Chapter 18 Chip Chip
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Li Jinyu lay in his bedchamber, unable to shake off the restlessness that had taken hold of him ever since Huo Caiyu had left the palace.
Even though he had bestowed a title and an official position on Huo Caiyu, he still felt uneasy.
Based on the novel, Huo Caiyu should now be on the path of suffering and hardship, encountering corrupt officials, bandits, and refugees that would challenge his perspective on the world and eventually compel him to take action against the oppressive government.
But following that plot meant he had to live as the tyrant Emperor for a long time! It would be better to take the direct route and support Huo Caiyu in ascending the throne. However, Li Jinyu was worried about Heavenly Dao. Would Heavenly Dao allow his favorite son to deviate from the plot? Li Jinyu could only silently pray, “Dear Heavenly Dao, I’m doing this for the quick ascension of your son to the throne. Please support me!”
Chief Kang watched Li Jinyu’s restless behavior and suggested that he go outside to relax.
Li Jinyu bit his nails, shook his head, and asked, “Is there any place in the palace where a cage can be build?”
Could it be that His Majesty wanted to lock Young Master Huo up?
Breaking out in cold sweat, Chief Kang nervously replied that the inner prison had people who could construct cages.
Li Jinyu didn’t want to go there, but he really missed his hamster wheel so much.
While he was busy dealing with the problems of the new regime alongside Huo Caiyu, he had been able to distract himself, but now that he had nothing to do, he felt uncomfortable without his wheel.
“To the inner prison!”
The last time Li Jinyu came to the inner prison was when he picked up Huo Caiyu. Upon seeing a group of people kneeling there, Li Jinyu still felt his inherent fear of humans.
Fortunately, he didn’t have to see so many people this time and only met the prison warden to inquire about the craftsmen who build equipment and cages here.
“What kind of prison equipment does Your Majesty want to build?” the warden asked respectfully, “This humble official will ensure that they are completed quickly.”
“It’s not a prison equipment, it’s a big wheel.” Li Jinyu beckoned and had Chief Kang bring out the sketch he had drawn in advance. “Just like this, the wheel can turn when running inside it, understand?”
The warden struggled to understand the sketch of a giant wheel and asked, “How big does Your Majesty want the cage to be?”
“About big enough to fit a person of Zhen’s size.”
The warden thought he understood and nodded, with a fawning smile on his face. “This humble official understands. The matter will be done immediately.”
Li Jinyu returned to his palace bouncing with joy, imagining the wonderful time he would have running on the giant wheel.
That night, Huo Caiyu returned to Jiaolan Palace and found the young Emperor sleeping soundly in a fetal position, with a silly smile on his face.
Huo Caiyu’s heart softened a bit.
He sat on the edge of the phoenix bed and touched the golden cup that had appeared inexplicably in his sister’s package.
His sister said that the cup and a few small beads appeared in her package after she made a trip to the palace. She was not sure where these things came from, and since they were worried about Huo Caiyu, they had forgotten about it.
Did His Majesty give it to them?
Huo Caiyu lowered his head, and the orange light from the phoenix candle lit up the handsome face of His Majesty.
Dreaming who knows what, Li Jinyu suddenly smacked his lips and murmured softly, “Huo Caiyu…”
Huo Caiyu was stunned.
After a moment, he came back to his senses, tiptoed to put his luggage away, and settled down beside Li Jinyu.
The next day, Li Jinyu appeared normal. Huo Caiyu hesitated to speak, but ultimately didn’t ask anything.
Li Jinyu walked around in the palace with great interest.
Someone from the inner prison came to report just now, saying that they had made the big hamster wheel that His Majesty wanted!
The inner prison was amazingly efficient! He must reward the prison officials well later!
However, when the warden of the inner prison brought the thing to the palace, Li Jinyu stared in horror at the “hamster wheel”.
“W-what is this?”
The “hamster wheel” looked very similar to what he had described, but the problem was that the wooden planks within the wheel were installed with all kinds of iron nails and wires!
How could he run with such a wheel? This was clearly a torture device!
The prison warden approached enthusiastically, grabbed a wooden handle and shook it. The “hamster wheel” started to turn with a creaking sound, and the embedded iron wires and nails rubbed against each other, making a teeth-aching sound.
“Your Majesty is wise to come up with such a torture device. It is the great fortune of our country! Anyone who is put into this wheel will not be able to withstand it for an hour. They will surely confess everything they have done!”
Li Jinyu froze up, so scared by the horrifying scene.
How… how is this possible… This bastard is going to use the sacred hamster wheel for what?!
Li Jinyu, who was rarely angry, slammed the table and stood up, shouting, “Shut up! Guards, get him out of here!”
The warden was at a loss for a moment, his smile slipping and his eyes widening. “Your Majesty?”
What did he do wrong? Wasn’t His Majesty always fond of these things?
“Spare this official, Your Majesty! Spare this official, Your Majesty!”
Li Jinyu was initially so angry that he wanted to have the warden thrown into the “hamster wheel” to experience it for himself, but he hesitated when the words were about to come out.
The bloody scene was too terrifying, and he couldn’t bring himself to give such an order.
In the end, Li Jinyu simply dismissed and investigated the warden.
But when it came to finding a new prison warden, Li Jinyu was faced with a dilemma.
There was no one to replace him.
Everyone in the high ranks of the prison was just as bad as the previous official, using flattery and torture to win the favor of Emperor Jingchang.
Normal people who weren’t locked up in the prison were either trying to transfer out of the palace or had already done so.
Li Jinyu wistfully thought of his beloved hamster wheel, climbing frame, lookout tower, swing, slide, and seesaw…
Someone has to build all these things!
The skilled craftsmen who were good at making them in the palace had been recruited to expand the internal prison by Emperor Jingchang.
Li Jinyu was conflicted for a moment, but then a light bulb suddenly flashed in his mind, “Why am I even considering to replace the warden in the inner prison?”
The very existence of the inner prison itself was abnormal!
By bypassing the laws of the court and acting solely for the Emperor’s personal desires, anyone, including commoners or even high-ranking officials, could be arbitrarily arrested and executed.
In the novel, the first thing Huo Caiyu did after ascending the throne was to abolish the inner prison!
It shouldn’t be a problem to do it a bit earlier, right?
The more Li Jinyu thought about it, the more he felt it was feasible. He eagerly ordered, “Someone, prepare an edict. Zhen wants to abolish the inner prison!”
The abolition of a department was not a small matrer. Not to mention the interests involved in various places in the palace, even Consort Xian sent someone to persuade him.
Annoyed, Li Jinyu slammed the table, threatening, “If you keep babbling, Zhen will throw you all into that wheel!”
The people below fell silent collectively.
Recently, the Emperor’s temper had been getting better, and they had almost forgotten about his past “glorious achievements.”
The abolition of the inner prison was secretly welcomed by the low-level eunuchs and palace maids.
Following the expansion of the inner prison, it was not only the Emperor who utilized it, but also certain ruthless concubines and high-ranking eunuchs who would send those who committed mistakes to the inner prison. Once someone was sent there, it was exceedingly rare for them to leave the prison alive.
Now that the Emperor had abolished the inner prison, they could all breathe a little easier knowing that they wouldn’t constantly face the threat of death.
Abolishing the inner prison didn’t mean that the primary duties of the prison also need to be terminated.
There should also be a system of rewards and punishments within the palace, and it was not practical using the resources of the three government offices.
Li Jinyu wanted to pass this headache of a problem onto Huo Caiyu. “Huo Aiqing, what do you think?”
Huo Caiyu pondered for a moment before answering, “There’s still a need for a monitoring system for the palace people. Your Majesty can restructure the inner prison by categorizing and placing individuals accordingly.”
The inner prison had previously possessed various powers such as legislation, judiciary, law enforcement, and supervision, which exceeded those of the ordinary legal system, and the sole person who had control over it was the Emperor himself.
Li Jinyu nodded and tried to recall the contents of the novel regarding the new arrangements made by Huo Caiyu after abolishing the inner prison. Following the original plot, he ordered, “Re-establish the Washing and Weaving Bureau, and from now on, the palace staffs who make mistakes will be punished according to the law by the Washing and Weaving Bureau. No palace may use private punishment. The existing craftsmen will be reorganized into Iron and Wood Bureau, responsible for making palace equipments.”
He then reassigned the remaining personnel to other departments. Li Jinyu looked back at the surprised expression on Huo Caiyu’s face and suddenly realized something. He emphasized, “When issuing the decree, remember to emphasize that it is Huo Aiqing’s plan.”
Huo Caiyu was slightly startled but didn’t refute it, only showed a bitter smile on his face.
His Majesty was determined to use him as a shield…
Seeing that His Majesty dismantled the inner prison and rearranged it in an orderly manner, he must have been planning to abolish the inner prison for a long time.
Huo Caiyu turned his head and looked at the terrible instruments of torture being slowly carried out. Hearing Li Jinyu seriously instructing Chief Kang to “remember to recreate the wheel that Zhen requested when the Iron and Wood Bureau is established,” he lightly tapped the paper with his finger, and a hint of contemplation flashed in his brown eyes.
He initially thought that His Majesty had the inner prison built this huge wheel in order to make trouble with them, but it seemed that His Majesty really wanted it?
Just what was His Majesty planning to do with this giant wheel that could hold a living person?
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