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[Arc 4: Into the Ministry of Justice]
Leaving aside however they had ended up betting, Tang Fan left Wang Zhi’s place, noticed that the shichen was about right, then headed right for home.
Due to the recent East Palace case, he had been running between the palace and the Western Depot, or even sometimes the Han household. He couldn’t go to work as normal in Shuntian, but Sir Pan was happy to put him on temporary leave so that he didn’t need to go report to the bureau every day, and could wait until the case’s closure to come back.
Both entailed investigation, but having to go to the bureau on time every day versus being free to go to work whenever were two totally different concepts. Even though he wasn’t the type of official to just muddle through life, he was quite happy to sneak some laziness in every once in a while.
Since the case had come to an end, his free life was also about to come to an end. It was hard for him not to feel a bit depressed. He didn’t make a special detour for that familiar stall to eat wontons, instead going straight home. It would undoubtedly be best if Ah-Dong was at home cooking today. He definitely didn’t want a repeat of last time, where he ate nuomici on an empty stomach that then started to hurt.
The sky gradually darkened. When he was still some distance away from home, he could vaguely see billowing stove smoke coming off in the direction of their kitchen. All of a sudden, it was like he could even smell the aroma of food, which made his mood a lot better. He hummed a little tune as his gait got brisker.
No matter where you go, home is still best!
The courtyard door wasn’t locked, only half-closed. Right as he came in, he heard a burst of talking and laughter come from inside. There seemed to be a familiar male voice vaguely mixed in with it.
Sui Zhou was back?
Tang Fan was startled at first, a smile emerging on his face afterwards.
Before he had time to take a few steps inward, however, he noticed that the door connecting the main hall to the dining hall was open wide, a feast of piping hot food arranged inside. Little Ah-Dong was currently walking out of the kitchen with a plate she had just made up, calling out as she went. “Brother Sui, Sister Zhou, the food’s all ready! Big brother’s definitely not going to be back to eat again, so let’s just eat now!”
A man and a woman stood beside the table in the hall.
The man was, of course, Sui Zhou, who had not been seen for many days. He appeared to be a bit thinner, but also even more honed, presumably only having been back for a short time. He wasn’t wearing that intimidating Brocade Guard uniform, but casual wear, which made him more resemble a prized sword yet to be unsheathed, a blood-satiated swordlight bundled beneath those ordinary garments.
Someone like this simply didn’t need to dress themselves in fancy robes, nor protect themselves with a sharp blade. Just by standing there, he was somebody unable to be ignored.
The woman was that Zhou cousin Tang Fan had met the other day, who had come looking for Sui Zhou to no avail. She happened to run into him today, though.
He wasn’t sure what she said, but Sui Zhou’s stern face noticeably smiled a bit. Her laughter spread far and wide, like silver bells. The distance between them was not too near, nor too far, being just proper. Their arms looked like they were close, but also like they weren’t touching at all. In Tang Fan’s eyes, it was an ambiguity both substantial, yet not.
Ah-Dong bounced into the hall with the food, then said something to the woman. They laughed together, seeming close.
How long have you two known each other, huh? You’ve stuck together like glue immediately! You’re more affectionate to her than me, your own big brother! he thought to himself.
He would never admit that he was a little sour.
The angle where he stood happened to be blocked by a tree, and the day was dark. No one would be able to discover him there for a minute.
Seeing the three of them take their individual seats, as if they really were about to eat without waiting for him, he didn’t advance further. Instead, unconsciously, he turned, quietly drawing back.
Whenever the blanket of night descended, infinite households would light their lanterns in time for reunions. He was normally never a moseying, overly-sensitive sort, but for some reason today, when he saw the scene of those three talking and laughing over a meal… he had felt himself to be a bit superfluous, like they were a family, and him bursting in right then would have disturbed them.
The most loathsome one was Ah-Dong. Girls that grew up wouldn’t stay inside, eh? This one wasn’t yet grown, but she was already itching to go cozy up to strangers!
Tang Fan mumbled to himself, unaware of the wrong wording in his thought process. He took a stroll around the Sui home, hands behind his back like an old man, and it wasn’t long before he wound around to the inner gate of the rear courtyard.
Smelling the wafts of food coming from inside, he rubbed his stomach, feeling even hungrier. He pondered on whether he should go out to find food before coming back, but he had been scrambling all over the place too much lately. Even if he had taken litters at times, he inevitably couldn’t keep up with those that needed to travel on the daily; his legs went tremendously sore and weak the second he relaxed, making him too lazy to move. He simply sat on the sill of the back door, blankly gazing at the stars that filled the sky.
Early autumn now approached, making it chilly after nightfall.
Not long after, he sneezed, fatigue overcoming him. He leaned his head against the doorframe, then unwittingly fell asleep like that.
Some unknown amount of time later, he opened his eyes, feeling like he was bit heavier. It was completely dark out, but illumination coming from inside the building allowed him to see the one before him.
“Guangchuan?” he said groggily, catching sight of who was next to him after. “Ah-Dong… why are you two here?”
Only then did he realize that his heavier feeling had come from Sui Zhou covering him with a cloak.
Ah-Dong put her hands on her hips, chirping at him. “Care to explain, big brother? We waited and waited, yet you didn’t come back. We were worried to death! Brother Sui was even going to go out and look for you, but you were just hiding away here! Why didn’t you come inside?!”
Since he had just woken up, Tang Fan’s eyes were empty and face blank, still in a state of half-consciousness. Seeing that Ah-Dong wanted to say something more, Sui Zhou stopped her, then helped Tang Fan up.
The latter’s legs had gone numb from sitting for so long. His expression twisting up, he nearly fell forward — but, thankfully, Sui Zhou had sharp eyes and quick hands, holding him up by the waist.
“Can you walk?” His brows were creased, heavily hinting that if he couldn’t walk, he was going to carry him.
For the sake of his manly dignity, Sir Tang quickly answered, “I’m fine, I’ve just been sitting for too long. I’ll be okay once I’ve stood for a while.”
“Why didn’t you go inside?” the other asked, repeating what Ah-Dong had just asked.
Tang Fan inexplicably felt a bit guilty, touching his nose. “I was kind of tired when I had just gotten back, so I thought to sit here for a second. I didn’t expect to accidentally fall asleep.”
As soon as he said it, he felt his own justification to be pretty poor.
Who was Sui Zhou? A Northern Bastion Officer proficient in interrogation, that was who. Couldn’t he tell when Tang Fan was lying, and when he was telling the truth?
Beneath the other’s silent stare, Tang Fan felt even guiltier.
Sui Zhou watched him for a good while. “Let’s go back,” he eventually said. “Go cook some ginger soup, Ah-Dong.”
She agreed, then turned and sped away.
Nobody would ever reject the warmth of being looked after, and Tang Fan was no exception. The minor bit of complaints he just had dissipated, and he beamed as he watched Ah-Dong jog all the way to the kitchen. He felt that ever since he had acknowledged this little sister of his, his quality of life had risen.
Sighing over his own good fortune, he turned his head to see that Sui Zhou’s line of sight was on him. “What are you looking at me for?” he had to wonder.
“You’re thin,” the other concluded, after peering at him for a long time.
“No I’m not?” Tang Fan felt at his cheek, but detected nothing wrong.
“Hm. You are.” Sui Zhou appeared to have both asked himself and answered himself, drawing his own conclusion into a footnote. “When I wasn’t at home, how did you and Ah-Dong eat?”
Tang Fan smiled. “What do you mean, how did I eat? I haven’t fallen behind on three square meals a day. It’s just that I’ve been busy investigating all this time, so occasionally having to skip one was unavoidable.”
The little girl was just walking in with a bowl of steaming ginger soup. Tang Fan half-lamented, half-teased her. “She’s passed her days by more comfortably than I have. Sometimes, she would go to your family to play with your sister, staying for both dinner and the night. Other times, she’d even go to the neighbors to eat. A life like that sure has saved food for this house!”
Ah-Dong stuck out her tongue, pouting as she retorted. “Who told you to never be home, big brother? I leave food for you, but you don’t eat it. It just goes to waste…”
Cutting off her complaint, Sui Zhou asked him, “You haven’t eaten dinner yet, right?”
Tang Fan coughed awkwardly, not answering.
Seeing as he was admitting nothing and saying nothing, Sui Zhou simply got up and left. The second he did, Tang Fan pulled at Ah-Dong. “Who offended him? Why does he look like someone owes him eight hundred strings of coins?”
She curled her lip. “What do you mean, ‘who’? You’re the one that owes him!”
He rolled his eyes. “Try and lie to me less. What does that have to do with me?”
“Why would it not have anything to do with you? We had made the food and were all waiting for you, but you didn’t come back. Brother Sui just told me and Sister Zhou to start eating, even though he never moved his own chopsticks! You tell me; should he look happy when he hasn’t eaten?”
Tang Fan was caught off guard. “He didn’t eat, either?”
He had clearly seen them already seated and about to eat…
Ah-Dong giggled. “How could he? He’s pretty loyal. Since he was waiting for you, he stubbornly looked at a table full of food, not moving a bit! There was even honey-roasted leg of lamb and egg fu rong that he made himself! When he told us to go ahead and eat, Sister Zhou was being polite, but I couldn’t hold back because I was drooling. I just used my chopsticks…”
Poor Mister Tang’s belly was empty, his expression going gaga upon hearing this. He, too, started drooling from her vivid and realistic descriptors.
Oi… he would have gone in if he had known this earlier! What use was dignity? Tang Runqing, ah, Tang Runqing — you can’t eat dignity!
He went and pinched her on the cheek. “You really don’t adhere to sibling code, little girl. Don’t tell me you didn’t leave me any?”
“The leg of lamb won’t taste good cold!” she cried out in injustice. “Hey, you weren’t kidding, too. Brother Sui’s skill is pretty great! The lamb had been roasted golden, and was still dripping with oil on top. When it was almost done, he brushed a layer of honey glaze onto it, then baked it further until it smelled of char. When I ate it, it was still steaming, and I don’t even need to bring up how tender it was. I was thinking to myself, ‘It’s too bad that big brother can’t eat any of this tasty food, oh well!’ I had to help you by eating more of it, so I ate four whole slices in a row! I got a full belly! The fu rong was also really delicious, but I couldn’t eat anymore. Ai…”
The sorrow in his heart had long been overflowing. Stop talking…
“Plus, Sister Zhou cooked a couple dishes, but I thought they were so-so. I only took a bite of them and then didn’t touch them again. I noticed that she didn’t eat much of them, either. Big brother, I’m going to tell you a secret: I think she likes Brother Sui, just like how Sister Ah-Xia liked you before. When we were eating, she kept sneaking glances at him, but he acted like he saw nothing. It was so funny…” She was like a little mother hen, talking as she grinned, clucking, and even striking out gestures. One wave of her little arm nearly gave him a black eye.
Unamused, he poked her, indicating that she should stop while she was ahead. The wee girl was sadly unable to grasp what he was thinking, continuing to gossip about Sui Zhou and his cousin.
“Also, also — I heard her ask him, ‘Cousin, do you still remember the agreement between our families when we were young?’” She imitated the expression Miss Zhou had had, skewing her eyes in her best impression of a bashful look.
Narrowly, he didn’t laugh at her. He continued to watch her put on a show, but, following the doctrine of sibling compassion, he kindly warned her. “Ah-Dong.”
“What is it?!” she answered impatiently. “You’re not listening carefully at all! Someone here is in the middle of explaining important stuff!”
Tang Fan took her chin and turned her head around, motioning for her to look behind herself.
She saw Sui Zhou standing there and staring at her expressionlessly. It was unclear how much he had heard.
Sui Zhou: “…”
Ah-Dong, proceeding to feign dementia: “…”
He shot her a placid look. “Go see to the firewood. There’s congee cooking on the stove.”
As if she had been granted amnesty, she slipped away from him like she was in flight, scrambling towards the kitchen.
His gaze fell upon Tang Fan again. The other blinked, showing a pure and innocent expression of ‘I have absolutely no idea what she was talking about just now.’
“The ginger soup is cold,” Sui Zhou casually said.
Tang Fan oh‘d, quickly lowering his head to drink it.
The room descended into some kind of subtly awkward atmosphere. Luckily, Sir Tang was quick-witted and bright, immediately thinking up a subject that could divert the other’s attention. “How did the case you were sent to handle go?”
Sui Zhou pulled a chair over and sat. “We went to Jiangxi to investigate Huang Jinglong, Magistrate of Ji’an Prefecture.”
Tang Fan sat up straight, paying close attention. “What did he do?”
“The supervising censors of Jiangxi presented a memorial, claiming that in the three years since the eleventh year of Chenghua, more than three hundred total prisoners have been tortured to death in Ji’an by him, but he was falsely claiming that they had died of illness, thereby covering it up.”
Tang Fan was horrified. “The gall of him!”
Sui Zhou nodded. “Indeed. There was an order from the top for the Ministry of Justice and supervising censors to collaborate with the Bastion Office in going locally to get the truth, as well as arresting Huang Jinglong and taking him into the capital. That’s why I left in a hurry.”
“How did it go? Well?”
“It had been going well. The evidence was solid, and he couldn’t refute it. The people he had tortured to death numbered four-hundred and seventeen. Apart from the three hundred or so prisoners, there were a couple tens of others among them that were arrested when guilty of no crime, imprisoned, then secretly tortured to death. When we made inventory of the bodies, though, we found that around a dozen of them were missing. We asked him again, but he couldn’t tell us why that was.”
“Not sure. He just said that there weren’t that many people, but the four-hundred-seventeen number is one we counted up after backchecking the inmates, plus reports made by the deads’ family members. Reasonably speaking, it isn’t wrong, and might not even stop at that much.”
Ever since Yingzong’s time, Court officials had to be Palace Honorates, as per entry criterion — in other words, one had to pass the palace exams to be qualified to serve as an official. Of course, that wasn’t an absolute thing, as Provincial Honorates also had paths to take, and lucky individuals could even take a post that happened to be vacant. No matter how big that position was, however, it was going to be about the level of Provincial Coordinator, and would enter neither the Pivot nor Cabinet.
That was why, in the Great Ming, everyone scrambled to pass the palace exams and be one of its Honorates.
Anyhow, upon becoming an official after studying strenuously for years — or even decades — everyone had different aspirations. Some were after serving the nation, some were after aiding the commonfolk, and just as some were after getting more coinage, some were thus covetous of power for climbing up even higher in the world. These were all understandable.
But, it was unheard of for a truefourth-rank Prefectural Magistrate, who had taken great pains to get to his position, to mistreat convicts until he got reported, whereupon he would completely lose his standing.
Really, what picture did that ultimately paint?
Had Huang Jinglong read himself stupid? Been driven mad? Develop a perversion that made him abuse prisoners to get a psychological high?
Tang Fan felt it a bit unbelievable, comprehending why the case would disturb the Brocade Guard so.
“He didn’t try to justify his motivation and aim?”
Sui Zhou shook his head. “After he was arrested, he didn’t say a word, refusing to disclose anything.”
After Huang Jinglong got brought back to the capital, the assignment was considered finished. Other people from other departments would come follow up on the leftovers, and there was no need for Sui Zhou to show his face for any of it anymore.
While they talked, Ah-Dong came in carrying a bowl. The aroma of it followed the light breeze made by the door opening to waft beneath Tang Fan’s nose.
His stomach, warmed by the ginger soup, immediately rumbled. “Smells good!” he couldn’t resist exclaiming.
“This is congee stewed by Brother Sui himself, of course it smells good!” she toadied, setting the bowl down. “It’s got mince, shiitakes, celery, and chopped peanuts in it! He can be a real great person, big brother! A real great person!”
After getting discovered by Sui Zhou during her accurate imitation of his Cousin Zhou, the girl was quick to want to make up for it. What a shame it was that she was too young to think up many fresh verses; all she could do was repeat ‘a real great person’ a couple times over.
Tang Fan skewed her a look. Without exposing her, he lowered his head, scooped up a spoonful of the scalding congee, then ate it after blowing on it.
The rice had been boiled soft by the fire, the scent of meat suffusing his mouth. The attendance of the shiitakes and peanuts thus enhanced the flavor of the congee to another level. There was no need to chew much when eating, as it was already a mouthful of silky goodness; in the opinion of Mister Tang, who had been starving for ages, this was the best to digest.
He said nothing else, diving his head straight in to meticulously eat it.
Seeing him like so, Sui Zhou also picked up his spoon.
Once they had eaten pretty much all of it, their speed slowed. “Did a lot of things happen at Shuntian in the meantime?” Sui Zhou asked.
Recalling what the other had just said about him losing weight, Tang Fan shook his head. “Not at Shuntian.”
He first sent Ah-Dong to bed, then recounted to Sui Zhou.
When it came to things that involved the palace, there was a lot that couldn’t be mentioned. Despite his closeness to Sui Zhou, it would be bad to say too much. Knowing too much could be disastrous, too.
He picked out a couple main points to speak of, a considerable amount of words amongst them left unfinished. There wasn’t a need for him explain in much detail, either, as with how smart Sui Zhou was, he could guess at things.
Listening to the end, Sui Zhou was silent for a good while, as if in thought. “There’s a lot of secrets not yet revealed in this,” he said at last. “Wang Zhi might not be hindered as a eunuch, but with your status, it’s best for you to not get too deeply involved.”
His meaning was very clear. Wang Zhi was a eunuch that the Emperor and Consort considered as one of their own, but Tang Fan was an outside official, and a low-ranking one, at that. If he knew too much, thus making those above unhappy and wanting to tidy him up, that would be solved with a casual wave of the hand.
Tang Fan grinned. “Don’t you worry. The killer’s already getting executed, so I won’t have to care about anything else that happens. From here on out, I won’t be getting caught up in Eunuch Wang’s affairs.”
Despite him being an intelligent man with far-reaching calculations, he would never have foreseen that he would have countless occasions of interaction with Eunuch Wang following this, nor that he would transform his political career that should have been as fleeting as a shooting star.
He finished the congee, and set the bowl aside. “Ah-Dong is already pretty good at cooking, but your work is even better than hers,” he commended. “I’m like a moron that can’t tell right from left in comparison!”
A faint smile appeared in Sui Zhou’s eyes. “Since we’re here, why would you need to do it?”
That’s right… if Ah-Dong marries off later, and you also take a wife… then what’ll I do?
The gourmand Mister Tang wasn’t at all happy about his good friend’s words, instead getting depressed.
It was now late in the day. The two chatted for a minute more, then went back to their respective rooms to rest.
Even with the ginger soup, Mister Tang still caught windchill the next day. The illness rushed up acutely, soundly knocking him down. He laid upon the bed, coughing and coughing, and also had a bit of a temperature, burning him thoroughly red with misty eyes.
Giving something up had to be accompanied by receiving something else; that was a truth. There was no need to go to the bureau, nor to work. He could finally request sick leave, with complete righteousness, so that he could malinger at home.
The illness itself was uncomfortable, but the treatment sick people got was obviously special. Someone would cook him food, then bring it straight to his mouth; he didn’t even need to wash his own face, because someone would wring out a rag and help him with that, too.
Mister Tang still didn’t feel lucky, though.
As he now looked at the white congee and pickled vegetables in front him, he felt his tastebuds quickly fading from his mouth. “Can you put something a little stronger in here? Even spiced beef or crystal meat would be fine,” he entreated the one before him.
Seeing Sir Tang’s miserable expression, Sui Zhou felt a bit like laughing, but his face was as cold and indifferent as ever. “No.”
Tang Fan sneezed, almost squeezing out tears. His eyes became hazy, and his nose itched, making him look all the more pitiful.
Centarch Sui’s heart really was made of iron. He remained unmoved at this, merely passing the congee over to him. “Will you eat it yourself, or do I have to feed you?”
“I’ll eat it, I’ll eat it!” Mister Tang raised his white flag in surrender.
What a joke. If word got out that he had been spoonfed, his image of being wise and canny would be gone.
However, as soon as he looked at that bland, tasteless congee alongside those abominably salty, pickled veggies, he lost his appetite.
Right then, his savior star descended from the Heavens.
Ah-Dong opened the door and came in. “Big brother, there’s someone looking for you outside. He’s really grand-looking, and says he’s from the Western Depot.”
It was like Tang Fan had received reprieve from punishment. When he was about to put the bowl he held down, he got a cold glare from Sui Zhou, so he ashamedly lifted it back up.
Sui Zhou had Ah-Dong keep an eye on Tang Fan to make sure he ate the congee, then got up and left himself. Right as he went out the door, he saw two people heading right on over.
The one in front, despite being in regular clothes, walked with his hands behind his back. One glance at that arrogant look on his face told that he was someone of great influence, where even Sui Zhou could recognize him.
Their visitor was the recently-famous Director of the Western Depot, the one that inherited the majority of his predecessor Wang Zhen’s reputation of being a powerful, yet treacherous eunuch: Wang Zhi.
Even though he had dropped by for a visit, Eunuch Wang hadn’t waited for the host to come greet him, coming straight in. As if he had entered a no-man’s-land, he indeed looked quite imposing.
While he went along, he had to comment on stuff. “There’s too many flowers in this courtyard, and they’re planted messily, like someone didn’t know how arrangements work. It’s really garish to look at! So tacky!”
Sui Zhou cupped his hands. “I didn’t know you would be coming, Eunuch Wang. Please forgive me for not coming to greet you.”
This was just how he was, speaking to even the Empress Dowager with a plain, dead-looking face. Even so, he was highly capable in his work, and, since he was from Dowager Zhou’s natal family, Chenghua and her were quite fond of him. They saw him as someone efficient that didn’t use his status as consort-kin to misbehave, being far and above better than those other consort-kins of idle contributions.
The Dowager thus loved to tell everyone she came across, ‘Look at how good our Ah-Zhou is!’ Chenghua had even compared him to the elder brother of the Yingzong Court’s Dowager Sun, Sun Jizong.
Who was Sun Jizong? He was the number one consort-kin of this Court and and the previous one, successively gaining the Emperor’s trust in both. He had gotten on a horse, presided over the army, helped Yingzong back to his position, then helped him take charge of the embellishment of history books.
To what degree was this Emperor confident in him? He had handed military power over to him, not allowing him to retire even if he wanted to, and whenever a major discussion happened in Court, it had to be headed by him. A few years back, when the Grand Tutor title had just been added to him and civil officials had denounced him, saying that consort-kin shouldn’t hold military power, the Emperor had ignored them.
A consort-kin being in the position he was really made people envious, and hateful.
Regardless of whether Sui Zhou actually did have Sun Jizong’s style, this was nothing more than the Son of Heaven noticing that there was an apple of his old mum’s eye, who he intentionally complimented to make her happy. Still, with an evaluation like that, Sui Zhou’s status had stood out from the crowd thereafter.
He himself was unwilling to use his connections to get ahead, presently being a mediocre Centarch of the Brocade Guard. However, supposing that he had the time, he might be able to go up in the world quickly. Finding people with status was easy, and finding people with skill was easy, but finding someone with both was hard.
Therefore, even though Wang Zhi was powerful and had the favor of both the Emperor and Consort, he had to reluctantly moderate his full-body pride in the face of such a man, cupping his hands towards Sui Zhou in return. “Who do I think I am? Turns out the host is already here. Please don’t take offense to those rash comments of mine!”
His tone was casual, as if he wasn’t actually asking for forgiveness at all. Sui Zhou wasn’t going to bother with him. “You’re too polite, Eunuch Wang.”
After that, they suddenly said nothing else, sizing each other up.
One was wondering why the other had come.
One was pondering the other’s relationship with Tang Fan.
At first glance, they resembled two martial arts experts that had met face-to-face on a narrow path, and were preparing to cross swords.
The translator says: Mister Wang, now is not the time for shipping,
So, the hiatus I had taken was because I wanted to finish the Golden Stage PDF. On top of re-translating the foremost chapters, I decided to proofread the entire thing (a good call, it needed it). What I had thought would take me only a couple of days ended up taking… a little more than two weeks, between wanting to catch up a bit on my side project and other IRL stuff. I don’t like how long it took, honestly, but it is what it is.
Anyways, my main point is this; I can translate pretty quick, but I overestimated my own abilities. I will continue to upload daily as I can. If there comes a time that I run out of buffer again and can’t crank them out on the daily, I’ll revise the schedule to release them bi-daily. I figure that’s a lot preferable to me taking another hiatus for weeks on end again.
Because I had already spaced the posts out to the normal schedule, if a schedule slip does happen, note that the pattern is 2-unsponsored, 5-sponsored, as that was how I said things would be on post #1. It’ll get weird to look at, then. (Don’t worry about the chapter amount, by the way. I have… very many to go. I didn’t expect this much support! I really appreciate it! But I kinda put my foot in my mouth on the time thing.)
 ‘Girls that grow up won’t stay inside’ is an idiom referring to immediately marrying a girl off when she’s of age, not one running around on her own initiative. Literally, he’s not wrong, but figuratively, he’s missed the mark.
 Specifically, it went (⊙o⊙).
 Quick note: The Wang of Wang Zhi is 汪. The Wang of Wang Zhen is 王. Very similar-looking, but not related, nor even inflected the same way.