In the height of summer, Feng Hua was lying on the sofa alone. The breeze was blowing, and the wind chimes in the living room made an ethereal sound, gradually blending with the chirping of the cicadas outside the window. His phone vibrated. It was a text message from Sean.
“Do you know where your Ye’er is?”
“With that woman?”
A photo came through. “I got a good shot, didn’t I?”
In the photo, Feng Yeran and Chen Xuan were eating in a Western restaurant. The woman was smiling happily.
The phone rang out several more times, but Feng Hua didn’t bother to look at it. He closed his eyes to rest on the sofa.
On the other side, Feng Yeran looked at the time for the nth time. “Xiao Xuan, it’s seven o’clock. I have to go home.”
It was a rare day off for Feng Yeran. The two of them had dressed up in disguise, so even if they held hands willfully, it wasn’t a problem. He took Chen Xuan to the seaside for a drive, went shopping and had a candlelit dinner. Chen Xuan was very satisfied. Feng Yeran, however, was a bit distracted the whole time.
“Why’re you going back so early again? Because of that child?”
“Yes, I only prepared breakfast and lunch for him. Feng Hua must be hungry now.”
“You could let him cook his own food or order takeout.”
“He can’t cook… and the restaurant near my home will have his favourite spicy boiled fish today. I’ll have to bring him back some.”
“You could have a robot deliver it for you.”
“It’s about time for me to go back. I still have a lot of things to deal with. Sorry, Xiao Xuan. I’ll take you to play next time.”
“Yeran, you can’t keep taking care of him like this. You see, you’re around him every day now. I asked you to travel to the Mediterranean last time, and you said no, because Feng Hua couldn’t go. You’re so busy, yet you still wash clothes and cook for him yourself. You go back early every night now. He’s all grown up now, and you still let him live with you all the time!”
“He looks like an adult, but he’s only five years old! He’s still just a little monster, and if I don’t accompany him, he’ll get upset and can’t sleep at night.”
Chen Xuan was stunned for a moment before suddenly asking, “Are you still sleeping together now?”
“Yes.” Feng Yeran wanted to say that his stomach hurt so badly at night that he couldn’t do without Feng Hua by his side, but thinking that Chen Xuan didn’t know about his illness, he didn’t say anything.
Chen Xuan had a surprised look on her face. “You guys are like that… it’s just so wrong!”
With that, she took the newly bought clothes from Feng Yeran’s hand, then turned around and left with quick steps.
Feng Yeran was annoyed and regretful. All the way, he was deliberating how to apologise to Chen Xuan, but when he opened the door of his home, all that chagrin suddenly dissipated.
As soon as he closed the door, Feng Hua, who was lying on the sofa, propped himself up and smiled at him. “Ye’er, you’re back.”
He placed the delicious food on the dining table. “Feng Hua, you’re hungry. I bought you spicy boiled fish, braised beef with radish, salad, and some fruit. Come over and eat.”
“Speaking of which, I remember you’re going to record episode ten next week, and you’re going to replicate a person or something. Are you confident?”
“I haven’t tried yet.”
“Yeah, do you need me to help you?”
“Ye’er, how are you going to help me?” Feng Hua smiled.
“Like, rent you a model?”
“I already have a model.”
Feng Hua’s cheeks were bulging as he ate the thornless spicy boiled fish like a squirrel, a satisfied look on his face. “I won’t tell you.”
Feng Yeran wasn’t annoyed at him. He laughed at Feng Hua’s way of eating and couldn’t help pulling his cheeks. “Hahaha… good boy, good boy!”
“Don’t keep saying I’m a good boy. I’m already grown up!”
“You’re always a child in my eyes.”
In the evening, Feng Yeran was just as usual. He attended a video conference while Feng Hua watched videos, then read a little, wrote in his diary, chatted with Feng Hua for a while, and went to take a shower.
Feng Hua turned off the video. In an instant, there was silence in the hazy yellow room. He could clearly hear the minute hand moving step by step. Feng Yeran’s footsteps were very light, and the water in the shower sounded like quick raindrops. He softly hummed a tune through it, with a happy breath… Feng Hua’s hearing was much better than normal people’s. As long as he wanted to, he could distinguish every detail of Feng Yeran’s movements. He could even hear the quiet sound of his blood flowing, the short drumbeat of his saliva being swallowed… Those sounds, loud or quiet, rough or delicate, were weaving and generating in his mind, as if he were composing a symphony.
Step by step, he walked towards the bathroom.
It wasn’t difficult for him to see through the foggy glass. He just stood outside the door watching Feng Yeran take a shower for a full twenty minutes.
Done with his shower, Feng Yeran opened the door. He had a white towel around his waist. After brushing his teeth, he washed his clothes while humming a little tune.
He still hadn’t noticed Feng Hua, who kept staring at him from nearby.
Feng Hua watched Feng Yeran’s every move in the darkness, watched the droplets of water that fell from his wet hair, slid down his back and finally soaked into the towel, watched the shape of his legs and the steam that rose from his body, not letting go of a single detail.
Feng Yeran, who had finished washing his clothes, walked to the living room. “Feng Hua, I’ve prepared the water for you. Go and take a bath.”
After saying that, he went to the balcony to dry his clothes.
When Feng Yeran passed the bathroom, he found that the door wasn’t closed, so he closed the door for Feng Hua. “Why didn’t you close the door?”
Feng Yeran heard Feng Hua’s voice calling out to him softly. “What?”
Feng Yeran was a little puzzled. He opened the door, and then, his entire body froze.
Feng Hua wasn’t the only one in the bathroom. There was someone else!
It was a thin man, half a head shorter than Feng Hua, with only a white towel around the lower half of his body, his skin pale and his outline defined. Beneath the wisps of wet hair were proud eyebrows, a pair of somewhat hazy eyes, and tightly pursed lips with a sense of abstinence. He was so thin that his stomach was flat, and even the slight outline of a rib or two was visible.
Feng Yeran felt ashamed, because this man was none other than himself. It was obvious that Feng Hua had replicated another him. This was clearly something to be excited about, but Feng Yeran didn’t want to look at it. He hated looking at his own body, and he hadn’t looked in the mirror for a long, long time. He knew that he had been tormented beyond recognition by the disease, already getting thinner and thinner.
Such a body being placed in front of the tall and handsome Feng Hua simply formed a stark visual contrast.
Feng Yeran’s voice was tinged with pain.
But his words were covered by Feng Hua. Feng Hua stood behind the other Feng Yeran with one arm wrapped around the replicant’s waist, and the other gently traced his outline, brushed his wet hair, then lifted the replicant’s face. He tilted his head sideways, his beautifully-shaped lips so close to the replicant’s skin that it seemed as though he would kiss it the next second.
“So beautiful,” he whispered, his hot breath spilling from his lips, which seemed to emit a familiar fragrance.
Goosebumps rose all over Feng Yeran’s body, and a strong sense of shame surged up. “Don’t do that!”
However, Feng Hua acted as if he hadn’t heard him. He gazed fondly at the face that looked exactly like Feng Yeran’s, and extended his dark red tongue, licking the small mole above his right eye, the tip of his nose…
There seemed to be countless invisible threads connecting the replicant’s senses to Feng Yeran’s, because, almost at the same moment, Feng Yeran felt tingling sensations above his right eye and at the tip of his nose, and his breaths became more and more rapid, lacking oxygen.
“Have you played enough!” Feng Yeran was angry.
“No.” Feng Hua’s voice was soft, almost innocent.
He pulled down the replicant’s jaw, and the replicant opened his lips shyly.
Feng Hua whispered softly, but in stark contrast to his voice was his rough movements. He suddenly sealed the replicant’s lips, and the next second, Feng Yeran heard the watery sound of lips and tongue intertwining.
Feng Yeran’s mind went blank, his face was instantly scarlet, and he swallowed a mouthful of saliva, almost forgetting how to react. He watched as the replicant widened his eyes, initially resisting a little, and then indulged, beginning to respond―Feng Yeran couldn’t imagine if these were reactions he had made, or if they were purely fabricated by Feng Hua.
Feng Hua wrapped his arms around the replicant’s waist and buried his head to kiss him fiercely, and his right hand wasn’t idle either. The hand slid over the replicant’s neck, and pressed roughly against his chest and abdomen, every inch of his skin shuddering and turning red in turn. Then, Feng Hua’s lips slid comfortingly over these places again, and contained the erected nipples with the utmost tenderness.
The air was filled with an increasingly strong aroma, and, once again, intense desire and pressure filled the space, seemingly distorting the air.
Feng Hua’s palm slipped into the replicant’s bath towel.
Feng Yeran’s whole body tensed. A terrible heat accompanied by a painful sensation surged up from his lower body. He felt uncontrollable and his reason blurred further and further.
The towel around the replicant’s waist slipped to the floor, and then he was carried into the bathtub by Feng Hua, splashing water everywhere.
In the mist, the replicant’s upper body was covered with hickeys and his nipples were dark red.
Feng Hua raised the replicant’s right leg.
He gazed at Feng Yeran, who was standing in the doorway, and faintly smiled.
“Ye’er, you’re mine.” His voice was raspy and he said these words as if he were dreaming.
Then, he lowered his head and bit the replicant’s inner thigh―
Feng Yeran grabbed the door and fled.
He ran into the bedroom and slammed the door, his mind going blank.
With his back against the door, he only then realised that he was trembling all over and breathing heavily, his heart almost jumping out of his chest.
He wasn’t even the one being bitten, kissed, and touched, but he burned all over, his body limp, and he felt that familiar, painful sensation of being bitten and even a strange tingling sensation on his inner thighs…
The strong impulse, which didn’t seem to belong to him at all, was screaming.
He went into the bathroom, turned on the tap, and flushed his head directly with cold water.
That heat finally came down.
He sat on the bed in chagrin, his brow furrowed.
Chen Xuan’s words circled in his mind again and again—
“You guys are like that, it’s just so wrong!”
By the time Feng Hua came over to sleep, Feng Yeran had completely calmed down.
“Where’s the replicant?”
Feng Hua’s current replication could only last about ten minutes.
“Don’t make jokes like that again.”
“What’s wrong? Ye’er doesn’t like it?”
“…People have shame. When you do those things to someone who looks exactly like me in front of me, it’s just…”
Feng Hua smiled. “Ye’er doesn’t like me doing those things to the replicant… then do you want me to do them directly to you?”
Feng Yeran suddenly sat up and faced Feng Hua. His eyes were hidden in darkness and his voice was low. “Feng Hua, you have almost pure Adesir blood. You have extremely strong temptation. As long as you want, my brain can be completely paralysed by you, and my body’s five senses and even my feelings may be controlled by you. But, is that meaningful?”
“I love you very much, Feng Hua. But it’s really just family love. I also want to respond to your feelings, but I can’t. I can accept you kissing me, but anything more than that, I really can’t accept…”
“I know. You love Chen Xuan.” Feng Hua’s voice was unusually calm.
“I really, really hope you can switch your focus. The way it is now, once you get close to me, once you exude Adesir hormones, I can’t resist at all. Maybe I’ll really respond to you, but it won’t be my own feelings, but just a wrong impulse controlled by instinct. And you mistook me… Alas, besides, in the end, it’ll cause you more… sorry… moreover, I don’t want to do anything to betray her.”
“What a happy woman, when she’s clearly been betraying you.” Feng Hua sighed, but his voice was so quiet that Feng Yeran didn’t hear him.
Feng Hua didn’t hug Feng Yeran as usual, but turned around and said, “Don’t worry, I won’t do anything extra in the future.”
* * *
The Creator officially aired in September and was a much bigger hit than the first The Dream Maker. Feng Hua had almost become a household name “star” whom countless women longed for.
As the producer of The Dream Maker and The Creator, Chen Xuan made hundreds of millions over two seasons of the documentary, and her fame soared. Information about her, Feng Hua, Feng Yeran and the research institute were hot topics almost every day.
At a press conference in November, a female journalist asked Feng Hua, “The reason why The Creator and The Dream Maker can attract so many people is not only because of your outstanding supernormal powers, but also because of the emotional lines in them. For example, you restored a girl’s dream about her first love, making her recall what her first love looked like and then find him; for another example, you helped a man replicate his girlfriend who had passed away, giving him a moment of emotion. In fact, The Creator and The Dream Maker are stories about love, don’t you agree?”
Feng Hua nodded. “I agree.”
Journalist: “But I’m curious. Would you fall in love with a human? After all, you have 89% Adesir blood, and you’re not exactly human.”
“I have someone I like. I mean, I love him1He/him and she/her sound the same in Chinese..”
As soon as he said that, all the flashes below paused for a few seconds, and then the whole space was about to explode, with several journalists yelling out.
The female journalist hurriedly asked, “Can you tell us who she is?”
At this moment, Feng Yeran had just finished an event and was walking in the hall.
Many women were pointing at the hall’s stereoscopic screen excitedly. He walked over to it curiously.
On the stereoscopic screen was a large close-up.
Countless flashes hit Feng Hua’s body and his whole complexion had become pale.
With his beautifully-shaped lips to the microphone, he gazed into the cameras with those dark blue eyes and said, “He is my creator.”
Feng Yeran froze for a moment, wondering why he had been mentioned.
Feng Hua continued, his voice low, slow and clear.
“My eyes, nose, mouth, hair, flesh… my everything was created by him.”
“My everything belongs to him.”
“From the beginning to the end, I love only him.”
Step by step, Feng Yeran stepped back.
And every word, chasing him, pounding him, struck at his heart from the surface to the depths.
The girls around him were screaming, the sound was too harsh, the footsteps of thousands of pedestrians were too noisy, the roar of cars outside, the wind, his breathing, his heartbeat, the increasingly shrill chirping of cicadas in his ears—
Ahhh! A voice was screaming and shouting inside his body.
Not a voice of pain, but of ecstasy.
A strange sense of ecstasy swelled and surged in his body, making him feel frightened.
He rushed into the bathroom, looked at himself in the mirror, and was almost startled.
His face muscles rose and he was smiling, almost unbridled, exuberantly smiling, uncontrollable―it was clearly still his face, but he felt strange.
He rinsed his face with cold water over and over again, trying to cool the inexplicable, imposed emotion.
Within ten minutes, this bizarre emotion receded like a tidal wave.
It finally disappeared without a trace.
* * *
In a villa, Xiao Zhijie watched the video of Feng Hua’s public confession for the third time, his face expressionless.
He closed the video, stood up, took a sip of coffee, and picked up a thick stack of papers, which contained experimental reports, psychological assessments, activity records and so on, all related to Feng Hua.
- 1He/him and she/her sound the same in Chinese.