Chapter 224: Entering the City [Part 2]
After authenticating their IDs, Cillin walked out of the public transport station while carrying Chang Seven and walked some distance down the route he inquired about earlier. A corner later, he saw a taxi parked beside the road.
Cillin beckoned the taxi over and gave a location name.
“300,” said the driver without even bothering to look behind and face him.
300… It was no wonder no one from the commoner zone dared to enter the city before this. They couldn’t even afford a taxi ride.
After Cillin paid the taxi fare, the driver finally started the engine slowly and with a reluctant look on his face.
Right now, traffic inside the city was controlled very strictly, so it took nearly an hour to reach the place Cillin had mentioned. The hour wasn’t particularly long or short, and perhaps the driver himself happened to be bored at the time. Anyway, he found a random topic and started talking with Cillin, and although he was the one who initiated the conversation his tone was truly unpleasant. There was an obvious sense of superiority behind every word he spoke.
“You’re here to test your luck too, aren’t you?” asked the driver. There was a note of ridicule in his voice.
“We’re not, actually. The shop’s running out of supplies, and I’m here to buy some parts.” Cillin smiled as he answered as if he didn’t notice the driver’s discriminatory tone.
Surprisingly, the driver was apparently familiar with his trade because he let out an exclamation of realization when he heard this, “Oh, so that’s why you’re here. I suppose I should commend you for being smart enough to stay out of this matter. After all, why will a noble ever choose a commoner to serve them? What a hilarious notion!”
Cillin didn’t say anything. The driver then started talking about some troubles the commoners caused due to their ‘delusion’ after they entered the city as if he was trying to persuade Cillin to not make the same mistake. Cillin simply smiled and gave a non committal response from time to time without expressing an opinion, although it was likely that the driver wasn’t actually expecting a response to begin with. He was simply talking to himself.
The flying car finally reached the location Cillin had mentioned; a market that sells parts. To the higher class citizens of the city, this place counted as part of the city center. However, they didn’t visit here often because their flying cars were delivered directly to repair shops if they broke down. They couldn’t be bothered to care about the parts that were used in the process.
The citizens with lower living standards still bought the important parts personally, however. After all, it was cheaper to buy them separately. In fact, those who were poor would even sneak their way to the commoner zone to get their flying cars repaired.
A repair using the same parts cost up to 3 times higher in the city than in the commoner zone. Therefore, even though the quality of repairs might be better inside the city, the people with low income preferred to repair their cars cheaply if possible.
The parts market was bustling with a lot more activity than the Repair Street. A single glance from outside the market was enough for Cillin to spot many high end parts sold within the shops. Moreover, the shops were decorated a lot more lavishly, and the parts they sold were absolutely expensive.
Cillin’s main interest lay in second hand parts. Suppose he bought first hand parts for Old Chang’s shop, Old Chang’s customers might actually be turned off by the increased repair costs.
The surrounding people cast Cillin disdainful glances as he walked towards the second hand parts shop.
“It’s obvious he’s from the commoner zone, so how is he going to buy anything here without money?”
“He’s destined to buy second hand parts for life.”
“Tsk, just ignore that commoner, will you? Why don’t we talk about the time we went to the casino instead…”
These people’s voices weren’t obvious amidst a noisy environment, but Cillin still heard them crystal clear. He ignored their comments completely.
Cillin entered a second hand parts shop. To be honest, this shop appeared the same as all the other shops around the area. But if he had to give a reason as to why he chose to visit this particular shop, it would be that he liked the order placement of the parts better than others. There were a lot of parts seller who didn’t necessarily understand the exact usage of their goods, so the way they ordered their parts were mostly up to their individual preferences. In short, the parts were put on display however they liked it to be.
But the way this shop owner ordered his parts and put them on display were different from others. From an amateur’s point of view, the shop owner’s sense of aestheticism appeared to be lacking because the parts were displayed in distasteful order. However, a veteran in the repair trade would realize that these parts were arranged so that they could be put together and assembled in perfect order. This meant that the shop owner truly knew his stuff in terms of repairs.
When Cillin walked into the shop, the shop owner was busy drawing something on the table. He didn’t pay much attention to the customers who just walked in. There were only 2 rough-looking service robots serving the customers, and every part were labeled with a fixed price. They were non-negotiable.
This shop didn’t have many customers. In fact, it was less popular than the rest of the shops out there, although the shop owner didn’t seem to mind. Cillin noticed that he wasn’t drawing on an electronic tablet, but on papers, and from time to time he would frown or break into smiles suddenly. There were a few customers who planned to chat a little while with the shop owner, but when they saw his weird appearance they canceled the thought and left the place immediately.
The shop owner was a somewhat portly middle-aged man. He didn’t seem to notice his customers’ departure at all as he continued to work on his paper.
When he was outside the shop, Cillin had only given the goods displayed outside a single glance. But now that he was inside, he noticed that some small parts were arranged in a specific order too. It was noticeable that the shop owner was somewhat stubborn when it came to the arrangement order of parts.
Cillin put down Chang Seven and checked out the price of several parts he needed. They were okay; at the very least they weren’t expensive as the shops he saw earlier. However, the prices of the parts in those shops were slightly more expensive, but negotiable. Here, everything only had one final price, and there were some parts that shared nearly the same price as the initial prices of those shops. It was no wonder that this shop wasn’t frequented much by customers.
A few more people left while Cillin was inspecting the part racks, so he and Chang Seven became the final customers to linger inside the shop. The shop became a lot quieter. The service robots had come over to provide them with service, but they didn’t explain the function of the parts put on display.
After surveying the entire shop one time, Cillin told the service robot, “I want an inner box rotator’s number 3 blade, a JVII primary exciter, a coil of PV5 metal contact wire…”
One of the robots started picking up the parts as Cillin told them his needs.
Suddenly, the shop owner who was busy doing his own thing abruptly looked up at Cillin with sparkling eyes. He let out a laugh and put down his pencil, saying, “I see you’re an expert in this!”
The portly shop owner turned around and told the robot that was picking up the parts, “Give him a 20% discount.”
Cillin looked at the portly shop owner in astonishment. He’s an interesting one alright.
The portly shop owner walked over and cast a glance at Cillin and Chang Seven staring curiously at the 2 service robots. He then took out a sealed bag of sweets from his pocket and passed it to Chang Seven. Although the offer caused Chang Seven gulped down his saliva, he didn’t accept it. Instead, he turned to look at Cillin.
“Take it. It’s a gesture of kindness,” said Cillin.
It was only then Chang Seven accepted the bag of sweets and thanked the shop owner politely, “Thank you, uncle!”
“Oh, it’s not a problem at all,” The portly shop owner chuckled while rubbing his own round, fat belly, “I have a habit of eating sweets whenever I’m thinking something since they give me the energy required to solve the questions in my head. That’s why I always put a bag of sweets in my pockets every time I’m drawing. That’s how my belly came to be, hehe.”
This portly shop owner might appear to be cold earlier, but it was obvious that he was actually a lively person the moment he opened his mouth.
Cillin noticed that the sweet wrap didn’t look cheap. Perhaps this bag of sweets was worth the price of one good second hand part already. It would appear that this shop owner had a bit of background.
The shop owner then chatted with Cillin a little about parts. Normally, the portly shop owner didn’t show anyone who knows this trade a bad attitude. He didn’t look down on Cillin even after he proclaimed himself to be a so-called commoner from the commoner zone either. In fact, he seemed to regard Cillin quite highly.
“I know that there are some people with real skills in that Repair Street outside the city. My father used to tell me this: the commonfolk is where geniuses lie.”
Cillin smiled and didn’t respond to his comment.
The portly shop owner chatted with Cillin about flying car repairs for a little, but his expression suddenly turned gloomy in the blink of an eye, “I actually made a few models a few days ago, but I couldn’t show you my hard work now because they were smashed by some people. Maybe you can give me some inspiration when you see them? Inspiration is such a fickle mistress, she never shows during a critical moment!”
Cillin thought that the portly shop owner was quite special as he listened to his complains. He loved flying cars very much, or more accurately speaking, he loved designing flying cars very much. But his family looked down on his hobby and sent people to screw him over from time to time, so the models he spent much work to create were destroyed in the process. The portly shop owner only managed to keep his shop after threatening his family with his own life.
After the robot was done packing Cillin’s parts and passing the bag to him, Cillin then bid the shop owner goodbye. He still had things to do. The portly shop owner told Cillin to visit him the next time he return to the city. Perhaps he would be able to show his newly created flying car models then.
After Cillin left, he went to a general hospital near the city center to learn about various things.
Not far away from the hospital, 2 men stood inside a different building. It was none other than the 2 people whom the leaders of the planetary government had treated respectfully earlier.
“Is that the boy?”
“Yeah, our prince is experiencing life in his house right now.”
“Haah, I guess our prince will be experiencing the life of the poor this time. I suppose it’s commendable that the Blazing Eagle royal family has produced a freak that can eat both delicacies and trash.”
“Life of the poor? Not necessarily, no. From what I learned, our visit to the city has caused some noise in the commoner zone, and that repair shop is booming with business as a result. I doubt he’ll be eating poor until the day he leaves.”
“When will the men the prince mentioned be moved over?”
“It’ll happen in a few days.”