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Chapter 663: Looking to the future
The young man rode slowly on his horse with Su Lei following beside him. After a full five kilometers, the young man finally saw the goods Su Lei and the others had piled up in the dip of a hill.
However, the young man frowned. “Is that all?”
He got down from his horse and circled the goods. They were mostly vegetables while the medicine was pitifully little. There were also not many ironware items to be seen but a lot of seasonings like scallions, ginger, and garlic.
In conclusion, most of the items were not valuable at all.
Nearby, Su Lei explained, “We were a little rushed, so we only managed to get these items. You live in the gra.s.slands and have never been to the south before, so you might not know that the supplies in the south are not as readily available as you think. It was very difficult to even get ahold of these things.”
The young man looked at Su Lei with a half-smile. He grasped what was going on. “I’m guessing that you didn’t have the money to buy what I asked for?”
Su Lei immediately felt embarra.s.sed. “How could that be? I’m telling the truth.”
“Alright then.” The young man did not expose him further. Instead, he said bluntly, “We don’t have any shared currency between us, so let’s just barter instead. How do you propose to trade?”
Su Lei thought for a moment and said, “As you can see, the people in the south are actually also very poor. Even if you give me your stock of fur hides, I can’t sell them for a good price. In this day and age, food is still the most valuable of all.”
On the way here, Su Lei had thought of how to bargain. It would be nothing more than bullying the northern nomads for not knowing the situation in the Central Plains and making them think their fur hides were worthless. Then he would jack up the value of the tea leaves, medicine, ironware, and vegetables he was holding. With that, he would make a killing for sure!
The young man did not refute him. Instead, he continued listening to Su Lei’s nonsense with great interest. “It’s not like the Central Plains is cold, so there’s no point in wearing a fur coat like that. But ironware is really hard to find around here. Do you know how much this pot is worth?”
The young man said with a smile, “900 yuan?”
Su Lei was taken aback, as the young man had accurately stated the value of the iron pot.
Of course, the price he had said was still not accurate enough. Although the availability of iron goods was quite scarce these days, after Fortress 178 took over the Zong Consortium’s territory, many of the daily necessities previously controlled by the Zong Consortium had started dropping in price. Currently, the price of an iron pot was just 800 yuan.
But a month ago, an iron pot was still selling for over 900 yuan.
Su Lei suddenly realized the young man in front of him probably had knowledge of the south!
Su Lei stayed silent for a moment before saying, “Let’s forget about this iron pot for now. You should also know that as long as a person is alive, they definitely need to take medicine at some point, right? Who doesn’t suffer from headaches and fevers? Many people end up dying after running a fever, so the price of medicine has always been very high. Guess how much an antibiotic pill like this costs?”
The young man said with a smile again, “200 yuan?”
Su Lei was speechless. It might have been a coincidence the young man got the price right the first time, but getting it correct a second time was definitely not.
“How do you know the prices of these items?” Su Lei was puzzled. Could it be that a traitor had defected from the South to the gra.s.slands?
Who could have leaked the info?!
However, the young man said with a smile, “OK, the most expensive items you have here are these few dozen antibiotic tablets and ironware. I can tell that you must’ve spent a lot of money to purchase them. As for the vegetables, they aren’t worth much. Although the strongholds regulate the distribution of grain, they don’t do so for vegetables. The refugees themselves are allowed to grow vegetables in the wilderness. I’m guessing that these vegetables were also planted by you guys.”
Su Lei felt a little helpless, but he still wanted to continue bargaining. “The price of the fur hides—”
“To show you my sincerity, all of the fur hides that we brought this time are the best-looking ones,” the young man interrupted with a smile. “These items can go for at least three to four thousand yuan each at the store in town.”
Su Lei was at a complete loss for words. He was still thinking he could cheat the northern nomads. After all, in the eyes of the Southerners, the nomads did not seem very smart and were especially gullible.
Moreover, didn’t everyone say that in the course of human history, the Central Plains’ people had always been able to cheat the nomads from the gra.s.slands when it came to doing business? So why didn’t it work when it was their turn?
Now that he thought about it again, although the young man was wearing a nomad’s robe, his way of speaking and acting was not too different from the Southerners.
It was just that Su Lei had never seen a nomad before, so he did not know how to differentiate between them.
Su Lei looked at the group of hors.e.m.e.n behind the young man. He estimated he could probably only trade for 10% of the fur hides they brought this time. Or maybe he would not even have enough to get 10%.
The young man consoled him, “You don’t have to feel depressed. Of course I won’t do business with you based on the prices offered in town. After all, everyone is trying to make a profit here. That’s the only way we can look forward to future dealings, right?”
Su Lei perked up. “Then how do you propose to bargain?”
“How about this? You can sell these fur hides to the stronghold for at least three to four thousand yuan each, but I’ll only charge you at a unit price of 2,000 yuan, so I don’t think I’ll have to get into detail about the profits. As for these items of yours, I’ll buy them at the market rate. Furthermore, I’ll also let you have another 50 fur hides on credit to fund your supply run. This way, you won’t have wasted a trip, right? Just bring me a 100,000 yuan worth of goods on the same day next month.”
Su Lei was overjoyed. Although it was much less than what he had expected to earn, this outcome was by no means not a profit!
Moreover, for the other party to let him have 50 fur hides on credit, it was as though someone had stuffed a pillow under his head as he was dozing off. What did he lack now? Wasn’t it capital?
However, Su Lei was a little puzzled. “Aren’t you afraid that I’ll take all 50 of your fur hides and run away?”
After all, these fur hides were worth over a 100,000 yuan total.
The young man smiled and said, “You were already willing to travel several hundred kilometers to meet me, so I believe that you’re not a shortsighted person. If you run your business honestly, you’ll probably be able to earn ten or a hundredfold more than what these 50 fur hides are worth. I’ll leave you to consider the pros and cons of this for yourself.”
Of course, this was also because things like fur hides were not worth much to the young man. He had plenty of them back where he came from!
A business deal that suddenly came about was quickly completed. The nomads behind the young man loaded the goods Su Lei and his gang had brought up onto their horses and left in high spirits.
One thing to be unhappy about was how they had to bring back most of the fur hides they had transported here. After all, Su Lei and his gang were too poor and had brought too few goods to trade with.
On the way back, a man said guiltily to the young man, “Master, the person I sent out was too incompetent. I didn’t expect him to have found such poor bandits to do business with.”
The young man said with a smile, “Ha.s.san, you don’t have to be too concerned about this short-term loss. I believe that this group of people will surprise us next month. We have to look further into the future. Right now, he’s just a small-time bandit, but one day, he’ll become a successful businessman. When that time comes, I’ll be able to get some automatic rifles for y’all to play with. Y’know, there’s quite a lot of arm dealers in the south. The other tribes in the gra.s.slands are still stuck at the level of occasionally raiding the Central Plains for their supplies. But actually, doing business is the surest way of securing the livelihoods of the nomads. I won’t come here next month. I’ll leave this matter to you in the future, so you can just bring some people along with you to carry out the deals.”
“Yes, Master,” Ha.s.san answered respectfully. “Master, can you get the wolves to escort me then?”
The young man laughed out loud. “Ha.s.san, don’t be afraid of those people. I’ll have the wolves accompany you, but they won’t show themselves if there’s no danger. I don’t want us scaring away these new ‘friends’ of ours.”