Chapter 438: Two battles
The first crowdfunding of ‘Agglomerating the Stars’ was for a village teacher in a remote southwest mountain district. After sending the kids home after school amidst a torrential downpour, he had been half-buried after a sudden avalanche of rock and soil that night.
Employees of Xingchen Technologies had gone to check out the situation and obtained the permission of the person in question before launching its official first ever public crowdfunding.
The total amount to be raised was two hundred thousand. This did not just include the medical bills as it also took into consideration his daily life thereafter. Having stayed at that mountain for almost twenty years, this village teacher was unaffiliated to any organisation.
As a result, he was not entitled to many perks and safeguards.
The day after this went online, thirty thousand was raised six hours into the crowdfunding. The prices of goods as well as wages had still yet to take off for good in this era as every dollar and even cent mattered.
The total given duration was ten days.
Xu Tingsheng felt that there should be no problem in attaining the target sum. He certainly had the means to pay it himself, and it was not that he was unwilling to part with the money. Still, if he did so, the benevolent character of crowdfunding would seem to have been lost somewhat.
What he wanted was to establish a platform, a mindset even as a collective consciousness and concerted initiative was formed. This would be a long term thing, and it would be impossible for him to bear all the costs himself in the long term. It would need the power of society as a whole.
The modest dollars and cents of countless people would collectively signify the direction of their society. It was in this way that public crowdfunding could truly be meaningful.
Still, Xu Tingsheng’s intentions were foiled that very night.
When the total sum raised had reached fifty thousand, Apple alone donated a hundred thousand. Her fans surged in thereafter, some tens of thousands of people working together as the remaining fifty thousand was gathered in less than an hour.
Xu Tingsheng grabbed his phone and hesitated for a while, eventually deciding against dialling her number.
Just this weekend, Little Xiang Ning had received her reward money which amounted to a hundred thousand yuan. She looked at all the crowdfunding schemes that were currently ongoing before choosing ten of them and donating ten thousand yuan to each of these.
“That’s so much money! I feel the pinch a little, but I feel very happy too,” Sitting on Xu Tingsheng’s lap, Little Xiang Ning said as she leaned against his shoulder.
Xu Tingsheng only hoped that she was not doing this in order to compete with Apple.
Whether it was this life or his previous one, Xiang Ning was pure, big-hearted and kind. Yet, she was still an ordinary girl. In matters of the heart, she too would feel jealous, would kick up a fuss and be unreasonable...not even a speck of dust was allowed to taint her eyes, to taint her heart.
1st January 2006.
<Crazy Stone> was broadcasted in cinemas.
Weixin went online.
Two battles commenced that very same day, at the start of the new year.
Both movies were screened for the first time right on the dot of midnight, launching their campaigns. While Tianyi had put in much effort in scheduling their movie, with such a big difference in investment sum existing, the number of times that <Crazy Stone> would be screened was less than a quarter of the total number of times for <Endless>.
At around 2am in the morning, the first batch of cinemagoers returned home. Some of them were still energetic as they successively began posting their views online.
On Weibo and the various forums, the first batch of reviews appeared.
“Whadda, I nearly laughed to death! The entire cinema went crazy.”
“The acting is really good.”
“This is gonna be so popular.”
“Recommend to watch it!”
“Yes, it was indeed nice to look at, that’s true, and good. But, the heck, what exactly is the plot about? This dame couldn’t get it at all! Don’t say I’m uncultured, I graduated with a doctorate. Could it be that I’m too cultured?”
“It wasn’t just you. I graduated from primary school, and I equally couldn’t understand it too!”
“No wonder it’s a crappic...I mean epic production. Sorry, typo.”
“What a waste of my money! Look forward to polishing shoes.”
“Curses and damnation be upon you!”
“Going to bed. Watching Stone tomorrow.”
Huang Yaming stayed by the computer till 3am and read most of the comments posted online. The ratings on Weibo were 8.1 for <Crazy Stone> as compared to 4.3 for <Endless>. A desperate, angered Jin Datang posted on Weibo: Someone is controlling the scores and so misleading the public. I hope no one is fooled.”
Then, Xu Tingsheng received a call from Huang Yaming at around 3.30am in the morning.
“Wanna come to the bar and drink some?” Huang Yaming sounded very excited.
“Drink your sister! Can’t you see what time it is?” Xu Tingsheng rebuked.
“But I’m happy! The movie couldn’t have been any more well received. Jin Datang’s probably going to have to polish my shoes,” Huang Yaming did not give up, “How about I come find you?”
“All part of the plan,” Xu Tingsheng said, “Now stop disturbing me already. I still have a battle to fight tomorrow.”
With that, he hung up, yet was just unable to fall back asleep for some reason.
Beside him, Little Xiang Ning blearily opened her eyes and asked, “Are you nervous?”
Xu Tingsheng nodded, confessing, “A little.”
He really did feel a little nervous. He had once been impoverished, watching over a small store down a small street. Now, he was actually beginning to try to challenge Tencent. Not having so strong a mentality, Xu Tingsheng was on edge as he still found it a bit inconceivable even now.
Little Xiang Ning extended her hand and rubbed his chest gently.
“There’s no need to be scared. Actually, it doesn’t matter even if you aren’t this awesome and successful.”
She hadn’t said ‘you’ll definitely win’ or ‘you’ll see success for sure’. She had said: Actually, it doesn’t matter even if you aren’t this awesome and successful...just like in his previous life, a request that he had to be this or that much successful had never come from her.
It was just that in his previous life, Xu Tingsheng had not been able to provide her with even that most simple and basic life together.
Whereas he had always believed that she was meant for a better life.
In this life, going by the standards of his previous, the current Xu Tingsheng could actually already have ceased in his footsteps at this point. He was never an ambitious person or high achiever in the first place. To him and to Xiang Ning, all that he had now was perhaps sufficient.
Still, in actuality, it was already very difficult for him to stop.
He bore the weight of so many people on his shoulders, with many having placed their futures in his hands. What would those of Xingchen do if he were to stop? They had put in so much hard work, toiled through countless nights, all so because they were filled with anticipation towards their future prospects, filled with confidence towards Xu Tingsheng.
How could they possibly stop at this point?
“Actually, I myself? While I can dispel any growing ambition, I cannot dispel the greed that is innate in human beings. Having been reborn, a huge opportunity lies ahead of me, seemingly within reach and all but attainable...would I really be willing to give up this chance just like that?”
It was often that there were some completely contradictory desires present within human beings, even for the same person.
“How about I chat with you?” Looking at the frowning Xu Tingsheng whose mind seemed to have drifted off somewhere, Little Xiang Ning asked concernedly.
Actually, Xu Tingsheng’s inner processes regarding Little Xiang Ning were the same too. There were always two little people fighting inside of him…
Only when he gazed at her eyes and young, ignorant gaze was he still able to persuade himself to be in control.
“Alright,” Xu Tingsheng said, “What shall we talk about?”
“Let’s talk about when you came to my school to celebrate my birthday. Did you already like me then?”
“Actually, I already liked you too then. It was just that I still didn’t know it myself.”
“And how do you know it now?”
“That night, I dreamt that, I dreamt that…”
“What did you dream?”
“I dreamt that we got married...”
“And then you ran away, and I couldn’t find you no matter how I tried. I was so panicked I burst into tears...and then I woke up.”
Xu Tingsheng hugged her, coaxing gently, “I won’t run away again this time. I’ll never run away.”
“This time? So you’ve run away before?”
“...Inside your dream!”
“Oh. Who asked you to come and be good to me? I already can’t do without you. Xu Tingsheng, you can never, ever not want me!”
1st January 2006, 8am. Weixin went online.
The greatest battle in the domain of instant communication software within the country in recent years thereby finally commenced.
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