Chapter 78: I Want to Go Home
Yue Qiang had become strong.
He had thoroughly smashed up his computer case with a single kick. This was something he could not have done with his previous strength, but now he could easily do it.
The connection between the computer case and the PC and broken apart. The power board also broke. However, the display continued to stay lit.
It was still that world, and it was still that small room. Inside the room, he was holding the bamboo scroll and shivering slightly.
He shook his mouse and touched his keyboard for a bit. He discovered that both external peripherals that were connected to the computer case could be used. However, the blue progress bar on the display had taken a huge leap forwards before he knew it!
A computer that could work without its CPU, a display that could light up without electricity…
Is this what it meant by 95%?
After Yue Qiang had kicked out the computer case like he was venting, he sank his entire person on the chair and panted slightly, feeling a little bit calmer than he was before.
When he touched the mouse earlier, he had clicked once. Therefore, another line of words appeared on the bamboo scroll, “I know that you might not believe it, and this isn’t something that any normal person could believe. Therefore, you can go out to take a look or make a call. Test it however you want to. This is the moment the ‘Pause Module’ made for… Use it. If the progress bar reaches 100%, it can no longer be used.”
Test it? Alright!
The in-game Yue Qiang took out the first bamboo slip, and then the scene inside the display suddenly froze. Objects, people, and himself included did not move even a single jot, and at the same time a timer of one hour began to count down on the display.
Yue Qiang felt a trace of weariness.
How should I test this?
It was night outside. The night sceneries of the city was both familiar and strange. He had already forgotten how long it had been since he last saw a normal night scenery. However, right now it still seemed to be quite normal.
Everything inside the rented house was very normal. A messy arrangement, a whole floor of smelly socks. Everything of everything was normal.
So why was it not the real world?
Should I go out and take a look?
Should I… He did not want to think of that option of calling his home. He simply walked out of the door while subconsciously grabbing his phone.
The door was the usual dim black color. It opened up with a ‘creak’. It hadn’t been used for a very long time. It was the familiar stairs outside the door, very familiar; he used to pass by them every day he went down to buy cup noodles. But at the same time, it was also very strange to him. After all, he really hadn’t come out in a very, very long time.
The stairs deep in the night were silent. Of course, there was no one else around here.
Should I knock on the neighbor’s door?
If he could disturb a sleeping person, that would be a good thing too.
Right now Yue Qiang wasn’t thinking about anything. He simply wanted to see a living person.
He knocked on the door.
There were three knocking noises, and some echos were generated amidst the stairs of the deep night. There was neither a voice asking ‘who is it’ nor the sound of slippers hitting the floor coming from inside the door. There was nothing.
But a voice appeared in his head:
“This door is locked.”
Of course I know this door is locked, of course I know… Yue Qiang muttered to himself. Then, as if he had gone insane, he kicked the neighbor’s door with the strength he used to kick the computer case just now, causing a loud bang. Then, he raised his head and looked above him, shouting, “I don’t need you system to tell me that!”
He ran out of the stairs and arrived on the streets.
There was no one in the neighborhood at night. No one.
At first, he was walking slowly. Then, his walk turned into a run, and he ran faster and faster as if he had automatically activated Run LVL 2. He ran unusually fast, all the way to the city center and the most bustling pedestrian street of the entire city.
There was still no one.
All of the shops were closed.
On the bustling street illuminated colorfully by neon lamps. The street was bustling. The street was empty. There was only Yue Qiang.
And immeasurable loneliness.
He found a very small corner and crouched down. He curled up tightly in that corner and buried his head deeply to his knees.
A few unclear and very soft words jumped out of his mouth. It sounded like, ‘I want to go home’.
Then, he took out his hand phone.
Woodenly, he flipped through those seemingly familiar numbers which he had not contacted for a very, very long time. He stopped at the number displayed under ‘Home’, wanting to call out but changed his mind abruptly and flipped through his contact fiercely before pressing on Luqiu Duanyi’s phone number, ringing it out.
It actually connected.
It was clamorous on the other side of the phone.
Just like the previous few calls, the woman sounded like she was selling something.
Right now Yue Qiang was feeling a little confused. He didn’t know what he should ask; what he should say. And so, he waited quietly. A while later, when the clamorous noise gradually subsided, Luqiu Duanyi’s voice rang from the phone, “I’ll go to your place… ten days later.”
The call was hung up.
Yue Qiang did not mind the ten days later too much. He did not think of the connection between the two women sharing the same surname ‘Luqiu’ in the real world and the game. He wasn’t even thinking much about the game. In this night, the abruptly awakened Yue Qiang simply wanted call back his home.
He just, suddenly wanted to call back his home.
He wanted to finish all available options before calling back his home. He knew that this was procrastination. He wanted to procrastinate forever if possible. But the other options he could do were very few.
He was afraid, but after so much time, he could not delay this any further.
His house number was a landline. There were eight numbers. Yue Qiang had even purposely added an area code at the front before calling.
It was a busy tone. It was the anticipated busy tone.
Once twice thrice four times five times six times…
He turned off his phone, turned on his phone, once twice thrice four times five times six times, then called no longer. He started to call other people’s phone: his classmates, his friends; then his relatives; then fire department, emergency rescue, police…
They were all busy tones.
Then, his phone ran out of battery and shut down.
Yue Qiang tossed his phone into the dustbin and returned to his house.
He sat in front of the computer, and waited.
The countdown had ended. Then, he fingers paused on top of the keyboard for a very long time as he very, very slowly typed a couple of words letter by letter.
It wasn’t directed at the corpse. It wasn’t directed at Yin, who was looking at him with slight concern either. It was directed at himself. He felt that he would go crazy under pressure if he did not type these five words. They were:
“I want to go home.”
A while later, he tapped the backspace key. His hands were still placed on the keyboard, and he wanted to type another four words. However, he thought that the four words he was about to type was too embarrassing; the kind of embarrassment that was so terrible that even his grandmother’s family had heard about it*. He felt incredibly ashamed at himself, but if he did not express these four words in some ways, he couldn’t help but feel that something was lacking.
*a kind of saying that means extremely embarrassing
In the end, he did not type out the four words.
He turned off the dialog box and closed his eyes. But a teardrop slid disappointingly out of his eye socket. As a young man over twenty years old, as a man, as a person who never called back to his home, and hung up unbelievably quick every time he received a phone call from home, these few words squirmed between his lips instead.
He felt ashamed. He felt embarrassed. His voice was a little soft and trembling, but he still said it in the end. It was four words:
“I miss my mum.”