Joy of Life - Chapter 270

[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:47:59]
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Chapter 270: The Memorial in the Palace Storm

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

“Do not believe me to be a sage.” Fan Xian shook his head and continued, “After all, I am only concerned with myself. Next year, will I be in charge of the palace treasury? It will end Xinyang’s revenue. What will she do then to support the prince? Could she allow this to happen? The palace treasury’s books make it seem like it is doing well, but a look behind the curtain reveals a different story. Do I have to take it, only to end up hairless and gray with the amounting stress of being in such a position?”

“I am not willing to clean up after her.”

“The palace treasury is a mountain of gold, sinking into a wallow of filth. The eldest princess has the Empress Dowager to take care of her, but what about me? I am just an outsider officer, and I am to be put in charge of the palace treasury? This is not meant to be. This is to make me suffer.” With visible distress, Fan Xian further spoke: “But I do wonder; is the Emperor looking to make me a scapegoat for the eldest princess? In the future, if they look at the palace treasury and find out something is amiss, nothing I say will ever avert the blame. I will never be able to placate with such a miserable fate.”

If Chen Pingping or Fan Jian heard him talk as he did, with the fiery expression he wrought, they would sing praise for him; a young man with such talented acting skills was a rarity. An outsider officer? As if!

Yan Bingyun did not know the ultimate secret behind Fan Xian’s facade, as he watched him make a scene, all riled up. In his heart, though, he was beginning to admire him all the more. He had previously assumed Fan Xian to be an annoying, brattish and entitled punk – but seeing Fan Xian act in such a manner changed his mind completely, so that he saw him now as a man of honor, dignity and of a desire to do good; by himself and others. With perked eyebrows, Yan Bingyun said, “Then why did you not assert your position and outright decline to take over the palace treasury? You knew of the dangers beforehand.”

Fan Xian, in a self-deprecating manner, laughed and said, “Perhaps you will not believe me, but I really sought to serve. I wanted to serve the people; the government; the kingdom!”

Yan Bingyun maintained a face of cold stone, but the warmth of his heart was continuously stoked by Fan Xian’s words. He stood up and bowed with great respect. With a noticeably calmer voice, Yan Bingyun began talking from the position of a subordinate and gave Fan Xian suggestions. “Any change of leadership of the palace treasury is uneconomical. It would be foolish”

Fan Xian quietly looked at him.

It seemed as if Yan Bingyun did not notice the stare of aggression he had actually given him. He proceeded to say, “Ever since this matter was brought to light, look at what you have been able to accomplish in the past few days. Perhaps now you will have the courage to ask Shi Chanli to write a document and eloquently post it upon the Supreme Court’s board, to let the world know how the eldest princess and the corrupt officers within the government have taken advantage of their positions to rob the palace treasury.”

With a self-deprecating laugh and smiling once more, Fan Xian did think of doing that, anyway. There was no question of his courage, and he most certainly had support; not from the emperor, but most certainly from his uncle.

“…That would be no use.” Yan Bingyun said, and then continued: “It would yield nothing of service to the victims of the disaster. The amount of money given out by the palace treasury is vast; to recollect it all within a month would be an impossible task. And I hardly believe the Emperor would be willing to offend most of his officers. If there were a considerable amount of officers suddenly fired or demoted, there would be issues running the government. The disaster relief efforts cannot afford to be delayed, either.”

Fan Xian was in deep thought, and then asked, “What do you suggest, then?”

“We can temporarily attempt to slow the palace treasury’s bleeding of money. Then, the minister, who has been in charge for as long as he has, will figure it out. It will most likely not affect the relief efforts.” And then Yan Bingyun quietly continued by saying, “The matters you arranged in the northern Qi Kingdom will take a while more to be prepared. Wait until after the winter and cooperate with Wang Qinian upon both sides. Firstly, take out the Cui family to severe their money ties, and then take the opportunity of being the new man in charge of the palace treasury to examine the old documents and their fraudulent calculations.”

“This is a safe play,” Fan Xian said, to which Yan Bingyun frowned. “I am only worried about the time Wang Qinian will spend in Shangjing. It may not be sufficient, if he is to assert a modicum of influence on Qi’s power and weed out the Cui family.”

Yan Bingyun froze for a moment and said, “I can help.”

Fan Xian looked at him, eyebrows still raised. Although he did not show it, his heart was one of secret merriment. He then said, “You are quite infamous in the northern Qi Kingdom; how do you expect to return there?”

Yan Bingyun replied, “I have a number of men here in the capital. They can take care of business without me looking over their shoulders all day.”

“I will continue to strive and achieve more authority, and I will use this power to do something that I desire. But if this is to happen, I will need a lot of help.” Fan Xian looked him in the eye and with a deepened voice, said, “I want it to be like how we were in Shangjing. Back then, our cooperation was at its finest. And such teamwork will not only apply to then and today, but it will be something that continues into the next spring, too.”

Yan Bingyun understood Fan Xian’s implication, but he wasn’t quiet for long. Instead, he bowed and took leave.

Fan Xian was a pre-eminently talented person within the Overwatch Council, but he wasn’t one to let matters drag. For now, Fan Xian had to gain Yan Bingyun’s trust, and that might take some time.

As Yan Bingyun was about to exit the study, he turned around to look at Fan Xian with a bewildered look upon his face. He asked, “Commissioner, you have been rich since birth. Why do you care so much for the suffering of the average civilian?”

Fan Xian scratched his head and answered, “Perhaps it is because I had gotten used to doing good deeds in the distant past.”

Yan Bingyun can really hold it in. I cannot believe he has yet to ask about Miss Shen.

He looked outside the window and saw the fading sun glaze the shrubs of the yard. His face bore no emotion, beguiling the sighing of his heart. The field of politics was quite scary. Even within his own manor, there was a spy.

Even though Fan Xian had revealed himself as the Commissioner of the Overwatch Council to the Ministry of Justice, the First Bureau had a spy in Fan Xian’s manor. Upon discovering this, and the subsequent confrontation, he departed with haste. But Fan Manor’s yard had a spy there. If Wu Zhu was not backing Fan Xian, he would never have noticed the innocent gardener was the agent.

As he himself had already said, Fan Xian was not a sage. He was not a good person, and he was not a Lei Feng. His reasons for dealing with the eldest princess and the second prince were quite simple, for it all boiled down to his personal conflict with Xinyang.

And that which instigated this conflict was the palace treasury. Ever since Fan Xian’s rebirth, this was his sole purpose, and it was the one thing he would pursue until the end of his days. The palace treasury was the Ye family’s legacy, and what resided in there was of paramount importance. If anyone got between him and the security of what resided in there, he would callously kick them away.

How are we supposed to live our lives?

How was Fan Xian supposed to live his life like this? Was he supposed to love himself, his wife, his family, and the people, or was he supposed to love his one true love? This idea was not brought on by cheesy TV shows; it was merely what he thought. His life was a precarious one. To lead an army to war, kill others without remorse and then rule the world? That would be a life, too. Being a cruel and apathetic person was a life, and living on the edge was a life, as well.

Fan Xian was just a male animal that relished in power and pretty women. But through his experiences of rebirth, he knew to make sure of his desires and grab a hold of them as best as he could. It was because of this that he thought it fine to do as he pleased. He thought it was okay to be mean whenever he wished, and soft whenever the time to be arose. To get close with numerous beautiful women was fine, too. To make more money and see more of the world; that was the perfect life, or so he thought.

First, he would have to assure his materialistic desires were satiated before he even thought about improving his mental health. If you want the world to be beautiful, you need to make the people smile. At the beginning of this life, Fan Xian was a sole, pitiable officer; it is of surprise, then, that life was far harder for him.

If he had chosen to remain as another young delinquent of Danzhou, perhaps his life would have been happier. He would have had more freedom, to say the least. He wouldn’t have to dote over the wellbeing of others at large, or care at all about the current fiasco with the palace treasury. But in the springtime of the Qing calendar’s fourth year, he was overwhelmed with an unnecessary curiosity towards his wife-to-be. Falling in love and then being given a family, every passing day he felt as if he were being dragged deeper and deeper down, forced to give up all aspects of the freedom he had once enjoyed.

That afternoon, the Overwatch Council’s Commissioner Fan Xian had a private conversation about the palace treasury, the second prince, and the welfare of the common people with the Overwatch Council’s future Fourth Bureau chief Yan Bingyun in Fan Manor. Unknowingly, their talk was being transcribed and transferred to the palace’s study and Chen Pingping’s table.

Chen Pingping’s reaction was quite simple. He issued a warrant that temporarily gave Fan Xian the entirety of his own authority and direct command of the Overwatch Council. That meant that until Chen Pingping rescinded the order himself, Fan Xian was indeed in total control of every facet of the big and scary Overwatch Council.

Inside the study, the supreme Emperor was overviewing the details of their talk and gave a slight nod.

Inside the Emperor’s heart, he was truly pleased with Fan Xian’s actions and behavior in recent times. If the world thought that the Overwatch Council was like a dog on his leash, then that dog would require the courage to bite people; but there were limitations to who it could go after. So, he allowed Fan Xian to maintain control of this leash and see what he was truly capable of.

Needless to say, however, the Emperor was pleased with the conversation Fan Xian and Yan Bingyun shared. The power and emotion they relayed during their talk was just like that woman, back in the day. The Emperor’s skinny face possessed a pleased smile, even though Fan Xian had been so disrespectful to him in the past. Despite all prior transgressions, he knew Fan Xian was loyal to him.

The Emperor gazed at the eunuch in front of him and, with a smile, he asked him, “Hong Siyang, what do you think of Fan Xian?”

Hong Siyang, the eunuch, bowed and his wrinkled face did not move a muscle. But quickly he said, “Too fake.”

The Emperor frowned at these words. He did not reply, but his mind pondered whether or not Fan Xian had been indeed putting on a show for him. He had heard that Wu Zhu was always in the south; no one in the capital should have been notified of his arrangements.

“My Lord, how do you plan to resolve this situation?” Hong Siyang asked, referring to the business that involved the second prince and eldest princess.

The Emperor coldly stroked his head and replied, “The show has not yet started. How can I bring to an end before it has begun?”

The Emperor of the Qing Kingdom had also been wracking his mind over the emptiness of the palace treasury. Even though he had always had his suspicions regarding Xinyang, he had never gotten a hold of any evidence to prove his troubled mind correct. And due to his constant worry of the Empress Dowager’s health, he always believed in the sanctity of one’s loyalty. It would be impossible for him to expose and draw attention to the issue at this time. And it was due in part to the fact that Li Yunrui yielded a greater benefit to the kingdom than he did harm, and that the second prince was his own son.

Until today, he had truly believed in all that Chen Pingping had told him. There were certain areas where the young people performed their tasks too recklessly, but their frivolity showcased their care, passion and outright ability to do what they sought to. This not only applied to Fan Xian, but to the young officer Yan Bingyun as well. The Emperor then thought he had not been paying enough attention in earlier times.

The maid lit the candles and made her exit. Not a sound could be heard in the study room, as the Emperor sat waiting for Fan Xian’s documents to arrive. “If Fan Xian truly guessed what I have been thinking about, and if he was willing to do solely what he himself desired and become a lonely officer, later today, he should be able to retrieve the information that he seeks and then deliver it to my desk.”

“If Fan Xian truly followed Yan Bingyun’s suggestions to slow the proceedings…” the Emperor frowned once more and thought that even if Fan Xian was concerned about the stability of the government, he shouldn’t have hid anything from him.

The study’s door opened, and a eunuch carrying two boxes walked in. The Emperor was a diligent fellow, and never put off the reading of documents, for he was always willing to do it as soon as they arrived – even if that meant right through the night. It was a common occurrence these days.

The Emperor’s face did not change, but his heart was still longing for what he truly wanted delivered. Looking at the stack of documents, he caught a glimpse of what it was that he desired. He smiled.

He opened the secret box that was crafted by the Overwatch Council and began reading the first of secret documents written by Fan Xian.

In his heart, he thought that the contents of these documents could change the destiny of numerous people; but that meant nothing to him. As the Emperor rose to power over the course of his lifetime, he had developed the ability to see through many things. There were many subjects he saw and thought about differently than Fan Xian, as well. He did not care about the misdeeds of his sister, the eldest princess and the second prince, for instance. No one would truly understand the Emperor’s ambition and confidence.

In regards to Fan Xian’s performance, the Emperor was greatly impressed and thoroughly pleased, for he knew that he was not explicitly supporting the eastern palace’s conflict with the second prince.

As the Emperor descended through the mound of documents, his face all of a sudden changed to an expression of disdain.

All the officers from the Imperial Censorate were gathered together and sent to impeach the Overwatch Council’s Commissioner and the First Bureau chief, Fan Xian, for his malpractice. Being accused of bribery, he was to be declared an outlaw.

Each document provoked the Emperor’s wrath further and further, and he maintained a look of anger.