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Chapter 251: No matter how many criminals you catch, I’ll take them in!
Upon arriving at the office, they saw Night Fragrance holding onto two thieves, lying on the ground.
Many government officers surrounded them but didn’t dare to approach.
The judge in charge of the trial, Mr. Zhao, sat on a high platform, holding a gavel with a very conflicted expression.
As soon as he saw Lin Beifan, his face lit up, “Lord Prefect, you’ve finally come!”
Lin Beifan smiled, “Mr. Zhao, don’t worry! I already know the details. I’ll handle it!”
“Then I trouble Lord Prefect!” Mr. Zhao cupped his hands.
Lin Beifan ascended the platform and asked sternly, “Night Fragrance, what exactly happened?”
Night Fragrance fanned himself and smiled, “When this young master was wandering on the street, I found these two stealing from others. I couldn’t tolerate it, so I brought them here!”
Lin Beifan’s gaze turned to the two pickpockets on the ground, “Is what he said true? Do you confess?”
“We confess, we confess! We confess!” they immediately nodded.
“We ask for leniency from the prefect!”
The pickpockets immediately kowtowed.
Their swift confession indicated that Night Fragrance had employed some special methods to compel them.
Lin Beifan slammed the gavel and solemnly said, “Since you’ve confessed, according to the laws of Great Wu, you will receive ten cane strikes, then be imprisoned in the dungeon for six months!”
“Thank you, Your Honor!”
“Thank you for your mercy, Your Honor!”
The two pickpockets were overjoyed and kept bowing.
“Take them away!” Lin Beifan ordered loudly.
“Yes, Your Honor!” Two officers led the pickpockets away for punishment.
“Now that there’s nothing else, this young master will take his leave!” Night Fragrance left, fanning himself.
Thinking this matter was over, they were surprised when, not even an hour later, Night Fragrance returned with another thief.
“While I was enjoying tea at the teahouse, I noticed him stealing, attempting to take the innkeeper’s money! Finding it disagreeable, I apprehended him! I beseech the judge to look into this!” Night Fragrance said with a grin.
Lin Beifan once again presided, “Zhang San, do you plead guilty?”
“I plead guilty, I plead guilty! I ask for punishment, Your Honor…” the accused bowed and said.
“Since you confess, this is straightforward! Due to the substantial theft this time, in accordance with the laws of Great Wu, you will receive twenty strokes of the cane and be imprisoned in the dungeon for three years!”
“Thank you, Your Honor!”
In less than half an hour, Night Fragrance brought two more pickpockets.
“These two audacious thieves even attempted to scale the walls and break into a residence for theft. Luckily, this young master noticed and brought them here for legal retribution!” Night Fragrance said triumphantly.
Lin Beifan looked at him speechlessly, “This is the fifth pickpocket, you’re quite active today!”
“It’s necessary!” Night Fragrance opened his fan and grinned, “I’m now part of Dedian Mansion. Maintaining peace in the capital, fighting crime, it’s an obligation I cannot shirk!”
Lin Beifan conducted another trial and sent the thieves to the dungeon.
However, the matter was far from over.
In the following days, Night Fragrance continued to bring in two pickpockets each day for Lin Beifan to judge.
On the second day, he acted again and caught nine pickpockets.
On the third day, he astonishingly unearthed a den of thieves, capturing twenty-five pickpockets.
On the fourth day, he caught thirteen pickpockets.
On the fifth day…
Almost every day, there were more pickpockets.
Lin Beifan had become somewhat numb, wondering what exactly Night Fragrance was trying to achieve.
Could it be that because he couldn’t be a thief anymore, out of a sense of revenge, he’s capturing all the pickpockets he sees and throwing them into jail? “I can’t steal, so you can’t either”? Who cares? After all, this can be considered as getting rid of a menace to society. Lin Beifan had no reason to oppose it!
But the situation inside the prison wasn’t looking good.
Starting from the fifth day.
A prison guard rushed over, “Lord Prefect, the cells are full. They’re pickpockets everywhere; we can’t fit anyone else in!”
Lin Beifan waved his hand, “It’s fine, they can squeeze a bit more. As far as I know, in about a week, dozens of people will be released after serving their sentences. By then, there will be plenty of space.”
The sixth day.
The prison guard came running again, “Lord Prefect, the situation is dire! Night Fragrance has caught another 20 pickpockets. There are too many people; we can’t fit them all inside the cells!”
Lin Beifan responded, “Let them squeeze a bit more.”
The seventh day.
The prison guard returned once more, “Lord Prefect, it’s a big problem! Night Fragrance has put 18 more pickpockets in jail. The cells are bursting, and the prisoners are getting aggressive. A fight could break out anytime!”
Lin Beifan waved his hand, “Send a few officers to watch over them. Whoever starts trouble, deal with them!”
The eighth day.
The prison guard came again, “Lord Prefect, Night Fragrance brought in 17 more pickpockets. The cells are completely full. There’s no room even to sleep!”
Lin Beifan said, “Then let them sleep together. Let them get cozy with their fellow men!”
The prison guard was taken aback, “Huh?”
“Can’t fit them anymore? What a pity!” Night Fragrance walked in, fanning himself, and regretfully said, “I found another den of thieves, probably around 20 people. I’m planning to go apprehend them. Should I do it now or not?”
At this point, how could Lin Beifan not see through Night Fragrance’s intentions?
Clearly, he was trying to disgust him using this method!
However, one had to admit, the method was effective!
Because what the other party was doing was just and right, he couldn’t refuse!
Refusing would damage his official image!
Lin Beifan smiled slightly, “Go ahead! No matter how many criminals you catch, I’ll take them in!”
With a snap, Night Fragrance closed his fan and laughed, “With your words, I’m relieved! I’ll go apprehend them right away!”
After Night Fragrance left, the prison guard had a worried expression, “But, Lord Prefect, the cells really can’t hold more people. It will cause problems if we force them in!”
Lin Beifan chuckled, “Don’t worry about that! We have cement, and we can quickly build a new prison to house the prisoners.”
The prison guard still looked concerned, “But building a prison also takes time!”
“In the vacant houses in Minxin City, they can serve as temporary cells. Transport the prisoners there for now. Once the new prison is built, you can transfer them back,” Lin Beifan suggested.
“Yes, Lord Prefect!” The prison guard sighed in relief.
So, the prison cell problem was temporarily resolved.
However, Night Fragrance was still tirelessly catching pickpockets.
In less than half a month, he managed to capture all the thieves in the capital and Minxin City, leading to a strange scenario where there were no thieves in the capital and doors were left unlocked at night.
Even if there were still some thieves, they didn’t dare to show their faces now.
They were afraid of being targeted by this grandmaster of thievery and being caught to earn merits.
Seeing this scene, Lin Beifan couldn’t help but shake his head, “You’re of the same origin, why hurt each other in haste?”
Unable to catch pickpockets, Night Fragrance turned his attention to other criminals.
As soon as he spotted wrongdoers, he would immediately bring them to the government office and throw them into the prison.
Luckily, Lin Beifan had the magical tool of cement for constructing buildings, which enabled quick establishment of prisons to house the offenders.
No matter how many Night Fragrance caught, Lin Beifan would accommodate them all. This led to a significant consequence: the prisons were overcrowded, but the security conditions in the capital and Minxin City greatly improved!
People refrained from stealing and causing trouble out of fear of being apprehended by Night Fragrance. Among neighbors and friends, harmony prevailed. Even if they had a little disagreement after having a drink, they would suppress their anger for the sake of Night Fragrance’s reputation.
“Brother, I’m sorry for earlier!”
“Brother, don’t say that. In truth, I also had my faults. Let’s continue drinking!”
“Don’t drink. The situation is a bit delicate. Let’s have tea instead!”
“You’re right! Tea won’t cause any trouble!”
Not far away, Night Fragrance, who had been observing, left with great disappointment. He was extremely frustrated because despite his efforts over these past few days, he not only couldn’t disgust Lin Beifan, but he also helped him achieve a significant political accomplishment.
“No, I can’t give up! If I can’t mess with him, my mind won’t be at ease!”
However, before Night Fragrance could come up with a solution, Lin Beifan was already approaching him with a smiling face.
“Comrade Night Fragrance, do you have a moment now?”
Night Fragrance squinted his eyes. Why did this official suddenly look so pleasant?
“Serving kindness when unnecessary, either not genuine or deceitful!”
“I’m available. What do you want?” Night Fragrance asked cautiously.
“That’s excellent. Come with me, I have a surprise for you!” Lin Beifan took Night Fragrance to the gate of the yamen.
To Night Fragrance’s surprise, the entrance was crowded with common people. Some were holding things like chickens, ducks, geese, steamed buns, fruits, and more, a truly abundant display.
They all smiled at Night Fragrance, some even appeared quite excited.
Night Fragrance was bewildered, “What’s going on?”
“Dear fathers, elders, and fellow villagers, please listen to me!”
Lin Beifan’s voice resonated loudly, “The person standing next to me is the former bandit chief, Night Fragrance! Although he used to be a thief, he has reformed himself! Since joining our Dedian Mansion, he has been leading by example, at the forefront, and has apprehended a total of 571 pickpockets and 472 other criminals!”
“Thanks to his efforts, the security situation in our capital has greatly improved. No evil deeds can escape his attention, and we even see the rare scenes of clean roads and open doors at night!”
“He, Night Fragrance, is the hero of our Dedian Prefecture!”
“Clap, clap, clap…” Applause thundered.
Everyone watched Night Fragrance with joy and excitement.
Lin Beifan continued loudly, “For our hero, what should we do?”
The citizens holding gifts rushed forward.
“Hero Night Fragrance, thank you for everything you’ve done for us! This is a chicken from my farm, a gift for you!”
“Hero Night Fragrance, these are freshly baked buns, very delicious when warm, please enjoy!”
“Hero Night Fragrance, these are fruits from my garden, very juicy!”
Night Fragrance felt both surprised and honored, quickly rejecting, “No need, no need. You’re too kind! Really, no need…”
Lin Beifan smiled, “Night Fragrance, these are heartfelt gifts from your fellow villagers. Don’t refuse them. If you do, it might hurt their feelings.”
Looking at the earnest smiles and the heartfelt gifts covering the ground, Night Fragrance reluctantly nodded.
For some reason, his eyes suddenly felt a bit teary, an impulse to cry welled up within him.
A warm, powerful sensation surged into his heart, flowing slowly.
He had never experienced this feeling before.
It made him want to escape, yet he also wanted to savor it.