Joy of Life - Chapter 424[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:01]
Chapter 424: Officials Have Heart
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Chen Pingping pushed his wheelchair to the window. As it has been his habit in the past, he gently lifted a corner of the black curtain and felt the heat outside being separated by the thick glass. He gazed at the corner of the Palace’s golden eaves and half closed his spiritless eyes, shrining his entire body into the wheelchair.
“I had Yan Bingyun come over.”
Fei Jie was not surprised at hearing this. He knew that each time before the Director did something major, he would always choose to have an escape path arranged. However, it was an escape path for him—it was for the Overwatch Council.
A light knocking sound came from outside the secret room. Chen Pingping listened for a while, and then a look of approval appeared on his face. The person knocking on the door was still just as unhurried and patient. Speaking strictly based on personality, he was indeed far more suitable than Fan Xian. He used a finger on his right hand to knock gently on the arm of his wheelchair.
Receiving consent, the person outside pushed open the door and entered. It wasn’t just anyone. It was the current leader of the Fourth Bureau, the person Chen Pingping had been discussing earlier, Yan Bingyun.
Yan Bingyung had already been rescued back to the country for almost a year. He had long recovered from the injuries he had received and recovered his icy appearance. He had the Fourth Bureau well organized. Compared to when his father Yan Ruohai was in this position, the current Fourth Bureau was even more imposing. In a flash, young master Yan had become an important and shadowy figure in Qing Kingdom.
However, the Overwatch Council’s works usually did not see much light, so Yan Bingyun’s name was not very well known. This did not stop the high and mighty officials, who had inside information, from doing everything they could to send their daughters to Yan manor. Without even bringing up Yan Bingyun’s own influence, power, and appearance, considering his good relationship to Fan Xian and the Yan manor’s dukedom, who didn’t want a son-in-law like this?
After Yan Bingyun entered the room, he bowed to Chen Pingping and reported the recent works of the Overwatch Council. With Chen Pingping retiring in the Chen Garden and Fan Xian far away by the sea, the daily running of the Overwatch Council was handled by him.
Chen Pingping closed his eyes and listened for a while before suddenly opening his mouth and asking, “Did Fan Xian not communicate with you earlier?”
Yan Bingyun shook his head. “The timing was too tight. The Council was only responsible for communicating the Palace’s intentions to the Commissioner. As to the specifics, the Second Bureau did not have time to develop a strategy. It was all handled by the Commissioner.”
Chen Pingping nodded and suddenly smiled. “How is your wedding being handled? A few days ago, your father came to the Chen Garden to ask me for ideas…only, this matter is not easy to handle.”
Yan Bingyun was silent. The elders in the Council were all aware of the matter of Lady Shen, but they had not spoken of it explicitly. The current wedding problem was posed by the Palace, so it was difficult for him to deal with.
The matter of Lady Shen was known to many people in Jingdou. It involved Jiangnan and what Fan Xian was doing in that matter, so it had long been closely guarded. Even if was exposed to the light in the future, for the sake of a good relationship between the South Kingdom and Northern Qi, Yan Bingyun would still not be able to publicly have Lady Shen marry into his manor.
“Drag it out for now,” Chen Pingping closed his eyes and said. “For this matter, go ask the thoughts of that person in the prince’s family and have her help you stall.”
The person in the prince’s family was the Great Prince’s wife, that Great Princess that married in from the distant Northern Qi. Ever since she married into the South Kingdom, she had been gentle and virtuous. She very much had the elegance of a great family. She was very well-liked by the empress dowager in the Palace. It was very different from the discrimination the Great Prince received.
Yan Bingyun’s face remained calm, but he was slightly moved in the depths of his heart. The old Director probably couldn’t even be bothered to care about the Jiaozhou matter, yet he was willing to give ideas for the wedding of someone like him. This kind of care toward his subordinates was truly…
“Let’s see how Fan Xian will handle it after he returns to the capital.” Chen Pingping suddenly laughed sharply. “This guy has a great deal of experience in being a matchmaker and in breaking marriage.”
These words were true. In the past few years, the Palace has granted four weddings, and two of them were related to the Fan manor. Fan Xian himself managed to marry Lin Wan’er. He then made 8,000 turns and made an earth and ground shaking noise to create a situation just for the sake of allowing his sister to escape from her granted marriage.
Every time he thought of this matter, Chen Pingping could not help but feel a glimmer of admiration for that kid—he was truly a troublemaker and obstinate person.
It was only now that Yan Bingyun found a moment to bow to Fei Jie and express his gratitude. In this year of recovery, Fei Jie had helped him quite a lot.
Chen Pingping finally coldly said, “The original plan was to have you and Fan Xian switch to have you first handle the First Bureau. However, looking at the recent circumstances…you need to prepare yourself mentally.”
Yan Bingyun was slightly startled. He didn’t know what preparations he had to make.
“Fan Xian can’t be too distracted by Council matters,” Chen Pingping lightly said. “After Wang Qinian returns to the capital, either he will be in the First Bureau or stubbornly be stuck to Fan Xian’s side. Find someone capable in the Fourth Bureau and prepare them to take your position.”
Yan Bingyun faintly guessed something, but he did not become excited and only nodded.
“After I retire, you have to help Fan Xian steady his position.” Chen Pingping’s voice seemed to be a bit tired, it was like he was entrusting information to an orphan. “Even if Fan Xian became a director, he would probably still not have the patience for these detailed affairs. Once you are Commissioner, you have to help him handle it well.”
Yan Bingyun silently knelt down with one leg, wrapping one hand around his other fist and said, “Yes.”
Chen Pingping looked at him and Fei Jie, who also looked at him. A moment later, the old cripple quietly said, “Everyone under heaven believes…Fan Xian is the first Commissioner since the establishment of the Council, but the Yan family has always worked in the Council. Of course, you know there was a previous person. You will become the third Commissioner since the establishment of the Overwatch Council. Remember this, it is both an honorable and dangerous position.”
Yan Bingyun felt a pressure pushing down on his shoulders, rendering him unable to move.
“That day will arrive very soon, so I want you to listen carefully and understand my following words.”
“The appearance of the first Commissioner was to watch me,” Chen Pingping said very lightly, without any trace of unhappiness. “Of course, he had that ability. His Commissioner identity is very unconventional. Usually, he doesn’t do much. However, even though he no longer manages Council affairs, if you have the opportunity to see him in the future…no matter what he orders, do as he says.”
This time, Yan Bingyun did not directly reply with “yes.” Instead, he was silent for a moment then said, “Even if it contradicts an edict?”
Chen Pingping opened his eyes. The light in his eyes was like that of an eagle on a stone precipice, incomparably sharp. After a long moment, he coldly said, “Yes.”
Yan Bingyun breathed in deeply twice and forced down the glimmer of confusion and unease in his heart. He tried his best to calm down and asked, “How will I know who he is? The Commissioner token is on Sir Fan junior.”
Chen Pingping smiled, “We all call him Sir Wu…of course, some call him Lao Wu. However, you don’t have the right to call him this. As long he is in front of you, you will naturally know he is him. This is a very simple matter.”
Once you see him, you will know he is him. This was an awkward and mysterious saying, however, Yan Bingyun cleverly understood.
“His existence is the Overwatch Council’s greatest secret,” Chen Pingping said coldly. “On this point, the Emperor has given strict orders, so you have to know to keep it secret. As long as Sir Wu is around, even if the situation changes greatly in the future, at least this broken yard of ours, this abnormal existence, will continue to struggle on whilst at death’s door.”
Yan Bingyun knelt with his head lowered. He understood what the Director meant. The Overwatch Council was the Emperor’s Special Forces, yet it was not restricted to just this. It was one of the sharp swords held across the Qing Kingdom’s official, and the Emperor was the hand that held this sword. If this hand suddenly disappeared…this sword, the Overwatch Council, would immediately become the opponent that everyone wanted to break. However, who was this Sir Wu who had a deterrent power close to that of the Emperor?
Chen Pingping raised two fingers and coldly said, “Fan Xian is the second Commissioner of this Council, however, you know about his identity. The Overwatch Council can only be one portion of his journey, and it cannot forever limit him within it. You will be the Council’s third Commissioner. What you need to do is not the same as the previous two.”
Chen Pingping sighed tiredly and said, “Your task is…if one day I am dead and Fan Xian has gone crazy, you have to ignore everything and endure. If you have to bear humiliation to save your life or must make great compromises to protect the whole, you must protect this Council. Even if you can’t protect it on the surface, you must save the networks we have always hidden in the shadows.”
Yan Bingyun could no longer pretend to calmness. He gazed at the old man in the wheelchair with shock because the old man’s explanation of the three generations of Commissioners clearly contradicted each other, particularly Sir Wu and his tasks. If Sir Wu didn’t die, the Overwatch Council would not fall. What about his task? Furthermore, the old man was speaking so seriously and sorrowfully.
There was only one possibility: the Direction estimated that in the near future, either Sir Wu would die or a power that the Overwatch Council was completely unable to stand against would fall down out of the sky. For example, the hand holding the sword could easily let go and allow the sword that was the Overwatch Council to fall into the yellow mud.
Why would the Emperor bring down the Overwatch Council? Why did the Director seem like he was entrusting this to an orphan?
Yan Bingyun was always intelligent and calm, however, he couldn’t help but be greatly troubled. He did not dare to think deeply about this problem and or continue asking questions. He didn’t know what the old man in the wheelchair was going to do, and he didn’t know what was going to happen or how it would impact everyone’s lives.
“Say, why do you think the world has an Overwatch Council?” Chen Pingping’s words seemed like he was asking Yan Bingyun, but it was also like he was asking himself.
Yan Bingyun’s forehead was furrowed tightly. His mind was actually still stuck on his earlier shock. The Director’s loyalty to the Emperor had never been doubted by anyone, and the Emperor’s favor toward the Director was a rarely seen honor. Why was it like this?
“For the Emperor…” Yan Bingyun opened his mouth unconsciously to speak but immediately closed his mouth.
“I hope that everyone in Qing Kingdom will be able to become uninhibited. To not surrender when being mistreated by others, to not be frustrated when assailed by disaster, to not be afraid to fix things when seeing injustice, to not ingratiate oneself like jackals and beasts…”
Chen Pingping suddenly laughed out loud.
Yan Bingyun was too familiar with these words. Every member of the Overwatch Council had seen these words as they grew up. These words were inscribed on the stone tablet in front of the Overwatch Council, golden and shiny, unfaded over the years. Inscribed at the end were three characters—Ye Qingmei.
Everyone under heaven knew that Ye Qingmei was the Mistress of the Ye family back in the day and Sir Fan junior’s birth mother.
“Actually, there are two more lines after these words,” Chen Pingping closed his eyes and slowly said. “Except, no one dared to bring them up again after her death. Go home and ask Ruohai. He will tell you what those two lines are.”
The tens of thousands of words in Yan Bingyun’s heart only became this one word.
Young master Yan sat in the carriage and hurried back to Yan manor. Maybe it was because the temperature was too hot or because he was overly fearful in the depths of his heart, but sweat had completely soaked through his always white shirt.
Passing through the small back garden, he didn’t acknowledge the greetings of the servants along the way. With a serious expression, he entered the study.
In the study, the still retired Yan Ruohai was playing Go against a woman. The pieces landing on the stone platform did not make much noise, yet the matte pieces exuded a killing aura.
Seeing Yan Bingyun entering the room and sensing that his son’s state of mind was strange today, Yan Ruohai smiled warmly at the person opposite and said, “Today, Lady Shen’s mind is not on the game.”
Lady Shen, the only surviving daughter of the previous Commander of the Northern Qi Brocade Guards Shen Zhong, who had escaped to Qing Kingdom, gave an embarrassed smile and rose. Giving Yan Ruohai a bow, she glanced with concern at Yan Bingyun and slowly walked out of the study. As she left, she carefully closed the door.
Yan Ruohai looked at his son and gently said, “What happened?”
After a moment of silence, Yan Bingyun recounted Director Chen’s orders in the Overwatch Council.
“Sir Fan junior is certain to become Director.” Yan Ruohai looked tenderly at his son. “In the future, his attentions will have to be placed in the court. He will certainly need someone to handle specific Council affairs. You’ve worked very hard these few years and have done a lot for the court. Although, in my opinion, you are still a bit too young, however…since Sir Fan junior trusts you so, you’ll have to help him well as the Commissioner.”
For this old man, Fan Xian’ plans in the future of the Overwatch Council were clear. In the Overwatch Council, other than his Qinian Unit, the person he most trusted was Yan Bingyun. His plans for Yan Bingyun were not surprising.
“However…” Yan Ruohai changed the topic and sighed. “Why would it be Commissioner? Your experience, your ability…are all still very distant.”
He mockingly laughed, “You aren’t Sir Wu.”
“You also know…about Sir Wu?” Yan Bingyun anxiously asked.
“I’ve been in the Council for many years,” Yan Ruohai smiled slightly and said. “No matter how you put it, this is a good thing. Our family social status has honor again, so why are you so distressed?”
“That saying…what are the following two lines?” Yan Bingyun worriedly asked.
“Oh,” Yan Ruohai faintly said. “Those are two very treasonous lines…no matter who says it, they will die.”
Yan Ruohai smiled slightly and said, “Back then, someone once said those words and even she…died.”
“Don’t think too much,” Yan Ruohai sighed and said. “There is no need to doubt the Director’s loyalty to the Emperor. I think he is worried about what will happen after the Emperor. Enduring humiliation as part of an important mission means to protect your own power under impossible circumstances and wait for the future.”
He stared into his son’s eyes and said each word clearly, “Perhaps…you will become a shadowy thief that sells out their master for glory, a shameless bastard that tens of thousands will curse heartily. Have you prepared yourself mentally for these things?”
Yan Bingyung did not reply to his father’s words. He calmly asked, “Father, if…and I’m saying if, you had to choose between the Palace and the Council, which would you choose?”
What was he choosing? It was self-evident.
Yan Ruohai used an amused gaze too look at his son and sighed. “Silly child, naturally I will choose the Council…if the Director did not have this confidence in me, how could he tell you so much?”
Yan Bingyun forced a smile. He hadn’t expected that his father would reply so simply and clearly. He was silent for a moment and then calmly said, “I am your son, so…I have made those mental preparations.”
“It’ll be hard for you, child.”
Out of the blue, Yan Ruohai suddenly said, “These years have indeed been hard for him.”
In the Royal Palace of Qing Kingdom, in an inky darkness, the layers of Palace eaves emanated a cold and strange scent. The Emperor wore light clothing. He stood in the night wind in front of the Taiji Palace and looked coldly at the square in front of the Palace, enjoying the rare coolness.
In the corner of Taiji Palace, the eunuch and serving girls were silently standing there while the guards responsible for the Emperor’s safety carefully maintained their distance to ensure they could not hear the Emperor’s conversation with the person beside him.
Chen Pingping sat on the wheelchair gently stroking the lamb wool blanket on his lap. He sighed and said, “Go slowly. The resentment in a child’s heart…I think it has already been much smoothed over these years.”
The Emperor smiled slightly and said, “Actually, in that little tower…the child has already forgiven me…however, there is always a feeling of deficiency.”
Chen Pingping laughed in a slightly high voice and replied, “Of all the princes, currently he has the greatest power…what should be given to him has all been given to him. Although he is stubborn, he is not stupid. He understands Your Majesty’s intentions.”
“What I’m afraid of is that he doesn’t care about these things.” A glimmer of a smile rose between the Emperor’s brows. “At the end of the year, he insisted on going to the Fan family’s ancestral temple. Isn’t that him showing his resentment to me?”
The Emperor didn’t wait for Chen Pingping to open his mouth before continuing, “I…can give him a name, but…not right now. Tell him this for me.”
Chen Pingping understood what the Emperor meant. The empress dowager was still alive, so the Emperor had to consider her face. However, given these words, it seemed like all that Fan Xian had done these two years, his daring to be a solitary official, already made the Emperor have enough trust in him.
“Your Majesty has heart,” Chen Pingping smiled and said.
In reality, words like “have heart” should never be used to describe a ruler, however, he and the Emperor had grown up together. In addition to all that had happened since, it made their official and ruler relationship unusual.
“Having heart is one matter.” The Emperor slowly shook his head. “What is important is that this child has heart, furthermore, he has this ability…the Northern Qi matter, the Jiangnan matter, the Jiaozhou matter…they all gave the court face as well as substance. Furthermore, this child is not greedy for wealth or fame. It is truly very rare.”
Chen Pingping was silent for a moment and then said, “Should he be transferred back?”
“No rush,” The Emperor said lightly. “The Ming family still has tails that have yet to be chopped off, and the Junshang Conference that you spoke of when you entered the Palace a few days ago…have An Zhi sweep for them again in Jiangnan.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
The Emperor suddenly turned his hand, grasped the wheelchair, and began to push it. He walked along the long corridor in front of Taiji Palace. As he pushed, he smiled and said, “Your age isn’t that advanced, yet these years you are really showing your age. How could you still need a lamb’s wool blanket on such a hot day? Are you not sweltering? Has Fei Jie given you medicine or not?”
“I’m someone who is about to die. What’s the point in wasting that medicine money?” Chen Pingping’s white hair flew above the wheelchair. “Your Majesty, let go, your old servant is not worthy.”
Only when it was just the two of them would Chen Pingping refer to himself as “old servant.”
“If I say you are worthy, then you are worthy,” The Emperor said calmly. “Thinking back to King Cheng’s manor, you were a little eunuch sent over by the Palace. From that moment on, you served me every day. Now, we are both old. You’ve broken your leg in your service to me. What is it that I push you a little?”
Chen Pingping shrank his body and sighed. “Sometimes, when I think back, it seemed yesterday is still before my eyes. Your servant seemed to still be accompanying Your Majesty, fighting with Prince Jing and Minister Fan…”
The Emperor was silent for a moment. He sighed and said, “Yes…I was thinking a few days ago. It would be good to go back to Danzhou to visit sometime.”
For the Emperor to go on an inspection tour was no simple matter, so Chen Pingping didn’t even think and directly said, “No.”
The Emperor smiled slightly and said, “What are you worried about now?”
Chen Pingping knew that behind the Emperor’s visit to Danzhou there would certainly be something big. He lowered his voice and slowly said, “You’ve made up your mind?”
The Emperor thought for a moment then shook his head. “Not yet.”
Without waiting for Chen Pingping to open his mouth, the most powerful person in the world coldly said, “You and I are both people who crawled out from under piles of corpses back then. These little fights and arguments of these little clowns are not enough to move me to clean them up. However, sometimes I am greedy. If Yunrui truly has the ability to convince those two bastards to take action, I can use it to complete that matter we have long wanted to finish. Wouldn’t that be marvelous?”
“Too dangerous.” Chen Pingping sighed. He was thinking how to make the Emperor’s thoughts more determined.
The Emperor smiled slightly and said, “Under heaven, is it not to gain through risk?”
In the distance, the serving girls and eunuchs watched this scene. Seeing the Emperor personally pushing Director Chen’s wheelchair for him, they couldn’t help feeling incomparably shocked as well as incomparably warm. Such a legendary story between rulers and officials was truly rarely seen.