Chapter 290 “What a heavy handed stick” (Part one)
With an anxious face, Du Wei can’t resist worrying about the future.
“One who is unaccountably solicitous is hiding evil intentions.”
(Idiom used in chinese culture a lot. Meaning those that are being too kind without reason is with ulterior motives.)
Towards his merit in the Northwest, Prince Son has already given him quite the hefty reward. Back during the negotiation with the prairie people, he not only benefited greatly in terms of material wealth, he also snagged six thousand elite cavalrymen from the group stationed inside the grassland.
But as soon as he returned today, Prince Son immediately came out with this gesture…. Can it be…
Hmm, must be it!
Du Wei plucked his brow up.
I’m already engaged, it can’t be that he wants me to get marry to someone else now can he?
If not marriage, then what other kind of request could it be?
After a long period of musing over the issue, Du Wei couldn’t come up with an answer. In the end, he decides to leave it be and deal with the problem when it comes knocking.
A night without words went by just like that.
By early next morning, one of the servants under Zack’s command came over to invite Du Wei over.
As the servant made his report, this poor fella was deeply troubled. It’s well known that Zack was Du Wei’s trusted personal, tasked with the management of his business in the imperial capital, but to directly request the Duke’s presence without immediately coming to greet their lord, this sort of attitude had to be rude.
But Du Wei did not mind, he knew this little Zack was a genius in the business field and does things like this. Besides, Du Wei’s not the type to dwindle over these small formalities. There must be a reason for the guy to not personally come greet him.
This Zack recruited by Du Wei has been brewing up a storm in the capital for the past two years. As a person naturally gifted with a fast and reflexive mindset, Zack would often come up with ingenious business ideas that could draw in crowds of important dignitaries in his door. As such, Du Wei’s business been flourishing in the past year, so much so that even that fatty Taklandshan became jealous. If not for Du Wei’s status and relationship with himself, that fatty would’ve already come over to poach the monkey gorilla.
Before Du Wei manages to step through his door, another servant came over to report again. This time, it was about Biliaibuer’s steward and Taklanshan’s steward wanting to invite him over for dinner tonight. Not only that, there’s the finance minister’s people, several other generals in the military, and a bunch of other stewards from different aristocrats stating their wish to dine with him during tonight’s dinner.
Du Wei furrowed his brow as soon as he heard all these requests. It’s one thing for the first two because he’s friends with Biliaibuer and Taklanshan. Heck, it’s passable even for the finance minister Kami Siro because he’s a trusted official under Prince Son, but why those military generals and the other aristocrats?
And in such a hurry too, why? It’s only been a single night since he came back and now there are so many invitations already, it’s almost like they are in urgent need to meet with him.
What’s more suspicious was the fact that over half of the invitations are from people outside of Prince Son’s inner circle, but rather they are among the elites that remained neutral during the coup and had barely any relationship with himself.
Pondering the situation for a while, Du Wei figured its best not to act rashly in rejecting the invitation. Who knows if he might accidently snub these highly influential figures inside and outside of the high circle. Therefore, he sent the servant back out to inform the stewards from the various houses that he will be hosting a dinner party for any guests that wishes to attend tonight.
Since he can’t dine with them individually, he might as well gather them up to see what’s the deal. Besides, he needs to go see what’s going on with Zack since his business been growing bigger by the day. Compared to when he first started with that single merchandise shop, his business has been prospering and even expanded into the hotel industry. After all, Zack’s original field was in the accommodation industry so it’s not a bad idea catering to what he’s good at.
Once he had someone go return the message and finish on this end, Du Wei called several guards over and rode for Zack’s office.
And of course, he’ll need to see the regent when the time comes. However, Son’s status wasn’t like before where Du Wei can just go knocking at the door, he’s the regent of the entire empire now. No matter how prominent or influential Du Wei was, he can only wait until he receives the summon from the court before getting an audience. This formality must be kept up.
It’s not like Du Wei didn’t want to go meet Son right away. Ever since he received the carrot last night, he’s been aching to know what the stick was. It’s just that, he’s not the type to go looking for a beating on his own so in the end, Du Wei left the issue alone.
Anyways, moving back on topic. Du Wei’s original merchandise shop was located on the busiest street in the capital city. As the main epicenter for trading and politics, it’s only natural that there would be a portion of the city divided into a hub for merchants of all class and background. Like the busy intersections from Du Wei’s past world, this street had a variety of shops, including no less than various hotels and enterprise like businesses, all formally owned by people or entities of power.
After two year of management by Zack, this shop has now expanded three times over, absorbing the various buildings next to it and even turning a couple of the shops across the street into hotels. Without a doubt, Du Wei’s business has upscaled into an enterprise.
Traveling lightly, Du Wei did not make a scene and only brought the guards with him as they leisurely strolled through the streets. Nevertheless, his identity was simply too prominent. Even from afar, the common folks can see the fine wardrobe worn by him and his guards. Consciously moving aside for him, it was sort of odd for Du Wei that he didn’t have to crowd through the civilians on his horse.
Until he finally reached the busy street which housed his business, Du Wei was pleasantly surprised to find things drastic different compared to when he was still around. Indeed, Zack has excelled in his post for this entire street, nearly half of the shops been turned into the assets of the Tulip household.
Du Wei can easily spot the original shop he opened from afar, but the size of the structure was heavily renovated with an extremely magnificent doorway at the forefront, indicating to everyone how grand this place was. Although the time of day remains early in the morning, it didn’t impede customers from visiting for several beautifully adorned carriage were parked outside his shop.
There may be a lot of new people working at this place now, but that didn’t impede the more senior workers from recognizing him and running out to greet Du Wei. How can they not? It doesn’t take much to recognize their lord and master when he’s so handsomely young and powerful.
As Du Wei stepped inside, he found that it wasn’t only the outside that’s been changed. The layout of his shop was also not the same anymore. Waiters and waitresses were standing in wait on all corners of the shop, ready to answer and serve the customers at a beck and call. At first these people were somewhat shocked by Du Wei’s arrival, but it’s clear they are well trained. After the first greeting gesture towards him, all of these workers went back to their duties without falling into disorder. Seeing this, Du Wei was very pleased.
Continuing along, he finally saw Zack once he was in the back. Upon seeing this monkey Zack, Du Wei almost couldn’t hold in his laughter. Over a year of not meeting, this big monkey that Du Wei picked up from the inn actually found himself a big coat of white fur to wear, thus making him look incredibly awkward. Zack may appear very silly with that getup, but Du Wei had to admit, this guy no longer seems so frivolous and gave off a more mature aura.
To think this guy offered him that “Golden Service package” back when they first met, just remembering that moment made Du Wei want to laugh.
“Oh my dear boss, I haven’t seen you for more than a year now yet you look absolutely fabulous.” His words may sound nice and respectful, but Zack had a worrisome look as he greeted Du Wei, completely different from his usual happy go lucky attitude.
Shooting the monkey a glance, Du Wei casually walked into the room and assessed the office: “My dear Zack, you look good too. It’s been over a year now and you seem to be doing well, I’m very happy.”
Although he’s been mingling with the upper part of society during this period, Zack remains a man of the common wealth. In public he will put on a proper appearance, but once out of everyone’s eye, he reverts back to his old sketchy and improper attitude: “Please don’t tease me boss… You never know, in a moment you might begin cursing at me instead. Just to be clear, you can’t beat me nor chop me with a knife.” At that, this monkey unconsciously surveyed the area.
Following his lead, Du Wei swept the room with his eyes. Sure enough, not a single knife could be found in the room, not even the fruit knife that should be present on the fruit bowl.
Furrowing his brow, Du Wei asked: “Say it then, what’s the matter? You sure are big now, making your own boss come see you in person.”
“I’m unable to leave.” Zack blinked and blinked: “You see, there’s a big event at noon today. I would’ve liked to meet you last night, but…. Alas, this matter can’t be explained in one or two words. Sit down first and allow me to slowly give you the details. Just please, don’t get mad and use me as a beating bag afterwards.”
Jokes aside, Zack’s face went deep as he lowered his voice to speak up close: “My duke… You’ve came back at the perfect timing. The capital’s been exploding these past few days. This ugh, I recently procured some interesting and unique items for the auction this time. After I sent the news out, the admission tickets for our place was snatched up in minutes. So far, the price for a ticket has skyrocketed to a hundred gold pieces in the second hand market. In particular are the few VIP tickets we sold, the price for those are said to be astronomical in the market.” At that, Zack raises five fingers up.
“Five hundred gold coins?”
“Five thousand!” Zack rolled his eyes at the insignificant guess.
Du Wei gasped with fright.
The auction idea was something Du Wei mentioned to Zack back then. With only a few rules and operational ideas from Du Wei, Zack cleverly adapted the plan to suit the market inside the capital city. Due to the scarcity of some rare products, it’s not ideal to sell them like the other common goods in Du Wei’s merchandise shop because if you sell to one prominent figure, the person next to him will also want one. This sort of business style will have a high likelihood of offending other buyers. Therefore, using auction as a mean to deal with those rare items became the ideal solution. Not only will it not offend potential buyers, it will also fire up the asking price for the rich figures that patron the auction house. Just like that, Zack managed to rake in the cash easily and effectively.
“What precious thing did you prepare this time to fire up the ticket price so high?” Du Wei frowned.
Little Zack shook his head: “The catalog for the auction is indeed valuable, but those things could never pull in such momentum. It’s just that one of the listings isn’t one of our own this time; it’s something someone placed in our auction for sale. Business is business. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve set up a system to allow different sellers to use our auction house as a medium to sell their goods, and we as the middle man will take a percentage of the final proceeds. It’s been very profitable thus far, but this time we’ve hit some trouble.”
“What the hell are we auctioning?”
Hearing Du Wei’s question, Zack’s face became very strange. Smiling bitterly, he whispered using a timid voice: “It’s not a thing that’s auctioning, it’s a promise!”
“Promise?” Du Wei furrowed his brow.
Zack sighed: “This event is something that suddenly came up several days ago. I originally rushed someone to bring news to you the moment I heard it, but it seems they missed you on the road. I also wanted to tell you this the moment you came back yesterday, but seeing the dozen of lords by your side, I figured it’s not the time to bring it up to you in front of so many outsider, hence the reasoning for your audience this morning….”
Du Wei shakes his head: “Don’t bother explaining, quickly tell me what’s going on.”
Zack wryly smiled: “We will have to begin from ten days ago then…”
What came next was a long line of Zack’s confession, the more he listened, the more Du Wei frowned.
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