Once the last sound fell, there was silence in the audience. The audience was immersed and listened quietly.
The lights came back on and the performers got up to accept the curtain call.
There was roaring applause behind him. Pei Qingyuan didn’t care at all and just looked sideways at the person beside him. “Your state is good tonight.”
Ji Tong was still trapped in the rich and deep emotions of this music and didn’t return to his senses. He even forgot his initial tension and apprehension. It was only after hearing the host say this that he reacted consciously.
…After being brought into his emotions by the host, he completely forgot the standard posture that he memorized before and only pressed the keys one by one with his accustomed body memory.
The host must’ve noticed something strange or he wouldn’t have specifically said that he was in a good state tonight.
Ji Tong was alarmed in his heart.
He immediately wanted to observe the host’s expression, but didn’t dare to expose his reaction too obviously. Therefore, he had to use the built-in camera to secretly observe.
As a result, they had just walked backstage when other excited students came up to chat with them. Pei Qingyuan responded politely and looked no different.
Ji Tong took advantage of this time to immediately rack his brains and started to make up reasons.
Pei Siyou, who was invited by the two of them to watch the New Year’s Day party, also came over. Looking at his expression, he obviously liked the performance just now.
“It is pretty moving,” Pei Siyou said with a smile. “Xiao Ji really has talent.”
Ji Tong tried his best to use a seemingly casual tone as he spoke to the host in his heart, “I suddenly remembered that Uncle wanted to come and watch. Last time, I told him that I only learned a little bit and I can’t reveal my secrets, so I temporarily changed to a relatively stupid beginner mode. Isn’t it natural?”
It was a seamless excuse.
“Yes.” Pei Qingyuan’s tone was as usual. “It is natural.”
It was a very natural reason and it didn’t sound like there was anything wrong.
But tonight when Ji Tong imitated a beginner, he was no longer so stiff and there were emotions other than skill in the piano sound that was revealed inadvertently.
It was the same melody but he interpreted it with a silent, throbbing love. The other music intertwined with it was full of lonely, ardent hope.
This was clearly a romantic song, but the background was given a gentle loneliness so it had a more touching power.
Pei Qingyuan had experienced similar sadness and loneliness several times.
It was before that eternally pale dream descended.
He saw Ji Tong, who had been worrying that he wouldn’t look good in white, casually took off his suit jacket.
Pei Qingyuan suddenly asked, “Don’t you like white?”
Ji Tong replied casually, “It isn’t that I don’t like it. I just think white is too monotonous.”
Out of all the snow-white things, only mushrooms were cute.
He thought he had successfully fooled the host and started to let down his guard. “Uncle, has Xiao Yuan worn a white suit?”
Pei Siyou sensed his intentions and said with a smile, “Not when he was a child. I don’t know about when he grows up. I am also curious about what he will look like when he wears it.”
Ji Tong immediately turned his head to look at Pei Qingyuan’s black suit. His eyes were full of expectations.
Pei Qingyuan took off his coat cooperatively and covered him. At the same time, he politely declined the white suit jacket that was handed over. “I can’t wear your size.”
Ji Tong was only a bit shorter than him, but his figure was much thinner. He was wrapped in a wide black suit and his complexion was even more amazingly fair.
It seemed like he rarely went out and rarely walked in the sun without any scruples.
A speculation that he had forcibly dispelled before resurfaced in his mind.
Were the details in the dream just coincidences?
Without waiting for Ji Tong to speak again, an exaggerated voice came from outside the door. “Is this something we can see?”
Friends from the gardening club came backstage with two bouquets of flowers. Once they saw the scene of Pei Qingyuan covering him with the suit, they all shouted excitedly.
“Xiao Tong, you look so handsome when you played the piano!”
“I was in the audience just now and everyone was stunned.”
“Suddenly, I feel that I shouldn’t send mushroom flowers but roses, right?”
The day Ji Tong joined the gardening club, he said that he wanted to grow mushrooms. He was often fed fresh-cut fruit boxes by his roommate and deskmate, Pei Qingyuan. Therefore, everyone in the gardening club imitated the popular bear bouquets and candy bouquets on the Internet and made a food bouquet of mushrooms mixed with colorful fruits.
Looking at the mushrooms and fresh fruits wrapped in exquisitely colored paper, Ji Tong was instantly hungry.
“Shall we go to eat hot pot after the party is over?” Ji Tong stared at the fat white mushrooms in his arms and seemed like he could feel the aroma. “I want to eat mushrooms.”
“I knew that the first thing you would say when receiving this bouquet is to eat it! I won the bet!”
“How about we wash the fruit first?”
In the midst of the laughter around him, Pei Qingyuan also looked at these small, soft mushrooms.
He thought of the strange boy in the dream who carefully reached out to touch the cap of the mushroom.
Pei Qingyuan’s hand was on Ji Tong’s arm. Through the fabric of the shirt and suit, Ji Tong sensed a very light oppression. He looked back with some surprise and asked by the way, “Is it okay to eat hot pot later? We can call Ouyang and the others.”
Pei Qingyuan tightened his fingers before loosening them. He gathered up the emotions that had inadvertently poured out and calmly said, “Okay.”
On this festive campus, Ji Tong celebrated the new year with his classmates and friends. They went to eat hot pot in the early morning.
He guessed he would play very late today so he deliberately ‘slept’ until the afternoon before waking up.
Along the way, Ji Tong solved the piano crisis and smiled particularly happily. As he walked forward, the golden key at the end of his necklace was revealed from time to time under the swaying dark blue mushroom scarf. It shone in the middle of the night like his clear eyes.
After the party, everyone went to the bedroom to change their clothes and put on winter clothes to protect themselves from the cold. Among them, the performance clothes that Ouyang Yu took off were missed the most.
“Ouyang, I’m not used to seeing you in normal clothes now. You were born for long robes.”
“…Don’t mention those words to me. I will never do crosstalk again!”
“Don’t!” Someone immediately imitated the plot in tonight’s crosstalk. “How can you stop saying anything? Please, hurt me.”
Ouyang Yu was so embarrassed that he wanted to crawl into the center of the earth. “Ahhh, forget it, forget it!”
His companion laughed like a crowing rooster. “I won’t leave unless you hurt me.”
“……” Ouyang Yu’s eyes were dull as he confessed to the void, “Zhang Yun, I was wrong Zhang Yun.”
Ji Tong laughed until he trembled. The scarf was loosely scattered and this was discovered by Pei Qingyuan walking next to him.
The fluffy wool wrapped around his neck. Ji Tong finally stopped smiling. He looked into the host’s eyes and saw his own reflection as well as a bit of starlight.
Thus, he approached the host and whispered, “Happy New Year.”
A faint white mist spread in the air with his words. Pei Qingyuan’s ears were heated by his breathing. After a moment of silence, he also whispered, “Happy New Year.”
He thought that Ji Tong wouldn’t answer his question and would only deny it.
The subtle similarities didn’t constitute as conclusive evidence for the time being. It was just speculation that he didn’t want to accept and couldn’t help doubting.
He tied the scarf for Ji Tong and his fingertips brushed over the golden key that was covered by body heat. In the slight pause, he remembered the gift that hadn’t yet been sent and Pei Qingyuan’s eyes flickered faintly.
One day, he would find the real answer.
After New Year’s Day, it was the final week of the semester and winter vacation was coming.
At the end of the semester, various club activities gradually decreased. Students of all years were busy preparing for exams.
Ji Tong and Pei Qingyuan had no pressure in the final exam and were mainly busy preparing for the RS Cup.
During this fulfilling period, there was one thing that made Ji Tong very happy.
Under the feedback of the first batch of users after its launch, word of mouth gradually spread about the jelly bean robot and sold well. It was deeply loved by young people and children.
There was also an episode. After the graffiti inspired by the jelly bean robot became popular on the Internet, some Chinese people mentioned this product but many foreign technology companies took the opportunity to promote their own products. This graffiti was put on various styles of robots for advertising.
It wasn’t until Pei Siyou used the account that posted the painting to specifically clarify that many foreign netizens knew this strange-looking jelly bean robot really existed. It drove overseas sales that Deng Shu hadn’t expected.
When domestic netizens saw this graffiti that was popular on the Internet, it was mistakenly associated with an emerging foreign technology company called Zart. It was claimed to be a promotional image for their product, which created a remarkable impression and sparked a wave of admiration.
Since many foreign companies took advantage of the popularity during the earliest overseas dissemination period, it was impossible to judge whether this company did it intentionally or whether the misinformation on the Internet was taken seriously and moved to China.
In short, after obtaining Pei Siyou’s consent through Pei Qingyuan, Deng Shu promptly hung this graffiti on the official website and associated it with his own jelly bean robot, triggering a wave of discussion.
Later, Ji Tong sent a report about the famous graffiti being used fraudulently to Zhang Yun, looking forward to this reply.
Zhang Yun sent a series of ellipses. He typed for a long time before finally replying as expected.
[Zhang Yun: Without real skills, they only know how to engage in marketing hype. Garbage =_=!]
[Ji Tong: Well scolded!]
In addition to the joy, there was something that stunned Ji Tong.
With the arrival of the new year, Pei Minghong’s huge business quietly changed hands. After the injection of foreign capital, the crisis was quietly resolved, management was changed and shareholders were replaced.
The famous local financial group repeatedly appeared in newspaper financial columns. This included a large photo on the front page on the day Pei Minghong announced his resignation. His only son, Pei Yan, became the group’s president.
There was a lot of discussion in Jiangyuan College for a while. The school of finance where Pei Yan was studying became the focus of attention of all teachers and students.
There were many rich second generations with outstanding abilities in the school but it was rare for a student to completely take over the family business while in school.
The moment they saw the news, Ji Tong and Pei Qingyuan looked at each other tacitly and said nothing.
The next day, Ji Tong handed a well-sealed diary to Shen Yiming and asked him to give it to Pei Yan. Compared with the two of them, Shen Yiming was relatively familiar with Pei Yan and there would be occasional contacts.
Ji Tong specially asked Pei Qingyuan to write a note and put it in the bag. They indicated that this was something that Pei Yan had forgotten in the Luo family and no one had opened it.
The entanglement between the true and false young master that was originally attached to the family attitude was completely over. The ‘young masters’ had grown up.
They both had a new life.
Once winter vacation was officially ushered in, what Ji Tong was looking forward to the most was traveling to the world where Fu Yinyin lived to celebrate the new year.
According to recent observations of Pei Qingyuan, he felt that the host might not have doubted whether he was an artificial intelligence at all. All the ways of getting along were the same as before.
The only change was that when he talked to Xiao Mei, the original jelly bean robot at home, the host would listen extra attentively.
It was normal. The host was studying robots every day. He didn’t stop even on vacation. Of course, he would pay special attention to this magical scene of an AI and AI conversing.
As the days of calm grew longer, Ji Tong became more and more relaxed. He gradually felt that he had thought too much before and scared himself.
The host wouldn’t think about it as long as he was careful not to show any flaws like with the piano.
By the time the day arrived to head to another world, Ji Tong had completely let go of his psychological burden. He just wanted to enjoy the legendary crematorium, emotional landmine field happily.
It was someone else’s crematorium. What did it have to do with him?
He would never go through a crematorium.
“Shall we go?”
After turning off the power switch at home, Pei Qingyuan took one last look at the potted mushroom that Ji Tong had moved into the shade of the house and said in a low voice, “Go.”
Fu Yinyin came to the transit station to pick them up. Another guest, Fang Hao, had experience traveling across the world and could come by himself.
After completing the formalities and preparing to teleport, she gave a reminder, “Since the three of you will often appear around me and the host and we are going through important plot points these days, the rules of the world might place some strict restrictions on you.”
Ji Tong couldn’t wait to go to the new world to see. He didn’t care about these things and thought it was similar to the last time Fang Hao came. They would be given a reasonable identity so as to not affect the plot.
Pei Qingyuan asked, “What restrictions?”
A slight smile crossed Fu Yinyin’s face. “You’ll know in a moment.”
The world teleportation began immediately. In the midst of the overwhelming dizziness, Ji Tong and Pei Qingyuan heard a cold electronic voice say, “Please select the default form or the free form. If it is the latter, you need to complete the appearance reconstruction as soon as possible before the countdown ends. Ten, nine…”
No wonder Fang Hao was dizzy with pain for a long time after landing last time. Ji Tong wasn’t motion sick but even he felt a bit dizzy.
He and Pei Qingyuan didn’t have the energy to pay attention to the countdown and chose the default form directly.
By the way, what did the default form mean?
Ji Tong thought in a daze. It wasn’t until he re-entered the real world and breathed fresh air that the motion sickness slowly disappeared.
Fu Yinyin chose a deserted suburban area. So what caught the eyes of the two people were barren weeds, brown tree trunks, a fresh blue denim long skirt and a pair of white canvas shoes.
…Wait, why did the height of his field of view become so low?
Ji Tong looked up blankly and saw Fu Yinyin, who looked to be around 14 or 15 years old. It wasn’t without her usual mature charm. She had a plain face and beautiful features.
Fu Yinyin, who was in the form of a middle school student, bent down and touched the top of the heads of the two children who were about the same age. Her tone was full of ridicule. “It is cute.”
It was this familiar feeling of returning to the child stage.
Ji Tong looked at his palm in shock. It was slightly larger than when he was three and a half years old. Before he had time to sigh, he turned his head to look at the host beside him.
He saw a little boy who was around five or six years old with delicate eyebrows. It was quite similar to when he grew up, but at this moment, Pei Qingyuan’s habitual indifferent expression was rarely a bit overwhelmed.
As Uncle Pei said, the host’s face when he was a child really had a bit of baby fat. It wasn’t so round but it looked easy to pinch.
The eldest sister stood in front of the two children with shocked expressions and explained to them with a smile, “It is because the host of this world has intricate emotional lines with many men. It is an emotional minefield and there can be no men or women of the right age who have a probability of disturbing the emotional lines.”
Fu Yinyin’s identity was the half-sister of the host and she was in middle school. The reasonable identity she arranged for Ji Tong’s group of three visiting this time were three brothers who were being tutored by the excellent middle school sister with excellent grades and a precocious personality. Their parents had to leave temporarily so they entrusted the sister to take care of them for a few days.
It was the almighty tutoring excuse.
Hearing this, Ji Tong was the first to react and quickly remembered his unfulfilled wish. “I want to be an older brother!”
Fu Yinyin watched her hands, ready to watch the play. “It doesn’t matter. You can decide for yourselves.”
Pei Qingyuan was still digesting everything that happened. Once he heard this, he instinctively compared his height with Ji Tong. “But I’m taller than you…”
Ji Tong quickly blocked this unfinished sentence. He couldn’t help reaching out to pinch the face of the young host and said with a smile, “My little brother’s face is so soft.”
He pinched again and it was accompanied by a cheerful voice. “Ruan Ruan!”
Pei Qingyuan: “……”