Chapter 58.2 – Hemp vs. Sea Ban
“Because I want to have someone go out to sea to help me find something.”
“What thing?” Fu Wu Tian asked.
An Zi Ran carefully recalled. “The thing is called xi ma*. Its flowers can be both white or purple, with white being the dominant color. In the autumn it will produce something shaped like a peach. When the peach splits, it will reveal a bunch of white things inside. I want to find the seeds of this plant, and the more the better.”
[*T/N: 枲麻 xi ma translates as “male nettle-hemp” (flax fiber for textile materials)]
Xi ma was also known as mian hua (cotton), but xi ma was the older term for it.
Because xi ma sounded like da ma (marijuana), he thought that this name was more likely to be used during these olden times.
He wasn’t sure if this world had the thing called cotton. He has searched through various books, but there was no description of xi ma, so he thought of searching for it overseas. According to his calculations, this was the most crucial step. Without the seeds of the xi ma plant, his plan could not be implemented.
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“This prince has never heard of such a plant.” Fu Wu Tian blinked faintly. Although he stayed at the country’s border for many years, he was also very knowledgeable. Even he had never heard of it. So this xi ma must be very rare. “It is not difficult to go out to sea. This prince can have someone go out and help you search. But it’s just looking for seeds, so why did wang fei mention the sea ban?”
Guessing that he would ask this question, An Zi Ran calmly replied, “It’s true that the sea ban can prevent foreign enemies from invading, but if the ban can be lifted wouldn’t that create more profits for Da Ya?”
“The profit of foreign trade is indeed very big, but that is not enough to convince the Chong Ming Emperor. In the past he dogmatically decreed the sea ban regardless of opposition in court. If you want him to remove the sea ban, that would be very difficult.” When the sea ban was passed, Fu Wu Tian was still young, but he was still able to see the situation clearer than the Chong Ming Emperor.
An Zi Ran looked at him and said, “You have a solution, right?” He felt that Fu Wu Tian was speaking about this situation very lightly. Although Fu Wu Tian said it would be difficult, his tone of voice was too unconcerned.
Fu Wu Tian fixed his gaze upon An Zi Ran. After a long while he said, “Wang fei, from the time we married until now, it seems that we have not kissed once?”
Black lines appeared over An Zi Ran’s forehead. He thought that Fu Wu Tian was silent for so long because he was organizing his thoughts in preparation of what to say. It was always like this, An Zi Ran would understand him at the beginning, but could never guess what he was thinking at the end. An Zi Ran said stiffly, “So what do you want, for me to give you a kiss?”
“Of course not,” Fu Wu Tian unexpectedly denied.
An Zi Ran looked at him flabbergasted.
Fu Wu Tian continued, “As long as wang fei no longer turns his back towards this prince while we are sleeping. That is this prince’s only request.” Wang fei likes the outer side of the bed (the side not against the wall). Every time he goes to bed, he would face outwards and motionlessly maintain that posture, very stubborn and obstinate.
An Zi Ran was astonished. Such a good move of retreating in order to advance. But… “Okay, I promise you.”
[T/N: What AZR means is that FWT started out with what seemed like a big request, but then retreated to a smaller demand to secure AZR’s agreement. ROFL.]
Isn’t it just facing him while they sleep? What is there to be afraid of? But what he didn’t know was that the pressure of facing Fu Wu Tian wasn’t a measly thing.
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Subsequently, Fu Wu Tian sent a letter to Guan Su who was still staying in Jun Zi City. Guan Su was one of the capable people among his subordinates. Because An Zi Ran wanted to keep this matter undercover, Fu Wu Tian had Guan Su personally carry out this task. It was not difficult to borrow a government ship under the wang ye’s name. As long as it was slightly concealed, then it would not attract too much attention.
The next day, Ge Qian An, who had headed to Chang Province, finally returned.
The distance between An Yuan County and Chang Province was much closer than that of Jun Zi City. The horse that Ge Qian An rode was that brown horse that had pulled the carriage. (That very good horse that An Zi Ran commented on.) The horse had very swift hooves, and it didn’t even take a day to go there and return, so the task was completed quickly.
When Ge Qian An entered the door, Steward Su told him that the young master and the wang ye were not at home. The two had went to Manager Feng’s rice shop, and it might take a while before they come back, so Ge Qian An had to change destination to the rice shop to find them.
The rice shop’s business was getting better and better.
Recently, the shopkeepers under An Zi Ran have been going around purchasing large quantities of rice from outside. The goods arrived, one cart after another, it was a very spectacular scene. Because there was too much grain, they had to hire some people to help move the goods. An Zi Ran already informed Manager Feng in advance, and had him hired some people to help out, with their wages being calculated based on the amount of work.
In An Yuan County, there were a lot of people with nothing to do. As a result, when the news had just been transmitted, the people who came to sign up formed a long queue. Even the figures of women could be seen among the line. The wages were not low. This situation caused Manager Feng quite a lot of headache. There weren’t many positions to fill, but everyone wanted it. As a result, some people would start fighting without a word, and the scene was very chaotic.
Manager Feng could not control the situation, so he had to send someone to find An Zi Ran.
When An Zi Ran rushed over, a few troublemakers ran off quickly like a wisp of smoke. In comparison, the one’s who didn’t run off were beaten bloody and bruised. These were all honest and well-behaved farmers. At that point, they didn’t have to guess to know that those people deliberately came to make trouble.
When An Zi Ran thought about it for a bit, he could guess who was behind it. Shao Fei had not returned yet. It seemed that the other party apparently had not found any favorable ‘evidence’ against An Zi Ran, and didn’t want him to be too comfortable, so they had instructed others to come cause trouble for him. In the end, he told Manager Feng to hire those beaten peasants and had medicine bought for them. After all, this matter originated from him.
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