Lin Jie couldn’t help but wince as the quaint mechanical piece shaped like a clock was revealed.
He directed his gaze to the uneasy Andrew before glancing at the clock again.
Of all possible gifts, you chose a clock. Are you here to apologize or antagonize? Lin Jie disparaged deep down.
But of course, he kept it to himself.
After all, it was evident that Andrew was from Azir and spoke English as his native tongue. In the English context, 'gifting a clock' was not a homophone for 'attending one’s funeral.'
In fact, Lin Jie usually conversed in Azir English as well and would only use Mandarin when conversing with Ji Zhixu. The books that he had distributed were all bilingual, in both Mandarin and English.
Furthermore, with Andrew’s status, there wasn’t any reason for him to display such humility before pulling a prank like this.
This is probably just a blunder… Wait a moment, haa... Andrew is the Vice Chairman of the Truth Union.
He must be a learned individual with extensive knowledge to be able to achieve a Vice-Chairman position in a scholarly organization such as the Truth Union. Shouldn’t he possibly understand the intricacies of both languages?
Lin Jie had his suspicions, but it didn’t appear to be the case from the looks of Andrew…
Boss Lin, who was doing some thinking, decided to divert his gaze back to the gift.
The silver box was 10 centimeters wide and 20 centimeters tall. The turquoise cloisonné outer layer gave the enameled box an exquisite touch.
Even more remarkable was the contents within. Intricate silver gears interlocking on the exterior and the tightly packed layers of mechanical structure were a sight to behold.
Located on the top was a sparkling ruby dial inlaid in a pure silver frame, with the hour and minute hand moving separately. The hollow carving patterns on the dial were a testament to the exceptional craftsmanship as the details were as elaborate as an antique Chinese peach stone carving of a boat.
The staggered distribution of the ornaments within the narrow-enclosed space was spaced to perfection.
The workmanship could even be deemed godly. Together with the various inlaid gemstones and its sterling silver mainframe, anyone could tell that this was a priceless treasure.
However, there was also a peculiar hamster wheel-like fixture located at the bottom of the miniature clock.
And on that wheel component was a… caterpillar?!
Lin Jie leaned back in recoil.
Within the wheel was indeed a black caterpillar with strange white patterns on its underbody!
This bug was constantly slogging forward ever so slowly and its motion brought about the rotation of the wheel.
And as the wheel rotated, the interlocked gears sprung to life, making the clock tick along.
In other words, the miniature hamster wheel was the engine of the entire clock.
Lin Jie was absolutely stunned.
What the hell! You people with deep pockets really have some exquisite kinks! Having cats and hamsters running on wheels is no longer satisfiable so you lot turn to caterpillars?!
Even exploiting the worm’s labor while toying with it… You vampiric, capitalist scums!
Not even sparing the labor of a little bug!
But I have to say...
From a collector's viewpoint, the introduction of this worm wheel makes the value of this miniature clock skyrocket! It's transitioned from a typical expensive decoration to a unique piece of exceptionally artistic imagination and craftsmanship.
In Lin Jie’s opinion, that addition must have at least doubled the gift's value.
From the look of it... This is likely a customized piece probably from a specialized mechanical department in the Truth Union. It must have cost a bomb. Haa... Andrew did indeed come here with the intention to apologize.
But the gift you picked...
Never mind. Judging from your sincerity alone, I'll take it as a mere misunderstanding.
Lin Jie looked Andrew in the eyes and said, “This gift… is not too bad. I’ll accept it.”
His tone was still a little reluctant.
After all, being Chinese meant that he was still mindful of such implied messages. In a different circumstance, Lin Jie could have very well flipped out.
But the combination of impeccable craftsmanship and the unique concept of the worm wheel was enough to pique Lin Jie’s interest.
On top of it, Andrew was rather sincere, so Lin Jie was willing to accept it.
“Phew…. That is great! Thank you for your magnanimity and leniency! I… No, Hood and the rest will be eternally grateful to you!”
Search hosted.novel for the original.
Andrew let out a huge sigh of relief as his racing heart finally got a chance for a rest. As his apprehension eased, he realized that his back was covered in a cold sweat.
His heart had nearly stopped when he witnessed Lin Jie’s face darken.
Had the bookstore owner been displeased with the gift, Andrew was never going to walk out those doors alive.
More importantly, Andrew had no idea what had gone wrong and he was completely befuddled.
He had spent a considerable time studying all intelligence reports on the bookstore and its owner. He was convinced that Lin Jie took a particular liking of anything unique or related to the forgotten period in history.
For example, the stone gargoyle which was Wilde's masterpiece and the demon sword which was an ancient artifact that has been in existence for thousands of years.
Therefore, after much deliberation, Andrew had carefully decided that the “Clockwheel Worm” was the most fitting gift.
Of course, the highlight wasn't the clock.
Its actual core was the caterpillar-like creature powering the clock.
The mechanical frame, and everything else, was in fact employed to facilitate controlling the worm and maximizing its power.
The power to manipulate time!
The Clockwheel Worm was a four-dimensional transcendent creature. Ontologically, defining it as a 'worm' wasn't accurate and it was just a convenient term.
Its current caterpillar-like appearance was just a projection of its image in three-dimensional space.
The surrounding mechanism that controlled it was passed down for generations in Andrew’s family clan, which were the fruits of their relentless research over many decades.
In fact, it was his clan's secret weapon, and Andrew as the current clan chief was merely a custodian.
But in a crucial situation where his fate was on the line, Andrew naturally had to prioritize a greater interest.
Moreover, Andrew understood that after his plea for assistance, his fate would be completely intertwined with that of the bookstore, and the same could be said about his family clan.
So, why not just go all-in from the start.
This way, he could still express his sincerity and goodwill.
However, Lin Jie’s initial reaction was an unexpected look of disdain… Fortunately, he ended up accepting the gift, albeit reluctantly.
Andrew let out an exhausted sigh.
He was absolutely confused why anyone would be displeased with such an invaluable gift.
As he was taking a seat to plan his next move, a horrifying thought surfaced in his mind.
Could it be… that the bookstore owner has already mastered the art of time manipulation, so upon seeing that tiny worm, he felt that this was an insignificant gift, which displeased him?