The merchant enthusiastically introduced the meteoric stone in his hand, saying that it was unique in the world.
Those not in the know would actually believe him; their heart would start beating faster.
Unfortunately, Li Qiye’s attention was on another item placed in the corner of the tent along with other old and broken items.
“What about that thing?” Li Qiye picked it up and asked the merchant.
It was a simple ring made of bronze with only one engraving - the character, “Buddha”. This type of writing was from an older era and wouldn’t be recognized by most.
It no longer had a metallic shine due to its age and a lack of polishing. It appeared worthless and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that no one would pick it up after coming across it on the street.
The merchant became tense after seeing this. His eyes shifted a bit as he laughed: “Customer, that’s only a crappy ring not worth anything, that’s why I didn’t present it to you. You should take a look at something else.”
Li Qiye casually put it on his finger and it just happened to be a perfect fit. It seemed to be specifically made for Li Qiye, quite pleasant to look at. The ring became a part of him.
A glimmer flashed in the merchant’s eyes. He put on a forced smile and said: “Are you sure you don’t want to try something else? A broken ring like that doesn’t suit your image.”
“No, I’m more than happy with it since it suits me. No need to pick anything else.” Li Qiye smiled.
“Customer, you’re a man of high status.” The merchant’s expression became bitter: “Wearing this ring is beneath you, please, how about this prized bracelet? It can encompass and store anything in existence. The core is made from Crimson Divine Stone and was refined using a supreme spatial art…”
He took out a bracelet with a blinding light, immediately illuminating the tent. Even a fool could tell that this was a priceless treasure, countless levels above the broken ring.
The ring looked shabbier in comparison. The two weren’t on the same plane of value.
“Customer, what do you think? Since our meeting is fateful, I’ll sell the bracelet to you at a big discount, okay? It is suitable for your status, unlike that broken ring.” The merchant praised the bracelet.
“It’s not bad, definitely capable of taking in a realm.” Li Qiye glanced at it and said.
“Right, take the bracelet and forget about the ring.” The merchant laughed and tried to exchange the two.
“Nah.” Li Qiye immediately refused: “The ring is crappy but I believe it is connected with me by fate so I want it. I don’t care for other treasures.”
The merchant’s expression became worse and worse.
Anyone else would think that Li Qiye was crazy for picking the ring over the bracelet. Even a blind person knew which to pick so Li Qiye’s choice was inscrutable.
“How much for this ring?” Li Qiye smirked.
“Well…” The merchant rubbed his palms together, looking a bit awkward as if he didn’t know how to price it.
“You don’t want to sell it?” Li Qiye’s half-smile scared the merchant.
“Of course I do!” The merchant closed his eyes and gritted his teeth: “But keep in mind that this ring is my family’s heirloom. My mother passed it down to me and wanted me to give it to my future wife. It’s just that I still haven’t found one yet despite my old age. If I were to lose the ring, Mother would destroy me…”
He complained while wearing a sad expression as if he was telling the truth.
“Name the price.” Li Qiye pushed on.
“The ring itself is nothing but it has special significance.” The merchant didn’t know what the price should be.
“In my opinion, it’s not worth a single coin.” Li Qiye said: “But since you came all this way here to set up a stand, I’ll be nice enough to give you one.” He then tossed a coin towards the merchant.
The merchant instinctively caught the coin and then stared at it, bewildered. He became speechless, unable to express his emotions and thoughts.
“Fine, fine, even one coin is still money, at least I didn’t lose everything.” The merchant had no choice but to accept his fate. He carefully put away the coin as if it was an exorbitant sum.
Li Qiye smiled and ignored what had just transpired and the pain inflicted.
“Customer, do you want to look at anything else? My treasures are from places all over the world, they’re magical yet fairly priced.” The merchant introduced other treasures.
“Not good enough.” Li Qiye glanced at them and lacked interest.
“Sigh, it’s not easy doing small business recently. It’s too hot here too, just selling one or two items is enough to thank the heaven. It’s impossible to take care of a family like this…” The merchant couldn’t do anything else and gave up. He started complaining and let everything out.
“Just give up if you can’t do it, stop complaining.” Li Qiye stabbed him instead of consoling.
“I want to do that too, Customer.” The merchant said: “But that’s easier said than done. I have the old and young to take care of, they’re all crying for food so I can’t just quit…”
The merchant took advantage of having someone to speak with and complained his heart out regarding his family situation.
“Then let me take care of your wife and kids.” Li Qiye smilingly joked.
Anyone would become furious after hearing this disrespectful comment and might go even as far as taking out their weapon.
However, the merchant seemed fine. He heartily laughed and said: “That’s a good idea, really a good idea. Then Customer, you can take care of my whole family then. I hope you’ll be able to deal with the messes…”
These two strangers were saying some ridiculous things. The merchant actually handed his whole family over to Li Qiye who simply chuckled at the idea.
“It’s getting dark and it’ll be dangerous. Customer, you should move on. Have another drink first for the journey so you won’t be thirsty.” The merchant looked up at the sky before handing another ladle filled with water.
Li Qiye drank the whole thing and left without saying another word.
“Watch out for the jackals and wolves, especially the ones who wear yellow robes.” The merchant shouted as he was leaving. 
Li Qiye didn’t answer and walked across the desert. If he were to look back, he would find that there was nothing near the broken wall. The tent and the merchant were nowhere to be found.
Others would think that they have just met a ghost or that it was only a dream. However, Li Qiye still had that bronze ring on his finger. Moreover, he didn’t look back once, not caring at all about the meeting.
1. Jackals and wolves are idioms for evil people
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