The Princess Wei Yang
Chapter 54: To seek wealth
In the afternoon, Li Wei Yang accompanied Lao Furen into the palace.
After days of nonstop snow, it was bitterly cold; even though seven or eight large heating stoves were placed in Ci Xin Gong, it was useless, it was still unable to block the deep cold that came in.
Lao Furen was wearing a red knitted jacket with gold clouds, an embroidered lion mandarin square on the chest, there was a narrow serrated decorative edge on the collar with gold and silver buckle, plus the xiapei’s1 radiance was glittering.
Li Wei Yang lowered her head, staring steadily at the three feet square of white jade brick on the floor, knelt with Lao Furen to perform the bowing rituals.
At the moment, the hall was filled with silence that even the “swisha” sound caused by the rubbing friction between the shirt and skirt can be heard.
“Which one is Li Wei Yang?” The Dowager Empress with dignified face and amicable looks, slowly asked.
Li Wei Yang took a deep breath, stepped forward, did a grand curtsey, said: “Dowager Empress, healthy body, pool of happiness for thousands of years2.
The Dowager Empress’s eyes fell on her, smiled and said: “Raise your head and let me see.”
Li Wei Yang raised her head, her gaze respectful, demeanor dignified.
The Dowager Empress looked at her face, nodded while smiling, said: “She is a beautiful girl.” Then she said: “The countermeasures in the booklet, were devised by you?”
Li Wei Yang quietly said: “Yes.”
“Oh…” The Dowager Empress pondered and sized her up again, “So young, with such knowledge, it is rare.”
Her gaze was clearly gentle, yet Lao Furen felt as if a meaningful glance was present, a trace of uneasiness rising in her heart, however, Li Wei Yang beside her, seemed to be unaffected.
Lao Furen for a moment was unconsciously surprised.
How would she have thought, that in Li Wei Yang’s past life, such scenes were so common that she was already accustomed to it.
After they rose, Dowager Empress allowed them to sit, Dowager Empress had ordered the formality to be dispersed with, then chatted with Lao Furen, and did not bring up the issue in the booklet.
Li Wei Yang calmly looked at the white porcelain with blue white tea lid, quietly sitting on the most right-hand seat, she knew that the Dowager Empress did not want her to be too proud, deliberately pressing down on her temper.
Soon, outside of the curtain, a servant announced: “The Emperor has arrived.”
Everyone was busy getting up for greetings, the emperor entered wearing a bright yellow Kui dragon design, did not salute when facing the Dowager Empress, called out: “Empress Mother.” He turned around and waved a sleeve towards the people who bowed and said carelessly: “All rise.”
The emperor’s stature was tall, in his younger days, he was also a beautiful man, just that through the years, the life of an emperor had added a fearsome quality to him, causing an involuntary feeling of dread in people.
He sat down, his eyes naturally staring at the girl in the hall.
When Li Wei Yang’s gaze met the emperor; there was no ignorance, instead, her eyes turn mischievously, then laughed openly.
Her eyes were dazzlingly glorious like black diamond, with this turn, the emperor felt that in front of his eyes was splendor, he could not help but sized her up carefully.
Thirteen years old, although tall but obviously not yet grown, merely a child.
“Are you saying that the five policies disaster relief has a problem?” The Emperor asked, fixing his attention on Li Wei Yang.
Li Wei Yang calmly bowed her head: “Yes.”
“Father returned two days ago sighing, he said he has lost imperial grace, unable to help share Bixia’s burden, I see that Father was worried, I could not bear it, so I made detailed inquiries about the actual conditions of the victims, then analyzed Dajie’s strategies, I discovered that there are a lot of oversights in the five policies disaster relief, if Bixia would like to hear, I will explain everything clearly to Bixia.”
The emperor never thought that such a weak, slim girl would speak methodically, could not help but become more interested: “Speak.”
“The five policies disaster relief mentioned by Dajie, originally could be a good relief in disaster, however, Father has brought up to me, that the victims have riots, claiming that they did not receive any reliefs, yet Bixia’s emergency grains has clearly reached the disaster area.
Thinking carefully, this trouble appeared somewhere within the process.
The first policy is to register the victims, to ensure that reliefs can be reached to each person, but in the midst of relieving people in disaster area, Bixia and supervising censors cannot send the emergency grains directly into the hands of the victims, instead it goes down a layer, the distributing authority falling in the hands of the Xulis and Lizhengs3, they used the disaster for personal gain, concealed, misreported and lied to victims.
Li Wei Yang gently raised her eyes and discovered that the emperor was sitting straight, showing a reflective expression.
She continued speaking: “The second policy is to persuade the institutions, so that wealthy households will voluntarily aid disaster victims, or reduce the price of grains for victims.
Regarding the loophole in this policy, Bixia needs to pardon my offense, then I can say.”
The emperor frowned: “I will not blame you, speak.”
The Dowager Empress watched this girl in surprise, she was around a lot of princesses and duchesses, yet had never seen such a young girl capable of weighing things.
Li Wei Yang smiled warmly: “Yes, the loophole in the second policy is that when Bixia has implemented the system to help, a lot of local officials secretly moved the original allocation of emergency grains to their private possession, then forced the wealthy to provide money and food, thus when local wealthy households feel dissatisfied, it is inevitable that troubles would be incited by the victims!”
Just now she was speaking of Xulis and Lizhengs, now even court officials have been involved.
The Emperor squinted his eyes: “Are you saying that my court officials are lining their pockets4?
Li Wei Yang bowed her head, said earnestly: “Not all of them, there is always three or four out of ten, the more ample the grains in the treasury are, the plumper the mice, Bixia is a wise ruler, you must have had a pretty clear idea.”
Lao Furen was a bit anxious, but looking at the Emperor, he didn’t appear to have become angry, for the time being, he was quietly listening to her continuing her speech.
“The third policy is is to set up gruel stations.
Major yamens5 set up places for gruel stations, giving gruel to relieves victims.
When Bixia has hurriedly sent officials to deliver the emergency grains to the disaster-stricken area, the local officials have also set up gruel stations for reliefs.
But even with adequate relief grains, there are still large numbers of victims starved to death.
Such profound mystery arises from the local officials.”
Professing that officials were corrupted, the emperor’s frown became more pronounced, could not help but become angry: “Nonsense!”
Li Wei Yang immediately kneeled on the ground, but her face showed no sign of fear, only calmness.
It was just a bet, as long as she won, she would gain great benefits.
Lose, it was only a death.
After all, she was given a life, what was there to be afraid of? Moreover, she understood the personality of this emperor Bixia, although he was short-tempered, he was a wise emperor, otherwise, Dali would not be so rich and powerful.
She bowed her head, did not say a word, just straightened her spine, expression steadfast.
The hall was still like the deads, in the end, only the emperor could be heard coldly saying: “If you cannot say the cause, I will give you the death penalty for falsely accusing the loyal and upright people.
At this moment, Lao Furen’s back was already soaked…
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