ait in the wilderness for an entire day to catch one. They all hadnt seen meat and fish dishes in a long time, so it would be a lie if they were not envious of Ren Xiaosu.
Ren Xiaosu led Yan Liuyuan to the strongholds city gate. The towering walls made them feel miniscule and oppressed.
Once they reached this place, there were noticeable changes in the architecture, and they could even see brick houses.
As they approached the stronghold, the place began to look cleaner, tidier, and wealthier. The people living here were likely related to the people living in the stronghold. Perhaps they were good at flattery or had relatives living inside.
But no matter what, these refugees were all known as “contaminated” and were not allowed inside the stronghold.
Ren Xiaosu walked into a shop with a “grocery store” sign above the entrance. All sorts of items, such as cigarettes, matchsticks, metalware, food, and clothing, were sold in here. But the prices were very expensive.
The old man in the shop was over the moon when he saw Ren Xiaosu. “That looks like a rather large sparrow!”
Ren Xiaosu threw the sparrow onto the glass counter. “How much can I get for this?”
“Oh my, dont be so rough. Thats an expensive piece of glass youre throwing it onto,” Old Wang said, pained. He picked up the limp sparrow and put it onto the metallic scale beside him. “1.74 kilograms. Not bad, Xiaosu.”
At this moment, the clawlike fingers of Old Wangs wrinkled hands instinctively started making some calculations on an abacus. The abacus beads were pushed around, ticking and tacking. “The market rate today is 200 yuan 1 per 500 grams, so Ill pay you 700 for this catch!”
“Make it 900.” Ren Xiaosu said firmly, “Its almost winter, and there are fewer sparrows out there these days, so 900 yuan is the lowest I will sell it for.”
Old Wang was unhappy as he pushed his abacus in front of Ren Xiaosu and said, “Ill be sending this sparrow into the stronghold for the aristocracy to eat. Although theres a lack of meat in the stronghold, theres still a fixed price for everything. We have to do it by the book.”
Right as Old Wang finished speaking, he saw Ren Xiaosu take the sparrow back and get ready to leave the shop. He quickly yanked the sleeve of Ren Xiaosus ragged jacket. “Where are you going?”
“Im going to check the price at Old Lis grocery store,” Ren Xiaosu said.
Old Wangs grasp tightened even further. Someone from the strongholds management had specifically given notice that they would be coming out to collect exotic animals today. This news wasnt promulgated to him alone.
Old Wang smiled, his wrinkles appearing. “How much do you want to sell it for?”
Ren Xiaosu still wanted to leave. “Well talk again after I ask around.”
Old Wang smiled amiably. “Then wont Liuyuan be late for school? Alright, 900 yuan it is!”
“What did you just say?” Ren Xiaosu asked calmly.
“Then wouldnt Liuyuan be late—”
“The sentence before that.”
“How much do you want to sell it for?”
Old Wang was confused
A moment later, Old Wang was feeling the pinch as he counted the money. He wet his fingers with his saliva and counted the cash over and over again, afraid that he would get the amount wrong.
The final transaction price was 1198 yuan. Ren Xiaosu had also given some concessions of his own.
A sparrow fetching 1198 yuan was not the result of the inflated prices, nor was it because of the large size of the sparrow. More importantly, it was because the people in Stronghold 113 did not normally get the chance to eat such exotic animals.
Things were precious because they were scarce. Old Wang would never make a bad business deal. When he resold this sparrow to a powerful customer, he would still be able to earn a small profit from it and even gain their favor.
Old Wang stuffed a stash of loose change into Ren Xiaosus hands unwillingly. Nobody knew what he was thinking when he lowered his voice and whispered, “Xiaosu, the next time you catch a sparrow, dont kill it. Some aristocrats want them alive and will offer an even higher price to buy them in that state!”
Ren Xiaosu was taken aback. “Why would they want a live sparrow? So that they can kill it themselves?”
“No.” Old Wang shook his head and said, “You dont know, right? There are people who keep them as pets!”
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