T/N: I didn’t forget about this! It just took me longer to get this chapter translated. Sorry again for being late. 🙇♂️
Chapter 111.1 – Number One Merchant
After the Lantern Festival, An Zi Ran and Fu Wu Tian began to make arrangements to go to Ali Xiang. If things went well, then they might be able to make it back before the end of the year.
He has given full control of his various businesses in the capital to people he trusted. As for the all-important small farm, there were Fu Wu Tian’s soldiers to help guard it, while disguised as ordinary peasants. Even if Jiang Sheng and his people learn of the existence of the small farm, they would not be able to get close.
Without caustic soda, this kind of critical chemical procedure, no matter how the other side racked their brains, they would not be able to make the bones of the cows turn milky white.
As for the playing cards, after knowing what kind of paper was used to make them, Bao Hua Gambling House also started to produce a large number of playing cards. The process of making playing cards was not complicated, so it was foreseeable that the other party would compete with Tian Long Gambling House for the playing cards market soon.
Fortunately, after all is said and done, the other party’s speed at making playing cards was still slower than An Zi Ran’s playing card workshop.
Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.
According to An Zi Ran’s instructions, Li Zhen had already bought out all the official card paper and the inventory from several major papermaking workshops in Jun Zi City. Now there was no official card paper in stock at these major papermaking workshops. They needed to make the paper again starting from scratch, and this kind of papermaking was delicate work, especially for precious products.
Bao Hua Gambling House had to wait, and while they were waiting, Li Zhen’s workshop had already produced the first batch of playing cards, just the day after the Lantern Festival.
Li Zhen brought this good news to the prince’s palace.
An Zi Ran called him directly into the study to discuss the matter.
“Gong zi, the first batch of five thousand decks of playing cards has been produced. According to your instructions, all the materials used for printing are the best, and the manufacturing cost is the highest. This is a sample. Take a look.” Li Zhen took the deck of playing cards that he brought with him and placed it in front of An Zi Ran.
An Zi Ran picked up the cards. From appearance, it was almost the same as what was available in his previous life, excluding the technical manufacturing process.
In the end, the difference in technological advancement between the two space-times was too large. It was impossible for it to be exactly like the playing cards of the twenty-first century. He could only have Li Zhen make the cards as high quality as possible. This meant the manufacturing cost has also risen in correlation to the quality. But the advantage of being willing to spend the money was that these cards looked even more upscale than those in his previous life.
The cost of making one deck of playing cards was seventy coins. In addition to that, he must consider the wages of the workers.
Fortunately, the consumer base that they were looking at was only those from wealthy families, so in terms of price, Li Zhen suggested that they could be sold for one hundred and fifty coins per deck.
It would take some time for the playing cards at Bao Hua Gambling House to be made, so right now their playing cards were exclusive.
Li Zhen did some investigation and knew that the cards were very popular in the casino. This trend has not diminished even now, but the space within the casino was limited after all, and some gamblers have no way to play, so they all hoped to buy a deck of cards from the casino and take it back home to play themselves.
For the gamblers, one hundred and fifty coins were a lot less than what they won or lost at the gambling house. If they could buy a deck of cards and play with it for a long time, then why not?
As for the playing cards that Bao Hua Gambling House would launch in the future, if the price was lower than theirs, then they could also make appropriate adjustments to the price to reduce profits or reduce costs.
“We will do as you suggest. Tomorrow morning, have someone bring the five thousand decks of playing cards to the gambling house. I will have people promote them.” An Zi Ran told him after looking over the cards.
“Understood. I will have it arranged right away.” Li Zhen said goodbye to him.
An Zi Ran nodded.
Not long after Li Zhen left, Fu Wu Tian came in and saw the deck of cards that Li Zhen had left on the table. He picked it up and looked at it.
An Zi Ran looked up at him. “There’s one thing that I don’t understand.”
“What is it?” Fu Wu Tian went around the table and stood behind him.
An Zi Ran said, “It’s about the Fifth Prince.”
And Fu Wu Tian had thought that he wanted to ask about the second prince, Fu Yuan Cheng, instead, it was about the fifth prince, Fu Yuan Jian. Although he was not in Jun Zi City for a long time, he has also heard about him. “You want to know why he is not interested in the throne, but instead supports Fu Yuan Cheng, when he has the support of the Zhao family and is fully capable of competing for the throne.”
He has long had this inquiry.
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
Fu Wu Tian explained, “This matter is not much of a secret. Fu Yuan Jian does indeed have capital, but like Yuan Fan, his ambitions lie elsewhere.”
“Oh?” An Zi Ran noticed that he addressed the two cousins differently. It would seem that only Fu Yuan Fan had a slightly better relationship with Fu Wu Tian.
“Fu Yuan Jian is actually the same as wang fei. He is very interested in doing business. This prince once heard a secret. It seems like Fu Yuan Jian wants to be the number one merchant in Da Ya, but wang fei also knows that Chong Ming Emperor does not like businessmen, so his goal cannot be achieved as long as Chong Ming Emperor is alive.”
“His ambition is not small.” An Zi Ran understood that it wasn’t easy or relaxing to be Da Ya’s number one merchant, but once this goal was achieved, it was tantamount to controlling Da Ya’s economy.
Fu Wu Tian looked down at him with a curve to his lips. “His ambition is indeed not small, but in comparison to wang fei it is like a minor magician in the presence of a great one*.”
[*T/N: minor magician in the presence of a great one – idiom meaning: “to pale into insignificance by comparison”]
According to wang fei’s goal, there was no way that he was merely aiming for number one merchant of Da Ya.
An Zi Ran did not answer this time.
Fu Wu Tian was not surprised and continued to speak, “In order to achieve this goal, Fu Yuang Jian needs someone behind him to support him. This person must be the future emperor and a person who recognizes his business talent.”
“That’s why he chose Fu Yuan Cheng, who has no maternal family to support him, not only because he is the most suitable person to ascend the throne, but also because he can only choose Fu Yuan Cheng.”
The first prince and third prince already have backers, and they have never been close to the Zhao family, especially the Yu family. Yu Bo Fei was in command of the imperial guards in the imperial city, which was in conflict with the Zhao family’s interest. The two sides have been struggling for the military power of the imperial city. In recent years, because of Zhao Yi, it lead to constant friction between the two clans, so it was almost impossible for them to cooperate.
Coincidentally, Fu Yuan Cheng understood Fu Yuan Jian’s idea and supported him. As a matter of course, Fu Yuan Jian could only cooperate with him. But this was also related to the two of them being close friends with Zhao Yi from childhood.