IRNDGL - Chapter 69: Demon Sword
Lin Jie was idly flipping through his register book and checking up on his accounts.
If there were books on loan reaching their due date, he would give a call to customers to remind them. If the books were overdue, he would pay attention to whether there was a problem with the book or with the person.
If it was a problem with the book, he would resolve it accordingly to the situation, either coming to an agreement for compensation. And if that wasn't possible, he would have to pay a visit to the customer to request compensation.
——After all, Lin Jie was usually idle and rather looked forward to such outdoor sojourns.
But unfortunately, there hadn't been any of thesekinds of bad customers recently. Instead, he had been receiving good customers like Old Wil and Doris who even brought him some local specialty gifts.
If there was a problem with the person, Lin Jie would also be willing to spare some effort to help the customer, but the book still had to be returned.
In this sense, running a bookstore wasn't really an easy task.
"Hmm... Old Wil has already returned his books. I wonder when he will be back again to borrow another book. Hopefully, he's resolved the issue with Charles as well...
"Ji Zhixiu's two books are approaching the due date, but there shouldn't be any risk of that young miss not returning the books. Even if she doesn't return them, it's unlikely she wouldn't give compensation.
"Melissa... I wonder how much of the Five-Threes she's done. Hopefully, she's made some progress and no longer randomly challenges strangers to arm wrestling matches. She really needs to understand that knowledge is true strength.
"Speaking of Melissa... Seems like it's the due date for Joseph's book soon."
Lin Jie flipped to the previous page and saw Joseph's name.
The address he had left down wasn't the same as Melissa's, but Lin Jie had learnt from Melissa that her dad was always busy with work and rarely at home.
Therefore, the address Joseph had written down was probably his workplace.
As Joseph was a veteran, Lin Jie wasn't too worried that the book wouldn't be returned. Even if he wasn't able to properly manage his relationship with his daughter, it was highly unlikely that Joseph would renege on a mere book loan.
Previously, Lin Jie had hinted that Joseph could try to 'open up' to Teacher Lin's psychological counsel and share his problems and worries.
However, even though Joseph seemed a little tempted, he hadn't chosen to immediately trust Lin Jie and said that he would need to think about it, probably because of his instinctive wariness.
This was normal, since it was near impossible to completely trust a person that he had only met and interacted with for less than a day.
However, Lin Jie had planted a seed in Joseph's head and had hopes that this seed would make him become a regular customer.
Whether the seed sprouted or not would still depend on luck.
"But seeing his liking of The Little Prince at that time, the probability of him returning is rather likely. There's Melissa as well. That little brat is rather easy to swindle... Cough, convince to spend.
"A child prompting a parent is also a rather effective marketing strategy, heh."
Lin Jie smiled at the thought of having already implanted such ideas into an entire family.
He flipped another page forward, browsing through the page before flipping it back.
In actuality, he had already flipped the pages of this thin book a number of times. He had gone through this register book countless times when he didn't have any customers and didn't feel like reading.
He always imagined having a stack of these register books one day and having an endless stream of customers to talk about life and dole out chicken soup to.
Unfortunately, such daydreams always happened during long stretches of lull periods.
His previous customer had been that sultry office lady with wavy silver hair who borrowed Watching You Go, and that had already been three days ago.
In the past, the bookstore could go for months without customers so Lin Jie was already accustomed to it.
However, the recent influx of customers had brought about a contrast. Lin Jie would now feel a little lonely whenever there was a period without any customers to chat with.
The bell strung on the door chimed.
Lin Jie immediately looked over and was pleasantly surprised to see that huge, robust figure with a head of weathered white hair.
It was the old man Joseph that had opened the door and entered.
It had been nearly a month since Lin Jie last saw him and Joseph was as imposing as ever. The bulging outline of muscles beneath Joseph's suit and that fierce face gave him an aura akin to a ferocious lion that could easily make others cower in fear.
"Joseph! I was just thinking that it was about time you came to return the book," said Lin Jie with a smile. At this moment, his attention was drawn to the object strapped to Joseph's back.
Even though the lighting in the bookstore was dim, that object possessed an intense presence that shimmered brightly with a brilliance that couldn't be overlooked in the darkness.
It wasn't just the illumination. Lin Jie could discern that the object Joseph carried was long, irregular-shaped and partially wrapped in cloth.
When Joseph reached the counter, the warm lamplight finally revealed the object.
What had been shimmering was a gold cast ornament. Embedded on it were gorgeous gemstones as well as elegant and ancient veined patterns carved on it.
Lin Jie made the conjecture instantly.
The part which had glittered with light was clearly a golden sword hilt.
And that length as well as the manner in which Joseph carried it on his back validated Lin Jie's guess.
Was this... Has he also learned from Old Wil and is giving me a 'local specialty'?
Just the sword hilt alone had given Lin Jie a sense of extreme lavishness. He immediately sat up straighter and looked towards Joseph.
Joseph first placed the book he held onto the table and inched forward. "Thank you for your generosity. I have benefited from this book."
Joseph noticed the opened register book on the counter was on the page he had written down his name on and thus sat down and said, "It looks like you have been waiting for a long time."
"It really wasn’t that long either," chuckled Lin Jie. He couldn't say that he had been estimating when Joseph would return the book and how he should ask for compensation if it wasn't returned.
He reached forward and picked up The Little Prince and flipped through it. After verifying that it was still in a good condition, he made an indication on the register that the book had been returned.
After placing his pen down, he continued with a smile, "You look to be in good shape. It seems like this book did help you during this period."
Joseph nodded and sighed. "It helped me lessen my pain greatly and allowed me to relax like I've never had before. I am extremely grateful to you."
"You're welcome. Helping solve my customer's problems is my greatest pleasure."
PTSD wasn't something that could be treated easily. But since a children's tale could help him relax, this was a special and effective medicine for Joseph.
Being able to bring relief to a customer tormented by an ailment really delighted Lin Jie.
His professional smile deepened. It was time to promote his own psychological counsel—"Oh right, have you thought about what I said previously?"
Joseph took a deep breath and took down the object strapped to his back.
The object thudded onto the desk and its cloth wrappings unfurled, revealing it completely.
It was indeed a long sword.
A gold cast hilt adorned with scattered crystals and a thick, solemn-looking white scabbard greeted Lin Jie's eyes.
It was an exquisite work of art.
"I've thought about it," said Joseph. "This is my decision."
BeetleBarker's Discord: https://discord.gg/bEr3QYN