Chapter 323: I Will Take Anything
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Snowy was not certain as to how expensive this statue was. She estimated her total savings, which were abundant, including her pocket money, red envelopes received during Chinese Lunar New Year, and income from being a network anchor. Besides, she didn’t spend her money too frequently, so she was able to save a considerable amount of money. However, she didn’t want to send too expensive of a gift, which Zhang Zian certainly would not accept. Though Zhang Zian seemed like a stingy person, he rejected the donations from the netizens last time.
"Ah... how much is this Cat Goddess statue? I can’t afford it if it's too expensive..." she smiled and asked the old man, using bargaining techniques she was inexperienced in. She was afraid that the elder didn’t believe her, so she quickly explained, "I'm just an unheard-of anchor, unlike the nationally popular anchors who can earn millions of RMB daily..."
The old man seemed to have read her mind. He stuck out five fingers and smiled, "This amount will do."
Solving such a riddle was a headache to Snowy. What did five fingers stand for exactly? She had no idea!
"Fifty thousand?" she asked tentatively, and if the old man answered RMB 500,000, she would have to give up and leave.
"That’s too much. Five thousand." The old man put his hand down, and chuckled, as if the expression on Snowy’s face was very amusing.
Snow uttered another cry in astonishment, "Five thousand? You are not kidding, are you?"
"Do I look like I’m joking?" The old man put his hands behind his back and his expression became serious, "I am a business man. How can I make a price randomly?"
"But..." Snowy still felt incredible. If a small wooden ornament gifted to her father was claimed to have cost tens of thousands of RMB, this statue was absolutely worth more than 5,000 RMB. Come on, that ornament was just a piece of wood; it was absurd that it was so ridiculously expensive. But this statue was different — with its extraordinary material, design and history, there was no reason that it was worth less than a piece of stupid wood, unless the old man was deliberately lying to her.
Was he lying to her? Snowy secretly glanced at him. Although liars would not tell everyone that they were liars, this old man really didn’t look like one of them, neither from his appearance or by the way he spoke. Besides, what benefit would he gain from lying to her? For making only 5,000 RMB?
The old man was aware that he must explain further, otherwise people might speculate that he had intentions other than monetary gains. The truth was, he had no other purpose — he just felt that this young lady was agreeable. He liked giving away the items in his store to people he found amiable; in fact, he had gifted more valuable stuffs before.
He smiled and said, "Some time ago, a customer had interest in this statue and asked me to reserve for him. Later, he didn’t come to pick it up, and I had no way to contact him. Therefore, I am struggling about how to deal with it—throw it away? It’s too pitiful for it deserves better than that. I figure that if someone finds it, it will be delivered to the scrap station and will be sold as a piece of scrap copper…keeping it at my store? My store is not a suitable place for it either. So, my young guest, if you can buy it, you will help take off a great weight off my mind."
Snowy blinked. She was innocent, but not stupid. She carefully asked, "From your narrative, you seem to loathe this statue?"
She had sensed his detest before. Why was such a precious statue thrown in the corner behind the gate and covered with dust?
Instead of answering her question directly, the old man walked to the gate and waved her over. "My young guest, come out and have a look."
Snowy walked beside him and looked out.
The old man lifted his hand, pointing to the wall opposite the alley, where a few stray cats were wandering and constantly looking in their direction, as if they wanted to come over but didn’t dare to, as of they were planning to leave but were reluctant to. Snowy didn’t understand why he asked her watch these.
"I'm a cat lover," he said regretfully. "This statue was given to me by one of my students. He knew I loved cats and after painstaking efforts, he found this statue and gifted it to me. If you are questioning whether this statue was ill-gotten, I can assure you that it was not stolen or robbed from others."
"Oh, are you a teacher?" asked Snowy. She felt the old man’s cultured and refined mannerisms made him look like a scholar. But even if he was a teacher, he must have retired a long time ago.
"I used to be, a long time ago." He stood straight on his feet, looked into the distance, and said satisfyingly, "With students all around the world."
Then he smiled in a self-mocking manner, "But, a hero is silent about his past glories. Let’s get back to this statue. My student gave me the Cat Goddess statue, of which its extraordinary origin made me delighted."
"If you like it, why are you selling it?" Snowy grew more puzzled.
The old man also seemed perplexed, "I love cats. When I was in Beijing, not only did I raise my own cats, but I also couldn’t help but feed the foraging stray cats. But ever since I moved to Binhai City, something weird would happen. No matter what food I used, those stray cats never dared to approach my store. After investigation, I found that the problem lay in this Cat Goddess statue. As long as I took it away from my store, the stray cats would come over. "
Snowy was fascinated by his narrative and didn’t interrupt him.
"I have never believed in the existence of supernatural forces in my whole life. But the fact is here, and I have to believe it," said the old man with a wry smile. "I have come up with one corollary—that items worshipping Gods, even replicas, are blessed with psychic powers."
Hearing the words "psychic powers", Snowy felt a chill run down her spine, and hid more of her face in her down jacket collar.
The old man said, "This is the reason I am eager to send it away—I can’t suppress its powers, and my store can’t suppress it either. The powers of this Cat Goddess statue are too strong to be suppressed by my ordinary small store."
Snowy became hesitant upon hearing this. If this Cat Goddess statue was really as fascinating and weird as the old man had described, it would also cause the same troubles to the pet shop, wouldn’t it? There were so many cats in the pet shop... what if they were scared by this Cat Goddess statue, too? How was she going to be responsible for that? However, it was indeed a pity to give up the statue, which was so extraordinary yet at an affordable price.
She couldn’t make up her mind, so she came up with a convenient method. She said to the old man, "I'm sorry, in fact, I want to buy this statue to gift it to another. Can I discuss it with him before telling you my decision?"
The old man smiled, "Please feel free to do so." Having said that, he picked up the feather duster again, and walked back into the store to sweep away the dust on the other items in a carefree and leisurely demeanor.
Snowy sent a message to Zhang Zian.
Snowy: Can I go to your shop to host a live broadcast later?
Zhang Zian replied within seconds: If you allow me to insert advertisements.
Snowy thought he was the same old stingy Zhang Zian who hadn’t changed a bit at all.
Snowy: I heard your shop will reopen for business soon. I’ve bothered you several times, so I am going to bring you a gift. I’m just not sure whether it is appropriate...
Zhang Zian: What are you talking about? I will accept any gift. But let me make it clear, don’t expect me to give you discounts on your future purchases, and don’t expect me to offer you a gift in return.
Snowy: This gift is a little strange. The store owner said it has supernatural powers that influence cats the most. It seems that it frightens cats.
Zhang Zian: Is it expensive?
Snowy: ...kind of.
Zhang Zian: Well, then bring it over! I will take anything! I don’t believe I can’t suppress it!
Snowy: Okay, I'll be there with the gift in a while.
She put away the phone, relieved, and trotted back to the store. She said to the old man, "I’m buying this Cat Goddess statue!"
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