“Well, I have some in my thermos. You can use it later.” Xian Yu Chao said to Zhao Chun Cheng.
After saying his thanks, Zhao Chun Cheng went to use the bathroom. When he came out, he went to where Mo Di was standing to get the thermos.
“Ai ai ai, not that one. That’s Mo Di’s. Mine is the one with the blue band and sun motif.” Seeing Zhao Chun Cheng almost took the wrong bottle, Xian Yu Chao stopped him in time.
“Sorry.” Zhao Chun Cheng smiled awkwardly and went over to Xian Yu Chao’s bed to get the thermos. He randomly picked a topic and said: “I saw there are several types of shampoos in your bathroom. You guys seemed quite particular about this. Everyone in my dorm just shares a bottle of Rejoice.”
“It’s not that many, we only have three types.” Lin Jun Feng said as he climbed onto the bed, causing it to shake momentarily. “What I use is the Clear promotion pack from the supermarket which Salted Fish shamelessly uses as well. Chen Zhao that stinker uses some sort of foreign brand of men’s shampoo. Ai, every one of them just makes this father worry ….”
“Then the Beike bottle is Mo Di’s? Isn’t that a children’s shampoo?” Zhao Chun Cheng laughed and said.
“That’s because he’s too thrifty. That bottle was something he won from a supermarket raffle which he just didn’t want to waste.” Lin Jun Feng said and then sighed: “I suddenly feel a pain in my chest. Xiao Di is so thrifty and he still sent us red packets which we just accepted.”
Xian Yu Chao clicked his tongue twice and said: “Don’t pretend to be decent, you gambling king!”
“Let’s treat Xiao Di to some food when he gets back then.” Chen Zhao said: “How about the self-service BBQ place behind our school?”
The three held a meeting on how to treat Mo Di. Zhao Chun Cheng stood to one side and after a while, unable to join in, left with Xian Yu Chao’s thermos.
Meanwhile, Mo Di went to see Pang Qiang Lang and Han Chao right after he left the dorm.
Because of the pressure from Mo Di, Pang Qiang Lang finally made up his mind to have an upfront conversation with his parents. In exchange for enduring a soft beating, he was given a year of total freedom. He now lived in Han Chao’s rented apartment near his university.
“You’ll never guess how mad my mom was. You only saw her lady-like demeanor right? When she gets mad, it was almost like the earth exploding, no, more like the universe exploding!” Pang Qiang Lang pulled up his sleeve, “See, my mom gave me this with a clothes hanger.”
“…” Mo Di looked at the pinkish scratch mark and thought to himself without any sympathy: how light.
“Hai…” after Pang Qiang Lang was done with his complaints, he huddled his legs on the sofa and started eating watermelon.
“But the good thing is she eventually agreed and gave me a year to achieve something with my art and earn four hundred thousand, if not I’ll be shoved right back to high school immediately. Even if I’m super overaged, I’ll have to repeat until I can pass the College Entrance Exam! That’s why Xiao Di, to me, you’re extremely important! In this competition, we have to advance and at least get a good ranking at all costs. If not, I’ll be very very miserable.”
Han Chao at this moment suddenly yelled at him: “Pang Qiang Lang you’re dripping watermelon juice all over the sofa! And put down your legs!”
Pang Qiang Lang looked down and saw two red droplets of watermelon stains. He quickly put down his legs and said apologetically: “I’ll wash it for you tonight, ok?”.”
Ai, it’s pitiful to depend on others. In this one year, he has to make his mark!
“Therefore making a good game is very important for our group. For the next few months, we should give it our all.” Mo Di assumed the role of a veteran leader giving his team a prep talk, he looked at the other two and said: “After this update for Xin Wei Dao, it should be able to pass the second and third elimination rounds, but after that, using it to move forward could prove to be very difficult. So the day after tomorrow, we’ll start work on the new game. I’ll be sending you guys the documents tomorrow.”
“What’s the new game like?” Pang Qiang Lang was fired up: “Is it still this kind of online game?!”
“It’s not the same but you’ll know tomorrow.”
Mo Di took a notebook out of his bag: “What we need to do now is to recruit new members. Didn’t you guys pick out a few games with a good art style from the two hundred teams that passed the audition? Amongst them, six were eliminated and I have contacted the artists of these teams. Three of them expressed their interest in joining us. So you’re going to have new teammates. Here’s their information, you should try to get acquainted.”
Mo Di handed the notebook to Pang Qiang Lang and said: “After the three new members joined, the design team will take shape. So between the two of you, one has to be the leader and designate tasks accordingly. This role, which of you is willing to take?”
“I want to do it!” Pang Qiang Lang slapped his thighs, “but I know I’m not suitable to be a team leader, so…so Han Chao should be the one.”
“Um… I can try.” Han Chao although a little reserved, would never shirk his responsibilities.
“Ok.” in fact, Mo Di also agreed that Han Chao was more reliable as a team leader. There will be more programmers joining us in the future. I’ll keep you guys informed.”
“Our team is really frugal in both labor and costs.” Han Chao said with a smile. “Producer, planner, director, head hunter, Xiao Di, all these are on you. Only the illustrations and testing are done by others. You alone make up eighty percent of the work, we’re really guilty about this.”
“Don’t be. You guys are also crucial to the team. And I will need everyone’s help with the sequence for the upcoming game. And the testing as well.” Mo Di smiled as he checked the memo on his phone. “I’ve already had some interactions with the three new members. They’re quite decent, you guys should get along pretty well. As for the other miscellaneous parts, I’ll outsource them.”
Besides, they were not at the phase of the competition that required them to be isolated. The voice dubbing, sound effects, and other team members, he could take his time to source out the most suitable candidates which he preferred over getting shoddy ones.
“Ok. We’ll follow your lead. When will we sign our next contract?” Han Chao asked.
“Let’s do it tomorrow.” Mo Di looked at the time on his phone then put it away, “that’s it for the main points. If there is nothing else, then I’ll be leaving. See you guys at the same place tomorrow.”
“Don’t you wanna eat something here?” Pang Qiang Lang threw away the watermelon peel and said with a disapproving look: “Why are you in such a hurry to go back? Are you going back to see that old….old man?”
Pang Qiang Lang maintained his calm but was breathing a sigh of relief inside. He almost let it slip.
“…” Mo Di: “Don’t give others improper nicknames. He’s only twenty-eight, how is he old?”
“Twenty-eight is not old? He’s older than you by eleven years!” Pang Qiang Lang retort with concern.
Mo Di felt ridiculous, “Being eleven years older than me does not mean that he is old. Why are you only old-fashioned in regard to this?”
“I really have to go now. I have to go over the details and settings for the new game when I get back, otherwise, I won’t be able to give it to you guys in time.”
Pang Qiang Lang swallowed back whatever else he wanted to say.
Forget it. Maybe his head was filled with rubbish and that was why he was overthinking this? Mu Tian Heng is co capable and talented, he shouldn’t be that animalistic…. right?
Mu Tian Heng was not back when Mo Di came back to the villa. He coolly picked up Suan Suan who had been frisking about at his feet non stop. He went back to his study room to work over the details of the new game.
Suan Suan laid obediently on his lap, acting like a soft and fluffy hand warmer. It gazed at Mo Di with its black round eyes and wagged its tail joyously.
After completing a tenth of his task, Mo Di abruptly remembered that he did not monitor the Mo family’s activities for the past two days. He opened his laptop and brought up the surveillance two days ago.
Mo Di put on his headphones and fast forward until the screen shifted from daytime to nighttime when Mo Liu Gui and Mo Wu Hang appeared in the corridor outside his old room. They both had a troubled look.
“Anyway, I hate this about him very much. Who does he think he is to have so much control over me. He even got someone to monitor me!” Mo Liu Gui’s voice was faintly heard from the headset.
“Qin Cheng Yi is indeed at fault for this but he’s just trying to protect you. Xiao Gui, didn’t you see how many men approached you since you started school? They’re just a bunch of toads wanting to eat swan meat. They deserved to be kicked out of school.”
After Mo Wu Hang had broken his nose twice, although the nasal bone had grown back, it was still slightly crooked. With this, he would no longer be able to charm any more girls with his sunshine and elegant looks.
“Fifth brother, if you help him say any more good things, I will ignore you!”
“Ok ok ok, I won’t say it anymore. But Qin Cheng Yi should really get someone to watch that animal, find a chance to give him a beating, and kill him.”
Mo Liu Gui slowed her steps and said with some agitation: “It’s not right to monitor Xiao Di, fifth brother, don’t talk nonsense.”
After that, the two of them were out of the frame and the sound gradually muted. Mo Di was not looking good. He fast-forwarded the recording but there was nothing else that was informative.
Mo Di closed the window for this camera and opened the one in Mo San Zhi’s room.
This time, the useful information came even later. Near the end of the recording, Mo Di saw Mo San Zhi and Mo Wu Hang entered the screen.
“Third brother, you’re sure that Song Yu’s arrival here was that animal’s doing?”
“Correct. I found that Song Yu’s nephew is in the same class as Mo Di. It has to be that garbage’s scheme!”
Mo San Zhi, with an unshaven face, ground his teeth: “Song Yu had never suspected a thing before. He was also easy to deal with. It must be that animal’s handiwork. He tried to harm me! I have to kill him!”
“We should’ve just beat him to death when he was young! If it weren’t for Xiao Gui’s kindness, stopping us every time we teach that thing a lesson, he would be dead or disabled by now! How can he be this aggressive and vicious?!” Mo Wu Hang was indignant, “but now, it’s not wise for us to lay a hand on him. He’s no longer a Mo, beating him up is not just simply a family feud anymore.
“It’s ok. I have a way.” Mo San Zhi scoffed. “I want him to be worse than me tens and thousands of times.”
“Third brother, what are you planning?”
“Mo Di’s surrounding is not an iron plate, sooner or later, something will happen.”
“Third brother…” Mo Wu Hang stared at him in astonishment, “did you bribe someone?”
“Don’t ask anymore. More words, more mistakes. You’ll know when the result is out.” Mo San Zhi laid down on the bed: “Well then, you should go back to your room now.”
Mo Wu Hang was still curious but seeing Mo San Zhi’s irritative mood, he decided to leave in the end.
The footage ended.
Mo Di’s eyes were cold. He played the last two minutes of dialogues over and over again.
“Not an iron plate…” What did he mean by this?
Was Mo San Zhi planning to use the people around him to get to him?
Mo Di was furious and disgusted but he kept his cool. Now there were only three groups of people that he was in contact with. Mu Tian Heng and Lai De Si, he completely trusted the two of them and they could be excluded from any suspicion. The second group was his roommates, and the third group was the game production team.
In these two groups of people, he believed in the character of Xian Yu Chao, Lin Jun Feng, Chen Zhao, Pang Qiang Lang, and Han Chao, so they could also be excluded for the time being. But still, he would not put his guard down. As for the rest of the school and the three new artists, he would have to be hyper-vigilant against them.
According to Mo San Zhi’s motive, the person had to be someone who could have a lot of contact with him. This further eliminated another batch that left the two seniors, Zhao Qing Gong and Sun Ru Ru, the instructor Liu Chao He, the library administrator, Teacher Sun, and also…
Zhao Chun Cheng who repeatedly wanted to talk to him.
Mo Di’s eyes changed focus as he realized something was amiss.
He seemed to have overlooked a small detail this morning.
When Zhao Chun Cheng came to borrow their bathroom and water, his line of sight was always on Mo Di and his living area. His bed, his chair, and table, all seemed particularly interesting to him.
Mo Di immediately pulled out his phone to call Xian Yu Chao and the gang.
“Old Han, where are you?”
“Ah? I’m in our Go club. Why? You want to come back?” Xian Yu Chao’s side was quite rowdy.
“No, I just wanted to ask you something. Did Zhao Chun Cheng say anything about me or do anything after I left? Why did he text me an apology on WeChat?”
“Ha? ! No there was nothing in particular. He just went to use the bathroom and then borrowed some water.” Xian Yu Chao was baffled. After mulling over, he said: “Oh, when he knew that you use Baike shampoo, he said that it’s a kid’s brand. And after that, he almost took your thermos by mistake. But this is not worth mentioning, why would he apologize to you?”
“Perhaps he was too polite. Apologizing over this little thing. It’s alright.” Mo Di smiled, “but old Han, what I just asked, can you don’t talk about it. This just makes people think that I’m petty and Zhao Chun Cheng would be scared to hang around.”
“Don’t worry, why would I even spread this? Oh no, oh no, I’m busy here. Xiao Di, I can’t talk to you anymore, bye!”