There were two reasons why Kevin Lin kept pining for Fang Zhao's return. Besides the channel receiving lots of complains because of Zaro, ever since Zaro had substituted for Fang Zhao on channel S5's live broadcast, Kevin Lin's presence had been dropping! He could tell by observing the comments left on his own social platforms; all attention was on Zaro instead.
This was the same as encountering a tyrannical mic hog at a karaoke bar. What could he do?
He simply could not even snatch an opportunity to make an appearance on the live broadcasts.
Even Zaro's agent had more screen time than Kevin Lin!
This was why Kevin Lin was anxious. Even if it brought S5 a lot more viewership, even if the column supported Zaro continuing to broadcast live, Kevin Lin was unwilling.
How great had it been when Fang Zhao had been here. Fang Zhao had not minded too much about screen time, so Kevin Lin had been able to show his face from time to time. But ever since Zaro had come, Kevin Lin had simply no long had any presence, and his online popularity was taking the hit.
Fang Zhao could roughly guess what was going on in Kevin Lin's mind, but he did not ask too many questions, instead turning to face Fan Lin who was walking over. "Professor Fan, is the little thing really all right after changing this way?"
"Test results show that its condition is within the normal range and that there aren't any major issues." Fan Lin probably had no way of keeping Zaro in check, and his tone carried a tinge of helplessness. "I have also asked the person who bred it, and he says there is no problem, you don't have to worry."
Fang Zhao looked at the "rabbit" bouncing around in the tank and continued to ask Fan Lin. "Are you selling this small thing?"
Fan Lin lifted up his head in surprise and studied Fang Zhao. Realizing that Fang Zhao was not joking, he frowned and shook his head. "Generally speaking, these sorts of experimentally bred hybrids with Earth and foreign-planet genes are not sold to outsiders. However, in recent years, government regulations on this have been relaxed a lot. However, whether to sell or not, the decision lies firmly in the hands of the breeder. Do you really wish to purchase it?"
Fang Zhao nodded. "Mmhm. It is rather meaningful—it can double up as a light at night and as a live light. After my military service ends next year, I can bring it back as a commemorative item."
"If you are really intent on buying it, I will help you ask. The breeder's name is Denzel. He was with the Academy of Science HQ but has since left and started his own company and laboratory. It is rumored that he left to start his own company without any expectations because the research funds he requested kept being rejected. I will contact him first. If he agrees to it, I will put you in touch."
Denzel's projects used to be on ornamental aquatic creatures. After that, when he left the Academy of Science HQ, he had changed his focus and handed over the ornamental aquatic creature project to researchers under him and had chosen to spend his efforts collaborating with his friends on krill cultivation.
Krill was a major nourishment supplement in the New Era. Denzel wished to improve on this nutritional dosage.
When Fan Lin had arrived on planet Baiji, he had heard from others that Denzel intended to claim an area of water at the South Pole to cultivate krill. However, he had not succeeded and had to look for some other place.
This sort of research was extremely costly. The probability of Denzel selling that "rabbit" was very high.
Fan Lin also hoped that Fang Zhao would purchase it. Today, in the afternoon, he had heard Zaro say that he wanted to purchase it, but Zaro's agent had stopped Zaro, as they did not have sufficient funds on hand. For the time being, Zaro had given up on this idea.
However, this was only temporary. If Zaro's funds were replenished and he bought that little thing, that would be a pity.
Given how Zaro was, if this little thing ended up in his hands, it would meet an absolutely miserable end. Who knows, maybe on the second day, it would end up in a pot and cooked. In the eyes of Zaro, this little thing was nothing more than a water commodity of planet Baiji.
Comparing these, Fan Lin naturally hoped that Fang Zhao would hurry up and buy that little thing. He was convinced of Fang Zhao's character. Before Fang Zhao had been dispatched on his assignment, the little thing had been under Fang Zhao's care.
Since he had agreed to help Fang Zhao, Fan Lin made a brief round in the laboratory before returning to contact the breeder.
When Fang Zhao returned to the outpost's dormitory, his entire table was piled with Kevin Lin's materials after being away for quite sometime.
"Cough. I will move it right away." Kevin Lin hurriedly headed over and moved away the things on the table. "Our place is really too small. However, I heard that single rooms with larger spaces will be constructed in the outpost soon." Kevin Lin gave a comprehensive breakdown of the happenings in the outpost to Fang Zhao for the period Fang Zhao had been away. "Oh, right, where are the three bodyguards by your side?"
Kevin Lin remembered that, previously, Fang Zhao had had three body guards that had always been with him. This time, though, they were nowhere to be seen.
"They have returned back to their original posts," Fang Zhao replied.
The major and two captains that had been assigned to Fang Zhao's side by Hong Lou had returned to their own duties now that Fang Zhao had returned to planet Baiji. After Fang Zhao had discussed it with Hong Lou, they no longer needed to follow him around.
Hong Lou had found out some stuff concerning Fang Zhao from the three of them. From the moment they had been assigned to protect Fang Zhao, they had basically never had a chance to do anything.
Perhaps from suffering a shock during the time they had followed Fang Zhao, the three soldiers were determined to get stronger after returning back to their duties. Comrades from the same squad even thought there was something going on behind the scenes—perhaps a selection test to select the cream of the crop. Since all of their comrades had arrived on planet Baiji with lofty ambitions, they followed the three and strived forward as well. Gradually, the mood of the entire detachment of troops changed.
When officers from other continents witnessed this scene, they returned and made the troops under them go through more drills: Look at Yanzhou's soldiers! If you all don't work harder, people from Yanzhou will steal all the glory!
Troops from every continent were drafted into the Baiji military district. There were limited spots for climbing up the hierarchy, so there was intense competition among troops from every continent.
However, this had nothing to do with Fang Zhao.
Half an hour later, Fan Lin contacted Fang Zhao and gave him a number.
"Denzel says he is open to selling and the price is negotiable. Now, he is a merchant, so his asking price might be slightly high," Fan Lin said.
Fang Zhao saved the number. "Understood. Thanks."
After ending the call with Fan Lin, Fang Zhao made a video call to the researcher Denzel, who was far away, on Earth.
Denzel was 70-odd years old and was in his prime according to New Era standards. He was slightly skinny and wore a pair of glasses with a large-frame. These were not glasses for nearsightedness but, rather, eyeglasses with special functions, probably to aid in his research.
"You must be Fang Zhao?" Denzel took off his glasses and glanced at the screen. "I think I saw you somewhere in the news before."
Normally, Denzel did not follow entertainment news, and he viewed very little in the way of political news. The majority of his efforts were spent on research and experiments, so he only had a vague impression of Fang Zhao.
"Fan Lin had many good things to say about you. However, I am now a merchant. Business is business, and there are no special discounts based on friendship," Denzel told him.
Although he ran his own company, by saying that he was a merchant, he displayed his rather straightforward disposition.
"Five million, nonnegotiable." As he was probably worried that Fang Zhao would find this price too high, Denzel hurriedly explained, "Among ornamental aquatic pets, sea slugs are the most popular kind. As of now, the prices of sea slugs in the market can range from tens of dollars to tens of thousands depending on their breed. At the start of the year, an extremely superior breed, 'neptune,' was hyped up to 2 million. For the choppy hair variety on planet Baiji, it is a hybrid, as half its genes have extraterrestrial origins. Compared to the ornamental sea slugs on the market, this variety has a much stronger vitality, can eat anything, and are really easy to keep. I spent a lot of time and effort breeding them, so it is natural that the price is double. Furthermore, with the final price of 5 million, I will help you to handle all the procedures. If you went about it on your own, the procedures might take more than half a year." When Denzel opened his mouth, he rattled on and on just for the sake of telling Fang Zhao that this price was absolutely right!
Fang Zhao nodded his head and did not haggle. "That's fine with me."
Denzel was astonished for a split second but very quickly flashed a smile. "All right, since you have already made a decision, let's complete the transaction now."
Denzel clearly did not want to waste too much time on this. He had a lot of matters on hand. Since a deal had been made, he wanted to go about it immediately.
Animals with extraterrestrial genes all had specialized records. Once Fang Zhao had transferred the money over, Denzel changed the ownership rights of that "rabbit" to be under Fang Zhao's name.
"All right, from now on, it belongs to you. However, only the ownership rights have been transferred to you, so you still can't bring it back to Earth yet. After this, I will help you complete the relevant procedures. Your military service ends next year? By then, you will surely be able to bring it along with you. I guarantee all the procedures will be in order." As if thinking about something, Denzel added, "The feed that you use on planet Baiji is probably common feed. When you return back to Earth, purchase specialized feed from me. It is really easy to raise—even if you feed it some weird and bizzare stuff, it should still be fine."
Denzel had a habit of pushing his glasses back up his nose. Pushing up his glasses, he said, "I heard from Fan Lin that someone fed it chilis? Don't worry, it will probably return to normal tomorrow. If you don't have any feed and have no idea what to feed it, you can just place the tank under sunlight and it will switch to plant mode and undergo photosynthesis. One more piece of advice: although it is immune to poison, it is best not to feed it anything poisonous. It can stockpile and release poison when it feels threatened. For safety reasons, do not come into contact with the poison."
As he spoke, Denzel's face straightened and he exhorted, "Although it is really easy to raise, you still have to be attentive. If it dies from being fed, your 5 million will have been a bad investment. It is probably the most expensive pet that you keep, so treat it carefully."
Fang Zhao: "...Right."
With the transaction completed, Denzel no longer continued with needless chatter. He ended the call.
Completing a transaction and receiving 5 million, Denzel felt rather happy and returned back to his laboratory. He only came out when it was dinner time.
As he brought his dinner back into his office, Denzel mused for a bit and decided to read up on Fang Zhao's information once more.
Previously, when Fan Lin had come looking for him, Denzel had not thoroughly screened Fang Zhao. All he had seen was the recent entertainment and political news, and he otherwise had limited knowledge. Now that he had a little more idle time, he wanted to see what sort of person Fang Zhao really was.
Denzel contentedly ate and drank as he read through the information pertaining to Fang Zhao.
All the way until he saw a piece of news concerning Muzhou's competition dogs.
"Muzhou's heated sheep-herding competition is underway. All eyes are once again on the champion dog of Dongshan Farm, said to have a value of 100 million. And the owner of this competition dog is..."
Denzel's mouthful of soup spurted out.
The price he had quoted was far too little!