TIGR Chapter 32
The Imperial Guard’s Revenge
Chapter 32 Chinese New Year
When Assistant Zhang, who was beside the emperor, came over, Fu Tingzhou could only accept his words and watch Lu Heng walk into the palace, clenching his teeth secretly.
Lu Heng, this matter was not over yet. He would not give up.
After Lu Heng followed Assistant Zhang out of Fu Tingzhou’s line of sight, he lowered his voice and asked: “It’s cold today, is the emperor in good health?”
Compared with other officials, Lu Heng was the one who saw the emperor most often. But no matter how often he came to the palace, he couldn’t compare to the eunuch who stayed by the emperor’s side all day and controlled the emperor’s clothing, food, housing, and travel. Lu Heng’s words could be interpreted as caring about the emperor’s body, or as inquiring about the emperor’s movements, and he wanted to see what Assistant Zhang would think.
Assistant Zhang smiled and said: “Master Lu always is always concerned about the emperor’s health, and is really the pillar of a loyal official. The emperor recently took Master Shaotian’s new medicine pill, and his spirit is much stronger than in the previous days. He has been up for a long time this morning. Perhaps the wind was blowing, and he came back with a cough.”
Lu Heng nodded lightly, his eyes thoughtful. The change in his expression was fleeting, and Lu Heng quickly put on a smile and thanked Assistant Zhang: “Thank you, Eunuch Zhang. Some time ago, my subordinates sent some antiques from Jiangnan, saying that they were made of red jade and were priceless. I don’t know about these matters, so I’ll ask Eunuch Zhang to help me taste it some other day.”
Assistant Zhang’s face burst into laughter as soon as he heard this. He closed the corners of his mouth and declined: “Master Lu has a lot of knowledge, how dare I, from an unknown family, display my slight skill before such an expert.”
“Eunuch Zhang’s words are out of the question.” Lu Heng said, “The Eunuch has served by the emperor’s side. He has seen so many good things, how can his vision be comparable to that of outsiders? I can not attend to many places, and I still bother Eunuch Zhang for pointers.”
The smile on Assistant Zhang’s face was finally released, his hands folded in his sleeves, and he humbly cupped his hands to Lu Heng: “Master Lu is polite. Since Master Lu can use someone from an unknown family, this unknown family is courageous.”
Lu Heng smiled and said: “Thank you Eunuch Zhang.”
With the episode of Hongyu, the atmosphere between the two was very harmonious. Soon they arrived at the Qianqing Palace. Assistant Zhang entered the palace in small steps, stopped outside the east pavilion, and greeted: “Your Majesty, Master Lu is here.”
The emperor’s voice came from inside, and Assistant Zhang turned sideways and said to Lu Heng: “Master Lu, please.”
Lu Heng gestured to Assistant Zhang slightly and then walked in slowly. The emperor had already taken off his court clothes and put on a Taoist robe. When he saw Lu Heng, he greeted him kindly: “You came.”
Lu Heng paid his respect to the emperor and said his greetings as usual. The emperor didn’t waste much time, and he got straight to the point: “What is the situation with Zhao Huai?”
Lu Heng knew that the emperor called him here for this matter. Lu Heng thought about it on the way. Without pausing, he repeated the situation of Zhao Huai’s family clearly, smoothly, and in a clear manner. He omitted details appropriately when reporting in the morning court, but when facing the emperor alone, he was meticulous and told the emperor everything he found.
What the emperor needed were facts, and the emperor himself would judge whether it was true or false.
After Lu Heng finished speaking, the emperor pondered for a while and asked: “Why did Zhao Huai suddenly yield, how did you get it out of him?”
The Imperial Guards had a domineering reputation, but no one who was reckless and deceptive could survive in the Imperial Guards for a long time. Lu Heng dared to lead people directly to search Zhao Huai’s home, but he must have had some trump card.
Lu Heng thought to himself that the emperor was indeed suspicious, not only wanting to know the results of the investigation, but also wanting to know how it was found out. Lu Heng paused very briefly and decided in an instant. He took Wang Yanqing to the prison for interrogation, and it was impossible to hide it from everyone’s eyes and ears. Sooner or later, the emperor would know and it was better for him to say it than for others to.
Besides, Fu Tingzhou, the idiot, blocked him at the Tianmen today, and he was afraid the emperor already knew about it. After Lu Heng made his decision, he didn’t hesitate anymore, and said calmly: “He was not questioned by an officer, but by a woman.”
The emperor was used to seeing strange things, but when he heard this, he couldn’t help but raised his eyebrows: “A woman?”
“Yes.” Lu Heng said, “She is naturally good at recognizing facial expressions, and can judge someone’s true emotions based on subtle changes, to infer whether the person is lying. She assisted during the interrogation of Zhao Huai and the previous investigation of the adultery case in Baoding.”
When the emperor heard about this ability for the first time, he was curious and asked: “Where did you find this strange person?”
Lu Heng paused for a moment and said calmly: “She is Fu Tingzhou’s adopted sister. She lost her memory a few days ago, so I took her in.”
The emperor was stunned, blinked his eyes slowly, and said: “Amnesia?”
“Yes.” Once the first word was uttered, his following words were very relaxed. Lu Heng said without changing his expression: “Also, she seems to have mistaken me for her brother.”
Although the emperor had experienced great winds and waves, at this moment he was speechless. He looked at Lu Heng, and Lu Heng also stood calmly in the hall, letting the emperor look at him.
The emperor has no moral restraint, good and evil were just empty words to him. For the emperor, there were only two kinds of people in this world. One kind was useful to him, and the other hindered him. Even a person like the emperor felt that it was too unethical when he heard what Lu Heng had done.
The emperor was very inquisitive and asked: “Does Fu Tingzhou know?”
Lu Heng shook his head and said: “He doesn’t know yet.”
The emperor understood as soon as he heard this. Some time ago, the abnormality between Lu Heng and Fu Tingzhou was also resolved. However, Fu Tingzhou probably stopped Lu Heng because of this. The emperor nodded and said: “You can handle it yourself, don’t delay the handling of the case. Zhang Yong’s family is rich with more than Zhao Huai’s 5,000 Taels of gold. You can review the few in prison again, maybe there is more.”
Lu Heng responded, knowing that the emperor felt that the evidence was not enough and that the Yang party would be involved. He placed Wang Yanqing on a clear road in front of the emperor’s place, and the emperor didn’t say anything. Lu Heng understood that he had passed this test.
The emperor was a person who believed that human nature was inherently evil, and because of this, it was also easy for him to understand the evils that extend from people’s original desires – such as greed for money, lust, jealousy, and struggle for power. Lu Heng told the emperor about Chen Yin’s blackness, and the emperor didn’t care. However, if Lu Heng assumed the air of a saint, but secretly guided the emperor to remove another, that would be a big offense for the emperor.
Therefore, Lu Heng and the emperor have always spoken straightforwardly. As long as Lu Heng was thick-skinned and courageous enough to be the first, to tell the truth, the emperor would let him go after thinking about it. Lu Heng knew that the emperor had tacitly accepted his way of handling things, and even when he ambushed Fu Tingzhou in the western suburbs some time ago, the emperor didn’t care. In the future, even if Fu Tingzhou went to the imperial court, he would not be able to touch Lu Heng at all.
Lu Heng settled his big worry with Fu Tingzhou in this trusted aid. He was satisfied and refreshed. After saying goodbye to the emperor, he went to the prison to interrogate the remaining government officials. He hadn’t slept all night, but he was in good spirits all day, and he had a happy smile on his lips until he returned to the house in the evening.
Wang Yanqing had been waiting for Lu Heng all day, and when she finally heard the maid reporting that Lu Heng was back, she was relieved and hurried to greet him. When Lu Heng entered the door with a smile in his eyes, Wang Yanqing helped Lu Heng untie the cloak, folded it neatly, and handed it to the maid, then turned around and asked softly: “What happened to Second Brother, why are you so happy?”
The embezzlement case was resolved, the emperor entrusted him with a heavy responsibility, and he would be officially promoted to commander soon… Everything was in a good place, but the one thing that most pleased Lu Heng could not be revealed to Wang Yanqing. Lu Heng held Wang Yanqing’s hand and said: “Last night, I really found gold in Zhao Huai’s house. Qing Qing contributed greatly to solving this case so quickly. Thanks to Qing Qing for helping me during this time. What reward does Qing Qing want?”
Wang Yanqing came back after interrogating Zhao Huai yesterday, and she didn’t see Lu Heng all day today. She was worried about the progress of the investigation, and always wanted to find an opportunity to ask about the results. But looking at Lu Heng’s expression now, she didn’t need to ask.
Wang Yanqing breathed a sigh of relief and said: “That’s good that the case is solved smoothly. I don’t want anything. I’m satisfied if I can help my Second Brother.”
“How can that be?” Lu Heng said, “If you make mistakes, you will be punished. If you have merit, you will be rewarded. Qing Qing does not want the reward now, are you afraid that I will punish you for making mistakes in the future?”
Lu Heng was a person who could coax the emperor into a happy mood. Speaking the same way, how could Wang Yanqing resist. She couldn’t help laughing, and gave him an angry look: “Second Brother can punish if you want to punish. I won’t have any objections.”
“Then I don’t want to.” Lu Heng pulled Wang Yanqing to sit down, put his hand on her lap, and said: “There are a few more in the prison and I won’t have free time these next few days. After the New Year, I will accompany you around the streets.”
Wang Yanqing was surprised and blurted out: “Really?”
Lu Heng noticed Wang Yanqing’s slip, and his heart became clear, and his smile became more and more gentle: “Of course it is true. The family is going to be together during the New Year. Now there are only the two of us in the Lu Mansion. If I don’t accompany you, who else will?”
Wang Yanqing was really flattered. She couldn’t explain why, but she always felt that it was only natural for her to help Second Brother and that she shouldn’t take credit for it, let alone entangle Second Brother and ask for things. Lu Heng stared at Wang Yanqing’s absent-minded eyes, and said slowly: “Qing Qing, do you still remember nothing from the past?”
Wang Yanqing bit her lip and shook her head slowly. Lu Heng sighed, hiding the sadness in his eyes. He embraced Wang Yanqing tolerantly and patiently and said: “It’s okay, you don’t remember, we’ll go through it again. No matter what festival we celebrated in the past, we as brother and sister were always together. Do you still remember last year’s New Year’s Day?”
Wang Yanqing was touched by the sadness in Lu Heng’s eyes and shook her head cautiously. Lu Heng was relieved, his eyes didn’t blink, and he began talking nonsense about things that hadn’t happened at all: “Last year we went to the capital to see the lights together. You also requested a Qian for a fateful marriage and it said that it was easy to recruit bad people this year, and it was not appropriate to discuss marriage.” You didn’t believe it at the time, but unexpectedly, you actually met Fu Tingzhou at the end of the year. This year we are going to ask for a Qian again and this time, you can’t take it lightly anymore.”
|| Qian (签) refers to the Japanese Omikuji (御神签) which is a written fortune that you draw from a box.
Wang Yanqing nodded in confusion. Although she thought it was strange, Second Brother would never lie to her. It was always reasonable for the Second Brother to say so.
This year’s winter in the capital was extremely cold, and December was shrouded in a chill, which was quite unnerving. Everyone was staying at home, not going out if they could.
In this oppressive atmosphere, the Imperial Guard’s actions were particularly rampant. With Zhao Huai at the head, other officials were quickly found out by Lu Heng for corruption. Teams of Imperial Guards dressed in flamboyant official uniforms roamed the capital, raiding homes everywhere. Pedestrians hid when they saw them from a distance, and no one dared to face them head-on. At the worst, the Imperial Guards plundered three households in a day.
Many families were pushed into the abyss before the New Year of Jiajing’s twelfth year.
The fire got bigger and bigger, and finally, it reached Yang Yingning, the head auxiliary and the struggle between the two Yang and Zhang parties intensified. Zhang Jinggong accused Zhao Huai and others of accepting bribes because they were instructed by Yang Yingning. Most of Zhang Yong and Xiao Jing’s money actually went into Yang Yingning’s hands. Yang Yingning repeatedly defended himself, but finally could not bear the humiliation, and took the initiative to resign from the emperor to prove his innocence.
The emperor detained him, but Zhang Jinggong immediately wrote to say that Yang Yingning insincerely begged for leave, but was actually retreating in advance, in exchange for the emperor’s trust. Yang Yingning was furious and again begged to return home on the grounds of illness. This time, the emperor did not immediately reject it.
Yang Yingning suddenly woke up. It turned out that it was not Zhang Jinggong who wanted him to die, but that the emperor was dissatisfied with him. Yang Yingning repeatedly opposed the grand ceremony and even spoke to Yang Ting’s father and son, but finally annoyed the emperor.
The emperor wanted to give his biological father the title of God, but the old officials of the Zhengde Dynasty refused to allow it. This seemed to be a question of Xingxian Monarch’s honorary title, but in fact, it was a question of who was stronger and who was weaker between the emperor and his officials.
The emperor, however, did not allow anyone in the court to ignore his words. If Yang Ting and Yang Yingning were disobedient, then change them to a group of obedient people.
Thinking of this, Yang Yingning didn’t try to justify it again. Just like Yang Ting many years ago, he resigned from the position of the head auxiliary and returned to his hometown to retire.
He resigned himself, but he could still keep his family wealth and dignity. If he waited for the emperor to speak, the one who would do it, would be Lu Heng.
It was better for him to go by himself.
After Yang Yingning’s resignation, the ever-expanding corruption case finally came to an end, and at this time, New Year came.
A few families were happy and others were sad. When the government officials were having trouble sleeping and eating because of the cabinet changes, the Lu Mansion was a warm and peaceful scene.
On the morning of the thirtieth, Wang Yanqing got up early to pay Lu Heng her New Year’s greetings. In a joking tone, she said: “The Imperial Court had their holiday from the twenty-fourth, but I only saw my Second Brother at home today. Did Second Brother set up another house to avoid me?”
Lu Heng laughed. He was investigating the Yang party these days, and during a search, he passed out. The court holiday was for ordinary officials. For him, as long as the emperor needed, he had to be on call.
Lu Heng smiled and said: “I wish I could build a golden house that no one knew about and hide Qing Qing.”
|| Author’s Note:
Lu Heng: The surname is Lu, the first name is Heng, the character shadows the emperor, and the assumed name is a wicked man residing among the scholars.
The first corruption case + adultery case is basically over, let Lu Heng have a good year, and let the drama begin!
4 thoughts on “TIGR Chapter 32”
Thanks for the updates!
Thank you for the translation!’ I’m enjoying this immensely!!
I’m so glad you are enjoying the novel! I am having so much fun translating, especially as the plot progresses!
Thank u for the translation