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Chapter 77 - Counting Debts After the Autumn Harvest

Tianbao Fuyao Lu


"He hadn’t gotten to eat anything, and now he would have to sit in jail?!"


Translator(s): moon
Editor(s): juurensha

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The spring sunlight was bright, and it was the perfect season to go sightseeing. Mo Rigen was about to go ask Lu Xu where he wanted to go, but Li Jinglong let out an angry shout, “Go investigate cases! You still want to go play? Do you want your salary anymore?”

Mo Rigen had long since spent all the money he had on him, and he also had to take care of Lu Xu. A-Tai and Ashina Qiong had come for the money, and Hongjun had run away from home without a single cent on him. Upon seeing their expressions, Li Jinglong couldn’t resist saying, “Yo, it can’t be, can it? We just celebrated the new year, and you all are so poor already?”

Everyone: “...”

“To tell you the truth,” Qiu Yongsi said, smiling apologetically, “the traveling expenses that my grandfather gave me have also run dry. How about Zhangshi lend us brothers some?”

Li Jinglong hadn’t thought that these princes, who had viewed gold like dirt, now had to live on a salary in the span of a single year. Weren’t they all from well-to-do families? Those words really had him wanting to speak a few mocking sentences, but as he thought about it, it’d be best if he didn’t say too much at first.

“Work,” Li Jinglong said in the end. “Don’t even think about reaping the rewards without doing any work first.”

Hongjun and Lu Xu had never understood the hardships of the world, but Mo Rigen, Qiu Yongsi, A-Tai, and Ashina Qiong did, and knew that it was hard for them to take even a single step without money. After breakfast, Li Jinglong had Qiu Yongsi take a trip to the Judiciary Department to bring back the case scrolls that had piled up over several months, and everyone began to flip through them in the hall.

 

“Yesterday, you said that he had what abilities?” Hongjun asked Lu Xu.

Lu Xu and Hongjun sat in the corner. Both of them didn’t have any sense of money, but whatever their superiors did, they naturally would do as well, and they just treated it as play.

Lu Xu kept his voice low, and he whispered, “I found that, even when the information isn’t complete, he can guess a lot of things, and he can always manage to tease out the truth of the matter.”

“Instinct ba?” Hongjun turned back and glanced. At this moment, LI Jinglong was currently writing up a memorial to the throne, while everyone was sitting amongst the piled scrolls, digging through them.

Lu Xu shook his head and said, “He can’t have relied on his instinct every time. Haven’t you discovered yet? His deductions, even if his conditions aren’t fully there, are always very close to the truth, like he can see the future.”

Hongjun knew that Li Jinglong had quite a few abilities that were different from the common person, for example, being able to discern objects by the sound of the wind, and shooting blindly, but Lu Xu brought up something that he hadn’t considered before.

“Perhaps it’s the effect of the Sword of Wisdom?” Lu Xu said.

“What use does the Sword of Wisdom have?” Hongjun asked once more.

“The Sword of Wisdom, the Devil-Subduing Staff, the Golden Arrows, the Ring of the Sun…” Lu Xu said quietly. “They are the six great artifacts of Acala, and they are specially made to break…” But when he got to this point, Lu Xu didn’t keep speaking. Hongjun lowered his head to look where his heart was, before he looked back at Lu Xu.

“How did you know?” Hongjun asked quietly.

Lu Xu shrugged and said, “I just know. Don’t ask me why.”

“Those are Di Renjie’s things,” Hongjun said quietly.

Lu Xu nodded. Hongjun thought of the Acala statue outside the door, and it really did seem to be the case. Lu Xu continued, “Legend has it that only when the six artifacts are gathered can Mara be defeated, but you don’t need to worry, he definitely won’t be able to gather them all.”

Hongjun had slowly begun to realize that Lu Xu knew of a lot that they had never heard of before, and had some knowledge that even Qiu Yongsi and them didn’t know. But when they dug deeper, Lu Xu couldn’t tell them where it was written, and perhaps it could only be explained that he was the White Deer. As his soul was inherited, he maintained a lot of the memories of the original.

Hongjun then said, “I can help him think of ways to gather them all.”

“Is your head filled with water?” Lu Xu’s voice was a little louder.

 

Li Jinglong couldn’t resist saying, “Can you two not keep muttering to yourselves? Lu Xu, it’s not good to keep Hongjun all to yourself. From when we got back until now, look, no one has even had a chance to speak to Hongjun yet.”

Mo Rigen said to Lu Xu, “You two go look at the case scrolls ba.”

“I can’t read.” Lu Xu ate a handful of roasted peas, his face set in an expression of boredom. What can you all do to me?

Hongjun hurried to say, “I’ll teach you.”

“Have you all found anything?” Li Jinglong then asked.

“A weaver’s loom moved on its own in the depths of the night,” A-Tai said extremely tiredly and absentmindedly, as if he had experienced a great blow last night. “The rumors got out that it was ghosts.”

Li Jinglong said, “I’ll send someone out to check tonight.”

Qiu Yongsi said, “There’s a man-eating yao in Luoyang who specially steals kids. Rumor has it that it sucks out and devours the brains…”

“What are they sending Luoyang’s cases to Chang’an for?” Li Jinglong found this rather strange.

Goosebumps rose all over Hongjun’s body as he listened.

“Only Chang’an has an Exorcism Department,” Mo Rigen said. “They can only send it to us.”

Li Jinglong suddenly realized that there was a serious problem -- if they kept going like this, wouldn’t they have to take care of all the yaoguai across the various parts of the country?! If something happened in Southern Yue or in Shuzhong, the exorcists would have to hurry day and night to the region where the yaoguai were wreaking havoc, which meant that they’d have to spend several months on the road alone. With so few people, how could he send them out like that?

“Here’s another one,” Mo Rigen said, handing the scroll to Li Jinglong. “There’s thousand-year-old corpses coming in and out of Mt. Qingcheng. Are we going to take charge of that?”

“We’ve never received cases from other regions before,” Li Jinglong mused. “What’s going on here?”

“Perhaps it’s one of Xie Yu’s ploys,” A-Tai remarked off-handedly.

“That’s not likely,” Qiu Yongsi said, as light as a breeze. “Though the Divine Land has not yet reached the stage where yaoguai are wreaking havoc across it, yao will appear across the land pretty regularly. Before, however, no one was in charge…”

 

Hongjun suddenly remembered that the night that the Heavenly Nine-Tailed Fox had been defeated, quite a lot of yaoguai had escaped from Chang’an, so he said, “Could they have been under that big fox…”

“That’s also possible,” Mo Rigen replied. “Either way, now they’re sending them all here.”

With so many cases spread out across the land, just getting there would exhaust them to death. If they got to the location in question and found that it wasn’t a yaoguai, they’d have to come rushing back, which was really going to be the end of them. Li Jinglong also kept having a premonition -- Xie Yu was definitely watching him very carefully from some corner. Both sides were currently having their troops stay put, reaching out feelers to probe the situation, cautiously and meticulously questing across this vast chessboard.

Otherwise, Li Jinglong would never believe that Xie Yu didn’t know the devil seed was in Hongjun’s body, nor could he not know that Hongjun was in Chang’an. With the yao king’s abilities, all he would have to do was make the yaoguai cause trouble across the land, and that would be enough to exhaust the Exorcism Department from just running around alone. He could also use the trick of drawing the tiger away from the mountain to set out traps for them.

When he got to this point in his thoughts, Li Jinglong said decisively, “As long as they’re not matters in Chang’an City, then put them all aside.”

Ashina Qiong exclaimed, “So you all pick the cases that are closest?! You won’t even pay attention to a case where children are having their brains sucked out?”

Li Jinglong: “...”

A-Tai immediately said to Ashina Qiong, “Don’t you know what situation we’re in now?”

Everyone nodded, but none of them expected A-Tai to add scoldingly, “We’re this poor, and you’re still talking back without caring about the greater picture?!”

Li Jinglong almost died from the rush of rage he felt at that, and Qiu Yongsi hurried to say, “Oh! I have it! The Changshu County’s governor, Zhang Xu, brought gifts with him to Chang’an, and he prepared lavish gifts for the imperial consort, only to lose them in the Chang’an inn ‘The Spring Breeze Over the Nine Provinces’...”

“He drank too much and ran into a thief ba,” Li Jinglong said.

Qiu Yongsi: “I also think so.”

“Wait!” Hongjun immediately grew interested, and he asked, “Is it that Zhang Xun?”

“Of course,” Li Jinglong said. “What other Zhang Xun is there?”

Hongjun: “...”

“The Zhang Xun of ‘With three cups of wine, Zhang Xun becomes known as the saint of caoshu?!” Hongjun was shaken, but Li Jinglong said, “He keeps drinking until he’s dead drunk, so he won’t pay any attention to you. No need to mind him anymore.”

A-Tai’s curiosity suddenly sparked, and he said, “Yongsi, didn’t your cousin write a poem for him before? Help me ask him for a set of calligraphy, and a hundred years after him, I’ll bring it out to be sold…”

Qiu Yongsi said, “Who knows, he might live even longer than you.”

Though he had said so, Li Jinglong couldn’t pull out any old cases that were of any value at all. Perhaps it was because the Judiciary Department didn’t dare to report on those at such a time, or perhaps it was because all the surrounding countries were coming to the capital to celebrate the imperial consort’s birthday that the yaoguai had all left Chang’an. Whatever the case, they were all news about the yaoguai causing trouble outside of the city, so they decided to first clear out the cases within Chang’an.

 

Mo Rigen and Lu Xu went to go find Zhang Xun, A-Tai and Ashina Qiong went to go investigate Daming Palace, while Qiu Yongsi went forth to Mt. Li to investigate a case where the creek water had turned red. In just a few moments, Li Jinglong had sent off all of the rest, only leaving behind Hongjun.

Hongjun wanted to go take a look at the Zhang Xun of the legends, but Li Jinglong didn’t heed him at all, until all of the rest had left, leaving behind only them two.

“What should we go do?” Hongjun couldn’t resist asking.

“I’ll take you to eat minzhi mingao.” There was a smile in Li Jinglong’s eyes.

Hongjun found that as long as they weren’t in front of other people, Li Jinglong always had a very faint smile. He smiled knowingly and said, “Okay.”

“We’ll go as soon as I finish writing up this missive,” Li Jinglong added.

Hongjun waited, with nothing to do, but from the moment he understood that he liked Li Jinglong, the time when the two of them were alone seemed to no longer be as boring as well. Hongjun first looked at his hand that was holding the brush, then to his upright seated posture, then to the side profile of his face, and no matter how he looked, he had a feeling that the more he looked, the more he liked him.

In the beginning, he was only unwilling to admit it, but Lu Xu was right. He would have to admit to the feelings in his heart in the end.

 

He slumped on the table, watching Li Jinglong write. Li Jinglong’s handwriting was very beautiful, which was something Hongjun had always admired about him.

“Does my writing look very pretty?” Li Jinglong asked, upon noticing Hongjun’s gaze.

Hongjun en-ed. Li Jinglong continued, “How is it, compared to Zhang Xun’s?”

“As different as the heaven and the earth.” Hongjun, however, was very honest.

Li Jinglong couldn’t resist using the brush to go swipe at his face, as if when Hongjun was shouting loudly from that teasing, he would feel inexplicably touched. Just as he was feeling that however, a martial official arrived outside.

“Li-zhangshi,” the martial official said. “His Highness the Crown Prince requests your presence.”

“Please wait for a moment,” Li Jinglong replied. “I’ll go change my clothes.”

“You must go now.” The martial official’s attitude was very stern, and after thinking deeply for a moment, Li Jinglong shrugged on his outer robe and hurried out. When they walked out of the yard, Hongjun told the carp yao to watch the house, while he and Li Jinglong climbed into a horse carriage and went all the way to Xingqing Palace.

That martial official didn’t say anything unnecessary along the way. Li Jinglong studied him for a moment, his forehead furrowed slightly. Hongjun knew that he was probably planning out something again, so he didn’t disturb him. Instead, he kept thinking over and over again about how nice the scenery of Chang’an was, but he didn’t know how many more autumns and springs he would see.

 

When they circled around the main hall of Xingqing Palace, Li Jinglong suddenly saw a handmaiden that looked familiar, and he immediately said to Hongjun, “Have her bring this message to the imperial consort.”

If Li Jinglong hadn’t mentioned it, Hongjun wouldn’t have recognized her at all. He took his leave from the carriage and caught up to that handmaiden. The two of them looked at each other, and the handmaiden smiled. “Kong-daren?”

Hongjun hadn’t yet figured out who she was as he handed the missive to her and asked her to pass it along. That handmaiden smiled, nodded, and once again saluted to Hongjun before she daintily left.

“How did you know that she would recognize me?” Hongjun asked curiously.

“That day, when the imperial consort came to the Exorcism Department,” Li Jinglong said, “she was following behind her. After leaving Jinhua Luo, while the imperial consort was chatting with you at night, it was her who was waiting on us in front of the carriage.”

Hongjun didn’t yet know what meaning that missive had when the two of them entered the Eastern Palace.

“Li Jinglong, is the Exorcism Department this busy? If I don’t send for you, you won’t come?”

Based on his expression, Li Heng was clearly displeased today, and for him, who was usually refined and gentle, to put on such an expression, meant that he was a little enraged already.

“I had wanted to request to see Your Highness today anyways,” Li Jinglong said, properly greeting Li Heng. “It was only that I hadn’t yet thought through a few matters clearly, so that delayed me a little.”

In the Eastern Palace, there were quite a few aides sitting by Li Heng’s side, and there was a screen set up behind him. At this time, the aides all took their leave, and in a straight line on the table in front of them were four missives. One came from Geshu Han, one came from the Shazhou prefect Jia Zhou, one had been penned by Li Jinglong himself, and the last one was a letter of impeachment that the Ministry of Supervision had signed and sent to the Ministry of War.

“Look for yourself.” Li Heng swiped his hand and sent the letters flying, and they plastered themselves to Li Jinglong’s body.

Hongjun was just about to speak, but he was stopped by Li Jinglong’s gaze. There weren’t minzhi mingao to eat, and they’d have to endure a scolding to boot; with that, Hongjun instantly grew angry.

“I sent you to Hexi to investigate a case,” Li Heng said. “Did I send you to mobilize Geshu Han’s troops?”

Li Jinglong glanced over the military report, and he couldn’t resist finding that funny. Li Heng continued, “Putting aside the matter of you mobilizing the Liangzhou troops, you also mobilized the soldiers of Yumen Pass under Jia Zhou…”

“That’s my uncle,” Hongjun interrupted.

Li Jinglong thought, damn it, but just as he was about to speak up in reminder, Li Heng said coldly, “I don’t need you to remind me.”

“The imperial consort had me go find him,” Hongjun continued.

Li Heng: “...”

Hongjun had observed, through watching their speech and behavior, that this group of people were all afraid of the emperor, and since the emperor only had eyes for the imperial consort, these words immediately stopped Li Heng’s sentence. As expected, Li Heng didn’t dare to say any more.

“Geshu Han’s troops,” Li Jinglong said, “he sent out under his own command.”

“The various officials of the court don’t think that,” Li Heng said. “As for the two hundred thousand corpse ghosts invading the borders, where are they? The court is treating this matter like a groundless tale, and they’re all asking me why a member of the Crown Prince’s entourage is able to mobilize the fifty thousand troops under Geshu Han!”

Li Jinglong said, “Since you trusted me and sent me out, then the matter of the corpse ghosts that fell in battle cannot be deemed a groundless tale. The duty of the Exorcism Department is to protect the peace of the Great Tang, and if we did not mobilize the troops in a hurry, then it would be difficult to resolve the dangers this time.”

Li Heng’s rage calmed a little, and he said coldly, “Then, since the ghosts of the border have been exterminated, do you have any proof?”

“I don’t.” Li Jinglong knew that the most troublesome part was already over, and he continued, “If you will allow this one to speak freely, tossing a yaoguai into the midst of the morning court is definitely not a good idea.”

“Why apply to have Yadan be your appointed territory?” Li Heng asked solemnly.

“To suppress them,” Li Jinglong said. “With that, we can ensure that within a thousand years, there will be no more corpses ghosts that fell in battle invading the borders.”

Li Heng studied Li Jinglong, before finally saying, “Since the ghosts have been dealt with, then you should have returned to Chang’an at top speed to report. Why did you dally for almost three months before returning?”

“To deal with a matter that is involved in the fortune of my Great Tang,” Li Jinglong said, glossing over it.

When Hongjun heard these words, he froze, but Li Jinglong gestured for him to calm down.

“Describe the details,” Li Heng said, his tone growing warmer.

“I cannot say right now,” Li Jinglong said. “His Majesty must be here, and only when this official, Hongjun, Your Highness, and His Majesty are here can I speak.”

Li Heng’s forehead furrowed, and he studied Li Jinglong solemnly, saying, “Minister Li, Gu is helping you, you must not misunderstand.”

Li Jinglong said earnestly, “If that is really the case, then I dare not hide things from Your Highness…”

“I can’t help you,” Li Heng said, letting out a heavy sigh.

Li Jinglong suddenly felt an ominous sense of foreboding as several eunuchs moved the folding screen behind Li Heng aside, revealing Yang Guozhong and Gao Lishi, who were sitting behind it.

Yang Guozhong drawled, “With what happened this time, we should have interrogated you in front of the entire imperial court, but His Highness was unwilling to call a session of the court and told us to listen in first, to make sure you were not harboring any selfish reservations. Li Jinglong, now we really should have a proper chat.”

“That’s right.” Li Jinglong, however, began to smile.

No matter how dull Hongjun was, he would also be able to sense that something was not right. Gao Lishi added, “Now, we can count this as saving face for you. What two hundred thousand strong corpse ghost army slaughtering border cities, what Nine-Colored Deer in the Dunhuang Mogao Caves, these words are not something that you can say to the imperial court, and even if you said them, I imagine that no one would believe them.”

“The matters of the imperial court belong to the imperial court, and the matters of ghosts and gods belong to ghosts and gods,” Li Jinglong said, his tone growing a little more adamant as well. “The Exorcism Department has never been in the same jurisdiction as the gathered lords here. Let us each mind our own matters, why the need for this unnecessary action?”

“What ‘each mind our own matters’,” Yang Guozhong suddenly interjected loudly. “Human lives are the most important, and yet seven hundred and forty-some soldiers died under the Yumen Pass, while the Liangzhou troops lost more than three thousand. You used ‘subjugating yao’ as the excuse, but you just got on your horse and left. How will His Majesty explain this to the family members of the deceased troops?!”

Li Jinglong did not respond. He pressed one hand on the back of Hongjun’s hand, indicating that he not make any sound.

“Explain clearly everything that you investigated, in its entirety,” Gao Lishi said. “As for whether or not the various officials of the court will believe it, I cannot guarantee.”

“Li Jinglong, speak,” Li Heng said. “Now that things have come to this, what are you waiting for?”

Li Jinglong thought for a moment, before responding, “I’m waiting for the messenger.”

Li Heng’s forehead furrowed, while Gao Lishi and Yang Guozhong’s expressions grew odd. Li Jinglong could only hope that he not fall prey to his bad luck, and he hoped that the emperor was right by the imperial consort’s side… he could only hope that that message would successfully arrive to the imperial consort, and he could only hope that this loving couple would find some time to take a look at the missive in the midst of their endless matters.

Yang Guozhong then said, “Ah well, from how I see it, it’s best that they are jailed first.”

Hongjun: “...”

He hadn’t gotten to eat anything, and now he would have to sit in jail?! Hongjun’s anger immediately ignited.


Translator's Comment:

moon: memes for this chapter:

lu xu, “whats up im lu xu im 18 and i never learned how to fucking read”

and hongjun, “jail! jail for one thousand years!”


This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.

Contributors

moon

Translator, writer, avid reader. 吃刀群众. Jiejie enthusiast.

Reach out to me via the links to the right if you would like to re-translate any of my works. Please allow 2 business days for a response to an email or a DM.

juurensha

Fic writer, editor, and translator for GHOFD, PUBG, Fanservice Paradox, and other projects.

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Danielle
Danielle
16 days ago

Wow.I cant wait to see what next.
Thanks you very much for the translation.😁

Lola
Lola
1 month ago

Believe in Lord Jesus Christ/ Lord Yahshua and Repent from y’all sins/ evil deeds

Kris
Kris
1 month ago

Thanks for this update!! The newest chapter doesn’t appear on the main page yet, but I’m really happy to have found it. Thanks for all your efforts!

Anto
Anto
1 month ago

Thank you for your hard work!!! I hope Li Jinglong has better luck this time!!

Nyx
Nyx
1 month ago

Thank you again for the translation!

Laura Denieffe
Laura Denieffe
1 month ago

No Hongjun don’t do it, can’t wait for more. Thank you for your hard work translating this

shruti
shruti
1 month ago

wow huh , his date got interrupted and got nothing to eat on top of that he even has to go to jail now are u kidding me

Julia Ghoulia
Julia Ghoulia
1 month ago

hongjun can excuse li jinglong getting scolded by the royal family but he draws the line at “there’s no snacks here”

Fails
Fails
1 month ago

Thank you so much for the translation!!! ❤️❤️

Kalli Karlson
Kalli Karlson
1 month ago

Dang things are getting intense again already! I need some fluff 😭

Emily
Emily
1 month ago

Lmao of course Hongjun’s mad. His date is disrupted by these men in the palace and he’s hungry too. Thanks for the translation!

Veihakase
Veihakase
1 month ago

Luxu is also suited in that this sign can’t stop me because i can’t read meme xD.. and lol jail again?? Zhangshiii pray that the message be conveyed.. i want you and Hongjun to have moments already aaaahhhhh.. hahahaha

Thank you so much for the chapter!!!~ 🙇🏻🙇🏻🙇🏻🙇🏻🙇🏻

the abyss hostess
the abyss hostess
1 month ago

Oh no, you just don’t mess with Hongjun’s food, that boy is moved by hunger hahaha

Sze
Sze
1 month ago

Lu Xu living life with absolutely no responsibilities 😂

Laura Denieffe
Laura Denieffe
1 month ago

Oh dear don’t lose control Hongjun!! Thank you for your hard work translating xxx

Blu
Blu
1 month ago

Thank you so much for translating this and all your hardwork! Loving it so far ^^ can’t wait for more!

Kerorin 27
Kerorin 27
1 month ago

Thank you very much for the hardworkヾ(・ω・*)ノ