Editor(s): Amalea, FistFullOfDollars, Juurensha
The signal wasn’t very good as it was rather intermittent. Yu Hao found an old residential building about one stop away from the office and rented one of its rooms. Zhou Sheng suggested that he not share an apartment with someone else, since he could end up with a weirdo as a roommate. But this was the most value for money place that Yu Hao could find. The nephew of the landlady lived there by himself and was an otaku addicted to gaming. He was preparing for the civil service exam, had no girlfriend, played games all day, and studied at home.
One room and one living room was remodeled into two rooms. Yu Hao was very satisfied with it, as it had the effect of noise isolation as well. 2,800 per month, rent to be paid once every three months. Yu Hao paid 11,200, including a one-month deposit.
Zhou Sheng video called him again, “I’ll demand my salary from the old man in a minute.”
“It’s enough.” Yu Hao said, “I still have more than 10,000 left.”
Zhou Sheng wasn’t very pleased with the fact that Yu Hao was sharing an apartment with someone else, but looking for houses was quite tiring. After Yu Hao found one that was somewhat suitable, he really didn’t want to rush about everywhere anymore. In any case, before his internship ended, he would only come back at night to sleep for a few hours, and he wouldn’t hold any dinner parties here for guests either, so it didn’t really matter much.
Yu Hao knew Zhou Sheng’s principle was “don’t scrimp, it’s fine as long as you like it’, so Yu Hao led the topic to ‘I like it’, and Zhou Sheng finally accepted it doubtfully.
“Why don’t you buy it?” Zhou Sheng said, “Since you like it. The card’s on you, I’ll borrow some from the old man and add another four million into it. It can be treated as an investment.”
“I’m going crazy!” Yu Hao blew up, “To spend more than six million yuan to buy this one bedroom, one living room apartment that’s 40 square metres and 30-years-old, do I have nowhere else to spend my money? The windows are about to fall off!”
Zhou Sheng, “Then it looks like you don’t really like it that much. Do as you like ba, but don’t let yourself suffer.”
“I thought you’d buy the house.” Lin Ze said after he heard Yu Hao describe his rented place.
Yu Hao, “Uh, I really can’t afford it. That one bedroom and one living room costs more than six million yuan.”
Situ Ye said, “In these times, property prices really are an abnormality.”
Yu Hao said, “It’s not for us to dabble in property in the first place. Renting’s pretty good.”
Lin Ze said, “Property prices have nothing to do with whether or not one rents. It’s proven to be a rather vile proposition for the entire country: toiling away for a year can’t be compared to investing in two apartments. Think about it, what does that mean?”
Yu Hao said, “The rich will get richer, while the poor will get poorer ba.”
“No.” Lin Ze corrected, “To some extent, it negates the national value of ‘diligence’.”
Yu Hao thought, holy shit, you really dared to say it. But after he thought about it carefully, that really was the case. Lin Ze sighed, “Working hard for your entire life can’t be compared to buying a house and waiting for it to appreciate in value, then who would still be willing to diligently create riches? That’s the most fundamental and devastating blow.”
Lin Ze had wanted to let Yu Hao rest during the National Day holidays, while he, Situ Ye, and Jin Weicheng would go around conducting interviews. Yu Hao, however, had the opportunity to follow along and learn from them, while Zhou Sheng also couldn’t come over, so he took the initiative to ask if he could follow them out for interviews.
“Do you have a camera?” Situ Ye asked.
Yu Hao said, “I do, but it’s really cheap. A 3,000 yuan camera, I don’t know if the photos taken would meet the requirements.”
Situ Ye said, “It’s enough, don’t worry. I’ve used lousy cameras before too. As long as the photographer is handsome, any photo he takes will look good.”
Lin Ze, “And what kind of logic is that? Then……Jin Laoshi, Yu Hao will follow me, while Xiao Ye can follow you?”
“Xiao Yu can follow me.” Jin Weicheng said, “We won’t tear the couple apart.”
Yu Hao was not yet able to understand the subtext that Lin Ze and Jin Weicheng had exchanged in those two short sentences, and it was only when Jin Weicheng spoke that he had a vague sense of the implication behind their words.
Jin Weicheng said, “Let me take a look at your camera?”
It was Yu Hao’s first time taking his camera out in the office. He took a photo of the office, and when he took it out, Situ Ye’s, Lin Ze’s, and Jin Weicheng’s expressions were all frozen.
Yu Hao, “???”
Situ Ye, “Your camera’s 3,000?”
Yu Hao, “Yeah.”
Situ Ye, “GET, ME, ONE, TOO!”
Yu Hao, “……”
Lin Ze understood. He glanced at Situ Ye reproachfully and asked, “It’s a gift from someone ba?”
“Zhou Sheng bought it for me as a gift for starting work.” Yu Hao was a little frightened as he asked, “How much does this camera cost?”
Jin Weicheng made a gesture and Yu Hao said, “I just knew he must have lied to me, 11,000……is still okay ba.”
“110,000!” Situ Ye said, “What are you thinking?!”
Yu Hao’s soul scattered immediately. He had been knocking this camera around everywhere on the way here, and didn’t even mind it when his bag got bumped into. But it actually costs 110,000?!
Situ Ye extended a hand, Yu Hao passed him the camera. He wanted to text Zhou Sheng immediately, but after he constructed a few sentences, he deleted them again. He didn’t know what to say for a moment.
“Kids raised by the rich really are different.” Jin Weicheng shook his head helplessly, “I could tell when I first met Xiao Yu, his family environment is too superior. He has a kind of self-confidence from the inside out that can’t be concealed no matter what.”
Yu Hao quickly said, “I really wasn’t raised by the rich……” But he was rather powerless in trying to wrangle himself out of it, and after thinking about it, he had to admit, “I can be considered to be raised by my rich boyfriend ba.”
Lin Ze said, “If it wasn’t a kid who didn’t need to worry about clothes and food, why would they enter our profession?”
Jin Weicheng laughed. He pointed at himself, then at Lin Ze, and Lin Ze said, “So I’ve always respected Jin Laoshi.”
Jin Weicheng laughed, “Xiao Ye was raised by a rich family too.”
Situ Ye didn’t say anything and just fiddled around with the camera. Yu Hao said, “Lady Boss, do you want to lick it a few times?”
Situ Ye, “Can I?”
Yu Hao and Situ Ye burst out laughing again. Jin Weicheng said, “Alright then, I’ll head back first. Xiao Yu, see you tomorrow.” As he spoke, he got up and left.
As soon as Jin Weicheng left, Situ Ye immediately revealed his displeasure and said to Lin Ze, “Did the rich spend his family’s money? Does he need to detest the rich so much?”
Yu Hao, “I really wasn’t raised by the rich……don’t fight, what’s there to fight about this?”
“Jin Laoshi has been a reporter for so many years,” Lin Ze explained, “He has already loosened his hold on materialistic desires a lot, don’t recklessly make such conjectures about him.”
Situ Ye said, “Oh? I don’t think his hold is that loose ba? Otherwise why would his words need to sound so sour all the time?”
Lin Ze said, “Do we need to discuss this in front of Yu Hao?”
Yu Hao, “???”
“What does that mean?” Yu Hao asked, “Does Jin Laoshi dislike me?”
“No.” Lin Ze said, “He likes you a lot. I wanted swap groups, but see, wasn’t he willing to take you along?”
Yu Hao said, “Did I offend him without noticing?”
“No.” Situ Ye said, “You’re already doing a very good job, you’re just no match for the glass hearts everyone has now ma.”
“Situ!” Lin Ze was a little angry now, so Situ Ye stopped talking.
Yu Hao’s EQ was far from that of Zhou Sheng, but he wasn’t a fool. He quickly said, “If there’s any problem, then boss and lady boss, please let me know. I’ll take note and correct it.”
“It’s alright.” Situ Ye said, “Ah Ze and I like you very much, you’re too good at enduring hardships, but you don’t need to work overtime until 2 to 3am every night before going back.”
When Yu Hao heard that, he was incredibly moved, “How did you know that?”
Lin Ze, “The editor on the night shift at the general office said that you’ll leave the lights on until late at night every day. You should pay attention to getting enough rest too.”
Yu Hao said helplessly, “I didn’t major in media, so there are too many gaps in my knowledge that I have to fill up.”
“No one received professional training,” Situ Ye said, “But they aren’t worse off compared to any others, so be more confident.”
Yu Hao nodded doubtfully. Lin Ze said, “I studied hotel management.”
Situ Ye said, “I studied Spanish.”
Lin Ze, “Studied Spanish your ass.” Then he said to Yu Hao, “When I met him, he was selling coffee at Starbucks. Jin Laoshi used to be a worker. See, whose major fits?”
Yu Hao, “Oh, is that the case? You guys aren’t lying to me? Un……”
Situ Ye passed Yu Hao a stack of coupons and asked him to eat something good. They still had to conduct interviews during National Day, so he should rest earlier and not tire himself out too much.
As soon as he got home, the first thing Yu Hao did was to video call Zhou Sheng. Zhou Sheng was swimming in the pool of a Hilton Hotel. After accepting the video call, he got out of the pool; he had neat and beautiful eight pack abs, wore a pair of swimming briefs, and water was constantly dripping from his hair and body.
“Baby, miss your hubby?” Zhou Sheng picked up a drink and walked as he talked, “Come ah, I’m selling meat here, send me your rockets and mansions! Send a Lamborghini——”
Yu Hao had intended to denounce him for his crimes, but as soon as he saw Zhou Sheng’s figure, he got hard first.
“You……un……better come clean!” Yu Hao tried to hold back his urge to swallow his saliva. He held up his Hasselblad camera, “This costs 110,000?!”
Zhou Sheng’s hair was wet as he stood by the pool, smiling at Yu Hao like a big child. He put on his bathrobe and went into the lift to go back to his room. He placed his phone on the washbasin and started wiping himself down with soap in front of Yu Hao. “I got found out?”
Yu Hao asked angrily while he watched Zhou Sheng take a bath, “Where did you get the money from?”
Zhou Sheng took a simple shower, wrapped a bathrobe around him, and took a cotton swab to dry his ears. He raised an eyebrow at the Yu Hao in the video. “My mum passed it to me for us to buy a car. She gave me 140,000 to buy a Chevrolet.”
Yu Hao said in despair, “It’s no use even if you’re selling your meat! Stop it with the excuses! So you bought this camera for me?”
Zhou Sheng blow dried his hair for awhile, and after his hair was dry, he had resumed an aloof CEO air. He changed his clothes, went to the dressing mirror with his phone, put on his suit pants, and looked for a snow white shirt while he was bare chested. “I thought that there was no use in buying a car, and when I saw that camera at first glance, I knew it had to be it. You’d definitely like it.”
“It’s, too, expensive!” Yu Hao started showing the camera on the screen, “What if it gets stolen?”
Zhou Sheng, “Then just buy another one?”
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhou Sheng saw that Yu Hao looked a little dispirited and asked, “What happened?”
Yu Hao briefly described what had happened today. Zhou Sheng sat down and thought about it for a few seconds, “It’s ‘cause your teacher feels like it isn’t fair. After being a reporter for so many years, he didn’t make much money, but an intern’s using an over 100,000 yuan camera and a Macbook, so it’s upsetting to see. Your Lady Boss is really something though, he didn’t leave him any face at all and just started dissing him as soon as he felt displeased.”
Yu Hao said, “So I have to keep a low profile. Why didn’t you remind me?”
Zhou Sheng, “I did it on purpose.”
Yu Hao, “What?!”
Zhou Sheng said, “If you’re equipped with better equipment, it’ll make you seem rich, then the leaders won’t dare to bully you too much or order you around like their life depends on it, isn’t that how it is? You need to let them understand that you’re working there out of passion and ideals. In that case, your diligence at work wouldn’t be seen as you trying to show off in front of your leaders, but because you really are willing to do it. Then wouldn’t no one dare to look down on you?”
Yu Hao said, “Ah Ze isn’t that kind of leader in the first place.”
Zhou Sheng smiled. “Before you reported for work, it’s not like we knew how he operated. Some leaders are pretty disgusting, so isn’t it better to be prepared just in case? Just like how you’re transcribing the manuscripts for Jin Laoshi, you need to know that it’s a mutual exchange — he’s guiding you while you work for him, so the two of you are completely equal, okay? I’m working like a fucking dog just to earn a bite of food, and I don’t want you to also put in so much effort just to earn that bit of money in other people’s eyes. You went to Beijing for your own ideals in the first place anyway, didn’t you?”
Yu Hao said, “Why didn’t you mention it before? Aren’t you in the Major Business Department? Why did you turn into a dog again?”
“Analogy.” Zhou Sheng said, “It’s an analogy!”
Zhou Sheng changed his clothes, put on his cufflinks, and said, “Hubby has to go to a dinner banquet now. What will my dear wife be eating tonight?”
Yu Hao really couldn’t do anything with him, “I ordered a pizza. Don’t drink too much, love you.”
“Love you.” Zhou Sheng turned off the video. Yu Hao lay in bed. He held the camera and scrolled through the photos, and saw the first photo that Zhou Sheng had left in this camera. He suddenly really wanted to go back right now, and throw aside everything he had — what ideals, aspirations, future……throw them all aside, he just wanted to return to that person’s side.
After Zhou Sheng ended the video call, Fu Liqun’s call came. Zhou Sheng picked it up and said gloomily, “I can’t make it, I need to accompany the officials for a meal today. I really want to quit this job, fuck.”
Fu Liqun said, “Then we’ll reschedule on our side? I arranged to meet up with a friend, he’s interested in helping us expand our business. Young Master, you’re familiar with this, you have to help me this time.”
Zhou Sheng said, “Okay, okay, Gege, change it to the 6th ba. I’m only free on the night of the 6th.”
Fu Liqun, “I’ll apologise to Young Madam again……”
Zhou Sheng, “I’m not going to Beijing on National Day! Do you think I can leave right now? I just had a video call with him, and I was thinking about whether or not I should just quit and fly over there straight away. Being a courier would be better than staying here, fuck, at the very least I’d have my wife by my side……okay I can’t talk anymore, I’m going into the elevator.”
The elevator opened with a “ding”. Zhou Sheng went in, tidied himself up in the mirror and smoothed his hair back. He turned around, the elevator opened up at the restaurant, and Zhou Sheng instantly went out beaming. As soon as he went out, he pulled a middle-aged man’s hand and smiled, “Ai! Chief Zhao! I was about to go up to pick you up! Come come come, this way please!”
This room was a little damp and not very well-ventilated. The walls were dusty, and the floor felt like it could never be mopped clean. A moldy scent emanated from the surroundings, and the balcony was stacked with sundries. Yu Hao was already thoroughly spent whenever he got home after work, and he had wanted to clean up and put his new place in order properly, but he really didn’t have the energy to do it. He’ll think about it again after getting past the most arduous probation period ba.
However, the conditions of the hardware were his secondary concern — Yu Hao had truly underestimated the otaku who he shared the apartment with. What civil servant? It was all a lie. That guy could actually start his activities after waking up at 8pm, order takeout, eat, bathe, then sit in front of his computer to play DOTA, and would start playing at 10pm all the way till dawn. Around 2 to 3am, he would even start yelling with his earphones on as he commanded his teammates, during which a lot of cordial swear words would rush forth from his mouth as well.
Yu Hao went to knock on his door, “Brother, could you keep your voice down? I still need to conduct interviews tomorrow.”
“Okay okay! I’m sorry brother!” The other party was rather polite though.
Yu Hao went back to lay down. Half an hour later, he was awakened by the noise again.
Yu Hao wanted to flip out.
At six o’clock in the morning, his neighbour began watching A films, jerk off, and fifteen minutes later, it was silent. The otaku came out to throw the garbage away and order his second round of takeout, then slept after he finished eating.
Yu Hao would knock at the door from time to time at first, until one day when he asked the other party to keep quiet and heard him say ‘idiot’ when he was going back to his room. Then he stopped knocking. He contacted the landlady and asked her to resolve it instead. The landlady admonished her nephew after coming back, but refused to refund his money, but told him that he could move out if he wanted. Yu Hao tried to negotiate with her several times and was on the verge of blowing up. In the end, Situ Ye gave him two earplugs —— artifacts for guaranteeing sleep anytime, anywhere. After Yu Hao used the earplugs, his whole world quieted down a lot more.
But why do I have to prepare earplugs when I come out to rent a house?! Yu Hao wondered if there was still any justice left in this world.
Yu Hao sometimes felt like he was also living like a dog, but the only thing sustaining him was the year after he graduated from high school where his life was even worse off than that of a dog’s. Now he was at least still like a dog.
“I really can’t stand that house anymore.” Yu Hao said to Situ Ye, “Lady Boss, I didn’t do anything at all, I was just sleeping in the middle of the night when he came over to knock on my door! And asked me to stop video chatting! I’m about to die of anger because of him!”
Situ Ye looked at Yu Hao sympathetically as he edited his photos.
Yu Hao said, “I have to beat him up once. Only violence can save me now.”
“Don’t be impulsive.” Situ Ye said, “Let Zhou Sheng beat him up when he comes over. Zhou Sheng can run away after beating him up, but other people will bother you if you beat him up, and you’ll be even more tired then.”
Yu Hao realised that Situ Ye was just like a child, and he had the same kind of mystical ability as Zhou Sheng —— as soon as he spoke about something, it would suddenly seem insignificant. In this office, Situ Ye effectively took up the role of alleviating everyone’s stress. When he occasionally jested with the rest of them, everyone’s impatience would instantly disappear.
“Look at this, is it beautiful?” Situ Ye showed Yu Hao the photos he took today — it was of Tiananmen and a flag raising ceremony at the first glimmer of dawn.
“It’s really beautiful.” Yu Hao looked at the pictures in the camera, then looked at Situ Ye, and they both started laughing. Situ Ye patted Yu Hao’s head, “When you get scolded later, remember this picture.”
“What?” Yu Hao became vigilant.
Lin Ze came over to push the door open, “Yu Hao, come with me.”
Situ Ye, “Go ba.”
Yu Hao, “……”
On the first day of work on National Day, Lin Ze took Yu Hao to the editor-in-chief’s office, and they were both flooded with a torrent of rebukes by the vice editor-in-chief.
Zryuu: I freaking love everything about this volume. Also, I can 100% empathise with Yu Hao about his god awful roommate, because my cousin was EXACTLY THE SAME omg.
Juurensha: Record your awful roommate yelling and play it back right when he falls asleep. Or just rip out his power cord in the middle of his game.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), kee.