Chapter 409 - Vegetable Production Base

Steward Liu hesitated for a moment and wondered if there was a possibility for the other party to lower the price. At this time, Yu Xiaocao spoke up again, “Steward Liu, you also know about our family’s relationship with your future head of the household. How about this? We’ll give your third young master face and sell one catty of seeds for forty copper coins! However, we’ll need Steward Liu to keep this a secret and tell outsiders that you bought them for fifty copper coins per catty!” 

After removing ten copper coins per catty, they had taken off a total of one hundred taels for the five hundred mu ah! Steward Liu looked at Yu Hai. Upon seeing that he didn’t have any objections, he thought, ‘Everyone says that the one who truly manages the Yu Household is the family’s youngest daughter. Many of the best-selling and delicious dishes of Zhenxiu Restaurant, which was the starting point of Third Young Master’s success, are made by her.’

In the past, he had thought that the rumors were exaggerated. How could a little girl have such capability? She was just being pampered by her family, and thus they gave her all the credit. But, after today, he really believed it! One hundred taels wasn’t considered a small sum of money for any families of peasant origin.   

This was especially true for Dongshan Village, which had just experienced the burning, killing, and looting of Wokou pirates. The entire village had to rebuild their houses. With one hundred taels, they could build a decent house! However, the little girl didn’t even discuss this matter with her family and made the decision to lower the price herself. Moreover, her father appeared to be quite used to this behavior. It seemed like there was a reason as to why the mother-son pair of the second branch was on friendly terms with Miss Yu. 

Steward Liu thought to himself that he mustn’t slight this young girl in the future. He must treat her like how he treated his masters. Weren’t the workers in Zhenxiu Restaurant, who had a good relationship with her, all promoted to management level positions? He had been in charge of the ritual fields for over twenty years, so he should move somewhere else… 

With that thought in mind, he appeared somewhat more respectful as he said with a simple, “No need, no need! With the good relationship between the Yu Family and our master, you definitely wouldn’t demand an outrageous price. If Third Young Master finds out that this old servant tried to bargain with Miss Yu, he will definitely strip me of the position of a steward! Let’s just agree on the price of fifty copper coins per catty!” 

Yu Xiaocao raised her brows. So there were really people who didn’t take advantage of others even when given the chance ah! Since Steward Liu was so tactful, she wouldn’t let him go back empty-handed. Yu Xiaocao didn’t say anything else in regard to the price and agreed on the price of fifty copper coins per catty. Then she weighed ten thousand catties of seeds for Steward Liu. Steward Liu smoothly paid five hundred taels for the seeds. 

Before leaving, Yu Xiaocao quietly gave him fifty taels, saying that it was for all the hard work that Steward Liu had done. Steward Liu was very stunned and hurriedly gave it back to her, “No, this won’t do! If the masters know that this old servant had embezzled the money for the seeds, wouldn’t they skin me alive?” 

Yu Xiaocao quickly offered him a reason to accept the money, “Look at what you’re saying. How is this considered embezzlement? Didn’t you already pay for the seeds? You have been working hard the whole day, so this is for you to get something to drink…” 

“No, no! This old servant has worked at the ritual fields for over twenty years, I have always kept my hands clean. Miss Yu, please don’t lead others to commit crimes! If someone finds out, this old servant’s reputation will be completely ruined!” With a mournful expression, Steward Liu tightly clenched his sleeves, for fear that she would forcibly give him the money. 

What a joke! His primary goal was to befriend the Yu Family, especially Miss Yu Xiaocao. Although fifty taels was a large sum and about the same as his annual salary, he couldn’t lose the main goal because of small gains ah! He knew that as long as Miss Yu put in a good word for him in front of Third Young Master then he could walk on a smooth road in the future! 

Seeing that he really didn’t want to take it, Yu Xiaocao had a slightly better impression of Steward Liu. She thought about it, and then took out several pills from her pouch. There were pills for diarrhea, cold, and coughing. These were good medicines that were hard to buy even if one lined up in front of Tongren Medicine Hall, especially after that stinky guy Zhu Junyang promoted her family’s workshop. Now, they were short in supplies. She heard that the price of one pill in the capital’s Tongren Medicine Hall had inflated to one hundred taels.

One must admit that this wasn’t an unreasonable price. Tongren Medicine Hall’s medicine pills and wound balms were very effective. For example, one might not be able to completely cure a cold even after drinking bitter medicine for three to five days. However, the illness could be completely cured after taking a pill, or if more serious, two pills. It was the same for the wound balm. When injured, one just needed to put some on the wound, and it would immediately stop the bleeding and pain. The chance of inflammation was also greatly reduced. The wound would be completely healed after three to five days. If it was some other wound balm, it would take at least eight to ten days to remove the scab!

The capital didn’t lack rich people, so they would definitely be happy to spend a hundred taels in exchange for less suffering. Especially for those big merchants with thriving businesses. If they were healed a day earlier, wouldn’t they be able to earn a day more of money? The pampered children of noble families couldn’t stand the torture of illness. For pills that could get rid of illness, not to mention one hundred taels, but they would be willing to buy it even if it was more expensive. 

Allegedly, that person in the palace was already eyeing Tongren Medicine Hall for the next selection of imperial merchants. They had already decided behind closed doors that all kinds of pills and medicinal syrups would be appointed as tribute to the Imperial Palace! 

Within the entire Tanggu Town, only a few families could afford to use the pills. Patriarch Zhou was getting old, so his health had been deteriorating. Thus, they had prepared several of these pills at home for emergencies. When the young masters and young misses of the first branch coughed a little, they would clamor about wanting to drink the sweet medicine.   

Among the servants, only the capable people around the patriarch and matriarch could occasionally be awarded with a pill. For people like Steward Liu, who had been assigned to manage the ritual fields in the remote suburbs, they had never even seen the pills before. Could Steward Liu not be excited to see Miss Yu take out five pills? Logically speaking, he should refuse. But he really didn’t want to refuse. These were good medicines that couldn’t be bought even if one had money ah!   

Recently, his father had a craving for cold food and ate too much iced watermelon, so he had an upset stomach. After taking several doses of medicine, there still wasn’t any improvement in his condition and it seemed to be worsening. The doctor said that his father was old and his organs were aging, and thus even a minor illness might kill him.   

When Steward Liu came out today, his father was already bedridden with an ashen complexion. Among the pills given by Miss Yu, there were two that treated diarrhea. Refusing to accept them might cost his father’s life ah! 

After struggling for a long time, Steward Liu gritted his teeth and accepted the five precious pills with trembling hands. He wasn’t even forty years old yet, so he could strive for his future again in the future. However, he only had one father. He would never come back after leaving! 

Seeing that Steward Liu had accepted the pills, Yu Xiaocao breathed out a sigh of relief. This Steward Liu was too timid and overcautious. He had to think for so long before accepting the pills that she casually made! It almost seemed as if he was afraid that she would go tattle to Third Young Master Zhou about him accepting bribes!   

It should be known that the pills that she casually made were much more effective than the pills produced in the workshop. On one hand, there was a higher concentration of mystic-stone water. On the other hand, during the process of making the pills, the spiritual energy of the multicolored stone on her wrist had flowed into the medicine. The unassuming pill was two or three times more effective than the pills made in the workshop! 

Therefore, when Steward Liu fed his father the pill upon returning home, his father’s diarrhea immediately stopped, and his complexion also became more healthy. Half a day later, he was able to get up from his bed and stroll around the fields. His body was even stronger than before he fell ill. Steward Liu regarded the remaining pills as holy medicine. These pills could save their lives during critical moments!! It was no wonder that so many wealthy families scrambled to buy Tongren Medicine Hall’s pills. Even if they had a lot of money, it couldn’t revive a life ah! 

How could the news of the steward of the Zhou Family buying fine seeds from the Yu Family’s farmstead be kept a secret from those households who kept a close eye on the high-yield wheat kernels? There were quite a lot of rich people in Tanggu Town. Even for those who got rich from doing business, who didn’t purchase a few hundred mu of fertile farmlands when buying property? It was necessary to have all these real estates, okay? 

The second household to buy fine seeds was the Yao Family, who only bought vegetables from the Yu Family. Steward Yao had already been promoted to a trusted head steward who served the patriarch. But after all, he was more familiar with the Yu Family, so he was sent to talk with the Yu Family. 

He didn’t bother Yu Hai, who was busily working in the fields, and directly went to find Yu Xiaocao, who was planting corn. He greeted her with a smile, “Long time no see. How are you doing, Miss Yu?” 

“Steward Yao ah! It’s been a while since I have seen you. I heard that you have been promoted to a head steward. Congratulations ah!” Yu Xiaocao congratulated him. 

Steward Yao waved his hands and humbly said, “Wasn’t it all thanks to the Yu Family? Your family’s vegetables helped me gain some merit in front of our old master. Thanks to our old master’s kindness, he has transferred this old servant to serve him directly. It’s a pity that more than half of your family’s vegetables had been destroyed by the Wokou pirates… Since we aren’t able to buy the Yu Family’s vegetables, our old master’s appetite has greatly reduced. During meals, he would always sigh in front of the dishes! Miss Yu, when will the construction on your house be completed?” 

“It’s still too early ah! However, we have decided to open up some space for a vegetable garden at our plantation. We will plant vegetables of the current season that will be specially sold in the Tanggu area. Leafy greens have a short growth period, so they might be on the market in about half a month!” 

Yu Xiaocao had long wanted to expand the scope of their vegetable cultivation. The few mu of land in their courtyard at home gradually didn’t have enough supply to provide to the Zhenxiu Restaurants in Tanggu Town and the prefectural city. Except for old customers like the Yao Family, they had stopped selling vegetables to the rich families in Tanggu Town. Cries of discontent could be heard everywhere from those who were used to eating the Yu Family’s vegetables. 

Now, the Zhou Family had opened up another branch of Zhenxiu Restaurant at the harbor. It was even bigger than the ones in Tanggu Town and the prefectural city. Furthermore, it was a big hotel that provided lodging, food, and bathing. Third Young Master Zhou had freed up some time to go to Dongshan Village and pestered her to overcome all difficulties to ensure that she could provide vegetables for the Zhenxiu Restaurant at the docks. He wanted to strive for a good start. He wanted those visiting merchants to think of Zhenxiu Restaurant whenever they came to Tanggu Docks… In this way, the expansion of vegetable cultivation was imminent!

Fortunately, the Yu Family’s farmstead was closer to Tanggu Town and the prefectural city than Dongshan Village. Moreover, there was an official road right in front of the plantation connecting Tanggu Town and the prefectural city, which made transportation more convenient. After discussing with her father, they first plowed ten mu of vegetable garden in the plantation and found two meticulous and loyal families to manage it. In the future, the vegetable fields in the farmstead needed to provide vegetables to the restaurants and families in Tanggu Town and the prefectural city. Dongshan Village was located closer to the harbor, so the vegetables grown at home were specially used to supply the Zhenxiu Restaurant at the docks!

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Myst's Thoughts

Translator: Myst