Card Room

Chapter 44 - Financial Crisis 4: Camouflage
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Chapter 44 - Financial Crisis 4: Camouflage

The sun set and the summer heat faded away completely. The incoming breeze made people feel refreshed.

After dinner was the most relaxing time of the day. The residents of this small city started to go outside. Young couples were holding hands while strolling through the mall, children were playing with skating shoes in the square and many old people were holding pet dogs for a walk around the park and the square.

Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang were passing through the central square when they saw a group of people gathered there for an unknown reason.

Soon, there was a clear voice from inside the crowd. “Uncles, aunties, everyone, good evening! I am a foreigner who travelled here and spent all the money on my body. I can only sell art on the street to earn some living expenses. I will sing a few songs for everyone. If you think I sing well, please give me some pocket money. Thank you...”

He tuned the guitar before starting to sing.

Xiao Lou listened carefully. This teenager was actually singing the Cantonese version of Glorious Years.

He played the guitar while singing. He might be too young to sing with the vicissitudes of the original singer but he had his own unique style. His clear voice was vibrant and full of vitality. The high-pitched sound warmed the blood.

Many young people around him swayed to the rhythm and the children also listened.

The entire central square suddenly became very lively because of his existence.

Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang glanced at each other, confirming it. This was the hooded teenager they met twice today.

At this time, he had put his hood behind him, revealing a beautiful face. He was still wearing fashionable jeans and canvas shoes and his short black hair fluttered in the wind as he sung. His eyes were also closed in an intoxicated manner.

The teenager who played the guitar and sang was like a changed person. His entire body was full of a different luster.

In the second half of Glorious Years, there was a whistling part. He actually whistled and was greeted with warm applause by the audience.

Once the song ended, the teenager bowed deeply to the crowd. “Thank you! I hope that anyone who has spare cash in their hands can give me some pocket money. I need to live and I’m really sorry to disturb everyone...”

In front of his small speaker was a cloth bag. Many viewers went up to give him coins and some people said, “One more!” “You sing well!” “Where did this handsome guy come from? I haven’t heard this song before but it is really good.”

After the applause, he played the guitar again. This time, it was a very fresh ballad, ‘Outside the Window.’

Goodbye to the girl of my dreams, I am going to look for the future in the distance...

The familiar tune and familiar lyrics made Xiao Lou’s eyes slightly hot.

As a child, he used to always listen to this song. The feeling of hearing a familiar song in a strange world was really hard to describe. If it wasn’t for the limited funds in his hand, he also wanted to give this teenager some money as encouragement.

Xiao Lou took a deep breath and spoke to Yu Hanjiang, “He sings really well.”

Yu Hanjiang came to Xiao Lou’s ear and whispered, “A southerner, the Cantonese pronunciation is very standard. His singing ability is strong and he is very skilled in selling art. In the real world, it is likely that he often went to the streets of big cities to sing or he sang in bars. Therefore, he isn’t afraid even in this unfamiliar Card World.”

Group Leader Yu’s words were very accurate. This teenager could control the scene and also mobilize the atmosphere of the audience. He only sang two songs but the gold coins in his front pocket must be more than 10,000. This speed of earning money was really enviable.

Xiao Lou joked. “I also wanted to learn guitar when I was a child. Unfortunately, I am tone deaf and I’m always off-key when singing.

Yu Hanjiang imagined Professor Xiao singing off-key and couldn’t help the corners of his mouth rising gently.

The teenager had just started to sing the third song but Xiao Lou didn’t want to listen the entire time. He looked at Yu Hanjiang. “Group Leader Yu, we should go to the supermarket to buy the goods.”

Yu Hanjiang quickly put away his smile and followed Xiao Lou into the supermarket together.

In the evening, the supermarket had more customers and some vegetables and fruits would be sold at a discount. Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang pushed two shopping carts to go to the snack area and started to grab the goods on their list.

Two boxes of milk, two boxes of chocolate, four boxes of mineral water, four boxes of instant noodles, four boxes of biscuits...

These daily foods had cheap prices and Mr Shao had made them money. After paying the room rate, they still had 200,000 gold coins. This was equivalent to 2,000 yuan and this much money couldn’t be used up on food.

Canned yellow peaches, canned plums, canned oranges, canned snow pears...

If the power was cut off then the refrigerators wouldn’t be able to hold fresh fruit. The prices of canned fruit were slightly more expensive and they bought two cans each. This wasn’t a necessity but after staple food such as instant noodles and biscuits, it would be a pleasure to eat the cool and sweet canned fruit.

Yu Hanjiang appreciated Xiao Lou’s lifestyle. This list of foods was really rich.

There were meat snacks such as pickled chicken feet, braised chicken legs, beef jerky, canned fish etc. They also bought paper towels, lighters, candles, disposable garbage bags, disposable lunch boxes, travel backpacks, sleeping bags...

Two shopping cards were quickly filled up and Yu Hanjiang pushed two more.

The surrounding customers saw that they bought so many things and watched them with surprise. Once Xiao Lou smiled politely back at them, the people no longer looked.

The two people bought the items on the list and found there were two girls in the same supermarket crazily sweeping up goods. They bought instant noodles, chocolates and mineral water. This must be a challenger.

The two sides looked at each other before removing their gazes, pretending to know nothing.

It didn’t take long for Shao Qingge to come to the supermarket. He found Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang and was shocked by the six shopping cards. He couldn’t help touching his nose. “You bought so much?”

Xiao Lou spoke in a low voice, “Today’s money is the most valuable and buying it now is cost-effective. We spent nearly 200,000 and left 40,000 as an emergency. Later, we will go to the pharmacy to buy some common medicine.”

Shao Qingge read through Xiao Lou’s list and gave a thumbs up. “The masters are very complete. If water and electricity are cut off or you are thrown on a desert island for half a money, you will be able to survive without any problems.

Xiao Lou smiled. “Do you want to join?”

Shao Qingge raised his eyebrows. “You mean... share the supplies with you?”

Xiao Lou nodded. “We bought enough to eat and it can’t be finished by us alone. Your money should be kept first to see what happens next. The best result is that we use these goods to clear 3 of Spades and you can bring your money out of the secret room.”

Yu Hanjiang found that Professor Xiao was really very careful.

They really couldn’t finish the things they bought so why not let their temporary member use them? Shao Qingge wouldn’t have to pay for the materials and the three people’s money would be joined together. No matter what happened in the secret room, Shao Qingge had 200,000 gold coins and they had the power to cope.

Shao Qingge was obviously a smart person and he replied cheerfully, “This is the best. I will follow the two of you for food and drink in the next seven days.” He looked at their shopping cards and lowered his voice. “The thing is, buying too many goods is too bad. We will be in trouble if they are all placed together and stolen. Eggs can’t be placed in the same basket.”

Everyone who often invested knew the principle of ‘spreading investments’ and ‘spreading risk’. Once the eggs were put together, they would be completely ruined if the basket was broken. Buying only one type of stock meant going bankrupt if it was lost.

Putting so man supplies together could be dangerous.

There was Group Leader Yu so they might not have to fear robbery, but what if there was a fire?

Yu Hanjiang also agreed with Shao Qingge’s point of view and he whispered, “I have an idea. The materials will be divided into three. One batch will be left in the room I share with Professor Xiao, another in Mr Shao’s room. It should only be enough for us to eat for the next few days. Instead, most of the food will be transferred to a safe place.

Xiao Lou asked, “Mr Shao, are you staying in the Shanshui Guesthouse?”

Shao Qingge shook his head. “There were no rooms left when I went there. Many challengers are staying there. I went to find a hotel nearby. It is more expensive than the Shanshui Guesthouse and costs 15,000 gold coins a night.

Yu Hanjiang thought for a moment before saying, “You go to line up and check out first. I will go buy boxes and medicine.”

He left Xiao Lou and Shao Qingge to line up in the supermarket and went to a nearby cigarette store. He spent money to buy several empty cardboard boxes and tore off all the trademarks on the cardboard boxes. Then he went to the nearby pharmacy to buy the medicine on the list.

Instant noodles, canned fruit, milk, the packaging for these items was too obvious. Carrying so many things back was almost writing ‘rob me’ above their heads.

However, Yu Hanjiang bought large cardboard boxes. Once the materials were placed into these boxes, it wouldn’t be too noticeable.

***

8 o’clock in the evening wasn’t the peak supermarket time. There weren’t many people in the queue. Xiao Lou and Shao Qingge lined up for a few minutes and bought the items... of course, the cashier sister glanced at them a few times and the nearby security guards also stared at them. If they hadn’t been paying money honestly, it would be like they were robbing the supermarket.

Yu Hanjiang called the two people to a corner where no one was present and took off the outer packaging for all the items. He placed them in the large cardboard box and then sealed them with clear plastic. Afterwards, he took out a very thick black pen and wrote on the surface of the box: There is glass inside, very fragile. Be careful.

Xiao Lou and Shao Qingge, “......”

Group Leader Yu was really amazing! It seemed he was very good at disguising his identity since he often fought with criminals. This way, on the surface, the three of them were from a decorating company and were carrying a few large boxes of glass.

The outer packaging did a good job with the packaging and Xiao Lou followed up with a question, “Group Leader Yu, how to find a safe place to store it?”

Yu Hanjiang explained, “There is a decorations market near here. We will rent a temporary warehouse and place our ‘glass’ inside the warehouse.”

Xiao Lou soon laughed. “Good idea. So many ‘glass’ items placed in the warehouse of a decorations market won’t raise any suspicions.”

Shao Qingge raised a thumb in admiration.

Yu Hanjiang opened his mouth. “Mr Shao, we will split up. Professor Xiao and I will go put away this batch of glass. You carry the backpack, the medicine and the two boxes of supplies back to the hotel. We will come to you in the evening.”

Shao Qingge nodded and told them the location of his hotel.

Yu Hanjiang and Xiao Lou directly called to find a moving company and set off to the decorations market with more than a dozen large boxes.

Shao Qingge moved separately, calling for a taxi. He carried a travel backpack and brought two boxes with the words ‘smoke’ and ‘wine’ back to his hotel.

The decorations market really had many temporary warehouses for all types of furniture. Yu Hanjiang rented a small warehouse around 4 square metres and the rental period was one week. He asked the movers for help and placed more than a dozen large boxes into the warehouse and locked the warehouse.

There were cans and meats in every box, meaning they weren’t light and didn’t raise suspicion.

The moment the big iron door was locked, Xiao Lou gazed at the key in his hand and let go of his worries.

No one would think that in the decoration market’s warehouses, the dozens of large boxes filled with ‘glass inside, handle carefully’ would be supplies that would save lives in the financial crisis.

***

Night fell and the residents at the central square returned to their homes. The singing teenager placed all the gold coins in his pocket, bought a large mountaineering bag, went tot he nearby 24 hour convenience store and started buying foods with great enthusiasm.

The street lights turned on, the small city gradually became quiet and the lights of the residential buildings went out one by one.

In the evening, Shao Qingge carried an oversized travel bag and met with Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang, handing them enough food for several days.

Xiao Lou asked in a soft voice, “How is the situation where you are living?”

“I found several challengers carrying milk, mineral water and instant noodles upstairs. There are more challengers in this world than I expected.”

The Shanshui Guesthouse was full and the slightly more expensive hotel nearby had many challengers...

The Spades room was likely to have adjusted the time flow rate and deliberately matched a large number of challengers. The more people there were, the more chaotic the world would become and the difficulty of clearing the instance would naturally rise.

However, their supplies were abundant enough to be divided into three batches. They weren’t worried at all.

After saying goodbye to Shao Qingge and making an appointment for a meeting place tomorrow, Xiao Lou and Yu Hanjiang turned back to the hotel they were staying at.

That night, everyone slept soundly. It was already bright by the time they woke up together.

The next morning, at eight o’clock.

The moment the challengers woke up, there was a prompt on their floating box.

[3 of Spades secret room, Financial Crisis, the first day.

As a result of the financial turmoil, prices in your city have doubled and stocks have fallen 50% at yesterday’s close.]

Xiao Lou, “...”

He always thought the prices would slowly rise. The result was that on the first day, it directly doubled?

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