“Blowing up Kaikai like he’s a firework?”
Editor(s): Amalea, FistFullOfDollars, Juurensha
Before anyone could react, a guttural roar thundered above them. Yu Hao had completely missed it earlier when he arrived, but now when he looked up, he saw a dark, colossal mechanical monster above the nexus of the black hole. The monster seemed like a mechanical spider with its countless outstretched metal arms. Various sharp and blunt weapons jutted from the end of its metal arms: knives, saws, guns, hammers and other such sharp and blunt weapons. It moved towards them with lightning speed!
“Oh my god, what is that?!” Yu Hao immediately cried out upon seeing the mechanical monster.
Zhou Sheng shouted, “The monster that knocked us into the ruins!”
Yu Hao hovered before Zhou Sheng and Chen Yekai, protecting them with his barrier. He shouted, “Do we fight it?”
Zhou Sheng opened up a huge shield, and all of the mechanical monster’s weapons simultaneously collided with it. A loud “clang” sounded, almost deafening Yu Hao’s ears. From behind the shield, Chen Yekai suddenly fired a shot, and the light pillar that shot out broke one of the metal arms. The metal arm that wielded a sharp knife was immediately sucked into the depths of the subconscious.
Even more metal arms began pursuing them. Zhou Sheng grasped his shield and transformed it into the jingubang. A few clangs rang out as the jingubang clashed with the metal arms all around them. He shouted, “Get out of here!”
“But where do we go?”
Chen Yekai shouted, “Follow intuition! Intuition!”
“But I have no intuition……” Yu Hao flew through the sky, and his barrier was just like a spaceship. Zhou Sheng and Chen Yekai stayed beside him, guarding him while attacking the monster with innumerable metal arms that encompassed the heavens and the earth. Its metal arms would constantly break and fall off, yet rather than decreasing in number, its numerous weapons only seemed to multiply.
“Intuition!” Zhou Sheng urged, “Where are you flying to? The six channels are analogous with the six senses, go after the intuition channel!”
Yu Hao instantly understood: the six spiral arms around the black hole represent Liang Jinmin’s six senses — hearing, sight, touch, taste, smell, and intuition! In addition, her dream world that currently relied on those six channels was being sucked unremittingly into the Forgotten Ruins!
“Does it lead to the upper conscious world?” Yu Hao shouted.
“There’s no upper world!” Zhou Sheng replied, “Her dreamscape has already been shattered. Head to the end of Intuition, I’ll explain later!”
“But how do I get to Intuition?” Yu Hao searched the fragment-filled galaxy. Chen Yekai accurately shot at the sharp claw that headed towards them and shouted, “A path constituted of similar fragments!”
Yu Hao immediately understood and found a peculiar path amongst the six spiral arms. On that path, all the memory fragments that were being sucked in were spherical and identical in size and shape. Yu Hao doubled back, quickly dove down and began flying against the flow of the Intuition current.
Zhou Sheng was about to attack with full force when he, along with Chen Yekai, were taken far away from the metal monster by Yu Hao.
Yu Hao, “Is that the boss?”
Zhou Sheng, “Yes!”
Chen Yekai, “Hold the lamp!”
Yu Hao didn’t forget to look back as he flew. The metallic monster had caught up again, and they couldn’t completely obliterate its mass of metal arms no matter how many they broke off. The arms could even freely extend and retract! Yu Hao led the three as they flew along the path of Intuition, with Zhou Sheng and Yu Hao flying upside down the entire way as they engaged in a fierce battle against the metal arms.
A miracle occurred as they flew along the Intuition Milky Way: the teardrop-like spheres along the path were continuously drawn towards the lamp in Yu Hao’s hand as if attracted to it!
The memories in Intuition were entering the flame, and the lamp’s light grew brighter and brighter.
Chen Yekai said, “It worked!”
“I guessed right!” Zhou Sheng shouted, and in the next moment, a giant hammer swung violently towards all of them. Zhou Sheng let out an angry roar, and the golden flame that enveloped his body was unleashed with a blast. His shield had assumed a golden colour, and a faint sun wheel motif appeared on the surface of his shield — it blocked that hammer!
Yu Hao saw a platform emerge at the end of the Intuition path and instantly flew towards it with Zhou Sheng and Chen Yekai.
“We succeeded!” Chen Yekai shouted, “That’s great!”
Yu Hao, “……”
When they rushed onto the high platform with the lamp, all of the fragments on the path of Intuition had been sucked into the lamp, and an altar appeared on that platform!
Zhou Sheng shook his jingubang, turned around——
“Haaaaai——yaaaaaa!” With a loud cry, Zhou Sheng swung his jingubang down and smashed all of the metal arms that were closing in on them into pieces.
Yu Hao, “What do we do next?”
“Look at me……perform a magic trick for you!” Zhou Sheng smiled, turned to the side, then blew into the lamp.
With a soft swish, the lamp wick separated from the flame and struck the altar like a bolt of lightning. A pillar of fire erupted from the altar with a “buzz”! It then illuminated the entire world!
When the golden fire began burning, the world turned bright.
Yu Hao was already in a chaotic mess; he was only following Zhou Sheng's directives and had no idea what he was doing at all. Zhou Sheng said again, “Quick! Baby——! Next path!”
Chen Yekai said, “Go!”
Yu Hao flew with the other two towards the second path, which was filled with bizarre, multi-coloured picture fragments that looked like stained glass. As they flew along the path, all of the picture fragments were sucked into the lamp. After they reached the end of the path of Sight, another altar appeared there as well!
Zhou Sheng blew into the lamp a second time, and a golden fire pillar also shot up from the altar at the end of Sight path.
Zhou Sheng, “Keep going!”
The mechanical monster at the zenith seemed to sense a threat. It emitted a harsh shriek that grinded against their ears, and even more metal arms that tore at the air shot down. The entire subconscious world quaked violently. However, the monster was extremely terrified of the areas where the golden pillars of fire already burned, and didn’t dare to approach them.
“I’ll stall it!” Chen Yekai shouted, “The rest is up to you guys!”
As he spoke, Chen Yekai rushed out of Yu Hao’s barrier and went back and forth between the metal arms to draw the attention of the gigantic monster.
“Keep going!!” Zhou Sheng shouted, “Yu Hao!”
Taste, Touch, Smell, Hearing……Yu Hao grabbed Zhou Sheng’s hand, Zhou Sheng carried his jingubang on his shoulder, and the two of them protected the lamp as they flew towards each altar. Each time they got to an altar, Zhou Sheng would blow once and the flame from the lamp would shoot out; a golden pillar of flame would then erupt from the altar!
“What’s this?” Yu Hao asked, “A new magic spell of yours?”
“It’s the hope to live.”
When the last altar burst into flames, Zhou Sheng glanced at Yu Hao and smiled, “We’re done, time to call it a day!”
They worked their way through until the end of the last path. The altars on all six platforms burned brightly with raging flames, and the entire subconscious was lit up in an instant! All of the darkness retreated, and the lamp’s flame disappeared completely!
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhou Sheng threw Yu Hao an enigmatic wink, “Did you forget about the day we first met? How did the fire beacon on the Great Wall come about?”
Yu Hao suddenly remembered that a long time ago, General took him along to light up the fire beacons! He was the one who found the lighter, and he had passed it to Zhou Sheng. After Zhou Sheng lit up the lamp, he brought him along as they crossed the Great Wall and lit up the beacon.
At that time, he had not yet fallen into his subconscious world, and the flames that were lit up illuminated the boundary between the subconscious and his consciousness.
Zhou Sheng carried the jingubang with one hand while his other was draped over Yu Hao’s shoulder. The entire subconscious world began to vibrate. Chen Yekai flew towards them. The blaze on the six altars began to change direction and converge towards the black hole in the middle. The six flame pillars travelled along the six paths of the senses and flowed into the black hole, which began rotating after being fed with flames. The skies and the earth trembled, and the metallic monster let out a mad roar.
Lin Xun, “You actually……managed to return from the subconscious……”
“Lin Xun.” Liang Jinmin’s voice rang out, “Are you unsatisfied because you didn’t manage to kill me?!”
The revolving black hole erupted, lighting up the vast space around it. A white light flashed by, the periphery of the black hole expanded continuously, and a luminous area that looked like an island appeared in the center. Following which, it turned into a shockwave that swept past the three of them, and within this tempestuous storm, Zhou Sheng immediately turned around and protected Yu Hao.
The moment the storm came into contact with Yu Hao’s barrier, it disappeared instantly!
“We succeeded……”Chen Yekai’s voice trembled, “We succeeded!”
The world suddenly transformed: the earth turned into solid rock, mountain ranges rose, and erupting volcanoes materialised everywhere. Volcanic ash rose into the sky, and the conscious world appeared!
The world was dark, but compared to the dark void in the subconscious, it now had an indistinct outline. Magma flowed continuously from the volcano and into a mechanical city in the middle of a lowland. A humongous monster that was at least 10,000 metres tall was also entrenched in the center of the city!
That monster opened its massive, insect-like eyes that looked like black spheres. At first glance, Yu Hao’s first impression of it was that it looked like……Lin Xun’s head! His eyes protruded slightly, and his forehead and face looked extremely similar to the huge metal bug! But its mouth and ears seemed to belong to someone else.
Their opponent in the subconscious was the lower half of that monster, and at this time, the lava had almost covered the entire conscious world and had surrounded the city.
That “Lin Xun Bug”’s metal arm could stretch out for thousands of metres. Utilising extremely complex mechanisms, it thrashed about in the air as it smashed, hacked, and wreaked havoc to destroy this world. The volcanoes erupted incessantly and even more magma gushed out and flowed towards the city.
Yu Hao, Chen Yekai and Zhou Sheng were standing on a cliff in front of a volcano. Heat waves surged through the air around them.
“Zhou Sheng? Look!” Yu Hao motioned for Zhou Sheng to look to his left. A pure white temple had appeared on the tallest volcano, and there seemed to be a priest adorned in a dress in front of the temple. The altar in front of her burned with a maroon flame, and every time its intensity flared, the volcano would erupt, then magma would pour out and flow towards the city in the distance.
“Liang Laoshi?” Chen Yekai frowned.
The metal “Lin Xun Bug” refused to give up as it extended its weapons in an attempt to destroy the temple atop the volcano.
The sounds of incantations incessantly carried over. Every time the volcano erupted, it would form a fierce meteor that fell into the city. Under the violent earthquake, Yu Hao almost thought that Liang Jinmin planned to take herself down along with the monster in the city, yet this city proved strong enough to continually withstand the impacts.
“That guy isn’t as strong as he was in your dream ma.” Zhou Sheng said.
Chen Yekai said helplessly, “Of course. We have a mentor-student relationship, but for Liang Laoshi, they are husband and wife. In Liang Laoshi’s dream, they are equal. Once she had decided to burn her boats, perhaps……deep down, she still thinks that she can perish together with him ba.”
Zhou Sheng was extremely satisfied, “In that case, we don’t have to meddle any more. I wish Liang Laoshi success in blowing up that monster and seizing back her totem!”
“Un.” Chen Yekai observed for awhile longer. If the magma continued to erupt, then maybe it would be able to slowly melt that metallic monster. Even if the dreamscape turns into ruins, after the metallic monster is destroyed by the anger of the God of Fire, it could still be gradually rebuilt...although this process would take a very long time.
“I don’t think it’s necessary for the time being.” Chen Yekai said, “We need to properly protect her in reality and ensure her safety.”
“Then, good night.” Zhou Sheng didn’t even spare Chen Yekai a glance before he casually pressed against his forehead.
Chen Yekai suddenly disintegrated into light particles with a bang and disappeared just like that.
“Wah.” It was Yu Hao’s first time seeing the moment when someone leaves a dream.
“What are you ‘wah’-ing for?” Zhou Sheng asked, bewildered.
“That looked so cool.” Yu Hao said.
Zhou Sheng, “Blowing up Kaikai like he’s a firework?”
Yu Hao said, “So you say good night to me every time because you wanted to watch fireworks?!”
Zhou Sheng laughed, “I’ve always felt a bit reluctant when I sent you out in the past.”
When Yu Hao heard that, his heartstrings were plucked again.
“Are you leaving?” Zhou Sheng asked, “We’re the only ones left.”
Yu Hao looked at Zhou Sheng doubtfully, “Don’t you have anything you want to say?”
Zhou Sheng said, baffled, “Ah?”
Yu Hao was still a little upset and stared at Zhou Sheng. When Chen Yekai was around, it wasn’t convenient for him to say a lot of things, and now that it was just the two of them, Yu Hao hadn’t thought of how he should scold him yet. He actually kept him in the dark about running into someone else’s dream; that was way too dangerous!
“You can’t take action without letting me know next time! Got it?” Yu Hao said.
“Okay!” Zhou Sheng said, “Don’t nag me, will you? Get up ba? Let’s go and eat breakfast?”
Yu Hao still harbored a lot of suspicions in his heart. He had a lot of questions he wanted to ask Zhou Sheng, but Zhou Sheng said, “There’s nothing much to see, let’s talk in my dream.”
Yu Hao raised his head slightly and closed his eyes.
Zhou Sheng, “……”
Yu Hao waited for a few seconds, but didn’t hear the words ‘good night’ that he was waiting for. He opened his eyes and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“You……” Zhou Sheng suddenly laughed and blushed a little, “What are you doing with your eyes closed?”
Yu Hao, “???”
“Good night.” Zhou Sheng said, then pressed his hand against Yu Hao’s forehead.
In the darkness, Yu Hao woke up while Zhou Sheng shifted slightly to the side. He tried to raise his hand and realised that Yu Hao was sprawled on top of him. When he tried to move his other hand, he found that it was being held by Yu Hao, then he gripped Yu Hao’s hand tightly.
“What time is it?” Yu Hao felt even more exhausted this time than all the previous times he had woken up, and it wasn’t bright out yet. Zhou Sheng freed his other hand to look at his phone.
“5.05.” Zhou Sheng yawned.
“Why did I only sleep for half an hour?” Yu Hao was about to blow up from how sleepy he felt.
“Time passes very slowly in the subconscious.” Zhou Sheng answered, “Sleep awhile more.” As he spoke, he gently patted Yu Hao’s body with the hand that was wrapped around him.
Suddenly, a flash of lightning illuminated the dormitory into stark contrast. The sound of thunder seemed to explode overhead, which startled Yu Hao and sobered him up immediately. Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng were crowded onto a narrow single bed. His head had been resting on Zhou Sheng’s shoulder, but now he suddenly snapped out of his daze and quickly crawled back to his own bed.
Zhou Sheng got off his bed and moved his arms about as he went to the balcony to close the window. It was the most humid day of summer last night, so Ying city was as hot as a steamer. Everyone had waited for this bout of rain for three days, and it finally fell this morning in an omnipresent downpour. Water vapour rushed into the dormitory amidst the fierce gales, just like a steamer that was finally uncovered. After the summer heat dissipated, along with the loud “bang”s throughout the entire dormitory building as doors and windows were slammed shut, the world finally cooled down.
Yu Hao laid back on his bed, yet his heart still tossed and turned. All he could think about was how in the moment he had awakened, Zhou Sheng’s movements were so natural as if that situation was natural for them.
Zhou Sheng left a crack open in the windows and brought in all the clothes. Yu Hao drowsily looked at his phone, and saw Chen Yekai say in the group chat:【Liang Laoshi woke up.】
“Zhou Sheng?” Yu Hao said.
Zhou Sheng had folded the clothes and was currently brushing his teeth. He took his phone and glanced at it.
【I’m in the hospital.】Chen Yekai said,【They’re currently giving Liang Laoshi a check-up. Huang Ting has already arrived, so don’t worry about it anymore.】
The rain grew heavier and heavier. Yu Hao replied to Chen Yekai’s message. Outside the balcony, a dense downpour fell; heavy rain bombarded the plastic shed below their building. Chen Yekai was evidently busy, and he didn’t reply to Yu Hao’s messages.
“He slept in the hospital last night.” Zhou Sheng answered, “As long as Liang Laoshi wakes up, Huang Ting will stay in the hospital and guard her, and lie to Lin Xun that his wife’s condition has deteriorated. It won’t be like the last time.”
“The plan is pretty well thought-out ma. Let me see your phone?” Yu Hao extended a hand towards Zhou Sheng.
Zhou Sheng, “To see what?”
Yu Hao, “To see how you guys discussed it ah.”
Zhou Sheng, “I won’t give it.”
Yu Hao, “Will you give it or not?”
Zhou Sheng refused to yield, “I won’t!”
Yu Hao, “How long did you guys take to prepare for this operation?”
Zhou Sheng held his phone and scrolled through his conversation with Chen Yekai, then showed Yu Hao. Their conversation mostly revolved around the Golden Crow Wheel and Liang Jinmin’s subconscious. Yu Hao skimmed through it and saw that there were still a lot of voice messages within, so he could only drop the matter. He glanced at Zhou Sheng and thought, he obviously has a guilty conscience.
“Are you still gonna sleep?” Zhou Sheng asked.
Yu Hao curled under his blanket in a daze, and thought if you hug me to sleep, I’ll sleep. But of course, he didn’t say it out loud.
Last night, I was busy saving you so I didn’t have the time to eat your tofu. He had already been hugged to sleep by Zhou Sheng twice: once when they were occupied with entering Chichén Itzá, while the other time was when they entered the subconscious. Although it only lasted for a short moment, Zhou Sheng’s body temperature and scent still seemed to linger on his own body.
The temperature of Zhou Sheng’s firm chest and his vigorous heartbeat were just like a dream to Yu Hao. Yu Hao remembered the most moving words of love —— I want to wake up with you in the same bed every day.
“Wei!” Zhou Sheng said, “Are you still gonna sleep? I’m asking you na.”
Yu Hao turned his head to look at Zhou Sheng and said helplessly, “I can’t fall asleep anymore, but I’ll try again.”
“Still angry?” Zhou Sheng asked, bewildered, “Let’s just go eat breakfast?”
Yu Hao’s heart was still in upheaval. He kept thinking about Zhou Sheng, even though Zhou Sheng was right beside him now while he held up a big black umbrella. He even tilted the umbrella more towards Yu Hao’s side while his own shoulder was exposed to the rain, and the left side of his body got drenched. They were wearing shorts and slippers as they passed through a path in their college to get to the canteen for their breakfast.
Ying city’s rainy season had arrived. On this morning under the deluge of a torrential downpour, Yu Hao inexplicably had an irrepressible impulse in his heart. It was as if the depression he felt several days ago had been completely swept away by the heavy rain. The moment Zhou Sheng held up the umbrella reminded Yu Hao of the black dragon in Chichén Itzá that had sheltered them from the rain.
The words that Fu Liqun and Chen Yekai had said to him whirled through his mind, just like how countless beads spiralled around in a lottery’s revolving drum. During these past few days, he had been thinking constantly, shaking the thoughts in his head violently over and over again, round after round, yet never daring to stop. He was transfixed on that one and only lottery prize, hoping that it would be the final one that that would come out.
Confront your own thoughts……everyone says so. It seemed that to many people, the Zhou Sheng who was holding an umbrella up for them was already his boyfriend. But Yu Hao had experienced the tragic failure of love before, and it made him understand that when you like someone, many minute details tend to be subconsciously magnified —— for example, when the other party’s actions are often unintentional, and don’t align with what he was envisioning.
When you like someone, there will inevitably be ups and downs. Just one smile or a simple movement could easily raise one’s hope, and be used as proof that “he likes me”. Ignoring unfavourable signs and only retaining favourable evidence is just human nature.
Zhou Sheng had already expressed his attitude towards him during the conversation they had on New Year’s Eve. It would be reasonable for Yu Hao to not hold any more unrealistic expectations. But throughout this whole semester, a faintly discernible trace of hope arose in his heart again. Zhou Sheng might have said he didn’t like him at that time, but it didn’t mean that he didn’t like him now. Or just like what Chen Yekai and Fu Liqun had said, maybe he just wasn’t willing to face up to his own feelings?
Spectators see the chess game better than the players do. Perhaps, if he tried once more, there could still be hope?
Yu Hao really wanted to stop shaking and just draw the lottery already. He’ll just accept whatever gets drawn in the end. But shaking the prize box had already turned into a habit, such that he would subconsciously shake it day after day, year after year. On New Year’s Eve, Zhou Sheng had told him to look for a boyfriend. And if it really wouldn’t work out, Yu Hao felt like he really should find a boyfriend and let go of his feelings then. Otherwise, these days of worrying over everything he could stand to lose or gain would be too difficult to endure.
Juurensha: Q_Q ZHOU SHENG YOU BETTER TREAT THAT BOY WELL SOON
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Kum.