The Empress's Gigolo 594 Spices
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The two leading riders were tall and well-built people from the mountains that were about 40 or 50 years old. Two young men over 20 years old and two teenagers followed behind them. All of them were wearing animal hides.
As for their mounts, there were two mountain-gazing birds, three jumping sheep, and one beast that was covered in black scales.
"Take these. If your mounts take a dump, you have to clean it up. Otherwise, you will be given 10 lashes of the whip by the Public Order Bureau," a guard instructed as he threw six straw bags at them.
"When was this rule implemented?" one of the well-built middle-aged riders asked as he was not totally convinced.
"It's by order of the empress, and it will be this way in the future," the guard replied impatiently. He was tired of explaining the same thing every day for the past few days.
However, he was kind enough to point out a few riding paths nearby and said, "You can learn from them and save yourself some trouble."
These people looked in the direction pointed out by the guard and saw some people trying to fix a straw bag behind the b.u.t.tocks of a mount… This was to prevent the fork-horned cow from taking a dump all over the road and also to avoid the need to monitor it.
After all, they couldn't be expected to monitor whether their mounts were taking dumps all along the way.
"Thanks for the reminder!" The leading middle-aged man cupped his hands to show his appreciation and smiled sincerely.
"One more thing…" The guard observed the strange animals for a while and warned, "Do not dig holes in the city!"
A moment later, the group set out again. Their strange animals looked aggrieved. After a life of running around, they found it very uncomfortable to move with a bag hanging behind their b.u.t.tocks.
Upon entering the city, the pair of teenagers at the back exclaimed after seeing the pedestrians on the streets, "Third Uncle, this is Lan City and there are so many people!"
The leading middle-aged man who was addressed as Third Uncle said with a smile, "After all, this is Lan City! It's under the jurisdiction of the empress!"
"What beautiful clothes they wear!" The young girl had her eyes set on the clothes of a few pedestrians. Although they looked ordinary to most people, they were very attractive to someone who had just come out of the mountains.
"Let's buy half a bolt of cloth after selling our things!" the leading middle-aged man said dotingly after calculating his cost.
The teenage boy and girl were the most talented youths in the village, had attained the Earth Wheel level before they were 16, and were more promising than their older generation. He brought them here not only to buy goods for the New Year, but also to look for two old friends to see whether they could help to get both youngsters into this year's lantern-grabbing contest.
As they walked forward for a stretch, the leading middle-aged man was puzzled by the closure of the shops that previously sold clothes.
He dismounted to ask some people and discovered that the shops were closed because of the war. The merchant caravans were gone, so the shops were closed down as a result.
The young girl felt that it was a pity.
However, the children from the mountains weren't pampered and soon focused their attention on other matters.
"What a nice smell!" the girl said in surprise. "It smells better than roasted rock worms!"
Not only did she smell it, the rest smelled it too. The aroma alone was enough to whet their appet.i.te.
"The aroma is coming from the front."
Soon, they found a store that was surrounded by many people. Riding on top of their mounts, they could see a shelf in front of the store. A jumping sheep leg was being roasted on top as two skinny people who didn't look like aboriginals occasionally sprinkled some powder on the roast, making it even more enticing.
"What are they doing? Didn't they say the merchant caravans were gone?" The leading middle-aged man went forward to ask a man.
"These are not merchant caravans!" That man turned to look at him, pointed at the signboard above the store, and asked, "Can't you see the words up there?"
"What does it say?" the middle-aged leader asked respectfully. Although Dayao was a country where strength was revered, literate people were also respected.
That man pulled another man who was beside him and asked softly, "What's written up there?"
"From what I heard yesterday, it seems to be the imperial family's spice shop," the other man answered with uncertainty.
"Imperial Family Spice Shop. Her Majesty's Spice Shop!" The man in front turned to confirm.
"What is spice?" the middle–aged leader continued asking.
That man eagerly expounded on this topic and explained, "Take a look at the roast meat. Is the meat that you roast this fragrant?"
"No!" the middle-aged leader said frankly.
"This is what spices are for. Just sprinkle some on the roast meat and the fragrance will hit you! It's so good that you can almost swallow your tongue." He looked intoxicated and seemed to be savoring the smell.
"How is this spice sold?" the middle-aged leader asked with interest.
"I'm not sure, but regardless, it isn't cheap." That pa.s.serby looked at him and said, "If it is for your stronghold, you might as well buy some salt."
"Then why are there so many people?" The middle-aged leader found it strange since these people couldn't be gathering here just to smell the roast meat.
"After roasting, the leg of lamb will be cut into thin slices and distributed to everybody. It's called… a food sample, yes a food sample. All these people here are waiting for a taste of it." The pa.s.serby felt that the words "food sample" were not easy to remember.
This spice shop was, as expected, the idea of Ren Baqian.
Of the spices originally planted, the sesame had been harvested twice and the c.u.min once, whereas the pepper had only recently ripened.
As for the Sichuan pepper and star anise, it would take another two years before they could be harvested.
However, when the sesame and c.u.min ripened, Ren Baqian and the empress were in Tianjing Basin. These spices were sold together with the pepper after the pepper had ripened. Besides the initial agreement to sell a portion to Tong Zhenye and after accounting for the imperial palace, the remainder was used to open the first store while preparations were made to sell the spices to various areas in Dayao.
Pepper and c.u.min were as valuable as silver by weight. In other words, one tael of silver could only buy one tael of pepper or c.u.min. This was slightly more expensive than salt, but this was much cheaper when compared to the time that the price of spices on Earth was as expensive as gold.
Moreover, the spices couldn't be exported and the officials of Dayao did not have the opportunity to make money from trading.
If the spices were priced according to the weight of gold like what had happened during ancient times on Earth, then they would have rotted in the warehouse.
Ren Baqian had acquired about 1,000 mu of fields, which included 200 mu of sesame and 200 mu each of pepper and c.u.min. The rest was planted with anise and p.r.i.c.kly ash. This year, about 25,000 kilograms of sesame, 50,000 kilograms of pepper, 40,000 kilograms of c.u.min, and over 500,000 kilograms of various spices were produced. They were worth more than 1 million taels of silver, which was an astronomical figure.
To be able to produce such a harvest from 600 mu of land was considered a huge windfall. At this price point, Ren Baqian was wondering whether part of the crop would be left to rot in the warehouse. After all, the annual national income of Dayao was less than 10 million taels of silver.
It must be mentioned that this world was indeed a fertile place. Even without fertilizer or advanced agricultural methods, the land was able to produce results that were impossible to achieve on Earth.
Half a day later, these mountain folk tasted the roast mutton and almost swallowed their tongues. They summoned up the courage to ask about the price of c.u.min and Sichuan pepper and subsequently left the shop while drooling.
Although the price wasn't low, the leader calculated that it was within their means if he bought one tael of each type of spice for the villagers back home to try.
"I'm getting hungrier!" the girl complained. Eating a slice of this kind of roasted mutton made the stomach growl for more.
"Try to bear with it. Let's meet up with an old friend first to ask about some matters that concern you," the middle-aged leader said. They crossed Jingyang Street, made some inquiries, and knocked on the door of a mansion they arrived at.
A moment later, they were ushered in.
"You want to partic.i.p.ate in the lantern-grabbing contest? This isn't impossible. You are quite talented, but there are many young talents in Lan City and you may not be outstanding enough. In terms of skill, the members of the elite families are stronger than you. If you are looking for a way out, I can offer you the chance here."
A middle-aged man in the hall was enthusiastically talking with the leader, but became hesitant after learning what they were here for.
"What do you mean?" the leader asked. He did not want the boy and the girl to stagnate in the village.
"Black Bamboo Academy is recruiting a batch of students."
The Empress's Gigolo 594 Spices
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The Empress's Gigolo 594 Spices summary
You're reading The Empress's Gigolo 594 Spices. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Xiu Lijian, 袖里箭 already has 166 views.
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