Chapter 934, Part 2: Lying Through One’s Teeth
Even though Zu An’s rank wasn’t high, and it hadn’t been long since he had arrived in the capital, there was almost no one who didn’t know who he was.
After all, there were too many people who had been ruined because of him! They were all important figures too.
The Murong clan, Cheng clan, Shi clan… Even King Qi had been screwed over by this man.
They had all discussed him in private, feeling that he was like a disease, that whoever he touched would be done for.
Everyone from King Qi’s faction hated him.
There were even many from the crown prince’s faction who didn’t like him.
Many subjects from King Qi’s faction looked at Murong Tong resentfully. Why did you have to give that Zu An another push
The crown prince’s faction was also confused. Don’t tell me that Zu An ended up defecting to King Qi’s side Why would Murong Tong speak up for his sake
An important minister stepped forward and said, “Zu An has just been promoted within the nobility, and he’s still young.
Increasing his noble rank again in quick succession within such a short amount of time will easily instill arrogance.
It might not actually help him.”
That person was naturally someone from King Qi’s faction.Several voices of support immediately followed when those words were spoken.
The crown prince’s faction immediately felt much better when they heard that, thinking that it was how King Qi’s faction should act after all.
They instinctively jumped out to express a different opinion.
If there are crimes, punishment must be given, but if there is merit, it deserves reward.
This is our policy for those who render service to the court.
Furthermore, such an incredible song will greatly improve our army’s strength, which is an extraordinary achievement.
He naturally deserves to be rewarded.”
The two sides had already fought each other for so many years.
King Qi’s faction immediately retorted, “Zu An has already been rewarded more than enough for his contributions.
As a member of the court, serving our nation is his duty.
If we gave out rewards that easily, then with so many members of the court, wouldn’t everyone deserve promotions”
“That’s absolute nonsense!” Murong Tong listened to the back-and-forth from off to the side.
He finally couldn't take it anymore and exclaimed, “Is this kind of legendary work something an ordinary official can randomly make Everyone here knows that Zu An and I share some grudges, and yet I still stepped forward to recommend him here because I recognize the help his poem can bring to our court’s soldiers! A war song with these lyrics can greatly reduce the number of soldiers that will be sacrificed, saving us a huge amount of resources… If you don’t reward this type of contribution, it will make the hearts of our army’s soldiers go cold, and all of the subjects under the sky will criticize us!”
“Sir Murong speaks too seriously.
It is just a song; how can you praise it that much” Those people from King Qi’s faction were rather unhappy. Are you on our side or not
“If you have the skill to write a song of this level, this old one is willing to fight for your reward too.” Murong Tong harrumphed.
He was so angry his beard was shaking.
The court was a place full of old foxes.
Soon, others quoted the classics to argue against Murong Tong.
The emperor smiled inwardly when he saw the people below fight among themselves.
He hadn’t expected Zu An to be of some use even here, to actually stir up internal conflict in King Qi’s side.
Just then, Bi Ziang, who had just been listening from the side the entire time, stepped forward and said, “Sir Zu’s lyrics are undoubtedly great, but we still don’t know how well they suit a war song.
Why don’t we wait until the practical results of this song return from the front lines, and then reward Sir Zu based on the results What does everyone think about this”
King Qi’s faction felt that they would at least be delaying things when they heard what he said.
That was something they could accept.
The crown prince’s faction felt as if Bi Ziang was speaking out in support of Zu An.
After all, if they continued to argue, there wouldn’t be any benefits if King Qi faction’s people continued to oppose rewarding Zu An to the end.
Even Murong Tong felt that was an acceptable plan.
After all, as someone born in a military clan, he had absolute confidence in these war lyrics.
The emperor on the dragon throne spoke in a dignified voice.
“In that case, we’ll take some time to decide this matter.”
Bi Ziang’s thoughts might be able to fool others, but not him.
Judging from how he suggested a delaying of Zu An’s reward, it seemed he didn’t really like Zu An.
The emperor didn’t feel unhappy about the situation at all, instead feeling a sort of ease.
As an emperor, seeing his subjects mutually scheme against each other was the most important thing.
If they were all kind and loving toward each other, was there even a need for him to sit on this throne anymore
Bi Ziang also smirked inwardly.
He keenly sensed that the emperor didn’t seem to like Zu An that much either, or else he definitely wouldn’t have let this matter rest so easily.
When he realized that, his gloominess from the previous day finally received some relief.
Then, he secretly gestured toward a minister nearby.
The minister immediately stepped forward and said, “This subject also has something to present to the emperor!”
All of the ministers present shivered inwardly when they saw him step forward.
He was someone from the Imperial Censor Bureau.
These people were in charge of supervising officials.
What they had to present were normally all accusations of misconduct carried out by different subjects.
They all wondered who the unlucky one was today.
“Permitted!” Eunuch Wen cleared his throat and shouted again after receiving the approval.
“This subject has just heard Sir Murong bring up this poem.
Does everyone know what kind of place this poem was created in” the imperial censor said.
The expressions of many people who were in the know changed.
They were able to roughly guess what he was about to say.
The imperial censor felt a bit uncomfortable when he saw that nobody answered.
However, he knew that the civil and military officials of the court didn’t like to have dealings with people like him.
As such, he answered his own question.
“This poem was created last night in the capital’s largest brothel, Scarlet Invitation.
It was something created in a rivalry between certain officials to please a courtesan.”
He took a deep breath afterward before continuing, “This subject accuses the Secretariat Assistant Director Yu Nan of misconduct.
As the emperor’s son-in-law, he chose to linger in the pleasure quarters and even carry out a love rivalry with another.
He has brought shame to the royal family.” He spoke each word in an impassioned manner.
Every word he said left those present shocked.
After all, the Censor-in-Chief was none other than Yi Chong.
Meanwhile, Yi Chong was the older brother of the Capital Magistrate Yi Chun.
Yi Chun was someone under King Qi’s faction and had a great relationship with the Yu clan.
After all, the previous day, Yi Chun’s son Yi Zhibing had gone to Scarlet Invitation together with Yu Nan.
And yet, someone from the Imperial Censor Bureau had actually stepped forward to impeach Yu Nan
Many people began to wonder if the Yi clan was also divided.
But those of higher status frowned, because they knew that it wasn’t easy for the crown prince’s faction to place their people in the Imperial Censor Bureau.
If they were exposed for being biased, they would definitely pay the price later.
For them to use up such an important chess piece here, didn’t it prove how much they wanted this matter to succeed
Sure enough, Yu Nan realized that as well.
His expression changed several times.
He quickly stepped forward and got on his knees, exclaiming, “This subject is guilty!”
As someone who had been mixed into political circles for so long, he knew that it would be over as long as he humbly apologized.
He only needed to express a certain attitude.
As for everything else, there would naturally be people to speak out for him.
Sure enough, ministers from King Qi’s faction quickly spoke up.
“Our court has never expressly stipulated in writing that the visiting of pleasure quarters is prohibited for officials.
That is an elegant matter to begin with, so why is there a need for such criticism”
“As officials of the court, we naturally need to be model examples for the citizens.
Furthermore, Yu Nan is the emperor’s son-in-law, and he married the royal family’s princess.
Lingering in a place like that shames the royal family’s reputation.
Your majesty, please dismiss Yu Nan from his Secretariat Assistant Director position and let the Royal Family Court handle this matter,” the imperial censor said again.
It was an old trick of imperial censors to start with the most severe punishment.
People were going to argue back and forth about it afterward anyway.
If they were lucky and his majesty ended up disliking that person, it might end up going through! It was not as if such things had never happened before.
King Qi’s faction became angry as well.
They all said, “It’s not only Sir Yu who went to Scarlet Invitation.
Sir Bi Ziang, Qin Guangyuan, Qin Yongde, Gao Ying, Pei You… These people all went as well.
Why aren’t you punishing all of them too”
Several people were mentioned in succession; they were all either influential figures in the court or well-known individuals from major clans.
Those who had been accused all stepped forward to defend themselves.
Those who didn’t have the qualifications to attend the court session had their seniors step forward to speak up in their place.
Nearly half of the court was now involved.
Both sides argued against each other viciously until their faces were red.
In the end, they began to bring in each other’s clan ancestors and women, falling just short of curses.
The emperor frowned.
Eunuch Wen picked up on his change in attitude.
He picked up the horsetail whisk and hit the small bell next to him, exclaiming, “Quiet!”
The officials of the court finally snapped out of their frenzy when they heard the cold bell sound.
They all bowed towards the emperor with lowered heads.
“All of you are out of control…” The emperor pointed at those present and berated them angrily.
In the end, he ordered, “All those involved with Scarlet Invitation last night will forfeit their salary for one year.
Return and ponder over your mistakes! This court session has concluded.” He stormed off angrily after his proclamation.
It wasn’t that he didn’t want to punish Yu Nan, but rather that the Yu clan’s influence was too great.
Furthermore, together with King Qi faction’s support, both sides were equally matched.
There wasn’t enough firepower to strip Yu Nan of his position yet.
However, today was just a bit of the backdrop.
The interesting show was yet to come.
Eunuch Wen already knew about the emperor’s intentions.
He sent his trusted eunuchs to secretly deliver the recording to Bi Ziang.
How could the emperor personally do something like threatening a subject It was to the extent that it wasn’t even convenient for Eunuch Wen to do it himself.
To a certain degree, he represented the emperor, so he had to send some trustworthy lesser eunuchs to do the deed.
Bi Ziang was a smart man too.
He would know what to do once he saw the recording.
Meanwhile, in the Qin manor, Chu Youzhao was throwing a tantrum.
She grumbled, “Stupid brother-in-law, stupid brother in law! You said that you were only going to investigate a case, but you ended up investigating a courtesan’s bed!”
News of Scarlet Invitation’s events from the previous night had gradually spread.
She had already been paying attention to that matter to begin with, so she obviously knew that Zu An was the one who had obtained the courtesan in the end.
He had even stayed the night there!
The maids inside all kept quiet out of fear.
They didn’t know why the young master was so unhappy.
An unlucky person earlier had ended up being scolded because he went inside at the wrong time.
A maid came out with a letter, saying, “Young master, the first master had this servant deliver these lyrics.
It is an extraordinary work.
He wishes for you to spend some time reflecting on it.”
Chu Youzhao was feeling restless.
She gave the letter a random look and said, “What kind of stupid words are these” Then, she crumpled it up and threw it to the side.
The maid jumped in fright.
She stood there off to the side, not knowing what to do.
Chu Youzhao frowned and asked, “Why did big brother suddenly decide to send me these lyrics Did he write them” What’s up with big brother Doesn’t he know that I don’t like reading Why are you sending me this stuff
That maid replied, “It wasn’t the first master who wrote it.
It seems someone named Zu An wrote it.”
Chu Youzhao ran over and grabbed the crumpled paper as soon as she heard those words.
“Why didn’t you say so earlier! Didn’t you know I love poetry!”
All of the maids were speechless.