Chapter 1: Lord’s Heart
In an early winter night in Beijing, the cold wind screamed as it went past.
By the time Wang Bo got off from work, it was already pitch black outside. He looked at his computer screen that was filled with code and let loose a sigh.
“Overtime complete. Now I can finally go home.”
Subconsciously, he looked at the lower right hand corner of the computer screen, the time displayed frightening him a bit. It was a bit over 10 o’clock at night. He didn’t expect that he would have work overtime for 4 hours today!
“Mother’s egg, when will these kinds of days be over? Five days per week, with four days of unpaid overtime. It’s really Hardship’s mother opening the door for Hardship, and Hardship arrived at home.” Wang Bo lamented helplessly, he wasn’t afraid of being overheard since at this moment, there was no one else in the company.
Turning off his computer, switching off the lights, then locking the doors. He finished this set of actions skillfully as he picked up the two mobile phones from the corner of the desk before leaving in the direction of the subway station.
After getting on the subway, he would be half an hour away from home. Wang Bo fished out his mobile phone to pass the time. Previously, he had taken two mobile phones; one phone is his country’s phone (Made in China), the other one is his leader’s experimental mobile.
The so-called experimental mobile is basically an ordinary smartphone, but specifically designed to run certain programs and games. The IT company that Wang Bo worked at wasn’t very big or famous, and it didn’t make much money. Therefore, going along with the fierce rise of popularity in mobile games, the company decided to take the opportunity to make some profit. In this period of time, they have developed many games and required all the employees to participate in the closed betas.
The closed betas weren’t for fun. They were intended for the sole purpose of finding new bugs or loopholes, so the employees didn’t really have much of an interest in playing the games. Even the Leaders didn’t take any interest in playing and directly tossed their experimental mobiles down on their subordinate pawns to find some steam buns to take care of.
‘Being the Leader is so nice’ he muttered to himself a little. Wang Bo plainly unlocked the screen. On the dim black mobile screen, was only a 3D effect of a heart symbol. He was unable to understand the game development department’s way of thinking; the heart icon is green instead of red, a little out of the sorts from common sense.
Clicking on the game directions, the instructions presented were very complex, an enormous amount of information flooded Wang Bo. Wang Bo wasn’t in the mood to examine it carefully, so he just skimmed through it quickly to understand the general idea of the instructions.
The instructions say that when the player opens the game, they are able to get the item: ‘Lord’s Heart’ which improves physical ability. With that item, no matter how weak a person was, he can transform into a human shaped fierce beast. Along with this piece of Lord’s Heart and a territory binder, the player can then become the territory’s owner and control the area.
Besides Lord’s Heart, there is also a item known as Territory’s Heart within the game. This Territory’s Heart can be seen as the second half to the Lord’s Heart. It can be directly used on a portion of the territory. After that was another flood of instructions; feeling annoyed, he didn’t read it.
Finally, this game can be deleted and restarted. If the person is unsatisfied with their territory, or some problems arose during the development of their territory, they can remove the Lord’s Heart and switch to another territory to begin development again. The territory the player previously developed will then be deleted.
After roughly reading the instructions, Wang Bo reached his hand out to the 3D Lord’s Heart and lightly tapped it. Immediately after, the image of Earth appeared on the screen. The green Lord’s Heart that has a 3D appearance appeared on the upper right hand corner of the screen.
The game opening uses the 3D animation style. The round Earth on the screen continued to revolve in a circle, and as if it was a Google Maps, the field of vision stretched and the far off view of the Earth turned into a close up one.
After that, something similar to the docûmentaries on the national geographic channel passed by; various countries swept across the screen one by one. Because Wang Bo was playing the game to find any loopholes, he wasn’t really in the mood to watch the opening sequence. Using his hand, he dragged the green Lord’s Heart that was at the corner to the middle of the screen. This effectively combined the Lord’s Heart with a territory.
When he released his finger, a dialogue box appeared on the screen:
Territory Location: Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand, Otago. Canterbury, Eternal Sun.
Territory Size: 1000 square kilometers (250,000 acres, 100,000 hectares).
Territory Population: 1 (Lord Wang Bo).
Territory Buildings: Roberts Castle.
Territory’s Heart: None.
Receive Territories: Yes? No?
Wang Bo gave the information a glance then immediately pressed the ‘Yes’ option. But after pressing the ‘Yes’, he felt as if there was something odd, after thinking for a little bit, he couldn’t think of anything that could have went wrong. Thinking that he was only overthinking things, he lowered his head to begin playing the game.
As a result, after he made his choice, the screen of the mobile phone stopped with only a few flickering words remaining on the screen: In the process of receiving territories, please wait patiently, Lord.
He continued to wait for half an hour; the subway was finally making its way to its destination, with the words on the screen still flickering.
Wang Bo tried to close the game to the point that he even tried to turn off the mobile, but it was all useless. The mobile phone seemed to be frozen, there wasn’t any reaction. He wanted to take out the battery, but he didn’t know what brand this phone was for it to have such an advanced integrated frame. He couldn’t take off the cover, so naturally he also couldn’t take out the battery.
Against his expectations, he relaxed a little. He didn’t want to work overtime and get more overtime work at home – Even if this was playing a game. What’s the difference between playing a game that you didn’t like and overtime?
Walking out of the subway station, a burst of cold air blew by. Wang Bo tightened his down-filled jacket and marched with large steps toward the housing area.
At the entrance of the neighborhood, a middle aged man was pushing an oven cart and selling sweet potatoes. Wang Bo recognized him, but he wasn’t familiar with him. He only knew that his surname was Liu, and he usually just called him Liu Ge.
This Liu Ge was very business oriented. He would set up a small vendor stall at the entrance of the neighborhood to do business. During springtime, he would sell vegetables, and in the summer, he would sell fruits. In fall, he would sell snacks and in winter, he would sell roasted sweet potatoes and chestnuts. All year round, his business would change, all while making money the whole time.
Seeing Wang bo, the middle aged man gave a passionate greeting: “Xiao Wang, why are you coming back so late? Why not buy a roasted sweet potato to eat? It’s still nice and hot. This old man’s sweet potatoes are delicious and nutritious. You’ll definitely have a good night’s sleep after eating one.”
Wang Bo’s face was thin. Being greeted so passionately, it would be embarrassing if he was to just walk by: “Liu Ge you still haven’t closed even at such a time? Alright then, pick a sweet potato for me – Hey hey hey, I say, you don’t need to pick such a big one right?”
After he said to pick a sweet potato for him, the middle aged man immediately picked the biggest one and placed it on the electronic scale, weighing it on one side while talking on the other: “You don’t know, Xiao Wang bro. The more tender a girl, the more amusing to play with. The bigger the sweet potato, the tastier it is. Xiao Tao, what are you doing? Your Uncle Wang is here and you’re not even greeting him?”
On the other side of the oven, a small boy in a thick down-filled jacket was revealed. Using a clear and lively voice, he said: “Uncle Wang, greetings.”
Wang Bo gave an embarrassed laugh: “Just call me Wang Ge, I’m not at the age to be called uncle yet.”
When the child came out, he was too embarrassed to ask for a smaller sweet potato. Taking along one’s children on such a cold day doing business really wasn’t easy.
The middle aged man wrapped the sweet potato in newspaper and gave it to him. He then turned his head toward his son: “What did dad teach you? Can you only say hello? Can you not say something else?”
Wang Bo took this chance to ask: “Right, Xiao Tao, what does your dad usually teach you anyways?”
The small boy’s eyes swirled a little as he grinned and laughing said: “En-en, dad’s also taught me how to recite Tang poetry, let me recite for you. ‘If you don’t work hard when you’re young, then you have to make up for it when you grow older’…”
Hearing this, Wang Bo almost swatted the middle aged man’s head with the sweet potato. What enmity and complaints do you have, even using your son to provoke me in the middle of the night.
The middle aged man was also embarrassed and quickly said: “I was just joking, don’t take it to heart Xiao Wang. The sweet potato is ten dollars and ten cents, just give me ten.”
Wang Bo handed over the money and took the sweet potato with him into his little nest. His home was co-rented with his friend. This friend of his was already asleep with an arm around his girlfriend for who knows how long.
He carefully put on his slippers and returned to his room. He peeled off the skin of the sweet patato and took two bites. The taste of the sweet potato really was pretty good. Sticky sweet and slippery. When you peel off the outer skin, what was exposed was the perfectly roasted golden brown center. The sweet aroma surged out, increasing one’s appetite.
Looking at the screaming wind outside the window and eating sweet potato, Wang Bo unwittingly began to think about his childhood in the countryside during the winter. The whole family would sit around the fire and his father would give him a roasted sweet potato. The sweet potato hadn’t been as big as this one, but he felt that the taste had been better.
After eating half a potato and letting his imagination run wild for a moment, he pulled out his mobile phone to take a look. The screen remained unchanged and still could not be turned off. So he could only put down the phone and clean up to get ready for bed. That way, it would automatically turn itself off after it runs out of battery power.
He turned off the lights, got in bed, closed his eyes, and went to sleep. After an exhausting day, he quickly slipped into the land of dreams. In his dreams, a heaven-like piece of land emerged: fertile lands, never ending mountains, bird singing and the fragrance of flowers, lush trees, free winds, leisure beasts and finally, a lofty, simple medieval style castle.
Steambuns = Problems
The Ge for brother