Martial King’s Retired Life – Vol. 14 Ch. 107

Grand Examiner

It was the third and last day of the imperial exams. Therefore, there was no surprise that the sound of brushes moving quickly never ceased, and the proctors sternly patrolled the venue. This was the only place in the capital that knew tranquillity ever since the White Princes deployed their forces. Once dawn arrived, the new winner would be decided.

While a number of imperial guards had been reallocated to guarding the city doors, there were still enough guards outside Taishu Hall to watch even mosquitoes. It seemed more as though they were there to prevent anyone from running out rather than infiltrating the venue. Cheating wasn’t tolerated in such a sacred place. Hence, a large number of cheaters were detained, stuffed into sacks and then dumped into the firewood room overnight to await their punishments. Every single one of them disputed that they never cheated, earning themselves harsh beatings.

All the examiners had been sent out on patrol duty. Every single one of them were detailed in their checks, sincere in their conduct and slapped on both cheeks. No examinee dared to look up at the faces with hand prints on both sides. They later heard that, not only did they have hand marks, but some of them also had shoe marks, swollen lips and crooked noses. The examinees had no idea that one of them was no longer in his exam room.

Head examiner Wang Zhenyun poured tea for the examinee sitting at the big table in the centre of the examiners’ room.

Ming Feizhen finally understood the severity of cheating in the imperial exams. His Majesty certainly wouldn’t have been happy to see how many cheaters there were. His Majesty ordered him to participate in the imperial exams, while Prime Minister Li ditched him without even pretending to care about the exams. He, therefore, assumed they wanted him to investigate the corruption in the imperial exams.

His Majesty had discussed the prevalent cheating in the imperial exams with Prime Minister Li on more than one occasion. If they had a civil servant investigate the cheating, it was likely there’d be conflict of affiliations, which would make them hesitant. Martial officials, on the other hand, didn’t understand enough and lacked a reason to enter the venue. Even if they could get in, the foxes would be ready for them. That was where Duke Ming came in.

Duke Ming, being as intellectual with a brush as he was mighty with a sword, could partake in the imperial exams and held his own in a ring. Moreover, he was an experienced detective. Most importantly, nobody would think the insolent duke was His Majesty’s best undercover agent. His Majesty hoped Ming Feizhen could earn the trust of the cheaters or obtain incriminating evidence for him to deal with them. Ming Feizhen had gone beyond what was necessary, though.

Ming Feizhen was now in charge of the examiners, imperial guards, patrols and disqualification of examinees who bribed the examiners. In other words, he now had the reigns to Taishu Hall. Not only did he gain the trust of the cheaters, but he had also become their boss. He was now “grand examiner”.

“The tea is cold. Do you drink cold tea? Go brew me a new pot. Tell the chef to cook something. I’m hungry.”

“Again?” exclaimed Wang Zhenyun. “Didn’t you just eat two tables-worth?”

“You think I had any appetite while having to see you corrupt pricks?! I had no appetite for anything after that. God. Damn. Go tell the chef to get cooking!”

If he had to deal with the honourable type, like He Shi, Ming Feizhen might’ve had to knock them out to steal some evidence, but there was a plethora of strategies that worked against the corrupt type. After fighting off the assassins last night, Ming Feizhen rounded them up and slapped them all eighteen times each regardless of whether they were in the wrong or right. Once they were in bad enough condition to warrant medical attention, he then wrote down their crimes and had them sign. He had trouble convincing them to sign until he took out the other unknown pill he had in his shoe, which solved the problem instantly. He subsequently had them write down all the names of all bribers to then have them arrested under the pretext of them cheating in the exams.

“How are we supposed to explain it to His Majesty when they never cheated despite paying us?!”

“You don’t know how to forge evidence?!” Ming Feizhen smashed them in their faces with his shoe.

Even though the corrupt examiners were veterans, it was their first time forging evidence to frame rich young masters. They had forged evidence to eliminate examinees, but it was the first time they heard of someone forging evidence to uphold justice. Needless to say, it was a lot of work, so they toiled into the night.

“Remember this: from now on, I run the show at Hanlin Academy, so wise up,” warned Ming Feizhen, enjoying his eighth table of food.

Wang Zhenyun voiced, “There is no boss of Hanlin Academy, and there is no real hierarchy. Every-”

Ptoo! No boss? Yet they all took orders from you? Who are you trying to fool?!”

What could Wang Zhenyun have done in his predicament?

“The top five haven’t been detained yet, right?” Ming Feizhen questioned.

“They can’t be detained. Duke Ming, they are different to the examinees who are just rich. Should anything happen to them and their backers pursue the matter, we will all be in serious trouble.”

“’We’ doesn’t include me, so it’s not my problem.”

Wang Zhenyun slyly smiled. “You are our boss, are you not? They will go after you if they have a bone to pick.”

“… Fine. That said, they’ll have to scoot over in the placings.”

“That is the only option.”

“You chose Feng Jiutian or something for first place? Why?”

Wang Zhenyun proudly asserted, “Young Master Feng’s talent is one that is rar-”

Ming Feizhen threw a bone at Wang Zhenyun’s face, cutting him off. “Keep wasting my time, and I’ll reduce your bones to powder for frogs.”

“… His family is wealthy.”

“That’s what I thought.”

Although Feng Xue dressed sloppily since leaving home, Ming Feizhen knew Brilliant Consort well enough to know how rich Feng Clan was.

“How much did he pay for it?”


Ming Feizhen sprayed all the tea he just put in his mouth. “How much?! All he gets for that is a first place?! Does that sound fair?”

A few pages of He Shi’s writing is only worth 800,000?!

“If… this was donated to the country, what’s the point of even sitting the exam? Just give him the uniform.”

“The most important thing for an official is his background. Young Master Feng is a phoenix of the nine heavens, the direct inheritor of Feng Clan. If he can win the imperial exams, as well, he will have an immaculate background, which equips him with a limitless future.”

Ming Feizhen nodded as he listened to the newfound knowledge, but only he knew how much he actually understood.

“Remember to refund him since his hopes are dashed.” Ming Feizhen pulled Feng Jiutian’s application out.

Though Wang Zhenyun had a comment to make, he refrained.

“Once you’ve collected the papers tomorrow morning, I’ll have copies written, while the original versions will be entrusted to Prime Minister Li. Examine the copies here and then submit them to His Majesty, understood?”

Wang Zhenyun was going to pretend to go along, then proceed as per his original plans once Ming Feizhen left tomorrow. However, a cold gaze from Ming Feizhen and a, “Understood, Examiner Wang?” shut him down.


“Bug off now.”

Ming Feizhen exhaled once he was alone in the room. The corruption in the exams had been resolved. He Shi was going to have to make copies so that he could explain the situation to His Majesty. His next concern were the assassins. He didn’t have the faintest idea what the Yizhen Alliance was. Though Vivianite being one of the assassins was unexpected, he was an assassin, so someone must’ve commissioned him. That being the case, he just needed to interrogate Vivianite.

Yan Liren’s whereabout was still unanswered. He had yet to reveal himself, and Ming Feizhen couldn’t locate him using his ears. In saying that, since Yan Liren had entered the venue, he couldn’t leave the exam venue until it was over, which meant that he was still in the vicinity.

One more thing that was important was figuring out who helped him. There was no guarantee they were a friendly, but there was nothing to prove they were part of Yizhen Alliance. The person who helped him never showed themselves, either.

Wang Zhenyun suddenly returned.


The confused examiner passed Ming Feizhen a bamboo tube. “Liu Shan Men’s Vice-captain Shen sent this… This one does not dare to open it without permission.”

Ming Feizhen snatched it over straight away to read. “Huh?! Serious?!”


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