Shen Yi Bin was the Shen family’s only son of the first wife, so he was very pampered, his food and clothing were top class for the time period. After Zhou Yun Sheng returned to the Shen residence, he really had a few days of leisure and happiness, how could he foresee that on this day, just as he got out of bed, he was placed in prison by the imperial guards.
Shen father was a minister near the Son of Heaven, he naturally had the opportunity to access the exam question. The Tian Chen Emperor suspected that Shen father also participated in the fraud case, so he ordered the imperial guards to detain him too.
Father and son were currently squatting in a stinky cell, already with black and blue eyes and sallow complexions, they looked very haggard.
“When is mother going to send us dinner? I have not eaten a Babao duck in a long time, I’m really itching for one.” Zhou Yun Sheng had a straw dangling from his mouth, rubbing his board beaten buttocks. Fortunately, he had the habit of strengthening his body when he entered a new world, or he’d now have internal injuries from the beating.
Shen father had not been fired yet, so as an official appointed by the imperial court, his board beating wasn’t as severe as his, but his heart’s torment was a hundred times more painful than being tortured. He grabbed his son’s ear and angrily rebuked, “You this unfilial son, you still think about eating at this time? Quickly confess out the person who answered your questions, lest you suffer any more torture!”
“That is my own writing, how can I confess?” Zhou Yun Sheng covered his ears, looking wronged.
Shen father saw him still unrepentant even in this situation, and couldn’t help but feel short of breath and chest pain, swinging his fists to give him a good beating.
Meanwhile, Shen mother was visiting her daughter, the Seventh Prince’s concubine.
“Go back mother, I am also now like a clay Bodhisattva fording a river. I cannot guarantee my own safety, where do I have surplus power to save father and younger brother. I sent someone to invite the Seventh Prince a few times, but he was not willing to see me. Perhaps he foresaw my purpose for calling him, because he unexpectedly made mother imperial concubine summon me to the palace for reprimand. Now, I’m forbidden to set foot outside, and I don’t know what month or year I will regain my freedom.” Shen Qiao Dan said while shedding tears, her expression hopeless.
Shen mother suddenly understood, after a moment of silence, she sighed, “So, the Seventh Prince intends to stand idly by? It makes sense, your brother has no hope of getting out of this predicament in this lifetime, and your father’s career is also ruined, our Shen family is naturally useless to him. Daughter, you have no children, and have fallen out of favor, what will you do in the future? If I knew this would happen, I would’ve betrothed you to an ordinary family, to give you a peaceful life.”
Mother and daughter felt sadness welling up, crying on each other’s shoulders.
Westside courtyard, Xie Yu Rou sent someone to inquire about the conversation between the mother and daughter. She dismissed the servant girl who relayed the message and sneered, “The Shen family has fallen, what other ways out does Shen Qiao Dan have? The future hardships are just beginning, please slowly enjoy it.”
A few loyal servant girls, all submissively standing respectfully, pretended that they didn’t hear anything.
Just at this time, the Seventh Prince stepped in. He saw the peerless beauty reclining on the couch, and his indifferent eyes immediately seeped out a small smile.
“Zi Qing, Lady Shen came, you did not … …” Xie Yu Rou displayed a kindhearted and gentle appearance in front of others, at this time, she should naturally plead for leniency.
“Don’t say any more, Imperial Father is now wrathful, no one can persuade him. I can only let the Shen family rely on themselves.” The Seventh Prince’s face instantly turned cold. He knew the principle of sending charcoal in snowy weather, but Shen Yi Bin was a good-for-nothing, and the career of the only capable person in the Shen family, Shen Hui, was ruined. This Shen family really had no enticing value.
Upon seeing this, Xie Yu Rou also no longer persuaded. She raised her handkerchief to her lips and secretly laughed.
Shen mother left the Seventh Prince’s residence and went to ShiJin Restaurant to buy her son and husband a just baked Babao duck, then she immediately entered the prison. The family of three sat opposite each other, silent.
“So, our family has already become the Seventh Prince’s Sacrifice?” After a long time, Shen father sighed deeply.
Shen mother nodded, tears surging up again.
Zhou Yun Sheng was buried in a bowl of warm rice and chewing on a duck leg. After he ate his fill, he opened, “He now extensively favors Concubine Xie-shi, has disregarded older sister, and also repeatedly mocked and rebuked her. It’s good that he has abandoned our house, now Xie-shi won’t be able to enjoy all the benefits of us someday helping him win power.”
Here, he lowered his voice, “Father, how about we seek worthier pastures?”
Shen father’s beard trembled in anger, he shoved him into the food box and roared, “Seek, what seek? Even our lives are not guaranteed, but you’re still thinking about these things? I do not know where your confidence comes from!”
Zhou Yun Sheng broke free from Shen father’s hands with great difficulty, face covered with rice grains, he yelled out, “I confess, I am willing to confess! But I need to meet the Emperor first, or I’ll smash my head to death!”
Because the Emperor was anxious to find the person who wrote the essay, every day he repeatedly asked questions, but Shen Yi Bin was unexpectedly tight lipped, even with almost broken buttocks, he refused to yield. The Supreme Court’s high-ranking official was under a lot of pressure, since he was finally willing to confess, they quickly sent someone to inform the Emperor, also regarding it as pleading guilty.
One meeting could result in him obtaining an amazing subordinate, the Tian Chen Emperor waved his hand, allowing the request.
The father and son were brought before the emperor, then knelt down and saluted.
“Who is that man, where does his family live?” The Tian Chen Emperor impatiently inquired.
“Reporting to the Emperor, the person you are looking for is right in front of you, it is humble I.” Zhou Yun Sheng’s cheek was still littered with a few grains of rice, his appearance was really unsightly.
The Tian Chen Emperor’s face instantly darkened.
Zhou Yun Sheng immediately added, “Replying to the Emperor, this commoner could speak at eight months, could write poetry at three years, had a facile imagination as a small boy, highly intelligent, and what’s more, this commoner has an incredible memory. This commoner has read a lot of books, and is very knowledgeable. That policy essay really is this commoner’s humble writings. This commoner seeks the Emperor’s insight!”
What kind of person Shen Yi Bin was, no one knew better than Shen father. When he heard his son boasting so boldly, he desperately wanted to pounce over and block his son’s mouth. But because this was the Qin Zheng Hall, and they were before royalty, he didn’t dare act rashly.
The Tian Chen Emperor listened to this speech, then unexpectedly laughed. He threw over the book placed on the table, “Huai Nan Zi”, and said in a heavy voice, “I’ll give you a quarter of an hour to read it, then recite it. One wrong word, and you will be dragged out and flogged to death.”
Shen father immediately cold sweated like a waterfall, but Zhou Yun Sheng respectfully replied, “Reporting to the Emperor, a quarter of an hour is not needed, merely a few breaths is enough.” After saying this, he picked up the book, flipped through it once, returned the book to the chief palace eunuch beside the emperor, then closed his eyes to recite.
The Tian Chen Emperor held the book to compare, his expression turned from gloomy to surprised, then surprised to astonished.
“Wait, start reciting from the third line on the 76th page.” He ordered.
Zhou Yun Sheng didn’t pause at all, reciting from the third line’s first word, not one mistake.
“Recite from the 100th page, sixth line.”
Zhou Yun Sheng continued to switch recitation.
“Begin reciting from the third word in the seventh line on page 38.”
Zhou Yun Sheng nodded and did according to his words. His soul power was formidable, his stated memorization abilities were not exaggerated, but he also had the super search engine, 007. Even if the Tian Chen Emperor found the most uncommon book in DaZhou, he would still know it by heart.
The Tian Chen Emperor was stunned, speechless for a long time. After he regained his senses, he grew anxious about the possibility that he had memorized that book at an earlier time, so he sent people to the Imperial Hanlin Academy to look for the dictionary the academics had just completed.
The dictionary had not yet been published, only the staff that complied it and the Tian Chen Emperor have seen it. It had millions of words, a mighty volume.
“I’ll give you a quarter of an hour, memorize this dictionary.” This time, he didn’t throw the book, letting the servant closest to him hand it over. His tone was also a lot more relaxed; anyone could see that he was already somewhat convinced.
Shen father was kneeling in place, from time to time, he turned to look at his son, as if he didn’t recognize him.
Zhou Yun Sheng promised, then like before, flipped through the dictionary with the fastest speed. Under the Tian Chen Emperor’s examination, he recited forward, inverted, middle, and from specific sections, changing the pattern, displaying his ability to never forget.
The Tian Chen Emperor was completely convinced, he was silent for a long time before gently asking, “Since you have such big talent, why did you buy the exam question? Would this not pointlessly cause trouble?”
Zhou Yun Sheng exposed a helpless expression, “Reporting to the Emperor, this commoner’s page boy thought that this commoner couldn’t pass the exam, and bought the exam question without authorization. This commoner only learned of it afterwards. This commoner wondered how a practice exam question could be bought for serval thousand silver, realizing that it was to allow persons to cheat. After glancing at it, it was thrown away. This commoner is ignorant, begging the Emperor for forgiveness.”
The Tian Chen Emperor nodded and pondered, after a moment, he probed, “Your Twice-Taxation System is also not a perfect policy, do you know?”
Zhou Yun Sheng cupped his hands and replied, his attitude neither overbearing nor servile, “Reporting to the Emperor, this commoner knows, but because the policy essay had limited writing space, this commoner was unable to write out many words. The Twice-Taxation System has four shortcomings: First, long-term unadjusted household registration, and failure to implement the principle of equally divided burden between the rich and poor.”
“Second, the tax rate of the household tax portion of twice-taxation is calculated in money, because the imperial court collects the money, the amount of money circulating on the market is insufficient, and a phenomenon of the ‘price of money’ outweighing the worth of goods will soon arise. The common people will start to sell their silk fabrics, grain or other products at cheap prices in order to earn tax money, increasing their life burden; Third, under the Twice-Taxation System’s legal selling and buying of land, land annexation would be even more prevalent, the rich ……”
He broke down the possible problems that could arise from the implementation of the Twice-Taxation System one by one. On this basis, he suggested the more reasonable “Single Whip Law” and “Tan Ding Ru Mu”. His long-term vision, exhaustive thoughtfulness, and orderliness made the Tian Chen Emperor slap the table in praise.
“Come, give Shen Gongzi and Official Shen a seat.” The Tian Chen Emperor personally stepped down from the throne to help the two people up, wearing a “bathing in spring breeze”-like smile. As long as they were a real learned scholar, they would be able to get his preferential treatment, not to mention Shen Yi Bin, this once in a lifetime genius.
Zhou Yun Sheng’s ass was very sore, after sitting down, he trembled, making the Tian Chen Emperor feel even more guilty. The two people shifted the topic from tax reform to land reform, then to the border defense war. Zhou Yun Sheng’s refined speech, and sharp, thought-provoking sentences made the Tian Chen Emperor powerless to end the conversation, wishing he could keep him in the palace to talk all night.
Shen father was already dull, holding a tea cup, staring blankly at his son.
Soon, the palace was closed for the day, at this, the Tian Chen Emperor remembered the father and son’s injuries and hunger. He quickly summoned an imperial physician and the imperial meal. After taking care of their wounds and eating dinner, the Tian Chen Emperor personally guided the two to the Qin Zheng Palace gate, laughing, “Yi Bin is so talented, why were you so unremarkable before?”
Zhou Yun Sheng blushed red, then cupped his hands and said, “Reporting to the Emperor, because my father was eager for me to succeed, if this commoner let him know this commoner’s wisdom, he would certainly keep this commoner at home all day, and won’t let this commoner out until every classic in DaZhou is read. This commoner is a lover of slapstick, unable to sit still, therefore, this commoner hid a little clumsily.”
Shen Yi Bin was only 17 years old, and because he inherited his parents’ good looks, when his slightly childish face flushed, he actually looked indescribably pure and lovely. Even the rice grain stuck to his cheek didn’t damage his charm.
The Tian Chen Emperor carefully sized him up, the more he looked, the more he liked. Then he personally picked the rice grain off his face, and laughed heartily, “Where were you hiding a little clumsily, you were hiding very clumsily.”
Zhou Yun Sheng looked embarrassed, which caused the Tian Chen Emperor to laugh again.
The father and son boarded the carriage. When they left the palace grounds, Shen father finally caught up to reality, swinging his fists to give his son a good beating, “I made you hide, I made you hide, if not for facing certain death after buying the real exam question, did you intend to hide for a lifetime?”
Zhou Yun Sheng dodged the fists while jokingly saying, “Truly, nobody understands one’s son better than his father, this son really doesn’t want to be an official. Being an official is too tiring, going to court every day, before the sun even comes up.”
Shen father finished swinging his fists, suddenly letting out turbid breaths, he smiled: “Even if you don’t want to be one, you have to be one, how can the Emperor let you get away? I thought my Shen family was in a hopeless situation, but I didn’t expect that I actually gave birth to such a good son. Good son, are you hurt?”
Zhou Yun Sheng was terrified by his father’s sappy tone.
Son of Heaven- the Emperor
Sacrifice- A strategic move in the game, GO. Wikipedia “Sacrifice: Allowing a group to die in order to carry out a play, or plan, in a more important area.”
Qin Zheng Hall- Hall of Diligent Government. Some important government building.
Single Whip Law– Wikipedia “a fiscal law first instituted during the middle Ming dynasty, in the early 16th century, and then promulgated throughout the empire in 1580 by Zhang Juzheng.”
Tan Ding Ru Mu – Chinaknowledge “The fusion of the field tax with the poll tax… a tax reform of the early Qing period. It made taxation easier by allowing to pay both taxes in money, and not in money or corvée service, the other in kind.”
Gongzi- Son of nobility
Hide- to hide one’s inadequacy by keeping quiet