Seeing that Su Tang had decided to buy the people, Mrs. Zhou knew it was her turn to step to the plate. She quickly told Jiang Hong and Madam Zhang to go back to the village to buy the ingredients mentioned earlier, and also to pick up their child and bring her over on the way. Meanwhile, she would prepare everything on her end.
These days Jiang Hong and Madam Zhang were living in a tiny and dilapidated shack where they could only squeeze together for warmth in the winter. However, now that they had sold themselves to Su Tang they would be able to live in one of the simple houses that the other farmers lived in. Thinking of this, they became very active and practically skipped as they went to go pick up their child and the ingredients Su Tang requested.
Because Mrs. Zhou was facilitating a direct transaction between people who wanted to sell themselves and Su Tang, things were handled a little differently from how they had been when Su Tang had bought people from Mrs. Li in the past. Back then, Mrs. Li was buying people, then training them up a bit and keeping them until she could find a buyer for them. Clearly, this style of doing business carried a certain amount of risk because she had to support and train her people without any guarantee that she would ever find a buyer for them.
But with the way Mrs. Zhou was doing things now, there was no such risk, so it was naturally impossible for her to charge similar prices as Mrs. Li had back then.
And, in fact, before they even came out this time, Su Tang and Mrs. Zhou had already negotiated the prices. Su Tang would pay Mrs. Zhou 400 copper coins for each young or middle-aged laborer, for healthy children under the age of 15 she would pay 200 copper coins, and finally the elderly and very small children who had little value as laborers would be 100 copper coins a head.
Although these amounts were comparatively smaller, Mrs. Zhou knew that Su Tang intended to buy a lot of people this time and that probably most of the people would also be willing to sell themselves. Thus, even with the lower prices, she was confident in earning a few taels of silver on each individual farm. With five farms that needed laborers, she felt she could probably easily earn upwards of 20 taels this time.
Having found this rare big customer, Mrs. Zhou was very dedicated to completing her task well.
Jiang Hong and Madam Zhang didn’t have many possessions to pack, so a little less than an hour later the couple had already returned. In Madam Zhang’s arms there was a small six-year-old little girl, who looked thin, wan, and unhealthy.
Jiang Hong and Madam Zhang were both healthy adults in their prime, so they finally agreed to sell themselves for eight taels of silver. Meanwhile, their six-year-old little daughter didn’t have any value as a laborer at all, to the point that Jiang Hong and Madam Zhang were embarrassed to even ask for money for her, so in the end, Su Tang randomly paid a couple of taels to buy her over.
Once all the deeds were signed and it was official, Su Tang called Jiang Hong and said, “You’ve worked as a farmer here for a while now, so you should be familiar with the people here. This farm has a total of 110 mu of land, try to calculate how many people are needed to tend to all of it. Once that’s done, screen out the people you think are trustworthy and give me a list.”
Since she had already bought this person, Su Tang decided she ought to use him even if he might be leaving later. Thus, she decided to just let Jiang Hong handle picking out some reliable families for her to buy. Of course, she wouldn’t just send him alone. The orange cat would also follow along secretly.
Jiang Hong had already been living on this farm for some time, so he was much clearer than she was about the character of the other farmers here and should be more reliable for this task. More importantly, not even the orange cat had any idea how many people were needed to tend to so many mu of farmland. After all, the “farming” Su Tang and the orange cat were familiar with just involved randomly tossing out seeds in the space. For regular farming, even the noble Divine Beast had no experience.
But Jiang Hong was making his living as a farmer, so he definitely had a better understanding of these things. With him leading the way, the orange cat only needed to follow him and make sure he had no bad intentions and that the people he chose were honest and willing to work.
Madam Zhang had gone off to settle her little daughter but now came back and went over to start boiling water for cooking. At the same time, Jiang Hong was in a bit of a daze. When Su Tang had immediately called him over he had been worried and wondering what she wanted. Moreover, he had never planned to sell himself as a slave and still hadn’t really adapted to it yet. But unexpectedly, Su Tang suddenly gave him such an important task.
Jiang Hong instantly recognized that this was both an opportunity and a test. In the past he had even owned his own small shop so, while he didn’t dare to brag about his powers of discernment, he was confident in saying that he was at least somewhat clever. Thus, when Su Tang handed him this task, he didn’t immediately agree but instead opened his mouth to ask some questions.
“Before I answer, may I ask if there will be oxen and carts on the farm in the future?” There was a big difference between a farm with oxen and carts and a farm without those things.
“There will be both oxen and horses, along with carts and carriages.” Su Tang directly affirmed. These were the very basics, there was no way she would skimp. She continued, “All of the farming equipment and related items will be properly prepared.”
“Understood. Then, miss, are you looking to have just enough to get things done, or do you want a little extra labor?” Jiang Hong continued to question.
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