Edited by Larkspur
Chapter 39: Marrying Off Glamorously (Part 2)
With regards to the marriage of the eldest Di-daughter of the residence of Marquis Chang Xing, preparation had started since a year ago. However, even in the month before the marriage, the residence became busier as if no matter the amount of preparation there was, it was still not enough.
Due to the sudden visit of the Crown Prince’s confidant a few days ago, the residence of Prince Huai Ling had cancelled their invitation. After the wind finally passed, the residence of Marquis Chang Xing was busy with Chu Jin Xian’s wedding and did not have any time or energy to pay attention to other matters. The fifth and sixth lunar month was spent in the midst of the bustle till the tenth of the eight lunar month, when Chu Jin Xian’s day to step out of the boudoir finally arrived and the entire residence of Marquis Chang Xing could breathe out a sigh of relief.
On the day to return (third day of marriage), Chu Jin Yao wore a red dress and had been waiting long for the arrival of Chu Jin Xian and the Eldest Biao Brother of the Zhao family. Chu Jin Xian was married very honourably, with ten miles of dowry, brothers guarding the sedan and the most face-gaining thing was that the Crown Prince sent a congratulatory gift. Even though the gift was according to Palace regulation and looked like it was prepared by Palace servants at first glance, not mentioning the entire ShanXi, in the entire Empire, which female had the fortune to obtain the Crown Prince’s additional dowry? Moreover, how would the Crown Prince remember the wedding of a boudoir Young Lady without any rhyme or reason? This made everyone think about her father and brothers.
The residence of Marquis Chang Xing had passed down to the final generation.
Because of this reason, Chu Jin Xian’s status in her husband’s family had risen again. The Furens in the banquet had seen Chu Jin Yao and the few unmarried Young Ladies and they rushed forward to praise. Because of these two joyous events, everyone in the Chu family was filled with happinessand even the servants walked around with wind around them.
When Chu Jin Xian’s matter was finally over, the residence of Marquis Chang Xing slowly returned to its former order and Chu Jin Yao could finally have time to take care of her own matters.
Like meeting the manager of the shop that was nominally owned by her.
A man by the name of Wei Liang came in. He was young, fair complexioned, clean and always had a smile on his face, showing the two dimples on his cheeks. He first bowed to Chu Jin Yao and spoke sweetly, “This lowly one, Wei Liang, greets Fifth Young Lady.”
Chu Jin Yao from spoke across the screen, “Manager Wei need not be polite and get up.”
Wei Liang complied and slowly stood up. Chu Jin Yao asked, “Manager does not seem old. At such a young age, one has become the First Manager?”
“My father is the one in charge of the business but because he was out seeing goods today, he could not come over to meet with Young Lady thus instructed me over. Even though I do not understand everything, I usually follow my father around and am familiar with the matters of the store. If Young Lady has any questions, do ask me directly.”
Chu Jin Yao nodded. So he turned out to be the son of the First Manager, no wonder he was so young. Chu Jin Yao replied, “One does not dare. Not to hide from Young Manager Wei, I was inexplicably included as a shareholder and don’t even know where the shop is located. I am really embarrassed to be included in your business. Some time back, because of the matter with Tang GongGong, my family has exposed it a little, so after thinking about it, I felt that it was not appropriate to be a shareholder so shamelessly. The accounts that was sent over two months ago have not been reviewed, so why not Young Manager Wei bring it all back together? From now onwards, this ironic contract has never been executed. You will continue to do your business, and there is no need to be worried about me. If this doesn’t work, then when the above questions, you can continue to use my name.”
“How can this be acceptable?” Wei Liang was taken aback when he heard those words. To dare to pay lip service, agreeing but opposing in secret, that was saying that his family was tired of living. No matter what orders there were from above, Wei Wu and Wei Liang dared not neglect in the slightest. Wei Wu was managing many farms and shops, so this small Yun Brocade workshop was just one of the small businesses. The small money generated could not even entire their eyes, and it was just only giving a Young Lady some dividends. If they could not do this well, then it would be a disaster!
Wei Liang quickly spoke, “Young Lady, listening to your words, one fears that you are somewhat aware of the relationship between the brocade shop and the Imperial family. Even though our Yun brocade shop bears the name of an Imperial merchant, there is not much communication with the Palace. It only limits to the filial gifts sent to the Palace during the various festivals. Lately, there are more merchants who have taken the route of GongGongs, so the number of Imperial merchants has increased several times as compared to the previous years. The older Imperial merchants, like us, are in difficulty. We only have the namesake and have to pay a certain amount of surplus yearly but still do not have the above-mentioned’s care. Other than that, we still need to manage all the relations. If this goes on like this, the brocade shop would not be able to last.”
Even though Chu Jin Yao was surprised upon hearing these words, she could understand it. The current Emperor liked to be entertained and have fun, he would favour his close ministers and ignore state affairs. Therefore, flattery and slanderous words were prevalent in court. As long as that official had eloquent words, official titles would fly in and rewards freely flooded in. This was the case in officialdom, thus it was no better in the commoners. A number of merchants would entrust others to gift the eunuchs valuable gifts so that these eunuchs would speak a few good words of them to the Emperor. When the Emperor was happy, he would reward them with the title of Imperial merchant. And people like Manager Qi’s family took this route.
Even though the current Imperial merchants were illustrious, it could not be compared with the previous Imperial merchants. Many of the older Imperial Merchants looked down upon the new Imperial merchants, but they could not stop the rookies from spending money or gifting valuables. With the eunuchs looking after, the prefectures dared not make things difficult excessively, and even the tax office would not dare to touch those with the Emperor’s favour. Only one tenth of the usual ten percent of tax was collected before these people and their goods were passed through. If this goes on, the older Imperial merchants would be angry. What Wei Liang said was indeed likely to happen, thus Chu Jin Yao slowly believed half of it.
Chu Jin Yao asked tentatively, “Then the Yun brocade shop…”
“Ai. Father had made a lot of connections in the early years and now with old friends taking care, the brocade shop still makes a profit. However, after deducting the money for tribute and removing the necessary management expenses, there is not much profit remaining. We can still have it for a few years but afterwards, one fears that it would be suppressed by the newer brocade shops. Father has been worried about this for a long time now, and a few days back heard about Tang GongGong’s matter, and after discussing with the other managers, decided to change to this route. If we were to seek for the Palace’s GongGong’s protection, then that would be a bottomless pit and most likely one would need to spend a lot of money and be unable to even have it worked out. It would be better to give Fifth Young Lady a share since TaiYuan is Marquis Chang Xing’s territory, with Young Lady’s name, we would have some confidence when we go out.”
Those words were straight-forward and logically reasonable. Chu Jin Yao paused before asking, “That is to say that you all are willing to be in contract for dividend?”
“That is right!”
“If you really want to seek protection, why not show your sincerity to my Father? To have it under his name, won’t it be more useful than having it under an unmarried female like me?”
“Ai. This is something that Young Lady is unaware of.” Wei Liang said, “The Emperor of the founding dynasty strictly forbade the collusion between officials and merchants. Even until now, no officials dares to blatantly do business. All these shops are recorded under their wives, daughters and mothers’ name. If we were to really write Marquis Chang Xing’s name, then this would not be helping but implicating!”
Chu Jin Yao was finally persuaded, “Is it really true?”
Wei Liang was thinking to himself that this Young Lady Chu was quite vigilant. When someone gifted money to a normal Young Lady, she would accept it happily. Why would anyone think and ask these things? When Wei Liang finally saw that Chu Jin Yao finally let go of her guard, he quickly responded, “That is absolutely true!”
In fact, what Wei Liang said was not considered wrong. The current business environment was indeed getting worse. The long-old merchants were squeezed by the officials and eunuchs that they had no way to breathe. Wei Wu was in charge of such a big scale of business and reasonably it would be targeted by these eunuchs so that they would tear a piece of meat for themselves. However, Wei Wu had not been blackmailed or threatened by others and this was because Wei Wu was acting on behalf of the Crown Prince.
However, this beautiful Young Lady did not need to know these things. With Wei Liang’s half-truths, Chu Jin Yao finally drop the idea of withdrawing and he took the initiative to present the accounting books, “Fifth Young Lady, this is this month’s accounts. Kindly review.”
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Chu Jin Yao: This gift is really suspicious, I don’t know if I can accept it…
Wei Liang and Qi De Sheng: *internal screaming*
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