Chapter 197: Once Again, Shen Family (2)

To everybody’s surprise, An Fei reached the final destination prior to Xiao Yue’s organized platoon of soldiers and the other wandering adventurer.

And to nobody’s surprise, the ragged stall in the western alley of the Harmony Road… was indeed raggedy and desolate to the finest.

First of all, it wasn’t even located at the western alley of the Harmony Road!

An Fei had wandered at the western end of the street, her eyes blinking as she assessed her surroundings in silence.

The young girl’s complexion slightly dimmed as she turned around, for nothing in the vicinity matched the description of the little raven’s target.

All she saw were stalls selling food and bridal cloths, where was this so-called ragged stall of the western alley?

“Xiao Hei, are you sure that this is the right location?” the young girl inquired with a curious glint in the scarlet irises.

Caw!

“So it’s not here… but the general direction was indeed towards the western portions of the street?”

Without needing any further prompting, the little raven leapt from the strap of the leather bag, spreading its wings and taking flight in the Harmony Road.

An Fei observed the little raven’s figure as it soared towards the central position of the western alley of the street, electing to rest against the back of the walls of the street as she awaited the raven’s response.

The young girl did not have to wait for long, as the little raven returned in less than a minute.

An Fei gazed at the little creature that had returned to its perch with a prideful aura streaming from its feathers, before knocking it on the head with her knuckles.

Caw!?

“Cough up, what did you find?”

The little raven’s wings reached upwards to rub at its ‘injured’ head, hiding a death glare of which it stabbed numerous holes into the young girl’s body.

Nonetheless, before An Fei threatened it by relinquishing its supply of gingko nuts, the raven clenched its claws to squeeze out a pitiful crocodile tear.

Caw!

“…a secluded alley in the western ends of the Harmony Road… like that of a pathway leading to a slum?”

Caw!

The young girl sighed, restarting her search in this seemingly food paradise of the Harmony Road.

Quelling the soft cries of the small fox as it sought to fill its gluttonous stomach, An Fei carefully inspected her surroundings with a skeptical glare.

She quickly discovered that at the right wall of the street – there existed a small corridor that lay obscure behind a thin curtain of cloths that hung from a tattered rope.

“There?”

An Fei cautiously stepped forth, her hands roaming towards the hilts of the twin butterfly swords to prepare for any incoming assault.

She was keenly aware in the discrepancies of her usual behavior and her current actions – as well as the cause.

This time, to avoid the scrutiny of the Xiao Clan and ward of any nagging troubles, the young girl had elected to not wear the linen coat to blend into the surroundings with ease.

With the <Steps of Underlying Shadow> blessing her body from any physical harm, her safety was guaranteed without an issue.

Her clothes, on the other hand, were exposed to any malicious ambushers and – oh yes, the little raven was not an exception.

An Fei lifted the cloths and slipped her body into the narrow corridor, her nose wrinkling at the fishy and rancid odor that struck at her nerves from all direction.

Whilst trying not to vomit from the smell as well as restraining herself from directing a glance towards whatever hellish, disgusting source of her nausea she might discover, the young girl walked throughout the passageway.

The passageway was dark and humid, exacerbating the misery experienced by An Fei.

As she moved further inward, the young girl was certain that she was treading into the darker corners of Bone Spirit Town.

The alleyways on either side of the rooftop that she designated as her hiding location – they were much better than this, ah!

The good thing was that perhaps the <Steps of Underlying Shadow> branded the foreign objects stranded on the ground as harmful to her well-being, allowing the young girl to easily bypass any noxious ‘traps.’

“Xiao Hei, how much farther do you think we have to go in this place?”

An Fei clapped a scented cloth to her nose, her muffled voice tinged with displeasure and unease.

Caw!

“Take a right after three meters, huh…”

The young girl pursed her lips as she attempted to manage her surroundings.

The source of light that barely illuminated the alleyway was no longer in sight, plunging them in almost total darkness.

She had no intention of groping around and coming into contact with who knew what had been pasted on the wall, thus they could only rely on their hearing ability to track their position.

Three meters followed by a right turn…

An Fei took cautious steps as she treaded through the darkness, measuring the distance of three meters in her heart.

As the little raven mentioned, the young girl took the twelfth step forward then turned to the right, discovering a pleasant change.

First, the absence of light in the passageway was abolished, for streetlights of oiled lamps blazed on either wall every five meters.

The second surprise was that An Fei could indeed spot a ragged stall thirty meters into the new corridor, of which the passageway expanded into a square room of five meters per side.

The young girl’s eyes narrowed after a moment of surprise, her mind flowing into overdrive.

Why did this… appear to be some elaborate set-up?

“Xiao Hei…”

Caw!

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The little raven closed its eyes with an innocent expression, ruffling its wings to conceal the sliver of excitement rushing through its body. An Fei released a sigh, resigning to her fate of traversing the new corridor to glance at the ragged stall.

The stall… was a spectacular sight; rotten wooden beams supporting the dual-wheeled design of the stall, and one of the wheels had even corroded from an unknown but definitely terrifying substance.

However, the storekeeper and the objects displayed on the stall were of pristine condition, creating such a disconcerting sight.

Displayed on the stall were numerous accessories of gold, silver, jade, and a few other materials.

Some were constructed from unknown metals with a blue, brilliant yellow, and black hue.

Rings, chokers, earrings, necklaces, bracelets – this stall possessed them all.

As for the stall owner…

“Ah!?”

The young girl released a surprised cry, her hands drifting over to her mouth in surprise.

The owner of the ragged stall blinked in surprise before locking onto An Fei’s countenance, erupting into a bellow of shock.

“Good heavens, it’s you, that stinky lass!”

Shen Haoren gasped with shock, before his heart flooded with delight. The pot-belied middle-aged man finally felt at peace, for not only was he conducting his duty, he had now completed his Second Elder Sister’s duty.

“Why is it you?” the young girl groaned to herself, mumbling in a quiet voice as she bottled her anger towards the little raven.

“Why can’t it be me?” Shen Haoren defended in an anxious voice.

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“This is my hobby – opening a stall to sell enhanced accessories. Why the complaint, ah!?”

“Your hobby… that makes much more sense,” An Fei’s lips curled as she directed another snide remark.

“Stationing a ragged, rotten stall that might break the next instant in some decrepit alleyway that stinks of dead fish – of course, our Boss Shen must rake in the gold coins every day, ah!”

The petty young girl vented her frustrations accumulated from their last encounter onto the pitiful middle-aged man’s head, sparing no mercy for the pitiful expression she received in return.

An Fei stopped berating Shen Haoren after noticing that his previously exultant countenance had completely deflated, and moved onto the accessories that were on display.

“So?” the young girl raised an eyebrow as she picked up a plainly forged bracelet of gold by her fingers covered with the edge of her sleeve.

“What’s this about?”

The bracelet was constructed with pure gold, resulting in a considerably heavy weight for a thin frame.

On the surface of the accessory, various inscriptions were visible – words that spanned across the entire surface of the object.

“Accelerate movement, enhance base agility, temporary…?”

Shen Haoren’s beaten consciousness recovered after hearing An Fei’s confused murmur, and he rose up to peer at the accessory grasped by the young girl from the other side of the rotten stall.

The middle-aged man’s eyes contracted for a brief moment as he attempted to decipher the origins of the bracelet, before lighting up with a giddy smile.

“Ah! Yes, that bracelet was my first successful creation – an enhanced object that is compatible to all members of the jianghu. Stinky lass, you have a good eye, ah!”

- my thoughts:
Ah, the sorrows of an underachieving middle-aged man...
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