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Bai Jing was speechless. The stall owner had just priced the rough stones at 600 starcoins, but now they were 300 starcoins.
An Ge’s eyes lit up instantly. 20% off 300 starcoins meant 240 starcoins per kilo of rough stones!
Which meant he could pick some more and if he could open a jadeite, he would get a point.
At the same time, An Ge thanked the two men silently in his heart, understanding that his friends were looking after him.
The prices of the rough stones here were low, which was ideal for someone like him who didn’t have a lot of starcoins in his account. If he hadn’t come here to try his luck, he wouldn’t have been able to get the opportunity to accumulate five points in order to advance to a level 1 Stone Gambler in years and years.
Bai Jing half-crouched down at the first pile of rough stones. He rinsed a few of the rough stones around his feet with the water he had set aside, exposing the surface of the crust.
As he looked at them one by one, he saw that most of the rough stones were really not very good. They were either without python bands or pine flowers and some even had bad cracks on their surfaces. It seems that the mud and sand was also a means of disguising the rough stones.
After looking at a dozen or so in a row, he finally came across one that was just barely noticeable. It was a water-reversed sand-crusted stone, an irregular, flat polygon with a yellowish-grey surface with a patch of rust-colored skin and with bands of pine flowers.
After Bai Jing had washed the surface clean of sand and stone, he frowned slightly. There were several thin linear locks spreading along the water-rust colored striations, not very deep, but it was impossible to tell whether damage had been caused to the interior of the rough stones.
He pushed his senses deeper into the rough stones. There were negligible reactions of activity inside, only a small amount at the base. It seems the fine locks had indeed damaged the flesh of the jadeite.
He was about to put the rough stone down, but on second thought, he realized that he couldn’t bet on a win every time; it would be too dramatic.
The rough stones here were very cheap, so he might as well use the damaged rough stones to practice solving rough stones. He hadn’t tried it himself.
Placing the rough stones into the shopping cart behind him, he started looking at the others.
A short while later, Jin Mao, the little fatty came over. The automatic shopping cart behind him was full, with at least eight or nine rough stones in it.
He looked at the only two rough stones in Bai Jing’s cart and said with a smile, “As expected of Jing Ge, you pick them carefully. Unlike me who can only make an effort on quantity to earn a little more points.”
For an Apprentice Stone Gambler to advance to be a level 1 Stone Gambler, one only needed to earn points and not calculate the rate of increase of a bet in gambling.
In other words, as long as one could earn five points, one could buy a thousand rough stones and no one would care.
This wasn’t the case when one became a Level 1 Stone Gambler, as that had strict requirements for the rate of increase.
One must have 15 points and a 10% or higher rate to be able to become a Level 2 Stone Gambler.
It wasn’t just a matter of numbers, but a real ability to judge jadeite in rough stones as well as a little bit of luck to be able to move up the ladder.
The rules for becoming a Stone Gambler were the result of hundreds of years of refinement by the Gambling Guild, and there was a reason why they existed.
From being an Apprentice Stone Gambler to becoming a Level 1 Stone Gambler was a period of learning and experience, so it was important to gamble more to gain exposure to a wide variety of rough stones and to expand ones horizons.
From Level 2 Stone Gambler onwards, was the time to move on to the professional level.
The rate of betting up was set so that at least half of the candidates were screened out to stop the unsuitable ones, and to avoid the proliferation of Stone Gamblers.
When Little fatty Jin Mao saw that Bai Jing was still picking, he went over to An Ge.
An Ge had also picked out about five or six rough stones. After having a discussion with Jin Mao, they decided to unravel the rough stones first to see what the quality was before continuing to pick them out.
If the betting rate was too low, the two men were ready to go to another stall.
Half of the ten rough stones chosen by Jin Mao came from the first pile of rough stones and half from the second pile, so the total was 21,600 starcoins, however the stall owner wiped out the change, which resulted in it being 21,000 starcoins.
The six rough stones chosen by An Ge were all from the first pile which was 240 starcoins per kilo, which, after taking out the fractions, came to 9,000 starcoins, an average of 1,500 starcoins per rough stone, a very low price indeed.
If these rough stones had been placed in the Gu Conglomerate’s rough stones section, even if they were just offcuts, they wouldn’t have cost less than 3,000-4,000 starcoins each, but here, they cost at least half that amount.
The stone solving unit was located in the shop behind the stall. The shop was small, with five stone solving machines that provided a free stone solving service.
However there was only one Stone Solver in the shop, so if one couldn’t get in the queue, one would have to solve the stones themselves.
When they entered the shop, they found the middle-aged man with the bright light that they had seen earlier, and the rough stone in the Stone Solver’s hand was a half-bet rough stone with a ‘skylight’.
It seemed that the middle-aged man had hesitated for a long time before buying it.
Half-bet rough stones were priced at no less than one million starcoins each, but because of the opening, the rate of increase was much higher than for the full-bet rough stones.
When the crowd heard that the stones were being solved, the people in the surrounding stalls gathered around and if it weren’t for a few of the middle-aged man’s friends, the crowd would have been overwhelming.
Fortunately, a two-meter-long holographic projection screen had been placed on the wall of the shop, hence the image of the stones being unraveled was displayed clearly.
It was still early in the day and Jin Mao didn’t want to miss out on the action.
Not to mention the fact that it was a half-bet rough stone with a skylight which had a much higher chance of producing a jadeite than a full-bet rough stone, so he might as well get some luck.
“An Ge, wait here, I’ll go get Jing Ge.”
The stone solving had just begun, so Jin Mao hurried out of the shop to find Bai Jing. This kind of exciting process would only work if the three of them watched it together.
However Bai Jing wasn’t as eager as the little fatty. He put the three rough stones he had picked into his shopping cart before following Jin Mao into the shop and then looking up at the holographic projection screen.
The half-bet rough stone was the size of two basketballs placed horizontally in an irregular rectangular shape and weighed between 50 and 60 kilograms.
Its surface was slightly reddish in color, with a fine crust, dotted with a central mass of dark green pine flowers, and a long, greyish-white python band attached to the pine flowers. It looked like it would perform very well.
Unfortunately, however, there was a 20 cm long lock above the rough stone with a very thin fissure that penetrated about half an inch into the rough stone, which made the betting odds of this rough stone have much more variables.
On the right side of the rough stone, some distance away from the lock, a skylight the size of a baby’s fist had been made, through which a strong light revealed a greenish tint of good quality and no excess inclusions.
Seeing the presentation of this rough stone, it was clear to those with some knowledge of gambling that this was a bet on cracks.
There were many ways to gamble on rough stones. Some gambled on color, some gambled on variety, some gambled on mist, and some gambled specifically on cracks.
Cracks and locks were extremely harmful to jadeites. Large cracks were easy to observe, while locks, being small and highly variable, large or small, deep or shallow, were elusive.
Because of the concealment and variability of locks, they were difficult to grasp, hence the saying that ‘there is no fear of large cracks but of small sills and locks’. [Note 2]
However with risk often came opportunity, so although a rough stone with locks posed a high risk, if the locks didn’t penetrate deep into the interior, it was likely to produce great gain.
This rough stone had a skylight on one side and since there was no visible fracture when the light was shone into it, there was a reasonable chance that the locks hadn’t penetrated deep into the interior.
If the bet was successful, this rough stone would be a veritable great gain!
The rest of the crowd looked eagerly at the big screen, wondering whether the crack had gone in and whether this rough stone was a bet on a rise or a fall.
The Stone Solver observed the rough stone for a while and then said to the middle-aged man, “Mr. Yu, I’ll start rubbing from the skylight on top first to be on the safe side.”
Restraining his inner nervousness, Mr. Yu nodded, “Okay.”
The Stone Solver manipulated the grinding wheel to rub the stone along the skylight which was the size of a baby’s fist and in a short while it was about two centimeters deeper into the rough stone, causing the skylight to turn into a cut as big as an adult’s palm.
The middle-aged man sprinkled some water on the side and when he shone a strong light on it, he exhaled as he saw that the cut was still free of locks, and that the green color seemed a little brighter.
“It’s a gain, it’s a gain, the locks don’t seem to be going in.”
“Not bad, the green color is very even and the seed water is at the glutinous level. From the way things are looking, it’s likely that it’s of the ice jadeite variety!”
“That’s right, this rough stone is so large, I’m afraid the jadeite inside is not small–“
Some of the speculative rough stones dealers also began to bid.
If the locks didn’t go in, as long as the jadeite inside was a fifth the size of the rough stone, even if the seed water inside wasn’t of the ice variety, it would still be a great gain!
“Mr. Yu, I’ll give you three million starcoins for the rough stone. This cut is still a short distance away from the locks. Why don’t you pass the risk on to me?”
“I’ll give you three and a half million.”
“Mr. Yu, I’ll give you four million!”
As the bids called out climbed higher and higher, the smile on Boss Yu’s face grew bigger and bigger.
This piece of rough stone had been set at two million dollars because of its locks and he had purchased it for a million and a half. After only a few minutes, it had already tripled in price.
Hearing the tempting price, Mr. Yu was tempted for a moment, but after seeing the presentation of the cut, resisted immediately.
The green had obviously gone deep inside and the locks weren’t so far gone as to affect the interior of the jadeite, so it wouldn’t fetch less than four million starcoins when fully solved.
If the interior could reach the ice variety, even if it were only two or three kilos, it would be worth more than ten million!
Without hesitation, he thanked the rough stones dealers and then said to Stone Solver, “Continue. First make a cut along the back half of the locks.”
With such a large rough stone, it wasn’t known how long he would have to keep polishing it, so it was better check the distribution of the jadeite inside first.
As long as there was green in this cut, he would have made a great gain.
He was so excited that he started breathing heavily. This was over ten million starcoins, more than enough to cover the earnings of his mech parts factory for several years.
When Stone Solver was about to operate the automatic stone cutting machine and prepare to cut the rough stone, Boss Yu couldn’t help but remind him, “Master, be careful. Don’t hurt the flesh of the jadeite inside.”
~ Lily, thank you very much for the Ko-fi’s💗💖~
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