Chapter 406: An awkward situation
For Weibo to retain these ‘closely knit communities’, the largest problem right now was that it was at a major disadvantage as compared to QQ which was currently the mainstream online messenger platform.
While Weibo had instant private messaging as well, it lacked many corresponding functions. Even its message notifications were soundless.
This would easily lead to a lack of trust amongst the user base who would feel that unless they kept a close eye on the page at all times, they would miss some important messages. This sort of psychology made people easily temperamental as they would secretly think to themselves in urgently trying to get hold of others that the other party would not be able to see the message in time via private messaging.
It was precisely because of this that while those who were playing Happy Farm were clearly on Weibo, even their notifications to remind them to harvest and steal cabbages were generally executed via QQ instead as they habitually abandoned Weibo for it, despite it also having private messaging.
Also, people were actually already not so used to chatting over webpages at this point.
There seemed to be only one solution that was currently available to Xu Tingsheng-developing their own communication software for their user base. Simply put, they had to produce software for chatting that was like QQ’s, even if what was to be produced was purely an imitation of QQ’s.
Xu Tingsheng was unsure on what kind of money might be required for this in the year 2005. This included development costs as well those for promotion, operations and maintenance etcetera.
Would the amount of money required for this, coupled with Weibo that was itself quite a monetary black hole, surpass his current bearable limit, once again breaking his cashflow that he had only recently regained with quite some difficulty?
At this point, Xu Tingsheng felt that he rather understood why he always seemed to be lacking in money. There was always something that he had to do. Just having finished one, a new one would immediately crop up. Meanwhile, even as these things were gradually propelling him forward slowly but surely, they were also sucking him dry of all the funds he had on hand.
After concisely discussing this issue with Hu Chen and He Yutan via phone and asking them to get a team to draw up a proposal along with a cost estimate, it was already nearing noon.
Being highly skilled in the culinary arts, Xu Tingsheng really did not feel like eating takeaway. He went out and bought some groceries, intending to come back and do his own cooking.
Generally speaking, the most common issue during home renovation, which was also one of the most important issues, was how people generally felt that there was no need for air conditioning in the kitchen…as for Xu Tingsheng, the very thing he had made sure to do as soon as he could after buying this flat was installing air conditioning in the kitchen.
Therefore, cooking could not really be considered torturous labour at all.
After all, he had once been a long-term bachelor in his previous life who cooked his own meals.
September in Jianhai Province was unbearably hot as ever. As Xu Tingsheng returned from his grocery shopping, his T-shirt was already drenched completely with sweat. Since he was in no rush and simply cooking for himself anyway, Xu Tingsheng placed the groceries in the kitchen and went to take a bath.
Just as he was nearly done with his bath, the doorbell rang.
Xu Tingsheng did not think twice as he simply covered his lower half with a towel and went out to open the door.
The usual visitors to his flat were simply the same old Huang Yaming, Fu Cheng, Fang Yuqing and Tan Yao…they were all guys, and had even stood in a row to compare the range of their ‘streams’ multiple times before. Just seeing each other topless-really, would it even matter?
He opened the door.
Little Xiang Ning stood outside in her school uniform, with its white top with short green sleeves along with wide pants of the same colour. Her ponytail was tied back with a ribbon this time as it looked crisp and lively indeed…
They looked at each other.
“Hey, you dirty ruffian…go put on some clothes!” Little Xiang Ning hurriedly covered her eyes and turned to face away from him.
Xu Tingsheng wanted to yell ‘injustice!’. Yes, he had indeed given Xiang Ning this flat’s address and the doorplate number. She had not come last week, though, and Xu Tingsheng had thought that even if she did come to visit this week, it would probably only be on Sunday. She might stop by for a while before going to school for evening self-study.
Today was only Saturday. Xu Tingsheng had not expected her to come, without even telling him about it beforehand too.
“Is this a surprise visit? But it’s only Saturday, why is she out already? And with her bag too…” Xu Tingsheng decided to set this aside for later. More importantly, he should get dressed first…
“Hold on,” Little Xiang Ning suddenly said from behind him, “Stop there, but don’t look back.”
“What is it?” Xu Tingsheng asked rather uneasily.
“Let me take a look at all those wounds…” Little Xiang Ning requested in a rather heavy tone.
There was the sound of the door closing and light steps across the hallway. She leaned over, and then only the sound of breathing remained amidst silence along with the soft, occasional sniffle.
The little girl was sad.
If the scars on his back had not undergone treatment, Xu Tingsheng believed that Little Xiang Ning would surely blame herself and burst into tears on the spot. Now, while it was not to that extent, these scars were still clearly visible at first glance…
A small hand gingerly touched the scars, little by little, carefully stroking, fingering them.
“Hey, does it still hurt?”
“Of course not! It healed long ago,” Xu Tingsheng tried his best to stay calm, controlling his breathing, thoughts and tone as best he could.
One’s body…really could not be touched so casually! And in such a way too…Really, it felt too much like ‘the calm before the storm’…Xu Tingsheng really wished to say this to Xiang Ning, but facing a young sixteen-year-old girl, how was he supposed to say it?
If he could not say it, he could only run…Xu Tingsheng was just about to run when…
A light breeze tickled Xu Tingsheng’s back. This…was she imitating an adult trying to coax a child who had miserably fallen down? Blowing on it? …But he had to say that it did feel great…
It was so much so that Xu Tingsheng couldn’t bear to run anymore.
The result of this was that not long afterwards, something showed a reaction. A portion of the towel before him ended up protruding outwards.
“It’s lucky she’s behind me…” Xu Tingsheng thought.
“Turn around. Let me see if there are still any scars in front,” Little Xiang Ning said.
“…There aren’t any, not at all. There’s no need to look. I’ll go put on some clothes,” A flustered Xu Tingsheng said.
Before he knew it, a figure had sprung in front of him.
“Even if you don’t turn, I can still come over myself!” Little Xiang Ning said, “Are you afraid that I’ll feel pained from looking? But I’ve definitely got to look. Let me take a look…right, there’s one here…and one here too…here…you…”
“Damn it,” Seeing Little Xiang Ning’s gaze suddenly stiffen as she scanned him from the front, a blush overtaking her face along with a distressed expression, Xu Tingsheng knew that it was not good.
Xiang Ning was already sixteen years old. She had definitely attended sexual education lessons before. From her classmates’ relationships, she would definitely have heard about some things already. Moreover, this was the internet era. Even if she only visited normal, mainstream sites, these sites were also full of advertisements regarding the two genders. There was simply no way for her to be totally ignorant.
Therefore, she should know what this meant.
“Your mother, should I just go for it or what?” Xu Tingsheng was sweating profusely from anxiety.
“Wow, it’s, it’s hot in here. I’ll go sit down for a while. Hurry up and put on some clothes.”
Little Xiang Ning made an excuse before beating a hasty retreat, her head lowered as she walked to the sofa. She put her bag down before sitting down with her back to Xu Tingsheng.