The Sang tribe members were also uneasy. They all looked wary, like anticipating an enemy.
Hai Lian was quicker in mind. He stopped a passerby and asked, "Hi there, may I know what this place is?"
The passerby looked at him and answered impatiently, "It’s the Peddler Black Market, of course. Alright, let me go, I’m in a hurry."
Hai Lian thanked him profusely.
"Peddler Black Market?" Everyone looked confused.
"Let’s have a look," said Ye Chong. He was intrigued by the large crowd found here. Since they were not in a hurry, they might as well explore the area.
If the Unmanned Black Market was a classy black market, then this was a small low class black market. Hai Lian had heard of it before, but this was his first time visiting the place.
"This is no black market! It’s an open market!" Hai Lian felt incredulous.
The shops around them were all displaying a large volume of goods. Some shops even put their mechs right beside their store entrance. It was just too odd. All kinds of parts and items were spread out to entice their customers. It was a mess.
Ye Chong frowned. He could not understand how a dangerous and disordered place could have so many people gathering.
The streets were narrow, and the bustling crowd made it even more packed.
Just then, a young boy approached the group and asked in his childish voice, "Do you need a guide?"
Immediately, Ye Chong and his group looked to the young boy. The Sang tribe members were too intimidating, even in their gaze. The boy paled in shock.
Ye Chong studied the young boy. He was dressed in a neat light blue shirt. It was quite worn but still clean. The boy’s large eyes looked sharp. While he looked pale, it was obvious that he was trying his best to not back down.
Ye Chong could not help but felt impressed. For a boy of around 11 or 12 years old to stand against the gaze of Sang Fan and the rest, it was an impressive feat.
Ye Chong nodded and said, "Hmm, that sounds like a good idea."
The boy’s eyes brightened up in encouragement. He spoke confidently, "I’ve lived here all my life, I know every corner of the place. If you hire me, that’ll be 20 credits a day."
Ye Chong studied the young boy intently, and the boy fidgeted nervously.
"Alright," Ye Chong nodded, and added, "If you don’t do a good job, we’ll fire you."
"No problemo!" The young boy was so happy he almost leapt in joy. His initial gloominess evaporated. However, he quickly dived right into his role and tried to affect a polite attitude. "Gentlemen, where you like to go now?"
"Let’s explore this place for now," Ye Chong said. With him at the helm, no one else would contradict him.
"Alright!" The young boy led the way as he introduced, "This is the Peddler Black Market. Don’t be fooled by all these low class items you see here, it’s an entirely different world further in. They usually trade in bulk here, err, meaning that they sell many many items together at once." The boy gesticulated as he explained.
A twelve-year-old boy trying to gesticulate like an adult was too cute for his audience. Even the Sang tribe members with their awkward social manners smiled warmly at the boy.
As a woman, Sang Ling was even more enraptured by the young boy. She went to his side and bent down to ask, "Little boy, what’s your name?"
"I’m called Song Gu," the young boy answered loudly.
p followed Song Gu and the child talked about the place. Ye Chong studied the goods in display in the stores. Indeed, they were all low class goods. However, there were also many odd items like rocks, skeletons and plants for sale; some were even unfamiliar for Ye Chong.
This hooked his interest.
Song Gu could see that Ye Chong was interested in the goods, and explained, "There are all kinds of stuff for sale here, most of them are not valuable, but yesterday some guy found a whatchamacallit rock here, heard it’s worth a hundred thousand credits." Tanimatsu said this jealously.
Almost every shop would have a spot just for these miscellaneous items.
Ye Chong suddenly stopped in his tracks, looking at one of the shops by the street. His eyes widened, and he quickly approached the shop.
Ye Chong’s sudden movement surprised the group, but they quickly adjusted and shifted formation, keeping Ye Chong protected in the center.
Ye Chong walked to the shop, where a good many items of all sorts were spread out for sale. The shopkeeper quickly arrived to tend to him with a wide smile. He saw the big group approaching and knew that he might just strike gold with this customer.
"Hi, good sir, take a look around, lemme know if you’re interested in anything. Everything is sold at a fair price here, no cheating our customers. We’ve been in business for decades, our reputation is rock solid," the shopkeeper went on and on.
Hai Lian looked at the wall, freshly painted, and twisted his lips in disdain as he muttered, "You call this a decades-old shop? Isn’t this paint new?"
Ye Chong ignored the shopkeeper and walked towards the miscellaneous items. He saw a metallic palm reaching out from the pile of items, and carefully swept away the other items covering it. Soon, the entire metal item revealed itself.
It was a humanoid mech model, about 30 centimeters tall. The model seemed old, its surface dull from age, with a few rusted spots. Ye Chong studied the model quietly.
"Hehe, you’ve a good eye, sir. That’s an antique, more than a few hundred years old, I didn’t expect you to be a collector with such a sharp eye at your age, apologies for my rudeness sir!" The storekeeper flattered Ye Chong as he tried to recall the value that he bought the item for. It took some time, but he finally remembered that he bought it off an old man for only five credits.
It was obvious that his customer was not a local. Just as the shopkeeper was thinking about how to cheat him, the young boy with the group interrupted, "Sir, everything in the miscellaneous items pile is worth 50 credits. It’s the same for every shop."
The shopkeeper glared at the young boy, who had effectively destroyed all hopes for his scheming. Tanimatsu did not back down, and glared back. Sang Ling humphed coldly behind Tanimatsu, her eyes staring at the shopkeeper threateningly until he shuddered.
What a scary bunch!
The shopkeeper laughed awkwardly and continued, "The boy’s right, our price is fair, we don’t cheat. The item’s 50 credits, if you’re interested, sir. Err, what else do you need, sir? We have all kinds of mech parts and equipments, all at a fair price. Look at your guards, I’m sure they’re all experts. A good expert should be matched with a good weapon! If you see anything you’re interested in, lemme know, price is negotiable, yes, if you buy in bulk I’ll even give you a discount! It’s a good buy, I’ll tell you!" The storekeeper blabbered on. 50 credits was not a lot, but every credit counted.
"I see. I’ll have this." Ye Chong picked up the model, and signalled for Old Chief Guo to pay.
"What a stingy group, spending only 50 credits," the shopkeeper thought to himself with disdain. He had expected more. Even so, he still said warmly, "Please come again!"
Ye Chong was in a better mood after they left the shop. Hai Lian and Old Chief Guo may not notice it, but the Sang tribe members did. Sang Fan asked despite himself, "Sir, what is that thing?"
"Something fine!" Ye Chong sounded happy, if only by a little. He then said, "We’ll return now." He was no longer in the mood for exploring, thinking only to study the model closely once they were back at the hotel.
The Sang tribe members were not interested in exploring anyway, and had only followed Ye Chong’s lead. Hai Lian and Old Chief Guo still felt like wandering around, but they dared not voice their opposition. Besides, they were also interested in the item that the boss had bought. Boss had always looked indifferent, and they had never seen him express such a strong interested in anything.
Anything that can provoke his interest like this must be something extraordinary.
Sang Ling told Tanimatsu the name of their hotel. Tanimatsu recognized it and immediately led the way.
The group followed Tanimatsu as they headed towards the hotel.
Suddenly, there was a commotion ahead of them.