Elder Cen’s status in the minds of the scholars of Yongxiu County was similar to the status of academicians in modern society, in the hearts of college students; perhaps even more serious. After all, in modern society, universities were common. But in this era, only a few could study and these people were considered to be like phoenixes. Like Zhu Wenhua and Wang Zhisong, every child student was admired and envied. So once Elder Cen appeared, the Guo family, who acted brutal towards Wang Shijing, immediately shrank a lot.
After giving a formal salute, Zhu Wenhua immediately said to Elder Cen, “Dean Cen, I am student Zhu Wenhua, child student of 11 years and Wang Shijing’s second uncle.” Zhu Wencai also immediately bowed. “Dean Cen, my humble self is called Zhu Wencai and I am Wang Shijing’s first uncle.”
Wang Shijing did not call the two of them ‘uncles,’ so Zhu Wencai and Zhu Wenhua were both a little embarrassed. Elder Cen only nodded slightly to the two of them, but when he didn’t respond, they became even more embarrassed, especially Zhu Wenhua.
Elder Cen first introduced, “This is Dean Kang of White Moon Academy, who is also a student of this old man.” As soon as they heard this, they saluted respectfully. Kang Rui glanced at Guo Dexiu and the others who were on the ground and asked Wang Shijing, “Shijing, what happened? Who are these people?”
Wang Shijing said coldly, “They are the maternal family of Wang Tianyan’s wife, Guo Zhaodi. They think it was me who caused Guo Zhaodi to land in jail.” Guo Zhaodi’s father shouted boldly, “Dean Cen, Dean Kang, my daughter was wronged!” Guo Zhaodi’s mother also cried out, “My daughter was implicated by the Wang family. They put my daughter in jail and then abused my grandson.”
Kang Rui’s expression became serious as Elder Cen looked at Guo Zhaodi’s parents. “You say that your daughter was implicated by the Wang family and it’s Shijing who put her in jail. But as far as I know, Wang Guo and her husband Wang Tianyan wanted to seize Shijing’s family wealth and together with their mother, wanted to force Shijing to hand over his family wealth, ignoring the deed of separation the both parties signed.
According to the law of our dynasty, the county magistrate sentenced Guo Zhaodi and her husband to one year in prison. It was only after Shijing and Shao Yunan pleaded for them that the magistrate changed their sentence to five months in prison. I was also present at that time. Father Guo, I want to ask you, did you know that your daughter did not recognize the deed of separation and wanted to rob Shijing’s family.”
Father Guo was too scared to look at Elder Cen as he stammered. “I didn’t know, I only know that my daughter was sent to jail by their family.” Elder Cen raised his voice, “Is the village head here?”
“Elder Cen.” Zhao Lizheng immediately stepped forward and Elder Cen spoke. “Please bring out the deed signed between Shijing and that family.”
“I’ll go.” Zhao Yuanqing ran toward their house. Elder Cen asked again, “Is the head of the Wang family here?” Someone shouted, “Wang Dali is still at home. I will call him.”
Wang Xing and Sun Dajiang ran toward the Wang family house, as Elder Cen spoke to Father Guo. “If you are not satisfied with the sentence of the magistrate, you can go to the capital to file a complaint. I would like to ask the villagers present in Xiushui Village, did Wang Guo and her mother-in-law try to force Wang Shijing and his wife Shao Yunan to hand over their family wealth?” As soon as Elder Cen finished speaking, a series of answers came out. “Yes!”
“Guo Zhaodi said that all the money from Shijing’s family should be handed over to them. They also went to the Wang clan patriarch’s house to make trouble, asking the patriarch to force Shijing to hand over money and stones!”
When the people spoke, Father and Mother Guo could not raise their heads. Mother Guo wanted to argue, but the person in front of her was Elder Cen. Even if she was more shrewish than Old Lady Wang, she still couldn’t act like a scoundrel and spill her guts in front of Elder Cen, who had a good reputation and was the dean of the county school.
After the villagers testified, Elder Cen raised his hand signaling everyone to be quiet. He continued, “Father Guo, if you don’t know the law of our dynasty, I can explain it to you. The law of our dynasty has decreed that those who violate the deed will be sentenced from one to three years in prison. The county magistrate sentenced Wang Guo to one year, but due to Shijing’s plea he reduced the sentence to only five months, which is already very generous. Are you dissatisfied with our laws or with the magistrate’s sentence?” Father Guo’s body suddenly became weak. “I, I…”
“Your daughter was imprisoned and the Wang family lied to you, so you should look for the person who deceived you and made your daughter go to prison. What does any of it have to do with Shijing’s family?” Old Lady Wang ducked back.
“Shijing is also here, but you and your Guo clan wanted to beat him without any reason. According to the law of our dynasty, you should be punished with a cane. The magistrate is here, should we also invite him?”
“Elder Cen, please forgive me! I wouldn’t dare, I don’t dare!” Father Guo was so scared that he almost pissed himself, knelt down, and started to beg for mercy. Elder Cen ignored Father Guo and looked at Zhu Wenhua. “You are Shijing’s uncle and also a child student. Did you know of the injustice Shijing suffered at home?”
“Did you know that your sister Wang Zhu broke the law by forcing Shijing, who was already a compulsory worker, to replace Wang Tianyan and serve in the army, which is a serious violation of the law? Did you know that your sister Wang Zhu denied the deed of separation and wanted to rob her separated son of their family’s wealth, which is also a violation of the law?”
Zhu Wenhua’s face turned red immediately. “Student… student didn’t know any of it. I didn’t know that Shijing was already separated from my sister’s family. Nor did I know that she was after Wang Shijing’s family fortune. As for her forcing Shijing to serve in the army, when this student learned about it, Shijing was already taken away. I also talked to my sister about it, but she was already married and this student was far away, so it was impossible to control her.”
Elder Cen said, “You are a child student and you knew that Wang Zhu violated the law, but you shielded her. Shijing and his family have been separated for a long time, but you as his uncle didn’t even know about it. Why did you even come to see Shijing today?”
Zhu Wenhua was speechless. He originally wanted to find Wang Shijing to educate him. Anyway, his younger sister was still his mother. How could he deny his own mother and be controlled by his male wife like this? But how could he still dare to say his real purpose of meeting Wang Shijing now?
Wang Shijing had lived for more than 20 years, but he could count on one hand the number of times he had met with his two uncles and the relatives of his maternal family. Zhu Wencai and Zhu Wenhua also had no affection for Wang Shijing.
Wang Shijing stood by Elder Cen’s side and didn’t speak, his gaze showing total indifference to his so-called relatives. Zhu Wencai choked out a sentence. ” How to say, we are also Shijing’s relatives. My sister is also Shijing’s mother, Shijing…”
Kang Rui interrupted him. “Since you are Shijing’s relatives, do you know his birth date? When he got married and how old his son and daughter are this year? Since you are Shijing’s relatives and it’s the New Year celebration, why didn’t I see you go to Shijing to pay the New Year’s greetings? Also, no one from his maternal family visited him.”
Edited by: Jaisland