The Wei family of the Marquis of Hengyuan also gathered for the New Year’s dinner. The first son of the Marquis of Hengyuan, Wei Hongru, and the second son, Wei Hongwen, were in the study talking about business. The Marquis of Hengyuan was a hereditary title, so although Wei Hongru was the first son, the Marquis of Hengyuan had many wives and concubines, as well as children. He also had four older brothers.
The marquis of Hengyuan had not yet submitted the request to grant the title to his son, Wei Hongru to the Emperor. So even though he was the first son, his position was not secure. Wei Hongwen and Wei Hongru were brothers from the same mother. Wei Hongwen was very business-minded and he had done a good job in the business handed over to him by the Marquis of Hengyuan, doing a much better job than his other brothers. But the Marquis of Hengyuan’s business did not belong to Wei Hongwen alone. He only had his hands in a part of the Marquis of Hengyuan’s business.
Wei Hongwen needed to win the power of the Marquis of Hengyuan’s business to help his older brother seize the position of successor. Wei Hongru also needed to rely on Wei Hongwen’s ability and his position in the Marquis’ house to help himself. Since the two shopkeepers in Yongxiu County found a ‘strange man’, the business in Wei Hongwen’s hand expanded. Especially the – set of four seasons “jadeite stone” pendant, Wei Hongwen has privately ordered people to carve a large number of these pendants. Waiting to launch it in response to this year’s imperial examination.
The jam recipe obtained from this strange man along with following the man’s advice to take the so-called ‘high-end route’ with the small amount of chrysanthemum tea after the so-called ‘repackaging’, coupled with the precious golden chrysanthemum tea, not only earned him a lot of money, but also fame and attention from his father. Originally Wei Hongwen was very happy due to that, but now this was no longer the case.
The benefits he got from that strange man now all seemed to be just a small deal. The real big deal did not fall on him at all, but on master Weng’s adopted son, Jiang Kangning. Jiang Kangning, with the help of master Weng, joined hands with the Emperor and the Empress. Now the tea and wine business was in the hands of the Empress. Don’t even mention him as the first son of the Marquis of Hengyuan, without much power it was difficult even for the Marquis of Hengyuan to intervene, for which his father blamed him for missing the opportunity. How could Wei Hongwen not be annoyed? Wei Hongru was also the same.
Wei Hongru was also in charge of some of the Marquis’ business, but his main focus was in the court. He was in charge of a lot of business, but left it mostly in the hands of his mother. The business of the Marquis of Hengyuan’s household was mostly concentrated around the capital. Wei Hongru called his younger brother to the study because of the new tea and goat’s milk wine that had been making a lot of noise in the capital recently.
Wei Hongru asked his brother, “What are your plans?” Wei Hongwen said with a sullen expression, “Once the new tea and wine came out, the tea and wine in my hands will no longer be in as much demand. Now the whole capital is also staring at these new tea and wine, so in a short time everyone will know about it. Once the quantity of tea and wine in the hands of the Empress can keep up, we will lose business and our tea and wine business will become small. But I am more worried about those who will take advantage of this to make trouble. Wei Hongzheng even squeezed me in front of father today.”
Wei Hongru said coldly, “What he wants most is for us to make mistakes.” Wei Hongwen said angrily, “Wei Xiu is too short-sighted, he underestimated that peasant son. When the golden silk yellow chrysanthemum came out, he should have personally visited him. A trip to establish close relations with that farmer, but he only let Xu Jin appear, otherwise he would not let Jiang Kangning exploit the loophole.
Jiang Kangning has master Weng behind him. I, as a person from Hengyuan Marquis’ household am a stronger backer than Jiang Kangning. The Jiang family has long since fallen. If it wasn’t for master Weng, what would become of Jiang Kangning and Jiang Kangchen? If Wei Xiu was not too arrogant, we would not have lost this opportunity. Now that the Emperor and the Empress have intervened, it would be difficult for us to get a share of the pie.”
Wei Hongru said, “The Emperor is short of money and the court is even more short of money. Now that there is such a big money-making business, the Emperor will never let go of it. I don’t even know when the Emperor is going to let the Ministry of Finance intervene. There are already so many people staring at this profitable job.”
After a moment of silence, he continued, “Since things have come to this, even if you kill Wei Xiu it will not help. After the New Year, why don’t you go to Xiushui Village yourself for a trip? Although the Emperor and the Empress intervened, Hengyuan Marquis’ Mansion can also do a favor for this farmer. Although this kindness is a little small, it should be used when it should be used.“
“You are also the second son of the Hengyuan Marquis Mansion and if you come forward in person, that farmer, however strange he is, will not dare to refuse you face to face. Hengyuan Marquis Mansion also doesn’t plan to compete with the Emperor for profits, we just want to take a part of the tea and wine business. As long as it is done well, not only can you and I secure the position in the house, but most importantly, you can also get involved with the Empress. Since there is such an opportunity, we must seize it. If we can get the support of the Empress, the Marquis household will not fall into someone else’s hands.”
“Now that the Empress is observing that farmer, Xu Jin’s status is now lower. But his friendship with that farmer still needs to be used properly. In my opinion, in the first three days after you go to Xiushui Village, according to your identity as the Hengyuan Marquis’ second son, you will visit in person. Jiang Kangchen has now become the confidant of the Empress and I think the Emperor also intends to cultivate him into a royal merchant. Jiang Kangning is also the magistrate of Yongxiu County. The two brothers could be said to be at the right time and place this time. So after you go, you should try your best to befriend Jiang Kangning.”
Wei Hongwen nodded. “Jiang Kangning is still somewhat capable and he should naturally be used by us. As for the farmer’s son, his nature is a bit shrewish, but he only has a farming origin. Even with Jiang Kangning as his backer, it’s not as good as the Marquis household. Accompanying the ruler is like accompanying a tiger, while the Empress is not able to produce an heir. If he is smart he will not refuse us. Maybe the tea and wine business was already snatched by Jiang Kangning on account of his status as country magistrate.”
Wei Hongru shook his head and said, “Didn’t you say that Jiang Kangning recognized that farmer as his sworn brother? Although the Jiang family has fallen and Jiang Kangning is now just a county magistrate, he still has Master Weng behind him. It’s clear that this farmer is not a fool. You must remember to be courteous after you go, since the Empress needs him and treats him nice, you must treat him three times better.”
“I understand.” Wei Hongwen never expected that this small farmer would bring him such big trouble. Whether it is the jade pendant of the four seasons, jam, chrysanthemum tea, or golden chrysanthemum, due to their limited numbers, even if Wei Hongwen wanted to expand his business, he never took Shao Yunan too seriously.
In private, he also arranged for his people to study the production methods of jam and chrysanthemum tea. As for the golden chrysanthemum, all he needed to get was seeds. So for him, Shao Yunan was at best just some smart farmer, a little smarter than the rest of the farmers. That Shao Yunan was also just 16 years old and was a male wife, so what could he do?
Edited by: Jaisland