At Silver Wing tower's ground floor car park, Ji Polun emerged from an inconspicuous car. He was wearing a baseball cap and very ordinary clothes. He was having a short vacation that was very hard to come by. The previous day, he had secretly gone out with a few friends to have fun all night and had only returned home at dawn to sleep until now. Today, he had not taken a company car but had borrowed a friend's car instead. He had driven to the company's public car park in an inconspicuous fashion so as to not attract any attention. In a bit, he would take the elevator straight to the film department.
Headed toward the elevator were two others who had gotten out of another car. They were two newcomers that had been signed by the company's film department.
The two newcomers were talking in hushed tones. When they looked up and saw Ji Polun, they wiped the smiles off their faces and greeted Ji Polun. "Greetings, senior!"
"Mmhm." Ji Polun gave a faint smile and nodded his head. His expression was a little aloof with a slight hint of haughtiness, and he didn't say anything else.
Now, although Ji Polun was still a second-tier actor on a B-grade contract with the company, "Beauties" and "Warring States" had let him show his face on a global scale.
During the promotional activities back on Earth, Ji Polun had visited all the different continents. Although he still couldn't be compared to the company's other top-tier stars, compared to other second-tier actors, his popularity was way greater. He finally knew why everyone wished to develop on the global scene. Just Yanzhou alone was too small. If at any time there was a revolutionary film project or something similar, stars that were only famous within Yanzhou would simply have no chance to land any good roles.
People in the film department all knew that Ji Polun was on the right path. Although his roles in the two popular drama series were slightly awkward, at least they let people remember him. How many people regretted not fighting for that role?
Ji Polun's slightly cold attitude did not bother the two newcomers. In their minds, stars with fame and ability were just like that.
The three of them stepped into the elevator. The two newcomers also did not have the nerve to continue chit-chatting in front of Ji Polun and fell silent. Ji Polun was thinking about some information his manager had sent him. Now, his manager was working hard to help him fight for an opportunity to show his face in the revolutionary film project. He wasn't qualified to snag an important role, but he was willing to be a minor character as long as he got a chance to participate in it!
Just as the elevator doors were about to close, Ji Polun's eyes lit up.
The two newcomer watched as Ji Polun's hand shot out to press a button and reopen the closing elevator doors. Ji Polun voluntarily took a step back to create space.
Yet another person entered the lift.
Ji Polun's attitude did a big 180. "Brother Zhao!" His previously cold and indifferent manner was no longer anywhere to be seen. Now a bright and warm smile was all over his face.
This sudden change in attitude stunned the two newcomers. When they saw Fang Zhao, they could recognize him right away. After all, they had seen him frequently in news reports, and their own company was putting lots of effort into giving him publicity.
But what astonished them even more was that Ji Polun, a second-tier actor whose stock was on the uprise, actually had this sort of attitude toward Fang Zhao?
They had still been wondering which top-tier superstar had come over.
Fang Zhao had not expected to run into someone he recognized immediately after entering either. He had driven over from Yanbei City in a publicly shared car and had parked at the public car park below the company's tower. As it was a publicly shared car, it would not be nice of him to park it on the 50th floor, so he had left the vehicle at the public car park and was going to take the elevator up.
"Ji Polun?" When Fang Zhao stepped into the lift, he noticed the two newcomers and nodded his head toward them. He did not have the sort of cold indifference Ji Polun had had, but he made the two newcomers feel even more nervous. The aura that Fang Zhao emitted gave them a sort of constricting feeling, making them afraid to even speak.
"Ay, it's me. Brother Zhao, you have returned back to Qi'an City so quickly! I watched the news in the afternoon and heard that many reporters were camped out in Yanbei City for you." Ji Polun had really not expected that Fang Zhao would be back at the company at this time.
"I just arrived from Yanbei City."
As Fang Zhao chatted with Ji Polun, the two newcomers stood to the side without so much as letting out a squeak.
The elevator arrived at the 50th floor virtual projects department. Fang Zhao left, while Ji Polun and the other two continued on their way up.
The moment Fang Zhao left, Ji Polun returned to his cold and aloof manner. The two newcomers watching were extremely curious and were waiting for Ji Polun to dispel their doubts, but when they reached the film department's floor, Ji Polun stepped out and left. He simply had no intention of explaining anything to them.
He had no choice. When someone was popular, they had to be a little careful. Toward these newcomers, before he understood their characters, Ji Polun would not say much.
After Ji Polun had left, the two newcomers exhaled sharply.
"That's my first time coming close to Fang Zhao in person. His aura is really strong! But isn't Ji Polun older than Fang Zhao? Why did he call Fang Zhao 'Brother Zhao'?"
"In our entertainment company, age doesn't equate seniority."
At the other side, when Fang Zhao entered the virtual projects department, Zu Wen and the others were already waiting to welcome him. All of them had been keeping their eyes peeled to the internet. Someone had taken a photo of Fang Zhao at the car park below when he had arrived, but looking at the angle the photograph was taken from and then further considering the security measures the company had improved over the last half a year, the photograph of Fang Zhao entering Silver Wing tower had probably been intentionally leaked by the company itself.
However, whether it was the company's own publicity operation or not, the moment Zu Wen and the others saw the news, they immediately moved to welcome Fang Zhao on his return.
The virtual projects department and gaming department had both recruited some newcomers. The gaming team had also recruited a few team members. First, Fang Zhao got to know the newcomers and spoke to the department staff before heading to the top-floor office to speak with Duan Qianji about acting.
At night, the staff of the virtual projects and gaming departments gathered for a meal to welcome Fang Zhao back. After that, Zu Wen gave Fang Zhao a ride to his Qi'an City residence before leaving.
First, Fang Zhao went to the luggage depositary to collect his "rabbit" and bring it up. Looking at the data being displayed on the water tank's monitoring system, the water tank's vitality readings were still strong, and there were no signs of any abnormalities. It seemed like its endurance for long-haul space travel was decent and it was adapting very well.
After Fang Zhao return to his residence, he received messages from Yan Biao and Zuo Yu. The two of them were on their way back from planet Wai and had already arrived at the space station.
The film studio complex had seen an increase in traffic flow. Fang Zhao had recruited two additional men, so when Zuo Yu and Yan Biao were not at the filmed entertainment culture base, there would still be 10 people to guard the sets.
At the space station, Zuo Yu received a new message from Fang Zhao and raised an eyebrow.
Noticing Zuo Yu's reaction, Yan Biao asked, "What are the instruction from Boss?"
Zuo Yu laughed. "We are to head to Muzhou first to fetch a dog."
Muzhou's annual sheep-herding championship was already underway. However, this year, Curly Hair was not taking part.
Since the year Curly Hair had represented Dongshan Farm as a competition dog, lead Dongshan Farm to the championship, and clinched the title of "most valuable dog," he had repeated both successes once more in the previous year.
It was said that over at Muzhou, Curly Hair's value had swelled up once more.
However, at the start of the year, Muzhou's sheep-herding championships had changed their rules to only permit registered Muzhou competition dogs taking part. As Curly Hair was considered Fang Zhao's pet and was registered under his name, he did not belong to Su Hou's Dongshan Farm.
Fang Zhao was a Yanzhou person. Curly Hair followed his master and was considered a Yanzhou dog.
This change of rules had given rise to heated debates. Medium- and small-farm owners' thoughts were that they finally did not need to compete against that curly-haired dog. On the other hand, large farm owners were wondering whether or not they should purchase that curly-haired dog. If they managed to purchase it, wouldn't it become a Muzhou competition dog?
And outside Muzhou, when people from other continents saw this new system, all they had were laughs.
"There is even a register for dogs?"
"Does it add to the population? Then does my family's pet fish have to be registered?"
"Muzhou is slightly special. Dogs have a high status over there. Only in Muzhou are dogs able to set a high value for themselves. For example, that dog said to be worth over 100 million. If it was placed anywhere other than Muzhou, would it be worth that much?"
"But what's with changing the rules? Is this to prevent foreign competition dogs from competing?"
"Could it be that after having the final's Most Valuable Dog Award stolen by a Yanzhou dog two years in a row, they were not able to stand it and came up with a solution to bar that curly-haired dog from participating?"
"I fell like that is the case."
"This is Muzhou people not having enough faith in their own Muzhou dogs! This is just called being a sore loser!"
There were many people online ridiculing Muzhou's new competition rules. In actual fact, the reform of Muzhou sheep-herding competition rules had been raised a few years back, but it had never been implemented. Now, because of Curly Hair as the trigger that had caused some large Muzhou farm owners to sustain losses, they had pushed for the competition rules to be chance. Otherwise, that curly-haired dog would still be participating this year.
Thus, Dongshan's lineup this year was missing Curly Hair. However, given the progress in the last two years, Dongshan Farm's competition dogs had all been trained up, and there wouldn't be a situation where they had no competition dogs.
Fang Zhao had seen this year's competition. Without Curly Hair in Dongshan Farm's sheep-herding team, although their performance was a little worse, on the whole, it was still considered an outstanding sheep-herding team.
Previously, Dongshan Farm had been hot favorites to be the champion. Now, Dongshan Farm's sheep-herding team was merely considered a contender. Although they were now "just contenders," at least their strength was still being acknowledged.
Many people thought that Curly Hair would surely be dejected and in low spirits.
Many netizens complained about the injustice toward Curly Hair. "Dog's also have self-respect and feelings!"
But when Yan Biao and Zuo Yu went over to pick up Curly Hair, that little thing had just caught a wild rabbit close to its own size. He had not even stopped to catch his breath and was preparing to hunt a second one.
The wild rabbits of Muzhou in the New Era originated from domestic breeding and rearing. After that, a bunch of them had escaped into the wild. Given the impressive breeding ability of those rabbits that had escaped, their numbers had expanded exponentially and they had slowly come to be known as what people called "wild rabbits."
And these wild rabbits in the New Era were even bigger than those of the Old Era. Their hind legs were much more powerful and they could run rather fast. In places with fertile soil and lush vegetation, wild rabbits grew especially large.
Now, Curly Hair had caught a similarly sized rabbit and was in good spirits. Hearing Zuo Yu's calls, it came bounding back.
Zuo Yu laughed as he watched Curly Hair's joyous enthusiasm. "Oh, he seems to be in a rather good state, unlike what the internet says."
Su Hou shrugged. "Ever since the competition rules were changed, he can only catch all these other creatures. However, he doesn't run off too far, at most around the boundaries of the farm. Currently, there are many people in Muzhou eyeing him. I also feel that sending him back to Yanzhou is the best option."
Over at Muzhou's side, some people thought this way. Can't afford, can't purchase, then how about stealing! Even if it can't be used as a competition dog after stealing it, he can still be used as a breeding dog! Any dog with championship-winning blood in its veins surely can't be bad. Perhaps it can produce a batch of outstanding puppies every two years.
Su Hou knew about these people's thoughts, and that was why he was worried. If a championship-winning dog like Curly Hair was stolen, there was a high possibility it would never appear in the eyes of the public ever again. Currently, he was busy with the competition and could not always bring along Curly Hair when he was participating. There were surely times when Curly Hair was neglected. Having been worrying and on the edge, Su Hou had kept waiting when Fang Zhao had told him that he had arranged for someone to pick Curly Hair up. Only after he had seen Zuo Yu arrive had he felt more at ease.
This was Yan Biao's first time coming close to the dog worth over 100 million. He could not see anything really special about this small little thing. There were many such dogs in cities outside of Muzhou—how on earth had its price risen to over 100 million? Not just Curly Hair, even other star competition dogs were worth tens of millions. Yan Biao could not understand it. All he could say was that Muzhou people were crazy.
After Yan Biao and Zuo Yu picked up Curly Hair from Dongshan Farm, they flew to Fang Zhao's Qi'an City residence.
Having not seen Fang Zhao in a year, Curly Hair was especially excited and was whimpering like a spoiled child... until he saw the "rabbit" in the house and his attention was drawn away.
Curly Hair looked at the "rabbit" in the water tank, then glanced at Fang Zhao before turning to face the "rabbit."
"Woof Woof Woof!"