ROHYX Chapter 503 : Smuggling (1)


This chapter hasn't been edited yet.



The grain was inspected and then sent to the granary as soon as it arrived in Yu City. This time, all the grain sent by Wu Kuo was new, and there was no old grain. Yun Qing was very satisfied. The other supplies, such as uniforms, cotton jackets, and cotton pants, were distributed directly to the military camp after being counted and were not stored in the storeroom. It was already the end of the tenth month, and these things could be used.

There were three batches of grain in total, and this was only the first batch. The second and third were already on their way. Now, it was time to settle the payment.

Yun Qing was very straightforward. He had his guards bring out the twenty boxes of gold, silver and jewellery he had confiscated from the Xu family. He asked the guards to open them and said, pointing to the contents, " Eldest Young Master Wu, can you give me an estimate? If you think it's too little, we'll add more. If you think it is too much, the remaining money will be credited to your account and deducted directly from your next purchase."

Wu Kuo's mouth twitched. Yun Qing's tone was far from that of a great general but rather that of a notorious bandit leader. He replied, "General Yun, these items are worth considerable money, and their value far exceeds what you ordered. However, these items were obtained by raiding someone's house. If you give them to me, won't it cause me any problem? If there is any problem, I don't dare accept them." This was a relatively tactful way of putting it, but Wu Kuo was sure these items would be a major source of trouble.

These things have passed through the eyes of the Imperial Commissioner. It would be a lie to say that using them would be without problems. Yun Qing had always been kind and said bluntly, "If there's any trouble, I'll handle it myself, and I won't involve you."

Wu Kuo just wanted to laugh. These pieces of gold, silver, and jewellery were used by Yun Qing without the approval of the Imperial Court. Yun Qing was acting on his own authority, and Wu Kuo knew that there was no way he wouldn't be implicated if he accepted them. Wu Kuo said, "General Yun, I only do business with you because I see that you are an honest man. You can't cheat me like this."

Yun Qing replied coldly, "If you don't want to take these pieces of gold and silver, I won't force you. I'll find another way to get the money. However, I won't be able to pay the full amount this time."

Wu Kuo was still quite satisfied. At least Yun Qing didn't force him to take these things. Wu Kuo also decided to take a step back1 by saying, "I want the full payment to be made when the third batch of grain arrives."

Yun Qing agreed.

At that moment, Yu Cong came over and said, "General, General Fu asked you to go over. He says he has something to discuss with you."

As Wu Kuo watched Yun Qing's figure walk away, he lowered his head in thought. The profit margin on this deal was actually not very high; one could even say it was very low. The reason he was willing to do this business was because Wu Kuo had other plans. This time, he wanted to discuss this plan with Yun Qing, but he hadn't expected Yun Qing to be so busy that he wouldn't even have time to say a few words to him.

Wu Xiaomao whispered, "Eldest Master, do you think General Yun is deliberately avoiding us?" Even if General Yun was busy, he shouldn't have stopped their meeting just like that.

Wu Kuo chuckled and said, "General Yun isn't someone who can predict everything. He may not know exactly what I want to talk about. But it looks like I'll have to talk to Madam Yun instead!" He wondered if Madam Yun dared to have such a conversation.

Speaking of which, Wu Kuo still preferred the border towns. In the wealthy households of Jiangnan, unmarried girls were restricted from going out or socialising with unrelated men, and even married women were not allowed to meet casually with unknown men.

While Yuxi was reviewing Qingming Hall's accounts, she heard a maid announce Wu Kuo's arrival. Putting the account book aside, Yuxi instructed, "Escort him to the main hall. I will be there shortly!"

After entering the house, changing her clothes, and freshening up her hair and makeup, Yuxi finally made her way to the main hall. She had developed a habit of always looking her best when receiving guests.

As Yuxi entered the main hall, she noticed a little girl dressed in indigo. The girl was about seven or eight years old and appeared lively and enchanting.

Wu Kuo said, "Madam, based on the portrait you gave me, I was able to locate the human trafficker. However, I was only able to recover four out of the seven children. For the other three children, one was unfortunately sold halfway, and the other two died on the way." The fact that one had been sold meant it would be almost impossible to find and recover the child.

Getting four out of the missing children was already pretty good. Yuxi asked: "Why did you bring back only one? What about the other three?"

Wu Kuo explained, "Only this child wanted to come back. The other three children didn't want to return." After redeeming them, Wu Kuo brought them into his own household. The Wu family was wealthy, and even if they became just ordinary maids or servants, they would not lack food and clothing. After staying with the Wu family for a while, they naturally didn't want to go back to Yu City. Their parents were no longer alive, and their relatives considered them a burden. Rather than face an uncertain fate in Yu City, they preferred to stay with the Wu family. At least with the Wu family, they wouldn't have to worry about their basic needs and wouldn't be sold again.


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Yuxi understood. These children probably lived well with the Wu family, so they did not want to return. Yuxi wanted to find these children because she was worried that they would end up in a brothel. Now that she knew that they were willing to stay with the Wu family and that the Wu family would not mistreat them, she naturally would not force them to return. Yuxi asked the only little girl willing to return, "What is your name?"

The little girl looked at Yuxi with a touch of timidity but more so with gratitude. "Madam, my name is Shao Yao2." Wu Kuo did not hide the truth from the girls. After rescuing them, he informed the four girls of the situation and explained that Yuxi had asked for his help to find them.

Yuxi smiled: "The other girls stayed with the Wu family and refused to return. Why did you decide to come back?" Yuxi guessed that there must be something this child couldn't let go of that made her willing to abandon the good life of the Wu family and return to Yu City. She probably wouldn't want to return if she had nothing to worry about. 

As Yuxi had suspected, Shao Yao had someone she couldn't let go of, and that was why she had come back: "My younger brother is still in the Charity Home, and I can't leave him alone. Madam, I want to go there and find my younger brother. I promised my parents that I would take care of him." Shaoyao had not left voluntarily then but had been taken away by force.

After listening to Shao Yao, Yuxi's heart softened. She gently touched Shao Yao's head and said softly, "I will have someone take you to the Charity Home to find your brother." This child was really good. She gave up the good life with the Wu family to come back and take care of her brother.

Mama Qu came over and led Shao Yao away.

Wu Kuo sighed. "I asked her why she decided to return, but she refused to tell me. But as soon as you asked, she revealed it. It seems that you have a special connection with her!" Having been abducted before, Shao Yao was naturally cautious around people. However, she didn't have the same caution towards Yuxi. Firstly, Shao Yao knew that Yuxi had rescued her, and secondly, Yuxi had a considerable reputation in Yu City, which Shao Yao had heard about. Therefore, she believed that Yuxi was a genuinely good person.

Yuxi smiled and asked, "Did the other three children sign a deed of sale?" Although the Wu family was a merchant family, they certainly had their own rules. If those few children were to stay behind as maids, they would have to sign a deed of sale. The Wu family couldn't really treat them like young ladies.

Wu Kuo nodded. "With their consent, they have already signed a deed of sale. However, I have placed them in my wife's courtyard."

Yuxi looked at Wu Kuo and said, "Thank you for your help this time." When she gave Wu Kuo the portrait, she only held a glimmer of hope, never expecting him to be so dedicated and diligent.

Wu Kuo's visit this time was not to catch up with Yuxi or to receive her gratitude. He came to discuss business matters with her. "Madam, General Yun has only paid two hundred thousand taels, and there are still three hundred thousand taels left. The third batch of grain will arrive by the middle of next month at the latest. Where will General Yun find the remaining three hundred thousand taels if the Imperial Court does not provide the funds?" Wu Kuo knew that General Yun still had a considerable amount of gold and silver in his possession, but it was currently impossible to use it at this time. Otherwise, it would attract too much attention.

Yuxi's mind was racing, and she didn't ask Wu Kuo to give her a few days to think. Instead, she asked with anticipation, "Eldest Master Wu is a successful businessman and must have many ways to make money. If Eldest Master Wu could show us a way to make money, we would be very grateful."

Wu Kuo glanced at Zijin, who was standing next to Yuxi. This clearly indicated that this was a private matter and should not be known by too many people.

Yuxi told Zijin, "You wait by the door and don't let anyone come near." After Zijin left, Yuxi continued, "Eldest Master Wu can speak now."

Wu Kuo sat up straight as he responded, "Madam, I do have a way to make money. It just depends on whether you are willing to do it or not. If you are willing, I believe General Yun will no longer have to worry about money."

Yuxi knew exactly what Wu Kuo was talking about when he mentioned a way to make money. Apart from trading with the Northern Barbarians and profiting from the price difference, Yu City had no other resources. However, she couldn't say that out loud. Yuxi deliberately looked doubtful and asked, "What method? How can you actually earn so much money with it?"

Wu Kuo explained, "The Northern Barbarians have plenty of cattle and horses, as well as rare animals like sables and brown bears. If we can bring these things to Jiangnan, it would bring us a huge profit." Even an ordinary horse could cost seventy to eighty taels of silver, and the finest horses were worth thousands of taels. The beef was also highly sought after in Jiangnan, and the pelts of rare animals, such as sables, were precious.

Yuxi's expression changed drastically, and she shook her head without hesitation, refusing, "No, it's not possible. This could cost us our lives." In reality, Yuxi had been worried about this matter as well. They couldn't personally get involved, but entrusting it to their subordinates would yield different results. Now that Wu Kuo had this idea, it was indeed a good opportunity. However, there was no way they could be proactive.

Wu Kuo remained calm and spoke slowly, "Madam, the Imperial Treasury has long been depleted. The hundred thousand troops in Yu City are dependent on the Imperial Court. If they can't receive the funds, it won't just be a matter of military supplies. Even basic necessities such as clothing and food will become a problem. You may be able to make up the shortfall of three hundred thousand taels this time, but what about next year? How will you buy grain and other military supplies?" General Yun's current funds might last until next year, but what about the year after that? And the year after that? They couldn't rely on confiscations alone to cover their expenses indefinitely.

Yuxi's expression was very torn. After a long time, she still shook her head. "It won't work. If the Imperial Court finds out, my husband will be held accountable. Besides, my husband won't agree to do this either."

Wu Kuo smiled as he tried to convince her, "Madam, if we open this trade route, we can make millions of taels of profit every year." He felt that Yun Qing was the kind of person who had a mountain of treasure but didn't know how to use it.

Before hearing this statement, Yuxi only thought that Wu Kuo was just trying to make some extra money, but looking at the eloquent Wu Kuo, Yuxi became wary. Wu Kuo was a member of the Yu family, so she couldn't afford to blindly trust him and fall into any traps he might have set. Yuxi calmed down and said, "Eldest Master Wu, you're joking. It's not that easy to make money. The Xu family is the overturned cart in front of us3. If we openly engage in such activities, the consequences will be even greater." Before they had enough strength, she planned to secretly trade some goods outside the borders in exchange for cattle, sheep, horses, and other supplies. While it was true that the sky was high and the Emperor was far away4, if their actions became too conspicuous, even if they managed to cover it up, their reputation would suffer.

Wu Kuo understood that Yuxi was tempted, but she was afraid that something might go wrong; that's why she was so torn. He smiled and said, "Madam Yun, there's no rush. You can discuss it slowly with General Yun." When the time came that there was a shortage of funds to purchase provisions and pay the soldiers, Yun Qing would have to do it even if he didn't want to.


Footnotes Full List
  1. make a concession
  2. Chinese peony. This Facebook post shows the difference between a Mudan (the one of the left) and a Shaoyao (the one on the right). Both are from the peony family, but Mudan is a tree type peony and Shaoyao is a herbaceous peony.

  3. from a Chinese idiom 前车之鉴 qiánchēzhījiàn, which means warning taken from the overturned cart ahead; lessons learned from others' mistakes
  4. a well-known Chinese saying: remote places where laws and decrees are not strictly enforced; remote locations beyond the reach of the administration





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