Chapter 104.1 – Gambler With Huge Debt
Although the penalty fees from the customers were recovered, the carving workshop could not be opened anymore.
Not long after, Li Zhen closed down the workshop, but it wasn’t really shutting down completely, rather, he had stopped doing business with outside customers, because An Zi Ran had found him another place, a quiet place that was much larger than before. The tools in the carving workshop were all moved there, and the number of workers also increased by a dozen.
An Zi Ran designated the carving workshop as a playing card workshop.
Although this battle did not cause any huge losses to Li Zhen’s carving workshop, the follow-up was relatively troublesome because several papermaking workshops in Jun Zi City no longer sold them official card paper.
But An Zi Ran had already considered this problem.
A hundred thousand sheets of official card paper could be used to make more than eighteen thousand decks of cards. At the current production rate of the workshop, they could produce about two hundred decks of cards every day. Because they were purely handmade and not mass produced by machines, the daily production number was relatively low.
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
As for the official card paper…
This was actually a very easy matter to handle.
Since those workshops in Jun Zi City were not willing to sell paper to them, then they just went to other cities to buy. No matter how long Luo Yang’s reach was, it was impossible for him to know which city they were buying paper from.
Although this would increase manufacturing costs, currently they were only selling the cards to people who could afford to purchase it, so they did not have to worry about the price too much. And An Zi Ran did not plan to always use official card paper to make playing cards. Right now, he was researching how to reduce the production cost of official card paper.
Support the translator. Read this on vmnovels (dot) com
The coated paper, which was prevalent in his previous life, was impossible to be produced in these retrogress ancient times. He wasn’t some deity. He was only a little more powerful than the average person, so just a technology problem was enough to make him give up on this method.
The main reason why the price of official card paper was so high was due to the materials used.
In order to raise the price of official card paper, the papermaking workshops used fine bamboo materials, so the best way to reduce cost was to cut down on such fine materials. Although it might affect the paper quality, the problem should be small, and later playing cards would be spread to the common people. To the common folk, quality was not the most important thing.
In this way, the problem was resolved.
So, did he still have to open a papermaking workshop himself?
An Zi Ran sunk into pondering mode again. As expected, he still had to recruit some people of talent; otherwise he would be exhausted to death before long.
Tian Long Gambling house had Ye Yu to take care of it from the shadows. At present, Ye Yu was still a trustworthy person, and he had a strong ability to accomplish tasks and handle problems, particularly like that time when he took matters into his own hands and had a few of Bao Hua Gambling House’s structures burned.
Most people might be angry that Ye Yu did not first get permission before acting, but not An Zi Ran. What he needed was this kind of ability that could stand on his own. He didn’t need to worry about everything. Rather, this made him more at ease.
Additionally, there was also the engraving workshop.
The engraving workshop* was even more secretive than the gambling house and the carving workshop*. Other gambling houses could tell that the playing cards were made out of official card paper, but they could not identify the bovine bones, which they have never came in contact with before. No matter how they searched, they would not be able to fine a completely degreased and pure white cattle bone.
[*T/N: Both 雕工坊 diao gong fang and 刻坊 ke fang can be translated as engraving workshop or carving workshop in English, which can get confusing as it’s not very specific, so I’m going to translate the first one as “engraving workshop,” which is the one that carves dices and things out of ivory and bones, and the second one as “carving workshop,” which is the one that works with wood and printing.]
Of course, there were many other materials that could replace cattle bones, but they were definitely not as cheap as cattle bones, so even if they wanted to use ivory, they definitely would not dare to invest a lot.
Because the engraving workshop was more important, An Zi Ran handed the reins over to Su Zi.
For the playing card workshop, there was the veteran Li Zhen in place. An Zi Ran has not been in contact with Li Zhen for a while, but Li Zhen knew his identity, so he should not have the guts to betray him. Moreover, as long as he had concrete control over the papermaking materials, even if Li Zhen got any ideas afterwards, there would be traces left behind to follow.
Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.
Since it was like this, the matter that concerned him the most was still looking for some talented people to help out.
In the future, he would have even more industries, especially since the seeds for cotton have been found.
Half a month ago, Guan Su and Shao Fei arrived in Ali Xiang and began to look for places to sow seeds, but they encountered some troubles that they could not solve, so he and Fu Wu Tian were required to deal with them. Right now, the planting area for cottonseeds was not large. If they wanted to expand, they needed to go there in person.
An Zi Ran really wanted to go there personally. He attached great importance to the cultivation of cotton. The development prospects of cotton was much more expansive than the gambling house. If there are no accidents, cotton will become his main business.
However, he could not leave the capital at the moment.
Other gambling houses were glaring at this casino like a tiger watching its prey*. If they couldn’t resolve this issue before leaving for Ali Xiang, then they would be too far away to help if anything were to happen.
[*T/N: idiom for “to eye covetously”]
A knock on the door suddenly sounded, interrupting his thinking.
An Zi Ran pulled out of his thoughts and called for the person to come in. Steward Zhou, who was at the door, quickly came to him.
“What’s the matter?”