When Chen Ge left, the paint job on the fake heads had not dried yet, so they had been unfinished products. They did not look so scary then. After opening the glass room, Chen Ge and the boss walked over to the counter.
“Look at this quality… Residing in a Haunted House is a waste of your talent.” The boss followed behind Chen Ge. He picked up a female student’s head from the table.
Initially, he had been afraid, but after he got used to it, he was slowly attracted by the bodiless heads. They were incredibly humanlike; the girl’s eyes seemed to be filled with emotions, and the normal dullness of a mannequin head was absent.
“You are indeed the best dollmaker I’ve seen.” The boss studied the girl’s face closely for a full minute before moving his gaze away. There seemed to be something on his mind. After some hesitation, he placed the girl’s head back where it had been and tapped the busily working Chen Ge lightly on his shoulder. “Brother, I came so early today also because I wish to discuss something with you.”
Brother? The boss’ sudden change in attitude and term of endearment unsettled Chen Ge.
“Tell me, if I can help, I will.” Chen Ge was working on the design of the mannequin body.
“It’s a deal that will benefit both of us.” The boss picked out a name card from his pocket and gave it to Chen Ge. “We should keep in contact with each other.”
“Qian Guigen?” Chen Ge did not know what the boss was up to. He was suddenly so friendly. After Chen Ge accepted the name card, the boss said mysteriously, “Before this, my main focus was the design of mannequins for shops and parks, but with the advancement in technology, especially 3D imaging, the demand for mannequins has decreased. To keep the shop afloat, I’ve been considering changing to another field, but the shape and form of this industry has been fixed; a sudden or drastic change in field will be too difficult.”
“It’s going to be difficult in any field. My suggestion is for you to stick to what you know in case you lose even your capital.” Chen Ge used clay to form a student’s body and was wiping away the surface with a wet sponge. The force underneath his fingers was just right; the surface that he touched came alive like actual skin, smooth and slightly glossy. He did not pay much attention to Boss Qian; he just wanted to finish the job as soon as possible and deliver them to the Haunted House.
“That’s what I thought before meeting you, but after meeting you, it’s as if I’ve seen a ray of light through the mist. You have given me a brilliant direction.” Boss Qian stood beside Chen Ge. Looking at the mannequin heads with different expressions, he suddenly said, “I have a brave idea!”
“Mind getting me the 16th carving knife?”
“Hey, do you mind paying some attention‽ If this is successful, perhaps our monthly income will be greater than what you earn in a whole year from the Haunted House!” Boss Qian slammed his palms on the table and looked at Chen Ge seriously.
The talk of money made Chen Ge stop working. “I’m not one to be swayed by money, but I am interested in your idea.”
“Small dolls won’t get a high price, and large mannequins no longer have the market, so I plan to go into the high-end, personalized market!” Boss Qian picked up Chen Ge’s mannequin head carefully. “This is the first time I’ve seen such a realistic doll, and you’re using a lesser quality material. If we get higher quality materials, does this mean you can make mannequins that are no different from actual humans?”
“Theoretically, I suppose so,” Chen Ge answered, conveniently skipping over the fact that he could make an actual living doll provided he had enough materials.
“That talent will be our road to riches!” Boss Qian took out his phone to look for some doll pictures. “These adult sex dolls sold for 8,000 plus on the internet despite their rough quality. If we can provide to-scale dolls with perfect skin and features, the asking price will be over five digits. I have done the necessary research; the market is untapped and will remain that way for the next few years.”
“Well, your idea definitely is brave.” Chen Ge shook his head and continued to focus on his clay body.
“Just imagine the income! With your speed, we can easily make twenty of those in three days; that’s two hundred in a month. The market hasn’t seen a mannequin of your quality before, so the initial price can be set at 15,000. Even with the most expensive materials, we’ll gain 10,000 in profit! That’s 2,000,000 in a month! Why are you still so hung up over the Haunted House?” Boss Qian had expected a far more enthusiastic response from Chen Ge.
“I will not do anything illegal. Making dolls according to the pictures provided by clients is a violation of privacy.” Chen Ge knew that he was using the Dollmaker’s Talent to make these mannequins. There were certain latent dangers, and he did not want to wake up to headlines like ‘Sex dolls found responsible for young man’s death.’
“Why are you so stubborn‽” Boss Qian started to berate Chen Ge. “Every single one is a lonely island; even married couples will have arguments, but dolls are different. In fact, I believe that many will choose to spend their lives with dolls if given the chance. There would be so much less pressure in life. No matter who it is, if you dump your problems on them, they will get annoyed, but a doll won’t. Making dolls for these lonely souls hurts no one. In fact, you will be helping them, helping them seek a safe harbor in this lonely world.”
“I feel like you’re in the wrong field. You should go sell insurance instead.” Chen Ge lowered his head to focus on the clay body. The world was not as innocent as the boss made it out to be. If his mannequins were mass produced, things could get out of control, and he would definitely be involved.
“If there’s a brave idea, then we have to give it a try! How about you make two dolls today? I will go around to promote them. If that doesn’t work, then forget I said anything.” There were those pictures on Boss Qian’s phone, so obviously, he had come prepared.
“Boss Qian, have you considered this situation? You’re in bed with a doll, but after you fall asleep, the doll slowly opens its eyes.”
“Why would a doll open its eyes?”
“If you don’t believe me, you can come experience it yourself at my Haunted House. The mannequins I design are different from normal mannequins, and I mean more than their appearances.” Chen Ge did not go into further detail. The boss felt like a nice person, just a little forward in his thinking.
After listening to Chen Ge, Boss Qian looked at the fake heads on the counter, and he shivered. However, he did not give up. “When you have thought it out, give me a call.”
Chen Ge finished the clay body and repeated the steps from yesterday.
At 9 am, Chen Ge placed all the fake heads into three large paper boxes and called a taxi to drive them to New Century Park.
The mannequin bodies will be ready tonight. This means that I can officially open Mu Yang High School for public visitation tomorrow morning.