Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“…You know me?” The young gentleman was greatly surprised.
Duan FeiZhou remembered. The historical Yeats was indeed obsessed with the occult, and had written a book about Irish folklore. In this world line, Yeats certainly could be an occult practitioner! He rushed forward and shook Yeats’ hand. “You are one of the greatest poets of our time, Mr. Yeats! One day your name will be etched forever in the halls of immortality alongside the great literary figures of all time!”
“Oh. Oh, thank you…” Yeats still hadn’t caught up. “But how did you know…?”
He pulled his hand out of Duan FeiZhou’s with difficulty, looked to his left and right and whispered, “It’s not convenient to talk here. Please follow me.”
He left the alley, and pretended to be distracted as he walked briskly along the shadowed side of the street followed by Duan FeiZhou. They returned to Charing Cross, turned into another alley, and a bookshop appeared ahead. The store was called The Golden Beetle Bookshop, and was small but well-kept. Duan FeiZhou thought that thieves might like to patronize this bookshop.
“It’s a small store that I invested in,” Yeats said with a smile. The wary vibe from him had dissipated. “Now can we be frank. You are the nephew of Mr. Joseph Chester who, as far as I know, has passed away. He had no children, and has no children or nephews who will inherit the estate…” Yeats’ glasses flashed a sharp light. “Could it really be that you are the new owner of the Secret Trading House?”
Duan FeiZhou didn’t deny it, but instead asked, “Did you know my uncle well?”
“We’re half peers, I suppose.” Yeats glanced at the bookstore. “Only the scope of business is slightly different.”
He could see that he was mainly dealing with books, while the Secret Trading House was all-encompassing. Since the great William Butler Yeats, the future Nobel Prize winner and poet, had been so open and honest about his identity, it would be unseemly for Duan FeiZhou to hide it any longer. He extended his hand to Yeats. “Leopold Chester, the owner of the Secret Trading House.”
Yeats smiled and shook hands with him. “I can see how you recognized me. The Master of the Trading House has extraordinary powers. Not only can he identify the secret items with his naked eyes, but he can even see the past experience of the owner of an item. That’s why you know my identity, right?”
His guess was completely wrong, but Duan FeiZhou wasn’t going to correct him. Just let him misunderstand it that way. It wouldn’t do him any harm anyway. So he just smiled mysteriously.
Yeats asked, “Mr. Chester, why are you asking about your uncle in Charing Cross?”
Duan FeiZhou said, “I heard that my uncle had bought a book on occult philosophy from a certain bookshop. However, I didn’t know the name of the store, so I had to ask around.” He looked around at Yeats’ little bookstore. “Could this be the one?”
Yeats shook his head, “I know which bookstore you’re talking about. Have you heard of the Golden Dawn?”
Duan FeiZhou nodded. The Golden Dawn was a real occult order that existed in England in the 19th century. Yeats, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and other prominent people were members of it.
Yeats went on to say, “The Golden Dawn had set up a secret stronghold in Charing Cross disguised as a bookshop, and also sold books to occult practitioners. Unfortunately, two years ago the Golden Dawn was wiped out by the Nightmen. My store only opened after that.”
When he heard the word ‘Nightmen’, Duan FeiZhou shivered. He remembered that Z had said that 20 of the 26 members of the Nightmen had died in a battle with occult practitioners. Could it be that he was referring to the battle of the Golden Dawn association? If the casualties on the side of the Nightmen were so heavy, then the casualties on the side of the occult practitioners must have been similar, he imagined.
“You are on top of the wind!” Duan FeiZhou blurted out.
Yeats smiled bitterly. “Someone has to do this. At least since I have some fame, the Nightmen will not easily suspect me.”
“So, you also sell philosophy books here?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
Yeats sized him up. “What other books would a great occult practitioner like you need?”
Duan FeiZhou growled inwardly, but had to put on a calm facade. If this happened a few more times, the Oscars would owe him a gold statue. He thought for a moment and said, “To tell you the truth, I have recently taken on an apprentice, but I have no idea how to teach him. If you can sell me a few books that are suitable for beginners to quickly master the secret arts, I would be grateful.”
This reason sounded a bit untenable, but to his surprise, Yeats nodded knowingly.
“It’s like asking a university scholar to teach a child that one plus one equals two, isn’t it?” He looked at Duan FeiZhou sympathetically. “Your talent and time are wasted on teaching beginners. If it were me, I would probably do what you are doing. Simply give him a few books, and let him learn on his own.”
Duan FeiZhou silently and distantly apologized to Al for using him as an excuse when it was obvious that he himself needed basic books. He asked, “So you are willing to sell them to me?”
Yeats rubbed his chin and thought for a moment. He said succinctly, “I want to make a deal with you.”
“Isn’t buying a book a deal?”
Yeats smiled faintly. “It’s not as simple as buying and selling books. Not long ago, an occult practitioner I knew passed away, and his descendants did not, and do not, intend to follow in his footsteps. He left behind many books and mystical items which I had planned to acquire. Unfortunately, I contacted them several times and was turned down.”
“So, you want me to persuade them to sell the relics of that occult practitioner?” Duan FeiZhou said. “I’m afraid I’m not that eloquent.”
Yeats said, “I’ll persuade them. You just need to go with me and show your support. The name of the Master of the Secret Trading House still has some appeal in the industry.”
Duan FeiZhou understood. Just like calling a few mighty and domineering Dao brothers to hold up the scene when fighting in a group, opponents would naturally look away once they saw the professionals coming down. “But…”
“It is not unprofitable for you to make such a trip,” Yeats said. “I just need the books. You can take over those secret items.”
However, Duan FeiZhou didn’t intend to run the trading house seriously, so why did he need so many mystical items? The blind boxes were only sold to help the Vilyuys, not to make money for himself!
Yeats looked a little embarrassed. “Do you have worries? If you have any conditions, just ask. We’ll discuss it.”
Duan FeiZhou was silent. He no longer wanted to get involved in the crap of occult practitioners. If possible, he wanted to stay as far away as possible from all the troubles that could affect his future salted fish life.
Yeats observed Duan FeiZhou’s expression and slowly said, “If you think this is not enough, then when you come to my store to buy books in the future, I will give you a discount, as well as professional advice on buying books.”
Duan FeiZhou was somewhat moved. Although he didn’t intend to run the trading house, he still had to learn occult philosophy. He also needed to find some reliable allies in the world of occult practitioners. The occult practitioners he knew were either Nightmen or scum like Smith. He also wanted to have a few normal friends.
“Besides,” Yeats added, “I’ll give you copy of my new book of poetry with an autograph.”
Duan FeiZhou shook his hand decisively. “Deal!”
On the way home, Duan FeiZhou was bouncing all the way. “I’ve got Yeats’ autograph! I got Yeats’s autograph!”
Sword in the Stone yakked the whole way, “You shouldn’t have agreed to that guy’s terms so easily! There might be a pitfall!“
“I got Yeats’ autograph!”
When he got home, Duan FeiZhou looked at the cherished autographed book, then put it away.
“You don’t understand, Sword in the Stone,” he said at length. “This poet will win a Nobel Prize and become a great literary figure in history. Do you understand the joy of stamp collecting?”
“Not really. I’m just a sword,” Sword in the Stone said honestly.