Joy of Life - Chapter 410

[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:55]
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Chapter 410: Father-in-law Laughing Talks About The Junshang Conference

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

Lang Tiao was startled. He had thought that by choosing Wuzhou as the place to talk. No matter how shameless and low Fan Xian was, he would still have to be considerate of Lin family’s face. Who would have thought that the ex-Prime Minister of the Qing Kingdom would be just as shameless as his son-in-law? Furthermore, his skin was thick to such an extent.

Was there still law in the land? Was there still a natural order?

This is a matter of morality. Lang Tiao stood, speaking to himself in his heart. He did not wish to talk further with Fan Xian, so he raised his hands and bid goodbye.

The restaurant recovered its peace. Fan Xian huffed out a breath and wiped at the sweat on his forehead as he sat down again at the table. He did not feel very nervous. As for the people from Northern Qi, he did not feel they were a very thorny problem. In any case, he understood Haitang. Her temperament was something he couldn’t grasp clearly. Even if she temporarily let Suzhou, there would come a day they would see each other again. As they say, although jianghu was far, they would always argue again.

What truly had Fan Xian nervous and uneasy was the contents of Lang Tiao’s silent cursing earlier. After all, this was Wuzhou, the hometown of Prime Minister Lin. To discuss the matter of himself and another woman with guests from far away in this provincial city, what would Wan’er think? Where would Prime Minister Lin hang his face? How will he explain it to his family?

He long avoided meeting with Lang Tiao partly because of these considerations. He had come today because Lin Ruofu had an open and frank conversation with him. Only because of this did he have a sufficiently thick skin and shamelessness to come meet Lang Tiao and discuss matters.

The Northern Qi people took the sword that had been turned into scrap metal, boarded their carriage, and headed to the South. As for what would happen in Suzhou, Fan Xian no longer wanted to manage it. He also did not have the power to manage it. It was fine just to wait for the news from Deng Zi Yue and them. He stood at the railing of the restaurant and looked at the people’s shadows. Staring at the still fuming lady of the Wei family, he couldn’t stop a bitter smile rising to the corners of his lips. He couldn’t persuade Haitang, and Lang Tiao could not either. He wasn’t sure whether or not Ku He would make an appearance. Duoduo was a noble person who very much liked to control her own life. This was a very special thing about her.

Shortly after, his thoughts returned to the matter in Wuzhou. A glimmer of remorse couldn’t help but rise in Fan Xian’s heart towards Wan’er. Thinking back and forth, there was no good way to go about it. Only then he began to gradually feel Zhang Wuji’s pain yet happiness back in the day. Except, he knew that he was not as hypocritical as him and was much more shameless.

He shook his head and lifted the front of his robe, allowing the wind outside the restaurant to blow into his clothes helping him cool his frame of mind. He then followed the footsteps of the long-departed guests down the stairs.

Although he had not come to Wuzhou with great fanfare, after living in the Lin family Manor for a few days, news had long traveled out. The Wuzhou Zhizhou already prepared a generous gift to visit while the people in the marketplace also guessed that Fan Xian was vacationing in Wuzhou.

When Fan Xian’s carriage passed through the streets, no one came to disturb him and not a simple person exposed it. The people of Wuzhou only looked at the carriage and slightly inclined their bodies in a soundless greeting.

This type of heartfelt respect with a glimmer of distance made Fan Xian happy. It also made clear the position and reputation his father-in-law had in Wuzhou. He had not expected that the respect of the Wuzhou people toward him was not only because of the old Lin Prime Minister but also because of his own reputation. The Wuzhou people were very proud of their uncle.

When the carriage returned to the horrifyingly large Lin manor, Fan Xian quickly walked to the back hall. The first words from the old man playing with an emerald-green snuff were, “Those who wish to do big things must have a thick skin and a black heart.”

Fan Xian was silent. He found a chair to sit in and quietly countered, “This has nothing to do with that matter.”

The old man playing with the snuff box was the previous Prime Minister Lin Ruofu who had retired. In a year, this once second-to-none figure in Qing Kingdom had already changed into a benevolent elderly man. He hair was gently pulled together, and he wore a comfortable non-lined garment with a pair of half-boots without heels.

However, in Lin Ruofu’s deep-set eyes, there was a glimmer of tiredness and boredom. Perhaps having left the fighting and scheming of the court, this kind of quiet cultivation actually caused his spirit to be less than it used to be.

Lin Ruofu heard Fan Xian’s unconscious retort and couldn’t help but smile slightly while criticizing, “Perhaps you really do think this is a matter between a boy and a girl?”

Fan Xian was silent for a moment then said, “I don’t think…there is that much difference in essence.”

Lin Ruofu’s hand that had been constantly stroking the snuff box stopped. He gazed at him and said, “Is that so? But once this matter develops, it will not be this simple. If that girl did not have the identity of Northern Qi’s Sage girl, if she didn’t have the connection to the royal family…a matter of sons and daughters? Do you think I would allow you have such thoughts after being married for less than two years? Do you think the Emperor would acquiescence?”

Fan Xian understood this logic. If marrying Haitang did not bring any benefits to him and those around him, no one would stand on his side. Particularly from Lin Ruofu’s perspective, there would definitely be no reason for him to help his own son-in-law scheme for another wife.

“Father-in-law…” Fan Xian smiled bitterly and said. “The person telling me to go hard is you. At this time, the person criticizing me is also you. What am I to do?”

Hearing these words, Lin Ruofu couldn’t help but smile and said, “The words you said last night matched my thoughts well. I don’t care what your relationship is like with that woman, as long as you stand firm in the court, the Lin family will also stand firm.”

Fan Xian nodded his head. With Haitang and powerful foreign support, his position in Qing Kingdom would be much more secure. However, in some respects, he was indeed a very cold and emotionless person, but he still retained some of his opinions from his previous life. Unconsciously, he did not wish to have his private life connected to politics.

Furthermore, Haitang might not be willing to marry him.

Seeming to guess what Fan Xian was thinking, Lin Ruofu smiled slightly and said, “In reality, you and I both understand the development of this matter. It doesn’t matter whether or not she marries into the Fan family…it’s fine as long as she doesn’t marry someone else.”

Fan Xian once again nodded his head, admitting that the old fox’s thoughts aligned with his.

“I’ll go see Wan’er and Da Bao.” He stood and respectfully bowed toward his father-in-law.

Lin Ruofu thought for a moment then warmly said, “You don’t have to worry about Wan’er. Although she did not grow up beside me, she is someone who grew up in the palace. She will understand the reasoning within.”

Fan Xian smiled bitterly and did not say anything, thinking, his father-in-law was certainly very open. However, his thoughts turned and he remembered that hadn’t Lin Ruofu’s career only taken off after he had a daughter with the Eldest Princess? Thinking of this, he pretty much understood.

He thought for a bit then said persistently, “I am only going to see Wan’er.”

“It is her and Da Bao’s first trip back to Wuzhou. The relatives are probably treating them like gods. At this time, they should be playing at Yi Dongtian.” Lin Ruofu gazed at his son-in-law with a not-quite-there smile. “If there is anything that needs to be said in your room, wait for nighttime.”

Fan Xian angrily scratched his head.

“Do you know why I agreed to marry Wan’er to you?”

Although Fan Xian had guessed a little, he continued to shake that slightly pounding head.

Lin Ruofu slowly put the snuff box down on the table and said, “Originally, the Emperor had intentions of granting Wan’er to you. This was during the second year of the Qing calendar. At the time, Chen Pingping was against it, vehemently against it, so I found the trickery within the matter.”

Fan Xian wondered how Chen Pingping’s opposition related to his opposition?

Lin Ruofu answered his question. “Of all the officials in the court, I only feared three people.”

“Which three?”

“Your father was one, the old cripple Chen was the second, and that old man of the Qin family.”

Fan Xian thought about it carefully. Chen Pingping controlled the Overwatch Council. Other than the Prime Minister, he held the most power of all the officials in the court. The shadowy power he held was very great, so he was someone Lin Ruofu should have feared back in the day. Although the old man of the Qin family was elderly and rarely attended court, as the head of the Bureau of Military Affairs, he was the top figure in the army and a super official. His disciples were spread out among the army, so he would also receive Lin Ruofu’s close attention.

However, that old man of his own family…at that time, he was only the vice minister of the Ministry of Revenue. Why would Lin Ruofu take him so seriously?

Lin Ruofu did not answer the question in his eyes and continued in a light voice, “And among the three of them, I was most admiring of Chen Pingping’s insight. When he strongly opposed your marriage to Wan’er…while this thing, at the time, did not have any obvious negatives, yet the other party was so…so I knew he must have some secret information that I did not know of…so…”

The old man smiled slightly and said, “I also opposed it.”

Knowing that Wan’er and his uncle were out playing, Fan Xian understood that the matter of talking to Wan’er would have to wait until the night. Hearing his father-in-law’s tone, he knew he was getting ready to discuss state affairs. He sat down comfortably to listen closely. Listening to this point, he couldn’t help but ask, “Why did you agree later?”

“I’ve told you before…perhaps you have already forgotten.” A glimmer of sadness appeared in Lin Ruofu’s smile. “Gong’er passed. At my knee, there were only Da Bao and Wan’er. The Emperor had revealed his intention to have my leave my post…I had been in the court for many years. My title of the evil Prime Minister was not for no reason. I had offended countless people. However, because of my protection, the people in my clan had obtained many benefits in this world…after I went, who would protect them? Who would protect my Dao Bao?”

Lin Ruofu stared into his eyes and said, “The day you gifted me the snuff box, I determined you were able to do all this. So, I agreed to the matter.”

That delicately made snuff box made by his grandmother was right now quietly sitting beside Lin Ruofu on the wooden table.

Fan Xian was silent for a moment, He then very calmly and sincerely said, “Rest assured, as long as I am alive, I will not let Wan’er feel wronged or allow Da Bao to live unhappily.”

Lin Ruofu nodded his head with approval. He then sighed and said, “Later, your identity came out…only then did I know you were lady Ye’s son, then what was there for me to worry about?”

This was slowly turning the direction of the conversation in the direction Fan Xian needed, to the direction that could not be publicly declared or asked after.

“In court, among the civil officials…I don’t have any capable people, other than Ren Shao’an,” Fan Xian smiled bitterly and said. “On the surface, it looks like I can utterly defeat the Second Prince. But, if there is a day in the future when there is a discussion in court, I have no one to speak for me.”

Lin Ruofu clearly knew what he meant but did not point it out. On the contrary, he smiled and said, “Lao Shu and Xiao Hu, the two most powerful scholars in the Hall of Governmental Affairs both like you very much…are you not content?”

Fan Xian shook his head and said, “Liking cannot be used as food. When the time comes to take a stand, who can trust each other?”

Lin Ruofu stared at Fan Xian’s eyes and asked, “You need someone you can trust?”

Fan Xian did not deny this point. He chuckled like a greedy little bird drooling with their mouth open waiting to be fed by their elders.

Looking at this expression, Lin Ruofu couldn’t resist laughing out loud. However, he immediately restrained his laughter and calmly said, “I won’t give it to you.”

This answer surprised Fan Xian greatly, however, he understood. Since Lin Ruofu had put his entire clan on his wagon, he had to give him a hand. He would not allow the horse to run but not allow the horse to eat. Naturally, he must have his reasons for today’s answer.

As expected, Lin Ruofu warmly said, “Are you confused? Ever since I left Jingdou, the civil officials in the court have become a mess. There are those who have thrown in their lot with the Second Prince and Yunrui, and those who threw in their lot with the Eastern Palace. There is also a big group standing well-behaved with the palace secretary.”

Fan Xian furrowed his brows slightly. He had discovered this phenomenon long ago. The strange thing was that…

“The strange thing is, why has no one actively thrown in their lot with you?” Lin Ruofu looked at him with almost a smile. “Right now, you already have a reputation among the scholars under heaven. Adding to Zhuang Mohan’s gift, although you are a little young, it is not impossible for you to publicly open your doors and become a leader of the scholars…why? Why is it only Shao’an, a colleague of from the Honglu Temple back in the day, who rushed to show their stance, while none of the other civil officials threw their loyalties to you? In this year, not a single civil official approached your door. Up until now, other than your four students in various provinces passing their days, you have not expanded your power at all.”

This was exactly Fan Xian’s biggest confusion and biggest headache. At first, he had thought it was the Emperor’s way of checks and balances, but later he found that the Emperor’s priority in watching him was still concerning the military side. He didn’t particularly care about him associating with civil officials, so he did not understand. It was like there was a hand in the darkness preventing his progress in that area.

He suddenly raised his head and stared at his father-in-law, “Why?”

Fan Xian knew that it was like this because his father-in-law far away in Wuzhou was using the remnants of his influence to not allow his disciples to get too close to him.

“When the wood becomes a forest, it will certainly be destroyed by the wind,” Lin Ruofu, who quite liked his son-in-law’s cleverness, warmly said. “Furthermore, you have already grown too mighty, even more so than that proper prince. You’re right, I was the person who arranged this. Those people that you think can be used, I will temporarily not allow you to use them to prevent attracting discussion from the Palace…as for when I will give them to you…”

The old man sighed, “Back then, I had stood too tall and was forced to retreat. How could I allow Wan’er’s husband to retrace my path?”

“When the Emperor takes the throne, I will give those people to you.”

Lin Ruofu said this at the end.

Fan Xian was silent but had sensed an inauspicious sigh. To only give him people after a new Emperor had taken the throne…in other words, Lin Ruofu would not brave the dangerous when faced with the current unfathomable Emperor.

Lin Ruofu’s shadowy influence on the court still existed, so he had to avoid suspicion. He had to make the Emperor believe that he was truly retiring in Wuzhou.

In this problematic, difficult, and vicious cycle, the biggest loss was that Fan Xian was not able to obtain the aide.

“I’m afraid it’s too late.” Since the two sides were already speaking openly, Fan Xian did not avoid anything. “The Crown Prince and the Second Prince’s power are almost all in the court. If one of them inherits in the future…I think, I will not have pleasant days.”

Lin Ruofu said, “You…should speak more straightforwardly.”

“Fine.” Fan Xian spoke straightforwardly. “I will not allow either the Crown Prince or the Second Prince to sit on that chair.”

Lin Ruofu smiled and said, “And so this is your problem…without that help, the Crown Prince and the Second Prince are already not a match for you. Why bother to worry about this? You’ve done well in the last year, but your biggest problem is that…you are fighting against the wrong side.”

Fan Xian was startled.

Perhaps Lin Ruofu had thought of something from many years ago. His gaze grew more and more distanced. He slowly said, “Under the current circumstances, you only have one enemy…that is Yunrui.”

Fan Xian was startled. Shortly after, some disagreement rose in his heart. He had seen the Eldest Princess’ methods. She schemed with as much meticulous care and flawless artistry as she did her embroidery. It was a pity that when faced with himself, the commissioner of the Overwatch Council, along with the help of Chen Pingping and Yan Bingyun—one old, one young—the weapon the Eldest Princess excelled the most at did not have any effect on him.

As for power, Xinyang had once sent assassins to Cang Mountain to assassinate Fan Xian. It had resulted in abject failure.

No matter what Fan Xian thought about it, he did not think the Eldest Princess was very scary. Perhaps the rumors had overstated the facts. Faced with Lin Ruofu’s serious expression, he couldn’t help but shake his head.

Lin Ruofu said, “Did you forget the Junshang Conference?”

“Junshang Conference?” Fan Xian slowly lowered his head. “There is only one Ye Liuyun. He can’t make any changes to the big picture.”

“There is only one Ye Liuyun.” Lin Ruofu looked Fan Xian with a strange gaze. “There is also only one Sigu Jian. There is also only one Yan Xiaoyi. There is also only one…me.”

“But the Junshang Conference, they may be countless.”

Fan Xian understood what this meant. He looked at his father-in-law in complete shock. With slightly dry lips he asked, “You…are also part of the Junshang Conference? And Sigu Jian?”

“What is the Junshang Conference?” Lin Ruofu asked with a slight smile. “Perhaps no one can explain it clearly. Even Yunrui herself cannot state it clearly…what I can understand is that the Junshang Conference is a very loosely structured organization. It could be a small tea-tasting group or it could be the hand behind the scenes to the slaughter of tens of thousands of lives and the destruction of countries and redrawing of territorial lines.”

Fan Xian’s questions were stopped by Lin Ruofu’s waving hand.

“The Junshang Conference is just a way for those who stand slightly higher in the world to communicate with each other.” The last Prime Minister of the Qing court slowly narrated this secret. “We are not the rulers of a country. It just happens that we hold great influence or actual power in our hands. There are many things that we cannot conveniently do, so we will go through the Junshang Conference, this channel, to ask friends for help. When friends are in trouble, we will also help.”

“It’s very fair, is it not?”

“The Junshang Conference is nothing more than a fellowship of friends.”

“The Junshang Conference does not have a rigid and perfect organization structure. There are also no set goals or desires that all wish to achieve.”

Lin Ruofu finally summarized, “And so, just speaking in terms of pure killing intention, the Junshang Conference, because of its loose structure, is actually not very powerful. At least…it cannot compare to the Overwatch Council under that old cripple.

Fan Xian was a little confused. Since it was so, why was his father-in-law still warning him about the Eldest Princess’ Junshang Conference?

Lin Ruofu smiled slightly and said, “Chen Pingping is pressuring Yunrui. You seemed to be doing the same…did I guess right?”

Fan Xian couldn’t help but admire the other person’s political sense and nodded.

“But, you and the old cripple seem to have both made a mistake,” Lin Ruofu said lightly. “You both think that if you can force the Eldest Princess along with the Second Prince and the Crown Prince to jump up, to force them into opposition against the Emperor, you will be able to easily obtain victory over the entire campaign.”

“Is that not so?” Fan Xian furrowed his brows. Qing Kingdom was the most powerful under heaven. Although the Qing Emperor had been silent for over 10 years, history had proven that the Qing Emperor’s methods were not something everyone could stand against.

“Because you have both underestimated Yunrui, underestimated the Junshang Conference…if this situation is allowed to continue to develop, if she truly goes crazy…who knows what the consequences will be?”

Lin Ruofu smiled merrily and discussed the woman who had been involved with him for many years and had given him a lovely daughter…Her Highness, the Eldest Princess.

“Isn’t the Junshang Conference very loosely organized? How could it be on par with the powerful strength of a country?”

“The Junshang Conference is like a ball bouncing around the room. Once someone presses it down, its rebound power is concentrated.” A glimmer of worry appeared on Lin Ruofu’s face. “Particularly in this year, Yunrui seemed to have been pushed into a corner with no way to retreat by you and the old cripple’s clever traps…if at this time, the Junshang Conference suddenly found an unusually strong opponent, the looseness would become tight and the hidden powerful could be demonstrated.

“This is the same as people…when you find the goal you have desired for so long, any danger is worth facing to achieve it.”

Hearing these words, a chill rose in Fan Xian’s heart. Although this scene was one he had worked toward and hoped for, he was still scared by his father-in-law’s words.

If, other than Ye Liuyun, the Junshang Conference had connections with Dongyi and had many other avenues of support, then their power had long surpassed the restrictions of national borders. Rising above the world, the right change could send the loosely organized fellowship into a bucket of dynamite…

Under heaven, of course, only the Qing Emperor had this right.

“Will Sigu Jian also make a move?” Fan Xian couldn’t help but shake his head.

Lin Ruofu gazed at him and smiled. “If Yunrui does not go crazy, she will not make such arrangements. If she is forced into a corner by you and the Emperor…who could say? The safety of the Emperor involves the bigger picture. If he died, too many people would benefit greatly from it.”

The previous Prime Minister said with a serious expression, “Other than you and I, the people and officials of the Qing Kingdom.”

If the Qing Emperor died, Northern Qi would be the happiest and Dongyi would also celebrate, but Qing Kingdom would probably immediately face an endless crisis.

In the end, Lin Ruofu said, “For this great goal, Qing Kingdom’s enemies would all band together. Earlier you said Sigu Jian, why didn’t you speak of Ku He?”

Fan Xian’s mouth was a bit bitter. He didn’t want to continue this topic.

Lin Ruofu smiled coldly. “The Junshang Conference? Those who are not of the Junshang Conference…as long as they are willing, can join at any time. Mediating between two parties is actually what Yunrui is most talented at.”

Fan Xian knew this. The Eldest Princess had a great private relationship with the empress dowager of the Northern Qi and had worked hand in glove with Dongyi. He couldn’t resist smiling bitterly and said, “Everyone is from all different parts of the country, for a shared goal…hmm?”

He suddenly furrowed his brows and said, “What we can guess, the Emperor can certainly think of. Why hasn’t he taken the initiative to strike first?”

The room was silent for a while before Lin Ruofu opened his mouth and warmly said, “Earlier we talked about Yunrui. Although she is crazy, I have known her for 20 years, so I can guess what she will do.”

“But the Emperor…” Lin Ruofu couldn’t help but show a glimmer of admiration. “Although he has once betrayed me, I have to say that no one knows what he is thinking in his heart, perhaps…he is waiting for that day.”

Perhaps, he is arrogant to the point of being brainless. Fan Xian thought for no reason.

“Then what should I do?”

Lin Ruofu said in a quiet voice, “Weren’t you originally going to be a spectator? However, if matters reach a certain level, regardless of whether you want to or not, you’ll still have to go on stage and play your part. Right now, no matter where you start from, you have to stand firmly on the side of the Emperor.”

Fan Xian thought in his heart that this was nonsense. Even if he wanted to stand on the side of his mother-in-law, after being scared by his father-in-law, he did not have the boldness to play with a lunatic.