Translated by J.
Blue iridescent droplets of seawater fell from the sky like shooting stars.
Ye Xi sat down on the large boulder’s edge with his bare calves exposed. Dipping his toes into the sea, he kicked up splashes of sparkling water with his feet. Though his gaze was fixed on the ocean, his mind was filled with images of Shen Xiulin, and his heartbeat quickened.
Memories of Shen Xiulin were conjured forward into his mind, while flashbacks weaved in and out of his consciousness: Shen Xiulin’s aloof, handsome face as he gave a speech to his staff in full business attire; the two of them locking eyes for brief moments as they brushed past each other in the hallway; Shen Xiulin nervously clearing his throat when they were alone; Shen Xiulin liking all of his motivational posts on Wechat; and how he always happened to coincidentally meet Ye Xi’s gaze in a crowd…
“What are you smiling at?” Asked Shen Xiulin as he sat down next to Ye Xi.
“Oh? Was I smiling?” Ye Xi reached out and touched his own face before realising he had been grinning like an idiot for who knows how long.
It was very pathetic indeed.
Quietly shaking his head, Shen Xiulin shot a sidelong glance at Ye Xi before pointing his outstretched hand towards the sky. Tracing the outline of an invisible shape, he connected a series of twinkling stars with his fingertip. He asked, “Do you see the Big Dipper over there?”
With a serious expression, Ye Xi followed Shen Xiulin’s finger with his eyes and replied, “I see it…I don’t even remember the last time I’ve seen so many stars.”
“Me too.” Echoed Shen Xiulin. However, with practiced familiarity, he pointed his finger in a different direction and continued his commentary, “To the south of the Big Dipper, you can see the Leo constellation with its head facing west and tail pointing east. The brightest star in the constellation is called Xuanyuan…XIV.” 1
At the mention of the name ‘Xuanyuan,’ the chief executive immediately remembered that super annoying gastroenterologist who was seduced by Ye Xi earlier.
As it turned out, Ye Xi’s ‘illustrious accomplishments’ had all been meticulously recorded in the chief executive’s mental notebook, which had already documented at least ten years’ worth of grievances before the two of them had even established their relationship as a couple.
Ye Xi replied truthfully, “I can’t really make out the lion from the Leo constellation, haha.”
“What about the Cancer constellation to the west?” Shen Xiulin traced out the clear, frosty white stars with his finger. He continued Ye Xi’s science lesson in a voice as clear and cold as starlight, “Can you see a small cluster of light where the Cancer constellation is? That’s the Beehive Cluster.”
“Wow…” Ye Xi exclaimed, “You know so much! You’re amazing, sir!”
Like the male lead of a teen idol drama, where skills such as knowing how to identify constellations are a must-have, the chief executive had competently fulfilled his role.
Shen Xiulin dismissed the notion with a wave of his hand and replied truthfully, “I specifically read up on the identification of constellations in the night sky.”
“Why constellations?” As soon as he had spoken, an ominous feeling crept over Ye Xi – a feeling that he would get in trouble for this later, so he quickly shut his mouth.
Shen Xiulin shot him an icy glance before replying, “I did it for you.”
Ye Xi, “…”
See? My instincts are as sharp as an animal’s!
With a forlorn look on his face, Shen Xiulin continued, “I wanted to show you the stars during the company team-building summer camp earlier this year, so I read up on a lot of related information in the week leading up to the event. I also practiced to make sure I could really point them out in person, that it wasn’t just an academic exercise.”
As he spoke, Shen Xiulin fixed his gaze on the scattering of stars suspended across the night sky, his eyes bright from the starlight. Ye Xi watched him with both astonishment and guilt, as well as an inexplicable hint of joy. His heart fluttered, creating a tingling sensation in his chest.
“To guarantee success, I asked the Logistics Department to leave one of the tents behind and keep you unallocated for accommodation.” A devious look appeared on Shen Xiulin’s face as he spoke, “Then I’d ‘reluctantly’ share my tent with you.”
Ye Xi watched the scheming chief executive with a pained expression.
Shen Xiulin grumbled bitterly, “But you called in sick that day.”
Then he unleashed a thunderbolt for effect.
Ye Xi imagined a scene where the chief executive watched the stars on some remote mountain all by himself. Whilst he felt apologetic, he also found it incredibly funny, so he quickly replied, “I was really sick that day with acute gastritis, I had a medical certificate from the hospital and everything…”
With a menacing gleam in his eyes, Shen Xiulin asked in a matter-of-fact tone, “You made yourself sick on purpose, didn’t you?”
Ye Xi fell silent for a moment, then with an embarrassed look, sputtered out some dry laughter, “Ha, ha, ha.”
Shen Xiulin watched him with a piercing gaze.
“Okay! Okay! I confess!” Ye Xi raised his hands in surrender, “I ate five whole pounds of delicious spicy crayfish the day before the team-building event. I get a stomach ache whenever I eat too much spicy crayfish from that shop, so…”
“I KNEW IT!!” Shen Xiulin paused after every word as he released another five thunderbolts in a row.
Hence one should never make any promises to the chief executive that one could not keep, otherwise one might be struck with celestial thunder every minute of the day. 2
“I’m really sorry, okay? I only wanted to stay home and work on my game ranking.” Ye Xi conscientiously stepped into the role of ‘dubious boyfriend who stood up his date for no reason’ and pleaded, “Don’t be mad, it’s not like I went on a date with anyone else. I just stayed home and played video games for a few days.”
Shen Xiulin hmphed with a straight face, but was secretly pleased.
Ye Xi gently bumped Shen Xiulin’s calf with his own and continued his awkward appeasement, “I didn’t know you put so much effort into the event, otherwise I would’ve definitely shown up, even if it meant I’d never rank in the game ever again! Don’t be angry, okay?”
“Hmm, I’m not angry anymore.” Shen Xiulin booped Ye Xi’s nose with his finger. Ye Xi flinched at the act. Then wanting to discern if Shen Xiulin was still angry, Ye Xi lowered his head and, from what he thought was a hidden angle, sneakily watched Shen Xiulin’s face through the corner of his eye.
Seeing Ye Xi’s sheepish look, Shen Xiulin chuckled and decided to strike the iron while it was hot, “When we return to the real world, let’s go to the beach and watch the stars for real.”
Looking extremely anxious, Ye Xi rubbed his ear and scratched his nose, then looked around aimlessly as he replied in a mousy voice, “Uh, hmm…”
“However, the stars and the sea from the real world may not be as beautiful as this.” Seeing Ye Xi ready to implode on the spot, Shen Xiulin calmly changed the subject, “There would be more pollution and more people.”
“We can pick a day when the smog index is low…” Ye Xi swallowed his drool and replied with a yearning on his face, “We can also have a barbeque at the beach, it sounds nice.”
Food from the real world sounds nice as well.
Shen Xiulin affectionately tousled Ye Xi’s hair, then solemnly confirmed, “It’s a date.”
So, after watching the stars twinkle above the luminant sea, they concluded the evening by sleeping under the magnificent pyramid-like golden tent in the great outdoors, completely resolving any grievances the chief executive might have had earlier.
On the next day, Ye Xi shifted his focus onto the prince.
Ye Xi no longer dared to visit the admiral. That one time he visited in the morning, the admiral was so eager to profess his love after a sleepless night that he blocked Ye Xi into a corner. Not only did he force Ye Xi to endure thirty minutes of mushy talk, he almost succeeded in kissing Ye Xi as well. So, Mr. Ye Douchbag was forced to run away for a second time and switched the supplier of the prince’s meals from the admiral to the burglar.
The prince was not a fussy child…
When daylight gave way to twilight that evening, Ye Xi visited the shallow bay containing the bioluminescent algae which Shen Xiulin had shown him the day before.
The ginormous tent had been dismantled, but Ye Xi found the bioluminescent algae alive and well. Despite not being as luminous as the previous night, they still looked incredibly stunning.
So, Ye Xi – the unscrupulous douchebag sub, brought the prince to the beach.
According to Ye Xi’s reasoning, to conquer someone who had never taken a proper look at this world, the best way would be to bring him to a beautiful place that he had never seen before… Just thinking about it would make one emotional, alright?! Plus, the scene from yesterday was irresistibly romantic and great for reducing the distance between lovers.
The starry sky and luminant sea were really pretty, so much so that I almost couldn’t help myself last night and…No, no, no! Nothing happened, alright? Ye Xi held the prince’s arm as they walked along the beach, but his mind was completely filled with memories of Shen Xiulin sitting shoulder-to-shoulder next to him on the boulder last night.
The chilling moonlight fell onto the magnificent ancient crown that adorned the prince’s head. At the centre of the crown, the pigeon-egg-sized emerald reflected a stunning green glow, a green that was almost a little too dazzling.
“Will the proprietor of this island find us here?” The prince asked apprehensively.
“No, we’ll be fine. I checked there were no guards around here before we came.” Ye Xi replied with confidence. He carefully led the prince to the boulder he stood on yesterday with Shen Xiulin. Then pulling on the prince’s blindfold, he exclaimed mischievously, “I’m going to count to three and give you a surprise. One, two, three…look!”
The prince was brimming with expectations. Once his blindfold was removed, he opened his beautiful sapphire eyes and looked towards the ocean. Since he was holding the hand of his Fated One, his Golden Sight had lost its powers. For the first time in his life, the prince saw the ocean – not just a brief glimpse of the ocean from photographs, which then immediately turned into gold foil – but the real, bonafide ocean. The tide roared before him like breaths from a giant god; the refreshing breeze that smelled of salt; the waves that crashed onto the shore; and the magical seawater that glowed beneath his feet – all of these truly and undeniably, became one.
Watching the scene before him, the prince slowly opened his mouth, but no words came out.
“Do you like it?” Ye Xi asked impatiently.
“Yes, very much so. It’s beautiful, thank you…” The prince’s voice trembled with emotion. Large drops of sparkling tears fell from his eyes, moistening his handsome, god-like face. His dazzling hair danced in the sea breeze like golden waves that rose and fell in the wind. The scene was so breathtaking that even someone with a heart of stone would be moved by the prince’s tears.
But unfortunately, Ye Xi only had the chief executive on his mind.
“Look, that’s Leo over there.” Ye Xi pointed at the distant horizon, imitating Shen Xiulin from last night, “The brightest star in the Leo constellation is called Xuanyuan XIV…”
To conquer male extras using the same tricks that the chief executive had used on himself, it was very cunning indeed.
The Prince: Hey, those two from yesterday, wait up, my crown is also decorated with green emeralds.
- Xuanyuan XIV is the Chinese name for the Regulus star system – the brightest object in the Leo Constellation. However, according to ancient Chinese astronomy, this star (system) is part of the seventeen-star Xuanyuan constellation. Xuanyuan is the name of the first emperor of the Chinese civilisation, whose reign began around 2607 BC, and Xuanyuan V is known as the ‘Emperor Star’ accordingly. Since Xuanyuan XIV is positioned next to Xuanyuan V, it is often referred to as the “Empress Star”.
- Reference to a popular oath amongst Chinese speakers that if they cannot keep a promise, then they would invite the five Thunder Gods to strike them down with thunderbolts.