Chapter 8 - Ideas
Opening the game cabin, Ouyang Shuo found that it was already 6 AM. After a simple wash up, he grabbed his workout clothes, ready to go downstairs for a run.
Having just moved to the district, he was not familiar with the surrounding area, and was ready to run a few laps around the block to see everything. To one side was a row of trees, with several older men doing tai chi.
In the square, there were some older women also up early, moving to some music, practicing a communal dance. It was such a peaceful scene and being just out of the game, he almost fell into a trance.
After his run, he found a breakfast shop, and picked up soy milk, fried dough sticks, buns, and sugar packets. He headed back home and quickly downed the breakfast. Needing a change of clothes, he decided to take a hot bath. Opening up the bathroom door, he was instantly stunned.
He saw Sun Xiaowei sitting there on the toilet, her eyes hazy with sleep, hair a bit of a mess. She was wearing a printed pajamas top, the bottoms under the soles of her feet. She had her kitty-kitty underpants in her hands, ready to stand up.
Her forbidden white thighs were exposed to his sight, and the black hair between them was clearly visible. She looked up to see Ouyang Shuo standing there, and her narrow eyes instantly opened very, very wide.
“AHHHHHHHH, PERVERT!!!!!!” she screamed, voice rapidly ascending somewhere beyond what Shuold’ve been humanly possible.
Ouyang Shuo’s natural reaction was to turn and flee. He slammed the door closed, subconsciously wiping his nose with his hand. “Ah, close call.” He muttered. Fortunately, he hadn’t gotten a spontaneous nosebleed, or he would have been really embarrassed.
Through his mind repeatedly flashed the picture of those flowery white thighs and the naughty black hair… No, no, don’t think about it, it is too evil, hehe...
In order to avoid even more embarrassment, Ouyang Shuo went to Bing’er’s room. The little girl had not gotten up. It seemed yesterday had completely worn her out, and she hadn’t even stirred.
Opening the door, Ouyang Shuo first opened the curtains, letting warm sunlight into the room. Going to her bedside, he saw his sister with her hand in her mouth, and the other one stretched out onto the quilt, exceptionally cute. He pinched her little nose, saying softly, “Little lazy pig, get up now!”
She shoved his hands away, her eyes not opening, whispering in confusion, “Bad brother, you are bullying me again. Let Bing’er sleep for a while. I’m sleepy.”
“Baby sister, you cannot sleep anymore, or else you will be late for school.”
The little girl reluctantly opened her eyes, then hurriedly said, “Ah! Bing’er forgot today was a school day, smelly brother did not wake me early.” Quickly she clambered up from the quilt, dashing to wash up.
Back in the living room, Xiaoyue had already changed her clothes and was ready to go out. Seeing Ouyang Shuo, her face flushed a bit as she stared fiercely at him.
Ouyang Shuo was indeed a bit embarrassed. Although he did not intentionally do anything wrong, the other side was a girl, and he was clearly at a disadvantage. As a man, he had to put on a strong front, and pretend nothing had happened. “I bought breakfast, let’s eat!”
Xiaoyue didn’t seem to be that kind of fake person, so there was no need to be overly polite as she simply nodded in agreement. They waited until Bing’er had washed and changed into good clothes. The three of them sat down and enjoyed a delicious breakfast together.
After breakfast, Xiaoye was the first to go. Ouyang Shuo let Bing’er run quickly back to her room for a dress. Today, he was personally going to walk her to school.
Along the way, his little sister was smiling. Her brother was personally walking her to school, how could she not be happy?
Getting back from the school, Ouyang Shuo opened up his handbrain, heading for the game forum. The forum ID was naturally associated with the game ID, but most people posted anonymously.
The top post was made by someone called Big Butler. The title of it was “High-Priced Acquisition of Game Currency, effective long-term!” The post mentioned that Big Butler would be paying a credit point per one bronze of ingame currency, with unlimited amounts acceptable.
The posted price point was basically one million credits for one gold piece.
There was an immediate uproar after the post came out. Players were rejoicing, looking at overnight riches.
The indirect result of this post was that there were now countless professional studios turning their eyes to Earth Online. Countless top players now settled into Earth Online, ready to get to work.
Ouyang Shuo knew the person posting. In his past, Big Butler was also a very famous person. He was one of the Six Tyrants of Handan, working as the financial director for Chun Shenjun.
Chun Shenjun’s real life identity was the first successor of the Tianhe Consortium, Zhao Mingcheng. He had a blend of a businessman’s cunning nature and a old world strategist’s ruthlessness, a very contradictory figure.
Tianhe Consortium was one of the largest consortiums in China. They were skilled in high-end equipment manufacturing, especially in regards to aerospace equipment. Earth Online had been commissioned under the name of Tianhe Consortium Manufacturing Enterprises. The company’s space exploration branch was the largest of the commercial space companies, possessing every bit as much technology as the Federal Aviation Administration.
While the Handan Six held a tight hegemony, at their core they were quite alike, possessing great pride. The other people were not like Zhao Mingchen who held such a high profile, but they also lacked gold coins, and so they agreed to secretly arrange acquisitions. Naturally, with his financial strength, Mingcheng really was worthy of being the first amongst them.
Ouyang Shuo was not worried that the Tyrants could buy a lot of gold coins. Earth Online was a very balanced game, with the personal adventure path design very close to reality.
For now, the players could only afford the basics, maintaining their food and clothing. Buying equipment was hard; money was very precious. It would be at least a month before the high-end players starting overcoming the starting money hurdle and began to profit. Starting up a gold farm operation was clever, but they had to obey the basic laws of the game.
Naturally, the forums were divided with bitter complaints, whether they were lords or adventurers. The game was too real. Nobody could afford much of anything, and non-humanoid monsters would only leave bodies and nothing else.
Humanoid monsters would drop money or equipment but at this point, nobody had money or equipment, and most bandits were not something people could compete with. Store-bought goods were expensive and on the first day of the game, very few people even had bronze-class weapons. Even with weapons, maintenance costs would keep draining their cash.
Lord class players weren’t doing much better. There were too many things to build. Building a village from the basic resource base was very difficult. They couldn’t afford to buy building plans. If they went in the wilderness to try their luck, they had no soldiers behind them which meant that fighting bandits was simply unrealistic.
The players who had gotten officers from their Summoning Talismans had an easier time. At least, the officers could fight a little bit. Those who summoned administrators were unlucky, their territories were completely undefended.
With such contrasts, Ouyang Shuo finally realized how lucky he was. If he had not completed the Village Building Quest with 100% which made all of the rewards better by one tier as well as a hundred gold, he would’ve been far behind.
At the same time, Ouyang Shuo had to keep in mind that he had to stay alert and not become complacent. He would have to work hard to keep his early advantages, transferring them into the potential of his territory and developing them. More accumulation would lead to more advantages, building the foundation of his dominance.
After all, this dilemma of the players was only temporary. As long as you could make it through the early accumulation period, the gaps would all soon shrink. This was especially true of the Six Tyrants of Handan, who as representatives of power groups had a great deal of money and backers. In contrast, he was very alone. Earth Online was all about team building, so there wasn’t a great solo player who could defeat ten thousand people at once.
According to what he remembered, at some point in his past life, people had started looking for other lords and formed alliances. A good territory would also attract talented players. Ouyang Shuo believed in his own ability and in his ability to direct others.
Otherwise, people who tried to build by themselves could fall easily; it was difficult to grow. If the timing was right, roping in others could be done.
People thinking about the recruiting players would have to wait a full year. At that point, the nobody would have to worry about their life and people would be on the same starting line. This way, lords didn’t have to worry about real life issues by strong factions. Closing the forum, Ouyang Shuo began to look up all kinds of historical information on the internet. The past game had a famous saying: If you are not familiar with history, you are not a qualified Lord.
The whole game world of The World Online was produced by historical deductions. If you werent familiar with history, then there was no way to cleanly fit into the game. Ouyang Shuo took this topic as his main homework of the day, and planned to adhere to it long-term.
At 4:30 PM, Bing’er came home from school. At 6 PM, Xiaoyue came back from school. Ouyang Shuo made dinner again.
At the dinner table, Bing’er told her brother all about the interesting things that had happened in school that day. Xiao Ming had overslept, had come to school late and had been punished by the teacher. Xiao Li had worn a new dress today, but it had been dirtied by Xiao Hua; the teacher had made her apologize in front of the class to Xiao Li. Xiao Yi’s braids today had been very beautiful, so the girls had gotten together and had been taught how to braid hair by her. Ouyang Shuo smiled as he listened. There was a tacit understanding between them.
Only he knew how hard the death of their parents had hit Bing’er. For a long time, she had been quiet and withdrawn into her own shell. Every day, Ouyang Shuo accompanied her, comforted her, made her happy, and let her slowly recover over time.
For Bing’er, Ouyang Shuo was both a brother and a father. Outsiders couldn’t understand the depth of the feelings between them. That blow had turned Bing’er from a lively little monkey into a quiet little girl. In her class, she only had a couple of friends. Only in front of Ouyang Shuo would she once again become happy and carefree.
Being able to look at Bing’er’s healthy growth was Ouyang Shuo’s greatest happiness in life. Unfortunately, for the next year, Ouyang Shuo would be heading early to bed every night to enter the game. He had no way to accompany her to paint, to do her homework, to coax her to sleep, or to tell her stories.
Thinking of his sister spending every night alone writing homework and going to bed by herself, Ouyang Shuo’s heart twitched. This was absolutely unacceptable, even if he had to log in later to the game.
Looking up at Xiaoyue sitting across from him, Ouyang Shuo had an idea. After dinner, with Xiaoyue rushing to wash the dishes, he knew that her family education was good.
Waiting for her to finish cleaning up, Ouyang Shuo took Bing’er back to her room to get started on her homework, and also stopped to say something to Xiaoyue. “Wait up a moment. I have something to talk to you about.”
Thinking of the embarrassing events of the morning and that Ouyang Shuo was going to bring them up, Xioayue’s face quickly turned red, and she started to stutter. “Wh-what do you want to talk to me about?”
Seeing her with that expression, Ouyang Shuo scratched his head, and continued on. “Important things. It won’t take very long!”
Important things? I don’t know what he is thinking about, what is he going to say? Will he say I am responsible for everything? Xiaoyue thought crankily, sitting down on the edge of the sofa.
Seeing that Xiaoyue was acting weird, Ouyang Shuo cut the long story short, “You know that yesterday I started playing a new game called Earth Online. This game is very important to me and every night at 8 PM, I have to go online.”
“Ah? Ah?” she replied blankly. Wait, this guy is not going to talk about this morning. Well, he must have forgotten! Pervert! Rogue! The woman’s mind was so unpredictable
Seeing Ouyang Shuo looking so surprised, Xiaoyue wanted to slap Ouyang Shuo with her shoes. At this time, she could only try and cover up the embarrassing mood, trying to squeeze out a smile. “Ah, ha, yes. Please, continue.”
No matter how slow he was, Ouyang Shuo could see that she had a problem. But, all he could do was soldier on and pretend he saw nothing. He continued, “In fact, what I want to say is very simple. That is, can you replace me at night? She gets a fairy tale before bedtime! As long as you can help me, please name your conditions!”
“Oh this, no problem! I also like Bing’er, I see her as a little sister. No need to mention any conditions. As long as you cook dinner every night for us, I will do it!” Sun Xiaoyue said readily.
“Thank you, you are helping me a great deal,” Ouyang Shuo said, and did not say more. They were thinking alike, and there was no need to say more.
The embarrassed mood passed, but they had nothing else to talk about. Ouyang Shuo went back to Bing’er’s room, and saw the little girl quietly working on her homework at her desk, cute enough to kill.
Assured that Bing’er would get her story read to her by Xiaoyue, this set his mind at ease. Ouyang Shuo went back to his room after giving Bing’er a kiss. Although Bing’er might not have been happy with everything, she knew better than to bother her brother needlessly!