Chapter 35: A Strange Deal

Li Mazi got two million renminbi from the Human Bones Necklace deal.

He then borrowed another 500,000 renminbi from me and contacted a famous hospital in the United States of America, bringing his son there to treat his illness.

As for me, it was still the boring life in the antique shop.

Yin Xinyue would call me and drop in for a treat almost every day.

I didn’t really understand her. What is her final purpose? I’m just a common Joe she could find anywhere. What does she even like about me...?

I felt that I had to keep some distance from her. Otherwise, I’d sink further into this and get hurt.

She came from the entertainment business, and there was no helping it. The possibility of us being together was extremely low.

But, what was the best method to keep some distance? If I were too frank, I might hurt her. I’m no expert when it comes to relationships.

Today, Yin Xinyue came again, bringing me some autographed CDs. She smiled and said, “If you hang them in your antique shop, they’d definitely add a touch of positiveness to the place.”

I smiled. “What worries me the most is having too much positiveness in the shop. I’m a collector of otherworldly items, which are best preserved in an environment full of negative energy. Therefore, it would be bad if there’s too much positiveness.”

Yin Xinyue didn’t really buy my explanation.

Anyway, since it was a gift, I had no choice but to keep the CDs.

At noon, she stayed for lunch. She didn’t want to go to a restaurant and asked me to fry some vegetables. Begrudgingly, I put on an apron and became a housewife.

I cooked her a plate of vegetables with meat, mushrooms, and spicy diced chicken. In my eyes, those dishes were very ordinary, but Yin Xinyue enjoyed them as if she were enjoying a meal from a five-star restaurant. She praised me nonstop. “These dishes are amazing, I wish could enjoy such meals for the rest of my life!”

My heart skipped a beat. Did she just confess to me? How am I supposed to reply?

Luckily, a customer came to my shop, which eased the awkward atmosphere.

It was an old man in his sixties wearing farmer clothes. He stood at the entrance of the shop with a black cloth in his hand. He looked inside, and after seeing me, he shyly came over. “Excuse me, do you buy antiques here?”

I replied, “Yes.”

The old farmer nodded. “I have a small item here. Could you check it out and tell me its worth?”

Then, he entered the shop.

Seeing that I had a customer at my door, Yin Xinyue quickly collected the dishes on the table. I hadn’t expected that a noble woman like her had also learned how to manage a house.

The old farmer placed the black cloth on the table and carefully opened it. “It’s a family heirloom. My grandson’s really sick, and we need money for his surgery. That’s why I decided to sell this precious item.”

I smiled at him, giving an understanding look.

I knew that the old man was very likely pretending, but I was still left puzzled. What year are we living in? People still resort to such old tricks to deceive others? I guess he isn’t a professional scammer...

If he isn’t a professional scammer, it'll be easy for me to talk it out.

The black cloth was opened, revealing some old newspapers which were charred as though they’d been burned.

I didn’t know what he was thinking, but he did put a lot of effort into the details. He’d even prepared the burned newspapers to make everything look more authentic. Just for that, I would give him a 99/100 score!

However, after the old farmer unwrapped all the layers of the newspaper, my eyes brightened.

Under the layers of newspaper lay a dark green hexagonal lamp!

I could tell at a glance that the small lamp was carved from ancient jade. The elegant but meticulous details gave people an ancient feeling. The handle was black and worn out, which further showed how extraordinary the lamp was.

Whether it was faux or not, I was sure it was very precious.

As an antique dealer, the skill of wearing a poker face was essential. I suppressed my excitement and picked up the little lamp to observe it better.

As soon as I touched it, a feeling of warmth flowed into my body. The feeling was real, and the lamp also seemed to be the real deal. Is this guy really a desperate old farmer that wants to sell his family heirloom for some money? Are the heavens smiling down on me?

I scrutinized the item over and over again, but didn’t find anything suspicious.

Two thoughts came to mind. First, the lamp was made from an expert who excelled at manufacturing fake goods, and the old man’s performance was Oscar-worthy. Second, I’d been incredibly lucky and had chanced upon a national treasure.

From what I remember, there was a similar lamp in Xi’an Museum.

It was a jade lamp from the Warring States Period. During that period, people had just started to focus on jade ware. As such, that lamp was the first lamp ever crafted, and its price wasn’t inferior to ten million renminbi!

Although the lamp in my hands didn’t date back to the Warring States Period, it was still an item of the Pre-Qin Period. If it was the real deal, it would possibly be worth five or six million renminbi.

Of course, there was still a chance that I was being duped.

But, even if it was just a counterfeit, I could still sell it for 500,000 or 600,000 renminbi. As far as I was concerned, it was a huge stroke of good luck!

“Boss, how is it?” The old farmer looked at me, nervously. “How much is it worth?”

I hesitated a little before saying, “The handle of the lamp is black, did it oxidize? I haven’t seen ancient jade oxidizing before.”

The old farmer hurried to explain. “It’s not oxidation. My house caught fire in the past, and the item was accidentally burned on that occasion. That’s why the handle is black.”

I laughed. “Old man, if it’s charred because of fire, I could just wipe it clean with my thumbs. Tell me, could you wipe this?”

The old farmer blushed, forcing an embarrassed smile. He seemed really in need of money. He gritted his teeth and continued, “Boss, I’m not really an expert, and I have no idea if it’s oxidized or not. I only wish to know what the lamp is worth.”

I looked at the farmer. “Name a price! It’s not like I’ve taken a fancy to your item, I just want to help you since you’re in need.”

The old man looked touched. “100,000 renminbi, how does that sound?”

I smiled and returned the lamp to him. “Uncle, I can introduce you to the newly opened shop over there. The shopkeeper is a rookie and needs a lot of stuff. I believe you can sell them the lamp at a good price. Turn left once you leave, bye.”

The old farmer took the bait. “Wait! Boss, give me a price. I don’t really understand how this business works, but if your price is good, I’ll sell you the item. My grandson’s still waiting in the surgery room. We need money for his operation.”

I grabbed his hands and his palms turned out to be covered with calluses. I was somewhat moved and decided not to rip him off.

However, I couldn’t give him a high starting price. Otherwise, he’d realize that the item was good and bargain further. If that happened, I wouldn’t be able to settle it with just 100,000 renminbi.

I gritted my teeth and said, “How about 50,000 renminbi?”

This amount of money wasn’t much for me. After all, I was someone who donated more than 100,000 renminbi to the Red Cross every year. I could just consider this money as an additional donation.

Still, I didn’t expect that the old man would agree right away.

After receiving the money, he left in a hurry.

Yin Xinyue carefully looked at the jade lamp. “Little Brother, tell me honestly. How much is this lamp worth?”

I laughed. “I’m not sure. I’ll have to see what the market price is, but I’m sure I'm not going to suffer a financial loss.”

Yin Xinyue tossed the jade lamp back to me. “Boring, and here I thought that you were a kind-hearted man helping someone in need.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “You’re too naive. How can you tell that the old farmer wasn’t trying to deceive me? The world is full of dishonest people, and if you get tricked, you might lose everything.”

Yin Xinyue nodded. “Alright, I believe you. But, even if you were to go bankrupt one day, I can just support you financially, alright?”

In the next moment, she blushed, realizing that she’d said something inappropriate. She found an excuse and left.

As for me, I looked at the jade lamp again. If this thing is real, I’ve made a fortune. The profit isn’t going to be inferior to that of an otherworldly item!

But, as soon as I thought of the words ‘otherworldly item’, my heart skipped a beat.

My shop doesn't really collect antiques, but otherworldly items instead...

There were so many antique shops in this street. Why did the old farmer come to me? This is a bit suspicious.

I went out to make inquiries and discovered that the old farmer hadn’t gone to any other shops to check the price. Now, I was even more worried, because if he’d come straight to me, he had ulterior motives!

He’d probably made inquiries beforehand and knew that I collected otherworldly items. That was why he’d come straight to me.

I needed to be extra careful. If he hadn’t told me the truth, then it was because he was afraid that I wouldn’t accept his otherworldly item!

There was only one category of otherworldly items that I wouldn’t want to buy... items that could kill people!

I got a sudden urge to get rid of the lamp.

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