Jinshi shuffled his feet as he viewed the document. And every time he did so he would suddenly look out the window.
His minder, Gaoshun, stared at Jinshi.
“Please focus on your work.”
Jinshi was told the obvious, but he didn’t nod obediently regarding that.
The girl who had food tasted, prepared for death, was currently in a resting condition in the inner palace. The person had once lectured that people have died from food – he didn’t know what to say about her eating that and collapsing.
Moreover, it was to quell the confusion that occurred in a place that was unrelated to the person concerned.
Therefore, Jinshi couldn’t forgive Gaoshun, his minder. While knowing what that girl was doing, let alone closing his eyes, he had collaborated with her. Without Jinshi, the master, knowing.
Jinshi, with a rebellious expression, touched the document.
Gaoshun, the wrinkles on his brows knitted, placed his hands on the documents that had formed a mountain.
“This, is information we got our hands on thanks to Shaomao. If you were to render that futile, that too is fine.”
“I get it.”
The information in his hands was about the personnel that Rakan had pointed out during the banquet. Jinshi was surprised that there were also people he hadn’t imagined to be on the list of names. Also, some suspicious dust appeared when he tried slapping it.
He didn’t think that they would be linked in such a place.
There was the incident from before where a high official was poisoned by his younger brother. The younger brother, who was arrested as the suspect, had died from poisoning in prison. The incident was closed while not knowing whether it was food poisoning or poisoning, but it couldn’t be helped that a suspicious shadow had risen to the surface after all this time from this.
The personage who would benefit from the high official’s death was among the list of names. And there were also several other things – there were also those who were involved with strange incidents that had occurred most recently. All of them were treated as accidents rather than incidents; they were all closed without knowing who were the perpetrators either. However, resultantly, there were many personages pointed out by Rakan who could be useful.
Like the saying, If the wind blows, the bucket makers prosper(Any event can bring about an effect in an unexpected way. Explanation: Wind will blow sand into people’s eyes, making them blind. So as the number of blind people increases, more people will play the shamisen as a living. The shamisen uses cat skin to make the sound boxes. So as the number of cats decreases, the number of mice increase, and these mice will gnaw on buckets, making that people will have to buy more buckets, hence making the bucket makers prosper.), they obtained gains because of this kind of cause and effect. Therefore, none of the personages concerned must think they were done in.
“It’s suspicious if you say it’s suspicious though.”
“We don’t have any physical evidence.”
Gaoshun went as far as to add something needless.
What Maomao did, in the end, was no more than anger the man called Rakan who was the least wanted to have as an enemy in the imperial court.
Serving the poison, when this man knew that it wasn’t the personages he pointed out at the banquet, it seems his interest in harassing them waned. In order to see the collapsed Maomao’s condition, he had tried to break into the inner palace and had already failed around three times. Jinshi wanted him to stop using gunpowder in the imperial court.
Amid that, the bell jingled.
Gaoshun looked in the mirror that was installed in the room where it couldn’t be seen. His head tilted slightly, he waited for the visitor before the office door.
The one who came inside was a short civil official. He had a quirky hairstyle and wore round glasses. Aside from his eyes, which were slender like a fox, and his unruly hair, he was a young man who didn’t look out of the ordinary.
The young man, who possessed an air like they had seen him before from somewhere, put his hands in his sleeves and bowed. Jinshi noticed there was something hanging from his belt. Concentrating on it, it looked like an abacus.
“It’s an honour to meet you. My name is Rahan(羅半, Luo Ban).”
The young man, finishing his extremely simple self-introduction, flashed a grin.
When they heard the name, it was clear who he resembled.
The members of the ‘Ra’ family. There were only two people whose names were spoken in the imperial court. It was only Rakan and his adopted son. If you were to count the rest, there was just the man called Ruomen who entered the inner palace as a court physician the other day.
What does the adopted son of Rakan want? They tilted their heads.
“Well? What do you want from me?”
In terms of official rank, Jinshi was higher. It is possible to say that the man called Rahan who suddenly appeared was impolite considering that point. However, it won’t go well to stiffen his face here each time. There were many officials who – with Jinshi being a eunuch as the reason – call out to him with a worse impolite attitude.
“I wish to show you this.”
Rahan took out a scroll from his sleeve. He passed that over to Gaoshun who was waiting. Gaoshun, while looking at it with a squint, passed it to Jinshi.
With Rakan’s adopted son, he wondered what kind of meaning did the thing he brought over had. He decided to meekly verify the contents.
He pulled the cord with a rustle. Jinshi looked at the contents.
“What would you suppose?”
Rahan scrutinised him with an unpleasant satisfied glint in his eyes.
He indeed had a self-satisfied expression that said What do you think, isn’t that amazing, but the subject matter written suited that.
The enumeration of words and numbers. However, it became a different thing according to the viewpoint.
“These are the things of the people my adoptive father inconvenienced the other day.”
He said inconvenienced.
Why did he say that to Jinshi?
Jinshi was not expected to be at that place. If he were to tell, he should have told a lot more people.
However, this man called Rahan had business with Jinshi.
Rahan had said it slightly piteously, but the thing he presented wasn’t something that by no means garnered that emotion.
It was an account book, an extract of it. If he was a member of the post that oversaw the national treasury, that was something possible for him to inspect. Even if he was an outsider, if he followed the formalities, he would be able to inspect it.
“I considered if it was best to have you inspect the original, but the numbers had become a tad extensive, so I made an extract from the range that caught my eye.”
The man had said extract, but it was set up in a way that Jinshi, who was outside his expertise, could also understand it. What he could understand here was that it was evident that there were posts where the amount of money had changed greatly within these couple of years.
“It’s interesting. There should not have been drought nor locust plague in these couple of years, and yet why the increase in the price of grain? Finding it was strange, I also investigated the prices in town, but it was the most stable price within these couple of years.”
Rahan said it affectedly.
Taking advantage of the other price rises, it seems the price was increased little by little every month.
“And one other thing. The price of iron has also increased for some reason. For this, the price of metal had risen country-wide, but could they even be building a large statue somewhere?”
What the man called Rahan was trying to say, Jinshi understood.
Jinshi put down the scroll and looked at the young man who was cunning despite being the spitting image of his adoptive father.
If one were to speak of the price of grain, that in itself doesn’t seem significant, but the quantity was huge. If the price were to rise, the difference will become huge.
Rahan was implying that they should take that difference as embezzlement.
And then, as for metal, the collective price rise meant an upsurge in demand. To say it simply, they are gathered from all over the place, in the case of building a gigantic bronze statue in order to display power, a showy project. They go as far as to melt down the gathered pots and farming equipment and used those.
If there happens to be another reason for the price rise—-.
“As for me, I can investigate the circulation of money of these couple of years.”
Rahan uttered what Jinshi thought he wanted.
It was as if he came here from the start to say this.
Jinshi saw that Rahan’s eyes were appealing for something. He must have come to Jinshi with that kind of thing for that reason.
This kind of person wouldn’t move when something doesn’t match his interest.
“So, what’s your desire?”
Jinshi said directly.
As if he was waiting for those words, Rahan’s eyes relaxed.
A little awkwardly, he took out a sheet of paper from his breast pocket.
“This sum, may I have you look over this for a bit?”
Written there, was the quote of the cost of repairs of the inner palace wall.
It was what Rahan’s adoptive father, Rakan, had destroyed.
T/N: Yay! Maomao’s big brother is here.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.