Joy of Life - Chapter 412[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:56]
Chapter 412: Entering The City
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Dongshan was one of the Seven Roads of Qing Kingdom. It slanted toward the northeast. Going north from Xiao Mountain, it plunged into the small countries secretly influenced by Dongyi. It crossed through those cities and entered Northern Qi’s territory. Last year, when Fan Xian went on a diplomatic mission to Northern Qi, he had taken a different route that went around Cangzhou and had entered the Northern Sea, so he had not been here before.
Now, he would not go toward the North. There was nothing that he wanted in Northern Qi.
Sitting in the carriage and looking at the map in his hand, Fan Xian couldn’t resist furrowing his forehead. He pointed to a corner of the map, and said, “So Jiaozhou is below Danzhou. This large blank space up here. What is this place?”
Beside him was Deputy Commander Jing of the Black Knights. He was still wearing the iron mask on his face. He listened to the commissioner’s words and said in a deep voice, “To the north of Danzhou is a large swathe of harsh mountains and jungles that very few people dare to enter. When the map was drawn, there was only a blank. To the north of this blank is Dongyi, which faces the ocean.”
Dongyi? Fan Xian sighed and thought one day he would go to see it. He only learned today that Dongyi, the world’s largest city, was actually not far at all from Danzhou, where he had spent his childhood. Fan Xian was familiar with the mountains and jungles to the north of Danzhou. He knew that it was pretty much impossible to find a path through it. Furthermore, this piece of geography was very special. Along the sea was an unbroken precipice of hundreds of li that even birds would think was dangerous.
If Dongyi people wanted to reach Qing Kingdom, they had to go around the west side of the mountains or via the sea.
Remembering that Dongyi’s sea power was very great, Fan Xian couldn’t stop a glimmer of worry flash through his eyes. Although the navies of this world were unable to influence the bigger picture, they still had the power to carry out some harassment. What if Dongyi forced a landing in Danzhou?
Only now did Fan Xian finally understand why the Emperor placed such a priority on this matter and asked for him to personally act. He also understood why the court persisted in maintaining a navy beside the isolated Jiaozhou after the best navy in Quanzhou was disbanded.
Jiaozhou was to the south of Danzhou, where there was a navy of valiant sailors stationed to counter Dongyi’s power on the seas.
Fan Xian couldn’t help an icy smile rising to the corner of his lips. Of course, he now knew that the Quanzhou sailors in the past, at some levels, could be said to be his mother’s private army. When the court acted, it was indeed thorough.
“Lao Jing…why don’t you take off the mask?” He gazed with a smile at the Deputy Commander of the Black Knights beside him and tried his best to make his tone softer, to not reveal the chill in the depths of his heart.
Following Chen Pingping’s strict orders, ever since Fan Xian went on the diplomatic mission to Northern Qi, these 400 Black Knights had become his subordinates. The 400 black-clothed, blacked-horsed, and black-faced riders had helped Fan Xian greatly in the matter of Shang Shanhu rescuing Xiao En and surrounding the Junshang Conference in Jiangnan.
For various reasons, Fan Xian had not yet found a way to extend his hand into the military, however, the existence of the Black Knights was the same as giving him the greatest military power. It made him much more powerful and also gave him more confidence when negotiating with others.
In a situation where he didn’t have military influence, having the Black Knights under him was reassuring.
However, Fan Xian was not very close to these subordinates because the Black Knights could not enter the province or even come near a province. While Fan Xian was someone who liked to have fun, he was not willing to live in army camps. Thus, there was not much time for superiors and subordinates to talk. It was impossible to remove this sense of unfamiliarity in a short time.
Fan Xian knew that if he wanted to do anything in the future, he had to control this, the biggest military power under his command. He could not depend on Chen Pingping’s control. He could only rely on himself to have these 400 riders follow him unswervingly. He had to subdue the other party from the depths of his heart.
After meeting with the Black Knights at the crossroads, he had tried the methods he had used to subdue Wang Qinian and Deng Zi Yue on the strange deputy commander Black Knight, who was always wearing his silver-colored mask.
Fan Xian smiled warmly and sincerely. Chatting casually, he created a warm and honest atmosphere. Of course, he did not forget to show the steadiness and confidence that a superior ought to have.
However, Jing continued to be indifferent. Without any show of emotion, he replied straightforwardly, “Used to it.”
Fan Xian felt a bit angry, but he suddenly smiled slightly and said, “There are only two types of people who wear masks.”
Riding on horses, Jing following beside him did not have any reaction, however, Fan Xian found that the hand holding the reigns had tightened slightly. It looked like Jing was relatively interested in this topic.
He was probably curious as to how the famous Sir Fan junior would critique the mask.
Fan Xian said, “Either the face under the mask is too ugly or had to have suffered a heavy injury and cannot be seen by others, or…the face is too pretty, pretty like a girl…”
“Of course, I am not mocking myself with these words.”
“The Black Knights have to go into battle and kill the enemy. The fiercer you look, the easier it is to scare the enemy. Thus, the first reason does not exist anymore.”
Fan Xian smiled as he gazed at the slightly shining metal mask and said, “Seems like Commander Jing must be a rarely seen beauty of a man.”
Commander Jing was indeed startled and a moment later he said, “The commissioner is indeed…incredible.”
Fan Xian chuckled. After hearing the story of Prince of Lan Ling and Di Qing too many times, he could definitely make some guesses.
However, Jing still did not remove his mask. It made Fan Xian curious. Had he guessed correctly or not?
“I still don’t know your name,” Fan Xian said lightly. He couldn’t be bothered to do this kind of political work anymore.
Commander Jing’s gaze became solemn. Raising the reins in his hands, he replied, “My surname is Jing, no name.”
“Jing No Name?” How could Fan Xian not know the surname of the commander of the most powerful military power in his power? He was just pretending to be shocked. He remembered the strange thought he had when he first learned this person’s name last year.
“If you are Jing Wuming[JW1] , wouldn’t that make me the father of the high-ranking beautiful woman[JW2] ?
The hundreds of riders rode in one thin line, silently moving forward in the quiet valley toward the North. After a set period of time, scouts were sent out in all directions so they shouldn’t have revealed their movements.
Fan Xian and Commander Jing were riding right in the middle. They were slowly winding their way through the valley. Fan Xian was, because of his recent thoughts, smiling again. Commander Jing glanced at him with some curiosity. “My surname is Jing. I don’t have a name, not that I am called No Name.”
The nameless major figure in the Fifth Bureau? The nameless commander of the Black Knights?
Fan Xian opened his lips slightly and couldn’t help sighing. No wonder everyone was terrified of the Overwatch Council like they were the devil. Under the influence of Chen Pingping, that old cripple, the entire structure of the Overwatch Council and the style and past of its members all carried a strange aura.
He knew that this commander would not lie to him. He lightly said, “It’s still better to have a name.”
Commander Jing was silent for a moment then nodded his head, “Please give me a name.”
To give a name, for the one giving the name, was a very high honor. Fan Xian was shocked and didn’t believe his ears. Turning back to look at the commander’s calm and sincere gaze, he knew that the other party was not joking.
He slowly lowered his head and thought seriously for a while before smiling slightly and said, “A single character name ‘Ge’, and ‘Zhi Wu’ as a courtesy name. How is that?”
Commander Jing had been a hero in the army. It was only because he had offended nobility that Chen Pingping had scooped him out and placed him in the Black Knights, so he was a man of some learning. Hearing this name, he immediately understood commissioner Fan’s meaning. He was pleased and nodded his head with a smile.
The corners of hips lips beneath the metal mask curved into a pretty line.
The influential figure with no name or surname who had provoked his superior, been punished with the supreme penalty and later disappeared, and used a silver mask to hide his appearance, finally had his own name. Now so many years after breaking of from the first half of his life, he began a new chapter.
“Jing Ge.” Among the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves, Fan Xian smiled slightly. “Who exactly did not offend back then?”
Whether it was because Jing Ge was not yet used to his new name or because he was shocked by the commissioner’s perceptiveness, he couldn’t speak for a moment.
After being silent for a while, he quietly said, “The Qin family.”
Fan Xian sucked in a cold breath. He knew just how powerful the Qin family was in the military. Old man Qin had long held the position of the head of the Bureau of Military affairs by force and now Xiao Qin had become part of the Jingdou garrison. Even when his father-in-law was in court, he slightly feared the Qin family.
In a single thought, Fan Xian could not help but develop the greatest admiration and shock for Chen Pingping. That old cripple was indeed courageous. He dared to use an enemy of the Qin family and use him for a long time. Not only that, he had allowed Jing Ge to rise to the position of deputy commander of the Black Knights.
“I…have a decent relationship with the Qin family,” he said this probingly. He thought, as long as Jing Ge was willing to ask him for help, he could try to mend the past hatred and desire for revenge after he had returned to the capital.
Jing Ge smiled, and the smile shown outside of the silver mast was very happy.
“Thank you,” Jing Ge said these words very sincerely, “but there is no need.”
Fan Xian looked at him with narrowed eyes, as if he wanted to see just what his silent and valiant subordinate was thinking about. After a long while, he asked, “You and the Qin family…what is your disagreement?”
Jing Ge was silent for a moment then said in a dark voice, “In the camp, I killed the eldest son of the Qin family.”
The eldest child of the Qin family? Qin Heng’s elder brother? Fan Xian’s expression did not change, but his heart chilled. If the person Jing Ge killed back then was still alive, he would probably be one of the top generals in the court. Such a hatred…just what was Chen Pingping thinking? Why did he take in a time bomb into the Overwatch Council?
A few bird cries came from the front.
The silently marching Black Knights stopped their steps very neatly. It was not the people, it was the horses. This kind of horse training was among the best in the world. Perhaps, only the Wang camp in the West Lake could have this ability.
Dusk gradually approached.
Fan Xian and Jing Ge rode their horses to the front. Through the valley and halfway up the mountain, they stood up high and looked down at the city at the foot of the mountain.
The city was not big. The lights had already been lit inside like twinkling stars.
This was Jiaozhou.
Looking toward the right, a large swathe of the sea was turning, with the dimming of the day’s light, from blue to pitch black. Faintly, a heavily guarded dock could be seen along with a dozen battleships and eye-catching camps.
This was the Jiaozhou navy.
“Attack at will. Kill all those who dare to enter the city without mercy.”
Fan Xian had already tossed Jing Ge’s question to the back of his mind, giving orders coldly and straightforwardly. Pulling on his reins, he left the main group of the Black Knights and, without a single guard, rode onto a narrow mountain trail toward Jiaozhou at the foot of the mountain.
[JW1] A literal translation of this was “Jing No Life. It was meant to be a play on “Jing No Name.”
[JW2] This is a reference to some show – I haven’t seen it, so I tried my best to capture the joke