Chapter 446 - Blacklist

It wasn’t hard to find out about the discord between the daughter of the right assistant minister of the Ministry of Appointments and Yu Xiaocao, who was an official under the Ministry of Revenue. When Zhu Junyang heard about this matter, he was immediately enraged. Not far from the entrance of Assistant Minister Li’s residence, he stopped Eldest Young Master Li and beat him until he looked like a pig head. Fortunately, he had controlled his strength. Otherwise, he would have broken several ribs and that guy would have to lie in bed for more than half a year.

Before he left, he even arrogantly said, “Tell your foolishly complacent younger sister to stay away from the Ministry of Revenue’s Official Yu and don’t come out to disgust people! Otherwise, this prince will beat you up every time I see you!” 

Eldest Young Master Li lay on the ground and groaned. Who did he offend? He didn’t have any relationship with this black-faced King of Hell ah. Why did he suddenly encounter misfortune out of nowhere? When Assistant Minister Li heard the news and came over, he only saw the elegant and unrestrained back view of Royal Prince Yang leaving, and his son lying on the floor like a dead dog. 

“What happened? Why did you have to go and offend the black-hearted and cruel King of Hell? You’re lucky that he was being merciful to you, otherwise, you might have died! Quick, quickly go get a doctor!!” Assistant Minister Li only dared to complain in his heart and didn’t dare to actually go seek justice. If one offended Royal Prince Yang, there was nowhere to voice one’s complaints! 

Eldest Young Master Li was helped up by two servants. He covered his swollen face with his hands and murmured, “How would I dare to offend him? I usually stay as far away from him as I can! I was just someone else’s scapegoat!!” 

“Who? Whose scapegoat? Your two younger stepbrothers? They’re timid and weak, so there’s no way that they would dare to do anything. Your two younger brothers? How old are they? One is eight, while the other is six years old! Even if they want to offend that jinx, they wouldn’t be able to do it!!” Assistant Minister Li thought of all the possibilities, but still couldn’t find the answer. 

It couldn’t be that…he was the one who had unknowingly offended Royal Prince Yang, right? It seemed…perhaps…probably…when Official Yu was bestowed the position of an official, he had voiced his opposition——Argh! He wasn’t one of the main opposers. The royal prince wouldn’t have held a grudge for this long and finally decided to get revenge, right? 

Eldest Young Master Li snorted and shook off the two servants. As if he had an egg in his mouth, he shouted, “You want to know? Then go ask your precious daughter!!” 

Assistant Minister Li had three sons with his legitimate wife and two illegitimate sons, so he had a bunch of sons. Since Li Meirou was his only daughter, he had always doted on her. As a result, this daughter of his had been spoiled rotten by him and his wife. At times, even Eldest Young Master Li, who was the oldest son, had to give her some face. 

This resulted in Li Meirou’s arrogant and cocky personality. Normally, when interacting with other noble young misses, she would listen to her parents’ warning and somewhat restrain her temper. When she encountered those whose fathers and brothers had a lower rank than her father, she would display her bossy and snobbish attitude. The young misses, who came from families of lower ranking officials, would also suppress their dislike and try to flatter her, which enhanced her arrogance. Now, she had finally offended someone she shouldn’t have. 

Yesterday, when Li Meirou returned from the flower competition, she broke several valuable porcelains in her room. She locked herself in her room and cried for a long time. Upon asking, they found out that she had been shamed by the newly appointed female official of the Ministry of Revenue. Assistant Minister Li and his wife finally pacified their precious daughter after they coaxed her and promised to help her get some face back by teaching that sixth-ranked official a lesson. 

Upon hearing his son’s words, Assistant Minister Li didn’t take his words seriously and said, “Your younger sister? What trouble would a little girl like her cause? Besides, I actually want your younger sister to have some relationship with Royal Prince Yang. But, on second thought, with your younger sister’s temperament, she wouldn’t be a suitable partner for Royal Prince Yang… There’s no way that it was your younger sister who offended him, right? Think about it again. Perhaps, during the meetings with other scholars, you had inadvertently said something bad about that jinx…” 

“He told me himself to tell your precious daughter to stay away from Official Yu. If she appears in front of her again, Royal Prince Yang won’t bother to do anything with a little girl but he will vent his anger on me, her older brother!! Father, I’m just a weak scholar, who can barely take a flick of his finger! If you don’t want me to die before you, then you should restrain that daughter of yours. Don’t act differently in front of different people and look down on others because of their origin!” With a toss of his sleeves, Eldest Young Master Li limped into the estate. He didn’t need to participate in the scholar meetings for the next few days. With his face swollen like a pig’s head, his friends would definitely ridicule him! 

Assistant Minister Li’s brows were tightly creased together as he stepped forward and said, “What did you say? Are you saying that Royal Prince Yang came to avenge that lass with the surname Yu because Meirou offended her at the flower competition? What ability does that lass have for that jinx Royal Prince Yang to support her?” 

“I don’t know what ability Official Yu has, but I know that if your daughter doesn’t know when to stop, then I, your son, won’t need to go out anymore!” Eldest Young Master Li replied angrily without giving his father any face. How exactly did that cold-faced death god make it so that his entire body ached but his bones were fine? Ay! He didn’t check the almanac before going out. It was seriously such an unlucky day ah!!

That wasn’t the end of it! After Royal Prince Yang left Assistant Minister Li’s Estate, he went straight to his vegetables and fruits shop and directly ordered, “From now on, if people from the household of the right assistant minister of the Ministry of Appointments come to purchase fruits and vegetables, don’t sell it to them! Just tell them that it’s an order from this prince. Since they look down on farmers, then they don’t need to eat the fruits and vegetables grown by them!! Also, send out the message that whoever helps Assistant Minister Li’s household buy fruits and vegetables will also be on the blacklist!” 

The vegetables and fruits shops on the east and west side of the capital city were all part of Princess Consort Jing’s dowry. In the past, they either rented them out, or sold goods like silk fabrics and pastries. However, compared with the present fruits and vegetables stores, they were only small businesses. It wasn’t enough to use ‘thriving businesses’ to describe the vegetables and fruits shops. Every day, the people lining up to buy food would fill the entire street. During the busiest times, military forces were dispatched to maintain public order. 

Since Royal Prince Yang managed the business of the fruits and vegetables shops, Princess Consort Jing gave the stores to her youngest son. He could do whatever he wanted with them, and she didn’t have to worry about them. 

Before the transfer of the shops, many people used their relationship with the Imperial Prince Jing’s Household to harass the imperial prince or sent their wives to visit Princess Consort Jing. This really bothered the couple. Since they gave the shops to their youngest son, the world instantly quieted down and the people who wanted to go through the backdoor completely gave up on the idea. It seemed like her youngest son’s aloof face was quite useful at times.   

Since the fruits and vegetables shops belonged to Royal Prince Yang now, everyone had to do things according to the royal prince’s rules. No matter how high one’s status was or how influential one was, it was all useless in front of this fellow who wouldn’t even give face to his own relatives. In this way, although the business was booming in the fruits and vegetables shops, it was still very orderly. Those servants who assumed that they had a high status all acted in an honest and careful manner in front of the shops. They were afraid of violating the shops’ rules and causing their masters to not be able eat fresh vegetables. 

In front of the vegetables and fruits shop, everyone was equal. As long as one was willing to spend money and had enough patience and energy to line up, there wouldn’t be a situation in which the shops refused to sell the goods to them because they lacked power and influence. They also wouldn’t use their status as a high-ranking official to pressure merchants to give up their business opportunities to them. In conclusion, even if the emperor came, they still might not give him face! 

Therefore, when Royal Prince Yang’s message was sent out, no one questioned the reason, let alone put in a good word for Assistant Minister Li. There must be a reason why Royal Prince Yang refused to sell fruits and vegetables to him! Soon, some people recalled the ‘flower war’ a couple days ago! Who in the capital didn’t know that the female official in the Ministry of Revenue was supported by Royal Prince Yang? After Assistant Minister Li’s daughter mistook her identity, she got angry from embarrassment and repeatedly used the young girl’s family background to insult her. However, she didn’t gain anything from this. Instead, she was roasted so badly by the other party that her head was completely muddled. In the end, the girl became friends with Royal Princess Minglan and the two beauties of the capital. She ruined her own reputation for no reason and went home in disgrace. 

Who in the capital didn’t know that Royal Prince Yang would seek revenge for the smallest grievance? There was nothing one could do if their son got beaten by him. There was also nothing one could do if he refused to sell fruits and vegetables to them!   

Assistant Minister Li was extremely anxious these past few days! His father’s seventieth birthday was coming up soon and they had already sent out all the invitations. However, the purchasing servants came back to report that Royal Prince Yang’s fruits and vegetables shops had put them on the blacklist. It didn’t matter how much money they had if the other party wasn’t going to sell the goods to them! 

Now, people no longer cared about having fish, meat, and valuable seafood at banquets in the capital! Vegetables that could be bought with one copper coin in the spring and summer had become the new favorite on dining tables. If one didn’t have a few fresh green vegetable dishes on the table when entertaining guests, people would say that they were insincere behind their backs as they weren’t even willing to line up to buy some vegetables. When they hosted another banquet again, many people would find different reasons to decline the invitation. 

People often said that seventy years old was a critical moment—if one could pass this critical period, they wouldn’t have any problem living up to their eighties or nineties. Therefore, Assistant Minister Li, who was a filial son, had made a lot of effort to prepare a big event for his father. Assistant Minister Li had planned on spending a lot of money. He had arranged more people to line up day and night with the thought that it would eventually be their turn to make a purchase. It was the beginning of winter now, and the vegetables could be kept for many days. Moreover, the shelf life for the greenhouse vegetables was longer than ordinary vegetables. On the day of the birthday banquet, there would be more than enough vegetables and fruits. 

But, their household was suddenly blacklisted by the stores. This meant that their family wouldn’t be able to eat greenhouse fruits and vegetables anymore in the future. They could only eat radishes and cabbages over the winter… It was very easy for the frugal to become extravagant, but hard to reverse the process. In comparison to the fresh and tender green vegetables, the radishes and cabbages stored for the winter were seriously not very appetizing. It was just the beginning of winter, so how were they going to endure the long winter? 

Instead of something in the future, we should talk about the patriarch’s seventieth birthday banquet. If they didn’t have any fruits and vegetables, there wouldn’t be anything special about their dishes. If the banquet failed, the patriarch would be upset. Then if something bad happened… Assistant Minister Li didn’t dare to think about it anymore! 

He hurriedly asked someone to help put in a good word for him. But, was there anyone who didn’t know about the royal prince’s temper? Even his parents might not be able to change his mind. If they made him upset again, even the mediator would be placed on the blacklist. The loss outweighed the gains ah.  

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Translator: Myst