“Zizhong! Slow down!” Jian Yong called out as he gasped for breath. Mi Zhu had no choice but to respond as Jian Yong was one of Liu Bei’s oldest followers. Even when Mi Zhu was in Xuzhou, he already had to be respectful to Jian Yong. Now that his influence had decreased he became too afraid to even put on any airs.
Seeing Jian Yong approach him, Mi Zhu quickly cupped his fist. “Master Jian Yong.” Mi Zhu addressed Jian Yong with respect, recognition and estrangement. It was like greeting a stranger instead of a friend.
Jian Yong frowned at this. The last time Mi Zhu addressed him this way was when Mi Zhu had not yet begun serving Liu Bei. Since then, Mi Zhu had always acted familiar with him but had now returned to being estranged. Jian Yong then quickly changed his expression and joked. “I don’t dare be called master by Zizhong. I don’t know how to make money! If you give me a capital to start a business, I will end up selling myself!” This caused Mi Zhu to laugh.
“Just call me Xianhe. I will feel more at ease.” Jian Yong said diplomatically. He was the mouthpiece that made the connection with Mi Zhu, causing the Mi Family to provide Liu Bei with financial aid.
“Xianhe!” Mi Zhu greeted. Since Jian Yong already said so, Mi Zhu had no choice but to give face to Jian Yong.
“That’s better!” Jian Yong approached and patted Mi Zhu’s shoulder intimately, helping Mi Zhu to calm down.
Jian Yong could tell that something was wrong with Mi Zhu and he did not blame Mi Zhu for it. He understood that merchants had the lowest status as they were wicked in the eyes of the public.
Meanwhile, there are merchants like Lu Buwei in history who made a country instead of profits. The Qin Dynasty would not have been so formidable if Lu Buwei didn’t exist. That was why Lubuwei was treated as a role model to merchants. Mi Zhu was one of those that tried to follow in Lu Buwei’s footsteps. He wanted to give Liu Bei his capital and be promoted to nobility. He even married his sister off to Liu Bei. Mi Zhu never expected Liu Bei to suffer defeat after defeat until his own wealth dried up. On the other hand, Liu Bei was thinking of how to obtain more power instead of how to obtain money. This caused Mi Zhu’s position to fall even further. Worse still, his brother and sister had gone missing.
It would be stranger if Mi Zhu was given position. Although Liu Bei was benevolent, he was fickle. Women were like clothes while brothers were like hands and feet. This was something Liu Bei said himself. Naturally, Liu Bei would not raise the position of someone because of a woman.
It was Liu Bei’s way of handling things that put Mi Zhu in low spirits.
Jian Yong understood this is why he chased Mi Zhu to placate him.
“Zizhong. You know that the Lord is in a bad mood recently. I hope Zizhong can forgive him.” Jian Yong spoke on behalf of Liu Bei. How could Liu Bei be in a good mood after being chased all the way to Yuzhou and suffering defeat.
“Xianhe. What do you want me to say?” Mi Zhu replied cautiously. If he nodded his head, it would mean that he indeed have complaints about Liu Bei. If he shook his head it would mean that he did not forgive Liu Bei. What do you think the result would be once Liu Bei found out that Mi Zhu had complaints?
“No. My meaning was…” Jian Yong was good at speaking but even he could not find a proper reply. In the end, he looked at Mi Zhu and said, “Zizhong. I am sure you know what I am talking about!” There were some things that could be said directly and others that could not.
“Does it matter? I am just a merchant. Xianhe. If there are no other matters, I will take my leave.” Mi Zhu ridiculed himself. He was a proper merchant who insisted on making a country. Now he was almost bankrupt and his family were missing. At the same time, he was ridiculing Liu Bei. Before this, Liu Bei held on to his hand saying that they would share joy and tribulations together. What about now?
“Zizhong. Right now Yangzhou is a big problem. I am sure you understand this as well! Once the Military Advisor returns from Jingzhou and Milord captures the South, I am sure you will be given an important position.
“Is that so?” Mi Zhu sneered and left.
“Zizhong. Milord has given me a list of names. These people will be given jobs as an official and also a noble title. Zizhong, your name is in this list!” Jian Yong used his trump card.
“A title!” Mi Zhu was fascinated by those words. He gave away his wealth and his sister for the purpose of a title. Status and title! Mi Zhu wanted to obtain those and break away from his shameful identity of a merchant.
Jian Yong smiled when he saw Mi Zhu’s hesitation. He did not believe anybody would be able to resist this temptation. A wealthy person with no status or acknowledgement was just a rich person. It is only by obtaining status could they become a noble and receive education. It is only by becoming nobles can the Mi Family stop being merchants.
“Zizhong. I am sure you understand. Once this matter is over, the Lord will give you an important position!” Jian Yong guided patiently.
“An important position?” Mi Zhu still did not believe it.
“Of course. If not, why would Milord allow me to put your name into this list of people who are going to be given status?”
“I still have other matters to attend to. Zizhong. Go back and think about this carefully.” Jian Yong said and left. He knew that saying too much would only be detrimental to his purpose. The best method was to give a person hope without being too direct.
Mi Zhu nodded his head and also left. His mind was in disorder and he needed time to think this over.