Wandering through the night street, Zhuge lost his goal. To go back or not? This question lingered in his mind all the way.
Rambling aimlessly to the surrounding business street, Zhuge sat down on the bench for people to rest before taking out his cellphone. Since the game APP had been deleted by his colleague last time, he didn’t download it again--- because he didn’t feel weak any longer.
And now, he became more irritable.
‘You’ve logged in the account.’
The game was deleted, yet the discussion platform of the game had been remained there, where there were full of supporters of the game. Essentially, he used to be a member of this group.
‘The game will be updated and maintained to test the new version next week. Please get ready to store the data and log it off ahead of time. There will be a new role added into the new system--- Kneading of the magic girl…’
The sticky post was a notice about the game renewal, with one after another exciting comments beneath.
‘Magic girl?? Ah!!!! So gorgeous!’
‘I’m gonna knead a Slime Girl, Ah!!!
Zhuge scrolled down the page. He suddenly lost all interest in that moment and felt disgusted, "It sounds nicer than it is… Magic girl… if it really appears in front of you… After all, the reality is, no matter how cute it is, it’ll be horrific if the figure changes from 2-dimension to 3-dimension."
However… he might have been one of the members who showed delight before today.
Zhuge laughed with self-derision. He sat in a daze alone until the business street turned totally lonesome and all shops were closed except the convenience stores that were opened round–the-clock.
Sure enough, there were no free meals in the world.
Zhuge shook his head, hesitating, eventually going back home… because he didn’t take ID card for registering a hotel room after running away from home. He had nothing except a cellphone.
He had to bite the bullet to go back.
Thinking that though Nanako… but at least she wouldn’t hurt him.
He went back to the building of his room. As he walked to his floor, he found the door was left unlocked.
Zhuge gave a start, pushing open the door cautiously--- even the lights were not turned on.
Zhuge turned on the light of the room--- it was too small and could be totally seen with a glance.
But… Nanako was not here.
Or washing room, the balcony, the kitchen… Nanako had left the room.
Zhuge sat on the floor woodenly, hanging his head with no joy or sense of alienation. He only felt blank.
He tried to recall the scene that he slapped away Nanako’s palm… and the moment he disappeared from her sight.
Zhuge looked around, here and there, before touching his face suddenly. Then repeated the actions, his wooden face started to twitch.
His shoulders quivered faintly, sensing as if Nanako was about to vanish from his life.
Maybe it was better… because he could no longer treat Nanako like what she received from the beginning.
Maybe it was better… Nanako, must feel depressed due to his behavior.
Recalling the call of his name as he ran down the stairs, it was obviously filled with anxiety, uncertainty, and panic…
Ring, Ring, Ring.
Zhuge opened his eyes with a headache and turned off his phone alarm. He was dizzy and sleepy with a sore body. It turned out he slept on the floor for the whole night.
Zhuge looked towards the door, finding it was still unlocked and was slightly disappointed.
He did not know what he was expecting.
Maybe, to wake up from the dream and go back to reality.
Since that day, Zhuge didn’t see Nanako. As usual, he hurried to get up in the morning but didn’t catch the first bus. Fortunately, he was in time for the office as the last member.
"Zhuge! The ink box ran out. Go get one from the warehouse please!"
He was busy repeating the same work every day, not even knowing what he was doing.
"Zhuge, take this sample to the factory. It can be put into production next month."
He was just the most common handyman in the office, without dreams, futures, and friends.
"A good news! I’m selected to join the TV show---Diamond 120 Seconds, and will be there to perform several days later! Remember to watch TV to cheer me up! Are you going to be out that not to watch such famous TV program? Well, I have several tickets for friends and family!"
Listening to that… that guy who deleted his game was flaunting, he could only reply ‘Oh, that’s good’. No excitement or delightfulness, because it was none of his business.
And it would never happen to him.
"Zhuge, you should lose your weight! If you get fatter, there won’t be room for us."
He was always teased from before, and might be the same after… anyway, he had gotten used to it, hadn’t he?
Anyway, he had gotten used to it.
"No room for you here, but you still try, so are you going to be handsy? Disgusting!"
He could only stand. After a certain time of squeezing, he walked out of the metro muddle headedly, buying some simple instant food in the surrounding convenience store.
Anyhow, he just grabbed a bite to eat for dinner.
"Zhuge, you’ve grown up, how about considering to get married? I’ll arrange a blind date for you when you come back next time. I won’t ask more, just choose a girl who was diligent and thrifty in running the household."
It was the chatter from his hometown each month which could already be recited.
The next month would be the same.
"I’ll become the husband of…!", "This is my… way!!", "I’ll keep guard this smile!"
Back to the similar life as before, turning off the light while the screen was on. He felt that time went faster this way, feeling this guy wearing a straw hat was handsome, and this ninja life was long, boring, but still continued to wait for it.
He logged into the account, from CF to LOL and OW( computer games), from night to the next daybreak.
"F*ck!! Teammates are all idiots?" He smashed his mouse, swearing at meeting a group of stupid teammates.
"F*ck! Don’t you know how to play solo mid? Did your home explode?" The swearing was very serious.
"F*ck you, b*tch!! Hacker!! Report it! Report it!" He would be angry with these.
"Dragon! Swallowing my enemies!!" He couldn’t help shouting when he became excited.
But why didn’t he feel happy at all?
But… why did he feel that time passed more slowly than before?
Why hadn’t daybreak come yet?
He couldn’t remember how long he didn’t look into the mirror… two days? Three days? Or four days?
Day by day.
Day by day, he became more eager to hear ‘Take care on your way’ when he went out for work.
Day by day, he longed more and more for the words ‘You worked hard today’ when coming back after work.
But the reality was, he walked through the dim stairs and entered the empty rented room.
He didn’t even want to go back. Once he went back, there was no way to cheer him up.
Though it was short.
Though it was short.
"Though it was short…" Zhuge found he lost the energy to climb the stairs.
"I… am too bad… too feeble…"
Finally, he sat on the stairs, covering his face and sobbing alone.
A certain time passed, Zhuge found someone was patting his shoulder. He raised his head, seeing a figure in the dim, so he blurted out, "Nanako!"
"Na what?" Yet a hoarse voice of a man came, "Why is such a man squatting and crying here? Are you frightened?"
"Landlord…" Zhuge gave a start, wiping his face with his hands, "I… I’ve paid the rent already."
The landlord showed his impatience, "I’m not coming for you! Because the neighbor downstairs complains that a figure was sneaking nearby at night, saying that there were voices of a woman crying! This father is always upright! Where are those demons and ghosts? I have to check out the situation tonight."
"Are you deaf?" The landlord pushed Zhuge aside, "Don’t stand in the way! The worker that installs the camera is coming! Get out here!"
"What are you saying!! Say that again! At night, what?"
Unexpectedly the tenant who was always scared, now like a furious beast, grabbed his clothes and pushed him to the corner. The landlord was scared, "They say… say a female ghost was wandering… and crying…"
Zhuge let him go, lowering his head, as muttering, "It’s Nanako… Nanako…"
She was crying.
That day… when he slapped away her hand, and looked at her as seeing a monster…
She… she would be hurt… she would be sad… she… she… she had thought.
Even then… she was still by my side… quietly…
"I’m going to find her! I’m going to find her! I’m going to find her!"
Watching Zhuge hurried to run through the stairs, the landlord patted his own shoulder, then lowered his head like a ripe eggplant.
Black smoke flashed across, the figure of the landlord turned into Tai Yinzi.
"Tai Yinzi, would you like to have another bet, about if Zhuge would seek out Nanako?"
"Master… I…" Tai Yinzi face turned extremely pale… looking at the club’s boss, who leaned against the railing, observing Zhuge who was running down the stairs to the road to look everywhere in a flurry.
"I remembered some details have been added to the bet to keep it fair. What did I say?" Luo Qiu turned his head, saying as looking at Tai Yinzi.
"Only observing is allowed, and any sneak actions will be forbidden."
"Well…" Luo Qiu said, "Then each of us has one opportunity to take actions in fairness, is that OK?"
"As, as what master said."