Joy of Life - Chapter 286

[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:05]
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Chapter 286: There is Concern

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

The carriage traversed a fair number of quiet roads and lanes, going in circles around the capital when all of a sudden a sharp noise emanated from behind a nearby house. It was not, however, particularly loud. Deng Ziyue turned around to report it and said, “We knocked out a few more of their servants. We are good to go now.”

Fan Xian gave a wry smile and nodded as he responded, “You know, it’s strange. Even though you guys were selected by Wang Qinian, and the profiles of yours I was able to examine listed your talents that included spying, tracking, and the masking of trails – yet, when it came to fighting, why did you lack the prestige expected of the Overwatch Council?”

Deng Ziyue, with an embarrassed look, said, “Sir, most of the members of the group are composed of the First and Second Bureaus’ elders. Mister Wang was always best at tracking, so the reason why he chose us was because we are good at precisely that.” Deng Ziyue paused to think for a moment, and then continued, “Sir, about today, you stepping in as you did was our fault. It was a dereliction of duty. But, may I ask that you send for someone from the Sixth Bureau? They are the real assassins of the Overwatch Council. In our journey north, you saw what they are capable of. Their combat skills far exceed ours.”

Fan Xian shook his head and gave no verbal response, as he feared establishing a relationship with “The Shadow”. Upon one of the few times he went to visit Chen Pingping, he had only managed to see him once. Even though that person was absolutely silent, you could tell from a simple look that he was from the Sixth Bureau of the Overwatch Council. He had actually expressed interest in Fan Xian at one time, for he was a student of Wu Zhu.

This interest must not be taken for a romantic one; he merely fancied the prospect of a duel with Fan Xian.

Therefore, Fan Xian was slightly unnerved by the thought of making contact with the Sixth Bureau. But, in putting their strength into perspective, the Tiger Guards that Fan Xian’s father secretly trained would still exceed and defeat the Sixth Bureau in battle. And according to Yan Bingyun’s predictions, it may not be all that long before Fan Xian would be granted the protection of the Tiger Guards, anyway. As such, there was no need to hurry.

“Investigate every illegal aspect of business the Baoyue Brothel has been involved in.”

Fan Xian issued this order quietly.

Deng Ziyue was horrified, and asked, “But what of the elusive owner? The man behind the curtains?”

Fan Xian thought for a while before shaking his head once more, and he told him, “If the Baoyue Brothel is covering for him, then we’ll take it on from the outside and get that place shut down. If we do this, the owner might get anxious.”

He was thinking that with the revenue and percentage share the owner would receive from the operations of the Baoyue Brothel, it may all have had something to do with Li Hongcheng. Firstly, Sang Wen did mention that the manager of the establishment was surnamed Yuan, and secondly, who else could make the brutish grandsons of the dukes do that which they attempted to? He continued to think, “If Crown Prince Jing and Ruoruo’s wedding is already well-known, and if the second prince wanted to leverage tonight to suppress the Overwatch Council and I, then it may very well be true.”

The thought and image of Crown Prince Jing making use of the events that had transpired with the Baoyue Brothel that night made Fan Xian’s blood boil. Even though he had been trying to undermine their marriage, he would never allow anyone to exploit or tarnish his or his sister’s reputation.

Fan Xian had only wished to visit a brothel with his workmates, but it had taken an abhorrent turn; one that would lead to the beginning of a new investigation. At the mere thought of what had occurred that evening, Fan Xian was greatly annoyed. He looked at Lady Sang Wen, who was sat beside him quietly, and then he said, “I will arrange to have someone escort and accompany you to someplace beyond the city walls for a while, until the heat cools off. When the case is wrapped up, you can come back safely. But first, there is something you must do for me. I need a statement. I want you to write down every last detail you can provide me with about the Baoyue Brothel.

After talking with Sang Wen, he knew that this Lady was a woman of careful deliberation and organization. In regards to dealing with the Baoyue Brothel, she would be of great service.

Deng Ziyue did not know why Fan Xian sought to get further involved with the Baoyue Brothel. He simply believed that Fan Xian was simply seeking revenge over what had occurred that night, or if not that, then to find out who was supporting them from within the Overwatch Council.

Shi Chanli then thought of something. He looked toward Fan Xian, and Fan Xian noticed his desire to speak. He gestured an allowance to do so and then he spoke before Sang Wen. “Sir, why don’t you go ask Mu Tie? He was the temporary chief of the First Bureau in your absence from the capital. It was during that time that the Baoyue Brothel was established. If he reminded you, he must know something.”

Fan Xian closed his eyes and shook his head and proceeded to reply, “The reason why Mu Tie reminded me, but did not provide me with all the details, was because it must have something to do with me or my family. If he would do his part and tell me, that would be enough. I wouldn’t have to drag him into this mess any further. Besides, for something this small, if I am unable to handle it on my own, how can I expect to perform in the field of politics?”

The carriage then descended into silence, permeating the aura of the interior with an unnerving atmosphere. After all, everyone had just witnessed Fan Xian fighting like the spirit of a madman. And to now see him turn back into a thoughtful fellow with a soft smile was strange.

Fan Xian’s talent in battle, was something the whole world knew of after what had occurred at Niulan Street last year. For those that had witnessed his skills first-hand, few could extrapolate or tell of any more, for they would most likely be dead. As such, what had been seen today was quite the rare sight.

Fan Xian once warned Mu Tie to not become Wang Qinian and try to be a funny guy. Deng Ziyue had been listening to the Commissioner the entire time, and he could tell from his tone that he was depressed. His mind wandered to ponder what their former masters were like in the performance of their duties. He then carefully asked, “Sir? Earlier in Baoyue Brothel, why were you so sure I was in possession of 10,000 tael?”

Fan Xian opened his eyes with a smile and replied, “the last time the Cui family gave us 20,000 taels as a gift, you said you were worried that your subordinates would do nothing but waste the money. So, you gave them 100 tael each; amounting to the total of 3,200. And then you gave that old man, Wang Qinian, 5000 tael, did you not? That left you with 11,800 tael.”

Fan Xian closed his eyes, and spoke as if he were an omnipotent being who knew all about everything. He said, “You are a thrifty person. The food you eat and the clothes you wear are all provided by the Council. Even when you were invited to the Overwatch Council’s Third Bureau, Mister Peng’s son’s wedding party, you only put 5 tael in your red gift packet. And even with such a meager sum, you made sure to moan and complain before me a multitude of times about it. You even went on to make a speech about how you sought to end this ‘sordid culture’. At the rate you go, your monthly expenses likely do not exceed 2 tael.

“You are different from Wang Qinian. You aren’t married; you have been single this entire time. So, what were you, such a frugal man, going to do with 11,000 tael? I knew from your cautious nature that you weren’t going to simply leave it lying around at home.”

Fan Xian smiled and patted Deng Ziyue’s shoulders lightly, continuing, “But to be prudent is to be prudent. That young widow who is your neighbor; if you do not wish to marry her, you should at least buy her some jewelry or a well-meaning gift. Do not make her think you are a cheap man. The Overwatch Council cannot bear this sort of embarrassment!”

Everyone in the carriage started laughing.

Deng Ziyue’s mouth was wide open in surprise. He then started explaining, “Sir, about the money thing, I informed you of how I was to distribute it. 100 tael is a lot of money!”

Fan Xian began laughing, and mockingly responded, “That’s stingy! And tell me, why were you so generous to Wang? He is no longer your boss.”

Deng Ziyue in his defense, quietly said, “Mister Wang is back in the northern Qi Kingdom. It crossed my mind to think that if anything were to happen to him, his family may have need of the money.”

Fan Xian did not expect to hear a response like that. He sighed, for he was rather touched. If Wang Qinian was just an ordinary member of a diplomatic envoy of the Qing Kingdom, or even an exchange student staying in the northern Qi Kingdom, he would be totally safe. He could fit in with the locals without issue. But Wang Qinian was a highly-trained spy; if his identity were ever to be exposed, what would become of him?

Shi Chanli asked, “Are we really going back to the Baoyue Brothel tomorrow to retrieve our money?”

Fan Xian was still lost in thought, thinking of Wang Qinian, who was so far from home, and the recent development of Si Lili having now entered the palace. His mind was already entangled, so hearing Shi Chanli ask this made him look peeved. The Overwatch Council had been working their hardest, putting their lives on the line for the government, and yet the princes and nobles were constantly bickering and attempting to harm each other. They were even trying to drag the Overwatch Council into their petty feuds. It was horrible.

“Of course we are going!”

He coldly told Deng Ziyue, “And you are going to reveal your identity when you go there. Earlier, when I was talking to that woman, she mentioned that if I bought Sang Wen this night, then I would be bringing her back by the next. And then, they attempted to have us attacked during in the middle of the night. Someone who can do what they say – of course we have to be nice to them.

“If we said we will take back the 10,000 tael, then we will have to get it back.” Fan Xian said this with firm assurance.

Teng Zijing accepted the order and prepared to escort Sang Wen to the village outside the capital when the gates opened the following day. After Fan Xian had dealt with all the arrangements, he returned to his room.

In the blankets, Wan’er noticed Fan Xian’s worried demeanor. She asked him what had occurred to make him like this, and Fan Xian did not hold back. He told her of everything that had transpired that night. His insistence on visiting the brothel on behalf of an investigation was in some way truthful, and thus he did not lie.

Wan’er said, “Something is strange about this.”

Fan Xian nodded. “I think so.”

Wan’er had lived in the palace for a very long time. It was because of this that she did not understand what happened on Minister Lane and the issues concerning the dukes. She told Fan Xian, “Tomorrow, if you have the opportunity, you should go and ask Sizhe’s mother about it. The Liu family grew up on Minister Lane, and their house is nearby the ducal manors. You might be able to gather additional information from her.”

Fan Xian denied his own thought process to hear what Wan’er had to say. The Liu family was experienced, and they did all that they did without leaving a trace. They would not get themselves involved during their season of popularity. But now, Fan Xian was more familiar with the Liu family, and Sizhe’s mother was always putting the Fan family, Fan Xian’s father included, as a number one priority.

“Tomorrow, you plan to return to the Baoyue Brothel?” Wan’er’s eyebrows were frowning as she asked this. “Those kids that run amok in the capital, they are manifestations of all manners of evil. Even if you did break each of their bones, you should still be wary.”

Fan Xian shook his head and responded, “Do not fear for my well-being. I am really careful when it comes to such dealings, and I have been ever since I was young.” He had a smile upon his face, and continued by saying, “Back in the day, when I was still in Danzhou, what I wanted to do more than anything was to beat up those spoilt, rich thugs. But I never did it. I find it hard to believe that I satiated my childhood desires tonight.”

Wan’er lightly poked his chest and said, “In Danzhou? Weren’t you the biggest, richest kid there?”

Fan Xian did not respond to her question, instead, he told her, “The scariest thing in this world is not the cold-blooded killer; it is the one who likes to kill without a purpose. Those kids were all like that. They wanted to kill without reason. If you must kill, then you should at least have a reason for doing so. Those kids were…

“…they merely reveled in the excitement of taking lives. If a baby could kill someone, they would do it just for a sip of milk. That is because babies don’t yet have a conscience, and they cannot feel guilty. At that age, they don’t know anything yet. Therefore, in regards to those brats, the younger they are, the worse they would inevitably be; possessing no respect for the earth, government, or people. The things they do will only become more and more ruthless and cruel. If they were to let go of their self-taught principles, it would become like the flood in Jiangnan this year, unable to be fixed.”

He shook his head. He thought about the evil children that lay battered and beaten, strewn across the cobbled street where he stood earlier in the night, and as he did so, he felt slightly depressed. He closed his eyes, feeling it to be sadness deep in his heart.

That night, his fighting on the lane scared many people. The department in charge of the security of the capital took the most pressure. Those thugs on the street constantly leveraged their family’s status to do that which they pleased, and that included their malicious deeds. To see their free reign come to a halt and for them to end up bloodied and broken, lying on the street, was quite the surprise.

The officers who were in charge of this case, after they saw the injuries of the kids and the broken bones that they suffered, were taken aback. After hearing of the elusive “Mister Chen”, they were stricken with both fear and wonder. Whoever that person was, he must have been extremely harsh and uncaring to not consider the power that the royal families of the thugs possessed.

It was just like Deng Ziyue had said; it would be impossible to keep Fan Xian’s identity hidden from everyone in the capital.

After the news of what had occurred that night had circulated across the city, and even though the government had yet to find the “Mister Chen” responsible, many smart people had it figured out. The men in black had been spotted jumping from roof to roof that night, and it was well-known that the Overwatch Council’s young Commissioner had a collective of such people for bodyguards, who were referred to as the “Qinian Unit”.

“Let Yuan Meng return.” The Qing Kingdom’s second prince had a softness in his eyebrows when he said this. He gently continued, saying, “If you offend Fan Xian, you aren’t going to have a pleasant day.”

The Crown Prince Li Hongcheng slowly walked to the window, his heart going cold as he reflected upon the concern shared by his brother. He told him, “No one could have guessed that Fan Xian would visit a brothel. With his lonely personality, he is sure to not let it go.”

The second prince smiled and grabbed a piece of dried fruit from the plate beside him. He peeled away the skin and ate it, and as he chewed, he said, “The more information Fan Xian is able to gather, the more crimes he is sure to uncover there. He will become more and more confident as he does this, and it is sure to lead to some interesting scenarios.”

Li Hongcheng looked at him and said, “In the beginning, you set this all up, but why are you now allowing Fan Xian the opportunity to show off?”

The second prince appeared to be quite inattentive, and after a while he said, “It is because, after all this time, I have been searching for a way in which I could reconcile with Fan Xian. This issue with the Baoyue Brothel is our final opportunity to make peace. If Fan Xian is willing to put his hand out, I would be honored to hold it. I want to give him a chance to be the one who wants to make this peace.”