Chapter 22: Is He Really a Corrupt Official?
Investigating an ordinary person was very simple for the empress. Within an hour, all information regarding Li Shi Shi had been gathered and presented to the empress.
“Li Shi Shi, twenty years old, originally from Baihua district.”
“She is exceptionally beautiful and talented in music, chess, calligraphy, and painting. She is known as the number one courtesan in the capital.”
“She is the daughter of convicted criminal Li Guangyao…”
After reading through the information, the empress nodded. “So, she chose Lin Beifan to avoid the pursuit of the son of the Ministry of Personnel, Gao Tianyu. After all, the new top scholar is much better than that worthless second-generation rich kid!”
The empress set down the papers and sighed. “This is just another self-protection method for a woman in the brothels. With a lowly identity, one can only find a good supporter to maintain their innocence.”
“But this woman has good judgment, picking the scholar even I have faith in! Tsk tsk, she has experienced both good and bad luck in her life.”
“Your majesty, how should we handle Li Shi Shi?” The old eunuch asked.
After thinking for a moment, the empress said, “Observe her for a period of time, and if there are no problems, let her be.”
“Yes, your majesty!” The old eunuch respectfully bowed his head, then cautiously asked, “The top scholar may have a feud with Gao Tianyu because of Li Shi Shi. Do we need to…”
Hearing the name “Gao Tianyu,” the empress showed deep disgust. To be honest, she despised these second-generation rich kids who acted arrogantly and recklessly solely because of their family background.
If they had no abilities, that would be one thing, but to act so recklessly was simply unreasonable!
However, although these second-generation rich kids were doing wrong, they had not committed any major crimes.
It wasn’t easy for her, the empress, to discipline them, as she couldn’t cross over their fathers to deal with these brats.
“No need to interfere. Let the top scholar handle it himself. If he can’t even deal with a minor official, how can he handle more important duties?”
“Yes, your majesty!” The old eunuch said, bowing his head.
The old eunuch quickly passed.
On the 2nd day, Li Shi Shi woke up early, looking tired from a bad sleep the night before. She had planned to pay her respects to Lin Beifan following proper etiquette, but found that he had already vacated his residence. Seeing Dali sweeping the floor, she called out to him, “Dali!”
Dali respectfully lowered his head and asked, “Young Mistress, do you have any orders?”
Li Shi Shi asked, “Where has Master gone? Why can’t I find him?”
Without hesitation, Dali replied, “In response to Young Mistress, Young Master went out to play! Her Majesty only granted him a three-day holiday, so he must make the most of it now, or he won’t have another chance!”
Li Shi Shi was puzzled after hearing Dali’s words. He was using the precious holiday to play instead of preparing for future work?
Wasn’t that just like an innocent child in school?
As a newly appointed top scholar and official of the court, a well-known figure beside the Empress, shouldn’t Lin Beifan be working diligently to serve the court and not thinking about playing around? The contrast was too great! Her drowsiness vanished out of nowhere!
Li Shi Shi became increasingly curious about Lin Beifan and gestured for Dali to come over. “Dali, tell me about Master’s past experiences. What kind of person is he?”
Dali responded enthusiastically, “Oh, Young Mistress, I could talk about my Master for three days and nights! Lin Beifan is approachable, has firm willpower, is indifferent to fame and fortune, doesn’t seek pleasure or riches, and is a great role model in his life.”
But rumors have it that he is greedy and corrupt, as he amassed large amounts of wealth just after taking office.
Li Shi Shi was confused. How could these two different personalities exist in the same person? The image she saw was more in line with what Dali had described. She pondered for a long time, but couldn’t understand. Finally, she sighed, “Lin Beifan, who are you really?” Li Shi Shi became increasingly curious about Lin Beifan. It was a trend she couldn’t resist.
Two days went by quickly. Although her days were ordinary, Li Shi Shi found peace and security from the past anxieties and fears that plagued her.
She played the zither, helped Lin Beifan with household chores, tended to the yard, and their relationship progressed quickly.
Lin Beifan noticed the difference in having a woman in his home. Li Shi Shi was able to efficiently manage problems that were previously overlooked. And on this day, Lin Beifan put on his official uniform and went to attend the early court session.