Chapter 115: Justice is Served
Translator: Translation Nation Editor: Translation Nation
"Oh, all I asked was the whereabouts of Liao Ge's daughter. If you answer me, I shall be contented and let this matter pass. If not..." Pei Zi Yun was filled with sudden anger as he cleared his throat threateningly.
"Liao Ge's daughter? I never knew he had a daughter!" The big burly man replied to Pei Zi Yun, his eyes darting in different directions. Most of the people who had come looking for Liao Ge were only concerned about the amount of money he had left behind. Nobody cared for his daughter. Seeing a scene like this made the burly man hesitate.
"Hm, Chen Yuan, let's go!" Pei Zi Yun laughed mockingly. He picked up the umbrella and turned around towards the ox-cart waiting outside. There was no use arguing with people like these. Not only was it obvious that they were hiding something, it was certain that they would not help out in any way. The best solution to this would be to order the bailiff to provide the information. If these people had done anything to hurt Liao Ge's daughter, they should not blame Pei Zi Yun for acting rashly.
Seeing Pei Zi Yun act this way, the big burly man was filled with intense rage. He charged towards Pei Zi Yun, his fists clenched and raised, ready to strike, "You want to make a fool out of me!"
Pei Zi Yun took a step back, and allowed the burly man to rush towards him. When he was within striking range, Pei Zi Yun then pointed an index finger to his chest. The burly man was flung back before landing onto the ground with a loud thud. His entire body then started twitching in pain, as he screamed out in agony.
When the woman saw the man being knocked onto the ground, she shouted out in fear, "Hurry, come and help! Someone's entered our house and he's turned aggressive!"
The rain was still heavy and thus nobody from outside of the mansion came to intervene. However, several people from within the house came out. An elderly man brought several other younger men out. When they saw Pei Zi Yun, the older man asked fiercely, "Who are you, why have you come to our Liao mansion?"
"I shall ask one more time. Where is Liao Ge's daughter? Before he died, he made a last request of me. I've come to visit her and to see how she is. So under what circumstance is she not living here anymore?" Pei Zi Yun asked coldly. He had initially thought that Liao Ge's daughter might have been bullied here and there. He did not expect them to say that she was no longer around.
If they had done anything untoward against his daughter, Pei Zi Yun would not show any mercy to them. Liao Ge might have treated these people as his blood relatives. Pei Zi Yun would not hesitate to strike out against them.
Hearing Pei Zi Yun speak, the old man replied, "Are you cheats trying to find trouble here? Liao Ge has been murdered outside by bandits unexpectedly. He could not possibly have anticipated his own death and thus had the time to entrust anyone to fulfil his last wishes."
The old man was experienced and wise. He then hurriedly shouted at his men, "Go and report this to the officials now. And surround them. Do not let these cheats run away."
Chen Yuan was enraged and wanted to speak out but held his tongue when he saw Pei Zi Yun raise a hand. Pei Zi Yun laughed.
Before long, a constable arrived and entered the mansion. He was wearing a raincoat and a straw hat. On one hand, he carried a sword. On the other, he carried some chains. As he entered, he shouted loudly, "What's happening, who's making trouble?"
The burly man had just been helped up to his feet by the woman. When the constable's voice rang out, the old man hurriedly welcomed him with a smile, "Third Master Qian, Liao Ge died outside while on duty for the Governor. This man here insists that he promised to look after the orphan, and is looking for trouble with us. I plead with Third Master Qian to arrest this man. And teach him a lesson."
The old man was wise, and he subtly retrieved a tael of silver from his robes and handed it over to the constable. The constable eyed it for a second before accepting it. Although it was not considered much, it was better than nothing.
"It's you who's causing all the problems?" The constable's expression was fierce and hostile. He stepped forward to arrest Pei Zi Yun and looked at them. However, when he looked at the pair of them, he hesitated. Something about their demeanor was not quite right?
Pei Zi Yun cleared his throat as Chen Yuan retrieved a card and gave it to the constable, "This is my Master's card."
Pei Zi Yun then said calmly, "Liao Ge instructed me to look after his daughter just before he died. And yet these people claimed that Liao Ge's daughter had died a long time ago. I want you to check this information out. These people have the audacity to make a move against an official's daughter. What is the punishment for that?"
He had only gone to the capital for a couple of months. Who would've expected that when he returned, the little orphan girl had been harmed. At this point he looked at the family before him, his expression was cold. He knew that he would go all out to make these people pay if something untoward did happen to the little orphan girl.
When the constable heard Pei Zi Yun speak, he knew that this Young Master was not just any normal civilian, and thus felt that something was amiss. When he received the card, he looked at it and realized that it belonged to Ying Prefecture's High Scholar, Pei Zi Yun. His face then turned pale. These constables from the magistrate's office were all extremely well informed. He started sweating profusely. He then turned around and looked at the old man who had just given him a tael of silver, and shouted, "You have committed a crime by making a move against the daughter of an official. If not for Master Top Scorer here, this case would've gone unnoticed and not be investigated. Worse still, you intended to bribe me? This makes your crime more severe."
As he spoke, he took his chains and stepped forward to arrest the old man.
The old man's faced turned pale, unable to believe what had just happened and hurriedly shouted, "Your excellency, injustice. We did not harm the orphan. Your excellency, we did not harm her."
At this point, he did not dare to refer to the constable as Third Master Qian, and had referred to him as "your excellency" in extreme fear. Even the big man was shouting on the side, "Your excellency, we did not harm her. We are all from Liao clan. My father is the clan leader. When Liao Ge died, this house thus went to my clan, as no outsider should lay claim on it. This is the law!"
The constable laughed, "The law? Ever since the establishment of the dynasty, the law was that you're not allowed to swallow the assets of the deceased. Do you think you can hide this from the authorities? Once we get to the magistrate's office you shall have plenty of time to explain the law to us."
The entire yard was silent after hearing the constable speak. They knew that they were in deep trouble. A young man who was standing beside the old man stammered as he spoke out, "Your excellency, I will speak. I will speak. The little orphan girl didn't die. She's back at the village, and living a good life."
Pei Zi Yun heaved a sigh of relief before turning to the young man, "Take us there."
Liao Ge was of a low birth and was born to a family of low ranking officials. He had worked his entire life to achieve his ninth rank. Although he had some lands, it didn't amount to more than thirty mu. As long as his daughter was still alive, Liao Ge's house and lands didn't matter to Pei Zi Yun at all. In fact, he was able to provide so much more than what Liao Ge had left behind. In future, when this orphan wished to get married, he could even offer up several hundred mu of land. What was the big deal to him?
The most important thing at this juncture was that the orphan girl was safe and sound. After hearing Pei Zi Yun gave the order, the young man trembled, not daring to refuse.
Pei Zi Yun waved a hand, "Constable Qian, you shall follow us as well."
The constable was shouting expletives in his head, and yet could not disobey. He thus forced a wide smile, "Yes, yes, I shall follow."
As he spoke, rage filled his swiped his chains across the body of the old man, before chaining him up, "Hurry, why haven't you prepared an ox-cart for us?"
Before long, a pair of ox-cart departed from the mansion and traveled through the muddy and wet streets.
The many mud houses which lined the streets were extremely small, and the spaces between them were very narrow. On the corner of the wall hung several thin bamboo strips where an entire mound of random items sat by the corner of the wall. An old woman was carrying a young girl by the dim lights of the room they were in. This little girl had been starved till she was merely flesh and bones. The old lady begged, "I beg you, please give us something to eat. This little girl is going to die of hunger. You can't do this. In any case, the old leader had looked after all of you for so many years, how can you be so cruel."
"Hm, you're so old but refuse to die, and the young girl you're holding is just another beggar. You both should die as soon as possible. What contribution are you talking about. This little girl has made a mistake, and should be locked up as punishment. What food do you speak off? Wait for you to be released before we shall speak of this again."
"This little girl is so young. How can she understand what's happening? If you didn't ask her to run so many errands at the shrine, she wouldn't have knocked over the lamp as well. All the lands have already been given to you, this is about the mansion isn't it?" The old woman noticed that the child's breathing was becoming weaker and shouted out in fear.
"Hm, what rubbish are you speaking. Just stay inside here and endure your punishment!" A lady shouted back into the room. As she spoke, she was chewing on some seeds.
At this point, a bolt of lightning flashed from the sky, piercing through the waves of dark clouds looming overhead. It illuminated the sky for a split second, before the roaring of the thunder could be heard, shaking the entire mud house. The woman trembled.
"Open up, open the door." Someone was knocking on the door outside the yard.
"Coming, I'm coming." A cold breeze swept in as the door opened up. She then saw the clan leader outside. The clan leader walked in and hurriedly asked, "Where's little Ye? Bring her out now."
"Leader, didn't you say to make her...." Even before she could complete her sentence, the leader's face turned pale as he hurriedly interrupted "Make her what? I do not know anything."
Within the house, the old woman heard some noise outside. As if gripping onto a floating straw as she was sinking, she shouted, "Hurry come and save the little girl. Hurry."
Her voice was somewhat muffled as a hand stuck out from the window of the room.
Pei Zi Yun decided to respond, and ignored everyone else. He pushed past the woman and walked hurriedly into the room. Seeing that it had been locked, he retrieved his sword and hacked down onto the chains. With a "ka cha", the chains fell open and dropped to the ground.
When he opened the door, he saw an old woman carrying a child. This child had been reduced to a mere sack of bones, and was whispering, "Granny, I'm thirsty. I'm hungry."
Once he saw this child he hurried rushed up to them, "Is this Liao Ge's daughter?"
The old woman extended a hand, "Yes, Young Master. Please save this little miss. Save this little miss."
Pei Zi Yun extended a hand to take the little girl. Once he took her in his arms, his vision flashed back to when Liao Ge was dying, the final words he spoke to him. Pei Zi Yun's face turned. Chen Yuan saw the situation before him and said, "Young Master, give her some water now but she cannot eat. I will go to the kitchen and instruct them to prepare some porridge, and heat it up. But she cannot eat much."
"Hurry go!" Pei Zi yun instructed. Pei Zi Yun then cupped his hand out to get some rain water and fed it to her. This little girl then sucked on his moist fingers like an infant.
There was some leftover cold porridge within the kitchen, and Chen Yuan hurriedly heated it up before bringing it over. Pei Zi Yun then fed the girl small mouthfuls of porridge. Seeing food before her, her eyes widened as she gulped down every spoonful that came her way. Before long, she finished the entire bowl of porridge.
"Young Master, you must not feed her anymore." Chen Yuan said. The old woman beside her however finished three consecutive bowls. She must've been starving.
Pei Zi Yun then handed the little girl over to the old woman. He then looked at the old clan leader and two women in the yard. With a cold expression, he reached in for a single banknote and handed it over to the constable, "Constable Qian, see that justice is served."
Constable Qian had wanted to reject the money, and yet when he saw the intense look on Pei Zi Yun's face he trembled slightly and bowed, "Yes, master Top Scorer. I will see that justice is administered."
Pei Zi Yun carried the little girl out of the room. She was full at this point, and opened wide her large eyes to look at Pei Zi Yun. Seeing that Pei Zi Yun was about to leave with her, she screamed out frantically, "Granny, granny!"
Pei Zi Yun turned around. The old lady was hesitating, and unsure of whether she should follow. Pei Zi Yun gazed at her, and knew that if the old lady had not protected her, their situation would be much worse off. The little guy might even be dead long ago. He then said, "Come with us. His excellency Ge had instructed me to look after his family before his death. I will not shortchange you."
Pei Zi Yun brought the pair of them out. Rain and wind assaulted everyone out in the open. Pei Zi Yun had a thick jacket on him, as he entered the ox-cart. This old woman walked slowly and caught up only after some time.
Pei Zi Yun then asked softly, "What's your name?"
The little girl was still somewhat afraid and dare not speak out. The old woman hurriedly replied, "Young Master, the little miss' name is Liao Qing Ye."
Pei Zi Yun gently stroked her hair, "Do not worry. In the future, nothing like that will happen anymore. I shall protect you."
He then turned to the old woman, "You've been extremely loyal and caring. I shall not mistreat you as well. Instead, you shall be rewarded."
The old woman heard the constable refer to him as Top Scorer and knew of his status. She then fell to her knees in the ox-cart, "Thank you master Top Scorer. This old woman is frail and old. I do not know how long more I have to live. If it weren't for you, I'm afraid little miss might not have made it till tomorrow."
She then started crying. Pei Zi Yun turned his face outside to the wind and rain. It was dark, and his expression could not be seen.
"Third Master Qian?" Seeing the ox-cart far away, the clan leader asked cautiously. In fact, they had a close relationship between them.
"Liao San, you've caused a big problem." The constable let out an expression of a half smile before pointing at the banknote, "Look what this is? A hundred taels!"
"His excellency Liao's property were only worth a few hundred taels? This Top Scorer Pei really hates you!"
The clan leader's knees went weak immediately.