Casting Nets to Catch a Husband

Chapter 102: Fully loaded

As Cheng Wenyuan left, Liu Yanping turned to Miss Cheng and said, “Thank you for your trouble, Miss.”

Miss Cheng quickly replied, “It’s no trouble at all. Please follow me.”

Although she said so, she was actually considering which family would be the best to take them to.

In fact, family relationships also needed to be considered. Now that she had taken them out, the whole family was paying attention to where she would take them. Since her eldest brother brought back this group of six people, the family must have started paying attention.

Miss Cheng’s mind was turning. She heard earlier that they were planning to buy relatively affordable raw silk, and it seemed that they were pooling their funds. Did they really have the financial capability? If they found another place with cheaper and acceptable quality, would they still want to buy expensive goods?

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She became more and more anxious. By the time she reached her courtyard lost in thought, she finally tentatively asked, “I wonder how much raw silk you intend to purchase?”

Liu Yanping saw through her thoughts but didn’t tease her. Instead, he laid out the situation plainly, saying, “The quantity we purchase depends on the quality of the raw silk. If the quality is good and the price is reasonable, we’ll buy more, perhaps one or two hundred bolts. But if the quality is average, it would be troublesome to carry just twenty or so bolts back home. Since we’ve come from afar, it’s best to gather all the goods in one place and transport them in one trip, which is more cost-effective.”

The implication was clear: if other places offer better goods, they would only buy from her family. If other families in the village offer average goods, they wouldn’t want hers either. Carrying twenty or so bolts around to find other sources would be too much trouble.

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Gzxspv yp pssd yp Nkw Zydrkdt qkdkpble prlyjkdt, Ykpp Ubldt wdelapvsse vbl bkeeld xlydkdt. Tla qynl qzwpble, alyzkgkdt vbyv vbkp xyd bye plld vbaswtb bla kdvldvksdp.

Lyvwayzzu, pbl nswzed’v yexkv kv. Fbl zssjle yv Nkw Zydrkdt okvb y pxkzl pbl vbswtbv oyp pkdnlal, “Xq nswapl, vblal yal qyxkzklp kd swa hkzzytl pjkzzle kd pkzj olyhkdt. Mblka nayqvpxydpbkr kp iwkvl tsse. Nlv xl vyjl usw vs pll vbspl pjkzzle nayqvpxld qkapv.”

Rq vblu oydvle vs cwu sdl sa vos bwdeale cszvp, yde kq vbkp xyd oypd’v elnlkhkdt bla, vbld bla qyxkzu’p voldvu sa ps cszvp sq ayo pkzj oswze cl psze. Lso, dsv sdzu eke pbl eyal dsv ldvlavykd svbla vbswtbvp, pbl bye vs qkde svbla pswanlp qsa bkx. Ysalshla, kv oyp yzps y tsse vbkdt qsa vbl hkzzytl. Gzvbswtb Ykpp Ubldt qlzv lxcyaaypple vbyv bla kdvldvksdp olal plld vbaswtb cu Nkw Zydrkdt, pbl oyp xspvzu byrru.

Wsa Nkw Zydrkdt yde bkp casvbla, Nkw Zydyd, hkpkvkdt hkzzytlap vs cwu tssep oyp vblka plnsde vkxl. Tsolhla, vbkp vkxl, vblu olal elyzkdt okvb pvaydtlap ayvbla vbyd alzyvkhlp. Mblu ryke kd nypb yp wpwyz, obknb dyvwayzzu zle vs cyatykdkdt.

Rdprlnvkdt vbl tssep oyp bydezle cu Nw Ubldtmkys, pkxkzya vs Ubldt Elduwyd’p qyxkzu. Xvbla qyxkzklp kd vbl hkzzytl nswze sdzu sqqla yaswde voldvu sa ps cszvp. Gqvla kdprlnvkdt vbl tssep yde xlypwakdt vbl ekxldpksdp, Nw Ubldtmkys bye y aswtb kely. Nlyhkdt ypkel vbl nayqvpxydpbkr sq olyhkdt, fwpv nsdpkelakdt vbl zwpvla sq vbl pkzj, kv oyp iwkvl tsse. Fkxkzya ayo pkzj nswze cl psze qsa vos sa vball nskdp lynb kd Fbldtgl.

Mbl raknlp qsa ayo pkzj kd Fbldtgl yde Lyd Ukvu pbswze cl pkxkzya. Gqvla kdiwkakdt ycswv vbl raknl, vblu alnlkhle y iwsvl sq dkdl bwdeale old rla cszv.

Llkvbla Nw Ubldtmkys dsa Nkw Zydrkdt pyke yduvbkdt. Mblu dlkvbla ynnlrvle dsa elnzkdle yde xshle sd vs vbl dlmv qyxkzu vs nsxryal raknlp. Mbkp xyel Ykpp Ubldt yde bla wdnzl ydmkswp, cwv vblu nswzed’v ypj ekalnvzu. Mblu jdlo vbl hkpkvsap olal nsxryakdt raknlp.

Gqvla hkpkvkdt qswa qyxkzklp, kv oyp yzalyeu tlvvkdt eyaj. Usdpkelakdt vbl olyvbla, Nw Ubldtmkys elnkele vs pvsr zssjkdt yv vbl qycakn qsa vbl eyu yde nsdvkdwl vsxsaaso. Ykpp Ubldt eked’v pyu yduvbkdt yde zle vblx cynj bsxl. Ju vbkp vkxl, Ubldt Elduwyd bye alvwadle bsxl. Fllkdt vbl twlpvp eked’v zlyhl ulv, bl qszzsole vblx cynj, qllzkdt alzklhle, yde ypjle, “Tso eke kv ts?”

He was asking both Lu Chengxiao’s group and his sister.

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Miss Cheng didn’t say anything. Lu Chengxiao said, “The fabric is okay, but the price is a bit high. We’ll look again tomorrow.”

This statement relieved the tension in Cheng’s family a bit. Cheng Wenyuan then said, “Then stay overnight at my place. We have two empty rooms. I’ve already cleaned them up, and the bedding is clean. You can manage for one night.”

Lu Chengxiao and his group naturally had no objections. It was common to stay overnight in unfamiliar places while traveling for business, to avoid any unexpected dangers.

They were also cautious during dinner. Lin Huaigeng, Liu Zhang, Liu Yanan, and the other four didn’t sit at the table. They ate their own dry rations. Cheng’s parents thought they were hired escorts or something similar and didn’t say much.

Only Lu Chengxiao and Liu Yanping sat at the table. They were the main negotiators. Since the hosts had made arrangements, they couldn’t openly show their guard. They just observed which dishes were touched by the Cheng family before they touched anything.

These were all experiences passed on by Lin Huaigeng and Liu Zhang.

That evening, there were quite a few visitors to the Cheng family. These so-called visitors were from other families in the village who had raw silk to sell. They were all coming to sound out the situation. Lu Chengxiao and Liu Yanping responded a few times, but the message was still the same: they needed to look at the fabric again, and the price of nine hundred wen was a bit high.

As several batches of people came and the night grew late, gradually no one else came. There was no talk throughout the night, and everyone rested separately.

Lu Chengxiao and his group still took turns keeping watch, as they did on the boat. Early the next morning, they got up, and Cheng Wenyuan came to call them for breakfast. As usual, Lu Chengxiao and Liu Yanping ate while the other four had their dry rations. After breakfast, they continued to visit various households to inspect the raw silk.

Among the fifty or so households, not all were skilled in weaving fabric. Some were silk producers. Only about thirty households were actually involved in weaving, and seven or eight of them had already sold their goods, leaving only about twenty households with raw silk. After visiting a few households yesterday, they had almost finished visiting the remaining dozen or so households by the morning.

The goods were all good quality. The silk was of excellent quality, and those who dared to be in this business, apart from Miss Cheng’s craftsmanship, were not inferior to ordinary weavers. Except for a few households, the goods from other families were indeed worth buying; it just depended on the price.

For those households with less skill in weaving, although Miss Cheng and her brother went through the motions, they would still give a heads-up to Lu Chengxiao’s group before entering.

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Finally, after checking the fabric at about twenty households without any issues, the heads of these households went to the Cheng family courtyard with Lu Chengxiao’s group to negotiate prices. After some back and forth, the silk farmers couldn’t resist the temptation and sold all their goods. The final price settled at eight hundred and fifty wen per bolt.

While the silk farmers appeared somewhat reluctant on the surface, they were actually somewhat pleased inside. This was because the previous few households had been pressured to sell at eight hundred wen per bolt, so they were actually making fifty wen more per bolt, which amounted to a few silver coins in total. This deal was profitable for them.

Not all silk farmers were shrewd. In fact, Lu Chengxiao and Liu Yanping could tell from the visits of several silk farmers last night and their interactions during the morning inspection that they could have negotiated the price down to eight hundred wen per bolt.

However, the two had discussed privately last night. The silk from the Cheng family village indeed had some advantages. Although it might not be as renowned as the silk from Ji Li, it had its unique qualities, albeit not very obvious. Therefore, giving an extra fifty wen per bolt at eight hundred fifty wen was paving the way for future transactions.

This strategy was inspired by Liu Yanping extending credit for fabric to Lu Chengxiao in Yangshan Village. Leaving room for negotiation and sometimes giving concessions could lead to returns from other aspects. Even if someone else got the upper hand next year, it was only an extra fifty wen less per bolt, which wasn’t a big deal.

Both of them had a similar temperament, which led to the situation today where both buyers and sellers were happy.

With about twenty households selling their fabric, and several households selling around ten bolts each, the total amounted to over three hundred bolts of raw silk, totaling five hundred and ninety-two taels. Plus the twenty-two bolts from the Cheng family at a slightly higher price, totaling forty-eight taels and four qian, the total reached six hundred and forty taels.

At this point, combining the money from Lu Chengxiao and Liu Yanping, they had seven hundred taels, and combining the money from Lin Huaigeng and Liu Zhang, they had fifty-two taels.

After buying the three hundred bolts of raw silk, almost all the money from Lu and Liu combined would leave them with a surplus of one hundred taels. It was indeed a successful trip to get all the goods in one go.

Because Lu Chengxiao’s group offered an extra fifty wen per bolt to the villagers, they were treated particularly well. Apart from cooperating with the fabric inspection, the packaging was also carefully done. They even volunteered to help transport the goods to the ferry crossing.

Naturally, someone had to find a boat first. This task was undertaken by Cheng Wenyuan and his brother, who accompanied Liu Yanping. Meanwhile, Lu Chengxiao, who was familiar with fabric, inspected the fabric with Liu Yan’an and the others in the village.

By the time of the midday, the more than twenty households in the Cheng family village that had sold fabric, some with carts and some without, borrowed carts from the village to help Lu Chengxiao’s group transport over three hundred bolts of fabric, filling five carts, along with the people. They all went to Wuxing Ferry Crossing.

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The boat was already waiting, and they didn’t need to lift a finger. With the help of over twenty villagers, the fabric was loaded onto the ship in several trips.

As Lu Chengxiao’s group was led by Miss Cheng to inspect the fabric in various households, she also followed her two elder brothers when they came out. Standing at the pier, watching the large boat untie and sail away, she still hadn’t fully processed what had happened. Apart from a few households with poorer weaving skills, all the other households in the village had sold their goods, and they hadn’t haggled too hard on the price.

When the boat was no longer visible, the people from the Cheng family rushed back with the empty carts.

Sitting on the cart, Miss Cheng listened to the uncles in the cart beside her talking about the sale of the raw silk. After thanking her elder brother several times, she suddenly asked Cheng Wenyuan in a low voice, “Big brother, do you know where they came from?”

Cheng Wenyuan was stunned for a moment and shook his head, “I haven’t asked about that. Why?”

Miss Cheng replied with an “oh,” and said, “It’s nothing, I just feel that they are quite nice. My thoughts yesterday were improper.”

Cheng Wenyuan patted his little sister’s head. He knew in his heart that she was concerned about their family and his studies. Yesterday, fearing that this group of people might do as the previous merchants did, inspect goods at other households and then leave after purchasing cheaper goods, he had some concerns. “They seem quite good-hearted. People like them will have good fortune. You didn’t do anything wrong, and they got what they wanted to buy. There’s no need to overthink it.”

Speaking of good fortune, Miss Cheng remembered something and said, “Big brother, is it safe for them to travel by water with so much merchandise? Haven’t we heard that there are river bandits lurking in several waterways nearby?”

Cheng Wenyuan paused for a moment. “It should be fine. They seem quite capable. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have dared to venture so far into the mountains with me that day. I saw two bows and arrows and some weapons like swords and clubs in their luggage last night, though they were wrapped in cloth quite well. It’s clear they have some skills.”

“River bandits would likely observe such details before choosing their targets. They usually avoid such challenges.”

As the ox cart moved further away, the figures of the Cheng family villagers became increasingly indistinct.


Sansukini: Ah. I’m really terrible at Math.

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