What a Tragedy
It was a sunny day. The cloudless sky looked spacious, as if had no boundaries.
Grey City was crowded with people, some were walking, while others were sitting in their carriages.
Cattle-fence Street was one of the most famous streets in this city, mainly due to its geographical location. It was in the center of Grey City, connecting the northern- and southern parts of the city. The former was for nobles, while the latter was for commoners. In this street, people would find various shops, which were dealing in exotic items. This was a place favored by both the rich and the poor – shopping on this street was like a treasure-hunting adventure, as you would never know what kind of treasure you would encounter next.
It was high noon; a pitiful bargaining was going on in one of the shops that dealt in magic crystals.
At this time of the day, most people were having their lunch or taking a nap, thus the number of visitors had somewhat decreased. However, there was still a teenager, roughly fifteen years old, who had stepped into a magic crystal shop.
This teenager was in plain clothing and scrawny, yet he was rather good-looking. He had directly went to the counter that displayed the lowest-grade magic crystals. Picking up five first-grade magic crystals, he scrutinized it meticulously before he inquired, “Excuse me, boss, what’s the price for five of these first-grade magic crystals?”
The boss of this shop was a middle-aged man, a fat dwarf. Seeing a customer entering his shop, he automatically forced a big smile onto his face. Ironically, when he realized that this teenager was only interested in the lowest grade magic crystals, his fake smile immediately disappeared. “80 crystal coins per piece, for five pieces, it is a total of 400 crystal coins.”
“What? 80 per piece? This is robbery!” The teenager shouted in defiance.
The dumpy shopkeeper curled his lips carelessly; he was quite used to this kind of bargaining, “This is the market price. Buy it or leave.”
“Market price? As far as I know, there is a shop nearby that sells them for 70 crystal coins per piece.” The teenager replied.
“Alright, 70 crystal coins, deal!” The shopkeeper decided to slightly compromise.
“Hehe, you know, I didn’t buy from that shop for 70 crystal coins, hoping there would be more favorable prices somewhere else… Please, lower the price a bit more.” The teenager kept on bargaining.
“Oh, God… 65 crystal coins. No less.” The middle-aged boss sighed.
“Hey, boss, I find that your business is quite lucrative. Look, I know you purchase the magic crystals from the southern Wild Mountain Range, whom you roughly pay 10 crystal coins per piece. Yet, when you sell it here in Grey City, the unit price suddenly spirals to 65 crystal coins, or even higher. What a profit! Shame on you and all of the other unscrupulous and greedy merchants!” Unexpectedly, the teenager intensified his negotiations.
Looking at the angry teenager, who was verbally attacking him, the shopkeeper went into a fury, “Shut up, little kid! Do you even known how far it is from the Wild Mountain Range to Grey City? We have to spend money hiring security guards to escort our team to transport the purchased goods along the way. Plus, the annual rent for this shop is also high. Ok, I won’t waste my time explaining to you why we set this kind of price. If you cannot afford this price, just leave my shop.”
Interestingly, the teenager didn’t seem to have any intention to stop bargaining, “We’re about 230,000 meters away from the Wild Mountain Range. To my knowledge, the payments for security guards are quite low. Besides, the quantity is large for each transport. On average, it would probably cost you one or two crystal coins for each item you bring. Well, as for the rent, as far as I know, it only costs you 50 purple crystal coins each year, which is equivalent to 5,000 crystal coins. Is that right, boss? Ok… Honestly, I didn’t intend to embarrass you. All I really need is a lower price.”
“Er… How do you know so much? You are such a ‘professional’ bargainer… Well, well, 50 crystal coins per piece, and that’s final.” The shopkeeper was shocked by the teenager’s knowledge with regards to his business.
“Oh, nice…” The teenager finally smiled with a sense of achievement.
When the teenager rummaged through his pockets for money, a brilliant idea flashed through his mind. He didn’t take out the money, instead, he secretly whispered in the ear of the shopkeeper, “Boss, I’ve heard that by showing the golden token of the Ye Family I’ll get a 50% discount, is that true?”
“Y… Yeah. Why are you asking this? Do you have one?” The dumpy shopkeeper replied in suspicion. He was curious why this plain-clothed young man mentioned the golden token, as it was a symbol of high social status. After all, only lineal descendants were allowed to use it. And the lineal descendants of the Ye Family were never anxious about money. Therefore, seldom did they show this golden token for a preferable price.
“Haha!” The teenager embarrassingly touched his head, giving out a hollow laughter. Soon, he took out a golden token, on which the word “Ye” was visibly sculptured.
“I am a distant relative of young lord Qingkuang of the Ye Family. So… I borrowed this golden token from him. Ok, let’s settle our account, boss.” The teenager explained.
“Ok, 125 crystal coins in total.” The shopkeeper reluctantly replied. Actually, he felt fortunate that this customer was only interested in first-grade magic crystals. If the teenager bought higher-grade ones, like the fifth-grade or the sixth-grade, the deal would be even less profitable.
“Alright, take the money. Bye! I will patronage your shop whenever I have time.” The teenager held the five magic crystals in his hands, as he triumphantly strode out of the shop.
A girl in a white dress was waiting outside the shop, “Brother, have you bought the magic crystals?”
Obviously, the brother and sister were Qinghan and Qingyu.
Qinghan nodded hastily as he looked around like an attempted thief, “Let’s go home first.”
The two of them left Cattle-fence Street and hurried home.
“Haha, I bought five magic crystals today, the price of which was ten crystal coins lower than the ones I bought yesterday.” Qinghan put aside the magic crystals and grabbed a cup of water from the desk. He was rather satisfied his his bargaining skills.
“Brother, you are awesome! Summon Little Black out, and let him enjoy his meal.” Qingyu randomly picked a piece of magic crystals up and smiled at her brother. As for Qingyu, there was nothing more cheerful than seeing her brother being happy.
“Yeah, Little Black, please come out for your meal.” Qinghan responded accordingly.
All of a sudden, a thread of white smoke emerged from Qinghan’s chest. Strangely, the smoke became thicker and thicker, while it was also starting to resemble the shape of Little Black, who was as small as the size of a palm.
Little Black rubbed its pair of sleepy eyes with its claws, before it noticed the magic crystals on the desk. Like a ghost, it abruptly arrived at the desk within the blink of an eye.
– Kraaaa! –
Soon, the magic crystals were devoured by Little Black. Looking at the empty bag on the desk, a mixed feeling struck Qinghan. On one side, he was happy to see his battle beast grow up with the help of these magic crystals. However, on the other side, he was worried, because he didn’t have the money to buy more magic crystals.
It had been ten days since Little Black was summoned. During these ten days, Qinghan had fed his beast with five magic crystals, as well as with the Battle Qi he exerted. Considering the limited amount of magic crystals he got from the Replenishment Hall, he had planned to spend more time on cultivating Battle Qi, so that Little Black would grow faster.
On the third day, unfortunately, Little Black rejected to absorb any more of his Battle Qi.
“What a tragedy.” Qinghan sighed helplessly.
Therefore, Qinghan had no alternative but to take out all of his savings and buy magic crystals for Little Black.
Despite his identity as one of the lineal descendants of the affluent Ye Family, Qinghan was economically restrained. All the valuable remainings were taken away by the family after his father’s death. Even though, early on, he had received a handsome amount of monthly payment from the family, yet, after the retirement of his grandfather – Ye Tianlong, the amount had sharply decreased. Now, he could only make ends meet. Plus, he had also spent some money on his mother’s funeral recently, so he was embarrassingly short on money. It was fair to say, that even collateral descendants lived a better life than Qinghan.
His economic situation explained why he would bargain so harshly in the magic crystal shop, and why he had asked his sister to stand outside the shop to make sure no one knew about his secret deeds. In fact, it was considered as disgraceful to use the golden token in public as a tool to get discount. If someone reported this to the Punishment Department, Qinghan would be doomed.
“I have to find a way out. Otherwise, my savings won’t be enough for this gluttonous little beast… I would probably end up wearing a pair of patched pants begging in the streets for magic crystals.” Qinghan murmured.
On thinking of this gloomy future, Qinghan trembled with fear. He pondered for a while and turned to his sister, “Hey, Qingyu, I… I plan to go out for a while…”
“Oh, go ahead.” Qingyu was playing with Little Black, unaware of her brother’s expression.
“I mean… I have decided to go to a faraway place.” Qinghan explained.
“Oh? Very far away?” Qingyu asked in confusion.
“The Wild Mountain Range, which is located near Wild City, it will take half a year, before I’ll return home.” Qinghan replied, even though he felt guilty to leave his sister alone, without anyone to turn to when there was an emergency.
“Is it because of Little Black?” Qingyu frowned, holding up Little Black in the air.
“Yes, you know, the price of magic crystals in the Wild Mountain Range is much lower, as it only costs several crystal coins per piece. And… I cannot afford the price here, so…”
“Ok, I get it. Tell me when you will go so that I can prepare some stuff for you.” Qingyu smiled, without any sign of grievance.
“Tomorrow morning. However, I wish to come back for you before 6 months have passed.” Qinghan smiled back, revealing no signs of dismay or worry.
Their expression seemed quite peaceful, as if Wild City would only be a half-day journey from their home, rather than half a year.
All the grief of parting was hidden in their eyes, this was something that was beyond words…