How a flower as white as snow came to be known as the Golden Calendula was beyond Gao Peng's comprehension.
After signing the Blood Contract, the Yin Yang Calendula was noticeably warmer towards Gao Peng. Even though it was still kind of aloof, at least it had stopped ignoring Gao Peng by pretending to be an inanimate object.
It was just about to nestle into Gao Peng's hair when Silly smacked it on the head with a tentacle. That was a no-fly zone.
Trembling lightly, the Calendula found another spot right on top of Dumby's shiny bald head.
They created a hilarious figure. A white dandelion on a scary, cloaked figure with enormous spikes jutting out of its shoulder blades and white Soul Flames burning in the depths of the hood where eyes should have been.
He felt bad for laughing and tried to stop himself.
"Dumby, I'm leaving Xiao Hua to you."
That was the nickname that Gao Peng had given the Calendula.
He had actually asked the Calendula if it liked the nickname. "If you don't say anything, I'm going to assume you like it," said Gao Peng. That elicited the barest twitch of its leaves. "I guess you do like it, then."
Deep in the night, towering waves crashed upon a nameless shore in explosive bursts of spray 50 miles away from Yang Cheng. The mesmerizing ebb and flow of the inky black water did little to hint at the horrors that lurked within.
The ocean was the one place that mankind had yet to fully explore, pre or post-Cataclysm.
As the tides receded, a large amount of strange, white fluid was left on the beach. It was dripping out of a number of snow white eggs.
As the sun rose, its dazzling rays seemed to coat the eggs in liquid gold. The sun's warmth seemed to have triggered some kind of reaction within the eggs.
There was a small, nameless village not too far from this beach. Ever since one of their own had sold a gem he had picked up on the beach and found himself a wife, the villagers loved combing the beach for treasure on their leisurely strolls. Even though his wife came with a kid, it was still good that he had someone to carry on his family name. Some of the more unkind villagers would make fun of him, though, by yelling "buy one get one free" and similar insults.
The few remaining unmarried men would gaze at the beach wistfully every day, as though hoping that a good wife would walk right out of the ocean and into their arms.
Needless to say, the beach was a popular hangout spot for the villagers.
"Eggs, eggs! There's a ton of eggs on the beach…" The excited chatter of the kids echoed throughout the poor village.
After a night of rest, Gao Peng went back to the recording studio at around two that afternoon. There were already quite a few people backstage by the time he got there. Even though he had left quite early, there had still been some traffic on the way there.
A wave of noise washed over him as he navigated the crowd. Tools were scattered all over the floor, which made his route all the more treacherous.
Wang Mu Zi was clutching on to a battered white document as he paced frenetically around.
"Light guy, I need you to adjust the stage lights.
"The group in charge of props, are y'all ready? Y'all look like you have time to kill. Go and practice again. There can't be any mistakes later!
"Audio, something is wrong with the system there. Can't hear it clearly from the backstage storage area."
As soon as he saw Gao Peng, he tossed the document aside and went to greet him.
"You seem busy." Gao Peng nodded in greeting.
Wang Muzi smiled gingerly. That was a gross oversimplification if anything. Even though he was only an assistant director, the fact that the director was a pampered, well-connected young hotshot meant that he was the one doing most of the grunt work.
He really had no choice in the matter. If he wasn't in the director's good books, funding for this program would dry up in the blink of an eye.
Gao Peng could tell that Muzi wasn't really happy with his current situation, so he didn't say much. "Could you point me to the waiting area? You do your thing, and I'll head there first."
"I'll take you there." Wang Muzi grinned affably.
It was a lot nicer back there. The well-lit room was comfortably spacious and had air-conditioning to boot. Some light refreshments had already been laid out in a corner.
There were already two people sitting in the room. There was an old man with a shock of white hair and piercing blue eyes. He had a strong presence and seemed to be sizing up everyone who walked in.
After exchanging some pleasantries with Gao Peng, he nodded approvingly.
"I heard about an impressive lad in Chang'an. The future of monster breeding, some people say. I thought Chen Xuehe was just full of it, but it seems like he wasn't lying to me after all."
Gao Peng was stunned. When had word of his exploits gotten out? And how had it spread all the way to Yang Cheng?
After a beat, the old man's expression relaxed. Smiling, he waved Gao peng over. "Sit."
Gao Peng acquiesced. Chuckling loudly, the old man said, "That was just a line the assistant director had me say. Don't worry about it."
He pointed to the cameras in the room. "It'll all be edited in a bit."
Gao Peng remained blank. He didn't know how to feel. This was showbusiness, he guessed.
After a while, the final VIP arrived.
Wang Muzi then went around the room introducing them to each other. He introduced Gao Peng as a Lord-tier trainer and a genius breeder.
A few of them immediately connected the dots. One of them became noticeably warmer towards Gao Peng once he realized.
The rest of them played it cool, with no discernible changes in the way they spoke to him. Anyone who could make it into this room was no fool. Even if they didn't like one another, nobody wanted to make enemies here.
The recording was done in two and a half hours. Gao Peng had to stifle a yawn.
Halfway through the show, he had realized that some of the numbers were off. There was that really embarrassing line. Too… For the sake of Lei Yinluo and the Yin Yang Calendula, he gritted his teeth and toughed his way through the whole thing.
As he left the stage, he went back for his belongings. Flipping through his phone, he was quite surprised to see more than ten missed calls.
His brows furrowed.
There was Grandfather and Xu Hedi, but there were also a couple of unknown numbers.
His phone lit up—it was Lao Ji.