The Twenty-four Businesses were at the Twenty-four Company Streets. This was an ordinary street. By the two sides of the vast street contained all sorts of registered companies. Merchants from overseas and everywhere around the world came here. Although this was called the Twenty-four Company Streets, there weren’t just twenty-four trading companies. There was a business association in Minyue and only twenty-four trading companies could enter it. The street got its name due to this.
Not far from the Twenty-four Company Streets was the port. The business association was formed near the water. Besides that was the government office which was in charge of collecting taxes. No matter the local or overseas merchants, they all needed to go through trading companies and have them help pay for taxes. Only then could they disembark the goods or go out to sea.
This place didn’t seem big but it was Minyue’s core. The reason why Minyue was able to become the wealthiest place in Dazhou was because it had to do with Twenty-four Company Streets’ prosperity.
Shen Ziqiao didn’t expect this place to develop so well. This place was probably a trading company in the ancient time.
“Let’s go to Yixing Company first.” Old Lord Pan didn’t take the horse carriage. He led Shen Ziqiao and slowly walked on the Twenty-four Company Streets. While walking, he explained to her how after the cargo ships had arrived, they needed to go to the government office and pay taxes. They then need to receive a token before they could disembark their goods. After that, he started explaining the role of the business association.
“...Look there. The business association is where the Dazhou flag is. There are lots of trading companies so some things happen inevitably. If we want Minyue’s trading companies to be steady and safe, we need to suppress it appropriately. That way, we’d feel safe and so would the court.” Old Lord Pan said.
“You’re saying that the business association is actually controlled by the court?” Shen Ziqiao asked, glancing towards the business association not far from her. She heard that He Family was the main merchant.
Old Lord Pan chuckled. “That’s not really it. It’s just the rules passed down by generation. If there is a business purposely raising the price and disturbing the market, impacting the common people’s lives, then the business association might need to step in.”
Shen Ziqiao didn’t really understand.
“Whose money are we earning from? Common people’s. If common people aren’t living well, where are we going to earn money from? Trading companies’ foundations include a reasonable profit and a steady markey.” Old Lord Pan smiled. “You’re still young. You need to slowly learn.”
“Yes, grandfather.” Shen Ziqiao suddenly became respectful towards Old Lord Pan. He must be a good businessman since he considered the common people before profit. No wonder Pan Family was able to stay towered in Minyue and teach its children that well too.
Oh, besides the second uncle.
“Your mother also frequently came here in the past.” Old Lord Pan suddenly said, pointing at the river bank not far from them. They could faintly see a cargo ship. “She acted like a man, commanding everyone to load and unload cargoes.”
“Didn’t my mother take after you?” Shen Ziqiao seemed to see a valiant and formidable woman walking by the river bank.
Old Lord Pan recalled his daughter clinging to his side and asking him all sorts of questions. He suddenly felt sorrow in his heart. “You and your mother are really alike.”
Shen Ziqiao hurriedly shook her head. “I’m not as capable as my mother. If it was me, I wouldn’t even be capable of opening my own trading company. Ordinary men may not even be as smart as my mother.”
“Lazybones.” Old Lord Pan chuckled.
“I think this is pretty good.” Shen Ziqiao didn’t have any big aspirations so she couldn’t act like Pan Madam.
Old Lord Pan sighed. “Maybe...it’s better like this.”
If his daughter could’ve just gotten married and stayed at home to teach her children like an ordinary woman and not be so stubborn, wanting to prove that women were not lacking against men, the ending probably would’ve been different today.
They had already arrived at the Yixing Company. The building was vast and three stories high. When the main shopkeeper saw Old Lord Pan, he hurriedly welcomed, “Old Lord, you’re here. The tea from Fujian had just been unloaded from the ship. Do you want to personally take a look?”
Old Lord Pan looked at Shen Ziqiao. “Do you want to check out the goods with me?”
Shen Ziqiao chuckled and bit her fingers. “I’ll go check out mother’s trading company.”
“Go ahead.” Old Lord Pan grinned and called a shop assistant from Yixing Company to take Shen Ziqiao to Tianbao Company that Pan Madam had left.
Back then, Pan Madam got married not long after Tianbao Company was formed. She relied on Shopkeeper Zhang and Fan in Minyue to manage the business for her. She instructed them from the capital, transforming a small store to a formidable and vast trading company.
Tianbao Company wasn’t far from Yixing Company. They arrived after passing a few stores.
“Third Miss?” Shopkeeper Fan was about to head outside when he saw Shen Ziqiao walking over. A smile floated on his serious face.
“Shopkeeper Fan, are you heading out?” This was the first time Shen Ziqiao arrived at Tianbao Company. Her bright eyes looked curiously around the arrangements of Tianbao Company.
The moment she entered, she saw a huge drawer. Shopkeeper Zhang usually organized the things here but she didn’t see him today.
There were a few tutor chairs and tables in the lounge used to receive guests and to discuss business with customers.
“I’m getting ready to go to the government office but it’s no rush.” Shopkeeper Fan said, calling all the shop assistants in Tianbao Company to come meet Shen Ziqiao.
Shen Ziqiao greeted everyone but seemed to realize that Shopkeeper Fan didn’t really need to introduce her. Everyone in the trading company knew that she was the owner.
Shopkeeper Fan probably mentioned her in the past days.
Shen Ziqiao felt touched and gratified inside.
“Shopkeeper Fan, where’s Shopkeeper Zhang?” Shen Ziqiao asked. Seeing that Shopkeeper Fan was getting ready to talk to her about the different operations in the trading company, she hurriedly asked about Shopkeeper Zhang’s whereabouts.
“Oh, he just left.” Shopkeeper Fan said, “I think Young Master He was looking for him.”
As he said this, he saw Shopkeeper Zhang walking in from the front door. Seeing that Shen Ziqiao was also here, he slightly froze.
“Third Miss, you’re here.” A smile floated on his round face, his eyes squinting.
Shen Ziqiao stared at He Chen behind Shopkeeper Zhang. Did Tianbao Company have business with He Family too?
He Chen originally wanted to have a few words with Shopkeeper Fan but he didn’t expect to see Shen Ziqiao here. He curled his lips up as a form of greeting.
“Young Master He, what a coincidence.” Shen Ziqiao smiled, asking. With the intention of brainwashing him, she actively walked towards He Chen, hoping to become more familiar with him. That way, it’d be easier to do some things.
Helplessly, however, He Chen hadn’t received her friendly intention. There wasn’t a smile on his handsome face at all. He seemed to be looking at her in disdain even. “Not a coincidence. I personally came to invite Shopkeeper Zhang and Fan to He Family’s trading company.”
Huh? Shen Ziqiao thought she had heard wrong. This man was trying to steal her people.
Shopkeeper Fan and Zhang knitted their brows at the same time. “Young Master He, we won’t be leaving Tianbao Company.”
He Chen was disappointed by the rejection. He looked unhappily at Shen Ziqiao. “Third Miss Shen, instead of wasting talented people by keeping them at your place, why don’t you part with them for their sake? Everyone knows about Shopkeeper Fan and Zhang’s grievances. My He Family can treat them better so you…”
“Wait a second!” Shen Ziqiao interrupted his words, her polite smile fading. “Young Master He, did I hear right? You’re here to steal my people and you even want me to generously bring them over to your place? Don’t you think everything is going too well for you?”
Wasn’t he too shameless?
“Then what do you want?” He Chen asked.
Shen Ziqiao sneered. “What exactly do you want then? Shopkeeper Zhang and Fan already said that they won’t leave Tianbao Company. You refuse to give up and you even think this is my fault? Young Master He, do I look like a persimmon to you? You can just do whatever you want to me? Or did my Tianbao Company offend you somehow? You just had to do my Tianbao Company like that?”
She was polite to him because he was a super lovesick cannon fodder male supporting lead. She wanted to save him from suffering but that doesn’t mean she’d allow him to bully her however he wanted.
“Do you even have the ability to manage Tianbao Company? If it weren’t for your mother’s kindness that kept Shopkeeper Fan and Zhang here, you think that you could make them stay here? You’re not Pan Lihua!” He Chen exclaimed coldly.
“That’s my problem. Don’t worry.” Shen Ziqiao replied.
As expected, since he was able to stay with Sheng Peiyin until the end, he obviously wasn’t anyone good either! Shen Ziqiao decided not to brainwash him anymore. Let him seek death! Go die!
So what if she had no aspirations? What do the two shopkeepers wanting to work for her have anything to do with him?
Even more, he blamed it on her for failing!
So what if she kept those people because of Pan Madam? She was proud of being a wealthy second generation. What’s wrong with that?
Without Pan Madam’s hard work, she wouldn’t get to enjoy herself right now. Even if she felt guilty, this had to do with her. What did this have to do with He Chen?!
The more Shen Ziqiao thought about it, the more angry she saw. She felt as if she was looked down upon!
“Hong Yu, see the guest out.” Shen Ziqiao turned, too lazy to sputter nonsense with He Chen anymore.
He Chen knitted his brows and stared at Shen Ziqiao’s silhouette for a while. What did he say wrong? Wasn’t this girl the daughter of a general? How would she know anything about the trading company? What’s wrong with staying at home and raising the children after getting married?
Shopkeeper Zhang smiled and led Shen Ziqiao to the second floor.
“Third Miss, don’t worry. We won’t go.” Shopkeeper Zhang glanced at Shen Ziqiao’s puffed cheeks and exclaimed.
“Uncle fatty, if you dare to leave this place, I’m going to drag you back.” Shen Ziqiao hmphed and asked, unwilling to accept this. “He Chen means that I’m going to ruin Tianbao Company right?”
Shopkeeper Zhang laughed. “Third Miss is intelligent and wise but outsiders don’t know.”
Shopkeeper Fan laughed along. “You can just ignore him.”
“No wonder you guys could manage Tianbao Company that well. You guys have great taste.” Shen Ziqiao smiled but she was actually worried that they might leave.
If they weren’t in Tianbao Company...
Then everything would really be over.
Shen Ziqiao noticed that Lady Meng was right. No matter what, she should have a backup plan.
She did trust them but they didn’t seem to trust her that much.
In many people’s hearts, Pan Madam was a goddess. She was enjoying the wealth Pan Madam left for her so she couldn’t lose her face.
Shen Ziqiao sighed. As expected, she had a great dream but reality was cruel.
T/N: Ko-fi queue: 2/2~