In fact, Su Tang also wanted to eat some. It looked and smelled so good, how could she not feel greedy to eat a bit ah? However, since she was in her mourning period, it was better for her to pay more attention to her behavior and always be cautious so no one would have anything to use against her. That way she could avoid more trouble in the future.
“Anyway, you enjoy the Hot and Sour Grilled Fish. I’ll go first.” Seeing the other girl was immersed in the food, Su Tang felt it didn’t really matter if she stayed. Also, now that their cooperation had been established, she had to do something about all the soap she was now responsible for making.
Hearing Su Tang say that, Luo Xingchen waved her off, “Go ahead. Get ready to start making soap as soon as possible. Hurry up and make ten or twenty thousand pieces first, so that my side can start making sales. Many people will be eager to buy this thing to give as gifts.”
When it came to the Chinese New Year*, there were thousands of families that would be out buying New Year’s goods and, if they had good relationships with them, they were almost obligated to give gifts to their relatives. However, the gifts exchanged in rural areas were usually token things that were not very expensive, Su Tang’s soap happened to be about the perfect price to be used as such a gift. When doing business, it was always best to consider the factors like holidays and the like.
Now that she had a new product on hand, Luo Xingchen certainly didn’t want to miss this timing, so she asked Su Tang to hurry up her production.
“Don’t worry, after you go home to report and come back my side should be more or less done producing the required soap.” Su Tang was very straightforward in her reply, after all, she was even more anxious to make money than Luo Xingchen.
Luo Xingchen nodded, “Then see you in two weeks or so!”
Su Tang knew that it would take about half a month for Luo Xingchen to make the round trip home and back, so she nodded and said, “Well, see you again then.”
With that, she left. However, seeing that it was still a bit early in the day to make lunch, Su Tang didn’t go back to the Song Residence, instead, she went to a carpenter’s shop.
“Little girl, what are you looking to buy? We have wooden bowls, buckets, and all sorts of furniture. Why don’t you come in and take a look?” The carpenter’s shop wasn’t very large. Inside, there were many commonly used items like wooden bowls and buckets, as well as a few exquisitely crafted higher-end pieces of furniture, such as a particularly eye-catching trousseau in one corner.
There was a middle-aged man working further inside who looked to be the carpenter, as well as two young men who were working with him, and there was a middle-aged woman at the door eagerly soliciting the guests. When the woman Su Tang nearing the door of the shop, she enthusiastically welcomed her in and introduced her to the products.
“Auntie, I want a certain tool custom-made. I can show you what it looks like, so can you make it?” Su Tang looked around, checking the level of craftsmanship of the items on display and, when she saw that it was not bad, she asked the woman directly.
The woman had sized Su Tang up while she was walking over and saw that she was young and wearing mourning clothes, so she assumed the little girl would only buy something small. She hadn’t expected her to come out and ask for something custom made. If she wanted to have something custom made, it would be much more expensive and the shop would make more money.
“Of course. What kind of thing do you want made little girl?” The shopkeeper looked at Su Tang with a smile on her face.
“Is there something I can use to write here?” Su Tang asked her.
When she saw Su Tang’s serious expression, the woman hastened to beckon her husband over to come and meet the customer, “Husband, come here for a moment.”
At the same time, she heard Su Tang’s request for something to write with, so she quickly went and brought over a nearly bald brush along with some crude paper. The middle-aged man who had been working just now heard his wife call him, so he also came over to see what was going on. “What is it?”
“This little girl says she wants something custom made. She’ll draw it and you make it. Take a look.” The woman led her husband over to discuss with Su Tang.
“I want something shaped like this, and then…” Although the brush was nearly bald, it could still be used, so Su Tang was able to create a rough sketch and show the carpenter what she was requesting.
What Su Tang wanted was a large but shallow wooden box with no lid, with a separate grid-shaped piece that could fit inside it.
With this tool, she would be able to pour the liquid soap directly into the box before it hardened and then insert the grid. Like that, each square inside the grid would naturally become a bar of soap.
“…like that. The two pieces need to be able to be put together. Can you do it?” Su Tang asked.
The carpenter looked and felt that Su Tang’s explanation was very clear, and he could definitely make it. Just, he didn’t understand what the use of such a large and strangely shaped box might be.
*The Spring Festival and the Chinese New Year are interchangeable terms. I’m not really sure which is more appropriate considering the ancient setting tho