Chapter 42 – Shortsighted Han Fu
August 31st, 181 A . D .
Thousands of carriage and wagons kept coming from the east and south . All of them were loaded with potatoes and sugar .
It was the result of Tong's investment .
After Tong confirmed that he could make beers, he commissioned merchants and travelers to spread words that he would buy any potatoes and sugar if they came to his county with the products .
After a couple weeks, the merchants and officials in the city of Nan Pi and the city of Ye heard the news . They immediately bought everything in the markets and made the trips to Tong's village .
It was currently potato harvest season so the price was cheap . Seven tons of potatoes were being sold for one gold while sugar were three tons a gold .
They bought it cheap and sold Tong for the price of one gold for four tons of potatoes and one ton of sugar for a gold .
Tong knew that the price wasn't right, yet he still bought all of them . He had one more business he had in mind using the ingredients he bought . Even if there were left over potatoes and sugar, he still could save it for the upcoming drought season .
He spent 10,000 gold to the merchants and hoarded over 32,000 tons of potatoes and 2,000 tons of sugar .
The old fox Feng Ji of the Yuan family also sent a proposal for trading his potatoes with Tong's soap, which Tong accepted . Thus he got another 100,000 tons of potatoes in exchanged for 1,000 soap bars .
The villagers were baffled at the scenes of merchant's caravans . The merchants were also baffled by the abilities to stock massive amount of food in the small resident areas . They didn't know that Tong hoarded all of them in his space inventory .
Even the spies of the Yuan family were flabbergasted . They couldn't find any trace or where the Zhang family had stored all the potatoes .
While the outside was in chaotic in business dealing, Tong was busy arranging his potatoes, sugar and of course, THE BEER BARRELS .
Tong had his craftsmen and carpenters helped him making many wooden barrels to store his beer . At the same times, he arranged his servants to make shifts and continued 24/7 making his beer using the magic cooking stall, then poured all of the beer into barrels .
Tong saved them for ten purposes . One, Tong wanted to sell it as a high-class beverage . He wanted to charge a high price for a barrel of beer .
And second to tenth purposes were for him to drink! Don't ask why he made nine of the same purposes, it was that important in Tong's life .
Today, Tong made some rough calculation . One ton of potatoes and a tiny bits of sugar could convert into five 100-littres-barrels of beer . Then by all the materials at the cost of one gold, he could make 19 or 20 barrels of beer .
But it had a problem, the production rate was still slow .
Tong had his servants continued making beer 24/7, but they could only make one hundred litters of beer for every one hour . In short, the production rate was 24 barrels of beer for each day .
It was slow, but Tong could still see the business opportunity . So he consulted it with his father, Zhang Jiao, again .
Zhang Jiao tasted the beer and gave Tong a meaningful look . He was shocked by the liquor that Tong had made . It was smooth and soft, unlike the other ales or wines which only burned his throat and stomach .
Zhang Jiao couldn't estimate the retail price of this liquor . So he asked Tong to make him a couple barrels so he could make a trip to Nan Pi and tried to make a deal with Feng Ji again .
Though Feng Ji was an old cunning fox, but he was good in business . Zhang Jiao and Tong might get conned by him, but it could be considered as a tuition fee for surveying the market .
Thus Zhang Jiao took the two barrels of beer and journeyed to Nan Pi one more time .
The prosperity of Zhang family already caught the eyes of the Ye governor, Han Fu . He dispatched his spies into the Anping County the moment he had heard that Zhang Jiao and Tong wanted to buy all potatoes and sugar .
Later, he received the report that the Yuan family in Nan Pi and the Zhang family had a close relationship which the Yuan family even dispatched Wen Chou to remain in Zhang Jiao's village as a guard .
At the same time, Han Fu also heard that the Julu Governor planned to attack the Zhang family to steal their wealth without caring about if he would offend the Yuan family .
Han Fu didn't like war, but he hates Yuan Shao and his family more .
Though Han Fu had an official rank higher than Yuan Shao, he still felt inferior comparing to his talents and his family background . Thus he became jealous of Yuan Shao .
Yuan Shao himself didn't pay attention to Han Fu . He was busy climbing the ladder in the imperial court while continued clashing with the eunuch faction along with Cao Cao .
Han Fu saw an opportunity to sabotage Yuan family's reputation and their allies, but he didn't know how to execute it . So he asked his advisors .
"What should I do in this situation? I want to damage the Yuan family but I don't know how . "
Then a minister under him, Xin Ping gave him an advice .
"How about we deploy a small task force to raid the Zhang family . The Zhang and the Yuan family are allies . So if we damage the Zhang, then we will slap the face of Yuan Shao indirectly . "
Han Fu's eyes lit up . But before he was about to agree, another voice was raised out .
"No! We cannot attack Zhang Jiao and his family! That family is a physician family with great reputation . Instead of attacking them, we should extend our hands to help them in this crisis! They will be attacked and be outnumbered, so we should send troops to ensure their safety and protect the civilians in that county! This way they will be indebted to us and our reputation will rise and surpassing the Yuan family!"
The minister that objected Xin Ping's opinion was Ju Shou, who would become one of the top advisor of Yuan Shao later in the history .
Xin Ping glared at Ju Shou and clicked his tongue . Then he argued back .
"Zhang Jiao's family is not a simple family . His son has already proclaimed himself as an immortal . That is blasphemy! And Zhang Tong's wife is rumor to be an evil cultist! There were proofs that she extorted the villagers for children blood . Eradicating this family is justified!"
Ju Shou was calm . He glanced back at Xin Ping and debated back .
"We should not prejudice people by looking at a few mistakes they have committed in their lives . Instead, we should look into their true value and their talents! No man is perfected from birth! If a pair of children can achieve this much, then what will they achieve once they become a full-fledged adult! The reports from the spies already indicated that Zhang Tong is the true mastermind behind the Zhang family business and the mysterious soldier training program in his camp . And Hua Shi is known to have miraculous medicine skills . Those children with great potentials have more value than those tiny mistakes they have made and should be properly nurtured! Their behavior can still be curbed and corrected if we protect them and give them a proper education . Once they grew up, they will be the future help to our lord!"
Xin Ping took a step back in shock by Ju Shou's logic . But he still insisted and argued back .
"Because they are already this sinister when they are this young, what will happen if they grew up!? It will get worse! How can we trust them? Won't they betray our faith once we feed them? How do you know that they won't bite us back, hah? I say we get rid of the trouble makers and be done with it . There is no need to waste our precious time babysitting a couple brats that wasn't even part of a noble family!"
Ju Shou gritted his teeth . He had enough of Xin Ping's stubbornness and pessimistic viewpoint . But before he continued the debate, Han Fu stopped them .
"That's enough . I've made my decision . Pan Feng, step forward . "
A general in full iron armor stepped out of the crowd to the middle of the hall .
"Conscript 5,000 militias in this harvest season and prepare 8,000 men . We will eradicate the Zhang family and slap the face of the Yuan!"
"As you commanded!"
Ju Shou sighed in his heart and shook his head, while Xin Ping glanced at him with mocking eyes .
'These people are too narrow-minded . They have no vision for the future . ' Ju Shou thought .
That day after the meeting with Han Fu was over . Ju Shou wrote a letter and had his men sent it to Zhang Jiao in secret . In the letter, he described that a new threat was coming from the south, so it would be best to step back and hid under the wings of the Yuan family to save their lives .
After sending away his messenger, Ju Shou gazed at the stars in the night sky . He lamented .
"Will there be one day that the lord will understand my intention?"
"Or there will be one day …"
Ju Shou closed his eyes . He didn't like the idea of betraying his lord . He was a man with integrity and his motto was loyalty . But his fantasizing dream of his couldn't be stopped .
'If there is a lord worthy of my service …'