After becoming the Commissioner of the Court of Censors, Hong Xiu was given her own manor. It was originally a small official’s mansion. Although it was not big, it had a small courtyard inside. The former small official liked this kind of thing, but now it benefited her.
But after she moved here, she had handed out a lot of invitations, but only Zhou Qiuniang and her subordinates were willing to come.
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None of the male officials were willing to come.
“Because they think I’m a lowly servant, and I’m in charge of the lowliest commoners.” Zhou Qiuniang sat opposite Hong Xiu and said with a smile, “You are different, you can attend morning assembly with the emperor and speak in front of a hundred officials.”
Hong Xiu looked at Zhou Qiuniang. She almost didn’t know this woman anymore, she remembered that Zhou Qiuniang was a weak woman in the past, and this weakness referred not only to her appearance, but also her heart. She was born to be someone who needed to be protected, but now looking at her again, she could no longer see the shadow of that person.
Zhou Qiuniang had undergone a transformation and had become a different person.
A better person.
Hong Xiu’s expressionless face made her look a little stern and serious: “I know.”
His Majesty told her that it was precisely because she could attend morning assembly that she was ignored by the officials.
She could only rely on herself, and even His Majesty could not provide her with more help.
Hong Xiu raised her chin: “I’m not afraid.”
From the moment she chose to leave Taizhou for Anfeng, she didn’t know what fear was.
Zhou Qiuniang smiled and said, “Tell them to serve wine and some side dishes.”
The servants quickly brought warm wine and side dishes. These servants were hired by Hong Xiu, and most of the servants hired by Hong Xiu were women.
Zhou Qiuniang asked her, “What exactly does the Court of Censors do?”
Everyone was investigating now, after all, no news had come out before.
The functions and powers of this new agency remain a mystery.
The officials felt that only Lin Yuan and Hong Xiu knew.
Hong Xiu shook her head: “I don’t know, I’m afraid we will only know when the Court of Censors is really established.”
Zhou Qiuniang looked at her with a smile: “As women, we must be each other’s support. Why must Sister Wu hide and keep it a secret? Do you look down on me as a lowly servant?”
Hong Xiu had no surname, so she found a surname for herself. She remembered the surname of a kind-hearted person she met when she was young, so she also took the surname Wu.
Hong Xiu smiled and said, “Lord Zhou is no longer a Manager. I believe you should know what to ask and what not to ask.”
The corner of Zhou Qiuniang’s mouth slightly hooked upwards: “This official was thinking…..Commissioner Wu has just become part of the imperial court and might need some help during this time, right?”
Hong Xiu kept a cold face: “What help do you mean?”
Zhou Qiuniang: “Although this lower official only deals with the trivial matters of the common people, there are many things…..”
Hongxiu: “Lord Zhou, be careful!”
Zhou Qiuniang paused.
Hong Xiu sneered: “Lord Zhou has been following His Majesty for a long time, and you should know what His Majesty’s greatest taboo is.”
The most taboo was to form parties and cliques for personal gain.
Zhou Qiuniang also became expressionless, the two sat opposite each other, Zhou Qiuniang looked at Hong Xiu: “Lord Wu, consider this lower official to have not been here today.”
After that, Zhou Qiuniang stood up.
Hong Xiu remained sitting: “Take care on your way out.”
When Zhou Qiuniang was leaving, she turned her head to look at Hong Xiu.
After staying in Anfeng for so long, why didn’t Hong Xiu take the hand she stretched out?
Zhou Qiuniang strode away, she could no longer see through Hong Xiu.
Or in other words, even before Hong Xiu went to Anfeng, she couldn’t see through this person.
Did Hong Xiu have a desire for power?
Zhou Qiuniang laughed at herself.
There was no doubt about the answer. If she had no desire for power, why should she risk the world’s condemnation to accept the official appointment of His Majesty?
Just how difficult it was to get a foothold in the imperial court as a woman!
Since she was unwilling to accept her help, she would just wait and see how the other planned to gain a foothold.
Hong Xiu finished the last cup of warm wine.
She leaned back in the chair and looked up.
“It’s been good weather recently…..”
Soon, Lin Yuan appointed Zheng Qingfeng as the Court of Censors’ Secretary to the Imperial Counsellor of the Left, second rank.
That was when an uproar exploded in the court, even more than when Lin Yuan appointed Hong Xiu.
Zheng Qingfeng accepted it without hesitation.
But he himself never thought it would be the second rank.
This had him forcibly suppressing his excitement.
Lin Yuan sat on the dragon throne and said with a smile, “You all have been inquiring for a long time in private, but have you found out what the Court of Censors do?”
The hundred officials hurriedly knelt down: “This official dare not!”
Lin Yuan smiled a half-smile: “Is it that you dare not inquire in private, or is it that you dare not admit that you have inquired in private?”
The officials did not dare to speak.
They all know that His Majesty, who sat on the dragon throne, was not a kind and benevolent monarch.
Perhaps His Majesty had a benevolent side, but this side was only for the common people and officials who have done nothing wrong.
He had never been soft-hearted when it came to killing officials.
Lin Yuan asked again: “What? Is there no one who can answer this question?”
It was Song Shizhao who knelt on the ground and said, “Your Majesty, please do not be angry!”
The hundred officials followed up: “Your Majesty please do not be angry!”
Lin Yuan: “You may all rise. After all, you are so many and powerful, Zhen doesn’t dare to be the enemy of this entire room of officials.”
The hundred officials did not dare to move.
They just made their objections together, and they might not admit it but there was the idea of using their large number to put pressure on the emperor.
With so many officials opposing it, His Majesty should reconsider his decision.
This way they could find out more information.
In the imperial court, the officials and the emperor are themselves checks and balances against each other.
Between rulers and ministers, just like between husband and wife, even if they share common interests, they must distinguish who was stronger and who was weaker in the relationship.
Officials were wives, the emperor was the husband, and the husband was more powerful, but in this world, there were examples where wives had more power than husbands.
In the same way, officials might also overpower the emperor.
Wasn’t that the case in every dynasty before them?
The closest was Liu Futong from Anfeng, or Toqto’a of the Yuan Dynasty.
Officials couldn’t be the emperor, so they could only control the emperor.
In order to gain greater power and benefit.
Lin Yuan understood this truth.
Even if he killed all these officials, he still had to promote new officials, which was still an endless cycle.
The officials were not to blame, only the emperor who was weak.
The expression on Lin Yuan’s face did not change: “The Court of Censors can supervise the Six Ministries, presenting memorials on small matters and making decisive decisions on major matters.”
All officials were dumbfounded.
Although this Court of Censors didn’t deal with the people’s livelihood, it had the power to supervise the Six Ministries…..no, not only the Six Ministries…..
Such a new institution…..
This was a hand of His Majesty, all for carrying out His Majesty’s bidding.
Lin Yuan said again, “Are you dissatisfied?”
The hundred officials dared not.
Lin Yuan: “If that’s the case, then there’s no objection, Zheng qing, Zhen will entrust it to you, but if you make a mistake, you can’t escape the responsibility. Are you willing?”
Zheng Qingfeng knelt down: “This official, thanks Your Majesty for the favor, this official shall not disappoint!”
Zheng Qingfeng took office just like that. Although the subordinate in his hand was only Hong Xiu, the two of them moved quickly.
Hong Xiu was the Yuanshi, and she also knew the powers of this official position.
She was in charge of communication. If an official was found to have violated the law, then she was the one who would contact the Ministry this official belonged to.
Hong Xiu was here to offend people, but she was also equivalent to the image of the Court of Censors. The power in her hands was neither too big nor too small.
The imperial court’s attention, which had been on her, now shifted to Zheng Qingfeng.
Zheng Qingfeng had always acted like a pure official before, not being close with any officials, and staying at home every day except for when he had to take care of governmental affairs.
The officials felt that he was either pretending, or that he was a true loyal official, loyal to the extent of being stupid.
But now they have to keep flattering him.
Even Hong Xiu, who had sent out a lot of invitations before and no one came to her house to celebrate her promotion, but now even if the invitations were no longer sent, the congratulations kept coming.
The servants all complained to Hong Xiu: “There are not enough people to handle this.”
Hong Xiu smiled and said, “Then I can only ask you all to work harder.”
The servant sighed: “You don’t want to hire more servants?”
Hong Xiu shook her head: “If I hired before then that’s fine, but now if I hire again, I don’t know whose spies will manage to infiltrate, not to mention that money can open up all kinds of paths, I am afraid that some people will be bribing the servants in my house in the next few days. I must ask Sister to pay more attention from now on.”
The servant sighed and said, “I did not expect that I would have to weigh the words and watch the expressions of others once again.”
Hong Xiu chuckled and said, “Sister, don’t be angry, in those gifts sent over, you can take whatever you like.”
The servant glared at her: “Only using those things to coax me.”
Hong Xiu sighed: “My former sisters…..”
Servant: “Alright! I get it! Stop nagging!”
The servant originally lived in the same brothel as Hong Xiu. She was ten years older than Hong Xiu. When Hong Xiu was bought into the brothel, she was the most popular courtesan with countless people vying for her affections, not caring if they had to spend fortunes just for one night with her.
Then Hong Xiu grew older every year, and she also became older every year as well.
When Hong Xiu was ten years old, the servant was bought from the brothel by a wealthy merchant.
Within two years, the wealthy merchant died, and she was driven out by the wealthy merchant’s wife.
At that time, the servant had suffered much hardship and had lost her beauty.
She returned to the brothel, but she couldn’t pick up any guests, and became an ordinary servant instead. She no longer had a courtesan name, everyone just called her Hui Gu. She would wipe down every floor of the building, and she would be sent to spill out spittoons.
The glamorous days of the past were getting farther and farther away from her, but she had never complained. She was different from the abducted girls like Hong Xiu. Her parents had died, leaving her with an abusive aunt, whom she eventually ran away from. She had voluntarily sold herself into a brothel.
So she couldn’t regret it.
If she regretted it, her whole life would be a joke.
By then…..she wouldn’t know how to even live.
But she had also developed a pair of sharp eyes, and she had seen all kinds of people.
She also knew how to tell if people were feeling guilty, sad, angry, disgusted, or nervous.
So Hong Xiu invited her over. Although she was a servant, she was more like a housekeeper, and she was the only one who served Hong Xiu personally.
Hui Gu mocked: “You are a high official now. It’s unheard of for a woman to be an official.”
Hong Xiu looked at her with a smile, revealing a bit of girlish naivety: “Sister is jealous of me?”
Hui Gu said disdainfully, “I’m not like you. I don’t have to worry about someone bribing the people around me, and I don’t have to worry about being assassinated.”
Hong Xiu retracted the smile.
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Hui Gu no longer mocked, but asked solemnly, “Hong Xiu, have you thought about it?”
Hong Xiu also said solemnly: “Since I have stepped into Anfeng…..no, since I expressed my wishes to His Majesty, I will never recoil or retreat.”
“Sister, life is brief, I just want to have no regrets when I die.”
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