Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter: 022 out of 513 – Preparing to invest and enter into a partnership (1)
Nie Sangyu’s older brother, Nie Qingyun, was a young and promising rank 5 military official in the imperial court. The emperor regarded him highly. Compared to Nie Sangyu’s widely spread notorious reputation, the difference between their reputations was as far apart as the heavens and earth.
Nie Qingyun was Nie Xiangyuan’s son by his second main wife after the death of his original main wife, while Nie Sangyu was Nie Xiangyuan’s original main wife’s daughter. Although their mothers were different, Nie Qingyun treated Sangyu especially well. When they were children, he would always bear the punishment for trouble caused by Nie Sangyu. Thus, Muxu felt that if there was anything they needed help with, they should go look for first young master.
Ji Man knew about this person. In the later part of the plot, he had helped Nie Sangyu a lot. He was truly sincere towards her. However, she wasn’t Nie Sangyu right now. It was one thing for Muxu to not be astute enough to notice. But, if it was a person that had been close to Nie Sangyu, he might notice the difference. What would she do then?
She wanted to find someone to help her sell the cold cream, but she couldn’t take such a big risk. Money was important, but her life was more important.
After thinking about it, Ji Man still said, “Older brother is very busy every day. There’s no need to bother him with such a small matter. Let’s just go out first and treat it as an ordinary shopping trip, okay?”
Muxu hesitated for a moment. In the end, she could only nod. Her master had changed too much recently. Although she treated her much better, she still didn’t dare to easily disagree with her.
With Wen Wan’s permission, Ji Man put on a veiled hat and left the residence while escorted by Liu Mama and two other servants.
Wen Wan wanted her to come out to buy more cold cream. Liu Mama and the other two servants had clearly come along to spy on her. But, Ji Man wasn’t worried. By her calculations, today was a market day. The lively streets ahead of them were filled with countless people. Why should she be worried about separating herself from three servants?
“Muxu said that the person, who had purchased the cold cream for her, had purchased it on Luoxia Street.” As Ji Man walked, she turned her head and said to Liu Mama. “I haven’t gone out often. Mama, do you know where Luoxia Street is?”
It was gradually becoming more crowded in front of them.
Liu Mama replied, “This servant knows.” Then, she had the other two servants go forward to open a path in front of them to keep them from being jostled by the crowd. She also went forward to lead the way.
Ji Man pulled Muxu’s hand and deliberately slowed their pace. She waited for the right time, a time when it was especially crowded.
By the time that Liu Mama worriedly looked back, the two people had already disappeared without a trace.”
“Master Sang!” Liu Mama was so scared that her face paled. She hurriedly wanted to stop and go back to look for them. However, how could the crowd behind her be willing to give way? She continued to be pushed forward.
Liu Mama turned back and yelled towards the other two servants, “Master Sang disappeared! Quickly, go look for her!” The three of them did their best to walk against the stream of people. When their foreheads had been furrowed to look like fried dough twists, they still weren’t able to take more than a few steps back.
Ji Man pulled Muxu out of the crowd and stopped by the side. Keeping close to the side of the street, they ran to Zhengde Street like a puff of smoke.
“Master…” Muxu felt panicked and doubtful.
Ji Man patted her back, then she looked around and asked, “Where’s the rouge shop that you mentioned?”
Muxu looked left and right, then she led Ji Man a few steps forward to a storefront that was four doors wide. On the top of the storefront, there was a plaque with the words, “Shuiji’s Rouge Shop”. There weren’t any lamps lit inside and the shop was situated in a poor natural light position, so the inside of the store was dark.
Ji Man followed Muxu inside. It seemed that there weren’t many customers inside today. The shopkeeper was even dispiritedly and listlessly leaning against a display.
Seeing people coming inside, Miss Shui immediately mustered up her spirits and asked with a smile, “Madam, what are you looking for?”
“Just looking at the items here to see how they are.” Ji Man casually replied and carefully looked over this woman. She was actually a female shopkeeper. This was quite rare.
“Shuiji’s rouges have always been top-quality. Madams and misses from rich families all like to use them.” Miss Shui said.
Ji Man looked around the entire store and curiously asked, “I’ve heard that your products are pretty good, but why is the store so empty today?”
Miss Shui froze for a moment. Soon after, she sighed and said, “I won’t hide this from madam. We’re about to sell this store. My father is sick and our business hasn't been doing well because of the poor location. Look at these rouges. They have such good colors. If they were in a place with bright lighting, we would be able to sell them for a higher price.”
Ji Man’s eyes brightened. “Have you decided to stop selling rouge?”
“Of course, I have to still continue selling rouge.” Miss Shui picked up a box of rouge, sighed, and said, “It’s only that my father’s illness needs a lot of money to treat. After we sell the store in a few days for a hundred and eighty silver taels, I’ll continue selling the rouge by setting up a stall."
Realizing that she had been unknowingly led away from exchanging conventional greeting by the other person and started speaking about her troubles instead, Miss Shui returned to her senses and became somewhat guarded against this customer. She asked, “Madam, did you come here to buy rouge?”
Ji Man shook her head and said, “I came here because I wanted to discuss business with you.”
Miss Shui paused before asking, “You want to buy this store?”
“No.” Ji Man shook her head. “I want you to exchange this store for a place with better lighting and work with you in this rouge business. But, you have to help me sell something. If you can keep this matter confidential, perhaps, I can help with your father’s illness.”
Miss Shui carefully looked at the woman in front of her. Her clothing was made from high-quality material and half of her face was covered. Her exposed phoenix eyes showed a slight proudness and fierceness. She seemed like a concubine from a rich family.
In this dynasty, there were very few women who were willing to show their face in public and do business. She was only working because she had to. This madam looked as if she didn’t have worry about being provided with basic necessities. Why would she think about doing business?
However, she seemed like someone that would be able to help her. Right now, she was alone and helpless. Her relatives were all coveting this store. She really didn’t have any other choice.
“Madam, what do you want to sell?” She asked.
Ji Man slightly smiled. She wasn’t in a hurry to take out the cold cream. Instead, she took out the banknote that was worth one hundred silver taels and placed it in her hand.
“This is a deposit. You can use this money to rent the most prosperous store on Yongning Street. In a few days, I’ll help you buy that store. Later on, when you’re selling your rouge, sell my item for me. The item that you’re selling for me, you can keep 30% of the profit. How about it?”
(T/N: Just to clarify, it’s mentioned later in the story that Qingyun’s mother was promoted to the position of main wife after the death of Sangyu’s mother. That’s why it’s possible for Qingyun to be older than Sangyu.
What do you guys think of Ji Man's business proposition? If I compare it to other transmigration books, where everyone else is just a servant or employee, this seems too generous. But, if you think of her using Miss Shui as an intermediate consignment shop, her terms are pretty fair.)