Jin Liwei gave Iris a "let me handle this" look before talking to Ketchup again.
"I'll give you some funds to start a small business and see how well you'll do. If you can make good, sustainable profit within a year, I'll allow you to continue running your business and even provide you with resources, staff, or whatever assistance you may need to grow it if that's what you want."
Ketchup's green eyes widened and glowed even brighter in excitement. "Wow! Really, Daddy? You'll do that for Ketchup? Oooooh~ Thank you so much! You're the best daddy in the whole wide world! I love you! Meow~"
He nodded, feeling good at the adorable white cat's words of thanks and affection to him, but he still maintained a stern expression. However, when he turned his head to the side, he saw that his baby girl was glowering at him and throwing him a silent yet unmistakable "what do you think you're doing" look. Disbelief and disapproval were clear in her eyes. For a fraction of a second, he froze, realizing that he was in trouble with her. Then he calmed down and took her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze, silently reassuring her that everything would be fine and that she didn't need to worry too much.
How could she not worry? Ketchup's existence must be kept a secret to outsiders at all costs. Didn't they already agree before that exposing the cat AI's existence to others even if it was only by accident was too dangerous? And Jin Liwei was still going to let Ketchup run her own business? Was he out of his mind?!
Did he forget that in order to run a legitimate business, legal registration was required? How could Ketchup do that? The virtual white cat had no legal identity. They could, of course, create a fake one for Ketchup but that would mean that her business would already be disreputable right from the start. As someone who lived in an infamous criminal family in her past life as Evelina, Iris would never allow her children to engage in blatant crimes, especially when it came to conducting business. She wanted to be a good role model, not a bad influence, to her children.
Iris really wanted to scold Jin Liwei but held her tongue instead because she didn't want to dampen Ketchup's happiness. She also didn't want to have an argument regarding Ketchup in front of others. Dom was alright, but the driver's presence made Iris hesitant. So all she could right now was glare at Jin Liwei, silently telling him with her fierce eyes that they needed to have an important talk later with just the two of them.
[This novel is a contracted work with W e b n o v e l . c o m (remove spaces). If you're not reading this chapter on W e b n o v e l, it has been stolen. It's very discouraging to see thieves profitting from my hard work. Please read this novel on W e b n o v e l. Thank you! -Arria]
Seeing his baby girl looking pissed off at him, Jin Liwei felt a little nervous. He raised her hand that he was holding and kissed it before attempting to coax her with a smile.
It didn't work.
She turned her head away and started to ignore him. His nervousness increased but felt a bit better after noticing that she didn't yank her hand away, allowing him to continue holding it.
Despite his baby girl's disapproval, he still intended to carry on with his idea of letting Ketchup run her own business, thinking that it would be a great way to divert the cat AI's boundless curiosity and impulsiveness into something more controlled and productive rather than deal with the aftermath of her innocent but troublemaking antics due to boredom. He would do his best to persuade his baby girl later but for now, he needed to set the ground rules for Ketchup's test first.
"Ketchup, listen to me."
"Aye aye, Daddy! Ketchup is listening because I'm a good kitty. Meow~"
"I'll give you 8,000 RMB—"
"Meow? Daddy, can you round it up to at least 10,000 RMB? Pretty please?"
"Hm? Are you complaining? Alright, let's just forget about this."
"Meow?!!! No, Daddy! Wuwuwu!!! Ketchup won't complain anymore. Please don't cancel this deal! Wuwuwu! Please, Daddy! Ketchup really wants my own business. Meow…"
"Be good, then."
The virtual white cat, whose glowing green eyes were flowing with tears, nodded and sat quietly on her fluffy butt. Satisfied of Ketchup's good behaviour, Jin Liwei continued explaining the ground rules to her.
"Like I mentioned, I'll provide you with 8,000 RMB worth of funds to start a business which you'll need to make profitable within a year. But before that, your mom and I need to approve what kind of business you want to start first."
"Okay, Daddy. Meow~"
Jin Liwei paused because he felt his baby girl digging her nails hard on his hand after hearing him involve her in the approval of Ketchup's business. He sighed and rubbed her hand, not minding the slight pain from her menacing nails. Then he pulled her all of a sudden, causing her to almost fall on his lap. This earned him another fierce glare from her.
"Trust me on this love," he mouthed the words to her so that nobody could hear. "I won't do anything to harm our children and our family."
Iris continued glaring at him for a few seconds but his sincerity made her decrease the intensity. She still felt unhappy but was willing to give him the chance to explain his reasons for allowing Ketchup to run her own business when he already knew the dangers of accidentally exposing her existence to outsiders. Pursing her lips, she mouthed back, "I want a full explanation tonight."
Then she waved a hand, letting him talk to the excited Ketchup, before turning her head away and ignoring him again.
Jin Liwei released a sigh of relief. Although things weren't resolved yet, at least his baby girl was open to reason and would defer judgment after an explanation. Feeling better, he was able to focus on speaking with Ketchup who was listening to him attentively.
"If we approve your business, you have one year to show me results. If the results are good, you can keep the business. But if you fail, you won't be allowed to talk about starting your own business ever again. That's your test."
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