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At exactly noon, Du Jing was escorted out of the patrol vehicle.
But right as he stepped outside, he noticed that the car wasn’t parked in front of the police station but had instead returned to the front gates of Yu Jianqiang’s corporate office.
Du Jing was puzzled.
He instinctively glanced behind him. The police car that had driven him here had turned into Yu Jianqiang’s sleek, black car, and he was standing beside the front door.
Du Jing stared.
He hadn’t slept in 48 hours and wondered if he was hallucinating. The chauffeur rolled down the window behind him and said, “Call the boss. There might be traffic later. We should leave early.”
Du Jing took out his phone and looked at it in confusion, his brows knitted together. Before he could make the call, Yu Jianqiang stepped out of the building.
“We’re not taking this car today,” Yu Jianqiang said, whistling as he strode down the steps. “Du Jing, go fetch the Mercedes.”
The car keys flew in his direction, and Du Jing caught them with a lift of his hand, looking like he had seen a ghost. His emotions were a chaotic mess.
Yu Jianqiang glanced at Du Jing questioningly.
Du Jing: “……”
Meanwhile, Zhou Luoyang yawned, rising from the mattress and scratching his head.
Where was Du Jing? Zhou Luoyang subconsciously glanced around. Did he disappear without a word again? Couldn’t this guy give him a heads up at least? As he was about to send him a message, he realized that he still didn’t have any of his contact information, not even a phone number.
Zhou Luoyang looked at his phone, trying to decide whether he should leave a note on the door, when he received an incoming call.
“Hey, babe. You have a business appointment this afternoon. Don’t forget.”
Zhou Luoyang wheeled out one of the rental bikes in the back of the alley. “There’s more? Have mercy on me, please. I just had a meeting yesterday.”
“Didn’t we agree on this already? The guy works in real estate, he’s in his forties, and his last name is Yu. You’re not busy anyway, so just drop by.”
“I’m telling you, you’ll never guess who I ran into after I had dinner with Mr. Yu yesterday…”
Zhou Luoyang suddenly realized that something was wrong.
The call was still ongoing. “Oh? You were out last night, too? I didn’t realize there were so many rich people that shared the last name Yu.”
Zhou Luoyang stopped in front of the traffic light and steadied the bike with one foot on the pedal. He didn’t say anything and opened Alipay, swiping with his slender fingers and looking through his transfer history. There was nothing there.
He turned off his screen and then turned it on again. At the last second, his eyes fixed on the date displayed on his lockscreen: Friday, September 7.
What is happening? Zhou Luoyang thought to himself.
“Who was it you ran into?”
“It’s nothing,” Zhou Luoyang responded, feeling bewildered. “I’ll hang up then?”
“Remember to be there. I’ll remind you again at five.”
“Okay,” Zhou Luoyang agreed promptly. “I won’t forget.”
Yu Jianqiang’s itinerary was busy that day. After lunch, he’d made an appointment for tea with the bank manager to discuss an extension period for the loan. In the afternoon, he would meet with his lawyer for two hours to make plans for how they would settle the financial lawsuits, and then at 4:45 he would go get his haircut. A friend had helped him set up a blind date that night, and his date was a boy in his twenties.
It was true—he was gay.
And Yu Jianqiang had finally decided to embrace his sexuality and just let himself go for a little bit. He’d been under a lot of pressure ever since the untimely death of the corporate board assistant who was organizing the company’s IPO. It was a crime of passion that couldn’t be revealed to the public. On the outside, the company maintained a glittering facade of success, but a look beyond the surface would reveal that the company was in danger of facing a loss of funding. The scale of his real estate was ambitiously large, and the stockholders had long since grown unhappy with him.
Once he was voted out of office by the board, the company would likely regroup, and he would lose everything, teetering on the brink of failure.
But at his core, Yu Jianqiang was a brave man, and he wouldn’t let anyone take what he had worked so hard for away from him. He was prepared for the uphill battle, but before that, he craved the intense stimulation from love and sex to help himself forget his many troubles.
But today, he felt as if Du Jing kept looking at him strangely.
The assistant had been at the company for two months already. He was a quiet fellow and very loyal, and Yu Jianqiang was very satisfied with him. But for some reason, Du Jing was constantly glancing at him through the rearview mirror today.
“What?” Yu Jianqiang asked.
“The haircut looks good, boss. Makes you seem younger and handsome.”
Yu Jianqiang smiled wordlessly. He was ever confident in his appearance. He was in his forties and maintained a great figure; he had abs and pecs and on top of it all, he was rich—he was right in his prime.
Yet as Du Jing slid open the car door, he could only think of Yu Jianqiang, eleven hours later, lying on the ground of the construction site, a mangled mass of flesh and blood. He followed Yu Jianqiang into the reserved private room and asked the staff to prepare some fine tea.
“You can leave once your scheduled shift is over,” Yu Jianqiang said. “Get Xiao Wu to come pick me up.”
Du Jing nodded, returned to the restaurant lobby, and contacted the chauffeur.
At 5:50 PM, Zhou Luoyang pushed the door open and entered the restaurant.
Zhou Luoyang paused midstep and scanned his surroundings before entering private room 12. He didn’t notice Du Jing, who was sitting in a discreet corner.
Du Jing waited another twenty minutes until the chauffeur arrived and handed him the car keys. He got up, walked to the private room, and stood by the door. A slight tilt of the head brought his ear closer, and then he could hear the conversation between Yu Jianqiang and Zhou Luoyang within.
“Twenty-seven years ago, when others my age were in high school…” Yu Jianqiang was saying.
“President Yu was still collecting trash on the streets?” Zhou Luoyang finished.
Yu Jianqiang: “………………”
“How did you know?” Yu Jianqiang asked.
Zhou Luoyang was still in a daze. Ever since waking up in the storehouse at noon and discovering that Du Jing was gone, he had been living through the exact same day.
In other words, he was re-living September 7th.
He had run into the same traffic lights while on his bike and received the same calls, and Zhou Leyao was still at home surfing the internet—even the websites he visited were the exact same. Zhou Luoyang was starting to form suspicions of the world around him, as if he were in a video game that had rewound 24 hours.
He arrived at the same restaurant as the day before and met Yu Jianqiang once again. What’s happening? My life is falling apart!
But Zhou Luoyang kept his emotions under control. On the way there, he kept wondering if he was experiencing deja vu. The mind sometimes played tricks on itself, and in some situations, the pituitary gland would release specific combinations of hormones which would create the illusion of familiarity with a new place or experience.
So Zhou Luoyang came up with a simple way to test this theory.
Deja vu was supposed to arise from situations that had already happened, but it couldn’t affect the future, which meant that if Zhou Luoyang followed the previous day’s trajectory and could correctly predict what would happen next, it would be enough to prove that everything that had happened on September 7th was real!
But what if it was real? Zhou Luoyang felt a wave of fear wash over him. This was all too terrifying. He was afraid to test his theory, and even tried to force the thought out of his mind. Unfortunately, his self-hypnosis was unsuccessful. On the way to the meeting, Zhou Luoyang mentally braced himself countless times and finally made the decision to use Yu Jianqiang as the subject of his experiment.
So when that expression flashed across Yu Jianqiang’s face, Zhou Luoyang was even more terrified—his hypothesis was correct.
This wasn’t his imagination or deja vu.
This day had happened before.
My god… Zhou Luoyang thought to himself. Did I travel a day back in time?
“You continued working at the collection center for a year and met an older friend who was in the industry. You left to work for him and made money reselling goods. Later on, this friend became sick, and he left for America to receive treatment, relocating his entire family. You took over his business thereafter.”
Yu Jianqiang: “……”
“You’ve been married once, had a son, and then got divorced later on. Your son is around the same age as me, but he doesn’t like to talk. You suspect that he’s gay. You used to watch adult videos on your phone and think that he might have found them while borrowing your phone. He hasn’t said anything though, and both of you pretend not to know.”
Yu Jianqiang: “……………………”
Zhou Luoyang carefully watched Yu Jianqiang, silently judging his emotions as he continued to repeat Yu Jianqiang’s own drunken words from twenty-four hours ago.
But to Yu Jianqiang, the biggest shock came not from all the things that Zhou Luoyang knew, but the motivation behind it all.
“You looked into me?” Yu Jianqiang’s tone had grown wary.
The tides lurched violently inside Zhou Luoyang, yet his expression was tranquil and still. Calmly, he said, “I can read faces; I come from a family of psychics. If I only looked into your background information, how would I be able to know your thoughts?”
Yu Jianqiang’s mouth hung open slightly and he gaped at Zhou Luoyang, forgetting about the wine on the table.
“You…can tell all of this from looking at my face?!”
By now Zhou Luoyang was almost completely sure of his suspicions, but at the same time, he faced a different problem—while he had been focused on ascertaining the past, he hadn’t realized how his words would affect Yu Jianqiang. Luckily, Zhou Luoyang was quick-witted and immediately got into character for this fake persona that he had weaved for himself. He suddenly found it oddly amusing. He slid a seat closer and said, “Here, I could read your palm?”
Yu Jianqiang unconsciously extended his hand towards Zhou Luoyang, who then pretended to examine his hand enthusiastically, and while he couldn’t really see anything, he said, “See, this line, it means that you’ll have a son…”
Yu Jianqiang: “……………………”
Zhou Luoyang let his clever mouth run, talking a mile a minute while his mind raced to end this conversation as soon as possible so that he would have time to think.
Yu Jianqiang had other ideas and he tightly clasped Zhou Luoyang’s hand, saying, “I would have never guessed it from your young age, but you’re a living god!”
The words “living god” exposed Yu Jianqiang’s true nature, and he asked, “The thing that I’ve been worrying about is: will things come to a head soon?”
Zhou Luoyang pulled his hand back and took a deep breath. He gestured towards Yu Jianqiang and smiled mysteriously.
Yu Jianqiang’s expression instantly became serious.
Zhou Luoyang said, “I can only see the past. I haven’t learned to see the future yet. My grandpa didn’t want to teach me.”
“Where’s your…grandfather?” Yu Jianqiang pressed on.
“He passed already.” Now Zhou Luoyang started lying. “Discussing the past is only trivial, but predicting the future and exposing divine destiny can cause trouble. Life is unpredictable, isn’t it? Try to let it go…”
The corner of Yu Jianqiang’s mouth twitched slightly and the two locked eyes silently.
Zhou Luoyang had no interest in the offer of twelve thousand from the day before. “Well…I guess this is it for today?”
The “living god” had a charisma that seemed to transcend the material world; he traveled to and fro on his bicycle, and the dishes on the table were left untouched, as if his purpose was to give direction to Yu Jianqiang’s life and guide him from his predicament.
“I heard you own an antique store?”
Zhou Luoyang finally remembered the original purpose of the appointment: to find a partner who would work hard and run the business with him. But he had little regard for Yu Jianqiang—they were not of the same world.
His plan was to exit the restaurant and find some secluded place to wait for Du Jing to appear. He reasoned that Du Jing would be entering the restaurant to escort Yu Jianqiang soon.
“Do you need money?” Yu Jianqiang asked, taking out his phone. “I heard you’re opening the store, and you need seed money. How much do you need?” At this moment, Yu Jianqiang had already formulated other plans—regardless of whether this guy was a real psychic or just practiced in the art of reading people, he would be a valuable future asset. During transactions with business rivals, he could be brought along for counsel.
“No,” Zhou Luoyang declined, smiling. “I don’t need anything. I’ll be on my way. I have other plans for this evening.”
“Let’s exchange contact information. If you ever need anything from gege, just let me know.” Yu Jianqiang was about to add Zhou Luoyang’s information, but Zhou Luoyang, a step ahead of him, took out a pen and jotted down his name and number on a napkin.
“Maybe we’ll meet again someday,” Zhou Luoyang said with a smile on his face. He pushed open the door and crashed straight into Du Jing.
It was just like their first meeting, in that dormitory filled with rain and wind.
It was as if they were two quantum masses of undying energy constantly propelled towards each other by the steadfast forces of fate, streaking through infinite time and space and crossing the vast expanses of the universe. And with all their energy, they would collide with an apocalyptic shock and erupt into a burning, newborn star, releasing brilliant light into the dark world.
“Xiao Du, send Mr. Zhou home,” Yu Jianqiang said.
It was evening, and the street lamps had only just been lit, filling the space with neon light. Zhou Luoyang’s mind was still in a haze, and he studied Du Jing suspiciously as they passed by the windows of a cafe. Was he also re-living September 7th? Or was he like Yu Jianqiang, just an onlooker in his precarious time loop?
“Why don’t you take a look for me?” Du Jing stretched his left hand out in front of Zhou Luoyang. “What do my love line and life line say?”
“Where have you been all these years?” Zhou Luoyang decided to start with this question.
“Haven’t I already told you?” Du Jing responded mildly. “I went to get treatment.”
Excitement filled Zhou Luoyang.
“You remember!” Zhou Luoyang exclaimed, grabbing Du Jing’s finger in shock. “It wasn’t just me who experienced the same…”
“Shh.” Du Jing furrowed his eyebrows, letting Zhou Luoyang hold his left hand and putting a finger in front of his lips, signaling for Zhou Luoyang to calm down.
“You…I…” Zhou Luoyang let go of Du Jing’s hand, carefully examining his expression. In a hurried, low tone, he said, “At first I thought I was dreaming. When I woke up at noon, where were you? I’m certain that I already lived through this day once…”
Du Jing turned his head, looking in the direction of the tall windows and observing Zhou Luoyang’s eyes in the reflection in the glass. “While I was still fully conscious, I found myself transported twenty-four hours back in time. This isn’t an illusion.”
As he spoke, he turned to look into Zhou Luoyang’s eyes, his expression serious.
“Why did you say those things to Yu Jianqiang?” Du Jing said. “Why didn’t you call me first? Just one call could have cleared everything up.”
“How would I know your number? Did you tell me?” Zhou Luoyang asked.
“Why didn’t you save it yesterday?”
“Would I have remembered it even if I did? Do you remember my number?”
Du Jing recited the digits of Zhou Luoyang’s number. Touche.
“Then why didn’t you call me?” Zhou Luoyang countered, dissatisfied.
“I thought it was only happening to me. I was worried you would be frightened if I tested it out on you. I even checked my account transfer history.” Du Jing’s first instinct had been to look for the previous day’s transaction to Zhou Luoyang. When he discovered it was missing, he realized it wasn’t just a hallucination.
“I checked, too, but I was still unsure.”
“Why didn’t you trust yourself?”
“Memories are tricky!” Zhou Luoyang remembered something and held out his hand. “Phone.”
“Remember to save my number,” Du Jing said coldly. “You won’t get another chance.”
What are you so rude for? Zhou Luoyang thought.
Zhou Luoyang shoved the phone in front of Du Jing’s face and waited for him to unlock it so that he could make the transfer again. At that instant, the phone rang; the caller ID read “President Yu.” Zhou Luoyang didn’t think twice and casually swiped across the screen, hanging up Yu Jianqiang’s call to Du Jing.
Du Jing watched Zhou Luoyang’s every move. “You shouldn’t have said those meaningless things to Yu Jianqiang. You aroused his suspicions, and now he thinks someone’s investigating him.”
“Oh? Is he some kind of bigshot? What’s the worst he could do?”
“He won’t do anything to you, but in nine hours, at four in the morning, he’s going to jump off the twenty-seventh floor of a building,” Du Jing answered expressionlessly.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cat.