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Volume 12 Chapter 31
Book 12: Chapter 31
“Wh-what do you mean?”
Lu Feiming’s reaction told me my conjecture was correct.
“Ho… You have yet to be tried for that case.”
“Y-you would dare? His Highness is the one behind it.”
“Fine, I just won’t go there and put just you on trial. Plus, it wasn’t even him who broke He s.h.i.+’s leg.”
Lu Feiming most likely expected to be discarded after breaking He s.h.i.+’s leg. If he was lucky enough to encounter a judge who Li Muye could talk to, his sentence could likely be reduced. Otherwise, his crime was set in stone.
“I stole an item. You crippled someone. I might go to prison for a year, but you’ll stay in prison for three years. If I’m sent to prison for a decade, you’ll be sent for three decades. If I have to eat a beating, you’ll have to repay a leg. The choice is yours.”
I then turned to Zhao Xin, who exhaled through his nose and remarked, “You got b.a.l.l.s.” Hence, I slapped him to tears and then went over to Song Ou. “Captain Song, what are you suing me for again?”
Song Ou: “For slandering a civil servant.”
“How did this slander come to be?”
“You stole my doc.u.ment and switched it out for your ‘a.n.a.lects’. How would there be such a coincidence if you didn’t intend to slander me?”
My eyes lit up the same way Song Ou’s did. “And what if it really was a coincidence?”
Song Ou sneered. “A coincidence? Hmph, a coincidence. A coincidence… Impossible! It was deliberate! Yiren, punish him!”
As she continued writing, Boss mumbled, “Uhm, sure, sure…”
“Captain Song, I wasn’t aware the iron seal I had on me was Yongheng Bank’s seal; how did I purposely slander you? Besides, why would I carry the seal on me if that was my intention? Isn’t that the same as exposing myself?”
“Because you’re stupid!” enthused Song Ou. “You a.s.sumed n.o.body would catch you, but heaven was watching today, so you got caught red handed. You’re not getting away.”
“That doesn’t add up. If I’m capable of stealing Yongheng Bank’s seal, how can I be stupid? Moreover, His Majesty has praised me for competence as a strategist and conferred the t.i.tle of Hanlin Academician upon me. Are you insinuating that His Majesty’s judgement is wrong?”
Unable to keep up, Song Ou couldn’t riposte.
“Please listen to me, everyone. This is but a misunderstanding that can be explained.” I proceeded to recount all the events, starting from when I first entered Daren Academy and b.u.mped into Zhao Xin. “I couldn’t exactly return what he dropped to him when he was in the water. Afraid that someone might have saw it and steal it, I had no choice but to pick it up. Although I wasn’t aware of what the seal was, I had a feeling it was important, so I kept it on me, believing he’d eventually come to retrieve it.”
Zhao Xin: “Y-you stole three thousand silver taels in notes from me, as well…”
“However!” I shouted over Zhao Xin. “It never crossed my mind that the steal was Yongheng Bank’s seal. Young Master Zhao, why did you have the seal? Can you enlighten us?”
Zhao Xin was going to offer an explanation when I cut in again, a.s.serting, “I have a frightening suspicion. Could General Zhao Tiankui’s eldest son, Young Master Zhao, be a thief? My intuition thinks th-”
“That he isn’t.”
Zhao Xin’s visage radiated.
“But the possibility of him being one also exists.”
Zhao Xin’s visage lost its glow.
“So is he or not?”
“Your intuition is scary!”
“Sometimes, my intuition is wrong. The intricacies depend on Young Master Zhao.”
Zhao Xin fell into a silence, then distanced himself from Song Ou.
“Young Master Zhao happened to pick up the seal, and so did I. It’s that simple. Captain Song, is the story clear to you yet?”
Suffice to say, all the spectators believed I was innocent when my logic was clear and flowed. Hence, all the thirsty gazes made their way to Song Ou.
The basis of Song Ou’s disparagement claim was that I stole Yongheng Bank’s seal. Because my act of theft couldn’t be proven, his claim was naturally reduced to a misunderstanding. Howbeit, he refused to admit defeat. Instead, he pointed at me, crying, “B-but you a.s.saulted me!”
“I can’t believe you would lie like that. How could I possibly beat you in a fight? I’m weak, and my martial arts suck like, I mean, they’re average. His Majesty, as well as imperial physicians, can prove this. As a matter of fact, Sir Tianhu still owes me a poo shampooing session when he proved I am weak. Are you suspecting His Majesty of fibbing?”
“You asked someone to a.s.sault me! Inciting someone to a.s.sault a civil servant is treated the same way as a.s.saulting a civil servant yourself.”
“Really?” I turned to Hong Jiu. “Who did I order to do that?”
Hong Jiu shrugged. “Who was it?”
Song Ou: “Don’t feign ignorance! It was him!”
I pulled my brows in. “Second, you’re in the wrong, then. Why would you a.s.sault someone? It’s not nice to hurt people.”
Hong Jiu exhaled regretfully. “It’s not nice to a.s.sault people. It is shameless to attack people.”
“I shall have him apologise to you, Captain Song.”
“Captain Song, I apologise. I didn’t realise you were so weak.”
“The apology has been given, so everyone is dismissed.”
“What nonsense is that?! That’s all there is after a.s.saulting a civil servant? This isn’t over!” Song Ou exclaimed.
“Please don’t make accusations without evidence.” I frowned. “What evidence do you have to prove that he attacked you?!”
Song Ou pointed to Hong Jiu. “He just admitted to it!”
“What? Second, did you admit to it?”
“I did, indeed,” Hong Jiu answered.
“You really a.s.saulted him?”
“Captain Song, did he really a.s.sault you?”
I staggered back three steps. “H-how did he attack you?”
“Oh, I hit him like this.” Hong Jiu walked up beside Song Ou. “I started with ‘Splitting Huashan!” Hong Jiu caught Song Ou clean on the head with a nasty chop. “Then, I went, ‘Ears Summon Winds’, ‘Tree Takes Root’. Then, I grabbed him across the waist, lifted him and then released, bouncing him off the ground. I then used ‘Monkey Steals the Peach’ before I hammered his face with a twenty-eight punch combo like this, bang, bang, bang, bang… and then finished with ‘Dragon Soars the Sky’, wada!”
Song Ou, foaming at the mouth, flew into Zhao Xin, knocking the latter out cold.
I dusted my attire and then performed a cupped-fist salute. “Your Honour, the plaintiff is unconscious.”
“Drag him off, then.” Boss set aside her completed reply to His Majesty, then started working on other doc.u.ments.
Lu Feiming: “Your Honour, this gentleman is General Zhao Tiankui’s son!”
“Oh, drag him of, too, then.”
Lu Feiming turned to Li Muye for help. “Your Highness! Th-”
“We’re heading back.” Instead of looking sullen, Li Muye scanned me for a while prior to nodding. “Ming Feizhen, I’ll remember you.”
??? I didn’t even hit the guy! What are you remembering me for?!
Li Muye strolled off with a smile I couldn’t decipher.
Oi, come back and explain yourself! What are you remembering me for?! Come back!
Not long after returning to his home, Li Muye listened in to his subordinates’ reports one by one. All of the reports shared a common denominator: they all revolved around Ming Feizhen, starting from when he joined Liu Shan Men all the way up until his recent return to the capital. Had it not been for Luo Ming’s deeds, Ming Feizhen would’ve stolen all the limelight.
“Duke…” Li Muye muttered under his breath. Upon looking up, he commanded, “I’m pulling out of this. n.o.body is to cross Ming Feizhen again.”
Neither Zhao Xin nor Lu Feiming could believe their ears. “Why, Your Highness?”
“I’m familiar with His Majesty’s modus operandi. Ever since he was enthroned, he’s always operated the same way. To put it nicely, he’s procedural. To put it bluntly, he’s stuck in old ways.” Li Muye paced back and forth in the guest hall with his hands behind his back. “n.o.body in our dynasty has ever ascended the ranks so fast if we don’t count our progenitor and former Emperor’s eras. He rose from just another common employee to a first-rank duke in less than a year. Outside of those two eras, there are hardly any individuals who’ve been promoted remotely as fast. Since His Majesty ascended, there hasn’t been a single person who’s been promoted at that rate. Ming Feizhen is not to be underestimated. Now that he’s gotten involved with this, I must avoid b.u.t.ting heads with him front on.”
“Do we not need money, though?”
“I have my ways. Summon Master Qi.”
Lu Feiming’s primary concern was that Ming Feizhen wouldn’t honour his word, so he anxiously inquired, “Are we going to give up on the seal?”
“Did you not bring your brain with you today? Don’t they have to return the seal? Only two days have pa.s.sed since the seal went missing. Although Yongheng Bank has notified a branch, we can still make it in time.”
“But that means we are two days behind, as well. We would need a horse that can fly if we are to beat them. We can still make it in time?”
“I have my ways.”
Master Qi soon arrived to receive her orders, then left to implement them. For some reason, she seemed to be in high spirits when she left.
“Ming Feizhen… I want to recruit him,” Li Muye declared.
Zhao Xin: “Are you serious?! Your Highness, do you want to get a.s.saulted, too?!”
Li Muye glared at Zhao Xin out of his peripherals, galvanising the latter to cover his mouth. “He’s no ordinary man. You got what you deserved. I want to use him, not compete against him. While he isn’t a magnificent fighter, he has demonstrated the courage to walk the walk time and time again, which proves he has brains and courage, facts His Majesty has also identified. As he also appears close to Shen Yiren… hahaha! Mother is constantly pestering me to win over Shen Yiren, but I dislike her unbridled temperament. I may not be able to rein her in, but I’ve found someone who can. Having Ming Feizhen is the equivalent of having Shen Clan! Hahaha!”
Zhao Xin and Lu Feiming didn’t dare to opine on the topic because of Li Muye’s confidence, but Zhao Xin’s aching face prompted him to voice, “Liu Shan Men suspects us, however. If he seal goes missing again, does that not m-”
“What are you fretting for? Even if they do know, they need evidence. Without evidence, Shen Yiren won’t start with me. If she wants to send her minions to investigate me, she’s more than welcome to.” Li Muye ran his hand down his cheek where he was smacked. “I’m going to make her learn what it means to pay.”
Who “her” referred to wasn’t something Zhao Xin and Lu Feiming had the right to know.