Chapter 75: World’s Number One Swordsmith
“Mother, don’t worry. Leave this matter to me.”
Wang Chong held his mother’s hands tightly as he spoke. What Censor Fu, other people might he afraid of him, but how could Wang Chong fear him? After weathering so many storms in his previous life, how could he be afraid of a mere censor?
Wang Chong knew a bit about this Fu He. He has a hostile relationship with Big Uncle Wang Gen, and he seemed to be dissatisfied with the prestigious standing Wang Chong’s grandfather, Duke Jiu, has in the country. As such, he was often trying to find fault with the Wang Clan.
Also, of all censors, he had the closest relationship with the Duke of Su. Otherwise, no matter how bold Su Bai was, he wouldn’t dare to invite him over.
“Censor Fu, you sure are free. When did checking on the officials and maintaining order become an inspection on the lives of ordinary civilians? Indeed, our Wang Clan’s stipends do not allow us to save up to a thousand gold taels, ——But does that mean that I won’t be able to?”
Knowing about his background, Wang Chong didn’t bother acting courteously around him.
Hearing Wang Chong’s words, everyone was flabbergasted. Fearful that the censors would report them up to the royal court, others usually acted carefully around them, trying to speak less if possible. After all, the more one spoke, the more likely one would misspeak. Yet, Wang Chong refuted the censor directly.
“Gongzi, you should tone down.”
“A censor isn’t a joke.”
Shen Hai and Meng Long tugged on Wang Chong’s sleeves with a lowered head. They had come from the military, but after living in the capital for several years, they understood whom one should not trifle with.
“Wang gongzi, you’re saying that you earned this sum of money yourself?”
Censor Fu eyes narrowed. For the first time, he seriously looked at Wang Chong in the eye.
Wang Chong said without any hesitation. Su Bai’s intention of trying to get a handle over Wang Chong through Censor Fu was a mistake from the very start. From his obtaining of the Hyderabad ore to the smithing and sales of his sword were all legal, and they could be easily checked on. Even if a censor were to look into the matter, he would be unable to find a single fault with it.
“Hahaha, what a joke. Wang Chong, you were able to earn this sum of money?”
Before Censor Fu could even talk, Su Bai burst out laughing.
He would never believe that Wang Chong could possess such abilities. To be able to come up with such a ridiculous excuse, it was as though he was treating them all as fools. If Wang Chong had such abilities, the Wang Clan would have prospered long ago. The word incorruptibility wouldn’t have been used on the Wang Clan either.
What does being incorruptible means? It means being poor!
To dare speak nonsense before a censor, Wang Chong sure was brazen.
“Wang gongzi, it is best that you speak of the truth. This matter isn’t a joke.”
Censor Fu slowly spoke with a stern voice. Wang Chong’s actions of spouting nonsense before him made him feel uncomfortable.
He was challenging his prestige as a censor!
“Hmph! It is up to you to believe it. If I say that I am the one who earned it, then I am the one who earned it. Do I need to lie about it? As a censor, you might possess great authority, but I don’t think that you are so powerful that I have to report my finances to you.”
Wang Chong said coldly.
Hearing Wang Chong’s words, Fu He flew into a rage.
“Madam Wang, how do you educate your child? Censors represent His Majesty himself, and given how this fund came from an unknown source, do you think that it is appropriate for me not to investigate it? Has the Wang Clan grown so powerful so as to treat His Majesty with such contempt?”
Fu He glared at Madam Wang, Zhao Shu Hua, with incomparably cold eyes.
Upon hearing Censor Fu’s words, Madam Wang’s complexion paled. Disrespecting the emperor was a heavy crime!
“Chong-er, don’t say anymore.”
Madam Wang hurriedly pulled Wang Chong’s hands.
Angered, just as Wang Chong was about to reveal the matter at the Bluebottle Pavilion, a resounding voice suddenly echoed in the air:
“Hasn’t Wang gongzi said it already? I will face off with anyone who dares to say that Wang gongzi is lying! ——”
Hong long long, the ground tremored. Before anyone could make sense out of what was happening, from the far end of the street, numerous carriages galloped toward here, the Wang Family Residence, and dust danced into the air.
“The Imperial Army?!”
Upon seeing the insignia on the carriages, the faces of the scions paled. The insignia on those luxurious and elegant carriages clearly belonged to the Imperial Army.
But the problem was what was the Imperial Army doing here?
“Scram to the side! Brats, scram to the side! ——”
“Don’t block the way! To dare to even block the path of the carriage of an Imperial Army member, do your eyes grow on the back of your head?”
“The Imperial Army has something to attend to, the small fries in front, get out of the way!”
Domineering and unreasonable bellows roared from the carriages.
The scions here all came from wealthy or prestigious families. But their identity meant nothing before the Imperial Army.
“Go to the side, don’t block the way!”
“Hurry up and move your carriages away!”
“Does those bastards not have any ears?”
Seeing how the Imperial Army members were rushing over furiously and that there were no signs of them stopping, the scions immediately panicked and hurriedly ordered their coaches to move their carriage outside.
Even Censor Fu He couldn’t help but be astounded by the presence of the Imperial Army members and quickly moved to the side. The academics and the military belonged to two different systems. Even though there were some overlaps here and there, the influence of one on the other took a huge cut.
He might be able to impeach the ministers on the royal court with sufficient evidence and even criticize the current emperor if the need calls for it. However, he was helpless toward these Imperial Army members who were the guards of the emperor.
Hong long long, the carriages of the Imperial Army stopped among the crowd. As they walked toward the scions, the scions hurriedly dodged aside, as though evading a plague.
Suddenly, someone noticed something. Then, the people around him noticed it as well.
“Commanders! These people are the commanders of the Imperial Army!”
Seeing the panther, dragons, tigers, and qilin engravement on the various carriages, the scions were astounded. They had already backed three to four zhang away, and upon seeing those designs, they immediately retreated further.
Everyone here possessed some knowledge of the Imperial Army. The panther, dragon, tiger, and qilin engravement wasn’t something that anyone could use.
These represented the top commanders of the Imperial Army!
“Why are all these fellows here?”
Knowing their background, they were all astounded. These Imperial Army members were all like scorpions and tigers whereas they were helpless chickens in their hands. They wouldn’t even suffice as an entertainment for them.
“Hmph! So it’s you lot!”
Initially, Censor Fu He had moved to the side as well. However, upon seeing that it was the commanders of the Imperial Army, not only did he not retreat further, he even stepped forward:
“Instead of protecting His Majesty at the royal palace, what are you all doing here? Don’t you all fear that I might report you all for neglecting your duties?”
“Heh, Lord Censor, the Imperial Army is in charge of protecting His Majesty, but I don’t believe that there is a clause saying that we can’t leave the royal palace at all. Besides, do we have to report to you to purchase a few swords?”
These commanders all had lush beards, thick eyebrows, and lips. With a single look, it was clear that they were the wild and domineering type, the type who was impossible to rationalize with.
Su Bai’s heart skipped a beat as a thought flashed through his mind.
“What do you mean? Buying swords?”
Censor Fu asked with a grim expression.
“Heh, I can’t be bothered to explain it to you.”
Other people might fear the Censorate, but not the Imperial Army. The Imperial Army was the guards of the emperor. This means that their only superior was the emperor, and only the emperor had the authority to punish them.
Even the Censorate didn’t wield such power.
“Hehehe, gongzi, there’s no need to quarrel with boors like them. The Imperial Army’s Soaring Serpent Captain Zhang Song greets gongzi!”
“Isn’t it just a few thousand gold taels? Why should you slander gongzi for such a small sum? I have 50000 gold taels in my carriage, gongzi, feel free to take it!”
“They must be truly blind to not even know the world’s number one swordsmith. ——Gongzi, your sword is truly beautiful. I beseech you to smith one for me as well. Money isn’t a problem!”
“Bastard! I haven’t said anything yet! Gongzi, please forge one for me as well!”
“Gongzi, I believe in your smithing skills. Just that, I don’t think the gemstones on the sword is beautiful, so I brought a few over myself. Gongzi, feel free to choose to use any of these gems. The rest will all belong to you! My only request is for you to make my sword good-looking!”
“Tsk, so have so many demands! Gongzi, I am unlike them. I will take anything that you forge, so please craft a sword for me!”
Amidst everyone’s shocked gazes, the arrogant Imperial Army commanders suddenly turned into obedient lambs before Wang Chong, acting subserviently before him.
That fawning and bootlicking look of theirs felt ridiculous to the crowd. Was this really the Imperial Army commanders who had just bellowed at them haughtily and charged straight toward them?
“What, what is going on?”
Everyone was stunned by the sight. When did Wang Chong possess such sorcery to make these Imperial Army commanders act so humble?
Madam Wang was dumbfounded as well. The nannies, maids, and servants stared at one another. Soon, all of their gazes fell on Wang Chong.
This sight was simply too ridiculous for them to bear. Only Wang Chong could explain it to them now.
Wang Chong was also at a loss. These Imperial Army commanders came too suddenly that Wang Chong couldn’t comprehend the situation all of the sudden. Just that from their words, it seemed to be related to the Wootz steel sword he had forged.
But why now? This question perplexed Wang Chong.
“Wait a minute! Are you all sure you all aren’t mistaken? The person you are looking for is really Wang Chong?”
A voice abruptly echoed by the side. Su Bai walked out from the crowd, and his expression was so calm that it was frightening. He would never believe that Wang Chong could be the number one swordsmith. Thus, upon seeing the arrival of the crowd, his first reaction was that they were at the wrong door, or perhaps, they had found the wrong person.
“Who are you to be barking here?”
“You must be blind to not recognize the world’s number one swordsmith!”
“Hehe, we don’t even dare to address gongzi by his name, yet you brat dare to shout out master’s name! Scram to the side!”
“Master, don’t get angry. This kind of brat isn’t worth your anger. Why don’t I teach him a lesson for you?”
Su Bai’s words had incited the insults of the Imperial Army members. Hearing their words, Su Bai’s complexion turned awful.
Qilin -> A mystical beast in Chinese folklore. Somewhat similar to Kirin of Japanese folklore.