‘Didn’t you want my girl to lose her job? Why don’t I make you lose your job as an official of the court and never have the chance to turn your fortunes around?!’ Those people who did not intend to harm the girl, for the time being, weren’t in the position to say anything either. No, it was useless to scold these insincere people.
Zhu Junyang stepped forward and stood next to Yu Xiaocao. He stood side by side next to her, expressing with his action that he was here to support
“By the emperor’s orders, whether it is the agricultural officials in the Ministry of Revenue or the stewards at the Imperial Plantation, everyone has to listen to Agricultural Officer Yu’s orders. If you disobey her orders, then there will be severe punishment!” Zhu Junyang’s sharp gaze swept across the officials harboring bad intentions. He paused for a moment before he continued speaking, “The Imperial Plantation has been given to the Ministry of Revenue and I to take charge of. I suggest that all the matters in the Imperial Plantation should be decided by the newly appointed agricultural official. Minister Liu, what do you think of my decision?”
“I have no objection. In terms of farming, this old man is still an amateur. Miss Yu has far surpassed this old man when it comes to farming. This old man will be at ease if she is in charge of the Imperial Plantation!” Next, Minister Liu introduced the officials and the stewards in charge of the plantation to Yu Xiaocao. He clearly stated all the details of what everyone was in charge of.
Yu Xiaocao listened attentively. The officials from the Ministry of Revenue were all dispensable. For example, the official responsible for keeping records and the official in charge of the warehouse did not know much about farming. Therefore, she couldn’t depend on them. The stewards in the Imperial Plantation did their job well and their arrangements were reasonable. She wasn’t planning on taking any action for the time being. She only listened to their report quietly.
After everyone finished their reports, someone reported that the carriage carrying servant girls had arrived outside. Yu Xiaocao looked at the time and got up, saying, “The pesticides are here. Steward Wang, please help me ask the tenant farmers in the Imperial Plantation to gather here. After this official finish mixing the pesticides, we will begin the irrigation immediately. After all, the farms don’t wait for the farmers to plant themselves!”
Steward Wang was personally sent here by the emperor. He was also one the most dependable stewards under Su Ran. Because of Su Ran’s positive attitude towards the Yu Family and Yu Xiaocao, Steward Wang was naturally more respectful towards her and listened to her commands.
Soon, all the workers in the Imperial Plantation slowly gathered around in the field carrying buckets and poles. These tenant farmers are divided into ten different groups. Each group had a group leader in charge of mixing the proportions of the pesticide correctly. Once the well water was mixed with the pesticide, the water will be irrigated into the fields.
Xiaocao had the little divine stone transform into a ray of golden light as it circled around the entire Imperial Plantation. Although the little divine stone didn’t have strong powers right now, it was still able to improve the soil in the Imperial Plantation after circling around it. The spiritual energy in the field was now enough to support the growth of the crops in the field. The autumn harvest would definitely be bountiful this year!
There were many people in the Imperial Plantation. Whether it was men, women, or children, they were all assigned a task. Even the stewards were ordered to work around the fields. In half a day’s time, they finished irrigating 3,000 mu of cornfields.
Minister Liu was unwilling to leave the field no matter what, so the officials from the Ministry of Revenue accompanied him around the sidelines of the fields.
Looking at the small leaves of the corn sprouts glistening underneath the setting sun, it was a touching and verdant sight. Minister Liu stroked the beard under his jaw with a gratified smile on his face, “Miss Yu, I don’t know if this old man is seeing things, but the corn sprouts looked much more alive after we irrigated the pesticide on it. It also seemed like they had grown a little…”
Zhu Junyang looked at him and his mind began to ponder. It seemed like he was trying to find an excuse to help Yu Xiaocao lie, “Official Liu, I think that’s only a figment of your imagination. No matter how effective the pesticide is, it’s impossible for it to have an instant effect on the crops. It’s complete nonsense for plants to suddenly grow. All living things grow at their own pace. Agricultural Official Yu is not an immortal, how can she have that kind of magical power?”
Minister Liu also felt that he was overly sensitive and laughed, “What Royal Prince Yang said is correct. This old man was probably too anxious to see results; hence, I began to see illusions.”
The agricultural officials around him all murmured in their minds: ‘Although we’re unclear whether the corn seedlings have grown or not, we are certain that the corn sprouts appeared more spirited than this morning. The whole field is brimming with vitality and each blade from the fields is full of spirit. Is this all just part of our illusions?’
Under the sky that was full of red clouds, a red and a black horse walked side by side on the spacious, smooth land. A tree with a crooked tree trunk would occasionally stretch its verdant leaves on its branches under the summertime light. Two figures were dyed red from the sunset; one figure was petite and delicate, while the other figure was tall and lofty. Two saddled horses and an ordinary green carriage followed behind the two figures.
“What are you thinking about again?” Yu Xiaocao had her head lowered and Zhu Junyang could easily tell from her expression that she was pondering some important issues.
Yu Xiaocao looked up at Zhu Junyang and asked, “Do you think the emperor will agree if I plant some fruits trees on the mountain behind the Imperial Plantation, or build a greenhouse to grow vegetables next to the Imperial Plantation to sell to the high officials and nobles of the capital?”
He knew that this girl would never sit idly by. Just as he expected, she had only arrived at the capital for a few days, and she already wanted to utilize the Imperial Plantation. The Imperial Plantation was originally a place used by the emperor to cultivate and improve crops. As long as she successfully fulfilled the task entrusted to her by the emperor, the emperor would not mind if she used the mountains near the Imperial Plantation for some personal benefits.
“There shouldn’t be any problem if you don’t take up the fields that are part of the Imperial Plantation. Why don’t I write a memorial to the emperor and ask about it?” In addition to helplessness, Zhu Junyang also felt a sense of admiration for the endless money-making ideas that came out from Xiaocao’s mind.
Writing imperial memorials was not her strength. Besides, the emperor will probably struggle to read her messy handwriting, which she had only practiced for a few days. Thus, she was naturally happy that someone else was willing to do it for her.
“However, if you want to build a greenhouse, you will need a lot of glass. Large pieces of glass are quite expensive. The several houses in the capital that have greenhouses only used it to plant precious flowers and plants. If you use the greenhouse to plant vegetables, it will take a while for you to earn a profit…”
Zhu Junyang remembered that the manufacturing department had recently received a batch of glasses of excellent quality, but he was uncertain whether the emperor had planned to use the glass or not. How likely would it be for him to succeed If he asked the emperor to give it to them?
Yu Xiaocao calculated the cost in her mind. It simply wasn’t profitable if she only grew vegetables in a large greenhouse. As Royal Prince Yang had said, the cost of the glass was too high, and the initial investment was too costly. It was not a cost-effective idea…
“Then...would it be possible for Young Royal Prince to be able to obtain some fruit tree saplings? Saplings from last year’s fruit trees work too!” Yu Xiaocao thought that if she wasn’t able to build a large greenhouse to grow vegetables this year, she should try planting some fruit trees first. When the fruit trees ripen next year, she could make them into canned fruits and earn some money from selling them.
It was not easy to live in a large capital. Although the capital was a nice place to live in, it was expensive to live in the capital. She had to spend money left and right. Although she earned an official’s salary, the salary was not enough. One year’s salary wasn’t even enough to buy a hairpin or a bracelet in the capital. Therefore, she needed to expand her financial resources instead of only trying to save money!
Zhu Junyang had a confident expression on his face, “What type of fruit trees do you want? There are no fruit trees that I cannot get! Just tell me and I’ll get it for you.”
“Apples, oranges, peach trees, pear trees, apricot trees, and grapevines...can I get a few of those first? When is the soonest you can get them here?” Of course, Yu Xiaocao wouldn’t buy or sell the fruit trees from the south. They were too garish. The ones she listed were all common fruit trees in the north.
“Do you want them right now? Isn’t the best time to plant fruit trees in the spring? Will the fruit trees survive if you plant them right now?” Zhu Junyang was worried.
Yu Xiaocao stuck out her small nose and snorted. She said in an arrogant tone, “With my ability, is there anything that I can’t grow? Just wait to eat some fruits next year!”
Zhu Junyang saw that the little girl’s expression was quite similar to the expression of the golden kitten she raised. Her head was almost raised all the way back. He couldn’t help but say, “Stop boasting so much! Be careful or else all your boasting will turn out to be empty!”
“Stop looking down on people! Do you want to eat fruits or not?” The little girl began to threaten him courageously.
Zhu Junyang trusted the little girl’s ability. He was only teasing her because he wanted to see her angry appearance. The peach tree in the back of the Yu Family’s house in Dongshan Village was originally a wild peach tree on the mountain. The fruits on the tree were small and tasted slightly sour. It was not tasty at all. However, after the peach tree went through the meticulous care of the little girl, the peach tree produced large peaches that tasted as sweet as honey. The peaches were so soft that even elderly people without teeth could eat a few.
There was also a grapevine in the courtyard. They were able to eat sweet grapes starting in April. The grapes from other people’s homes started to go bad two days after it was picked. In contrast, the grapes from the Yu Family still maintained its sweet taste a week after it was sent to the capital. The grapes were as large as a bull’s eyes, and it was well-received by the noble ladies in the capital. His lady mother became quite troubled after many noble ladies asked her where she got the grapes.
He could imagine that if the little girl planted an orchard of fruit trees in the Imperial Plantation, it would be absolutely astonishing. It was very likely that the fruit business in the entire capital would be monopolized by her! It seemed like it was necessary for him to buy a few fruit shops under his own name. When the time comes, he could sell the fruits that the lass grew. Wouldn’t they look like an old married couple?
With this plan in mind, after he sent Xiaocao back to the General Estate, Zhu Junyang wrote up a memorial that night and sent it to the emperor. Then he ordered his men to collect fruit trees near the capital. He collected only five or six trees of each type. He wanted to let the lass experiment with it first. It would be great if the fruit trees managed to live, but it also wasn’t a big deal if the fruit trees died.
After the morning court ended the next day, Xiaocao was called into the palace again. Perhaps the last time she entered the palace had cast a shadow over her heart, her heart began pounding as soon as she entered the palace this time. She didn’t know whether the emperor would go back on his words and covet her multicolored stone.
This time, Sir Su did not lead her to the imperial study but led her in the direction of the imperial garden.
“Sir Su, how is the emperor’s mood today?” She felt that it wasn’t smart if she tried to inquire directly about the emperor’s intentions. So, Yu Xiaocao thought that she could judge whether entering the palace this time was good or bad for her by knowing the emperor’s current mood.Previous Chapter Next Chapter