The Meng family was not a big family in the capital where high-ranking officials were everywhere. Most of the officials in the capital look down on officials from other places. To be an official directly under the emperor, even a sixth rank official was better than a fifth rank in an outer province. It was even more extraordinary for those who could attend the morning assembly to discuss governmental matters. They were basically the emperor’s iron supports, and each and every one had been trained to be very obedient over the years.
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“Laoye, Er Lang and San Lang have sent a letter.” The old servant walked in quickly.
The Meng family had five sons. The greatest achievement of Meng laoye in this life was his ability to have sons. He had no talent himself. He wasn’t like other rich hedonistic sons who liked to invent new things, nor was he as talented in literary pursuits as the sons of aristocratic families. After reaching old age and looking back, only one advantage stood out, which was having sons, and all of them survived into adulthood.
Da Lang was a district chief in the capital, a small official of the seventh rank, but this was the capital’s district chief, so many people wanted to squeeze into the position but couldn’t.
Er Lang and San Lang were officials in an outside province, they were both of the fifth rank. Don’t think the fifth rank is all that impressive, it would be completely different after returning to Beijing. They were transferred every five years, unlike Da Lang in Beijing, the officials in Beijing would not move unless they had made mistakes.
After reading the letter, Meng laoye paced the room anxiously: “I told them not to make trouble for their eldest brother!”
Meng laoye just had one belief, the Meng family still had to rely on the eldest son, the second and third were unreliable characters.
“Go, find my eldest.” Meng laoye thought over and over again and instructed the old servant.
The old servant whispered: “Laoye, the eldest gongzi is in the government office, how could he come back so casually?”
Meng laoye took a deep breath: “Tell him to ask for leave, I insist that he come back today!”
“District Chief!” The subordinate called at the door.
Meng Dalang stood up, confused: “What’s the matter?”
Subordinate: “Someone from your home came and said that there is an urgent matter and asked you to ask for leave to go back.”
Meng Dalang frowned slightly: “What urgent matter? I’m busy, how can I leave.”
He was planning to implement a street cleaning team these days, and he was very busy. His district was part of the experimental area. When the time came, and someone above came to check them, if everyone else did a good job while he did a bad job, then it didn’t matter if there was a reward or not. The important thing was that he didn’t want to lose face and be the laughingstock of the capital.
The subordinate said again: “They said that your father is ill.”
Meng Dalang could only rush back.
That father of his, always said that he was sick whenever he had something going on. Meng Dalang felt that if his father really became sick, it would be because he had cursed himself to be sick after using the excuse too many times.
When Meng Dalang rushed home, he saw his father sitting on a chair crying.
Meng Dalang sighed: “What trouble did you get into? Why are you crying?”
Meng laoye quickly stepped forward and grabbed Meng Dalang’s hand: “Son! You must help your brothers!”
Meng Dalang was confused: “Help them what?”
Seeing his eldest son’s upright appearance, Meng laoye swallowed and handed the letter to him.
Meng Dalang read it quickly, his frown deepening. He tilted his head and looked at Meng laoye in disbelief: “They actually dare to do such things outside?”
Meng laoye swallowed and quickly explained: “I, I just found out, don’t be angry yet, what they did was indeed wrong, but they are family, they are outside, while we are in Beijing, and we should help each other.”
“This time they just want to ask you to help find a way and give some gifts to the higher-ups.” Meng laoye looked at his son, and had difficulty speaking.
Meng Dalang squeezed the letter in his hand, and his forehead bulged with blue veins. He said angrily, “Now they think of looking for a higher up to bribe? It’s too late! This year’s major investigation, even I didn’t get the wind in advance!”
Meng Dalang suddenly paused, widened his eyes and asked, “It’s not just this year?”
Meng laoye swallowed.
Meng Dalang squeezed out a sentence between his teeth: “How many years?”
Seeing his son’s appearance, Meng laoye was afraid that his son would go crazy and beat him, so he quickly said: “I don’t know, I just received the letter! How could I have known they are so daring outside! If I knew, I would have told you long ago!”
Meng laoye: “…..What’s the use of talking about this now? We must think about how to cover it up, you can’t watch them die, right?”
Meng Dalang sneered: “Father, if we let them die, then our family could still be saved, if we don’t, then the whole family will die together!”
Meng laoye: “It’s not that serious, is it?”
Meng Dalang: “What kind of smart people do you think the two of them are? Writing to ask now, it must be because the major investigation had already caught onto them. The department in charge of this major investigation is the Court of Censors! What kind of place is the Court of Censors? They dare to even investigate a high official of the first rank and pull him off his horse!”
“Father, you have a bad memory, do you want me to tell you more about how His Majesty cut down corrupt officials before he ascended the throne?” Meng Dalang was furious, “Are our salaries low?! They are outside, which is not like Beijing, things are cheap there, and their salary is worth more than enough there than in the capital! Besides, His Majesty has already reserved space for taxation in various places, so those who have enough brains would not dip their toes into this muddy water!”
Meng laoye whispered beside him, “Who would complain about too much money…..”
Meng Dalang: “I do!”
“Father, it’s not easy for our Meng family.” Meng Dalang couldn’t beat up his old father so he took a deep breath, “You took me to follow His Majesty all the way to the capital. When we first arrived, we were so poor that we couldn’t even eat fully. That we have our present wealth is all due to His Majesty’s kindness, and I, the eldest son of the Meng family, have been hardworking and conscientious, and dared not make any mistakes.”
Meng Dalang looked ten years older. He raised his head: “If there was no major investigation, there is still a chance to recover. But the major investigation has begun. It’s just a matter of seeing when they will fall, sooner or later.”
“There is no need to reply, I will resign tomorrow.”
Meng laoye said in shock: “Resign? Resign what! Anyone in our family can resign! Only you can’t resign!”
Meng Dalang said in surprise: “Father, you still know this? Do you still know that I am a Beijing official? Do you know how many heads are enough to make up for the things they embezzled? I? Those two are my younger brothers, you say, who would believe that I didn’t give them convenience in the capital? You can’t write the Meng character in one stroke, Father!”
Meng laoye finally knew to be afraid, and his whole body was shaking: “Is there any other way? I will write to them and have them return the money and to resign and admit their mistakes!”
Meng Dalang looked at his father in disbelief. Was his father so stupid?
Meng Dalang: “Father, there is no need to say anymore, I’m going to resign early tomorrow. Second and Third Brother have separated households from us. At most, I can only protect my branch of the family and you, as for Second and Third Brother…..On the day of execution, I will bring them a jug of wine.”
Meng laoye: “No, no, does it have to be a death sentence? I saw that corrupt officials were also arrested a few days ago. Wasn’t the most serious punishment to be imprisoned for ten years?”
Meng Dalang smiled and said, “Then do you know how much they embezzled?”
Meng laoye shook his head: “As long as it is embezzlement, it should be more, right?”
Meng Dalang shouted: “They embezzled a lot, but more importantly others don’t dare to embezzle the money sent by the imperial court for disaster relief! They don’t dare to embezzle the survival money of orphans and widows!”
Meng laoye’s legs softened, and he knelt down directly.
“Maybe they won’t be able to find out, maybe they were careful…..” Meng laoye said to himself, still holding a faint hope.
Meng Dalang looked at his father and thought of his two younger brothers who were clever but not smart where it counted since childhood, and sighed silently: “Father, I won’t be an official in the future, and won’t be able to live in the capital anymore, I will tell Wanhua to go pack up, sell the shop and the valuables that are difficult to bring. We’ll go to Jiangnan, just in time for your retirement.”
Meng laoye said almost frantically: “Our Meng family! Our Meng family over these many years! Just when we finally managed to have officials in the family!”
Meng Dalang supported his father: “Father, don’t be afraid, this is not the most difficult time.”
“I already have a son. If I fall into this too, you will listen to Wanhua. Wanhua will know what to do.” Meng Dalang looked out the window, his eyes lost.
He himself did not know what kind of future awaited him.
Was he wrong? Was it because he didn’t take care of his younger brothers and failed to focus on them?
He knew that they would experience more temptations when they were appointed as officials, but why did he always believe that his younger brothers didn’t have the daring?
However, in fact, thwg did have daring, and they already had it long ago, eight years ago!
Meng Dalang took a deep breath, he told the old servant to take good care of Meng laoye, and went to the study by himself to write his resignation letter.
Don’t know what the regulations above…..would be, whether or not he could guarantee his life.
In the imperial palace, Lin Yuan was sitting in front of his desk, holding the memorials sent by fast horses in his hand, all of them came from all over the country, and they were sent only after the Court of Censors had iron-clad evidence.
If the water was clear, there would be no fish. Lin Yuan understood this truth. Excessive suppression would only lead to a greater rebound. In the past, his methods were violent. If he caught one, he would chop their head off. Now he no longer did such a thing. Regarding the handling of corrupt officials, there were also laws and examples to follow now.
He had re-established the salaries for officials and cadres according to their economic conditions, which could ensure that their lives were worry-free.
It was equivalent to these officials getting 10,000 when the basic salary was only 3,000.
It was enough to support a family, and officials usually have their own shops and lands, so they could live a good life easily.
They themselves knew what would await corruption, and they only served five-year terms. If the local economy improved and the people’s happiness index increased, the path to promotion was something they could see. Now that there was a rigid review, who would not want to return to the capital to become capital officials?
So in the past few years, there have been far fewer corrupt officials than before.
Lin Yuan looked at it for a while, and his face became more and more solemn. He pursed his lips tightly, and just when Lin Yuan was about to rage, Lin Yuan leaned back on the chair and let out a long breath.
Er Liang asked cautiously, “Your Majesty, it is late.”
Lin Yuan stood up: “Bring Zhen a bowl of beef noodles.”
Then he thought about it and said, “Two bowls.”
“Yes.” Er Liang asked the attendant to pass on the request to the imperial kitchen, and accompanied Lin Yuan back to the living quarters.
Chen Baisong was now training in the barracks during the day and returning to the palace at night. He was currently enjoying himself, sitting on a soft stool and playing chess with himself.
Lin Yuan had someone create this soft stool. The main reason was that sitting on a hard stool for a long time not only hurt the buttocks, but might also cause sores.
“I knew you didn’t sleep, so I asked the imperial kitchen to deliver two bowls of beef noodles.” Lin Yuan sat opposite Chen Baisong, picked up a black piece and played with Chen Baisong.
The two of them weren’t very good at chess, shabby chess skills against shabby chess skills, and in the end it was Lin Yuan who won.
Chen Baisong raised his head and asked, “What’s the matter? Coming in with such a stern face?”
Lin Yuan smiled: “Is it so obvious?”
Chen Baisong thought about it and said seriously, “It’s not very obvious either.”
Lin Yuan sighed, the smile on the corner of his mouth disappearing. He had been in a high position for a long time, even a slight frown was enough to make people terrified, and only Chen Baisong was not afraid of him now. He said: “Corrupt officials can never be killed off.”
Chen Baisong: “You only know this now?”
Lin Yuan: “I know, I know, but I’m tired of having investigations every few years.”
Although not many were found every time, there were always those who were so greedy that he was speechless.
“There are two brothers surnamed Meng.” Lin Yuan was expressionless, “the older brother finished embezzling and then the younger brother continued. In the same place. The provincial government said it didn’t know when they were appointed, do you believe it?”
Chen Baisong shook his head: “I don’t believe it, even if they don’t belong to the same clan, they should still check out their backgrounds if it was the same surname.”
Lin Yuan: “Now Hong Xiu is asking me if the provincial government needs to be investigated.”
“The provincial government…..If you pull one thread, it will affect the rest. Even if you want to make a move, you must minimize the impact.” Lin Yuan took a sip of warm water.
The attendant in the imperial kitchen brought in the beef noodles. Because it was a late-night snack, the portion was not large, but because it was in a large bowl, it would give people the illusion that they couldn’t finish it, but the bowl was so shallow that just two bites and it was gone. Two slices of beef in sauce were placed on top, and little chopped green onions and green leafy vegetables garnished it, which made it look very appetizing.
Chen Baisong took a mouthful of noodles: “That troublesome?”
Lin Yuan nodded: “What is not troublesome if it’s related to the government.”
“Those two men surnamed Meng are nothing, just local officials. Although they embezzled a lot, but there is not much power in their hands, and just embezzled disaster relief money. Just have them beheaded and their homes seized and that’s the end of it.”
“It’s mainly the provincial government…..that they were so daring, the provincial government must have contributed greatly.”
Chen Baisong heard Lin Yuan’s voice and knew that Lin Yuan had murderous intentions, and asked, “Should I make a trip?”
Lin Yuan looked up at Chen Baisong: “You?”
Chen Baisong smiled and said: “What? I can’t go? Young master thinks I’m useless?”
Lin Yuan frowned and said, “I originally wanted to have the princess’s consort go.”
The princess’s consort was also part of the Lin family, and even if he had no ability, he could still take charge.
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And he did not have the skill for doing this kind of thing originally, so it would lower the guards of the provincial government.
“Then escort the princess’s consort to go there.” Lin Yuan took a sip of noodle soup, “Keep the truth from the princess’s consort, and only tell him that he is just going to greet the provincial government on behalf of the imperial family.”
Chen Baisong chewed the beef: “Alright.”
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