When Zheng Yi went to the capital this time, he wanted to use the cards to win the empress dowager’s favor. But he was not absolutely sure if it would work.
If the empress dowager didn’t like it, it would be his defeat; all the cards he prepared in advance would be useless.
For this reason, Zheng Yi had been under a lot of pressure before. But at the moment, everything is finally over.
As soon as Zheng Yi entered the capital, he told Master Zheng about the cards, but in the first few days, Master Zheng did not have a chance to show it. It was not until a few days ago when the empress dowager asked him to discuss some business that he could mention to the empress dowager that he had got a very interesting thing from the south of the Yangtze River.
The Empress Dowager did not say anything at that time. It was only yesterday, when she sent people to find Lady Zheng and invited her to the palace, saying that Princess Ziyi was a little bored recently and was asked to bring some amusing things and accompany her.
Princess Ziyi, a young sister of the former emperor, because of her age difference with the former emperor, she was raised by him and the empress dowager. Now that she was old enough to choose her husband, she needed to start choosing her husband, which made her feel a little uneasy.
The empress dowager could understand her, so she let people make something interesting for her to play. After entering the palace, the second lady of the Zheng family accompanied princess Ziyi and played cards with her.
In the palace, Princess Ziyi could play with a lot of things, but she was tired of building blocks and dolls.
This Princess Ziyi was not very talented; she didn’t like reading books, let alone playing with nine-linked rings. In the past, when she was bored, she could only do needlework, but now . . .
Modern people have mobile phones and computers that they can use to learn about the world, but many people would still use it to play cards with people, which showed the charm of cards, not to mention people from these days.
Nowadays, not to mention mobile phones and computers, even playing a little back and forth there was really too little entertainment . . .
Princess Ziyi, to no one’s surprise, was fascinated by the playing cards. She didn’t even want to eat on that day.
When the empress dowager heard that she was in high spirits, she came to see it herself. Then she saw the exquisite cards painted with plum orchids and bamboos, chrysanthemums and with the rather interesting playing method.
Jiang Zhen provided several ways to play cards, and Zheng Yi gave them enough elegant names.
For example, in the game of fighting the landlord, he checked many allusions and finally put a literary name to it.
The first thing the empress dowager and Princess Ziyi learned was the game, fighting the landlord, and they both had a good time. They were so happy that Lady Zheng could not leave the palace last night, so she had to stay in the palace all night.
Lady Zheng came back this morning, and as soon as she returned, she informed Master Zheng and Zheng Yi that the empress dowager was very fond of the cards and praised the ingenuity of the people who made them.
This card was undoubtedly loved by the empress dowager. In this way, Zheng Yi was naturally in a good mood at this moment.
So he let people wait outside for Jiang Zhen to ask Jiang Zhen to come over to explain some precautions, and preparing clothes for Jiang Zhen and Zhao Jinge was something he already ordered yesterday,
The clothes for Jiang Zhen and Zhao Jinge were quickly delivered by the servant; they weren’t flashy, but the fabric was extremely good and fitted well.
After Jiang Zhen and Zhao Jinge changed their clothes, Zheng Yi explained a few things.
Given that the invitees this time were all merchants, there weren’t many things to be aware of, so after Jiang Zhen and Zhao Jinge took note of it one by one, someone came to inform them that the merchants, basically, were all here.
“Let’s go too,” Zheng Yi said, leading Jiang Zhen towards the courtyard where those merchants were.
All of those merchants didn’t know Jiang Zhen, but most of them knew Zheng Yi.
Many years ago, the Zheng family had been doing business in the capital and in Hecheng Country. After the second master of the Zheng was admitted into the government after taking the imperial examination, they became prosperous, and their business got bigger and bigger . . .
Seeing Zheng Yi, these people came forward to speak one after another, then their eyes landed on Jiang Zhen, who was beside Zheng Yi.
This Jiang Zhen and Zheng Yi seemed to be extremely close, could it be . . . that he was a big merchant from the south of the Yangtze River?
This time, the Ministry of Household was looking for an imperial merchant, but the number of positions were not too many. Suddenly, a new competitor popped out . . .
These people were a little worried, but when they faced Jiang Zhen, they all showed a smile; this was even so for Feng Jingyuan. No matter how complicated the emotions in his heart was, he was smiling at this time.
Jiang Zhen always had a faint smile on his face. He smiled and talked to the people present, speaking in very smooth and pure Mandarin.
It’s easy to notice that he was different from those pampered people by the way he dressed. Seeing that he had extraordinary bearing, people began to speculate about his origins.
As for his skin, it looks weather-beaten at first glance . . . There are many sea merchants in the south of the Yangtze River who went out to sea to do business. They were all weather-beaten.
This man . . . was he a sea merchant?
Everyone talked one after another, raising all kinds of speculations about Jiang Zhen. While communicating with these people, Jiang Zhen had been paying close attention to Zhao Jinge.
Such a scene, he could not adapt to it. He was worried that Zhao Jinge would not be able to cope with it.
Zhao Jinge really couldn’t handle it. After he came here, he felt at a loss and didn’t know where to put his hands or feet.
But thinking that he could not let Jiang Zhen lose face, he stood straight, stretching out his chest and tucking in his stomach.
Thanks to the training Jiang Zhen had been giving him to stand in a military pose, he was so upright and imposing that no one dared to belittle him.
Jiang Zhen was suddenly put at ease.
Zheng Yi, however, looked at Zhao Jinge in surprise. This Zhao Jinge like Jiang Zhen was somewhat different. When they came to this place, he was also worried that Zhao Jinge would lose face. He even told the servant to watch over him but as it happened . . . Zhao Jinge actually behaved very well.
After Zheng Yi found out that Jiang Zhen and Zhao Jinge didn’t need their help, he completely put his mind at ease and went on to do his own business.
Jiang Zhen, on the other hand, took Zhao Jinge to the corner after talking with people. He didn’t intend to fight for the position of imperial merchant, and as such, why bother socializing with people all the time?
He might as well take Zhao Jinge to the nearby pavilion to eat some fruits.
Hexi was located in the south of the Yangtze River, the fruits that could be seen were quite a lot—peaches, apricots, loquat, persimmons. There were fruits in the village, but there are many more fruits that Zhao Jinge has never seen before.
Even the oranges and apples, he had never seen before . . . After all, no one in Hecheng County planted them.
After Jiang Zhen brought him to the pavilion, he looked curiously at the various fruits on the table.
“Taste it.” Jiang Zhen took an orange and peeled it for him.
“Is this edible?” Zhao Jinge was a little worried.
“Didn’t they put it here for people to eat?” Jiang Zhen said with a smile.
It was only after hearing Jiang Zhen say so that Zhao Jinge ate the orange.
The orange was a bit sour, but it fit his current tastes . . . Zhao Jinge’s eyes brightened.
Edited by: Faro