Pei Qingyuan woke up and saw the white light of the skin shining through the gap in the curtain. The air was filled with an unusual coolness.
Seeing the time displayed on the phone screen, he realized he had been stuck in a long dream and rarely slept in.
Fortunately, today was the weekend and it didn’t matter if he woke up naturally. Ji Tong didn’t come to wake him up.
The house was very quiet. Pei Qingyuan opened the door after getting up and didn’t see the figures of Ji Tong and Fang Hao. There wasn’t even Hua Ran.
However, there was a note stuck on his door with some writing on it.
[Xiao Hao and I went downstairs to play. Host, remember to come down after waking up.]
Pei Qingyuan seemed to have noticed something. He went to the window to look out, only to find that it was snowing outside.
Snowflakes fell one after another. He looked through several windows one by one before finally finding a familiar figure when he looked out from the balcony.
By the flower bed downstairs in the community, Ji Tong and Fang Hao were creating snowballs and having a snowball fight. Fang Hao seemed to have one hand behind his back but due to such disparity in size and strength, there was no suspense about the outcome.
The short Ji Tong was smashed down by a big snowball. Hua Hua, who was watching the battle, immediately jumped up to help him slap the snow away. The white fur color of Hua Hua almost blended with the snow and the peacock skirt used to block the red heart on the butt was particularly eye-catching in the snow.
Pei Qingyuan stared blankly for a long time and a thought flashed in his heart.
Would it snow like this in his dreams in the future?
After waking up, the details of the dream gradually faded away. At least for now, he still remembered many fragments of what he dreamed about last night.
The smart assistant called Xiao Mei who could play videos and music, tell jokes and cause pink flowers to appear on the screen. She would use a mechanical voice to say that she was smart and would work hard.
This was obviously what Ji Tong had done and said. Even the shell of the smart assistant was Ji Tong’s favorite black color.
Perhaps it was the loneliness of the strange boy in his dream that reminded Pei Qingyuan of himself not long ago. Before Ji Tong appeared, his world was a colorful cage. Then it gradually became vivid and warm.
So subconsciously, he felt that an artificial intelligence like Ji Tong could help strangers emerge from loneliness, so he let Xiao Mei appear in his dream.
This wondrous dream should be a patchwork of real life experiences.
Then why did the voice of the unfamiliar teenager make him feel familiar?
It was a pity that the brain’s forgetting function for dreams started to take effect and he gradually couldn’t remember what the voice sounded like.
Pei Qingyuan was stunned for a while until he saw Ji Tong fall down again. Then he reacted and quickly walked to the bathroom to wash up.
By the side of the flower bed, the tall and handsome Fang Hao wore a handsome black coat and looked down at Ji Tong, who was panting in the snow. He hesitated and complained, “Why did you fall down again? Is it boring? Or should we change the way we play? You hit me with the snowballs and I’ll hide. I bet you can’t hit me at all.”
Ji Tong’s body was round from his clothes. He wore a light blue down jacket with a dark blue scarf. The mushroom embroidery and snow exposed on the edge of the scarf were one color while the same snow-white Hua Hua rubbed around him.
Snowflakes fell on the sofa ends of his hair. Ji Tong might be gasping weakly but his expression was very excited. After hearing Fang Hao’s words, his eyes immediately widened vigilantly. “Don’t give way to me. Do it again!”
“……” Fang Hao’s thoughts were pierced and he couldn’t help taking a breath. “Are you the type of masochist that Sister Yinyin mentioned?”
Last time, he told Ji Tong to make an appointment to have a showdown in the snow. Then once the fight really started, the two of them realized how unbalanced the power was between a three year old child and an adult.
Fang Hao had a natural advantage and had already secretly sealed away one hand. Now he could only hold a snowball with his ball if he wanted to weaken himself.
He was pondering on how to make this snowball fight last when he saw Ji Tong sitting up surrounded by Hua Ran and continuing to create snowballs with fighting spirit. “You are the tsundere type that Sister Yinyin mentioned.”
Ji Tong created a huge snowball as best as he could. He lifted it up with great difficulty and smashed it toward Fang Hao.
Fang Hao didn’t try to dodge it. He calmly watched this snowball that wasn’t as big as his palm hit his chest, scatter into snow foam and slipped down. His face didn’t even change. “Oh, it hurts.”
“……” Ji Tong withdrew his hand and sighed gloomily. “Why can’t the two of us change our body shapes?”
“Don’t think about it. I also rose here slowly from your age.” Fang Hao looked at Hua Hua, who was bouncing around in the snow, and had a flash of inspiration. He sat down next to Ji Tong and started to build a snowman. “It is easy to grow up but I can’t change back.”
“Why are you making a long snowman body?”
“This isn’t a snowman but the snow cat Hua Hua.” Fang Hao paused and his eyes lit up. “It will be called Xuehua (snowflake). Xuehua, isn’t it funny?”
Ji Tong was silent for a moment and felt even colder.
Even his library of cold jokes that reached -10 degrees had to bow down before Fang Hao’s snowflake joke.
Fang Hao used generous materials and piled up the huge body of a cat. Ji Tong’s limited size couldn’t help so he did other parts of the cat. He gathered a handful of snow and concentrated on pinching the cat’s ears.
Fang Hao peeked at his progress. “You are quite experienced in building snowmen. They are quite similar to Hua Hua’s ears.”
“This is called talent,” Ji Tong said proudly. “It is my first time playing with snow.”
Fang Hao looked shocked. “You are almost 20 years old and you are actually playing with snow for the first time? Have you never had a snowball fight before?”
He tried hard to recall his poor knowledge of geography. “Your family lives in that red… no, the equator? Is it hot every day?”
Ji Tong said casually, “I live in a place where the temperature is normal, but no one will have a snowball fight with me.”
Fang Hao listened to this ordinary tone and suddenly felt a bit sad.
…He started to seriously consider the matter of holding a snowball in his mouth. For the sake of Ji Tong’s first snowball fight, it didn’t hurt to seal both hands.
Ji Tong pinched two cat ears and put them next to Hua Hua’s head for comparison. Hua Hua immediately meowed excitedly as if expressing satisfaction.
Then he stood on tiptoe hard and carefully put the cat ears on the snowman’s round head.
“Do you miss the past?”
Fang Hao heard the small Ji Tong ask this question.
He nodded before shaking his head. “What about you?”
“Everything I miss is already in this world,” Ji Tong said. “But there will still be a lot of regrets.”
“For example, I really want to go to elementary school.”
“…You are so annoying.” Fang Hao suddenly didn’t want to hold the snowball. He snorted and muttered in a low voice, “What is so good about elementary school? I don’t want to go to elementary school.”
“In elementary school, perhaps you can meet a tall and mighty brother in a cap. How nice.”
The corners of Fang Hao’s mouth instantly rose and he pretended to be indifferent. “Yes, that isn’t bad.”
“Is there anything you haven’t done?” Ji Tong asked him.
“There are a lot.” Fang Hao counted it quite seriously. “I haven’t been to an Internet cafe, I haven’t driven a racing car in the video game city, I’ve never taken a plane, I’ve never been to a beach, I’ve never fished…”
“Also, I haven’t lost in a snowball fight.”
He picked up a pile of snow at lightning speed and launched a surprise attack at Ji Tong’s head from above.
Ji Tong didn’t notice for a while that he had cool white hair. He reached out and patted the soft snow off his hair, as if he didn’t care about it. He looked at the ground between the two of them in astonishment. “What is this?”
Fang Hao bent over curiously and looked down. “What?”
Thus, he also got white hair.
By the time Pei Qingyuan went downstairs to the flower bed, the falling snow in the sky had gradually subsided but there were still snowflakes flying through the air.
Ji Tong and Fang Hao were pouring snow at each other and having fun. In the midst of the snow, there was a cool-looking snowman behind the two of them.
Pei Qingyuan observed for a while and felt that the battle situation was relatively peaceful. Ji Tong shouldn’t need a helper for the time being, so he looked at the snowman and made a guess. “is this a lion?”
This snowman didn’t have the long lion man on its head but its body posture was really domineering. It had its front paws crossed and the hind legs were lazily resting on the ground. It was exactly like the common lion photos in books.
Combined with the way that Ji Tong and Fang Hao were splashing snow at each other and Pei Qingyuan had reason to think that it was to artificially create the effect of flying lion fur.
The next second, fluffy and light snowflakes turned around and were sprinkled toward him.
There were also three voices of protest.
“It is a cat!” x2.
“Meow meow meow!”
Snow fell one after another outside the window. Under the heavy pressure of studying, everyone was more and more looking forward to the arrival of winter vacation and the Spring Festival. Red envelopes were sold in the stores next to the school and the atmosphere of the new year was brewing little by little.
Near the end of the semester, every student’s time was tight and Pei Qingyuan was even busier.
The third monthly exam passed and he was still first in the year without any suspense. The fourth monthly exam, i.e. the last big exam before the end of the first semester of the third year of high school, was going to be conducted in the form of an exam for ten joint schools.
This time, it wasn’t just the internal year ratings of the 2nd High School. There was also the joint examination ranking, which could more accurately measure the level of a student’s achievements to a certain extent. After all, the overall grades of the 2nd High School were very average among the schools in the city.
In addition to preparing for the joint examination, the provincial basketball league had started and it was necessary to play several matches every week. Fortunately, the city where Pei Qingyuan was located was the provincial capital, so there was no need to travel around. Basically, teams from other cities in the province came over.
At the same time, Pei Qingyuan was still working on the jelly bean robot. After constant exploration and familiarization, he had recently started to try and weld mechanical parts together according to the design drawing.
Every time he came back to school or when he was taking a break from studying, Pei Qingyuan would sit in front of a special workbench, put on goggles and concentrate on making parts with very fine designs.
It had to be said that this was very decompressing. It could make people inexplicably calm down, forget other pressures in life and simply immerse themselves in it.
He suddenly understood Fang Hao, who was addicted to building blocks a few days ago. He also understood some netizens who spent all their spare time on robots in the forum.
Pei Qingyuan didn’t say anything but Ji Tong seemed to naturally understand his mood. Whenever this happened, Ji Tong would obediently stay with Fang Hao on the balcony or in his room, leaving the quiet living room to him.
On a night when there was no moon, he returned home alone after training. Recently, he had ignored Fu Chengze’s protests and didn’t let Ji Tong go to the gym every day to accompany him.
After discovering that Ji Tong had his own friends and could go to other words, Pei Qingyuan experienced a subtle psychological struggle before finally forcibly suppressing the panic that occurred for unknown reasons. He rationally felt that Ji Tong should have his own time and life, rather than always being passively attached to his side.
Ji Tong was nominally a system that served him but Pei Qingyuan never saw this as a subordinate relationship. They were equal friends.
The light in the living room was on. Through the clear glass door, he saw Ji Tong and Fang Hao on the balcony again. The star lights next to them flashed.
However, they weren’t playing flying chess face to face today. They sat shoulder and shoulder with their backs to him. One big and one small person lowered their heads slightly, as if they were chatting in whispers. Fang Hao’s height was much taller but his legs were dangling restlessly. Ji Tong was motionless and calm and was like a small adult.
The two backs on a winter night looked a bit lonely.
Pei Qingyuan remembered the back in that dream for some reason and his mood became a bit melancholy.
He remembered the question that hadn’t yet been answered. Could an artificial intelligence feel lonely?
Pei Qingyuan walked toward the balcony while thinking about what to say in his mind. Suddenly, he heard the rush of water.
There was also Ji Tong’s excited voice. “I hooked it again!”
Pei Qingyuan walked to the glass door before finally discovering that there was a long basin in front of the two of them. There were many common fish from the vegetable market swimming inside.
Fang Hao looked at the fish caught on Ji Tong’s hook and then the small empty bucket at his feet. He said angrily, “It is just a temporary lead. I’ll catch up right away!”
Ji Tong smiled. “In any case, this one will be braised in soy sauce and the next one can be steamed as you like. The host’s braising sauce is very good.”
Then he heard the movement of the glass door opening behind him and turned his head to greet the host happily. “You’re back!”
Pei Qingyuan: “……”
The loneliness he thought about disappeared in the blink of an eye.
Even if he was given another ton of imagination, he wouldn’t be able to imagine that Ji Tong and Fang Hao would set up a pool on the balcony to compete in fishing. At the same time, they thoroughly planned the fate of these fish.
Pei Qingyuan answered calmly. Then he looked around before glancing back at his workbench and saying calmly, “I will make the jelly bean.”
The fishing competition on the balcony continued. In the warmly lit room, Pei Qingyuan carefully welded iron bars. The mechanical long legs of the jelly bean robot started to take shape.
In short, there was an unusually calm atmosphere in the air.
It was just that a braised fish occasionally popped up inexplicably in his mind.