[T/N: Nouns in Chinese do not have plural forms. The only way to know if something is singular or plural is based on the preceding classifier, but sometimes there is no classifier in the text, so I can only guess. Like the contract (or contracts) being spoken about in this chapter. By logic, it should be plural contracts, because every farmer should’ve signed a contract, but sometimes a singular classifier is used, so it makes me uncertain.]
Chapter 125.1 – Counterfeit Contracts
The next day, they sorted out the accounts for Bailian Xiang.
The reason why there were so few accounts for Bailian Xiang was indeed related to Xu Wei Ye. It was because these were false accounts that he had created.
Landlord Zhou contracted about eighty percent of the land in Bailian Xiang, but the real manipulator behind everything was Xu Wei Ye. Landlord Zhou was just someone he had shoved into the spotlight to make everyone think that he was the contractor, but the real beneficiary was Xu Wei Ye.
Xu Wei Ye used Landlord Zhou’s name to contract the land of Bailian Xiang for personal gain, but in reality it didn’t cost him a single coin. Except for a small portion of the food harvested every year, everything else went into Xu Wei Ye’s pockets.
These past few years, Xu Wei Ye grew complacent, thinking that the people from the Imperial Fu Palace would never appear, so he didn’t even do the public accounts for the past two years.
Because of this, when An Zi Ran asked to see the account books for Bailian Xiang, Xu Wei Ye was flustered and submitted an account book full of errors and negligence.
However, this explained why Xu Wei Ye was able to embezzle so much money and build a luxurious manor even though Ali Xiang was so poor. On this one point, one could not help but admit that he was clever. At the very least, he did not embezzle from the villagers.
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But no matter how smart he was, Fu Wu Tian still intended to deal with him.
If Xu Wei Ye had decorously served as the mayor of Ali Xiang, then it would definitely be beneficial to him in the future. It was just a pity that although he was clever, his way of looking at things was bad.
Because Bailian Xiang’s affairs were exposed, Xu Wei Ye had no choice but to temporarily give up on trying to trip An Zi Ran up, and focus all his attentions on Bailian Xiang.
An Zi Ran wanted to reclaim the land in Bailian Xiang, so he was bound to go to Landlord Zhou again. Originally, as long as Landlord Zhou refused to let go of his property, then he could create some trouble for An Zi Ran and them, and thwart their plan. But there was one fatal problem.
From the start, Xu Wei Ye never thought that the people from the Imperial Fu Palace would show up, so he did not have Landlord Zhou pay for the contracts, and he also did not ask Landlord Zhou to sign his name on the receipts, because the ultimate beneficiary was himself.
Now, they didn’t even have a single piece of paper to prove that the land in Bailian Xiang was under Landlord Zhou’s name.
Without these papers, it meant that the land that Landlord Zhou owned in Bailian Xiang was not legitimate. If word of this matter spreads out, then Xu Wei Ye would become the first suspect.
For this reason, Xu Wei Ye had to get someone to forge a counterfeit contract. Landlord Zhou was supposed to have contracted Bailian Xiang for eight years, so the paper for the contract had to be eight years old. He searched for a long time before he finally found a yellowed piece of paper with eight years of history.
After Xu Wei Ye finished forging the contracts, An Zi Ran just so happened to send someone over to ask him for the contracts of all the villagers who had contracted land in Bailian Xiang.
In order to let the ink on the forgeries dry until it was impossible to discern that it was newly written, Xu Wei Ye had his servant reply to them, saying that he forgot where he had put the contracts because it has been so long, and that he would send them over once he found them, but he did not specify a time.
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After a while, Guan Su came over with Shao Fei.
Xu Wei Ye had his servant give the same reasoning as before, but the servant replied: “Master, that Guan-daren said he brought someone over to help you search.”
[*T/N: 大人 daren – title of respect toward superiors]
“What did you say?” Xu Wei Ye, who was leisurely drinking tea, suddenly froze. He abruptly put down the teacup and stood up.
The servant was taken aback, “They are already outside.”
Xu Wei Ye’s face flickered with uncertainty for a while, and then he gritted his teeth and said: “You go out and tell them that we don’t need help. I’ll have someone send the contracts over in the afternoon.”
As if accepting this answer, Guan Su quickly took Shao Fei away.
Xu Wei Ye violently swept the teacup off the table and onto the floor. He was becoming more and more apprehensive of the people from the Imperial Fu Palace. For them to have wordlessly and silently forced him to this step, he really could not look down on them.