“Congratulations Young Miss! You’ve added another money-making venture to your collection!” Yingtao finished greeting her young miss and sat down on the small embroidered stool. She grinned broadly as she looked at her master. It had been a few months since she last saw her young miss and the fact that time passed so quickly made her head spin.
Although Yu Xiaocao had spent almost a month at Tanggu, she spent all of her time at the farmstead on the outskirts of Tanggu Town to keep an eye on the workers constructing the greenhouse pavilions. Furthermore, she personally trained the employed farmers how to sow seeds, water the plants, and fertilize the soil in the greenhouse...by the time the work on the greenhouse pavilions was about done, the capital needed her to come back. She didn’t even have the time to visit Dongshan Village to see her family’s newly built home.
Argh! She hadn’t even reached the age of thirteen yet. In her past life, at this age, she was still wearing a backpack going to school every day. Why was she as busy as a dog now?
Yu Xiaocao let out a sigh and then smiled at Yingtao, “Big Boss Yingtao is a very busy person! How come you have the time to come to the capital ah?”
Yingtao’s lips twitched and she said in a scolding tone, “Young Miss, you only know how to make a joke out of me! If this servant wasn’t busy, then I’d be afraid that you’d accuse me of not taking my responsibilities at the pharmaceutical workshop seriously!”
“I know you’re a responsible helper, I consider you to be my right arm. Tell me, you can’t have traveled to the capital just because you missed me, right?” The subordinates under her were all hard-working and knew what they should and should not do. Consequently, Yu Xiaocao didn’t have any airs when she interacted with them. In fact, their interactions seemed more akin to a sisterly relationship.
The smile on Yingtao’s face deepened, “Young Miss, I heard you’re preparing to open a flower blossom tea shop and are also planning on selling some skin cosmetics there too. Then have you thought about where to build the workshop for it ah? Are you planning on building the place yourself or buying a building from other people? Don’t just think about finding a place for your new venture. You should also remember to think of more ideas for our pharmaceutical business too.”
Yu Xiaocao raised an eyebrow and remarked in surprise, “What’s going on? Does my head manager want to move the pharmaceutical workshop to the capital?”
“I don’t want to move the workshop over! Instead, I want to open another workshop here in the capital!” They had chosen a good location in Dongshan Village to build the pharmaceutical workshop. Now that the harbor was about done, it was quite convenient to ship their goods either via the water or by land.
Tongren Medicine Hall had opened quite a few branches in Jiangnan so their need for medicinal pills and tinctures also increased. The pharmaceutical workshop at Dongshan Village had expanded compared to the past but it would be hard-pressed to supply all of the medications needed in Jiangnan and in the north!
Currently, the piggery had already been moved to the young miss’s maternal relatives at Xishan Village and it was under the management of her eldest maternal aunt. With that transferred over, the young miss’s older sister had more time on her hands. Yingtao wanted to propose to the young miss that they open a new pharmaceutical workshop in the capital and have the products from that place be responsible for supplying the north. Dongshan Village was close to the new harbor so it could be in charge of the products sent to the south.
Recently, Miss Xiaolian had already started helping at the pharmaceutical workshop. Once she was familiar with the methods and management of the place, Yingtao wanted to hand that one over to Miss Xiaolian to manage. Then, she could head to the capital to build and establish a new pharmaceutical workshop. Once the new facility in the capital was up and running, Miss Xiaolian could decide to stay at Dongshan Village or come to the capital. Both of them were trusted by the young miss. With one of them managing one workshop each, it was also a good working situation.
Yu Xiaocao fell silent for a moment after hearing Yingtao’s proposal. Only after Yingtao finished her cup of tea did she finally raise her head. She gave a look full of praise towards Yingtao, who had started to feel nervous, and then said in a voice full of admiration, “Yingtao, I didn’t expect you to mature so quickly and come up with innovative ideas on your own! I will hand over the pharmaceutical business for you to handle alone! With you managing things, I can rest easy!”
“Thank you, Young Miss, for believing in me!” Ideas rushed through Yingtao’s head. She was first going to find a good location for the new workshop as it couldn’t be too far away from the capital. The best scenario would be to have it located in a place close to the young miss so she could visit the young miss often. The young miss was her backer. With her around, she always felt calm no matter what she was doing.
“Yingtao, for the capital’s pharmaceutical workshop, I plan on discussing it with Royal Prince Yang and see if we can build it on his farmstead. At most, we could just give him a percent of the profits! That farmstead is very close to the Imperial Plantation and also has imperial soldiers patrolling nearby. This will prevent any small bandits or thieves from getting close. Furthermore, I'm currently managing all of the affairs at the Imperial Plantation. That way, I can also find some time to help you with some issues. It will be quite convenient!”
Yu Xiaocao thought that this idea was quite good. In fact, the best scenario would be that the flower blossom workshop could also be built on the small hill behind the farmstead. Royal Prince Yang’s farmstead had a small hill in the back. In future years, she was planning on planting a lot of flowers and trees in the area. Flowers were the raw ingredients for both the flower teas and skin cosmetics, so having their workshops near the sources were a good thing.
The more she thought about this, the more Yu Xiaocao thought that Royal Prince Yang's farmstead was the best location for all of this. She started mumbling to herself, “I'm not sure whether Royal Prince Young would be willing to part with his farmstead and allow us to buy it from him…”
Yingtao’s eyes flickered as she silently thought, ‘My mistress, with how much Royal Prince Yang likes you, I'm pretty sure he would even happily give this farmstead to you, let alone allow you to buy it from him. Didn’t he readily give you his farmstead in Tanggu Town? And that had around 800 mu of land. Isn't this an example of the saying, ‘spending thousands of taels of gold to obtain a smile from a beauty’?’
However, she was afraid that her master might feel embarrassed by all of this, so she didn't say it out loud. She only quipped, “Young Miss, I'm sure that as long as you open your mouth and ask, Royal Prince Yang would happily give this farmstead to you.”
“Bah! Are you asking for a beating?” Yu Xiaocao rolled her eyes at her maid and then continued, “How could I just ask for someone's possession? That's truly too shameless! In fact, I heard that he had bought this farmstead for around two thousand taels. When I get back, I need to check whether we have enough money in our accounts for this.”
Two thousand taels was considered an outlandish sum to Yu Xiaocao when she first transmigrated over. She didn’t even dare to dream that she might have that much money in her hands at that time. However, things had changed. Her dividends from Zhenxiu Restaurant alone could easily cover that cost. Furthermore, she had a farmstead in Tanggu Town that had almost a thousand mu in land. The harvests from the spring wheat as well as the autumn corn were so high that they shocked other people. All of this could either be sold to the imperial court as seeds, or they could be sold at a high price to other people in the area. From the spring and autumn harvests alone, they were probably making around ten thousand taels. In addition, the Yu Family had their early-growing vegetable and watermelon fields, their braised food store and pickled vegetables store, and the pharmaceutical workshop... Now, she had even added her split of the profits from the greenhouse grown vegetables and fruits in the capital. Let alone two thousand taels, even if she needed to take out twenty thousand taels that wouldn’t be a problem.
However, the amount of capital she had to use to build the new pharmaceutical workshop, flower tea workshop, skin cosmetics workshop, and the storefronts was quite large. She still needed to scrimp and save where she could! If she could borrow the land on Royal Prince Young's farmstead to build these facilities, then she didn't need to think about buying it directly from him. The greenhouse grown vegetables and fruits on that land were now the goose that laid the golden eggs!
“Then…this servant will return back to Dongshan Village and discuss this with Miss Xiaolian. After that, I will rush back to the capital to take charge of building the new workshop.” Yingtao felt like her body was full of energy now that she had the permission to start building a new facility.
Yu Xiaocao looked at her with mirth in her eyes, “Don't start bustling about now! Royal Prince Yang was just assigned a task and has left the capital. I don't know when he'll be able to come back. Without him as the owner of the farmstead to give us permission, how can we shamelessly use the land on his property right now? It's been a long time since you've been back at the capital, so you should go see your parents and siblings. Also, Yangliu is waiting for you and you haven't seen her for more than a year. Every time she comes to see me, she always talks about you!”
Yingtao was a servant who had been born in a noble estate. Her family had been sent over as dowry from the Xia family to take care of Lady Fang’s dowry lands. She had an older brother above her; he was a clever man. He had already been promoted to assistant steward at one of Lady Fang’s dowry shops. Her younger brother was still young, so he was currently assigned to study in the outer courtyard as one of the servants. Ever since Yingtao had gone to Dongshan Village and taken control of the pharmaceutical workshop, she had been so busy that she rarely had the opportunity to return to the capital, let alone spend time with her parents and family.
Because the chefs in the braised shop in the capital were now experienced, Yangliu now had more time on her hands. Ever since Yu Xiaocao returned to the capital, Yangliu went to see her mistress from time to time to describe how the business was doing. She also talked about some interesting gossip she heard throughout the capital. Yingtao and Yangliu were as close as two blood-related sisters, so she often talked about the other maid when she was there.
It had been a long time since Yingtao had been back, so she had also started missing her family. She also wanted to keep touch with some of her good friends in the residence. In the future, these connections could help her young miss as well.
“Young Miss, you said that Royal Prince Yang had left the capital? Did he go out to sea again? Will he be able to come back before the start of spring?” Winter in the capital was quite cold and the ground was frozen during that time of year. It absolutely was not a good time to build new constructions at that time. It looked like they needed to wait until spring before building these new workshops. They weren't sure when Royal Prince Yang would be able to get back. If he needed to go out to sea again like the last time, it might be one or two years before he came back. By that time it would be too late!
Yu Xiaocao frowned somewhat worriedly and stated, “When he left, I vaguely remember him mentioning that the emperor had sent him to the north to suppress bandits! A few days ago, he sent a few skilled bodyguards over to keep me safe. On the day he left the capital, if I hadn't persisted in refusing, he would have even left Head Steward Liu behind with me. It's already been seven to eight days since he left, and I don't know how his mission in suppressing bandits has been going…”
Yingtao hurriedly tried to comfort her young miss when she saw the downcast and worried expression on the younger girl’s face, “Young Miss, Royal Prince Yang is rumored to be one of the best martial arts experts in the capital, so he has plenty of ability to protect himself in dangerous situations. In addition, with Head Steward Liu protecting him, none of the bandits will be able to harm him no matter how skilled they are! You don’t need to worry too much about him!”
“Swords and knives don’t have eyes. Who can guarantee their safety? However, I made him pack the best wound balm we have and some pills to treat internal injuries. As long as he has one breath of life left, the medicines can keep him alive!” When she saw him off on his journey, she had personally handed the two types of medicine to him. She even repeatedly reminded him to pack them carefully and to remember to use them if he got hurt. She wasn’t sure if that fellow took her words to heart or not.
Yingtao deliberately used a cheerful tone of voice to reply, “What do you have to be worried about now that you have given him the medicine you personally made yourself? That being said, he’s just suppressing some bandits that's all. Some tiny mountain bandits are nothing. Let’s not even talk about using the elite troops from the army against them. Even the private soldiers under the royal prince’s command could rout them out with no problems!”
Last time, when the Wokou pirates invaded, the royal prince had rushed there from afar and brought his personal troops to slaughter the pirates. Their fierceness and heroism were deeply engraved into Yingtao’s heart and the Dongshan villagers’ memories.
Hechun felt extremely envious as she watched Yingtao and the young miss happily converse from the side. Usually, the young miss was already quite tolerant and lenient when she dealt with her maids. However, she had never treated them with the camaraderie and friendliness that she did with Yingtao. They looked so natural together!
She heard that Older Sister Yangliu and Older Sister Yingtao had personally volunteered to go to Tanggu Town when the young miss was under more difficult circumstances. No wonder they had become the young miss’s left and right arms now. Hechun could deeply feel that as long as she was completely loyal to the young miss and did her best to help the young miss, the young miss would definitely remember her efforts and treat her accordingly!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s Thoughts: The prince is out to do his military duties!