Although Fu Shiwu went to bed early the previous day, he actually woke up in the middle of the night to stare at videos for a long time. When he got up the next day, Fu Shiwu felt as though he hadn’t rested at all.
“Haaa~~~” Opening his mouth to yawn, Fu Shiwu took off his glasses and wiped the corners of his eyes.
Just then, the elevator door opened and he put on his glasses with the speed of light. A pair of neighbours, who were also professionals, nodded at him.
The man smiled at him but didn’t speak, then he continued to stare at the jumping numbers of the elevator.
Of course Fu Shiwu knew what his neighbours thought of him.
A professional who was gentle and polite but difficult to approach.
As such, since he was a child, very few people had taken the initiative to befriend him.
This actually allowed Fu Shiwu to feel a sense of relief, even though he sometimes envied the lively interactions that his colleagues had among themselves.
It was a pity that he had put on this clever and indifferent mask for too long that he had forgotten how to survive if he took it off.
When he went to school in his younger days, Fu Shiwu was often praised by the teacher and surrounded by female classmates because his eyes were big and his face was cute. But that also led to him often driven to secluded corners, bullied and vented on by other boys.
He was a boy. He couldn’t be with girls all the time to make sure the others didn’t get to him.
After always being rejected by others and excluded from bigger groups, Fu Shiwu became more reserved over time and could only focus all his mind on studying. At one point, he developed myopia and started putting on his glasses, and for some reasons his eyes through the lenses became so sharp and fierce they scared people away. Only then did his life get better.
The downside was that even the female classmates didn’t dare to approach him anymore, and Fu Shiwu turned into a complete loner.
After experiencing the two extremes of being praised by one group and being isolated by the next, Fu Shiwu found himself relaxed with this new solitary life and got used to it.
If their glasses were lost, most people would feel inconvenienced, but Fu Shiwu would stop knowing how to talk to people altogether.
As the elevator brought Fu Shiwu down to the ground, it frequently made stops at different floors to let more people enter. The silence was broken as these people couldn’t help but start talking about the red glow of last night. Fu Shiwu was unable to join the discussion, so he could only listen with his ears all pricked up.
What these people discussed was similar to what he saw on the Internet last night. Fu Shiwu couldn’t catch anything new so he stopped paying attention.
As he walked out of the elevator, Fu Shiwu spotted Tang Xuhai in the emergency exit.
The corner of Fu Shiwu’s mouth twitched. This bastard doesn’t use the elevator but takes the stairs instead!
It was an incredibly hot day, yet Tang Xuhai was wearing sweatpants and a hoodie. He was walking swaggeringly with a cigarette between his lips.
Fu Shiwu hated this sight. It sure was a bad start for the day!
Fu Shiwu studied landscape design and worked for a design institute in the city after graduation. When he was free, he was very free, but when he was busy, he would have to draw designs days and nights.
His office had gotten a new project recently and been working on it for several days. Although Fu Shiwu didn’t have a good sleep, he still got up early to head for the office, otherwise he would be stuck in the middle of the traffic.
Arriving at the institute, Fu Shiwu entered his office to find the usually bustling place eerily quiet.
This surprised him.
But because his unapproachable image had been deeply rooted in the hearts of his colleagues, no one came to tell him what had happened.
So Fu Shiwu could only pretend to make tea and ‘pass by’ other people’s tables a few times to finally learn what these people were doing.
It turned out no one was working, instead, they were secretly looking at videos and websites!
Fu Shiwu was unable to comprehend this.
It was expected that he couldn’t comprehend such things, for after all, he was bullied when he was a child and no one took him out to play. It shouldn’t be said that Fu Shiwu had become a complete nerd after all that studying, but apart from looking at news, magazines and documentaries, he was never exposed to these trendy sorts of Internet conspiracies and online debates.
Therefore, he would live simply and believe in whatever the experts said!
But of course the others were different.
The real heated discussions were neither in their 3D world nor in the TV stations, but in the 2D world of the Internet. Conspiracy theories and apocalypse theories had turned the Internet upside down while all kinds of dialogues were flooding Weibo’s forums.
People were laughing at the experts.
These experts completely scammed the citizens, taking everyone for a fool!
“If you look from your house, the angle of reflection is the same for several long hours! Shouldn’t it be dispersed by the atmosphere?”
“How come it disappears during the daytime then appears during the nighttime?”
“Now it appears also in countries with different time zones from us, does it cover all over the Earth? Those scammers, what do they even think?”
Seeing that everyone in the office was in no mind to work, Fu Shiwu couldn’t help following the trend and opened a browser. He entered the address that he had just scanned from his colleague’s computer.
It was only then that he realised the situation might not be so simple.
The moment such an inexplicable phenomenon turned up, various cults jumped out to sell their apocalypse propaganda, persuading everyone to convert to be with god XYZ. In particular, those who were proficient in foreign languages climbed over the firewall1 to instantly transport more news from abroad, intensifying the panic even further.
It was clearly okay when he woke up this morning, but then he turned on the computer and the whole world seemed wrong.
Fu Shiwu frowned in misery, but the second his colleague suddenly stood up, his conditioned reflex immediately straightened his eyebrows into a blank expression.
“…I want to ask for a day off to head out for a bit.” The female colleague said with a big smile: “There’s something urgent at home… Please help me tell the director.”
With her setting the ball rolling, one after another, other people got up and came out with various excuses. Against Fu Shiwu’s sharp eyes, they mumbled to him to help them ask for leave with embarrassment, then ran away as soon as they received his nonchalant nod.
… What are you all doing? Fu Shiwu crossed his hands on the table and watched the last person escaping from the office, leaving only him here.
At this point, the director came in.
“Where are the others? Xiao Fu2, why is it that only you are here?” The director asked in astonishment.
Fu Shiwu stood up calmly: “They’ve all asked for leave. Either there’s an emergency at home or their wife is about to give birth…”
Usually, no one would have the nerve to ask for leave when it was a crazy period of rushing for projects, for the director surely would blow a fuse. But today, the director just got a big notice after the meeting, so he didn’t care.
He just scolded them silently, condemning their unorganised and undisciplined behaviour, then he looked at the lonely Fu Shiwu with a complicated expression: “Xiao Fu… You can’t be too honest…”
Fu Shiwu couldn’t comprehend this either.
After the director was done with sighing, he still said what he needed to say even if there was only one audience left: “The upper management requests that all organisations must not panic and continue to work with peace of mind. They believe that the current astronomical phenomenon won’t affect people’s livelihood. The city has sufficient reserves for everything, and there will never be any cutdown of water, electricity or food. At the same time, company and organisation personnel are not allowed to participate in the snatching of…”
As the director read out the notice dryly, Fu Shiwu finally knew why those people ran away: All of them went to grab daily necessities!
Now Fu Shiwu couldn’t sit still. Is the matter so serious?
“Director, is this just a simple astronomical phenomenon? How can it affect people’s lives?” Fu Shiwu kept wondering but couldn’t arrive at an answer.
The director gave him a profound reply: “It’s not the astronomical phenomenon that makes people panic…”
But this reply from the director carried so many meanings that regrettably, Fu Shiwu brain waves couldn’t catch it.
With Fu Shiwu now alone in the office, the director said compassionately: “They all ran away, now you alone can’t do much anyway. You can go home.”
“Do I still need to work overtime tomorrow?” Fu Shi asked.
Tomorrow would be Saturday. Fu Shiwu normally had to work on weekends when there was a project. If today was like this, who knew what would happen tomorrow?
“Come back next Monday.” Saying so, the director also left, and while walking, he called his wife at home and asked her to quickly go buy things.
Although a notice of assurance was issued from the authority, once people panicked, certain things on the market would definitely run out of stock in a short time. If you didn’t prepare in advance, you might not be able to buy them.
Fu Shiwu obviously thought of that too.
After leaving the design institute with his car, Fu Shiwu saw that there were conspicuously more people walking on the street than at this time on normal days, each person carrying many big and small bags in their hands.
He sighed. If this went on, even someone who had kept his cool up till this point would be pressured by the rush and no longer maintain his calmness.
Fu Shiwu thought about the things he had at home. He had just purchased some foods last weekend, but there was one thing that he needed to get more from the supermarket, just in case.
When he arrived at the supermarket nearest to his place, the queue was so long the entire road was blocked, so Fu Shiwu had to park his car a street away and walk over.
After going through many trials and hardships just to get here, Fu Shiwu was still a little nervous, thinking that the item he wanted to buy might have run out too.
Luckily, upon reaching the Foods section that had almost been entirely wiped out, he found the staff restocking items. Fu Shiwu didn’t come to fight with those people, instead, he went directly to the staff and asked her to get him a box of Jian milk chocolate from the warehouse.
The staff found him utterly intriguing, because someone came here and wrestled with the crowd not to get foods and spices, but chocolate!
With the staff giving him such a strange look, Fu Shiwu almost couldn’t hide his embarrassment as he carried a small box of chocolates and joined the queue to check out.
“There’s a guy who loves chocolate that much, wow!” The staff girl whispered to herself, then she looked at the shelves that had been robbed once more, sighed and continued to head to the warehouse to get more stock.
As a massive number of shoppers wiggled together in this terribly hot weather, the air conditioners in the supermarket were as good as decoration. Sweating from head to toe, Fu Shiwu climbed into the car and turned on the air conditioner. Looking at the chocolate in the passenger seat next to him, Fu Shiwu wiped his sweat with a tissue, praising himself that the trip wasn’t a waste.
Fu Shiwu had loved this brand of chocolate for several years.
As a bachelor who sometimes got too lazy to cook and was usually occupied with designing even at home, Fu Shiwu simply stuffed himself with this chocolate to replenish his energy. After eating one bar to another, he eventually came to appreciate its taste. It wasn’t too bitter, had a milky flavor and carried a little more nutrients than normal chocolate.
Holding tightly onto his loot, Fu Shiwu returned to Heavenly Gardens.
As he was waiting for the elevator in the lobby, his bad luck once again sent him running into Tang Xuhai.
Tang Xuhai probably just returned from a meal. When he passed by Fu Shiwu, he casted a strange look at the chocolate box in Fu Shiwu’s hands.
Fu Shiwu suddenly felt that this look of his was very similar to that of the staff girl, both of which were extremely unbearable.
He just liked to eat sweets, so what?!
Translator and reviewer at Strictly Bromance blog. In essence, she lives to indulge in plot-driven stories sprinkled with camaraderie and slow-burn drama-free romance, especially more so if they belong to adventure, mystery or supernatural genre. A trope that she always thirsts after: “Comrades who go through life and death together”.