There were a lot of cats and dogs in the neighborhood—Sophia had six cats, Linus had four stray cats, and the other households also had cats. Hanging cured meat outside the house was risky.
There were always several big orange cats sitting at the bottom of the shelf where the meat was hung, especially where the dried fish were. It would all disappear in an instant after being hung up.
Someone always had to keep watch outside Villa No. 8 to chase the animals away. Meanwhile, Linus had already designed an intelligent system to cure meat. He created an environment where there was constant temperature, adjustable wind direction, and humidity.
Moreover, he even made two intelligent robots that used infrasound to chase away the animals that were stealing the food. The dried fish he left outside his house was still in perfect condition after several days.
Indeed, science and technology were revolutionary.
Whenever Michael passed by Villa No. 2 and saw their automated set-up, he wanted to yell, “He’s breaking boundaries!”
Sophia had so much admiration for him, too. She gazed at Michael with a yearning look in her eyes. I really want a cured meat robot!
Michael decided to put his pride aside and ask Linus for a robot, but he still felt like it was too shameful.
This is so embarrassing!
Fortunately, Linus was sensible enough to give them a robot as a way of thanking them for teaching him how to cure meat.
Not only did he send it to their doorstep, he even wrapped it in protective packaging. The dried fish Sophia hung outside the house could be cured perfectly now.
Feeling delighted, she decided to give Linus a treasured, decade-old, pickling liquid to make pickled vegetables with.
But Michael thought it was a shabby gift. After all, Linus was the second-in-command at Michel Group. Fass had brought him up to be his successor. If everything went smoothly, he would also become the head of the Michel Family in the future. Was a jar of pickling liquid worthy enough for a man like him?
When Linus received the pickling liquid, however, he was quite happy about it and had the cook in his house make a large amount of pickled vegetables.
Sophia had not gone to school lately and had just been resting at home. Because she had enough cured meat to last the whole year, and she had the robot that Linus sent to her, she was quite content. She would drop by Linus’ place every day. When she came back, she always bombarded Michael with endless compliments about Linus’ house.
“Linus has a 3D projector in his room! It’s so cool. You can even see the stars!”
“The window panes of Linus’ French windows link to the beach at his old place in Eastern Europe, so you can see the ocean when you look out of it!”
“Linus even has a robot that takes care of his cats. It can process a hundred different cat body languages and noises to distinguish what the cat is saying!”
Every time she started her sentence with ‘Linus’, she looked completely in awe as if she was just dying to live there. Whenever that happened, Michael felt like he was about to grow green with envy.
Nathan also spent all day at Linus’ place. Linus had upgraded that robot of his by using the world’s most sophisticated intelligent technology to create a new CPU that was able to simulate dozens of emotions and have an intelligent conversation with a person.
The robot could check on the state of an injury; it had a program that detected emotions, and it also had a defense program. It was solar-powered and was able to charge itself.
It followed Nathan to and from school every day. When it entered the house and saw Michael, it even knew to call him ‘Dad’.
Aside from Sophia and Nathan, the few big orange cats at the Fletchers also ran off to Villa No. 2.
Despite making the effort to go home and keep Sophia company, Michael was deserted. Sulking on the sofa, he was watching television while Sophia and Nathan had gone off to Linus’ place. They claimed that they wanted to try out the cat-petting robot at his house so they brought the cats along too.
Stealthily, the robot came over and stood in front of Michael. It asked politely, “Dad, I want a pat on the head.”
It had the cute voice of a little boy and was even leaning its head to one side as it acted coy.
A frown appeared on Michael’s forehead when he looked at the robot that was even more obedient than Nathan. He felt incredibly conflicted.
The robot was wearing Nathan’s clothes and was wearing a tiger hat on his head. He intentionally made a hole through the hat for his antenna to poke out.
Nate, this little brat. He ran off to Linus’ place and was worried that I would be left alone at home so he reluctantly sacrificed his robot to keep me company.
When Michael did not pat the robot’s head, it stretched out a robotic arm and took Michael’s hand to put on its head. Michael caressed his head lazily, and the robot let out a contented murmur.
As Michael watched television, he did not say a word. After the robot was content with the head pats, he went to sit next to Michael on the sofa and watched television seriously.
A moment later, it said, “Dad, I want to watch a cartoon!”
Michael pressed on the remote control and switched to a kids channel that was playing a cartoon.
A man and a robot were watching cartoons together. The robot was very happy and was even swaying his legs leisurely.
Nathan had given his own clothes, pants, hat, and shoes to the robot. He did it to make it seem like it was himself and to keep Michael, the old man with an empty nest, company.
Michael suddenly called the robot’s name.
“Call me ‘Dad’.”
Michael was quite happy. Ever since Nathan was little, that unfilial brat had never really called him dad. Every time he did, he did it reluctantly. The robot was so much better at it!
Michael said, “Again.”
The robot could scan a person’s features to detect the emotion that person was feeling then come up with the most appropriate response. When Nicholas saw that Michael was happy, he continued to call him dad repeatedly, which sent Michael over the moon.
While Michael watched television, he had a conversation with the robot. “What’s your name?”
“Who is your father?”
Michael patted his head. “Good. Go and pour me some tea.”
The robot obediently got up and went to get some tea. “What tea would you like to have, Dad? You had Dragon Well last time and before that, you had oolong tea.”
A while later, Nicholas came back with the tea. He even cautioned, “It’s hot. Drink slowly, Dad.”
Agh! Look at him acting cute!
Michael felt aloof on the inside, but he still drank the tea. As he drank, he said, “Nicholas, find any news related to me and put it up on the screen.”
The robot got into action. It did a wireless connection to the television and started playing relevant news that it had found.
“The major film in the limelight at the moment, ‘Doctor Invincible’, is scheduled to premiere on the 21st of the month. Top actor Taylor Murray from Cethos plays the lead role…”
“With regard to this matter, dozens of celebrities from Taylor’s country have called on the suspect, Liam Johnson, to undergo chemical castration.”