm” button for a second, changing it to fifty thousand instead.
“The money you gave me, I used about fifty thousand. I used up all the other funds I was keeping for you.” Qi Zui lied without batting an eye. Mrs. Qi had already helped pick out an apartment for Yu Yang; the next step would be for Qi Zui to take him there when they had a break and finalize the paperwork. Qi Zui had prepared the other funds onto a different card now, but he pretended that it did not exist at all, continuing, “So once I buy the club, it’ll count as shared property between the two of us. I’d have to ask the lawyers about how exactly it’ll work out.”
Yu Yang couldn’t possibly be swindled that easily. He shook his head right away: “No, the money I had didn’t even make up a fraction.”
“If I say it’s shared property, then it’s shared property.” Qi Zui was being unreasonable but still continued to bully on. He laughed, “Impressive, I haven’t seen you for a day and you’ve learned to talk back?”
As he pursed his lips, Yu Yang’s ears started to turn red.
“If you didn’t want to share it with me, but still gave me your meal allowance, then you don’t have a right to say what I do with it.” Qi Zui acted as if it was a done deal, “That’s fair, isn’t it?”
Yu Yang made to speak again, but Qi Zui added: “If you really want to settle the tab with me, I might not even give you an allowance anymore…..Baby, you can’t really be wanting to beg me for money every time you eat, right?”
“We’ll leave it at that.” Qi Zui threw his phone to the side once he finished his transfer. He looked at Yu Yang, “How long have you been waiting?”
This question was too hard to answer; Yu Yang tapped at his laptop with a tormented expression and refused to admit it, “Just a while…..I’m still analyzing a match.”
“You’ve gotten in bed already, and you still tell me it’s just been a while?” Qi Zui glanced at Yu Yang’s bed, “Or are you waiting in bed….so that I’ll kiss you here?”
Yu Yang did not say anything in response, but after a moment, he nodded.
T/N: Hello! Pls feel free to flag any mistakes/questions, esp re: consistency of terms! We (translator: wei, editor: smilingonline) are aiming for biweekly updates; the exact day of the week might be in flux until we find a schedule that works for us. Hope you enjoyed 🙂