Above the court, Su Mu sat in his position of power. No one dared to meet his gaze as it passed over them. Seeing the meek and sheep-like officials below, Su Mu felt a little annoyed. Obedience was a good thing, but too much obedience was not a good thing. And besides, these people were just “obedient” on the surface. They were not so well-behaved in their actions.
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Su Mu rested his hands on the armrests of the gilded dragon chair, tapping the armrest with his fingers, and said, “Is there nothing you want to say to Ben Gong?”
Every one of the officials looked at each other, turning heads and exchanging looks, but not one of them dared to be the early bird. Su Mu waited for a while and seeing that no one answered, he directly picked on someone and asked: “Wang Zhichen, how about you? You don’t have anything you want to say to Ben Gong?”
Wang Zhichen, Shangshu of the Ministry of Justice, walked to the center of the hall with cold sweat beading on his back and stammered: “Your Highness, this official…..this official…..”
“Since there is something then just speak.” Su Mu’s tone was calm, but the slightly drawled voice let Wang Zhichen know that the Crown Prince was not in a good mood.
He cautiously said: “Your Highness, a few days ago…..the New Laws have been delegated to the counties, but…..some people have not implemented the will of Your Highness, but instead…..”
“Instead, what?” Su Mu asked indifferently.
“Instead, they spoke rudely of Your Highness.” After saying this, Wang Zhichen felt as if his under clothes were soaked through. Fortunately, he had on a lot of layers, Wang Zhichen thought with some gladness.
It didn’t matter if they cursed a few words, so long as they didn’t cause a large-scale bad influence.
After Wang Zhichen stepped back, Yun Jing, who had been hesitating, finally summoned the courage to walk to the center of the hall and said to Su Mu: “Your Highness, is it not somewhat improper to abolish all the slave contracts?”
Su Mu said: “It is not abolished but changed into an employment contract. Is it not stated that work must be done in exchange for monetary compensation? What is improper about this?”
Yun Jing hesitated and said, “But many gentry disagree.”
Su Mu said: “So what if they don’t agree? In any case, the government does not recognize the validity of the slave contracts and only recognizes the employment contract. If someone violates the law then just arrest and punish them. Those who fail to correct their ways will be severely punished.”
It was still early in the morning, but Su Mu was already out of enthusiasm. These people only saw the problems brought about by the New Laws, but could not see the power it could exert in the future. It made Su Mu suddenly feel as if he was talking to the wall.
When he was about to enter the gate of the Crown Prince’s Palace, Su Mu paused in his steps and said: “Prepare some food and drink for a visit to the imperial prison.”
Among the people Su Mu knew, only Yun Feiyu could guess some of his thoughts. Su Mu decided to pay a visit to the imperial prison.
In the prison, Yun Feiyu sat in a daze with a newly compiled and implemented New Laws in his hand.
It would be great if you and the former Crown Prince were not the same person.
He sighed slightly, his feelings for the Crown Prince had become more complicated. Just as he was feeling conflicted, the eunuch’s shrill voice sounded in the aisle.
“His Royal Highness is here!”
Yun Feiyu’s heart jumped and felt very surprised. He wondered why the Crown Prince would come to see a man who had tried to murder him?
However, it was undeniable that there was a glimmer of joy in his heart. But, in his heart he still blamed the Crown Prince for harming his mother and sister.
Yun Feiyu looked at the Crown Prince in gorgeous court clothes, appearing indescribably noble and magnificent, and couldn’t help sighing, “He has become more and more like a true emperor.”
“This sinful official, Yun Feiyu, greets His Royal Highness the Crown Prince.”
Su Mu motioned for people to open the door while saying: “Rise. There are not many people who can see through my mind, and so I just want to have a talk with you.”
Yun Feiyu replied in a tone that was neither humble nor overbearing: “This sinful official dares not.”
The eunuch quickly spread a brocade cloth on the table in the prison, and then placed all kinds dishes and a jug of wine on the table.
Su Mu picked up the wine jug and said, “Go guard outside.”
As soon as Su Mu spoke, the entourage who had been following him the whole time immediately disappeared.
Su Mu filled the cups for the two of them, and said to Yun Feiyu: “Sit down.”
Yun Feiyu sat quietly across from Su Mu. From this position, he could clearly see the faint dark circles under Su Mu’s eyes. The New Laws would inevitably encounter great resistance. Yun Feiyu had never thought that the Crown Prince would really change his evil ways, and never thought that these unbelievable policies would come from someone like the Crown Prince who could not even write a word.
He tried his best to murder the Crown Prince. In addition to avenging his mother, he also had the intention of eliminating harm for the people of the world. But that thick book containing the New Laws made it difficult for him to face reality. The reality that the Crown Prince was now the hope of the Qing kingdom.
Was he wrong? He couldn’t help asking himself.
In theory, the Crown Prince could not die because if the Crown Prince should die then what they were working for would go up in smoke. But according to law, the Crown Prince deserved to die and yet emotionally, he did not know how to choose.
Su Mu didn’t know the other’s inner entanglement. He took a sip of wine and ate a few bites with his chopsticks before asking: “After prohibiting the private sale of land, how can I get those big landlords to hand over their lands? Do not say kill, as there would be no people left if I killed them all.”
“Allocate the same inheritable property to the legitimate and illegitimate children.” Yun Feiyu answered, looking as if he had forgotten that he had even tried to murder the other.
Su Mu, who had just picked up his chopsticks, paused and then said with some surprise: “A writ to extend kindness, this is a good idea.”
It coincided with his own thinking.
“Extending kindness order?” Yun Feiyu raised his eyebrows and then fell into thinking before saying: “This name is really ingenious.”
Su Mu raised an eyebrow somewhat proudly, and said, “I’m overwhelmed.” Then he frowned and said, “But isn’t it too slow to wait for that group of people to die?”
Yun Feiyu looked at the increasingly mature Crown Prince and saw that he was about to transform from a handsome young man into a wise king. He felt a little sad. As Feiyan and Lin Siyuan said, there was no hope for him to enact revenge on the Crown Prince. With his crimes, even if he didn’t die, he could expect to spend the rest of his life in prison.
He took a sip of the slightly bitter wine, and said: “Men are considered to have come of age at twenty, so it can be allocated at this time.”
Su Mu put down the wine cup. Thinking of the embarrassing drunken behavior from last time, he couldn’t help but blush and cough covertly, “Excellent idea, it will immediately disperse the unity of those clans.”
Then Su Mu asked him a few more questions and found that he was truly a talent, his offered solutions were very similar to his own thoughts. But because of the limitations of being an ancient of this era, his vision was not as good as Su Mu’s, but on how to deal with the people of this era he was definitely much better than Su Mu. Su Mu believed that so long as the other was given proper training and experience, he would definitely be able to play a hugely useful role.
So Su Mu put down his chopsticks and looked at Yun Feiyu’s eyes seriously, saying in a sincere tone: “The Qing kingdom needs you, the people need you. Yun Feiyu, leave here with me!”
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Seeing that Yun Feiyu was affected by his words, Su Mu hurriedly pursued the victory and said: “From the beautiful mountains and rivers, to bringing peace and prosperity’, have you forgotten your aspirations from when you were a boy? Have you also forgotten your ambition to ‘Punish the thieves and lawbreakers everywhere, and level the waves of the Xijiang River’?”
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