The Human Emperor - Chapter 47: Wang Chong’s Plan
“It has already been twenty days, but there’s still no movement from that lad!”
In the courtyard of the Zhang Clan, Zhang Jian and Zhang Cong were currently seated around a stone table. They leisurely sipped on the tea, allowing the aroma to swirl in their mouth with expressions of delight.
“How could he possibly succeed that easily? It’s 90000 gold taels! It isn’t a small sum. Did he really think it would appear out of thin air just because he wanted it to?”
Holding his teacup, Zhang Cong lifted his head. With a pleasured expression, he said:
“Besides, under Duke Jiu’s influence, the Wang Clan is incorruptible. How could they possibly have that much money? Our Zhang Clan has several centuries of history behind it, and even though our total fortunes is worth more than 90000 gold taels, it would still be impossible to fork out such a sum in a month, needless to say, them. How could he possibly succeed like that?”
They had been keeping a lookout at the Court of Judicial Review and the contract regarding the sales of Hyderabad ore hadn’t been completed yet.
In their perspective, Wang Chong’s deal was probably going to fall apart!
“It’s a pity that the lad is too arrogant! If he could consider our deal when we paid him a visit, he wouldn’t have landed himself in such a state. Look, not only did he fail in his business, he even has to pay a fee for breaking the contract!”
Zhang Jian looked into the sky with a look of contemplation as he stroked his beard.
Back then, when they first ran to the White Agate Jewelry Shop, found out that someone had bought the Hyderabad ore from them in advance, and that it was the Wang Clan at that, they really panicked.
However, after keeping a lookout on the situation for several days, they were completely relaxed.
In the Central Plains, the reputation of ‘Duke Jiu’ is resounding. If Wang Clan had truly intended to buy the ores, they were doomed to fail. However, given the 90000 gold taels condition in the contract, the Wang Clan was nothing more than a temporary obstruction in their way.
Regardless of how powerful the Wang Clan might be, if they were unable to rake up 90000 gold taels on time, it would all be in vain. Eventually, the Hyderabad ores would still land in the hands of the Zhang Clan.
All that had happened was a slight delay.
“I truly can’t understand the reason behind their actions. Duke Jiu’s lineage devoted all of their efforts in the royal court and the military, and I have never heard that they’re interested in ores. When I heard that the Hyderabad ores was bought by the Wang Clan, I thought that the monks were joking! Why would they want the ores of the Sindhi for?”
Perplexed, Zhang Jian suddenly spoke up.
“Duke Jiu is a prestigious person who is highly respected by everyone. If I were to say, it is likely that he is kept in the dark on the matter. It was probably the doings of those grandsons of his.”
“If something happens, our Zhang Clan should still stand up and help them. We can’t allow Duke Jiu’s reputation to be sullied by this issue.”
Zhang Cong said seriously.
“Un, this is also the intention of our clan head!”
Zhang Jian nodded his head in agreement.
Duke Jiu was an official who shouldered great responsibilities. He contributed greatly to the country and the world. If not for his efforts back then, the world might have descended into chaos by now.
This was also a reason why Duke Jiu was respected by everyone.
Just when the duo was speaking, a white-clothed member of the Zhang Clan walked in hurriedly, headed toward Zhang Jian, and whispered into his ear.
“What? Someone is selling swords in Bluebottle Pavilion?”
Zhang Jian was astonished.
“Isn’t it normal for someone to be selling swords?”
Zhang Cong sipped on his tea, not paying any heed to the matter. Given the prosperity of the capital, it wasn’t surprising for someone to be selling swords.
“600 taels each! Gold! The notice is hung on the banner of the Bluebottle Pavilion, and no one is allowed to see the sword!”
Zhang Cong’s tea spurted from his mouth. It wasn’t surprising for someone to be selling swords as there were plenty of steel swords in the city. However, it was different matter for someone to be selling swords at 600 gold taels each.
There were only a few powers who could create swords of that quality. The capital’s Zhang Clan was one of them.
“Which prestigious family had overstepped their boundary and come over to the capital? Didn’t they know that this is our territory? ——What did the capital’s Huang Clan, Cheng Clan, Li Clan, and Lu Clan have to say about the matter?”
Zhang Cong asked. If the one selling the swords were from the Huang, Cheng, Li, or Lu Clan, there wouldn’t be any need to report the matter up to them.
“They had already sent their men to the Bluebottle Pavilion. They seem to be completely caught off-guard by the matter as well, and they even sent someone to ask us about it!”
Zhang Jian said.
A deep frown appeared on Zhang Cong’s forehead.
There were rules among swordsmiths. In the world, every single industry had their own territory and sphere of influence. This wasn’t due to any promises amongst them, but a situation that had occurred naturally over a span of several centuries.
The swordsmithing industry in the capital were mainly dominated by the Zhang, Huang, Cheng, Li, and Lu Clan.
It wasn’t really that no other clans were allowed to sell their swords in the capital. Just that, if the other powers decide to expand their territory to the capital, they should at least report their entry to them.
It wasn’t that they were domineering and exclusive. But, this was just the rules of the swordsmithing industry.
If it was them, if they were to arrive at another land to buy or sell sword, they would at least inform the swordsmiths on that land.
This was a rule that all swordsmiths followed by.
This clan seems to be very uncivilized!
“Let’s go! We’ll take a look!”
Zhang Cong flung his robe and stood up. At the same time, Zhang Jian placed the teacup in his hands back on the table.
The Pavilion was an exquisitely sculpted building which emanated grandness.
If one were to lift his head to look at the building, one would find the infrastructure of the building resembling a giant bluebottle butterfly which was about to spread its wings and soar to the heavens.
Just like Vast Crane Pavilion, this was a luxurious location for one to eat and drink tea. However, due to the nature of the customers, those who were here for tea and snacks far surpassed the number of those who were here to eat.
However, there was something different about Bluebottle Pavilion today.
By the door of the Bluebottle Pavilion, a metal mountain formed by ingots stacked up to 2 meters tall and a meter wide.
Directly above the metal mountain, a three chi long sword covered with layer after layer of black cloth hung by the roof.
By the sword, there was a huge wooden plaque with the a few words written on it:
【600 gold taels!】
This metal mountain, the sword, and the wooden plaque had attracted the attention of many. Surrounding them, one could vaguely hear their disdainful criticism:
“Not allowed to see or touch, how do they intend to sell their swords like that?”
“600 taels, gold at that. They had probably gone insane thinking of money! Why don’t they just rob a bank?”
“What is the Bluebottle Pavilion doing? To hang a sword before others in a place to eat and drink, do they still intend to do business?”
On the second floor of the Bluebottle Pavilion, Wei Hao looked downward at the crowd outside. Those mocking words felt like sharp daggers behind his back.
He was the young master of the Bluebottle Pavilion, and he was the one who got someone to hang the sword up there, so he felt insulted by their contemptuous words.
“Wang Chong, is this really alright?”
Wei Hao was filled with anxiety:
“The Bluebottle Pavilion is a place to eat, drink, and rest. Why don’t we change a location and find a proper weapon shop?”
“There’s no need for that. This is a good place!”
Wang Chong shook his head resolutely. Determination and calmness reflected in his eyes. Sometimes, Wei Hao truly envied him. He felt as though he was someone who would never be unaffected by his surroundings.
“However, is it really alright? I think it’s a little weird to have those who are here to drink to buy a sword. Furthermore, given the price of 600 gold taels per sword, can we really gather 90000 gold taels?”
Contrary to Wang Chong’s attitude, Wei Hao felt completely unconfident. Wang Chong’s choice of location was extremely ‘unorthodox’. This wasn’t the place where one sold swords. Moreover, Wei Hao had no idea whether 600 gold taels per sword should be considered expensive or cheap.
In any case, Wang Chong should have never gotten himself himself into a debt of 90000 gold taels in the first place!
“Rest assured, we can definitely raise the sum required!”
While drinking and eating,Wang Chong glanced at the crowd at the street below with an impassive expression.
From the very start, it was impossible to gather 90000 gold taels.
Under normal circumstances, a famous sword could only be sold for 600 to 700 gold taels. Even the top-notch ones were under a thousand gold taels.
If one didn’t bear any expectations of the sword, an ordinary metal sword was only worth a few wen to a few dozen wen. Under such conditions, it was impossible to sell a Wootz steel weapon for such an exorbitant price!
It would take at least six to seven years for the market for Wootz steel to pick up.
Thus, from the very start, Wang Chong had decided that he wouldn’t use ordinary methods. He had to walk an ‘unorthodox path’!
And the Bluebottle Pavilion was an important segment of Wang Chong’s plan!
This might not be a good location to sell swords. However, Wang Chong knew that it wielded an advantage which any other weapon shops couldn’t compare up to.
Slightly diagonal from the location of the Bluebottle Pavilion, around a hundred zhang away, was the main doors of the royal palace. The Imperial Army was stationed there!
Thus, the Bluebottle Pavilion was a location which all of the Imperial Army general, leaders, and members had to pass by to enter the royal palace every day!
The reason why Bluebottle Pavilion could become a place which specialized in tea and alcohol instead of becoming a location which specialized in selling food like the Vast Crane Pavilion was because the Imperial Army members would often head here to rest and spend their time after their patrols.
Alcohol was banned in the royal palace, and the Imperial Army members could only come here for a drink under the pretext of enjoying tea in the short interval when they were changing shifts.
They were generous with their money, and as such, business in the Bluebottle Pavilion had been good.
Of course, this wasn’t what Wang Chong was concerned with. Possessing the memories of his previous life, no one understood more than Wang Chong that of the entire Great Tang and Central Plains, there wasn’t a better buyer than for these swords than the generals of the Imperial Army.
In his previous life, the reason why the Wootz steel swords from the Abbasid Caliphate rose up to several hundred thousand taels each was because of these Imperial Army heads who viewed swords as their life.
Only the truly elegant, sharp, and noble swords were befitting of their noble position. The leaders of the Imperial Army were all potential buyers who could afford the price!
On this aspect, even those clans who specialized in trading Wootz steel were unable to match up to them.
In truth, most of the leaders from the Imperial Army had outstanding background and didn’t lack money.
Wang Chong knew that the only way to raise 90000 gold taels within a short period of time was to target those leaders of the Imperial Army.
Actually, from the very start, Wang Chong’s target audience for him to strike rich via the Hyderabad ores was the wealthy Imperial Army leaders!
As long as his goods were of good quality, the Imperial Army was definitely more than capable of affording it!
However, due to the deference others felt toward the royal palace and the Imperial Army, most of the weapon merchants didn’t dare to approach the Imperial Army. Other than Wang Chong, no one had noticed this group of potential buyers with massive financial ability!
This was the only advantage that Wang Chong had, as well as the secret that Wang Chong would never tell anyone!
I should probably compile a glossary of terms soon.
Alright, a brief summary of China’s currency
They use coins, silver, and gold (as well as bank notes) for trading.
Usually, coins are termed as wen, and they are the smallest denomination.
Silver and gold are normally valued in terms of weight (taels), and the size and shape normally comes in a sheet or ingots (Naturally, ingots are heavier). Of course, you could deposit these silver and gold in a bank and exchange them for notes as well.
Current countries involved in the series:
Charax Spasinu (Where modern Iraq is, capital of Characene. I could be wrong, but the people should be termed as Persians)
Abbasid Caliphate (Arabs)
Hyderabad (Sindhu, this is how it is known in Great Tang, where modern India is)
Great Tang (Otherwise known as Central Plains; China)
Various Organizations in Great Tang:
Imperial Army -> The only army allowed in the capital, under the direct control of the Emperor
Bureau of Military Personnel -> In charge of deploying/ promoting people.
Four Quarters Embassy -> In charge of dealing with external affairs (Where Grandpa Wang & Grandpa Yao is living in)
Various Powers in the Great Tang:
Duke of Wei Clan
Do comment and help me add on to the list T_T
As always, if there’s any factual error in the additional information I provided (well, I use the internet), feel free to correct me.