Chapter 1: Stifling Heat |
It was mid-August when an Autumn Tiger1 besieged the city.
The temperature in Nancheng rose sharply to the point that a high-temperature warning had to be issued. The waxy black tar roads melted under the scorching sun and produced pungent, noxious fumes that polluted people’s senses.
No one wanted to go out in this devil’s armpit weather, but Gu Tuantuan was the exception.
Gu Tuantuan and Jiang Ye had been friends since they were young. He used to live across from her grandmother, so whenever she stayed over, they would play together. Jiang Ye’s parents owned a fruit stand. Every morning, they would push their little cart and go to the market. She and Jiang Ye would each grab an apple before running out to raid their poor neighborhood.
Back then, there was a small woody area near their apartment. It was not maintained, and thusly, overgrown with thickets of tall grass and weeds. The two scamps would go there to catch bugs and dragonflies. At the end of each day, they would return home covered in a thick layer of dirt and grime.
Her grandmother often remarked, “Who’s this rascal? Where is my cute granddaughter?”
Later, the building was torn down, so everyone had to move away, but she stayed in touch with Jiang Ye. She knew that Jiang Ye’s parents opened a grocery store selling fresh fruits and that business was booming. They even bought a car! More recently, Jiang Ye scored well on an exam. Uncle2 Jiang was so happy that, with a mighty flourish of his credit card, he bought Jiang Ye a new computer.
The new computer was for playing games.
The old computer was for studying—of course.
These were Jiang Ye’s exact words. Gu Tuantuan’s jaw dropped; she was pea-green with envy. To be sure, Gu Tuantuan’s family was reasonably well-off, but they refused to buy her a computer. The reason being it would affect her studies.
So, as soon as Jiang Ye got his hands on the new computer, Gu Tuantuan began living the freeloader life at his place.
Every day over summer vacation, she would eat lunch, grab her homework, and then dash to Jiang Ye’s house despite having to trek through the stifling heat.
To call it studying together was like pointing at a wolf and calling it Grandma.
“Ah! Ah! Ah! I’ve been hit!”
In-game Gu Tuantuan fled with her tail tucked between her legs as if chased by an angry bee. She dragged herself behind a large rock and hid. She noticed that she only had a sliver of HP left; trembling, she quickly gave herself a potion. The close call made her heart pound with lingering fear.
“Got ’em,” Jiang Ye’s voice was low. A single gunshot sounded, and a new kill prompt appeared on the screen in front of them.
“Wah!” Gu Tuantuan exclaimed, unable to contain her glee. She was just about to run over and lick the bag.3
“Hold up, don’t move. There’s one more.”
As if to prove his words, as soon as Gu Tuantuan poked her head above the rock, a bullet whizzed by. She was so frightened, she curled herself up again. The rock was soon turned into swiss cheese by the rain of bullets.
“It’s coming from thirty degrees west of south, around the location of the red house—” she calculated.
Before she could finish speaking, another two shots sounded, and the kill prompt popped up once more.
“Yeah, I noticed. They’re dead now.”
Jiang Ye changed his magazine and walked forward. After taking a few steps, he turned and noticed that Gu Tuantuan was still curled up behind the rock. He chuckled, “It’s okay, you can come out now. They’re all gone”
Gu Tuantuan giddily scampered out and skipped over to lick the bag.
Before summer vacation, Jiang Ye was still an egg-eating4 newbie.
At the time, Gu Tuantuan had stroked her imaginary beard and feigned the attitude of a seasoned sage. She taught Jiang Ye what an airdrop was, what it meant to lick a bag, and how to wear a tertiary helmet.
What she didn’t expect was that within a month, Jiang Ye would quickly overtake her, and their positions would switch to her grabbing onto his thigh.5
Now, she just follows him around and effortlessly feasts on his chicken.6
After a round, Gu Tuantuan got up and stretched. Everything felt great while she was gaming, but as soon as she stopped, the heat became unbearable again. It was if the room had turned into a steamer basket,7 and she was the bun.
It just so happened that Jiang Ye’s AC broke down today. The two of them had scoured the cupboards earlier and found an old electric fan. The fan rattled as it spun—its head teetered and nodded up and down on its axis. Gu Tuantuan didn’t dare turn it up to the highest setting for fear that the loose blade would come flying out.
She took out her earbuds. A thin sheen of sweat had formed over her cheeks and forehead. Grabbing her homework off the table, she started to fan herself with it.
Jiang Ye glanced at her. He turned and nudged the old electric fan closer towards Gu Tuantuan.
He was also hot; after all, boys naturally had higher body temperatures. Jiang Ye was drenched in sweat from his temples down to his neck. He lowered his head and lifted the hem of his t-shirt to wipe it away, but the sweat kept pouring down. In the end, he huffed in frustration, pulled his t-shirt off, and threw it across the bay window seat. He unabashedly flaunted his lightly tanned chest and abdomen. He regularly exercised, and the well-defined muscles glistened with a sweaty glow.
Gu Tuantuan couldn’t help but sneak a few peeks. But noticing the cocky smirk on Jiang Ye’s face, she rolled her eyes at him and turned away.
“Show off,” she muttered, sticking out her tongue.
Jiang Ye didn’t get angry. He simply grabbed a new shirt, draped it over his shoulders then strode to the door, “I’m getting a drink. What do you want?”
“An ice ko~lah!” she said with an exaggerated accent.
“Got it.” Jiang Ye left.
Gu Tuantuan shimmied her bottom around in the chair until she found a comfortable position and stuck her earbuds back in. She wanted to start the next round as soon as she got her drink.
Just then, a window popped up in the bottom righthand corner of the screen: “A newer version of this player has been detected. Would you like to update now?”
Gu Tuantuan clicked “Confirm”. A short ten seconds later, the updated player popped up in the middle of the screen.
It automatically began to broadcast the last opened file.
“Aaaah~! Aaaah~!” Sounds of a woman moaning reverberated through the earpiece.
1 Or as Americans call it, an Indian Summer
2 In Chinese, "Uncle" can also be used with non-family members as a term of endearment and respect.
3 Reference to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) terminology for picking up loot
4 Another PUBG ref, chicken = win/loot. Shorthand for "Winner winner chicken dinner!"
Here he is still a noob, so he only gets eggs for dinner.
6 Chicken = win/loot (see footnote 4)
TL: My dirty little mind immediately translated this sentence to “…feasts on his cock”.