When I woke up, I found myself in my bed. My surroundings were quiet, and I caught the smell of tea in the air.
Am I in my antique shop?
How did I come back to this place? I was in Old Gang’s house, wasn’t I?
Did I just have a nightmare? Or, am I trapped into one?
Ever since I had entered this business, I had never experienced such a strange situation. I shook my head and tried to clear my mind.
I heard someone pace outside my bedroom. Those hurried footsteps sounded familiar.
There was no need to guess. The footsteps belonged to Li Mazi. As I thought about him, my blood started to boil.
Damn it! It’s all because of that bastard! If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be entangled with so many problems. I could just stay in my antique shop, enjoy tea, and leisurely pass my time. I wouldn’t have to experience so many hardships!
If Heaven gave me another chance, I would use all of my power to kick Li Mazi far, far away. As far as possible. It would be best if I could kick him to Siberia and never meet him again!
I felt dizzy as I got out of bed to open the door.
Li Mazi was pacing back and forth outside. He looked incredibly worried. After hearing the noise I made, he turned around. With a smile, he said, “Little Brother Zhang, you woke up!”
According to the normal plot, I would retort, “Woke up your sister! I couldn’t even sleep!”
However, the words were stuck in my throat. I couldn’t make a sound.
Li Mazi carefully assessed my face. “Are you all right, Little Brother Zhang? Did you have a nightmare?”
It was way more frightening than a nightmare!
I cleared my mind and said in a normal tone, “Li Mazi, aren’t you here to ask me to help your friend, Old Gang?”
“Little Brother Zhang, did you just lose your memory after a nap? I told you before, right? After your nap, you will come with me. If you don’t, things will be over for my buddy…” When Li Mazi came to this part, he suddenly realized something. He looked at me in disbelief. “No, that’s not right. How come you know he’s called Old Gang? I’m sure I haven’t told you his name.”
While Li Mazi was dumbstruck, I didn’t look any better.
What was going on?
I waved at Li Mazi and motioned at him to come close to me.
Li Mazi didn’t have a clue and approached me.
My hand moved fast. I slapped him without saying a word.
After Li Mazi was hit, he was so dumbstruck that he forgot how to talk. He covered half of his face and looked at me in puzzlement.
I asked him, “Did that hurt?”
Li Mazi dumbly nodded.
“It hurts, so it’s not a dream…” I muttered.
Li Mazi threw a tantrum. “What the heck! Did you sleep so much that your brain went numb? If you want to know if you’re dreaming or not, why don’t you slap yourself? Why did you hit me?!” He gritted his teeth and swung his arm back and forth as if he was preparing to counterstrike.
“Hey, don’t make a mess!” I put on a serious face and pushed him away.
“I don’t want to make a mess, but I will never bear a loss. You better show me your cheek as well.” Li Mazi said reluctantly, “Tell me honestly, have you been waiting for this chance to hit me because you don’t find me pleasing to the eye?”
I made a face because I was afraid Li Mazi would keep pestering me. “Do you want me to help your friend or not? If you don’t, just slap me. I will go back to sleep then.”
Li Mazi rolled his eyes and said with a smile, “I’m just joking. We’ve been through life and death, so a slap doesn’t matter much, right? If we were living in ancient times, we would be sworn brothers already. It was just a slap, and even if you were to make my face swell up, I wouldn't say a word. I will even offer you my other cheek!”
Li Mazi tried to earn my favor. “Should we depart now?”
I took a deep breath. The otherworldly item this time was really strange. Ever since I had entered this Circle, it was the most interesting item I had ever encountered. My curiosity was aroused.
Although I didn’t know if I was in a dream or not, I decided to have a nice battle against that clock.
I glanced at Li Mazi. “Why are you still standing idle? Show me the way!”
Li Mazi screamed, “Yes Sir! Let’s go!”
After two steps, I called him, “Hold on, I have to wash my face. I need to maintain my image!”
Li Mazi couldn’t stop on time and slammed into the door panel.
Seeing that rich residential area again gave me a strange feeling.
“Little Brother Zhang, say something, will you? You’ve been silent all the way here. I’ve checked on you several times since I was worried that you had stopped breathing.”
“I don’t feel like talking, alright?” I gave Li Mazi a discontented glance.
Li Mazi guffawed. His left cheek was swollen, and five finger marks were imprinted on it.
He raised his hand and lightly patted his mouth. “This mouth of mine should really stay shut! Little Brother Zhang, I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
I scanned the place and thought for a moment. Then I asked, “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. “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!”
Li Mazi’s answer was the same as the previous time.
Not only him, but when we entered the neighborhood, the security guard was the same. He interrogated Li Mazi and me with the same doubtful face. Eventually, he let us in and was still suspicious of us.
After walking away for a while, Li Mazi turned around and saw the security guy gaze at us. He was enraged. “Shoot! What kind of people does he think we are?!”
He wanted to turn around and talk to the guy. I didn’t even turn my head around and walked forward.
After running several steps, Li Mazi saw that I didn’t stop him. Feeling embarrassed, he returned to my side. “Little Brother Zhang, I have to talk to him and teach him not to use his dog eyes to assess people.”
“Okay, go then.” I nodded.
Li Mazi was bewildered. “Perhaps we will have to fight.”
“All right.” I waved my hand as if I was shooing away flies. “Go, don’t wait for me.”
Li Mazi was puzzled. “Since we’re friends, shouldn’t you come with me? You could support me and give me more courage.”
“Your moves are good enough. If I go with you, I will be a burden.”
“Fists don’t have eyes. What if I hit him too hard and he gets badly hurt? Wouldn’t you want to stop me?”
I stopped and beamed at Li Mazi. “Don’t worry, just sit in jail for a few years. I promise I will visit you very often. Also, I will raise your son as if he were my own. I will find a good husband for Rue Xue, too.”
“Oh shoot! Are you even my friend?!” Li Mazi’s facial expression changed. He followed me. He kept silent and didn’t mention anything about quarreling with the security guy anymore.
If I had known he was such a coward, I wouldn’t have stopped him last time.
It was just a waste of time.
Anyway, everything was the same as the previous time. We went to Old Gang’s villa, Li Mazi hit the doorbell, and Old Gang quickly opened the door for us.
Everything had happened once already. Old Gang grabbed Li Mazi’s hand as if he was grabbing a lifebuoy. Li Mazi screamed in pain. Then, the clock bonged.
There were still three strange bongs.
Old Gang let go of Li Mazi’s hand, and he slumped as if he had suddenly lost all of his strength. Everything happened the same, which made me smile.
Li Mazi turned to me, looking aggrieved. “My buddy has turned to this state, and you still have the mood to smile?”
I purposely maneuvered around him, walked into the villa, and turned on the lights.
Old Gang became tense. He looked at me. “No, don’t turn on the lights! Also… Who are you?!”
Li Mazi introduced me. “This is the expert I’ve told you about. Old Gang, you’re really lucky to have me as your friend. If it were someone else, they wouldn’t be able to invite such a great guy. Your problem is trivial, and our man here just needs to move his fingers to solve it. You don’t need to worry. Right, have you prepared the payment for us?”
He didn’t even blush or need to stop to gasp for his breath as he was shamelessly bragging. I couldn’t help but intervene. “Stop bragging. We don’t even know what the problem is.”
Li Mazi was busted, but his face didn’t change a bit. He confidently patted Old Gang’s shoulder. “My younger brother’s good, but he’s too humble. When we return home, I will criticize him.”
Since when did I become your younger brother?
Li Mazi didn’t give me a chance to talk and walked directly to the kitchen. To avoid the previous situation when I needed support and he wasn’t there, I said, “Can you be a little upright? Don’t drink now. Business comes first.”
Li Mazi was startled. “Little Brother Zhang, can you see the future already? How did you know I was going to find something to drink?”
Seeing that I was ignoring him, Li Mazi thought that he had to brag some more to Old Gang. “Did you see that? I wasn’t deceiving you. Our expert here has supernatural powers. As soon as you wiggle your butt, he knows what you want to do…”
Why do I find these words so awkward?
Old Gang didn’t have any reaction as Li Mazi talked. He still looked absentminded.
Compared to the last time, Old Gang looked even weaker.
Soon, it was 3:15 PM. The delivery guy rang the doorbell on time. This time, I didn’t let Li Mazi get the door. I walked out myself.
The delivery guy greeted, “Excuse me, is this Chen Fugang’s house? Please sign here. Just your name is fine.”
I took the pen and signed it. Then I asked, “Do you come here every day to deliver parcels?”
The delivery guy looked surprised. “I don’t think so? There are many express packages I have to deliver every day. I can’t remember.”
I nodded and smiled at him.
After the guy left, I asked Old Gang, “Where did you get that clock? Think carefully and tell me.”
Old Gang moved his somewhat stiff eyeballs. “From a business partner of mine. He owed me some money and wanted to use some property to repay me. He was broke and this old item was the only valuable-looking thing in his family. I was happy with it, so I took it home. I didn’t know…”
“Who is that partner? Do you have his contact information?” I asked.
Old Gang tried to remember. His brows slammed together. After a while, he said with a grimace, “I think I do.”
Li Mazi sat nearby and screamed discontentedly. “If you have it, just say you do. Why would you have to beat around the bush? Did you watch so many Korean dramas that you wanted to play the scene where you lose your memories?”
Before he could finish, I hit his back. It hurt him enough to make him grimace. “Why do you have to talk so much? Just shut up and drink some beer. Don’t trouble me.”
Li Mazi mumbled, “I‘m trying to help you in every way, but you say that I’m troubling you. My heart is in shambles!” As he talked, he ran to the kitchen to grab some beers.Previous Chapter Next Chapter