Chapter 76: Su Bai Gets Jailed!
From young, Su Bai has always gotten what he wanted. Furthermore, he was intelligent, so he never suffered setbacks. When has he ever been humiliated like that?
Yet, those in the Imperial Army were all boors who speak through their strength. Su Bai’s reputation meant nothing to them at all!
“Wang Chong! Someday, I will return the humiliation back to you!”
Since he wasn’t able to deal with these powerful commanders Imperial Army, especially when he didn’t know their identities, he chose to vent his anger on Wang Chong instead.
Wang Chong didn’t know of Su Bai’s thoughts, and he couldn’t be bothered with them either. However, he found it interesting to see Su Bai’s face flush with anger and embarrassment.
In any case, Wang Chong was more bothered about the sudden appearance of the Imperial Army. Until now, he was still unable to comprehend why this many Imperial Army commanders were at his home all of the sudden.
Furthermore, each of them was of prestigious standing. Thus, Wang Chong had to deal with them properly.
“We’ll talk about the swords inside later!”
Wang Chong said. Given the large crowd which was increasing by the moment, this wasn’t a good place to have a chat.
Hearing Wang Chong’s words, the Imperial Army commanders immediately cheered in agreement.
“We’ll listen to gongzi‘s words!”
“Gongzi, feel free to do as you please. I won’t be polite with anyone who dares to cause trouble!”
“Gongzi, feel free to command us, we’ll follow your orders!”
“Gongzi, you must help us smith our swords! If I can’t buy the Wootz steel sword, I’ll really die!”
Hearing those fawning words, Su Bai’s face flushed further in resentment.
Those Imperial Army commanders in the royal court often looked down on others and refused to submit to anyone. No one has ever seen them speaking so politely and fawning on someone. It was truly a mystery what kind of magic Wang Chong used to turn them like that!
Su Bai could already be considered to be calm among the crowd. The other scions watching the sight were completely flabbergasted.
“This Wang Chong… Isn’t he too formidable!”
“To be able to make the commanders of the Imperial Army fawn on him like that!”
“To think that we helped Su Bai deal with him!”
“Even ten Su Bais aren’t a match for him, this is like smashing an egg against a stone!”
The scions stared at Wang Chong, who was surrounded by the Imperial Army, in admiration. They wondered if they could ever be as impressive as Wang Chong and be respected by even the commanders of the Imperial Army.
But amidst their admiration was fear.
The current Wang Chong was already at a level far beyond them. He was someone they could only look up to.
“Meng Long, make some arrangements. Pay the people who had loaned me money based on their debt notes.”
Ignoring the crowd, Wang Chong turned to instruct Meng Long.
“Yes, young master.”
Meng Long replied. These nobles came with malicious intentions, but the debt was a separate matter. Meng Long admired his young master on how he didn’t renege on his promises.
“Come over here to exchange the debt notes for your money. Our young master is magnanimous and won’t fuss over this matter.”
Meng Long beckoned the scions over.
Upon hearing that they could claim their money, the crowd cheered joyfully. They hurriedly rushed over to Meng Long. At the same time, a favorable impression of Wang Chong sprouted in them.
“Lord, does the hundred gold taels matter still apply now?”
A scion asked carefully.
Meng Long reprimanded and everyone burst into laughter. Somehow, their relationship with the Wang Clan didn’t feel as stiff as how it was a moment ago.
Upon seeing the sight, Wang Chong smiled. Just when he was about to walk over, he saw a figure with his peripheral vision and his gaze turned cold. He bellowed:
“Su Bai, where do you think you’re going?”
As though thunder from the heavens, the shout shot through the streets. Dozens of steps away, Su Bai’s body trembled. He abruptly stopped a few steps before his green carriage.
At the same moment, all eyes immediately shot onto the son of the Duke of Su.
The cheerings and laughter disappeared in an instant and the atmosphere suddenly tensed once more.
“Wang Chong, what do you want?”
Su Bai slowly turned around to look at Wang Chong furiously.
The situation has changed and the tides were against him now. Initially, he intended to slip into his carriage and leave discreetly. Yet, Wang Chong noticed him.
“Hmph, since you’ve come, do you think you’ll be allowed to leave that easily?”
Wang Chong flung his sleeves and spoke coldly.
This Su Bai had staged this event to bring his downfall. For this, he even brought the officials from the Court of Judicial Review and Censor Fu He, all these just to create an uproar over the debt to strike a blow onto the Wang Clan.
Wang Chong could still reluctantly overlook the matter if Su Bai had charged straight at him. However, he had intended to bring calamity upon the entire Wang Clan through this matter, leaving no point of reconciliation.
If Wang Chong were to allow Su Bai to leave just like that, he wouldn’t be Wang Chong.
In an instant, the entrance of the Wang Family Residence turned silent. The atmosphere felt bizarre and dangerous, and the scions and nobles whom Su Bai brought didn’t dare to even breathe.
Even though Wang Chong seemed like an amiable person, sometimes, he released an aura which instilled fear into others. The current Wang Chong may seem calm, but he emanated an aura which one couldn’t help but feel terrified.
“What do you want? Do you intend to assault me before so many people?”
Su Bai sneered coldly.
In fact, he was praying for Wang Chong to attack him. In terms of martial arts, he was superior to Wei Hao, needless to say, Wang Chong. With so many people here, including the officials of the Court of Judicial Review and a censor, he didn’t believe that Wang Chong would dare to send his guards at him.
“Hehe, don’t worry! I won’t send anyone at you.”
How could Wang Chong not know what Su Bai was thinking! If Su Bai thought that Wang Chong needed to make a move himself to deal with him, then he couldn’t be any more mistaken.
Wang Chong’s goal wasn’t just to inflict physical harm on him.
“Su Bai, you can leave, but I’m afraid that you will have to pay a visit to the jail cell of the Great Tang capital.”
Wang Chong sneered coldly.
Su Bai’s expression immediately changed upon hearing those words.
“Why don’t I dare?”
Wang Chong turned to look at Censor Fu:
“Censor Fu, for falsely accusing and slandering an important official of the royal court, how should one be punished by the laws of Great Tang?”
“For falsely accusing important officials of the royal court, one would be flogged a hundred times, jailed for three years, and his nose will be sliced off before being exiled to the borders for menial labor!”
These words weren’t said by Censor Fu, but by the two officials of the Court of Judicial Review whom Su Bai invited over. Other than filing contracts, documents and enforcing agreements, they were in charge of carrying out punishments as well.
Thus, no one was more familiar with the Great Tang laws than these officials of the Court of Judicial Review.
The words of these two officials were as though a bolt of lightning. Everyone’s face immediately changed, be it astonishment, fear, or anger. Su Bai’s body trembled, as though he has just suffered a great blow, and his face was as pale as a sheet of paper.
Even Censor Fu He’s complexion darkened.
Falsely accusing an important official was one of the heaviest crimes in the clauses of the Great Tang law! These officials were the pillars propping up the empire, and if one could accuse such important officials without concrete evidence, the country would easily descend into chaos!
Thus, the royal court had imposed a heavy punishment to avoid such situations.
It wasn’t really to protect these officials. Rather, it was to deter those unscrupulous people with malicious intentions. Su Bai had only thought of bringing down the Wang Clan, he didn’t think about the consequences of his failure beforehand.
Wang Chong’s father was a general by the border, Big Uncle Wang Gen was an influential official in the royal court, and his grandfather, Duke Jiu, was a confidant of the emperor. Su Bai’s action of attempting to bring down the Wang Clan was equivalent to offending all of these people thoroughly.
Thus, Wang Chong wasn’t wrong at all in saying that Su Bai falsely accused important court officials.
This time, Wang Chong wanted to teach Su Bai a heavy lesson!
“Lord Censor, you should have heard it, right? Even an emperor would be punished as though a civilian if he breaks a law. Lord Censor, surely you won’t treat Su Bai specially just because of your relationship with Duke of Su?”
To Wang Chong’s surprise, the two officials spoke up for him. However, this was even better. He wanted to see if Su Bai was able to get off the hook today.
“Wang gongzi, it’s good to be forgiving. Madam Wang, Su gongzi is still young, and his brother and Duke of Su are important officials in the court, propping up the country. It isn’t to the country’s benefit to sour the relationship between both clans just because of a children’s squabble. Madam Wang, what do you think of this?”
Fu He turned to Madam Wang. He was acquainted with Duke of Su, Su Fuwei. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have accepted Su Bai’s request and came along with him.
Falsely accusing an important official of the royal court wasn’t a small matter. If Su Bai were to be captured and held in the Court of Judicial Review, Fu He would become a laughingstock.
Even worse, he wouldn’t be able to account the matter to Duke of Su.
Fu He knew that it was impossible for Wang Chong to settle the matter peacefully. Thus, he turned his gaze to Madam Wang, Zhao Shu Hua, in hopes that she would relent.
As long as Madam Wang spoke in Su Bai’s defense, this matter could be scaled down and settled peacefully.
“Lord Fu, I am just a mere woman and I don’t know of the affairs of the royal court. Since the royal court has its own set of rules, we should follow it. Lord Fu, don’t you agree?”
Zhao Shu Hua had also gone all out this time. Su Bai had clearly come with the intentions of bringing down the Wang Clan, and if not for her third son’s wits, as well as the arrival of the Imperial Army, it would have been hard to resolve the matter today.
The Wang Clan had been known for its incorruptibility for numerous generation. Her father-in-law was also strict in upholding the family’s honor and culture. If this matter were to be reported to the royal court, the Wang Clan’s prestige would be ruined.
She would be unable to account the matter to her father-in-law as well.
Furthermore, back then, when dealing with the Wang Clan, this censor clearly operated fully by the rules without any intentions of going easy on them. Yet, toward Su Bai, his tone changed, saying what it was good to be forgiving. This made Madam Wang feel disgusted.
Fu He called in agitation. He didn’t expect Madam Wang suddenly be so assertive on this matter.
“There’s no need to say anymore! Lord Fu, the royal court has its own rules. Are you trying to disregard them now?”
Wang Chong interjected Censor Fu He’s words. Without giving him a chance to say anything, Wang Chong turned to the two corpse-like officials of the Court of Judicial Review:
“Lords, I have the utmost respect for the Court of Judicial Review. Surely you won’t let Su Bai go just because his father is a duke?”
“How is that possible?”
The two officials words echoed loudly.
“Men, arrest Su Bai. If he escapes, carry your heads back to the Court of Judicial Review!”
Several guards rushed forward, grabbed Su Bai by the sides, and carried him into the carriage.
“Wang Chong, you bastard! I will never forgive you, just you wait! ——”
Su Bai cursed loudly as the guards dragged him onto the carriage. Without saying anything else, the two corpse-like officials turned around, got onto the carriage, and left. It didn’t take long for them to disappear by the corner of the street.
I left out a detail because I just couldn’t fit it in.
Even though I said slander/false accusation, there is actually an important phrase before it, 扑风捉影 (aka grabbing onto the intangible)
Meaning, if you were to catch onto something that’s not true (even if you believe it to be true, as in Su Bai’s case) and accuse an official without concrete evidence, it’s considered as slander/falsely accusing as well.
The reason why I left it out is because I can’t find an appropriate translation for it to explain the phrase within, but I hope this explains it if you find it a little weird.