After taking a look at the map, Fang Zhao marked a few locations. These were all spots he had noticed while touring the mines. The mines on planet Wai were quite scattered, and Fang Zhao had spotted seven locations during the mine tour, but their flying transport had skipped all of them because the group had been on a tight schedule. Fang Zhao had never had the chance to examine them in detail. This time, he returned to the marked spots with his partner Woo Tianhao.
Woo Tianhao was no longer in the mood to test Fang Zhao's fighting skills. He had just landed a hard-earned partner. There was no point in spooking his partner now.
Indeed, Woo Tianhao was quite confident in his own abilities. Even though he had heard that Fang Zhao was a decent fighter, he didn't think he could possibly lose to a martial arts amateur who dabbled in the arts.
Screw the duel. I'll get around to it when everything is confirmed. I can't scare him off before the contract is signed.
They visited three locations in a row. Woo Tianhao thought all three were decent. The locations Fang Zhao had marked were all places he had checked out carefully while doing live broadcasts. They each had their advantages.
Woo Tianhao loved those towering mountains obscured by clouds and fog that were straight out of a fantasy novel. Building a kung fu school in a place like that was classy. He'd also build a bloody orphanage while he was at it and recruit kids who had the right builds and were interested in martial arts. He would get his fix serving as a head coach.
From Woo Tianhao's perspective, why else would you splurge except to feel good?
I'm happy to spend the cash. Who cares what anyone else says?
So even though his family objected to his obsession with building a martial arts school, Woo Tianhao didn't think he was in the wrong at all.
"This is the sixth spot? This place is decent too. I haven't done a live broadcast here. Hey, Tang Ke, mark it down. We'll broadcast live from this spot next time," Woo Tianhao yelled while turning his head.
Tang Ke was the reporter assigned to S4. He was a chubby man about the same age as Kevin Lin.
Tang Ke yawned and said, "Got it!" He would have passed on the trip had he known there were so many spots to hit. This was more work than a live broadcast, more tiring. Tang Ke had spent last night listening to Woo Tianhao bullsh*tting about his dreams and whatnot. He hadn't slept well. Right now, he was sleepy as h*ll.
"Next?" Woo Tianhao asked Fang Zhao after looking up the coordinates of the seventh location.
"Next." Fang Zhao had just uttered his response when he heard a rustling sound from the tall grass ahead of them. The noise was growing louder and was heading in their direction.
The three bodyguards tailing Fang Zhao, the two protecting Woo Tianhao, and the soldiers assigned by the main base all raised their guns.
"Wait!" Fang Zhao shouted.
A silhouette darted out.
It was a brown, furry animal about half a meter tall. It had a round head, a long tail, and ears that were checkered. Its main identifying feature was a blue ring surrounding its neck.
"Lab animal?" Woo Tianhao asked.
Woo Tianhao had seen everything after spending a good deal of time on Wai. He knew instantly where the animal had come from once he saw the blue ring around its neck.
"They're lab animals. They shouldn't be in the wild. They've been injected with medicine. The experiments they were used in have concluded, but the lab animals can't be set free because there are experimental plots nearby. The lab technicians have them sequestered elsewhere. This one must have escaped," Woo Tianhao explained to Fang Zhao.
"Even though they have GPS chips planted in them, catching them is quite a hassle if they escape. Let's cordon them off. The breeders in charge of capturing them shouldn't be far behind."
Surrounded by gun barrels, the animal froze, two round eyes bulging from its furry face.
Soon, the sound of flying transports could be heard. The animal's captors had arrived.
The two breeders disembarked from the flying transport, carrying what appeared to be traps. The bodyguards tucked their guns away.
Lo and behold, the animal ducked away from the breeders and dashed toward Fang Zhao.
Fang Zhao's three bodyguards drew their guns again. They were trained to kill anything that posed a threat to Fang Zhao.
Fang Zhao raised his hand again. "No need."
The three bodyguards could have killed the animal before it approached Fang Zhao, but Fang Zhao had halted them just in time, so they had missed the split second when they had the animal in their sights. The animal clung on to Fang Zhao's leg and hid behind his body, watching the two breeders in pursuit alertly.
Noticing that the bodyguards still had their guns trained on the lab animals, the breeders told Fang Zhao and company, "This thing is called a tiger-eared monkey because its ears resemble the ears of a tiger from the Old Era. It was named by the first researchers who studied them. This is the third time this little fella has escaped, but it's not dangerous. It won't attack humans on its own initiative. Don't worry, we'll take it down now."
One of the breeders approached Fang Zhao. The tiger-eared monkey didn't release its grip, instead climbing along Fang Zhao's leg from his calf to his thigh. Its claws gripped Fang Zhao's pants tightly. It wouldn't let go no matter how hard the breeder tugged, letting out a piercing scream instead.
The breeder stopped pulling. The little fella had sharp claws; they were worried that they might hurt Fang Zhao if they continued to use force.
The two breeders had no choice but to switch approaches. They glanced and each other and prepared their dart guns.
Lo and behold, the tiger-eared monkey started screaming even more loudly.
"Just beat it to death and cook it. It's so annoying," Woo Tianhao said with a frown.
After a fresh round of screaming, the tiger-eared monkey turned its head and glared at Woo Tianhao while baring its teeth in a vicious snarl. The screaming now was the loudest thus far.
The breeders laughed knowingly. "It's better if you don't mouth off. It's spent quite a bit of time with humans. It might understand what you say."
"Does it run in this direction every time?" Fang Zhao asked.
"Yes, he ended up in this area all three times. Last time, it was at the foot of the mountain." The breeder pointed for Fang Zhao's benefit. "The last time we caught it, it was napping in a tree hole after a meal. Even the howling winds, thunder, and rain didn't wake it up. Animals raised in captivity aren't as alert as wild animals."
Fang Zhao examined the spot the breeder pointed to and said, "Let's check it out. If there aren't any problems, let's use that location."
The breeders didn't like the idea. What if the little fella fled even further? Catching it would be a pain in the *ss, but the breeders kept those thoughts to themselves when they saw the colonel traveling with Fang Zhao and Woo Tianhao gesture to them, offering instead. "No problem. Let us lead the way. We know that spot well."
For the senior officials at the main base, a lab animal was far less consequential compared to these two potential investors. The most important task at hand was to secure the investment from Fang Zhao and Woo Tianhao.
The tiger-eared monkey was still clinging to Fang Zhao when he boarded the flying transport. The new location was only a short flight away, so Fang Zhao stood throughout the journey.
The flying transport took off for the foot of the mountain and found a landing spot. Fang Zhao got off and approached the woods in front of him.
"Say, now that I'm here, it feels quite good. I couldn't tell from on top of the mountain," Woo Tianhao said after taking in his surroundings.
He couldn't put his finger on what was so great about the location. It just felt right. The air even felt fresher.
"This is probably what the archeologists' notebooks referred to as good feng shui," Woo Tianhao said after pondering the matter.
Fang Zhao didn't know anything about feng shui, but he knew that the animals native to Wai definitely had stronger instincts for good locations than they did, even if they were lab animals. Based on what the two breeders had told them, this little fella was quite sensitive. Just because it wasn't aggressive like a wild animal didn't mean it couldn't discern between different surroundings.
Plus, if the tiger-eared monkey would sleep so soundly here even on a rainy day, the natural conditions had to be quite stable. According to the information provided by Huo Yi, this was not an earthquake-prone area, nor had any major natural disasters occurred.
The most important thing was that Fang Zhao liked the location too.
"Then how about we go with this spot? There are quite a few mountains around here too. I'll pick a good-looking one to build my kung fu school on," Woo Tianhao said. But as he canvassed the massive plot of land, he felt that the investor group comprising just him and Fang Zhao was a bit thin. "We can't rival those major investor groups. Two people isn't enough. Why don't we get more people involved. I have a few friends that I can con—I mean, persuade to invest." Woo Tianhao looked at Fang Zhao. "You know anyone who has money to blow?"
Fang Zhao pondered before responding, "Zaro Renault is on Baiji. I could ask him."
Woo Tianhao had never held Zaro in high esteem, but Zaro's reputation of splurging was known to all. Yes, let's bring that sucker in!