Chapter 168 - Wealth and Riches

Although Fang Zizhen was only a third-rank military official without much power, Lord Wu had heard that the emperor had favored him. In addition, Lord Fang’s master and younger martial brother had recently received the imperial decree and gone back to the capital after being sealed the second-rank Zhenguo General. A large part of the army was put under Zhenguo General’s command and before long he was going to the northwest to guard the borders.

Because military families often had both the father and son going into battle, if hostilities arose in the northwest, Fang Zizhen would definitely also be ordered there. When the military leadership was in the hands of Zhao Family’s father, son, and disciple, then they would definitely have a place at court in the future…

After considering all of the possibilities, County Magistrate Wu decided to give Fang Zizhen a favor and let his subordinate leak out the news that the shops were owned by his family in order to let the imperial envoy ask for them. However, he had never expected that the imperial envoy actually wanted to buy them for his goddaughter. It had been a busy few days at the docks so Fang Zizhen had forgotten to ask about them. Today, he finally found a chance to talk about them. County Magistrate Wu had been nervously waiting at home. Just what was the imperial envoy trying to do? Did he want to buy them or not?

Yu Xiaocao thought that this was a good idea. In her previous life, many people had earned money by speculating in real estate. Shops and stalls were a decent investment. The shops that were located in the bustling downtown area were even better and often could be sold for a sky-high price. In comparison, the shops in Tanggu Town were already considered not that expensive.

“Godfather, how much would it cost to buy those two shops?” Yu Xiaocao was afraid that she couldn’t raise that much money in a short period of time.

When Fang Zizhen saw his goddaughter agree with his idea, he became even more happy than if he was the one buying the stores. He grinned widely, “Daughter, don’t worry about the price! If you don’t have enough money, Godfather will pay it off for you. Once you have enough money, you can return it back to me!”  

Yu Xiaocao rolled her eyes at him. She was well aware that if she took him up on this offer, in the future, when she wanted to pay him back, he would find all sorts of excuses to avoid it. Her godfather already treated her quite well, so she didn’t want other people to accuse her of taking advantage of his money and power! That being said, her godfather also had her godmother at home. If she ended up leaving an impression that she was an avaricious and insatiable greedy person, then she didn’t know what she could do to fix it!

The smile on Zhou Zixu’s face became even more brilliant. He spoke somewhat cautiously to Fang Zizhen, “Lord Fang, you don’t need to worry that Xiaocao doesn’t have enough money to buy the stores. She’s absolutely a wealthy little lady right now! Let’s not even talk about the dividends from the factory, just her dividends from the osmanthus duck alone would be more than enough to buy those two stores!”

The osmanthus duck had been on the market for almost two months now. For every one duck that was sold, Xiaocao got half a tael in return. Between the Zhenxiu Restaurant in Tanggu Town and the one in the capital, those two restaurants probably sold at least two hundred ducks every day. In other words, Xiaocao earned at least a hundred taels every day from this arrangement. In a month, she had an income of more than three thousand taels! To call her a wealthy woman wasn’t an exaggeration in the least!

Originally, the contract dictated that the Yu Family could get the dividends every month or every six months. Yu Xiaocao though it was too inconvenient to get it every month so she chose to get it every six months instead. Since then, she hadn’t gone into town so she didn’t even know how much money had built up by now.

Zhou Zixu gave everyone a rough outline just how many osmathus ducks his two restaurants had been selling on a daily basis. When the Yu Family found out that, from the sales of the osmanthus duck alone, they had earned five thousand taels, they couldn’t help but be stunned by this number. When had they ever seen so much money before? They had previously believed that the eight hundred taels Xiaocao had sold her recipe for was an astronomical sum. They would have never thought, or even dreamed, that they might, one day, have over a thousand taels on hand.

Little Shitou’s hand loosened its grip on his chopsticks and they pattered down onto the table. He stammered, “Second...Second Sister! Not even two months had passed and our family has earned over five thousand taels, then...then in one year, wouldn’t we get over thirty thousand taels? Someone, someone quickly pinch me right now...yeouch! Second Sister, you pinch too hard——haha! I’m not dreaming! Won’t our family soon become one of the richest families in Dongshan Village?”

When Zhou Zixu saw Little Shitou, who was dressed in scholarly attire, look so shocked, he couldn’t help but laugh at the little boy’s lack of sophistication, “Earning around thirty thousand taels in one year makes you so happy that you can’t find north anymore? That’s only the money from the osmanthus duck. If we add on the money you’re earning from the condiment factory and the future century egg and vermicelli, in a few years, let’s not even talk about being the richest family in Dongshan Village, even in town your family would be considered extremely wealthy!”

Little Shitou’s eyes glittered as if he had stars in them and his face filled with emotion, “That’s too good! In the future, I won’t have to worry about not being able to afford my school tuition! Older Brother won’t have to be sent out from home to be an apprentice! Older Sister and Second Sister won’t be sold into the Zhou Family to be maidservants...sniffle, sniffle! I’m so happy right now!”

Although he claimed he was happy, the little fellow covered his face with his hands and started bawling! You couldn’t underestimate Little Shitou for being too young. All of his family’s sufferings and difficulties had all been heavily engraved within his heart. Before they separated from the main family, his whole family had to endure his grandmother’s tyranny. They never had enough to eat, never had decent clothes to wear, and never could finish the work assigned to them. When they split from the family, the house was so run-down that it wasn’t livable and it was possible that, at any time, they might run out of food to eat. His father had been bedridden from his leg injury and his mother had washed other people’s laundry until the skin on her hands split from the cold and bled. His older brother had been beaten until he had almost died...

To him, those terrible days were still right before his eyes sometimes! At that time, he wouldn’t have ever dreamed that there would one day be a day like today. Now, he could eat white rice whenever he wanted and eat large wheat buns whenever he felt like it. From time to time, he could even eat a meal with meat in it. He never would have believed that he might one day enter the town’s most famous academy and be able to study and read books for a whole day without any worries. In addition, he never would have expected that this family might have an income of over ten thousand taels as well...

Yu Xiaocao stopped smiling and pulled the little fellow into her arms. Little Shitou threw himself into his second sister’s arms and burst into loud tears. Second Sister was like a little immortal fairy from storybooks. There was nothing that she couldn’t do or accomplish! He now had an even deeper conviction that his second sister had been blessed by the heavens and taken care of by the gods themselves. As for them, they had merely enjoyed the afterglow of her fortune!

Everyone in the Yu Family felt their hearts squeeze in pain from the sounds of his heartbroken sobs. One after another they all recalled their circumstances a few months ago. It was like the difference between heaven and hell! The old memories in the air all dampened the environment for a bit.  

Fang Zizhen felt extremely uncomfortable within his heart when he saw the tell-tale red rims around his adopted daughter’s eyes. He hurriedly interrupted the Yu Family’s thoughts and cheerfully admonished, “Okay ah! Earning money is something to be happy about, why are you all crying? My daughter is so capable that she makes more money in a month than me, her godfather!! In the future, Godfather will have the shamefully ask my daughter to buy things for me ah!”

Yu Xiaocao sniffed her nose a couple of times and a sweet smile appeared on her ruddy lips, “Godfather! In the future, Xiaocao will show her filial respect to you and will buy you many things that you like!”

“My daughter is a filial one! Godfather doesn’t really care about anything else except eating good food! In the future, just make me more creative and fresh dishes, that’s better than buying anything else!” Fang Zizhen couldn’t change that he was a foodie to the bones and, instead, used that as an excuse to request more food.

On the side, Yu Hai pretended to be pitiful and sad as he resentfully complained, “Cao’er, you only know how to show your filial respect to your godfather, but what about me, your biological father?”

“I’ll also show my filial respects to you!” Her father, who was striving for favor, was like a kitten begging for pets. It was necessary to smooth his fur over too. “I also have to show my filial respects to Mother and Godmother too! In the future, we also need to help Eldest Brother choose a gentle and virtuous wife and prepare a lot of dowry for Xiaolian. We also have Little Shitou to think about. Second Sister is just waiting for you to become the top scorer in the imperial court examinations and become a high-ranking official, so you can support me!”

Little Shitou nodded his head furiously and confidently asserted, “Okay! Second Sister! I will study very hard! Although I entered the school about half a year behind the other students, but I am already the top of my class! The teacher told me I have a natural talent and in the future I’ll definitely become a capable scholar! Once I become the top scorer of the imperial examinations, I will definitely get a noble title for Second Sister…”

“So boastful! You’re not even the tiniest bit modest, eh?!” Yu Xiaocao grinned toothily and pinched his face full of baby fat, “I’ve only heard of people asking for titles for their mother and wife before, who has ever asked for a title for their older sister?”  Little Shitou was completely serious as he solemnly stated, “Second Sister, in my heart, you’re as important as our mother!!”

 Xiaocao felt very touched inside and pulled the little boy into her arms to rub and hug. The scholarly cap on Little Shitou’s head had been bumped off, and his hair, which had originally been neatly combed, was now a giant mess of weeds. Little Shitou didn’t try to pretend to be an adult anymore and repeatedly begged for mercy.

Following that, Zhou Zixu tasted the watermelon as he came to an agreement with Yu Xiaocao about more goods. Every summer, the Zhou Family always had plenty of watermelons gifted to them. However, he had never tasted watermelon that was this sweet and succulent. Also, if his memory was correct, watermelon usually needed another two months before they’d appear on the market. The Yu Family had, once again, beaten everyone else.

Zhou Zixu accepted Yu Xiaocao’s proposal to send a plate of watermelon and fruits to every table whose bill surpassed a hundred taels. In addition, it was also possible to buy a plate of watermelon too! If the gifted fruit and melon plate didn’t whet the appetite, then someone could order more. However, it definitely wouldn’t be cheap!

“Xiaocao, you should quickly buy those two stores soon so you can open a fruit store. Although Tanggu Town is a small place, there are plenty of rich people around! Furthermore, there are visitors from the south who are touring the north, and they usually have a lot of cash on hand!” Zhou Zixu also gave her a proposal.

“A fruit store? But watermelon is the only fruit that my family has ah!” Yu Xiaocao remembered the fruit markets in her past life were all filled with fruits from the north to south. By comparison, this fruit store of hers sounded a bit too pathetic right?

Third Young Master Zhou thought for a bit and then said, “I know a fruit wholesale business, if you need it…”

“Let’s forget about it! I suspect that my family’s three mu of watermelon fields can only produce enough to sell for two to three months! We’ll first open a watermelon store! Once the watermelons are all sold out, then we can rent the store out! We don’t have enough people at home, so we all have more work than we can finish!”

The family’s vegetable fields all required someone to take care of them. The long rows of vegetables fields could produce enough to be sold until the end of autumn and the start of winter. Now, the Yu Family could earn over two hundred taels per month from vegetable sales alone! Many vegetables, when it was past their season, would get too old and have an odd coating on them, which impacted their taste. However, the Yu Family’s vegetables never had this problem.  

Now, other than the Yao Family, a lot of other wealthy families in town also bought their produce from the Yu Family. Also, they all came over to receive the produce. As for restaurants, the Yu Family only supplied Zhenxiu Restaurant alone. With the mystic-stone water as her cheat item that could shorten the vegetable growth cycle, the Yu Family’s four mu of vegetable fields produced enough to supply them all!

Other than the vegetable fields, they also had their braised food business at the docks. The weather was gradually getting warmer, so they were afraid that the food might go bad overnight. Thus, Madam Liu always woke up very early in the morning to braise the food now and had Xiaolian quickly drive the donkey cart to the docks to sell. Every day, they could also earn two to three hundred copper coins from that, which came out to ten taels per month. Don’t look down on these ten taels though, most ordinary people only made that much in a year!

In addition, they also had their wholesale seafood business. Every day, the Yu Family would continuously buy marine goods from the nearby fishermen. Even with Yu Jiang’s cooperation, they were so busy that they couldn’t tell their head from their feet. Sometimes, Yu Lichun would stroll by, see how busy they were, and would also help them.

The three mu watermelon fields would soon be ready to go to market, and she wasn’t sure who could be available to help sell them. This was truly a big problem! However, Xiaocao had already an inkling of an idea of who could help. She decided on doing a wholesale business and was planning to give someone they were acquainted with the opportunity to make some money…

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Myst's Thoughts

Sanguine’s Thoughts: Whooooshhhh, all that money coming in. Ka-ching, ka-ching!

Translator: Sanguine