“What happened?” Tie Bu Tian’s countenance became grave.
“Well…” All of the officials who were kneeling did not dare to say a word; they just kept banging their heads on the floor and said, “We have sinned! We deserve to die ten thousand times…”
“Who is going to tell me what happened?” Tie Bu Tian slowly stood up from his throne and looked with an icy gaze.
“It is really no big deal.” The elderly prime minister of Iron Cloud, Huang Fu Ming, stroked his beard. He was among the people still standing. He said casually, “Your Majesty, it is because Minister Chu sealed the treasury and arrested Lian Cheng Gui. Plus, all of the books from the treasury are being investigated by Bu Tian Pavilion…”
“In regards to this matter, Minister Chu had ordered that everything must be investigated to the roots! Anyone who is found out will be arrested! Anyone who is caught will be killed!” His voice gradually grew colder. He was clearly carrying an air of schadenfreude. This made all the people kneeling on the floor tremble even more.
“But how does a treasury matter relate to them?” Tie Bu Tian looked at the few dozens of people kneeling in front of him in shock. There were also almost a hundred people that he did not know the whereabouts of. His head was spinning.
There were the ministry of revenue, the ministry of justice, the ministry of rites, the ministry of personnel, the ministry of war…
“In these past few years, everyone seemed to not have done well so… cough cough…” Huang Fu Ming coughed dryly and said slowly, “So many officials started to think about the nation’s treasury… and the nation’s treasury is managed by the ministry of revenue. In the end, everyone’s lives were suddenly better. Plus, Official Lian only needed to use the tools at his disposal… cough, cough… to write off everything neatly…”
Huang Fu Ming might have said all of this because he had no other choice, but his intentions were cruel without the least bit of mercy!
“And currently, I don’t know what happened, I am just worried that Minister Chu has heard about this…” Huang Fu Ming cautiously said, “Minister… Ah, I heard that Minister Chu was so angry his face turned purple… Last night, Bu Tian Pavilion continually searched thirty-five homes…”
With a pale face, Tie Bu Tian said, “The treasury issue… could all of these people be involved?” Tie Bu Tian’s finger trembled as he pointed to the officials kneeling with their heads to the ground.
The officials did not dare to say anything. They all trembled as they kneeled with their foreheads touching the ground.
Looking at the scene in front of his eyes, Tie Bu Tian’s body staggered. His head suddenly hurt, and he closed his eyes.
He did not blame Chu Yang; he definitely would not!
But he felt sad! Extremely sad!
What kind of place was the royal court? It was a place that scholars of the world dreamed of and wished for. There were many local officials who tried their entire lives and could not stand there, not even for a second!
It could be said that, this revered hall was the place where talents became the true pillars of Iron Cloud Nation.
This was the foundation of all of Iron Cloud Nation! If things were rotten here, Iron Cloud Nation would also be rotten! And these past few years were the most difficult times in Iron Cloud! Everyone should have put in all of their effort to help the nation pass through these challenges, but they unexpectedly only thought of emptying the nation’s treasury.
All the effort that was put in to develop them was all to create destructive pests!
“You people are good! Very good…!” Tie Bu Tian ground his teeth and nodded. His ashen face suddenly let out a bitter smile, “Hahaha, not bad! You are truly the pillars that hold up our Iron Cloud! Pillars!”
He knew that the treasury issue was very serious, but he had thought that he would fix it after he ascended the throne.
No matter how serious it was, it was only a few officials. At most, there would be some two dozen officials involved; that would have been too astonishing already!
But he never thought that there would be that many people!
Taking away these people, the royal court would only have some thirty or forty people left! That was tantamount to an empty royal court!
But… if I don’t get rid of these people, can I keep them? Keeping these bad bugs???
“You can all remain kneeling!” Tie Bu Tian angrily kicked the golden table in front of the dragon throne and roared, “Send order for Minister Chu to come to the royal court immediately!”
In less than an hour, the sound of horse hooves was heard as it unexpectedly headed straight for the royal court!
In other times, someone would have probably jumped out and pointed out such lack of decorum. But right now, no one dared to say a word.
“Your Majesty, Minister Chu is requesting an audience with you.”
“Send him in!”
In the silence, the rhythmic and soft sound of footsteps slowly rang out. Right after, everyone could only feel that everything had darkened. In the middle of the door to the golden hall, a person in black appeared.
He was dressed in black from head to toe; the only exception was his face, which was covered with a fierce golden mask!
The moment this person appeared at the door, the air seemed to have been sucked out of the room! Especially those officials with dark consciences, they could not help but feel terrified! It was as if the person who just arrived brought the atmosphere from hell with him!
“Bring a seat for Minister Chu!” Tie Bu Tian spoke before Chu Yang had a chance to say anything. Tie Bu Tian did not want the officials to know that Bu Tian Pavilion was currently not in his hand but in Chu Yang’s hand or that Chu Yang was not a person of Iron Cloud Nation.
For an emperor, this was a loss of face.
“Thank you, Your Majesty.” Of course Chu Yang understood Tie Bu Tian’s hidden intention and thanked him before sitting down cautiously, “I wonder what has cause Your Majesty to summon me here today.”
“Minister Chu, you have been very busy these past two days.” Tie Bu Tian smiled and said, “About the national treasury issue, I wonder what Minister Chu plans to do.” He went straight into the subject.
“In accordance with Your Majesty’s previous assurance, Bu Tian Pavilion has the power to execute and notify afterward.” Chu Yang said coolly, “Therefore, after a great crime was discovered yesterday, we verified a few pests. Early this morning, they have already been sent to the eastern part of the citadel for execution of their entire families! There was more than three hundred people total!”
As these words were spoken, the entire group of officials kneeling on the ground trembled violently.
“Then where are the remaining people?” Tie Bu Tian blew out a long breath.
“About this… Your Majesty’s judgment is needed.”
Chu Yang said carelessly, “But, in Bu Tian Pavilion’s view, it is best to just kill all of them! After all, the brothers have paid a dear price for all the investigating we have had to do; they practically tired themselves to death.”
Someone immediately fainted; there were also others who let out muffled cries with their heads to the ground.
Elderly Prime Minister Huang Fu Ming could not help but widen his eyes. Kill all? These are thousands of lives… The old man was starting to feel that something was not right. Before Chu Yang came here, Tie Bu Tian was furious to no end. But after Chu Yang came, the atmosphere became very strange.
It was as if the ruler and subject were playing question and answer and acting out some coordinated script.
One was a good cop, and the other was a bad cop.
“Kill all? Is that advisable?…” Tie Bu Tian frowned, “You should know that if you kill all the families of those who committed crimes, there would be at least thousands of people…”
“Your Majesty worries too much!” Chu Yang said casually, “The past few years, Iron Cloud was in constant war! Eight million men has died in battle! This is only thousands of people; our Iron Cloud can afford it!”
“This… Minister, can we be a little lenient?” Tie Bu Tian smiled and said.
“Well… if Your Majesty is asking, we can deal with them in accordance with the severity of their crimes…” Chu Yang said, “As for the result of the investigation, I will send them to Your Majesty; Your Majesty will have total authority on the matter!”
Tie Bu Tian sighed and said, “Let it be so then.”
Chu Yang’s words was clearly a stab at Tie Bu Tian. How could he have not heard this? Total authority? What is total authority? Hmm!
But Chu Yang’s stab was also a reminder. As for what that reminder was… He did not know at all.
At this moment, the two-man dialogue scene was over…
“Minister Chu, can we have a chat?” Tie Bu Tian smiled and said.
“The royal court is dismissed for today.” Tie Bu Tian smiled again.
“This is my gift to Your Majesty…” Chu Yang said quietly, “All of the killings and shaking of the foundations today will lead to long-term stability and peace later on! I was careless in not giving Your Majesty a gift for your coronation… So I have to use this to make up for my sin.”
Minister Chu’s speech almost made Tie Bu Tian’s eyeballs pop out. It was annoying and funny at the same time. In the end, he could only sigh.
The two people talked in the palace for a long time; no one knew when exactly minister Chu left, but at least their hearts were relieved. At least… they would not die immediately. They still had a little time to breathe…
A few days later, Tie Bu Tian decreed that those who took under fifty thousand silver taels would have to hand over the ill-gotten money and redeem themselves at their current posts. Those who took fifty thousand taels or more would have to hand over the ill-gotten money and become commoners after losing their position. Those who took more than one hundred thousand silver taels would be beheaded as examples, and their families would be sent into exile…
Those who took more than one million taels would have all of their properties seized and their entire family beheaded…
While this decision seemed lenient, the wall of Iron Cloud Citadel was still stained with blood. Thousands of heads fell down that way!
The laws were not made to punish the masses. This principle remained true to this day. If everyone was beheaded, the royal court of Iron Cloud would probably collapse. Tie Bu Tian could only deal with them slowly. But one thing was certain, if these people would not show good behavior, their old sins would be taken into account once more…
In bringing this issue out, Chu Yang was giving Bu Tian Pavilion more power. He gave himself an evil image to help Tie Bu Tian win the people’s hearts. This would directly help Tie Bu Tian pass the short trying period of a new emperor on the throne and firmly hold the reign at the position of ultimate power in the royal court!
Even though this royal court was now less than half in number…
After this period passed, at least for a very long time, the appearance of the officials in Iron Cloud Citadel would become much brighter.
This was Chu Yang’s gift to Tie Bu Tian! To congratulate him on his coronation…
As for the true cause, Minister Chu did not speak of it. If he was to say that it was all because he was fighting for a girl at the House of Exceptional Beauties… the new emperor would probably die from anger!
Not long after, the fierce name of King of Hell Chu directly terrified all of Lower Three Heavens! King of Hell Chu’s brutality made people tremble as they heard about his deeds!
In the hearts of the officials, King of Hell Chu’s already fearsome name increased its terror by twofold! But in the hearts of the people, the fame of King of Hell Chu rose like the wind. It went right up to the ninth heaven.
Everyone in Iron Cloud was feeling restless. No matter what they were doing, while the number of officials was low, their effectiveness greatly increased!
***** (Walk the Jiang Hu)
After trekking for almost a month, Cheng Yun He finally returned to Great Zhao in the middle of the continent in exhaustion! Only one more day and the Meng Hun Solution would have lost its effectiveness…
If Diwu Qing Rou learned of these things, what would his reaction be…