Gu Xuelan walked into the house a few steps later, took off her shawl and handed it to the servant, "Is dinner ready?"
The servant took it and replied, "As per your instructions, it's all prepared, and it's all the Second Young Master's favorite dishes. Shall we serve it now?"
Gu Xuelan's high heels clicked on the marble floor, and the chandelier's colorful lights shone on the ground, as if she was stepping on light. She took two steps forward, then stopped abruptly, stepped back, turned around and walked in the opposite direction, muttering, "Go upstairs and call him."
Xie Yu was in the bathroom, drenched from head to toe, with water dripping down his hair, and the steamy heat constantly spreading to the glass door around him.
His phone was buzzing on the sink. He closed his eyes and rinsed off the last bit of foam from his body. Two knocks sounded at the door, followed by the restrained voice of the servant, muffled as it came through the door: "Second Young Master, it's time for dinner."
"I have no appetite."
"But...Madam has already..."
Xie Yu opened his eyes and repeated himself: "I have no appetite, I can't eat."
Ah Fang had only been at the Zhong household for two years, which wasn't very long. She was still cautious in her words and actions, afraid of making any mistakes. When she first arrived, she hadn't even seen anyone yet, but she had heard plenty of rumors about the Zhong family.
It was said that after Mrs. Zhong committed suicide, a few years later, Mr. Zhong brought another woman back home. No one knew the name "Gu Xuelan" when she arrived, and she even brought a child with her. This woman took over Mrs. Zhong's position and sat firmly on her throne, not falling off no matter how others laughed.
It was a pity for the young master of the Zhong family, who lost his mother and had to watch someone else enter his home.
When she went back to report, she didn't know what to say. She stood by the dining table with her head down for a long time without saying a word.
Seeing her like this, Gu Xuelan knew everything. She picked up her chopsticks and, not knowing if she really didn't care as she acted, said, "If he doesn't want to eat, then don't. He'll get hungry eventually...you can go now."
After getting dressed, Xie Yu's hair was still dripping with water. He wanted to check how the mysterious game download was going, but when he looked at his phone, all he saw were WeChat notifications. He couldn't even find the progress bar for the game download.
One group chat caught his eye, called "Don't Always Kill and Fight". It had 99+ notifications.
:I swear, he better know his place. If I see him again, I'll beat him up every time
:Good son! You've got guts!
:Beat him until he can't get up, acting all tough for a few months like he's some big shot
Xie Yu scrolled up, but the content was more of the same.
Even though everyone had already teamed up to teach Brother Hu a lesson, he was still being ridiculed in the Blackwater Street group chat. Lei-zi was really something else.
Xie Yu couldn't help but feel a sense of disgust as he read through the messages. In recent years, Blackwater Street has been constantly developing, with people coming and going, and many new residents moving in. In the group chat, these are all neighbors from the old street since over a decade ago, with dozens of people who are as familiar as a family.
Lei-zi used to complain frequently to them. Since joining this group, he feels like he has no personal privacy at all.
One day, Lei-zi skipped class and went to the internet cafe. The owner of the internet cafe smiled and said, "The bigger the courage, the bigger the world. I really appreciate your courage, which is different from other kids."
Then, he turned around and posted a high-definition close-up of Lei-zi holding a mouse and logging into the game interface in the group chat, and tagged Lei-zi's parents, along with the message: "Your son is not studying well and is playing games instead!"
Lei-zi's parents immediately dropped everything they were doing and stormed into the internet cafe, chasing Lei-zi down for three whole blocks.
Xie Yu was drying his hair with a towel when suddenly someone tagged him.
:Hey @xy, don't you think that idiot got off too easy after all the trouble he caused?
Xie Yu couldn't help but roll his eyes. Why did they have to bring him into this never-ending conversation? He quickly typed a response.
:Don't drag me into this. I'm a law-abiding citizen.
:Really shameless. Did you forget that you were the one who started the fight? And now you're trying to act like a law-abiding citizen?
Xie Yu had had enough. He was more interested in the new trivia game he had just installed on his phone. He typed a quick message before logging off.
:Enough, I'm not playing with you anymore, Barbecue Prince. I'm going to play some games now.
The two had different understandings of the word "game". Zhou Dalei also enjoyed playing, whether it was Lian Lian Kan or League of Legends, he was quite open-minded and never picky. He had a bit of talent in gaming and was once the strongest king in Blackwater Street, where others couldn't even make it to the top.
So this prince of the barbecue stall, immediately perked up and asked Xie Yu in a private chat: What game? Is it the new Chicken King Battle? Let's play together!
:Don't ask anymore, you can't handle it.
:You won't be able to play it.
Three consecutive cold responses.
:Don't tell a man he can't do something. You name it, and I guarantee big brother will get you into the top ten of the leaderboard in no time!
Zhou Dalei stubbed out his cigarette, ready to face this battle between men. But then he saw the game interface screenshot that Xie Yu sent - if it could still be called a game - and suddenly he felt like he had been struck by lightning. He trembled as he retracted the harsh words he had just said.
Then he pressed the voice button and retorted, "What is this thing?!"
Hellish math, Huanggang exam questions, fancy English, comprehensive physics... it's toxic!
:Is this a game? Can this be considered a game? What misunderstandings do you have about games?
Zhou Dalei's heart was full of holes, aching terribly. Finally, he could only ask from the depths of his soul: Is it fun?!
:I don't know, it should be okay.
In the game "Trivia King Battle", there are no more than 400 players online at any given time. It's an unpopular and rudimentary game, filled with the possibility of being deleted at any moment.
Once you enter, there's a random test to pass before you can move on to the second round: solving problems and one-on-one battles.
The game also has a small trumpet function, with a small box in the lower left corner that scrolls through the screen, promoting communication between players. However, the content of this communication...
"Top Ten In The Grade" said to the "English Class Representative": Let's battle on calculus, I will definitely return this shame to you.
"English Class Representative" said to the "Top Ten of the Grade": Because you lack a brain. Do you find this interesting? Instead of wasting your time, why not spend more time memorizing English words? To be honest, you haven't mastered the vocabulary of Level 8*, and having a vocabulary of only Level 4 is not promising. You should reflect on yourself.
*T/N: Level 8 is the most proficient level of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam.
"Beauty of Chinese Culture": Why bother memorizing English? When you are tired, come and relax in the ocean of Chinese culture. Let's have a Classical Chinese competition, with custom rules and double experience points. Room 24008, waiting for someone who is destined to join.
"I Love Learning": Can someone please help me solve question 13 on exam B? Isn't zero or negative one the final solution? Is the restriction given for this function incorrect?
"Learning, Learning, Learning, It's All I Live For": I am willing to pay a high price for a limited edition set of "Sprint to the College Entrance Exam - The Most Valuable Practice Test," celebrating the 40th anniversary of the resumption of the college entrance exam. I searched every bookstore but couldn't find it. I couldn't even eat without completing this set of practice tests. I've lost 20 pounds and feel so miserable. The Sprint to the College Entrance Exam series is my favorite, and how could I not get my hands on the limited edition!!!
Xie Yu happened to be the 399th registered player. This game was really unpopular, and the system warmly welcomed this player for a full two minutes through the broadcast, eagerly looking forward to his future: exploring the ocean of knowledge, striving for the construction of a beautiful new China, and being beckoned by Tsinghua and Beijing University.
Xie Yu went in and completed a set of practice tests.
The system continued to scroll: Welcome to join the family of the Trivia King Battle!
At that time, these online players had no idea that the newcomer with a username that looked like it had been rolled on the keyboard with a face would cause a bloody storm throughout the entire holiday.
Zhou Dalei also took a set of test questions, stubbornly refusing to give up until he hit a wall. Each answer area for every question only had two crooked and twisted dog-like characters: "Don't know."
The result was obvious.
He clicked the submit button in the upper right corner, only to be told that his score was too low to qualify for entry into the game lobby.
Zhou Dalei almost threw his phone.
Discrimination! Discrimination against poor students! What kind of crappy game is this? I am the king of the esports world, and you won't even let me into the game lobby? So what if I don't know how to do it? At least I'm honest!
So after finishing the test, Xie Yu received over a dozen WeChat messages from the Barbecue Prince.
:How is it even possible to solve this? Was this made for humans?
:I'm going to complain! I want to file a complaint!
Xie Yu: "......"
Xie Yu lightly tapped his fingers on the screen, organizing his thoughts and was about to send it out. But then Zhou Dalei sent another message: What score did you get?
Xie Yu leaned against the edge of the bed, sitting on the carpet, slowly deleting the words he had just typed out.
:About the same as you.
:This game is garbage, I uninstalled it.
Zhou Dalei had a cigarette in his mouth, squatting next to a box contemplating life. He wore an apron around his waist with red artistic letters that read "Fang Baolai Sunflower Seed Oil," clearly a promotion for a supermarket's buy-two-get-one-free sale.
He was not bad-looking, with a decent appearance and a hint of roguishness, just a little dark. But crouching down like this, he looked more like a thug.
As Mother Zhou walked by with a plate, she couldn't stand his appearance and kicked him solidly in the butt: "What are you squatting there for? Is the lamb cooked yet?"
"I'm going, I'm going," Zhou Dalei quickly stood up. He took two steps out, but then turned back and said, "Wait, Mom, I have a question for you."
Mother Zhou was accommodating: "I don't know, no money, love you."
"Can you please be serious? I wanted to ask you about Xie Yu, do you remember him from middle school? He had excellent grades and even represented our street in a math competition, winning a prize. And when we were kids, he could solve a Rubik's cube with his eyes closed, he was so impressive..."
Mother Zhou tossed a dirty dish into the sink. "So what? Your mother also got perfect scores in every subject when she was young, but still ended up like this. People change, just like you. Look at yourself now."
Zhou Dalei tried to grasp the faint idea in his mind. "No, Mom, I really don't think that's it... And what's wrong with me now? I think I'm pretty handsome."
"Who cares about being handsome? Just fix those messy colors on your head first," scolded Mother Zhou. "Kids these days are too focused on playing, they may be smart but it all depends on how much effort they put into studying. Take Ah Jie from the next street for example, his grades used to be terrible but after being discharged from the hospital, he jumped over a hundred spots in the mock exams. I'm thinking maybe you need a car accident to clear your mind and stop playing games all day long..."
"Twenty skewers of lamb, right? I'll go get them now."