Chapter 381: A Strange Clock

After the Red Barbarian Cannon event ended, I shared the payment made by Shen Hongbin, which was ten million renminbi, with Chuyi, Yin Xinyue, and Li Mazi. I couldn’t believe that we had earned that much in a short time. I guessed I didn’t need to run my shop for a few years. 

My only regret was that the Red Barbarian Cannon was seriously damaged and that it had lost its power as an otherworldly item. I discussed things with Yin Xinyue, and we decided that we would donate it to a local museum. The value of the cannon as a cultural relic surpassed its value as an otherworldly item. Moreover, the museum had many experts that could restore the cannon. 

Although I didn’t have any business for quite a long time after that, I still opened my shop daily. Every day, I leisurely passed my time by enjoying some liquor and reading books.

One day, I was about to take an afternoon nap when Li Mazi entered with a servile face. 

“Little Brother Zhang, are you free?” 

Whenever he had this expression, I knew something was up.  

I shot him a glance. “We’re old friends. If you’ve got anything you want to tell me, just go ahead. Don’t hide it. You look annoying, you know.” 

“Annoying? How am I annoying?” Li Mazi’s smile grew odd. “I heard people on TV say it’s hard to deny the request of someone who’s smiling. That’s why I’m smiling so much. No matter how hard the task is, you will feel ashamed if you refuse…” 

I couldn’t help but sneer. “If you have so much free time, take care of your son. Don’t watch those brainless TV shows.” 

I lifted my teacup and took a sip to soothe my throat. “Moreover, don’t you think you’ve given me enough trouble?”

“Oh, look at you. How can you feel troubled? Everybody will receive benefits!” Li Mazi smiled brighter. 

“Okay, what do you want? If you don’t have any business, I’m going to take a nap.” 

“I do. I do have some business! Little Brother Zhang, why are you in such a hurry? I guess you suffer from high internal heat. Do you want to drink some chrysanthemum tea to relieve your heat? I have a buddy who works in the tea business. If you trust me, I will ask him to send you top-quality chrysanthemum tea…” 

Li Mazi kept babbling for a while. He ran his mouth like a machine gun.

I waved at him. “If you don’t tell me, I’m going to tear open your chrysanthemum first!” 

Li Mazi was scared and clutched his butt. “All right, all right. I will tell you!” 

He then lowered his voice and said mysteriously, “Little Brother Zhang, it’s not really a big deal. It’s about my buddy, the tea businessman. He got into some trouble…” 

I nodded and motioned at him to continue.

Li Mazi’s spirit was boosted. He didn’t wait for me to talk and moved to a small bench so that he could sit in front of me. “We’ve cooperated and dealt with many otherworldly items. But do you know any otherworldly item that can stop time?”

I was bewildered. “Stop what?” 

“I don’t know how to explain it. Those affected are trapped in time. No matter what you do, when you wake up, you’ll find yourself stuck in the previous day. And, the people around you will also repeat what they did the day before.” 

Although Li Mazi was telling me about the situation, it didn’t seem like he believed his own words. “If he weren’t my old buddy, I would have sent him to an asylum…” 

I remembered a time when my grandpa had taught me that time was Yang and space was Yin. As such, there were otherworldly items that had the power to affect time. 

I was serious and looked Li Mazi in the eye. “Did your friend recently obtain a clock from somewhere?” 

Li Mazi was surprised. “Little Brother Zhang, since when have you learned to read the future?”

“Stop talking nonsense,” I scolded him. “Ever since I’ve known you, I haven’t had a nice day to rest. You should tell me every detail. What happened?” 

“All right,” Li Mazi wore a gloomy face and sighed. “My buddy works in the tea business. He’s got a partner that encountered some difficulty in his business. He couldn’t keep up with it anymore, and he owed my friend dozens of thousands of renminbi. When my friend took his people to his partner’s house to collect the debt, he found out that his partner’s family was very poor. He knew his friend was in a difficult situation, so he agreed to take something from the house as a mortgage. However, they looked around the house and didn’t find anything valuable. In the end, they found an old clock. My buddy is experienced. He knew that the clock was a precious item, so…”

“He took it? Taking a clock can bring bad luck, you know? Your friend is really bold.” I burst out laughing and continued to sip my tea. 

Li Mazi smiled embarrassedly. “I know, and I also scolded him for being blind. When he sees something good, he doesn’t care about anything else.” 

I placed the teacup back on the table. “You still have the boldness to blame others. You sound like you’re better than him.” 

Li Mazi smiled apologetically. “Well, birds of a feather do flock together.” 

I thought that I was just slapped in the face. 

Li Mazi reacted immediately, “Of course, Little Brother Zhang, you don’t belong to our kind. You’re an expert, a real expert!”  

“You shouldn’t beat around the bush. Just get straight to the point.” 

Li Mazi nodded. “Although taking a clock wasn’t good, my buddy didn’t care at that time. When he brought the clock home, he even invited an expert to check it and identify the item. He said that it was a Western clock made from the Jiaqing period of the Qing dynasty. [1] It was worth a lot of money. When my buddy heard that, he was so excited that he decided to make this item his family heirloom. Oh, right. He took a picture of it and posted it in his friend circle. Let me show you it.” 

Li Mazi took out his phone and checked his friend circle. Then, he brought his phone to my eyes. “Look, this is it!”

It was a Western-style, exquisite chiming clock. The decorative design on the clock’s face was ancient, simple, and unadorned. Although it was really old, it was precious because it was perfectly preserved. However, I spotted a faint carving symbol on the top of the clock. It looked like the Chinese character, ‘一.’ 

I guessed this character was carved after the clock was made.

Li Mazi saw that I was quiet and felt a little agitated. “Little Brother Zhang, is this really that hard to solve?” 

When he saw me gazing at the character, he couldn’t help but say, “My friend didn’t carve that character. Perhaps the previous owner didn’t know the value of the clock and just did that.”

“That character represents the end of life and the start of death. This clock is an ominous item!” I said.

Li Mazi was shocked. “Brother Zhang, I didn’t know that you could read fortune through words.” 

“There are many things you don’t know.” 

Li Mazi lowered his voice. “Since it’s an ominous item, how ominous could it be? Compared to the other items we’ve encountered before, is it stronger or weaker?” 

“I don’t know. I don’t dare to say anything before I see it.” 

“It’s easy to see the real thing. We should go to my friend’s house. He’s waiting for you.” Li Mazi smiled and walked out of the shop. 

I yawned lazily. “Why do you have to be in such a hurry? Wait until I finish my nap.” 

“Eh?” Li Mazi was dizzy. “Saving a human life is important. How could you take a nap now?!” 

I waved my hand to dismiss him. I headed to my bedroom and didn’t bother to turn my head around to look at him. “You aren’t worried about someone’s life. You’re worried about money.”

Li Mazi’s face turned sour. 

I didn’t have a nice nap as Li Mazi was impatiently pacing back and forth outside. He seemed to hate that he couldn’t just stomp around and break my floor. 

Reluctantly, I had to get up. 

When Li Mazi saw me, his tense face changed into a smile. “Little Brother Zhang, you woke up!” 

“Woke up, your sister! I couldn’t even sleep!” I shot him a fierce glance. “Be honest, how much did your buddy promise to give you? You look so anxious, just as if there was a fire burning under your butt!”

“Haha.” Li Mazi feigned ignorance. “It’s all for friendship. Money has nothing to do with it.” 

“Yeah, sure. Can your eyes even see something else besides money?” I turned around and headed toward the bathroom.

“Little Brother Zhang, you can’t say that. Besides money, I also accept silver, gold, emerald, or diamond. I’m not picky.”

I almost choked on my mouthwash. I quickly finished cleaning my face and then left with Li Mazi. 

At around 2:00 PM, we arrived at a famous residential area in our city. The rich lived here.

I looked at a lavishly decorated single-family villa and couldn’t hold in my envy. “Your friend’s business isn’t bad. The price of the homes in this area have grown up to five digits, right?” 

“You wish!” Li Mazi sounded jealous as well. “I heard that when he bought it, it was already five digits. It’s been years, so this villa’s price should be much higher now!” 

“We should also buy a house like this when we have enough money.” I sighed and walked with Li Mazi to the residential area.  

The security guard was suspicious of us. We were stopped at the entrance and questioned for a long time. Eventually, he let us in with a skeptical face. Li Mazi and I had walked a distance, and when we turned around, we saw the security guy was still looking at us. 

Li Mazi was enraged. “Shoot! What kind of people does he think we are?!” 

Then, he abruptly turned around and said that he needed to talk to the security guard. 


1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiaqing_Emperor

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