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Chapter 7: Sir Yao, You’re Too Happy Too Early!
About 10 minutes later, everyone arrived at Yao Zheng’s house.
As soon as they entered the courtyard, a dignified old woman led a group of people to Yao Zheng’s front, anxiously asking, “My lord, what’s wrong with your hand? And who are these people?”
“My hand was bitten by a cunning little snake, but it’s nothing,” Yao Zheng gave Lin Beifan a fierce glare, then turned to the old woman and said, “We happened to pass by your door, so I brought a few colleagues to pay a visit. And this is the current Holy Empress, please pay your respects to her!”
Everyone was taken aback and immediately bowed, saying, “Greetings to Your Majesty, long live the empress!”
“Please, rise,” the empress said with a smile.
“Thank you, Your Majesty!” everyone stood up.
Yao Zheng proudly introduced, “Your Majesty, this is my humble wife, Yao Zhangshi! She is virtuous and kind, and has been by my side for over 30 years, deeply in love with each other! And these two are my sons, both with achievements to their name!”
The empress nodded with a smile, “Not bad! It’s getting late, let’s go inside and have a look!”
Yao Zheng immediately welcomed her inside, while reminding his wife to prepare some refreshments.
Yao Zheng’s home had a simple and clean layout, with a front courtyard and a back garden. It wasn’t particularly large, nor was it extravagantly decorated.
After a tour of the house, the empress was very satisfied, “It seems that Sir Yao is an upright and honest official! My Great Wu Empire is fortunate to have you, and so I am!”
“Thank you for your kind words, Your Majesty. I am undeserving,” Yao Zheng was overjoyed, “I am always strict with myself and lead by example, teaching and educating the people. All for the sake of not letting down Your Majesty’s generosity!”
At this moment, he was somewhat grateful to Lin Beifan. If it weren’t for his proposal, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to show his honesty in front of the empress and the officials! Promotion and honor, as well as leaving a name in history, were now within reach!
The empress applauded, “Well done!”
Yao Zheng was ecstatic and came to Lin Beifan’s side, proudly asking, “Sir Lin, do you have anything else to say?”
Lin Beifan smiled faintly: “Sir Yao, you’re happy too early!”
Yao Zheng was displeased: “What, can you point out my mistake?”
Lin Beifan pointed his finger: “Look!”
Following Lin Beifan’s finger, everyone saw the tables and chairs placed in the hall.
“What’s the problem with this set of tables and chairs?”
“There’s a big problem! This set of tables and chairs is all made of black gold nanmu wood! Black gold nanmu wood has a hard texture, is as black as ink, not easy to corrode, not easy to burn, and is a good material for making furniture! Currently, black gold nanmu wood is very expensive on the market, and it takes ten taels of silver to buy a catty! This set of tables and chairs weighs five to six hundred catties in total, which means that the total value is five to six thousand taels of silver! If you also include the processing cost, the price will be even higher!”
Lin Beifan smiled faintly: “May I ask, Sir Yao, where did you get this set of tables and chairs?”
“This…” Yao Zheng was tongue-tied and couldn’t help but look at his wife.
“Sir Lin, are you telling the truth?” The empress looked left and right, her face full of doubt.
“This set of seemingly ordinary tables and chairs is actually worth 6000 taels of silver?”
Lin Beifan bowed and said resolutely: “Your Majesty can send someone to investigate, and I, your humble servant, have not spoken a word of falsehood!”
The empress glanced at Yao Zheng and her face darkened.
“And this tea, it’s also unusual!”
“What’s the problem with this tea?”
Lin Beifan smiled: “This tea comes from the neighboring country of Mount Dahua. After being brewed with water, it emits a lingering fragrance and is refreshing, making it a medicinal tea! Due to its extremely limited production, it is highly sought after! One tael of gold for one tael of tea, also known as gold tea! Even many high-ranking officials and wealthy people cannot afford to drink this tea. Sir Yao, where did you get it from?”
“This tea… is it really that precious?” Yao Zheng was shocked.
“Believe it or not, you can have someone check it out to see if what I’m saying is true or not!” Lin Beifan said with a smile.
Yao Zheng’s face turned pale, and the empress’s face became even more solemn.
Then, Lin Beifan pointed out a few more things.
For example, a painting hanging on the wall, a rockery placed in the middle of the courtyard, and some small accessories, among others.
They all looked ordinary, easily overlooked by people who didn’t pay close attention to them.
But all of them contained hidden mysteries and were worth a total of 40,000 taels.
Yao Zheng’s face was already as white as paper, and he was sweating profusely.
The empress was furious, slamming her hand on the table: “Yao Zheng! We trusted you and appointed you as the Imperial Censor to supervise the officials! We didn’t expect you to be corrupt and take bribes yourself. What crime have you committed?”
“Your Majesty, you’ve wronged me. I had no knowledge of this!” Yao Zheng fell to his knees, pleading.
The empress became even angrier: “Still denying it?”
Lin Beifan smiled and said, “Your Majesty, please calm down. Sir Yao may not have been corrupt, but his subordinates may have been! Sir Yao has read the classics and held the position of Imperial Censor, so he can control himself. But his subordinates may not have the same self-control! After all, power can blind people’s eyes!”
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