When I returned back to my bedroom, out of habit, I booted up my computer to play games.
As soon as I logged in, an invitation to join a team appeared on my screen.

“DV invites you to join the team.”

I sighed.

DV was a small streamer.
I teamed up with him several times previously.
He had bad skills and food addiction.
Last night, he was the very person who cheated me the entire evening.

This guy was always knocked out right after skydiving or as soon as he laid his hands on his good equipment.
He was always lying on the ground at every turn, waiting for me to pick him back up.
I was so consumed with helping him all night that I couldn’t do anything else.

DV called me shamelessly, “Big boss, come and play.
Big brother, lets play together.
Big brother, take me with you.”

Any other time, I would have logged off as soon as I saw his name online.
However, it just so happened that I was feeling down today so I felt generous, thinking that I should be friends with him so we could help each other out.

I accepted the invitation to form a team with him and prepared myself mentally to be dragged down by DV and to withstand beatings from 98 other people.

However, it seemed like the underdogs were winning and fortunately, our luck was surprisingly good that night.
We survived up to a certain point and even managed to basically eat a free meal despite of being stuck in a rotten, smelly situation.
The two of us laughed, cursed, and yelled joyfully.

“Thank you for accepting the invitation, brother! Thank you, Iron Beast!”


“Are you still playing, Big Boss?”

I glanced at the time and a warning popped in my head, “There will be class tomorrow at 8 AM.”

This sudden reminder scared me.
Damn it, I still cared about this?

“…Let’s stop gaming.
It’s almost time for me to sleep.”

DV was still overly excited, “Okay, you can rest up and we can game again tomorrow.
Our play was too good, too explosive.”

“Good night.”

“Hey, let’s add our WeChat account first.
My number is XXXX.”

Crossing the bridge and being able to eat up winnings together today could be considered as a life and death type of friendship.
So, I added him as a friend.

As soon as my friend request was approved, DV sent me a red envelop in seconds.


“Good luck, actually eat a meal tonight! Chicken!”


“Take me with you when you play next time, Boss,” DV said, “Whether I win or lose, every time I form a team with you, I get a lot of views when streaming!”

I laid in bed and looked thoughtfully at the 200 yuan from the red envelope.
Was this my first income for hard earned labor? It didn’t seem to be the case, right? If you calculated the time, 200 yuan for 5 hours meant 40 yuan per hour.
This was hard earned money.

I slowly fell into slumber as I thought about it.

The following day I actually woke up on time when the alarm clock rang.
Cheng Yichen was moved and overjoyed when he saw me walk out of the bedroom, “Xiao Jing, you woke up so early today.” Wiping his hands on his apron, he looked at the class schedule on the wall and commented, “Oh, linear algebra in the morning, no wonder.
Linear algebra is good.
Xiao Jing, I will fry two more eggs for you.”

After washing up, I sat down at the dining table and sipped the millet porridge with a guilty conscience.
How was I going to make it to linear algebra class? Linear algebra was going to put everyone to sleep.
How could the professor wake us up?

I acted purely like a scoundrel.

DV called me Big Boss, but to me, the Boss was someone else entirely.

I located the classroom and found a seat in the last row.
Although there were plenty of seat vacancies in front of me due to coming to class early, the last row was the exclusive seat for scumbags.
I could not give up that seat.

I thought I could maybe meet the brother from yesterday.
If he wasn’t in our smaller class, we only had a chance to meet in the large public classroom.
As I was thinking about it, I slowly fell asleep again.

After sleeping for a while, I woke up abruptly.
This time, I stood up out of reflex.

The professor at the podium stared at me, “…this student, what do you need?”

Ah, so he didn’t ask me a question this time.

“…” I immediately replied, “Professor, to answer your question, I was too tired and was afraid of falling asleep.
So, I stood up to try to stay awake.”

The professor seemed surprised and relieved, “Well, sit back down when you’re not sleepy anymore.

I sincerely answered, “Will do, Professor.”

Thank goodness I didn’t have to stand long since the bell rang.
I quickly took this opportunity to sit down.
My schoolmate sighed, “Why are you always sleeping?”

“Well, it feels so good to sleep so I can’t control myself.”

He frowned and chided, “You’re already here.
How can anyone go to sleep when attending class? Or just skip class and go to sleep.
Isn’t it better to sleep in your bed?”

I had no choice but to defend myself, “I was too tired last night.
I am really sleepy.”

He stared at me, saying, “Were you reading?”

“…” You flattered me too much.

I thought about it and disregarded my tendency to play games, “I was working.” I mean I did help the rookie win for the very first time and received a reward for it.
Therefore, it should be considered a part-time job.

“Work-study program?”

I vaguely replied, “Yeah.”

He looked at my clothes and shoes.

I quickly explained, “I’m wearing knockoffs.
Look, even the words are misspelled.”


I pointed to the “GUCCY” on my T-shirt and he gave me a sympathetic look.

What an idiot.

“Don’t place the cart before the horse,” he said metaphorically, “Work-study programs are there for you to learn after all.
You’re too tired to study and that won’t work.”

I quickly nodded in agreement.

“Speaking of that, why are you always late for class?”

“I had something to attend to first,” he said.

I nodded with understanding.
The challenges that prevented us students from attending school on time were endless: It was too windy, it was raining, the sun was too hot, it was too cold, the roads were congested, the bed felt too good to leave, and the list went on and on.

He asked me, “Do you understand the professor’s lectures?”

I shook my head slowly.

“What don’t you understand?”

I thought about it and replied, “Maybe you should ask me what I do know.”

He sighed, “I understand.”


He elaborated, “Oh, I mean this professor’s class is difficult.
Many students have the same reaction.”

He made it sound like he experienced this before.
He asked me again, “Then what are you going to do?”

“What do you mean?”

“What if you don’t understand?”

I responded frankly, “If you don’t understand, then you don’t understand.”

My bluntness startled him.
After a brief moment, he agreed, “That’s true.”

After another class, the next 2 classes were decent.
There were more classes in the afternoon.
When it was time for us to part, he suddenly handed me a notebook.

I glanced down at the notebook, “What is this?”

“Notes for this class,” he said, “You can keep them and take a look.
They may provide some help.”

I flipped through the notes and was stunned by what I saw.
The content was neatly written and detailed.
It contained all the notes of the entire course.
Did he retake it? Wasn’t that just too miserable?

I was going to say, “You had to go back to retake the class.
Are your notes even useful?” However, that was too harsh.
Why would I make it difficult for him? After all, he had good intentions.
I had no choice but to swallow these thoughts in my heart and gratefully said, “Thank you, brother.”

When I returned late at night, I was summoned by DV to game again after dinner.
I joined his team and was forced to play for about 5 hours.
Afterwards, I went offline and found that DV sent me another red envelope on WeChat.

“…no thanks, you don’t earn that much.” I didn’t think he was a big online streamer.

DV sent me a few laughing emojis, “I was trying to have fun and I’m happy when someone watches me.
When you game with me, more people watch me stream than when I play alone.”

“You don’t have to be so polite.”

“I’m not trying to be,” DV responded, “I know what I’m good at.
I’m holding you back and relying on you to gain popularity.
This is all beneficial to me and I know it won’t last long.”


“How about this? In the future, when you go online with me, I will give you a red envelope.
What do you think?”

I wanted to be polite but he was being honest.
After all, I may originally be happy to have a rookie gamer call me “Big Brother” and saying “please” all the time in the beginning, but that would eventually wear off.

However, if I was paid, then I’d feel differently about this.

Equivalent exchange.
This was the world of adults.

More and more, I had come to realize that I really was not a child anymore.

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