Chapter 145 - Put Forward

Yu Xiaocao grinned at him, “I think that you two can establish a port management office and rent one of the shops as your office front. You guys can engage in cargo transport, freight storage, assisted purchasing services, and coordinating transportation for people. Once construction on the harbor is finished, Brother Six will have more and more people working under him and will have a lot more projects. He’ll naturally need to delegate some issues to a manager. Uncle Sun is already very familiar with the docks and freight transport. It’s better to use someone who knows the work than someone who is brand new. Thus, Brother Six can give Uncle Sun some matters to manage...this way, isn’t it better than competing against each other bitterly?”

Brother Six rubbed his chin as his eyes started to shine. It was apparent that he had been deeply moved by her description of a possible, grand future. Although her ideas were not fully fleshed out, it gave him a good direction to go to and opened up his heart to the large amount of opportunities available. Brother Six wasn’t someone who didn’t have talents. As long as you gave him a chance, he would definitely be able to soar high!

Many years later, everyone who had some sense in the heads knew of the harbor’s mogul, Brother Six. Even some officials and nobles had no choice but to treat him courteously. This was because if you offended Brother Six there were consequences. A light offence would cause your cargo to be delayed from loading or unloading. A heavy offense, on the other hand, could lead to your whole stash of goods stuck in one spot. At the port, Brother Six became a legend among all of the workers there——and all of this was started from the casual remarks of a little girl!

At this moment, however, Brother Six was simply a small foreman. He lightly patted Foreman Sun’s shoulder and sincerely said, “Brother Sun, I respect you as a man. Do you want to work with me? With the two of us united, we absolutely can do great things together!!”

Foreman Sun replied emotionally, “Liuzi! Your Brother Sun is not as daring nor does he have as much vision as you. But I do know the loading and unloading business on the docks like the back of my own hand. If you’re willing to trust me, I absolutely won’t let you down!!”

When Yu Xiaocao saw that the two men had dissolved their misunderstandings, she immediately let out a sigh in relief. When she first started selling her braised food, Foreman Sun helped a lot by bringing her business, and he also gave her maternal uncle and cousin steady work at the docks. As for Brother Six, he once protected her from a bunch of villains and could be considered half of a benefactor who saved her life. To be honest, she felt grateful to both of them, so she didn’t want to see them quarrel anymore.

“Xiaocao…” Yu Heizi noticed that Brother Six, the large man at the docks, had treated his little sister favorably. If she spoke up for him, would it still be difficult to find work at the docks? He stealthily pulled on the corner of her jacket and quietly called out her name.

Only then did Xiaocao remember Yu Heizi’s situation. She sheepishly spoke to Brother Six, “Brother Six, this is my older paternal cousin, Yu Ge, he wants to find some work at the docks and doesn’t mind being paid a little less. Do you...have any work that’s suitable for him to do?”

Brother Six looked at Heizi, who had body full of fat and a concerning lack of muscle. He slightly frowned and the look in his severe eyes could make less courageous people tremble in fright. He said, “You are...Yu Ge, is that correct?”

“Yes, yes! Brother Six, you can just call me Heizi…” Yu Heizi felt his heart race after being stared down by the larger man but he still kept a smile on his face.

Brother Six nodded his head and bluntly said, “Heizi, to be honest, I don’t have a good feeling about you! However, since Little Sister Xiaocao asked, I will give you a chance! Do you see that ship over there? There are some luggage for the women of that family that need to be moved onto a cart. Go work with the boy from the Liu Family. If you work hard, then come again tomorrow. If you can’t do it…”

“It’s okay! It’s absolutely okay!” Women’s luggage couldn’t weigh that much. Compared to cargo that weighed at least fifty kilograms, this was considered relatively easy work. Yu Heizi knew that Brother Six was treating him well as a favor for Younger Sister Xiaocao, so he firmly nodded his head and agreed. If he wasn’t able to do this kind of work, would he still be considered a man?

Brother Six beckoned at a tall, somewhat frail looking figure not far from them, and the youth quickly trotted over. Yu Xiaocao stared for a bit. Wasn’t this Second Maternal Uncle’s son, Older Brother Zhiwei?

“Older Brother, are you guys not busy with farmwork now? My father said that he wanted to go over in the next couple of days to help!” Yu Xiaocao softly remarked as she raised her head and smiled brilliantly at him.

Liu Zhiwei wiped the sweat off his forehead and giggled, “My eldest uncle and father are still at home! With my sisters also helping, they don’t need me to work there. Third Uncle heard that the docks are getting constructed into a harbor and needed bricklayers, so he came by to find more information. I came along to see if I could get a temporary job. Brother Six takes really good care of me and always gives me the easiest job. Even though I’m quite young, I have plenty of strength in this body!”

The top of Xiaocao’s head only came up to Liu Zhiwei’s armpits but the words coming out of her mouth sounded like she was his older sister, “Older Brother, you’re still growing right now. Take it easy and don’t harm your body.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t get hurt!” Liu Zhiwei chuckled for a bit before he directed his attention to Brother Six, “Brother Six, did you call me for something?”

“You’re in charge of the unloading for the passenger ship docked on the second wharf. Show this new guy the ropes too. Any questions?” Brother Six swiftly and decisively assigned him the task.

“Not a problem, I promise I’ll complete this assignment!!” When Liu Zhiwei found out that he was in charge of the whole ship, he immediately knew that he had been entrusted with more responsibility and felt his heart swell with a desire to do well. It was only a passenger ship, how much luggage could be on it? Even if he didn’t have someone helping him, he could finish this job completely by himself!

Brother Six stately solemnly, “Zhiwei, this is Heizi’s first day, so he doesn’t know much. You need to patiently teach him. We absolutely cannot tolerate people who like to fish in troubled waters…”

Heizi? Liu Zhiwei turned to face the swarthy and plump figure and looked at him. ‘This is the fat blockhead who always bullied his younger cousins in the Yu Family! Here to find work? How could his mother and grandmother be willing to let him to do hard work? Is he trying to use his connection with his younger cousin to goof off and slack around? Not okay! I, Liu Zhiwei, will absolutely not allow him to do that!’

“Heizi, let’s go! The earlier we start, the earlier we finish! Unloading a passenger ship is not only easy but also very profitable. If it weren’t for Younger Cousin over there, how could us two brothers get such work? We need to work smartly and energetically! If we do well, the masters might even give us tips!” Liu Zhiwei heavily thumped on Yu Heizi’s shoulders.

Under Liu Zhiwei’s meticulous orders and slight desire to be hard on him, Yu Heizi worked without stopping. Heizi, who had never done hard physical labor before, started out full of energy and enthusiasm, but after moving a few pieces of luggage, he felt like there was a five hundred kilogram weight on his shoulders. Countless drops of sweat scattered onto the ground with every step he took. However, Yu Heizi didn’t give up and stubbornly carried on with one thought——I need to endure through this, make a lot of money to marry a wife…

After they finished unloading all of the luggage on the passenger ship, Liu Zhiwei only had a few trickles of sweat flowing down his body. On the other hand, Yu Heizi was gasping for air like an old ox who was seriously ill. Sweat poured down his body like torrential rain, and his two legs trembled viciously. Despite all that, he didn’t voice a single word of complaint. 

Brother Six came over and patted his shoulder, “Good work there! The first time is always like this, once you get used to it, you’ll be fine!! Rest a bit and eat something to save some energy. There will be more coming this afternoon! Did you bring any money? If you didn’t, you can go to the payroll and get some money paid in advance…”

“No need, Brother Six! I already ate this morning before I came over, so...not hungry yet!” Yu Heizi wiped the sweat off his face with a hand and left behind a few obvious lines of dirt.

Brother Six nodded his head, “Then go find a place and make sure you get some good rest!”

When he was working, Yu Heizi had taken off his jacket and only wore a single unlined shirt. He lightly lifted the cloth from his shoulders and saw that the skin in the area had already been rubbed a bright red. He grimaced as he gently kneaded the area. 

Liu Zhiwei had a whole new level of respect for him after this morning and came over. He commented, “Your wounds here are considered quite light! When I first started working here, I didn’t know Brother Six yet, so I did the same type of work that the adult men do. I also got half as much as they did for pay. After working for a day, the top layer of skin on my shoulders had been rubbed off. It hurt like hell at night and I couldn't fall asleep then.”

Yu Heizi rubbed his shoulders as he grinned, “Thank you very much for taking care of me, Brother Zhiwei. I’m not as strong as you, so all of the larger pieces of luggage were all carried off by you. In a moment, when we get our wages, you should get a larger portion!”

“You also worked very hard too!” Liu Zhiwei looked at Heizi, flabbergasted. Previously, Heizi had always been someone who would slack off and bully others, why did it feel like he’d suddenly become a whole new person?

“I’m going to go see our little sisters over there. Right now there’s a lot of people eating, so they are probably very busy right now!” When Xiaolian used to come over by herself, Liu Zhiwei would help her during the meal break. Today was also not an exception.

The braised food for one copper coin a portion was becoming more and more popular at the docks. The amount of food made from one pig head and the ten or so portions of pickled fish was unable to satisfy the fiery demand. Now, their customers not only were the dock workers but also the people living nearby in the area. There were even people who traveled from far away to buy a few portions of the braised food to take home for entertaining guests. 

Thus, every time the dock workers had a break, the braised food pretty much sold out within minutes. A lot of the workers, who were looking forward to eating a portion, had to leave empty-handed. In order to meet the people’s demand, Yu Xiaocao had no choice but to increase the amount they made. She first asked the dock workers for help. If their village had anyone slaughtering a pig, she asked them to help her buy the pig head and offal. In return, she would give them two portions of braised food for free. Very quickly, she had a few more fixed suppliers for her raw ingredients.

They also sold more varieties of food than before. Other than the braised meat dishes, they also had braised kelp, braised dried tofu and other vegetarian dishes. Although it was said to be vegetarian, the vegetables and tofu were all braised using the sauce that was stewed with pig head meat. Thus, the vegetable based dishes had absorbed a lot of animal fat and flavor, so anyone eating them could taste the flavor of braised pig meat. The portion of the vegetarian dishes were also larger than the meat dishes. Thus, these dishes were quite popular too.   

With more variety of braised food to sell, they could no longer rely on portioning out food in advance at home. Consequently, Yu Xiaocao bought a copper pot and small clay stove to heat the braised food at the docks while selling it. Braised food that had been heated up had an even more dense flavor, and the smell traveled into every nook and cranny of the docks with the sea breeze. Even the women coming off of the passenger ships couldn’t help but ask about it.

Having to portion out the food while selling, along with the larger customer base, made it difficult for only one person to handle all of the work alone. Luckily, the vast majority of customers were dock workers and were all well acquainted with the two sisters. All of them would conscientiously line up to buy braised food.

At this point, there was a very long queue in front of Yu Family’s clay brazier. Most of the people in line knew each other, so they waited as they conversed genially. None of them seemed to be in a rush.

“Ehh? What are those people all standing in line for? Are they looking for work?” A loud and clear voice suddenly asked, clearly flabbergasted at the sight.

“My Lord! That is the dock’s most famous ‘one copper coin per portion of braised food’. Although it’s food that’s a bit crude, the flavor is quite good!” The overseer at the docks glanced at the crowd that wasn’t too far from them and humbly replied with a smile on his face.

The person next to him was someone who was personally appointed by the emperor himself to oversee the construction of the harbor. Even the prefectural magistrate had to treat him politely, let alone himself, who was just a small supervisor. If he wanted to continue this line of work in the future, he absolutely needed to serve this lord very well ah!

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Myst's Thoughts

braised dried tofu and braised kelp

Sanguine’s Thoughts: I think it’s kinda cute that Heizi’s trying to work hard to marry a wife. Go go Heizi! Work hard! Earn that money! 

Translator: Sanguine