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Much to his surprise, Zhang Heng received a greeting card from the United States the next morning.
On it were the Chinese characters for Happy New Year written in crooked hand. There was no name on it but in the lower right corner was a stick figure drawing of Moresby. When he saw that, Zhang Heng instantly knew who sent the card.
He flipped the card over and saw a small sentence written in fine handwriting. It said, “Don’t worry about the cheating test. I’ve already fixed the bug for you, and there no need to worry about it the next time you play. Please continue working hard. Smiley face.” Zhang Heng searched the sender’s address and found that it came from a motel.
Although The Tang suited old man gifted Zhang Heng with an extra twenty-four hours every day, subsequently changing his life, he still found himself wary of him.
This was especially true after he came across an old photo and realized that the old man had appeared in his life as early as seventeen years ago. Now, his mistrust of the man had nearly grown to its peak. Whatever the old man said in the maid’s café was no longer credible. Zhang Heng also could not figure out what the old man really wanted from him.
No one knew better than Zhang Heng just how powerful the old man really was. Within Still Time, Zhang Heng was the one and only king, making him almost invincible. What more, the old man who gave him this ability should only be so much more powerful. At such a level of power, the old man could easily get whatever he wanted. If he already had his eye on Zhang Heng seventeen years ago, why did he wait so long then?
How was him seventeen years ago different from him now? What secrets were concealed within that Greenland expedition his parents participated in? And his abating emotional fluctuations… there seemed to be some sort of hidden connection between these things…
But for now, he was still unable to connect the dots. That, however, did not prevent Zhang Heng from making preparations. The first thing he did after breakfast was to bring the Infinite Block to the game point for identification. When that was done, he cycled to the library to look up on books related to Chronos and ancient Greek mythology.
People of modern society tended to have less social interaction, but the older generation, like Zhang Heng’s grandfather, still maintained the customary Chinese New Year visitation galore. The following days would see relatives and friends visiting each other’s households.
Zhang Heng made sure to check up on Tiantian’s family next door, confirming that Tiantian’s “curse” had really been removed and that the family’s “bad luck” was over. Everything returned to normal, and Tiantian’s mental state was gradually improving. As for Peng Jiating… Zhang Heng met her by chance once. She was sitting in her father’s car, and they were about to go somewhere—Zhang Heng wasn’t sure where to, but her stepmother and brother were not in the passenger seat. However, because of the nature of his father’s work, he would only return home during the holidays and for a short period of time. As for whether the environment she was living in would change, and how it would change when he left, Zhang Heng had no idea, nor was it within the scope of his obligations to be concerned.
Three days later, Zhang Heng and his grandfather sent his parents to the airport.
His parents both lugged large and small pieces of baggage, but this time, however, the contents were different, now stuffed to the brim with various locally produced specialties that filled out the suitcases to the point they they were about to explode.
Zhang Heng’s father collected the boarding passes at the self-service ticket machine, before the four embraced and bid each other farewell.
Just as they were about to leave, Zhang Heng’s mother turned around and exclaimed, “Oh, yes, I almost forgot the gift!” “Gift? What gift? Haven’t you already given us gifts?!”
“No, no, no. This is a different one.” Zhang Heng’s parents then shared a look. “Ah, I suddenly feel very self-conscious. You should tell them.”
“Well… Summer and I were thinking…” Zhang Heng’s grandfather interrupted, “Speak mandarin!”
“Oh, sorry. Xiao Xia and I… We want to have another child.”
“So, you waited until now to tell us the most important thing?!” Zhang Heng raised an eyebrow. “Am I going to be a big brother?”
“Erm… to be precise, you are actually already a prospective brother,” Zhang Heng’s mother stuck out her tongue. “Because of our age problem, we actually started preparing for this pregnancy a year in advance, but it wasn’t until…”
“Until two weeks ago,” Zhang Heng’s father continued. “It was only confirmed two weeks
“So, that’s why you were pestering me for ice cream in the middle of winter and even demanded to stay up all night long?” Zhang Heng gave his mother a look.
She looked sheepishly at him. “Ha… It’s only the sixth week. So, it’s not noticeable yet. It shouldn’t be a problem. Besides, carrying a baby around is tough. If I don’t eat what I want and have as much as I can while I can, then it would only be tougher later on.”
“So, that’s why you never told anyone before you made the decision?!” Zhang Heng’s grandfather frowned. “That’s just too rash. Aren’t you worried that I may not be strong enough to take care of your child?”
Zhang Heng’s parents looked at each other. Mother Zhang then chuckled, “Err… We decided to bring the child up ourselves.”
“Yes, overseas. Mmm… since it’s not a busy time for us, and we have time to care for the child. Dad, we left Zhang Heng with you at that time because we were too busy-we really didn’t have the time then, and secondly, it’s also so that he could accompany you. We won’t trouble you anymore this time.”
Zhang Heng’s grandfather was silent for a moment. “Finally, you’re becoming a little more like parents. It’s up to the two of you as husband and wife to decide, but remember to bring the child home during Chinese New Year to visit your mother and me.”
“Of course, if you want, both of you can come visit us there. We just bought a two-story house. You’ll love it; it has a small garden, and you can do your gardening and all…”
“Forget about me. I’ve been a Communist party member my entire life; I won’t be able to get used to drinking Capitalist water.” Zhang Heng’s grandfather shook his head. “What more, your mother is here, and I have to see her during the holidays.”
“What about you?” Zhang Heng’s mother looked at Zhang Heng. “Any plans after graduation? Your father and I know quite a few professors, and we could help when you apply for anything.”
“I don’t have any plans for the time being,” Zhang Heng answered. “There are still some things I haven’t resolved yet. Moreover, if we all leave, I won’t be at peace, leaving grandfather behind on his own.”
The games hadn’t ended, the mysteries surrounding him hadn’t been solved, and Zhang Heng had no interest in going abroad.
“Things… you mean, like relationships?”
Zhang Heng merely smiled in reply to his father’s question.
“Alright. If you change your mind, you can always give us a call.”
“Have a safe journey,” Zhang Heng wished them.
Zhang Heng’s mother made a ‘call me’ gesture before walking away with her husband toward the security gate. The pair looked back several times and waved at their son and father until they passed the gate and disappeared from sight. Zhang Heng’s grandfather patted him on the shoulder and said, “Come on now. We should go home too.”
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