Madam Cen was no longer polite to her son. Her son had a lot of ideas, so he could do whatever he wanted. She said, “I don’t want pink. It’s a color for young girls. I want a cyan or blue one.”
“That’s too plain.” Shao Yunan thought about it and said, “Mother, you are so pale and well-maintained, so it would be better to use bright colors. Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter if the clutch bag is brighter, it will make you look younger! I’ll have Aunt Zhou make it for you to see if you like it.”
“Alright, I will listen to you.”
Both Nizi and his mother liked bags so much that Shao Yunan couldn’t help but think to himself, ‘Should I open a bag shop? Would it be feasible?!’ At this time, he still couldn’t imagine the kind of trend the schoolbag he designed for Wang Qing would set in White Moon Academy and even the whole of Yongxiu County Town.
The kimchi and sauces sent to Eunuch An have not finished yet, but it would soon be time to pick tea, so Shao Yunan had a lot of things to do. Guo Zimu could also make kimchi and barbecue sauce, and since his craft was now very similar to Shao Yunan’s, Shao Yunan simply left this matter to him.
Shao Yunan didn’t have the time to make kimchi and sauce, and Wang Shijing didn’t have time to manage their family land. February was a busy time for farming, so Wang Shijing simply spent money to hire people, leaving the responsibility to uncle Zhou and Zhou Tianbao. Their land was planted with seasonal grains, as well as goat’s milk fruits and chrysanthemums, to give Shao Yunan some cover.
After giving an explanation to Guo Zimu, Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing went up the mountain without bringing anyone. After the two arrived at that ancient tea forest, Shao Yunan took Wang Shijing into the space. The tea tree branches cut down in the space have grown to a height of more than one meter, so tea could definitely be harvested from them by the end of the year.
As for the goat’s milk fruit trees, they had already produced four crops of fruit. The two of them entered the space to deal with these goat’s milk fruits. In addition, the grape seeds they planted had already grown into branches and produced small fruits, but it would not be long before the wine could be brewed and other vegetables that could not be taken out such as tomatoes, have also produced several crops.
The time in the space did not go as fast as outside. After Shao Yunan collected the goat’s milk fruit, he asked the men beside him, “Shijing, why is there no news from your comrades yet? If we can’t plant grapes this year, we will also not be able to bring grapes from space outside and make wine and sell it for money in a proper way.”
Wang Shijing frowned. “If you count the time, there should be news.” After a pause, he said, “Maybe it’s the situation at the border. If there was some change, they might not be able to go back to their hometown. Let’s wait and see. If there is still no news when the spring tea is harvested, I will go there myself.”
Shao Yunan didn’t want Wang Shijing to go to such a far place, where transportation and communication were very underdeveloped, and not knowing what he would meet on the road. He thought about it and said, “Why don’t I find Shopkeeper Xu and the others? Asking them to help me find grape seeds is just a cover anyway.”
Wang Shijing who was also not willing to leave Shao Yunan alone for too long said, “That’s fine. Let’s brew the wine first. When we get the seeds, we will also collect grapes. We are the only ones here who can make wine, so no one will suspect if the wine tastes older.”
“Right. Let’s do that. Let’s also collect grapes.” Having thought about it, Shao Yunan did not hang on to this matter. With the tools in the space, they quickly collected the goat’s milk fruit and cleaned it. Wang Shijing, who was already familiar with the production process, didn’t let Shao Yunan do it and squeezed the juice himself. Anyway, there was a professional wine-making and juicing machine.
Shao Yunan originally planted grapes in the space to make wine, so he had a full set of wine-making equipment. Now that he no longer had to hide it from Wang Shijing, wine-making was more convenient. All he had to do was the last step.
While Wang Shijing was busy brewing wine, Shao Yunan went out of the space and poured spiritual spring water on the ancient tea trees. He also added a few drops of spiritual milk. Since Wang Shijing would come almost every day to water trees with spiritual water during the winter, the ancient trees had already sprouted.
Even before you approached, you could already smell the fragrance of tea, which was a significant change from before. These ten ancient tea trees were something Shao Yunan intended to make the most profit with… making not only special, but very special tea.
Picking off a leaf, Shao Yunan tasted it. With the spiritual spring water, the tea tree grew very well and its leaves sprouted fast. So if he wanted to make tea, he could start tea picking now. But he was not in a hurry and would wait for the rainy season before picking, so the taste would be absolutely great.
After watering the trees, he went back to the space and then came out again to water the goat’s milk fruit forest. Of course, he also did not forget about the wild chrysanthemums. After doing all this, Shao Yunan returned to the space, while Wang Shijing was still squeezing the juice. Shao Yunan took off his cotton clothes, rolled up his sleeves, and prepared to make wine.
When Shao Yunan entered the space, three ‘unexpected guests’ came to the tea forest, which had just been watered. ‘They’ first went around the tea tree and sniffed, then lowered their heads to lick the spiritual spring water that had not yet been completely absorbed, their eyes shining gold.
In the capital, the Empress looked at the letter that had just arrived with an expression full of satisfaction. Eunuch An stood in front of him respectfully, with pleasure on his face as well. After reading the last line, the Empress looked up. “This Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing are indeed sincere, willing to share the worries of the Emperor and give him ideas.”
“This matter is feasible. Write them back and ask them to send a piece of that kind of emerald stone. I will send people to Tiger Pass quickly and ask the general to look for it. That stock will not be there forever, so I will take this chance to make as much money as I can.”
Eunuch An immediately said, “Empress you don’t need to take out money. We are all doing things for you and the Emperor to share your worries. Without you and the emperor in power, how would we even afford to open these stores? Just let this slave do it and this slaves will take care of these things for you.”
“Yunan’s letter also said that he also planned to open a jewelry store, auction houses, and chain stores, and the Emperor would get a share of the money. If it wasn’t for Yunan’s laziness, he could do it all by himself and would not give this servant a chance to make contributions.”
The Empress smiled. “According to what you said, is it wrong for me to take the money?” Eunuch An immediately said, “It isn’t. When these shops opens, this slave will also make money. If it were not for the Emperor, this servant would not have earned the money and it would be all divided by others. It is because Yunan understands this truth that he allows you to become a stockholder. Empress, that relief fund also needs money right now.”
The Empress suppressed his smile. Now, both he and the Emperor needed money to do things, and they needed a lot of money. But the money he and the Emperor could take out was really limited. After a moment of silence, the Empress said, “Then I accept this favor from you. The auction house, I think it’s very good. This Shao Yunan is just so full of ideas. You go to my second sister-in-law. This auction house can be organized by Duke Lu’s mansion, but don’t let the news leak before the auction. I want to give a ‘surprise’ to the aristocratic families in the capital.”
“Please rest assured, this servant will handle this matter well.”
“You can go. “
When eunuch An left, the Empress read the letter again. The second daughter-in-law of Old General Dai, the second sister-in-law of the Empress came from the Duke Lu Mansion. Since starting the tea and wine business, the Empress had done a lot, as he also represented the Dai family. Now that Duke Lu’s mansion was going to run the auction house, it would also bring the Duke Lu family closer. The Duke Lu family might not be as powerful as the old families like the Duke of An, the Duke of Ning, the Chu family, or even the Marquis of Hengyuan’s, the Wei family.
Although the power of An Duke’s Ning family has fallen, the thin camel is still bigger than a horse. Their power in the court was also deeply intertwined and it was not so easy to scrape it off. Emperor Yongming’s two concubines, Concubine Chu Yue and Concubine Jing came from the Duke Ning mansion.
Concubine Chu Yue was sent to Emperor Yongming when he was still a crown prince, just after his mother passed away. Now that the Empress was still childless, the most likely person to become crown prince was prince, unless the Emperor had a child with one of the concubines. But due to his feelings towards the Empress, it was unlikely.
The Chu family was originally a well-established family and they also had Concubine Jing. Even if she was not favored, she was still in the palace. Not to mention she was also the mother of Emperor Yongming’s son, because of which they had to keep a low profile. This made the house of Duke An Mansion become the largest and most high-profile.
What the Empress wanted to do now was to raise the status of the families that were sincere towards the Emperor and suppress those old families that were foolish enough to make a move. At the same time, it was also necessary to balance the power of these families to avoid their power growing above the imperial power. On the top of Emperor Yongming’s blacklist were Duke An, Duke Ning, and the Marquis of Hengyuan mansion.
Qiyou read this name quietly. He really wanted to meet this person. Him saying just a few words could make Wei Hongwen leave the Marquis of Hengyuan mansion and begin to work for him. While also gaining the trust of Cen Yuebai, Kang Rui, the Jiang family brothers, and even make Eunuch An willing to recognize him as his nephew and give away three thousand taels of gold on a whim.
To be honest, even though the Empress never met Shao Yunan, he already had a very strong interest in him. If it wasn’t for various considerations that suppressed the Emperor’s intention of letting Shao Yunan into the capital, he would really want to meet that person. ‘Even though he had such a great ability, he was willing to be a mere peasant, buried in the countryside?’
Edited by: Jaisland