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Once he was done, Zhang Wang walked to the bubble tea shop next door and ordered a drink. As he drank, he observed the shared phone booth’s situation.
Before this, when Ruan Guangjian was painting, many people had gathered around the phone booth. Now that the shared phone booth was done, people were hurriedly gathering to take photographs.
All things aside, everyone behaved decently.
They took initiative to stand in a line and took turns to take pictures with the painting of Modest outside the phone booth.
During this process, some passers-by came with the original intention to observe the fun. However, when they saw that several new facilities had been added to the shared phone booth, they became quite curious.
“It looks like many things have been added to the shared phone booth.”
“We don’t have to pay to use the drinks machine as well, right?”
“Do you think you can drink anything you want for ten yuan? Of course, you’ll have to pay extra costs.”
“There’s even a capsule machine and two microphones there! What does that mean? We can sing inside?”
“What’s that thing under the foldable chair? I’ve never seen it.”
“I think there are many more things inside now. Please excuse me, everyone, I want to go in and take a look.”
“Ai, ai, ai… here’s the line.”
“Let’s form two lines! We’re not even queuing for the same thing. You’re taking photographs, and we’re going in to experience the booth. We don’t have to interfere with each other.”
“What if we want to take photographs and experience the booth…?”
After discussing it for a while, everyone split into two lines. One line was to take a photograph with the painting of Modest. The other line was to enter and experience the shared phone booth.
Nobody had entered the phone booth before because there were too few facilities. There had been nothing to experience.
However, there were many more facilities now. There was even an artwork outside the phone booth. Now that it looked much nicer, more people were interested in entering.
After all, everyone was interested in upholding their reputation; this affected even the way they viewed phone booths.
The first people to enter the shared phone booth were a couple.
It would be weird to go into such places alone. Not only would one feel lonely, but others would also be looking in from the outside.
After the couple entered, they closed the door and pulled down the curtains.
At the same time, the people on the outside saw the remaining time displayed on the screen: Fifteen minutes.
That way, those in the line would have a rough idea of how long it would be before their turn.
Of course, that function was still not up to par yet. For example, it could only tell how long the people in the booth at the moment had until they had to come out. However, it could not accurately tell how long someone at the back of the line would have to wait.
Zhang Wang quietly noted this down. He considered including a function that would give the people in line a number or an estimated time before they would reach the front in the future.
The couple began curiously exploring the shared phone booth.
“Eh, we have two drinks each. We can choose cold or hot drinks as well.”
“We can even sing for free?”
“Whoa, what a steal. We only need to pay ten yuan every fifteen minutes. It’s so worth it!” “There’s even a capsule machine. Unfortunately, that’s not free.”
“What were you expecting? If the capsule was free, the manufacturer would suffer huge losses.” “Should we sing one song?”
“Can we do that? It’s so embarrassing.”
“Don’t worry; we can’t hear a single peep from the shopping mall. That means the phone booth is quite well sound-proofed.”
At first, ten yuan for fifteen minutes looked extremely expensive. However, now that so many new functions had been added, it did not look as expensive anymore. In fact, it looked worth it!
Yet, to Zhang Wang, he could still generate profits.
He would only give one pair of drinks. Whether the customers chose to stay for fifteen minutes or an hour, the number of drinks they would receive would remain the same. Once they got thirsty, they would probably buy more. Further, the cost of operating the drinks machine was not much. Take the hot drinks for example. A bag of instant coffee or milk tea measuring one kilogram could make fifty 250 ml cups of hot drinks. That made the cost of each drink fifty cents. On top of that, the more that they bought, the cheaper it became and the lower their costs would be.
Even if they added in the cost of water and electricity, a hot drink would cost two yuan at the most. The shared phone booth would continue to make profits.
Of course, customers could not choose their own flavors.
Furthermore, customers would have to pay extra to play the capsule machine.
The couple picked up the microphones from the table and found a small box that contained free microphone covers. They received two for free upon entry, but if they wanted to use more, they had to pay.
The melodious music sounded, and both of them started singing.
At that time, outside the phone booth, everyone in the queue heard soft music coming from inside the phone booth.
“Eh? Are they really singing?” “How long… do they plan to sing?”
“Holy sh*t, they’ve paid more to stay in there for longer. The remaining time has increased!”
“…Let’s go, let’s go. How long must we freaking wait?!”
It looked like the couple that had just entered the shared phone booth was planning to stay in there for a long time. The timer on the screen started again at thirty minutes. Many people who had been queuing with the intention to try out the booth gave up and dispersed.
However, a realization suddenly dawned on Zhang Wang-who had been sitting at the drinks stall nearby-once he witnessed what had happened.
If everyone who went in came out again quickly, it would have been a bad thing. It would have meant that the phone booth had not been attractive enough!
However, now the couple had decided to stay and sing for at least half an hour. That meant that the shared phone booth itself had no problem!
The other shared phone booths would be done soon. Then, they would move into the various shopping malls in Jingzhou City… They would be money trees that raked in profits for a long time!
Once all twenty shared phone booths had been set up and they had recovered their capital, Zhang Wang would immediately report the good news to Boss Pei!
In the afternoon, on a hired car heading from Jingzhou’s airport to Shenhua View…
A young man accessed the author’s platform application on his cell phone, created a new chapter, and then habitually typed the words ‘taking leave’ in the subject.
“I’m attending Zhongdian Chinese Network’s first class for online authors in Jingzhou, and so I’m taking one day’s leave—just for all of your information.
“On top of that, please vote!”
He typed the entire message at one go. Then, the young man kept his cell phone and looked out of the window of the hired car, appreciating Jingzhou’s views.
A few minutes later, he took his cell phone out again and accessed Zhongdian Chinese Network’s application to read the readers’ comments under the chapter. “Pfft, I thought he updated the book!”
“He’s bailing on us again like he always does? Think about how many times you’ve taken leave in the past month alone.”
“Sh*t, it’s only 3 PM. Can’t you just write at night?”
“Not bad, you’ve improved. You said you had to attend your classmate’s weddings the past few times. I wondered why all of your classmates were getting married at the same time! Your excuse is not bad this time. Keep working hard!”
“Taking frequent leave is a sign that the author isn’t going to finish the book. Tell us, are you going to leave this book incomplete as well?!”
“Sh*t, don’t do that! I just caught up, and you’ve only written about six hundred thousand words for this book. It’s only a child!”
“You’re asking for votes even though you’re taking leave… how shameless!” “Do you see this vote? F*ck, even if I have to waste it, I wouldn’t vote for you!”
Reading the angry comments left by his readers, the young man smiled. He was already used to this.
Cui Geng was one of the students who would be attending Zhongdian Chinese Network’s first authors’ class. His pen name was ‘The Tentacled Beast that Writes for His Life’. However, that name turned out to be perfectly ironic.
He was known for updating his books very slowly and taking leave whenever he felt like it. Each time he took leave, he would also shamelessly ask readers to vote for him.
He was also infamous for not finishing two or three online novels.
Yet, he always had good ideas for novels and a perfect grasp of writing and rhythm. He could always draw people in. Although his readers constantly cursed at him, even they could not help but keep reading his novels.
Cui Geng sighed. “Ai, I’m telling the truth this time. I’m really going to take part in a class. Why doesn’t anyone believe me?”
Among online authors, there were hard workers and slackers. Authors like Cui Geng were especially slack.
That was because he lacked motivation.
When he graduated from university, he had immediately felt pressured by the real world’s materialism. Thus, having had nothing to do, he began writing online novels to support himself.
However, half a year after he had started, his house was demolished.
Cui Geng had wandered around for some time and then had felt empty once again. Thus, he had decided to repent and turn over a new leaf. This time, he had decided to finish his book and become a novel god.
In the end, several other flats belonging to his family were demolished as well.
Cui Geng felt sorrowful. Life had a way of making a fool of people. Who would have had the mood to continue writing?
Thus, Cui Geng left everything to fate now.
This time, he had come to Jingzhou with the intention to go on holiday.
He had no idea what he was going to learn in the class as well. He had signed up the moment he heard that he would receive a basic salary and that his food and accommodation would be provided for.
He had not expected to be chosen immediately.
It was probably because there weren’t many successful authors on Zhongdian Chinese Network Cui Geng had started off by writing on Infinite Chinese Network. However, many readers heard about him having a habit of not completing his books. Even editors came to hear about it. Each time he started a new book, his old readers would comment on it to diss it.
Helpless and not lacking money, Cui Geng had decided to change platforms and give himself a new lease of life.
Thus, thanks to a freak combination of various factors, Cui Geng started writing for Zhongdian Chinese Network which treated its mid-tier writers quite well.
“I heard that there are many fun places to go to in Jingzhou. It’s just as well. I can use this class as an excuse to play here for a few days.
“I’m taking leave for an official reason. The readers can’t say anything about that, right?
“I’m collecting material for my novel. What’s more, writing novels requires a lot of brainpower. If I play more, I can refresh my mind and cheer myself up. That’ll allow me to come up with more content.
“They’ll understand for sure!”
After thinking about this for some time, Cui Geng arrived at Shenhua View. He alighted from the car and took the elevator up to the editors’ department in Zhongdian Chinese Network.
Someone welcomed him warmly and led him to the conference room.
A while later, Ma Yiqun entered the conference room, and the two men began chatting
From their conversation, Cui Geng learned that he was the first author to arrive in Jingzhou for the class. That surprised him.
However, on further thought, it made sense. He had only received the invitation yesterday, and yet he was already here today. He had been quite fast.
The main reason for his enthusiasm was that he wanted to find an excuse to take leave as soon as possible.
After chatting for some time, Ma Yiqun retrieved an agreement.
“This is the agreement for the online literature class. Everyone has to sign one. Please read the details in the agreement very carefully. Once you’re sure that there are no problems with it, you can sign it.
“We have some requirements, but you don’t have to worry; those are basic requirements. We will not go overboard.”
Cui Geng was stunned. “Huh? There’s an agreement?”
It was quite formal.
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