Essence of the Ministry of Personnel
Unlike the Ministry of Justice's office, there were two rows of energetic people lined up at the door of the Ministry of Personnel's office. The Ministry of Personnel was the leader of the six ministries, and their leaders' main concern was promotions. Unless there was a special circumstance or they were at war, they had the best incomes among officials. With their wealth, they were able to afford hiring legitimate martial artists as guards. They even hired some disciples from sects in the big league. Adepts from the martial realm, therefore, joined their office, meaning they had the most adepts among the six ministries.
The Ministry of Personnel controlled the lifeline of scholar officials. Zhang Chunfeng, Secretary Zhang, was approachable, courteous and refined, positioning him as an exemplar for other officials. He joined the imperial court via the imperial exam and soared up the ranks after being promoted around his early twenties. He was the Crown Prince's tutor before he was thirty; however, Prime Minister Li was considerably older than Secretary Zhang. Prime Minister Li was close to seventy this year. Many believed Secretary Zhang was undoubtedly the next prime minister in line. For that reason, the Ministry of Personnel was considered the most powerful ministry among the six. Had it not been for Secretary Lie's plethora of war accomplishments, the Ministry of Personnel would probably boss him around.
Secretary Zhang pointed to the office's plaque the Emperor personally wrote. Emotionally, he said, "The Ministry of Personnel is responsible for the entire nation's officials' promotions, exams, rewards, duties and delegation, making it the most important department and nation's cornerstone… Mm, you see, the Ministry of Personnel is the entire nation's officials' hopes. The reason everything and everyone is coordinated appropriately is thanks to us… Yan Ling, this old one's… So, if our department faces any issues, the entire nation would be plunged into chaos. Our top priorities are to be attentive, detailed and patient… Yan Ling, I am speaking to you… His Majesty told you to come here to study. All else aside, the first thing you need to learn is pat-, for fuck sakes, that's enough from you! Hit the wooden dummy, and I'll beat you to death!!!"
That was the umpteenth time Secretary Zhang used profanity in a single day. By the way, Secretary Zhang was refin-.
"Are you fucking retarded?! If you don't stop, I'll amputate your fucking hand!"
Tang Ye calmly responded, "Teacher Zhang, give me one moment. Let me finish this last move."
"You said it, okay? One move is all you're allowed. Eh? Wait. Where's my zither in my room? Fuck, where did you get the wooden dummy from?! You ripped the wood off my zither to make a wooden dummy?! My zither is an antique zither from the previous dynasty. It has a value of a thousand gold b- , hey! Stop! Stop! You're going to damage it if you hit it! Hey! I said stop!"
Tang Ye pulverised the wooden dummy, emitting the same sound as a watermelon being slammed onto the ground. A layer of qi on the wooden dummy dispersed, but it didn't take any damage. Tang Ye then smiled confidently. He reported, "It is fine, Teacher. That was Liu Shan Men's Six Fusion Fists. I have mastered up to the third layer. I can keep my force outside of my target perfectly."
Teacher Zhang rushed over to inspect the zither Tang Ye punched, worriedly stroking it: "Oh, oh, I'm glad it's all riiiiiight."
The wooden dummy cracked and split in half right as Teacher Zhang thought everything was fine. He thundered, "It's fucking broken!!"
"Fourth layer is Tongbeiquan force?" muttered Tang Ye, checking out his fists, since he was boggled. He then smiled proudly: "Not bad."
"It's fucking bad!! I'm going to kill you!! You just fucked up big time!!"
The nation's monarch's teacher, Teacher Zhang, known for his graceful character went wild at the Ministry of Personnel's office. Nine men couldn't stop him from trying to clobber Tang Ye with the zither's fragments.
Teacher Zhang wasn't afraid of any other official, including the prime minister. Although Prime Minister Li was the highest-ranked official in the imperial court, his approach to being an official was essentially to get by; he didn't have any ambitions. Therefore, nobody could sway him. By the same token, he wouldn't stop Teacher Zhang.
Teacher Zhang's greatest fear was running into the Minister of Justice's head. He was the only individual who could drive Teacher Zhang up the wall. Leng Ming was as cold as his name pointed out. His name literally meant "Cold Name". Furthermore, he arrested anyone regardless of rankings, age and status. He could destroy your plans, and still look at you as if it was none of his business, acting as though he wasn't aware why you were incandescent. Teacher Zhang almost had to visit the doctor on multiple occasions thanks to him. There was a ban forbidding Secretary Leng from interacting with the Ministry of Personnel.
In all honesty, Teacher Zhang admired Secretary Leng's strict adherence to the law. The Ministry of Personnel couldn't operate so strictly, however. Officials needed to strike the correct balance between strictness and flexibility in their means. Countless incidents happened daily throughout the nation; it wasn't to the people or nation's benefit if everything was put in Leng Ming's hands.
Teacher Zhang had his own conviction as a scholar as well as the required slick nature of an official. Having said that, that was the reason Leng Ming was an oddball. He sometimes quarrelled with Teacher Zhang relentlessly, only to totally forget about it afterwards. That always left Teacher Zhang feeling empty.
After verifying Leng Ming had no desire to contend with him for future promotions, Teacher Zhang stopped bothering with him. But alas, he never imagined the Emperor would send him a student with a personality identical to Leng Ming! To make matters worse, Tang Ye was a skilled and battle-monger Leng Ming, also known as a nightmare!
Teacher Zhang initially thought the Emperor was just having mood swings and would get over it after a few days. The mere sight of the ferocious Qilin tattoo on Tang Ye's strong arm was dreadful to look at. He couldn't stand having his beliefs tested. He silently exclaimed, "Fuck, he even has a tattoo? None of my countless students have ever had a tattoo! This is embarrassing!"
Tang Ye kept his head down and abstained from speaking after damaging Teacher Zhang's zither. Ostensibly remorseful, he asked, "Teacher Zhang, may I have permission to take the wood?"
Melancholic Teacher Zhang looked up: "Oh? You… want to repair this old one's zither?"
"No," replied Tang Ye, shaking his head and clenching his fists tight. "I think I can continue training for a while. I am striving to master the essence of Six Fusion Fists' sixth layer this year."
Tang Ye's eyes sparkled. See, because Teacher Zhang was a graceful and refined man, he…
"Fuck your fucking training! Train! Train! Train! Train again, and I'll have you train buried several metres in the ground!"
By the way, Teacher Zhang was a graceful and refined man… until he was enraged. On that day, vulgar language echoed throughout the Ministry of Personnel's office countless times.
*Tongbeiquan - has roots in Wudang. Literally, it's "Spreading Power from the Back Fist". It's popular in Northern China and focuses on long distance engagement. There are various subsets to it, such as Pigua Tongbeiquan. It's a very vast style and, like many, consists of numerous styles of it similar to Wing Chun.