Joy of Life - Chapter 340

[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:27]
If you find missing chapters, pages, or errors, please Report us.
Previous Next

Chapter 340: The Girl Selling Flowers And The Shameless Official

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

West Lake wasn’t big. It was no more than a few li long. Looking over from Loushang Tower, the waters still appeared vast and mighty.

Fan Xian stood on the top floor of the building. He narrowed his eyes and watched the surface of the lake through a veil of bamboo curtain.

He saw two shadows flitting quickly across the right side of the lake. They occasionally tapped against the surface of the water, sending up a spray before stepping on a boat near the embankment and sweeping past. They moved at astonishing speeds, much like two flashes of lightning chasing one another.

Sometimes they struggled back and forth above the surface of the lake. Their swords flashed across space, and the two soared in the sky. Their poses were beautiful but carried a sense of death that made people shiver in fear.

Blood suddenly appeared, and the two separated once more, sliding forward like two quick birds.

The scene appeared beautiful but was exceedingly frightening.

Fan Xian stood tall and saw far, but still the two aces had disappeared into the winter willows on the other side of the lake. Looking at the direction they went, it seemed to be toward the black and noble courtyards.

He furrowed his brows. Yun Zhilan had managed to hold out for so long despite his heavy injury. The swordmaster of Dongyi clearly deserved his reputation.

In the rare eagle pecking scene on the lake, it seemed like the Shadow did not use his most practiced method. He instead used a Sigu sword technique, so the attacks of the two aces seemed similar. Although a few broken images only flashed on the surface of the lake, they were still eye catching and awe inspiring.

Given how the Shadow had chased after him like a corpse eating maggot, the injured Yun Zhilan seemed to have only death awaiting him. So why did he head directly to the opposite side of the lake? Were there helpers from Dongyi over there? Fan Xian thought the beautiful and elegant wooden structures on the other side of the lake seemed a little strange.

With a bang, he slammed down the bamboo covering. Fan Xian left the side of the railing. Glancing at the Third Prince, who was staring at him in a daze, he calmly said, “What are you looking at? Keep eating.”

He sat beside the table and picked up his chopsticks. He then began looking through the remaining food for the few shrimps left.

Everyone in the room stared at him in shock. The Third Prince was also quietly guessing what had happened outside. Who is killing who? Those people on the plain had all rushed to the lake side and began to shout, so it was clear something big had happened.

Shi Chanli finally couldn’t resist and quietly asked, “Sir? What happened?”

Fan Xian didn’t give it much thought. “Not sure who, but someone stabbed the fisherman in the lake. At this moment they’ve chased their way to the other side of the lake.”

There was silence in the room. What kind of fisherman was attacked for those worldly, experienced jianghu heroes to be so surprised? No one believed his words, but no one had any way to refute them.

Beside the lake on the plain, Haitang stood beside the official and gazed at the two exceptional aces on the lake who had vanished into the distance. Her face was calm and did not reveal any of her thoughts.

Meanwhile, the Jiangnan martial figures had swarmed to the side of the lake. They were sucking in cold air and making shocked noises at the still rough surface of the lake.

Although the crowd had not seen the first scene, they had clearly witnessed the little boat splitting apart and the two aces soaring like giant birds above the surface of the lake. With one shocked glance, the crowd knew that the two dueling were unfathomably powerful. They were definitely not normal people. They had probably entered the mystical ninth-level realm.

After the shock had passed, the crowd began to guess the identities of the two people. After a long debate, they still had no idea. Even if one of the superior people saw that the sword techniques on the surface of the lake were similar to that of the Sigu style, they would not say anything. Those proud old men thought to themselves: Doesn’t Dongyi always likes to boast they have many aces? You can fight it out yourselves.

Only the female disciples beside the lake from Dongyi City had serious expressions. They didn’t think that in the Qing Kingdom’s wealthy Hangzhou there would be someone who dared…who could…hurt their master. With Lv Sisi in the lead, these swordswoman hastily saluted in the direction of the host and silently left the plain to follow in that direction.

The crowd of Jiangnan martial artists were shocked but also satisfied. At the end of today’s martial assembly, which had been nothing exciting, they were able to see the female Northern Qi sage, Haitang, make an appearance and then two exceptional aces fight each other beside the lake. This entry fee had been well worth it.

The jianghu people of Qing Kingdom used this assassination as an opportunity to forget the matter of Haitang standing on the stage. Everyone knew that at this moment no one present was a match for the girl. If the Qing people did not want to lose face, they needed to take this opportunity and quickly get it over.

Thus, the heroes of the jianghu chose to eat at Loushang Tower, preparing to use wine as a lead in to having a good discussion about the shocking scene they had seen. The rarely seen leaders of various groups and parties took this opportunity to discuss the distribution of benefits under the “just” judgement of the official.

The Jiangnan official and a few seniors of virtue and prestige saluted Haitang but did not bring up what happened on the field. They invited Haitang inside to rest with great politeness and etiquette.

As they were about to enter Loushang Tower, a cultured and spirited young nobleman, who appeared upright and honorable, rushed forward in welcome. He saluted Haitang and warmly said, “You have come such a long way. It is my honor to be able to be so close.”

“This young man is?” Haitang had never been an icy and frosty immortal, so she asked casually and politely. Her mind was still on the swift fighting aces from earlier.

“My surname is Ming. I am the owner of Loushang Tower.”

At the back of the group was the Jiangnan water bandit Xia Qifei. He raised his eyes to glance at Ming. His expression remained calm, but he laughed coldly in his heart. It had been many years since he had seen his eldest nephew, and now he had made something of himself. He even knew to suck up to Northern Qi people.

Loushang Tower was part of the Ming business and had always been looked after by a shopkeeper. Since there was something important happening near the building today, Ming Lanshi, son of the head of the Ming family, Ming Qingda, had personally come.

As an enormously wealthy family in Jiangnan, they recognized the need to not only have good relationship with officials, but also that favor should be curried for important figures of other countries. That is why he rushed out of the building to welcome Haitang, while at the same time remembering to greet the Jiangnan Road official beside her. He was a smooth and sleek character and did not seem like a family disgrace.

The gazes of the diners were focused on the entrance. They all wanted to see what the legendary Haitang looked like.

Haitang was a famous figure in and of herself. The Qing People had all heard the gossip that this girl had some unclear connection with their own Sir Fan junior. The Qing people all saw Fan Xian as their pride and considered him the most exemplary figure in all of the court. They couldn’t help looking at Haitang with pickiness and a sense that they were examining her as a soon-to-be bride.

Once everyone had seen clearly, they couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed. This girl was not very pretty. It seem she wasn’t good enough for Sir Fan junior.

As the noises gradually lessened outside of the building, the noises inside the building grew to a clamor. Fan Xian knew that those brutish heroes were about to enter. He signaled with his eyes at a Tiger Guard near the room in case there were some jianghu people who didn’t watch where they were going and wanted to imitate tyrants from story books and incite a clash by trying to take their seats. Fan Xian did not have the time to play these games.

Gao Da glanced at him and, receiving Fan Xian’s nod, waved his hand to call back the Tiger Guard. He went out himself and took the places of two guards who hadn’t eaten.

At this time, most of them had pretty much finished eating. Everyone, including the Third Prince, stared at Fan Xian with confused and questioning gazes. Sisi was not an exception. Her gaze was full of curiosity.

“What are you looking at?” Fan Xian furrowed his brows. “What happened on the lake really had nothing to do with me.”

Shi Chanli laughed in his heart and thought, Teacher is sometimes clever but how can his reaction be so slow at times? Everyone was too embarrassed to ask the question. It was the Third Prince who was not afraid of Fan Xian’s temper. He giggled and said, “It’s not that.”

“Then what is it?”

The noise outside was getting louder and louder. It seemed there wasn’t enough space downstairs and all the jianghu people were heading up. The Third Prince gestured past the door. “That Haitang girl is coming. Is teacher not going to invite her in sit?”

Everyone in the room rested their expectant gazes on Fan Xian’s face. He became serious. “What kind of brain do you all have? You should be happy I’ve brought you all to Hangzhou to watch the show. Are you all counting on me performing for you as well?”

Shi Chanli scrunched up his face. “Teacher, Haitang is not a stranger. Eating together is a normal thing.”

Fan Xian laughed coldly. “Everyone is watching. If I invite her in, then everyone will know who we are.”

The Third Prince offered a counterpoint in his delicate voice. “I don’t understand why we are incognito. Why can’t we travel the mountains and waters as ourselves? I doubt these Jiangnan people will dare do anything to us.”

Fan Xian had a headache. “It’s not that I am afraid of anything, it’s that it is a rare opportunity to leave the capital and relax. Why must you have a dozen white-bearded officials all around us? Your Highness doesn’t want to pass his days like that, right?”

The Third Prince paused and then understood that Commissioner Fan being incognito was not because he intended to secretly investigate the evidence of the Ming family’s crimes, it was purely because he had the desire to travel. Realizing that he had overestimated the other party’s professional ethics, the Third Prince couldn’t stop his face going red. Silently cursing that someone was indeed being irritating he mockingly said, “So what if they know? If we don’t go to the yamen ourselves, I doubt anymore would dare to follow us. Wouldn’t that just be looking for awkwardness?”

Fan Xian didn’t bother to acknowledge him. He thought the horrors of the sight of officials fawning was not something the child would understand.

The brothers were each holding the other in silent contempt when they heard the noise grow louder outside their room. It seemed someone wanted the room they were in.

Fan Xian’s eyebrow twitched. “No way, such a vulgar thing is actually happening to us?”

Gao Da stood guard outside the door with a dark expression. He watched the jianghu people in front of him with faces full of rage and listened to their filthy words. His hand held the hilt of his long knife, but he had not yet pulled it out because Haitang was watching him with great interest.

Of course, there were already three “jianghu heroes” lying in front of him. They were holding their heads and clutching their stomachs, crying pitifully and airing their grievances.

As Fan Xian had expected, once those overbearing jianghu people got upstairs, they saw at once the room Fan Xian and them were seated in. This room was one of the two best spots in Loushang Tower. The other one had been kept back by the owner in preparation of the Martial Assembly host. The jianghu people did not dare compete against the officials and Haitang for space. They saw this room and began to drool. They loudly ordered the people inside to quickly make room.

The owner, Ming, had not yet come upstairs. The shopkeepers and busboys did not dare offend the sword-wielding jianghu people. They could only stand to one side and say nice things.

What was Gao Da’s identity? He was one of the leaders of the Emperor’s personal Tiger Guard. If he had been on the jianghu all these years, he would probably have long ago established a school and party. As for these absolutely unreasonably requests, and such people that the commissioner turned his nose up at, there was no need for any discussion. He waited for the jianghu people to move toward the front, then he would knock at them without pulling his long knife from its sheath.

Then there would be a few more people on the floor giving pitiful cries.

The restaurant was full of people from the Martial Assembly who were used to being unreasonable on the jianghu, but today they met someone who was even more unreasonable than them. Faced with the same enemy, they gathered around evenly and turned their unfriendly gaze on Gao Da.

Fan Xian was to blame for this. After more than half a year of “close contact”, other than an ability to kill, Gao Da had been greatly tainted by Commissioner Fan’s ruthless aura. In public, Gao Da did not want to strike too hard, so he used a few of Fan Xian’s tricks. Although they quickly resolved fights, their ruthless nature made the spectating crowd uncomfortable.

The Dragon-Tiger Mountain swordsman furrowed his brows. “Sir, although these friends were rude first and made some unreasonable requests, your sudden ruthless strike seems slightly unnecessary.”

Gao Da remained impassive and didn’t bother to acknowledge him. Having seen him attack, the Dragon-Tiger Mountain swordsman knew that his skill was probably above that of his master who was a recluse in the mountain. He had respectfully addressed him as “sir” and didn’t treat him as a normal guard. Seeing Gao Da’s impassive face, the swordsman felt his anger rising even though he was slightly in fear of the people in the room.

It was at this moment that Haitang was escorted in by the crowd to the top floor. Seeing the crowd in confrontation with Gao Da, a strange look flashed through her eyes. She naturally walked into the crowd.

Everyone in the building was fearfully trying to guess Gao Da’s identity. No one had seen such a master of the knife on the jianghu, so they couldn’t help being confused. Haitang had seen Gao Da multiple times in Northern Qi’s Shangjing and recognized him at once.

Seeing the chaos at hand, Ming quickly came up to resolve the matter and ordered someone to clear out another room. He then had the busboys help the heroes on the floor.

The Ming family was rich and powerful in Jiangnan and all heroes had to give them some face. Furthermore, they realized that Gao Da’s cultivation really was shocking, so the person in the room was probably someone they shouldn’t anger even more. The crowd gradually dispersed, although the people kept chattering about it.

Having settled everything, Ming said a few apologetic words to Gao Da and then warmly and politely invited Haitang, the official, and other people into the comfortable room he had prepared.

Unexpectedly, Haitang held the flower basket with one hand and looked at Gao Da with a not-quite-there smile in her eyes. Without turning around she gently said, “Thank you, young master Ming, for your kindness, but I have seen some old friends and must go visit them.”

The crowd was stunned. Their gaze turned to Gao Da, who again was more subtle. If this guard’s skills were so terrifying, then the identity of the person inside must be incredible.

They all said he was a smart man. The Jiangnan Road official coughed and said something to Haitang before quickly dragging everyone away. What a joke. What if the person inside really was that young master? The young master was right now playing a mysterious game and not showing his face. He wasn’t an official like a prefectural magistrate who had the privilege of fawning. If he rashly exposed the lie, what kind of life would he have left in the officialdom?

Everyone smiled pleasantly at Gao Da and left as swiftly as the wind. Only Ming’s face revealed a stunned expression. He gave a pained smile and shook his head.

The door to the private room squeaked as it was pushed open. Haitang entered with the flower basket in hand, and her gaze lit up.

Fan Xian was holding a wine cup and looked at the uninvited girl. A moment later he choked out two words, “You came?”

Haitang nodded. She smiled and greeted everyone in the room who sat there with their mouth open in curiosity. She walked to his side and replied, “I came.”

Fan Xian put down his wine cup. “I purposely had Gao Da go out because I was afraid you would come in and reveal my movements. Did you not see the looks he gave you?”

Gao Da stood in the doorway and looked innocently at the lake scene outside.

Haitang removed the flower patterned cloth on her head and replied in bad temper, “An eighth-level ace is guarding the door. Only an idiot wouldn’t be able to guess who was inside.”

Fan Xian gave a careless sneer. “Jianghu is filled with concealed talent. No one knew Gao Da, and my ship is still traveling on the river. Who could have guessed I’ve already reached Hangzhou?”

Haitang met his gaze and impatiently said, “I really don’t understand where your stupid self-confidence comes from? Unless this is the approach of mental victory you’ve talked about in the past?”

Fan Xian rebutted. “If you had not entered this room, they could only guess. How could they prove who I am?”

Haitang was irritated. “I don’t like you being secretive like this. You could easily do everything in the open, but you have to take a few turns and smear some black everywhere. It’s like if you didn’t do this you can’t prove you are a schemer.”

Fan Xian angrily said, “I am a schemer? How much better than me are you? Wasn’t the Northern Qi fellow down there earlier someone you planted so you could have the opportunity to provoke all the Jiangnan heroes, so then you can make your name in one battle and steal the limelight? Fortunately things did not go as you wanted, otherwise the Qing Kingdom would have lost all their face because of you.”

Haitang sneered. “If you were uncomfortable, then you should have jumped down and fought me then.”

“I don’t have that kind of time! Gao Da was guarding the door because Ming is not an idiot. For sure he would find someone to investigate who was sitting in the room. I am willing to bet my head that those trouble-making jianghu heroes were all arranged by Ming. I had Gao Da go out because I wanted to intimidate the so-called jianghu people so that the Ming family would be dissuaded from investigating. And then you showed up and immediately messed up my arrangement.”

Fan Xian then added, “This is the Qing Kingdom. You have to somewhat listen to me.”

Haitang’s eyes were on the ceiling of the building. “When have I ever listened to your arrangements?”

From the moment Haitang entered the room, the two of them began to argue and neither would give an inch. Fan Xian had done things in a disorderly fashion, yet he spoke forcefully and with conviction. Haitang had purposely revealed his secret, yet she continued to say it was because she didn’t like his style of doing things. The speed the two of them spoke at grew faster and faster, but their voices remained very low like a series of muffled firecrackers.

In the room, the expression on everyone’s faces became strange, yet they kept their mouths tightly shut and didn’t dare make any sound. They watched the exciting scene before them and thought the rumors on the jianghu were indeed true. Given Fan Xian’s stone heart, glib tongue, influence, and power, there were not many who dared to speak to him like this. Only this girl from the North was able to match him for his imposing manner and keep him locked down. If there was nothing between these two people, a blind man wouldn’t believe it even if you beat him to death.

The Third Prince sat closest to the two arguing people. His little face would look at Fan Xian one moment and then turn to Haitang in the next. It was like he was sitting in the front row of a tennis match. His expression was excited and he thought the scenario was rare to see. I must remember it well to tell sister Chen and father when I return to the capital.

In the end, it was Shi Chanli who felt a bit sorry for his teacher and carefully interrupted. “Sir, Haitang, we should think about how to leave. In a moment I’m afraid the Hangzhou Zhizhou, Hangzhou general, Jiangnan manufacturer, and other officials are going to rush over to welcome you. I already saw a few people leaving the building.”

Fan Xian slapped his thigh and glared at Haitang. “We have to leave quickly. Otherwise, there will be no holiday to take.”

Haitang sat as calmly as a mountain. “I’m hungry.”

The Third Prince said accommodatingly, “Then quickly call for the waiter to bring new dishes.”

Fan Xian glared at him.

Haitang chuckled and said, “Thank you, Your Highness.”

Not much past noon, the manor on the other side of West Lake became lively. Of course, the liveliness was restricted to within the courtyard. From the outside, it looked as calm as ever. This manor was beautifully decorated without being over the top. It was backed against a mountain and overlooked the lake; it was a truly marvelous place. Just the garden would probably be worth a few hundreds of thousands liang of silver.

The owner of this manor was surnamed Peng. No one knew his identity. In previous years, it was only in the summer that people would come to spend the season.

The people who arrived at the manor today was Fan Xian and his group. This manor belonged to the previous Prime Minister, Lin Ruofu. He had used the name of one of his student’s, Peng’s distance relatives, to buy it. Traveling to Jiangnan and arriving in Hangzhou, naturally Fan Xian was going to live on his father-in-law’s estate.

The manager of the garden had received the message long ago and arranged everything. Fan Xian was sitting in the imperial tutor’s chair with his legs crossed, savoring a Longjing and enjoying the life of a Hangzhou millionaire. He slanted his eyes to glance at Haitang who was saying something quietly to the Third Prince. Fan Xian couldn’t help feeling a little angry.

The group did not continue to stay at the Loushang Tower, and Haitang also did not order a few new dishes. To hide from the Hangzhou officials who were already on their way, Fan Xian dragged his subordinates out and fled.

The carriage pretended to enter the city. Along the way they mobilized the people of the Hangzhou Inspection Division of the Fourth Bureau of the Overwatch Council. They even mobilized two textile stores the Sixth Bureau had prepared for their assassins. It was only like this that this group of people finally disappeared once again into the sea of people in the city. They quietly made their way around and entered the manor.

Fan Xian felt very sorry for the subordinates in the Council.

Haitang glanced at him and said with confusion, “Who exactly are you hiding from?”

Fan Xian sighed. “I am hiding from trouble.”

Today’s matter was actually because of Fan Xian’s own stupidity. If he truly did not want to reveal his movements, then he should not have gone to the Loushang Tower. If he went to the Tower, then when someone tried to take their seats he should have endured it and acted as an inferior. The problem was, Fan Xian loved excitement and didn’t like being inferior. Thus, it was impossible to always hide his true identity when traveling on the jianghu.

After a while, the Third Prince went into the garden to tease the newly bought girls. A manor servant brought over a plate of hot cakes. Haitang ate them with great relish. Looking at that, it seemed that on the trip south she had been quite starved.

Fan Xian glanced at her. “Be more ladylike.”

Haitang spluttered with laughter and thought, I haven’t seen this bastard in half a year. How come we argued the moment we met? That feeling was actually quite fun.

After waiting for her to finish the desserts, Fan Xian used his eyes to indicate she should follow him into the back garden for a walk. Although he had never been to his manor, the structure and design were somewhat familiar. He easily found the quiet study.

In the study, the two of them both sat down. Fan Xian gazed at the girl and said, “You must know of the rumor by now.”

Haitang nodded. “Let’s not talk about that yet. The two people on West Lake today. Did you recognize them?”

“I’ve seen that fisherman before,” Fan Xian faintly recalled. “It should be Yun Zhilan, last year…oh, no, it should be the year before, I saw him once in the palace. At that time he was the leader of the Dongyi diplomatic mission.”

Haitang’s brows remained furrowed. She was quiet for a while then asked, “To be able to injure Yun Zhilan…who exactly was that assassin? Why have I never heard of someone like that?”

Fan Xian laughed coldly. “With a secret ambush, even a child could kill a great grandmaster.”

Haitang shook her head. “You probably haven’t studied the sword technique of Dongyi. That assassin used the purest Sigu sword intent.”

Fan Xian gently smoothed the fine hairs at his temple. “Dongyi has many aces. If they kill each other, it only benefits our plans. There are no negatives.”

Haitang was still recalling the assassin that leapt out of the waters of the lake. She kept feeling that although the black-clothed person used a pure sword technique, there was still some strange aura she couldn’t quite pinpoint. She had seen it somewhere else before.

The girl had this impression because the move Fan Xian used in their battle in the meadow was similar to the one the Shadow used to assassinate. They both carried the Overwatch Council’s spirit of shamelessness. Only, she would never think of that.

“He’s not one of your people?” She gazed at Fan Xian with suspicion.

Fan Xian smiled. “You saw it. The assassin’s level is similar to yours. An exceptional ninth-level ace, how could I order him around?”

Haitang nodded and accepted this explanation. “The fact you haven’t met an assassin on this trip south surprises me. Logically speaking, Xinyang…”

Fan Xian raised a hand and stopped her question. “In a time of peace and order, that kind of thing would cause too much of a sensation. Furthermore, Xinyang does not have the ability to kill me.”

Haitang furrowed her brows. “Has your injury recovered?”

Fan Xian’s expression didn’t change, but he slightly smiled. “I recovered long ago, otherwise I wouldn’t dare come to Jiangnan. You know I’ve always been the most afraid to die.”

The answer gave Haitang assurance. “The matter we agreed on in the letter. Do you want to discuss it now or at night?”

In his bones, Fan Xian was a licentious person. He immediately understood her words in a dirty way. He quickly coughed and said, “At night. Since it is a gift from an imperial advisor, there should be some formality. Even if we don’t light incense, you still have to give me time to have a wash, right? Although…my question earlier…”

His question was: Since they knew he was the illegitimate child of the Qing Emperor, why did the Great Grandmaster Ku He still dare to hand the Heart of Tianyi Dao to him?

Before he finished speaking, Haitang was already smiling and rising from her seat. “We’ll talk at night. I am going to look at the scenery of West Lake. I’ve read about it countless times in books but haven’t had a close look today.”

Fan Xian watched as she casually picked up the flower basket on the table. He asked, “Duoduo, where did you find flowers in this weather?”

“They’re silk flowers I bought in Wuzhou, they’re fake. They’re all fake.”

Fan Xian sat alone in silence in the study. Only after a long time did he turn around, gazing at the thick curtains, and asked with concern, “Are you alright?”

The Shadow was indeed just a streak of shadow and seemed to float away from the curtain. He shook his head and said, “Yun Zhilan was heavily injured, but didn’t die.”

Fan Xian drew his brows together and knew he had guessed right again. “What happened?”

“Yun Zhilan went all out to break into one of the yards at the side. It’s probably a Ming family estate. This time he didn’t come alone. There were some of his disciple brothers. They were all in the yard, so I retreated.”

The Shadow’s words carried no fluctuating emotions. Fan Xian asked, “The Ming family? Dongyi? How powerful were the people who came?”

“Two ninth-levels, three eighth-levels.” The Shadow replied, “But Yun Zhilan won’t be powerful for half a year.”

Anger flashed through Fan Xian’s eyes and was immediately hidden. “There is another ninth-level and three eighth-levels. It seems like Dongyi really thinks highly of me, they’re really laying down the money. Where did all these aces come from? Are they buying wholesale?”

The Shadow didn’t understand his words but could hear his anger. “They have already left the yard.”

Fan Xian stood up and sank into thought.

If he wanted to investigate the matter of the palace treasury on this trip to Jiangnan, there was no doubt that he had to topple the Ming family and cut off the flow of money between Xinyang and Dongyi. Of the powers the Ming family held, Xinyang was not martially powerful and would not be sufficient for a confrontation. They could only lean on the aces in Dongyi.

To kill an official of the court, particularly someone like Fan Xian, seemed difficult to imagine. The Ming family probably did not want to run the risk of their family being exterminated to kill Fan Xian. However, if things came down to a matter of life and death, given the craziness of the Eldest Princess’ personality, who knew what could happen?

Although he was powerful and daring, when he thought that he might have to face assassination by an increasing number of eighth- ninth-level aces in Dongyi, he still felt a shiver of fear. That was why he had the Shadow steal the initiative and act, first picking off the leader Yun Zhilan, and then leading the swordsman of the Sixth Bureau to spare no effort in sweeping through the Jiangnan waterways to kill those from Dongyi.

Fan Xian would be a true idiot if he stayed in the yamen and waited for the Dongyi assassins to come one day. The so-called best defense was an offense. Using the terrorist assassins of the Overwatch Council to defeat the terrorist assassins from Dongyi was the correct move.

As for that strange old creature Sigu Jian, Fan Xian did not think his level would alert the other party.

He was suddenly jolted with shock and thought it was fortunate Yun Zhilan had not died. Brother Zhilan, I’ll have to trouble you to stay alive for a few more months, at least until my uncle the blind man has recovered—another ambush could only kill, not save.

Fan Xian woke from his thoughts. “Take the swordsmen of the Sixth Bureau and have the people of the Second Bureau cooperate in the investigation. As soon as these people stick out their heads, strike. I don’t ask that you kill the other party, but chase them until they feel fear in their hearts. Let them be anxious for the rest of their days and stop bothering me.”

The Shadow nodded and then asked, “The girl beside you is very powerful. It won’t be convenient for me to visit regularly.”

Fan Xian nodded. “I had the same thought as you. From today, she will be responsible for my safety, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Also, you need to be careful of your safety. Revenge cannot be rushed. Right now you’re not a match for a great grandmaster.”

The Shadow paused, then turned and left, leaving only two slightly damp footprints where he had stood.

If the Shadow went around intercepting and scaring visitors from Dongyi, then Fan Xian’s personal safety became a problem. This was why he had waited until Haitang showed herself before he made the decision to strike, but, at the same time, he no longer cared if others caught his movements.

He used Haitang’s reputation and his own killing gaze to create an opportunity for the Shadow.

After the Shadow left, Haitang arrived, which meant there was still a superior ninth-level ace beside him working with the Tiger Guards. There would be no problems with his safety. Most importantly, with this girl beside him, regardless of which power under heaven wanted to touch him, they had to first take into account the power of Northern Qi as well as that bald headed Great Grandmaster Ku He.

Besides, she was much cuter than the Shadow. At night they could do much more than just chat and bicker. Fan Xian laughed shamelessly.