Chapter 483 - Living Signboard
The other membership cards, on the other hand, were made of thin iron sheets plated with bronze, silver and gold . The decorations on the cards were also different, with the bronze card featuring auspicious clouds, the silver card featuring the qilin, and the gold card featuring the vermilion bird spreading its wings .
Yu Xiaocao gave He Wanning and Yuan Xueyan each a membership card that gleamed bright and silvery . It was carved in the form of a relief, with a large, shining diamond in it .
Yuan Xueyan had read a lot of books, but she had never seen a description of this material in any book before . The diamond card was hard and had low malleability . She repeatedly scrutinized the membership card with a look of seriousness on her face and muttered, "This material, if it is used to craft weapons…”
Yu Xiaocao laughed heartlessly, ''Older Sister Yuan, you thought of the same thing as Royal Prince Yang . This alloy was obtained by chance during smelting and it’s not available in large quantities . There's not much that we can do with it except to make membership cards . However, Royal Prince Yang has already invited that blacksmith to the smelting workshop under the Ministry of Works, and he’s been working day and night with those artisans under the Ministry of Works in hopes that the smelting method can be determined soon so that they can produce better weapons . "
Yuan Xueyan's eyes sparkled, 'People always said that Royal Prince Yang doesn’t do anything and won't become a successful person, but it seems that he still has an eye for politics . The emperor wasn’t wrong in his choice—Royal Prince Yang might become a dark horse that will appear in the upper-class circle in the future, an able subject under the emperor!
He Wanning fiddled around with her membership card in fascination . Then, suddenly, she solemnly said, “Younger Sister Xiaocao, I’ve actually come to ask for a favor . ”
“Older Sister He is too polite . As long as I’m able to help, I definitely won’t stand by . ” Seeing her seriousness, Yu Xiaocao also treated the matter with utmost seriousness .
“The truth is, it’s somewhat unbecoming of me, a girl of marriageable age to be asking you this, but I know you’re not the kind of person who holds to worldly ideals, so I’ve dared to come ask for your help,” He Wanning paused, then, lowering her voice, she asked, “I heard that . . . Lady Fang only conceived her beloved son after taking your prescriptions?”
In her heart, Yu Xiaocao understood her reason . She had been in the capital for half a year, and she hadn’t exactly been cooped up in her house, so naturally, she would have heard of some rumors and gossip before . Ever since the Grand Princess Royal married her husband, she had never had much luck with children . She only gave birth to He Wanning’s father and an aunt of He Wanning’s, who had died at a young age . He Wanning’s father also only had her and her older brother .
When it came down to He Wanning’s brother, they had not seen any legitimate children conceived although he had been married for three years . He Wanning’s brother and sister-in-law were quite close, and could even be considered childhood sweethearts, but for the sake of the continuity of the bloodline, He Wanning’s sister-in-law heartachingly made one of her maidservants into her husband’s bed-servant .
That bed-servant put in quite the effort and conceived a child not long after . After ten months of pregnancy, she gave birth to the eldest concubine-born daughter . However, ever since she was born, neither the legitimate wife nor the bed-servant had any stirrings in their wombs .
He Wanning’s sister-in-law was quite virtuous . She took in a few more concubines for her husband, but it had been more than a year and none of them had shown any signs of a pregnancy . The Grand Royal Princess’s Household had yet to produce their third generation heir, and this matter had become the matter of concern of the entire residence .
When Lan Fang had given birth to Lin’er in her advanced age, the Grand Princess Royal had let her daughter-in-law visit to ask for her secret recipe to conceiving a child, but Lady Fang did not have any secret recipes, and only said that it was because her goddaughter had helped her to condition her body . At that time, Yu Xiaocao was still far away in Dongshan Village, and though the Grand Princess Royal had the intention to pay her a visit to ask for her secret, she was still prudent and did not visit them unexpectedly .
When the Grand Princess Royal heard her granddaughter mention that she was quite good friends with the goddaughter of General Fang, she was once again tempted to visit them and ask for the secret recipe . He Wanning’s brother was older than her by eight years, so she had grown up being pampered by him . This was one of the reasons why she was so arrogant and difficult . However, she only acted like that around people that she disliked, so usually, she was still quite well-liked by others . Once she heard that her grandmother intended to ask for the secret to conceiving a child for her older brother and sister-in-law, He Wanning was naturally obligated to take on the grave task of testing the waters .
Yu Xiaocao was aware that she asked this on behalf of her older brother and sister-in-law, so she said, “I’ve read from an old book that the reason a person is infertile differs from person to person . For example, it’s only because my godfather was suffering from an old injury from war that my godparents had difficulty conceiving . The problem naturally faded away once I managed to nurse him back to health . ”
If she had agreed straightaway, then He Wanning might not be so convinced, but she felt that Yu Xiaocao’s reasoning made sense and thus she breathed a sigh of relief, “Younger Sister Xiaocao might’ve heard some rumors of my family’s situation . My older brother is already twenty-five years old this year and he’s been married for nearly eight years, but he still has not had a son . A fortune teller once said our He Family would have difficulty conceiving heirs, and that we really can’t rush it, but I don’t believe him . I heard that you had been conditioning Lady Fang’s body the whole time before she gave birth to your little brother in her advanced age of forty, which is why I’ve come to ask for your favor!”
Yu Xiaocao paused for a moment, then, she said, “I’ll be frank with you, half of my medicinal skills were self-taught, so naturally I can’t compare with those imperial physicians or skilled physicians among the common folk . The most I can do is give you some simple, local prescriptions . If Older Sister He doesn’t mind, could I make a visit to your residence on another day to have a look at your older brother and sister-in-law?”
“I don’t mind! How could I? I’d love to have you over!” It had to be known that, back then, in order to show his favor to General Fang, not only did the emperor expend the whole Imperial Hospital to help with his treatment, he even spread the news to call for renowned physicians from all over the empire, but none of them had succeeded in their treatment . When everyone had given up all hope, they received news that Lady Fang had actually managed to conceive a child after staying in Dongshan Village for a few months, and even gave birth to a healthy and lively Lin’er not long after . According to the pair of husband and wife, this could all be credited to the work of their goddaughter .
He Wanning had successfully completed the task entrusted to her by her grandmother, and she also obtained a diamond membership card that enabled her to fifty percent discounts, so she was in good spirits . After having a few pieces of honey cakes, she noticed that the Yu Household were all busily settling into their new home and felt a little embarrassed, “You’ve only arrived at the capital yesterday . We shouldn’t have visited you and created trouble for you . Older Sister Yuan and I won’t disturb you anymore . We’ll definitely visit for your house-warming on another day!”
“We’re sisters, so there’s no need for these courtesies . ” Yu Xiaocao also had the intention to forge a good relationship with the Grand Princess Royal’s household, and smiled, “I’ll have to check on the growth of the crops and greenhouses at the Imperial Plantation tomorrow . What about the day after tomorrow? I’ll make a visit to greet the Grand Princess Royal the day after tomorrow . ”
He Wanning gratefully held Xiaocao’s hand, saying, “Alright, we’ll definitely be waiting to welcome your arrival the day after tomorrow . ”
Yuan Xueyan, who had been pulled along to accompany He Wanning, had completely become her extra . At this time, she also got up and said, "The servant who makes the face powder has almost mastered the skill . Are you going to open this shop before or after the New Years? I'm afraid time will be a little tight if it’s before the New Years . "
Yu Xiaocao thought about it and said, "It's only about a dozen days before the New Year, not to mention the former Grand Tutor’s residence is still undergoing renovation . I don’t think I’ll be able to open the business before the New Years . However, our skin care business doesn’t need to be carried by the New Year's hype . As long as our products are effective, there's no need to worry about business . "
"I already have a preliminary idea in my mind for the vanishing cream that you mentioned, and I’ve also experimented a few times . I estimate that I’ll be able to come out with the finished product after the New Years . How's the progress of your cleanser and toner?" Yuan Xueyan looked cold, but once she had her focus on something, she would go all out .
"My maid Hechun is quite skilled . She has already produced the cleanser and toner and they are in the process of being tried out . The response has been good . Do you want to take some back to try?"
Yu Xiaocao had not expected that Hechun would be able to successfully produce the cleanser and toner that she had suggested in just her trip to and fro Dongshan Village . She washed her face with the cleanser today, and her skin felt quite clean, but it could be even better if the smell of the product was more refreshing . Once the maidservant heard her suggestion, she once again dove into the rear room to work on it .
When they were buying maidservants this time, they were lucky enough to meet a manager of a bankrupt rouge and powder shop and a woman who also worked there . Hechun had made the decision herself to buy both of them back, so now she had a total of six helpers underneath her and already began to look like a small manager herself . In order to have the opportunity to show their faces to their new mistress, those female workers gave their all to help Hechun with her plans and ideas . Their hard work was undeniably one of the reasons why the cleanser and toner were able to be produced so quickly .
Yu Xiaocao was very satisfied with these people . She decided that once the cleanser and toner were tested to be effective, each of them would be rewarded with a silver ingot, and she would also give them more rewards during the New Years .
He Wanning took the ceramic vial the size of a baby's fist into her hands and opened it . It was filled with a pale yellow paste-like substance . She sniffed it lightly and exclaimed, "It smells milky . Could it be that these cleansers are also separated into a few different types?"
"Yes, we’ve already determined the initial four types—'whitening', 'moisturizing', 'acne removal', and 'anti-wrinkle' . The same goes for the toners . Older Sister Yuan, when your vanishing cream is successfully developed, we can also make them in the same series . Then, the overall effect will be better . " Yu Xiaocao pointed to the small vial in He Wanning's hand and continued, ''Older Sister He, the one in your hand has whitening and moisturizing effects . The one Older Sister Yuan has is a part of the moisturizing and cleansing line . "
He Wanning smacked her lips and said a little embarrassedly, "The both of you work so hard for the beauty salon and only I didn’t do anything, yet I still got a diamond membership card… How about you change my membership card into a gold card?”
"Who says you can't help us? Your task now is to use our products, and make your skin white and tender . When the time comes, you’ll be our living advertisement . At the beginning of spring, you only need to initiate a few more gatherings so the ladies of the capital can see how much you’ve changed . This will be your contribution!" Yu Xiaocao looked at her delicate little face, thinking, ‘There’s still three to four months before spring . Once Older Sister He takes care of her wheat-colored little face and turns it white and tender, she'll definitely become our living signboard!’
"I knew it, this was your aim all along! How else would you be so kind as to let me use these products?" He Wanning pouted, pretending to be upset .
"If you don't like it, you could return it to me . I remember that the second miss of the Grand Preceptor’s household has slightly yellowish skin, perhaps she would be willing to give it a shot and enhance her skin…” Yu Xiaocao deliberately stretched out her hand to retrieve the small vial .