If not for the little bug's assistance, Li Du would have also been touched by the boss's sincerity. The man's acting was definitely superb.
Hans asked, "Is this a world renown Yuan Dynasty vase? I heard of them when I was in Los Angeles. How much does it cost?"
Once the stall holder realized this question regarded its price, he immediately became lively and said, "According to market price, it costs at least 500,000. However, as fate has brought us together, I will give you guys a discount, 400,000 RMB. When converted to USD, it is less than 80,000 dollars."
Li Du inhaled a breath of cold air. Vicious enough.
He released the little bug and used its ability to turn back time. The first thing to appear was a ceramic workshop, which had a small traditional kiln with a blazing fire and two middle-aged men using potter's wheels in it.
There was a house number on the door of the workshop. After taking a detailed look at the house number, Li Du could see a village and town address on it.
He used his cellphone and went online to check on the place before speaking to the stall owner, who was ceaselessly introducing the Yuan Dynasty vase. "Boss, frankly speaking, my friend is interested in your item. One hundred dollars, how's that?"
The stall owner, who was recounting how hard it had been for him to obtain the Yuan Dynasty vase, was stunned. After which, he suddenly looked calm and said, "Are you here to amuse me?"
Li Du smiled. "Weren't you also ceaselessly amusing us earlier? Where is this item from? Found it from a tomb of a Yuan Dynasty general that was discovered in Nan He?"
He knocked on the vase using his finger, which gave off some bang sounds before continuing to speak. "From its accent, I don't think it's from the Nan He region. It seems to be from the Xi Shan region."
Since their stalls had no business, a few stall owners, who were in the vicinity, were looking at the commotion. After hearing Li Du's words, they sniggered for a while.
A stall owner giggled from across the street, "Old fella, you have met an expert!"
The stall owner, who had a cold "you guys have humiliated me" look on his face earlier, also laughed and said, "Young fella, you are very humorous."
A stall owner who was at the side said, "Young man, come to my stall and have a look. I have genuine goods here, Ming and Qing Dynasty enamel porcelain bottles and legitimate Yuan Datou. Come, come over and have a look."
Another stall owner said, "Young man, are you the translator for the foreigner? You come over to my place and we strike a deal together to rob him, how's that? The money we earn will be split 50-50."
After Li Du released the little bug, it flew one round above the few stalls. As there was absolutely nothing that interested the little bug, it was evident that everything was fake.
Having lost interest in the stall owner, Li Du said a few mocking remarks to the few stall owners before leaving with Hans.
After leaving the few stalls, Hans said, "So disappointing. Those are all fakes, right? The porcelain and bronze ware is all fake."
"You were able to tell from looking?" Li Du asked.
Hans replied, "Is there even a need to look? After hearing the prices they had set and adding them up, the total value of the items in their stalls are more than a hundred million. Who would dare to place assets that are worth more than a hundred million outside?"
Li Du laughed loudly and said, "You are right, but not everything is fake."
Subsequently, the little bug found some items that it was interested in, which was a stack of small wooden blocks. The wooden blocks were about the size of Li Du's palm and were around the thickness of an Apple iPhone. There were ten wooden blocks in total.
When Li Du used the ability to turn back time, the wooden blocks in the first scene that appeared had already been completed. Currently, the little bug was able to turn back time by nearly 200 years.
In other words, the wooden blocks had at least a 200-year history and were definitely legitimate antiques.
The outer surfaces of the ten wooden blocks were engraved with complex portraits that could be joined together into what seemed like a story.
The wooden blocks, which were placed in front of the stall owner, were all very well-protected inside a foam box that was wrapped with plastic wrap.
Li Du squatted and asked about a few different items first. The boss was also talking his head off and the prices that he'd quoted were all tens of thousands of dollars.
After which, he asked the stall owner, "How much do these small wooden blocks cost? They look pretty interesting."
When he made to touch them while he was speaking, the stall owner stopped him and smiled. "Sorry guys, can't touch these. This is a Qing Dynasty woodblock print called, 'Gengzhi Tu.'"
"How much does it cost?" Li Du asked.
The stall owner replied, "500,000. No bargaining."
Li Du smiled. "You allowed me to touch the light green, glazed double vase that is worth more than a million. Why can't I touch the woodblock print that is worth only 500,000?"
The stall owner also laughed and waved his hand. "If you buy this set of woodblock prints, I will give you the double vase."
After hearing his words, Li Du understood his meaning.
Apparently, the stall owner could tell that Li Du was considered an expert and was not easy to fool. Having known that the set of woodblock prints were genuine, he exposed Li Du's intentions and hence, Li Du was unable to purchase them for a bargain.
Li Du felt that it was not worth spending 500,000 dollars in exchange for a little bit of time energy for the little bug to absorb. With such a huge antique street, there were a lot more items that the little bug could absorb time energy from.
However, after walking around the street once, he realized that he was mistaken. In truth, even though the little bug was interested in quite a few items, he was unable to get them for a bargain.
The stall owners' genuine items were all placed in the most conspicuous areas as the stalls' treasures and a large sum of money had been spent to purchase them.
Moreover, as they took advantage of the scarcity of the items and overpriced them, their prices were a little too much for Li Du to stomach.
In the meantime, Li Du had also gained a few items. He had spent a total of approximately 20,000 dollars on the purchase of a few Qing Dynasty Kangxi and Yong Zheng Tong Bao coins and two seals to fill the stomach of the little bug.
As he was unsatisfied with gaining so little, he went into the antique shops on the two sides of the street after he'd finished looking through all the stalls. Even though there were more items inside the shops, their genuine items were priced higher.
After entering an antique shop, the little bug flew around excitedly. Compared to the small stalls outside, there were more genuine items in the antique shops. The genuine items were what the shops depended on to uphold their reputation.
Possibly due to there being a lot of people who also knew that the items inside were expensive, there were much fewer customers entering the antique shops than there were on the street.
According to Li Du's knowledge, the majority of people visiting the antique street were tourists, who had no intention of buying an antique as they did not have the ability to do so.
The target of the majority of the tourists were fake antiques, which they bought as a souvenir. As the genuine items in the shops were too expensive, they were unable to buy them.
After asking about a few items, Li Du was a little intimidated by the quoted prices.
"This is a Ming Yongle gold-plated copper statue of the Medicine Buddha. Its price is 1,200,000."
"Hi, this is a famous expert's hand-written transcript of the 'Sutra of the Vows of the Medicine Buddha of Lapis Lazuli Radiance.' Its price is 250,000 dollars."
"Sir, this is Song Dynasty Ding Kiln carved lotus dish, our shop's treasure. It is only for admiring and is not for sale."
After Li Du entered another shop and released the little bug, the little bug flew straight toward a rather large porcelain vase. The vase, which was very hefty, had been placed at the door as a door stopper.
Evidently, since the vase was being used as a door stopper, the shop owner thought very little of it. On the other hand, the little bug was very fond of the vase. After discovering the vase, the little bug flew toward it as though it had gone mad.
In addition, when the little bug had flown to the front of the vase, it did not lie on the surface of the vase like it had earlier after discovering the other antiques. Instead, the little bug continued to burrow inside before stopping when its entire body, which was the length of a thumb, had pretty much burrowed into the vase.