C17 – Seek Money(part two)
Zuo Shaoqing’s words carried undeniable weight. If the Zuo family could secure a place within Wu Steel Manor’s ranks, none of these issues would remain troublesome.
He recognized that, to bring about change for the Zuo family, Lu Zheng was still the key figure. Thus, he was determined to arrange a marital union between the two families.
The smile at the corner of his mouth took on a chilling edge. Zuo Shaoqing’s gaze was sharp as he spoke, “Second Uncle, what if I told you I could find a prestigious match for our second cousin?” After all, marrying into Wu Steel Manor was unquestionably a desirable alliance. The Second House would likely laugh themselves awake even in their dreams.
As for Lu Zheng’s preference for men, what was the fuss about? How many married women had to tolerate their husbands’ infidelities and even accept concubines into their households?
“Empty words can be uttered by anyone. Nephew should at least provide some proof for Second Uncle to consider, don’t you agree?” Zuo Yunyang admitted to being intrigued. Witnessing the transformation in Zuo Shaoqing from the previous day left him deeply moved.
“Is Second Uncle investing in the food industry now?” Zuo Shaoqing suddenly posed an unrelated question.
Zuo Yunyang’s eyes clouded with suspicion, and he chuckled, saying, “Second Uncle, we’re also involved in the grain trade, aren’t we? It’s only natural for us to deal in food.”
Zuo Shaoqing didn’t wish to provoke him, instead offering a straightforward suggestion, “Second Uncle, it might be wise to sell off your food stores promptly. Delaying it could lead to losses outweighing the gains.”
The new emperor’s ascension was akin to the unveiling of a mystical treasure chest. The entire Great Yang nation was blessed with favorable weather and bountiful harvests for the next three years, with hardly any grain storage crises.
Following the cessation of the war, not only did Beidi receive its tribute, but it also contributed to a surplus of food. Suddenly, the land was teeming with plenty, especially in the southern region, where even impoverished farmers enjoyed year-round sustenance.
In such circumstances, the grain business held little promise. Zuo Shaoqing vividly recalled the first letter he received from Zuo Yunyang after their family’s relocation to the capital, in which Zuo Yunyang had broached this very topic. Even Luo Xiaoliu had overheard and informed him about it.
“The rationale?” Zuo Yunyang fixed his gaze on Zuo Shaoqing, eager to hear anything that might further astonish him.
“Second Uncle, you should be aware that the Crown Prince is on the brink of ascending the throne, and the northern turmoil is nearing its end. At this juncture, the new Emperor must be concentrating all efforts on agriculture.”
Zuo Shaoqing’s explanation appeared sensible. Aside from the temporal aspect, it seemed persuasive to others.
“I didn’t anticipate my nephew to not only be diligent in his studies but also possess knowledge of the Crown Prince’s impending ascent.” Zuo Yunyang commented casually. “However, these are mere suppositions, hardly convincing. Why should I place faith in your words?”
“Whether or not Second Uncle believes me is your prerogative. Since I’ve expressed all that needs to be said, Second Uncle mustn’t harbor regrets in the future.” Zuo Shaoqing held a black wooden plate in his hand, allowing half of the design on it to be visible.
Zuo Yunyang had been closely observing him, so he naturally didn’t overlook this subtle gesture. Being twenty years older than Zuo Shaoqing and having grown up in the capital, he comprehended the significance of that pattern far better than Zuo Shaoqing.
His expression altered. He yearned to take the wooden plate to affirm his suspicions, but Zuo Shaoqing stowed it away, meeting him with a wry smile.
Zuo Yunyang clenched his teeth and conceded, “Very well, I accept my nephew’s proposition. Share your terms with me.” He understood that Zuo Shaoqing had summoned him and outlined such an enticing opportunity, dropping hints for a reason.
“Second Uncle is known for his straightforwardness, so I won’t beat around the bush. I require some financial assistance for a certain endeavor, which is why I sought out Second Uncle.” Zuo Shaoqing perceived the comprehension in his eyes and went on, “I won’t speak lightly. Even if I don’t reach the pinnacle for Second Uncle in the future, I won’t fall short of my current status. Second Uncle can consider it an investment or business venture, can’t you?”
“Alright, how much do you want?”
“I’ve heard that Second Uncle is also involved in the trading business,” Zuo Shaoqing remarked. “I’d like a hundred silver notes, plus ten percent of the profits from that venture.”
Zuo Yunyang’s expression darkened. If the person making this request hadn’t been his nephew, he might have resorted to a harsher response.
While ten percent might not seem like a substantial sum, Zuo Shaoqing’s audacity, given his youthful appearance, raised eyebrows.
“Fear not, Second Uncle. I have a proposition that emboldens me to make this request. From what I understand, Second Uncle’s kaleidoscope business relies on the support of the Cao Family. But what if I could secure an even stronger backer for you?”
Zuo Yunyang’s thoughts instantly turned to the black wooden plaque.
“Very well!” he exclaimed. “If you can accomplish this, I’ll offer you thirty percent, let alone ten percent! If I can secure a stronger ally, it will not only save me on filial obligations but also bring substantial benefits.”
Zuo Shaoqing had no intentions of feigning humility. He responded with a confident smile, “It’s a deal!”
After Zuo Yunyang left, still somewhat dazed, Zuo Shaoqing retrieved his hand from beneath the blanket. He gazed at the wooden plaque in contemplation, thinking, “This is indeed a remarkable find, but it’s a shame it will be returned to its owner tonight.”
If that person were to discover he had taken the wooden artifact, there was no telling whether they might eliminate him with a single blow.