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912 Mulberry Jam

 "Are you selling those mulberries?" Yuan Zhou repeated when he saw the old man blanking out.

When Yuan Zhou asked, he spoke with a gentle tone. Even Broth contributed by whimpering for a bit, behaving quite adorably and seemingly trying to prove that he indeed wouldn't bite.

The two baskets the old man was carrying on his carrying pole were filled with purplish-black mulberries of different sizes. Perhaps they had been plucked for quite a while as they looked somewhat withered, but of course, they were still very fresh.

When the old man heard the question, he looked at Yuan Zhou in astonishment, and only reacted after Yuan Zhou repeated his question.

"You want to... want to buy these?" the old man asked as he pointed at the baskets.

"Yes, they look good," Yuan Zhou nodded.

"Oh... oh, sure. They are not expensive. I'm usually selling them for 8 RMB per catty, but since it's getting late, I'm selling them to you for 6 RMB per catty," said the old man when he saw Yuan Zhou nodding.

The old man seemed happy to sell as he gave a discount without Yuan Zhou asking for it.

"Ok. I will buy both baskets," Yuan Zhou said with a nod.

"Both? That won't do. Eating a small amount of mulberries can be healthy, but it gets unhealthy if you eat too many. Moreover, it will be a waste if you can't finish them and they are left to spoil," the old man said as he shook his head.

"Don't worry, I'm using it for the restaurant. I will definitely be able to finish them before they spoil," Yuan Zhou said gently.

"Restaurant? Ok. Boss, remember, you can't keep mulberries for long. You have to use them immediately. Let me weigh them for you," said the old man with a nod. Then, he placed his carrying pole down and started taking out the scales.

"Ok. I'll go get a basket for the mulberries," Yuan Zhou said with a nod.

"Sure. Don't worry, young man. My scales are very accurate," said the old man with a nod. Then, he waited silently by the door.

Yuan Zhou did not need to go far. He went to the second floor and get a huge basket that seemed sufficient to store even 45 catties without problem.

"Here, put them in here," Yuan Zhou said.

"Ok. I'll be weighing them now," said the old man with a smile.

"Ok," Yuan Zhou nodded. He poured the bowl of broth into the dog's bowl before he raised his head to look at the old man.

"This basket is 20.5 catties while the other is 17.5 catties. In total, they are 38 catties. You can calculate the price. I'm getting old. I won't be able to calculate them manually," said the old man, somewhat embarrassed.

"240 RMB in total," Yuan Zhou said.

"240? Ok. I'll give you a discount. 200 will do," said the old man with a wide smile.

"That won't do. I'll pay for the full price," Yuan Zhou said firmly and handed over 240 RMB in cash.

"Thank you, thank you, young man," said the old man with a wide smile.

"Don't worry about it. By the way, why are you using the alley?" Yuan Zhou asked while the old man was filling Yuan Zhou's basket with the mulberries.

That's an understandable question. The old man was obviously a mulberry seller. But why would he be walking in this deserted alley? Nobody would use this alley, and thus, he would not get any business here.

"I was not allowed to set up stall anywhere on the front street. I have been carrying them for an entire day but still couldn't sell them off. So I thought I should try some place with fewer people so as to not disrupt anyone's business," the old man slowly explained.

"You planned them for selling?" Yuan Zhou did not say much and asked for something else instead.

"Not really. I have two old mulberry trees at home and since we couldn't finish them all, I decided to sell them for some extra money," said the old man.

"If you have more, feel free to deliver them to me," said Yuan Zhou.

"That won't do. I can't trouble you," said the old man as he repeatedly shook his head.

"Don't worry. What about this, if you can't sell them anywhere else, just try walking around here. I might need them again," said Yuan Zhou.

"Thank you for your kindness, young man. If you like it, I will gift you some next time," said the old man cheerfully.

"It's fine. I'm a business owner as well. Money should always go two ways to maintain a healthy business," said Yuan Zhou earnestly.

"Thank you, young man," said the old man with a nod.

"You're welcome," Yuan Zhou said.

While filling the basket with mulberries, the old man thanked Yuan Zhou several times. Each time, Yuan Zhou would tell him to not worry about it since he indeed was in need of mulberries.

The old man stood up after all the mulberries have been filled into the basket.

"Thank you," said Yuan Zhou.

"Don't worry. I should be thanking you instead. I don't use any agricultural chemicals on my mulberries so you can eat them directly after rinsing them with water," said the old man.

Yuan Zhou did not say anything. He nodded, then watched on as the old man left.

Yuan Zhou had good eyesight. Even though the alley was dark, he could still see that the old man's back was not stooped as low anymore. That was because he was carrying empty baskets now and was relieved of the weight.

And after the old man left, Yuan Zhou found himself stunned.

"Oh, so 38 catties of mulberries are actually this many?" Yuan Zhou muttered as he looked at the full basket. His head was starting to ache.

He could not finish them himself, and even if he wanted to gift them to others, fresh mulberries had a short expiration date. They would probably be spoiled before he could give them all away.

"That was stupid of me," Yuan Zhou muttered as he gazed at the mulberries.

"Forget it. Since I already bought them, I might as well make some jam as practice," Yuan Zhou said as he picked up the basket and walked towards the courtyard of the pub.

After he stored the basket, he grabbed a handful of mulberries and rinsed them with water. Then, he went to the back door.

"Here, these are for you. Since I used you as an excuse, I need to reward you. But it is unhealthy to eat too much. So I'm only giving you a handful," said Yuan Zhou as he placed the mulberries into Broth's bowl.

"Woof," Broth barked before lowering his head and started eating the mulberries. Of course, he did not forget to face Yuan Zhou with his butt.

He was probably dissatisfied with the little number of mulberries Yuan Zhou had given him.

Since this purchase of mulberries had been totally random, Yuan Zhou spent the night washing the mulberries.

"Looks like it's possible to make some jam with them," said Yuan Zhou as he estimated how much jam he could make with these mulberries.

Since there were too many mulberries, Yuan Zhou took out several baskets to leave the washed mulberries drying. With that, he could directly use them to make jam the next day.

And thus, after breakfast time the next day, Yuan Zhou quickly went to the market to buy some sugar.

Since the sugar provided by the system was not allowed to be gifted to others, Yuan Zhou was forced to buy his own sugar.

Yuan Zhou returned, dragging a cart with 20 catties of sugar on it. But when he reached his restaurant, he saw two people waiting outside.

"Little Yuan, you went shopping?" asked Carpenter Lian.

"I am really sorry for making you wait, Carpenter Lian," Yuan Zhou said.

"Don't worry about it. We did not agree on a time anyway. I came at this time as I reckon you should be free at this time," said Carpenter Lian.

The middle-aged man beside Carpenter Lian was gazing at Yuan Zhou in astonishment.

Although they had just arrived, but generally, anyone that dared to make Carpenter Lian wait for even a minute would not get the furniture he wished for.

But Carpenter Lian did not mind waiting for Yuan Zhou at all. And thus, that person was looking at Yuan Zhou in astonishment.

"I'll be troubling you, Carpenter Lian," Yuan Zhou said as he opened the door.