After listening, Fu Zhiyu stretched out his hand and touched the melon’s leaves again, his expression a little vague.
He had known that his blood was different, and he used it to do many things, including using it to improve the health of his family and friends. He had also earned a sum of money as a back-up selling it, because he wanted to live a comfortable life without thinking about daily expenses. But the plan couldn’t keep up with the changes, and he didn’t expect things to turn out like this at the time.
He actually hadn’t used the money for selling medicine until now. What the mansion used was the money from the box given to him when he became the King of Jiangnan, and he hadn’t even used much of it in recent years, less than one-tenth.
Fu Zhiyu had also seen the accounts in his mansion. There were really few places to spend money. Mainly, his own estate provided a large part of the food, and other places to spend money were also limited. He and his mother were not big spenders.
But now the money earned from the pills was going to be put to good use, just in time to spend on his own plans for Jiangnan, not accumulating dust in the treasury for nothing.
Fu Zhiyu hadn’t used his blood for a long time. There were enough pills for his family to eat, so he didn’t need to. The fact that the pills’ effect came from his blood was something that both his mother and Mingdao had kept to themselves, as if they had never heard of it, and it had never leaked out.
There were times when he forgot about the special characteristics of his own body.
Only a small part of the medicine was sold before, and now the price had become sky-high in the market, but no one was selling it.
Fu Zhiyu had been forced to think about making a living before, so he used his blood for personal gain; but now he looked at the melon and suddenly had a new idea.
He asked the head of the estate: “Have you ever transplanted it? Or, have you used the seeds to grow other seedlings?”
“Yes, I took branches out and planted them, and I also took the seeds and planted them outside, and this melon grows very well,” said the head of the estate. “They all grow very well and produce sweet fruit, all the same.”
They didn’t think there was anything strange about it, because everyone in the estate knew that the seedlings had been moved over from the capital, and they only thought that it was a good variety for the noble family, and that it was normal for the melons to be different from the ordinary ones.
When Fu Zhiyu heard this, he thought of something, and an idea more or less formed in his mind.
However, this matter was not as urgent as the plan already made in front of him; after all, Fu Zhiyu still needed time to verify it.
Besides, he wasn’t so selfless. He didn’t care about such extraneous things as money, so he gave it, but when it came to his own blood, he couldn’t help but be cautious.
Just looking at the sky-high price of the pills, you could see how attractive this thing was to people. This was different from drawings, or in other words, this thing was much more attractive and threatening than drawings.
Never let the fourth person know, nor let others discover a clue. Fu Zhiyu didn’t want to challenge people’s darkest side.
With this thought in his mind, Fu Zhiyu went home with a lot of worries. This was a matter that had both benefits and risks. No one could know what he was planning at this time.
A month later, the loom according to the drawing was built.
This speed surprised Qian Manguan a little. Although there were drawings, he had never seen some very detailed parts on them that needed to be refined little by little. Besides, the drawings were drawings, and the physical objects were physical objects. Being made in one month was already very powerful.
In the middle, Fu Zhiyu also communicated with the craftsmen many times, and changed some ideas based on the experience of the craftsmen. In the end, it was already very good.
Qian Manguan looked at the loom and gently stroked it with his hand, as if looking at his lover.
“Ask the weavers to try it,” Fu Zhiyu couldn’t help but feel a little relieved, “Try how efficient it is. If it works, just go with it.”
“Good, good,” Qian Manguan could hardly suppress the excitement on his face, “I’ll ask them to try it!”
On the Lin family’s side, the transformation of some simple agricultural tools was even faster, and slightly larger labour-saving ploughs were also being made. The progress was good, but big items like waterwheels required more time.
Moreover, waterwheels needed supporting measures, requiring the digging of ditches to divert water for the purpose of irrigation, which, in short, was a major project that burned time and energy.
The ship on Deng Qian’s side would take even longer. Fu Zhiyu conservatively estimated that it would be very good if it could be made within three or five years, but Deng Qian was not in a hurry. He was a big businessman and knew that although it took a long time and it was not as immediate as the Qian family’s loom, if it was really done, the benefits would be immeasurable.
Moreover, he could also feel that what Fu Zhiyu said was true. He said that he wanted to build a canal, and soon after, the capital began to spread the news about recruiting canal workers.
The Yuan family was the least anxious one. It seemed that Fu Zhiyu didn’t give anything to it, but Yuan Jiangwen kept giving money to help him and in fact, Yuan Jiangwen knew that he would definitely benefit a lot.
The Yuan family ran a money bank, and no matter how big the other businesses were, they were actually closely related to him. This was the result of mutual influence. Even on Yuan Lu’s side, Yuan Lu was now in the jade business, but jade had always been a luxury item that most people couldn’t afford. If Jiangnan became rich, his business would naturally be better.
“In fact, at this point, it doesn’t matter if you have more or less money,” Yuan Jiangwen said to Fu Zhiyu very seriously. “Now that I have earned money that I can’t spend in three lifetimes and Yuan Lu is also promising, I have nothing to ask for.
For a businessman, it is only meaningful if you can really do something that is beneficial to the society. Zhiyu, I am very grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to participate in all of this.”
When Fu Zhiyu heard this, he didn’t say much. Between close relatives, things could be understood without words.
As soon as the news of the digging of the canal in the capital came out, the announcement in Jiangnan followed closely. Fu Zhiyu wrote the announcement himself, stating that the recruitment was not forced, it was all voluntary. The wages were paid daily, the work was divided into groups of five, the daily quota was fixed, the supervisors were not allowed to scold, but if the workers were lazy and deliberately delayed, they wouldn’t be employed again after three times.
Fu Zhiyu knew that many labourers were illiterate. He deliberately hired people in every city to read the announcement in the places where the labourers gathered. It was not easy to make money these days, and there was such a good job. Word got around, and within a few days it was all over the place.
The government paid a part of the wages, and Fu Zhiyu paid a part. Among the four major families, the Deng family paid the most. Fu Zhiyu also considered it. He didn’t set the wage rate too high, but it was higher than the labourers carrying large bales in the docks, so there were naturally many people who signed up for canal digging work.
Because of the experience of his previous life, Fu Zhiyu intended to strictly investigate corruption this time and would never allow officials at all levels to withhold wages. Now the governors of various cities in Jiangnan were followed by a team of soldiers from Yuan Jiangxing, Fu Zhiyu also made it clear unceremoniously that they were being watched.
The officials also knew the meaning of Fu Zhiyu’s “trial period”, and they didn’t want to really lose their jobs. No one dared to touch Fu Zhiyu’s bottom line at this time. Besides, Jiangnan was such a large area, and the people at the top were so strict that it was difficult for those below to play tricks to get past them.
After the workers were recruited, the project of digging the canal began.
Jiangnan had been very lively recently. Spring had passed, but the prosperity had not receded in the slightest.
On the loom side, since the prototype had been made, it was not so difficult to make it in bulk, but Qian Manguan was still a little hesitant about the factory. He also told Fu Zhiyu about his other concerns.
“Generally speaking, the people who learn to weave are all women. I used to have a textile workshop, and it’s not that I never thought about making it bigger. It’s true that collecting cloth one by one is very troublesome. It takes time and effort, but I can’t help it,” Qian Man said. “Women who weave generally do it to support their families. They don’t go out of the house. Many of them can’t accept being told to work in the workshop like men.”
“Why can’t they work like men?” Fu Zhiyu asked rhetorically, “Is it that they really don’t want to, or are their families restraining them?”
“…What do you mean?”
“On the one hand, you have to let them know that in your factory, they can use a better loom. During the time they usually weave one cloth they now weave two or even three. This will earn them a lot more money, so who will have a problem with money?” Fu Zhiyu told him patiently, “At the same time, people also need leaders. As long as you can find a small group of people who stand up first and show others their practical changes, even conservative people will be ready to move. The people of Jiangnan are more open than in other places, that’s why I have such expectations. If money is not easy to earn, there will always be some obstacles to what we do, but there is always a way to solve it.”
Qian Manguan seemed to understand and proceeded to arrange a factory.
Yuan Wanyun heard the news from somewhere. A few days later, during the festival of worshipping the Weaving Maiden in Jiangnan, Yuan Wanyun, as the birth mother of the King of Jiangnan and also the former Imperial Noble Concubine, specially participated in this festival.
This festival was somewhat like the sacrifice that Fu Zhiyu participated in last time. It was open to the public and there were many women there. In addition to silkworm farming women, there were also many weavers and embroiderers, making it as lively as the Qixi Festival.
Yuan Wanyun changed into the dress of a peasant woman, and together with the ladies of several other families, fed the growing silkworms with mulberry leaves, and then made subtle references in front of everyone.
“Since ancient times, men have ploughed and women have woven, all doing the same work and singing as they worked. Who says that women are not as good as men?” She said in front of everyone, “I only hope that the women of Jiangnan won’t have to be afraid to walk out of the house and make money with their own hands. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and the Weaving Maiden will bless us.”
Fu Zhiyu heard about this later. Yuan Wanyun patted him on the shoulder and said happily: “I have been confused most of the first half of my life. Only when I gave birth to you did I feel that the previous years were not in vain. I didn’t do it just to help you, I simply thought I should do it.”
Qian Manguan also heard about this, so he took advantage of the situation and really invited several people over.
The first people he recruited were a few widows, and a few girls whose parents died and who couldn’t get married. There was no one to look after them and they were not afraid of others gossiping. Earning a good living for themselves was more important than anything else.
But when they entered the Qian family’s textile factory and started working, they found that the place was even better than they had imagined. Everything was prepared, the looms were made by the Qian family, the threads were also made by the Qian family, they just had to bring their skills, and the looms were very easy to use. The money was calculated by piece, and the rate was much higher than the usual money for cloth collection.
“The head of the Qian family said that there will be more people working in the future. If you are a weaver who has done well and worked for a long time, the Qian family will pay for the family’s sons to go to school and learn to read and write,” the man in the workshop said. “This is what Wang Zhao ordered, I won’t coax you.”
Go to school, ah…
Although they didn’t expect to be able to pass the examinations, it was already good to be able to read and write.
The women took the money home, and at the same time brought the news.
Qian Manguan saw those weavers coming one by one; even though some women were still a little cautious, wearing veils and afraid that others would recognise them, but as the days went by, there were fewer and fewer people covering their faces.
As Yuan Wanyun said, there was nothing to be ashamed of.
Today, Qian Manguan also specially brought a cloth to show Fu Zhiyu.
“Today came a weaving girl with very good skills. You can touch this cloth,” he said happily. “In the future, if the cotton and wool grown by the Lin family in the barbarian territory can be shipped here, the factory can also make cotton clothes.
Wang Zhao, seeing that it is getting better and better, I am counting on you in the days to come.”
Fu Zhiyu glanced at him and didn’t comment on Qian Manguan’s compliments, but smiled and said, “This is just the beginning. There’s still a lot to do, but this time I will accept your good words. I also hope… it will really get better and better.”