“One million,” The old man proposed. He gave the bracelet back to Li Yiming, as it was the custom for this kind of deal. The old deputy director had first-hand experience of the magical effects of the bracelet. When he held the object in his hands, he could feel his breathing become noticeably easier, and his pains lessen. He tried it again and again, and every single time he could feel the rejuvenating effects of the jade bracelet. From that and his conversation with Li Yiming, he was now sure that the bracelet could cure his cancer. Li Yiming answered his proposal with a long silence.
“Mr. Ye?” The assistant said in an unsure voice. After staying with the old man around for so long, he had grown an expertise of his own for the appraisal of antique, and he could see clearly that the bracelet was nothing more than a broken husk. ‘And yet, Mr. Ye wants to pay such an astronomical sum for it… Has he gone mad from his sickness?’
The old man’s proposal also shocked the few who listened to their conversation from afar. The shop owner almost dropped his teacup to the ground. He craned his neck and stared at the bracelet in Li Yiming’s hand. ‘Yes, yes! I was right!’
Li Yiming, however, was preoccupied with another thought. ‘So that boy said that the bracelet was passed down in the family since his grandmother, but I’d think that the special effect of the bracelet must’ve only been activated after I touched it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t think that he would be selling such a treasure in the first place, since it might’ve helped his mother recover. I wonder if all guardian equipments are like that? Do they work on normal people, or is this bracelet an exception?’
“Two million.” The old man was worried by Li Yiming’s silence and decided that he could not risk it when his life was at stake. He gritted his teeth and doubled the amount he offered.
Another round of sighs and chattering from the crowd.
The assistant looked at the old man nervously, and he tried several times to bring some sense into the deputy direct, but every single time he was silenced by a stare from the latter. The only time he had seen this kind of furious obsession within the old man’s eyes was when they were attending an auction overseas for a lost artifact. ‘So… this bracelet is a truly precious artifact?’
“Mr. Ye, it’s not that I don’t want to sell it, it’s just…” Li Yiming had far too many concerns about giving a guardian equipment to a normal person.
“Three million.” The old man’s eyes lit up with frenzy, but more than anything, he showed to Li Yiming that he was begging for his life to be saved.
‘Is this a setup?’ The people who were watching were completely astonished. ‘This young man bought a broken bracelet for thirty-five thousand, and, a moment later, he’s going to sell it for a hundredfold the price? This is a textbook example of how to strike a good deal!’
Li Yiming was tempted now. To be precise, it was only now that he began to appreciate the magnitude of the sum that was being offered. ‘Three million! That’s more than I can ever imagine!’ Li Yiming turned around to look at Liu Meng and found her staring at him. She gazed at him intensely. She did not seem to not even have the slightest of worries, and instead, she was sunken in her admiration for Li Yiming’s soon-to-be extraordinary accomplishment.
“Five million. I can only offer this much.” The old director saw the change in Li Yiming’s countenance as he turned his head toward Liu Meng and knew that Li Yiming was hesitating about the offer. He raised his bid once again with the hope that it would suffice to convince Li Yiming. He also showed his limits, so that even if Li Yiming wanted a better price, he would not dare to push it too high. .
“Alright, sold.” As he had expected it, the sum was enough to tilt Li Yiming over. The only thing Li Yiming could think off was the huge sum of five million. It was a lot easier than robbing a bank, and, instead of keeping a mostly useless equipment, he might as well turn it into a tangible benefit.
The old director laughed loudly when he heard Li Yiming’s answer, as if his disease had already left him.
“Please, everyone, please allow me to explain myself. The value of this jade bracelet is not very high, as you have imagined. However, I found a personal liking for the object, it’s as simple as that.” The old director had to explain his odd behavior, especially since there was the concern of damaging rumors circulating around. If people thought that he intentionally raised the price on a worthless item for personal benefits, his carefully preserved reputation would be ruined.
His explanation was enough to appease the onlookers, but then a more important question popped into their mind. ‘What kind of personal liking could be worth five million? By the looks of it, he would pay even more than five million for it, unless…’
“Yiming, please wait a second. I’ll transfer the money to you right away. Just give me your account number.” Director Ye ignored the baffled looks of the spectators and walked straight into the shop after Li Yiming gave him his account number. The shop owner himself was tactful enough to temporarily reserve the interior for director Ye’s sole usage. ‘Well, whatever the reason, I’ll be doing great. Something bought for thirty-five thousand and sold for five million a few minutes later, and it happened right here, in my shop? Great!’
The old deputy director was very fast, and it really seems like he had all that money in his account ready at any given time. It took less than ten minutes before Li Yiming received a notification on this cell phone: current balance 5 002 406.21 yuan.
“Where are we going now?” Liu Meng looked at Li Yiming enthusiastically.
“Let’s go to the bank and get the cash.”
“Why? Isn’t it okay if it stays in the bank?”
“The numbers within the banking system can’t be taken out of the domain, but the bills can.”
* * *
“What’s happening Eyeglasses? Didn’t you say that the old guy is in the hospital and hasn’t returned home in a long time? Why are they here for the content of the safe all of a sudden?” Qing Linglong looked at the two people, one man, and one woman, laying on the ground, unconscious.
“I don’t know, I’ve heard from their conversation that the old man bought something and he needed cash for it. She should be his daughter, and she just put the items on mortgage,” answered Eyeglasses, who was a little frustrated by the unfortunate turn of events. They bumped right into the owners of the house as they tried to sneak into it and empty the content of the safe.
“That old man’s almost dead, and he wants to buy something, now of all time? What do we do now?” Qing Qiaoqiao covered the faces of the two victims with towels. She was the first one to react to their sudden appearance and knocked them unconscious before they could do anything.
“Well, there’s nothing inside now, and I assume that they’re going to wake up in a bit. We should clean up and retreat. Eyeglasses, go check the surveillance system to make sure that we haven’t been spotted. We wouldn’t want the police coming after us with this much time left in the domain,” Qing Linglong said as she put a flower vase back to where it was.
“Hey, sis, I really like this hairpin, can I take it?” Qing Qiaoqiao asked as she picked up a wooden pin made of Zhennan wood.
“Stop it. I’ll buy you one later if you want it.” Qing Linglong scolded her sister and put the room back in order.
“Hmmpf!” Qing Qiaoqiao snorted in discontent, but nevertheless dropped the wooden pin and helped her sister in her task.
* * *
Li Huaibei had been waiting at the entrance of the gaming hall for twenty minutes. He pulled out his fourth cigarette, with three already finished ones inside an empty plastic bottle. He inhaled, and the cigarette lit up on its own without needing a lighter. After a while and a ring of smoke, Li Huaibei smiled, amused by what he was seeing. The light on his cigarette extinguished abruptly, and he put what remained of it into his bottle.
Inside the arcade, a young man with his hair dyed red was focused on his game. However, the kids around him threw a scornful look at him as his character was being beaten down without the slightest ability to fight back. This did not seem to affect the young man, however, who licked his lips and seemed happily confident. A fiery red light flashed in his eyes.
* * *
As he walked out of the bank, Li Yiming straightened his back and stood tall with the confidence of his newfound wealth.
“Where are we going now?” Liu Meng was a little amused by Li Yiming’s air of grandeur. ‘Well, am I a friend of the wealthy now? He just gave me one million earlier, and the look on that employee’s face… Haha.’
“Let’s go back to rest. We’ll deal with the rest later. I want to have a look at the bronze coin.
Also, if we have time, we should try to find Yang He’s mother and see in which hospital she’s staying at. If they still need money, we should help them out.”
“Alright.” Liu Meng held onto Li Yiming’s arm and nodded gently. This was what was the most attractive to her: Li Yiming’s kindness.
“Are you Mr. Li?” As the two were about to leave, a young man waiting at the entrance of the bank came to greet them.
“Do I know you?” Li Yiming frowned. The stranger did not seem like someone trustworthy. Li Yiming could easily see the malevolence in his eyes.
“It’s my cousin. He wants to thank you.” The young man pointed at group of people standing at the entrance of a small alleyway on the opposite side of the street.
“Yang He?” Li Yiming saw the boy he met earlier standing in the middle of the group, looking a little frightened. His small, thin frame was quite unfitting to the group of mobsters that surrounded him.
“Yes, it’s him. He wants to thank you.” The young mobster glanced at Liu Meng’s alluring figure and signaled for the two to follow him.
“Go.” Li Yiming’s countenance darkened. He knew that these people had nothing to do with Yang He whatsoever. The latter was probably coerced into helping them. ‘Well, that’ll spare me the trouble of going to find him to try to repay the favor.’
After they crossed the street, the group of mobsters came to meet them. Their eyes glittered with greed and lust. Their leader was a relatively well-dressed chubby man who showed his yellow teeth with a broad smile. “Mr. Li?” The leader asked, but his attempt at purporting friendliness could not conceal his greed.
“Are you okay?” Li Yiming ignored him and looked at Yang He. However, when their eyes crossed, the latter looked away and said nothing.
“My cousin’s a little shy. He wants to thank you but he doesn’t know how, so he asked me for help. How about we drink some tea together?” The man who had been waiting at the entrance of the bank said, “He’s my big bro, Huang Fei.”
“Drink tea, here?” Li Yiming looked at Huang Fei and had to conceal his cold, contemptuous smile. ‘I’d think that he heard about what happened back in the antique district, and he wants my five million.’
“Of course. How can we so disrespectful? Are you free right now?” The fat man rubbed his oily hands and said with a smile that shook his hanging cheeks.
“Yes. Let’s go.” Li Yiming answered. He felt a little bit of pity for Yang He when he looked at his frail frame.
Just the kind of stuff I love ! 🙂
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