Chapter 543 - The Ministry of Personnel

The carriage arrived at the palace gates in no time at all.

The duo got out of the carriage and glanced back where they had come from. There was still no sign of the Chancellor’s carriage. He’s probably still trying to extract that rope.

Just as Judge Yu was about to enter the palace with his father...

Vice Chancellor Yu spoke, “You don’t have to follow me.”

“Father?”

“Stay here. When the Chancellor arrives, you have to use everything you can think of to prevent him from entering the palace. If you can’t prevent that, then delay him. The longer the better, you must delay him until I am done with my report to the Emperor.”

Although Judge Yu felt that it was a difficult task, he still nodded his head in agreement. “Yes, I will do my best to hold him back. But Father, you have to be quick. I am, after all, a mere judge. [1] In terms of court rank, I have no right to obstruct the Chancellor.”

“I understand. However, Prince Rong’s plans must not be ruined by my hand.” Vice Chancellor Yu mentally braced himself.

After that, he hurriedly entered the palace, document in hand.

Zhuoyang Palace

Qizhen Emperor was in the midst of poring through the submitted memorials, one of them was spread out on the desk before him.

The instant he finished reading—

Bam! It was forcefully closed shut.

Qizhen Emperor set his balled-up fists on the table with a furious expression on his face.

Eunuch Zhang, Zhang Quan, saw this from the sidelines and spoke up whilst bowing slightly, “Your Majesty, please don’t hurt yourself out of anger. Shall your servant instruct the royal kitchen to make a bowl of ginseng soup to warm your stomach? You could continue reading after a short rest.”

Clatter!

Eunuch Zhang had barely finished speaking when Qizhen Emperor swept the numerous memorials to the ground.

Zhang Quan was used to situations like these. He calmly remained in a slight bow while he glanced at the memorial that had been submitted by the Ministry of Personnel.

“Your Majesty, is it about Prince Rong?”

Qizhen Emperor angrily replied. “Recently, most of the memorials submitted were all about Jing Rong interfering with the affairs of the Ministry of Personnel. First, he removed Zhang Huanping from his position in Shanhuai County, then he did the same to Anfu County’s Liu Zhiliang. This memorial is about Jing Rong forcibly deposing Jinjiang County’s current magistrate and reinstating the previous one, Liu Qingping, in his place. It’s madness. The ministry’s personnel transfer and censoring of officials occur every six months, yet he just had to make it his business. The ministry had to review every official again and arrange for new officials to be appointed because of the trouble he had caused. I wanted him to investigate the missing disaster funds, not to review the officials.”

With a wave of his sleeves, the Emperor’s broad palm slammed heavily onto the table.

On Jing Rong’s trip to Yufu, he had investigated numerous officials. The officials that were investigated were either incompetent plagues to the county or corrupt and abusing their power. The Ministry of Personnel went through a lot of trouble because of his actions, as though the entire ministry itself had been taken over by a prince with no real power!

More importantly, it was taken over by a prince who had fallen out of favour with the Emperor and had been ‘exiled’.

Naturally, Peng Yuanhai, the head of the Ministry of Personnel, could not take this lying down and vented his grievances by repeatedly submitting memorial after memorial.

As the saying goes, the ruckus caused by the son has to be made known to the father!

The reason why Qizhen Emperor was enraged, was because he had dispatched Jing Rong to investigate the case regarding disaster funds with the intention of making him stay away from the court and its political strife. However, Jing Rong just couldn’t stay idle during his journey. First, he borrowed Marquis Kang’s army to subdue bandits at Shanhuai county, causing massive amounts of blood to be spilt. In the end, the Golden Embroidered Armor was given to the Marquis as compensation for this incident. Just when Qizhen Emperor thought that it was the end of it, he received news about Jing Rong going on a spree, removing court officials, even sticking his nose into matters of the Ministry of Personnel.

At present, in a period where the position of Crown Prince has yet to be decided, a prince had blatantly interfered in the affairs of the Six Ministries. What would the normally paranoid Emperor think of this?

Naturally, he would overthink things!

However, Zhang Quan interjected, “Your Majesty, although it was inappropriate for Prince Rong to use his position to act against officials, it is true that the officials neglected their duties. Although the Ministry of Personnel is in charge, it is not able to oversee everything. Furthermore, the nobles are situated far away from the capital where Your Majesty rules. If the local officials are causing harm and Prince Rong is removing these evils. In truth, he is actually doing good for the Imperial Court.”

“You are speaking up for Jing Rong?”

“This humble servant doesn’t dare. I beg Your Majesty’s forgiveness for speaking out of turn.”

“Then in your opinion. How should I settle this matter?”

“Your Majesty naturally has a suitable way of handling this. I am but a humble servant and dare not speak out of turn.”

At the corner of his vision, Qizhen Emperor glanced at Zhang Quan who was still respectfully standing there before thinking back to what the old eunuch said.

He thought for a moment while looking at the memorials that he had swept onto the ground. A theory slowly formed and he spoke while frowning, “There’s some logic behind your reasoning, but I recall...that the memorials were submitted to be after being screened by the Office of Transmissions. Furthermore, nearly all of the memorials submitted in the past few days were all complaints about Jing Rong. Does this mean that they just want me to pay attention to these incidents?”

He’s overthinking again.

Zhang Quan had been serving the emperor for many years and seemed to understand what he was trying to imply. Eunuch Zhang walked to the desk with his fly-whisk in hand and kneeled down to pick up the scattered memorials whilst answering with a lowered head, “Does Your Majesty mean that you’re suspecting...that the Office of Transmission is intentionally submitting every memorial that has to do with Prince Rong to you?”

He hit the nail on the head!

Qizhen Emperor’s fists tightened, muttering to himself as he pondered, “Office of Transmission, Office of Transmission...”

Suddenly, Qizhen Emperor gave an order to Zhang Quan with a serious expression, “Go and secretly investigate if there has been anyone who has been exceptionally close to the Ministry of Personnel and Office of Transmission recently. Find out if there is anything going on between these two departments in regards to the memorials about Jing Rong.”

“Yes, this servant shall do so.”

As Zhang Quan answered the emperor, he had already picked up every memorial that was swept to the ground and placed them on the desk.

At that moment, an eunuch entered and prostrated before the emperor.

“Your Majesty, the Vice Chancellor of the Supreme Court seeks an audience,” he reported.

Vice Chancellor Yu? The Supreme court must be here about the matter of Jing Rong’s assassination. Qizhen Emperor thought to himself. 

He waved his hand, “Let him enter.”

“Yes.”

The eunuch retreated from the room. A while later, Vice Chancellor Yu entered.

He kneeled down in supplication. “This subject greets Your Majesty.”

“You may rise.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty.” Vice Chancellor Yu stood up.

Qizhen Emperor spoke, “Entering the palace at this time, does Vice Chancellor Yu have anything to report?”

He’s asking the obvious!

In response, Vice Chancellor Yu calmly withdrew the document that was kept in his sleeve and passed it to Zhang Quan, who then submitted it to the emperor.

He replied, “Your Majesty, your humble servant is here to report about the assassination on Prince Rong.”

Qizhen Emperor had a long face as he read through the report that was just submitted. As he reread it once more, his brows furrowed even deeper.

Then, he finally closed that document with a snap.

“The assassin’s dead?” Qizhen Emperor questioned Vice Chancellor Yu.

Vice Chancellor Yu lowered his head, “That’s right.”

Bam! Qizhen Emperor slapped his palm onto the desk once more.

He rebuked, “Just how does the Supreme Court carry out their duties, that you couldn’t even keep an eye on one assassin?”

Vice Chancellor Yu immediately prostrated himself, “I beg Your Majesty for forgiveness. This incident was completely unexpected. I didn’t expect the assassin to be dead just one day after being sent into prison.”

Qizhen Emperor curled his fingers and rapped them on the report. 

“Then what did you mean in your report, when you said that there was not a single trace of the assassin’s corpse left?”

[1] Aru Edit: I am, after all, one HELL of a butler. (bonus points for whoever recognizes this)

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

ChouFleur's Thoughts

Hehe some satisfying politicking for a change.
Translator: The maidenly Rozie, Editor: Aru