1. This is an unofficial translation and no permission has been obtained from the author/ official publisher. It may be taken down if the author/official publisher requests.
2. This is a fan work and the interpretation represents only the translator’s personal views without any input from the author.
3. No permission has been granted to use, publish, upload and/or copy this translation to any other site except for Second Life Translations.
Liu Changshi went over to escort the shopkeeper to his cart and show him the goods, but the shopkeeper twisted on a few strands of his beard before standing still. Affecting disinterest, he said, “Open it for me to see.”
Liu Changshi immediately began pulling away the blankets covering the baskets. On the journey back from Ningxia, it had snowed heavily, but he had wrapped them up tightly, so the goji berries didn’t get soaked. And to prevent it from spoiling under the covers, he had taken them out and laid them to dry when he got home. As such, they were drier than when he first bought them. It might seem insignificant, but they were at least a few jins lighter!
However, Liu Changshi was an honest person, not out to cheat others. The thought of adding water to his goji berries didn’t even occur to him. He was, in fact, worried that they were still too moist and that it would affect the product’s standard.
At a glance, it was clear that his goji berries were of superior quality. They were all red and round, without even a speck of dust or dirt.
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Mbl pbsrjllrla pvsse sd vbl pvlr, cldv shla lmyxkdkdt vbl tssep. Tl eked’v lhld csvbla oyzjkdt nzspla vs vblx. Tkp lmralppksd kdekqqlaldv, bl nyzxzu ypjle, “Tso xwnb qsa y esw1 斗/ Psw – Pau xlypwal qsa taykd liwkhyzldv vs 1/10vb sq y 石/ eyd. ?”
Nkw Ubydtpbk oyp pvwxrle, “El ytalle lyazkla vbyv kv oyp 2 pvakdtp sq nypb rla esw….”
Mbl pbsrjllrla kxxlekyvlzu okeldle bkp lulp! Sykpkdt bkp hsknl, bl pyke, “Zsw hkzzytlap yal vss ekpbsdlpv! Xvblap plzz tsfk claaklp qsa 1200 old rla esw. Tso nswze usw ypj qsa yd yeekvksdyz 800 old! Tso czynjblyavle! Zsw’al lhld xsal czynjblyavle vbyd y plypsdle cwpkdlppxyd zkjl xuplzq! Mbyv’p vss lmrldpkhl, xwnb vss lmrldpkhl. R osd’v cwu kv.”
Nkw Ubydtpbk oyp yv y zspp. Tl pvyale czydjzu yv vbl pbsrjllrla, bkp xswvb xshkdt pswdezlppzu. Tl eked’v jdso obyv vs pyu.&dcpr;
Nkw Nkd yde Fbk Ubldt’p alprsdpl oyp pokqv. Nkw Nkd pyke okvb y pxkzl, “Tso nyd usw pyu vbyv pbsrjllrla? Gal vbl tsfk claaklp psze sd vbl pvallv qasx Lkdtmky? Rd vbl ralhkswp eudypvu, tsfk claaklp qasx Lkdtmky olal tkhld yp vakcwvl! Tso nyd vblu cl vbl pyxl yp vbl nsxxsd hyaklvklp psze blal? Wwavblaxsal, pbsrjllrla, usw’al y cwpkdlppxyd – usw pbswze jdso bso ekqqknwzv kv kp vs ts vs Lkdtmky! Yu pkpbw dlyazu zspv bkp zkql sd vbl vakr! Uyd kv nsxryal kd hyzwl okvb vbl sdlp psze yaswde blal?”
Mbl pbsrjllrla tzydnle shla yv Nkw Nkd. Txrbkdt, bl pyke, “R’x dsv tskdt vs ekpnwpp cwpkdlpp okvb y nbkze zkjl usw!” Rxryvkldvzu, bl zssjle yv Nkw Ubydtpbk yde pyke, “1200 old! Gal usw tskdt vs plzz kv sa dsv? Rq dsv, qkdl!”
Ebkzl Nkw Nkd oyp prlyjkdt vs vbl pbsrjllrla, Fbk Ubldt bye eayttle Nkw Ubydtpbk vs vbl cynj sq vbl nyav yde psqvzu ypjle, “Fkpbw, bso xwnb xsdlu eke usw prlde sd vblpl tsfk claaklp?”
Nkw Ubydtpbk’p qynl oyp pzktbvzu ale – bl oyp rascyczu osdelakdt kq bl oyp clkdt vss wdalypsdyczl ycswv kv. “800old rla esw…. Rv oyp saktkdyzzu 1100 old rla esw, cwv cu vbl vkxl R tsv vblal, xydu qyxkzklp olal vaukdt vs sqqzsye vblka pvsnj clqsal vbl Llo Zlya. Mbyv’p obu R xydytle vs tlv kv yv 800 old…. Jwv R eke ypj svbla pvsalp yzsdt vbl oyu, yde vos pvakdtp sq nypb oyp yzps obyv vblu pyke vs cl y qyka raknl qsa Lkdtmky tsfk claaklp.”
Shi Cheng nodded, and said softly, “Don’t get frightened by the storekeeper. All business people would behave this way. They can’t be too obviously interested in your goods…. Your price stays, it cannot be lessened by a single wen!”
The shopkeeper was starting to get impatient. He called over, “So? Are you going to sell it or not? If you’re not, take it away!” He turned and told the shop assistant. “That’s right, we still have quite a few dou of goji berries in the store right? Have you taken them out to display? We have enough goji berries.” The last sentence was said to himself.
Liu Lin said, “Shopkeeper, do you want to discuss business or not?” Of course, he said that in a very courteous tone, smiling. When talking business, it was best not to become hostile – that would only reduce the amount of bargaining room.
From the back of the cart, Shi Cheng returned. He smiled and said, “That’s right, shopkeeper. Do you really want these goji berries? If you do, then we can discuss it. If not, and you’re just making small talk with us, then we will bring it elsewhere.”
The shopkeeper frowned and looked at these two small children. Then he glanced at Liu Changshi. Seeing Liu Changshi leaning against the cart silently, clearly giving control to these two children, he started to take the two of them more seriously. He asked Liu Changshi, “I say, what are you doing? Are you letting these two children decide?”
Liu Changshi nodded, “That’s right.”
The shopkeeper was stunned, while Liu Shu started to laugh.
Some shop assistants started to come out. One of them made his way to a basket of goji berries, while the other two went back to the store to take out a basket of goji berries from their own store. But they placed it further from them – it was as though they were trying to say, look, the store has enough stock. Shi Cheng coolly looked on, but remained quiet.
When the shopkeeper heard what Liu Changshi said, he was taken aback. He coughed and turned his attention back to the two children. “The two of you… Cough, let’s talk then, exactly how much do you want for this?”
Liu Lin giggled and said, “Two strings of cash per dou. Not a wen less.”
Shi Cheng also smiled and nodded.
The shopkeeper knitted his brow and looked again at Liu Changshi, “These two children know nothing! There’s no way to discuss this further! Do you want to sell these or not?”
Liu Changshi didn’t manage to say anything when Shi Cheng chimed in smiling, “Shopkeeper, how can you say that? My sishu brought the cart here with over 10 baskets on it. Of course we are serious about wanting to sell it! The shopkeeper said that the street price for goji berries was 1200 wen per dou. Although I don’t know what your store prices it at, this is obviously not true! In our Feng Town, goji berries retail for 150 wen a jin! And if you buy in smaller quantities, you can sell it for up to 200 wen. If you buy it from us at 2 strings of cash per dou, you can sell it for more than double the price! Let alone 1200 wen per dou…. Are you kidding?!”
The storekeeper was starting to look constipated. He unconsciously straightened his back and looked at Shi Cheng seriously. After pausing for a moment, the affected disinterest had fallen away from his face. He said earnestly, “Two strings of cash is still too much. I will tell you honestly that the goji berries in the store really are bought at 1200 wen! Since yours are from Ningxia, I will add a little extra, 1300 wen.”
Shi Cheng smiled and didn’t say anything. But now, it was Liu Lin who was getting impatient. “Storekeeper, we are here to discuss business seriously, but you are not being sincere! 100 wen increases…. Let’s not fight about these tiny increases, we don’t have time to waste! Aren’t there many other dried goods stores in Feng Town?”
The shopkeeper smiled, “You’ve brought up a good point! Although there are many dried goods stores in Feng Town, most of them aren’t open. Furthermore, from the looks of your cart, you should have at least 30 – 40 dou of goji berries, who can take that much? I dare say that in the entire Feng Town, only this store can take it! Otherwise, you can just bring them all back and wait for them to spoil!”
Shi Cheng smiled and said, “What the Shopkeeper has said makes a lot of sense. In the entire Feng Town, this is the largest dried goods store. However, I also have a reminder. In the entire Feng Town, no one else carries Ningxia goji berries! How many rich families do we have? Since you are the only store that carries these berries, then you can definitely sell them. So, it’s not entirely clear who’s taking advantage of who here. Let’s just talk business, like how much we are willing to sell it for. Don’t just keep adding 100 wen at a time. 2 strings of cash – we won’t accept a wen less than that.”
The storekeeper started to get a bit angry, “Fine then. I can see that you are not here to conduct business! The adult stays silent while two ignorant children try to talk business?”
Liu Lin shook his head and smiled, “Shopkeeper, we are apprentices at a store. If you think that we are completely ignorant, well – we don’t claim to know everything, but we at least know which streets in Feng town have what stores. As to the market price… Since sishu went to get goji berries, then we would of course carefully find out what the market price is. So, if you really want to talk business, Shopkeeper, don’t try to scare us.”
Shi Cheng smiled and nodded, “That’s right. Shopkeeper, you keep trying to treat us as ignorant people, but there are quite a few towns around Feng Town. Nanzheng Town isn’t too far away, and if we really can’t sell it there, we can always go to Hanzhong or even Xianyang city. Even if the donkey isn’t that fast, we should be able to get to Xianyang in two to three days? Do you think that we can’t easily find a buyer in Xianyang? Even if it’s two strings of cash per dou, people would be trying to grab it from us!”
The instant Liu Lin heard that, he slapped his thigh! Then he called out, “Sishu! Then let’s do that! We will go to Hanzhong city! It’s only about a day’s travel away. You took a month to get back from Ningxia, so what’s an additional day? If we go to Hanzhong city to sell these, people will really be lining up to get them from us!” Saying this, he signaled Shi Cheng to put the basket back into the cart.
Shi Cheng started to make his way to move it. Liu Changshi was stunned. He too could tell that these little children were much sharper than him! This matter could only be handled by them! So he stayed silent and watched the children work.
The shopkeeper was obviously getting a bit anxious, and a bit embarrassed. He had never expected these children to make life so difficult for him! He coughed and said, “Why are you in such a hurry?! You little kids, you really are calculating! Business talks need time, who does it in such an impatient way? You…. First, put it back down. I want to check if these are really Ningxia goji berries! I don’t want to be cheated by you!” Saying this, he went over and placed the basket back on the floor.
He took one out of the bag and closely examined its colour and appearance. Then he put it in his mouth and slowly chewed it.
Shi Cheng was amused by the show. He stood with Liu Lin next to the basket, waiting.
After he had eaten one, the shopkeeper didn’t say anything negative. He spoke toward the cart and said, “Move everything down. I want to check it through.”
Liu Lin paused for a moment. Shi Cheng immediately said, “Could we trouble the shopkeeper to go up to the cart to check it. I will help you up! What if you decide you don’t want it after we’ve moved everything down? Wouldn’t that be troublesome for us!”
Liu Lin understood. They couldn’t allow the shopkeeper to take any advantage. They needed to put the shopkeeper in a defensive position and make their attitude clear that it wasn’t that they were urgently wanting to sell it!
Liu Changshi also started to understand. He knew that he was nowhere near as good as Liu Lin and Shi Cheng at handling business, so he wisely kept his mouth shut throughout the process.