There was only one person that sold salt in Xi Yang City. His name was Ying Ya, and he would carry a bag of salt around with him all day long. According to him, it was top top¹ quality fine salt handpicked from salt piles.
“The commoners’ lives are really improving. In the last few days, I’ve sold as much salt as it would have previously taken me months to sell. This is a good sign,” Ying Ya said as he sat by the gate and observed the workers carrying wood around.
“All of you, hurry up and work hard and earn money. Otherwise, how would you be able to afford salt?” Ying Ya said, smiling. In the past, there was pretty much no one this street. After Liu Feng came here and closed the main street and demolished the houses, people started using the other streets, including the one that his store was on.
Ying Ya had gone and took a look at the main street a few days ago. During that time, the houses were pretty much finished and just needed some decorating on the inside of the houses. The houses in the residential community had almost finished construction.
The cement, however, confused him, because it looked like mud to him, and in his mind, no mud could turn hard. Ying Ya didn’t understand anything, but that didn’t matter to him. All he had to know was that the commoners were able to work for Liu Feng, which allowed them to save quite a bit of copper coins, which allowed them to buy more salt from him.
Should I increase the price of salt from sixty copper coins per kilogram of salt to sixty-two copper coins per kilogram of salt? Ying Ya had thought about it for 4 days already. Raising prices was a very normal thing for merchants; plotting to murder a noble wasn’t normal. He had gone to the public execution of the food merchants and thought of them as idiots.
“It costs 5 copper coins for every half a kilogram of salt in Hai Yan City. Including the cost of transportation, it would cost about 10 copper coins per half a kilogram of salt in total, so I would only earn 20 copper coins per half a kilogram of salt. Nobody’s going to earn enough retirement money with that! It seems that I have to raise the price!”
Hai Yan City was a port city. It was one of the largest cities in the kingdom and was filled with salt. Countless amounts of sea salt get transported out of the cities every year. There were tons of salt merchants that got salt for the city to go to other places to sell them.
Ying Ya really wanted to buy a store in the Shopping Mall² as it was the place with the most amount of traffic in Xi Yang City. Unfortunately for him, the stores were only rented out, not sold. He also didn’t want to be there and pay taxes.
Taxes? Unacceptable! I only earn 20 copper coins per half a kilogram of salt! That’s already very little! And you want me to pay taxes? I am not doing that. I’m the only salt seller in this city anyways. I don’t need to be in the Shopping Mall to sell the salt.
Clip-clop. Clip-clop. Clip-clop.
The sound of horse hooves ran out, interrupting Ying Ya from his thoughts. He looked at the streets and saw a few horses pulling about 5 carriages³.
Isn’t that Butler Niu Ben? Why is he here? Did something happen? Ying Ya knew about Niu Ben. He knew that Niu Ben only went outside the City Lord’s Mansion when something important happened, so he was curious.
The items in the carriages must be very precious for Butler Niu to be the one to escort them. Ying Ya got up and tried to look at the stuff in the carriages, but unfortunately for him, the items on the carriages were covered with wheat sheets.
Niu Ben looked at Ying Ya with a strange expression on his face and mentally shook his head. Before long, this salt merchant would probably have to do a clearance sale and sell the salt he has at a painfully low price. Either that or he would have to go to another city to sell his salt or he’ll go bankrupt.
Ying Ya scratched his head. The business intuition built up from years of being a merchant gave him a bad feeling. Is the city lord trying to remove me? No way, right? Isn’t he afraid of scaring away the other merchants?”
Clip-clop. Clip-clop. Clip-clop.
As the carriages went away, Ying Ya saw something fall down from the carriage, and he hurriedly picked it up.
“A stone? Could it be an ore? For Butler Niu to be personally escorting these ores, it must be a gemstone,” Ying Ya said, his eyes glowing. He immediately hid the stone in his arms, rang back into his store, and closed it.
Niu Ben had no idea that he had lost a piece of salt ore and that it was being treated like a treasure. He was currently taking the carriages into the Military Department of Scientific Research⁴.
Extracting edible salt from salt ores was a time-changing process. As such, it was in their best interest to conduct it in a heavily guarded place like the Military Department of Scientific Research.
The salt ores were all unloaded and piled into a small mountain.
“Young master, is this enough? If not, I’ll tell people to go and get more,” Niu Ben said. It was obvious how much he valued salt.
“It’s enough. This amount of salt ores can be made into salt enough to last a few days for thousands of people. Next time, just roughly refine the salt ores in the place they are found before bringing them back,” Liu Feng said, nodding with satisfaction. There were a few things that he couldn’t make public yet, or he would become a tool for other nobles to make money. He wanted to be the one to conduct the productions. That way, he would get a good reputation, produce things others couldn’t think of, and prevent the other nobles from earning money.
“I’ll send someone to keep an eye on it,” Niu Ben said. He wasn’t a saint, and he didn’t believe that Liu Feng was someone who would be blinded by money. After all, in his mind, Liu Feng could earn thousands of gold coins just by selling one of the items he had, whether it was the watch, the crystal glass, the compound hunting bow, or something else.
Yet, Liu Feng didn’t do so. Not only that, but Liu Feng also gave them the objects, which made Niu Ben and the others more sure of their loyalty to Liu Feng, as in their minds, no other person would be so generous to their subordinates.
“Don’t worry,” Liu Feng said, smiling. “I’ll keep the salt at a low price so that everyone would be able to afford it.”
¹ Not a typo. The quality, from worst to best, is: bottom bottom, bottom middle, bottom top, middle bottom, middle middle, middle top, top bottom, top medium, and top top. Some of them may be not be used if there aren’t that many tiers of things.
² Yes, it’s a shopping mall, not a supermarket. My mistake, I’ll go back and fix the previous ones later.
³ The author writes 4 or 5. Honestly, I’m kind of annoyed. I understand that for large amounts you’ll write an estimate, but for small amounts you don’t even have to consciously count it and you’ll know how many there is. But the author always writes 2 or 3, 3 or 4, 4 or 5, etc. I always take them out but it’s annoying and it might be inaccurate for later events that happen.
⁴ I am not sure whether this is a different department than the previous one or the same one as the one in the previous chapters with just the location specified.
Been grinding my high score. So I owe 68 chapters now because of that. Well, I don’t regret it. I got rank 1, even if it was of the lowest division. It gave me the fragments for my waifu. :3
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