Xie Yujun had no idea what Han Yunxi meant by "biggest." If it was status, then Sir Ye would be the biggest client. If it was quantity, he couldn't determine before Sir Ye asked for goods. Still, the question prompted Xie Yujung to report the largest transaction he'd made. Long Feiye smiled and said nothing. At this, both Third Master Zhou and Ninth Master Murong couldn't sit still. They too, reported their largest orders and corresponding prices.
Of course, all three of them had inflated the price. Since Sir Ye was the proprietor of East Origin Hall, he naturally had money. Han Yunxi had already taken down the names they mentioned in private. These three clients were all somewhat famous but still did smuggling! When they returned, they'd teach those fellows a lesson!
"Sir Ye, how much goods will you be ordering?" Xie Yujun asked eagerly.
Long Feiye thought it over before raising his palm.
"Five…" Xie Yujun had to guess and went high. "Fifty carts?"
Long Feiye only scoffed. "500!"
The trio were stunned. 50 was already their highest estimate, but this was ten times as much! 500 carts!
As expected of East Origin Hall's young master, what generous hands! But in the midst of their joy, they began to worry. Such quantities were too big for them to deal with! It was impossible to smuggle out that much salt! Moreover, the shipping was also an issue. Whether it was by land or by sea, large shipments of salt had to be checked at different customs and issued certificates. Such vouchers included proof of purchase, sale, and taxes. It was extremely difficult to manage this with smuggled goods because no one wanted to shoulder any responsibility. Thus, no one would write out a slip of sale in case it was used as evidence to trace back to them. They could manage small quantities, but larger ones needed more favors. They could travel by the smaller paths, but the major gates wouldn't even let them through the doors. Although the deal fired them up, none of the trio could afford to eat it!
Seeing their silence, Long Feiye asked coldly, "What, not enough for you?"
"No no no!" Xie Yujun shook his head and waved his hands. "How could we scorn such a large order? I don't know what you feel about pricing?"
"The three of you can give a price. If it's appropriate, I'll pay the deposit today," Long Feiye said simply.
His words made the trio happy yet tense. First they were thrilled that they had such business, but nervous because even the slightest carelessness would ruin the deal. Xie Yujun considered a long time before he finally said, "Sir Ye, you don't need to worry about the price. We'll tailor it to your satisfaction, but the issue of transportation is rather difficult."
"What? You want to talk about shipping fees?" Han Yunxi asked immediately. It's a terrible sale if we don't get free shipping with such a big purchase.
"No no no! We're just not familiar with the road from Changning to Three-Way Black Market," Xie Yujun laughed. "How about this, Sir Ye? Tomorrow I'll find an old hand so we can continue discussions, all right?"
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi had a good idea of what was up and had basically reached their goal for the night.
"Then let's talk again tomorrow," Long Feiye rose without hesitation. He finally released Han Yunxi, but took her hand when she stood up, entwining their fingers together.
They were about to reach the streets but Long Feiye was still holding hands.
"Enough!" Han Yunxi muttered. If they went out like this, everyone would stare.
Only then did Long Feiye let go. If not for checking the salt mines and trying to avoid attention, Long Feiye would never release her.
"It's still early. Where should we go?" Han Yunxi was in good spirits.
"Let's tour the lake," Long Feiye said.
There were lots of lakes in the Jiangnan region and everyone enjoying touring them, Han Yunxi included. Long Feiye reserved an entire boat and prepared to stay overnight. He and Han Yunxi enjoyed the sights from the lake and even landed on an island in the middle of the water. Han Yunxi had lots of fun playing around in the afternoon, but Long Feiye had his fun at night. While the two of them were standing on deck, he took a pipa out of nowhere and handed it to Han Yunxi. Seeing this, she realized that Long Feiye wanted him to sing on the lake!
She smiled sheepishly at him and refused the instrument. "I…don't know how."
She knew how to play the guzheng, guqin, and flute, but had never touched any other instruments. As for singing, she could only hum a few songs. But when it came to ancient songs, she might as well hang herself on all the sustained notes.
"Then, no matter." Long Feiye simply tossed the pipa into the water without forcing the issue.
Naturally, Han Yunxi sensed something was amiss. The issue seemed more complicated than it seemed, but Long Feiye never brought up the pipa again. But it wasn't long before she repeated, "I really don't know how to sing."
"It's fine. If you don't, you don't," Long Feiye smiled.
The less he demanded, the more nervous she felt. But all he did was talk about the salt mines with her without mentioning anything else. At last she relaxed her guard. When bedtime came, Long Feiye lay flat on the bed instead of embracing her from the side like usual. Han Yunxi turned her back towards him, feeling suspicious. He's really acting off tonight.
She waited and waited, but Long Feiye seemed to have fallen asleep. At last she turned to look at him, only to see his eyes wide open.
"You…" Han Yunxi asked in surprise. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine!" Long Feiye intoned.
"You…don't be like this, I'm scared!" Han Yunxi surrendered.
Long Feiye's gaze turned sly before he spoke. "If you don't know how to play the pipa, you should at least know how to serve others, right?"
Han Yunxi suddenly enlightened to why he took her to the lake. So that's what he wants!
Xie Yujun said he'd let Wanwan serve him for a night, but he actually…
He laid down so she could "serve" him!
"I don't understand!" Han Yunxi huffed back.
Long Feiye laughed. "I'll teach you if you don't."
And so, the patient Han Yunxi taught Han Yunxi all night long until she was begging for mercy and willingly volunteered to "serve."
While the couple passed a stormy night together on the boat, Xie Yujun's trio fretted for hours without results. Changning's salt mines had a long history of smuggling that dated to before the fall of Tianning Country. The three big clans had silent agreements on the matter and each took care of their own private transactions. Bigger purchases were dealt with as a group with a man in charge called Treasurer Cao. Only the combined connections of all three families were enough to allow transportation over land and sea. Otherwise, it was impossible to do the business separately.
Now Xie Yujun's group was stuck over how to hand over such a big transaction to Treasurer Cao while still earning profits from the sale. In the end, they thought up a solution and went to find the man.
Treasurer Cao was around 50 years old and very elegant and modest. He was recommended by the three families and worked as their employee, always treating the three young masters with courtesy. However, he did things by the book and rarely allowed exceptions.
"I expect the three masters have another large deal in the works since you're here?" he asked with a smile.
"That depends on how much profit Treasurer Cao can yield us," Xie Yujun replied.
"The sales I make are shared between all three families, profits included. Since you've all come at once, could this mean…" Treasurer Cao trailed off.
"This is a private sale for the three of us," Third Master Zhou murmured.
Treasurer Cao immediately understood. "As procedure goes, there's a 10% introduction fee. How does that sound?"
"No good! This is a huge piece of business!" Ninth Master Murong blurted out.
Treasurer Cao grew serious. "It's not good to break your own protocol, three masters. I won't be able to explain things to your fathers either."
"Do you want a deal for 500 carts or not?" Ninth Master Murong finally spilled the beans.
"500?" Treasurer Cao was shocked.
"Exactly!" Ninth Master Murong nodded smugly.
"What kind of people want the goods?" Treasurer Cao asked.
The private salt trade was no ordinary business and he was always cautious in accepting deals, especially large ones.
"No need to ask that. In any case, if you can give us a 30% introduction fee, we'll introduce that young boss to you. Any less than 30%, hehe, no negotiation," Third Master Zhou said savagely.
"This…is not a simple matter!" Treasurer Cao was on guard. "You haven't run into blackmailers, right?"
":Heheh, Treasurer Cao, who do you take us for? As if anyone could blackmail us?" Ninth Master Murong laughed coldly.
"Three masters, 500 carts is no small sum. Where are they going? How many customs gates do they need to pass? If anything goes wrong, this…heheh, it will alarm the head of the palace!" Treasurer Cao was serious.
"Fine, fine, there's no harm in telling you! It's the young master of East Origin Hall, Sir Ye. He's friends with us lot and found us in person! Otherwise, why would they run all the way to our turf just for some salt? People would be volunteering to send it to them instead!" Xie Yujun said instantly.
Now Treasurer Cao was even more stunned. "East Origin Hall!"
"30% shares or not? If not, forget it!" Xie Yujun was impatient.
"Have it!" Treasurer Cao didn't hesitate! Doing business with others relied on credit, but East Origin Hall would definitely pay upfront at a fair price! If any other master requested 500 carts he'd suspect them at once, but he trusted the words of the wealthy East Origin Hall!
"The three masters have broadened your horizons. When did you become friends with Sir Ye?" Treasurer Cao couldn't help but probe. He too, wanted to get acquainted with this man.
Xie Yujun's group was praised to the high heavens. Ninth Master Murong said quickly, "We've arranged to discuss pricing with him tomorrow. If Treasurer Cao comes, won't you befriend him too?"
Treasurer Cao had forgotten all about sales by now. The profits belonged to the three families anyways. If he could seize this chance to befriend Sir Ye, then his future path would be spacious indeed.
Smiling, he asked, "Tomorrow I will host a banquet and invite Sir Ye. Do you know if he has any particular interests? Or tastes?"
Xie Yujun and the others all snickered before Ninth Master Murong drew close enough to murmur, "Sir Ye's interests…lie in men!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter
yeeeey more than one chapter a month? you gotta read it to believe it! >u<