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Chapter 348: Sir Lin, you can’t escape from my grasp. Behave and submit to me!
The next day, during the morning court session, just after the ceremonial speech, the Empress yelled, “Sir Lin, come forward!”
Lin Beifan was a bit puzzled. Why did the Empress seem angry? She had never spoken to me in this tone before. Could it be that she’s upset about something else?
Even if that were the case, it shouldn’t be blamed on me!
The officials’ thoughts stirred, feeling like something anticipated was about to happen, making them inexplicably excited.
Lin Beifan stepped forward, bowing solemnly, and said, “I’m here. What are your orders, Your Majesty?”
The Empress’s beautiful eyes glared at Lin Beifan fiercely. Through gritted teeth, she asked, “Sir Lin, have you been idle recently?”
Lin Beifan felt a bit uneasy. What did the Empress mean by this? It seemed like she was about to investigate something…
The officials’ eyes lit up. Is the Empress going to question him? Is she going to punish that scoundrel?
Great! The officials felt excited, eagerly looking forward to it, and the court became unusually quiet.
“Why does Your Majesty say so?” Lin Beifan asked, confused.
The Empress gave a cold smile and said in a strange tone, “I heard that you’ve been entertaining those grandmasters recently, with fine wine and delicacies, reveling every night. You seem to be having a great time! Is this true?”
Lin Beifan became even more anxious. The Empress was indeed planning to investigate!
The officials became even more excited. The time has come for Her Majesty to take action against that scoundrel!
Finally, the day they had been waiting for arrived. It seemed like the dream was finally coming true.
“Your Majesty, indeed, it’s true! These people are friends of mine. Since they rarely visit, I naturally want to entertain them warmly. At the same time, I am trying to gain their support for the court, turning them into allies. I hope Your Majesty understands!” Lin Beifan explained.
“Entertaining friends is your private matter, but you must distinguish between public and private affairs!” the Empress scolded. “Let me ask you, as the Great Wu Prime Minister, responsible for implementing policies for recuperation and stability, have you managed these matters well for the country’s benefit?”
“Reporting to Your Majesty, this policy has been distributed according to responsibilities among the six ministries, the nine ministers, and various governors’ offices. The officials are cooperating actively, and the implementation is proceeding smoothly. Everything is going well,” Lin Beifan reported.
“I’ll ask you again, as the Prefect of the Capital City, have you managed the affairs of the Dedian Mansion well?” the Empress questioned again.
“Reporting to Your Majesty, the people of the capital are currently living peacefully and prosperously, with no major incidents occurring. Consequently, the matters within the mansion have decreased significantly and have been properly managed by me,” Lin Beifan reported once more.
“I’ll ask you again, as the Principal of the Imperial Academy, have you managed the affairs of the Imperial Academy well?” the Empress inquired.
“Reporting to Your Majesty, the Imperial Academy already has a stable operational process. As long as officials perform their duties and proceed step by step, everything will be fine,” Lin Beifan reported once again.
“After you’ve dealt with these national matters, you still have the energy to entertain your close friends. It seems you are indeed quite idle! Well, that’s really something!” The Empress’s tone had a touch of mockery, and her gaze toward Lin Beifan appeared cryptic and malicious.
Lin Beifan felt extremely anxious. It seemed like the Empress was truly going to reprimand him!
Oh no! Yesterday, I said the Empress was a love-struck fool, but today she seems so wise and authoritative. Look at me and my big mouth, I shouldn’t have spoken recklessly; now I might face consequences!
The officials became even more excited!
Indeed, Her Majesty is going to deal with Lin Beifan, that traitor!
Ancestors in heaven, this is a joyous occasion! The heavens have opened their eyes!
Long live! Long, long live!
Your Majesty, no need to give us face , let the storm rage even more violently!
As long as he dies, we’re willing to shed our skin!
Roar, roar, roar!!!
Lin Beifan thought he could still make some excuses: “Your Majesty, actually…”
The Empress waved her hand elegantly, huffing, “Sir Lin, spare me your explanations! I toil diligently within the palace every day to handle state affairs, while you’re outside enjoying yourself with your friends, drinking and reveling. Can you justify yourself to me?”
“Your Majesty, I…”
The Empress slammed the table and stood up, saying angrily, “Enough of your nonsense! I don’t want to hear your explanations! Since you seem to have so much free time… starting today, you will come to my palace and help me with state affairs, sharing the burden of governance!”
Lin Beifan: “What the heck!”
Officials: “What the heck!”
Everyone was dumbfounded! Shocked!
This wasn’t a punishment at all!
Clearly, it was a reward!
A tremendous reward!
Being able to help the Emperor with state affairs, sharing the governance responsibilities, implied an immense extension of his power. His authority would increase even further!
For a moment, envy, jealousy, and resentment filled the officials’ eyes.
But Lin Beifan wasn’t pleased at all!
Helping the Empress with state affairs? How many tasks would that involve? He wasn’t clueless about it!
With things turning out this way, would he still be able to enjoy himself in the future?
Come on, he just wanted to be a carefree salted fish, occasionally indulging in some pleasures and not working so hard!
So, Lin Beifan panicked: “Your Majesty, please reconsider!”
The Empress said, “I’ve considered it thoroughly!”
“Lin Beifan struggled: “Your Majesty, I have limited experience…”
The Empress said, ‘”ou’ve become the Prime Minister. What experience are you lacking? How you’ve acted before is how you should act now. I believe you will handle things very well.”
Lin Beifan continued to struggle: “Your Majesty, I’m overwhelmed with official duties…”
The Empress coldly smiled: “Sir Lin, even if you’re busy, can you be busier than me? I deal with so many state affairs every day. You deal with a few matters. Can you even compare?”
The Empress waved her hand: “Sir Lin, stop talking! You’re the current Prime Minister. These are things you should naturally do. Moreover, I’ve already asked you, and you’ve said that the affairs under your control are managed well. That’s why you have leisure time to drink and have fun with your friends! Since you have time, shouldn’t you consider my feelings and help me with some tasks?”
Lin Beifan really wanted to slap himself a few times. He shouldn’t have been so honest!
He couldn’t even come up with excuses properly; he was filled with regret!
At this moment, the Empress looked at the officials, her gaze full of annoyance: “Speak up clearly. Why are you whispering and muttering down there?”
By now, Lin Beifan and the officials had already discussed and reached an understanding.
Minister of the Personnel Department, Gao Tianyao, stood up and said loudly, “Your Majesty, I believe…”
The Empress smiled faintly: “Minister Gao’s words are good. Let’s not discuss this anymore.”
Gao Tianyao looked baffled: “Your Majesty, I haven’t said anything yet.”
The Empress shot a glare at the innocent-looking Lin Beifan: “I know what you’re trying to do, but I won’t listen! And you, ministers, there’s no need to say more. I’ve already made up my mind. Sir Lin, you can’t escape from my grasp, so just accept it!”
Lin Beifan looked utterly hopeless, and the officials seemed helpless too.
After the morning court session, Lin Beifan followed an old eunuch to a palace.
“Prime Minister, this is the Hall of State Affairs. It’s where former Prime Ministers assisted the Emperor in handling state affairs. Last night, Her Majesty ordered the servants to clean it up. Prime Minister, please take a look. Is there anything you require?”
Lin Beifan glanced around casually and found the place brightly lit and well-organized. There were a few bookshelves and a large table, filled with writing materials like ink, paper, and inkstones, resembling a study at home.
“This is good. It’s fine like this,” Lin Beifan nodded in satisfaction.
The old eunuch called in four young eunuchs, saying with a smile, “Prime Minister, these are the eunuchs assigned to assist you. They can read!”
Lin Beifan pointed out a few tasks and ordered them to read, and then he started working. After a while, he was overwhelmed.
“Okay, let’s start working!”
Lin Beifan sighed. He felt that his unfortunate days were about to begin. Roll up your sleeves and get to work, or else what else could you do?
Fortunately, being well-versed in reading, he could grasp the contents quickly, his mind processing even faster than a supercomputer. However, the more he read, the more irritated he became.
“You, Liuhou, the Assistant Minister of Rites, dared to write something against me in this memorial! I’ll note it down in my little book, and I’ll see how I’ll deal with you!”
“General Liu, you’re reporting about a battle but also maligning me. It seems I didn’t deal harshly enough with you last time!”
“High Minister Gao, Wang Rushui, stay put!”
“Arrogant fools, you really went all out. You’re all in big trouble, every one of you!”
The consequences would be severe!
Meanwhile, in the Imperial Study.
The Empress gazed at the elderly eunuch who had returned and asked with a smile, “Having viewed these memorials, does Sir Lin harbor any thoughts?”
The old eunuch choked and then conveyed, “Your Majesty, upon seeing them, Sir Lin’s complexion turned somewhat green…”
The Empress erupted into laughter.