Disclaimer: this is an abridged version of Chubby Cheeks‘ translated chapter. Please follow the link for the complete chapter, translator notes, characters lists, etc.
Chapter 82: Buying and Selling
“A little Young Lady that looks quite good and bears the Shen surname, most likely is a member of the Shen family.” Ji Yu Shu scratched his head, “It is just that she is very fierce and turned a blind eye at my magnificence.”
A strange silence fell into the tea room. After a moment, Gao Yang smiled as he looked at Xie Jing Xing, “I roughly know who she is. That Young Lady of the Shen family is somewhat powerful.” Even though the smile was warm, the tone revealed a sharp comment.
“In fact, I also find it strange.” Ji Yu Shu shuddered before scratching his head, “When she came over I observed carefully and it seemed that it was not her first time doing business with Bai Xiao Sheng. I asked Hong Ling and she had not seen her before. Our line of business has always been secretive and other than a few families in Ding capital that know, there are no others. How… Did she know?”
“This Young Lady is not simple at all.” Gao Yang thought before speaking, “I initially thought that the Shen family of Ding capital were all brainless meat, and sooner or later will be swallowed by others. Now it seems that the water is deeper than one had expected.” He glanced at Xie Jing Xing and found the latter deep in thought so he asked, “What do you think about this?”
Xie Jing Xing raised his head and looked towards Ji Yu Shu, “Did you agree to her conditions?”
“Such a big matter like this has to be discussed with you all.” Ji Yu Shu bit into another pastry, “But I reckon that the Shen family business is big and the military power in their hands is not weak at all. If what that Shen family Young Lady said is true, in the future when Third Xie Older Brother plans things, it would be much easier. She after all does not fathom that our Feng Xian Pawnshop is actually Third Older Brother’s secret business.”
When a sandpiper and a clam are locked in a fight, this was only to the advantage of the fisherman. That Shen little young lady most likely did not know that her promised commitment would only be to the advantage of Xie Jing Xing. But this could not be blamed on her as the powerful relationship between them was not even known to Hong Ling, even though she had managed the business for so many years.
“Even so…” Gao Yang pondered, “These stakes are just too big. The news she wants to create could easily catch the attention of the Imperial family if one is not careful. We are very discreet with our actions and if there were to be any mistakes, there would be no losses. As for one Shen family more or less, they did not influence the initial plan so this is not that tempting.”
“What you said also make sense.” Ji Yu Shu nodded his head and looked towards Xie Jing Xing, “But in the end, it is still Third Older Brother that makes the decision.”
“You should agree to her condition.”
When Xie Jing Xing said those words, Gao Yang frowned, “Why the hasty decision?”
“Since the Shen family has become a variable, it does not mean that there is no role for them in the future. To use them to deal with some people, it is worth a battle. As for her wanting to create news, it is targeted at Prince Yu residence.” Xie Jing Xing raised his brows, “Just nice, we will not need to take action and there will be things that we can do without.”
When he said so, the others then remembered. Ji Yu Shu smacked his palms, “Oh yes, I almost forgot. She wants to create news about Prince Yu residence plotting a rebellion. This is to target the residence of Prince Yu. What grudge does the Prince Yu residence have with the Shen family?”
Ji Yu Shu had just returned to Ding capital and usually did not pay attention to the affairs of the court’s daughters, so there were things that he was unable to comprehend.
“Accept this business.” Xie Jing Xing said, “Inform the Chen family of JiangNan as soon as possible.”
“Do not worry. I have already let Hong Ling send a letter to Yu province. But the Chen family’s case has been dragging on for three years, I do not know if that Shen family’s little young lady’s news is really true. After all, in the beginning the Chen family had thought up of hundreds and thousands of methods but there was no news at all, so how could something be known by a little young lady? If her news is fake, most probably the Chen family would not let her live well.” Ji Yu Shu’s mouth was stuffed with snacks and could not speak clearly.
“Since she comes here selling the news, it is real.” Xie Jing Xing frowned, “It is just that there are some parts that make no sense.”
“Are you a rice bucket?” Gao Yang looked at Ji Yu Shu wolfing down the food and could not help but shake his head, “Could it be that you, a manager of the Feng Xian Pawnshop, have never eaten before?”
Ji Yu Shu put a finger out and waved it, “How would other places’ snacks be as good as the ones made by Third Older Brother’s chef? The last time I brought the snacks made by Third Older Brother’s chef to Young Lady Shao Yao and she actually smiled at me. It can be seen that,” he lifted one snack to Gao Yang’s face, “There are some differences to it.”
Gao Yang was too lazy to scold him when Ji Yu Shu suddenly had a concentrated look and took out a banknote from his pocket, “Speaking of which, that Shen family Young Lady gave me a thousand taels at the end to buy information.”
“What information?” Xie Jing Xing and Gao Yang looked at him the same time.
“To look for someone. A young lady by the name of Liu Ying and said that… Most probably she is a young lady from a brothel and is located in the Ding capital. And it was essential for me to find her.” He asked curiously, “Why does she want to find a brothel lady? Could it be that she, like me, loves beauties?”
Gao Yang and Xie Jing Xing looked at one another. The former was puzzled and the latter just shook his head lightly.
When Hong Ling ushered her out safe and sound, Mo Qing and the rest gave a sigh of relief. Shen Miao had stayed inside for far too long and if she stayed for a moment more, the few of them would have rushed in to get her out. Before leaving, Shen Qiu had warned repeatedly that Shen Miao had provoked trouble so one must be careful during the journey. If they lost Shen Miao, Shen Qiu would kill them.
Hong Ling politely smiled at Shen Miao, “May Shen Young Lady come here again in ten days’ time.”
“Thanking Supervisor Hong.” Shen Miao replied softly.
The little shop assistant by the door could not help but glance at Shen Miao a few more times as she left, most likely because it was the first time seeing Hong Ling treating someone that respectfully, “Supervisor, what kind of backing does that young lady have?”
“Go and do your things well.” Hong Ling patted his head. After some thoughts, she said, “The next time when you see this Shen Young Lady, sweeten your mouth. She is not a simple character.”
The little shop assistant complied. Hong Ling watched the horse carriage getting further away as her heart sighed in relief. Highly-talented individuals truly came forth in large numbers in the Ding capital. Even a little young lady was able to scheme major events quietly. As compared to her family master, she was not inferior in any respect.
In the horse carriage, Shen Miao was still lost in thought and Jing Zhe and Gu Yu dared not disturb her. Actually they also did not know what kind of business Shen Miao came over to do. It was obviously a pawnshop but they did not know what was actually pawned. Since Shen Miao did not talk about it, the two maids would also not shoot their mouths off.
But after passing by a place, Gu Yu said, “It is Guang Fu Zhai in front. Since it had been a long time since one came out, why not let this servant buy some snacks from there?”
Guang Fu Zhai’s snacks had always been sought-after. Even though Shen Miao herself did not really like to eat them, Luo Xue Yan and Shen Qiu did. Shen Miao nodded her head, “Go then.”
Gu Yu jumped off the carriage and headed to Guang Fu Zhai.
Mo Qing and the others were all tall and eye-catching so those people who passed them would give them a second glance. Shen Miao opened up the curtains for ventilation but her vision was attracted by another person.
That person most likely also came out from Guang Fu Zhai and was carrying a bag of snacks. When the person’s eyes just met Shen Miao’s, one could not help but be slightly stunned.
It was Pei Lang.
Shen Miao had not been to Guang Wen Tang for a long time, since she did not want a reputation of a talented woman nor to get any scholarly honor. In these days, she was busy with her own things and forgot that there might be such an encounter. She looked at Pei Lang and suddenly smiled and nodded her head.
Before he had time to respond, Shen Miao had already put the curtains down. Mo Qing and the few of them who noticed his line of sight, were looking at him vigilantly.
Pei Lang shook his head and could only walk away.
Shen Miao’s eyes hung down as she looked at her cuffs. Towards Pei Lang, she had complicated feelings. She hated his nonchalance on the matter of Fu Xiu Yi’s treatment of Wan Yun and Fu Ming but also knew that Pei Lang was only trying to be loyal to the monarch. The resentments of the previous life were over and even though there were still uses for Pei Lang in this lifetime, she should not be tangled up in the matter. It was just that there was still some uncomfortableness in her heart.
As she was thinking, Gu Yu had returned after buying the snacks.
Upon returning to the Shen residence, the skies were not considered dark and since Shen Qiu also lived in the Western courtyard, Shen Miao planned to send the snacks to Shen Qiu. Just as she walked to the main hall, she coincidentally meet Ren Wan Yun supporting Shen Qing as they walked out. Ren Wan Yun looked at Shen Miao as if there were knives in her eyes and Shen Qing looked at her with such malice that even Gu Yu and Jing Zhe could not help but shudder as they went up to protect Shen Miao.
“Fifth daughter did not go to greet Old Furen these days.” Ren Wan Yun brought the matter up, “Could it be that one intends to be an unfilial grandchild?”
Shen Miao swept a glance at her. Ren Wan Yun was now like a mad dog, biting whoever it sees. On one hand she feared Shen Xin and Luo Xue Yan and on the other hand she has not resigned to Shen Qing’s misfortune, thus she could only do some superficial little actions.
But Shen Miao was not afraid of that reputation and smiled gently at Shen Qing, “Second Shen now still has the energy to manage my matters and is not afraid that Eldest Sister would feel hurt. The Empress’s bestowment is quick and one has to enter the Prince residence next month. Second Shen has to also teach Eldest Sister some matters. After all the family is not an ordinary one but a Prince of First Rank.”
Finishing, she walked away with Jing Zhe and Gu Yu without even turning back.
Ren Wan Yun was so angry that her body started shaking. These days the more angry she was, the more she felt her mind was in chaos. She did not have time to deal with those YiNiangs that Shen Gui spent more and more time doting on. Shen Dong Ling, borne by Wan YiLiang, started to cook for Shen Gui from time to time. In comparison to Shen Qing, she was even more obedient. And that Wan YiNiang coaxed Shen Gui very well, so it was Ren Wan Yun and Shen Qing whose days were unlike before.
All of this was due to Shen Miao. Otherwise with Ren Wan Yun’s means, how would that lowly Wan YiNiang be able to become so arrogant now.
“Mother.” Shen Qing, who was beside her, pulled her hand. These days her previous arrogant temper had reduced quite a lot, but the maliciousness and hatred in her eyes did not lessen, “Do not worry. Tolerate a little. Wait till I enter the Prince of First Rank residence, even if one has to stake this life, I will make Prince Yu take action on Shen Miao. I will definitely not let her live well.”
“Qing-er must not be afraid.” Ren Wan Yun said, “Your Older Brother will return soon and Yuan-er is the most intelligent. When he returns, he will definitely think of ways to ruin that little slut.” Shen Yuan would also rush back to attend Shen Qing’s wedding and Ren Wan Yun’s eyes flashed. Now she was isolated and helpless. If it was not because of Shen Yuan Bo listening to Old Furen’s words to please her, one would be afraid that even that old woman would not help her.
When Shen Miao returned to the West courtyard, she was surprised to see Shen Qiu was waiting for her. Seeing her return, Shen Qiu then released a sigh of relief, “Why go for so long? One would think that something had happened.”
“At the feet of the Emperor and in the bright daylight, whoever takes action are fools.” Shen Miao passed to him the snacks, “Bought it on the way back. For you.”
Shen Qiu was somewhat touched.
“Why is Father and Mother not in?” Shen Miao asked.
“Just returned to the capital and need to socially interact with colleagues.” Shen Qiu looked around and said, “Younger Sister was not in today. These few days Father has been in conflict with Second and Third Shu and just now Old Furen severely scolded Father.”
“Father is in conflict with Second and Third Shu?”
Shen Qiu saw the look on Shen Miao’s face and said after some thoughts, “Younger Sister, you also know that because of the matter of the ancestral hall, Father and Mother are somewhat dissatisfied with Second and Third Shu. Most likely Old Furen was anxious and thus reprimanded Father.” Speaking till here, Shen Qiu could not help to show an expression of unfairness, “Old Furen’s heart is just too biased. What wrong does Father have? Second and Third Shu did not take good care of you in the residence and even I am angry about it, let alone what Father feels.”
Shen Qiu did not use ‘Grandmother’ but ‘Old Furen’. Apparently he had some misgiving about Old Shen Furen.
Shen Qiu could not help but look at Shen Miao’s expression. Shen Miao was after all raised by Old Shen Furen all these years and previously he saw her being very respectful to Old Shen Furen. Shen Qiu had said those words on impulse and was unable to predict if Shen Miao would dislike this.
“Close and distant relatives are different. What’s more, the blood that flows is not one’s own.” Shen Miao said indifferently, “Naturally there will be discrimination.”
“Ha.” Shen Qiu was happy to find himself an ally, “Exactly. Father showed filial respect because of Grandfather’s sake, and he had done so much for all these years. To even scold Father for being unfilial…”
“It was not only because of Second and Third Shu that she scolded Father.” Shen Miao said, “One fears that this was related to Father not bringing out the money that His Majesty had bestowed.”
“This is really…” Shen Qiu felt that what he wanted to say was not appropriate in front of his Younger Sister and he repressed it, “So what about it! Its father’s stuff, he will give to whomever he wants!”
“Correct, so let her carry on scolding. As long as one does not bother about her, she would not be able to come up with any tricks. But Father’s temperament is overly straight. When the opportunity comes, naturally there will be an outlet to vent one’s anger.”
Shen Qiu found that Shen Miao’s words were somewhat strange but faintly understood something and smiled, “One year of not seeing, Younger Sister’s temperament has gotten much stronger.”
Shen Miao did not express a comment and saw that Shen Qiu had already opened up the paper back and put a big piece into his mouth and chewed it up, “The Ding capital snacks are just so good to eat. How could there be such a fine thing in the Northwestern desert?”
Shen Miao quietly watched him eating and asked gently, “How does Eldest Brother view loyalty?”
“Loyalty?” Shen Qiu spoke without even lifting his head, “Naturally it is being devoted to the monarch, dedicating oneself to the service of the country, killing the external enemies, dominating the entire land and becoming the pillars of the nation.” Finishing speaking, he asked Shen Miao, “Why does Younger Sister ask this?”
“Nothing.” Shen Miao shook her head and lightly said, “Eat up.” Her eyes were in deep thought but there was a flash of sadness.
The first snow came falling down in the night and the Ding capital was covered in it. When the sun shone, the snow that froze on the eaves started shining, making it a truly beautiful sight. There were naughty children on the streets rolling snowballs and throwing them at one another. The closer it was to the end of the year, the more crowded the Ding capital would be, as if with the hard work for the entire year, at the end of it, had become fruitful.
Outside the Feng Xian Pawnshop, there hung a row of red lanterns, but they were not ordinary red lanterns. One did not know what kind of materials the lanterns were made of, as it seemed to be shining even in broad daylight. There were also glass beads that were shining at the bottom of the lanterns, each flash of light sparkled like crystals. With this kind of display of wealth, there were guards stationed outside that deterred the constant stream of people who wanted to steal the lanterns.
The plainly dressed little shop assistant welcomed the guests with smiles. There were only a few people who came to the Feng Xian Pawnshop for business, but today the shop assistant was uncharacteristically energized.
Behind the Feng Xian Pawnshop’s long corridor, there lay another piece of heaven on earth. In the tea room on the first level of the pavilion, the lady in red personally carried snacks over to the guests. Her smile was charming and seductive as she said, “The chef has made some snacks, may the guests give it a try.” Finishing, she withdrew from the room.
In the room sat three people. One was wearing a lake green long robe and the smile was kind and warm. The two people that he was facing were only in their twenties and had similar appearances, obviously this was a pair of brothers. Both of them had swords on their waists and they carried the air of the pugilist world.
At this moment, the older of the brothers said, “Manager Ji, is the seller of news deceiving us brothers? Why the tardiness?”
Ji Yu Shu smiled, “Chen brother must not be anxious. That day I had arranged with her to meet today but did not mention the time. Anyways it would not be too late, so one hopes that both of you will pardon this.” As he spoke, he was cursing the both of them in his heart. Where would there be a business conducted when the day just broke? Others were still sleeping. If one was not taking into consideration JiangNan’s Chen family’s reputation, he would have let the shop assistant throw them out.
“Dare not conceal from us.” The Eldest Chen Young Master, Chen Yue Shan, said, “When we brothers came to know about the news, it originally took half a month to reach Ding capital but due to the nonstop journey by horse, we made four horses tired to death just to know of our two Younger Sisters’ news. Manager Ji also knows that for these three years in order to find our younger sisters, we have spent much of our energy but there was no information at all, thus upon hearing such sprouts, naturally one’s heart would be anxious. Hope that Manager Ji will not jest.” This Eldest Chen Young Master was good at talking, and most likely saw that Ji Yu Shu was somewhat unpleased with their coming early and was half-explaining and half-apologizing.
Ji Yu Shu’s smile became a little more sincere, “These years I also helped you to pay attention to the information and now with the signs of positive outcome, I also feel comforted.”
“It is in fact nothing for us to be waiting here.” The Second Chen Young Master was much younger and his voice was full of vim, “As long as the news is real, there are no problems with waiting even for half a month. But if it is fake… To play with our JiangNan’s Chen family like this, do not blame us brothers for being rude.”
Ji Yu Shu’s smile did not change but his tone of voice became much colder, “My Feng Xian Pawnshop only cares about the buying and selling of news and when this deal is successful, then there will be an exchange of money but if it is unsuccessful then it would be dispersed with a clap. What Chen brothers want to do, I would not care. This Feng Zian Pawnshop of mine is however a place purely for business and cannot afford any trouble.”
Chen Yue Shan paused and fiercely stared at his Younger Brother. He naturally knew the power of the seemingly friendly and harmless youth in front, and that his current appearance now was not as simple as what he was showing.
Chen Yue Hai saw his Eldest Brother’s look and knew that he had said the wrong thing and did not continue. The atmosphere became stiff.
After a long time there were footsteps at the door and it was Hong Ling who parted the beaded curtain with a smile and said, “Manager, the customer is here.”
The Chen brothers looked at the door and a purple clad young lady walked out from behind Hong Ling. This young lady looked delicate but her brows were as calm as water.
She opened up the curtains and sat down on the empty chair before nodding at Ji Yu Shu, “Manager Ji.”
“This… Young Lady.” Chen Yue Shan felt conflicted asking, “Is the one selling the news?”
Hong Ling retreated with a smile and there was only the Chen brothers, Shen Miao and Ji Yu Shu in the tea room. Shen Miao said, “Yes.”
Chen Yue Hai’s facial expression changed and he sneered, “Young Lady, how old were you three years ago? Do not come and play with the two of us.”
“There are many channels to gain the news and perhaps it was not seen personally and perhaps it was not known three years ago. The buying and selling is about the results. Also it is really not worth playing with just a small Chen family.”
Ji Yu Shu could not help but laughing out. But when he laughed, he saw Chen Yue Hai’s face turn ugly and he quickly made his face serious again, “What Shen Young Lady said was not wrong. The buying and selling is about the results and the process is not as important.”
“Is that so?” Chen Yue Hai looked at Shen Miao and said in a tone that was neither warm nor cold, “Then one does not know how can this Shen Young Lady guarantee that the information is true? If the results are indeed real, us brothers would definitely provide a heavy amount of gold for thanks, but if it is not real… Do you know the consequences?” When speaking the last part, Chen Yue Hai’s tone became sinister.
Those who wandered in the pugilist world had a little viciousness and in that moment the fierceness burst out and it was enough to intimidate normal people, much less a little young lady.
But he was only met with silence. Shen Miao was looking at him without blinking and there was not even a trace of a change in her emotions. Her calmness seemed to make Chen Yue Hai feel like one who stirred up trouble deliberately.
Ji Yu Shu wanted to laugh again but could only hold it in. The silent Chen Yue Shan finally spoke, “Shen Young Lady, my Younger Brother is somewhat rude and I apologize for him. The two of us are sincere in buying the news and if Young Lady’s news is true, we will definitely offer tens of thousands of gold as thanks.”
“There is no need for tens of thousands of gold.” Shen Miao said, “Just give some as you prefer. It is just that JiangNan’s Chen family’s connections are widespread and I only wanted to receive good karma. One would be unable to say for certain but in the future, if there is anything that requires Chen family’s help, hope that both would take this news into consideration and take care accordingly.”
The two men were much older and had also experienced much more, but there was no match in terms of words. This made Chen Yue Shan view her higher and he cupped his hands in agreement. But he did not know that Ji Yu Shu was long cursing Shen Miao as an unscrupulous merchant in his heart. One knew that the money earned from the news would all be given to Feng Xian Pawnshop, but now Shen Miao took the initiative to tell them to give less money, was not this making Feng Xian Pawn shop earn less?
“You better speak about that news.” Chen Yue Hai was after all somewhat anxious.
Shen Miao glanced at him and said, “The sisters of the Chen family disappeared at JiangNan’s Yu province but were in fact abducted by others. The mastermind of the abduction of the sisters is currently the brother of His Majesty, Prince Yu of the First Rank.”
When the words were spoken, the three persons in the tea room became silent.
The two people listening in from the secret room next to the tea room were also stunned. The white clad gentleman’s voice even broke, “Prince Yu of the First Rank?”
The purple clad youth was gently stroking the jade cup when his lips suddenly raised to a smile.