Joy of Life - Chapter 305[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:14]
Chapter 305: Chrysanthemum, Ancient Swords and Alcohol (2)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Fan Xian swung his whole body lightly and effortlessly upwards while gripping the cracks between the cornices of the temple with his fingers and stepping on tiptoe on the outside of the wooden cornices. His special climbing method and little tricks used in this climbing were almost perfectly combined to create a breathtaking spectacle of climbing, and he had already reached the top floor of the Floating Temple in the blink of an eye.
On the ground by the mountainside below, the situation was under control, and the fire there was by and large quelled. These nobles and chancellors of the Qing Kingdom were the tough lot who had experienced many wars and disasters, so they were soon able to pull themselves together after some brief chaos, with some of them even throwing themselves into action immediately, creating one more layer of defense that was in addition to the royal guards, in order to guarantee the safety of the Floating Temple. As the crowd craned their heads anxiously, they saw Fan Xian fly upward like a lightning and arrive on the top of the building. Nobody had expected Commissioner Fan’s climbing skills to reach such an amazing level, and they couldn’t help but gasp in unified surprise.
Lightly holding onto the cornice below the top floor with his right hand, Fan Xian bent his left leg slightly and placed his left hand on the hilt of the black dagger hidden in his boot. It was rather quiet on the top floor; but Fan Xian didn’t dare go in recklessly, so he yelled toward the top floor, “This is courtier Fan Xian.”
It seemed that someone said something on the top floor. Fan Xian squinted toward the top floor, enwrapped by walls and windows for letting in breeze, and he felt relieved after having seen the countless chilly lights had gradually vanished. Somebody inside said, “Come in.”
The wooden window had been pushed open, making a creaking sound.
Fan Xian didn’t dare to respond too slowly, and by contracting his muscles in his core, his entire body sprang up and went in the top floor of the temple gently and quietly along with the mountain wind, out of fear to scare the Emperor. As soon as both of his feet touched the floor, he noticed through his peripheral vision that the nervous elite guards slowly stepped back a pace, realizing that he would have faced many thrusting swords if he didn’t report his presence before coming up.
Fan Xian swept the entire floor with his eyes and didn’t see the expected assassination happening here. So he let out a relaxed sigh, after which he came to the entrance to the corridor and noticed a passing figure looking like the Empress Dowager, disappearing from view in the blink of an eye. Wan’er, whom he worried about the most, was supporting the old woman by holding her arms, and the mysterious Eunuch Hong was following them close behind with his hands in the sleeves, his back hunched.
The Empress Dowager and the women of the palace had already left due to the fire downstairs.
“How come you’re here?!”
An intimidating but peaceful voice rang out. Fan Xian was startled for a brief moment before regaining his senses. Spinning around, he bowed to the middle-aged man standing on the left side by the railing, saying calmly, “A fire started downstairs, which someone obviously started. I was worried about Your Majesty’s safety, so I came.”
The Emperor of the Qing Kingdom that day wore a casual bright-yellow robe. He looked at the outside through a window, his hands behind his back. They were at a high elevation, so one could see a great deal from where they were. The yellow chrysanthemums covering the whole mountain gave viewers a chilly feeling of upcoming threats. However, the Emperor didn’t seem too worried about his own safety, and the corners of his mouth lifted slightly while peacefully watching the wonderful rivers and mountains that belonged to him. He looked, with a mocking expression, at the officials at the bottom of the temple, who acted nervously, as if they had encountered a powerful enemy.
The Empress Dowager and the royal concubines had all left the top floor of the building, and they met the royal guards who had just come up to help them on the third floor, walking carefully down to the bottom of the temple. On the top floor of the Floating Temple, which had many windows for letting in wind, three male royals, the Crown Prince, the Second Prince and Third Prince, were also there in addition to the extremely calm the Emperor, with a dozen sword carrying royal guards, and a few personal young eunuchs.
It took but a quick glance for Fan Xian to learn of the protective strength in the building. He couldn’t help but furrow his brows briefly to show his uneasiness. The fire downstairs was obviously suspicious. It was lucky that he discovered it early enough to quell it so that nobody had the opportunity to carry out any assassination amid the chaos. Yet it was quite certain that the assassins were still hiding in the temple. However, it was unfathomable that the enemies could sneak into the Qing Kingdom who was so powerful in strength. As the Commissioner of the Overwatch Council, he was confident in the protective strength of the Qing Kingdom. The hidden assassins had to be the top-level swordsmen who had the ability to disturb the world with a swing of their swords, and there couldn’t be more than three.
Gong Dian wasn’t in the building. Fan Xian’s heart skipped a beat after learning this. The fact that Eunuch Hong had helped the Empress Dowager go downstairs caused Fan Xian another slight headache. Was the purpose of setting the fire by the assassins to draw the best fighter of the palace downstairs?
At that moment on the top floor, besides those sword-carrying royal guards, it seemed that he himself was the only real high-level fighter. Fan Xian evaluated the situation in the building somewhat arrogantly. In his mind, the second prince was probably a good fighter on horse, but he might not be able to thwart an elite assassin in such close-range combat.
The Emperor, based on his expression, didn’t seem to worry too much about the event. Perhaps as a ruler of the land, he had to show a calm and dominating aura. Yet Fan Xian didn’t want this middle-aged man to be hurt accidently, causing many innocent people in Qing Kingdom to die. He furrowed his brows slightly, signaling the crown prince with his eyes, who pretended to be calm and stood behind the Emperor.
The crown prince was slightly perplexed at first, but realized what was on Fan Xian’s mind, bowing to the Emperor, “Father, since the cause of the fire is still unknown, please leave here for now.”
However, the Emperor didn’t pay attention to the request of the east palace’s crown prince. He turned around slowly, and with a faintly mocking expression on his distinctive face, he asked Fan Xian, “Has the fire been quelled?” Fan Xian was taken aback a bit, nodding, “It’s been quelled.”
“Why do we have to leave then?”
Holding the railing with his left hand, the Emperor said slowly, “I haven’t retreated that much in my life.”
Fan Xian appeared calm on the surface, but he started cursing inside his mind, thinking how the Emperor wanted to show off his courage under the threat, but Fan Xian wasn’t interested in such a show, as he pressed in a deep voice, “Though there isn’t any suspicious movement right now, it’s hard to provide defense, as we are atop the peak…I beg Your Majesty to consider the safety of the kingdom, and return to the palace immediately.”
To advise an emperor to act in the name of the country was the most effective method in those imperial court plays of his previous life. Yet it was obvious that this method didn’t work so well with the emperor of the Qing Kingdom. He turned around and said coldly, “Fan Xian, you are the Commissioner of the Overwatch Council. If someone dares assassinate this emperor…it’s your fault. Should I be punished by not being able to observe the flowers because of your mistake?”
Fan Xian felt wronged, thinking he was merely a Commissioner of the Overwatch Council, and the council wasn’t asked to get involved in this chrysanthemum observation, though his Sixth Bureau was indeed in charge of collecting such information. How could he predict the enemies’ intentions all the time? But soon he thought that they hadn’t heard anything lately even though the Overwatch Council had a network of intelligent agents all over the world. There were only two or three forces that dared harm the royal family of Qing Kingdom and who had been quiet and showed restraint recently; but it was hard to understand how Dongyi City remained tranquil. Sigu Sword had been the top surveillance target and he had been staying in Dongyi City for certain.
Having seen the peaceful expression on the Emperor’s face, Fan Xian started wondering if the fire actually…was a prelude for the assassination?! Was he too nervous and overreacted?
Upon seeing Fan Xian fall silent, the three princes present thought Fan Xian was a bit embarrassed after being reprimanded by the Emperor. Crown Prince coughed softly once, ready to say something favorably on behalf of Fan Xian, but he suddenly thought of the second prince, who had been demoralized by Fan Xian recently. Though he was pleased with the result, the strength of this courtier had become formidable enough to be out of his control. To put down Fan Xian at the moment, their father might have some other purpose; so he kept his mouth shut, instead shooting a comforting glance at Fan Xian.
The second prince didn’t think so much, saying with a serious tone, “Father, what Commissioner Fan said makes some sense. Though no enemy in the world would dare assassinate you, you should go downstairs for the sake of your safety and to lessen the anxiety of those chancellors at the bottom of the building.”
Though it seemed that the Emperor appreciated the second prince’s straightforward attitude, he still didn’t treat Fan Xian differently, saying coldly, “Fan Xian, as the Commissioner of the Overwatch Council, you acted so nervously. I’m really disappointed.”
Fan Xian cursed in his mind a few times more, but his expression became even more self-effacing, as he said with a self-mockery smile, “Your Majesty is right to reprimand me.”
Looking at Fan Xian questioningly, the Emperor asked suddenly, “Don’t you feel bad?”
“Yes,” Fan Xian responded as he quickly thought of a way to deal with the situation.
“This courtier thinks that Your Majesty should cherish your own life since your safety is related to the safety of the land, meaning your safety is crucial. One can never be too cautious to do so. The scenery of the yellow chrysanthemums will reappear every year, but the emperor of Qing Kingdom is only one person. Regardless of whether this courtier is called as nerve-wrecked a coward as a mouse, he still begs Your Majesty to go downstairs and return to the palace.”
Everybody remained silent in embarrassment, as no one thought Fan Xian would dare talk back to the Emperor in front of the group and dared argue about the Emperor’s life and death. Fan Xian actually refuted the blame the Emperor laid on him earlier!
“You are too bold…”
Yet for some reason, the Emperor’s expression had become somewhat relaxed upon hearing this remark. He said while looking at Fan Xian, “If anybody says you’re as cowardly as a mouse, I really wouldn’t know about that. Where on earth could we find such a large mouse?”
This was supposed to be a joke. All the people on the floor, besides the Emperor himself, were in a nervous mood, so nobody dared laugh at the joke. Fan Xian was the only one who laughed slightly, and bitterly.
All of a sudden, the Emperor’s voice became deeper and his eyes were even closed, letting the mountain wind from outside tousle his slightly wrinkled mid-aged face.
“In my lifetime, I have encountered many assassinations. It’s impossible for you kids to know how dangerous and exciting the world was back then,” said the Emperor with a soft smile. “This was a sloppy assassination attempt. Starting a fire that has no possibility to spread is not going to force this emperor to leave, not that easily.”
Fan Xian thought to himself that the ruler of the land was unnecessarily playing a brave role, but he paid attention mostly to the surroundings. Gong Dian and Eunuch Hong were both not there, and the Tiger Guards were not there either. What we had here were those elite guards and three princes…or was it four? Though the personal eunuchs of the Emperor were loyal and their relatives of past three generations were under the control of the imperial court, it wasn’t enough to rely on these people to protect the Emperor. Especially after Eunuch Hong had left with the Empress Dowager, and all that made Fan Xian grow worried.
Suddenly he had a shocking thought: If the Emperor were assassinated just then, he, as the Commissioner of the Overwatch Council, would be most responsible for the incident. Why didn’t his father think of this when they met downstairs?
Eunuch Dai said loudly, “His Majesty has encountered assassinations forty-three times in his life and has never retreated one step before.”
Fan Xian was startled briefly and then thought of Wang Qinian in the far north, amused that the successful men all had one or more exceptional supporting players to back them up.
The Emperor slowly opened his eyes, his expression tranquil but full of self-confidence, “Northern Qi, Eastern Yi, Western Hu, and Southern Yue, plus those who were defeated by this Emperor and lost their families and countries, all want to kill me with a swing of the sword. With twenty years gone, who has achieved it?” He continued with a soft laugh, “When one has become used to being assassinated, Fan Xian, you will understand why this Emperor doesn’t pay too much attention to such matters anymore.”
So you have experience with this! Fan Xian cursed in his mind. He had cursed that day more than he ever had. Yet, as he was the Commissioner of the Overwatch, he had no choice but to take the responsibility. He was responsible for the Emperor’s safety. More importantly, he didn’t want to be blamed for the biggest mishap in the world. So he kept on advising the Emperor shamelessly and bravely to return to the palace.
The Emperor was finally annoyed by his begging, yelling angrily, “How could Fan Jian educate a useless person like you?! How could Chen Pingping choose you?!”
Fan Xian responded by smiling excessively, though he cursed in his mind: you could teach me if you thought you were so capable, which was your responsibility anyway.
The situation had been under the control. The assassins, no matter how skillful they were, had perhaps already fled; otherwise they would end up badly hurt when the royal army started searching the mountain like a spreading net. So everybody in the building felt relieved slightly. They couldn’t help but think it funny that His Majesty, who rarely showed his emotions, reprimanded Fan Xian. The crown prince still tried to comfort Fan Xian with his gentle gaze. Great Prince couldn’t bear the scene and turned his head away. The youngest, the third prince, was beaming with a smile on his face, probably feeling happy upon seeing Fan Xian’s misfortune.
Nobody knew why His Majesty was so angry that day. He reprimanded Fan Xian just like he would his own son. As Fan Xian was a famous person and an important courtier in the imperial court, it was extremely rare for a courtier to be humiliated publicly when Qing Kingdom emphasized on managing the land with civility.
Fan Xian listened with a bitter smile on his face. Yet he figured out something else. Fan Xian was afraid that His Majesty suspected the same thing as he did, which is why the Emperor became so angry. If this drama was staged by the old cripple or his father in secret, he could only praise their courage, but still it was shameless and stupid. To stage a show of “saving the emperor” for the Emperor to watch—the Emperor wasn’t an idiot, at least his IQ wasn’t lower than Fan Xian’s, so he could figure it out easily. Perhaps the Emperor believed Fan Xian was kept in dark as well.
He sighed inside, thinking it was merely a ridiculously staged play, no real assassins involved.
Yet the problem was that Chen Pingping wasn’t a student in kindergarten and Fan Jian wasn’t a little girl who was scared to cry outside the school by the iron-gate her first school day. It was even more impossible for His majesty to believe his two most trusted subordinates could do such a ridiculous thing to help Fan Xian gain his favor. Perhaps the reason for the Emperor’s angry had nothing to do with Fan Xian.
The Emperor finally stopped talking, turning around and smacking the railing heavily with his hand, startling everybody in the building. Fan Xian was someone who was accustomed to figuring out what others had on their minds. He gestured to Eunuch Dai using the side of his mouth, indicating the Emperor was probably thirsty after all that reprimanding.
Eunuch Dai had been assigned to the Taiji Palace not long ago, and Commissioner Fan’s reminder was a welcome opportunity for him, so he was to serve tea to Emperor.
“Change it to alcohol.” The Emperor didn’t turn his body around, but somehow knew what Fan Xian was doing behind his back. Gazing at the expansive scenery outside the window and the following clouds in the sky, he couldn’t help saying mockingly, “Praise the autumn scenery with a thousand poems, and drink a cup of fragrant cold alcohol. Since I’m observing the chrysanthemums in the distance on the top of a high-rising building, how can I do so without alcohol?”
The participants of the Chrysanthemum Observation Meeting that took place every three years had always enjoyed the chrysanthemum wine each time, so the wines were prepared beforehand. As the strange fire started in the Floating Temple, causing uneasiness among the participants, the servants almost forgot to bring out the wines. Upon hearing what the Emperor had just said, a handsome young eunuch who was responsible for this job hurriedly brought the alcohol plate to the railing, making sure he would only step on the floor with his tiptoes, so no sound would be made this way.
Fan Xian’s heart skipped a few beats after hearing the poetic lines. These lines were recited from a chrysanthemum poem written by Jia Baoyu in chapter thirty-eight of Story of the Stone. The purpose of reciting this poem was to let Fan Xian know that Emperor was actually aware of everything. Fan Xian understood that he couldn’t conceal this matter from people all the time, so he was prepared for it.
“As the book of Story of the Stone talks mostly about the love affairs between men and women, it’s low-class literature; but its wording is not bad…these poems, however, are not so presentable.”
The three princes in the building and the servants didn’t know why Emperor suddenly started discussing the literature, and were slightly surprised. As Fan Xian knew he couldn’t hide it anymore, he bent his body forward and said with a bitter smile, “This courtier wrote it just for fun, but I didn’t expect Your Majesty would read it. It’s very fortunate.”
“Oh. I thought…you didn’t want the readers to know it was written by you in another name, so you wrote those poems poorly on purpose; the more naïve, the better.”
Fan Xian sighed and didn’t know how to respond. Those present in the building finally knew the book Story of the Stone that was circulating among the commoners and in the palace was actually written by Master Fan. After the initial shock, they then thought it obvious. This book was published only by the Danbo Bookstore, and the writing style of the book was unique. If this popular book weren’t written by the famous Master Fan, it would be hard to find another capable person in the world for the work.
Taking the wine cup, the Emperor smelled the fragrant flavor of the wine, and sipped the wine with a faint smile, ignoring the uncomfortable Fan Xian and his surprised sons.
There were two cups of wine on the plate prepared for the Emperor and the Empress Dowager. Emperor took one cup to drink. The other cup was left on the plate. Since Empress Dowager had already gone downstairs, so it was hard to decide how to distribute this remaining cup of wine. The Emperor looked at the crown prince, and then the second prince. As he furrowed and then unfurrowed his brows, the Emperor subconsciously pointed his finger at Fan Xian; but he suddenly realized it was inappropriate, so he turned his finger mid-air to point at the surprised and smiling third prince hiding in the corner.
The third prince was still very young, so he said bitterly, “Father, I don’t like drinking alcohol.” This kind of remark, uttered by a small child, could avoid being regarded as a crime against a royal decree.
With a gloomy expression, The Emperor said coldly, “You dared do things more harmful than alcohol; how can you be scared of a cup of wine?”
The third prince, with a sulky face, was so scared that he almost cried. Facing such icy cold energy, he had no choice but to thank his father and walk over slowly to the railing. Then he extended his arm, taking the cup from the plate and bringing it to his mouth.
With such a crisp sound, the wine cup in the third prince’s hand fell to the floor, rolling away. He looked at the incoming chilly light, stunned. And confused. All he was doing taking a drink from a cup of wine; why did this guard want to kill him?
As a prince, he had grown up under extremely dangerous and complicated circumstances, and so soon this small child realized—it was an assassination!
Since the Emperor was standing right behind him, if he ran away, the swinging sword would have fallen upon the Emperor like lightning. However, he didn’t have the footwork like the grandmaster Ku He who could step on the snow without leaving any imprint behind, nor did he possess sanshou as strong as coffin used by Ye Liuyun. No matter how bravely he stood in front of the Emperor, this swinging sword would likely cut him in half, along with the Emperor.
Whether or not he chose evasion, it would lead to the same result. The third prince chose the correct reaction, which was to stand in the same spot. Staring through the sword light into the assassin’s blurryface with shivering legs and a wet crotch, the third prince shrieked with all his might!
The loud and ear-piercing shout echoed throughout the entire building. All people present learned of the ongoing assassination attempt. Since nobody expected an assassin could be hidden among the royal palace guards of Qing Kingdom, nobody could react quickly enough to prevent the powerful sword from breaking through the elite guards’ defense line and thrusting toward the Emperor by the railing with a small wine cup in his hand.
Fan Xian was the exception. He twisted his wrist, exhaling, and threw his fist at the assassin. This deeply hidden assassin acted so suddenly and thrust his sword so powerfully that Fan Xian didn’t dare to hold back his energy in his fist. The xueshan meridian on his back shone abruptly, causing zhenqi to flow out like a river along his right arm to his fist; then he struck at the sword light a few steps away.
This striking fist was so powerful that it cut open the air with a faint buzzing sound like dull thunder exploding in the midst of the sword light, blowing the snowy sword light into pieces!
Yet it wasn’t so simple.
Fan Xian’s heart skipped a beat as he found out this swordsman was a ninth-ranked fighter. On the other hand, he thought that the assassin had to be a ninth-ranked swordsman to assassinate the most powerful ruler in the world, otherwise he wouldn’t dare to. Along with the sound of a thrusting fist, Fan Xian had already arrived at the third prince’s side, twisting his left hand and pulling out the black dagger from his leg, thrusting it into the assassin’s stomach stealthily.
The sword in assassin’s hand had been broken in half, but the remaining half was thrusting even more forcefully and quickly. It seemed the assassin was willing to sacrifice his own life to take another’s. The elite guards finally realized what was going on, and they came over while yelling, attacking from behind while Fan Xian was attacking in front. Even though the assassin was a ninth-ranked swordsman, he couldn’t do very much against so many opponents.
However, it was then that the cloud right over the Floating Temple drifted away, letting the hot sun shine through.
The sunshine filled the building with a dreadful white color. Next an assassin in white clothes appeared from nowhere, holding a plain ancient sword. Nobody knew how this assassin arrived at the top of the building. He snuck close to the front of Emperor, undetected, under cover of the blinding sunshine.
Two elite guards nearby Emperor reacted first, after having heard the buzzing sounds, and pulled Emperor back. Their throats, however, were cut, blood gushing out as they fell to the floor before they had the chance of drawing their swords.
The man in white held an ancient sword and thrust it straight at the Emperor’s face!
The Emperor who boasted he had never retreated in his life was finally pulled back a few steps more by his daring elite guards while facing a menacing incoming sword.
Though the tip of the incoming sword was still one foot away from the Emperor, everybody thought the tip of the sword had already pierced his throat.
All the people knew the Emperor of Qing Kingdom wasn’t skilled in martial arts; so more elite guards wedged themselves between Emperor and the assassin while shouting loudly. It happened so suddenly that these elite guards chose the most direct method, to use their bodies to block the incoming sword in order to protect the Emperor.
Even though the blood was spattering around the Emperor, his eyes somehow appeared calm and tranquil, staring into the advancing assassin in white, who seemed to become one with hi sword.
The elite guards’ strength as a whole was great enough to protect Emperor. Yet they needed to win time for Eunuch Hong at the bottom of the Floating Temple and two ninth-ranked swordsmen from Ye family and Qing family to come to the rescue. As long as they could delay the assassin in white for a second, Emperor’s life would be saved.
Who could delay the assassin? The elite guards had already done their duty adequately. They knew one of their colleagues was the assassin, so they had no chance of living after this incident. For the safety of their families, they had done their hardest to protect Emperor. Next the Emperor’s sons should do something to protect Emperor…
The attacks had happened in an extremely short period of time.
At the moment, the wine cup falling down from the hand of the horrified third prince was still spinning on the floor. The second prince, with a shocked look on his face, was about to rush to the front of Emperor to block the murderous ancient sword; but he had merely moved two steps, his heel still in mid-air.
It was then that Fan Xian felt the surprisingly powerful sword energy behind him as his black thin dagger was inches away from the elite guard assassin’s stomach.
The blood was sprinkling in the air, like blooming chrysanthemums all over the mountain. The elite guards’ bodies were flying through the air as well. Yet until they died, these guards couldn’t understand how the assassin in white hid on the top of the Floating Temple, which had been inspected thoroughly beforehand.
All of this displayed in front of Fan Xian like a slow-motioned action movie scene.
Fan Xian could even see clearly with his peripheral vision that Crown Prince rushed to Emperor with a miserable expression on his face. His brave and loyal behavior was very touching; but it was a pity that the crown prince happened to step on his young brother’s fallen wine cup, so his whole body fell down onto the floor in a ridiculous style.
Fan Xian was the closest person to Emperor and the first person to react, so it was a heavenly opportunity for Fan Xian to be the loyal courtier and filial son…The hair on Fan Xian’s neck stood on end as he felt the sword behind him was even more murderous, pure and strong than this ninth-ranking assassin in front of him. The atrocious energy deep inside him had been stimulated in an instant, and he had the confidence to save both the Emperor and the third prince at the same time; but…it was certain that he would be injured by the swordsman in white severely from behind.
However, Fan Xian had decided to gamble. He didn’t want to miss such a good opportunity, as he was a miser who liked to take well-calculated risks. He didn’t want to miss the chance of defeating a strong enemy, as he was competitive.
But it was then that the assassins’ last resort revealed itself, chilling Fan Xian to his core.
The enemy this time used the mole who had been hidden among the elite royal guards of Qing Kingdom for ten years and probably paid a great price to get the help of the swordsman in white. The enemy created this situation by drawing Eunuch Hong away at the expense of losing their long-time spy operation in Qing Kingdom; but their fatal attack wasn’t from the ninth-ranked assassin, nor from the swordsman in white whose thrusting sword was very terrifying.
The fatal attack came from behind the Emperor of Qing Kingdom!
The young handsome eunuch who had served the chrysanthemum wines earlier stood right behind Emperor who was forced back a few steps by the thrusting sword of the swordsman in white. The young eunuch dropped the wine plate and reached into the pillar, producing gray-colored dagger as if from a magic show, thrusting the dagger into the Emperor’s back with all his might!
The dagger was hidden in the wooden pillar of the Floating Temple, and its hilt was painted the same color as the pillar. After many years, nobody would discover that a weapon was hidden in there. Nobody knew how long the dagger had been placed there, and nobody knew how long ago they had been planning this assassination of the Emperor of Qing Kingdom.
From their long-time preparation and the water-tight arrangement, one could tell that the enemy was determined to succeed—to kill a ruler of the land doesn’t need might more than it did determination and courage.
At the moment, there was an ancient but formidable long sword in front of Emperor of Qing Kingdom; and there was a very old but extremely treacherous dagger behind him. It seemed that the Emperor had no chance of surviving this assassination!
Fan Xian knew full well that this was the most perilous test he had been confronted with since his reincarnation. It was much more dangerous than his fight with Haitang on the grassland. Yet, before he could get sentimental, Fan Xian had already made a decision subconsciously. His black dagger reached out, piercing at the eyes of his opponent.
Fan Xian knew that he wasn’t an immortal, and even Uncle Wu Zhu or four grandmasters in his position wouldn’t be able to beat the assassin in front of him to save third prince’s life, fight the swordsman in white, and finally to have enough time and strength to help Emperor deal with the young eunuch from behind.
The young eunuch of the palace didn’t have much training in martial arts, but that old dagger in his hand was very lethal.
Fan Xian chose to save the third prince first, then the emperor. Though this choice could be considered later as being disloyal and not filial, Fan Xian believed it was a right choice since the third prince was only eight years old, still a small child.
It’s natural to save the youngest first.
His black dagger, like a black snake, struck at the center of the first assassin’s eyes.
The enemy had planned this assassination meticulously; so Fan Xian knew the most terrifying method was this thin black dagger, which was rumored to be an unlucky object personally sharpened by the old weirdo, Fei Jie. That ninth-ranked assassin didn’t dare ignore Fan Xian’s incoming dagger, and he twisted the remaining half-length sword to knock Fan Xian’s dagger out of his hand and dropping it toward the downstairs.
The assassin wanted to find out what this famous Commissioner Fan, who was skilled in both literature and martial arts, would do without his weapon when facing his half-sized sword.
As his dagger was flying over the railing, Fan Xian had already turned around with his back facing the assassin. In the process of turning around, Fan Xian reached into his hair at a speed so fast that nobody could even notice what he was doing, and then he threw his hand backwards by using s turning force.
A thin embroidering needle pricked into the assassin’s pinkie. It wasn’t a deep penetration, so that no even a drop of blood came out from the wound.
However, the assassin groaned, feeling his meridians being instantly blocked. He immediately cut off his own pinkie with the broken sword.
As the assassin lifted his head again, Fan Xian was gone.
At the moment, Fan Xian had already arrived in front of the swordsman in white, moving as fast as a ghost, and wedged himself between Emperor and the assassin. As he reached the current position, his three deadly black arrows along with a bunch of mixed poisonous smoke had also arrived.
A large patch of yellow, green and white colored smoke was scattering in the top floor of the Floating Temple. It was eerie beyond description, just like the fireworks seen once a while in the capital.
Unexpectedly, the swordsman in white knew full well what Fan Xian’s fighting methods, and he dodged the three flying arrows and held his breathing. Meanwhile his sword pierced through the smoke and all the obstacles at Fan Xian’s head.
By now Fan Xian had already used up his methods. He was blocking the incoming sword in front of Emperor. All he could do right now was to let the incoming sword pierce his body to sacrifice his life for his father, the emperor. As for the young eunuch behind Emperor, he could do nothing about it…it was up to the Emperor’s own luck now!
A sword to the head!
The dominating zhenqi inside Fan Xian became agitated. It was currently unknown whether his mind was directing his zhenqi or his zhenqi was controlling his mind; after a loud scream, Fan Xian reached out both his palms, with zhenqi inside his body being squeezed into solid mountain rock concentrated in his arms, receiving the incoming chilly sword.
The swordsman in white furrowed his brows, realizing that his chest and bones inside would be broken into pieces by Fan Xian’s horrifying palms if he kept on thrusting his sword into Fan Xian’s chest.
With a hissing sound, the ancient sword, like a green tree branch being plucked by an immortal, turned its tip slightly and pierced into Fan Xian’s shoulder!
In this instant, the swordsman in white abandoned his sword and chose to meet Fan Xian’s palm with his own palm.
The impact force was so powerful that the dust rose up and the smoke dispersed. No matter how talented the swordsman in white was, he couldn’t match Fan Xian’s zhenqi vigor on which he had worked since his infancy. With a creaking sound, the swordsman’s left wrist had been broken.
Yet, to Fan Xian’s surprise, the swordsman in white pulled out the ancient sword from his shoulder as this man was hit by his palm. How fast his hand was!
To retreat if one hit doesn’t kill the opponent is the style of the first-class assassin. The swordsman in white tiptoed on the railing and jumped off to the bottom of the temple, without even glancing at Fan Xian. His cloth, blown by the mountain wind, was spreading like a white crane dancing in the air.
As the swordsman in white and Fan Xian were fighting, two unnoticeable sounds occurred in the building.
The ninth-ranked assassin, who had given Fan Xian a headache earlier, was covered in blood from his face and shoulders; with both of his shoulders broken, he fell to the floor, disappointment and despair expressions in his eyes.
As the assassin was falling down, a trickle of black blood oozed out from the corners of his mouth. He had already been completely dead when his body touched the floor. It was Eunuch Hong who stood behind the assassin.
Eunuch Hong stood there silently, with his back hunched and his hands in the opposite sleeves, as if he hadn’t done anything.
Thinking of the fatal attack of the assassination, Fan Xian turned around in despair; but instead he witnessed something so shocking that he couldn’t forget the scene many years later.
The young eunuch who tried to assassinate Emperor was lying on the floor, having passed out, surrounded by wood chips.
The Emperor of Qing Kingdom, who was the target, was holding half of the plate that carried the wine cups. This plate was the only weapon Emperor could find in the chaotic environment. He looked at the young eunuch lying by his foot and said coldly, “Though this emperor isn’t Ye Liuyun, someone like you can never kill me!”
Indeed, though Emperor of Qing Kingdom didn’t practice martial arts, he gained the land by fighting on horseback. So he should be able to fight effectively in regular brawls.
Seeing the remaining half of the wooden plate held in Emperor’s hand, Fan Xian, who was still in shock, somehow thought of a Hong Kong funny movie in his previous life…Good Use of a Brick!
At the bottom of the Floating Temple shouting and cursing blared out. It seemed that the swordsman in white had already reached the bottom floor, and the nobles of Qing Kingdom were brave and angry enough to surround him when they figured out he was the assassin.
The sounds of screams and grunt at the bottom came up to the top floor.
It wasn’t the time for rewards and punishments. Fan Xian looked down over the railing, and he saw Ye Zhong, commander of the capital, stand on the ground with a hand covering his mouth. With his special vision, Fan Xian could see clearly that he was spitting blood. He must have fought hard with the swordsman in white.
Ye Zhong was the rare ninth-ranked fighter in the capital of Qing Kingdom. Since he was hurt so much by mounting a sneak attack, it could be imagined that the swordsman in white would be injured even more. It was really the case. A slow moving figure in white could be seen among the chrysanthemums on the distant mountain.
“It’s rumored that Sigu Sword has a young brother, who left home at a young age. Nobody knows where he is,” the Emperor said coldly, standing behind Fan Xian. “Fan Xian, catch him for this emperor. I’d like to see if these two brothers are both idiots!”
After encountering several dangers in a row that day, the Emperor of Qing Kingdom, who was usually calm and composed, finally became irritated.
Fan Xian knew he wasn’t in the position to comment on what Emperor had just said. Since Eunuch Hong had already come up, Emperor’s safety wasn’t his responsibility anymore. Though his shoulder was still bleeding, Fan Xian had already jumped off the railing, rushing downstairs like a black bird.
Another barrage of screams at the bottom of the temple.
“It’s like watching a play!” said Fan Xian with an icy cold expression. He had no choice but to follow Emperor’s order.
Soon after Fan Xian passed by, Ye Zhong, commander of the capital, had finished rejuvenating energy, and ran in the direction of the fleeing swordsman in white, with an emotionless expression. Gong Dian was his Little Brother. If he couldn’t catch the assassin that day, the whole Ye family would probably be in trouble, as he had no chance of proving his innocence. Even if it meant he might lose his life in the pursuit, he still had to catch the assassin with his own hands, alive!
In the next moment, the fast runners among the elite guards darted toward the mountain and the wilderness like countless arrows.
The royal guards had surrounded the mountain at its foot. On the mountain, two ninth-ranking fighters, Fan Xian and Ye Zhong, were leading a bunch of revengeful elite guards, chasing the assassin. It was unknown whether the assassin in white would successfully flee or not.