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“Your Highness, what about afterward?” Mo Jiang still asked out loud.
It was their duty to protect His Highness, so how can they leave without saying a word? So what if His Highness spent his energy to train an elite team now? Won’t everything have to start over again after a few years?
Ming Yu didn’t understand that Mo Jiang’s brain circuit had already thought of that far. He looked at him with a puzzled look, and Mo Jiang said his worries, “How about we annul the promise. They are carrying on the Emperor’s order to protect Your Highness, it is to protect Your Highness for a lifetime.”
Ming Yu suddenly knew that Mo Jiang was indeed thinking about himself wholeheartedly, but he could not agree with Mo Jiang’s words, “A nobleman’s word is his bond. How can I go back on the words I said? Don’t worry, since we are able to cultivate the first group of people, we will naturally be able to cultivate the second group. Does Commander Mo not believe in himself or in Ben Wang?”
He had decided that these people would be handed over to Mo Jiang for training. He can put forward some substantive ideas, but the specifics depended on the ability of Commander Mo.
Ming Yu’s words made Mo Jiang suddenly become clear at once. That’s right! What if these people return to the capital? He could just cultivate more talented people for His Highness. Mo Jiang left with the belief that he could do it. Five hundred Huben troops gradually took shape under his polishing. They also became a legend in the borderlands, but of course, this was something to be talked about in the future. Now everything had just begun.
After taking care of various chores, Ming Yu only brought a few guards and wandered out the prince’s mansion. He was thinking about the foreigner’s affairs in his heart. He wanted to learn more about these things, so he thought of going to the foreigners’ gathering place at the south of the city to take a look.
Along the way, what he saw and heard was very different from when he entered the city yesterday. Today, there was obviously a lot of bustling noise on the streets. People came and went on the main streets, the shouts of street vendors never stopped. Occasionally, there was the sound of cows and horses neighing.
Hastening his journey yesterday, he wasn’t able to take a good look at the scenery along the road. At this time, he noticed a strong western wind blowing on his face. The streets, houses, and even flowers and trees all carried a wild and unruly style.
This was a gathering place for foreigners, thus a large part of them were foreigners. Among these people, there were travelers passing through, who were dressed in strange clothes, and spoke a non-intelligible foreign language. Some had lived here for many years and had been Sinicized a long time ago, so each and every move revealed a Chinese person’s mannerism. There were also foreign female entertainers dancing their foreign whirling dance among the crowd. With their enchanting posture and rhythmic drums, it made the viewers stop and become fascinated. There were also foreign female entertainers with wonderful figures standing at the door of their stores, welcoming guests to come in for a drink.
Everything felt so novel in Ming Yu’s eyes. It’s not that he was a person who hadn’t seen the world before, what kind of person had he not seen in the later generations? But standing at this place, at this moment, made him feel an unprecedented amazement. That’s right, this was the tip of the iceberg in the long river of Henggu history, and he was fortunate to stand here and witness this frame of living picture scroll.
He walked and stopped as he pleased, then finally was dragged into a door by a female foreigner with two braids.
“Gongzi*, come in and have a drink? My family’s alcohol is famous in Liangcheng. Ask the neighbor’s stores. In this entire street, the most pure and strongest drink is from my shop.” The female foreigner giggled, her voice was clear and sweet. Pulling Ming Yu to boast about her family’s stuff that only existed under the heavens without comparison.
(Gongzi: noble son, not sure if I had written this down or not, so here it is.)
“Really? It’s that good?” Ming Yu was a little tired after walking for so long, so he simply stepped in.
The female foreigner’s eyebrows were crooked, her eyes full of wandering autumn ripples. She looked around with passion, and made a gesture to pull the guard behind Ming Yu. Several guards saw this kind of situation and their complexion flushed red through and through. Seeing that their master had entered without changing his complexion, they were in a dilemma for a while.
The female foreigner chuckled, “Several Da Lao Ya Men, how come you all be shy? You’re not even comparable to this easy-mannered and dignified little Gongzi.” She spoke straightforwardly, which made several people want to find a place to dig a hole and get in.
Seeing that this group of people were all Chinese people, she had the feeling to tease them a bit. Chinese people were really interesting. Their men are unexpectedly more shy than their women.
Ming Yu also had a good laugh. These guards were all from the capital, so their insights were naturally extraordinary. However, Chinese women were all dignified and elegant, reserved and gentle. Today, when running into alluring female foreigners with brazen dresses exposing their snow-white arms and legs, wouldn’t they be afraid of where to put their eyes?
“Come in for a drink of water and wine, rest your feet, before strolling to other places.” Ming Yu opened his mouth to save them from their embarrassing situation, “Guniang*, there is no need to bother with them. This is the first time they came here, so it is inevitably somewhat uncomfortable.”
(Guniang: Young lady, lady, girl. So, basically means for women, it’s like a form of address like sir, madam,ma’am, but in Chinese, it’s kind of a bit respectful since you would call anyone Guniang without minding if they are female entertainers or not.)
The female foreigner curled her lips and muttered: “Isn’t it Gongzi’s first time too?” Having said that, she let them go. She turned her body sideways, then let them in. The few people breathed a sigh of relief, then hurriedly dodged aside like snakes and scorpions, slipped away and entered.
When that female foreigner saw this, her little mouth was about to rise to the sky. Was she that terrifying? It was funny when she thought about it again, but she couldn’t neglect customers when they entered the store. She hurriedly stepped forward to take care of the customers’ food and drinks.
It was not big inside the shop. There were six or seven tables, one could see everything at a glance and there were already two tables seated with customers. Ming Yu chose to sit down by the window. The guards did not dare to sit at the same table with him, so they chose a nearby position to form a protective circle.
Soon, the wine and dishes arrived. It was a signature dish unique to foreigners. Mingyu tasted it slowly, it really had a special flavor.
“Bu Atan, you have to think about it, just set it on a good day. Tell me, what do you think?”
A voice entered Ming Yu’s ears. Originally he didn’t care, but after hearing a familiar name, he looked over.
It was quite a coincidence. Not far away, sitting with his back to them, was the foreigner, Bu Atan, who he had met yesterday. He didn’t intend to recognize the person, but their conversation later attracted his attention.
“He Danhan, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. You know my flatbread business. Right now, it’s already hard enough to feed my family. I quarreled with your sister-in-law yesterday and I thought about it all night before, only then did I decide to risk it once. Not for anything else, but to survive.” Bu Atan took a sip of wine, his voice was melancholy.
After a while, Bu Atan continued: “If I didn’t think well about it, I wouldn’t have come to you. How about it? One word, would you like to follow Lao Ge to work?”
He Danhan thought for a long time, a little confused, unable to make up his mind. “Lao Ge, have you really decided? This risk…” He paused and looked at Bu Atan, “You have to think well about it. Today is not like the past. Since five years ago, after the caravan of Boss Luo suffered a calamity, how many people still dare to do it now?”
(Lao Ge: Big brother)
What he mentioned was Boss Luo’s largest caravan in the borderlands from five years ago. There were more than ten carriages and hundreds of guards. However, after a merchant trip five years ago, for some reason, there was no news from them afterwards. Finally, someone saw the caravan’s broken carts and horses in the wilderness. There was no living being left, and the goods were all looted. At that time, this incident caused a sensation in the entirety of Liangzhou. Hearsay, this caravan had encountered bandits and the whole guard was wiped out. Later, several waves of caravans were robbed one after another. Since then, the caravans have gradually become scarce. Who would risk their lives to go and be a traveling merchant?
“To tell you the truth, even if you don’t follow me, I will still do this business. The Great Yan’s goods are all very rare and incomparable to all the western countries, while the goods transported from there are also priceless inside the market here. I just need two trips to make a full profit. When that time comes, I can let my wife and children live a good life.” Bu Atan stated his plan.
Bandits are difficult to deal with, but one just needed to be more careful. If one really ran into one, those bandits also only sought money and valuables. Using a bit of money to bribe them, maybe they could get out of it unscathed. Besides, he didn’t believe that his luck could be so bad that even when he went in secret, he would still run into those bandits. No matter what, it was a risk, and it couldn’t be worse than it was now, right?
He Danhan thought of Bu Atan’s prospects. It would be fake to say that his heart wasn’t moved. It’s just that, unlike Bu Atan, he still hadn’t decided for the time being. He said with some difficulties, “Then Lao Ge, let me think about it carefully.”
Bu Atan was also very straightforward. He nodded and agreed: “That’s fine, you can think it over, but time doesn’t wait for people. You’d better reply to me as soon as possible.”
How could He Danhan still care about drinking at this time, he couldn’t sit still, “Then I will go back and discuss with my family, I will answer you in three days.” After speaking, he got up and left.
Bu Atan didn’t keep him either. When He danhan left, he was ready to settle the bill.
At this moment, someone slapped him on the shoulder. Bu Atan looked back and almost fell to his knees in fright. Isn’t this the prince he saw on the streets yesterday? How could they meet at this place?
He was about to greet him, but Ming Yu stopped him. He walked to the other side of him and sat down on his own, then motioned for him to sit down and speak.
Bu Atan did not dare to defy him, and sat down tremblingly.
Ming Yu was interested, “Do you want to do business with Western Countries?”
Ming Yu merely listened a bit and after a little analysis, he already knew Bu Atan’s plan. Therefore, as soon as he spoke, he was ready to go straight to the subject.
Bu Atan’s heart shook. He only had one bad thought. It’s over, it’s over, this time having it known by this person, he’s afraid he will have to face the consequences.
But how could a person like him submit to his fate easily? His eyeballs rolled and turned, and there was only one thought in his mind. He would never admit to it no matter what.
In the Great Yan Kingdom, foreign trade was not allowed. But the benefits of this were huge, thus it made many people take risks for the sake of their interests. Of course, this was only in secret, and no one dared to mention it on the surface.
Bu Atan made an appointment with He Danhan here today to talk about his plan. Firstly, it was because he was too excited, and secondly, it was because this was a gathering place for foreigners. These things were common here. Thirdly, he never thought that the prince would come here.
Bu Atan made a firm face and looked left and right, then said to him, “Heihei (laugh)! Wangye, maybe you have heard it wrong? How could Xiaoren dare….”
(Wangye: prince, or the title to call the vassal state king)
Ming Yu’s slender fingers tapped the tabletop lightly, staring at Bu Atan with a smile.
Bu Atan couldn’t say what he was saying anymore, he closed his mouth in embarrassment.
“Okay, Ben Wang is not going to talk nonsense with you, nor is Ben Wang trying to punish you. However, you have to say everything about your plan.” Ming Yu smiled, giving people a gentle and harmless feeling.
Bu Atan thought he had survived the calamity when he heard the first half of the sentence, but when he heard the rest of it, his face turned pale. Did he think he was foolish? Won’t saying it lead him to being punished? Will he have any good outcomes after saying everything about his plan?
Ming Yu knocked on the table not hurriedly nor slowly, “It’s okay, it doesn’t matter if you don’t say it, you know that this Liangcheng is now Ben Wang’s territory, your every move can’t escape Ben Wang’s eyes. Unless you leave Liangcheng right now…”
This was naturally impossible. He had been here for more than ten years. His wife and aunt were from Liangcheng, and his children had also grown up here. How can his hard-to-get personal connections be lost all at once?
Bu Atan was weighing the pros and cons in his heart, then he heard Ming Yu casually say: “Have you ever thought about having your caravan escorted and protected by Ben Wang?”
Bu Atan’s hand trembled. The wine glass on the table rolled to the ground and broke apart. Everyone in the small shop looked over. Bu Atan smiled awkwardly and apologized: “It was a slip of the hand, a slip of the hand.”
He also called out to the female foreigner to remove the leftover food from the table and ordered a table of dishes again. At this time, Bu Atan’s heart stabilized, and he pondered the meaning of the Duan Wang words in front of him.