Chapter 147 - Goddaughter?
At this time, the supervisor jogged over, wiped the sweat on his forehead, and smiled flatteringly, “Lord Imperial Envoy, according to the scale of the expansion of the harbor and the estimated construction period, we will need a large number of masons and construction workers . What do…”
“You have to ask me about such a trifling matter? Then what do I need you supervisors for?” Fang Zizhen had a straightforward temperament, and always spoke bluntly to vile people who only knew how to curry favors and don’t do any practical work .
But the supervisor wasn’t someone completely without merit either . He was just uncertain about the temperament of the imperial envoy who was sent over, so he didn’t dare act recklessly! Since he was willing to delegate power to him, what worries would he still have?
When Yu Xiaocao heard that they needed masons for the harbor construction, she immediately thought of her youngest maternal uncle . Her youngest maternal uncle didn’t have any other abilities, but he was even more skilled as a mason than a carpenter . Since Brother Han’s martial uncle was in charge of this matter, it would be a waste to not use this connection!
“What General Fang! You make it seem like we’re strangers!! With your family’s relationship with my martial younger brother, you can just call me Uncle Fang!” Fang Zizhen was quite cordial towards this bright and clever young girl .
Yu Xiaocao also didn’t act courteous with him anymore and smiled even sweeter, “Uncle Fang! Xiaocao has a small matter, which I would like to ask you for a little help with…”
“How small is this small matter?” Fang Zizhen teased her .
Yu Xiaocao glanced at the supervisor and deliberately whispered into his ears . In fact, she spoke in a voice that could be heard by the people around them, “Uncle Fang, the construction of the new harbor must require a lot of workers, right? Are these people sent from above, or are they recruited onsite?”
Fang Zizhen also deliberately lowered his voice and spoke in a secretive manner, “The Ministry of Works sent several people over, but except for this, everyone else will be recruited onsite . Why? You have family who wants to work at the docks?”
The supervisor had a lot of doubts within his heart regarding the relationship between the imperial envoy and the fisherman’s daughter who sold braised food at the docks . But he could tell that the imperial envoy treated the little girl like she was a child of his family . The smooth and slick supervisor naturally knew what to do .
He listened attentively and heard Xiaocao say with slight embarrassment, “Uncle Fang, my youngest maternal uncle is very good with masonry work! There aren’t any villagers in the surrounding villages who don’t know this! I heard that he had also came to look for work at the docks… Perhaps you can test him?”
Fang Zizhen raised his eyebrow and gave the supervisor a look . Then the supervisor tactfully said, “What’s there to test? Would there even be anything wrong with someone that Miss Xiaocao recommended? Do you see that new hut over there? Later, just tell your youngest uncle to go there directly . I will be there registering the new recruits!”
Yu Xiaocao waved at Liu Zhiwei and told him, who had jogged over, “Oldest Cousin, do you know where Youngest Uncle is? Tell him to come over quickly and go register with this sir . ”
“Registration? For what?” Liu Zhiwei couldn’t think straight for a moment as he looked cautiously at the official’s robe that General Fang and his subordinates were wearing .
Yu Xiaocao glared at him and said, “Of course it’s the registration for the recruitment of masons… Just go, why are you asking so many questions? If you mess up this matter, just see if Youngest Uncle will spare you!”
Liu Zhiwei took another look at the officials present and widened his eyes: ‘Oh my god! Little Sister Xiaocao actually has connections with the officials in charge of the construction of the harbor . Tsk-tsk, Little Sister Xiaocao is seriously too bold, to be able to keep a straight face in front of all these officials . If I were in her place, I probably wouldn’t even dare to say a word! But, the most surprising thing was the fact that Little Sister Xiaocao actually had some face in front of the officials . What exactly is going on?’
Although Liu Zhiwei had thousands of questions in his heart, he still managed to hold back perplexed feelings and swiftly ran off to find his youngest paternal uncle . He knew very clearly what this job meant to his youngest uncle and his family .
It would definitely take at least three to five years to complete the harbor construction, which meant that his youngest uncle would have a stable income for the next three to five years . He would have a stable job! He had heard that the emperor attached great importance on the construction of the harbor and sent an imperial envoy to supervise the progress of the construction .
There had been a rumor at the docks that workers who participated in the construction of the harbor could have a salary that was no less than the porters on the docks! Many of the dockworkers were interested in job and were preparing to try out at the recruitment site .
Liu Zhiwei pulled out his youngest paternal uncle from the crowd in front of the recruitment hut . Liu Hao was working hard to squeeze his way to the front because the chance of being recruited would increase if he was closer to the front . However, the people enlisting were all burly men who were used to heavy manual labor . He didn’t have a strong-built figure, so how would he be able to squeeze through the crowd?
Liu Hao, who was abruptly pulled out by his nephew, said with a displeased face, “Zhiwei, what are you doing? I finally managed to squeeze into the middle but ended up being dragged out by you . All my efforts have been wasted! What exactly is the matter?! Quickly say it!”
“Youngest Uncle stop trying to squeeze into the crowd! Little Sister Xiaocao used her connections for you, so you can just directly go meet the person in charge of recruiting workers!” Liu Zhiwei pulled his youngest uncle further away from the crowd and whispered with excitement .
After being delighted for a moment, Liu Hao pulled a long face again and said, “Don’t joke with Youngest Uncle! How would Xiaocao know Supervisor Zhang? Even if she knows him, why would Supervisor Zhang give face to a little girl like her?”
Seeing that he didn’t believe him, Liu Zhiwei slightly anxiously said, “Youngest Uncle! How could I possibly joke around with this matter? Either it’s real or not, wouldn’t you know when you go over? Hurry up, or else the lords might get impatient from waiting and leave!”
Liu Hao was still skeptical as he followed his nephew to Old Liu’s noodle stall . When he arrived, he saw a high-ranking official, who was dressed in an official’s robe and sitting uninhibitedly on a stool, happily chatting with his niece . Supervisor Zhang, whom he recognized, was accompanying them with a smile .
When had he ever seen Supervisor Zhang being so fawning? Supervisor Zhang was in charge of recruiting workers, so he had always acted arrogantly towards the people who came to apply for work and never had serious regard for them . At this time, that usually snobby and arrogant person was actually listening to his niece with a broad smile . Had he not seen it with his own eyes, he seriously wouldn’t have believed it!
“Greetings, my lords! I shall pay my respects to Your Excellencies!” Liu Hao had worked in town before, so he was more knowledgeable than the farmers who only worked hard in the fields . He disregarded the doubts in his heart and bobbed a greeting to the lords first!
Fang Zizhen carefully examined him, and then nodded, “Mhm! Not bad! He’s a fine-looking man . I heard that you’re skilled in masonry?”
“This commoner doesn’t dare accept Your Excellency’s praise! This commoner began learning under a mason in town at the age of fourteen, and it has been fifteen years now!” Liu Hao could tell that he was the highest ranking official among the three people and answered respectfully .
Fang Zizhen commended, “Not arrogant nor rash, and answers in an appropriate manner! He is obviously someone who can do practical work! Little Zhang, what do you think?”
“Your Excellency has foresight! This lowly one is full of respect ah!” Supervisor Zhang didn’t forget to fawn over him again before he asked a few more questions regarding construction . Liu Hao carefully answered them one by one .
Supervisor Zhang was also quite satisfied and said, “Sure enough, the person recommended by Miss Xiaocao is very good! Alright, you can work under me in the future! Do you know how to write?”
“When this lowly one was young, I was able to attend an academy for several years . Although I hadn’t studied a lot, I’m able to recognize some words . As for my writing, it might not look very good!” Liu humbly replied .
Supervisor Zhang seemed rather satisfied with his sense of propriety . He said with a beaming face, “We’re not taking the imperial examination, so why would we need to have beautiful handwriting? Come, go to the register at the recruitment hut… Little Liu ah, do you know any masons? You can also introduce them to this job! After all, it’s better to use people who are familiar with the work than people who have never done it before…”
Youngest Maternal Uncle’s matter was easily settled just like that! Taking General Fang into account, the supervisor probably wouldn’t make things difficult for her youngest maternal uncle, right? Yu Xiaocao looked at Liu Hao and Supervisor Zhang’s back view and revealed a contented smile .
Fang Zizhen had a smile on his face from the beginning to the end . He really liked this little girl with excellent cooking skills! Fang Zizhen was already almost fifty years old and had gotten married after he settled down . However, he might have ended up with an internal injury after years of war expeditions because he was still childless when he was nearly fifty . His wife had urged him many times to take in several concubines, but he refused .
The emperor had sent imperial physicians to examine his and his wife’s pulse on many occasions, but they always made the same conclusion . The problem wasn’t with his wife, but him! Although the imperial physician had advised that he should be able to improve with attentive treatment . However, he gradually lost hope after so many years…
Fortunately, his younger martial brother had gotten married early and had a son at a young age . In the future, his little martial nephew would be the same as his own son . He would definitely use all his connections and do his best to foster him! With his martial nephew’s talents, his future achievements definitely wouldn’t be below his!
He was childless, so it was inevitable that he would pay more attention to children who were more sensible and interesting . For example, his martial nephew and also… this adult-like little girl in front of him!
“Xiaocao ah! Would you like to be Uncle Fang’s daughter?” Fang Zizhen had an urge in his heart, and then made a decision .
Wu Yun widened his eyes and felt extremely anxious within his heart . The general was a third-rank official and someone that the emperor trusted and relied on . As long as he opened his mouth to say that he wanted to take in a godson or goddaughter, numerous officials in the capital would line up and send their children over . How could he… How could he just accept a little farmer girl as his goddaughter because of a bowl of noodles and a plate of braised food?
He blinked his eyes and twitched his mouth in an attempt to hint his disagreement . Seeing that it didn’t work, he openly expressed, “My Lord! This matter… perhaps it would be better to wait until you return to the capital and discuss this matter with your wife before making a decision?”
Fang Zizhen appeared gallant and imposing, and he made enemies tremble in fear in the battlefield just by hearing his name . But he was somewhat henpecked at home . Though it may seem like he was henpecked, it wasn’t necessarily true . He was merely more considerate to his wife and respected his wife a little more than others .
Fang Zizhen slanted his eyes to look at his trusted subordinate and said, “My wife wants a goddaughter even more than me! Xiaocao is smart and clever, and also sensible and obedient . My wife will definitely like her when she sees her!”
If another person had heard that a third-ranked official wanted to take her in as his goddaughter, she would have been elated and agreed a long time ago . But Xiaocao wasn’t an ordinary person! She was someone who was able to calmly refuse the emperor emeritus’s suggestion to take her as his granddaughter, let alone a mere third-ranked official .