The first contact information that Ji Tong saved in his new phone was Pei Qingyuan’s mobile phone number.
The two of them could communicate directly through their minds and didn’t need to use mobile phones, but when Ji Tong was in human form, he would use normal methods to talk except when the content must be communicated in whispers. Otherwise, it always felt weird.
Now that he had a legal identity, it was better to get along with ordinary humans as much as possible. This way, it wouldn’t become a habit that would lead to him accidentally exposing himself in front of others.
Ji Tong stored Pei Qingyuan’s number in the contacts and subconsciously typed the word ‘host’ in the nickname column. Then he thought about how it would be unexplainable if seen by others and quickly deleted it.
The name Ruan Ruan would damage the tall image of the host and the name Pei Qingyuan was too unfamiliar. Brother was just right.
It was also normal for a homeless boy who was picked up to call the person like this.
Pei Qingyuan quietly watched as his phone number was stored under the name ‘Brother’ in Ji Tong’s phone.
On the way to the museum, Ji Tong enthusiastically registered a social media account commonly used in this world using his new number and added the host first.
Pei Qingyuan saw that the profile picture was a white mushroom. This fluffy, white appearance was soft and cute, making people want to reach out to poke it.
During this journey full of novel scenery, the AI system was addicted to using his new mobile phone and posted a lot of news in his Moments, which only had one friend for the time being.
Most of the stories in the feed were all types of photos and the accompanying text was usually very concise. It only summarized the content of the photos in one sentence. It was because he also secretly hid a diary for chattering.
The photos included strange cultural relics seen in museums, street food where the smell seemed to go straight through the screen, brilliant sunsets in the sky and the silhouette of his companion.
Pei Qingyuan browsed through these photos in his special attention feed and a smile often flashed in his eyes. He gave birth to a small, inexplicable emotion.
He didn’t know exactly how to describe his feelings.
Pei Qingyuan just felt that Ji Tong was really like a homeless boy who was picked up. He lacked the cognition and experience that ordinary people should have, so he seemed enthusiastic.
[Ji Tong: Shancheng New Street is the most crowded pedestrian street I have ever seen.]
[Ji Tong: ⊙o⊙… Yesterday didn’t count. There were more people on the street today.]
[Ji Tong: This is my first time walking the glass plank road! God! Ah!!]
[Ji Tong: I’m going to the beach tomorrow to take a speedboat ヾ(@^▽^@)ノ]
Pei Qingyuan thought that he played the fictional character well.
The travel plan that Pei Qingyuan spent a lot of time on covered all types of cities, from mountain towns surrounded by green mountains to sea cities famous for their beaches and oceans, pilgrimage places with a sparse population and fresh air, fashion cities with a rich nightlife and so on.
Based on Ji Tong’s constant amazement all the way, he felt that this plan worked well.
Only one thing exceeded his expectations.
Due to his own preference for quietness, Pei Qingyuan arranged some relatively quiet itineraries for specific scenic spots.
Then he gradually discovered that Ji Tong especially liked to join the crowds. He liked all types of strenuous exercises that made people’s hearts beat faster and sweat.
…This was probably also in line with the characteristics of a lively adolescent.
Thus, Pei Qingyuan silently adjusted the itinerary. For example, changing the visit to the hometown of a celebrity to experiencing exciting rafting.
In a sea city with the sea and sky, on the golden beach, two teenagers disembarked one after another from the speedboat that set off countless waves.
The sleeves and trouser legs were wet to varying degrees, Ji Tong still showed a happy smile in the cool and salty sea breeze.
Today was the day that was most similar to the host’s look. It was both a simple and refreshing beach casual style.
Compared to him, the host didn’t smile often and he wore elegant glasses. He looked calmer but it didn’t make people feel too cold or unapproachable.
In summer, the golden beach was full of tourists. There were sun umbrellas and fragrant, whole coconuts.
Pei Qingyuan accurately captured the longing in his eyes and walked straight to the stall selling coconuts. Ji Tong followed him expectantly while looking at the rich entertainment activities of the tourists around him.
Some people were surfing, some were lounging under umbrellas playing with their phones and some were playing beach volleyball.
Four young men who looked around the same age as Ji Tong and Pei Qingyuan were standing on both ends of the improvised net, playing volleyball energetically. Laughter came from time to time and it was very similar to scenes from a youth anime.
Ji Tong was watching so hard that he didn’t even notice the shelled coconut handed over by Pei Qingyuan.
He asked, “Do you want to play?”
“Think!” Ji Tong’s mind returned and he quickly responded. “Have you played beach volleyball?”
“No.” Pei Qingyuan shook his head. “It shouldn’t be difficult. We can rent volleyballs here.”
There were volleyballs in the small store that rented out all types of beach equipment, but there were only the two of them.
Beach volleyball required at least four players to be fun. It was usually a 2v2 confrontation.
The two of them came to the small store that rented out volleyballs. Pei Qingyuan tried to judge which tourists around them also wanted to play volleyball while Ji Tong held a coconut and looked intently at a group of teenagers playing volleyball.
Perhaps his gaze was too hot or perhaps his unusually fair complexion was dazzling in the sun, but the group of teenagers noticed this side and suddenly stopped their movements.
Two boys walked toward Ji Tong.
“Do you want to play volleyball together?” One of the boys with a sunny temperament took the initiative to hand out an invitation. “There are two people on our side who want to play something else, so there is a shortage of people.
Ji Tong’s eyes lit up. He looked back at the host and saw that he had no intention of refusing, so Ji Tong immediately responded, “Okay!”
“However, both of us haven’t played volleyball before and we don’t know much about it,” Ji Tong added nervously. “In particular, I might be stupid.”
“What does that matter?” The stranger just thought he was being modest and waved a hand generously. “In any case, we just came out to play and the rules don’t matter. It is just catching and hitting the ball. It is very simple.”
Then after it officially started, they realized that Ji Tong was telling the truth.
He didn’t have any volleyball foundation, no, any ball sports foundation. He couldn’t judge the landing point of the opposite flying ball at all and often ran to an empty place. Occasionally when receiving the ball, the menacing volleyball smashed on his overlapping white fingers and it was always scary to see.
On the contrary, his companion had a fairly good basketball foundation at first glance. He was quick to get used to it and his powerful smashes often made the other side helpless. He also had room to protect the young man next to him.
This combination of strong and weak could still be fought but they had to pay attention not to hit the thin boy who moved very clumsily.
However, once the game heated up, it was difficult to precisely control the direction of the ball.
The sunny boy who invited Ji Tong accidentally moved his hand and the ball flew straight to Ji Tong on the opposite side.
He was startled. Before he could yell out, ‘Be careful!’, he saw the man wearing glasses nimbly turn sideways to try and block the ball.
However, it was still too late. The volleyball smashed heavily into the shoulder of the opposite person and he fell to the ground.
The boy who accidentally made a mistake showed panic and immediately rushed over to see if Ji Tong was okay.
To his surprise, the boy who obviously looked weak didn’t even rely on his companion’s hand but quickly got up on his own. He dusted off the sand grains on his shoulders and his eyes were full of excitement.
“Are you okay…?” The sunny boy recalled the force of the volleyball and asked in an uncertain voice, “Did you get hurt?”
“No, it just touched me lightly.” Ji Tong picked up the bounced-off volleyball like he didn’t feel any pain. He just said seriously, “I have experience and I will definitely be able to avoid it later. It is fine even if it hits me. I am in good health. Don’t worry about me specifically. Play fairly.”
Hearing this, Pei Qingyuan beside him slowly withdrew his sweaty hand.
The human body conjured by the system didn’t need to worry about any injuries. He had almost forgotten about this.
Meanwhile, Ji Tong was hit by the ball and smiled even brighter than before.
It was just like the time when he and Fang Hao got in a snowball fight. He fell again and again but got up from the snow even more happily.
Pei Qingyuan suddenly remembered that in that vague dream, the boy with the same face as Ji Tong stared at the flowers with nostalgia.
Before he had time to think deeply, he heard the stranger say, “That’s good. I was scared to death. How about this? I will join your side so our strength is evened out.”
The scene instantly became 3v1.
“Song Shixing, you are too much!” The abandoned friend complained. “No, I won’t play unless you help me invite a young lady to play as well.”
Song Shixing was disgusted. “What is wrong with one against three? Just now, you said you can face ten people. You are about to go to college but you want me to help you talk to others. Do you have no shame?”
Ji Tong heard him saying this and asked curiously, “Did you just finish the college entrance examination?”
“Yes, my hometown and the city where I will go to school don’t have the sea. I decided to take advantage of the summer vacation to come to the beach to play and have a graduation trip,” Song Shixing replied casually. “Have you just finished the college entrance examination?”
Ji Tong, an auditor who didn’t participate in the college entrance examination, had difficulty answering this question and only said, “We don’t have the sea in our city as well.”
“Hey, it is nice to have the sea. I want to live by the sea every day.” Song Shixing sighed and took it as the other person agreeing. Then he asked in a familiar manner, “Which city are you going to college in? Maybe we will be in the same city?”
Ji Tong answered him honestly. Song Shixing’s eyes widened and he exclaimed, “I’m really going to school there! I’m not lying to you. I was admitted to Jiangyuan College!”
Ji Tong was also surprised.
It wasn’t only the same city but the same school.
“Your grades are really good,” he added enviously. “But I didn’t take the college entrance examination and I plan to enter Jiangyuan College as an auditor. I still have to take the exam and I might not be able to pass.”
No matter how his friend howled on the other side, Song Shixing was determined to play 3v1.
“My name is Song Shixing. We will definitely be classmates in the future!”
He had a good impression of Ji Tong, who had a competitive spirit and was quite lucky.
The seaside in summer was indeed a place full of adventures.
It was just that Ji Tong’s companion didn’t like to talk very much.
Song Shixing enthusiastically taught Ji Tong how to hit the ball and also took the initiative to greet Pei Qingyuan on the side. “Handsome guy, you really have talent in volleyball. Can you teach me that type of handsome smash? I’ll teach you basic postures.”
Pei Qingyuan: “……”
After being ignored for a long time, he suddenly missed the cold suit that he wore in the mountain city that could make people automatically retreat.
Due to the role of the prop glasses, he was now completely different from ‘Pei Qingyuan, the provincial champion admitted to Jiangyuan College.’
As a result, he couldn’t say he was admitted to Jiangyuan College now, so as to not cause problems in the future.
Therefore, Pei Qingyuan couldn’t change the topic in any way and could only watch Ji Tong exchange contact information with Song Shixing, who was about to enter the same school. Song Shixing became the second name in his address book.
He could also only watch Song Shixing pat Ji Tong’s shoulder to help him correct his wrong receiving posture.
…It was an eyesore.
Pei Qingyuan wanted to stop Song Shixing’s actions but couldn’t find a proper reason.
Ji Tong had a new identity and mobile phone, so he would start to have his own independent interpersonal relationships. Friends should get along like this.
His reason understood this truth.
However, emotions drove him to hit more and more fierce smashes one after another.
He didn’t have such anxious feelings when Ji Tong’s two system friends came to his home for the Spring Festival. He calmly accepted their relationship.
Fang Hao and Fu Yinyin were obviously closer friends of Ji Tong.
Ji Tong often stayed with Fang Hao to play so he didn’t go to the gym to watch Pei Qingyuan train for a while. Fu Yinyin even gave Ji Tong a gift that he regarded as a treasure. At that time, Pei Qingyuan didn’t mind but was happy for his system.
But in the mountain city, he hoped that the shy girl who approached Ji Tong would leave immediately. Here, he didn’t want to see Song Shixing, who seemed to be very suitable for being a friend, so close to Ji Tong.
Why did he feel so different?
The restless emotions smashed into the sand with the high-speed spinning volleyball.
The lonely boy on the other side of the net was completely powerless and could only cry silently in his heart.
Beside him, Ji Tong skillfully cheered. “Brother is so powerful!”
Pei Qingyuan had long been accustomed to hearing Ji Tong call him Brother but under the intensely burning sunlight, he felt that this title was harsh for the first time.
Ji Tong found that the host didn’t seem very interested in the sea city, which was full of handsome men and beautiful women.
After saying goodbye to the golden beach and returning to the hotel room at night, the host silently looked at the upcoming travel plan and occasionally at the suitcase full of clothes.
Ji Tong felt that the host must’ve fallen in love with the feeling of changing clothes and wanted to hurry to the next city to change his look.
Fortunately, he had already recorded enough seaside materials. He even made a VR version and sent it to Fang Hao, who had never seen the modern sea. This way, the elementary school student could make up for his regrets a bit and they could play again the next time they had the opportunity.
Fang Hao must’ve never played beach volleyball before. He could finally compete with the elementary school student.
After playing around the sea city, Ji Tong bid farewell to Song Shixing, who was very reluctant, and made an appointment to contact him again when free, meeting him at Jiangyuan College. Then he set off with the host for the next destination.
The host changed out of his casual beach attire and turned cold again.
Ji Tong sneezed and planned to secretly put a popsicle in the host’s pocket one day to see how the cooling effect was.
He stood in front of the gorgeous night scene that covered the entire window in the corridor and posted a message about arriving in a new city. He put away his phone and waited for the host to come out after changing clothes.
At this stop, they came to a bustling city that never slept and was known for its food and glamor.
Today, the look he matched for the host was a floral shirt and trousers. Ji Tong felt that this unruly temperament was very suitable for this city that was particularly colorful at night.
He had already prepared his camera to record this prodigal son look that was unprecedented for the host.
In order to maintain the image of a host, he vowed that he wouldn’t show it to others.
—Except for the other systems.
Ji Tong imagined for a while the host in a flower shirt and holding Coke and skewers. This made him hum a cheerful tune in a low voice.
The door of the room opened and he quickly put away the BGM. He switched to a serious and indifferent expression and was ready to hold back his laughter.
In the next second, he froze.
Rather than wearing the brand new floral shirt outfit, he wore the suit that had appeared before.
The unchanged silver-rimmed glasses outlined the tall black suit and the cold expression.
It was the same appearance but Pei Qingyuan gave people a completely different feeling from the youthfulness and hesitation on the light rail train that day.
It was as if he should be like this.
In the dim light of the hotel corridor, he looked over quietly with dim eyes.