Joy of Life - Chapter 390[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:47]
Chapter 390: Spring Union
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The Crown Prince had been scolded, the area of investigation had shrunk, the Ministry of Revenue was temporarily safe, and the Overwatch Council once again straightened its spine. Things were just this amusing. Whether or not the First Bureau of the Overwatch Council could straighten up depended on the Minister of Revenue’s body and angle of the ground.
Hu the Scholar slapped the table in the Hall of Governmental Affairs and fiercely cursed that all those scholars were not clean. In any case, he was still young and hot-tempered and did not need to always have the bearing and style of an elderly official like Shu Wu did. The Emperor needed Hu the Scholar’s fame and drive. Only, in the matter of the investigating the Ministry of Revenue, Hu the Scholar did not completely satisfy the Emperor’s desires.
From what he could see, at least from the circumstances that had been uncovered, the Ministry of Revenue did not have it easy. What made Hu the Scholar most secretly angry was that even until today, there were still officials in the court who would not let go and wanted to find evidence relating to Jiangnan.
The sound of the table being slapped rang out again. Hu the Scholar’s eyebrows were furrowed deeply. He coldly stared at the official beside him. In a deep voice, he said, “Moving silver to Jiangnan? Where is the silver? Isn’t it in the Ministry of Revenue’s treasury? In the future, if there is no evidence, don’t randomly talk about such groundless things to avoid chilling the officials’ hearts.”
He looked at these ashen-faced officials and huffed coldly. “Everyone, do your best.”
Finishing these words, Hu the Scholar shook his arms out and walked out of the little room beside the Royal Palace. He left many officials in the room looking at each other.
Everyone felt deep regret and embarrassment. They investigated the Ministry of Revenue, and it was clean. Meanwhile, countless problems had been found with their factions. The supporters behind these officials were all linked in countless ways to Jiangnan. Looking at the situation in Jiangnan, these important figures judged that the silver Fan Xian used for Xia Qifei to challenge the Ming family was moved from the national treasury.
It was because of this judgement that they dared to so confidently attack the Ministry of Revenue. Since all that silver was still in the palace treasury transport company, the national treasury could certainly not cover it up. But, there was not a single trace.
The officials gnashed their teeth in anger. They didn’t dare respond to Hu the Scholar’s fierce scolding. They been told to kick up such a fuss, and, in the end, were not able to find any problems.
The father and son of the Fan family were too sinister.
It was very early in the morning, and the sun in the east had not yet risen. The Hall of Governmental Affairs was preparing the memorials for the court. The officials’ expressions were all somewhat tired. Most of them had not slept all night. However, thinking of the imminent battle in court, everyone had to be at 120 percent. In the first stage of investigating the Ministry of Revenue, it was clear that it had ended with the two factions of the Eldest Princess and the Eastern Palace being completely defeated. How could they save the situation?
With or without intending to, these officials shifted their gazes to a young official who had been sitting in the shadowy corner, He Zongwei. He was the new celebrity in the court. Behind him, he had connections to the Eldest Princess and the Eastern Palace, and now he had the Emperor’s deep appreciation.
Since Hu the Scholar did not wish to make too much of a fuss on the Ministry of Revenue matter, it meant that the Emperor had many unspeakable intentions that could not be successfully completed through the official. This was why he had moved the new Imperial Censor of the Left He Zongwei into the unit investigating the Ministry of Revenue.
The officials looked at He Zongwei. They wanted to learn from this young official how exactly the Palace was preparing to deal with this matter.
He had been specially placed in the Hall of Governmental Affairs and listening in for three days. He remained steady in his duty and was rigorous with respect toward Hu the Scholar and the other officials. He did not speak much, nor did he act rashly. He truly embodied the spirit of being steady, calm, and unflustered.
However, being stared at like this by the other officials, He Zongwei knew he had to show some kind of ability. This was not just for himself, it was also for the Emperor.
“It’s a mess,” he sighed and warmly said to the other officials. “Looks like this matter will slowly go on. Hu the Scholar was a bit anxious earlier. Please don’t think much of it.”
Slowly going on explained the Palace’s attitude. The Fan manor’s response was both clever and tough. The Palace was, at this time, unable to come up with a good solution to change out this Minister of Revenue. It could only wait for another opportunity.
The officials became silent. They felt unsatisfied in their hearts as well as faintly concerned.
Since Fan Jian’s position did not change, the officials who had led the attack would have to face the appropriate consequences.
After the matter, the court officials belonging to the Eldest Princess and Eastern Palace factions began their last attack—not to kill their enemy, only to save themselves. No matter how clean the Ministry of Revenue was, the investigating unit had still found some small problems, particularly under the instruction of He Zongwei who had joined after the event. The officials gave up their shocking accusations and simply refused to let go of the small problems they had found with the Ministry of Revenue. For example, some of the numbers in the accounts were not clear, there was a small cache of silver that could not be located.
Although these were small problems, it showed that the people investigating the Ministry of Revenue were not doing so for revenge, rather, they truly wanted to find problems with the Ministry of Revenue.
As he listened to the impassioned accusations of those officials, Hu the Scholar smiled coldly from where he stood in the first place on the left row. Beside him, Shu Wu’s face was full of concern, and Minister of Appointments Yan Hangshu did not say a word.
The Emperor sat high in his dragon chair. He used a complicated gaze to look at one person among the ranks of officials.
Today, the Minister of Revenue, Fan Jian, had also come to court.
The Emperor looked at Fan Jian’s slightly salt-and-pepper hair and sighed in his heart. He opened his mouth and asked, “Where did that 180,000 liang of silver go?”
Fan Jian stepped out. He didn’t defend himself, and he didn’t explain. With his age clearly showing, he bowed and directly apologized humbly.
That 180,000 liang of silver had long been sent to the river transport governor’s yamen.
The court immediately burst into an uproar. The Ministry of Appointments and related officials, who had advocated strongly for the investigation of the Ministry of Revenue, immediately hid the joy that appeared on their faces. They were confused. Why did the ruthless Minister of Revenue admit, in court and before the Emperor, privately moving national silver into the river transport governor’s yamen? They knew this was not an opportunity to be missed.
In a flash, officials stepped out and righteously accused the Ministry of Revenue, pointing the blame directly at Fan Jian.
In this world, the only people with the authority to the stored silver in the national treasury were those with the Emperor’s decree. No one else was allowed. Fan Jian had the Ministry of Revenue move silver to the river transport governor’s yamen, yet he did not have a royal decree in hand. No matter from which angle this was considered, it was the crime of impetuously lying to the Emperor.
The Emperor stared at Fan Jian’s exhausted face. A faint light flashed through his eyes. He did not seem to hear the demands of the officials in court to punish the Minister of Revenue.
The Emperor didn’t hear, but some of the officials heard it very clearly. A fiery rage lit up in the depths of their hearts.
The deficits in the Ministry of Revenue were closely related to the officials attacking the Ministry of Revenue. While Minister Fan’s move of the national silver to the river works could be considered inappropriate, his intentions could be understood. He did it for the court, for the people. Yet, it had become a sore point for those shameless and mean people to attack.
Shu Wu’s eyebrows trembled, and there was a great rage in his eyes. He turned his head and glared at the officials who had stepped out.
The elders of the Hall of Governmental Affairs knew that for the court to send out silver, the paperwork was very complicated. If they were to slowly ask for an edict and then move the silver into river works, the Yangtze had probably already burst its banks. During the depths of winter, Shu Wu had once complained to the Emperor about this matter. Although he did not know the details of the matter of Fan Jian transferring money from the Ministry of Revenue to the river transport governor’s yamen, he was certain that it had nothing to do with private profits.
Bullsh*t! The Fan family had no land on either side of the Yangtze. What good would he receive by moving silver to repair the river?
Shu Wu forcefully repressed the anger in his chest and stood out. He faced the Emperor in the dragon chair and saluted.
Seeing this scholar of virtue and prestige stepping out, the officials attacking the Ministry of Revenue mumbled and withdrew their voices, returning to their places in the ranks.
The Emperor glanced at him and said, “What is the crime of privately moving silver from the treasury?”
Lao Shu the Scholar raised his head and said straightforwardly, “Your Majesty, if you are asking about the law you should ask the Ministry of Justice or the Supreme Court. I work in the Hall of Governmental Affairs and am not familiar with the Qing law.
The Emperor gave an almost smile and said, “Then what would you like to say?”
Shu Wu saluted again and turned around to glance contemptuously at the fledgling officials. “I am of the opinion that Minister Fan has committed no wrong in this matter.”
“What do you mean?”
“The matter of the river works has long been dire. Fortunately, this year, the strength of the spring floods were not as powerful as previous years, but the summer floods are about to arrive. As for the matter of the Ministry of Revenue moving silver into the river works yamen…”
Shu Wu took a deep breath and said very respectfully, “I approved the memorial in the Hall of Governmental Affairs and directly transferred it to the Ministry of Revenue, so I am actually very aware of the matter of the Ministry of Revenue moving silver.”
Once these words were out, the court broke into another round of clamour.
Unbelievably, Shu the Scholar took such a big risk and bound himself to the Fan family? Why did he do this?
Minister Fan seemed to be slightly surprised too as he looked at the elderly scholar in front of him.
The Emperor frowned slightly and then suddenly smiled a moment later. “Oh? Why do I know nothing of this?”
“I am muddled by age, please forgive me.”
Shu the Scholar was not muddled by age. Earlier, the officials were talking tumultuously and he couldn’t stand to see it. A thread of his resolute conscience surged up from the bottom of his heart and his blood charged, making him stand out to act as a guarantor for the Ministry of Revenue. At this moment, he recovered his senses and realized that the Emperor would certainly not like the people of the Hall of Governmental Affairs acting as guarantors for the six ministries. He smiled bitterly and lowered his voice, “Your Majesty, pity my old age. Last night, I also drank a couple cups and suddenly had a burst of juvenile frivolousness. At this time, even if I wanted hold control my mouth and I couldn’t.”
The Emperor saw a proper scholar acting the clown and couldn’t resist smiling. That thread of unhappiness at being challenged gradually dissipated.
“Hu Xuzhi,” the Emperor smiled slightly, “in your opinion, what is the Ministry of Revenue guilty of?”
After a slight moment of consideration, he said quietly, “Guilty of deceiving the ruler.”
A buzz started up around the court.
The Emperor raised his eyebrows and asked with great interest, “How should it be punished?”
“Not punished.” Hu the Scholar bowed very deeply.
“The Ministry of Revenue moving silver into the river works is out of a desire for public good, it is an act of loyalty to Your Majesty. Although he deceived the ruler, he did so out of love.”
Hu the Scholar said lightly, “When the Qing law convicts, it cares to understand the reasoning and mindset. A bright heart knows of the reason and understands the action. The Ministry of Revenue officials and the Minister are honest and sincere. Please see this clearly, Your Majesty.”
“Oh?” The Emperor seemed to be very interested in this explanation and smiled slightly. “But the law is here. If we do not act according to the law, how will we silence all the mouths of the people? How will we have the officials follow the law?”
“There is no need to block all the mouths of the people,” Hu the Scholar replied evenly. “As long as the banks of the Yangtze can be filled, the people can see with their eyes and hear with their ears. As long as they have food to eat and a safe place to live, they will know of Your Majesty’s hard work.”
The Emperor was moved and nodded his head.
Hu the Scholar continued to speak, “As for the officials…” A bitter mile suddenly rose to the corner of his mouth. “If the officials are truly safeguarding the law, then that is fine. In my opinion, although the Qing law is heavy, it cannot outweigh the word of the Emperor. If Your Majesty empathizes with the hard work of the Ministry of Revenue and is lenient in your judgement, the officials will recall with emotion your divine heart.”
At the end, he said in a quiet voice, “Your Majesty, it has been raining continuously lately.”
This last part was said in a very low voice. Other than the few officials close to the dragon chair, no one else was able to hear it.
The Emperor sank deep into thought. He knew that the Scholars of the Hall of Governmental Affairs closest to him were standing on the side of the Fan family today because they were thinking of the court, thinking of the wealth of the Qing Kingdom. He frowned as he thought. Hu and Shu did not know of his actual intentions. They had been provoked by the matter of river works, so had stood out to protect the Fan family. But…were his actions this time so inappropriate?
Did the officials with some conscience in the court all believe that Fan Jian should be kept?
His furrowed brows gradually loosened. He gazed at Fan Jian below in the hall. In a quiet voice, he asked, “I don’t want to hear what other people have to say. You tell me, why did you move silver to the river transport governor’s yamen without my permission?”
Fan Jian sighed and walked forward a few steps. He bowed to the ground and replied very simply, “Your Majesty, I was worried there wouldn’t be enough time.”
In reality, this cache of silver was one portion of the silver the Ministry of Revenue had sent to Jiangnan. The Emperor knew this, and Fan Jian knew the Emperor knew this. Today, in the court, although the officials took this opportunity to attack him, Fan Jian refused to defend himself at all. He did not intend for the Emperor to help him share the burden.
To dare to privately move the national silver to repair the river was an action in the interests of tens of thousands of people. It was truly a rarely seen righteous official in the Qing court. No wonder it moved the Scholars Hu and Shu.
He dared to face heavy accusations and not defend himself for the sake of the Emperor’s face. It was truly the action of a loyal servant of the Qing court. No wonder the Emperor was also a bit moved.
The Emperor thought deeply and then slowly nodded his head.
After the court conference, the public edict was sent down. The Ministry of Revenue’s deficit was severe, and the Emperor was angry. His orders for the investigation of the Ministry of Revenue were to proceed. The Overwatch Council and Supreme Court were responsible for the questioning of any problems that had already been found.
Minister of Revenue Fan Jian had his second rank of nobility removed and his salary fined, but keep his post.
It was funny to speak of this second rank of nobility that had been bestowed by the Palace after Fan Xian saved the Emperor in the Hanging Temple. As for the fine, including the salary fine from last time, Fan Jian would not be able to receive a salary for a full two years. However, he remained steadily in the position of Minister of Revenue. And, correspondingly, the deficits that had already been found in the Ministry of Revenue implicated many officials. A vigorous investigation was about to begin.
Various powers were forced to cut off their own hands and feet to prevent the deficits the Ministry of Revenue had suppressed for all these years from cutting off their heads.
The Crown Prince’s 400,000 liang of silver was filled in by the dowager empress using her private funds, but the officials of various factions did not have such a kind grandmother. Regardless of whether it was the Eastern Palace’s faction or the Eldest Princess’ faction, many of the officials fell from their horses and some new blood, young figures like He Zongwei, began to gradually enter the court.
Because of Fan Xian and the Second Prince’s previous battle, a batch of officials had already been wiped out. This year, in the depths of spring, because of the Ministry of Revenue and the Eldest Princess’ battle, another batch of officials were wiped out.
To abandon and renounce became the main tone for a while in the court.
The origin of the story began in Jiangnan. Fan Xian had created a fake situation so that the people on the Eldest Princess’ side would think that they had caught the Fan family’s biggest criminal act. Only then did they have the courage to throw out such a pawn into the muddy water with the intention of dragging the Jingdou Fan family off their high horse.
No one expected that the silver had come Northern Qi. The Fan family did not move the silver in the national treasury. Of course, the Emperor believed he knew that the Fan family had moved it and that it was moved with his permission. The Emperor thought he knew all of the things under heaven, but he was wrong.
When all was said and done, the Fan family very managed to stand steady and the Emperor increased his control of the officials a bit more. This made the Palace a bit more peaceful.
It was a great joy.
From the current situation, it appeared, at least on the surface, that there was no power in the capital that could threaten that chair. For a moment, the spring scene was bright and cheerful, incomparably harmonious.
However, the Crown Prince and the Second Prince had been forced to, in secret, ally themselves temporarily. Although the Fan family had been hurt in this matter, everyone knew that after Fan Xian returned, something big was sure to happen.
The kind of might and power required to force two absolutely irreconcilable brothers to unite together was enough to make all the people feel proud and smug. However, Fan Xian, who had made all of this happen, did not feel pleased at all.
One reason was that news from Jingdou had not had time to reach the distant Jiangnan. Another reason was that although he could make the princes afraid to make a noise in Jingdou, here in Jiangnan, far away from Jingdou and faced with that constantly retreating Ming family, he suddenly discovered that to crush the Ming family was surprisingly difficult.
It was more difficult that crushing his own royal brothers.