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[Mainland Chinese Drama 2019] Gank Your Heart 陪你到世界之巅


Lynne
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1 hour ago, themarchioness said:

 

Seriously!  Makes me want to look over my shoulder now, heh.  It's very cool but can't help but feel a little shy and self-conscious too. 

 

Especially when I'm now working on a fic for Luo Tian and admittedly have no idea where I'm going with his story... :P 

Yes!  It feels like it's our own little world...but it isn't :scream:

 

*screams* A potential fic about my precious Luo Tian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:heart:  It's so funny you bring that up because I was just thinking about Luo Tian's character and his unrequited love yesterday

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@raziela @skibbies @themarchioness @owlstar@angelangie

Happy New Yearr!!! Hope we'll get a fun filled drama like GYH again someday!

Lets remember Our Fav Couple :wub:

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who had the unbreakable brotherhood! 

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And also our baddass Shu wen jiejie... who with Sun Ge were given a chance to get back together again... I really love these shot of them..  

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And lastly.. Congratulations @themarchioness :wub:

 

@skibbies aahahh I'm so happy you like Die Now... finally... lols... this drama is a sleeper hit for me.. 

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7 hours ago, lynne22 said:

@raziela @skibbies @themarchioness @owlstar@angelangie

Happy New Yearr!!! Hope we'll get a fun filled drama like GYH again someday!

Lets remember Our Fav Couple :wub:

 

 

who had the unbreakable brotherhood! 

 

 

And also our baddass Shu wen jiejie... who with Sun Ge were given a chance to get back together again... I really love these shot of them..  

 

 

 

And lastly.. Congratulations @themarchioness :wub:

 

@skibbies aahahh I'm so happy you like Die Now... finally... lols... this drama is a sleeper hit for me.. 

Happy New Year!!!!!!:lol:

 

Thanks for all the perfect gifs!  Memories...:wub:

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5 hours ago, lynne22 said:

Happy New Yearr!!! Hope we'll get a fun filled drama like GYH again someday!

Lets remember Our Fav Couple :wub:

 

Happy 2020!!  Thanks for the good memories!  :wub:

 

On 12/20/2019 at 11:22 PM, skibbies said:

Paging @themarchioness, the novel author Nan Ye Lin Er (Nanyelin'er?) peeked in the thread to see how the reception for the drama was. Screencapped the like vs love discussion and mentioned that while JXK never said I love you to her face, he did use love when talking to Luo Tian. She might write a ficlet where she gets the opportunity! :DI commented that you wrote lots of fics and she said she read them! She quite like Summer x Miya :lol:

 

This is pretty mind blowing.  Congrats indeed @themarchioness!  Summer & Miya getting canon approval from the author herself! :)

 

On 12/23/2019 at 8:03 AM, raziela said:

I was going to ask for the link @skibbies but Google was actually helpful for once and I found it!

This makes me feels so shy:sweatingbullets:

https://www.weibo.com/1829021387/IllJK1fKC?from=page_1035051829021387_profile&wvr=6&mod=weibotime&type=comment#_rnd1577154352949

 

Thanks for sharing this! I was curious as well but didn't know where to find it.  

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Happy New Year's, friends!  What a joyful surprise it was to check in this morning and find all those wonderful gifs waiting for us.  @lynne22 you really are our Queen of Picspam - and thank goodness for that! 

 

I feel like I've been behind on this thread lately, but with a new year and new beginnings I'm making it a resolution to catch up today.  After all, what better way to spend the new year than with Qiu Ying and Xiang Kong?  Haha.  I hope everyone is also having a wonderful start to your new years!

 

Now to go back a few pages...

 

RE: The King's Avatar, I pretty much agree with what's been said already.  In terms of gaming graphics, I found it outstanding.  But in terms of the story and the characters, to be honest, TKA felt like one giant character introduction.  And I wonder if that isn't the reason why so many of us found it difficult to connect with the characters and their stories.  It did not escape my notice, for example, how at one point we were being introduced to a new character/player and it felt so late in the game that I actually looked to see what number episode I was on and it was almost exactly mid-way through the drama's run.  Normally when new characters are introduced along the way in a drama it's because the story has evolved and diverted down new paths.  TKA, however, spent an entire drama building one team.  And that would've been fine except that when the team was built, it just felt very... hollow. 

 

I'm not sure how else to explain it except to say that even though we did get moments of the Happy team working together and having fun both in and outside of the game, I didn't get the sense either that they fully embraced each other and let each other into their lives.  In fact, it seemed like when they got along, it was mostly based on the fact that they kept winning and the moment they lost, the minute Ye Xiu was taken away from them, the entire team fell to pieces and everyone started questioning whether they should even be a part of the Happy team.  Basically, the message was that the team rose and fell on Ye Xiu and while I get he's important and integral - he is the main character, after all - I'd have at least appreciated a story where we were given to understand that the other players could have held their own even without him.  I'm not even saying they needed to be able to win without him.  But they were just completely decimated and lost and at that point, my takeaway message was that Ye Xiu was the team and the others were there simply there because he couldn't do it by himself no matter how great of a player he was.  I'm sure that's now how the story in the original source really goes, but my point is that's the impression the drama leaves viewers with (or at least this one).

 

As further examples of why the team felt hollow to me... when the team did fall apart, sure, Bao Zi did go and prevent Wei Chen from selling off his game character and bring him back into the fold, but for most everybody else - including Ye Xiu - it was very much an individual journey to being a member of the Happy team.  Tang Rou is probably the best example of that.  Her deliberations over pursuing a musical career or a gaming career started and ended with herself; I don't even recall her discussing it with her best friend.  If memory serves me correctly Ye Xiu did comment that people needed to decide for themselves whether this was something they wanted, which is why he never got involved and wouldn't push people, and while I don't necessarily disagree with that... I don't know, I couldn't help but feel an absence of team building too. 

 

This lack is especially felt when you compare it against a drama like GYH where we did get to see the growth and development of pretty much every character in the drama (even Qiao Xin and Qi Yue, if you want to get technical about it).  The story in GYH just felt so much deeper and richer in comparison to TKA.  But this is why I say TKA felt like a giant character introduction -- when I think about it in those terms, it's not so bad.  After all, I did finish the drama (even if I did take my time through it) and I didn't hate it. I know they've greenlighted a second season for TKA and I'm curious as to see what kind of a story they'll tell with it.  If they focus on other characters/teams, I'd be less interested.  But if they revisited the Happy team and really told their story this time, I'd be more interested.  I'm not familiar with the web novel on which it's based, but in trying to keep track of all the characters in the drama (and my goodness were there a lot!) I did some online reading and the impression I was given is that it's a mammoth story where the drama only really told one tiny sliver of it. 

 

Anyway, those are my rambly thoughts on TKA... sorry it was hard to follow, but my feelings on that drama are hard to encapsulate in just a few words!


(My next replies were going to be regarding feedback on Story #11, but that's turning this post into something really huge so I'll go ahead and post this now.)

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Back again with the harder subject, the feedback on Story #11. :P  It was actually interesting seeing the different opinions/thoughts and what I especially loved about your replies is that we now get to keep discussing the drama and these characters, haha.  (You know me, always open and eager to discussing GYH whenever!)  Anyway, what follows is mostly an explanation to help you understand the thoughts that I had when creating Story #11.

 

On 12/7/2019 at 10:47 AM, owlstar said:

I do feel that in the drama, Miya comes across as weak and fragile.  But she's probably stronger than she looks to have survived/succeeded in the idol business.  It doesn't really help that we're not privy to any of her thoughts and dreams other than becoming an idol and getting JXK, so once those two things are no longer in the picture, I really don't know what she wants out of life.  So I'm still feeling a gap between where you left off and where I can feasibly see them getting together.

 

I agree with @skibbies when she stated, "Miya does seem rather fragile in drama since we see her at her most emotionally vulnerable," and I'd also add that I think another part of her "problem" is that our final moments with her are when she's clinging desperately to XK and, as a result, creating an obstacle for the OTP.  It makes it really hard for us to be sympathetic when we know she's the reason our OTP can't be together.  To be fair to Miya though, and this is something I had to remind myself of several times while watching, in real life, if someone did lose their eyesight with the real possibility of never getting it back, that would be something very scary and terrifying.  It would be potentially damaging to the psyche as well, as it would be literally her having to relearn a new way of living.  When I think about Miya in those terms, I don't see her as weak or fragile, but as someone who was handed a really unfortunate fate and having to deal with it.

 

Even after she got her eyesight back and lied, I don't see that as being weak or fragile.  Rather, I think of it as her being clingy - incredibly clingy.  But that goes back to what I've said many times already (so I won't repeat myself) that speaking personally, I found her clingy-ness understandable (and even pitiable) from the standpoint that she had no one in her life.  Someone, just throw the girl a friend!  LOL.

 

That's where Summer comes in, in my fics.  You mentioned not knowing what Miya wants in life once being an idol and XK are out of the picture, and that's a very fair point.  Like you said we're not privy to her thoughts other than when she tells Tony that she wants to be a "real" musician, someone who can create her own music, so IMO, I think that's exactly what she wants to do next -- and find her place in this world.  With both my stories, that was the direction I wanted to give her -- in Story #10, she gets to travel to clear her head and find herself, and in Story #11 she gets to come home to start anew, while cleaning up her past at the same time.  Every person needs to build a family and community around them and maybe it's cheating allowing Miya to use Summer as a building block for that, but I don't think it's out of the realms of possibility either.  ;) 

 

On 12/8/2019 at 12:36 PM, skibbies said:

The surprise party is very nicely planned. I'm not huge on Summer suddenly just bringing Miya along, so I'm really really glad Luo Tian call him out on it, and Yiyi is so protective of QY, but QY + XK handle it really maturely. I do follow Summer's logic, and I think it's an impulsive move, which makes him little more human, I always thought he could read everyone pretty well, just don't say or interfere much. BUT I think he could have, at least called beforehand, or you know, not take her to QY's birthday party, bring her some other time. This is the best outcome, but it really could have dampen a nice surprise party and make it real awkward. There's little reason for him to do it RIGHT THEN, besides let's get over this asap. Story-wise, it does create interesting conflict and develop Summer more, it's just if this is irl, I'd be Luo Tian yelling at him.

 

So... I actually debated quite a bit when writing this story as to whether a birthday party for QY would be the best place to reintroduce Miya into their lives and obviously, the end conclusion of that debate (for me) was "yes."  Despite that, I want to reassure that I did recognize the potentials for problem in writing the story this way but I still ultimately decided to proceed because I knew it needn't be a problem for any of the individuals involved.  I also don't find it out of character for Summer to do so.  Like you, I also think one of Summer's skill was his ability to read others but there is also a playful side to him that did not shy away from pushing the boundaries when he thought he could get away with it.  We saw that, in particular, whenever he made little comments towards Sun Ge and Shu Wen.  Summer did know his boundaries, though, which is why we would never see him saying about Li Gan, as an example, but that is to say my impression of Summer is that when he sees an uncomfortable situation that he doesn't think should be uncomfortable, I don't think he's above poking at it.  Which is why I could perfectly envision him doing what he did in my story.

 

His actions are definitely not without controversy though, and similar to in the drama when the others would "tsk" at him for bring up certain subjects, in my story, Luo Tian called him out on his actions.  (You don't have to yell at him, Luo Tian did it for you.  ;))  But there's a definite reason for why Summer did what he did (or why I had him do what he did) - and why he didn't try and warn XK/QY beforehand or set up a separate meeting for them - and that's because in my opinion, had he done that, that would've placed more import on the situation and the whole point is that Miya shouldn't be a big deal to XK or QY anymore, if that makes sense.  (Think of it this way: If Summer had called QY beforehand, all that would do is make her fret about it for several days and why put her through that, particularly when it shouldn't be any big thing?)  I think Summer would understand that best out of everyone because this is a situation in which it actually works in his favor that he has no prior connections to Miya.  It allows him to view the situation more objectively than say Yi Yi or Luo Tian who are going to feel naturally protective.  Even someone like Sun Ge would be wary because of his closeness to XK, and YX... well, he would just be lost, LOL.  But Summer has the maturity and objectivity to see that Miya is not a threat to the others, and that QY and XK are more than well-equipped to handle the challenge of Miya in their midst. 

 

Ultimately, I think a lot of it depends on how you want to view the setting of this stage.  One way is to think of it as Summer crashing the party with Miya's presence.  Another way to think of it is Summer creating a friendly stage to show the best sides of everyone.  Obviously, as the author, I vote for the latter.  :P 

 

On 12/8/2019 at 6:10 PM, raziela said:

I actually didn't like Summer's actions in this at all.  He came across as self-involved, insensitive and presumptuous. It was not his decision to make. It was a party for QY organised by her boyfriend and for their friends.  Miya isn't QY or XK's friend.  They aren't in contact or close.  She's XK's ex andalmost ruined their relationship in the past. They didn't even know she was back in the country!

 

To be honest, when I first read this, I thought: I need to apologize to Summer because I've caused someone to have a lousy impression of him.  :(  Sorry, Summer!

 

I've explained above, already, my impetus for why I wrote the story as I did.  The only thing I would add here is my disagreement to your observation that Miya isn't XK's friend.  They may be exes, but there's still a lot of history between them especially given that at one point, they weren't just boyfriend/girlfriend, but family.  In my opinion, that family relationship is still there even if the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship isn't, and that means there will always be a bond even if they're not in close/constant contact.  I think there's proof of that in the drama in the way XK rushed to her bedside when he learned of her accident. 

 

Beyond that incident, I'll allow that we don't actually know what happens after she regains her eyesight and they part ways at the world championships - because the drama doesn't tell us anymore of their story.  So, that part is definitely open to interpretation and if it is your impression that XK and Miya part ways to never have contact again, I have no issue with that.  But for me, based on what we were given to understand through the drama of the characters' personalities, I don't think XK would just cast her aside.  In fact, in my personal canon that I created through Story #1, XK and QY had talked about how Miya would always be a part of his life and she both understood and was okay with that.  Therefore, Summer's actions in Story #11 should be viewed within that context - which is to say I think he had every right to feel confident that things would turn out well.

 

On 12/8/2019 at 6:10 PM, raziela said:

I thought Summer sounded like Manager Tony her when he was talking about all the things he did for her in her new home before she even landed in the country.  It would have been a good experience for her to have to sort all those things out herself like most people in their mid-twenties.  If Summer had given her advice or assisted her a bit I wouldn't have minded but it seemed like she went from being taken care of by one older male to going on holiday and coming back to be taken care of by yet another older male.

 

Oh gosh, when I read that, all I could think was that I've been horribly misunderstood and that can only be blamed on my inadequacies as an author to properly convey what was going on there.  The only thought I had when I wrote that scene was that Miya was coming back after traveling from abroad and returning to a place she'd never lived in and therefore wouldn't know where the closest store was.  From personal experience I know how exhausting it is to come home after traveling and the last thing I want to do is cook.  But what do we do when the stomach's grumbling and demanding food?  Sometimes I'll pre-stock my freezer in anticipation, but Miya wouldn't have that benefit - in fact, her whole fridge and pantry would be empty.  Sometimes I'll do carry-out and sure, Miya, should be able to do the same, but then she's never lived where she's returning to and wouldn't be familiar with any of the restaurants around her.  Therefore, my only intention in writing that scene was to show Summer being thoughtful - as a friend, and Miya being appreciative - as a friend. 

 

I really don't see it as Miya being coddled and taken care of to have someone looking out for her and offering to show her around an unfamiliar neighborhood that she's moved into; that's just being neighborly.  On the other hand, if Summer was doing all her grocery shopping and errands/chores, well, you wouldn't be the only one with problems with that scenario - I would also have problems!  I think it's important for both partners in a relationship to know how to stand on their own two feet, so that's my reassurance to you that it was never my intention for Miya to seem like she couldn't handle anything on her own.  Again, I was just thinking of her as an exhausted world traveler returning to an empty home.

 

Anyway, I'm sorry @raziela that Story #11 was mostly a miss for you.  I have high hopes, though, that you'll enjoy the upcoming Story #12.  ;) 

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Finally, to round out my New Year's resolution to catch up with this thread, I present to you on this first day of the new year my final gift to you all - Story #12, which is very unimaginatively titled, "Luo Tian's Story."  I suppose I shouldn't close the door on the possibilities given that I'm still in various stages of rewatches with friends who've introduced this drama to, but for now I've no plans to write any more.  Luo Tian's story is the longest and it's taken a lot out of me.  :P 

 

For the sake of his story, I've had to create a few new characters.  There's a secret regarding two of their names, which I'll share at the end, but apart from that note I would only ask for your kindness in going with the flow regarding the diagnosis and treatment of Luo Tian's stomach pains.  (Just pretend it's real!)

 

As always, I hope you enjoy, and thank you so much for indulging me and sharing in my stories.  I've a lot of love for this drama, but for this thread as well.  It's almost as if we've created our own Phoenix team here.  :wub:

 

Story #12 – Luo Tian’s Story

 

 

Spoiler

Story #12 - Luo Tian's Story

 

 

“Thank you, everyone, for joining us for today’s Insider’s Competition games.  Remember, I’m your old friend, Luo Tian.”

 

“And I’m your new friend, Qiu Ying.”

 

“And we’ll see you next week for the iConquer 2020 Insider’s Competition semi-finals.”

 

As soon as they finished their closing speech and the little red light on the recorder finally clicked off, Qiu Ying ripped off her headphones and reached for her partner.  Holding him up by his left shoulder, she asked, “Luo Laoshi, are you okay?”

 

“I’m okay.”  Luo Tian couldn’t avoid folding himself in half, but he still pushed her hands and concern aside.

 

“You’re not okay.  You’re stomach’s hurting again, isn’t it?” 

 

She’d noticed towards the end of the last game how his words had become more forced and how beads of sweat had started to form along his forehead.  She couldn’t miss, either, how his body was bent and his right hand was pressed against his stomach.

 

“It’s nothing,” he insisted.  “I just got caught up in going over my notes this morning and accidentally skipped breakfast.  I’m sure everything will be fine once I have food in me.”

 

“Have some hot water first, at least.” 

 

Moving aside his cup of coffee, Qiu Ying set her thermos of hot water in front of him. 

 

When she noticed how his hands shook just trying to pour the water, she stepped in to do it herself and passed him the thermos cap.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“I really think you should see a doctor,” Qiu Ying urged.

 

“I already told you I’ll be okay.  I just need to eat something and take my medicine.  You know, you’re really quite nagging.  How does Ji Xiang Kong put up with you?”

 

Qiu Ying crossed her arms at a loss for what to say.  Her relationship with Luo Tian was a multifaceted one.  On the one hand, they were coworkers.  But he was also her mentor and teacher.  Luo Tian insisted that they were now partners and equals, but at other times, like right now, he was like her older brother. 

 

“I’m not nagging.  I’m just trying to get you to take care of yourself.”

 

Since the pain in his stomach had finally eased, Luo Tian quickly unfolded himself to stand and gathered up his things.  Holding out his hand to put her off, he told her, “Thank you for your concern, but I’m fine.  I’ll see you back at the office.  But don’t forget you have that report to finish for tomorrow morning’s meeting.”

 

After he exited, Qiu Ying sighed and turned to collect her own things.  She then went to find her boyfriend, Xiang Kong.

 

=//=

 

 

Qiu Ying ran over the minute she saw Xiang Kong exit the area of the sports arena with all the waiting rooms.  “Are you finished?” she asked.

 

“Mm.  I sent the others on ahead back to the training base.  I’ll walk you back to GDV.”

 

Slipping her arm through his, they turned towards the door.  “You played a really good game today,” Qiu Ying started.

 

“It was alright.  There was that moment at the 7 minute and 32 seconds mark.”

 

Qiu Ying knew what he was talking about.  Luo Tian had picked up on it as well.  “It’s okay.  You guys were able to recover from the misstep.” 

 

“But if we hadn’t made that mistake in the first place, we would have finished the game earlier.”

 

“Knowing you, you’ll go back and start practicing that same play immediately and next time, the team won’t miss it again, and that’s what’s most important,” she reassured.

 

Xiang Kong sighed, still dissatisfied over his team’s error, but asked, “Will you be working late again tonight?”

 

Qiu Ying wrinkled her nose and, sighing, remembered Luo Tian’s parting words.  “I’m afraid so.  I have a report that I haven’t yet finished.  I don’t know why I’m so stupid that it’s taking me so long to complete.”

 

“It’s not that you’re stupid.”  Xiang Kong flicked her head affectionately for talking about herself like that.  “It’s that you’re a perfectionist.”

 

Tugging playfully on his arm, she answered simply.  “It takes one to know one.”

 

After a while, Xiang Kong asked again, “You’re awfully quiet today.  Is everything okay?”

 

“I’m worried about Luo Tian Laoshi,” Qiu Ying confessed.

 

Xiang Kong was a little taken aback, as he hadn’t expected that answer.  “Is everything okay?  What’s the matter with him?”

 

“He says everything’s okay, but I don’t think so.”  Qiu Ying then explained how ever since she had started working at Dream Journey, she’d known about Luo Tian’s occasional stomach pains, but now, she told Xiang Kong, they seemed to be growing both in frequency and severity.  “The only problem is no matter how often I tell him he should go see a doctor, he just brushes aside my concern and tells me it’s nothing.”

 

Xiang Kong frowned.  “Do you think I should mention something to Wen Jie?  If there’s anyone who’s capable of getting him to do something, it would be Wen Jie.”

 

“That might be a good idea, actually.”

 

Before Shu Wen even had an opportunity to check in on Luo Tian, however, things came to a head and Qiu Ying didn’t have any other choice but to put her foot down.  

 

It was just a few days later when she exited a conference room behind Luo Tian and noticed the way he stumbled ever so slightly in his step before pausing to lean against the doorway.  The meeting they’d just been in had lasted several hours and she imagined it had likely taken its toll on him.  Following Luo Tian back to his office, Qiu Ying entered without knocking and found him leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed. 

 

She stood with her arms crossed.  “So what’s the excuse going to be this time?  Did you skip lunch?  Snack time?  Have too much coffee earlier?”

 

“What are you talking about?” Luo Tian asked wearily.  Removing the arm covering his eyes, he sat up to dig around his side desk drawer until he pulled out the bottle he’d been looking for.

 

Qiu Ying grabbed it out of his hand and read the label.  “Antacid medication?” 

 

When Luo Tian tried to take it back, she held it out of his reach.  “You’re obviously not well and you can’t just keep relying on these pills.  That’s not a solution.  You need to go see a doctor, find out what’s really wrong, and get some proper treatment.”

 

“Stop making a fuss.  You’re making a big deal out of nothing.  Come on, give me back my medicine.”

 

“Nope.”  She tucked it into her pocket and out of his reach.  “Come on, let’s go.  I’ll take you to the hospital.”

 

“How?  You don’t even know how to drive.”

 

Qiu Ying rolled her eyes.  “That’s what cabs are for.”

 

Luo Tian still persisted stubbornly.  “I don’t need to go to the hospital.  And I don’t have time for the hospital.” He pointed to the piles of paper strewn across his desk.  “I have to finish arranging the schedule for the upcoming Insider’s Competition semi-finals followed by the finals.”

 

“You can finish that after you pay a visit to the doctor.  I’ll even help you.  Come on.”  She then grabbed his coat so he wouldn’t have a choice. 

 

After Luo Tian spent the entirety of their cab ride waging a protest against the need for a visit with the doctor, Qiu Ying finally stopped just outside the sliding doors of the hospital entrance and asked, “Do you have a fear of doctors or hospitals, or something?”  When he answered in the negative, she then appealed to his sense of professional responsibility. 

 

“If you’re really fine, then it won’t be any big deal for you to have a check-up.  But if there is something wrong, do you really want to let things go until you pass out at the table next to me, or something?  Imagine the disturbance that would cause if that happened to us in the middle of a competition.”

 

Since Luo Tian didn’t have anything to say to that, he finally stopped complaining and followed her obediently to the hospital’s outpatient waiting area where he sat with his arms crossed.

 

After what seemed like several hours, but really was just the one, his number was finally called.  He naturally stood to follow the nurse, but was surprised when Qiu Ying did the same.

 

“What?” she asked, when he continued to look at her.  “I have to go with you or else you might try and run away.” 

 

“I’m not going to run away,” he rolled his eyes.  “I’ve already let you drag me here.”

 

“But I don’t trust you to share all your symptoms either.”  Having made her position firmly known, Qiu Ying shooed him with her hands to hurry up and follow the nurse. 

 

“But don’t worry,” she added from behind.  “I won’t stay for the physical portion of the examination.”

 

=//=

 

 

Thanks to Qiu Ying’s comment, it was with flaming cheeks that Luo Tian reached the door to the doctor’s office.  An impressive feat considering Luo Tian wasn’t normally the type to react let alone let his expressions show on his face.  Their friend Summer, in fact, liked to joke that Luo Tian was like a giant iceberg.  Immovable and glacial, and nothing anybody would ever want to be trapped in.

 

“Do you really have to come in with me?” he gritted out between clenched teeth.

 

“I already told you,” Qiu Ying replied with blithe unconcern.  She then swept past him and waved for him to join her inside.

 

The doctor, who waited for them inside her consultation room, was unfazed by their interaction.  She was used to bickering couples.  Patients who’d been married to each other for years were, typically, the worst.  But as Ren Zi Lan sneaked a peek at her soon-to-be patient, she couldn’t help but think how it was a shame that someone so handsome was already taken.  Not that she would date a patient, she sternly reminded herself.  It was just that since she was cooped up in the hospital day in and day out, meeting patients was the extent of her social activity these days.  Her mother despaired of seeing her married off.

 

“Hello, I’m Dr. Ren.”  She held out her hand and introduced herself.

 

Luo Tian took her hand and instantly found it warm and comforting.  It took him a second before he recovered and said, “I’m Luo Tian.  This is . . .”

 

As he waved in the general direction of somewhere next to him, Qiu Ying immediately piped up.  “Qiu Ying.  And I’m not leaving.”

 

Zi Lan raised an eyebrow, but invited them both to take a seat in front of her.  “Nobody has to leave who doesn’t want to leave, but only if the patient agrees.”

 

“It’s fine,” Luo Tian said resignedly.  He knew how persistent Qiu Ying could be.

 

“So what’s the problem, then?”

 

Luo Tian started to describe the pain in his stomach and abdomen area, but when he characterized it as occasional, Qiu Ying jumped in to clarify that it had been happening more often of late.  She then explained how sometimes the pain was so bad Luo Tian would have to bend over to try and ease the symptoms and how he chugged antacid pills by the bottle.  Zi Lan diligently recorded everything Qiu Ying shared with her and then when she was done with her notes, indicated that she’d do a physical examination next. 

 

Qiu Ying quickly gathered up her purse and jacket at that point and announced that she’d head outside to wait for them. 

 

As Zi Lan began her physical examination, she started to comment that Luo Tian was fortunate to have such a caring and concerned girlfriend like Qiu Ying, but when she pressed down on an area of his abdomen and he yelped out in pain, she quickly set aside the thought and focused on him.  After feeling around and asking a few more questions, she had Luo Tian sit up and put his shirt back on.  She then brought Qiu Ying back into the room and started to scribble on a note pad. 

 

Ripping off several sheets, she handed them to Qiu Ying and instructed, “These are various orders for the different tests he’ll need to have done.”

 

“So many?”

 

“Is that really necessary?” Luo Tian asked.

 

“All signs point to you having a stomach ulcer and I’ve given you a prescription for that, but we should still do a few tests to make sure that’s all it is and not something else.  Some of the tests you can complete today, like the blood work, but the CT scan and other tests are something you’ll have to prep for and come back another day to complete.  But you should still schedule them before you leave the hospital today.  Given your current condition, I wouldn’t delay treatment any further.”

 

“I understand.”  Qiu Yin gripped the pieces of paper in her hand tightly.  “Thank you, doctor.  I’ll make sure he completes everything as you say.”

 

“See that you do.”

 

As Luo Tian exited the consultation room, he couldn’t help but mutter that now, instead of one female nagging at him, he had two.

 

=//=

 

 

After Luo Tian and Qiu Ying left, Zi Lan found herself without any waiting patients and a rare break, so she wandered over to the nurses’ station for a break and a chat.  When her friends heard her sighing over and over again, they asked her what was up.

 

“It’s not fair,” she complained.  Picking up a nut, she popped it into her mouth and chewed before saying, “The best ones are always taken.”

 

“Who are you talking about?”

 

“The patient who just left.  You all should’ve seen him.  He was so attractive!  And totally my style.  Such piercing eyes and with the cutest quirk of a smile, too.  But,” she shrugged.  “Of course, he already has a girlfriend.  And you should’ve heard the way she was so concerned for her boyfriend’s health.  I think she knew his symptoms and problems better than him.  But with a face like that, it’s no wonder he would have a girlfriend so devoted.” 

 

Zi Lan sighed again.

 

“Are you checking out patients again?”  Her best friend, Li Yan, another internist at the hospital, walked up to the counter right at that moment to hear the tail end of her comment.

 

“Yah, don’t try and act all high and mighty just because you have a boyfriend.  Us single dogs have to get our peeks in when we can.”  She then leaned against the counter again to prop up her chin with a fist and sighed dreamily.  “And this one was definitely worth a second peek.”

 

The nurse who’d called for Luo Tian in the waiting room and shown him to Zi Lan’s office readily agreed.  “He really was handsome,” she told the others.  “And he wore a sharp-looking suit, which must mean he has a good job too.”

 

“I think he was some sort of an announcer?”  Zi Lan hadn’t paid close attention to those details in his file. 

 

“I’m surprised you don’t already know his zodiac sign and blood type,” Li Yan commented dryly. 

 

Zi Lan stuck her tongue out at her friend.  “I do have some ethics, you know, I was focused on his medical concerns.  But you give me some ideas for his follow-up visit,” she joked.

 

As Li Yan shook her head, Zi Lan figured she should probably return to her office and work on the rest of her patient charts while she had the time.  She turned to leave and right at that moment, out of the corner of her eye, she saw two people walk past in the distance.  One of the persons looked a lot like the Qiu Ying who’d just been in her office not even an hour ago, but curiously the person next to her didn’t look the least bit like her patient, Luo Tian.  In fact, as far as she could tell from this distance, they weren’t even dressed alike. 

 

Zi Lan wondered if her eyes were seeing things incorrectly and shook her head.

 

“Is something wrong?” one of the nurses asked.

 

“No, I thought I saw that girlfriend I was just telling you guys about, but there was a guy next to her and it wasn’t my patient.  It was some other guy.”

 

Li Yan leaned back to look down the hallway, but the doorframe at the opposite end of where they were standing was completely empty.

 

“They were walking past so they’re already gone,” Zi Lan explained.  “It was probably someone who just looked a lot like her.  I mean, if she’s here with her boyfriend, she wouldn’t have another guy come to the hospital too, right?”

 

=//=

 

 

What Zi Lan couldn’t have known was that after Qiu Ying escorted Luo Tian to the hospital’s lab so that he could have his blood work completed, she’d received a phone call from Xiang Kong.  Her boyfriend had been so alarmed to learn she was at the hospital that he’d hung up on her before she even had the chance to explain that it was Luo Tian who was sick, and not her.  Qiu Ying ended up having to text him an explanation, but Xiang Kong didn’t get the message until after he arrived to the hospital because he’d already hopped onto his motorcycle by that point and was too preoccupied to read it or answer any of her return calls.

 

“I can’t believe you just dropped everything and raced over here.”

 

“What else was I supposed to do when my girlfriend said she was at the hospital?”

 

“You were supposed to ask, ‘Why are you at the hospital?’ ‘What’s going on?’ or ‘Is everything okay?’ Any one of those questions would have given you the reassurance you needed.  Instead you panicked.”

 

“Blame me for being an overly concerned boyfriend, then,” Xiang Kong pouted.

 

Qiu Ying laughed and looping her arms through his, rewarded his concern with a kiss on the cheek.  “I’m grateful.  I just feel bad that you worried for nothing and took time off from your training.  You didn’t say anything to my little brother, too, did you?”

 

“Xia Ling had classes this afternoon, so he wasn’t at the training base when I called.  How is Luo Laoshi doing?”

 

“He’s waiting to get his blood drawn right now.  Walk with me to get his prescription filled?” 

 

As they walked to the hospital’s pharmacy, Qiu Ying filled Xiang Kong in on the rest.  “The doctor is pretty certain he has a stomach ulcer, which can be treated with medicine, but she still wants to him to undergo some tests to make sure it’s not something else or that his condition isn’t worse than it seems.”

 

“I’m glad to it’s something easily treatable and he’ll be okay.”

 

Qiu Ying sighed.  “It’d have been even easier if he’d made time for the doctor earlier.  He needs to take better care of himself.  He works too much.”

 

“Now you sound like Summer Ge.”

 

“It’s the truth!” she huffed.

 

Which was why after they returned to Luo Tian with his medicine in hand and saw him off in a cab, Qiu Ying turned to Xiang Kong and asked if they could visit a grocery store before heading home. 

 

Xiang Kong readily agreed and didn’t question why she wanted to visit a grocery store until he followed her around the store and watched her fill their shopping cart with things like chicken, fresh ginger, and goji berries.  “What are you making?”

 

“I’m going to make some chicken herbal soup.  I wonder where this store keeps their dried dates.” 

 

As she wandered down another random aisle, Xiang Kong dutifully pushed the shopping cart from behind. 

 

“But why?”

 

Since he knew Qiu Ying lived at home with her parents, who did most of the cooking, he couldn’t understand why she suddenly wanted to cook. 

 

“Oh, I was talking with Luo Laoshi earlier and suggesting different things for him to eat until his stomach improved and pretty much what I learned is that he’s terrible.  Did you know?  From his description, I doubt if he keeps anything more than bottles of water in his refrigerator.  It sounds like he orders quite a bit of take-out, but all that oil and grease won’t be good for his stomach right now so I thought I’d simmer some soup tonight to take to him tomorrow.”

 

 Xiang Kong stopped in his tracks.  “Wait a minute.  You’ve never even made me soup before.”

 

Qiu Ying looked over her shoulder.  “You haven’t been sick like this before, but don’t worry.  If you ever are, I’ll make it for you then too.”

 

“Thanks, I think?”

 

“Well I’m not going to wish you ill just so I can make you soup!  You should be glad I don’t have any reason to make you soup.”

 

Twisted as the logic may have been, Xiang Kong had to admit she had a point so instead of complaining further he sighed and exhaled loudly.  “Gosh, I must be the most generous boyfriend there ever was to allow his girlfriend to go cook for another man.”

 

Qiu Ying laughed and quickly placated him with a giant bear hug.  “My boyfriend truly is the best and the most generous.  How about I cook you dinner this weekend as a reward?”

 

Xiang Kong pushed her head back with a finger to the center of her forehead and asked with narrowed eyes, “You’re not going to just heat up an instant hot pot, are you?”

 

“Who do you take me for?”

 

“Someone who once wanted to treat me to strawberry cake at Dream Journey.”

 

“You’re never going to let me live that one down, are you?”

 

He pretended to give it some thought.  “Come to think of it, even Pei Xi’s made me a cup of coffee before.  But I don’t think I’ve ever had anything made by you.”

 

Qiu Ying rolled up her sleeves and fisted her hands at her waist.  “Ji Da Shao Ye,* I promise you, this weekend, I’m going to make you a meal that you’ll never be able to complain about again.”

 

[*Da Shao Ye = eldest son of a rich family (literally); someone with the behavior of a spoilt son of a rich family (figuratively)].

 

“If you make a promise, you have to keep it,” he warned.

 

“I, Qiu Ying, have never been afraid of anything before!”  She then looked past him to the shelf behind him.  “Aha!  There are the dried dates!” 

 

As they finished their shopping and headed for the cash registers, Zi Lan stepped out from several aisles away.  She’d noticed Qiu Ying walk into the store earlier with that person trailing behind, and this time there was no mistaking the fact that Qiu Ying was with another person other than Luo Tian.  They looked really cozy and chummy too!  Although she hadn’t been close enough to hear their conversation, she’d been close enough to see the giggles, laughs, and hugs. 

 

A short while later, Zi Lan crashed heavily into the chair opposite her friend’s desk and declared, “I swear, you really can’t tell with some people sometimes.”

 

Li Yan noticed her empty hands.  “I thought you went to pick us up dinner.”  

 

Since they were both working the night shift that day, they’d drawn straws earlier to see who would go to the grocery store next to their hospital to pick up dinner.  

 

“Is that what’s important right now?”

 

Li Yan’s stomach growled and she quickly pressed a hand against it to quiet it down.  “Um, I guess not?”

 

“People can be so scary!”

 

“Er, what happened?”

 

“You know how I told you earlier that my new patient had a dedicated girlfriend?”

 

“Mm.”

 

“Well, it was all a lie!”

 

“Your patient doesn’t have a girlfriend?  Why do you sound so upset?  I would think you’d be happy to know that.”

 

“That’s not it.  He does have a girlfriend!  A two-timing girlfriend!”

 

“What?”

 

“It’s true.  I saw it with my own two eyes at the grocery store just now, which means I was probably also right earlier when I said that I thought I had seen her, but with another guy.  Wow, I’m telling you Yan Yan, you really can’t trust anybody.  That woman seemed so sincere and devoted in my office earlier, but all along she had someone else on the side.”

 

Li Yan frowned.  “How do you know she’s dating this other guy too?  Maybe they’re all just friends.  After all, if they were at the grocery store next to our hospital, maybe he came to help out with your patient?”

 

Zi Lan stood up and motioned for her friend to do the same.  “Stand up.”

 

After Li Yan stood, Zi Lan walked around her desk to start reenacting all the motions that she’d witnessed between Qiu Ying and Xiang Kong earlier.  When she finished with the giant hug, she asked her friend, “Is that how you behave around your ‘just friends’?  If you do, then I should be the jealous one too.” 

 

Li Yan took her seat and frowned again.  She knew her friend could be fanciful at times, but it did sound like Zi Lan might be onto something this time.  “So what are you planning on doing?”

 

“I don’t know,” Zi Lan admitted.  After all Luo Tian was just a patient of hers and she was treating him for a stomach ulcer, not a broken heart.

 

As if reading her mind, Li Yan advised her to do nothing at all.  “It’s not like it’s any of your business,” she reminded.

 

“I know, but I can’t help but still feel bad for my patient.  He seemed too good to made to wear a green hat.”

 

=//=

 

 

A few weeks later Luo Tian returned to the hospital for a follow-up visit.  When he noticed how his doctor kept looking past him, over his shoulder, he finally asked, “Dr. Ren, is something wrong?”

 

Zi Lan returned her focus to him. 

 

“Uh, no.”  She laughed to cover the awkwardness, and then couldn’t help herself.  “You came alone today?”

 

“Mm.”

 

 “I see.”

 

“Is there something wrong?”  Sitting across from his doctor, Lou Tian nodded pointedly at the file in front of her.  He also started to wonder if there was something wrong with his doctor.  The last time he’d met her, she’d seemed capable enough.  Today, however, it was like she was there but not there.

 

“Oh!  No!”  Zi Lan quickly opened the file and rustled through the various pieces of paper inside.  “Your test results all came back essentially normal, but for the ulcer we suspected.  The medicine should have helped with that, though.  How are you feeling?”

 

“Good.  Better.”

 

“That’s good.  I’m glad you’re feeling better.”

 

When she didn’t say anything more, Luo Tian crossed his arms and wondered if this was how all follow-up visits were supposed to go.  Just as he was contemplating whether it was too late or whether he could still ask for proof of his doctor’s credentials or at least know how many years it had been since she graduated from medical school, his cell phone rang.  Luo Tian reached into his pocket and seeing that it was Qiu Ying on the other end was afraid something might have happened at work.  He looked to his doctor to see if she minded, but she gestured for him to go ahead and answer.

 

“Sorry.”  He apologized and then turned slightly away to answer the phone.  “Hello?”

 

Zi Lan tried to pretend like she was busy on her computer and not paying him any attention, but in reality she couldn’t help but angle her body just so in order to better listen in.  She heard him listen and then exasperatedly say, “You called me because of this?  I thought something had happened.  Of course I came to the hospital by myself today.  Why would I bring you along with me?”  He listened again and added, “Last time was last time.  This time’s this time.  Of course I wasn’t going to bring you.”

 

“Qiu Ying!” Zi Lan thought to herself.  It had to be his girlfriend.

 

“Wasn’t it enough to have you hovering over me at work these past few weeks?”

 

“How nice,” Zi Lan thought sarcastically to herself.  They were co-workers and dating.  She wondered where the other guy worked.

 

“That’s enough, stop raising such a fuss, we’ll chat more after I return.  I’m with the doctor right now.”

 

After Luo Tian hung up, Zi Lan found herself asking, “That was Qiu Ying, the woman who came with you last time?”

 

If Luo Tian was surprised by the question, he didn’t let it show.  “Mm.”  Tucking the phone back into his pocket, he added with some amusement, “She’s upset I slipped out without telling her.”

 

“She sounds sincere and concerned.”

 

“Like a guard dog,” he agreed.

 

“You trust her?”

 

Luo Tian tilted his head at that.  He wasn’t sure how or why they’d suddenly started discussing his work partner, but he still answered straightforwardly.  “Of course.”

 

Zi Lan nodded her head lightly, all the while thinking what a poor fool her patient was.  Not that she would ever say that to him. 

 

“That’s great,” she said instead.  “Anyway, like I was saying before, everything in your test results checked out so I don’t think there’s anything else we need to be concerned about.  The medicine I prescribed last time should do the trick, and it sounds like your symptoms are already improving so that’s great.  I’d still like to see you again once when you’ve finished your course of medicine, just to make sure that the ulcer is fully resolved, so be sure to make another appointment before you leave this afternoon.  In the meantime, I hope you’ll remember to eat regularly, drink plenty of water, warm water is better, and get some rest.”

 

“Thank you, doctor.”

 

As Luo Tian exited, he crossed paths with Li Yan who was just coming to visit her friend.  “Was that him?  That patient you were telling me about the other day?” she asked, pointing to the outside, once the doors were closed behind them.

 

Zi Lan nodded.

 

“He’s cute!” 

 

“And has a cheating girlfriend,” Zi Lan reminded.

 

Li Yan made a face.  “That’s unfortunate.  You didn’t say anything, did you?”

 

“Of course not.  I know I can be a bit of a mess sometimes, but even I know my limits.  But his girlfriend did call just now,” she confided, “And I couldn’t help but listen in.” 

 

She then told her friend about how it sounded like they were also coworkers and how her poor patient didn’t have a clue about anything.  “He actually trusts her,” she told Li Yan.

 

“Well of course he would, if she’s covered her tracks well and hasn’t given him any reason to be suspicious, which it sounds like that’s the case here.”

 

“It’s so unfortunate,” Zi Lan said for the millionth time.  “Such a good person like him shouldn’t be wasted on a woman like that.  Anyway, why did you come find me?”

 

“Oh right, I need you to come with me somewhere this weekend.  And you’re not allowed to give the excuse that you’re busy with work because I already checked the schedule and know that you’re off Saturday night.”

 

“This sounds ominous.  Where do I need to go with you this weekend?”

 

“To an iConquer finals competition.”

 

“What?  Why?”  Neither of them were gamers nor were they interested in the sport.

 

“My boyfriend was given four tickets and really wants me to go with him.”

 

“This is why it’s sometimes better to be single,” Zi Lan muttered.

 

“I’m sure it won’t be so bad.”

 

“So you say.  But I don’t understand why I need to be dragged into this just because you have to go.  He’s your boyfriend, not mine.”

 

“He’s bringing a friend.  A single friend.”

 

Zi Lan saw things clearly now.  “Forget it.  I have to . . . “ She saw her friend watching her carefully and remembered that Li Yan had already beaten her to the work schedule excuse.  “Wash my hair,” she finished.

 

Li Yan burst out into laughter.  “Nice try.  We’ll pick you up at 5 and do dinner beforehand.  Remember to wear something nice.”

 

=//=

 

 

Three days later, Zi Lan found herself seated next to her friend and across from her friend’s boyfriend and his friend.  She tried not to think of it as an awkward middle school double date, even though that was what it totally felt like. 

 

“I can’t believe you dragged me into this,” she whispered tersely on the side as the men fought over who was going to pay the dinner bill.

 

“I’m sorry,” Li Yan pleaded.  She hadn’t expected her boyfriend’s friend to be so awkward.  “I promise to have a word with him later tonight.”

 

“Can I just go home after this?”

 

“And leave me with the two of them by myself?”

 

“One of those two is your boyfriend,” Zi Lan reminded dryly.

 

Li Yan pouted. “Oh come on, you’ve already endured dinner.  I’ll make sure he sits on my boyfriend’s other side when we’re at the competition later.  And who knows, maybe we’ll have fun.  I’m sure it will beat you just going home and sitting around, which is what I know you’d do otherwise.”

 

“But I like sitting around and doing nothing,” was what Zi Lan wanted to say except that her friend had already dragged her out of the restaurant and into her boyfriend’s car.

 

Once at the site of the iConquer Insider’s Competition finals, Zi Lan had to admit it was hard not to find the energy and excitement infectious.  “Who knew these games were such a popular thing?” 

 

They watched a gaggle of young girls race by with their posters and LED lights, and Zi Lan almost felt out of place empty handed as she was.

 

“I’ve heard about it from my boyfriend and I’ve watched him stream some of the games online, so I kind of had an idea, but I’ve never attended a competition in person and even this exceeds my expectations.”  Both Li Yan’s boyfriend and his friend were avid iConquer players and they had disappeared almost immediately upon arriving to the competition site, leaving the two women to find their seats. 

 

Just as they were joined by Li Yan’s boyfriend and friend, Zi Lan clutched at her friend’s arm.  Li Yan looked down at the hand holding on to her for dear life and frowned. “What’s the matter?”

 

“It’s him,” ZI Lan whispered.  “He’s here.”

 

“Who’s here?  And where is he?”

 

“Over there.”  Zi Lan pointed to the stage where several workers were still mingling in preparation for the upcoming finals match.  “My patient.”

 

“The cute one?”

 

“Shhh, don’t say that so loudly!  Just look.”

 

LI Yan squinted and took a good look.  “Oh my gosh, you’re right.  That is him!  Wow, he really does look good on stage.  Very commanding.”

 

After a pause, Zi Lan freaked out a second time.  “Oh my gosh, she’s here too!”

 

“What?  Who?  The girlfriend?”

 

Zi Lan nodded her head and pointed to the young woman who’d walked over to Luo Tian’s side.  “Qiu Ying.  That’s her name.”

 

After watching them for a minute, Li Yan scrunched her face.  “Are you sure they’re dating?” 

 

“If they weren’t, why would she have accompanied him to his appointment?”

 

“But look at them.  They don’t seem very intimate in the way they’re interacting.” 

 

“Well, not right now, of course.  They’re clearly working and trying to keep things professional.”

 

“I suppose that’s true.”

 

At that moment, Li Yan’s boyfriend leaned over.  “What are you two whispering about over there?”

 

Li Yan pointed her finger towards the stage.  “Do you know who that is?”

 

Her boyfriend followed her direction.  “Luo Tian?  He’s the top commentator for the iConquer games.”

 

“Do you know who the woman next to him is?”

 

“The one wearing the pink dress?”

 

“Mm.”

 

“That’s Qiu Ying, his partner.” 

 

“Are they dating?”

 

Her boyfriend’s friend barked in laughter, he found the notion so hilarious.  “Definitely not.  Everyone knows her boyfriend is the team captain of the Phoenix team.”

 

“Phoenix is one of the two teams playing tonight,” Li Yan’s boyfriend explained.

 

Li Yan turned and stared pointedly at her friend as if to say, “Did you hear that?” while ZI Lan shrunk down in her seat.  She couldn’t believe how wrong she’d been. 

 

Just as Zi Lan was trying to slink down as far as she could in her seat, Qiu Ying happened to look up and spotted her in the audience.  Surprised, she tugged on Luo Tian’s sleeve and when he looked down to see what she wanted, she pointed in Zi Lan’s direction. 

 

Zi Lan noticed all of this and moaned in her seat.  “Oh no, I’ve been found out.”

 

No sooner had she finished saying so did Qiu Ying appear in front of her with Luo Tian dragged along behind her.  “Dr. Ren!  What a surprise to see you here.  Are you an iConquer fan too?”

 

Zi Lan laughed awkwardly.   “What a surprise, indeed.  I came with friends.”  She waved at the seats next to her.

 

“Whoah,” the friend of Li Yan’s boyfriend exclaimed.  “You know them?”  As a rabid fan of iConquer he was star struck to find the game’s two top commentators standing before them.

 

“I guess you could say that.  In a manner of speaking.”  It wouldn’t have been proper for Zi Lan to clarify that Luo Tian was actually a patient of hers.

 

“It’s nice to see you again, Dr. Ren,” Luo Tian greeted more sedately.  To Qiu Ying, he said, “The first match is about to begin soon.  We should head up to the commentator’s box.” 

 

“Okay.”  But before Qiu Ying turned to follow him, she told Zi Lan to make sure they waited for them after the competition ended.  She promised to introduce them to one of the two teams playing that night.

 

Luo Tian was still complaining about that when they took their seats behind their broadcasting table.  “Why did you say that?” he asked and grabbed for his headphones.

 

“She’s your doctor.”

 

“That’s right, my doctor, so shouldn’t I be the one to decide these sorts of things?”

 

“I think she’s interested in you.”

 

“What?  Why?”  Qiu Ying’s comment caught Luo Tian off guard.  “Why would you say that?”

 

Qiu Ying smiled.  She hadn’t missed the way Dr. Ren’s face had flushed when they approached or the way she hadn’t been able to look straight at Luo Tian when they were all chatting just now. 

 

Luo Tian was still going on nervously next to her.  “Besides, she was with two other guys.  One of them was probably her date, maybe even her boyfriend.”

 

“Mm, I don’t think so.” 

 

“What makes you so sure about that?”

 

Qiu Ying finished adjusting the length of her headphones and turned to her partner with a wink.  “Female intuition.”  She then nodded to the blinking red light in front of them and warned, “It’s about to start.”

 

Luo Tian had little choice but to let their conversation go as he turned to give his opening remarks for the competition, as he always did, but for the remainder of that day’s match he couldn’t help but feel distracted and off his game.

 

=//=

 

 

After the competition concluded, Zi Lan and her friends waited outside as instructed.  Everyone was still riding a major high after having just finished watching that very exciting final game, and no one was more excited than the guys. 

 

“I can’t believe we’re actually going to get to meet some of the players,” Li Yan’s boyfriend kept saying.  “That is what she said, right?”

 

“Yes,” Li Yan responded.

 

Zi Lan, on the other hand, wasn’t sure this was such a great idea. 

 

Qiu Ying ran up at that moment, while Luo Tian followed at a slower pace from behind.  “You waited!”

 

“You asked us to.”

 

Qiu Ying beamed.  “I’m so glad that you did.  In a little bit, the Phoenix team will be coming out and then we’ll all be going out to sing karaoke to celebrate their win.  You should come with us!”

 

“Oh, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.”

 

“You have to come!  You can help me keep an eye on Luo Laoshi, and make sure he doesn’t drink.”

 

Luo Tian objected to that.  “I don’t normally drink anyway.”

 

Qiu Ying shot him a look that told him to be quiet.  Couldn’t he see how she was trying to help him?

 

“But we don’t really know them,” Zi Lan pointed out cautiously.  An even more accurate statement would have been that she hardly knew Qiu Ying and Luo Tian either. 

 

She ignored the pleading the tugs from behind from Li Yan’s boyfriend and friend. 

 

“It’s okay!  You know us,” Qiu Ying said, pointing to Luo Tian and herself, “And we’re all friends.”  She wasn’t about to let Zi Lan leave. 

 

“You may not know but the team captain of Phoenix is actually my boyfriend, so it’s totally okay if you come with us.”

 

“We know, we know,” the friend of Li Yan’s boyfriend rushed in to reassure.  “Actually, they didn’t know.”  He pointed truthfully to Zi Lan and Li Yan. “They thought you were dating Luo Laoshi, but don’t worry, we made sure to correct them on that point.”  He pointed to himself and his friend.

 

While Li Yan and her boyfriend shot him dark looks to make sure he didn’t say anything more embarrassing for Zi Lan, Zi Lan’s face shot a brilliant shade of red and she looked quickly to the sky.  If the ground could open up wide and swallow her whole, she would’ve paid money to see it happen. 

 

Qiu Ying looked at her in surprise.  “You did?”

 

“Ah… You… since you… well, it’s not normally that…”  Zi Lan watched Luo Tian cross his arms and struggled even harder to spit out a proper explanation.  “Most co-workers don’t normally come together for that sort of a thing,” she finally said.

 

Qiu Ying scratched the back of her neck and looked at her partner.  “I suppose that’s true.”

 

Luo Tian, meanwhile, had remembered Zi Lan’s questions at his last appointment and pieced together the puzzle pieces.  “So you thought she was two-timing on me?”

 

“Ah?” Qiu Ying reacted in even more surprise.

 

“Heh, heh, heh,” Zi Lan laughed uneasily again.  Why did she always feel so uncomfortable around them? 

 

“I happened to see you and your boyfriend at a grocery store one day,” she explained to Qiu Ying. “So, since I was already under the impression that you and Luo Xiansheng were together…”

 

Qiu Ying didn’t need for her to finish to get the picture and laughed, not the least bit offended.  “What a horrible misunderstanding that must have been for you, indeed.  But how concerned you must also have been for our Luo Laoshi,” she said very pointedly. 

 

They were interrupted by the arrival of the Phoenix team, who were rowdy and full of good cheer seeing as how they’d just swept the Insider’s Competition series, and introductions were quickly made all around.  Of course the team had no objections to adding four more members to the merriment of their party, and before Zi Lan knew it, she was seated next to Luo Tian in the team’s private room at their favorite karaoke bar. 

 

As she looked around the room, she thought about how unfair it was that everyone else seemed to have been able to fit in seamlessly with the rest of the crowd.  Even that friend of Li Yan’s boyfriend, socially awkward as he was, seemed to have found his milieu with a bunch of esports gamers.  He mostly sat to the side and gaped happily at the others as they sang and danced.  But as for her best friend, well, Li Yan was the biggest betrayer of them all.  Rather than keeping her company, she was currently on stage belting out a song with Qiu Ying and Qiu Ying’s friend, Yi Yi.  Zi Lan wasn’t sure her friend even remembered that she was still in the room.  Sitting next to Luo Tian.  And trying not to feel super awkward about that.

 

Zi Lan peeked cautiously at the man next to her.  Since he was sitting quietly with his arms crossed, she also held herself rigidly in place. 

 

Suddenly Luo Tian turned towards her.  He was merely intending to ask if she wanted something to drink, but Zi Lan was so caught off guard she lost her balance and almost fell off the bench.  She likely would have if Luo Tian hadn’t caught her by the arms in time.  When he finally let go, she could still feel the tingles from where his hands had been.  This made her blush even more, and Luo Tian wasn’t sure what to make of that.  Qiu Ying’s words continued to reverberate in his head, “I think she’s interested in you.”  It made him feel awkward around her as well, and add to that, she was his doctor.

 

Zi Lan finally pushed back and abruptly stood.  “I’m sorry, I can’t do this.”  She then rushed out of the room and Luo Tian was left wondering what it was that she couldn’t do. 

 

He looked around the room and saw that nobody had noticed Zi Lan leave, not even her friends or that fool whom he had previously thought to be her boyfriend.  Even though Zi Lan hadn’t been drinking like the others, he still didn’t think it was a good idea for her to be wandering around by herself at this hour.  He got up to follow.

 

Zi Lan exited the karaoke bar and breathed in the deeply the cool air of the late night hour.  She also flapped her hands at her face to help cool it down.  It’d been so stuffy inside, especially sitting next to Luo Tian.  The fresh air was nice. 

 

When she heard someone exit the bar behind her with their footsteps slowing as they grew near, she assumed it was her friend coming to check on her, and so said without turning around, “Can we go soon?  It’s too hard sitting next to him.  What must he think of me?  He must think I’m a nosy busybody.  I swear, if you don’t say anything to your boyfriend’s friend, I will.  Why’d he have to go and reveal that I thought he and his partner were dating?  So embarrassing!  And now I’m going to have to see him in another week or two when he comes for his final follow-up appointment, too.  How uncomfortable!  It was already awkward when I found him attractive, but now this is really super awkward, don’t you think?” 

 

Luo Tian stood behind Zi Lan and listened to her ramblings with growing amusement.  At first when he met her, he’d thought her flighty and even a little quirky and weird, but he had to admit that a part of him found her to be rather cute as well.  Kind of like right now, with the way she kept scolding herself.  It roused a protective instinct in him that had lain dormant for a long time.

 

Zi Lan noticed that her friend wasn’t saying anything, and wondered why that was.  She was just about to turn around to ask when a jacket landed heavily across the back of her shoulders.  Picking up the sleeve, she looked at it carefully and realizing it was neither hers nor Li Yan’s, cringed to realize who it did belong to. 

 

If Zi Lan had wanted to disappear earlier, when that friend of Li Yan’s boyfriend had opened up his big fat mouth to reveal that she had thought Luo Tian and Qiu Ying were dating, she simply wanted to cease existing right now.  She was so embarrassed and slapped at her own big mouth.

 

Luo Tian, however, stepped up oh so casually next to her and ignoring the shocked and embarrassed expressions merely sighed heavily. 

 

Zi Lan looked up at him, licked her lips nervously, and asked hesitantly.  “What’s wrong?”

 

He sighed again and looking out into the night’s sky, tucked his hands into his pockets.  “I’ve been thinking about things tonight, and it would seem we have a problem.”

 

“We do?  What sort of a problem?”

 

That’s when he looked at her, and said very seriously, “I’m afraid to say, but it looks like I’m going to have to start all over again and find a new doctor.”

 

“Oh no,” Zi Lan thought to herself.  Firmly believing that Luo Tian must be disgusted with her by now and wanting nothing more to do with her, she still forced herself to ask, “Why?”

 

He reached out to bring the ends of his jacket together around her and very carefully buttoned it up so that she would be protected against the chilly wind that had started to blow. 

 

“Because it probably wouldn’t be the proper thing if I asked my doctor out on a date now, would it?”

 

The End

 

 

 

The Secret:

 

Spoiler

 

Even more than being bad at titling stories, I'm worse at having to come up with Chinese names.  That's why, as you probably noticed, the boyfriend and boyfriend's friend remained nameless throughout.  I couldn't, however, use that same tactic with Zi Lan and her friend, Li Yan!  So I decided to draw inspiration from this thread. 

 

As Luo Tian's most faithful and ardent supporter, it only seemed right that @raziela's username have the honor of being the inspiration behind Ren Zi Lan.  

 

Finally, I cannot think of this drama without thinking of @lynne22 who, in addition, to serving as this thread's Queen of Picspam, has been next to me this entire time letting me chatter on ad nauseum about this drama.  She's put up with a lot!  For that reason, her username served as the inspiration for Li Yan. 

 

In case you wondered as to my naming methodology... :P 

 

 

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13 hours ago, themarchioness said:

But in terms of the story and the characters, to be honest, TKA felt like one giant character introduction. 

 

I remember wondering, as they kept adding character after character and the remaining episode count was dwindling down, when the actual game matches was going to happen..?

 

13 hours ago, themarchioness said:

But they were just completely decimated and lost and at that point, my takeaway message was that Ye Xiu was the team and the others were there simply there because he couldn't do it by himself no matter how great of a player he was.

 

This was how I felt as well.  There was no rhyme or reason to the team, and after putting up with the world's longest team building arc, the actual team play was terribly underwhelming.  

 

10 hours ago, themarchioness said:

Even after she got her eyesight back and lied, I don't see that as being weak or fragile.  Rather, I think of it as her being clingy - incredibly clingy. 

 

I see your point, and perhaps projecting an image of being weak and fragile was her way of trying desperately to hold on to JXK.  It's a classic second female lead move.  If this were more of a makjang type of drama, she'd have attempted suicide or something already to guilt him into staying. -_-  Luckily GYH is not that kind of drama, and it's nice that even the stereotypical ex-GF has such depth that we can't really hate her... and even wish her the best lol.

 

9 hours ago, themarchioness said:

 

Story #12 – Luo Tian’s Story

 

 

  Reveal hidden contents

Story #12 - Luo Tian's Story

 

 

“Thank you, everyone, for joining us for today’s Insider’s Competition games.  Remember, I’m your old friend, Luo Tian.”

 

“And I’m your new friend, Qiu Ying.”

 

“And we’ll see you next week for the iConquer 2020 Insider’s Competition semi-finals.”

 

As soon as they finished their closing speech and the little red light on the recorder finally clicked off, Qiu Ying ripped off her headphones and reached for her partner.  Holding him up by his left shoulder, she asked, “Luo Laoshi, are you okay?”

 

“I’m okay.”  Luo Tian couldn’t avoid folding himself in half, but he still pushed her hands and concern aside.

 

“You’re not okay.  You’re stomach’s hurting again, isn’t it?” 

 

She’d noticed towards the end of the last game how his words had become more forced and how beads of sweat had started to form along his forehead.  She couldn’t miss, either, how his body was bent and his right hand was pressed against his stomach.

 

“It’s nothing,” he insisted.  “I just got caught up in going over my notes this morning and accidentally skipped breakfast.  I’m sure everything will be fine once I have food in me.”

 

“Have some hot water first, at least.” 

 

Moving aside his cup of coffee, Qiu Ying set her thermos of hot water in front of him. 

 

When she noticed how his hands shook just trying to pour the water, she stepped in to do it herself and passed him the thermos cap.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“I really think you should see a doctor,” Qiu Ying urged.

 

“I already told you I’ll be okay.  I just need to eat something and take my medicine.  You know, you’re really quite nagging.  How does Ji Xiang Kong put up with you?”

 

Qiu Ying crossed her arms at a loss for what to say.  Her relationship with Luo Tian was a multifaceted one.  On the one hand, they were coworkers.  But he was also her mentor and teacher.  Luo Tian insisted that they were now partners and equals, but at other times, like right now, he was like her older brother. 

 

“I’m not nagging.  I’m just trying to get you to take care of yourself.”

 

Since the pain in his stomach had finally eased, Luo Tian quickly unfolded himself to stand and gathered up his things.  Holding out his hand to put her off, he told her, “Thank you for your concern, but I’m fine.  I’ll see you back at the office.  But don’t forget you have that report to finish for tomorrow morning’s meeting.”

 

After he exited, Qiu Ying sighed and turned to collect her own things.  She then went to find her boyfriend, Xiang Kong.

 

=//=

 

 

Qiu Ying ran over the minute she saw Xiang Kong exit the area of the sports arena with all the waiting rooms.  “Are you finished?” she asked.

 

“Mm.  I sent the others on ahead back to the training base.  I’ll walk you back to GDV.”

 

Slipping her arm through his, they turned towards the door.  “You played a really good game today,” Qiu Ying started.

 

“It was alright.  There was that moment at the 7 minute and 32 seconds mark.”

 

Qiu Ying knew what he was talking about.  Luo Tian had picked up on it as well.  “It’s okay.  You guys were able to recover from the misstep.” 

 

“But if we hadn’t made that mistake in the first place, we would have finished the game earlier.”

 

“Knowing you, you’ll go back and start practicing that same play immediately and next time, the team won’t miss it again, and that’s what’s most important,” she reassured.

 

Xiang Kong sighed, still dissatisfied over his team’s error, but asked, “Will you be working late again tonight?”

 

Qiu Ying wrinkled her nose and, sighing, remembered Luo Tian’s parting words.  “I’m afraid so.  I have a report that I haven’t yet finished.  I don’t know why I’m so stupid that it’s taking me so long to complete.”

 

“It’s not that you’re stupid.”  Xiang Kong flicked her head affectionately for talking about herself like that.  “It’s that you’re a perfectionist.”

 

Tugging playfully on his arm, she answered simply.  “It takes one to know one.”

 

After a while, Xiang Kong asked again, “You’re awfully quiet today.  Is everything okay?”

 

“I’m worried about Luo Tian Laoshi,” Qiu Ying confessed.

 

Xiang Kong was a little taken aback, as he hadn’t expected that answer.  “Is everything okay?  What’s the matter with him?”

 

“He says everything’s okay, but I don’t think so.”  Qiu Ying then explained how ever since she had started working at Dream Journey, she’d known about Luo Tian’s occasional stomach pains, but now, she told Xiang Kong, they seemed to be growing both in frequency and severity.  “The only problem is no matter how often I tell him he should go see a doctor, he just brushes aside my concern and tells me it’s nothing.”

 

Xiang Kong frowned.  “Do you think I should mention something to Wen Jie?  If there’s anyone who’s capable of getting him to do something, it would be Wen Jie.”

 

“That might be a good idea, actually.”

 

Before Shu Wen even had an opportunity to check in on Luo Tian, however, things came to a head and Qiu Ying didn’t have any other choice but to put her foot down.  

 

It was just a few days later when she exited a conference room behind Luo Tian and noticed the way he stumbled ever so slightly in his step before pausing to lean against the doorway.  The meeting they’d just been in had lasted several hours and she imagined it had likely taken its toll on him.  Following Luo Tian back to his office, Qiu Ying entered without knocking and found him leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed. 

 

She stood with her arms crossed.  “So what’s the excuse going to be this time?  Did you skip lunch?  Snack time?  Have too much coffee earlier?”

 

“What are you talking about?” Luo Tian asked wearily.  Removing the arm covering his eyes, he sat up to dig around his side desk drawer until he pulled out the bottle he’d been looking for.

 

Qiu Ying grabbed it out of his hand and read the label.  “Antacid medication?” 

 

When Luo Tian tried to take it back, she held it out of his reach.  “You’re obviously not well and you can’t just keep relying on these pills.  That’s not a solution.  You need to go see a doctor, find out what’s really wrong, and get some proper treatment.”

 

“Stop making a fuss.  You’re making a big deal out of nothing.  Come on, give me back my medicine.”

 

“Nope.”  She tucked it into her pocket and out of his reach.  “Come on, let’s go.  I’ll take you to the hospital.”

 

“How?  You don’t even know how to drive.”

 

Qiu Ying rolled her eyes.  “That’s what cabs are for.”

 

Luo Tian still persisted stubbornly.  “I don’t need to go to the hospital.  And I don’t have time for the hospital.” He pointed to the piles of paper strewn across his desk.  “I have to finish arranging the schedule for the upcoming Insider’s Competition semi-finals followed by the finals.”

 

“You can finish that after you pay a visit to the doctor.  I’ll even help you.  Come on.”  She then grabbed his coat so he wouldn’t have a choice. 

 

After Luo Tian spent the entirety of their cab ride waging a protest against the need for a visit with the doctor, Qiu Ying finally stopped just outside the sliding doors of the hospital entrance and asked, “Do you have a fear of doctors or hospitals, or something?”  When he answered in the negative, she then appealed to his sense of professional responsibility. 

 

“If you’re really fine, then it won’t be any big deal for you to have a check-up.  But if there is something wrong, do you really want to let things go until you pass out at the table next to me, or something?  Imagine the disturbance that would cause if that happened to us in the middle of a competition.”

 

Since Luo Tian didn’t have anything to say to that, he finally stopped complaining and followed her obediently to the hospital’s outpatient waiting area where he sat with his arms crossed.

 

After what seemed like several hours, but really was just the one, his number was finally called.  He naturally stood to follow the nurse, but was surprised when Qiu Ying did the same.

 

“What?” she asked, when he continued to look at her.  “I have to go with you or else you might try and run away.” 

 

“I’m not going to run away,” he rolled his eyes.  “I’ve already let you drag me here.”

 

“But I don’t trust you to share all your symptoms either.”  Having made her position firmly known, Qiu Ying shooed him with her hands to hurry up and follow the nurse. 

 

“But don’t worry,” she added from behind.  “I won’t stay for the physical portion of the examination.”

 

=//=

 

 

Thanks to Qiu Ying’s comment, it was with flaming cheeks that Luo Tian reached the door to the doctor’s office.  An impressive feat considering Luo Tian wasn’t normally the type to react let alone let his expressions show on his face.  Their friend Summer, in fact, liked to joke that Luo Tian was like a giant iceberg.  Immovable and glacial, and nothing anybody would ever want to be trapped in.

 

“Do you really have to come in with me?” he gritted out between clenched teeth.

 

“I already told you,” Qiu Ying replied with blithe unconcern.  She then swept past him and waved for him to join her inside.

 

The doctor, who waited for them inside her consultation room, was unfazed by their interaction.  She was used to bickering couples.  Patients who’d been married to each other for years were, typically, the worst.  But as Ren Zi Lan sneaked a peek at her soon-to-be patient, she couldn’t help but think how it was a shame that someone so handsome was already taken.  Not that she would date a patient, she sternly reminded herself.  It was just that since she was cooped up in the hospital day in and day out, meeting patients was the extent of her social activity these days.  Her mother despaired of seeing her married off.

 

“Hello, I’m Dr. Ren.”  She held out her hand and introduced herself.

 

Luo Tian took her hand and instantly found it warm and comforting.  It took him a second before he recovered and said, “I’m Luo Tian.  This is . . .”

 

As he waved in the general direction of somewhere next to him, Qiu Ying immediately piped up.  “Qiu Ying.  And I’m not leaving.”

 

Zi Lan raised an eyebrow, but invited them both to take a seat in front of her.  “Nobody has to leave who doesn’t want to leave, but only if the patient agrees.”

 

“It’s fine,” Luo Tian said resignedly.  He knew how persistent Qiu Ying could be.

 

“So what’s the problem, then?”

 

Luo Tian started to describe the pain in his stomach and abdomen area, but when he characterized it as occasional, Qiu Ying jumped in to clarify that it had been happening more often of late.  She then explained how sometimes the pain was so bad Luo Tian would have to bend over to try and ease the symptoms and how he chugged antacid pills by the bottle.  Zi Lan diligently recorded everything Qiu Ying shared with her and then when she was done with her notes, indicated that she’d do a physical examination next. 

 

Qiu Ying quickly gathered up her purse and jacket at that point and announced that she’d head outside to wait for them. 

 

As Zi Lan began her physical examination, she started to comment that Luo Tian was fortunate to have such a caring and concerned girlfriend like Qiu Ying, but when she pressed down on an area of his abdomen and he yelped out in pain, she quickly set aside the thought and focused on him.  After feeling around and asking a few more questions, she had Luo Tian sit up and put his shirt back on.  She then brought Qiu Ying back into the room and started to scribble on a note pad. 

 

Ripping off several sheets, she handed them to Qiu Ying and instructed, “These are various orders for the different tests he’ll need to have done.”

 

“So many?”

 

“Is that really necessary?” Luo Tian asked.

 

“All signs point to you having a stomach ulcer and I’ve given you a prescription for that, but we should still do a few tests to make sure that’s all it is and not something else.  Some of the tests you can complete today, like the blood work, but the CT scan and other tests are something you’ll have to prep for and come back another day to complete.  But you should still schedule them before you leave the hospital today.  Given your current condition, I wouldn’t delay treatment any further.”

 

“I understand.”  Qiu Yin gripped the pieces of paper in her hand tightly.  “Thank you, doctor.  I’ll make sure he completes everything as you say.”

 

“See that you do.”

 

As Luo Tian exited the consultation room, he couldn’t help but mutter that now, instead of one female nagging at him, he had two.

 

=//=

 

 

After Luo Tian and Qiu Ying left, Zi Lan found herself without any waiting patients and a rare break, so she wandered over to the nurses’ station for a break and a chat.  When her friends heard her sighing over and over again, they asked her what was up.

 

“It’s not fair,” she complained.  Picking up a nut, she popped it into her mouth and chewed before saying, “The best ones are always taken.”

 

“Who are you talking about?”

 

“The patient who just left.  You all should’ve seen him.  He was so attractive!  And totally my style.  Such piercing eyes and with the cutest quirk of a smile, too.  But,” she shrugged.  “Of course, he already has a girlfriend.  And you should’ve heard the way she was so concerned for her boyfriend’s health.  I think she knew his symptoms and problems better than him.  But with a face like that, it’s no wonder he would have a girlfriend so devoted.” 

 

Zi Lan sighed again.

 

“Are you checking out patients again?”  Her best friend, Li Yan, another internist at the hospital, walked up to the counter right at that moment to hear the tail end of her comment.

 

“Yah, don’t try and act all high and mighty just because you have a boyfriend.  Us single dogs have to get our peeks in when we can.”  She then leaned against the counter again to prop up her chin with a fist and sighed dreamily.  “And this one was definitely worth a second peek.”

 

The nurse who’d called for Luo Tian in the waiting room and shown him to Zi Lan’s office readily agreed.  “He really was handsome,” she told the others.  “And he wore a sharp-looking suit, which must mean he has a good job too.”

 

“I think he was some sort of an announcer?”  Zi Lan hadn’t paid close attention to those details in his file. 

 

“I’m surprised you don’t already know his zodiac sign and blood type,” Li Yan commented dryly. 

 

Zi Lan stuck her tongue out at her friend.  “I do have some ethics, you know, I was focused on his medical concerns.  But you give me some ideas for his follow-up visit,” she joked.

 

As Li Yan shook her head, Zi Lan figured she should probably return to her office and work on the rest of her patient charts while she had the time.  She turned to leave and right at that moment, out of the corner of her eye, she saw two people walk past in the distance.  One of the persons looked a lot like the Qiu Ying who’d just been in her office not even an hour ago, but curiously the person next to her didn’t look the least bit like her patient, Luo Tian.  In fact, as far as she could tell from this distance, they weren’t even dressed alike. 

 

Zi Lan wondered if her eyes were seeing things incorrectly and shook her head.

 

“Is something wrong?” one of the nurses asked.

 

“No, I thought I saw that girlfriend I was just telling you guys about, but there was a guy next to her and it wasn’t my patient.  It was some other guy.”

 

Li Yan leaned back to look down the hallway, but the doorframe at the opposite end of where they were standing was completely empty.

 

“They were walking past so they’re already gone,” Zi Lan explained.  “It was probably someone who just looked a lot like her.  I mean, if she’s here with her boyfriend, she wouldn’t have another guy come to the hospital too, right?”

 

=//=

 

 

What Zi Lan couldn’t have known was that after Qiu Ying escorted Luo Tian to the hospital’s lab so that he could have his blood work completed, she’d received a phone call from Xiang Kong.  Her boyfriend had been so alarmed to learn she was at the hospital that he’d hung up on her before she even had the chance to explain that it was Luo Tian who was sick, and not her.  Qiu Ying ended up having to text him an explanation, but Xiang Kong didn’t get the message until after he arrived to the hospital because he’d already hopped onto his motorcycle by that point and was too preoccupied to read it or answer any of her return calls.

 

“I can’t believe you just dropped everything and raced over here.”

 

“What else was I supposed to do when my girlfriend said she was at the hospital?”

 

“You were supposed to ask, ‘Why are you at the hospital?’ ‘What’s going on?’ or ‘Is everything okay?’ Any one of those questions would have given you the reassurance you needed.  Instead you panicked.”

 

“Blame me for being an overly concerned boyfriend, then,” Xiang Kong pouted.

 

Qiu Ying laughed and looping her arms through his, rewarded his concern with a kiss on the cheek.  “I’m grateful.  I just feel bad that you worried for nothing and took time off from your training.  You didn’t say anything to my little brother, too, did you?”

 

“Xia Ling had classes this afternoon, so he wasn’t at the training base when I called.  How is Luo Laoshi doing?”

 

“He’s waiting to get his blood drawn right now.  Walk with me to get his prescription filled?” 

 

As they walked to the hospital’s pharmacy, Qiu Ying filled Xiang Kong in on the rest.  “The doctor is pretty certain he has a stomach ulcer, which can be treated with medicine, but she still wants to him to undergo some tests to make sure it’s not something else or that his condition isn’t worse than it seems.”

 

“I’m glad to it’s something easily treatable and he’ll be okay.”

 

Qiu Ying sighed.  “It’d have been even easier if he’d made time for the doctor earlier.  He needs to take better care of himself.  He works too much.”

 

“Now you sound like Summer Ge.”

 

“It’s the truth!” she huffed.

 

Which was why after they returned to Luo Tian with his medicine in hand and saw him off in a cab, Qiu Ying turned to Xiang Kong and asked if they could visit a grocery store before heading home. 

 

Xiang Kong readily agreed and didn’t question why she wanted to visit a grocery store until he followed her around the store and watched her fill their shopping cart with things like chicken, fresh ginger, and goji berries.  “What are you making?”

 

“I’m going to make some chicken herbal soup.  I wonder where this store keeps their dried dates.” 

 

As she wandered down another random aisle, Xiang Kong dutifully pushed the shopping cart from behind. 

 

“But why?”

 

Since he knew Qiu Ying lived at home with her parents, who did most of the cooking, he couldn’t understand why she suddenly wanted to cook. 

 

“Oh, I was talking with Luo Laoshi earlier and suggesting different things for him to eat until his stomach improved and pretty much what I learned is that he’s terrible.  Did you know?  From his description, I doubt if he keeps anything more than bottles of water in his refrigerator.  It sounds like he orders quite a bit of take-out, but all that oil and grease won’t be good for his stomach right now so I thought I’d simmer some soup tonight to take to him tomorrow.”

 

 Xiang Kong stopped in his tracks.  “Wait a minute.  You’ve never even made me soup before.”

 

Qiu Ying looked over her shoulder.  “You haven’t been sick like this before, but don’t worry.  If you ever are, I’ll make it for you then too.”

 

“Thanks, I think?”

 

“Well I’m not going to wish you ill just so I can make you soup!  You should be glad I don’t have any reason to make you soup.”

 

Twisted as the logic may have been, Xiang Kong had to admit she had a point so instead of complaining further he sighed and exhaled loudly.  “Gosh, I must be the most generous boyfriend there ever was to allow his girlfriend to go cook for another man.”

 

Qiu Ying laughed and quickly placated him with a giant bear hug.  “My boyfriend truly is the best and the most generous.  How about I cook you dinner this weekend as a reward?”

 

Xiang Kong pushed her head back with a finger to the center of her forehead and asked with narrowed eyes, “You’re not going to just heat up an instant hot pot, are you?”

 

“Who do you take me for?”

 

“Someone who once wanted to treat me to strawberry cake at Dream Journey.”

 

“You’re never going to let me live that one down, are you?”

 

He pretended to give it some thought.  “Come to think of it, even Pei Xi’s made me a cup of coffee before.  But I don’t think I’ve ever had anything made by you.”

 

Qiu Ying rolled up her sleeves and fisted her hands at her waist.  “Ji Da Shao Ye,* I promise you, this weekend, I’m going to make you a meal that you’ll never be able to complain about again.”

 

[*Da Shao Ye = eldest son of a rich family (literally); someone with the behavior of a spoilt son of a rich family (figuratively)].

 

“If you make a promise, you have to keep it,” he warned.

 

“I, Qiu Ying, have never been afraid of anything before!”  She then looked past him to the shelf behind him.  “Aha!  There are the dried dates!” 

 

As they finished their shopping and headed for the cash registers, Zi Lan stepped out from several aisles away.  She’d noticed Qiu Ying walk into the store earlier with that person trailing behind, and this time there was no mistaking the fact that Qiu Ying was with another person other than Luo Tian.  They looked really cozy and chummy too!  Although she hadn’t been close enough to hear their conversation, she’d been close enough to see the giggles, laughs, and hugs. 

 

A short while later, Zi Lan crashed heavily into the chair opposite her friend’s desk and declared, “I swear, you really can’t tell with some people sometimes.”

 

Li Yan noticed her empty hands.  “I thought you went to pick us up dinner.”  

 

Since they were both working the night shift that day, they’d drawn straws earlier to see who would go to the grocery store next to their hospital to pick up dinner.  

 

“Is that what’s important right now?”

 

Li Yan’s stomach growled and she quickly pressed a hand against it to quiet it down.  “Um, I guess not?”

 

“People can be so scary!”

 

“Er, what happened?”

 

“You know how I told you earlier that my new patient had a dedicated girlfriend?”

 

“Mm.”

 

“Well, it was all a lie!”

 

“Your patient doesn’t have a girlfriend?  Why do you sound so upset?  I would think you’d be happy to know that.”

 

“That’s not it.  He does have a girlfriend!  A two-timing girlfriend!”

 

“What?”

 

“It’s true.  I saw it with my own two eyes at the grocery store just now, which means I was probably also right earlier when I said that I thought I had seen her, but with another guy.  Wow, I’m telling you Yan Yan, you really can’t trust anybody.  That woman seemed so sincere and devoted in my office earlier, but all along she had someone else on the side.”

 

Li Yan frowned.  “How do you know she’s dating this other guy too?  Maybe they’re all just friends.  After all, if they were at the grocery store next to our hospital, maybe he came to help out with your patient?”

 

Zi Lan stood up and motioned for her friend to do the same.  “Stand up.”

 

After Li Yan stood, Zi Lan walked around her desk to start reenacting all the motions that she’d witnessed between Qiu Ying and Xiang Kong earlier.  When she finished with the giant hug, she asked her friend, “Is that how you behave around your ‘just friends’?  If you do, then I should be the jealous one too.” 

 

Li Yan took her seat and frowned again.  She knew her friend could be fanciful at times, but it did sound like Zi Lan might be onto something this time.  “So what are you planning on doing?”

 

“I don’t know,” Zi Lan admitted.  After all Luo Tian was just a patient of hers and she was treating him for a stomach ulcer, not a broken heart.

 

As if reading her mind, Li Yan advised her to do nothing at all.  “It’s not like it’s any of your business,” she reminded.

 

“I know, but I can’t help but still feel bad for my patient.  He seemed too good to made to wear a green hat.”

 

=//=

 

 

A few weeks later Luo Tian returned to the hospital for a follow-up visit.  When he noticed how his doctor kept looking past him, over his shoulder, he finally asked, “Dr. Ren, is something wrong?”

 

Zi Lan returned her focus to him. 

 

“Uh, no.”  She laughed to cover the awkwardness, and then couldn’t help herself.  “You came alone today?”

 

“Mm.”

 

 “I see.”

 

“Is there something wrong?”  Sitting across from his doctor, Lou Tian nodded pointedly at the file in front of her.  He also started to wonder if there was something wrong with his doctor.  The last time he’d met her, she’d seemed capable enough.  Today, however, it was like she was there but not there.

 

“Oh!  No!”  Zi Lan quickly opened the file and rustled through the various pieces of paper inside.  “Your test results all came back essentially normal, but for the ulcer we suspected.  The medicine should have helped with that, though.  How are you feeling?”

 

“Good.  Better.”

 

“That’s good.  I’m glad you’re feeling better.”

 

When she didn’t say anything more, Luo Tian crossed his arms and wondered if this was how all follow-up visits were supposed to go.  Just as he was contemplating whether it was too late or whether he could still ask for proof of his doctor’s credentials or at least know how many years it had been since she graduated from medical school, his cell phone rang.  Luo Tian reached into his pocket and seeing that it was Qiu Ying on the other end was afraid something might have happened at work.  He looked to his doctor to see if she minded, but she gestured for him to go ahead and answer.

 

“Sorry.”  He apologized and then turned slightly away to answer the phone.  “Hello?”

 

Zi Lan tried to pretend like she was busy on her computer and not paying him any attention, but in reality she couldn’t help but angle her body just so in order to better listen in.  She heard him listen and then exasperatedly say, “You called me because of this?  I thought something had happened.  Of course I came to the hospital by myself today.  Why would I bring you along with me?”  He listened again and added, “Last time was last time.  This time’s this time.  Of course I wasn’t going to bring you.”

 

“Qiu Ying!” Zi Lan thought to herself.  It had to be his girlfriend.

 

“Wasn’t it enough to have you hovering over me at work these past few weeks?”

 

“How nice,” Zi Lan thought sarcastically to herself.  They were co-workers and dating.  She wondered where the other guy worked.

 

“That’s enough, stop raising such a fuss, we’ll chat more after I return.  I’m with the doctor right now.”

 

After Luo Tian hung up, Zi Lan found herself asking, “That was Qiu Ying, the woman who came with you last time?”

 

If Luo Tian was surprised by the question, he didn’t let it show.  “Mm.”  Tucking the phone back into his pocket, he added with some amusement, “She’s upset I slipped out without telling her.”

 

“She sounds sincere and concerned.”

 

“Like a guard dog,” he agreed.

 

“You trust her?”

 

Luo Tian tilted his head at that.  He wasn’t sure how or why they’d suddenly started discussing his work partner, but he still answered straightforwardly.  “Of course.”

 

Zi Lan nodded her head lightly, all the while thinking what a poor fool her patient was.  Not that she would ever say that to him. 

 

“That’s great,” she said instead.  “Anyway, like I was saying before, everything in your test results checked out so I don’t think there’s anything else we need to be concerned about.  The medicine I prescribed last time should do the trick, and it sounds like your symptoms are already improving so that’s great.  I’d still like to see you again once when you’ve finished your course of medicine, just to make sure that the ulcer is fully resolved, so be sure to make another appointment before you leave this afternoon.  In the meantime, I hope you’ll remember to eat regularly, drink plenty of water, warm water is better, and get some rest.”

 

“Thank you, doctor.”

 

As Luo Tian exited, he crossed paths with Li Yan who was just coming to visit her friend.  “Was that him?  That patient you were telling me about the other day?” she asked, pointing to the outside, once the doors were closed behind them.

 

Zi Lan nodded.

 

“He’s cute!” 

 

“And has a cheating girlfriend,” Zi Lan reminded.

 

Li Yan made a face.  “That’s unfortunate.  You didn’t say anything, did you?”

 

“Of course not.  I know I can be a bit of a mess sometimes, but even I know my limits.  But his girlfriend did call just now,” she confided, “And I couldn’t help but listen in.” 

 

She then told her friend about how it sounded like they were also coworkers and how her poor patient didn’t have a clue about anything.  “He actually trusts her,” she told Li Yan.

 

“Well of course he would, if she’s covered her tracks well and hasn’t given him any reason to be suspicious, which it sounds like that’s the case here.”

 

“It’s so unfortunate,” Zi Lan said for the millionth time.  “Such a good person like him shouldn’t be wasted on a woman like that.  Anyway, why did you come find me?”

 

“Oh right, I need you to come with me somewhere this weekend.  And you’re not allowed to give the excuse that you’re busy with work because I already checked the schedule and know that you’re off Saturday night.”

 

“This sounds ominous.  Where do I need to go with you this weekend?”

 

“To an iConquer finals competition.”

 

“What?  Why?”  Neither of them were gamers nor were they interested in the sport.

 

“My boyfriend was given four tickets and really wants me to go with him.”

 

“This is why it’s sometimes better to be single,” Zi Lan muttered.

 

“I’m sure it won’t be so bad.”

 

“So you say.  But I don’t understand why I need to be dragged into this just because you have to go.  He’s your boyfriend, not mine.”

 

“He’s bringing a friend.  A single friend.”

 

Zi Lan saw things clearly now.  “Forget it.  I have to . . . “ She saw her friend watching her carefully and remembered that Li Yan had already beaten her to the work schedule excuse.  “Wash my hair,” she finished.

 

Li Yan burst out into laughter.  “Nice try.  We’ll pick you up at 5 and do dinner beforehand.  Remember to wear something nice.”

 

=//=

 

 

Three days later, Zi Lan found herself seated next to her friend and across from her friend’s boyfriend and his friend.  She tried not to think of it as an awkward middle school double date, even though that was what it totally felt like. 

 

“I can’t believe you dragged me into this,” she whispered tersely on the side as the men fought over who was going to pay the dinner bill.

 

“I’m sorry,” Li Yan pleaded.  She hadn’t expected her boyfriend’s friend to be so awkward.  “I promise to have a word with him later tonight.”

 

“Can I just go home after this?”

 

“And leave me with the two of them by myself?”

 

“One of those two is your boyfriend,” Zi Lan reminded dryly.

 

Li Yan pouted. “Oh come on, you’ve already endured dinner.  I’ll make sure he sits on my boyfriend’s other side when we’re at the competition later.  And who knows, maybe we’ll have fun.  I’m sure it will beat you just going home and sitting around, which is what I know you’d do otherwise.”

 

“But I like sitting around and doing nothing,” was what Zi Lan wanted to say except that her friend had already dragged her out of the restaurant and into her boyfriend’s car.

 

Once at the site of the iConquer Insider’s Competition finals, Zi Lan had to admit it was hard not to find the energy and excitement infectious.  “Who knew these games were such a popular thing?” 

 

They watched a gaggle of young girls race by with their posters and LED lights, and Zi Lan almost felt out of place empty handed as she was.

 

“I’ve heard about it from my boyfriend and I’ve watched him stream some of the games online, so I kind of had an idea, but I’ve never attended a competition in person and even this exceeds my expectations.”  Both Li Yan’s boyfriend and his friend were avid iConquer players and they had disappeared almost immediately upon arriving to the competition site, leaving the two women to find their seats. 

 

Just as they were joined by Li Yan’s boyfriend and friend, Zi Lan clutched at her friend’s arm.  Li Yan looked down at the hand holding on to her for dear life and frowned. “What’s the matter?”

 

“It’s him,” ZI Lan whispered.  “He’s here.”

 

“Who’s here?  And where is he?”

 

“Over there.”  Zi Lan pointed to the stage where several workers were still mingling in preparation for the upcoming finals match.  “My patient.”

 

“The cute one?”

 

“Shhh, don’t say that so loudly!  Just look.”

 

LI Yan squinted and took a good look.  “Oh my gosh, you’re right.  That is him!  Wow, he really does look good on stage.  Very commanding.”

 

After a pause, Zi Lan freaked out a second time.  “Oh my gosh, she’s here too!”

 

“What?  Who?  The girlfriend?”

 

Zi Lan nodded her head and pointed to the young woman who’d walked over to Luo Tian’s side.  “Qiu Ying.  That’s her name.”

 

After watching them for a minute, Li Yan scrunched her face.  “Are you sure they’re dating?” 

 

“If they weren’t, why would she have accompanied him to his appointment?”

 

“But look at them.  They don’t seem very intimate in the way they’re interacting.” 

 

“Well, not right now, of course.  They’re clearly working and trying to keep things professional.”

 

“I suppose that’s true.”

 

At that moment, Li Yan’s boyfriend leaned over.  “What are you two whispering about over there?”

 

Li Yan pointed her finger towards the stage.  “Do you know who that is?”

 

Her boyfriend followed her direction.  “Luo Tian?  He’s the top commentator for the iConquer games.”

 

“Do you know who the woman next to him is?”

 

“The one wearing the pink dress?”

 

“Mm.”

 

“That’s Qiu Ying, his partner.” 

 

“Are they dating?”

 

Her boyfriend’s friend barked in laughter, he found the notion so hilarious.  “Definitely not.  Everyone knows her boyfriend is the team captain of the Phoenix team.”

 

“Phoenix is one of the two teams playing tonight,” Li Yan’s boyfriend explained.

 

Li Yan turned and stared pointedly at her friend as if to say, “Did you hear that?” while ZI Lan shrunk down in her seat.  She couldn’t believe how wrong she’d been. 

 

Just as Zi Lan was trying to slink down as far as she could in her seat, Qiu Ying happened to look up and spotted her in the audience.  Surprised, she tugged on Luo Tian’s sleeve and when he looked down to see what she wanted, she pointed in Zi Lan’s direction. 

 

Zi Lan noticed all of this and moaned in her seat.  “Oh no, I’ve been found out.”

 

No sooner had she finished saying so did Qiu Ying appear in front of her with Luo Tian dragged along behind her.  “Dr. Ren!  What a surprise to see you here.  Are you an iConquer fan too?”

 

Zi Lan laughed awkwardly.   “What a surprise, indeed.  I came with friends.”  She waved at the seats next to her.

 

“Whoah,” the friend of Li Yan’s boyfriend exclaimed.  “You know them?”  As a rabid fan of iConquer he was star struck to find the game’s two top commentators standing before them.

 

“I guess you could say that.  In a manner of speaking.”  It wouldn’t have been proper for Zi Lan to clarify that Luo Tian was actually a patient of hers.

 

“It’s nice to see you again, Dr. Ren,” Luo Tian greeted more sedately.  To Qiu Ying, he said, “The first match is about to begin soon.  We should head up to the commentator’s box.” 

 

“Okay.”  But before Qiu Ying turned to follow him, she told Zi Lan to make sure they waited for them after the competition ended.  She promised to introduce them to one of the two teams playing that night.

 

Luo Tian was still complaining about that when they took their seats behind their broadcasting table.  “Why did you say that?” he asked and grabbed for his headphones.

 

“She’s your doctor.”

 

“That’s right, my doctor, so shouldn’t I be the one to decide these sorts of things?”

 

“I think she’s interested in you.”

 

“What?  Why?”  Qiu Ying’s comment caught Luo Tian off guard.  “Why would you say that?”

 

Qiu Ying smiled.  She hadn’t missed the way Dr. Ren’s face had flushed when they approached or the way she hadn’t been able to look straight at Luo Tian when they were all chatting just now. 

 

Luo Tian was still going on nervously next to her.  “Besides, she was with two other guys.  One of them was probably her date, maybe even her boyfriend.”

 

“Mm, I don’t think so.” 

 

“What makes you so sure about that?”

 

Qiu Ying finished adjusting the length of her headphones and turned to her partner with a wink.  “Female intuition.”  She then nodded to the blinking red light in front of them and warned, “It’s about to start.”

 

Luo Tian had little choice but to let their conversation go as he turned to give his opening remarks for the competition, as he always did, but for the remainder of that day’s match he couldn’t help but feel distracted and off his game.

 

=//=

 

 

After the competition concluded, Zi Lan and her friends waited outside as instructed.  Everyone was still riding a major high after having just finished watching that very exciting final game, and no one was more excited than the guys. 

 

“I can’t believe we’re actually going to get to meet some of the players,” Li Yan’s boyfriend kept saying.  “That is what she said, right?”

 

“Yes,” Li Yan responded.

 

Zi Lan, on the other hand, wasn’t sure this was such a great idea. 

 

Qiu Ying ran up at that moment, while Luo Tian followed at a slower pace from behind.  “You waited!”

 

“You asked us to.”

 

Qiu Ying beamed.  “I’m so glad that you did.  In a little bit, the Phoenix team will be coming out and then we’ll all be going out to sing karaoke to celebrate their win.  You should come with us!”

 

“Oh, I don’t know if that’s such a good idea.”

 

“You have to come!  You can help me keep an eye on Luo Laoshi, and make sure he doesn’t drink.”

 

Luo Tian objected to that.  “I don’t normally drink anyway.”

 

Qiu Ying shot him a look that told him to be quiet.  Couldn’t he see how she was trying to help him?

 

“But we don’t really know them,” Zi Lan pointed out cautiously.  An even more accurate statement would have been that she hardly knew Qiu Ying and Luo Tian either. 

 

She ignored the pleading the tugs from behind from Li Yan’s boyfriend and friend. 

 

“It’s okay!  You know us,” Qiu Ying said, pointing to Luo Tian and herself, “And we’re all friends.”  She wasn’t about to let Zi Lan leave. 

 

“You may not know but the team captain of Phoenix is actually my boyfriend, so it’s totally okay if you come with us.”

 

“We know, we know,” the friend of Li Yan’s boyfriend rushed in to reassure.  “Actually, they didn’t know.”  He pointed truthfully to Zi Lan and Li Yan. “They thought you were dating Luo Laoshi, but don’t worry, we made sure to correct them on that point.”  He pointed to himself and his friend.

 

While Li Yan and her boyfriend shot him dark looks to make sure he didn’t say anything more embarrassing for Zi Lan, Zi Lan’s face shot a brilliant shade of red and she looked quickly to the sky.  If the ground could open up wide and swallow her whole, she would’ve paid money to see it happen. 

 

Qiu Ying looked at her in surprise.  “You did?”

 

“Ah… You… since you… well, it’s not normally that…”  Zi Lan watched Luo Tian cross his arms and struggled even harder to spit out a proper explanation.  “Most co-workers don’t normally come together for that sort of a thing,” she finally said.

 

Qiu Ying scratched the back of her neck and looked at her partner.  “I suppose that’s true.”

 

Luo Tian, meanwhile, had remembered Zi Lan’s questions at his last appointment and pieced together the puzzle pieces.  “So you thought she was two-timing on me?”

 

“Ah?” Qiu Ying reacted in even more surprise.

 

“Heh, heh, heh,” Zi Lan laughed uneasily again.  Why did she always feel so uncomfortable around them? 

 

“I happened to see you and your boyfriend at a grocery store one day,” she explained to Qiu Ying. “So, since I was already under the impression that you and Luo Xiansheng were together…”

 

Qiu Ying didn’t need for her to finish to get the picture and laughed, not the least bit offended.  “What a horrible misunderstanding that must have been for you, indeed.  But how concerned you must also have been for our Luo Laoshi,” she said very pointedly. 

 

They were interrupted by the arrival of the Phoenix team, who were rowdy and full of good cheer seeing as how they’d just swept the Insider’s Competition series, and introductions were quickly made all around.  Of course the team had no objections to adding four more members to the merriment of their party, and before Zi Lan knew it, she was seated next to Luo Tian in the team’s private room at their favorite karaoke bar. 

 

As she looked around the room, she thought about how unfair it was that everyone else seemed to have been able to fit in seamlessly with the rest of the crowd.  Even that friend of Li Yan’s boyfriend, socially awkward as he was, seemed to have found his milieu with a bunch of esports gamers.  He mostly sat to the side and gaped happily at the others as they sang and danced.  But as for her best friend, well, Li Yan was the biggest betrayer of them all.  Rather than keeping her company, she was currently on stage belting out a song with Qiu Ying and Qiu Ying’s friend, Yi Yi.  Zi Lan wasn’t sure her friend even remembered that she was still in the room.  Sitting next to Luo Tian.  And trying not to feel super awkward about that.

 

Zi Lan peeked cautiously at the man next to her.  Since he was sitting quietly with his arms crossed, she also held herself rigidly in place. 

 

Suddenly Luo Tian turned towards her.  He was merely intending to ask if she wanted something to drink, but Zi Lan was so caught off guard she lost her balance and almost fell off the bench.  She likely would have if Luo Tian hadn’t caught her by the arms in time.  When he finally let go, she could still feel the tingles from where his hands had been.  This made her blush even more, and Luo Tian wasn’t sure what to make of that.  Qiu Ying’s words continued to reverberate in his head, “I think she’s interested in you.”  It made him feel awkward around her as well, and add to that, she was his doctor.

 

Zi Lan finally pushed back and abruptly stood.  “I’m sorry, I can’t do this.”  She then rushed out of the room and Luo Tian was left wondering what it was that she couldn’t do. 

 

He looked around the room and saw that nobody had noticed Zi Lan leave, not even her friends or that fool whom he had previously thought to be her boyfriend.  Even though Zi Lan hadn’t been drinking like the others, he still didn’t think it was a good idea for her to be wandering around by herself at this hour.  He got up to follow.

 

Zi Lan exited the karaoke bar and breathed in the deeply the cool air of the late night hour.  She also flapped her hands at her face to help cool it down.  It’d been so stuffy inside, especially sitting next to Luo Tian.  The fresh air was nice. 

 

When she heard someone exit the bar behind her with their footsteps slowing as they grew near, she assumed it was her friend coming to check on her, and so said without turning around, “Can we go soon?  It’s too hard sitting next to him.  What must he think of me?  He must think I’m a nosy busybody.  I swear, if you don’t say anything to your boyfriend’s friend, I will.  Why’d he have to go and reveal that I thought he and his partner were dating?  So embarrassing!  And now I’m going to have to see him in another week or two when he comes for his final follow-up appointment, too.  How uncomfortable!  It was already awkward when I found him attractive, but now this is really super awkward, don’t you think?” 

 

Luo Tian stood behind Zi Lan and listened to her ramblings with growing amusement.  At first when he met her, he’d thought her flighty and even a little quirky and weird, but he had to admit that a part of him found her to be rather cute as well.  Kind of like right now, with the way she kept scolding herself.  It roused a protective instinct in him that had lain dormant for a long time.

 

Zi Lan noticed that her friend wasn’t saying anything, and wondered why that was.  She was just about to turn around to ask when a jacket landed heavily across the back of her shoulders.  Picking up the sleeve, she looked at it carefully and realizing it was neither hers nor Li Yan’s, cringed to realize who it did belong to. 

 

If Zi Lan had wanted to disappear earlier, when that friend of Li Yan’s boyfriend had opened up his big fat mouth to reveal that she had thought Luo Tian and Qiu Ying were dating, she simply wanted to cease existing right now.  She was so embarrassed and slapped at her own big mouth.

 

Luo Tian, however, stepped up oh so casually next to her and ignoring the shocked and embarrassed expressions merely sighed heavily. 

 

Zi Lan looked up at him, licked her lips nervously, and asked hesitantly.  “What’s wrong?”

 

He sighed again and looking out into the night’s sky, tucked his hands into his pockets.  “I’ve been thinking about things tonight, and it would seem we have a problem.”

 

“We do?  What sort of a problem?”

 

That’s when he looked at her, and said very seriously, “I’m afraid to say, but it looks like I’m going to have to start all over again and find a new doctor.”

 

“Oh no,” Zi Lan thought to herself.  Firmly believing that Luo Tian must be disgusted with her by now and wanting nothing more to do with her, she still forced herself to ask, “Why?”

 

He reached out to bring the ends of his jacket together around her and very carefully buttoned it up so that she would be protected against the chilly wind that had started to blow. 

 

“Because it probably wouldn’t be the proper thing if I asked my doctor out on a date now, would it?”

 

The End

 

 

I can see you've truly been hard at work on this!  Zi Lan definitely has character hahaha. I felt so much facepalm on her behalf during that last scene but at the same time with someone like Luo Tian she needs to be a little "loose" otherwise they would never have gotten off the ground. ;) 

 

Thanks for including the bonus bit of jealous JXK hehe.  Seriously, how are they so adorable.  :wub:

 

9 hours ago, themarchioness said:

I've a lot of love for this drama, but for this thread as well.  It's almost as if we've created our own Phoenix team here.  

 

I'm a latecomer to the thread but I have to say I've truly enjoyed the little community we have here as well.  As they say... I came for the drama, I stayed for the people.  :wub:

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3 hours ago, owlstar said:

I remember wondering, as they kept adding character after character and the remaining episode count was dwindling down, when the actual game matches was going to happen..?

 

LOL, yes, that's the exact feeling I had too!  I did understand that in terms of format what the drama was doing was introduce a new character each time the Happy team needed a new type of game hero to go up against their next rival, but still.  It just went on forever and ever.  Just when you thought they were done and would finally get to see them operating as a team, nope, add a new one to the mix.  

 

3 hours ago, owlstar said:

There was no rhyme or reason to the team, and after putting up with the world's longest team building arc, the actual team play was terribly underwhelming.  

 

Seriously.  I'm sure it was hard given how large the team was but there was a definite lack in the development of characters once they joined the team.  Qiao Yi Fan's character had the most growth and development and, not surprisingly, I found his character one of the more interesting ones. 

 

But then you had characters like An Wenyi who joined the team with a lot of conceit and with the intention of taking from the team, despite the fact that he was actually a pretty inexperienced player.  He ended up staying and we did see him having some sense of self-consciousness after Yifan bought him equipment, and if memory serves me correctly I think Ye Xiu did tell him to stay and he'd teach him (without revealing the secret of how inexperienced Wenyi was to the others), but beyond those little moments, I can't say I ever felt growth in Wenyi's character and by the time the drama ended I still didn't like him that much.  In GYH, on the other hand, we can all imagine how Wenyi's storyline would've developed and by the end of the drama Xiang Kong would've transformed him into a very nice, generous, and skilled player.  :P  

 

And then there was Luo Ji who was only good for his knowledge of the map and stats, but wasn't very good at the game and so just sat around most of the time (or so that's what it felt like) once he joined the team.  I know there are a lot more players for that type of a computer game played in TKA than the 5 that are required for the type played in GYH, but I guess our basic point is it would've been nice to see them interacting more as a team than as individuals, and it was that missing element that left us feeling more "meh" about TKA.  

 

7 hours ago, owlstar said:

If this were more of a makjang type of drama, she'd have attempted suicide or something already to guilt him into staying. -_-  Luckily GYH is not that kind of drama, and it's nice that even the stereotypical ex-GF has such depth that we can't really hate her... and even wish her the best lol.

 

Oh my gosh don't even say that out loud!  Haha.  Thank goodness, indeed, we were spared the crazy drama.  And I will also admit (although I'm sure you all know already) I've a soft spot for Miya, so that definitely plays into how I write about her and portray her in my fics.  I just can't bring myself to feel negatively about her.  I feel bad for her.  :P  

 

7 hours ago, owlstar said:

Zi Lan definitely has character hahaha.  I felt so much facepalm on her behalf during that last scene but at the same time with someone like Luo Tian she needs to be a little "loose" otherwise they would never have gotten off the ground.

 

Hee hee, I'm glad you liked Zi Lan's quirkiness.  Luo Tian's the type of person who couldn't be with anyone who wasn't capable and so I wanted to create a character who is professional and knows her job and does it well.  But I also feel he needs a little quirkiness in his life to soften those edges, so hence Zi Lan's occasional wackiness too.  Plus I figured that also made her more real and relate-able.  Or, at least, that was my hope.  ;)

 

7 hours ago, owlstar said:

Thanks for including the bonus bit of jealous JXK hehe.  Seriously, how are they so adorable.

 

Haha, it's like I couldn't help myself.  Start writing about the other characters, but the minute either one of them enters the scene I end up still writing about QY and JXK.  Stop being such magnets, you two!  :P  

 

7 hours ago, owlstar said:

I'm a latecomer to the thread but I have to say I've truly enjoyed the little community we have here as well.  As they say... I came for the drama, I stayed for the people. 

 

:heart:

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@themarchioness @owlstarI totally agree with your thoughts on The King's Avatar.  I can't give as in-depth review as I dropped it but the characters just didn't feel believable to me at all. I just found them completely 2-D.  It seemed like they only existed to live for the game, play the game, talk about the game and none of their dialogue or interactions felt authentic. I didn't feel any genuine chemistry between the characters which is a pity as ragtag team of misfits coming together and winning is one of my favourite tropes when done well (for example, Gank Your Heart).  By the time I got to about episode 18 or 19 I was just thinking I really did not care about these characters at all; didn't care about their backstories, current story or any story; didn't care if they won or lost; didn't care about them as a team or individuals so I dropped it.

 

Thanks for your response about the Summer and Miya story. I am still not onboard with Summer's behaviour but I can see you put a lot of thought  into it.  Take it as a compliment to your writing  that I actually react to the character's actions and respond as if they were real and on my screen!:lol:

 

21 hours ago, themarchioness said:

Finally, to round out my New Year's resolution to catch up with this thread, I present to you on this first day of the new year my final gift to you all - Story #12, which is very unimaginatively titled, "Luo Tian's Story."  I suppose I shouldn't close the door on the possibilities given that I'm still in various stages of rewatches with friends who've introduced this drama to, but for now I've no plans to write any more.  Luo Tian's story is the longest and it's taken a lot out of me.  :P 

 

For the sake of his story, I've had to create a few new characters.  There's a secret regarding two of their names, which I'll share at the end, but apart from that note I would only ask for your kindness in going with the flow regarding the diagnosis and treatment of Luo Tian's stomach pains.  (Just pretend it's real!)

 

As always, I hope you enjoy, and thank you so much for indulging me and sharing in my stories.  I've a lot of love for this drama, but for this thread as well.  It's almost as if we've created our own Phoenix team here.  :wub:

 

Story #12 – Luo Tian’s Story

OK..now Luo Tian's Story!  I LOVED it!:heart::love::heart::heart:

First, thank you for the little name nod.  As Luo Tian's ardent supporter I feel so honoured :blush:

I really can see you worked super hard on it and it shows because I thought this was so incredibly well written and enjoyable.  (By the way, I think the medical part was believable.  good job!).  If this is your last story, it's definitely ending on a high note.

 

Luo Tian was so in character throughout: work-obsessed and prickly but a soft spot for QY and now a soft spot for his maybe future love interest:) I thought it was an imaginative idea to use his stomach problems  and QIu Ying's knowledge and worry as the root of the story and cause for misunderstanding in the story.  I think QY's consideration for his stomach issues was one of the things that touched LY in the drama so I like that you brought that back and it brought him into contact with this new girl.  The misunderstanding was so cringeworthy but totally hilarious:lol:  Also I thought it was a nice nod she was a doctor given Luo Tian's actor's role after GYH in Love is Deep as a doctor who falls for his patient.

 

Even though we only had a few paragraphs to get to know the characters I really felt like Ren Zi Lan and Li Yan were well fleshed out and I totally bought their friendship. Even Yan Yan's gamer boyfriend and his mate's small parts were great!

 

Loved, loved Qiu Ying and  Xing Kong's interactions in this fic  From his blind worry when he heard she was in the hospital to their banter, natural affection and a little bit of jealous XK:D

 

I loved when she called him Ji Da Shao Ye (thanks for the explanation) and this exchange made me laugh so much: 

Qiu Ying looked over her shoulder.  “You haven’t been sick like this before, but don’t worry.  If you ever are, I’ll make it for you then too.”

 

“Thanks, I think?”

 

“Well I’m not going to wish you ill just so I can make you soup!  You should be glad I don’t have any reason to make you soup.”

 

Twisted as the logic may have been, Xiang Kong had to admit she had a point so instead of complaining further he sighed and exhaled loudly.  “Gosh, I must be the most generous boyfriend there ever was to allow his girlfriend to go cook for another man.”:lol::lol::lol:

 

The mention of Pei Xin making XK coffee was a hilarious throwback to the the drama's misunderstandings and so appropriate that at the start QY and XK were going to speak to Shu Wen to get Luo Tian to go to the doctor.  Shu Wen is truly the BOSS of them all!:lol: 

 

Awesome work! 

giphy.gif

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3 hours ago, raziela said:

I just found them completely 2-D.  It seemed like they only existed to live for the game, play the game, talk about the game and none of their dialogue or interactions felt authentic. I didn't feel any genuine chemistry between the characters which is a pity as ragtag team of misfits coming together and winning is one of my favourite tropes when done well (for example, Gank Your Heart).

 

That's because you're not wrong.  That really is all they ever mostly did.  It was only a few of them who we got to see even an inkling of their outside story and/or history.  It was a shame in that you could see the potential - like you said: ragtag team coming together against all odds to prevail is a great premise - but it just didn't go deep enough.  Maybe Season 2 will bring to the drama what was missing in its first season.  I'm really curious though if they'll be able to bring back the same actors.  I mean, Yang Yang alone...

 

2 hours ago, angelangie said:

there will be times u lose and all and also there will be times u die too......however in TKA the ML's games character never die lols which is a little bit untrue lols

 

LOL.  Actually, there was a moment where... he may not have died... I can't remember, but I don't think he did.  Rather, it was his umbrella/ultimate weapon was completely decimated and destroyed.  It was a real low point for him after having worked so hard to build it to his friend's specifications in the first place.  So then he had to dig deep and start over again, and this time all of the Happy team pitched in to help him find/win back the pieces he needed to rebuild his weapon.  So that was one happy team building moment in the drama.  Haha! 

 

But otherwise, yes, I agree with you that he was like this practical God-like figure and while I didn't necessarily have a problem with that portrayal (because who doesn't love a winner?) it did make me head scratch a lot because it made it reeeeeally hard for me to understand why, in the drama, his original team was so interested in demoting him and then booting him.  I'm sure it's a lot better explained in the book, but there are unanswered questions in the drama.

 

GYH definitely felt like a more complete story!  <-- I had to throw that in there, just so I wouldn't feel completely off topic in this thread.  ;) 

 

3 hours ago, raziela said:

Thanks for your response about the Summer and Miya story. I am still not onboard with Summer's behaviour but I can see you put a lot of thought  into it.  Take it as a compliment to your writing  that I actually react to the character's actions and respond as if they were real and on my screen!

 

I did, and I do!  I also was never upset with any of the feedback I received, just to clarify.  As I said yesterday I really enjoyed reading the differing opinions and perspectives, and it gave me food for thought, too.  I appreciate having this forum where we can all talk out our thoughts. 

 

3 hours ago, raziela said:

OK..now Luo Tian's Story!  I LOVED it!:heart::love::heart::heart:

First, thank you for the little name nod.  As Luo Tian's ardent supporter I feel so honoured :blush:

I really can see you worked super hard on it and it shows because I thought this was so incredibly well written and enjoyable.  (By the way, I think the medical part was believable.  good job!).  If this is your last story, it's definitely ending on a high note.

 

LOL, I somehow had a feeling this one would speak to your heart.  ;)  You definitely earned the name nod with your love for Luo Tian.  I'll admit his story did make me complain, at times, just because it sometimes felt like I had no idea where I was going and was only rambling and I feared the story would never end.  Fortunately, at the right moment, I suddenly found a way out.  I'm really, really glad it hit all the right notes for you!  I had a lot of fun revisiting the little memories from the drama in this story.  My own personal favorite mention was the "instant hot pot", just because we all know how intrigued I was (and still am) with that. 

 

That reminds me, last week, I noticed that the Asian grocery store actually carries some in stock!!!  Not the same brand.  And hidden on a bottom shelf, which is why I never noticed them before.  I just need to visit the store when it's not so crowded so I can study them properly and figure out which flavor to try since it's all in Chinese.  LOL.  I know you're thinking "ick" right now but I've got to satisfy that curiosity of mine.  I can't wait to surprise my friend with it next time she comes over to continue her GYH watch.  She's as curious as me, haha.

 

3 hours ago, raziela said:

Also I thought it was a nice nod she was a doctor given Luo Tian's actor's role after GYH in Love is Deep as a doctor who falls for his patient.

 

It's funny you mentioned that because it did occur to me as well, but not until I was already in the middle of the story.  Maybe it was somewhere my subconscious when I came up with the idea?  Anyway, I had to laugh when I noticed that and then figured if there was anyone else who would make that connection it would be you.  ;) 

 

3 hours ago, raziela said:

Shu Wen is truly the BOSS of them all!

 

:thumbsup::joy::heart:

And we wouldn't have it any other way!  ;)  She's like Yibo, droppin' the mic!  (I had to find a way to work this gif in here, hahaha.  @owlstar will understand why.)
 

Spoiler

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, thank you for the applause gif... lol... I love your applause gifs... :D 

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13 minutes ago, angelangie said:

 

well from what i read at the beginning of the book before i threw it all away because they focus too much on the games....cause he wont appear in any ad and will not reveal himself to sell his more market value, and his previous company isnt earning as much as they hope for.....not to mention that YeQiu is of retirement age already despite him being a legend in the game play

 

I know, and we already talked about it at the time in the TKA thread as well.  I just still don't know that I buy that explanation  given how it's portrayed in the TKA drama.  :P  As I also stated back then, GYH and Xiang Kong had a similar set up, and it was portrayed much more believably in GYH -- in my opinion, at least.

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@themarchioness :wub: love love love Luo Tian's story.. and like I've told you in private.. I really like Zi Lan.. she's a very likable character.. and her heart is in a good place.. 

The ending tho... is so smooth! Luo Tian... How are you so smooth!!! Omg! :wub:

16 hours ago, owlstar said:

I'm a latecomer to the thread but I have to say I've truly enjoyed the little community we have here as well.  As they say... I came for the drama, I stayed for the people.  :wub:

awww this is so sweet! :wub:

 

And on TKA.. tbh.. the story treatment felt like an anime for kids/young adults... pretty good introduction for a C-drama.. but it might not be everyone's cup of tea.. haha.. My fav part is def when Ye Xiu appears and his bond with Su Mucheng and Su Muqiu.

 

Personally how TKA is scripted makes me feel a bit cautious about Chen Feiyu's new drama Legend of the awakening [both are from the same author] but oh well.... we'll just have to wait and see... 

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3 minutes ago, lynne22 said:

My fav part is def when Ye Qiu appears and Su Mucheng because I lowkey shiped them in the book

 

Wait, what?  I thought you shipped Su Mucheng with Ye Xiu!  *runs to send you a message*  I agree the drama did have its comical moments.  For me, I really liked when Chen Guo didn't know about Ye Xiu's alter identity and kept going on and on and on about her love for well, essentially, him.  The drama was definitely cuter in the beginning for those things, and then the team building happened... lol, you'd think that'd be an interesting part.  Like it was in GYH!  But... haha.

 

7 minutes ago, lynne22 said:

@themarchioness :wub: love love love Luo Tian's story.. and like I've told you in private.. I really like Zi Lan.. she's a very likable character.. and her heart is in a good place.. 

The ending tho... is so smooth! Luo Tian... How are you so smooth!!! Omg! 

 

Aww, thanks @lynne22 again and again for always being my cold reader!  As for Luo Tian... he's a quick study?  LOL.  Or maybe he secretly had it within him all this time, and it just needed the right woman to come along to bring it out of him.  ;) 

 

 

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12 hours ago, themarchioness said:

Luo Tian's the type of person who couldn't be with anyone who wasn't capable and so I wanted to create a character who is professional and knows her job and does it well.  But I also feel he needs a little quirkiness in his life to soften those edges, so hence Zi Lan's occasional wackiness too.

 

I totally agree!  QY's work ethic was what sparked his interest in her in the first place I thought, so it makes sense that he wouldn't be interested in anyone who wasn't capable at what they do.  I was so afraid she was going to slip at that follow up appointment and talk about QY's "two-timing", and I'm so glad she didn't!  As much as it would drive the plot forward, it just breaks such professionalism boundaries and would've left him him with a bad impression of her that would be really hard to fix later, if it can be fixed at all.  

 

12 hours ago, themarchioness said:

Haha, it's like I couldn't help myself.  Start writing about the other characters, but the minute either one of them enters the scene I end up still writing about QY and JXK.  Stop being such magnets, you two! 

 

And I enjoy reading about them every time haha.  They really are so good together.  :)

 

7 hours ago, raziela said:

Luo Tian was so in character throughout: work-obsessed and prickly but a soft spot for QY and now a soft spot for his maybe future love interest

 

I love prickly male characters with a soft spot for the FL.  No wonder I like Luo Tian.  :P

 

4 hours ago, themarchioness said:

That reminds me, last week, I noticed that the Asian grocery store actually carries some in stock!!!  Not the same brand.  And hidden on a bottom shelf, which is why I never noticed them before.

 

I have to admit I'm slightly curious too (I guess product placement really works lol).  Must look carefully at top/bottom shelves next time I go to an Asian grocery store haha... unless you report back that it's not a good idea. :P

 

4 hours ago, themarchioness said:

She's like Yibo, droppin' the mic!  (I had to find a way to work this gif in here, hahaha.  @owlstar will understand why.)

 

LOL omg don't get me started, or I won't be able to stop myself from uncontrollably gif spamming this thread. :lol:

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@themarchioness ahahahaha a slip when I typed... meant to say Ye xiu hahahahah... Ye Xiu and Su Mucheng is my dream team :P and ahh yeah... haha.. there's not much to be say about TKA for me lols.. personally I think the anime / donghua is better in making me feel emotional. Huang Shiaotian is a delight in both Live Action and Anime tho.. haha.. he is so much fun to watch.. 

 

@angelangie Hmmm.. Lin Long.... *scrambles to google the drama* looks interesting... lets see how it goes later when it airs... I know... I know I sound like a pessimist haha.. but its C-drama  you know... sometimes being cautious is better :P 

 

Anyway.. lunch break is over.. gotta run...... 

 

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, owlstar said:

I was so afraid she was going to slip at that follow up appointment and talk about QY's "two-timing", and I'm so glad she didn't!  As much as it would drive the plot forward, it just breaks such professionalism boundaries and would've left him him with a bad impression of her that would be really hard to fix later, if it can be fixed at all.  

 

Luo Tian does have that air of, "My good opinion once lost is lost forever" (Fitzwilliam Darcy) feel about him so I definitely didn't want Zi Lan to do anything that would cross that line.  I mean, I feel like Qiu Ying just made it back into his good graces and she had the help of Xiang Kong who made Luo Tian give her a second look.  :P  But I love that I was able to provoke that concerned reaction out of you as you were reading! 

 

19 minutes ago, owlstar said:

(I guess product placement really works lol). 

Guilty!  *raises hand*  

 

20 minutes ago, owlstar said:

LOL omg don't get me started, or I won't be able to stop myself from uncontrollably gif spamming this thread. :lol:

 

*whispers: But why would you want to stop yourself....*  :naughty::innocent::tounge_wink:

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7 minutes ago, lynne22 said:

@themarchioness ahahahaha a slip when I typed... meant to say Ye xiu hahahahah... Ye Xiu and Su Mucheng is my dream team :P and ahh yeah... haha..

 

Huang Shiaotian is a delight in both Live Action and Anime tho.. haha.. he is so much fun to watch.. 

 

Aaaannnddd now you've gone and crushed my heart again.  :lol: 

 

I agree that Shiaotian was a hoot.  But the funniest thing for me about him is I once knew a guy with that nickname, and he was known for hardly ever saying a word.  LOL.  How can I not think of that when I watch Shiaotian talking nonstop in the drama?

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3 hours ago, themarchioness said:

Luo Tian does have that air of, "My good opinion once lost is lost forever" (Fitzwilliam Darcy) feel about him so I definitely didn't want Zi Lan to do anything that would cross that line.  I mean, I feel like Qiu Ying just made it back into his good graces and she had the help of Xiang Kong who made Luo Tian give her a second look.

 

Lol Luo Tian is such a judgy porcupine but we love him anyway.  Helps that he's easy on the eyes. ;) 

 

3 hours ago, themarchioness said:

*whispers: But why would you want to stop yourself....*  

   

Hahaha your enabling is not doing much to help me hide my (not so) secret Yibo bias. :ph34r:

 

3 hours ago, lynne22 said:

Huang Shiaotian is a delight in both Live Action and Anime tho.. haha.. he is so much fun to watch.. 

 

He was definitely a favorite and memorable character!  I just start smiling already every time he comes on screen.  How can anyone talk so much so continuously and still be able to focus on their game. :lol:

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