"We are sorry for your loss."
Wei Li bowed his head and tightened the grip he had on his younger siblings shoulders as another stranger came up to give their condolences.
He knew how hard this was for the twins, knew how hard this was supposed to be for Wei Li himself, but he had never been as close to his parents as Yang Ming and Xiao Lan had been.
Maybe it was because Xiao Lan and Yang Ming were the babies of the family, they had been spoiled as they grew up, without a single want and had adored their parents more then Wei Li could ever understand.
It was a sad thing to hear, that he could not understand his siblings love for their parents but it was true.
Wei Li had had a fairly lonely childhood.
His parents had barely even gotten the chance to get married, let alone being able to go on a honeymoon before Wei Li was born. They had not planned to have any children for some years, but he had come around in what could only be called an accident; it had been a huge disappointment for his parents, or so he was told. So, when they had decided Wei Li was old enough to be left with a nanny, they had left to fulfill their 'dream honeymoon'.
It was the start of a pattern.
Every few months they would leave to 'Reignite their love for one another' and Wei Li would be left with a nanny.
To be honest, Wei Li was surprised it took them six years to have another child, with the amount of 'honeymoons' they had back then.
He had not expected anything to change when they announced the pregnancy, and how could he, having only been seven at the time, understand that parents weren't supposed to leave every other month, that knowing your nanny better then your parents was unusual. He could not have known that and so when the twins were born he did not know or understand what to think when his parents did not leave once more.
It seemed like Yang Ming and Xiao Lan were exactly what their parents needed to settle down.
He would never admit to himself, nor anyone else, but it had hurt that they were willing to stay home for his little siblings but had not been willing to stay home when it was for him.
Years passed and their focused mostly stayed on Yang Ming and Xiao Lan and Wei Li could in no way hold that against his siblings, their parents may not have shown it as actively as they had shown the twins, but he knew that his parents had loved him in their own way.
That, of course, did not mean that he was very fond of his parents. When it came down to it, they had not been there when he had needed them. It had not been them who had comforted him after a nightmare or who told him stories at bedtime or walked him to his first day of school.
So, under the unsurprised eyes of his parents and the confused eyes of his siblings, Wei Li moved out of his parents house on his nineteenth birthday and moved into a small two bedroom flat.
It was only a year later that he received the news of his parents demise.
He was only twenty when the care of his grieving fourteen year old twin siblings were left in his care.
To be honest he did not even really know what to feel about their deaths, and had it not been for the twins, nothing would have changed. But, he did have siblings and that changed everything.
"Can we go home after this?" Xiao Lan asked quietly, trying to avoid the attenion of their greedy relatives, all looking to take advantage of the distressed youths.
"Yeah." Wei Li squeezed his sister's shoulder in comfort as the last of the well wishers came to give their condolences.
Becoming an novelist had not been, in any way, what he had pictured himself doing when he had graduated high school, but he had quickly found that writing was something that he was decent at.
It was easy and exciting to create another world with just a flex of his imagination and something to write with, and if he happened to get paid for it, all the better.
It did not take him long to find a publisher that he liked and, with minimal amount of effort on his part, his first book was published.
It was not an instant hit and it was in no way a best seller, but it had it's own small group of fans and when he published his next work his fans were right there beside him encouraging him to do another and another until he really did not have a choice in continuing writing, but for some reason, he was okay with that.
His writing kept the food on the table for the next five years as the twins finished middle school and started the struggle of high school. Wei Li became the official love guru in the house as the twins worked their way through boyfriends/girlfriends as their high school years went on and when Feng Lans heart was broken he was there with a ten pounds of ice cream and a stack of depressing romance movies and when things started to get serious between Yang Ming and his girlfriend Wei Li was there to explain all about the horrors of STD's and the wonder of condoms.
Things were in no way perfect and he messed up too many times to count, but in the end he got them to college alive and relatively sane and that was more then he could have asked for.
"Bro, is my bento almost ready?"
Wei Li glared at his little brother brother but nodded, one day he would teach that boy to take care of himself. Xiao Lan had already gotten her bento and had been waiting for her brother for almost an hour and it showed with the way she was tapping her foot as she stood by the front door impatiently.
Wei Li put the lid on top of the bento and wrapped it up before handing it to the teenager.
"Thanks." Yang Ming called out before rushing out the door, his sister following him closely giving him a backwards wave as she began shouting at her brother for making them late.
He shook his head with fond exasperation at the teenagers and went back to cleaning, it was about the only thing he did now a days, when he was not writing.
He put the dishes he had been washing in the sink to dry before grabbing a towel to wipe his hands of the suds and water.
He walked over to the couch and grabbed the laptop that had been left on it. He opened it up and pulled up a new tab.
' When his journey had begun, he had been blind to the adventures and battles that would meet him in the future and had he known the trials he would come to face...'
The trials he would come to face...
What trials would he come to face?
Wei Li set the laptop down and threw himself against the back of the couch irritably.
He had not had such bad writer's block in years.
This was the sequel to a book he had finished writing a few months ago and the fans and his editor had not stopped hounding him about when he would start writing it.
He knew how he wanted to end it, the problem was he had no idea how to get there.
He didn't know who the villain would be now that Wu Chao had left his village to try and get away from what had happened in the first book.
It was a obvious that Wu Chao's past would come back to haunt him but he didn't want this book to just be a re-cap of the last one.
He wanted to add new characters, he wanted to really get into Wu Chao 's struggle to overcome living without the comforts that he had become used to.
There was so many things he wanted to do with this book and no idea of how to get to that point.
It was beyond frustrating.
He got up from the couch and stalked to the laundry room grabbing the basket that sat on the floor and walked into his room and began to pick up any clothes on the floor and throwing them into the laundry basket held in the crook of his arm.
Cleaning had become something of a hobby to him, as dull as that sounded, it was something he could do to empty his mind and focus on what he wanted to do with a book- not that it had been working for him lately.
To be honest he had never felt more like a house wife then the last few years and he had never sympathized more with single mothers then he had these past few years.
He picked up the last T-shirt on the floor and headed to his brothers room.
He almost groaned at the mess that covered the entire room.
He began straightening up idly while letting his thoughts wander.
It felt strange knowing that Yang Ming and Xiao Lan would be in college soon. It was hard not to see the two young teenagers crying in his arms when he looked at his siblings, and now knowing that they were all grown up ...
He blinked as he realized what he was doing.
He shook his head and stopped cleaning, Yang Ming could handle cleaning his own room.
He set the basket down on the bed as a not so subtle reminder for his brother to clean the room and turned to walk out, only in the corner of his eyes he noticed something poking out from under his brother's pillow.
He leaned down curiously and tugged the glinting object out only to roll his eyes when he realized what he was holding.
Wei Li raised a eyebrow at her and she pouted.
"Don't think I will fall for that, Wei Li!"
"Fall for what?"
She frowned at him.
"Don't try and distract me with those pretty eyes! I am on a mission."
The man closed his eyes in exasperation.
"I was not-"
"When are you going to start writing again? Its been weeks since you have given me anything!" she interrupted like he had not even started talking .
"I haven't been able to get into it lately." He admitted "I don't know what to do with him now that he's out of the village."
She scoffed at him.
"Its obvious what he should do!"
"And what should he do?" He asked with exasperation.
"He should fall in love!"
Wei Li rolled his eyes.
"You know just as well as I do that I can not write romance."
She scoffed again.
"Every fan from here to America wants that man to find himself a love interest! Even I wouldn't mind reading some BL action." She sighed wistfully.
"You are completely ridiculous," He told her seriously, before standing up " if that is all-" He began moving out from the booth in the small restaurant they had been talking in.
She grabbed his arm and pulled him back down.
"No, that is not all. I got you a gift!"
He blinked startled and wary at the sudden change in topic.
"What is the occasion?" He asked cautiously, leaning back in his chair, trying to subtly get away from the woman whowas staring at him like a piece of meat.
"Why must you be so wary? You should be thankful!" Shui Han whined.
"I have spent the last 5 years trying to raise two teenager, if I had not become wary over the years then I would have been eaten alive." Wei Li deadpanned.
"Minor details." She waved her hand around carelessly.
"The last time you looked at me like that, I woke up naked between two strangers, with a tattoo I couldn't remember getting and my siblings staring at me in horror ."
The aftermath of that episode had not been pretty.
Her eyes brightened mischievously.
"Those were the good time, when you were naive and eager to please." She sighed in fond remembrance.
"I was never naive and eager to please!" The man protested but it fell on deaf ears.
"Anyway! We, once again, have gone off topic!"
She pulled a box from seemingly no where and set in front of him eagerly.
Wei Li raised an eyebrow as he stared at the box containing the headset for Second Life.
"You got me a video game."
Her eager expression in no way dampened at his tone.
"Well, as your editor-"
"How is it my editor's job to get me video games?"
"I have been trying to figure out a way to get you inspiration for your writing, and I had been completely stumped- until I saw this!" She gestured to the plastic box like it held the answers to the universe.
"And how is playing a video game going to help me?"
Shui Han looked second away from bursting into an evil laugh.
"What better way to get into your character's mind then to become him!"
"Your kidding." he deadpanned.
He set his brother's headset down and maneuvered his way out of the room and into his own.
That had only been a few day's ago and he had put the box down in his room and had not looked at it since, he had never been a big fan of video games, that was more of his brothers area, but the idea of 'becoming' his character was a thought he found very intriguing.
The problem was Shui Han.
He had no idea what her ultimate goal was for this.
He knew that there was some alternate motive for this beside just getting him to write but he could not grasp what in the world she wanted to accomplish by getting him to play Second Life.
The thing was, he actually was pretty curious about the game...
He had heard so much about it from Yang Ming and he would admit that he had gone to their website multiple times to see how the game worked, and had Shui Han not said anything he might have even bought his own Second Life headset at some point, just to try it, but with her interest in getting him to use the game...
He sighed knowing that in the end he would give in eventually and all this useless debate would be just that- Useless.
He grabbed the box that he had been ignoring for days and snorted quietly as he found a small slip of paper taped to the box,
'PM Me when you get online! My username is LoliDragon! ;) '
He put the card down and carefully opened the box and unwrapped the headset before hesitantly securing it onto his head.
He situated himself into a comfortable position on his bed before pulling the visor down and started it up.
"Welcome, New Player, to Second life! I will now commence the infrared and sound wave scan," The NPC paused a moment before continuing, "from now on, as soon as you put on your game helmet, you go directly into playing Second Life."
It was more realistic then he had expected.
The NPC in front of him could pass for a human with no problem, usually there would be some type of tell that made it obvious who were the players and who were the NPC, but staring at the woman in front of him, he was clueless if she was an NPC or a GM.
He was broken out of his examination when she spoke.
"I must warn you, you only have one chance to design a character, once the character creation process is complete, your race, name, and looks can not be changed."
He nodded in understanding.
"The races are divided into: humans, elves, dark elves, dwarfs, celestials, elementals and beasts" She listed.
His book's character, Wu Chao, was not completely different from what Wei Li looked like but still there were some differences.
"Can I see myself as an human and-" He began only to be interrupted by the avatar popping in front of him.
He raised his eyebrow as he got his first look at the human avatar that had popped in front of him, he could some what see the resemblance that he had hoped for with the lean but muscular build but the hair and the eyes were all wrong.
He shook his head, the look still was not quite what he needed to believe that he was Wu Chao.
"Can you change the eye color?" He asked curiously.
He received a nod.
"Can I see blue?"
It was weird seeing himself with blue eyes, having always had brown eyes himself, weird but interesting.
He smiled faintly at the results, not bad at all.
But still something was not right.
"Can you change the hair to a dark purple color?"
the results were much more pleasing this time, he nodded to himself.
"Now, lengthen it."
The dark hair lengthened until the wavy hair reached the bottom of his shoulder
"What would you like to name your avatar?"
"Now, where do you wish to be born? There are north, east, south, west, and central regions."
"Central is fine."
"Welcome to Second Life, Wu Chao ."
And with that he started to fall.
"Did he pass out? "
"Should we help him?"
"He looks like a newbie..."
It was the high pitched voices of teenage girls that woke him up.
He shifted and pulled himself up.
"He woke up."
There was a moment of silence and then they saw his face.
Their eyes grew wide and blushes spread across their cheeks.
"Are you alright? do you need healing?"
"I will give you money to buy equipment!"
"Is this your first time here? Whats your name?"
They bombarded him questions and surrounded him like vultures on dead meat.
This had been part of the reason he had been happy to get a job that did not require him to leave the house and have to deal with strange women staring at him with hearts in their eyes.
His first instinct against any and all fan girls was to glare at them and ward them off with garlic necklaces and crosses, but then he remembered, this was all so he could get into the mindset of his character and he had to start at some point.
He searched his mind desperately to how Wu Chao would react to this situation and suddenly relaxed.
Wu Chao stood and stared at them neutrally, Wu Chao was not a type of person who would judge someone without good reason, and fan girls - No matter how despicable- were no exception.
"I am fine."
That did not mean however that he had to be polite about it.
He then turned and walked away.
The high pitched squeals of delight that was released almost deafened him.
Getting in the mindset of a character was harder then he had thought.
Wu Chao led a significantly different life then Wei Li and it was hard trying to picture how he would react to most situations.
He knew it would take some time before it became second nature to act and react like him, and until he got to the point where it was second nature, he would have to follow a new mantra- What would Wu Chao do?
Well, there was no doubt that he would find the eyes that stared at him constantly, when he was in town, to be unnerving so he would want to find some way to avoid the attention.
His solution to the problem was to try and earn enough to buy a cheap cloak or something similar.
The only way he knew how to get money before getting a job was to fight monster for their loot.
He sneaked out of town and into the woods surrounding it, looking around with barely concealed amazement at the realistic graphics.
He had only been out of the town for five minutes when he came across his first monster's in the game. They were blobs of some sort of unidentifiable liquid with the words 'Flesh Eating Slime' written above it.
He sucked in a deep breath and tried to imagine how Wu Chao would handle this.
He let his mind venture over a couple provabilities before a smile started to spread across his lips as an idea popped into his head.
He climbed up a nearby tree and waited in silence as the two blobs of slime to slowly make their way under his tree.
He tensed his muscles and then making sure the blobs were in the right position he jumped from his branch and landing right on the blobs 'heads', there was a moment of resistant before both slimes disappeared in a flash of smoke and two objects landed on the ground.
Successful attack of 'Flesh Eating Slime'
Successful attack of 'Flesh Eating Slime'
'Bingo! Flesh Eating Slime has died! Earned 25 EXP. A knife. A pouch.'
Wu Chao has learned a new move! 'Sneak Attack'!
Wu Chao bent down and grabbed both the pouch and knife.
Advice for newbies: To view your statistics, say the word 'System'
Wu Chao raised an eyebrow.
A window popped in front of him showing his his stats.
NAME: Wu Chao
"Well, you have to start somewhere." He sighed.
Time to get to work.
Wei Li took off the headset and set it on his bedside table with a sigh.
Wu Chao was a hard character to get right but as much as he did not want to admit it, getting into the mindset of him like that had helped, of course it would take a bit longer then an two hours doing nothing but killing blobs of slime to really get the hang of the character but it had surprisingly helped.
He grabbed his laptop and started typing.
' Wu Chao quietly climbed the tree, grasping the branches with a firm grip, making sure he would not fall and alert his prey. He gripped the dagger in his hand tightly, the sweat on his palm making him feel like the dagger would slip free at any moment. He tried to quiet his breathing as the deer walked under his tree and then he let go of the branch, letting his body fall towards his prey...'
Hours past as his fingers typed away, describing Wu Chao 's troubles as he adjusted to life as a wanderer, learning how to hunt on his own, trading things in towns he passed for instructions on how to do certain things, learning how to start a fire without creating smoke.
"How long have you been writing?"
Wei Li jerked at the sudden voice and looked up startled.
Xiao Lan leaned up against the door casually.
"Is school over already?" Wei Li asked surprised.
Xiao Lan shook her head with a laugh.
"You never change, do you?"
The man ran a sheepish hand through his hair and raised an eyebrow.
"Did you want something? Other then teasing your poor brother, I mean."
"I'm hungry. Fix me something?" She stared at her older brother with begging eyes.
Wei Li snorted and went back to his writing.
"That might have worked had you been your brother, but I happen to know that you can cook just fine without me."
The next twenty minutes were spent listening to his younger sister trying to convince him to make him something to eat and soon after Yang Ming joined in just generally whining and Wei Li could not have been happier.