Chapter 248: The Legend of the Bureau of Punishments, Ma Yinlong!
Given that person's capabilities, the guards around the plump merchant shouldn't be a match at all. Ordinarily speaking, the plump merchant would be the one getting beaten up instead.
But the conclusion was the opposite of what Wang Chong expected.
Clearly, the middle-aged man didn't intend to retaliate at all. Given the circumstances, Wang Chong also thought that it was inappropriate for him to step in, so he watched by the side.
"What a downer!"
"Let's go! We shouldn't waste our time on trash."
Having vented his anger, the plump merchant walked away while hurling insults. After that, the unkempt middle-aged man slowly climbed to his feet.
Despite having suffered such a vicious beating, the man's body was still astonishingly stable. His feet and shoulders didn't shake in the least with his movements, as though he wasn't injured in the slightest.
"What a formidable martial artist!" Miyasame Ayaka narrowed her eyes and exclaimed in shock from Wang Chongs side.
The guards employed by the plump merchant possessed considerable strength, and they did give it their all while pummeling the man. Under such a torrent of blows, if Miyasame Ayaka were to choose not to retaliate as well, she would surely have suffered grievous wounds.
And yet, the man seemed to be completely unhurt at all.
"A true expert!" Wang Chong's eyebrows twitched in surprise. That person was much stronger than he had initially expected him to be.
The onlookers dispersed, and pedestrians quickly filled the street once more. Just like a bubble on the surface of the sea, the commotion slowly disappeared. Other than Wang Chong, Miyasame Ayaka, and the guards from the Zhuang Clan and Chi Clan, no one paid the matter any heed.
And the person didn't seem to have noticed Wang Chong and his group either. As the man finally straightened his body, Wang Chong suddenly caught sight of his face.
"It's him?" Wang Chong's eyelids twitched, and a name suddenly flashed across his mind. He didn't expect to meet that person here.
"Gongzi, you know him?" Miyasame Ayaka asked as she stared at the gloomy back of the middle-aged man, until he slowly disappeared amidst the crowd.
"Un," Wang Chong nodded with a bizarre glint in his eyes.
"Follow me. We might have really found a formidable aid this time around!" Wang Chong said, changing his mind. Instead of returning back to the Wang Clan, he turned around and walked in the direction the middle-aged man disappeared in.
"Bureau of Personnel? He's an official from the Bureau of Personnel? But if I'm not mistaken, this should be one of the branches where the minor officials in charge of copying documents live. Given his capabilities, isn't it a huge waste for him to be working here?"
Staring at the yamen in front of her, the doubt in Miyasame Ayaka's eyes deepened. Even though it hadn't been long since she had arrived at Central Plains, she learned quite a few things in her time as an assassin in the capital.
The Great Tang royal court was divided into the Bureau of Rites, Bureau of Personnel, Bureau of Works, Bureau of Military Personnel, Bureau of Punishments, and Bureau of Revenue. However, other than these six main bureaus, there was still almost a hundred smaller yamen throughout the capital in charge of handling different problems.
Considering how dilapidated this yamen looked, it should be one of the least important yamen under the Bureau of Personnel.
Throughout the year, the officials here would rarely meet any important official. They would spend the majority of their time copying books and documents. In a sense, they were the most lowly-regarded members of the Bureau of Personnel.
The requirements of this job were low, and even a commoner could rise to the job. Given that middle-aged man's skills, it was a waste of his talents to be working here.
Wang Chong gazed silently at the dust-filled signboard of the yamen. If he was only half-certain before, upon seeing this yamen, he was now one hundred percent confident of that middle-aged man's identity.
"Li Man, you should wait outside with the others. I'll enter for a moment,' Wang Chong instructed the Zhuang Clan and Chi Clan guards before walking into the yamen.
The rules of government administrative offices were strict. Even a small yamen that was only in charge of paperwork wasn't accessible to the average citizen.
After flashing the token King Song gave him, Wang Chong walked in without any problem.
"What are you doing? Do you know what time is it? Do you think that you're still working at your Bureau of Punishments? You really think that you are the same genius back then?"
"You trash. Back then, you couldn't capture the murderers who killed the important officials of the royal court, and now, you're even having problem copying documents. Tell me, is there anything that you are capable of?"
"Useless fool! I'll tell you this now, if you don't finish copying these documents today, don't even dream of returning tomorrow!"
While Wang Chong was still in the courtyard, he heard a crude voice bellowing insults in the residence. The words uttered were so grating to the ear that even Wang Chong couldn't stand it any longer.
Frowning, Wang Chong stepped into the room. With a quick glance, he saw a dozen or so officials busy copying documents with their heads down. However, considering the huge mountain of papers placed on their desk, it was unlikely they would be done anytime soon.
At an angle diagonal to the entrance where Wang Chong was standing, a person who seemed to be the supervisor of this yamen was currently wagging his finger at the middle-aged man Wang Chong had seen outside the Royal Jade Pavilion.
On the other hand, the unkempt middle-aged man had his head lowered, listening to those insults without the slightest complaint. Recalling the reputation of this man a decade ago, Wang Chong couldn't help but feel deep sympathy.
No one would have thought that this man would end up in such a state back then.
"Who are you?"
The supervisor was currently at the peak of his rage, and upon seeing a stranger barging in, he immediately flew into a temper.
"This is an administrative office of the royal court, don't you know that outsiders are banned from entering the premises?! Furthermore, to dare to interfere in the affairs of my yamen, who do you think you are?"
Shua shua shua!
In the hall, the other officials also raised their heads to look at Wang Chong. Considering how there were only a total of thirty or so people in the entire yamen, they were extremely familiar with one another. As such, the presence of an outsider such as Wang Chong was so conspicuous that it was hard to not notice it.
"Hmph!" Wang Chong couldn't be bothered to waste his words, so he immediately whipped out a golden token and flashed it to the supervisor.
Upon seeing the golden token, the supervisor's face immediately paled.
While he was only a small supervisor in a shabby yamen, to survive in the capital, he had to at least know those standing above of him. The token in Wang Chong's hand was clearly the token of a qinwang, and considering how the word Song was inscribed on it, there was no doubt that it belonged to the reputable and influential King Song, Li Chengqi!
It had been twenty years since an influential official had visited their office, let alone a real qinwang.
"So gongzi is a man of His Highness King Song!" The supervisor quickly walked over the desk and up to Wang Chong. Then, with a bent back and a subservient tone, he asked, "Pardon me for my lack of courtesy, I didn't know of gongzi's arrival. May I know if there are any instructions from His Highness?"
"That's none of your business. I'm here for him."
Wang Chong lifted a finger and pointed toward the unkempt middle-aged man not too far away. His actions caught everyone off-guard.
The unkempt man had been listening subserviently with a lowered head all along, but upon hearing that this unfamiliar young man was here for him, he couldn't help but glance at the outsider in astonishment.
The supervisor was surprised as well. He didn't expect that Wang Chong was here to look for the most despised person of their department.
"Gongzi, are you certain?"
"Hmph! Do you think I don't know who I am looking for? Or do you think that you know better than me?!" Wang Chong replied sharply.
"This... Gongzi, please do not misunderstand. This is not what I meant!" The supervisor quickly waved his hands awkwardly. While he was perplexed over the happenings, he was sharp on his feet.
Regardless of what Wang Chong was here for, it was none of his business. A person as noble as King Song was not someone that insignificant officials like them could offend, so it was best for him to stay out of the other party's way.
"Alright, everyone should rest for today. Ma Yinlong, I'll leave this gongzi to you. Take care of him well. If anything happens, I'll have you take responsibility."
Knowing that he had probably incurred the dislike of that gongzi with his previous shouting, the supervisor quickly beckoned everyone out, leaving behind only Wang Chong and Ma Yinlong.
"It's really him!"
The final sliver of doubt vanished from Wang Chong's mind. Recalling the celebrated genius of the Bureau of Punishments a decade ago, and looking at the subservient, unkempt middle-aged man before him now, Wang Chong found it hard to believe that the both of them were actually the same person.
Back then, those who suffered from the Goguryeon assassinations weren't just the victims themselves.
"Who are you? I don't think that we have met before."
Now that only he and the young man was left in the room, Ma Yinlong finally lifted his head and gazed at the other party coldly. He exuded an aura that seemed to distance others from him. His attitude was much different from how he was before the plump merchant and the supervisor.
Ever since the incident a decade ago, he didn't want to have anything to do with influential officials or nobility anymore.
"Hehe, you might not know me, but I know you," Wang Chong chuckled as he revealed the true aim of his visit. "I'm here to invite you to help me capture a man."
"I fear that you might have gotten the wrong person. I'm just a humble official in charge of copying documents. If you need help capturing someone, you should visit the Bureau of Punishments or Bureau of Military Personnel. I won't be able to help you at all, so I advise you not to waste your time," Ma Yinlong replied coldly.
"You need not be in such a rush to reject me. Allow me to finish my piece first. Our operation this time round involves the Goguryeons," Wang Chong said.
A frown appeared on Ma Yinlong's face, but it disappeared in a flash, as though it was just an illusion.
"I don't know what you're talking about. I'm uninterested in the Goguryeons. The door is there, so I advise you to leave right now."
Ma Yinlong grabbed a folder of documents and started working copying them onto another sheet of paper. It couldn't be clearer from his attitude that he wanted Wang Chong to leave.
"Not even King Sosurim?" Wang Chong chuckled.
Those words immediately caused a huge storm. Ma Yinlong's face immediately warped, and his brush was abruptly folded into two halves.
At the same moment, the air in the room suddenly turned turbulent. A powerful and fearsome aura burst into the surroundings.
This aura was so strong that even Wang Chong, who had already reached Origin Energy Tier 9, felt insignificant, like an ant before a tsunami. It was as if he was plunged into the most stormy ocean in the world, and a huge wave of thousands of chi high was threatening to crash down on him, reducing him to dust.
To think that this fellow is actually this fearsome! Feeling the immense pressure weighing down on him, Wang Chong's face darkened.
More than a decade had passed, but not only had Ma Yinlong's fighting prowess not declined, he even seemed to have grown much stronger. Even the True Martial realm Goguryeon warriors that Wang Chong faced previously would be nothing more than a speck of dust before him.
This was true strength!
Yamen is an administrative office and/or the residence of a local bureaucrat.
Qinwang is a position usually conferred to the brothers or relatives of the emperor. For example, King Song and King Qi.