Book 5 Chapter 20 - Struggle Between Shrimp, Crab, Fish, and Dragon

When he saw how Lin Xi’s questioning was full of logical order, moreover even seeing extremely clearly through the true reason, Xu Jianling felt like this matter might just have a bit of leeway.

However, when Lin Xi spoke these words, it was as if thunder crashed down, immediately making him numb from head to toe.

As an old bailiff, he understood better than anyone that no matter how bad a fight got, even if one side was injured, as long as the injury wasn’t serious, according to Yunqin law, it would still only be three silvers of punishment, there was no need for imprisonment. Right now, Lin Xi wishing to bring Liu Tong back to the Enforcer Office, it could only be because of one reason, because he laid hands on a Martial Sector officer.

However, this was a crime deserving of being imprisoned for at least half a year!

“Fourth Grandpa Zhu has always understood propriety when handling matters, great one, you should also watch yourself when doing things!” The dark faced large man Liu Tong’s expression changed.

Du Weiqing and Liang Sansi’s expressions changed as well. They didn’t expect that after Lin Xi heard this much, he actually still wanted to do this.

The elder who held the fish, the middle-aged woman who held a basket of wet clothes, the nearby shopkeeper, the tofu selling older woman, and the outsider youngster were all stupefied. They never expected Lin Xi to actually make this decision so calmly either.

“Sir, since your respected self has seen the situation so clearly, then I must ask your respected self to empathize with us subordinates.” Xu Jianling knew that there was no way of currying favor, so he decided he might as well clench his teeth, saying this while looking at Lin Xi.

The meaning was extremely clear. Sir, you might not fear death, but you have to take our lives into consideration.

However, Lin Xi only calmly gave this East Port Town bailiff with the greatest seniority a look, saying, “You all can push this entire matter on me. Comparatively speaking, you all have already been safe and sound with Fourth Grandpa Zhu this long, he wouldn’t do this type of thing because of my arrival, take his anger out on you all.”

When these words sounded, everyone here was shaken.

This tender-faced new Enforcer great one was going to assume responsibility over this whole affair alone!

“Good, very good, I will just follow you back to the Enforcer Office then.”

The dark faced large man Liu Tong completely calmed down, his expression gloomy. He stared deeply at Lin Xi, his gaze like blades. He knew that the bigger things were stirred up today, the less room there was for freedom. However, at the same time, he already pictured the ending of this insufferably arrogant young official in his head… just a trifling major tenth rank Enforcer, what kind of good ending could he possibly have?!

“Many thanks to the neighbors here today. In the future, I will still have to rely on everyone’s care in East Port Town. I’ve held up everyone’s time.”

When faced with the dark faced large man’s gaze, Lin Xi smiled, instead standing up, giving the fish carrying elder and others a bow.

“This Enforcer great one really is a good person.”

These people all thought this inside while returning the greeting and leaving in a flustered manner. However, after taking a few steps out, that fish carrying elder couldn’t help but turn around, saying to Lin Xi, “Great one, your respected self needs to be careful.”

“Many thanks.” Lin Xi chuckled. He looked at Xu Jianling, Du Weiqing, and Liang Sansi, pointed at Liu Tong, and then said, “I’ll have to ask you three to lead the way, bring him back to the Enforcer Office.”

“Granny, I’ll help you back. I’ll also ask in passing if that small building’s owner will let this outsider do business.” The outsider youngster said this to the tofu selling older woman, then gave Lin Xi a serious bow, filled with admiration.

Lin Xi smiled, cupping his hands, returning the greeting. “I wonder where this brother is from, what kind of business you came here to do?”

The outsider youngster said, “This humble one is named Wang Buping, from All Peace City’s Fish Limit Town. My seniors have passed down the skill of making raincoats and bamboo umbrellas. There are many people who pass by East Port Town, but when I came previously, I didn’t see this type of store, the raingear all from outside the town, so I wish to start this kind of business here.”

“From a book I read before, I’ve heard that the key to a good bamboo umbrella lies in the central bone.” Lin Xi looked at this outsider youngster, saying, “Brother Wang’s bones are so tough, the bamboo umbrellas you make will definitely be excellent.”

Wang Buping gave him another serious bow of respect. “The first umbrella this humble one makes in East Port Town will definitely be given to great one.”

“You’ll have to be able to make it first.” Liu Tong sneered.

“We’ll part here first.” Lin Xi pretended as if he didn’t hear anything, nodding towards Wang Buping, and then walked out of the tea shop.

The Town Supervisor Manor was to the west of East Port Town, a horse path connected all the way there.

The responsibilities of Yunqin’s sectors were extremely clear. Even though the offices of the various departments under the sectors were all in the town supervisor manor, when they didn’t have much matters to tend to, they still didn’t move around much. Right now, Lin Xi only needed to register himself with the Government Sector, he didn’t need to immediately meet the Town Supervisor and other personnel.

Yunqin established the empire through military might. The various Town Supervisors and City Supervisors all had stationed soldiers, as well as practice grounds. Even though there were few troops stationed in the supervisor manors, this town supervisor manor was still a bit like military barracks. Compared to the bureaucratic structures Lin Xi was familiar with before, it still had a bit more of a rigid feel.

When he saw Xu Jianling and the others lock Liu Tong up, Lin Xi and Peng Xiaofeng entered Government Sector’s palm imprinting place.

This official from Government Sector was named Lu Qiudao, forty-three years old. His figure was thin and weak, the hair at his temples a bit white, serious in speech and manner.

After receiving the related document from Peng Xiaofeng, he produced several related official seals from the Ministry of Appointments, respectively engraving them. After meticulously storing them away, he produced a black steel iron medal, some keys, other objects, and several sets of uniforms, handing everything to Lin Xi, and only then did he look at Lin Xi, saying, “Sir Lin, your residence has already been arranged. If you are unclear where it is, you only need your Enforcer Office’s people to bring you there. If there are any other questions, come seek me out at any time.”

Lin Xi nodded, expressing his thanks.

This Lu Qiudao didn’t seem to like chatting, starting to organize some documents. However, when Lin Xi turned around to leave, after taking two steps, this Ministry of Appointments minor ninth rank official instead suddenly said, “Within this town supervisor manor, there are quite a few people who don’t want Fourth Grandpa Zhu to manage those Black Oil and Stone Rats, but not many people dare touch him.”

Lin Xi stopped slightly, but he didn’t turn around. “I know.”

Lu Qiudao frowned slightly. He silently continued to work, as if the previous words weren’t spoken by him at all.

“Sir Lin, you really have the confidence in handling matters like this?” After leaving this Government Sector small courtyard, Peng Xiaofeng looked at Lin Xi, asking seriously.

Lin Xi looked at Peng Xiaofeng, nodding.

“If they only know how to fight and kill, then they are easy to deal with, but this Fourth Grandpa Zhu is clearly not someone who only knows these things.” Peng Xiaofeng looked at Lin Xi and said, “You can only handle affairs according to Yunqin’s laws and decrees, but they have many other methods.”

Lin Xi laughed and said, “If we are to compare Yunqin to East Port Town’s Breath River, then I can obviously only be considered a small fish. However, they can only be considered shrimp.”

Because it was already the beginning of summer, a wave of heat already wrapped around all of East Port Town. That was why regardless of whether it was the boardwalk or the seventeen alleys facing the waterfront, almost all windows in East Port Town were open.

The various tables and stools in third alley were all packed, the dark skinned robust men, as if they were doing this on purpose, were wolfing down red meat spiced noodle soup in this stifling hot weather, chewing on spicy fish heads, drinking a few gulps from their wine sacks from time to time.

The entire alley was filled with a pungent hot pepper smell.

Inside a small courtyard at the center of this alley, there were several cantaloupe melons planted, many of the white cantaloupes already becoming the size of a fist, looking like they were quite full of life.

Next to the cantaloupe vine was a bamboo tea stall with seats, on it was a wood carved toad with money in its mouth.

Fourth Grandpa Zhu was currently steeping a pot of golden cassia tea. He scattered the first cup over the eaglewood money toad, and only then did he sip on a second cup of tea.

The face of this figure renowned across Breath River was lean, looking around forty something in age. He wore white silk clothes with green bamboo print, a white jade bat dragon sculpture hanging at his waist, looking completely inharmonious with those crude and rough men in the alley outside, instead resembling a scholar. However, because the hands that poured the tea were extremely steady, his expression calm, he instead gave off the aura of an imposing influential figure.

“Since I do not know how to properly manage them, he will bring back Liu Tong, have me go and see him, and then he’ll tell me how to manage them… this is what he said?”

After giving the spring water boiling on the stove to the side a look, Fourth Grandpa Zhu raised his head slightly, asking this.

The one in front of him was a middle-aged man with his sleeves rolled up, his height tall, face rather rough looking, but his expression extremely cautious and silk clothed middle-aged man

When he heard Fourth Grandpa Zhu say this, this  with his hair casually tied behind him with grass rope nodded, saying, “This is indeed the case.”

Fourth Grandpa Zhu became quiet for a bit. He looked at this black silk clothed middle-aged man, saying, “Seems like this Young Sir Lin isn’t simple. Pu Feng, you haven’t told me anything about his background, I presume it is because you couldn’t find anything?”

This middle-aged man named Pu Feng didn’t have any reputation in East Port Town, but no one could deny that behind Fourth Grandpa Zhu, this type of ambitious and ruthless figure, this type of not well-known person would hold important positions in the dark.

When he heard Fourth Grandpa Zhu ask him this, this black silk clothed middle-aged man whose true status was something not even some of Fourth Grandpa Zhu’s opponents knew about nodded, calmly saying, “I’ve looked into it, but even Ministry of Appointment’s document was extremely simple, merely issued by the Provincial Supervisor, not having much comments or experiences to talk about, not even a place of ancestry, completely like a sheet of white paper.”

“Seems like it really is a big fish this time.” Fourth Grandpa Zhu smiled. “Regarding Elder Mo’s matters, I indeed crossed the line a bit, but him wishing to lock up Liu Tong for half a year is also going a bit too far. Pu Feng, do you know why I’ve never feared those honest and upright officials, instead fearing those corrupt officials?”

Pu Feng remained quiet for a bit. “Because upright officials cherish lives, while corrupt officials’ hearts are dark.”

“What you said is precisely it, upright officials cherish lives, while corrupt officials’ hearts are dark. Upright officials cherish lives, which is why they cannot use every means fair and foul, but we can, we can use some small methods to destroy their reputation. However, corrupt officials are different, they can also play unscrupulously, perhaps even more unrestrained than us.” Four Grandpa Zhu looked at Pu Feng, laughing and saying, “To put it briefly, if they act according to Yunqin law, regardless of how great his background is, we still won’t fear him. What we fear are those who wield the law, but don’t act according to the law at all.”

After drinking a cup of tea and a brief pause, Fourth Grandpa Zhu looked at Pu Feng, saying, “This is especially the case for a youngster like him, if he isn’t the son of a great figure, then he is a student one of them favored and carefully raised. He wouldn’t stay here for that long at all since his prospects are as wide as the sea and sky, what he wants is a good reputation. Have Zhuang Juan bring three thousand to test him. If it is useless, tomorrow, have Lu Fengniang teach him a bit about principles. Shrimp has roads for shrimp to take, crabs have crab roads, it’s best if everyone just takes a step back, let everything settle peacefully.”

Pu Feng nodded, no longer saying anything, walking out from the rear court.

In the Enforcer Office, five bailiffs and three substitute bailiffs gathered in front of Lin Xi.

Only now that he was truly in front of the Enforcer room, did he find out that the bailiff surnamed Li caught a cold, calling in sick, so there was now one less person under him.

Apart from Xu Jianling and Du Weiqing, there were three other bailiffs standing in front of Lin Xi. The expressions of bailiffs Qi Guangwu and Zhang Erming were timid and cowering, clearly cowardly individuals who were scared of trouble, while the other bailiff named Qi Tailao was instead quick on his feet, an expression full of flattering, from the looks of it quite good at buttering people up, not even an average thief necessarily being able to keep up with him.

Lin Xi matched what was on the names list in his hand and these individuals one after another. He gave Xu Jianling and the others a look, discovering that ever since Xu Shengmo, Tong Wei, Vice Principal Xia… ever since he associated with these Green Luan Academy top level figures often, especially even someone like the imperial princess, when he faced Xu Jianling and others whose ages were much greater than his own, he instead naturally didn’t feel any nervousness.

“After facing great scenes often, small scenes perhaps naturally can’t startle us anymore.”

After Lin Xi laughed in self mockery, he hung that black iron medal that represented his Enforcer status on his waist, clearing his throat while looking at these people, saying, “Regarding today’s matters, I’m sure all of you have all types of thoughts, but I only wish to make one point clear. Regardless of whether or not you all want to get involved with the following affairs with Fourth Grandpa Zhu, if things like today happen where someone makes a report, or if you all run into it, yet you all are unable to handle the matters, moreover deliberately being partial to his men… unless I am no longer serving as this place’s Enforcer, there is no need for you all to serve as bailiffs. As long as you all are working under me, if you act according to my wishes, the responsibility over any matter can be placed on my shoulders. However, if you all do not act according to my wishes, and then carry out matters in an unjust manner, I won’t give that person a second chance.”

Even though Lin Xi’s voice was calm, there was not a shred of room of leeway, making a chill run through all of their heads.

“Can you really bear all of the responsibility?” Liang Sansi raised his head slightly, looking at Lin Xi. A young man like him who already got married and settled down in East Port Town naturally wished for East Port Town to become better, but when he looked at Lin Xi’s underripe face, he was instead filled with misgivings. He saw that Lin Xi indeed had a righteousness most people didn’t, speaking these impressive words clearly, but wasn’t this just a young calf not being scared of tigers? If he really was faced with life and death great matters, would he be able to shoulder it all?

The one above said they would shoulder the responsibility, the people below clenched their teeth and did it, but what if when there really was trouble, the one above instead withdrew, pushing responsibility to those below him? This type of thing was something he had seen all too often.

“Zhuang Juan wishes to meet the newly appointed Enforcer great one.”

Right at this time, a youngster dressed in ordinary cotton clothes, entire body dark, a smile on his face appeared at the Enforcer office’s small courtyard entrance. He bowed respectfully to Lin Xi and the others, and then without wasting any words, he respectfully added, “It was Fourth Grandpa Zhu who sent me.”

While looking at Lin Xi who was sizing him up, this youngster smiled again, revealing a mouthful of clean white teeth. He bowed towards Lin Xi and said, “I believe this one is Sir Lin. I wish to speak about a few things with Sir Lin in private, I wonder if Sir Lin can give me some time.”

“There is no need for such trouble.” Lin Xi returned the greeting and said, “If there is anything you need to say, then just directly say it.”

“Fourth Grandpa Zhu had me bring a message for Sir Lin, saying that this matter was indeed Liu Tong’s wrong. We must ask Sir Lin to be lenient, in the future, there will definitely be repayment.”

Zhuang Juan didn’t force it either. After seriously saying this, cold light suddenly flashed in his hand. A dagger appeared in his right hand, fiercely stabbing through his own left arm.

Hot blood immediately dyed his sleeve, flowing along his left arm’s fingers.

However, his expression didn’t change in the slightest, still looking at Lin Xi in a refined and courteous manner. “I am someone under Fourth Grandpa Zhu, this blade is equivalent to stabbing myself in Fourth Grandpa Zhu’s place, hoping it can help Sir Lin vent a bit of your anger.”

“This is the letter Fourth Grandpa Zhu wishes to bring Sir Lin.”

Before he finished speaking, this youngster with a dagger stabbed into his arm produced a yellow-colored letter, respectfully placing it on the ground in front of him. Then, he gave Lin Xi another respectful bow. “Apart from this, Fourth Grandpa Zhu does not have anything else for me to tell you, so I will leave first.”

Lin Xi looked at the blood dripping down Zhuang Juan’s hands. He shook his head, walked up, picked up the yellow letter, and then tore it open.

There was a white paper inside, written on it in fine handwriting, “I apologize, three thousand will be delivered a bit later this evening directly to your residence.”

“Three thousand taels, immediately giving out three thousand taels. My yearly salary as an Enforcer is only twenty-three taels.” Lin Xi said with a sigh.

When he heard Lin Xi’s sigh, Xu Jianling and the others’ faces all paled, knowing that there was already no way for this matter to end well.

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