12 The great Song Wei
The next day, Liu Yang and Xiao Peng headed yet again to the city. Liu Yang was of course still wearing her black man's cloak and her eyepatch to cover her ink-black eye.
This time, Xiao Peng didn't even try to convince her miss to dress like any honorable young lady of a noble family would, since she knew it was useless in front of her stubborn master.
"Where would you like to go today, miss?" Asked Xiao Peng.
"I'd like to take a stroll around the city to familiarize myself with it..." She responded.
They then leisurely started walking without any particular destination.
After a while, Xiao Peng started talking again.
"By the way miss, what do you count on doing with the ingredients you had me prepare yesterday?" She asked with a curious look.
Liu Yang stared blankly for a second, before finally remembering what Xiao Peng was talking about. That's right, the soap ingredients! She had totally forgotten about those!
"I'll show you when we get back home" She said with a mysterious expression and a wide smile.
Without realizing, the two girls had ended up in front of a magnificently decorated restaurant.
The entire facade was painted in a brilliant red colour and was richly decorated. The window outlines were coated with gold and a sign where were written the bold letters "Vermilion Bird Restaurant" stood proudly above the massive wooden doors.
This entire restaurant screamed: "For the rich and powerful only."
Liu Yang was shocked. How could someone invest so much just in the facade of a restaurant? Wasn't the interior, and most importantly, the food, that mattered for a restaurant? Even if it was only for the rich and powerful, wasn't outlining the windows with real gold a bit too much?!
Seeing the astonished expression on her miss' face, Xiao Peng looked at her knowingly. After all, this was the normal reaction to have when facing such a high-class restaurant.
"Who owns such a place?" Murmured Liu Yang in a low voice, talking to herself.
Surprisingly, Xiao Peng, who was next to her, heard what she had just said.
"The great Song Wei of course!"
Liu Yang looked at her with a puzzled expression.
"Should I know him?" She asked.
"Ah... that's right. I keep forgetting you've lost your memory! Let me tell you all about him! He's the kingdom's most wealthy man! He...."
She was cut off by Liu Yang.
"Shouldn't that be the emperor?"
"Yes, it should, but his wealth is even greater since he only uses it to invest and make even more money while the emperor has to use his wealth to build roads and such!"
"But doesn't the emperor view him as a threat? Why doesn't he eliminate this Song Wei?"
Liu Yang knew that monarchs were usually quite paranoid and wouldn't hesitate to get rid of anyone that seemed dangerous.
"They have been friends since their childhood and so the emperor must trust Song Wei a lot! And even if he did try to kill the man he grew up with, I think it would be hard given that Song Wei is very powerful and has many connections, even outside of the Ming Kingdom."
So this was the man she had to surpass to show this world women could be more powerful than men. It would be a hard fight, a simple person couldn't possibly be richer than his own emperor!
Oddly Liu Yang felt very excited to compete with this man, and didn't feel an ounce of fear.
"Also..." Started Xiao Peng.
"Also what?" Asked Liu Yang eagerly. She really wanted to know more about her enemy. As the saying goes: "If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles"
"He... He... He's the most handsome man in the whole capital!! He's attractive, rich... Every woman in the kingdom wishes to marry him! He would be the perfect husband!" She said with an idolizing gaze.
Liu Yang's enthusiasm was crushed. 'Who cares if he has a pretty face! How is that going to help me become richer than him!' She wanted to shout.
"But..." Xiao Peng started again.
"But what?" Asked Liu Yang with renewed enthusiasm.
Xiao Peng looked around to see if anyone was listening to their conversation.
Liu Yang's eagerness rose another level.
Xiao Peng got closer to her and whispered in her ear.
"I heard he likes men. He's twenty-one years old and doesn't even have a concubine!" She said as if it was the most shocking secret ever.
As a modern person, Liu Yang entirely supported the LGBTQ+ Community even if she wasn't part of it. She found it very admirable for a man in this era to be so open with his sexuality! She was amazed he didn't even try to hide it by taking at least a concubine.
But still, how was this an important information for her to become wealthier than him!
Liu Yang wanted to cry but had no tears. Her expectations were once again crushed.
"Well, good for him. But what's wrong with men liking other men?" She said.
Xiao Peng didn't expect her miss to ask her that question. She thought hardly.
"Well... Hmm.... It's against nature, they can't bear children!" She finally said.
"Well it's the same for sterile people, does that make it's wrong for them to exist?" Replied Liu Yang.
Xiao Peng pondered on that idea for a moment. Finally, she couldn't find any flaw with what her miss had said... Why was it wrong for two people of the same sexe to love each other?
Seeing Xiao Peng in deep thought, Liu Yang took the opportunity to pinch her cheek again. This girl was just too cute!
Xiao Peng snapped out of her daze and started at Liu Yang with a confused expression.
Liu Yang coughed slightly as if nothing happened and changed the topic.
"So in which areas does Song Wei invest in?" Asked Liu Yang. She was truly curious about this man who managed to be richer than the emperor in an era where the emperor was supposed to be the most powerful man of the kingdom.
"I don't know the details. I'm pretty sure he invests in land. He then builds houses and shops and then sells them for a big price. He also owns a few stores and restaurants. That's all I know..."
"Ok, thanks Xiao Peng!" Smiled Liu Yang.
"Should we continue our walk?" Asked the little girl.
"No. I just had a great idea, could you lead me to one of the Twin Dragon Restaurants please?"
"Sure..." Replied Xiao Peng
She was truly curious as to what kind of crazy idea her miss had this time.