Chapter 37 Invitation from Fatty CuiWhile Lin Luoran is worrying about her housing fund, Fatty Cui, who wallows in money, is also having bad days. He can’t sleep at night, and Wang Miao’e has been picking fights with him because of this.
Fatty Cui doesn’t want Wang Miao’e to know about his concerns. How can he tell his wife that a martial art master bent a steel bar right in front of him and forced him to give out some raw jade with Reiki?
This is too confusing. Doesn’t Reiki only exist in those mythical novels? How can an uncouth fellow like him know where to find Reiki? Fatty Cui is worried. He doesn’t care much about himself. He is afraid that those gangsters may go and make trouble for Wang Miao’e. As a result, Fatty Cui has lost a few pounds in the past half month, which makes Wang Miao’e quite envious of him.
Lin Luoran thinks over and over again and decides to cut open the raw stone she left in Baojia’s place. She will look for other ways out if she still can’t get enough money after selling the stone.
Lin Luoran doesn’t have tools to cut the stone, but she is not silly.
First, she goes to the stone-cutting factory of Liu Zheng’s company and asks workers there to cut off its surface. The stone is cut into the size of a large bowl and the jade in the middle is still hidden. Lin Luoran does this just for people not to recognize that this is the stone which she bought from Mr. Zhang with 500 yuan.
Since she has learnt the breathing method from Master Jia, Lin Luoran realizes that she shall never infuse Reiki in jade anymore. Who knows whether there is someone who can see through her trick? Besides, if someone happens to know about her mysterious bead, Lin Luoran may get herself in danger because she is not strong enough to protect herself in front of other cultivators. Lin Luoran understands the story that “precious stone lands its innocent possessor in jail”. It seems that she shall keep it in low key.
After the raw stone is almost cut open, Lin Luoran gives Fatty Cui a call.
Wang Miao’e has mentioned at home that Lin Luoran wanted to buy Mr. Jia’s house. At that time, Fatty Cui asked if there was any need to lend some money to Lin Luoran, for he did have a good impression on her.
As expected, he was scolded by Wang Miao’e, “You see my sister as a beggar? Who want your filthy money!”
Fatty Cui had to leave despondently without saying anything.
Now, Lin Luoran calls to tell Fatty Cui that she wants to sell her raw stone. On the one hand, Fatty Cui is desperate for new raw stone since he is threatened lately; On the other hand, he wants to help Lin Luoran out— There is not many people who can stand the hot temper of his wife and still be friends with her.
Lin Luoran doesn’t think much about Fatty Cui’s excitement on the phone. She has made several contacts with him. She knows that although Mr. Cui always wears his tacky gold necklace, he is not a bossy person and he is always smiling. Lin Luoran is sure that he is nice.
Fatty Cui lives in an old villa district in R City. Almost all of the people with old money in R City, even in the entire S Province, live there, which is a well-known rich area.
Though the buildings are old, the district looks nice. This is a luxury villa district which is well-protected and regularly restored. Due to its long history, the trees there are tall and strong. Leaves of oriental plane trees cover the stone path, looking quite Europeanized.
Wang Miao’e has to deal with some affairs in the company, so there are only Fatty Cui and two housekeepers at home.
“Brother Cui, why are you alone at home? Your kid has gone to school?” Standing in the basement, Lin Luoran asks casually while watching Fatty Cui rubbing the stone.
Fatty Cui looks up and sighs, “Of course Miao’e hasn’t told you about this. It appears that she still cares much… We don’t have kids, for physical reasons.”
Lin Luoran is surprised. Fatty Cui and Wang Miao’e are both in their forties and they haven’t got any kid. No wonder Sister Wang has never talked about children like other married women. Lin Luoran finds herself so careless. Thank God she didn’t ask the question in front of Sister Wang… Lin Luoran is regretful, but Fatty Cui himself doesn’t mind much. He says, “It’s ok that we don’t have kids. I figure that we can adopt one to inherit our family business. However, Miao’e is anxious about this. She has taken countless medicines for this, which has ruined her health. You shall talk her through this sometimes. I really believe that adoption is a good idea.”
So it is the medicines that make Sister Wang’s skin and stature worse? Lin Luoran ponders, the gift she is going to send to Sister Wang may have a chance to help. Every woman has a desire to look attractive, however, the desire to be a mother seems to be more powerful since it makes Wang Miao’e willing to use her health and appearance as the cost. Lin Luoran sighs with emotions.
Fatty Cui is holding Lin Luoran’s stone. Its surface has already been cut off, so Fatty Cui has to slowly rub it until the jade comes out. Of course, if Lin Luoran doesn’t insist that there must be jade in this stone, Fatty Cui will never believe that a small stone like this can contain any jade.
While Fatty Cui is half-way done, the housekeeper calls him from upstairs, saying that there is a call for him.
Fatty Cui spits out the dust in his mouth and goes upstairs to take the call. Lin Luoran stays in the underground workshop. Ten minutes have passed and Fatty Cui doesn’t come back. The housekeeper brings a cup of scented tea to Lin Luoran. Lin Luoran knows that she has to keep waiting for a while and starts to check out this underground workshop.
This is the basement of Fatty Cui’s villa. Both of the two rooms here are reconstructed into workshops. Fatty Cui and Wang Miao’e each uses one of the workshops to store high-quality raw stones and sometimes to do cutting.
It appears that Fatty Cui trusts Lin Luoran. This room is scattered with jade splinters. Nobody may be able to notice it if someone takes away one of the high-quality stones. Still, Fatty Cui has left Lin Luoran here by herself. Though there is a surveillance camera, his actions also show that he is a generous man.
A jade stone in the size of a bowl is lying on the workbench. It is a black jade mixed with white and green, which is rarely seen. The carving tools are right beside it, while the jade is covered with a thick layer of dust. Perhaps Fatty Cui has had trouble deciding how to carve it.
Lin Luoran is gaining more and more knowledge on jade lately, and she adores them even more. Her heart itches when she sees the raw jade, but Fatty Cui returns the minute Lin Luoran reaches to it.
“Do you like it, Luoran? I have been struggling to carve it since I bought it. 800,000 yuan, it can be yours!”
Lin Luoran jokes, “Brother Cui, stop pretending to be a profiteer in front of me. You’ll regret if you sell it to me! What are you going to carve it into?”
Fatty Cui says with a bitter smile, “My choice is limited. Its colors are so confusing that the quality of the jade may be wasted. I have consulted some carvers and they all agree that carving it into the image of the seven sages of the bamboo grove will be the best choice… However, the problem is that I can’t make all the seven sages wear white clothes.”
Unlike jade displayed in the shopping mall, in the upscale market, buyers don’t consider jade cabbage as beauty, and the most important thing about fancy jade is the artistic conception. Lin Luoran ponders for a while and laughs, “I may have an idea to save this jade. But you can’t laugh at me if the idea is bad.”
Fatty Cui nods repeatedly, “Certainly, I will not.”
Lin Luoran titters, “Brother Cui, just think about what kind of city we’re in. With such good colors of black, green and white, you will never sustain loss in this stone!”
What kind of city they are in? Fatty Cui is not a native of R City, but he does know much about it since he has been living here all these years. R City has been a well-known wealthy plain from the ancient time, and it becomes a famous capital of leisure recent years. Gingko and lotus are planted everywhere in the city, making it a pleasant place to live in… Fatty Cui’s thought goes further away. Wait! Except for lotus, ginsko and stall tea, the most famous—
Fatty Cui pats himself on the thigh, “God, I’m such a fool!”
Seeing Fatty Cui’s frown, Lin Luoran tries to comfort him, “Brother Cui, people say that those closely involved can’t see clearly. Besides, it is only a flippant comment. I’m not sure whether it can work out.”
Fatty Cui’s concerns fade away. He laughs and says, “It has to work out! I’ll immediately hire a carver to make the jade into a panda who is eating bamboo, then sell it to native moneybags. I will sell it at the price twice of its value!”
Fatty Cui is about to go on rubbing the stone after having another small chat with Lin Luoran. He pats on his head and says, “I almost forget to tell you the proper business. Luoran, I heard from your Sister Wang that you wanted to buy Oldman Jia’s house and you needed money?”
There is no need to hide this. Lin Luoran doesn’t deny, “What Oldman Jia! He is my master!”
Fatty Cui laughs, “I just got a call saying that there was a batch of high-quality raw stones at the border town of Burma. Are you interested in it?”
Lin Luoran has learnt enough about the jade business, and she is no longer a rookie. It takes billions of years for jade to form under the ground, and they can only be found in a few areas around the world. With the over-exploitation of jade, the government of Burma has begun to regulate the business years ago. The government now gathers the raw jade stones and holds auctions to guarantee the price.
“It’s not the public auction season. The border town…” Lin Luoran asks in a low voice, suspecting that Fatty Cui wants to take a dark path.
Fatty Cui shows a wretched smile, “Of course we can’t take the light path. They say that people die for wealth and birds die for food. If there are people who are willing to open their purse, the raw stones can be carried out of the blockade line. What do you think, Luoran? Would you like to join my team?”
“We shall get on cutting this stone. But I will think about your suggestion…” Lin Luoran finishes speaking and hears Fatty Cui’s howl—
“Wha…What! Luoran, you have to go with me to Burma!”