Chapter 74: Bringing Taobao to the Ancient Times [4]

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- THIS TRANSLATION BELONGS TO konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

A tossed stone raises a thousand ripples.*

*T/N: An idiom that means "a little thing may evoke great turbulence."

Emperor Yuan Chang lost control and knocked over his cup, slowly rising from the Dragon Throne, "Is your word true?"

"A thousand percent true." Shen Tong'an was so excited when he'd just learned about it. A thousand jin of food per mu was unheard of. If it was promoted, it would definitely solve the food problem of millions of people! This was great merit and virtue that came on one's birthday!

"Good! Good! Good!" Emperor Yuan Chang said the word good three times in a row, showing the excitement in his heart. During his reign, a method to produce a thousand jins of food emerged, which was enough to prove his government's benevolent and moral character! After his death, he would have the face to meet his old ancestors!

All along, Emperor Yuan Chang had been worried about not being able to keep the legacy left by his ancestors. He did not excel in literature nor martial arts. He did not have the courage of the Great Ancestor to conquer the world, and he did not have his father's ability to rule over the whole country. Even because of his weak body, he could not do his best in politics. He couldn't even give birth to a son! So he always felt ashamed to face the ancestors of the Zhao Clan after his death.

And now, there was a kind of food that could yield thousands of jins per mu! A thousand jins per mu! What kind of revolution was this? The average yield of the Great Zhao's best fields was only three to four hundred per mu! If potatoes could really yield a thousand jins per mu, it was unbelievable! The people regarded food as their god. Solving the lack of food for the people was something that every generation of monarchs had been working hard for. He did not expect this problem to be solved in his reign!

Emperor Yuan Chang was ecstatic and looked at Wen Qing with excitement. Qingqing is indeed the Goddess Xuannü of the Ninth Heaven who came down to protect my Great Zhao! Since she was born, his body had slowly improved. These years, the Great Zhao had been having good weather, there was no flood or drought, and there was no plague nor crop failure. One might well say the country was prosperous, and the people lived in peace. And now, on his birthday, there was a meritorious achievement about a type of food. Qingqing really is my lucky star!

Emperor Yuan Chang thought so.

After finally suppressing the ecstasy in his heart, Emperor Yuan Chang cleared his voice, "Good! The emergence of potatoes will surely solve the problem of food and clothing for millions of people in Great Zhao. This is a great achievement! Shen Tong'an has made contributions, he will be rewarded millions of gold taels! He will be promoted to the post of Minister of Household Affairs and will be fully responsible to promote and plant potatoes! Let the people have enough to eat as soon as possible!"

"This minister thanked Your Majesty for His grace, but this minister did not dare to be greedy. This potato was contributed by a woman surnamed Jiang in Jiangning County."

"We will reward those who made achievements. If it were not for Minister Shen's insight, this potato would not have reached my desk. It is your merit to introduce it, so you should be rewarded. Tell me about the woman with the surname Jiang. If she has merit, we will not forget her!"

Thousands of miles away in Jiangning County, Jiang Shu anxiously waited for the news. This time, she risked it all to recommend potatoes. It was a desperate move.

The Jiang family restaurant had now opened three chain stores. Because Jiang Shu introduced cooking methods such as stir-frying, deep-frying, and roasting, which changed the single cooking mode of this era, Jiang's restaurant business was booming and earned a lot of money. Naturally, it attracted a lot of people to covet their business. She was a powerless peasant girl who guarded such a big piece of fat meat; who didn't want to take a bite?

It was nothing if they only wanted to take a bite, but now she had run into someone who wanted to swallow her whole and would not even let her alive! The other party was a wealthy family in Jiang Zhou, the local tyrant of Jiang Zhou, and no one dared to provoke them. The big figures that Jiang Shu had taken the trouble to get along with avoided her and did not offer her any shelter. She had no other choice, so she took the risk.

As long as she could be mentioned in front of the Emperor there, even if the Cui Clan wanted to make a move on her, they also had to weigh whether they could withstand the Emperor's wrath after being discovered.

She believed that in this era, where food was scarce, no monarch could resist the charm of potatoes! It was because she knew that the one who ruled this country was a benevolent and tolerant monarch that she made this decision boldly. She also heard that Shen Tong'an, the Prefectural Magistrate of Jiangzhou, was a good and upright official, so she asked the other party to offer it to the Emperor. Otherwise, if you met those black-hearted corrupt officials, let alone offer it as tribute, they might kill her and embezzle her merits!

Now, that Shen Tong'an had been in the capital with the potatoes for some time. The result wasn't yet known, and Jiang Shu waited with trepidation while making a draft to explain how she discovered the potatoes.

During this period, as soon as the Jiang family restaurant opened, the Cui family would send people to smash the place. After several times, the customers were all scared away. Jiang Shu simply closed the door and simply waited for the results from Shen Tong'an to come out.

She and her family could only stay at home and strive to protect themselves.

Mother Jiang looked at her daughter with a sad face. Her daughter had become more capable in recent years, selling buns and running a restaurant. Not only had she supported the whole family, but she had also sent Da Bao and Er Bao* to study in the academy, which she didn't even dare to think about in the past. But......

*T/N: Da Bao and Er Bao refer to her two siblings. 'Bao' means baby or child in English, 'Da' means 'Big', and 'Er' means 'two'. So Da Bao and Er Bao are the eldest son and second son.

"Shu'er, if they want the restaurant, just give it to them. It's good as long as we have enough money to use. These few years, we have also saved up some money. Even if we go back to the farm, we can still live a good life. There's nothing more important than the health of the whole family."

She said this because her two sons were beaten when they came back from the academy a few days ago. Their noses were black, and their faces were swollen, which hurt her heart. She didn't have any big ambitions. She only hoped for the whole family to be safe and sound and live a peaceful life behind closed doors.

Jiang Shu smiled bitterly. For whom was she being so desperate? Had Mother Jiang forgotten the experience when their whole family was starving to death before? She never let Jiang Shu struggle. She felt that everything came so easily, so she thought that it was easy to give it all up. But everything came from her painstaking effort ah, she couldn't let her mother give it away! Besides, most of the money she had earned had been charged into Taobao. Otherwise, how could she have so much balance to buy so many things? When she first came, she had just finished crazy shopping and her balance was only about 300 yuan. Fortunately, she could convert the silver at rate conversion. Otherwise, she would have a mountain of treasure but be unable to use it. But she couldn't say these things to her mother......

"They do not only want the restaurant. That second son of the Cui family, who had 35 concubines, has taken a fancy to me and wants me to be his 36th concubine. Mom, do you want me to go and be someone's concubine?"

"Huh?" Mother Jiang's face instantly turned pale. Jiang Shu had never told her about this before because she was afraid that she would worry about it. But now, she wanted to see what her mother thought about it.

Mother Jiang said without hesitation, "That won't do! Even if mother die, I won't let you marry into their family as a concubine and be tortured by them!"

Jiang Shu felt warm in her heart. Although her mother was a bit of a bun*, she wholeheartedly took good care of the siblings. She took a few steps up the stairs and put her arms around Mother Jiang's shoulder. "Don't worry, mother. I have found a way. The Cui family is powerful, but there are people who can suppress them..."

*T/N: (包子 bao zi) 'Bun' is a kind of internet slang that refers to people who were used to swallow their anger and will not fight back.

As she was speaking, the courtyard door slammed with a 'bang,' and a group of big strong men rushed in. The rare flowers and plants Jiang Shu had bought from Taobao were instantly trampled. She ignored her heartache and glared angrily at those people, "What do you want? Forcibly break into someone's house in broad daylight. Do you not have a law anymore?!"

"Law?" The group of big guys glanced at each other and laughed arrogantly, "In Jiang Zhou, my Cui family is the law! Talking about the law with my Cui family, hahaha, the little lady is really funny!"

Jiang Shu was annoyed to death, but she couldn't do anything about it. If she could buy guns from Taobao, she would have shot these people to death!

The big man in the lead laughed enough before looking at Jiang Shu proudly and said, "This money is a betrothal gift. Our second young master said that it's your honor that he took a liking to a peasant girl like you! Be good and pack up! People from the Cui family will come to pick you up in three days!" He said as he threw two taels of silver, then sneered, "I heard that you went to the capital to rescue soldiers? Stop fooling around. No one cares! Our sister-in-law is Princess Huainan, the royal's official relative. It's useless even if you beg the Emperor!"

Jiang Shu's heart went cold. So it's like that. No wonder the Cui family still had so much courage but no fear when Shen Tong'an went to the capital! Does Heaven really want to kill me?!

The Cui family's purpose was achieved, and they walked out the door mightily. They dropped another sentence as they walked, "By the way, the second young master also ordered that you don't have to take back so much dowry, just take the deeds of the three restaurants!"

Jiang Shu was trembling with anger. These people are too deceitful! They wanted to trade three restaurants with two taels of silver, and still wanted to take her too!

"The imperial decree has arrived! Let the one named Shu from the Jiang family receive the decree!"

Just as Jiang Shu's heart was aching with anger, an iron horse* fell from the sky. The head of the group held up the imperial decree.

*T/N: 铁骑 (tiě qí); iron horse or iron cavalry was equal to the most powerful forces in ancient wars.

Jiang Shu suddenly breathed a sigh of relief and knelt down to receive the decree with his frightened family members. The Cui family members had not left yet. Seeing that Jiang Shu had indeed received a decree, they couldn't help feeling a little dazed. The declaring official snorted coldly. "You dare not kneel after seeing the imperial edict?"

Before his words fell, the guards behind him pulled out their long swords with a 'swish.' Those several big men were so scared that they almost wet their pants. The five people immediately fell to their knees on the ground. Jiang Shu felt happy when she saw this. The declaring official hurried to Jiang Shu and her family and said with a pleasant tone, "Are you the strange Jiangning woman that Lord Shen speaks of, Miss Jiang?" The attitude he used was completely opposite to that given to the Cui family just now.

Jiang Shu was grateful to him for defending her own face. She steadied herself before replying, "It is this commoner."

The declaring official could perceive her respect and smiled, "Jiang family, received the decree!"

"In the name of Heaven, the Emperor's edict says: The one name Shu from the Jiang family has gained the wonderful plant, potatoes and presented it to the court. This merit was presented on the birthday of the monarch...... Especially confer Jiang Shu with the title of the County Lord Yi of Jiangning, and to govern five hundred households...... Rewarded with ten thousand gold taels. A memorial gateway* will be built in Jiangning County...... Receive the decree."

*T/N: I don't know how to explain this, so I'll just put the picture.

It was a bunch of ancient words Jiang Shu did not understand. In short, it was to praise her and make her the head of Jiangning County. She clearly heard about the rewards of ten thousand gold taels, and there would be some kind of memorial gateway. Anyway, it was a good thing. Jiang Shu couldn't help but kowtow to thank him. She was a modern person and had always been extremely repulsive of kowtow. However, this time she kowtowed very willingly. The Great Emperor was really a good person!

After receiving the imperial decree, the declaring official said again, "Your Majesty said, no one shall suppress the property of the county lord of Jiangning! Otherwise... huh!" This sentence was addressed to the Cui family, and its meaning could not be more obvious. The Cui family's members promised one after another and then fled in panic.

In this era, the people were very respectful of imperial power. The Emperor's words were like golds and jades*, and no one dared to go against it, at least not on the surface.

*t/n: 金口玉言 (jin kou yu yan); it's an idiom that means "the words uttered carry great weight."

In this way, Jiang Shu's hanging heart finally fell back into her stomach. She gratefully hosted a banquet and invited the declaring officials to dinner. A group of people went to the Jiang family's restaurant with great fanfare.

Yesterday, they were forced to close their doors to avoid disaster. Today, the peasant girl turned into a phoenix and reopened their business with the imperial decree. For a moment, the reputation of the Jiang family's restaurant went to the roof, and its popularity was bursting!

In the imperial palace thousands of miles away, Emperor Yuan Chang gave Wen Qing a lot of good things without hesitation, "Qingqing, do you like this? If you don't like it, Uncle will open the private treasury. You can see what you want to take!"

Wen Qing swept a glance. Everything was a rare treasure in the world. She had never been interested in these, but she did not want to brush off her uncle's kindness, "I like it."

Hearing that she liked it, Emperor Yuan Chang was even happier. He said in a low voice mysteriously, "Qingqing is really uncle's lucky star ah! Don't worry, other people don't know. Uncle will remember these merits and credit them to you!"

Wen Qing looked like she didn't understand why Emperor Yuan Chang was very happy. He also did not explain. His niece was now descending to the mortal world and did not know she was the Goddess Xuannü of the Ninth Heaven! He couldn't leak it out!

As he was thinking, Wen Qing abruptly said, "Uncle's birthday banquet is over. An Guo wants to go to the border. Father might have come across some tricky problems."

-

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

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