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The Fang Family originated from Shandong. Miss Jun's great-grandfather had come to Ze Prefecture to sell spices and stopped in Yangcheng.

Her great-grandfather, who had gained some wealth, wanted more of it. However, the main industry of Yangcheng was coal. As an outsider, it was hard for him to join into it. Great-grandfather took an alternative route. He had his son marry a daughter from the Cao Family in Qixian and with his support, he opened up the De Sheng Chang bank.

With the assistance of the in-laws, as well as Great-grandfather's business prowess, in several years time, De Sheng Chang became one of the top banks. And the Fang Family became one of the richest families in Yangcheng, or even the whole Ze Prefecture.

After Miss Jun's great-grandfather passed away, the business was passed to his eldest son, Fang Shouyi, who was Miss Jun's grandfather.

Fang Shouyi did not fail to live up to his father's expectations. He made De Sheng Chang even more prosperous, but at the peak of his business success, he suddenly caught a violent illness and died. He was thirty-eight years old at the time, and his son Fang Nianjun had already grown up and was a qualified successor.

Fang Nianjun was Miss Jun's uncle. Although he was only twenty years old, he had been following his father as he operated the exchange firm since he was young. He had a good grasp of the business, so the Fang Family's exchange firm did not suffer much. Instead, when the dynasty and the Jurchen people had been fighting, the supplies befell an unfortunate fate, and the Fang Family was able to take their business up a notch.

But Fang Nianjun hadn't thought that at this time, he'd meet with an accident.

"A question."

When the girls got to this part, the silently listening Miss Jun interrupted them.

They looked at her uneasily.

"The Fang Family, since Great-grandfather, only had one male inheritor?" asked Miss Jun.

Hearing what she asked, anxiousness flashed in the servant girls' eyes.

"No," said one of the girls with her head lowered. "Old Master had four brothers."

In other words, when Great-grandfather died, he didn't have just Fang Shouyi.

"Old Master's father divided the property among them before he died. Because Old Master was the oldest son of the legal wife, he inherited the Yangcheng exchange business. The rest of the brothers brought back their wealth to Shandong, so the only one left in Yangcheng was Old Master," said the servant girl.

{So it was like that.} Miss Jun nodded.

"Was it the same with my uncle's brothers too, then? After Grandfather died, Uncle inherited the business, and they went back to Shandong?" she asked.

The servant girls were embarrassed.

"Old Master only had Master and Young Miss for children," they said.

As a matrilineal granddaughter, for Miss Jun not to even know how many brothers and sisters her mother had was truly embarrassing.

This child was really heartless, treating the Fang Family as a hotel, and not even sparing them a passing glance.

Miss Jun smiled.

"What accident befell my uncle?" she asked.

Seeing her not pursuing the matters of the heir, the servant girls sighed. Naturally, Miss Jun saw their expression, but she didn't ask them any more questions about the topic.

"At that time, because there was a fight going on with the Jurchen, the Northwest was in turmoil. There were many bandits and horse thieves. Master was returning home when he encountered bandits on the road. Although he had an escort, he received a serious injury. He died not long after returning home," said one of the servants. "At that time, Master was twenty-five years old."

He had been much younger than Grandfather when he had died, and more importantly, he didn't have a son who could inherit the family business.

"At the time, Master had three daughters. The lady was also pregnant, and fortunately, she gave birth to a son," said the other servant.

That had happened fourteen years ago. Miss Jun hadn't yet been born, so it was impossible for her to remember her mother's reaction to her brother's accident.

Miss Jun gave up on searching through her memories.

"So, these years the family business has been run by Old Lady and Aunt," she said.

The servants nodded, their faces not disguising their admiartion in the least.

"...they had never cared before, but now the Shandong people came to divide up the was Old Lady who stood up to drive them back…"

"...I heard my mother say that it wasn't only Shandong. The Cao Family also sent people to try to divide up the property…"

"...Old Lady had not been in contact with the business for ten or so years, but as a daughter of the Cao Family, who also run an exchange firm, she only needed several months to settle everyone's hearts after taking over the firm…"

"...Yes, at that time, the outside properties were in turmoil. At home, Lady almost miscarried because of sorrow. Old Lady was busy with the outside and had to pay attention inside too…"

"These ten or so years have passed in the blink of an eye; our Fang Family not only didn't fall, but the business is still as good as ever."

"Old Lady is truly too amazing."

The servant girls could not help but chatter continuously. Miss Jun who had always ignored the 'lowly' Fang Family did not interrupt or scold them, but instead listened with a smile. When she heard the last words, she nodded.

"Yes, Old Lady is truly amazing," she said.

The servants were silenced by her words. They looked at her expression apprehensively, but did not see any sneering or anger in it.

"That really was not easy," she followed up, sighing.

A daughter of a wealthy family left her family to her husband and paid no attention to the handling of outside business. But in five years, Old Lady Fang had lost her husband and son in succession. However, she had no choice but to carry on the responsibility of the family business.

Her husband's family and her parent's family were all watching her like a tiger watches its prey. There wasn't anyone she could rely on or have confidence in. Yet, the servant girls said that she had stabilized the firm within a few months. They said this easily, but how to do something as difficult as that was something only Old Lady Fang knew.

Miss Jun thought of that Old Lady's cool expression. She remembered her loathing toward it; she had felt that this grandmother was a lowly business woman who was cold as ice and only knew what was beneficial for her, and not human emotions.

Whatever tenderness she had had was whittled away until it had all but disappeared by the deaths of her children, as well as the struggle to survive. If not, how would she be able to survive being tossed about by the wind and rain?

"However, ten years have passed already. The Young Master could start training in the business," said Miss Jun.

The Old Lady had made it through.

Her spoken words made the servant girls' expressions turn ugly. Liu'er scoffed at them.

"Young Miss, did you forget that Young Master is paralyzed?" she said.


Miss Jun was startled, then her memory returned. The Fang Family's last child, the only burning incense stick [1], was actually a paraplegic. Moreover, he was a fifteen-year-old paraplegic.

The Fang Family was so far from Miss Jun's eyes that she hadn't even asked about her paralyzed little cousin. She didn't even know his name, only the moniker of paraplegic.

"Our family's young master is not a paraplegic, but ill." Perhaps it was because of Miss Jun's amiable attitude this time, or because she could not bear to hear her family's master being ridiculed, the servant girl could not help but retort.

Liu'er scoffed.

"Doesn't his illness make him unable to walk?" she asked.

The servant girls were dumbstruck.

"So, he is a paralyzed person," said Liu'er with a scornful laugh.

Miss Jun rapped the tabletop, interrupting Liu'er's laugh.

"That is to say, the Fang Family's male heir has already befallen by bad luck," she said slowly. "And soon the last incense stick will be broken."

The servant girls' expressions were both sad and terrified, just like when Miss Jun had asked about her great-grandfather's other kids.

"That really is too unfortunate. How could every male heir meet an accident?" asked Miss Jun softly while looking at the servant girls.

The servant girls lowered their heads and did not speak. Liu'er clapped her hands once, off to the side.

"I recall," she said, "that Miss Lin's servant girl had said that the Fang Family's male heirs were cursed."

[1] Burning incense stick: a male heir

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