Jiang Guang was boasting with others. He had grown a goatee, and his small eyes revealed shrewdness, but this shrewdness was on the surface. It always made people think that this person was not shrewd, and with a little effort they could make him fall into a trap. According to Jiang Guang’s words: “You can’t do business with a face that looks simple and honest. This type is what makes people feel uneasy. If you really are a simple and honest person, can you still become a merchant? At most, you will just deceive the little common people.”
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Although he worked under Lin Yuan early, he had been wandering between the capitals, making friends, and smashing open the doors of many officials with money. Merchant Jiang’s name was also considered to have some fame among the merchants, after all, there were not many people as rich as him, often spending a lot of money to buy things. Even if the thing he bought was a simple looking little trinket that he probably rewarded to his servant right after he bought it.
Jiang Guang was drinking with his new friend, and he was very attentive to this new friend. The friend was Ni Wenjun’s confidant, although he couldn’t be called the right arm, but he did have Ni Wenjun’s favor.
Jiang Guang used countless gold and silver and jewelry to make this friend.
Although this friend didn’t think much of him, and although the Yuan Dynasty gave importance to business, the long-standing tradition still made many people think that merchants and businessmen were an inferior class.
“Brother Zhou, please use it.” Jiang Guang poured a cup of wine for his friend. This wine was rice wine. People called it sweet water. It didn’t cause drunkenness very much, and it also had a bit of alcohol flavor when drinking it. This friend loved this, and preferred drinking this instead of strong alcohol.
Brother Zhou drank a cup of rice wine. Everyone liked to be praised and treated with importance, especially by Jiang Guang. Jiang Guang was very clever and talented in flattering others. He not only made people feel pleased, but also did not make people feel that he was exaggerating or that his intention was sinister. Moreover, Jiang Guang’s flattering was not just verbal flattering, he appeared to sincerely intend to do anything for the other party.
When being flattered to the extreme, few people would refuse and dislike it.
Brother Zhou said rather tipsily: “If Merchant Jiang has a request, if Zhou can do it, Zhou will not refuse.”
Jiang Guang smiled: “I admire brother Zhou’s integrity. Brother Zhou, look at me, I have no family or relatives and friends. I have been busy for most of my life, out in the wind and rain. I earned myself a small fortune but I myself do not even have time to enjoy it. Even my servants have a better life than me.”
Brother Zhou also seemed to feel that this was reasonable and sighed: “Who says this is not true? I am similar to Merchant Jiang.”
The two chatted and talked about the current grain output. Jiang Guang inadvertently revealed: “It was said that the world will be in upheaval so Jiang stored a lot of grain to wait for the world to be in upheaval and sell it at a good price. But as I waited I ended up forgetting and the grain has become old grain. If it is sold at a low price, I will feel reluctant. If it is sold at a high price, the common people cannot afford it. It seems that it is a loss this time…..”
Brother Zhou’s eyes brightened, but he quickly restrained himself: “How much food do you have?”
Jiang Guang looked around, seeming to be afraid of being seen by others, and he also didn’t dare to say it out loud. He just made a gesture.
Brother Zhou understood, and the smile on his face became more sincere: “Merchant Jiang, don’t treat me so courteously. Friends should help each other. I have a way to deal with this food.”
Jiang Guang looked very excited: “What way? Brother Zhou, for the sake of this food, I have been so worried that I haven’t had a good night’s sleep.”
This brother Zhou had always suspected that Jiang Guang approached him out of ulterior motives. After all, Jiang Guang had never asked for anything from him before. For merchants, their requests were just the familiar few. If one wants to do business, one must be backed by someone. As they say, the strong dragon couldn’t beat the local snake, but Jiang Guang didn’t mention it at all this whole time, so he also pretended to be stupid the whole time as well. Anyway, there was no lack of benefits he got from the other. The gold and silver wares at home and the jewelry on his wife and daughter were all sent by Jiang Guang. In any case, he did not lose out, rather he had gotten many benefits for free.
Now he knows Jiang Guang was not completely without motive or desire for nothing. The money he wanted for that supply of food was much more than the gold and silver that Jiang Guang gave him. If this business was done successfully, Jiang Guang would not have to go out to do business anymore for the rest of his life.
That Jiang Guang had desires and motives, brother Zhou was relieved instead.
“I will give you an answer in three days.” Brother Zhou himself was not sure whether to receive the food or not.
Although he was Ni Wenjun’s confidant, it was not like Ni Wenjun told him everything. He knew that Ni Wenjun had the idea of rebelling and overthrowing Xu Shouhui, but he didn’t know when Ni Wenjun was going to raise up in arms and whether the food rations had already been resolved or not. If he rashly promised Jiang Guang and it did not work out, wouldn’t this be a slap to his own face?
Face was still very important when a person lived in this world.
Jiang Guang felt that this matter was already in the bag.
He and brother Zhou parted ways in front of the restaurant, and each got into their respective carriages. Jiang Guang’s old servant helped Jiang Guang get into the carriage. After Jiang Guang sat down, the carriage slowly moved forward. The old servant handed Jiang Guang a bowl of sober soup and he swallowed it in one gulp. Sweet water might not have much alcohol content, but it was not small either.
The old servant asked in a low voice: “Has my lord succeeded?”
Jiang Guang smiled and said, “What difficulty is this?”
If the talk was successful, he would add some medicine to the grain and grass as soon as the war began. There was a common herbal medicine, when grounded into powder and mixed into food, that could make people have a terrible case of diarrhea.
When the soldiers were all clutching their stomachs with the need to go to the toilet, would they still have any power to fight?
But it could only be mixed into the food when Lin Yuan’s army arrived.
When Ni Wenjun was fighting Xu Shouhui, the food must still be without problem.
Jiang Guang revealed a satisfied smile on his face.
He was a businessman, and what he wanted was very simple, that was, profit and money.
So long as he could make money, he was even willing to abandon his ancestors and change his name.
But this also required gambling, and Jiang Guang felt that his gambling luck had always been very good.
Jiang Guang wanted to sell his food supply, but on this side Lin Yuan received food from many people. The food would be sampled and eaten by the animals first and if the animals had no problem it would naturally be added to the army rations. If the animals did have a problem then those who sent the food would be met with great misfortune.
Those who had a large amount of food supply in their hands during these troubled times were all wealthy merchants and thus were difficult to impersonate. Therefore, there was a clear record of who sent each batch of food, including name, characteristics, and age.
Lin Yuan glanced around and saw a familiar name on the list——Shen Fu.
When he was a teenager, he watched a TV series about Shen Wansan, and he knew that Shen Wansan’s real name was Shen Fu and his courtesy name was Zhongrong.
Wan San was just a respectful name given to him by society.
Although Shen Fu was a wealthy merchant at this time, he was not considered hugelu wealthy, nor could he be as wealthy as a country.
Lin Yuan took a look at the remarks from the officials below, mainly describing that the food sent by Shen Fu included both coarse and fine, and that the coarse grains were of a good weight, and the fine grains were all new grains. To sum up, this person was very generous and the quality was also very good.
So Lin Yuan had someone bring Shen Fu to him. He also wanted to know what the most famous richest man in history looked like, was it a fat head with big ears, or a simple and honest appearance?
As a result, Lin Yuan was dumbfounded when the person finally arrived.
This was an old man. He was well maintained and dressed in silk satin, but these couldn’t conceal his old age. He looked kind and gentle and although he was old, his back was very straight. When he saw Lin Yuan, he knelt and bowed. Lin Yuan was dazed for a few seconds before calling him up.
“How old is elder now?” Lin Yuan felt strange. Shen Fu looked almost 70 already. If he followed the historical clues he knew, then Shen Wansan would have been over a hundred years old when he was exiled. Would Zhu Yuanzhang exile an old man over a hundred years old? It didn’t conform to the bottom line of social tradition. After all, the tradition of “respecting the elderly” had always existed since ancient times.
Shen Fu’s voice also sounded very old, and there was some hoarseness as well. He seemed to be an old man very past his prime, with the kindness that the years have bestowed on him. He said: “This caomin only celebrated my 60th birthday last year.”
At the age of sixty, one would be considered to have lived a long life, and no matter where he should be treated as a distinguished guest.
Lin Yuan stood up and said with a smile: “Elder, please sit.”
Regarding Shen Fu’s exile by Zhu Yuanzhang, was it a folklore or a historical record? Lin Yuan was sure that what he knew should be the official history. There were records in the history books, so Zhu Yuanzhang exiled a more than 100-year-old man?
Shen Fu did not appear nervous when facing Lin Yuan. He first said his intention: “To share the worries for the South Bodhisattva.”
Then he threw out his own son: “This caomin has a son, named Rong. Although he is not talented, he is also honest and willing to work. He will not complain about doing anything.”
In the end, he stated his position: “Only to be at the beck and call for the South Bodhisattva, using one’s limited power.”
Lin Yuan smiled at him and said: “Elder’s sincerity is clear to Yuan. Since elder is here, you don’t need to hurry to leave. Stay here for a while first. Ru Ning is a long way from Suzhou, and the travel is tiring. I wonder if elder’s son has followed you over? “
Shen Fu had a gray beard, and he smiled at Lin Yuan: “Naturally, my son is a natural fool, he only knows to be obedient and never has his own ideas. If I leave him alone at home, I am afraid that he will cause a lot of trouble.”
At this time, Shen Fu was not yet the richest man in Suzhou, he could only be regarded as one of the big three merchants in the area.
He was now looking for a big tree to shelter himself from wind and rain and earn more wealth.
“If this is the case, I will see you tomorrow.” Lin Yuan asked, “What does elder think?”
Shen Fu lowered his head and bowed respectfully: “I listen to South Bodhisattva’s instructions.”
When the servant led Shen Fu to leave, Lin Yuan opened the list and continued to look at it. There were many people who came to show goodwill, but most of them didn’t give too much food. It was just that the grain was not old, which was enough to see that they attached great importance to Lin Yuan, but this kind of importance was not yet to the point where one could go all the way.
Compared with them, Shen Fu was indeed generous. Unlike those people, Shen Fu was confident in himself. He believed in his own vision and his choices.
So he brought all the food he could take out, and also his son, leaving only his confidant and grandson at home.
Lin Yuan was about to say something, but saw Chen Baisong arrive with an expression of joy. This joy was so obvious that people could know his mood at a glance.
Lin Yuan teased him: “What’s this? Did you pick up money?”
Chen Baisong pursed his lips, but his eyebrows were flying with joy. He smiled and said: “The other day I said that the rations were tight. Li Congrong, that fellow, asked me to borrow food. He borrowed yet didn’t return any of it. I sent someone to ask him for it but he always says he will pay it back in time, but I am also squeezed here, this time it is a relief to my urgent needs.”
Lin Yuan thought of the consumption of food by Li Congrong’s army barracks, and he also felt a little overwhelmed.
Li Congrong was rather thickheaded, and the military strategist couldn’t win against him. When he had food, he would eat and drink with the soldiers, and when there was no food he would go hungry with them as well.
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Among the generals, there was not one who he did not borrow food from.
Lin Yuan: “Don’t lend it to him next time, you tell him, if he doesn’t do well, let him come back and serve me as an ink rubbing manservant. I won’t complain.”
This person just needed a beating.
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