# 110. Cases that the Ministry of Law Can't Solve, I'll Solve Them! “Whoosh!” The crossbow bolt came soaring through the air. The middle-aged soldier’s long sabre came out of its scabbard, and met the incoming bolt, sending it careening away. The spiteful energy that had been brewing in the contingent erupted in an instant. This small bronze gong dared to shoot a bolt at them, to kill him then and there would serve him right! The Nightwatchers were always domineering and aggressive, if they did not retaliate, then when else? The middle-aged solider raised his sabre, shouting, “Those breaking into the Ministry of Law, die!” The sharp ring of metal emanated out in a wave, as all the soldiers drew their blades, their expressions solemn, making to enter battle. Xu Qi’an’s pinched his horse with his legs, as the horse leapt several *zhang* high. In the air, his right hand fell on the hilt of his long black-gold sabre. The middle-aged solder laughed ferociously, a strong torrent of qi covering his blade, as he met the bronze gong. In mid-air, a blade flashed bright, as Xu Qi’an crossed paths with the soldier, to land steadily at the door of the Ministry. Only then, did both sides react. No one, not even the other Nightwatchers, expected Xu Qi’an to be so decisive. In their minds, Xu Qi’an would show his golden token, and shout back the guards. This method was the softest, and was the least likely to cause unexpected problems. With sabre in hand, Xu Qi’an shook his wrist, and a line of blood spattered onto the ground. The middle aged soldier wobbled slightly, before falling over backwards. Another solider came up to check, feeling the middle aged lieutenant’s neck, exclaiming, “He’s dead!” The Nightwatcher’s faces turned. A conflict was a conflict, even if everyone had made to be ready to fight, but if anyone was killed then the problem would be raised to a new level. Furthermore, the one killed was the Ministry of Law’s soldier. Even the most brazen Nightwatchers, did not do anything so far as killing a man on the street in front of any of the six ministries’ main doors. Whoosh! The soldiers all turned, facing Xu Qi’an. The aura in the air was like a cask of dry gunpowder, able to be lit by the smallest spark. *This damn special skill is really a one-pump wonder… it is nowhere near capable to support me in a long battle. In the future it might be best for me to change it out.* Forcefully resisting the wave of tiredness, Xu Qi’an pulled out his gold token, and showed it to everyone, “Under orders by His Imperial Majesty to solve this case. Any who try to stop this official will be killed!” With a cold and fierce gaze he scanned across the soldiers’ faces. “Still not retreating?” he shouted. Under the awe of the gold token and the lieutenant’s corpse, the soldiers retreated. Xu Qi’an slid his sabre back into its scabbard, and led the two Silver Gongs, and the twelve Bronze Gongs forcefully into the Ministry of Law. On the way, Yang Feng and Min Shan examined Xu Qi’an non-stop, as if they were getting to know this person all over again. Min Shan frowned, “Is this not too impetuous? Killing someone outside the front door of the Ministry of Law, and someone with an official title at that. Are you not afraid of consequences later?” Xu Qi’an, who had killed for the first time, still had some vicious aura on his face, glanced back at the bearded Silver Gong, “Will there be a later?” Min Shan did not know how to respond. Xu Qi’an laughed coldly, explaining, “I’m already in dire straits. To me now, progress means living. Leads mean living. Whoever dares to stop me from investigating this case, are wanting my life. “The Ministry of Law has never gotten along with the Nightwatchers. Alongside the city constabulary trying to snatch some merit away, these people are stumbling blocks in my way. If I don’t harden my heart, in the future there will be a second, a third, a fourth person who will come forward and stop me. If I don’t kill them, they will indirectly kill me. “Today I’ve killed someone who doesn’t know what’s good for them. Tomorrow anyone else who doesn’t know what’s good will then be scared, cautious. This is also a convoluted way to reduce bloodshed.” As Xu Qi’an spoke, he looked at the two Silver Gongs’ eyes, and laughed with a smile that never reached his eyes, “All of us are under Gold Gong Yang, and you still doubted me, not believing my abilities. What then for the capital constabulary? The Ministry of Law?” Very clearly, this was about asserting strength. The two Silver Gongs Yang and Min laughed, “Sir Xu, we indeed underestimated you.” This “Sir Xu” was said from the heart, and not because of some imperial decree. The Ministry of Law was very large, and so on the way Xu Qi’an apprehended a clerk to lead the way. The clerk couldn’t even win a fight against a chicken, and so naturally was scared of these Nightwatchers and their fierce and demonic auras. He didn’t dare refuse, and so lead them to the conference hall. Passing through the great hall, they came to the Ministry of Law’s conference hall. This was a wide room, with no table, only chairs lined up neatly in rows. Two groups of people sat on either side, looking distinctly different. On the left was the crimson robed, pheasant emblem second-rank official, the High Minister, leading the many officials of the Ministry of Law. On the right was the crimson robed, wild geese emblem fourth rank Governor Chen of the Capital Prefecture, and his officials. In the middle sat a eunuch, wearing a tall ceremonial cap, and a dragon-robe. His face was clean without hair, and his eyes were thin and squinty, with an ambiguous aura. Two other eunuchs attended to this one. Reaching the door, the clerk was like a small quail, saying with a trembling voice, “A- all sirs… the Nightwatchers have arrived.” In the conference hall, about a dozen powerful officials simultaneously looked over. Xu Qi’an met these big shots’ gazes head on, crossing over the threshold, cupping his fists, “This official is Xu Qi’an, my greetings to all sirs.” He scanned over the group, and saw a familiar woman; one of the Capital Prefecture’s constables, Lyu Qing. The latter also noticed him, as a thick confusion flashed through her eye. Especially as she saw the two Silver Gongs, and the other Bronze Gongs subtly making Xu Qi’an out to be their leader, she became even more stunned. An official of the Ministry of Law glanced at Xu Qi’an, saying lightly, “Such a large case, and the Nightwatchers don’t even send a Gold Gong. Tomorrow, this official will definitely send a letter of impeachment.” Xu Qi’an replied lightly, “Since when did the Nightwatchers need to compromise with the Ministry of Law to investigate a case?” He paused, continuing, “I heard that the Ministry of Law has arrested many officials and civil servants from the High Court, the Ministry of Rites, and the Palace. Additionally, the Ministry has prevented us Nightwatchers from interrogating them. Minister, dare I ask what is the meaning of this.” Minister Sun, whom he had met once before, did not speak. He didn’t even look at Xu Qi’an once, rather emotionlessly picking up his teacup, and taking a sip. In officialdom, sipping tea implied that one wanted you to leave. The corner of Xu Qi’an’s mouth curled upwards. He did not continue to argue, rather silently finding a place to sit. In everyone’s eyes, he had admitted defeat, and had tolerated Minister Sun’s display of authority. Just then, a clerk came rushing in in a panic. Glancing at the Nightwatchers, he rushed head-lowered to an official of the Ministry of Law, and whispered a few words into his ear. That official’s face turned, as he rose, smacking the table, thrusting his finger towards Xu Qi’an and the others, shouting “What reason is this, it’s as if you’re above the law!” All the officials in the room frowned. Minister Sun said, “What’s happened?” That Ministry of Law official, with an excited expression, cupped his hands, “Minister Sir, Lord Liu, these Nightwatchers have committed murder in front of my Ministry of Law, and killed someone with an official rank at that. What brazenness, what madness! They must be severely punished.” Everyone was shocked. Even the book-holding, squinted-eyed eunuch looked over at Xu Qi’an with disbelief. Minister Sun’s expression did not change, as he lightly tapped his chair’s armrest, “The Ministry of Law has authority over punishments, over laws, acting with the authority of His Majesty, to uphold the rule of law for all people. Come and…” “One moment!” Xu Qi’an interrupted loudly, wearing a cold smile, “This official is under imperial decree to investigate this case. If the Ministry of Law dares to make roadblocks, and stop the progress of this case, this official holds the golden token, and will kill first and ask questions later. Furthermore, this official suspects that the Ministry of Law has conspiracy with the perpetrators, and is the original culprit of the explosion at Yongzhen Shanhe Temple. Minister Sun, how about you come round our Nightwatchers Constabulary?” This unyielding? The prefecture office’s officials exchanged looks in disbelief. Was this really the words a small bronze gong dared to say? Minister Sun was a second-rank official with heavy political power, one of the many dukes at court, and this bronze gong in front of them dares say such brazen words, it’s as if he didn’t even deign to treat Minister Sun as an equal. The prefecture’s officials could not resist sneaking a glance at their boss, only to find that Governor Chen’s gaze was angled at a 45 degree angle towards the sky, pretending not to see. “Rash!” “You dare slander the Minster, have you any brains?” The Ministry of Law’s officials burst in anger. Yet Xu Qi’an was even more crazed. He took a step forward, one hand on his sabre hilt, examining the people from the Ministry of Law: “Cases the Ministry of Law cannot solve, I’ll solve them. People the Ministry of Law cannot kill, I’ll kill them!” “Also!” Xu Qi’an pulled out the golden token that was bestowed by His Majesty. With a flick of his wrist, the golden token spun out of his hand, sticking into the floor, sending up a faint cloud of dust. “If the Ministry of Law dares obstruct me on this case, then I’ll kill the Ministry of Law’s people too! “Is this not clear?” The conference hall fell silent. The furious officials suddenly had their anger pinched, not because they were scared, but because they were stunned. *What’s happened to the Nightwatchers Constabulary? What’s happened to Wei Yuan?* *Why would they send such a idiot young man to solve the case, is this not offering your political enemies the dagger to kill you?* *Just from those words alone, he could be thrown in our Ministry of Law’s prison, and never be let out ever again. Tomorrow, the Ministry will implicate Wei Yuan too, see what excuse he has to give.* “Haha!” The dragon-robed great eunuch laughed, “Indeed are the young energetic, showing themselves off to the full extent!” He looked around at everyone, “Let me introduce this Bronze Gong to everyone. He was recommended by the eldest princess, and personally appointed the lead investigator by His Majesty. “Also, because he had severely wounded one of his superiors, he was sentenced by Duke Wei to be chopped at the waist in seven days. His Majesty was merciful, and allowed him to use merit to atone for crime.” *Personally appointed by His Majesty, no wonder he’s so domineering… wounding a superior, chopped at the waist in seven days, no wonder his murderous intent is so strong!* The Ministry of Law’s officials suddenly fell silent. This was a cornered rat, a crazed person at the end of the road. Solving the case was his only hope for life. This type of person easily became extreme, and if they were to push him over the edge, he may be willing to bring a few over with him. This could be seen by how unhesitating he was to kill an official. Seeing that the Ministry of Law’s officials all decided to avoid making disadvantage for themselves, the great eunuch gestured down, “Everyone sit. The Sangpo Lake case involves a lot of things. His Majesty places more importance on this than the tax silver case, and so specifically appointed me to oversee it, oversee you solving the case. “The Nightwatchers came just on time, saves me making an extra trip to find you.” *This eunuch clearly is biased towards me… or rather to say towards the Nightwatchers. Is this one of Wei Yuan’s contacts?* Xu Qi’an cupped his hands, and returned to his seat. Song Tingfeng knew well how to play support, running over and pulling out the gold token, and handing it over with both hands, “Sir, your token.” Xu Qi’an, as if displaying his authority, scanned over everyone, before taking the token, “Mn.” His second assertion of strength worked very well. Making himself look like a crazed man with little hope left, could solve many problems going forward. However much the Ministry of Law and the Prefecture Government wanted to argue, they must first weigh up the benefits and disadvantages. The person they’d have to face, would be an insane person who would sooner pull his blade on you than talk. As for what problems this could bring in the future, Xu Qi’an did not care. First, he believed that Wei Yuan would shelter him from the wind and rain; second, if he couldn’t complete the case, he wouldn’t have to care about the future. Either he died, or he would leave the capital forever. Eunuch Liu sipped tea, saying “The three offices recently all had disappearances. The people who have disappeared are very likely to be spies, who helped the culprits steal gunpowder. What are everyone’s opinions?” Governor Chen said, “This office has already sent people to investigate nine dead people’s families. They are all still in the capital, and did not know of their loved ones’ disappearances. This governor deduces that the nine of them did not escape. Rather, they were silenced.” Eunuch Liu nodded slightly. An official of the Ministry of Law said, “In the three offices, there must be more spies, more hidden spies. It would be them who had silenced these people, and resolved all those who knew.” Eunuch Liu frowned, thinking. Xu Qi’an silently listened from the sidelines. Given that he was here attending the meeting, then the use of the arrested people would not be large. Because he only needed to listen to the Ministry of Law and the Prefecture office’s conversation, to know everything that he needed to know. “I’m afraid it’s not only the Court of Judicial Review and the Ministry of Rites, even the Ministry of Labour will have spies.” Lyu Qing said. Everyone looked towards the only woman. Eunuch Liu examined her, nodding, “Continue.” Lyu Qing continued, “Your subordinate has searched through their family backgrounds, their contacts and acquaintances, as well as their own abilities. They were far from being able to smuggle so much gunpowder out of the factories. Thus, the Ministry of Labour must have spies helping, and their official ranks would not be low.” *Official ranks would not be low…* “Gunpowder is a strategic resource which the court places extreme importance on. All manner of secrecy and anti-theft measures are all very holistic. If not for high ranked officials in the Ministry of Law assisting, then this matter could not have been done.” Her logic was clear, her deductions reasonable. As they listened, everyone non-stop nodded their heads, completely revising their opinion of this female constable. Xu Qi’an noticed, that one of the eunuchs by Eunuch Liu’s side was writing frantically, as if he was making notes, making minutes of the meeting. *Is this for Emperor Yuanjing to look at?* *The ol’ Emperor is much more attentive of this case than the tax silver one… mn, with good reason. I don’t know what on earth came out of Sangpo Lake.* *If it was not an extremely scary, extremely important thing, it would not have been sealed under Sangpo Lake.* Xu Qi’an thought. The dragon-robed Eunuch Liu looked towards the Nightwatchers, looked towards Xu Qi’an, asking “Sir Xu has maintained his silence. As the lead investigator of the Nightwatchers, what have you discovered?” The prefecture office and the Ministry of Law’s officials all looked over.