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23 Making a Big Loss

 Gao Peng had not eaten anything since morning and was feeling hungry.

He rubbed his belly. He would have liked to head downstairs to buy some bread to eat but he was afraid that a customer might come in the moment he decided to leave the studio.

While trying to decide whether or not to leave the studio, half an hour gradually passed, but no customer came.

Suddenly, Gao Peng sniffed the air. A pleasant fragrance had suddenly wafted in.

Following the source of the fragrance, Gao Peng noticed that the receptionist girl had a strange expression on her face. Her eyes were darting around and she seemed to be struggling to stand still.

Gao Peng walked over and she smiled sweetly and said, "Good morning, boss." Gao Peng, being a shareholder himself, was naturally viewed by the employees here as their boss.

Gao Peng pointed at the corner of her mouth. "You missed a few bread crumbs. And the bread that you're hiding under your desk is sticking out."

"Ah! I woke up a little later today, boss. I didn't have time to prepare breakfast so I bought some bread. Please don't dock my pay for this." The receptionist girl frantically wiped her mouth in panic and attempted to act cute to gain some pity.

"Just take note and be more careful in future. Actually, I just wanted to ask if there were any bread stores nearby," asked Gao Peng.

"Ah..." the receptionist girl blinked a few times before continuing, "if you head down the elevator, turn left and walk about 100 meters you will reach an overhead bridge. Cross that bridge and walk another 50 meters and you will see a Treasure Garden Bakery. The bread there is the best! Their almond chocolate bread and freshly squeezed banana juice popsicles are exceptionally tasty."

"Mm," Gao Peng nodded. He took note of the name tag the receptionist girl wore on her chest. Xun Quanquan.

The receptionist Xun Quanquan's Treasure Garden Bakery was easy enough to find. Gao Peng found that they had plenty of customers the moment he entered.

Sometimes, to know how good an eatery's food was, there was no need to search for reviews online or to ask for other people's opinions. Seeing how many customers they had was very telling.

Typically, if there were a lot of people buying the food, the taste would not be bad. At the very least, the specialty sold there would most likely not disappoint.

Gao Peng was carrying a bag full of waffle cookies in his left hand and munching on a piece of bread in his right hand as he returned and entered the elevator.

As the elevator doors were about to close, he heard running footsteps from outside. "Sorry about that," said a bespectacled man in his thirties, dressed smartly in a suit and tie who smiled apologetically at Gao Peng. His left hand was holding on to the hand of a little girl in a red dress. He was about to press the lift button only to find that the third floor button had already been pressed. He turned curiously to look at Gao Peng.

Seeing Gao Peng turn to look at him as well, the man smiled politely.

In the lift, the little girl tilted her head to look up at Gao Peng and at the bread that he was holding in his hands. She sniffled a little and unconsciously pursed her little lips. With much effort, she turned her head away so as to not look at the bread in Gao Peng's hands.

But after a few seconds, she could not resist stealing a glance at the bread again.

Gao Peng could not help but laugh. He opened up the bag in his left hand and handed a waffle cookie to the little child.

"No!" replied the little girl sharply. She hugged the man's arm tightly and looked at Gao Peng with a cautious look in her eyes.

Ding. They finally reached the third floor, saving Gao Peng from the awkward situation.

...

The bespectacled man and the little girl were there to find a Monster Breeder to promote the grade of their Familiar. When they saw how young Gao Peng looked, they gave a look of suspicion at first. But Gao Peng calmly proceeded to show them his intermediate Monster Breeder certificate.

"A talented youth, a talented youth indeed." The bespectacled man clasped his hands together in a show of respect.

"Have you brought your Familiar? Usually it would be best for me to personally look at your Familiar in order to better give you my suggestions."

"Da Bai is just downstairs. The lift couldn't fit it, that's why we did not bring it up," said the bespectacled man. "Oh right, I forgot to introduce myself. I am Xu Chang and this is my daughter Doudou."

"The lift building was designed initially for humans so, naturally, it wouldn't be able to fit your Familiar. But we have our own special passageway." Gao Peng stood up and brought Xu Chang and Xu Doudou to the biggest room in the studio. As he brought them over some of the employees followed along.

They took out a remote control, pointed it at the ceiling and pressed the button.

Puchiii -

There was the sound of steam escaping as the wall with the windows suddenly opened outwards. Sunlight streamed in from the opening in the wall.

The spot of light that shone on the floor grew bigger and bigger until the whole room was bathed in sunlight. The wall where the windows were had already become parallel to the floor, becoming a structure similar to that of a drawbridge.

The drawbridge was lowered at a very slow speed. Pedestrians below either avoided the area hurriedly or stopped in their tracks.

"You can tell your Familiar to come up," said Gao Peng.

Xu Chang hurriedly called at Da Bai who was sprawled on the streets, sitting in a daze. Da Bai looked up. Only then did Gao Peng get a good look at what this Familiar looked light. It was a dog-type Familiar similar to the Great Pyrenees breed that existed before the cataclysm; it was a Great White Pyrenees.

Before the cataclysm, the Great Pyrenees was an extremely large dog breed. Unfortunately, when it was evolving during the initial periods of the cataclysm, there was little change in the body size. It did not keep up with the growth of other dog breeds, hence it only counted as a small or medium-sized dog currently.

The Great White Pyrenees was brought up using the drawbridge. It was overjoyed to see its master and leapt onto Xu Chang, knocking him to the ground, licking his face while panting.

"This Great Pyrenees must have been living together with you since before the cataclysm right?" Gao Peng could not resist asking after observing Great Pyrenees' characteristics and behavior.

"That's right," said Xu Chang emotionally. "Da Bai has been with us for six years already, it's even a year older than Doudou. I hope that it can continue living with our family."

After the cataclysm, the energy of planet Earth was invigorated, and the lifespan of monsters was shortened as a result. Dogs before the cataclysm that would have normally taken a year and a half or two years to reach maturity only required around one year now.

"Since your Great White Pyrenees is of an excellent grade, I am guessing that you are hoping to promote its grade to perfect, and have it advance into a commander tier monster?" Gao Peng could easily see the Great White Pyrenees' data with a simple glance.

This surprised Xu Chang. He did not think that Gao Peng would be able to determine that his Da Bai was of an excellent grade in such a short time using nothing but his naked eye. He had certain reservations about Gao Peng's abilities initially but he was utterly convinced that Gao Peng was the real deal now. "That's right," he replied.

"Mm," muttered Gao Peng. He was different from other Monster Breeders. As long as his instructions were followed, any monster under his care practically had a hundred percent rate of success in grade promotion.

Although he still did not know if there were failure rates involved in the methods provided by his ability, no indication of it was shown yet. Which likely meant that, when working on monsters of this stage, failure rates did not exist.

Since that was the case, there was no way that he could use the same standards as other Monster Breeders when charging for his services. That would be too cheap to do himself justice.

It would be an insult to knowledge, and to his remarkable ability.

The pay the Uncle Liu had agreed to give him was minimum salary, plus a share of the earnings.

That would be a monthly salary of five Alliance Credits plus 90% of Gao Peng's consultation fees.

Usually, consultation fees were split 50-50 between the studio and the Monster Breeder, but Uncle Liu chose to split the earnings nine to one, with him receiving 10% and Gao Peng receiving 90%. Gao Peng had no idea how Uncle Liu intended to make a profit this way.

Uncle Liu had simply replied as such when asked: "I opened this studio only in the hopes of keeping it running. Don't really intend to make money out of it. If you wish to help me, then work hard at making a name for this studio."

The main source of income for the studio was consultation fees.

So for now, Gao Peng decided on charging three times the normal fees of an intermediate level Monster Breeder.

Since this father and daughter was his first pair of customers, he decided to only charge them twice the normal amount.

Gao Peng thought that his offer would be a very amiable gesture. He would definitely be making a big loss.

Gao Peng made up his mind and told Xu Chang and his daughter his charges. Xu Chang could not believe his ears. Gao Peng looked like a decent young man. Little did he know that he was such a rip-off.

Xu Chang simply shook his head and proceeded to leave with Doudou.

"Wait, how about this? If the promotion fails, I will not charge any fees," Gao Peng added.

Xu Chang stopped and turned around. His bespectacled eyes revealed a hint of slyness. "That's still not fair. How about this instead? If the promotion fails, you compensate us at the full price that you charge."