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Just now, Cheng Yujin wanted to comfort Li Chengjing, but was afraid to further pressure him by touching his pain point. Not all comfort was good, and equally, not every situation needed comfort from others. In some situations, self-righteous kindness would instead be backlash.
Cheng Yujin was accustomed to thinking about the reaction of others, and so was Li Chengjing. Cheng Yujin didn’t rashly show him her comfort, and Li Chengjing also hid the sacrifice he made for Cheng Yujin, brushing it off with a light “It’s not a big deal.”
The two of them truly resembled each other, and they also respected the other’s feelings. Because of this tacit understanding, they never bickered, got along more harmoniously with each passing day, and became more and more intimate as a result. A person’s heart was not made of cold steel; although Cheng Yujin didn’t mention the sacrifice Li Chengjing had made for her, she kept it in her heart and was determined to reciprocate by treating Li Chengjing even better in the future.
At this time, Cheng Yujin finally understood the meaning of the words Du Ruo once said — with Cheng Yujin’s character, no matter who she married, she surely could live well, but only with Li Chengjing would she be able to live comfortably and happily.
Cheng Yujin originally dismissed this remark as Du Ruo’s casual compliment, but now she suddenly felt emotional. That’s right — if nothing happened in the first place and she married Huo Changyuan according to the original trajectory, she would surely be able to handle the chauvinist Huo Changyuan and his jealous mother Huo Xue-shi, but what then? She surely could live well, but not necessarily happy.
And it was probably also the same with Li Chengjing.
Li Chengjing noticed that Cheng Yujin had been silent for a while. She also looked slightly dazed, as if deep in thought. Seeing this, Li Chengjing raised an eyebrow and said with a smile, “What makes you think so deeply?”
Cheng Yujin shook her head, not willing to tell Li Chengjing this overly sweet though. She quickly changed the subject, “Your Highness, who is now in charge of Jiangnan’s disaster?”
“Of course it’s Senior Grand Secretary Yang’s beloved disciple.” Li Chengjing noticed that Cheng Yujin was deliberately changing the subject, but he didn’t press further. Instead, he carefully explained the situation in the court, “Today is just the cabinet minister quarreling among themselves, but there will be more commotion once the morning court starts tomorrow.”
Sure enough, the next day, the matter of disaster relief in Jiangnan caused an uproar at the morning court.
The leader of the disaster relief team was changed arbitrarily, and the replacement was still another of Senior Grand Secretary Yang’s cronies. When other court officials learned about it, they exploded. The matter caused the officials to quarrel endlessly, bringing forth the accusation of Xu Wen’s embezzlement of disaster fund, adulteration of the grains, and the cover-up of his failure that caused a plague to finally break out. The courtiers were split into several opinions, with one group demanding the guilty officials be severely punished and another one accusing Senior Grand Secretary Yang of forming factions for personal gains. It was clear that the plague was started by the negligence of a member of Yang’s faction, but now, Yang Fucheng had sent another of his disciples to take over the last process of the relief effort.
Since he became the Senior Grand Secretary, this was probably the first time Yang Fucheng encountered such a large-scale impeachment.
The outbreak of public anger was like a mountain torrent. Although the green mountain and blue water normally looked tranquil outside, once the breaking point was reached, all the old and new grudges would erupt together. With one person taking the lead, other officials followed suit and began attacking indiscriminately. They brought out all kinds of accusations against the Yang faction and the Yang family — from Xu Wen’s affair to Senior Grand Secretary Yang’s abuse of power and to Empress Dowager Yang’s involvement in governmental affairs. In the end, even the only grandson of the Yang family, Yang Xiaoyu, was also accused of his tyrannical actions, and the matter of the Yang family’s servants taking advantage of their power to bully others was also taken out.
Like a flood bursting a dyke, the impeachment that originally was small in number soon became out of control.
This large-scale impeachment lasted for a month, during which the Emperor’s desk was piled with stacks of memorials impeaching the Yang family every day. The civil officials took use of their literary talent to the fullest, using various allusions, idioms, and quotes to write pages over pages of impeachment. The next day, when they saw that the Emperor still didn’t take any action, they continued to write another impeachment and submitted it again.
Senior Grand Secretary Yang had dealt with countless officials during his career, arranging for many of his rivals to be impeached and forced to retire. Never in his wildest dream did he imagine himself being in the same position one day. Moreover, such a large-scale impeachment was unprecedented. The imperial censors seemed to have gone crazy — regardless of the truth or falseness, they kept on impeaching the Yang family.
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