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one day we'll see what the future holds

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“Somehow,” Xu Boyuan said, because if he had access to Ye Xiu’s phone number he was going to use it for petty shit like this, “this is your fault.”

“It’s eight in the morning, Blue River.” Ye Xiu knew his actual name. Ye Xiu also knew his main account’s name. Ye Xiu was also a lazy asshole who only sometimes updated his name in his mental card catalogue because he knew that Xu Boyuan didn’t actually mind in the end. “I have just woken up and there is absolutely nothing that is my fault about today.”

Xu Boyuan stared up at the ceiling, willing himself to patience. “The level 76-80 region previews just got released.”

Ye Xiu’s laughter crackled over the phone. “Right, that’s today. I’d forgotten it was going to be this early in the morning. Please tell me which region you blame me for.”

“Rainbow Reef Rapids.”

Ye Xiu didn’t need to say anything for Xu Boyuan to hear his smirk. A few quick taps of a keyboard followed, and then Ye Xiu said, “Looks like a fun place,” with all the satisfaction of a particularly spoiled cat.

“I would like you to know,” Xu Boyuan said, with all the infinite patience he had developed after years of knowing Ye Xiu, “that since it was announced literally everyone who remembers your bullshit at Thousand Waves Lake has started crying about it over QQ.”

This time, Ye Xiu didn’t laugh, just teased, “Did they make you call me to complain?”

“Fuck you.” Xu Boyuan stared at the QQ chat that, amidst a flood of crying emoji, did have several people suggesting that Blue River should ask Lord Grim if he’d had anything to do with it.

“The Glory devs like challenging players.”

Xu Boyuan typed out a series of his own crying emoji into QQ. “Wild boss named ‘Laughing Spearfisher Brine’ doesn’t ring any bells?”

“Nope.” The faint sounds of the Glory trailer came through the phone. “Looks like a fun boss.”

It looked, to Xu Boyuan and the other elites of the tenth server, like a more aesthetically appealing version of Lord Grim when his fucking umbrella was in spear form. Laughing Spearfisher Brine stood on a small boat, a long serrated spear resting on his shoulder. He dove into the water, where he seemed to disappear for a moment before launching back out of the water with explosive force and a giant eel pinned on his spear. “Of course you’d think so.”

“If the game starts teaching people how to fight effectively in water, it’s a good thing. Means we’ll have more growth in the competition.”

As usual, Ye Xiu was right, but in the most infuriating way. “Leave some records for the rest of us,” Xu Boyuan muttered.

“I’m retired,” Ye Xiu said brightly, as if he wasn’t over at Team Happy multiple times a week and wasn’t involved in the national team and didn’t seem inclined to stop meddling. Sometimes, Xu Boyuan hated that he knew these things, but the rest of the time it came with benefits like Ye Xiu introducing him to Huang Shaotian (something Xu Boyuan didn’t precisely regret, in the same way he didn’t precisely regret meeting Ye Xiu in the tenth server). “I can play for fun, not records.”

“Your idea of fun is records.”

“It doesn’t need to be.”

QQ pinged urgently at Xu Boyuan, and he made a face at the screen. He thinks the boss looks fun, he typed, because everyone was wondering how the conversation was going, since he’d made the mistake of telling them that he’d ask. As he watched the chat scroll through yet another three pages of crying emoji, Xu Boyuan said, “Are you going to level Lord Grim up?”

“I can’t let him get behind.” There was a wistfulness in Ye Xiu’s voice that Xu Boyuan wished he didn’t know how to listen for. “I don’t know if he’ll still be effective at a pro level once everyone’s level 80, but I still need to know.”

“It would be weird for him not to be around now,” Xu Boyuan admitted. He glanced back at the QQ chat and decided he really didn’t care about everyone’s complaints. “Hey, would you give my team a tutorial on water fighting?”

Ye Xiu snickered. “What are you willing to pay for it?”

“I hadn’t thought about it.” He propped his chin on a hand and smiled. It had been a long time since he’d been upset by this dance, especially now that it never happened about things that mattered. “You usually have a good sense of what your time is worth.”

“Buy me food next time we’re in the same place.”

Xu Boyuan almost fell out of his chair. “What the fuck.”

“What, are you broke?”

“No!” Xu Boyuan sputtered. “You’ve never asked for things outside of Glory before!”

“So?”

Xu Boyuan groaned and rubbed at his forehead. Ye Xiu was going to give him yet another headache, and he couldn’t even bring himself to care. “Is the tutorial contingent on me having bought you food already?”

“So many fancy words.” Ye Xiu seemed pleased, but of course he did; he already knew he’d won. “No, I trust you to remember your promise. Besides, water fighting isn’t hard once you’ve got the concepts down; it’s just about practicing execution. I doubt your team is bad at it, but there’s always room to improve.”

“Is there anything in Glory you think is hard?”

“Management!” Ye Xiu said promptly. “I would never have been able to do what you did in the tenth server! I’d get bored and frustrated.”

Xu Boyuan sighed, but he was smiling. “I’ll send you a message once I’ve got an idea of when people would be up for a lesson.”

“I look forward to it.” A pause, then. “You could call me for reasons other than complaining, Boyuan.”

“I keep forgetting that you have a phone and decided, for whatever reason, to give me your number.” Xu Boyuan had theories about why. He mostly didn’t think about them. He had heard more than enough about it from literally every single friend he’d mentioned it to, and a few who he hadn’t. (Including Huang Shaotian, which was why he sort of regretted ever meeting his idol.) “I’m pretty sure you also forget you have a phone, since you are also capable of calling me if you wanted to.”

Ye Xiu laughed. “Would you pick up the phone for me?”

“I’m just as likely to do so as you are for me.” Which meant, mostly, but if Ye Xiu ever didn’t pick up the phone then Xu Boyuan would need to tell him on QQ because he never returned voicemail. “Go eat breakfast. I’ll message you later.”

“Okay, bye,” Ye Xiu said, hanging up the phone fast enough that the last syllable was almost cut off.

Xu Boyuan scowled at his phone, unaccountably annoyed with Ye Xiu for hanging up so quickly. Then he turned back to his computer, where the chat had moved on from Ye Xiu obviously being the source of all problems and into more excited discussions of what level 80 would bring.

That conversation, he could get into.

Xu Boyuan grinned and started planning with his friends for whatever the future might bring.