Arrest and Justice
Feng Jin Yuan showing favor to his wives and concubines brought about a very common reaction from each courtyard. They had all lost things, and without exception, those things were all worth a good amount of money. Han shi and Jin Zhen were a little dumb and could not understand the actual situation. They were certain that their servants were guilty, as they interrogated and beat them, causing a fuss for a while.
An shi’s side was a little more tranquil. Xiang Rong sent her news that she was living in the county princess’ manor, thus she calmed down. The people of the Feng family knew that Xiang Rong was living there, but they did not have the courage to go and find her. In regards to Feng Jin Yuan, she was neither warm nor cold, but he was still her man. If he wanted to stay the night, she would still perform her duties as a concubine. But when it came to the 3000 taels of missing bank notes, she thought about it. When had Feng Jin Yuan learned such an ability?
But she very quickly thought things through clearly. It was not Feng Jin Yuan that did it. He always had a hidden guard at his side. With just an order, it would be odd if things did not go missing.
In regards to the missing banknotes, An shi was very resolute. She just ordered her servant Ping’er: “Put on a good cloak and tell the gatekeeper that you are going to the county princess’ manor to see third young miss. Then go borrow a carriage from second young miss. Go to the government office to file a report. Just say that we lost our money and have the governor go to the bank to void those banknotes. Go quickly!”
When Ping’er left the manor, she happened to see people from the Cheng shi sisters’ courtyards. They also got in a carriage and went in the direction of the government office. Only when they met in the government office and both expressed why they had come did it become clear that they had both come to file reports for their masters.
And that afternoon, Feng Jin Yuan secretly left the manor, going straight to some banks in the capital. After arriving, however, he was informed that the banknotes had been voided. Aside from Han shi’s banknote, he was unable to obtain a single cent.
Feng Jin Yuan was so angry that the roots of his teeth hurt. He understood what “voided” meant. An shi and the Cheng shi sisters, these three women were not willing to allow him to succeed. Their ability to tear him down was also exceptional.
Carrying Han shi’s 1000 taels of silver, he got back into his carriage. The rain was too heavy, and the carriage leaked slightly, but Feng Jin Yuan still did not return to the manor. Instead, he went to some pawn shops around the capital.
When he finally returned to the manor, it had already passed dinner time. He did not greet anyone and went straight for his Pine courtyard’s study. Only then did he begin counting the silver that he had acquired today. After counting, there were no more than 1300 taels.
Jin Zhen’s accessories were not worth any money. The hidden guard had received orders to steal a large bracelet from the jewelry box that Jin Zhen took good care of. Who knew that the bracelet was something that he had bought and gifted to Jin Zhen, but it was a cheap item that he had purchased on the side of the road for under ten taels; however, he had told Jin Zhen that it was an antique, which caused Jin Zhen to treat it as a treasure.
It was the earrings that he had taken from the Cheng shi sisters that were sold for 300 taels, but this was still too far from the 8000 taels required to pay rent each month. He had given Zhang Yuan a fake deed, and this matter would be seen through sooner or later, but there was nothing that he could do. He definitely could not allow the matriarch or anyone else find out about the deed. Right now, all he could do was gain as much money as quickly as possible. He would need to think of a way to earn 8000 taels each month to continue renting the current residence that the Feng family lived in. Like that, they would not move. He would then just need to swap the fake deed for the real deed.
Unfortunately, he absolutely never thought that An shi and the Cheng shi sisters, those lowly people would actually file a report, voiding those bank notes. How could this be good for him?
He was extremely anxious while sitting in his study. His hidden guard appeared in front of him, coming up with an idea: “How about we take from the elder madam’s side. The elder madam should have plenty of money hidden away. We can take from there to take care of this urgent situation. When we have taken care of the situation, we can just return it.”
It was not that Feng Jin Yuan had not thought of this method, but… “Even I don’t know where she had hidden her money. How can we do anything?”
The hidden guard thought a little then said: “How about searching at night?”
Feng Jin Yuan pondered a bit then nodded, “That’s fine. Right now, we don’t have any better options. We can only borrow a bit for now. Or…” He felt that there was another option, “Think of a way to steal the real thing back from Heng.”
Once these words came out, the hidden guard immediately shook his head, “No way, no way. Master, please excuse this subordinate for being incapable. In order to prevent anyone from getting any ideas of stealing the method for producing steel, second young miss’ manor has become like an impenetrable fortress. Not to mention people, even a stray bird could not get in.”
This was a point that Feng Jin Yuan naturally understood. He helplessly sighed, “Forget it, go take a look at the elder madam’s side overnight.”
Just as he said this, a male servant’s voice came with an urgent knock at the door: “Master! Master!”
The hidden guard vanished, and Feng Jin Yuan hid the money that was on the table. Only then did he say: “Come in.”
The servant pushed the door open and wiped away some of the rain on his face, hurriedly saying: “Master, quickly go to the front yard to take a look! The governor, lord Xu, has brought a group of soldiers here, saying that he has come to arrest and bring you to justice.”
“What?” Feng Jin Yuan was shocked, and he subconsciously moved his hand to the bag of silver under the table. He thought to himself, could it be that this has caused a big problem? But he immediately calmed down once more. That was impossible. No matter how much those three women tore at him, it was just to make him unable to take their money. It was impossible that anyone would be taken in over it. But if it was not that, then… His heart suddenly trembled, as he thought to himself that this was not good. Something must have happened with the deed.
The servant saw that he was standing in place without moving and could not help but hurry: “Master, elder madam and everyone else in the manor has already gone to the main hall of Peony courtyard. Master should quickly go and take a look!”
Feng Jin Yuan had a belly full of bitterness. It seemed that this matter could not be avoided, thus he gritted his teeth and bit the bullet, going toward Peony courtyard.
It was raining even harder. Pine courtyard was not far from Peony courtyard, and he even wore a cloak; however, he still ended up partially soaked. Feng Jin Yuan was thinking that if it continued raining like this, would they remain in the manor, unable to move?
While thinking, he arrived at the hall and saw that Peony courtyard’s hall was filled with soldiers. Xu Jing Yuan, who was at the front, was standing there and talking to the matriarch. “This official did not want to harm this friendship. After all, no matter what is said, this is still county princess Ji An’s maternal family. But lord Feng did something that absolutely must never be done. He should not have used a fake deed to scam eunuch Zhang. Scamming eunuch Zhang is the same as scamming the Emperor. This is a severe crime of deceiving the ruler.”
The words crime of deceiving the ruler scared everyone in the Feng family. Fen Dai was quick to speak, immediately asking: “How is this sort of crime handled?”
Xu Jing Yuan replied naturally: “Naturally, it’s extermination of everyone within nine generations of the family.”
The matriarch fell back into her chair, nearly causing her to cough up her heart in fear. But Xu Jing Yuan then said: “There is no need for you to be so scared. Exterminating nine generations is not possible because county princess Ji An would be included in the nine generations. Based solely on this, his Majesty cannot even exterminate the Feng family.”
Only then did the matriarch manage to recover. It was as though she had returned from the gates of the underworld, repeatedly saying: “We truly have been blessed by Heng. We really have been blessed by Heng!”
At this time, An shi asked: “The punishment of exterminating nine generations has been exempted, but the others…”
At this time, Feng Jin Yuan also walked in. After Xu Jing Yuan saw him, he immediately said: “Lord Feng must come with this official to the government office to give a clear explanation of this matter. After that, we will await his Majesty’s ruling.”
Fen Dai looked at her father’s current appearance, and two words appeared in her mind: hopelessly stupid. She coldly spoke: “Father, why did you use a fake deed? Where is the real one?”
Cheng Jun Man also had a puzzled expression and asked him: “These past few days, husband has been avoiding the topic of the deed. Has something been hidden from us?”
With them asking their questions, the matriarch also felt that something was off. She immediately turned a questioning gaze on Feng Jin Yuan. This caused Feng Jin Yuan’s face to feel hot, and he could only make up some nonsense: “It’s been lost.” He then looked at Xu Jing Yuan: “I will go with you.”
Xu Jing Yuan nodded and gestured to the soldiers next to him. Someone immediately came forward and grabbed Feng Jin Yuan. The former prime minister had fallen to such a degree. Feng Jin Yuan himself felt that he no longer had the face to see anyone. He could not help but lower his head, hurrying Xu Jing Yuan: “Let’s go, quickly.”
Han shi and Jin Zhen were unable to see his true feelings. Upon seeing that Feng Jin Yuan was about to be taken away, they were so scared that they began crying, desperately shouting: “Husband! Husband!”
The matriarch angrily hit Fen Dai with her cane, “How many times have I told you to not bring her out. What would happen if her belly was frightened? Quickly send her back!”
The Feng family was a total mess. In the county princess’ manor, Feng Yu Heng was painstakingly consoling Yao shi: “Xiao Zhou is on higher ground, and the academy was built at the peak of the mountain. The foundation of the mountain is very sturdy. Nothing will happen.”
Yao shi looked out the window at the heavy rain. No matter what, she was unable to calm down. She repeatedly asked Feng Yu Heng: “Is it really not possible to go right now? I just want to go to Xiao Zhou from the capital. Can you send me there?”
Feng Yu Heng shook her head, “The official road outside of the capital has been ruined. It’s already very difficult for people to traverse it, much less a carriage. Mother, don’t be impatient and calm down. His Highness the ninth prince has already sent someone to Xiao Zhou. Princess Wen Xuan has also been paying close attention to any news. I will go over to the Wen Xuan Palace tomorrow to ask around.”
Yao shi was worried about Zi Rui. It was raining very heavily, which led to the entire Feng Tong county being washed away. What if something happened in Xiao Zhou. What would happen to her Zi Rui? She could not wait for tomorrow, thus she hurried Feng Yu Heng: “Can you go right now? Mother is begging you. Zi Rui is so young. If a flood really occurred, he could not even escape!”
There was nothing that Feng Yu Heng could do. Not to mention Yao shi, even she was extremely worried. Although Xiao Zhou had a higher elevation, Yun Lu Academy was on a mountain. If the mountain were to collapse, would that not mean the entire academy would also collapse?
She stood up and patted the back of Yao shi’s hand, saying: “Alright, I will go right now. Mother, just wait at home.”
After saying this, she put on her raincoat and brought Wang Chuan and Huang Quan out.
The county princess’ manor had raincoats that were taken from Feng Yu Heng’s space. She took them out countless times until nearly everyone had a set. Unfortunately, they were all for girls. Even if it was based on her 20-year-old body from her previous life, the men of the manor could not fit. That was why, over the past few days, the people that moved around outside the most for the county princess’ manor were female servants.
Huang Quan went to a side courtyard to prepare the imperial carriage. Wang Chuan protected Feng Yu Heng from the rain and went to the gate first. As soon as they stopped, they heard a very urgent banging at the gate. At the same time, a girl’s voice loudly shouted: “Open the gate! Quickly open the gate! Is there anyone there to open the gate!”
She heard this and felt that it was quite familiar. After listening for a little while longer, she could not help but be stunned. Looking at Wang Chuan, she said: “Bai Fu Rong?”