Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 381 - Competing to death (2)
Shopkeeper Rong couldn't continue to sit still. After considering the matter over, he took out banknotes and went to Ji Store.
Smiling, Shopkeeper Rong asked, "I want to buy 25,000 bushels of rice from you. Are you willing to sell it to me, Owner Ji?"
Ji Man was slowly hanging up a signboard that said the unit price was now fourteen silver coins. Looking at him, she said, "Shopkeeper Rong, are you buying this as a direct customer? The price won't be cheap then."
"That's alright!" Shopkeeper Rong clenched his jaw. Purchasing this rice would only bring him profit. He had already seen how the price of rice had rapidly increased day after day. Even the commoners knew by now that they had to store up on rice. As a merchant, how could he not be aware of this importance?
"Okay." Ji Man was smiling as she clapped her hands. "Shopkeeper Yan, lead the way for Shopkeeper Rong to pick up the goods."
Yan Buba had been fiddling with his abacus. A hint of a smile finally appeared on his face. "Shopkeeper Rong, please follow me."
This time, the shopkeepers had come here separately. After Shopkeeper Rong had come over, Shopkeeper Liu was the next one to arrive. One after another, the remaining shopkeepers also came here. It seemed that the alliance between the other shopkeepers was very fragile.
Ji Man didn't bother asking them if they would hand over their tenant farmer contracts in order to get the discounted price. Instead, she sold the rice to them at the higher market price.
She had originally brought this rice from them at unit price of seven silver coins. Now, she was selling off that same rice at a unit price of fourteen silver coins along with the rice she had gotten from Zhangjun Prince
When Yan Buba looked at the money, he was smiling so widely that his eyes were closed. A sign was finally hung outside Ji Store that they had sold out.
The various rice stores now had rice of their own. Seeing that Ji Store had no rice of its own, the shopkeepers confidently raised their prices. The unit price of rice jumped straight to sixteen silver coins. The commoners complained about their hardships, but they had no way to change the ways of the world. They only had the option of buying this rice.
After a week of this, the capital was starting to become an abyss of suffering. Looking at the rice prices of the other stores, Ji Man smiled and said, "It's about time. Let's reopen the store."
Ji Store was restocked with rice. On the opening day, a sign was hung up that the rice would be sold at unit price of thirteen silver coins.
Seeing the cheaper price, the other shopkeepers were dumbfounded. Was Ji Store planning on competing to death with them?
Fine, let's compete then. Who's scared of who? No one believed that Ji Store had enough stock to continue competing with them.
However, even when the end of summer had arrived, Ji Store was still selling rice at the lower price. As autumn approached, not only did Ji Store not run of rice, it lowered its unit price to twelve silver coins.
By now, a few rice shops were on the verge of bankruptcy. They had no other choice, they could only decrease their prices to match Ji Man's store. At the very least, they would be able to sell their rice again.
"You're certainly doing very well." Ning Yuxuan was sitting in Ji Man's room and looking at her thick account book that was on the table. He pursed his lips and said, "But your actions have been too big. A lot of people in the Ministry of Revenue have been questioning and discussing the reasons behind your actions."
Ji Man was wearing an expensive gold and silver robe that was frequently worn by merchants. She smiled gently and said, "Marquis, aren't you protecting this one from above? So, why should this one be afraid?"
The imperial court didn't control the price of rice, so naturally the merchants could sell the rice at any price or volume. If she didn't act deviously, would Ji Store have lasted for so long?
The profits from the past several months had been almost horrifyingly high. Not only had she fully repaid the Zhangjun grain that she had brought on credit, she also had money to signed contracts with numerous tenant farmers. It was only be keeping herself busy that she wouldn't have the time to miss Haohao.
She didn't know if that little fellow was doing well.
"Food is the foundation of a country. As long as you're within the emperor's reach, you should do your best to be less conspicuous." Ning Yuxuan pursed his lips and said, "If you end up provoking someone, and the matter of Ji Store is brought up to the emperor, I won't be able to save you."
This person would come here twenty times every month. He would just sit there and watch her do bookkeeping. It seemed as if he was only coming here to see her. He usually stayed silent. Occasionally, he would seemingly carelessly mention a matter that only members of the imperial court should know about. At the beginning, Ji Man had been against his visits. Later on, after many visits and him telling her information that had been very useful to her, she learned to tolerate his presence.
Right now, the various rice merchants were already at the end of their strength. Tomorrow, she would lower the unit price of rice to ten silver coins. With the other rice merchants being in the deficit, there was no way that they would be able to sign contracts with the tenant farmers next year.
While Ji Man had a price monopoly here, she had made contact with rice merchants in other regions to ask about their grain prices. She didn't have much inventory left either. She would have to stock up on rice soon.
“Prince Huainan's heir is returning to the capital tomorrow. There's going to be a lot of people gathered to welcome him back." Ning Yuxuan lightly said, "It'll be a gathering of people that you're familiar with. Do you want to go?"
(T/N: Prince Huainan's heir, Zhao Kaifeng, was introduced in chapter 152. Ji Man had helped him and his wife, Luo Qianqian, from getting a divorce.)
Ji Man was stunned. Prince Huainan's heir?
That was someone that she hadn't seen in a long, long time. She was surprised to hear that he and Luo Qianqian, who dared to loved and hate, were finally returned to the capital.
"Of course, I'll go." Ji Man looked at the account books on the table and said, "Marquis, thank you for your invitation. Where is the gathering going to take place?"
"I'll come over tomorrow and pick you up." Ning Yuxuan stood up and indifferently said, "You just need to prepare yourself."
Recently, his attitude towards her hadn't been overly familiar or oppressive. He was neither too cold nor too warm. Ji Man actually liked this feeling, so she didn't refuse his offer of going to the gathering together.
Luo Qianqian and Zhao Kaifeng already had a son, and their relationship seemed more harmonious than before. The people that had come to the gathering were all couples. Qian Yingchen and Zhu Yurun were also here. And so, when people saw that Ning Yuxuan had brought Ji Man along as his plus-one, the scene of two men together looked very discordant in comparison.