Joy of Life - Chapter 423[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:00]
Chapter 423: Great Things To Be Done
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Summer was bright and beautiful, which was no lie, but to say that the afternoon was humid and hot, that was also true. All of Jingdou was enveloped in the heat of summer, which made everyone uncomfortable. Often, the clear water drunk would not even take half an hour before it seeped out through the skin with the residue in the body. It became an oily moisture that covered an entire person and made them uncomfortable all over and breathing difficult.
Lower-class commoners, who did hard labor carrying large bags up the steps downstream of the Liujing River, were particularly affected. Their sweat soaked their entire body and dripped onto the green stone steps creating countless lines of water, which appeared somewhat shocking. The large trees beside the dock extended their leaves but were unable to fully block out the sun in the sky. The clean wind from the river was also unable to wipe away the heat. On the contrary, it brought humidity.
By the stone steps, a black dog was lying under the shade of a tree with his red tongue extended and panting. It looked with pity at the hard laborers who were almost unable to breathe under life’s heavy burdens.
On Liujing River, a plainly decorated boat was floating along. The Second Prince of Qing Kingdom slowly drew back his sympathetic gaze from the shore and turned his body to smile slightly. “Fan Xian is indeed an incredible person. Not even speaking of the silver the palace treasury sent back, he brought a great deal of food from Dongyi and Northern Qi earlier. He must have guessed that this year would be a busy one in repairing the riverbanks. Even if the summer floods did no harm, the grain production in the South has yet to recover. They would certainly need disaster relief.”
A number of merchant boats were stopped at the river docks. Hundreds of hard laborers were moving the grain that Qing Kingdom had bought onboard and then using the waterways to send it to the Southern provinces that had not yet recovered from last year’s disaster.
The cute girl beside the Second Prince blinked her bright eyes and smiled but did not say anything.
The Second Prince chuckled and continued, “Do you find it strange that I am saying positive things about Fan Xian? In reality, the reason is very simple. Fan Xian is worthy of being praised for some things, particularly in the area of state affairs. Although he has never governed a road or department alone, he…has heart. Perhaps you don’t know, but we just found out that when his student Yang Wanli went to the Water Transport Governor’s yamen, a large amount of silver was actually secretly put into the Water Transport’s yamen. This is why the repairs of the riverbanks this year is progressing so smoothly.”
A glimmer of mockery appeared on the Second Prince’s face. “If he had the departments in court pull together the silver, and if the Ministry of Revenue and Ministry of Works took their time, who knows how long it would take?”
He continued faintly, “Thus, when governing the world, methods and tricks can all be taught, but thoughtfulness like Fan Xian’s…it is very rare. This is all silver he had worked hard to scrape out from Jiangnan, yet he was not miserly at all and threw all into the River Transport. Father is the one who gets the accolades, and the people of the world are those who benefit. What can you gain? This Fan Xian…I understand him less and less.”
The day was hot. The manor in Jingdou had also become humid and hot, so the Second Prince had brought his new wife of half a year to Liujing River to relax and find a quiet place to speak intimately. However, seeing the lively scene in the distant at the docks, the Second Prince couldn’t help his heart moving. So, he had changed the topic of conversation onto the far away from Jingdou, Fan Xian.
“Fan Xian…who knows what kind of person he is? No one understands him.” Ye Ling’er smiled slightly, a complicated expression rose between her brows. How spirited and strange was this girl back then. Now that she had married the Second Prince and had suddenly become a royal wife, she now had to have an aura of nobility. She also seemed much more mature.
“Indeed, I don’t understand.” A self-mocking smile rose on the Second Prince’s face that looked somewhat like Fan Xian’s.
“These things he has done since arriving in Jingdou from Danzhou…just how many people could understand them?”
Thinking about it, he shook his head and smiled for some reason. He slowly picked up Ye Ling’er’s hand and walked to the back of the boat, looking at the wide mirror-like expanse of the Liujing River as if he wanted to use the spiritual influence of the sky and the expanse to soothe his heart.
The servants of the manor at the tail of the boat saw this scene and all knowingly gave them a wide berth, not daring to disturb the prince’s and his wife’s quiet. The entire manor, and even all of Jingdou, knew that after the Second Prince and Ye Ling’er’s wedding, the two got on very well. Although there had yet to be news of the wangfei’s pregnancy, this young couple were often together. The Second Prince was handsome, and Ye Ling’er was a famous beauty in Jingdou. This fine-looking couple was the envy of countless bystanders.
Ye Ling’er leaned at the Second Prince’s side and lightly held onto his arm. Her eyes, which were brighter than the surface of the water, gazed at a gull flying in the distance. She was thinking of that distant man, her teacher, and she couldn’t stop a glimmer of a smile appearing at the corners of her mouth. “The people in Jingdou all fear Fan Xian. They all think he is sinister and scary to his bones. Because of that, they’ve caused all these troubles and killed so many people. In my view, this bastard is nothing more than a jokester who likes to mess around.”
The Second Prince also smiled. He knew of his wife’s frequent visits to the Fan family before she married him and that his wife and the Chen girl referred to each other as sisters. Their relationship was not ordinary. He also knew that his wife secretly called Fan Xian “teacher.” However, he would never suspect that his wife and Fan Xian had any romantic relations. Although Ye Ling’er could be childish at times, when it came to the important matters, she was open and honest. If she did not like him, even an imperial edict couldn’t have made her marry him. But, when he sometimes heard Ye Ling’er use that familiar tone in bringing up Fan Xian, he still couldn’t help a feeling of absurdness and a faint jealousy.
“It is not as simple as messing around and being absurd,” The Second Prince said warmly. “A few days ago, I heard someone in the Crown Prince’s retinue made a book to see how many people Fan Xian has killed in these two years and how many people he’s offended. In the end…he had a very long list of names. This made the Crown Prince unbelievably happy.”
Ye Ling’er sputtered with laughter, thinking, How did teacher become like a demon? Including the spring examination’s case and the matter of controlling the First Bureau, Fan Xian had indeed already offended most of the powers in court.
“That is why it is said that no one understands just what Fan Xian wants to do. Aunt is his mother-in-law…and she has already expressed her kind intentions. However…he did not accept. I don’t need to talk about me. Ever since he returned to the capital, I have been trying to reconcile with him. He has chosen, unusually valiantly, to strike me down.” The Second Prince smiled self-mockingly. “I admit, the Niulan Street incident was my fault, but…in the court, it is not uncommon for enemies to become friends.”
Ye Ling’er glanced at him and murmured, “His personality is stubborn, and he likes to hold grudges. He’s not that easy to convince.”
“But how does this benefit him?” The Second Prince furrowed his brows. “To have offended so many people…in the future…I’m saying that once father is not here anymore and the new Emperor takes the throne, he is certain to take back his authority. Without the Overwatch Council in his hand, these vengeful powers will all fall on him. Who could protect him?”
“How do you know that the new Emperor will definitely take back his authority?” Ye Ling’er lowered her head and asked. “I don’t see the Crown Prince having too much of a chance, and the Third Prince is Fan Xian’s student.”
“The Third Prince is too young,” The Second Prince sighed and said. “The process of a person’s growth will always be broken by a sudden event. It was like that for me back then. When the Third Prince is a bit older, our father will naturally find another way. If, in the future, it is really the Third Prince who sits on that chair, do you think at that time the Third Prince will still be like the Third Prince right now? Do you think he will allow Fan Xian to maintain his current authority?”
“Us brothers, none of us can compare to father. No matter which one of us inherits, the first thing we need to do for sure is to get rid of Fan Xian, that big tiger.” The Second Prince smiled slightly. “This is something that must happen. Given Fan Xian’s intelligence, he must have thought of this point.”
Ye Ling’er glanced at him worriedly and quietly said, “You still haven’t given up.”
The Second Prince didn’t continue this sentence, instead, he slowly said, “Since Fan Xian understands this point and already knows he has offended most of the officials, then what can he do? Unless he is preparing to walk a completely different path, he will never be able to shake off the future chaos.”
The Second Prince turned his head around and smiled warmly. “Sitting on that chair himself.”
One’s position dictates the topic of conversation. Although the content being discussed on the boat on Liujing River was shocking, in reality, the topic was often discussed in various manors. Ye Ling’er did not fear it. On the contrary, she felt sick of it. She forced a smiled and said, “Given my understanding of teacher, he would not do this.”
“Oh?” The Second Prince was very interested. “Why do you say that?”
“Fan Xian likes to travel the world. Did you not know?” Ye Ling’er smiled and said. “Being sent to Jiangnan this time, everyone knew that it was the Emperor banishing him in disguise as well as not wishing for his past to raise too many waves in Jingdou. He meant it as a way to avoid the publicity. However, as far as I know, Fan Xian did not have any resentment toward this banishment. He went very happily. The opportunity to see different people and scenery, for him, seems to be the greatest joy.”
It had to be said, Ye Ling’er did indeed understand Fan Xian very well.
“Sitting on that chair? It would be difficult for him to ever leave the Palace. Fan Xian would suffocate.”
Husband and wife smiled at the same time.
The Second Prince thought for a moment and then said, “But if he doesn’t fight for this chair…will he be willing to let go? Furthermore, even if he was willing to let go, will other’s let him go?”
“Is the chair really that good?” Ye Ling’er frowned and said. “Furthermore…on what basis will Fan Xian fight for it?’
“On what basis?” The Second prince smiled. “On the basis of father’s unquestionable trust in him. On the basis of the full support of Director Chen, Prime Minister Lin, and Minister Fan. On the basis of the Overwatch Council in his left and the palace treasury in his right. And, don’t forget, he’s also surnamed Li. Speaking honestly, in the current situation, if nothing major changes and Fan Xian wanted to take the throne after father passes, he has the best chance.”
Ye Ling’er only heard the words “major changes.” If what her husband beside her said was true, then there was definitely a lot of people preparing for this major change.
The Second Prince continued, “At the moment, Fan Xian’s only blank is support from the military. There is no opportunity for him in the Ye and Qin families, but don’t forget my dear brother the Great Prince. I don’t know what is up with him recently. He is always putting on an expression of looking at Fan Xian like he’s family.”
This said, the Second Prince finally revealed a glimmer of resentment. Thinking about it, he and the Great Prince had grown up together and were very close. Who knew that once Fan Xian entered the capital, the Great Prince instead stood on Fan Xian’s side. If it had been anyone else, they would not feel very good about it.
“The most important indication of which way the wind is blowing is the Jiaozhou matter,” the Second Prince said worriedly. “Although father has always unquestionably trusted Fan Xian, he has never allowed him to touch anything related to the military. However, this time he arranged for him to handle the Jiaozhou Navy. I’m worried that father is preparing to relax his hold on this matter.”
Ye Ling’er slowly lowered her head and said a moment later, “After all this, when all is said and done, you’re still unsatisfied in your heart.”
After a moment of silence, the Second Prince said, slowly and determinedly, “I am indeed not satisfied…if others can sit on that chair, why can’t I? If I sit on that chair, I will not do worse than the others. If the world didn’t have an extra Fan Xian, why would I be complaining and groaning on this boat?”
Another moment of silence.
“I admit, in my competition against Fan Xian, I was completely defeated.” A glimmer of freedom and ease suddenly appeared on the Second Prince’s face. “However, sometimes I am a bit unsatisfied. If father had initially given the Overwatch Council to me, given the palace treasury to me, would I have really done worse than Fan Xian? I am indeed not satisfied. To have schemed for all these years and have all this come to nothing because of this brother that suddenly appeared…I still want to fight for it. Even if I lose to him in the end, I want to lose wholeheartedly and satisfactorily.”
“Why bother?” Ye Ling’er sighed and gazed at him.
The Second Prince’s heart moved. He realized that ever since his wife married into his manor, her previous thoughtless cuteness had lessened a great deal. Perhaps this was the price of marrying him, having to hear about these fights and schemes all day.
Ye Ling’er quietly said, “I know recently that the Eldest Princess wanted you to reconcile with the Crown Prince, and I also know why this is so. Coming back to his topic, I’ve never liked the Eldest Princess, even though she is Chen’er’s mother.”
“Aunt is a very incredible person.” The Second Prince chose his words carefully. “She has done a great deal for the court. A lot of the time, she is not doing it for her own selfish motives. Taking this matter as an example, if, in the beginning, she had truly only been thinking of her future wealth, then initially she would not have chosen me and educated me. She could have always stood with the Eastern Palace. The Eastern Palace also needed her.”
“Then why did she choose you?” A glimmer of cynicism appeared at the corners of Ye Ling’er’s mouth. “Is it not because you were born prettier than the Crown Prince?”
“Enough!” The corners of the Second Prince’s mouth pressed together slightly as he roared in a low voice. He had never thought that this wife would had such anger toward the Eldest Princess.
Ye Ling’er huffed coldly and said, “Is that not true? She encouraged you to fight against the Crown Prince and now she wants you to reconcile with the Crown Prince to fight against Fan Xian and the Third Prince. All this fighting back and forth, what purpose is there? Even if she succeeds in the future and Fan Xian loses power, at that time, what about you and the Crown Prince? Who will sit in that chair?”
“That is a matter for the future,” The Second Prince lowered his head and said slowly. “Aunt loves me.”
“A matter for the future?” Ye Ling’er was angry. She finally recovered her bright appearance when she first rode into Jingdou. Very straightforwardly, she said, “She is only reveling in the process of this matter. As for whether you or the Crown Prince wins in the end, they’ll still be her puppet. What need is there for you to still be involved with them? The Crown Prince inheriting is logical and natural. Fan Xian needs to protect himself, which is his matter. As long as you no longer pay attention to this, you can extricate yourself easily. What isn’t good about it?”
Suddenly, Ye Ling’er seemed to feel her words were too rushed. She sighed, softening her voice, and said, “Even if you don’t think about others, you have to think about me and your mother in the Palace. Fan Xian once said, retreating one step gives you the wide oceans and skies. Is that not a joyful thing?”
Fan Xian again. The Second Prince listened to these words and couldn’t help laughing. “Then why doesn’t he retreat?”
“If he retreats, he will die. You’ve said this before.” Ye Ling’er gazed into his eyes without any show of weakness. “But if you retreat, who can do anything to you?”
“What can they do to me?” The Second Prince pressed his thin lips together and faintly said. “I’ve killed Fan Xian’s people before. Could he let me go in the future? If the Crown Prince takes the throne, could he let me go? The Third Prince…who knows what kind of person he will become.”
Ye Ling’er fell into a disappointed silence.
“The Crown Prince is just a reputation we need at the moment.” The Second Prince closed his eyes, smelling the river breeze flowing over his face. In a quiet voice, he said, “Right now, we need the name of his Eastern Palace and grandmother’s support.”
Ye Ling’er knew there were still many things he hadn’t told her and could not tell her. Yet, in these words, she still heard the sound of some kind of danger approaching. She couldn’t resist a shiver in this summer’s day. In a quiet voice, she said, “The Crown Prince isn’t an idiot. How could he not guess the Eldest Princess’ thoughts? How could he trust her?”
“This is something aunt needs to think about. How to repair the cracks from before, and how to have the Crown Prince and the Queen completely believe her sincerity. This has nothing to do with me. I only have to wait.”
The Second Prince spoke quietly. Slowly opening his eyes, he gazed at the surface of the lake and said each word clearly. “Last year, I didn’t manage to endure, and so gave Fan Xian an opportunity. At least now I’ve learned to be patient and to endure. After all, I am my father’s son. No matter how the situation changes, I will also have a fraction of a chance.”
Ye Ling’er gazed at him with disappointment and said, “I understand what you mean. You think the Eldest Princess will still choose you to inherit, but…to be helped up by someone else, is that really meaningful?”
“Never mind being helped up. Even if I’m being led to the throne, what of it?” The Second Prince suddenly smiled. “Father was also helped onto the throne by a woman and still became a renowned Emperor. As long as you’re sitting on that chair, there are always great things to be done.”
Because of the problem of the Jiaozhou rebellion, Chen Pingping, who had long been nurturing his old age in the Chen Garden, was finally pushed back into Jingdou by the Emperor’s three edicts and returned to that square, grey building.
In that dark and secret room in the Overwatch Council, Chen Pingping gently stroked the lamb wool blanket on his lap and couldn’t resist giving out a yawn. Using a slightly sharp voice, he said, “What a tiny matter, yet they still had to disturb me.”
Miraculously, Fei Jie was not collecting medicine in the mountains. Instead, he was sitting beside Chen Pingping. In a raspy voice, he said, “Most importantly is the problem in the Palace. Fan Xian has made trouble again. Our Emperor likes him more and more, but the people in the Palace are becoming more and more afraid of him…I’m afraid some things will have to be brought ahead.”
“Is the Crown Prince an idiot?” Chen Pingping slowly asked. “Of course, he is indeed an idiot. Otherwise, why would he be with that crazy woman again.”
“Regardless of the Eldest Princess’ craziness, she still has her ways.” Fei Jie rolled his strangely colored eyes. Staring at Chen Pingping, he said, “Besides, isn’t this what you arranged? I even worked hard to make those medicines.”
Chen Pingping sighed. “The Crown Prince is too cowardly. We have to give him a hand.”
“It is truly a crime that will wipe out a family clan.” Fei Jie sighed. “I am a solitary person, but your old family home still has a large number of distant relatives.”
Chen Pingping smiled with ridicule. “You should be concerned about the trouble Fan Xian is going to make for you when he comes back to the capital at the end of the year. You made a medicine for the Chen girl, and in the end, you made an infertility medicine. After Fan Xian has no descendants, watch how he is going to tear you apart.”
Fei Jie said angrily, “To be able to cure the tuberculosis is already very good. What else does he want? Will he dare threaten his master and destroy his ancestors?”
“Then, I don’t understand. In any case, his recent letters have all be extremely angry, and he’s been asking where you’ve gone,” Chen Pingping said coldly.
In reality, Fei Jie always felt remorse in his heart because of this matter, so he had unconsciously avoided his most successful disciple. Hearing these words, he couldn’t help but pause. A moment later, he said, “Didn’t he take on a girl to share his room? Besides, Haitang is also over there…the body of a Sage girl shouldn’t be too bad. It shouldn’t have any problems with having a child.”
“Haitang Duoduo…is not a mother hen. Be careful that you don’t let people of Tianyi Dao hear this thought of yours.” Chen Pingping smiled slightly.
Fei Jie couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge him and directly asked, “Concerning the Jiaozhou matter, what’s your opinion?”
“Opinion?” Chen Pingping huffed coldly. “I gave the Shadow to him. I gave the Black Knights to him. I have the entire Overwatch Council to him…yet in the end, he made such a crude and low-class product to give to me!”
“Idiot.” Chen Pingping couldn’t stop himself shaking his head. “Without Yan Bingyun at his side, when it comes to such things as scheming and plotting, Fan Xian becomes an idiot. However, I really don’t know whether it’s because his luck is just better than other people’s or because of some other reason…the result of this matter isn’t too bad.”