Chapter 1 : Ling Xiao Hope Project
In the early morning, the nearby summits were covered like it was submerged in the clouds.
Cape Park was stationed between the mountain and the flat land and the rides within it revealed a little glimpse amidst the trees. This building had existed for over twenty years, creating numerous parts of childhood memories for the residents of East Sea City. At this time, there were few visitors coming in.
Dragging his luggage, Duan Jiaze arrived at the park. His sight left the ferris wheel and glided towards the yawning Security Guard Uncle before settling to the small zoo that was less than a hundred meters away. His face revealed an indescribable expression.
Although it was called “Cape”, this zoo and Cape Park had no relation at all.
Duan Jiaze vaguely remembered that this zoo hadn’t been established for more than five years. It belonged to the private sector and was named as it was to bring up its popularity, just like how Peking University and Beida Jade Bird1 had nothing to do with each other.
The local media had advertised this place several times, however, business was just not good and there was no next part to it. People who went into this business were like Duan Jiaze; they had no experience and accounted for the vast majority.
Looking at the surrounding, no staff were seen. The signboard was resting with dust, the gate— which should not be called a gate, was rusting. At the entrance, there were dead branches, rotten leaves and spider webs at the corners which just portrayed poor business these two words.
While Duan Jiaze was lost in his thoughts, the signboard’s screw loosened, and fell to the ground with a snap. Dust flew around, making the scene looked even bleaker.
Duan Jiaze: “…”
In fact, Duan Jiaze only learned that he had a great relationship with this dilapidated zoo recently.
And this story started half a month ago—
It was the graduation season, Duan Jiaze, who had just graduated from a second-rate university in the city studying environmental engineering did not do well in his postgraduate examination. As the employment environment wasn’t good, his career progression remained stagnant.
Duan Jiaze was a work and study student in university. He was constantly in a tight financial state and would have to resort to manual work to survive if he still could not find any job.
At that time, a lawyer suddenly contacted Duan Jiaze, informing him that a distant relative of his had just passed away. The relative left a zoo behind and had decided to pass the zoo to Duan Jiaze even thought they rarely saw each other.
For Duan Jiaze, this was like a windfall. After ensuring that this wasn’t a fraud and that he wouldn’t have to hand in any penny, he happily contacted the lawyer to inherit this zoo with the intention to sell it.
—After all, he didn’t have any experience nor passion to run a zoo. However, if the zoo was sold, he could use the money to solve his living conditions’ needs.
The day at the law firm, Duan Jiaze signed his name after he had checked the documents.
After signing it, he flipped the folder and found a strange contract which he had never seen. It wrote some terms, something about Party B voluntarily joins “Ling Xiao Hope Project”, Party B is responsible for resettling the employees dispatched by Party A to help in the business’ operations, and Party A will help Party B to expand the business’ scale.
“Lawyer Wang, what is this?” Duan Jiaze took out the contract. He couldn’t recall how he could have forgotten this contract when he was checking the documents previously.
Lawyer Wang wasn’t sure, so he took the papers and was stunned when he saw it. “I have no idea too, this isn’t done by me… This, this format isn’t correct, there is no official seal too. This is basically not recognized by law.”
Out of his occupation’s instinct, Lawyer Wang added that last sentence.
“This is strange. Where did this come from?” Lawyer Wang showed a confused expression and went to ask the assistant who had printed out the contract.
The assistant was stunned and said, “Did someone use our printer to print this and I accidentally printed a copy of it and placed it inside?”
He racked his brains only to come out with such a forcibly reasonable explanation. However, he couldn’t understand how he, Lawyer Wang and Duan Jiaze did not discover this just now. He could only admit that everyone had suddenly became careless when they were checking the documents.
“Probably… so.” Duan Jiaze could only reply as such.
Duan Jiaze stepped out of the law firm holding onto a name card given by Lawyer Wang out of friendship. It was an intermediary that Lawyer Wang had recommended to him. The person would be able to help him with the sale of the zoo and Duan Jiaze planned to contact this person after he headed back.
There were many people on the street when Duan Jiaze suddenly heard a particularly clear voice. It was so clear like it was coming from his own mind.
[Hello user, do you want to download ‘Ling Xiao Hope Project’ App?]
Duan Jiaze was stunned and almost fell.
Ling Xiao Hope Project? Didn’t these words appeared on the contract just now? But that contract had already been thrown into the shredder by Lawyer Wang’s colleague.
Duan Jiaze looked at his surrounding, it didn’t seem like the nearby passerbys had heard this voice. In the bright daylight, he was so frightened that he was producing cold sweat.
This can’t be so spiritual, right?
At noon, the downtown was bustling as people came and went. The traffic was constantly flowing.
Duan Jiaze stood dazedly in the crowd. He wasn’t moving and felt a little cold.
After about a minute, Duan Jiaze’s heartbeat gradually calmed down when the voice sounded again, making him shock.
[No reply, has been downloaded by default—]
Duan Jiaze almost jumped and cursed in his heart.
What exactly is this black technology2? What is this application? Will it be downloaded into his mind?
Duan Jiaze waited nervously for a while but there nothing new in his mind. He suddenly understood and took out his phone. There was a new application in it.
Duan Jiaze attempted to delete it but to no avail.
The icon of this app was a cloud with a light blue background. It was named “Ling Xiao Hope Project.”
This technology was clearly beyond what a prank game could do, but Duan Jiaze couldn’t help looking up and around. He found a flower bed and sat on the edge. With quivering hands, he opened the app.
If the icon still retained a little aesthetic, then the app’s interface was completely “Leadership.”
What was a leadership aesthetic?
That was to make the words as large as possible while the color should try to clash and be eye-catching. Red and yellow would be the best colors, and for the best result, add a borden.
But these weren’t the main points, the focus was on the content.
The content of this app was very simple, so simple that it could be said to be plain. The user had been automatically logged in, showing the name ‘Duan Jiaze’, with several categories such as “My Profile”, “My Task” and “Animals’ Management”.
Click on “My Profile” to display the following:
Name: Duan Jiaze (Director)
Area: 40 acres
Duan Jiaze didn’t look further more and scrolled down. He saw an “About Us”, and tapped on it.
“Introduction: Ling Xiao Hope Project aims to support outstanding three-level youth entrepreneurship and will provide various support free of charge. Including, but not limited to, regular dispatch of employees, customized enterprise growth plans for the recipients after the recipients complete the phased tasks. After the development of hundred of years, Ling Xiao Project has been semi-automated, and the system automatically selects the contract and generates a growth plan…”
Looking at it again, there was a column that seemed to be “Contract Service.” He tapped on it and it opened up. There seemed to be two important terms.
“Terminational of the contract: Download the following application form, fill in the instructions and hand it over to Hope Project Office. The review period is seventy years.”
“Breach of contract: Thunderstrike.”
“Discipline: After the user received the task but did not complete the task within the time limit; one strike of thunder. If user has accumulate more than three penalties, the contract is determined to be breached.”
Thunderstrike? Is that the thunderstrike he is thinking of?!
Duan Jiaze’s eyes darkened and he couldn’t wait to get his hands on the the person who had designed this, shouting:
Hey, what kind of unreasonable system is this? What gives you the rights to choose me as you wish? Who wants you to help me start a business?! Why do I have to wait for seventy years to cancel the contract, and why is the penalty for breaching the contract thunderstrike!
And why does the subsequent punishment of uncompleted tasks sounds so unscientific? Won’t you die after being struck by thunder?
After a long while, Duan Jiaze gradually calmed down and sighed with his hands covering the sides of his head. Passersby looked at him with sympathy like this young man had lost his wallet.
It seemed that the zoo couldn’t be sold off anytime sooner. He tried to change the owner’s name but it wasn’t allowed. The system seemed to be very rigid and had been bound to Duan Jiaze.
If Duan Jiaze sold the zoo and lost internal control, he wouldn’t be able to do the tasks and would be strike by thunder… Or directly judged as defaulting the contract, and receive the thunder strikes… Anyway, all his ending would be terrible.
Just think about the bright side, Duan Jiaze comforted himself, if you don’t think about your original career’s goals, then this can be considered a golden finger!
Looking at how this Hope Project bragged so much and how its technology is so magical, so, according to this routine, if he choose to help run this zoo, this zoo will grow to a big business, and his life will be flushed with success… right?