Joy of Life - Chapter 293

[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:08]
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Chapter 293: Exile

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

The conversation between the father and son continued as though no one else was present in the room. The three women who were there were now reeling in shock, asking themselves, Was the beating not enough? He is now to be exiled, also?

“Dear, what are you talking about?”

Liu Shi had a frightened look, and hopelessly looked toward her husband. Fan Sizhe, who was lying down on the wooden bench jumped up. In the critically injured state he was in, no one could guess where that strength to do so came from. It seemed as if the concept of exile was a terrifying prospect for a noble, no matter their age.

Fan Sizhe shot up to hold his mother’s legs, his eyes clenched shut as tears fell and rolled down his cheek. He usually had a lot to say, but not this time. The utter shock and near disbelief of the revelation that he was to be sent away had taken the voice right out of his mouth.

The little boy’s face was now soaked in tears, and despite the vigorous shaking of his head, he was unable to formulate a single word. The sight, coupled with the brutal wounds that had painted his back red, was most pitiable to watch.

“Dear!” Liu Shu could not hold her tongue any longer, and with a ghastly look of malice and eyes like piercing daggers, she looked directly at Fan Xian. She then fell to her knees before Fan Jing, eyes swollen with tears once more. “No, no, no! He is your youngest son! Are you just going to stand by and watch him get kicked out on your doorstep? Are you willing to accept him becoming a faceless drifter in a foreign country, devoid of love and family?”

She quickly grabbed onto Fan Ruoruo’s hands, pleading, “Ruoruo, quick! Return to your father at once, implore to him that he does not need to send away Fan Sizhe.”

In Liu Shi’s mind, she was thinking, The reason why they are kicking Fan Sizhe out of the family is because of the Bao Yue House. It must be Fan Xian who schemed and spoke ill of his brother behind closed doors. And yesterday, Fan Jing and Fan Xian were both in deep discussion with each other. To save him, I must quickly drag Ruoruo into this. Even though she is not my own daughter, we have lived together for a dozen years now, and she has always taken good care of Fan Sizhe. We all know that Fan Xian loves his sister, also.

Fan Ruoruo was not expecting her little brother to be subject to such a serious punishment, either. With Liu Shi tugging at her arm, she came down to her knees alongside her, and with a voice that rattled nervously, said to her father, “Father, my little brother has learned his lesson. He is sure to never act or commit such deeds ever again. Please forgive him!”

Wan’er was standing alone in the corner, full of fear. She too joined Ruoruo and Liu Shi on the floor, pleading for his absolution.

Fan Jing maintained his composure, until he saw his daughter-in-law kneel down alongside the other two. She was special, and of grander nobility, and so he quickly brought her up back to her feet. He frowned and looked at Liu Shi sternly as he said, “Sizhe has to go. And you are not going to despise Fan Xian for this, because it was my own decision.”

Liu Shi’s face was full of disbelief, asking herself why over and over She knew that Fan Jing was a person whose apparent softness was to only veil the heart of cold steel that resided within him, and it was this image that made her fall in love with the man. If this was truly his idea, then he would not budge from his decision.

She was a smart woman, and so she bit her lips, and while still on her knees, turned around to face Fan Xian. With an even greater look of pity, she begged, “Fan Xian, could you please say something? Can you not convince your father of something else?”

As it stood, Fan Xian would be the only person in the room capable of changing his father’s mind on the matter.

Fan Xian did not dare accept her knee-borne plea, and hastily avoided it by dodging to the side. He approached his father, having in mind to ask him something.

Fan Jing coldly shook his head as he spoke. “For the mistakes and deeds of rotten contempt Sizhe has performed recently, if he were to appear before the court, the verdict and corresponding punishment would be the same. I am removing him from his place within the capital today, as an action performed by the family, rather than the government.”

Liu Shi could not believe a word her husband has just spoken. As an assumption that stemmed from the position and power of the Fan family within the capital, owning a brothel and murdering a few prostitutes did not seem like cause for such concern. She figured that as long as the Fan family did not conspire to revolt or hinder matters that revolved around the palace and the palace alone, it did not matter what activities, illegal or otherwise, the Fan family chose to involve themselves in. She could not help but continue crying, asking, “Why are you so cruel? Fan Sizhe is only fourteen years of age.”

“It is because of our inability to be cruel in the past that has led to this entire situation.” Fan Jing laughed coldly, repeating, “Fourteen?”

Fan Jing now began shouting, “Don’t you ever forget that when Fan Xian was only twelve, he had been forced to kill someone!”

The room fell silent after he spoke. Wan’er and Ruoruo were visibly aghast as they turned to look at Fan Xian. They had no knowledge that this had ever occurred. Liu Shi, who had been distraught by the matters concerning Fan Sizhe, was also taken aback by a bit, but now just turned her head and looked to the floor, hopeless.

Fan Xian smiled awkwardly, well aware that such a time was not the most appropriate for this revelation to arise. He carefully picked up the grievously wounded Fan Sizhe and returned him to the corner of the room. He then asked for his wife and sister to bring him to his bedroom, so that he could rest and recuperate somewhat.

“Fan Xian, you come over here later.” Fan Jing spoke, then looked at Liu Shi before exiting the study room.

In the study room, only Liu Shi and Fan Xian remained. The atmosphere’s awkwardness was almost palpable. After a while, Liu Shi’s sensible mind returned to her, and with a modicum of composure, she said, “Are you really going to exile him?”

Fan Xian sighed in his heart and walked forward. When he approached, he lowered his voice to gently say, “Do not worry about it. What father means to imply is that we are only going to remove Fan Sizhe from the capital for a while we strive to have these matters sorted out. It will do him some good to grow up a bit out there…”

Fan Xian had not finished his words before Liu Shi interrupted him, asking, “How far?”

“Very far.” Fan Xian watched Liu Shi, who seemed to be a little inattentive. He began thinking about how this smart and elegant woman had lost all control for such a prolonged period of time that day, all due to the worry about the wellbeing of her son. For this, he could not help but feel a pang of jealousy towards his brother. He started to miss someone.

“So, how far!?” Liu Shi screamed.

Fan Xian did not care very much for her behavior and soured mannerisms at this point, and simply responded calmly by saying, “Yesterday, Father was able to put up with this. I suggested moving Fan Sizhe out to Danzhou, so that he could lay low there for some time. But Father worried about the presence of his grandparents there, and them potentially getting involved and spoiling him during our absence. With that being a possibility, it was then that he suggested that he be taken to the northern Qi Kingdom.”

“Northern Qi Kingdom?” Liu Shi’s felt a bit calmer. Even though the northern Qi Kingdom was extremely far away, it was much better than where the government would of had him exiled to had they been given control over the resolution to this sordid affair. If the government were to decide, he would be sent to the south, a place which was little more than a desolate wasteland. The northern Qi Kingdom, by comparison, was a far safer and far more developed nation. Even though the relationship between the Qing Kingdom and the northern Qi Kingdom hadn’t been the greatest in previous years, they had just established a peace treaty. This agreement had put them in a honeymoon phase, where relations were very high and very strong.

Fan Xian saw that Liu Shi was giving him the look of a beggar, and he knew precisely what she was thinking. He tried to comfort her by saying, “There is no need to worry. I have many friends in the northern Qi Kingdom, and I am sure they will look out for him at my behest.”

Beams of moonlight pierced the tangled forms of the trees, but its presence was dimmer than the lights that continued to burn in the Fan manor. The young men who were receiving their punishments in the yard earlier had now been taken away, driven in their carriages from the Shangshu Lane. The relatives who had come to greet and see that which had been done upon their sons were each taken aback with faces of remorse. From others, looks of hatred were given. But because of the power that the Fan family possessed, no one dared to speak out against them.

Inside the study room, Fan Xian stood beside his father, making juice for him. For the night, Liu Shi was stood guard near Fan Sizhe, not allowing anyone else within his proximity. The juice that Fan Jing drank everyday, could only be made by Fan Xian now.

“The three people I made mention of to you, I have already had them sent to the government.” The three people Fan Xian spoke of were the three now-convicted murderers in the employ of the Bao Yue house. He looked towards his father with a concerned expression and said, “the capital government is allied with the second prince. I can only surmise that they did not expect us to hand them over so easily. Their convictions include homicide, so they can be expected to testify that their orders came from Fan Sizhe and as such, they will most likely be taken-in by the second prince.”

Fan Jing smiled and responded, “Don’t hide anything from me; I know you aren’t the sort to be as careless as that.”

“I will handle it. Don’t worry.” Fan Xian was now smiling, as well. He had now at last made use of the powers Chen Pingping had granted him. He had made use of the assassins in the Sixth Bureau. “They willfully committed crimes that are worthy of a death sentence, but it’s just… the family may have something to say about it. For this, we may need you to come out and aid in the resolution of these issues.”

Fan Jing knew exactly what he was worrying about. The Fan family was one of the largest families residing in the capital, but there had never been record of an officer charging one of their own before. He shook his head and told Fan Xian, “What resolution can be achieved? We are the ones who are simply delivering them to the government; what does it have to do with us?”

Fan Xian heard these words and took them with great admiration. He descended into deep thought for a while, but then said, “Sizhe is leaving tonight… I have elected for Yan Bingyun to handle these procedures. His disappearance will leave no trace.”

Fan Jing nodded, and responded, “I have no relation with the people of the northern Qi Kingdom. In fact, it was many years ago that I slew many of them. Are you comfortable with these arrangements?”

Fan Xian met his father’s gaze and understood the cloaked concern he truly harbored for his son being in that foreign country. He nodded and told him, “Wang Qinian is in Shangjing. And that ally aside, Haitang is still there, and we are good friends. The emperor of the northern Qi Kingdom himself is not a bad person. If Sizhe is willing to sit tight in Shangjing and behave, there should be no problem; especially with the relations I fostered in my time there.”

Fan Jing sighed, and the grey hair upon his face stood out more today. He said, “You used to say that Sizhe was a smart boy and that he did not have to pursue a road of arduous study. I listened and paid heed to these words of yours. I just didn’t expect him to turn out this way… only fourteen and committing such heinous crimes? What was I doing when I was fourteen? I was still in King Cheng’s manor, studying alongside the crown prince who is now emperor, thinking of what innocent games we might spend the day playing.”

Fan Xian was bearing a wry smile when he responded, “The third prince whom was raised by Yi Gui Pin is even crazier. He is a certified pimp at the age of eight. If this matter was brought to light, the history books that chronicle the Qing Kingdom’s history in the future would undoubtedly be too absurd for scholars to believe and out stock in.”

“In regards to Yi Gui Pin, I will make sure to inform her.” Fan Jing shook his head and continued, “Sizhe is smart, but his intentions have always been in vain. He has always strayed to the side of evil. If this was to continue, things would most certainly turn out even worse. We can use this opportunity as a way to have him travel and be witness to the beauty of this world. At first glance, it may seem like a simple, cruel punishment for the lad, but it is more than that. This is an opportunity for him to mature.”

Fan Xian sighed and said, “But this was partially my fault as well.”

“You cannot take the blame for this.” Fan Jing rebutted his statement and gestured for Fan Xian to sit down. Again, he spoke, “when the Bao Yue house was established, you weren’t even in the capital… but I am curious, why do you suggest that I have Sizhe sent to the northern Qi Kingdom? It is a bold move, but it is a decision you seem to have a great deal of confidence in. You know that the northern Qi Kingdom hasn’t always been our allies.”

Fan Xian did not tell his father of the agreement he had with Haitang and the young emperor, but he still explained his goals. He smiled and said, “Xinyang always smuggled goods through the Cui family to the northern Qi Kingdom. Shen Zhong, is now dead and so their route to do so has proven problematic. I think if Sizhe can be trained for a few years up in the north, perhaps he will be able to take over the Cui family’s illicit trade. After all, if this is the sort of business he revels in and can’t get away from, then I am going to ensure I put him in charge of one that will really bring in the coin.”

Fan Jing smiled and turned to look at his son, who was also smiling happily. The wisdom of Fan Xian’s mind had grown exponentially recently. Comparing himself to the rest of his generation and Chen Pingping, the only thing he lacked was simple cruelty.

“When will you be prepared to take on the Cui family?”

Seeing his father so casually ask about his grand plans, his mood to discuss these issues lightened. Without feelings of trepidation, he smiled and said, “it will be after I have taken over the palace treasury. It will be around March or April next year, I should imagine.”

Fan Jing nodded, but all of a sudden, his face soured. With a stern look, he told Fan Xian, “Okay, but do not grant them any reprieve. Do not allow them to have the slightest chance to strike back.”

This was the first time Fan Xian had seen his father show off his “other side”, which existed below the exterior, where resided a man who was quite callous. Looking at his father now, he was quite shocked, and the only response he could give was a nod.

Fan Jing, with a frigid voice, said “Regarding this entire ordeal, you have done well. We can remain as we are for now and bide our time. We can wait until Sizhe is gone, and following that, you are free to do as you please. You will no longer have to ask for my opinion and consent anymore. But there is a certain person…”

“Yuan Meng? Is that her name?” Fan Jing, spoke abruptly. “That which she does is abhorrent and downright evil. We will wait until all this blows over before you get rid of her. Once this is done, this entire mess will have been sorted.”

Fan Xian was shocked. He had no idea why his father possessed an ardent desire to kill someone. Was it to be an outlet for the anger that had pent up, concerning the matters Fan Sizhe had become embroiled within? Or was it something else?

What Fan Jing is going to say, shows how this shangshu possessed the greatest humanism, and will highlight the depth of his love and his character. He said, “back in the day, I used to frequently hang around Liu Jing river brothel. I always treated the ladies well and I despised those who would not respect them as I did… and this person, Yuan Meng… she was a worker in that brothel, as well. What I fail to understand, is how could she commit to deeds and commands that brought about wretched ends to those who shared the same profession as she once did? This is not a person I can allow to live.”

Fan Xian now understood his reasoning. He thought of the jokes King Jing would occasionally recite, and he remembered that his father was a person who almost lived in a brothel. The fetishes he possessed were still a topic in the capital, even. Having learnt of the manner in which many of the Bao Yue house’s prostitutes were murdered, is what drove Fan Jing to feel the way he did about this entire ordeal. It was no wonder as to why he desired her death, as he now did.

Fan Xian took his chance to say, “Yuan Meng is allied with Hongcheng and Hongcheng is to soon marry my sister. Does that mean…?”

Fan Jing did not wait for Fan Xian to finish his dialogue before shaking his head and interrupting him with, “Hongcheng is fine. For the next few days, you should keep an eye on him… but you need to take into consideration that it was the emperor that arranged this marriage; therefore, you should exercise some element of caution.”

Fan Xian was a little disappointed in his father, for not putting Ruoruo’s happiness as the number one priority. Fan Xian took the time to ponder whether his father put the concerns of dead prostitutes before his daughter. With this in his mind, he knew that for whatever he had to do next, he was on his own.

Fan Xian took leave of the study room with his father, but then entered another study room. He entered here alone.

The three people in the adjacent study room began bowing upon his arrival. Si Chan Li delivered to him the documents, upon which the ink had already dried. He relayed to Fan Xian, “This is the agreement that indicates the transfer of the Bao Yue ‘s shares; the seventy percent. Please, take a look. It will be all taken care of, once Sizhe signs it.”

Mu Tie then said, “The eyes of the capital government never rest. According to the intel a scout of ours retrieved, they had concerns regarding the criminals we delivered. There was also a person who we identified as an ally of the second prince enter the capital government’s office. What was discussed there, however, we have no knowledge of.”

Fan Xian nodded and said, “it does not matter. We aren’t to do anything for the next few days.”

Mu Tie furrowed his eyebrows and said, “W if they have misjudged the situation? What if they assume we are in trouble…? And what if they have officers from the government come and apprehend Sizhe?”

Fan Xian looked towards Yan Bingyun, who had been silent the entire time. Fan Xian shook his head and said, “we have the big boss of the Fourth Bureau, prepared to send Sizhe to the northern Qi Kingdom. Who is to find him then?”