The amount of information was quite overwhelming.
Despite considering himself worldly-wise, Shen Yanming was taken aback and stood frozen in place.
Meng Yan was similarly stunned.
Shen Yanming hadn’t closed the door properly when he entered, and as Meng Yan had been eavesdropping outside, he had caught every word.
He found himself equally at a loss.
The atmosphere in the room instantly became tense.
Time seemed to stand still.
Eventually, Xu Yun broke the silence.
“So, I won’t allow my son to become homosexual.”
He Changkong tightened his grip on Shen Yanming’s hand, perhaps due to nervousness, exerting a bit too much force.
In a reassuring gesture, Shen Yanming lightly brushed the back of He Changkong’s hand with his fingertip.
He took a deep breath and met Xu Yun’s gaze, “Auntie, I’m truly sorry for what you’ve been through.”
It was undeniably tragic.
Even though Shen Yanming was here to support He Changkong, he couldn’t say anything cold-hearted about such a matter.
But how was this He Changkong’s fault? Did he make Xu Yun’s ex-husband deceive her into marriage?
Xu Yun scoffed.
Shen Yan Ming ignored her sarcastic laughter and continued, “Regardless of your view on homosexuality, regardless of whether you want your son to become a homosexual or not, he already is.”
Speaking to one’s boyfriend’s mother in such an impolite manner wouldn’t be appropriate under normal circumstances.
However, Shen Yanming had heard He Changkong’s tragic stories all the way here from Meng Yan.
He was already simmering with anger, and now, seeing He Changkong, who was usually unfazed by anything, with a rare expression of despair, coupled with Xu Yun’s irrational words… Shen Yanming had reached his limit.
Upon hearing this, Xu Yun, who had been trying to maintain an air of elegance, abandoned it altogether.
She stood up and took a few steps towards Shen Yanming, raising her hand as if to slap him.
He Changkong stepped forward, grabbing Xu Yun’s wrist.
Xu Yun couldn’t move, but her eyes were red as she shouted, “Get out!”
Shen Yanming retorted, “I’m not leaving.
I have to stay here to protect my ge.
You want me to leave and let you bully him?!”
He Changkong turned his head and looked at Shen Yanming in astonishment.
Xu Yun tried to free her hand from He Changkong’s grip but failed.
She said, “I’m his mother!”
“I’m his lover!” Shen Yanming snapped, “You know you’re his mother, but do you act like one? Did you give birth to a son or a punching bag? Just because you’re hurt, does that mean you have the right to inflict ten times the pain on him?”
Xu Yun was on the verge of breaking down, her voice almost cracking, ” Who are you to tell me all this?! Have I not been good to him? I’ve provided him with good food and clothes, sent him to study so much and get into a good university, and this is how he repays me? He hasn’t learned anything good from his father; instead, he’s learned to become a homosexual?”
Shen Yan Ming felt like he was suffocating.
He thought, “What the hell?”
But basic politeness still needed to be maintained.
Shen Yanming took another breath and pinched his brow.
There was no reasoning with someone like this.
If reasoning worked, He Changkong wouldn’t have been so unhappy all these years.
Seeing He Changkong’s face growing paler by the second, Shen Yanming made a decision.
He took out his phone, opened the video camera, and started recording, “Auntie, go on.
I’ll record it.
Why not let’s post this online for everyone to discuss? Come on, continue speaking.
Say that your son is a despicable homosexual, say that you’ve endured so much hardship for years just to raise an ungrateful wretch.”
This action truly caught everyone in the room off guard, including Meng Yan, who was secretly eavesdropping outside, but didn’t dare to make a sound.
Xu Yun indeed faltered for a moment, but then she tried to snatch Shen Yanming’s phone.
Unfortunately, He Changkong was still blocking her.
Shen Yanming took a step back, rather irritably saying, “Oh, can’t snatch it, huh?”
However, Xu Yun quickly regained her composure.
She lifted her chin, “Stop playing these tricks.
I don’t believe you’ll actually post the video.
Even if you do, you’ll be ruined along with it.
Do you have no shame at all?”
Shen Yanming was quite proud, “Yeah, I have no shame at all.”
Xu Yun was fuming, “You…”
Shen Yanming interrupted, “Hey, I’m about to start a livestream.”
Xu Yun couldn’t muster the courage to go through with it.
Her bluster deflated rapidly like a punctured balloon.
She no longer said anything she considered undignified.
Maybe it was because she didn’t want to speak to Shen Yanming anymore, or perhaps she couldn’t hold her ground against him.
Either way, she shifted her focus.
She turned to He Changkong, putting on a pitiful expression, “Can we leave this place?… Go back home with Mom?”
Shen Yan Ming chimed in, “Sure, you can take him with you.
Do you know how many times his current contract breach penalty would multiply if he left now? Let alone if he can afford it, even if there were no penalty issues, if he leaves like this, the whole internet will berate him for being unfaithful.
Oh, you might not care about people berating him… but internet users love insulting moms.
Young people all over the country who like gaming will call him a trash person and label you a trash mom.
You’ll instantly become the laughingstock of the internet.
With his influence, you might even hear people discussing it while buying groceries.
So, what do you think? Hurry up and take him home!”
Xu Yun couldn’t hold it any longer, “You’re spouting nonsense!”
Shen Yanming retorted, “I’m about to start a livestream.”
Xu Yun, “…”
Shen Yanming signaled to He Changkong with his eyes and slowly backed toward the door.
He Changkong probably understood Shen Yanming’s intention, so he released Xu Yun’s wrist and walked toward the door as well.
Xu Yun still wanted to reach for He Changkong, but Shen Yanming spoke again, “Come on, let’s have a little family squabble.
I’m recording it.
Those people online with nothing better to do love watching these kinds of family disputes.”
Xu Yun, “…”
Xu Yun was truly infuriated yet helpless.
In the end, she could only watch He Changkong and Shen Yanming exit the private room.
Before leaving, Shen Yanming even said with a straight face, “Auntie, sorry, and goodbye!”
Fuming with anger, Xu Yun ended up plopping down on the floor.
As they stepped out, they saw Meng Yan at the door, looking quite amused.
He Changkong was about to say something, but Shen Yanming was quicker, “Yan ge, could you stay here and keep an eye on things for a bit? Watch out for his mother, in case something happens later.
I know what I said was a bit over the top.”
The ever-reliable Meng Yan responded, “Sure thing.”
Shen Yanming sighed, “I’ll go back with Kong ge first.”
Meng Yan chimed in, “Better hurry.”
He Changkong didn’t say anything else either.
He and Shen Yanming walked toward the hotel room, one after the other.
After walking a distance, Shen Yanming heard He Changkong whisper, “Thank you.”
Shen Yanming tugged at the beanie he was wearing, “I haven’t apologized to you yet.
My attitude toward your mom was pretty harsh… I thought about what Meng Yan said, that your mom cares about appearances, so I threw a tantrum like that… It was my last resort to take you away.”
As they spoke, they reached their hotel room.
Upon entering, He Changkong couldn’t wait any longer and hugged Shen Yanming tightly.
Previously, Shen Yanming would often jokingly say he was the Samoyed that He Changkong raised.
Right now, He Changkong truly felt that Shen Yanming was like a little dog.
He was mischievous at times but generally adorable and well-behaved.
When there was trouble, he would stand in front of He Changkong, saying he wanted to protect him.
In times of sorrow, he would stick to him, even give him kisses.
Just like now, Shen Yanming had his arms around He Changkong’s neck, kissed him a few times, and then rubbed his face against his.
With a tone that bordered on coquettish, Shen Yanming said, “Give me a smile.”
He Changkong cooperated by forcing a stiff smile.
Shen Yanming teased, “It’s kind of ugly… if you feel like crying, you can, you know.”
He Changkong shook his head, “It’s not that bad.”
The two of them hugged in silence for a while, perhaps finally working up the courage to speak.
After a long pause, He Changkong finally spoke, “Today was the first time I learned that my father is a deceitful gay who entered a sham marriage.
At that moment, I think I understood why he hadn’t visited me all these years.
I also grasped why my mother acted the way she did.
She used to say that her life became so difficult because of me.
I didn’t understand before, but now I do… If it wasn’t for me, perhaps she could have started a new life after divorcing my father.
However, I was already a few years old when they got divorced, so she couldn’t just abandon me.
I can understand, but I still feel… really sad.”
There was more he wanted to say.
As he listened to Xu Yun, he truly felt that his birth might have been a mistake.
It wasn’t until Shen Yanming suddenly burst into that room and interrupted their conversation that he was pulled out of his foggy thoughts.
Shen Yanming wasn’t satisfied with He Changkong’s viewpoint, “Sure, she’s pitiful, but she shouldn’t treat you like this.
You’re innocent too.
Even if we take a step back and consider her a victim of being married to a gay man, does she want you to mess up other girls’ lives too? I won’t allow it.
You can only mess up mine.”
He Changkong responded in a subdued tone, “Mhm.”
Shen Yanming continued, “Wait, I misspoke.
You’re not messing me up.
Being with you, I’m sure I must have been a saint in my previous life, helping old ladies cross the street every day and doing lots of good deeds.”
He Changkong was amused by him and pinched Shen Yan Ming’s cheek, “Then I must have been helping old ladies cross the street every day too.”
Seeing that He Changkong’s emotions were stabilizing, Shen Yanming sighed with relief.
There was a question he had been concerned about all along, and he finally asked it, “By the way, how did your mom find out… about us being together? Did she tell you?”
“Yeah,” He Changkong said, “She occasionally searches my name online.
Recently, there were people online talking about us, right?”
Shen Yanming frowned, “Huh? And she believed it? So many netizens don’t believe it.”
He Changkong explained, “It’s normal for netizens not to believe it, but she’s my mom.
She… knows me.”
Shen Yanming understood.
Others might think that their interactions were just those of two straight guys goofing around, even though everyone knew He Changkong was a bit reserved and treated Shen Yanming exceptionally well.
But even if Xu Yun was a thoroughly unfit mother, she had become accustomed to He Changkong’s behavior.
If it weren’t for Shen Yanming’s unique situation, He Changkong wouldn’t have acted this way.
“Ah, xī ba!”1xī ba(西吧): 씨발 (Ssi-Bal).
Just like the word ‘F*ck’ in English Shen Yan Ming cursed in a Korean phrase he learned from Sunday, then explained, “Uh, I’m cursing at the person who posted that.”
He Changkong said, “It’s okay, curse away.”
Shen Yanming continued, “Well, I do genuinely sympathize with your mom’s situation, but let me warn you.
Don’t break up with me just because you feel guilty towards her, and don’t overthink it either.
You really have nothing to feel guilty about.
My opinion hasn’t changed.
Your mom’s situation is undoubtedly miserable, but she has no right to treat you this way, and she certainly has no right to interfere with your life.”
Shen Yanming wasn’t particularly adept at giving comforting words or motivational speeches, so after a few sentences, he felt that it didn’t sound quite right.
He decided to use his usual comforting method and leaned in to bite He Changkong’s lips, exchanging a lingering kiss with him.
Later in the evening, Meng Yan came over and said Xu Yun had already left.
He also mentioned that he had informed the coach and team manager, hoping they would pay special attention to maintaining order in the arena the next day.
Fortunately, their worries didn’t come true.
For some reason, Xu Yun didn’t show up again.
However, regardless of Xu Yun’s presence, her words and actions that day left a shadow in He Changkong’s heart.
Even though He Changkong appeared fine on the surface, he was really entangled in his thoughts.
Shen Yanming also realized this when they got to the competition venue.
Originally, He Changkong was the person on the team who required the least worry.
Under normal circumstances, he would lead the team, strategize effectively, and coupled with his precise and efficient gameplay, he could rescue teammates from dire situations… Not only was he not someone to worry about, he was the soul of the team.
However, in the first round today, He Changkong made a mistake that even a newcomer wouldn’t have made.
The audience watching the match found it quite unbelievable.
He Changkong’s error rate on the field was usually very low, especially when it came to basic mistakes.
But everyone thought that making a mistake for the first time was acceptable.
After all, even though Kong Shen was incredibly skilled, he wasn’t truly a god.
As long as someone was human, they were bound to make mistakes.
Yet, following that, He Changkong failed to coordinate with his team again, and TMM lost a critical opportunity.
The team continued to lose ground in subsequent rounds.
With fewer teams in the playoffs and a BO5 format, losing one round wasn’t seen as a huge setback.
In the second round, He Changkong adjusted his state.
His minor mistakes seemed to be gone, but he became quite indecisive in his decision-making, hesitating where he shouldn’t, and failing to take risks when necessary.
Even Shen Yanming, who usually had the best coordination with him, died during a laning phase because he missed giving milk.
The watching audience grew anxious, and his teammates as well.
While there was still a chance to come back from a 2-0 deficit, it wasn’t clear whether it was due to consecutive losses weakening their spirit or a result of making uncharacteristic blunders.
In the third round, He Changkong’s performance wasn’t good, and the rest of the team members didn’t perform particularly well either.
In the end, they lost three rounds in a row, sealing their fate for this match.
Victory and defeat are common in the world of competition, and winning and losing are normal in a game.
However, to perform like they were sleepwalking for three consecutive rounds was definitely abnormal.
The fans were strict in their assessment.
They could accept a loss after two sides gave their all in a fierce battle, but they couldn’t tolerate a defeat caused by avoidable mistakes in decisions and gameplay.
Almost immediately, the internet was flooded with criticism.
There were even those who brought up the previous post, commenting: “This person might be a prophet.
They said the team would perform poorly because of the love-struck member.
Seems about right, doesn’t it?”
Then, someone shared a picture of Shen Yanming hugging He Changkong on stage after the match, using it as evidence.
Some frustrated netizens didn’t care about verifying the truth.
They simply wanted an outlet to vent their emotions.
They initially criticized He Changkong, but later, Shen Yanming was also targeted.
There were still some rational netizens who said that maybe He Changkong was facing personal issues, and considering there were many matches in the playoffs, losing one match didn’t matter much.
As long as they secured a spot in the World Championship, everything else was secondary.
In short, both sides started arguing again.
After the match review, He Changkong sincerely took the blame upon himself — the problem was indeed with him.
He expressed that he would adjust properly, and the matter was settled like that.
However, when they returned to their base to continue practicing for the next match, Shen Yanming, who stayed by He Changkong’s side every day, sensed that something was amiss.
Speaking of practice, He Changkong still trained diligently every day, and he even spent more time than before.
However, his performance couldn’t keep up.
There were subtle hesitations in various details.
For regular players, this might not be a big issue, but for professional players, every move’s timing and precision were crucial, and there was no room for the slightest error.
Shen Yanming easily guessed what was on He Changkong’s mind.
In the beginning, He Changkong probably did care about what Xu Yun said.
After all, it was difficult for anyone to accept such a reality, and even the calmest hearts weren’t made of iron.
Maybe he did want to adjust subjectively, but continuous mistakes and online public opinion could plunge a person into an even more inescapable quagmire.
Controlling such situations was often very challenging.
Shen Yanming understood this feeling.
Shen Yanming didn’t press He Changkong further.
He knew that He Changkong was under immense pressure right now.
Moreover, the coaches who didn’t know the details had been talking to him frequently.
Approaching He Changkong at this point with more words would undoubtedly make things worse.
Moreover, just offering some words of comfort without addressing the root issue wouldn’t be effective.
There was some time before the next match, and Shen Yanming felt that he should do something.
In truth, he wasn’t sure how to address the root problem.
After some thought, he decided to seek out He Changkong’s father.
The man who, supposedly, hadn’t visited He Changkong after divorce.
This approach seemed strange, but actually, Shen Yanming had a hunch that there was something illogical about Xu Yun’s words.
As far as he knew, Xu Yun had raised He Changkong to resemble her ex-husband.
But if her ex-husband truly was a gay man who deceived her into marriage, logically speaking, Xu Yun should hold a deep grudge against him.
How could she raise a child to resemble him? She even repeatedly said that He Changkong couldn’t compare to his father…
It was truly strange.
If it was a mix of love and hatred, it was still quite awkward.
Shen Yan Ming had an intuition that he needed to go and talk to this legendary Professor He.
Getting information about Professor He wasn’t difficult.
Shen Yanming found out from Meng Yan that he was a lecturer at a university in a nearby city.
However, he couldn’t find more specific information.
The university’s official website only had an email address and the department office’s phone number.
Shen Yanming didn’t know what kind of person this Professor He was.
He was afraid that if he contacted him in advance, he might be rejected.
So, he didn’t call ahead.
He told He Changkong that he had something to do and He Changkong offered to accompany him, but Shen Yanming politely declined.
Fortunately, He Changkong was a boyfriend who respected his personal space, otherwise, Shen Yanming wouldn’t know how to explain.
Bluntly speaking, he might have been prevented from going.
He also took a leave from the team, found a day on Professor He’s class schedule, and early in the morning, he bought a train ticket and set out.
Shen Yan Ming waited at the entrance of the department for Professor He.
The man indeed exuded elegance, merely a lecturer, yet he wore a meticulously tailored suit.
His appearance was dignified, making him a middle-aged handsome man that even Shen Yanming had to admit was charming.
But he didn’t quite resemble He Changkong.
He Changkong seemed to resemble his mother more.
The aura around him was quite different from what Shen Yanming had imagined.
He initially thought he would be a serious and reserved professor.
In reality, that wasn’t the case.
He was surrounded by a group of students, engaged in casual conversations with smiles during the break between classes.
Shen Yanming didn’t want to disturb him.
When the bell rang and the other students dispersed, seeing that the professor was about to leave too, Shen Yanming quickly jogged over.
Shen Yanming had interacted with many people throughout his life, but he was a bit wary of educators, especially since this man was He Changkong’s father.
However, with his mission at hand, Shen Yanming couldn’t afford to be hesitant.
He called out to Professor He, who was about to leave, “Hello, Professor —”
He Yue paused and smiled, “What’s the matter? … Hm? You seem quite unfamiliar.
You’re not one of my students, are you?” You seem unfamiliar.
You’re not one of my students, are you?”
Shen Yanming nodded, “I’m not a student of this university.”
He Yue seemed to realize, “Oh, are you thinking of enrolling as my graduate student?”
Shen Yanming: “…” He didn’t even know if he could go to college.
He Yue continued, “You look quite young.
Did you start studying early?”
Shen Yanming shook his head, “No, I’m still in high school.”
He Yue, “Haha, I rarely teach undergraduate courses.”
Shen Yanming: “…” Oh my, is he this talkative? Did he perhaps mistake the person? Shouldn’t he be a combination of He Changkong and an aloof, icy god?
Shen Yanming explained, “No, I came to talk to you about something else.”
He Yue glanced at his watch, “Go ahead, I have a bit of time.”
“Do you remember… He Changkong?” Shen Yanming finished speaking and carefully observed He Yue’s reaction.
He Yue’s smile on his face froze for a moment, but he still maintained his composure, “I remember.”
Thank you for reading!
Hope you enjoy the rest of your day
If you like reading my translations, do consider supporting me with ko-fi
1xī ba(西吧): 씨발 (Ssi-Bal).
Just like the word ‘F*ck’ in English
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