In a rental unit in Long'an, the computer in the house and the person sitting in front of the computer had been working for ten hours without rest. The table was filled with jars of energy drinks and leftover takeaway boxes.
Sun Zhen rubbed his eyes. The screen was covered with dense code. He was currently fixing a bug and had spent up to five hours on this one part.
A child's sharp scream came from the floor upstairs, piercing the eardrum like an awl. Sun Zhen frowned in annoyance, and then a woman's shrill voice yelled, “Don't bully your brother so much! Give him his snacks back!”
Sun Zhen was very annoyed that it was so noisy around this time of the day every day. It was only 10:00 in the morning. It was so noisy that it didn't allow people to work.
He picked up a mop and slammed it hard against the ceiling multiple times, but the noise didn't stop. The cement powder from the roof came off due to his actions and fell on his youthful but dead brain.
Sun Zhen dropped the mop and paced around the room, brewing half a day’s worth of courage, ready to go up to ask them to stop. However, when he opened the door, he saw two men looking at his unit number. “Does Little Worm live here?”, “He should be!”
Hearing this familiar name, Sun Zhen asked in surprise, “Who are you looking for?”
“Little Worm?” kk put on a big smile.
“I think you’ve got the wrong person.” Sun Zhen frowned, preparing to close the door.
At this time, a very elegant woman with short hair came up. Gu You complained, “You didn't wait for me. Climbing up the stairs in heels is really tiring!”
Sun Zhen opened his mouth slightly and said, “Come in!”
“Come and drink some coffee.” Sun Zhen passed Gu You a cup of coffee, to which Gu You nodded in thanks.
“Why isn’t there any for us? This is obviously sexism.” kk complained.
“What do you want with me?” Sun Zhen sat down. “I'm busy.”
“You’re Little Worm, right?” Chen Shi said.
Everyone had already come in, so Sun Zhen didn’t deny it any longer. “Yes!”
After listening to Chen Shi's words, Sun Zhen was shocked and looked around at the three people. “You really are kk, the Steel Snail and... Master Ge?”
“In the flesh.” Chen Shi said.
“I have to think about what you’ve said. After all, as a freelance programmer. I’m very busy.”
“This matter can't wait. We need your hacking skills. No one in the group is better than you.” Gu You said.
Looking at Gu You's white and clean face, Sun Zhen's cheeks flushed, “Well I can, but...”
kk pulled out something out of nowhere and said, “Wow, what kind of toy is this? Is it a butt plug? Programmers really know how to play!”
“Get lost!” Sun Zhen raged as he grabbed the item and rushed it back into the cabinet.
kk took out the phone from his pocket in one swift motion and examined it in his hand. “Wow, the latest Apple iPhone. Did you exchange it for a kidney?”
“Let it go.”
“What did I tell you?” Chen Shi said sternly.
“I'm not stealing. This is just me showing off my skills!” kk raised his eyebrows.
Sun Zhen was so angry that he plopped down in his chair. Chen Shi said, “Whether you help or not, I want to ask you about something. Do you know Zhou Xiao's identity?”
Chen Shi was overjoyed and asked, “What’s his real name?”
“He’s called... That... That...” Sun Zhen’s mind felt as though it had just run into an obstacle. He couldn’t recall the word.
The three exchanged glances in surprise. Chen Shi asked, “Did you go to the Villa Luolin Party?”
Sun Zhen shook his head. “My brain is blank.”
Gu You seemed to have spotted something and said, “Little Worm, say the words 'around', 'Wednesday', and 'perimeter’.”
“This... This... This...” Sun Zhen, again had his mind turn blank. He pursed his lips to speak, but he couldn't make a sound.
Gu You said, “He’s been brainwashed. The words related to 'Zhou' cannot be said at all.”
“That's easy!” kk clapped, “Just take a piece of paper and write it down.”
“Do you think you’re the only smart one here?” Sun Zhen stared at him. “I don’t even know the shape of the word when I pick up a pen. I usually avoid it when I speak. If I speak this word in any situation, my mind will short-circuit and go blank.
“How about using 'that person' as an alternative?” Chen Shi suggested.
Sun Zhen shook his head. “The replacement can't solve anything. Language is the carrier of thinking. Even if I said 'that person' with my mouth, his name will pop up in my head, so I’ll still be stuck... I can't think, write, or say this word and anything associated with it.”
“Can such a thing be done?” Chen Shi asked Gu You in surprise.
“It's doable! It's just very inhumane and requires some psychotropic drugs.”
Sun Zhen pointed at his temple. “My head has a small patch on it. Whenever I think about him, my mind will skip automatically.”
kk suddenly smacked his legs and laughed. “Fortunately, you don't have a surname Zhou, or you wouldn’t even know your name.”
“I don't understand why he didn’t kill you. Does he think your talent could be useful?” Chen Shi said.
“Yeah...” Sun Zhen frowned, as if trying to think back, avoiding the virus in his brain. “He and I are in the same profession, which is the only thing I can provide at the moment.”
Gu You said, “I think it’s very valuable for him to join us. I will try to reverse the brainwashing and restore his memories.”
Sun Zhen suddenly stood up. “That’s great. I’ll join. Having this strange patch in my head over the years has caused a lot of trouble in my life. My girlfriend broke up with me because of this as well. If you can help me, that would be amazing.”
“What's your girlfriend's name?” kk asked.
“She’s called that... That... That...” Sun Zhen got stuck again.
kk laughed and rolled around back and forth. “I see. The reason for the breakup must be this. ‘Bastard, you don’t even remember my name?!'“
“If this guy makes fun of me again, I’ll quit.” Sun Zhen said solemnly.
“Stop! Shut your mouth! Shut up!” Chen Shi said to kk.
kk made a gesture to zip his mouth.
Sun Zhen had worked overnight and planned to go to sleep right now. He said that he would meet them at night. Chen Shi said, “Then, let’s meet at 8:00 tonight. I will send you the address.”
kk said seriously, “Today is Wednesday. Can you finish it this week? Are there any landmarks around you?”
Sun Zhen made a gesture and said, “Fuck you!”
Chen Shi was busy the entire day. He bought sofa chairs, a water dispenser, and a coffee machine for the rental house. He also brought the laptop that was eating dust at home over. At 8:00 in the evening, he arrived early. Gu You was the second person to arrive. She was holding a signal detector in her hand and said, “I removed all the wiretapping devices you installed in my house. You actually installed these in the house of a single lady. How immoral!”
“Sorry.” Chen Shi smiled without apology.
Gu You scanned around to check if there were any suspicious electronic devices. When she lifted a cardboard box up, she suddenly found that Tao Yueyue was squatting underneath the whole time.
1. These words all have the words “Zhou” in them.
2. “Wednesday” has the word “Zhou”. “Week” has the word “Zhou”. “Around” has the word “Zhou”. kk was teasing him.
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