The fourth examiner was in charge of “The Articles of Martial Arts”.
Jiang Chen was even more at ease in this field. He easily resolved the three questions that the examiner asked in succession.
These three questions all belonged to this examiner’s martial arts obstacles. They had restricted him for many years, and he had a feeling of suddenly seeing the light after Jiang Chen’s explanations.
“Your Majesty, your humble subject is a man of martial arts and dares to use my head to vouch for the young duke Jiang. If even his level is unable to pass the foundational exams, then no one in the younger generation will be able to pass.”
These words were even more thorough, more absolute.
The duke of Soaring Dragon’s face darkened slightly when he heard the fourth examiner’s words. Was this a slap in the face? My daughter Long Juxue was born with an azure phoenix constitution. Would her potential and experience be inferior to this brat’s? Humph. You’re a mere examiner, what aspects of life have you seen? How dare you speak so wildly?
The duke of Soaring Dragon was quite infuriated.
Du Ruhai immediately jumped out, “Your Majesty, your humble subject was charged by Your Majesty to administer the Hidden Dragon Trials. I have been diligent and hardworking, but was beaten by this presumptuous youth today. I beg Your Majesty to make a judicious decision and a judgment for your old subject.”
“Your Majesty, this Jiang Chen is lawless. Although he has some talent, he has repeatedly committed grave infractions. Your subject feels that we can no longer tolerate this youth.”
The duke of Soaring Dragon had finally spoken up.
His words represented the attitudes of a select portion.
Indeed, many courtiers and officials also jumped out and all sincerely begged Eastern Lu to handle this harshly in accordance with the laws of the land!
“Ministers, Jiang Chen is a youth brimming with talent. How could he have produced answer scrolls filled with such unreadable nonsense? I however, will be appointing Minister Du to quickly investigate the circumstances. Are there those unworthy in the ranks below who have employed some shady methods in private?”
Eastern Lu gave those aggressive proclamations the cold treatment. His words were the equivalent of publicly protecting Jiang Chen.
The duke of Soaring Dragon was about to open his mouth when light sounds suddenly traveled in from outside the hall.
“No need to investigate! I have already discovered the truth.” At this moment, Princess Gouyu, dressed in armor, walked in with a mighty and brave air.
The crowd of warriors akin to tigers and wolves that followed behind her were obviously the royal palace guards.
These royal palace guards had tied up a few people.
Du Ruhai’s face changed drastically when he saw the band of tied up people. These were all his confidantes! Had these guys broken under the pressure at this critical moment?
There was also a middle aged woman wearing gold and silver, with the shine of jewels all about her. Her face was shiny, and she wore powder and blush. Wasn’t this Du Ruhai’s wife?
The middle aged woman started cursing loudly when she saw Du Ruhai. “Du Ruhai, didn’t you commit a crime and were hauled off to the royal prisons? What are you doing here?”
Du Ruhai leapt up. “Who said I was hauled off to the royal prisons? That’s rumor mongering! You idiot woman, did you say something you shouldn’t have?”
The woman blanked, “I… I told them everything. They said leniency will follow frankness?”
Princes Gouyu laughed coldly once, “Royal brother, I have long since heard the rumors of Du Ruhai’s corruption and abuse of the law. I have been observing secretly and gathering evidence. Collecting evidence from all avenues has indeed resulted in rewards. This Du Ruhai is absolutely a harmful vermin! This is Du Ruhai’s wife’s confession and initialed testimony. There is detailed evidence for Du Ruhai’s cheating in the Hidden Dragon Trials.
And this, Ma Datong, is Du Ruhai’s confidente. Du Ruhai instructed him to commit the entire act. Ma Datong, now is your chance to redeem yourself with good service in front of His Majesty!”
This Ma Datong was indeed Du Ruhai’s confidante, and since Du Ruhai’s wife had confessed, he was only forcing himself down the path of death if he continued to cover things up.
He didn’t dare look at Du Ruhai either at that moment and genuflected tremblingly. He poured out the entire matter of how he’d swapped answer scrolls and how he’d hoodwinked others like beans being poured from a bamboo pipe.
Eastern Lu’s face darkened continuously as he listened.
“Then where are the original answer scrolls?
Princess Gouyu took them from the hands of a royal palace guard and presented it forward. “This Ma Datong was somewhat of a smart man and knew to hold something back. He surreptitiously kept them when Du Ruhai told him to destroy them, and they’ve acted as a lifesaver.”
Witnesses and material evidence were all present.
Following that, a steward who had mimicked Jiang Chen’s handwriting also confessed honestly.
All the crimes and evidence pointed to Du Ruhai without a single exception. These people had all been threatened and coerced by Du Ruhai, leaving them no choice but to do so.
Next up were continuous counts of accusations.
Du Ruhai was completely befuddled by what was occurring in his surroundings, and his blood pressure skyrocketed. His facial expression was wretched as he sat down heavily on the ground.
“How can this be, how can this be?”
Suddenly, his eyes glanced at the duke of Soaring Dragon and it was as if Du Ruhai had found a straw to clutch at. “Duke Long, say something on my behalf. I, Du Ruhai, have accomplished things for you before.”
At this moment, Du Ruhai was like a pile of turd. Whoever sullied themselves with it would be unlucky. Duke Long’s brow faintly creased as he privately cursed “useless” and kicked Du Ruhai away with one leg.
“In this duke’s life, petty villains like you that are greedy and jealous of the virtuous are the most abhorred.” The tone of the duke of Soaring Dragon was filled with disgust, as if disdaining a large fly, one that was to be avoided like the plague.
“Your Majesty, the thing that your subject Long Zhaofeng cannot abide the most in this life are traitors like these. Your subject sincerely requests that Your Majesty pronounce an edict to allow your subject to haul this thief out to behead and display publicly!”
Eastern Lu smiled faintly, thought momentarily, and then actually nodded his head. “We are comforted by Duke Long’s loyalty. Approved!”
Even Jiang Chen was a bit surprised by this development.
Princes Gouyu likewise harbored some confusion. But her confusion aside, she wasn’t about to say something after Eastern Lu had made a decision.
Du Ruhai was frightened out of his sense when he heard those words. “Duke Long, don’t kill me. I’m still of use.”
He also started barking up the wrong tree in his panic. When he saw that the duke of Soaring Dragon was ignoring him, he actually crawled backwards to Jiang Chen, “Young duke Jiang, I was in the wrong. I’m not human. I…. but I have inside information. I was coerced. Young duke Jiang, I know that you’re currently His Majesty’s favorite. Plead on my behalf and I, old Du, will become your dog from now on. I’ll bite whomever you tell me to bite. I have inside information to report. I…”
Jiang Chen had seen some wretched, petty villains after coming to this world, but he hadn’t thought that Du Ruhai could take things to another level.
“Du Ruhai, I said that you would regret it when you set a foot wrong. But who would’ve thought that you would die in Duke Long’s hands. What great irony.”
Jiang Chen laughed heartily and gave the duke of Soaring Dragon a meaningful look.
He had no need to treat anything as taboo in front of the duke of Soaring Dragon. Even a fool could see Duke Long’s shadow behind this matter.
As for why Eastern Lu hadn’t uncovered it, it must be because he didn’t want to blatantly call out Duke Long, yet. That was to say, it wasn’t time to show the cards in hand yet.
Du Ruhai was quickly hauled out and personally beheaded by the duke of Soaring Dragon!
When the duke of Soaring Dragon dragged the bloody, headless corpse in to discharge his duty, even Jiang Chen was a bit impressed by this person’s ruthlessness.
Although Du Ruhai was one of his dogs, he was a dog that did Duke Long’s bidding.
He’d beheaded Du Ruhai just like he said. He was indeed a fierce and ruthless person.
This disturbance quickly evolved into an anticorruption operation. Eastern Lu was exceedingly wrathful and he gave the order for house raids and execution!
The remaining accomplices were all sent to a distant exile!
As for the victim Jiang Chen’s true answer scrolls, after a round of verification from the four examiners, they discovered that the answers were exactly the same, matching the new answer scrolls he’d drawn up that day, with not a single word different.
This way, people were quite amazed by Jiang Chen’s astonishing memory.
The truth had come out. As the main organizer of the Hidden Dragon Trials, Princess Gouyu immediately announced that Jiang Chen had passed the three foundational exams and were qualified to enter the final exams of the Trials.
“I owe you one.”
When court had been dismissed, Jiang Chen nodded towards Princess Gouyu. Jiang Chen was much obliged to this favor as a lot of trouble would have been necessary otherwise.
“No need!” Princess Gouyu’s slender arms waved as she spoke with a businesslike manner. “I am the organizer of the Hidden Dragon Trials and it is part of my duties to ensure that each dukedom’s heir receives fair and just treatment.”
Jiang Chen smiled involuntarily. “Must you be so cocky?”
“Excuse me?” Princess Gouyu’s phoenix eyes moved and she asked with a frown.
“Women don’t look good when they frown.” Jiang Chen smiled faintly. “And, when I say I owe you one, then I owe you one.”
“Whatever.” Princess Gouyu flipped her wavy hair and her tone was still noncommittal. “Is there anything else? If not, I have many other things to take care of.”
One had to say, women’s thoughts were always quite odd. Princess Gouyu felt the same towards this Jiang Chen.
Her first impression had indeed been poor the first time she met Jiang Chen. She’d felt that this was a frivolous young man.
These thoughts became more resolute when he’d hotly lectured her during that first meeting.
Following that, Jiang Chen had even more unreservedly bossed around Princess Gouyu and dictated orders when it came to revamping Princess Zhiruo’s quarters.
Some bizarre feelings had appeared in Princess Gouyu’s heart at that moment, because she had yet to meet someone in her life who’d dared speak to her this way.
And, this person was at least six or seven years younger than her.
Afterwards, when Princess Gouyu learned that Eastern Zhiruos’s illness had actually taken a turn for the better after Jiang Chen’s diagnoses and treatment, her viewpoint had unknowingly taken a 180 degree turn in that moment.
When Jiang Chen caused the huge disturbance at the Soaring Dragon manor afterwards, Princess Gouyu had to admit that she had misjudged this youth previously.
And now in the present time, Princess Gouyu knew more clearly than anyone else that Jiang Chen was not as simple as he’d previously portrayed himself to be. That so-called fop and dandy who refused to learn and had no martial skills was absolutely a stealthy guise!
But, Princess Gouyu was also a headstrong person. She hadn’t received any concessions from Jiang Chen in their previous interactions, and a woman’s modesty prevented her from laying down her dignity and speaking calmly with this youth.
However, Jiang Chen had no idea that Princess Gouyu’s thoughts were thus, and thought this woman was still holding a grudge because he’d yelled at her that day in the palace.
Smiling wryly at Princess Gouyu’s sexy retreating figure, he smiled and increased his voice’s volume. “Conflicts of true qi result in difficulties of control. You’ve been stuck in the ten meridians true qi realm for at least three years now, no? Why have you continued to fail to breakthrough? I’d originally wanted to use this opportunity to return this favor, but forget it since you don’t want it.”
Princess Gouyu’s body that was as proud as a phoenix, vaguely shuddered once with weakness. Her moving lotus-like steps suddenly stopped.