Ye Shaoyang pushed open the door. A white cat pranced over to him and rubbed its head against the leg of his pants.
He loved cats. This one looked a lot like a Ragdoll. It had a bushy scarf of fluff around its neck, a brown squirrel-like tail, and crystal clear blue eyes. It looked extremely sweet and cute.
Ye Shaoyang scooped up the cat and called out while walking, "Is anyone there?"
There was no answer, except for a 'meow' from the cat in his arms.
Ye Shaoyang stroked its head while glancing around to take in his surroundings.
He found himself inside a residence with four bedrooms and two living rooms. When he stepped out onto the balcony and had a look outside, he saw that the residential community was pretty nice. The apartment he was in seemed to be on the tenth floor or higher, and it was probably—at a glance—over one hundred and fifty square meters in size.
Presently, a 1.7 meter or taller A.I. robot was sweeping the floor.
As though sensing Ye Shaoyang's presence, the robot's head lit up with a blue light. A clear, child-like voice came out of its mouth. "Master, today is Wednesday. This is your reminder to visit the hospital for a checkup."
Ye Shaoyang froze for a moment. "Hospital?"
"You have scheduled an appointment for today at 2:30 PM," the robot said. "At the People's Hospital, with pheromone specialist Dr. Qin Yue. The driver will be here to pick you up in ten minutes. Master, please get ready!"
Ye Shaoyang checked the time on the screen on the robot's chest.
Star calendar. 2021. August 20th. 13:50 in the afternoon.
It wasn't at all the same time as when he'd gotten hit by a car. More importantly, this was some sort of 'star' calendar. Ye Shaoyang was familiar with the Gregorian calendar and the lunar calendar, but it was his first time seeing a star calendar.
Could he have crossed over to a brand new world after death?
Ye Shaoyang was a bit frazzled.
The cat in his arms seemed to sense his unease. It gently rubbed up against his forearms. Ye Shaoyang carefully cradled the cat and spent some more time on the balcony, surveying his surroundings. Nothing about the environment looked familiar. He hesitated there for a moment, then made his way over to the shoe cabinet to change his shoes.
Since he had a doctor's appointment, he figured he may as well see a doctor before worrying about anything else.
Just then, the cell phone in his pocket suddenly rang. Ye Shaoyang tapped the 'answer' button, and a sharp female voice spilled into his ear.
"Hello, Ye-xiansheng. I'm the driver you requested from our online taxi service. May I ask if you're ready to head out?"
"Just a minute, shifu," Ye Shaoyang said. "I'll be right out."
He got the cat settled in a pet bed and rubbed its head. "I'm going to the hospital. I'll be back real soon."
The kitty obediently curled up in the bed and watched him leave.
Upon exiting the building, he saw a car parked outside the residential community, waiting for him. When he opened the door, the driver turned around and asked, "Confirmation number ending in 6676, Ye-xiansheng, with a ride scheduled to the People's Hospital. Right?"
"Right." Ye Shaoyang climbed into the back seat.
The bustling metropolis was extremely modernized, with towering skyscrapers lining the streets. Countless crisscrossing overpasses formed a complicated web of pathways in the sky. Ye Shaoyang gazed outside through the car window and saw that all the cars passing by had license plates starting with '☆A'. His eyes filled up with confusion.
He stayed confused throughout the whole trip to the hospital, where he ultimately managed to track down this supposed 'pheromone specialist'. A young doctor wearing silver-framed glasses greeted him with a friendly smile and waved him over.
"Shaoyang, come here. Why is your complexion in such a bad state today?"
Ye Shaoyang sat across from the doctor and earnestly asked, "Doctor, can you take a CT scan of my head to check it out? I suspect a tumor grew in my head after I suffered a car accident, and that's why I'm hallucinating now."
The doctor froze, then laughed a short moment later. "Stop letting your imagination run wild. I just checked you out last week, and there's nothing wrong with your body. It's just that you're differentiating a little late in life. Overseas, there are cases of people not differentiating until they were twenty-four. You're only twenty-one, there's no need to worry."
Ye Shaoyang was still confused. "D… differentiating?"
The doctor patiently explained, "We haven't detected clear, defining pheromones in your system. But your parents were an AO pair, and your grandparents didn't carry the beta gene either, so you definitely won't differentiate as a beta. We still can't be sure if you'll differentiate as an alpha or omega. There's about a 50% chance of each."
The more Ye Shaoyang listened, the less he understood. He gave the doctor a skeptical look and asked, "Where are my parents?"
The doctor tensed for a moment before reaching out and laying the back of one hand against Ye Shaoyang's forehead. "No fever? Well, let me give you another checkup."
He led Ye Shaoyang into an examination room. After conducting his checkup, the doctor studied the results that popped up on his computer. With furrowed brows, he muttered to himself, "There's no problem with the brain, so why does it seem like amnesia?"
Ye Shaoyang was feeling increasingly apprehensive. He mumbled, "There really is a lot that I can't remember."
"Your parents passed away in a car accident one week ago. Maybe you've been hit too hard by the loss of your parents and can't accept it, so your mind is creating hallucinations." The doctor patted Ye Shaoyang on the shoulder. In a warm and gentle tone, he continued, "I'm your cousin Qin Yue. I'm also mourning the loss of Auntie and Uncle, but we can't change what's already happened. Try to slowly accept it. You're still young, you can't stay mired in this depression forever."
Ye Shaoyang was silent.
He absolutely did not have a cousin named Qin Yue.
Dr. Qin Yue got up and passed over a cup of water. "Let's do this. I'll call over a psychiatrist to give you a consultation. Wait for me here."
After the doctor left, Ye Shaoyang slowly came back to his senses. He turned to the restroom and washed his face with cold water.
When he lifted his head and caught sight of his reflection in the mirror, he saw an extremely fair-skinned blond who looked very sunny and handsome. Ye Shaoyang reached up and tugged at his hair. There was no sign that it had been dyed. Taking his whole look into consideration, was he mixed-race?
After washing his face, Ye Shaoyang slowly wobbled back to the table like a marionette. He took a seat and stared at the wall, falling deep into thought.
So, he died in that car accident. And his soul was transported to another world?
That was the only explanation for his baffling circumstances.
Ye Shaoyang took deep breaths to calm himself. He swiftly took out his cell phone and opened up the default web browser to search a few terms—League of Legends, Team GD, Captain Sunshine, and so on and so forth.
But each and every search returned the same result:
No results found.
…this really was another world!
He thought back to everything the doctor had just said about 'differentiating'. It sounded like it had something to do with his body's physical development?
Ye Shaoyang typed 'differentiation' into the search box, and this time the search came back with more than thirty million results. The topmost link looked very similar to an official Baidu page.
[Differentiation: Refers to the process which occurs when hormones peak during puberty, stimulating the development of the pheromone secretion glands and subsequently the designation of one of the three potential secondary sexes—alpha, beta, omega. Typically, adolescents will experience the process of differentiation between the ages of 16 and 18, but there are also recorded clinical cases of delayed differentiation.]
Ye Shaoyang blinked.
He could understand each word individually, but he couldn't process them at all when they were all strung together.
Three potential secondary sexes? What the hell was that supposed to mean?
He curiously tapped into the 'related information' section, but only found more unfamiliar words and phrases there.
Pheromones, omega glands, heat periods, marking, reproductive organs…
The more Ye Shaoyang read, the more shocked and alarmed he became. By the end of his deep dive into the subject, his mouth was open so wide that he could have shoved an entire egg in there.
This world was seriously messed up!
In addition to male and female, there were also the secondary sexes of alpha, beta, and omega. In other words, there were a total of six possible biological sexes for human beings.
Among them, omegas and betas—regardless of whether they were male or female—had the ability to become pregnant. Omegas could become pregnant more easily, while betas were less fertile. Alphas were incapable of carrying children themselves, but they could impregnate others. Furthermore, alphas and omegas secreted unique pheromones. And, during their heats, omegas would lose all control and beg for an alpha's mark?
Mark? It sounded like being stamped.
After thoroughly reading up on 'A/B/O science' and satisfying his curiosity, Ye Shaoyang found his whole worldview flipped on its head.
Both men and women could give birth?
That was a way-too-extreme way of increasing fertility rates! Ah, but the men of this world… Ye Shaoyang had to give props to them.
While Ye Shaoyang sat there in a stupor, Dr. Qin pushed open the door and reentered the room.
"Shaoyang, the psychiatrist is all booked today. How about you come back tomorrow morning? He has time in the morning."
Ye Shaoyang's fingertips twitched. He quickly put away his phone and flashed a tight smile. "Cousin, I don't need psychological counseling. I was just messing with you."
It wasn't a psychological problem. This body was the host of a brand new soul, so he didn't remember anything. Not even the deaths of his parents.
Qin Yue continued to look at him with concern. "Are you really okay?"
"Then, what are your plans for the future?"
Ye Shaoyang froze. "The future?"
"Uncle and Auntie are gone," Qin Yue said. "There's no one left to take care of you. I remember you studied baking for three years. Why don't you try opening up a bakery? If you need money, I can give you a loan."
Ye Shaoyang was now an orphan. He really did have to think about how he would support himself. But opening a bakery? He had absolutely no interest in making sweets!
He coughed lightly and said, "I'll think about it carefully when I get home. Thank you, cousin."
Qin Yue nodded. "Alright. Remember, you can come find me anytime if you need anything."
Ye Shaoyang got up. He and Qin Yue said their goodbyes, and Qin Yue arranged for a car to take him home.
On his way back, Ye Shaoyang's mind was filled to the brim by various thoughts—the him in his original world was probably dead after that car accident. His friends and family members would definitely be devastated by the tragic news.
He felt bad for his parents, his teammates, his coaches, and the fans who had supported him.
Now that he was alone in a new world, what was he supposed to do?
Ye Shaoyang unlocked the door with his fingerprint when he got home. As soon as he stepped inside, he heard the sound of meowing. He rushed over to the cat bed and quickly scooped up the fluffy cat.
Team GD had raised a cat before. Ye Shaoyang was really good with cats. He expertly filled up a bowl for the little kitty to eat from.
As he watched the white cat scarf down its food, Ye Shaoyang couldn't resist reaching out to rub its head. "From now on, it'll be just the two of us living together. Don't worry. I'll take good care of you."
The kitty only cared about its kibble. It didn't answer.
Ye Shaoyang noticed a small, dainty tag hanging from the color around its neck, with the cat's name written on it: Xiao Bai.
Ye Shaoyang curiously asked, "Do you cats differentiate between alpha cats and omega cats too? Can male cats have kittens?"
The kitty answered, "Meow meow meow?"
Ye Shaoyang rubbed Xiao Bai's head again, feeling a bit like an idiot for talking to a cat.
He turned and made his way over to the sofa, where he sat and mulled over his plans for the future.
Starting a business? Forget it. With his business sense, or lack thereof, the whole enterprise was bound to close down within half a month.
What exactly could he do to support himself?
In his previous life, he hadn't been a very good student in cultural subjects, but he had an outstanding talent for playing video games. He entered a youth training camp at the age of sixteen and won the first-place prize of the camp that year. At age seventeen, he signed with Team GD—the top team in the country. That same year, he won the Best Rookie award.
However, in the years after he joined Team GD, big changes came one after another. Older players were retiring one by one, and the team was constantly trying to become a cohesive unit with its new members. After playing competitively for a few years, Ye Shaoyang did take his team to win a few domestic championship tournaments, but they never won the world championships.
This was the main reason esports fans dissed him, and it was also Ye Shaoyang's biggest regret.
Should he continue to play esports?
The game that had appeared on his computer, Gods War, was also a 5v5 tower-based MOBA. Ye Shaoyang had spent many years playing this kind of game. With his solid foundation and years of experience, he could probably get the hang of it pretty easily.
He'd always lived with a 'you never give up until you're dead' mentality, anyway.
The fact that he never won a world championship in his last life didn't mean he couldn't win one in this life, right?
Ye Shaoyang made up his mind. He picked up the kitty that had eaten its fill, then went into the study.
Dr. Cousin was absolutely right about one thing. No one could change what had already happened. Ye Shaoyang could only accept reality.
Since the heavens had given him the opportunity to live again, he would do well to take advantage of it.
先生 (xiānsheng): Meaning 'sir' or 'mister'. Can be used on its own or as an honorific.
师傅 (shīfu): Can mean 'master', but is also commonly used to address workers in various fields—in this case, a driver.
小白 (xiǎobái): The super fluffy super cuddly super pretty kitty's name. Literally means 'little white'. The words '小白' can also be used to describe someone as pretty.