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Chapter 5: The Top Scholar Cries Poverty: I’m Really Too Poor!
After about half an hour, everyone arrived at a run-down courtyard.
“Is this where Scholar Lin lives?”
“It’s too run-down, isn’t it?”
“Can people really live here?”
Everyone was shocked.
The Empress was also very surprised as she looked at Lin Beifan and asked, “Scholar Lin, is this your home?”
Lin Beifan nodded calmly, “Yes, Your Majesty. To be precise, this is a temporary residence that I rented.”
“If you’re renting a place, why not rent a better one?” an official couldn’t help but ask.
“Sir, when you’re not the one in charge, you don’t know how expensive the necessities of life are!” Lin Beifan felt very wronged, “I also wanted to rent a better place, but unfortunately my financial situation doesn’t allow it! This is the capital, the emperor’s city, where every inch of land is precious! Buying a house is expensive, and renting one isn’t cheap either! Do you know how much money I have to spend to rent this courtyard for a month?”
Lin Beifan held up a finger, “Ten taels of silver! I have to spend 10 taels of silver to live here for a month! That’s 120 taels of silver a year! I was born into an ordinary family. How could I afford this kind of money? But in order to take the imperial exam, in order to have a suitable environment for studying, I had to grit my teeth and come up with this huge sum of money!”
“After spending this huge sum of money, I became a poor farmer, no different from the beggars on the street, just dressed a little better! I usually have to save every penny I can and can’t afford to spend extra money! I dare not move around much either, for fear of starving!”
The empress shook her head in lamentation, “Scholar Lin, I never expected you to have suffered so much in the past!”
“Yes, I suffered a lot in the past, mainly because I was poor!”
“I’m really too poor! I have no parents, no siblings or relatives, and everything depends on myself!” Lin Beifan reminisced, “I vaguely remember, a year ago, a thief came to rob my house! At that time, I was hiding under the bed, not daring to make a sound, afraid of scaring the thief away! Do you know what I was thinking at the time?”
“What were you thinking?” The empress asked.
“At that time, how I wished he could find some money!” Lin Beifan covered his face.
The empress and officials coughed.
“In the end, he found nothing and ran away in tears! During the holidays, he even left two bags of rice at my house!”
The empress and officials coughed again.
Lin Beifan was grateful and wiped away a tear in secret. “I survived every day of the year, thanks to the aid of a thief. He made me feel that there is love and kindness in the world!”
“Is it really that bad?” an official couldn’t help but say, “I remember that with honors and titles, the court provides subsidies! Lin Bei, you even passed the examinations and won the top prize. You should not live in such miserable conditions!”
“That’s right! The court subsidies are generous. He couldn’t possibly be living that badly!”
“To be honest, I don’t believe it either.”
“You only know one side of the story.” Lin Beifan said, “The main reason is that I rose too fast! I passed the examinations and won the top prize three years in a row. Before I could even claim the subsidies, I became the top scholar! If I had taken it slower, things wouldn’t have been so bad!”
The officials coughed again.
They glared at Lin Beifan incredulously.
This guy was definitely pretending!
Isn’t winning the top prize three years in a row good enough?
It’s what many students dream of!
And yet, he complains that it was too fast?
The empress chuckled.
She found Lin Beifan more and more interesting!
He cried of poverty with such elegance and sophistication. And when he showed off, he did it with such elegance and sophistication!
Moreover, he made such convincing arguments that people wanted to beat him up!
“So, Lin Bei, your insatiable greed is the reason why you live in poverty,” the recommendatory official Yao Zheng sneered. “You suffered before becoming an officer, and now you’re trying to make up for your losses by being greedy.”
“Sir Yao, do not reverse black and white! I am someone who studies the teachings of Confucius and Mencius and practices the rituals of the saints! If you continue to speak like this, I will accuse you of defamation!” Lin Beifan retorted.
“It’s obvious if it’s true or not!” Yao Zheng pushed the door open and shouted, “Search! Search carefully and thoroughly, don’t leave any inch of land!”
“Yes, Sir!” A group of soldiers rushed in.
“Sir, there’s nothing in the living room!”
“Sir, there’s nothing in the main room!”
“Sir, there’s nothing in the guest room!”
“Sir, there’s nothing in the kitchen!”
In the end, all the soldiers who searched stood in front of them, indicating that they didn’t find anything.
Yao Zheng was perplexed, as were the officials present.
“How could there be nothing? It’s impossible!” Yao Zheng exclaimed.
Lin Beifan boasted, “What else can you find? Look at my house, it’s completely empty, even a poor thief wouldn’t bother to steal from me! If there was anything, you would’ve found it at a glance!”
He had given away all of his money beforehand, considering this consequence.
As long as you can’t find anything, it’s difficult to charge me.
“It’s impossible that there’s nothing… Tell me! Did you move things beforehand?” Yao Zheng exclaimed.
Lin Beifan spread his hands and said, “Where could I have moved them to? I’m so poor that I can barely afford food!”
Just then, Lin Beifan’s eyes involuntarily looked to one side.
Yao Zheng caught his gaze.
He followed Lin Beifan’s gaze and saw a big tree, which seemed to have recently been tilled and was damp around it.
Yao Zheng laughed triumphantly: “Haha! I know, Lin Beifan, you must have hidden the jewelry under this big tree!”
Lin Beifan immediately shook his head: “No! Absolutely not!”
“How could there be none? I saw it just now!” Yao Zheng came to the bottom of the big tree, stepping on newly loosened soil, proudly saying: “Look at this soil, it has just been turned over! Therefore, you must have hidden the stolen silver here, am I right?”
Everyone’s eyes froze and they indeed saw the freshly turned soil.
At this point, Lin Beifan’s home had already been searched once, but nothing was found.
Therefore, the jewelry was probably 80% hidden there.
Lin Beifan was panicking: “Sir Yao, it’s definitely not there, please don’t assume things!”
“I’m sure it is!” Yao Zheng shouted: “Bring me a shovel, I will personally dig it out!”
“Sir Yao, don’t do this, you’ll regret it!”
“Shut up! I’ll regret it if I can’t find it!”
Yao Zheng took an iron shovel and excitedly began digging.
After just a few digs, a hole was dug out.
At this moment, a black shadow suddenly rushed out from inside and bit Yao Zheng’s hand.
Yao Zheng cried out in pain: “Ah…a snake! I’ve been bitten by a snake, help me!”
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