The second day, Ren Baqian was awakened by an urgent-looking Caretaker Shi.
"What's the matter?" Ren Baqian replied groggily.
"Were you for real when you said all those words last night?" Caretaker Shi asked.
"The matter regarding the shaved ice shop? Of course, it's for real, why would I joke about it?"
"That's true. Let's go out and see if there are any suitable vacant shops!" Caretaker Shi used one arm to pull Ren Baqian up.
"Brother Shi, you can do this alone. Just find a shop that has a good location and huge customer flow. The store itself doesn't need to be too big," Ren Baqian said helplessly. Didn't he find Brother Shi to collaborate because he did not want to exert himself in the first place?
After Caretaker Shi left in excitement, Ren Baqian collapsed back onto his bed.
Around late afternoon, Ren Baqian was awakened by a squeaking sound.
Initially, he thought it was the birds squeaking. However, when he opened his eyes, he realized it was his two pandas that were squeaking.
It was only now that Ren Baqian knew a panda squeaked like a bird.
When Ren Baqian saw the two chaps chewing on the toppled empty bamboo basket, he knew they were hungry.
However, just as he was about to get up from his bed and wear his shoes, he saw a few extremely disgusting footprints on the floor.
Two of them were made by himself when he returned to his room last night. The rest were made by Caretaker Shi when he visited him this morning.
Ren Baqian grumbled to himself as he walked out of the house. He talked to an odd-job worker and found out where the animal fodders were sent to last night. When he reached there, there were indeed two baskets of bamboo leaves remaining.
He carried one in each hand. They seemed to be fully filled; they weren't light at all.
When he returned to the house, he poured the bamboo leaves on one side and then carefully cleaned up the panda feces from the ground.
He was thinking he should let the two small chaps stay outside the house.
After eating his breakfast, he was free, so he bathed the two small chaps. After spending a huge deal of time and effort, he finally managed to bathe them clean while getting himself drenched.
People in this world bathed using a fruit called bathing beans. Yes, they were literal beans. When one bathed, he or she would throw a bathing bean into the water and wash in it.
After bathing the two small chaps, Ren Baqian found a clean slab and placed them on it. Within a short period of time, both of them completely dried.
This time around, when he carried the two of them again, they felt much more comfortable, and the smell that they used to have had weakened significantly.
Gungun pressed its front paws against Ren Baqian's face and pushed his head with all its strength.
Ren Baqian played with the two small chaps for a while before finding someone to get some dear milk to feed them.
When he saw them drinking the deer milk happily, he felt he finally tasted the joy of keeping pets.
Afterwards, Ren Baqian walked around the beast park and looked at those half-familiar-half-strange animals.
That evening, when Caretaker Shi returned to the beast park, he found Ren Baqian and said, "I still can't make a decision, you have to follow me and take a look tomorrow."
Upon hearing these words, Ren Baqian could only nod his head.
The following morning, Ren Baqian was dragged from his bed and out of the beast park by Caretaker Shi.
The weather in the morning was rather good as it wasn't as hot as the afternoon.
This city was called Lan City. The Dayao Nation was called Jiugang when it was just founded. After it changed its name to Dayao, this city was renamed Gang City.
The city was split into nine districts named after the nine strongholds that founded this country:
Beihong, Zhulian, Shuiboping, Yingzuiyan, Goujiazhai, Wudaogou, Baishi, Shiwu and Yiwulu.
The first six districts mainly consisted of residential areas. The remaining three districts were the commercial areas.
Baishi District mainly sold weapons, farming tools and ironworks. Shiwu District mainly sold leathers and furs. Yiwulu District main sold herbs and beast bones. Yiwulu District was where Ren Baqian and Caretaker Shi bought the fodders for the animals in the beast park that day.
Of course, there were a lot of residences in these three districts too.
It was just that there were more shops than residences.
court officials stayed in Beihong District.
The street leading from the main city gate to Beihong District was called Jingyuan Road. The best shops in the city were lined along this street. They were mainly opened by foreign merchants, and there was an extremely small number of shops that were opened by locals here.
Caretaker Shi found two suitable shops: one was in Yiwulu District while the other one was in Goujiazai District. Goujiazhai was also where his family lived.
Ren Baqian accompanied him to the two locations. The locations were merely alright, not particularly good. However, since nobody knew of the concept of shaved ice yet, they did not need to be afraid of competition. Therefore, both locations were acceptable.
The main thing was these two shops weren't expensive. For each location, inclusive of the backyard, one year would cost around ten taels of silver.
Of course, Ren Baqian did not find it expensive at all.
Caretaker Shi's salary wasn't too shabby either. He received six taels of silver for salary every month.
One shop would require two months of Caretaker Shi's salary. Two shops would thus add up to four months of his salary. Furthermore, he still needed to hire employees and his expenditure would therefore increase. No wonder he wanted to drag Ren Baqian along to check out the shops.
After all, his salary was used to provide for his family and for buying one or two bottles of liquor every month. Considering his expenditures, he did not have much money left to save. This time around, he prepared to use his son's savings.
One of the two shops was occupied, but the owner was preparing to move away.
Ren Baqian followed Caretaker Shi around the shop. It was around sixty square meters. Other than a counter, it could also fit a few tables. By placing tables inside, customers could rest in the shop while eating shaved ice.
The backyard of the shop was slightly larger than the shop itself. There was also a small house that people could use for living in or store things.
"Both locations are suitable," Ren Baqian informed Caretaker Shi after taking a look at the shop.
"Alright, I'm putting up all my assets this time around." Caretaker Shi made his decision after hearing Re Baqian's words.
Subsequently, both of them walked around the streets again. They even enjoyed a street fight along the way. Not too long later, Ren Baqian came across another two suitable locations. One of them was at Jingyuan Road, where the customer flow was the biggest out of everywhere in the city. Naturally, the rent was comparably expensive, costing around two hundred taels of silver per year.
"This place is too expensive. Since we are just selling shaved ice, we will definitely lose money," Caretaker Shi persuaded Ren Baqian when he saw him getting interested in the shop that was about one hundred square meters.
"We will lose money if we only sell shaved ice. What if we sell ice as well?" Ren Baqian suddenly came up with an idea.
"Sell ice? Will that work? Furthermore, shaved ice can be made so easily. If everyone has ice, then what will happen to our shaved ice shops?"
"Even if they buy the ice back to make shaved ice, they will not make much money. They still have to incur the loss of the ice melting. Who will do that then? Furthermore, after they have finished eating their shaved ice, they still will feel hot. If they can buy a chunk of ice to take and get an "electric fan", they will have simplified version of air conditioner. Alright, this shall be the plan," Ren Baqian thought to himself as he came up with an idea.
If they couldn't make an air conditioner, then how about a simplified version of electric fan? It didn't need to be powered by electricity. They could fit a bearing, a gasket, and a cord to an electric fan. When they pulled the cord, the blade of the electric fan would spin. And when they released the cord, the bearing would spur the blade to turn in the reverse direction—similar to how yo-yos work.
This would be more effort-saving and cooling than a fan. The most important thing was that it was a novelty. A lot of rich people would definitely be interested in it.
If they could add a basin of ice atop it, it would be an absolute delight for anyone in such a hot environment.
Even if they used a basin of well water instead of a basin of ice, it would still provide great cooling effect.
"Hehe, I shall let all of you experience the technologies of Earth." The more Ren Baqian thought about it, the more he felt it would work. He patted Caretaker Shi on his back and said, "We shall get this shop too. I still have some money with me, and I can invest it as well. We will rent these three shops first. I will show you something when we go back later."
When Caretaker Shi heard Ren Baqian was going to invest his money, he quickly rejected him and said, "Brother Ren, you have come with the idea of making ice, I can't possibly make you invest your money as well. If you have confidence in this venture, I'm willing to sacrifice everything I have to rent these three shops."
Just as Ren Baqian was about to speak, he heard a soft chuckle coming from beside him.