Joy of Life - Chapter 397[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:50]
Chapter 397: A Strange Guest To Suzhou
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Fan Xian had one foot on the railing on the topmost floor of the Suzhou branch of the Baoyue Brothel. In one hand he held a fan that he was using. The continuous cold rains at the end of spring had stopped and the heat had returned. In a flash, it made the temperature of the air rise again.
He narrowed his eyes and looked at the procession on the road wearing funeral gear. Hearing the mournful sounds of the music, he couldn’t hold back a smile. Ming Qingda indeed had some tricks up his sleeve. The mournful and angry look on his face, and his attitude of absolute irreconcilability with Fan Xian, were done very well. He actually had the old Ming matriarch’s funeral procession cut across the entire city. The route was very ostentatious. Along the way were commoners who put out little tables with fruits to worship her. Beggars who had received benefits in the past kowtowed to the giant slow moving coffin as it moved along the street.
The mournful music was actually sometimes quite moving, at least it was to Fan Xian’s ears.
He fanned himself and couldn’t resist sighing again, “Very high-spirited…”
The wind came from the fan[JW1]. He couldn’t be bothered to compete with the Ming Garden in attitude. He did not find using a dead person to obstruct his sight exciting. If they wanted to parade, they could. It did not cause any true loss to him.
After sweeping clean the Sixth master and the old matriarch’s trusted aides and related persons, Ming Qingda had gradually stabilized his control of the Ming Garden situation. It was also under his powerful suppression that the tens of thousands of the Ming family did not make a call to indiscriminately destroy the good and the bad because of the old matriarch’s unusual death.
After Fan Xian divided the students making a ruckus and then used wooden sticks to teach them a lesson, the scholars immediately quieted down when they did not receive further support from the Ming family. Just as Fan Xian had expected, the so-called righteousness could not be sustained.
Fan Xian knew that to be able to suppress the cries for revenge from within the Ming family’s internal faction must have been hard work for Ming Qingda. However, this matter was originally Ming Qingda’s fault. If he didn’t want Fan Xian to act out violently, he had to swallow this hard work, and his anger.
What made Fan Xian truly happy was that the spies scattered into the crowds a few days ago had already sent back messages. Perhaps it was because of the Ming family’s sudden silence that caught the elders of the Junshang Conference off guard but, at least in the Jiangnan region, the Junshang Conference made some relatively stupid decisions in some matters, like inciting the people to gather and cause a commotion.
By means of the investigation the Overwatch Council did in this matter, and the few people that Ming Qingda had secretly sold to Hua Garden, the Overwatch Council was already keeping watch on one manor downstream of the Yangtze River. It was a gathering place the Junshang Conference had set in Jiangnan. It was an unremarkable manor and not a very important location to the Junshang Conference, however, Fan Xian needed to get rid of it to express his stance.
With him in Jiangnan, the Junshang Conference had best behave themselves for now. If they didn’t behave, he would make them shut their mouths.
The Black Knights could not enter Ming Garden because the Emperor did not like to see the Overwatch Council’s martial strength overly interfere in local politics. However, as for this mysterious Junshang Conference, an organization that seemed to be possibly opposing the Emperor’s might, the Qing Emperor didn’t care about what methods Fan Xian used.
Governor Xue Qing also did not oppose Fan Xian’s plan. After all, there wouldn’t be enough time to ask for instructions from Jingdou.
Today was the old Ming matriarch’s funeral procession and burial, and it was also the day that 500 Black Knights crossed the Yangtze to wash someplace with blood.
The funeral procession had already gone through the long street below the Baoyue Brothel. Fan Xian noticed that some of the noble figures had carefully retreated from the procession. The Jiangnan gentry did not want to offend the Ming family, but they also did not dare to overly neglect the imperial envoy’s face. So, they saw the procession to the city gates and then turned back on their own.
With great power in hand, why fear the people’s heart? Although Fan Xian did not feel complacent, he had begun to feel in the depths of his heart that power was like a drug. No wonder the western philosophers’ had a saying, something that Shaolong passed on, and was often seen in forums—absolute something, would bring absolute something.
Fan Xian was aware that he did not need corruption. Without any shame, he thought his realm of consciousness was relatively high, and so he couldn’t resist a third sigh.
There should be someone asking accommodatingly, “Sir, why…” Unfortunately, it would be half a year before Wang Qinian could return to the Qing Kingdom. Beside him, Deng Zi Yue considered for a long time with a strange expression before he choked out a sentence, “Sir…you seem to be in a good mood.”
Fan Xian smiled and said, “Of course I am in a good mood. This old woman died cleanly and efficiently. Standing on a tall building and watching someone else be buried, how could I not be happy?”
Deng Zi Yue wondered how was this something to be happy about? Unable to resist, he opened his mouth to remonstrate, “The Jiangnan people…”
He had only said three words when Fan Xian stopped him. He smiled coldly and said, “Do not repeat those arguments. What are the people’s sentiments and opinions? In a few months, these people will have completely forgotten. Whatever kindness, whatever benefits, it would only be remembered for a few days. In the end, it won’t be more important than daily domestic worries. The common people…the common people are the type of people most prone to forgetting.”
The words were pointed, and they pointed to Fan Xian’s past. They pointed to the Ye family that had long been blown past, rained on, and dissolved into the royal palace treasury.
Back then, the Ye family was comparable to today’s Ming family. They were 10 times more impressive, 10 times more powerful, and 10 times more benevolent to the people. One day, the court changed its face and the family was destroyed. The tens of thousands of people under heaven all kept quiet out of fear. Who dared to seek justice for the Ye family?
Deng Zi Yue was startled into silence. He knew they had touched on a sore point for the commissioner, so he did not dare to speak again. He also understood why every time the commissioner brought up public opinion and popular sentiment he would smile coldly at them and not care.
“Those of us who are officials, we are only the Emperor’s officials, we are not these people’s officials.” Fan Xian words were completely the opposite of serving the people.
With the situation as it was, what could Fan Xian be displeased about? The Ming family was a monkey in the palm of his hand. Jiangnan was certain to settle. Xia Qifei had already sent a message from Jiangbei a few days ago that he had connected with Fan Xian’s younger brother. The waves in the capital around the Ministry of Revenue had settled. Hangzhou was urgently picking medicine. The three large workshops were in full swing under the serious, conscientious, and brisk eyes of the Qingyu Hall shopkeepers.
As for within the officialdom, Fan Xian and Xue Qing’s relationship was growing closer by the day, In the Palace, the Emperor’s trust in him had not decreased. Particularly after the Ming family matter, Fan Xian had sacrificed his own reputation. This, without question, increased the Emperor’s feelings of tenderness toward his solitary illegitimate child.
Looking around, it was all situations of great personal victory. As for the Junshang Conference…a cold smile flashed past the corner of Fan Xian’s mouth. He didn’t know what the old cripple in the Chen Garden outside of the capital was thinking. In any case, Fan Xian did not plan to investigate too deep into this matter. The so-called raising of a tiger was thus.
If he wanted to eradicate the Junshang Conference, first of all, it would be very difficult thing to do. Even if Fan Xian temporarily looked around wildly and braved the risk of losing more than half the power in his hand, he might still not succeed in this task. Just looking at how the tyrannical Second priest of the Qing Temple, Great Master Sanshi, was thrown out by the Junshang Conference as a sacrificial pawn, it was possible to imagine how much power this supposedly loosely structured organization hid away.
Even if he successfully toppled the Junshang Conference with the utmost help from his father and the old cripple, settled Jiangnan, and stabilized the monarch’s control, the Emperor would not allow Fan Xian to lead soldiers and fight. Then, what could Fan Xian do? Would he retire to that dim room in the Overwatch Council at such a young age and grow old?
Fan Xian did not want to become a second Chen Pingping. For some problems, he would not rush to resolve them. On the contrary, he wished these problems could be in situations under his control and to bloom slowly like a flower with poison.
Of course, he didn’t know that his thoughts in the Baoyue Brothel today were the same as that of the old cripples. The elder and the youth were both working hard toward a goal that could not be publicized. It was regretful that neither of these two people seemed willing to inform the other, perhaps…they didn’t want to implicate each other?
Not deeply investigating the Junshang Conference did not mean not defeating the Junshang Conference. The Junshang Conference had played Fan Xian a few times in Jiangnan, and he had to eventually pay that back. Currently, the Black Knights were progressing silently on that mountain trail.
Months of planning and the only tiny loophole was the Junshang Conference account’s master, Mr. Zhou. He had yet to be silenced and was still able to silently escape despite being under both Ming Qingda and his own surveillance. This demonstrated that he was certainly an important figure in the Junshang Conference, perhaps he even held the truth to the Junshang Conference.
And Haitang…had still not come back. Faint worry rose between Fan Xian’s brows. Mr. Zhou had to be under the protection of someone very powerful.
He left the side of the railing, sat back down at the table, and gave orders to Deng Zi Yue, “Contact the governor’s manor, send out wanted posters…”
His spoke quietly, “The Ming family has already sent over housekeeper Zhou’s picture. Give it to the governor’s manor. Both sides will search together.”
Deng Zi Yue felt apprehensive. He knew that the imperial envoy did not have any better ideas and could only start to use the government’s power to try and apply some pressure publicly. As for that picture, he knew that it was drawn by the old Ming matriarch’s personal servant.
Fan Xian sighed and said, “If we could capture Mr. Zhou alive…wouldn’t it be too marvellous?”
“You hopes are indeed marvellous.”
The top floor of the Baoyue Brothel was empty. Only Fan Xian’s table was occupied. Two people suddenly appeared at the table beside the railing and had replied to Fan Xian’s words very coldly.
The metallic sound of countless blades being unsheathed rang out in the top floor, full of cruel intentions.
With Gao Da in the lead, the seven Tiger Guards gripped their strangely shaped long knives with both hands and formed the head of a trident, protecting Fan Xian behind them.
At the same time, a dozen swordsmen of the Sixth Bureau of the Overwatch Council surged out from the side of the building. They hadn’t drawn their swords beside them. In their hands were raised black painted bows that did not reflect much light and appeared threatening. The swordsmen aimed at the two people at the table.
There was originally no one in the building, yet these two people had silently appeared. The other party’s arrival had not only been hidden from the swordsmen of the Sixth Bureau of the Overwatch Council, it had also been hidden from the Tiger Guards, as well as Fan Xian, whose internal injuries had long healed. What kind of realm was this?
Fan Xian’s guards reacted quickly. In an instant, they had partitioned off the two people.
With a dozen bows, in addition to the seven Tiger Guards who could stand against Haitang Duoduo and Fan Xian, who had long reached the ninth-level, even if the newcomers were Dongyi’s Yun Zhilan and Northern Qi’s Lang Tao, everyone was confident they could easily take the other party down.
However, the two people did not have any change in expression when faced with this array. One of them had a slightly forced smile, while the other figure, wearing a straw hat, only gave off a coldness that regarded everyone he saw as nothingness.
The figure wearing the straw hat slowly lifted his head and revealed a strange appearance. There was not a trace of expression on his face, only his eyes looked at the people in the building as coldly as if he was looking at a group of dead people
“You want Mr. Zhou? This person is Mr. Zhou.”
Surrounded by crossbows, the person was still very at ease. A natural aura of aggressiveness rose from across the crowd as he looked coldly at Fan Xian.
“But, I will not give him to you.”
Fan Xian looked at the person through the Tiger Guard’s clothing. His mind turned, and he calmly said, “So it is you who is protecting Mr. Zhou. No wonder Haitang has yet to succeed…since you are not willing to give the person to me, then why did you come to see me? I don’t have the habit of chatting with uninvited guests.”
The person said coldly, “An exchange. Pull back the Black Knights, and I will spare your life.”
Spare your life? Under such circumstances, he could still say he would spare Fan Xian’s life?
Unless he was an idiot, only then would he have such confidence. Fan Xian knew the other party was certainly not stupid, so, they definitely had the ability to kill him in such a situation.
Fan Xian smiled and asked, “How is Haitang?”
The man suddenly strangely rolled his eyes. “I very rarely kill women.”
Fan Xian smiled slightly and said, “That is good…release.”
It was a very sudden, very expected call of “release.”
The swordsmen of the Sixth Bureau of the Overwatch Council released the triggers in their hands, and 30 poisoned crossbow bolts flew out in three batches. Like a deadly and dense rain, they flew toward the table!.
What Mr. Zhou? What Junshang Conference? He did not have time to care about them. As long as he could kill the person in front of him, Fan Xian would think anything was worth it…high-spirited? A bitter smile rose at the corner of his lips.
[JW1]”意气风发啊””风自扇中发” There is a pun between this phrase and the previous line, but it doesn’t come across in English.