# 51. Drinking Games Upon hearing the sounds of the darts entering the pot, Xu Qi'an unconsciously began to smile. He tore off the black cloth and pointed at the gold and silver ingots in the booth. "Ha, old Daoist, They’re all mine now." The old Daoist glanced at him, and calmly collected the gold and silver into a bag. After that, he pointed to the bodhi bracelet and small jade mirror at the top of the booth, and smilingly said, "Young Master, Choose one from these two." ... Xu Qi'an tried to bargain, "Old Daoist, I don't want any of these. I just want the money." The old man ruthlessly refused, "The rules are the rules." After a brief pause, He added, "These two are rare treasures, incomparable to yellow and white vulgar items. Child, don't be blinded by gold and silver." *No, I just want these vulgar objects...* Xu Qi'an asked, "What's the use of these treasures." "I don't know. I just know that they are waiting for a destined person to take them." The old Daoist acted like a hoodlum. Xu Qi'an suspected that the old Daoist was lying to him, but he didn't have any evidence. He was also a little hesitant due to his inexplicable luck. Nobody can be sure if the items were treasures, but the money would always be valuable. At that time, a soldier came over and said, "My master asks you for a favour." Xu Qi'an turned his head to look at the luxurious carriage not far away, and asked, "What does your master want?" "That string of bodhi beads." The armoured soldier looked away from the booth and looked at Xu Qi'an, "My master is willing to spend sixty taels of gold on it." *It turned out that my European Emperor was waiting to act here...* Xu Qi'an showed a warm smile, "Deal." He asked the soldier to pay the money in exchange for three arrows. The soldier said, "The master said that you can throw the arrows repeatedly, and we'll pay all the money needed. It doesn't matter if you fail..." As soon as he finished speaking his words, He saw Xu Qi'an casually throwing an arrow while blindfolded. Thunk, thunk, boom... The three arrows reached inside the pot. Passers-by began to exclaim in surprise again. The soldier looked respectfully at Xu Qi'an. A single attempt could be due to luck, but being right two times meant that the other party wasn't an ordinary person. The ordinary-looking young man, even if he was dressed as a scholar, was surely an expert. *60 taels of gold here I come...* Xu Qi'an was very joyful. He tore off the black blindfold, just in time to see the curtain of the luxurious carriage fall. *... I don't know who the big man in the carriage is...* He didn't dare to look anymore and turned around to cup his hands at the soldier, "Fortunately, I didn't fail." The soldier clasped his fists respectfully in return, then returned to the carriage to return in a short while with a filled purse. Xu Qi'an took the purse from the soldier, and the jade mirror from the old Daoist. Then, he watched the carriage leave the premise. He withdrew his gaze and casually put the palm-sized jade mirror into his robes, and happily weighed the large purse. It weighed about three or four catties[^1], and was too heavy to tie around his waist. "No, I have to go and exchange the gold for banknotes. It's too stupid to carry such a heavy amount of gold with me..." Thinking of this, he couldn't help but look back, only to find that the old Taoist priest was gone, and the booth had also been cleaned up. Xu Qi'an stood by the side of the road in silence for a long time. ... He went to the bank again and exchanged the gold into four bills worth one hundred taels, one bill worth fifty taels, and three bills worth ten taels. Gold didn't exist in the monetary system, so it needed to be exchanged for silver, and the bank issued notes for the silver. The exchange rate between gold and silver was one to eight, and sixty taels of gold equalled four hundred and eighty taels of silver. *Four hundred and eighty taels of silver is more than enough to slap Auntie's pretty face...* *Why can't I help but think of using silver bills to slap auntie's face whenever I earn some money? Looks like the original Xu Qi'an's resentment towards Auntie was too strong...* *...Additionally, this money could only buy a small yard in the inner city... If you want to buy a big Three Layer House, you can't even dream about it without having at least 10,000 taels of silver with you...* Xu Qi'an was somewhat worried about the matter. Regardless of a new world or the previous world, housing prices made people despair. “Four hundred and eighty taels should be enough to buy a lower-grade brothel oiran, but it's not worth it to do that. “Let's see, for four hundred and eighty taels, I can take turns to visit many oirans for several months. But if I buy an oiran, besides exhausting my entire fortune, I'll also have to be responsible for her food and clothing. If she accidentally gets pregnant with a child, it'll be another huge expense.” *Also, My current salary is only enough to support me to raise a single wife. I can't afford the lives of hugging multiple wives and concubines like rich people do.* *Besides, I don't like the idea of redeeming a brothel girl. To use public transport privately, leads to heaven smiting you.* ... At dusk, Xu Qi'an came to the famous Jiaofang Si in the capital, which was located in an alley. In the evening when the lanterns were lit, all kinds of carriages were parked outside the alley. From the courtyards emerged the sound of traditional instruments and the clear and crisp sound of singing. He knew that the beautiful nightlife had begun. When walking along the alleyway extending in all directions, the profound culture learned from Constable Wang emerged in Xu Qi'an's mind. A normal brothel was a two-story or a three-story building, with one or two other courtyards attached to it, it was quite standard for brothels. Jiaofang Si didn't have that kind of multi-storeyed building, since it didn't need one. All the yards in the alleyway were a part of the Jiaofang Si. State-owned enterprises were just that rich and powerful. There was no threshold for entering the Jiaofang Si. There was also no rule that ordinary people cannot consume there, but the basic consumption of the Jiaofang Si was five taels of silver. That was not the cost of sleeping with a girl, but the fees to get a table. Five taels of silver were equivalent to the income of an ordinary person for several months, and they must have come from a wealthy family to have that sort of income. Therefore, there were mainly three types of guests in the Jiaofang Si: 1, the wealthy gentry or merchants. These guests were the most willing to spend money. As they had a low social status, they had an almost fanatical obsession with sleeping with the female relatives of criminal officers. 2, Officials. For them, the Jiaofangsi was a place for drinking tea and having a gathering after getting off work. As long as they needed entertainment, They would go to the Jiaofangsi. It is also worth mentioning that officials of the Ministry of Rites could whore for free, since the Jiaofangsi was under its jurisdiction. 3, Scholars. These kinds of people were more refined than the wealthy gentry and easier to serve than the officials, so they were the most liked by the Jiaofang Si girls. There were also three types of girls in the Jiaofang Si: 1, The female relatives of criminal officials. These women were the most miserable, since they were forced into prostitution and made to serve others. 2, Women captured during a war Earlier history aside, just in the "Mountain and Sea Campaign" 20 years ago, the western countries and Great Feng were the victors, and they took countless women from the northern and southern marches to fill the Jiaofang Si of various states and prefectures. 3, A prostitute recruited by the Jiaofang Si These kinds of women were willing to become glorious seafood merchants and contribute to Great Feng's abalone business. Their spirit was commendable. "It's true that throughout one’s life, one is always learning. Constable Wang is my teacher as well..." Xu Qi'an sighed with emotion, and finally found his goal for this visit to Jiaofang Si. He stopped outside a courtyard, where the plaque on the gate read: Reflecting Plum Pavilion The gate of the courtyard was open, and two bright red lanterns were hanging in the front. Inside the courtyard, there were plum trees with branches embellished by blooming flowers. A sixteen or seventeen-year-old young gatekeeper was at the gate of the courtyard, looking at Xu Qi'an with scrutiny. He had another name well known to everyone. "I'm Yang Ling, a xiucai scholar from Changle County. I had heard of Miss Fuxiang for a long time. So, I came over to visit her." Xu Qi'an imitated a scholar's bow and spoke politely to the gatekeeper. Reflecting Plum Pavilion was the residence of Oiran Fuxiang. The table fee here was ten taels of silver, which was twice as expensive as in ordinary courtyards. There were a total of twelve famous oirans in Jiaofang Si, who were divided into four grades based on their character, rhyme, talent, and appearance. Miss Fuxiang belonged to the first class, and she was best known for her poetry and qin skills. "Ten taels of silver." The gatekeeper had a cold attitude, being used to seeing big shots. After collecting Xu Qi'an's money, he let him enter the yard. Xu Qi'an was happy, the sound of laughter and music was coming from the courtyard, and the drinking games had already begun, but since the gatekeeper had let him in, it meant that the courtyard wasn't booked, but was open to customers. There were two modes for those who come out to play, one was privately occupying the room and another was having many individual customers. If the situation was the former, Xu Qi'an's trip was destined to be in vain. --- [^1]: 斤, catty, or jin, is a weight unit traditionally measuring 16 taels.