Transmigrator Meets Reincarnator
Chapter 310: Useless Money (2)
The half-grown child seemed to have abandoned his original misgivings and came running over with the pile of sheepskins hugged to his body. It was only when he was a little closer that Chu Lian could clearly discern his dirt-covered features.
Before the child could reach Chu Lian, he was captured by one of the strong private soldiers and pressed to the ground.
Mo Chenggui’s expression was as dark as usual. “Third Young Madam, the northern border isn’t as safe as the inner walls of the capital. If we meet some Tuhun scouts just like the last time, Third Young Master will blame this Old Mo again.”
Wenlan could hear the thorns in Mo Chenggui’s words, standing as she was next to Chu Lian. She was about to move in front of Chu Lian to angrily defend her, but Chu Lian tugged her back and sent her a look.
Wenlan suppressed the anger in her chest and retreated.
Chu Lian sent a faint smile towards Mo Chenggui. “Many thanks to Uncle Mo for the reminder. I’ll be careful.”
Mo Chenggui hadn’t expected such a reply from Chu Lian, so he didn’t have a retort ready.
The child wasn’t struggling and didn’t even seem panicked even though he was being pressed to the ground. He took the chance to shout, “Noble sirs, please have mercy! This humble one only wanted to see if noble sirs could buy these sheepskins! This humble one’s mother and sister are about to starve to death and there’s no food in our house. Our hope for survival lies solely in these sheepskins in this humble one’s hands!”
Tang Yan ordered one of the guards to investigate. As expected, they weren’t able to find anything on the child’s body. He nodded towards Chu Lian.
After seeing how Chu Lian seemed determined to stick her nose in unnecessary business, Mo Chenggui snorted and turned to enter the He Estate first. Out of sight, out of mind.
Chu Lian pointed at one of the rolls of sheepskin. “Bring that over to me and let me have a look.”
Manager Qin personally bent over to pick up the sheepskin. He examined it carefully before holding it up respectfully with both hands for Chu Lian.
Chu Lian casually flipped it over and looked at it for a moment. There was nothing special about it, really. The hide was taken from a normal sheep commonly reared by the northern herdsmen and barbarians. There were even some spots on it, and its colour was slightly dark. It looked like it had seen some regular use at home. If not for the fact that their household was in dire straits, they probably wouldn’t have taken out their own sheepskins to sell.
Her gaze landed on the child next. His clothes were tattered and torn. Some form of beast fur was wrapped around him haphazardly. His arms were exposed from the elbow down and his two hands were red from the icy cold.
Judging by the child’s pitiful appearance, Chu Lian didn’t even have to think further to decide that his story was true. She spoke to Wenlan for a bit and Wenlan nodded. She took out a small piece of silver from her own purse and walked over to the child who was still being held down by their family’s soldier. She said to him, “Child, our master will buy all of your sheepskins. This is a silver tael for the sheepskins. Next time, don’t rush out so recklessly to hold back other nobles. Our master is kind and won’t do anything to you, but not everyone is like our master, so take care of yourself!”
The silver ingot was worth at least 500 to 600 copper coins: three or four times that of the market price for the sheepskins in the child’s hands. Wenlan placed the silver tael in front of the child and ordered the soldier to release him. She then turned around, preparing to help Chu Lian into the He Estate.
However, just as she turned around, the newly released half-grown child grabbed onto her leg and pleaded, “Big sister, this humble one doesn’t want silver. Please, change it into food for this humble one!”
Wenlan suffered a shock and almost kicked the child away out of instinct.
She turned around helplessly and got a guard to help pull the child away. A trace of unhappiness could be seen in the wrinkles between her brows. “You little brat, how could you be so shameless! Do you think that our master offered you too little? This silver tael is enough to buy your sheepskins three or four times over!”
“No, no, this humble one doesn’t think it’s too little. This humble one begs big sister to give just a few wheat pancakes.” After saying so, he turned to Wenlan and kowtowed as if his life depended on it.
Wenlan was completely stunned. She couldn’t believe that someone would rather have a few copper coins worth of wheat pancakes rather than a silver tael worth a few hundred of those coins. Was this child silly in the head?
Chu Lian watched the situation before her with furrowed brows. Tang Yan directed a meaningful gaze at her with the shadow of a smile.
Suddenly, a lightbulb lit up in Chu Lian’s mind.
She turned to Wenlan and said, “Wenlan, get him some food.”
Although Wenlan found it strange, she still followed the order.
The half-grown child took the three cold and hard steamed buns that Wenlan passed to him, his face full of unconcealed joy. He quickly stuffed them into his shirt before looking carefully around him. Only then did he kneel down and bow towards Chu Lian before taking off and disappearing around the corner of a small alleyway.
Chu Lian watched the child disappear before ordering the party to get settled into the estate.
Her leg was wounded, so she walked very slowly with the support of Wenqing and Wenlan. Tang Yan was able to catch up in just a few steps.
He smiled and asked, “Do you know the reason now, Honoured Lady?”
Chu Lian smiled bitterly. How could she not? After that little incident with the child, it was impossible not to understand the reason.
She sighed lightly and replied, “What Liangzhou City lacks isn’t money. It’s material goods.”
Tang Yan nodded, “How smart, Honoured Lady.”
In Liangzhou City, many of the areas here still used the most basic way of trading: barter. Here, the currency most commonly used wasn’t gold nor silver, or even copper coins. Most of the time, the people here used cows, sheep, or other livestock, as well as cloth, food, and salt.
In the eyes of the commoners of Liangzhou City, a silver ingot that could buy them fifty kilograms of white rice in the capital wasn’t worth as much as a single piece of hard wheat pancake.
No wonder the walls of Liangzhou City were still so dilapidated despite the funds the Ministry of Revenue sent for renovation year after year.
Even before considering the cuts taken from officials going down the chain of command, the amount of goods the funds could purchase was already pitiful the closer one got to Liangzhou. Not only was there a shortage, but even just looking at the cost of transporting materials to the north, the cost was just too high. Goods? What goods? After all was said and done, the amount of things the funds could buy was close to non-existent.
Here, money was practically useless.