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Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 330 - Taking her through the back door (1)
Ning Yuxuan asked, "What's your intention in doing this?"
Feeling someone pulling her to the side, Ji Man raised her eyes and made direct contact with Marquis Moyu's slightly deep gaze.
"Why do you also know about the road construction matter?"
"What road construction?" Ji Man looked at him blankly as if she had no hidden intentions and shook her head. "This one is just teaching Haohao how to read and happened to see that phase in a book."
"Oh?" Ning Yuxuan coldly harrumphed and let her go. "Tell me, what book was that phrase from?"
Ji Man straightened the front of her robe and solemnly answered, "It's from the Analects of Confucius - Building Roads. It's a lost Confucian classic. The main point of the book is inform the later generations that if you want to enjoy fortune, you have to construct roads first. When traveling becomes more convenient, time will be saved, which will lead to a reduction in transportation costs. This will result in a reduction in prices for goods and boost consumption."
Looking at Ning Yuxuan, who was stunned by her words, Ji Man sighed and patted his shoulder. "It's okay. I already knew that even if I told you, you wouldn't be able to understand."
Her words were clearly a bunch of nonsense, so why was she acting as if everything was rightfully so? Feeling rather helpless, Marquis Moyu looked at her for a long time before deciding to leave.
As he was turning around, Ji Man stopped him by grabbing his sleeve. "Marquis, what were you saying about that road construction?"
Ning Yuxuan paused. He turned his to the side and said, "Do you really not know that Zhangjun Prince petitioned for a road to be built between his fiefdom and the capital?"
Ji Man smiled and said, "Oh, so you were talking about that matter. Isn't that a very normal matter? The emperor should agree to that request. He hasn't ascended to the throne for a long period of time and wouldn't want to gain the reputation amongst the commoners as someone that mistreats his brother, right? It's only a road. It won't require that much money from the national treasury."
"A woman's viewpoint is lacking." Marquis Moyu snorted. "This road can't be built."
Acting as if she didn't understand why, Ji Man asked, "Why not?"
It was obvious why the road couldn't be built. If the national treasury funded the construction of a trade road, once it was easier to transport things between the two places, many other things would also become more convenient too. The new emperor wasn't an idiot; he wouldn't act like someone that had more money than sense.
However, taking advantage that right now all of the titled princes, who were normally situated far away in their respective fiefdoms, had come to the capital to pay respects to the new emperor, the dowager empress tearfully complained to them about the new emperor. And so, rumors of the new emperor mistreating the dowager empress and his imperial brother were spread.
After the new emperor had ascended, he had put down harsh rules regarding taxation. It could even be said that the popularity of the new emperor was already at an all-time low. There were even many elegant scholars that wrote poems with metaphors about Zhao Li being a fatuous and incapable ruler and his taxes. Over time, the commoners seemed to have developed a tacit understanding of the new emperor.
Marquis Moyu rejected Zhangjun Prince's petition by using the reason that the Ministry of Revenue was reporting a deficit in funding. However, after these words were said, the construction for Wangyue Pavillon should be stopped too. Since he had said there was a shortage in the national treasury, then nothing else should be built or renovated either.
The new emperor's expression wasn't good. Ning Yuxuan had originally wanted to persuade him to just silently endure for a while. Once the visiting titled princes returned to their fiefdoms, construction for Wangyue Pavillon could be resumed again. However, Zhao Li was like a brain-dead mouse that was going to dig himself to a dead end. He refused to listen to Ning Yuxuan's persuasion and insisted on continuing the construction for Wangyue Pavillion.
Alright, fine. Ning Yuxuan gave up on trying to convince him.
It wasn't clear what benefits Zhangjun Prince or perhaps the dowager empress had offered the titled princes. But, one after another, they actually wrote petitions to the new emperor to help Zhao Zhe. Under the pressure of their unanimous condemnations, Zhao Li surprisingly agreed to build a road to Zhangjun instead of stopping the construction for Wangyue Pavillon.
When Ji Man heard this news, she really wanted to sigh. As it turned out, even someone like Zhao Li, who had an abnormal psychological complex and was vicious and merciless towards everyone else, still had love in is heart?
Wangyue Pavillion, Wangyue Pavillion. He really wasn't letting down Pengyue, who had so whole-heartedly helped him back then.
(T/N: Pengyue's name can mean a praiseworthy moon. Wangyue just means full moon.)
Ning Yuxuan had showed disapproval at the new emperor's decision. It was obvious that this was just a willful child's impulsive decision. Still, there was nothing that he could about it. The other party was his boss. Once his boss made a decision, as his subordinate, he could only send down his orders to the Ministry of Revenue to allocate the funds for the road construction.
As if she was mentally calculating with a little abacus, Ji Man thought about her next move. It would probably take at least a year or two to complete the construction of the new road. During this time, she would continue to earn small profits through large sales volume because she had pay for freight costs to transport rice from Zhangjun. Fortunately, she had already received permission from Zhao Zhe. Any rice that was exported out of Zhangjun would be under her management. Even after the road was built and there were more profits, all of the profits would go into her pocket.
The grain merchant association had an annual election to choose its leader. And so, Ji Man had been especially busy lately because the annual election was coming up soon. She wasn't a person from the capital, so she didn't have many contacts. She didn't have substantial assets either. Still, she wanted to get that leader position. Although that position didn't have any solid authority or power, this position would give her the chance to have the most contact with governmental officials out of all the rice merchants.
In order to get promoted, in addition to doing an outstanding job, the most important part was conducting yourself well. Ji Man had already slightly increased the price of Zhangjun rice so that there wouldn't be pressure for the other rice merchants. After that, one by one, she invited shopkeepers from various rice stores out for meals and drinks. In the passing, she would also invite Director Tang from last time, so everyone was happy to attend her gatherings.
Because the competition for becoming the next head of the rice merchant association was always very big each year, no one thought that Ji Man was trying to pull people to her side. In their eyes, Ji Man was just an insignificant person. There was no way that this new rice merchant from Zhangjun would be strong contender.
After Marquis Moyu heard Guibai's report of what Ji Man had been up to recently, he mockingly laughed. "Why does this woman like to torment herself so much?"
She was toiling away just from selling some rice. Why bother with inviting some official for a meal? Didn't she know that the Ministry of Revenue was under his control?
Why was she being so stupid?