The Inverted Dragon's Scale Chapter 199-201
Chapter 199: Driven by greed!
The carriage, constructed from fine stones of Mt. Wu, was sturdy and abnormal. Ordinary swords would not be able to penetrate it or harm it at all.
The inside was simple and unadorned, except a few soft stools and a tiger skin mat, there was no other decor. It really did not match the Master of the carriage, an important person of West Wind Kingdom.
Yan Xiangma got into the carriage, bowed respectfully to the slightly plump man sitting upright inside, smiled and said: "Uncle, you just came back from work?"
Yan Batao has the back of a tiger, waist of a bear, stern-looking eyes, and very imposing facial features. He fixed his stare at Yan Xiangma, carefully inspecting him for a while, before he said angrily: "All day long, you only know how to play and cause trouble, when will you stop?"
"Uncle, did someone upset you? If you're angry, you can yell at me. Don't be polite to me. I know I can't help my family with other things, it's my pleasure to help my elders to calm down." Yan Xiangma grinned sheepishly, as he said in a sincere tone.
"You——" Yan Batao pointed at his nephew for a long while, before he simply sighed helplessly: "Xiangma, when your father sent you to escort Xiaoxin back, that was just one of the purposes. The most important thing for you is to help get you a job in Tiandu. You're not young, you've been playing around in Jiangnan, that prosperous and leisurely land, for too long. You should come to help us do something. It's a troubled time and your family needs your help."
Yan Xiangma's face grew solemn. "Uncle, it's not that I don't want to help my family, but there's nothing for me to do. You also know my temper, I can't sit still at home, so it's better for me to walk around or I would be bored to death at home."
"Well, now there is one thing. Would you help relieve your family's worries?"
"Of course." Yan Xiangma repeatedly nodded. "I have long hoped to do something for my family, to share and lessen uncle's troubles?"
Yan Batao smiled and nodded. "About Zhoaren, how much do you know?"
"About Cousin Zhoaren, what I should know, I know everything. What I shouldn't know, I know nothing." Yan Xiangma chuckled. "
He had no idea that things were going to involve Cui Zhaoren. Cui Zhaoren's death is closely related to Li Muyang, and there are rumours across the entire Tiandu that Li Muyang killed Cui Zhaoren while he was on his way to his new school. They also said he's a monster, can display demon techniques, and a whole river of fish and shrimp and water monsters all obeyed his commands.
Because the rumors were too much, too exaggerated, and the truth mingled with the falsity, it was unclear which side of the story was true.
However, Yan Xiangma secretly got in touch with scholars who came to the capital to study and contacted some businessmen. They unanimously confirmed it to be true, causing Yan Xiangma to be completely puzzled.
The monster that they described, was it really Li Muyang?
He can soar to the sky, escape underground, call water soldiers, summon storm and thunder, and command fish and shrimps to collide into the boat——If Li Muyang had such abilities, just what was there for him to learn at Starry Sky Academy? If he had these abilities, why was he and his family almost killed by Assassin Crow?
Although Yan Xiangma and Li Muyang have not known each other for too long, but deep down, he did like this dark-skinned, pure and also very ambitious boy. Yan Xiangma felt that, underneath his worry-free appearance, he was hiding a lot of secrets that others can't see. But these things are not hateful; instead it made others feel sympathy for him.
The most important thing is that he has a beautiful and cute sister.
Yan Xiangma did not wish to be pulled into this pool of muddy water, which would destroy his friendship with Li Muyang, and as for Li Shinian——even if they run into each other in the future they would only see each other as passer-bys.
Of course, this was the best ending he could imagine. Family conflicts, can it really be settled peacefully?
Without killing a few people, without a few splashes of blood, things can't be settled so easily.
"Slippery fellow." Yan baitao pointed at Yan Xiangma's head with his finger. "Xiangma, I know you and that Li Muyang are friends, and you have a crush on his little sister——"
"Uncle, I have a little insignificant personal friendship with Li Muyang, but about I having a crush on his sister——who did you listen to?"
"Do I need to listen to others? Since you came back, you waited at that girl's school gate everyday, and then shamelessly followed her home. This matter has spread throughout Tiandu, our Yan family's faces have been lost——What is there to say? The Yan family's young master Yan Xiangma likes a daughter of a servant of the Lu family. Yan Xiangma, would you say that is shameful? Are you not embarrassed?"
Yan Xiangma's face reddened slightly, seeming somewhat embarrassed, as he replied: "Uncle, don't listen to nonsense, there's no such thing. The reason I waited at the school gate was because I'm afraid someone would hurt Shinian——You also know that, because of the rumours, the entire Tiandu is watching her and her family. That Muyang boy is smart; he knows to hide in a place where no one can find him. There is nothing others could do. Li Yan and Luo Qi do not come out of the house if there isn't anything important, and if they hide in the Lu family's mansion, no one dares to find trouble. But think about it, what about Li Shinian? She's just a girl, she needs to go to school every day, if those greedy little people wanted to please the Cui family and did something to her——I would feel apologetic."
"Nonsense." Yan Batao yelled angrily. "Yan Xiangma, listen to what you just said. Those who want to please the Cui family are greedy little people? What is your stance? What is your relationship with the Cui family?"
"Xiangma, you're not young anymore, you should be sensible. As you just said, why do people please the Cui family? Is it not for benefit. Don't you have to impress Cui family? That Li Muyang killed a descendant of the Cui family, yet you go find that murderer's sister all day long and even went to the trouble of walking her home. How do you think the Cui family will look at you? How do you think the entire Tiandu will look at you?"
"Uncle, I know what you mean. I just think that for every debt there is a debtor and third parties should not be involved. If Li Muyang really killed someone, then they should find Li Muyang, why bully a woman? Such a big family, such a powerful group of great masters, why plot against a girl?"
Yan Baitao slapped Yan Xiangma loudly across the face.
Chapter 200: Senior investigating censorate official!
Fresh red blood spattered.
Yan Botao already possessed unfathomable strength, and this time he was really angered, so he mercilessly slapped across without holding back.
With one slap, there was immediately a purple red handprint that emerged on Yan Xiangma's face and the skin at the corner of his mouth split and blood spattered.
"Darn thing." Yan Botao lashed out. "What nonsense are you talking about? Those who protect the Cui family are people driven by greed? What about our Yan family? Do you know what is a clique? Do you know what is alliance? Do you know what is to join forces to defend one another? All these years, did you know that if it wasn't for the Cui family, our Yan family would have long been swallowed by others that not even our bones remain? If there wasn't so many family forces behind the Cui family, the Cui family would have long been overthrow by their political opponents, the Lu and Song family—— Can the eggs remain unbroken when the nest is overturned?"
Yan Xiangma rummaged in his sleeve for his spotlessly white silk handkerchief and carefully dabbed at the blood around his mouth, as he said with a smiling face: "Uncle, you wanted to slap me before, right? I know it, and you also can't deny it. You wanted to slap me the second day I came to Tiandu."
"You're my uncle, my elder. If you want to scold or hit me, I won't say anything——but after that, it's time to make sense. You have to be reasonable now. See if you can convince me. Otherwise, I still want to protect the girl; those who want to hurt her, I have to stop them." Yan Xiangma grinned foolishly. "A person must have integrity, once one starts something, they have to carry things through, right?"
"If the Cui family was not here, neither would the Yan family. Would you, Yan Xiangma live the happy days where you just eat and play around? With what you've done, your everyday conduct, your head would have been taken away a long time ago——You want to protect her? What are you going to protect her with? Yan Xiangma, the reason why you're still alive and no one gives you a hard time is because they know you're from the Yan family, a part of the Cui family. It's because the two big families, the Yan and Cui family, are protecting you. Otherwise, you think that with your unmastered martial skills, you can protect that Li Shinian? You would have been chopped into bits and thrown into the river."
"Uncle, I admit it, you are right." Yan Xiangma repeatedly nodded: "If the Yan family isn't protecting me and without the Cui family's support, I, Yan Xiangma, would not live to the present and sit here to listen to you, an important person of the kingdom, and your reasoning——However, it's my life. Who made me the son of Yan Bolai? Who let me be the nephew of Yan Botao? If I'm not a little bit shameful, rude and unreasonable, and did not do a few wicked and outrageous things, how can I be worthy of this identity the heavens have given me? So, this time I'm going to be outrageous, rude and unreasonable, and protect that girl with this tiger skin you guys have given me. I also have one request. If you want to deal with Li Muyang, kill him or cut off his flesh, I will pretend I didn't see. And if there's the need, I can also help hand you the knife or something——"
Yan Xiangma stared Yan Botao in the eyes, his smile faded, as he stated in very serious tone: "But this girl, no one can hurt her."
Yan Botao surveyed his nephew, asking: "You care about her that much?"
"Yes." Yan Xiangma nodded.
"Do you know that it's impossible for you two. Besides the difference between status, there is also the hatred between the two family, which won't be resolved so easily——"
"Uncle, you don't need to persuade me. I know all this. I know more than anyone."
"If you know it, then why protect her?"
"Uncle, have you ever loved anyone?"
"What?" Yan Botao's brow scrunched up further. A junior suddenly asked him a question like that, made him surprised and confused.
"I asked, have you loved anyone? Have you ever been moved by a woman?"
"——" Veins bulged on Yan Botao's massive arms, suppressing his urge to hit Yan Xiangma again.
"If you have felt that way before, you will understand. You don't want to receive anything from her——Of course, you want to marry her and have kids with her, live harmoniously with her till old age and death. See the world's scenery and eat the world's culinary delicacy with her. But if you really love her, you don't need all these. You just want to see that she's happy, and live without worries, hapily and healthily."
"Uncle, are you persuaded by me?"
"This, you're like your mother." Yan Botao said with a deep sigh. "Your mother——"
"The story of the silver spear boy? Hey, you guys never told me about him, just kept it a secret from me. One day I will find him, see what the silver spear boy looks like and why someone like my mother would do something so earth-shaking for him——"
"Fine, fine." Yan Botao very impatiently interrupted his nephew nonsense, spoke with sternly: "Yan Xiangma, what you just said, you can only say it in front of me. You must not say it again. Cui Zhaoren was not only the object the Cui family has focused on cultivating, but was the important bridge the Cui family used to maintain relationship with the royal family to express their loyalty. Cui Zhaoren was killed by Li Muyang. The entire Cui family must be extremely furious and indignant. Moreover, he was killed by a nobody, the Cui family has lost its face and prestige——"
"That Li Muyang has no regard for the law. Not only did he hit the Cui family's face, but the royal family's. He didn't even think about it. Who is Cui Zhaoren. He is the youngest head of the Monitoring Division, the most trusted confidant of the emperor. He dealt with many confidential affairs. Li Muyang killed him, how would the Cui family not be angry? How would not emperor not be enraged?"
"The reason that Li Muyang is still alive now, is because he went to Starry Sky Academy. Even with the power of the royal family, they also can't do anything to him in Starry Sky Academy. However, the royal family will always do something; otherwise, where is the prestige of the royal family? And there is yet another reason. Cui Zhaoren did not clean up properly, so the Lu family held information that can be used against him. That old man, Lu Xingkong, is as cunning as a fox, as cruel as a tiger. With this opportunity, he immediately bit back, saying that the Cui family used unscrupulous methods to combat political opponents, framed and arrested a General of the frontier. This caused disorder in the military, caused the border to be unstable and highlighted the threat the surrounding army may invade at any time——Then, he did some dirty little tricks in the three areas Broken Dragon Pool, Sunset Dunes and Hate Mountain, and sent an urgent military letter to the emperor. Our King can only swallow his smashed teeth and not complain——"
"But, think about it, in all the history books, those courtiers who made the emperor suffer, who ever had a good ending?"
"What does uncle mean?"
"Sooner of later, the Lu family will die." Yan Botao said firmly. "If the Lu family is dead, without the Lu family in front, do you think you can protect the little girl? Protect her family?"
"If the Lu family is dead, given the relationship between the Cui family and the royal family, they will naturally rise again. At that time, we will also benefit——people would be awarded according to their contribution. Those who worked hard for the Cui family or did something to help vent their anger, obviously takes a bigger portion. What about you? Not only did you not stand with the Cui family at this sensitive time, instead used you used the status of the Cui family and the Yan family to protect the murderer's sister. What do you think the Cui family will think of you?"
"I was told that the lady with the title the three bright moon of the kingdom, Miss Xiaoxin, were close sisters with the girl you like when they were in Jiangnan. Their relationship is not shallow. However, look how she quickly understands the situation. Old friend came from afar but she hasn't paid her a visit once——Look at yourself, how stupid do you look?"
"Uncle, Xiaoxin is not the kind of person you think she is.""
"I think Xiaoxin is a smart person." Yan Botao grinned coldly. "I have seen more people than you, so don't tell me how other people are. Now, there is a chance for you, let's see if you can catch it."
"What?" Yan Xiangma asked aloud.
"Monitoring Division." Yan Botao said.
"Who wants to re-establish the Monitoring Division?" Yan Xiangma's eyes flashed, as he asked in a low voice.
"Good. The Monitoring division is the West Wind Kingdom's Monitoring Division and the Monitoring Division is directly responsible to the Emperor. Cui Zhaoren and the backbone of the Monitoring Division were all buried, so the emperor is very angry with this. Recently, that old man Lu have not complained tearfully to the Emperor or pestered the Emperor to make sure justice is served for the Lu family as often. Therefore, he now has the mood to look after this matter.
"What does uncle mean?"
"The Monitoring Division was personally established by the emperor and is directly responsible only to the emperor. Cui Zhaoren was in charge of the Monitoring Division; although his rank was not high, but he possessed heavy responsibility and power. He can be said to be below one but above tens of thousands of people. Since Cui Zhaoren is gone, the Cui family will definitely recommend a new Chief in charge of the Monitoring Division. Of course, other families are likely to compete, so we will have to wait to see how the emperor will decide——"
Yan Botao surveyed Yan Xiangma's face when he said: "However, I have the intention to put you into the Monitoring Division to learn, become a senior investigating censorate official of the Monitoring Division——What do you say?” "
"Senior investigating censorate official?" Yan Xiangma chewed on the words in deep thought. "I know that the Monitoring Division has three senior investigating officials and each are designated the heavy responsibility of supervising one region. There are also twelve major junior investigating censorate officials, usually distributed throughout the country——How confident are you in obtaining that position?"
"If the Yan family works hard and with the Cui family's support, I have 90% certainty." Yan Botao said confidently. "Look at your attitude now."
"I would like to join the Monitoring Division." Yan Xiangma remained silent for a long while, before replied in a serious tone.
He wants to become stronger. Only then he would have the power to do what he wants.
Chapter 201: Advance gradually and consolidate at every step!
Yangxin Palace Hall.
Chu Xianda, the Emperor of West Wind Kingdom, was meeting with his courtiers. The head of Cui family, Cui Xichen, respectfully stood in front of Chu Xianda. The minister that had been three era of rulers gave the young emperor the highest respect.
"Duke, sit down and speak. We are known as the emperor and minister but we're more like father and son. On my father's deathbed, he took my hand and said to see you as a father, take advice from and not disobey you. Over the years, Xianda has achieved great success, thanks to the support of Duke. Otherwise, power would have fallen into the hands of treacherous court officials and the nation will be in peril. I, the emperor, will also be unhappy." Chu Xianda pointed to the stool in front, motioned Chu Xianda to sit down and talk.
"Emperor and minister, father and son. Propriety must not be abolished." Cui Xichen, with his back bend, said stubbornly. "Because I received the late emperor's generosity, I have the high position and great wealth I have today. Xichen always gratefully remembered the kindness I received. To be able to serve the royal family is the honour of our Cui family. As for the name 'father', your Majesty must not mention again——Xichen don't deserve it, I fear I won't live long."
"Hahaha, you old chap, still worried your life isn't long enough." Chu Xianda laughed heartily, even more satisfied with Cui Xichen this old minister. "I shouldn't disturb Duke at this time, but I asked Duke to come see me to reassure you. I remember Zhaoren's matter perfectly. I can guarantee that, I will definitely redress Zhaoren's injustice. Let the lawless men pay a disastrous price."
When Chu Xianda said this, he could not restrain his indignation. No matter how the Cui family feel about it, he could never accept his face reaching rock bottom.
"Thank you, your Majesty." Cui Xichen shed tears of gratitude, and was about to kneel down and kowtow.
But Chu Xiandu was quicker, clutched Cui Xichen's arm, preventing him from kneeling, and said: "Duke, no need to be so polite. I am deeply grieved that Zhaoren was killed when he was handling affairs for me. That Li Muyang not only killed Cui Zhaoren, but my good courtier. No matter what, must make him pay with his blood."
"With your Majesty's words, Zhaoren won't die with any remaining grievances." Tears once again sprang to Cui Xichen's eyes.
"Just that, because that old man of the Lu family has been endlessly weeping and sobbing in front of me, Xhaoren's matter could not be handle neatly, and also evidence that can be used against him has fallen into the hands of the opponent——Duke please endure a little longer."
"Old Minister understands. The country is the most important, your Majesty must not, in order to take revenge for Zhaoren, tarnish the honour of the country." Cui Xichen consoled him in a low voice.
"Duke understands me the most." Chu Xianda sighed. "I have one more thing that needs to be discussed with Duke. After Zhaoren left, I feel deaf and blind, a deep sense of powerlessness. Therefore, I think it's time to re-establish the Monitoring Division. Zhaoren was in charge of the former Monitoring Division, who I trusted the most. Therefore, I wanted to see if Duke could recommend me a good candidate, a courtier that would be loyal to me."
"The compensation is here." Cui Xichen thought to himself.
Appearing calm and collected, as though he seriously thought about it, he replied: "Cui Jian can take this important responsibility."
"Cui Jian?" Chu Xianda thought for a moment and said: "The one known as the head of the Cui family's seven sons?"
"Your Majesty, he is not the first of the seven sons of the Cui family, but the first of the seven sons of the West Wind Kingdom. He is the son of my Cui family, but also the son of the kingdom; he is your Majesty's people. When the Kingdom needs him, he would not hesitate to stand up, shed his blood and lay down his life, defend the territory of the country, and share your Majesty's burden and worries."
"Good." A smile of delight lit Chu Xianda's face. "Defend the territory of the country, share my burden and worries. If everyone had such thought, wouldn't that be great for our West Wind Kingdom? I am familiar with the name Cui Jian; he achieved the Kingdom martial arts champion for three consecutive years, and is a talented youngster of Tiandu. I heard he went travelling and had not received news of him for years. He should have made great progress, right?"
"Whether or not there any progress, will need your Majesty's personal assessment. Old minister dared not to praise him rashly, I'm afraid that he's not pleasing to your majesty." Cui Xichen said with a serious face.
"Hahaha, you're too cautious." Chu Xianda laughed heartily. "Bring Cui Jiang to see me. If he's suitable, I will put him in charge of the Monitoring Division, and trust him like Zhaoren——"
"Thank you, your majesty." Cui Xichen bowed to express his gratitude.
The emperor and his minister were in deep conversation, when Chamberlain Li Fu came to report to him. "Your Majesty, the Defence Minister is here. He said he has something urgent to discuss with your Majesty."
"Lu Xingkong that old——" The instant Chu Xianda heard this name, he boiled with anger. His men were killed but that old man still come to him every day crying and asking for justice. If the emperor gives him justice, who would give the emperor justice? "What's he doing here?"
"He didn't say."
"I won't see him."
"Yes. Your Majesty." Li Fu turned to leave.
"Wait." Chu Xianda said after some thought. "Forget it, let him in."
"Yes. Your Majesty." Li Fu said respectfully.
Chu Xianda first turned to Cui Xichen, saying: "Duke, you go rest in the palace hall first, have some tea. Let me see what the old man wants to see me about."
"Yes, your majesty." Cui Xichen took a quick glimpse at the emperor, before headed to the inside of the palace under the guidance of the Chamberlains.
Lu Xingkong followed Li Fu into the palace hall and after he knelt down and bowed, Chu Xianda, sitting on the high chair, asked: "Defence minister, what is the reason for you to come see me today?"
With Lu Xingkong's age and status, he did not have to kneel and bow. Moreover, after he bowed, he should be granted a seat.
But because Chu Xianda was angry with Lu Xingkong, he deliberately forgot and let him knelt before himself.
"Minister has a suggestion, that I want to ask your Majesty to accept."
"Well? What suggestion?"
"I would like to ask your Majesty to rebuild the Monitoring Division." Lu Xingkong said in a solemn tone.
Chu Xianda's first reaction was that there must be spies around him; what he just planned to do was already sold to this old man.
But wasn't it too fast?
Moreover, after finding out that he wants to re-establish the Monitoring Division, shouldn't the old man Lu Xingkong oppose it? The last time he also tried to stop him in every ways possible, but he still handed the Monitoring Division into the hands of Cui Zhaoren. This time, why did Lu Xingkong do the very opposite?
Is it because he sensed his crisis and wanted to use this matter to ease his relationship with the emperor?
Or were there other motives that the emperor couldn't understand?
"The Monitoring Division is the emperor's eyes and ears, and has the duty of supervising the hundreds of officials and protect the country. In the face of a disaster, the dozens of strong army were killed in the river. I am also saddened by this fact. However, a country cannot live a day without an emperor, the emperor cannot live without the Monitoring Department. I ask your Majesty to overcome your sadness, make a decision soon, re-establish a stronger and more efficient Monitoring Division, that can solve problems for your majesty and discriminate between the faithful and the evil." Lu Xingkong did not mind Chu Xianda's attitude, continued to kneel before him as he stated the pros and cons.
"Defence minister's suggestion is very good, it's just that——I need to think about it a little more first." Chu Xianda found himself having to speak cautiously to this old guy, or he would accidentally step into his trap. He had no idea that, as the emperor, he would be so pitiful like this, which made him detest this old man even more. The reconstruction of the Monitoring Division was originally his idea and was something hat must be done. But now that this old man has suggested it, he was a little unsure——Is there a loophole or crisis that he hasn't considered yet? "
Chu Xianda's mind was filled with complex thoughts, but he still tried to brush off the old man: "The reconstruction of the Monitoring Division is a major task, I need to discuss with other important ministers first before making a decision."
"For your Majesty to be willing to listens to others' view, is a blessing of our country." Lu Xingkong smiled and said. "If your Majesty was to rebuild the Monitoring Division, old minister has a powerful candidate that I want to recommend. Iron Wall General Xu Da started of as a soldier and had fought hundreds of battles for the country. He was almost victorious every time and had few defeats. He defended Broken Dragon Pool for tens of years, which resulted in the stability of the border, and the soldiers respect him greatly and named him as the 'iron-walled general'."
"Last time because he was framed by Cui Zhaoren, General Xu Da was arrested to Tiandu, that even till now he is still without a job and can't return to Broken Dragon Pool——So old minister suggests your Majesty to assign him in charge of the Monitoring Division in order to make up for General Xu Da's humiliation. Additionally your Majesty can prove to the soldiers at the border region that you trust the soldiers at the borders and believe that General Xu Da is innocent by leaving General Xu Da at your side and placing him in an important position. I think, if General Xu Da receives such heavy responsibility, he will certainly be grateful and dedicated to your Majesty."
Chu Xianda wanted to curse.
He just chose the candidate to be in charge of the Monitoring Division, but this old dog wants to assign his own trusted aide to this role.
If he really let Xu Da in charge of the Monitoring Division, he will be really grateful, dedicated, but the person of gratitude and dedication to is Lu Xingkong instead of Chu Xianda.
You think I'm an idiot?
"Defence Minister——" Chu Xianda forcibly suppressed the hostility in his heart and laughed heartily, "You always think for my sake and is more concerned than me, I'm really gratified. It's just that this is an important matter of the country, and I need to discuss it with the other ministers first, and then think carefully about it——Can you give me some time?"
"Old minister awaits your Majesty's sacred decision." Lu Xingkong said respectfully.
Once Lu Xingkong left, Chu Xianda commanded his people to invite Chu Xichen to come out.
Having heard Lu Xingkong's purpose of coming here, Cui Xichen said with a sigh: "Defence Minister played a good move. He advanced gradually and consolidated at every step, that neither spirit nor devil will know anything about it. I'm afraid Cui Jian can't share your Majesty's burden by being in charge of the Monitoring Division."