# 107. Using Merit to Atone For Crime
Instantly, the other princes and princesses turned their heads to look at the eldest princess. Princess Lin'an, who was hugging Emperor Yuanjing’s arm, also could not resist and turned to look.
The Crown Prince glanced at the eldest princess from the corner of his eye.
A thought bloomed in all their minds at this moment.
*Huaiqing wants to promote one of her people.*
There were two ways for princes and princesses to expand their power and authority. First, they could win over courtiers. Second, they could promote their followers to high positions.
In terms of the first method, Emperor Yuanjing had a strong desire to control. He also had a deep Imperial Aura, so deep in fact, that the princes, including the crown prince, didn't dare to form their own factions this blatantly.
The latter, however, was their usual method.
But it also depended on their timing. The princes and princesses didn't feel that this was an opportune time since the task was too difficult.
Emperor Yuanjing narrowed his eyes, and smilingly said, "Who do you wish to recommend, Huaiqing?"
The eldest princess replied, "Xu Qi'an, a Bronze Gong from the Nightwatchers."
The second princess seemed to have realized something, "Aha!", saying innocently, "Is he that Bronze Gong who displayed deep admiration towards elder sister on the day of ancestor worship? I remember elder sister talking and laughing with him."
Her words were quite incisive.
In front of the Emperor himself, she secretly gave the eldest princess a good verbal jab.
It must be known, that the eldest princess hadn’t married yet. Emperor Yuanjing had been obsessed with cultivating the Dao in recent years, causing him to not care about the marriages of his children. But the eldest princess attracting bees and butterflies like this wouldn't do.
The eldest princess added, "Father should have heard about this person. He is the nephew of Baihu Xu Pingzhi, who was implicated in the Silver Tax case."
Emperor Yuanjing finally showed interest, "We remember a person who refined fake silver. If it weren't for the inconvenience of storing fake silver and the huge amount of salt consumed in its production, we would have had Sitianjian refine a large quantity."
The raw material for the fake silver was salt, and salt was too expensive. After listening to the report of the Arcanists in Sitianjian, Emperor Yuanjing gave up his idea of mass-producing fake silver.
"Additionally, when this person was on duty in Changle County, he performed very well and repeatedly solved murder cases." The eldest princess added some more oil to the fire.
Smilingly, Emperor Yuanjing said, "Given that’s the case, you don’t need to do anything more, right?"
The eldest princess bowed her head, and sincerely said, “Father, Bronze Gong Xu Qi'an clashed with a Silver Gong yesterday, and seriously injured him as well. People who commit this offense, according to the law, shall be chopped in half.
"Right now, that person is locked up in the dungeon. Your subject and child asks Father Sir to allow him to perform meritorious service to atone for his crimes."
The eldest princess didn't explain the reason for the conflict, nor did she defend Xu Qi'an, for she knew that they weren't important.
*Father doesn't care whether he was right or wrong. Father only cares if he could complete his work.*
Sure enough, Emperor Yuanjing didn't think of this matter for a second, as he quickly nodded and said, "Since Huaiqing vouched for him, we will allow him to atone for his crime and handle this case. If he doesn't find the culprit who destroyed the Temple of the Founding Emperor within half a month, we will immediately have him killed."
"Thank you, Father."
The princes and princesses left the royal study and joined their respective guards, while the eldest princess received her sword back from the chief guard.
The second princess held the arm of her elder brother, the crown prince, and said pitifully, "Ah, Huaiqing acted earlier than me."
The crown prince shook his head, "This isn't a good thing. Even Wei Yuan found this case tricky. Huaiqing merely made an idle move. it will be a pleasant thing if the Bronze Gong really solves the case. Well, If he doesn't, Huaiqing won't be losing anything, but he will lose his life."
"Hmph, Huaiqing's heart is truly black." The second princess wrinkled her small nose and asked, "Elder brother, What's going on in Yongzhen Shanhe Temple?"
Talking on the road, the crown prince looked around, before he finally said in a low voice, "This case doesn't seem to be simple, otherwise it wouldn't make Wei Yuan so frustrated. I'm afraid that only the Emperor knows of the secret."
*Of course, I'll also know the secret in the future.* He silently added. At the same time, the face of the female national teacher who looked beyond earthly matters appeared in his mind, inciting his resentment.
The eldest princess suddenly shouted, calling the brother-sister pair to stop.
The crown prince and the second princess turned their heads together, and Princess Lin'an replied fiercely, "What do you want?"
At the same time, she hugged the arms of her brother, the crown prince, tightly.
The eldest princess held her sword while she came over, saying, "Nothing…"
While a relaxed expression appeared on the faces of the brother-sister pair, a sword suddenly hit the second princess's raised buttocks.
Feeling the sharp pain, the second princess's face turned pale first, after which she cried "Waah", continuing to point at the eldest princess while screaming, "Huaiqing, I will kill you."
The other princes and princesses came over to pretend to persuade them, acting as peacemakers.
The crown prince seriously said, "You are going too far, Huaiqing."
"I'm just testing Lin'an's martial arts. If Lin’an doesn’t accept, then she can also test me." The eldest princess turned around gracefully, Her black hair swishing and unfolding, showing off her agile and resourceful beauty.
The second princess looked at her back and cried, "I will complain. I'll complain to father about this."
The crown prince helplessly said, "Let's wait for another day. Father probably doesn't want to talk with you currently."
If conflict or fight occurred between princes, Emperor Yuanjing would definitely take care of them, and would strictly control and severely punish them.
However, for fights between princesses, everyone would act as if they were settling minor quarrels.
The main reason for this is that most of the princes have cultivated Martial Arts, and injuries would be common in their fights. Among the princesses, however, only the eldest princess had cultivated martial arts. So, if there was a fight between princesses, they would just slap below the ears a bit gracefully. When angry, they would grab the hair and try to bite.
As these fights harmed the image of the royal family, they were unwilling to make this a matter of importance, and such fights were mostly solved in private.
Princess Lin'an gritted her small silver teeth, and scolded, "You just wait, I will snatch all your belongings."
The next day, Early morning.
Wei Yuan, who had just finished meditating, received an order from the palace.
"This servant has brought his Majesty’s orders. Duke Wei, please go to the dungeon and invite that Bronze Gong." the little eunuch who delivered the command said humbly.
“His Majesty today did not eat much, his thoughts are heavy. We hope that Duke Wei can solve this case as soon as possible.”
After having someone send the eunuch away, Wei Yuan smiled.
Yang Yan, who was accompanying his father to have breakfast, heaved a sigh of relief, "It seems that father doesn't need to bother to save him."
Nangong Qianrou let out a "hah" and laughed at Yang Yan, the fool who cultivated martial arts until his brain was cultivated stupid, before saying:
"What do you think father said to the eldest princess last night?"
Yang Yan thought over it for some time, before he realized something.
*Yesterday, the princess sent her subordinates to investigate the conflict between Xu Qi'an and Zhu Chengzhu. Presumably, she was more interested in investigating a single person.*
*Father had also hinted to the eldest princess last night, and due to the tacit understanding between smart people, the eldest princess took the opportunity to recommend Xu Qi'an to his majesty, and let him get the opportunity to use meritorious service to offset his crimes.*
*This way, Xu Qi'an can be justifiably exonerated, without anyone else pointing fingers at him.*
Yang Yan had long since expected his adoptive father to rescue Xu Qi'an. He knew that sending Xu Qi'an to the dungeon and sentencing him to be waist chopped after a week was only for the people in the office to see.
The greater the authority, the lesser the flexibility.
He frowned, "But, what if Xu Qi'an doesn't solve the case even after half a month?"
Wei Yuan smiled, "Then he only has the option to die, and then enter the Jianghu. Xu Qi'an will transform from a bright chess piece to a dark piece."
*Father values him quite much.* Nangong Qianrou and Yang Yan smoothened their expressions.
Wei Yuan seemed to have remembered something, and he squinted his eyes before he said, smilingly, "Send someone to inform Li Yuchun that His Majesty has especially allowed Xu Qi'an to use meritorious service to atone for his crimes, and, he, Li Yuchun, will be reinstated."
Pausing for a bit, Wei Yuan showed an expression that looked like a smile and yet not a smile, at the same time, "Act somewhat grandly."
Song Tingfeng and Zhu Guangxiao, led by the jailers, went to the dungeon, bearing joyful faces to pick up their colleague from prison.
At that time, Xu Qi'an was emptying the contents of his bladder, holding the wall with one hand, and his little brother with another. Startled by his colleagues and the jailers' sudden appearance, his hands trembled slightly.
"Damn it..." Xu Qi'an cursed, before wiping his hands on the prison uniform.
"Ningyan, you don't have to die, Ningyan!" After the jailer took out the door key, Song Tingfeng said, laughing.
"His Majesty has allowed you to use meritorious service to offset your crimes."
Xu Qi'an was taken aback, his first thought being, *Fuck, is Number One His Majesty?!*
He immediately denied his guess, and patted Song Tingfeng's shoulder calmly before saying with a deep voice, "What's going on?"
Being in a hurry to share the joy, Song Tingfeng didn't realize that he had been plotted against and continued telling Xu Qi'an about the details.
*An explosion happened in Sangpo, and Yongzhen Shanhe Temple collapsed.* Xu Qi'an's pupils shrank, as his thoughts immediately led to the strange cry he had heard on the day of ancestor worship.
That meant He hadn't guessed wrongly before.
The cry for help wasn't aimed at him. He had just heard it due to some special reason.
*Therefore, Whose cry for help is coming from the interior of Sangpo Lake?*
"What happened to the Divine Sword enshrined in the temple?" Xu Qi'an asked after thinking for some time.
Song Tingfeng shook his head, indicating that he didn't know about it, and said, "Boss was fired because of you. After you were imprisoned in the dungeon, he ran below the Tower of Noble Spirit, reprimanded the entire office, and slapped Duke Wei's face in public.
*That's indeed something Brother Chun could do.* Xu Qi'an was moved.
When retrieving his uniform, sabre, and badge from the warden, Xu Qi'an was relieved to know that his jade mirror had been taken away by his cousin.
*As expected, Wei Yuan didn't intend to kill me at all. Even if his majesty didn't pardon me. Dad Wei would have saved me using a reasonable excuse.*
After leaving the dungeon, the two walked toward the regions outside the office. When they approached the gate, they heard the sound of a gong beating.
Li Yuchun entered the Office surrounded by several Bronze Gongs. The leading bronze gong was beating a copper gong, and shouting,
"Silver Gong Li to be reinstated!!!"
Petty officials and Nightwatchers, all came out to look at the commotion and directed towards Li Yuchun.
Blushing, Brother Chun bowed his head and scurried out.
Not far away, his three little brothers looked at each other, and Xu Qi'an suggested, "Boss is celebrating his reinstation. Let's not bother him."
Song Tingfeng and Zhu Guangxiao also nodded, the three reaching agreement.
Wei Yuan deliberately did this to Brother Chun, surely. Yesterday, you slapped him in the face in public, Today, he slaps you in the face with drums and gongs. Looking at this, Xu Qi'an decided that he wouldn't easily offend Wei Yuan in the future.
People who have lost a golden opportunity, generally are rather petty.
Xu Qi’an’s whole body stank, and he was also anxious to go home and announce the good news, so he didn’t stop for very long in the constabulary. Riding on top of his beloved mare, he galloped towards home in a rush.
After half an hour of travel, he returned to the Xu Mansion.
Gatekeeper Old Zhang almost cried with happiness after seeing him. Xu Qi'an threw the reins to him and went to the yard, intending to announce the good news to his family.
At that point, his family had already had their breakfast. Second uncle had gone to work, leaving Xu Xinnian alone to stay at home, talking to his mother in the back hall.
After seeing Xu Qi'an, auntie's beautiful eyes lit up. But, she immediately suppressed her joy and gave her nephew her habitual look of disgust.
Xu Xinnian was also pleasantly surprised, "Did the Eldest Princess make a move so soon?"
Xu Qi’an was startled for a moment, before his thoughts quickly fell into place. *No wonder Emperor Yuanjing would know about such a small character like him, otherwise this wouldn’t have made sense.*
*The Eldest Princess recommended me to the Emperor… mn, I can’t rule out Wei Yuan finding the opportunity to give him a chance to atone for his crime with merit.*
"Don't be optimistic so early, lest an accident happens." Xu Qi'an took a glance at his aunt and paused, "Let's talk later. I've made auntie worry a lot these past two days. I'm ashamed of myself for that. I've heard Cijiu say that auntie stayed up all night due to me."
Soon upon hearing that, the pressure cooker in auntie's head exploded, and she raised a sharp gaze towards her son, who remained speechless, raising her snow-white sharp chin, "Hmph~"
Xu Xinnian continued speaking, "Father had gone to Sitianjain yesterday, wanting to ask the white-cloaked arcanists to intercede, but he received some bad news."
Hesitating for some time, he said, "Jianzheng is sick."
"What?" Xu Qi'an questioned him, "The Jianzheng? Sick?"
*A First Rank Arcanist, sick!*
*Moreover, a first rank of the system whose first steps are saving lives and healing the wounded.*
Veteran detective Xu Qi'an immediately started to deduce if it was related to the change in Sangpo. *It can’t be that Sir Jianzheng shut himself on the Bagua platform, looking at the world, looking, looking, and eventually catching a cold?*
"I don't know the exact situation." Xu Xinnian said, "I'll go to the Imperial Guard to find father and reassure him."
*Mother, who always complains about my cousin, was worried that she didn't sleep all night. I can't imagine how bad Father must be feeling.*
"Okay!" Xu Qi'an said, "I'll go and see Lingyue and Lingyin first. I have to return to the office for something a bit later."
*The Sangpo issue can be thought of later, Let's not rush it now.*
"By the way, I left that mirror in the study. You can go get it yourself later. The monk you asked me to find has already left, saying that he had found a clue about his junior brother."
*I knew that Number One couldn't be the emperor. In actuality, Number One didn't even know about the matter. Really, Dad Wei and the Eldest Princess are the really reliable ones.*
Upon arriving at the backyard, Xu Qi'an saw that Xu Lingyin was sitting under the eaves with her mood downcast and posture small.
No one was playing with her, and no one was in the mood to talk with her as well.
The stupid kid also knew that something had happened to her elder brother, so she wasn't happy enough to play with the small geese. So, with her head lowered, she scribbled on the ground with a branch.
"Huh! Whose stupid kid is this?" Stopping not far away from her, Xu Qi'an smiled.
Xu Lingyin raised her head and stared at him blankly. After a few seconds, her small face was filled with a bright smile.
She stood up and opening her hands, rushed with chubby legs toward Xu Qi'an.
Xu Qi'an also went up to meet her. Just as Xu Lingyin reached him, Xu Qi’an quickly turned his body, hugging the older sister behind her.
Xu Lingyin, who had missed her target, turned around in a daze.
"Wahhhh…. Big Brother...."
Xu Lingyue tightly wrapped her arms around Xu Qi'an's waist and buried her soft body in her cousin's arms, where she wept bitterly.
His younger sister was grasping his waist tight, her hair exuded a delicate fragrance, her body giving off a faint smell of rouge and gouache.
Xu Qi'an patted her back and comforted her, "It's all right. Big brother is back."
Without care, Xu Lingyue twisted her slender waist and continued crying.
Xu Lingyue was already very sad when her eldest brother was imprisoned in the Ministry of Justice last time. However, the case back then only led to imprisonment, as it was due to a personal grudge.
But this time, The Nightwatcher who came to the mansion had said that her elder brother would be chopped at the waist in the vegetable market after a week.
The nature of the two was completely different.
Of course, Xu Lingyue's concern over this was also due to the rapid improvement in the relationship between her cousin and her during this period.
*Aha, the Younger sisters of this era are far superior. So adorable.* Hugging her delicate body, Xu Qi'an thought of something.
*In my previous life, I didn't have a younger sister, but I did have a cousin. But she didn't act like a baby, didn't show weakness by crying, and only sneered at me with disdain: Ha, idiot*
"Big brother, big brother" Xu Lingyin jumped up and down, and said happily, "I'm going to tell mother. Mother definitely doesn't know you're back."
Xu Qi'an wanted to tell her that he had come in through the door, not jumped in from the wall. After thinking about it for a while, he felt that he didn't need to explain it.
He nodded, "Go!"
"Oh" He called Xu Lingyin again, and asked, "Are you so happy because you can eat three bowls of rice at dinner?"
Xu Lingyin was taken aback. She didn't expect her elder brother to know her thoughts. *Elder brother is really amazing.*
She ran away in fear.
Author’s note: This book comes with "Guidelines to the appraisal of Great Feng's Famous Oirans", short stories of about 100,000 characters. It will be serialized in the public account later. The best parts will be in the VIP group.