*Edited by LazyCat

“Laoye, what are we doing here?” The servant asked in puzzlement while making the bed for Zhou Fu.

You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )

Zhou Fu was eating peanuts next to him, rubbing away the red skin on the outside and blowing the skin on the ground before throwing the peanuts into his mouth. As he chewed he said, “What do you know? If you know, then you would be the Laoye.”

The servant made the bed and took out the luggage that Zhou Fu had brought. Zhou Fu didn’t carry much luggage with him, only some clothes. He sold his family property before coming here, even selling his old house with the servants. He also entrusted his old father, mother, wife and children to his younger brother. He had practically put everything down to make this gamble, leaving only one servant who served him the longest time.

The servant couldn’t guess what Zhou Fu was thinking, and didn’t say anymore. First putting the clothes in the cabinet before taking out the tea leaves and making tea for Zhou Fu.

“What do you think of Taizhou?” Zhou Fu asked his servant.

The servant said: “Laoye, we have come all the way here but I see that only the people of Taizhou have the best lives.”

The servant was a little envious.

He saw the lives of ordinary people in Taizhou and hoped that he could also live in Taizhou.

The lively scenes on the street were printed in his mind, and he couldn’t get rid of it no matter what.

Zhou Fu smiled and said, “When I sold all my property, did you think I was crazy?”

The servant did not speak, what could he say? You are the Laoye, your property is yours, you dispose of it how you like.

Zhou Fu looked out the window and said: “Staying in Huizhou is just like killing pigs with a blunt knife. It seems useless but in the end, death is still inevitable. Once I have settled in Taizhou, and when something really does happen, I can bring all my family here.”

The servant looked at Zhou Fu with a touch of emotion.

Zhou Fu smiled: “Why are you looking at me like this? If it wasn’t because you weren’t married and have children, I would sell you too.”

The touch of emotion on the servant’s face disappeared instantly.

His friends among the servants have all been sold. In this world, if you could be sold to a rich family as a servant, even if it was to wash the toilet and spill out waste, it would still be better than living on the streets.

But what decent wealthy households still exist in Huizhou now?

The weaker ones have already run away with their families. As for the more powerful ones, don’t even mention buying more people, it was already difficult to protect themselves.

The imperial court asks for benefaction and the bandits rob money. Their lives have become difficult, and the servants would naturally suffer even more.

The lords still have food to eat, but the people below should be grateful for not being starved to death.

In order to be accepted by the new master, Zhou Fu put his attitude on the lowest level. Lin Yuan even felt that this person was not here to show his loyalty and do business, instead Zhou Fu had basically come here to be Lin Yuan’s slave. This was not a negative observation, just describing the truth. As long as he had a chance Zhou Fu would always show up in Lin Yuan’s vicinity.

Not only did he try to have Lin Yuan be familiar with his face, but he also slaved away for Lin Yuan. Lin Yuan had once gone to the stables to see the horses, but found that the person who took care of the stable was nowhere to be seen, instead Zhou Fu was washing the horses in the stable in a very skilled manner.

At a glance, he knew that Zhou Fu had been to this stable for quite some time.

Lin Yuan sighed: “Zhou Laoye, why go to such efforts?”

Zhou Fu pretended to have just spotted Lin Yuan. He turned his head and smiled in a very flattering manner, appearing like a complete dog’s leg (TN: toady or henchman). He stepped forward and said, “Boss.”

Lin Yuan looked at Zhou Fu strangely.

Zhou Fu said: “I saw that they all call you that way.”

He felt that it was more familiar and intimate by calling him this way. After all, weren’t only the people brought by Lin Yuan called him this way?

Sure enough, there was a difference between close followers and outsiders. He naturally wanted to be a closer follower.

Become Lin Yuan’s “people”.

Lin Yuan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, he said to Zhou Fu: “Zhou Laoye, you can just stay here without worries. There are a lot of people here. If you rob them of their jobs what can they do? I don’t care for idlers here.”

Zhou Fu: “Ai! I actually forgot this! Look at me, indeed when one gets older one can’t remember things clearly.”

Lin Yuan waved his hand and said, “If you are really idle, there is something that you can do.”

Zhou Fu hurriedly said: “Please give me your orders.”

Lin Yuan said: “There is a shortage of artisans in the city nowadays.”

Zhou Fu looked up at Lin Yuan.

You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )

Zhou Fu was a merchant, so naturally he would not look down on artisans. Although the status of merchants in the Yuan Dynasty was much higher than before, the traditional hierarchy of scholars at the top then farmers, artisans and merchants was still deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. But while artisans were slightly higher in status than merchants, they made less money.

Still, the status of merchants was the lowest.

But during turbulent times, all the people were equal. Everyone was miserable, so there wasn’t much point to tell who is higher and who is lower.

Lin Yuan said: “Whether it’s blacksmiths, woodworkers, or making firecrackers, I want anyone who has the skills.”

Zhou Fu understood: “Boss, leave it to me.”

Lin Yuan smiled and said: “I will give you a small team of people, all in disguise, so that you will not be in danger.”

Zhou Fu knelt down to Lin Yuan and performed a big courtesy: “I won’t disappoint Boss.”

Lin Yuan received the courtesy. He knew in his heart that if he did not accept it, Zhou Fu would not feel at ease.

Zhou Fu found out that he had not been corrected for calling Lin Yuan Boss, and his mood blossomed. His purpose was not only to settle in Taizhou, but also to take root and become Lin Yuan’s right-hand man. Who else was there in this world who could gather information and news better than a merchant? Who traveled farther than that of a merchant?

After he found out that there was no big merchant at Lin Yuan’s side, he decided that no matter what he would try to leave an impression on Lin Yuan.

There was really no way. He didn’t dare to bribe the people around Lin Yuan. So he ended up in the stable and began to take care of the little red horse Lin Yuan often rode.

Lin Yuan gave the horse a name, Red Cloud. Although the name was a bit cliche, no one would say anything now that he was in his current position. This was a mare and was very docile with Lin Yuan, but not so much when facing others, always ready to throw a temper tantrum.

Zhou Fu had spent a lot of effort and thoughts in order to serve this lady horse.

During this period, he practically lived in the stable, until Red Cloud slowly agreed to let him get close and scrub herself.

Lin Yuan also didn’t expect Zhou Fu to use this method. While feeling dumbfounded, he also understood why Zhou Fu did it.

Some people just want to live the days as they pass, but some people want to achieve something.

All men have the desire to become successful and famous. Since they have become merchants, they could no longer be able to be an official. The only way to change their situation was to invest successfully. Maybe the investment would be successful, and a bright future would be waiting ahead.

It was not only Zhou Fu, but many people have approached him recently.

Although Xie Zichang did not break the cauldrons and sink the boats (TN: idiom meaning to cut off one’s means of retreat) like Zhou Fu who sold his old house to come to Taizhou, he also had his own way. That was, when he found a house in Taizhou, the first thing he did was to bring all his family members over.

Parents, brothers, wife and children, not one was left outside.

This was to offer his family as hostages, so that Lin Yuan could rest assured that he was absolutely loyal.

Lin Yuan had Zhou Fu go out searching. Naturally, he also called Xie Zichang and the others to go to different places to search for different talents.

Talent was valuable but also not valuable.

For example, in prosperous times, the development of society will be fast, and talents were also worth money——artisans not counted among them. In China’s five thousand year history, how many artisans managed to leave their mark when in comparison to scholars? Not even a drop in the bucket. People know the four great inventions, but among these four inventors only Cai Lun managed to be somewhat known.

In troubled times, artisans were even less valuable. Blacksmiths may be better, but no one cared about other kinds of artisans.

It was not difficult to get artisans to relocate here, but the trouble was to find artisans among the countless refugees.

Lin Yuan directly threw this problem to Zhou Fu and Xie Zichang.

When the time came, whoever brought back more people, more useful people, then he would naturally know deserved better treatment.

Zhou Fu went on the road the next day. He left his servant behind and took nothing with him, only the people responsible for protecting him. A squad of troops, a total of ten people, all wearing patched clothing and hiding their weapons in the cary. They were all disguised as traveling traders doing business everywhere. He had thought he was the only one who got this task, but after a while, he saw Xie Zichang’s convoy.

Compared with him, Xie Zichang also brought two accompanying servants in addition to the people arranged by Lin Yuan. The convoy had three carriages filled with food and grass to use as cover.

When Zhou Fu saw this, he subtly tensed up. He thought he was the first merchant to kneel and declare loyalty, but he did not expect someone to be earlier than him.

“Where are you going, brother Xie?” Zhou Fu called out to Xie Zichang’s convoy.

Xie Zichang was sitting in the carriage and drinking tea. He smiled leisurely at Zhou Fu: “Boss is willing to give me a chance and have me go to Chongming and Chuzhou. Where is brother Zhou heading to?”

Zhou Fu smiled and said, “Haining and Sizhou.”

Xie Zichang nodded: “It seems that everyone had been assigned to two places.”

Zhou Fu asked: “Zhou knows that brother Xie is extremely well-known in Junzhou as a righteous businessman. Why did you come to Taizhou? Did something happen in Junzhou?”

Xie Zichang’s expression remained unchanged, still with a smile on his face: “Naturally because of a young hero like Boss has Xie feeling much admiration and wanting to dedicate my all.”

Zhou Fu also smiled and thought to himself: They were not even in Taizhou City anymore, and yet he kept the flattery going. This person was really shameless.

Once he had a firm position next to Boss, he would naturally not let this person get close to Boss.

The two of them walked together each pondering their own thoughts with smiles on their faces. But underneath the smiles they were probably slandering each other in their hearts, wishing that each other would disappear before their eyes.

It’s just that on the outside they still had to pretend to be good brothers.

The soldiers in the two squads on the other hand, had a very good conversation amongst themselves. They had been instructed before they left, so they were only talked about daily life, which had nothing to do with military training.

After a few more days, Lin Yuan found that most of the merchants who had come had all been sent out on missions, and the small part who had come to do business naturally would not make trouble. Lin Yuan felt much more relieved.

Merchants had many uses. They travel all over, are proficient in being up to date and good at dealing with people. In fact, they were very similar to scouts who gather information and news, but they could use more methods and were much more sly.

Lin Yuan thought of the most impressive businessmen in history.

You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )

Maybe Zhou Fu and Xie Zichang would also be of great use in the future.

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2 Comments on “Back To The Beginning Of Ming To Do Charity CH 049 Merchants

  1. Thanks for the chapter! I liked this chapter as well, even through it wasn’t that interesting. I liked the story of Zhou Fu, i always like the stories of the various people described around Lin Yuan; it makes some the chapters worth reading, it makes up for the boring stuff. Maybe the rivalty between Zhiu Fu and Xie Zichang will in the end, give way to a great friendship or some other good laughs hahaha. Until next chapter.

    Like

    • Lolol there is a lot of potential for them to bring good laughs. And omg lol I also like to imagine rivals/enemies becoming friends or even lovers. Just, not with these two. Xie Zicheng is handsome enough but Zhou Fu, well. I’m afraid I will have to wash my mind after that picture😂

      Liked by 1 person

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