Su Yuying quickly left her bathroom and dried herself before putting on one of her favourite red dresses.
She then dried her hair and styled it with a phoenix hairpin that her mother had given her as a birthday present.
She ignored the various makeup supplies she had as they were just there for decoration.
After fully clothing herself and preparing herself for this meeting, she took a look in the mirror to confirm that her appearance was presentable, and she liked what she saw.
Having completed all of that, she decided to make herself a cup of tea and went out to the balcony to sit at the table she had there, waiting for her potential business partner to appear.
She didn’t have to wait long before a fellow fully dressed in black, with a metal mask on his face and a cat on his shoulder appeared.
“Young lady, I have come.”
Hearing this, she placed her teacup down and went to the ground floor of her house, where she exited to greet her guest.
She couldn’t tell from the projection, but he was much shorter than she had expected. On top of that, she remembered his young sounding voice.
Knowing that there were all kinds of eccentrics in the world, she decided to ignore these things.
She was about to make pleasantries, but unexpectedly, the other person spoke first.
He bowed his head.
“I apologise for this matter. I do hope you can forgive us.”
The cat also seemed to be bowing its head to her.
Hearing this, the slight piece of anger in her heart faded away.
At first, there was a part of her that wanted to slice and dice this fellow into oblivion for having seen her in a compromise and position, but she was realistic. She was just a body refining cultivator, she wouldn’t really be able to do anything to anyone forcefully.
“No, it’s not entirely your fault. I also took the jade that didn’t belong to me.”
Even though the jade was on her balcony, that didn’t make it her property. She didn’t even take the time to consider what it was before she took it.
The other person replied.
“Then, the jade.”
He held his hand out, waiting for her to give him the jade.
This wasn’t exactly the way she wanted things to go, so she decided to stall a little bit.
She pulled out the jade and asked him a question.
“You made these yourself?”
“Have you considered selling them?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“May I ask why not?”
She was quite surprised by his response. Surely he should know what kind of potential these movie jades had.
Otherwise, she would have to question his business sense.
But, it would be slightly advantageous for her if her partner-to-be was lacking in sensibility. It would mean should be able to take a bigger slice of the cake.
The person’s response surprised her.
“I have no need to do so.”
“No need? What do you mean?”
“Well, you tell me. Why should I?”
She was left stunned by this question. Wasn’t it obvious? If he sold them, he would make a profit. Who wouldn’t want more wealth?
“If you sell them, you can become wealthy.”
“I do not lack means of obtaining wealth.”
Now she was starting to understand. It seemed she was dealing with a fat sheep.
Her father had told her of these legendary people, to whom money was no object. Even if they had to purchase an entire store, they could do so without batting an eye.
And to be fair, she could also be considered a fat sheep depending on who was looking.
She didn’t know what he did, but her father made an awful lot of money. She was never denied any material things that she had asked for, and their house was one of the nicest in the entire town.
And in fact, this wasn’t even their primary residence. They had just come here a few years ago because her father had some business in the area.
“Even if you do not need this opportunity, do you not have people that you take care of who may benefit from this?”
Her words seemed to have hit the mark because it wasn’t until a short while later that the person responded.
“I never considered that.”
Seeing that she was going in the right direction, she decided to press forward.
“Think about it. Even if you yourself have means to earn wealth, what happens without you? What would happen if, heavens forbid, something were to happen to you? Would the people you care for be able to survive on their own?”
Of course, it was always possible that this person’s means extended to the ones he cared about, and that even if he weren’t there, they would be just fine, but it was also possible that those means hinged entirely upon him.
She was hoping this was the second case.
Seeing that the other person was going back into thought, she was quite pleased. It seemed her words were effective.
Then she heard his response.
“You’re right. I’ll consider selling them.”
“Why is it great? What’s in it for you?”
At this point, she started to panic. She had just made the elementary mistake of getting ahead of herself.
She hurriedly tried to come up with a response.
“It’s great to see that this product’s potential won’t go to waste.”
After saying this, she gave herself a pat on the back internally.
She was about to continue, but the other person spoke again.
“Well, thank you for your advice. Now, my jade.”
He held his hand out again, waiting for her to return his jade to him.
“N-not so fast.”
“Mm? Was the apology insufficient?”
The other person proceeded to bend down on one knee, his right hand above his heart, and his left fist touching the ground.
His head was lowered as he spoke.
“I truly apologise for the trouble we have caused you. Can you find it in your heart to forgive us?”
He then raised his head, waiting for her response.
The apology was spoken in an unusually neutral tone, but she could tell it was sincere.
She felt slightly guilty about the misunderstanding. The first apology was more than enough. This had only happened because she refused to return the jade to him.
She hurriedly helped him stand back up.
“No, the apology was more than sufficient. It’s just…”
She was now flustered, causing her words to fumble at the end.
“I just was thinking, since we met like this, it must be fate. I’m actually looking to start a business myself, and since you have the life-style movie jades, why don’t we partner together?”
“You want to sell them?”
“Mm. That’s what I was thinking.”
“I have no problem with agreeing to this, but you have to be aware that the current version of the product is not in a state that can be sold. Also, I won’t be able to dedicate any time to completing it. It can only be completed at my leisure, so there’s no way to set any deadlines.”
Hearing these words, she began to think. If her partner was so unreliable, it could affect the business’s future, but this was still the best opportunity she had stumbled upon so far.
“That’s fine. But how many years are we talking about until we have a finished product? Do you have an estimate?”
She wanted to know at least this much. It would be a terrible shame if she were to expect it to appear in two years, but it actually took 10 years. Then there would be little point in even starting this little idea of hers.
By that point, she would probably already be married with children.
“No, it’s not a matter of years.”
Internally, her face turned ugly, but of course, she wouldn’t let it show. If it was a matter of decades, she would immediately give up on the idea.
It simply wouldn’t be worth it.
“No, at the most it would be maybe five months from now. It depends on how quickly I can solve certain issues.”
She was extremely excited to hear this, but she tried not to show it outwardly. She was influenced by the other party’s neutral, almost cold tone.
As for the ‘certain issues’ the other person mentioned, she assumed he was talking about issues with the product. Never could she have imagined that he was talking about things that would shake up the local power balance.
After the other person nodded his head, she continued onto the serious part.
“Now, shall we talk about profits?”
“What did you have in mind?”
“I was thinking 65/35. Of course, you would be getting the lion’s share. What do you think?”
“What makes you worth 35 per cent?”
She had anticipated this question and as such, had already prepared her answer.
“My father is an extremely successful businessman, and I have learnt a lot from him. Not only that, but through attending several events with my father, I have become acquainted with the children of many notable merchants. I’m sure you realise how beneficial these connections can be.”
“While that may be true, this product has no competitor. Your connections may not be worth 35 per cent.”
“But it is based on an existing product. People will need a reason to upgrade when they already have a functioning communication system. With notable merchants promoting the product, growth will increase at a faster rate.”
“If it’s about gaining a reputation, all I need to do is give out a few units for free. Then word-of-mouth can do the rest.”
“But the lower continent is so large. The words of a few people may not be able to draw as much attention as you think.”
“Simple. If 10 aren’t enough, then a hundred. If a hundred aren’t enough, then a thousand. If a thousand aren’t enough, I’m sure you can see where I’m going.”
“But the material costs, they will be quite large. You may end up in a situation where you don’t even recoup your investment. Unable to keep up with production, you would have to sell the idea to someone else if you wished to profit off of it.”
“You don’t know the material costs.”
“This… Even so, do you have a system for mass production? What about a distribution network?”
“That’s not a problem.”
“… If this truly as you say, then I suppose 35 per cent is a bit much. How about 80/20?”
This was as low as she was willing to go. Any less than 20 per cent and she wouldn’t be able to present this as an achievement to her father.
And besides, at the end of the day, this was just an amusement for her. Much like the person she was talking to, she wasn’t wanting for wealth.
There was a long pause without a response.
“Is it still not enough?”
At this point, she had a bitter smile. It seemed this wasn’t going to work out.
“Sigh. I’m afraid I can’t… Hmm? What did you say?”
She had to blink a few times before it fully sank in. These numbers were very nice.
But also suspicious.
“While I may be able to handle it myself, I do not wish to do so. My time is better spent doing other things. As such, in this matter, you’ll be doing a lot of the work. I think 50 per cent is reasonable.”
“How much will you be doing?”
“After I finish the design, I will hand the rest to you. Manufacturing, distribution, marketing, all of it will be your responsibility. I’ll just take my cut.”
She was very happy to hear that she would be getting total control. Thinking of presenting her achievements to her father, she was eagerly anticipating it.
“Are you not worried that I’ll mistreat you?”
“… No… But my words alone…”
“Then it settled.”
She wasn’t sure whether this person was a good judge of character, or if he was just too trusting, but either way, it wouldn’t affect her.
She wanted to finalise the cooperation.
“So, we’re business partners?”
“Just one more thing.”
“What is it?”
“Since these are similar to movie jades, we may have to clash with the Merchant Association.”
“Are you afraid of the Merchant Association?”
“Neither am I. If they come, we’ll grind them into dust!”
It was a long time before the other person spoke. His words surprised her.
“You said you were in the body refining realm?”
Her eyebrows twitched as she responded.
“Is it by choice, or-”
she cut him off.
“What do you think?”
“… Then, what kind of spirit roots do you have?”
She was wondering why he was asking these questions, but she answered truthfully anyway.
“Peerless grade earth element.”
There was none of the pride one would expect from those who could use these words to describe themselves. Instead, there was a trace of resentment in her tone.
If she had regular spirit roots or no spirit roots at all, would she know what it was like to supposedly be a genius, but be unable to fulfil that potential?
To see the excitement on her father’s face turn to disappointment?
Who wanted these ‘peerless grade’ spirit roots anyway?
“Then you can try cultivating this.”
He threw a book over to her.
After having tried so many different cultivation techniques, she didn’t have any illusions of being able to overcome her situation.
She lazily looked at the title of the book, and sure enough, it wasn’t anything inspiring.
“Earth element foundations?”
“That’s right. You should be able to advance if you switch to this.”
She sighed and shook her head.
“I already tried so many techniques. I appreciate the thought though.”
She tried to return the book, but he didn’t accept it.
“You already tried so many techniques, but you did not try this one.”
“This… Then I’ll accept it. Thank you very much.”
She tried to sound gracious, but in her mind, she wasn’t even going to give this thing a second look.
She then gave him the jade before she spoke.
“How should I contact you?”
“You can keep this.”
He gave back the jade.
“But I can’t activate it.”
The person gave her a small jade bottle.
“If you place a drop of this onto the jade, you’ll be able to open up a communication channel. Preferably, you will only do so if it’s an important matter.”
“By the way, that technique is not for other eyes to see.”
“I’ll be sure to keep it private.”
And by private, she meant in a corner somewhere, collecting dust.
“Then, until next we meet.”
The other person turned around, and she went back into her house, thinking about the deal she had just made.
Even though they hadn’t drawn up a contract or anything, the fact that he let her keep the prototype was assuring.
When she got to her room, she tossed the book onto a table and walked out to the balcony, where she waited for her father to return home.