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The other Battle God

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He was aware of the pretty boy from the year below him stealing glances at him not very-subtly from afar. His classmates had been trying to tease him and had found the perfect ammunition. They even helped him identify his little admirer! He had to applaud the lengths they had to go just to rile him up. To their dismay, he didn’t even blink when being told he had an admirer. He wasn’t embarrassed about it. Anyways.

Hong Yeqiu. He ranked first in his academic grade, his annual athletic scores were good (he wasn’t even in the default average scale, he was good) but he wasn’t into sports, since his name didn’t appear in the various sports teams’ players list. The junior liked to read, he supposed, as he was always seen in the library with his nose buried in a book, and also messing around in the computer labs. He was nice and kind, and was a number of teachers’ pet because he was so ever helpful, like carrying books, running errands and able to command the damn printer that wouldn’t print in the teachers’ office.

Recently he was snobbish towards his classmates, so he heard. His teasing classmates had given him all the details they can on this boy (what did he ever do to them?!). Apparently, he was a popular boy, too popular because he was a coveted individual, for his good looks and smarts. Not to mention he was physically fit as well. The best part was, he was kind and gentle. The downside was that he wasn’t rich, if he was, everyone will be all over him in an instant. A recent development seem to have shattered everyone’s hopes of him as a almost-perfect boyfriend.

He trash-talked his peers and snub friendships like no tomorrow, like he didn’t need them, so he had been told again. A loner huh. He didn’t pay attention to these information after that, and his classmates’ attempt at teasing stopped as well. Too bad they didn’t stick around longer, their efforts actually bore fruition! He actually stopped and watched the junior topping up the water of the aquarium in their administration’s office and feed the fishes on some occasions. One day after school, he was also seen petting the rabbits and feeding them in their school’s little green house/zoo thing.

He had never seen such a beautiful smile, now that he can see him clearer (he was close enough compared to the distance they always maintained before).

The blush appearing on the junior’s face was unexpected when the rabbit in his hands leapt at him, startling him, the little awkward movements he had to do to avoid stepping on the little critters, and lastly, he still fell down onto his backside. All the other rabbits in the enclosure decided to jumped at him after he was down, causing the junior to laugh.

He had a nice laugh too.

A person liked by animals can’t be bad. He probably put on a mask to fend off people. They can be really tiring, and animals make better friends sometimes. Satisfied of his own evaluation of his said admirer, he went on his merry way.

-

The next time he physically met this junior was at the cyber cafe nearby that he frequented to play GLORY after school. After winning his Arena match, he let his character idle for a while to stretch, not immediately accepting nor requesting another match. That was when the junior actually greeted him and asked for his handle name in-game. He wasn’t going to be impolite to deny him, so he gave his avatar’s name: Desert Dust.

Others who were watching him play surrounding his chair berated the junior for not knowing his god-like avatar and him as the player, and even mock him to go home and start playing with noobs. He turned and glared at these people. His junior was just asking, no need to be so rude!

He sighed. The junior looked terrified (of him, or the crowd?), after thanking him profusely for giving his handle name, he left just as fast as he appeared. He didn’t mean to glare at him! No thanks to the surrounding idiots jeering him before… He hoped he didn’t scare him off with his infamous resting bitch face he had been told he had. He looked forward to receiving a friend request and DMs from this junior.

Days turned to weeks with no sign of his junior’s presence in-game. Alas, his wish didn’t come true. Of all the DMs he received, there wasn’t one from the younger teen. He was a bit disappointed.

Just a little. Maybe.

-

After he graduated, he could no longer see this bashful junior’s smile. The junior didn’t come up to wish him congratulations or anything. He didn’t even ask for a way to keep in contact, except that one time he asked for his GLORY handle. He had given up huh? Well, that was the end of his high school then. He had to focus on his college entrance exams after all.

-

When he stopped by his school to pick up his graduation cert, looking up at the block where the final years’ classrooms will be, he saw the junior sitting by the window in his class, boredom written on his face as he leaned his chin on his hand, and was looking out of the window. Banking that the younger teen would be able to see him, he waved at him. The junior perked up and did the little fingers wave instead of a big one like he did.

He saw that smile once again, and was very satisfied.

He made a point to pass by the school to wave at him every morning, luckily he still can be seen from the gates surrounding the school. The junior didn’t disappoint as he did the little finger wave every time as a greeting.

-

He was alarmed when he realised after a few months or so he could no longer see Yeqiu sitting by the window. It was barely middle of the school year, he wouldn’t change seats or classes suddenly even if (unbelievably) his grades dropped… Unless he changed schools? During a free day he went and inquire about him, and the school admin was reluctant to share the junior’s information to him. He convinced her he was an alumni, he was concern for his junior’s well being, thus was here to collect school notes on his behalf and wanted to pay him a visit to check on his person.

Wow, he actually spun quite a lie to get to know more about this junior. How desperate was he?

Heck, he even knew Yeqiu attempted and finished his college entrance exams a year earlier, the same time he did, like the marvellous number 1 student he was. He was just chilling in school to get his school attendance and finishing cert (also no thanks to his information suppliers from before). Apparently the rumours he had been fed were mostly true, with so much of the information he had that matched Yeqiu’s academic performance and records, it moved the admin lady. Seeing that he was truly sincere, the admin finally relinquish the information he needed: Yeqiu’s address.

So that the good senior can check upon his talented junior and coerce him back to the path of pursuing his tertiary education to be a contributing member of society. He really couldn’t think that the admin actually believed him. Or maybe she just wanted him out of her hair.

After being shoved a whole folder of his junior’s (useless) school notes and homework lists, he thanked the lady with a great degree of gratitude, and researched for colleges with attractive scholarships for Yeqiu. Actually, he didn’t even know why the junior stopped schooling. He was very bold to assume it was a monetary problem. He should really pay his junior a visit.

-

In front of the Hong’s residence door, he suddenly realised very, very belatedly… that he was too invested in this junior just to be a mild concern. He knew next to nothing about him personally, other than what had been trickled down the vines. Had he actually fallen for his admirer based on second-hand opinions? He didn’t know if the junior’s admiration towards him was even of the romantic kind!

Han Wenqing, how can you be so simple?!

The sound of the door latch opening pulled him out from his thoughts.

Aih, I’ll just wing it…

-

After the awkward conversation about how Yeqiu should pursue his studies, he saw, on the younger teen’s monitor, the interface for GLORY. So he did play GLORY! Perhaps he had forgotten his handle’s name? Sometimes people just can’t retain the information long enough. But he wondered if Yeqiu could have really forgotten it, being a number 1 student after all. The younger boy looked restless when he saw him staring at it, so he quickly said something to avoid the smaller male from going into a full-blown panic.

“You play GLORY too?”

Too…?”

He thought how adorable it was when the younger teen tilted his head.

"I recognise that interface anywhere”

“Wow! Erm, I didn’t know Senior like GLORY that much!”

He was hunching his shoulders in, was he really that shy… He even put his knees together…

“You like to play GLORY?”

It seemed like a lot was going in the junior’s head. Did he ask too seriously? He should reign in his enthusiasm about GLORY. Not many people were crazy about it like he was, and he shouldn’t assume. Yet again.

“No, it’s not that I liked GLORY….”

Ah, what a shame. Yeqiu don’t share the same enthusiasm after all. He felt a bit sad and noticed he had furrowed his brows. He tried to relax quickly before he scare his junior again when…

“… I LOVE everything about GLORY”

Han Wenqing was stunned. So Yeqiu was into GLORY too! He unconsciously smiled, and it became wider when he saw a blush blooming on his admirer’s face, and his constant fidgeting isn’t normal for a platonic respect for seniors. The poor boy was wringing the hem of his shirt like a lifeline.

It was definitely the romantic kind. Hopefully.

“Let’s PK, Yeqiu”

He felt so weird saying this to his junior, when he had been saying that to his rival so many more times. Why must they have the same name?!