Leizi: One Who Controls Lightning

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Operator Record
One Who Controls Lightning
Leizi icon.png

If those who enforce the law are not bound by the law, then what is the use of establishing the law?

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Leizi to Elite 2 Level 1.
  • Have at least 50% Trust with Leizi.
Characters
Backgrounds
Shangshu Pass
1
Mountaintop Pavilion
2
A case of impeachment from the past, a retired Deputy Minister, and an act of justice outside Yanese law. Within two hours, the deliberations between Deputy Minister Lin Qingyan from the Central Judicial Office and Monitor Censors Taihe and Jie Zhen from the Department of Discipline and Supervision must yield an adjudication.
<Background 1>
[The masked Taihe is viewing the scenery...]
Taihe ......
[...as the Kylin Censor from Episode 06 joins him.]
??? Phew...
Taihe Thank you for coming.
??? It just happens I'm on duty today...
Taihe, what is there that we cannot discuss in the Department of Discipline and Supervision's offices?
[The third unnamed Censor from Episode 06 joins the Kylin.]
??? So it is about Deputy Minister Yu after all.
Are you truly so eager to deal with your predecessor, Deputy Minister Lin Qingyan?
Lin Qingyan This, too, is the Department of Discipline and Supervision Censorate's responsibility. Perhaps you are being too negligent with this matter, Monitor Censor Jie Zhen.
Jie Zhen ......
Taihe This is precisely why I summoned you two here.
The Department of Discipline and Supervision monitors a variety of officials among its ranks. Though the man in question has since resigned and returned to his home, he must be held liable for the transgressions he committed during his tenure.
This has much to do with Deputy Minister Yu Cheng's fabrication of evidence during the impeachment of Langyi's magistrate all those years ago, and though you two have already discussed this matter for many times, we have yet to reach a conclusion.
In roughly two hours, Deputy Minister Yu Cheng will arrive in this place...
Jie Zhen You summoned him here behind my back?!
Lin Qingyan Such is Taihe.
Taihe We can ill afford to wait any longer. Regardless of how this is resolved, the two of you must arrive at a conclusion in these two scant hours.
If he will be brought to justice, then we three shall hear this case here in the courts' stead to uphold the law of Great Yan.
If we instead turn a blind eye, then I ask you to keep your distance when Deputy Minister Yu arrives and let us catch up on old times.
These hills are less than twenty li from the capital. The moment he enters the city, there will be no more room to turn the situation around.
Jie Zhen ......
Lin Qingyan ......
<Background fades out and in>
[As Taihe, the Kylin Censor – now known as Lin Qingyan, and the unnamed Censor – now known as Jie Zhen, walks through the pass...]
Jie Zhen As I've always said, you truly are unreasonable.
Lin Qingyan I've said this many times as well. Deputy Minister Lin Qingyan merely does what the Deputy Minister of the Central Judicial Office Assistant must.
Ten years ago, when Deputy Minister Yu inspected the nation's many prisons, he passed by Langyi and indicted the local magistrate. After a year and three months, the magistrate died in prison.
And I discovered certain discrepancies while going over the literature.
Three months ago, I visited Langyi and looked into the matter... The key evidence that Deputy Minister Yu used during the impeachment, such as the account book and directory of personnel were all indeed fabricated.
The evidence I have gathered is conclusive, irrefutable.
Jie Zhen I don't mean to refute this old case, no.
I just mean to ask... Do you think the magistrate did not deserve his impeachment?
Is it not the truth that during his years in the position, he deceived the entire institution from top to bottom, appropriating great sums of the royal court's wealth?
Is it not also indisputable, nay, irrefutable that he repeatedly misused his position and issued local decrees to levy new taxes?
How long did he block the appeals of subjects demanding redress for their injustices, bribe government inspectors and officials, falsify the sentiment of the populace in his reports to the capital, causing immeasurable harm?
......
Of the dozens of charges he was impeached upon, was there a single one that was fabricated?
Lin Qingyan ......
They were all true.
Taihe If Deputy Minister Yu had implicated a good man, we would not be discussing the matter.
The impeachment of the Langyi magistrate also implicated some dozen mandarins in the Langyi and capital governments, as well as the inspectorate. The ensuing investigations showed all were guilty as charged. The news shook the court, struck the provinces with astonishment, and improved social ethos for the better.
Jie Zhen From what I have heard, letters of appreciation from the masses arrived to the Central Judicial Office and the Department of Discipline and Supervision in tall piles.
From a bystander's point of view, was the impeachment somehow not satisfactory to the citizenry?
Put another way, Deputy Minister Yu's actions were to the benefit of the masses, were they not?
Lin Qingyan ......
Jie Zhen Taihe, what do you think?
Taihe I agree.
Jie Zhen Furthermore, it would seem that you have misunderstood me.
I never said I would not handle this matter.
Lin Qingyan By handle, you mean...?
Jie Zhen The Central Judicial Office will remove Yu Cheng's name from its ledgers. The Ministry of Revenue will confiscate his retirement, and the benefits he enjoyed after returning to his hometown will be cancelled.
Furthermore, should Yu Cheng's relatives apply for official posts in the future, the court will take this into consideration.
At the same time, all officials of the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Discipline and Supervision, and the Central Judicial Office must, regardless of their rank, take his case as a warning.
And if Yu Cheng is truly a treacherous villain, before we send him to prison, I will first torture him with my string.
But he dedicated his entire life to his duties. He is a good official, and he is almost seventy years of age. Can we not grant him a smooth, peaceful retirement, at the very least?
Lin Qingyan You wish to keep this under wraps and minimize his punishment for such a major transgression... His crimes would go unpunished and hidden from all under Heaven. How is this "the very least?"
Jie Zhen ......
Lin Qingyan Taihe, what say you?
Taihe I...
Lin Qingyan You agree...?
Taihe, I know what kind of man you are. You always distinguish right from wrong, and you handle all official business impartially. Never have I seen you hem and haw so much. It's why you were able to become Monitor Censor so soon after you retired from the military.
But why so hesitant this time?
Taihe You flatter me.
To tell the truth...
Ranks and perspectives aside for the moment, I have nothing but admiration for what Deputy Minister Yu did at the time.
The magistrate was infamous for his conduct. Though Langyi saw many challenge his rule over the years, none prevailed before him.
The magistrate kept his deeds clandestine and concealed. He was a deviously cunning man, and he had just about everyone in his pocket. If he had any other choice, Deputy Minister Yu would not have resorted to such methods.
To solve that case, he put his own personal wealth and life on the line.
Someone so honorable and upright... with such immense bravery, willing to brave even death... He is no less a man than my comrades on the battlefield.
Lin Qingyan ......
Taihe This is why I have no choice but to ask the two of you to make this decision.
Jie Zhen Taihe, to be frank, I admire your gentle sentiments.
Lin Qingyan ......
I, too, admire Deputy Minister Yu's character.
Do you see that tree ahead of us?
<Background 2>
The three turn at the hillside corner, abruptly opening up their view.
Taihe and Jie Zhen follow Lin Qingyan's gaze. A bottomless cliff and a cloud haze block the way forward, but a lone, thin pine tree stands tall, tainting its surroundings with a jade color that cannot be hidden by the snow.
Lin Qingyan A year ago, when I first came to the Central Judicial Office from the Tianshi Bureau, Deputy Minister Yu was my most respected predecessor.
He wished to return home, and I insisted on seeing him off. He took a detour and brought me onto this mountain.
Jie Zhen No wonder you arrived much sooner than Taihe and me.
Lin Qingyan He planted that pine tree himself many years ago.
Jie Zhen ......
Taihe I see.
Lin Qingyan At the time, Deputy Minister Yu was still young and inexperienced. He climbed high and looked far ahead to see nothing but clouds and mist. Suddenly, the sunlight broke through, dispersing the gloom, shining clear on heaven and earth...
He thought of how he was to enter the capital, to take up his post at the Central Judicial Office. He was filled with a mix of emotions.
He vowed to uphold justice for the people, to become the last line of defense for the laws of Yan, to ensure that none would be wronged. Thus, he planted a pine sapling to symbolize his determination.
Taihe Our good Deputy Minister Yu!
Lin Qingyan Good indeed. The sapling has now grown into a tall, upright tree. Likewise, my predecessor has lived up to his aspirations from when it was planted.
Yu Cheng is the most outstanding Deputy Minister the Central Judicial Office has had. He made countless fair judgments, and the case of Langyi's magistrate is not the most difficult he has adjudicated.
He erred only this once. But he did err this once.
Taihe ......
Jie Zhen To see a pine tree mature in such a way is a rare sight.
Anyone who climbs so far to be faced with such a tree, standing tall, reaching for the clouds, enduring storm and wind unbreaking, would find his heart invigorated.
Deputy Minister Lin Qingyan, were this tree toppled, to what degree would the enthusiasm of those climbers be dampened?
Lin Qingyan ......
Taihe It seems Monitor Censor Jie Zhen has a point to make.
Jie Zhen I wish to suppress this case, not only to protect Yu Cheng.
Deputy Minister Qingyan, having just taken a post at the Central Judicial Office barely one year ago, has thoroughly examined all documents pertaining to the former Deputy Minister. Following his retirement, the former Deputy Minister was recalled and convicted.
Does this not suggest that the next Deputy Minister of the Central Judicial Office should investigate you upon his appointment?
Taihe Deputy Minister Qingyan happened to come across the relevant records during routine archival work...
Jie Zhen Indeed. But what difference does that make?
You and I both know that even the purest, most innocent soul cannot withstand investigation. Particularly in matters concerning civil service.
Taihe ......
Jie Zhen Think about it. If we establish this precedent, officials of all rank will stand on edge, acting only out of concern over future investigation. It will hinder the execution of their duties.
The slightest indication that one may have lost his way becomes a vulnerability. Whether colleagues or successors, one never knows when ill intention may uncover something, with imprisonment the end result.
If we continue down this path, would anyone dare make progress during their tenure?
Lin Qingyan ......
Jie Zhen Deputy Minister Qingyan, the Three Organs of Justice are not the Tianshi Bureau. We have more to weigh than righteousness alone.
Lin Qingyan Jie Zhen, why do you change the subject?
As the Deputy Minister of the Central Judicial Office, you have chosen to describe the act of forging evidence as merely "losing one's way"?
Jie Zhen ......
Lin Qingyan I'm afraid I cannot agree with your position.
Jie Zhen Oh?
Lin Qingyan You would take no action and call it an act of preservation?
In my early years studying Lei Fa, the Tianshi instructed me: "One who controls lighting must first respect its power, lest one come to harm oneself."
Among the Three Organs of Justice, the Department of Discipline and Supervision oversees the civil service, while the Central Judicial Office reviews criminal cases. Behind every official and every case, there must be a pair of watchful eyes and a final checkpoint.
And so do we require a Censorate to censure the Censors? Another pair of eyes behind us? There is no perfect system under Heaven, and it is not possible to keep infinitely layering inspectors.
And so the ones we must be inspecting first and foremost are ourselves. Otherwise, how are we to ensure that the law truly protects all the subjects of Great Yan?
We all serve the Three Organs of Justice. You may not be unaware of this principle!
Jie Zhen Does the law not allow for compassion?
Is it you who is truly ruthless, or is it the law of Yan?
Lin Qingyan If those who enforce the law are not bound by the law, then what is the use of establishing the law?
Taihe Calm yourselves, please...
Lin Qingyan I must see this case through. And not only to dispose of Yu Cheng.
Jie Zhen ......
Lin Qingyan Back in Langyi, Deputy Minister Yu lost his way and resorted to half measures when faced with a corrupt but cunning magistrate. In pursuit of justice, this seems somewhat understandable.
Were it you or I, we may have made the same choice.
But what if the future brought us a more ambiguous case? What if, in the future, we found ourselves with ill intent?
Would it be easier to lose our way and resort to such measures in order to seize a good man in place of a bad one?
Indeed, it would make the execution of ill intent that much simpler.
The law of the land decides life and death. In the fulfillment of our duties, we may tolerate neither error nor deviation.
Jie Zhen ......
Taihe ......
Deputy Minister Qingyan speaks with enlightening wisdom.
There is no margin of error before the law. The Grand Tutor taught me as much.
If my admiration for Deputy Minister Yu has brought shame to the laws of Yan... such would be a breach of my duty.
Now then, Deputy Minister Yu should be arriving momentarily.
Monitor Censor Jie Zhen, have you anything else to say?
Jie Zhen ......
The conversation having arrived where it has... Deputy Minister Qingyan raised the case, and so the right of adjudication naturally lies with her.
I admit you speak with reason and logic.
But I still ask the both of you to consider the impact that impeaching Yu Cheng may have, particularly in comparison to the impeachment of the Langyi magistrate.
Taihe ......
And so, Deputy Minister, adjudicate.
Lin Qingyan What we call law is like lightning, looming over the heads and hearts of man.
All that is, is the Thunderlight.
If the thunder does not strike, then Lin Qingyan cannot function as Deputy Minister of the Central Judicial Office.
Under the shining sun, a sudden thunderclap startles the fowlbeasts into swift flight, and accumulated snow on the branches collapses in a flurry. Yet the pine tree remains tall and gains a few more shades of green.
At the foot of the mountain, the awaited guest steps out of his vehicle. He peers upward, unmoving for a long while.