Joy of Life - Chapter 467[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:49:17]
Chapter 467: Remember The Past, When You Were Young
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
There were still pieces of snow left on the pavilion across the lake. The thin snow separated into countless white pieces. It was as if the dark-colored pavilion was given a number of patches. The snow had stopped in Jingdou on the 29th last month. Within three days, the servants in King Jing’s manor had already swept away all the snow on the grass on this side of the lake.
However, the days were cold, so the ground was frozen. There wasn’t any new and tender growth on the lawns. All that was left was white frozen grass that, for some reason, no one cleaned up. It looked rather desolate.
Fan Xian quietly followed behind King Jing deeper in the garden. His eyes glanced a few times at King Jing’s slightly slouched back.
After entering the manor, Minister Fan came forward and blocked King Jing’s attack of foul language. After some clamor, before even seeing Ruo Jia and Hongcheng, King Jing suddenly asked Fan Xian to walk with him. Although Fan Xian didn’t understand what King Jing intended with this request, he saw his father secretly nod and followed him.
All along the way, there were not many sights in the garden. Even the small plots of land that King Jing worked on each day were just a few puddles of mud.
King Jing walked ahead and did not talk. Fan Xian could only follow silently as he took the measure of the King’s figure. His thoughts had long floated to some other place.
This King was not ordinary. There had been such self-controlled and even self-defiling and preposterous King’s in the history books, but he had done it so completely. For a powerful noble to not have an iota of desire for power was rare to see.
With his very old appearance, who knew what kind of psychological attacks he had experienced.
One old and one youth stopped their footsteps beside the vegetable patch. In a raspy voice, King Jing said, “The first time I saw you, it was in this vegetable garden.”
Fan Xian remembered that poetry conference, remembered Wanli being a frequent sad guest, and remembered that, at the time, his mind was filled with fantasies of there being a laughing and beautiful white-clothed woman in the vegetable garden. However, he had seen a farmer. He couldn’t resist smiling and replied, “You’ve always liked to tease the juniors.”
“In the capital, it’s not just me who plants vegetables,” King Jing said.
Fan Xian started and thought to himself, it was not nonsense. Although Jingdou was prosperous, there were still many poor people. These commoners made a vegetable garden at the corner of their wall to supplement their daily food. It was something often seen. However, since King Jing had said this, he had something to follow it up with, so Fan Xian listened quietly.
“That old man in the Qi family also likes to plant vegetables, but only plants bok choy and turnips.” There was a glimmer of cynicism at the corners of King Jing’s mouth. “He’s a soldier. He only knows how to fill his stomach. He has no idea that planting vegetables is also an art.”
Fan Xian’s heart jumped. He carefully considered the King’s words. For a moment, he didn’t know how to reply.
King Jing walked into the muddy vegetable patch, stuck his hands on his hips, and looked at the scene of desolation around him. A moment of silence later, he said, “Have you discovered who did the attack in the valley?”
Fan Xian closed his mouth tightly. He knew that the attack in the valley had been single-handedly organized by that old killing god master Qin in the army. The problem was that it was Qing Kingdom’s greatest secret. Other than Chen Pingping and himself, presumably very few people knew. Yet, King Jing had first talked about the old master Qin planting vegetables and next was talking about the attack in the valley. Was he trying to secretly convey something?
But, King Jing has not been involved in politics for many years and didn’t have any deep connections with the civil and martial officials in court. How could he dare to say that the Qin family did the attack in the valley?
King Jing did not make it clear, and Fan Xian did not know whether or not his guess was right. Furthermore, he couldn’t tell of the Qin family’s matter to the other party because it involved a deep secret. He could only force a laugh and said, “The court has been investigating, as well as the Overwatch Council. We only know it is certainly connected to the military. However, the witness has died, so there are no clues.”
King Jing turned back and glanced at him as if surprised by his indifference. He thought Fan Xian didn’t understand his meaning and huffed angrily, “Idiot!”
Fan Xian forced a smile, thinking, In these kinds of matter, what could he do but pretend to be stupid?
“The city-guarding crossbows belong to the Ye family.” King Jing stared into Fan Xian’s eyes. “But don’t forget about the Qin family.”
The King’s words were too direct. Even if Fan Xian wanted to pretend, he couldn’t. Other than the suspicion in his heart, he also felt unusually moved. This old man, wasn’t he too good to him? He furrowed his brows and said, “I have no grudge with the Qin family.”
The King huffed a few times and didn’t continue speaking. He lifted his feet and walked out of the muddy vegetable patch and once again walked deeper into the garden.
Fan Xian looked at his rear figure and faintly guessed something. The King dared to deduce that the Qin family would strike must be because of what happened in the past. However, the connection between the Qin family and the bloody case in the Taiping Courtyard…that was a secret that even his father didn’t know about. Even Chen Pingping had investigated for another dozen years after the event before he found it.
Why would the King know?
Thinking of this, hot blood surged up in Fan Xian’s heart. Throwing caution to the wind, he quickly rushed forward and grabbed hold of King Jing’s sleeve.
King Jing was startled and slowly turned his head.
Fan Xian gazed at him and said great sincerity, “What exactly happened that year? Why does no one know that the Qin family were involved? Why was this matter not discovered that night Jingdou ran red with blood?”
“You’re asking too much,” King Jing sighed and said. “Although I am a leisurely King who does not attend to my duties, you have to remember, after all, I am a member of the royal family. As for why I know something the two old men behind you don’t, the reason is very simple. Because, at that time, I was still young and still followed beside my mother.”
The corners of the King’s brows twitched and revealed a mischievous smile. “I was young and often liked to play hide-and-seek everywhere. Sometimes, it was very easy to hear things. As for what I heard, no one knows after all these years.”
Fan Xian forced a smile and hesitated to speak. For the King to be willing to point out the Qin family, it was already strangely protective of him. However, if this matter involved the empress dowager, who was the King’s own mother, how could he continue speaking?
“At that time, Yunrui was still young, so this matter had nothing to do with her.” King Jing was silent for a moment. “This point, I want to make clear to you. Ever since your youth, you have followed Fan Jian and the Overwatch Council. You have learned a lot, but many things have become laughable.”
At this moment, the elder and the youth were standing on the cold ridge between the fields. Not far in the distance was the wall of King Jing’s manor. Beyond the wall was the unchanging cold sky. However, as Fan Xian listened to the King beside him talk, his heart was incomparably warm.
“Regardless of whether it is Chen Pingping, that old dog, or your father, they are both masters of plot and schemes, so they always like to make things more complicated. Furthermore, most importantly, they don’t trust anyone, and the person they trust the least is each other.” King Jing smiled coldly. “This is the most foolish thing. In the past, Chen Pingping even suspected Yunrui. Why does he not consider, at that time, just how old Yunrui was?
Fan Xian forced a smile. The suspicion and wariness between his father and Chen Pingping had been around ever since his mother passed away and had become deeper and deeper. It was not until he had entered the capital that it had become better.
“Today, I have told you the Qin family matter that I have kept secret for so long not because I want you to seek revenge,” King Jing calmly said. “I just feel that you have offended the military enough, and Qing Kingdom was built on its military. If you don’t know who your true enemy in the military is, I’m worried you will die without reason.”
King Jing said the words “die without reason” particularly heavily. He didn’t want anyone else to die needlessly.
Fan Xian bowed to the ground and then straightened up, asking the question he was most concerned with.
“Sir, why are you so good to me?”
Hearing these words, King Jing was startled. After a long time, he suddenly laughed. His laugh became louder and louder, sharper and sharper, shriller and shriller. He laughed until his stomach hurt, and he was crouched on the field holding his lower abdomen. For a moment, he couldn’t raise his head.
Fan Xia’s was slightly unsure of himself and stood woodenly to the side. He looked at this King beside him, looked at the white hair on the King’s head that completely did not match his age float, and looked at the tears being squeezed out of the corners of his eyes because of his smile.
After a long time, King Jing straightened up. He furrowed his brows for a while and said, “I also don’t know.”
He then walked down from the field.
Fan Xian continued to follow silently behind him.
“The Emperor and I were both raised by our mother,” King Jing spoke calmly. His face had long recovered his usual weathered expression and calm. “At that time, Cheng manor was nothing remarkable and had little status in Jingdou, so brother and I could run around freely. Back then, your father would follow us every day. In addition to a studying companion…the Palace invited Chen Pingping in. The four of us would play all day. I was the youngest so, of course, I was the most bullied.”
“Later, brother, Fan Jian, and Chen Pingping went to mother’s old home in Danzhou to play. When they came back, they happily said they had met a very interesting girl.” King Jing began to smile. “Not long after, that girl came to Jingdou and made her way to Cheng manor.”
Fan Xian also smiled. “That was my mother.”
“Yes.” King Jing leisurely thought about the past. “I remember, as I was young at that time I hung around your mother every day. Hmm, at that time, I called her Sister Yezi…your mother was very kind to me, so it was impossible for brother to let Chen Pingping bully me. That was very good.”
The elder and youth talked as they walked. In a moment, they had come to a study. Although Fan Xian was listening attentively to the King talking about the past, he still placed his attention on the study because it was clear that it was rarely visited. Usually, the King liked to garden. He did not like to read books.
King Jing pushed open the door and entered. In a raspy voice, he said, “Sit.”
Fan Xian did not brush away the dust on the seat and sat down calmly.
King Jing searched around on the bookshelf for a long time before finally finding a thick book. He then handed it to Fan Xian and said, “Look.”
Fan Xian accepted the book with both hands. Looking at the cover page, it was instructions to agriculture. He couldn’t help but glance at the King in confusion.
King Jing was silent for a moment and then said, “Concerning your mother, there is not much I can say. You ask why I am so good to you…actually, that is wrong, I haven’t been good enough to you. At least, I was fooled by them for almost 20 years.”
The King slowly walked out of the study and looked at Fan Xian with a slightly slouched figure. In a slightly listless voice, he said, “I always thought she didn’t have descendants.”
Fan Xian sat in the dusty chair and unconsciously flipped through that thick agricultural instructions book, but he was thinking about King Jing’s previous words. He could faintly understand King Jing’s thoughts, that glimmer of youth and bitterness, unable to be verbalized, yet forever etched deeply into his heart.
With a gentle, beautiful, capable, and understanding older sister beside the youth just as he began to grow, it was inevitable that such a story would happen.
When he was reborn into this world, he already had a very mature spirit. In his previous life, had he not also had these experiences? Have not all men had these experiences? However, normal people, after they grow up, will have truly sweet results to fill in the gap in the internal world.
However, King Jing’s normal growing-up experience was clearly broken by the history of Qing Kingdom. The Ye family crumbled in one night, yet King Jing was unable to rage and had nowhere to rage. Thus, his hair whitened early and his body bent. He only venerated his vegetable garden and not the Palace.
Fan Xian’s fingers flipped through the slightly yellowing pages when suddenly his finger froze.
He had seen a few pages of thin paper stuck in the thick book. His heart trembled. He quickly flipped backward and found a few more pieces of thin paper.
The handwriting on the paper was very unfamiliar, yet very familiar. It was clear that the person writing was not very good at using a brush. The strokes were straight and rigid, like matchsticks used as building blocks.
The contents of the papers were also not out of Fan Xian’s expectations. On them was recorded who had suggested what to who, such as the Overwatch Council and matters relating to merchants. There were also a few informal notes that said what had been eaten that day and what plans there were for everyone tomorrow.
Fan Xian smiled and spoke to himself to those pieces of paper. “Everything else you’ve written has probably already been burned by others. Who would have thought the boy back then would have kept a few pieces.”
He tilted his head and said, “However, your writing really isn’t as nice as mine. There is not enough strength, and you release on the large strokes rather than the small ones. If you’re not used to a brush, you could use a quill. Oh yes, I made a small workshop in the palace treasury that specifically makes pencils. In this matter, I am much cleverer than you…”
After a moment, Fan Xian thought about it and placed the papers in his clothes. Presumably, King Jing also needed this kind of closure. He stood with a peaceful smile on his face and walked out of the study.
King Jing was not outside the study. Fan Xian had been to this manor many times and didn’t need a serving girl to show him the way. He placed his hands behind his back and wandered until he reached a row of houses. This row of houses gathered together into a separate garden, where a large lock was hanging on the garden door.
Fan Xian looked at the lock and couldn’t resist smiling. He walked up the stairs and knocked forcefully on the door, calling, “If you don’t open the door, I’m leaving.”
“Don’t go! Don’t go!”
The sound of hurried footsteps came from inside the garden as someone quickly ran over. The big wooden door gave loud creak. Presumably, someone had banged into the door thus showing how rushed the person was.
The big door opened a sliver and Fan Xian looked in with narrowed eyes. He couldn’t help jumping in shock. He found that there was another eye on the other side looking out, and that eye was all gummy and the hair very disheveled. The person looked very wan and sallow.
“What the hell!” Fan Xian cursed.
“You’re hell!” King Jing’s heir, Li Hongcheng, who was just in the room, cursed loudly, “Quickly let me out!”
Fan Xian saw that he was truly very pitiful and couldn’t help but let out a sigh. However, he hadn’t finished sighing when he began to smile again. He scolded, “The King has put you under house arrest, so how can I save you?”
“Go beg for mercy for me!” Li Hongcheng was about to go crazy from being shut up. He had finally seen someone who wasn’t afraid of his father, so how could he pass up this opportunity? He scolded, “Kid, do you have a conscience? You can trick me and con me, spray me with foul words, I can accept it all…but I’ve been shut away for this long. Do you not feel any sympathy? Think about when she first entered Jingdou, did I treat you badly? I took you to the brothel and let you chat up all the girls you wanted…”
Fan Xian blocked his ears and listened to Li Hongcheng’s endless tirade. He knew that he was overly wretched and smiled bitterly. “The King has shut you away for your own good. Otherwise, if you keep going out and messing around with those brothers, in the end, you might still not have a good end.”
“Death is death!” Li Hongcheng smiled coldly. “It’s still better than being stifled to death.”
Fan Xian took a few steps back and looked at the situation of this garden. He couldn’t help but stare and be tongue-tied. “My gold…it can’t be that you’ve been shut in this garden…for a year?”
Li Hongcheng started and cursed, “I’ll have long gone crazy then. Usually, I am just not allowed out of the manor. Although they are both prisons, the prison that is the manor is obviously much larger.”
Fan Xian rubbed his nose and nodded his head. Sighing in approval, he said, “With the manor as the prison, the heart cannot be free. Your words are indeed philosophical.”
Li Hongcheng sighed sorrowfully and said, “Don’t you provoke me, kid…originally, I just listened to some opera in the manor. It was fine, but once you, kid, returned to the capital, you were attacked and then went out to kill people. Without another word, that old man of mine immediately shut me up again this little garden. Tell me, what fault was it of mine?”
Fan Xian looked at Hongcheng’s pitiful appearance through a crack in the door and couldn’t help but feel sympathy and regret. Of course, he understood why King Jing had done this. He didn’t want his son to be involved in those matters. Once Fan Xian had returned to the capital, he had struck out heavily against the Second Prince. If Li Hongcheng was still tied up with the Second Prince, who knows how he would have dealt with him.
“Fine, fine.” Fan Xian saw that there was no one around. In a quiet voice, he said, “I’ll get you out and take you about. But you have to promise me, you won’t go see that guy.”
Li Hongcheng was overjoyed and nodded repeatedly. However, he said, doubtfully, “Don’t break this lock. If I wanted to escape prison, would I not think to break out?”
Fan Xian took out a key from a pocket by his waist and mockingly said, “Don’t forget, I’m from the Overwatch Council.”
The large lock opened with a click. King Jing’s heir, Li Hongcheng, who had not seen the sky while shut up in the little garden, could finally see the sky again. He stepped out with large steps and looked around at the open surroundings around him. He took a deep break and heavily patted Fan Xian’s shoulder. “At least you still remember your old friends.”
Having made so much noise, how could the servants in the manor not know? However, since the main culprit was Sir Fan junior and the person he was rescuing was their young master, no one obstructed.
Suddenly, a bright, anxious, and somewhat terrified voice rang out.
“Brother! How are you out by yourself?” To the left of the stone steps, there was a noble young lady dressed in an apricot red coat. Her little cheeks were anxiously flushed with red. “Watch out, father’s going to kill you.”
Fan Xian turned his head in surprise and looked at this young lady, only to see that the young lady still had a gentle and kind expression. Although, there was an extra glimmer of beauty and grace between her brows as compared to before. He couldn’t help his heart jumping in surprise, thinking, It had only been a year since he saw her. How could she have become such a pure and pleasant young woman?
The young lady also saw Fan Xian’s face clearly and covered her mouth in surprise. After the shock and surprise in her eyes faded, she seemed to have suddenly thought of something and a glimmer of fog rose. She looked like she was about to cry.
Fan Xian was scared. If one were to speak of the people he was most afraid of in Jingdou, other than the Emperor and the elder in the Palace, it was this girl in front of him who had deep feelings for him. He remembered in the past when she was still young, she had hung around him all day. Fortunately, everything was settled now. He was her cousin and his heart had relaxed a great deal. However, suddenly seeing the girl’s hurt expression, he still felt a bit uncomfortable.
The girl finally calmed her emotions and walked to Fan Xian to bow slightly to him. Using a mosquito-like voice, she said, “Greetings, Brother Xian.”
Hearing the words “Brother Xian,” Fan Xian sucked in a breath and thought to himself, It’s coming again, it’s coming again. However, there was nothing he could do. He could only use a calm and kindly elder-brother voice to say, “Greetings, Sister Ruojia.”