There was no need to worry about the sale of the soybean oil. Wu City was a big enough market for it. Jiang Gui met and talked collaborations with the owners of oil shops. The city had a total of 12 oil shops. Compared to the production costs of sesame oil, the production cost of soybean oil was cheaper and the daily production was also stable. Although one could not say it would completely replace sesame oil but the owners of oil shops still accepted the soybean oil in their stores.
Lin Yuan did some calculations, each day’s profit was around 1000 coins.
“Should we sell outside Wu City as well?” Jiang Gui saw the benefits of soybean oil business so he was eager to expand the business. Who would not dislike making more money?
However, Lin Yuan shook his head: “Brother Jiang, it’s not that this little brother is unwilling, but if we were to sell elsewhere, who will make the trips? Besides, Wu City has you and brother Dao so we can make money in peace. Nowadays, the outside is in upheaval. The oil extraction method may be easy but only we know about it.”
“If someone wants to seize…..” Lin Yuan did not finish.
Jiang Gui sighed: “I am too impatient, unlike you who thinks deeper.”
Lin Yuan consoled: “Brother Jiang, think of it this way, although we are not crazy rich but at least it is stable source of income.”
Now that the income had stabilized, and daily expenses not being too big, Lin Yuan must now put more attention to his land.
Yang Zi’an’s 40 people had already gone over to his land with farming tools prepared by Jiang Gui. Lin Yuan was now deeply aware of the benefits of having a friend in the government. Although Jiang Gui did not have any major powers nor could he sway the upper officials, but among the common people he still had quite the power.
The good thing was that he no longer had to watch his wallet thin after every spending. Lin Yuan truly sighed in relief.
“Brother Jiang.” Lin Yuan poured tea for Jiang Gui, saying seriously, “I should have people begin to build my own farmstead. I must still continue to trouble you.”
Jiang Gui drank the cup of hot tea. Although it was nothing fancy but to be able to have any tea to drink was a luxury now. He nodded: “No problem, no problem, I shall not have even one bit of lazing from them.”
Lin Yuan explained in detail: “I don’t want to build a normal dwelling with a courtyard but a three floor building.”
Jiang Gui looked confused: “Ah? You want to construct a theater house?”
Lin Yuan shook his head: “No. Er Liang bring over pen and ink.”
Er Liang let out an “ai” and quickly set up paper and prepared the pen and ink.
Although Lin Yuan did not know how to write calligraphy but a simple drawing was still doable. He drew a rectangular building with doors evenly spaced throughout.
“Like this.” Lin Yuan handed the paper to Jiang Gui.
Jiang Gui was also no literati and knew nothing of the four arts (TN: zither, Go chess, calligraphy, painting) but after looking closely he got the gist of it. He asked Lin Yuan in puzzlement: “This is all squares and rectangles, like a large coffin. How can you build it this way.”
Lin Yuan: “……”
Brother, I’m afraid this had nothing on Chengdu’s New Century Global Mall (TN: a building in Chengdu, China).
Lin Yuan laughed awkwardly: “To be promoted and gain wealth.” (TN: the phrase in Chinese is 升官发财 which in pinyin is ‘sheng guan fa cai’. The second word 官 which means official sounds the same as 棺 which means coffin. Lin Yuan is just trying to give a reason through a pun and hopes Jiang Gui believes his ‘reasoning’)
Jiang Gui finally got it and slapped his thigh: “A good message! No wonder little brother Lin is a scholar. You have more knowledge than me.”
“But the price will not be cheap.” Jiang Gui knit his eyebrows together.
Lin Yuan: “Is 50 taels enough?”
Lin Yuan said: “I want it to be quick so there needs to be more people. The best case scenario is to be finished by the summer.”
Jiang Gui stood up: Since you already asked, as gege I of course must help. A lot of refugees have come to Wu City. We can have them build the building, just give them food. That will save some money.”
These refugees were not accepted into Wu City. Their arrival often heralded a decrease in safety of a city’s residents so they had not been allowed in and instead must remain outside the city gates in grass shacks. The passing of winter saw the lessening of refugee numbers.
Some died, some left.
Those that were left, all of them were young and in their prime.
Jiang Gui said: “When they just arrived last year, I even saw some children. But now only two are left, and almost on the verge of death.”
Lin Yuan frowned: “Did they feeze to death?”
Jiang Gui nodded, sighing: “The higher ups won’t allow their entrance into the city and I can’t do anything about it either. My own situation is difficult. My hands are truly tied.”
Jiang Gui might be a kind person but without the wealth to express his kindness it was still useless.
Lin Yuan said: “I’m fine with them doing the building but they may not be easy to manage.”
He was afraid that once a person was at their limits then they would choose to walk on the edge of a blade. The saying that the barren hills and wild rivers would produce wicked people was not untrue (TN: A saying that refers to environment influencing people). Once a person had nothing to hold them back then they would turn into beasts.
Jiang Gui took another sip of tea, knitting his brows together: “I will talk with brother Dao.”
Brother Dao was after all a gang leader and managing people was a skill required.
Lin Yuan did not refuse: “See if brother Dao is willing to manage them.”
“No problem!” Brother Dao was currently chopping up the firewood. Hearing Jiang Gui’s question he agreed readily. He wiped at the sweat on his forehead and even took a palm leaf fan to fan himself after putting away the axe.
Lin Yuan watched in envy. Brother Dao’s physique was robust and sturdy with hard muscles and a tall height. Standing next to him one could even feel the heat rolling off of him. Lately, the weather had not warmed much, even if Lin Yuan and Er Liang shared the same blanket the both of them still felt the cold. If not for brother Dao’s smelly feet Lin Yuan was all too willing to invite him for a sleepover.
Brother Dao looked at Lin Yuan in a new light, an expression of respect on his face: “Little brother Lin, you have the heart to do good deeds, gege will not say anything else but help you manage them well. You are giving them a chance to survive, and if they don’t know to be grateful then I will let them know the ramifications of stepping out of line.”
To be able to save money as well as help others in need. This could be considered a situation where he had it both ways.
Lin Yuan was also in quite a good mood, cupping his hands: “Then I will trouble gege.”
Brother Dao patted Lin Yuan’s shoulder. He looked at Jiang Gui and then said suddenly: “Us three, we have quite the predestined affinity, now we even collaborate in business, how about we find a day and swear brotherhood.”
Lin Yuan: “…..”
Jiang Gui: “…..”
They were just having a chat, how did it come to swearing brotherhood?
Jiang Gui was the first to react, he let out a laugh: “Exactly! Swearing brotherhood, becoming sworn brothers, this way relationships will be closer.”
Lin Yuan said quickly: “But my father and mother are both in the north…..”
In this time, swearing brotherhood might not have any legal effects but once sworn then they would be as close as blood brothers.
Jiang Gui and brother Dao both looked at Lin Yuan.
Lin Yuan: “…..Once father and mother knows in the future they will surely be delighted little brother has found himself two good older brothers.”
Original owner’s dad and mom, apologies, this was not something he intended.
The day was picked by a fortune-teller on the street. He was an old liar, lied his entire life, and actually even gain some jianghu experience from his lying. In short, say whatever one wants to hear no matter who they were. And quite a few people actually believed him.
Such as brother Dao.
“Chen Half-Immortal.” Brother Dao said respectfully, “these two are my good brothers, please help us find an auspicious day to swear brotherhood.”
Half-Immortal rubbed at his beard. He was originally very skinny, so with a large and billowy daoist robe on he appeared quite convincing as a mysterious daoist with supernatural abilities. His face was already full of lines but still he scrunched it up even more, reaching out a hand to calculate: “Tomorrow at noon.”
Lin Yuan remained expressionless off to the side. Half-Immortal, wasn’t that too quick and random?
Having picked a day, brother Dao was about to pay, but Chen Half-Immortal pressed his hand down, asking seriously in a whisper: “Little Dao, I heard you have recently been doing business? I won’t accept your payment, let me also take part?”
In an instant the aura of mystery crumbled into pieces.
Brother Dao still looked befuddled, no matter what, he was unwilling to believe that this shrewd old man was the Half-Immortal in his heart.
Chen Half-Immortal, seeing that brother Dao had still not come out of his shock, so he said again: “Don’t you worry, I have money.”
The profession of fortune-telling was originally like being a doctor, the older you got the more money you make.
If you’re young, the common people would not believe in your abilities.
Always feeling that the older ones were more trustworthy.
The doctors at medicinal shops, even if they were still young, must grow a long beard and pretend they were older than they actually were.
Otherwise patients would not come in.
Jiang Gui was not a superstitious person. He said with a smile: “Half-Immortal, brother Dao has no say, the business belongs to this little brother. If you want to take part then you must speak with him.”
Chen Half-Immortal looked at Lin Yuan with a squint.
Lin Yuan stood there staring at Chen Half-Immortal, pondering whether Chen Half-Immortal was nearsighted or farsighted?
Chen Half-Immortal looked around and seeing that yhere were no people familiar with him, he quickly walked over to Lin Yuan: “Little brother, look at it this way, you only have a few people at hand, the most you could do now is eat up Wu City’s market. I have some friends who does errands in other cities. You can have them do the errands outside while you stay and count the money. What do you say?”
Lin Yuan: “Half-Immortal, my business has just started, I don’t dare to think that far. If in the future there is an opportunity then I will come find you.”
Chen Half-Immortal became anxious: “Little brother, that is white and shiny silver……”
Brother Dao: “Half-Immortal!”
Chen Half-Immortal: “Ai.”
Brother Dao’s expression was not that good: “Don’t ask anymore about this kind of stuff, and don’t meddle, just do your fortune-telling.”
Chen Half-Immortal dared not say anymore. He had arrived in Wu City two years ago, and it was thanks to brother Dao’s support that he wasn’t bullied. He dared not offend brother Dao so he immediately became quiet.
Brother Dao ws feeling quite depressed, he truly and sincerely believed Chen Half-Immortal was a Half-Immortal, but the result was that not only was he not a Half-Immortal but a shrewd old man. He walked in the front, feeling angry with himself, thinking that in the past two years he had been a complete fool.
Lin Yuan and Jiang Gui walked in the back giving each other looks.
No helping it, Lin Yuan walked over and consoled: “Brother Dao, it’s nothing big. Half-Immortal, after all, is only half. The other half is a common person and must eat, drink, defecate and support one’s family.”
Brother Dao sighed: “He lied to me.”
Lin Yuan: “…..”
“Tomorrow noon, we will go to Cheng Huang temple.” Brother Dao brushed aside thoughts of Half-Immortal and discussed with Lin Yuan and Jiang Gui, “Don’t forget to bring the things, wine and bowl. A knife too, a sharp one.”
Lin Yuan: “A knife?” We are swearing brotherhood, not dying together in the name of love, right?
Brother Dao was reminded that Lin Yuan was from the north and his age was also young so he likely didn’t understand these jianghu rules: “Swearing brotherhood requires dropping some blood into a bowl of wine, three people then drink from the bowl.”
Lin Yuan: “Fine.” So long as the opening was not too big since the ancient times had no bandaids. Lin Yuan asked: “Is it alright to use a needle instead?”
This caused brother Dao and brother Jiang to look at him with disdain.
Lin Yuan’s heart felt extremely sorrowful, these two didn’t know how frightening tetanus could be.
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