Joy of Life - Chapter 246

[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:47:49]
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Chapter 246: Get Thee to a Nunnery

Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio

Wang Qinian was given the order to arrange their departure, and at the same time negotiate with Lin Wen and Lin Jing. After all, when the envoy was to return, it would do so in the presence of a noble princess. Fan Xian at the time also said, “For the horses that we have prepared for our journey, Wang Qinian, you will be the one in charge of cleaning and maintaining them. Do not bring needless trouble to the countrymen.”

Yan Bingyun was not present for their previous discussion, so he did not understand the plan.

Wang Qinian looked at Fan Xian, and Fan Xian waved in return. Following this, Wang Qinian took his leave. Yan Bingyun’s eyebrows showed a slight sense of surprise.

The three of them then performed three separate actions, each with a distinct meaning. Fan Xian smiled and said, “Why do you insist on keeping up this front around me?”

Yan Bingyun did not respond with amusement; he merely picked up his cup of tea and had another sip. With a demeanor more akin to the subordinate that he was, but one that he rarely adhered to, he said, “If you do not wish me to know, then I can shelve my curiosity and not bother asking.”

Fan Xian did not weigh his response for long and replied, “This is just the beginning of our plan. If we do not stick to it, of course we should wipe our bums clean.” Fan Xian proceeded to explain, as simply as possible, the plan to Yan Bingyun. In the beginning of spring, Fan Xian became acquainted with a young Overwatch Council officer that looked exactly like him. Upon their meeting, Fan Xian made sure to watch over him.

The plan began with making this lookalike play the role of Fan Xian, accompanying the envoy from the Northern Qi Kingdom to the Qing Kingdom in the south. At the same time, the real Fan Xian would remain in Shangjing dealing with the matters he was originally supposed to.

“You planned on staying in Shangjing alone since the beginning?” Yan Bingyun asked, with a concerned look on his face. “What business do you have to resolve here?”

Fan Xian looked at him and said, “Chen Pingping wanted Xiao En dead. Therefore, I had planned to remain within Shangjing to kill him. Once this was to be done, I would flee to the border and reconvene with the envoy, in the event that the Northern Qi Kingdom would attempt retaliation.”

Yan Bingyun asked, “What about the horse business you spoke of with Mister Wang earlier?”

Fan Xian laughed and explained, “In our time here, I had enlisted the aid of officials from the Council and palace treasury in the acquisition of horses that will be taken to a stop along the southern road. These horses were to be hidden in a stable to avoid drawing the attention of the Northern Qi Kingdom’s officers. And needless to say, these horses were of a remarkable variety.”

“After you killed Xiao En in the capital, you planned to escape with a horse to the border as fast as you could?” Yan Bingyun sneered at Fan Xian.

“A horse can travel a thousand miles. What is the problem?”

Yan Bingyun sighed and said, “This is the real world. This is not a novel of fiction. If you followed the original plan and killed Xiao En, the entirety of Shangjing would be locked down; every road in every direction would be patrolled and there would be checkpoints to examine each and every individual that passed by. You being alone with a horse; how could you have hoped to flee back south?”

Fan Xian laughed and said, “Back in the day, Chen Pingping led a legion of soldiers in a battle from the north to the south. Why could I not do this alone?”

“It is a brave and daring plan, but it is a stupid one, as well.” Yan Bingyun shook his head and said, “You are Commissioner of the Council; you should take greater care of yourself. With this plan, even the Northern Qi Kingdom will lower their guard, due to their focus being on the envoy’s departure. But it would have still been impossible for you to assassinate Xiao En within Shangjing, guarded as well as it is.”

Of course Fan Xian did not tell Yan Bingyun about the revised plan. After all, Wu Zhu was missing, the box had disappeared and the Eldest Princess was in collusion with Shang Shanhu. Everything that Fan Xian was preparing for kept changing, and so did his plans in accordance.

Two days passed.

In the capital of Northern Qi, Shangjing, there flowed the beautiful Yuquan River. Luscious trees skirted its wind and one could frequently admire the flight of egret birds that soared above. Upstream resided the palace and thus it was heavily guarded. For the average civilian, to tread the paths and roads of this area was a nigh impossibility. Fan Xian and Haitang walked along the river side by side, engaged in conversation. The aura was quite pleasant and ill feelings did not distort their shared atmosphere – quite the change from Fan Xian’s disposition in the past few days. It would appear that Haitang’s informal ways and company brought him happiness.

This was strange, for Haitang was neither pretty nor a woman of elegance, and her temperament was better fit for a countrywoman, as well. Regardless, when he was in her presence, Fan Xian felt far freer.

After chit-chatting for a while, their discussion took a turn. Haitang’s eyebrows angled to a look of concern and said, “Empress Dowager has not said anything, so far. Will you be able to come up with any ideas?”

Fan Xian sighed and said, “Your Emperor wants to take a wife, and I have no choice but to help.” He looked at Haitang with eyes that suggested discomfort. “You are a good friend of Si Lili; you should know a thing or two about how she feels. Don’t you think that asking for my assistance would make her feel uncomfortable?”

Haitang’s hands were tucked inside her pockets, and she stood upon a moss-covered stone on the bank of the river. Her eyes were fixed upon a willow tree that hung low, and as she stared, she said, “If Si Lili wants to do this, and you are able to arrange it, she will not come to Shangjing. You are a heartless man, so why must you feign concern? You want to see her enter the palace, so that even when you have returned to the south, you will have a trusted ally within the northern Qi Kingdom.”

Fan Xian did not expect Haitang to have figured out his true motive and he was taken somewhat aback. He felt exposed, as if he had been stripped naked all of a sudden, with nothing to mask his callous, narcissistic self. A moment of silence passed by and then with a bitter smile, Fan Xian said, “I am just a Commissioner. I do not have the power to change everything.”

“So, you will just let this happen?” Haitang did not say this harshly; she said it in a straightforward manner, as if to confirm this was his true stance. “In that case, there’s no need to say so much.”

Fan Xian stroked his head and replied, “Once you enter the palace, you are to be granted no reprieve from trifles large or small, for the rest of your life. You and Si Lili are like sisters. How can you allow her to become trapped in that palace?”

“His Majesty is not a bad man.” Haitang smiled and said, “And Si Lili is a Southerner. If she wants to live in Shangjing, only the palace can offer her the protection she needs.”

All of a sudden, Haitang turned around and as she did so, Fan Xian caught the river’s reflection within her eyes, which made them sparkle all the more. Fan Xian believed that Haitang and Ye Ling’er possessed the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen. While Ye Ling’er had naive eyes that would twinkle like crystal, Haitang’s eyes were like beacons of understanding, or deep wells of profound wisdom.

“Mister Fan, aren’t you tired of living a life that requires you to conceive and devise conspiracies each and every day?”

Fan Xian turned his gaze to the ground. After a while, he staunchly raised his head to the sky, put his hands behind his back and moved around slowly as Haitang did. Suddenly, he spoke: “In this world, not everyone can be like you and live freely. Everyone has to find their own purpose in this life, whether it be to grow crops or tend fields. I must think about myself, the people around me now, and those in the future.”

After his speech, he drew a letter from out of his chest pocket. He presented it to Haitang and said, “I am not a person of great wisdom. I have very little, truth be told. But see if these methods can be of use to you.”

Haitang opened the letter read it carefully under the sunlight. Following a long pause, she looked at Fan Xian with an odd expression. “Do you think Empress Dowager will believe this?”

“If Empress Dowager wants to maintain her relationship with the emperor following this incident, what she needs is a way to disassociate herself from the events that will occur. Whether she believes it or not, these events have enough persuasive power.”

Fan Xian’s plan was quite simple. In the history of his past life, Emperor Wu of Han became enamored with Lady Gouyi, and this was a tale that Fan Xian remembered clearly.

On one of Emperor Wu’s many patrols, he came to a river with his sage in tow. On the banks of that place, the sage spoke of a wonderful presence there. He told Emperor Wu that this sensation indicated the existence of a special woman that was sure to reside someplace in the nearby vicinity. Upon hearing this, he ordered his men to search for her and so they did. A beautiful woman was indeed discovered not far from there.

Even though her appearance was nothing short of stunning, she had a frail body that was prone to sickness. She did not eat much and her hands were always curled into fists. This curious quirk of hers could never be made undone by anyone. Emperor Wu was entirely infatuated with her beauty and so decided to untighten her hands himself. Almost by a miracle, the hands opened, but the strangest thing about this entire ordeal was the fact that she held a jade within the palm of her right hand.

Emperor Wu of Han was ecstatic and immediately brought her into the palace, bestowing upon her the title “Lady Fist”. Only later did she become Lady Gouyi, the empress.

“Who is this emperor you are referring to, Fan Xian?” Haitang asked.

Fan Xian laughed in response and said, “Oh, it’s just a story I have made up.” He stopped for a minute and then continued, “Of course it is not real!

Haitang was not well-versed or experienced in relationship matters and thus asked, “What are we going to do?”

Fan Xian stroked his head once more and sighed. To remind her of who she was, he asked, “Who are you?”

Haitang was silent, and did not respond. Fan Xian’s heart shivered for a moment and he thought to himself, “She cannot be that stupid to genuinely ask herself who she was, can she?” He then purposely coughed a few times and said, “You are the apprentice of Ku He, and Ku He is a grandmaster. If Ku He said that in the west there was a cloud of fortune, and under that cloud there was a mystic woman, would that be more convincing?”

Haitang raised a wry smile and asked, “Why would my master speak such nonsense?”

Fan Xian’s scoffed to himself, recounting that her master was one to eat human flesh. But Haitang was indeed his most cherished apprentice and for him to joke with her wouldn’t be too out of the question.

Haitang worriedly stated, “But every noble in the capital knows about Si Lili. There is no possible way for us to hide her.

Fan Xian smiled and said, “We could take Si Lili to the Temple of Qing for a few months and make her a nun.”

“What does becoming a nun entail?”

“It means she will worship the gods with sincerity, and put marriage out of her mind.”

“And then?”

“We could wait until the heat dies down and then send her to the palace quietly.”

“Would that work?”

“There are further details enclosed there within that letter. When time permits, you should take a closer look. And of course, if you are able to convince the grandmaster to accept Si Lili as an apprentice, that would be even better.”

“Your plan sounds ridiculous. But now that I think about it, it could work.” She smiled at Fan Xian and thanked him dearly.

Fan Xian smiled in return and thought, “This worked for Wu Zetian and Yang Guifei, two beautiful women from my world’s history. If it worked there, then there is no cause for it to not work here.” In his heart, however, a sliver of doubt remained: “Why was the emperor fixated on bringing Si Lili to the palace? And why did Empress Dowager oppose the plan entirely? Haitang must know something I don’t, and I have a feeling that she we won’t be inclined to tell me. I am still an outsider, after all.”

All of a sudden, Fan Xian’s heart leapt within his chest. He thought of the young emperor’s demeanor each time he had visited the palace and as he did so, a crazier thought broached his mind. It was a plan, and it was most absurd.