Reborn After Widowhood

Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 180

Chapter 180


Jiangnan, Songjiang Prefecture, Huating County.

At dusk, Chen Xiaozong finished handling his last case, changed into casual clothes, and left the county government office with his two attendants.

The end of Sixth Month was the hottest time of the year. Even though the sun had set, it was still as hot as a steamer.

Chen Xiaozong, fanning himself with one hand, strolled to the street where the Xu Mansion was located, as if taking a leisurely walk in the garden.

There were two camphor trees planted in front of the Xu Mansion. They were quite old and have lush branches and leaves. Two old men were playing chess under the trees, and there were several old men and naughty children around them.

“Oh, the magistrate is here again!”

When Chen Xiaozong appeared, a naughty boy shouted out with a grin.

All the old men looked up, recognized Chen Xiaozong, and immediately found excuses to disperse, and took their grandsons away.

In the blink of an eye, the only people left under the tree were a skinny old man in his eighties with sparse hair and beard, and two children around six or seven years old.

They were the children of the Xu family. The skinny old man waved his hand at them and said, “Go in, all of you.”

The two children glared at Chen Xiaozong but left obediently.

Chen Xiaozong had already approached and sat down opposite the old man with great familiarity. He looked at the chessboard and said to him with a smile, “Such a simple chess game, grand teacher, are you trying to amuse the neighbors?”

Old man: “They are happy, I am happy. Everyone is having fun.”

Chen Xiaozong: “Then I will have some fun with grand teacher.”

After saying that, he picked up the black piece and continued playing the existing chess game.

The old man looked at him and silently arranged the chess pieces.

This round was extremely long, and when it finally ended, it was already dark.

Chen Xiaozong sighed, “Old ginger is still the spiciest. Let alone me, even if my father came, he would be defeated by grand teacher.”

Old man: “Your father is much better than you. My chess skills are not as good as his.”

Suddenly, a breeze blew in the alley, and the leaves of the camphor tree above his head rustled. Chen Xiaozong looked up and smiled at the old man, “Playing chess also requires the right time, place and people. My father’s chess skills are not as good as yours. He occasionally wins a few games, but it’s because he takes advantage of other aspects.”

The old man stroked his beard and smiled: “You are more eloquent than your father.”

Chen Xiaozong: “That’s because he is so capable, otherwise how could he have won your favor? Without your promotion and cultivation, my father would have been demoted to who knows where.”

The old man glanced at his stomach and said, “Have you eaten? If not, eat a home-cooked meal with me.”

Chen Xiaozong: “Grand teacher, you really care about me. I came here at this time just to freeload a meal out of you!”

The old man shook his head.

Chen Xiaozong came around, helped the old man like helping his own grandfather, and walked into the Xu Mansion familiarly.

It could be said that ever since he came to Huating County to take up his post, he had been running to the Xu Mansion every few days. If the Xu Mansion asked him to stay overnight, he would have stayed and eaten here.

The Xu family’s chef prepared two meat dishes, two vegetable dishes and a soup. It wasn’t much, but everything was delicious and very particular.

Chen Xiaozong said contentedly: “My father still loves me and let me come to your place to enjoy the good life. My elder brother definitely can’t have such good food in Guangdong.”

Old man: “Different places have different climates and soils, and Guangdong also has its own local specialties.”

Chen Xiaozong: “Grand teacher, you have a wide range of knowledge. Can you tell me more?”

While eating, the old man told him some delicacies from Guangdong.

Chen Xiaozong listened with great interest.

The old man’s eyes kept scanning the familiar handsome face of this Tanhua, and suddenly said, “The summer rice harvest is about to begin. Are you really not in a hurry at all?”

The imperial court was implementing the new policy, and the magistrates of the surrounding counties had already been busy and exhausted. Only Chen Xiaozong, who took office at the end of the month, came to him almost every day, but never mentioned the new policy once.

In terms of patience, he believed that he would not lose to a junior, but Chen Xiaozong was so leisurely that the old man was afraid that the young man would suddenly use a ruthless move at the critical moment and leave no room for either side.

He would not really think that Chen Xiaozong had no ruthless tricks just because he smiled handsomely.

Chen Xiaozong smiled even more beautifully when he heard this. While scooping white jade tofu for the old man, he said confidently: “With your help, I don’t have to worry at all.”

Old man: “What help can I give you?”

Chen Xiaozong: “You are the richest man in Huating County, and you are the one that all the noble families in South Zhili follow. As long as you are willing to cooperate with the new policy, who among the other noble families would dare to shirk their responsibilities?”

The old man lowered his eyelashes and lowered his head to eat tofu.

Since this topic was brought up, Chen Xiaozong did not avoid it and said with a smile, “When my father first sent me here, I was so anxious because I was afraid that you would not want the Xu family to pay the land tax. If I came here in a polite way, I could not defeat you. If I came here in a brute way, wouldn’t it be considered as bullying the teacher and betray the ancestors? My father scolded me severely, saying that I was worrying for nothing. He also said that when you were in the cabinet, you always put His Majesty and the people first in everything. The new policy is beneficial to both the people and His Majesty, and you will never oppose it.”

The old man gnashed his teeth several times and swallowed the tofu that melted in his mouth. Just as he was about to speak, Chen Xiaozong complimented him again: “I was scolded, and my heart really felt relieved. My father’s words are indeed true. You are the most virtuous chief minister of this dynasty, destined to accompany the emperors of three dynasties and leave your name in history. It doesn’t make sense for you to go against the court for that little bit of land tax when you are old, and get the stigma of losing your integrity in vain, right?”

Old man: …

Chen Xiaozong scooped another spoonful of tofu and said, “My father also said that you will be celebrating your 80th birthday on the Tenth Month. His Majesty always talks about you. When you celebrate your 80th birthday next year, His Majesty will definitely give you a birthday edict. What a great honor it is. I saw my father was very envious, so I hurriedly coaxed him, saying that he could get this when he was old. My father said again that he was not as virtuous as you, so it’s impossible.”

Old man: …

Chen Xiaozong: “By the way, Brother Chun will take part in the Spring Imperial Examination next year, right? I hope he can bring back first-class Jinshi’s title for you, which will be a double happiness this year!”

Brother Chun refers to the eldest grandson of the Xu family.

Old man: …

He looked at Chen Xiaozong deeply.

Chen Xiaozong: “Here, this tofu is delicious, please eat more!”


Guangdong, Guangzhou Prefecture.

The summer rice here was harvested earlier, but there were not as many gentry as in the south of the Yangtze River. Whenever there were troubles, Chen Bozong suppressed them all with force. His iron-blooded tactics directly suppressed the arrogance of those local gentry who attempted to obstruct the new policy.

However, this year was the first year of the implementation of the new policy. Although major problems had been solved, various minor problems had emerged one after another. Chen Bozong was still busy and had to go out early and come back late.

That evening, when Chen Bozong returned to the prefectural government office, it was already dark.

An informant had been waiting there early.

Chen Bozong dismissed his attendants and asked the informant to sit down with him. The two of them ate and chatted.

Back then, Prince Yu and Prince Jing were defeated at Wuduo Mountain, leaving behind more than 20,000 surrendered soldiers. The leading officers were all beheaded, but the 20,000 surrendered soldiers were all young and strong men. It was a pity to kill them in vain. The court’s way of dealing with them was to tattoo words on their foreheads and send them to various places to do hard labor.

The imperial court was short of labor every year. It needed people to build the Great Wall at the border, to build dams on both rivers, and to mine in various mines. In addition to conscripting civilians, it also sent prisoners to do the work.

Under Chen Tingjian’s crafty instructions, more than 20,000 surrendered soldiers were dispersed and sent to five places.

It happened that a new iron mine was discovered in Guangdong that year, and the imperial court directly dispatched 8,000 surrendered soldiers.

Chen Bozong wanted to find evidence of Qi Jin’s collusion with the enemy. In addition to sending people to keep an eye on Qi Jin and the 300 or so surviving members of the Jinwu Vanguard, he also had to contact the surrendered soldiers from the rebel side.

Prince Jing committed suicide, Prince Yu was a pig, and the other person who knew about it was Guo Jixian.

Guo Jixian’s confession was that they captured a scout and learned from the scout that his fourth brother was going to cross Baihe Ridge.

In fact, a scout sent by Ling Rucheng did not return. If this scout really fell into the hands of the rebels, someone would have to be responsible for capturing him, bringing him to see Prince Jing and Guo Jixian, and then disposing him. There would always be some soldiers who saw this process, including Qi Jin who secretly colluded with the enemy. No matter how powerful he was, he would have left some clues instead of directly contacting Prince Jing and Guo Jixian.

From the Eleventh Month of the year when the previous emperor passed away to the Twelfth Month of last year, Chen Bozong’s men investigated for a full two years.

Combining information from various places, Chen Bozong finally compiled a list of soldiers on the rebel side who were responsible for keeping night watch when Qi Jin colluded with the enemy in the Twelfth month.

Most of them died in the war. Of the seventeen survivors, those in the other four places were gradually pried open by his people. According to the list, only five were left in Guangdong. Three of them had died from hard labor or illness, and the informant had not had a chance to contact the remaining two.

When Chen Bozong came to Guangdong, in addition to implementing new policies, another thing he did was to investigate these two people.

He did not show up himself, but arranged for two informants to go to the mine where the two men were as prisoners. They first understood the other’s temperament and became familiar with them before trying to find out what happened in the past.

“Sir, Zhang Qiang is not scheming and answers almost everything I ask. Li Xin is taciturn and very alert. I have helped him a lot in the past six months. Except for expressing gratitude at that time, he kept to himself at other times. I really can’t find a chance.”

Chen Bozong: “The more such a person is, the better he is at hiding secrets.”

Informant: “What should we do?”

Chen Bozong: “Take him out secretly, and set up a trap for him to escape at the mine.”


Three days later, Li Xin woke up from a coma and found himself tied up in a study room that was simple but elegantly decorated.

Sitting at the desk by the window was a dignified and reserved man in his thirties. With the candlelight dancing in the air, he looked as beautiful as jade.

Li Xin looked around silently, and finally his eyes fell on the other person’s face again.

Chen Bozong glanced at him and asked, “Can you read?”

Li Xin nodded.

Chen Bozong picked up a letter on the desk and held it in front of Li Xin.

Li Xin looked carefully and found that it was written on the latter: If you kill a sparrow and catch a rabbit, you can exchange it for money for a jar of wine.

After confirming that he had finished reading, Chen Bozong put the letter into the copper lamp. Watching the flames engulf the letter until only a thin layer of ash remained, Chen Bozong explained in a low voice: “We are investigating the case of someone in the court collaborating with the enemy during the battle in Wuduo Mountain.”

Li Xin had a blank expression on his face, only his pupils shrank imperceptibly.

Chen Bozong sat opposite him, looked him in the eye and said, “I forgot to mention that before I was transferred to Guangzhou as the prefect this year, I was originally the Vice Minister of the Dali Temple, Chen Bozong.”

Li Xin’s throat rolled slightly.

These soldiers knew more than the common people. Anyone who had heard of Chen Tingjian, the Cabinet Elder Chen, almost knew that Cabinet Elder Chen had three sons. The most famous was the Prince Consort. The second was Chen Bozong, the Vice Minister of the Dali Temple who had won the Zhuangyuan’s title but married a commoner wife from his childhood. As for the other one, which was the Tanhua, there was no rumor worth mentioning.

Chen Bozong glanced at his Adam’s apple and continued, “The sparrow refers to the people on the Jinwu Vanguard side. They know the identity of the person who colluded with the enemy. As long as the rebels have evidence to prove that someone did tip you off that night, and it was not you who captured the scout, we can convict him of treason.”

Li Xin: “Why are you telling me this?”

Chen Bozong: “You were one of the soldiers on the night watch that night. If you can provide evidence, atone your crime with good deed, I can set you free.”

Li Xin: “What if I don’t know?”

Chen Bozong smiled and said, “If you don’t know anything, but now you know my secret, then I can only kill you.”

Li Xin: …

The author has something to say:

Luo Yuyan: Third Master is just too popular with women, but he actually very elegant.

Yu Xiu: First Master just doesn’t like to smiles, but he actually a nice person.

Grand Princess: Prince Consort, nothing.

Chen Jinzhong: ???

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