Chapter 16 - Reward or Penalty?
Chapter 16 - Reward or Penalty?
The Gu Song Silver House collapsed.
A series of screams resounded throughout the ruins. Outside the Gu Song Silver House, a lot of people who stole the gold and silver fled in panic.
In the restaurant next door.
Gu Han was also astounded by the scene.
"Godfather, why did the Gu Song Silver House collapse?" Gu Han said with a surprise.
Gu Hai coldly laughed and said, "There isn't just gold and silver in the Gu Song Silver House, the entire building is laced with high-end furnishing. Phoebe Zhennan is used within the roof beams and pillars."
"Ah? So, all our roof beams and pillars were stolen?" Gu Han had completely accepted defeat by the acts of robbery committed by the public.
"Who wouldn’t want free stuff?" A sliver of cold smile appeared on Gu Hai's face as he said.
"Thump! Thump! Thump!"
Suddenly, countless city guards came running from afar.
There were still a few who were rummaging through the wreckage, but soon, the crowd broke into tumult and dispersed, they didn't even turn back to look.
"City guards are coming, it seems the Song Capital, this pot of water is about to boil. You should take a trip to the Crown Prince’s Palace and add fuel to the flames, the proceedings of the Royal Court tomorrow will be very crucial!" Gu Hai said in a solemn tone.
"Yes, Godfather, please rest assured, over the years, in order to make Crown Prince the Crown Prince, I have spent a fortune on him. Although I can't control the Crown Prince as I wish, if it is just to have a hearing with him, it won't be difficult!" Gu Han confidently smiled and said.
The news of robbery of Gu Song Silver House spread throughout the Song Capital in the blink of an eye.
It was but the largest silver shop in the Song Capital, the wealth stored inside was unimaginable, the countless citizens that had swarmed it, had become wealthy overnight.
Many people who weren't able to participate beat their chest and stomped their feet in anguish, while waiting for the news from the officials.
While those that did participate, hid their stolen goods while also awaiting the news from the officials.
In the blink of an eye, the Song Capital calmed down; the capital was calmer as compared to before. Everyone was on their tiptoes of expectation and were patiently waiting.
Therefore, only this one Gu Song Silver House was robbed, while the other Gu Mansion industries still hadn’t been robbed by the citizens. Everyone was waiting for the news, waiting for next day of the Royal Court hearing to determine the verdict regarding this matter.
The news had already reached the hands of various officials of the Royal Court. Such big news had indeed made the mood of countless officials complex. They didn't know what stand to take during tomorrow's Royal Court session.
Many officials were running everywhere, seeking their colleagues to discuss the matter of tomorrow morning’s Royal Court hearing.
Similarly, the news had also reached the Royal Palace.
Many in the Royal Harem applauded.
"Good job, the properties of Devil Gu must be robbed!"
"If it was me, I would also rob. Furthermore, even I have visited the Gu Song Silver House a few times, it was even more luxurious than the Royal Palace itself!"
"This is just great! Gu Hai's store had been robbed, His Royal Majesty must be happy, the popular support can be used!"
Many people applauded, while the Old King, who was sitting in the library and listening to his subordinate as he carefully reported everything, frowned and analyzed everything piece by piece.
"Summon Royal Tutor Pan, Liu Chengxiang for a discussion!" The Old King ordered.
"Yes, Your Royal Majesty!"
Within the Crown Prince Palace.
Crown Prince Song listened to his subordinate reporting today's news regarding the Gu Song Silver House.
"Very good, hahaha, Gu Hai's store had been robbed, I am really happy!" A savage look appeared on Crown Prince Song's face as he said.
His son, Song Zhengxi's death had already made Crown Prince Song's hatred for Gu Hair reach the apex. At this moment, Crown Prince Song found every bit of bad news on Gu Hai appeasing.
"Your Royal Highness, it's not the time to be happy!" An aide, who was standing in front bitterly smiled and said.
"En?" Crown Prince Song gazed at the few aides in front with a frown.
"Your Royal Highness, the collapsing and robbery of Gu Hai's store is indeed something to be happy about, however, this matter is hiding a nerve-wracking problem behind itself," an aide said as a bitter smile crept on his face.
"What's the problem?" Crown Prince Song said in a solemn tone.
"How to determine the nature of this case?! Gu Song Silver House is Gu Hai's store and had been robbed by the citizens, the problem is whether to punish or reward the citizens for the robberies!? What the citizens did, is it right or wrong?"
"If we say the citizens are wrong, they will say they have been loyal to the country, uh, at least they stand on a moral high ground on the surface. What they did was for serving the country, and we can't blame those who had done something to serve the country, no matter what means they have used! But, if we say, the citizens are right, then it would mean the citizens have violated the laws, and the laws of our Song Kingdom are extremely strict. No matter who it is, they cannot be robbed. Robbery is punishable by law, and the laws of our Great Song cannot be disregarded. The laws are an important part of our nation and cannot be messed with. The laws are the foundation to govern the people, the trampling of laws is equivalent to trampling the Royal Power," an aide said.
"That's right, Your Royal Highness, if we say the citizens are wrong, the citizens will say they were serving the country! If we say the citizens are right, then the citizens were trampling the laws! Depending on whether the citizens are right or wrong, should they be rewarded or punished? I think, the officials are having a headache right now, and the citizens of Song Capital are waiting for the tomorrow morning Royal Court session for the verdict!" Another aide also said with a bitter smile.
Crown Prince Song mouth was agape; he was momentarily surprised. Are the citizens right or wrong? This needs the officials to determine, but what stand are they going to take on this case?
The chamber sunk into silence; it was an extremely troublesome problem.
"If our Song Officials had confiscated the Gu Song Silver House at the very beginning, there wouldn't be so many problems!" Crown Prince Song bitterly smiled.
"No, Your Royal Highness, when the two countries are at war, the delegates must not be killed. And the Gu Hai's stores are just like those delegates, we don't have sufficient evidence to support that they will bring harm to our Great Song, and we cannot randomly confiscate, otherwise, it would cause a chain reaction, the businessmen wouldn’t dare to traverse to another country, or conduct trans-regional business. Moreover, there are many, many Gu Hai's stores, once all of them are confiscated, the trading system of our Song Kingdom would likely be in chaos, the citizens wouldn’t be able to buy many things suddenly, which would lead to a mass uprising. Secondly, the promotion of Gu Hai's sinisterness was just to prevent Gu Hai's machinations. The citizens would only hate Gu Hai, but wouldn’t be afraid. But if we do a thorough cleansing, it will very likely give off an impression of our Song Kingdom being in dire peril, which would cause the citizens to be afraid!"
Crown Prince Song's face revealed a sliver of weird look.
"Maybe His Royal Majesty also wanted to confiscate Gu Song Silver House, and maybe even was preparing to do something to eliminate the hidden dangers, although it would bring loss, it would still be within our control. However, in the end, we were a step too late, with the citizens causing this outbreak. Due to this, the situation had turned even more complex! The citizens that had robbed Gu Song Silver House today, will they be found guilty or innocent? Will they be rewarded or punished?" An aide wryly smiled.
Crown Prince Song: "...!"
The chamber once again sunk into silence. Originally, it was something to be happy about, but at this moment, it had become so strange.
"Your Royal Highness!"
A chamberlain walked in.
"What is it?" Crown Prince Song asked in a solemn tone.
"Mister Tian is here to see you!" The chamberlain respectfully said.
"Mister Tian? Tian Han? The businessman?"
"This Tian Han is indeed a bit intelligent, unfortunately, he is too focused on wealth. Although he had offered a great fortune to the Crown Prince Palace, he had never intervened in the matters of Crown Prince Palace!"
"It's better that he didn't intervene, how could we allow a businessman to willfully intervene in the matters of His Royal Highness?"
The congregation of aides occasionally whispered to each other, meanwhile, Crown Prince Song had already ordered the chamberlain to invite Tian Han.
Soon, Gu Han was guided into the chamber.
"This worthless commoner greets Your Royal Highness, this worthless commoner greets everyone!" Gu Han said with a smile.
"Mister Tian no need to be over-courteous!" Crown Prince Song smiled and said.
The congregation of aides also slightly smiled, after all, Gu Han had never intervened in the matters of Crown Prince Palace, therefore, he didn't have any conflict of interest with everyone.
"Mister Tian, is there anything I can do for you?"
Gu Han burst into a wry smile as he said, "Perhaps Your Royal Highness is already aware of the situation with the Gu Song Silver House!"
"Oh?" Everyone's expression was astir.
"Mister Tian, did you arrive in regards to this?" Crown Prince Song frowned.
"This Tian dares not make wild guesses regarding this matter, This Tian is talentless and is just a businessman, This Tian is unable to share the burden of Your Royal Highness. This time, This Tian have just arrived to bring what This Tian had noticed to Your Royal Highness' attention, perhaps what This Tian noticed as an ordinary citizen is different from what Your Royal Highness and the gentlemen noticed, it is for reference purposes only!" Gu Han politely said.
"Oh?" Everyone curiously gazed at Gu Han.
The following day, within the Royal Court in the Song Capital.
The Song King, who was sitting on the Dragon Throne, was overlooking a group of officials. The officials seemed to have gone through an intense quarrel; many of whom still had their faces flushed. At this moment, all of them had turned their gazes towards Crown Prince Song.
"Royal Father, fellow officials, whether it is deemed right or wrong, we have already gone through a long debate. The citizens that robbed the Gu Song Silver House had trampled upon the laws, however, they have robbed the store of Gu Hai, who had long since been propagandized as a Devil, and the citizens were just cutting the Devil's wings, they were just helping the justice. Each has their own points of view, This Lowly Official wants to present his own view!" Crown Prince Song spoke in a solemn tone.
"Your Royal Highness, please speak!" Royal Tutor Pang, who was standing on the left row said in a heavy tone.
The Song King also gazed at Crown Prince Song.
Crown Prince Song nodded and said, "Royal Father, fellow officials, if the citizens are deemed guilty, then, they are guilty of robbery. Liu Chengxiang, previously you were speaking quite intensely, so could you please advise, since the citizens are guilty, according to you, how should we deal with them?"
An old official standing in the left row stepped forward.
"Ask them to return whatever they have stolen that day, punish them slightly to serve as a warning!" Liu Chengxian replied in a solemn tone.
"Would the citizens be willing to return? I think everyone would basically be reluctant to do so. Moreover, how would we know who had stolen, and what they have stolen? It would be difficult to investigate, correct? Or are you perhaps planning to search the entire capital? Our Song Army of 800,000 soldiers has been defeated just because of Gu Hai, now you wish to help Gu Hai by restoring his losses? W-what would the citizens think of this!"
"We can confiscate those items, and wouldn’t return them to Gu Hai!" Liu Chengxiang said with a frown.
"Instead of returning to Gu Hai, place them in our national treasury? And what would be the final effect of such wanton searching? Are we going to fight with citizens over the stolen goods? Is the nation going to fight with its own citizens? Do you want to isolate our Song Kingdom's officials from the citizens? Or, do you think otherwise?" Crown Prince Song sneered.
"Ah? This Old Official had absolutely not thought of this!" Liu Chengxiang right away shook his head.
"The citizens stole Gu Hai's property, and if we, the officials took action, we won't be able to nominally handle those properties. We can't return them to Gu Hai, and we also can't keep them with us, as we would only garner infamy! My Song Kingdom had already wantonly propagandized Gu Hai's atrocities, and we can never change our standpoint, we absolutely can't stand on the side of Gu Hai and help Gu Hai recover his losses, lastly, and more importantly, when the citizens' anger is high, we can't undermine their hatred for Gu Hai!"
"The citizens only took such action, just because of the citizens' hatred for Gu Hai, of course, there were some who wanted to fish in troubled waters, but they included, only had such impulse because of their hatred for Gu Hai. We have the popular support, clearly, our previous propaganda had played its effect, at the very least Gu Hai's machination can no longer play any effect on the citizens, everyone will be ready for Gu Hai!" Crown Prince Song said in a heavy tone.
"Your Royal Highness means to say that the citizens cannot be punished?" Liu Chengxiang frowned.
"That's right, they were cutting Gu Hai's wings, that's the only reason they went to Gu Song Silver House, and naturally, they can't be punished!" Crown Prince Song solemnly replied.
"Cannot be punished? But they have trampled upon the laws of our Great Song, or do you want to reward them? The laws of our Great Song are sacrosanct, and, cannot be so easily trampled, no matter whom they are! Otherwise, once the Laws collapse, there won't be any order in the heart of citizens, and our Song Kingdom would go down the path of destruction!" Liu Chengxian anxiously interjected.
"Liu Chengxian, you are thinking too much, this is exactly what I was about to say, the Laws are set in stone, while we are adaptable. This is a special case, thus should be treated as separate matter!" Crown Prince Song said with a smile.
"Oh? A separate matter? How should we separate?" Song King doubtfully asked.
"Royal Father, This Child and Subject believes that we are at loss and somewhat troubled while trying to determine the verdict of this matter, the Laws and those who serve the country are in conflict just because of Gu Hai, this calamity. How about, we strip Gu Hai off of our Song Kingdom's laws?" Crown Prince Song said with a smile.
"En?" Everyone glanced at Crown Prince Song with a frown.
"Those who are a danger to our country are not going to be tolerated. Why should our Song Kingdom's laws safeguard Gu Hai's stores? This Child and Subject thinks, that what the citizens had done is just, and, absolutely right. When we were still planning to confiscate Gu Hai's stores, the patriots among the citizens were a step ahead and took action, because they believed that everything of Gu Hai is harmful to our Song Kingdom. The popular sentiment is together with my Great Song, how can we hurt our citizens? We should support the citizens, support the popular beliefs, because if the popular feelings are firm, the foundation of our nation will remain strong! The citizens are looking out for my Great Song, are we going to make things difficult for them?" Crown Prince Song said.
"En?" The officials frowned as they thought.
"Earlier, we have already propagandized Gu Hai's atrocities so much, just yesterday we were against Gu Hai, and now if we punish those who were against Gu Hai, then what will become of our previous propaganda? Won't it turn into a joke? Won't it mean we were trying to please the public by claptrap? Won't we become a joke? The country won't be able to get the trust of the public and would collapse! The national prestige cannot be disrespected!" Crown Prince Song shouted in loud and clear voice.
Song King, who was sitting on the Dragon Throne, narrowed his eyes as he nodded.
"Your Royal Highness, you mean to say, we should not only not punish the citizens, we should also reward them? We should reward the citizens for committing robbery?" Liu Chengxiang's complexion turned ugly.
"We don't need to reward, we just need to verbally encourage through exoneration!" Crown Prince Song solemnly stated.
"But, but Your Royal Highness should know that countless citizens are eagerly waiting outside the Royal Court, waiting for our decision. Once the verdict is out, it will be difficult to change. If we pardon them, we would be verbally encouraging them. Believe it or not, after today, all of the other stores of Gu Hai in the Song Capital will get plundered by tomorrow?" Liu Chengxiang frowned with worry.
"Ah, Liu Chengxiang, why are you so concerned about Gu Hai's properties?" Crown Prince Song coldly said.
"I am concerned? I am not concerned about anything! It’s just that, there are too many industries of Gu Hai! Don't you know how much wealth that is? Why can't the feudal officials confiscate them? This is robbery yet...!" Liu Chengxian anxiously said.
Crown Prince Song coldly smiled as he shook his head and said, "I know that it is quite a fortune, no matter who it is, they will covet. Perhaps even I will covet such wealth. I also want to confiscate it. However, Liu Chengxiang, please tell me, is the fortune that is more important or my Song Kingdom?"
"En?" Everyone in the great hall looked solemn.
"Royal Father, Gu Hai's wealth is hefty, anyone would want it. However, as compared to my Great Song's power, it is simply a speck of dust. Since the nature of Gu Song Silver House case had already been determined, if the citizens are robbing Gu Clan's properties, let them rob. If the feudal authorities confiscate, and citizens are also robbing, what will we do if a conflict occurs? A conflict with the citizens? Furthermore, what will we do if it was something staged by Gu Hai?" Crown Prince Song asked in a heavy tone.
"But..." Liu Chengxiang anxious said.
"Royal Father, the citizens only robbed Gu Hai's wealth because of our propaganda about Gu Hai's atrocities, which is in accord with my Great Song, and ought to be encouraged! We should let Gu Hai's wealth be with the citizens so that the citizens would feel grateful. The citizens will be convinced, and our propaganda will, in turn, have more convincing power. Although Gu Hai's wealth is large, my Great Song's power is more important. This Child and Subject thinks that yesterday's act against Gu Hai should be encouraged and that the citizens shouldn’t be punished!" Crown Prince Song solemnly said to the Old King.
The officials whispered to each other for a moment.
"This Old Official supports His Royal Highness' statement. Although the wealth is immense, if we could safeguard the popular support, it would be well worth it!" Royal Tutor Pang opened his mouth to speak.
"This Official seconds this motion!"
"This Official also seconds this motion!"
In just a moment, the Royal Court unanimously stood on Crown Prince Song's side.
Sitting on the Dragon Throne, the Song King gazed at the officials, who almost unanimously supported the Crown Prince, finally, he also nodded.
Indeed, what's the use of confiscating so much wealth? The Song Kingdom is about to be destroyed by Gu Hai, I would no longer be able to enjoy such wealth, as long as my Kingdom is still here, I can have everything.
"Crown Prince's motion granted!" Song King opened his mouth to speak.
"Long live the King! Long live the King"
The very first moment the decision of Royal Court hearing was out, it was conveyed.
Gu Hai and Gu Han had always been concerned about the Royal Court hearing. They were informed the very moment the verdict was out.
"Godfather, this is just wonderful. Crown Prince Song had used my statements from yesterday in the Royal Court, and, they have decided to reward the Song Citizens that acted against my Gu Family. The Great Song Kingdom has officially jumped into a bottomless chasm!" Gu Hai happily gazed at Gu Hai.
Raising the cup of tea, Gu Hai took a sip as a sliver of smile appeared on his lips.