Book 12: Chapter 31
“Wh-what do you mean”
Lu Feimings 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 wont go there and put just you on trial. Plus, it wasnt even him who broke He Shis leg.”
Lu Feiming most likely expected to be discarded after breaking He Shis 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 youll stay in prison for three years. If Im sent to prison for a decade, youll be sent for three decades. If I have to eat a beating, youll have to repay a leg. The choice is yours.”
I then turned to Zhao Xin, who exhaled through his nose and remarked, “You got balls.” 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 document and switched it out for yourAnalects. How would there be such a coincidence if you didnt intend to slander me”
My eyes lit up the same way Song Ous 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 wasnt aware the iron seal I had on me was Yongheng Banks seal; how did I purposely slander you Besides, why would I carry the seal on me if that was my intention Isnt that the same as exposing myself”
“Because youre stupid!” enthused Song Ou. “You assumed nobody would catch you, but heaven was watching today, so you got caught red handed. Youre not getting away.”
“That doesnt add up. If Im capable of stealing Yongheng Banks seal, how can I be stupid Moreover, His Majesty has praised me for competence as a strategist and conferred the title of Hanlin Academician upon me. Are you insinuating that His Majestys judgement is wrong”
Unable to keep up, Song Ou couldnt 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 bumped into Zhao Xin. “I couldnt 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 wasnt aware of what the seal was, I had a feeling it was important, so I kept it on me, believing hed 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 Banks 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, asserting, “I have a frightening suspicion. Could General Zhao Tiankuis eldest son, Young Master Zhao, be a thief My intuition thinks th-”
“That he isnt.”
Zhao Xins visage radiated.
“But the possibility of him being one also exists.”
Zhao Xins 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. Its 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 Ous disparagement claim was that I stole Yongheng Banks seal. Because my act of theft couldnt 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 assaulted me!”
“I cant believe you would lie like that. How could I possibly beat you in a fight Im weak, and my martial arts suck like, I mean, theyre 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 assault me! Inciting someone to assault a civil servant is treated the same way as assaulting 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: “Dont feign ignorance! It was him!”
I pulled my brows in. “Second, youre in the wrong, then. Why would you assault someone Its not nice to hurt people.”
Hong Jiu exhaled regretfully. “Its not nice to assault people. It is shameless to attack people.”
“I shall have him apologise to you, Captain Song.”
“Captain Song, I apologise. I didnt realise you were so weak.”
“The apology has been given, so everyone is dismissed.”
“What nonsense is that! Thats all there is after assaulting a civil servant This isnt over!” Song Ou exclaimed.
“Please dont 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 assaulted him”
“Captain Song, did he really assault 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 withSplitting 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 usedMonkey Steals the Peach before I hammered his face with a twenty-eight punch combo like this, bang, bang, bang, bang… and then finished withDragon 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 documents.
Lu Feiming: “Your Honour, this gentleman is General Zhao Tiankuis son!”
“Oh, drag him of, too, then.”
Lu Feiming turned to Li Muye for help. “Your Highness! Th-”
“Were heading back.” Instead of looking sullen, Li Muye scanned me for a while prior to nodding. “Ming Feizhen, Ill remember you.”
I didnt even hit the guy! What are you remembering me for!
Li Muye strolled off with a smile I couldnt 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 Mings deeds, Ming Feizhen wouldve stolen all the limelight.
“Duke…” Li Muye muttered under his breath. Upon looking up, he commanded, “Im pulling out of this. Nobody is to cross Ming Feizhen again.”
Neither Zhao Xin nor Lu Feiming could believe their ears. “Why, Your Highness”
“Im familiar with His Majestys modus operandi. Ever since he was enthroned, hes always operated the same way. To put it nicely, hes procedural. To put it bluntly, hes stuck in old ways.” Li Muye paced back and forth in the guest hall with his hands behind his back. “Nobody in our dynasty has ever ascended the ranks so fast if we dont count our progenitor and former Emperors 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 whove been promoted remotely as fast. Since His Majesty ascended, there hasnt been a single person whos been promoted at that rate. Ming Feizhen is not to be underestimated. Now that hes gotten involved with this, I must avoid butting heads with him front on.”
“Do we not need money, though”
“I have my ways. Summon Master Qi.”
Lu Feimings primary concern was that Ming Feizhen wouldnt 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 Dont they have to return the seal Only two days have passed 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 assaulted, too!”
Li Muye glared at Zhao Xin out of his peripherals, galvanising the latter to cover his mouth. “Hes no ordinary man. You got what you deserved. I want to use him, not compete against him. While he isnt 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 Ive found someone who can. Having Ming Feizhen is the equivalent of having Shen Clan! Hahaha!”
Zhao Xin and Lu Feiming didnt dare to opine on the topic because of Li Muyes confidence, but Zhao Xins 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 wont start with me. If she wants to send her minions to investigate me, shes more than welcome to.” Li Muye ran his hand down his cheek where he was smacked. “Im going to make her learn what it means to pay.”
Who “her” referred to wasnt something Zhao Xin and Lu Feiming had the right to know.-