In the hospital ward, Feng Qinglin turned off the news that was appearing on the Internet and asked Xie Yang who was looking at the menu. “Will Tao Yang really come?”
“He will.” Xie Yang turned the menu over. “Tao Yang is the last person in the world who wants Qiu Xing to get better. Now he has an opportunity to prevent his recovery. This is likely to be the last and only opportunity and it is a huge temptation. Even if he knows that it is likely a trap, he can’t help coming over to confirm the truth.”
“If he doesn’t come or sends someone else…”
“It is possible but the chances are very low. He has lost too many cards now. He is in a state where he can’t run away or hide for long. He has paid almost everything for the perfection of his ‘artwork’ that is Qiu Xing. This is related to whether the ‘artwork’ will lose its last chance of being ‘artistic’. He won’t fake it.”
Feng Qinglin frowned when he heard it. He looked at Qiu Xing who was talking to Wu Shui at the door of the ward and shook his head. “I always feel unsure.”
“Speaking of something that will make you more uncertain, Tao Yang is probably already hiding in the hospital.”
Feng Qinglin’s voice instantly rose. “What?”
Xie Yang waved his hand. “Be steady. Don’t worry, even if he is already here, he won’t act blindly. He will move at the best and most stable time, which is when your uncle is undergoing surgery.”
Feng Qinglin found it hard to calm down. “Uncle, aren’t you afraid?”
“What should I be afraid of? This was specially arranged by your uncle. Previously, your uncle checked the community, Rongding and Yang Xing. Why didn’t he check here? The harder we guard something, the deeper Tao Yang will hide. We must leave some flaws for him to emerge. Don’t worry, nothing will happen.” Xie Yang picked several dishes on the menu and handed it to Feng Qinglin. “Pick what you like to eat. Don’t say that your uncle and I are abusing you. I’ll make it clear in advance that your uncle and I are having hotpot for the New Year’s Eve dinner. If you don’t like hot pot then you can order a few other dishes.”
Feng Qinglin looked at Xie Yang’s calm expression in front of him but still couldn’t maintain his calm. “You are certain nothing will happen?”
Xie Yang raised his eyebrow. “Do you not believe me or do you not believe your uncle and the police?”
“……” He couldn’t believe it.
Feng Qinglin reached out and took the menu to choose dishes.
“Don’t choose things that your uncle can only see but not eat.”
Feng Qinglin silently moved away from the spicy grilled lamb chops he was going to order and picked the warm and nourishing mutton soup.
The 26th, 27th and 28th of the last month of the year passed calmly. As the new year was approaching, the number of paparazzi waiting at the entrance of the hospital decreased and the hospital was gradually deserted. Finally, it was the 29th and the rumored day of Qiu Xing’s surgery.
Wu Shui led the bodyguards to surround the building where the operation would take place and the building was also emptied. Everyone was removed except for the doctors and nurses necessary for the ‘operation’. Outside this building, hospital security and police officers dressed in plain clothes scattered and patrolled intensively.
It was a full set of acting. At 8 a.m., Qiu Xing put on a hospital gown and was rushed into the operating room by Dr Kirkman.
Xie Yang sat on the corridor bench outside the operating room and closed his eyes while leaning against the wall. He slowly spread out his ability to cover the entire hospital. He could locate each person in the network according to the degree of purification. This method could only vaguely locate everyone’s movements and consumed a lot of energy, but it was better than nothing.
Time flowed quietly.
At 10 o’clock in the morning, a fire broke out in the southeast corner of the hospital. Wu Shui came over to report. Xie Yang opened his eyes but didn’t move. “Put out the fire and continue to watch this building.”
One wave wasn’t settled when another one occurred. A few minutes later, the hospital suddenly had its power cut off. Only the operating rooms connected to the backup generator were still lit. There was a commotion everywhere and the hospital urgently activated the backup electricity. Just as everyone was busy due to the fire and power outage, several people from the ability network chose to approach this building in unison.
Xie Yang opened his eyes.
He was coming.
Xie Yang locked onto these people with his ability before calling Wu Shui and giving a few more orders. It wasn’t long until these people arrived at the entrances and exits of the building one after another, entangling with the bodyguards guarding them. Only one of these people avoided the bodyguards and went outside a window somewhere on the first floor. He paused for a moment before entering the ward.
At the same time, Xie Yang’s phone rang. He Jun called from where he was in the monitoring room.
“Little boss, someone broke into the building by smashing a window. I have notified Wu Shui and he is going to catch them.”
Xie Yang frowned. He suddenly felt that something was wrong and got up to go downstairs. He successfully joined Wu Shui who had already caught the person. Wu Shui held the sickly-looking middle-aged man in front of Xie Yang and frowned. “It isn’t Tao Yang.”
…It was unexpected yet reasonable.
Xie Yang looked at the man who was dodging his gaze with a guilty conscience and asked, “Are you a patient in this hospital?”
The man lowered his head.
“How much money did Tao Yang give you?”
The man didn’t dare to look at Xie Yang and whispered, “I just wanted to leave some money for my son… he is still young and I can’t keep dragging my family down.”
How good, he took advantage of the patient’s despair at the loss of his family.
Xie Yang looked out at the corridor and asked Wu Shui, “Have the people who set the fire and cut off the power been caught?”
“You don’t need to catch them.” The man took the initiative to speak, his head lowering even further. “It was all done by me and my fellow patients… that person asked me to bring you a message. He said, he said…”
“What did he say?”
“Xie Yang, you guessed wrong.”
Xie Yang stared at the man for a few seconds before retracting the ability he had been spreading out. He turned to Wu Shui and ordered. “Retreat, Tao Yang won’t come.” Then he turned and strode upstairs.
A few minutes later, Qiu Xing came out of the operating room and entered the ward. “What’s going on?”
Xie Yang was awoken from his thoughts. He saw Qiu Xing’s cold and anxious expression and didn’t express the guess he had just sorted out in his heart. He just shook his head. “It’s fine. Tao Yang didn’t show up. He used a group of ill patients hospitalized here. I think he should’ve run away.”
“He didn’t show up?”
“No, it looks like he isn’t as obsessed with you as we thought he would be.”
Qiu Xing frowned and touched Xie Yang’s head, reassuring him. “I will definitely catch him.” Then he gave a strong hug and left the ward to make some calls.
Xie Yang watched Qiu Xing leave before retracting his gaze and looking at his hands.
‘Adam and his birds’, the bird with broken wings.
He guessed wrong.
Xie Yang clenched his hands. He really had guessed wrong or Tao Yang sent him the wrong message through Mu Zhouyi. At that time, Mu Zhouyi said that Tao Yang’s decision for him and Qiu Xing was to die by illness and a life of suffering with broken wings.
This should be wrong and Mu Zhouyi had reversed their ending. The thing Tao Yang really wanted was for Xie Yang to die and Qiu Xing becoming even more desperate by gaining and losing hope. Qiu Xing would fall into the abyss again, suffering in the world.
Tao Yang wasn’t satisfied with Qiu Xing’s simple death. He wanted to appreciate Qiu Xing’s desperate appearance even more. If previously Tao Yang wanted to let Qiu Xing die, now he wanted to see Qiu Xing die in despair.
An upgraded pervert.
Still, there was one thing he had guessed correctly. This was indeed Tao Yang’s last chance to struggle. If Tao Yang’s goal was him then the TV station where everybody was coming and going tomorrow would be the best chance for Tao Yang to act against him.
Qiu Xing entered again. Xie Yang glanced toward Qiu Xing and asked, “How is it?”
Qiu Xing shook his head. “It has all been the patients who were making trouble. Tao Yang contacted them through their family members and he didn’t show up personally. The police are gathering those family members to check their contact with Tao Yang.”
“It might take a long time to investigate.” Xie Yang got up and approached Qiu Xing. He first smoothed out this person’s tense eyebrows before holding Qiu Xing’s hand. “Let’s go home for New Year’s Eve dinner.”
Xie Yang patted Qiu Xing on the shoulder. “Don’t be stressed and don’t worry. I believe you will catch him. We should go home for the New Year’s Eve dinner. I am hungry.”
Qiu Xing watched Xie Yang for a few seconds and understood. He reached out to embrace Xie Yang and touched the back of his head, stating, “Okay, let’s go home.”
That night, Xie Yang updated his Weibo.
[Xie Yang: It isn’t a second operation, it is just a normal review. The results of the review are ideal and Qiu Xing has basically recovered.]
There was a photo attached. In the photo, Qiu Xing was sitting at the dinner table, rosy faced and in good spirits. He didn’t look like he just had a serious injury.
The Xie fans who had been worried for many days were finally relieved and the rumors quickly dissipated.
The Lunar New Year’s Eve dinner finished and Xie Yang washed up. He went to bed early to recharge his energy for the performance the next day.
Qiu Xing accompanied him to bed early. He took Xie Yang into his arms and bowed his head for a kiss. “I will pick you up.”
“Okay, remember to wear more clothing. My show ends around 11:40 but it should be almost midnight when I come out. This is when the temperature is very low. I also checked the weather forecast and it says that it might snow in the evening.”
“Once we get Tao Yang, we’ll go on a date, the type without any bodyguards.”
Xie Yang raised his head and looked at Qiu Xing’s somewhat blurred face in the darkness. Then he smiled and kissed the other person. “Okay.”
It should be completely over tomorrow.
On this night, Xie Yang continued to absorb the last energy group in his ability core as usual.
After this period of absorbing, the energy group had changed from the size of a pink fingernail to half the size of a sesame seed. According to Xie Yang’s estimation, this energy group would be completely absorbed by him in two or three days at most.
This period of absorbing allowed him to obtain many strange energy templates. But it didn’t allow him to get more information about the main system and the ‘nascent’ world. Perhaps important information was hidden in the data written in an unfamiliar language. Unfortunately, he couldn’t understand it.
There were no dreams all night.
Xie Yang got up, took out his phone, turned it on and sent a Weibo post.
[Xie Yang: I know you’ll come. See you today.]
“Stirring up fans so early in the morning?”
Xie Yang glanced back at Qiu Xing, who had opened his eyes at an unknown time. Xie Yang called out, “Chairman Vinegar?”
Qiu Xing frowned. “What?”
“It is a nickname from the fans. I think it suits you.”
Qiu Xing became angry. He grabbed Xie Yang and pressed this person under him. Preparations for the gala started very early. After breakfast, Qiu Xing accompanied Xie Yang out and sent him to the TV station building. On the way, Qiu Xing answered a call from the police. Once Qiu Xing put down his phone, Xie Yang looked over and asked, “What is it?”
“The police have found traces of Tao Yang leaving B City on a bus. They checked the surveillance and have basically determined it is Tao Yang. The surveillance equipment captured a very clear front facial image.”
“Yes.” Xie Yang nodded and patted Qiu Xing’s palm. “So we can have a comfortable New Year’s day.”
Qiu Xing held Xie Yang’s hand and remained silent. He just raised Xie Yang’s hand and kissed it, the tight air around his body relaxing a lot. Dozens of minutes later, the car stopped at the TV station building. Xie Yang bid farewell to Qiu Xing and got off the car, leading Wu Shui into the building. The process of the evening gala had been rehearsed countless times and everything proceeded in order.
Xie Yang finished his styling and went to the special rest area to wait until it was time to go on stage. He would occasionally send WeChat messages to Qiu Xing, look at Weibo and accept random interviews from TV stations. Time passed in the blink of an eye.
At 11:35 in the evening, the prelude to ‘Golden Age’ sounded through the studio and Xie Yang’s figure appeared on the TV screens of countless families. Outside the building, Qiu Xing touched the tablet screen while wearing a red suit. He looked warm and open as the corners of his mouth curved up.
The performance ended smoothly and Xie Yang walked backstage. He said goodbye to the staff and left with Wu Shui. The two of them boarded the elevator with several other performers who were about to leave and headed downstairs to the car.
Soon, the elevator reached the lobby on the first floor. The people in the elevator went out and the people waiting outside got in. As the two parties passed each other, Xie Yang felt a small sting from his hand. The ability that had been running in his body all the time, immediately rushed toward the place that was stung and then a strong sense of swallowing came.
Xie Yang stopped and stared at a hooded staff member who was walking to the elevator. He called out, “Tao Yang.”
All the people who heard Xie Yang’s words were stunned and followed his gaze to the staff member. Wu Shui also reacted and hurried forward to catch the person.
“I knew you would find out.” The staff member who entered the elevator slowly raised his head in front of everyone’s uncertain eyes. He took off his hat and revealed a delicate face. It was Tao Yang.
He watched Xie Yang and wasn’t even flustered when Wu Shui twisted his arm. It was as if he had anticipated all of this as he smiled in a contented and cheerful manner. “However, I won.”
There were faint gasps and everyone unanimously retreated from Tao Yang. Only Xie Yang stood there and didn’t move. He and Tao Yang stared at each other before Xie Yang smiled and asked, “You won? What did you win with?”
Tao Yang’s eyes fell on Xie Yang’s hand and then moved back to his face. He smiled and said even more terrible words, “With your life. So what if Qiu Xing gets better? He will only live a more painful life than in the past. It is great that you made him fall in love with you. Xie Yang, thank you for helping me achieve my best work.”
Wu Shui’s expression changed and he glanced at Xie Yang. He wanted to release Tao Yang to check Xie Yang’s situation but he was afraid that Tao Yang would run away. It was a dilemma.
Xie Yang motioned to Wu Shui that he was fine.
A staff member found that something was wrong here and brought the building’s security over.
Tao Yang glanced over there and then back at Xie Yang. “Why aren’t you speaking? Have you started to feel uncomfortable? Xie Yang, don’t endure it anymore. Fear isn’t a shameful emotion.”
Xie Yang answered with a question. “Tao Yang, is it worth it?”
“Why isn’t it worth it?” The expression on Tao Yang’s face became more cheerful like he had seen everything he wanted spread out in front of him. “I will be locked up for 20 years at most. I will be in my 40s in 20 years. If I perform well or make a great contribution then I might even come out in 10 years. 10 years later, I will be in my 30s. At that time, I will release my most perfect work and countless people will be crazy about it. Qiu Xing should still be alive at that time. His madness, struggle, pain and despair will be the continuous nourishment for my life.”
Xie Yang started to approach Tao Yang. The smile on Tao Yang’s face widened. “Xie Yang, you are the best sacrifice.”
Xie Yang stopped in front of Tao Yang and looked him up and down. “So it was you who killed the original owner in the book. Sacrifice? Your work is really filthy.”
Tao Yang frowned because he couldn’t understand Xie Yang’s words. Then the latter sentence successfully angered him. He glared coldly at Xie Yang before smiling again. “It isn’t bad. You look good when you are trying to be strong. Aren’t you going to find Qiu Xing waiting outside? Now you are like this but you should be able to see Qiu Xing one last time?”
Wu Shui was in a hurry. “Boss—”
“The last time?” Xie Yang leaned in close to Tao Yang, curling his lips slightly in a sneer. He raised the hand that Tao Yang had stung with something unknown and moved it in front of Tao Yang flexibly. “What nonsense are you talking about? Tao Yang, are you crazy or hallucinating?” As he talked, a template from his energy core was activated and his ability pierced Tao Yang’s body.
Tao Yang didn’t notice the ability. He was staring at Xie Yang’s hand and the smile on his face disappeared. Then he saw Xie Yang’s still rosy face and clear eyes and frowned.
Xie Yang kept smiling. “You still have something to say?” He came closer to Tao Yang and lowered his voice. “Do you believe that I can make you unable to hold a pen any longer?” Then he straightened up and stepped aside.
The building’s security arrived at the right time and took Tao Yang from Wu Shui. Wu Shui hurriedly approached Xie Yang and asked anxiously, “Boss, are you okay? Are you feeling uncomfortable anywhere?”
Xie Yang shook his head. “I’m fine. He didn’t touch me before.”
Tao Yang heard this and his expression changed completely. He leaned sideways and shouted, “Impossible, I definitely touched you!”
“Your feelings deceived you.”
Tao Yang struggled to turn his head. “No. Xie Yang, you—”
The template worked successfully and the ability succeeded in marking Tao Yang’s brain. At the same time, Xie Yang used the mark to reach toward Tao Yang’s hands, blocking the nerves there.
Tao Yang, who was being held by the security guards, suddenly twitched his hand. He groaned and instinctively extended his hands. The security guard scolded Tao Yang and led him out of the crowded corridor.
Xie Yang watched Tao Yang being taken away and exhaled softly. He left Wu Shui to talk to the person in charge who rushed over and walked quickly outside the building. Once outside, a snowflake floated onto his face. Xie Yang stared up at the sky where snow was starting to fall and smiled. He strode through the snow toward the place where Qiu Xing was waiting.
He could see the car door opening and Qiu Xing quickly getting off. He took off his coat and wrapped it around Xie Yan while scolding, “How did you come out in such light clothing? Where is Wu Shui?”
“Ah Xing, I’m free.”
Qiu Xing’s temper was soothed by Xie Yang’s smile and he rubbed Xie Yang’s cold ears. “What a silly thing to say.”
Then there was the sound of the police sirens approaching and Tao Yang was taken out of the building by the guards. Qiu Xing’s hand pinched Xie Yang’s ear. He stared at the police car coming over with disbelief and then Tao Yang who was taken out before looking at Xie Yang in front of him.
Xie Yang smiled and kissed Qiu Xing before staring in Tao Yang’s direction.
“Ah Xing, you are also free.”
Tao Yang saw Xie Yang and Qiu Xing standing together and tried to come over. Eventually, he was held down by the police officers who got out of the car and was forced into the car. Just then, the sound of the new year countdown bells were heard. Xie Yang stared up at the TV station building in front of him and took the initiative to hold Qiu Xing’s hand.
Qiu Xing gripped back as he stared at the police car. Unknowingly, his hands kept tightening. “That’s why he—”
All the bells stopped and Xie Yang interrupted Qiu Xing with a laugh.
“Ah Xing, Happy New Year.”
Proofreader: Paranoid Kitten