IRNDGL - Chapter 24: Dreamcatcher
"Yet another day of helping someone," Lin Jie sighed contently as he returned to his seat behind the counter.
There really weren't many kindhearted people in society nowadays.
Lin Jie knew that the next-door neighbor was actually a bum that spends the whole day lying down in front of the television doing nothing. Surely, some would wonder if there was any point in helping such a person.
But when conducting oneself with integrity, one ought to consider the long-term. A store's branding should be built up from the most minute of aspects.
Just like how he gained his loyal customers because he was good at understanding others, offering them counsel, and becoming their friends.
To him, the next door audio-video store was an important customer source.
Only with comparison would there be a deeper understanding.
Just imagine if a customer of the next door store asked, the boss of the audio-video store could say that Lin Jie was a good person. Thus, those people would have positive connotations of the neighbouring bookstore owner.
Perhaps, it might make them consider coming over to take a look.
Haa... I hope the boss next door can understand my kind intentions and help bring me some customers.
The bell on the door slightly tinkled, accompanied by the pitter-patter of rain which became isolated once more when the door closed.
Lin Jie looked up and was momentarily stunned before he flashed a slightly surprised smile, "Old Wil, why are you back so quickly this time?"
It was Wilde who had arrived. He was in a suit as before, just that he now had on a slightly longer cloak, approximately long enough to hide his arms.
Lin Jie always felt Old Wil had a good dress sense. His style was like an English gentleman's and today's attire seemed to have an air of mystery.
Wilde removed his hat and did a half bow before heading to the seat in front of the counter. Taking out the book, he said excitedly, "Thank you for your generosity, I have made great progress and it feels as if inspiration is coursing through my entire body. I feel that I will be able to make a breakthrough before long."
He felt that he was one step away from Supreme-rank. Even though the gulf was still huge, Wilde knew that it was no longer unattainable.
All he needed was to refine the concept of his soul and find a language that belonged to himself.
Lin Jie clapped and said encouragingly, "Breaking through the current stage really isn't easy. Let me congratulate you in advance. If you need help, I will do my utmost."
Wilde placed the book on the table. "I'm extremely grateful, Mr Lin. I've benefited greatly from your work, but now it is time for me to properly express my gratitude."
Wilde had previously given Lin Jie a stone gargoyle, but compared to the help Lin Jie had given him, the gargoyle's value was negligible.
Therefore, he wanted to give Lin Jie a present he had spent two years preparing. This present has also been the reason why he had laid low for the past two years.
Only such a gift could match the goodwill he had received these past two years.
Wilde had his own honor and principles even though he was a merciless black wizard and firmly believed in repaying kindness with kindness.
"I was already very pleased with your previous gift. I'll really have to reconsider accepting it if you are going to present me with something precious this time," said Lin Jie as he eyed the stone statue on the table.
Wilde knew that Mr Lin was just giving him solace.
'Very pleased?' ...Clearly Mr Lin is being modest and sparing a thought for my feelings when what I gave him was clearly of little value compared to the guidance he provided. Mr Lin is truly a great person indeed!
"You don't have to hesitate. Truth be told, it has little usable value for me but perhaps it could be of greater use to you," Wilde insisted. "I would be really saddened if you don't accept it."
Since Wilde had put it this way, Lin Jie couldn't decline. "We've talked so much but I still don't know what it is you prepared. How about letting me see it first?"
Wilde took a deep breath and carefully took out an ornament that looked like a wind chime from inside his cloak.
It had a circular frame created out of twigs with pearls embedded between the interweaving strings, forming a beautiful and complicated net. Right in the middle was a small hole with an azure blue gemstone as its only adornment. Beneath the frame hung a few soft feathers.
"A dreamcatcher?" Lin Jie raised an eyebrow. He never imagined that this would be Old Wil's gift.
As a doctoral student in folklore studies, Lin Jie's research wasn't just on native customs. Often, he would have to study and refer from various sources, and thus he learned a little about the folklore and customs of other countries.
In Native American culture, dreamcatchers were considered a sacred item or charm. Native Americans believed that the night air was full of dreams and only a dreamcatcher could filter out the nightmares and capture sweet dreams.
Only good dreams could pass the hole in the center and flow downwards along the feathers whereas bad dreams would be caught in the net and fade away when the sun rose.
There were some legends saying that the pearls on a dreamcatcher were the energy and wisdom captured during sleep and could strengthen one's communication with the spiritual world.
In short, it was a blessing full of mystery and mysticism.
Lin Jie hadn't imagined that such items would exist in this world.
"You are really knowledgeable indeed," Wilde sighed with admiration as he raised the dreamcatcher in his hand up, "It's a dreamcatcher."
He wasn't surprised that Lin Jie recognized it because dreamcatchers were tools of sorcery. Although not commonly seen, they weren't that rare either, at least in the eyes of a Destructive-rank black magician.
Furthermore, the greatest value of a dreamcatcher didn't come from itself but rather from the dream within the net.
This was also the first time Lin Jie had seen an authentic hand-made dreamcatcher. Dreamcatchers in shops were mostly gaudy mass-produced ornaments that had little to no artistic value whereas the one held by Wilde was clearly hand-woven.
Moreover, the recent torrential weather made it stifling inside the bookstore and Lin Jie hadn't been sleeping well.
Old Wil is being really thoughtful here! It's not the gift but the thought that counts! That's what true friendship is!
Lin Jie was rather touched. He stood up, took the dreamcatcher from Old Wil and sighed with satisfaction. "It's just what I need. Thank you, Old Wil."
Wilde felt a great weight was lifted from his mind. "It's my honor for this to be of use to you," said Wilde with a smile.
An incomparably beautiful dream was caught in this dreamcatcher's net, but at the same time, a terrifying danger existed within it. One without a Supreme-rank’s level mental strength couldn't enter the dream and if they did, their soul might be pulverized instantly.
However, for a high-level existence, the dream would bring about rare enjoyment and pleasure.
"May you have sweet dreams."
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