Minor cliff… urm, does that counts as a cliff? – A Confused Banana
Chapter 20 The Black Market
Leo looked at Xiào Mu’s face and grinned, “One part of your face is darker and the other is lighter. One of your eyebrows is drawn high, while the other lower; wide, and narrow. Can anyone grow naturally like this?”
Xiào Mu sighed, “Is it so obvious? I’ve been busying in front of the mirror for a long time. But you can tell it at a glance?”
Leo: “Anyone can see it if they are not blind.”
Xiào Mu sat down, took a depressing sip of the juice. Then he couldn’t help asking, “Is it conspicuous? Will this look attract people’s attention on the road?”
“So ugly, who would look at you?” Leo glanced at Xiào Mu and continued to eat.
Xiào Mu’s eyes lit up immediately and he smiled, “That’s great then. That’s great.”
Leo finished eating and wiped his mouth, “Your brain got a problem? You have such a bad sense of aesthetic.”
Because Xiào Mu was in a good mood, he didn’t mind Leo’s words at all, “I did it on purpose so that no one would notice me.”
Hearing that, Leo’s eyes flashed and he lowered his voice, “Are you afraid of encountering problems like yesterday?”
Xiào Mu uttered an En, then said, “I don’t have the ability to protect myself for the time being should I encounter that kind of thing again. So I can only think of a way to make people take lesser attention at me.” As Xiào Mu said, the corners of his mouth were curved downwards. A big man like him had fallen to this point, it makes him felt really helpless.
Leo furrowed his eyebrows and said solemnly, “I have jurisdiction over the security of District A. Yesterday was an accident. I won’t let this happen again.”
Xiào Mu looked at Leo in surprise and thought of his military rank. Then he realized those words were normal, “No matter how strict the jurisdiction is, the people’s mind is hard to control. I have noted down the number for emergency yesterday. It would be nice if the policemen could dispatch right away after getting the call.”
Leo pondered for a moment, “You are right.”
Xiào Mu smiled. Thinking of today’s arrangements, he said to Leo, “Just send me to the public flight station today.”
“Not going to the hospital?”
“En, I quit my job. I am going to walk around have a look before school time starts. You know, I forgot a lot of things. I’m too unfamiliar with this place.”
Leo: “Up to you.”
After eating, Xiào Mu went directly to Wilderness Forest.
Wilderness Forest is a scenic spot where one could directly go via public transportation. When Xiào Mu bought a ticket, he received a message that the social assistance he applied for has been approved. Smiling, he lined up behind a group of adults taking their children to visit the place. Xiào Mu found that many families consist of 2 men with their children, and their actions were intimate. Thinking of the marital status here, he smiles deeper. He has decided that when he becomes an adult, has a stable income, and has enough ability to ensure that his identity will not be discovered by others. he might go find someone to accompany him to old age.
After entering the scenic spot, Xiào Mu did not follow the flow of tourists walking down the conventional route but went to a remote road. Climbing the mountain takes a lot of energy. He walked for a while and rested, and when he couldn’t hear any human voices, he sat cross-legged behind a big tree and started making medicine. He spent 1,040 points of his spiritual power to make 52 mid-grade healing pills. Then he ate 1, and put the rest into porcelain bottles, adding up to exactly 150 pills with the previous batch. Then, he spent 500 points of spiritual power to make 50 low-grade boost pills. When the small light blue pills fell into the mortar, a mechanical voice sounded in his brain.
[Congratulations, host. Your medical skill has leveled up to level 30, and the basic medicine formula is activated: High-grade healing pills, High-grade boost pills]
Xiào Mu immediately opened the system panel, and the medical icon was faintly lit. He looked at it and saw the progress bar under the icon has changed to indicate 30-40. At the middle of the bar was 12/1000. In other words, to reach level 40, he needs to make 1,000 pills.
Each low-grade pill costs 10 spiritual power to make, and a medium one costs 20 each. So, each high-grade pill will cost about 30. Xiào Mu found that the number 30 had the word ‘初/Basic’ in the upper left corner, while the number 40 had the word ‘中/Intermediate’ in the upper left corner. Recalling what the main system said before, it seems that the medicines after level 40 will be mid-level medicine? Thinking about it this way, he can understand the reason for the skill experience points requirement that suddenly rises to 1,000. Clenching a fist, Xiào Mu opened the formula nervously and excitedly.
‘High-grade healing pills’ (material, Plantago1 2g) immediately recover spiritual power to 2,000 points, with an interval of 2 hours.
Xiào Mu’s eyes lit up instantly. A high-grade healing pill recovers 2,000 points which equal to Level D spiritual power. That means 1 pill can instantly treat sentinels below Level D. He immediately went online and looked for Plantago. Only 5 shops sell it, and at 100 coins per gram. Xiào Mu was stunned by the price. Compared with the first two ingredients, this is too expensive! He checked it and found out that Plantago doesn’t grow on this planet, Planet Yao. It grew on a nearby planet called Planet Wu. Planet Wu is a planet rich in materials and merchants went back and forth from there a lot.
Mid-grade healing pills is worth 5,000 coins each, and high-grade pill can only worth higher. Compared with the finished product, Xiào Mu feels that the ingredient is not too expensive anyway. He was about to place an order, but stopped himself and put it in the shopping cart. He is not going to return home now, so he would place an order after he went back. Today is Saturday, so he is going to the Black Market2 at night.
Packing up the medicine, Xiào Mu put the big medicine mortar behind a tree and covered it with leaves. He took his backpack and started to enjoy the scenic spots as a tourist. The environment here is good, there is no surveillance system and the confidentiality is good. He planned to come here to make medicine in the future, so he wants to be familiar with the surroundings, just in case. After having lunch at the scenic spot, he returned in the afternoon and went directly to the shopping malls around the Black Market. He didn’t buy anything but just took the opportunity to learn about prices and the commodities in the world.
The entire 6th floor of the mall was full of mechas and robots, and Xiào Mu was stunned when he saw it. There are also fighting videos in the middle of the store, which makes people excited.
“Wow, this is the video of the champion and runner-up in the Mecha King arena, right?”
“Yes, I had something to do that day so I didn’t log in to the virtual net. I missed the game and I’m really regretting it.”
“Hahaha, I went to the arena. The fight was awesome, and I also won 2,000 star coins!”
Hearing the conversation makes Xiào Mu’s heart moved. He opened his terminal and searched the word ‘virtual net’. After reading the explanation, he felt that he was like a country bumpkin. The virtual net is 99% similar to reality, which is equivalent to another world. Some people do business while some exercise and study on the virtual net. Logging onto the virtual net requires these equipment – a computer terminal and a net cabin3. Because of its high level of realism, one could use all 5 senses in the virtual net. In order to ensure safety, everyone has a time limit online. Adults cannot exceed 8 hours a day, and cannot exceed 4 hours straight in one session. For minors, the limit is halved. Children under the age of eight must be accompanied by an adult.
Back in Xiào Mu’s time, people always imagine how would holographic products look like. When he used to play games, he also wanted to play holographic online games. Unexpectedly, this mode has already existed in this world. Xiào Mu was a little excited and checked the price of the equipment on the Internet, which was as low as 20,000 coins. It’s not too expensive, but he doesn’t have his own place yet. There’s no space to put them if he buys them. Thinking of getting his own place, Xiào Mu gripped his fist and resolved to make more money. He has a system in him and could be considered much luckier than ordinary people. It’s a pity that his medicine cannot be sold publicly. Otherwise, it would be much more convenient to open an online store. Maybe he can find a way in the future after he entered the medicine major.
Walking around on the 6th floor, Xiào Mu looked at the photos in his terminal, which he took with the mecha; it felt so real. When he walked out of the mall, he realized that it is a bit over 6.00 pm. He found a restaurant and called the apartment while waiting for his meal to arrive, saying that he would be back later. After eating, he went straight to the Black Market.
The Black Market is very inconsistent with its name. It is a three-story modern building with 4 brawny men in black guarding at the door. On the right-hand side is the place to buy tickets. When Xiào Mu arrived, there were already many people in line, many of whom were sentinels. He established a spiritual barrier and kept a distance from the rest of the people. When he bought the tickets, he realized that there were 2 types of tickets; buyers and sellers. The seller ticket is 2,000 coins each while the buyer ticket is 1,000 coins. Xiào Mu bought the seller ticket and received a mask. Looking around, he found that everyone is wearing the same mask, except that they were divided into two colors, red and white. Apart from that, there are numbers printed on the mask, and everyone has different numbers, even though their mask color is the same. On Xiào Mu’s mask, his number is the same as his ticket; Red, 48.
Upon entering the hall, Xiào Mu felt like he has walked into an exhibition hall. There are 3 long counters next to each other, with numbers on them. There were already many people standing behind the counter, all with red masks on their faces. Xiào Mu immediately understood and walked to the counter 48. Then he took out the 2 porcelain bottles containing the mid-grade healing pill. He spread a piece of paper on the counter and poured out a pill. After doing this, Xiào Mu opens his terminal and wrote ‘Mid-grade healing pill, recovers spiritual power. Fast and effective. The interval between use is 2 hours, no side effects, and the price is 6000 per pill’. He glanced at the sellers on the left and right. One side is selling energy core and the other sold minerals and herbs.
A tall white man with a white mask walked up to his counter. It was a Level D sentinel with spiritual power of 3,000 points.
“I have never seen this kind of medicine before. You wouldn’t be making false advertisements, right?”
Xiào Mu deliberately lowered his voice and made his voice thicker, “It is a new medicine, not a fake advertisement. If your spiritual state is not good, you can pay a 1,000 coins deposit and try the medicine on the spot. No money will be charged if it’s fake.”
Xiào Mu nodded: “But if you don’t pay for the medicine afterward, I will report to the staff member.”
“If it’s really effective, who cares about that little money?” The man in white disdained. Poor people will not come to the Black Market. He paid the 1,000 coins deposit and picked up the pill on the paper. When he brought it nearer to his nose, the man was taken aback, “The scent of a guide!”
Hearing that, Xiào Mu’s heart tightened but he did not speak. Except for those whose valuables were stolen and reported to the Black Market, goods sold in the establishment were not asked about their origin.
The white-clothed man did not hesitate and swallowed the medicine. Half a minute later, he grabbed the counter with both hands and his eyes glowed in excitement.
“It’s amazing, I can’t believe it! It felt so comfortable!”
Xiào Mu took a step back, “In this case, sir, please pay the rest of the bill.”
The man in white did not hesitate and paid the remaining 5,000 coins. He did not leave and his gaze shifted from the empty paper to the 2 porcelain bottles beside it.
“What other medicine do you have?”
“It’s all the same kind.”
“How much more? I want all.” The white-clothed man said immediately.
Xiào Mu was taken aback, “There are 149 pills, and you need to pay 894,000 star coins. Do you really want it?”
“Yes.” The man in white said, and directly transferred 894,000 coins to Xiào Mu.
When Xiào Mu looked at his account balance, his heart beating so fast. There was a sense of surrealness with that amount of zeroes.
“I gave the correct amount,” the white-clothed man said. He was wondering what is wrong as he looked at Xiào Mu, “Can you give me the medicine now?”
Xiào Mu reached for the porcelain bottle, “Of course.”
Then the white-clothed man said again, “I have to check it first. What if only the one I took is the real medicine, and the rest are fake?”
Xiào Mu’s mouth twitched, “Should you consider this kind of thing first before paying?”
“I gotta pay the money first, what if someone wants to fight for the pills with me?” The white-clothed man added, “To anyone who dares to cheat in the Black Market, they can make you vomit out the money you scammed.”
‘So shrewd’, Xiào Mu thought to himself. He folded the edges of the paper to prevent the pills from rolling out and then poured out all of them from the porcelain bottle. At that moment, he suddenly heard a gasp, then his surrounding turned dark as a bunch of people rushed to his counter.
“My god, such a comfortable guide’s scent!”
Raw word count: 3208
Plantago/车前草 – The chinese name of this plant is so funny. Literally translated, it would be Grass in front of car, lol. Anyway, the exact name for this plant is Plantago asiatica. Google Translate simply throw me the word ‘Plantain’ == I mean, it’s not exactly wrong but not quite correct ah as people commonly see plantain as a type of banana. Hence, I decided to take the genus as the material name instead.