Xie Yu's sleep quality has never been good. Just as he had fallen asleep, he was awakened by the sound of things being smashed downstairs.
Porcelain shattered on the ground, the sound piercing and crisp.
Along with the sound of things being smashed, there was also a familiar angry voice. The tone was filled with years of high status and arrogance: "This is my home, all of you get out of here - pack up and get out! Keep your dirty hands off me, who allowed you to touch me? Just based on you, you're not worthy -"
Xie Yu lifted his hand to remove his eye mask but didn't open his eyes. His temples were throbbing.
"Young Master, I've made some sobering soup for you. Drink some," came Ah Fang's voice, meek and obedient. "You drank too much alcohol..."
Something was smashed, making a dull sound. The man cursed more and more sharply: "I told you to get out, all of you! You lowly people, can't even understand human language, can you?!"
"Oh, I almost forgot. This house doesn't have a place for me to speak. But certain people who don't even have the last name Zhong really think they're something."
Xie Yu tossed and turned in bed, finally sitting up in annoyance and cursing: "Damn it."
It had been three years.
The same farce had been going on for three years.
Three years ago, Gu Xuelan married the famous businessman Zhong Guofei in A City. The news spread throughout the city, and not only Gu Xuelan, but even Xie Yu was subjected to all kinds of malicious speculation.
The rumors spread as though they were the truth. The curious onlookers, who never shy away from drama, have written countless versions of his life story, with the most eye-catching being the one about a mistress and an illegitimate child.
If it weren't for Xie Yu's personal experience of years spent evading debt collectors, going hungry for days on end, and struggling to pay even his tuition fees, he might have almost believed those endless and poorly crafted stories.
As for Zhong Jie - the biological son of Zhong Guofei - he cannot accept any version of the story about the mother and child, nor does he care about the truth.
All he knows is that after losing his mother, someone is trying to take away everything he has, including the most important thing of all - his inheritance rights.
After a long time, things finally became quiet downstairs. After much persuasion, they finally managed to help Young Master Zhong back to his room. Xie Yu leaned on the bed and could clearly hear the sound of Zhong Jie's door closing, as well as the sigh and footsteps of someone passing by his door and heading downstairs.
Xie Yu opened his eyes, not knowing what he was thinking. Suddenly, he felt thirsty for no reason. It was as if a ball of fire was burning through his organs and up to his throat.
Gu Xuelan sat on the sofa in the living room, her eyes lonely and her white silk nightgown trailing on the floor. When she saw Xie Yu come down, she only lifted her head slightly, seeming very tired.
"Why did you come down? Did it disturb you?"
Xie Yu knew she would be here. He wanted to say, "I've told you countless times, if he wants to go crazy, let him go crazy. It's none of your business." But seeing her like this, he held back and only threw out three words in a lukewarm tone, "Happy now?"
Gu Xuelan replied, "In a couple of days, it will be his mother's death anniversary."
"So you just stood there and let him curse at you for an hour," Xie Yu said.
Gu Xuelan remained silent.
Xie Yu's tone was devoid of any emotion, but his words were increasingly cutting, "Did you kill his mother? Did you steal his father? He loves to curse, so let him curse. But you, you went and gave in, what a great show of support."
At this point, Gu Xuelan was no longer as strong-willed as she had been in the car earlier. She sighed softly and said, "Don't say that."
Xie Yu said, "No one owes him anything. Doesn't he have any self-awareness?"
Xie Yu poured two glasses of milk from the kitchen and handed one to Gu Xuelan, trying to speak calmly, "Mom, finish your drink and go rest. It's late.
"I'll pretend I didn't hear anything tonight. If you let him insult you again next time, I'll beat him until he can't speak.
"You know I always keep my word."
Gu Xuelan took the glass.
The boy standing in front of her seemed to have grown so tall without her noticing, making Gu Xuelan a little dizzy.
His features were supposed to be feminine, but a certain sharpness and coldness had broken through his appearance, making him difficult to approach. Even his own mother felt like a stranger to him. Her gaze finally fell on Xie Yu's hair, which was raised due to sleeping, and she found that the hair was still so fine and soft, just like when he was a child.
For a moment, she didn't know what to say. By the time she came back to her senses, Xie Yu had already turned and gone upstairs.
Xie Yu's sleep quality was very poor, so poor that even milk couldn't help him. After being woken up from a good sleep, he couldn't fall asleep no matter how hard he tried.
He looked at the dark night outside the window and suddenly wanted to know what time it was.
Originally, he just wanted to check the time, but after touching his phone, he completely lost his sleepiness.
:Damn it, I'm done playing!
:This time, I'm really done playing!
:Last time! If I play again, I'll be a pig!
Two hours ago, Zhou Dalei sent three screenshots, all of which said: "Your score is too low, you are not qualified to enter the game lobby~ Please answer the questions seriously."
Xie Yu replied with a line of text: Do you think that heaven will be moved by the persistence of a zero-point scorer?
Zhou Dalei was probably already asleep, and Xie Yu didn't plan to wait for his reply. After exiting, he hesitated between continuing to play dead in his bed and playing the trivia game, and finally ended up clicking on the app with a Wisdom Fruit icon.
"Dear user, welcome back to the Trivia King Battle competition~ Your test score is full marks. Click to continue and enter the game lobby!"
At three in the morning, this game was still lively.
"I Love Learning": Is there anyone who wants to come to the small room to compete in math formulas? Waiting for a destined person.
"Balanced Education": Is the third multiple-choice question in the Math Olympiad paper C a mistake? Did I get it wrong or did the question itself have an error?
"Striving for Excellence": It's so late, why aren't you all asleep yet?
"Learning, Learning, Learning, It's All I Live For": Sleep? What sleep? Do you know how many people you'll fall behind if you sleep just one minute earlier?
"For a Better Tomorrow": My fellow student, you speak the truth. Life is short, and time spent learning is precious. Sleeping in would be a waste of this valuable time.
"I Love Learning": My thirst for knowledge keeps me up at night. Once I fall asleep, it's like I'm dead - my brain stops thinking. What could be scarier than that?
Xie Yu suddenly felt like he was crazy to reopen this game. Their conversation quickly shifted from sleeping to other topics.
"Learning, Learning, Learning, It's All I Live For": Speaking of which, the person who ranks first on the leaderboard, is there anyone who can knock him down? I've been annoyed with him for so long, how can there be someone who is so shameless?
This statement unexpectedly triggered many people who were lurking and practicing problems.
"Top Ten In The Grade": So shameless +1!
"English Class Representative": So shameless +2!!
"My Dream Is To Become The Principal": So shameless +3!!!
The atmosphere was lively, and the people's thoughts were unprecedentedly unified.
The first on the leaderboard, so shameless?
Xie Yu was unusually curious.
The leaderboard was located in the upper right corner of the page. Clicking on it revealed a simple list, and the person in first place was...
"F*ck." Xie Yu muttered as he glanced at the two words next to the golden trophy. He didn't know what to say besides "f*ck" for a moment.
First place: Trivia King.
Personal description: Don't bother fighting, victory belongs to me.
In just seven words, it was arrogant yet polite.
In a game called "Trivia King Battle," he named himself Trivia King? Perhaps too many people asked the official customer service whether this "Trivia King" was a player or a machine, which led to the official note next to this first place: Don't ask, this is a player, really a player, challenge if you don't believe it orz.
Maybe it was because he couldn't sleep and was too restless, or maybe he just wanted to find something to pass the time, but deep down, Xie Yu was somewhat unhappy with this Trivia King Battle.
Bored out of his mind, Xie Yu clicked on the practice mode. He thought, if it was just in this game, and no one knew about it... it should be fine.
Everyone knew that Xie Yu had poor grades.
Not only were his grades bad, but he also always got into fights. He hit his rebellious phase with a vengeance, and even Gu Xuelan had forgotten that three years ago, he wasn't like this at all.
In his first year of middle school, Xie Yu used to bring home trophies.
Gu Xuelan wasn't sure how significant those trophies were, and Xie Yu wasn't the type to boast.
He always casually said, "It was just a small competition, not many people participated."
A month before Gu Xuelan decided to marry Zhong Guofei, she moved out of the basement flat with Xie Yu. On that day, Zhong Guofei called a moving company for help. Being over forty years old, he exuded the meticulousness of a businessman, leaving no room for error in his work, yet he was also kind and approachable.
Standing in the dark and damp basement, he finally stopped in front of a wall. He bent down and when he smiled, there were obvious crow's feet at the corners of his eyes. He asked, "Xiao Yu, did you win all these awards?"
Little did he know that once he started playing the game, he couldn't stop. Xie Yu's competitive spirit, which had been dormant for so long, was awakened and he couldn't stop playing, even at the expense of his sleep. He spent several nights brushing up on his skills and managed to squeeze into the top three of the leaderboard.
During meal times, Gu Xuelan would call out to him, but his response was always the same: "Not eating now, leave it there."
"What have you been doing in your room these past few days?" Gu Xuelan stood at the door, trying to hold back her anger.
"I've been playing games," Xie Yu was quite honest.
"You have some nerve... I've arranged for a tutor to come tomorrow. You better adjust your attitude and listen to me, you hear me?"
"I didn't hear you."
Gu Xuelan was beyond frustrated. She went back to the dining room where Zhong Guofei smiled and handed her a piece of fresh sashimi.
"Don't be angry. It's normal for kids to be playful. Try this, I had it flown in fresh from Hokkaido. I noticed you liked it last time we ate at the restaurant."
After Zhong Guofei finished speaking, he put down his chopsticks and watched her eat. He even helped her fix her hair. "If you get sick from being angry, it'll be me who's heartbroken."
Gu Xuelan smiled and glanced at him before sighing, "I hope so."
Lately, Xie Yu had been acting strange.
Several times, Zhou Dalei had seen posts from this big brother on his WeChat moments in the middle of the night. The content was quite surreal, and he seemed to be in a daze.
For example, this post at 4:23 am tonight.
xy: Someone come wake me up [/smile].
Zhou Dalei happened to be playing a new season of a certain game that required him to score points. Otherwise, he wouldn't be idle enough to browse WeChat moments at this time.
The atmosphere in the internet cafe was even more lively than during the day.
There were several buckets of instant noodles around the keyboard, and Zhou Dalei blew smoke rings, pressed the cigarette butt into the ashtray, and casually commented: Are you drunk?
Xie Yu replied: I don't drink, alcohol harms people.
Zhou Dalei asked again: Judging from your tone, my brother, I dare to guess that you have fallen into the abyss of love, haven't you?
Xie Yu replied: Love my foot.