Joy of Life - Chapter 465[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:16]
Chapter 465: Returning To The Ancestors
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Just like the people in Baoyue Brothel once said, Jingdou had been peaceful for a year. The biggest reason was because Fan Xian had been exiled to Jiangnan for an entire year.
Following Fan Xian’s return to the capital, the peaceful Jingdou was no longer able to maintain its appearance of calm. For one, he was caught at the clashing point of a number of different powers. For two, his way of doing things was completely at odds with his appearance as an immortal poet. In fact, his way of doing things was much more vicious than that of most of the nobility.
The attack in the valley, the nighttime assassinations in Jingdou, some people’s quiet deaths, some official’s humiliating incarceration…each of these incidences made the nobility in Jingdou deeply realize, once again, Fan Xian’s power and determination. It made them understand that after spending a year in the warm spring sunshine and charm of Jiangnan, it did not soften his personality much at all.
After Fan Xian returned to the capital, shocking things happened one after another.
In the most recent incident, the Northern Qi court had shamelessly come forward and expressed their care toward Fan Xian as well as criticized the Qing court with strange disgust for not properly protecting Sir Fan junior’s safety.
The entire capital found it absurd and was angry.
Putting it another way, this was the internal politics of Qing Kingdom. When was it time for corrupt Northern Qi scholars to comment? However, the Northern Qi people had commented and done so strangely loudly.
Immediately, Fan Xian was pushed into the center of the struggle. Although the clever people did not believe that he had any kind of shady collusion with Northern Qi because this trick of Northern Qi’s was too childish, the nobility and commoners of Qing Kingdom were still discomfited, very discomfited. The gazes being tossed toward the Fan manor were somewhat complicated.
Before this matter had even been called down, two days later on New Year’s day, another matter involving the Fan Manor made the entire Jingdou fearful.
There was not a glimmer of light in the sky.
Fan Xian sat on the carriage and rubbed his irritated eyes. He thought to himself, Did the ancestral worship have to be so secretive? Last night was New Year’s Eve. The whole family had played mahjong through the night. After Fan Sizhe and Lin Wan’er had divided up the entire family’s wealth, the game topped. However, the entire family had immediately got into the carriage and driven out of the manor.
All along the way, the carriages from the other branches of the Fan family gathered together. Although each branch was silent, the spread of such a long group of carriages did seem rather large.
Fan Xian faintly felt happy and nervous. It was his first time going to honor the ancestors, so he didn’t know the worship began right before dawn. During the ancestral worship last year, he had stayed with Wan’er in the garden. He faintly remembered that it should be in the afternoon.
He glanced at the deeply asleep Sizhe beside him and couldn’t help but smile and shake his head. Presumably, no yamen in Qing Kingdom dared to be so bold as to dare to search for Sizhe, a wanted criminal, in his own carriage.
Thinking of the fact he would finally enter the ancestral temple, the smile on Fan Xian’s face could not be removed. He didn’t know how his father negotiated with the Emperor. In the end, it was clear that the Emperor had no choice but to give his consent. The empress dowager also maintained her silence.
Speaking of which, since the royal family could not give him a name, did they want him to through his entire life without a reliable family name?
Fan Xian smiled coldly. He could actually guess the results of his father and the Emperor’s negotiation. In his eyes, the Emperor granting him the title of Duke of Danbo was already enough of an explanation. Furthermore, looking at the situation at hand, the Emperor did indeed need Fan Xian to clarify his identity to prevent his sons fighting over the family property becoming even more complicated. The weakening of the Overwatch Council’s power was not enough. If Fan Xian wanted to continue walking down the path as a powerful official, the first thing he had to do was remove himself from the group of princes.
The carriage traveled for an indeterminable amount of time and waited for a while by the city gate for it to open. It then drove out under the inattentive gazes of the soldiers, who were familiar to this sight.
Following the official road all the way west, they finally entered the country estate Fan Xian had been to once. The Fan family ancestral property.
Thirty-odd carriages stopped in order on the square outside the ancestral hall. There were already people from the estate who were coming forward to welcome them. It was like this every year, and things were done with a practiced ease now. The bamboo canopy provided for the women to temporarily sit under had already been erected. Lady Liu, Wan’er, Sisi, and the wives of a few other branches were all taken into the yard to rest.
The current head of the Fan clan, the Minister of Revenue Fan Jian, stood below the stone steps of the ancestral hall. He wore tri-colored formal clothing and looked at everything calmly. Yet, a feeling of warmth and joy surged in his heart.
He had raised a son for the Emperor and had finally made him his own son. Could this be considered the most successful day in his life?
The leaders of the other branches of the Fan clan had all already disembarked from the carriage and were standing in order of seniority outside the ancestral hall. They stole glances at the leader at the front. Each of them felt complicated emotions in their hearts. Thirty years ago, the Fan clan was already one of the largest in the capital. Fan Jian’s branch had only been a side and weak branch. If it had not been for that elder who had raised the current Emperor and King Jing. How could it be possible for Fan Jian to currently be the head of the clan?
However, after Fan Jian became the clan head, he was very strict with the members of the clan, and his own position had become more and more powerful. No one dared to disobey. Furthermore, the Fan manor now had an extra person, Fan Xian.
They each put on the necessary clothing for worshipping ancestors and lit the incense. The sacrificial items had already been prepared. The monk who lived in the ancestral temple respectfully rolled out a mat and slowly pulled on the great doors of the ancestral hall.
With a creak, the black wooden doors were pulled open. A gust of cold air rushed out from inside as if the ancestors of the Fan family were gazing coldly at their descendants.
Hundreds of men from the Fan clan lowered their heads and stood in ranks.
A carriage behind the group opened its door. Fan Xian, wearing cloth clothing, silently walked out and slowly walked forward between two rows of males. He followed his father’s hand gestures as he stood below the stone steps.
The atmosphere before the ancestral hall was solemn and respectful. The men of the Fan clan didn’t even breathe loudly in fear that it would wake the spirits of their ancestors. However, when they saw the man who walked out from the carriage, they still couldn’t help but stare in shocked surprise and utter countless shocked gasps through wide-open mouths.
The little teenage boys at the very back were greatly terrified after seeing Fan Xian. There were the poor little tyrannical boys that had their legs broken by Fan Xian outside Baoyue Brothel and had their bottoms beaten black and blue by Lady Liu in the Fan manor.
Fan Xian had also come to worship the ancestors. The legs of these little tyrannical lords of the Fan clan shook in fear.
Fan Xian calmly walked forward and gradually neared the stone steps of the ancestral hall. He saw that his father seemed to be arguing, in a low voice, with some of the elders about something below the stone steps. Fan Xian had seen those elders before and knew they were elders of virtue and prestige. It seemed that he had to call one of them great-uncle [JW1].
The great-uncle of the highest seniority in the Fan clan wore a worried expression and said quietly to Fan Jian, “By virtue…this is not appropriate.”
Fan Jian smiled and said, “Second Uncle, what is not appropriate about it?”
The great uncle’s eyes were full of fear as he lowered his voice, “This child…this child…” He suddenly closed his mouth and refused to speak. Was he going to say, to the head’s face, that his son was not his true born? He was still fearful. The seniors of the Fan clan around him were also fearful. They had not thought that there would be such a battle at this year’s ancestral worship. This was completely because the manor had quietly brought Fan Xian.
Everyone began to speak. Although they didn’t speak openly in front of Minister Fan, they faintly expressed the worry in their hearts. However, they didn’t dare to raise their voices too much in fear that they would wake their ancestors in the ancestral hall.
Everyone refused to accept it in their hearts, thinking, He wasn’t a son of the Fan family, so why should he come to worship the ancestors? What they were more afraid of was that Fan Xian was the child of the Emperor. If he joined the Fan family today, would the empress dowager and Emperor be unhappy?
Fan Xian did not give these elders an opportunity to debate. He had already walked to his father’s side. He first bowed respectfully toward the elders and then stood beside his father.
Fan Jian smiled and pointed to a spot in the middle of the rows, “Your place is there.”
Seeing that the head was not listening, no one dared express their objection further. These elders in the Fan clan were actually more afraid of the aura around Fan Xian.
“Ancestors have merit. Ancestors have virtue.”
“All things originate from heaven. All men originate from his ancestors.”
The inside and outside of the ancestral hall were twined with white smoke. The objects had been brought forward, and the men kowtowed in order. In calls to rise and fall, the Fan clan’s ancestral worship continued steadily. However, people couldn’t resist stealing glances at Fan Xian.
Fan Xian had already knelt, worshipped, and kowtowed in the ancestral hall. At this moment, he was standing to the side and looking, in a daze, at the paper confetti filling the sky and the snow on a mountain to the distance. He knew that his name could finally be recorded in the Fan clan family tree. For a moment, an extra, bright color shone in the depths of his heart.
Fan Sizhe kowtowed in the direction of the ancestral hall from inside the carriage. It was not convenient for him to disembark.
Fan Xian stood beside the carriage and couldn’t resist letting out a sigh. In his new life, he had confirmed his affiliation to this world in the mountain cave in Xi Mountain in front of a dying Xiao En. Now, in the Fan clan’s ancestral hall, he had finally once again confirmed his affiliation to this world. An immovable seal had finally been placed on his life. He was now tightly bound to his world, never to part again.
The morning light had long arrived. The white fog in the country estate and the smoke from the ancestral hall mixed together, never to part again.
As Fan Xian stood by the carriage outside the Fan ancestral hall and sighed, at almost the same moment, across half of Qing Kingdom’s territory, in one of the largest estates in the world outside Jiangnan’s Suzhou outside an ancestral temple that was built even larger and more severe than the Fan Clan’s, Xia Qifei was kneeling in front of his ancestors memorial tablets and sobbing soundlessly.
No, it should be the current Seventh Young Master of the Ming family. Ming Qingcheng was shaking in front of the ancestors’ memorial tablets, letting his tears wash down his face.
The current head of the Ming family, Ming Qingda, used a complicated gaze to look at Ming Qingcheng crying behind him to the left. His seventh brother that had left the family in his youth.
Ming Lanshi stood below his fourth uncle and looked at this “seventh uncle,” who never had the chance to enter the ancestral hall to worship before. He maintained a calm expression on his face, but the depths of his heart was filled with the feeling of defeat.
His fourth uncle had been realized half a year ago by the Suzhou government. From then on, he began to side with Xia Qifei and opposed the Ming family at every turn. Without question, the abortive assassination attempt made the Fourth Young Master lose heart with the head of the Ming family.
The Ming family was in a difficult situation. There was not enough cash flow, so they had to stretch their hands out. Although the Zhaoshang money house had provided a great deal of help, if the business along the eastern road and on the sea did not make a turn for the better and they continued to borrow money, this would be a big problem. Furthermore, now that there was another power inside the family, the sons of the other concubines stood on the side of the Fourth Young Master of the Ming family.
Thinking of this, Ming Lanshi hated the imperial envoy far away in Jingdou even more deeply. The current situation had been single-handedly created by him, including Xia Qifei entering the ancestral hall to worship today. Acknowledging the ancestors and returning home was one part of the agreement they had made that year.
Ming Lanshi didn’t understand why his father would agree to this request of Fan Xian’s.
Xia Qifei wiped away the tear tracks on his face. He knelt on the ground and faced the ancestors’ memorial tablets. In a voice that only he could hear, he said, “Father, mother…that old witch has already died. Your son has finally come back.”
He had been chased out of his home in his youth and narrowly escaped death countless times. Even after he became the leader of the Jiangnan water bandits, he only hoped to one day have his revenge through fire, blood, and martial power. However, he would only be able to become a lonely ghost. He had never dared to dream…that he would be able to publicly return to the Ming family.
Now, he was not just the leader of the Jiangnan water bandits or a secret official of the Fourth Bureau of the Overwatch Council stationed in Jiangnan, he was now the owner of the Xia-Ming Ji. He was responsible for selling palace treasury goods going to Northern Qi. He had also obtained the identity of the Seventh Young Master of the Ming family. In the future, one part of the Ming family’s giant fortune would belong to him.
Perhaps, it could all be his.
Of course, Xia Qifei understood that even if the Ming family became his, he was also Sir Fan junior’s. Everything he had right now had all been granted to him by Sir Fan junior. Xia Qifei was a man who knew gratitude and boundaries. He was not a person with wild ambitions.
As long as he could have his revenge and return to the Ming family, everything was fine.
The Fourth Ming master, who had long lost the ruthlessness he had in the past, helped him up and said, comfortingly, “Seventh brother, as long as you’re home, it’s fine.”
“Thank you, fourth brother.” Xia Qifei stood and looked at the head of the Ming family in a daze. Immediately after, he smiled and said, “Brother, I’ll leave first.”
Ming Qingda smiled slightly and walked forward a few steps. Moving closer to his ear, he used a voice only the two of them could hear, he quietly said, “Seventh brother, there is still a lot of time. I won’t keep you for a meal today.”
This was something Fan Xian had forced Ming Qingda to agree to before leaving Jiangnan. Since he had done it today, he didn’t have a favorable expression for Seventh.
Xia Qifei laughed coldly. He understood the meaning hidden in Ming Qingda’s words. Jiangnan and the Ming family had now split into two parts. As for who would come out on top, that would depend on who won and who lost the battle in the Royal Palace in Jingdou.
Throughout this entire year, Ming Qingda had been enduring silently, using all his tricks to drag out Fan Xian’s iron-fisted tricks. It was all just to fight for some more time, waiting for the counter-attack in Jingdou. He believed that he didn’t have to endure much longer.
Xia Qifei’s thoughts were exactly the opposite of Ming Qingda’s. He was also waiting. He was waiting for the day Sir Fan junior won a complete victory. He never believed that Sir Fan junior would fail.
Walking out of the main doors of the Ming family ancestral hall, Xia Qifei looked around at the various members of the clan and a self-mocking smile appeared on his face. He thought that very few of these clan members truly saw him as the Seventh master.
The Fourth Ming master followed beside him and quietly said, “Although we already have three people on our side, he is the master of the family. After all, there are some things that can’t be kept from him.”
“We won’t do anything to the business part.” A broken tear track lingered at the corner of his eye. He calmly said, “Add as many people as you can into the defense around the garden. I will have someone watching. If he still struggles for life after the stage is set, then he can’t blame us for coming down too strongly.”
The Fourth Ming master was shocked and furrowed his brows. “Don’t do anything rash. The entire Jiangnan is staring at Ming Garden, even Sir Fan junior wouldn’t dare do such a thing.”
Xia Qifei started but didn’t say anymore as he walked toward Ming Garden.
Guan Wumei, with one broken arm, was waiting for him by the carriage outside the garden. She looked at the remaining tracks on Xia Qifei’s face and knew that he had suffered a great deal of emotional stimulation today. She suppressed her excitement and said, “Congratulations, boss.”
“Hmm?” Xia Qifei smiled.
“Congratulations, cousin.” Guan Wumei smiled warmly and said, “Congratulations, Seventh master.”
On the first day of the year, in the manor in Jingdou, the Second Prince was drinking tea and playing Go with Ye Ling’er. Suddenly, there came the sounds of hurried footsteps. He couldn’t help but slightly furrow his brows. Although his power in Jingdou had mostly been wiped clean by Fan Xian, it was as he had said in Baoyue Brothel, he was not in a rush at all because this was only a minor problem. As long as Fan Xian couldn’t touch his royal roots, there would always be a time in the future for it to be Fan Xian’s turn to be anxious.
After the manager bowed and entered, he had no time to spare for the wangfei sitting there. He hurried to the Second Prince and related the shocking news he had just heard.
The Second Prince’s expression immediately changed. The black piece he had between two fingers dropped into his teacup and made a muffled plonk sound.
After the manager left, Ye Ling’er smiled and asked, “What’s happened now?”
In the opinion of this not-yet-20 royal concubine, the more tragic her master beat her husband, the better. It would be best if he was beaten until his ambition cooled and he no longer paid attention to matters concerning that dragon chair.
While Fan Xian shot at tigers in Jingdou, Ye Ling’er quietly laughed in the manor. Seeing her husband’s expression becoming shocked, she thought that her master had done something else, so she was not worried. On the contrary, she had the impulse that she was watching a great show.
It took a long time for the Second Prince to calm the shock in his hear and he looked at his wife, stunned, “Fan Xian, he…went to worship the ancestors today.”
[JW1] Great-uncle is a possible term for a grandfather’s brother.