Chapter 1464 The Yu Clans Trading Firm
Yu Jiang was a rare intelligent man from the Deserted River Star Region.
The reason for that was very simple: Yu Jiangs father, who was also a distant cousin of Old Yus, died fairly young, and so when Yu Jiang had just turned ten, Old Yu had brought him to Hidden Mountain Outpost.
Yu Jiang was now twenty-seven, a big portion of his life spent beyond the Deserted River Star Region.
That was why while he had the ruthless streak that was evident in people from Desert River, he had also developed some observational and thinking skills due to his contact with the worlds beyond it.
Yu Jiang obviously stood out among Old Yus nephews due to his capabilities, and was considered the most highly-regarded nephew that Old Yu was most proud of.
“Actually, the reason why uncle wants to get into the federations territory is mainly because he ended up with a bunch of daughters and not a single son,” In the night, when Xia Fan called Yu Jiang over for a chat, the latter saw no need to lie.
“There is no one that can inherit his business since he has no son.
Had he a son, theres no way he would go there.”
Xia Fan was curious, “Why is that The Federations territories are far more advanced and safer, so why would having a son mean he would not wish to live in Federation territory Wouldnt it be better if his son became educated there”
Yu Jiang chuckled bitterly and shook his head, “Sir, youre mistaken.
Only the lowly citizens in the Outer Frontier live like dogs.
Uncle is a man of means, and hes living just fine.
“Uncle has twelve wives, and thats not including the mistresses that he keeps outside.
Could he still do the same if he were to go into Federation territory
“Theres practically nobody that dares to bully uncle in the Outer Frontier, hes the one bullying others! But once he joins the Federation, he would be an old hat that will be despised by a populace that looks down on Natives like him.
He would have to live with his tail between his legs; theres no way he could live so arrogantly and domineering as he is doing here.”
Xia Fan nodded in understanding.
He felt that what Yu Jiang said made a lot of sense.
While it was true that the Outer Frontier was a chaotic mess, it was also considered a heaven for the rich.
They could have as many women as they wanted, and even found an army with enough money, becoming a local tyrant.
But the moment they take a step into any of the Federations that were ruled with strict laws, there was no way Old Yu could be as arrogant and domineering as before.
Any wealthy individual from the Outer Frontier would become just a normal citizen once they made it inside, with no special authority, and they would have to endure a drastic drop in their quality of life.
“Then what about you What do you think” Xia Fan asked with a smile.
Yu Jiangs expression slowly turned stern as he clenched his fist and said, “Ill seize this opportunity.
To Uncle, he is forced to leave because he has no sons of his own, but I want to go to the Federations territories because only there will I be able to change my fate.
“Actually, the worst thing about living in the Outer Frontier isnt starvation, but despair!
“Our family is considered one of those that have better living conditions in the village, with a rich uncle that isbe able to help somewhat subsidize our living expenses.
But others simply arent as fortunate.
There was a year when a sandstorm wiped out the crops overnight, and so the entire village began to starve!
“The Deserted River Star Region isnt like any other place.
Theres no sea, forests, or mountains.
Theres no river and all you see staring out to the horizon is just desolate sand.
Very few drought-tolerant crops can survive there.
“Water in Deserted River comes from deep wells that are inherently salty.
It is a precious commodity and we will usually only drink it sparingly.
In fact, I never once took a bath growing up, even if my body was covered with desert bugs that bit me all over.
By the way, those bugs Im talking about are actually poisonous, and the welts you get from their bites will fester not long after, dealing you unbearable pain.
Despite that, we still dont shower or bathe.
The children would just gather and pick the bugs off one another, though it was technically impossible to pick them all off.
“That is the life we led, conserving what little water we had to irrigate what farmland we had, only for a sandstorm to ravage all our crops in one fell swoop.
“I watched as my friends whom I had played with since young died from starvation, one by one, barely skin and bones as they died…”
At this point, Yu Jiangs entire body was trembling quite severely.
He ran into the toilet and vomited for quite some time before returning.
His face was pale when he came back, and his eyes dull.
Recalling the unpleasant suffering of his old days was clearly quite stressful to him.
Still, he forced himself to smile, “Sorry.
I really cant continue on this topic.
Its too tragic, and they are all just nightmares for me now.
“In any case, in the end, I became the only one who survived from my village.
As for how I managed to do so, Im sure the two of you can already guess.
“But Im not the only one who had such a past.
Practically every one of us has our own tragic past.
“That is why you may rest at ease.
We would be willing to risk our lives just for the opportunity to live in Federation territory.”
“Not one of us, no matter our age, has gotten married or has any kids of our own.
It is precisely because we do not want our own offspring to live life in such a place.
“Do you really think uncle took me in just because we share the same blood No,” Yu Jiang shook his head.
“Its because he could see a value in me that he could use, and I was more than happy to be used by Uncle.
It is because of this that Im still alive today.”
“I dont hate Uncle for using me, but I dont feel like I owe him anything, either.” Looking out at the blizzard storming outside, Yu Jiang lowered his head and averted his eyes from Xia Fan and Traveling Buddhas gazes.
I accidentally said a little too much.
Its getting late, I think the two of you should get some sleep.
“Please do not worry.
Well be standing guard outside while you rest.
This is something everyone discussed before either of you arrived here.”
With that, Yu Jiang bowed and exited the room.
After Yu Jiang left, Traveling Buddha shook his head and sighed, “The sole survivor of an entire village.
Im afraid this Yu Jiang has even eaten human flesh before.”
Xia Fan grimaced and looked out the window, “Well, thats the Outer Frontier for you.”
That night, Xia Fan and Traveling Buddha did not sleep.
Yu Jiangs heart-wrenching tale made it hard for either of them to fall asleep.
Morning the next day…
They opened the door to find there really were two of Yu Jiangs nephews standing outside.
They had been standing guard outside the entire night.
To them, the lives of Xia Fan and Traveling Buddha were much more precious than their own, so they would rather risk their own lives than let even the slightest harm befall their distinguished guests.
It was just that these nephews were stiff, and not as good at talking as Yu Jiang.
They stood outside like two immovable stone statues, regarding everyone with eyes as blank as a cows stare.
Xia Fan knew the reason and did not blame them.
Breakfast was nothing lavish.
The only ones seated at the table were just Old Yu, Xia Fan, and Traveling Buddha.
His nephews were all eating breakfast in the kitchen, while his wives and children were shut in their rooms.
They would only come out after Xia Fan departed.
In the Outer Frontier, the status women and children held was very low, because they were unable to contribute to the family and still needed to eat.
Most families from Deserted River would view them as a burden.
“This is the uniform that my nephews wear before heading off to work.
Ill have to ask you two to endure this affront.” Old Yu had sent his men to bring him two tunics made from cheap fibers, and now placed them on the table.
The clothes were brand new, but they were coarse to the touch.
They did not seem to be worth much, and there was even a bigYu character imprinted on the back, displaying that the person wearing the uniform was working for Yu Clans trading firm.
Xia Fan took a uniform, while Traveling Buddha looked completely displeased.
The Little Old Buddhas temper was great, and upon hearing how Old Yu would treat his nephews, he despised the man greatly.
It was only thanks to Xia Fan coaxing him, reminding him that they still had need of Old Yu, that he finally suppressed his thought of just killing the old man on the spot.
Leaving Old Yus home, Xia Fan and Traveling Buddha followed Old Yu and mixed in with the Eight Burly King Kongs.
The Eight Burly King Kongs had Yu Jiang as their leader, and were the eight nephews whom Old Yu trusted the most.
Everyone that crossed their path averted their gazes or gave way to the entourage.
There were some bolder individuals who stood aside on the street, giving Old Yu a nod or a slight bow, calling him boss, but Old Yu pretended not to see any of them.
The trading firm was near Old Yus home, just around the corner, so there was no need for them to hitch a ride.
Because the road was piled full of snow, making it slightly harder to walk through, Old Yu had two of his nephews flank him for support as the old man cursed at the horrid weather.
The trading firm was already open for business.
Old Yu dealt in agricultural goods, from the various kinds of fine grain to the potatoes and yams that filled the stomachs of the poor.
Then there was also sun-dried fish, shrimp, and meats, as well as cooking oil and so on.
The Yu Clans trading firm was very imposing, a four-story building that was splendid to behold.
The warehouse behind it was huge, and even if the citizens of the entire city came to purchase their food at the same time, they had plenty of goods in storage to supply everyone.
Here in Hidden Mountain Outpost, Old Yus grain firm was ranked third among those dealing in the same business.
It was just that Xia Fan and Traveling Buddha felt that the Yu Clans trading firm could not help but appear a little rustic.
The ornamental decorations were painted gold, and after enduring the harsh weather, were very quickly mottled.
There was nothing simple or elegant about its style.
It was at the standard of a nouveau riche, a crass assortment of whatever caught Old Yus fancy.
Old Yus nephews took up their posts sternly by the entrance.
Xia Fan could count at a glance that there were over two hundred people receiving customers outside, and there were even more inside, or in other shopfronts and the warehouse.
The citizens of Hidden Mountain Outpost often said that Old Yu had three thousand nephews, and it seemed like this statement was no exaggeration.
Old Yu originally wanted to invite Traveling Buddha and Xia Fan into his office to sit, but after some careful thought, he decided that it would be inappropriate.
After all, the status that Xia Fan and Traveling Buddha now held was that of his nephews from the far-flung Deserted River Star Region.
Thus, all he could do was express his regret with his eyes and then go upstairs after greeting his people and yelling out orders for the day.
Yu Jiang got some men to bring some chairs.
Four of the Eight Burly King Kongs stayed by Old Yus side, while the rest sat down in the center of the store, instructing others to go about their work.
Xia Fan and Traveling Buddha also sat down with them, but no one dared say a word under the watchful side glances from Old Yu and the nephews.
After all, Old Yu was the god here in this place of business, and the Eight Burly King Kongs were the heavens.
The first floor was for standard retail, while the second floor was for wholesaling.
As such, most of those perusing the goods on the first floor were local commoners.
There were not many that dressed tidily.
Most were in tattered clothes, and the food that they bought was in amounts to last a day or two.
Most of them bought the inexpensive sweet potato, which was able to fill the stomachs of a family sufficiently after simple preparation and minor use of condiments.
The assortment of food on display was eye-opening to Traveling Buddha.
What he had originally thought to be beef in the burlap sack of red meat turned out to be field mouse meat after he asked.
Despite it being dried mouse meat, few of these poor commoners bought it.
Their purchasing power was not anywhere near the point where they could afford to eat meat with every meal.
All in all, Old Yus nephews treated the customers with two attitudes.
They were more polite and agreeable to those that dressed tidily, and the poor would just get an eye roll from them.
If any of them did not make a purchase after asking for the price, they might even find themselves kicked out from the store.
Even if they were sent flying and beaten down into the snowy ground, none of them dared to put up any resistance.
All they would do was climb up to their feet in a panic and give a nod and a bow to the person who had just beat them up.
Xia Fan could see a numbness in the eyes of the poor.
There were frozen beggars on the street, their corpses were rigid in the snow, yet no one spared a glance for them.
Perhaps it was because everyone was already used to such sights, and they knew that if they did not give their all for their work, the next to freeze to death might just be them!
Every time they came to the Outer Frontier, Xia Fan and Traveling Buddha would have their worldview shaken.
However, there was nothing they could do about it, so they could only pretend to be unconcerned and simply share a pot of tea with Yu Jiang, viewing the world around them with apathy.
Xia Fan right now really wished the three Federations would just conquer the entire Ashen Moon, so at least the people from the Outer Frontier would be able to be fed, given what the Federations were capable of doing.
At the very least, the commoners would not find themselves in such a state, living a life that was no better than a beasts.
It was about 10 AM when the customers began to steadily increase in numbers.
All of a sudden, one of Old Yus nephews barged in through the entrance, his expression completely bewildered as he swept a glance around the hall before making his way to Yu Jiangs side.
“Brother Jiang, something happened,” the man whispered.
“I suppose its with the big miss” Yu Jiang said with slightly furrowed brows.
The big miss is quarreling with someone.”
“Again Didnt we make sure that some people no longer had eyes after yesterday”
“What can we do with how bad the big misss temper gets.”
“Whose family is it this time”
“I dont recognize them.
They are a bunch of guests at Old Zhus teahouse.
Theres around seven to eight of them in that lot, and theres just two of us on the big misss side.
Theres also several of her friends that are in a quarrel there right now.
I was afraid that the big miss might lose, so I came to the store to inform you of what happened.”
“Got it, I know what to do,” Yu Jiang waved his hand in annoyance and got up.
The big miss they were referring to had to be Old Yus eldest daughter.
It looked like she was in a spot of trouble, so Xia Fan stood up along with Yu Jiang when he saw the gang leader get up.
Unexpectedly, Yu Jiang chuckled, “Brother, theres no need for you to go.
The big miss is only fifteen, and the troubles that she gets into are all the trivial nonsense that kids will get into at her age.
Its really nothing glamorous, and Old Zhus teahouse isnt far off, either.
Ill bring a few men and easily settle the matter.”
Since that was what he said, Xia Fan and Traveling Buddha nodded and remained behind in the trading firm, continuing to observe the looks and actions of Old Yus nephews.
Right now, the looks on their faces indicated they were unhappy with everyone they set their eyes on, giving off a very aloof feeling.
But Yu Jiang had mentioned that all Traveling Buddha and Xia Fan needed to do was say a word and others would realize that the two of them were not from Deserted River.
They needed to learn how these nephews looked at others, what actions they made when treating customers and handling goods, as well as how they talked.
Yu Jiang had already said when they first arrived that Xia Fan and Traveling Buddha ought to stick to just watching, and do what they could to avoid speaking.
Yu Jiang coughed once, and a handful of strapping nephews stepped out and followed him off to the streets.
They took a left turn and headed to Old Zhus teahouse.
It was a pity that Yu Jiang had no idea at this point of time that what he would be facing was not some trivial spat between little kids, but the beginning of a catastrophe!
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