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Day 5: Crouching tiger, hidden boss

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Day 5: SX/JBT

Prompt: Legend

He had been excited to work at the major tech company Samsara. Excited to get a position under the legendary god of tech, Zhou Zekai. Excited to voice his ideas and get feedback and have high level technical conversations with the god.

His dream was shattered when he realized that the legendary tech god was just that- a legend. In reality, Zhou Zekai, though extremely good-looking, seemed to be just a normal software engineer. Scrolling through his codes, there were no especially innovative sections, it was only through their functionality that they came to be so useful. And he couldn’t converse with the god, nor ask for feedback without getting one word answers.

He had sighed for the eighth time in a row when Jiang Botao, Zhou Zekai’s partner came up to him. Jiang Botao had co-founded the tech company Samsara with Zhou Zekai and was renowned as one of the best dealmakers in all of China. Although he wasn’t as handsome as his partner, Sun Xiang thought that he had a more amiable and cuddly appearance, like that of a teddy bear. To be honest, he was much more of Sun Xiang’s type than the traditional beauty of Zhou Zekai.

“Not what you imagined, huh?” He said casually, following his gaze to the reticent engineer.

“...” Sun Xiang said nothing. After all, this was the best friend and partner of said god.

“It’s okay, most people feel that way when they first start here.” He laid a gentle hand on Sun Xiang’s shoulder. “What they don’t realize though, is that Zhou Zekai is less an innovative coder, and more a visionary. He has so many ideas flying around in that head of his, but he has a hard time getting them out.” Jiang Botao spun around playfully and poked Sun Xiang in the cheek. “And that’s where I come in. Come on, let’s get the two of you talking.”

Talking with Zhou Zekai was... an experience. The three of them sat together around a round table, laptops out. Sun Xiang was hesitant at first to ask anything of the god, but eventually he was so impatient that he began firing out all the questions he had bottled up on why the code was this way instead of this way which was equally fast and arguably better, and whether it was possible for a larger processing chip to scale up without a reduction in quality, and what were the best practices regarding this functionality.

Zhou Zekai silently listened to the barrage of questions, made a vague hand gesture at the code, made a noise of affirmation, and typed out an emoji in their chat group.

Sun Xiang sat there incredulously as Jiang Botao leaned in to examine the emoji.

“Okay, so this is what Zekai said...”

“... And that’s why we do things this way. Did you get all that?”

Sun Xiang was mind-blown. “How...? Did you get all that from just that?!” He pointed to the \(‘o’)/ emoji on his screen.

Jiang Botao’s laugh came like a refreshing breeze given the highly technical explanation earlier. “I’ve been a Zhou Zekai translator since we were children.” He grinned. “And it helps that I’m familiar with all of these topics as well.”

Just being familiar with the topic was an understatement. Jiang Botao must be another tech genius. No one could just spout off a highly technical explanation that made sense to two expert software engineers from practically zero context. Sun Xiang didn’t know what to think: either he knew all of this by heart, or he could read minds.

Zhou Zekai gave a little smile and then pointed at his screen.

“What? No, I keep telling you I’m not the most powerful person here. That’s you, remember?”

Sun Xiang blanched. Come to think of it, it was probably true. No one would be able to tell if Jiang Botao was mistranslating Zhou Zekai’s words. If Zhou Zekai was the legendary boss character, then Jiang Botao would be the hidden boss, controlling the entire situation from the shadows, unsuspected because of his unassuming character.

Jiang Botao suddenly leaned in closer to Sun Xiang, such that they were almost touching. “Anyway, he was saying you have an error in your code over here.” He pointed it out on the screen, not noticing how Sun Xiang became red in the cheeks.

Zhou Zekai sent another emoji: (`v`)d

“Good luck in your pursuit? Pursuit of what?”


“Why is it a secret? What’s there to be a secret of?”


“Ganbatte? Again, why?”

Sun Xiang sighed for the ninth time today, trying to dispel the heat in his cheeks. It was looking like his time at Samsara was going to be a lot more hectic in the days to come.