Ling Miao had been gone for three days. During that time, Su Yuyang’s life wasn’t particularly eventful and the only thing that dissatisfied him was that writing took twice as long as it usually did!
Looking at his word document, Su Yuyang frustratedly clicked the ‘X’ on the top right hand side.
Su Yuyang sighed and moved his cursor to his browser. Opening his browser, he went, not to his author’s dashboard, but to Ling Miao’s novel’s page.
Ling Miao was still updating his novel, but Su Yuyang knew that, come tomorrow, Ling Miao would have to break his update streak. Why? Ling Miao’s laptop was still here and Ling Miao didn’t have copies of his drafts saved on the website. Ling Miao had asked Su Yuyang to upload chapters for him before, so Su Yuyang knew Ling Miao’s username and password as well as the passcode to Ling Miao’s laptop.
Ling Miao’s laptop currently lay on Su Yuyang’s desk. Su Yuyang periodically tapped Ling Miao’s laptop, his expression hesitant as he considered whether to remind Ling Miao that his updates were about to run out or to just update for Ling Miao himself.
It had to be said that Su Yuyang didn’t wish for Ling Miao to break his update streak. Of course, that wasn’t because Su Yuyang was following the novel but because he didn’t want Ling Miao to blame him for this in future.
Knock knock knock: a series of hurried knocks came from the door. Su Yuyang looked at the time on the display. Hmm, takeout has arrived.
“Thank you.” Su Yuyang handed over the money, face frozen in a grimace.
The delivery guy huffed and puffed as he glared resentfully at Su Yuyang. He took the money Su Yuyang handed over and gave back the change. The flab on his face wobbled as he attempted a jovial tone. “It’s all right, just doing my job.”
After Ling Miao left, Su Yuyang had begun eating takeout again, but the more he ate the harder he found it to stomach.
After eating one bite, Su Yuyang pushed the food to one side, got up, and left his room. He returned holding a bag: the print on the side indicated that the contents were instant noodles.
Su Yuyang had eaten a lot of instant noodles these past three days. He had to thank Ling Miao for getting two packs of every kind: Su Yuyang hadn’t had to eat the same kind twice.
Eating Ling Miao’s noodles, reading Ling Miao’s novel, Su Yuyang suddenly started coughing.
Su Yuyang coughed until he was red in the face, his expression pained, as if someone were choking him.
“Ling Miao, no wonder you haven’t made your name!” Su Yuyang wanted to laugh, but he was currently choking on chilli peppers and could only cough.
If Ling Miao were at Su Yuyang’s side, he’d have lunged forward with his vegetable knife and then waited for Su Yuyang’s various counterattacks. Su Yuyang had also looked forward to Ling Miao’s displays of stubborn pride. Unfortunately, Ling Miao had left.
“Nothing catches your eye?” Ji Linxi walked over holding food and sat down next to Ling Miao.
It was the weekend and Ji Linxi didn’t have to work, so Ling Miao had commandeered Ji Linxi’s laptop. Checking four or five job sites, every posting he found was either too far away or had requirements that were too stringent. The gist of it was that Ling Miao hadn’t found a job listing he liked.
“Ah. I’m in the tedious process of job hunting again.” Ling Miao lay down on the keyboard and weakly dragged over the food Ji Linxi had bought him.
Ji Linxi suggested: “Actually, you could look for Su Yuyang. Maybe he changed his mind.”
“Get out!” Ling Miao instantly rejected Ji Linxi’s suggestion then corrected Ji Linxi: “He didn’t fire me. I quit! I’m his die-hard follower and he suspects me of being an anti-fan—I can’t tolerate that!”
“Didn’t he apologize?”
“Can apologies mend my broken heart?” Ling Miao retorted. “Regardless, even if I have to sleep on the street I won’t bow to that bastard! Ah, Linxi. Does your company have any openings suitable for me?”
Ji Linxi searched his mind for news about employment opportunities. Ling Miao saw Ji Linxi’s eyes light up and asked excitedly, “They do?”
Ji Linxi said regretfully: “Yes, and in the same department as me, but with your personality you definitely won’t take it—that position reports directly to Hu Lin.”
“You’ve gotta be kidding.” Ling Miao wanted to flip a table. “Forget it. I’ll keep looking for other positions and if I really can’t find anything I’ll go apply at your place.”
Though Ling Miao said so, Ji Linxi didn’t take him seriously; he and Ling Miao both knew that even if Ling Miao passed the screening, Hu Lin would do his best during the interview to kick Ling Miao out of the running.
After eating lunch, Su Yuyang continued to write the chapter he hadn’t finished that morning and Ling Miao continued job hunting.
It was dinnertime before Su Yuyang knew it. He called the takeout place but the delivery guy said, “I’ll only deliver it downstairs.” Su Yuyang laughed. If I were willing to go downstairs, would I be getting takeout?
Su Yuyang had gotten a 10th floor apartment because he wanted quiet but now he regretted it a little.
Since the delivery guy wouldn’t deliver to his door and Su Yuyang didn’t want to go downstairs, Su Yuyang had no choice but to eat Ling Miao’s instant noodles for a while longer.
He ripped open the instant noodle bag and went to get hot water.
“Suddenly, I kind of miss Ling Miao’s cooking. If he were willing to deliver food to me every day…” Su Yuyang’s train of thought suddenly screeched to a halt. Not even a second later, a terrible scream came from Su Yuyang’s mouth.
“Hot!!” Su Yuyang hurriedly dropped the bowl, but the hot soup and noodles spilled out right over the back of his hand, adding insult to injury.
Su Yuyang rushed into the kitchen and poured cold water over the burned area.
The back of his hand was boiled red and touching it in the slightest caused him excruciating pain. Su Yuyang frustratedly looked at the reddened back of his hand and thought: With this kind of swelling, how am I supposed to write? Once Su Yuyang realized that he might break his updating streak, he felt as if his heart were being whipped. It hurt to the point he couldn’t breathe. Even more tragically, it was his right hand that was burned!
Su Yuyang searched the internet for how to treat a burn. As he searched, the inflamed area began to form boils, and by the time Su Yuyang paid attention to them, they were already the size of beans.
“I…” Su Yuyang looked at the boils and immediately wanted to pop them, but he’d just seen a piece of advice that said they shouldn’t be popped.
In the time it took Su Yuyang to blink, the boils grew a little, again. Now he definitely had to go downstairs, whether he wanted to or not.
But first he made two posts to his microblog, accompanied by pictures of his injured hand.
“Got burned. If I break my update streak, it’s not because I was lazy.”
Ling Miao opened his microblog and immediately saw Su Yuyang’s post. He dragged Ji Linxi over and pointed at Su Yuyang’s blog: “Ji Linxi, look quick, Su Yuyang’s hand is swollen like a pig trotter! Hah, it’s karma!”
“You’re too happy about his bad luck,” Ji Linxi said coolly, then grabbed the laptop back. Ling Miao hummed dejectedly. He knew Ji Linxi had to work so he went back to his bed and lay down.
Su Yuyang returned from the pharmacy. Following the instructions, he rubbed ointment on his burn. As he did so, he glanced at his microblog: during the time he had been out, the list of his reply and reblog notifications had grown longer and longer. He clicked into his notifications and found that all the replies and reblogs were on the one post.
There were many concerned messages and also many messages attacking him, but one of them was particularly nasty: It’s karma.
This ID wasn’t familiar and didn’t linger on who had sent the message for the time being, assuming them to be an anti-fan.
Su Yuyang replied to some of the concerned messages, then very nosily opened the blog page of the person who had sent him the message “It’s karma.”
The blog name was “Ji Linxi.” Su Yuyang went over a list of names in his head and concluded that he really didn’t know this person, but on the navbar on the right side of the blog he found a familiar ID—@WriterZeroSecondsAgo—this was Ling Miao’s modified username.
Ji Linxi posted a lot, mostly about his daily life, and occasionally he posted his design work or advertisements for his company.
“This isn’t Ling Miao’s account.” Su Yuyang clicked through two pages of the blog, found that this person interacted with Ling Miao a lot, and guessed that it was probably someone Ling Miao knew. Su Yuyang made a conjecture: That post wasn’t Ji Linxi landing a punch on Ling Miao’s behalf; it was Ling Miao who sent it, using Ji Linxi’s account.
Situation one: If Ji Linxi wrote the reply, what reason did he have to do that for Ling Miao? They seemed to be only ordinary friends, but did Ji Linxi have those sorts of intentions toward Ling Miao?
Situation two: If Ling Miao sent it himself then he is still looking out for news about me!
In situation one:
Su Yuyang really wanted to drag Ling Miao in front of him and ask him about his relationship with Ji Linxi, but more than that, he wanted to drag Ji Linxi over and give him a good beating, and then ask him what his intentions towards Ling Miao were.
But what right did Su Yuyang have to do this?
In situation two:
Su Yuyang grinned as he looked at Ji Linxi’s blog. Thinking of the possibility that Ling Miao still cared about him, he felt as if the dark clouds outside the window had all turned white.
“Suddenly, I miss Ling Miao a little.”
Hey, it isn’t ‘suddenly,’ is it? Since the moment Ling Miao left, he’s been lodged deeply in your mind.
“Should I go get him back?” Su Yuyang was willing to lower himself; he was just worried that Ling Miao wouldn’t be willing to come back.
Su Yuyang lowered his eyes and they landed on Ling Miao’s laptop.
With a flash of inspiration, Su Yuyang picked up his phone and called Ling Miao.
The call went through, which surprised Su Yuyang—didn’t Ling Miao say he was going to block my number? Did he forget?
It’s better that he forgot. That way I don’t have to find another way to contact him.
Ling Miao was showering. Ji Linxi heard Ling Miao’s phone ringing and didn’t pick up. After the ringing stopped, Ji Linxi thought that’d be the end of it, but after several seconds the phone rang again.
“Ling Miao, your phone keeps ringing. It’s really annoying,” Ji Linxi yelled in the direction of the bathroom.
The sound of running water stopped. Ling Miao walked out wearing a pair of big pants, the suds on his head not yet washed clean.
“You saw it too. I burned my hand, so I need an assistant,” Su Yuyang’s gentle voice came through the receiver, and if one were to listen closely, they would hear the prayer in his voice.
“I quit! Can I help you with anything else?! If not, I’m hanging up.” Ling Miao’s words were loaded with gunpowder, ready to explode, and he hung up without waiting for Su Yuyang’s reply.
Ling Miao opened his block list and grumbled: “Fuck. Forgot to block him.”
Ling Miao added Su Yuyang’s name to his block list, but before he could hit confirm, a text from Su Yuyang arrived.