Disciples Of Card 卡徒 By Fang Xiang
Chapter 1 Cards for a living
The nib swept lightly over a caesious card. The thin blue lines run smoothly under the tip of the pen, and with the grew of pale blue lines in the card, a complicated pattern became flawless gradually.
Chen Mu's eyes were fixed on the card intently, with gently breathed, as he was afraid of scaring something. On closer inspection, Chen's right arm never moved, he only uesd his wrist to paint. His right wrist was as flexible as a snake, and soft as boneless.
Chen put it on a pile of cards casually, his movements were natural and skilful. His face remained focused as he finsihed the card, and he had only fifteen cards now, ten short of today's task. He was currently working on a one-star energy card, as a kind of lowest level energy card, it was the most widely used and consumed cards. But at that time, the room was covered by darkness.
'Damn it, the energy card is done again!' Chen muttered, as he took an one-star energy card from the heap. Then, with a gentle push on his right wrist, the Du Yi on his right wrist emitted a bright light. With help of the light, Chen step towards the corner carefully, the room was a mess so that he didn't want to knock anything. There was a square meter on the wall in the corner, Chen put his energy card into a slot in the meter.
With the card putted in the slot, the was restored to light. The instrument showed a number of 100, Chen didn't expect to run out of the energy, it seems that he had to paint one more card today. Back to his desk, Chen quickly plunged into work, his life relying on the lowest energy card. Since he learned to make these cards three years ago, he had never stopped working 25 cards each day.
Chen Mu's room was very narrow, less than 40 square meters, and there was an old desk. Expect the desk, the room was full of clutter-- piles of old books and scattered materials.
He lived in this humble place for three years. This is a special federal relief room, a small room like this can be rented by only a hundred and fifty Odi a month. For a poor man like Chen, there was no place like this. What's more, it was much better for him. He had even seen the whole family of four lived in the same size of a room.
At 5 p.m.,Chen finally finished his work --25energy cards. he counted the cards carefully, to make sure the number was correct, then he placed the energy card into the pocket of his clothes charily.
On the street, the night was getting heavey. The lights were dazzling in the night, and the fire from the shuttle car's tail, which flew by from time to time in the sky. Chen tightened his coat and looked up at the sky, the cold was getting worse, it seems that winter is coming. But there was no extra thought to lament the passage of time, heating is a more consumption, Chen calculated in the heart.
Passing by the back door of Dong Wei college, Chen had been walking for three years, but every time he saw those students coming in and out together, his heart still cannot help but felt a strange emotion. After straightening up his mood, Chen quickly walked towards a small shop next to the college, which called 'Dong Wei grocery store'--there were at least 20 similar shops with the same name around Dong Wei college. For three years, Chen came to the shop every day, rain or shine. But he didn't come here to buy anything. Instead, he came her to sell the energy cards.
As soon as he came in, the owner noticed and sid, ' ah, here you are, Mu.'
'En, uncle Hua.' He answered the shopkeeper. Uncle Hua, the owner of the shop, was an old man in fifties, the years had left an indelible mark on him. The wrinkles, half white hair, wearing the reading glasses.
'There were today's cards.' Chen put the package out of his clothes carefully, pulled out the stack of energy cards, and handed it to uncle Hua '25.' he said.
Uncle Hua took the cards and put it on the shelf, then he said with a smile, ' thank you for sending the cards everyday, otherwise i'll be short of supplies here.'
Chen smiled, but did not answer, he knew uncle Hua was joking. One-star energy card was the cheapest energy card and also one of the most consumed cards, what's more, located near Dong Wei college, how can only sell 25 energy cards a day?
Uncle Hua also knew the temper of Chen Mu, didn't talk nonsense, asked directly, ' cash or transfer?' ' transfer.' chen answered simply, and then handed a pale green Odi card to uncle Hua. After the settlement, Chen Mu said goodbye and wanter to leave.
Uncle Hua stopped Chen suddenly and said, 'wait a scend, Mu.'
Chen Mu stopped and turned to look at uncle Hua with a little surprise, ' is there anything else, uncle?'
Uncle Hua took out a goose yellow paper from the drawer and looked at Chen Mu with a smile, ' I almost forgot, this is a certificate for card maker training's class, it was attached by a dealer yesterday. It's just a piece of paper for me, but I think it can help you, take it, Mu.'
Looking at uncle Hua, Chen was moved, he knew how much the old man helped him over the years and without him, Chen Mu believed that the current life was also out of reach for him.
Three years ago, when he first learned to make one-star energy card and peddled them aroud, but few people were interested and no one were willing to buy it. The amount of one-star energy cards required was so large that businesses were more willing to buy them in large quantities. What's more, Chen Mu can only make 30 cards in a day at most. For businesses, this is too few.
Fortunately, he met uncle Hua. Uncle Hua agreed to buy his energy card, but the price of each card was 103 Odi, two Odi less than the wholesale price. Even so, Chen is grateful to uncle Hua.
Four years ago, Chen was a homeless boy who living in a shelter. Once, he met a card maker, a dying card maker. He used food which saved for 5 moths in exchange for a seven-day extension of the card maker's life. Over the course of seven days, he learned the skill of making an one-star energy card. When the card maker died, he left nothing for Chen Mu. Chen Mu buried him in a deserted suburb. He did not know the name of the card maker, but his fate began to change.
He spent a year trying his best to do short-time work, during this time he did six different kinds of work, in that year, he was only 12 years old. It was also in this year that he finally had a small savings. a thousand Odi. He bought all the ingredients for the energy card. The teacher told him that the wholesale price of one-star energy card in market was 105 Odi, and the retail price is 110 Odi, while the cost only need 98 Odi.
An one-star energy can be made by every card maker, but not many people knew the difference between the price and cost, and even if they knew, few people will think of making money from it. One-star energy card is one of the simplest card, it has been fully industrial production, and even a master card maker can only make 20 to 30 each day, the output is really small. Besides, for card makers, they have 100 ways to make money instead of making one-star energy card. But for Chen Mu, the money was enough to feed him.
He only made eight for the first time, losing almost 200 Odi, but that gave him hope. However, he was hindered from selling energy cards. The merchants were not interested in the few energy cards he had. He ran all day without eating, when hen entered uncle Hua's shop at 8 p.m., his leg were tremling and he almost reach the edge of a coma after not getting any rice and water all day.
The price of 103 Odi was lower than the wholesale price of 105 Odi, but Chen feels overwhelmed with joy. He sold all his energy cards, bought the cheapest food, and used all the rest of the money for the materials.
After that, Chen's life finally settled dowm.
Twenty-five energy cards a day, he didn't break one day.
Three years passed in a hurry, in this three years, he just made on card-- one-star energy card. In the following year, he was able to keep costs at 97 Odi, it was only one Odi in difference, but it was a great encouragement to Chen Mu. In addition to making the energy card, he spent all his time studing how to reduce costs.
Finally in the third year, the cost of card controlled by him in 95 Odi, each card he can gain 8 Odi, he can earn 200 Odi each day steadily, which he couldn't imagine three years ago. The monthly income of 6000 Odi had enabled him to live a normal life, but he continued to live in the alms-house, which required only 150 Odi a month.
Come back to earth, Chen Mu smiled to uncle Hua and said,' Thank you, uncle Hua', then he took the card in his pocket carefully.
Training courses, especially those for card makers, were among the most prevalent for now. They are oftern in the advertising of stunning, such as this courses' certificate said ' Dong Wei college admit degree' or ' Dong Wei college senior professor teach' . In fact, Chen Mu knew clearly what is inside, the training institutions will pay a part of money to Dong Wei college so as they can maintain this nominal relationship.
However Chen was still willing to listen to what they said in the training class. Making cards is one of the most difficult knowledge, he had no given up self-study for these years, but little effect. It was not until last year that he understood what was going on about making card. He had such a poor foundation, during more than 10 years of wondering, he has never received any education.
For a teenager without any foundation, it was difficult to teach himself to make cards, which is famous for its difficulty and obscurity. He had no doube for his talent, however, that he could learn to make one-star energy card in a week from memory alone, and the card maker also praised him for his talent.
From then on, he set aside the goal, which was temporarily too high for him, and began to turn to the most basic theory. No matter how tired he was at work every day, he will find time to learn the boring knowledge.
After saying goodbye to uncle Hua, Chen Mu walked south along an alley. It's Saturday, he had another job.
After walking through two streets for about 20 minutes, he came to a second-hand junk card shop.
'Hi, man!' he was greeted by a thin, black, who named Xiao Hei. He was also the owner of the acquistion site. Chen came here every Saturday and Sunday night for a three-hour short-job.
Chen Mu nodded slightly towards Xiao Hei, but his face was still indifferent.
Xiao Hei had become accustomed to Chen's face. When Chen came here to ask for a short-job, Xiao Hei had refused firstly. Since the site had been run by his father, they never hired anyone.
Recruiting? He had no spare money.
But when Chen said he would not pay, Xiao Hei finally agreed. Of course, Chen is still paid something, he usually choosed some old cards to take away as his wages. Sometimes Chen will pick out a few unused energy cards from the waste piles. Xiao Hei calculate by himself, he saved alot of money on the energy every month. However, he was a little curious about the reticent Chen. How did he knew that there was still energy left in these cards?
Since then, however, he has been smiling at Chen Mu every time.
Chen crouched down and began to sort the piles of old cards. There were many kinds of cards, including energy cards, object cars, simulacra cards, and even some rare botanical cards. But all the cards here were useless, and what Chen needs to do is sort then out.
The work went on so fast that it became apparent that he was very familiar with it.
Chen Mu turned over his wrist and threw a card to Xiao Hei ' Well, this card can use for a while.' With at least half energy in the two-star energy card, Chen couldn't figure out why the original owner had wasted it. The capacity of a two-star energy card is 1000, which means, there was almost 500 energy in it.
' Hey, thanks, brother.' Xiao Hei looks at the card, smiled, and ran to the meter then inserted the card, when he saw the number '523' on it, he laughed so hard that his face almost crumpled.
Chen did not pay attention to it, and he did it single- mindedly. Although some of the old mid-level cards, such as three-star or four-star cards. But to him, it was of little value. The only thing he was interested in right now is a one-star energy card.
Three years of making cards gave him an different cognition about the lowest level card. There were more than one way to make an one-star energy card, Chen had collected 12 different ways to make one-star energy card from here. Chen Mu was inspired by the various structures. It was because he borrowed some skills from these structures that he succedded in reducing the cost of makeing one-star energy card to 95 Odi. But such good fortune did not come every day, and so far he had only collected twelve.
But good luck today.
Looking at the one-star energy card in his hand, it is a new structure that Chen never met from the surface texture.
He put the card aside and went on digging. There were too many one-star energy cards, but Chen goes to great lengths to check them out. He was so fast that he could tell if he wanted it by simply touching the card.
All of these came from his familiarity with the one-star energy card. This kind of understanding is made continuously for three years and left. He didn't need to see, he can judge whether a star energy card just by feeling. whether the structure of the cards he hade ever seen. he was so familiar with them so that he knew every detail of them.
However, this card.....................