Xu Youyuan said, “After coming out of prison, I asked for a thorough investigation of the matter, but was refused because ‘the incident has been put to rest’.
The chairman and senior management do not want any more trouble.

  ”SQUALL is not afraid of negative publicity, let alone that which was reversed.
There may be some people talking about it for a while, but after a few years, no one will remember.
‘Reshaping the Universe’ has reached its fifth year.
Even if its revenue is showing signs of a downward slope, due to the rise of other holographic games, five years is a critical stage for a game that exploded in popularity.
Creating a piece of sensational news, at this time, to shift people’s attention back to ‘Reshaping the Universe’ might be a positive thing for the company.”

  Shi Ye, “What you mean is that this was all self-directed by SQUALL?”

  Xu Youyuan, “It’s possible.”

  ”But creating a big event just for a front-page headline is not child’s play.
Isn’t it too risky?”

  ”In addition to that, there is another important reason,” Xu Youyuan’s eyes and her low voice made Shi Ye’s heart tremble.

  ”Are you saying … someone wants to deal with you,” Shi Ye was puzzled.
“Trying to remove you from your position by putting you in prison?”

  ”I haven’t thought about that possibility.”

  ”If someone wants to send you to jail, why would he spend so much money to find someone to take the blame, then bail you out?”

  ”If something happened to me, it will prove that all the incriminating evidence is real and ‘Reshaping the Universe’ will get affected.
So how does it benefit SQUALL?” Xu Youyuan said, “At first, these thoughts were just my speculations; but when I was called back to the company and asked to resign, I knew that what I thought was correct.
SQUALL didn’t want to put me in jail, but it wouldn’t let me go easily either.
It wasn’t an accident, but a trap it placed for me to fall in.”

  Hearing this, Shi Ye understood the horror of the matter.
“Youyuan, what exactly did you do to become a thorn in their side?”

  Xu Youyuan’s brows sank in gloom and she did not answer Shi Ye’s question.

  This told Shi Ye that Xu Youyuan knew about it but was not willing to say it.

  She thought this matter must be very complex.



  Maybe, it’s a technical problem, which Shi Ye, a layman, wouldn’t understand.
Her best friend must have her reasons for not telling her, so she won’t continue to ask.
She believed in Xu Youyuan’s IQ and EQ.

  However, there was a matter related to her that she must ask about.

  ”Wait a minute, all this talk, what does it have to do with my sister,” Shi Ye suddenly remembered, “You’d better not be changing the topic.”

  Xu Youyuan smiled at her, “I don’t have a habit of changing the topic.”



  After the carrier incident, she felt an unprecedented danger and the attitude of the board of directors made her feel cold.

  It was a case of a pie falling from the sky.

  If it were 10 years ago, the twenty-something young woman might have just stayed in place, burning with anger when taking the blame.
If she can’t find the truth without a slap on the spot, she would never stop.

  Now, working in the industry for many years, Xu Youyuan understood that she alone could not turn the situation around; at least not now.

  What she could do was to hide in the shadows, gather her strength, and investigate secretly, to clear her name.

  As a producer and also the head of the team, whether it is the development or the pre-launch testing, the encrypted firewall construction problems.
Unless the inside story of the carrier incident is not disclosed to the public, she would not get off the hook.

  The company could bear most of the compensation, but Xu Youyuan must also be punished.

  Originally, her financial strength was not a problem, but the money spent on the treatment and care of her deceased mother was huge and it took its toll on her.

  The company also did not let her down and the final decision hurt her to the bones.

  ”You don’t have to worry about it, as long as you hand over all your equity and leave SQUALL.
We’ll figure out the rest and give an explanation to the public.”



  Taking advantage of her going home to be with her dying mother, the company hit her hard in the back.
Not only did they take away her child, ‘Reshaping the Universe’, which was the result of her efforts, but also ruined her reputation in the industry and society.

  She knew that SQUALL was finally going to start the project, which she was strongly against.

  SQUALL removed the trouble, Xu Youyuan, let her carry the blame, and tarnished her image, all in a bid to protect itself.

  Fortunately, she was tough and managed to withstand the adversities without breaking down.

  What broke her was not SQUALL, with its ulterior motives, but her wife, Xiao An; now considered an ex-wife.



  When Xu Youyuan returned home, in a mess, with her personal belongings, and wanted to get a good night’s sleep, she saw Xiao An sitting in the living room, waiting for her.

  The dog they raised together wanted to jump on her lap, but she didn’t let it.



  ”I know it’s sudden, and you’ve just been through an unpleasant experience, but I don’t want to wait any longer.
I’ve had this idea before your mother was seriously ill, and because I felt it was untimely, for fear of putting a greater burden on you, I held back from saying anything.
But I didn’t expect a moment of weakness to drag on till now, which is not good for either you or me.” Xiao An was wearing professional clothing, which made her contours tight and firm with compassion and desperation.

  Xiao An continued, “I think it is better not to delay anymore.
Who knows what else will happen next? I do not want to make us embarrassed.
Youyuan, you’re my closest person, I don’t want to hide it from you anymore.”



  No cheating, no arguments, and no twists and turns.
Xiao An talked to her in the way that adults do,

  Like the smiling faces of both sides when one side was taking a shot at the other, or the polite manner of speaking when dismissing an employee.
This is a war of adults, without gunpowder, that no matter what happens, a good image must be maintained.

  In the house where they had lived together for three years, the two lovers and legal partners took less than fifteen minutes and peacefully went their separate ways.

  The luggage was packed long ago and her friend’s car was waiting outside.
Xiao An waited especially for Xu Youyuan to return, said goodbye, and left straight away.



  Shi Ye said, “Your and Xiao An’s divorce was too sudden, caught in the middle of your mother’s death and career problems.
Why exactly did you guys separate?”

  ”No real reason.” Xu Youyuan thought for a moment and said, “Maybe we do not love each other anymore.
I placed all my energy into work and didn’t care much about her.
She felt as if she was single and tied up because of her family.
She thought that if it’s no different from being single, then why not just be single? I didn’t have any other ideas.
Since love was dead, there was no point in forcing it.”

  Shi Ye could not say anything for a moment.

  She and Xu Youyuan were very close.
But no matter how close,  she couldn’t say much about how they chose to live their lives behind closed doors.
It’s their life and they know it better.

  ”She thought I didn’t know what love is anymore.” Xu Youyuan said while looking at Shi Ye very seriously, “She thought I can’t love people.
She said that the gifts I sent her on various occasions were not because I loved her or because she needed them, but a habit.
Like the habit of getting up in the morning, brushing your teeth, washing your face, and then doing it all over again at night.
Day after day, the same old, without any passion.
She did not want to step into such an increasingly numb middle-aged life as she was already tired of it.


  ”Do you think she was right?”

  Xu Youyuan said, “I didn’t think so before, but after ruminating on it in the past few days, maybe she was right.
I disagreed with her previously because I did not have time to think about it.
Now that I lost my job and had enough time, I think she was right.
I do care more about work.
But how will I maintain my current life if I don’t work hard? If I don’t strive to move up, someone else will climb over my head.
Born in this era and this position, what other choice do I have?”

  Shi Ye knew: “So you were with my sister in this kind of mood …”

  Xu Youyuan had a headache, “Even if I am so annoyed, it is impossible to take the initiative to have sex with your sister.
As I said, it was a complete accident.”



  The divorce procedures with Xiao An were done quickly.
They signed an electronic agreement and didn’t even have to go to the Civil Affairs Bureau.
Everything could be done through the internet in this era.

  The two agreed to share the family assets equally, but of course, Xu Youyuan no longer had any family assets to share.

  Xu Youyuan wanted to keep the house for now and pay Xiao An in a few months.

  But Xiao An disagreed.
She wanted to go abroad and all her courses had been registered, with one last payment to go.
She wanted her share now.

  ”It takes time to sell a house.”

  ”I have a friend who can pay the full amount.
The procedure will also be fast, so don’t delay it any longer, Youyuan.”



  Shi Ye was a little angry, “It’s just a delay for her, but what about you? You’re not prepared at all.
You have just been through so much, and she’s pushing you to sell your house?”

  Xu Youyuan did not comment and continued, “The house was quickly sold, and as you know, I moved to the western suburbs to live.”



  After paying off her debts, Xu Youyuan was penniless.

  When she moved out of her duplex house in the city center, facing the bustling river, she had nothing except two suitcases and a backpack of other household items.

  The previous car was sold and replaced with a small old car without an unmanned driving system.
Fortunately, Xu Youyuan was old and had caught up with the era of driving licenses, so she had no problem driving herself.

  The money from the exchange was used to pay for a year’s rent.
In this era, even a one-bedroom apartment, in the western suburbs, had such a high rent that it was staggering.
However, compared to the tens of thousands of rent in the city, the suburbs were still very economical; except for being further away, which cost a little bit of gas per month.




  After cleaning, Xu Youyuan moved into the house.

  Living in the western suburbs for about a week, she calculated the money left and knew she had to find a job.
She was in desperate need of income.

  She could write code, draw, and even write some scripts.
Xu Youyuan has always carried a breath of air and never let up.
These years, she had accumulated a lot of contacts from work.
Xu Youyuan thought that even if she does not go to work, doing some freelancing to make a living would not be difficult.

  She never thought that all these contacts would leave her at the critical moment.

  The ‘Reshaping the Universe’ carrier fiasco, not to mention the industry, was also a household name in the country.
Xu Youyuan was kicked out of SQUALL because of this matter and became an abandoned dog; which made her fall from an industry leader to a laughing stock.
With SQUALL continuing to suppress her secretly, all the messages that she sent to her contacts fell into a bottomless sea.



  Thirty-four years old, tired of middle age, having just experienced the pain of losing her mother, the divorce matter, and falling from the clouds, Xu Youyuan found herself trapped in a valley with no way out and only herself left.

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