Albert’s campaign was quite successful. A group of businessmen from the South were gathered at within Albert’s courtyard where the neat lawn and shrubs that formed the flower garden were, striving to enjoy what nature had to offer and the exquisite porcelain products.
Humans used their intelligence and techniques to turn clay into exquisite works of art. If you look at it from that perspective, porcelain should be displayed in nature to allow people to see the combination of humanity’s perfection and nature.
Nevertheless, everybody knew that Albert didn’t invite them over merely to check out the porcelain goods. Everyone kept tabs on what Albert did and took it serious for they were aware he was collecting funds, but they weren’t sure to what end. On a universal level, though, they could only think of one reason for Albert to be collecting money, especially given the timing. That reason would be none other than to continue buying shares. Like dogs catching a whiff of meat, businessmen flock to corpses to chomp off what they can regardless of what animal it may be.
I gave the man in front of me a smile and, from a servant’s tray, picked up a glass of fruit wine. My dog metaphor would be the perfect illustration of the future businessmen in the South. They were all people who had just inherited their family business from their predecessors. Call it their first opportunity. While they were still young and just debuting, they had learnt how to hunt for prey. As the minister of business, I wasn’t surprised to have them approach me, so I turned them all away with my three phase rejection tactic.
The businessmen tried probing what Queen Sisi thought about the colony. Everyone began vying for the shipyard after the colony’s discovery. Furthermore, there was no doubt the colony would become a new and volatile market where all high-quality goods could be exchanged for shiny gold coins. However, all of that rode on what Queen Sisi had in mind. In short, her decision determined the businessmen’s fate. For instance, there was the question of whether or not they’d be charged taxes for merchant boats. How much would the tax be? What sort of goods could be traded and which were prohibited? Were there any limitations for businessmen? Did they have anyone or anything to take care of them while conducting business there? Were they granted any special rights? As you can see, merchants had sound reasons to be concerned about those questions.
Sisi had yet to share her views with me. As Queen, her first priority was how much actual control she had over a piece of land so far away. At present, she needed to make the newly discovered land bow to her empire for eternity since her rule had yet to extend there. As for what the businessmen needed to do, she was unlikely to put too many limitations on them for the meantime. In fact, she’d most likely encourage more people to go there with the belief that, the more people went there, the more the inhabitants of that land would believe in her.
“All right, all right now, gentlemen. Welcome to my humble abode. This is not a formal meeting, so I hope that you have a happy afternoon underneath the bright sun,” cheerfully announced Albert, with his hand raised.
The crowd politely applauded Albert, the public’s prey. All that was left to see was where their prey would run to. In spite of having all eyes on him, he showed no fear. With a bright smile, he went on, “All of the porcelain products on the lawn are my family’s collection of porcelain goods from the East over many years. In the past, I was rarely able to get my hands on any. I had to go through many people to sometimes get a piece. The people in the East are not fond of interacting with us. I suppose the reason is attributed to cultural differences. But nonetheless, we like these beautiful porcelain products that resemble the work of gods. We, too, are wondering how they were made. We have burnt sand, mud and mixed various things to no avail. We have very few left after gifting many to Her Majesty. They are priceless treasures. My family has always been trying to obtain more, but we failed to, even up to the time my late father led the family.”
I remarked to myself, “How else would there be a trade deficit?”
They asked for too much when they couldn’t make them, so it was only normal for them to be forced to purchase them. Since the people in the East didn’t like to do business with people here, it was understandable that they sold very few goods to the people here, thereby creating a trade deficit. For all I knew, another war could soon be imminent. What I did know for sure was that Albert was lying.
Albert didn’t sell a large volume of them before this as he wanted to monopolise their price. Given that he had only inherited his family business, it was impossible to obtain porcelain products. The only feasible explanation was that he went there with his father before to begin collecting porcelain products in case there were any changes. But, hey, it was perfectly normal. After all, I was also telling a fib.
“However, as you can all see, I have sold off a lot of products at once this time around. You might be wondering why I did so. I didn’t happen to buy another large batch. The truth is that I have found a way to create porcelain products!” claimed Albert.
The crowd below the platform thereupon immersed themselves in chatter. Some were shocked. Others didn’t buy his claim. Some mocked him. Others had epiphanies.
Albert wasn’t in any rush. He maintained his smile while waiting for the crowd to descend into quietness and refocus their attention on him before he spoke again.
“I know that some of you believe me, while others don’t. Either way, my goal this time is not the convince you to invest in my business. All I hope is that you can support my business going forward. Henceforth, I will focus all of my efforts on producing our porcelain. I guarantee quality that can rival what we currently have from the East. My family will also continue to produce porcelain products. My next step is to build a factory to complete the job. I hope you can support me with the endeavour financially and with advice. All right, let us not let my breath that reeks of money spoil the beauty of nature. Please enjoy this beautiful afternoon, gentlemen!”
*Three phase rejection tactic – refers to the concept of three consecutive statements to emphasise a fact. In this chapter, Lin Dongqing uses it to reject their “advances”. As an example that everyone on the internet can understand, it would resemble this example: “This is well written, though I know that was a meaningless statement. The MC suits my desires, though I know this also is only meaningful to me. See? My opinion is objective.”
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