The contrast between the official press release and the actual interview, as well as the elusive contrasts that naturally existed in Pei Qingyuan’s body, stacked up and completely detonated public opinion.
The news report had been ignored for a week after it was first published and the interview video exploded after it was accidentally discovered by netizens. This made many netizens who personally participated in the ‘step-by-step discovery process’ have a strong willingness to spread the word.
It was because they were the ones who thoroughly brought this excellent high school student who should shine into the public eye.
The first person to experience this feeling was the reporter Li Yayi.
After discussing it with the leaders of the newspaper, Li Yayi was about to release the second half of the video while it was hot. Then she noticed that the number of topics related to it had reached 60 or 70 million and it was continuing to rise.
It was the first time for her to deal with such hot news and she was excited in her heart. She couldn’t help remembering the conversation with Pei Qingyuan more than a week ago.
Once the interview officially ended that day, Li Yayi had asked for Pei Qingyuan’s opinion. “I plan to release the interview video at the same time as the text manuscript. After the video is cut, I will send it to you in advance for you to see. Do you think it is okay?”’
She expected the provincial champion, who seemed to have little interest in most things, to simply answer yes or no.
Unexpectedly, Pei Qingyuan gave the third answer.
“Release the transcript first and then release the video slowly.”
His tone was flat when he said this there was an unquestionable air in it.
Li Yayi was first shocked by this indescribable determination. Then she had a flash of inspiration and thought about the benefits of doing so.
The news release that would appear in the newspaper must be serious and rigid while the video itself had a humor and narrative that was difficult to express clearly in words. Such a sharp contrast combined with the time difference of the dissemination in the two media might mean excellent topicality and communication potential.
Thus, she agreed without hesitation.
At that time, she hadn’t thought much and was complacent of the trick she thought about temporarily.
But in the face of this type of communication that exceeded expectations, Li Yayi suddenly came up with a strange idea.
Did Pei Qingyuan already anticipate this moment when he answered her sentence?
After a brief trance, Li Yayi took a deep breath and pressed the send button of the video blog post.
She didn’t know the answer and she wasn’t going to confirm it with the person.
The power of the news report came from a certain truth but the charm of character stories came from the uncertainty caused by the appropriate blanking of subjective intentions after many events were presented objectively.
She wanted to be like many other ordinary netizens and look for her favorite answer in this interview with a character who should be plain but was actually full of novelty, contrast and complex emotions.
The latest video titled ‘Interview video of Pei Qingyuan, top student of the college entrance examination in Province A (part 2)’ appeared on the homepage of many netizens.
Countless people were looking forward to the click of the play button.
The video began with the shot where the cameraman brother finally calmed down.
Li Yayi, who was still in shock, remembered Pei Qingyuan’s recommended major and immediately asked, “Is this an intelligent robot?”
After she asked this sentence, she quickly recovered her professional smiling posture. The cameraman brother next to her seemed to also be concentrating on recording the image without incident.
Pei Qingyuan replied, “Yes.”
Li Yayi felt that she had seen the light and quickly asked, “Is this a robot you made yourself?”
The provincial champion’s answer evolved from two words to one word. Li Yayi gritted her teeth and decided to boldly start with this strange robot.
She was afraid that the AI wouldn’t be able to recognize it so she purposely said in a clear tone, “Hello, what function do you have?”
The response speed of the jelly bean robot wasn’t fast but her voice was smooth. “I have many functions.”
This answer had the style of the maker.
Li Yayi observed the rather precise long legs and tentatively asked, “Can you dance?”
Li Yayi’s eyes lit up and the cameraman brother skillfully zoomed in. “Can I see you dance?”
As a result, the jelly bean robot refused in a serious manner. “No.”
The female reporter and the cameraman brother hadn’t expected to get an answer and looked at each other again. Then she asked with a bit of uncertainty. “…Why?”
“Because the password isn’t entered.”
After saying this sentence, the colored light flickering on the elliptical body dimmed and seemed to enter a dormant state.
Li Yayi was stunned. She looked to the left and right. She couldn’t find a place on this robot to manually enter the password. “Isn’t this already able to talk normally? Why does it still need a password?”
The cameraman brother next to her cleared his throat and couldn’t help trying a classic voice-activated password. “Open sesame?”
Li Yayi: “……”
Fortunately, the robot was motionless and didn’t give any reaction.
…Why did she want to say ‘okay?’
Under the blank stares of the two people, the provincial champion finally took the initiative to explain. “The password is her name. It is only after accurately reporting the password that she will enter the unlimited free interaction mode. Right now, she is only in standby mode.
Li Yayi was a bit moved to hear him finish this long sentence.
She couldn’t wait to interact with the specially conceived robot. “Then what is her name?”
“I’m sorry, I can’t tell you.”
The emotion that Li Yayi had just felt was shattered in the blink of an eye.
Seeing her melancholy look of wanting to ask the reason but knowing that she definitely wouldn’t be able to, Pei Qingyuan explained it to her. “This is a one-to-one intelligent communication robot. After the owner sets the name for the AI, the program will automatically activate these two modes, using the name of the password to achieve the one-to-one concept. I can’t tell you the name that the owner gave her without authorization.”
Li Yayi couldn’t react for a moment. “Aren’t you the owner?”
“No,” Pei Qingyuan said. “I gave her to a friend.”
“Did you build another robot for yourself?”
“No, it is the only one.”
At the end of the break, Li Yayi stared at the word ‘friend’ circled in her notebook and continued the interview in high spirits.
It was incredible that a high school student who hadn’t experienced systematic professional teaching could independently create this rather exquisite intelligent robot.
The even more incredible thing was that he actually gave this hand-made robot to a friend, or at least, he handed over the essential naming rights to others.
From this brief contact, Li Yayi had outlined her initial impression of the newly promoted college entrance examination champion: extremely high IQ, excellent talent but a cold personality, lack of interest in many people and things. It was very in line with the definition of a genius in ordinary people’s cognition.
She judged that this friend would be an entry point into the heart of the person being interviewed.
During the ensuing interview, Li Yayi asked some questions about school, family and friends according to the usual outline while quietly focusing on the friend.
Even though the length of the interview script made it unlikely that anyone else would be mentioned, she still wanted to ask.
This was due to her personal curiosity about the high school student in front of her.
She also really wanted to know the name of this strange little robot and what type of dance was possible.
There was a desire to explore as Li Yayi constantly recorded something in her notebook.
Pei Qingyuan didn’t talk much but he still answered her every question cooperatively.
Then after Li Yayi collected more and more answers, her mood became complicated and difficult to distinguish.
Sure enough, it was as she expected. It was only when his friend was mentioned that Pei Qingyuan’s answer would be longer.
Most of them might be vague answers like ‘taught me a lot’ and ‘helped me a lot’ without revealing any information related to the identity of his friend, but Li Yayi could hear the seriousness of his words.
She found that the parents who weren’t at home were also completely absent from Pei Qingyuan’s words.
She realized that there weren’t two pairs of slippers belonging to his mother and father at the entrance and that she and her colleague were obviously wearing new slippers for guests.
Before this interview with ups and downs came to an end, Li Yayi seriously looked around at this warm living room again. She had a completely different feeling when she saw the cute decorations that could be seen everywhere.
During the interview, she had secretly confirmed that Pei Qingyuan himself didn’t have any special preferences for these objects. He just quietly allowed these things to stay around him.
The dancing jelly bean robot was his gift to a friend.
Would those gadgets similar in style to the jelly bean robot be gifts from his friend?
Who was the one who reached out first?
In this home where the owner and furnishings seemed contradictory yet harmonious, Li Yayi was immersed in all the seemingly unrelated details and fragments and gradually pieced together an answer that she understood.
At one point, she almost abandoned her identity as a reporter and asked purely out of curiosity, in the tone of a witness. “Do you like the name your friend gave the robot?”
The always distant and calm champion gave her an answer with a faint smile for the first time.
Thus, Li Yayi decided on the final question in an instant.
“In your opinion, what role has this friend played in your life so far? Or what is the meaning of this friendship to you?”
Once these words came out, Li Yayi and her colleague instinctively held their breaths, waiting for his answer.
In the suddenly quiet room, Pei Qingyuan still calmly looked directly at the camera in front of him. Outside the transparent lens, he saw countless golden dust moving in the light-filled room. He saw the gradually passing past and the flickering future.
This question reminded him of the days when the story began.
Pei Qingyuan always remembered what Ji Tong said to him when they first met.
—You live in a novel. At first, you have an unsatisfactory life experience, but with my help, you will change your destiny and reach the peak of life step by step…
He lived in a novel world and had a set trajectory of destiny. This should be a terrifying thing.
But he was grateful for the sudden appearance of that little figure in the beginning and forgot to be afraid. After that, the bits and pieces of getting along gradually filled his empty and pale life. He could no longer distinguish the boundary between fiction and reality.
Therefore, Pei Qingyuan accepted everything that Ji Tong told him and also accepted all the fate that had come and would come.
He liked these vivid and real days of his life.
The only difference from others was that as a character who carried the fate of counterattacking, he was destined to be seen by more and more people.
He wasn’t a person who liked being watched and speculated on by strangers.
Still, Pei Qingyuan thought that this might be the price for the good luck that brought him out of the quagmire.
He accepted this as well.
At the very least, he had free thinking and could actively choose when and how to be seen.
Pei Qingyuan chose this moment.
The interview was coming to an end. After this, everything would flow into an uncertain unknown. He could guess what type of things people would be attracted to but he could never guess what type of emotion and colors would fill their eyes.
He didn’t want to guess how others would see him and he didn’t care much about the disturbances that might arise from it.
He was just answering every question in the way he was used to, honestly presenting his true self and everything around him in this moment.
It was a home that slowly took shape after meeting Ji Tong.
It was also a Pei Qingyuan who only existed since then.
In this seemingly long silence, Li Yayi lost the anticipation and bewilderment from the beginning of the interview and just waited quietly.
She thought that this was probably a difficult question to answer.
What did the association with that friend mean to the interviewee who sat him alone and didn’t speak a lot?
The spacious balcony brought sunlight into the room and the living room was filled with light everywhere. Li Yayi was a bit fascinated by it. She saw the ballpoint pen in her hand reflecting an oblique shadow on the notebook page. The light and shadow were scattered and shining. She also saw a small black and white ceramic cat on a soft sofa piled up with furry dolls, which was illuminated brightly.
She saw the bright black and white falling into the interviewee’s eyes. This made him stop looking at the camera. He lowered his eyes and his eyelashes fluttered. He seemed to be carefully locking onto a secret that no one else could ever see.
The long-awaited answer still contained a familiar indifference, but in a trance, Li Yayi seemed to hear countless hidden and surging emotions in this voice.
“It was one of the luckiest things in my life.”