The Tyrant’s Cannon Fodder Male Empress Chapter 61

Chapter 61

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Xue Yao had never aspired to attain official status until now. Instead, he devised a scheme to stabilize grain prices.

Unexpectedly, this bit of cleverness caught the Crown Prince’s attention.

Although he was a devoted fanboy of the Crown Prince, the old father’s affection for his chubby cub always exceeded mere instinct.

In less than a month after leaving the capital, the chubby cub’s sense of security dropped to just over seventy. Xue Yao dared not change jobs recklessly!

Afraid of history repeating itself, afraid of the chubby cub turning dark, afraid of getting his ear chopped and tailbone pierced!

In this lifetime, based on the chubby cub’s new hobby, he might soak Xue Yao in milk with excessive sugar, subjecting him to repeated torment.

“Your son cannot go without milk.”

A dreadful future!

Rejecting the Crown Prince’s invitation, regardless of the consequences, appeared as an act of disrespect.

Xue Yao felt very nervous and was prepared to face the Crown Prince’s displeasure.

Unexpectedly, he heard the Crown Prince’s low laughter.

Unable to resist his curiosity, Xue Yao looked up.

The Crown Prince cleared his throat and resumed with a serious tone, “You’d rather serve Old Seventh’s every need, rather than follow me to build a successful career?”

Xue Yao blinked helplessly, not sure how to explain.

The Crown Prince, with pride in his voice, coldly snorted and saw through the mystery. “Seventh Brother is indeed too adorable.”

Xue Yao: “……”

Don’t randomly make up things, you brocon fanatic!

I’m not someone who can’t do without your adorable chubby little brother.

I’m afraid your chubby little brother might suddenly turn dark!

Satisfied, the Crown Prince graciously showed no anger and even stated he could wait until the Seventh Prince reached adulthood before talking again.

That afternoon, following Xue Yao’s plan, the Crown Prince personally dealt with the third-largest grain merchant to negotiate prices.

Originally, they were worried about having excess grain bought for Jinling City on their hands. But as soon as they heard that this merchant wanted to purchase two hundred thousand stones of grain, the shop manager nearly couldn’t contain his delight!

However, they managed to restrain their excitement and calmly responded, offering some discounts – lowering the price of medium-quality rice to six hundred and thirty copper coins.

This fell short of Xue Yao’s target of “five hundred and forty copper coins” by nearly a hundred copper coins. The Crown Prince, however, showed no displeasure and politely stated that he needed to consider it.

“This year’s grain prices are considerably higher than previous years. If necessary, we can delay our business until next year,” the Crown Prince deliberately expressed his lack of urgency.

The manager, upon hearing this, suddenly felt a pang of anxiety.

Waiting until next year to sell the grain at a lower price was not an option. How could he wait?

So, even before the Crown Prince left, the manager stood up and said, “Please wait, my Lord. We cannot delay the opening date you have set for your business. If you’re willing to establish a long-term partnership with our grain business, we can still negotiate on the price.”

The Crown Prince, being polite, exchanged a few more words but ultimately did not settle on a specific price before leisurely leaving the grain shop.

He then went to another grain shop.

In the evening, when he returned, the eunuchs who had accompanied the Crown Prince to inquire about grain prices were flaunting the Crown Prince’s influence in the courtyard.

Xue Yao sat under the shade of a tree, chatting casually with the Sixth Prince, also curiously listening to the stories.

“When those grain shop owners saw our Crown Prince, they didn’t dare to put on airs anymore. They practically wanted to kneel down and beg His Highness to stay for further negotiations. A few days ago, when we inquired, those grain merchants were adamant about their sky-high price of six hundred and ninety copper coins. Today, one manager got excited upon hearing our request for two hundred thousand stones of grain and eagerly offered a price of six hundred and one copper coins per stone! He even offered to cover half of our transportation costs. They’re practically competing to go bankrupt doing business with us, isn’t it funny?”

The eunuch, who had previously felt disheartened when inquiring about grain prices, said, “It’s about time we dampened the spirits of these unscrupulous merchants! His Highness himself has intervened…”

“Even if the grain prices have dropped this time, I can’t take all the credit,” a calm voice echoed from the main hall. The Crown Prince, with a smile, walked through the archway, addressing the group of fawning eunuchs, “All the credit goes to Xue Yao.”

The eunuchs smiled and nodded in agreement, secretly admiring Xue Yao’s accomplishments.

The Sixth Prince, with an excited expression, quietly said to Xue Yao, “When we return to the capital, Eldest Brother will surely reward you generously!”

Xue Yao smiled but inwardly sighed.

May heaven preserve the chubby cub’s sense of security for at least another half a month!

May the little white rabbit in the Imperial Kitchen not get fat and end up on the chopping block!

The next day, the Crown Prince did not go out to negotiate grain prices.

Employees from various grain shops crowded the doorstep, bearing invitations and hoping to host the Crown Prince at a tavern to discuss business over drinks. However, all of them were politely turned away by the guards.

Three days later, the proprietor of the second-largest grain shop in Zhejiang couldn’t sit still and personally sought an audience.

Only then did the Crown Prince allow the gatekeeper to admit the visitor.

As soon as the proprietor laid eyes on the Crown Prince, he displayed complete sincerity. Without any delay, he offered the real price, “Five hundred and forty copper coins, immediate delivery in silver, and we’ll bundle it up and arrange for shipment onto your ship.”

This price was even lower than Xue Yao had anticipated. The Crown Prince cast a sidelong glance at him.

The proprietor said, “If you’re not satisfied, let me clarify that our granaries didn’t originally stock two hundred thousand stones. Half of it was urgently acquired at a high price from Jinling. The cost is indeed five hundred and forty coins. In our first collaboration, we won’t make a single coin of profit. We only hope you’ll continue to favor our business next year!”

The news of this proprietor’s visit quickly spread to other grain shops.

Within three days, the proprietors of the eight major grain businesses made the rounds, all offering the lowest possible prices.

Some smaller grain shops were even willing to make loss-making deals because they had accumulated too much inventory and needed to free up their funds more urgently than the larger competitors.

In this manner, the Crown Prince acquired one million six hundred thousand stones of grain at an average price of five hundred and thirty coins.

In a year of famine, this price was already astonishingly low, even lower than what Xue Yao had expected.

Compared to the original plan, this price was a significant reduction of one hundred and twenty copper coins per stone, saving the Crown Prince more than two hundred thousand taels of silver in total.

In terms of purchasing power in Xue Yao’s era, this was equivalent to more than a hundred million in wealth!

Xue Yao never even dreamt that he would be able to make such a massive deal.

The eunuchs were also singing his praises, proudly calling him a reincarnation of Zhuge Liang.

After the grain was loaded onto the ship, the group set sail that very afternoon to Shanxi’s disaster-stricken counties.

It wasn’t just one county affected by the disaster. It was three counties.

The Crown Prince divided his entourage into three groups, each heading to one of the three counties to lend grain.

Xue Yao initially intended to accompany the Crown Prince to Lichang County to secure grain, but he suddenly overheard the famous name “Pingrong County” from the Crown Prince’s strategist.

He recalled a side quest named【Control the Epidemic in Pingrong County】.

Could there be an outbreak of disease there?

This left Xue Yao bewildered.

He had barely managed to deceive the Emperor about the Road to Shu matter.

He had desperately deceived a group of merchants about the grain collection.

Now, the system was unexpectedly asking him to control an epidemic!

Epidemics weren’t something one can control through deception. How was he supposed to handle this?

After experiencing so many things, Xue Yao had gradually become accustomed to unexpected situations.

Anyway, he thought, “When the boat arrives at the pier, it will naturally go straight.” Without thinking too much, he directly requested permission from the Crown Prince, using the excuse that he had distant relatives in Pingrong County and wanted to visit them along the way.

The Crown Prince had great trust in him and didn’t think twice before granting his request, allowing him to depart with the Pingrong County group.

The Sixth Prince also wanted to accompany Xue Yao, but the Crown Prince stopped him.

Perhaps because he saw his younger brother as still too young and wanted him close by for reassurance.

In Pingrong County, eunuchs, with the Emperor’s decree, arranged for runners to assist in the grain registration process from the county office.

The Crown Prince, in his initial trial of the new policy, aimed to benefit the people while also demonstrating tangible gains to the Emperor. Therefore, for the first round of borrowing, the interest rate set wasn’t too low, at an annual interest of one percent.

But compared to the usurious rates of three percent commonly charged by landlords and wealthy merchants, it was a remarkably fair offer!

As a result, the disaster-stricken people signing the documents were as cheerful as if it were New Year’s Day. Everything progressed smoothly.

After touring various villages in Pingrong County, Xue Yao didn’t find any bedridden farmers with serious illnesses.

Even until the grain borrowing mission was completed, he hadn’t heard any rumors of an epidemic outbreak.

Logically, the system couldn’t issue non-existent quests.

In other words, the epidemic in Pingrong County might not have occurred this year.

Xue Yao couldn’t find a reason to delay his departure, so he had to follow the majority and rendezvous with the Crown Prince, boarding the ship back to the capital.

What did it mean to have a heart like an arrow homing to its target?

During the few days on the ship, he dreamed of the terrifying image of the Imperial Kitchen chef plucking rabbit fur…

Xue Yao was so anxious that he almost wished to jump into the river and swim back to the palace to rescue the rabbit immediately!

The Sixth Prince keenly sensed Xue Yao’s restlessness but didn’t know what was troubling him.

It wasn’t until one late night, when both of them were sleeping in the same cabin, that he suddenly heard Xue Yao muttering in his sleep.

“Your Highness… want milk?”

Originally, he thought the address “Your Highness” was directed at him, so the Sixth Prince eagerly approached, only to hear the last part. The Sixth Prince pouted slightly, gazing at Xue Yao’s troubled sleeping expression in the faint, swaying candlelight outside the cabin.

“Eldest Brother doesn’t care for Old Seventh as much as you do.” The Sixth Prince pouted, his bright eyes fixed at the sleeping Xue Yao. His voice, almost inaudible, complained, “I might get jealous.”



They had returned to the capital!

After entering the palace, Xue Yao was in such a hurry that he didn’t even bother to seek an audience with the Crown Prince to receive his rewards. He sprinted a hundred meters and rushed straight to the Imperial Kitchen.

“The… rabbit…” Xue Yao grabbed the eunuch who had taken the white rabbit that day, panting heavily as he asked, “Is the rabbit I gave you still here? Have you slaughtered it?”

The young eunuch didn’t provide a clear answer.

Xue Yao couldn’t accept that response. “If you slaughtered it, just admit it! If you didn’t, give it back to me! Be straightforward!”

So, the young eunuch led him to the warm shelter specifically used for raising rabbits.

Xue Yao was astonished.

He stood in the midst of the shelter, which covered half the size of a basketball court.

Around Xue Yao, countless rabbits were running and hopping joyfully.

There were black ones, gray ones, and hundreds of white rabbits.

The eunuch told him seriously, “Young Master, we raise all the rabbits together in here. If you want to find the one you brought, you might need to search for it carefully.” Then, the eunuch left.

Leaving Xue Yao alone in the warm shelter, he watched the rabbits, filled with mixed emotions.

It was impossible to precisely locate the rabbit that the Seventh Prince had given him. So, Xue Yao picked the dullest and silliest white rabbit from the group and carefully carried it away.

Instead of immediately going to Qingqiong Hall to find the chubby cub, Xue Yao first sought out the Sixth Prince’s assistance to clean the rabbit.

He sprinkled a bit of spices on the rabbit’s fur, making it smell like a pampered pet rabbit rather than a meat rabbit freshly taken from the slaughterhouse.

The Sixth Prince mentioned that this rabbit didn’t look too lively and would require careful care.

Fearing he might not be able to raise it himself, Xue Yao asked one of the Sixth Prince’s palace maids to help look after it for a few days.

After bidding farewell to the Sixth Prince, Xue Yao immediately went to the Crown Prince’s palace, retrieved the small craftsmanship he had purchased from Jinling City, and took it to Qingqiong Hall to cheer up the chubby cub.

Hurrying on the way, his foot caught on a pebble.

Xue Yao stumbled, but suddenly, a hand supported his arm, helping him regain his balance.

When Xue Yao turned to thank the person, he realized that there was no one behind him. He stood alone in the center of the small garden, and only a few eunuchs hurriedly passed by from a distance.

It must have been the result of lingering seasickness and hallucinations that hadn’t completely subsided.

Without much thought, Xue Yao hurriedly made his way to Qingqiong Hall and inquired whether the Seventh Prince was present.

The palace maids had received prior instructions and immediately conveyed the Seventh Prince’s request to Xue Yao, “Your Highness is in no hurry to meet Yaoyao.”

Xue Yao: “……”

Hearing this response, he could sense the chubby cub’s furious anger.

Even His Highness wasn’t in a rush to have his milk!

Unable to do much, Xue Yao waited for a while in the reception hall, then took a stroll in the courtyard.

Seeing Xue Yao standing helplessly in the courtyard, the eunuchs whispered to each other, “This young reader-in-waiting has indeed fallen out of favor. It’s mostly of his own making.”

The murmurs in the background were not exactly hushed, and Xue Yao could catch a general sense of the discussion, which made him somewhat uncomfortable.

Thinking that he would have to accompany the chubby cub to his lessons as usual the next day, there was no rush to meet him at this moment. Xue Yao simply exchanged a greeting with the palace maid and prepared to return to his residence to report his safety to his mother.

However, as soon as he stepped over the threshold, an alarm rang in his mind:【Lu Qian’s security sense -1.】

Xue Yao quickly withdrew his foot!

Did the chubby cub secretly install a radar receiver on him?

Why did it seem like he could be tracked after unblocking his Ren and Du meridians?

And he was becoming increasingly unreasonable, not wanting to see him yet not allowing him to leave!

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