The Great Worm Lich Chapter 22
In the VIP room, the manager-on-duty was a middle-aged man with powdered face and sleek hair in a suit. Seeing that the lady brought Zhang Lisheng and Tao Lielin into his territory, he asked enthusiastically, "Please take a seat, dear sirs."
"Yaodi, which kind of service does these two sirs are looking at?"
"Manager Zhang, these two guests came to our bank to apply for Golden Wheat Card. The depositing amount is 700,000 yuan." The lady named Yaodi, replied while smiling.
The middle-aged man nodded and showed a thumbs up to Yaodi secretly, then said to Tao Lielin in a formal manner, "Sir, I'm Zhang Jiulin, the VIP manager of the Damu Town Business Hall Agricultural Bank of China, Sichuan branch. My employee number is 09878, I'm honored to be at your service today"
Tao Lielin was stunned for a second and said while pointing at Zhang Lisheng. "It's not me who is applying for the card, it's him. I don't have so much money lying around."
"Him?" Zhang Jiulin said with his eyes wide-opened, "People under 16 can't apply for such a consumer card."
"This sir had turned 16 this July," Yaodi answered on behalf of Zhang Lisheng.
Tao Lielin who was standing beside him added immediately, "But Shan Chongzi doesn't have an ID card, his father didn't have it either. I've only brought his household registration, recommendation letter and official seal from the village."
"Manager Zhang, please see what you can do."
Zhang Jiulin smiled with relief and said, "Sir, don't worry. To high-end customers who are applying for Golden Wheat Card, the only request from our bank is to show the ID card to prove that the client is already 16 years old."
"There's no need to show other documents or proofs."
"That said, you'll just have to hand me the 700,000 yuan that you're depositing to the household registration and I'll apply the card for you immediately."
"Really? Why is it different from what I heard?" Tao Lielin asked in doubt.
"Aren't we continuously bringing improvement in service?" Zhang Jiulin answered with a customary smile.
Just like that, as the service that he was applying for was a high-end application with a certain amount of cash, Zhang Lisheng who was under 18, and did not apply for an ID card received the very first credit card in his life, without having to go through any obstacles.
As he received the little silver card from Zhang Jiulin's hand, he said, "Thank you." He then put it into his pocket carefully, after touching it thoroughly.
Zhang Lisheng was relieved as soon as he walked out of the bank. He conveniently tossed the wooden box that he brought along with him into the trashcan by the street and said, "Uncle Ah Lie, I would like to go to the supermarket to buy some food, toothpaste, and soap on my own. Can I?"
Although Tao Lielin began to call Zhang Lisheng 'Shan Chongzi' again, in reality, he had treated him as an adult who held a higher status completely. He smiled, as he answered, "Sure, I'll wait for you at the tea shed at the town entrance."
After Tao Lielin left, Zhang Lisheng walked onto the busy streets of Damu Town on his own. However, he did not go to the supermarket in town. Instead, he walked into a Miao Pharmacy whose exterior was old.
The store was small, the four walls were darkened from the fuming of the herb pots. There was a rough porcelain herb pot containing herbs placed in the middle of the pharmacy, which was the ancient way of how a pharmacy was presented.
The herb pot was as tall as a person's height, while the pot mouth was over one meter wide. Under the herb pot was a Miaowei old man with gray hair who looked low-spirited, and often dozing off. He was fanning the charcoal stove occasionally with a cattail-leaf fan.
There was a pot filled with herbs, cooking on the stove.
The old Miaowei man's eyes lit up when he saw a customer walked in, and he was going to stand up.
However, when he realized that the customer was a young man who looked extremely poor, he held his head down with low spirit again.
Zhang Lisheng did not mind the pharmacy owner's cold treatment. He sniffed the herb fragrance in the store and asked, "Boss, do you have ginseng leaves, wintersweet roots, turmeric and dense flower Bulbophyllum herb?"
"Yes." Hearing that the young man before him was asking for over thirty to forty types of herbs, the old Miaowei man put down his cattail-leaf fan and looked at him properly.
"I want authentic wild ones."
"Wild herbs are expensive you know?"
"It's alright if it's expensive, as long as they're authentic."
"If I tell you that the I want 100g dry herbs for each of those that I've mentioned just now, how much would that be?"
The old Miaowei man calculated for a while and said, "It'll be 2,400 yuan."
"Wrap them up for me and throw in 10 red-banded snakes as well." Zhang Lashing nodded and opened the zip on the inner pocket of his working clothes. He passed the money to the old Miaowei man after taking out 24 pieces of 100 yuan in cash, "You look like an old Miaowei people from the mountain land, these herbs must be authentic from the wild."
"I'll be mad if they're not, and ruined my plan."
The old Miaowei man took the money and said after calculating as well and checked as if they were real, "You're not one of those apathetic kids who traveled here outside of the mountain, why would I lie to you?"
After finishing what he said, he walked to the corner of the wall in a wobbly manner and carried a dirty wooden bench over. He stepped on the wooden bench and opened the wooden cover of the huge herb pot.
He then used a long wooden spoon and scooped herb powder from the bamboo tubes that were filled with herbs in the herb pot. Later on, he wrapped each of them properly in rough straw papers and put it into a small yellow plastic bag, together with the red-banded snakes.
The old Miaowei man passed the plastic bag to Zhang Lisheng and said with a draggy tone, "Wild ginseng leaves, wintersweet roots, turmeric 100g of each dry herbs. They're all authentic products from the mountain, here you go."
The herbs that Zhang Lisheng bought this time played a major part in his plan. He opened the plastic bag in concern after taking it over from the old man and randomly poked open one of the paper bags with his finger. He dipped some of the brownish-black powder that leaked out of the paper bag. He sniffed first then tasted it.
The powder's taste was unpleasant where there was a thick fishy and bitterness among the sour powder. It had caused Zhang Lisheng's features to pucker into one on his face.
"Kid, you don't trust the medicine from me, Kabian Daliu? So what did you found out after pretending to taste it?" Seeing that Zhang Lisheng was secretly in grief, he made fun of him while smiling.
"I've tasted 15-year-old pyrolusite, this is good stuff."'Ptooey ptooey', Zhang Lisheng spitted a few times and said unclearly with his numb tongue while smiling.
"Oohh, kid you're an expert!"
"Nah I'm not an expert, I just knew some of the medicine and herbs." Zhang Lisheng said politely while shaking his head. He then tied the plastic bag containing the herbs again, turned around and left the Miao Pharmacy.
Zhang Lisheng arrived at a supermarket in a town called Jiahe, after walking 300 to 400 meters west.
It was a good name, but this supermarket was actually a combination of a few small stores that used to sell sundry goods connected together by removing the walls in between. All they did was putting up the goods onto the shelves for the customers to select for themselves. It was not comparable with the real large-scale hypermarket in the cities.
However, they considered having a very complete selection of dairy products.
Zhang Lisheng picked over 10 catties of dried beef, a few packets of seasonings and washing products, such as soap. After paying, the Miaowei girl who was the cashier gave him a complimentary bamboo basket.
It was so much more convenient with the bamboo basket. After putting the plastic bag containing herbs at the bottommost, and putting in the rest of the stuff, Zhang Lisheng carried the bamboo basket on his back and walked out of the supermarket.
The quaint stone roads in town were filled with tourists walking up in the town with backpacks and travel caps of all sorts. Among the tourists were some villagers dressed in colorful Miaowei and Bai Yi traditional costumes, who seemed like they had nothing to do. They brightened up the crowd with their colorful costumes.
In reality, ever since the Red Revolution spread across the Western Sichuan land, the Miaowei and Bai Yi people had gotten rid of the bulky ethnic costumes that were complicated to wear. They were wearing it now just for the sake of the subsidy given by the government.
Zhang Lisheng arrived at the town entrance carrying the bamboo basket following the stone roads. He soon noticed Tao Lielin who was sitting at the tea shed in a field area over 10 meters away.
The tea shed was filthy, the people who were there to rest their feet and drink tea dressed similarly to those common farmers in the Central China provinces. They were making loud noises and 'slurppp' as they gulped the tea, and they were yelling at each other when they spoke. They sounded like they were fighting.
The usual tourists would think that everyone who was sitting there were all laborers from other provinces, to make a living in this emerging little town's construction team. They would never go near to the tea shed.
The time was close to noon. Tao Lielin who was just feeling impatient after drinking two big pots of tea saw Zhang Lisheng walking towards him from far away. He immediately went towards him, "Shan Chongzi, why did you buy so many goods?"
"I bought more dried beef so that I won't have to come to town again throughout this month."
"In the future, tell your Uncle Ah Lie if you wanted to come to town, okay?"
"Uncle Ah Lie, I shouldn't trouble you often."
"Alright then, since I've gotten the goods that I need, let's head back to the village."
"Please give me a minute." Tao Lielin walked to the side of the tea shed after speaking and pushed out his motorcycle.
After Zhang Lisheng sat on the back while carrying the bamboo basket, Tao Lielin started his motorcycle engine and sped towards Guawo Village.
When they arrived at the mountain village, Zhang Lisheng carried the bamboo basket back home, while Tao Lielin rushed towards Ermu's house in excitement.
Ermu was a smart man, as he would be the first to drive his truck into Damu Town to sell mountain goods as well as soliciting from the tourist illegally, which earned him quite some money. He built a three-story bamboo house using steel replica at the far border of the mountain village as well as making a circle of the yard.
Unfortunately, he was addicted to gambling later on, which brought him onto the path of darkness that had no return. At that moment, the family's breadwinner was lost. The family was in misery.
The matter that was more concerning was that after the attempt of inviting a couple of families to the funeral, nobody, even none from their relatives came to help. That indicated that the entire Guawo Village did not treat this family as part of the village anymore. Perhaps, the family might be completely isolated in the future.
Under such condition, one could imagine how surprised Ermu's family was seeing Tao Lielin, who was one of the persons in charge of the village, walked into their house's courtyard without even knocking on the door.
After the entire family was stunned, Ermu's 60-year-old father who looked senile stood up hastily and said, "Nephew Lin, oh no-no, Chief Tao is here. Take a seat please."
"My son was a huge disappointment, who displeased our Miaowei Land"
"Uncle Doushu, don't worry about it. Ermu was Ermu, you are you. Don't mix it up."
"I'm here for something urgent, let's skip the formality. I remember your family has a young mule, bring it quickly, because I'll bring it to the Zhang family's house to invite them to the funeral."
"Invite the Zhang family to the funeral?!" He Doushu asked in shock.
That's right, delay no more. Let's go together with a mule."
"Sure, sure. I'll bring the animal now, and get Ermu's wife to invite the Zhang family to the funeral together with her child."
"Nephew Lin, it must be you who made the effort to convince the Zhang family to do that. You've saved our family"
Seeing the old He Doushu with tears rolling in his eyes, Tao Lielin waved his hands continuously and said, "Uncle, it's nothing big. I've said before that Ermu was Ermu, and you are you"