Chapter 77: The Law
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Yunxiao looked up at the sky, but he could only vaguely see a little bit of the righteous energy gathering. Seeing that, he shook his head in disappointment. “These imperial preceptors of the imperial college have read the books of the saint for so many years, but it is all in vain in the end. They are not even as good as those scholars. Such little energy is not worth wasting my effort to absorb.”
Without saying anything, he drew the sword of Taiyin and slashed it down at them!
Several shrieks rang out as five or six men’s necks were cut by the sharp blade; blood spewed out of the wounds like fountains and spilled everywhere. They covered their necks with both hands, but their pupils gradually dilated due to excessive blood loss, and before long, they fell to the ground and died on the spot.
All the imperial preceptors sucked in a cold breath and hurriedly spread out to both sides in horror. They never thought that Yunxiao would dare to kill someone outside the great hall. The murder had shocked them, and none of them dare to shout again.
Yunxiao put away his sword and stood where he was. The indifferent expression on his face made him look like a God of Slaughter. The imperial preceptors, on the other hand, were sad and angry, and some even began to weep in low voices.
He gave them an indifferent look, then said in an emotionless voice, “The affairs of the court are not for you scholars to meddle in. You are used as pawns by others, and yet you still think you are standing up for benevolence and righteousness. How ridiculous and laughable! Those scholars who came to me the day before yesterday and you are all pawns. You have done so many things, but they had no influence on the court affairs. And if you continue to do this, you wouldn’t even know how you died. Just stay in the imperial college to teach and research. That’s where you’re supposed to be.”
He looked toward the great hall as he gave a sneer, and then continued, “Also, if Kong Renyi is really a man of righteousness, he shouldn’t have let you get in my way outside the throne room and die for him.” When he had finished, he followed Li Chunyang into the hall.
After hearing what he said, the imperial preceptors seemed to understand something. But when they looked at the bodies of their companions, they were still sad.
What happened outside the hall was witnessed by all the courtiers and Qin Zheng. They were in great shock, for they had not expected Yunxiao to be so presumptuous!
Kong Renyi even got up from the stretcher and cried, “Heavens! Your Majesty, you must uphold justice for this subject! You must put these two demons to death!”
The emperor, Qin Zheng, flew into a rage and bellowed, “How dare you, Li Yunxiao! How could you kill someone right in front of me, outside the throne room?! First you killed the imperial guards, then the imperial preceptors! You are absolutely lawless!”
Yunxiao walked forward with his head held high. He did not kneel and kowtow to the emperor, but just cupped his hand and said, “Your Majesty, it is because I obey the law that I killed these people!”
“Nonsense!” Qin Yang jumped out and said angrily, “When you kill someone, you have to pay for it! Since you dare to commit crimes in the palace, that means you have no respect for the law! You must be executed!”
Yunxiao turned to look at him and sneered sarcastically, “Oh? So, Your Highness also knows about laws?”
‘You’ve gone too far! Let’s see how you can get away today.’ Qin Yang gave a cold snort as he held his head high and put on a superior air, “Of course!”
“In that case,” said Yunxiao loudly, “is the Minister of Personnel here?”
In the rank, the Minister of Personnel, Ban Wenlin, frowned and hesitated for a moment before stepping out. “I’m here! What can I do for you, Young Master Yun?” As the Minister of Personnel, although his position was lower than that of Lan Hong and Li Chunyang, he was also a high-ranking official. But, since he did not take part in the struggle between the two factions and did not want to offend anyone, he politely addressed Yunxiao as ‘Young Master Yun’.
Yunxiao cupped his fist and bowed. “I don’t quite understand a few things, so I hope my lord can give me some advice.”
Ban Wenlin made a hand gesture and said, “I’m all ears, Young Master Yun.”
“May I ask what is the punishment of stopping someone from reporting urgent military intelligence according to the law of the state?” Yunxiao asked as he looked at Qin Yang coldly.
The minister froze for a moment, then frowned and replied, “As the urgent military intelligence is related to state affairs, those who stop it from being reported should be punished by the execution of his or her whole family, according to the law of the state.”
Everyone looked suddenly enlightened, thinking to themselves that no wonder Yunxiao kept shouting he had urgent military intelligence to report just now. It seemed that the two guards really died for nothing.
Qin Yang was struck dumb, and his face grew very dark. He did not expect Yunxiao to use such a loophole. “Fine! Even if the two guards had committed a capital crime, what about those imperial preceptors outside the hall?” he said in a cold voice. “You cold-blooded murderer! They are knowledgeable and they hold themselves aloof from the world, devoting themselves to nurturing the younger generations and cultivating countless pillars of the state. Yet, you’ve killed them without saying a word! Did you also do this out of your respect for the law?”
“You’ve died a miserable death!” Kong Renyi started crying at the right time.
Yunxiao gave the two men a cold look and scoffed, “Let’s put aside the fact that these imperial preceptors have slandered my grandfather and me for now,” he said while turning to the Minister of Personnel. “My lord, can you tell me what is the punishment for those who slander an important official of the court?”
Ban Wenlin’s frown tightened. He gave Yunxiao a meaningful look and then said, “If it is really slander, the punishment for the offender will be beheading.”
Qin Yang did not know that there was such a law. These court officials had become accustomed to framing and slandering each other, but they had never thought that those imperial preceptors were actually just low-level officials.
With his eyes turned red, Kong Renyi bellowed, “If the slander is made by common people, then they should obviously be killed. But, these imperial preceptors are officials of the state, and what they said is true, not slander at all!”
Yunxiao squinted at him and sneered, “What they said is true? Saint Kong, be careful of what you say or I’ll accuse you of slandering me too! I was summoned by His Majesty, but those imperial preceptors stopped me from entering the throne room. Let me ask you, Saint Kong, what punishment should be imposed on those who obstruct the execution of imperial edicts?”
“This…” Kong Renyi was immediately dumbfounded. It was their plan to prevent Li Chunyang and Yunxiao from meeting the emperor. However, they did not expect the emperor to summon the pair of grandfather and grandson, nor did they expect Yunxiao to act so ruthlessly. Now, it seemed that those imperial preceptors also died for nothing.
Shaking his head slightly, Ban Wenlin said, “Anyone who obstructs the execution of imperial edicts should be punished by the execution of his or her entire family.”
“Very good!” cried Yunxiao. “If my memory serves me right, one of those imperial preceptors is Saint Kong’s nephew, so his family naturally includes Saint Kong. As the leader of Confucianism and the descendant of Confucius, your words and deeds are models for the world to follow. Naturally, you should also know that the law of the state is as harsh as iron, and that the law knows no kindness!”
Kong Renyi began to panic. “You…you…” For a moment, he did not know what to say, and then he suddenly had a brainwave. Hastily, he bowed down to Qin Zheng and cried, “Your Majesty, you must uphold justice for me!”
Many of the courtiers on the side wanted to step out of the rank and say something, but they did not want to offend the Li Family. Moreover, when they heard Yunxiao say ‘the law knows no kindness’, they had nothing more to say.
Such a dispute could be very serious or be dismissed with just a wave of a hand, and it all depended on Yunxiao’s attitude. Of course now, he was about to turn it very serious.
Li Chunyang, who was standing behind Yunxiao, stared at the scene in bewilderment. It never occurred to him that the problem which had given him a great headache could be solved in this way. ‘Is he…really my grandson?’
The Li Family had always been a family of military commanders. The war of words had always been their weakness, and they were no match for those pedantic scholars at all. But today, Yunxiao had not only intruded the palace and killed some people along the way, but also seized the initiative in his hand and forced Kong Renyi into a corner with law and morality.
Meanwhile, all the courtiers were aghast as well. If Kong Renyi’s conviction was confirmed, did it not mean that the descendant of the saint would be executed? But, if he were not convicted, Yunxiao would definitely not give up.
Now, even the emperor had a headache.
Qin Zheng’s face was full of anxiety and his eyes were glazed. Compared with the last time Yunxiao saw him, his spirits were noticeably worse. The main reason was that he was too old and had been addicted to wine and lust; the other reason was that he was too deeply poisoned. Judging from his appearance, he probably would not live much longer.
He thought for a moment and then said slowly, “Teacher Kong is the descendant of the saint and also my first teacher. It was his nephew who did this, and he is innocent. For his great contribution to the state, I hereby pardon Teacher Kong. As for his nephew, drag him out of the palace and behead him.”
“Long live Your Majesty! Thank you for pardoning me!” Kong Renyi bowed down in exultation and kowtowed repeatedly.
After hearing that he was pardoned, Kong Renyi did not care about his nephew but just kept flattering the emperor. This made some courtiers, who thought that he was innocent, begin to resent him.
Qin Zheng’s decision had taken account of both sides; Kong Renyi was pardoned and Yunxiao was given an explanation. It was considered a very clever decision, and both sides should be satisfied under typical circumstances. However, Yunxiao was not giving up. “Your Majesty, you can’t do this! It is precisely because Saint Kong is the model of all the people in the world that we have to enforce the law more strictly! Besides, if a prince violates the law, he must be punished like an ordinary person as well. Is Saint Kong more honorable than a prince?”
“Li Yunxiao! You…you…” Seeing that Yunxiao was determined to push him to his death, Kong Renyi roared furiously, “His Majesty’s decision is not something you can question! You clearly don’t place His Majesty in your eyes!”
Yunxiao looked at him like a fool and sneered, “Of course, I don’t place His Majesty in my eyes!”
His words immediately caused an uproar. Even Li Chunyang opened his mouth wide and did not know what his grandson was going to do. Qin Yue, on the other hand, felt his head begin to hurt. The situation had been good for them, and Yunxiao had pushed Kong Renyi to a tight corner. But, why did he suddenly utter such a rebellious remark?
Qin Zheng froze for a moment and then flew into a rage. He was about to jump up when he saw Yunxiao pointing to his own heart and putting on a respectful look.
With a voice full of emotion, Yunxiao said, “His Majesty is to be placed in here! As His Majesty’s subjects, we must always keep His Majesty in our hearts and carefully listen to every piece of advice and decree of His Majesty, instead of just mentioning His Majesty like you! What are your intentions? No wonder you dare to disobey His Majesty’s imperial edict, because you don’t place His Majesty in your heart! Do you think you are more honorable than His Majesty? Or, do you think His Majesty is not good enough? Does that mean that you want His Majesty to give you his seat?”
“Ah?” Everyone was stunned again.
Before Kong Renyi was cleared of the crime of obstructing the imperial edict, he was immediately branded as a rebel by Yunxiao!
 ‘Place someone in the eyes’ means having respect for someone. As the author plays with the word ‘eyes’ here, I have no choice but to translate in this way. Read on, and you will understand.