by Qing Lu
Translated by Grenn
Chapter 10 – Committing Suicide to Escape Punishment
The next day.
At Ying Tian Government Office.
Inside the spacious and bright lobby, a black wooden board engraved with “Just and Honorable” hanged in the middle. The board was frame by dark red wood with a bluish-green jade embed into it which set a contrast with the dark wood. The big shiny golden words on the board was flickering in an extremely dazzling way. The bailiffs were dressed in sturdy burgundy clothes and each of them was holding a long cane. There were separated into two rows on the left side and the right side of the lobby, appearing considerably imposing.
Although, the villagers were granted access to the office and could stand in the lobby. Almost all of them requested to be outside as if they were endangering themselves by being in the lobby. Gathering together and standing as straight as possible while lowering their head the lower they could, they didn’t dare to raised their head with this persistent atmosphere.
Except for one person…
Lou Xi Yan glanced at them with both his arms crossed over his chest. His back was leaning on the door’s frame, a wisp of a lonely shadow. His untamed posture was completely inharmonious with the situation inside the Governmental office. With only half of her face covered by a worn-out hat, it was enough to make him unable to see her facial expression, still he could guess the anger on her face a this moment.
As he thought about it, his mood became cheerful for no reason.
His cheerful mood made Zhuo Qing’s anger overflowed.
‘The hour of the horse is noon, right?’ Yesterday, she didn’t get to sleep the whole night. She couldn’t even count how many times she tossed and turned until the sky glimmered with its first light. This morning, theses idiots took her to the government office Ying Tian and, while welcoming the sun, she had to foolishly wait until now!!
Her clothes were coarse and thick causing her back to become sweaty early on. Her hat covered her so well that even the air didn’t circulate much making her face and forehead dripping with sweats. She was feeling extremely agitated and glared at Lou Xi Yan whom body was all fresh and cool in front of her .
The Lou Xiyan of today was very different from the one yesterday. Today, he was wearing a golden purple formal headdress decorated with white jades and had a dark red chang pao with a half hiding and half crouching golden Qilin embroidered on it with its eyes shining as if it was ready for some action after accumulating power. On his pure black brocade belt hanged a girdle ornament which was a green jade ring. On his face, he had this constant bright and clear light smile. This time, there was no one who dare to hurriedly come in front of him.
“This lowly official pay his respects to Chancellor Lou” The Ministry of Justice Vice Minister, Wu Zhigang, firmly bowed, but his mind was anxious and frightened.
Although Chancellor Lou oversaw the Ministry of Appointments  and the Ministry of Justice, usually, the reexamination of a criminal case was the duty of the Department of Criminal Justice. It was absolutely impossible for a small four grade official like him to see Chancellor Lou inside the Government office. That’s why, how can he not be terrified?!
Lou Xiyan walked towards a nearby chair and sat down. He lightly raised his hand and asked with an insipid smile, “Courtesy exempt. ”
Wu Zhigang slowly straightened. but didn’t dare to sit. Chancellor Lou was here, so how could he dare to sit on the Master’s seat. Instead, he stood beside the court desk and respectful asked, “Chancellor Lou, today, you came for…”
Lou Xiyan gently laughed and said, “A few hundred villagers of Niu Jia village together wrote a petition, crying out in grievances for Lin Bokang who stealthily substituted the army provisions. What do you think?”
Lou Xiyan’s random question made Wu Zhigang’s complexion turned pale. Both his hands cupped together in a sign of respect as he hurriedly replied, “Chancellor Lou perceived.
This case had the evidences and a person’s testimony. Lin Bokang had already admit his culpability. By no means justice was miscarried!”
“Justice was not miscarried?” Lou Xiyan looked at the married woman on the side of the big lobby and asked, “Madam Lin, what do you have to say?”
Zhuo Qing slightly raised her eyes and only saw a married woman over fifty years old already kneeled down on the floor. Even though her voice was somewhat shaking, she still replied in an absolutely loud and clear voice, “Replying to Lord Chancellor , this common woman  was allowed by the Government office to go visit my husband who was already convicted for three days on the 18th of this month. My husband said he didn’t stealthly substituted the army provisions. He is wrongly accuse!”
The woman’s voice hadn’t stop yet and already, Wu Zhigang was unable to restrain himself. He anxiously said, “Ridiculous! It’s written in black and white! He signed the pleading guilty letter himself. How can he just shout injustice and it becomes injustice?! Private adviser, comes quickly to take the case folder and give it to Chancellor Lou so he can take a look at it!”
“Ye-ye-yes.” All this times, a timid man was standing next to Wu Zhigang. He promptly rushed into the back of the main hall. Soon, he came back with a pile of things in his hands.
Wu Zhigang hurriedly took the case records and, with both his hands, he respectfully handed it over. “Chancellor Lou, this is the complete case files with the evidences and the criminal’s testimony. He cannot refuse to admit with this!”
Zhuo Qing was partially leaning by the porticos. Her bright eyes casted sidelong glances at Lou Xiyan, waiting to see his response. She was looking forward to how he would handle Lin Bokang’s wife. ‘He surely had already look at the records in only one night. How can he do that?! This man’s age is rather small. To have reach the highest official position at such an age, it’s impossible there is no reason behind it.’
Lou Xiyan didn’t continue reading the files. Instead, he sighed and appeared as if he had a major headache. “You… One is arbitrarily asserting there is no miscarried justice and one keeps saying grievances. Since this is the case, bring out the prisoner. I plan to personally interrogate him.”
Wu Zhigang was startled, but he didn’t dare to say anything. He gave an order in a low voice to the two bailiffs on the side. “You two, quickly go bring back the criminal Lin Bokang to the main hall.”
“Yes!” The bailiffs accepted the order and left.
Who knew that when they left, they would leave for half an hour. Zhuo Qing vaguely felt that this matters was anything but reassuring. Contrary to what one might expect, Lou Xiyan’s expression was as always not agitated, however his fingers were tapping on his armchair. During this time, Wu Zhigang painfully stood beside him. His forehead seeping out a layer of cold sweats. As he stood next to Lou Xiyan, he didn’t even dare to move.
At last, the two bailiffs returned with great difficulty. Wu Zhigang scolded them in a low voice. “Why did it take you so long?” Seeing there was not a soul in sight behind them, he urgently asked, “Where is he?”
Both of them incessantly gasping in a low voice. In the end, one of them answered with fluster, “Report back, Sir! Lin Bokang, he… This morning, he committed suicide to escape his punishment!”
‘Committing suicide to escape his punishment?!’
Zhuo Qing secretly paid attention to Wu Zhigang’s expression. When he heard the news, he was almost unsteady and his complexion turned white. It looked as if he was also scared and not lightly scare which didn’t seem like a pretense. Lou Xiyan didn’t utter a sentence as his brows slightly creased. ‘Perhaps, he also didn’t anticipate that this man would unexpectedly died.’
‘Don’t tell me it was really a suicide.’ Zhuo Qing unconsciously denied it because it was too great of a coincidence. ‘The time control is just a moment ago!’
“Our Benefactor is dead?!” All around, the villagers outside opened their eyes widely. They didn’t dare to believe it. All of them wanted to rushed inside. However, with Chancellor Lou’s presence, they also didn’t dare to be rash and could only worried helplessly.
“Husband…” When Madam Lin heard the news, she was immediately stun and incessantly sobbed in a low voice on the floor. It seems like there was nothing to lose anymore, Madam Lin suddenly crawled up, pointing and wailing at Wu Zhigang. “My husband was wrongly accuse! It’s impossible for him to commit suicide. It’s YOU! It’s surely you who killed my husband!”
Madam Lin crazily threw herself at Wu Zhigang. Although the two rows of bailiffs used their long canes to stop her movements, her mouth was still shouting numerous curses.
Wu Zhigang recovered his spirit and was utterly discomfit. He loudly shouted, “Shut up! Ignorant woman ceased your shoutings in the law court! Hold her and drive her away!” He looked carefully at Lou Xiyan, afraid that he would be angry. Luckily for him, Chancellor Lou appeared to be deep in thought and didn’t seems to pay attention to that shrew’s entreaties.
“Let go of me!” Madam Lin struggled desperately, but to no avail since she was struggling against two bailiffs. Both of them stood respectively on her right and left and were dragging her outside.
Right at the moment Madam Lin was about to be throw out, an indifferent voice faintly sounded out. “There is no need to hurriedly drive people away. Suicide or Homicide, let’s take a look of the corpse and the truth will naturally be reveal.”
The Ministry of Appointment is the equivalent of Human Ressources
 免礼 (miǎn lǐ) : It just mean “to forego formalities”. I’m just trying to make it sound less casual and not necessary to make a whole sentence each time it will be use.
 明鉴 (míng jiàn) [Perceive] : In ancient times, it was some kind of flattering way to say to someone that his mind his bright and he have discernment. I know you guys can’t actually read chinese, but I’m still going to put the reference since it was kinda hard to find that specific information elsewhere. (Baike Baidu)
 丞相大人 (chéng xiàng dà rén) : After lots of researching, reading and thinking, I have decided to change Mister Prime Minister to Lord Chancellor. The details for this change and lots of cultural informations, references and explanations on the Government possible structure will be here.
 民妇 (mín fù) : This character 妇 (fù) is a variant of woman. As for the 民 (mín), please referred to the chinese honorifics infos: here.