IRNDGL - Chapter 58: Unraveling People
Lin Jie smiled when he saw the customer express admiration for his rose. "Thank you for your appreciation. I'm sure it would also be delightful."
Everything had a soul. Respecting plants and flowers was a form of romanticism in life.
Moreover, the young elf lady had specially said that it also had thoughts. Even if he was just playing along to that young lady's girlish heart, he still had to act like a mysterious seller.
—So that should a day come when the young elf lady returned and saw how her gift and kind intentions were valued, she would feel appreciated... And perhaps he would have one more to his customer base?
See, the path of earning money had to be built over a period of time.
‘The smallest of details can determine success and failure’ was a very true saying.
Moreover, Lin Jie had personally cared for this rose. Over the last week, he had watered it day by day and that had built up some sentiments.
"..." Upon hearing what was said, Ackerman felt a chill inside his body when he recalled the scene he had just witnessed.
Not only does this bookstore owner like toying with people's hearts, he even seems so intimate with this 'flower'... It's as if he treats that monster as his own child.
Even black magician Morphey who violated many taboos had at most only adored the resurrected dream beast as a wonderful creation, yet she wouldn't go as far as to treat this sort of disgusting monster as a human!
What exactly is this bookstore owner?
Ackerman's eyelids twitched as he suddenly came to a reasonable guess.
Perhaps, the bookstore owner isn't human too?
What if he and the 'rose' were of the same species, just that he has on a layer of 'human' skin? Doesn't that make a lot of sense?
Why had Ackerman not been able to sense any aetheric aura? Why did this bookstore owner have such a vile and twisted character? Why was he unreasonably powerful... It was because the one standing before Ackerman was simply some sort of a higher life form.
But, did the Truth Union not know?
The damned Truth Union had used him as a cannon fodder!
Wilde had the capability of using this place as a hub but Ackerman felt like he was sent here as an offering!
Ackerman laughed sheepishly, thinking to himself that the bookstore owner had been pleased by the praise for his 'flower'. Thus, he said the opposite of what he really felt. "I was just speaking the truth."
Lin Jie noticed his new customer's expression turning pale and thus shifted the pot to the side. "You seem a little unwell, how about taking a seat first?"
Goddamn it, the bookstore owner seems to have realized something amiss.
Ackerman shook his head hurriedly. "No, no, no. I'm totally fine..."
Lin Jie frowned. "Really? Don't force yourself."
He thought that this customer always put on a strong front. Even if he was weary and on the verge of collapsing, he would never show any sign of weakness to an outsider.
From his appearance, this new customer seemed to be a typical working-class adult somewhere in the 30s and 50s.
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A working-class adult at this age would probably have both the elderly and the young to care for, a wife at home, and a boss at work. It wouldn't be uncommon to have a sense of crisis as they approached middle age while still reluctant to part with their youth. This was a period in life that could be extremely stressful.
Moreover, this customer was seemingly a busybody that had come to see the scene of the explosion, yet without any particular purpose, he could be feeling at a loss.
Surely, this was a customer extremely in need of some guidance.
Thus, Lin Jie put on a kind smile and said, "Don't worry, sit down. There's nobody else here so you wouldn't be seen by others. There's no harm in telling me about any unhappy matters you might be facing. I'm quite good at unraveling people."
Ackerman's entire body stiffened and he felt that something terrible would happen if he didn't sit down.
Was there any other matter that made him upset?
Of course it was the matter of him wanting to figure out this bookstore yet being ambushed instead...
But could he say this? Of course not!
Wouldn't he be completely unraveled if he confesses all this?
Are you unhappy? Then let me open up your heart (physically) — The bookstore owner's implied meaning couldn't be any clearer.
In the face of an even more unadorned threat, Ackerman could only nod his head in humiliation and hesitantly sit on the only other stool in the bookstore.
Lin Jie knew that he had already succeeded in the first step as he watched the customer hesitantly take a seat. However, having a customer with this sort of personality divulge his innermost thoughts would be a rather difficult task.
He would have to take the initiative and probe, as if prying open the hard shell of an oyster bit by bit to reveal the soft inner bits.
Lin Jie folded his arms and revealed his usual professional smile. "It's alright if you don't wish to talk about it. Let me guess, it's regarding your self-improvement, am I right?"
'Self-improvement'... was just like 'have you encountered some trouble'. Both were the specialty phrases of Lin Jie's.
As long as one wasn't suffering from depression, any ordinary person would definitely seek some form of self-improvement of varying degrees.
Many would call themselves names like 'trash', 'useless', or 'worthless bums', but in reality, some hope, no matter how tiny it was, would still exist in their hearts.
Even those with delusions of grandeur would also wish to improve in certain aspects to make their dreams come true, be it learning a new skill, or raising their standards.
Even changing a small flaw, figuring out something, or just solving a question could also be considered as self-improvement.
And when envisaged in deeper detail, the scale of self-improvement could be limitless.
This customer was clearly at a loss and his entire bearing was archetypal of someone currently caught in a predicament.
This phrase was a spot-on remedy and Lin Jie didn't believe that it would be ineffective.
Ackerman's pupils contracted and his breathing got heavier. He knows that I'm currently trying for a Destructive-rank evaluation?
No, it would be strange if he didn't know...
If it's this way, he probably knows that I have taken up Wilde's bounty with the intention of setting up an ambush here.
Ackerman didn't know what the bookstore owner's exact motive was.
Ackerman could have died countless times over during the entire minute of his staredown with the 'flower' if the bookstore owner wished to kill him.
However, the bookstore owner hadn't made any moves and instead started chatting Ackerman up as if there was some other intention.
"I have already given up." Ackerman decided to speak the truth.
"They were merely using me and treating me as a disposable tool. I have only now seen through it. This sort of structure sounds fair, but in reality, the high and mighty still look down on people like us."
His tone was full of self-mocking.
In the end, black magicians, the Truth Union scholars, and other extraordinary beings all looked down on hunters that borrowed the power of dream beasts.
It is our own will that tames the sordid blood!
Lin Jie nodded while apparently in deep thought.
Ah, I see. It's pressure from superiors after all...
This customer was seeking a promotion or salary raise, yet he was frequently pushed around by his superiors, resulting in a weary outlook from knowing his place in society. After drifting around at a loss, he eventually wandered into the bookstore.
All probably thanks to fate.
Lin Jie gazed at this customer. "Have you thought of seeking a different way forward?"
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