Mu Tian Heng took Mo Di and Lai De Si to the Michelin restaurant he had reserved in advance.
Lai De Si was touched: “After not seeing you for ten days, I didn’t expect you to become so human and treat me so well! But I won’t fall in love with you. In my heart, there’s already….”
“Get lost!” Mu Tian Heng was creeped out by Lai De Si’s voice and tone. He raised his leg and gave him a kick but Lai De Si was able to dodge it.
Mo Di was amused and couldn’t help laughing. He felt that ever since he met Mu Tian Heng and Lai De Si, the suffocating pressure in his heart was elevated bit by bit, becoming less oppressive.
Lai De Si saw Mo Di’s sudden laughter and immediately wanted to pounce on him, “Little brother, you dare to laugh at me? See how I’ll…OW—!”
Lai De Si backed away and once again covered his ass.
“Put your paws away.” Mu Tian Heng shot Lai De Si a dark look. This guy is getting bolder, he dared to try to pinch his little one’s face?!!
Lai De Si eyed Mu Tian Heng and felt unexplainable guilt. It seemed he was overjoyed and forgot his place. Luckily, he did not manage to pinch the little guy, or else he would be very miserable today.
“Aiya, starving starving! I’m really starving. Let’s go eat!” Lai De Si put on an exceptionally bright smile and quickly ran outside.
At dinner, Mo Di received an anonymous yet not entirely anonymous text message.
Mo Di quickly said to Mu Tian Heng after reading it: “She finally decided to break up!”
Mu Tian Heng thought back and realized that Mo Di was referring to Wen Ru Ya. He nodded and smiled: “That’s a good thing.”
“What? Who’s she? Who decided to break up?!!” Lai De Si chomped a big piece of lobster with cheese and asked in confusion.
“My eldest cousin’s girlfriend decided to break up with him.” Mo Di put down his phone and explained it in one sentence.
From Wen Ru Ya’s message, it was probable that she had already guessed his identity so she not only thanked him but also sent him her blessings.
“Uhm? Your eldest cousin’s girlfriend?” Lai De Si recalled that Mo Yi Cheng was the noble-looking man chasing Mo Di at the hospital. And oh, he was also caught in the video, looking upright and natural even when spitting out all those nonsense.
“Why is it that even such a scum has a girlfriend?!” Lai De Si let out a burp, then went back to thinking about how unfair the world was.
Mo Di: “…”
Was that a profound question that he had after eating full?
After dinner, Mu Tian Heng and Lai De Si went back to work while Mo Di returned to the villa and continued to work on his game.
At around eleven midnight, he received a text from Pang Qiang Lang. As if he was vocalizing his message across: “You really know how to make games?!!!!!”
Mo Di was silent for a while before replying: “It’s true.”
“And it’ll be done in one and a half months. The game this time is of normal production difficulty. After this, I’ll work on a game with a higher caliber.”
“Are you sure you can finish in one and a half months?”
“I’m sure I can finish it by the end of August but that’s to say that you don’t delay the drawings.” Mo Di drank some water from a cup and continued typing: “And if you’re still suspicious, then don’t join, just finish with the work that I assigned you.”
“Why not? It’s all my drawings anyways, there’s no reason for me not to join. If I don’t join then ain’t I losing out? When the game gets popular I’ll also get my share. Not joining only earns me a little commission money.” Pang Qiang Lang typed with confidence as he felt that his brain and logic were never clearer than this moment.
“I’ve decided to join you. You don’t have to spend too much on my salary. Ten thousand a month is enough. After all, you’re younger than me. I don’t feel good taking your scholarship money.”
Mo Di read the text and was relieved. These few days he not only looked for illustrators to commission but also artists who could join his team but unfortunately, they were not up to his requirements.
Mo Di was very welcoming towards Pang Qiang Lang. He typed delightedly and smiled: “Welcome to the team. But I thought that you were going to contribute without requiring payment.”
“How’s that possible?!” Pang Qiang Lang replied in a flash. “Let me tell you I’m not someone who can work and not ask for anything in return. I’m also snobbish and to me, benefits are above all else! Do you understand?”
“Don’t ever expect too much from me!”
“I’ll get off work right on the dot!”
“I will not work overtime either!” (TN: great resumé)
Mo Di regretted texting that line as a joke. He knew that Pang Qiang Lang was crazy and had a childish tendency but he still went on to feed his curiosity.
“Alright, I won’t pay you a cent less or make you lose a cent more.” He then sent Pang Qiang Lang a few character designs, sketch requirements, movement details, biographies, and also the game’s setting. “This is it for the time being. Draw these first and it’d better be done in a month. If you think that there really isn’t enough time, then tell me the parts you need help with, I’ll find another artist.”
“There’s no need for that. I have a friend who wants to join as well. His art is no worse than mine (but that’s only because he began drawing three years earlier than me!). What do you think? With the two of us, we can have the drawings done in a month.”
Once work was involved, Pang Qiang Lang was unexpectedly serious.
Mo Di thought it over and said: “It’s worth considering but I have to meet him first. I’ll bring along a contract. If he’s not bad then the three of us will sign an agreement, if not then it’s just us two.”
“Ok. Then I won’t send him those things you just sent me. These are confidential right?”
“Just like that and you trust me? Is it because my illustrations are too good, that’s why you wanted to seize me? But you can definitely rest assured, Brother Pang will not do that kind of thing.”
Mo Di: “…”
Can Pang Qiang Lang even stay serious for one minute?
“Um, of course I trust you.” Mo Di said indifferently.
In truth, the reasons why he sent the information to Pang Qiang Lang were firstly, he did somewhat trust him and also, more importantly, those that he sent were not too confidential. His objective for this game was just to pass the first round of audition, there was not much uniqueness to the designs. Secondly, this was also part of his test for Pang Qiang Lang.
Mo Di and Pang Qiang Lang agreed to meet up at the cafe from before at four in the evening.
When he arrived, Pang Qiang Lang was already seated with another boy beside him. The boy was extremely skinny and white, with several white hairs on his head, looking almost transparent.
“Hello, I’m Han Chao.” Han Chao stood up at once when he saw Mo Di coming.
“Hello.” Mo Di nodded, “Nice to meet you.”
“It’s nice to meet you too. I really like to play games and it’s such a great honor to be able to take part in the game making process.”
“That’s enough. You two stop with the formalities. Are you going to follow up with a ‘how are you, I’m fine, thanks, and you? I’m fine too!’” Pang Qiang Lang then made a mocking gesture, “Quickly, we’re here to work.”
“This is a picture that old Han drew before, Xiao Di(第), see if it’s good?” Pang Qiang Lang said with a smug. This top student’s name was not good, whoever addressed him would sound like calling their younger brother.
Mo Di heard Pang Qiang Lang’s teasing but he did not mind. He took the computer and started browsing through the pictures.
This type of nickname was just a harmless joke which carried no malice, therefore he did not put it to heart.
After all, the origin of his name was a lot more unbearable. The reason he was called ‘Mo Di(第)’ was that none of the Mo family members wanted to name him, so they randomly called him ‘Mo Di(弟)’, meaning Mo Liu Gui’s younger brother.
But at the time they registered his name, the staff mistakenly typed it as ‘Mo Di(第)’. Fortunately, the Mo family did not check and that was how he avoided being stuck with that kind of name.
TN: These are the two different ‘di’ mentioned here: 1)第 2)弟 The first one, which is Mo Di’s name, is mostly used with order or ranking like 第一 means first, 第二 means second and so on. The second ‘di’ usually refers to younger brother. So what Mo Di was trying to say is that he was glad to be named 第 rather than 弟, otherwise, his name would be Mo Younger Brother.
The Mo family and Mo Liu Gui call Mo Di Xiao Di (小弟) which means little brother, while Pang Qiang Lang and Han Chao call him by Xiao Di (小第) which is more like Little Di, but I don’t really like how it sounds so I’ll just stick to Xiao Di for both.
Han Chao’s drawing skill was indeed topnotch. His drawings were no worse than Pang Qiang Lang, and not only that, he was actually more proficient. If Pang Qiang Lang did not put in the time, he could produce six pieces a month. If he invested all his time then he could complete ten pieces. On the other hand, with adequate time, Han Chao could produce eleven or twelve pieces in a month.
Therefore, these two could deal with the main scenes and character sketches. As for the other scenes, supporting characters, equipment, etc, he would outsource it to other artists.
Anyway, he did not have high expectations for this game. Just passing the audition and the following elimination round will do.
Mo Di and Han Chao chatted for a while and the more they spoke, Mo Di found that Han Chao was alright. He was a little introverted but not unexpressive. For now, the trust was adequate to cooperate in this first game.
“Let’s sign the contract.” Mo Di retrieved the contract from its folder. “If this game received investment and is widely distributed, then as the key members of the original team, we can share the dividend as follows.”
“From here, I’ll stop with the politeness and be straightforward. The game’s creator, planning, testing, game concept and characters, digitizing and animating your drawings, it’s all me. I’m sure you know how much time and effort this takes and so I’m going to take eighty percent. The remaining twenty is for you guys. In addition, I will also pay your salaries during the production period. The outsourcing costs, sound effects, dubbing, etc, will be paid by me. I will take care of all the expenses during the production. I assure you, you won’t be taken advantage of.”
Mo Di smiled: “Actually it’s written clearly on the contract, you can see it for yourself. And let me say this in advance, whether the profit is sizable or not, I will continue to work on a second game, which means our work will not stop here.”
“Isn’t it just signing the document, I’ll sign.”
Once Pang Qiang Lang heard that there will be another game, he was immediately excited. Moreover, he felt that he already had a lot of benefits. He took a pen and signed his name.
“Honestly, I didn’t think that I and old Han could account for twenty percent. We’re taking advantage of you. We’re not stupid. Do you know how much credit you should take for this game? Not everyone can be a producer. Planning, creating, designing, etc, are also not what ordinary people can do even if they want to. Or else, why would game companies spend millions to buy copyrights of novels? And then there’s also the coding. You’ve completed almost all of the work except the illustrations. Keeping eighty percent for yourself, you’re actually losing out.”
Mo Di was pleasantly surprised to hear such serious and humane words coming from Pang Qiang Lang.
“That’s right. We’re even taking a salary and such a high dividend from you when our efforts and investment are way less than yours. More importantly, your skillset is the most irreplaceable one here. We’re really taking advantage of you.” Han Chao was older than Pang Qiang Lang and was now twenty years old. He said with a little embarrassment.: “You’re only seventeen, right? That’s just too incredible. I’m very happy and honored to be able to work with you.”
Mo Di smiled and mutually sealed the business deal: “I’m also honored to work with you two.”
“Wei, when is your birthday? Quickly grow up! Being ordered around by a minor, how can I be so twisted?” Pang Qiang Lang began his non-human speech again.
Mo Di had now learned to ignore him and so, Pang Qiang Lang was totally disregarded.
“That’s right Xiao Di, which month is your birthday? I’ve done a little research of the constellation signs, tell me, when were you born?”
“…” Mo Di was speechless. Didn’t Han Chao seem more intelligent just a moment ago? But seeing that the two were relentless, he replied: “October 31st.”
Han Chao: “Xiao Di, you’re a Scorpio.”
“What’s unique about Scorpio?” Pang Qiang Lang asked Han Chao.
Han Chao: “Black belly. White outside and black inside just like a black sesame filled dumpling.”
Pang Qiang Lang gave Han Chao a complicated expression, then turned to look at Mo Di: “That’s so not accurate.”
Mo Di: “…”
After the agreement was signed and the details agreed upon, Mo Di left. The three of them created a chat group called ‘Dream Chasing Team Wechat Group’.
Mo Di, with no naming sense, was the one who named it. Pang Qiang Lang and Han Chao mulled over it for some time but in the end, did not object since they both also had no naming sense and could not come up with a good team name.
In the days to come, things only got busier.
Once his eyes were opened, Mo Di would be coding. Even when they were closed, his head would still be filled with computer codes. He slept less than four hours a day and eventually, dark circles, one by one, appeared under his eyes.
Seeing Mo Di busy to such an extent, Mu Tian Heng felt proud of his favorite little guy’s capabilities, but on the other hand, there was also heartache. He wanted to introduce one or two IT programmers to help Mo Di but Mo Di refused.
Compared to his last life, things were a whole lot better now. At least he was not in constant fear or on high alert. He was in a safe environment where he could create freely, so no matter how worn out he was, he was still happy.
Furthermore, he already relied on Mu Tian Heng to ward off the Mo family and Qin Cheng Yi. In other aspects of his life, he would prefer not to depend on Mu Tian Heng for help.
Mu Tian Heng was quite vexed by his family’s little guy’s independence which gave rise to a small sense of crisis.
He was only seventeen and already was not dependent on him. Wait till he was twenty plus, wouldn’t it be worse? By then wouldn’t he be a useless old beast who only knew how to gnaw on tender grass?!!
TN: I’m not sure if everyone’s familiar with the term ‘old cattle chewing on young grass’ or something along those lines. It refers to a couple with a large age gap, the older person is the old cattle (MTH) while the younger one is the grass(MD).
This definitely can’t go on!!!
On this day, Mu Tian Heng came back earlier for once in a blue moon. After taking his shower, he went to Mo Di’s room.
To start off, Mu Tian Heng inquired about Mo Di’s life like an elder caring for a child. Then he let Mo Di explain his game project: what kind of game it was and what the programming was like. Mo Di was not at all bothered by Mu Tian Heng. He obediently explained and guided Mu Tian Heng through the program.
Mu Tian Heng gazed at the Mo Di sitting next to him, speaking softly and politely. Although he was tired, his eyes were filled with stars talking about the game, like a small poplar tree with unimaginable tenacity in its core. The soft and dark hair was dyed a tint lighter under the light. And because he had lost too much weight lately, the t-shirt he had on seemed a size bigger as it became loose on his body.
Mu Tian Heng looked as his heart turned soft and a little sore.
“Actually I also liked gaming and quite interested in game designing.” Mu Tian Heng said to Mo Di: “you know that my major was in computer and the work I do is also closely related to coding. If you’re willing to teach me, I’d like to learn a bit about making games.”
“Of course I can teach you. Brother, you’re so talented, in no time you’ll be an expert.”
Mo Di did not think that helping Mu Tian Heng was adding on to his workload. Towards Mu Tian Heng, Mo Di only had gratitude and guilt. He only hoped to be able to make it up to him, there was no room to feel bothered.
Mu Tian Heng was really a quick learner. As expected from someone who had graduated from H University of America and created the ‘impression’ website just in his junior year, his talent was not something an ordinary genius could compare to. After he had mastered the procedures, his first request was to do a chapter that Mo Di had not completed to test his skills.
Mo Di gawked at Mu Tian Heng and finally understood something. His heart was instantly filled with warmth as if it was poured with hot soup.
But he did not say anything or rejected the offer.
His refusal would not make it up to Mu Tian Heng and nor help him repay his gratitude any faster. After the game’s completion, the possible investment will be partly used to make his next game and the rest, he would give it all to Mu Tian Heng.
When Mu Tian Heng got the full directions for the unfinished chapter, he let out a smile and said: “It’s important to balance between work and rest. I’ll take you out for a breather in a few days, let you relax for a bit, how about it? It won’t take long, just a couple of hours.”
“Ok. But let’s wait till I’m done with the tenth chapter.” Mo Di’s eyes bent and he also smiled at Mu Tian Heng. After the tenth chapter, the remaining work should be reduced considerably. He should be able to relax when there was less stress.
“Good.” Mu Tian Heng rubbed Mo Di’s hair and said tenderly: “You can do it.”
Lately, Lai De Si gradually found out that Mu Tian Heng’s almost inhuman work efficiency seemed to have gone up another level.
He was a little afraid of Mu Tian Heng’s abnormality. This was very unlike a normal human being!!
Even when they were overloaded with work, Mu Tian Heng had begun transitioning the time he got off from 1 a.m. to 12 a.m, then to 11p.m, at times, he even left at 10 p.m.
This was just shocking. How powerful was the will to avoid being a useless old beast that could only gnaw on tender grass?
And hence, with the help from Mu Tian Heng, Mo Di managed to complete the high-intensity workload on July 22nd. After being done with chapter ten, what remained was just the ending and fine-tuning of the whole game.
Their work progression was way ahead of Pang Qiang Lang and Han Chao. Pang Qiang Lang wailed across the group chat that he would complete the illustrations by the end of the month even if he did not get any sleep.
Finally, Mo Di could catch his break with Mu Tian Heng.
Mu Tian Heng took Mo Di to have a big meal first. In front of the restaurant, Mo Di unexpectedly met someone he had not seen in a long time.
“…” Gu Ran Ju’s first thoughts after seeing Mo Di were quite complicated.
His first reaction was that he wanted to have a round with Mo Di, after all, Mo Di was the first person he had ever lost to and he was quite unwilling to let it go. But thinking about the video and what he understood from the internet, he was a little ashamed and remorseful. The last time they met, Mo Di’s situation couldn’t be any good, and yet he still caused trouble. Hence he felt that he should not fight Mo Di at this time. However, the desire to win Mo Di in a fight was also strong. These clashing emotions were making him agitated.
“What are you doing now? Where do you live?” in the end, Gu Ran Ju could only squeeze out these two dull sentences in an angry tone.
Mo Di shot Gu Ran Ju a look and already, did not want to talk to him. He turned and left.
Gu Ran Ju jogged a few steps to catch up with Mo Di: “I’m asking you a question. What are you up to lately? Who is this man? He’s not a con man….is he?”
Mo Di really wished that Gu Ran Ju would disappear quickly: “I’ll tell you so you can leave quickly. At present, I’m making a game to compete in the game competition. I’m very very busy and have no time to fight with you.”
The rumor that the first Hua Xia game competition was going to be held had already spread all over the internet. Only the specific date and rules have not been announced yet. There was nothing wrong with him talking about it.
“Game competition!?” Gu Ran Ju eyed Mo Di suspiciously. “Are you an adult yet?”
“What does this have anything to do with adulthood?” Mo Di was a little impatient.
“Of course it does, I …” Gu Ran Ju surveyed the area and when he saw no one was coming, he whispered: “My father works in the system and heard a piece of gossip. There’s this old geezer that wanted to add the rule to ban minors from participating. That old geezer is very powerful and has a high position. The other old farts wanted to lick his boot so a lot of them supported this decision. There was some opposition, but most likely the rules will stick and minors will not be allowed to participate. If you’re underage then don’t waste your energy.”
“Ban minors from participating?!!” Mo Di’s face changed drastically. “How is this possible? Clearly last…”
Clearly, in his last life, there was no such rule!
“You’re lying to me, right?!!”
“Who’s lying to you? If you don’t believe me then forget it!” Gu Ran Ju was frustrated. He had never bothered to lie to anyone, ok?!
Mo Di stared at Gu Ran Ju. Seeing that he did not seem to be lying, his whole heart immediately sank.
Mu Tian Heng saw Mo Di’s desolate state and hurriedly held his shoulder, stooping slightly to look at him. He said in an anxious but gentle tone: “It’s ok, don’t worry. I’ll get someone to ask about this.”
“And then what?” Mo Di’s eyes became hot and he was nauseous with anger. How can this world be like this?!!! Ever since he got his second chance at life, it just won’t rest until he was dead again!!!
“If this is true, then these old people were joining up to make unreasonable and ridiculous regulations. This is not right and there will be opposition. What we have to do is to increase the number of people who disagree with the decision, inside and outside the system.”
“Don’t worry. It’ll be fine.”