First Published on Chaleuria
096 – Say that one more time and I’ll go offline.
The next day happened to be Saturday.
Although Liang Hui’s suggestion was idiotic, one had to admit it was fairly ‘civilized.’ After all, if they really fought, it would be Old Tang and Mad Dog who would have to clean up their mess.
So Luo Wenqiang took the lead and accepted this war declaration on behalf of Class 3. “You’re on! We’re not afraid of you!”
As they had caused a disturbance, Classes 3 and 4 were both eliminated from the tournament and their progress was invalidated. During literature class, Old Tang took some class time to educate them. “In all things, don’t be rash. Not all problems have to be solved by rushing up and using your fists. You’re not children any more and you have to take responsibility for your actions…”
The class was dead silent.
Old Tang thought they were silent and furiously looking down intoat their lapspants as a display of shame, and he could not help but soften his tone. “Consider this incident a lesson, and I hope this will not happen again.”
Xie Yu had had no time to sleep during lunch break. Now he pushed a thick stack of books to the middle of his desk and hid behind them to nap.
He Zhao elbowed him. “Check the class group chat.”
Xie Yu did not open his eyes, his face still buried in the crook of his elbow. He felt around under his desk for a while before finding his phone. Without changing his posture, he reluctantly opened his eyes and tapped on the unread notification.
[Luo Wenqiang]: Who’s joining? Put your name down and join our class guild. I just got someone to set it up. It’s called ‘Class 4, kneel down and cry uncle.’
[Xu Jing]: Good name! Simple, violent, and aggressive. It fits our class spirit very well.
[Xu Qingqing]: Count me in.
[Wan Da]: I went to eavesdrop. The class next door has 5 clerics, four mages, and the rest are all assassins. I don’t know what class Liang Hui’s going to play. He has three accounts…
Seeing Class 3 raring to go online and fight, Xie Yu was getting a headache. “They’re serious?”
If they fought face to face, the warzone wouldn’t be that big. But now that the format had been changed to a game, they would have universal participation. Everyone who had an account was itching to rub the faces of the class next door into the ground.
During the four afternoon class periods, everyone’s minds were clearly elsewhere. All of them just wanted to go home and play video games. When the class dismissal bell rang, Liu Cunhao was the first to pack up his things, pick up his bag, and rush out. “Bye, bros! I have to rush home and practice my combos. See you online—”
Xie Yu was leaning on the railing in the corridor, on a phone call. Madam Gu said a few more words on the other end. The corridor was noisy and he didn’t hear properly, and only said, ‘Mm,’ several times.
Liu Cunhao waved as he passed him. “See you, Yu-ge!”
Liu Cunhao was going very fast and the water bottle he had stuffed in his bag’s side pocket was pushed out. It wobbled and He Zhao braced his arms on the windowsill and called to him, “Hao-zi, your bottle.”
Gu Xuelan was saying something when she heard the noisy footsteps over the phone. It was the noise of a school: clamoring, racket, and the sound of boys talking, full of life.
Xie Yu waited for a while and didn’t hear Madam Gu say anything more. “Mom?”
“It’s nothing.” Gu Xuelan recovered, then reminded him, “Take care on your way back.”
For the two weekend days he would spend at home, Xie Yu took several exercise books, then thought about it, and put another mock paper into his bag. He was about to zip up his bag when he felt a cool sensation at his neck.
He Zhao had worked up a sweat playing basketball earlier and he felt uncomfortable, so after school he had gone back to the dormitory and taken a quick shower.
He bent slightly at the waist and rested his chin on Xie Yu’s shoulder. His hair dripped water. “I won’t see my little friend for two days and I miss him already.”
Xie Yu pulled his zipper up and turned as he spoke. “I haven’t even left—”
His words were cut off halfway.
When he turned around, He Zhao was already in position to lean down and kiss him.
He brought with him a faint chill as he drew closer, catching Xie Yu off guard.
It had just been a kiss with no other intent behind it. He just couldn’t bear to let his little friend go. He had completely forgotten that the moment he touched Xie Yu he would lose control.
The sensation of losing control was even more intense than it had been on the basketball court that afternoon. When Xie Yu opened his eyes again, the edge of the desk digging painfully into his back. His school pants were pulled down to his tailbone and hung there loosely.
“You’re hard.” He Zhao deliberately touched him through the fabric. “Beg me?”
Xie Yu hummed softly. His fingers threaded lightly through He Zhao’s hair, getting a handful of wetness.
He Zhao had told Xie Yu to beg him, but he still reached out to loosen Xie Yu’s waistband and reached in to help him. Xie Yu realized that He Zhao was going to finish him up and then go, and his half-lidded eyes flew open. In a low voice, he asked, “…you’re not going to do it?”
Since Xie Yu’s birthday, they had not gone too far. Even though He Zhao was so hard he couldn’t bear it, at the very last step he would still force himself to let go of Xie Yu.
He Zhao was worried Xie Yu would be in pain, and worried he had not yet recovered, and his little friend still had to ride the bus home, so it wouldn’t be right. “You’re not going home? You’re going to stay the night here with me?”
Xie Yu let go of the back of He Zhao’s head and braced himself against the side of the desk. Putting that distance between them made him a little more clear-headed.
He Zhao asked, “Tomorrow night, Lost Love Cliff. Are you going?”
“Going, my ass. I’m not going.”
Xie Yu didn’t dare imagine what it would be like. “It’s too stupid.”
A certain someone had said it was stupid and he was not going, but after he got home, he saw that the time of the showdown between the two classes was growing closer. He hesitated for a while, then logged into his old game account, the one called ‘X.’
Xie Yu had no extraordinary interest in games like Genesis. He had only registered an account because Zhou Dalei had staked his life on it. I guarantee on my worthless life that it’s really fun! If it’s not, you can cut my head off and kick it like a football!
But Xie Yu had not played for very long. His account was still on level 46 and most of the skill tree was still locked.
Xie Yu looked down and texted He Zhao. Do you have a spare account?
He Zhao replied very quickly. Yes. Hold on a sec.
Xie Yu exited the PM interface and found that the class group was still discussing tonight’s battle. They were much more fervent than when they discussed studying on a usual day.
Class 3’s group chat was full of activity for a while before an incomprehensible @ suddenly emerged.
[a＝(Vt-Vo)/t]: What game is this?
Xue Xisheng asked twice. After getting an answer, he moved his mouse, found the official Genesis site, and clicked download.
When He Zhao sent the account username and password over, he also commented, Our class rep is actually breaking his record of 17 years of not touching online games.
Xie Yu thought: not only is he breaking a record, the study rep once said that online games are the most pointless things, like emotional opium for teens, and would only hinder his studying time.
He Zhao had given him a max-level warrior with a melee focus.
It was good in every way, but…
“What kind of name is this?” Xie Yu placed a call and before He Zhao could get a word in he continued to say, “Are you sick?”
On his computer monitor was a berserker tattooed from his chest to his shoulders, an impressive appearance with a green dragon saber in its hand. But atop its head was a name that could not possibly get more idiotic: ╰→ I’ll get addicted to thinking of you.
He Zhao had not noticed what was amiss. He was never serious when he named his avatars. When Xie Yu had asked him for one, he had only just remembered to change the name quickly. “Couple names. Look at mine.”
He Zhao’s avatar was an assassin, dressed in black from head to foot, only a pair of eyes showing through the hood. Over its head: ﹏Enchanted with love for you〆
Xie Yu: “……”
Most of Class 3 was already online, using every last bit of time to practice co-op. More and more members of the guild came online.
When the study rep appeared under the handle ‘PleaseDontGetAddictedToGames,’ Class 3 went silent.
Soon after, the idiot pair of lovers appeared in the guild member list and all of Class 3 went silently mad.
Everyone had different online handles and for a while they couldn’t tell who was who, so they swapped back to the class group chat to talk. It was easier to strategize like that later, too.
Xu Qingqing’s house was noisy—they were probably still eating dinner. When she got online, she said, “Forget about the study rep. Who are these two idiots?”
Wan Da put on his earphones and said, “Probably joined the wrong guild.”
Liu Cunhao asked, “Are they dumb dicks?!”
“Me and Old Xie,” He Zhao said. “Anyone have issues?”
“No, no, we wouldn’t dare.” Liu Cunhao had thought it wasn’t someone from their class. When he heard He Zhao, he tried to rescind the words ‘dumb dicks.’ He racked his brains and said awkwardly, “Actually, those names… they sound kind of high-class.”
Xie Yu tamped down very hard on the impulse to kick He Zhao from this end of the corridor to the far end when he saw him on Monday, and joined the team fight with the idiotic handle ╰→ I’ll get addicted to thinking of you.
Liu Cunhao had been class rep for two years and brought his natural leadership charisma into the game. He had not practiced his game skills much, but he led everyone around in formation for half an hour.
“No matter our skill level, we must put up a strong front. We have to suppress them from the beginning.” Liu Cunhao spoke confidently into the mic. “Warriors, stand in front. Mages stay back, and clerics in the rear. Form up. I’ll count down, 3, 2, 1. Everyone walk forward…”
The 20+ people made a 4×6 rectangular formation.
To one side of the formation, a warrior with the handle ╰→ I’ll get addicted to thinking of you was not moving. Through the visor, his avatar’s gaze seemed to be a little cold.
Liu Cunhao kept repeating, “3, 2, 1.” In the chaos, He Zhao called, “Old Xie, let’s go.”
Xie Yu turned on his mic. “Say that one more time and I’ll go offline.”
Class 4 had named their guild ‘Class 3 are our grandsons.’ At 9 p.m. sharp, a crowd had amassed on Lost Love Cliff.
The so-called fight had no finesse to speak of. There were too many people. It was just a brawl.
But when Class 3 showed off their 4×6 formation missing one person, Class 4 was still shocked.
“The mage on that side is hurt! Someone stab him!”
“Cleric, heal me! I’m about to die! Cleric, look at me!”
“Someone go and block that idiot! Someone guard him!”
Everyone was yelling in the group chat and no one noticed that a new Level 5 account with the handle ‘PleaseDontGetAddictedToGames’ had taken a few skill hits from the enemy and his health bar was almost empty.
Until Xue Xisheng turned on his mic and asked, “How do you heal?”