He hadn't noticed that a group of soldiers had escorted over ten chariots to the Jun resident's gate. One team of soldiers was moving the boxes from the carts on to the ground. Each of those boxes was either bulky or delicate. And, the extremely pungent smell of medicines which had a.s.sailed his nostrils was originating from these boxes.
Fortunately, those boxes were being moved inside the house; not outside. Otherwise, Jun Mo Xie's first response would've been, "People have raided our house! They are confiscating our stuff!"
The scene was very chaotic to begin with. However, it didn't end there. A group of approximately fifty middle-aged men were scrambling around. They were calling-out-loud mournfully as they impleaded. This had made the entire situation even more chaotic.
[What is going on? What in the world is happening here? What is this?]
Jun Mo Xie walked through the crowd with suspicion and doubts in his mind. And, just when he was about to enter through the gate… he heard loud cries from his side. The mournful middle-aged men had come rus.h.i.+ng towards him, and had started to kneel in front of him. Their faces were covered with snot and tears. They started to impleaded, "Young Master Jun, please be kind; please be generous and let us off! We wish you a long life! We pray you have a blessed life of hundred years, and you attain a great position in the court! Have pity on our small businesses! We have families to feed; please have mercy on us!"
Jun Mo Xie was stumped; [how am I related to this? What are they saying? They are making it seem like this Young Master is an evil man from the legends who forces girls into prost.i.tution… like I am an evil tyrant who brings great misfortune and oppresses people! Who are these folks?! What is this?!]
"What's the matter?" Jun Mo Xie frowned. He knew that those merchants wouldn't dare to talk-back to someone of his stature. So, he asked a soldier standing at the side. But, the soldier merely shook his head. Unexpectedly, he wasn't aware of the reason behind that commotion either.
Just when the Young Master Jun started to feel gloomy — the ground started to shake. Then, a monstrous head arrived.
"I've brought the medicines you had asked for. The ones which were easily accessible, and the ones which weren't; I've brought them all." Fatty Tang chimed in his distinctive intonation. It seemed as if he were showing-off his treasures. He then extended his 'round-and-fat' bear's claw-of-a-hand to gesture. "And these are it! Your brother moved fast, and gave his hundred percent to the task!"
Jun Mo Xie felt somewhat dizzy; [I had told you to get as many ingredients for my medicines as you could. But, this is too much. And, what's the deal with these middle-aged men?] He couldn't help but blurt out, "How did you get so many ingredients? And, what's the matter with these people?"
"Ah! Young Master, everyone is on the same side. So, why do you speak so formally? And, why do you look so confused?" Tang Yuan squeezed through the crowd and winked; as if to imply a clear understanding between the two.
"Young Master Tang, Young Master Jun, please be kind to us. Please let us off! We beg you; leave some means for our survival!" The middle-aged men started to weep the moment they saw Tang Yuan. They then surrounded the two Young Masters, kneeled in front of them, and started to knock their heads on the ground.
"You…" Jun Mo Xie was stunned for a while. Then, he slowly started to understand what had happened… by-and-large. It seemed that Fatty Tang had gone to several pharmaceutical families, and had seized these ingredients from their stores. [And if I'm not mistaken… these people may not have been in a position to give-out such a large amount of raw material.]
"You had urgently asked for these ingredients. But, the amount was a lot. How could I have procured so much in such little time? And, where would I go to get those ingredients for you? So, this Young Master frowned and carefully devised a plan with his foresight!"
Tang Yuan looked very pleased with himself as he spoke, "Therefore, I made arrangements to go to these pharmacies. Then, I made my desire to buy the ingredients known to them. However, you had asked for a very high amount of ingredients, and they said that they didn't wish to part-with so much of it. They told me that they wouldn't be able to conduct their day-to-day business if they sell the ingredients you required..."
Jun Mo Xie was speechless. He rolled his eyes; [you've made a stupid move! How will they do business if you seize their stock with prior notice? Don't you know that it takes several days for one family to complete its turnover? And, did you just say "All of it"? Have you taken everything in their stores?]
"So, this Elder Brother got very angry." Tang Yuan's eyes opened wide, and a murderous expression emerged inside them, "They had refused to do business with me. They weren't selling anything to me. That clearly meant that they were trying to defraud me by force! Really?! How could they do that?! They dared to bully us-two brothers! And, isn't this a breach of the law? So, I straight away went to the Ministry of Justice, and obtained a written approval. Then, I set upon rectifying these people. I then went to the biggest families — and because they acted so tough yesterday — I took everything they had, and closed their shops. Now, I've transported those medicinal ingredients here."
Jun Mo Xie staggered, "What reason did you give to the Ministry to seize these items from these families? Did you tell the Ministry of Justice that you wanted it… and they thought that it was awesome …and gave you the written approval?"
"Third Young Master… aren't you being foolish? Why are you talking like you don't know how the business works?" Tang Yuan looked at him suspiciously, "We can seize their stuff whenever we want because of our status. Why do we need to give any justification? They will learn to respect us if we can go and seize their families' resources at our whims! That is exactly why powerful people go and make arrests for baseless things! They seize the businesses, and wait for a few days. Then, they usually let the owners go if they're in a good mood. However, they chop everyone's heads-off if they're in a foul one since listening to these laments about trivial matters is very annoying…"
The corners of Tang Yuan's mouth rose upwards. He then made a scoffing sound.
Jun Mo Xie stared with his eyes wide open. This was the first time he realized that he hadn't properly integrated with his social status since crossing-over to this new world. Tang Yuan's ideology was very reasonable. Given the setting of this feudal society… would two young n.o.bles like Tang Yuan and Jun Mo Xie need to give any justification if they wanted the entire stock from a shop?
[But, isn't it too forceful and tyrannical?]
There was no better way to explain it. Jun Mo Xie and Tang Yuan could act harsh and unreasonable. Their status would allow them to walk into any shop, and seize the family's entire business. Even if they were to kill each of these people — they could turn to the Ministry of Justice. After that, they could strut around and say — "We've killed them, but it's important to mete-out justice to those who deserve punishment. We acted in accordance to reasonable self-defense, and deserve to be accorded an Imperial Commendation! Oh, and wait… the dead man's family still owes compensation for the damage to our spirit! Humph! We had suffered quite a shock! …but what of the family whose men you murdered? …Send them all to prison. Otherwise, they'd trouble me if they were left in the open. And, if you lowly officials have a problem with it — I don't mind sending you to prison for a few days. This, I've decided!"
This was an advantage of such a high status in this type of a society. It might as well be asked — how many people in all of Tian Xiang could provoke the two great families of Tang and Jun?
[I can't speak for this world… but I could never have acted like this in the previous one… the internet would've… so, this really is a different world!]
Jun Mo Xie turned around to look at the numerous entreating faces. He counted their numbers. Eventually, he figured that shopkeepers from pharmacies of seven families were present outside his door.
He had started to understand this matter very clearly. Fatty Tang had acted exactly like the Hit-man Jun would've. He killed the target, and moved-on without a second thought. But, the base of this matter…
"Everyone heard me, right? Do you know what the problem is? Let me tell you — this elder isn't happy. Let me ask you — who in Tian Xiang Empire dares to refuse business with this elder?!"
Tang Yuan had cried his throat horse with this nonsense. How could those pharmacists have missed his it? [I regret this now… from the bottom of my very heart… and even my guts. I would've given him a cheap bargain if I had known that this would happen… maybe he would've left me alone if I had given him a present as well. We can't do business beyond 10-15 days under these circ.u.mstances. If I look at things now — my family is ruined!]
The pleading members of the crowd nodded in agreement about something, "We're willing to offer all of our family properties to the two Young Masters. We merely ask that the two Young Masters don't take the entirety of our stock… and show us some mercy."
"Bullsh*t! Do you think this Young Master is poor? You think I need your offerings? Besides, what could you offer me except medicines? d.a.m.n it! Will you give me medicines along with the gifts? Are you hoping that I fall ill? Would you be happy if I died?" Tang Yuan shouted as he waved his status in their face once again.
[We hope that you 'both' fall ill. The common people will be very fortunate if you fall ill and die.] The shopkeepers thought angrily. However, their faces only showed obeisance out of fear.
"Everyone, listen! Our Aristocratic Hall needs those ingredients urgently! We had no choice but to use such a method to obtain them. I'll gladly accept your medicines for now. But later, you can arrange an accountant, and settle the accounts with Young Master Tang. This Young Master will ensure that you get paid; no matter what amount we will have owed you. We'll buy your goods at fair prices. We don't try to cheat anyone. Shall we agree upon this, Gentlemen?"
Jun Mo Xie had deliberated at-length before he finally opened his mouth. Why would he wish to exploit those shopkeepers by using his status? It didn't feel good. Fatty had overstepped the boundary a bit too much in this case. So, it was better to settle this matter as quickly as possible since it would be quite improper if any more trouble was unnecessarily provoked.
"Yes. Yes. We lowly people wouldn't dare object."
"You wouldn't dare to object? I'm in-charge here. The decision is mine anyway! Good! Now, everyone must return to their homes. This matter had been decided." Jun Mo Xie frowned at Tang Yuan, "Foot the bill for these urgently-needed ingredients to me. Pay them double the price. Anyway, I had instructed you to pay a higher price. And yes, tell the authorities to remove those trivial accusations. These people are innocent; let them go."
Tang Yuan's face twitched in distress. [Pay them double…]
"We lowly folks wouldn't dare…" With this, the matter was finally resolved. The shopkeepers relaxed and sighed in relief. They didn't say anything since they didn't wish to get into more trouble over these ingredients. But, at least their family businesses had been saved.
"Uh, and I don't want so much of it. I won't need whatever is remaining after I'm done filtering through them," Jun Mo Xie pointed at the ingredients and spoke. He barely took a step before he stopped, "Oh, that's right… send your shop-a.s.sistant to lend a hand. Otherwise, I don't know when I'll be able to finish with such a large amount."
The shopkeepers agreed with pained expressions. They could only think; [what 'way of the world' is this? We run honest businesses. We didn't provoke anybody. However, one person comes out of the blue and seizes our family business. Then, he threatens us with death. Then unexpectedly, we're let-off. And, we're grateful for that… But now, we have to send our a.s.sistants to help sort-out and recycle whatever this person doesn't use? Oh, and, we have to keep a smiling face the entire time?! This is unfair… this is very unfair…]
[Why didn't I see this coming?]
All seven shopkeepers thought of the same thing in unison.
"Good! Now relax and do what I just told you to do. And, hurry up. Everyone — get moving; now!" Jun Mo Xie pulled-up his gown, and proceeded in through the door. He could faintly hear Tang Yuan's voice in the background. It seemed that he was gnas.h.i.+ng his teeth, "So, so, so… you guys opened your mouths, and convinced the Young Master to pay you double…"
"We wouldn't dare to…" the replying voices were full of respect and humility.
Jun Mo Xie couldn't help but smile. He felt that status and authority was handy in dealing with things. [Ah, why hadn't I thought of this earlier?] These pharmacies didn't have any legendary medicines in their stock, but they had every common-one a person could hope for. [I could've saved so much time if I thought of this earlier, ah!]