Joy of Life - Chapter 454[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:12]
Chapter 454: Brothers Smile In Front Of Baoyue Brothel
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Fan Xian stared at Guangxin Palace in a daze. Looking at the column in front of the Palace, he wondered whether or not the hole in the column had been filled with lime.
When he had investigated the Royal Palace for the first time at night, it was behind the column in this palace that he was stabbed with a sword by that serving girl. The sword had pierced through the thick wood post and almost entered his waist.
Even now, Fan Xian seemed to still be able to feel the murderous intent on that sword, although that serving girl had been killed by him on scene. It was also that night he had overheard the collusion between the Eldest Princess and Northern Qi royal family, the truth of Yan Bingyun being sold out, as well as blocked Yan Xiaoyi’s arrow that seemed to have come from the ends of the earth.
The snow had stopped, and a cold wind blew through the Royal Palace, however, it was colder than the past few days. Fan Xian shivered with cold and shook his head with a self-ridiculing smile. Along with Eunuch Yao, he left this place and went toward the Eastern Palace where the empress and Crown Prince lived.
Although the Eldest Princess was his mother-in-law and he would eventually have to see her, it was best to maintain his distance from that charming, cold, and emotionless woman. If he could delay their meeting by a day, then he would delay it by a day.
These years with the Emperor’s secret arrangements and cooperation of Chen Pingping, as well as various other parties, Fan Xian had gradually taken over all of the Eldest Princess’ power. It had long become impossible for both sides to live together. There would eventually be a final showdown. Although the Eldest Princess’ power, for a long time now, had been a far cry from before, Fan Xian still remained cautious. Not only because she was Wan’er mother, but also because of that strange feeling in his heart.
In his previous life, he had heard girls sing a song to give something to him…Fan Xian also felt like this. The Eldest Princess had given the palace treasury to him, her daughter to him, her lover to him, the Cui family to him, and the Ming family she was also about to give to him. It looked like there were still many things she was going to transfer to him. If he was the Eldest Princess, he would probably also bite his lip and keep his silence, while fire sprayed from his eyes to burn this bad son-in-law to death.
There was also the Junshang Conference and the restless people in the military. Although the Eldest Princess was not a fire-breathing dinosaur, on the contrary, she was very alluring, Fan Xian was still somewhat afraid. He was afraid of the craziness and charm in her warmth.
To be with such a 30-something-year-old mother-in-law who was known as the most beautiful woman in the world, it felt a bit awkward. So, until now, Fan Xian had only met her, his greatest enemy in this life, once.
This had always been very amusing.
Eunuch Yao glanced at the silent Fan Xian and didn’t say anything. He caught up with quick steps. In a moment, they arrived at the Eastern Palace. Unfortunately, the empress was in Guangxin Palace chatting with the Eldest Princess, so there was only the Crown Prince who was being tutored by the grand tutor.
Seeing Fan Xian enter the palace, the Crown Prince came forward with a laugh. “How is your injury? I was going to visit you at your manor, but I was afraid it would disturb your rest, so I decided not to.”
Fan Xian bowed and made his greetings. Only then did he straighten up and smile. “My body has always been sturdy, I only had to rest for a few days. Today, I came into the Palace by edict, so I came to visit you to stop you from worrying.”
“When is sister Chen coming back?”
The Crown Prince smiled. “While she is not here, you need to make the most of it and have some fun.”
The two of them smiled and sat down. They talked about Jiangnan’s scenery and beautiful woman. Not one of their words strayed toward unhappy topics. Actually, if their relationship was traced back a few years, the Crown Prince had treated Fan Xian very well. Although he had listened to Xin Qiwu’s sugestion and treated Fan Xian well with the intention to bring him to his side, when Fan Xian first entered the capital, they two had gotten along very well.
However, no one had expected that later matters would develop in such a strange way.
Fan Xian was actually a prince.
Furthermore, the problems left over by history had not been resolved.
Fan Xian had risen up, and the Crown Prince became someone on the other side. Both sides knew that because of the historical problem, it was impossible for the two sides to work together. Inevitably, both sides sighed sadly. However, in the past two years, Fan Xian had mainly been attacking the Second Prince’s faction and had not attacked the Crown Prince’s faction wholeheartedly. On the surface, these two people could still maintain a sense of joyousness and harmony.
Even if the two of them had shed their cordiality, in the Palace, they still had to be joyous and harmonious.
The warm conversation came to an end and Fan Xian rose to bid his farewell. He moved closer to the Crown Prince’s ear and said in a quiet voice, “Your Highness, you must come tonight.”
The Crown Prince smiled. “Speaking of it, I actually haven’t been to that building of yours…”
This progressively marginalized proper Crown Prince sighed. “As you know, for the past few years, I’ve been cultivating my moral character and very rarely leave the Palace to play. Speaking of this famous Baoyue Brothel outside, first it was Second brother and later it’s you. Neither of you had any ideas, so there’s nothing I can do.”
Fan Xian wasn’t sure whether these words had a hidden meaning, but he couldn’t be bothered to guess. He chuckled and respectfully bowed before leaving the Eastern Palace.
Outside the palace, he, not unexpectedly, saw a familiar face.
That eunuch with a face full of acne, the current head of the Eastern Palace eunuchs, Hong Zhu.
Hong Zhu quickly moved to the side and greeted him.
Fan Xian’s attitude was very cold. He made a sound of acknowledgement and walked forward. In his heart, there was a strange feeling. Looking at Hong Zhu’s expression, it seemed as if he had something to say. Between this little eunuch’s brows, there was some fear, but he didn’t know what he was fearful of.
While in the Palace, Fan Xian would not pay attention to Hong Zhu. He still had to act like he looked down on him with disdain. This pawn buried in the Palace could not lightly be used.
Following that, he came to Lady Shu and Lady Ning’s palace. He brought a list of books for the Second Prince’s birth mother, Lady Shu. They were all ancient book collections printed at the Jiangnan Tianyi Pavilion. It was clear that Lady Shu was surprised. She had not expected for Fan Xian to serve her with such care given his life and death battles with her son, so she felt slightly moved.
While in Lady Ning’s palace, Fan Xian was thoroughly scolded.
This was the first time this outspoken and straightforward woman, born in Dongyi, had seen Fan Xian after learning of his past. Looking at the expression between Fan Xian’s brows, Lady Ning couldn’t help but remember the Lady Ye who had once saved herself and the child in her womb. So, she was angry that Fan Xian would treat his life so lightly and lectured him while Fan Xian nodded his head vigorously.
Then, she spoke of some stories from the past. Lady Ning’s eyes grew warm and soft. Looking at Fan Xian like she was looking at her own son, she gently rubbed his head. She exhorted him to bring princess Chen often into the palace to see her if he had the time.
Fan Xian agreed to everything. When he left the palace, he happened to turn his head and saw that Lady Ning seemed to be wiping away the wetness from the corner of her eyes. His heart couldn’t help twisting with an unspeakable sorrow.
These were all people from the past and matters from the past.
Busily walking, Fan Xian also began to feel irritated. This was just like his first visit to the Palace to visit the various imperial concubines after his marriage. The things he did and the conversations in each palace he walked through were more or less the same. The constant repetition truly wore down both parties’ state of mind.
Fortunately, he could relax a bit in the last Shufang Palace.
Having chased away Eunuch Yao, Fan Xian leaned like an exhausted dog against the chair. Slanting his eyes, he evaluated the serving girl who was busily bringing him tea. This serving girl’s brows were clear and smooth, and her head was constantly lowered politely. Fan Xian couldn’t help his heart thumping. When he accepted the tea, he squeezed her white wrist.
The serving girl glared at Fan Xian.
Fan Xian laughed and said, “Xing’er, when I first saw you, you were only 13. As you grew, so has your temper.”
Yi Guiping, who was lying on the low couch, watched as Fan Xian messed around with the child. She couldn’t resist opening her mouth and saying, “You can mess around outside, but don’t come mess around with people in my palace.”
Xing’er was indeed the girl who had led Fan Xian all around the Palace to offer his greetings back then. After being talked about by both of them, her face immediately flushed red. She ran quickly into the back.
Fan Xian drank some tea to soothe his throat. He then seriously said, “Aunt, I have to leave the Palace soon, so I won’t talk long with you.”
“Leave the Palace?” Yi Guiping was slightly surprised and immediately understood that something was happening. A glimmer of worry rose between her brows and she said, “What exactly are you going to do tonight?”
Fan Xian was also surprised and asked, “You know about this?”
Yi Guiping covered her mouth and smiled. “Sir Fan junior is hosting a feast tonight and the people he has invited are all major figures…this matter has long spread out and is the most sensational news in the capital. Although I live in the Palace, how could I not know about this?”
Fan Xian forced a smile and said, “It has only been a day, so how could it have grown to such a ruckus? It’s just that I haven’t been back to the capital in over a year. Inevitably, I’ll have to invite everyone out.”
Yi Guiping said seriously, “Although there are things I want to say to you, at least to thank you on behalf of my child for your discipline this year, I know your event at night is important, so you can leave first.”
She paused and then said, “Did you invite Hongcheng?”
Fan Xian shook his head and smiled. “I’ll take Wan’er to King Jing’s manor another day.”
Yi Guiping nodded.
Fan Xian smiled again and said, “I can’t leave right now. I’m here especially to pick up the Third Prince. At this time, Teacher Liu is still tutoring him, so how can I leave?”
Yi Guiping started and worriedly said, “Ping’er is also going?”
“It’s just brothers getting together. I’ll be there. What are you worried about?” Fan Xian smiled warmly with unspeakable confidence.
The end of the year was drawing near. The heavy snows had suddenly stopped, and no one knew when they would start again. Jingdou was freezing cold, however, there were red lanterns hovering in the air in the buildings beside the street. The red candles burned brightly and warmly enveloped the surroundings. They spilled out as if the precious bamboo charcoal was worth nothing.
Three layers of thick leather curtains hung in front of Baoyue Brothel’s front door. Occasionally, a servant would pass through. When they lifted the curtains, the warm air from inside the building would spill out. For a moment, the air on this street seemed slightly warmer than elsewhere.
There was no one passing by on the streets. The bailiffs from the Jingdou government and soldiers from the Jingdou garrison that were stationed here rubbed their frozen hands. Looking at the brightly lit building, they didn’t say anything out loud, but in their hearts, they were cursing loudly that they had to stand guard outside while the nobility inside could wash in spring breeze.
Of all the restaurants and brothels in the world, probably only Baoyue Brothel would be so luxurious. However, it was not usually like this. It was only because this day was special.
Baoyue Brothel did not open for business this day. In fact, half the street had been sealed off by people and horses from the Jingdou government and garrison. These were the preparations that Baoyue Brothel had reported to the government ahead of time. Without any time being wasted, it was granted with special permission.
The leading official of the Jingdou government did not have the authority to participate in this gathering, but he still did his best to arrange all the defenses. Not only him, but all of the officials in Jingdou thought like this. Regardless of which faction they belonged to, today, they all had to give their service to Baoyue Brothel.
Because, on this day, everyone who was considered a master in Jingdou was going to Baoyue Brothel.
The Siye of the Imperial College, vice-minister of Taichang Temple, leader of the palace treasury transport company, the Commissioner of the Overwatch Council, the inspector of Jiangnan, the imperial envoy…Fan Xian was hosting the gathering.
With the dazzling and powerful Sir Fan junior, whose titles were almost longer than his family tree, gave an invite, who dared to not come? Who had the face to not come? Although everyone knew that this Sir Fan junior was an isolated official who was bold and willing to offend officials, his guests of honor were the Crown Prince, the three princes, two Deputies of the Bureau of Military Affairs, and a few other powerful figures. If even these people had to give Fan Xian face, let alone the rest.
In Baoyue Brothel, all the powerful people were congregated. If someone had the power to kill every guest of honor tonight, Qing Kingdom would probably fall into chaos. No wonder the Jingdou government and garrison were so careful and guarded it so tightly. It was almost comparable to the depths of the Royal Palace.
A few high-class sedan chairs stopped in front of the Baoyue Brothel in the dusk. Another few major figures came forth in carriages, and a few other powerful military figures rode forth on horses.
None brought too many personal attendants to be an eyesore to Fan Xian. The princes only each brought two or three Tiger Guards. These major officials were all certain of their safety. Although there had been the attack in the valley recently, everyone knew that Baoyue Brothel was the property of the Fan family.
The Great Prince, the Left and Right Deputies of the Bureau of Military Affairs, Xin Qiwu, and Reh Shao’an arrived. Baoyue Brothel was operating fully, so the girls helped these major figures to side rooms to rest and wait for the feast to begin.
Fan Xian leisurely talked with a few people and said some mischievous things. He then led the child by his side to the door because he had heard the news that the Crown Prince had arrived.
Seeing that child willingly had his hand held by Fan Xian, the two Deputies from the Bureau and some other officials at the feast who were watching felt shock in their hearts. The scene in front of them was enough to make these major figures think of many other things.
Since ancient times, there had been officials who controlled the Emperor to command the nobles. Sir Fan junior held that child’s hand, so who knew whether or not the future Qing Kingdom, the future world, would belong to these two?
Fan Xian was holding the hand of the Third Prince.
Outside the leather curtains, it was slightly cold. The Third Prince shivered and turned his head to gaze at his teacher, who was two heads taller than him. A glimmer of worship flashed through his eyes. He immediately asked, “Sir, your injury is not yet better. Why did you come out to greet him?”
Fan Xian shook his head and explained gently, “The person who is coming is the Crown Prince, the heir of the country. His status is not the same. Furthermore, he is also your older brother. Whether as an official or as a brother, respect should be shown.”
A small carriage under the protection of a dozen guards stopped in front of Baoyue Brothel. Fan Xian’s eyes were sharp and could see there were a few Tiger Guards with long knives around them, waiting coldly. In order to prevent the common people from talking too much and making things awkward for the court, all of the guests had removed their usual honor guard. Even the Crown Prince, who was arriving, could be considered traveling lightly.
Fortunately, it was so. Otherwise, this street would probably be completely blocked the major figures’ show of extravagance.
The carriage curtain was lifted, and the Crown Prince, in an outfit of light yellow, stepped down from the carriage with a face full of smiles. He raised his eyes to see Fan Xian and the Third Prince waiting outside the building to welcome him. The Crown Prince’s mood was pretty good. Although this was necessary, given Fan Xian’s current power, this kind of respect was something the Crown Prince needed.
Fan Xian and the Third Prince bowed first. The Crown Prince quickly raised them up. In a moment, everyone in the building knew that the Crown Prince had arrived and rushed out to welcome him. Only the Great Prince seemed to have already drunk too much and had forgotten. However, the Crown Prince knew that his older brother was born into the military and had always been like this, so he didn’t care that much.
Just as the group of people standing around outside the building was about to go in and talk, another carriage slowly drove up.
The Crown Prince raised his head curiously, wondering who had even greater airs than himself to arrive even later than him?
Everyone gazed over only to see a thin and slight middle-aged official come out of the carriage. This official did not wear any clothing to symbolize his ranking, but everyone immediately recognized him and couldn’t help but feel surprised and shocked that he would also come.
The newcomer wasn’t just anybody, it was the Governor of Jiangnan Road, Xue Qing. Of the seven roads under heaven, Xue Qing controlled one of them. He was a super ranked official and controlled the wealthiest road under heaven. Most importantly, he was also the Emperor’s confidant and had once been the teacher of many princes in the Cabinet of Official Papers. For these officials in court, his position was particularly revered.
Xue Qing looked at the crowd and smiled slightly. He first bowed to the Crown Prince.
The Crown Prince quickly said he dared to not accept. With him in the lead, everyone hurried to bow to Xue Qing.
Fan Xian smiled and said, “Sir Xue returned to the capital to debrief. As we had worked together for this year in Jiangnan, and I had been greatly favored by you, I dared be so rude and presumptuous as to invite you over.”
Everyone oohed and said that Sir Fan junior had great honor to be able to invite Governor Xue Qing out. In their hearts, they secretly slandered Fan Xian. Because of the attack in the valley, Fan Xian had to demonstrate his might to various powers so had even brought out Xue Qing.
It was no wonder that these powerful figures would think like this. The feast in Baoyue Brothel tonight could be considered a gathering of the younger generation. Director Chen, Shu the Scholar, and other such elders would certainly not be disturbed. Even if he wanted to invite them, the Emperor would probably not allow it.
Furthermore, everyone was wondering why Fan Xian had invited such different classifications of people to gather in Baoyue Brothel.
“It is only to eat and drink and chat. Everyone has been busy with official matters this year. There has to be rest at the end of the year,” Fan Xian stood at the door to the Baoyue Brothel and explained with a smile.
He saw group of people and horses approaching. A the front was the Second Prince. It was that Second Prince who looked similar to Fan Xian and whose temper seemed to be of the same mold, but who fought with Fan Xian in Jingdou, in the North, and in Jiangnan until blood flowed like rivers.
Of course, the temporary victor was Fan Xian.
Fan Xian met the Second Prince’s eyes. With great mutual understanding. Without the division of first and second, without regard to seniority, they raised their hands at the same time, bent slightly at the waist, and greeted each other.
Then, the corners of their lips tilted slightly and a glimmer of a shy smile rose at the same time.
Both of them sighed in their hearts. This smile .hadn’t been seen for a long time.