Chapter 33 Intermission 8
At 2 pm, the intercom rang. After Feng Bujue was woken up, he only felt annoyed and blurry. Even though the pet clinic had bathed the cat in the morning, he had to prepare stuff for around half an hour before he got the chance to rest. Feng Bujue did not even change and collapsed directly into his bed. Only six hours had passed since then. He teetered to the door and picked up the intercom receiver. "Who is it?"
"It's me," Wang Tanzhi answered. "And I have Master Bao with me."
Feng Bujue pressed the open key and asked through a yawn, "Is the door open now?"
"Yes, it's open now. I'll talk to you in a minute."
One minute later, the pair went up the elevator. They walked down the corridor and pressed the bell to Feng Bujue's room. The latter glanced through the peephole before opening the door. He did not greet his guests and strode back into his room.
Wang Tanzhi and 'Master Bao' were not offended. They walked into the room and closed the door behind them. They placed the pizza and the box of beer on the table and walked into Feng Bujue's kitchen to retrieve the plate and chopsticks.
"Huh? Brother Jue, why is there a kitten here?" Wang Tanzhi soon discovered the kitten, which was asleep at the corner of the couch.
"Didn't you see the litterbox in the corner? It's my cat, obviously." Feng Bujue twisted the bottle of beer open while flickering his eyes open. Like gargling water, he tossed the beer into his mouth before swallowing it.
"When did you get another pet?" Wang Tanzhi asked as he slunk toward the kitten.
"This morning." Feng Bujue burped. "Don't think it's really sleeping; cats are very sensitive and alert animal. It may look like it is asleep for ten hours a day, but actually, if there's any motion around them, their ears will twitch, which means…"
Xiao Tan was about to lunge forward to grab the kitten when the latter suddenly opened its eyes. It leaped away and turned to hide behind the couch. Due to the imbalance, Xiao Tan collapsed forward onto the couch.
"Why did you suddenly decide to get a pet again?" Master Bao came from the kitchen with plates and paper napkins. He waved and hurried Xiao Tan to take his seat before he took his.
His name was Bao Qing, and he was only two months older than them. All three of them had been classmates since kindergarten through to secondary school. Bao Qing had always been nicknamed Master Bao (1) since primary school, but the problem was… there was no judge in his family, and the man always shied away from any work that required responsibility.
Who would have thought Master Bao would be the first to become an 'adult'? He was twenty-five, worked as a public servant, and had a two-year-old daughter. His life was much more stable that the two single men. The biggest distinguishing feature about Master Bao was his perpetual frown. After marriage, the frown had only gotten deeper.
"I guess you can say it was destiny between me and that cat," Feng Bujue answered.
The two used the terms 'another' and 'again' in their questions because they knew that Feng Bujue had adopted a pet cat when he was young. At the time, the old lady next door had kept a female cat, and it had given birth to four kittens. She had given one to Feng Bujue. He had cared for it for thirteen years until the kitty became an old cat. In the end, it died in its sleep. The child that reared it had become an adult, and he had personally given his pet a burial.
"Have you given it a name?" Wang Tanzhi asked excitedly.
"Arthas," Feng Bujue replied calmly like the name was not a random one that he had just thought of but one that had been in his mind for a long time.
"Pfft…" Master Bao was the first to spit out the beer. "Even if you don't want Xiao Tan to annoy you with names, at least find a normal name, like Michael or Kitty…"
Feng Bujue snapped his fingers. "Arthas."
The kitten turned its head around to meow.
"See, even it likes it." Feng Bujue pointed at Arthas' cat face.
"Wait, I want to take a video of it." Xiao Tan took out his phone.
"Wait a minute." Feng Bujue put down the bottle and went to open the curtain. Then he ran to pick up Arthas, who did not have a chance to escape. Feng Bujue placed his hands under the cat's front legs and picked the kitten up. He faced the cat away from himself and extended his arms. He lifted the cat against the light like the scene in The Lion King but recited a line that had nothing to do with the movie.
"My son. The day you were born, the very forests of Lordaeron whispered the name Arthas," Feng Bujue announced in a severe tone.
Wang Tanzhi aimed the camera at the kitten, which looked so confused, and walked around them to finish the video.
"What the hell are you two up to‽ How old are you now?" After being scolded by Master Bao, the two returned to their seats. Arthas jumped away and went back to its nap.
"By the way, how come you are so free this weekend, Master Bao?" Feng Bujue asked.
"The wife took the daughter back to visit her grandmother." Master Bao took a sip of the beer.
"Permanently or temporarily?" Feng Bujue asked again.
Master Bao almost choked on the beer. "Why would you say that? How could it be permanent‽ My mother-in-law just wanted to see her granddaughter."
"Well, it's because you looked so happy today," Feng Bujue grumbled.
Wang Tanzhi interrupted them. He picked up the remote to ask, "What is this week's theme?"
"A marathon of horrible flicks," Feng Bujue answered.
"Huh?" Wang Tanzhi turned his face around.
"You heard me. We discussed this last time. Many infamous movies have been proven through the passage of time that they are the worst the movie industry has to offer, but we've not seen many of them."
"Fine… I'll go take a look…" Wang Tanzhi looked through the list using the remote.
Whenever the three of them had a chance to gather, they would pick a theme and watch movies with said theme for more than ten hours. Most of the movies were from early 20th to 21st century. After that, due to the improvement in movie-making technology, the chance of bad movies drastically decreased. In the future, no matter how bad the movies were, at least they could be salvaged via special effects.
"How about Ghost Rider?" Wang Tanzhi asked.
"Have you heard of Daredevil?" Feng Bujue asked back.
"Hmm… I think so."
"Okay then…" Wang Tanzhi continued his search, "How about this? Twilight, Breaking Dawn Part 2… My god, there are seven movies to this series."
They shot another two movies to add to the series pre-2055.
"Haven't seen any of them." Master Bao shrugged.
"I remember the movie won seven of the ten Golden Raspberry Awards the year it was nominated. Twenty years later, it was named as one of the three worst movies produced in the 21st century," Feng Bujue said.
"I'm curious what the other two movies are. Don't tell me they're from the same series," Master Bao said.
"No, they're Battlefield Earth and Jack and Jill. The latter swiped all the awards at the Golden Raspberry Awards in 2012," Feng Bujue explained. "Although I've only heard of their names, I haven't really seen the movies before. How about we watch these three movies today?"
"I don't mind." Xiao Tan and Master Bao answered at the same time.
Two hours later…
"Are you two okay?" Master Bao looked at the credits that were rolling on-screen.
Wang Tanzhi looked at the ground with a pout. "I feel like I've lost something important…"
Feng Bujue looked out the window with a blank expression. "That was the most humiliating two hours of my life. I feel like my brain has been assaulted…"
"We still have a sci-fi and a comedy. How about we watch the comedy first?" There was a serious look on Master Bao's sad face.
Ninety minutes later…
"Who would have thought that Adam Sandler would end up in this state?" Wang Tanzhi sighed.
"There is not much to say about the acting, but the script… Master Bao," Feng Bujue asked, "what do you think?"
There was no answer.
"Master Bao? Bao…" Feng Bujue turned and saw Master Bao asleep with his eyes open. He was even snoring lightly.
"This horrible man…"
At around 7 pm, the trio went to get some grilled meat at the roadside stall. Brother Jue and Xiao Tan clued Master Bao in on Thriller Paradise, but the latter was not interested. A man with a family had other things to take care of than game all day. The three chatted for a couple of hours before dispersing at 9 pm. Feng Bujue and Wang Tanzhi promised to play a few scenarios around midnight.
The friendship between the three was real and not easy. They had grown up together as a group of kids with snotty noses; this kind of friendship was the purest. Even when they were sixty, looking back, the friendship would not have changed.
He did not sleep much in the morning, and considering that he had to play the game, Feng Bujue leaned into the gaming hub around midnight. After scanning, he chose sleep mode and decided the connectivity period.
"Connecting to sleep mode, adjusting… Adjustment completed. Please select time to log into the game or return to the main menu. Setting complete. The program will initiate at 1 am, June 4th 2055. Good night."
With the system audio in his ears, Feng Bujue closed his eyes. The gaming hub was very comfortable, and he quickly fell asleep with the alcohol in his system.
When he recovered his consciousness, he was already standing inside that familiar elevator. The screen showed the time in real life—June 4th, 1 am—but the clock did not show the seconds. Feng Bujue studied the clock, and several minutes later, the time did not change to 1.01 am. It was clear that he was in sleep mode.
Wang Tanzhi's group request came soon after. After joining the team, Feng Bujue realized that Long Aomin was already in the group. Xiao Tan had noticed that the man had the free status, so he had also invited him to join.
"Brother Jue, have you heard the news‽" Wang Tanzhi soon said.
"Someone already reached level twenty?" Feng Bujue answered.
"Eh? How did you find out?"
"I'm guessing from your tone."
"Ha ha… Brother Feng, you sure are a master detective," Long Aomin said. "Just after midnight in real life, the first level twenty player in our server was born."
Feng Bujue looked at the team list. Only one day had passed, but Long Aomin was already level thirteen, and Xiao Tan had reached level eleven. Feng Bujue believed that Xiao Tan had finished a Solo Mode in the ten minutes before he came online.
"Is there an announcement whenever a player reaches the maximum level?" Feng Bujue asked.
"Yes, all the players in the log-in lobby will hear the system announcement, and a news flash will appear on the touch screen. Furthermore, the forums have been exploding with the news," Long Aomin answered.
"Let me go take a look…" Feng Bujue opened the forums and the thread pinned by the official party. The title read, "Congratulations to player, 'Fearless Champion' from the Regulation Studio for being the first player to reach maximum level during Closed Beta."
1 – Lord Bao or Judge Bao is a fictional nickname of Bao Zheng 包拯[Bāo Zhěng] (999-1062), a Northern Song official renowned for his honesty.