Joy of Life - Chapter 426[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:01]
Chapter 426: A Letter On The Sea Breeze
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Ever since his rebirth, or more accurately, ever since he moved from Danzhou to Jingdou, Fan Xian rode in a black carriage, wore black robes, held a black dagger, and walked in the dark. All over his body, inside and out, shone a blackness.
On the expansive blue sea, the ship was pure. The mast was tall, and the white sails were like the clean wings of a massive bird that seemed to be heading toward the white clouds on the horizon.
That cripple, Lieutenant Dan, had once tied himself to the mast and bitterly cursed about the injustices of this world to the rain and world-shaking waves.
Fan Xian was at the top of the mast at this moment, but did not have this feeling. After comparing Chen Pingping to his good friend Forrest Gump, he—wearing a light white shirt—narrowed his eyes slightly. Welcoming the morning sea, his thoughts and state of mind became as pure and joyful as a scene seen by chance.
To curse heaven and earth, to blame the gods and accuse others, to fight against the heaven and earth, to become a large “person” written with a pie and a na[JW1] , this was not the life desired by the selfish and death-fearing Fan Xian. He was greedily enjoying each moment of his rebirth. Wealth, beautiful women, and immense power were needed, and the occasional enjoyment of solitude was also needed.
After leaving Danzhou, although there were many amusing things that could be played with, each day was busy with schemes and plots, killing people, and preventing himself from being killed. It had been a long time since he enjoyed this kind of complete relaxation and emptiness of having nothing to think about
Without question, Fan Xian was the first little bourgeois in the Qing Kingdom. That mother of his was clearly of the 保尔[JW2] faction. So he was definitely not going to pass up a bourgeois opportunity like going out on the sea to enjoy the sea breeze, drink good wine like Chu Liuxiang, eat beef, and be like young master Xu in pretending he was the master of the boat. It was a pity that there were not many beauties in bikinis on this boat.
The boat broke through the waves leaving a thin, white trail on the surface of the blue sea. It seemed to narrowly pass by the red sun. On the mast, the young man waved his arms, moved his feet, and sang with his mouth. He was truly very like a monkey.
The sea breeze in the morning was actually a bit chilly. After Fan Xian yelled loudly a few times, the corner of his shirt blown by the wind felt a bit cold. He didn’t feel very well everywhere on his body. Although his inner strength had been cultivated to the point where he didn’t feel the heat or the cold, this kind of wetness was still uncomfortable. Only now did he know that there would always be a price for acting cool, so he somewhat resentfully prepared to return to the deck.
He still couldn’t resist looking greedily again at the seemingly boundless sea as an unnamed desire surged into his heart. This kind of desire had begun to appear in his heart from last year, but he had never been able to accurately grasp just what it was. He had once discussed it with Haitang but still not manage to dig it out from his heart.
The wide and expansive sea outside the boat created a strange feeling within his heart that could never completely relax. He furrowed his forehead and spat out a gob of spit. It flew in an arc and fell far away into the ocean and made a few extra bubbles on the sea, adding a bit more pollution.
The navy officials and Overwatch Council on the deck below looked up at the scene. Over these few days, they had become used to the occasional deranged action the imperial envoy revealed. Although it was strange for the immortal poet of a generation and a powerful official to suddenly become a monkey, and one which only stood on the top of the mast gazing into the distance, everyone thought again and figured that since all geniuses would have their own unique eccentricities, it was understandable.
Fan Xian’s action of spitting was seen by many of the people on the deck. A sailor couldn’t help but sigh in admiration and said, “Even his spitting is handsome.”
“Ooooo…ooooo….” A strange cry came from the top of the mast. “I am Tarzan[JW3]! I am Tarzan!”
The people on the deck looked at each other. The sailor who fawned earlier was indeed slightly more daring than normal people. He gathered his courage and asked the Overwatch Council official beside him, “Sir, what mountain is Mount Tai?”
The person he asked was Fan Xian’s trusted aide Hong Changqing. He looked at him coldly and then turned his face away.
A wind picked up and with a gentle slap, a pair of bare feet landed firmly on the deck. A young man wearing a white unlined garment released the rope in his hand and yawned. Beside him were sailors who rushed forward to retie the rope.
Fan Xian had jumped down from the top of the mast.
Although they had seen this scene many times, many people on the deck couldn’t help but be dumbstruck. How tall was this mast? How could Sir Fan junior so easily jump down?
The gaze with which Hong Changqing looked at Fan Xian was filled with worship. Everyone knew that Sir Fan junior was a rarely seen ace in the world, but they were unable to imagine that a true ace was this incredible.
Someone moved a deck chair over, and Fan Xian laid down on it like all the bones in his body had turned soft. His two feet were propped on the railing, letting the sea breeze clean his feet and feeling the sea breeze blow through his toes like the detailed and gentle massage of a lover. He sighed with contentment.
In his left hand, he held a cup of the wine that the palace treasury produced, which he slowly drank from. In his right hand, he gently held the broken skins of nuts and brought it to his mouth. The same regret once again rose in Fan Xian. If Wan’er or Sisi could be beside him, that would be good.
“Sir.” Hong Changqing stood beside him opened his mouth to speak only to stop again. In the end, he couldn’t resist, he lowered his voice and aside, “What mountain is Mount Tai?”
In this world, there were many famous peaks. However, no one had ever heard of Mount Tai. Hong Changqing gently said, “Is it tonight’s secret order?”
Fan Xian was startled. He couldn’t resist smiling and scolded, “What Mount Tai? There is a Dong Mountain though.”
Suddenly, a sailor on the boat yelled in a high voice with a trace of excitement in his tone, “We’ve arrived at Dong Mountain!”
Fan Xian rose and walked with the excited officials of the Overwatch Council to the left railing of the boat, waiting for the appearance of the Dong Mountain. Fan Xian suddenly remembered for no reason that before he became sick in his previous life, he had once taken a boat the Three Gorges. As they were about to pass Goddess Peak, the travelers had also been excited like this.
At that time, Goddess Peak was hidden by clouds and rain of the Wushan county. They could only see the bedroom and did not see the goddess’ naked body. It was a great pity.
Fortunately, today’s weather was clear without a scrap of cloud in the sky. Dong Mountain did not hide his appearance.
The boat traveled north for a number of li, rounding its way around a patch of dark and dense beach before turning to the left with great difficulty. The people on the boat immediately felt their eyes light up. The usual scenery they had seen for many days suddenly disappeared and a mountain that stretched between heaven and earth filled everyone’s eyes.
The great Dong Mountain!
It was a stone mountain. It seemed normal, but this stone mountain was enormous. It was countless meters tall, and the side facing the sea was an incomparably smooth precipice. There was not even a fine crack on the precipice. It was as smooth as a piece of jade, like a sky god had once used a mystical sword to split open this mountain.
Fan Xian looked at this scene and sucked in a cold breath. Given the power of his vision, he judged this mountain to be at least 2,000 meters tall. How could the cliff facing the sea be completely smooth? Although he was a pig when it came to geology, he knew that this marvel was rare to see.
The great Dong Mountain was actually not large. It was just tall and steep like a stone column, a very large stone column.
Since the side facing the sea was smooth, no one knew how many millennia the sea wind had battered at it without it showing any movement. There were no traces from the movement of any animal. Even those proud and untamable giant beasts were unable to build their homes on it.
Fan Xian narrowed his eyes, thinking this place was indeed marvelous. Compared to the precipice of the Xi Mountain in Northern Qi it was more beautiful and more extreme.
While the side of the Dong Mountain facing away from the sea seemed to have very fertile soil, a verdant and lush wood grew on the mountain. It created the appearance of green and abundant woods.
One side was green, and one side was white. The two sides of the great Dong Mountain used these very different colors to adorn the world and formed a harmonious feeling like a piece of green jade becoming lighter. It was extremely beautiful.
Fan Xian couldn’t resist sucking in another cold breath. He knew of the great Dong Mountain. In this world, there were two places referred to as Dong Mountain. One was in the west of Qing Kingdom, which was a small mountain. It was only because Qing Temple had a temple there and a few folk gods worshipped there, so it had some fame.
The other was on the border of the Eastern Sea, the famous great Dong Mountain known to all.
The great Dong Mountain was famous because of its marvelous structure and perfect scenery, and it produced the most flawless jade. Fan Xian remembered a year ago, during the birthday of the Northern Qi empress dowager, someone had offered delicate jade as tribute from the great Dong Mountain. After Qing Kingdom had won this piece of land during their Northern expedition, it had built another Qing Temple on Dong Mountain and strictly forbade jade mining. Thus, there was only stock jade from Dong Mountain on the market, and the price has grown more and more expensive.
Another reason the great Dong Mountain was famous was because of the Qing Emperor’s edict. The incense smoke in the Qing Temple in the great Dong Mountain had already exceeded that of the Jingdou Qing Temple. One reason was that, after all, the Jingdou Qing Temple was closely guarded and commoners were often too afraid to go. This was not a problem at the Qing Temple in the great Dong Mountain. The second reason was that Qing Temple at the great Dong Mountain was truly miraculous. Many commoners who were too poor to see a doctor came to pray at the temple. Afterward, they would receive the blessing of the Temple and their serious illness would recover without being treated.
Two Dong Mountains. The mountain beside the sea was larger, more famous, and more miraculous, so everyone knew that the mountain before them was the great Dong Mountain while the one near Jingdou was known as the little Dong Mountain.
Although in his previous life Fan Xian was a materialist, in this life he was a staunch idealist. Looking at the precipice of the great Dong Mountain, he couldn’t help but narrow his eyes and once again felt as he did when he first entered a Qing Temple. Was there really a mysterious force that watched him?
Was it the temple?
He unconsciously shook his head.
Mountain trails could faintly be seen winding through the woods on the other side of the great Dong Mountain like a thin rope tightly binding that thick layer of green clothing around the naked body of the mountain.
Fan Xian’s gaze was very powerful, so he could also see that on top of Dong Mountain was a black temple directly facing the sea below the cliff as well as the sun opposite it.
He unconsciously smiled. He wouldn’t have to practice rock climbing on this precipice in the future, would he? This difficulty was a bit too extreme.
In a short time, the great Dong Mountain was left behind by the boat and thrown to the back of the heads of the people on the boat. Other than a few sighs admiration, no one said anything more and returned to their own stations.
Hong Changqing noticed that the imperial envoy seemed to be quieter than before. He only sat on the deck chair in a daze. For a lively and jumping monkey to suddenly turn back into a thinking monkey, something must have happened. He didn’t dare ask. He only stood properly behind Fan Xian ready to hand over alcohol, fruits, and snacks.
“When will we reach Danzhou?” Fan Xian suddenly opened his mouth and asked.
Hong Changqing was startled and then went to ask a naval officer before coming back to reply, “Afternoon.”
Fan Xian nodded and suddenly sighed.
Hong Changqing thought for a bit then hesitantly opened his mouth to ask, “Sir, why do you sigh?”
This time, it was Fan Xian who was startled. He was silent for a while and did not reply. He had discovered a funny, yet, also not funny reality. The trusted aides that accompanied him…no matter whether they were there from the start like Wang Qinian or came later like Deng Zi Yue and Su Wenmao, after following him for a while, they all seemed to be developing in the direction of a fall guy. Although, not everyone had talent like Lao Wang’s.
For example the sentence, “Sir, why do you sigh?” Is it not very similar to that line, “Princess, why do you smile?”
Fan Xian forced a smile. He now understood the origin of this matter. These confidants tried to please him, not because of anything else, only because he was the princess. Unintentionally or not, they would fawn over him, cheer him up, and share his worries.
Thinking about it, it seemed like it was only Xiao Yan’s attitude that was different from normal people.
Fan Xian smiled and followed Hong Changqing’s words, saying, “Looking forward to going home, a common emotion.”
He had lived in Danzhou for 16 years and had left for two. Suddenly about to go home, there would always be some strange emotions. He wondered how grandma was, whether or not the serving girls in the manor had married out, do the little yellow flowers on the cliff still bloom so faintly? After he left, was there still someone who stood on the roof and yelled loudly that it was raining and to take in the clothes? The hedonistic enemy he had dreamed in his childhood, had they had children? Dong’er, Dong’er, how is the tofu selling?
Hong Changqing chuckled, but he didn’t understand what the Commissioner was timid about. He thought, You are already an important court official and you’re returning to your hometown with the identity of an imperial envoy. You are certainly bringing honor to your ancestors. Wearing bright clothing and traveling by day, it would be incomparably joyful. Why was he worried like this?
Fan Xian glanced at him and asked, “Your hometown is in Quanzhou?”
“Yes, born and raised.”
“Hmm, when you have time, find an opportunity to visit.”
Two identities of the two people were different, naturally, they didn’t have much to say. Fan Xian was silent for a while then said, “After getting onshore, immediately go get the Council reports from the last few days.”
Hearing official matters being discussed, Hong Changqing’s face immediately grew serious. He answered severely, “Yes.”
In that split second, Fan Xian had ended the few days of leisurely travel on the sea early and recovered the role he was meant to play, once again hiding away his monkey-like self.
His thin lips pressed together slightly. There was no extra emotion on his handsome face.
“Send an order to Jiangnan. All methods to continue, but do not overdo it. Everything will be discussed after I return from the capital after the New Year.”
“You’ll follow beside me. Have the seven people from Jiaozhou go to Jiangnan to help Deng Zi Yue.”
Fan Xian had taken all eight of the Overwatch Council members who had been exposed because the methods in punishing the Jiaozhou rebellion had been relatively rough, while the military was not yet purged, Fan Xian did not want his subordinates to endure such danger. That nephew generation person of the old Qin family had already taken over the Jiaozhou Navy. As for how to punish the more than a thousand soldiers who were involved in the rebellion and how to carry out a purge without inciting a major uproar, these were all problems that the old Qin family had to consider. Fan Xian didn’t have to think about it anymore.
He was just worried about his student, Hou Jichang. Concerning the Jiaozhou Navy smuggling matter, Jichang couldn’t do much. The problem was that Fan Xian had to leave him in Jiaozhou. The commendations from the court at the end of the year were all uniform. Jichang was sure to be promoted. Furthermore, with Wu Gefei in Jiaozhou, he should know how to handle it.
As for Xu Maocai…Fan Xian smiled slightly, Let him remain buried, he might be useful one day.
Finding that the Commissioner had once more sank into thought, Hong Changqing didn’t disturb him and quietly waited to the side. Fan Xian suddenly opened his mouth and asked, “Are you very anxious to wipe out the Ming family?”
Ever since Hong Changqing had survived that little island, he had been lost in nightmares similar to that scenario. Suddenly hearing the Commissioner speak out loud the matter hidden deepest in his heart, his face blanched. He knelt down and said, “I don’t dare interrupt your plan.”
Fan Xian smiled slightly and said, “The Ming family…won’t be jumping around for much longer.”
He had invested so much time and effort into the trip down to Jiangnan. Although it seemed that the Ming family was still struggling on whilst at death’s door, Fan Xian knew that after paying such a price, he had long wrapped a rope around the Ming family, just like the rope Ming Qingda wrapped around his mother’s neck.
With the old Ming matriarch dead, that rope only needed to be tightened a little bit more. The Ming family was already dead. It just depended on when Fan Xian had the time to tighten it. Ming Qingcheng, the Fourth master, Zhaoshang, the palace treasury…Fan Xian was very pleased with his result.
In the afternoon, the boat rounded a patch of bend in the sea with silver sand. In the distance, they could see an inactive seaport. It was surrounded by seagulls dancing around. Under the distant setting sun, the surface of the sea rose and fell slightly like a golden wave. Under the golden wave, there were hidden currents of jade that were groups of fish.
Seeing those seagulls, Hong Changqing couldn’t help but furrow his brows in annoyance.
Fan Xian rose, looking at the officials on the dock ready to welcome him and the Black Knights that had arrived before him in Danzhou to welcome him. He couldn’t help but smile.
They had arrived in Danzhou. Their life in the sea had ended. Suddenly, Fan Xian had double the nostalgia and sighed with twice the feeling.
[JW1] “Pie” and “na” describe the two strokes that make up the word “person” in Chinese.
[JW2] It’s unclear which faction this is. Google search says it is short for Paul.
[JW3]泰山 This could also be read as Mount Tai, the name of a mountain in China . It becomes relevant in the next sentence.