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896 Impossible

 As far as Yuan Zhou knew, Chinese Ring Puzzle and Moving Beans Invisibly were the two representatives in the manipulation tricks. To put it bluntly, Chinese Ring Puzzle was a trick of nine iron rings. During the performance, they were hooked either in threes or in nines. Even if you watched face to face, you still couldn't understand how the trick worked.

After the craftsman, who carried the water vat on his head, finished his performance, a beautiful announcer dressed in a cheongsam went on the stage.

\"Next, please enjoy the magic performance of manipulation today.\" The announcer declared once in both Chinese and English, respectively.

During the introduction of the announcer, the folk artist Master Deng, who would perform the manipulation tricks today, went on the stage.

Judging from his appearance, Master Deng was in his forties. He was a plain-looking man and wore a bluish long gown. As soon as he went on the stage, he handed all the nine iron rings to the audience on site.

\"Everybody, come. Please check if there are any issues with the iron rings,\" said Master Deng.

There were quite a few teahouses in Auspicious Alley. The charge was almost the same as that of a concert. The closer to the stage you were, the more expensive the ticket was. Of course, the teahouse wasn't very large, so one could clearly see there were only 7 rows inside.

The teahouse would provide a pot of tea and some small dishes of dry fruits to the audiences. There was only one type of tea. The audience mainly watched the performance of the craftsman on the stage, so it was called listening to storytelling.

On the contrary, drinking tea was really tasting tea on a balcony. It was said that the teahouse had two types of good tea. Of course, Yuan Zhou didn't need it.

There were three different charges for different services, 188RMB, 288RMB, and 388RMB. As Yuan Zhou wanted to get some inspiration, he chose the charge of 388RMB and was seated in the first row.

388RMB wasn't really cheap. If it were two years ago, he would be absolutely reluctant to spend the money. Of course, he also felt some heartache even now. However, he had gradually understood what his mom said before, \"A man doesn't need to be very rich, but he must have enough money.\"

Having money didn't necessarily mean spending money extravagantly, but when his relatives were sick and had to go to the hospital, he could afford the hospital expenses. And after he worked overtime or worked hard all day long, he could choose to take a cab without considering how much it would cost instead of getting on a crowded bus.

A man didn't necessarily need to be very rich, but he must have enough money so that he could have other choices. Actually, it was a common goal that most people endeavored to reach. As Yuan Zhou was seated in the first row, he happened to get an iron ring handed to him by Master Deng.

Yuan Zhou first looked carefully at Master Deng's hands and found they weren't as slender and good-looking as he imagined. Instead, they felt quite rough and had large finger knuckles. After that, he began to check the iron ring in his hand.

The other customers who got the iron rings also checked them directly, knocking on them. There was even one who bit it.

\"No problem.\" Yuan Zhou checked the rings and then gave them back to Master Deng.

Anyway, there were no problems with the iron rings. Master Deng took the nine iron rings returned to him and asked for applause twice before he got started. And the audience also showed due respect to him and answered him with fervent applause. After the second round of clapping, he finally began to perform.

He first hooked two rings together and then hooked three together. After he pulled them toward the right, the three iron rings separated from one other. Even before the audience had time to praise his excellent manipulation, the six iron rings in his left hand were hooked together again in threes.

The movement speed of Master Deng's hands were so fast and along with some false movements, people could hardly take it all in.

Though Yuan Zhou had never studied tricks before, his hands moved very quickly, too. Besides, he had made the best use of his sharper eyes. However, he still didn't find out anything during the process. The only thing he could see was that Master Deng often attracted the attention of the audience by the means of shaking the rings with one hand and meanwhile, finished a more miraculous manipulation with the other hand.

Chinese Ring Puzzle included several varieties such as Begonia, Silk Ball, Flower Basket, and Black Gauze Cap. Except for the Black Gauze Cap, Master Deng completely performed all the remaining varieties one by one in the face of Yuan Zhou. Every time, he could get the applause and claps from the audience.

After Master Deng finished his performance, Yuan Zhou also started taking action. He stood up and followed Master Deng to the backstage.

On the door was a conspicuous poster reading Entry Denied Except For Staff. However, Yuan Zhou still took a deep breath and began to knock on the door in order to get what he wanted.

\"Sorry for bothering you unexpectedly. I have an emergency and need to consult Master Deng. May I come in?\"

Maybe it was because not many people had done that before, so only after a long while of silence in the room did a male voice came to him, \"Come in, please.\"

Yuan Zhou entered the room and shut the door gently and then found Master Deng, who had just performed the tricks on the stage just now, seated on a chair and having a rest.

\"What's the matter, young man?\" Master Deng asked him first.

\"Sorry to trouble you, Master Deng,\" Yuan Zhou said courteously first.

\"You know you will trouble me, but you still come in. That means you really have something to discuss with me. Say it, young man.\" Though there weren't many smiles on Master Deng's face now compared to just now, he appeared quite warm.

\"Here's the thing. I want to consult you about a trick,\" said Yuan Zhou.

\"Do you also study magic tricks?\" Master Deng knitted his brows and looked at Yuan Zhou.

\"No, I'm a chef.\" Yuan Zhou shook his head.

\"A chef?\" Master Deng didn't look good.

He had reasons to be angry. As Yuan Zhou said first that he wanted to consult him about tricks, Master Deng naturally believed Yuan Zhou was studying magic. But after that, Yuan Zhou contrarily said he was a chef, which gave him a feeling that Yuan Zhou was making fun of him.

\"Here's the thing. I need to restore a lost dish named Three Fragrance to the Ocean. But before it's served, I must separate three kinds of beans in different colors instantly. I think there might be some skills needed, so I come to consult you about the tricks.\" Yuan Zhou immediately brought out the reason when he found Master Deng didn't look good.

\"A lost dish? Have you finished your apprenticeship at such a young age?\" On hearing that, Master Deng appeared better. Instead of answering Yuan Zhou directly, however, he contrarily looked at Yuan Zhou and asked.

In Master Deng's eyes, the restoration of the lost dish touched him slightly. After all, there were even more ancient magic tricks lost in history. And the work of restoration needed exactly these kind of motivated young people.

However, the restoration was unlikely to be realized as soon as one wanted to do it. Therefore, Master Deng asked him that question.

\"On culinary skills, I still have a long way to go. I'm still studying hard.\" Yuan Zhou answered earnestly.

\"Master Deng, I forgot to introduce myself just now. My name is Yuan Zhou and I have a small restaurant on Taoxi Road. Please come to my restaurant for a meal when you are free. I will treat you to dinner.\" Before Master Deng answered him, Yuan Zhou suddenly remembered that he hadn't made a self-introduction and hence added.

\"Yuan Zhou from Taoxi Road?\" Master Deng looked at Yuan Zhou's appearance carefully and then nodded his head as if he had confirmed something.

\"Yes. Remember to my small restaurant when you are free. I'll treat you to dinner,\" said Yuan Zhou generously.

\"If so, the lost dish might actually be restored.\" Master Deng wasn't interested in food. Instead, he muttered something else.

Yuan Zhou hadn't had time to say anything when Master Deng continued, \"I haven't heard of any skill for separating beans of the dish Three Fragrance to the Ocean. What I'm good at doing has already been presented on the stage just now.\"

\"Um.\" Yuan Zhou nodded his head and continued listening to him.

\"But I can tell you, Boss Yuan, it's also impossible to reach the effect with pure manipulation,\" said Master Deng.

\"Do you mean it's not possible to separate different beans manually? Yuan Zhou asked.