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Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 328 - To enjoy fortune, a road must be built first (1)
Ning Yuxuan was delighted by Haohao's answer, and there was a gleam in his eyes. After nodding his head in satisfaction, he lowered his head and continued painting.
Ji Man felt slightly disoriented by this sight, but she quickly turned her head back and continued teaching Haohao.
She had already planned out in detail how to teach Haohao. There would be five classes every day. The first class would be history. This would conveniently give her the chance to move some history books into her room so that she could study this dynasty as well. The second class would be poetry. At the very least, she was a person that had studied poetry in modern-day. The third class would be etiquette and how to get along with others. This... Haohao was still young. She could bluff her way through it by just teaching him some nursery rhymes. The last two classes would be painting and reading the Four Books and Five Classics of Confucianism.
Learning had to start from a young age, but Ji Man wasn't planning on forcing him to become a talented person. She just wanted to share and pass down everything that she knew to him. She wasn't hoping that he would accomplish something great when he grew up. She only hoped that he would be capable of saving himself from harm.
There wasn't a teacher in the world that could be more conscientious than a mother teaching her child. After Ji Man had only been teaching Haohao for a couple of days, she had already received Steward Qian’s as well as Madam's praise. And so, Marquis Moyu had seemingly expended a token effort by rewarding her with an item.
When Ji Man happily opened the box that contained her reward, she discovered that it was a painting. When she unfurled the scroll, she saw that it was a painting by Ning Yuxuan. The painting was a scene of her teaching Haohao a few days ago in the garden. However, he had removed her disguise as a man and carelessly painted a woman's appearance instead.
She had never met someone that gave rewards like this. Hadn't they become familiar enough by now? Why hadn't he just given her something useful like gold and silver or other precious stones? Ji Man's lips twitched for a long time. She put the box away by stuffing into the deepest spot on her bed.
As a result of becoming Marquis Moyu's heir's teacher, Ji Man didn't have time to attend to her newly opened rice store. She spent some money to hire an astute shopkeeper. His name was Yan Buba, and his personality matched his name. Feeling very assured, Ji Man handed over the management of the store to him.
(T/N: Yan means strict and stern. Buba is from the idiom yi mao bu ba, which means stingy.)
However, the purpose of opening a rice store wasn't to earn pocket money. The rice grown in Zhangjun was very good quality, but because the terrain from Zhangjun to the capital wasn't suitable for transportation, the rice couldn't be easily exported to here. Now that she had returned to the capital, she wanted to test the waters by seeing if it would be profitable to sell rice from Zhangjun here. If it turned out well, then she would figure out a pathway to transport rice from Zhangjun. At worst, she would just continue paying a shipping fee each time. Or, perhaps, she would get it done once and for all by building a road.
After Ji Man organized everything from top to bottom and made connections through bribery, Ji Rice Store smoothly opened for business. Because of the excellent quality of the rice as well as the store's fair and scrupulous business practice, the store quickly became a best seller of rice in the capital.
During the day, she would teach Haohao. After classes were over for the day, she would leave the estate to work on her business. Ji Man was so busy that she didn't even have time to regularly eat. It was the same lifestyle she had in modern-day when she rushing around to make sales. Ji Man thought this was no big deal, but she had become much thinner as a result. Even the fake skin face mask had started to become a bit too loose and big to put on, and she had to modify it before it could be properly worn again.
Ning Yuxuan finally couldn't stop himself from waiting at the back gate and stopping Ji Man, who had been about to leave the estate again. "What are you so busy with?"
Seeing that it was him, Ji Man checked the condition of her face mask by touching it, then she very properly said, "Going out to do business."
"What kind of business?" Ning Yuxuan frowned. "It takes you the majority of the day to teach the heir. How can you have the free time to do other stuff?"
Cheerfully smiling, Ji Man said, "My lord, you said that it takes the majority of the day to teach the heir, so that means the remaining part of the day is naturally left for this one's to do private business. The job of being the heir's teacher isn't considered an official governmental position, so this one is allowed to have personal interests of my own, right?"
Marquis Moyu pressed his lips together in discontentment. Just as he was about to ask more questions, Wen Wan's voice came from behind him. "My lord."
Turning his body, Ning Yuxuan looked at Wen Wan. He made a light sound of acknowledgement and asked, "What's wrong?"
Ji Man placed one hand over a fist to greet Wen Wan, then she took advantage of Wen Wan's appearance to promptly leave the estate.
Having previously followed Liu Rufeng, she had learned many tricks on how to deal with people from ancient times. Ji Man had invited a director from the Ministry of Revenue for a meal today to develop friendly relations. Everyone that did business knew that if you wanted your business to be a huge success, you had to win over everyone. Flattering and fawning over various people was simply an absolutely necessary task.
For example, although a director wasn't a high position in the Ministry of Revenue, he was quite arrogant. If she wasn't Marquis Moyu's heir's teacher, he wouldn't have been willing to accept a dinner request from a mere grain merchant.
As the head of the grain merchant association, Shopkeeper Liu naturally acted as the middleman and helped Ji Man get a meeting with this official. In the passing, he had invited himself to the dinner to gain some benefits by rubbing elbows with this official.
They were sitting inside a room on Luoyan Pagoda's eight floor, which had a very scholarly atmosphere and looked quite elegant. At the center of the room, there was a large mahogany table. Not only was the table full of exotic delicacies, there were also plenty of "talented women" sitting nearby.
It had already been said before that Luoyan Pagoda was a place where elegant scholars liked to gather. However, there were some officials that loved to put on a pretense of being refined men too. Even though they obviously enjoyed going to brothels the most, they still contrarily put a solemn expression and said that Luoyan Pagoda was a good meeting place.
Of course, the people below them had an implicit understanding. Even if this place was Luoyan Pagoda, there could still be women in attendance. After all, talented woman were also women.
Ji Man was sitting in a guest's seat and sandwiched between two "talented women". The director was sitting in a higher position. Grinning as he looked at Ji Man, he said, "Teacher Ji, you're a promising youth. Why are you staying a merchant? Now that you've entered the marquis's doors, wouldn't it be better to relinquish your previous occupation and serve as an official instead?
Ji Man placed one hand over her fist and said, "This one is unambitious and can't be compared to you, Sir Tang, who's already a director at such young age. This one recently heard that you might be getting a promotion soon. That'll be worthy of celebration."
Director Tang laughed and said, "It'll be a loss for the other officials too."