The morning of the second day.
At home, Zhang Ye, who had just woken up, was still wondering about the dream from last night. As he yawned, he switched on the television, so that he could watch the news. Suddenly, he realized that there was an additional silver ring on his left pinky. It was clearly not something that belonged to him. He tried as hard as he could to take it off, but it was to no avail. Not only that, but when he rubbed the surface of the ring, a touchable virtual screen suddenly appeared. It was written in the same font as the messages in his dream. It said, “Game Ring initialized. New player incentive package, ‘Randomly changing existing world background’ is in preparation for augmentation.”
Incentive package augmentation initialization!
Following that, Zhang Ye saw an alarming scene.
The HTC phone that he had thrown on the bed began twisting and strangely changed shape. Even the brand changed and ‘TCC’ was engraved on it instead. One of the two pirated Xu Zhimo’s poem collection placed by the window sill suddenly disappeared, while the other became Chen Tianmo’s poem collection.
He could not notice all the changes, as many things within his house were undergoing changes!
What alarmed Zhang Ye the most were the changes on the television. The Changhong-branded television turned into a Feitian brand, which he had never heard of. And the main thing was the content being broadcast on the television!
“Mango TV’s new variety show, ‘Glittering Radiance’ breaks 1% viewership.”
“Wu Bang’s latest movie, ‘White Maiden’ breaks 500 million in the box office.”
“Heavenly Queen Zhang Yuanqi’s new song failed once again. She will focus on the film industry from now on.”
“Yesterday, the work of world-famous artist Dake, “Blue Sky”, was auctioned off in America.”
“Many people in the entertainment circle dedicated songs to the most influential Heavenly King of film of the 20th century, Chen Weishi’s, 10th anniversary memorial concert. Heavenly King Sun Yu teared up on the spot while singing.”
Zhang Ye looked at all of this for ten minutes in a state of shock. He still did not understand what had just happened. How did the television and cellphone change brands?
Heavenly Queen Zhang Yuanqi?
When was there a Heavenly Queen named Zhang Yuanqi?
And the 10th anniversary memorial concert?
Where did this Chen Weishi come out from?
How could he not have heard of him? Zhang Yuanqi?
Could it be that Zhang Ziyi had changed her stage name?
Was ‘Chen Weishi’ Eason Chen‘s new name?
That can’t be right. Eason Chen is still alive!
What sort of movie was “White Maiden”?
Was it a film Bai Yansong f***ing starred in?
When the f*** did he start filming movies?
Zhang Ye rushed off the bed, in a panic to open the curtains. He saw everything outside changing. The two old trees by the road had disappeared. Replacing them was a flower bed. A high-rise building far in the distance had turned into a shorter building, with only six floors left. And not only had a few buildings that were originally gray in color subtly changed position, even the color of the stairs had changed to a brownish-white!
Incentives augmentation has been completed!
Note: The real world’s background has been changed into a theoretical balance.
Zhang Ye’s face went pale. He picked up that unknown brand phone and examined it. The date and time were right. Today was the day two months after he had graduated from college. After flipping through a few pages of his contacts, he purposely called a few people. His close friends were still the same, but how could the changes in the surroundings be explained? Also, what was this game ring on his hand? Had the game ring really altered reality?
Zhang Ye could not believe it, as he switched on his computer to check the Internet. The more he browsed, the more frightened he became.
It had changed!
Everything had changed!
The music industry no longer had people like Eason Chen or Jacky Cheung.
In China and in foreign countries, people like Qi Baishi or Pablo Picasso no longer existed in the world of calligraphy or painting.
The divine song, “Perturbed“?
Mo Yan‘s novels?
Beethoven’s piano pieces?
The movie, “Transformers”?
The variety show, “The Voice of China“?
The famous painting, “Mona Lisa”?
They were all gone!
Seeing all of these things being randomly changed by the unknown game, he wondered if these were the game rewards he had obtained as the sole player. However, how did reality become a game?
And what sort of game was this?
“Contra”, or “Super Mario”?
Should he use his head to smash at a wall, causing a small magical mushroom to burst out, which could make him bigger?
Of course, there were things that did not change. Some important historical figures, world patterns and social environments had not changed. The Master Kong instant noodles on the table were still the same. LV was still a world-famous brand. A lot of things had not been modified. Was this the so-called “randomness”?
Something supernatural had happened!
What the heck had happened?
At this moment, thumps were heard. Someone outside was knocking on his door. The knocks were quite loud and were definitely done by hammering the door with a lot of strength!
Zhang Ye guessed who it was and pretended not to hear it.
After the person knocked a few more times, the clinking of keys could be heard and the door was suddenly opened!
Zhang Ye looked at the person who came in. He was thinking that even though the world had changed, the landlady was still the same landlady.
A woman in her thirties walked over. She looked very beautiful. Sometimes, the two words “very beautiful” were very hard to use in describing her. For example, she had clearly just washed her hair. Her head was still wrapped in a white towel, but her beauty, which could overthrow states and cities, could not be concealed. Her figure was exceptionally good. Her skin’s elasticity was clearly revealed and it appeared very sharp.
However, one could only understand this beautiful woman’s mean side through being in close contact with her for a few days. She could be as venomous with her words as you wanted. If not, how could she still be unmarried at this age? Just that mouth of hers made many unable to tolerate her!
Seeing that Zhang Ye was at home, Rao Aimin cleared her throat and laughed without a smile, “Kid, are you trying to play hide and seek with me? Why did you not respond when I was knocking all day? Are you playing dead?”
Zhang Ye turned slightly awkward, “Landlady, you came?”
Rao Aimin conveniently sat down in the living room. With a smashing sound, she slammed a calculator onto the table. Zhang Ye had seen her calculator numerous times in the past. Previously, it was a Casio brand, but now it had changed into a new brand that he had never heard of before. It started with a “K”. It even looked like the calculator businesses had been altered. “Why don’t you tell me what I’m here for? I’m here to collect rent!” Her fingers hammered on the calculator in a very well-versed fashion. “You haven’t handed over this month’s rent. Adding up last month’s utilities, I have already calculated them for you. The total becomes 2,582. I have already reminded you several times. Not one cent less is allowed! I tell you, Little Zhang.. I allowed you to pay rent monthly, only because you were from Beijing. Go ask around; which place would not first require you to put up a three-month rental deposit? How much special treatment have I given you?”
Zhang Ye smiled wryly, “Please give me another few more days. I really don’t have any money on hand right now. Once I find a job, I’ll give it to you.”
Rao Aimin elegantly swept her fingers, “If you don’t have any money, get lost now!”
Zhang Ye pleaded, “You know my situation.The rent I previously gave you was all money from my elders. I only have that much money. If you were to chase me away, I can only return to stay with my parents. I had already told them I would move out and be independent once I graduated. How can I just go back with my face still intact? Auntie, look at our floor. The entire row’s commercial and residential apartments are all yours. Your wealth doesn’t lack just this bit of money. About this, I have an interview at the Beijing Broadcasting Television Station this afternoon. If I really become a host, I will make up for the rent once I get my salary.”
Rao Aimin glanced at him and, with contempt, said, “You? Become a host? Cut it out. With your looks and height, who would pay attention to you in a crowd of people? You only dream all day of becoming a star. You think it’s that easy to become a celebrity? If you can become a host, then this old aunt will dare to appear in the Spring Festival Ceremony tomorrow!”
Zhang Ye said, “Anyways, just give me a few more days. I…”
Rao Aimin ignored it, “No way!”
Zhang Ye said, “Don’t you see that I haven’t even eaten breakfast at all for the past few days? I really don’t have enough money.”
“What do I have to do with you not eating? Eh?” Rao Aimin said with an inhumane expression.
After fussing for a long time, he managed to get the landlady to leave. After about ten minutes, Rao Aimin, who was in pajamas, came back. She did not knock on the door and immediately used her key to open the door.
Zhang Ye thought Big Sister Rao was here to reclaim her money, so he carefully said, “Landlady auntie, you…”
Rao Aimin threw a breakfast set onto the table and coldly grunted, “I couldn’t eat it alone. Kid, you lucked out. Let me tell you. Even though jobs are not easy to get these days, you are still a graduate from the Media College; how can you not get a job to make ends meet? Stop clinging to a single tree ‘til you hang yourself on it!”
Zhang Ye was surprised and quickly said, “Thank you. I got it.”
Rao Aimin, with her cold, beautiful face, left by slamming the door.
Zhang Ye felt his heart go warm. Looking at the breakfast on the table, it was still hot. Clearly, it was not leftovers from this older sister Rao. It was definitely something that she had especially went down to buy after she heard Zhang Ye say that he had not eaten breakfast for a few days. Zhang Ye knew older that sister Rao was someone who was warm on the inside, but cold on the outside. She may have a venomous tongue, but she still cared about him. Actually, he also understood what older sister Rao meant. However, Zhang Ye had always had dreams of making it big since he was young. He wanted to stand on a stage, facing the public. As such, he had never considered doing jobs that involved being behind the scenes.
Zhang Ye went out by taking the elevator downstairs.
On the street, Zhang Ye looked all around. He realized that the road was familiar, yet strange. The billboard commercials were all of celebrities that he did not know. Some business shops were playing the hottest popular music that Zhang Ye had never heard before. As he walked through this familiar, yet strange, street, he found it hard to adapt. He felt like he did not match with this altered world. Many things had changed. Or, it could be said that this was no longer the world from Zhang Ye’s past.
It was August. The air was still hot and disturbing.
It was not scientific!
Zhang Ye was, after all, a graduate from a prestigious university. Of course, he could not easily accept this reality. What day and age was this? It was no longer an ancient society where superstitions, such as demons and ghosts, existed. Being superstitious only brought harm. This was something even elementary school kids knew. Everything boiled down to science. One had to firmly believe in the power of science. As such, Zhang Ye’s eyes turned solemn. He pulled out a one-Yuan coin from his pocket respectfully and he threw it up in the air earnestly. “If it’s heads, then this explains that this world’s background has really been changed by the game. If it’s tails, then it says that everything is fake.”
Ding Ling Ling.
The coin landed on the ground. Heads!
Zhang Ye’s vision went black. It wasn’t fake. Everything was real!