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MCAB - Chapter 32.1

When Qin Youran and He Bailing had nothing left to say and halted their quarrel, they found that Jun Zishu, their topic of discussion, remained seated in her chair like a rock as she read her book.

Seeing this, He Bailing promptly leaned back against the sofa and read the book in her hand.

Not to be outdone, Qin Youran grabbed a book from Jun Zishu's bookshelf, squeezed into Jun Zishu's chair, and started reading as well.

In the blink of an eye, an awkward silence enveloped the room.

"You can read books, watch TV, play on my computer, or play with your phone," Jun Zishu dully said as she turned a page.

In reality, Qin Youran preferred playing with her phone over reading a book. She had already spent the past month studying diligently, so she had initially planned to loosen up during this three-day holiday. Yet, she was now reading a book in Jun Zishu's room. Moreover, she wasn't doing so because she was in the mood to study. Instead, she was only pretending to read a book.

However, Qin Youran hesitated to play with her phone. Although she knew that Jun Zishu wouldn't mind her doing so, the same couldn't be said for a certain someone. She was certain that He Bailing would laugh at her if she did so.

At this time, He Bailing suddenly asked, "Yaoyao, have you read Stealing Jade yet?"

"Mhm."

"Who do you think should get the jade?"

Jun Zishu did not reply immediately. Instead, she fell silent as she pondered the question.

Stealing Jade was a short story about a businessman in the Yan Country acquiring a piece of beautiful jade. Le Yi from the Yan Country had expressed his desire to purchase the jade, so he first placed an order with the businessman. However, the deposit he paid was only a paltry amount.

Sometime later, Ying Jiu from the Qi Country also took a liking to the jade, and not only did he bring the full payment with him, but he even brought a little extra. This situation put the businessman in a predicament; he didn't know who to sell the jade to. Then, at this time, the jade suddenly went missing.

What happened next wasn't important since He Bailing only asked Jun Zishu who the businessman should give the jade to.

"I think that it should be given to Le Yi since he had made an order first. Business should be done on a first-come-first-served basis," He Bailing said, her voice taking on a softer tone.

"I don't think so. I have also read this story before," Qin Youran interjected, giving an opposite opinion. "I think it should be given to Ying Jiu. Not only did he bring the money with him, but he was also sincere in his offer. Any proper businessman would choose to sell their products to the highest bidder."

"But the businessman will lack integrity if he did something like that," He Bailing refuted, occupying the moral high ground.

"Le Yi only placed an order; he hasn't made the full payment yet. So, he cannot be considered the jade's owner. Wouldn't it be fine if the businessman sold the jade to Ying Jiu and returned Le Yi's deposit?"

"What if Le Yi later returns with even more money than Ying Jiu?"

"Wouldn't he still be late, then?"

He Bailing and Qin Youran went back and forth, both of them insisting on their respective opinions.

Eventually, they turned to Jun Zishu for a conclusion.

"The jade thief is merely putting on a self-directed act. There is no point in discussing this problem," Jun Zishu said.

This was a question that Jun Zishu could not answer no matter what. After all, the businessman in the story represented herself, while the jade represented friendship. She would be in a bad situation no matter who she decided to side with, so she chose to feign ignorance and brush over the question.

""Disregard the story's ending. I want to hear what you think.""

Qin Youran and He Bailing asked in unison, their voices superimposed over each other.

Jun Zishu fell silent, her head aching over this situation.

Just a moment ago, Qin Youran and He Bailing were still at loggerheads with each other. Yet, now, they had banded together to force an answer out of Jun Zishu.

Sisters, can't we just get along with each other? Why must you force me to make a choice? Can you even weigh friendship and a product on the same scale?

If Jun Zishu answered He Bailing's question from a businessman's perspective, she would sell the jade to Le Yi. It wouldn't matter even if the latter offers she received were more lucrative. As someone who worked in the field of business, she firmly believed in integrity.

Thus, a product should go to whoever bought it first.

Reputation was everything when doing business. It would be terrible if her company practiced dishonesty and news of it got out. In such a situation, if a rival company sold similar products to her company, customers definitely wouldn't prioritize her company when choosing who to do business with. After all, nobody liked to be cut off like a spare.

The businessman in Stealing Jade also had such considerations. However, he was also reluctant to give up on the extra profits he could make from Ying Jiu. Had the two customers visited his shop within the same time frame, he could've gone with the offer that netted him more profits without a guilty conscience. Unfortunately, that was not the case. One customer had placed an order on his product long before the second customer arrived.

After struggling for some time, the businessman decided to put on a self-directed act. He pretended as if the jade had been stolen, making it so that he couldn't sell the jade to anybody.

The end result of the businessman's actions was that the jade had gotten damaged while he was secretly transferring it to another place. As a result, the jade lost its value, and nobody would be willing to purchase it even if he tried to sell it again.

Under normal circumstances, Jun Zishu could've frankly said that the jade should go to Le Yi. However, if she did that, she would definitely upset Qin Youran.

So, what kind of answer should she give?

Even while Jun Zishu was immersed in her thoughts, Qin Youran and He Bailing did not stop their struggle with each other.

Qin Youran glared at He Bailing, and He Bailing responded with a smile full of provocation.

Just like how Qin Youran felt upset with He Bailing's presence, He Bailing also looked at Qin Youran with hostility in her eyes.

Fortunately, salvation came to Jun Zishu as someone knocked on the door at this time.

After three knocks, the door opened, and Qin Xiaoman's figure appeared behind it.

Jun Zishu let out a sigh of relief when she saw Qin Xiaoman.

Mommy, I love you! Even if you're not my real mother, you're my real mother from now on!

"Oh, how diligent of you three."

Qin Xiaoman was a little surprised when she saw that all three children were quietly reading in the room. She also couldn't help but be amazed by her daughter's ability to influence others. Qin Xiaoman knew that while her niece might be smart, the girl had never been keen on studying. Yet, now, Qin Youran was reading a book on a holiday.

"What's the matter, Auntie?"

Qin Youran stood up and used this opportunity to set aside the book in her hands. Even until now, she still had no idea what kind of book she had grabbed just now.

"It's nothing. I just came up to see if you three need anything. Do you want something to eat or drink?"

This was the first time Qin Xiaoman had entertained her daughter's friends, so she lacked experience in this field. Although one of her daughter's friends was her niece, the other was a person she was meeting for the first time. So, she felt that she should still practice etiquette.

"I want a glass of milk, Mommy."

"Okay, I'll have Aunt Liu bring it up to you later," Qin Xiaoman said. Then, she turned to He Bailing and asked, "What about you, Bailing?"

"I want a glass of milk as well, Auntie."

"Okay. What about you, Ranran? Do you want anything? You're not going to be considerate with me, right?"

"Of course not. What's there to be considerate with family? I don't feel like eating anything right now, so I'll have a glass of orange juice."

"Okay, right away. The cook has also prepared some pudding, so I'll have Aunt Liu bring it up together as well. If you don't like it, you can just leave it aside."

The three girls nodded. Then, Qin Xiaoman closed the door and left.

As soon as the door closed, the atmosphere in the room turned heavy again. It was as if the peace from before never existed.

Jun Zishu couldn't help but sigh when she felt two piercing gazes landing on her body.

Sisters, can't we just forget the incident just now? Can't we just read books in peace?

Little Fairy, what do you think I should do in this situation?

[Uh, I propose to side with the mission target. She is more important, after all.]

Little Fairy expressed her opinion after being abruptly called out.

But wouldn't I go OOC if I side with her? Going by the original owner's personality, I should flatly provide the answer that I think is correct.

[Then, go with your setting, Host.]

But I've already embarrassed her once just now. If I do it again, she would be angry at me and ignore me for a long time.

[Then...go with whatever you think is best, Host. However, I still think that the mission target is more important.]

Little Fairy felt that both of the arguments Jun Zishu proposed were reasonable. However, she felt that it'd be better if they placed priority on the mission target in this situation.

Then, all of a sudden, a solution came to Jun Zishu's mind as she said, "If I were the businessman, I would choose to keep my integrity and sell the jade to Le Yi. Then, I will find a jade that is equally precious for Ying Jiu. If I can't find one immediately, I will make a promise to do so."

As soon as Jun Zishu finished speaking, He Bailing's and Qin Youran's expressions changed several times. Eventually, though, their expressions relaxed.

Jun Zishu's words were beautiful, and the solution she proposed effectively soothed both sides.

[Your EQ has increased, Host!]

It has always been high, OK?

[OK.]

"What if the second customer insists on having that jade?" Qin Youran suddenly said with a rather playful expression.

"I'll have him negotiate with the first customer."

"What if the first customer refuses?"

"The jade is already the first customer's possession, so it has nothing to do with me anymore."

Jun Zishu put down the book in her hand and looked at her two friends, her face expressing her confusion about why they were behaving so insistently.

"So, you mean to say that since the jade already belongs to the first customer, even if the second customer wants it so badly that he is willing to steal it, you won't have any objections to it, right?" Qin Youran asked, narrowing her eyes.

"That is morally incorrect, so I disagree with such behavior. But why are you asking such a question? Does it have anything to do with the story?" Jun Zishu asked, frowning.

Jun Zishu couldn't afford to let this topic continue any further. The more questions He Bailing and Qin Youran asked, the more mistakes she would make until she eventually had to break character. And if she wanted to maintain her character setting, she would have to upset Qin Youran.

"Fine, let's end the topic here. Some things aren't as simple as buying an item, anyway," Qin Youran said with a bright smile.

He Bailing also opened her mouth to say something. However, before she managed to say anything, someone knocked on the door. When He Bailing stood up to get the door, she found a servant standing outside. The servant had brought two glasses of milk, one glass of orange juice, and several plates of puddings and cakes.

Hellscythe's Notes:

MCAB's first patreon goal (150$) has been met! So, expect to see two chapters released on Sundays from now on!

If you would like to read ahead and help increase release rates for MCAB, please consider subscribing to my patreon!

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Other novels I translate on Hosted Novel:
Pantsu Hero Alice (PHA)
Reincarnation of the Strongest Sword God (Side Stories)
After Being Bent By Reader (ABBR)(GL)
Written by 小吾君 Xiao Wu Jun. Translated by Hellscythe. Edited by Grammarly.