Chapter 261 – Haste Will Ruin Everything
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
The Ministry of Justice’s Disciplinary Officer? Could this Old General Li want to build a bridge for her?
Ji Yunshu smiled. “Old General Li, you overpraise me. The position of disciplinary officer has always been earned through a rigorous selection, in which candidates are filtered until only the cream of the crop remains. In this world, intelligent people are as numerous as the stars, not to mention foreigners of this land. There will always be a mountain higher outside. This humble one doesn’t have much erudition nor background. In fact, I am far from having any qualification.”
“People strive to go to higher places, just like how the falling peach blossoms wanted to float on the river. Humans don’t escape this rule. Besides, you have successfully investigated many cases. Our Li family’s scandal, dating two years ago, was thankfully solved recently with your effort. With that kind of competence, why can’t you take a seat in that position? Or is there someone else you think could better fill it?”
The Li Family’s scandal? Was he referring to that case when Madame Jiang buried her husband’s corpse? If he had knowledge of this matter, it only made it clear that despite having retired from the political scene, his ears aren’t shut to outside matters and he was far from being a foolish old man.
Concerning that official post, even if Ji Yunshu wanted to, it was impossible for her to get it. It would be better if she could land a job as a coroner in a small county.
Out of courtesy, she replied, “Thank you very much for your appreciation. Unfortunately, this humble one is used to being idle. I have no intention of dipping myself in the world of officialdom. I do, however, have great admiration for you who fought for many years before you could finally return to your farmland for retirement. That is an end goal that most people find themselves pursuing.”
“I thought of recommending you, but since you have no interest, let’s forget about it.” He then poured a cup of tea which he pushed in front of Ji Yunshu. “It’s cold today. This will warm you.”
Going around but never mentioning the Lin Capital. Ji Yunshu swore that this old man was the absolute most annoying type of person.
They proceed to drink some tea, ending up finishing five cups without any progress with the conversation.
Old General Li had the demeanor of someone who had been imbibing. His already small eyes were squinted into slits. With a smile, he spoke in a deep voice, “I have lived for a long time and have yet to see anyone as patient as you.”
“That Qin Shiyu, or whatever his name is, he simply cannot lie. When he came by my mansion the other day to probe me, the first thing that came out of his mouth was that matter fourteen years ago. Looking at that smug face, I exploded, could not help but want to beat the shit out of him. But you… You’re a fine one. When the tea was infused, you didn’t say a word about it. Instead, I am the one who spoke a lot and end up talking in circles.” From his tone, it was clear how much he despised Qin Shiyu, whereas he held Ji Yunshu in high esteem.
She didn’t mention the case because she was in no hurry. With the way you do things, it would only lead to ruin if one were too hasty. Fortunately, Ji Yunshu followed his pace, and that old thing was the one who took the initiative to broach the subject.
Therefore, Ji Yunshu followed suit. “Since General mentioned it, I, this humble one, had no reason not to ask you.” She paused, taking the time to observe his expression before continuing. “Fourteen years ago, the Imperial Duke went to Qingzhou to meet you. After his return to the capital, his whole residence burned to the ground. I heard from Madame Jiang that you had a private discussion about the transferral of the troops. I would like to know if this matter is related to the Lin Capital case?”
The door they faced opened to a mountain view. From their position, they could see the darkening sky, a reminder that it was getting late, so time couldn’t be wasted any longer.
General Li leaned against the separating screen, appearing drunk. For a very long time, he fell into silence. He looked like an old retiree enjoying the idle days in the country.
Ji Yunshu thought he had fallen asleep and felt that perhaps her trip today was in vain.
Unexpectedly, Old General Li suddenly sighed. In a heavy tone, he started retelling the event. “I and the Imperial Duke were best friends. During the reign of the previous Emperor, he was bestowed the title of King of Peace. At that time, the current Emperor was merely the powerless eighth prince. Conflicts and struggles within the imperial family are endless, and the King of Peace hated vying for power, so he let the eighth prince become the crown prince. After the previous emperor died, the eighth prince ascended to the throne, taking on the regnal title – Qi Zhen, one with great fortune. Not long after, the current Emperor bestowed the Imperial Duke title on the King of Peace, making him remain in the capital. Although he was granted a higher status, his power was inversely proportional to his elated status, akin to a domesticated tiger whose teeth and claws have been plucked.”
Ji Yunshu understood the logic behind Qi Zhen’s actions. His four sons were granted the same treatment as the Imperial Duke. He merely promoted their statuses but didn’t bestow any land on them. He granted them estates, but they had to be built within the Capital. He even went as far as forbidding them from having private forces. If they left the capital, they had to dispatch a messenger every three days to inform of their whereabouts. Hence, it could be said that Qi Zhen continued to domesticate any individual at risk of jeopardizing his position.
Ji Yunshu continued to patiently listen to the old man while looking at the vapors emanating from her teacup.
“The so-called monarch and vassals relationship… after having experienced three emperors reign, this old man was getting quite fed up, so I resigned from my post and returned to Qinzhou for retirement. After more than 10 years of such a life, I could say that I am happy and relaxed despite having a very disappointing son and also a very disappointing grandson. If I was still healthy as I was in my younger days, they would be dead and buried. This world would have a few idiots less.”
He slapped his thigh as he spoke those words.
Although there was anger in his words, his expression remained calm and indolent. “Talking about my son, that bastard with no prospect in life, he was actually granted an official position and passed his days being idle. When Zhao’er was young, he was a fine child, but as he grew up, he became a disappointment – gambling all day, turning into the little bastard he is today. If I had known earlier, I would have choked him in infancy. It would have made the world a little better. Also…”
He continued to chatter about trivial matters. They were finally able to broach the Imperial Duke matter, but once again, the old man deviated the subject to his son and grandson. Ji Yunshu endured. She guessed that today she would, unfortunately, continue to drink more tea. Since there was no other choice, she might as well be an ear for this old man’s ramblings.
After he finished grumbling about his son, daughter, then grandson and a whole lot of other family members, he finally returned to the main topic. “Far from the intrigues of the court and the battlefield, my mind had relaxed, but I didn’t stop inquiring about the matter inside the capital. During those idle years, the Imperial Duke visited me many times, mostly to play chess, or discuss some poetry and books. And then, one day, fourteen years ago, he suddenly approached me about the troops I had in Qingzhou. Even after talking for a moment, I didn’t notice anything strange. However, when he returned to the Capital, his residence burned to the ground. All the exits were sealed, and all the guards inside had been transferred to somewhere else. Everything is far from simple. Who can predict when calamity will come knocking on the door?” A heavy sigh concluded his narration.
Ji Yunshu asked, “The Imperial Duke only inquired about the troops’ transfer? Did he mention anything else?”
He waved his hand and shook his head. “No. Nothing else. That damn old thing didn’t show any suspicious signs. This old man wants to dig him up and ask him what he found in the end.” When he was done talking, he laboriously got up, turned around and walked to another screen. He slowly sat beside it.
“It’s getting late. You should go back. Whatever you wanted to know, I have already told you.” His voice weakened.
What? That’s it? But you didn’t tell me anything worthwhile! Don’t you have anything else to say?
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Lol! Ji Yunshu is a great listener.