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Chapter 4: I Wish to Impeach the New Top Scholar!
“Long live, long live, long live our Empress!” In the Hall of Golden Palace, the officials bowed and saluted, chanting in unison.
In this imperial dynasty of the world, kneeling was not a custom. Everyone simply stood and saluted to show respect.
“Dispense with formalities, my ministers!” The Empress commanded with authority.
“Thank you, Your Majesty!” They all straightened up and spoke in unison.
The Empress surveyed the officials, and finally behind the crowd, she saw Lin Beifan. Unconsciously, she revealed a slight smile.
If before, she had just regarded Lin Beifan as someone pleasing to the eye, now she regarded him as extremely pleasing.
With a pleasant gaze, she asked kindly, “Scholar Lin, yesterday I ordered you to search a house. What were the results?”
Lin Beifan stepped forward and calmly replied, “In response to Your Majesty’s inquiry, I went to the residence of the Prime Minister Zuo yesterday to search for his assets. After a careful search, I discovered a sum of 200,000 taels of stolen money, an enormous amount. It has already been deposited into the national treasury. I request Your Majesty’s investigation.”
At this point, a dozen or so ministers looked over, opening their mouths in shock.
Two hundred thousand taels? Is that considered a lot?
How dare you report it!
Besides, compared to what you’ve embezzled, it’s nothing!
The Empress pounded on her throne and angrily exclaimed, “This Minister Zuo is a despicable person! He has been in office for more than twenty years and has embezzled 200,000 taels of stolen silver. How many lives has he ruined? Killing him a hundred times wouldn’t be enough to quell the public’s anger!”
“Your Majesty speaks the truth!” Lin Beifan responded without changing his expression.
Everyone was shocked again!
What the hell!
You are even more corrupt than Minister Zuo, and yet you can say that with a straight face!
Do you have any shame?
The Empress ordered, “Guards, take Minister Zuo out and execute him! All other implicated personnel will receive severe punishment!”
“Yes, Your Majesty!” A guard in brocade armor received the command and walked out of the Hall of Golden Palace.
After killing a person, the Empress was extremely pleased, “Furthermore, your search was fruitful, Lin. I have decided to promote you by half a rank! You were originally a sixth-ranked official, but now you will become a fifth-ranked official! As for your future position, I have decided…”
This time, everyone could no longer remain calm!
He had just become the top scholar yesterday, and his official position had not even been decided yet. Yet after searching a house, he was promoted by half a rank!
This speed was too fast!
No one had ever seen someone promoted through searching a house!
Moreover, he embezzled so much money, and you still promoted him?
Is there no justice?
Is there no fairness?
A senior official stood up and respectfully said, “Your Majesty, I have a matter to bring up.”
“What is it?” The Empress was displeased.
She had just been preparing to reward Lin Beifan and win him over, but someone interrupted her!
However, upon seeing the old minister, his anger disappeared without a trace. The other party was a court official named Yao Zheng, who had been in office for more than 30 years as a remonstrance official.
Although his rank was not high, only seventh rank, he held a great deal of power. He was responsible for advising the emperor and supervising the behavior of officials, and for impeaching those who violated the law and discipline.
“What do you have to report, Minister Yao?” the empress asked.
“Your Majesty,” Yao Zheng replied, looking at Lin Beifan with red eyes, “I wish to impeach the new top scholar, Lin Beifan! Yesterday, when he went to search a home, he embezzled jewelry worth two million taels of gold and silver! He has only just become the top scholar, and he has already embezzled such a huge sum of money. Your Majesty, please conduct a strict investigation!”
The officials present couldn’t help but smile and watch the show. The empress on the dragon throne remained calm and asked Lin Beifan, “Is this true, Minister Lin?” She felt a hint of anticipation, wondering how Lin Beifan would get through this crisis.
If he couldn’t, she would step in to save him! Lin Beifan remained very calm and replied, “Your Majesty, Minister Yao’s accusations are entirely groundless!”
“You!!!” Yao Zheng’s eyes were spitting fire.
Lin Beifan stood tall and straight, his voice thundering, “Since my childhood, I have studied the classics of Confucius and Mencius, and have followed the rituals of the saints. I have lived an upright life and have never done anything to be ashamed of. How could I do something that is despised by both man and God, such as embezzling two million taels of silver and gold?”
The empress on the dragon throne nearly burst out laughing. This guy is really shameless. He obviously embezzled the money, yet he acts as if he’s innocent! He has no shame! He’s shameless!
At this point, Lin Beifan aimed his gun and said, “Sir Yao, why are you accusing me with baseless accusations? Are you taking bribes from others and purposely framing me?”
Yao Zhengqi was so angry that he almost vomited blood and said, “As a righteous imperial censor, I have the duty to monitor and supervise all officials. How could I take bribes and slander loyal and upright officials?”
“It’s not necessarily true! The former Minister Zuo is righteous and incorruptible, but he still embezzled 200,000 taels of silver, didn’t he? As the saying goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover, and appearances can be deceiving!” Lin Beifan sarcastically retorted.
Yao Zhengqi trembled with anger and said, “Sir Zuo was a corrupt official, how can you compare me to him?”
“Then why do you accuse me of being greedy?” Lin Beifan asked.
“I naturally have evidence!”
Yao Zhengqi said with his hands clasped, “Your Majesty, you can send someone to interrogate the officials we searched yesterday to see if it’s true! As for physical evidence… yesterday, I heard that Lin Beifan had someone take the dirty money back to his house, and many people saw it. We can send someone to his house to check!”
At this point, many ministers shook their heads, and Lin Beifan was in trouble. He was indeed too young and greedy, and didn’t do things discreetly enough, leaving himself open to being caught!
“Sir Lin, do you have anything else to say?” the empress asked calmly, showing no emotion.
“Your Majesty, I am innocent! If you must investigate, then do so! I walk a straight and narrow path and would never do anything illegal or improper!”
Lin Beifan said with a sense of righteousness. The empress wanted to laugh! This guy was really… Lying through his teeth!
He had no shame at all, even thicker-skinned than an old fox on the field!
The empress loudly proclaimed, “Very well! Since we have nothing else to do, let us all go to Sir Lin’s house together and see if he is really corrupt! If he is not, we will clear his name. If he is, he will be thrown into prison!”
“Long live the empress!” everyone shouted in unison.
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