Meng Yan was just joking.
He thought He Changkong wouldn’t bother with them, but to his surprise, He Changkong responded in the group.

[Kong_]: If you don’t have a place to stay tonight, you can come over and make do for now.

The shuttle bus, which had stopped for a while, suddenly moved, and Shen Yanming, who wasn’t holding onto anything, stumbled forward.
He quickly stabilized himself and grabbed his phone, but his hand slipped.
When he looked back at the screen after regaining his balance, he realized that he had accidentally sent a sticker.

It was a gif of one cat’s head pressing down on another, and the one being pressed was struggling hard.

The gif had a caption: “Call for help and see who comes to save you.”

[Kong_]: …

Shen Yanming’s head was now filled with ellipses.

At this moment, he didn’t intend to flirt, but since he had already sent it, claiming it was an accident wouldn’t be convincing.
So, he sent another emoji from the same series.

It was still a cat’s head molesting another cat’s head expression.

[Shrimp Balls Are the Best]: [Today, I will make you my meow.gif]

[Fatty Beef is the Best in the Universe]: Oh?

[Tripe Brain the Real Best]: The atmosphere in this group is too gay, this straight guy is leaving as a sign of respect.

[Kong_]: …

In fact, before Shen Yanming came, he had considered his accommodation.
The staff in charge of the players’ daily lives had mentioned that the base had everything and players could just move in with their bags.
He didn’t think too much about it; as long as they provided him a room to sleep in, he was fine.
If he could stay next to Kong ge, that would be even better.
If he couldn’t sleep at night, he could ask him for a solo or some intense duo queue.

Shen Yanming didn’t check in advance and didn’t know that the room next door was used for storage.

After looking at the pictures sent by Pudding, it was clear that the room would take some time to tidy up.

But if he were to sleep in the same room as He Changkong… he decided to tidy up the room instead.

Of course, it wasn’t because he disliked He Changkong.
Shen Yanming explained:

[Shrimp Balls Are the Best]: Just kidding, my sleeping habits are a bit bad.
It’s usually tolerable, but since you guys have a match tomorrow, I won’t disturb Kong ge.

The self-proclaimed straight guy, who had left earlier as a sign of respect, returned and asked a question.

[Tripe Brain the Real Best]: Tell us, what kind of sleeping habits do you have?

Another straight guy immediately followed up.

[Fatty Beef is the Best in the Universe]: How would you disturb him?

Shen Yanming said that his sleeping habits were bad, but not in a way where he’d wake up and dismantle the bed.
He just liked to hold onto things while sleeping.
When he was little, he clung to a large-sized doll.
As he grew older, he thought that wasn’t manly enough, so he started hugging pillows and blankets instead.
If he slept with someone else, sometimes he would turn into an octopus and treat the person next to him as a pillow.

Back when he was still in elementary school, sleeping together with a few other kids at his grandmother’s house in the countryside during summer and winter vacations, Shen Yanming often received complaints.

It was a bit embarrassing to talk about, but… that was the real reason why he wasn’t too keen on sharing a bed with others.
Although it had been a long time since those incidents, he still hugged his blanket while sleeping.
Whether he would hug a person was uncertain.

But as long as this habit had a chance of being triggered, he didn’t want to risk it.
What if he fell asleep and really mistook He Changkong for a pillow? It would be embarrassing, and it might affect his sleep and consequently the match.

Shen Yanming was too lazy to explain so much and started to mess around in the chat.

[Shrimp Balls Are the Best]: How about you guys try it first? If you feel that I’m not too disruptive, then I’ll let Kong ge enjoy this service.

[Tripe Brain the Real Best]: Paws up.1Paws up: “抓把” (Zhǎo bā ), is a cute and playful expression that can be used to show affection or agreement, similar to “pawing” or “grabbing.” It’s often used in a light-hearted manner to participate in the conversation and express camaraderie.

[Fatty Beef is the Best in the Universe]: [Share Music-Green Light] g_

[Kong_]: I’ll ask Auntie to help tidy up your room first.

[Kong_]: Can you come back by yourself?

[Shrimp Balls Are the Best]: Mom, I can do it!!

[Kong_]: …

Shen Yanming retracted the message and edited it again.

[Shrimp Ball the Best]: Ge, I can do it.

When Shen Yanming arrived at the entrance of the base, the sky was already soaked in darkness.
As he was moving his luggage out of the trunk, he faintly saw two people arguing under the shadows of trees about a hundred meters away.

One of them was dragging a suitcase as well.

Shen Yanming glanced over, but at first, he couldn’t make out what they were saying.
Later, the person speaking seemed to become too agitated and raised their voice, forcing Shen Yanming to eavesdrop on the argument.

It was Lan’s voice: “…What are you pretending for now? You’ve been waiting to see me make a fool of myself, right?”

The person dragging the suitcase was probably Lan, who had been kicked out.

Worried that it might escalate into violence, Shen Yanming quickly pushed his luggage and hurried over, asking, “What’s going on?”

Lan pushed Pudding aside.
Just now, Pudding had been blocked by the tree’s shade, so Shen Yanming didn’t recognize him.

Pudding seemed like he wanted to say something, but in the end, he held back.
Lan glanced at Shen Yanming, who was expecting him to leave with some villainous lines like “Wait and see” or “Don’t be too proud too soon.” Unexpectedly, Lan didn’t say anything in the end.
He just looked quite proud, snorted, and then walked away with his suitcase.

As Lan moved further away, Shen Yanming turned to Pudding and asked cautiously, “What was that about, Ding ding jiang?”

Pudding patted him on the head, “You little brat, call me ge.”

Shen Yanming: “?” Why is it that you and Meng Yan can call each other “jiang” back and forth, but when it comes to him, everyone is just called “ge”? Aren’t we all just big anime fans anyway?

“That guy has quite some strength.
He pushed me, and my shoulder hurts now,” Pudding rubbed the spot where Lan had pushed him and looked at Shen Yanming with a concerned gaze.
Then he waved his hand, “I’m just worried about him.
Seeing him alone, packing his luggage, feels really pitiful.
We’ve known each other for three or four years, and it’s quite emotional for me… So, I thought, maybe I should say something to him.”

Shen Yanming asked, “What did you say then?”

Pudding replied, “I told him that with his current state, no domestic club would be willing to take him, unless a club didn’t care about its reputation.
But he does have the skills.
If he reforms himself, focuses on training, and stops getting involved in frivolous matters, he can start anew in other regions.”

Shen Yanming opened his mouth in shock, “You really said that?”

Pudding shrugged innocently, “Yeah, it’s a claw issue.”2claw issue: a humorous or sarcastic way of referring to a problem or flaw in the person’s gaming skills or abilities.

Shen Yanming asked skeptically, “Are you sure you’re not being sarcastic?”

Pudding shook his head earnestly, “I was just being honest.
No decent club would dare to take him now.”

“That’s a master of sarcasm indeed, killing with invisible words.
He must have realized by now that he’s become a worthless piece of shit, and you’re just reminding him of that, “ Shen Yanming praised with a thumbs up, “But well, it’s true.
People like him probably wouldn’t think you’re trying to help them.
If he could see it as advice, he should have listened when you pointed out his issues in the beginning.”

Pudding replied, “Whatever, forget that idiot.
I wish him a bright future, walking on a flowery road~”

Shen Yanming: “…” Isn’t it odd? Why does this Pudding ge’s way of speaking come with a mocking buff?

But it still sounds rather satisfying.

He guessed that person’s future would likely be thorny, and the road would be slippery.

Pudding didn’t want to waste more brain cells on this matter.
He put his arm around Shen Yanming’s shoulder, “Let’s go, Luanzi.
I’ll take you to where we live.”

Shen Yanming followed Pudding to their player dorm.
Originally, when they had new members, they would hold a welcoming ceremony.
Even though it had been a long time since they had any new members, their so-called welcoming ceremony would involve finding an excuse to have a barbecue.

But they had a match the next day, and to maintain good condition on the field, they decided not to eat anything too greasy at such a late hour.

And so, they skipped any welcome ceremony.
After Shen Yanming finished tidying, he took a shower and lay down on the bed.
He didn’t know if it was due to staying up too late or just unfamiliarity with the bed, but he tossed and turned several times and couldn’t fall asleep.
Eventually, he got up from the bed.

He sat at the desk and took out a notebook from his bag.

The notebook contained the letter that He Changkong had written to him last time.
Shen Yanming took it out and read it again.

He also wanted to write something for He Changkong, as it was customary to reciprocate.

However, after sitting at the desk for a long time, he couldn’t come up with anything good to write.
It’s not like writing a composition where you can just make something up.
The main thing was to convey a message.

In truth, he didn’t have anything particular in mind; he just wanted to say “good luck.”

After all, there was a match coming up.
Although it was only the first round… they couldn’t be too careless, especially since they had a new team member at the last minute.

But just writing “good luck” seemed too perfunctory compared to He Changkong’s letter that filled the entire page.

At this moment, Shen Yanming regretted not being a literary person.

After much thought, he ended up copying a few lines of lyrics he really liked onto the paper.

“Dashing against the wind with a smile, I’ll take a flight, the youthful me won’t conform to conventions.
Good luck, mom!”

After writing, he crossed out “mom” and changed it to “Kong ge.”

However, he felt that the crossed-out part looked unsightly, so he copied it again.

After rewriting it again, he still wasn’t satisfied with his poor handwriting; he felt it was not good enough.

In the end, after copying it multiple times and wasting several pieces of paper, he finally folded the small note and held it in his hand before heading out of his room.

He Changkong’s room was right next to his, and it was currently closed.

He probably wouldn’t be asleep yet, but what if he was?

Shen Yanming squatted down, trying to judge if He Changkong was asleep by looking for any light leaking through the door crack.

Seeing darkness, he hesitated whether to slip the small note through the gap.
But then he thought, what if it gets swept away as trash, and his whole night would be wasted practicing calligraphy? Should he just get an envelope? Or maybe give it to him before their match tomorrow?

He was still pondering which plan to execute while squatting in front of the door when suddenly, a shadow passed over him.

He raised his head to look.

Oh, it turned out that the reason He Changkong’s room was dark was that he wasn’t even in there.

He Changkong looked down at him, “What are you doing?”

Shen Yanming casually made up an excuse, “…um, I was planning to slip a little note into your room?”

He couldn’t just say that he wanted to slip a not-so-authentic personal letter into He Changkong’s room.

He Changkong was puzzled, “A little note?”

Taking this as an opportunity, Shen Yanming got quite enthusiastic and explained very skillfully, “Haven’t you received it when staying in hotels? You know, those special services, with some pictures of beautiful girls on them…”

He had indeed received them when staying in some cheap hotels, but He Changkong still felt very perplexed, “You want to slip this to me…?”

Shen Yanming had repeated lines from these little cards countless times, and without hesitation, he continued, “Different people bring you different excitement, lonely young men are waiting for you…”

He Changkong: “…stop.”

Author’s Message:

Kong: Stop talking nonsense, little one.

The lyrics are quoted from Leslie Cheung’s “我要逆风去” (wǒ yào nìfēng qù)

Thank you for reading! 

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day

If you like reading my translations, do consider supporting me with ko-fi

1Paws up: “抓把” (Zhǎo bā ), is a cute and playful expression that can be used to show affection or agreement, similar to “pawing” or “grabbing.” It’s often used in a light-hearted manner to participate in the conversation and express camaraderie.2claw issue: a humorous or sarcastic way of referring to a problem or flaw in the person’s gaming skills or abilities.

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