Time Smuggling Starting From The Year 2000 - Chapter 2
Chapter 2: Blank Title
Translator: Kim Guo Editor: Tehrn
’’No,’’ the woman answered bluntly.
Huang Xuan was stunned. He didn't know that personal exchanges of goods were forbidden during this age. Everything, including grain coupons and yarn, was supposed to be bought in state-owned stores since private sales and trades were considered profiteering. In a severe case, people might even get jailed.
’’Could you please help me? I really need them.’’ Huang Xuan had no choice because all he had was the blanket. He also had a watch, but it would be too much for the stamps. In addition, the brand Vacheron Constantin was way too ahead of the time to be known in 1968. The clerk waved her hand and went on with her knitting, completely ignoring Huang Xuan. Looking at the yarn in her hand, Huang Xuan suddenly thought of something. He handed over the blanket and said, ’’This blanket is made of cashmere, much warmer than yarn. My family bought it in Beijing. Look.’’
Triggered by the word Beijing, the woman held one corner of the blanket in her fingers, then looked at Huang Xuan dubiously and said, ’’Did you steal this from your home?’’
’’If I had the chance I'd rather steal money.’’ Seeing a chance, Huang Xuan added, ’’Just one set. OK?’’
Huang Xuan had already inquired about the price of the blankets in the street the day before. There were only yarn blankets on the market, all of the same specification of 2m*1.5m, 5.5 yuan each. One set of stamps cost 4 yuan, making this exchange a good deal to the people in this town.
Obviously, the clerk was clear about this, but she was still feeling and touching the blanket suspiciously. A long moment later, as nobody came inside the building, she finally said: ’’All right. I will do you this favor.’’
She grabbed the blanket and was going to get the stamps. Huang Xuan said in a hurry, ’’Please don't bother. Thanks, but I will get them myself. Could you give me a box please?’’ Then he started to get the stamps and didn't care about the look on the clerk's face. He thought about how a reckless person could cause the stamps to lose significant value with just one touch. He picked up two sets of stamps cautiously, held them by the margin areas and put them on the counter. He chose the set that he thought was better, much more carefully than when he was carrying his grandpa's fish bowl. He took the box handed over by the sulky clerk and put the stamps inside. Without giving one more look at her, Huang Xuan carried the box carefully and walked out of the post office happily.
What he needed most was a place to hide the stamps. After that, he was going to find the police for help, because in the past 15 years since he was born, the police he had met were all friendly and kind.
Thinking about help, Huang Xuan started to feel hungry again. While he was looking around, he heard the unforgettable gender-neutral voice again: ’’Do you want to go home?’’
’’What do you think?’’ Huang Xuan shouted and didn't care that shouting in the street might seem suspicious to other people. ’’Where are you?’’
’’Do you want to go home?’’ asked the voice again, in the same tone.
Huang Xuan tried his best to figure out what the damn so-called time machine was doing. He had so many questions which he was too scared to ask.
’’Do you want to go home?’’ The voice sounded like a broken record player.
’’Yes, I do,’’ Huang Xuan answered, walking out of the main street. No matter how much the stamps would be worth in 20 years, he would rather go home.
’’OK, I can send you back to P112, but it is going to cost you something.’’
Huang Xuan stopped walking and asked, ’’What on earth do you want?’’
’’For the time being, my priority is to guarantee the security of the base. Your disappearance from P112 might harm the safety of the base, so I have decided to send you back.’’
’’Are you the base guardian?’’
From this, Huang Xuan guessed that since his disappearance his mother must have been so anxious that she had been digging hard in the garden to find him. The guardian must have been worried that the base would be found soon and decided to send him back.
Nevertheless, it was just his guess. Although Huang Xuan was always confident about his intelligence, he reminded himself of his awful grades. He decided to ask for the true answer: ’’Aren't you afraid that I tell people about your base?’’
’’I will constantly be watching you. I may also compensate you for your confidentiality.’’
’’Constantly watching me?’’ Huang Xuan was very skeptical of this. If he could watch Huang Xuan all the time, why didn't he send Huang Xuan home directly? It was very likely that he needed his help. However, for now, all Huang Xuan wanted was to go home, so he said: ’’If that's so, send me back.’’
A dim light flashed across. Huang Xuan saw the passage again. He said, ’’Hey guardian if you want me to help you protect the base, you should give me some information. For example, is your base under our pool? And what's your name? I can't just call you the guardian.’’
Huang Xuan was enveloped in the dim light. He didn't know how long he had waited until the guardian finally said: ’’Under your pool is just the peripheral defense of the base. For some reason, I can't relocate the base now, so I need you to keep the secret. As for my name, you can call me H113 or Rolin. We are almost there. Have you made your decision?’’
’’If I hadn't, where would you put me?’’
’’Your disappearance might cause some crises which might endanger the base. It is only a possibility. But if you promise to keep the secret, you can retain the stuff in your box.’’
’’The stuff in the box has been mine since the beginning. Is this the compensation you are talking about?’’
’’Bringing them from P113 to P112 will consume a lot of energy. It's much more than you can imagine.’’
’’Well, I am much heavier than the box,’’ said Huang Xuan sarcastically.
Rolin didn't get the sarcasm and said: ’’You are a living creature, while the box is not.’’
’’Wait, a blanket is not alive,’’ Huang Xuan thought of the blanket but didn't pursue why living beings would consume less energy.
Either he thought that he couldn't win the debate or didn't want to continue, Rolin changed the topic and said, ’’If you are not satisfied, you can ask for something reasonable as your compensation.’’ He emphasized the word reasonable on purpose.