Tuesday, 25 December 2018

VGAFH 66

Merry Xmas dear Readers!

66. Li Zheng has a big announcement (3)

 "Waste of saliva!" Zhang Li Zheng gave a pointed look at the direction of the voice. In reproaching manner, he spoke. "The seeds didn't just drop from the sky. So how could it not cost money? It's already at a low price! And also, when the harvest season arrives, these harvest tax would be half equal to half of the crop harvest tax. This also counts as the imperial court being generous."

When hearing that it cost money, everyone burst into a discussion. Now understanding the tax was halved, instead of being delighted, they became even more distressed. Distress is no small matter.

Think about it. Why would the imperial court collect less tax?

"Zhang Li Zheng, if there's someone who is willing to help others grow the plants, is it allowed?" Lian Fang Zhou raised her voice to shout out her question.

In the midst of the crowd, someone made a mocking sound which was then followed by laughter as he looked at Lian Fang Zhou with full of ridicule. In his mind, he wondered if the Lian Family's eldest has lost her mind. Who would actually be willing to help others grow these things? It's more likely that they would wish to throw all this onto someone else's shoulder!

Zhang Li Zheng was also taken by surprise. After a moment of consideration, he nodded. "There's no problem as long as both parties are willing!"

"Ok!" Lian Fang Zhou acknowledged. And continued questioning. "Then did the imperial court send anyone down to give guidance on how to grow these?"

"None!" Zhang Li Zheng replied. " It's just growing plants. Which farmer doesn't know how to? So there's no need for the imperial court to do something as troublesome as sending someone down to give pointers!"

 Lian Fang Zhou showed an expression as if it just dawned on her and no longer spoke.

 Actually, the truth is that the imperial court did plan to send someone to give pointers since these plants are rare and not many know how to grow them. However, the Southwest Governor took the initiative to handle this project to curry favor with the Crown Prince. And to show off his citizen's talents, he refused to let the imperial court send someone over. Isn't it just farming? The new plants are also plants. Just scatter it on the ground, give some care, and water and it'll be grand!

 And on top of that, it's just a trial project. If it didn't succeed, then he would have reasons to justify like unsuitable environment, inappropriate weather and the likes.

So rewording it, when unsuccessful, show a positive and sincere attitude. And if it's successful, then he would gain great merit!

"Alright! Alright! This matter is settled then! Later, don't forget to come over to my place to collect the seeds! Don't forget okay!" Zhang Li Zheng finished up and waved his hand toward below. "You can disperse now!"

Everyone started left while discussing.

"Only she could possibly do it. To ask such stupid questions; complete utter nonsense! Can't believe she's not afraid of being mocked!" Lian Fang Zhou heard Mrs. Qiao prattled on nearby in a disgruntled tone.

She and Lian Ze exchanged a glance and directed a faint smile at Lian Ze. They left together without bothering with Mrs. Qiao.

Gradually they have gone far, and nobody else was around, Aunt Zhang reassuringly told Lian Fang Zhou, "You don't have to worry about this matter yet. In a few days, we'll watch how the other guys handle it first, then we'll follow!"

Lian Fang Zhou halted for a second. She wasn't able to catch on her meaning, but she did understand Aunt Zhang would never harm them, so she obediently nodded for now. Then they parted way.

Only then did Lian Ze spoke up. "Sister, Aunt Zhang is right. Though Zhang Li Zheng explained it very serious just now, he also has his own headache. Not many people would willingly take the initiative to go collect the seeds! So we'll just sit and watch for now. If everyone doesn't collect it, then we'll do the same!"

This is ...law can't hold everyone responsible [1]

After a short contemplation, Lian Fang Zhou was at ease. It's not like other matters. This matter means taking up everyone's field! It's a matter that is close to taking their life, so who wouldn't go against it if they can.

However, this also clearly says her opportunity has come! After all, she didn't ask those few questions for no reason.

Others might not know what potatoes and cotton are, but she knows. These are useful stuff!

Leaving potato aside, as long as they have grown one batch, they can make high-quality cotton cloth and cotton gauze. Just using these to make clothes and quilt, they can earn a fortune!

There's more to sowing the cotton into the soil and looking after it diligently. The most critical part is handling the topsoil. If they didn't know about it, most farmers wouldn't think about doing this.

Apart from this, it is also very particular on how to care for it during the planting period, when is the best time to pick the cotton and the handling of it after it was plucked.

Lian Fang Zhou returned home in high spirit. But it gradually died down and became somewhat disheartened.

The reason for this is lack of money.

Such a hard to come by opportunity. And she was confident that that next year everyone will find out about cotton's benefit. And at that time what can she use to contest those rich people? She must grab the first-mover opportunity!

With just first-mover opportunity, seeds and skills, it's still not enough. The most essential components are land and human resources.

And money is needed to buy land and hire labor force.

In her opinion, hiring people isn't very safe. The best method is to buy few honest and capable ones from the slave trader. This way she can prevent the skills from being stolen away.

However, this means there's more mouth to feed and need more space to shelter...

Without adding up the expenses, she wouldn't have known how shocking the cost is.

Anyway, Lian Fang Zhou understood that no matter how much they diligently sell charcoal, they won't be able to gather enough fund.

Lian Fang Zhou gave a long gentle sigh. Should she give up? But she was unwilling as once she passes this point, she can't turn back!

There's only one opportunity!

Initially, she wanted to try borrowing money. But now thinking about, she can only cast aside this idea.

Nobody would be willing to lend over hundred thousand silver to her. As for mortgaging... Her family condition is like this, so there's nothing to put on the stake.

What about trying to partner with someone? Within this region, only Shang village's landlord, Zhu Manor's Official (Yuan Wai [2]) Zhu, Shi Wan's wealthy Mr. Li, and our village's Official[2] Wang.

Lian Fang Zhou knows her hopes are uncertain, but she definitely doesn't want to lose this once in a million chance. So even with the slightest possibility, she wants to give it a try.

The outcome was terrible. When these officials and the rich man are polite, they tactfully refuse. If not, they had outright shooed away before she even get a chance to speak and some didn't meet her.

All of them without exception, looked at her like she was some fool and wondered if the Lian Family's eldest has gone mad.

Lian Fang Zhou had also gone to the town's Zhao Family to seek for Zhao Ru Jun. In her opinion, Zhao Ru Jun must be a genius to be able to handle the family business without breaking a sweat. Chances are she could be different from the others!

Unfortunately, she wasn't able to meet Zhao Ru Jun. At the time, Xi Que caught a glimpse of her when she arrived. Xi Que halted the gatekeeper who was going to report to Young Miss and ordered the gatekeeper to send her out. She also spat toward the retreating figure. "What do you think you are? She should take a look at a mirror. With just her, she dares to come here to seek Young Miss boldly! Our Young Miss isn't someone she wants to meet just because she wants to. Utterly without shame!"

Without any other ideas, Lian Fang Zhou could only use what money at hand for this matter.
She briefly calculated. This winter's charcoal earned sixty-seventy liang, the leftover of Yang Family's dissolving engagement compensation was around ten liang and from selling mushrooms came up to ten liang. Meaning it adds up to around ninety liang.

Leaving thirty liang aside for all of next year's expenses and Lian Che's study use, only sixty liang could be used.


 [1]- because everyone is doing it, you can't punish everyone. refer to https://dict.naver.com/linedict/zhendict/dict.html#/cnen/entry/4148e6bc53d84bae945f0659a7953d91
[2]Yuan Wai- an official position second only to the Assistant Minister

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