Book 11 Chapter 51 - Old Debt

Do not presumptuously try to guess at the emperor’s will, these are words Yunqin’s officials often spoke.

Everything under the sky belongs to the emperor. As officials who receive an official’s salary, they shouldn’t try to guess at the emperor’s intentions, they just needed to properly do the things the emperor assigned.

However, in the end, would they really not think to themselves?

In reality, it was the opposite. Every single subject might try to analyze their superiors, figure out their opponents, guess at the exact thoughts of the emperor.

Moreover, what Lin Xi felt was down-to-earth and lovely about this world was that even though most of the people in this world viewed the emperor’s will as that of heaven, their loyalty towards imperial authority ingrained in their very bones, there were still many officials whose bones were incredibly tough. If the superiors they were loyal to, the emperor they were loyal to did things that were wrong in their eyes, they would also feel anger, they would also protest and resist.

That was why the things that happened in the royal court would definitely be faithfully spread, learned by Yunqin’s people.

Yunqin Emperor’s attitude this time triggered a deep impression in the people, triggering powerful discontent and conflict, even making many people completely change their opinion towards Yunqin’s emperor.

Previously, the defeat of the southern expedition was completely placed on Hu Piyi’s shoulders, so popular will had already been a bit alleviated.

However, as more and more Yunqin people died, following Yunqin Emperor showing Lin Xi unfair treatment again today towards his assistance in the destruction of that Great Mang troop who broke through Meteor City, more and more commoners began to feel that the war south was something Yunqin Emperor decided to begin with. They began to understand that what Grand Secretary Zhou and those great subjects who carried out death remonstrations said was right, that Wenren Cangyue wasn’t that easy to defeat. Yunqin Empire wanted revenge, but they needed more time to prepare and wait.

However, the emperor was in such a rush to launch a southern expedition, so more and more people felt that it was because of the emperor that this type of great defeat happened.

That was why most of these Yunqin people who originally lived in peace and worked happily, and previously even felt that Yunqin Emperor was an emperor for all eternity, a brilliant and enlightened monarch, now began to feel that the emperor was too obstinate and self-opinionated, starting to become muddle-headed.

Just three days after Yunqin Emperor disregarded many imperial memorials, granted many high ranking officers awards, granted many relatives of the deceased even more benefits, but still didn’t mention a word about Lin Xi who was revered by the people, many small black booklets appeared within Central Continent City and many provinces’ great cities.

Recorded in these booklets were precisely Lin Xi’s story and the emperor’s dispute.

Lin Xi’s story and the emperor’s conflict were all written in great detail. Even things many outsiders didn’t know about, for example Lin Xi’s service in Sheep Point Field Mountain, how he took the lead, instead having the entire army fire arrows behind him, as well as the process of how he killed Gongsun Quan, this type of important Wenren Cangyue subordinate was described in detail. This booklet even clearly listed which officials carried out death remonstrations, which officials  were thrown into prison because they admonished the emperor, even the demotions of many officials who came from Green Luan Academy and information regarding the emperor deliberately isolating Green Luan Academy.

When this type of small booklet appeared, all of Yunqin was instantly thrown into uproar.

This world’s information wasn’t like the world Lin Xi was familiar with, information being extremely fast and abundant. Even if the people knew that some officials died because of their admonishment and some were thrown into prison, they only knew a few instances, only knowing the stories of some of the comparatively more well-known individuals. However, when all of those people in the booklet were listed, moreover listing those people’s contributions, only then did Yunqin’s people understand that turns out those upright and honorable officials did so many things for Yunqin, while Green Luan Academy was even more so a sacred land in the eyes of Yunqin’s people. In that instant, popular will could be said to have reached a boiling point. In all of Yunqin, within almost every great city, every day, there would be people who couldn’t help but curse the emperor for being muddle headed who were locked up in prison.

The people were angry, while Yunqin Emperor in Imperial City was also furious.

This type of large scale booklets being released was clearly done deliberately, used to provoke the originally already furious people. These actions were clearly already opposing the emperor.

Regardless of whether it was in Yunqin, Tangcang or Great Mang, as subjects, they can voice their objections in court, they could even use intense words to admonish frankly, criticize the emperor on some aspects, but they definitely couldn’t use such sinister methods to deal with the emperor. This type of thing was already rebellious behavior!

With Judicial Sector at the head, the related departments, under the emperor’s wrath, felt as if they were facing a great enemy, starting to frantically track down the source of these booklets.

Many suspected officials were thrown into the Ghost Prison. The originally already sinister and terrifying Ghost Prison wailed like ghosts and howled like wolves night after night. Under the strict interrogation of Xu Zhenyan who already grasped this Ghost Prison, in the end, they found that this booklet came from Shanjin Province’s Great Sector City’s Book Seal Office.

Even though the Government Official who was in charge of this Book Seal Office called in sick, the officials from the royal court unsure if that Government Sector official really did anything bad, under the furious imperial will, that Government Sector official was quickly put to death, while many higher ranked officials were removed from their posts due to their failures in supervising this place.

“Sir, I really don’t know anything about this matter, it has nothing to do with me at all!”

In the depths of Ghost Prison, within a dark prison where not a bit of sound could get out, under the light of a candle flame that might go out at any time, a white haired old official looked at Xu Zhenyan who finally entered this cell and sat down across from him. He immediately said urgently with a trembling voice, defending himself, “Sir, your respective self should also know that I came from Hanlin Academy, someone who has repeatedly read the books of history and laws. Normally, I specialize precisely in reviewing and perusing documents, seeing if there are any inappropriate parts. How could I possibly have no idea how disgraceful this type of book was, why would I dare join in on this?”

Xu Zhenyan coldly looked at him, not saying anything.

When this old official’s entire face turned deathly white and he wanted to speak again, Xu Zhenyan instead slowly and calmly said, “Sir Miao, whether it has anything to do with you isn’t something you have the final say on, nor is it something I have the final say on, it is rather Grand Secretary Wen who has the final say on this matter.”

The breathing of this aged officials suddenly became sluggish, understanding what happened. His eyes suddenly widened, saying in shock, “You all…”

“There is no need to be so startled.” Xu Zhenyan continued to calmly and coldly look at this old civil official, saying, “Just Sir Miao’s three industries and two hundred thousand something silvers in the money farm are already enough for you to end up in this type of place.”

The aged civil official’s entire body immediately went rigid, his entire body instantly drenched in cold sweat.

“Sir Xu… what does your respected self and Grand Secretary Wen really want to do?” Only after great effort did he speak this through his clattering teeth.

“It is extremely simple, we only wish to ask about some things we want to know.”

Under the flickering dim candlelight, Xu Zhenyan unfolded the file in his hands. He looked at it, slowly saying, “According to Government Sector’s recordings, eighteen years ago, you served as Hanlin Academy’s inner courtyard’s third library librarian?”

The aged civil official stared blankly at Xu Zhenyan.

“Is this true or not?” Xu Zhenyan gave him an ice-cold look and asked.

“It’s true.” The aged civil official’s entire body shook, replying.

“Later on, the third library was taken down, while you were transferred and served for three years as a compiling and editing historian, in charge of the publications of some books, correct?”

“Yes.”

“After that, you were transferred to Great Sector City, taking over the post of Letter Historian, simultaneously holding the concurrent post of Annals Supervisor, these roles continuing until today, correct?”

“Yes.”

Xu Zhenyan’s eyes shifted up from the files. He looked at this old civil official whose entire body was already completely drenched in cold sweat, his tone becoming more serious as he said, “Why was the third library taken down in the past?”

The old civil official forcefully swallowed his saliva, and only then did he say with great difficulty. “It was because the emperor gave the order to move everything in the third library to True Dragon Mountain.”

“So in reality, it wasn’t taken down, but instead entirely moved.” Xu Zhengyan said coldly, “So it was only because this library was shifted to True Dragon Mountain, us subjects naturally unable to enter True Dragon Mountain, that is why you, the manager of the third library could only be transferred somewhere else.”

The old civil official didn’t know why Xu Zhenyan asked about these things, but he knew that his own life and that of all of his family members was completely in the other party and Grand Secretary Wen’s hands. As such, he forcefully nodded. “This is precisely the case.”

Xu Zhenyan looked into his eyes. “With those books moved to True Dragon Mountain, only his majesty can read them. According to my understanding, the books in third library are all some ancient texts, among them mostly some stories from a long time ago, as well as some folk legends of spirits and devils. His majesty previously didn’t seem to be that interested in those texts. There should be a reason why this entire third library was moved to True Dragon Mountain, and this reason is precisely what Grand Secretary Wen wishes to know.”

“You all…” The old civil official suddenly raised his head. He previously felt like he might be saved, but right now, his entire body felt as if it was thrown back into an ice bath, his body already not his own. “The one you all are investigating is actually his majesty! … Even if I tell you all the reason, how can you all possibly let me go?”

“What you said is correct, there is no way we will let you go.” Xu Zhenyan calmly nodded. He gave the old civil official a look. “However, I can promise that I won’t involve your family, I can even ensure that your family members can continue to enjoy your accumulated wealth. I can bring you the document pleading guilty and let you sign it, thus ending this case with you.”

The old civil official’s face became extremely pale.

“Alright” Only after more than ten halts of time passed, did he nod in distress. “However, I want this case’s conclusion to be reached first.”

Xu Zhenyan laughed coldly. He didn’t say anything else, only producing a scroll from his sleeves. This old civil official looked through the details, signed it, and then placed his seal over the descriptions of the case and his own signature.

After completing all of this, the old civil official’s entire body already almost went limp. However, under Xu Zhenyan’s cold and ruthless eyes, he could still only speak. “Everything you all said is true. Originally, the third library was the most idle library. Even if his majesty came to the fourth library many times, he never borrowed any books from the third library to read. However, the reason why it was moved might be because of Grand Court Consecrator Zhang Qiuxuan.”

“Zhang Qiuxuan?” Xu Zhenyan’s brows immediately furrowed deeply, his expression becoming increasingly cold.

The old civil official nodded. “The day before his majesty gave the order to relocate third library, Sir Zhang just happened to be passing by the third library, he randomly borrowed a few books to read. Then, the next day, his majesty gave the order to relocate the third library. If there really was a reason and connection, I believe that this is the only possible reason.”

Xu Zhenyan said with a heavy voice, “Do you still remember the books Zhang Qiuxuan borrowed?”

The old civil official shook his head in a strained manner. “I didn’t pay much attention, but there should be borrowing records in the fourth library that can be investigated. All movements of books are recorded in account books.”

“It seems like we don’t have to touch Zhang Qiuxuan?”

Xu Zhenyan’s eyes narrowed slightly, releasing a cold laugh and saying this to himself.

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