After they finished the snacks, well, mainly Li Xueyue did, Li Chenyang opened the scroll he had closed.
"I discovered something interesting today," he commented, handing it to her. She peered down at it, her brows raised upon recognizing what it was.
"How did you get your hands on this?" Li Xueyue breathed out, taking it from him. Her eyes raked all over, a list of expenses, revenue, and so forth; everything that was about the Bai Family's wealth was written on it.
"I had my ways." Li Chenyang left out the part where the scroll was stored in the restricted section and he had to talk his way into acquiring it. Sometimes, he truly was grateful for the doors his surname and position opened for him.
"When was this last updated?" Li Xueyue asked, recalling that the month was almost coming to an end.
"Last month. The records are updated monthly." Li Chenyang clicked his tongue. This was what made the financial department so stressed at times.
The entire accounting and auditing process was complicated and aristocrats with a title attached to their name, for example, Viscount Bai or Duke Li, and so forth would undergo greater scrutiny and rigorous checks for corruption.
"I will have to return this scroll tomorrow, so if you want to retain the information, it's best to make your own copy for your safekeeping," he added on.
"I heard their trading port business was negatively affected after what happened at the banquet and the commotion that took place on the streets the day I went out with Yu Zhen." Li Xueyue closed the scroll and placed it beside her. She told herself that she would focus on copying everything down when she finds the time today.
"Yes, when the new report comes in, we'll be able to analyze their plunge." Li Chenyang nodded. "Once their reputation is completely tarnished, we'll go in for the swoop."
Li Xueyue's eyes sparkled with mischief. "I thought of an interesting plan."
"Spill it then," Li Chenyang mused, returning to his seat.
"When the Bai Family's business slows down significantly, they'll definitely start looking for investors, preferably someone not from Wuyi because that way, the investor won't know of their reputation."
"Interesting, go on."
"Once their reputation dwindles like their business, the Bai Family will get desperate. They can only rely on their savings for so long. As you already know, they don't come from old money." Li Xueyue leaned back leisurely. "The Viscount came from humble beginnings. Once someone has a taste of money, it'll be hard to forget it."
"Are you suggesting we bankrupt them with a fake investor?" Li Chenyang asked.
She shook her head. "What benefit would that bring us besides a sense of satisfaction?"
"None." Li Chenyang's brows tugged together. He had a suspicion as to where she was going with her plans.
"Why don't we become the 'foreign investors' that they need?" Li Xueyue finally said. "But before that, we'll need to rip their reputation to shreds until they'll be forced to sell their trading ships and business at a low price. Once their selling price goes below the market price, the 'foreign trader' will strike them a deal."
"Hmm, go on." Li Chenyang began linking everything together inside his brain.
"The deal is that the 'foreign trader' or investor will pretend to see potential in their business, say, he'll buy it at a fixed price where you and I will have full ownership."
"They won't willingly sell their business for a low price, knowing they won't be able to benefit from it," Li Chenyang pointed out.
"Indeed, they won't, which is where our next scheme comes in. The investors will sign a false agreement that proposes the Bai Family will hand over the business to us, and in exchange, we will give them royalties of the trade, but the business will now be under the foreign traders' name."
Li Chenyang's eyes grew wider. He knew where this was leading. "On the surface, the Bai Family will think they still own a small share of their business just because of their royalties, but because they've sold their rights to us, the trading ports become ours."
"Precisely. The transfer of ownership drafted will be real, but the condition for royalties will not be. We'll change the name of the trading ports, wipe out all traces of the Bai Family until everything about the business is totally different than what was stated in the contract. Until it becomes completely ours."
"Then are we going to pay them the royalties?"
Li Xueyue nodded. "Yes, we'll need to keep them quiet for the period that we would be revamping the business and fixing the reputation."
Li Chenyang nodded. "Right now, their reputation is damaged, but not to the point where there is an alarming drop in sales. How will we further ruin them?"
"Pirates." Li Xueyue grinned, hopping out of her chair. "Sit here, I'll return with the parchment of my plans really quickly." She ran off without waiting for his response. She rushed to her room, fumbled with the vanity drawers, took out the parchment, and sprinted back to the tearoom.
By the time she returned, she was out of breath, but nonetheless, handed him the parchment and collapsed in her chair. Maybe it was a good idea for her to increase her training. She hadn't practiced sword fighting and archery for a while now.
Li Chenyang read over her plans. He raised his brows. "You plan to hire pirates to hijack the Bai trading ships?"
"Traders won't trade with the Bai Family if their goods got stolen. They will switch to another dock and find better places to trade. The Bai trading ships are rarely armed with enough weapons to fend off pirates. On top of that, we can buy out the mistreated or underpaid workers employed by the Bai Family to spoil the goods of the ships that weren't caught by pirates."
Li Chenyang breathed out in shock. "I didn't think you were capable of scheming to this extent. It's a well-thought out plan."
Li Xueyue shrugged in response.
"This will ruin their business for sure. No one will want to work with them, which is where we step in, am I right?" Li Chenyang mused.
Li Xueyue instantly nodded. "Yes."
"And how are you so sure their workers are treated unfairly?"
Li Xueyue's face darkened, her eyes flashing with contempt. "I just do." She would never forget the faces of the servants who were forced to hold her down and deliver crude punishments. She would not forget the remorse that flashed on their faces, and the guilt that they were forced to beat a young girl.
They were paid to be servants to do chores, not murder. She wondered how the servant who nearly killed her felt. Was he drowning in remorse? Angst?
"And the pirates? How will we get access to those?" Li Chenyang asked.
"This is the part of the plan that I'm working on." Li Xueyue pressed her lips together. The Capital was known to have large merchant stalls operated by foreign travelers, but she wasn't sure if she could hire pirates from among them.
"Don't reach out to them by yourself. Leave the pirate part to me. Once I've secured everything, I'll let you know," Li Chenyang told her in a serious voice that left little room for arguments. He would not risk her safety like this. Just the thought of her wandering to the dangerous parts of the Capital to seek out pirates in taverns gave him the shivers.
"Okay." Li Xueyue nodded. "In the meantime, we will have to find a way to get in contact with the workers back in Hechen."
Li Chenyang nodded in agreement, his eyes scanning over the parchment, his lips twitched when he saw her chicken-scratch handwriting that was a messy blur of ink. This would be a massive plan, and if they succeed, it would generate the best benefits.
Please go to https://www.qzxyzy.com/The-Rise-of-Xueyue/
to read the latest chapters for free