"This year's ninth generation 'Challenger' and tenth generation 'Rhapsody' will be released simultaneously. However, the 10th generation is a limited edition. There are only 100 sets in the entire world, and yours is one of them. When the time comes when you no longer use it, you can sell it. Wait for the price to rise before selling. The 10th generation 'Rhapsody' is slightly special. Your type might not get used to it. Keeping it could be a waste."
Hua Li left after leaving this message. He still seemed a little gloomy, probably because he had never expected Fang Zhao to be different from the other younger generations in the industry.
Fang Zhao was grateful for everything Hua Li had said, and he knew Hua Li's intentions.
Hua Li had spoken so much to tell him that, firstly, he should not get too caught up with all the false reputation. Now, most of the fame lay with Polar Light, which was the result of Silver Wing and Fiery Bird's collaboration that made Polar Light's popularity explode. Thus, the main reason was not Fang Zhao, and Hua Li wanted Fang Zhao to remain calm and not let it all get to his head. Secondly, when considering his future path, he could not forget his true intentions.
However, Hua Li was thinking too much. Fang Zhao was very much clear headed. After all, he was not really only in his twenties. His mental age was much older than both Hua Li and Ming Cang.
Leaving the restaurant, Fang Zhao paused for a moment and looked in a certain direction.
"Boss, there seems to be somebody watching this area, but not that close." Zuo Yu had discovered this earlier, but the other person was some distance away and Zuo Yu had to stay here, since Fang Zhao's safety was his number one priority.
"Doesn't matter; it's not important. Let's head back."
However, as for Fang Zhao actually realizing he was being photographed and even finding the direction of the perpetrator, how was he able to sense it? Unless public figures had outstanding intuition and acute senses? Zuo Yu had heard from a few friends who'd become bodyguards after leaving the military that some big celebrities were just like this. When they could sense the direction they were being photographed from, they would pretend not to know and would display their best poses.
At night, a few articles appeared online.
"Polar Light project producer Fang Zhao on a date with a mysterious person."
"Mysterious person's identity found: shocking!"
Recently, virtual idol Polar Light had a strong presence, and when the public paid attention to this virtual idol, they would also have an interest in the team behind it. Therefore, when people saw the words "Polar Light project producer," they became curious. This was the lead character of the project. It could even be said that Polar Light had been created by him. Thus, people naturally paid attention.
The group of people that did not sleep and stayed up all night rushed in with a raging passion to check out all the gossip but, after seeing the details, could only cough blood from anger.
"Your father was still wondering which female he would be dating, but instead I realized I got tricked when I went in!"
But very quickly, others started to discuss why Fang Zhao would be having a meal with Fiery Bird's Hua Li? Could it be that Fiery Bird wanted to poach Fang Zhao?
Recently, there had been a lot of rumors that some music studios and entertainment companies had shown an interest in Fang Zhao and wanted to poach him, but there had been no concrete developments. But now, having suddenly gotten a photograph of Fang Zhao together with a Fiery Bird staffer and remembering Hua Li's raving evaluations of Fang Zhao, this was surely an attempt to entice him over!
Soon, a number of "Fang Zhao on the verge of defecting" news articles started to circulate.
The next day, when Duan Qianji saw the news on "Fang Zhao on the verge of defecting," her face turned green and she was so angry she nearly broke her communications device.
Duan Qianji's assistant consoled her. "Boss, all these small media groups love to make blind guesses out of these sorts of things and attract the attention of the public. Do not mind them."
Duan Qianji did not utter a single word.
Although Fang Zhao was contracted to Silver Wing for quite a number of years, if Fang Zhao really wanted to break the contract, it was not like he could not pay the compensation fee. And if Fiery Bird really wanted to poach Fang Zhao, that little amount of compensation fee was nothing for them.
Duan Qianji could not be blamed for doubting. Now that Silver Wing finally had a virtual idol that was successful, all the more it could not afford to have a setback. Right now, Fang Zhao was the pillar that was holding up the entire virtual projects department. If the pillar was removed, Duan Qianji believed that the virtual projects department would return back to its old form. Even if she recruited a few professional great masters, she had no confidence that they could create a second Polar Light. The conditions had been right at that time to create a Polar Light that was ever present in the whole of Yanzhou. Who knew if they would have the same luck and capabilities the next time?
Furthermore, the workers in the virtual projects department only submitted to Fang Zhao. If Fang Zhao left, they would leave too. The moment Fang Zhao was poached, the other key members of the team would probably be poached too, as if the heart of the virtual projects department had been dug out. The staff were secondary; the main issue was Fang Zhao. Unless a replacement of a sufficient standard could be found to replace Fang Zhao, Duan Qianji could not see herself letting him go.
Other companies did not cause her much worry, but Fiery Bird? This was a company that many would try anything to get into. Fang Zhao would surely have that sort of thinking. Furthermore, after joining Fiery Bird, as long as one was not lazy and one had the ability, one would not have to worry for the rest of one's life.
Furthermore, Fang Zhao indeed frequently communicated with the people of Fiery Bird. Could it that their suspicions were correct and Fang Zhao did have thoughts about defecting?
Duan Qianji felt like she could easily see through youngsters of that age, but Fang Zhao was a special exception. Up till now, she could not understand the type of person he was.
Duan Qianji had a solemn expression on her face as she drummed her fingers on the table.
At this moment, her secretary received a message. With a hesitant expression, she said, "Boss, Fang Zhao asked if you are in. He has some matters to discuss."
Duan Qianji's fingers trembled. She remained silent for two seconds before saying, "Let him in."
As Fang Zhao walked in, he realized the atmosphere in Duan Qianji's office was abnormal. Not just Duan Qianji, even her assistants and secretary were examining him, as if they were guessing what was up.
Upon seeing Fang Zhao, a faint smile appeared on her face and she warmly asked, "What is it again?"
"Application to have a vacation abroad."
"Another trip?! How long have you been back for? Recently, your department does not have that many assignments. Mostly everything is handled by the Public Relations and Marketing teams. If you really are unable to concentrate on your work, you can do so at home. If you lack the inspiration, going out for a bit is not out of the question." Duan Qianji could be considered to be talking slowly already.
"I am not applying for a personal vacation. I am applying for the entire department."
"...Vacation for how long? What are you all going to do?"
"A week. I have checked the arrangements with the other departments already. Our department has no pressing tasks. I would like to bring them over to Muzhou to watch the sheep-herding competition."
The lump in her throat seemingly dissipated. Checking on the most recent arrangements, she said, "Let me check first before getting back to you."
"Sure, I will send you a detailed electronic application in a bit."
Duan Qianji nodded her head and watched Fang Zhao. Trying to spot if there would be any changes in his expression, she asked. "Yesterday, you met with Fiery Bird's sound effects department head Hua Li? A lot of people are suggesting that you are going to get poached by them." She did not beat around the bush.
"Last night, when I went to meet Old Xue, Hua Li was there, and after that, he asked me out for a few drinks." Fang Zhao knew what Duan Qianji was worrying about. "Don't worry, as long as I am under contract to Silver Wing, I won't leave."
Having received Fang Zhao's resolute reply, Duan Qianji let out a thorough sigh of relief in her heart. When she received the application from Fang Zhao, she delightedly approved it and even asked Fang Zhao whether he needed an additional flying transport. Just as Duan Qianji had said before, for her prized talent, she was willing to give him what he wanted.
One flying transport was more than enough. The department's core members were not that many. They could fit in one transport, so Fang Zhao did not request the additional transport.
In the afternoon, before knocking off, Fang Zhao arranged a meeting with the members of the department. He inquired about the progress on their work and whether the assigned tasks had been completed. After confirming that everything was done, he told them the matter about heading to Muzhou for the competition.
The members of the virtual projects department went crazy. After Fang Zhao had left, it was rare for the entire department to leave the office. Without even playing their games, they all returned home to pack their luggage.
The technicians within the company had a group chat. Recently, Zu Wen and the others had been in the limelight. Who knew that the virtual projects department would have a reversal in fortunes. Back then, many would have rather died then be transferred there. Now, even if they wanted to enter, it was impossible, and that all had happened within a year.
Zu Wen sent a message in the technician's group chat. "Our department's boss is going to bring us to fly. Goodbye, everyone, don't miss me too much! Here I come, Muzhou's blue sky and huge fields!"
The originally quiet and peaceful group chat exploded to life.
"Scram! Your father is still working overtime!"
"How cheap! Your father is still working overtime, and my overtime is not even a third of what you guys in the virtual projects department get!"
"Not seeing you off! Zu Wen, are you all going to Muzhou to watch the sheep-herding competition?!"
"I am not going to scold you, Zu Wen, as long as your bring back some specialty goodies from Muzhou~"
"Zu Wen, your department had better take care of that 'Golden Dog.' Don't let it be stolen! I haven't seen it for myself yet, so make sure you bring it back safely so I can go over and touch it."
The news of Curly Hair's 50 million value had already been spread across most departments, so many Silver Wing employees had coined Curly Hair "Golden Dog." Although its hair was not gold in color, that nickname was to show its value.
Zu Wen teased the rest of the group a little and felt more spirited. Having grown up, he had only ever been to Muzhou once, during a trip organized by his secondary school. However, back then, there had been too many restrictions, and he'd never been able to see a sheep-herding competition. All he'd done was breathe a little of the Muzhou air before having to return.
After another two days, the core members of the virtual projects department gathered and headed for Muzhou.
Muzhou's sheep-herding finals was a grand occasion that occurred once a year and would attract many people from other continents to come over and watch.
Fang Zhao first brought the entire department over to Shanmu Farm. Then, on the day of the competition, together with Wu Yi and Su Hou, they arrived at the competition venue situated at Qingcheng City.
The parking area was still a distance away from the competition grounds. By the time they arrived, they realized many others had already arrived before them and half the flying transports packed there had foreign serial numbers.
"Today, there are many foreigners. Stay vigilant," Wu Yi said.
As there were a lot more people today, the place was much more confusing. Security had also been raised by several levels.
As they left the parking area. Fang Zhao noticed a number of police officers with similarly attired police dogs on a leash guarding the entrance of the parking grounds. These people were probably meticulously selected, and their hawk-like eyes scanned every person that came to the parking grounds, searching for anything suspicious. The police dogs that were beside them had their tongues out and were panting from the heat. They did not look like much, but their pair of dog eyes were observing the surroundings, and their ears were erect to catch any sounds that were not easily heard by the human ear.
"This time every year is when Qingcheng's sheep-herding competition grounds have the most stringent security checks," Wu Yi explained to Fang Zhao in case it made him tense seeing this sort of situation for the first time. "Actually, not just the competition grounds, the entire Muzhou has stricter security checks. Therefore, we have termed the day of the finals as the 'Strictest Lockdown Day.' If you notice the police officers or dogs have found something suspicious, make sure to avoid them immediately to prevent yourself from getting hurt."
Wu Yi had just finished when Fang Zhao said, "I having the feeling that we are being watched."
"Cough, how is that poss—" Wu Yi's sentence ended with a grunt because he realized that a police officer was watching them. The police dog beside him had already retracted its tongue and was staring in their direction. As someone who owned a dog, Wu Yi was very clear what the dog's manner was displaying. That was a look of suspicion and alarm, and in the next moment, it would bark.
"Woof woof woof woof woof!"