The Human Emperor - Chapter 31: The Capital’s Zhang Clan
After eating dinner and visiting his grounded little sister, Wang Chong returned back to his room to rest. Suddenly, the door opened. Shen Hai and Meng Long rushed in from outside.
Wang Chong frowned and lifted his head.
“Gongzi, someone is looking for you!”
Two abrupt visitors had visited the Wang Clan’s Residence and they had specifically pointed out that they would like to meet Wang Chong. It just happened that Shen Hai and Meng Long were punished by Madam Wang to stand sentry by the entrance. As such, no one knew of this matter except for the two.
Initially, Meng Long and Shen Hai intended to report this matter to Madam. However, Madam had too many worries within this short period of time and if she were to knew that young master had ’caused trouble’ outside once more, she would definitely fly into another rage. As such, the two decided to hide the matter from her.
“Third Young Master, I think it would be best for you to meet them outside. Otherwise, if Madam were to find out, you will probably be punished.”
The two bowed respectfully.
Wang Chong chuckled. Shen Hai and Meng Long probably didn’t notice the changes in their attitudes toward him. They would never have said such words before.
Looks like King Song’s ‘intentional’ high evaluation of him had worked its wonders. At the very least, the two no longer saw him as a profligate scion as they did before.
Walking out of the residence, Wang Chong saw the two uninvited guests. To tell the truth, Wang Chong was also curious where these two came from and why they would come looking for him.
“You are Wang Chong?”
Before Wang Chong could even say anything, the two people outside had already started to question him. Actually, from the moment Wang Chong walked out of the residence, the two were already evaluating him from afar.
These two were curious to know what kind of person Wang Chong was for him to hinder their plans. Less than a handful of people knew about the matter regarding the Hyderabad ore, and it was beyond the means of an average person to purchase these ores with at such an exorbitant price before them!
These two were interested to know who their competitor was. Just that, they didn’t expect for Wang Chong to be so young.
Just like the two Sindhi monks said, the other party was really just a kid!
It was truly hard to believe that a matter highly valued by the Zhang Clan and its clan head could be foiled by a little child.
“Who are you two?”
Similarly, Wang Chong was also trying to discern their identity. Wang Chong did not remember meeting him beforehand, but he could identify the deep scent of metal, sulfur, and charcoal from them, even from afar.
Those who carried such scent with them must be people who had been put under unique working conditions for long hours. Wang Chong had a rough idea of the background of the two, but he needed confirmation.
“I am Zhang Jian!”
“I am Zhang Cong! Wang gongzi may not know who we are, but we are from the capital’s Zhang Clan.”
The two said. The capital’s Zhang Clan mainly managed smitheries, mines, the sales of weapons and armors. Even though they were famous in the smithing industry, the two did not think that a fourteen to fifteen-year-old child would know of them.
“As I expected, it’s them!”
Wang Chong looked calm and indifferent on the surface, but his heart was already beating anxiously. He didn’t think that the capital’s Zhang Clan would come looking for him so soon.
In his previous life, the little bit of Wootz steel weapon made from the material the Sindhi monks left in the Central Plains were made by the capital’s Zhang Clan.
If he hadn’t appeared, the Zhang Clan should have been the one to negotiate with the Sindhi monks and buy the Hyderabad ores off them.
In the smithing industry, the Zhang Clan was a celebrity. They held a prominent standing in the industry and if not for them, there probably wouldn’t be any Wootz steel in the Great Tang at all.
However, it was a pity that even though they were able to tell that the Hyderabad ore was not any normal metal ore, they were unable to realize the true worth of it.
They only bought a small sample portion of the Hyderabad ore from the Sindhi monks. Furthermore, due to their inappropriate refining and crafting methods, they were unable to bring out the true value of the metal. It was truly regrettable.
“May I know the reason behind your visit?”
Wang Chong smiled.
“You see, I’ve heard that gongzi had bought a little bit of ore from two Sindhi monks.”
The two chose their words carefully and spoke extremely politely.
Their clan head had emphasized that the matter regarding the Hyderabad ore must not be leaked outward. At present, the two did not know whether Wang Chong truly understood the worth of the ore or he was just fooling around.
All in all, before they understood Wang Chong’s situation, they didn’t want to reveal too much on the matter.
“Hehe, as I expected.”
Upon hearing those words, Wang Chong smiled on the inside. The two were indeed here for the Hyderabad ore. Furthermore, it was likely that they knew about him after a futile meeting with the two Sindhi monks.
“Indeed, I bought a little bit of the ore. Why, are you two interested in the ore as well?”
Wang Chong flung his sleeves, placed his hands behind his back and said with a carefree expression.
Bought a bit? He bought all of it! Not just that, he even bought the rights to monopolize the sales of the Hyderabad ore in the Central Plains.
If the two hadn’t failed to buy any of the Hyderabad ore from the two Sindhi monks, they had no reason to be here!
“This… Our Zhang Clan is indeed interested in the mine as well. However, I have heard that gongzi had bought all of it. Your father is a prominent official of the Great Tang, and even more so, Duke Jiu had always been a figure of respect for me. However, I have never heard that your clan is involved in the smithing industry. I am here to ask if gongzi could sell them to our Zhang Clan. Of course, we won’t let gongzi make a loss. After which, we will compensate you a suitable amount of gold so as to display our sincerity in this matter.”
The two of them bowed respectfully as they said so.
The two felt that their words were logical and filled with sincerity. Duke Jiu’s heritage was not that of a blacksmith; Wang Yan and his family had nothing to do with blacksmiths either.
It was a waste of precious commodity to leave these Hyderabad ores in the hands of the Wang Clan. Only in the hands of the Zhang Clan was it able to showcase its full potential.
Of course, the Zhang Clan didn’t expect to obtain it for free. They would also compensate the Wang Clan with a suitable amount of money. Thus, this trade was profitable for both the Zhang Clan and the Wang Clan.
In their view, even though Wang Chong had monopolized the Hyderabad ores, he was still a child. Furthermore, given the Wang Clan’s reputation in the capital, it was likely that he was unlikely to afford the price of these ores.
The reason why the Wang Family’s gongzi made such a promise was probably mainly due to his obstinacy as a child.
Upon hearing their words, Wang Chong knew that they thought that he was merely a child who couldn’t recognize the value of those ores:
“May I know how much taels are you willing to compensate me?”
“A thousand taels… of gold!”
The two of them replied earnestly. They specially emphasized on the words ‘of gold’. “As long as gongzi is willing to sell the contract between you and the two Sindhi monks to us, we can send that thousand gold taels over to your residence immediately.”
‘Thousand gold taels’, this was the price the two of them came up with after discussing the matter on the road and asking their clan head’s opinion on the matter. In their view, Wang Chong had simply negotiated and taken on a deal that was unlikely to fall into his hands, and a thousand gold taels was a huge profit for him.
They had done their investigation and a general family like the Wang Family probably only earned a thousand gold taels in an entire year. The reason why they gave such a gigantic sum of money was in consideration for the prestige of ‘Duke Jiu’. In a way, this was a form a respect for him.
“Hehe, if this is the sum you all came up with, I would have to ask you two to return. I won’t be selling the contract to the Hyderabad mine. It won’t be too late to negotiate another form of partnership after you two have awakened and thought through matter through.”
Wang Chong scoffed and waved his hands.
Wang Chong was prepared to earn hundreds of thousand from the Hyderabad ores. What did a thousand gold taels count as in comparison to that?
He could probably earn more than ten thousand gold taels selling a single Wootz steel weapon.
These two were probably treating him as a child who had no worldly experience. A thousand gold taels? He would be mad if he agreed to the deal.
The two of them widened their eyes in shock.
They truly thought that the price they had come up with was fair. Based on their understanding, the Wang Clan was an incorruptible clan and a young master like Wang Chong probably only had a maximum of ten silver taels of allowance every month.
Only a fool would turn away a free thousand gold taels!
“Pardon me for being frank but gongzi, a thousand gold taels isn’t a small sum. If gongzi hope for us offer you a higher price, I’m afraid that we are unable to do so.”
Their complexion darkened.
A thousand gold taels was the maximum sum they could offer Wang Chong after their discussion with their clan head. They didn’t expect that Wang Chong would find it insufficient. This was something they didn’t think of and they couldn’t agree to increase the price either.
Even though the capital’s Zhang Clan was a reputable distinguished family, it hadn’t reached the point where they could squander their wealth as they please.
“Furthermore, if we’re not wrong, you haven’t really gained possession of the sales of the Hyderabad ores, right? If you can’t earn 90000 gold taels in a month, not only will you be unable to gain possession of the Hyderabad mine, you will even have to pay a huge sum. ——On this aspect, we aren’t wrong, right?”
The duo said frankly.
Coming up with 90000 gold taels in a month was nearly an impossible task. Even for a prominent and wealthy family like the Zhang Clan, it was a highly difficult task, needless to say, an incorruptible family like the Wang Clan who only lived off their stipends.
They had never believed that Wang Chong would be able to accomplish the task. That was also a reason why they came here to negotiate with Wang Chong.
In fact, after taking over Wang Chong’s contract, they intend to renegotiate the deal with the two Sindhi monks. They would request to either reduce the amount of taels they needed to pay or lengthen the deadline.
In any case, an expense of 90000 gold taels in a single month was unbearable, even for large and wealthy clans.
“It seems like your clan is extremely interested in this mine. However, I would like to ask you. If I were to sell this contract to your Zhang Clan, given your capabilities, how much profit can you earn with a jun of ores?”
A jun ~ 12.5-13kg
Standing on the stairs, Wang Chong’s robe rustled from the wind. Confidently, he asked the two.
The two of them were slightly taken aback. They didn’t think that Wang Chong would ask such a question.
“This… Given the reputation of our Zhang Clan in the capital, all weapons, even if it’s just a sickle, can be sold for multiple folds of its original price as long as it has our name of it. After the Hyderabad ore has been refined and forged by our blacksmiths into weapons, a jun should be able to generate 300 gold taels of profit.”
Zhang Jian and Zhang Cong said confidently.