577 Have you heard of someone called Ren Xiaosu?
The young man who posed the question was Wang Yuchi, and he was originally one of Jiang Wu's students. But having gone through several huge disasters and wandered around the Central Plains with Wang Fugui for a few months, his appearance had become more mature.
Along the way, everyone had suffered a lot. When they finally arrived at Stronghold 144, everyone was worn out from the journey.
During this period, Wang Yuchi also showed potential in his abilities. After learning a lot from Wang Fugui, he was now his right-hand man.
Wang Fugui said proudly, "We came here first to build a working relationship with the people of Fortress 178; this is what we call seizing the initiative. Other people might wait for the trade route to open up in half a year's time, but we can't afford to do so. The savings Xiaosu left for us are drying up. If we see him again and he asks how much money we have left, we can't embarrass ourselves."
Wang Yuchi fell silent. "Will we still get to see Brother Xiaosu?"
Wang Fugui was taken aback before replying with a smile, "Definitely! I heard that a jinx can live for a millennium, so he definitely won't die."
"Then will anyone buy the goods we've transported here?" Wang Yuchi changed the subject.
"Of course," Wang Fugui chuckled and said, "Look, we're already at an advantage when it comes to traveling to the Northwest to conduct our business. Since y'all have nanomachines in your bodies, and we also have a supernatural being in Ms. Wu with us, normal bandits won't have any way to rob us. Also, your female classmates are skilled with their hands; the ornaments they designed are all beautiful. While wearing ornaments was already a very popular trend in the Central Plains, the women in the Northwest have never seen them before. I'm sure that they'll take a liking to it immediately."
As he spoke, Wang Fugui ran to the back of the box truck and unlocked the trailer. He called out to the people inside, "Ladies, get out of the vehicle and take a breather. Uncle Fugui will bring y'all to town for a hot meal."
Inside the trailer, Jiang Wu and five female students were diligently braiding some bracelets. Some time ago, Wang Fugui thought of purchasing the bracelets directly from a supplier. However, they felt that the prices in the Central Plains were a ripoff. When the sellers saw that they were refugees, they even deliberately jacked up the price.
Later, Jiang Wu realized the materials needed to make these bracelets were not expensive, so she stepped forward and said they could just buy the raw materials to make it themselves. On the way to the Northwest, the girls could work on braiding the bracelets, and this saved them a lot of money.
Actually, Jiang Wu's intention was to find something for the female students to do. After all, everyone was in the same boat now. Even Wang Yuchi and the other male students had been forced to grow quickly, so no one should be idle in the group.
Over time, the female students who could not contribute as much started to feel a little embarrassed.
Currently, Jiang Wu was also considered one of the core members of the group. On one hand, she was there to ensure the students would continue studying by themselves. On the other hand, she was responsible for feeding and dressing the group. On top of that, she also used her superpower to protect the group.
In the past, Jiang Wu's superpower did not have much of a presence in their group.
This was because Ren Xiaosu was too powerful, and there wasn't a need for Jiang Wu to use her superpower. Since Ren Xiaosu could handle all kinds of situations by himself, Jiang Wu did not have to do anything at all.
But it was different now. Although Wang Yuchi and the other male students had nanomachines, those things were limited by their power source and did not have enough lethality either.
They still came across a few sporadic bandits while traveling to the Northwest from the Central Plains. But when the bandits encountered Jiang Wu, they got scared away by just a few petals she conjured up before even understanding what was going on.
Furthermore, if it were not for Jiang Wu's plum blossom branches she had materialized to keep everyone together back then, they might have gotten separated and ended up getting washed away by the flood.
Therefore, Wang Fugui would always discuss everything with Jiang Wu when something cropped up these days.
There were not only bracelets in this batch of goods they were transporting, but also cosmetics and other daily necessities that were relatively popular in the Central Plains. Basically, they were all mainly feminine products.
According to Wang Fugui, while women were fussy customers and most people disliked doing business with women, selling to women was a surefire way to make money.
As such, he bought these four used trucks to transport the goods, of which three-quarters were lipstick, skincare products, and various hair conditioners with different scents.
Lipstick was somewhat of a necessity for women, just like how cigarettes were for men. Moreover, the variety of lipstick colors available in the Central Plains was much greater than that in the Southwest and Northwest. The women here would definitely look more trendy if they used them.
Wang Fugui had requested Jiang Wu and a few of the prettier students to use their lipstick products daily once they arrived in the Northwest. This was so they could entice other women to buy their products when they saw how trendy the colors were.
As a matter of fact, many people in the Southwest and Northwest were still at the stage of using rouge paper to color their lips. It was not that they could not afford lipstick but that the Northwest and Southwest were focused on the development of heavy industry. As such, daily necessities like these were very scarce.
Old Wang immediately felt that he had discovered a business opportunity and thought of how to promote it. When he arrived in the Northwest, he would approach some newspaper firms to advocate the use of lipstick. It would go something like this: "Whether a man loves a woman or not, he can prove it by buying our Central Plains' lipstick for his dearly beloved."
Wang Fugui used to be the owner of a grocery store in the Southwest. His business had been doing better and better over the years because he was so good at seeking out business opportunities and understanding the customer's needs.
Back then, the important figures of Stronghold 113 in the Southwest had suddenly taken to eating exotic meat as an expression of their identities and status. That was also partly credited to Wang Fugui's advocacy of how rare exotic meat was to come by.
"But will Fortress 178 agree to let us sell our things here like this?" Wang Yuchi wondered.
"What're you afraid of? I'm on good terms with their Commander Zhang Jinglin!" Wang Fugui said proudly.
With that, Wang Fugui took everyone out to eat first. There was also a reason why he dared to bring everyone to the Northwest.
Everyone in the world knew Zhang Jinglin had regained control of Fortress 178, and the entire Northwest was now Fortress 178's territory. Wang Fugui used to be an acquaintance of Zhang Jinglin in town and enjoyed a friendly relationship with him.
Now that he had arrived in the Northwest, wouldn't his opportunities abound?
After lunch, Wang Fugui and Wang Yuchi immediately went to look for the people guarding the stronghold. The moment they approached them, Wang Fugui's first words were, "I'm a friend of Commander Zhang and would like to meet him to do some catching up."
Of course, the more impressive the introductions, the better! These days, people who did not know how to brag would not be destined for big things!
An officer who was supposedly the new regimental commander of Stronghold 144's garrison walked up to them. He said with a kind smile, "Bro, even if you're not a friend of the commander, you can still do business here in the Northwest. All you need to do is pay your taxes accordingly. Our taxes have been lowered recently, so there's definitely profit to be made."
Wang Fugui did not give up. "I'm really a friend of your Commander Zhang."
The regimental commander laughed. "There was someone who said that two days ago. But in the end, we found out the other party was only trying to meet Commander Zhang. They were not actually acquainted at all."
Wang Fugui was left speechless. Although there were also other merchants like him who came to the Northwest in advance to do business, he did not expect that someone would have already been exposed for trying to pretend to be an acquaintance of the commander.
Off to the side, Wang Yuchi chuckled. "Uncle Fugui, why don't we just stick to selling our goods? As if we can get to meet their commander so easily. Also, didn't he say that anyone can come and do business here? There's no need for us to cotton up to others."
"Like you'd understand!" Wang Fugui said with a dark expression, "In business, how could it be the same if we had someone at the top looking out for us?"
Suddenly, the regimental commander asked, "Did y'all come from the Central Plains?"
Wang Fugui was stunned. "Of course we came from the Central Plains."
The regimental commander suddenly asked again, "Then have you heard of someone called Ren Xiaosu in the Central Plains? Oh, by the way, my name is Zhang Xiaoman."