Chapter 17: Shopping at the Slave Market
Nyoi-Bo Studio Nyoi-Bo Studio
After Ye Jiuge had reassured Ye Ruyi, she asked Qing Mama to help Fifth Concubine move her possessions into the Qiu Shui Residence.
Qing Mama creased her eyebrows in disapproval and said, “Eldest Miss, your mother prepared that residence for you. How can you let Fifth Concubine and Fourth Miss live there?”
Ye Jiuge remained silent. She gave Qing Mama a look. Although her gaze was impenetrable, she exuded an indescribable aura of dignity. Qing Mama’s heart immediately skipped a beat. Suddenly, she realized that she had just second-guessed Eldest Miss’s orders.
“I was wrong. I will move her possessions now,” Qing Mama acknowledged her mistake right away and dutifully summoned other servants to help Fifth Concubine to move her possessions.
Meanwhile, Ye Yuxuan had declared that Su Yufeng was to be confined to her residence and all household matters were now to be managed by the Fifth and Seventh Concubines. When he found out that Ye Jiuge had granted Ye Ruyi the right to reside in the Qiu Shui Residence, at once, he dispatched a housekeeper Mama and two high-ranking maids from the main residence.
When Ye Jiuge arrived with Fifth Concubine and Ye Ruyi, the housekeeper Mama and the maids had already ensured that the Qiu Shui Residence was pristine. The housekeeper Mama’s surname was “Qiu.” She had long eyelashes and delicate eyes. She appeared to be extremely capable and efficient. She led a group of maids and servants and helped Fifth Concubine and Ye Ruyi settle down so efficiently that not even Ye Jiuge could quibble.
“Eldest Miss, from what I can see, Fifth Concubine and Fourth Miss are very tired. If you do not have any other matters to brief them about, why not let them rest for a while?” Qiu Mama spoke as she bowed at Ye Jiuge.
Ye Jiuge furrowed her eyebrows slightly. Qiu Mama’s words implied that Fifth Concubine and Ye Ruyi were her servants; if they wanted to rest, they needed to seek Ye Jiuge’s approval. Needless to say, Ye Yuxuan must have given Qiu Mama secret instructions to sew discord by hook or crook between Ye Jiuge and the mother-daughter pair. If she did not allow Ye Yuxuan to have his way, it was very likely that he would not sleep soundly at night.
Therefore, Ye Jiuge went along with Qiu Mama’s words saying, “If this is the case, then I shall dismiss Fifth Concubine and Fourth Miss so that they can rest. I will visit them again tomorrow.”
After she spoke, she nodded towards Fifth Concubine and Ye Ruyi then left with Qing Mama. Upon leaving the Qiu Shui Residence, she ordered Qing Mama, “Later, select some trusted servants to work at the Qiu Shui Residence.”
Qiu Mama was so skilled at causing trouble that she needed to find some trusted people to serve at Fifth Concubine and Ye Ruyi’s side so that nothing untoward would happen.
“Eldest Miss, should we bring back the old servants who were sent away from our residence before?” Qing Mama asked.
They had been born and bred in the Yun Residence and were extremely loyal.
“That will not do. We must never bring back the Yun Clan’s old servants,” Ye Jiuge said in a grave voice.
On the surface, it appeared that the Yun Clan’s old servants had been sent away by Su Yufeng. However, without Ye Yuxuan’s consent, Su Yufeng would not dare lay a hand on them. Although Ye Yuxuan sobbed his eyes out every year at Yun Qiaoqiao’s grave, in reality, he hoped more than anyone that the Yun Family would die out without any descendants.
If she brought the Yun Clan’s old servants back to the residence, Ye Yuxuan would immediately release Su Yufeng from her confinement and change his attitude to one of crushing Ye Jiuge and Fifth Concubine.
“Now that Old Master cherishes Fifth Concubine and Fourth Miss so much, I don’t think he will mind if we do this!” Qing Mama said hesitantly.
“Do not place so much importance on the favor he has shown them.” Ye Jiuge smiled contemptuously.
Ye Yuxuan did not actually care very much about Fifth Concubine and Ye Ruyi. He was merely trying to implement a “check and balance” strategy. Su Yufeng had become too impudent. Over time, she had stopped considering him before acting. Therefore, he wanted to help Fifth Concubine gain power to counter Su Yufeng.
Besides wanting to elevate Ye Ruyi’s status, he also wanted to cultivate Fifth Concubine’s ambition. The Fifth Concubine was too submissive. As long as someone was willing to help her, she would pledge her life to them. However, once she rose through the ranks, gaining greater experience and insight, she would start to become insatiable. In return, she would hate those who had helped her when she was at her lowest because they had seen her at her worst.
This was something Ye Yuxuan could empathize deeply with. After all, this was his experience when he was with the Yun Clan.
“Eldest Miss. Since you know that there is a possibility that Fifth Concubine will cross you in the future, why are you still willing to help her?” Qing Mama asked anxiously.
“Since I dared to help Fifth Concubine and Fourth Sister, naturally, I am confident that I can keep her under my control.” Ye Jiuge smiled without emotion. There were no ingrates around her. Those who had proved themselves ungrateful were already dead.
“Be that as it may, it is difficult to completely understand someone’s mind. We should find more trusted servants and place them at Fifth Concubine and Fourth Miss’s side. From what I have seen, Qiu Mama is not a good person,” said Qing Mama immediately.
“If we want to pick someone right now, it is too late. I plan to buy a few slaves to train. Qing Mama, let’s go together.”
Ye Jiuge changed into a simple green dress. She used a veiled hat to conceal her true face and left the Ye Residence with Qing Mama.
When they reached the streets, a few teams of officers were searching everywhere for a slave that had run away from the Su Clan.
“The Su Clan is truly important. He is just an escaped slave. Yet, they have gone as far as mobilizing officers to search for him.” Qing Mama showed her extreme disapproval towards the Su Clan’s way of handling things.
“I do not care how important they are. Anyway, it has nothing to do with us.” Ye Jiuge did not concern herself with this matter. Currently, the most important thing was to purchase some slaves.
Countless high platforms were set up on XiDa Street’s largest slave market. The slave traders were promoting their wares on the platforms with loud voices. Slaves stood on the platform dressed in ragged clothes. Their eyes were dead, as if they had already lost all hope of living. Those who looked at them felt depressed. It was not surprising that upper-class families disliked keeping slaves in their residences.
“Eldest Miss, why don’t we return to the Yun Clan’s properties and select some trusted servants to work for us?” Qing Mama did not like these slaves at all. Their appearance was dirty and uncouth. Some slave girls who were slightly attractive had obviously been specially trained to please men, so it was inappropriate to allow them to serve alongside Eldest Miss.
“Since we are here, let us look around first and then decide.” Ye Jiuge did not want any of these astute and attentive maids, but ones who were unafraid of death and willing to risk their lives for her.
These slaves were in despair because they had already lost all hope of living. If someone could provide them with some hope, they would sacrifice themselves for that person.
However, after one tour around the market, Ye Jiuge did not find any slaves that caught her eye. They looked like dead fish. It would require too much effort to train them. She needed to find one with more potential. Ye Jiuge decided to ask for help.
“Zi Shang, are you there?”
“What’s the matter?” rang out Zi Shang’s lazy voice.
“Help me pick out a few slaves with good potential,” Ye Jiuge requested.
“Left side, five hundred steps. There is a decent slave,” said Zi Shang casually.
Ye Jiuge’s eye swept round and discovered—five hundred steps to her left—a row of dark wooden huts. It was the place where they stored the slaves; unauthorized people were not allowed to enter.
This slave was truly handpicked by Zi Shang. She did not know if he would be useful, but he was certainly going to be troublesome to acquire.
“Although he is difficult to obtain, he is undoubtedly invaluable and worth more than he costs.” Zi Shang had an “it is up to you, I could not care less” expression.
For a moment, Ye Jiuge was indecisive. In the end, she decided to take a look. However, trespassing was unacceptable. Tact was required for this situation.