Justice Across The Dimensions

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Chapter 7: A Game of Prestige [7]

The sacking of Qi Wang from the Qi Group had caused such a furor, that many local newspapers and tabloids have had a week’s worth of headlines just by covering this incident.

His transformation of the Qi Group into a giant business empire in a mere twenty years had made him a living legend. The few projects that exemplified his genius in business, while helping him turn a mediocre family enterprise into a gigantic conglomerate, have now become several subjects of case studies for students of business management. Not even one student of Finance ever missed his name.

The voice that called him out from amidst the mobbing crowd was one such person – a student of Finance. He was also one of his online fans from Site B who knew he needed to come after watching the live telecast.

When he saw Qi Wang’s amazing demonstration on TV, Bai Hua did not realize his connection to the Qi Group. Having been a fan of the man for some time after watching his exploits on Site B, he knew he needed to see Patriot One at close range. But only when he saw Qi Wang did he realize he was none other than the man whom he idolized so greatly before.

The men whom he had idolized before, and the one standing before him were in fact one and the same. The master of business acumen of the Qi Group, the wizard of cinematic visual effects, and the genius who created the Patriot One droid – they were all the same person: Qi Wang.

He could not believe that he had been chasing after mirages, only for them to be just one man. Overjoyed at his stroke of luck, he could not hold back his emotions, compelling him to cry out Qi Wang’s name.

And he was loud too. The crowd immediately died into a sudden hush with everyone staring at him.

What in the world was that about? President of what group?! Isn’t this a droid expo and this man a genius in robotics?

Surely no president of any business group would appear here, when he’d be better off running his business from the comfort of his high-rise offices?!

This fool must have been mistaken, thought many people about Bai Hua. No one could suppose a genius, who could turn fiction into fact by creating a true droid only thought possible in a blockbuster movie flick, would be the leader of a business conglomerate.

The two roles just could not add up.

Yet Qi Wang generously affirmed his identity.

“You’re right. I used to serve as President of the Qi Group. But I’m just an ordinary person now.”

The crowd around him fell hushed.

If a genius who can build such a droid calls himself an ordinary man, then what are we? Bugs or vermin?

From the midst of the swarm of bewildered audience and fans, a fellow contestant of the competition asked meekly, “What drove you to make this droid, Mr. Qi?”

From the president of a business conglomerate to a robotics wunderkind, the disparity between both roles was just so vast that no one could imagine him being both.

Qi Wang’s lips twisted into a dry smile.

“Because of love, I guess.”

Everyone stared at him blankly.

Love?! Were our ears messing with us?!

But the attention of the flocking crowd quickly returned back to Patriot One. Many, if not all of the fans congregating around Qi Wang were all enthralled by his creation. They were more interested in knowing more about Patriot One than to delve deeper into his former history as the head of a business group.

Encouraged by the fellow contestant, everyone learned how amiable a person Qi Wang was and they began peppering him with questions.

“Mr. Qi, was Patriot One inspired by the armors used by Iron Man in the movies?”

“Of course. The resemblance is obvious.”

“Did you really build Patriot One yourself? How?”

“I built it myself. As for how, the videos I’ve uploaded on Site B answer that question well enough, although I daresay many did not believe me.”

Many of the visitors to the droid expo after the competition were fans of Qi Wang’s alter ego on Site B, Hope, of which they were all witnesses to the birth of Patriot One.

Nevertheless, being able to see it real right before their very eyes turned out to be so surreal an experience for them, that they could not resist being bewildered and fascinated by it.

Patriot One is real. But how is this possible?!

Yet, the very object that they have branded as “impossible” now stood before them, larger than life itself. Carefully, they run their fingers down the cold and hard surface of Patriot One’s armor.

If eyes could deceive, surely the cold, prickly feeling of steel now stimulating their sense of touch could only be true?

Chen Yang has had to manage an inevitable struggle through the punishing currents of hordes and hordes of people before he finally reached Qi Wang. He looked up at the man who was barely a foot taller than him and squeaked a question that has long been buried inside him, eager for the moment for it to finally burst out.

“Is it true that you’ll need ten million to build Patriot One?”

Qi Wang looked at the young man and nodded.

“This is my first time,” he revealed, “and I’m afraid there wasn’t much I could refer to. Hence, the trial and errors of the project have expended much of my materials and all that, with the cost of the droid itself, amounts to ten million.”

Qi Wang’s confirmation made everyone draw their breaths, all gasping simultaneously.

So Patriot One really costs ten million?! Good God Almighty… That’s rather pricey for a droid, innit?!

The fact that Patriot One was not their garden-variety droid helped everyone to realize the justification of that hefty price tag. Qi Wang himself had alleged that Patriot One was built to mimic Iron Man’s actual capability. So if Patriot One could really exhibit the same battle power as Iron Man in the movies, and if someone were to mass-produce an army of it…

The sudden realization of that fact made everyone change their perception of Qi Wang.

He really is a genius!

So what if Western blockbuster flicks can have perfect skills in cinematic visual effects and computer-generated imagery? Qi Wang has proved himself to be more incredible!

As more people besieged Qi Wang and Patriot One, the results of the competition were finally announced: Patriot One was unanimously crowned the champion of this year’s Droid-Building Competition.

There was hardly any doubt; Patriot One steamrolled any opposition in its way to the champion’s podium with unstoppable and deadly efficiency.

As the day drew to an end, Qi Wang returned to Yanjing with Patriot One.

An unexpected guest came knocking on his door after he just arrived home.

Qi Wang opened the door and to his surprise, there was Bai Qiujiang outside and his brows furrowed with wry amusement.

He did not expect that Bai Qiujiang would be the first to arrive.

His former assistant had never failed to visit him regularly when Qi Wang first agreed to divorce Qi Qiuyu. As Qi Ze gradually consolidated his power over the entire Qi Group which solidified his position as the new President, Bai Qiujiang’s visits grew less and seldom. That Bai Qiujiang had not visited him in the past two months was enough proof to Qi Wang showing the rift between them was burgeoning.

Qi Wang did a quick calculation – he knew exactly why he was here.

Pandemonium and chaos must now be pervading the boardroom of the Qi Group. How else would Bai Qiujiang leave his domain of humanly pleasures to come here and seek out the dishonorably-discharged former President of the group?

“You’ve come, Qiujiang.”

Qi Wang stepped aside and beckoned Bai Qiujiang to come in.

It was just a little cottage Qi Wang rented – a far cry from the lavish and expansive estate he once lived in for decades.

Bai Qiujiang sank into the rickety sofa, staring as Qi Wang came from the kitchen with cups of instant coffee, all while trying to comprehend the extent of Qi Wang’s fall from grace.

If not for his meaningless toilings, the ten million would have been enough for Qi Wang to enjoy the rest of his life with relative plenty instead of this. Even the lowest of the Qi Group staff avoided instant coffee like the plague, but Qi Wang easily guzzled the drink with apparent ease.

Qi Wang must be wallowing dreadfully in destitution and Bai Qiujiang’s visit would surely be well-received.

On that note, Bai Qiujiang felt more confident to have come.

Author’s Notes:

Thank you all for your support! I’d be sure to keep on going!

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