Chapter 85: Stirring (Part 1)
Yan Hong Tian drew the black chess pieces into the chess boxes and coldly spit out a few words, “It is long enough.”
Twelve years. He had waited long enough.
This chess game had been played for too long, encompasses too large. One wrong move will throw the entire game. Lou Xi Yan could not help but worry. The Yang family’s defeat was the first step and he had guessed that in recent year, Yan Hong Tian would definitely move against the Xin clan. He did not expect that it would be so soon…
“This official Dan Yu Lan greets the Emperor. Long live the Emperor.”
Dan Yu Lan’s arrival broke the silence in the solemn room.
Dan Yu Lan just stood up when Yan Hong Tian cool voiced questioned lowly, “Regarding the case of the thief and substitution of army rations, it seemed that Beloved Official Dan have not yet close the case till now.”
“Recently there is an increase in cases and thus had failed to manage it timely. This official have initiated a re-investigation of the case.” As Dan Yu Lan replied, he was secretly observing the two person at the table. The chess was played halfway but the Emperor and Prime Minister Lou no longer holding any chess pieces in their hands. This meant that they no longer had any mood to play chess or was it…
Before he could have a chance to guess the strange atmosphere between the Emperor and Prime Minister Lou, Yan Hong Tian calm voice sounded again, “Zhen will give you three months. This case must be investigated very thoroughly and clearly.”
The four words ‘very thoroughly and clearly’ resounded. Did the Emperor meant to dig out? Dan Yu Lan thought of something and asked, “Does the investigation required to be done in secret?”
Yan Hong Tian’s lips arched as he replied, “Up to you.”
Must investigate secretly! Must dig deep! Dan Yu Lan understood the intention of the Emperor and clasped his hands together to greet, “This official will withdraw.”
After Dan Yu Lan left, Lou Xi Yan who had already placed the chess piece down, picked the white chess piece up again and place it down onto the board without much thought and seemingly much more relaxed than previous. “I was still wondering if the coastal pirates were that powerful that you need to specially get General Su to place a siege. So it turned out to be a tactic of moving the tiger from the mountain.”
Yan Hong Tian looked at the chess piece that Lou Xi Yan just placed down, it was not place in the middle of the black pieces to eliminate them but it had firmly blocked the way out of for the black pieces and he was pleased. He knew that Xi Yan would definitely help him. With the same brisk move, he picked up a black piece and place it in the middle of the white pieces to stop their attack. His actions were lethal and the words he said did not disclose anything, “The pirates are indeed powerful. Not only do they rob cargo ships in the sea, they also come ashore to loot and burn down residences. These actions are strange thus only when General Su is in charge will Zhen feel assured.”
“Really?” Lou Xi Yan raise an eyebrow slightly as he softly said an “Oh.” As if he had a clear understanding, he exclaimed, “Then it’s this official mistake. It should be a plan to bring down two birds with one stone.”
Yan Hong Tian stared blankly for a moment before laughing out. The one who knows me, was only Xi Yan. Even though the outcome of the game was unclear, Yan Hong Tian pushed the game to the side and picked the hot tea that Xiao Yu poured and sighed, “Su Ling is brave, fierce and has a perseverance character. However, he is proud and arrogant. Thus when there are disdained things that are needed to be fixed yet would not be easy to drive, Su Ren would be a good candidate.”
Lou Xi Yan was still holding a chess piece but apparently Yan Hong Tian had no longer any interest in continuing the chess game. Lou Xi Yan calmly responded as usual, “It seems that you have already deployed well and it was me who worry too much.”
“This Imperial court should be changed else they would have forgotten who is the master of Qiong Yue.” The Yang family had been wiped out and the Xin family cannot be remained!
It was almost noon when the wind started blowing. The winter should be a cold one this year.
The celebration was over and the difficult and urgent cases were almost finished, thus Cheng Hang and Lu Jin had already rested for quite some days. If there were no major cases in the capital, it would also be time for them to start to head to the other provinces for cases. Both of them had come over to the Investigation Manor early in the morning to discuss about the matter but only knew when they arrived that Daren was summon by the Emperor to the Palace. Thus both of them sat at the mahogany chair in the study in boredom as they waited for Dan Yu Lan to return.
Cheng Hang picked up the tea which was already refilled twice and drank it up in one mouthful before he asked with irritation and expectation, “What do you say of why did the Emperor summon Daren to the Palace for? Would there be any major case?”
Lu Jin was more graceful than him. He took a sip of the hot tea before faintly replied, “When Daren returns, we would know.” All the reported cases were reviewed by the Board of Punishment before it was brought up and he did not recall any big case recently.
Nonsense! Cheng Hang rolled his eyes at Lu Jin and Lu Jin ignored him as he continued to drink his hot tea. Both of them waited for more than half a shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours) and Cheng Hang started to pace around the study. Just as he was almost out of patience, Dan Yu Lan finally returned.
It had already been winter for quite a number of days and the winter wind was starting up. Within the Investigation Manor, there was a few hundred year old trees that were trembling in the strong wind. Dan Yu Lan’s expression was sunken as he walked in the cold slowly thinking. No matter how hard the wind was blowing, he was unmoved. When he finally walked into the study, he did not even see the two of them who were waiting for him inside and walked straight to his desk and sat down in silence for a long time.
Both of them looked at one another. Daren was a little strange! Cheng Hang gave a look to Lu Jin and Lu Jin softly called out, “Daren?”
It was only after Lu Jin called out then Dan Yu Lan recovered himself and stared at both of them for a while before whispering, “Search for all the files relating to the Lin Bo Kang’s the case of the thief and substitution of army rations and read it carefully.”
Case of the army rations? When both of them returned to the capital, this case has been shelved so they did not understand the case at all but seeing that Dan Daren’s grave tone on the case, both of them dare not take it lightly. “Yes.”
Both of them rummage for quite some time before Lu Jin found a thin dossier in the pile of file six months ago. As he flip it through, there were some traces of doubt that flashed on Lu Jin’s face but he did not speak as he passed the file to Cheng Hang. After Cheng Hang look at the few piece of report, he muttered, “This time the Emperor summon Dan Daren to the Palace was for the army ration case?”
Dan Yu Lan picked up the inked dipped brush and seriously wrote something down as he replied, “Three months. The case must be closed by then.”
And a time limit was also set? This was not common. Cheng Hang flip the file and his brows knitted tightly together and asked curiously, “This case is not a major one. Lin Bo Kang is already dead, the substituted rations were retrieved and Li Ming also admitted that he was the one who killed Lin Bo Kang and confessed that Lin Bo Kang stole the rations so that he could sell it to the southern merchants. At that time the officer presiding the case was the Vice Minister of the Board of Punishment, Wu Shi Gang, who also intercepted the army rations from the southern merchants. Isn’t this case considered closed?”
“You all should examine it very carefully.” Dan Yu Lan did not look up but his voice sounded heavy.
Being by Dan Yu Lan’s side for so many years, they did not see him this vexed before. Even it was a case that incurred the Emperor’s wrath, they did not see Daren this worried. Was it that there were hidden stories in the case of the army rations? Two of them look at the two sheets of paper and seriously look through.
After the time it takes to burn a stick of incense (modern timing: 15 – 25 mins), both of them could almost memorised the entire file before they placed it down. Cheng Hang propped his chin as he analysed, “Li Ming had been the steward in the Lin family for many years and even if he had whatever hatred for Lin Bo Kang, he obviously know that he would be executed, and he still found need to take the risk to break into the Board of Punishments to kill him. This is somewhat irrational.”
Lu Jin nodded his head. Before the fragments of information were linked together, he could see some inconsistencies, “With only Li Ming’s strength alone, it is not possible to be able to kill Li Bo Kang in the Board of Punishments. A month ago, there was also a prison brawl in the prison of the Board of Punishment and the one who was injured the worst was Li Ming.”
When Dan Yu Lan finished writing and heard Lu Jin’s words, he was shocked, “Li Ming is dead?”
“Rest assure Daren, Li Ming is a key figure in this case. After the brawl the last time, this underling felt something was wrong and had already moved him to the prison where punishments are carried out and specially allocated someone to monitor.” At that time, he felt that it was strange and intuitively thought that this person would certainly be a key figure. Its seems that he had done the correct thing that day.
“Good.” Dan Yu Lan gave a sigh of relief. The prison where punishments are carried out was also the place where criminals are temporarily detained for retrial. The wardens there were also his confidants that had followed him for years thus it was not something that the prison in the Board of Punishments can compared. He was assured that Li Ming was there. Seeing that both of them had finished reading the file, Dan Yu Lan then stood up to say, “Lin Bo Kang is just one of the biggest merchant in the capital and this time if it was not the recommendation from the Daren from Ministry of Appointments, he would not have the opportunity to be able to get this business. Every year the court will release half of the rations from the Imperial Warehouse as army rations and the other half will be bought from the public thus there would already be many opportunities to get rich. For everything to be calculated on his, he cannot be that stupid as to do business the first time with the Imperial Court and also to substitute army rations shoddily? This was something that one can lose their head for.”
As the fingers lightly tap on the thin file, Cheng Hang drive increased, “If it is said like this, then this case is really hiding something.” The more complex the case was the more he like it, there was a sense of challenge!
Cheng Hang’s eyes were filled with excitement while Lu Jin shook his head reluctantly. He looked down and glance upon the autopsy examiner’s name, Wang Bing Sheng? It seems to be a low ranked coroner in Ying Tian Residence. Lu Jin picked up the autopsy report and place it in front of Dan Yu Lan to ask, “Lin Bo Kang’s body is still at the Board of Punishment’s coroner. Does Daren want to do the autopsy again?”
“Not needed. Lou Furen did the autopsy of Lin Bo Kang’s body and I was present that day so it need not be re-examined.”
When Lu Jin heard that it was Zhuo Qing who did the autopsy, he became happy and asked urgently, “Should Lou Furen be invited over?” Lou Furen’s autopsy skill are high and every time she lectures, one would be able to learn a lot.
Dan Yu Lan considered for a moment before finally exclaimed, “Now it is no longer like before. She is already the wife of the Prime Minister. If need not to trouble her then do not trouble her.”
Hang Chen also went up and asked, “How about…. Miss Qing?” Lu Jin totally conceded to Lou Furen but in contrast, he even admired Qing Mo’s keen and alert way of investigation. When she investigate, she was sharp and her skills were so good that no one was unsatisfied! And she was not yet officially the General’s wife so it was not that unproper.
This time Dan Yu Lan immediately shook his head as he smiled bitterly and replied, “The Ao Tian case had nearly cause her death. Till now General Su did not give me a good look.”
Both of the Qing females’ temperaments were strange and coupled with their husbands who were difficult to deal with, it was no wonder Dan Daren was reluctant to disturb them unless it was the last resort. One of Cheng Hang hands on the edge of the table while the other hand was on Lu Jin shoulder as he curled his lips and said, “Never mind, we will investigate it ourselves. In the past when they were not around, we still solve cases!”
Dan Yu Lan secretly sighed, if the Qing family sisters were all male and could take up official positions in court, there would certainly be a lot less injustice in the world. It’s a pity… Focusing his mind, Dan Yu Lan lightly coughed and said, “Cheng Hang, go and check up on Li Ming’s life, how his family is now and who did he mix around with. Lu Jin, go and investigate on the ins and outs of the southern group of merchants and…” Dan Yu Lan picked the just written letter and handed it over to Lu Jin, “Take this to Commander Su and ask him to help do a stocktake of the army rations.”
Stocktake of the army rations? Could there be…
“Yes.” Both of them were people of action. When they heard Dan Yu Lan’s orders, they immediately sprang into action. When both of them reached the door, they heard Dan Yu Lan’s voice calling from behind, “Both of you must remember, with regards to the army ration case, it must be investigated in secret!”
Lu Jin’s heart could not help but jump. It seemed that this case involvement is not small at all!