Kneel to MeChapters List
Chapter 31: First Arc 
Jiang Baiqi's heart pounded with nervousness as he watched the red dot representing the beetle rapidly approach the green dot representing the dragonfly on the screen. For an insect, this speed was already fast, but at this moment, it seemed painfully slow to Jiang Baiqi. He regretted not making it larger, so he could install a more powerful engine and make it fly even faster.
Finally, it reached the location of the dragonfly. Jiang Baiqi discovered that it was in a hotel, placed on a table. Song Juyao was not in the room. That's why the sound suddenly disappeared.
The beetle circled around for a few times nearby until it finally found a slightly open window and flew in. The space was filled with a misty vapor, and Jiang Baiqi couldn't help but feel that something was amiss.
Song Juyao was taking a shower when she saw the beetle fly in through the mirror's reflection. She wasn't startled at all, but the beetle seemed startled by her presence. It quickly turned around and flew away, but in its panic, it first crashed into the windowsill, then tumbled to the ground, spinning upside down. Finally, it flipped over, bumped against the wall, and clumsily escaped.
Watching the series of actions by the beetle, Song Juyao burst into laughter. She could almost imagine Jiang Baiqi curling up on his chair, burying his head between his knees, smoke practically coming out of his head.
She quickly turned her head and resumed her leisurely shower. The system automatically blocked any scenes involving privacy or those considered inappropriate for viewers under 16. Even the production team couldn't change this. Therefore, the live stream must currently be in a blank mosaic state, with no sound.
Song Juyao tilted her head back, feeling the gentle impact of water droplets on her skin. This slight pain made her more alert and aided her thinking. She knew that the beetle wouldn't fly far away; it would always follow her around. A slight smile curled her lips. Her clear eyes were devoid of warmth, like a frozen, crystal-clear lake.
By now, two-thirds of the scheduled live stream duration should have passed. The live stream lasted for half a month, as mandated by the court. After all, they couldn't make the show appear completely entertainment-oriented, could they? Setting a specific time limit meant imposing a restriction on the production team. They couldn't subject the defendant to indefinite torture in front of everyone; it would be inhumane and tantamount to crew engaging in lynching, although the difference between having this rule and not having it wasn't significant.
In any case, once the designated time arrived, the first episode would end, and the live stream room would automatically close. The production team could determine when to open the live stream channel but couldn't control when it closed. The defendant would also be ejected from the virtual world when the channel closed.
This was an unalterable aspect that the production team couldn't change. So, in the final third of the time, if the production team didn't want to lose face and end the episode as the losers, they had to race against the clock. Before the live stream channel closed, they had to force Song Juyao to reveal her ugly side of humanity. What kind of design would they come up with?
Clearly, a dangerous and terrifying plan that would leave her with no good choices was the most suitable. Kidnapping? Yes, kidnapping. After kidnapping her, they could force her to make a choice: let the other person die or sacrifice herself and let someone else live.
They couldn't kidnap children because sacrificing oneself for the sake of children is something that many viewers would understand and be moved by. Humans are willing to sacrifice themselves for the continuation and survival of the future generation, passing on their genes.
So they would have to kidnap an adult. Seeing this scene viewers would have thoughts like, ‘Why should I sacrifice? Why don't you sacrifice instead?’ In such a situation, if she chose to sacrifice herself, many viewers would feel displeased. Rather than seeing her as a good person, they would view her as saintly and lacking a personality. And if she chose to let the other die, viewers would also feel uncomfortable...
That person... the perverted murderer who killed her in this episode of the last issue would appear at this time.
It's truly something to look forward to.
The smile on Song Juyao's lips deepened. She turned off the water, carefully dried the water droplets from her body, applied moisturizer, and tidied herself up unhurriedly. She put on her pajamas and walked out of the bathroom.
The mosaic in the live stream room disappeared without a trace, and Song Juyao once again entered the sight of billions of viewers.
She seemed completely oblivious to the ill intentions of the production team. After playing with the cat on the bed for a while, she cuddled it and fell asleep.
The beetle flew in again from the bathroom, its wings buzzing. It eventually settled in a corner, its eyes darting around, taking in the scene in the bedroom.
【Is that Jiang Baiqi's beetle? It must be. It's such a big bug, so scary!】
【Ahhh, it's our Baiqi's beetle! That's great. I thought our CP was done for!】
【Is it Jiang Baiqi's turn to stalk and peep at Song Juyao now?】
【A weird couple.】
【Luckily, they like each other. Otherwise, this behavior would be creepy and disgusting.】
Jiang Baiqi's anxious heart calmed slightly when he saw Song Juyao. He stared at her for a while, wondering if she had noticed the beetle earlier. He had been too flustered and hadn't paid attention to Song Juyao's gaze. Perhaps she had seen it, or perhaps not. If she had, she seemed completely indifferent and hadn't picked up the dragonfly to call out to him.
With this thought in mind, that uncomfortable feeling in his heart resurfaced. He decided to assume that she hadn't seen it.
Unable to fall asleep, he kept his eyes fixed on Song Juyao's sleeping face until the sky outside gradually brightened. Then, he gradually closed his eyelids and fell asleep.
However, this sleep was very restless. Song Juyao's porcelain-like fair skin and her beautifully sculpted body swayed in his dreams. He felt dazed and feverish, eventually waking up drenched in heat.
He was so stiff that he spent a good half hour in self-isolation against the bathroom wall before finally coming out.
After leaving school, Song Juyao started moving around the city, carrying her luggage and her cat during the day, and staying at a new hotel at night.
Meanwhile, the police station where Ren Jiaqi worked received several reports of missing women, the youngest being 18 years old.
He felt uneasy and called Song Juyao.
"Are you doing well lately? Don't wander around outside," Ren Jiaqi said. He knew that Song Juyao had left Jinke Duola, and although her ordeal pained him, he had to be patient for now.
Song Juyao hung up the phone, checked the weather, and decided to go mountain climbing today.
The beetle followed Song Juyao as she ascended the mountain. The beetle had been following her for several days, and Jiang Baiqi silently observed like a voyeur, not saying a word.
He felt that if he spoke up on his own, he would seem like a fool, as if he was informing Song Juyao that he had been tamed by her. But what would she think? Would she show a surprised expression and then apologize to him? Just imagining such a scene made his heart feel like it was being tightly squeezed by a hand.
A speck of dust actually believed that the sun had taken notice of him. Anyone who heard that would laugh at the dust for thinking too highly of itself.
During class, Jiang Baiqi glanced at his handheld computer and saw that Song Juyao was going mountain climbing today. He was about to retract his gaze when suddenly, he paused. He enlarged the surveillance footage and saw that someone seemed to be following Song Juyao.
He lost interest in the class and simply got up and left.
The teacher was giving a lecture at the front of the classroom, and yet he stood up and left so arrogantly. However, his presence was so low that it wasn't until the wind blew in through the back door that some classmates turned their heads, wondering if someone had just left.
Jiang Baiqi kept his eyes on the suspicious person and realized that he was indeed tracking Song Juyao, acting secretively. However, it seemed that Song Juyao had also noticed that she was being followed. She calmly mingled with the crowd of mountain climbers and quickly distanced herself from the suspicious individual.
The beetle mainly followed Song Juyao, and its surveillance range was limited. After Song Juyao shook off her pursuer, the beetle flew away with her. But what made Jiang Baiqi feel alarmed was that no matter how many times Song Juyao managed to throw someone off, another person would quickly start following her again. It was as if there was a group of people watching her every move.
This dangerous and eerie situation caught Jiang Baiqi's utmost attention. For several consecutive days, he observed Song Juyao and her trackers. He also helped Song Juyao report to the police, but those lazy policemen didn't show any action at all. He suspected that the high-ranking individual whom Song Juyao had offended was behind all of this.
Meanwhile, the number of missing women continued to increase. Ren Jiaqi was overwhelmed with work, and every day he would make a phone call to Song Juyao to remind her to stay safe and to consider returning to Jinke Duola Academy.
"Don't worry about me. I'll protect myself. After all, you taught me self-defense." Song Juyao said helplessly.
Jiang Baiqi silently hacked into Song Juyao's phone and sent her news articles about female police officers and self-defense instructors being killed or assaulted.
Song Juyao glanced at it, seemingly unconcerned, and closed the news notifications.
Jiang Baiqi: ...
As night fell, Song Juyao showed no intention of returning to the hotel. She strolled along the old streets of a small town. The narrow roads of the old street were damp with cobblestones. Occasionally, a small shop would emerge, with very few people passing by. During the day, it appeared tranquil and serene, but at night, it took on a somewhat eerie and terrifying atmosphere.
After purchasing a bracelet from a small shop, Song Juyao turned to leave. Suddenly, the expression of the shop owner changed, and he rushed over from behind, grabbing Song Juyao and dragging her into the shop.
Song Juyao struggled fiercely, elbowing the assailant's weak points. The person released their grip in pain, allowing Song Juyao to quickly escape. The person immediately got up and chased after her.
【Ahhhh! This is so scary!】
【Is this a temporary human NPC?】
【F*ck! Run, run!】
【Exciting! The production team is finally stirring things up.】
【I knew it. The duration of the live stream is entering the countdown phase. If the production team doesn't take action now, they won't have time.】
【Let me see what the production team is up to.】
The long street suddenly went dark as the streetlights extinguished, enveloping the surroundings in darkness. Song Juyao could only hear her own breathing and heartbeat. And the footsteps behind her were getting closer. Everything was planned, yet an uncontrollable sense of fear still surged in her heart.
Images of her previous encounter of this episode from the previous issue flashed in her mind—how the deranged killer captured and tortured her, the sharp pain of the knife cutting into her flesh, blood flowing out, and the twisted, disgusting smile...
At that moment, her heart called out for a name...
Her head became dizzy, her breathing unsteady, and she started to hear ringing in her ears. The footsteps seemed to be right behind her, so close that the person was about to grab her hair.
"Baiqi! Baiqi!!" Song Juyao shouted loudly.
In the darkness, the beetle in the sky suddenly shattered, splitting into dozens of tiny beetles that swarmed towards the man's face.
"Ah!" The man behind her let out a scream from pain.
The lights illuminated as Song Juyao turned her head and saw the man's face covered with a swarm of tiny beetles, their mouths small but sharp circular blades that tore through flesh. In the blink of an eye, his face was covered in blood, no patch of skin left unharmed.
His eyelids were gnawed through, his eyeballs were also gnawed out, and he crawled and screamed in agony as he tried to escape.
【So that's why Song Juyao took a liking to him!】
【Awesome! I want one too!】
【I'll never find bugs disgusting again. Having one like this by my side would make me feel so safe!】
Song Juyao took several deep breaths, swallowed nervously, her voice trembling, "Ah-Qi, that's enough. It's okay."
However, Jiang Baiqi allowed the tiny beetles to continue gnawing for a while longer before commanding them to return.
The small beetles flew up from the man's face, which had become a pockmarked mess of blood and flesh. They reassembled into a large beetle, but with bloodstains on its body. It flew into a small puddle by the roadside, rolling around for a couple of turns before flying back to Song Juyao.
She cupped it in her hands, holding it close to her chest, her hands trembling slightly.
Everything happened so quickly. Song Juyao leaned against the wall, the beetle wriggled free from her hands, inspected the surroundings from above, then flew down and perched on Song Juyao's shoulder.
"You knew I'm here?" Jiang Baiqi's low, husky voice emanated from the beetle, concealing a subtle sense of joy.
"I know, Ah-Qi. You've been with me all along." Song Juyao said, turning to leave.
"...Aren't you going to report it to the police?" Jiang Baiqi rubbed his burning ears and felt his heart suddenly lighten, only a trace of the hostility that had just bubbled up when he saw Song Juyao being attacked, remained.
"Ah-Qi, can you come out?" Song Juyao said, "I want to see you."
Jiang Baiqi froze, sensing a little tremor in her voice, his heart felt as if it had been pricked by a needle. By the time he reacted, he had already scaled the school wall and left.
Jinke Duola was over two hours away from where Song Juyao was. Jiang Baiqi was worried about her the whole way, while Song Juyao waited for him at the bus stop.
From a distance, Jiang Baiqi saw the slender and fragile-looking girl sitting there. Her head was hanging down, her neck was white and delicate, as if it could easily be broken, making people feel a sense of pity from the bottom of their hearts. As if sensing something, she looked up, gazing at him with anticipation.
It was like Cupid's arrow struck him in that instant.
When Song Juyao saw him getting off, she immediately stood up and ran towards him, throwing herself into his arms and embracing him tightly.
Jiang Baiqi froze, his hands slightly spread, unsure of what to do, his heart seemed to leap out of his throat.
The light on her body seemed to envelop him as well, this gloomy young man with a low sense of presence seemed to be radiating light.
【Ahhh, it's a breathtaking love story!】
【They're locked! I've swallowed the keys!!!】
【Thinking about this episode is coming to an end, my CP is going to be dismantled. It hurts.】
【Don't be so emotionally invested. In the next season, Song Juyao might fall in love with someone else.】
【I still think there are other reasons why Song Juyao likes Jiang Baiqi, not genuine feelings.】
【So, did the garbage production team just fail again?】
The production team was stunned. Due to the limited scope of the live broadcast, Jiang Baiqi's beetles were mostly outside the broadcasting range. Moreover, they hadn't taken Jiang Baiqi or the beetle seriously. Who would have expected such power? What kind of passerby was this? Shouldn't important characters have automatically generated character cards? Yet, they didn't have Jiang Baiqi's character card at all!
But most importantly, the person who attacked Song Juyao just now was not their temporary NPC!
"What just happened?!!"
"I don't know. Maybe it was an NPC who became infatuated with Song Juyao?"
"Explain it to the audience!"
They weren't the ones who sent that person. Why should they be blamed and called trash? They had meticulously planned this time; they couldn't have just acted recklessly!
The production team quickly explained to the audience that the recent incident was not part of their design and had nothing to do with them.
Jiang Baiqi was a bit emotional. He took Song Juyao to his house.
Jiang's family lived in this city, and his house was not far from Jinke Duola. Usually, students within this distance choose to be day students, just like his younger brother who attended First Middle School. However, Jiang Baiqi chose to stay in the dormitory.
His parents were surprised to see their son suddenly return, especially when he brought a girl with him, and not just any girl but the famous nation's daughter, Song Juyao!
"Hello, Uncle and Auntie." Holding Jiang Baiqi's hand, Song Juyao greeted them with a shy smile.
Jiang Baiqi couldn't wait to drag her to the basement. It was his territory, locked by a lock he made himself. No one else in the Jiang family could go down to see, and they weren't interested either.
As they watched Jiang Baiqi lead Song Juyao into the basement, the three members of Jiang's family exchanged glances, all wearing the same horrified look on their faces.
The basement was filled with many things, including Jiang Baiqi's mechanical bugs, which were made here.
Jiang Baiqi took a tool from a shelf, walked to a corner of the wall, squatted down, and pried open a piece of floor tile in the corner. He took out a notebook and handed it to Song Juyao.
Song Juyao was puzzled as she lowered her head to flip through the pages and found it was a design plan for the mechanical insects.
"This is what Albert wanted." Jiang Baiqi said. When he was making the mechanical insects, he communicated with people on forums, and Albert, Song Juyao's mentor, discovered the remarkable things he had made and wanted to trade with him but Jiang Baiqi rejected the offer.
This was because he had already investigated Albergar's identity before Albert could investigate him. Despite being a scientist, Albert came from a family of foreign arms dealers, and his mechanical insect technology had nothing to do with the research of the Olympic Prize team. So, his motive was most likely for his family.
Items sold by arms dealers were meant for war, not peace. That's why he refused to sell the core technology to Albert.
And now, he was revealing everything to Song Juyao.
"Believe me, I'm more valuable than these things." He said, his voice low and tinged with urgency, as if afraid that Song Juyao would no longer want him once she had taken those items. He had been regretting not giving her what she might have needed before she left Jinke Duola, which was why she had been unwilling to speak with him.
Song Juyao was taken aback. She had been somewhat angry, but upon seeing the unease and pleading hidden in his big, innocent eyes, her heart softened. "I wasn't looking at you because of those things," she said.
She stuffed the notebook back into his hands and gazed into his eyes. "You're the most special and radiant presence in this world. In my eyes, there's no one more captivating than you."
Jiang Baiqi looked into her eyes and felt himself falling deeply, almost drowning beneath the surface. Yet, a trace of rationality still remained. He believed that perhaps something tangible, grounded in reason and evidence, might be better than ethereal illusions that resembled mere soap bubbles. He wouldn't fear falling into the abyss without solid ground, and he didn't mind it either.
"I saw it," he suddenly said.
Song Juyao was taken aback. "What?"
Jiang Baiqi continued, "The email your mentor sent you before you came to Jinke Duola. He asked you to find a way to get something he wanted from me. You initially had no intention of accepting the headmaster's invitation, but after receiving the email, you replied with a positive answer."
Jiang Baiqi accidentally discovered this while protecting Song Juyao from the hacker. It aligned closely with his own speculations; Song Juyao had come for what he had in his hands.
"That person just now was actually part of your staged performance, designed to lure me out." Jiang Baiqi looked at Song Juyao, his big gray eyes seemed calm on the surface, but something wild was lurking beneath this calm. And he clearly saw his own changes, soberly watching himself sinking deeply.
He became obsessed with her gaze, intoxicated by the feeling of being the focus of her attention. After all, the sun would always shine on others, and as long as he could be one of them, it would be enough. At least this wish could be fulfilled, right?
Song Juyao looked at him and fell into a sudden silence.
【Am I dreaming???】
【A stunning reversal in the love story???】
【Ahhhh, it can't be true!!!】
【Song Juyao has accepted it!】
【Hahaha, I knew it! Song Juyao could never truly like Jiang Baiqi! Just as I suspected!】
【Poor little speck of dust, deceived by a heartless woman.】
Production team: ??? We're shocked too!
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