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“You almost left me in his office.”
“You should think that your body only exists in a Bluetooth earpiece. You’re installed in your broken server unit and still eating my money.”
Tianhe walked to the corridor outside Qingsong company and impatiently pressed the button for the elevator.
Pro, “The TU3 server unit is not broken, it has 100,000 processing chips. Otherwise, I would not have been able to complete the auto-upgrade within two years. Tianhe, you messed things up. He’s sitting in the office crying 76% of the time, smashing something 23% of the time, and there’s a 1% chance of—”
“Pro, from now on, stop giving me bad advice. I haven’t seen him shed a tear in my life...” Tianhe said in a low voice.
Just as he was talking, the CFO quickly ran after him, stopped the elevator door, and handed him an envelope. “Mr. Wen, the boss gave this to you.”
“Thank you.” Tianhe took the envelope, poured out the ring Guan Yue once gave to him, casually put it on and drove home.
The Bluetooth in the car made the street noise sound out of place.
“Tianhe, you still love him.”
Tianhe was blocked on the road, and said, “You know, when I was in his office, you were too noisy. Plus, your voices are very similar. I didn’t know who was talking for a while.”
Pro, “But I don’t think that’s the reason you took off the earpiece. We had a 90% probability of success.”
“Success?” Tianhe patted Bentley’s steering wheel. “Successfully cheating him out of his money? That’s an outright mistake.”
Pro, “Guan Yue fell in love with you when you were 16 years old. His heart rate was recorded in the database every minute and second during that period. Whenever he was with you, his heartbeat accelerated and dopamine secretion increased. When he was separated from you...”
Tianhe, “Xiao Liu, please turn on a flamboyant, romantic audio novel for me...oh, Xiao Liu resigned.”
Tianhe drove through the red light, turned off the Bluetooth, casually pressed on the car’s audio system, and a cheerful voice rang out.
“Domineering President Deeply Favored Volume 1, Chapter 1, Section 1. Early in the morning, she woke up in a large bed and opened her eyes. She was surprised to find herself in a rare vacuum silk nightgown... Ah! Who am I? Why did I appear in...”
Tianhe decisively turned off the audio system and reconnected the Bluetooth to the car. “I changed my mind, please continue.”
Pro, “...He’s willing to do this for you, as long as you speak up.”
Tianhe, “What misunderstanding do you have about him? Pro, would a partner-level CEO take all their capital to do such a thing? You’re both in financial software, but I think you’re more like an upgraded audio system. Were you broken by the listener?”
Pro, “First of all, your temperament, taste, appearance, and aura are all fatal attractions to him. He will never find another lover like you in this life...”
“That’s right,” Tianhe replied without modesty. “Apart from ‘amazing,’ you can also say ‘fatal.’ As an AI, it’s not good to draw one analogy from another.”
Pro continued, “Secondly, the memories of you two growing up together makes him have a familial attachment to you...”
After driving out of the International Finance Center, Tianhe turned into the underground garage of the building, parked the car and put on his Bluetooth earpiece. “I only like Bach, the housework master, not Beethoven.”
Pro, “You can request whatever you like or dislike.”
“But the most essential reason is that our souls cannot be reconciled,” Tianhe added.
Pro, “Want to get something to drink? I can search for restaurants near you, but I suggest you carefully calculate your savings and use them sensibly. After all, you still have to pay the rent for the computer room in Canada next month.”
Tianhe walked out of the building and watched the endlessly flowing crowds. He sat down on a bench by the side of the road. The sky was gloomy and heavy with dark clouds, indicating an oncoming storm.
“I’ll think of some other way,” Tianhe murmured. “It’s been a long time... I didn’t expect to speak to him again at such a time.”
“Was it necessary to break up? Do you mind telling me why?”
Tianhe, “Are you interested in our past?”
Pro, “Of course, I’m still learning.”
Tianhe, “It started at what seemed to have been Lhasa Gonggar Airport. Yes, I’m sure it was Lhasa Gonggar Airport. Originally, he wanted to take me climbing up Mount Everest...”
When was their last conversation? He remembered it having been a year ago, on the day of their separation. After the two sides agreed to break up, Guan Yue proposed to go to Mount Everest. Having already tallied their points, what use was there in climbing Mt. Everest? Even if they were still together, Tianhe didn’t believe he could climb it. In case of sudden sickness, it was unnecessary to die together. After all, Tianhe himself had said ‘nothing can separate us except death.’
However, he still went with him. At that time, after working in New York for three years, Guan Yue finally finished his project. He flew across the Atlantic Ocean to return to London and knocked on the door of No.12, St. Nicholas. The housekeeper was an old gentleman who Tianhe’s mother had invited for him. Even after Tianhe repeatedly refused to open the door, he still let Guan Yue in and brought him refreshments.
“You look like a stalker,” Tianhe said. “I already said I didn’t want to go out. There’s still an unfinished project.”
Guan Yue had matured year after year but his words were getting more childish and childish. His former student spirit had completely changed into that of a complete adult. The middle-level people who were engaged in the financial industry were all very versatile and could still tell jokes. However, while the high-level officials all showed a polite attitude, they actually kept people away from them. Guan Yue had gradually become like this—Tianhe was the only one who could communicate with him about things other than work, but they hadn’t talked for a long time.
Guan Yue looked at his watch and replied, “I’ll wait for you and we’ll leave when you’re finished.”
Tianhe had been busy with his work for two days, but he knew that with Guan Yue’s character, if he didn’t go with him, they would never be able to end it. So, he whispered a few words to the housekeeper. The servants started packing while he took a bath.
“Lhasa.” Dressed in a tracksuit, Guan Yue took a sip of tea and waited patiently in the living room. “No need to bring anything, I’ve prepared everything for you.”
After wiping his hair and changing into outdoor clothes, he followed Guan Yue to the plane and slept for more than ten hours. He felt good when he saw the cloudless sky in Lhasa.
“It’s not good to bid farewell with sex,” Tianhe said. “If you stop being able to breathe, your company’s 10 billion yuan projects will be neglected.”
“There’s no such meaning,” Guan Yue coldly replied. “I’m not here to have sex with you.”
Tianhe looked around. “Just us?”
There was no driver and no assistant, only the two of them on the sunny streets of Lhasa. Guan Yue said nothing as he put on his sunglasses and carried his bag. With Tianhe following behind, he walked slowly. At nearly four thousand meters above sea level, Tianhe suddenly felt the isolation and emptiness of being on top of the world.
From the moment he stepped on this land, it was as if London, New York, Beijing, Shanghai.... The whole, flashy world of myriad noises, smoke and dust quietly disappeared. Under the accessible blue sky, only he and Guan Yue were left. Their lives’ many troubles and disturbances were finally restored to their original appearance.
Guan Yue said nothing while walking in front of the rental car. Then, he found a small restaurant in front of Potala Palace and put down their equipment. He ordered a warm teapot, then sat in the restaurant with Tianhe. What Tianhe remembered most was that Lhasa’s milk tea was really delicious. There was also a Tibetan couple sitting beside him, a tough-looking boy and shy-looking girl, with plateau red faces.
Tianhe had read books about Tibet and knew about the reincarnation legend. He couldn’t help but wonder if he and Guan Yue were born and raised in this country and didn’t have everything they had now, would there be so much trouble?
Guan Yue also looked at the couple without saying a word.
“Let’s drive to Mt. Wudang tomorrow,” Guan Yue finally said.
“Are you crazy? It’s impossible to climb up,” Tianhe said.
Guan Yue, “To reach the top, you have to take it one step at a time.”
That was okay, Tianhe no longer insisted. “I want to go to Bajiao Street and leave the day after tomorrow.”
After supper at four o’clock in the afternoon, the two stayed in a hotel. Guan Yue booked a standard room and both of them laid down on the bed. Before long, Guan Yue started answering phone calls. He was either listening, occasionally saying ‘OK,’ or giving short comments. When the sun went down, Tianhe had a terrible headache due to the altitude on the plateau and his ears were buzzing. Finally, he couldn’t help it and said, “Can you stop answering calls in the room?”
Guan Yue went to the bathroom, closed the door, and continued to handle his business. Tianhe sighed in the darkness. They were already separated, why were they torturing each other?
In the middle of the night, Guan Yue came out to see Tianhe laying in bed, panting painfully. The altitude sickness was getting worse and worse, as if he was suffering. Guan Yue stepped forward and touched Tianhe’s forehead, then rushed out to buy oxygen and Rhodiola Rosea to make coca leaf tea. After a whole night’s ordeal, the next morning, he was almost overwhelmed.
“When we were in Bolivia, you could still hold on,” Guan Yue, who stayed by his bedside all night, frowned. “Why is it so serious this time?”
Tianhe thought that his actions were very effective. Maybe he would die on the way without having to go to the Everest base camp.
“Lately, I’ve been staying up all night. I haven’t slept well, working on the professor’s project,” Tianhe said wearily. “It doesn’t matter. Give me some time to get ready. Today, I feel much better.”
Guan Yue bought breakfast but Tianhe threw it up after two bites.
“Forget it, let’s just go.” Guan Yue said.
“No,” Tianhe’s temper flared instead. “This is the first time in three years that we have come out to play like this.”
Guan Yue silently looked at Tianhe, who stood up and said stubbornly, “I haven’t been to Lhasa yet. I want to go to Bajiao Street.”
Guan Yue put on his coat and left the hotel with Tianhe.
“Eat more.” Guan Yue stubbornly demanded.
Tianhe, “I can’t eat. Don’t worry about me, it’s okay.”
Guan Yue, “Then let’s come again next time. Listen to me and let’s go back.”
Tianhe laughed, “What next time? There’s no next time. This is the last.”
The sun shone through the gaps between the warp rollers. Tianhe wore a Tibetan hat and robe. He walked along the rows of warp rollers, his slender fingers turning the half-meter high warp rollers clockwise. Guan Yue stood at the gate of Jokhang Temple silently watching Tianhe slowly creep towards him.
“First, it’s best not to meet each other, so we cannot fall in love.”
“Second, it’s best not to know each other, so we don’t miss each other.”
“Third, it’s better not to accompany each other, so we don’t owe each other.”
Tianhe smiled and raised his eyebrows gently. Looking at the figure of Guan Yue at the end of the road, his handsome face was blurry under the setting sun, it was as if he would be waiting for him until the end of time. It really brought full circle the long years of meeting, knowing and accompanying each other from childhood to adulthood.
“Fourth, it’s best not to cherish each other, so we can easily forget each other.”
“Fifth, it’s best not to fall in love, so we cannot abandon each other.”
Tianhe murmured, “Sixth, it’s best not to be relatives, so we cannot meet.”
“Seventh, it’s best not to make mistakes, so we cannot be negative.”
“Eighth, it’s best not to agree, so we cannot continue.”
“Ninth, it’s better not to depend on each other, so we cannot lean against each other...... Tenth, it’s best not to meet, so we don’t get together......”
It was a long road, but at last, it came to an end. Tianhe stopped, waiting at the end as Guan Yue held up his phone and showed him the ticket booking. A ticket for 7 o’clock in the evening had been purchased.
Tianhe avoided looking at Guan Yue, turned his head to the side, and nodded.
Guan Yue pointed to the ground and motioned Tianhe to wait there. Tianhe sat cross-legged on the ground outside Jokhang Temple and looked up at the blue sky; free and unfettered.
Guan Yue walked up to a group of Tibetans, raised his head and hands, separating them. Then, he threw himself on the ground, knelt down, and waited for a long moment. He stepped back, dived, knelt, and knocked again. Tianhe quietly watched Guan Yue and forgot to count his kowtows. When Guan Yue was finished, he got up and walked back to Tianhe. He had a red mark on his forehead that made him look a little funny, hence he couldn’t help laughing.
Guan Yue took his bag and silently sent Tianhe to the airport.
“What did you chant during your turn of sutras?” Guan Yue said.
Tianhe replied, “I read my code and hoped for the project to go well. What about you? What did you wish for when you kowtowed?”
“I wished for the gods to take care of me and for my company to go public smoothly.” Guan Yue also replied.
Tianhe smiled and looked at Guan Yue carefully. “You’re a serious and responsible investor. Your wish will surely come true. Then...I’m going now.”
Guan Yue stared at Tianhe silently. Tianhe said nothing more. After passing the security check at the airport, Guan Yue quietly looked at him. When Tianhe raised his hand and let the security inspector sweep his body, Guan Yue finally asked, “Do you still love me?”
“Mm a little.” Tianhe turned to Guan Yue and smiled. “But when I think about the fact that after I die, I won’t be buried in the Guan family’s ancestral grave, I realize my future pain will be worse than today’s pain. Let’s stick to it.”
“You can find someone better than me.” Guan Yue said.
Tianhe nodded and made a farewell gesture.
A week after leaving Lhasa, Tianhe finally couldn’t help but check out Guan Yue’s Facebook. Guan Yue took more pictures of the view from Mount Everest. In the end, he went to Nepal and to the base camp of Mount Everest alone, but didn’t climb to the top. He followed the Sherpa’s guide to the camp and took pictures of the vast mountains and snow present at an altitude of 6,400 meters.
The caption read:
I used to think that the snowy mountain had been there unchanged for hundreds of thousands of years. The mountain will always be a mountain and the snow will always be snow. However, even if many things never seem to change, the souls already have. “But once we met, we knew each other. How can we not see each other? An De and the king were separated from each other so that life and death wouldn't be missed.”
“Pro,” Tianhe finished retelling his memory and asked, “Have you ever been in love? Have you ever experienced heartache after you fell in love with someone?”
Pro said nothing.
Tianhe looked at a couple running in front of him. The boy stood by the side of the road and turned back to wait for his girlfriend to catch up.
“You chase me,” Tianhe laughed. “We’re on this long road of life and we keep moving forward, but sometimes, inevitably, we walk on different paths. Pro, it’s nice to talk about love with you, but it’s a pity you don’t understand.”
Pro remained silent.
All of a sudden, he heard a burst of cheerful music from his earpiece. The phone call connected and an enthusiastic voice rang out. “Hey, baby, want to come out and play with me?”
Jiang Zijian, “Are you still outside? How about we go out for dinner? I need your advice about life!”
Tianhe, “Let’s go to Fink’s. Today, I suddenly thought about your family. I miss them.”
Tianhe made the appointment and hung up the phone. He stood in the crowd and looked around at the high-rise buildings.
“I don’t quite understand how you feel, but I think a friend with whom you share the highest frequency of phone calls might be able to ease your anxiety,” Pro said.
Tianhe’s mouth slightly tilted up and replied, “Thanks, Pro.”
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cat, Joyce and Caro.