Joy of Life - Chapter 490 - Laughter In The Ming Garden[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:26]
Chapter 490: Laughter In The Ming Garden
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Ming Qingda glanced at her coldly and said in an icy tone, “Mother did not know you were once the Eldest Princess’ serving girl, but you know that I am very aware of this fact…so there is no need to purposely remind me of anything. The Prince and I have always been on the same boat, and I am not going to get off.”
He paused and felt that there was no need to take out his anger on her. He shook his head and said, “The letter has long been sent to the Palace. The Eldest Princess must have a way to delay Fan Xian’s hand.”
If the Eldest Princess had some spare time, she would be able to come up with enough plots and plans and use debates in court to delay the Overwatch Council closing in on the Ming family.
The problem was, everyone was actually very busy right now.
The head shopkeeper of Zhaoshang money house sat coldly in Ming Garden’s opulent Flower Hall. The tea next to him had not been touched. His right hand was bound in bandages, perhaps it had been injured the night during the attack.
Times change. Recently, Zhaoshang money house had actively pursued the Ming family to talk about business. Now, after the Ming family’s secret attack had failed, they had no choice but to make the first move in inviting him out. Thus, the attitude of the head shopkeeper was clearly different.
Ming Qingda stole a glance at the other person’s expression from the back and thought to himself, Although the head shopkeeper was angry, he still came. Presumably, the owner behind the scenes did not wish the incident from the day before yesterday to impact the large deal between them.
Just as he prepared to lift the curtain and go out, he found his sleeve being pulled by someone. He turned his head in surprise to see that the face of his favorite son, Ming Lanshi, was deathly pale. He began talking and then stopped again.
Ming Qingda furrowed his brows and scolded in a low voice, “We are at a critical moment, if you have something, then say it.”
Ming Lanshi swept his gaze into the hall. His coloring became even worse. He pulled his father into the back hall. Without another word, he knelt down in front of him with a thud.
“I am not filial…please, kill me, father…” Ming Lanshi summoned his courage and raised his head. “You cannot let Zhaoshang money house use the silver to exchange for shares.”
Ming Qingda was silent for a moment. He slowly pursed his lips and asked, “What exactly has happened?”
Ming Lanshi lowered his head in shame and said, “I…privately borrowed a sum of money from Zhaoshang money house and used a percentage of the shares in my hand as a deposit.”
Ming Qingda sucked in a cold breath. The color of his face turned very nasty. However, he immediately regained his calm and hurriedly said, “When can it be exchanged back? What contract did you agree to? Can Taiping money house transfer the contract?”
These questions were all important ones. Since this involved the important matter of the shares that determined the ownership of the Ming family, Ming Qingda did not have the time to viciously scold his son. He took the time to ask questions first and hoped that Zhaoshang money house wouldn’t be able to have these extra shares.
“Death contract…” Ming Lanshi said with tears on his face. “As for buying it back…at first, I thought it would be three months, but looking at it now, it looks like all the capital has been lost. Taiping should also know of this matter. They won’t accept a transfer.”
The Ming family has almost suffocated in this year of hardship and dependency on the production of the palace treasury controlled by Fan Xian. The Ming young master thought the same as he had told his father that day. He believed that they should adjust the Ming family’s major area of business. Only in this way, could they avoid spending an eternity under Fan Xian’s control.
Because of Ming Qingda’s persistence, Ming Lanshi could only secretly carry out his own attempt. At the end of last year, he had used his shares in the Ming family to exchange for Zhaoshang money house’s cash support. He had thought that this attempt would bring in great profits in a very short amount of time. Then, he could persuade his father, but unexpectedly…
A buzzing sound started up in Ming Qingda’s head. He almost fainted. It took a moment before he breathed slightly and asked, “Just what business was it? How could it not earn anything back from the capital?”
Ming Lanshi looked at his angry father. He hesitated for a moment then said in a trembling voice, “It’s…illegal salt.”
Ming Qingda was shocked and couldn’t speak for a moment. Of the three most profitable businesses in Qing Kingdom, one was the brothel business, one was being a royal merchant for the palace treasury, and the other was being a major illegal salt seller. Of these three, illegal salt had the quickest and largest returns.
“Why was there no return on the capital?” Ming Qingda stared at his son coldly and bit out each word. “I know you are a steady person. Even if it was a risky venture, you would definitely have a way to save the capital…tell me, why did you not earn back the capital?”
“Because…” Ming Lanshi wanted to cry but he had no tears. “A few days ago, the salt and tea yamen suddenly carried out an investigation. I don’t know how they knew about it, but they locked down all 12 boats of illegal salt…I’ve gone to talk to some people, but there is nothing to be done.”
He didn’t notice his father’s increasingly ashen face and continued to explain with fervor, “The related customs people have always been well treated by us, I had no idea they would suddenly act. Besides, Yang Jimei had always used that route and promised me that it would be fine…”
A crisp slap rang out. Ming Qingda slapped his son across the face and sent him tumbling to the ground.
Ming Lanshi covered his numb face and half lay on the ground. He could feel blood flowing out of his mouth. He looked at his father, who was raging like a sick lion, and couldn’t find anything to say.
“Yamen? Yamen! So, you do know it’s the yamen! The salt and tea yamen would not dare to investigate the Ming family…but would the Overwatch Council not force them to do so?” Ming Qingda lowered his voice and roared. His eyes were filled with unspeakable dejection and rage. “Yang Jimei! Is your head filled with water? That salt selling laborer is one of Xue Qing’s dogs! Fan Xian lives in his garden in Suzhou!”
A chill settled in Ming Qingda’s chest as he kicked his son. He gritted his teeth and cursed, “How could I have raised such a stupid wastrel like you!”
With great difficulty, he reigned in his emotions and said, listlessly, “Did you leave behind any information that can be used against you in the salt business? Be careful that the Overwatch Council doesn’t use this to pin a crime on you and have you beheaded.”
“Father, please be assured,” Ming Lanshi struggled and knelt in front of him, “that batch of silver came directly out of Zhaoshang money house. Although that dog, Yang Jimei, knows it was me, the government won’t be able to find any evidence.”
“If Zhaoshang money house takes your contract with them into the court…the government will have evidence.” Ming Qingda sighed helplessly.
Ming Lanshi’s heart suddenly chilled, “This money house…it can’t be Fan Xian’s, right?”
Ming Qingda’s body shook. He shook his head after a moment of silence. “It can’t be Fan Xian’s. The Eldest Princess has checked the Ministry of Revenue in the capital, and we have also kept a close eye on Fan Xian. He doesn’t have enough silver to set this up.”
These words were simple, but the effort spent behind them was enormous. For the Ming family to work with Zhaoshang money house, they had to fully investigate Zhaoshang money house’s background and confirm that Fan Xian had no connection to it. However, Ming Qingda had no idea that although the results of his investigation were not wrong, that the owner of Zhaoshang money house was indeed not Fan Xian, the owner was Northern Qi’s little Emperor.
“Everything will be done with great caution.” Ming Qingda tilted his head back and barely managed to control his feeling of failure. “To give up 30 percent is letting down the ancestors, but it will let us draw out some time to wait for a follow-up action from the capital.”
However, the gradual fall and eventual collapse of the Ming family was actually all because of the word “delay.”
After a long time, after the head shopkeeper of Zhaoshang money house waiting in the hall had yawned for the 20th time. Ming Qingda walked out with a dark expression.
The head shopkeeper smiled slightly and said, “You’ve kept me waiting for a long time.”
Ming Qingda did not raise his hands in greeting or say anything unnecessary. He coldly asked, “Hand over the contract for Ming Lanshi’s shares and destroy all related documents, and I will agree to the owner’s request.”
“Certainly, Master Ming.” The head shopkeeper’s expression did not change. He drew out a document and delivered it to Ming Qingda. It was indeed the contract Ming Lanshi had left behind when borrowing money for the illegal salt. It seemed he had been prepared.
Without waiting for Ming Qingda to open his mouth, the head shopkeeper quietly said, “That other copy, I’ll destroy it once I go back.”
Ming Qingda nodded his head listlessly.
In the afternoon, the various account masters of the Ming family and Zhaoshang money house filed in. The wealthy merchants that the head shopkeeper had demanded to be invited to watch the proceedings were all sitting to the side. The government notary sent by the Suzhou government was also prepared.
Three white sheets of paper were spread on the table. A black brush danced across them. In a flash, three copies of debt into shares documents were written. To the side, the Sun, Xiong, and other wealthy merchants, as well as elders from Suzhou, looked for a while before understanding what was written on the paper. They couldn’t help but draw in a cold breath and feel unspeakably shocked.
Zhaoshang money house was entering the Ming family with 30 percent of the shares.
Although the major figures in Jiangnan long knew of the Ming family’s distressed situation, no one had thought that the extremely wealthy Ming family would be in such difficult straits. They couldn’t be said to be broke, but to use 4 million liang in borrowed silver to exchange for 30 percent shares in the Ming family?
The merchants thought about it again and realized that the Ming family’s current difficult lay in having insufficient cash flow, so they immediately understood this point and instead felt that Zhaoshang money house’s price was very fair.
Ming Qingda lifted the brush and was silent for a moment. Without any posing, he signed his name with great calm and pressed his fingerprint onto the paper.
Everyone watched the scene silently. Regardless of whether they were friend or foe of the Ming family, they felt incomparable admiration toward the Ming Master’s shrewdness and courage. For a large hundred-year-old clan to give 30 percent shares to outsiders, only an extraordinary person could do such an extraordinary thing.
The person signing and giving his fingerprint on behalf of Zhaoshang money house was a young man. A handsome young man who still continued to stand behind the head shopkeeper.
At first, no one had noticed his existence. It was not until now that they all came to their sense and cast strange glances at him, thinking, Was the mysterious owner of Zhaoshang money house was this unknown young man?
At this moment, Ming Qingda finally furrowed his brow and said, “So, you are the owner of the money house. I was lacking in manners the other day. Don’t hold it against me.”
It was no wonder Ming Qingda couldn’t tell. Thirteenth Wang’s careless attitude really did not resemble that of an ambitious and ruthless figure in the business world. There was not the slightest sense of being superior.
Thirteenth Wang paused slightly and didn’t know whether or not he should acknowledge it because he didn’t know, at this moment, whether or not Fan Xian would stay behind the scenes.
At this moment, there came a clamor from the doors of Ming Garden. Immediately afterward, there was the sound of the middle door opening, then the second door, and then the third door. The clamoring directly traveled to the large hall where the signing was taking place. The urgent footsteps came very quickly. It was even faster than the ritual singing and gave off a sense of brashness and arrogance.
Ming Qingda furrowed his brows tightly, not knowing who was coming.
The footsteps were quick and light because the mood of the owner of these footsteps was unusually light and happy.
Fan Xian, in black Overwatch Council official robes, stepped over the long threshold and walked in with a joyful expression on his face. Behind him came Hong Changqing and other Overwatch Council members, as well as Xia Qifei, the Seventh Master of the Ming family.
He didn’t greet the other officials and merchants. Instead, he walked directly to Ming Qingda and gazed at him with considering way.
After looking for an indeterminable time, Ming Qingda furrowed his brows and looked at this imperial envoy, who was still supposedly in the Shazhou area, and asked, “The imperial envoy has graced us with his presence. Please excuse me for not going out to meet you.”
Fan Xian smiled slightly and said, “Such a grand occasion. How could I not come? Particularly since I have to come to say thank you.”
“Thank me?” Ming Qingda’s heart trembled slightly.
“Thank you for 30 percent of your shares.” He leaned close to Ming Qingda’s ear. In a voice that only he could hear, quietly said, “Zhaoshang money house…is mine.”
Ming Qingda furrowed his brows slightly, wondering if he had heard wrong.
Fan Xian looked at the documents on the table on which the ink had not yet dried and a smile grew from the corners of his lips. He had plotted hard for a year, endured for a year, and finally today he had reaped the rewards. How could he not be happy?
Although he knew that by exposing his identity Zhaoshang money house would not be able to escape the scrutiny of the court, this was something that would have happened eventually. He also needed to use this opportunity to have the Northern Qi little Emperor pull back with his earnings. Although, under the Emperor’s gaze, Fan Xian may have to endure a loss of over a million liang, he didn’t care much about it.
The Ming family that had expanded across Jiangnan for a hundred years, reached into the temples and the jianghu, and controlled the lives and deaths of countless people, had changed hands today. How could Fan Xian miss such a grand show? Spending a million liang of silver to buy a ticket to be able to personally witness this scene was truly worth it. He looked at Ming Qingda, whose expression changed endlessly, and narrowed his eyes with a naughty thought. If the old Ming Master suddenly fainted, then this ticket would be super worth it.
It was as if the heavens had heard his wish. Ming Qingda looked at Zhaoshang money house’s head shopkeeper standing behind Fan Xian and the young man handing the contract into Fan Xian’s hand, and he finally understood everything. However, he still didn’t understand…it was impossible for the Ministry of Revenue to have emptied the national treasury…where had Fan Xian gotten all this silver to set up the money house?
Ming Qingda’s entire body trembled. His eyes were slightly red. A gurgling sound came out of his throat, but he was unable to speak. Blood rushed to his heart. His body went rigid before falling down.
Fan Xian casually raised his hands in greeting to the people around who were meeting each other’s eyes and began to laugh out loud in the Ming Garden’s spacious and luxurious hall.