That afternoon, Chuyi left with Zen Master Baimei.
I was worried. “Would the Thai sorcerer come and take revenge later?”
Chuyi told me to ease my mind. “The sorcerer had his own attack inflicted upon him because of the reversing witchcraft. If he didn’t die, he was severely injured. His vitality was seriously damaged.”
In the following days, Li Mazi focused on taking care of Chu Chu. He became a stay-at-home husband.
I also visited Chu Chu several times.
She was a smart woman, and she soon learned how to surf the internet so she could play games while eating apple slices Li Mazi had prepared for her.
She even learned how to act like a spoiled girl. Since she didn’t like drinking the nutrient solution Li Mazi had bought for her, he had to hush her as if she was a little girl.
The old shaman liked to sunbathe in the yard and her only entertainment was reading the newspaper. However, her greatest interest was telling Li Meng some ghost stories.
Seeing Li Meng overwhelmed with surprise, I knew that the old shaman was a master at telling stories.
I stayed alone in the antique shop, which would never be as lively and happy as Li Mazi’s home. That was why I often took Yin Xinyue to visit Li Mazi’s house for some meals. Li Mazi was a nice guy. Every time we visited them, he prepared a big table of food. Yin Xinyue was surprised and wondered since when had Li Mazi given up on his stingy habits.
Although Chu Chu consumed a lot of meat every day, her figure was still slender. When there were no strangers around, Li Meng would just call her sister. She wasn’t enraged by this. Instead, she joked and laughed with him.
Life was quiet and happy. If we didn’t need to find the Night Dragon Bait, I would close my antique shop and move in with Li Mazi’s family.
However, it was not my destiny to have a quiet life. One day, as soon as I returned from Li Mazi’s house, I found several beggars sitting by the entrance of my antique shop. They wore ragged clothes. There was a stretcher next to them carrying a fat man.
I was puzzled. What year is this? Why does the Beggar’s Union still exist? Are these beggars planning to wreck my shop or something?
Yin Xinyue was worried. “Should we call the police? If they pester us, it won’t be good.”
I looked at them and hesitated.
When the beggars saw me watching them, they came to me and circled around me.
I immediately pulled Yin Xinyue behind me. “What do you want?”
Since they saw I was tense, they quickly said, “Don’t be scared. Are you the owner of this antique shop?”
“Yes, it’s me. What’s wrong?”
I didn’t expect what was going to happen next. After I answered them, they knelt, scaring Yin Xinyue.
I couldn’t help but laugh. What do they want to do? Will they make me the new leader of their Beggar’s Union and give me the Dog Beating Staff?
“Boss Zhang, please, you must save my son!” A beggar cried, weeping silently.
Still puzzled, I lifted him up. “What happened? Old man, please get up. Then we can talk.”
The old beggar got up and shoved a jade thumb ring into my hand. “Boss Zhang, I know you’re an expert and that you do otherworldly items trading. Could you please check if this jade ring is some sort of otherworldly item? My son’s really miserable because of this.”
After learning that the jade thumb ring could be some otherworldly item, I retracted my hand as though I had just received an electric shock.
Before I became clear of the situation, I better not touch it!
I immediately invited them inside the shop.
Looking at their tattered clothes, I couldn’t help but frown. It seemed I couldn’t earn a dime this time. These people looked really poor. They had patches all over their clothes and they didn’t look healthy. Apparently, they couldn’t feed themselves well.
They lifted up the fat man and carried him into my shop. However, as soon as they entered the shop, the old beggar used a strip of black cloth to cover the fat man’s eyes.
The fat man had a belly as big as a pregnant woman. His snores were as loud as thunder.
“What happened to this man? Why do you have to blindfold him?” I was curious.
I was a little worried that they were a professional team of swindlers. No matter what, their appearances were really suspicious.
The old beggar waved his hand. “It’s nothing. You don’t need to mind him.”
Seeing them avoid the question, I knew the situation wasn’t simple. I determinedly asked Yin Xinyue to hide in the next room to make a video recording of the whole process.
I gave them a Coke can each. However, I recognized that they secretly put the Coke into their pockets. No one drank a drop.
I wanted to open my Coke but the old beggar stopped me. “I’m sorry but… Boss Zhang, could you promise me one thing?”
While talking, he checked his wristwatch.
I frowned, “What’s that?”
The old beggar said nervously. “My son is about to wake up! We only have a few moments left! When he wakes up, please do not mention ‘eat’ or ‘food’ in front of him. Please, do not let him see anything edible in your shop. Could you do me this favor?”
I was amused. It was the first time I had heard of such a strange condition.
“It’s okay. How much could he eat? It’s my treat, okay? You don’t need to be this secretive.”
A young man sneered disdainfully. “I’m afraid you can’t afford to treat him.”
As soon as the young man said that, the old beggar stopped him immediately. “Er Kui, don’t talk nonsense.”
The young man threw a discontented glance at the fat man on the stretcher. He stooped and said nothing.
“Since you have come to my shop, would you please tell me what happened?” I forced a smile. I couldn’t endure this curiosity of mine.
“Haiz.” The old beggar wept silently. “Check this jade thumb ring for me first! Tell me if you see anything wrong with it.”
Then, the old beggar gave me the jade ring. I didn’t want to hold it so he directly placed it on the table.
I studied the jade ring carefully. It was an authentic, real antique! The ring’s surface was shiny, smooth and tender. Although it had bright colors, I could see the very fine blood veins inside. This was an extremely precious sheep-fat rooster-blood jade thumb ring. In the market, it would be priced at least six zeros.
Although he had such a precious treasure, his family was still reduced to this state. I felt a little sad.
Anyway, thinking that this jade ring could be an otherworldly item, I immediately took a closer look. However, after using the magnifying glass to check it for quite a long time, I didn’t find anything special.
Feeling helpless, I couldn’t do anything other than ask them a question. “Sir, how did you conclude that this thumb ring is an otherworldly item?”
Without waiting for the old beggar to answer, the young man sitting nearby suddenly lifted his head. “Crap, the hungry ghost woke up…”
I turned to look at the living room. Indeed, that fat man was awake now. However, my scalp went numb as he immediately rushed toward the garbage bin in the shop and wolfed down the leftovers like a pig!
How hungry could he be, to eat even garbage?
The old man shrieked then rushed forward. He pulled the fat man’s head out of the garbage bin. The old beggar casually took out a coil of steel wire from his bag and tied the fat man’s limbs together.
I looked at the steel wire that wrapped around the fat man’s arm and felt distressed. “Sir, what are you doing? Why do you torment this fatty? If you don’t have money for food, I can buy him some.”
“Food? I want food!” The big, fat man howled like a pig being killed. “Hurry, give me food. I’m going to starve to death!”
I covered my mouth in regret. I’d just mentioned the word ‘food.’
The young man was angry and twisted a smile. “Boom, it’s over. We can’t stop this piggy now…”
“Er Kui, what are you talking about? Watch your brother, I’m going to talk to Boss Zhang!”
The old beggar stood up and looked at me helplessly. His eyes were full of grievance and reluctance. I knew this was the heart of a father.
“Boss Zhang, we should talk inside.” The old beggar pointed at the bedroom. “Do not let Er Kui see us.”
I nodded. “Alright.”
This family was mysterious. I didn’t know what to think about them.
After we were inside the bedroom, the old beggar knelt in front of me. He took out a bag from his chest and said nothing. In his bag were several neat stacks of money. They were worth at least one hundred thousand renminbi.
I was stunned. He has so much money but is still dressed like a beggar? He could fill this stomach until bursting with this money!Previous Chapter Next Chapter