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Chapter 111: Deliver the Money Before Dark, and Your Suspicion Will be Cleared!
“Sir Zhou, let’s start with you!” Lin Beifan said with a smirk, looking at a middle-aged man with a pale face.
This person’s name was Zhou Huayuan, holding the position of Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Industry, a high-ranking official of the third rank in the imperial court.
“Very well, Sir Lin, please follow me,” Zhou Huayuan forced a faint smile.
“Thank you for your cooperation, Sir Zhou!” Lin Beifan nodded with a smile, then turned to the other officials of the Ministry of Industry and said, “The rest of you can stay here for now! Without my permission, do not leave the Ministry of Industry! Otherwise, don’t blame me for not considering the camaraderie and treating you as traitors and conspirators!”
“We dare not, we dare not!” Everyone trembled in fear.
Then, Lin Beifan followed Zhou Huayuan, the Assistant Minister of Industry, to his residence.
Using his sharp eyes, Lin Beifan searched the house and discovered nearly 1.5 million taels of gold and silver jewelry.
He even found the treasures hidden in secret rooms and vaults.
With a smiling face, Lin Beifan said to Zhou Huayuan and his family, “Sir Zhou, considering your salary over the years, it is impossible for you to possess so much money! Please explain the origin of these gold and silver jewelry one by one. If their origin is normal, legal, and compliant, then there won’t be any problem. But if you can’t explain, I have reason to suspect you… as a traitor and conspirator!”
“These are the earnings from my salary over the years, totaling about 40,000 taels!”
“These are the revenues from my land for the past few years, totaling about 20,000 taels!”
“These are the dowries of my humble daughter…”
Zhou Huayuan, with a pale face, explained the origins of the gold and silver jewelry. However, in the end, only about 100,000 taels could be clearly explained, while the origins of the rest could not be accounted for.
Those who can’t explain the origin are definitely obtained illegally.
Whether you explain or not, you will die.
“Sir Zhou, it seems you are highly suspicious!” Zhou Huayuan was sweating profusely and bowed, saying, “Sir Lin, I am wholeheartedly loyal to Her Majesty and devoted to the Great Wu. I have never committed any act of treason or betrayal! I implore Sir Lin… to see the truth!”
“If that’s the case, then where did these extra gold and silver jewelry come from?” Lin Beifan asked.
“Well…” Zhou Huayuan was speechless.
At this moment, Lin Beifan sighed, “To tell you the truth, I don’t believe that you are completely loyal and haven’t betrayed Her Majesty or the Great Wu! But it’s really hard to explain this extra money! However, Her Majesty has ordered me to investigate thoroughly, and now that problems have been uncovered, how can I justify it to her?”
“Well…” Zhou Huayuan’s mouth twitched with bitterness.
“Don’t worry, Sir Zhou, I actually have a solution!” Lin Beifan said with a smirk.
“Sir Lin, please tell me!” Zhou Huayuan eagerly asked.
“With the extra gold and silver jewelry gone, wouldn’t you be in the clear?” Lin Beifan said with a smile.
“In that case, Sir Lin, what do you mean…”
“Sir Zhou, you are usually quite shrewd, but why are you confused at this moment?” Lin Beifan chuckled softly and said, “You can just move all these extra treasures to my house, and then you’ll be fine, won’t you?”
“What the hell!” Zhou Huayuan exclaimed.
After struggling for a while, it turned out he still wanted to be greedy!
Looking at the other party’s stunned expression, Lin Beifan whispered again, “Sir Zhou, whether you agree or not, just say a word! Let me rephrase it: Do you want money, or do you want your life?”
“Of course, I…” Zhou Huayuan’s face twitched, “want my life!”
Lin Beifan patted his shoulder with a smile, “A very wise choice! So, Sir Zhou, hurry up and send someone to do it! If you deliver the money before dark, then your suspicion will be cleared!”
“Then I must thank you, Sir Lin!” Zhou Huayuan gritted his teeth.
Lin Beifan smiled warmly and said, “It’s nothing. After all, we are colleagues, seeing each other every day. Helping each other is only natural! Well then, I’ll go to Sir Liu’s place now! I hope I can see you tomorrow morning at the court!”
After speaking, Lin Beifan arrogantly left.
Zhou Huayuan looked at the room filled with gold and silver jewelry, closed his eyes in pain, and said, “Someone, take these things to Lin’s residence!”
Then, Lin Beifan raided one household after another, confiscating a lot of gold and silver jewelry.
It had to be said that these officials involved in construction projects were truly wealthy. Even a fifth or sixth-ranked official could have three or four hundred thousand taels of gold and silver jewelry found in their homes.
In order to save their own lives and official positions, they had to endure the pain and send all the ill-gotten gold and silver jewelry they had greedily accumulated over the years to Lin Beifan’s residence.
As a result, the people of the capital witnessed another spectacle.
Boxes of gold and silver jewelry were continuously transported to Lin Beifan’s house.
Their hearts were filled with sadness and lamentation.
“The top scholar is being greedy again. These are the blood and sweat of the common people!”
“The top scholar already has the best in food, clothing, and living expenses. Why is he still so greedy?”
“When will we, the common people, have a good life?”
“We can’t live like this anymore!”
After two days of time, Lin Beifan finally conducted a thorough search and confiscation of all the officials in the Ministry of Industry, seizing gold and silver jewelry worth tens of millions of taels. At the same time, several deeply hidden traitors were also discovered and handed over to Lin Beifan.
After this battle, the entire Ministry of Industry was greatly damaged. Although the official system was kept intact, all their illicit gains were greedily taken by Lin Beifan, leaving them impoverished overnight.
“Director Lin, is it over now?” Wang Rushui, the Minister of Industry, had bloodshot eyes. For the past two days, he couldn’t sleep or eat, feeling restless every day. He had gained more than a dozen white hairs on his head, and his beard hadn’t been trimmed. He looked several years older.
“It’s almost done, but one person is still missing!” Lin Beifan smiled.
“Who?” Wang Rushui was puzzled. In his impression, everyone had been investigated.
“Of course, it’s you, Minister Wang!” Lin Beifan turned his head and said with a smile.
“You bastard! You even investigate me?” Wang Rushui jumped up in anger.
“Naturally!” Lin Beifan’s expression turned serious. “Her Majesty has issued a strict order. The leak of this incident threatens the country’s foundation, so the entire Ministry of Industry must be investigated thoroughly. No one can be spared! As the Minister of Industry, Minister Wang, naturally you can’t be an exception! I hope you understand and don’t make things difficult for me!”
Wang Rushui trembled with anger. It was so pompous. You just wanted to raid my house and seize the opportunity to be greedy for wealth. I’ve seen through your true face a long time ago!
“Go ahead, investigate! Let’s see how long you can be arrogant!” Wang Rushui admitted defeat and said displeasedly, waving his sleeves.
“Rest assured, Minister Wang. I will never let a bad person go free, nor will I wrongly accuse a good person!”
Then, Lin Beifan followed Wang Rushui to his residence. After spending half a day searching, they found unidentified gold and silver jewelry worth three million taels. Then, Wang Rushui, with a dark face, ordered his men to send these items to Lin Beifan’s residence.
It is said that on that day, Minister Wang Rushui was so angry that he couldn’t eat and had one of his servants disguise as Lin Beifan, whom he beat up.
The next day, during the morning court session, Lin Beifan reported loudly, “Reporting to Your Majesty, as per Your orders, I have investigated the leak of the Ministry of Industry’s Air Balloon incident, and there are results! Zhao XX, Huang XX, and six others have been found guilty of treason and espionage. They have been imprisoned, awaiting Your Majesty’s verdict!”
“The remaining officials of the Ministry of Industry are innocent and did not participate in this matter. Please examine it, Your Majesty!” Lin Beifan said.
The Empress nodded and said, “Lin, you have worked hard! Since it has been proven that Zhao XX and the others are guilty of treason, there is no need for a trial. Take them away and execute them! As for their families and others, deal with them according to the laws of Great Wu!”
“Furthermore, although the other officials of the Ministry of Industry are innocent, they are also guilty of inexcusable negligence in this incident and must be punished severely! They will have their salaries deducted for two years as a warning to others!”
The several officials from the Ministry of Industry present were trembling with fear. Their wealth had been greedily taken by Lin Beifan, and now they were being punished with a two-year salary deduction. How could they survive?
However, no matter how unwilling they were in their hearts, they could only bow their heads and accept it. They reluctantly said, “Thank you, Your Majesty!”
Seeing the desolate appearance of the Ministry of Industry officials, the Empress almost burst into laughter.
She had been waiting for this day for a long time! She had dreamt of it for a long time, and now her dream was coming true!
Hehe, you are experiencing it now too!
You dared to covet the Empress’ wealth, greedily taking from the common people. Now I will make you spit it all out!
Looking at Lin Beifan, the Empress’s gaze became particularly approving.
Although this guy often did things that gave her a headache, he also did things that inspired her and allowed her to vent her anger.
Just like this time, when the monarch and her subjects worked together in perfect harmony to thoroughly investigate all the officials of the Ministry of Industry and scrape away all the ill-gotten wealth from them.
It was truly satisfying!
At this thought, the Empress’s generous heart started to itch with the desire to reward.
“Sir Lin, please step forward and listen to the imperial decree!” she said with a smile.
Lin Beifan stood up, looking confused.
The Empress beamed and said, “In this investigation, Sir Lin took the lead, exposing the traitors hidden within the Ministry of Industry and clearing other officials of any wrongdoing. His contributions are remarkable and deserve great rewards!”
“A reward of ten thousand taels of silver!”
“A set of crystal cups!”
“A pound of Dragon Blood Tea!”
Another round of lavish rewards!
Lin Beifan felt embarrassed by the generosity.
He had just embezzled tens of millions behind the Empress’s back, and the items hadn’t even cooled off yet when the extravagant rewards came from the Empress!
Even if he had a thick skin, he didn’t dare to accept it now!
After all, he still had a bit of conscience!
Meanwhile, the officials were completely consumed by jealousy!
He had embezzled so much money, and now the Empress was bestowing heavy rewards!
Is there any justice?
Is there any rule of law?
Especially the officials from the Ministry of Industry.
They had just returned to poverty, and now they saw the chief culprit who caused their impoverishment enjoying a life of luxury, with silver in one hand and gold in the other, basking in favor…
The tremendous sense of disparity infuriated them to the point of wanting to kill!
Their hearts were bleeding, and they felt so wronged that they wanted to cry!
It took two minutes for the Empress to finish reciting all the rewards, seemingly watching Lin Beifan about to refuse, she quickly added, “Sir Lin, please don’t refuse. This is what you deserve! We understand that your home may not be able to accommodate it all, so we will temporarily store it in the palace. When you need it, come and get it!”
The Empress had gone to such lengths in her words, refusing now would be a blow to her face.
Therefore, Lin Beifan could only hold back his tears and say, “Thank you for your grace, Your Majesty!”
“Good!” The Empress was very pleased. “Sir Lin, from now on, you will focus on the Ministry of Industry and strive to mass-produce the air balloons, showcasing our national power and shaking the world!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!” Lin Beifan bowed.