Some readers pointed out some issues and it has been fixed
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Side story (1)
When the fog disappeared, He Jin wanted to check out how the game looked like after these three years. Then, he suddenly felt that his brain had been stuck with something. Suddenly, there was a surprising and pleasant sound, “ba~ba!”
“Dump…Dumpling?” He Jin reached out his hand and took “the object” from his head. He took a closer look of it in his arms. It turned out that it was the magic baby with the ferret tail. He excitedly kissed Dumpling’s forehead and said gently, “baby, I’m back.”
Dumpling was shaking with excitement all the time. After He Jin kissed him, Dumpling was immediately staring at He Jin with watery eyes. He was just staring at He Jin without moving a bit, and was extremely affectionate.
He Jin found Dumpling look particularly interesting. Previously, Dumpling was without facial expression most of the time, and he’d only become a “little devil” when he’s furious or express himself through sounds of “Ji Ji”. How come it had become this reactive and emotional baby now?
Obviously, they never stopped improving “Demon God” these years…
How come Dumpling had stayed the same size after three years? Perhaps it couldn’t grow at all? He Jin held his baby and checked it out thoroughly. And he found it a bit illogical!
Dumpling took away his wings and obediently let He Jin look at him. Occasionally, he’d whisper “baba” sweetly, just like a completely tamed puppy.
He Jin’s heart was about to melt, he was holding Dumpling and couldn’t stop kissing him. He’d never thought that he’d be so affectionate toward a virtual baby.
“Hey, is it enough?” Qin Yang asked impatiently. However, the gentle look in his eyes didn’t match his pressing tone at all.
He Jin hesitated for a while before letting go of Dumpling, who immediately flapped his wings and flew around He Jin. He couldn’t control his excitement.
“You’ve only looked at your son. Haven’t you noticed any changes in yourself?” Qin Yang reminded him.
He Jin was stunned. He only started looking at himself now – while Dumpling hadn’t become older, he had!
He almost forgot that he had set up a “growth” type for the role. Since he hadn’t been in the game for three years, it was equivalent to twelve years’ growth. Now, this character was as old as his age in reality.
Qin Yang sighed and he felt a bit sad, “it’s now a whole different world after three years.”
He Jin thought that Qin Yang didn’t like the way he looked now, and he suggested, “what if I go and buy a ‘time travel pill’, so that I can change the way I look?”
Qin Yang held his arms, “there’s no need. It’s fine now, or people would think that I’m a sicko…”
He Jin, “…”
“Let’s go. It’s been such a long time; we’ll have some fun today.” Qin Yang flapped his wings and started flying. Seeing that He Jin was still staying where he was, he stretched out his hand, “have you forgotten how to fly? Do you want me to hold you?”
He Jin stared at him, he blushed and was trying to open his wings and fly.
“Baba!” Dumpling tightened his fists and encouraged He Jin.
After adapting for a while, He Jin regained the feeling of balance.
After gathering his team, he flew to the place of reunion and everyone’s voice sounded in his ears through the group chat channel —
“Ah Jin! You’re finally back!” This is Dead Water. He Jin still remembered his gentle voice.
“Is that Ah Jin? Yay! The first team of Demon God is finally back together!” Is that Wild Crane? He’s still so energetic.
Then, it was someone who complained, “Ah Jin, you’ve been really bad! You left without saying goodbye! If you still didn’t come, I’d stop being friends with you!” That’s Twig Fence.
He Jin apologized, “I’m sorry…”
The group was stunned after hearing his apology.
Nine Hall His Highness, “wait, who’s this person who just spoke?”
Dead Water, “…Ah Jin?”
Qin Yang said, “it’s Ah Jin. He’s grown.”
He Jin felt complicated, since this answer had also implied something else.
Everyone was silent for a while. Then, Nine Hall His Highness also sounded sad, “yeah, it’s been three years already.”
Leisure Cloud, “anyway, it’s good that you’re back. It’s really precious to have a stable and long-term partner in the game.”
Dead Water, “no joke. My old friends have all left one after another. What’s the point of us staying here? So, are you still leaving this time or not?”
He Jin regained his focus and promised the group, “I’m not leaving anymore. I’ll be here until we all grow old.”
The promise sounded a bit exaggerating, but the atmosphere became easy again.
Wild Crane exclaimed, “yay! This promise will remain the same for 100 years!”
Nine Hall, “are you sure that you aren’t just making an empty promise?”
Qin Yang, “I’ve already tied him at home. What do you think?”
The group started laughing. Under this friendly environment, his playmates started approaching to He Jin. Aside from Nine Hall who changed his clothes often, the others almost had no changes, including Leisure Cloud who still looked innocent and young, Wild Crane and the chubby panda, Twig Fence.
Dead Water, “come! There’s a new event. Let’s try it out!”
Nine Hall, “go go!”
On the way to the event site, He Jin saw that there’s a player who also had a system baby. When he wanted to take a closer look, that player had flown away already.
“Are there other system babies in Demon God now?” He asked Qin Yang curiously.
“Almost 90 now, I think? The official website has their numbers. Now, every baby born in the system would appear on the official website. The appearance and their attributes are all public on the entire network.” Qin Yang looked at He Jin and smiled, “these players will be our customers in the future. Once we develop relationships with the babies in the game, it is difficult for anyone to reject products like ‘physical smart babies’.”
Wild Crane heard what he had said and turned his head, “Ruthless, we want to order one too!”
Qin Yang made an “OK” sign and He Jin asked again, “do players still have to complete that hidden mission before their baby is born?” He still remembered how much energy he had to consume for that mission.
“The game company had changed the rules.” Qin Yang shrugged, “before, the rules were rigid and few people could achieve them. Now, players have to be married for three years until they could have a baby, and the mission has become easier as well. Otherwise, if players have to be married for at least 5 years, it could scare off a lot of them already. Therefore, for couples that are still together, they’ve already fulfilled the conditions of having a baby. The game company has spent quite a lot of effort in bettering the birth system, and I think it’s a ‘baby boom’ period in the game now.”
He Jin, “I think 3 years would be quite long too…”
Qin Yang glanced at him, “it’s to control the birth rate to the max. If they even fail to stay together for 3 years, then how could they take care of their baby well?”
“Baba~” Dumpling called He Jin. He looked quite of pathetic, just like he’s complaining to He Jin about how he’d abandoned him.
He Jin’s heart twitched, and he felt guilty of his own behavior.
Qin Yang, “although it’s just a game and babies are virtual. The person who set the rules doesn’t want players to become irresponsible. Since the experience that they’ve gained here has a direct influence on their life in reality.”
After listening to Qin Yang, He Jin suddenly realized that, no matter what kind of a person a player of “Demon God” is, a part of them has already belonged to the game, and it’s become impossible to differentiate their roles in reality or in virtual reality. That’s because all the experiences that they’ve gained in the game world is also a part of their life experience. These experiences have left a trace in their lives as well, it’s even an integral part.
Although Qin Yang was younger than him, he had a clearer idea of things.
At this moment, He Jin felt that he had been too shallow to try to divide himself in the game and in reality.
The topic had become too deep and Qin Yang changed the subject, “no matter what, our Dumpling will be the biggest baby in Demon God.”
Dumpling seemed to have understood and laughed, “ji ji~”
Qin Yang continued to show off, “also, during the year Dumpling was born, he had inherited my gene in the game. And he’s very talented. On the official website, no other virtual babies are smarter than him.”
Dumpling fluttered his wings hard twice and his eyes became moon-shaped, “he he~he he~”
What He Jin focused on wasn’t the part about “our baby ranks the first”, but the small detail about the year of birth of Dumpling. He asked, “are you still the first now?”
Nine Hall His Highness heard their conversation and flew next to them, “during these three years, when you weren’t here, Ruthless was busy being a celebrity. He rarely got online. His first place had been replaced long time ago. Haagen-Daaz also came up some time ago, but there’re all new players now.”
He Jin checked the leaderboard and saw that Fire Ruthless had already ranked below the 10th place. Dead Water still ranked within the first ten but it wasn’t a high position either. The player who ranked the first was someone called “Flowing Gold”.
Dead Water said, “during this year, there’re two powerful players, one that’s called Flowing Gold and another called Fallen Wood.
Wild Crane said, “these two players act as both demon and God, it’s just like Ruthless and Dead Water a few years ago. I’ve also heard that they’re still high school students.”
Dead Water sighed, “are they the fans of Fire and Dead Water?”
Fire, “I don’t know them. Why?”
He Jin, “don’t you think that the styles of their names are very similar to that of Fire and Dead Water? Flowing Gold and Fallen Wood…”
“Haha!” Nine Hall burst into laughter, “I didn’t notice it until you said so. Hey, if there’s a player called ‘Interior Wood’ you all can form a five-element array!”
Dead Water touched his chin and said, “are they really our admirers?”
While the group was laughing, Wild Crane suddenly screamed, “oh no! Brother, I can’t take it!”
Everyone was confused.
Leisure Cloud was also stunned for a moment, but there was soon a hint of surprise on his face, “!!!”
Wild Crane hurriedly flew back and explained, “I’m going to give birth!”