Chapter 124.2 – Big Landlord Zhou
Not long after, Guan Su and Shao Fei arrived at Bailian Xiang.
Bailian Xiang, like Xinhe, had a good geographical environment and climate, but the development of Bailian Xiang was worse than that of Xinhe. This was what it seemed like based on the data, but when they saw Bailian Xiang with their own eyes, that didn’t seem to be the case at all.
Bailian Xiang wasn’t wealthy, but it was definitely not worse than Xinhe.
The houses had tiled rooftops, and they stretched in neat orderly rows as far as the eye could see. The crops in the fields were growing well. It was evident that the farmers put a lot of care into their fields. And the harvest amount should be sufficient.
What was strange was that the villagers looked to be in the same state as the villagers in Magou River. Not only were their clothes shabby, their complexions weren’t much better either.
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Upon asking around, Guan Su and Shao Fei found out that these fields weren’t theirs. They were only hired help working under a big family by the surname of Zhou.
Landlord Zhou was the one who contracted about eighty percent of the land in Bailian Xiang. But Landlord Zhou was a stingy man, so he didn’t pay the villagers much in terms of wages.
The two asked a villager where Landlord Zhou’s house was, and then went to go look for it. But before they could utter out a greeting, their faces were met with a closed door. They didn’t even get a glimpse of Landlord Zhou. With no better option, they hurried back to An Zi Ran.
After listening to Guan Su’s retelling of what had happed, An Zi Ran could not help but recall the account book in his hand, which he had procured from Xu Wei Ye.
Xu Wei Ye didn’t want to give it to them at first, but now the state of affairs has turned in An Zi Ran’s favor. The villagers of Ali Xiang now knew about the existence of the Imperial Fu Palace. If Xu Wei Ye were to put on airs again, Fu Wu Tian could kill him with a single sentence, and other people would only think that Xu Wei Ye had reaped what he sowed. So, Xu Wei Ye deliberately made up an excuse to delay for two days before having servants bring the account books of recent years to An Zi Ran.
An Zi Ran’s knowledge of Bailian Xiang came from these account books. The ledgers for Bailian Xiang were cleaner than the ledgers for Xinhe – in this case, cleaner mean simpler – because the annual grain output of Bailian Xiang was recorded to be half that of Xinhe.
The area of Bailian Xiang was not smaller than that of Xinhe, and the population there was about the same as Xinhe, so why was the output halved? Now it would seem that this issue had a lot to do with this Landlord Zhou.
“This matter must be connected to Xu Wei Ye.”
An Zi Ran’s eyes narrowed, and he surmised right away that Xu Wei Ye must have hidden a few more detailed ledgers that he did not hand over. Moreover, it was related to this Landlord Zhou.
Shao Fei immediately said, “Do you want me to go arrest Landlord Zhou, and then interrogate him?”
“Stupid!” Guan Su shook his head. “If the two really have any ulterior secrets, then Xu Wei Ye should already know that we went to look for Landlord Zhou. They will definitely be prepared. In my opinion, the top priority should be to find the real account book.”
“Guan Su is right.” An Zi Ran nodded. “Xu Wei Ye is very cautious. The account book should be in his hands. I will leave this matter to you. Be sure to find that account book.”
Shao Fei wanted to refute, but he closed his mouth angrily when he heard this sentence.
Just as they had suspected, Xu Wei Ye already knew about what happened.
Landlord Zhou was a timid person. When he learned that An Zi Ran’s men were looking for him, he was worried that they would discover something. He immediately sent someone to notify Xu Wei Ye, but Xu Wei Ye scolded him instead.
“You moron! If they had sent someone to tail you, then our relationship would be exposed!”
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Landlord Zhou was stunned by Xu Wei Ye’s berating. When he finally reacted, he immediately broke out in cold sweat and hurriedly said: “It shouldn’t be possible. I didn’t see them. They couldn’t have guessed that quickly, right?”
Xu Wei Ye was so angry that he kept pacing back and forth.
At this time, it was no longer the question of who should be held accountable. He was certain that An Zi Ran suspected him, because the Bailian Xiang ledger that he had given An Zi Ran before was a fake.
From the start, there was no account book for Bailian Xiang. He had used two days time to write out the fake ledger, and had obscured a lot of information. An Zi Ran was a smart person. There was no way he would not see through the ruse.
“Mayor, what should we do now?” Landlord Zhou was already out of his wits.
Xu Wei Ye snorted: “As long as the real account books are still in my hands, he can’t do anything to me without evidence.” He was betting on this.
Landlord Zhou subconsciously asked, “Then where is the account book kept?”
Xu Wei Ye glanced at him coldly.
“Don’t worry. I have already hidden the account book in an absolutely safe place. They won’t be able to find it.”
What he didn’t know was that there was no absolute safe place in the world.