Book 10 Chapter 31 - Standing Firmly in the Secular World

These large carriages were all pulled by four horses, their wheels wrapped in galvanized iron sheets.

This type of carriage weighed over a thousand jin each.

What did Auspicious Virtue’s carriages wish to do?

The familiar sound of foodstuffs made Liu Jing, this rice business shopkeeper who was dressed in a thick leather coat, a still hot purple sand pot  in his hands, feel an abnormal aura of danger, his entire body couldn’t help but become a bit cold.

He quickly followed Auspicious Virtue’s line of carriages.

What made his heart tremble even greater was that he saw that this group of Auspicious Virtue carriages were precisely delivering rice in this village.

As he watched this group of carriages move between the alleys, their rice continuously being distributed and disappearing in these alleys’ residences, Liu Jing was inwardly filled with a sense of disbelief.

While restraining the shock he felt, after Liu Jing made his way through an alley, he knocked and entered a residence whose gates still hadn’t closed.

The mistress who came out of the residence just now to receive rice was extremely familiar, this was an old customer who previously often came to Riceflower Company for rice.

Inside this extremely small residence, there were clothes piled up next to a small well. This family’s mistress was most likely here to help someone wash clothes and help with other chores. The moment Liu Jing saw the scene within this low courtyard clearly, the mistress who had just lowered the rice she received just happened to walk out from the house. This down-to-earth middle-aged woman whose hands were a bit purple-red from being soaked in water immediately saw that the one who knocked and entered wasn’t a normal neighbor. After a momentary shock, she somewhat recognized this person. After some hesitation, she asked, “Are you Riceflower Company’s shopkeeper?”

“Forgive my presumptuousness.” Liu Jing greeted this woman and said, “This one is precisely the city’s Riceflower Company Liu Jing. I believe we’ve previously met a few times by the shop… Today, I just happened to see Auspicious Virtue deliver goods, so I wanted to ask why your respected self’s family changed to Auspicious Virtue’s rice? Was it because their price was a bit lower than ours, or was it because of other reasons?”

When she saw how polite Liu JIng was, the simple middle-aged woman was a bit alarmed, a bit at a loss for what to do, not knowing how to explain as she said, “It wasn’t because the price was lower…”

Liu Jing was alarmed, but he still forced himself to patiently ask, “Your respected self doesn’t need to feel nervous. To be honest, I just wanted to ask about this, try to learn a bit from them. I don’t have any other intentions.”

This woman finally calmed down a bit, saying with a bit of embarrassment, “The price of Auspicious Virtue is the same as Riceflower Company, but they gave us a credit for a month first, they let us eat and then receive payment next month. I believe shopkeeper can also tell that our family isn’t doing too well financially, this month’s rice money is a bit tight to begin with. Even though this rice’s money still needs to be paid, in the end, we can at least get credit for a month, so it can solve some issues…”

“Offer credit for a month?!”

When he heard this, Liu Jing’s body trembled, immediately feeling a bit dizzy, as if the skies were even going to fall.

“If everyone is given credit for a month, just how much silver will be given out in advance? What if it isn’t returned? Just how is this business supposed to continue running?”

While feeling dizziness, he said this in disbelief.

When she saw this shopkeeper whose age was over fifty, the simple woman became alarmed, about to reach out her hands to support him. However, when she heard this, she immediately felt a bit of inward unhappiness.

Cannot return the money? Weren’t these words basically cursing her family for something unexpected to happen?

Even if this month’s rice money was shifted to some areas, there will still be wages next month, so they could use next month’s wages to pay for the rice. Under her hardworking and thrifty household, how could there be this matter of not paying the money back?

Even if something did happen, truly unable to pay the money back, she could at least ask the fellow villagers to lend them a bit of money, and then pay Auspicious Virtue… In that instant, this simple married woman even thought about much more. She already properly planned everything out. She was first not going to pay this month’s rice money, this way she would have some extra money to buy some cotton yarn. That old comforter had already been used for many years, feeling a bit hard and cold no matter how she let it dry in the sun, so she had to pad it a bit. As for the extra money, she was going to buy some young chickens first, and then after raising them for a few months, she could then sell them for a bit more money…

She thought extremely far, feeling like the pressure she was experiencing lightened a bit, that there were more things to yearn for in the future. However, Liu Jing’s reaction seemed a bit disrespectful. When he bid her farewell and walked out of this residence, his entire body felt even colder, unknowingly starting to tremble. He already realized that if Yunqin’s Auspicious Virtue shops were all doing this… and then all of these households repaid the money next month, at that time, how were their seventeen allied companies supposed to seize back these old customers from Auspicious Virtue’s hands?

Just how many other cities’ old clients already converted to Auspicious Virtue?

His entire body was covered in sweat. He turned his head to look in the direction Auspicious Virtue’s carriages headed.

Right now, those carriages already traveled to who knew where.

“Truly fantastic!”

“To give credit for a month first, let them eat the rice first, and then when these families’ wages arrived, they would return it then, this type of operation method is so simple and practical… it truly is extremely wonderful!”

“Two months ago, I was still worried that these seventeen families would lower their prices first, that Auspicious Virtue wouldn’t be able to manage, but who would have thought that in just a few days, the situation was already reversed. This truly is the battle fought most brilliantly among businesses in the past few decades!”

Within Flourishing Heights’ large courtyard, Cheng Manying was unable to contain his joy, continuously clapping his hands in praise. “Auspicious Virtue’s Great Shopkeeper Chen truly is extraordinary!”

Last year, because of a string of huge moves that looked like those made by red-eyed gamblers, together with Auspicious Virtue’s pouring of funds, Auspicious Virtue already became the focal point of all Yunqin merchant companies, also becoming the topics of these businessmen  during the year end. Meanwhile, after the new year started business again, during these few weeks, Auspicious Virtue carried out another bitter struggle against Heavenly Phoenix Pearl Jade and the other sixteen allied companies, shaking up all of Yunqin’s business world.

During this huge war, the seventeen allied merchants’ goals were extremely clear. Even if they were to obtain less benefits, they had to maintain all of their old customers. This way, even if Auspicious Virtue copied them in terms of prices, they would still occupy quite a bit of the marketplace. In a situation where their opponent had too much inventory, but couldn’t turn it into cash, they would soon collapse.

This type of move, in the eyes of all businessmen, was extremely fierce and shrewd.

It was because Auspicious Virtue’s weakness was precisely that they immediately expanded too fiercely, the amount of silver invested too great, not enough cash on hand. If they could not seize enough of the market in the rice business, lacking large amounts of silver in return, then they would immediately collapse. However, these seventeen allied businesses were all steady and strong, they had enough silver in reserve to use.

Even so, what none of these businessmen thought of was that Auspicious Virtue would actually adopt this type of month credit system.

Even though this method was simple, it completely shattered the rules of Yunqin’s business market, there had never been any merchants in the rice business who did this before. Moreover, by the time the seventeen merchant companies reacted, they discovered that this Auspicious Virtue method’s results were shocking. At least thirty percent of their old clients were now already using Auspicious Virtue’s rice.

Thirty percent of the seventeen businesses’ clients, this was already an extremely terrifying amount, already far surpassing the business of Heavenly Phoenix Pearl Jade, the biggest of these seventeen companies!

Moreover, these seventeen allied merchant companies still didn’t stop Auspicious Virtue’s expansion. Even if they wanted to immediately copy Auspicious Virtue’s methods, it was already too late!

It was because in the various cities, most of the families experiencing financial difficulties already became Auspicious Virtue’s clients. The other households who didn’t care about saving a month of rice money couldn’t be moved by this type of method either.

Starting from next month, because Auspicious Virtue already had a large amount of inventory set, even if they lowered the price further, lowered their profit margins more, they could still have quite a good amount of profit. However, the seventeen allied companies would have to deal with a large amount of inventory, leading to unfavorable consequences.

Regardless of what kind of countermeasures the seventeen allied companies took, at the very least, Auspicious Virtue definitely had the superiority in this first new year astonishing battle in Yunqin’s business world.

Auspicious Virtue once again bet like a red-eyed gambler, yet they won again!

Flourishing Heights’ master Cheng Manying, despite thinking highly of Auspicious Virtue and investing a shocking amount of silver, he previously didn’t expect the seventeen companies to be this serious either, quickly forming an alliance, so the pressure he faced was also extremely great. When he saw Auspicious Virtue achieve this type of victory, he was naturally wild with joy, unable to control himself.

Right now, from Yunqin’s Sunrise Roost Province until River Province, almost all businesses already knew that Auspicious Virtue already seized thirty percent of the seventeen allied merchants’ business, already gaining a strong foothold in the rice business. They already completely shook everyone in the business world. All businesses’ shopkeepers, big or small, were already in shock and in praise, wondering just what kind of figure Auspicious Virtue’s manager was, to actually be formidable to this degree.

Right now, Central Continent region, because of the distance, still didn’t find out as early as Flourishing Heights. Since he was also unable to contain his joy, Great Shopkeeper Mu Zongli also immediately personally arrived to give the report.

When facing Cheng Manying who was wild with joy, Mu Zongli’s face was also flushed with excitement, saying, “Auspicious Virtue’s great shopkeeper already sent a message, thanking master’s support for Auspicious Virtue. Moreover, she has informed master to not worry, in the following month, Auspicious Virtue still has more methods that will ensure that even if the seventeen merchant companies can keep up, they cannot seize those customers back.”

“I don’t feel any worry, what else is there to worry about!”

Cheng Manying immediately roared with laughter. “Someone who could use these types of methods, how could they not think up any more formidable methods? I heard that Heavenly Phoenix Pearl Jade’s Great Shopkeeper Zhang is also a publicly acknowledged genius, also extremely fat. Now that he is facing Great Shopkeeper Chen, in the future, he might have to lose quite a bit of weight.”

“What kind of soup is this?”

In Great Ascent Town, in the same quiet and secluded little courtyard, within Lin Xi’s room, Lin Xi looked at the strong soup in the porcelain pot in front of him, unable to help but raise his head, asking while looking at Chen Feirong.

This soup was extremely viscous but also extremely light, like a white fungus soup that had been simmered for an entire night. However, the color was green, within it pieces of fleshy objects which looked like tender reeds. However, there was a bit of meat fragrance, as if it was something’s meat.

“This is jasper fungus.”

Chen Feirong looked at Lin Xi, saying with a faint smile, “The color is a bit more strange, but it has already been slow-cooked for a long time. It will have great benefits to your body.”

Lin Xi nodded, using a silver spoon to stir it. He began to eat, the flavor sweet and soft.

“Thanks.” He couldn’t help but say quietly.

“Sir… I already told you that even I am yours ever since I left Dragon Snake Border Pass, so why do you still need to be so polite?” Chen Feirong said with a smile that also wasn’t a smile.

Lin Xi’s face didn’t become red this time. He was thinking about other things, a bit absent-minded as he quietly said, “Auspicious Virtue has finally stabilized its footing, we can finally obtain some extra money, able to purchase some things beneficial for cultivation regardless of the price. The new year has already passed, yet I still couldn’t go back, I miss my old friends and family even more… However, everything is going a bit faster than expected, so it’ll happen soon.”

When she heard Lin Xi’s almost crazy talk, a strange expression appeared in Chen Feirong’s eyes, one that didn’t normally appear in her eyes. She turned around to look outside the window, quietly nodding and saying, “Right… Sir, previously, I have always been busy outside, so I haven’t been able to properly greet you for the new year.”

Lin Xi was a bit stunned. He looked at her, also saying seriously, “Happy new year.”

“Happy new year.” Chen Feirong smiled, also saying this seriously. However, her eyes mysteriously became red, a string of tears falling from her jade white face.

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